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Running Around // Tina's Smile
?? test pressings on black vinyl (some? all? with "audition copy" sleeves)
100? copies on black vinyl (some in xeroxed sleeves)
Limp Records 011, 1981
Lineup: Howard Wuelfing - vocals, bass / Mark Halpern - guitars / Ricky Briefs - drums
Recording Info: Produced by Skip Groff. Engineered by Don Zientara, recorded at Inner Ear. Both tracks also appeared on the Connected LP.
Notes: The true history of this record is somewhat convoluted: Test pressings (yellow label) were done at the same time as Black Market Baby's 45 (May '81), and a bunch were sent out with "audition copy" sleeves for promo purposes. Marc Halpern died on May 20, and the release was scrapped. The final sleeve art had been finished, and Skip remembers having the printed sleeves ready to go, but has no idea what happened to them.
Pictured are all the variations except the boxed set versions.
Skip's Comments: Tina's Smile, I didn't ever like the song, but I thought we did a pretty good job getting it down. Howard tended to be overly dramatic at that period in time, and that song's one of his excesses.
Running Around is kind of a dippy song, but that's what he wanted to do, that's what he wanted to be, and that's what I tried to convey. It's almost like a bubblegum record.
I think it's a great record myself.
Well, he wanted it to be like a 1910 Fruitgum Company record, Ohio Express record, but with a new wave context. That's the kind of sound we tried to get on there. The guitars are not too forceful on there, the drumming's in line with that. I'd double tracked him on some of the vocals and did a little reverb thing to give him a more powerful vocal presence because he was not the most powerful singer.
It was done--both Howard and I were both big fans of Phil Spector--I'm not saying it was anything like a Phil Spector production, but it was done with those kind of parameters.
And this record didn't quite happen...
It was news to me that it didn't happen. I know that somewhere there are finished sleeves, not just the xeroxed ones, and the fact that we never finished the record was something that just escaped my memory over the years. I guess with Mark dying when he did that would have been the sensible thing to do.
Well, the Nurses had actually split up before the single.
Yeah, they'd split up, but these things happened in a very short period of time. We'd done the session, he was with the group when we did it, and remember, between the store and the things I was juggling, or attempting to juggle, sometimes it could be five, six, seven, eight months before something actually came out. So in the period of time after the test pressings were made, the group split up and he died. He died of an overdose not very long after the group split up, and I remember Howard calling me up when it happened--he was just out of his mind.
Reviews: These two tracks, on the Connected LP, were my first exposure to the Nurses. I can't hope to describe to you just how great they are. Running Around is a rock and roll song that you could do ballet to, but it would have to be good ballet (I can see it now--West Side Story arranged by Howard Wuelfing and Andrew Lloyd Weber!). Marc Halpern's guitar tings and tangs and hops all over while Wuelfing pins the song down. Tina's Smile is another one of his love songs, written about Diana Quinn (Tru Fax), but disguised to appear to be about his wife, Tina Wuelfing. The lyrics don't grate too much, and the music is superb as always.
One of the audition copies I've seen (with a white label record in it) looked like it had something stapled to the sleeve, anyone know what it was? Email me if you can shed some light on this mystery.
Xmas (Is Going To Bring Me Down) // White Christmas
5? rejected test pressings on black vinyl
5? accepted test pressings on black vinyl (re1 etched in B side runout)
500 copies on translucent red vinyl, most sleeveless
Limp Records 013, 1978
100 sleeves reprinted
Yesterday and Today, 2006
Lineup:Howard Wuelfing - vocals, bass / Danny Frankel - drums / Tommy Kane - guitar / Martha Hull - vocals / Amy Tract - vocals / Marc Halpern - lead guitar, sleigh bells
Recording Info: Recorded by Don Zientara in four hours. Produced by Howard Wuelfing in seven and a half hours.
Notes: Rejected test press B side is pictured. Most copies are sleeveless.
Skip's Comments: The Reind Dears were another Howard Wuelfing production, and again, he was working at the store at that point. His marriage was falling apart and he was falling in love, at least in his mind, with Diana Quinn from Tru Fax and the Insaniacs and wanted to do a project with her. That was the sole reason for that record coming out.
It's had a staying power in terms of interest for the collectors that I would never have predicted, and if I ever find where the rest of those picture sleeves are--I gave you one--I'll certainly let you know.
Reviews: Punk Christmas records don't have much to offer beyond novelty. This is okay. Not much else to say about it. The B side was rejected at the test press phase. The rejected version omits the count-in--no other discernable difference.
I don't have the accepted test press of this record. Email me if you've got either one and want to sell or trade.
