We're back with another installment of improvisations and songs from bassooncore legends Chotchke, active in San Francisco from 1993 to 1998 (not counting a later reunion gig). As it happened, last time, I presented a rather bassoon-light batch of pieces (as pointed out readily by my exacting listeners and a band member or two) and so THIS time I strove to pick songs that ALL had a lot of Carrie Barclay's bassoon work on them.
The lineup heard this week features members: Jon Arnold : guitar,drums and vocals, Carrie Barclay : bassoon and guitar, Jon Fellman : guitar and vocals, Jonathan Hess : bass guitar, vocals, and Drew Dobbs : drums, percussion and vocals.
Today's selection contains improv.s, half-finished songs, and fully-polished 16-track renditions.
Enjoy ten fine slices of Chotchke history after the bump.
MISTY : a half-finished piece which Chotchke may have played out live, but it was never really recorded properly.
THAT'S THE WAY IT GOES : a rehearsal studio improvisation.
SPIT IN A BUCKET : another odd rehearsal improv.
SERPENT : this was another piece that was being worked on, but was never really completed, so here we witness the band working through the changes and learning it/ twisting it.
BARGAIN NOISE : another epic improvisation, actually two songs run together live.
DESSICATED TRUCKER : one of their favorites, recorded many times (but never definitively) and played out often, as well as on tour. This is an in-house studio version, flawed but roughly how it should go.
THE VALLEY : from the 'second' 16 track studio sessions, one of the longer and heavier Chotchke songs. Never released.
ZOMBU (The Zombie Stomp) : the first appearance of Chotchke on vinyl, on the compilation record Night of the Living Dead Vinyl. This file will mark the first time that the world has heard the piece at its correct speed- it was mastered on the lp at a lower-than-normal speed for some reason, to the band's eternal chagrin. So for this file I sped it up somewhat, closer at least to its original key. The first half features lead vocals by Jacques Boyreau, backed by Jon Fellman, and I believe Boyreau co-wrote the melody to the intro vocal part. I think this also has Margaret Murray (of U.S. Saucer) on oboe as well- (Help me out here, band members)? The band were billed as Zombu on the record cover, with no actual song titles given.
I hope people get some kick out of this music, a lot of love went into its creation, and so little of their material was ever released anywhere, there is a three-song 7 inch single, three compilation tracks on two lps, and an appearance on the Tiny Idols cd compilation volume one. Anyone who saw us play in Vancouver, Seattle or Oregon are encouraged to write in with any memories. I'll be back with a third part in this series in a month or two.