Can’t Get Through
Cat Nº: LHC 290
PROGRESSIVE(60s-70s) / KRAUTROCK
Formed late 1968 in Bonn, West Germany, Hairy Chapter intended to create a kind of white blues, playing own material with a permanent rock feeling, influenced by John Mayall, Cream and Jimi Hendrix but spiced up with its own ingredients. According to the band not only the Bonn music scene was enthusiastic about the band, but also a certain young Dieter Dierks was impressed and offered the band to record their first album in his new little studio, a former pigsty in Cologne-Stommeln, a rural setting north of Cologne, Germany. Their first album ‘Eyes’ was released in 1969. The band started recording the follow-up album ‘Can’t Get Through’ in November 1970 with a release in 1971 on German label Bacillus. The recordings were again made in the (meanwhile refined and improved) studio of Dieter Dierks, who acted as sound engineer and producer. ‘Can’t Get Through’ is highly regarded by many critics. It was Julian Cope’s (author of ‘Krautrocksampler’ and musician of Teardrop Explodes fame) Album Of The Month in August 2000. He wrote: “…with the release of ‘Can’t Get Through,’ Hairy Chapter finally recorded a righteous royal shit-stirrer which should be in the collection of every 21st century head.” Comprising only 5 songs, ‘There’s A Kind Of Nothing’ opens the album with some innocent enough bass/guitar vamping with a lighthearted Allman Brothers-ish guitar lick. The vamp continues, guitar fills becoming darker as Harry Unte attempts to belt out his vocals over the roiling rhythm section, all the while, the repetition building to some unknown climax that never comes. Then suddenly it stops, and we’re at Scarborough Fair for a brief dreamy medieval interlude before being transported back to the menacing vamp. We realize very quickly that this is not conventional song composition. The apex of the album is the next 2 songs, ‘Can’t Get Through’ and ‘It Must Be An Officer’s Daughter,’ both of which are epic sonic landscapes stretching over 8 minutes each. ‘Can’t Get Through’ starts with an intro that’s like a cross between Yes and Sabbath. After a couple of hard rockin’ verses, we’re into a smoldering groove for a harmonica solo followed by Harry Titlbach’s guitar workout over Rudolf Oldenburg’s Jack Bruce-infused bass playing. Then suddenly a wacky slide guitar interlude comes out of nowhere, leading to a Led Zeppelin-ish riff that devolves into a slowly dissolving swing feel topped with dazed and confused guitar freakouts, Titlbach suffering from a momentary loss of sanity until finally it all crashes back to Earth with the Zep riff again. Like I said, not conventional songwriting. ‘It Must Be An Officer’s Daughter’ continues on the road to the mountains of electrified post-blues madness with 8 more minutes of erratic groove changes, demented stalker lyrics like “I want to hold your luscious breasts in my hand” sung over a dark Sabbath-like riff, and a heaping helping of on-the-edge guitar solos over wicked drum/bass vamps. The only song that doesn’t rock pretty hard is ‘As We Crosssed Over.’ For this one we’ve got acoustic bass, acoustic guitar, mariachi trumpet (yes you read that right) off in the distance and haunting, trippy choir vocals swirling around in the background. It sounds almost like Radiohead in an odd way. Strange, melancholy little tune here. The album closes with ‘You’ve Got To Follow This Masquerade.’ Evil Sabbath riffs alternated with straighter Zeppelin and proggy sections that just come to an abrupt halt after 4 minutes. The album comes in an exact reproduction of the original Bacillus cover but added a 4-sided cover sized insert sheet with story and many photos. Newly remastered. This is a real classic and should be in the collection of every 21st century head.