From the Archives: Five Favourite Liner Notes

01:  13th Floor Elevators / The Psychedelic Sounds of…
02:  Nation of Ulysses / 13 Point Plan to Destroy America
03:  Royal Trux / Singles Live Unreleased
04:  Frank Zappa & the Mothers / Freak Out !
05:  To Live and Shave in LA / An Interview with the Mitchell Brothers

no idea who actually wrote these things. Korzybski might be a candidate for #1 and Gurdjieff for #4. for the record, though, it’s #5 that’s the funniest/most merciless.
HANDLE:  C.S. Barrios
Thursday, August 14, 2003 at 18:58:18 (PDT)

01:  Charles Mingus-his psychiatrist/ Charles Mingus/ “Black Saint and the Sinner Lady”
02:  Iggy Pop/ Iggy Pop / “Raw Power” ( Iggy’s Remix)
03:  Bill Evans/ Miles Davis/ “Kind of Blue”
04:  I don’t know/Parliament/ “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker Best of Parliament”
05:  Don Vliet /Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band/ “Trout Mask Replica”

1-The most pissed off liner notes to the most pissed off album ever. Plus his shrink from Bellvue tries to explain the meaning of the music
2- Iggy’s interview really reveals his personality
3- Zen Buddhist liner notes
4- really good essay teaches you about Sir NoseDeVoidofFunk ect..
5- It is sweet that he put his Jr. High ID card or whatever it is in there.
HANDLE:  Rem Lezar
CITY:  Logan’s Run
Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 13:44:21 (PDT)

01:  Moneen/Theory of harmonial value
02:  Radiohead/Airbag Single
03:  Elvis Costello/My Aim Is True Reissue
04:  The Kinks/Greatest Hits
05:  The Pixies/Death to the Pixies
HANDLE:  spatrick78
Friday, March 07, 2003 at 11:10:46 (PST)

01:  Winston Smith / Dead Kennedys / Bedtime for Democracy
02:  Chris Hannah / Propagandhi / How to Clean Everything
03:  Winston Smith / Dead Kennedys / Plastic Surgery Disasters
04:  Charles Peterson-Michael Lavine / Mudhoney / Superfuzz Bigmuff plus early singles
05:  Chris Hannah / Propagandhi / Less Talk More Rock

1) Winston Smith’s “Vietnam Never Happened” theme park is absolutely disgusting and hilarious at the same time. 2) Some of the most brutally witty and relevant lyrics and some of the best little rants you’ll ever read on an album liner. “Marshal Law With A Cherry On Top” is gold. 3) A massive collage for every track on the LP. (Don’t buy the CD, it ruins the art!). Hours spent just looking at all the crazy things Smith glued together. 4) No lyrics, or text, just damn good live and studio photos of Mudhoney from Charles Peterson and Michael Lavine. Killer compilation of Mudhoney, too. 5) Maybe this should’ve been first. Six mind-blowing political essays that outline the band’s beliefs which are backed up in the music (even though this album isn’t really solid). In fact, I’d say the liner notes are worth more than the music.
HANDLE:  mofro doug
CITY:  Ottawa, Canaduh
Saturday, February 08, 2003 at 14:33:44 (PST)

01:  Marvin Gaye/ Marvin Gaye/ “Let’s Get It On”
02:  Paul Nelson/ The Paul Butterfield Blues Band/ “East West”
03:  Bob Dylan/ Bob Dylan/ “The Times They Are A Changing”
04:  Frank Zappa/ The Mothers Of Invention/ “Freak Out”
05:  some swell fellas/ various artists/ “Fast, Loud & Out Of Control- The Wild Sounds Of 50’s Rock”

1- “I have nothing against consenting sex between two anybodies”- bless you, sir.
2-A quaint stream-of-conciousness (actually, stream of dialogue) rant about how the band wants to do their own thing, maaan.
3- Often overlooked due to “Bringing It All Back Home”; give ’em a try.
4- Revolution of the mind!!!
5- Wonderful as it is, the music on this set might still be misinterpreted as “happy oldies” if it weren’t for the liner notes preaching the real, dark and dangerous Gospel. Best 50’s box ever.
HANDLE:  Daniel Reifferscheid
CITY:  A small village in Portugal. No, really!

