Monday, October 10, 2005

Sur Royal Da Count and the Parliaments: Scream, Mother, Scream/Sgt. Ralph YoreU.S.M.C. (Villa Yore 606-JY)

Now here's an interesting combination: a raw, inept garage punker backed with a heartfelt tribute to a soldier brother. You probably already know which side I like better, but you don't see contrasts like this every day, so we'll take the two together, okay?

On "Sgt. Ralph," the vocalist recites the words while an accoustic guitar and primitive drumbeat provide sparse background. He relates how his buddy of the title gave up his women and booze to go serve his country. He also urges America to stand up and get behind the government and LBJ. Today, this could probably pass as a performance art piece the way this country gets ridiculed, both here and abroad. But it's still fascinating in its stumbling charm and for its pre-1968 pro-Vietnam views.

Now, contrast this with the A-side "Scream, Mother, Scream." You get an off-key, drunken chorus bellowing at several points "Scream, mother, scream," while the lead vocalist bellows about his mother yelling at him to get to school. "You scream, 'change those way-out clothes you wear/Better cut off that long, dirty hair.' Meanwhile, he fires back 'You don't like any of us, do you ma?' The screaming never stops, so finally our hero goes 'Okay ma, I'm up! Don't hit me! Don't hit me!' and presumably gets his butt to school.

The backing here is your standard electric guitar-bass-drums set up. They do an adequate job of staying on the beat, but they screw up a couple of times midway through, which leads me to believe that they must have been as drunk as everyone else in the recording booth. That, my friends, only adds to the beauty of this thing. So there you go, teenage rebellion vs. love of country. You get 'em both with this one.

"Scream, Mother, Scream" has been comped a few times. It most recently got an airing on Arf! Arf!'s "Party! Party! Party!" comp. ( As far as I know, this was the group's only single. (Gee, I wish "Fuzz, Acid and Flowers" was back up. Either that or I wish Mop Top Mike's "Teenbeat Mayhem" would hurry up and hit the stands. Just makes research that much harder. *sigh*)


Stuart Shea said...

The first time I heard "Scream, Mother, Scream," (on a 'Boulders' comp, nearly 25 years ago) I couldn't believe it. I'm still amazed it was actually ever on a record. Just incredible.

guapo said...

I love it too!