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Thread: FEATURED CD : Club Foot Orchestra : Wild Beasts

  1. #1
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    Apr 2003
    Frederick, MD

    FEATURED CD : Club Foot Orchestra : Wild Beasts

    Credit for this featured CD : JKL2000

    Based on a CD received from the collection bequeathed to Progressive Ears by the late Chris Buckley (Winkersnuff)

    JKL2000's comments:

    First, a personal note about Chris:

    As I mentioned in the thread about Chris' passing, I met him and his Canadian cronies in the Comfort Inn lobby within the first hour of my first Progday weekend, and I hung out with them for much of the weekend that year, and every other year I was in attendance. I liked Chris right away, because of his offbeat sense of humor and his sarcastic yet easygoing nature. He was, obviously, a generous and kind person. I was sometimes surprised, then, by the out-there nature of his musical taste. I remember learning that he was a big fan of the band Moulettes, a band I then tried and found difficult to listen to. Judging from the CDs I received from Chris' collection, and those that others received, his tastes were even more far-reaching than I knew. The other CDs I received also included Zappa's "Chunga's Revenge" and a Jean-Luc Ponty album. This is of course pretty standard for Progday attendees, but again, Chris was a friendly, milk-mannered person, so I'm sure the "ordinary" people Chris enountered in life had little idea what kind of music he was consuming in private!

    Another thing I mentioned in that other thread was how nice Chris was to my son Henry, when at age 17 (I think) he accompanied me to Progday. Chris took me aside and shared some very complimentary remarks about my son, which of course will win points with any parent.

    It was surprising to learn that Chris had so generously left his music collection to the members of PE, but not at all out of character for him. When we finally return to that field in North Carolina for the next Progday, I'll miss him very much. I already do, of course; his posts on PE were already too few, but always well timed and to-the-point. His absence will be keenly felt at Progday. He's sadly not the only one who will be missed, but he's the friend whose loss will affect me the most. Thanks for the disks and the friendship, Chris!


    Club Foot Orchestra - Wild Beast, Kidnapped, and more (1993, Rastascan Records)

    This release from apparently San Francisco-based outfit Club Foot Orchestra comprises their 1986 studio LP "Wild Beasts" and their 1987 studio LP "Kidnapped." Further, the two LPs are bookended by two tracks from their 1980 eponymous LP. The 1980 LP was released by Subterranean Records, while the two later LPs were released by Ralph Records. Wild Beasts features Residents' sometimes-gues Snakefinger on guitar (AKA Philip Lithman, to whom Kidnapped is dedicated). However, this music is far less weird than your usual Ralph Records fare.

    In addition to the usual guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums, both full albums also include various brass and woodwinds (the 1980 tracks have no bass guitar). Wild Beasts is the more appealing of the two LPs, having a tight, amusing, avant-jazz, circus-like sound, with strong elements of Eastern European Klezmer. Kidnapped has a looser, more varied, live-in-studio atmosphere that is less satisfying, especially when it veers into reggae territory, but the album still has its moments, and the good humour remains intact.

    Overall, the collection's 19 tracks range from two-minutes to five minutes in length.

    I wasn't familiar with the band, so I don't know how far this compilation goes toward collecting their full output. However, this disk flies by quickly and is very enjoyable. As mentioned, Wild Beasts is the more exacting and exciting of the two LPs, and if the disk only contained that album, while short, it would still be well worth hearing. Taken together, the disk presents over 65 minutes of cheerful, free-wheeling, yet carefully composed tunes.


  2. #2
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Mar 2003
    Westchester, NY
    I meant to say that Chris was mild mannered, not “milk mannered!”
    Primary procreation is accomplished…

  3. #3
    Back when Ralph Records had a good set of artists (an era that sadly was ending right when I became a Residents fan in the late 80's) I heard about the Club Foot Orchestra and considered buying something of theirs, but never got around to it. This review is a reminder that it might be worth tracking something of theirs down.

  4. #4
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Dec 2015
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Could they come up with a worse name? Toe Fungus Big Band perhaps?
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

    "And it's only the giving
    That makes you what you are" - Ian Anderson

  5. #5
    Member dt2's Avatar
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    May 2020
    mentone ca
    A friend of mine plays percussion in the band (pretty sure he wasn't with them on Wild Beasts however). Great, fun band. Their soundtracks to silent films are particularly entertaining. I got to see them do Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari live with the films.

  6. #6
    Member Bake 2's Avatar
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    Aug 2019
    Great stuff, a nice collection of their early material. Some really solid compositions and horn arrangements (especially on the Wild Beasts tracks). Not light years away from FZ, Mingus and X-Legged Sally at times. Doesn't take a lot of repeats to get parts of this one playing back in the head.


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