Friday, November 06, 2009

JAN TERRI "Baby Blues"


Visiting Chicago recently I snagged an exceedingly rare copy of a CD by outsider legend Jan Terri. This Windy City native was quite the sensation a decade or so ago, as I'm sure some of you may recall: after her jaw-dropping videos started making the rounds, she released two private-press CDs, started doing shows around Chicago, opened for Marilyn Manson, and appeared on Jon Stewart's Daily Show. After setting up a website in 2001, she announced that she was working on a third album, disappeared, and hasn't been in the public eye since.

On this 1993 album, there's quite the contrast between her thin, off-key voice and the professional studio cats backing her with slick country pop and Van Halen "Jump"-esque rockers. She double-tracks her voice most of the time, but since she can't really hold a melody, there's a vaguely unsettling dissonance that runs throughout the whole album.

Still, there's some lovely stuff here - "If You Want a Divorce" has a sweetness that suggests The Shaggs growing up and facing adult issues. "Losing You," one of her video "hits," is a catchy sing-along. "Keep on Knocking" is an uncredited Little Richard rip. Other songs are downright puzzling, with the absurd "Fax My Love" (check that title!) reaching such a level of dementia that it'll either convince you of Terri's genius, or have you running screaming out of the room, hands over your ears. Or maybe both.

[UPDATE 2/24/10: Link removed by request of artist. Sorry, but just heard from a friend of Jan's that she's alive, well, and ready to launch a comeback]

1 Leanne
2 Keep on Knocking
3 Missing You (More & More)
4 I'd Like to Make It With You Babe
5 Time
6 Being Back With You
7 Fax My Love
8 Never Get You off My Mind
9 If You Want a Divorce
10 Baby Blues
11 Losing You
12 Friends

This page has both a more in-depth biography of Terri, as well as a video documentary.

We were in Chicago for a friend's wedding. Only reception I've been to where the bride herself dj-ed from her iPod. So no "We've Only Just Begun" or Kool and the Gang's "Celebrate." Instead: James Brown deep cuts, The Trogg's "I Can't Control Myself," some salsa. When my wife told dj/bride that the Cuff-Links (their early '70s bubblegum hit "Traci" was playing) and the Archies had the same lead singer, and bride replied "I know, Ron Dante!" I could only beam with pride.


-d said...

Boy howdy! I'm excited for this one....


Anonymous said...

thankyou so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

It would be great if You post here her "High Risk" casette. It's a kind of greatest hits of Jan!

Mr Fab said...

This is the only release of hers that I have, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this!! Where did you find this if you don't mind me asking? I live in Chicago.

Mr Fab said...

At the Intuit outsider art museum. I wrote about 'em here:

This was the only Jan cd I saw for sale in their book shop, but maybe they've got a stash hidden somewhere. It's worth asking. said...

Hi. I am a friend of Jan Terri's. I wanted to dispel the rumours circulating the internet that Jan died. She is very much alive and is thinking of making a comeback. Jan told me that the masters to this album were accidentally erased over and lost forever years ago. She only owns a bootleg copy herself! Please contact me as Jan and I would both love to find a copy of this and "High Risk."

sarah said...

hello, i did an interview with jan in april. she talks about her past, the assholes on the internet, and her upcoming album. great lady. listen here:

Anonymous said...

we love you Jan. More music please!!

bug said...

i love Jan Terri!!! she is a courageous and true artist. i love her music! go Jan Terri!!!