Header

SKELETON CREW

RIO/Avant-Prog • United States


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Skeleton Crew picture
Skeleton Crew biography
Skeleton Crew came into being more or less by accident. In 1982 Fred Frith and Tom Cora planned to work together in a quartet, but in a bizarre coincidence the other two members both suffered from collapsed lungs within a couple of weeks of each other. Frith and Cora elected to go ahead and work as a duo, playing all the instruments themselves. Skeleton Crew became, in effect, two one man bands playing simultaneously - Frith on guitar, 6 string bass, violin, piano, keyboard and vocals; Cora on cello, bass, keyboard and vocals; and both played different parts of a drum kit, using pedals and home made contraptions so as to play different instruments simultaneously. This initial line up also used tapes in the way that more contemporary acts would use sampling - voices from TV and radio, clips of adverts and similar found sounds were incorporated into their music. They toured extensively, and for a while Dave Newhouse of the Muffins joined on sax and drums. In 1984 Zeena Parkins of News From Babel became a permanent third member, playing organ, harp, accordion, drums and singing. In 1986 the band split, shortly after completing their second studio album. Fred Frith said of the original duo "It's all just on the edge of breaking down all the time, which is a quality that I've always liked. I don't like things to be too easy." and of their decision to split "We actually started to sound like a normal rock and roll band so it seemed kind of pointless to go on at that point."

Skeleton Crew released two studio albums, both recorded at Sunrise Studio in Switzerland. The first, Country of the Blinds, was released in 1984 and was by the original duo of Frith and Cora. There's an engagingly ramshackle quality to this album, with the two members seeming to switch between instruments just in the nick of time. This, coupled with their use of found sounds, gives the music a kind of punky energy. There's no disguising their very high standard of musicianship, though, and there are moments of beautiful instrumental interplay. Learn to Talk (1986) was recorded as a trio with Zeena Parkins and has a more polished sound, and as a trio they abandoned the use of tapes. There were also several cassette only live recordings issued during their career. The two studio albums were reissued on a single CD (with some tracks omitted) in 1990. In 2005 a double CD was issued containing the original studio albums in their entirety, plus selected live recordings. Frith and Cora reuni...
read more

SKELETON CREW MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s
No MP3/Stream available for this artist.
Collaborate with Progarchives.com, learn how to submit new MP3s.

SKELETON CREW forum topics / tours, shows & news


SKELETON CREW forum topics Create a topic now
SKELETON CREW tours, shows & news
No topics found for : "skeleton crew"
Post an entries now

SKELETON CREW Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Search and add more videos to SKELETON CREW

