A Serious Sunday: Death / Rough Francis / This Moment In Black History

23 09 2009

Yeah, we’re more than a few days ahead of time on this one.  Perhaps, inspired by Charles Walker and the Dynamites, we’ve decided to dabble in the outer fringes of what we call “soul music”, to test its elasticity, and to boldly go where no one has gone before (nerd foul); we’re finding that ill-defined border between soul, rock n’ roll, and yes, punk rock.  That border will be in full effect this Sunday, when the Beachland features Death (not the metal band of the same name), Rough Francis, and proud Clevelanders This Moment In Black History.

African-American rockers Death originally walked the streets of Detroit in the mid 70s, when bands like the Stooges and MC5 had, in prior years, achieved a dominance over stoned minds and uncontrollable libidos in the Motor City.    Punk was starting to peck away from inside its grimy shell.

As the New York Times so thoroughly puts it:

Forgotten except by the most fervent punk rock record collectors — the band’s self-released 1976 single recently traded hands for the equivalent of $800 — Death would likely have remained lost in obscurity if not for the discovery last year of a 1974 demo tape in Bobby Sr.’s attic. Released last month by Drag City Records as “… For the Whole World to See,” Death’s newly unearthed recordings reveal a remarkable missing link between the high-energy hard rock of Detroit bands like the Stooges and MC5 from the late 1960s and early ’70s and the high-velocity assault of punk from its breakthrough years of 1976 and ’77. Death’s songs “Politicians in My Eyes,” “Keep On Knocking” and “Freakin Out” are scorching blasts of feral ur-punk, making the brothers unwitting artistic kin to their punk-pioneer contemporaries the Ramones, in New York; Rocket From the Tombs, in Cleveland; and the Saints, in Brisbane, Australia. They also preceded Bad Brains, the most celebrated African-American punk band, by almost five years.

The rest of the article’s a great primer to this Sunday night show.  Learn all about the rise and fall of this lost band, and their resultant musical offspring, Rough Francis.

For more hype, check out Time Out Chicago’s article; Detroit’s own Metro Times gives their commentary as well.  A perusal of this record brings to mind the following: “Let the World Turn” invokes a Hendrixian intro leading into mindbendery travels like some garage-psych Nuggets single; “You’re A Prisoner” and “Keep On Knockin'” bear the stamp of the MC5’s anthems; “Freakin’ Out” might even invoke a bit of Black Flag here and there–years before that band even existed.  Likewise, with the speedy gnarliness of “Rock N’ Roll Victim”, whose spazzy technicalities bring to mind the nascent Bad Brains on their Black Dots record.

Here at Beachland Blog HQ, our locally owned and operated grunts have dug up the following links that will enhance your rock n’ roll pleasure this coming Sunday night:

1. a bitorrent link to  “…For The Whole World To See” (though you really should buy it from Drag City. Brothers gotta get paid)

2. an IMEEM page where you can get your ass kicked by cuts from this record

3. and the webpage of the Death documentary, entitled Where Do We Go From Here?

4.  the blazing blow-yer-house-down This Moment In Black History and “Public Square”:





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