Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Fugs

My nomination for The Great, Lost Proto-Punk Classic:

The Fugs - Kill For Peace

Even John McCain would have to love a song with a line like "The only gook an American can trust/Is a gook what's got his yella haid bust!" I like this because it's sort of a bridge between punks and hippies. This is from 1966, around the time the Mothers released Freak Out! and the Velvets were recording their first album. It's easy to see these bands together, in retrospect, breaking off from the "mainstream" to start their new aesthetic, but The Fugs were beatnik poets and San Francisco folkies, so they weren't hostile to or even seperate from the flower power movement.

This is from The Fugs Second Album, as it's called in its current release, although my copy is just called The Fugs. Some great songs on here. It kicks off with a frantic ode to group sex called "Frenzy," and the theme continues through songs like "Group Grope" and "Skin Pops." My favorite song is actually the last one, "Virgin Forest," a 7:30 piece similar some of the stuff on the early Mothers of Invention albums, mostly consisting of spoken word on sped-up tapes (my favorite line is "Twisted like an elastic cigarette/Get your face off my bayonette!"). There's also a very pretty, folkie ballad called "Morning, Morning." Here's an extra track:

The Fugs - I'm Doin' Alright

There's an interesting arc to the development of the band, as they moved more towards comedy through their career. Their first album has musical versions of poems by William Blake and Matthew Arnold (but also contains the novelty classic "Boobs Alot"), their third album, Virgin Fugs (apparantly out of print) is much funnier with songs like "New Amphetamine Shriek" and "We're the Fugs." The second album, while not as funny as Virgin Fugs, makes for the most enjoyable listen, if you ask me.


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