Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tom Tom Club - Close To The Bone

In July of 1983, the Tom Tom Club followed up their 1981 self-titled debut (click here for that review) with Close To The Bone. It charted at number 73 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 49 on the US Billboard R&B chart, and number 31 in New Zealand.

Joining the husband and wife leads of Chris Frantz (drums and vocals) and Tina Weymouth (bass and vocals) were Wally Badarou (keyboards), Tyrone Downie (keyboards), Rupert Hine (keyboards), Steve Scales (percussion), Alex Weir (guitar) and Tina’s sisters Lani and Laura (backing vocals).

Side one opens with “Pleasure of Love”. As the second single, it peaked at number 23 on the US Billboard Dance charts. I do remember hearing this enticing, bopping groove about falling for someone at first site on college radio back in the day.

The title of the album comes from the opening lines of “On the Line Again”, an in-your-face jam about spending nights on the prowl in clubs and other hot spots. It closes with the chant “funk is our salvation”, which really sums up this album quite well.

“This Is a Foxy World” keeps the party going with this flirtatious number about equality.

“Bamboo Town” blends in some stronger reggae rhythms into the mix, elements that made their first album quite enjoyable for me.

Side two starts with “The Man With the 4-Way Hips”, a funky grind about an amazing dancer. Released as the first single, it went to number 106 on the US Billboard chart, number 82 in the UK and number 4 on the US Billboard Dance chart.

The self-assessing “Measure Up” is next.

“Never Took a Penny”, set to a shuffling beat, tells of overcoming heartbreak and moving on. The underlying message here is that you can survive being on your own.

The album closes on an uplifting positive note with “Atsababy! (Life Is Great)” and features Frantz on the lead vocals on the verses.

As I noted in my earlier review, the Tom Tom Club debut album had both high points and low-points for me. On this second album, I found the mix to be much more normalized; I enjoyed all of the eight tracks equally well.

Close To The Bone was only released by itself on vinyl and cassette. In 2009, it was packaged as part of a deluxe CD set with the debut record by the group; this set is now only available as an import.

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