Holy Modal Rounders – Live in 1965 Bootleg

July 4, 2008

Holy Modal Rounders

Live in 1965 Bootleg


I was privy to a conversation between two gentlemen discussing the best fishing holes in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. Personally, my misspent youth was spent at Penn Treaty Park catching Fishtown eels and bashing them against rocks for kicks. Before you groan, I now realize the evil nature of this activity, but the Delaware River most likely rendered them toxic waste. But I digress, they then began to discuss the pure joy to be found with a joint, a fishing pole and their favorite albums to listen to while fishing. The one gent argues for Agnostic Front which inspired the other to emphatically state that the Cro-Mags’ Age of Quarrel was the best album of all-time. Personally, New York hardcore is about as appealing as a hardy rash, but I do like some of it. What in the hell does this have to do with a Holy Modal Rounders’ bootleg? Well, nothing, but it got me thinking about albums that inspire such banter. If I had to pick one album that I’d rant about for hours, it would be the Holy Modal Rounders’ Have Moicy.

Since this bootleg is from 1965, this is a wholly different beast than the Michael Hurley infused edition that recorded the best country album this side of George Jones. However, Peter Stampfel leads the band at this point as they deliver a mix of comedy, pathos and psychedelic country that embodies all that was great about the 60s assimilation of country, blues and bluegrass. Much of it draws from their first two albums and it sort of reminds me of the Fugs at points, but is so much better than their sophomoric insanity. There’s even a version of “Indian War Whoop” on here and their utter joy and postivity bleeds into each song and results in an uplifting experience. I prefer Have Moicy by a mile, but this bootleg captures pure optimism in song.

Oh yeah, I saw the Fabulous Diamonds tonight. They were absolutely entrancing. The record doesn’t do them justice. Their recorded material reminds me of a droning Young Marble Giants, but they were a mix of Cluster, ESG and Mo Tucker in a live setting. Funky in a brain damaging sort of way. Pick up their album on Siltbreeze if you get a chance.

4 Responses to “Holy Modal Rounders – Live in 1965 Bootleg”

  1. Dan McN Says:

    Props for introducing me to “Have Moicy” a decade ago… it’s become one of my absolute favorites, too. Did you get to see Pete Stampfel when he was touring with the “Bound to Lose” documentary? The band he brought wasn’t that memorable, but it was pretty joyous getting to hear that warble live.

  2. JEFF Says:

    This is wonderful stuff!! I’ve been a fan for a while and have been making music that hopefully comes close to this madness…

  3. Jon Says:

    I appreciate you posting these special musical resources, and I would have to agree that there might be no better fishing accompaniment than “Have Moicy.” However, I do feel compelled to post a very important correction to your introduction. The Holy Modal Rounders were not a part of “Have Moicy,” rather, a compilation calling themselves the “Unholy Modal Rounders” corroborated with Michael Hurley and Jeffery Frederick to make the album. What is the difference? While Peter Stamphel did indeed contribute to “Have Moicy,” there seemed to be no need for Steve Weber, and he was left out. Although it would have been nice to hear a Weber tune on there, it did not happen. So the “Unholy Modal Rounders” were the result, the group including Robin Remaily (sp?), David Reich, and possibly others that I may have left out.

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