Wednesday, June 10, 2009

let it blurt

the inimitable lester bangs.

blurt |bləːt|
verb [ trans. ]
say (something) suddenly and without careful consideration :
she wouldn't blurt out words she did not mean |
[with direct speech ]
“It wasn't my idea,” Gordon blurted.

ORIGIN late 16th cent.: probably imitative.

While his well documented dalliance with Austin's Delinquents on 1981's "Jook Savages on the Brazos" may have sown the seeds, indirectly, of the alternative country scene which would later germinate suburban backwaters as the decade progressed, this one time Creem irregular's all consuming passion for rock & roll - and those tricks turned on Lexington Avenue - had previously prompted Lester Bangs to step out behind the mic in New York City.

in Greenwich Village relatively late in his career as a freelancer on the run with his typewriter, the big apple gathered him to its candy scented cleavage without a murmur. A perpetual adolescent, in print and in real time, the emerging scene there in 1976 put all his convictions into play.
Given his partisan allegiance to all things Velvet Underground, it is perhaps hardly surprising that John Cale himself was somehow enlisted to sit in on production duties. Neither was it too much of a leap of faith that fellow VU aficionado and erudite Voidoid, Robert Quine might also be induced to lend a hand.

The end result was actually pretty damn good. I just don't think the 'kids' were prepared to countenance a punk grandee so ludicrously sporting that moustache; no matter how sound his credentials or well intended hi
s motive.

And they already had a pin-up in Richard Hell.

Having witnessed the tragic demise of Peter Laughner - perhaps the closest thing to a genuine counterpart and ally - in the same year "Let It Blurt" was recorded, one senses that Bangs was shocked into a revaluation of his own mortality and aspirations; there is a tired desperation at work here which suggests as much. A notoriously exuberant advocate of Do It Yourself ethics, and damn the consequences, it must have increasingly galled Bangs to be called upon to publicly eulogise the machinations of sundry delusional individuals as they navigated the promotional stream from CBGBs to wallow in more lucrative shallows.

There is more, I think, to the lurid green overprint on its sleeve than the trend conscious ethos of graphic design; it's just a shame it looks so shit - like an algaed stepping stone between hero Lou's "Transformer" and "The Blue Mask".

Jealousy ? Perhaps. Envy ? Certainly. Too many of his peers could not wait to see him fail, and that's a pity also. If not more than a tad predictable.

David Hofstra: bass;
Jay Dee Daugherty: drums;
Jody Harris, Robert Quine: guitars;
Lester Bangs: vocals.

Recorded At Big Apple Studios, NYC, 1977. Mixed by John Cale.

Bangs would also step back into the studio in NYC ahead of his stint with the Delinquents - this time the legendary Electric Lady Studios, on 1st April 1979 - to record an entire album's worth of material on the back of the Spy Records 45 issue of "Let It Blurt"; eventually released as "Birdland with Lester Bangs" through Add On Records in 1986. By which time, of course, "Jook Savages on the Brazos" was already in circulation and Lester had checked out.

LESTER BANGS: LET IT BLURT from "Let It Blurt b/w Live" 45 (Spy Records) 1979 (US)



Anonymous said...

Brilliant, thanks!

ib said...

You are welcome, anonymous. Glad that it struck a chord.

Denier said...

Well done, ib.

Certainly had a great band behind him here. Quine improves every song he plays on, and J.D. Daughterty has been on an awful lot of good records.

I lost my copy of Bangs' book a while ago, Carburetors and Brain Dung if my memory serves. What's the closest thing to a Bangs these days? In the States there's Chuck Klosterman, i guess, but I'm not a fan of his at all.

ib said...

I know Daugherty played in the Patti Smith Group, but it was only after you mentioned this that I checked him out and realized to what extent he contributed to Tom Verlaine's post Television output.

Psychotic Reactions [after Count Five] and Carburetor Dung was the Greil Marcus / Bangs collection. Good book.

The closest thing to Bangs these days ? This may surprise you, Warden, but I have not picked up a music magazine in close to twenty years.

Were it not for the web no doubt I would be something close to a Quaker by now; albeit with a secret alcohol dependency and sundry other skeletons in my closet.

Denier said...

All I know about Quakers is from the logo on a famous Outmeal brand. Seriously, there's a Quaker house still standing in Queens from about 1650. Pretty cool.

I haven't read one in about the same time now that I think about it! I used to religiously read NME and Spin back then. Now the Net fills that purpose.

Jay Dee I believe was also drummer on the first few Willie Nile records. Nile's a fairly obscure folk-rocker type who's still going pretty strong. But those first two LPs from around 1980 are superb if you ever stumble across them.


ib said...

Yes. Me too. The NME; Sounds; ZigZag; even those initially superb issues of Mojo.

Haven't listened to Willie Nile, previously. Am I missing out on something ?

The little I know about Quakers is sadly informed by Kingpin, ridiculously enough. Although I was taught by a hardline Plymouth in Brethren back in Primary School. A very good-looking woman, I hasten to add, even without the merest scrap of makeup.

Her religious views I found quite suspect, mind you.