Thursday, May 2, 2013
Laughing Clowns "Cruel, But Fair" The Complete Clowns Recordings: Gotta love Laughing Clowns!!! When Ed Kuepper decided to leave his legendary band The Saints in 1979, fans and critics alike might have been forgiven for expecting his next musical venture to be in a similar vein - anarchic garage rock, oozing with punk attitude and snarling riffs. What they got instead was a gloriously unique and inventive band called the Laughing Clowns.The signs were certainly there on The Saints' 1978 album Prehistoric Sounds - a telling bunch of slower songs and arrangements, a greater use of (gasp!) acoustic guitars, as well as horns and piano. Unwilling to tread the same sonic paths,Kuepper was determined to forge a new sound based on an unlikely pair of musical inspirations: jazz tenorist Archie Shepp, and crooner Tony Bennett's late '50s album The Beat Of My Heart. "I wanted to put the emphasis on the drums and instruments other than guitar to
make the musical points," Kuepper explains in his liner notes - and from that singular brief the Clowns were born. Too often neglected, both during their career and since, Cruel, But Fair presents the Clowns' entire studio output on vinyl - 48 tracks across three CDs, in all their remastered glory. Their first single, Holy Joe, set the signature sound for much of the band's work over the next 6 years: Ed's echo-drenched vocals married to Jeff Wegener's energetic, jazz flavoured drumming, with healthy dollops of strident piano and wailing horn melodies thrown into the mix. But Kuepper put few reins on his song-writing muse, channelling all the musical possibilities of the post-punk period he himself helped usher in. From Flypaper, which roars out of the speakers like one of Morricone's great lost spaghetti-western themes, all clattering drums and frenetic
guitars, to the slow, sparse percussion and weary horns of Collapse Board, and the edgy but elegant rock of Eternally Yours (the closest the band ever got to a hit single), it's obvious just how keen Kuepper was to explore a larger musical palette. Crystal Clear is a galloping, ska-inspired number complete with blaring, honking saxes, while Ghost Of An Ideal Wife's hypnotic banjo & sax groove and Sometimes' skeletal funk are works few would have expected from the man who co-wrote (I'm) Stranded. Even now, it's virtually impossible to categorize the incredible mix of rock, soul, punk, new wave and jazz elements that Laughing Clowns fused together - not always perfectly, but with a forcefulness and ambition that remains simply undeniable. - MOJO
trax CD 1:
01 Eternally Yours 02 As Your Bridges Burn Behind You 03 Law of Nature 04 The Flypaper 05 Everything That Flies 06 No Words of Honour 07 New Bully in the Town 08 Year of the Bloated Goat 09 Diabolic Creature 10 Monkey See Monkey Do 11 Possessions 12 Written in Exile 13 Winter's Way 14 Crystal Clear 15 Eternally Yours (Original Album Version)
trax CD 2:
01 Holy Joe 02 Theme From Mad Flies, Mad Flies 03 Every Dog Has It's Day 04 That's The Way It Goes 05 Come One Come All 06 Ghost Beat 07 Knife In The Head 08 Laughing Clowns 09 Eulogy? 10 I Want To Scream 11 Lucky Days 12 Sometimes 13 Nothing That Harms 14 Clown Town 15 Fire Might Fall 16 The Crying Dance 17 When What You See...
trax CD 3:
01 Mr Uddich Schmuddich Goes To Town 02 Ghost Of an Ideal Wife 03 The Only One That Knows 04 Collapse Board 05 Stinking To High Heaven 06 Don't Know What I Want 07 Eating Off The Floor 08 Laughter Around The Table 09 Bride of Jesus 10 In Front of Your Eyes 11 It Gets So Sentimental 12 Mr Ridiculous 13 The Year Is More Important 14 Just Because I Like 15 Song of Joy 16 Times Not Hit But Missed
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