Monday, October 25, 2010

gotta let this hen out!

in october of 1985 this explosive live set was unhatched before an unsuspecting public. it was recorded in april of that year at the marquee in london. robyn hitchcock, the absurdly eccentric godfather of indie psychedelica and his newly formed band, the egyptians had just started to tour after recording their first album fegmania! the material draws from each of his albums (up to that point - it would be a greatest hits collection if he had any hits) and in most cases improves on them with an energy and exuberance that is colorful, catchy, and clever. it is a high water mark for the prolific hitchcock; and a great place for new fans to start. 

quoth robyn, "we were firing on eight cylinders out of six. we had to dry-clean our shoes afterward - the closest i ever got to rock 'n' roll."

gotta let this hen out! is named for a line from the dusty b-side (an underground classic) 'listening to the higsons' about mishearing the lyrics from one of their songs: "the higsons came from norwich. they were a white-boy jazz funk group in 1981-82 who were very popular on the indie circuit, and they were much beloved by john peel and people like that. i heard them playing this song one night, and i thought it was 'gotta let this hen out',' when in fact it was 'gotta let this heat out'. ... i was in a flat in norway when i realized what the correct title had been."

"i've always been a pretty timid person physically, and my big fear on stage, apart from that some goon in the audience will start lobbing flaming ingots of iron at us, is that i'll get the microphone smashing into my teeth, because stages are always unstable. i just would not give my teeth for rock 'n' roll."

video collection:  

this video of 'heaven' is from the actual show.

"when you wake for it
you'll ache for it all night
and when you dream for it
you'll scream for it all right"

'the man with lightbulb head' & 'strawberry mind' from the same tour.

"do you still dream of bees?"

"i don't know why, but i think i'm gonna try to fade back into yesterday before tomorrow comes"

'kingdom of love' & 'bells of rhymney' were staples of the egyptians live show.

"ain't no way I'm gonna be
anything I oughta be;
all i want to do is be your creature"

" 'and what will you give me?' say the sad bells of rhymney"

'brenda's iron sledge' has been described as a metaphorical depiction of thatcherism.

"the one's on top are comfortable - they're sitting on a human chain."

'my wife and my dead wife' from the actual soundtrack.

"and i can't decide which one i love the most,
the flesh and blood or the pale and smiling ghost."

here is a creepy video of zombies listening to 'listening to the higsons' and (undoubtedly) "running out of living" ("whoa oo oh")

gotta let this hen out!

full album:

All songs written by Robyn Hitchcock.

Side one
"Sometimes I Wish I Was a Pretty Girl" (2:03)
"Kingdom of Love" (4:04)
"Acid Bird" (4:25)
"The Cars She Used to Drive" (2:44)
"My Wife and My Dead Wife" (3:54)
"Brenda's Iron Sledge" (2:57)
Side two
"Leppo and the Jooves" (4:52)
"America" (4:08)
"Heaven" (3:40)
"Listening to the Higsons" (2:36)
"The Face of Death" (3:13)
1st and 2nd CD issue bonus tracks (Midnight Records 1986/Rhino Records 1995)
"The Fly"
"Only the Stones Remain"
"Egyptian Cream"
3rd CD issue bonus tracks (Yep Roc Records 2008)
"The Fly"
"Only the Stones Remain"
"Egyptian Cream"
"If You Were A Priest"
"I'm Only You"
"Egyptian Cream 2"
Sleeve erroneously omits last track "Egyptian Cream 2", and as such, lists the 'new' bonus tracks as 14-18 not 15-19.

1 comment:



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