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11 Jun 2016

The Rubber Memory“Welcome” 1970 US Psych Rock

 The Rubber Memory “Welcome”1970   US Psych Rock


Welcome, the Rubber Memory’s lone album, came out in the Summer of 1970, recorded “in the Back Room” as the front cover proudly announces and I’m gonna avoid using another condom reference on that one, or any other euphemisms that might get me in trouble.  At the time, the band pressed only 110 copies.  Which means originals are rarer than a moment of humility from Donald Trump, and sadly for me and my dreams of a big-screen HDTV, this ain’t one of those originals.  Lucky for us, though, the band pressed up a few reissues, so we can now afford to hear this obscure little gem.  Strange though, for a band of self-admitted Beatles fanatics, there’s little on their 1970 album that shows it.  Truth is, it doesn’t sound like the Rubber Memory boys were very good at pop.  There are covers of “Mr. Spaceman” and “It’s For You” (a Beatles song never done by the Beatles), but they’re pretty lightweight and inconsequential.  It’s when the Rubber Memory crank the amps up to 11 and get a little Seventies Rock thing goin’ – that’s when things get REALLY interesting…..
  Yeah, believe it or not, The Rubber Memory can rock. With a capital R, preferably in an early 70’s font like Bell Bottom or Weltron Ultra.  “The Walnut Song,” which has nothing to do with walnuts by the way, sounds an awful lot like Chicago’s “Beginnings” only with a bunch of big skuzzy Seventies guitars slashing big electric holes in the horn section.  And those proto-Sabbath guitars and thrashing drums on “All About Me” sound like a bunch of velociraptors rehearsing “War Pigs” with the Muppets’ Animal behind the kit.  It’s a heavy psych stomp, crushing    Tokyo   highrises under its prehistoric feet until someone finally shouts “Hey!” and the band suddenly race toward a brick wall at 300 mph.  Someone crashes, and we all burn …….
But none of this, absolutely NONE of it prepares you for the full-on Afrodelic acid funk of “All Together,” a sneering strutting cockwalk (there we go with the puns again) of heavy metal thunder, a P-Funk aftershock of apocalyptic proportions.  Hard to believe a couple of white boys from New Orleans singlehandedly predicted the monster fuzz riff from Lenny Kravitz’s “Always On the Run” not only three decades before Lenny, but also a full five years before anyone even knew who Roxie Roker was!  But there it is, buried mysteriously in the middle of Side 1, all bellbottom blue Seventies charm with its shagadelic wakka wakka guitar and scratch blocks, while the cries of “Help us, we need you!” only add to the mystery because these cats clearly don’t need any help in getting their freak on.  This is the kind of heavy crunching guitar funk that Larry Graham and Graham Central Station were known for in their early days, but again, the Rubber Memory got there three years ahead of time.  I guess you could say they came prematurely. …… And so, like Trojans defending their Lifestyle, the Rubber Memory fell apart shortly after the release of Welcome, perhaps because they were ribbed for the band name, as well as for her pleasure.  Maybe a name like Condom Sense might’ve been a better choice, or something more psychedelic like Prophylactic Bubble Plastic.   Regardless, they left behind an amazing album, where a trio of monsters lay in waiting among the unassuming pop covers.  But now at least you know what to expect.  And as anyone with the word “rubber” in their name can tell you, it’s always better to be prepared. ……


A1  Welcome
A2  The Walnut Song
A3  A Song For You
A4  All Together
A5  Rover
A6  Break I
B1  It’s For You
B2  He’s Gone Away
B3  Schoolyard
B4  Mr. Spaceman
B5  All About Me
B6  You Can’t See.

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..