Sunday, October 4, 2009

under the floorboards

A swaggering Jagger & Richard composition from their fabulous "Aftermath", this is proto-punk '1-2-3-4' at its most infectious.

Restricted by the limited coverage independent distribution allowed- or, more prosaically, confined to minor celebrity in their native Pennsylvania - Bob Hocko's Swamp Rats gnawed their way into the daylight of small town McKeesport in 1966, gravitating to the bright lights of nearby Pittsburgh in the whisker of time it takes a pocket of rodents to get fruitful and multiply.

Not so much a garage exodus as furred mutation under the floorboards.

Less than two years after the reported outbreak, pest control finally disposed of the carcasses and declared a decontamination zone. Something of a record. By which time, of course, the virus was clearly beyond federal containment; jumping state boundaries as a nascent plague which would establish itself, most famously, in neighbouring Detroit.

Turning on a pin.

Or the rivet underpinning an AMC cooling unit straight off the production line.
St. Clair label photograph cribbed from Office Naps.

SWAMP RATS: IT'S NOT EASY from "It's Not Easy b/w No Friend Of Mine" 45 (St. Clair) 1966 (US)
SWAMP RATS: IT'S NOT EASY (ALTERNATIVE VERSION) from "Disco Still Sucks!" CD (Get Hip) 2003 (US)


@eloh said...

Boy, that took me back in time. What is it? A tinny sound or something...the way stuff used to sound back in the 60's anyway.

ib said...

Yeah. It does have a really tinny feel; like something bounced back from a distant satellite to a transistor radio.

I don't know whether this has a lot to do with the rip. Both 'cleaned-up' versions come from the 2003 repackage, and - from what I've heard - although the original vinyl release suffers less treble the mix is woefully muffled.

Whatever. A ferocious drummer in addition to his duties as lead singer, Bob Hocko is largely responsible for much of the Swamp Rats' primordial attack.