Buy SKELETON CREW Music


Learn to Talk/The Country of BlindsLearn to Talk/The Country of Blinds
Rer USA 2006
Audio CD$14.43
$11.87 (used)
Prehistoric DigPrehistoric Dig
Intersound Records 1995
Audio CD$2.00
$0.01 (used)
Learn to talkLearn to talk
Import
Audio CD$18.17 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
?? TYPE O NEGATIVE ?? 1999 Skeleton Crew XL Shirt ?? CARNIVORE ?? STEELE US $113.13 Buy It Now 3h 40m
LARRY TAGG - WITH A SKELETON CREW (IMPORT WITH BONUS TRACKS) US $4.50 [0 bids]
15h 44m
PASSED NORMAL Vol 1-LN vinyl LP-Snakefinger-Shockabilly-Skeleton Crew-Fred Frith US $8.98 [0 bids]
US $11.98 Buy It Now
1 day
PASSED NORMAL usa LP skeleton crew FRED FRITH shockabilly SNAKEFINGER that hope US $12.50 Buy It Now 1 day
@ CD Larry Tagg - With A Skeleton Crew AOR / EMPIRE RECORDS 1995 US $9.99 Buy It Now 2 days
SKELETON CREW-Pre-Historic Dig-EXPERIMENTAL ROCK-Cd's US $10.29 Buy It Now 3 days
SKELETON CREW Learn to Talk LP Tom Cora FRED FRITH US $29.99 Buy It Now 3 days
LARRY TAGG - With a Skeleton Crew CD US $0.99 [0 bids]
US $1.99 Buy It Now
3 days
ARSINAL-Skeleton Crew CD Indie Metal US $7.99 [0 bids]
3 days
Larry Tagg Larry Tagg - With A Skeleton Crew - Empi CD US $5.91 Buy It Now 4 days
SKELETON CREW the country of blinds LP Mint- RIFT 11 w/Insert 1986 Tom Cora US $38.40 Buy It Now 5 days
LARRY TAGG WITH A SKELETON CREW CD BRENT BOURGEOIS PETER WOLF WESTCOAST AOR US $14.99 Buy It Now 5 days
SKELETON CREW * Country Of Blinds * AVANT Noise Jazz LP * NO MAN'S LAND Promo NM US $19.99 Buy It Now 5 days
VA "Passed Normal" 1986 FOT LP/ Snakefinger/ Shockabilly/ Skeleton Crew/ Kixx US $12.99 Buy It Now 6 days
Stephen King - Skeleton Crew: Selections (AUDIOBOOK) *NEW & SEALED* US $17.87 Buy It Now 6 days
Pre-Historic... Dig by Skeleton Crew (Detroit) (CD, Oct-1995, Intersound) US $7.88 Buy It Now 6 days
LP Skeleton Crew Learn to Talk Fred Firth Tom Cora Rift Record Recommended Rock US $25.00 [0 bids]
US $35.00 Buy It Now
6 days
DOG FACED HERMANS "Those deep Buds" CASS ex residents skeleton crew US $7.99 Buy It Now 6 days
Just for One Day - Skeleton Crew (00's) CD Dynaglide Records RARE 2002 US $11.45 Buy It Now 7 days
ISLAND OF SANITY NEW MUSIC FROM NEW YORK CITY 2 Record SKELETON CREW D GARLAND US $24.98 Buy It Now 7 days
Prehistoric...Dig! [ECD] - Skeleton Crew (CD 1995) NEW! US $2.99 [0 bids]
US $5.99 Buy It Now
7 days
The Sound of Your Stereo cd The Scandals (PA) NEW sealed 2010 Skeleton Crew 14tk US $10.95 Buy It Now 7 days
SKELETON CREW - Pre-Historic... Dig (CD 1995) Detroit US $6.99 Buy It Now 7 days
Skeleton Crew , Audio CD, Pre-Historic...Dig US $7.09 Buy It Now 7 days
STEP TO ANOTHER WORLD MUSIC - V/A - RECDEC - FRED FRITH - SKELETON CREW US $4.89 Buy It Now 7 days
Skeleton Crew : Prehistoric Dig CD (1995) US $4.34 Buy It Now 9 days
SKELETON CREW (80'S) - LEARN TO TALK/THE COUNTRY OF BLINDS - NEW CD BOXSET US $16.32 Buy It Now 12 days
CYCOMOTOGOAT-Alkaline/CURLEW-Skeleton Crew/TOM CORA-Cd US $8.49 Buy It Now 14 days
CD With a Skeleton Crew Tagg, Larry US $4.00 Buy It Now 15 days
V/A - Passed Normal US orig SEALED LP Snakefinger Skeleton Crew Shockabilly 1986 US $49.99 Buy It Now 16 days
Skeleton Crew Country of Blinds 1986 Original MINT- Vinyl Rift Record insert US $25.00 Buy It Now 16 days
LARRYBourgeois)TAGG-With A Skeleton Crew-TUBES-J.Geils US $8.49 Buy It Now 17 days
SKELETON CREW: The Country Of Blinds LP rare Rock & Pop US $75.00 Buy It Now 17 days
SKELETON CREW Learn To Talk LP Record SEALED US $47.50 Buy It Now 18 days
With a Skeleton Crew by Larry Tagg (CD, Oct-1995, Damian Music) Mint #BQ14 US $5.92 Buy It Now 19 days
SKELETON CREW Learn To Talk lp U.S. ORiGiNaL w/ catalog insert Rift 8 RecRec 5 US $24.99 Buy It Now 20 days
Skeleton Crew Escaltor 12" Vinyl P/S Single US $22.82 Buy It Now 20 days
Larry Tagg - With A Skeleton Crew (CD,1995,Empire Record's) US $2.70 Buy It Now 20 days
Pre-Historic... Dig [ECD] by Skeleton Crew (90's) (CD, Oct-1995, Intersound) US $6.42 Buy It Now 20 days
Larry Tagg - With A Skeleton Crew (CD,1995,Empire Record's) US $2.75 Buy It Now 21 days
Skeleton Crew - Pre-historic Dig/Enhanced Cd (1995) - Used - Compact Disc US $1.37 Buy It Now 21 days
Pre-Historic... Dig Audio CD A3 Vocal Skeleton Crew NEW US $4.99 Buy It Now 22 days
Skeleton Crew : Wood, Wire & Skin CD US $2.07 Buy It Now 23 days
Skeleton Crew Horror Story Collection CD Audiobook 8 Stories Set US $8.06 Buy It Now 24 days
Unknown Artist Skeleton Crew:8 Short Murder Stories (AU CD US $2.07 Buy It Now 26 days
ALL THAT REMAINS - Skeleton Crew:T-shirt:NEW - LARGE ONLY US $26.82 Buy It Now 26 days
LARRY TAGG With A Skeleton Crew RARE OUT OF PRINT CD BOURGEOIS TAGG US $3.99 Buy It Now 28 days
TOM CORA DAVID MOSS Cargo Cult Revival (SKELETON CREW) on Rift 5 RARE RSC US $4.99 Buy It Now 28 days
SKELETON CREW F FRITH henry cow 1984 NEW/SEALED Learn/Talk EXPRMNTL JAZZ WACK LP US $34.95 Buy It Now 29 days
Somewhere Lost In Time- Danny Danzi, NEW, 1998, Import, Passion US $18.99 Buy It Now 29 days

