Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jim Henson's Velvet Underground Babies

Here's one I hadn't heard of, and a rather pleasant surprise.

From 1965, please enjoy The All Night Workers and "Why Don't You Smile."

From an interview with John Cale in the April issue of Uncut.
It's all "Louie Louie" changes and the first song that Lou and I wrote, one drunken evening. It was the b-side of a single by friends of Lou's. It was my first rock 'n' roll session and the guys were all popping pills.
I really like this one; to my ears it sounds like the Velvets crossed with The Righteous Brothers, and quite attractively. As it happens, the All Night Workers seem to have been a better than average frat party band; here's the genuinely rocking a-side of the single -- "Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket."

The ANW's were Syracuse buddies from Lou's college days; keyboardist Lloyd Baskin went on to play with Seatrain, a Blues Project spinoff featuring Andy Kulberg and virtuoso fiddle player Richard Greene.

In any case, Reed and Cale didn't have a hand in the a-side, but it's really quite good -- good enough to have been a minor hit, IMHO.


RokyManson said...

I was first turned on to this song by Spiritualized's 1992 cover. I was puzzled by Vance/Phillips half of the writing credits. I got my hands on a 128kbs rip of The All-Night Workers recording awhile back from a compilation called Mayhem & Psychosis Vol. 1. Your vinyl rip has a much more exciting sound.

steve simels said...

Vance and Phillips were apparently guys at Pickwick, the low budget songwriting factory where Lou worked at the time.

Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary said...

At one point, the band became Otis & the All-Night Workers. And they had a great song with the somewhat dubious title of "Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa".

It was a great song & topped the charts in Syracuse for quite a while. I've been trying to find it ever since.

Think you can, Brother Steven?

steve simels said...

I will certainly try.

steve simels said...

Actually, I think you're thinking of Otis Redding with the Fa Fa thing.

But here's the skinny on the Syracuse Otis...