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by Justin CollectorScum
It's time for the second installment of my showcase for the "other song" by comped bands, and unknown stuff generally not worthy of a comp appearance, but interesting nevertheless. Browsing through my collection to make a list of possible future inclusions for this column, the list of Flipsides was woefully short. The reason is quite obvious -- the uncomped side usually stinks. Before I start subjecting everyone to a battle of the bands between Freestone's "Church" and Hammer Damage's "Automatic Lips", or my collection of ska-influenced tracks that I actually like (really!), we're going to get the true quality stuff out of the way.
Flipsides: (Actually Good Flips edition)
In the liners to the excellent "No One Left to Blame" comp, there was one sentence in the description of the Critical Mass (Miami, 1978) record which surely annoyed anyone not lucky enough (or flush with cash) to own one of the 200 copies of the sunshine state's first punk record: "This compilation takes its title from the equally great B-side cut." Now you've got No One Left to Blame.
The Knots (NYC, 1980) is a record that seems to get blank stares when I ask most punk fans if they know it. Perhaps it's because it was comped over 10 years ago on a Back To Front, a series which has not been kept in print nearly as well as the early KBDs. It's also very possible that more people heard "Action" as a New Bomb Turks song, and either did not realize it was a cover, or looked at the credits wondering "Who are the Knots?" It's also very difficult to find, especially for a big-city record with a nicely printed and glued sleeve. About a half-dozen copies came out of the woodwork recently when a "Major" (pun intended, for the three of you who get the reference) psych collector/dealer found them in old stock he had and slowly disposed of them via eBay, but otherwise it rarely turns up. The band labeled the record as a double-A side ("A" and "AA" to be exact) and unlike most claims that way, they were right. The song's admittedly hurt a bit by the synth intro, which comes back to haunt the tail-end of the song, but Heartbreaker is still a good one.
Uncompables: (Black Vox -- or Not? -- edition)
Unlike the dearth of usable Flipsides, I've got many years' worth of Uncompables to feature here. But one thing in short supply on that list, and in punk rock in general, is black vocalists. Roctober has covered the topic pretty well, but they missed a couple. I can't blame them, as these tracks are otherwise lost on some very non-punk records.
There's a certain record store in NYC which shall remain nameless which is sitting on a pile of stock KBD era records from another shop they bought out years back. They did a wonderful job of pissing off the locals when all these gems started going directly to eBay this past year. Visitors to the store would generally only find the worst of the worst in the 99 cent bin. But one day it turned up a handful of copies of the Nu-Clear Energy (NYC, 1979) single. The guy who prices the records must have played the A-side, caught the first five seconds of its full-on disco assault, and wrote off the record as garbage. Too bad for him he didn't flip it over. The vocalist, who looks like Mick Collins on the cover, sounds more like Snuky Tate. Sure, it's something of a cheesy throwaway, but for a late-70s NYC unknown, Catch Yourself Talking To Yourself isn't half bad.
I'm going to go out on a limb and venture a guess that vocalist Stu Horn of Horn & Hard Art (Philadelphia, 1978) was black. No pictures of the band appear on the sleeve or insert, but the majority of the four tracks are firmly in the funk genre and one of them is called "Black Beauty" ("See that Sister passing by...she's my black, Black Beauty"). Of course white dudes can date black girls, and two band members probably had Bar Mitzvahs, so who knows? I do know that I'm Not Nice does not belong on a funk record. Nu-Clear Energy may be the better record, but this wins in the "What the fuck?!" category. *
Finally some feedback to Volume 1: Stuart Schrader points out that "at least one (Blake) and maybe more members of No Control went on to Sheer Terror". Also check out his excellent article about the Ducky Boys, rare punk comps, and Brooklyn called Staring Down the Developer. And Uncle Ted from the now late and lamented Horizontal Action says "If my recollections are correct, Beluga was a big intimidating transsexual.---hence the confusion come 26 years later." Confirm the racial identity of Mr. Horn and you can see your name in print next time around.
Questions, comments, corrections? Send them my way: justin-at-CollectorScum.com.
* Correction: Thanks to some detective work by Jason Litchfield, I now know that I am completely wrong. Stu's a whitey. I'm still looking for an explanation of "Black Beauty".
These MP3s are intended for educational purposes and to allow people to hear songs from rare and/or hopelessly out of print records. If you're an artist or label behind one of these recordings and you want an MP3 taken down, please contact the editor at termibore-at-aoldotcom.
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