Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Juicy Lucy - Lie Back & Enjoy It

Juicy Lucy
Lie Back & Enjoy It

Released 1970 on Vertigo
Reviewed by Sylvester Smythe, 28/10/2007ce

Carmen Miranda, Can-Can Girls, heavy whatnot heads exploding in frothy, fructose-drenched arabesques: these were to be jejune imagery erotique without equal. Was it residual from The Donny & Marie Show? – Maybe make-merry Marie Osmond waxing Miranda, Carmen? Her crown corona’d in falling tendrils of California’s grapes? Confusion gives way to the palpable, the tangible, the real electrified lap-tug I felt/you felt as the nocturnal gave way to big ‘E’ Emission and the rest is for the Self-Help §.

It wasn’t until I heard about the inimitable “Juicy Lucy” that I retreated into that self-satisfied glow of a fat man feasting at an ad infinitum Dim Sum. Without saying, sex – nasty, stinky, mud-bath’d ess-eee-ecks – has been the b?te noire of any of the unfortunate lot deemed aesthetically beastly; the uneasy on the eyes, the clammy, who-shot-the-sofa? clothed. And seeking solace in Led Zepp’s “Lemon Song” is not a door prize prized. It isn’t even emboldening. There’s nothing to stand on; it’s all instruction from the Odinist R. Plant to some pre-teen, her knees kissing the linoleum, her shiny, white patent leather go-go boots sparkling like the lycan’s long scraggled row of sweaty incisors. She’s got just as much potency as you do, (Preterite) Plant; and with your organ being milk’d and all, you’d think you’d crane an eager ear.

Yet, these folk know it. They lived it. Hell, they might even have romp’d in it; – tasted it. The debut slab, moniker self-slapped, Juicy Lucy, works as a prolegomena: Here’s what we’re about, it screams, it’s gatefold relaxing into a tableau of flesh: Mater Gaia herself vo-lup-tah-tay, wading in the Dionysian dregs’ afterthought: grapes, a few engorged bananas, a half masticated melon. Ah, Carmen Miranda. – Nothing like a pictorial analogue to get the un-oxygenated fluids flowing. That these guys have connections not just separation of six degrees from Slade, SNAFU, and, for God’s Sake, Whitesnake, shows you what sort of molecular tendencies you’re dealing with. Flight or Fight? How about both? Sometimes this stuff comes at you like five-million micrograms of pure-as-the-driven-snow L-S-D, grabbing your brain like a twenty-foot tall set of tongs and tossing it off into the aether like a cold coal run out of its heat. Other times it retreats like the floor under your feet after that entire quart of 151 proof rum managed to sneak its way into your bloodstream. Considering the considerable gifts of this collective, it’s a bit off-putting to note that Glenn-Goddamned-Campbell is not only on the roster, he’s also writing most of the material, singing, stinging, and strumming.

I don’t know; I mean, John Fuckin’ Peel did cricket bat this one out of the park. He championed The Juice for good, valid reasons: Campbell was a pseudo ex-pat, an American in England, quaffing up the local Bitter and sucking back pack-after-pack of Silk Cuts. Maybe it was his lap steel playing? – His guitar work? They’re both commendable, tasty, chunky bits of fudge to cavity your teeth with. And even if you thought you couldn’t bear another cover of “Pretty Woman” or “Whiskey In My Jar”, you’re more than physically capable of shouldering this load; all the psychic baggage gets lost in the sauce; by the time Campbell is sneering his way through the rhythms wanton of “Willie the Pimp”, you’ll either be on eBay, bidding on all Juicy Lucy ephemera available, or taking mementos private with visions of Carmen Miranda curdling your brain.

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