Nevermind the Eno—Bring me Brian Turrington!

Or his boa. Or his nimble bass-playing fingers. Just bring me something glamorous. I need it—fast.

Brian Eno has a brand new song out today. But I can’t post it yet ‘cuz, in 2010, record companies are still playing little exclusivity games—playing favorites while their industry melts away.

Haven’t they learned by now? No matter.

Here’s the new Eno song “Horse.”

I like it. It reminds me of Pedestrian Deposit meets Nerve Net, perhaps Eno’s most harsh and underrated solo album.

However the music that’s been most turning me on from the Eno canon lately are the great tracks the great bald Glam-noise god did with bassist Brian Turrington and—especially—with Turrington’s band, the Winkies.

What I like about Turrington’s bass is his very robust playing style that somehow remains minimalistic and clipped, in an almost African/Fela kinda way. His style also presages the hyper-poppy punk bass of the ’90s and 2000s. Even now it remains unique and inspiring.

So bust out the Unicorn dust and chop up some lines…we’re going to a special place where the guitars are hard, and the men’s make-up is ever so softly air-brushed.

Brian. Turrington, that is.

The Winkies—Philip Rambow, Guy Humphreys, and the rhythm section of bassist Brian Turrington and drummer Mike Desmaris—were pub rockers who Eno co-opted as his back-up band for five shows in February 1974.

Then Eno’s lung, ahem, collapsed (though pictures from the time suggest Eno had perhaps O.D.’ed on the aforementioned Unicorn dust) forcing Eno to cancel any further Winkies-backed activity. And also his entire live solo career for good measure. (Yes, there was the June 1, 1974 event/LP and the 801 Live album with Phil Manzanera, but that’s pretty much it—Eno’s been a studio artist ever since.)

Fortunately they did some Peel sessions. Even if you think you’ve heard this song before you should listen—it is radically different from the studio version:

This is some seriously fruity (& futuristic) hard rock coming from an era when anything was a go for the glamor-starved music-buying public.

We’re in a similar depressional/recessional rut now. “Horse” may not do it, but I bet “Fever” will:

The best Eno/Winkies collabo may be this one—”Totalled”—which was re-recorded as “I’ll Come Running” on Another Green World:

Brian Turrington played on nearly every Eno solo record through the very punk-prescient and fun, Before and After Science, when poof! Our mystery man disappears in a rush of dragon’s smoke.

But he wasn’t gone for long. Turrington reappears on my favorite Phil Manzanera solo record, and also guests on the genius re-telling of the Vikings’ discovery of America by Hawkwind singer, Robert Calvert.

Here’s a complete Brian Turrington discography.

If you haven’t heard these records, don’t wait any longer—they are all agreat!

But after blazing such a memorable path through the thicket of modern music, Turrington winked out for good.

Where are you, Mr. Turrington? If anyone knows, please be in touch.

And until record companies like Eno’s stop playing games with new releases, I will keep searching for that magic feather boa. And I will keep  these great Eno/Winkies tracks on my computer’s speakers.


Read about Eno collaborator David Byrne…at Pehrspace!? What?

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