The Remains

The Remains

The remains of the Remains are more glorious than those of anyone who didn't leave any or even most who did. They are, were, and remain, even now after 40 plus years. A slightly earlier new CD and now this: The Remains reissued with 10 added cuts. Once called Barry and The Remains, whose original 10-song album was, until now, one of the holiest of the holy grail of rare records. Maybe my former brother-in-law, who's a lawyer in Chicago and a record collector, may have had, found, or still lusted after it to place between Renaissance and The Ramones in his huge record collection.

As for me, I heard of them, probably even heard their music, but you know how it is. Too many Ted Nugent concerts later, I've got this Remains extended CD with all 10 cuts from the band that opened for Der Beatles fra Hamburg on their last tour, which ended in a deafening roar of "Ringo, Paul, George and John — we love you yeah, yeah, yeah!" in San Francisco at the last Beatles concert ever. Did anyone even hear the Remains on that tour?

They can hear them now on "Don't Look Back," "Diddy Wah Diddy," "Lonely Weekend," and "Why Do I Cry?" from that first sonic blast on to the 20th one. These boys were from Beantown; they were nothing like Ultimate Spinach and those other "Bosstown Sound" bands, all of whom got reissued before this CD did. But it doesn't end there.

You get 10 more cuts, released singles, even never-before-released singles, and these aftermath "afterthoughts" rival the Stones and the Fab Four and praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, the Flamin' Groovies. Listening to this is like having a dream in which the Groovies have reformed and both Mike Wilhelm and Roy Loney are back with Cyril and the rest of those San Francisco treats, the number four band of all time in SF according to the often otherwise misguided critics at the SF Chronicle in their own 2000 critic's poll. Right after the Grateful Dead and a whole lot of legendary in their own minds and some other self-proclaimed guitar heroes. Why if The Remains were a Mayor Press Release band, they'd have been and rightly so near the very top of that list too.

This is rock 'n' roll when it still rocked and rolled...and 40 years later too. The Golden Gate Bridge of 60s rock. The Boston Beatles blood brothers to the Jewish Beatles of Danny Kalb, Al Kooper, Roy Blumenfeld, Andy Kulberg and Lou Reed's old producer, Steve Katz. Wow! Double wow! There is not a substandard cut here from Petula Clark's "Heart" to "Lonely Weekend" to the other Stones of America other than Patti Smith that is on "My Babe," "I'm Talking About You" and "But I Ain't Got You." There're like Dick Taylor who left the original Stones to start the Pretty Things, and produced some of the greatest largely unheard albums ever including S.F. Sorrow, the first concept LP. And says he never looked back, which The Remains never do either.

"Baby, I Believe In You," I never look back like Mr. D taught me not to, and I just want to know when I want to know: Is "All Good Things" this good? It's Them Again and Van is cooking tonight on the same label as Sir Tom Jones. Hell, I wish women threw all those panties at me, Sir Tom, wanna let us in on your secret?

It all ends like this. John Landau was right though I hate to admit to that as Mr. Landau never responded to my query letter from so long ago.

"Dear Mr. Landau: Some of the Boss's overzealous bodyguards beat up our female photographer and put her in the hospital. I expected that from Jake Riveria and another female photographer got it too. From you, Sir, I expect an apology and for you to pay her medical bills. As well as a nice note from the Boss and a tip of Kentucky Colonel Clarence's saxophone."

No response, ever.

But Mr. Landau I will give you this as you were prescient about the Remains way back then: "They were how you told a stranger about rock 'n' roll." The Remains rocked the rafters from Remains night at the Rathskeller in Beantown to the Cow Palace where the Beatles and the Remains too left their hearts right next to Tony Bennett's. Now, The Remains (2007 edition) is bringing that heart back home where it always belonged. Better get yourselves a piece of it.

Do two drummers make them an east coast Grateful Dead too? I don't know but they sure must have put the fear of the Lord into the Kinks' Davies brothers too. Now,
Mr. Landau, about that overdue apology…

~ Gary Peterson

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