Don't You Know / At Arm's Length // Secretary / Quite Some Time
1000? copies on black vinyl w/insert
Limp Records 029, 1979
Lineup: Mike Colburn - guitars, vocals / Harvey Stuart - drums / Tom McCarthy - bass / Bill Craig - 12 string and slide guitar
Recording Info: Recorded at Quinby studios.
Notes: Label says 33 RPM, but the label lies.
Skip's Comments: Mike Colburn had been an early member of the Razz--he wasn't involved with them by the time I saw them--and when it came time for him to do something with the band he had put together, he came to me.
I thought the songs were really good examples of power pop, and he was an exceptional writer. I think Ted also produced the EP, which is another reason why we'd put it out on Limp. I'm pretty sure he produced it.
Reviews: This first song is the only Nightman track I ever have any kind of desire to listen to. It's rockabilly tinged new wave/borderline punk. Sounds kinda like D.Ceats with a touch of Tex Rubinowitz. The rest of it's bland rock-a-wave.
Marianne / Cherry Vanilla // Love is Love / Hippy Hippy Shake
2000 copies on black vinyl
O'Rourke 1003?/Limp Records 030, 1979
Lineup: Michael Reidy - vocals / Tommy Keene - guitar, vocals / Bill Craig - guitar / Ted Nicely - bass, vocals / Doug Tull - drums
Recording Info: Recorded live, edited by Skip Groff.
Notes: Sleeves reprinted in the 1980's when Skip ran out.
Skip's Comments: I think Airtime was one of the greatest records ever to come out of DC. I edited it. That was my entire involvement in it, aside from putting it out.
They had done a concert for DC101 live from a local venue, and I'm sure there's more songs than those four, but I have not been able to find where they might be. In any case, at some point I had access to the whole tape and took it over to Zientara's and chose those cuts and put them in--they weren't together in the concert the way they were on the record, they didn't necessarily fall together.
I thought it was a really, really strong EP, and it showed their dynamics and versatility on stage, the ability of Michael Reidy to go from a ballad to a harmony type thing to a hard rocking type thing. It also showcased Tommy Keene's Love is Love, which at that point in time was developing into the Razz's real tour de force. It became the ending piece later on, and they would do that at the very end of a set and expand on it.
Reviews: This record is currently AWOL. I don't remember being terribly impressed with it though. I'll find it eventually...
2004/06/04: Indeed, the record has been found and listened to again, and found wanting. Normally I'd say, "I bet this is great live," but since it's already live, I guess I can't. It's above average rocknroll, but it's missing the primal energy I normally associate with punk. The first Razz 7" had it, and I guess there's a little hint of it here, but not enough to hold my interest.
2004/07/18: Just to clarify, I do like this record, and I heartily recommend it to fans of DC rock, it just doesn't pack the kind of wallop that really gets me going.
2005/08/04: Having heard the whole concert this was taken from, I have to say what was cut out is much better than what was released. The concert as a whole is great fun...
You Can Run (But You Can't Hide) // Who's Mr. Comedy
25 DJ copies
1000 copies on black vinyl
O'Rourke 1004?/Limp 31, 1979
Lineup (none listed, but probably): Michael Reidy - vocals / Tommy Keene - guitar, vocals / Bill Craig - guitar / Ted Nicely - bass, vocals / Doug Tull - drums
Recording Info: Produced by the band. A remix of You Can Run appeared on the Declaration of Independents LP.
Notes: Both versions pictured. Anyone got a test press?
Skip's Comments: They produced those tracks themselves at Track, and I had nothing to do with it other than putting the record out. They just came to me with that because I had put out the Airtime EP and they all liked the way that went.
I have a picture of them, in my files, of them at Peaches the day the 45 came out. Peaches used to be over on Nicholson Lane, and all the members of the Razz were there holding up the EP in front of the cassette rack there.
Reviews: This is a really disappointing record. The Razz have completed their journey to the dark side, moving from hard rock bar band to tight, accomplished rock band, to boring, uninspired snoozewave. The A side is a good song, or would be if it had some cajones. The lyrics, assuming I've got them straight in my head, are in the Hey Joe, gonna shoot my ol' lady vein. Some of the words are "You can run / but you can't hide / pity for you is in short supply." I mean, read it off the page and it's menacing as all get out, but the production on the record makes it sound like a Sesame Street singalong, bright, cheery, and impersonal.
The B side isn't very good either, but it doesn't even have the advantage of being a good song to begin with. I guess this means there are now two Limp records I don't like...
Airtime didn't impress me, but at least it was good record, made by what was obviously a bunch of folks having a great time (kinda like the first GI record). If there are any live versions of You Can Run floating around out there, I bet they're absolutely killer. This record, on the other hand, is a very professional effort, very new wave. Not a trace of the Razz remain.
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