Friday, September 01, 2006

Pixies: The Purple Tape

Play it: Pixies - The Purple Tape
Cue up to play pages 60-90 of Fool the World: The Oral History of a Band Called Pixies

(Continuation from yesterday of music to listen to while reading Fool the World.)

After the 'Sing For Your Supper' demos convinced Gary Smith to record Pixies at Ft Apache, he recruited house engineer Paul Kolderie - Sean Slade passed on the chance - to man the board for the sessions. They recorded 18 different songs, with apparently even more practiced during the sessions, with two different takes of three of the songs ("Vamos," "Isla de Encanta" and "Rock a My Soul".)

17 of these appeared on what came to be known as The Purple Tape, due to the cassette's design. The 18th song that was left off is an acoustic cover of the christian rock pioneer Larry Norman... Gary Smith recalls it being the song "Watch What You're Doing," which features the line "Come on pilgrim, you know He loves you!" but it's only listed on the master as "Larry Norman acoustic number." It makes sense that they left it off, considering that Thompson ends up borrowing that line for the song "Levitate Me."

500 copies were made of the tape and they were sent and rejected by most, but thanks to Gary Smith's relationship with Throwing Muses and their deal with 4AD, the tape found a friendly ear in 4AD co-founder Ivo Watts-Russell. The UK label signed the band and Watts-Russell trimmed the tracks from 17 down to eight for an EP we know as Come On Pilgrim. The other nine songs were recently released as Pixies, with a cut-up-like cover using the original Purple Tape artwork.

What's most fascinating about The Purple Tape sessions is the amount of tracks that would find their way on to later releases. Pixies really milked their first burst of songs - every subsequent album they released had songs from this period. "Subbacultcha" got split up for Tromp de Lemonde into two songs - "Subbacultcha" and "Distance Equals Rate Times Time." The early version of "Here Comes Your Man" is very pedestrian, and feels out of place compared to the other songs. It would take a couple more recordings of it to make it the classic we know and love.

Previously:
Pixies: Sing for your supper

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2 comments:

drake leLane said...

Pixies - The Purple Tape

* "Levitate Me" - Pixies
* "The Holiday Song" - Pixies
* "I've Been Tired" - Pixies
* "Break My Body" - Pixies
* "Down To The Well" - Pixies
* "Rock A My Soul" - Pixies
* "I'm Amazed" - Pixies
* "Build High" - Pixies
* "In Heaven" - Pixies
* "Caribou" - Pixies
* "Here Comes Your Man" - Pixies
* "Subbacultcha" - Pixies
* "Vamos" - Pixies
* "Broken Face" - Pixies
* "Nimrod's Son" - Pixies
* "Isla De Encanta" - Pixies
* "Ed Is Dead" - Pixies

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