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.
Filed under: Eccentric Breaks & Beats | Tags: Eccentric Breaks & Beats, Shoes, Ultimate Breaks & Beats
We’ve been bootlegged before, certainly. Madlib (take a few bows), Mayer Hawthorne, BBE, RJD2, that lame-ass “Low Riders” series… but this really takes the cake.
Over the course of seven years and more than 70 releases, one extremely creative fan began to build a mega-mix of his favorite loops, breaks, and vocal snippets, chopping them all up and piecing together an incredible musical narrative—a 40-minute, saw blade-labeled 12″ boot that was pressed and seeded to a handful of DJs and producers. Naturally, word got back.
With our cease and desist letter ready to be dropped in the mail, an interesting thing happened: We kinda got hooked on the flawlessly arranged pastiche. Taking cue from the Bob Dylan Bootleg series, we turned the tables on the pirate. Seizing the plates from the pressing plant, we repurposed this underground release (preserving the contraband “Numbero” label) as the ultimate showcase for our seven years in business.
It took some time and effort, but we were finally able to track down the creator of the boot, and were delighted to discover that it was the apocryphal label and production team Shoes, who have previously re-worked Moodyman, Al Green, Miles Davis, and dozens more.
About the hideous/awful/wonderful cover art:
If you’ll recall, from the mid 80s through the early 90s, the groundbreaking “record label” Street Beat brought the world what would someday become the legendary Ultimate Breaks and Beats 25-volume collection, paving the way for modern DJs and hip-hop artists. Imitation being the most sincere form of flattery, we’re issuing Eccentric Breaks & Beats in June as an homage to the breaks and beats collections of yore.
Here’s a sample to hold you over for a few months.