Walkin' and A-Steppin' in the Fire
King Louie One Man Band Walkin' and A-Steppin' in the Fire 45 (Theraputic, 2000)
There are three great American cities and one of them is gone. While San Francisco and New York are still vibrant, New Orleans is fit for only gators, snakes, and vermin. Thanks to Hurricane Katrina, a neglected national infrastructure, and a tax starved flood control system the great city of New Orleans sits under ten feet of water. As far as I am concerned, you might as well wiped out Paris, Rome, Cairo, Bombay or Tokyo. New Orleans was that unique and that important of a city. It was where African slaves first started to break their chains. It is where political corruption was made a fine art. And it was where American music was born. (Excuse me while I shift between present and past tense: I am having a difficult time figuring out whether New Orleans is alive or not.)
There are so many names associated with New Orleans: Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, The Meters, Allan Toussaint, Eddie Bo, Professor Longhair, Clifton Chenier, Dr. John, Alex Chilton, Johnny Thunders... People who lived and died and made great music there. People who made a city that should not have worked, one where mansions sat besides shacks which sat beside cemeteries which sat beside grocery stores which sat besides office buildings. People who walked and talked, ate and drank New Orleans style. There was no city on earth like New Orleans. And was starting to think that there will never be one again until I read what is below.
I snatched what follows from the Goner Records message board. Goner is a record store, mail order and music label and pretty much is THE institution of real and raw Southern punk rock and roll. King Louie is who wrote what is below. King Louie is a New Orleans fixture, having long been part of that city's punk rock and roll scene. When you read Louie's words note that the humor, the grit, and the take as it comes attitude is not just him. It is New Orleans and if that town is to be what it was, the hope lies in the King Louies out there.
King Louie writes:
Louie...here...rebecca and i were just rescued by chainsaw from pearl river MS. (where the storm eye actually hit)...we swam through the swamp with a pit bull in tow. for nearly twenty minutes ...the water flooded our cabbin in 45 second we were swimmig through a flood...we were rescued bu boat from the TOP of a barn!!! spent 30 hours in the swamp with no electricity and were hearing reports of 8 dead people just up the road from us...this is unemaginable that we survived...we were driven hours in the black night to baton rouge...my mom is ok and the hardware store has no roof and is fucked...i'm worried my dad is all alone in there and i don't want him to be harmed by desperate neighbors for propain and lamp oil (all of which were sold out of days ago...we were looking out the window when the eye hit and the forest trees were wiggling like when you shake apencile by the eraser...there is a church on top of my car in the middle of HWY 604...got to go for now...find panzer and jherri macgillicudy for me!!! louieand rebecca...
While I love most of what King Louie has done musically, my favorite is his One Man Band.
An Exploding Seagull Speaks!
Thanks so much for your appreciation of the seagulls record on crud crud - which I came upon by chance when I was trying to pin down when something happened and the only reference point was the release of that single. And you're right - the punkalectuals wouldn't let the Exploding Seagulls into their classroom - we were obscure, idiosyncratic, idiotic and we had quite a good time! I would point to sugarshack records website which describes the seagulls thusly - 'Berserk art-college kids from Southampton, they became Peel favourites before fragmenting in a welter of sexual and musical differences. The guitarist hooked up with a couple of Art Objects and became the Blue Aeroplanes.'
For my sins i was responsible for bringing 'Johnny' into the world, or rather, reviving him, for the first line, 'Johnny runs for Paregoric' was found by my sister in a Victorian book - all i did was mash it up with 'Subterranean Homesick Blues' and, as you point out - stuck tongue firmly in cheek.
The band, initially was me on bass and vocals, Julian Chadwick on keyboards and shopping trolley (doubled as keyboard stand and transport) and Nick Jacobs on guitar and vocals. the 'Tony Orrell' you see credited was indeed a stand in drummer as George Martin wasn't sure that Ringo would be up to it. We sort of ballooned later with girlfriends joining as singers... we went through a couple of drummers until we found one who could drum..
Fried Egg was the home of Bristol weirdscapes and Ken Wheeler the house engineer at Sound Conception studios in Bristol.
We played some memorable gigs, john peel played our record(s) ..... what more can you want. Nick peeled off to join the Blue Aeroplanes, Julian went to live in New Zealand, I got hacked off and divorced and suddenly the Seagulls had exploded...... although not necessarily in that order.
I've kept on playing music in a number of different milieu - from rock to theatre to writing an oratorio and am just kicking off with a new band called 'throne above the stars' which is an attempt to recapture the bright elusive butterfly of psychedelia, chloroform it and pin it to the backside of the grinning donkey of rock.....
Great website - I'm going to try to listen to the show via the magic of the internet.
