Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tour de Force

What we have here is another of Buck 65's exclusive tour CDs. This one's entitled Boy/Girl Fight!, but it's not to be confused with Boy-Girl Fight, his essentially unreleased 2000 album. It's possible, though, that Buck might want us to confuse the two... See, this is purely speculation, but my guess is that he made this little tour CD to satisfy fans who've been asking him for years for a copy of Boy-Girl Fight, an album he perhaps wasn't entirely happy with (hence it getting shelved), and which, after all, has been released piecemeal over the years anyway, with different album tracks winding up on different projects. Sort of like what Chino XL did with Poison Pen.

The difference is, Chino recorded a bunch of new songs and gave us an ultimately poor substitute for the unreleased original. Whereas Buck included a bunch of older songs, and gave us an ultimately better album.

The 2001 Boy-Girl Fight was a short album, just 9 tracks including "Centaur," a song he'd released a few times before (it was, however, going to be the first time this particular version - the one with Steffi playing the cello on it - was included on a full-length album). It almost feels like more of an EP, especially when compared to this version, which has literally double the amount of songs on it.

So, including "Centaur," five songs didn't make it onto this 2005 tour CD. See, so they're totally different albums, with only four tracks in common: "Pack Animal," which was officially released on Tag Of the Times 3, "Style #386" and "Sketch Artist." Now, if "Style #386" sounds like a familiar title to you, that's because it's from Vertex; but like a lot of his songs from that album/era, it's been rerecorded so his voice doesn't sound as young. In fact, on this disc, it's called "Style #386 (Beefed Up)." To be clear... both versions of Boy/Girl feature this "beefed up" version.

"Sketch Artist" has had another incarnation, too. On this version it's labeled "Sketch Artist (Demo)," but it's the same on both Boy/Girl Fights. The non-demo version later found its way onto track three of Square, back when he was unhelpfully releasing his albums in large, unsegmented tracks with all the songs blended together.

And it's basically the same story again for "Wooden Matches (demo)," the stand-out track from the unreleased 2001 album... It's the song I immediately think of when I think of Boy-Girl Fight; and the one that blew my mind when I thought it wasn't ever going to get released when the album was shelved. But, thankfully, Buck re-recorded it and included it as a segment on Square, and Warner Brothers even put it out as a CD single (which I already tackled in a previous blog post).

So, that's those songs out of the way. Now, how about those fifteen songs that weren't transferred from the 2001 Boy-Girl Fight?

Well, they're not all new. The album begins and ends with two fan favorites: "Memories Of the Passed" and "Success Without College," both from the Bassments Of Bad Men compilation album. And "Double Header" is the song he contributed to Omid's Monolith LP. But then we get into some exclusive goodies!

The first is "Stricken," and it's great! It's a little bit more of the Talkin' Honky style, with slow guitars and Buck's raspy voice, but it's just one of those where everything works, from the tone to the lyrics: "I could hear the coyotes when I laid in bed, thoughts of runnin' away would invade my head. I would starve myself, never lose a pound; the pain never goes away, it just moves around." In fact, it's so good, here's a guy on deviantart claiming he wrote it! hehe "Stricken" has never been "properly" released, though it is also known as "January" on one of those mysterious mp3 collections (Climbing Up a Mountain) that float around the internet.

"Highway 101"'s another gem. I remember it running around the blogs last year as a random, unreleased track, but it's actually from this album (and, again, from that random Climbing Up a Mountain comp). It's another slow, honky track - "there's a hex on highway 101" - and again, it's better than a lot of the songs he actually gave proper, official releases.

There's a live version of "Roses and Bluejays," which is just okay. I mean, it's a great song, and it sounds good here, but the album version's a bit better, and there's not much unique to this live version. Still, I'm glad that he err'd on the side of giving us more unreleased stuff than just slapping the old original on here.

Gosh, we're just about halfway through the album... Okay, let's see. There's "Bed Of Nails," with a cool, more modern track to compliment the honkier stuff he'd been doing. "Three Swift Blows" starts with a funky spoken word poem that gradually grows into a full-blown song. "Philevator" is a remix of Buck's old stand-by "Phil," but it's a complete change in tone with grungy guitars and a super slow flow... it's like Buck's idea of chopping and screwing! lol

"Spooked" is another more or less original track that's pretty good, and "The Anthem" is another one of Buck's list songs that I'm really not too impressed by, but what're you gonna do? He just lists things for the whole song, and over the years he's done, like, 10 of these songs at least. "Bike" is an awesome ode to his... bike, with a great instrumental and background vocals that sound like they're taken from an old, French film. Finally, "Lummox" is kind of a wacky, upbeat countrified spacey instrumental, if you can imagine that.

So, all in all, this is a great collection of exclusives and unreleased songs... and even the non-exclusives are at least good choices. As a straight-through listen, honestly, this compilation is better than a lot of Buck's actual albums. According to Buck, only 200 ("maybe less") copies were made, but it's definitely worth your effort looking for it. Good shit!

No comments:

Post a Comment