Friday, June 3, 2011

Paisley Underground Series, #12: The Gun Club- Fire of Love (1981) MP3 & FLAC

"Gonna get me religion. Gonna join the Baptist church. Gonna be a Baptist preacher, 
so I don't have to work."

While The Gun Club weren't the only band effectively mining the strange but fertile intersection between Punk and the American country-blues tradition (The Birthday Party are an obvious parallel here), no one was doing it with quite as much raw immediacy (and for that matter, authenticity) as Jeffrey Lee Pierce and co. Pierce's formative years were spent in the city of El Monte in Southern California, and as a teenager, he became immersed in the underground Punk scene that was burgeoning in and around L.A. during the late seventies. One characteristic that differentiated this scene from other Punk scenes at the time was the integration of roots music into the Punk aesthetic by bands such as The Blasters, X, and The Flesh Eaters. What set The Gun Club apart from their contemporaries was Pierce's overriding interest in the Delta-Blues, which provided him with a wealth of dark themes and imagery with which to construct his "fire & brimstone" tales of sex, excess, and death. Given an appropriately bare-bones production by Chris D. (of The Flesh Eaters), The Gun Club's debut, Fire of Love is a heady concoction of Swampy Blues, Country-Goth, Rockabilly, and Punk. Pierce's singular voice, equals parts cow-punk twang and hardcore rant, lends emotional weight to these howling testimonials and wailing confessionals, simultaneously grounding these songs in well-worn traditions and recasting them in radically new contexts. An obvious example of this is the cover of Robert Johnson's "Preaching the Blues," which, while thoroughly re-imagining this apocalyptic Delta-Blues chestnut as a psycho-billy epic, manages to do justice to the creepy fatalism of the original. One of Pierce's most brilliant Country-Punk amalgamations is "She's Like Heroin to Me," which features some wonderfully dark electric slide-guitar work from Ward Dotson, relentless drumming from Terry Graham, and one of Pierce's most manic vocal performances. While legends of the L.A. underground, The Gun Club were not technically affiliated with The Paisley Underground scene; however, it is hard to overestimate the influence Fire of Love had on many of the roots-oriented Paisley bands such as Blood on the Saddle, True West, The Long Ryders and Green on Red.

Fire of Love 
 1. Sex Beat  (2:47)
 2. Preaching the Blues  (4:01)
 3. Promise Me  (2:47)
 4. She's Like Heroin to Me  (2:36)
 5. For the Love of Ivy  (5:36)
 6. Fire Spirit  (2:52)
 7. Ghost on the Highway  (2:46)
 8. Jack on Fire  (4:45)
 9. Black Train  (2:12)
10. Cool Drink of Water Blues  (6:18)
11. Goodbye Johnny  (3:46)


  1. A classic record that inspired lots of bands!

  2. A great post !

    I never heard the whole album, just a few songs and I'm looking forward to hear it.

    By the way, the Green on Red "Gravity Talks" was surprise to me with its heavy organ, but an enjoyable one.

  3. Lon, this is a great album top to bottom, so I'm sure you'll be glad you downloaded it. As for the Green on Red album, I'll never understand why they abandoned that organ on subsequent albums

  4. piltdownlad, thank you. I worked hard on this one, such a great band. I am planning to post a lot of their stuff (and related)in the coming weeks and months

  5. I REALLY thank you for this series. I had a sudden desire to hear some Paisley Underground, provoked by a recollection of a Green On Red song that I heard a long time ago. I was too old to have more than a fleeting knowledge of this music. REM's Murmur and Dream Syndicate is when I began to lose touch with the trends.

    Not knowing the bands well, I started looking for a compilation. I found you, and that's 100 times better. Not only will I be following this series, but I like your blog enough to add it to the sidebar on my own blog.

    P.S. I see you just featured a Dramarama video. I made a compilation of their stuff and posted it last week. Brilliant minds think alike.

  6. Four Steps From The Blues, great to hear from you! It's interesting that you mentioned a Paisley Underground comp. No such thing exists, but I heard some guy on the radio who published a book on the scene say he tried to put one together but there was no interest from any labels. Very sad if this was the case.

