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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 236 - 11/25/15

Various Artists
Ork Records: New York, New York
Numero Group

'In August of 1975, the world's first punk record label was born. Ork Records: New York, New York is a tale of Terry Ork, a film-obsessed fugitive of Warhol's Factory set. Ork's impresario ear would pull damaged, literate new rock music from the pregnant Bowery/Lower East Side grime of CBGB, resulting in debut 45s by Television and Richard Hell, as well as landmark recordings by the Feelies and Lester Bangs. It's a tale of Charles Ball, who'd steer Ork Records through solo exploits by Big Star's Alex Chilton and the dBs' Chris Stamey. And it's a tale told across 2 CDs or 4 LPs [plus a hardback book filled with insider photos and sordid details] in scorching sides by Richard Lloyd, Marbles, Prix, Mick Farren, Cheetah Chrome, the Revelons, and more.' (Numero Group)

Some people point to UK as the cradle of punk rock, with Sex Pistols as its first-born baby. However, New York was the place where it all started, evolved and exploded musically. Ork Records: New York, New York presents all the legendary songs by the legendary acts - just check out the opening three songs: Television's "Little Johnny Jewel", The Feelies' "Fa Ce La", and Richard Hell's "The Way (You Tough My Hand)". Maybe not filed under 'punk' as most people define punk (or as punk is known), but these tracks come from the first wave of the new wave of modern rock music. Period. Terry Ork (band manager, producer, label manager) and his Ork label was pioneering the documentation of the new music born in the mid-70s in and around NY, and this compilation is exactly like Numero Group describe it to be like: 'a visionary glimpse of punk and new wave as invented, nurtured, feted, and forgotten by the street-level artisans who attended the genres' arrival.' Here are punky pop-gems from the time as well, such as Alex Chilton's "All Of The Time" and Chris Stamey & The dBs' (later to become simply the dBs) power-poppy "(I Thought) You Wanted To Know" (written by Richard Lloyd - and, yes, we get to hear Lloyd & the DBs as well), or the Beach Boys inspired "Red Lights" by Marbles. The latter is hardly 'punk', but its fresh and raw nakedness and refreshing honesty makes it something different, far away from and indeed way outside the mainstream. It is interesting to revisit Mick Farren & the New Wave's "Lost Johnny", and songs by bands/artists like The Student Teachers, the Erasers (I guess The Undertones must have heard this band), The Revelons, Prix, the young Richard Lloyd, the freshly post-Big Star Alex Chilton. It is cool to hear the rawer version of The Feelies' "Forces At Work". Not all is gold (Lester Bangs should have stuck to rock journalism), but this is the Nuggets from the 'blank generation'.

PS! If you're hard-core, you'd probably bought the Ork Records: Complete Singles with 16 7" singles this spring. If you're lucky, you got hold of the Ork Records: New York, New York limited edition vinyl set with the bonus single (7") feat. two previously unreleased tracks by the Feelies: "The Boy With The Perpetual Nervousness" (as an unreleased studio cut from 1978), and their cover of Bacharach/David's "My Little Red Book" (recorded live at CBGB on December 14, 1976).

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