More places to buy SKELETON CREW music online Buy SKELETON CREW & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
  • AmazonMP3: Search for SKELETON CREW DRM-Free MP3 Downloads @ AmazonMP3 (USA Only) | AmazonMP3 (UK Only)

SKELETON CREW shows & tickets


SKELETON CREW has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

SKELETON CREW discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

SKELETON CREW top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.14 | 13 ratings
Learn to Talk
1984
3.20 | 11 ratings
The Country Of Blinds
1986

SKELETON CREW Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

SKELETON CREW Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

SKELETON CREW Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.66 | 13 ratings
Learn to Talk/Country of the Blinds
2005

SKELETON CREW Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

SKELETON CREW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Learn to Talk by SKELETON CREW album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.14 | 13 ratings

BUY
Learn to Talk
Skeleton Crew RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by chamberry
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Political, abrasive and intense album. Learn to Talk is an odd one, with it's raw and complex instrumentality underlined by a post-punk sensibility not unlike This Heat. But Skeleton Crew takes a different approach that's catchier and tighter composition-wise. Not all songs maintain the intensity of The Way Things Fall, Not My Shoes or We're Still Free, but it's such a fun album to listen to. The thought that only two guys made this web of sound, which is made by a handful of instruments, makes this album all the more alluring. Worth checking out for people who enjoy Rock in Opposition and the weirder bands of Post-punk, like This Heat or The Pop Group.

3.5

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 The Country Of Blinds by SKELETON CREW album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.20 | 11 ratings

BUY
The Country Of Blinds
Skeleton Crew RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

The second album of Skeleton Crew, Country Of Blinds (also recorded in Switzerland produced by another Henry Cow alumni Hodgkinson) is certainly even less accessible than its predecessor and it announces it right from the bat with the opening title track (and later Man Or Monkey) that is purposely sabotaged by tampering with the tapes. Parkins' presence does not calm Frith and Cora either, but this album is slightly easier on the ears sometimes because it is less sung (but when it is it still sounds like Damo-Belew) and gets more often into grooves (Border, Hand That Bites), giving you the chance to get used to the general weirdness. However Parkins' accordion does get on my nerves (all accordions do), and with the strangeitude of the songwriting, the whole thing is a little too much for me. There is also a fairly evident feel of 80's "funk feel" into the music as it reminds me a bit of Talking Heads and Belew-era Crimson, mostly through Frith's guitar parts.

Both albums got released as a 2 on 1 Cd, with a few tracks missing, which is probably a rather good deal if you're into this stuff. Please read the separate album entry's reviews just in case I am not convincing enough into avoiding this band. Generally I am normally fully appreciative of Henry Cow alumni project (from Massacre to News From Babel), but I must say that Frith's Skeleton Crew and Cutler's German adventures of Cassiber are both a little too much for this writer's sanity.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Learn to Talk by SKELETON CREW album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.14 | 13 ratings

BUY
Learn to Talk
Skeleton Crew RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

While Chris Cutler was busy with News From Babel with Lindsey Cooper, Fred Frith (guitars, piano, violin) got involved in Skeleton Crew, who was supposed to be a quartet but ended up as a duo with American Tom Cora (cello, bass drums), both deciding to become one man bands on Learn To Talk. On the later (and final) Country Of Blinds album, they will be joined by Zeena Parkins (keys, harp, accordion) who was previously in News From Babel.

