Hello. This is the first of a few pieces on the Harry's Loft album (posted March 15th), including a number of bonus mp3s and other good supplementary material. Full album found here. We're also preparing a limited pressing of 300 copies - CDs not vinyl at this point. If you're interested in one, email us.
Additionally, as news, some of our music has recently been included by WFMU and Dublab for their Free Music Archive (FMA). Click here for our music profile, including SPREE separated into 15 tracks, SNAP in two sides and some previously unavailable items. Best to them, the entire site and endeavor is really very impressive.
But, Jesus Christ, that's not why you're here. So, let's quit with the wait and move right to the meat and potatoes. I should gravely warn you that this is a very long post with a lot of heavy stuff. But when you're dealing with the big A, it's an all or nothing purging sort of situation. I'm having to pop it out and dump it all on you. Pardon my urgency this is just something I'm needing to do, damn the consequences.
Now for things that got cut from the album, Part One: "PAT BOONE & THE ABORTIONS."
Here's the story and set up: During the fourth year of work on Harry's Loft, a number of friends began asking me what was delaying the record. "I'm working on an anti-abortion medley," was one of the things I'd enjoy saying. "But please don't tell anyone." I was joking, but serious. I wanted to be first one to try it.
Sadly, I never managed success with the piece. Though I did manage a good title: "Pat Boone & The Abortions". The idea was, through use of a harmonizer, to imagine a travelling band, blending as many anti-abortion songs as possible into one demented xtian track. With a horn section and a laugh track. Sort of like Sgt Pepper, but with babies. Here's the album art:
Pat Boone & The Abortions, by Ethan Persoff. Unused album art for the unfinished single.
I should state here on the inset that I'm extremely pro-choice and consider the anti-abortion movement unsympathetically hateful, myopic, and victimizing - and the farthest thing from religious.
Anti-abortion music, however, if you've never heard it, is very interesting. In the way other fringe cult music is interesting. What's the sound? Urgent. Anti-abortion recordings often place their singers in a stand-off of desperate unrestrained madness, clawing against a flood of undefeatable blood and sin. They pull out all the stops. Kitchen sink music. Guilt inducing and dramatic music. Often voicing the sounds of babies talking. Sort of music. God cracking a few thunderbolts. And voiced frequently by Jesus himself. Sure, it's hate speech but one can't help love it at the same time. Many examples posted below, including nine tracks that are premiering here on the web. Also, a pack of 100 waxpack trading cards. Sorry, no gum.
So the music is certainly crazed and full of juicy flavor. But viewed like an ingredient, how to cook with it?
How, indeed. Well.. Sometimes ambition overwhelms good sense, and for a lot of reasons anti-abortion tracks refuse to blend easily. What's worse is the more you add, the less satire you achieve. This is an important point to discuss, because one blends sounds to make new things. Think the simplest idea of adding belch noises to classical guitar. But once you start stacking abortion messages on top of each other you lose the joker's card and end up making message music, which is where and why the medley failed.
A good piece did develop in the process, "A Trashcan For Your Brain" - focusing on one abortion song (the best and most obscure in our opinion) and filling it with a room of narrative activity. Trashcan became one of our favorite tracks of the album, so the process still feels like a success. But we achieved no Pat Boone and no travelling band.
Let's discuss and share what music wasn't usable. Maybe with these raw ingredients someone else can make Pat Boone & The Abortions a reality. So, get out your pans, chopping block, and blender. Here's the separate servings that went into the unfinished meal:
How to cook with babies
1) Let's begin with our star:
Pat Boone, "Let Me Live" (1985)
The man who got his biggest musical break covering a song about anal sex (tutti frutti) expounds on the world of talking fetuses with "Let Me Live" a concept piece which umbilically rips a little close to Lil' Markie's Diary of an Unborn Child. But who cares, it's Boone. Dammit, let him live.
Incidentally, here's an original leaflet of DIARY OF AN UNBORN CHILD, one of the nicer pieces of art from the EP.TC archive. We've never posted this before. This was printed before the Watch Tower AWAKE article, even. Here it is, guilt collectors:
Personally, I like this edit:
Or even more succinctly, just Title and December 28th entry.
Click either thumbnail above to view the heart breaking string section in full. And for other abortion print, see WHO KILLED JUNIOR.
Next up on the radio show, "Sometimes They Cry" by Gord Jansen - Listen, can you hear the moaning? Whereas Pat Boone hallucinates thousands of crying unborn children Jansen instead hallucinates the opposite view of an extinct earth brought on by abortion. This is a good song about being uninformed about our massive over population problem. But man does he sing it. Enjoy, now, "Sometimes They Cry" - And note the good irony about America, the 'home of the free and the brave'. Stick around for the closing half describing a doctor with a skilful hand and dumping kids in the garbage.
Lyric to sail on: "Sometimes they cry / But not for long / Don't you ever wonder where have all the children gone?" - Gets much more brutal from there, you've been warned. I love this one for the madness and audacity of anyone singing about a lack of children in this country, or elsewhere.
