Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Yabba Dabba Doo Time is Over (Last of the Trios)

One of my favorite releases from 2005 was the Swervedriver compilation. It’s amazing how a band could be so popular just a decade ago, and now all its CD's are out of print. These thoughts remind me of the Screaming Blue Messiahs, another great British guitar band (and like Swervedriver, obsessed with American car and gun culture) whose music is now neglected.

If my mention of the Messiahs has inspired you to start singing “I Wanna Be a Flintstone”, please don't! That song was a novelty record, and it led the Messiahs to appear on children’s television. But it was a fluke, and it shouldn't be the only song they are remembered by.

Messiahs’ leader Bill Carter looked like Yul Brenner, sang like Joe Strummer, and played in the slashing, feedback-laden style of Andy Gill and Wilko Johnson. He covered the same lyrical territory as Jeffrey Lee Pierce: swampland murders, deserted highways, and heretical visions. He was also obsessed with American cars and airplanes. The Screaming Blue Messiahs’ first vinyl release was a 1984 Peel Sessions EP. I’m posting the track “Let’s Go Down to the Woods and Pray” from this session, because it differs significantly from the version on the Gun Shy LP. The other track is from their brilliant Good and Gone EP.

After three studio albums and a live CD, the Messiahs were good and gone by 1990. Bill Carter played with the Butthole Surfers on Electriclarryland, and collaborated with Gibby and Johnny Depp in the band “P”. More recently, he has produced a band called Striplight, featuring Mekons’ bassist Sarah Corina and Alex Mitchell from Curve. Allmusic says Bill Carter had a solo album called Stomping Ground and that he wrote the song “Willie the Wimp and his Cadillac Coffin”, later covered by Stevie Ray Vaughn. Apparently WEA isn’t interested in re-releasing the Messiahs music. I have compiled my own Messiahs best of; e-mail me if you’re interested.

Screaming Blue Messiahs: “Let’s Go Down to the Woods and Pray”
Screaming Blue Messiahs: “Happy Home” (big as life, and twice as happy!)


At 1/31/2006 4:22 PM , Blogger 2fs said...

Someone with more time than I have should compare my homebrewed Swervedriver compilation (disc 1 is here, and there's a link to the second disc thereat) to see what I or the official compilation are missing. THen again, most the stuff on mine came from downloaded mp3s...so having better-sounding versions is appealing.

At 1/31/2006 9:54 PM , Blogger jon manyjars said...

Actually, there are only 5 tracks on your first disc and 6 on your second disc that are on the Creation Records 2cd anthology, "Juggernaut Rides". It includes three tracks previously unreleased: "Over", "Neon Lights Glow" (which swipes its chord progression from Link Wray's "Rumble"), and "Just Sometimes (Song of Laughter and Forgetting)". Your Swervedriver comps look AWESOME.

At 5/01/2006 4:36 AM , Anonymous Rocco said...

SBM have joined myspace!

A band page, a Bill Carter page, a group page. Video links, etc.



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