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12 Aug 2017

David Peel & The Lower East Side ‎ “The American Revolution” 1970 US Psych Rock Proto Punk

David Peel & The Lower East Side ‎ “The American Revolution” 1970 US Psych Rock Proto Punk


The politically charged David Peel & the Lower East Side directly contrasted their 1968 acoustic live debut, Have a Marijuana (recorded in New York City's Washington Square Park), with 1970's American Revolution, an amplified studio outing. The real similarity between the two remains Peel's no-holds-barred, in-your-face attitude and staunchly liberal espousing. Once again joining in the festivities are Peel (guitar/vocals), Billy Joe White (guitar/vocals), and Harold C. Black (tambourine/vocals), as well as new instrumentally intensive recruits Tony Bartoli (drums), Herb Bushler (bass), David Horowitz (organ), and Richard Grando (soprano sax). Although Peel's earlier effort hinted at the band's proto-punk and garage rock leanings, the aggressive electric bashing that accompanies "Lower East Side," "Hey, Mr. Draft Board," and "Girls, Girls, Girls" allows them to bring that restless spirit to complete fruition. While Peel's work has been considered as little more than a hippie novelty, the sheer range of his topical lyrics is often a direct reflection of the then-current anti-establishment movement. His music deals candidly with their attitudes regarding Vietnam ("I Want to Kill You"), the repression of local law enforcement ("Oink, Oink, Oink"), hypocritical drug laws ("Legalize Marijuana"), sex ("Girls, Girls, Girls"), and even more contemplative esoteric concepts ("God"). Peel also takes on other sacred cows; "Pledge of Allegiance" is a parody that not only reaffirms his pro-pot perspective, but could likewise be interpreted as expressing anti-American sentiments. But that would be missing the point entirely, as Peel's anger and sarcasm are both well-founded and rooted in his love for the freedoms that the United States has stood for. When Rhino Handmade issued American Revolution on CD as part of And the Rest Is History: The Elektra Recordings in 2000, the first pressings included a previously unreleased version of this album derived from a mislabeled "master tape." The problem was quickly corrected, yielding a very collectible and highly sought-after CD Lindsay Planer ....

For a bunch of guys who admittedly spent the majority of their waking hours stoned, David Peel and his cohorts exhibited the sort of traits one would normally associate with methedrine freaks: they were energetic, lively and put out some crude’n’rude energy behind furiously ramshackle and noisy backing. And so it makes sense that their second and last album on Elektra wound up sounding more like a Noo Yawk version of England’s premier underground band, The Deviants. 

Angry, stoned and squeezing out pus, “The American Revolution” differed from their previous “Have A Marijuana” album by virtue of being recorded in the studio. And although it exhibiting more polish, it maintain the same degree of raging defiance that made “Have A Marijuana” such a boisterous, gutsy affair and since the lineup was now pared down to the trio of David Peel (vocals, guitar), Billy Joe White (vocals, guitar) and Harold C. Black (vocals, tambourine) Elektra suggested electric instrumentation and backing musicians in order to flesh out the sound to keep the album from becoming an addition to the already towering stack of out-dated protest albums in the folk idiom. So Tony Bartoli (drums), the appropriately-named Herb Bushler (bass), David Horowitz (organ), Richard Grando (soprano sax) and actor Marshall Efron (who I believe took the part of the mysterious Mr. Verdecchio in the film “Ciao, Manhattan”) were roped in to back Peel’s rants, raves and rowdy rousings and although it weren’t the Muscle Shoals house band by any means (thankfully) but it sure was effective enough a noise to make “The American Revolution” rock out in a fashion Peel never could’ve dreamt of just two years prior when The Lower East Side were playing for spare change in Washington Square Park by endlessly barking out countercultural odes to marijuana, sex, marijuana, welfare thrills and more marijuana against refrains strummed out on broken acoustic guitars. Here the backing band is content to remain in a supporting role, and rock’n’roll clichés galore are seized, tossed about and generally reveled in as they keep the ball rollin’. Namely, by like trashing “Tequila” as “Legalize Marijuana” and scuzzing up the Bo Diddley hijack of “Girls, Girls, Girls” behind Peel’s obstreperous bawlings which also unite with classic rock’n’roll transpositions the like of ”I think I love you” offa The Troggs’ “Wild Thing” in “Hey, Mr. Draft Board,” “We like it like dat,” “Clanghonktweet!!” and even “Waaahhhhggrrgghhh!!” There’s also a track called “I Want To Kill You” which sounds like a near-accurate blueprint of The Clash’s “Guns of Brixton” complete with David Horowitz’s buoyant organ placement effecting a near-our Mickey Gallagher out of Blockheads backing to Peel’s proto-Strummer rant nearly a decade prior to “London Calling.” Even the fucking drums are perfectly Nicky “Topper” Headon. Who woulda thunk these guys would’ve had anything in common with The Clash besides smoking kilos of pot daily just to straighten out when they really coulda just beat all by covering The Bobby Fuller Four’s “I Fought The Law” as “I Smoked The Dope (And I Got Stoned)” and be done with it? 

