Let's not get into discussions about how many times this notable, nay historic, 1969 Toronto gig from the nascent Alice Cooper band has been released.Ladies and germs, this is the definitive, speed-corrected version, with correct song titles, spunky pink artwork and a second gig from San Francisco appended, for good measure. Plus, a couple of feathers inserted, if you're lucky.
Toronto 1969 was the notorious Chicken Show where Alice (the man, not the band) threw a live bird into the crowd only to have it tossed back at him...in pieces. Leaving aside the animal rights aspects of this on both sides - being out of your mind on booze is no excuse for throwing a flightless fowl into a crowd of excitable Hoser stoners – you might wonder what the fuss was all about, musically speaking.
It is true that Alice Cooper was the most despised band in L.A. at this stage; soaking in the discordant skronk, seemingly random rhythmic shifts and walls of feedback, it's often easy to hear why.
"Hipster beware! Time to be free; rock 'n' roll is primeval beat."
Lindsay Hutton, founder of the “Next Big Thing” fanzine and “The Legion of the Cramped” Cramps Fan Club, knows a thing or two about great rock 'n’ roll. His liner notes to the “On The Red Eye” anthology of early Primevals material succinctly summarised the appeal of the Glaswegian garage veterans: "Their Gun Club meets Radio Birdman take on Detroit rock 'n' soul preachin' blues was much more direct than practically anything that has ever come outta Glasgow.“
Formed by Michael Rooney in Glasgow, Scotland in 1983, The Primevals were the compete antithesis of everything that was fashionable at the time. Right up to the present day, the group has always been roundly ignored by mainstream media both in Glasgow and at a national level, aside from a handful of free thinking journalists who have championed them through thick and thin.
There’s a time machine where I work. The size of an average bathroom, it can spin rock samples at 16 times gravity, replicating a century’s worth of gas and water movements throughout aquitards in a couple of days, or a millenium’s worth in a week. Impressive!
The two discs of the “(When TheSsun Sets Over) Carlton” compilation may not spin quite that fast (or if they do, either they or my CD player have truly greater construction and sound quality than I realized!), but they equally constitute a time machine, taking the listener back to an era which technologically, politically and socially is so different to the present, it’s hard to believe it’s 40 - and not 140 - years ago!
Just take some time to consider Australian daily life as lived from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, an era when the musicians on “Carlton” were growing up, forming groups and writing the songs which on playing still sound so amazingly fresh so many years later. If you are old enough to remember, read on and be reminded how things have changed. If you aren’t, read on and be amazed!