Posts Tagged ‘ 1976 ’

R. Stevie Moore “Phonography”


R. Stevie Moore, with hundreds of albums under his belt – most of them home-recordings released on hissy cassette tape and hand-marked CD-R – is an unrecognized genius. Born in Nashville, son to session man and Elvis’s bass player Bob Moore, Robert Steven Moore grew up in the music business. Opting to make it on his own with the reel-to-reel instead of working sessions, his dedication to independent recording has yielded troves of unaffected, wildly original music. He recently told Vanity Fair: “I’ve worked harder than anybody to become rich and famous, but I remain poor and anonymous!”

Phonography was Stevie’s first official long player, recorded from 1973 to 1976 and originally released in 100 copies on the artist’s private Vital Records. Comes with lo-fi, direct input, overloaded electric guitar, a classical approach to warbly analog synth arrangements, hi-pitched erratic vocals, oddball skits that are genuinely funny, and an exceptionally fine gift for pop songcraft. Within a few listens you’ll hear traces of Brian Wilson, The Mothers, Gary Wilson, Daniel Johnston (especially on goofball cuts like “Goodbye Piano”), and Ariel Pink, a big fan who had R. Stevie open up his recent tour.

The opener, “Melbourne,” sets an unexpected stage: an anthemic introduction on an Elka synthesizer. Then Stevie shares a few words about his background whilst taking a piss!  The album is schizophrenic, but wonderfully listenable, even through a thick wall of magnetic tape. The beauty is in the fidelity, Moore recognizes what’s special about home recordings, and the record’s flow is engaging rather than plain weird.

Phonography record is finally available on vinyl again, remastered by Sundazed from R. Stevie’s original reels with the restored Vital artwork and insert. Earlier this year a CD version was reissued by Recommended Records in the UK and it’s available on iTunes as well.

Phonography is a record like no other, and merely an introduction to the incredible world of R. Stevie Moore. Find more than you could ever handle at

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“I Want You In My Life”

:D CD Reissue | 1998 | Flamingo | ]
;) MP3 Album | download at amzn ]
8-) Spotify link | listen ]

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Michael Hurley, The Unholy Modal Rounders, Jeffrey Fredericks & The Clamtones “Have Moicy!”

Have Moicy!

This is a special record. If you can’t figure that from the amount of online chatter, user reviews and critical reviews declaring Have Moicy to be one of the best records of all time, or at least proclaiming some kind of undying allegiance (Moicy made the New York Times’ top 20 LPs of 1976), you’ll get it falling in love after just a couple spins. Count me in on the converted! Sometimes I fall so deep for a record that listening to the music isn’t enough, I wish I could touch or hold the sound itself. If it were possible, Have Moicy would get a hug.

A collaborative and joyous meeting of out-there minds, the founders of freak-folk hadn’t lost a touch of steam by 1976. Michael Hurley, known by fans as Snocko (see his official homepage), was a Folkways recording artist while Peter Stampfel was one half of the Holy Modal Rounders, Steve Weber absent from these sessions. This would be Jeffrey Fredericks and the Clamtones’ first official recording but all were essentially part of the Rounders family, and best of all, Have Moicy! is merely a gateway into the fine solo recordings of all the artists involved.

Stampfel’s numbers drive with clawhammer banjo, washboard and ratchety percussion, an unconcerned fiddle and mandolin leads. Half the songs are electrified with pre-Meat Puppets unaffected treble licks in interlocking rhythms. The players never fill too much space, giving each instrument enough breathing room to act as genuine ear candy. The band somehow converges to create a clean renegade folk constantly teetering on the edge of chaos. Some undefinable bit of magic holds it all together. The tunes have unserious and silly lyrics but are never overtly comical or embarrassing, just fun, unpretentious, and honest folk music.

It’s impossible to pick two standout tracks from such a solid lineup. If you like what you hear, don’t delay in grabbing the 1992 reissue or the mp3 download, you won’t be disappointed. Every tune is positively great, and for the initiated, few other records will bring as much cheer.

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“What Made My Hamburger Disappear”

:D CD Reissue | 1992 | Rounder | buy from rounder | amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1976 | Rounder | search ebay ]
;) MP3 Album | download from amazon ]