Review Revue: B.A.L.L. – Bird

I have sung the praises of the label Shimmy Disc in this space before, and I hope to do so again. This iconoclastic, upstart label released some of the strangest (and best) college-radio-dj-fodder of the ’80s and ’90s, and must not be forgotten. From what little information is available online, I have gleaned that B.A.L.L. – one of the label’s lesser-known acts, at least today – featured label founder Kramer (who today continues this important work via Second Shimmy) on guitar, along with members of Half Japanese and Shockabilly, and delighted in skewering the sacred cows of rock.

The cover for this particular album has the band reproducing – fairly accurately – the “Butcher Cover” of the Beatles’ Yesterday and Today. I had not seen or heard of the Beatles cover until just now, and it’s pretty shocking how straight B.A.L.L. played their version. I can only imagine how scandalized 1966 audiences must have been. Reading this article, it strikes me that there really needs to be a band called The Livingston Butchers. Someone get on that, will ya?

“Apparently this arrived the same week as Laibach’s ‘Let It Be,’ but don’t expect any Beatles covers. (They do however cover T-Rex’s ‘Buick McKane’ and 4 songs from The Concert for Bangladesh: ‘It Don’t Come Easy, ‘Wah-Wah,’ a condensed Dylan, and ‘Bangladesh,’ according to the liner notes.)”

“B.A.L.L. does their own thing. Distortions wander all over the place. If you want points of musical reference, start with Shockabilly, Half Japanese, and Velvet Monkeys. (These guys have variously played in these bands.”

“Sick, sick, sick. I like it!”

“Kathy, I’d think you’d like this.”

“Tim, the cover art embarrasses the hell out of me, but you’re right about the music!”

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