Regards... and thanks again.
Richard (The Former Republic of Fred) Bolton
France Gall Chanson Indienne 7" (Philips, 1966)
France Gall was one of the top French girl singers of the 1960s and universally considered a standout in Ye-Ye, what French 60s girl pop has become known as. With the genius of Serge Gainsbourg behind her, she had a string of not just hits, but interesting and unique hit songs. The two songs from the Chanson Indienne ep are from her "psychedelic" period (nearly every Ye-Ye girl had one). I found this record in a shop in Paris.
Rather than repeat what others have writen, I'm gonna lead you to the Ye-Ye Girls Website. Be sure to check out Tor Midtstog's essay on the history of Ye-Ye.
Giant of Hawaii
Dick Jensen Giant of Hawaii LP (Record Club of Honolulu, 196?)
It is strange this record thing. There are records that I spent years looking for, have finally found, begrudgingly paid $20 for, and they sit. And then there are records that I picked up for 50 cents on a whim that get spun over and over, if for only one song. This is one of those records. It lives on a shelf that is dedicated to records to play while people are over drinking, which doesn't happen too often nowadays but whatever.
I had never heard of Dick Jensen AKA The Giant. I picked up the record because the guy is wearing a tight, white jump suit that accentuates his not so giant member. Perhaps he is a grower. I mean, he's gotta be: He has three chicks hangin' on him. I put it on and the record is pure Tom Jones. Tonight I did a little reseach and I am not surprised.
Dick Jensen is a giant in Hawaii. For years he has entertained tourists, making a mark deep enough to earn him a lifetime achievement award in 2004 at the Hawaiian Music Awards. He also played Vegas quite a bit. Not a bad life: Living in Hawaii, singing to tourist babes, flying over to Vegas a few times a year...
The cut that gets repeated play is Love Shack. Everything about this song screams sex, especially the line "Starting out a curse/exploding universe/love is surely buried deep inside." Really, Dick? This song makes me laugh every time I hear it.
Standard of Living Six Songs 12" (Vinyl Records, 1982)
Manbot s/t 7" (NuVu, 1981)
One of today's trends in "alternative" music is the reintroduction of synth into punk rock. This has been going on for a few years, long enough for all the cliches that were formed in the 1980s to be recycled many times over. And while there are a few bands that do capture the sound well, who are able to pull off the angry scree of a Nervious Gender and do a close approximation of the Screamers, there are a few things that are missing.
First is the newness of the technology, especially when applied to basic rock and roll. From Suicide on through the early 80s, second-generation and then low-cost synths were new on the scene and/or new to people's hands. Throwing a whirrrrrr or a fzzzzzttttttt into a 1-2-3-4 song was fresh. I remember the first time I got my hands on a synth. It was a Radio Shack knock off of a Minimoog. A friend borrowed it from a friend and we were supposed to buy it for $75 but couldn't come up with the money. Instead, we formed a band around it and two drummers, played with Flipper, and broke up when friend's friend demanded the synth back. At the time, we were the only punk band in town with a synth. The instrument was an anomoly.
The second thing that lacks in today's synth punk is a true dread of the future, expressed with "futuristic" sounds and image. Growing up with the threat (real or imagined) of nuclear war was a very heavy thing. The future did not look bright. A mechanized, industrialized wasteland was what seemed to await. Either that or some sterile, narcotisized, brainwashed day-to-day existance ala Brave New World. Science fiction films like Soilent Green, Westworld, Rollerball, and, the punk fave, Clockwork Orange were what we expected to grow up into. And the sounds of bands like the Normal, Chrome, and Throbbing Gristle were prepping us for tomorrow. Today's synth sound does not embrace this distopian vission. In fact, the only contemporary band that I know who comments on such things (and does it well) is the very much non-synthesized A Frames.
The synth bands of yesterday were also part of a much bigger scene. Though I am sure someone has created a subgenre for these groups (uhhh synth punk/dark wave), back then they were punk rock. Perhaps some might be called Industrial Music, but this was at a time before Industrial ditched punk rock for the dance floor. Prior to SPK's Metal Dance and Cabaret Voltaire's proto-techno, the world of Industrial was that of punk rock. Because the punk umbrella was so wide it was possible for bands like Minimal Man to play with thrash bands. You could see an evening of the Screamers and the Weirdos. The genre ghettos weren't yet built (though to be fair, today, people have easy access to a much broader range of music than I did as a youngster. There are many guides and you can download pretty much whatever you want. In my youth, the only place I could go for a radical mix of music was the local college radio station, KDVS, and then raid the import section at Tower).