01:  Bob Dylan, “Bringing it all Back Home”
02:  Rage Against the Machine, “Renegades”
03:  Pixies, “Death to the Pixies”
04:  Pearl Jam, “Vitalogy”
05:  Entire remasters of the SST Meat Puppets catalogue

(1) “I accept chaos, i don’t know if chaos accepts me”. Everything Bob touched in those days was brilliant, and liner notes were no exception.
(2) Sometimes, less is more, and this concept still impresses me. If Morello/De La Rocha came up with this, its brilliant. If not, it still takes a great deal of taste to recognize when to flash the spotlight on something remarkeable of someone elses.
(3) The day I bought this CD, i read the liner notes before I got around to putting it in. After completing them, I thought that there was no way that the music could live up the description they received in the booklet. I have never been more wrong, prior or since.
(4) Not liner notes per se, but one of the most fascinating artifacts of the “Grunge” era (sorry, but its a better description than the more viled “Alternative”).
(5) The Meat Puppets, one of the most underrated artists of the 1980’s, had watched their catalogue deteriorate in availablility over the past decade, which proved to be a problem after the push they got from Mr. Cobain himself. When they finally were re-released, however, it proved to be well worth the wait. A quality job done by drummer Derrick Bostrum, in presenting the Meat Puppets to further generations.
HANDLE:  Anthony Barker
CITY:  Eau Claire, WI

01:  Joe Jackson (Three Sides Live)
02:  Bob Dylan (Highway 61 Revisited)
03:  Elvis Costello (King of America)
04:  The Who (Quadrophenia)
05:  Boston I

Except for compilations, there’s no excuse ever for expanded liner notes. Usually it’s ultra pretentious or a half-baked pre-apology for the junk inside. I trust the poem, not the poet. If the music doesn’t cut it, a written explanation of what the artist was trying to do doesn’t make it any better.
HANDLE:  alan williams
CITY:  Toronto

01:  Bob Dylan – Bringing it all back home
02:  Replacements – Sorry Ma, forgot to take out the trash
03:  Lemmy/Motorhead – Iron Fist
04:  Frank Zappa/Mothers of Invention – Freak Out!
05:  Anything at all by Robert Fripp

Honourable mentions: Jeff Beck – Truth, Paul Nelson/Butterfield Blues Band – East-West, Jim McCarty/Yardbirds – Roger the engineer
HANDLE:  vonbontee
CITY:  Mississauga

01:  Lester Bangs/Them/Them Featuring Van Morrison
02:  Ira Robbins/The Who/An Ideal Compilation (unrel Robbins-programmed comp)
03:  Greil Marcus/Bob Dylan/The Band/The Basement Tapes
04:  Robert Palmer/Bo Diddley/The Chess Box
05:  Flo & Eddie/The Turtles/Happy Together Again (Sire double LP compilation)

Runners-up: John Mendelsohn on The Kinks, Cliff White on James Brown, and Ornette Coleman and Bob Dylan on their own albums. Late Entry: Robert Christgau on Cosmo’s Factory (wish he’d do more liner notes).
HANDLE:  jyanosik

01:  Jeff “DJ Zen” Chang/ various artists / “SoleSides’ Greatest Bumps”
02:  Mr. Sho.nuff / various artists/ “Ninja Tune: XEN Cuts”
03:  Various / “The Ramones- Anthology”
04:  The Replacements- “Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash”
05:  The BellRays- “Let It Blast”

