In Search of Spiritual Junkfood
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In Brief Church of Betty
In Search of Spiritual Junkfood
Ponk FOT11
Songs ©1994 by Chris Rael, arranged by Church of Betty

Chris Rael has served as producer, friend, and band matchmaker to a community of New York musicians. He has put out twenty-odd records on his own label, Fang. Among these were the first couple of Church of Betty LPs, the Mommyheads' first few LPs (including their luminary debut, Acorn, which he produced), and LPs, singles and compilations featuring Oren Bloedow, Very Pleasant Neighbor, Life in a Blender, Iconoclast, Dudley Saunders, and Brian Woodbury.

Chris is a mensch; he's also a tirelessly creative and passionate musician. One of his obsessions is Indian music, and he has lived in India for months at a time to pursue that obsession with some seriousness. Church of Betty serves as an outlet for his eastern-tinged original ideas and for his rearrangements of Indian film, folk, and classical music. (See the Najma record for a more restrained take on Baliwood arrangements.)

I played with Church of Betty for a couple of years, in which time I enjoyed a hysterical German tour, many New York club gigs, and this record. Our lineup included Joe Quigley, who also plays on the Najma and Lisa Loeb records with me, Ed Pastorini of the as-yet not­nearly­as­famous­as­it­should­be 101 Crustaceans, and Jan Kotik of too many cool projects to list, including Marc Ribot, Eliot Sharp, and all other incarnations of Church of Betty (as drummer, though he plays guitar on Junkfood).

Also see Comedy of Animals and Fruit on the Vine

Reviews From EXPOSÉ:
Take equal parts of Hindu pop/folk music and a mix of western rock, psychedelic pop and even a little jazz and avant-garde thrown in for good measure, add some mildly outrageous lyrics with vocals to match and you're probably in the ballpark. Some Beefheart influence as well? At least some of the good Captain's attitude is here, for certain. In all, though, for all its quirkiness, it's one that keeps beckoning for repeated listenings.
From Sound Views (Subterranean Music & Culture):
The Eastern intrigue, irreverent attitude and psychedelic framework should all cry out, 'novelty!,' but this level of musicianship is too high for that kind of dismissal. Very much like Zappa's reconstructed jazz, except the sarcasm has been replaced with sympathetic irony. This record is not joking, and it issues a very serious challenge to all other purveyors of psychedelia.

The official Church of Betty web site will lead you to ordering information for this and other Church of Betty recordings.

©1997,1999 Jonathan Feinberg Last modified on November 25, 1999.