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Music / Kid Creole and the Coconuts

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Kid Creole and his Coconuts in 1982
Kid Creole and the Coconuts are a long-running latin pop group from New York, revolving around singer/songwriter/producer August "Kid Creole" Darnell. Already an experienced writer and producer, as well as a member of the Big Band-influenced Disco ensemble Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band (with his brother Stony Browder and singer Cory Daye), Darnell and Dr. Buzzard percussionist Andy "Coati Mundi" Hernandez formed Kid Creole and the Coconuts in 1979, extending the eclectic musical stylings and clever humor that had been the trademarks of their previous band.

Though critically acclaimed in their homeland, they achieved much greater success in Europe.

Tropes in the work of Kid Creole and the Coconuts:

  • Always Someone Better: Played with in "Endicott", where the title character is presented as the ideal man ("Why can't you be like Endicott?") but there's also the suggestion that he's kind of boring.
  • Brutal Honesty: "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy" has the narrator telling Annie in forthright fashion that she's the result of her mother's holiday fling. Despite Annie's exhortation to "break it to me gently now / don't forget I'm just a child", by the end the honesty is getting brutal indeed:
    Had mama left, and not confessed
    Perhaps I'd love you too
    ...See if I was in your blood
    Then you wouldn't be so ugly
  • Concept Album: Fresh Fruit in Foreign Places has a storyline about the Kid and his bandmates travelling around various fictional islands in search of his true love Mimi.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: This is how the storyline of Fresh Fruit in Foreign Places concludes.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Tropical Gangsters was originally meant to be an August Darnell solo album called Wise Guy, but Executive Meddling forced him to release it under the Kid Creole banner. In America, it still retained the Wise Guy title.
  • I Have Many Names: The Kid's real name is Thomas August Darnell Browder, and out of character he's usually known as August Darnell, but he also goes by Tommy Browder. His stage persona is usually Kid Creole, but he's also used King Creole - and on some albums, he's credited for different roles under all four names.
  • Latin Lover: The Kid Creole character is portrayed as one, though with more self-deprecation than is typical for the trope.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: Their debut single "Mister Softee" is about a man making excuses for not being able to get it up.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy" is about this and mentions the trope by name.
  • Purity Sue: In universe. The narrator of "Endicott" regards the title character as this and is mocked for failing to live up to the same standards.
  • Rearrange the Song: Several songs that Darnell originally wrote for other artists were reworked for the early Kid Creole and the Coconuts albums, usually undergoing a Genre Shift from disco to latin.
  • Self-Plagiarism: The Coconuts song "Ticket to the Tropics" reuses the backing track from "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy".
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Most albums have at least one song with someone other than Darnell taking the lead vocal. When Andy Hernandez was in the band, he usually got a couple of lead vocals per album. Apart from the title track, the Coconuts album Don't Take My Coconuts was a whole LP of this for the female backing singers.
  • The Stool Pigeon: The song "Stool Pigeon" is about a mobster who is convinced by the FBI to be wiretapped and chat with his old associates about the "good old days" in exchange for money and freedom. The plan succeeds, but the last verse states that the snitch is unable to enjoy his newfound riches with anyone as a result:
    He got a spanking new identity
    And a condo down in Miami'
    He bought a plane, a boat and jewelry
    But he couldn't buy any company
  • Title Confusion: "The Coconuts" refers to both the group in general, and the female backing singers specifically.
  • Written Sound Effect: The actual word "onomatopoeia" is sung repeatedly in the bridge of "Annie, I'm Not Your Daddy".