Sunday, October 05, 2008

Was (Not Was) - Was (Not Was) 1981



Was (Not Was) play contemporary R&B dance music, with lyrics that range from the satiric to the bizarre. The group is led by Detroit natives David Weiss (David Was), who plays flute and writes those lyrics, and Don Fagenson (Don Was), who plays bass and writes music, but the group is fronted by singers Harry Bowens and Sweet Pea Atkinson. Was (Not Was) first gained notice for a dance single called "Wheel Me Out" in 1980. Their first album, Was (Not Was) (1981), did not reach the charts, but its follow-up, Born to Laugh at Tornados (1983), did. Then little was heard from the group for five years. They returned in 1988 with What Up, Dog?, which featured the number 16 hit "Spy in the House of Love" and the number seven hit "Walk the Dinosaur." (During this period, Don Was had become a prominent record producer, handling the board for Bonnie Raitt's Grammy-winning Nick of Time, among many other mainstream pop records.)The fourth Was (Not Was) album, Are You Okay?, appeared in 1990. Are You Okay? wasn't as commercially successful as the previous What Up, Dog? After the album's release, Don Was continued to pursue his production career, which began to increase tensions between Don and David. In 1993, they parted ways but returned 15 years later with Boo!, an album featuring several Was (Not Was) vets, including Bowens, Atkinson, Wayne Kramer, David McMurray, and Luis Resto.

[Biography by William Ruhlmann]

Was (Not Was)
(Expanded and reissued 2004 as Out Come the Freaks) 1981
Born to Laugh at Tornadoes 1983
What Up, Dog? 1988
Are You Okay? 1990
Boo! 2008

Track list

Out Come The Freaks
Where Did Your Heart Go?
Tell Me What I'm Dreaming
Oh, Mr. Friction!


Carry Me Back To Old Morocco
It's An Attack!
The Sky's Ablaze
Go... Now!

Rip from the vinyl @ 320
File-Size: 78,45 MB
Download Link
Here the Covers

Review by Andy Kellman []

At the beginning of the '80s, David and Don Was weren't gathering bedfellows as strange as Ozzy Osborne and Mel Torme -- as they would a few years later, seemingly inspired by the P-Funk All Stars as much as Battle of the Network Stars -- but the Oak Park, MI, natives were nonetheless generating collaborations as unlikely and successful as Brian Eno before them. (Partial roll call: MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, Mingus associate Marcus Belgrave, and future Eminem accomplice Luis Resto, along with regular vocalists Sweet Pea Atkinson and Sir Harry Bowens.) In fact, prior to crossing over into a realm of silliness not unfamiliar to Weird Al, the Was brothers and company made some of the baddest, strangest disco-funk imaginable. Key versions of two such cuts appeared on the original version of the first Was (Not Was) album, referred to as both Was (Not Was) and Out Come the Freaks. "Tell Me That I'm Dreaming" is big-band disco, blistering funk, and a spaghetti Western score at once, with call-and-response vocals that are as nonsensical as they are deeply biting. An address from then-President Ronald Reagan is sampled during the breakdown: "Can we who man the ship of state deny that it is somewhat out of control?" The "me" decade is uniquely summed up by vocalist Harry Bowens, who steps in to proclaim, "The man likes milk, now he owns a million cows." The other monster is "Out Come the Freaks," which carries another athletic groove and ridiculous, shared vocals between a host of people. Time hasn't been as kind to the remainder of the album, but the material remains enjoyable in a "throw it on the wall, see if it sticks" kind of way, dishing out passable funk and throwing in an exceptional radioplay throwback for the hell of it.


  1. teleio Album, eyxaristv paides

  2. Thanks! Have a couple of their albums, but not this one. "What Up,Dog" is their masterpiece.

  3. kai epesa tyxaia panw sto "Elvis' Rolls Royce" ...kai gia allh mia fora vlepw oti to exete taktopoihsei:) kai edw psaxnontas!

  4. Thanks for posting! 6 years later, and the link still works! Great album....I must've listened to "Where Did Your Heart Go" three times in a row!