    Anyway, I plan to post a huge amount of this material in the coming months, so people will be able to make their own comps.

    Incidentally, I'm posting some Dramarama later today and will be posting a number of their albums during the summer

    thanks for the compliment on the blog, I truly appreciate it :)

  7. One thing though... Jeffrey Lee Pierce is from El Monte, CA, a suburb east of LA, in the San Gabriel Valley. My old turf. Kid Congo Powers, the original guitarist, is also from SGV. The Wiki page is limited... but I've always relied on this fan page for GC info:

    There is also a documentary, Ghosts on the Highway, about the band and Jeffrey's life.

  8. from what I understand, born in El Paso, Texas and moved to the "lovely" town of El Monte as a child(incidentally I live about 5 minutes down the 10 frwy from there). I've seen several obits that claim the same thing. However, maybe the Texas story is a remnant of some self-mythologizing ala Jim Morrison. Who knows :)

  9. I was gonna say, Jeffrey Lee Pierce was a major self-mythologizer... so who knows. I always liked the fact that he was from El Monte. Rough times growing up a wedo in the barrio. What city are you in? I grew up in Rosemead and Baldwin Park. My dad worked in South El Monte, and I practically lived at Whittier Narrows. Marrano Beach, the locals call it... Filthy Pig Beach... so awesome. The stuff of legend in and of itself.

  10. stunning debut. one of the best records ever. this and miami are two of the best records ever made by anybody anywhere anytime

  11. piltdownlad, I'm a little further west in the Alhambra/South Pas area. I grew up in the Pomona/Claremont area, so we were once neighbors of a sort. El Monte's got an amazing history

  12. Yeah, the Legion Stadium, just for starters... I recently moved downtown from So. Pas. Such a small world. Your circle of blogs are about all I frequent anymore... I really appreciate all the work you and your associates do.

  13. piltdownlad, amazing, we really are almost neighbors. How do you like living downtown?

  14. It's crazy, as you can imagine. I like it for now. Never lived in a high-rise before... such a non-LA way to live. But I can hop on the red line and be at Amoeba in 15 minutes. That's where I was today. Some good finds in the used bins.

  15. piltdownlad, I went to school at Berkeley and used to haunt the Amoeba on Telegraph and on Haight in the city. I really miss sifting through all the racks of CDs. I only get over to the one on Sunset once in a blue moon

  16. piltdownlad, I revised the review. Thanks for bringing it to my attention :)

  17. You mentioned Blood on the Saddle!Hope gonna post ''Fresh blood'' LP,in (FLAC)?
    Voixautre,can i write my opinion about albums posting?

  18. sunday, I will be posting Blood on the Saddle, but unfortunately, I don't have it in FLAC (not yet at least). What I have is MP3 320

    Do you mean, posting your opinion in the the comment section of a post? If so, of course! I welcome you to do so :)

  19. I'm not men who's goin' around and telling other people what to do...So,i hope you don't take this personal:why posting albums which already exists on the Web?The Gun Club albums,for example.
    When i made requests,on your's or on the other blog i follow,i first try on Google& can't find,then post request.Simply,i think you wasting your time.
    No hard feelings?

  20. sunday, of course you're entitled to your opinion, but this blog is different from those other blogs, which just post recordings without reviews, without context. This is an INFORMATIVE blog. By offering some context and a description of the music, it gives more people the chance to discover great new music, so, hopefully, they will go and support the artists. Honestly, I could care less what is or isn't posted on other blogs/websites. My only concern is posting good music and info for MY READERS to discover. I am attempting to tell a story on luna. Most people (at least my loyal readers) value the reviews; yes, you can download The Gun Club other places, but I give people some basis on which to decide whether they want to download or not. Honestly, it saddens me that you think it's is a waste of time, but as I said earlier, you're entitled to your opinion (as wrong as it happens to be). with respect, V

  21. not that I feel the need to defend this post in any way (because I don't) but just for the record: the download total for this post is similar in number to most other posts (in terms of MP3 downloads it is far ahead), which suggests that posting it was hardly a "waste of time." Not everyone visits this blog for the same reason(s) or discovers music the same way. Ultimately, I post what I post simply because I want to share it AND I want to write about it. Those are my ONLY criteria


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