The Squid's Ear Magazine


Skeleton Crew (Frith / Cora): Learn to Talk [VINYL] (ReR Vinyl)

Reissuing the first of two albums from the NY collaboration of guitarist Fred Frith and cellist Tom Cora, both providing vocals, percussion, violin, & bass, in a classic example of Downtown NY genre-merging of improvisation and rock with a vicious edge, in smart songs and even smarter instrumental sections, an insanely inventive and intelligent album as vital now as it was then.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



Tom Cora-cello, bass guitar, synthesizer, drums, percussion, vocals

Fred Frith-guitar, bass, violin, synthesizer, bass , piano, drums, vocals


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UPC: 8033706214299

Label: ReR Vinyl
Catalog ID: RER FROV8
Squidco Product Code: 28499

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2019
Country: Italy
Packaging: LP
Recorded on Christmas and New Year 1983 and 1984, at Sunrise Studio, in Switzerland, by Robert Vogel and Fred Frith.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"ReR Vinyl present a reissue of Skeleton Crew's Learn to Talk, originally released in 1984. A true avant-rock classic. Skeleton Crew were the maverick duo of Ex-Henry Cow guitarist Fred Frith and the great late cellist Tom Cora. Formed during one of Frith's early American residencies, Skeleton Crew was a legendary two-man crew who somehow -- in real time, managed to play all their instruments, cello, bass, electric guitar, violin, vocals -- as well as, drum parts dislocated between the two of them. No one sounded like Skeleton Crew, ever. An unprecedented and tight duo coalition that produced some of the best music of the decade. Originally released in 1984, Learn to Talk consists of a highly integrated mixture of art-rock, punk energy, tape manipulation, and re-imagined folk elements. A catalog of invention that remains breathtaking today. Fully re-mastered and including a printed inner sleeve with previously unpublished text by Fred Frith in memory of Tom Cora on the 20th anniversary of his premature passing."-ReR


Artist Biographies

"Thomas Henry Corra (September 14, 1953 - April 9, 1998), better known as Tom Cora, was an American cellist and composer, best known for his improvisational performances in the field of experimental jazz and rock. He recorded with John Zorn, Butch Morris, and The Ex, and was a member of Curlew, Third Person and Skeleton Crew.

Tom Cora was born in Yancey Mills, Virginia, United States. He made his musical debut as drummer on a local television program and in the mid-1970s he played guitar for a Washington, D.C. jazz club house band. He took up the cello while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia and studied with cellist Pablo Casals' student Luis Garcia-Renart and later with vibraphonist Karl Berger. During this time he formed his own group, The Moose Skowron Tuned Metal Ensemble and began constructing instruments for it.

In 1979 Cora moved to New York City where he worked with Shockabilly guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, introducing the cello to the honky tonk circuits of North America. He performed at improvising clubs and venues in New York with John Zorn, Fred Frith, Andrea Centazzo, Butch Morris, Wayne Horvitz, David Moss, Toshinori Kondo and others. Cora also collaborated with George Cartwright and Bill Laswell which led to the formation of the art rock band Curlew in 1979 . Cora remained with Curlew for over ten years and appeared on five of their albums.

In 1982 Tom Cora and Fred Frith formed Skeleton Crew, an improvising rock and jazz band best known for their live performances where they played various instruments simultaneously. Cora and Frith were each one-man bands on stage and for their act, Cora constructed musical contraptions he could play with his feet. The band existed for five years during which time they toured Europe, North America and Japan extensively. They made two studio albums, Learn to Talk (1984) and The Country of Blinds (1986), the latter with Zeena Parkins who had joined the band in 1984. In October 1983 Skeleton Crew joined Duck and Cover, a commission from the Berlin Jazz Festival, for a performance in West Berlin, followed by another in February 1984 in East Berlin.

Cora was also a member of the improvising trio Third Person, formed in 1990 as a live collaboration with percussionist Samm Bennett and a "third person" who changed from concert to concert. Two CDs of some of their performances were released, The Bends in 1991 (with "third persons" Don Byron, George Cartwright, Chris Cochrane, Nic Collins, Catherine Jauniaux, Myra Melford, Zeena Parkins, and Marc Ribot) and Luck Water in 1995 (with "third person" Kazutoki Umezu).

Cora performed with a number of other bands, including Nimal with Momo Rossel and post-rock quartet Roof. In 1990, he played two concerts with Dutch anarcho-punk band, The Ex, and the success of this collaboration resulted in Cora performing hundreds of concerts with The Ex and appearing on two of their CDs. In 1995 in The Netherlands, Cora and Frith collaborated, as Skeleton Crew, on Etymology, a CD-ROM sound sample library of sonic sounds and wire manipulations.

Tom Cora died of malignant melanoma at the age of 44 in a hospital in the south of France, where he lived with his wife, singer Catherine Jauniaux, and their son, Elia Corra."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Cora)
2/16/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Though the point of reference for many remains the iconic band Henry Cow, which he co-founded in 1968 and which broke up more than 30 years ago, Fred Frith has never really stood still for an instant.

In bands such as Art Bears, Massacre, Skeleton Crew, Keep the Dog, Tense Serenity, the Fred Frith Guitar Quartet, Eye to Ear, and most recently Cosa Brava, he has always held true to his roots in rock and folk music, while exploring influences that range from the literary works of Eduardo Galeano to the art installations of Cornelia Parker.

The release of the seminal Guitar Solos in 1974 enabled him to simultaneously carve out a place for himself in the international improvised music scene, not only as an acclaimed solo performer but in the company of artists as diverse as Han Bennink, Chris Cutler, Jean-Pierre Drouet, Evelyn Glennie, Ikue Mori, Louis Sclavis, Stevie Wishart, Wu Fei, Camel Zekri, John Zorn, and scores of others.

He has also developed a personal compositional language in works written for Arditti Quartet, Asko Ensemble, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Ensemble Modern, Concerto Köln, and ROVA Sax Quartet, for example. Fred has been active as a composer for dance since the early 1980s, working with choreographers Bebe Miller, François Verret, and especially long-time collaborator and friend Amanda Miller, with whom he has created a compelling body of work over the last twenty years.

His film soundtracks (for award-winning films like Thomas Riedelsheimer's Rivers and Tides and Touch the Sound, Peter Mettler's Gambling, Gods, and LSD, and Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow's Thirst, to name a few) won him a lifetime achievement award from Prague's "Music on Film, Film on Music" Festival (MOFFOM) in 2007. The following year he received Italy's Demetrio Stratos Prize (previously given to Diamanda Galas and Meredith Monk) for his life's work in experimental music, and in 2010 was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Huddersfield in his home county of Yorkshire.

Fred currently teaches in the Music Department at Mills College in Oakland, California (renowned for over fifty years as the epicenter of the American experimental tradition), and in the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland."

-Fred Frith Website (http://www.fredfrith.com/biography.html)
2/16/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



SIDE A



1. Que Viva 3:40

2. Onwards And Upwards 3:59

3. The Way Things Fall (Back Apart) 2:35

4. Not My Shoes 2:14

5. The Washington Post 1:28

6. We're Still Free 4:16

7. Victoryville 2:43

SIDE B



1. Los Colitos 2:53

2. Life At The Top 1:44

3. Learn To Talk 3:40

4. Factory Song 5:13

5. It's Fine 4:22

6. Zach's Flag 3:10

Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings

Rock and Related
European Improvisation, Composition and Experimental Forms
Improvised Rock
Improvised Music
Song Based Music
Duo Recordings
Frith, Fred
Cora, Tom
Staff Picks & Recommended Items
New in Rock Forms

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ReR Vinyl.


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