TITLE: The Return of the Space Cowboy
YEAR RELEASED: 1994
CHART ACTION: #2 UK
SINGLES: Space Cowboy (#1 Dance, #17 UK), Half the Man (#15 UK), Stillness In Time (#9 UK), Light Years (#6 Dance)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Doubt it
LINEUP: Jay Kay, Derrick McKenzie, Wallis Buchanan, Toby Smith, Stuart Zender, Gary Barnacle, Richard Edwards
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Socially conscious funky disco band concentrates on the groove and the lyrics, and it mostly succeeds (except in the US marketplace)
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Still a sensation in the UK, the retro-funk grooves of Jamiroquai add even more socially conscious lyrics to their stew of old-school sounds. Frontman Jay Kay sound uncannily like mid-70s Stevie Wonder, and he leads the band to the dance floor while being progressive in the lyrics.
The band toned down some of its more outlandish experiments (not that much digeridoo now), and became even tighter and focused. The international hits “Light Years” and “Space Cowboy” propelled the group to the world stage, and even onto the US dance floors, where they were a hidden gem.
Don’t dismiss them as just a retro band aping sounds from the past – they incorporate the past sounds with a modern flourish. It’s a great record for putting on and grooving.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Space Cowboy” won the Brit for the best music video
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, different mixes or live cuts, depending on where you were at.
GRADE A-: Funky people making a funky record.