Kim Wilde picture sleeve collector, or closer still, self-loathing at the demon of Ruts completism turned outwards. Whatever the psychological drive, every time beardo Picker opens his pie hole about the desirability of a vintage oil can, I roll my eyes, groan audibly, and pray for the fat fuck to be seen off the property at shotgun-point. Tellingly, it is the exact reaction I observe from my wife when I bring records like this into our home.
Exhibit A in my defence: that sleeve. A wasted Danny Graham, looking like he's just woken up after spending the night in a dumpster, trying to pass off a Polaroid self-portrait as the cover of Space Oddity. And then, in case his eyes and the name of his label didn't say it all, Danny emphasises the point by spelling out his name in dope leaves. Clearly, music is not the only kind of DIY at play here; another record in our secret stash. Your honour, the phrase "buy on sight" was invented for records like this. The defence rests.
"That sounds like Play School music", I hear disapprovingly from the next room as the gavel comes down on Put The Blame On Me. It's not an unreasonable verdict. Like an asthmatic David Virgin, Danny Graham's breathy vocals do have a certain child-like quality, the tentative delivery evoking an image of Danny with microphone in hand, bed sheet over his head, trying his best not to wake the neighbours. Given that this LP was recorded at "Bedroom Studios", that may well have been the case. That tone pervades the LP - laidback, predominantly acoustic, bedroom singer-songwriter stuff. The liner notes for the recently-released Left Of The Middle compilation describe it more optimistically as "uniquely mid-'70s acid-folk art rock", adding that "there is no other Australian artist remotely similar to his singular sound". An asthmatic David Virgin notwithstanding, we largely agree. Ordinarily the kind of record that would make us run a mile, Danny Graham's personality shines through on every song, and the LP's low-budget, home-recorded loner charm has turned it into an enduring favourite. Though not without missteps, its many great songs far outweigh the occasional lapses into turgid MOR.
Put The Blame On Me [Download]
Love Start [Download]
Ev'rything Will Grow From Here [Download]
Sister Roulette Eyes [Download]
Hazel, I Don't Know [Download]
Baby, Don't Shoot [Download]
Guest Stars, the album sees Danny in rock band mode with what could best be termed a new wave approach. Again, that description undersells it somewhat, as the songwriting is unique and decidedly, er, left of the middle. Not only that, Danny emerges from under the covers to deliver some truly staggering vocal performances, the likes of which haven't been heard here since our favourite vocodered Brisbanite, Ross Lovell. Check out Dragon Fire for the best example of his new-found "let it all hang out" yelp. Someone hand the man some Ventolin! Elsewhere, there is much to like in stoned lyrics such as "Does time spiral or repeat on a curve?" and "When our eyes meet it's like the mingling of molten metals", and as on the first LP, the musicianship reveals Danny to be an accomplished and creative guitarist.
This time around, recording took place at "Basement-Bedroom Studios" - literally a more underground offering than the first LP (and fittingly, a tougher one to track down). Interestingly, about half of the songs on Promotional Copy Only use pre-recorded drum tracks sourced from DrumDrops, a series of LPs designed to allow guys like Danny to avoid the obvious displeasures of dealing with a real life drummer. Fans of basement-recorded oddities may recall R Stevie Moore's C90 cassette from 1980 built around the same approach. Here, Danny's use of DrumDrops gives a telling insight into the motivations behind this LP - beats are taken exclusively from the "British side" (as opposed to the "American side") of DrumDrops 5, featuring drum tracks labelled Fast Punk Rock and Straight Ahead New Wave.
Dragon Fire [Download]
Coloured Movies of Ev'ryone's Dreams (Shake) [Download]
Slide Into Slinterland [Download]
Middle Class Romance [Download]
So what became of Danny Graham after this release? Good question. We'd like to think that this link may provide clues to his whereabouts, and at the very least, evidence of Freudian projection from Danny himself. But unfortunately your worship, the case is largely circumstantial.
Baby's Got The Rhythm [Download]
Middle Class Romance (Infatuation) [Download]
February 2014 update: In July 1981 Roadrunner magazine took a few minutes off from sucking major label arse to pen the following review:
The Prams - A's Okay (1981)
1 week ago