Emphasis on wackiness.
1) Ah, the life of a vinyl geek. “In a nutshell, that’s what SoleSides was all about. Violence, arson, race riots, death, and hip-hop. Whoops. I mean, records. SoleSides was all about records… One time, I walked into the listening booth to post my playlist. X and Lyrics had just found this fat Latin-ragga stomper of a break (it ended up in “Send Them”) and were playing it over and over, giggling wildly. When I stepped in the booth, the two of them pulled the needle, hid the album cover, dropped their chests over the turntable, looked sideways, and told me to get the hell out. Fanatics!”
2) In which a seminal indie hip-hop/ambient/breaks label charts the actual progess of the CD the booklet appears in: “While the Ninja do their ninjy thing (y’know, with those little stars and all of that), baby Xen starts sucking stuff in, feeding, feeding, a black hole in the corner of the office, forever sucking, insatiable. […] And suddenly, the Ninja look up from their desks and in the corner of the room is Xen-Elvis in the Laos/Vegas phase, a huge, sparkling, bloated fucking monster of a compilation […] and the buildings are trembling, cracks appearing in the walls, spangly stars flying out of every orifice of the screaming office Ninj, swirling up and round Xenelvis as he begins to puke out great swathes of music. Stylistically incoherent, all-encompassing, huge, tasteless, funky, wanky, panky, hardcore, loungeready, bipboppety, shipshoppety, jazzual, casual, uptempo, bontempo, lovely, cuddly, horrid horrid horrid. An indefinable mess… Oh fuck.” So ludicrous and bizarre it’s funny, and doubly so in the parts where it’s s’posed to be funny. “ninjy thing”?!
3) This is here solely on the basis that it revealed that “Cretin Hop” was inspired by the name of a street maybe two miles from where I grew up. And yes, there actually is a HIGH SCHOOL in St. Paul called “Cretin Derham”, or “Cretin” for short. Paul Molitor went there.
4) Great scrawled little notes, probably taken while drunk. “Don’t worry. We’re thinking about taking lessons.”
5) Little to nothing as far as epic liner notes goes, but there’s one line in there that gets me every time: “Produced, arranged, designed and paid for by the BellRays, without any help from your sorry ass!!!”
HANDLE:  Nate Patrin
CITY:  St. Paul, MN

01:  Pixies – Death To The Pixies
02:  Radiohead – Ok Computer
03:  Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggystyle
04:  Iggy Pop – Nude And Rude
05:  Styx – Best Of

1) I can read this again and again, i just love the way it was written.
2) Its a trip, man. Theres all these pictures of things and stuff and shiny and pretty oooh the colors….
3) Its so self righteous and childishly purile it almost mocks itself
4) Iggy Pop rules, this is his story, fuck yeah.
5) They go on and on and on and they were so bad so bad so bad its almost funny to hear about the technicalities of ‘Come Sail Away’.
HANDLE:  SpecialKay
CITY:  San Francisco

01:  Michael Nesmith/Himself/Tantamount To Treason Vol 1
02:  Andrew Loog Oldham/Rolling Stones/1st (or 2nd – the one with the Clockwork Orange pastiche, anyway)
03:  National Lampoon/Lemmings
04:  Bob Dylan/Himself/Bringing It All Back Home
05:  Neil Young/Himself/Decade

The beer recipe wins it by a mile.

01:  anonymous aussie joker/various artists/the “Pebbles” volume with the R. Meltzer parodyi
02:  (ditto)/(ditto)/(ditto) with the “Boy Looked At Johnny” (ditto)
03:  (ditto)/(ditto)/(ditto) part 2
04:  Lou Reed/himself/”Metal Machine Music”
05:  M.E.Smith/The Fall/all records, esp. before about ’84

Who wrote those “Pebbles” ones? those’re really fuckin’ funny!
HANDLE:  Duane Zarakov
CITY:  Dunedin

01:  unknown unhappy reissue contributor / damned / phantasmagoria (9-track reish)
02:  warren defever / grenadine / nopalitos
03:  peter gabriel / genesis / live
04:  john peel / the fall / the peel sessions
05:  douglas cooper / sonic youth / sister (reissue)

the whole purpose of liner notes is to be funny: these above bring a smile to my face every time. contrast: “information” from sycophants is never to be trusted, and recollections of the artists are even more sycophantic towards their younger selves. but peter gabriel does a good job of writing an unclouded joke-freak out recollection.
HANDLE:  mitch
CITY:  iowa city

