The Greatest Record Never Made.

The Greatest Record Never Made.

Dolly Mixture. Everything about this band was perfect, including their name. They played punk rock in the '70s and early '80s with a pop feel, pop music like from the era of rock'n'roll, the '50s and '60s. I know, right? Also they look like the punk rockers we know, similar haircuts and style of dress. Their names are Hester, Rachel and Debsey; again, perfect. A knowing air with a provincial feel, sincere hard and soft at the same time. It just keeps getting better and better.

Dolly Mixture released four 7" 45rpm phonograph records in the course of their 1978 to 1984 existence. This is "par for the course" at that time. Typically underground bands might release a single a year. Except Dolly Mixture were not an underground band. They lived in England where things can move fast, leading to a shot at releasing a record on a Major Label. In a stunning reversal of the usual punk rock major label break down, instead of making a few cool records and then going "Major" with a stilted and uninspired platter that  sinks like a stone, killing all interest in the artist in question, Dolly Mixture released their first tentative 45rpm on a Major Label and then released a series of three 45rpms of pop perfection on independent labels. And then they broke up. So bogus. But so punk rock!

Based solely on those four singles Dolly Mixture would be remembered as a ver cool pop punk combo possibly in the same league as The Buzzcocks or Undertones, if only they'd had a chance to stretch their legs and prove their pop power with an album or something.

But wait. On their way out the door Dolly Mixture gathered up all the assorted demo tapes they'd recorded over the intervening years and released a double album on their own Dead Good Dolly Platters record label. Almost as an after thought. For posterity's sake, you know? Fuck. Dolly Mixture, Demonstration Tapes is the Best Record Never Made. Every one of it's 27 recordings is your New Favorite Song.

But don't take my word for it. Let's consult an expert on favorite pop songs, someone who has written several of them herself, K Recording Artist Lois. It was she who first introduced me to the wonder of Dolly Mixture, back in the mid-'80s. Here's how SHE first got hip to the Dolly Mixture scene. Let's take it back to spring, 1984:

"The Three O'Clock played the Tropicana in Olympia and they were from L.A. so they had a manager. The manager took a shine to our friend Ginni and said he had a good record for her to play on her all-girl radio show on KAOS-FM. He said he would send it to her. A few months of suspicious doubt as to his honesty and intentions [well founded it turned out, but that's a diff story - ED.] went by, and lo and behold a cassette tape arrived. Ginni let us in on it. The Dolly Mixture Demonstration Tapes. The recording sounded like the tape player caught the music coming from two rooms away. No one cared! It was the coolest sounding thing to cross our ears waves (in very ear-crowded circumstances!) I, for one, was obsessed. And in my obsession I formed an imaginary pact with everyone I knew that they COULDN'T buy or possess this record before I did. I told everyone to be on the lookout. And one day (in Portland, Oregon, 1985) my elegant housemate Robert shimmered into the kitchen and said, 'I found IT at the record shop by the Library. Don't worry, I hid IT in the "Space Jazz" section so no one would see IT before you got there.' I got there. I don't have a record I've played more."

So you see, Dolly Mixture "only" released four singles, but the pleasure they have bestowed upon the initiated, and the influence they have wrought lives on in so many ways. Fortunately for you who may not have acquired any of their music previously and for those who have completely worn out the copies they've sequestered away, Dolly Mixture, Demonstration Tapes has been reissued in it's double LP format by the kind folks at SPA Green Records. It is currently available via The K Mail Order Dept., but for how long? Not very.

Read an interview with Debsey of Dolly Mixture by Gail O'Hara of Chickfactor magazine HERE.

Dolly Mixture. What the WTF.