Monkey Spanner track art
Soul Funk Roots Reggae Pub Rock Club/Dance
Sampladelic novelty hits and big-beat productions tossed aside, Norman Cook has been an inveterate DJ, crate-digger, and music lover since the early '80s -- long before he picked up a bass to join the Housemartins or first began joyfully plundering the music of the past for chart action in the present. His volume in the LateNightTales series may not fully reflect the music sampled by his various projects -- Beats International, Freak Power, Pizzaman, and finally Fatboy Slim -- but it definitely displays a rich knowledge of British music culture from the '60s and '70s. While '70s new wave and pub rock chestnuts begin the set (led by Mink DeVille and Nick Lowe), Cook detours into roots reggae for four tracks and hits American soul/funk for a time before wrapping up with Bootsy Collins' "Everything Is Everything" -- not a cover of the Donny Hathaway classic but a poem written by Paul Heaton (friend to Cook from their days in the Housemartins). Overall, Cook digs pretty deep for this set. Even Jonathan Richman's famous "Roadrunner" is heard here in an earlier version, and Cook mastered all of these directly from his original vinyl (which somehow gives Nick Lowe's familiar "I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass" a surprising similarity to Steve Miller Band). The only new track is naturally by Fatboy Slim himself, a relatively faithful cover of Kraftwerk's "Radioactivity" with vocals supplied by the woman from Cook's favorite record shop. ~ John Bush