Spike Priggen is a guy that I’ve been meaning to hep you folks to for many weeks now. Ever since Innes Reekie sent me “There’s No Sound In Flutes" actually. With it’s Peter Bagge cover you just know that it’s gonna hit the spot. So since then I find out that Spike stayed in Edinburgh for a while in, I guess, the mid-90’s? Anyway, this fact never cut across my radar at all which is a damn shame because I feel like I really missed something.
Since his return to the US, he’s cut three albums. “Flutes” (which actually had a UK release on Re-Action Recordings – there’s a copy in Avalanche, Glasgow for anybody in the locale) and also “The Very Thing That You Treasure” and “Stars After Stars After Stars”. All available from him, in terms of shimmering Big Star/Db’s type pop it doesn’t get more dazzling than this.
He has an “all-star” cast abetting him too which includes Jon Graboff and Mark Spencer, two of the finest musicians currently languishing in NYC or anywhere. Bun E. Carlos and Ivan Julian join in the fun too. I’m not sure what’s on his myspace page but it’s sure to put a smile on your mug.
“Stars” is comprised of cover versions and I’ve no idea what some of the originals sound like. I can’t conceive that they’re anything like this but anyway. Those that are familiar – Ward Dotson’s “Be Married Song”, Chilton’s “Nightime” and Alice’s “I’m Eighteen” aren’t just a casual run through ala tribute band. The Ramones “Questioningly” is reborn as a country standard once again underlining just how great the songs were. “Big Store” is credited to Stephen Duffy. Is that Tin Tin? I don’t recall his output sounding like this but I’ve been known to wear blinkers at inopertune times. Green Gartside’s “A Slow Soul” too… who’da thunk it?
“The Very Thing” kicks off with “Every Broken Heart” which reminds me of the heady heights of TFC’s finest work. Graboff’s 12 string on this is fecking heartstopping. It ebbs and flows in all the right places and then there’s the twang, woof! The Dwight Twilley/Phil Seymour feel is uncanny too and it’s never pastiche or knock-off. This stuff is up there with your favourite albums. No question about it.
“Flutes” is the latest release and takes its name from the infamous Buddy Rich incident. It continues the succession of sublime timeless pop that will never go out of fashion. It may not garner acres of press but when you hear something this accomplished then it makes a difference. The strings on “Hideaway” swathe Spencer’s guitar solo in a setting that just elevates the whole production, like Burt Bacharach conducting Uncle Tupelo. Elements of this remind me of the great David Scott Esq. “Everyone Loves Me But You” should be a 7” single – no question. The Skeletons do The Archies style of “Something” is another surefire hit in an alternative universe where manufactured music is outlawed. A place we’d all rather be where all the bars are like the Lakeside Lounge.
So yeah, I missed the boat on this guy alright but you can’t win ‘em all. Plus I was able to play catch up in the end so all’s well that ends as such. If you get the cd’s then there are “hidden” tracks on there too, I don't imagine those would be involved in any download situation.
All three are fine, fine records. Utterly recommended and certain to become sought after. Not content with making downright groovy music, Spike is also the guy behind this.