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The Tell Tale Hearts 517 Fourth Avenue The Tell Tale Hearts 517 Fourth Avenue
  • 517 Fourth Avenue (7")-1 517 Fourth Avenue (7")-2
    7" MR 7304
  • 517 Fourth Avenue (CS 7" (color))-1 517 Fourth Avenue (CS 7" (color))-2
    7" color
    MR 7304C nov 2017

When I think of the Tell-Tale Hearts, I like to think of them first of all as friends, and secondly as a band that surfaced in the early 1980s who were not only a force to be reckoned with, but also stood out miles above and beyond the plethora of pseudo-retro-garage bands that followed the initial emergence of what we now look back on in retrospect as 'The Happening 60s Garage Scene' that took place from the late 70s through the late 80s.

The band took form when bassist Mike Stax left The Crawdaddys in 1983 and met up with singer Ray Brandes and organist Bill Calhoun. With the addition of Eric Bacher on guitar and Dave Klowden on drums, they became The Tell-Tale Hearts, recorded a slew of powerful records, blew people's minds when they did live shows, and eventually disbanded in 1987.

I would naturally bond with Mike Stax as soon as he hit the scene with the Hearts. We shared a number of friends, ideals and musical values, corresponded as pen pals, and eventually met for the first time in 1985 when my former band The Chesterfield Kings shared the bill with the Hearts, as well as the stage in Los Angeles and San Diego (ever see ten guys on a stage cover Bo Diddley's 'I'm A Man'?). What I found refreshing was the fact that there were no territorial attitudes among our bands as I had experienced many times in that period, just good vibes; we immediately became blood brothers, and crossed paths a number of times over the years. I will never forget the edge and power the Hearts had on stage – which leads me to this EP that you have here. It contains four of the fiercest and first Tell-Tale Hearts numbers ever recorded; their raw takes on The Topsy Turbys' 'Hey Tiger', The Wig's 'Crackin' Up', The Malibus' 'Cry' and the Calhoun-Stax original '(You're A) Dirty Liar' basically sum up what you would encounter at one of their live appearances.

The tracks herein were recorded directly to a 1/4" mono tape recorder, live-in-the-studio by practice studio owner/sound engineer Steve Epeniter and were all done in one or two takes (with no overdubs). Recorded March 7, 1984 at Studio 517 (located in downtown San Diego), they have the same vibe as the 'needle-in-the-red' earthy Chess recordings of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and the early Stones, and, in my book, define the concept of what is now coined as 'Garage-Rock'. I know you will agree.

Greg 'Stackhouse' Prevost

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