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Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Fugs - Electromagnetic Steamboat (1967-70 us, superb freak folk psych experimental rock, three disc box set)

Electromagnetic Steamboat: The Reprise Recordings gathers "every unique master recording of the Fugs that was delivered to and survives in the Reprise [Records] archives." This includes not only the four long-players: Tenderness Junction, It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest, The Belle of Avenue A, and Golden Filth, but also an additional 40 minutes of material that never made it onto a standard commercial release. 

The Fugs first gained notoriety with their cerebral marriage of Lower East Side beatnik philosophies to electric folk music in 1964. This culminated in a series of definitive underground recordings on the New York City based ESP label. It was after a somewhat acrimonious split that the Fugs signed with the decidedly West Coast Reprise Records. The band's revolving door personnel features a few familiar session musicians during this era.

 Among the more notable names are Danny Kortchmar (guitar), Charles Larkey (bass), Bob Mason (drums), Richard Tee (organ), jazz legend Julius Watkins (French horn), and Ken Pine (guitar). Remaining at the inventive center of the Fugs are Tuli Kupferberg (vocals), Ed Saunders (vocals), and Ken Weaver (vocals/drums). Even with the lack of stability in the lineup, the nature of the band remained pure. In light of the political and social situations that the world faced in the late '60s, The Fugs' single-minded resonance of a Dionysian reality seemed practically surreal. 

The multi-dimensional "War Song" -- originally issued on Tenderness Junction -- acknowledges the duality of base gratification during wartime. Golden Filth is conspicuous as the only live album in the lot. Recorded at Bill Graham's Fillmore East, the set includes "I Want to Know," in addition to tracks from their ESP days -- including "Coca Cola Douche," which is titled "CCD" for obvious legal reasons. The original album art from Cal Schenkel is also reproduced within the memorabilia-laden liner notes. 

The bonus material includes a monophonic mix of "Tenderness Junction," as well as a unique edit of the "Divine Toe" medley, which was previously available on The 1969 Warner/Reprise Songbook -- a mail order-only promotional album offered from the record label. Additionally there is the "promo album version" of "Crystal Liaison" that was issued exclusively on the Some of Our Best Friends Are disc. Finally, the infamous five-track demo reel delivered -- but never issued -- to Atlantic Records is released here for the first time in its entirety. Electromagnetic Steamboat: The Reprise Recordings is limited to an edition of 5,000 and available exclusively through the Rhino HandMade. 
by Lindsay Planer

Disc 1 
Tenderness Junction 1967
1. Turn On / Tune In / Drop Out (T. Leary, K. Weaver) - 4:39
2. Knock Knock - 4:15
3. The Garden Is Open (Tuli Kupferberg) - 6:02
4. Wet Dream - 3:16
5. Hare Krishna (Zeus, A. Ginsberg) - 3:19
6. Exorcising The Evil Spirits From The Pentagon October 21, 1967 - 3:13
7. War Song (K. Pine, K. Weaver) - 5:18
8. Dover Beach (T. Kupferberg, M. Arnold) - 3:56
9. Fingers Of The Sun (Warren Smith) - 2:18
10.Aphrodite Mass (In 5 Sections) (Gary Elton, Sapho) - 8:20 
.I...Litany Of The Street Grope
.II..Genuflection At The Temple Of Squack
.III.Petals In The Sea
.IV..Sappho's Hymn To Aphrodite
.V...Homage To Throb Thrills
It Crawled into My Hand, Honest 1968
11.Crystal Liaison (E. Sanders, K. Pine, K. Weaver) - 3:07
12.Ramses II Is Dead, My Love - 2:45
13.Burial Waltz (E. Sanders, Warren Smith) - 2:24
14.Wide Wide River (T. Kupferberg, Lionel Lewis Goldbart) - 2:47
15.Life Is Strange (T. Kupferberg) - 2:32
16.Johnny Pissoff Meets The Red Angel - 4:32
17.Marijuana (Bob Dorough, E. Sanders, T. Kupferberg) - 1:38
18.Leprechaun (K. Weaver) - 0:10
19.When The Mode Of Music Changes (T. Kupferberg) - 3:51
20.Whimpers From The Jello - 0:20
21.The Divine Toe (Part I) - 0:38
22.We're Both Dead Now, Alice (E. Sanders, K. Weaver) - 0:16
23.Life Is Funny (T. Kupferberg) - 0:14
24.Grope Need (Part I) - 0:18
25.Tuli, Visited By The Ghost Of Plontinus / More Grope Need (Grope Need-Part II) - 0:18
26.Robinson Crusoe (K. Weaver) - 0:17
27.Claude Pelieu And J.J. Lebel Discuss The Early Verlaine Bread Crust Fragments - 4:30
28.The National Haiku Contest (E. Sanders, K. Weaver) - 0:25
29.The Divine Toe (Part II) - 0:46
30.Irene - 1:10
All songs written by Ed Sanders except where indicated.

