Friday, August 07, 2009

Flashing Lights

Screaming Lord Sutch, he of the (genuine) British Parliamentary party called The Official Monster Raving Loony Party, had a long and illustrious career as a rocker. His schtick was horror - chasing semi-naked dolly birds around the stage and singing about Jack the Ripper. This was in the Sixties, mind - a decade or so before Alice Cooper and twenty years before Marilyn Manson mined the same vein. The Houndblog has a good set of photos and a write up of his career, although, of course, this being rock music, it was a lot longer and far more tragic than that.

Today, that track - Jack the Ripper - is probably his best known, having been covered by both The White Stripes and The Horrors.

For some reason he had heavy friends, including Ritchie Blackmore. With his other friends, Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Nicky Hopkins, Jeff Beck and Noel Redding, he made an album called, of course, Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends which was once voted the worst album of all time. (His Heavy Friends had apparently thought they were recording for fun, not for release to the public.) Of course, all things go in cycles and the album is now sought after. The vinyl may be rare, but the tracks are easily findable on the internet for download under the name Wailing Sounds.

One of the tracks, Flashing Lights, features Jimmy Page playing wild rockabilly lead guitar over his mutant Hambone freakout of a rhythm guitar. I'm not sure how Jimmy's getting that sound - Leslie cabinet? But it's worth the price of the album alone. Hard to believe this is a 1969 track and Lord Sutch was a Butlins-playin' figure of fun. Here's the track on YouTube, with a suitably horrific Hammer video cut to the music.

Have a look out also for his band The Raving Savages playing Surf City. Awesome stuff.

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