Here we open with a broke jazzy instro take on Little Jimmy Morrison and The Doors’ Light My Fire complete with twangy reverb guitar lines. Cute, typical cash-in record style, no big deal. The next tune, “Delusions,” perks the ears with its ragged guitar tones and the disaffected high whiny (but in a compelling way) vocals bemoaning something or another. Hmm, some moody tuff jangle. Then, POW!!!! “Reflections” kicks in and we realize this is some of the rankest, rawest garage snot power trio sub-Hendrix blaze we’ve heard. Super rough lurching riff heaviness. On the b-side we dig “Gypsy Fire” and the king-hell track of this 8 song blaster, the punk-as-fuck slash and burn nihilist bummer epic “No Tomorrows.”
“Holy shit!” you say. What is the deal here?
The Firebirds were a mystery band of most likely session guys doing a quick one-off session for the ‘60s exploito label Crown. The burgeoning youth culture and album market of the hippy era led to plenty of cash-in records to be sold at Woolworths and supermarket cut-out bins. Most of these exploitation records are cheesy bad (as opposed to cheesy good) and not worth your time. However, Light My Fire was a complete anomaly in a sea of crap. This record is filled with violent, low-rent Hendrix/Blue Cheer power trio broken-amp guitar destruction, non-stop Mitch Mitchell wanna-be drums and a weezy, moody singer on a stoned bummer trip.
This album is a companion piece (and most likely culled from the same recording session) as another Crown LP by the 31 Flavors titled Hair. Both albums have some overlap in songs. What is so remarkable about the Firebirds is just how raw and gnarly they sound and that it came out in a corny go-go girl cover and was picked up by unsuspecting squares and clueless parents (or whatever). Just imagine whoever getting home with this and playing “No Tomorrows” while trying desperately to get their hip vibe together!
The guitar tone is not far removed from Greg Ginn’s Black Flag flavor of riffs and dissonance. There are two blues tunes (“Bye Baby” and “Warm Up”) , which really benefit from the raging ripped speaker solos going on. The whole thing comes on as a garage band trying to be heavy, or some stoned teens in the basement who\’ve had Vincebus Eruptum on the turntable for weeks. The seemingly slap dash nature of the recording and the loose spirit here belie the fact that the guys could really jam together and have some killer songs.
This is the kind of record that a lot of people will never get because it seems so base, rough and cheap in a musical sense, but fuck ‘em. With the right ears, this record will perk you right up. You’ll shake your head in blissful confusion and mutter, “this is the sound, man.”
— Nick Myers
The Firebirds: Light My Fire (1969)
1. Warm Up
4. Bye Baby
5. Gypsy Fire
6. Free Bass
7. No Tomorrows
8. Light My Fire