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Chaos: 1978-1986 – Wicked Witch

Chaos: 1978-1986 - Wicked Witch Artist: Wicked Witch
Album: Chaos: 1978-1986
Release Date: January 20, 2009
Genre: Pop/Rock, R&B
Styles: Alternative/Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Funk
Recording Date: 1978 – 1985

Wicked Witch was a D.

C. area funk band or, more precisely, a D.C. area funk individual by the name of Richard Simms who was active in the ’70s and ’80s. With the exception of one track (the lengthy “Vera’s Back”), almost all the instrumental work was handled by Simms…and it sounds like it (think early Prince on a lower budget). This is unmistakably funk, but it’s some of the weirdest elastic underwater funk you’ll ever hear. “Fancy Dancer” kicks things off, chugging over a wicked bassline with really odd crickety synths on top of everything. The mix is a bit murky…but is it supposed to be? The use of synths and really mechanical rhythms contribute to Wicked Witch’s sound, but there’s also a kind of ominous sonic element (the mix? the murk?) that figures heavily into the overall sound. These are studio recordings, so one must assume the sound is deliberate. “Erratic Behavior” has some nice liquid bass and seems to be a distant cousin to Funkadelic’s “Wars of Armageddon.” “X Rated” sounds the most like early Prince (especially the subject matter), but with female vocals. “Vera’s Back” was actually recorded by Simms’ band Paradiagm (sic). It’s the longest track on the album by a good margin and goes from Sun Ra-style declamations to Mahavishnu Orchestra unison runs to a Mandrill type groove and back again. The remix of “Fancy Dancer” basically dials back the weirdness quotient, ultimately making the track less interesting. This is definitely unique stuff but some of it has a tendency to go on a bit longer than necessary. And considering that all the material on both the CD and LP versions (the track listings vary slightly) comes from two 7″‘s and one 12″ single (and unreleased remixes), the fact is that there just isn’t a lot of meat on these bones. Caveat Emptor.

Title/Composer Performer Time
Fancy Dancer Wicked Witch 5:32
Erratic Behaviour Wicked Witch 5:37
X Rated Wicked Witch 3:56
Vera’s Back Wicked Witch 12:05
Electric War Wicked Witch 4:20
Electric War Wicked Witch 4:51
Fancy Dancer Wicked Witch 5:14
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