Lotti Golden — “Gonna Fay’s”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — April 18, 2023


799) Lotti Golden — “Gonna Fay’s”

Rock n’ roll, meet cinéma vérité, and let’s visit “the freaked-out, drugged-up street world of New York’s Lower East Side” circa 1968 (Mister Mark, http://thedirtymindofmistermark.blogspot.com/2010/11/lotti-golden.html?m=1) PATH tells us that:

[Lottie Golden takes us] to Fay’s, the meet-up spot for her coterie of malcontents. Anabell’s gonna be there, Silky’s gonna be there, Billy is gonna drop by, Celia’s gonna come by. But for Fay, whose French poodles keep her satisfied, it’s her doctor’s pills that keep her high, and she’s in trouble with the meds. “Hey man, did you hear what happened to Fay? Yeah, it’s really a drag, what a bring-down. So where do you want to go? Rosie’s? That’s cool. Out of sight man, we’ll dig it!” And so the whole party up and moves to Rosie’s. No pause for introspection on poor Fay’s demise, no lessons learned, none of that crap; the good times must roll on. That’s kind of the M.O. of Motor-Cycle. If something heavy happens, slow the music down for a second, give a wail, then move on. With a crowd this colorful, there’s always another story to tell.


As to the LP, Mally Nair says:

An amazing LP released on Atlantic Records in 1969, signed to the label by the legendary Jerry Wexler, “Motor-Cycle,” has remained a cult favorite for 45 years . . . . The album’s lyrics are autobiographical giving us a time-capsule glimpse into art and street life in NYC in the late 60’s . . . Golden pays homage to girl groups with an eclectic jazz, soul, funk, rock montage like nothing you’ve heard. . . . Kerouac meets psychedelic masterpiece . . . .


Mister Mark adds:

By the end of high school in 1967, Lotti had sung with bands up and down the East coast, taken up acting and entered the freaked-out, drugged-up street world of New York’s Lower East Side. “It was sort of like daring myself to see how far I could go.” . . . Lottie began writing songs about it all, then split. In late 1968, with producer-arranger Bob Crewe, she recorded an autobiographical album called Motorcycle, a synthesis of funky singing and honest, hip lyrics about urban teenage trauma. The music was a sometimes satiric melange of rock, jazz, blues and soul. . . . A whole underground world is candidly described, down to the last Seconal capsule.


Let’s take the PATH again:

Lotti Golden leads us into the bizarre excursions of the late-’60s underground freaks. So fertile was the music scene of that period that an album of restlessly epic roadhouse suites could be released on a major label. Golden gets help on Motor-Cycle from an impeccably arranged Atlantic Records session band. They give the album a wall-of-sound heft when called for and lay the foundation, in the midst of all that brass, with a flawless, swinging rhythm team. Then, at key moments, the curtain goes up and they’ve got rows of saxes, trumpets, vibes, and churchf*ckingbells behind them . . . . [T]he emcee for this aberrant cabaret is Lotti Golden, nexus of the intemperate adventure starring a cast of sex fiends, drug addicts, and other proponents of the In The Now school of living. Motor-Cycle is exactly the sort of hazy deviant party you always hoped the late-’60s was. It plays out roughly like this: Lotti’s got a thing for this kid Michael, who “lets me ride his motorcycle.” But Michael’s truth machine was starting to breakdown, so she heads to Fay’s . . . . [The album] is that rare party record that’s got a bizarre story behind it while still being a freak-show record that you can throw on at dance parties. To make a crude comparison, it’s as if The Velvet Underground recorded for Motown. In short: debauchery with a beat. Dig it.


And, as Hubert Saal put in back in the day:

New York’s East Village, is the home of the Fillmore East, the Electric Circus, the dubious refuge for strays, of communal-living, where the hippies congregate and the summer air is heavy with the sweet smell of marijuana. It was a strange, way-out scene for pretty, 19-year-old, middle-class Lotti Golden, who lived there for eighteen months and recorded her experiences on MOTOR-CYCLE . . . . “I began to meet kids who were part of the street life . . . . They groove, like my friend Wesley, who can go to Central Park and dig the trees. I mean really dig them. . . . But Lotti discovered evil too in the East Village. “Like there would be somebody saying, ‘I’ve got this new LSQ’ and you’d take it and you’d be paralyzed.” So her songs are the saga of that drug-ridden experience, a season in hell, with Lotti sounding like a “woman wailing for her demon-lover.” Her songs are like her voice, strong, natural, honest, unflinching. . . . in Gonna Fay’s, the whole crowd searches for where the drugs are—the “tuies” (Tuinal), “secies” (Seconal), “Scag” (heroin), “snow” (cocaine). . . . Lotti, who lives uptown now, has no regrets. “I found music in buildings, in sidewalk cracks,” she says. “You get flashes of perceiving differently, of doors opening, with drugs. But drugs are only a tool. And you can’t abuse the tool. I got out when I saw a lot of my friends getting hooked. It was nowhere.”

Newsweek, July 14, 1969, https://www.tinymixtapes.com/delorean/lotti-golden-motor-cycle

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