Nowadays, when I stumble accross a forgotten synth punk or unknown early industrial record it is a lot like openning a time capsile. Themes of alienation and technology are spread over drum machines and synth pulses. Tape loops and future apocylpse go hand in hand. Some of it is great, some of it is silly and cliche. But it really does stake out a place in time that today's crop cannot hope to do (really, isn't today's "darkwave" just a cousin of a rockabilly revival band).
All of this is to say that I know little about the four songs here than what I've gleened from the record covers. There are no web references and my record freak friends who are heavy into this stuff are clueless as well. I do know that Standard of Living is from Oakland, California (or at least their label is) and the two songs here are off a six song 12" released in 1982. The sounds on it are great, especially Don't Worry, with its mix of guitar freak out and synth pulse. And with band members named "Rad Solar" and "Jon Velcro" how can you go wrong?
From listening to Manbot you would think that they were from the UK, however as much these guys would like you to think Rob Calvert was the man-machine here, the label is from Fremont, California, another East Bay city. The close proximity to San Francisco, where the art punk/synth/early Industrial sound thrived and Hawkwind enjoyed a big following, is no surprise. The geographic origin of this record also reveals itself when you consider that the flip is yet another song about Jonestown, complete with the Rev. Jim Jones's lunatic ranting - the Guyana mass suicide and audio samples from the People Temple's last night both standard features of many a Bay Area punk song. Other than that, I can tell you nothing.
Please enjoy the shitty future!
Various Artists Red Spot LP (Subteranean, 1981)
An associate of mine, Sgt. Slaughter, in an excellent article in the new Terminal Boredom, writes that one of the most underappreciated and underrated punk scene was the late 70s/early 80s San Francisco art punk scene. As the good Sargent points out, the box full of records that Frisco produced stands up to whatever came out of New York or Los Angeles at the same time (and I will add Cleveland). I mean, really, just the name Flipper should be enough to make one pause and give San Francisco a look-see.
In his article - which you should read - Slaughter mentions that the one compilation that best represents that scene is Red Spot, a nice run through the soil of San Francisco circa 1981. The comp contains tracks by the Wounds, Eazy Teeth, Arsenal, Research Labratories, and the very undervalued Minimal Man, as well as the bands I present to you. It came out on Subteranean Records, the very best label in the history of San Francisco and one that Slaughter thinks equals Dangerhouse (I'm not sure there but not enough to argue).
You hear cuts by the Animal Things, Micon, & the Fried Abortions. I know no more about them than Slaughter can tell you, other than Metal Mike is wearing a homemade Fried Abortions t-shirt on the back cover of the Angry Samoans' Back from Samoa.
Troubles I've Had
Clarence Ashe Troubles I've Had 45 (J&S, 1964)
No need to tell you 'bout my troubles when I can let the San Francisco Bay Area's Clarence Ashe do the talking.
Ashcroft/Scofield/Walton Facade LP (Argo, 1972)
In 1923, William Walton, at the age of 21, presented Facade, "an entertainment for speaking voice and six instrumental players." Facade is a series of poems by Edith Sitwell set to music. The oddness of the poems (they read/sound like a mating of Edward Lear and e.e. cummings, i.e. part nonsense verse, part punnery & word play, very inventive, surreal and rhythmic) and the juxtaposition of the music caused an uproar and cemented the notoriety of Walton. The music and verse wasn't the only thing somewhat hinky in the minds of the British public. Walton's association with Edith Sitwell caused a bit of chatter; Edith being a member of the Sitwell clan, a family of English writers known as eccentrics and cranks.
This album is of a 1972 recording of Walton's work, the voices supplied by Peggy Ashcroft and Paul Scofield, the music performed by the London Sinfonietta. Upon listening to this version, two references came to mind: Erik Satie's Relache, a piece which caused riots when it was first performed (in 1924, a year after Facade's debut), and album of nursery songs Julie Andrews did with New York composer/street person Moondog. The voices skitter across the music never getting too heavy or too light and always bringing out the rhythm of Sitwell's verse. Some times Ashcroft sounds like she would fit in as a member of the Inflatable Boy Clams. The music doesn't overwhelm, complimenting the words without distracting. Of poetry/music albums this is one of the best that I've heard.
Does this piece work today? Certainly. In fact, it would be great to hear a contemporary version of this, the music assembled from samples. Facade is the kind of record that transcends genre, winding up classified as simply a great record.
The Sufi Choir s/t
The Sufi Choir s/t LP (Akashic, 1973)
The thing that makes and breaks religious psychedelia is the notion that everything can be incorporated into the music. The Sufi Choir is a perfect example of this idea.
