Samba At 13

“Number 13: Standing with your feet apart and your hands on your waist. Then forward, back. Forward, back...” So begins “Samba at 13.” It is completely necessary (and completely hilarious) to point out that these opening ‘guest vocals’ are sampled from the track “Lady Linda II,” a cut from one of several albums put out by the late 50’s workout guru/anti-feminist cult icon Debbie Drake. The title of her most successful workout album, “How To Keep Your Husband Happy (Look Thin! Keep Trip! Exercise Along With Debbie Drake!)” should give you a pretty good idea of the sort of very archaic social themes that tend to pop up her body of work. If you’re still not getting it, allow me to quote some of Debbie’s liner notes: "There's nothing more unattractive than fat thighs. I dislike myself when my thighs get a little heavy. At 21, my thighs were my biggest worry, and I became desperate to reduce them. Men love firm thighs, and if you follow the exercises [on the album], you too can have lovelier thighs." That’s right, the sort of female self-defeatist bullshit that would make Freda Adler reach for her earplugs (or perhaps some buckshot). If the controversial history behind Debbie’s politics factored into Damon decided to resurrect her vocal track, then that makes the whole song much, much cooler. But “Samba at 13” needs all the help it can get, actually. It’s basically a six and a half minute tribal percussion solo. Most of the instrumental can be attributed to members of the London-based “Paraiso School of Samba.” While I can’t call myself a scholar of tribal instrumental, most of the track seems to be rooted in conga, until about the 5:30 mark, when a Cuica is introduced (a Cuica is an instrument which is traditionally made of a thin, wooden rod mounted to a tightly stretched leather sheet, often cupped by a wooden bowl. The only reason I know all of this is because I happen to own one). With a little history, this gratingly simple track takes on a couple of fuck little nuances. Take it for what it is, folks: A Gorillaz tribal work-out song. Now, come on, Forward, back, forward, back, forward, back...
- Wazawaii

Official song credits

Written by Gorillaz
Performed by Gorillaz
Produced by Gorillaz, Dangermouse, Jason Cox and James Dring
Co-produced by Jason Cox
Engineered by Jason Cox
Pro-Tools by James Dring
Assistant engineer: Toby Whelan

Versions & availibility(Click links for exact discographical details)

"Samba At 13" [6:24] - available only on the UK DVD of DARE


Not going to be performed live at the upcoming gigs.


Number thirteen: standing with your feet apart,
and your hands on your waist.
Then forward and back,
forward and back, forward and back

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