Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A.I.T.A. Hall Of Fame: Peter Laughner


"Ain't it fun when you know that you're gonna die young."

To most who dig deep into rock history and search for its underbelly, Peter Laughner is remembered as a founding member of Cleveland's legendary 1970s proto-punks Rocket From The Tombs and Pere Ubu, as well as a gifted rock critic from the days when they really mattered. To me, Laughner's legacy lies just as much in the solo acoustic cuts he laid down, many recorded the night before he left this mortal coil due to years of alcohol and drug abuse (you can almost taste the speed on all four takes of his manic "Ridin' On Ice"). "First Taste Of Heartache" and both versions of the brilliant "The Junkman" — recorded on that fateful night — belong on the same playlist as the sonic-ache/tragi-folk as put forth by the likes of Nick Drake, Tim Hardin, Townes Van Zandt, and Gary Higgins, though with a slant which is more Lou Reed than Bob Dylan. Speaking of Dylan, Laughner's cracked take on "Visions Of Johanna" is the ultimate cover version of what is one of Zimmy's true lyrical masterpieces. On these tapes he also showed his love of deep blues and poetry, via heartfelt covers of the great Robert Johnson, and songs paying tribute to two of the greatest poets to have walked this green earth... All this from a man who died at 24 years old.

Download: "Amphetamine" * • Download: "Ain't It Fun" *
Download: "Visions Of Johanna" • Download: "32.20 Blues"
Download: "Me And The Devil Blues" • Download: "Baudelaire"
Download: "Dear Richard" ** • Download: "The Junkman 1"
Download: "Ridin' On Ice 2" • Download: "The Junkman 2"

Laughner with RFTT
** Laughner with Friction

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