Review: The Waitresses - Best Of
The Best Of The Waitresses is a nice little record. Best known for "I Know What Boys Like", The Waitresses was the brainchild of Chris Butler, who recruited Patty Donahue as lead singer once he secured a recording contract (Donahue died in 1996 at the age of 40 from lung cancer). They're more an interesting band than a great one, a part of the early 80s new wave sub-genre of hyper-nerd impulses, eccentric fashions and light frivolity which might have begun with the B-52's and ended with Cyndi Lauper.
A lengthy band history is here. You can't mention The Waitresses without thinking of Su Tissue of The Suburban Lawns. Both band's singers were nerdy, skinny eccentric art-types you suspected were both geniuses and totally nuts. Let's throw in Human Sexual Response, Holly Beth Vincent and Toni Basil for yuks. Donahue's voice was distinctive for its flexibility and comic abilities, often comparable to the B-52's.
The Waitresses were a large band with horns who switched styles to fit the bill. Their sound mostly adheres to the white funk of Tina Weymouth's Tom Tom Club, but they tackle ska beautifully on "No Guilt", keep up with the B-52's on "Jimmy Tomorrow" and sprinkle in what I can only describe as cabaret new wave. Cabaret new wave will never come back in style. It's Huey Lewis and The News being goofy.
This 15 track collection could stand to lose one or two but it's a fun record that holds a few surprises, especially "No Guilt", "Bruiseology" (like Romeo Void) and the perennial "Christmas Wrapping".