pere-ubu -trouble-on-big-beat-street ART Trouble On Big Beat Street
Vinyl Release
  • Love Is Like Gravity
  • Moss Covered Boondoggle
  • Crocodile Smile
  • Movie In My Head
  • Nyah Nyah Nyah
  • Worried Man Blues
  • Let's Pretend
  • Satan's Hamster
  • Crazy Horses
  • Uh Oh

CD Release
  • Love Is Like Gravity
  • Moss Covered Boondoggle
  • Crocodile Smile
  • Movie In My Head
  • Nyah Nyah Nyah
  • Worried Man Blues
  • Let's Pretend
  • Satan's Hamster
  • Crazy Horses
  • Uh Oh
  • 76 BPM
  • Pidgin Music
  • Nothin But A Pimp
  • Sleep
  • From Adam
  • I Don't Get It
  • Goodnight



Pere Ubu
Trouble On Big Beat Street

Released May 26 2023
Produced engineered and mixed by David Thomas.

Cherry Red Records
CDBRED882 cd
BRED882 vinyl lp

Press Release

Are you ready for Trouble? Get ready. The new album from Pere Ubu is like nothing heard before. Nope - not even a Pere Ubu album. You can preorder it by hitting this link.

Pere Ubu unveil a new album, 'Trouble On Big Beat Street,' nearly four years after the previous record for Cherry Red Records, 'The Long Goodbye,'

'The Modern Dance (1978) marked the end of Rock 'n' Roll. 'Trouble On Big Beat Street' marks the end of The Song. Pere Ubu ended with 'The Long Goodbye' (2019). Pere Ubu begins again with 'Trouble On Big Beat Street.' If you missed the last 48 years then imagine a bad-attitude. Imagine Electric Light Orchestra - the version with Roy Wood - then add Muddy Waters on guitar and Nina Simone singing.

'Trouble On Big Beat Street,' the 19th Pere Ubu studio album. David Thomas produced, mixed, and engineered it. The vinyl release is ten tracks. The cd release includes all 17 tracks recorded during the sessions. Those extra seven tracks were too good to lose but took up too much time to fit on a vinyl release.

Pere Ubu is David Thomas, Keith Moliné, Gagarin, Alex Ward, Andy Diagram, Michele Temple and Jack Jones. Keith Moliné and Andy Diagram are the two pale boys. They've played with David more than 28 years. Electronica artist Gagarin was soundman for the two pale boys. Michele Temple has been in Pere Ubu 30 years. Improviser and life-long fan Alex Ward submitted a cover version of a David Thomas song to the band's live-streaming show. David invited him to join the band. David met Jack Jones in the pub.

"53 years ago I read about 'Song Cycle' by Van Dyke Parks," says David Thomas. "I didn’t understand what I read but it changed me. Years later I heard the album. This, finally, is my response to hearing to that album. Long ago I determined that a song is best the first time it's played. There's nothing that can go wrong or be inadequate. Repetition allows for error to exist. These songs have been played by the band one time, as they were recorded."

Ubu World, these days, includes a live-streaming internet show (DPK-TV), an 'official bootlegs' site, and, coming in February, David's monthly radio show, on Louder Than War Radio (LTW Radio) called Stay Sick , Turn Blue.

The album will be played live on June 2 at RichMix in Bethnal Green, London. Here is the ticket link. Further dates to be announced.

Release Notes

Produced, mixed & engineered by David Thomas.
Mastered by Nick Watson, Fluid Mastering, London.
Album artwork & design by Kiersty Boon.
Typography & layout by John Thompson.
Dedicated to Lynne Thomas.

All songs published by Cherry Red Songs, under exclusive licence from Hearpen Music except Crazy Horses (Osmond – Osmond – Osmond), Warner Chappell North America Ltd.

Love Is Like Gravity, Crocodile Smile. Worried Man Blues, Let's Pretend, Sleep and I Don't Get It by Thomas - Gagarin - Moliné - Ward - Diagram - Temple. Moss Covered Boondoggle, Nyah Nyah Nyah, 76 BPM, Nothin But A Pimp. From Adam and Goodnight by Thomas - Gagarin - Moliné - Ward - Diagram. Movie In My Head and Uh Oh by Thomas- Gagarin - Moliné - Ward. Satan's Hamster by Thomas - Gagarin - Moliné - Ward - Temple. Pidgin Music by Thomas - Gagarin.

Production Notes

Note from David Thomas:
Seventeen songs were recorded for this album. With the exception of Crazy Horses, which was assembled, none of them were played by the band more than once. "A song is best the first time it's played. There is no right or wrong. Only later does Error enter the frame.' (David Thomas, 1992) There was room on vinyl for ten songs. It was difficult choosing. With five minutes left before delivery, Nothin But A Pimp was replaced by Satan's Hamster, for example. Considering the cost of double vinyl and the disaster of the Lee Michaels(?) double lp release in the late 60s, I nixed that idea. (Forgetting, of course, Trout Mask Replica.) Against my better judgment, I was persuaded to include all seventeen songs on the cd release, knowing that there will listeners exhausted by album's length - a lesson learned in the 80s.

Press Reaction

Record Collector 8/10
"This is the sound of a group re-fired, re-blooded, reshaped, reinvigorated."

Prog Magazine 4*
"Trouble On Big Beat Street sees David Thomas and group continue to push the barriers almost 50 years deep into their career. Their first take approach keeps things spontaneous and edgy, making for thrilling, beguiling and disturbing music with a demented cover of the Osmonds’ Crazy Horses to boot."

