A Second Death Album? | Bleader

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Second Death Album?

Posted By on 09.14.10 at 09:17 AM

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Death in the 70s
  • Tammy Hackney
  • Death in the 70s
If you've had the pleasure of discovering shoulda-been-legendary Detroit protopunks Death thanks to the 2009 Drag City release . . . For the Whole World to See, this is bound to be exciting news: Death singer and bassist Bobby Hackney announced from the stage of the Boomslang festival in Lexington, Kentucky, on Saturday night that Drag City would release a second album of vintage Death material in January 2011.

Death's brief career and triumphant decades-later rise from obscurity have been chronicled extensively, in the Reader as well as many other publications. What hasn't come out in all that coverage is that back in the 70s Death managed to record much more than the seven songs on . . . For the Whole World to See. At their Empty Bottle reunion show in September 2009, they filled out their set with material from their post-Death reggae band, Lambsbread, which met with a mixed reception. At Boomslang, Death avoided reggae entirely, instead augmenting their MC5/Bad Brains assault with a Marvin Gaye cover and a song Bobby Hackney claims he and his brothers—drummer Dannis and late guitarist David—wrote in 1970 out of frustration and disappointment that the Beatles had just broken up (when they played it, they detoured into "Got to Get You Into My Life"). This was when he announced the new album.

I was in Kentucky because I'd sat in on drums with Vee Dee right before Death took the stage, and I was still kinda drained from the set—to say nothing of the effects of the bourbon the Bluegrass State is known for. So I can't recall quite everything Bobby Hackney said to me when I asked him about this new album after Death's set, but I do know he told me it would be more recordings from their early-to-mid-70s heyday—studio demos, unreleased jams, and otherwise excavated tapes. I've written to Drag City, hoping to get specifics, and I'll update this post if I hear anything.

Not that Death needs to provide any more evidence that they were years—if not decades—ahead of their time, but if this second album is even half of what . . . For the Whole World to See was, fans of real raw rock 'n' roll the world over will have reason to celebrate.

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