The Sufi Choir was founded in 1969 in Berkeley, CA by William Allaudin Mathieu, a composer/arranger who had spent the early 60s with Stan Kenton and Duke Ellington and working with Chicago’s Second City Theater. Mathieu assembled a group of 20 or so people voices dedicated “toward the one, the perfection of love, harmony and beauty.” And this goal they try to attain with their music and the spread of Sufism, a libertarian, mystical branch of Islam.
Musically, the Choir alternates between traditional Western choir arrangements, Islamic chants, and Mamas & the Papas-style backing vocals. The choir sings over a pretty bare band, consisting mostly of bass, piano, and drums with a little addition percussion and occasional horns. The band definitely sounds like it has a jazz background.
At their best, the Sufi Choir is strange and seemingly off the cuff. Timed Air, without a doubt the best track on this record, is a mix of Dervish-style chanting and sparse music. For four minutes the song twists and turns around guttural heaves and flighty ahhhhs. It is a fantastic song and, unfortunately, the best the band has to offer.
Yes, the album starts out promising - some light tribal drumming with a few voices on top - but like most of the record, the song kicks into Choir mode, replacing inventiveness with too many damn voices doing too much or not enough or just plain boring song.
The Sufi Choir carried on until the 1980s when they split. A New Sufi Choir has emerged in its wake, but, from what I understand, operates more in the new age genre.
This record is pretty easy to obtain, especially on the West coast and should not be bought for more than $10.
Avoid all later records.
45 a go-go
So today I brought a stack of 45s to work to listen to while I do computer work. I have a small portable turntable on my desk and my apartment floor is covered in 45s, so I might as well listen to them here at work. So here is what I am listening to. All of these I picked up for 50 cents to a couple bucks at thrift stores & record shops. Look it as a tip sheet.
The Sopwith "Camel" Postcard from Jamaica b/w Little Orphan Annie (Kama Sutra).
I like this band and think they are one of the great underrated bubblegum bands, at least based on their first album. I have friends, though that hate them. This one is solid. Postcard is one of their nice mellower pop tunes. Little Orphan has that novelty 20s feel that can be grating, but they don't overdue it here.
Roger Nichols Trio Snow Queen (A&M).
The best version of this Goffin-King song I've heard yet. Great lyrics on this. Sunshine pop with cool multilayered vocals
Randy Johnson You've Been Dreamin b/w Fly Superman Fly (Davy Jones).
Never knew Davy Jones had his own label (or fronted one) til last week when I picked up two 45s on it. This one is great! A total Seeds/Music Machine rip off, though a bit poppier. I'll Crud this one.
The Aquatones She's the One for Me b/w You (Fargo).
She's the one...stands somewhere between doowop and rockabilly. It is not bad. You is a doowop ballad. Fans of this stuff would like. It is just another record to me.
The Bell Notes Be Mine b/w I've Had It (Time).
A great 45 of Everly Bros/Buddy Holly influenced 60s punk/frat. I've had it would fit well on a Back to the Brave as one of the "mellow" songs, just due to the funky open production. Kinda reminds me of the Retreds' Black Mona Lisa. Another Crud to be. (Todd Trick Knee writes: The Bell Notes "I've Had it" is a classic which was covered (actually improved) by Alex Chilton on "Sherbert." I found the BN original at the Blackout. They sound really drunk, which Chilton expounded upon (clanking beer bottles and extreme slurrrrs), and it was a minor hit, apparently.)
Randy & the Raindrops Denise b/w Come Back (Rust).
A nice Dion meets Frankie Lyman ripoff.
Valjean For the Birds b/w Hungarian Hash (Carlton).
Insane record. Rockin' version of a classical tune with bird noises in the back ground. The flip is also classical themed rockin'. And by rockin I mean 60s Hollywood soundtrack studio band rockin. Another Crud candidate. Pretty horrible.
Marbles Love You b/w The Walls Fell Down (Cotillion).
Sounds like early BeeGees because the songs are BeeGees songs and the Gibbs produced it. A side is good. B side is weak. I am a sucker for this stuff.
Swingin' Medallions Double Shot b/w Here it Comes Again (Smash).
Double shot is a nice frat rocker with a cool ? & the Mysterians style organ. Here it comes... is a great 60s funk instrumental.
The Merry-Go-Round Live b/w Time Will Show the Wiser (A&M).
I had a copy of their 1st and got rid of it after a year of trying. I've tried Emitt Rhodes solo stuff and it doesn't click. This is okay but its too much like Buffalo Springfield for me to get to jazzed about. (Trick Knee notes: "Live" was covered by the Bangles on their first LP.)
The Sunshine Company Back on the Street Again b/w I Just Want to Be Your Friend (Imperial).
The a-side sucks. It is that godspell/up with people group vocal stuff to sunshine pop. The flip is a nice bossa nova meets sunshine pop. Very Belle & Sebastianish. Nice garagey type break with a fuzzy guitar.
