OLYMPIC CHAMPION MICHAEL Johnson proved he's superbad--a superior athlete of gargantuan proportions; a classy, genuine superdude, er...superstar. John Pergamo, the Warholian-inspired "rock star" who wrote, produced, engineered and performed this tongue-in-cheek, novelty New Wave cum schlock-rock, is simply a superdud. Pergamo's Superdude schtick resembles Tim Curry wrasslin' with Meatloaf over the last morsel of barbecued bimbo at the Slime-O-Rama diner: all fat and grease and no brains--devoid of any nourishment. This sterile sounding, heavily programmed retro-'80s dance-rock goulash is as fresh and lively as a flock of dead seagulls. If you wanna good chuckle then check this out, it's a goof. Credit goes to the eccentric (or insane) Pergamo for having the balls to call himself Super-anything.
Sugar Hill Records
GREAT CONCEPT; EVEN better execution. The idea was for singer-songwriter O'Brien to cover some of his favorite Bob Dylan tunes (conceived by some record executive who always wondered what the Great One was mumbling about?). It's wonderful to finally understand those lyrics, but the performances by O'Brien and cohorts easily eclipse that little pleasure. Red On Blonde goes back to Dylan's folk roots and takes his work into a variety of tradition-based styles. "Tombstone Blues" gets a driving bluegrass treatment, while Mark Schatz's hambone punctuates O'Brien's "acoustic hillbilly rap" rendition of "Subterranean Homesick Blues." "Masters Of War" is molded into a powerful, old-timey plaint. All tribute albums should sound so good.
ELECTROFUNKVolumes One and Two
THIS ANTIQUATED REVIEWER'S knowledge of funk relates more to the era when turntables played rather than made music, and Bootsy's bass had yet to succumb to the synth pulsing created by Kraftwerk and affordable samplers. And while preferring to remain in the P-Funk Army, I have to admit that the extended dance mixes presented here show '80s funk to be a sister to rap's legitimate updating of folk music: Only one voice and two hands on a board of knobs can sound like an entire band. Grandmaster Flash and Pretty Tony head several cuts, as does the impressive Afrika Bambaataa. These two reissue collections will probably serve as memories for young funksters, and a history lesson for us older ones.
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