Exposé Online banner

The Holy Modal Rounders — Bird Song - Live 1971
(Water 130, 1971/2004, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2005-03-01

Bird Song - Live 1971 Cover artSometime in 1971, the Holy Modal Rounders, having recently expanded to a seven-piece, visited WLIR and recorded a set of songs, including their contribution to the Easy Rider soundtrack (“Bird Song”) and the warped classic “Boobs a Lot.” To say this band is an acquired taste would probably be an understatement – they delight in obscure Americana filtered through recreational drugs and a wacky sense of humor. They also, it appears, helped invent the “jamband” genre, as evidenced here with an extended take on “Give Me Your Money” that drags a bit, but shows the band trying something new for them. The ragged, unrehearsed sound of their studio albums is certainly in evidence on this live set, with numerous vocal flubs and haphazard arrangements. The vocals themselves are one of the greatest barriers to the band’s wider popularity – none of the members has a strong voice, and they revel in the everyman amateurishness of it all. If you’ve heard the Fugs, you know what to expect. The sound quality is quite spotty, with clicks, dropouts, and so on, but given the dearth of live material from this band, some leeway is due. All in all, you have to give them credit for combining – or trying to combine – folk, ragtime, rock, blues, and jazz. Throw in a bit of down-home freak show humor, and you’ve got what the Rounders were all about. If that sounds appealing to you, check it out, but don’t expect Music from Big Pink.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 31, 2004 releases, 1971 recordings

Related artist(s): The Holy Modal Rounders

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Michael Zentner - Present Time – Formerly of the Muffins, Michael Zentner and his solo release drifted into obscurity over ten years ago, from which they have just been rescued. The lineup on this album differs from track to track,...  (1994) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues