Tuesday, September 20, 2011

You Can't Play That On The BBC part 3: The Troggs: "I Can't Control Myself"

"AAAwwwwOOOOOOOHHHHHHH NNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" screams Reg Presley, as if he is doing something he likes maybe a little bit too much and also maybe has done something wrong.

But it's not his fault!

This man is on fire, after all, and possesses (or is possessed by, more accurately) something way beyond anything he's experienced before. Unlike "Wild Thing" where he bosses the girl around, here she is an idol, a figure with naked hips and long hair and a way of breaking him down until he's helpless, swamped by a fervor so big it could "move a nation" (whatever thatmeans). In such a state he of course is going to scream and the bubblegum "ba bas" are like so much background noise to his passion. He is swamped by something he can't control (and this loss of control is fun, of course, as long as she's faithful) and if only she knew how it felt, her hair would curl. Well! He may be ridiculous to others but what the hell does he (or should he) care?

I can't say this is the beginnings of ye olde punk rock*, but I can't say this band (beloved of Lester Bangs, mais oui) isn't getting back to the basics even as the baroque and (shh-it's just starting now) psychedelic modes are beginning to take hold of the more famous bands. The Troggs knew where their bread could be buttered, so to speak, and it wasn't in anything that would take long to write or record. Mutant energies were working elsewhere; here the thudding bass and hapless howls are enough to make sure that rock 'n' roll stayed just as degenerate and disrespectable as it should be. His scream of pure pleasure at the end is miles away from anything normal radio would play. I wonder if it will return?

Next: more uncontrollable behavior, believe it or not.

*Chrissie Hynde dedicated this to Sid Vicious at the Pretenders' first gig; before the concert she found out he had died.

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