Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jump to your feet; let us catch your eye!

Kids today, they don’t know they’re born eh? When I was a teenager, five pounds was a lot of money, a hell of a lot in fact. Weeks of saving up. So, blowing it all on a record you knew almost nothing about was an act of foolhardiness to say the least.

Neverheless naïve halfwit that I was, I used to do it regularly, just wanting to hear something new and interesting. There were certainly a few turkeys (basing your record-buying on the whims of a Sounds journalist will do that… Pink Military anyone?), but a few real belters and one in particular that I still listen to on a semi-regular basis.

Pebbles Vol. 2

Pebbles was a multi-volume compilation series, by now quite famous, but at the time, pretty much unknown,a and was made up of obscure sixties garage punk singles. I loved it. Amongst the rough and ready three minute tracks, there were songs by the Moving Sidewalks (Billy Gibbons’ first band), the Sons of Adam (written by Arthur Lee) and Bobby Fuller. There was also a hugely entertaining radio ad by the Electric Prunes for the Vox Wah Wah Pedal (“It’s the now sound! It’s what’s happening!”). Really, I played it to death.

If I’m honest, though, the one track on the album that I didn’t really go for was “Green Fuz” by Randy Alvey and the Green Fuz., which was an incredibly primitive, low-fi number, written to be their “theme tune”. None of the other songs were what you’d call polished, but this one stuck out as being really half-arsed.

Here, have a listen:

Green Fuz – Randy Alvey & the Green Fuz

Kinda basic, isn’t it?

Anyway, over the years, I’ve grown rather fonder of it, and as these things have a knack of doing, a cult has grown up around it, to the extent that a trawl around the Internet even rewards you with an interview with Randy Alvey himself (here), and talk of a series of reunion gigs. I believe the Cramps and one or two others have also covered it and probably even as I write, some bright young thing is no doubt negotiating terms for its use in a mobile phone ad.

Anyway, an album I’ve downloaded this month, and have been enjoying this afternoon particularly is the new(ish) one from the Lemonheads, Varshons. I’ve enjoyed following Evan Dando’s erratic, capering career, and will generally buy anything he puts his name to (again yielding a few stinkers, as above), but this really is a rewarding listen. My favourite track off Varshons is this one:

Green Fuz – The Lemonheads

It’s a more considered affair than the original, although every bit as confused and inept.

I can’t decide which I like the most…

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