Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Be·Bop Deluxe
"Teenage Archangel"

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Be·Bop Deluxe
Teenage Archangel
7" single
(Smile Records, 1973)

Be-Bop Deluxe jumped out at me through the FM radio waves back in 1978. I'd heard of them, having seen their records in stores, but had never actually heard them. Their new album at the time was Drastic Plastic, and its hard, new wave sound turned out to be delectable ear candy to 14-year-old me (still is, too), even though I mostly listened to metal at the time (and thought punk rock sucked because Johnny Ramone didn't play any guitar solos when the Ramones were on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert).

The singles Panic in the World and Electrical Language got regular airplay where I lived, and I loved them so much I had to buy the album. It wasn't too long before I snapped up the rest of what was out there on LP, and was a happy, happy camper, despite the earlier albums being quite different: more prog rock than new wave and gobs and gobs and gobs of fantastic guitar.

At some point, I learned that Be·Bop Deluxe had released a single on their own label back in 1973, before signing with Harvest Records, home of Kevin Ayers, Syd Barrett, and other assorted weirdo geniuses. Luckily, in mid-1978 my family moved from northern Louisiana to the Washington, D.C. area, which had much better record stores. I tracked down a copy of the single at Yesterday & Today Records,which was the store in town if you were looking for obscurish punk, new wave, oddball, and/or heavy metal records. There were lots of other good stores, mind you, but Y&T was the epicenter, so to speak. The owner, Skip Groff, was incredibly supportive of the local underground scene. He produced sessions for local bands, had his own label, Limp Records (as opposed to the UK's Stiff Records, you see), and employed many of the local punk rockers of note at the store.

This single wasn't released with a picture sleeve, to the best of my knowledge, so that's my protective plastic sleeve holding it in the pic. I supposed I could've scanned it sans-sleeve, but I didn't want to risk damaging the record. I know the sound is a bit muddy, but that's the way it's sounded since the day I bought it. The song on the b-side, Jets at Dawn, was re-recorded for their first album, Axe Victim, but Teenage Archangel never made it beyond this little slab o' black wax.

NOTA BENE: Your eyes are not deceiving you; the band name above is written both as Be·Bop Deluxe and Be-Bop Deluxe; it changed from release-to-release. It was also written Be+Bop Deluxe, BE BOP deluxe, Be Bop Deluxe, and Funky Phaser and His Unearthly Merchandise (seriously! but just for the song Shine on the b-side of the Kiss of Light single).

No biased opinions . . . yet