Review : Was (Not Was) - Pick of the Litter 1980-2010
RollingstoneBefore he became superproducer to Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones, Don Was (né Fagenson) helmed a satiric, mutant R&B outfit with jazz-loving pal David Was (né Weiss). Early-Eighties jams like the P-Funky "Out Come the Freaks" and the Ronald Reagan-sampling "Tell Me That I'm Dreaming" were avant-disco classics. Later, semihits threatened to make the group pop stars, but its taste for unmarketable weirdness (say, Leonard Cohen croaking about "Elvis' Rolls Royce") won out....full text
BlogcriticsPick Of The Litter (sub-titled "Hey, King Kong!") is a long-overdue collection which assembles the best of Was (Not Was), the funkiest, yet artiest funk-rock-jazz — or whatever you want to call it — collective of musical miscreants to ever rise up out of the mean streets of Detroit.
Honestly, where else on earth could you find a collection which places such seemingly musical opposites as Ozzy Osbourne, Marcus Miller, Mel Tormé, Iggy Pop, Leonard Cohen, and the recently deceased Doug Fieger (of the Knack) under the same roof? At one point, even actress Kim Bassinger gets in on the act, dueting with Ozzy on 1983's "Shake Your Head" from the album, Born To Laugh At Tornadoes.
I mean, how wild is that? Was (Not Was) may have been primarily a studio concoction. But this was not your typical group of glossy Steely Dan styled session cats — not by a long shot.
Was (Not Was) — helmed by producer/bassist Don Was (Fagenson) and multi-instrumentalist David Was (Weiss) — was more like an ever-evolving community of musicians committed to the singular ideal of maintaining the fun in funk, even as they ever-so-subtly slipped in a bit of politically charged commentary in the process....full text
CreativeloafingIf you had to develop a formula for a musical act, what would you include? Good singers? Check. Great players? Definitely. Guest vocalists? Sure, why not. Songs about dinosaurs, spies and going to jail, with a disco beat? Huh? Well, Was (Not Was), the Detroit-based creation of David Weiss and Don Fagenson (now better known as uber-producer Don Was), did just that. Their unique formula had its doubters, but once all the parts came together, the results were amazing. Even with such singers as Sir Harry Bowen and Sweet Pea Atkinson in the band, the Was "brothers" spiced things up by inviting musical luminaries into their strange world, including Leonard Cohen, Ozzy Osbourne, Mel Tormé and recently deceased Doug Fieger of the Knack. Loaded with dance beats, humor and absurd but powerful collaborations, Was (Not Was) never let the quality of the music or the sheer talent of the participants get overshadowed. 5 out of 5 stars....full text
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