Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kave Kids

In 1971, Lester Bangs, rock'n'roll's most interesting and talented critic, wrote a lengthy rant for Greg Shaw's Who Put the Bomp? praising the primitive sound of Andover's Troggs as the antithesis to the singer-songwriter era of popular music. Bangs entitled it "James Taylor Marked For Death," which pretty much sums up his opinion on the matter.

"They're so far behind, they're in front," Graham Nash said of the Troggs. Certainly, their mastery of any instruments was rudimentary at best, but add that to the sexuality in their lyrics, and one has a recipe for authentic rock'n'roll--a do-it-yourself ethos for angst plagued teenagers everywhere. "Wild Thing" is one of the finest examples of this in all of rock'n'roll, a stone-cold classic known by just about everyone on the planet.

The Troglodytes consisted of Reg Presley (nee Ball) on vocals, Chris Britton on guitar, Pete Staples on bass and Ronnie Bond on drums. Kinks manager Larry Page discovered them, shortened their name to the Troggs, and got them a recording contract with Fontana records. (Until Page formed his own label, Page One) One of their best singles, "I Can't Control Myself" was banned completely in Australia and received only restricted play on the BBC.

The Troggs evolved with the changing musical directions, releasing the psych-tinged Cellophane in 1967, which also featured another massive hit, "Love Is All Around" (covered very well by our Invaders). Of course, no lesson in Troggomania would be complete with a mention of The Trogg Tapes, a surreptitiously recorded row that includes words we shall not repeat here.

Recommended purchase, though now out of print: The Troggs: Archeology, a 3 CD set with all the best tracks and the infamous Trogg Tapes, too.

(Personal favorite Trogg Track: "Night of the Long Grass")

(References: Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung by Lester Bangs; Tapestry of Delights by Vernon Joynson and British Beat by Chris May and Tim Phillips)

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