Monday, September 12, 2016

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter C, Part 21)

Not a ton to choose from among Julian Cope's interesting but uneven solo career... at least on vinyl anyway. I have the 7" singles of "Sunspots" and "Eve's Volcano," but both of these have been covered in somewhat recent times by our pals Swiss Adam and CC, respectively. So, that leaves me with the five song "World Shut Your Mouth" EP from 1986. The single was a minor hit here in America, reaching No. 84 on the big chart, based in large part to the push it got on MTV. For many on this side of the Atlantic, this was their first look at Cope and his crazy microphone stand.

You know the single, but here are a few words about the rest of the lot. "Levitation" is a cover of the 1967 song "I've Got Levitation" by the 13th Floor Elevators. Cope is known to be a huge fan of Roky Erickson, but this is one of the few songs on 'Easter Everywhere' that wasn't written by the American psychedelic-rock icon. "Non-Alignment Pact" is also a cover. The original can be found as the opening track from Pere Ubu's 1978 debut album 'The Modern Dance.' Both of these songs, and "Non Alignment Pact" in particular, should be played at high volume. "Umpteenth Unnnatural Blues" is one of the more accessible pieces of pop in Cope's catalog. On the other end of the spectrum, EP closer "Transporting" is so hard on the ears that I didn't take to the time to rip it. If someone out there really wants a listen, I'll go back and get it. Otherwise, we'll move ahead.

Cope is going to come up again later in this series with the Teardrop Explodes, a band I have had in the collection since my youth, but I honestly didn't know much about Cope's solo stuff (outside of "World Shut Your Mouth" and "Sunspots") until the blogging years. Thus, I only have three pieces of vinyl, one of which, "Eve's Volcano," I found for a buck somewhat recently. Having read so much about Cope from my peers, I have slowly begun buying the albums... albeit on a lesser format. No books though. I started with an inferior compilation but have now worked my way through 'Fried' and 'Saint Julian.' I have an eye on 'Peggy Suicide' next. If you like, feel free to steer me in another direction. I'm easy.

"World Shut Your Mouth"
"Levitation"
"Umpteenth Unnnatural Blues"
"Non Alignment Pact"

11 comments:

Misterprime said...

'Peggy Suicide' is great. Work up to 'Jehovakill' (and then have a rest tbh.) You should really read his memoirs, though - particularly 'Head-On', about The Liverpool punk and Teardrop Explodes' years. The 'Krautrocksampler' is also a good read, if necessarily obscure at times...

George said...

I like his album Interpreter, Brian,

junos boots said...

My Nation Underground is good mainstream stuff but if you want Cope at his surreal best try and get hold of the skellington chronicles (I think it was mail order only back in the 90s)

Swiss Adam said...

Love Copey from this period. Head On is a must if you haven't read it.

drew said...

I have very little cope. Something which has troubled me from time to time but not enough for me to explore further. I think that the sheer volume has put me off, as if I like what I hear it could be expensive.

charity chic said...

He did get a bit prolific and let the quality control slide a little but there is some excellent stuff out there
I quite like Autogeddon

Brian said...

Thanks for the input, fellas. There are some suggestions from later years I'm not familiar with at all, and that was my hope. I have always wanted to track down Head On. Perhaps these comments will give me an extra push. Love a good music bio.

Echorich said...

Cope in Teardrop Explodes is SO important to me, but it took years for me to get my head around his solo work. I bought Fried when it came out, hoping the ship might have been righted after Wilder seemed to fade into some level of obscurity, but I found it a difficult listen and much more muscular than I was expecting. Bill Drummond is a pretty amazing song and stands out on the set. O King Of Chaos reminds me of Nick Drake singing a Who song...but that's just me...
Things got a bit more on track for me with World Shut Your Mouth. Some of the Teardrop's magic seemed to be on offer here. Bandy's First Jump and Strasbourg are the stars of this album.
Saint Julian is his most focused, yet uncompromised album. It's follow up is where compromise comes into the equation and My Nation Underground is just too flat for me. Peggy Suicide was one of the last Cope albums I purchased and is a bit all over the place but has East Easy Rider and Head on it making it worth a listen.

JC said...

Brian

If you're looking for the book, its usually available easily enough on the 2nd hand market for not too much money. I'd be happy to get one for you and send it over...feel free to e-mail me.

The Swede said...

I was turned on to some of Cope's Head Heritage mail-order albums by a friend in the early noughties. 'Rite' is a particularily good example.

Brian said...

Thanks JC. Your offer is too kind. I have snooped around, and I think I should be able to track down the book easily and cheaply, but I do appreciate it.