01:  Seeger, Paley/New Lost City Ramblers/ Depression/
02:  Dylan/ World Gone Wrong/ Diatribe
03:  David Berman/ Silver Jews/ Acutal Air (poetry)
04:  John K. Wilson III/ Newt Gingrich/ (book)
05:  Mike Seeger/ Folkways/ Banjo tunes and songs Scurggs

Liner notes are dramaturgical recollections, which exceed the rock …. almost said content. Thats a no non. Which exceed embarrassment now, previously they informed.
HANDLE:  warren leming
CITY:  chicago

01:  super session
02:  2nd traffic album
03:  aftermath
04:  cactology…on rhino c.d.
05:  playboy’s playmate review

i’ll write your groups notes as long as i don’t have to listen to the record
HANDLE:  groovymax
CITY:  frisco….pray for the yuppiecleansing earthquake

01:  Eartha Kitt/Eartha Kitt/Thursday’s Child/date unknown
02:  cecil taylor/cecil taylorunit structures/1966
03:  the nation of ulysses/the nation of ulysses/13-point program to destroy america/1991
04:  david thomas/pere ubu/390 degrees of simulated stereo/1981
05:  mark e smith/dragnet/the fall/1979

Half a mind (for a time) to mess with all yo’ heads and vote for the 1988 ROIR cassette THE END OF MUSIC AS WE KNOW IT. Mykel Board: “From the putrefying carcass of dead music arises a din. This din rumbles through the tiny clubs and underground sleaze pits in the alleys of America. It is shadowy, persecuted, constantly hounded by those who would prop up the dead… Two others (THURSTON MOORE and JAD FAIR) are lone-fox examples of the coming _Übermensch_… ROYAL TRUX and KRACKHOUSE will drive even the most liberal intellectual pinhead to new forms of self-mutilation…” Steve Albini: “Qualitative standards time honoured in rock music remain effective: does it rock?” Company Disclaimer: “The opinions expressed by Mykel Board and Steve Albini do not reflect in any way the opinions of ROIR, who have not listened to this cassette and have no intention of doing so.” Equally iconic of out-of-the-boxness that isn’t out of its OWN little box at all, a covert yes in the form of a too-poisedly belching no, are all those Funkadelic/Parliament sleeves: pretty funny, but somehow waterlogged by the self-regard of the fans who got there first. Eartha Kitt’s I haven’t seen for years, an extract – supposedly – from her biography as she as a child walks a rural road in the South through the night with her siblings and dirt-poor mom, looking for somewhere, anywhere, to bed down for the night. Cecil’s is Darmstadt avant-garde blather rescripted by Burroughs. Ulysses: “Pajamas, once clownish and babylonian, now present themselves as a bold new uniform for the army fighting against the nauseous prospect of the ethical workday… Deny yourself the rituals which coincide with sleep’s preparation. Do not wipe the taste of the day away with the false and foreign taste of mint….” Ubu and the Fall: just themselves, by themselves, in picture-perfect early form. IVANTAR CORMAN SLUDGE HAI CHOI.
HANDLE:  mark sinker
CITY:  london

01:  DAVID ALLAN COE, Human Emotions (Columbia, 1978)
02:  SWAMP DOGG, Total Destruction to Your Mind (Canyon, 1970)
03:  AC/DC, High Voltage (Atlantic, 1977)
04:  FSK, International (Catamount, 2000)
05:  WILL TO POWER, Journey Home (Epic, 1990)

Lifetime Service Awards: Teena Marie, Lee Hazlewood (in that order). Ten more also-rans, alphabetized: David Allan Coe, *Spectrum VII*; Corina, “Temptation” 12-inch single; Neil Diamond, *The Feel of Neil Diamond* (notes by Bert Berns); Bob Dylan, *Bringing It All Back Home*; Frankie Goes to Hollywood, *Welcome to the Pleasuredome*; Tom Lehrer, *An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer*; Maggozulu, *Dawn of the Maggozulu*; Mekons, *The Mekons Story* (notes by Lester Bangs); Mott the Hoople, *Mott* (notes by D.H. Lawrence); Lou Reed, *Metal Machine Music*. (Unless otherwise noted, as far as I can tell, all the other liner notes I’ve listed were composed by the artists themselves.)
HANDLE:  chuck eddy
CITY:  brooklyn

