Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Armand Schaubroeck - 1978 - Ratfucker

Armand Schaubroeck 

01. Ratfucker 3:47
02. Gigolo, Gigolo 3:14
03. I Love Me, More Than You 2:24
04. Buried Alive 1:42
05. The Independent Hitter 5:05
06. Preteen Mama 3:12
07. The Queen Hitter 11:40

Gatefold Cover. Originally issud with red guitar plectrum.

Recorded June 1978, Rochester, N.Y..
Dedicated to the late Peter Laughner.
Produced by the whole band, I guess.

Backing Vocals – Bob Huber, Gena D'Agostino, Riley Neilson
Backing Vocals, Guitar – Jack Bearce
Bass – Bernie Heveron
Drums – Jay Porter
Guitar – Ethan Porter
Keyboards – Brian Ormond
Saxophone, Lyricon – Frank M. DiCesare
Songwriter, Vocals – Armand Schaubroeck

The darkest and best of Armand Schaubroeck's onslaught of recordings from the '70s, this descent into the gutter is the underground version of Lou Reed's Street Hassle. Both recordings were released in 1978, and both feature the artist on the cover with sunglasses reflecting a twinkle from the light. Schaubroeck may have been mimicking what Reed put out to the world -- Street Hassle was released in March of 1978, Ratfucker recorded in June and released sometime after -- but regardless of the intentional cop, Schaubroeck sure is persuasive. Street Hassle is Reed once again on the outside looking in; as with Berlin, his narration is detached from the violence he explores. Armand Schaubroeck, on the other hand, is a convicted criminal, so the rat with a knife through its throat on the front cover, dripping blood on Schaubroeck's hand, is totally believable. "Ratfucker," the title track, is the best Lou Reed song Reed never wrote, but there is no doubt this is spawned from the former leader of the Velvet Underground's work. The three minutes and 47 seconds of depravity are perfectly recorded, unlike the Richard Robinson/Lou Reed experiment with "binaural sound." No -- Ratfucker has the sound and the vibe promised by Street Hassle, the unnerving, cold, heartless tale of a man who robs babies and sells them for 4,000 dollars to perspective parents: "Anything you want C.O.D. baby/C.O.D. on my block." The vocal, the intensity of the backing singers, the band, and the production -- everything is first-rate. "Oh sex, I gave it up a long time ago," sings the Ratf*cker. The scat "whaddya want" at the end conflicting with the girl singers, keyboards, and pounding drums is just great dementia. It is a classic track that trumps the master. And the rest of the album is right up there, a pseudo-rockabilly "I Love Me, More Than You," "The Independent Hitter's" driving sound with looping guitars. This album has so many vulgarities the listener becomes numb to the F word, but if ever music can be made to disperse pent-up aggression, this might be it. What rappers would eventually put a beat behind, Armand Schaubroeck rattles off with a worrisome ease. "I doubt if you'll ever hear this record on the radio" is written under the Mirror Records logo, and that may be true, but perhaps radio needs to play an album like Ratfucker. "The Queen Hitter" is an 11-minute-and-40-second epic which vacillates between nicking the James Bond theme and "Zip a Dee Doo Dah," while cleverly avoiding already explored riffs; the album is careful to show a sick creativity. Armand Schaubroeck's voice has a disturbing glee that romps throughout each track with the authority of a hitman. This is truly demented genius and is light years beyond shock. It is a relatively unknown writer/singer coming up with an extraordinary work under his own steam and on his own terms. Classic underground rock & roll that is not for everyone.

