Akim Voodoo Drums 45 (Pan World, 196?)
You can call me a freak (go ahead, you have my permission), but there are few things bring me a thrill chill like spending a buck on a record that I plunked out of a box for no other reason than one word on the label, a record, that when I drop needle, I can say nothing but "Uh uh uh uh wow!" That feeling makes all this record hunting worth it. It is a feeling that every digger, that every vinyl archaeologist knows well. It is what gives me the fuel to flip through hundreds of Mitch Miller, Anne Murray, and Styx albums, to ignore the headaches that come from sinuses stuffed with dust, and to drive through miles of suburban bleech.
Last Sunday, I stumbled on this record by Akim. It was just one of a stack of records that I brought home. The only thing setting it apart from the rest was one word in the title. The word is "voodoo." The single name of the artist, Akim, was cancelled out by the word "orchestra" on the label (though as this record proves, orchestra can mean many a sound). The record label is pretty cool looking but I've seen many a good looking record label on many a shitty record to know not to trust label art. So all I really had was one word and a small hope.
On Monday, I dropped needle on Akim's Voodoo Drums and...the damn needle jumped. Argh! The record is warped! I put a penny on the tone arm and tried again. My god! Th-th-this is one of the best song intros I've ever heard and that is not all. The record slides into a jungle groove. It is exotica, but it has the raw feel of a 60s garage band and one funky drummer. The vocals are great, the lyrics are great, the guitar is great, the bridge is great, and the drum break is fucking great. I've listening to this at least 15 times in a row and all I can think is great, great, great. I am sure you will flip over this one!
"Who is Akim?" you ask. I am not certain about this but if I was forced to guess I would say Akim is Aki Aleong, actor, song writer, record producer, and owner of Pan World Records. He was born in Trinidad, his mother from the island, his father from another island, Hong Kong. In 1949, he moved to Brooklyn with his mom, graduated high school, and started acting on Broadway. He appeared stage, television, and film, on shows such as Ben Casey and LA Law and in the movies Never So Few and The Hanoi Hilton.
Aleong's music career started with his penning the hit song, Tradewinds. In 1963, he formed Aki Aleong & the Nobles. He worked for Capitol, Vee Jay, Polydor and was a vice president of Liberty/United Artists. He produced the 5th Dimension, Roy Ayers, Bobby Womack, the Ojays, and this little gem.
On Voodoo Drums, Akim is backed by the Hank Levine Orchestra, a band you can hear on many a record, but perhaps best known among diggers as the guy who made the song Image. Backing vocals are done by The Ravels.
Les Sultans Va T'en b/w Pour Qui Pourquoi 45 (Les Discques Millionnaires, 1965)
It has been a few years since folks outside of France have been hip to the French garage and Ye Ye scene of the 1960s. However, people are just now catching onto that a similar burst of Francophile bands were stomping around Quebec. It shouldn't be a surprise that UK Beat had an impact in French speaking Canada. Like nearly every other teen in the developed world, the 1960s saw French Canadian young'uns grab guitars, intent on being their town's Rolling Stones, Beatles, or the Zombies. One of these bands was Montreal's Les Sultans.
Formed in 1964 from the ashes of les Majestics de Sorel and les Dots, Les Sultans quickly scored a hit with Va T'en. In 1966, they hit real big with La poupee qui fait non. A year later they fell apart, leaving behind a couple albums and a collection of singles. Here you get the A & B sides of the Va T'en single, a nice slab of Zombies influenced pop.
I found this record in a rummage shop in Northfield, Minnesota. I am sure there are thousands of them in thrift stores north of the border, but it was a pleasant surprise scoring this in a town known mostly for manufacturing Maltomeal and running Jesse James out of town.
Ki Di Me Mother Is b/w Islamatic 7" (Read, 1981)''
Funny how time shifts people's definitions of things. Or is it that once people get a stake in something they furiously fight to claim what they think is theirs? Way back in 1981, Ki Di Me's only record got filed away as post-punk or, in the US, punk (logic being that anything that wasn't on commercial radio and that sounded "weird" was punk). Nowadays, if you do a few searches on this record, it gets claimed as minimal, synth, minimal synth, darkwave, post-punk, and art punk (while we are at it lets add industrial and ambient). Why?
