Saturday, August 12, 2006

the feelies

This is another promo-only B-side from A&M, and another song deserving of wider distribution. If you think about it, A&M circa 1988 had a heck of a line-up of underground/indie acts; the feelies, Robyn Hitchcock, Soul Asylum, The Mekons, and probably some others I'm forgetting about. When A&M got gobbled up by Polygram in 1989 most of the A&R people that signed those acts were replaced, and the bands that didn't get cut outright received insufficient promotion and tour support. This is one of the factors that contributed to the 1992 break-up of the feelies, when Bill Million decided he and his family needed heath insurance and he took a job as a locksmith at Disney World.

"Dancing Barefoot," a Patti Smith cover, features a rare lead vocal by Brenda Sauter. I probably saw the feelies live over a dozen times, and I can't recall a single instance of Brenda getting anywhere near a microphone. She seemed content to keep in the background with her bass, but her sweet, monochromatic voice is quite effective on this cut. I prefer this version to the Smith original. Brenda later overcame her mic-shy ways in Wild Carnation, a band she formed with her husband Richard Barnes after the feelies demise.

I have a bunch more feelies rarities that I imagine I'll post later. Their Coyote material is available for special purchase from Twin/Tone Digital, which I think is an interesting way of making music for which there is minimal demand available. You can also download half-song samples to see if you like it. If you don't already own it, The Good Earth is an absolute classic. I will have more to say about distribution models in the digital age later.

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