Monday, January 29, 2007

Crazy, Baby

The Shaggs

The Shaggs were three sisters from rural New England. Dad musta seen the Beatles, and decided that he was going to get *rich* off his daughters' talent. He bought 'em shiny and matching instruments and marched 'em down to the recording studio to make a record. And....

Of course, he blew the family wad on the instruments, and never got them any lessons. Or bought them a radio. Or gave them time to practice.

So, the girls wind up in a studio with no idea what rock music sounds like, or how to play or tune an instrument. And what you get is the most naive and guileless, yet totally random sound.

I've seen some people call this one genius. I'm unconvinced. I enjoy it for a couple songs at a time, but I don't think that there is a whole parallel universe musical structure here by any means. Just a bunch of kids trying to have some fun singing about their cat. Nothing wrong with that.


ratm said...

Frank Zappa once famously said "I'd rather listen to the Shaggs than the Beatles."

I agree that it's a few steps short of genius (probably a few steps short of good), but in their unrehearsed playing you can certainly hear the groundwork of later bands (specifically thinking of The Slits here) who have a similar, if better thought out sound. An interesting archive piece.

Lucky said...

totally agree with ratm - this may not the tip of the iceberg of geniality, but it's simply play without care about virtuosity, which makes it outstanding (like the punkbands the slits, kleenex or the raincoats).

the diversity in your blog is strictly awesome, i love to stroll around and discover things i've never heard of (and some i heard of, too), and your writing is excellent, btw! ;)

cheerful, lucky

Simon said...

The Shaggs' album is undoubtedly a work of genius according to Delacroix's definition:

“Talent does whatever it wants to do... Genius does only what it can.”

booblikon said...

NO! there is absolutely a parallel scientific logic to these songs. you must LISTEN! each instrument is playing in structured form. each musician honed in on their part like a hawk on a field mouse. that those structures don't synchronize together is beside the point. IT'S THERE! thanks for posting this & inspiring the next generation.

Tim E Bear said...

The interesting part is, they DID have lessons. That's the person I want to meet, almost more than the Wiggin girls themselves. :)