TR-5 One Step at a Time b/w Shirley, Shirley (Kapp).
Great garage pop with horns. Sounds like a bubblegum version of the Outsiders. Very cool "you better get straight people before it's too late" part.
Verbatim Hieronymus Bosch b/w The Face on the Cutting Room Floor (Metromedia).
Considering that this is Sgt Pepper's influenced baroque pop it should be far more annoying than it actually is. If Sparks were ernest and made a single in 1967 it might have sounded like this. I don't know if I like it or not.
The Quick Zulu 45 (Epic, Spain).
Wait, weren't the Quick a punk rock/power pop band? This is bad Eurodisco.
Orchestra Del Oro Lolita Ya Ya b/w Theme from Lolita (Sonodor).
Lolita Ya Ya has to be one of my top 50 favorite songs of all time and I am game for a listen to this anytime. The string lead is replaced by a muted trumpet break and that is a little annoying. Still every time I hear the Ya Ya's I think of Sue Lyons and that ain't a bad thing.
Ronnie Dove My Babe b/w Put My Mind at Ease (Diamond).
I dunno know why (perhaps the endless loop of my mom playing Coming to America over and over and over and...) but I always forget Neil Diamond was a pretty good producer of 60s pop. Here is a good example. Two songs that pass the time pleasantly and would fit seamlessly on an oldies station, but nothing memorable.
Ben Colder Shudder & Scream b/w Hello Wall No. 2 (MGM).
Shudder is kinda like Johnny Cash meets oompah music meets The Monster Mash (which gets referenced here). Good Halloween song. Hello Wall is another country western novelty about drunkenness with a cool reverb effect.
The Jelly Beans Baby Be Mine b/w The Kind of Boy You Can't Forget (Red Bird).
Solid girl group 45, which is kinda what you expect from Red Bird. A gentler Shangra-Las and maybe because it's Jeff Berry behind the board, not Shadow Morton.
The Olympics The Slop b/w Big Boy Pete (Arvee).
I never pass up an Olympics 45. Even if I have I pass it on to someone who doesn't. I love the Coasters but hearing their songs shuck everything from glass cleaner to deep fried fish, it is hard to listen to them. Fortunately, the Olympics have mostly been overlooked by Madison Ave. Loud, reverb filled, greasy R&B dance tunes. You can hear this stuff a thousand times and it still sounds great!
The New Society Band Laughing Lady b/w Strangers in the Night (Lemon).
Now this is just wrong. Some ill combination of Herb Albert, the 1910 Fruitgum Express, & the song Popcorn, though with flute instead of moog. The version of Strangers... sounds like it was cut for the Carol Brunett show. It tried to combine Vaudeville schtick with Marty Katz and Spike Jones. Fucking horrible. I bought it because it was on yellow vinyl.
The Children of Plenty Try to Catch the Sun b/w (God Save the Soul of) A Boy Bound for Glory (Metromedia).
60s sunshine pop with a nonmessage message. Vocal harmonies, acoustic guitar, and keyboards. It actually kinda sounds like the Poppy Family. The flip is an embarrassingly bad Jesus Christ Superstar meets Simon & Garfunkel thing.
The Clique Sugar on Sunday b/w (White Whale).
I love the Clique. Great bubblegum always. Here they do a Tommy James songs with some cool underwater vocals and one that is a little more Horizontal-era BeeGees sounding. Gary Zekley produces. This is the kind of band that 45s were made for.
Tommy McLain I Need You So b/w Sweet Dreams (MSL).
Oh yes, a great vocal single that has everything: A nice Gene Chandler-style vocalist (though a little rawer), a trumpet/vocal call & response, a sweet sax solo, a talk part, and a quivered voice. The flip (a cover of a Don Gibson song) is a great take C&W/soul crossover (ala Solomon Burke), with a haunting organ in the background.
Lowell Folsom Man of Motion b/w Teach Me (Jewel).
Of course, I buy Lowell Folsom 45s for the same reason everyone else does: Trying to find something as funky as Tramp. Sorry. It is not here. Man... does have a cool Bo Diddley riff going on in it. Teach Me sounds like it would have melted in Jimi Hendrix hands. I mean, it has that basic Hendrix sound (sans the volume & heaviness) already and a great lead. This is worth it for the solo alone.
Danny Peil & the Apollos Jingle Jump b/w Flip Side (Raymond).
Someone has been listening to the Killer. Flip Side is indeed a flip side and is an instrumental. Nothing special here. From Milwaukee.
The Aire-Dales Drumsville b/w Just Plain Mess (Roulette).
