Thursday, March 15, 2012

More U.K. Obscurities On U.S. Labels: The Buzz

THE BUZZ-You're Holding Me Down/I've Got A Buzz U.S. Coral 62492 1966

Holly cow Batman, can you believe this insane slice of Joe Meek produced freakbeat mayhem got a U.S. release?  Originally released in the U.K.  on April Fool's Day 1966 as Columbia DB 7887 it stands as one of Joe's more far out productions (for more on that topic have a peek at this older posting):

The Buzz (not to be confused with David Bowie's backing outfit who were playing the clubs at the same time this 45 was released) hailed from Edinburgh and made just one record, today's item in question. Reconstituted from the remnants of the Boston Dexter's they were: the late Tam White (lead vocals), John Turnbull (lead guitar), Brian Henderson (bass) and Mike Travis (drums). "You're Holding Me Down" is the stuff of legends.  It's perhaps the perfect companion to Meek's speed induced paranoia and mania manifesting itself in the three minute pop song.  Though the genre moniker did not exist at the time of it's release the record implies freakbeat in every sense of the aesthetic! The insane over compression production, the manic intensity of the tune's delivery and the sheer savage brutality of the "fuck you" lyrics are magical.  The band's sound encompasses the way out beat sounds of, say, The Honeycombs at their finest while there's enough wigginess of The Creation or The Who at their top of the game pop art auto destruction period to perfect peg this as "freakbeat". It honestly doesn't get any freakier than this and it's right up there with the likes of "Rumble On Mersey Square South" by Wimple Winch or "She's Got Eyes That Tell Lies" by Him and the Others. I first heard this track on the "Searching In The Wilderness" bootleg LP comp in the mid 80's. Bam Caruso later slapped it on "Rubble 13: Freakbeat Fantoms" in better quality with it's complete maddening speed fueled paranoia ending equaled only by John's Children's "Smashed ! Blocked!" in my estimation.  The U.S. pressing ends earlier leaving out several seconds of the demented fade out echoes of "go back, go back...". The flip side, "I've Gotta Buzz" is a boring cod-country music track penned by Joe Meek, even some Jimmy Page-like volume pedal guitar work can't salvage this, probably written by Meek during a booze and pills inspired moment when he was daydreaming about his favorite scenario of homo erotic rough trade cowboys.

"I hear a new world", and it sounds like "You're Holding Me Down".

Both sides were on the more recent highly recommended CD comp "Joe Meek's Freakbeat: You're Holding Me Down", while "You're Holding Me Down" has appeared on over half a dozen other CD's!

The Buzz 45 was not the only odball Coral release of a U.K. obscurity, the label also issued The Richard Kent Style's monster mod/freakbeat classic "Go Go Children" (62504).

Hear "You're Holding Me Down":

************45 label scan c/o Reynaldo Moldonando******************
Thanks to Keith Patterson for additional assistance.


diskojoe said...

It's appropriate that this was on the Coral label since Joe Meek was a great Buddy Holly fan

Wilthomer said...

Sadly enough that irony was lost on me while writing this piece! I can't seem to find any other Meek releases on the label though!

Mark Lungo said...

Have to respectfully disagree with one of your points here. While "You're Holding me Down" is a great, terrifying record, I also enjoy "I've Gotta Buzz", which is the flip side emotionally as well as literally. You can even imagine a story emerging from the relationship between the two songs: the singer has a really bad breakup with his rotten girlfriend, but then finds new, hopefully lasting love with a much nicer girl. At least that's my headcanon, because I love happy endings.