Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Today (August 10th) is the thirtieth anniversary of the self-titled debut album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This 1984 release spent eight weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 201. The band at the time included Flea (bass), Anthony Kiedis (vocals), Cliff Martinez (drums) and Jack Sherman (guitar); this would be Sherman‘s only album with the group.

Joining the Peppers on this one were Keith Barry (horns and viola), Cliff Brooks (timbales and congas), Gwen Dickey (background vocals), Patrick English (trumpet), Kenny Flood (saxophone) and Phil Ranelin (trombone). Andy Gill of the Gang of Four produced the album.

Side one opens with “True Men Don’t Kill Coyotes”. The song was not released as a single however it was the first track for which the band made a music video. I like the opening guitar riff; along with the tribal drumbeat, it sets up a predatory vibe for this track. My first exposure to this track was off an 80’s new-wave compilation I picked up in the mid-90’s.

“Baby Appeal”, which blends rap and rock quite well, was the B-side to the single.

“Buckle Down” is a very tight groove, built upon Flea’s funky bass line.

The album‘s only single was “Get Up and Jump”. It was the second song the band had ever written and one they played quite a bit live prior to getting their first recording contract.

“Why Don’t You Love Me” is a cover of a 1950 country song by Hank Williams. The Peppers do an outstanding job on bringing this tune to a new genre and new generation.

Side two begins with “Green Heaven”, a social commentary rap worthy of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

“Mommy Where’s Daddy” is a funky-jazz fusion piece that instantly made me think of Prince’s “Sexy M.F.” from 1992.

Kiedis and his rap keep pace with Flea‘s brutal bass on “Out in L.A.” The song is only two minutes long, but there is a lot packed into it.

“Police Helicopter” is just a minute and a quarter in length. It is very raw and in your face.

Next is a bizarre and brief fifteen second interlude called “You Always Sing”. Why it is there I have no clue.

The original vinyl release concludes with “Grand Pappy Du Plenty”, a diverse instrumental piece.

The 2003 re-release on CD added the five tracks from the group’s 1994 Out in L.A. record, a collection of rarely heard demo recordings.

This was my first spin through Red Hot Chili Peppers and I enjoyed the record quite a bit. There are definitely a number of tracks I will be adding to my music library in the near future.

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