Sometimes, to get the records you want, you have to make them. That was one of the many considerations going through our heads as we pondered the first vinyl pressing of the near-mythic Shoes album Bazooka. Although a minuscule sample of the population was ever even aware of it, Bazooka was known to the Greg Shaw/Bomp set even back in the day as a great lost album that few heard.
Bazooka should probably long ago have seen the light of day. And really, it did in the ’90s on a CD collection amongst other oddities, sold primarily through the Shoes’ website… but it’s just not the same. As it was originally presented only as a cassette, with no imagery to accompany it, and shared only with the band members’ friends, the prospect of creating artwork that looked and felt right was awesome, and certainly intimidating. No one wants to pull a record that doesn’t feel right off their shelf.
Meet our knucklehead accomplice, Henry Owings, who rose to the occasion. He devised a way to make something look realistic and of its time without becoming kitsch. First, a key element is the image choice (selected by reissue producer Ken Shipley). This is from the negatives of an early live show shot for posterity, and one of the few in existence that contains the actual line-up of Shoes from this set of recordings. Drummer Barry Shumaker was the drummer on Bazooka and One In Versailles, to be replaced the following summer by Skip Meyer. The handwriting used for the text comes from actual set lists from the band’s shows where these tracks were performed. There were very few elements of the appropriate vintage… however, the resourceful Owings took these four chromalins, broke them apart and reassembled the separated color keys (the C, Y, M, and Ks) into the dynamic combinations seen here. Although they were laid out recently, every element existed contemporaneously with the actual recordings contained therein. It’s a record, first and foremost, that we’re really proud to own. Get yours, and the other early Shoes LPs, now.
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