Sonny Sharrock – Black Woman 12”LP


Sonny Sharrock – Peanut (Bleg Excerpt)

So this is actually the initial Sharrock as a leader effort, recorded in 1968 two years before the more widely vaunted Monkey-Pockie-Boo LP. Sonny scrambles Dave Burrell on piano, Milford Graves on drums, Norris Jones on bass & of course Linda on larynx-lallation. There are five tracks on the LP, all splaying to different dichotomies. Frankly, I think all but one are really quite terrible, albeit very interesting & adventurous conceptually. Some of Sharrock’s themes & the simplicity exacted (stripped back acoustic for example on Blind Willie), plus the nature of the totally admirable but (to my ears) lost & unfulfilling experimentalism fail to accomplish substantiation as a complete track. I respect these endeavours majorly & it’s fascinating to see how the patterns play out, but novelty aside, I feel personally that there is little substance to be extracted. Saying that, there is really only two tracks that cut loose on the LP, so let’s get to them. The song to dust your doldrums here is “Peanut”, a 9.14 minute collision with the kind of extreme unrestrained caterwaul & convention-crushing abject-Avant-Garde that we expect & associate with Mr Sharrock, with Graves seemingly to have replaced his snare-drum with an additional floor-tom. There may be only the one track on the album that’s in focus (or out of it?) but it is an awesome guerdon. like Monkey-Pockie-Boo’s caustic clanger “Soon”, it’s a messy, dense, erratic, noisy psychedelic omnium of diligent-deviation, invention & inebriated brash propulsions & rash-reflexology. After starting with an almost Calypso like lull it’s all head-on, right until the final abrupt expenditure. This is vintage Sharrock at his best & indeed vintage Linda too with all other instigators performing scintillant & sedulous with concurrent-clamour & bedlam.

Finally we conclude with the superbly christened “Portrait Of Linda In Three Colours, All Black”. now this is some really bat-shit-crazy, gizzard-gripping n’ gum-balls infraction, more than anything from Linda herself who finally tips right over the rim into the nexus of fevered calenture. More fornicatory, with the amateurism spilling through the cracks in a mental spectacle of fit-throwing & full-throttle theatre. It’s ridiculous, actually quite inane, the whole thing is a complete fucking mess, but certainly there is a tremendous charm amongst the maceration & megrim. No matter how jumbled, flawed & asinine, one has to respect how absurdly far-out this crazy kaleidoscopic shit was (& still is). It’s SUCH a pity that more albums & collaborations by Sharrock were not recorded during this period. He was an extraordinary enigma & also the preordinate godfather of Noisecore. This album is worth listening to just for study, not to mention the cement-sack of hallucinogenic powder that is Peanut! A quality vinyl & CD reissue is in circulation & should be fairly easy to pinpoint.

Rekd: 1968

Label: 4 Men With Beards