Artist: Toiling Midgets
Album: Live at the Old Waldorf, July 21, 1982
Label: Ektro Records
Release Date: September 20th 2013
One of the latest releases on Ektro Records is a recording of Toiling Midgets playing live at the Old Waldorf from 1982. True vintage stuff!
Toiling Midgets, from San Francisco, are a cult band who have been big in the underground for the last three decades. Mostly instrumental, but spiked with the nasal vocals full of weltschmerz, the Midgets have sporadically recorded for labels as Matador, Thermidor and Rough Trade.
The music of Toiling Midgets is mostly punk, but is infused with psychedelic tunes (early Pink Floyd is never too far away), and contains dashes of glam, hard rock and anything groovy from the late 1970s. While this recording dates from 1982, it is hard to really pinpoint the music of Toiling Midgets onto a decade. It could have been the late 1960s, as well as 2005.
Live at the Old Waldorf is a historical record. Read the story from Ektro Records: “From 1981 to 1983, basket-case savant Ricky Williams signed on as the crew's first (and last) official vocalist. The notorious Bay Area eccentric had already cemented his legend, having played drums for Crime and been ejected from a nascent version of Flipper. Most prominently, he'd also fronted the Sleepers. With his stream-of-consciousness lyrics, street-person growls, and rich if tormented baritone, Williams channeled addled soul singers, accidental shamans, and a malignant decadence rooted in Iggy and Bowie's ugliest fantasies. Originally documented for a radio broadcast by KFJC, Live at the Old Waldorf, July 21, 1982 catches the Midgets at the apex of their collaboration with this bewitching loose cannon, mere months after their pivotal debut, Sea of Unrest, arrived in stores. The weeks preceding the show were hallucinatory and insane for guitarist Craig Gray. Unable to see what was transpiring, he had driven home shortly after depositing his girlfriend and her mother at a meeting with a Persian prince. Mama and her equally crooked beau were attempting to extort money from the wary royal, but undercover cops nabbed both women at the scene and initiated a search for the missing vehicle. Without realizing it, Gray had narrowly escaped arrest, and he was tooling around in a borrowed car on which local law enforcement had placed an APB. To boot, the automobile's trunk concealed a wealth of stolen goods.”
While the sound quality of the recording is not always good (the guitars tend to come out sounding rather dull), Live at the Old Waldorf is quite a bewitching piece of rock music history. Check it out if you are interested in crossover punk rock music.
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