Band members Related acts
line up 1 ()
- Peter Ivers (RIP 1983) -- vocals, harmonica, keyboards
backing musicians (1974)
- Ben Benay -- guitar
- Alice Deburh -- drums, percussion
- Marty Krystall -- sax
- Paul Lenart -- guitar
- Sherlie Matthews -- backing vocals
- Marti McCall -- backing vocals
- Buell Neidlinger -- bass
- Lisa Roberts -- backing vocals
- Dean Rod -- backing vocals
- Jackie Ward -- backing vocals
- Andra Willis -- backing vocals
backing musicians (1976)
- Rusty Buchanan -- backing vocals
- David Neuman -- backing vocals
- Steve Poccaro -- keyboards
- Waddy Wachtel -- guitar
- Wanda Walkins -- backing vocals
- Willie Weeks -- bass
- Art Wood -- drums, percussion
- Gary Wright -- synthesizers, Moog bass, backing vocals
- Lorna Wright -- backing vocals
backing musicians (1978)
- Brad Berg -- keyboards
- Barbara Deutsch -- backing vocals
- Jeff Eyrich -- bass
- Richard Greene -- electric violin
- Ed Greenspan -- keyboards
- Buddy Helm -- percussion
- Warren Klein -- guitar
- Van Dyke Parks -- keyboards
- Derek Viverretta -- backing vocals
- Art Wood -- drums, percussion
backing musicians (1981)
- Bud Byrnes -- guitar
- Rob Miller -- keyboards
- Tequila Mockingbird -- backing vocals
- Jim Snodgress -- drums, percussion
- Derek Viverretta -- backing vocals
- The Beacon Street Union (Peter Ivers)
- The Peter Ivers Band
Genre: new wave
Rating: 3 stars ****
Title: Nirvana Peter
Company: Warner Brothers
Country/State: Boston, Massachusetts
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: promo stamp on cover
Catalog ID: 3276
If you're looking at this review, or thinking of buying this album, you already know what you're getting into. Depending on your perspective, Peter Ivers' catalog is either "charming and magical", or "irritating and unlistenable". I'm certainly no Ivers scholar, but remember, this is a guy who was seemingly liked by everyone who knew him, but also the guy who opened up for a Fleetwood Mac performance at Hollywood's Universal Amphitheatre in a diaper and was promptly booed off the stage ...
Somewhat ghoulishly released following Ivers' tragic March,1983 homicide, "Nirvana Peter" was a compilation of material from his two earlier Warner Brothers releases and other odds and ends. Looking at the track listing, there were two songs from 1974's "Terminal Love"; two from "Peter Ivers", four selections from his New Wave Theatre Vitamin Pink Fantasy Revue television project, and four selections from his 1978 stage show "Nirvana Cuba". I'm not even going to try to convince you this was a masterpiece. It's very much a timepiece capturing a moment of new wave freedom where artists seemingly had an indescribable amount of freedom to try out new, non-commercial avenues. That made Ivers an acquired taste. On tracks like 'Alpha Centauri', 'Happy On the Grill' and 'My Dissonant Mother' he was really quirky, if not just straight out weird. At the same time, on songs like 'Miraculous Weekend' and 'Eighteen and Dreaming' (the latter even released as a single), his normally elfin voice could display an unexpectedly commercial edge. How to compare him to ? Maybe imagine a less ominous, less atonal, and more mainstream version of James White and the Contortions ...
Peter" track listing:
1.) Alpha Centauri (Peter Ivers) - rating: *** stars
Lifted from 1974's "Terminal Love", where do you even start with respect to a song like 'Alpha Centauri'? A younger, stranger Captain Beefheart? Small time science fiction writer ends up in your local mental ward ? I gave it an extra star for just being so weird. Gawd only knows why, but Warner Brothers actually released a promotional video for the song. They apparently spent about $5.00 on it, but then I guess its the thought that counts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iJz2koDE3E
2.) Miraculous Weekend (Peter Ivers) - rating: **** stars
'Miraculous Weekend' was one four songs from his "Nirvana Cuba" stage show. Hearing Ivers actually singing a pop song has always been a strange experience. Yeah, 'Miraculous Weekend' sounded a bit like a candy jingle being sung by some drunk guy in a Holiday Inn lounge, but it was catchy. On the other hand, I can't help but feel like the joke's on me.
