TELEVISION – ” Double Exposure ” Recorded March 1975 New York

Posted: April 28, 2021 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
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“I didn’t care for the sound he got on tape or the performance much either,” said Tom Verlaine, dismissing Brian Eno’s attempt to record the quintessential New York loft act’s first LP. Five tracks were recorded at Good Vibrations studio before Verlaine pulled the plug on a putative Island album and his schoolmate, bassist and musical co-conspirator Richard Hell. “Double Exposure” shows why; Verlaine, second guitarist Richard Lloyd and drummer Billy Ficca are moving towards the chiselled arches of 1977’s Marquee Moon, while Hell plunks agriculturally behind them. Told before the session that none of his songs (“Blank Generation” included) would be recorded, Hell knew the end was nigh when Verlaine told him to stop jumping around on stage. (“He didn’t want people to be distracted,” Hell later recalled.)

In late 1973 the trio formed, calling themselves Television and soon recruiting Richard Lloyd as a second guitarist. They persuaded CBGB’s owner Hilly Kristal to give the band a regular gig at his club which had just opened on the Bowery in New York. Television was the first rock group to perform at the club, which was to become, along with Max’s Kansas City, the center of the burgeoning punk scene. The members of Television reportedly constructed the first stage at CBGB’s, where they quickly established a significant cult following.

“Double Exposure’s” never-to-be-released title track and a live version of the 13th Floor Elevators’ “Fire Engine” show the jazzbo-garage vision that Television abandoned along with Hell; early versions of “Venus” and “Prove It” signpost their future as Quicksilver Messenger Service but with better hair.

This is two demo recording sessions from Television years 1974 & 1975. The bands highly acclaimed debut album ‘Marquee Moon’ was released in 1977 (Elektra Records) and was very successful in Europe however failed to enter the Billboard 200 in the USA. Both sessions were included on the bootleg ‘Double Exposure’ which surfaced in Italy (No Label No. DE-92-SC), and was first released in 1992. The original bootleg included three live tracks from CBGB’s in 1975, that are missing from this version.

The Television 1974 demos were recorded at Good Vibrations Studios in NYC with Richard Hell on bass, and produced by Brian Eno and Richard Williams of Island Records.
The August 1975 demos were recorded with Fred Smith on bass and were part of the session for Terry Ork of Ork Records which produced Television’s first single “Little Johnny Jewel” (Ork, 1975, included on expanded re-issue of Marquee Moon).

It is fascinating listening to the early versions of these songs that eventually appeared on ‘Marquee Moon’. Each session and versions are distinctly different the second having a ‘harder edge’ to them and closer to the final released editions.

Recorded March 1975, New York

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