Listen – The Hangmen – Faces – MP3
The end of another week is upon us, and I thought I would dip into the archive and pull out a little bit of the fuzzy, garagey, good stuff, i.e. a cut by Washington, DC-area killers the Hangmen.
I first heard the Hangmen back in the 80s, during my garage/mod days when I was lucky enough to score a copy of their Monument LP at a dying record store in Red Bank, NJ. It was a banner day (for me, not the record store) because after some concentrated digging I came up with a handful of excellent, fairly rare (some rarer than others) garage, pop and psychedelic LPs, and when I got up to the cash register, discovered much to my delight that everything in the store – by virtue of its oncoming dissolution – was selling at half the sticker price.
Barely able to conceal my glee, I paid the now greatly reduced price and took my records home so that I might drop the needle and wallow in the goodness.
Not long after that I was rapping with some of my equally fizzed out compadres, mentioning that I had found a copy of the Hangmen LP, and was digging the song ‘What a Girl Can’t Do’. Much to my dismay I was informed in short order that the version on the LP was what – years later – my funk and soul brethren would refer to as ‘weaksauce’, and that if I were in search of the real thing, I ought to find myself a copy of the 45 which contained a much cooler version of said song.
Well my friends, I never did score that particular 45, but last summer, while plowing through a bunch of one-dollar 45s at a local record show, I was lucky enough to find another of the group’s singles, that being today’s selection ‘Faces’.
Now, I won’t go into the Hangmen’s long and convoluted history here, but I will send you over to the excellent and comprehensive Garage Hangover entry on the group, featuring a look at their early incarnation as the Reekers, the group that recorded the superior version of ‘What a Girl Can’t Do’ that was eventually issued on 45 under the Hangmen name.
What I will do is tell you that ‘Faces’ is a killer in its own right, with some fuzz, some jangle and lots of that heart, delicious garage punk flavor. The vocals are snotty, in that post-Dylan, post-Jagger, white-boy bluesman bouillabaisse that you all know and love so well, and the tempo is right for you to slip on your Cuban heels, shake your Prince Valiant cut and spill your beer (not necessarily in that order).
It is indeed a groover, and just the kind of record you might want to get your weekend started.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back on Monday.