Poured from a deep vein of raw garage-rock sewage with a John Lee Hooker chaser, this Detroit trio (which, like New York’s kindred A-Bones, had a woman beating its skins) made no pretense of instrumental skill or audio fidelity on its records. (The group did, however, go in for annotation. The first album’s insert offers such inspiring song explanations as this, by way of “Boogie Chillun”: “This was one of the first songs we ever learned, because it only has three notes. When we first started, any songs with more than nine notes in it was usually too complicated for us.”) Intuitive geniuses plugged in but still making their way in the dark, guided only by pure and knowledgeable rock’n’roll spirit, the unabashed Gories — Mick (vocals, lead guitar), Dan Kroha (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Peggy O’Neill (drums) — were both (and equally) horrible and great, their elemental wretchedness pure and unvarnished. Those who expect anything approaching professionalism should stay away, but if the words “bad” and “junk” are words of praise in your vocabulary, then dig right into the Gories. No refunds allowed.
House Rockin’ is a ground-zero learning experience (for the band, that is) with tinny, gruelly, echoey sound, one-take/no-overdubs performances and Mick’s growly vocals. I Know You Fine, produced in Memphis by Alex Chilton (who did a similar favor for the Cramps fifteen years earlier), has more sonic body and emotional booty, revving into sleazy innerspace with fiercely determined playing and singing that captures the bleay ambience of a three-day Dee-troit house party about to be raided. Given the raving enthusiasm the trio brings to items like Hooker’s “Let Your Daddy Ride,” Suicide’s “Ghostrider” and the semi-original “Hey Hey, We’re the Gories,” trivialities like the untuned decimation of the aptly named original “Detroit Breakdown” are no impediment to blister-popping fun. (I Know You Be House Rockin’ combines the first two albums into one double-length delusional nightmare on CD.)
Outta Here is marginally more accomplished, but not enough to clean up the mess. Songs like “Can’t Catch Up With You,” the instrumental “Omologato” and “Telepathic” (not to mention the cover of Earl King’s “Trick Bag” that demonstrates the band’s enthusiasm for mistreating vintage soul tunes as well as R&B classics) slop along with undiminished fervor, as wild-eyed and chaotic as ever.