Official CD reissued July 2004
Cordelia CD036 (UK)
Buy at iTunes
Buy at Bandcamp
Bonus Tracks: "STANCE" 12" ep (Sept '78)
Cordelia Bonus Tracks:
Bonus Tracks: "STANCE" 12" ep (Sept '78)
Cordelia Bonus Tracks:
All tracks rec. 1978 (177 Park St. 3rd Floor, Montclair NJ),
except where noted * (Nashville TN homes)
Mark Cudnik = mailed TN drum tracks (1-5, 14, 20-22, 25)
Irwin Chusid = drums (11)
Mike Hopper = flute (6)
Billy Anderson & Roger Ferguson = shoop-shoops (6)
Nelson Riddler Orchestra Record = (19, 24)
All other performances singlehandedly by Moore.
Tailored for lathe in NYC = JON CHILD at Clack Studio.
Front cover design = RSM
Doll photo = IC.
Thanx to Szzn G, Margaux, Erica, Max Wermuth, Ira, Jim Price, George Flores, WFMU, Charlie Stoddard, Johna Lynn, Bob Moore, Victor Lovera, Mike Burroughs, Gene Lazo (WMSC), Mel Cheplowitz (KALX), Chris Bolger and Jimmy & Dawn Coffman.
Dedicated to Harry Palmer forever.
I suppose it's not really kosher my review-
ing Delicate Tension, seeing's how my name
appears on the album cover. But since Ira
Robbins, J.D. Salinger, Don Knotts and
Sonny's Chevrolet are similarly disqualified,
who's left? Besides, I was an admirer of R.
Stevie Moore's fractured pop stylings way
before he was aware of my existence, and am
not likely to revise that estimation.
I can only urge some latently adventurous
Major Label to bestow a few of those hot dogs
in the satin baseball jackets up off their A&R
asses and out to Verona, New Jersey, for a
reminder of what actual talent sounds like. I
mean, here's R. Stevie, bereft of the requisite
beans to book himself some stretch-out time
in a legit studio, and Fleetwood Mac's been
dicking around with their "long awaited"
next album for what, two, three years? Is
there no fucking justice?
Until the Verona Visionary's turned loose
in a real studio, though, we can be truly
satisfied with Delicate Tension, a broadly
eclectic album unified by a seductive pop-
rock logic, and distinguished by some of the
most accurate and animated overdubbing
you're likely to hear coming from any
quarter. Vocally, Moore--who played
virtually all of the instruments here--most
closely resembles Syd Barrett during his
Madcap Laughs phase, especially on
"Norway," with its lilting acoustic guitar
strums, Beatle-ish oohing and delicately
catchy refrain, and the gloopy-voiced "I Go
Into Your Mind," which sounds like it was
sung at the bottom of a vatful of jello. But
the witty "Apropos Joe"--even though taken
at a pace that might leave the Ramones
winded--recalls the lead wheezler with the
Residents, while "Oh Pat" is pure folk rock,
complete with ringing guitars, Byrdsy bass
and, for spice, a sourly whimsical lyric fil-
tered through an Enoesque limey slur. On the
other hand, "Cool Daddio"'s thick mix and
drolly detached vocal captures perfectly the
spirit of early-'70s English art rock.
I could go on, particularly about the lyrics
(You like Debby Boone/He likes the Ra-
mones/I don't understand/Why you two
have a phone"). But why sit still for any
further babble when you can scamper out
and score a copy of this thoroughly idio-
syncratic disc for your very own? For what
few slumming mainstreamers may be
reading this, suffice it to say that Toto will
never sound the same after a few rounds
with the redoubtable R. Stevie.
Who is R. Stevie Moore and why is he destined to obscurity -- or, what great force in the universe will shape this raw genius into a commercially viable success? Wthe the release of Delicate Tension (a most intriguing album), we become ever more aware of an incredible talent rising up from the pits pf mediocrity. His vocal style is similar to that of Kevin Ayers (very much so). His technical prowess is as creative as Zappa or Rundgren. The self-produced quality of this album and his two previous releases, Stance (EP) and Phonography (LP), amuses and enlightens us to R. Stevie Moore's private world of sharp-witted cynicism. The music explores everything from improvisational jazz/pop to romantic folk ballads. It is essentially upbeat, a cross-weave of musical textures. If nothing else, R. Stevie Moore will be an important figure in the pop/rock annals of obscurity, but I would encourage all discerning ears to listen to Delicate Tension at least ten times. Can you take this maniacal intelligence? This is entertainment. All songs are great; however, my favorites are "Cool Daddio," "Delicate Tension," "Don't Blame The Niggers," "Funny Child," and "You Are Too Far From Me." Will someone take R. Stevie Moore from the obscurity of New Jersey and give him control of the world?(P.S. Who is H.P. Music, and are you reading this?) (Write: H.P. Music, 101 Harrison St., Verona, N.J. 07044).
AMG REVIEW: R. Stevie Moore's first album upon moving to New Jersey and immersing himself in the burgeoning New York new wave scene, 1978's Delicate Tension is quite a leap from 1976's Phonography, both in style and execution. Where Phonography has a definite progressive rock feel, Delicate Tension is dominated by short, punchy power pop rockers like the breathless, witty opener "Cool Daddio," the sly McCartney-like bounce of "Schoolgirl" and the sarcastic Ramones blur of "Apropos Joe." Elsewhere, Moore's instrumental arsenal (as before, he plays every instrument himself with the exception of about half a dozen drum parts and the flutes on the anguished "You Are Too Far From Me") expands to include an adorably rinky-dink electric piano on "Funny Child" (which sounds as if the Residents had suddenly decided to write a late-era Monkees song) and more synthesizers, which underpin forward-looking early synth-pop experiments as varied as the ghostly "I Go Into Your Mind" and the frantic voice-modified robo-bop "Horizontal Hideaway." However, even with all these modern accoutrements, Moore still isn't interested in making it easy for himself. In 1978, when the "disco sucks" backlash was making casual racism fashionable, Moore wrote an explicitly anti-racist faux-disco song, muddying the waters (and possibly obfuscating his honorable intent) for listeners by deliberately giving the song the shock title "Don't Blame the Niggers." That piece of social commentary aside, Delicate Tension is an album of surprising emotional depth. Most of the songs were written in the aftermath of a particularly bad breakup, and along with Moore's usual surrealism and snarky one-liners, songs like the acoustic ballad "Norway" and the simply lovely, Todd Rundgren-like "Zebra Standards 29" have the startling immediacy and plainspoken beauty of a late-night conversation over several empty wine bottles. Best of all, the album's sound is an enormous improvement over the extremely lo-fi Phonography; it stands next to Roy Wood's Boulders, Something/Anything? and McCartney as one of the best one-man-band albums of the '70s. The album has been out of print since its original vinyl issue and has never been commercially reissued. However, a remastered version, adding the three songs from the 1977 EP Stance (the eight-minute ambient guitar instrumental "Ist Or Mas" and the quirky synth-rock "Manufacturers" and "Dance Man"), is available from www.rsteviemoore.com.
–Stewart Mason, All Music Guide
Alfred Boland POSTCARD (2002)
Official 2004 UK Expanded Reissue
NOW AVAILABLE on CD (Sealed Import)
direct from Cordelia Records
ALSO AVAILABLE ON CDR $13
Employee RSM's orig LP bag at Sam Goody's, Livingston Mall, early 1979
This stereophonic microgroove recording cannot become obsolete. It has been carefully engineered to provide the finest monophonic performance from any phonograph -- old or new, monophonic or stereophonic. Like all high-fidelity albums from H.P. Music, it is a top-quality product of the recording art, and will continue to be a source of outstanding reproduction, now and on the future.
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