Thursday, 8 October 2009

Key? What's a key?

Drawn as I am to visceral and cathartic music I like John Lennon's first post Beatles album "Plastic Ono Band" a lot. On it he mainly does angry and sad, both in a raw, abrasive way. The first time I heard "Working Class Hero" I listened, transfixed. And then again another six times. I'd probably have played it more but it was about two o'clock in the morning and the girl in the room next door deserved a break. A few years ago I heard that Yoko Ono had released an album of the same name in an identical sleeve at the same time. I like good screaming on a record and was led to believe that Yoko's version was superior to her husband's. Anyway, it dropped through my letterbox the other day. It's not that bad, as I say I like inchoate vocals but there's something disturbingly pathetic about the noises she makes. On hearing the album I totally appreciated the comment that John Lennon made when he heard "Rock Lobster" in a disco. Yoko's album sounds like a fairly freaky blues outfit fronted by a jellyfish. It'd probably fit quite well into an episode of Spongebob Squarepants. I'm not going to post any of the tunes because they're too long. But it did get me thinking about deranged, female fronted music.

So, The Shaggs. I bought a compilation album about five years ago, listened to it a couple of times and then put it back on the shelf to gather dust. I think I got it having read Julian Cope or some such raving about them. The liner notes featured high praise from Frank Zappa which set my spidey senses tingling. Were they just a joke or hoax? I don't think so. They come across as seemingly reasonable people in print, it is though the most truly mental music I've ever heard. Here are some highlights, hold onto your ears:

The Shaggs: That Little Sports Car

Reminds me of "My Beautiful Horse" from Father Ted. Surely an influence?

The Shaggs: You're Something Special To Me

That's much gentler isn't it? God help me, I'm starting to like them.

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