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Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

3WA 2018 #41: Living Colour – Biscuits

The first single by The Damned, “New Rose,” featured as the B-side a double-speed rendition of The Beatles’ “Help.” I think about that, sometimes, when I listen to this album.

What is it?

Biscuits is a 1991 previously-unreleased-tracks not-an-actual-album by Living Colour, the band best known for the hit song, “Cult of Personality.” More importantly, my CD copy is the Japanese import which features a bunch of concert recordings as well. So, basically it’s an EP with a concert album bolted on.

How does it sound?

I don’t need a mix, I need a sampler solution:

Why this pick?

To my discredit, I as yet own no other Living Colour records. I’ll remedy this some day, honest!

On the upside? Folks seem to think that Biscuits is a poor entry to the band’s work. I suggest otherwise, at least if you have the import version. This is a great mix of covers and live renditions, totally worth owning.

Which songs are the highlights?

The EP portion leads off with “Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing” and “Burning of the Midnight Lamp,” both excellent cuts.

The revved-up rendition of “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” (which is why I think of The Damned doing “Help”) is worth the price of admission all on its own, though.

Getting into the concert recordings we get excellent renditions of “Final Solution,” “Type,” and “Solace Of You.”

Which songs don’t work so well?

The last song in the EP section, “Love Rears Its Ugly Head,” is a remix (“Soulpower US Mix”) that, like many remixes, wears out its welcome far too soon.

Concert material is often hit-or-miss by its very nature; “Desperate People” doesn’t quite work well here, for instance, nor does “Memories Can’t Wait.”

Which album did you almost pick in favor of this one?

Had it not been this, it’d have been something from another artist entirely. I love this record but it never led to me pursuing the rest of the band’s catalog.

I need to acquire Time’s Up and probably also Vivid at some point, not to mention giving their latest record a listen.

Any final thoughts?

I wish the band had hit bigger than just a big single or two, and that they’d been the vanguard of black artists entering the heavy metal scene instead of ending up a historical curiosity.

2 Comments

  1. So. Living Colour. Yes. Good.

    Now that I’ve gotten the “Popular Music Professor” thing done with…

    If The Smithereens hadn’t existed, Living Colour would be my vote for best rock/metal/whatever band of the ’90s. T’hell with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, so on and so forth… Living Colour was better. Those others were more POPULAR, but not better.

    I once conducted the Duck U cafeteria in a rousing rendition of “Should I Stay…” during a bad snowstorm. Yeah, I like it. A lot.

    Please note that Biscuits is out of print, and probably will never be rereleased… there’s been some question for years over who owns the rights to it.

    Vivid. Buy Vivid before Time’s Up. It’s just better.

    And speaking of concert performances, Living Colour had what I believe to be the best musical performance on a late-night show ever when they appeared on Arsenio. I’ve talked about it over at The Pond a few times, but it’s the truth.

    The only other black rock band I remember was Ice-T’s version of Tin Machine, Body Count. There were probably others, but I can’t remember any. Which really isn’t right.

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