Monday, July 21, 2014

Taka Boom-Boomerang (1983)


'BOOM! There she was!'. I felt the need to borrow the quirky title to a memorable SCRITTI POLITTI song to describe how I got introduced to this Taka Boom. I was just casually browsing around and peeking at some items in the soul/funk genre that looked interesting, and popping up into my view was the eye-catching cover you see pictured above. The first thing that captured my attention: the name Taka Boom. 'What kind of a name is that?' was my immediate thought; my very next was 'Who in the world is Taka Boom?'. The name sounded so funny to me that I couldn't help giggling every time I read it! But I also had sensed some sophistication and mysteriousness in both seeing this unusual name scrawled in bright red as well as how she was posing in the bright red two-piece outfit, so all of that, coupled with my desire to check out some 80's funk anyway as well as my never-ending curiosity about artists who are unknown to me, prompted me to get her "Boomerang" album. I really couldn't wait to begin listening to it, but before I even got to that point, I had dome some extensive reading up on this mysterious Taka Boom character.....and discovered that her true name is Yvonne Stevens. But reading further, I'd gotten THE surprise of my life when I discovered that she is the sister of the great soul diva Chaka Khan! Didn't even know that Chaka Khan had sisters who were in the music biz! Cool how both sisters have similar-sounding stage names, although 'Taka Boom' has more of an explosive zing to it, wouldn't you say? Like she's gonna blow you away with her voice! Well, Sister Chaka certainly has blown the world away with her own soulicious voice over the years, but Sister Taka's throwin' a few bombs of her own on this "Boomerang" album, igniting the sparks with the emotional ball of fire that is the opening dance hit, "To Hell With Him". Well I heard that! And it don't get any plainer than that! And yes, Taka Boom's voice is 'booming' awesome, and I love the way she booms 'Go to Hell!' several times throughout the song. I'm sure there's a lot of you ladies out there who would love to 'boom' the same thing to some no-good men out there who've done you wrong. "To Hell With Him" has already become my latest music addiction, and I write this sentence as I have a huge grin on my face..... The next dynamite hit on the album is the title track itself. I wonder if Taka Boom's stage name was inspired by this song, or vice versa? The idea of this bomb, however, is that love is the entity that's like a boomerang: you let your lover go, but he or she just comes right back to you. My favorite part of the song is when she sings the line 'throw it all away' with screaming emphasis and prolongation on the 'away'. Ready for another bombshell? My next surprise of the day came when I realized that this album's third track, "Ride Like The Wind", is a direct cover of the 1980 Christopher Cross classic! Interesting that Taka Boom's remake isn't mentioned in the Wikipedia page about the song, yet the remake by the 90's Euro-house group EAST SIDE BEAT, whom I've previously featured, is listed. One difference that I liked is Taka utilizing some ladies on backup to voice that bubbly orchestral instrumental accompaniment that's heard during the main chorus of the Christopher Cross original. "Let It Burn" is one of those delicious old-school funk tracks that you just gotta let play on and on. The burnin' doesn't stop there; the music really heats up on the funk/disco explosion that is "Love Party". This jam is awesome, awesome, AWESOME!!! Movin' to the groove ain't no problem here! You gotta love the syncopated beat drop when Taka Boom sings 'baby you better close your eyes, I'm gonna give you a big surprise' and those ladies in the background bustin' out with the ' SUGARHILL GANG "Rapper's Delight" ' style rap midway through. A great place to appreciate Taka Boom's amazingly soulful voice is on the album's lone slow jam, "Listen To Your Heart". A very warming piece that I'd vote for candidacy to be on the quiet storm r&b radio channels. After the juicy upbeat number "Kiss It (Make It Better)", Taka Boom casts another fireball of emotion with "I Saw Him First". A bit of man competition on this sizzling track, but it's no real contest really, as Taka Boom blows all the other single ladies out of the water. So if you're in need of some red-hot tunes to lighten up your day, throw this "Boomerang" album into the music mix and be prepared to catch on to what hits you on the playback:

1. To Hell With Him
2. Boomerang
3. Ride Like The Wind
4. Let It Burn
5. Love Party
6. Listen To Your Heart
7. Kiss It (Make It Better)
8. I Saw Him First

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