Armand Schaubroeck - 1978 - Shakin' Shakin'

Armand Schaubroeck 
Shakin' Shakin'

01. Crazy Baby's Gots Me Shakin', Shakin' 6:53
02. We Like Bad Girls, They'r More Fun 5:17
03. The Lady's A Traitor 3:47
04. Baby! Baby! Please Stay Gone 4:37
05. Pretty Baby 4:26
06. ? 1:34

"All songs written (...) right after they were recorded Dec 29, 77 - Jan 2, '78

Backing Vocals – Bob Huber
Bass – Bernie Heveron
Drums – Jay Porter
Guitar – Ethan Porter, Jerry Porter, Richard Robinson, Steve Heinrich (tracks: 5)
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Jack Bearce
Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Brian Ormond
Vocals – Gena D'Agostino, Jack Bearce (tracks: 5)
Vocals, Guitar – Armand Schaubroeck

All the songs on Shakin' Shakin' were "written by Armand Schaubroeck right after they were recorded December 29, 1977 -- January 2, 1978," or so it says on the back of the vertigo-inducing LP cover, and this unique and highly enjoyable mix of lighthearted pop might as well be Lou Reed fronting the B-52's -- Lou Reed with his tongue not in his cheek. Schaubroeck throws it right in your face, and that's part of his charm, the title track rocking out with enthusiastic pseudo-rockabilly smarts, "We Like Bad Girls They're More Fun" reinventing the Royal Teens' 1958 hit, "Shorts Shorts, as well as copping that tune's melody. "The Lady's a Traitor" descends into the depths of Schaubroeck's classic Ratfucker album, the artist fooling listeners that he would keep things lighthearted on this outing. Side two has one of those hypnotic circles on the label, which is a nice visual to go along with this dementia -- the passionate plea of "Baby! Baby! Stay Gone" ("I ripped up all your pictures/Moved the furniture around/Baby I love you, but please stay gone") is angst without telling listeners why. It's a tremendous statement, and Schaubroeck outdoes cult heroes Roky Erickson and Wild Man Fischer on every level. The smart production and enthusiastic performance give away Schaubroeck's secret; he's clever as a fox. "Pretty Baby," like the song before it, relies heavily on Bernie Heveron's very vocal basslines. The final track, "?," is a bizarre minute and a half of vulgarity that has its own twisted charm. This was the first of three albums Schaubroeck would release in 1978, part of a catalog of limited output for such a highly creative individual. It's too bad there's not a lot more, because this is definitely worth seeking out and enjoying.

Armand Schaubroeck - 1978 - Live at the Holiday Inn

Armand Schaubroeck 
Live at the Holiday Inn

01. Elmira Bound 9:55
02. Ex-Con 6:15
03. I Wish To See Color 4:50
04. Streetwalker 20:30
05. God Damn You 9:30
06. King Of The Streets 6:19

This 2LP was recorded live at the Holiday Inn, downtown Rochester, New York, 30th, October, 1977 on a 4 track tape recorder.
Songs written 1967, 1968.

Bass – Bernie Heveron, Blaine Schaubroeck
Drums – Jay Porter
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Jack Bearce
Harmonica – Jerry Porter
Keyboards – Brian Ormond
Lead Guitar – Ethan Porter
Percussion, Backing Vocals – Bob Huber
Vocals, Guitar – Armand Schaubroeck