Derivative points: Sound of song is a perfect 50/50 blend of Kris Kristofferson and Wilford Brimley. And I have to admit. I sort of like that kind of space.
Diversion: Mainstream chart busters
Before we get into the ridiculous we should pause for a few examples of commercial music featuring abortion as a theme. A friend mentioned we should include Sex Pistols Bodies, and I agree it is a good one. To us, though, the most notorious is probably Graham Parker's "You Can't Be Too Strong". We like Parker and won't ridicule him here, but his lyrics are pretty vicious and represent a high watermark of the genre. Lyrics:
Did they tear it out with talons of steel, and give you a shot so that you wouldn't feel?
And washed it away as if it wasn't real?
It's just a mistake I won't have to face, Don't give it a name, Don't give it a place, Don't give it a chance, It's lucky in a way.
It must have felt strange to find me inside you, I hadn't intended to stay, If you want to keep it right, put it to sleep at night, squeeze it until it could say
(...) You can't be too strong, you can't be too strong, you can't be too strong, Can't be too strong, you decide what's wrong. (continuing ...)
Parker has mentioned the song comes from personal experience, and it is somewhat validated by its artful presentation (we have to admit to similar artistic circumstances of our own, with Teddy).
But what about pure schlock? To that I have to share Seals & Croft's "Unborn Child"
This song offends through its use of a lullaby and a prog rock power chord. However, there's a nice piece of marketing history to it:
Note the above PR piece. An interesting nod to how much culture has changed in this debate can be found with this ad piece for the Warner Bros marketing piece, which says very clearly "UNBORN CHILD IS THE ALBUM. 'UNBORN CHILD' IS THE FIRST SINGLE. ON WARNER BROS RECORDS AND TAPES" (rotated here for space on the page)
Other entry: "Kill It" by Gary Paxton
We were about to post just an mp3 of this brutal classic but were then reminded that it already exists on the web, and in good form I should note. Visit somethingawful.com to enjoy Gary Paxton's Big A = The Big M in an animated format. Damn does that site make some consistently memorable good work. I can only add a little packaging context to discussion on this song. Here it is, the original album art if you've never seen it:
I appreciate the subtle use of red for the clear vinyl and lettering.
And now, Music for your NPR Driveway Moment
AS PROMISED ABOVE: TEN Exclusive Abortion Tracks You'll Hear No Where Else.
Forewarned. Here's a mix of some really horrible music. What's great about the whole bunch, though, is how much the sounds are adjusted to resemble music you already like, making a kind of spiked drink. Most people expect folky church music with this genre but the work we're about to present mines the work of some of the strangest people to warp it's point into your head.
Example #1 "Your Pretty Baby" by the 66-10s
Few things sound more subversive and surreal than a John Hughes styled prom song with the words 'you're gonna curse this day (you killed your little baby)'
Example #2 is Roy Boltz with "What Was I Supposed To Be" You'll have to wait until the end to hear the exact riff, but this one mines a a perfect Matt Johnson THE THE studio technique and vocal, asking "why did I taste of death before I even drew a breath" - The sound of the phrase is right out of The The's DUSK.
Here's the The The moment, isolated:
And Here's the song in its entirety:
Very funny cuss in the lyrics, too: Oh Jesus, what was I supposed to be. (download full song)
Example #3 Early MTV generation. Randy Strunghill's "Stop the World" (1984)
You can almost see the frantic 1982 music video in this one, complete with overt props and Tom Petty goofballing. Stop the World "well it's okay to murder babies but we really ought to save the whales" I dare you to hear the whole thing and still manage a functional day.
Not surprised enough. Try a fake Jello Biafra!
Example #4 Hardcore Punk! BBX's "Slaughter of the Innocents"
Check this one out. Aping a Biafra performance to bitch about babies is so odd it takes a few listens to be sure this isn't sarcasm. But no, this is perfect LARD-era J.B. trapped in a Bizarro world of total what the fuck. First person to email this to Jello probably gets a cupcake. Listen to "Slaughter of the Innocents"
Example #5 INXS Frundt, "The Promise"
We're clearly on an alternative music sort of course here so let's continue. Cue New Wave, INXS, Shabooh Shoobah era.
But instead of
"It's the one thing / You are my thing" (57 seconds into video)
"Love the children / I know their names / If you harm them / Then I'll know"
Pretty amazing. Also, I love it when xtians sing like they're Jesus themselves. The chorus later refrains with "then I'll hold you to blame"
No worries though, INXS. The rest of the song sounds like shit
Example #6 "A Billion Starving People" by Keith Groen
Pretty much a straight-to-xtian feathered hair radio sound here, slight touch of Richard Marx, but that's redundant. Notable for its upbeat tempo and this line about cuddling: "I want to save a life today / I want to get somewhere close with my father." And note the 80s themeshow conviction of "We will avenge the blood"
Example #7 "Who'll Be The Next To Go" by Rob Yala
Good cop movie sound with this one, you can see it playing over opening credits of a car driving through downtown at night. To murder an abortionist, of course!
