Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Monks - Five Upstart Americans

Of course, by now everyone knows the story of the Monks - 5 American ex-GI's stationed in Germany start a Beat-Music band, their management convinces them to become something more (a lot more!) original and the noisy, bonkers result was the Monks, whose sole album, Black Monk Time, became a much-collected classic decades later. These recordings were the first they did as the Monks, to be used as demos for the recording contract that they eventually got with Polydor.

Although not overly different for the final versions, these takes are a bit rawer and wilder, with more screech'n'blurt and, while extremely tight, it does kinda sound like 5 wacked-out Americans performing without sleep after playing an 8 hour set in a club! Two songs that didn't make it onto the official release are "Pretty Suzanne", a simplistic, repetitive, rhythm-stomper with a fantastically chaotic solo section, and "Hushie Pushie", a demented Tiger Rag (mostly) instrumental with a catchy guitar line throughout.

"Higgle Dy Piggle Dy" is certainly more primitive (hard to believe!) with another wonderfully, maniacally unhinged lead section - love it! There are a few more spoken introductions to the songs and even a couple of tunes recorded as the Torquays before becoming the Monks.

And goddamn if I didn't just realize that these are the same recordings as The Early Years, that I reviewed last year! Somehow to me, this sounded different and more crude, in the best possible way. Well, in whatever package, be sure to get these tunes - incredible stuff!