One of last week's offerings on one of my favorite music blogs The Rising Storm was the Shaggs, described by Brendan as, "Three teenage sisters from New Hampshire, Dot, Betty, and Helen Wiggin [who] were pushed by their father to form a band and in 1969 they recorded the ultimate outsider album, Philosophy of the World. Both Frank Zappa and Kurt Cobain cited it as a fave."
But it's worth knowing that the girls weren't just pushed into rock-n-roll for some traditionally cliche reason (like Austin Wiggin, Jr. wishing he could be a star himself and living out his ambitions through his daughters). No, he believed it was their destiny to become rock stars because of a palm reading his mother gave him that predicted their fame (!!!). From Wikipedia:
During Austin's youth she had predicted during a palm reading that he would marry a strawberry blonde woman, that he would have two sons after she had died, and that his daughters would form a popular music group. The first two predictions came true, so Austin set about making the third come true. Austin withdrew his daughters from school, bought them instruments, and arranged for them to receive music and vocal lessons. The Wiggin sisters themselves never planned to become a music group, but as Dot later said, "[Austin] was something of a disciplinarian. He was stubborn and he could be temperamental. He directed. We obeyed. Or did our best."
Here is a youtube "video" of the song I found most disturbing. Here is an mp3 download of the same song.
I can't get over how sad that is. It just might be the saddest song I've ever heard. Some people have alleged they actually wrote it, but I can't believe the lyrics weren't imposed upon them. It's just so inhumane. It's the opposite of rock-n-roll, and I guess that has been what's made the whole album so intriguing for so long. As a parent, I'm offended. I would rather have one of my kids burn down the house and stick a middle finger in my face than sing a song like that. Unless they were doing it just to fuck with me. In that case, rock on.
Musically, it's pretty terrible but at least it's better than Smoosh. Really, it doesn't sound all that different from some of the crap Elephant Six bands produced during the 1990s. I am reminded, in particular, of one of my favorite Elephant Six songs, The Music Tapes' "Song for the Death of Parents."