The Fugs' nadir, but still worthy of 4 stars,
This review is from: Belle of Avenue a (Audio CD)
This has to be the weakest of all The Fugs releases. Lacking the pleasant shock value of the ESP Disk releases (when it was heard in real-time back in the day) and psychedelic perfection of the Tenderness Junction and It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest, it is still an important release. The main difference between this and previous releases is the fact it feels more like a collection of solo tracks by Fugs band members versus a cohesive whole. There are two tracks by Ken Weaver, three by Tuli, while the remaining five were penned and delivered by Sanders. Some are quite beautiful. By this time however, The Fugs were disbanding and this album sounds more like something to fulfill contract commitments and also a "warm-up" of sorts for Ed Sanders' brief 1970s solo career versus material intended to advance the promise of The Fugs.
When I first heard it in the early 1970s, I didn't think much of it, but in hindsight, this was a pretty good album. But again remember, it's not really The Fugs as a cohesive unit.
While The Belle Of Avenue A would not be the title I would recommend to newcomers, it's still pretty damn good as individually, The Fugs were talented and that comes across loud and clear after all these years. Newcomers should look at compilations like Don't Stop, Don't Stop (featuring their 1st two albums and lots of bonus material) or the Rhino set, Electromagnetic Steamboat (which contains their last four releases, including the currently reviewed title, along with a few bonus tracks).