Sunday 29 April 2012

The Slugs - Catch My Breath / My Provocative Neighbour 7" Subterranean SR 345, 1979

We're in Melbourne again, trying to pin down a record so undocumented we have to divine what we can from the sleeve. Clue one is the photo: three norms (Melbourne, '79 style), and a bloke channelling Lou Reed's arsehole phase with his all black getup and mirror shades. Clue two is the dedication to Kim Fowley on the rear sleeve and label. Now we don't know if the Slugs got on their knees before the animal god of the streets when he visited Melbourne but the August 1979 recording date is about right so we like to think they may have. We also imagine him screaming "get these old fucks out of here and bring me some malleable teenagers!".

Putting those clues together we imagine a band taking bits from Rock'n'Roll Animal, Fowley's mid to late '70s LPs, and perhaps those mirror shaded greats, the Blue Oyster Cult. But the reality is probably a bit more mundane, and comes from clues three and four: the thanks to Tinsley Waterhouse, Melbourne blues legend; and the production by David Pepperell (and the thanks to "mystery guitarist Keith" (Glass?)). Effectively, our boys are rubbing shoulders with Melbourne's rhythm and blues royalty.

The tough, sinewy riff to the A side, Catch My Breath is certainly placing us in rock'n'roll territory, but the flipside is effectively an electric blues song. The guitar sound is filthy, but, you know, it's still just the blues...

All up we have a record that sits just on this side of the good/bad line, just on this side of the rock/blues line, and just on that side of the getting laid/not getting laid line. We'll let you listen to the lyrics for that last bit. Let's just say Makeshift sound like they have more pull with the ladies than this crowd.

Catch My Breath [Download]

My Provocative Neighbour [Download]


Dude Behind The Record Counter said...

tasteful... THANK YOU!

DoctorPepperOz said...

Guys I can tell you everything about the Slugs! The band was originally formed as a party band by guitarist Billy White in about 1976. He recruited Dave Constable and Dave Sharp on bass and drums who formed the rhythm section for most of the band's existence. When Dave Hodson, graphic designer and cartoonist, joined as singer in 1978 after many rhythm guitar personnel changes (the "mystery guitarists" referred to in the liner notes) the band started to look for gigs in a more serious manner. When Hodson did some design work for Richmond Recorders Tim Stovart he was paid with studio time with which the single Catch My Breath/My Provocative Neighbour was recorded and released on my Subterranean Records label. I (over)produced the single trying everything in my power to make The Slugs sound a whole lot better than they were. Whether I succeeded or not is up to the individual listener! Quite a number of the singles were sold at various gigs but the band didn't really last for a year after the it was recorded in August 1979. An interesting example of the DIY ethos of punk the Slugs only recording takes its place in Australian Pop Music History. The single was dedicated to Kim Fowley in the spirit of his style of recording and because I had recently spent a day in his company when he visited Melbourne which had been a quite remarkable experience for me. David N. Pepperell