Unrock is a fine German label/store/performance space that has spent much effort for the years to document the effect Sun City Girls had on the musical universe. That’s a simplistic not of course, but many of Unrock’s releases involve at least one of the Bishop brothers (or an associate).
These albums are often issued in two editions, one of which includes a bonus single. The Well Known Strangers box collects 13 of the bonuses, along a free standing one by Clandestine Trio (the Bishop’s plus Chris Corsano) playing at Unrock’s 25th anniversary show five years back. Even though I’d tried, I never managed to get all these singles, and playing them now, back to back, it really makes me wanna buy a jukebox too load them into. But just listening is a great way to spend a couple of hours – Shalabi, Sunn Trio, Ava Mendoza, Tashi Dorji, Bill Orcutt, Ed Yazijian, Karkhana, a-Trio, Joel Robinson and more Bishop action then you can shake an angry stick at. The two all-new singles, also issued to mark the 30th, are cool as hell.
Sir Richard surfs up two acoustic tracks that are beautiful examples of his playing at ist most delicately intricate.
The Alvarius B single has Alan singing one Ennio Morricone tune and one by Indonesian pop great Tonny Koeswoyo. The ladder almost sounds like an outtake from Frank Zappa’s cruising with Ruben and the Jets – which I mean as a compliment ! Quit a way to mark the big 30.
Byron Coley, 2022