‘Screamadelica’ by Primal Scream is a modern classic. From the cover art on the outside to the last faded twinkling bit of percussion on the digitized grooves of ‘Shine Like Stars’ it’s as landmark an album to my generation as ‘Revolver’ was to my dad’s. Possibly. It’s also one of a number of albums where the title track is missing. Led Zepppelin‘s ‘Houses Of the Holy’ wasn’t on the album of the same name. You can find that track on ‘Physical Graffiti’. The Doors‘ ‘Waiting For The Sun’ is on 1970’s ‘Morrison Hotel’, released 2 years after the album of the same name. And Primal Scream‘s ‘Screamadelica‘ isn’t on the ‘Screamadelica’ album. But it should’ve been. What was already a great album would have become a really great album.
Dixi Narco ep cover
‘Screamadelica’ (the track) is a 10 minute potted history of everything Primal Scream were about in 1992. It was released on the ‘Dixie Narco’ ep to promote the album. The lead track ‘Movin’ On Up’ took all the plaudits (and the airplay), but if you kept your record spinning past the pseudo-druggy ‘Stone My Soul’ and the barely-recognisable, electric piano ‘n’ pedal steel cover of Dennis Wilson‘s ‘Carry Me Home’ *, you’d’ve found ‘Screamadelica’. Produced by Andrew Weatherall and Hugo Nicolson, they add all the necessary bleeps, squelches and tyre screeches to keep it contemporary, although it starts off like some Blaxploitation movie soundtrack. The brass refrains. Giddy black female vocalists. Thumping George Clinton-esque rhythm section. Some Bobby Gillespie ‘Wooos’. A flute solo straight off of ‘What’s Going On’. The phased guitar-as-percussion track. How very John Squire. Talent borrows, genius steals they say, and Primal Scream certainly nicked from all the right reference points. I think this is one of Primal Scream’s very best tracks, and why it was never include on the album of the same name I’ll never know.
*Footnote. ‘Carry Me Home’ was written as an anti-Vietnam protest song and was considered, but not included on the Beach Boys 1973 ‘Holland’ album. Travesty! My copy comes from the ‘Bamboo’ bootleg, which as many Wilson watchers now know should really be spelt ‘Bambu’. You can download the track here.
* Footnote 2. ‘Dixie-Narco ‘sounds great. ‘Dixie’, the south of America, where the blues, jazz and all that great music comes from. ‘Narco‘. Short for, oooooh, ‘narcotics’. Sounds a bit dangerous. A bit rock’n’ roll. A bit Primal Scream. Not many people know this, but Dixie-Narco is the name of a company who make soft drink vending machines. Stick that in yer Marshall stack and smoke it.