Charlie Pickett and the Eggs “Live At The Button”

This 1982 record, full title: Charlie Pickett and the Eggs Live at The Button on Fort Lauderdale Beach, showed up at the Spindizzy record store in Kent, Ohio sometime in 1982 or 1983, probably as a promo, since we were a record store, or because the store was also the address of several zines that reviewed independently released records—though, honestly, I can’t remember how or why it got there. Because no one had ever heard of Charlie Pickett and pretty much associated Fort Lauderdale with “Spring Break,” and they didn’t look too punk-rock on the back cover, and most of the songs were covers, it’s kind of remarkable anyone ever put it on, but once we did, probably intending to make fun of it, we all flipped over it, and especially Keith Busch did, as it was his kind of thing. Immediately evident was that being live was not a drawback (no corny ass-kissing the audience, and excellently recorded) and it was raw and unpolished garage rock (essentially more “punk rock” than many of the bands calling themselves punk rock in what was already the waning days of punk rock).

I haven’t listened to this in years, so it’s a nice surprise how it still sounds great to me; Charlie Pickett’s voice reminds me of someone, but maybe it’s just the memory of listening to this album endlessly for awhile. The band is pretty hot. The album cover is a grainy b&w photo of what looks like a DMV, but it’s more than likely “The Button”—which is a weird name for a club, if you ask me. The liner notes on back—by Paul Beeman (like the gum)—are hilarious. Ten of the 13 songs are covers, though only two of which I knew at the time—and one of which (The Velvet Underground’s “Lonesome Cowboy Bill”) inspired us to do it, in our band (the Ragged Bags) at that time. I was just thinking about playing that song—while looking back through old notebooks—when I saw a Keith Busch quote I had scrawled there, about our version of it: “It’s bad enough that we don’t do the middle—we have to end it somewhere.”

Since I have the internet now, I can look up who some of the songs are originally by: The Velvet Underground, The Yardbirds, Flamin’ Groovies, Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, Peter Green, Freddy Cannon, and Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers. My favorites are “Mister You’re a Better Man Than I” and “Slow Death.” And there are some fine original songs. While looking this up I hoped to avoid seeing anything depressing, like everyone in this band died a grizzly death and/or worse, but what I did come upon was a very recent article about Charlie Pickett releasing a new record! So that kind of warmed my heart. It turns out that they were influential and loved by a few more people than just us, I guess—and people are dying to get this old record. Or, at least, a lot of people are dying, and this record often happens to be found at the scene of the crime. Nothing surprises me anymore. Anyway, it’s a great record. The only downside is that it ends with a train song, but hey, nobody’s perfect.


4 Responses to “Charlie Pickett and the Eggs “Live At The Button””

  1. 1 Jerf
    August 17, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Oh, how funny that you’d review this. I just pulled this record out a couple months ago and recently listened to it for the first time — it was in amongst a box of records that you had given me a few years ago. I had bought Charlie Picket’s “Route 33” album in Kent at Heartbeat Records, knowing about him from you guys talking about him, but I had never heard this live album before just recently. It really is pretty good! I think I might have played something from it on my radio show (or maybe just put some songs from it into my ‘radio show playlist reserve’ to play on a future show..)(yeah, I think it’s just pending — you’ll be hearing something from it eventually!)

  2. 2 Jay Kahl
    January 6, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    I lost my copy over two decades ago. It was one of my favorite albums. Anyone know how i can get a copy?

  3. 3 Jay Kahl
    January 6, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    by they way, Charlie cut a new album, it’s called See You In Miami. Peter Buck is credited on two songs on the album. It’s really really good. It’s on Spotify and Youtube so is Bar Band Americanus which is a compliation of some of his older stuff.

  4. January 16, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    I don’t have a copy either, I was listening to it while visiting! You can probably get a copy online, like thru Discogs.

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