Tuesday, December 11, 2007

SOURBELLY, Fat 4 (cassette, 1993)

I'm actually laughing as I type now because Hogarth is gonna kill me for sharing this one (so let's nobody tell him, okay?). I'll explain why in a minute, but first, a few words about Brian himself and how this band came to be.

Brian was one of Will's friends who used to come out to all sorts of shows. He was also one of the people who'd come by every so often to watch bad '80s horror movies until all hours with me and Will. I remember giving Brian a couple of guitar lessons at some point. Okay, Brian is a big guy (used to play college football) with big fingers, and although he had a Telecaster (which has a wide neck), he still had a lot of trouble getting those barre chords to ring out at first. But that didn't stop him from putting this band together.

Their first show was at the Wright State Rathskellar in 1992. Honestly, it was excruciating. They got lost a lot, and it seemed Brian was always squinting down at his guitar, which meant he wasn't singing directly into the microphone, so it was hard to hear the vocals, which were probably the strongest part of the group. But you could tell there was some talent there. You could legitimately figure they'd improve.

My impression is that Brian has always regarded this cassette as total shit. If you see him around, try mentioning Fat 4 and you might see the "Fat-4 Face," which is a look of disgust so abject, so pure that most of us could only manage it if we were actually served a plate full of real shit in a fancy restaurant.

To be sure, this cassette is not a display of finely crafted musical talent. The band really does sound like they've been playing for only a couple of months. The arrangements sometimes lack direction. There's one part where I'd swear that the guitar and bass are playing two different songs. That being said, there's still much to enjoy here. Brian always had the edgiest voice in Dayton--raw, powerful. Positive comparisons to NIRVANA and THE RAMONES aren't out of the question. It's rough, but it's good. And of course, SOURBELLY would get a whole lot better. Download Plasma Boy if you don't believe me. And watch this blog for SOURBELLY's self-titled second cassette (with Gregg Spence on drums).

Track notes:
  • "Johnny" was later re-recorded (with a different drummer and bass player) for SOURBELLY's second cassette and also appeared on the Cro-Magnon compilation 1101 E. Second Street.
  • "Ed" was written about one of SOURBELLY's first practices.
  • I've always wondered who "Card Shop Cate" was about, but I never asked.
Track list:

1. Johnny
2. Ed, Ed Chicken Head
3. Card Shop Cate
4. Pet the Rabbit

Download it! (13 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)

take care

---Jones

2 comments:

Angelle said...

Heee! This is fun - I'm only aquainted with latter-day Sourbelly. Who, pray tell, are the Ed and James rhythm section of this earlier incarnation?

Hog said...

Dude you are a nut! Fat Four? Big fingers? Boy, did I fall out favor with you! Was it the Lucys death ride back from Nashville or the crazy friend of Mike Chases in the back of the van@the Rockledge show in Lexington that skewed your perception? First off I have the hands of an angel.(Ask my wife) Second, I am only big in heart, again, ask my wife.
Now, I remember studying guitar with you for over two years and paid somewhere in the area of three to five thousand dollars, so if I coulndn't play a power chord to save my life it has to do more with your inability to teach than the size of ones "dick beaters".
The first Sourbelly show was actually with Cola Vision at an Amnesty International benefit at the Beavercreek YMCA and was much better but still pathetic than the previousley mentioned Hemmingways show in 92 that you so foundly rember. Do you remember who we opened for that night? It was also thier first show.
Seriously though that is some funny shit.You are digging deep man. Love the website brings back alot of great memories. Glad to see you are doing something construtive with your life?! I will be in touch soon... dead man!
Hog