Yeah, sure, it is minimalistic. It has a synth. It is dark and "new wave." It is post punk. And it sounds like art students had a hand in this. But why the genre ghettos? Sure, I understand the need of naming things. At its worse these genres are necessary if you want to know the ethnicity of the players or at least that is the logic behind R&B and rock and roll (still the modern day equivalent of race (read Black) record and pop (read White) record). At their best, the categories make it easier for the reader to tell the difference between Mozart and the Ramones. Looking at it through the lens of commerce, it is much easier to sell something you can name. The librarian will tell us that if you want to catalog something you need to classify it. And so it goes.
Before I get accused of being some kind of moral relativist or even a hypocrite, let me admit that I do see some necessity in naming these things and I do some naming myself. I do it in my job. I do it with my record label. Hell, I've done it in these pages. Sometimes I do it because I am lazy and it is easier to write "art punk" than to come up with something creative to describe a sound. So I am not consistent. I also don't see the need to create a zillion different subgenres in order to describe something.
"Hey Soriano, what about the fucking record?" Uh, it's art punk, for sure, but it has some minimalist synth and darkwave undertones. It would fit nicely in someone's post punk collection, too.
That and it is a pretty chilling (in a comic book way) and entertaining look at family and the world. JoJo Planteen, formerly of the great one-off Inflatable Boy Clams, is the perfect lead voice for Mother Is. Her voice goes elastic from little brat to pissed off seductress, doing Kathleen Hanna ten years before Kathleen Hanna. The drone that backs her fits into one of the sounds coming out of San Francisco at the time. The music for Islamatic is in the same vein as Mother Is, but with more of a pulse and atmospheric. This time the vocals are male (Peter Worrall and Alan Brown) and the subject is terrorism. The end result is corny as hell but it still sounds good. Again, if you were to play this for me with me knowing nothing about it, I would peg it as early 80s San Francisco. It has that sound. That being the case, let's just call this Friscowave and end the argument about labels.
Loop di Love
J Bastos Loop di Love (Bellaphon, 1969)
I am sure European readers of Crud Crud will know more about this song than I do. I've looked and found references for it but no real information. If someone wants to chime in on this, go for it.
Being that I am in the dark about the wheres, whens, and whys, let's get to the what. What a strange bird this one is! It kind of has a garage pop sound to it, but with all kinds of folk instruments crowding the back. Is this a family affair? How else to explain the accordion? Check out the cat pounding the hell out of the piano and, even better, listen closely to the dude sawing away on the fiddle. You can hear the horse hair screaming.
And then there are the lyrics: I saw you walking down the street/ Your hair was hanging down to knees / Your waist was waving like a ship / The way you look make me sick...Said "what you gonna do tonight"? / I'm in the mood of going out / You held my hand and than we went / To different places still I said / Come on and let us go to bed...I kiss your lips and close your eyes / You held me tight and kiss you twice / You start a loving bitter wave / So there was nothing to be said / And than you whispered in my ear / It's time to pay the work my dear / I hope you really satisfied / Another one's waiting outside / Love di loop di love...
Excuse me while I ask, "What the fuck?"
Sabah s/t LP (Phillips Lebanon, 196??)
You are about to hear one of the most amazing voices ever. Born in 1927, Sabah is one of the legendary voices of Lebanese and Arab music. Her stature in Lebanon is only rivaled by the great Fairuz. How big is Sabah? Think Sinatra big. During the 1940s, 50s, 60s, & 70s she appeared in over 80 movies, made dozens of albums, toured the worlds, and much much more. She was married 8 times, rare for women in the Arab world. Her marriages not only gave Arab women a sense of indipendance; Sabah's dress also showed Arab women that they could be colorful and creative. In the 1960s, her wearing of short pants in public caused a national scandal and wrecked on of her marriages. Now in her 90s, she is still on many men's wish list, though after a failed romance in the early 2000s, she asked her daughter to poison her if she ever fell in love again, a request she took back when she fell in love to a much younger man. Recently she told a radio announcer the only thing she hasn't done that she is looking forward to doing is to die. According to reports, she said this as a matter of fact, not with a hint of sadness.