3.) Eighteen and Dreaming (Peter Ivers) - rating: *** stars
Drawn from the "Peter Ivers" LP, 'Eighteen and Dreaming' demonstrated Ivers could actually write something with a recognizable melody and conventional lyric. It also demonstrated he could sing in a fairly conventional style, though the reggae arrangement wasn't the most original concept you've come across. Warner Brothers actually released it as a single:
- 1976's 'Eighteen and Dreaming' b/w 'Peter' (Warner Brothers catalog number WBS 8287)
4.) Even Stephen Foster (Peter Ivers) - 2:26 rating: **** stars
'Even Stephen Foster' was a track from "Terminal Love". It was also one of the album's surprises. I actually owned "Terminal Love" (picked it up at a yard sale for a buck and after a couple of spins sold it) and can remember actually skipping this track. Here I am some twenty years later and Ivers "little boy" vocals aren't as cloying: in fact II find the song at least mildly entertaining.
5.) Happy On the Grill (Peter Ivers) - 2:19 rating: *** stars
Another "Nirvana Cuba" track, 'Happy On the Grill' was an easy-go-lucky melody with some of the goofiest lyrics you'll ever hear "I'm a little hotdog on the grill ...". Shame it was recorded with effects that made Ivers sound like he was singing from the bottom of a coal mine.
6.) Peter and the Wolfes (Peter Ivers) -2:54 rating: *** stars
With a bouncy melody and a nod to Lou Reed, 'Peter and the Wolfes' (the name of a New York city niteclub), served as an autobiographical look back at his days playing the New York club scene. I wonder if Ivers realized not every song had to have a harmonica solo .... Off of "Peter Ivers".
1.) Love Is a Jungle (Peter Ivers) - 3:02 rating: *** stars
Another "Nirvana Cuba" track ,'Love Is a Jungle' was a surprise in hearing Ivers playing it relatively straight; crafting a song with a recognizable melody and delivering a vocal that was actually radio friendly. It's always reminded me a bit of something Marc Bolan might have recorded.
2.) I've Got a Sex Crush (Peter Ivers) - 2:58 rating: *** stars
A Vitamin Pink effort. While I'm a sucker for that '60s Farfisa organ sound, there's something disconcerting about the jaunty, Broadway-ish 'I've Got a Sex Crush'. Easy to imagine this one being played at late-'70s clubs prior to the advent of various life threatening STDs. It's kind of like watching an oncoming train wreck.
3.) Saigon Rainstorm (Peter Ivers) - 4:36 rating: *** stars
Another Vitamin Pink song, 'Saigon Rainstorm' was a keeper for the rock edge and the interesting lyric. Once again, Ivers harmonica solo wasn't an essential addition to the arrangement.
4.) My Dissonant Mother (Peter Ivers) - 3:39 rating: **** stars
Ivers at his most new wave-ish and energetic. Wonder how many folks can identify with the tune ... Would have made a great suite had it been coupled with 'My Grandmother's Funeral'.
5.) Free the Funk (Peter Ivers) - rating: **** stars
Another "Nirvana Cuba" composition and a nice example of truth in advertising. Not hard to imagine The Clash doing a cover of this one. Somewhat ironic that guys like Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars made millions with 'Uptown Funk' while this one's apparently doomed to eternal obscurity.
6.) Hamonica Solo (instrumental) (Peter Ivers) - rating: * star
Well, that was a great idea - closing the album with a seemingly endless Ivers harmonica solo ... Need more cowbell. The liner notes say the track was pulled from 1981's "Models Have Bodies" video.
There are a couple of website dedicated to Ivers: Among them, https://www.peterivers.com/
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