Originally a quartet, the Figgs hailed from Saratoga, about a half hour from the Capital District. Ginger was the first of two precursors to their 1994, proper debut album, Low-Fi At Society High on Imago Records, (the second being Ready, Steady, Stoned which I'll get to in a moment). Ginger featured the songwriting contributions of three Figgs, specifically Pete Donnely, Mike Gent, and to a lesser extent Guy Lyons who would depart the band by the late '90s. The tape begins with "Bitch Theme," truthfully, a less than representative instrumental spliced together with a miscellaneous foreign radio/tv broadcast of some sort. Two and a half minutes later, the first bona-fide song, "Kristy McNichol's Boots" kicks in, a Gent-penned number that sold me on the band immediately as a fan for life, with it's seemingly simple refrain of:
Why don't you quit your bitchin?
Use your credit cards, the bills are in the kitchen
The kids are in the yard
And you blow your mind...
More like blew my mind. "Boots" leads into an equally stunning and vigorous slice of power-pop, the Donnelly commandeered "Sleaze." By and large the remainder of Ginger holds up just as effectively. "Happy," another best song contender, leading off side two, was also issued on a 7" single from the same period, with a Green Pajamas cover on the flipside, "My Mad Kitty." "Wasted Pretty," as some of you might already be aware, crash-landed at Society High in a rerecorded incarnation.
With perhaps the exception of the oddball intro track, Ginger is remarkable, suggesting an ever so slight wink and a nod to Elvis Costello and The Replacements, completely uncontrived and hardly derivative. As you can tell from the scan, the tape was limited to 500 copies, mine being # 300 - even steven, and for the record, a total coincidence. Ginger was promptly followed up with another album-length tape in 1993, Ready, Steady, Stoned, reissued ten years later on CD with a ton of bonus tracks, which you can and should buy from the Figgs web store. According to the discography on the Figgs Myspace page, there is another unreleased home-grown album from this era, Waiting For The Bugasauras, that I'd probably trade a left nut for. If only it were that easy.
01. Bitch Theme
02. Kristy McNichol's Boots
05. Milk Dud
07. Pretty Wasted
08. Can't Be Cloned
10. Treble Head
Believe it or not, it's been reissued