I knew nothing of Sabah before I found this record and I probably would not have picked this one up had I not been dating a belly dancer at the time. The belly dancer was pretty bummed when she heard this because it doesn't lend itself to dancing. I was anything but disappointed: I was floored. The voice you hear on Abou el Zolof is not doctored. No editting was involved. It is pure lung power and remarkable voice command. The two blast you hear are more than 20 seconds long. When I first heard it, I walked over to the turntable to pick up the needle because I thought there was a skip. But when I looked, the needle was moving smoothly through the grooves. When I play this for friends, they ask me if the record is skipping and when they find out it is not, they are in awe. I hope the same feeling comes over you.
The Truth Shall Make You Free
King Hannibal The Truth Shall Make You Free b/w It's What You Do 45 (Aware, 1972)
If you are into R&B at all there is a chance you've heard King Hannibal before. Maybe you haven't heard this record, but perhaps something by Hannibal or the Mighty Hannibal has come your way. Whatever the three names, they all belong to one person, James T. Shaw.
Shaw started his singing life in 1953 with the Ovations, had a string of minor hits, fought the tax problems and a heroin addiction, both of which landed him in jail. His experiences lead to a handful of great social consciousness songs including the great Hymn No. 5 and The Truth Shall Make You Free.
Here you get The Truth Shall Make You Free, which has been comped before by the folks at Norton Records but ahhh who cares? It is such a great song I couldn't resist. Plus the flipside, It's What You Do is a great Stax-style ballad that you need to hear (and after you are done, click on the link above and listen to the sample of Hymn No. 5).
Piles and Piles and Piles and....
Another day at work with a stack of records...
The Pheifer Ashman Kickbush Games b/w I Can't Turn It Off (Nico)
Games is pop psych with storm sound effects in the back ground and a brooding organ. I Can't Turn It Off has got the classic 60s pop bubblegum meets Motown sound with some dot do do do backing vocals. I have no idea what a Kickbush is but sign me up, this is a great single!
Neil MacArthur World of Glass b/w She's Not There (Deram)
While World of Glass is a good, moody pop folk song with gentle horns and strings - the type of thing you hear a lot of indie folks doing nowadays, it is MacArthur's cover of The Zombies' She's Not There that is IT. Neil makes this one a bit funkier, a bit more urgent, and a bit more psychedelic than the original and does such a good job that his version challenges the Zombies' for the best She's Not There.
The New Survivors The Pickle Protest b/w But I Know (Scepter)
You would think that a song called The Pickle Protest would be a some loopy bubblegum throwaway. Nope. It is a sneering jab at politics done 60s punk with a driving organ. The flip is a Them-like brood organ slow one. Good stuff.
Johnny Adams Come On b/w Nowhere to Go (Ric)
Can't go wrong picking up a Ric Record. Great early R&B. Adams has a voice that reminds me of Little Willie John, probably my favorite male soul singer, so that does me just fine. Come On is up-tempo. Nowhere is a ballad with great backing vocals and a nice sax.
Major IV Sugar Pie b/w Down in the Ghetto (Venture)
An odd record. Sugar Pie is a galloping soul song that sounds a bit Motown but there is something too frantic about it. And then it has a tiny but noticeable French horn break. Down in the Ghetto starts off like it is gonna be some party record with a big fanfare and crowd noises or at least some Curtis Mayfield-style groove and winds up somewhere in between. Like the a-side, franticness gets to these guys. Slowed down a bit this sounds much better.
Billy Rainsford My Angel's Halo Fell b/w My First Taste of Love (Hermitage)
My Angel's Halo is one of those songs that teeter on the edge of country & rockabilly, like early Johnny Cash (but not sounding like Cash). Rainsford has a slight hiccup in his vocal and there is a nice twangy guitar. My First Taste... is full on Roy Orbison hard ballad territory, though Rainsford doesn't have quite the range of Roy (but who does). Instead he falls into a nice growl and some prime moaning.
