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Koo Koo/Def, Dumb & Blonde Import
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Her third solo album, 1989's Def, Dumb, & Blonde is also great but for a completely different reason than her first album. Eight years after Koo Koo's release, it served as a welcome return for Harry to a fuller, poppier Blondie-esque sound.
The problem with this edition's Def, Dumb, & Blonde is that it only has eleven tracks. The cd version released in 1989 and re-released in 2005 has fifteen. I understand that the original vinyl album released in 1989 had only eleven, and the four extra tracks were bonus tracks appearing only on the cd. Why didn't BGO re-release the original cd version, as opposed to the shorter lp version? There's plenty of room for all fifteen tracks on this cd.
If both Koo Koo and Def, Dumb, & Blonde were here in their entirety, I would give this 2-disc set five stars. Since D,D, & B is incomplete, I can only give it three stars.
(The missing tracks are Bike Boy, I'll Never Fall In Love, Comic Books, and Forced To Live.)
Serious Deborah Harry fans might want to buy this 2-cd set for Koo Koo (it costs less than used copies of previously released editions) and buy the fifteen-track version of Def, Dumb, & Blonde seperately. More casual fans could make do with this set alone or with Harry's greatest hits album, Most of All.
KOO KOO, while no masterpiece, is hardly a musical disappointment, and had one of the most striking album cover images of the '80s. The grooves from Chic trio Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards and Tony Thompson are solid and well produced. Harry's voice is spirited and she sounds like she's having fun working with some new musicians. But there's definitely an X factor missing ... nothing sounds like a hit, and none really succeeded. However, "Backfired" is funny and sassy, and "Now I Know You Know" is as sultry as anything Harry has cut in her entire career. Reggae song "Inner City Spillover" has some truly weird lyrics!
DEF, DUMB AND BLONDE sounds a world away, made almost ten years after KOO KOO. The original U.S. CD was better, which had a total of 15 songs compared to this version. It suffers from a frilly, let's-have-fun! 80s production and Harry also sounds like she's somewhat surrendered and defeated, after the failure of Blondie's THE HUNTER, and of second solo album ROCKBIRD. There's a sense that her time had kind of come and gone to this album, which always makes it sound kind of sad to these ears.
For anyone wondering, BUY THIS COLLECTION IF YOU WANT A BRAND NEW REMASTERED VERSION OF DEBBIE'S 1ST SOLO ALBUM. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THE OTHERS HERE ON AMAZON...TOO DAMN EXPENSIVE. SO HAPPY WE HAVE AN ALTERNATIVE! ALSO, IF YOU HAVE A COPY OF DEF, DUMB, AND BLONDE, BUY THIS ONE ANYWAY, SINCE IT'S THE TRUE REMASTER AND NOT JUST A REISSUE FROM 1989, LIKE THE ONE WOUNDED BIRD RECS. RELEASED 4 YEARS AGO. THE DIFFERENCE IN SOUND IS VERY OBVIOUS.
KOO KOO, from 1981, is a pretty good album. It's interesting, but a very different kind of animal from what Debbie had been giving us since 1976 w/ Chris and the boys; which is odd, considering how diverse her music w/ Blondie was. Like many others have said over the years, many of the songs sound like B-sides to A-sides: They're interesting, somewhat avant-garde, but not particularly hooky or memorable in the way that her previous output was. I'll put it this way...it's an odd follow-up to Blondie's masterpiece AUTOAMERICAN, which featured excellent forays into Art Pop, Punk/New Wave, Disco, Funk, Jazz, Reggae, Broadway show tune, and Rap. This is also a diverse album as well, going from New Wave, to Funk, to R&B/Jazz, Reggae (in The Police vein), Mid-Eastern-flavor, to Disco/Dance w/ a little Rap for good measure. It's very 1981, yet it sounds very artsy by today's standards...its style is rather timeless, like so much of Deb's music(I was alive and well in 1981, though only 7 yrs. old and this was my 1st time hearing the entire album 28 yrs. later, and it sounds contemporary and dated at the same time). As always when a leader of a group goes solo for the 1st time, the material and execution is incredibly crucial.Read more ›
For her first solo outing while still in `Blondie', it appears DH was trying to release something that did not sound like Blondie, which she definitely managed with `Koo Koo'. Instead of working with Blondie's rock producer, Mike Chapman (Suzi Quatro, The Knack, The Sweet, Pat Benatar), she worked with dance producers Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (Chic, Sister Sledge, The Jacksons, Diana Ross). The result is that `Koo Koo' sports a thin sound, contains slight, lack-lustre songs and, worst of all, fails to capitalize on Harry's awesome vocal abilities, leaving her enigmatic style sounding silly alongside all the popping basses and excessive rapping.
Most of the songs are flat out terrible. Were it produced by Chapman, the song `Under Arrest' would have sounded very much like a great Blondie song.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The fact that we had an alternative for the issue of, "Koo Koo"'s availability, that album was missing the bonus tracks for it. Read morePublished on May 13, 2012 by Ralex
I was so let down by the missing tracks on Def, Dumb, & Blonde I am sorry I bought the combo.Published on March 5, 2011 by James Becker
I have Koo Koo on vinyl. I remember when it came out in 1981 and all the fuss with it over Debbie leaving "Blondie" know we know better. I like most of the tracks on it. Read morePublished on March 1, 2011 by Richard L. Moglia
Item came quick, was in great shape! Nice to get a hard to find item so quickly. Will use these guys in the future for hard to get music. Read morePublished on November 8, 2010 by nel21410mt
I have always be a Blondie / Debbie Harry fan. I was pleased to find these 2 albums again. Both contain excellent music and Debbie's fantastic vocals.Published on October 11, 2010 by Max Steinman