Official CD DIGIPACK 2nd reissue June 2019
Cordelia CD036 (UK)
Official CD jewelcase original reissue July 2004
Cordelia CD036 (UK) OUT OF PRINT
Buy at iTunes | Buy at Bandcamp
2013 LP Reissue (Personal Injury Records - OUT OF PRINT)
Ltd Ed ARTZINE
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.
Personal Injury Records 2013 LP Reissued
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).
R. Stevie Moore is a pioneer of the DIY. In the 1970’s, this prolific musician produced tapes that he would copy and distribute himself through the R. Stevie Moore Cassette club. His records are compilations of the best stuff on these cassettes. Purveyor of lo-fi before it became cool, Moore is an unclassifiable musician who plays all instruments on his records.
It starts with 'Cool Daddio', a well done rock track with a catchy melody and some spoken word, a narrative form which is his trademark. 'Delicate Tension' is a nice instrumental ballad saturated with guitar where we can feel his Nashville origins. The songs slowly evolve and makes us foresee his experimental influences. 'Schoolgirl' is a child-like folk song as Moore seems to turn into a little boy. It moves on with a bang with 'Don’t blame the Nigger', an ambiguous song that denounces racism and those who mocked disco people at the same time. 'You are Too Far from Me' is a love song in which he is about to turn into tears. At times, his voice is out of tune, a perfect fit for this grotesque and anarchic composition in which one can feel his progressive influences. With its rough sound and its drop-out right at the beginning, 'Oh Pat' reminds us that this is a lo-fi production. It moves on (without a pause) to 'Apropos Joe', a cartoonesque piece in which Moore takes the Ramones for a ride. With its simple piano partition, 'Funny Child' contrasts with the previous song. It goes on with 'Norway', a superb ballad that tells a love story. Moore successfully succeeds in the unlikely task of making ballads that don’t sound too cheesy. 'This Wednesday' tells the story of a guy who naively wonders what he’s going to do when is girlfriend stops by his place to see him. Clumsy and naive like the rest of his repertory. 'I got into your Mind' is another heartbreaking ballad but with an industrial touch here and there. It is interrupted by 'Horizontal hideaway', a piece with a speed-up voice that reminds the weird sound of the 'Hybrid Kids'. It ends with 'Don’t let me go to the dogs', a superb song reminiscent of Frank Zappa’s 'Ruben and the Jets'. As a matter of fact, Zappa’s influence can be felt all over the album.
I haven’t listened to all of R. Stevie Moore gargantuan catalog (over 400 tapes and CDs), but I recommend the excellent compilation 'Everything You Always Wanted to Know about R. Stevie Moore', 'Teenage Spectacular', 'Glad Music' and 'Phonography'. There is a remastered CD of 'Delicate Tension' with 10 bonus tracks that include the 3 great ones from the EP 'Stance'.
© Alain Cliche Quebec, Discogs 2016
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 2019 UK Expanded Reissue
NOW AVAILABLE on DIGIPACK CD (Sealed Import)
direct from Cordelia Records
Available NOW $18
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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