I was late getting on the Gun Club train (or, as Holly referred to them the other night after we’d had some wine, the “Glun Cub”). In fact, I have to admit I’d never even heard of the band until a few months ago when I ran across a copy of Two Sides of the Beast at Easy Street Records. After looking up the band on my trusty iPhone (thanks to my employer…), I figured they were worth a shot. And I was right.
Fast forward to a trip to Tacoma last weekend, when we ran across about five different Gun Club titles on vinyl (and another on CD) at Hi-Voltage records, including some “unofficial” releases. We picked them all up and have been working our way through the stack (along with some other LPs that already made it to the blog) this week. While Gun Club is perhaps best known for their early releases Fire of Love and Miami, I’ve got a thing for live recordings, so I was really looking forward to spinning Ahmed’s Wild Dream.
Originally released in 1992/93, Ahmed’s Wild Dream was also re-released in 2008, and that’s the version I have. The two record set is primarily live recordings, along with a couple of demos. Unlike some of the other Gun Club live albums I’ve heard, the quality here is very good – both in terms of the actual sound as well as Pierce’s vocals. It really seems like an effort was made to pick some of the better live recordings, and the tracks are a bit faster paced and cleaner vocally, making them that much more enjoyable (than, for instance, Sexy Beat ’81 (oddly enough the second album I’ve referenced here in less than two weeks with the word “Sexy” in the title… paging Dr. Freud… Dr. Freud please…)).
As we listened to this tonight, we talked about my comparison of Pierce to Andy Wood (of Mother Love Bone), though Holly finds Gun Club (a.k.a. Glun Cub) reminds her more of The Doors, especially live – structured music, but with vocals that sometimes seem to exist outside the song. I was drawn heavily to “Go Tell the Mountain” and “Preachin’ the Blues”, the later of which seems constructed as nothing more than a framework within which Pierce could do whatever he wanted vocally.
The first record (Sides A and B) is a winner… though honestly the second one is pretty lack-luster by comparison (with the exception of the cover of Hendrix’s “Little Wing”). Gun Club is certainly worth checking out, especially the previously mentioned Fire of Love and Two Sides of the Beast, though unless you’re already a fan I wouldn’t go out of my way to pick up Ahmed’s Wild Dream, unless of course you find a used copy at a good price.