Dick’s Picks: This week our resident vinyl overlord ‘Mr A’ has shaken off the excesses of Swinging London (see last week), re-fastened his safety-pin, stuck a razor in his fish-nets and has his sights set firmly on this little known LA punk curio by the wonderfully named Black Randy & The Metrosquad.
So….Black Randy & The Metrosquad….Who? What? and err Why?
The band formed in LA in 1977, and comprised a revolving line-up, which included Pat Garrett on guitar and David Brown on keyboards, catch them on the right night and you may have been lucky enough to see them perform with the ‘Blackettes’, an all-girl backing band that featured a very young Belinda Carlisle and Jane Wieldin. What about Mr Randy himself? Well he wasn’t black (although by all accounts he was randy!) but, most importantly, was in possession of a sharp satirical wit that thought nothing of peddling the band’s strange amalgamation of soul and pop (played FAST) to the hip, young punk crowd at LA’s legendary punk crucible ‘Masque’.
So…onto the album itself……
Apart from the fact it’s got to be one of the greatest albums titles of all time (hasn’t it?) it was also released on super-hip US punk label Dangerhouse, home to The Dils, Randoms and The Deadbeats, guaranteeing instant kudos no? Weirdly, that doesn’t seem to be the case as they’ve kind of been forgotten, not even able to muster a listing on that musical database behemoth that is the All Music Guide. How wrong they are…as a quick spin on the office dansette reveals something a little bit deeper than a mere punk/comedy act, there’s a little Dead Kennedy’s in there, some skronking Doors style organ and we haven’t even mentioned Randy’s (ahem) singing voice; at turns comedic, slurred, sneering and generally pretty unhinged, couple this with a neat line in satire ‘Say It Loud, I’m Black & I’m Proud’ (sung by a white man), or consider ‘I Wanna’ Be A Nark’ which, as the blog Perfect Sound Forever notes, sketches a story around a young guy who can’t get accepted by his punk peers so dreams of becoming a cop, who will ultimately get his revenge by locking up those who locked him out.
Unfortunately there’s not an upbeat postscript to this story, the band fell apart in 1982 citing the all too familiar tale of drinks, drugs, sex and excess, in 1988 Randy died from complications brought on by AIDS, leaving behind a handful of singles and this one, lone LP……..