Vinyl Frontier: Blue Rondo, Bees Knees & Chickens Elbows

Does anyone else have this curiosity from 1984 in their collection? Blue Rondo a la Turk were a punky salsa big band, before dropping the ‘a la Turk’ for this second album in a short-lived, two-album career.

The vinyl corridor doesn’t contain the earlier album, just this finale, although a search of YouTube unearths the earlier incarnation making the loud and joyous cacophony of Me & Mr Sanchez.

Bees Knees and Chickens Elbows boasts fantastic cover art, a great opening instrumental track, Samba No Pé and, well, some other tracks. Smoking Dynamite is the second-strongest song here, with suggestions of the earlier tarry chaos.

Too much of what remains falls into that best forgotten 1980s groove of cool-jazzy-poppy-nothing-much.

That dancing dazzler of an opening track leads straight to Manifesto, an unremarkable burst of 1980s pop – a song that sets the mood for an album that hasn’t aged well.

Fans of the ‘a la Turk’ version of Chris Sullivan’s band still report feeling disappointed by this second (and last) album. To this listener, who can’t recall buying the album (and we have two copies in our collection) the excitement raised by the opening instrumental slowly fades away.

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