The Raybeats - The Lost Phillip Glass Sessions

The Raybeats - The Lost Phillip Glass Sessions

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The Lost Raybeats. The Raybeats went in to Green St. Recording on June 4, 1982 with Philip Glass, Michael Riesman, and Kurt Munkacsi without really knowing what to expect. We wouldn't know what we had until thirty years later. By 1982 Philip Glass was well on his way to reaching an international audience. At that time, New York City was the kind of place where anything could happen, and it did. Painting, music, dance, filmmaking, and theater were all blending in to one another in exciting and unprecedented ways. Our neighborhood, that didn't go any further north than Houston Street, was now reaching unimaginable places. Graffiti was in the galleries, Kraftwerk was in Hip-Hop, and what was once thought of as classical art music was now being played in rock and roll clubs. It was in this wildly creative atmosphere that it made perfect sense that Philip Glass would meet up with the Raybeats and rework "Jack The Ripper" by Link Wray. "Pack Of Camels" was the Raybeats song that would get the fullest Philip Glass treatment. There's nothing minimal about it. It was the first Raybeats song to have vocals and it's a wild ride through downtown New York City by way of "Einstein On The Beach." "Black Beach" was intended to have an element from the Cyclone, the legendary roller coaster ride from a long lost Coney Island. Don had the idea that we should record the sound of the Cyclone and the screams of the riders and use them as a drum break. Why not? The only problem was that our own screams were the loudest thing on the tape. We recorded "Black Beach" on June 5, the second day of recording. Gene Holder, from the dB's, ended up playing bass.

The Raybeats handle the A sections and Philip arranged the keyboards for the B sections. The ride out is a hypnotic swirl of groove and interlocking keyboard figures played by long time Philp Glass Ensemble member Michael Riesman. "A Sad Little Caper" started with a riff from Danny Amis. Pat plays the melody and Philip arranged the song with a call and response figure on the keyboard. The song would end up on the Raybeats second LP, It's Only A Movie, in a completely different form. The name of the song came from an off handed comment that guitar great Bob Quine made about the Raybeats, "a sad little band…." Quine was a friend and lasting influence. The last song we recorded was "Jack The Ripper." The Raybeats' was pretty much in place by the time Philip got his hands on it. It's one of the great guitar instrumentals, originally recorded by Link Wray of "Rumble" fame. There wasn't much to add to this one, it was already filled up with sheets of Jody Harris guitar feedback and a driving beat, but Philip gives it a pulse that drives the song in to new territory.