I have known that I like pieces of music that have two parts to them for ages now. Like, decades even and probably definitely for more than a quarter of a century because that’s how far I can remember back. If I was to completely nail that realisation down to an actual time and event then it is most likely that I was surreptitiously influenced by the two part song music scenerio after having heard the two part twelve inch extended remix record called Assassination K/Kanserous by the Wolfgang Press. The Wolfgang Press were a band and not an actual singular person and Assassination K/Kanserous was an extended remix of one of their songs which was called Kansas.
The song which is called Kansas is about 4 minutes long and has verses and a chorus and other such bits and pieces that are sort of conventional but I don’t really know what you’d refer to them as, as I’ve never been that arsed about finding out the terminology. The extended Assassination K/Kanserous version has the verse and chorus thing going on too but if you sort of take a step back and look at it proper from a distance then you can see that it overall has two different parts to it and they are dead noticeable as one part stops and then the other one starts. The stopping and the starting bit is very pronounced as there is a dividing wall of everything stopping apart from a bit of the guitar riff which then thoroughly announces the imminent arrival of the second bit.
The whole thing starts with some banjo playing what I found out was The Yellow Rose Of Texas and most people would probably think that using a bit of a song about Yellow Roses and Texas at the start of a piece of music called Kansas is kind of an odd choice or a mistake or something but I have read some interviews over many years with the people in the Wolfgang Press and I can remember reading stuff about their rationale for making sounds and using words and things and I’m sure I was once stood in a big shop like WHSmith in York reading Record Mirror as that was my favourite at the time and I’ve still got this image of the three people in the Wolfgang Press that was a photo cutup montage of their faces alongside an interview where they talked about the Kansas song and how it was originally called Texas but they decided to change it to Kansas just because they thought that it sounded better when it was said and sung in the song. Mick Allen the singer mostly says it but sometimes he sings it a bit as well.
I remember thinking at the time of reading that article oh wow they use words because of the way that they sound as well as for their meaning. I am fairly sure that actually happened and I was really stood in the big newsagents in York reading articles in music papers without buying them and if it isn’t then it would be terrible because I don’t know where that memory came from. I think that at the same time there was an article about Gaye Bykers on Acid but I didn’t read that because I found them a bit frightening. I bought the Get Down 12” single by them as I mainly liked the artwork on the cover but the song’s alright.
That revelatory how words sound insight has stayed with me for all of the time in those intervening years and I’ve let myself get influenced by that with stuff that I do when I make sounds and noises myself and sometimes I’ve reflected on those things and thought oh yeah this piece of music that I’ve made has got two parts to it like in that Wolfgang Press Kansas track and the words that I’ve used don’t seem to make much sense but they sound quite good like in that same Wolfgang Press Kansas track.
They have other songs with words in them that appear nonsensical but when you think about how they actually sound alongside the other instruments and sounds that are used then they start to make more sense in the context of the overall piece. This is probably why I have liked the Wolfgang Press for ages because sometimes I listen to them and I haven’t got a clue what they’re going on about but then it doesn’t really matter as I’m sure I’ll get my head around it later but in the meantime it all sounds great.
Anyway that Kansas song appears to me to be pretty much about that President Kennedy getting shot and I figured that out years ago because there’s a load of spoken word samples of some bloke talking about exactly that during the first half of the piece and then it stops and the banjo Yellow Rose of Texas happens before there’s like a crack or something of just noise for about half a second and then the second bit commences and it all goes really really brilliant more and more for about four more minutes and I can’t really remember how it finishes at the moment because normally I just put it back on straightaway for another seven minutes of joy. There’s a simple bassline happening throughout all of it that doesn’t ever change and I didn’t realise that at first, it was more likely after hearing the piece for about ten years that I started to think hey that bassline stays the same throughout the whole of it and I started to think that that simplicity helps to power it all along and makes me like it more than if it was all difficult and intricate. Anyway, I’ve always really liked the song, especially this massive 12” remix extension. I always think oh great when it starts and I never think oh no not this again. The normal song on the album is pretty mint too but actually my favourite song on the Bird Wood Cage album is Shut That Door.
I also should mention an interesting point that I noticed once about the Butthole Surfers. They have a song on their Rembrandt Pussyhorse album called To Parter. Sometimes it’s written as Too Parter but I’ve never seen it written as Two Parter. The song isn’t even about songs with two parts to them as far as I’m aware but maybe it was and they just spelled it wrong for a laugh. I didn’t really want to digress from the Wolfgang Press but in this case I thought it was necessary.