Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Troggs-LIVE AT MAX'S KANSAS CITY CD (Max's Kansas City, distributed by President Records, England)

You gotta credit the Velvet Underground for getting a whole lotta balls out there in rock & roll land a'rollin', but one ball they really oughta be commended for is putting out the first ever album recorded at that famed watering hole for New York's more-decadent-than-thou crowd, Max's Kansas City. Long before all of those Devo, Ramones, Heartbreakers, Stooges and Bruce Springsteen Max's platters (legit or otherwise) there was the Velvets with that in/out-of-print budget-line wonder which ya gotta admit set the pace for a whole load of audience-recorded club recordings to follow. True, way too many aficionados of the form have made it a point in their reviews and general phonecall comments to lambaste this notorious contract filler, but humble I will continue to stand by it not only for the music (way-above average early-seventies garage band dance rock) but for the general New York hip club atmosphere surrounding perhaps thee cultiest of local groups making their last stand before Doug Yule decided to drag their name through the mud more for a good three years.

This Troggs disque licensed to the low-fi President label in England by former Max's owner Tommy Dean did enjoy a certain amount of popularity at the time of its '80 release. At least I remember two or three wonks on the mainstream rock bandwagon singing its praises which might only prove that broken clocks are good twice a day but back then any sign of life was good. I gotta hand it to those Mellencamp wannabes for having at least a little bitta taste in their system to give a platter recorded at this punk hot spot the time of day, (remember, this was when not only punk but any sorta local original rock & roll was more or less condemned if only due to nervous action on the part of way too many FM-bred dolts), but for us high-energy rockers this 'un's just as club-hopping wild as the Heartbreakers, Stooges and all those other Max's recordings that made you wish that you too could have graced the stage upstairs with your own total-vibration band that nobody wanted to form with you back then.

Naturally you get the expected biggies from "Wild Thing" and "Love Is All Around" (sounding pretty close to the trio-period Talking Heads take though don't let that scare you rabid anti-gnu wave types off!) as well as the underground hits like "Feels Like a Woman" and "Gonna Make You". Not forgetting the spirited covers of the Stones, Rufus Thomas and Berry that the Troggs naturally "make their own" blah blah include your own rockcrit cliches here and so forth. But the Troggs sure put on a solid show and album for that matter, and at times even I have to admit that the redos of at least the less-familiar-to-you trackage do sound better than the studio takes if only because of the raunchy club aura of this disque which does transport you back to a day and time when rock & roll was still truly threatening, especially to the mainstream, Chuck Eddified geeks out there who were supporting the likes of all those horrid Journeys and REOs that the Troggs stood bravely against. Even the dirty stuff like "Summertime" and "Strange Movie" ends up here all done in that IMMEDIATE style that doesn't come off retrograde or pandering to any nostalgic whims the audience may have. Here the Troggs are every bit as contemporary and relevant (in a non-hippie way) as the rest of the groups on the New York Scene, many of whom were aping more'n a few tricks these Troggs were laying down over ten years before.

It's enjoyable both on a sixties teenage rah-rah and late-seventies deca-rock elitist level (and ya gotta remember just how the Troggs were treated as rockism royalty by the punk-elite here in the US of Whoa at the same nanosecond they hadda sweat it out on the nostalgia circuit in Europe!!!----have some pride for once Ameriga!), and what's more but as a BONUS President tagged on two outta three studio tracks that the Troggs (actually, Reg Presley and Ronnie Bond with Chris Spedding) recorded for Max's that didn't come out until the FAREWELL TO MAX'S platter sometime in the early-nineties! Both are prime Troggsian thumpers that could've easily passed for early/mid-seventies outtakes and I guess should be part and parcel to any true Trogglodyte's collection. But then again, what sorta fan wouldn't've had these numbuhs front and center in his collection at this period in time anyway? Of course it's a mystery why the spry cover of "Save The Last Dance For Me" didn't make it here, because that one had even more of a New York Underground pop/punk style worthy of bands like the Heat and Marbles and woulda sparkled up this offering plenty! Oh well, maybe it'll pop up on the next reissue of this platter that Dean will have the opportunity to license out to yet ANOTHER small English label!


Anonymous said...


Sorry to break house rules and change the subject, but have you seen the fat stash of Michael Yonkers video wares on myspace/youtube? There was me thinking he’d gone on a 30-year hiatus save for a bit of undocumented dance therapy gubbins, when it turns out that not only has he been recording loads of stuff during said haitus but he’s been prolifically making videos of the whole shenanigans as well. There’s some hidden treasure in there to be sure, but be warned there’s at least one Simon and Garfunkle-type turkey in there too. Lastly, for a 60-year-old codger, and a victim of a severe industrial accident, he doesn’t half look healthy these days.



Anonymous said...

I just discover your blog and your comment about the Troggs.
I would like to know if you would help me to figure out some lines in the lyrics of summertime and strange movie.
What did he say after:
I like the discotheque when the music get heavy and the girls get hot and the suntanned bodies start sh-sh-sh-sh shaking
I like ??????
(strange movie)
My friend Cindy, she said
Got it in me uh uh ?????

thanks for your help