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Sun City Girls - Uncle Jim's Superstars of Greenwich Meantime CD (album) cover

UNCLE JIM'S SUPERSTARS OF GREENWICH MEANTIME

Sun City Girls

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.00 | 1 ratings

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HolyMoly
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
3 stars Entertaining Sun City Detour

Phoenix Arizona's Sun City Girls (three men, as it were) spent three decades making dozens of albums full of some of the most uninhibited, free-range avant rock. The basic trio of guitar/piano, bass, and drums managed to cover everything from free-form noise improvisation to spoken word to delicate, subtle jazz. Getting into their huge discography is a lot easier now that their albums (mostly out of print) are available as purchasable downloads, but still, you can never really be sure what you're going to get with any given album. Brilliant albums, decent albums, unlistenable albums, they're all there for you to discover.

This 33-minute release, falling somewhere between an EP and a mini-album, focuses on a character named Uncle Jim, portrayed by bassist Alan Bishop, an eloquent, acid-tongued beat poet who has made "cameos" on prior albums throughout the band's history. The six tracks contain potent rants and treatises spoken urgently and forcefully by Uncle Jim, with backing music by the Sun City Girls as well as some sampling of other tunes -- Led Zeppelin's "Achilles Last Stand" is prominently featured in the opener "Liberties". This is hard core "I've had it up to here" beat poetry brimming with rage, sarcasm, and the sheer force of the most tightly composed prose, supercharged for maximum effect.

Philosophically, Uncle Jim is a compelling character. If profane language and blunt, often politically-incorrect commentary don't make you uncomfortable, there's a good chance you'll be taken in by his ideas and impressed by his way with words. Though it has a lot to say about the state of the world, it is more or less apolitical and has more in common with people like George Carlin or Bill Hicks who don't sit comfortably with either the conservatives or the liberals, standing proudly outside the system and angered by the corruption of humanity itself. Or, if you'd rather not go to that level, just think of it as some good poetic ranting.

An obscure side project by an obscure band makes for a doubly obscure artifact, one that I think has a fairly small audience. But if the music of language and ideas gives you pleasure, by all means check this out.

HolyMoly | 3/5 |

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