Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Little Black Book: Helen

Scud Mountain Boys: Helen


This is the final track on the Scud Mountain Boys' second album, Dance the Night Away, and is a pretty clear sign of where the band was headed for their third and best album, Massachusetts. In other words: the studio. This song and "She Took His Picture" are both guitar-pickin' romps--forebearers of "Cigarette Sandwich" from the third album--unlike the dreary (in a good way) ballads that make up the rest of this album and the entirety of their debut, Pine Box. Both early albums were recorded to one microphone set up on co-songwriter Bruce Tull's kitchen table, which made for a couple of perfectly moody records that Pernice has certainly never recaptured.

Not that he's wanted to; he's clearly left lo-fi behind, and "Helen" was the first indication that that was his desire early on. It's a terrific, fun song. I love the way he sneaks Helen's name into the verses, as if the original lyrics were more anonymous but he couldn't keep from dropping his woman's name out the side of his mouth.


Ramone666 said...

Glad to find another admirer of the Boys here. Great stuff.

Scott said...

Oh, you don't even want to get me started on all things Pernice... (though I also wish Tull went on to something more... his stuff is great too.)

Michael said...

To my knowledge, Bruce didn't contribute songs to the Scuds, though he did record them. Maybe you're thinking of Stephen DeSaulniers who wrote "Glacier Bay" and "Liquor Store"? Bruce has since played with Haunt, Lo Fine, and others.