Thursday, September 4, 2014

Peter Laughner as heir to the Holy Modal Rounders/Michael Hurley/Fugs/Racoon Records continuum?

Although it is obvious, one aspect of Peter Laughner's work that I have not seen fully articulated anywhere (and I'm gonna say it now folks!!) is his position on the Holy Modal Rounders/Michael Hurley/Fugs/Youngbloods/Racoon Records continuum. Now this may seem distasteful to all you punk purists who flinch at the thought, the "truth" is the truth. While much is made of his Velvets/proto-punk credentials, there is an equal argument that given his omnivorous personal tastes (music wise, buddy), he could have recorded a MONSTER acoustic lp for Jessee Colin Young's Racoon Records offshoot or Rounder. Another coulda, shoulda been, but not. Coulda been electric for that matter given "Moonshot." I write this because I don't think I have seen this flyer anywhere online. Exhibit A for my argument is the name lifted from an early incarnation of the Holy Modal Rounders: the Temporal Worth High Steppers. I guess there is the session with Bangs and Peter Stampfel as well. The flyer is from from a residency at the Oar House, on the edge of Cleveland State University. Can anybody tell me if this is now a parking lot? Then there is Laughner's transatlantic love of the work/playing of both Michael Hurley and Richard Thompson. Did Laughner like the ISB? Gotta hand it to Chris for articulating this acoustic guise of Laughner's career so that I don't really need to. I would add that Laughner's Michael Hurley cover on that 1972 WMMS Coffeebreak set with the Wolverines is as good as any . Take it Chris (referring to the still unreleased Wolverines set): "rolling through a set of oldies and newies, even doing Little Feat's "Willin'" w/o comin' off like a singer/songwriter in the worst ROLLING STONE meaning of the term. Gotta hand it to the guy for being able to crank out music along these lines and still being able to get me to sit through an entire hour of it. That's pure talent, and it ain't because the guy was so universal in his tastes that he could listen to and enjoy the Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen and Laura Nyro as well as the Stooges, Lou Reed and Roxy Music!" I think I need to post Laughner's review of "The Harder They Come" soundtrack next! Laughner as reggae fan!


  1. Didn't he do Hesitation Blues on that Coffeebreak show too?

    1. Yes, I would have to track it down but that is the first song they play. First Holy Modal Rounders lp (1964) although there were so many late 60's covers as well. Did Stampfel and Weber learn if from their labelmate Reverend Gary Davis? He was on Fantasy/Prestige in the early 60's I think.