Blastitude 9
issue 12   feb/mar/apr 2002
page 4A



by Tony Rettman

Some like to think vinyl hoarding is something that separates the men from the chimps. Maybe I'm the one getting the whole thing wrong, but I thought just having a genuine interest in the stuff was enough. To think you have to own the original pressing rather than a cheapo vinyl or (GOD FORBID!) CD re-issue to qualify as a true appreciator is an elitist shitbag attitude that I've had enough of. Don't get me wrong, there are many items out there that labels and bootleggers have yet to shine their light on that (maybe) warrant the price tag they hold, but at this particular point in time we are knee deep in all sortsa obscurities of all genres being given the the ole re-issue job. If holding the original artifact in your hands makes you feel like more complete a person, well good for you and the smelly asshole record dealer you just gave your hard earned doughslap to. These days I have less hair and money than I did a few years ago, so I will gleefully throw down a not so obscene amount of money for a re-issue of something I've seen go for mucho bucks. Lemme talk about some I've encountered as of late...
       If you believe everything a collectible Punk record dealer tells you,'re a fucking moron. These guys will have you believe any yobo from Ipswich who stuck a safety pin through his thumb back in 1977 is capable of giving you the true blue nihilstic goods. Most of the time these guys are full of shit, but sometimes they're on the money. The two singles released by The Cigarettes back in the late 70s/early 80s regularly go for top dollar from these jerks. Lucky for you and me the Detour label has provided us with a two record set of their stuff entitled The Cigarettes...Will Damage Your Health!. It contains both their singles, their tracks that appeared on the rare as all get out Dead Goods compilation plus a session recorded for John Peel. Yowza! Although The Cigarettes seem to get thrown on a lot of these bootleg Punk and Mod compilations, their style of attack doesn't really conjure up images of gobbing hairstylists nor lawnmowers with nine million mirrors on them. If anything, the stuttering riffs and lopping bass lines let off that great mix of adrenaline and peculiarity that drives you to pull out records by Alternative TV, The Homosexuals, some early singles released on Rough Trade and maybe even some of those later Buzzcocks albums. The thing that separates The Cigarettes from the above mentioned bands is/was their straightforward, pretense-free approach. Interesting, though cut off liner notes round off this sucker that'll have many tight trousered hearts fluttering. (
       The Grodeck Whipperjenny isn't only a boss name for your first born, but it's an acid funk monster of an album that will blow the flavor saver right off your mugg. The Grodeck Whipperjenny was a project recorded in 1970 by David Matthews, the arranger and conductor on many of James Brown's finest, funkiest moments of the 70s, including "Get On The Good Foot," "Talkin' Loud And Ain't Sayin' Nothin'' and the soundtrack to Slaughters' Big Rip Off. Sure, the guy's resume pretty much proves him to be a bad ass, but this project shows him to be an eclectic bad ass as well. In between the acidic locked grooves of tunes like "Sitting Here On A Tongue" and "Put Your Thing On Me" (possibly one of the greatest song titles of all time) are some screwball shenanigans that leave my brow arched & my ears perked listen after listen. The instrumental "Conclusions" is a stirring (and I don't use fruity words like 'stirring' all too often, pally) arrangement of jaw dropping strings, heavy hammond and stinging guitar that had me thinking I left some limey prog disc on the box one night when I smoked too much hoo-hah. "You're Too Young" is a short little ditty with a lite, head bopping melody, but has lyrics (beautifully sung by Mary Ellen Bell) that sound/read like they were snatched out of a Code Of Honor 7". The surprises that lie in store for you on this record are numerous and prove to be life affirming with each earful. A year later, The Grodeck Whipperjenny went on to back James B. on the album Sho Is Funky Down Here, the finest James record ever released to not actually feature James on it. Now that's bad ass!!!
       O.K. who out there likes porn? Now, who out there digs the white as wonder bread sounds of 60s greats, The Cyrkle? Well have I got the record for you! It seems in their later days (1970 to be exact) The Cyrkle provided the soundtrack to a softcore (Boo! Hiss!) porno flick entitled The Minx. The soundtrack to this film was released on the infamous Flying Dutchman label (on their Amsterdam imprint no less!) back then and has recently been brought back again on vinyl. From what I can gather from the liner notes, the film seemed to be a precursor to Charlie's Angels. The Minx were a gaggle of spy gals for hire who were trained to get the information they needed through any means possible, whether it be through wire tapping or giving a lone security guard a rusty trombone. (We can only hope on the latter.) The tunes fit well with what I think the proceedings in the film would be. The title track and the tune "On The Road" are all pink lace, lush feathered boas and champagne being drunk out of a pump. The tunes sure ain't as slow, sultry and dreamy as Dusty's take on "The Look Of Love," but they get the job done. The tune "The Rigging" sounds like the shit playing in the background when something hot and heavy is going on (Hubba Hubba) and the track "Nicole" is a strange ass bird that makes me think of what would happen if Sir Benjamin Chasny took up a career in the skin flick music bizz. (Oh, why doesn't he?) Luckily, there's a handful of tunes that stick with The Cyrkles' sunny day folk pop and that stuff always has me feeling all good and shit, totally forgetting what a pit my life is. Apparently originals of this record go for big money among young boys looking for 'phat beats'. I don't hear anything all too funky on here, but didn't A Tribe Called Quest rip some beats off of The Cyrkles' Neon lp? Anyone with a size 34 waist wearing size 48 pants, fill me in...(


