Wednesday, 22 August 2007

King Kurt "Zulu Beat" (Thin Sliced Records, 1982)

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Thanks to a post that Mick put up, where he described a single by The Tubes as being his favourite coloured vinyl got me thinking: what was my favorite coloured vinyl single? Well, it's a toss-up between "Paranoid" by The Dickies on the clearest clear vinyl EVER ( it's like a piece of glass) the Plasmatics "Monkey Suit" and "Butcher Baby" both on splatter vinyl.... Or could it be the Luminous vinyl copy of "Moving Targets" by Penetration? I got several copies of that, one to keep, one to sell, and a couple which were totally mashed and cost me mere pennies. These last copies are for my walls; they function like nightlights-when you switch the lights off, they emit a nice calming glow :)

But I guess my real favourite is the record above: King Kurt's splendid "Zulu Beat" It eventually sold about 20,000 copies, and if those had all come in one great big bunch, they'd probably ended up on TOTP; as it was, the record was a bit of a labour of love-released in batches of around about a thousand, trickled out over a few years, with different covers, sleeves, and in different coloured vinyl. There's a wonderfully comprehensive list of all the variations here. The copy above is from the "Sick-th" edition, in a wonderfully pale pink vinyl, with splatters of other colours: every time I remove it from its sleeve, it brings a smile to my face.

The record itself, if you've never heard it, is unashamedly primal rockabilly. It does sound like it was recorded in a wardrobe, but the sense of daft confidence oozing from it's grooves manages to overcome any shortcomings in the quality of the sound. And to be honest, it sounded GREAT when it was blaring out of the speakers of (so it seemed) every student nightclub I went to between 1982 and 1986.

King Kurt are, unfortunately, very poorly represented by CD reissues, there's a lot of dodgy live CD's and the like, it's caveat emptor if you're in the mood for shopping- but should you wish, fill your boots. The band themselves appear to be back after a long hiatus, check them out on myspace.

King Kurt "Zulu Beat" (mp3)


Mick said...

That is a lovely piece of vinyl, Iain. Call it a draw? I've also got the luminous "Neon Lights" by Kraftwerk but I'm not sure a camera or scanner can do it justice. Got any laser etched vinyl?

Iain Baker said...

I got two :) The 7" of "History Never Repeats" by Split Enz, and their album "True Colours" At One point I had the Styx album which was the first ever laser-etched record, but it was bobbins, so I sold it :)

So It Goes said...

I went to plenty of student discos and nightclubs from 1982-4, but somehow managed to avoid ever hearing this. Great stuff.
Coloured vinyl...well, after I converted to CDs in the mid 80s, I sold all my stuff, but I remember having:
The Police, 'Can't Stand Losing You' (white)
Squeeze, 'One Way' (green flexi-disc given free with Smash Hits)
Ian Dury, 'New Boots And Panties' (gold)
Various, 'Last Summer OST' (yellow)
And I remember the Piranhas (again!) with a song about all this called 'Coloured Vinyl'!!!

Rob said...

KIng Kurt will always make me think of the Clarendon Ballroom in Hammersmith. What a venue that was - gigs there always seemed like the most astonishingly exciting thing imaginable...

Iain Baker said...

@ so it goes, bobbins? It's just another word for pants :)
@Rob, aaaaah, the Clarendon...I remember it was in three parts, there was the scuzzy hotel bar on the ground floor, that no one dare go into, the Clarendon upstairs, and downstairs was the Moonlight club, which was a real shithole, sometimes LITERALLY, as the toilets were above the level of the club, and when they flooded (quite often, unfortunately) a river of piss and *shudders* other stuff would gush down the stairs into the Moonlight.
Happy days!

Anonymous said...

Fancy a trip to Northamptom for your birthday beer fella?


Sat 29th September
@ The Soundhaus, Northampton

Devilish Presley
The Rock It Dogs
Luna Vegas
+ DJ
3 p.m - 11 p.m, tickets £15

Anonymous said...

What a cracking track. King Kurt are one of my fave live bands. The early days with the flour throwing and snakebite drinking competitions that saw them banned from most venues to the reunion gig at the Astoria when they swung around on trapezes. Classic! Alas King Kurt these days is basically Smeg. He's still a great chap on stage and the flour still gets chucked around. Worth seeing if you can and great singalong lyrics... cheers Rob

Anonymous said...

Many Thanks! my copy is on s***- brown vinyl..Loved the gimmix King Kurt came out with on 12"- a cover printed on the inside of the sleeve?, a record that played from the centre to the outer edge! tattoos?

onions said...

I've written about some of the old King Kurt gigs I went to back in those days - when clubs used to end up trashed.

Unknown said...

I've been a collector of this release for years & am still looking for lots! The first edition was on orange vinyl & each sleeve was hand drawn by the band. Each one is unique & very valuable these days.

Unknown said...

There is now a Facebook group for collectors of this release, search for King Kurt Zulu Beat Collectors. Go on, fill your boots!