"The band retain their outrageous indifference to the mainstream."

Aaron Badgley, Editor, Pick Spill Magazine.
"This is an incredible piece of art, full of original sounds and songs. It is an album of its time and is very important."

Sean Kitching, Quietus.
"It’s especially noticeable on the stunning opening track ‘Love Is Like Gravity’, which when I first heard it provided an immediate shot of euphoria, as well as an eager anticipation of a slightly different road this Ubu album might be taking."

Patrick Bruneel, Luminous Dash (Belgium)
"They are no longer youngsters, but that does not mean that Thomas has nothing to say anymore. In the meantime, nothing remains of the original line-up. It has changed frequently over the decades and remains so to this day."

Edoardo Bridda, Sentire a Scoltare (Italy)
"If this is Judgment Day, there could be no better soundtrack."

Ralf W, White Room Reviews (NL)
"Jazz, blues, indie and much more come together here, to let the listener experience this almost tripping on a flying carpet."

Greil Marcus, Real Life Rock Top 10: May 2023:
"With a noir cover that could have been taken from unused footage from Odds Against Tomorrow and a title from a noir film that might have been a classic if anyone had ever made it, nearly fifty years down the line Pere Ubu—Keith Moliné, guitar, Gagarin, synthesizer, Alex Ward, guitar and clarinet, Andy Diagram, trumpet, Michele Temple, bass, Jack Jones, theremin, David Thomas, singing—is still making sounds you can’t fix. On the first track here, “Love Is Like Gravity,” what are those scratchy noises, and how do they make a melody so insinuating it carries through the whole song without resolving itself? Everything here is a question the musicians don’t bother to answer, because, in Manny Farber’s words, art that “feels its way through walls of particularization” isn’t a question, but an activity, or a life’s work.
"In the middle of the album there’s an epic — a long, strangled, loving version of “Worried Man Blues.” The template recording was made by the Carter Family in 1930. Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston recorded it in 1944. In 1954 Junior Parker and Sam Phillips recast parts of it as “Mystery Train,” and a year after that Elvis Presley climbed on. Van Morrison sings it on his new Moving On Skiffle. But Blind Lemon Jefferson recorded a version in the 1920s, and pieces appear on Charley Patton recordings as common coin, making it certain that the song existed as in fragments back into the 19th century.
The train is sixteen coaches long, or twenty-one. Someone lays down by a river and wakes up in chains. What did they do? What’s their crime? The song never says, but the sentence is twenty-one years, or twenty-nine, on the RC Mountain Line, the Rocky Mountain Line, or for Pere Ubu the Soda Mountain Line. Thomas draws it out. He sings it as someone who’s proud to address himself to a song that’s already outlived him, to leave a mark on it, for it to leave a mark on him.

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More reviews:

Before that, there’s a story, spoken-word. Old suspense music swells up. Thomas’s voice is crinkled and distant, like someone on a transcription of a radio play from the 1940s. He’s in Clarksdale, Mississippi. At one point, he pulls up to the drive-through window of the Popeyes; adventures ensue.
But he’s come in where Highway 49 cuts Highway 61: “the crossroads,” he says to himself as his own tour guide, “of blues legend. Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil. Pablo Picasso never sold his soul to the devil,” Thomas says, waving across the continent to Jonathan Richman in California, who with the Modern Lovers recorded his “Pablo Picasso” in 1972 (“Some people try to pick up girls and get called assholes / This never happened to Pablo Picasso”), who once had albums on Sire, Warner Bros., Rounder, and now tries to find people to listen to him on Bandcamp. “But for a black guy in the delta,” Thomas goes on, in as definitive a statement on the permanence of the division between high art and low art as can be found anywhere else, “guess that’s gotta be the explanation.”
"Pere Ubu's debut The Modern Dance has just turned 45, a fearless unique conflation of quest garage rock and primitive electronics - so what can we reasonably expect from their nineteenth LP with only frontman David Thomas left among the founders? From the opening paid Love Is Like Gravity and Moss Covered Boondoggle in, Trouble... is thrillingly fresh-fractured and pulsing, gnarly and tender, whilst Thomas' cackle and warble is undiminished. There's also a sense of going full circle in Thomas and Andy Diagram's respective recreation of Allen Ravenstine's synthesiser static and saxophone trails. Worried Man Blues is another wayward travelogue that namecheck Robert Johnson, Pable Picasso and Robert Zimmerman, while the joker in the pack, a cover of The Osmonds' Crazy Horses, sums up Thomas' singular temperament: once crazy horse snorting and stomping though Ubu's inspired scenes." -- Martin Aston, Mojo, ****

"... This is a fine fine album, and excellent songs, lots of songs and that was a first proper listen, there’s certainly a need to go back again and where does this stand next to other Peru Ubu album? Does that matter? Trouble On Big Beat Street sounds as rewarding as any I’ve heard, I can’t claim to have heard them all, it sounds just like you’d want a Peru Ubu album to sound in 2023, it sounds like they still need to challenge both themselves and us as listeners, like they need to challenge their songs and these are songs, they might not be conventional songs but when was anything ever conventional with Peru Ubu?... Not sure if it will be the actual album of the year, when the time comes for those end of years lists, it might well be a big part of the part of the debate though." -- Sean Worrall, The Organ "'Love Is Like Gravity' bursts with ideas, melody and invention; 'Nyah Nyah Nyah' is as wonderfully obnoxious as the title suggests, and... the presence of wide-eyed improviser Alex Ward gives Thomas the perfect foil." - Jack Milner, Uncut