I was thrilled last week when I noticed that an influential, but still pretty obscure musician by the name of Judy Nylon made a few comments on Paul Gallagher’s post about beatnik artist Vali Myers. (Blondie’s Chris Stein chimed in, too.) I’ve long been a fan of her punk duo Snatch, formed in the mid-70s with Patti Palladin, and I thought it was pretty cool that Judy (not to mention Chris Stein, of course!) reads Dangerous Minds.
Here’s an expanded version of a post I did about Snatch from six years ago.
Even the most hardcore rock snob has probably never heard of Snatch. If they have it’s usually in connection with Brian Eno, who they recorded an amazing song about the Red Army Faction with in 1978 (“R.A.F.” was the b-side of the “King’s Lead Hat” single). I discovered them when the elaborate picture sleeve of “All I Want” jumped out at me as I flipped through a well-curated box of 45s at my friend Nate Cimmino’s apartment in the East Village in the mid-1980s. The cover, scuffed and reproduced poorly here, was really something, gold-gilded text and faux silk portraits of hottie punkettes Patti Palladin on one side and Judy Nylon on the other. “They sound like The Shangri-las if they’d have been crack smokers, I think you’ll really like them!” he said.
Nate certainly knew my taste in music! I promptly spent the next few years searching in vain for their ultra rare records. Eventually I found them all. And they’re on the Internet now, of course, so you can check them out for yourself. There is not a whole lot written about them that I can find. They were two ex-pat American girls living in London and Greg Shaw of Bomp Records released their first single in 1976. They recorded sporadically until 1980 and released one compilation album in 1983.
Judy Nylon moved to London in 1970 and was a part of the orbits of both Roxy Music and the Sex Pistols. She was pals with Chrissie Hynde and John Cale and probably was Brian Eno’s girlfriend at some point (I think we can safely assume that “Back in Judy’s Jungle” is about her, possibly even about her snatch), and went on to make an album in 1982 with Adrian Sherwood and members of the New Age Steppers called Pal Judy. Patti Palladin worked with the Flying Lizards and later recorded an incredible album of cover song duets with ex-New York Doll Johnny Thunders titled Copy Cats. It’s one of my top favorite albums of all time and some of the very best music Thunders ever made.
Judy Nylon is also credited by Eno as helping him accidentally “discover” ambient music:
“My friend Judy Nylon visited me and brought me a record of eighteenth-century harp music. After she had gone, and with some considerable difficulty, I put on the record [Eno had just been released from the hospital and was bedridden]. Having laid down, I realized that the amplifier was set at an extremely low level, and that one channel of the stereo had failed completely. Since I hadn’t the energy to get up and improve matters, the record played on almost inaudibly. This presented what was for me a new way of hearing music—as part of the ambience of the environment just as the color of the light and the sound of the rain were parts of that ambience. It is for this reason that I suggest listening to my pieces at comparatively low levels, even to the extent that it frequently falls below the threshold of audibility.”
Snatch galore (get it?) after the jump…