The Insect Trust “Hoboken Saturday Night” (U.S.Atco)1970
With This Purchase, I’m Offering 2 LP’s (Same Record) and 1 Cover
First Pressing 1970 STEREO LP on Atco Records SD 33-313
Standard Issue LP visually is Near Mint….Plays Near Mint
Promo Issue LP is Near Mint (looks unplayed)
Cover is VG/VG+ (general scuffing, cut out – jagged notch bottom right corner, corner scuff top right corner – )
1966, Hoboken, NJ, United States
Nancy Jeffries (vocals), Bill Barth (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bottleneck guitar), Luke Faust (banjo, guitar banjo, vocals), Robert Palmer (alto saxophone, clarinet, recorder), Trevor Koehler (baritone saxophone, piccolo, drum, thumb piano, upright bass)
Two years after making their debut on Capitol, The Insect Trust reappeared with a new album on Atlantic’s ATCO subsidiary.
Still unique among performers, the Steve Duboff produced “Hoboken Saturday Night” found the band continuing their unique experiments in merging diverse musical genres. Stylistically all over the aural road map, the album found the band taking stabs at everything imaginable including bizarro folk-rock (‘Trip To Me’), Stax-styled instrumentals !!! (‘Ducks’), bouncy country-rock (‘Reciprocity’) and free form jazz-rock fusion. While she still wasn’t the world’s greatest singer, Nancy Jeffries again displayed a light and surprisingly attractive voice, while the rest of the band showcased a consistently attractive sense of taste and style. You could only wish that BS&T and Chicago had as much imagination and restraint when it came to horn charts (‘Ragtime Millionaire’). Elsewhere, ‘The Eyes of a New York Woman’ featured lyrics written by novelist Thomas Pynchon. Made aware that his words had been ‘borrowed’ without prior consent, Pynchon threatened a lawsuit, demanding the album be withdrawn. In the end he settled with the band withdrawing the lawsuit in return for the group’s commitment not to perform the song live. (In case you cared, the band was supported by a number of all-star sessions players, including guitarist Hugh McCracken and drummer Bernie Purdie.)
– Clocking in at under a minute, ‘Be a Hobo’ left you wondering if you’d stumbled into a drunken Indian hoedown … rating: ** stars
– Showcasing Jeffries’ voice at its very best, the title track was a surprisingly mainstream and rocking number … Complete with a great melody and some fantastic group harmony vocals, you had to wonder why ATCO management didn’t tap this one as a single. What were they thinking? rating: **** stars
– Once again showcasing Jeffries’ attractive voice, ‘The Eyes of a New York Woman’ was a breezy, blues number. The song took awhile to click, but once it got rolling, it took no prisoners. One of the few songs I’ve heard with a killer flute solo ! rating: *** stars
– Though it had a great chorus, ‘Ragtime Millionaire’ was simply too period cute for my personal taste. That said, the ragtime arrangement was impressive and Luke Faust turned in a taste electric guitar solo. rating: *** stars
– The first couple of times I heard ‘Someday’ I absolutely hated it. It sounded frantic and discordant to my ears. Well, the song is both frantic and discordant, but kicked along by Faust’s spastic vocal, the song was simply so weird that you had to sit up and take notice. By the way, the horn charts are amazing. rating: *** stars
– Kicked along by a great uncredited bass pattern, ‘Our Sister the Sun’ was an extended, jazzy-tinged ballad. On the surface this should have been another song that I wanted nothing to do with, but Jeffries gave the song a haunting feeling that was underscored by Trevor Koehler’s impressive, jazzy sax solo. One of the album’s biggest surprises … rating: *** stars
– Luke Faust’s sole writing credit, ‘Reciprocity’ sported a surprisingly enjoyable old-timey feel. Nice horns and Faust turned in a tasteful guitar solo. rating: *** stars
– With Jeffries unveiling her big bluesy voice, ‘Trip On Me’ found the band again returning to a fairly straightforward rock sound. Just speculation on my part, but in hindsight you had to wonder if the lyrics were inspired by a growing musical and personal rift between Barth and Jeffries. rating: *** stars
– A clear reflection of the group’s country and string band roots ‘Now The Sweet Man/’Mr. Garfield’ was way too country for my taste. Musically it was something you’d expect to hear at a small Irish bar. rating: ** stars
– With a distinctive country flavor, ‘Reincarnations’ was s curious choice for a single. Faust’s lead banjo gave the track a feel-good rhythm and Jeffries vocal was quite good, but it was simply too eclectic to have made much impact.
– I’ve always hated songs that feature young children singing. I hate the first part of the ‘Glade Song’. And suddenly the track shifted gears into one of the funniest songs you’ve ever heard. I’ve never figured out who handled the lead vocal, but the male lead sounded like he was completely fried on speed. perfectly encapsulating the band’s eclectic stew of influences, this one was simply too bizarre to adequately describe. rating: **** stars
– The second album found the band supported by a large collection of Memphis sidemen and the instrumental ‘Ducks’ was where their influences finally exploded. (Though technically I guess you couldn’t call it an instrumental since Jeffires provided scat and nonsensical vocals on it.) Imagine a Stax instrumental complete with percolating horn charts and Steve Cropper-styled guitar and you’ll know what to expect on this one. rating: *** stars
ATCO also tapped the album for a single:
– 1970’s ‘Reincarnations’ b/w ‘Reciprocity’ (ATCO catalog number 45-6764)
Reading back over this the results don’t sound particularly inspired or impressive, but the set exhibited a hard to describe charm that made it a true lost classic. Mind you, it’s simply too eclectic for most folks, but if given a chance, it’ll grow on you.
Like the debut, the sophomore album vanished without a trace. Barth began spending more and more of his time focused on recreational drugs. Jeffries subsequently ended their personal relationship and was Barth reportedly handed his walking papers. The band briefly struggled on with replacements, but without a true fan base, or label support, quickly collapsed in the wake of his departure.
Barth went on to a varied career, eventually relocating to Amsterdam in the mid-1980s where he focused on an art career (though he found time to buy a small blues club in Mississippi). He died from a sudden heart attack in July 2000.
Jeffries reappeared on the business side of the industry working for years as a talent scout and A&R person.
Koehler reappeared in the band Octopus before committing suicide in 1973.
Palmer went on to become a respected rock critic (one of the genre’s more articulate and engaging members). Sadly, in need of a kidney transplant, he died in 1997.
⦁ 1 Be a Hobo 0:35
⦁ 2 Hoboken Saturday Night 3:00
⦁ 3 The Eyes of a New York Woman 3:08
⦁ 4 Ragtime Millionaire 3:20
⦁ 5 Somedays 2:47
⦁ 6 Our Sister the Sun 7:20
⦁ 7 Reciprocity 3:23
⦁ 8 Trip on Me 2:45
⦁ 9 Now Then Sweet Man / Mr. Garfield 3:07
⦁ 10 Reincarnations 3:15
⦁ 11 Glade Song 3:00
⦁ 12 Ducks 5:40
⦁ Total length: 41:20