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The Lower East Side Band Archives

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

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DAVID PEEL
HAROLD C. BLACK
BILLY JOE WHITE

Lower East Side
Pledge of Allegiance
Legalize Marijuana
Oink, Oink
I Want to Get High
I Want to Kill You
Girls, Girls, Girls
Hey, Mr. Draft Board
God

                  ORIGINAL ROLLING STONE REVIEW 1970

Picture this: the group down the street is rehearsing in a garage. They have a guitar, a beginner drum, and a tambourine. They do not have a sound system for voice, so the "singer" screams as loud as he can to get over the blasting guitar, which is turned up all the way on its huge amp (which mom bought for Christmas). Now, put it in stereo, have Peter Siegal produce it, and put it on Elektra. You have "The American Revolution" by David Peel and the East Side. The gist of the album is as follows: side one/doing what you like is good pot is very very good it should be legalized the pigs are bad and stupid and everyone should get high because it is good; side two/violence is bad girls are made to love and draft board is bad and nasty god is good and as this thing says "Why is there war, God?" If you ever have the chance, instead of folding the album cover out, try folding it in. Then fold it over again and again until it is about one inch square and a foot high. Leave the record in the jacket while you are folding. (RS 57)


MARK LEVITON

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The politically charged David Peel & the Lower East Side directly contrasted their 1968 acoustic live debut, Have a Marijuana (recorded in New York City's Washington Square Park), with 1970's American Revolution, an amplified studio outing. The real similarity between the two remains Peel's no-holds-barred, in-your-face attitude and staunchly liberal espousing. Once again joining in the festivities are Peel (guitar/vocals), Billy Joe White (guitar/vocals), and Harold C. Black (tambourine/vocals), as well as new instrumentally intensive recruits Tony Bartoli (drums), Herb Bushler (bass), David Horowitz (organ), and Richard Grando (soprano sax). Although Peel's earlier effort hinted at the band's proto-punk and garage rock leanings, the aggressive electric bashing that accompanies "Lower East Side," "Hey, Mr. Draft Board," and "Girls, Girls, Girls" allows them to bring that restless spirit to complete fruition. While Peel's work has been considered as little more than a hippie novelty, the sheer range of his topical lyrics is often a direct reflection of the then-current anti-establishment movement. His music deals candidly with their attitudes regarding Vietnam ("I Want to Kill You"), the repression of local law enforcement ("Oink, Oink, Oink"), hypocritical drug laws ("Legalize Marijuana"), sex ("Girls, Girls, Girls"), and even more contemplative esoteric concepts ("God"). Peel also takes on other sacred cows; "Pledge of Allegiance" is a parody that not only reaffirms his pro-pot perspective, but could likewise be interpreted as expressing anti-American sentiments. But that would be missing the point entirely, as Peel's anger and sarcasm are both well-founded and rooted in his love for the freedoms that the United States has stood for. When Rhino Handmade issued American Revolution on CD as part of And the Rest Is History: The Elektra Recordings in 2000, the first pressings included a previously unreleased version of this album derived from a mislabeled "master tape." The problem was quickly corrected, yielding a very collectible and highly sought-after CD anomaly. ~ Lindsay Planer, All Music Guide

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Copyright 2010 Lower East Side Archives, NYC