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Nov. 2014: Donovan’s Brain – Shambaholic and Other Love Songs

Hey Hey, My My,

Well here we go for November. I told you we would feature Chemistry Set as our Album on the Month, but things have changed. We have other, beautiful plans for their fine material.

Instead, we travel 677 miles from Seattle to Bozeman, Montana (the county seat of Gallatin County) to land this month’s AotM,Shambaholic and Other Love Songs by Donovan’s Brain. The Brain, as they sometimes to refer to it, is a sort of many-headed collective beast shepherded by one Ron Sanchez. You can read all about it right here. They should not be confused with the 1953 movie Donovan’s Brain. That is different. The Brain has put out a bunch of fine releases that you can get at Career Records, home for Deniz Tek (from the mighty, mighty Radio Birdman), The Nomads and Roy Loney (Flaming Groovies). The album we are featuring is the brand old, Shambaholic and Other Love Songs. Do not confuse this with Layla and Other Love Songs. That is different. What you have here is an album that started life 20 years ago and, after adding a some special seasonings, is finally released abet in a limited edition. We at GMR of course love highly obscure stuff, so on the bandwagon we have jumped. I think this is an album that takes a few listens for you to get it. That is generally a good thing. It falls in the rock (kinda psych, kinda retro, but not too much) category, which you could figure out by simply pushing the play button. There is a tale to be told about this album and it is told a little further down the page.

In other news, in case you’ve not heard, next month includes the Christmas holiday. We have done a Christmas compilation for charity the last 5 years, but this year we are doing something different. First off we are taking the Tom Dyer – Xmas 30 Years In The Making album that we released last year a week or so before Christmas as a download/CDR and giving it a proper CD release. More about that next month. Second we are going to have our first ever GMR Holiday Charity Bash, out at Darrell’s in Shoreline, featuring the Green Pajamas, your King County Queens, The OF, The Queen Annes, the debut of Tom Dyer/Northwest Ono Band as well as a bevy of performers who have been featured performers on our GMR Xmas albums including (hopefully, you know how this goes) Jim of Seattle in a super rare public appearance, Jimm McIver of The Life and solo goodness, Joe Ross and Eric Lichter of the Green Pajamas, Laura Weller of Capping Day and Goblin Market, Tony Driscol of the Purdins and many more. It is going to be totally festive and totally rocking.

Even better, we are giving all the dough from the show to MusiCares, the Grammy organization’s charity that helps out Music People in need with minimal fuss and bureaucracy. Sometimes people  right here in our dear old town. MusiCares is a really great thing.  It is one of the important reasons I am a member of the Grammy organization. Go check out their page to find out more –MusiCares . To kick up the action, we have put together a IndieGoGo project to raise additional funds for the event. We have some great perks and you wanna get your tix for this event early. Tain’t big and you don’t want to be left standing out in the parking lot. This is the place:Green Monkey Records Charity Xmas Xtravaganza! So there you have it. November, it’s your turn. Here we go.


November 2014

The Album: Shambaholic and other Love Songs

1. Dandelions Are Back (Sanchez)
2, Interlude 1
3. Highway 94 (McCaughey, Silva, Carroll)
4. Hit Me In The Face (Sanchez, Kehoe)
5. Pollyanna Disillusioned (Sanchez)
6. Make A Noise Quietly (Sanchez)
7. Holly Green (Sanchez, Kline, Langan)
8. Interlude 2
9. Heavy Water (Sanchez)
10. Kew Observatory (Sanchez)
11. Pollyanna #2 (Sanchez)
12. Sleep Deep (Sanchez)
13. Everything I Know Is Wrong (Sanchez)
15. Shambaholic (Sanchez)
16. Row Out (Sanchez)

Bonus Tracks:
17. Perky Pat (Sanchez)
18. 50,000,000 Years Before My Time (Sanchez)
19. Cary Grant (Kehoe)
20. Beautiful Enigma (Sanchez)

The Band:

Ron Sanchez – guitar, vocals, keyboards, bass, percussion
Ric Parnell- drums
Tom Stevens – bass, guitar, vocals
Scott Sutherland – vocals
Colter Langan – vocals, guitar
Paul Rose – guitar and vocals
Jed Critter – guitar
Tony Sacco – harpsichord and organ
Jim Kehoe – vocals, guitar, bass

Produced by Ron Sanchez
Recorded at GLEA, Pill Box, and Happenstance

Career CDS-1492
Released October 2014

Shambaholic is not the new Donovan’s Brain album. The fact that it is finally being released 20 years to the day after it was completed is purely coincidental. Shambaholic might have been the first Brain album, if the band were not so prolific. In the end the album was broken up into smaller pieces and most of it appeared on various Donovan’s Brain releases.

Shambaholic is a break up album. It is a psych rock opera about the collapse of a long-term relationship retold with guitar and mellotron. It’s difficult to determine if this is a true story as much of it takes place in a dream world. Other songs were influenced by sleep deprivationShambaholic is the sound of the floor disappearing from under your feet and the free fall down that rabbit hole. As the real world disappears, gravity is no longer a dependable force. Time and space become fuzzy and indistinct.

The album opens with three straight forward rockers. The jangle of Dandelions Are Back barely disguises the seething anger. A beer fueled road trip down I-94 with the Young Fresh Fellows is clearly a full case of denial. Harsh reality sets in by the third song, Hit Me In The Face.  Several of the musical influences are displayed in an equal measure of Flamin’ Groovies, Modern Lovers and Johnny Thunders in the first movement.

The rush to the collapse begins when the antagonist of the story is revealed in Pollyanna Disillusioned. Make A Noise Quietly opens the doors to the dreamtime world, which is the setting for the rest of the album. Scared to sleep and afraid to wake leaves very few options.

Holly Green is the perfect dream date, but proves to be less desirable in the cold light of day. It is easy to find her by the trail of broken men left in her wake. The erotic encounter at Kew Gardens seems to go much better until Alice falls off her bicycle. A prog rock epic is distilled down to a two minute thirty second miniature.

Sleep Deep has its verses restored to their original length. The Light Proof Visions EP version was edited due to the time restrictions of the format. Everything I Know Is Wrong continues the observations about the politics of the late 80s and early 90s. The first glimmers of hope can be found here, but ultimately the damage has been done. The previously unreleased title track finds the narrator back at square one, doomed to relive this life over and over.

The four bonus tracks first appeared on the cassette releases Punch In Punch Up Punch Out and Butterfly Wheel.

Shambaholic and the bonus tracks have been freshened up and remixed for this release. This limited edition archive release will only be available from the Career Records shop.

Ron Sanchez, Bobby Sutliff (Windbreakers), Ric Parnell (Spinal Tap), Scott Sutherland (Model Rockets), Tom Stevens (Long Ryders) and Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman) are recording a new Donovan’s Brain album which should appear in October 2015.

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