Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Boa Constrictor and Natural Vine - ST (1968)

Well my new computer has yet to arrive but I didn't want another week to go by without a post--and really folks this one was too good to hold onto. Boa Constrictor and Natural Vine were a psych-folk duo who recorded this, their sole record, for Vanguard Apostolic.
Given the current vogue for acid-folk I'm suprised this one is not better known. It has all the elements one looks for in that genre and few others as well. There are some really deranged, acid-drenched compositions like Devil & the Ace of Spades (with its backward tape loops, mornful sax, and downer guitar strumming) as well as dissonant, freaky, rocking, blues numbers like Time is Money. Their music, while it owes something to other folk-experimentalists from the late 60s is also inspired by classic, country blues and at times they come off as a sort of hippie ancestor of garage-blues-rock duos like the Bassholes or Black Keys.

The artist who did the cover, Phoebe Stone, went on to some success as a children's book author & illustrator. Unfortunately I don't know what happened to George & Ben, who recorded this masterpiece.
Speaking of the cover, you might notice an ebay logo in the bottom corner. I actually grabbed this illustration off the Rate Your Music site and they stole it from ebay. Just to set the record straight.
Side A
1. Little David
2. Pig Quick-Finger
3. Devil & the Ace of Spades
4. Son of Kong
5. Down Child
Side B
6. Time is Money
7. Alligator Man
8. Sundown Stick
9. Don't Try To Hide from the Lightning
10. Build Your Wall
The record is ripped from vinyl and encoded at variable bitrate-extreme settings. Because most of the tracks run together it was sometimes difficult to clearly seperate 2 tracks & in a couple of cases I left them combined rather than compromising the integrity of the sound. There was also some soft crackle and surface noise on the record that I wasn't able to clean up (it's actually much easier to deal with sharp clicks and pops) and so it remains in places.
I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I have. Listen.


Anonymous said...

Another superb post. Many thanks.


Likedeeler said...

Can't wait to listen to this one! Thanks and big shout

Anonymous said...

If they only knew the real you--they would love you all the more!

M. Wizard

FUGAZI said...

Hello, I am Gustavo of Argentina. Thanks to include to my blog in your connections. I already did the same with yours. Your blog is very good, are discs that I do not know. Greetings

Pardon by grammar errors, but the translation I did it with BABEL FISH

arbor said...


Guldhamstern said...

Thanks for this.

These two guys really knows how to make cool music using a clarinet.

I love this record and have already puchased it from ebay.

I only wish i could be another record from them waiting to be discovered.


Johann said...

I found this record in a second hand shop, minus sleeve in the mid 1980s. I enjoyed it, especially "Little David," "Son Of Kong" and "the Devil and the Ace of Spades." Minus the sleeve it sounded like it had been recorded in a dark forest.

Here is a question that has bugged me for years...who wrote the song "Alligator Man"? Alex Chilton did a version on his album "Like Flies on Sherbert," not credited to these guys...they were credited as the composers on this album...

Max said...

Alligator Man was written by Floyd Chance and Jimmy C. Newman and 1st recorded by the latter.

Ian said...

George Figgs is a painter, film expert and sometimes musician living in his native Baltimore, Maryland. He rant the Orpheum Theater and has appeared in almost every John Waters film since Eat Your Makeup in 1967. This is the only record he made.

Guldhamstern said...

I have to make an important correction.
Of course I wish IT could be another record. It would be silly if I wnated to be a record.

Sad to hear from ian that there isn't any other record.

Anonymous said...

George Figgs "Crazy Meat from Baltimore" was my housemate back in 1970 in a place we shared in Cambridge with John Kilgore. This was John's first recorded work in a long and illustrious career that continues with Grammies and such. I first heard this album, in the summer of 1967. Some of John's best work was done on a Nagra mono recorder if some of this obviously was done on the Scully 12 track at Apostolic, the state of the art in its time serving Frank Zappa and others. I recall that John told me he recorded "I just want to testify" by Paliament Funkadelic in a church in Jersey on the same nagra he used for some of these tracks. George played Jesus Christ in Multiple Maniacs, which last I looked is one Waters film you can't find.

John Kilgore said...

Couple of corrections. I had nothing to do with recording Parliament Funkadelic any time any where. I had the Nagra for 3 years before it was stolen, and I've been working for over 40 years, so I really hope the few things I recorded on it weren't my best work. The album was recorded in '68 and released in '69. And Anonymous didn't share an apartment with me and George in Cambridge - he just crashed there briefly.
And George was not known as "Crazy Meat from Baltimore" though that's the kind of thing he would say from time to time.

Max said...

Thanks for setting the record straight. Since it isn't taken I may start calling myself Crazy Meat. I do love the album and would be interested in hearing any of your other recordings if you'd care to make them available.

George Figgs said...

HEY Folks this is old George of "George&Ben" I'm still playing,...Now with my 20 year old Son IVAN FIGGS, who by the way does a beautiful "cover" of "DEVIL &the ACE of SPADES" you can hear it on REVERB NATION It's also on my Face Bk page
His album is called "THE SHORES OF ACHERON". if YOU WANT SOME MORE OF MY SONGS I'll record some of them and share them free. Hey JOHN!!
If you want to get in touch , my E is geofiggs@gmail.com

George Figgs said...

HEY Y'ALL!! I'm still playing my GITtar. Now with my son Ivan Figgs
He does a great version of "DEVIL & THE ACE OF SPADES" It is on my F.B. page. HEY JOHN my E in case you or anybody wants it is geofiggs@gmail.com

gladbeast said...

just picked up (another) coverless copy of this in a charity shop.. certainly great fun with some great 'noise'interludes.. nice to find this writeup in helping me place it in time and space..