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No More Slavery

The Fugs

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Album Review

The 1985 release No More Slavery was the first studio recording by the Fugs in almost two decades. Founders Tuli Kupferberg and Ed Sanders are backed by an individually selected aggregate consisting of Steve Taylor on guitar and backing vocals, Scott Petito on bass, and Coby Batty on percussion and backing vocals. The premise behind the Fugs — to promote the union of verbal and musical images with an extreme sensitivity to nothing but pleasure — remains eternal. As does their pursuit of truth — through a steady diet of "high art," Dadaism, and satire set to folk and rock music. There are a few notable differences in the methods that the Fugs utilized in making records in the '80s vs. the '60s. For example, instead of sounding like they are recorded in someone's basement — although that is an admittedly endearing quality of those early Fugs recordings — No More Slavery has a richer sonic depth and timbre. While this is certainly a byproduct of technological advancements, the net results are that Kupferberg and Sanders verbiage is given an infinitely more generous sonic pallet from which to conceive. Although the use of drum machines somewhat date tracks such as "Cold War" and "Technology Is Going to Set Us Free" — a demo from the musical drama Star Peace — no amount of ornate machinery can obscure Fugs motifs of blending rock music with poetry, philosophy and satire. One such notable thematic pattern exists in the seven-part "Dreams of Sexual Perfection." Sanders effortlessly incorporates the poetic ideology of Emily Dickinson, Archilochus, as well as William Blake — whose "How Sweet I Roamed from Field to Field" was adapted by Sanders on the Fugs First Album in 1965. As the title track suggests, No More Slavery is a collection of musings which amply display the Fugs verve for life and the liberties that make it worth living.

Biography

Formed: 1964 in New York, NY [Greenwich Village]

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Arguably the first underground rock group of all time, the Fugs formed at the Peace Eye bookstore in New York's East Village in late 1964. The nucleus of the band throughout its many personnel changes was Peace Eye owner Ed Sanders and fellow poet Tuli Kupferberg. Sanders and Kupferberg had strong ties to the beat literary scene, but charged, in the manner of their friend Allen Ginsberg, full steam ahead into the maelstrom of '60s political involvement and psychedelia. Surrounded by an assortment...
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No More Slavery, The Fugs
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