01:  Bob Dylan / Bob Dylan / Highway 61 Revisited (Columbia)
02:  Teena Marie / Teena Marie / Robbery (Epic)
03:  Uncredited / Various Artists (Small Island Pride, Mighty Cypher, Young Killer, etc.) / Calypso Atrocities: a collection of current atrocities gleaned from the hi-fi bric-a-brac of Trinidad (Cook)
04:  Hal Levy and the Limeliters / The Limeliters / Fourteen 14K Folksongs (RCA)
05:  Corina / Corina / Corina (Cutting Records)

01: “I cannot say the word eye anymore…. when I speak this word eye, it is as if I am speaking of somebody’s eye that I faintly remember…. there is no eye – there is only a series of mouths – long live the mouths – your rooftop – if you don’t already know – has been demolished”
02: “Night stalk case indefinite – ‘out on a limb’ like Shuri and Angelou, Fonda, Ntozake and women period. I’m a backbone, ’cause Chaka said it and I felt it – deep down – cranium to heart – question to answer – why me mountain? Because it’s there! Like Billie Holiday to the blues, or Joan of Arc to sainthood, destiny was never my choice, I am only an instrument like saxophone – needle – conversation and Ms. Pacman.”
03: “They are just being swept along with the calypsonian into the making of a calypso’s goal, a fully rounded pear-shaped atrocity. Atrocities generally may be grouped into divisions and sub-heads such as political, social, economic or architectural. But within the spheres of the various art forms, the deliberately perpetrated atrocity is rare. Passing quickly over the pedantic point as to whether or not calypso is music, and all music art, one emerges with calypso, this singular example of perversion.”
04: Glenn: “We each chose two awful songs for ourselves, and two awful songs for each of the other gentlemen. This way we can be both masochistic and sadistic, all in the same album.”
05: “Mom & Dad – I know I can be quite unbearable at times, even hateful, but unlike anyone else, you have both always been able to see right through me and somehow you always knew that I wasn’t as angry as I was afraid.” “Joey (Baby Kanga) – I know, I know I’m a major pain in the a–, but your big sister loves you….” “Pepper – …Thank you for always being my punching bag. I know that it gets really hard to deal with me but you do it so well. You are stuck with me dude….” “My Cutting Family – …Thanx for putting up with my hour-long messages, especially during my PMS days. Ha ha! Vinny – I still have your plaque, ha ha!” “Mark Katz – I know I drive you crazy but you know I’m crazy about you!” “Burt Podell – you’ve opened your arms to me and my baggage….” “Zolis Fashion (Willie & Ray) – Sometimes a lot of bad brings some good…. I think we’ve learned all we need to know about each other and we’ve grown. Your sister, Corina.” 01 (slight return): “we are singing today of the WIPE-OUT GANG – the WIPE-OUT GANG buys, owns & operates the Insanity Factory – if you do not know where the Insanity Factory is located, you should hereby take two steps to the right, paint your teeth & go to sleep.”
HANDLE:  Frank Kogan
CITY:  Denver

01:  Al Larsen / Some Velvet Sidewalk / Eyes Like Yours/Eye of the Storm 7″
02:  Tom T. Hall / Jim Reeves / Young and Country
03:  Uncredited / Paul Robeson /The Glorious Voice of Paul Robeson
04:  Uncredited / Tom Jones / Funny Familiar Forgotten Feelings
05:  Mike Connelly / Trini Lopez / At PJ’s

“After a flat tire, a cup of coffee from a truck stop and a few minutes sleep while slumped in the seat, we are at the place where Jim will entertain tonight”.
HANDLE: zeba
CITY:  Maningrida

One thought on “From the Archives: Five Favourite Liner Notes

  1. Boy… You guys missed the best all time, which was The Who, Live at Leeds. Then there was Country Joe & The Fish, Feel Like I’m Fixing to Die with the game. There was also some great liner notes on Johnny Winter’s first Columbia album.

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