The Fugs First Album is the debut album of The Fugs, released in 1964 and re-released in 1965. This album marked the birth of Alternative Rock as they were the first rock band who didn't operate in the mainstream but were more or less forced to work as an underground music act because of their subject matter.
The Fugs were a bunch of thirtysomething beat poets who decided to start their own band. In a sense they could be categorized as Folk Music, because they covered poems by Algernon Charles Swinburne and William Blake and wrote anti-war protest songs. However, their songs were far more anti-authoritarian and politically direct than most folk protest singers of the time. Similarly they also dared to sing openly about sex and drugs and used vulgar language and Cluster F-Bomb language. As a result they recorded their debut album, The Village Fugs - Ballads and Songs of Contemporary Protest,Points of View and General Dissatisfaction in 1964 in very low-budget circumstances. The entire album was done in mono and the producer forced them to make several edits. Luckily, after a nation wide tour, they had gained enough of a cult following that a higher quality label was willing to sign them and give them total creative freedom. Under the shortened title of The Fugs First Album the album got a more nation wide re-release in 1965.
- "Slum Goddess"" (1:58)
- "Ah, Sunflower, Weary Of Time" (2:15)
- "Supergirl" (2:18)
- "Swinburne Stomp" (2:50)
- "I Couldn't Get High" (2:06)
- "How Sweet I Roamed" (2:11)
- "Carpe Diem" (5:07)
- "My Baby Done Left Me" (2:18)
- "Boobs A Lot" (2:12)
- "Nothing" (4:18)
The 1993 CD version adds 10 bonus tracks.
- Ed Sanders: vocals
- Tuli Kupferberg: vocals, percussion
- Ken Weaver: vocals, conga, drums
- Steve Weber: vocals, guitar
- Peter Stampfel: vocals, fiddle, harmonica
- John Anderson: vocals, bass guitar
- Vinny Leary: vocals, bass guitar
Do you like tropes a lot?
- A Cappella: "My Baby Done Left Me" is sung and instruments only fall in halfway.
- Alliterative Title: "The Fugs First Album" and "Swinburne Stomp".
- Alternative Rock: This album basically invented the genre. The songs were all about taboo subjects, so this forced the band to operate outside the mainstream, in the "underground" so to speak.
- Belief Makes You Stupid: "Nothing"Church and Times Square, all a lot of nothing
- Break-Up Song: "My Baby Done Left Me"My baby done left meMy baby done went to Coonskin Creek with somebody else
- Bowdlerize: The first album release has several potential offensive lines edited out, such as the line "fuck like an angel" in "Supergirl" which was changed to "mmmm like an angel". The word "shit" in "My Baby Done Left Me" was edited out, yet the line "I'd give up heifer fucking" wasn't noticed and kept on record.
- Buxom Is Better: "Boobs A Lot"Boobs a lot, boobs a lot.(You gotta like boobs a lot.)They're big and roundThey're all around.
- Careful with That Axe: "Swinburne Stomp" has some loud shrieking.
- Counting to Three: "Swinburne Stomp" is counted off at the start.
- Covers Always Lie: When you see the title "Carpe Diem" you expect the song to be a Pep-Talk Song, since this is the Latin motto for "Seize The Day". But the song has a rather depressing underline: "death is coming in". So perhaps the title "Mementi Mori" ("Remember you'll die") would have been a better description.
- Cover Version: "Ah, Sunflower Weary Of Time" is a William Blake poem and "How Sweet I Roamed From Field To Field" a Algernon Swinburne, both set to music.
- "Days of the Week" Song: "Nothing"Monday, nothingTuesday, nothingWednesday and Thursday nothingFriday, for a change a little more nothingSaturday once more nothingSunday nothing
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: "Nothing" has lines in Spanish and even Yiddish (in fact, it takes its melody from the Yiddish folk song "Bulbe"):Montik gornisht,Dinstik GornishtMidwoch un Donnerstik gornishtFreitik, far a noveneh gornisht pikvelehShabbes nach a mol gornisht
- Gratuitous Latin: "Carpe Diem", which means "seize the day" in Latin.
- Gratuitous Spanish: "Nothing"Lunes nadaMartes nadaMiercoles y Jueves nadaViernes, por cambia un poco mas nadaSabado otra vez nada
- Intercourse with You:
I want a girl that can fuck like an angel(...) I want a girl that can love like a monkey
- "Slum Goddess"Slum goddess gonna make her my bride
First time that we balled it nearly drove me insane
Next time that we balled it ripped me out of my brain
Third time that we balled I nearly fainted dead
I woke up she was on her knees stompin' on my head
Slum goddess from the Lower East Side
Slum goddess I'm gonna make her my bride
Fucking nothingSucking nothingFlesh and sex nothing
I'd give up heifer fucking
- "My Baby Done Left Me"
- "Slum Goddess"
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Carpe Diem" sounds like a Pep-Talk Song and it is, but it is a rather nihilistic one as it tells the listeners to "seize the day" as death can come anytime.
- Mundane Made Awesome: "Ah Sunflower, Weary Of Time", a song about a sunflower. "Boobs A Lot", a song about breasts and "Nothing" about literally nothing.
- Named After Somebody Famous: "Swinburne Stomp" is named after poet Algernon Charles Swinburne.
- Non-Appearing Title: The album title doesn't appear in the lyrics.
- Ode to Intoxication: "I Couldn't Get High"I got me a cube of LSDSat down to wait for it to hit meI waited, meditated, but couldn't get stonedI had to give up and head for home...cause I couldn't get high, Oh, no!Don't know why, oh, no!
- One-Woman Song: "Slum Goddess", "Supergirl".
- One-Word Title: "Nothing".
- Overly Long Title: The original title of the album was "The Village Fugs Sing Ballads of Contemporary Protest, Point of Views, and General Dissatisfaction" and released on Folkways Records. It was later re-released in 1966 under another label, ESP-Disk, who gave it its current and shorter name.
- Precision F-Strike: This was the first rock album to feature the word "fuck".
- Record Producer: Ed Sanders and Harry Smith.
- Self-Titled Album: The album is titled after the band.
- "Ah Sunflower Weary Of Time" is based on a poem by William Blake, while "Swinburne Stomp" owes its lyrics to a poem by Algernon Charles Swinburne.
- "Nothing" declares "The Village Voice", "The New Yorker", "Sing Out", "Folkways", Harry Smith, Allen Ginsberg, "Audy and Foudy", Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, Averell Harriman, John Stuart Mill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Mikhail Bakunin, Leon Kropotkin, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Stalin as "nothing".
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: "Carpe Diem"Sing lover singDeath is a comin' inSing lover singDeath is a comin' inYou can't outwalk the angel of deathSing cuckoo singYou can't outtalk the angel of deathSing cuckoo singIt's an old clich'?? that it's an old clich'??But you better make your love todayDeath is a comin' in
- Straw Nihilist: "Nothing", a song that declares everything to be nothing.
- Time Marches On: "Nothing"1965 a whole lot of nothing1966 nothing