Saturday, April 29, 2006

RON NAGLE -Mystery Trend- DUROCS

The three phases of Ron Nagle's negligibly-appreciated rock career are zipped for your inspection.
The Mystery Trend? They were one of many West Coast groups exploring hard rock and psych. How to compete with the Alarm Clocks, Peanut Butter and Airplanes and Prunes out there? Good question. Cashing in on that trend remained a mystery to these guys. Nagle wrote most of the music and lyrics, but didn't sing nearly enough.
The thickly annotated CD booklet delves into the history of this elusive group while the disc itself contains just about everything the boozin' bloozin' band did (which until now, was mostly unreleased). You get 21 tracks on the CD. 2 are zipped here as samples.
Ron Nagle his own self.
Somehow he got a solo deal with WB. Somehow the now-legendary Jack Nitzsche produced it and Ry Cooder played on it (on two tracks I posted some months ago, still archived). Truly ill art-work and tepidly trepidatious reviews didn't help Ron join Randy Newman and Van Dyke Parks on the "let's keep putting more of the guy's albums out till something happens" list at Warner.
Stereo Review opined, "Nagle's hard-edged voice (like Neil Young's) is not really pleasant to listen to...The songs are really the album's strongest point, a couple of them rather political without being propagandistic, and most of them with sharp insights." But..."this sort of thing has been done before and better, of course, by Gary Wright and Dennis Linde to take two extremes." The reviewer went on to complain about the "muddy" sound.
Included in the zip is a ballad showcasing Ron's "not really pleasant" voice straining over the pathos as "Frank's Store" burns to the ground. This artful slice of mundane life documents a poor dumb soul and the worthless dump that was all he had.
"Family Style" is a stumbling romp about mother picking up coins with her vagina, mysterious Uncle Frank (not Jimmy Kimmel's Uncle Frank), and a brother stepping on a parakeet. It's just your typical dysfunctional family. Remember, this is 1970! No wonder people thought the guy was ill and left him and his LP "Bad Rice" alone.
Ron Nagle traded his rice for popcorn. He started producing sound effects for movies. A March 23, 1977 newspaper review for "The Sorcerer" noted the sounds of "the buzzing of honey bees, the squealing of pigs in a slaughterhouse and a girl's stomach rumbles were recorded by rock composer Ron Nagle...Director Billy Friedkin asked Nagle to do the work after he had such happy returns from another film for which Nagle did special effects, 'The Exorcist.'"
A few years later, Nagle and a cohort gave rock one last try and became "The Durocs," taking their name from a species of (chauvanist?) pig known for large genitalia. (No kidding, this is even mentioned in the Capitol press release).The samples (side one's five tracks) should help you decide whether to add DUROCS to your want list as you cruise the bargain bins. Sorry, I burned the CD a long time ago, didn't write the track titles down, and can't find the album in my sty. I did nose around but all I got was a stye in my eye. And God knows the truffles I've seen.
The last Durocs track is a cover of Gene Pitney's "It Hurts To Be In Love" which they give the wall-of-ham full-boar treatment.
Give the duo points for opening the album with pig grunts and an opening track referencing themselves and how the gals should go "hog wild" for 'em. Perhaps one day Nagle's solo "Bad Rice" will be get a CD release with a suitably commercial cover. Probably not this one:

Nine-ish Nagles
Update: the link has died of old age.


RON NAGLE 61 Clay w/ Ry Cooder
RON NAGLE Marijuana Hell w/ Ry Cooder


Anonymous said...

would you please re-up "bad rice" (full lp)? durocs would also be nice, but "bad rice" is essential!
many, many thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this.
Ditto to what Spillville wrote.
Thanks for your consideration!