Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Mulligrubs - Lil Miss Arthur

The Mulligrubs Lil Miss Arthur b/w Cadillac Blues 7" (Mullitone, 1995)

What a better way to swing in the new year than with a trio of white Silicon Valley teens trying to sound like a bunch of old Black men from Memphis, especially when they pull it off or at least create something that is highly listenable and very entertaining?

The Mulligrubs remain a mystery to me. This record came unsolicited to a volunteer run record store that I helped run in the 90s. It got put in a pile to price. I priced it and then I thought, well, it has a hand screened sleeve, maybe I ought to listen to it. Put it on & took it home. I was doing Moo-La-La Records at the time and was always looking to trade records so I wrote them once, thrice, five times and got no answer. Every once in a while I'd come across someone who had the Mulligrubs one and only single and we'd hype it to each other.

Both songs fit in with the 90s garage revival; however the Mulligrubs come at it from an angle honed by the Gibson Bros., 68 Comeback, and the Oblivions. A bit more good-timey than the O's and not as sleazy is 68C, the Mulligrubs try to conjure up the same greasy R&B sound that fuels both. Lil Miss Arthur is simple but really intoxicating. And though the ill-advised Negro jivin' at the top of Cadillac Blues, as well as the subject of the song, leave me shaking my head in a "What were they thinking" moment, the song is great. Funky, dirty and as dancable as any punk soul moderne, and these guys don't look a day over 17!

The sleeve says 500 of these were pressed in San Jose, California.

Happy New Year! - Scott S.

Yeah! This group was truly awesome! Being from the South Bay I saw them live a bunch of times. The same 3 guys were originally a mod outfit called The Fops. They changed their name to the Mulligrubs when they started getting really into old Blues. I can tell you for a fact that for most of their existence these guys knew nothing about any low-fi garage scene going on up San Francisco or elsewhere in the country for that matter. They got this sound from worshiping/mimicking their old scratchy blues 45s. They were 3 young clean cut mod teens who rode scooters and also happened to be Mormoms!

I actually have a reel that contains another recording session of theirs. The band never liked the way it came out so nothing ever became of it. I remember them complaining that there was too much reverb on everything. I have not even listened to it since the day it was recorded.
Finally after a decade, I pulled out our dusty box of live show casettes, turned 'em into mp3's and stuck 'em on J. "Arthur" Rusten's site.


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