Haunted for 52 Years by NRBQ

SKF NOTE: How some music sticks with me, even when I’ve not heard it in decades, I find curious.

Two days ago I bought the digital format of NRBQ’s first album. I owned a vinyl copy of the album when it was originally released in 1969. (Full disclosure, I was given a brand new promotional copy of NRBQ by my neighbor, Ed Matthews, who was, if memory serves, head of Artists & Repertoire at CBS records.)

What happened to my copy of NRBQ’s album, I don’t know. But for the last 52 years, in one of those life moments when we sing out loud some song snippet, my snippets were often from NRBQ’s first album recording of Rocket #9 or C’mon If You’re Comin’.

Reading the liner notes included with the digital album, I learn, “[T]his session with Eddie Kramer [was] recorded on 12-track at the Record Plant.” Kramer is a legendary recording engineer.

Also, “All the songs are first takes.” Although NRBQ is a studio album, because of its first take makeup, liner note writer Jay Berman tells us it’s as close as we can get to hearing an NRBQ live set. [T]his band doesn’t repeat itself. They don’t play a song the same way twice,” writes Berman.

My gut tells me the reason I’ve kept singing NRBQ song snippets has something to do with NRBQ’s first takes and improvisation. This album has plenty of original songs, but there are also songs by 1950s rocker Eddie Cochran, and jazz composer Sun Ra.

This new album release is on the Omnivore Records label. The sound is better than ever, although part of me always misses the original sound of music I first loved.

I downloaded this album at about 9:30 at night, laying in bed in a Statesville, NC Red Roof Inn after a long drive from Scranton, PA. I listened for the first time in 52 years to C’mon If You’re Comin’, smiled, and went to sleep.

Can’t wait to put on my earbuds and listen to the whole album.

About Scott K Fish

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