Friday, April 27, 2012

Jam of the day, psychedelia compilations, and vinyl conventions: D.R. Hooker / "Forge Your Own Chains"

Artist: D.R. Hooker
Album: The Truth
Song: "Forge Your Own Chains"
Released: 1972
Label: On Records [original] / Subliminal Sounds [reissue]

A friend of mine had a vinyl copy of Forge Your Own Chains: Psychedelic Ballads and Dirges 1968-1974 and played it on at least one occasion while we were hanging out at his place and in the right frame of mind for this album. Oh man, is it heavenly. A double LP compilation, with songs from Korean psychedelic guitarist Shin Joong Hyun, Nigerian rock band Ofege, a Temptations cover by a group of American soldiers who won a "Battle of the Bands" contest while stationed in Germany, and this here tune and namesake for the album by an underground Connecticut folk-rocker named D.R. Hooker. I've since gone on and bought a vinyl copy myself and highly recommend you do the same.

D.R. Hooker has a solid J.C. look about him, as you can see on the cover art for The Truth, his 1972 debut LP. He released another LP 7 years later, and another one in the late 1980s, but I've yet to track those down. I stumbled upon a reissue of this album on vinyl (via the Subliminal Sounds label) at the 7th (semi-)annual Pittsburgh Record Fest at Belvedere's a month ago. The event was pretty big, filling the huge back room of Belvedere's with tables and sellers and people milling about. I got there with some friends on the later end of the evening, and probably missed out on some great scores because of that, but it felt like I didn't see a whole lot of stuff that "grabbed" me. This record was the only one I picked up that made me say, "I have to have this." I made some other finds, but this was my favorite by far.

Here's the jam that got this whole story started. It's a catchy little ditty in the middle of the LP, piecing together a tambourine beat and stuttery drums with D.R. Hooker's smooth voice and a cool bass line, plus some awesome jazzy punches of brass. It's really, really … cool. Suave.

D.R. Hooker / "Forge Your Own Chains"

"One more cigarette to clear your head
Today you're living, tomorrow you're dead"

Some other links about D.R. Hooker I found: Buried Treasure / 99 Krap Rec / The Truth

I'm always on the lookout for other sweet compilation albums, after experiencing the greatness of this one. This also led me to buy an album of Shin Joon Hyung tunes called Beautiful Rivers & Mountains and it is similarly outstanding and highly recommended. Do you know of any other compilations like this that you'd recommend? LET ME KNOW!

Shin Jung Hyun (ft. Jang Hyun) / "Twilight"

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