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IS VIRTUALLY
THE SINGLE-HANDED REASON
FOR THE ENTIRE RSM STORY
TO HAVE UNFOLDED AS IT DID.

WITHOUT THE ORIGINAL
"PHONOGRAPHY" REVIEW
IN THE MAGAZINE'S DECEMBER 1977 ISSUE,
AS WRITTEN BY THIS MAN:
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IRA ROBBINS,

Mr. Moore might still be
forever trapped in Nashville.

This small bit of press is
solely what convinced R. Stevie (via Uncle Harry)
to
MOVE TO NEW JERSEY.

And though they have not recently been in close touch,
Ira has championed the RSM cause ever since.

And for that, the artist is eternally grateful...



IN THE BEGINNING:





R. STEVIE MOORE

Record Label
Released
Phonography Vital
HP Music
1976
1978
Four from Phonography EP HP Music
1978
Stance EP HP Music
1978
Delicate Tension HP Music
1978
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About R. Stevie Moore but Were Afraid to Ask Fr. New Rose
1984
What's the Point?!! Cuneiform
1984
Verve UK Hamster
1985
Glad Music Fr. New Rose
1986
R. Stevie Moore (1952-19??)UK Cordelia

1987
Teenage Spectacular Fr. New Rose
1987
Warning: R. Stevie Moore Fr. New Rose
1988
Has-Beens and Never-Weres UK Heliotrope
1990
Greatesttits [CD] Fr. Fan Club
1990



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Tell the netherworld
what you think about
R. STEVIE MOORE


The son of a top Nashville session bassist, R. Stevie Moore began doing his own one-man home recordings in the early '70s. Over the course of years spent perfecting his technical and conceptual skills, Moore's individualistic, wry pop and musique concrSte excursions have developed into an awesome--and seemingly bottomless--world of talent just waiting to be unleashed on the masses. In recent years, Moore (now living in New Jersey) has self-released dozens of cassettes of his work via mail order; the two 1984 albums partly draw their contents from those tapes. Suffice to say, if you like what you hear on the discs, there's plenty more of equal quality where that came from.

Phonography (issued twice with different artwork) consists of his very early efforts, done between 1974 and 1976. Some of it is fairly rudimentary, but the Bonzo Dog Band-like "Goodbye Piano" displays Moore's incipient brilliance, and a massed-guitars rendition of the Andy Griffith Show theme is classic.

Stance is a three-song 12-inch, running time around fifteen minutes. Recorded in '76 and '77, top-to-bottom improvement is obvious, from the moody, mostly instrumental "Ist or Mas"--an interpretation of awakening (theme for a ballet perhaps?)--to "Manufacturers," a rollicking jazzy rocker.

Delicate Tension is excellent: great songs of astonishing variety, all tied together by his idiosyncratic, gentle perceptions of life and smooth, versatile voice. There are hints of Zappa, Rundgren, Townshend, McCartney and countless others; Moore's limitations, if indeed he has any, have yet to be encountered.

Moore's tape club's issue is staggering in sheer volume, variety and consistency of quality. (His catalogue includes well over 150 titles!) More like eclectic radio shows than straight collections of music, he includes anything and everything on the tapes, and they collectively provide an in-depth self-portrait of a truly prodigious talent.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know is a two-record compilation of tracks--with historical liner notes (in English) purportedly by Robert Christgau--sampling a decade's worth of discs and tapes with originals, covers ("Mama Weer All Crazee Now," "Chantilly Lace"), strange experiments and sublime successes. Although disjointed in spite of Moore's skillful efforts to compile it in some rational fashion, the album provides proof positive of the man's remarkable gift to do virtually any type of music and do it extremely well.

More concise and better conceived, the American one-disc What's the Point?!! provides an ideal introduction to Moore, with such gems as "Part of the Problem," "Puttin' Up the Groceries," "Bloody Knuckles" and "World's Fair." (The last three also appear on Everything.)

Released by a small UK label, the erratic but gem-strewn Verve compilation (early-'80s tracks--including an in-concert live recording from '83--chosen by the artist) quickly became a rarity; Glad Music, a proper studio album recorded in late 1985, reprises "Part of the Problem" and adds a dozen more examples of Moore at the top of his creative powers. There's real C&W played with mock-seriousness ("I Love You So Much It Hurts"), an unnervingly precise synth-flavored version of the Association's "Along Comes Mary" and witty, hand-clapping rock'n'roll ("Shakin' in the Sixties"). Delightful!

(1952-19??) is yet another career-spanning compilation, this one a hodgepodge assembly of 21 tracks from as early as 1973 and as late as 1986, with stops along the way for "Delicate Tension," "Goodbye Piano" and "Satisfaction." Some of the items are tossed-off fragments, others excellent achievements with full-fledged arrangements in a wide variety of styles. The punky "Jesus Rocks" ('78) and the reflectively acoustic "Back in Time" ('86) are among the album's previously unvinylized treasures.

Teenage Spectacular includes covers of Dr. Hook ("The Cover of 'Rolling Stone'," half of it performed a cappella) and Dr. Dylan (the anti-boxing classic "Who Killed Davey Moore?" given an ironically upbeat folk reading) amidst the original pop musings, witty balladeering and brief mind-altering tape experiments ("Non Sequitur I--V"). The simple musical constructions on guitars, keyboards and drums reveal traces of Moore's many influences--from the Beatles to Todd Rundgren to the Bonzo Dog Band to XTC and back again--and huge chunks of his monumental creative grasp. "On the Spot" is satiric big band bar-room sleaze in the key of G sharp; "Blues for Cathy Taylor" is a delightful love song of a different sort; "Baby on Board" castigates childless drivers with those yellow stickers on their car windows.

A collection of recent ('86-'87) home and studio productions, Warning includes remakes of several RSM oldies (e.g., "Manufacturers") as well as a rendition of the Beatles' "Getting Better." Has-Beens and Never-Weres samples a decade of Moore music, beginning in the mid-'70s and including a tribute to the Residents, "What's the Point?" (not from the album of the that name) and a song entitled "Bonus Track (LP Only)."

Building on Everything You Always Wanted to Know, the CD-only Greatesttits is a monumental 24-track retrospective of Moore's most appealing pop originals ("Why Can't I Write a Hit?," "Debbie," "U R True") and covers ("Chantilly Lace," "Along Comes Mary," "The Cover of 'Rolling Stone'")--a perfect introduction to his wonderful world. The American record industry's failure to recognize and promote the unique gifts of this giant talent is a case of criminal neglect.

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To read more on R. STEVIE MOORE consult the Trouser Press Guide to '90s Rock.


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"Best of America Underground" compilation (1983)


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