Any Happy Rhodes fans still around? (New compilation by Numero Group)
I know there were some Happy Rhodes fans around these parts besides me, and if you're still around, there's some interesting things going on. I've been a fan of Happy's for almost 30 years, so I can't let this go by without saying something. Of course I could, but I won't.
Numero Group, a reissue record label based out of Chicago whose "focus since its 2003 founding has been to research and preserve obscure recorded material and ephemera by artists and entrepreneurs who found little commercial success upon their material's initial release" (from their Wikipedia page), has released a compilation of songs from Happy's 1st four (of 11) albums, called Ectotrophia. It's available on Bandcamp and lots of other places, even internationally since Numero has an exceptional international distribution system.
Ectotrophia's songs date from 1986-1987 and come from the albums Rhodes Vol. I, Rhodes Vol. II, Rearmament and Ecto, often referred to as the "1st4" by some fans. Ok, by me. Those albums are themselves compilations of songs Happy recorded over the course of a few years when Pat Tessitore, the owner of Cathedral Sound Studios in Rensselaer, NY, let her come into the studio whenever she wanted, to record and learn the equipment, for free. All the songs are just her alone in the studio, using overdubs. When Kevin Bartlett, owner of a small cassette-only label, Aural Gratification, heard her music he talked her into gathering up all the tracks she had recorded and released them as those albums. She used her own paintings of monsters (hey, she likes monsters) for the covers.
Also included is the song "When the Rain Came Down" which was an Ecto bonus track when, in 1992 the 1st4, previously only available on those hand-dubbed cassettes, were re-released on CD.
Ectotrophia is available on CD and, a first for Happy's music, LP.
Numero has already released 2 digital "singles" from the album. "When The Rain Came Down" and "Oh The Drears."
The track listing of Ectotrophia and the albums the tracks came from:
Oh The Drears - Rhodes I
I Cannot Go On - Ecto
Would That I Could - Ecto
Where Do I Go - Rhodes II
For We Believe - Rearmament
When The Rain Came Down - Ecto CD bonus track
If Love Is A Game, I Win - Ecto
I'm Not Awake, I'm Not Asleep - Rhodes I
Baby Don't Go - Rearmament
Come Here - Rhodes II
Don't Want To Hear It - Ecto
If So - Ecto
I'll Let You Go - Rhodes I
Because I Learn - Rearmament
I Am A Legend - Rearmament
Perfect Irony - Rearmament
Many Nights - Rhodes II
To Be E. Mortal - Ecto
As wonderful as the track listing of Ectotrophia is, it shouldn't be perceived as a "Best Of" compilation of songs from Happy's 1st4 albums. Many MANY great songs were left off due to time.
Happy was Artist of the Week on Bandcamp.
The Beautiful Monsters of Happy Rhodes’s Art-Pop
And had a nice interview in PopMatters.
I'm expecting (hoping) that more interviews and features are on the way.
Neil Gaiman, who's a fan, retweeted a tweet about the album, which was very nice of him.
Here's a Work-in-Progress web site and gallery, if anyone's interested.