The Sidewinders Tears From Laughing b/w Charley Aikens (Look)
Wow! Tears... sounds like someone tossed Forever Changes-era Love with Free Design. A killer piece of Sixties pop with group vocals, a twangy guitar and lots of strings. And then Charley Aikens is a raved up pop pysch song with a quick Chet Atkins lead throughout (Charley Aikens / Chet Atkins...hmmmmm...). Once again, Wow!
The Bone It's an Easy Thing b/w Everybody's Gone Into April (Poison Ring)
How can you not pick up a record by a band called The Bone? It's an Easy Thing is pop psych bubblegum with that country undercurrent that shows up in Stones songs. The chorus starts with "I ate too much / You ate too much" and there is a tuba somewhere in the back. Punked up a bit and this could be on the first Supergrass album. Everybody's... is a good b-side that sounds kind of like Big Star.
The Good Ship Lollipop Maxwell's Silver Hammer b/w How Does It Feel (Ember)
Ack! The original Maxwell's is bad enough, a bubblegum version? Fucking horrible. How Does It Feel is not a cover of the Creation's classic, but a decent rip off of I Saw Her Standing there. Mike Berry is behind this one.
The Second City Sound Love's Funny b/w Greig One (London)
Love's Funny is Sixties pop which sounds like a sped up version of the Flying Machine's Smile a Little Smile for Me, which is great being that I love Smile a Little... But how the hell do you explain a bubblegum take-off of a Greig piano concerto other than these jokers did the same with Tchaikovsky, Mozart, & Lizst. Sometimes I am amazed at what people will do for a b-side.
Bennie Gordon & the Soul Brothers Camel Walk b/w Kansas City Woman (Enrica)
The Camel Walk is a nice R&B dance number with a walking bass line and some great backing vocals. A few years down the road and this would be much funkier, but here it is still fused to the blues. KC Woman is a What'd I Say-style rave up.
Yusef Lateef Quintet Sister Mamie Pt 1 & 2 (Impulse)
Though 45s aren't the best format for long jazz pieces, I still love them! This one starts with a great hard driving beat and then Yusef comes in playing some wild Middle Eastern melody that segues into a funky, Latinesque run that would fit on an early Willie Colon album and then, argh, the fucking thing fades! Side two starts with a piano part (which has also been holding down the beat) and then Yusef goes MidEast again. Great stuff! If singles are made to get you to buy the LP well this one works.
World of Oz Beside the Fire b/w Mandy-Ann (Deram)
My god, the Gibb Brother's influence reaches far. Beside the Fire sounds so dead on like early Bee Gees, World of Oz should have paid the Gibbs royalties. That is not a complaint. I am a complete creamer when it comes to early Bee Gees. Mandy-Ann has got more bubblegum in it than the a-side. In fact, it is a bouncing song. Good one here.
Terry Jacks Rock 'n' Roll (Bell)
Yeah, how can I pass on Terry Jacks doing a song about rock & roll. His version of Seasons in the Sun is a schmaltz classic. And here he does not disappoint. Sappy music, a narrative about his rock & roll career woven with a tale of unrequited love, and Jacks' patented vocal sighs make this (possibly) the most pathetic, listenable song about rock & roll ever made. It sounds exactly like you would imagine it to sound like. You might just sing along and sway to the beat. Definitely worth the buck I spent on it.
And here is to Wilson Pickett, who died yesterday. I don't need to tell you he was one of the greats. If you would like to hear a bit of him check out the ever excellent Funky 16 Corners and Larry G will fix you up.
