Tuesday, March 15, 2005

She didn't notice anything was wrong...

So in rummaging through my old releases, I found a double compilation CD by C'est La Mort Records. I wish I could spread a wealth of information here on this one, but I can't. From what I can tell, C'est La Mort records was a subdivision of Beggars Banquet back in the late 80's and early 90's. I believe they were independant of Beggars at first and became affiliated with them a bit later. As far as the label itself goes, it apparently was "a small, independent goth label that Woody Dumas ran off of his porch in Baker, Louisiana." Back in 1990, it felt to me like it was the younger sibling to 4AD. The label didn't last too long, though, but there are some interesting things left behind.
I hadn't listened to this album in years, so when I pulled it out and started culling through it, imagine my surprise when I noticed that the Magnetic Fields were listed on the album. Strange. I looked at the date, which was 1990 and was a bit shocked. From memory, I was placing "The Charm of the Highway Strip" at around 1994. Then I remembered he had a couple of earlier albums with a female vocalist (Susan Anway). Well, I did some research over at Stephen Merritt's site and that's when I found out those were released in 1991 and 1992. I slipped the disc in, not really paying attention to the song title, and well, that's when I realized I knew the song...only the version I knew had Stephen Merritt singing, not Susan as this version does. And stranger still, this version doesn't seem to be on any of the earlier releases recorded with Susan. In the CD liner notes, it's listed as previously unreleased. So did this song ever make it to the public except on this compilation? As far as I can tell, it only exists here. I'd love to find out more info, though, so if you know, please fill me in. I did find this mention of the track here, in this Stephen Merritt discography.

Magnetic Fields - Crowd of Drifters REMOVED

It's especially interesting to note the differences in the music in this track and the version on Highway.

You can purchase a slew of Magnetic Fields/Stephen Merritt related music over at Amazon, of course.

There are quite a few decent tracks on this compilation, and as you probably guessed by my earlier description, they vary greatly in style. I'll serve up a couple of the tracks that stood out.

First, Blackgirls were a folk band out of Carolina who seemed to have disappeared, although Amazon has their two releases available for practically free...and here's a quote from the very brief AMG bio:

Blackgirls, including Eugenia Lee (guitar/vocals), Dana Kletter (piano/vocals), and Hollis Brown (violin/vocals), are a folk-pop band from North Carolina. Their two albums, released on the independent North Carolina label Mammoth Records, were produced by Joe Boyd, the head of Hannibal Records and a noted producer of such folk-rock performers as Fairport Convention.

One of their members, Dana Kletter, went on to form a band with her twin sister and released one other album, you can find more about it here, at AMG.

Blackgirls - Translator REMOVED

This last track, by a band called Critical Mass (and I don't believe they're the same as the ska band out of SF or the Christian/Religious band of the same name) seems to have completely disappeared. So, if you know anything, I'd love to hear it!

Critical Mass - Vacation REMOVED

You can purchase this compilation used over at Amazon for around $15.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the Blackgirls track and info! The only thing I knew about them was that Benjamin (from the band Smoke) was a fan, and covered one of Dana's songs.


10:13 AM  
Blogger FlyOnTheWindscreen said...

C'est la Mort now has a page at Wikipedia with a bit more info (I just created it). I actually knew Woody (on the phone anyway) as I was a community radio DJ back then. He did literally run the label from his house, and everything he ever put out was pretty great.

11:52 AM  

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