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Various - Let Them Eat Jellybeans! (Cover Artwork)

Various

Various: Let Them Eat Jellybeans!Let Them Eat Jellybeans! (1981)
Alternative Tentacles Records

Reviewer Rating: 5


Contributed by: JohnGentileJohnGentile
(others by this writer | submit your own)

In this age of mass, instant communication, music genres know no boundaries. With the click of a mouse, you can hear Japanese reggae in Nebraska. With the smack of the enter button, you can download native Brazilian odes in Finland. With the mere use of your thumbs you can even download Pakistani hy.
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In this age of mass, instant communication, music genres know no boundaries. With the click of a mouse, you can hear Japanese reggae in Nebraska. With the smack of the enter button, you can download native Brazilian odes in Finland. With the mere use of your thumbs you can even download Pakistani hymns to your cell phone and convert them to a ringtone. But alas, this was not always the case. Why, way back in 1981 most of Europe didn't know that much about hardcore punk, and neither did most of America either. Therefore, Alternative Tentacles released Let Them Eat Jellybeans! in order to educate the masses in what hardcore was all about. More than a quarter century later, this lesson plan is still one of the most rocking classes you'll ever hear.

The record divides its two sides into a more conventional punk style and a more avant garde side. Side A begins Flipper, the child of Black Sabbath and the Stooges, and proceeds to speed up for eight more songs. Many hardcore legends are represented on this side including Bad Brains, Circle Jerks, DOA, Dead Kennedys, Black Flag etc. etc. etc. While all these songs are some of the fiercest hardcore ever made, a few cuts stand above the rest if only for their rareness. The Dead Kennedys' "Nazi Punks" is a version not found on either the 7" version or the In God We Trust, Inc. EP. While the difference between the three versions isn't earth shattering, the Jellybeans version seems a little rawer and Jello really belts out his hatred for bigots. The real treat is Black Flag's "Police Story." Recorded during the Dez Cadena era, this version of the song is unavailable anywhere else and just might crack your skull in two.

Side B is a little more daring in its musical selection. While not all the songs tear up the place like the more well-known hardcore classic cuts, they function as documentation that even when hardcore was beginning to reach its apex, there were no rules. Bands on this side play acoustic instruments. Twangy sounds and unusual rhythms abound. And yes, there are a heck of a lot more than three chords on this side. The Half Japanese tune shows that humor, unusual songs, and hardcore can be one big happy family, while the Geza X cut shows that brutal music can come in many forms.

Unfortunately, this record isn't available on CD. While there are various explanations given as to why Alternative Tentacles won't release it (Greg Ginn won't agree to licensing his song or the Feederz' lead singer ran off with Jello's wife), it all comes down to the fact that as a CD this probably won't ever see the light of day. Those that aren't Black Flag or DK extremists can find all the other tracks easily in other sources. But those of you wondering just how scratchy Dez's voice is on "Police Story" or just how high-pitched Jello can get may find yourself plodding through eBay looking for a vinyl copy?

Nevertheless, this album serves as an excellent document of just how open-ended punk was. It shows the foundations for modern punk and even betrays the influences of some pop musicians. Whether or not you're willing to make the investment in your musical education is up to you. It is a pretty pricey textbook. But then again, what would you pay to have Jello Biafra as your professor?

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (February 19, 2007)

dude, me and some bros, reefer, booze, our skateboards and this blasting thru the cass deck. i think it was 86'. we couldnt figure out the x ray song .........anyways, great mems.

Anonymous (February 16, 2007)

I actually went on Ebay and found a few floating around. the one that stands out the most is this one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Let-Them-Eat-Jellybeans-LP-Red-Vinyl- MINT-UNPLAYED-KBD_W0QQitemZ110093097655QQihZ001QQcategoryZ306QQss PageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

apparently the record is reprinted on "jelly bean" vinyl and is even more rare than the original pressing. it boasts other features but im too lazy to go into detail. The reason i'm stupid enough to post this is that the price is $40 and right now im low on $$$, but i figure i'd be a good sumeritan and try to bring it to everybody's attention.

lushj (February 16, 2007)

Shucks, thanks! We've got 2 in the can waiting to be put up on the web (The (International) Noise Conspiracy and Akimbo "Harshing Your Mellow") & a bunch more being assembled.

(my 12/19/2006 batcast covers "Jellybeans" and a lot more)

Batcast page:
http://www.alternativetentacles.com/batcast.php?

lushj (February 16, 2007)

Shucks, thanks! We've got 2 in the can waiting to be put up on the web (The (International) Noise Conspiracy and Akimbo "Harshing Your Mellow") & a bunch more being assembled.

Batcast page:
http://www.alternativetentacles.com/batcast.php?

JohnGentile (February 16, 2007)

Is that Jesse Lucious the At Mail male below me?

If so, I think your podcasts are the greatest.

Thanks for the time and effort!

lushj (February 16, 2007)

This was the first punk compilation I ever heard (and the 3rd punk record). I went out and found records by all of the bands on side one- Subhumans (Canada), DOA, Black Flag, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, Circle Jerks, Feederz, Really Red, & Flipper. Some of them are still some of my most favorite punk bands ever.

I even like some of the b-side songs- Christian Lunch "Joke's On You" Geza X "Isotope Soap", & The Offs are my favorites on that side.

Here's why the record's not being re-released. Alternative Tentacles doesn't want to release a partial version of the compilation. Most or all of the tracks were just licensed for 5 years, so the songs reverted to the bands. Unless something's changed in the past few years, Black Flag isn't interested in letting AT use the song again. Jello & Frank Discussion/Feederz have a long-standing personal conflict that prevents the Feederz song from being used. Therefore, the compilation will never be complete and never be officially reissued.

You can find it used, but it's rare. There was a bootleg Italian pressing made in the mid-80s in addition to the original AT pressing(s), so there's more than just the official pressing floating around out there. I've seen it for $14 in used stores, but it's usually a lot more.

EyesLikeBombs (February 16, 2007)

Does anyone else think it's funny when reviewers pretend as if file sharing doesn't even exist?

feeeding5000 (February 16, 2007)

Great review. Little to nothing about the music, but good. Frank Discussion is so much cooler than Jello.

Anonymous (February 16, 2007)

I found this album in a half price books for $2. It was fucking awesome. I also found an Eating Lamp Lp that day.

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