Karel Failka Armband 7" (Red Shift, 1979)
When I found this one in a record store in Belgium for a measly euro, I had no idea what it was. The label, the sleeve and the price said, "achat d'impulsion." So I plopped down my one euro coin and carted this Karel Failka 7" away. When I got back to the States and dropped needle on it, I still didn't know what it was. The first riff I heard was a cheesy synth part. When the vocals kicked in I knew I had a winner. "Waiting for you on the corner / Girls and guns in my head / My hands in my pocket / wonder if we'll ever meet," what a great opening verse!
As Armband (The Mystery Song) went on it became apparent that Karel Failka was one of those street poet types who, like John Cooper Clarke, found an opportunity in punk rock to put his words to music. Turn the record over and it sounds like maybe Karel was a busker and not a poet (in fact the track is credited to "Sven the Busker," though the voice is Karel's). The same song is done acoustic but with some studio fuckery, making it sound a bit like DIY legend Steve Treatment. The producer of the record is Wally Brill, the same guy behind some great Metal Urbain records.
What I know about Karel Failka is that he was born in Bombay, India to a Scottish father and a Czech mother. He moved to the UK as a teen and started playing music in the streets of London. His first record, Armband, was released in 1979. A year later he had a minor hit with The Eyes Have It, which sounds similar to Armband, but very synthed out. After a few years off, he had another hit in the late 80s, Hey Matthew, released on IRS. Since then he has been relatively silent.
Charles McCullough & the Silks My Girl (Dooto, 1961)
What I know about Charles McCullough I could tell you in 2 seconds. Ready? He has a great voice and he had a band called the Silks. I also know that I very rarely spend more than $10 on a record and hardly ever more than $5 on a 45. So far I have spent $26 on Charles McCullough's My Girl. The first time I bought it I shelled out a dollar. The record was trashed and when buying it I had no idea what besides surface noise was in the groove. I was so knocked out by My Girl that I searched and searched for a clean copy of it. One day I walked into what was to become my favorite record store and the owner asked if there was a particular record that I was looking for. I said I wanted a Charles McCullough single. He said he had one but it was $25. I looked at it and bought it. He asked which song I was buying it for. I replied My Girl and he noted that that is the song. And it is.
McCullough starts off with a great yelp, gets smooth and then soars. Between hiccups, cries, and yelps, he lays down some of the most soulful vocals I've heard. I've played this record hundreds of times and it always sends chills through me. No frills here, just vocals, a piano and a snare drum. This is perfection. I hope you enjoy it.
Plowing the Fields of 45s
The Whizz Kidds Big Teaser b/w Sweet Honey (Highland)
Big Teaser is GREAT power pop that sits between bubblegum and glam. Sweet Honey lopes along with open chords and also rides the line between bubblegum and glam. Can't ask any more from a rock & roll single than what you get here. Recommended.
The Volcanics Your Kind of Loving b/w But I Love Her (Cameo Parkway)
There is a very distinctive Cameo Parkway 60s pop sound: It has an Everly Brothers base, a little garage-isms, and nice backing vocals. While that might describe a lot of 60s pop, if you hear enough Cameo Parkway, you know the sound. The Volcanics add a brooding organ to the mix - maybe a result of the success of Cameo labelmates ? & the Mysterians? - which is a nice counter to the up vocals. Great stuff.
Gropus Cackus Rhyme and Reason b/w Love, Love, Love (Bell)
Rhyme and Reason sounds very much what you would expect the Zombies' Time of the Season to sound like if it landed in the bubblegum paws of Bell. Not that this is all poppy, just there is a level of slickness that isn't present in the Zombies. Love, Love, Love is rooted in that commercial psych meets country thing that the Buffalo Springfield spawned.
The Chosen Few Footsee (Roulette)
If this wasn't on a 45 and you played it for me, I would have pegged it as something that came from a kid's record. It has that kind of "C'mon Kids! Let's do a rock and roll dance" sound to it. A bubblegum throwaway but a good one with a oddly distorted guitar solo. The flip is an instrumental of the A side.
The Frantics The Whip b/w Delilah (Dolton)
Who doesn't like surf instrumental records with a gimmick. On The Whip, the Frantics do an up tempo sax driven number with a great slack string guitar solo and Monty Whiplash snapping a whip to the beat. Delilah shifts tempo, sound, and guest instrument. The groove is slower and smoother, vibes and a Viscounts' style sax throw this into a noir mood. Very cool.