Drumsville is an organ driven instrumental with fucking great funky drumming and a killer handclap/drum/bass break. I'm dancing in my seat to this one. Just Plain Mess isn't quite a mess. It is basic blues jam ramped up and is loud enough and played hard enough to be a very solid b side.
Frank Lucas Good Thing Man b/w I Want My Mule Back (ICA).
Very much lifted from Let's Get It On but that is fine, especially since this has that "You Know I'm the Most Flyest in the Hood" vocalist fronting this. And when you come up with a line like "I got a whole lot of yum yum," I mean, hell, you win. The flip starts off with "I'm gonna tell you about my mule/My woman is my mule/because when it comes to lovin/she's a hardworkin fool." To be Crudded.
Dennis Weaver Speaks!
Dennis Weaver Genesis Through Exodus 45 (Warner Brothers, 19??)
Yes, this is Dennis Weaver the actor who played Deputy Chester Goode on Gunsmoke, Tom Wedloe on Gentle Ben, and Sam McLoud on McLoud, as well as a gazillion other TV and film roles. This is also the same Dennis Weaver that lives in a house made out of recycled cans and car tires, and tirelessly campaigns for the environment and against war. And this Dennis Weaver once made a record.
Genesis Through Exodus came at a brilliant crossroad in American music, where the celebrity met the story song. Everyone from Wink Martindale to Lorne Greene were turning them out so why not Dennis Weaver? He had a part on a major TV series and Warner Brothers was willing, Dennis certainly deserved his chance. Genesis Through Exodus is what resulted.
No need to tell you what transpires in the song. I'll leave that to your ears. As for Dennis Weaver, well he is fighting the good fight on his website where he writes "Patriotism does not mean that we acquiesce meekly to those in power, but to speak out when we feel that they are making decisions contrary to the good of our country and the welfare of its people."
The Boxing Game
Hurt 'Em Bad & the S.C. Band The Boxing Game 45 (Profile, 1983)
Here is a winning combination: an early rap song about boxing with a Cameo-style funk backing. One of the few, maybe only, rap group from early 80s Las Vegas, Hurt 'Em Bad is also responsible for a basketball song and one on Monday Night football (either of which I have yet to hear). Here he shows a pretty good knowledge of the boxing world, name-dropping many of the champs and contenders of the 1970s & 80s, as well as key historical figures. By my ear, I got Marvin Hagler, Leon Spinks, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Dempsey, Jimmy Young, Tommy Hearns, Aaron Pryor, Roberto Colon, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Sugar Ray Leonard, Sonny Liston, Michael Doakes, Joe Lewis, Gerry Cooney, LeRoy Boone, Michael Spinks, George Foreman, Rocky Marciano, Floyd Patterson, Jake La Motta, Jersey Joe Walcott, Alexis Arguello, Ken Norton, Max Schmeling, Jack Johnson, and Mr. T. Ali, Marciano, Leonard, Frazier, Hearns, I all understand but Gerry Cooney? LeRoy Boone? Max Schmeling? That is the kind of detail that pushes this one into "classic" status. I'm not sure what became of Hurt 'Em Bad or the Soul Connection Band. Any takers?
The Glass Family Electric Band LP (Warner Bros., 1968)
In the late Sixties, following the huge success of the Doors, record labels searched for the next big thing in psychedelia. They had minor hits with the Seeds and Love, but they still were looking for more. The frenzy was much like that in the late 1970s or early 1990s when almost anything new wave/punk (70s) or pop-punk/grunge (90s) was given a serious once over by the majors. Just as then , the late 60s saw a lot of one-off LPs by bands who never quite made it out of their hometown or commune. One of those bands was the Glass Family.
From the album cover which shows three guys standing in front of an old farmhouse full of people, you would guess that the Glass Family is some kind of commune. My bet is that the band was one of the many who stalked Sunset Blvd. looking for gigs or anyone to listen to their music. Someone heard them, slapped the name on them to capitalize on the hippie commune thing and found some dirtbags and an old house and snapped the photo. Why? Because the record is way more pop than hippie jam band. The songs are compact. Some drive hard; others are gentle and melodic. Garage/psych freaks rave about the fuzzed out songs, which are actually the most boring of the bunch. The magic in this record is in the pop, whether it be the punkish House of Glass or the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band-esque Do You Remember.
Despite being not very well known, it is not particularly hard to find. I got mine for five bucks, but then again I bought it from a record store that is run by imbitards.
Los Huevos Manlove b/w Maserati 7" (Goodbye Boozy, 1998)
I got an email from a guy asking if I had any copies of this 7" available and, if not, than perhaps I could send him an MP3 of it. I learned my lessons in school, if I am gonna give one person an MP3, I better share it with the class.
