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coverpic flag US - Washington - Full Moon 195 - 08/02/12

The Green Pajamas
Summer of Lust
Green Monkey Records

The Green Pajamas were founded in Seattle in 1984 by Jeff Kelly and Joe Ross. A bit later that same year the duo, plus drummer Karl Wilhelm, released their cassette-only debut album, Summer of Lust. Some 17 years after the hippies had their 'Summer of Love' thing, the Pajamas launched their own love thang. Broken love, and new psychedelia.

Summer of Lust (Green Monkey Cassette, 1985, USA; re-issued by Ubic, UK, on LP in 1989) is now re-released again, 18 years since its birth. As the first-born of the Green Pajamas. Which, again, was the 'love-child' of Jeff Kelly and Joe Ross. Well, it was rather due to broken love, since Jeff Kelly was newly dumped by his girlfriend when the GP started to jam. Song-writing cured the misery of a broken heart, songs formed (well, Kelly had composed songs since the age of 11), and the two-some plus their drummer friend Karl taped a jam session to a boom-box. The result inspired them to record more professionally (meaning TEC 4-track reel-to-reel), and the summer of recording started.

Kelly and Ross formed the neo-psychedelic GP by their mutual love of the Beatles, an interest in 60s psychedelia, as well as being inspired by the Los Angeles 'Paisley underground' community (counting The Three O'Clock, The Dream Syndicate, Green on Red, The Rain Parade, The Bangles) starting in 1983. GP brought paisley to Seattle, and poured their songs onto a tape for the world to enjoy. Officially released (by GP themselves) on July 14th (a rather quick production, since they started recording on June 2nd!), with a first run of 25 copies! Some months later they got a phone call by one Tom Dyer who was reviewing the tape for Option magazine. Dyer also happened to be the man running Green Monkey Records...

Green Monkey released the album in 1985, and the cult album was born for the second time. Later to be embraced by writing music lovers in magazines such as Bucketfull Of Brains. And the album is quite magnificent. From the opening "Katie Lied", to the closing "Green Pajamas", the 13 songs are rising and shining, shimmering, glimmering and glittering. Of course sounding very homemade, DIY, lo-fi styled, but indeed elegant and graceful. Mainly due to excellent song-writing, including both Kelly and Ross (four songs are credited both of them, one along with Karl Wilhelm). Take "Katie Lied", or "My Mad Kitty" (written by Kelly), or the very 60s pop-sike sounding "Another One Of Those Nights" (by Ross). "Mike Brown" (by Kelly, which wasn't included on the original tape; it was skipped in the last minute, when Jeff got cold feet, because Mike was a real guy dating Jeff's ex-girlfriend...) is a brilliant pop-song! "I Feel Like A Murder" (by Kelly) is a field-recording by Jeff and Joe, who brought a boom-box, Jeff's 12-string acoustic guitar, and a snare drum, plus 4 girls for support (featuring Julie on a waste basket), to a hillside in South Seattle. This song's giving me a slight Violent Femmes feel. "The Way I Feel About You" (by Ross) and "In This Castle" are also top-notch, from the upper shelves.

Summer of Lust was almost created as a duo. Jeff Kelly (guitars, vocals, drums, bass, organ, percussion, melodica, mandolin, clavichord) and Joe Ross (bass, vocals, guitar, percussion, zither, bagpipe chanter, snare drum, banjo) had Karl Wilhelm drumming on 2 tracks, while Joe Bauer drummed on 3 tracks. So, with a very few minus points, Summer of Lust is a timeless classic, and a recommendation for everyone with a heart for twisted, but warmly caressing guitar pop tunes.

PS! After Summer of Lust, the group issued a flurry of tapes before recording its 'real' full-length debut, Book of Hours (Green Monkey), in 1986.

Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Green Pajamas articles/reviews: Death By Misadventure, Green Pajama Country!, In A Glass Darkly, To The End Of The Sea.

© 2012 Luna Kafé