Rolling Stone - 11/89
#96 in Rolling Stone's "100 best albums of the 80s" survey.
Culture Club: Boy George (vocals); Roy Hay (guitar, keyboards); Mikey Craig (bass); Jon Moss (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: Helen Terry (vocals); Pat Seymour (flute); Steve Grainger (saxophone); Terry Bailey (trumpet); Julian Lindsay (acoustic piano); Phil Pickett (keyboards); Graham Bond (percussion); Jermaine Stewart (background vocals).
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: Helen Terry, Boy George (vocals); Roy Hay (guitar, sitar, keyboards); Ron Hay (guitar, keyboards); Patrick Seymour, Pat Seymour (flute); Judd Lander (harmonica); Steve Grainger (saxophone); Terry Bailey (trumpet); Kenneth McGregor (trombone); Julian Lindsay (piano); Phil Pickett (keyboards); John Moss, Jon Moss (drums, percussion); Graham Broad (percussion); Jermaine Stewart (background vocals).
Recording information: CBS Studios; Red Bus Studios.
Photographer: Jamie J. Morgan.
Despite naysayers who assumed Culture Club were a nine-day wonder, their second album, 1983's COLOUR BY NUMBERS, not only outsold their debut in both Britain and the US, it's a far better album. KISSING TO BE CLEVER was a canny blend of pop and soul, but its occasional cryptic archness kept it at something of an emotional distance. From the gospelly piano ballad opener "That's the Way"--which like several tracks here features sterling backing vocals from Helen Terry--to the moving and dramatic "Victims," that's not a problem here. Even the enormous hits "Karma Chameleon" and "Church of the Poison Mind"--possibly Culture Club's best-ever single--have a soulful ease and swing missing from the debut, although they perhaps lack the emotional heft of the abovementioned songs.
As with KISSING TO BE CLEVER, American fans should know that this CD features the original British mix and track sequence.