Right after a brief populi vox intro, the album opens up with the flung gutter spittle of “The Lower East Side” and it’s greatly pissed off in the snottiest way possible. Peel’s near-hoarse vocal megaphonics blare out with rage, no frills and no sense as the paces of its rental garage backing keep plugging away undistracted. Peel’s brief pro-pot rant “The Pledge of Allegiance” follows, sounding like an outtake from the field recordings done on the streets of New York for the “Have A Marijuana” album, then it’s directly back into the studio with the aforementioned “Tequila” vamp, “Legalize Marijuana.” A bust scene ripped from the pages of Zap Comix ensues in the style of Gilbert Sheldon’s ‘Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers’ strip with the cop complaining about long-haired creeps and their dirty ways, so the volley back to the men in blue is “Oink Oink” as the title gets chanted in between Peel’s sung calls for getting the heat (along with hisself) stoned. This is pretty much the underlying theme of the majority of tracks, come to think of it. Especially as side one closes with “I Want To Get High”: ushered in by multiple repeats of the chorus “L-S-D-got-a-hold-on-me” in varying degrees of slurred, shouted and chanted tongues until it seems Peel and Co. have completely lost their respective minds. 

The above-mentioned ”I Want To Kill You” kicks off the second side, and is the sort of thing you play REAL loud in your room when you’ve completely had it with everything and need to get rid of a layer of negativity when all you want is just for the entire world hear that chorus of ‘KILL!! KILL!! KILL!! KILL!!” come blasting from out of the confines of your inner sanctum. It’s violent but funny in the ol’ Three Stooges tradition, and is luckily harmless to everything but your speakers when you’re stressin’ all agitated and vexed to fuck. “Girls, Girls, Girls” is cheesy, teenage and designed to stay that way. A bright, snappy number (hotcha!) and it flows right into the pleading “Hey, Mr. Draft Board” as rendered with adenoidal, pesty Arnold Stang/Horshack vocal tones. You almost think Peel is about to yell out to the buzz-cut recruiter a “Welcome Back, Kotter”-styled note that reads: ‘Dear Mr. Draft Board: Please excuse David from the draft, as he hates your stinking war and wants to stay home so he can get high and record more songs about it. Signed, David Peel’s Mother.’ Which he kinda does anyway in his anti-war “spoken” passage, anyway (I only add the word “spoken” in quotes because ALL the lyrics here aren’t sung OR spoken as much as roughly barked out.) After crossfading out from the military snare and voices of anti-war dissent, Peel is now alone in the studio with his acoustic guitar’n’yammer fest, “God” where he ap-PEEL-s to an authority even higher than himself. And with it, all the screaming finally stops: as did Peel’s short but inspired career on Elektra Records, soon dropped along with all the other troublemakers on the label who weren’t gonna toe the line like Nico, The Stooges or the long-departed MC5. But the reckless Peel was not to be deterred, re-emerging two years later signed to Apple records through his associations with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Apple released his third album, “The Pope Smokes Dope” and its contents were so offensive that it caused Peel (so the story goes) to be banned from practically every country on earth except for The United States and Canada. Seth Man,.....Head Heritage

