29 jul. 2010

CBGB's and the birth of U.S.Punk

Siempre hay algo que rascar en las ferias del disco y no me pierdo una de las que a menudo organizan en Dublín. Ojeando los CDs del último stand que me quedaba encontré por 5 € una joyita de compilación que busca las raíces del punk norteamericano en 18 temas de bandas que, con el legendario club neoyorquino CBGB's como catalizador del protopunk norteamericano, sentaron las bases de un nuevo horizonte cultural ávido de creatividad e impulsado por el excedente de energía generado durante las décadas anteriores.

Me encanta la selección de grupos y títulos, con excelentes ejemplares del garage (Iggy & The Stooges, The Sonics), el art rock (The Velvet Underground), la psicodelia (The Seeds, The 13th Floor Elevators) y temas de pioneros del punk como The Ramones, Television o Blondie.

Algunos de los títulos eran inéditos hasta le fecha para el que escribe y así lo eran también algunos de sus autores, como los Eletric Eels, Suicide o Wayne Country & The Eletric Chairs. Hay entre estos temas mierda de quilates, como la demo de Judy is a Punk de The Ramones perteneciente a su primerísima sesión de grabación o el directo en el CBGB's de Friction, de Television.

Link de descarga (rapidshare)
  1. The Velvet Underground and Nico - I'm Waiting For The Man  
  2. The Sonics - Louie Louie 
  3. The Seeds - Excuse, Excuse
  4. The 13th Floor Elevators - Slip Inside This House  
  5. New York Dolls - Trash 
  6. Iggy And The Stooges - Tight Pants 
  7. Electric Eels - Agitated 
  8. Suicide - Speed Queen
  9. Pere Ubu - Heart Of Darkness
  10. Richard Hell And The Voidoids - Blank Generation  
  11. Television (Live At CBGB's) - Friction
  12. Wayne County And The Electric Chairs - I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night
  13. Blondie - Rip Her To Shreds
  14. Dead Kennedys - California Uber Alles
  15. Dead Boys (Original mix) - Sonic Reducer
  16. Ramones (Original demo '75) - Judy Is A Punk  
  17. Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers - Born To Lose
  18. Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers - Roadrunner (Once)

Output format: MP3
Bitrate: 320 kbps

Incluída en el libreto, reproduzco a continuación la historia del CBGB's según Johnny Chandler:

During the early 70's New York's infamous Bowery district was, to say the least, seedy.

Television's Tom Verlaine recalls "it was all skid row hotels, alcoholics on the street. It was cheap". Drunks littered the streets, their lives entwined with the day-to-day activities of the area's melting pot of nationalities and its increasingly large Hispanic community. Yet despite its seemingly irreversible state of decline it was here that Hilly Kristal chose to open of all things a Country Bluegrass Blues (CBGB) club in December '73, situated beneath the Palace Hotel flop house and next door to writer William Burrow's "Bunker".

Country, folk, bluegrass and blues had been enjoying something of a revival and significantly Kristal's imediate circle of friends were keen advocates of these sounds. Having embraced his friends musical passions he soon found that filling the club stage, let alone the venue, was no easy task. Admittedly the club and its P.A. were as basic and run down as the Bowery itself but the following spring a passing Richard Meyers (aka Richard Hell) and Tom Verlaine managed to hustle themselves a gig on an otherwise closed Sunday night.

Now calling themselves Television they'd begun life in 1972 as the 3 piece The Neon Boys with Billy Ficca but when auditions for a second guitarist proved fruitless had opted to shelve the project. Both Chris Stein, then of The Stillettoes (whose ranks included Debbie Harry) and Douglas Colvin (aka Dee Dee Ramone) had both tried out for the position but the latter proved too much of a novice whilst Stein didn't like their direction. Yet by March 1974 they'd emerged re-christened as a four piece and were keen to secure a residency where they could set about developing their sound. It's worth noting at this point that the concept of "residencies" involving playing at the same venue on the same night over a period of time was not an uncommon one back then and CBGB's built its reputation on employing just such a policy. 

That spring Television embarked on a string of headline shows at the venue which in turn attracted other struggling musicians and within a year Patti Smith, Blondie and a four piece Ramones had all trod the club's boards. Kristal's vision for CBGB's had been turned on its head, bands were queueing to play and attendances were up. The changing fortunes of New York's other small live venues had played a part too. The collapse of the Mercer and a temporary change in the booking policy at Max's meant that by Xmas '74 CBGB's was the only serious outlet for new unsigned artists. These bands offered audiences an alternative to the "stadium" groups that had by virtue of playing larger and larger venues unwittingly become detached from the public. The energy of rock & roll was far too vital to be elevated so far from reach and for many the new groups represented another link in a chain that ran all the way back to The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Kinks mid-60's invasions of the States which had inspired a multitude of American teenagers to form garage bands. The Chocolate Watch Band, ? Mark & The Mysterians, The Seeds and The Sonics to name but four. Latterly the MC5, the Stooges, Jonathan Richman and The New York Dolls had continued and expanded the idea.

In May '75 another new group made their first tentative steps on CBGB's roughly constructed stage. In many ways Talking Heads would prove to be the ultimate fusion of those early months at the club, which had become the focus for fledgling musicians, poets, film makers and artists. The CBGB's Festival Of Unrecorded Rock Talent between July and August hammered home the message. It's the same one Kristal continues to spread to this day.

Arriving in London at the tale end of January 2002 he casually remarked that a Monday night residency for a new band had just finished...... after 43 consecutive weeks. Kristal's commitment to allowing artists to explore their creativity is quite simply manna from heaven. This album is meant as a tribute to him, his club and his relentless commitment to self expression. It's also an attempt to present, albeit briefly, a history of an artistic and musical approach that has everything to do with imagination and little respect for convention. 
Beware of the dog. 
(London Feb. 2002)

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