Friday, April 17, 2020

The Monks (Black Monk Time)( Digipack Edition) 1966 Flac+MP3






The Monks, referred to by the name monks on record sleeves, were an American garage rock band formed in Gelnhausen, West Germany in 1964. Assembled by five American GIs stationed in the country, the group grew tired of the traditional format of rock, which motivated them to forge a highly experimental style characterized by an emphasis on hypnotic rhythms that minimized the role of melody, augmented by the use of sound manipulation techniques. The band's unconventional blend of shrill vocals, feedback, and guitarist David Day's six-string banjo baffled audiences, but music historians have since identified the Monks as a pioneering force in avant-garde music. The band's lyrics often voiced objection to the Vietnam War and the dehumanized state of society, while prefiguring the harsh and blunt commentary of the punk rock movement of the 1970s and 1980s. The band's appearance was considered as shocking as its music, as they attempted to mimic the look of Catholic monks by wearing black habits with cinctures symbolically tied around their necks, and hair worn in partially shaved tonsures.

In late 1964, while known as the Torquays, the band issued the self-financed single "There She Walks"; however, the release barely hinted at the music the group would record the following year. With the help of a German management team, they decided to change their name to the Monks and released the "Complication" single to coincide with the distribution of their one and only studio album, Black Monk Time on Polydor Records, in March 1966. Though the album and additional singles issued throughout 1966 and 1967 achieved limited success at the time, they have become highly regarded amongst music enthusiasts and commentators.

A few days after the release of Five Upstart Americans in 1999, all five of the original band members held a reunion concert followed by other series of sporadic tours in the 2000s. The band has acquired a cult following as a result of the newfound interest in Black Monk Time, and appearances on several compilation albums, most notably the expanded version of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965–1968. Punk bands and acts of other genres from the 1980s and 1990s, such as the Dead Kennedys and the Beastie Boys, have credited the Monks as an influence on their own musical styles.

The nucleus of the Monks formed in late 1963, when American G.I.s Gary Burger (lead guitar, lead vocalist), Larry Clark (keyboards), Eddie Shaw (bass guitar), and Dave Day (rhythm guitar), along with a West German civilian identified simply as Hans (drums) came together as a quintet known as the Torquays, a name inspired by Burger's admiration for the Fireballs' hit instrumental piece "Torquay". Burger and Day had previously spent time together informally performing as an on-duty musical duo called the Rhythm Rockers, which soon recruited Clark and Hans to bolster their sound. Soon after, Shaw auditioned for the band and was reluctantly accepted by Burger. Shaw, a jazz musician by trade, was recruited largely due to the band's urgent need for a bass guitarist, rather than for his experience with the instrument, which was limited to some private practices prior to meeting with the Torquays. The band first began performing at military hangouts near their outpost in Gelhausen, playing a combination of American rock and roll standards from the 1950s, and some original songs penned by Burger and Day to rowdy crowds and servicemen.

Spotting the band at the Maxim Club, talent manager Hans Reich convinced the Torquays to stay in Germany when their military careers came to a close with the promise of work. For a brief period, the band included vocalist Zack Zachariah and drummer Bob Rose; however, the two were forced to excuse themselves from the Torquays because their discharges were long after the other band members'. Burger solved the issue relatively quickly by introducing the band to drummer Roger Johnston, and, henceforth, solidifying the line-up which would exist for the duration of the group's recording career. As the Torquays began to rehearse, Burger arranged a one-off single deal for the group at an independent studio in Heidelberg. The single, which coupled the band originals "There She Walks" and "Boys Are Boys", had 500 copies produced in late 1964, which were sold by Clark at live performances. Recordings from the single were later collected on the compilation album Five Upstart Americans.

In early 1965, the Torquays began a residency at the Rio Bar in Stuttgart, where they utilized the space to experiment with electronics and sound manipulation, while also expanding their repertoire. It was during the rehearsals at the Rio Bar that the group's avant-garde style—a combination of abrasive waves of feedback and high-volume distortion—began to emerge in its primitive form. Sensing a potential to expand upon their sound, a German management team, composed of Carl Remy, Walter Niemann, Gunther and Kiki Neumann, signed the Torquays to promote an entirely new image and hone their ensemble playing. During one of the first sessions with the team, the band decided to rename themselves the Monks, a moniker that was initially met with some misgivings by Clark whose father was a priest.

