Saturday, January 17, 2015

David Thomas & The Wooden Birds: Blame the Messenger

One of Dave Thomas’ kajillion art rock side projects outside of Pere Ubu, the Wooden Birds featured Thomas and four sympathetic sidemen: Allen Ravenstine on some crunchy vintage EML synthesizers, Tony Maimone (later with They Might Be Giants) on bass, plus drummer Chris Cutler and guitarist Jim Jones. This 1987 album on Twin Tone / Rough Trade was the group’s second of two LPs, following their 1986 debut Monster Walks the Winter Lake. Lyrically, it’s like a library book pulled at random from the shelf; it’s a variety of mood pieces and meditations, with the title track being a celebration of good friends and good times sung from the point of view of a flock of birds. This was one of my first Goldmine purchases from the 1990s (when, in terms of used music, that magazine WAS the world wide web), which I bought because I’d been looking for its closing song: “The Velikovsky Two-Step”, a brutally hilarious takedown of the notorious author of Worlds in Collision (“Fish leap outa the fossil record / Fully formed and happy to be here!”) Steven Wright picked up on its bright uptempo absurdity and used it as the closing-credits song for his Oscar-winning short film The Appointments of Dennis Jennings in 1988.

My Town
A Fact About Trains
King Knüt
When Love Is Uneven
The Storm Breaks
The Long Rain
Having Time
Friends of Stone
The Velikovsky Two-Step

DISCLAIMER: To the best of my knowledge, this work is out of print and not available for purchase in any format. If you are the artist and are planning a reissue, please let me know and I’ll remove it from the blog. Also please get in touch if you’ve lost your art &/or sound masters and would like to talk with me about my restoration work.

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