Lyric: So much damage done / The number of unborn children slaughtered unknown / Tell me who'll be the next to go.
Now didn't we learn anything at all from Hitler's Germany / When babies and Jews and them old folks too met eternity / From abortion to infanticide now wouldn't you know / The old folks are next to go -- oh / Maybe your folks are next to go.
And notice the chanting in the production over 'Hitlers Germany' that reminds me of Paul Barker's work with Lead Into Gold.
Example #8 "Games of Chance and Circumstance" by D.A.
Pretty bad number except for the Queen/Boston moment at 2:38 where the band explodes with "Mother is your blood running cold / You don't have to pay the price" following with "Oh God Save the Children" at 2:38
The second to last of these is pretty special: Legendary Pink Dots
Example #9 "The Survivor" by Phillip Kregg
Another 'singing fetus' one, very low tempo piece song about the "attempt to take away my life" but what I love about this is the opening music is a direct lift of peak era LEGENDARY PINK DOTS !! and the vocal is Rush. Given the #2 spot on our chart for the Pink Dots lift.
Example #10 "Choose Life" by Shandra LaLayne
This amazing bit of camp really belongs on the Bizaro version of the Lesbian Concentrate album.
Inexplicable opener recalls Magnetic Fields with the chant "Jesus loves the little children" sounding right out of 69 Love Songs - but predates it by over a decade. Them WAM BAM, just wait. Song jumps straight into wtf lesbian voiced oddness that recalls off off off off broadway court musicals. I don't want to spoil much more of this piece, just giving you the hint to stay at least until 45 seconds in. Can you finish the full three minutes? You're guaranteed a pay off with the last exhausted finish. Choose life.
"You have no right, You have no right
To Stop this Baby Killing We will fi-ii-ight
We're not done. What was that about fight?
The Big Closing Number.
The Inevitable We Are The World Contribution
You knew, or hoped, or prayed something like this existed, didn't you. I mean, we had to have one of these, right? The We Are The World Entry,
"Fight the Fight" (1985)
This song is so shitty it deserves its own parked page on the site, similar to our other We Are The World piece, "Stop The Madness" - and as such we will have a dedicated Fight The Fight page soon which will also include the entire 30 minute VHS tape distributed at the same time.
I love ensembles. Similar to Stop The Madness, Fight the Fight cribs similarly from the We Are The World format, in its five people finish a sentence style of sharing lyrics on a single repulsive message track. In the end you have a star-studded affair. And here it is strengthened by the greatest anti-abortion acts of the 1980s. They need no introductions but just to be redundant, I mean to say 2nd Chapter Of Arks, Randy Strunghill, Phil Kagegy, Dallas Holt, Sandy Patty, Larnette Harvis, Steve Taydor, Greg Y. Molz, Steve Cramp, Sheila Wulsh, Michael Ghord, The Cruise Family, Melody Gruenen, Chuck Picard, Kathy Tromboli and many more.
My wife and I found our LP copy at a used clothing store two hours southeast of Dallas. In Jacksonville TX to be specific. You never know when the "I smell records" alarm will go off, but it did in this instance and I was delighted to find this odd piece showing the Statue of Liberty holding an infant on the cover. Sadly, I really want to like the actual music more than I do. Our copy has a sign-up sheet for kids to take door to door fighting congress from killing babies, along with a t-shirt offer and information about a video.
Wait, video? What's that? I have to see the video. G-d love youtube, here is the video:
We'll include an mpeg download soon. Click play. You'll want to enjoy the piece after the 35 second guilt trip. This is the sweet soft face to look for to know the song has started:
And here's the moment you know the drugs are really working
You know what the other girls are saying. "That bitch is singing with her baby".
The competing studio's solution? Send in two babies! Now, please absorb: This is an anti-abortion anthem with two of the professional superstar singers dangling infants from their arms. Filmed in 1985 at Bullet Studio. Nashville Tennessee. I don't know how much attention you pay to humorous art direction, but one of those dangling unaborted babies is the birth of Bob and David's Mr Show. Or, to pun, Funny or Die.
We did it!
BONUS ITEM: What is completely unknown to the history of FIGHT THE FIGHT, however, is that is was bootlegged into an unofficial set of playing cards, the sort distributed in a wax pack with gum, similarly used for Indiana Jones, Star Wars, etc. As a special bonus to this post we've not only scanned in every Fight The Fight card, but present them in order right here. CLICK FOR ALL 50 CARDS. I think you'll be surprised at the different narrative they suggest. - CHECK BACK MONDAY NIGHT FOR WAXPACK CARDS.
So where did all this lead to for us personally? If you'd like to hear what it sounds like to cook with one primary Abortion track, give the above a spin, as we think it's pretty finished and ready for chewing. This is track 10 from Live At Harry's Loft - A Trashcan For Your Brain. Arrangement by Ethan Persoff.