The Bad Habits Bad Wind b/w Images: The City (Paula)
The Bad Habits specialize in a Grass Roots/Spiral Staircase style 60 pop that sounds like it belongs on a Vegas stage. A little tougher and this would be great. As it is this single gets a so-so. BUT the thing that sold me on this is the 10 second intro to Images: The City which is just fucking bass ass and the bridge which is nifty as well.
Lenny Roybal Nothing in the World like Love b/w Don't (Canterbury)
Fuse Gary Zekley and Jeff Berry and you get Lenny Roybal. Solid 60s bubblegum that sounds like it belongs on Canterbury. The thing that takes this over the top are the girl backing vocals, which add that bit that makes this stand out. Both sides are keepers.
Proud Mary We'll Make It All Right b/w I want to Talk About Myself (Buddah)
One of the great things about bubblegum is that when trends start to change the producers had no problem trying exploit the newest sound. Sometimes that results in great things like they psych cuts you find buried on Ohio Express and Lemon Pipers records. And then you get stuff like Proud Mary. I am not sure what responding to here. Is it funk that set them off or Barbara Streisand? Have they been listening to the Grass Roots or Herbie Mann? There is a good drum break in this mess, but it IS a mess.
The Carriage Trade Wild About My Love b/w Rag Mama (Filmways)
Wild About... has a sound that sits somewhere between the Rolling Stones country sound and Lee Hazelwood, but with a trombone hook that throws a nice psychedelic twist on it. The flip is one of the worst trends ever to emerge in rock & roll, that of the ragtime rock song. Who pulled this shit off? I can't think of anyone and that includes The Carriage Trade.
Mercy Fire Ball (Sundi, 1970)
Here is an oddball. Not the song Fire Ball, but this single. The plug side is a song called Love (Can Make You Happy), which is as bland of a MOR hit as you will ever hear (and yes it was a hit). So at the very best, I expected the flip to be a sappy rocker. Wrong. Instead I drop the needle and out of the speakers comes a fuzz reminiscent of The Turtles' Buzzsaw. While the rest of the song doesn't quite have the primitive growl of Buzzsaw and the song itself is a pretty standard rock instrumental, the guitar is great. Nothing fancy here, just very cool distortion and contained feedback. What also makes this unusual is that the song is from 1970, not a year you think of when the words Link Wray-inspired garage instrumental are mentioned. Another thing making this special is the flaw: Listen closely and you will hear the drummer stumble toward the end. "Ah it's the B side so who cares?" It's that flaw that makes this real even though it was most likely a studio throwaway. You can't fake fucking up!
So who were Mercy? They started as a Tampa Bay, Florida garage band. Their first big break was an appearance in Lon Cheney, Jr.'s last film Fireball Jungle. Soon after they recorded Love (will make you happy), which raced up the charts to number 2, crowding out Elvis, the Beatles, and Sinatra. Fire Ball hit in Japan but was stuck in B side hell in the United States. Mercy played with the regular slew if touring acts, hit the TV shows, recorded a few other records, and disappeared.
Introducing Static Party
Sara Goes Pop
Sara Goes Pop s/t 2x7" (It's War Boys, 1982)
Way back in July, my friend & colleague Jay Hinman, over at the scandal sheet Agony Shorthand, came up with the ridiculous notion that the great British DIY band The Homosexuals are overrated. Yeah sure, everyone from the cretinous, ass-munching, resume-padding hacks at Pitchfork to my wise comrads at Terminal Boredom have spewed enough goo over the Homos to fill the vaults of a dozen sperm banks and many crab-like hipster trust fund trash were, for a time, name dropping these Limey sub-legends while trying to pick up some attempted suicide girl at their favorite gentrified watering hole; but as I screamed elsewhere many a times, a band's fans do not make the band. Hype should just be looked at as hype and nothing more.
