Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, June 17, 2003
GORIES : “I KNOW YOU FINE, BUT HOW YOU DOIN’?”….In recent reader comments on this web log it has been stated (unfortunately) that the GORIES’ godlike 1990 second LP “I Know You Fine, But How You Doin’” was somehow not up to snuff and was, in so many words, a low period for the band. Without launching into a full-on review of the music, let me state for the record that this notion is in fact false. “I Know You Fine…” cemented an already wild-ass garage punk band’s reputation as one of the best rock and roll bands of their era, period. It’s no exaggeration to state that for just about any 60s or 80s-90s garage punk band to make it beyond one great LP, let alone to make it to even one first full-length LP that holds up, is one mean feat. The genre doesn’t lend itself to much beyond 45s – in fact, I’m hard pressed to even name one great 1960s garage punk LP that wasn’t by the SONICS. So for the Gories to follow up their insane Hasil Adkins-meets-Bo Diddley-meets-early Cramps debut LP “House Rockin’” with yet another platter full of dirtfloor juke joint punk rock stomp (this time played like they actually took the time to tune up) is pretty fucking impressive, and a rollicking wail of a good time to boot. No thinking slop-rock fan would leave “Thunderbird ESQ”, “Going To The River”, “You Make It Move” or “Nitroglycerine” out of their Gories’ top 10 tunes list; why should you?

This genius record is so unlike a sophomore slump that when the real slump did happen (their third LP, the break-up besotted and comparatively limp “Outta Here”) most people didn’t even notice it, and treated the vastly inferior third record like it was yet another winner from the good old Gories, our heroes, standard-bearers for the 1990s garage punk vanguard. This revisionist slant that somehow the band “lost it” because Alex Chilton was involved in the production (passed out under the mixing board is more likely) is flat-out wrong and is not in any way borne out by the music (and this is the guy that produced the first two CRAMPS 45s and the session that became their bootleg “All Tore Up” LP – you wanna take issue with that?). I hate to argue over this record like we’re debating Exile On Main Street vs. Beggars Banquet or whatever, but c’mon folks. Take another close listen, this time with your mojo shoes on. The first two LPs are conveniently available together on one very excellent and very essential CD.