SWEET SLAG TRACKING WITH CLOSE UPS 1970 (PRESIDENT)
MICK KERENSKY - GUITAR
PAUL JOLLY - SAX, FLUTES
JACK ‘MOTH’ ONEILL - BASS AND TROMBONE
AL CHAMBERS - PERCUSSION
The grotty 1970 cover draws you in with its amazing cheapo Davida typeface and litter filled back lane. Heinz beef broth and crushed dustbins gives us the first insight into the grotty negative free jazz proto-prog lying under the sludge and Hartley jamjars.
The sleeve continues with the aesthetic maintained as a four-piece of hairy and unhairy pissed off moody free jazz proggers stand around some old church window hole. Theres the notes too:
WELCOME SLAGGERS TO A VITROLIC ELECTRIC BIT OF CONTUNITY FROM THE SLAGS. THIS ALBUM REPRESENTS A TRAIL OF IMAGES WHERE BEEN, WHERE SEEN. THEY ARE VERY FIERCE ICONIC IMAGES. THESE TRACKS ARE NOT MERE ARTIFACT, THEY ARE INTENSELY PERSONAL INVOLVING A GREAT DEAL OF IDEALISTIC RESPONSIBILITY. AFTER ALL, WE ARE NOT TOO DIFFERENT FROM EACH OTHER, THEREFORE EACH PERSON WILL FEEL THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THESE TRACKS…IN TURN, THIS IS TRACKING WITH CLOSE-UPS. (KEITH EDWARDS.)
My first impression was that this band were playing that King Crimson 69 jazz freakout type stuff over Mick Kerensky backofthethroat odd angry vocal. The difference lies within the intensity in the playing and, mostly, the lyrics and their subject matter. Dystopian post-war concrete nightmares and bleak misanthropic rants with some other grim subjects including ‘BABYI AR’ a poem based on a 1941 horrific WW2 incident. Sounds a bit too much but the crazed playing and quite strange vocal/lyric are always more than interesting. Especially on the aforementioned track which transcends into the darkness with conviction while nicely maintaining a scratchy Amon Duul mark I element from Mick and is that violin?
A couple of tracks start from an odd mixture of boogie and country but its vague and these tracks descend into the usual chaotic moments like Beefheart without the precision, rice diet and band torture.
RAIN AGAIN and WORLD OF ICE are a bit more mellow with the latter being the most reflective and despairing . RAIN AGAIN is bit more easy going but tangent heavy with a cool spooky rumble near the ending. It drags a little bit this minor for me as I love every track on this odd LP.
You don’t have to use much imagination to wonder what ‘Twisted Trip Woman’ is all about. Its obviously about a very wrong relationship which is proving to be a bit of a ballache. Its initially a bit more riffy with a bit of fuzz bass before the free elements kick in again.
Anyway here’s the track listing and Micks notes on some of the songs which is quite revealing.
TWISTED TRIP WOMAN
WORLD OF ICE
MILK TRAIN – a rebellion against the early infusion of the work concept.
RAIN AGAIN – written in the Welsh mountains inscribed within these grooves is the death knell of the classical oboe.
WORLD OF ICE- I wrote this one on a drizzly Wandsworth morning after a particularly grotty all night session..suicidal sums it up.
BABYI AR – based on the poem by Yevegny Yevtushenko ..owes quite a lot conceptually to Stockhausen whom I admire intensely sort of stock rock (bad pun).
This entire album is dedicated to the staff of the Granada Motorway Services…the original electric village.
As with these sort of records this one is relatively obscure. President Records I think had a bit of a distribution problem with boxes of their singles turning up in warehouses years and years after they were released. Apparently 100 or so Sweet Slag lps were found in one box 10 years ago but these got bought up quite quickly. It would be great to see this one reissued on vinyl for the mad music and that great sleeve.
Rocket, the time has come.