Disc 2 
1. The Divine Toe (Parts I-II) - 3:02
Golden Filth 1970
2. Bum's Song (T. Kupferberg) - 3:02
3. Dust Devil - 3:15
4. Chicago - 2:11
5. Four Minutes To Twelve - 5:37
6. Mr. Mack - 3:49
7. The Belle Of Avenue A - 5:40
8. Queen Of The Nile - 2:44
9. Flower Children (T. Kupferberg) - 4:22
10.Yodeling Yippie - 2:16
11.Children Of The Dream (T. Kupferberg) - 5:55
12.Slum Goddess (Ken Weaver) - 3:11
13.CCD (T. Kupferberg) - 2:53
14.How Sweet I Roamed (Lyrics William Blake) - 3:24
15.I Couldn't Get High (Ken Weaver) - 4:09
16.Saran Wrap - 3:46
17.I Want To Know (Olson, Ed Sanders) - 2:37
18.Homemade - 5:18
19.Nothing (T. Kupferberg) - 4:55
20.Supergirl (T. Kupferberg) - 2:43
All songs written by Ed Sanders except where noted.

Disc 3
1. Knock Knock - 4:41
2. Wet Dream - 15:06
3. Carpe Diem (T. Kupferberg) - 4:00
4. Nameless Voices Crying For Kindness - 2:58
10.Aphrodite Mass (In 5 Sections, Mono Version) (Gary Elton, Sapho) - 9:52
.I...Litany Of The Street Grope
.II..Genuflection At The Temple Of Squack
.III.Petals In The Sea
.IV..Sappho's Hymn To Aphrodite
.V...Homage To Throb Thrills
6. Turn On / Tune In / Drop Out (Mono Album Version) (T. Leary, K. Weaver) - 4:39
7. Knock Knock (Mono Album Version) - 4:15
8. The Garden Is Open (Mono Album Version) (T. Kupferberg) - 6:02
9. Wet Dream (Mono Album Version) - 3:16
10.Hare Krishna (Mono Album Version) (Zeus, A. Ginsberg) - 3:19
11.Exorcising The Evil Spirits From The Pentagon October 21, 1967 - 3:13
12.War Song (Mono Album Version) (K. Pine, K. Weaver) - 5:18
13.Dover Beach (Mono Album Version)  (T. Kupferberg, M. Arnold) - 3:56
14.Fingers Of The Sun (Mono Album Version) (Warren Smith) - 2:18
15.Crystal Liaison (Promo Album Version) (E. Sanders, K. Pine, K. Weaver) - 3:34
All songs written by Ed Sanders except where stated

The Fugs
*Tuli Kupferberg - Vocals
*Ed Sanders - Vocals
*Ken Weaver - Drums, Vocals
*Ken Pine - Guitar, Vocals
*Danny Kootch - Guitar, Violin
*Charles Larkey - Bass

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