So here you are. These two songs came from Los Huevos' last recording session. It was done in The Loft by Chris Woodhouse on a 4-track cassette recorder. Woodhouse was also playing drums. With Jason Patrone, Woodhouse was the last (and best) Los Huevos rhythm section. These guys were a machine and after Los Huevos died, they were the foundation of the Pretty Girls.
Manlove is an original. It is about a light rail stop in suburban Sacramento, called Manlove. It is also about street hustlers turning tricks on public transit (Gonna buy a ticket/Gotta buy a trick/at Manlove). We ripped off Hubble Bubble and the Gang of Four for this one.
The flip is a cover of a song by Crime. Los Huevos had a rule that if we covered a song, we had to make it ours, for better or worse. I think we did that for the better on this one. The song Maserati is great, one of Crime's best. Unfortunately they recorded it when they were in their "new wave" phase and so it never got the Crime sound that made them legendary. It originally came out on B-Square records in 1980. The flip is a song called Gangster Funk.
The All Cop Band Hot Chase 45 (ACBP, 1983)
Mention the phrase “cop band” and most people flash to the punk rock episode of CHiPs, where Ponch and Jon defeat the evil punk band, Pain. Pain hate other bands, especially Snow Pink, a lame new wave-lite band fronted by a wavo named Snow Pink. Pain is so full of hate for the wavos that they rip off Snow Pink’s equipment. Ponch and Jon try to track the punks down and are just about to get them when one of the members of Pain throws Snow Pink’s bass into a car, causing a wreck. As the Chippies attend to the crashed car, Pain escapes on their motorcycles. Pain later shows up at the Battle of the Bands where they are supposed to play. While Snow Pink does her thing for the crowd, Pain trashes the bathrooms, harasses the wavos, and pull a knife on the club owner. After locking everyone in the building, Pain takes the stage, where they perform their classic, Pain. “I dig pain/A feeling in my brain,” the singer, Trasher, snarls. The punks start to slam dance and Snow Pink figures out the guitar Pain is using is hers. Meanwhile, Jon crawls through a window and frees the club owner, who Pain had tied up. Pain start a riot and then take off. Or at least try to. Ponch is there to keep Trasher from fleeing. The punker threatens to blow him and Ponch up by tossing his lighter into some gas. Ponch blows the lighter’s flame out and saves the day. Ponch rewards all the good punkers and wavos by getting up on stage to sing Celebration. The punks pogo happily.
The All Cop Band don’t cover Celebration and I doubt they ever had punks pogo to their music. However, like Ponch, they “should” have kept to playing private parties, leaving the public deaf to their talents. But instead they follow the advise of their fellow officers of the law and cut a record.
From Albany, California, the All Cop Band is a trio of cops from the Albany Police and the Contra Costa Sheriffs Departments. They play 50s & 60s rock and 70s country covers AND they play cop songs.
As you probably guessed, cop songs are songs about being a cop. On this record, the All Cop Band play two cop songs: Hot Chase and A Cops Life. Hot Chase is about a hot car chase that starts out with the perp peeling out past the singing cop, yelling “Filthy pig,” middle finger extended. The cop chases the perp, fantasizing about “breaking” the perp’s head. The bassist does a solo that he must have learned playing along to the song Popcorn. An anemic harmonica break follows. The cop finally pulls the perp over and, surprise, the perp is the chief of police! The song, which sounds like a bad mix of country music and disco, is punctuated by police sirens and ends with a police radio sputtering and chirping.
The flip side is a miserable country tear jerker about how it is to be a cop’s wife.
The All Cop Band sucks. However there are two things that make this record a keeper. One reason is that the song Hot Chase sucks enough to be funny but not so much as to be unlistenable. The second reason is that this is a cop band singing about being a cop.
I am not a big fan of cops, but I love cop band records. They are totally grassroots. Bands make cop band records for one reason, because they are truly into what they are doing. As much as it might make punkers cringe, nowadays cop bands are much more DIY than what passes as punk. Listen to the All Cop Band and you know that they will never be as big as Blink 182 or even the Bananas. But they do what they do cuz they love what they do and you got to give them something for that.
And even if you don’t want to admit that the All Cop Band are "for real," they do make it possible for you to laugh at cops in the safety of your own home.
You Only Live Twice
Dean & His Celebrities You Only Live Twice 45 (Randy's, 196??)
Even though it says it on the label, I never knew how long this song was until I recorded it tonight. Being that it tops five minutes and that I've listened to it a hundred times, that I never checked my watch while listening to it should be an endorsement in itself.