David Peel is a true counterculture original, an enigma as tough, bombastic, and incendiary as any of the proto-punk gods he walked the Earth with back in the late 1960s. He is NOT the famous British DJ responsible for the ‘Peel Sessions’ series of radio recordings, but just as important to the early landscape of not just the “punk mindset” but more specifically, planting the seeds for one of the most revered punk scenes in history, the Lower East Side of New York City. His band, called The Lower East Side were signed to Elektra Records along with label mates The Doors, Stooges, and MC5, and unleashed a pair of LPs that were as opposite as possible in 1968 and 1970, yet both slid steadfast into the underground, quite perfectly timed for the groundwork to be laid for the upcoming punk movement of the mid 1970s.
As a peer of The Fugs and The Gods, Peel kept his style gritty and unpretentious, and his noxious vocal template was already turning heads all across the underground. Not many people know that David Peel’s debut LP was the first commercially-available album to contain the word “motherf–ker” just a few months ahead of the MC5’s notorious inclusion on their massive debut in 1969, but that’s just one of many firsts Peel had a hand in, but obviously, that’s a big one! Next up was defining the upcoming framework of the NYC punk sound, with his own version of gutter-level “street rock.” The raw proto-punk sound that Peel carved out with his cronies Billie Joe White and Harold C. Black in the Lower East Side band, most notoriously on their highly-acclaimed second LP The American Revolution, released on Elektra in 1970, directly influenced the New York Dolls, The Dictators, and even the Ramones, and clearly planted the nihilistic seeds of what was to come. After meeting John Lennon & Yoko in Washington Square, Peel was invited to join The Beatles’ prestigious Apple Records roster in 1972 for his most revolting record to date, the almost universally-banned LP The Pope Smokes Dope. The fact that this high-profile release wasn’t even available in most record stores killed its momentum yet still solidified Peel’s debaucherous place in history.
Fast forward a few years and we find David Peel creating his homage to Apple Records with his very own label, Orange Records, and releasing his own material, as well as the first releases from fledgling pop superstar GG Allin with his band the Jabbers, forming the unlikely missing link between the Beatles and GG Allin that is still causing rock historians to gasp with disbelief to this day. This era saw Peel collaborating with not only GG Allin but also with the MC5’s guitarist Wayne Kramer, and during this germination period bore the massive platter we are laying before you today, the epic 1978 masterpiece, King of Punk. With this LP, Peel takes on the movement head-first, laying waste and disrespect for the punk bands of the moment in one of the first-ever punk BEEFS laid onto wax, as he dismisses by name, a modern list of punk luminaries. David Peel’s signature style is clearly in place here as he cranks through his cadre of hits covering everything from CIA mind-control, to the controversial subject of “Who Killed Brian Jones?” which raises even more suspicion of foul play from the surviving Rolling Stones, all called out directly by name, of course. King of Punk is a grinding, gritty, and gutteral trip through the mind of a true radical revolutionary punk icon, the kind with a 40-page FBI file as well as arrest records for inciting riots. We are beyond excited to work with one of the pre-punk living legends, and proud to reissue this hard to find, homemade punk masterpiece back into the wild. – VictimofTime..

*Tony Bartoli – Drums 
*Harold C. Black – Vocals, Tambourine 
*Herb Bushler – Bass Guitar 
*Richard Grando – Soprano Saxophone 
*David Horowitz – Organ 
*David Peel – Vocals, Guitar 
*Billy Joe White – Vocals, Guitar

A1 The Lower East Side 3:25 
A2 Pehe Pledge Of Allegiance 0:36 
A3 Legalize Marijuana 3:51 
A4 Oink, Oink 4:41 
A5 I Want To Get High 2:23 
B1 Want To Kill You 4:26 
B2 Girls, Girls, Girls 4:56 
B3 Hey, Mr. Draft Board 3:29 
B4 God 2:26

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..