The Brides of Funkenstein -
"Never Buy Texas from a Cowboy"
André Cymone -
Within its first 20 seconds, it's easy to tell that the Brides of Funkenstein's "Never Buy Texas from a Cowboy" was made in the image of the parent band's "(Not Just) Knee Deep." Maybe that's why it flopped in comparison to "Disco to Go," the Brides' gapingly inferior hit from 1978. "Texas" and "Knee Deep" have similar tempos, viscous synth-bass ripples, extended instrumental breaks, and much jubilant nonsense, and they both sound a whole lot larger than life. Both last 15 minutes and never derail. "Texas" peaked somewhere in the 60s of the Black singles chart, I think, while "Knee Deep" went to number one.
I wonder what would happen if George Clinton went back into time and switched the songs' release dates. Would the roles reverse? Probably not -- "Knee Deep" would rise to the top of a list of electro-funk masterstrokes regardless of the forces working against it, but I do firmly believe that "Texas" would not meet its obscure destiny so fast. "Texas," ultimately, is not "Knee Deep" (what is?), but it is almost as pleasurable. Rhino Handmade should put the album of the same name back in print.
André Cymone was in a no-win situation when he split from Prince. If his solo material resembled the first three Prince albums, the argument that he didn't receive the credit he deserved would carry more weight, but if it didn't sell nearly as well (of course it wouldn't sell nearly as well), he'd be seen as a coattail rider. And if he totally changed his style, and sounded nothing like the first three Prince albums, his argument would be thrown out and his label would want nothing to do with him at all. Another blow to his cred came when he and Prince reconciled and put together 1985's "The Dance Electric," which became his most successful single. He then went to work extensively with Jody Watley, along with Pebbles, Evelyn King, and Adam Ant.
"Kelly's Eyes," from 1982's Livin' in the New Wave, has something in common with "When You Were Mine." They're both supremely catchy and lighthearted new-wave funk songs. A couple verses in, "Kelly's Eyes" remains a sweet song of affection, with Cymone sounding boyishly innocent, but he suddenly switches from being in love to being in heat, and his teeth start to gnash a little: "Sick and tired of this phone affair/I wanna get into your underwear." So -- surprise! -- it turns out he's full of shit. He doesn't just want to look into his Kelly's eyes after all. If you're hearing the song for the first time, you might think something like, "Alright, this is nice, but it's going in one ear and right out the other," but you might be surprised a few hours later when you find yourself doing some humming. Cymone also earns bonus points for mentioning his full name, even if he's quoting Kelly.