Saturday, May 7, 2011

Screaming Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends

Recorded surreptitiously by England's dandy prince of the macabre, Screaming Lord Sutch, and his higher profile "friends" such as Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Noel Redding, etc., this album caused a huge amount of contraversy and effectively ended Sutch's career when it was released. The biggest issue, aside from the sketchy legality, seemed to be sound quality, as the musicians were led to believe these were demo recordings; it's quite raw and red-lined throughout. In hindsight, though, this lends a lot of grit and character to the songs and helps it stand out from Sutch's usual slick novelty-rock sound. Of course the quality of musicianship also elevates it above such middling status as well, producing yet another universally panned album that sounds crucial and forward-thinking half a century later, albeit mostly unintentionally. Drenched in reverb with distorted vocals and torrents of buttery slide guitar, this could easily be any number of modern hipster garage outfits in cheap suits. Sutch himself is all over the place, coming on like Iggy Pop possessed by Screaming Jay Hawkins, and tarted up like Alice Cooper. Dumb, freaky, and sweaty.
One For You, Baby

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