Sunday 3 March 2013

The Dagoes - We Sell Soul 7" DAG 001, 1980

When it comes to Australasian bands covering Texas sixties punk the pantheon probably consists of Robbie Steele's Maid Of Sugar, Maid Of Spice, Tom Thumb's You're Gonna Miss Me and The
Lime Spiders' version of The Liberty Bell's That's How It Will Be. Radio Birdman might be considered but come on, Tom Thumb get points for getting there first, covering Roky in 1967!

Somewhere down amongst the lesser gods are Adelaide's Dagoes, who covered a song by Roky's first band, The Spades, as their first record in May, 1980. The original We Sell Soul is interesting as a song without much structure, so I can see why Spacemen 3 saw fit to cover it. According to Teenbeat Mayhem it's "crude intense moody howlin' punk", which I guess explains why The Lyres covered it too.

We don't know the vector which brought the song to Adelaide in 1979. Boots of the 7" had been around since 1975 so maybe they were ordered from the States. The Dagoes themselves had been going since March 1978, starting as Daryl Breakaway and the Niggers, becoming the Dagoes in May 1978, and spending a few months and lineups as The Tony Rome Band. They settled and stayed as the Dagoes in September 1979.

Around this time they were covering Pipeline, Teenage Head, (This Ain't) The Summer Of Love, Pablo Picasso, Frenchette, California Sun and We Sell Soul. A quick scan reveals the band were looking to America rather than other favoured musical climes of the time, though in 1980 they added covers of English bands the Flys and The Boys. Originals included crowd favourites Little Blackie, Let's Liquidate and This Perfect Band.

Anyway, after breaking up in December 1979 the band got together on February 26, 1980 and recorded the three songs presented here. Earlier recordings, three of them, had been deemed unfit for release. To avoid the risk of another lecture from Harry Butler, I'll quote him (almost) verbatim from DNA 6:
Being typically Daygoes, the whole event was fraught with problems from start to finish. Firstly they hadn't played together for over two months, so a couple of hours of swift rehearsals were in order. Not only to learn to play together again, but also because some members had forgotten how to play some of the songs. Next several guitar leads were found to be missing, and as playing began Johnny Tomato began breaking drum sticks madly. Despite it all, the group won through and the first song (Blackie) was successfully recorded. Then disaster struck. A combination  of having forgotten the songs and being totally "out of it" resulted in the bassist cracking up and walking out... They resolved to carry on, and overdub the bass parts later. 
The next song attempted was We Sell Soul, and they managed to get it down on almost the first take. Then to Let's Liquidate. No real problems occurred here, but some overdubs were necessary. Firstly the bass had to be put down, and there was deep discussion about what should be played - in the end two bass tracks were recorded. Then some synthesizer was stuck on top. Finally all that was left were the overdubs on We Sell Soul. It was decided that no bass was necessary, so it was just a matter of getting the vocals done. People who listen closely will notice some unusual noises in the background in Dick's rave in the middle of the song. These are the result of the activities of Tony Rome, Frankie Thomas and Harry Butler in trying to inject some humour.
That explains the "who needs a bass player" line, and we assume the Billie Jean King reference is a dig at Doug Thomas's hairdo. In the end, We Sell Soul is probably the weakest of the three tracks, the others displaying a tough yet limber garage sound. As evidenced by this and their later recordings, The Dagoes really only followed their own star anyway, not really caring to sound like anyone else.

We Sell Soul [Download]

Little Blackie [Download]

Let's Liquidate [Download]


Unknown said...

Wait, how do you know so much about the band?

Anonymous said...

how do you dl these?