The US Times

11 June 2008

WOW! Everything finally lined up just right and after 26 years of looking for the band, the US Times, I have finally struck gold!

The US Times had an album, “Wanna Go to London”, with two songs that seemed to get a good rotation on WPRG in Baton Rouge, LA, US (now known as KLSU, the excellent LSU college station) sometime in 1982: “Wanna Go to London” and “I’m an Actor”. Unfortunately, I never saw them live. Oh, well. Those were the only songs I’ve heard from the album, that I know of.
 

They got enough airplay for me to remember some of the music and lyrics over the course of 26 years, slowly fading, fading, until today. Nothing in used record stores; in 1995, I began searching on the internet for it, maybe searching every year or two. At some point, about 1994, I spoke with my old high school friend, who is now married to Don, the original bass player, but somehow didn’t put two and two together.  The internet grew and grew, the new music revolution was on and still I couldn’t find anything on the US Times.

About a year ago, I found a couple of good posts tucked into discussion groups, one of them at Dash Rip Rock’s site, with some info about the US Times. It was interesting to find, but still no sign of an album or tape to buy. Nothing on eBay, Amazon, eMusic, iTunes, etc.

Until today, when I found it on playlist. So fabulous, better than I remembered. And it’s dreamier still because it has the scratchy album sounds. Sigh…

Baton Rouge had a super-cool punk/new wave movement of local bands in the late 70’s and early 80’s, which was substantially encouraged by the Sex Pistols tour in 1978. Bands like the Shit Dogs and the Pigs have been cited among the local influences on this movement, and the fabulous Carlotta St. Parties, particularly at Halloween. The State Street/Chimes Street area just outside the LSU gates held the hotbed of clubs like The Chimes and The Bayou which hosted memorable shows.

Lead singer Gino Luti belts out with seriously cool inflections. I adore his voice in these tunes. With Don Snaith (aka “Snake”) thumpin’ out the bass grooves, Hans van Brackle rocks on guitar and currently provides the “classic edge” with the cover band Legendary Rhythm Bandits, and Buddy Bowers on the skins.

The tune “Wanna Go to London” is punky and energetic, while “I’m an Actor” seems to pick up more of a funky r&b groove. These are both really fun songs with delightfully simple progressions and subtly clever lyrics. FUN, did I mention FUN? I can’t help but groove when I hear them.

There is a recent rendition of the song “Wanna Go to London” by the band Jonny Was, featuring Shane West. Haven’t heard that, but would be interested in taking a listen.

Do you remember the US Times from Baton Rouge? Do you have any copies or recordings that you would like to share with this desperate listener? Post a comment if you do.

Click the atomic particle below to listen on playlist. A new window will open. Ouch, it’s gone! Easy come, easy go.

Listen to the US Times

If you have a better update than this, please post them in a comment!  [Words in brackets like this ] signify a phonetic guess. If you look around the internet, you can find a lame version of “Wanna Go to London”, presumably based on the Jonny Was release of the same song. They probably did change some of the lyrics slightly from the original, but the lyrics listed below are closest to the original lyrics of the 1982 release.

ENJOY

 

********************************************
Wanna Go to London Lyrics
********************************************

I wanna have a bloody good time
Get drunk on English stout
[Finally meet a queen so mean]

I want
I want
I want
I want
I wanna go to London
Now can I go to London?
Now will I go to London?
So leave me London England

Show me ’round your sleepy town
Where Holmes and Watson lurked
Is there still a Baskerville?

I want
I want
I want
I want
I wanna go to London
Now can I go to London?
Now will I go to London?
So leave me London England

The girls all talk so sexy
The guys are fuckin’ trash
And everybody’s proud to be
Of the working class
WORK
WORK
WORK
WORK

I don’t love it so I’ll leave it
I’ll go to Liverpool
Muswell Hill, Soho, Brighton

I want
I want
I want
I want
I wanna go to London
Now can I go to London?
Now will I go to London?
So leave me London England

I want to see the home of Hitchcock
And where a buzz bomb hit
If I don’t go I’ll be undone

If I
If I
If I
If I
If I don’t go to London
My life would be undone
If I don’t go to London
Well, my life would be no fun
THIS IS NO FUN

WORK
WORK
WORK
WORK

Not Jamaica, not Paree
[Not gonna go to] Waikiki
Not to Egypt or Japan

********************************
I’m an Actor Lyrics
********************************

They got places
For people like me
They got ideas
For what I can be
To set me back
On the right track
For I might need
Something I lack

I might fake it
As a matter of fact
I’ve been fakin’
Puttin’ on an act

I’m an actor
Not in movies
I’m an actor
Not Broadway
I’m an actor
I’m acting normal
I act okay

[If I get one
Livin’] like you
There’d be no choice
As to what to do
So I’m faking
I’m imitating
May not be real
But it’s still me
I do what I like
Keep it legal
And when it’s not
I keep it cool

I’m an actor
Not in movies
I’m an actor
Not Broadway-yay-eeeeee
I’m an actor
I’m acting normal
I act okay

Well, if I acted
The way that I felt
They’d put me away
For my own health
So I act fine
I don’t speak my mind
It’s not that hard
Once you get the hang
Stifle yourself
Don’t react rash
Nothing is
Important as

I’m an actor
Not in movies
I’m an actor
This ain’t Broadway-yay-eeeeee
I’m an actor
I’m acting normal
I act okay

[horn/guitar solos]

I smoke cigarettes
I’ve got housepets
I read the newspaper
I mow my grass
I change my oil
I change my clothes
I love my girl
I pay for it
I lost a job
I try to act not like a slob
I pull it off
I seem okay
So now they can’t put me away
I’m such a good actor
I act naturally
I act casual
I act comfortable in awkward situations

I’m an actor
Baby, baby look at me
I’m an actor
All the world’s a stage to me
I’m an actor
I’m as real as I can be
I’m an actor