Like most people who came of age in the 80s, I always thought of Robert Palmer as a) the lead singer of Power Station and b) the guy who fronted that band of robotic models in the “Addicted to Love” video.
Turns out Palmer had a whole other career before that, a pretty interesting one. On his 1974 debut, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, he worked with members of Little Feat and the Meters to produce a slick, coked-up version of New Orleans funk. The results are, em, simply irresistible — especially the title track, an Allen Toussaint song originally recorded by Lee Dorsey.
I recently managed to score a copy of Palmer’s out-of-print 1980 album Clues. It’s a weird mix of styles, new wavey but with a bit of a Caribbean lilt. Especially odd is Palmer’s version of Gary Numan’s “I Dream of Wires,” with backing provided by Numan himself and Tubeway Army bassist Paul Gardiner. It answers the musical question, “What if Gary Numan had been a soul singer?”
So if you ever wondered: