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HAS-BEENS AND NEVER-WERES


R. Stevie Moore's
~Tenth Album~
Heliotrope (UK) HLT 2
Issued Apr 1990


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LYRICS
  • 01. INTELLIGENCE (3:45)
  • 02. NEAR TONIGHT (4:15)
  • 03. LOVE IS THE WAY TO MY HEART (2:42)
  • 04. SKIN MAGS (6:48)
  • 05. BONUS TRACK (LP ONLY) (1:15)
  • 06. YOU CAME ALONG JUST IN TIME (3:00)
  • 07. I'M OUT OF MY MIND (7:20)

  • 08. SIT DOWN (4:35)
  • 09. BANANA JERSEYJAM (1:08)
  • 10. I WILL WANT TO DIE (4:50)
  • 11. MARTYRDOM (4:10)
  • 12. POW WOW (3:43)
  • 13. THE RESIDENTS (2:20)
  • 14. WHAT'S THE POINT? (2:42)
  • 15. IF YOU SEE KAY (2:40)
  • 16. 14 MONTHS BACK (1:50)



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Numerous exclusive edits and/or alternate overdubs make up this unique record's contents. Source tapes revealed below:

01. Clack 1980
02. Games and Groceries 1978
03. Returns 1976
04. Crises 1982
05. Repertoire 1983
06. Games and Groceries 1978 (Cudnik dms)
07. All Well and Good 1986
08. Clack (Cudnik dms; Price, Szzn G vcl; Jon Child sax)
09. Repertoire (Price)
10. Purpose 1986
11. Kaffeeklatsch 1984 (+Olsiewicz vcl)
12. Pow Wow 1978
13. Pow Wow
14. It's What's Happening Baby 1982
15. Sheetrock 1978
16. All Well and Good

Audiophile notice: Fidelity on this vinyl release (and subsequent CD-R burn) is somewhat substandard. All apologies from the producers. Someday an upgrade attempt to reconstruct this sequence from superior master tapes (albeit w/o the exclusive edits versions specific to this Lp) is hoped for.




LP LINER NOTES:

'Great Scott', cried the Major to me one day as I was walking his cat. It wasn't that his cat minded, but he did have a habit of shouting into my left ear--and so soon after the operation as well. His face was red and swollen. As we passed the ladies on their soup trolleys, we gazed up into the sky and watched the brightly-coloured UFO's winking in the distance. "Reminds me of when I was a lad," the Major said.

I did the cat-walking everyday, and sometimes at night too. It was large and needed plenty of exercise. Nights were double-time, and at the end of the week I was impressed with the size of my pay packet. I remember vividly the expressions on the faces of the soup-ladies as they passed. I put this down to my old army uniform which hadn't seen a needle and thread since 1941. Dust billowed in such quantities that I sometimes had to feel my way down the badly-lit streets. Maybe they were put off by the cat too, which was cubic--three feet long, three feet wide and three-feet high. Its axles squeaked if it wasn't oiled twice daily.

The area of town I worked in was always busier at night than during the day, and I wondered why sometimes, as I trundled the silent feline along the pavements. Then, one evening I was hailed by a passing philosopher, who engaged me in an odd conversation. He stated that as the cat occupied three feet in each dimension, it must also according to the laws of science occupy three feet in the dimension of time. He repeated such phrases as "your cat was three feet ago" and "it will be in three feet", which left me thoroughly confused. Moreover, as the cat didn't belong to me, I found the whole thing a bit pointless. To end the matter, the Major arrivedand dismissed the fellow with a face the color of fresh beetroot.

When I woke up, Heliotrope Records asked me to do the sleevenotes for their R. Stevie Moore LP, but I was in such a strange mood after the dream I decided against it.

