Lucia Pamela, Into Outer Space with Lucia Pamela

Irwin Chusid

By Irwin Chusid

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Lucia Pamela — Miss St. Louis, 1926 — is the shortest distance between Sun Ra and the Shaggs. She insisted that this 1969 album was recorded on the moon ("The air is different up there"), and only cynics would challenge the claim. Lucia (1904?-2002) played all instruments in half-a-beat-short overdubs; jaunty piano collides with untamed clarinet, which jockeys for airspace against daredevil percussion. Atop this cataclysmic racket Lucia hollers, growls, and stutters her cotton candy lyrics like a giddy Ethel Merman. The mix is drenched in reverb, VU meters pinned dead red. Imagine a peyote-soaked klezmer band, recorded with Joe Meek passed out at the console, wavering on your turntable between 31 and 35 rpm. Spirited and energetic, with no inhibition, Lucia is truly kooky — less schmaltzy than Mrs. Miller, wilder than Leona Anderson, more rockin'than Florence Foster Jenkins. Adults will like it. Children will adore it. And extra-terrestrials will feel right at home.