Sunday, June 17, 2007

A brief Del Close reference leads us along to: Michael O'Brien & John Elk - How To Speak Modern (1980)

ONCE upon a time, long, long ago, there was a curious and wonderful LP recorded, called 'How To Speak Hip'...

The *quite* curious and colorful
Del Close recorded the album in 1959 with John Brent, and it's remained much-beloved by kooky hipsters all over the land.

This would be in between the period of his appearances with The Compass Players in St. Louis, and just prior to his settling in Chicago, where he'd rejoin his compatriots now in The Second City, and help lay the foundations for change in the world of improvisational theater and performance comedy.

There's a charming web page where you can hear the entire 'How To Speak Hip' LP as streaming audio. (Flash plug-in needed)
Amongst the beat-centric links included there is a nice Del Close bio.

Close's previous LP, 'The “Do It Yourself” Psychoanalysis Kit' is likewise floating out there in its download-able entirety, in an old post at PCL Link Dump.

MEANWHILE, in 1980, some twenty-one years later, a small independent San Francisco record label released a 7-inch EP inspired by the album - - An 'update' called 'How To Speak Modern'.

It attempted to capture (in just under twelve minutes) some of the same flavor of its predecessor with the lingo and habits of a new generation.

It was relatively successful in it's attempt as I recall, but listening to it today (gasp! - - twenty-seven years later!?!) it seems almost more dated than the original.

Perhaps as a by-product of its 'modern' stance, the pre-digital age it comes from is more noticeable. No CDs, no e-mail, no voice-mail or personal phone directory on your non-existent cell-phone, no ubiquitous home computers...

...Maybe we're overdue for another update? How To Speak Post-Modern? Or... hmmm.

From Michael O'Brien and John Elk's 45 rpm EP 'How To Speak Modern' (Gamera Records, 1980), Listen to:

Side 1
Side 2

(click for audio)

POST-SCRIPT: A side question for you - - who can supply further information about Michael O'Brien and John Elk and 'How To Speak Modern'?

And another one - - "Music on (the tracks) 'Punk' and 'Wave' by Spys".

I think I vaguely remember a California group, 'Spys' from back in that era. There was apparently also a Canadian 'The Spys' - - ?

Is the 'Spys' in the background of this EP the same group as remembered in this article?

Any info, clarifications, etc from anyone out there is much appreciated. It's got me curious...

1 comment:

my young apprentice said...

Thank you for linking to that Rock Bottom and the Spys article. It's an incredible read and a very sad story.

Freshly-stirred links