Tuesday, February 9, 2010

off the hook

bev davis and barbarians, toronto, 1965.

"This photo was taken at the Ford Hotel in Toronto. The 2 clean cut young men were in a band called The Barbarians. The impossibly young woman is me. Geoffrey Morris, me and Bruce Benson... I just noticed the phone off the hook."

A re-up of a post from July 20th, 2008; a post that keeps gathering comments, most recently in the shape of this anonymous recollection of a louche teenage Victor Moulton, baiting the lines down by the pier:

"I knew Moulty when he went to Thompson Academy, a school in Boston Harbor, which was a private school for "wayward" boys. He was KOOl, good looking and polite for a heroin junkie..."


"Pre-dating The Seeds even, The Barbarians - formed in 1963 - were a proto-punk garage band straight out of Provincetown, Massachusetts.

The original line-up - consisting of Jeff Morris; Jerry Causi; Bruce Benson; and Victor "Moulty" Moulton - cut their first 45 in 1964 on tiny Massachusetts local imprint, Joy Records, a primitive British Invasion inspired number titled "Hey Little Bird".

Long haired and uniformly shod in jesus boots, the real star of the band was Moulty himself, their one-handed drummer (and vocalist on this, their most infamous single) who sported a hook as the result of a tragic childhood accident.

Following an appearance on Santa Monica's Teenage Music International show - sharing centre stage alongside a host of first division heavyweights including the Stones, James Brown, Chuck Berry, and the Beach Boys - the Barbarians were invited to record an album on Laurie; their predictably self-titled debut hit the racks in 1965. Although it featured the
off-handedly cool (excuse the pun) "Are You A Boy, Or Are You a Girl ?", the LP itself is merely interesting.

The real jewel in their crown of thorns is the autobiographical, "
Moulty", apparantly recorded during the album sessions as throwaway filler, but subsequently released as a 45 on Laurie in '66.

The song by all rights should just be a rudely executed tear-jerker - a garage junk fileaway - but no, this 'nugget' actually goes far enough to rival the Stooges for pure punk attitude and pulse quickening heart. And it didn't even make the album's final tracklist.

But wait, it gets way more interesting.

the hawks. laurie LR 3326. written by e. greenberg & d. morris:

The rest of the Barbarians don't even make an appearance. Recorded in New York City after all but Moulty packed up their equipment and fled back home, it transpires those musicians more than ably backing Victor Moulton are none other than The Hawks, or - to the still clueless - Bob Dylan's The Band. And none of the Barbarians - especially Moulty it would appear, ashamed to be seen milking his disability - wanted the song released in the first place. Producer, Doug Morris, however, could smell a hit when he heard one and went ahead and printed it up as a shiny new 45 regardless. Tempers frayed, the group soon walked.

The Barbarians bravely kept right at it, evolving into
Black Pearl by 1968, but the real hero here is undoubtably Moulty and his righteous call to healing arms.

m-m-m-m-moulty ! don't turn away.

jackperson59: I'm still waiting for that pic you promised of your sister, her schoolfriends and Moulty posing in his parents' backyard. E-mail me and I'll gladly tag it on here.

THE BARBARIANS: MOULTY from "Moulty b/w I'll Keep On Seeing You" 45 (Laurie) 1966 (US)



@eloh said...

Great music, again a band I have never heard before. In '65 and '66 I was still spending every spare minute I had in the backwoods with a rifle.

ib said...

This one flew under most people's radar, I would imagine.

Certainly on this side of the divide.

A real shame since it ought to have been on jukeboxes the world over. Back to back with Them's "Gloria" and The Rolling Stones "Get Off Of My Cloud".

Birdshot or Buckshot ?

Ramone666 said...

I guess this flew way under the radar when it was originally released, but it later showed up on Lenny Kaye´s Nuggets, to my knowledge the first sixties garage punk compilation ever and a huge influence on many seventies punks.

ib said...

Definitely. I touched on "Nuggets" in the post; tucked away as just a link on the word 'nugget'.

That would have been where I first heard it. Way, way after its original release when a friend highlighted it for the first time.

A lot of great "Psych" stuff on those "Nuggets" compilations, too.

Nazz Nomad said...

"your gonna make it"!

ib said...

Is that another song title or just a quote ?

May we all make it, Nazz.

Simone said...

this is wonderful! i'm sitting in a darkening room at the office, grumpy and tired and craving for coffee. this has made me smile.

thank you,

ib said...

You're welcome, Simone. I literally just filled my cup when your comment came in. Only instant, I'm afraid, but good to go and topped off with a roll-up.


Anonymous said...

Love the sandals the guys are wearing on the album cover.