Don’t judge this record by the cover. It’s mediocre. The real gold is inside.
The record first opens up to reveal a double size painting. The picture is similar to any doodle you may find in an average high school student’s notebook. The technical execution is at a decent level but the art is without merit. The band members are shown descending a staircase to the submerged kingdom of awe. In this world of altered elemental properties there are underwater rivers, a Tomorrowland rocket ship, Disneyland castle and a floating crystal cradled in an O’Keefe-like petal.
When you unfold the cover one more time you get to the real mother lode. It’s a 2’x2′ baroque portrait of a submersible pimp and his underwater ho’s.
All other Boney M photographs throughout their career consistently utilized the pimp-ho dynamic. “Love for Sale” cover is a good example of this. The tribal male holds the end of a gold chain draped over the supple bodies of his African slave women. The photograph is charged with raw fetish power. It is as dirty as it is profound in its fascination with slavery and pimp’n’ho relationship.
The story of Boney M is far more fascinating than their erotic covers. The band was formed by a German record producer Frank Farian. Frank was the Boney M for all practical purposes. The band was only staffed with tropical faces after Frank’s first song hit the charts. He needed someone to front the music. Mind you, he is the same person who put together Milli Vanilli some ten years later. The rich male voice you can hear in the sample track Daddy Cool was probably the voice of Frank Farian himself. Contrary to the popular belief the male member of Boney M never sang a word.
Since singing ability was of no consequence ageing Boney M members were replaced as Frank saw fit. This member jockeying went largely unnoticed by the fans. Don’t all black people look the same anyway (at least in Germany)?
While Boney M’s archrival Abba was cranking out bright sounding love songs Boney M’s lyrics covered subjects incomprehensibly alien to pop music. Some of the lyrics were so removed from the usual dance repertoire that it makes one wonder if the band members even spoke English. One of their songs was about Belfast – that’s as likely as Christina Aguilera singing about the Gaza Strip. Another song was about Rasputin “the lover of the Russian queen.” Yet another sang about Ma Baker whose reputation as a notorious American gangster woman was only later brought into question by critics of Edgar J. Hoover’s FBI administration.
There is a popular rumor that the male face of Boney M Bobby Farrell married a Serbian Gypsy woman in the late eighties. Gypsy weddings are over the top. They can truly be the festivals of excess. If there is one wedding video I need to see it’s Bobby’s.