• Seclusions
  • Isolation for Creation (Fuz) 1983 

The names on the back cover of the Seclusions’ only album raise eyebrows immediately: Patti Smith drummer Jay Dee Daugherty provides the beat, session king Busta (Cherry) Jones (Fripp, Eno, Talking Heads) lays down the bass, fellow session ace and future Television axeman Jimmy Rip(p) riffs away on guitar, while Joey Ramone, his brother Mitch (Mickey) Leigh, Holly Beth Vincent, Blondie keyboardist Jimmy Destri, Psychedelic Furs bassist Tim Butler, Rage to Live’s Ed Tomney and Dougie Bowne of the Lounge Lizards (among others) drop in for a sing or a play.

The main man behind the Seclusions is frontman Randy Dash, a singer of mysterious origins but, evidently, a bulging address book. The record mainly consists of covers  by bands popular among the NYC garage rock revivalists of the ‘80s: the Blues Magoos (“We Ain’t Got Nothin’ Yet”) and the Yardbirds (“Shape of Things”) as well as Mann/Weil’s unrelated “The Shape of Things to Come” (recorded by the Wild in the Streets movie band Max Frost & the Troopers, the Headboys and David Bowie). But the Seclusions don’t fully follow Voxx/Midnight orthodoxy, doing the Shocking Blue’s “Venus” in a stiff new wave style,  giving Iron Butterfly’s “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida” an odd funk-rock update and going full-on ska for Allen Toussaint’s much-recorded “Fortune Teller.”

The handful of originals are even more intriguing, from the ranting motorik funk of “Do It Right” and the semi-goth postpunk of “Johnny” to the Damned-like deathrock of “10,000 Years” and the unsettling mantra psych of “The Unlocked Door.” Regardless of direction, it’s all characterized by Dash’s charismatic shouts, snarls and croons. Isolation for Creation may be a footnote to the New York scene of the late 20th century, but it’s an intriguing one.

Dash supposedly recorded a second Seclusions LP with an equally star-studded lineup, but no trace of it seems to exist.

[Michael Toland]