Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Unsung: Some Moral Responsibility & Financial Considerations

May 2000ce

Drudes, I'm writing this a few months after the Unsung Reviews section started in order thank all contributors thus far and to give an overview to what I feel we all require (myself included) from this exercise in rock'n'roll re-enlightenment. Here are a few points to consider when writing your review...

  1. How long have you known the album? How many times have you played it? If you're still in the first flush of excitement about it, don't review it at all. If you've played it no more than 5 or 6 times, it may just vibe you to be seeing it in your own collection.
  2. Your own over-reaction to rare-as-hell albums will send people on a joyous search - don't let them be disappointed and let them spend loads of money on a sack of kack. People are on limited budgets and won't take you seriously in the future. I visited every site I wrote about in The Modern Antiquarian in order to bring a sense of trust. Yes, there were loads of other sites I could have told you about, but a belligerent farmer or some such obstacle made me exclude these as being of dubious value to the heads. Use the same sense of responsibility in your reviews and do avoid over-romancing stuff. It may spice up the review but it's gonna cost some poor fucker a wad of cash and a whole waste of time.
  3. Point 2 is made after I spent hundreds of pounds on bad albums at the behest of some US writer and his Best Of Heavy Metal book. He made them ALL sound great - many sucked big logs. Irresponsible bastard - some of those LPs he recommended were expensive and took investigation. If in doubt, for your own parameters check out the reviews made by The Seth Man. He's by far our most trustworthy contributor and publishes his own rock'n'roll magazine in the States. He'll advocate a specific Grand Funk LP AND forewarn you that most of their LPs are production line garbage. Seth only reviews albums he knows well and seems to have the sense of responsibility that I've always tried to maintain as central to my own rock'n'roll writing.
  4. Does the music on the album succeed for real or just because you dig the sleeve and what the group stands for? Example 1, I love Red Crayola but I never play 'em. It's mainly boring weak shit, despite its good heart and sensational International Artists cover design and 13th Floor Elevators connections. Example 2, in rare cases such as with Television and Sir Lord Baltimore, the first album's genius is projected with high expectation on to the second, and fans rush out to buy the follow-up in the afterglow of the first. Then the thin watery gruel of the second offering is quietly filed away as 'doggerel' or sold for a pound and forgotten.
  5. Check out my 2 Sir Lord Baltimore reviews. The review of their 1st album, Kingdom Come, was made after literally hundreds of plays - and dozens of my friends and cohorts had been turned on by it. Then read the review of their second album, just called Sir Lord Baltimore. I wanted to love it. I'd been looking for it for fucking ages. I was desperate to love it and I couldn't imagine for a moment that I'd be disappointed. But when I got it, it stood in such opposition to what I believed their first album had stood for that I had to wait two weeks to post the review. 20 plays later, only two tracks stood out amongst the lyrical drivel and straight-ahead rock boogie mush, AND both were inferior to the righteous and riotous Kingdom Come. Damn! Suddenly, I had to forewarn ye drudes of a potential sonic landmine to make sure you didn't spend ages searching out such a clunker. Remember, responsibility in writing is everything.
  6. With these thoughts in mind, the Unsung section will grow into a vast encyclopedia of lost moments of sonic yawp. And if your review prompts me to include my own review in my none-too-soon forthcoming book Rock'N'Roll, I promise not to plagiarise your ass and to acknowledge you as my source. Hell, I'm vicious but ain't I fair?!!!

JULIAN COPE
May 2000CE