Monday, April 15, 2024

Rhubarb's Revenge - Confessions Of A Big Lanky Dope (1973 us, fine basement folk psych, Gear Fab release)

The band that could not decide on a name. Or a favorite beer. The 1973 long player created by founding members, Greg Shuss, Chris Breetveld, Rob Rothschild, Rich Larsen, Bil DiMartino and contributing quests Mike Rothkopf, Mick Parmenter and Shotzie the wonder hound, is today considered highly collectable. That is, in fact, an understatement. In fact Phone Calls have been received inquiring on the whereabouts of desired copies of "The Album-Rhubarb's Revenge or Confessions Of A Big Lanky Dope (Pink Grass Records LPS827). 

Released in fall of 1973, this record is an eclectic mixture of bizarre originals and classy covers of The Move, Kinks, Zombies and Byrds, all recorded at Chris Breetveld's home Pink Grass Studios in Kendall Park, New Jersey USA One hundred copies were pressed. Another hundred copies were rumored to have been chopped up, rolled up, and smoked by the members of the band. Recorded mainly on Sony 2 track reel to reel decks and bounced tracks between these machines to stack up (meaning: make even worse) the performances. This was a year before their beloved Teac 4 track came into being. Thereafter it was holy hell on music as we knew vit With an impreciseness never before allowed out of a house, a musical sensibility that can only be described as flaccid, and a complete ineptitude for playing even basic musical parts these friends would gather almost every evening, after Shuss and Rothschild finished their second shift jobs, at studio du Pink Grass Passing by Breetveld's parents watching the 11:00 news, dad Jim would invariably greet the lads with "Happy New Year, boys!" each1, as handfuls of beer were carried into the addition room at the far end of the house from the other bedrooms-allowing the boys to experiment and howl late into the night. 

Secluded back in Pink Grass, the tape deck would be fired up and the "c'mon lads, pick up something and let's make some noise!" could be heard faintly through the Kendal Park evening stiffness with only the rare, occasional interrupting knock on the door at 3AM and the "you've got to be fucking kidding!" speech from Mom or Dad Breetveld in ps So anyway, after months of recording all kinds of stuff, Mr. Breetveld St. announces that the family was going to INDIA for a five year stint related to his UNICEF position. (See Peter Ustinov or Danny Kaye bios). "Well, geee thought the group. how can we all have copies of at this marvelous shit we been recording since Chris is taking the tape deck and all the tapes with him? Hmmmm. Let's see how much it will cost to have 5 or10 copies pressed onto vinyl for all to enjoy." It turned out to cost the same to press 100 as it would for 10, So, What The Heck? Thusly, a classic, limited edition was born, although several songs had to be trimmed to fit the time limitations of LP Happily, mor most of these deleted pieces are back, included on this re-issue as bonus tracks. The first music biz person to turn down the band was a chap in Denmark St, London who was the publisher for Marc Bolan and T-Rex and other notable acts at the time. It was Chris' first stop on the way to India to spend a week in London, last week of August 1973. Following the lyrics of the Kink's song. "Denmark Street (terally), he first found Tottingham Court Row (just 'round the comer from old Soho..") and very excitedly shopped" the test pressing he brought with him. The next morning said chap handed the acetate back with sweat pouring down his face, simply saying "I don't think this is exactly what we're looking for Thank you very much and good luck. And then ran into the bathroom (the WC) In New Delhi, where the first actual band with Breetveld performed under the name "Porky Roadapple, the Indians were similarly perplexed with this new American music.

Back in the States, the Road Apples continued experimenting with new beers and ways to avoid both employment and the draft. Success abounded, except for Rich Larsen who teamed up with an exchange student (Saddam somebody) and joined the Navy Returning to the US of A eleven months later, the Breet re-teamed with Shuss, Rothschild and the "Italian Scallion Dino D. Martino for some 'serious' recording. The breathtaking Send Money resulted from the new recordings. This time it was all original compositions with only one or two covers. Lucky for the covers Copies of "The Album" continued their individual journeys around the world and back to this day. Record collectors began calling Breetveld and Shuss who were very busy with their latest scam, The Breetles, the over-the-fab-four power-pop sensation. Offers started coming in for original copies of "Rhubarb's Revenge from all over. Explaining that they were "scattered to the wind" or "doing time in Folsom" was not enough to satisfy the need for this jaw breaking record. Finally, a deal was made with Gear Fab to bring this twenty six year old regional classic back to life. 

Here, you have it and don't come crying because it didn't include the Big Lanky Dope beer can opener, popular in the seventies before pop-tops Other Road Apples classics include (besides the progressive rock out-there absurdity, "Send Money 1974), the pop & whack of "Pet Waint (1976), and Chris' rock opera/musical/ last ditch bid for attention, "The Panchilla Gorilla (1979) the story of two guys (Seed & Chillum) search for the perfect "high". That album was recorded on a Teac 4-track at home and in a "real" 8 track studio. Can You tell the difference? Go To: to check out The Breetles and for more on Rhubarb's Revenge, Road Apples and all Pink Grass related stuff.
by Clark Dick, March 15, 1999
1. Intro - Man To Man (Rich Larsen) - 3:05
2. Time Of The Season (Rod Argent) - 3:45
3. Victoria (Raymond Douglas Davies) - 3:37
4. Mr. Spaceman (Roger McGuinn) - 3:00
5. Words Of Aaron (Michael Rothkopf) - 6:05
6. Lonely (Jeff Lynne) - 1:07
7. Tomorrow Begins Today (Christopher Breetveld) - 4:55
8. When I Feed My Prize Hog (Christopher Breetveld, Gregory Shuss, Michael Carlos Parmenter) - 1:04
9. Nice Spot In The Dark (Christopher Breetveld) - 6:20
10.Avon Girl (Christopher Breetveld, Gregory Shuss) - 3:44
11.2000 Man (Keith Richards, Mick Jagger) - 2:56
12.Prize Hoggies #2 (Christopher Breetveld, Michael Carlos Parmenter) - 1:13
13.Ohio (Neil Young) - 3:14
14.Road Apple Jammies (Christopher Breetveld, Gregory Shuss, Michael Carlos Parmenter) - 1:11

Rhubarb's Revenge
*Christopher Breetveld - Guitars, Drums, Piano, Bass, Flute 
*Gregory Shuss - Piano, Vibes, Noises
*Robert Rothschild - Drums, Congas, Refrigerator
*Richard Larsen - 12 String Acoustic Guitar, Bass
*Michael Rothkopf - Acoustic Guitar
*William Dimartino (Dino) - Drums, Pasta
*Michael Carlos Parmenter. Voice 
*Rene Roques - Acoustic Guitar, Violin 
*Halbert Horatio Ketofsky - Bass, Sax 
*Stephen Stein - Voice
*Christopher Zaic - Lead Guitar 
*Funky Eddie - Percussion

No comments:

Post a Comment