I picked this up in a thrift store because...hell, it was there, that's why. I put it on and by the end was completely sold on it. I flipped it and heard something completely different: rocksteady ala Byron Lee & the Dragonaires but with a Latin twist to it (it is a Joe Loco song, that is why). Okay. I left it at that.
A couple years later, I was ordering some records through a reggae distributor and noticed a lot of 45s on the Randy's Records label. I learn that Randy's was a New York label that repressed a lot of Jamacian music for sale mostly in New York City. That explained the rocksteady song (Elcalardo). What was even stranger is that up until a couple years ago it was still available. It shouldn't be too hard to track down.
And really that is all I can tell you other than Dean is Dean Boynes and he plays guitar and that the song you are about to hear is a cover of the theme from the James Bond movie of the same name.
You ever wonder why Rod Sterling had that evil grin?
An interview with the Sun City Girls, August 14, 1984, Sacramento, CA
Back when I was teenager, I had a fanzine, Sacramento's first. First it was called Spamzine, later Spamm. It was a cut and paste zine with interviews of local and touring bands, record reviews and rants. The reviews read something like "An excellent example of quality radness" (in reference to Venom's At War with Satan) or "sounds like alot of experimental noise to me, witch isn't too bad" (Flux of Pink Indians' The Fucking Cunts...). My younger brother would help me out with the interviews and we'd ask such probing questions as "What are your influences?" and "How is the tour going?" We had a standard question about cows that every band would get asked. I'd get one done and run over to the local print shop and get 300 printed up for $100 (which seemed like thousands back then). Then I'd take them to shows and make my brother and his friends sell them.
Of course, one of the perks of doing a zine was getting records in the mail for review. Unlike today's zine editors, I'd spend all day Saturday mailing out sample copies of Spamm to record labels asking for review copies and if they wanted to take out an ad (I think ads were $5). Soon I was on the mailing lists of SST, Placebo, Subterranean, and other labels. The pleasure of receiving a package from Subterranean with both the Negative Trend 12" and Flipper's No Fishing is one hard to match. Or, when out of the blue, Independent Project Records sends a promo of Savage Republic's Tragic Figures? My god, I'd never heard anything like it? It is a record I cherish to this day.
Luck had it that one day I went to the mailbox and in it was a box from Placebo Records. Inside were the debut albums by both Mighty Sphincter and the Sun City Girls. Hearing the Sun City Girls back then was another mindfuck for young Scott. So "weird" were they that I'd never thought they would come to Sacramento, but they did.
In 1984, the Sun City Girls toured the US with JFA. It was back in a time where such pairings were allowed to happen, when punk rock was still wide open, before genre ghettos became the norm. I am sure many a misfit had the evening of their life showing up to the JFA show and seeing something they only thought existed in their mind. When the Sun City Girls took the stage that night, dressed in piles of burlap sacks, looking like demented desert nomads, I was one happy pup.
After the show, armed with my trusty tape recorder and a tape of Anthrax's Fistful of Metal that was begging to be recorded over, my brother and I found the band in their van and asked for an interview. The band was kind enough to say yes and to suffer through our lame questions. Midway through the interview there is an interruption by Mike AKA Thopper Jaw of the Tales of Terror. The interview took place in the parking lot of the Entertainment Factory in the Sacramento suburb of Carmichael.
Paying some bills....
Karate Party Black Helicopter LP (S-S, 2005)
I am kind of reluctant to use this thing to push "product," but I am thinking, what the hell. I'll give you a song and if you like it you visit the website for the label I do and if you don't, oh well. So figure this to be kinda like one of those paypal thingies that you see on blogs more and more.
Okay, so what you are going to here is the band Karate Party. They were active in Sacramento in the mid to late 90s. They played mostly in Sacramento, but had a few shows out of town. I put out a 7" of theirs in 1997, which was poorly mastered. It took me three years to sell 300 of them because no one knew what the hell a Karate Party was and there was a vinyl glut at the time. One hundred copies were bought by a band from Seattle called Bend Sinister, after a KDVS deejay named named Sakura Saunders played it for them while they were on a short West Coast tour. Bend Sinister soon morphed into the A Frames and when they were ready to record, they contacted Chris Woodhouse - him being the brains behind Karate Party - and asked him to record them. They came down to Sacramento, I sat in on the session and mixdown (which happened in Woodhouse's apartment - across the hall from me) and we had a grand ol' time. It was a great recording and I figured why not put it out. I was broke so I got ahold of Sakura and asked if she wanted in on a record label. She said, sure. We called it S-S Records and put out A Frames "Plastica" 7". Now, four years later we are back to where this whole S-S saga began, back to Karate Party.
What you are about to hear is one cut from the Karaty Party discography LP, Black Helicopters. If you like it, check out the S-S Records website.
Listen to Donut Room.