Tin Harris

I Must Not Be Kinky

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In the 1980s, female singers with sexually exploitative images were big in urban contemporary and dance-pop -- Madonna, Samantha Fox, and various Prince colleagues (including Vanity, Apollonia, and Sheila E.) were quite willing to use their sex appeal to sell records. Tina Harris, a British urban/dance-pop singer who moved to Los Angeles, also tried that approach, although she never became nearly as well-known as any of the abovementioned artists. And that's regrettable, because sex appeal wasn't the only thing Harris had going for her; 1985's I Must Not Be Kinky is a solid urban/dance-pop effort that occasionally detours into new wave. The tunes are infectious, and one of the things that makes this little-known vinyl EP so much fun is Harris' sense of humor -- on "Kinky in My Kadillac," "On a D8," and "Big Bang Bong," the singer sounds like she is laughing at her sexy image. Harris has a fairly impressive cast of players; the participants include drummer Lenny White (who produced "While the City Sleeps"), Bus Boys bassist Kevin O'Neal (who co-wrote two of the songs), Fishbone's Chris Dowd, saxman Ernie Watts, and keyboardist Bernard Wright. Unfortunately, I Must Not Be Kinky didn't sell, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable.

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