Saturday, June 4, 2011
Now. It is my assumption that the following 2'57" is not some veiled reference to NASA fueled excesses over the plains of New Mexico. Or covert cold war dramas outrunning missiles over Soviet air space.
Tearing the back seat out of the sound barrier.
This, despite dandified drummer Steve Tindall's passing resemblance to Thunderclap Newman's Speedy Keene; offset, even more bizarrely, by a ludicrous calabash pipe of the type favoured by a cocaine addled Sherlock Holmes. On and off his game.
NYC based The Druids established their order in 1965. Sessions for Nola Records produced a fairly pedestrian concoction of standard garage fare heavily indebted to the 'British Invasion'. A crudely propelled biplane cobbled together with Cow Gum and string.
Three years later, the appended Druids of Stonehenge upped sticks and promptly relocated to the patchouli scented intersection of Haight-Ashbury, settling into orbit around the UNI label.
Their resulting stab at the big time, "Creation", proved more of a rudimentary feint than a well honed blow. Those druids. All dressed up in the height of summer and still no place to go.
Almusic's Richie Unterberger rightly celebrates the strand of 'surliness' resistant to Susan on the west coast waiting. More so, his assertion that vocalist Dave Budge evinced a hint of cabaret at odds with any genuine attempt to break out of the room. The inclusion of covers - "I Put a Spell on You"; "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" - seems more desperately recalcitrant than righteously cynical. Minor league in spite of the original material showcased throughout.
Their opting for Arthur Lee's "Signed D.C." is especially predictable. If altogether symptomatic of lovely winds of change.
Still. Nowhere have I stumbled upon any dedicated reference to the particular highlight here. Well. Swan Fungus got the jump on me with its inclusion in one of his Sunday Mix Tapes, infuriatingly. Rather, that would be case had I heard it there first.
Not for the first time, Fungus exhibits taste.
A proto switchblade jab of neanderthal punk, paced at a stumble, "Speed" ought to have been on jukeboxes everywhere in the dark corners of 1968. Luddite tub thumping on an overseas U.S. Air Force base. While the twelve-year-olds safely raid the medicine cabinet; the military policeman's wife irons his stripes.
Nobody was listening.
image: Mr. Natural Comix #2, R. Crumb.
▼ THE DRUIDS OF STONEHENGE: SPEED from "Creation" LP (UNI) 1968 (US)