I received this nondescript promo copy in a record shipment and dropped it into the store’s tape deck with zero expectations. I was hooked from Vernon Reid’s opening riff on “Cult of Personality,” and I wriggled on that hook all the way through to album closer “Which Way To America.” Living Colour was a highly-skilled band with roots in funk, metal, jazz, even top 40 — they didn’t have a weak spot at any position.
Some argued that point. The ’80s shredders liked to say that Burnin’ Vernon’s playing was sloppy, but fuck those guys. His playing fit the songs perfectly.
Living Colour is still kicking around, so don’t take the past tense too literally here. As for my little promo? I have no idea what it’s worth, as I’ve yet to find another one. My guess is that I’d be lucky to get a buck out of it given that it’s a cassette, but for a record geek like me it’s a real treasure. I can hold it up to any Living Colour fan and say, “Oh yeah, I’ve been into those guys since before their first album had cover art.” It’s the little things….