Fake applause comes in as the notorious Armand Schaubroeck's eternally distraught vocal cuts through with the autobiographical "Elmira Bound." The liner notes give the details of his "going away" to the Elmra Reformatory -- "Armand Schaubroeck was sentenced to three years in Elmira Reformatory, a maximum security prison on February 21, 1962 for a safecracking charge." This is great rock & roll with a groove, claimed to be recorded live "at the Holiday Inn, Downtown Rochester New York." With what sounds like canned applause it could very well have been recorded in the back room of Mirror Records at Schaubroeck's House of Guitars in Titus, New York -- -or on-stage at the prison. "Ex-Con" continues the saga with solid guitar playing and rhythmic backing vocals. Schaubroeck rants...and rants...and rants, but his ranting and his expression are more adventurous and interesting than a lot of stuff the major labels were pushing on the public in the late '70s. The album's four sides are strangely on different speeds, one and two are 33 1/3 while sides 3 and 4 are at 45 rpm. Most companies release 15 minutes per side, but with "Streetwalker" clocking in at 20:30, it was appropriate to log Schaubroeck's vision properly and not put part two of this on a separate disc. The added applause really becomes annoying on "King of the Streets," but that's part of Schaubroeck's vision as well. Where Ratfucker is a consistent and focused masterpiece, this -- like a good live performance -- has its own life outside of the studio tracks where some of this material originally found the light of day. "Goddamn You" boasts a terrific rock band, but enough is enough. Nine minutes and thirty seconds of it is a bit much. On second thought, this could have all fit on a single LP, but excess was part of what Armand Schaubroeck was all about at this point in time. It is interesting in its calculation, and the shame of it is that the dude has a lot of talent. What Schaubroeck needed was a record producer who understood him, and perhaps, that is a tall order. Frank Zappa might have been able to make something commercial out of all this. Despite the flaws, Live at the Holiday Inn is more entertaining than you might think.

Armand Schaubroeck - 1977 - I Came To Visit, But Decided To Stay

Armand Schaubroeck
I Came To Visit, But Decided To Stay

01. Father Michael Loves Sister Jennifer 4:20
02. Baby, Can't Let You Burn 3:25
03. Auld Lang Syne 3:26
04. Cry Myself To Sleep 2:25
05. Intro To Bells 0:23
06. Bells 9:11
07. Michael Veni Ad Me 1:08
08. I Came To Visit; But Decided To Stay 3:23

Accordion, Keyboards – Chris Caswell
Bass – Ron George
Bells – Greg Prevost, Stephen Dee Leonardo
Drums – Jay Porter
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Richard Robinson
Harmonica, Backing Vocals – Jerry Porter
Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals – Ethan Porter
Vocals – Janet
Vocals, Guitar, Written-By, Producer, Arranged By – Armand Schaubroeck

Armand Schaubroeck's second album is a gleefully twisted take on Catholicism, wisely avoiding predictable putdowns of that religion, but on the other hand losing the listener along a conceptual path perhaps too personal, in any case too indistinct, to emerge as a whole. The protagonist (a priest?) sweats outside the door to the convent where his beloved Sister Jennifer, resides. Before too long he's shot and killed Sister Jennifer. But he's still in love with her. Then angels sing. Then, just maybe, Sister Jennifer speaks from heaven. The man definitely decides to pitch a tent over her grave, hence the album title, and more steadfast postmortem devotion since "Long Black Veil" was never intoned. Schaubroeck also sets his gibbering rendition of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Bells" to crackling backing -- and this was 26 years before Lou Reed emerged with The Raven. What the album loses in comprehension it more than compensates for in perverse variations on sainted themes both inside ("Come Softly to Me") and outside ("Auld Lang Syne") classic pop, plus some rip-roaring chops, especially on the harmonica player.

Armand Schaubroeck - 1975 - A Lot Of People Would Like To See Armand Schaubroeck... DEAD

