Thursday, June 3, 2010

Head (1969)

Harvey Matusow's Jew's Harp Band War Between the Fats and the Thins (Head, 1969)

Head music on the Head label. A terrific humming & vibrating psychedelic logo; this visual hubba bubba could easily have been the handiwork of Wes Wilson. War Between the Fats was one of only a handful of titles issued on UK promoter John Curd's very short lived imprint and, of course, it's a cut out (what were the money handlers at Chess/GRT thinking?).

The sound of multiple zinging jew's harps hocketting amongst pixiphones, tibetan bells, mini zithers, gongs, gun shots, a toy turtle, a metronome, a toy duck and gonzo stream of consciousness narratives and slobbering buzzing vocalese makes for some wonderfully indulgent audio gluttony.

Features a young Annea Lockwood and Stan Kenton's daughter among others.

Matusow was a character- by turns a reviled turncoat to the left during the red scare, a dyed in the wool freaker and, perhaps most of all, a hustler.

I picked this up at a seriously ramshackle condemned house in Norwalk, Connecticut from a cracked junkman around '97 or so and quickly started haunting Matusow's personal website and took in acres of this obviously charismatic man's strange life through autobiographical excerpts of his unfinished book The Stringless Yo Yo. By this time, he was a Mormon in a clown suit on public access TV and making some brand of music on homemade instruments if my memory serves me right. I reached out to him about this particular zinger shortly after turning up a copy of this rec to little avail.

If you want to go down the Matusow wormhole, check out the great WFMU piece "The biggest snitch in America" and then step on over to this site to read an obituary and numerous contrabituaries by those who knew him in the flesh. The man certainly made his mark, apocryphal and otherwise.

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