There has always been a French connection to weird Midtown music. New Rose records released Alex Chilton's work in the 1980s. Tav Falco went to Paris and stayed. So it's not a surprise that French label Bang! Records is releasing Memphis Treat. It's a compilation record that takes special interest in the creative community of Midtown. The Rolling Head Orchestra (RHO) will play at Bar DKDC on Friday to commemorate its release.
"It's a great, little, wacky collection of under-recorded and under-released artists," says Alex Greene of the RHO. "It's classic Midtown Memphis rock-and-roll."
There is a major Midtown connection here: Philippe Lombardi, who is married to legendary Memphis drummer Misti White, runs the label for French drummer Adrian Bang.
"[Philippe ] has a wonderful testimonial on the back of the record," Greene says. "It's all about how he came to Memphis in 2011. His eyes were open to all of the gritty aura filling one's senses here in Memphis and how Midtown is especially the hotbed of creativity but with a view to the past."
Richard James, Zeke Johnson, Harris Scheuner, and others round out the vinyl release.
According to Greene, "The highlight is Misti's classic — which everyone covers and knows about — 'I Need a Ride.' It's Misti's anthem, and it's released in great form by the Zippin Pippins. It all sounds like something that would have come out of the 1980s Memphis scene. There are a couple of hilarious things with Johnny Lowebow and Ross Johnson, who is appropriately zany on a Christian rant about how we're all going to burn in hell." — Joe Boone
The Rolling Head Orchestra's Memphis Treat release party at Bar DKDC on Friday, April 18th.