16 June 2013

SUNDOG SUMMIT, Crude Blasting Rock EP (1978)


It is one of the many positive, residual ripple effects of publications like Flashback and Ugly Things and books such as The Acid Archives, Endless Trip and Galactic Ramble (and even this blog), that, in addition to expanding the canon and increasing access to the available body of musical knowledge, certain notions and dominant narratives, long over-ripe for revision, are held up for scrutiny and exposed as the red herrings they always were.

The false gospel most rapidly approaching its own Jurassic sell-by-date thanks to these works is the entrenched post-punk maxim correlating artistic comportment with qualities of musical output.  …that is, if you wore a leather jacket and were mediocre, you were already automatically better than someone with a mustache who covered PURE PRAIRIE LEAGUE.  …if you believe what you read in the pages of Forced Exposure that is.

Likely to enjoy both PURE PRAIRIE LEAGUE and the feeling of leather on their shoulders are the quintet of Midlothian, Illinois misfits who are to be our focus today:  SUNDOG SUMMIT! 

Mustaches and – worse – cowboy hats aplenty didn’t help the cause of these Chicagoland A-heads.  Nor did the presence of arch Windy City A-hole (that’s A for ART in this case) Lee Groban, the ace-degenerate familiar to some for future JT I.V. infame and long-winded poetry Guinness book-a-world-record-award-winning (and recently passed away).

Dee-termined from the beginning, it seems, to occupy forever the dog house of no-fans-land, SUNDOG SUMMIT (here after, SS) cut a great and frustratingly scarce album in 1976 (‘On Summit Hill’), issued on their own label and described by one keen Ohio ornithologist as ‘the missing link between rural rock and punk.'

…that is, they covered both JOHNNY CASH AND THE VELVET UNDERGROUND on the same record – all before Mike Ness was even so much out of his pork-pie PJ’s!

For their trouble though, SS received no accolades; indeed, it was just the opposite.  Decried as poseurs by the nascent La Mere Vipere in-crowd and as punks by the luded-up Loop FM listening audience, SS made about as many friends as PHIL OCHS at an all-day John Wayne movie marathon.

However, as good as their album was (and it was and it is!), the EP SS cut two years afterwards – in a bizarre attempt at hitching a ride on the rippling new wave – was even better.

Emblazoned on the beyond-primitive paste-on EP front-cover is the masthead ‘CRUDE BLASTING ROCK.’  It is unclear whether or not SS intended to take this epithet as the EP’s title, but, for our purposes, it will suffice as it more than aptly describes the EP’s contents.

It’s little wonder punks at the time weren’t ready for this:  no safety pins, no sloganeering and they queer the deal from the get-go by starting off with a SLADE cover that they somehow manage to dumb-down and make sound even more rudimentary than the original. 

The remaining two musical compositions are equally Giz-worthy, focusing on the plight of underground musicians and floozy trampy girlfriends.  Fans of loser-rock and proto-punk ineptitude alike will doubtless find much to love in the fuzzed-up pop appeal upon which ‘CRUDE BLASTING ROCK’ expounds.  Some known tastemakers tout ‘Underground’ as the pick-hit, but for me it’s ‘Just A Girl’ or nothing.

…which brings us again to Lee Groban.  Your fingers can do the walking for more info on this Nyquil-throated weirdo, but he certainly was one lousy impresario.  Sub-Father Yod sounding here, his poetry, this time, thankfully, is kept much more in check than on SS’ LP wherein he takes up almost an ENTIRE SIDE with his babbling.  Here SS allot the presumptive High Commissioner Of Cyprus but one singular track, in which he raps and moans illogically about whiskers and weed until the crew cut him off.

A rare treat from the true soft white underbelly of the beast and one of the best records I have ever heard.   MOGAN DAVID & THE WINOS, BOLD CHICKEN, FURY and RITTENHOUSE SQUARE all got nothing on SUNDOG SUMMIT; nor do other supposed local luminaries such as EPICYCLE or DV-8 whose auras – when compared to CRUDE BLASTING ROCK’s 40 oz corona – amount to so much kitty litter and tea lights in white paper sacks.




1 comment:

  1. Please say that you are gonna reissue this gem too!!