Big Boi’s incongruous influence

Readers of a certain age will doubtless recall an episode of The A-Team which involved yet another one of Face’s money-making scams, this one being the staging of a country and western concert in a mining community. Face’s agent friend was supposed to provide him with a famous C&W singer called Cowboy George, but, and you’ll probably have guessed this already, the entertainer who turns up at the appointed spot to sing to the miners is none other than Boy George. Quite a fun episode, if definitely an indication that by the fourth season the Team were running out of steam, and it does raise a bit of a chuckle to see a very game Boy George getting involved in all the usual A-Team scrapes.

Anyway, by far the most disconcerting thing about this was the sequence where BA Baracus declares his deep love for the music of Culture Club. It doesn’t seem right, in the way that, when Isaac Hayes guest starred on The A-Team, you could sort of believe it. Mr T and Culture Club just did not compute.

This is all by way of a long-winded rumination on a throwaway remark in today’s Guardian Guide by Big Boi, of OutKast fame. I never used to like OutKast, to be honest. They really used to annoy the hell out of me, but eventually Big and 3000 wore down my resistance. So anyway, the Graun has gone and interviewed Big Boi, who’s often (and a little unjustly) seen as the more prosaic half of OutKast as compared to the flamboyant Andre 3000. And Big talks about all the artists he’s worked with, and mentions the one he’d really love to work with but has never been able to. Nope, not Chuck D or even Isaac Hayes, but… Kate Bush.

Yes, that Kate Bush:

This is where we enter head-scratching territory. As long-time readers will know, I’m a great fan of Kate’s work, and she would rank right up alongside Patti Smith and the Blue Öyster Cult in terms of my all-time favourites. So at this point I would like to commend Big Boi on his good taste. But commend him in a slightly puzzled way, because if there’s a Kate Bush influence on the OutKast oeuvre, it must be so subtle that I’ve missed it entirely. Perhaps if I listen again to Stankonia, there’ll be something in the textures.

Next week in the Graun Guide, no doubt we can expect to see Michael Bublé talking about his great passion for the music of Megadeth. Or vice versa.


  1. Hugh Green said,

    July 10, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    The collaboration with Janelle Monae on his latest (excellent) album sounds like the sort of thing that would have worked well with Kate Bush, I reckon.

  2. July 11, 2010 at 7:23 am

    The thing is that KaTe is an excellent producer, and many acts have wanted to hunt her down for the kind of vibe she got on The Dreaming or Hounds of Love (or more recently Aerial). Nothing doing, though – the lady works to her own agenda.

  3. Maureen said,

    July 13, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    There’s no point listing only the bands you sound like as your influences, when most people are influenced by bands and songwriters whose sound they have no intention of trying to copy.

    She’s weird, she’s sui generis, she’s nothing like what you yourself can do; and her albums showed up in the discount bins a lot but had promisingly fantasy-ish covers, so a lot of people got exposed to her just by being cheap and curious.

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