It's been such a long time since I've been excited about the purchase of what might be called a "punk"record by a band I've only just discovered that when the occasion does arise, it's momentous. All the more so when the record is so good it makes half the "punk" records I still respect sit down and shut up for a minute. Such is the case with Death.
A real rock nerd, record collectors delight if ever their was one. The story goes something like this: Death was a Detroit based band in the early 1970s, who recorded a record that faded into obscurity and never saw print. In 2009, it was un-earthed and finally released (thanks, Drag City).It's full blast power trio proto-punk from before punk existed, with just enough riff rock elements and a hint of psychedelia to keep it infinitely cooler than most punk, which tends to be the exclusive province of suburban white kids who are pissed about....God knows what those kids are pissed about. I never did figure that part out.
Best of all, the band is three black brothers (as in, the same family), David, Dannis and Bobby Hackney. They were an R&B band, until they saw Alice Cooper. Their mother bought them their instruments, but made them promise to practice at least three hours a day. Audiences in Detroit's black clubs couldn't figure them out, and neither could the white kids. The session was produced by Jim Vitti, late of Parliament Funkadelic fame, by sheer chance. Clive Davis of Columbia Records wanted to sign them, if only they would change their name. A band called "Death" was still a bit much by 1974 standards. David Hackney famously told Clive Davis to go to hell (GTH, you know, like the pants...). David died in 2000. Dannis and Bobby live on a farm in Vermont where they run a recording studio, host punk shows in the barn, and play in a reggae/hippie/jam band, which I would normally disdain, except when these guys do it, I can't help but be filled with respect. Available on CD or as an MP3, if you don't care how music should sound. If you do, it's on vinyl, and it comes running out of the wood speakers to beat the sh*t out of you, and leave you smiling at that.
The list of reasons to devote yourself to this long gone band are endless. Get it, because I said so. You won't be disappointed.