On the scale of bizarreness, SC was certainly similar to a 9 on the Richter scale, and this is fitting because listening to LTT usually leaves your brains in the state of an Earth tremor with few chances of building something back. If some tracks are rather accessible (title track, Factory Song), a lot of them are close to pure nonsense. Sonically, I guess the closest you could come up with would be the 80's Crimson, based on the singing strongly reminiscent of Belew, but also the guitar parts which can sound like a Chapman stick. Some tracks are very ethnic-sounding (Zac's Flag), while others (the intro of the opening Onwards And Upwards) are sickly-sounding (vocals barking like Damo Suzuki, but not at ease) and completely disjointed.

Not exactly something that can be put in anyone's disc player for dear of permanent damage. Skeleton Crew toured as a trio with Muffin's Dave Newhouse on sax and apparently they were quite a sight live, but this did not materialized in terms of recording.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Learn to Talk/Country of the Blinds by SKELETON CREW album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
3.66 | 13 ratings

BUY
Learn to Talk/Country of the Blinds
Skeleton Crew RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Syzygy
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This timely reissue and remaster of Skeleton Crew's two studio albums is excellent value. In addition to presenting the original albums in sparkling clear sound, they have both been expanded with selections from the various live cassette releases that they issued in the 80s. The albums have been reviewed in detail individually, so this review will focus more on the additional material.

Learn to Talk is a highly enjoyable slice of RIO tomfoolery. As a genre, RIO has a reputation for being rather serious and dour a lot of the time, but artists like Robert Wyatt, Slapp Happy and Sammla Mammas Manna have an anarchic, Dadaist sense of humour that is much in evidence here. The use of tapes, especially Ronald Reagan's voice, gives the album a slightly dated feel, but the energy and inventiveness of the double one man band line up is still staggering. There are four live tracks included from 1982 -4. Sick As A Parrot is a radio/tapes sound collage incorporating a few bars of Y Viva Espana, which segues into Automatic Pilot (lyric: 'I'm on automatic pilot'). Hook is of historical interest as it features Dave Newhouse of The Muffins, who toured with Skeleton crew but appeared on neither studio album, while the album closes with Frith and Cora tackling Massacre's Killing Time - a power trio masterwork played by a power duo. Superb guitar from Frith, magnificent cello/bass from Cora and somehow they manage to play the drum parts as well - breathtaking, and much the strongest of the bonus tracks.

On Country Of The Blinds the two one man bands were joined by Zeena Parkins, a one woman band, which gave a more varied sonic palette. No tapes this time, the beguiling complexity of the duo was taken to another level and the vocal arrangements became deeper and more layered. Six live tracks are included, most of them of excellent sound quality. Frith's guitar is more prominent than on the studio recordings, and the good humour and unique interplay of the band is obvious - on Cora's solo showpiece Howdyhoola Too audience laughter is clearly audible. Second Rate is probably their most overtly political song and is delivered with almost brutal directness and shows just how tight they could sound. More unexpected is an accordion driven version of Jelly Roll Morton's New Orleans Stomp, which is played with verve as gypsy jazz. Proceedings are brought to a close with Hasta La Victoria, which recalls the chaotic sound of Learn To Talk.

In some ways this is an object lesson in how reissues should be presented. The live material is as strong as the studio recordings (although the extras on disc 1 are of less than pristine sound quality) and there are no alternate versions of any of the album tracks. Rather than filling the discs with extraneous material, the additional tracks have been selected to complement and add to the original albums. Skeleton Crew were unique and have an important place the development of 80s RIO. This collection is a fitting monument both to the band and to the brilliant Tom Cora, whose untimely death deprived the world of a remarkable musical talent. Strongly recommended.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 The Country Of Blinds by SKELETON CREW album cover Studio Album, 1986
3.20 | 11 ratings

BUY
The Country Of Blinds
Skeleton Crew RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Syzygy
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars When Skeleton Crew expanded from a duo to a trio, they didn't do anything obvious like hiring a drummer - instead, they added a third one man/woman band to the proceedings. Dave Newhouse of the Muffins joined for a while, and subsequently the third Skeleton was Zeena Parkins (News From Babel, Bjork and many other collaborations) on harp, accordion, organ, vocals and more drums. The result was another fine album of off kilter RIO songs and strangeness.