Experimentation and album (1965–1966)

Under the supervision of the management team, the Monks conducted extensive rehearsals with a focus on gritty, rhythmically oriented music. The band equipped themselves with new instruments and hardware to achieve that goal: a Maestro fuzz box (and eventually a wah-wah pedal) for Burger, a floor tom for Johnston, and a six-string banjo for Day, the latter of which offered a disorienting counter-rhythm to the bass section. Shaw explained that the group's motivation was to possess "high rhythm and high energy". He elaborated further, saying "The idea of it was to get as much 'beat' out of it as we could. As much 'bam-bam-bam-bam' on the beat or whatever. The only time cymbals would be used would be for accent. If anyone wasn't contributing towards rhythm, then it wasn't part of the Monks sound". However, the band's transformation into the Monks was painstakingly slow, taking the group nearly a year of trial-and-error before they were confident enough to return to the studio.

In September 1965, the Monks recorded new, self-penned compositions to present to Polydor Records. However, Polydor was reluctant to sign the band to a recording contract until they performed at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg, where the Beatles garnered attention three years earlier. Much was made at the time of the Monks' unconventional attire, with their tailored-made black robes strikingly at odds with the prevailing trend for uniformity among contemporary beat groups. With all five members abandoning their Beatlesque hairdos for tonsures and plain rope serving as ties, the band exuded a mysterious aura, while also looking menacingly non-conformist. The Monks' image was met with mixed attitudes from their audiences. Younger fans were playfully curious about the band's eccentric appearance, but conservative patrons were shocked and, at times, furious at what they considered blasphemy on part of the group. Another aspect of the band was their relative detachment from the crowd, compounded by a loud and dissonant "steamroller of sound" that was intended to challenge but not necessarily please audiences.

Polydor Records was willing to gamble on the Monks' radical approach, and the band entered a studio in Cologne in November 1965. The recording sessions for the album, titled Black Monk Time brought the band to the edge of exhaustion, as they had to juggle nightly performances alongside Bill Haley and His Comets with early morning work in the studio. Another challenge was record producer Jimmy Bowien's limited resources to properly record the Monks' loud acoustics on a crude four-track tape. To avoid jumbling the instrumentals, the band members had to play behind sound walls in separate corners of the studio room.

In March 1966, Polydor Records released Black Monk Time and the "Complication" single. The striking approach that the Monks had taken on rock music effectively created the template for the musical subgenre of punk rock. Burger's bursts of disorienting feedback—which was played through a heavily modified Vox Super Beatle amplifier—was immediately influential on groups like the Velvet Underground and has remained so to the present day. A number of music historians and authors, including Kelley Stoltz, Mike Stax, and Len Comaratta, go as far as crediting Burger with the invention of feedback. The songs strayed far from the typical verse-chorus-bridge, but their emphasis on rhythm was nonetheless reminiscent of R&B music acts of the 1950s. Lyrically, Black Monk Time showcased hard-edge and paranoiac political commentary about the Vietnam War, love-hate relationships, and demonized society for its imperfections. Its message struck such a nerve with the American record buying public that the album's original print was never sold in the United States.

Tracklist

1 Monk Time
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
2:45
2 Shut Up
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
3:14
3 Boys Are Boys And Girls Are Choice
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
1:25
4 Higgle-Dy-Piggle-Dy
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
2:29
5 I Hate You
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
3:34
6 Oh, How To Do Now
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
3:16
7 Complication
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
2:23
8 We Do Wie Du
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
2:11
9 Drunken Maria
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
1:46
10 Love Came Tumbin' Down
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
2:30
11 Blast Off!
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
2:14
12 That's My Girl
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
2:26
Bonus Tracks
13 I Can't Get Over You
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
2:44
14 Cuckoo
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
2:44
15 Love Can Tame The Wild
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Guitar – Dave Day
Guitar [12 String], Electric Guitar, Vocals – Gary Burger
Piano – Larry Clark (2)
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
2:38
16 He Went Down To The Sea
Bells – Larry Clark (2)
Engineer – Werner Henjes
Guitar [12 String], Electric Guitar, Vocals – Gary Burger
Guitar [Rhythm] – Dave Day
Producer – Jimmy Bowien
Trumpet – Eddie Shaw
3:01
17 Pretty Suzanne 3:55
18 Monk Chant (Live) 2:00

Enjoy

Ty To Original Sharer

"I hope for nothing, I fear nothing, I am free"

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