Classics: Wally Badarou – Chief Inspector (Vine Street) (4th & Broadway)
Where the hell is this firing ‘Chief Inspector’ comin’ from? Say wot, it’s not Herbie Hancock? Although it pretty much could have been at the end. But nope, this is the work of French synth player Wally Badarou. A man who has collaborated with countless luminaries. From Fela Kuti to… Herbie Hancock among others.
Close to Island Records CEO Chris Blackwell, he also happened to be one of the Compass Point All Stars. This along with Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare, Mickey Chung, Barry Reynolds and Uziah Thompson. In other words, the in-house recording team of Compass Point Studios. Themselves responsible for an impressive series of albums and tracks for various luminaries. From Grace Jones to Gwen Guthrie and Joe Cocker among others. The whole resulting in memorables gems such as ‘Libertango’ for Grace Jones and Gwen Guthrie (‘It Should Have Been You’). Not to mention ‘Seven Days’, ‘Ruby Lee’ and ‘Talking Back To The Night’. All from Cocker‘s 1982 ‘Sheffield Steel’ album.
Wally Badarou is nevertheless better known as the fifth unofficial member of British Jazz/Funk band Level 42. From
1980 through 1994, he played keyboards and synths on all the studio albums of the band, and co-wrote and/or co-produced much of their material. This resulting in gems such as ‘Starchild’, ‘The Sun Goes Down’ and ‘Lessons In Love’ to name but a few.
Badarou‘s expressive and sophisticated synth textures take all their dimension on the memorable ‘Chief Inspector’. An Electro/funky groove taken from his 1983 ‘Echoes’ album. Quite reminiscent of this futuristic sound which label head Chris Blackwell brought on Island Records at the time. ‘Chief Inspector’ also appeared in the soundtrack of 1985 Brazilian film ‘Kiss Of The Spiderwoman’.