Wilberforce Snodgrass, December 1989




PTOLEMIC PTERRASCOPE (U.K.)
1991
Mick Dillingham

   R. Stevie Moore is proof that talent can thrive outside the system. For the better part of two decades, RSM has recorded at home, content to issue occasional records while building up a forbiddingly enormous tape library, all of which is open to those who contact the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club.
   Meanwhile, this compilation –– available from Heliotrope at 4 Rudyard Close, Loughborough, Leics, LE11 0EN –– offers a glimpse inside RSM's world. I suppose the closest comparison would be Todd Rundgren, thugh RSM doesn't have Todd's devilish way with a balad. But the two men share the same pop sensibility, combined with the constant need to look at life from obtuse and obscure directions. The tracks here were taped between 1976 and 1986; some, like 'Near Tonight,' boast state-of-the-art sound; others, like 'Love Is The Way To My Heart,' couldn't sound muddier if they'd been recorded underwater. 'Pow Wow' and 'You Came Along Just In Time' are two of the most appealing pop tunes here; the seven-minute 'I'm Out Of My Mind' speaks for itself.





amglogo.gif AMG REVIEW (2001): R. Stevie Moore released nine albums, including the double-disc career retrospective Everything You Always Wanted to Know About R. Stevie Moore But Were Afraid to Ask, between 1976 and 1988. For most artists, that would be plenty, but Moore is so wildly prolific that he wrote and recorded literally hundreds of other songs during this period, self-releasing them on an endless stream of hand-dubbed cassettes. The 1990 release Has-Beens and Never-Weres gathers 16 of these songs, from 1975's McCartney-esque "Love Is the Way to My Heart" to 1989's minimalist joke "Bonus Track (LP Only)." The album's primary flaw is a very poor mastering job that gives all the songs a muffled, distant quality, even at high volume. This is particularly a problem on delicate acoustic material like the otherwise lovely "I Will Want to Die." Overlook that problem and this is a fine, albeit low-key, set of tunes. Neither as pop-friendly as Everything nor as deliberately abrasive as 1985's Verve, the material here tends to focus on examples of Moore's not-quite-commercial gift for skewed but accessible songcraft. Tunes like the atmospheric "I'm Out of My Mind," a wispy seven-plus minute piece of acoustic ambience featuring several barely audible tape-looped vocals, couldn't hit the charts if Elton John and Madonna dueted on a cover version, but it and the Todd Rundgren-like "Near Tonight" are quintessential Moore. The quirky white-boy funk of "Skin Mags" and the Parliament-meets-A Certain Ratio "Sit Down" show off an appealingly different side of Moore, while the inexplicable "Banana Jerseyjam" and a tribute to the Residents are examples of his avant-garde streak. Aside from the frankly terrible sound, the only real problem with Has-Beens and Never-Weres is that, as consistently fine as it is, it lacks any of the dozens of drop-dead perfect pop songs Moore has written over the years. But even though it's a collection of R. Stevie Moore's B+ material, this trumps some artists' primo stuff.

–Stewart Mason, All Music Guide






OPTION
Sept/Oct 1990
by Michael Davis
R. STEVIE MOORE: Has-Beens and Never Weres
Somehow, it makes twisted sense that, at a time when record albums are becoming scarcer and scarcer, the music of DIY cassette pioneer R. Stevie Moore should start appearing on vinyl. In any event, this is a compilation spanning the years 1976-86 and, as with most people's grab bags, you end up with a few stale bread crumbs and chunks of broken glass at the bottom. But here, you also end up with some gems. "The Residents," about the band of the same name moving into the neighborhood, is certainly worth a chuckle, although both it and the P-Funk/Ohio Players put-on, "Sit Down," have a time-warped feel. More successful are those tunes where Moore's roots in the first generation of British psychedelic eccentrics – Barrett, Wyatt, Ayers, et al. – are most evident: "I Will Want To Die," "Intelligence," and the seven-minute-plus tour de force, "I'm Out Of My Mind," which manages to be both highly musical and entirely convincing. Who wants to bet this guy will be putting out 78s before he goes to DAT?



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