Armand Schaubroeck
A Lot Of People Would Like To See Armand Schaubroeck... DEAD

01. Scene 1 Armand (17 Yrs. Old) Confesses His Crimes To A Priest "King Of The Streets"
02. Scene 2 Armand & Dan Go Down To "Rock A Bowl" To Steal Dimes From Bowling Ball Polischers (50's Live Band Plays In Middle) "I Don't Care"
03. Scene 3 Out On Bail, Armand Is Alone With Suzie (Night Before Sentencing) "Love For The Last Time"
04. Scene 4 Elmira Bound
05. Scene 5 Mr. Tomato, The State Public Relations Director Addresses New Inmates
06. Scene 6 Dr. Leiderman, State Psychologist, Interviews New Jacks Privately To Determine When They Will See The Parole Board And To What Institution The Inmates Will Be Sent "Games"
07. Scene 7 Why Do Children Steal? (Armand And Dan's Background)
08. Scene 8 Christmas Eve In Elmira "Cut My Friend Down"
09. Scene 9 Dr. Leiderman Interviews Howard Q. Sappy Who Was Sent Up For Attempt Of Suicide "Streetwalker"
10. Scene 10 A Inmate Reminds Armand Of His Girl "The Young Boy"
11. Scene 11 A Black And White Are Aguing Over A Comic Book Because Each Wants To Look At All The Colors "I Wish To See Color"
12. Scene 12 Mental Breakdown In Solitary Confinement "Fading Out"
13. Scene 13 "We, Like Lost Sheep Are Drifting"
14. Scene 14 New Young Inmate Meets Lifer
15. Scene 15 Stage Break (Taped Live) "God Damn You"
16. Scene 16 Friday Night Radio Plays Old Tune Reminding The Population Of The Streets "Sweet Sister Suzie"
17. "Turn Off The Sound"
18. Scene 17 Visiting Day
19. Scene 18 Night Before Parole Board
20. "One More Day, One More Night"
21. Scene 19 Parole Board
22. Scene 20 Hack Talks To Arm On The Way Out "Ex-Con"
23. Scene 21 Dan & Armand Meet On The Streets While Going To See Parole Officer
24. Scene 22 "Warden's Circus"

Bass – Ron George
Drums – Jay Porter
Drums, Voice Actor – Bruce Schaubroeck
Harmonica, Voice Actor – Jerry Porter
Lead Guitar – Ethan Porter, Norman Tibbles
Voice Actor, Guitar, Lead Vocals – Armand Schaubroeck

All albums are discrete CD-4 Quadraphonic. Compatible with Stereo equipment. Mastered at RCA by JVC Victor Company of Japan, Ltd

Armand Schaubroeck pours his experience over six sides of vinyl on this first release on his own Mirror Records label. The saga of Armand P. Schaubroeck, prisoner #24145, and his partner in crime, Daniel P. McCabe, sentenced as youthful offenders on February 21, 1962, and imprisoned for 18 months in the Elmira Reformatory, a maximum security prison, is equal parts catharsis for the artist, as well as documentary. The cover has a bullet hole in the center of Schaubroeck's forehead while he grins wide-eyed; the photos inside the gate-fold give a glimpse of the horror young Schaubroeck faced in the "reformatory." The tracks are listed as "Scene I," "Scene II," "Scene III," and so on, beginning with the 17-year-old confessing his crimes to a priest, Schaubroeck and McCabe going to the "Rock & Bowl" to steal dimes, his last night with his girlfriend Suzy before sentencing, up to his being delivered to Elmira prison. The soap opera style documentary is broken up with some musical bits, from an Elvis style rave-up to reformulated '60s riffs, which help the stories move along. Though not as refined as his classic Ratfucker album, where the artist takes on a different persona, A Lot of People Would Like to See Armand Schaubroeck...Dead would make a good independent movie and is intriguing. In his confession he claims 32 robberies, which, if true, require no sympathy from the listener -- let's face it -- the guy in his youth seemed to be a menace -- but the documentation of his year and a half behind bars shows the injustice disguised as "rehabilitation." Did the punishment fit the crimes? "Cut My Friend Down," "New Young Inmate Meets Lifer," and "God Damn You" give a unique perspective from the troubled young man, recording not only his experience, but the thoughts and feelings generated by his actions and their consequences. Side six is mostly dialogue, with the song "Ex Con," based on a Bo Diddley riff, deteriorating into a semi-monologue disguised as a conversation with McCabe, "Dan & Armand Meet on Streets While Going to See Parole Officer." If aired in its entirety on radio this album might be a little too much for the average listener. "Warden's Circus" concludes the epic with minimal music, sax, guitar, light drums, and Schaubroeck's distinctive voice. This is an adventurous first set of discs which show originality, but do not beg for repeated listenings. Still, it is a good look into the psyche of a unique individual who had a need to express himself on record.