Thursday, June 07, 2007

REDWING LP (Fantasy)

Yes I've been suckered many a time, but really, when you're expecting an album from the sainted days of cheapo cutouts and lost kultural gems to be that special something you've been craving all these years only to find out that it's just another early-seventies throwaway, man do you feel washed out! Or make that run over with a steamroller or an Eyetalian picking dandelions on the freeway for that matter. And true, a lotta these forgotten seventies salvages have been worth the time and effort it took to track them down even before the grand and glorious days of ebay (otherwise would we even know who Hackamore Brick and the Sidewinders were?), but getting hold of a certainly not-up-to-snuff elpee that you've been craving for ages is sorta like marrying what you thought was the most gorgeous girl inna world only to find out on your wedding night after taking off the shrink wrap (sorry, but sometimes I get record collecting and whoopee-related matters all mixed up!) that her entire butt is cellulite city and that she must've had some extra-strength bra on to keep her boobs from knocking against her knees, and true you can easily enough sell an alb (and yer stuck with the dame!) but the same heaping hunk of disappointment is still there and if you ask me it's worse'n all those deflated Christmasses of yore combined!

Redwing certainly had a number of good things going for 'em too, from a pretty snazzy non-pretentious San Francisco reputation (seemingly far-removed from the images of hippie hackery so in-place in the burgh come the seventies) to a vast array of smart guys in their rah-rah section o'er the years. Gene Sculatti, a fellow who could reveal to you exactly what is was which made San Francisco tick (and who knew the difference between fandom and hagiography) being just one...his FUSION review is what got my pea soup bubbling to the point where I actually placed a hefty $6.72 bid for a copy of this via ebay a few weeks back, and given the hipster name-dropping of the likes of Moby Grape and even the Velvets (if only with regards to a few seconds in the intro of "Shorty Go Home") how could one as precociously gullible as myself resist? And Sculatti certainly was more'n just a camp follower, once writing that live Redwing put on a totally wild, killer show that approached the MC5 for solid high energy thrills! Also in Redwing's camp was Jymn Parrett of DENIM DELINQUENT fame, and the guy even featured the band (complete with a back cover snap!) in his fifth (and best) issue, the same one which sported huge paens to the one called Iggy during his just-post Stooges days in Los Angeles when the guy was wallowing between his legendary (and as yet-unreleased---hisssss!) "Murder of the Virgin" gig at Rodney's English Disco with Ray Manzareck on organ and popping in on a Flo and Eddie radio show at KROQ where he sang along to "LA Woman" before the hosts unceremoniously kicked him off the air. Greg Shaw too, and frankly I wouldn't be surprised if more reputable names were in the Redwing camp, even if the fact that this band croaked out five albums might give one the idea that they were just as much San Fran hack as Joys of Cooking and other hippoid miscarriages of the days of acid comedown.

And really, Redwing are one buncha boys I thought would've had the spine to release one of those knockout debut platters along the lines of THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN, THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO, THE STOOGES, KICK OUT THE JAMS, (none other than) MOBY GRAPE need I go on, especially considering that they had been around for a good decade before recording this maiden endeavor going from early-sixties teen stompers to mid-sixties garage band losers (with a track on PEBBLES...I believe volume ten, as the Marauders) to local mainstays on the lower-tier scene. But no, even with a decade of "shoulda known better" behind 'em their first 'un really ain't anything to cheer about even if you were rollicking in the comparatively dull early-seventies music scene when half-way there almost seemed like "all the way." None of the special eclectic magic of Moby Grape appears nor does the psychedelic blast of Quicksilver Messenger Service let alone Mad River and other West Coast bright spots. I mean, I wasn't hoping for the Flamin' Groovies (who at least kept the mid-sixties SF spirit alive with all of the punk intact), but sheesh, just look at those guys in the upper left corner of this review...not a shred of hippydippy in sight and the guys kinda look like what I would expect your average early-seventies garage punk band to come off like, but why this rather tepid, shallow country rock when they should've been kicking out some major jamz anyway???

REDWING is just too giddy, longhair country/commune settle-back Boone's Farm-y for my tastes and I dunno, maybe I am missing something??? (If so, please do some enlightening.) And sure, the fact that Ralph J. Gleason did the liners might be a tipoff to its blanditude given that peacenlove-addled minds tend to cosmically flow in the same direction, but he also did 'em for the first Tony Williams Lifetime and that certainly was a jaw-dropper. Maybe if they got Meltzer to write 'em I'd like this a whole lot, but otherwise all I gotta say is that REDWING is a rather pedestrian affair that if anything reminds me of the plethora of snoozy post-New Riders bands that proliferated bars across the land for a longer period than I'm sure any true rock & roller could stand.

(Oh, there's one thing I like about the album and that's the song "Bonnie Bones." It's a loser for sure with its rather giddy freaks on the farm approach, but the title reminds me of the name of Dick Tracy's daughter Bonnie Braids, she being yet another slick comic strip marketing ploy worthy of Al Capp or Charles Schulz considering how a Bonnie Braids doll was marketed soon after her arrival in the strip. Bonnie was perhaps the last great TRACY tie-in gimmick until Moon Maid had her own kid a good fifteen or so years later at which point all the original fans of the strip had bailed out in disgust given how they could take grotesque killers and ultra-violence in their comics but not aliens! Still, memories like these always tend to cheer this old pooperoo up once in awhile!)


Anonymous said...

Hey, Chris,
I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed the reviews of obscure vinyl from the post-60s, pre-punk
era, and off-the-wall items from any era. Glad you're getting back into regular updates to the "vinyl listening party." You are now and have always been the master of that kind of thing, and it's great to be able to get these updates once or twice a week rather than having to wait a year or two for an actual mag.
Where else could I learn about Redwing or Jango Edwards? Also,
those kind of ephemeral releases like the FUGS FOUR ROUNDERS SCORE album that surfaced briefly and obscurities like the MUSSORGSKY'S HEAD that I would see once or twice in a record store rack and wonder what the heck it was. You are doing a valuable public service by listening to, analyzing, and putting into context these kind of things.
That's always been one of my favorite parts of BTC. Keep up the good work.

Your friend and devoted BTC supporter in South Texas,


Jim Parrett said...

To each his own. I still have the album and love it. Andrew Samuels leads sizzle.