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Main » 2008 » June » 30 » Insight Compilation - To Sell Kerosene Door To Door (2LPs, 1989)
Insight Compilation - To Sell Kerosene Door To Door (2LPs, 1989)

San Francisco, mid/late 80s: a "secret" scene is burgeoning. World of Pooh, Glorious Din, Caroliner Rainbow, Archipelago Brewing Company are some names that made amazing, original and uncompromising music. Eric Cope, had already moved with his band White Front from Iowa to SF and was already part of this. After forming Glorious Din (a band between Bauhaus and REM, as it was said), he founded Insight Record and Tapes label to release his (and others) music. Except the two Glorious Din records, Cope released records by Spahn Ranch from Detroit, Beatnigs and Comic Book Opera and his magnum opus, this 2LP compilation with 30 songs by 15 bands.

Almost 20 years ago, I was in a record shop specializing in difficult records imports, searching though the vinyls that had just arrived. My budget was limited and, as this was a double LP (which means it costed more) I purchased a couple of records, that I considered more urgent, and put "Kerosene" in next week's buying schedule. As you can imagine, the following week there was no sight of the only copy that had appeared under the sun of Greece - until a few days ago.

About a year ago Fritz Die Spinne and Curious Guy posted Glorious Din's "Leading Stolen Horses" and "Closely Watched Trains" respectivelly, so I've started to search for it again. I didn't find it, but a couple months lated I posted Spahn Ranch's "Thickly Settled" (thanks to Rob Rude), and later World of Pooh's "Land of Thirst". Finally, a couple months back, "Kerosene" appeared on eBay and my best friend Opa-Loka took care of the rest.

Although I was familiar with some other bands on "Kerosene", like the Beatnigs, World of Pooh and Caroliner Rainbow, I didn't imagine how rich was this (San Fransico/Oakland mostly) scene of the late 80s:
Eric Cope who was in Glorious Din, Beetle Leg and Dog Food (the later two I suspect were one-off collaborations) the "usual suspects" Brandan Kearney (World of Pooh, Dog Food and Caroliner), Jay Paget (World of Pooh, Glorious Din and Harry's Picket Fence), Matt Hall (Stiff Legged Sheep and Beetle Leg) and Pete H (drummer from the days of White Front, later on Glorious Din with Cope and in Harry's Picket Fence with Paget) seems to be the core of this.

There were 15 bands (and 30 songs) compiled, in this double LP set, which I think it was the swansong of Insight Records and Tapes. There's nothing about Eric Cope after this.
But "To Sell Kerosene Door To Door" was his greater achievement: a massive collection of the ultra-under-avant-garde scene, with his personal seal on it. It's amazing how the totally different sound of the more hard bands like Beatnigs and Stickdog could be side-by-side with the rendition of "Black Betty" by Caroliner or the big-as-the-sea "Thickly Settled" by Spahn Ranch or the weird ballads of World of Pooh ("Mr Coffee Nerves") and Cope's own sad folk anthems with Dog Food. For many of the 15 bands this is their only released output (not that the few that did released something else are more known - except maybe to the visitors of this blog and the 2 blogs mentioned above).

This is a compilation that could haunt you.

Category: Alternative/Punk | Views: 5366 | Added by: RainyDaySponge | Rating: 5.0/1 |

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