THE BABYSITTERS The Babysitters lp 1985
Can you hear it / American toys / No particular place / The beard song / I wanna be on T.V. / Pickin' the blues / Old L.A. / Give us a loan / Everybody loves you when you're dead / Tel Aviv / Rock en roll chicken / Alright O.K. .
Produced by The Babysitters.
The Babysitters: Buttz: vocals / Jimbo: guitar / Boo: drums / Stik: bass.
It's a very hazy trail that leads up to it, and I've tried, in vain so far sadly, to track down Sitters singer Buttz, but a brief history of Babysitters time is that these leery loons leapt from some asylum in some strange netherworld and first seem to have appeared on Flicknife Records 1983 "Trash on Delivery" compilation, which I don't own, but is notable for having The Dogs D'Amour's impossibly brilliant "Teenager" on it, which I believe was on their first demo ever and had Ned Kelly (alright, Christie) on vocals and a 14 year old Tyla just on guitar and backing vocal duties. Anyway, back to the boys in question. Their composition was "Living Out Rock'n'Roll" and was a divine blast of spiky Ramones and Special Brew fuelled salvation about running amok round London in tight pants, ending with the soon to be typically bizarre Buttzness of "Livin' out Rock'n'Roll.......pineapple" for no apparent reason whatsoever. This just set the scene, 'twas an aperitif for the album to come. An album of some of the most punky rock'n'roll craziness, jollity and eternal greatness there ever was and will be. Not for them the archness of, say, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, this is what they were.What happened next is uncertain, except one can safely assume they spent a while playing, what I can only imagine were fun drunken blitzes of sets in such classy dens of iniquity and dereliction as Fulham Greyhound and The Bull and Gate amongst many others, finely tuning their own peculiar brand of beery brawling Ollie Reed Rock'n'Roll and practicing their vocal harmonies, before procuring a little deal with HM Records for the price of a pint, a couple of tabs and some chips. They put the vocal harmonies in particular to brilliant usage on the barbershop quartet swish of "The Beard Song", about how he digs his girl's long blond hair and curves, but her beard gets on his nerves. And she's a cute girl to, tho she has false teeth and size 11 feet. Believe me, it works. They also open the whole glorious ragtag shebang with a vocal group "Hello" "Helloo" "Hellooo" "Hellooooo" before stumbling into, and around, "Can You Hear It?", choicest prime cut of a lyric line here? "Open your eyes and open your ears, open up your wallet and get me some beer" and ending with the signoff "What's he say?" "Dunno mate didn't hear it." Ho ho. Such possibly inanity is all over the record, but depending on your point of view, it is complete genius. Actually, it IS complete genius, just on the same shiny coin as buffoonery. Sod and sick on your point of view. In my rule book, thin as it may be, anyone who can write a song called "Tel Aviv", yes, as in literally, "it's a long way to...", is an utter star barking maestro. A relevant and up to date version of the old First World War anthem "It's a Long Way To Tipperary", though quite why Buttz has/had such an affection for the place is unclear, at the time of writing. Similarly dredging up from the mists of Pot Noodles, Bensons, and cider haze "I Wanna Be on the TV" from the couch whilst watching dismal daytime TV, which back in the mid 80's must've been really bad, the poor barstads, is simply heroism on a grand scale. Perfectly capturing many a person's thoughts better than any fucking Smiths record could/can.
This is part of the mystery shrouding the lack of success of the band, especially if you couple that with "Give Us A Loan", the old problems trying to get some dolly out of the bank, with some of the best Pinky and Perky backing singing since The Dolls did "Stranded in the Jungle". And "Old L.A.", a jazzy, loungy, bouncy, broken bedspring tune, where Buttz gets all Elvis on our asses, well ears, is a stunner. Yup, cor blimey, guv'nor. All topped and trimmed with what I think is a cornet. Hell, and I guess it may well have been, it sounds like it was recorded in some sleazy jazz joint bar in LA, but perhaps more likely in Soho, at 2am such is the Gaulouise smoky atmosphere on it. Buttz wandering about the stage with a vodka martini - in a pint glarss please, guv - spilling drops on the last remaining slack jawed patrons, perched perilously on the edge of....oh well, there he goes. Right through the squeaky door.This whole slice of drooling fantastico-ness reminds me of nothing more than an 80's underground version of Keith Moon, Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr, and Viv Stanshall and co hanging out in the 70's, been gloriously daft eccentric English types (Harry being an adopted Angle), just unfortunately not having the necessary readies to totally unleash all their spontaneous impulses on the world. Or be fully clothed. I mean, just look at the cover, which kinda makes Captain Sensible, well, look as though he was living up to his name. They look like they just woke up in a skip after trying to break into the offie on the way home.And those two covers. Well the first is a pretty perfuntory and faithful run through of Mr. Chuck Berry's "No Particular Place", so we can leave that be, and the greatest of all is "Rock En Roll Chicken", taking Bo Diddley's "Pills" to pastures new and leaving it stranded there for ever more. Daft as hell, still funny. But not as much as closer "Alright O.K.", set in, or about, some clip joint or other called The Embassy where "You can spend your wages on a pint of beer, or camp it up and play the queer", and featuring some choice one liners reminiscent of Moonie and Ringo on Moonie's "Two Sides of the Moon" album (a criminally under-rated and of course quite insane masterpiece) like "'ere mate you got 20 pence for a beer?" "yeah here's 10 get us half" and "why do they call you Disco Dave?" "I d-d-d-d-d-d-d don't know". And to end with, there's the prophetic "Everybody Loves You When You're Dead", which is sadly too true, Buttz lurching in and out of his Elvis mannerisms, fittingly enuff. Buttz knew it, just like Thunders knew it when he wrote "Disappointed in You" with "The only way you get respect is when you die, if you're a friend of mine." I remember after being written off for years all the nice accolades that were devoted to Stiv and Johnny, oh typically. But there we go, such is the way of things. And following this, Buttz only went and managed to outdo himself and get together The Last of the Teenage Idols, didn't he? But I think that's over to someone else.
The Babysitters - truly one of the best records ever and hot diggedy do here's to Rock'n'Roll, y'all. Stu Gibson "Sleazegrinder.com"
Read the Buttz 's interview here : http://www.sleazegrinder.com/int_buttz.htm*
Cd covers by MAX!
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