Today’s POP RESCUE from an uncertain fate, is the 1983 debut album Don’t Take My Coconuts by American vocal trio The Coconuts. Should this album be on your Desert Island Disc list, or is it one to be shied away from? Read on…
Side One of this 9 track album opens with titular track and earlier single Don’t Take My Coconuts, which has Kid Creole (the album’s songwriter and producer) on lead vocals. The track gave Kid Creole and The Coconuts a charting UK single, albeit one that got stuck at #86 in 1981. I assume it is included here simply as a reassuring lead-in from him to this Coconuts only album. I think it holds the record for being the song with the highest number of mentions of the name ‘Doris’.
The track leads straight in to Naughty Boy, and I’m instantly reminded of Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses meets 80s Bananarama. The track is pretty catchy and plodding, and the repetitive bass line and guitar really helps this. I could imagine Girls Aloud bringing this up to date quite easily.
Again, the track starts with an introduction to The Coconuts before moving straight into next song Malady D’Amour. Again, a great bass here, and loads of percussion with the track taking a samba turn part way. The vocals are tight and the harmonies really shine.
We’re seamlessly straight into second single Ticket To The Tropics. This carries the percussive sound, and a bass that chases the vocals. Harmonies are beautifully warm again, led by Cheryl Poirier. Sadly, despite its summertime cheerfulness, it did not chart in the UK.
Indiscreet follows this, the first song to sound like its not part of a continuous performance. This track sees Adriana Kaegi on lead vocals, and it takes a slightly more pop sound, although it is not as strong as some of the other tracks.
Side Two opens with Kriminal-Tango, itself sounding like the opening to a Loony Tunes cartoon. The track is mostly sung in German by Adriana, and is a cover of Piero Trombetto 1959’s track, and even unashamedly includes a part of the James Bond Theme. It seems performed for laughs, and perhaps would be better placed at the end.
Next is the album’s official lead single Did You Have To Love Me Like You Did? (check out that video). It is wonderfully upbeat, catchy and Cheryl’s lead gives it a wonderful pop sound, although the trombone solo goes on a bit. Sadly the song failed to capture the UK public, and the song stalled at #60. A crime against music!
Penultimate track, and third and final single is If I Only Had A Brain, dedicated to ‘all the dizzy blondes around the world‘, it is of course from The Wizard Of Oz. This is an amusing tongue in cheek version, with this album’s whole existence potentially to prove that The Coconuts we’re capable of having their own album.
The Glory That Was Eden follows this, and this is another lovely upbeat track, loaded with brass, percussion and vocals. The track, and therefore album, closes with applause, and rightly so.
Over all, this album is good fun.
Side One plays predominantly as a show, with Kid Creole introducing The Coconuts and then leaving them to it – with nothing much more than a breath between tracks. The flipside takes a slightly wobbly turn with the two covers, although the inclusion of the ‘dizzy blondes’ comment is perhaps a nod to those who felt that The Coconuts were just eye candy for Kid Creole’s fans.
The two covers aside, the rest of the album is great, with playful pop songs, and tongue in cheek humour. It genuinely sounds like The Coconuts had a lot of fun making their album.
The artwork on this album’s packaging is also a masterpiece, and must have looked so fresh in 1983, as it still does today.
- POP RESCUE 2020 RATING: 4 / 5
- 1983 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #86
- POP RESCUE COST: £1.00 from a Cancer Research UK store.