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Friday, January 26, 2007


When my family moved to Connecticut in 1972, I was enrolled in swimming lessons at the local YMCA and my mother befriended the mom of an older student, a cute young Eye-talian girl who swiftly became my first babysitter in my new environment. I adored her because she was cute, a lot of fun, and had a fucking huge map of Narnia on her basement wall, but she also introduced me to some very good music that you wouldn’t hear on AM radio back then. Without her I wouldn’t have heard of David Bowie until “Fame” came out, and she would sprinkle my musical education with much more obscure offerings such as the 1970 album by Coven entitled “Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls.” No, I’m not kidding.

Oooooh, kids! Scaaaary!!!

It’s a curious blend of your standard psychedelia of the period and early expressions of what would come to be referred to as “devil junk,” and my babysitter unwittingly set me on a lifelong path of enjoying such ludicrous crap by bringing the LP over one night and playing it while I scribbled away on a huge newsprint drawing pad.

The music is as innocuous and hippy-dippy as it gets while the charmingly folky, renaissance fair-reject vocals kind of pass in one ear and out the other…until you read the ultra-Satanic lyrics. The tracks include such classics as “White Witch of Rose Hill,” “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge,” “Pact With Lucifer,” “Dignitaries of Hell” and the thirteen-minute “Satanic Mass,” all of which are delivered with utmost seriousness, thereby rendering the whole shebang an unintentional laugh riot.

Blonde vocalist Jinx Dawson was a much more honest prototype to Stevie Nicks’s twirling, walking rummage sale “witchy” bullshit, dedicating herself to her craft to the point of getting buck nekkid and serving as a living altar during live gigs and rocking eyeliner so extreme that it would have made King Diamond go “Dag!!!” And as if that wasn’t enough, the band had a bassist/songwriter named Mike “Oz” Osbourne (no relation; this band is Californian) for fuck’s sake!

And why, you may ask, am I bringing this up? Well, the other day I went to Rockit Scientist, one of NYC’s finest CD shops, and among other purchases I found the Coven album, something I never expected to find on CD. I immediately snatched it up — along with the soundtrack to DOLEMITE, The Best of the Meteors, The History of the Bonzos (an exceptional compilation of the Bonzo Dog Doo Daa Band) and a collection of Doctor Who novelty records — and when I got home I smoked some righteous hookah pulls and listened to Coven for the first time in over three decades, and nearly laughed myself to death. Lyrics about witches whose touch causes instant death, “the Prince” transforming from goat to man and witchy chicks fucking his Goat of Mendes self were just the tonic for my malaise on that particular day, and it put a huge smile on my cannabis-addled face. RECOMMENDED, but only if you can appreciate a dead-serious album that I would have written as a parody of the genre. Oh, and the group later resurfaced to record the nauseating theme tune for the ultimate hypocritical hippy flick, BILLY JACK, so what’s not to like?

Jinx Dawson, giving her all in the name of devil junk.

1 comment:

John Bligh said...

Since she was kinda cute, I Googled "Jinx Dawson" just to see if she's still alive, and guess what? She's got a MySpace Page and she still looks pretty good for an old broad! Not only that, apparently, the album was pulled from the shelves after the Manson Murders. I guess people thought all the kids were going to turn into Devil worshiping, star-disembowling hippies. Yee Haww!!