Thursday, January 8, 2009

spam again

mo and family. photograph by daniel peebles.

No, not unsolicited electronic mail.

While Lou got busy serenading needles and necking brandy alexanders in royal company with messieurs David Bowie and James Osterburg, Maureen Tucker was struggling just to put food on the table.

In the aftermath of the Velvet Underground's implosion, Mo relocated to Texas and juggled a job at Wal-Mart in between feeding and raising her children and working to find time just to dip her toe back into the stream. The resulting "Playin' Possum" did not materialize until 1981, recorded in her family living room - "between diaper changes" - over an especially strenuous six month period. She played all instruments, painstakingly overdubbing each and every one. As one might expect, the emphasis resided within her own very unique sense of rythym; a Bo Diddley hybrid quite unlike anything else produced by her former bandmates in pursuit of solo status and acclaim, something more honest lurking perhaps only in rural or suburban backwaters with a Norman Petty heart.

pos•sum |ˌpɒsəm|
1 informal an opossum.
2 a tree-dwelling Australasian marsupial that typically has a prehensile tail.
• Four families, esp. Petauridae: many species, including the ringtails.

play possum 1 pretend to be asleep or unconscious when threatened (in imitation of an opossum’s behavior). 2 feign ignorance.

ORIGIN early 17th cent.: shortening of

If one is searching for a role model, one could do a whole lot worse.

This song can be found on 1989's "Life in Exile After Abdication", a slightly more polished affair featuring contributions by Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon. Guitar is provided by Jed Fair, with additional percussion from Hank Beckmeyer, Kate Messer, Kim Gordon, and M.C. Kostek. A joyous thrash of complaint.

The second selction, "Chase", is altogether more familiar and dangerous, with congas contributed by Kate Messer; cymbal by Jed Fair; drums by Maureen herself; and guitar by Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore.

Tell 'em, Mo! I defy anybody not to get a bonafide piebald kick out of this.

This an album to be savoured over and over again in fleeting moments of reckless abandonment.

MAUREEN TUCKER: SPAM AGAIN from "Life In Exile After Abdication" LP (Fifty Skidillion Watt Records) 1989 (US)

MAUREEN TUCKER: CHASE from "Life In Exile After Abdication" LP (Fifty Skidillion Watt Records) 1989 (US)



Blank Stares and Cricketclaps said...

Never ever heard this, but many repeat listens to come, grand.

ib said...

Glad you dig it, cricketclaps; mo tucker is a star!

I didn't hear this until fairly recently, either. The whole album is great, as is "Playin' Possum" in all its raw splendor.

(I've noticed many Americanisms creeping into my day to day spelling of late, since I'm too lazy to figure out how to utilize a standard English version of spellcheck.)

Empire Hancock said...

Should be interesting. I've never heard Mo's solo stuff.

Random aside: Mo provided percussion on one or two tracks on Lou Reed's 1989 album "New York", where the liner notes bear the information Maureen Tucker appears courtesy of 50,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Watts Records. For years, I didn't know what the fuck that was about until I learned the label was actually called 50 Skidillion, NOT spelled out with all the zeroes. :P

ib said...

I had no idea that 'skidillion' was a genuine quantity, EH. Thanks for that.

22 zeroes ? Jesus. A trillion, I can just about cope with; anything more is something approaching those unimaginable astronomical calculations used in conjunction with the Hubble telescope and vulcan mind melts.

HowMarvellous said...

mmm enjoying these two, tvm.

ib said...

The whole album is definitely worth tracking down. Guaranteed.