Monday, November 26, 2012

The Balancing Act - New Campfire Songs ep (1986, Primitive Man/I.R.S.)

I'm not sure if I "get" what The Balancing Act were all about, or even if I was meant to get them.  At any rate, I'm sharing their first record which was appended to the CD version of the Three Squares and a Roof album.  Three Squares is available on iTunes and all the usual suspects, but somehow this ep failed to carry over.  Produced by none other than Peter Case, New Campfire Songs acoustic, earthy tones mesh well with TBA's folk rock tendencies and wry, but unpretentious songwriting.  A shoo-in for college radio playlists back in the day I'm sure.  Signposts point to the likes of Camper Van Beethoven, Senator Flux and occasionally the Violent Femmes.  Here is what Trouser Press had to say about this disk:

This semi-electric LA rock quartet is earnest enough on its Peter Case-produced debut EP but, with the exception of "Wonderful World Tonight," a likable and evocative update of the "Goin' Up the Country" ethos, none of these half dozen New Campfire Songs is likely to show up alongside "Blowin' in the Wind" at the next weenie roast. Give the Balancing Act credit for a unique blend of acoustic and electric elements, though. Also, they've got a melodica, and they know how to use it!

01. Wonderful World Tonight
02. Who Got the Pearls?
03. A T.V. Guide in the Olduvai Gorge
04. A Girl, Her Sister, and a Train
05. The Neighborhood Phrenologist
06. Zig Zag Wanderer



eric said...

I think it was an ad in Rolling Stone that made me pick up the "Three Squares..." LP , and I later bought the "Curtains" CD, and I guess I've been looking for this EP for for close to 25 years. Not sure I ever really "got" these guys, either. I sure wasn't as wild about them as some people seemed to be way back when, though I have to say that "Learning How To Cheat," from "Curtains," is one of my all-time favorite songs. I'm so happy that I'm finally going to get to hear this damned thing! Thanks a bunch for this and all the other goodness that shows up on this blog.

spavid said...

Glad I could be of service. Almost passed this up at a record show earlier this year, and I'm thankful that I didn't.

JohnnyHank said...

I have no recollection of how I found out about them, but I loved The Balancing Act back in the 80's! There was always a Balancing Act song on my mix tapes.
They reunited for a show in 2011, unfortunately about 2,000 miles from where I live.

themilkcrate said...

Saw them in December '88 opening for They Might Be Giants and picked up this EP shortly thereafter. Hadn't heard it in a long time and dug it up last month. Great stuff - really fun to revisit.

Unknown said...

It's been eons, but you could you reup this. I found this group when some store was closing down in the early 90's, They had a bunch of cassette tapes on sale for $.10 each, so I grabbed a few. Was introduced to Young Fresh Fellows, Reckless Sleepers and these guys. They were definitely different, but I think that's what made it fun.

Stefano said...

Can you reup this?
Thank you

Bruce Brodeen said...

Nice find! I remember reading about this one in OPTION magazine I think and tracking down.

I interned at Primitive Man/IRS in 1988 and there was a fury of cool releases that the Primitive Man imprint was working on that year(my favorite was both of the releases from old friends from Ohio college days, The Bears/The Raisins), including "Curtains", which for my ears, was their strongest. There was a bit of a buzz on them in LA the year before but it never quite caught fire. Always tough to pin down the sound of the band - for fans and industry folks, I'd guess - always had their own thing going(to their credit).