Charles Manson – LIE: The Love And Terror Cult

May 16, 2014
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It’s hard to believe that in searching my record collection database I came across so many LA-related albums that have already been posted in the annals of this website. Timeless, by Zolar X. That “Robocop” song by Sleeze Boyz. By the way, until I looked that up today I had no idea it was produced by a young Dr. Dre. I could find almost no biographical information about Sleeze Boyz in 20 minutes of intense Google searches, so if anyone has more info about their history by all means share it with me. I just know their lone full-length is somewhat collectible (read: would set me back more than $50).

So as I was looking through my shelves for an LA-related album to share I had to start stretching my definition of LA Past And Present to fit the theme. Could I post about a particular Cliff Martinez motion picture score, like Solaris? Wouldn’t posting about the Minutemen or the Monkees or the Beach Boys boring? What about Harry Nilsson? Could I post about a Harry Nilsson record I own (which is autographed!) even though he wasn’t BORN in Los Angeles? I thought long and hard about that, and then I decided that if I was going to post a historical artifact from Los Angeles that was made by someone who lived here but wasn’t born here, why would I choose Harry Nilsson when I’ve got an original pressing of LIE I could write a couple paragraphs about.

It’s hard to imagine Charles Manson was ever close to achieving success in the music industry. And yet, he kind of was. Although Manson existed on the fringe in LA for a while, his connection to Beach Boys’ drummer Dennis Wilson gave him an outside chance at becoming a household name as a songwriter. Wilson let Manson crash at his house for a while along with more than a dozen members of the “family”. He also paid for Manson’s studio time and introduced him to people who worked in the industry. One of those folks (Gregg Jakobson, who co-wrote several songs on Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue and also testified against the Manson Family during the murder trial) was so impressed he financed even more Manson recording studio time! Oh. Yeah. Wilson also introduced Manson to Terry Melcher (producer for the Byrds “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” among countless other credits). Melcher’s home, of course, was the site of the Tate murders.

So, what about LIE? Is it any good? I have to be honest, I don’t like most of it. I have to say though, the opening track “Look At Your Game Girl” is a really good song. If he didn’t go on to commit those murders, and had he self-produced and self-published this record, it might just have found its niche as a loner/downer record. Look at some of those songs titles! “People Say I’m No Good”? “Home Is Where You’re Happy”? Those are total song titles you’d find on some random homemade SSW album. And it’s got a lot of LA history to it. It was recorded primarily at Gold Star Studios. The sleeve states that overdubs were performed at an undisclosed location in Van Nuys. Bobby Beausoleil played electric guitar on it. That guy played with Arthur Lee! He could have been in Love! Then he committed first degree murder. Ahem. The aforementioned “Look At Your Game Girl” comes from a two-song demo cassette Manson recorded for Uni Records. That’s all so very LA. What’s more, the album was released in 1970 by Awareness and distributed by TMOQ (Trade Mark Of Quality), one of the most infamous bootlegging outfits in the history of the “other” recording industry. By the way, if you’ve never read Clinton Heylin’s book should really grab a copy as soon as possible. It paints a vibrant picture of a secret sect of music pirates while also delving even deeper into Los Angeles’ place in both the traditional and non-traditional recording industries. Crazy shit! I mean, not Charles Manson crazy but…

Yeah, blah blah blah. Charles Manson. Whatever. You don’t care anymore.

Oh, wait. So I got this on June 9th, 2009. All the copies I’d ever seen were beat to shit or later reissues (I feel like the 1987 red label or the ESP one are the most common variations you see), so when a VG+ / VG+ yellow label original (supposedly limited to 2000 copies) wandered into the store I had to grab it. You know, because of its historical significance. Not because I’m a psychopath or a sociopath or anything…

Charles Manson
LIE: The Love And Terror Cult
(Awareness – 2144, 1970)

A1. Look At Your Game Girl [MP3]
A2. Ego
A3. Mechanical Man
A4. People Say I’m No Good
A5. Home Is Where You’re Happy
A6. Arkansas
A7. I’ll Never Say Never To Always
B1. Garbage Dump
B2. Don’t Do Anything Illegal
B3. Sick City
B4. Cease To Exist
B5. Big Iron Door
B6. I Once Knew A Man
B7. Eyes Of A Dreamer

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