       Connecticut's Tapeworm produced a four song 7" back in 1978 that has had obscuro Punk collector scum foaming at the gills ever since its inclusion on a Killed By Death compilation back in the mid-90s. The two tracks presented on said comp. were sloppy/crunchy/cool with a primitively Psychedelic mixing job courtesy of a cat who went by the name of Ray Sunshine. Now that someone has been kind enough to bootleg the entire 7", I can take the whole thing in with one big inhale, and...fuck...this ain't your normal KBD fare here, Grandma. Yeah, there's song titles like "Break My Face" and "I Wanna Die" but there's something lurking in the shadows that makes this something truly shot out of the legitimate outsider cannon. (Located somewhere on the outskirts of Nowheresville.) The first track is the real head scratcher. An instrumental for flute, strings and tuba (?) that sounds just as scratchy and abstract as any of those thick, cardboard covered 'Out Jazz' rarities you keep locked up in your workshed. The rest of the single is a confused mess of mid-tempo crunch that sounds like abuncha kids confused on whether or not to throw away their Montrose records now that 'Punk Rock has changed their lives.' One thing's for sure, Tapeworm guitarist Fuzz Box Flynn surely knows his way around a 'tasty lick.' Of course the thing that really makes this worth the price of admission is Ray Sunshine's pan happy mixing job. For more information on the visionary known as Ray Sunshine, visit
       Sure, Albert Ayler could wail on the bagpipes, but the funkiest man to play the instrument was Rufus Harley. The proof in this pudding is on Re-Creation Of The Gods, an lp released back in 1972 on Ankh, a label run by Rufus himself out of his home in Willingboro, New Jersey. (Known as 'Chillinboro' by its inhabitants.) Thankfully, someone has re-done the lp vinyl stylee and my spirit has been in, um...better spirits since this has happened. Re-Creation... is an album that can sit on the same mantle as A Love Supreme or What's Goin' On in that it showcases an artist attempting to create a more loving enviroment for his people through the power and force of sound/music. Rufus does this by taking some old church spirutals and throwing a kilt of funk on to the tunes. The quartet Rufus has keeps everything in the pocket while they give these tunes a new breath of unique life they never had. Rufus's booty shakin' take on "Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen" has been rocked too many times to be humanly counted since I've got this record. There's no doubt in my mind you'll find me blaring this particular tune from my apartment windows next Sunday whilst I don my spare bed sheets and sport a big, fat dookey hubcap around my neck (ala Redd Foxx). Wrap this thing up in one of the most beautiful covers ever imagined in the third eyed mind, and you got my record for the week...hell, maybe even the month!
       It's been out for almost a year now, but I never really got to publicly scream my approval of GMMs' re-issuing of the entire recorded output (All thirty minutes of it) by Washington, D.C.s' premier Skinhead band, Iron Cross. The CD Live For Now! compiles all their released material (three tracks on the classic D.C. Hardcore comp. 'Flex Your Head,' 1982s' 'Skinhead Glory' 7", and 1983s' 'Hated and Proud' 7") as well as a chunk of unreleased stuff that is a god damned joy to hear. Iron Cross's name, image and musical style made them stand out like a sore thumb in their area at the time (even though most of the D.C.H.C. scene considered them their peers) and made them no friends among those who had rods up their butts. Vocalist Sab Grey and bass player Wendel Blow were notorious drinking, smoking, ass kicking sons of bitches who preferred the'Oi!' sound of Britian over the west coast thrash their D.C. peers were taking cues from at the time. Iron Cross's take on the 'Oi' sound sweeping the U.K. at the time was extremely raw and more earnest and guttural than the stuff they were emulating. My love for I.C. guitarist Mark Haggerty's completely out of tune guitar sound on the 'Flex Your Head' tracks is something that has followed me all my life in my love of six stringed dissidence. The out takes from the 'Flex Your Head' sessions on here ('It's A Fight' and 'Teenage Violators') are fucking amazing and to think I've had to wait twenty years to hear them is a sin. If these tracks don't rile up the kids of today to do up a good ole fashion boot rally while they burn their Dropkick Murphys CDs, well then, I weep for the youth...I really do. The Sab Grey of Iron Crossouttakes from the 'Skinhead Glory' sessions are fucking amazing mid-tempo sludge as well. Quickly put down that Conrad Schnitzler re-issue and get yourself a dose of good ole American ingenuity at its finest... Iron Cross broke up in 1984 and most of the members went on to be in early D.C. Emo-Core groups like Ignition and Grey Matter. Sab Grey, not one to be seen crying and jumping around on stage like a stinking girl, retired from 'the scene' soon after. Since the release of this CD, he has resurrected Iron Cross with new members and played a few shows. I wish this man nothing but the best of luck. The pictures and liner notes that adorn this thing make it an amazing artifact for the novice and H.C. nerdboy (I think there's about three in existence) alike.
       So there you have it, a small mound of musical history for probably under a hundred clams. Music snobs sneer, wince and dissaprove.... but I don't give a fuck. Whether or not you got the original article doesn't make you the better fella. All that matters is you got the tunes and they throw you for a spiritual loop. Rufus's funky bagpipes, Tapeworm's inept bashing, David Matthews' stoned funk and Iron Cross's bully boy bruising attack is ALL one long song to me fellas. Any and all of these artists have and will continue to move me to cry, dance, and punch floors. Can the greedy collector man say the same? Until next time chumps...


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