Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Vulgar Boatmen - 1982 - Women and Boatmen First (very first recording)

The Vulgar Boatmen
1982 - Women And Boatmen First
First self-released cassette tape

Gainesville, FL
Digital transfer from tape copy, good quality
mp3 @ 320 kbps

OK, so to finish up this look at thr Gainesville Music scene, here's another look at The Vulgar Boatmen, this time, their very first recording, their early long-lost self-released indie cassette tape from 1982, Women and Boatmen First. This is the earliest version of the group, primarily featuring Walter Salas-Humara and John Eder. Although this very early version of the group was decidedly different from the later Robert Ray-Dale Lawrence collaboration, there still was a noticeable glimpse of what the group would eventually become. Robert Ray had just joined the group at this point, and here is what he later had to say about the early Boatmen sound: "The very early Vulgar Boatmen were dominated by John Eder, a singing non-musician who worked much more conceptually and ironically than either Walter or I do. The songs were very "new wavy": frantic tempos and novelty lyrics. The original band had saxophone, which was later replaced by the viola. I think the music has changed, but since I am part of that change, I find it hard to say exactly how. I would say it has become less busy and cluttered, more repetitive and matter-of-fact, less influenced by Elvis Costello (musically) and the Ramones (lyrically) and more by Otis Redding and John Lee Hooker (though we sound nothing like either of them)." (Robert Ray, 1992). Here is another assessment from someone associated with the group: "To me, the first record is more of an off-beat art project that sounds more along the lines of the first Feelies record or Talking Heads than it does the Boatmen... and for the most part, the Boatmen in 1982 has very little to do with, or in common with,  the Vulgar Boatmen in their hey-day, circa about 1992." (Robert Wescott, Mary Janes manager, 2002).
The Boatmen followed up this cassette with another indie cassette-only release in 1984, titled All Bands On Deck, which featured a sound that began to more closely resemble style more closely associated with the later Boatmen releases (Unfortunately, I do not have this tape, nor have ever heard it). After the 1984 tape, Walter departed, and the band was left in the capable hands of Ray, which then began the beginning of the 'classic' period of the Ray-Lawrence collaboration.
So, although not yet the classic sound and style that later became the Boatmen, here is their beginnings. This recording comes from a digital transfer of a cassette copy of the original cassette release, so it may not be pristine sound, but this is a quite rare recording, not available anywhere I know of. So, check out where The Boatmen started out, then check out their more impressive classic releases (1989-You and Your Sister, 1992-Please Panic, and 1995-Opposite Sex).

1.Suzanne Sommers In El Salvador
2.Puntos de Partida (Latin Love)
3.Drink More Coffee (Waste More Time)
4.Hook In My Lip
5.Everyone Is Critical
7.The King's Last Words (Before He Died)
8.I Don't Care
10.This Is War
11.How Round 'n' Round (live)

The Vulgar Boatmen (original lineup):
Jerry Bartolomeo
Steve Cimerberg
Carey Crane
John Eder
Rick Ellis
Helen Kirklin
Robert Ray
Walter Salas-Humara
Ann Waters
Scote Weinkle

Note: picture included here is NOT from the 1982-era band, but is the earliest picture I have of the Band (from Indiana branch?).


Scott said...

Nice one, thanks so much.... You and Your Sister & Please Panic still regulars in my home rotation

Unknown said...

Thanks! I was looking for that for a long while!

bglobe313 said...


If I can get my act together, I think I can get you All Bands On Deck (although the version I have is a little jumbled).

Let me know.


BBKron said...


Yes, thanks, would love to get/hear All Bands on Deck in whatever form you have it in, as I have never heard it at all. That would be great! Thanks.


bglobe313 said...


I've got a project I have to take care of right now, but I have not forgotten about getting you All Bands On Deck.


WmPerry said...

thanks- been wanting to hear this again for..Aiiee! 30+ years! The title 'suzanne somers in el salvador' has always stuck with me. also the cover; a floorplan of a recording studio, an arrow points to a diagonal line and describes it as a "Baffle - A device to confuse musicians"