Black Randy & The Metrosquad

Pass the Dust, I Think I'm Bowie

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If Richard Hell and the Voidoids had been influenced by '70s soul and funk, they might have sounded something like Black Randy and the Metrosquad -- one of the goofiest, most nutty bands to come out of the Los Angeles punk scene of the late '70s. Those who bought Pass the Dust, I Think I'm Bowie in 1979 realized that lead singer Black Randy wasn't really black -- he was an eccentric white guy who inspired some laughs with his wacky interpretations of Isaac Hayes' "(Theme From) Shaft" and James Brown's "(Say It Loud) I'm Black and Proud." If anyone took offense at hearing a white singer embracing a black pride anthem, Randy didn't care. Being irreverent was his trademark, and the singer has a good time making fun of everyone from actor Marlon Brando on "Marlon Brando," to narcotics officers on "I Wanna Be a Nark." Meanwhile, "Idi Amin" finds Randy trying to be as offensive as possible by praising one of Africa's most ruthless and murderous dictators. Not that the song can be taken seriously -- when Randy praises the Ugandan despot, you know that it's meant to be an exercise in sick humor. Although uneven and overly self-indulgent, this LP is fun and entertaining if you don't mind irreverent lyrics. And Pass the Dust, I Think I'm Bowie was ahead of its time, because in 1979 there weren't a lot of punk bands doing James Brown and Isaac Hayes covers.

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