Sunday, June 10, 2012

Christ Child
"Five Finger Exercise"

Christ Child
Christ Child
(Buddah Records, 1977)

Back in my late teens/early twenties, about all I listened to was punk rock. I remember seeing this album in used record stores a few times and thinking it looked fake. I mean, something just didn't ring true, especially to a kid hopped up on Black Flag and Minor Threat, you know? I listened to a bit of it at a store with a record player and thought it sounded thin and weak. On top of that, there were the liner notes:

Oh, come on!

Decades passed, I grew up, and I came across a posting of the entire album on a music blog. Naturally, I downloaded it, 'cause it sucked, right? It oughta be good for a laugh, right?

Oh, crap.

I liked it. I liked it a lot. Off I went, in search of a real copy. I checked all the local used record stores but to no avail. I looked around on-line, but copies were usually pricey. I forget where I eventually found one, but I snagged a copy in amazing condition. On top of that, it wasn't a cut-out! Every copy I saw when I was a kid had a corner cut off. I ripped it to digital, did some very minimal clean-up, made myself a CDR of it, and couldn't stop listening to it! Sure, the sound was a bit thin, as I remembered, but the songs were catchy as all get out. It may have been artifice, but that doesn't mean it wasn't art, you know?

A bit of research turned up the real story, and, just as I had always suspected, it was, indeed, a total con job. Let me qualify that a bit: a fake, but a great album, nonetheless. Per the man responsible, Richard Monda, aka Daddy Dewdrop:

. . . in 1977 I was approached to do a project of my choosing. Of course it was under financed but…OF MY CHOOSING, were the operative words. In all the years I had been working in music I never had anyone say those words. I jumped at the chance. I had recently returned from London where I recorded in a studio where both the Beatles and the Stones had recorded but also above the studio was where The Sex Pistols stored their equipment so I used to see them dragging the amps etc. up the stairs and letting them smash into each step as they went to their storage room. I was fascinated by their angst and that still holds true to this day. Their basic attitude was lack of respect for anything including their instruments. I had been accused of the same thing many times in my career so I got it immediately. I wanted to try something in that genre.

You can read the whole, not-sordid tale on his blog, here.

Buddah probably released it with the hopes of cashing in on the punk scene (sorry, no big money in that for well over another decade), but the man responsible for the tunage did it out of love for the music, rather than a desire to cash in. I imagine that's a big part of why it may not be legit but is still pretty darn great.

Now, here's a strange thing. It's been reissued . . . sorta. You can purchase it, re-titled as Crazy, Dirty & Dangerous, from Amazon as a burnt-on-demand CDR, or as a digital download from Amazon or iTunes.

2 biased opinions:

Biki said...

loved the song, but dont get what made it a con job? i mean milli vanilli was a con job, but this isnt fronted by fakes, so whats the issue?

chooch said...

Just found this blog and it's pretty great. I think I used to frequent an earlier AOL blog you had around 2000 for your old band H.F. (don't know if you're undercover so I'll use abreviations.) That blog turned me on to a lot of cool bands like Jucifer and Slapp Happy. So thanks for that and yeah.