Bay Babies Vol. 1
Overall Rating: +++
In case you're a Mike Knott fan and you haven't heard, Bomb Bay Babies--Vol. 1 is the first of two CDs featuring long lost songs by Knott's little-known glam punk band from the late '80s. Bomb Bay Babies were hit Hollywood club regulars according to the insert, and a more light-hearted effort for Knott after the dark Shaded Pain by Lifesavers Underground.
Knott played guitar and sang for Bomb Bay Babies, and it's exactly what die-hard fans of Knott would hope for: yet another distinct sound from the world's greatest underground rocker, but with plenty of the classic vocal and musical vibes found on Lifesaver's Poplife and L.S. Underground's Wakin' Up the Dead and The Grape Prophet. There are even a few foreshadowings of the Aunt Bettys. Throw in the New Wave influences of New York Dolls and early Adam Ant, and you've got a must-have for all Knott fans and any lovers of edgy '80s alternative.
With Bomb Bay Babies being essentially a Hollywood bar band, though, don't look for the lyrical weight we've come to expect from Knott. Most of his lines here are addressed to "baby." "Do you, do you, do you wanna dance?" is typical (from "Do You").
Some songs hit harder, though. Like "Big Shot Record Man," a dark-tinged sarcastic slam of sleazy A&R guys: all the bands are kissing your hand/you can kiss mine/Assk me first and later, is it true you're a coke fiend?...your nose is bleeding/tip your head back/tip your head back.... Or "Wakin' Up the Dead," where Mike maybe hints at what he felt he was doing through Bomb Bay Babies: Wakin' up the dead/I love it/it's like a sweet perfume.
The seven-minute closer "Boom Boom Lounge," in which Knott plays a lounge band leader, is the funniest thing he has ever recorded. "We're trying to have some crowd participation here...". It also contains a one-minute cover of WAR's "Low Rider," followed by a hidden track covering Bow Wow Wow's "I Want Candy." They may be the only recorded cover songs by Knott in existence (not counting his contribution to the Gene Eugene Tribute CD).
The production is perhaps one of the reasons why this material went so long unreleased. It's pretty bad. The first ten songs are plagued by spaciness and thinning in the instruments, but are okay. The last nine tracks are live, though, and they're rough. You can't even make out the lyrics half the time. Still, anyone used to bootlegs, or any hardcore fans of Knott, shouldn't be bothered too much.
isn't likely to contain anyone's favorite Mike Knott song, or
even any of their top ten. But every fan of Mike's earlier
incarnations will want to fork over the dough to see the man
having some fun rockin' in the old days.
Michael Knott (homepage)
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