Lambchop - I hope you're sitting down 2LP
This will be the first time since 1994 that the Nashville collective’s debut album will be pressed on vinyl again!
Back in 1994, when Lambchop first lurched lackadaisically into public view, they seemed to many people freakish, outlandish, destined at best for the pages of photocopied fanzines and the graveyard hours of specialist radio stations. A sprawling collective of Nashville musicians—eleven were credited on the sleeve of I Hope You’re Sitting Down / Jack’s Tulips, one of them apparently responsible for “open-end wrenches”—they’d named themselves after a sock puppet, inexplicably given their album two titles, and stuck a painting on the cover of a small, barefooted child holding a dog whose cock and balls are on proud display. Perhaps to counteract this bold depiction of canine masculinity, the inner sleeve offered a black-and-white shot of what the more refined sometimes call a “lady garden.” The back cover offered a painting detail of a wedding dress. So far, so weird.
Things didn’t get any more straightforward when one heard Lambchop’s songs. After an introduction of quietly picked acoustic guitar, wheezing organ, and alto saxophone, “Begin,” inevitably the record’s opening track, began with the words, “She was neat / She was worried about the Holocaust / Rather uncomfortable / But not unusual.” It was clear the band had no designs on chart glory: these were lines so—yep—uncomfortable and unusual, and yet so understated, that they immediately, irreversibly encapsulated the differences between their somewhat wonky world and the one occupied by those who’d so far not been privy to it.
This enigmatic figure, however, beckoned us to join them, and Kurt Wagner—the artist behind that striking cover, as well as the group’s soft-spoken singer, songwriter, and one of their guitarists (although in those days, he disdained any notion of being either their frontman or mastermind)—proceeded to offer further fleeting glimpses of a mysteriously intimate encounter, its unconventional details lingering long after the final note of lap steel guitar had faded. “She asked for some gum,” our farm-capped bard concluded. “He gave it to her. Begin.”
This set the tone for a 72-minute, 17-song collection will-fully given two titles, it turned out, to sidestep the arguably pompous associations of a dreaded double-album debut. Lambchop, you see, weren’t pompous at all. In fact, they could hardly have been more unassuming, especially in their humble approach to music-making, rehearsing in Wagner’s basement and exercising an open-door policy that allowed anyone with an instrument to take part, whether or not they could really play it. In addition, Wagner’s matter-of-fact choice of lyrical themes reflected this informal methodology. Certainly, he had little interest in prettifying things: he did that for a living, sanding and varnishing floorboards. In these prosaic stolen moments, however, he found flashes of profound meaning, whether they signified true joy, infinite sorrow, or simply the inconsequential but nonetheless worthwhile value of our inescapably humdrum existence. “Where’s the keys?” he asked at the outset of “I Will Drive Slowly,” “’Cos I’ve forgotten / Where I put them / When I came home / I thought I left them there on the table / I will need them when I go out.”
A3 Soaky In The Pooper
A4 Because You Are The Very Air He Breathes
B5 Under The Same Moon
B6 I Will Drive Slowly
B7 Oh What A Disappointment
C9 Bon Soir, Bon Soir
C11 Breathe Deep
C12 So, I Hear You're Moving
D13 Let's Go Bowling
D14 What Was He Wearing?
D15 Cowboy On The Moon
D16 Or Thousands Of Prizes
D17 The Pack Up Song