Friday, June 02, 2006

Roxy Music-FIRST KISS 2-CD-R SET (bootleg)

I haven't been doing many of these midweek postings like I used to, so in keeping with my goal to make June one of the most post-filled months in the history of this blog here's a small review that I hope will not only enlighten some heretofore unknowing waif (as I've always attempted to do in my illustrious career, my goal in life being to show the usually staid hoi polloi the error of their blanded-out ways so they can be more like me), but in some small, perhaps unknowing way get the goat of some naif who's run afowl of the paths of the pure rockism righteousness which I've been providing to said naifs for nigh on a quarter-century. So frankly, if I don't piss someone off no matter how slightly with today's missive, I'll know I've failed somewhere in my quest to prove to even the densest of fogs out there just why this blogger is no-bout-a-doubt-it thee preeminent spokesman for a truly unheard generation or two of gonzoid musicianship these days, which wouldn't be that much of a task considering some of the utterly rancid reads out there available with the click of a mouse.

Anyway, today's posting shall deal with an undoubtedly classic bootleg (please excuse the grainy repro'd cover on the left) entitled FIRST KISS by the popular English beat group Roxy Music. 'n yeah, I know that I've reviewed this one awlready in the pages of my equally illustrious fanzine sometime inna late 90s or early 00s whenever it first graced my eardrums, but since we're living in the Age o' Pixels maybe this one is due for a revival of sorts, or at least should be exposed to a potentially larger audience than the fifteen or so people who read my magazine with relish, or perhaps a little mustard added as well. (Please excuse moi, your author just can't resist the occasional cornballus bad pun!)

Looking back, it's kinda unbelievable to think that Roxy Music had made it as far as they did especially smack dab in the middle of a music scene which certainly wasn't known for its high energy. After all, the year was 1972, and the British listening populace certainly wasn't as rock-gear oriented as they were a few years earlier (which would explain the heavy infatuation not only there but in the U S of Whoa over the progressive art rock groups of the day) or would be a few years down the road. Really, who in their rockism-geared mind would have thought that some outta left field band who claimed not only Ethel Merman but the Velvet Underground top influences and put out a hefty wail that seemed equal parts King Crimson, Can, Amon Duul II, Hawkwind and the Stooges (at least on "Remake/Remodel", perhaps "Editions of You" and as stated in a CREEM review of VIVA, "Mother of Pearl") would have made such a giganto SPLASH as they had back in those best and worst of times days! Rilly, if fate had its usual way Roxy Music would have been lucky to have been a one-time-only affair that fizzled out on initial impact, only to become a future-shock "what if?" kinda act for tight-buttocked rock & roll dissecters to muse on about thirtysome years down the line. Y'know, sorta be the Velvet Fogg of the early-seventies or the like!

But anyway Roxy Music did make it with a slew of engaging albums (even after guiding light Eno scrambooched the group only to put out a series of classic slabs before petering out into "serious" avant garde schmoozerisms) as well as a plethora of spinoffs by its mainstays which may or may not have been released on this side of the Atlantic, and you gotta be thankful to God (or, if you don't follow the Ways of the West the nearest Golden Calf or baby-spearing Moloch of your choice) that somehow Roxy Music, with its sleek seventies style and mixing of prog and punk in a savvy fashion unseen since the original krautrock era did hit it big even if that meant their inflluence hadda extend to a number of dismal post-punk and eighties fashion-plate bands people like myself could care less about!

Anyway, the two disques found in this bootleg set feature what I assume are all of the Eno-period Roxy's BBC sessions including their original John Peel appearances as well as the usual BBC "In Concert" live trackage which I believe has Peel doing the pontificating bit anyways. The original Roxy appearances (recorded 1/4/72, or make that 4/1/72 in Fantasyland-speak) are rather enlightening in the fact that they sound remarkably like the tracks on the group's eponymous debut yet with an even more intense current running through them, and oddly enough original guitarist Davy O'List seems to have been just as capable as the sometimes too-technical Phil Manzanara but perhaps even more in-gear with what the Roxy Machine was attempting to do...too bad he reportedly is one of the biggest mental flakeouts in rock history or else he might have helped pilot the band in a more, er, feral direction.

As far as enlightening moments go, I must say that what sticks out in my overdeveloped mind most on this set are the 1) extended drone ending to "If There Is Something" (7/18/72) with that Eno-treated guitar sound that reminds me more of a stylophone than anything, 2) the hyper takes of "Virginia Plain" and "Remake/Remodel" from that aforementioned "In Concert" appearance (coming up next week, "The Johnny Otis Show"...did that one survive?) and, as a bonus, 3) the non-LP single sides which always sounded so feh on those mid-seventies bootlegs but sound nice and crackly here, which include some classic and forgotten trackage along the lines of "Pyjamarama" and "The Pride and the Pain" which (as someone once said on the internet elsewhere but it seems so good I thought I'd cop the idea for myself) has this krautrock heavy chord pounce to it mixed with a Velvet Underground demeanor as well as what sounds like some backwoods inbreds whipping a runaway slave or something equally tasteless making for one of the better watermarks of early-seventies proto-punk Velvets usages at least since Hawkwind/Robert Calvert or Can themselves. Lemme tell you, it makes for a completely more refreshing listening experience (that seems to zone you out of the present-day doldrums just like it did when you were fifteen and didn't know better) than it does listening to comparatively dull and disgusting overhyped psych-progressive noodling the likes of Morgen, unnerstand?


Gil Seville said...

How might one acquire said bootleg? Any idea? I love Roxy Music, but I've never seen this available anywhere...

Christopher Stigliano said...

Gil, your best bet is to try the usual bootleg circuits or ebay. Ever since the big bootleg crackdowns began in the eighties and nineties, getting hold of these outta-the-way wares has been more often than not a hit or miss affair.