The Glands of External Secretion by Joseph
The Glands of External Secretion are Barbara Manning and Seymour Glass (the founder of Bananafish magazine). They’ve released several records together, some fairly recently. This record is a 7” from 1992 called Demonstrate Congo Bob’s Saliva Torture (as in, The Glands of External Secretion Demonstrate…). It has two songs on it. I am writing about the first song, a cover of The Beatles’ “Hide Your Love Away.”
I am a Beatles fan but by no means a super- or mega-fan who would be drawn to this song purely because it is a Beatles cover. In fact, it took a second or two for me to remember that “Hide Your Love Away” is a Beatles song. Blasphemous, I know. You may remember* my similarly cavalier attitude toward Bob Dylan when I wrote about Television’s cover of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” I hope that you are still incensed.
Winona and I have both written about cover songs several times for this blog and I don’t want to retread old topics so I am not going to write about it as a cover song. Can you tell that I’m tired? How much can you guys tell about my state from the tone of my writing? I feel like this week’s post is tired. Not in a bad way, necessarily (though you may disagree with that). I haven’t showered in four days and I don’t plan on showering tonight. I wonder what kind of tone a post would have if I was feeling buff.
Manning sings and plays guitar on the cover. Her guitar and vocal work is simple and straightforward, which works for me. I especially like the way she sings the chorus. She gives it a sleepy sing-song melody that is different than the original. Gentle whirring and spacey synth sounds unsettle the mix and lift Manning’s voice and guitar in an eerie way, taking the original’s melancholy tone and flipping it into one of almost cheerful detachment. Lennon sounds like he’s probably dragging his feet Charlie Brown-style as everywhere he walks. Manning sounds like she’s floating.
I said I wasn’t going to write about “Hide Your Love Away” as a cover song, but I did anyway. I am tired. I am going to clip my fingernails tonight. But, right now, I am going to listen to this song a few more times.
*you probably don’t remember, but I was very flippant about the guy
Hasil (rhymes with “hassle,” not “hazel”) Adkins by Winona
I enjoy a challenge. So today at the ripe hour of 10am, I climbed atop KSPCs new industrial ladder and into the dusty heavens of the top shelf of our vinyl collection. I pulled and struggled to remove an album or two, all the while remaining incredibly conscious of the mortal danger I faced were I to fall; would I hit my head on an open drawer? Fall on a shard of vinyl? Or, heaven forbid, asphyxiate on account of the cloud of dust, yellowed paper and bitchy sharpie reviews that graffiti’d the music I was inspecting?
I chickened out and grabbed the first album I saw. It wasn’t a name I recognized, but it was one I knew I had heard as soon as I lay it down on the turntable in my office. The voice was frantic, muffled and peppered with phrases like “hot dogs,” “I want your head,” “Gimme that commodity meat”, and “AaaaaaaaaaaaaHeeeeeeeeeeee-Wooo!!!!” Sounded like rockabilly to me.
Unwittingly I had stumbled upon the album “Peanut Butter Rock n’ Roll” by Hasil Adkins. A quick google search turned up more by the Cramps than it did by him. Apparently the Cramps had achieved more success covering his song “She Said” than he had recording it. But even the Cramps (those hard guys) had to admit that Adkins singing voice was simply impossible to imitate naturally. Lux Interior reportedly had to stuff styrofoam cups into his mouth to get anywhere near Adkins’ vocal sound.
One of the tracks off of “Peanut Butter”, maybe because of the name, but mostly because of the sound, drew my attention:
This was music that came out of a paper cup. It was Elvis without the pretense and jazz without any history. Hasil’s simultaneous singing, drumming, and guitar playing was rough and off-beat (whether that was intentional or not….). For being “old,” his music had nothing of nostalgia, instead it was all zombie dance and back-up hunch-squeals. It was chickens, man.
Hasil devoted an entire album to songs inspired by chickens, called “Poultry in Motion.” Hasil was raised in a tarpaper shack. Hasil attended four days of school. Hasil was fucking awesome.