Skeleton Crew ‘Live im Kulturkeller Würzburg’

01 Side A (21:42)
02 Side B (20:19)

Total time 42:00
Live at the Kulturkeller in Würzburg, Germany, October 1982
Cassette released by Rec Rec Music, Zürich, 1984
[poster above from unrelated 1980 concert with Zeena Parkins]

Fred Frith: guitar, violin, keyboards, bass drum, hi-hat, tapes, voice
Tom Cora: cello, bass guitar, homemade drums, vocals
Dave Newhouse: saxophone, drum kit

The show is actually a succession of short tracks with Skeleton Crew performing unparalleled and unequaled complex instrumental songs, disrupting common songwriting schemes whatsoever and particularly normal live performance configuration. Dave Newhouse of The Muffins is joining on saxophone and additional drums, though the core duo of Frith+Cora was able to perform on several instruments at the same time as evidenced on their innumerable other live recordings. The musical irony in Skeleton Crew is comparable only to Negativland’s first LPs of the same period. For instance, at 6:30 in side A, a John Philip Sousa symphonic march is played as ironic background noise and at 18:00, Ronald Reagan is heard backward reading his famous quote: ‘We’re still free in America’. Additionaly, the trio is able to find its way through various musical genres, passages in this live recording verging on the experimental, noise or concrète music, while elsewhere the music is blues, avant rock or system music. Occasionaly, a song from their first 1984 LP ‘Learn to Talk’ is played in a more or less recognizable form. There is a possibility this cassette was issued as a parallel release with their first album to gather them more tour dates especially in Europe. These guys were undubitably great showmen. Cora died 1998. Thanks to HC Earwicker for the music.


9 Responses to “Skeleton Crew ‘Live im Kulturkeller Würzburg’”

  1. 1 pan mietek September 17, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    thank you for this obscurity!
    please visit my blog for some Polish stuff – Witold Lutoslawski’s 4th Symphony and an electro-acoustic work of genius by Eugeniusz Rudnik.

  2. 2 continuo September 18, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    I’ll try the Rudnik later this evening. Thx for visiting, Pane.

  3. 3 Aborto Gay December 5, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Continuo.
    I’m looking up for Catherine Jauniaux albums. I thought to ask you because i see you’re in that kind of avant garde.
    Thanks always for everything. I never let this blog pass whit their post.

  4. 4 continuo December 5, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Hi, try any of the following: here, here, here, here and even here.

  5. 5 gidouille August 1, 2009 at 7:38 am

    I never knew this existed. Newhouse was in Skeleton Crew for only a very brief period. By the time I saw them, early to mid ’83 think, it was just the duo of Frith and Cora. The songs always verged on collapse, making for a very intense and exciting concert.

    The second time was in 1986, by which time Zeena Parkins had joined. That show was more high profile and drew an audience that largely didn’t know Frith’s work, nor know what to make of their performance. You could feel the tension in the crowd, was it okay to like this, was it taking the piss. At some point they played Jellyroll Morton’s New Orleans Stomp. A palpable sense of relief swept through the crowd, as they realized these were talented musicians and they wouldn’t appear foolish in showing open appreciation. It was a very interesting moment.

  6. 6 continuo August 1, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Well, the above 1982 concert is intentionally and artistically chaotic, but no less a rewarding listening experience for that. Thanks for your knowledgeable comment, Gidouille.

  7. 7 roberto February 5, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    can you re-upload this file?

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