Friday, September 30, 2016

Somewhere in the Swamps of Jersey

From 1970, and the just released Springstreen compilation Chapter and Verse, please enjoy the Future Boss and various other Asbury Park reprobates and "He's Guilty (The Judge Song)."

Kind of Humble Pie-ish, which is not really my cup of tea, but pretty good in a period piece sort of way.

Incidentally, due to advancing age, I can't read the small print musician credits in the CD booklet, but unless I'm going deaf as well as blind, that sounds like Vinnie Lopez on drums to me.

Have a great weekend, evewrybody.


John K said...

I'm about 160 pages into "Born To Run." It really is worth taking the time to read.

Michael Salmons said...

Steve, I have been a fan of your reviews since stumbling upon them in Stereo Review in the 1970s. Frequently you were the one reviewer I agreed with- even more than those punters over at Rolling Stone.

I was thrilled to discover your blog. It's great!

You are right that it is a period piece, no question. A specific time and place and the mood of the time are invoked in this track, and having basically lived it (five or six years later and in the midwest, but anyway...

I may be mistaken. I have been many times. But it seems we are living in a time when it seems most cannot approach work like this unironically. Is the effects of memes? Of youtube channels? Facebook? I don't know, but it seems to be happening. It's a conclusion that has taken me a while to reluctantly reach. I really don't think of myself as a grumpy old man... honestly...

When I was a teenager in the 70s/80s, I enjoyed Blues, doo wop, jazz and rockabilly from the 30s to the 50s, with the full joy I think the original artist intended, even though I could not fully appreciate how contemporaries would have thought and felt about it. Still I thought I got close. Since then through the decades I've enjoyed music with no borders, avoided nothing and embraced everything. It's the only way I can approach art, I guess.

It seems a LOT of younger people see music in black and white terms- there's "real" music- that is, *their* jams, from *their* generation, shared over the internet with friends and non-friends- and then practically everything else. There are still a multitude of amazing artists working in ALL the genres I can name. But a lot of it is completely marginalized. And if it's pre-modern era- fuggetaboutit, it's a museum of human oddities. Something to gawk and laugh at. There seems to be very little interest in understanding or exploring. For someone with the complete set of the UNESCO series at home, I can't fathom it! I never thought I would read someone completely denying the Beatles had redeeming value. But I can read that every day on the web now.

I listen to modern music with the same open mind that I always have. I was thrilled by Lorde, Royal Blood and Mount Eerie. I'm not sensing the same curiosity and naive wonder that allowed past generations to fall in love with artists who were not making their music for a certain milieu, like so much music is now, but for *themselves,* for the *art.* I feel like we are about to lose something precious, and it breaks my heart.

Okay! Soapbox mode off!

thanks for posting this cool track. Bruce hadn't quite come into his own, obviously, but there is plenty of soul and swagger in this track. Definitely going to have to listen to more Steel Mill stuff. And carry on! You're a thread in my life from all the past eras I've encountered that I absolutely did not expect to pick up again. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I think it's Lopez, too. The drumming lacks the, um, metronomic consistency of Max W.

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe CBS put forth much effort into finding the best sounding tapes for this collection. This track, along with two others, was professionally recorded at Pacific High in San Francisco by arrangement of Bill Graham. The demos have been on several bootlegs over the years. Some of these bootlegs have far better sound than this "official" version, which sounds like a twelfth gen cassette dub, if not worse.

I'm told the collection is a companion piece to the recent book. 5 previously unreleased early tracks followed by one song apiece from his major albums. Kinda stupid considering the guy has multitudes of outtakes of great quality which have still never seen the "official" light of day.

Just for the heck of it, here's the Castiles full set at the Left Foot. It doesn't sound like "The Future of Rock 'N' Roll," but it's a pretty eclectic setlist.


Billy B said...

The tune does have a Pie vibe, Stevie. When Frampton was still in the band. BTW, the Pie was definitely my cup of tea. One of my favorite bands at the time. All versions - Frampton, Clem Clempson. I even got a kick out of the band when the reformed in the early 80s with Bobby Tench. Stevie Marriott was the consummate showman.

Anonymous said...

RE: The Humble Pie reference: Bruce, himself has said it was a Humble Pie styled band. But, Humble Pie's 1st two albums, which were the only ones available at the time, don't have this sound. Also, those albums were unpopular and difficult to obtain due to Immediate Records ongoing financial and distribution problems. The second Pie album was only released overseas. The style of Pie being referenced is the sound they adopted from 1970 onward (the A&M stuff). That wouldn't happen until several months after these Steel Mill demos were recorded.

Billy B: I dug the Pie back then as well. 1970-1972 was my time with them. It was downhill from there IMO. I used to strip to "One-Eyed Trouser Snake Rhumba" back in the day. Perfect for a bump-and-grind quickie. Loved the "Rock On" album. "79th & Sunset" was a very popular song in my hometown. Most people here requested it as "Nut Crushin' Boobs," since they didn't know the title.

VR - "There's such a lot of good ways to be bad"

steve simels said...

Michael Salmons:

Thank you so much for the kind words. I gotta admit, I got a little verklempt.

Seriously, though -- I'll sat it again: If I had known people were actually reading my stuff back then, I would have tried to write a little better.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and on top of the shitty tape used, Columbia saw fit to hack 1:10 off of the original demo of "He's Guilty" for "posterity's" sake.

JohnK: Is there any chapter or verse in the Springsteen autobiography that deals with what he and CBS did to Vicky Vinyl? Such the humanitarian.


Anonymous said...

Hi VR!

I don't know if there's any reference to Springsteen's nasty, fan-deflating suits against Vicky Jim Washburn appear in the Bruce bio. I susp4ect not, as the story paints Bruce as One Nasty Prick.

But, that story is detailed in Bootleg: The Rise & Fall of the Secret Recording Industry, recommended reading.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but there is so much more to the story ..... Man, do I wish all of the key players would write their own books. But most have moved on.