Can-OUTTAKE EDITION 4-CD set (Franny Record Music, bootleg of indeterminable origin)
Two-oh-oh-eight certainly is turning out to be a pretty snazzy bootleg year, perhaps the best year for boots since '95 (just-pre-crackdown) or, counting the vinyl era 1985 when it seemed as if the royal treatment was being given to these clandestine wonders perhaps in an attempt to blow the major labels outta the water using their own game! And no sooner than I had digested all of those Pink Floyd bootlegs a week or so back than comes this wonder, a four-CD set of none other than rarities from the vaults of the German uberpunk group known as Can that're so obscure even a pseudo-krautrock-intellectual such as I haven't heard most if not all of these numbers. And considering just how much of a Can maniac I have become as of late (or at least the past fifteen years) you could say that the arrival of this box set is about as welcome as manna from Heaven or at least a box of early-seventies fanzines, either one will suffice.
Can is a group that has been known to record just about every second of rehearsal and live scronkage that they've laid down for "posterity" purposes so this set is merely the tip of the iceberg. But what an iceberg it is...disc one starts off with a 16:40 instrumental entitled "Upduff Birth" which is mainly the original and best variation of Can in '68 working out an early take of "Mother Upduff" (from the (UN)LIMITED EDITION odds and sods) with Malcolm Mooney honking away on a saxophone he probably never did learn how to play. The takes of "Outside My Door" and "Man Named Joe" have been flying around in various formats prior to their appearance on OUTTAKE EDITION but they sure sound spiffy here so don't frown! But what's really surprising are the following numbers from the just-post Damo Suzuki days when none other than loner folkster Tim Hardin was being considered as a new lead vocalist for the group! Never thought these would see the light of day but they're here and you can judge for yourself whether or not Hardin would have made a good frontman for this esteemed krautrock aggregate! (As for myself, I find the inclusion of Hardin into the Can ranks rather out of place, but frankly I'm sure he would have worked out fine considering the stories I've heard about his personal habits!)
Disc #2 is all Damo-era with two 35+ minute numbers, one a TAGO MAGO outtake called "Tagothrowaway" while the other's the unexpurgated (not a note cut!) "Doko E", a sliver of which appears on (UN)LIMITED EDITION. I've heard a longer excerpt from this that was going around in the eighties, but this one appears to be the entire kit 'n kaboodle making OUTTAKE EDITION pretty tasty if I do say so myself! And frankly, only a clod would be bored by it...I've sat through the thing a few times and found every second exciting as the song moves and grows on you like yet another portion of the fabled three-day version of "Sister Ray"!
The third platter has a number of extended studio instrumentals that date from an Edinburgh Aug. '73 gig as well as a '75 studio recording, but what makes them even more desirable is that the famous Japanese vocalist Phew (of Aunt Sally fame amongst other goodies) overdubbed some free vocals over the entire schmeer! One might expect her, being Japanese and female, to have gone on a Yoko Ono trip and yodelled all over the place but actually Phew played it a lot differently, coming off pretty much like a femme Damo Suzuki alternating between speak-singing and scat and whatever popped into her highly-advanced beanie! If you ask me, Phew sure would've made a good frontwoman for Can...too bad she did all this caterwauling in the eighties long after the group broke up! After this 'un I'm definitely going to have to look into getting the stuff she recorded with ex-Canners Czukay and Leibzeit in the eighties (when these overdubs were undoubtedly recorded) as well as the Aunt Sally CD, not to mention dig out my Phew album that's moiling away in the collection somewhere in the basement!
The final disc is all live and was recorded in the mid-seventies, great extended romps that were done at a time when Can had somehow broken into the English hippoid market and were one of the bigger bedroom bonghit wonders on the Isle for quite some time. Well, I guess that the English longhairs did have much better tastes than their overseas counterparts whose heads were still in (or up?) 1967, because the likes of Can and Hawkwind were a lot more energetic than the way laidback mewlings of the Southern Californian singer/songwriters that the Amerigan hippies were so choked up about! Frankly I could listen to the mid-seventies version of the group get into these intricate-yet-energetic space rock tracks for hours on end, and that's even without the aid of any of that placebo guava root legal high spizz you'd see advertised in the back pages of CREEM for years on end!
If you're that game on hearing this and you don't have the bux to search out a flesh and blood copy heave awe, for Mutant Sounds have downloaded the entire shebang for your pleasure and you can burn a few copies for yourself and a close personal friend merely by clicking here. Anyway, it's sure better for you to do this than to try outbidding me next time this hits the ebay auction list!