2007   JUNE 11   #162

Glen Armstrong and the Dirty Clergy - Under A Van Gogh Sky

01. One last song about the moon (2:59)
02. Hollywood (3:08)
03. Love songs (4:16)
04. Can't stand the heat (3:29)
05. Walking home alone (4:12)
06. Too much junky business (2:34)
07. Trying to get the devil to appraise her soul (3:47)
08. Diamonds in her head (3:02)
09. Scene tucked under a van Gogh sky (featuring John Sinclair) (3:03)
10. Whispering voices (3:22)

Detroit hipsters remember Glen best as the leader of The Dirty Clergy, a loose configuration that would show up at bars, poetry slams and art galleries to deliver a most peculiar blend of beat poetry, free jazz and 60's soul music. I myself remember one night in the late 80's where Glen and band took the stage at a huge poetry gathering down at Detroit's Old Miami, played a raucous set that ended with Glen performing Hamlet's famous soliloquy to the tune of "Land of 1,000 Dances" and a medley of Tom Waits's "Singapore" and The Beatles's "Helter Skelter," (with Armstrong playing banjo, no less. If this performance was ever released or bootlegged, please contact me!) I saw the band a number of times at Union Street and even the Majestic, but some time in the 90's Glen seemed to simply vanish.

It's speculated that the high pressure of his pending success drove him crazy, that he was living out a seven year mental breakdown somewhere in New England, singing a brand of Christian rock that would make Howard Finster sound mainstream. A crate of these tapes are the alleged fruits of him going fruit-loops. The story goes that these were purchased at his mom's garage sale in Waterford Michigan and that when serious collectors started nosing around, she gave one of them a tape of covers Glen had done that included renditions of "My Pal Foot Foot" by the Shaggs as well as material from Kurt Weill and Vernon Green and the Phantoms. Not much else is known about this recording.

- Contributed by: The ToD

Images: Cassette Cover

Media: Cassette Tape
Album: Under A Van Gogh Sky
Date: 1990
Reverend Glen Armstrong - Guitars, Banjo, Vocals
Howard Byrne - Drums, Percussion, bk vocals
Dan Higgins - Bass
M. J. Hill - Piano, Organ, Violins, bk vocals
Scott Pinkston - Saxophones, wood flute, bk vocals
Archie Anderson - Acoustic Guitar
Danny Ascenz - Baritone and tenor sax
The Beautiful Glennettes - bk vocals
John Sinclair - Special guest speaker


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