The Country Of The Blinds is in the same style as Learn To Talk, but there are a number of interesting contrasts. The expanded line up makes for a fuller sound, although things are no smoother than previously; Fred Frith remains the principal vocalist, but there are far more harmonies and shared vocals this time around; and the use of tapes has been abandoned. Overall there seems to be less raw spontanaeity than on the previous outing, but the material is stronger musically and lyrically. Fred Frith's guitar is less prominent, but this album contains his best violin work since Art Bears' debut album. Zeena Parkins adds some superb Sun Ra style organ to the proceedings, and her electric harp is played off against the strings to superb effect. Tom Cora is as inventive as ever on cello and bass, and also adds some demented accordion to the mix. The drumming is as powerful and unpredictable as previously - on Man Or Monkey they manage to sound like a RIO version of King Crimson's double trio line up with only half the number of musicians. Other stand out tracks are The Border, an almost normal song structure subverted by some impossible drumming and a brilliant call and response vocal arrangement, and the comparatively lengthy You May Find A Bed, where Fred Frith finally cuts loose with some lead guitar. The latter track also boasts some wonderful lyrics with echoes of Robert Wyatt's Dada inspired ramblings - 'There is no convenient time to break your leg' observes Fred Frith, and makes the same comment about (among other things), starving, having a flat tyre and having a child. Both Skeleton Crew albums contain some superb lyrics, but it is on Country Of The Blinds that lyrics and music really complement each other to near perfection. The instrumental interludes are also spellbinding; at times it seems impossible that three human beings are producing this noise in real time, but live recordings show that they could and did.

Skeleton Crew broke up after this album, Fred Frith remarking that they were starting to sound like a normal rock and roll band. This remark should be taken with a pinch of salt, unless your defintion of normal rock and roll is The Magic Band and Pere Ubu, but there is a grain of truth in it. While in many ways stronger than the debut album, Country of the Blinds doesn't have quite the same manic energy and inventiveness as Learn To Talk. It's still a brilliant slice of 80s RIO/Avant prog, however, and is strongly recommended to lovers of the off beat and bizarre.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

 Learn to Talk by SKELETON CREW album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.14 | 13 ratings

BUY
Learn to Talk
Skeleton Crew RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Syzygy
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Skeleton Crew had a line up that is probably unique in the annals of rock music - they were effectively two one man bands playing side by side, with all the instruments played in real time. In order to do this Fred Frith and Tom Cora each played different bits of the drum kit via pedals and home made contraptions, switching between instruments (principally guitar/violin and cello/bass) in mid song and singing at the same time. When playing as a duo they also used taped snippets of film and TV dialogue in the way that more contemporary bands would use samplers. Learn to Talk was recorded after over a year of playing live, and was recorded live in the studio to capture the intensity and eccentricity of their stage performances.

The result is a highly enjoyable slice of RIO fused with the ramshackle, DIY feel of the more adventurous post-punk bands who recorded for labels like Rough Trade in the early 80s. Fred Frith is the main vocalist, and while he doesn't have great range or tone his his half sung, half shouted vocals suit the music to perfection. On the couple of songs where Tom Cora adds his harmonies the vocal sound verges on professional, which was probably not the idea. The overall impression is of a couple of mad professors manically dashing from one piece of equipment to another, the whole thing permanently on the edge of breaking down altogether. On closer listening it becomes obvious that this is the work of two superb musicians; Cora's cello and Frith's violin occasionally blend to produce some gorgeous string parts, and Frith occasionally unleashes some inspired lead guitar. When Cora plays bass it's always imaginative and never obvious or predictable, the instrument having its own space independent of guitar and drums. The drumming is also remarkable; Chris Cutler drily remarked that '...this made for some fantastic, and normally unplayable, parts - most drummers only having one brain.' Stand out tracks include the lengthy opener Que Viva/Onwards and upwards, Not My Shoes, which features a gloriously off the wall lead guitar line, and the title track, an honest to goodness RIO pop song. Not everything works brilliantly; the Washington Post sees them playing along with a malfunctioning recording of Sousa's famous march, which is a joke that wears thin after a couple of listens, the use of Ronald Reagan's voice now sounds oddly dated, but it's in the nature of experiments to fail once in a while, and for the most part it's a strong album with a unique and deeply eccentric sound.

Fred Frith's work with Henry Cow and Art Bears may have given the impression of an intense, austere composer steeped in modern classical avant garde techniques, but this album (like his solo works Gravity and Speechless) shows another side to his nature: playful, good humoured and wildly inventive. In Tom Cora he found a kindred spirit and the chemistry between the two was unique and irreplaceable - it's only a pity that they didn't do more together before Cora's untimely death. Recommended to lovers of the eccentric and bizarre - if you like Robert Wyatt, Syd Barrett, Holger Czukay, Captain Beefheart or The Residents you'll probably like this, although it doesn't particularly sound like any of them.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Thanks to syzygy for the artist addition.

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | GeoIP Services by MaxMind | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — the ultimate jazz music virtual community | MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music virtual community


Server processing time: 1.47 seconds