Saturday, November 03, 2007


Sorry this ain't gonna be one of my jambus packtus big weekend postings where I get to dribble on about alla the goodies that have graced my life the previous week, but not only have I been lacking in time (or energy, or even plain ol' want and desire) to go downstairs 'n play some of the long-lingering recordings that have clogged up my vinyl nervous system for a greater span 'o time'n I care to remember but I haven't been getting hold of alla the neet-o new and upcoming Cee-Dees and such that keeps a feller like myself going on and on (as opposed to Onanonanon... which I'm sure more'n a few readers should know about firsthand {heeeee...]). Anyway, there are a few goodies that are being delayed somewhere in the mail that should be hopping my way a lot later'n originally expected, and if things go swimmingly well I might have the time to take that trek down to the basement to finish playing my copy of the Circle LONDON CONCERT twofa on ECM (side one being a bigger struggle than I can recall, with Chick Corea's piano prancy-fancy style drowning out the better aspects of Anthony Braxton) amongst other stale produce mouldering away, but for now lemme tell you about this great new archival dig from Henry Flynt (the creator of "Performance Art") and his Nova'billy band recorded well over three decades back which should be a tipoff that this 'un's a good cranker done long before people pretended that they knew better...

Flynt didn't take too kindly to my review of the Nova'billy single reviewed this past May for reasons that might seem picayune to you and me but sure meant a whole lot to ol' Flynt! I guess the major source of his gripe was the mention of Robert Christgau passing up an invite to review a Nova'billy live show, but what actually transpired was something even more so-strange-it-hadda-be-real with the famed peen actually ATTENDING a gig only to sneer and gape in typical Christgau fashion before not only declining to review the gig himself, but nixing a VILLAGE VOICE article on Nova'billy that had already been done and all set for type. I guess that more or less was the actual source of Flynt's anger but frankly, even with the reliance on gossip and internet scraps of info in order to latch onto some cohesive info it wasn't like I was acting negatively towards Flynt in any way shape or form so why the real angst anyways, hunh? (Don't answer that, I have my own theories!)

All sour grapes aside, I gotta say that this gulcheral dig-up is pretty suave in its own way, almost as good as Flynt's sixties group the Insurrectionists not to mention a whole slew of those great Flynt violin/tambura droning recordings that were so obscure during the seventies and eighties that the only way you could get a copy of 'em was if you were a close personal friend of Imants Krumins. I mean, not only does this have the country swing style down pat with a load of Lamonte Young influx (as is part and parcel to a lotta these Flynt recordings), but what else could you say about a group that did a jazzed up version of "the Internationale" as well as had two honest-to-goodniz late-seventies New York boho icons (future Contortions drummer Don Christensen and Love of Life Orchestra leader Peter Gordon) in the ranks making this perhaps the biggest precursor to what En Why was gonna turn into once the mid-seventies gave way to the early-eighties drugs 'n delusion???

It's funny reading about how Flynt actually approached CBGB for a gig back in the day only to be turned down for who knows what lame-brained reason, because it was this sorta smart rock with whole loads of (take your pick) funk/disco/country/jazz/what-have-you influences stuck in that sorta ruled the lower Manhattan hip-de-la-hip limited attention spans of the late-seventies and a good portion of the eighties. Ironically, CBGB would be booking tons of groups who sounded pretty much like Nova'billy once the decade clocked over, and may I be the first to put my weenie on the chopping block and say that groups like Information, Mofungo, Fish and Roses and a whole batch of those long-forgotten "Loisada" bands owe a huge debt to Nova'billy whether they know it or not?!?!? I never heard Ned Sublette, but I have a feeling that his entire post-no wave country rock woulda come pretty close to what Nova'billy laid down on these tracks a nearly ten years prior as well. Sorta like that patented Noo Yawk rock bed based on a whole lotta past accomplishment (you-know-who I'm blabbing about!) with a rural hillbilly inna big city sorta clamor that was started by Woody 'n Pete and matured by Dylan and the Holy Modal Rounders alla way up through a whole batch of groups who in their own unsuccessful ways tried turning the Lower East Side into a family feud. The jazz-country playing fits in well with Flynt's mid-South vocalese and avant-hillbilly fiddle which seems to live somewheres between Peter Stampfel and John Cale, and frankly it's kinda hard to see how a group like this couldn't break outta just a few well-underattended gigs because the whole thing romps on so smooth, so fine that you even wanna pay attention to the blues jam that closes the thing and no pseudo-hipster'd ever admit to doing that!

Dunno if this 'un's gonna make it into the BEST ARCHIVAL DIGUP RELEASE OF '07 comes next month's year-end wrapup, but I'd say it was a contender and a good 'un at that. Anyway, here's to yet another good Locust Henry Flynt release and here's hoping that more will be found deep in the bowels of Flynt's long-lock and key'd stash o' tapes and issued, and mightily soon at that!


nyfotmc said...

Has anyone heard of the documentary about the Holy Modal Rounders "The Holy Modal Rounders...Bound To Lose"?
Its supposed to be really great and I is being released this winter.

check out their myspace page

Anonymous said...

nyfotmc, could that be a more blatant plug for 'bound to lose'? Are you one of the producers. freakin' moles.

Chris,i bought nova'billy on your advice! It's fucking amazing. Keep the jams comin'.

dubnelson said...

"may I be the first to put my weenie on the chopping block and say that groups like Information, Mofungo, Fish and Roses ...owe a huge debt to Nova'billy whether they know it or not?!?!? "

Though I'll pass on that opportunity to chop, as a member of Information and Mofungo who had never heard of Nova'billy before reading your blog entry today, 1/10/08, I'd like to settle my huge debt - where do I send my check? CN

Christopher said...

You can either send it to Locust Records (see link above) or a number of mail order businesses that may sill be carrying it, like Volcanic Tongue or Forced Exposure. Another huge debt you can settle with us peons is releasing your vast tape backlog of classic NYC mid-seventies recordings including the Pere Ubu at Max's Kansas City 4/76 'un that's remained unheard by us manic fans lo these many years!