Wednesday 25 January 2017



‘Now I’m goin to put a cat on you who was the coolest, grooviest, sweetest, wailin’est, strongest, swingin’est cat that ever stomped on this jumpin’ green sphere, and they called this here cat…’ Lord Buckley. You remember Alternative Comedy? It was ‘Saturday Night Live’ launched by NBC in 1975. I was the ‘Comedy Store’, Steve Martin, Ben Elton, John Belushi, Rik Mayall, It was ideologically sound, it doesn’t condescend, it’s sharp, fast, smarts like a pepper-spray and cuts like Stanley Knife blades, right? But the hip stand-up monologue goes deeper. Little Brother might name-check Stanley Holloway and hence plug his routines into the North-of-England tradition that goes with Rob Wilton and Frank ‘King Twist’ Randall. Whereas American lines of influence can’t fail to trip over Lenny Bruce who brought self-psychoanalysis to the Supper Club circuit, Slim Gaillard’s ‘Vout Orooni’ BeBop babble… and the very great Lord Buckley. Lauded by Henry Miller and Jack Kerouac, as well as Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa, it was Buckley who opened up language with the holy ghetto-cleaver of hip verbal jumpin’ jive.

Born 5 April 1906, Richard Myrle ‘Lord’ Buckley invented vocabularies, the first to recognise the speed-energy and liquid fluidity of Black slang – and make it dance to his own ecstatic vision. He played sleazy burlesques, saloons, and strip joints, before OD-ing on a booze-induced stroke on 12 November 1960. But ‘the bad jazz that a cat blows wails long after he’s cut out’ – and through the good graces of the Demon Verbals record label, three historic Lord Buckley albums were once again circulating in the mid-1980s. And they stood with the best of the newest New Waves around. Buckley – ‘Lord Of Jive’, rasps a bizarre tongue from the record sleeves, with a Salvador Dali moustache, the kind of pith helmet last seen in ‘Carry On Up The Jungle’ (1970), and a tuxedo, a ludicrous combination he’d augment with hash-pipe on stage to lube the free-scat jargon of routines like “The Nazz” or “Willie The Shake”, each goof eulogy structured like jazz solos in fractured Black street-rap that’s now amazing, and must THEN have been staggering – near incomprehensible to all but the hippest of the hipster cult fliers of the seedy jazz underworld.

‘Lord Buckley In Concert’ (1985) includes both those stand-out stand-up routines, plus “Black Cross” and “God’s Own Drunk”, and more, with ‘Blowing His Mind (And Yours, Too)’ (1985) continuing the esoteric Beat vibe live at Hollywood’s ‘Ivar Theatre’ in 1959 and the World Pacific Studios 1960, and ‘Bad Rapping Of The Marquis De Sade’ (1986) completing the trilogy with newly-discovered live performances like “H-Bomb” and “The Chastity Belt”, recorded during the year of his death in Oakland, California. Gutter monologues for nighthawks, hip-zig-zag-urmphs wired into the groove subterranean. But in one ear and out tomorrow? Doncha believe it. ‘When he laid it down – WHA-BAM – it stayed there!’ Lord Buckley’s an original, was – is, and further. That’s a commodity that’s too rare to ignore. So don’t ignore it.

LORD BUCKLEY IN CONCERT(1959 Liberty Records, 1964 World Pacific WP-1815 & UK Fontana 688-010ZL, 1985 Demon Verb 4) with side one: ‘Supermarket’, ‘Horse’s Mouth’, ‘Black Cross’ and ‘The Nazz’. Side two: ‘My Own Railroad’, ‘Willie The Shake’ and ‘God’s Own Drunk’

BLOWING HIS MIND (AND YOURS, TOO) (1966 World Pacific WP-1849 & UK Fontana TL-5396, reissued 1985 Demon Verb 3 with original inner sleeve) with side one: ‘Subconscious Mind’, ‘Fire Chief’, ‘Let It Down’, ‘Murder’ and ‘The Gasser’, recorded live at the Ivar Theatre, Hollywood 12 February 1959, and side two ‘Maharajah’ and ‘Scrooge’ recorded at the World Pacific Studios in 1960

BAD RAPPING OF THE MARQUIS DE SADE(1969 World Pacific WPS-21889, 1986 Demon Verb 6, reissued on CD 1996 World Pacific CDP-7243-8-52676-28) with side one: ‘Bad Rapping Of The Marquis De Sade’ (16:10-minutes) and ‘H-Bomb’, and side two: ‘The Chastity Belt’, ‘The Ballad Of Dan McGroo’ and ‘His Majesty The Policeman’ all recorded live at the ‘Golden Nugget’ in Oakland (1960) plus two bonus tracks on the CD ‘Maharajah’ and ‘Scrooge’ reproduced from ‘Blowing His Mind (And Yours, Too)’

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