(Double Agent, 1997)
A 2x7” collection of assembly-line pimple-pop demos cranked out through 1968, these youngfolk-oriented songs – all written by Dan Green – straddle a divider between the historically (stereotypically?) cleaved “early” and “late” ’60s sensibilities. The maudlin lovey-doviness of “Moonflower” and “I Pledge Allegiance” sound hopelessly dated, terminally unhip and regressive doo-wop hangovers both, but the fuzz-rockin’ “MacDougal Street Freak Out” and heartfelt acoustic realism of “Turn to Me” show that Green not only knew which way the commercial winds were blowing, but also knew how to construct a reasonably cynicism-free pop ditty when the occasion arose. Lookit, if Billy Nicholls has found critical luv for his late-decade work (while having recorded with a much bigger budget), there’s no reason why Green, based on the two stronger songs here, can’t at least garner minimal respect from the same fanbase… these tracks are of similar inspiration and similar quality when compared to Nicholls’. Superstardom is in no way evident, but structural and sonic soundness are, and I don’t doubt that fatboy collector pigs would be climbing all over each other at the record fair for a “MacDougal Street Freak Out” / “Turn to Me” 7” had it been quietly issued on an indie 40 years ago. Nice for non-freaks to know, then, that both songs are available on this cheapo 1997 edition, and nicer still to know that the set was released by Green’s son Peter, in what might be the kindest son-to-father gesture I’ve yet come across in the vinyl world. Much as I hate to let sentimentality sway my judgment too much, it’d truly hafta be a cold-hearted – but also dead-eared – bastard who’d knock such a package, both in terms of rec-label intent and actual sonic content.