Don't get me wrong, there is a difference between hype and reviews or recommendations. Unless I am trying to sell you something - be it a record, ad space in my zine, a banner on my website, or a nude examination each other's tattoos - chances are I am just telling you what I think (of course, this gets a little confused when you put out records like I do. Having to sell records I've invested money in means I must write about them in glowing terms. But I wouldn't put money towards a record I didn't feel good about pushing on people. For one, that is just not my way. And, second, I break-even off on this record label thing. It is a hobby, not a livelihood.) This is one reason why zines are more credible than glossies or not-so-glossies like Skyscrapper, which are crammed with ads. It is also why e-zines like Terminal Boredom or Blastitude and blogs like Agony Shorthand and the ones you see to your right are way more reliable than the reviled Pitchfork and all those blogs you see with ads streaming down their margins or who are pimping whatever new "indie" release they get promo'd. This is the difference between fandom and business.
So while I respect Mister Hinman's opinions and think that his blog has no peer, I have to say that on the subject of The Homosexuals he is wrong. Don't worry: I am not gonna refight the Homo battle. You can go to Agony Shorthand, look at the comments that Jay's H-mo screed aroused and see that I and others have already carved him another orifice to empty (which brings me to this question: Do you ever think that Jay has a list on bombs he is planning to drop, table clearing pronouncements that make all us record geeks jitter uncontrollably as we frantically pound our defense of Waylon Jennings, The Homosexuals, calypso music or whatever artist or genre Herr Hinman sweeps away in one smart ass rant, giggling to himself as he mumbles, "This will keep them busy while I cream over yet another willowy yet ghostly attractive hippie alterna-folk dame"? Yeah, I too think it is a smoke screen designed to keep us from noticing that the old man is getting soft in his golden years and is probably serious contemplating throwing Ol Hillary a vote in the next Dem presidential primary, her kinda having a crypt-like scowl that these folk ladies are aging into, one that seems to be the rule for our elder stateswomen [I mean, just look at that Skeletoresque mug of Condi Rice - the cosmetic effect power has on people is bipartisan]).
One of the things that the few detractors of The Homosexuals never mention is that The Homosexuals were not just The Homosexuals. The folks behind that band also had a zillion side projects and one-offs, all finding a home on vinyl or cassette released by the It's War Baby label. Some names: L. Voag, Vic Serf & The Villains, George Harassment, Milk from Cheltenham, The Ululators [what a great name], and Sara Goes Pop, the subject of this post.
Sara Goes Pop was fronted by Sara, who plays on many Homosexuals releases, and is backed by Jim (aka L Voag, Amos, etc.) and others in the Homos circle. Because Sara Goes Pop is essentially a Homosexuals release, I don't feel compelled to run down their story. Others have done it else where and if you really feel a need for an exhaustive history check out the Astral Glamour 3CD.
After a cassette release, Sara Goes Pop came out with this double 7", some of it (I think) culled from the cassette. Pressed on two colors of vinyl and in a hand screened sleeve, I am pretty sure there are only 500 of these pups floating around, though a total Homo fanatic (Miller are you out there?) might be able to tell otherwise. While this thing looks great, it sounds even better. Like The Homosexuals, Sara... has a disjointed DIY punk edge to it, one that sounds like there are very smart people behind very dumb instruments. Where it differs from The Homos is Sara dips into the quasi-funky/semi-dubby, female fronted post punk that bands like The Slits, Delta 5, and Kleenex/Lilliput pioneered. Sara does it just as well as those three giants and with the rawness many of them abandoned once they got enough money to record in pro studios with "legitimate" producers. It is the rawness and the humor that set this a bit apart from their contemporaries. It is almost as if Sara was thinking, "Fuck these people, I'll show them how to do this."
While all eight songs on this record are grand, I am giving you my five faves. You might even have gotten a couple less if the songs didn't run right into each other, so don't complain. I like all of these fine, though Sexy Terrorist has got to be one of my favorites from the era. Maybe these songs will lead Old Man Hinman to Homosexuality and hurry up a reissue of the non-Homo Homosexuals stuff.