• Bonedaddys
  • A-Koo-De-A! (Chameleon) 1988 
  • Worldbeatniks (Chameleon) 1989 

Uplifting Afrobeat, uptight contemporary funk and sizzling rock’n’roll collide with delightful results on the merry gumbo of the Bonedaddys’ first LP. The large interracial LA outfit — essentially a citywide sideband — takes a knowledgeable approach to exotica (confidently covering two Manu Dibango songs) and a witty pen to localism. “Zouk Attack,” co-written by Bonedaddy guitarist Paul Lacques (whose main band is the polka-crazy Rotondi, but he also has a group called the Underthings) and ex-Motels/Burning Sensations leader Tim McGovern, critiques the trendy club scene; “Dumpster Girl,” penned by singer Kevin Williams, is a twisted love song. Other bands — like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Oingo Boingo — have confronted the challenge of rampant cross-culturalization and large-ensemble organization, but the Bonedaddys have a musical nationality all their own.

The party continues on Worldbeatniks, as the group (here an octet with guests; McGovern is no longer involved) offers up three more Afrobeat numbers (including Fela Kuti’s “Zombie” and Afro National’s “Jokenge”), some New Orleans-style R&B (Allen Toussaint’s “Shoo-rah, Shoo-rah”) and an eclectic array of originals, among them the (first?) neo-hippie anthem “Hippie Children,” also recorded by Rotondi. Fun’n’funky.

[Ira Robbins / Dave Schulps]