Named after the badass author who swaggered off this mortal coil this past March, Harry Crews was a one-off noise rock supergroup (dubiously dubbed "the Blind Faith of hardcore" by one Brit rock rag), featuring Lydia Lunch, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and a female wrestler named Sadie Mae on drums. I remember reading about them as they toured Europe at the tail end of the 80's. When their album -- a live record culled from said tour called Naked in Garden Hills -- came out in 1989, I was writing for a tiny independent music rag called The New York Review of Records, and I immediately claimed it. After quite digging Sonic Youth's mid-to-late 80's material (Bad Moon Rising through Daydream Nation) and having had my imagination aptly scarred by a long-neglected copy of No New York (Eno's fabled No Wave compilation featuring Lydia's nascent Teenage Jesus) that I'd lifted from my college radio station's undeserving library, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I was quite looking forward to hearing it.
If truth be told, I wasn't all that blown away. I haven't listened to the record in eons (and have never owned it on compact disc), but my first impressions back in 1989 were that Harry Crews sounded better on paper than in practice, where they came across more as high-concept caterwaul. I still have the vinyl somewhere, but suffice to say, it's not one of the platters I regularly pine to spin again.
Anyway, blah blah blah...why am I talking about this now? Well, I stumbled across the photo below on Tumblr this afternoon (click on it to enlarge), typically unencumbered with any descriptive detail, date or credit. Two things struck me about this photograph:
1. That slim young lady in the cap in the foreground is none other than Pat Place, former guitarist for Lydia's fellow No Wave peers, The Contortions and -- later -- a founding member of the Bush Tetras. If I'm to guess, she was initially a member of Harry Crews, but departed prior to the Euro tour that resulted in the album, as she's nowhere to be found on the credits. Maybe she didn't dig it? What's the story?
2. Where was this photograph snapped? They look to be standing on a basketball court or disused baseball diamond in a park. That looks like it could be a prototypical project behind the fence. I'm guessing somewhere on the Lower East Side. Any ideas? Speak up. Bob Egan, I know you can figure it out.
In the interest of fairness, I searched out Harry Crews on YouTube, and sure enough, there are a few tracks from Naked in Garden Hills to be found. Check them out....