REACTIONARIES, THE: 1979: LP

May 20, 2010

Please understand what a one-in-ten-thousand shot this is for this record to come out as well as it did and prevented it from becoming merely a footnote. One: The fact that a pre-Minutemen band practice tape from the late seventies was even found. Two: The fact that the Reactionaries’ tape didn’t just fall apart when it was discovered and played. Three: The fact that the tape was handled like a deceased friend: with care, respect, and with all intent of honoring the dead. Singer Martin Tamburovich and guitarist D. Boon can’t be anything but smiling down from where ever they are. Four: The fact that the “record collector’s impulse” didn’t intentionally keep this tape obscure, sneak out some pressings on Ebay, then rake in some back door, gray market cash, garnering the respect and envy of a small group of well-heeled vinyl dorks while keeping it out of the hands of folks who love music and are willing to pay modest prices for it. Five: The fact that the fidelity of what’s transferred to vinyl sounds honest and true to the time; it’s carefully preserved. It’s far from mud. And it’s far from being pro-tooled to death or “Let’s fix the bottom end” bullshit. Six: With all that said, if there was just an A side to this record—the practice tape—it’s an amazing historical, archival effort—with its heart in exactly the right place—where you can hear the molecules and DNA of the Minutemen banging around and forming. But the fact that the B side is roundtable congregation of over thirty current (mostly) San Pedro musicians covering the songs on the A side is flabbergasting all the way from a conceptual to a logistical point of view. History ain’t dead folks; no reason to jump into a coffin before your time. Music ain’t dead, either. There’s a direct legacy that continues on through today. It still can be done “in house.” No need for larger labels, fancy-assed studios, or unsympathetic outsiders. Going back sometimes means leaping forward. Protection is often for the survival of the species. Seven: Most of us don’t even have pot thoughts this lucid and complicated. The fact that this record not only exists but was pulled off with so much focus and audio payoff warrants as many people as possible who claim to like punk to listen to this one-in-ten-thousand shot.

 –todd (Water Under The Bridge / 45 RPM, waterunderthebridge.com)

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