Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hotlegs - Thinks School Stinks (1971)

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In 1970, Kevin Godley, Lol Crиme, and Eric Stewart were, alongside songwriter Graham Gouldman, the house band at the Strawberry Studios setup in Stockport, England. Gouldman was spending much of his time in New York, working as a contract songwriter for the Kasenatz/Katz bubblegum team — his partners remained at home, equipping the studio and testing the new equipment. It was during one of these tests, playing around with a drum kit and a new four-track recorder, that Philips label rep Dick Leahy happened by, heard what they were doing, and pronounced it an instant hit single."It" was a percussive experiment which evolved around a chant of "I'm ... Read More...
Reviewby Dave Thompson
The rudiments of history should be familiar to all. Fresh from the breakup of the Mindbenders guitarist Eric Stewart and songwriter Graham Gouldman opened their own Strawberry Studios in Stockport, England. Joined by Lol Creme and Kevin Godley, but temporarily shedding Gouldman, who promptly relocated to New York, the gang were experimenting with drum sounds when a passing record company executive spotted a hit amongst the hitting — "Neanderthal Man," the most distinctive smash of 1970, was born, and by year's end the trio was working on an entire album. The fact that only one other track, the tribal joke "Um Wah Um Woh," even glanced in the direction of "Neanderthal Man" lets you know just how seriously Hotlegs were taking their fame. Few people would care about Hotlegs today had the trio (plus the returning Gouldman) not subsequently reinvented themselves as 10cc, and it is reassuring to note that much of that band's instant charm and excitement is already present amid Thinks: School Stinks. The 12-minute "Suite F.A." actively fore- and overshadows Godley-Creme's next attempt at elongating their artform, The Original Soundtrack's similarly protracted "Une Nuit a Paris," while the aforementioned "Um Wah" packs a wildly panning guitar solo to die for. Similarly, the angelic ballads which Godley long continued prone to (the lovely "Fly Away," "Take Me Back"); the seering guitar leads which were Stewart's specialty; and the utterly skewed lyrical twists which Creme so relished are all present and correct. Unfortunately, few Hotlegs fans wanted angelic ballads, seering guitar leads, and lyrical twists, and Thinks ultimately became better regarded for its sleeve than its contents — the school desk stuffed with an unsavory smorgasbord of cigarette butts, broken cookies, titillating pin-ups, a sneaker, odd socks, and an occupied gas mask would later be borrowed by Alice Cooper for School's Out, two years later. Hotlegs' masterpiece would be left to molder for another 24 years, until it finally reappeared on CD with adequate sound and an utterly truncated sleeve
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Thinks: School Stinks (by HOTLEGS: pre 10cc)
Studio Album, released in 1970
Line-up/Musicians- Eric Stewart / guitar, bass, arranger, vocals, producer- Lol Creme / guitar, bass, arranger, keyboards, vocals, producer- Kevin Godley / arranger, drums, vocals, producer- Baz Barker / flute, violin- Mike Bell / saxophone- Ian Brooks / trumpet- Rod Morton / tambourine- Mike Timoney / organ- Cheadle Hulme High School Choir / Vocals on "Suite F.A.- Graham Gouldman / bass ("Today")- Tony Harrison / String arrangement ("Today")
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Track Listings1. Neanderthal Man (4:19)
2. How Many Times (3:57)
3. Desperate Dan (2:12)
4. Take Me Back (5:01)
5. Um Wah, Um Woh (5:30)
6. Suite F.A.: On My Way/Indecision/The Return (12:53)
7. Fly Away (2:43)
8. Run Baby Run (2:50)
9. All God's Children (4:55)
10. Today
11. Lady Sadie
12. The loser
13 - You Didn't Like It Because You Didn't Think Of It (Mono)
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