Tropical Gangsters was Kid Creole And The Coconuts’ 1982 album and has been re-released with 6 additional tracks consisting of remixes of Annie I’m Not Your Daddy, I’m A Wonderful Thing Baby and Stool Pigeon, plus B-sides previously only available on vinyl.
It is musically very well rounded and more sophisticated than earlier albums like Off The Coast Of Me, meaning production is slicker and the band is tight. Still I think the Coast album contains more memorable songs and more musical variety like the brilliant Bogotá Affair and their charming version of Lilli Marlene.
My favourites here include the huge UK hits Annie, I’m Not your Daddy, Wonderful Thing and Stool Pigeon. They’re all melodic, uplifting and sometimes humorous tunes with catchy hooks and the trademark Darnell humour. I also love the soulful Loving You Made A Fool Out Of Me.
Tropical Gangsters is a good album but the music is a rather similar blend of pop, caribbean and big band sounds lacking the variety offered by albums like Coast or Fresh Fruit From Foreign Places. It is however, an enduring and unique strain of popular music that started with Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band and has aged well, especially if you like dance music with lots of personality and a dash of humour.