MANIC NO WAVE SAX FRENZY!
James White tore up the city blueprints and charted his own map through the sonic sprawl of New York, perfecting a jittery, manic attack on sax and vocals and adopting the persona of a lounge singer in the waiting room of Hell. A maelstrom of chaotic transformations of funk, jazz (et al.) with equal parts James Brown and James White originals that rank among the most incendiary in his repertoire, this album is available outside of Japan for the first time and finally on CD!
Due to its plethora of sublime rhythms and prismatic shimmy, a party atmosphere is in full effect on Melt Yourself Down. The band presents a master class of cutting-edge downtown New York City funk that evokes an endless evening riding NYC’s late-night slipstream. White’s avatar, the Godfather himself, James Brown, is paid respects with a pair of hot takes, including “Super Bad,” which kicks off the album. Later, during “Cold Sweat,” White grows increasingly agitated, injecting an element of chaos into the methodical groove while adding some of his own coitus-inspired lyrics.
“Hell On Earth” brings home the bacon and fries it in the flames the band calls forth as they rub sax, guitar and bass together in a manner that can only be described as biblical. On this final cut—with his innate understanding that performance is ritual—the flaming demonics that White calls up are in full, infernal swing.
Melt Yourself Down executes White’s prime directive—provoke pleasure, by any means necessary.
Also available on teal vinyl and on blue/white vinyl from Rough Trade!
Super Bad (James Brown) (8:25) • Melt Yourself Down (James White) (6:07) • Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (Al Dubin-Harry Warren) (5:18) • Hot Voodoo (Ralph Rainger-Sam Coslow) (5:23) • Cold Sweat (James Brown-Alfred Ellis) (10:08) • These Foolish Things (Jack Strachey-Holt Marvell) (5:47) • Hell On Earth (James White) (8:18) • Almost Black (James White) (4:28)* • Contort Yourself (James White) (6:06)* • King Heroin (Charles Bobbit-James Brown-Dave Matthews-Manny Rosen) (7:01)*
*CD only bonus tracks, recorded live in Holland 1981.