26.8.13

SNATCH : Compilation (Pandemonium LP, 1983).

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Snatch was never a "band" as such - & certainly not a punk band, though it had many contemporaries & supporters who were active in that circle - but more likely a collaborative avant garde pact between ex-pat American founder-duo Judy Nylon & Patti Palladin, along with whoever else was on hand during it's sporadic existence.

Moving to London in the early '70s with the vague intention of breaking into the city's Glam-saturated music scene, Judy & Patti originally worked together under the name Cha-Cha before eventually settling on the sexually ambiguous (& far more disturbing) Snatch. Judy, of course, had already made something of a name for herself via her creative friendships with John Cale (that's her erotically-charged vocal on "The Man Who Couldn't Afford to Orgy") & Brian Eno. Legendarily, she purchased the the album of 16th century harp music that ignited the "Ambient" touch-paper in the convalescing Eno's brain, but also appeared in his little-seen "China, My China" promo & bagged herself a titular name-check on "Back in Judy's Jungle".

The embryonic Snatch recorded a series of demos at Patti's Maida Vale flat in 1976, & eventually released a couple of them - "Stanley"/"I.R.T." - in early 1977 after striking a deal with the Bomp & Lightning labels. "Worth gettin''" according to Sniffin' Glue, & reputedly featuring Captain Sensible on guitar, their debut single made little commercial headway, though Eno was sufficiently captivated to suggest they contribute to "R.A.F.", a phenomenal one-off collusion that would appear on the b-side of his "King's Lead Hat" 45, & which prefigured the inventive production techniques he'd explore & refine during his imminent tenure with David Byrne & Talking Heads.

A second Snatch single, "All I Want"/"When I'm Bored", followed in 1978 (on Lightning again). Recorded with various members of The Heartbreakers & Roogaltor, this wildly infectious paradigm of punk-charged snot-rock actually made the lower end of charts in the U.K. (#54 specifically). Unfortunately, it's Cale-produced follow-up - the Shopping For Clothes e.p. on the trés cool Fetish label - took more than a year to emerge, by which time all commercial momentum had been lost. Some small consolation: it had the distinction of being included in Stephen Stapleton's mythic "N.W.W. list". Their working relationship having irredeemably stalled, Judy & Patti parted company at this point, though they'd both release fine records of their own in the years following the split - Patti forged partnerships with both Johnny Thunders & The Flying Lizards, while Judy made her career-best (so far) Pal Judy album with the On-U Sound crew in 1982 &, more recently, has worked extensively with Swiss art collective Aether9 & French producers Bo'Tox. There's an excellent career-spanning interview with her here.

Released (briefly) in 1983, Pandemonium's Snatch compilation collates most of the singles alongside a handful of those germinal TEAC home demos. Ridiculously - considering how many people are gagging to hear it nowadays - it's been unavailable since the late '80s, which is when I would've first heard it, dubbed onto one side of a C90 that was passed onto me by a friend-of-a-friend. I have no idea what was on the other side of that tape but, significantly, I've never forgotten these Snatch songs...

● Witch 1

5 comments:

  1. If I remember rightly, the All I Want single had one of most expensive covers at that time (1978) and probably cost more to produce than sold (similar to Blue Monday). I have the Kings Lead Hat single with RAF b side and yes it is an excellent piece of work.

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  2. That's right, a very tasteful foil-embossed job, I believe? Incidentally, both sides of that 7" are noticeably different to the versions included on the compilation - alternate takes perhaps? - but it's the comp I'm sharing, sooo...

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  3. Splash15430.8.13

    Soo.... do you have copy of the All I Want single? If not, and I do have it, are we talking completism required? You know the email address if so.

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  4. There are other anomalies too: the single version of "I.R.T." is a different take to the one on the comp, plus the brilliant "Red Army" (from Shopping For Clothes) has been replaced by their earlier (similarly titled) Eno collaboration even though they're very different tracks - nightmare!

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  5. Wonderful! Thanks for sharing. I missed out the last time that Snatch appeared on a now-deceased music blog. Best wishes for the new year!

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