Collector Scum

Sue – Songs By Sue

Ten songs. Nineteen minutes. No, this is not an exclusive look at the new Anal Cunt record. Nor is it a fond look back at some early Minutemen demos. This is Songs By Sue.

Who was Sue? Well, we don’t know her surname. We don’t know when exactly these recordings were made. What we do know is that Sue was a wheelchair-bound polio victim who worked both at a nursing home called St. Therese (as activities director) and a parochial school called Good Shepherd School (as an art teacher). Whether she recorded these songs for one of her jobs or just as a hobby at home is unknown. This is the entirety of her recorded output. The sound quality can differ from song to song but perhaps that is part of the charm of Songs By Sue. She tackles the standards (as a Jew I’m kind of embarrassed to ask this, but has “Hava Nagaela” ever been the preferred spelling?) without over-embellishing. I mean, 10 songs in 19 minutes! Clearly Sue’s breakneck pace was what inspired the first two D.R.I. albums.

The note on the back of the cover reads, “Sue, always full of joy and laughter, in love with life. She started to sing before she could walk, then on to dancing. She was struck with polio in her second year. She could not dance again but she kept singing. Even though Sue was in a wheelchair twenty-seven years she worked weekends to get through college… she left us recently.”

No, Sue’s song “Five Hundred Miles” wasn’t later re-recorded as “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by the Scottish Duo the Proclaimers.

After Sue passed away this album was pressed in celebration of her music and life. Then, several decades later, a little band called Anal Cunt continued Sue’s legacy of economic song structure and tireless punk energy when they released their 39-track, 32-minute masterpiece It Just Gets Worse. Coincidence? I think not.

Songs By Sue
(Not On Label, 19??)
MediaFire DL Link

01. If I Had A Hammer
02. Hava Nagaela
03. Five-Hundred Miles
04. Drunken Sailor
05. Corazon [MP3]
06. La Bomba
07. Coal Mine
08. This Train
09. Scotch And Soda
10. Sinner Man

One reply on “Sue – Songs By Sue”

Thanks for sharing this record. The first song betrayed my expectations and it kept getting better with added synthesizer. Her ‘Sinner Man’ has to be the standout but the whole record is beautiful and erie in the best way.

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