Now, I have no idea whatsoever who Babylon Dance Band are, or how they fit into any kind of lineage of music. I’d never heard of them before receiving that pile of records in the mail, and I’ve never heard of them since. Let’s look at the evidence available on the back of this record’s sleeve, and a bit of internet research, to try and piece together some information:
- The record is released on Trash Flow Records, which was based in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Very little information out there on this label. It seems they also released singles by Seam, King Kong and Love Child, if those names mean anything to you. However! The label owner seems to have been a fellow called Ken, who also ran a radio show called Trash Flow Radio, as well as writing gig reviews. Possibly he still does? (For your information, trashflow.com will introduce you to ‘the first Trash Hauling Software to be available for Windows’).
- The photograph on the cover is of 1069 Bardstown Road.
Where is this road? Is it in Louisville, Kentucky, where the tracks were recorded? If so – that address is now the location of a Taco Bell. But, more importantly, it was previously the site of ‘Louisville’s first “Punk house”‘, where Babylon Dance Band first met! I like how this story is coming together.
- The tracks were recorded at Mom’s Recording Studio, Louisville.
This studio still seems active. They don’t have a website that I can find, but here’s a photograph of what seems to be the building.
- The band members are Tim Harris, Tara Key, Sean Mulhall and Chip Nold.
Tim Harris is now a photojournalist.
Tara Key is an important figure, and it seems Babylon Dance Band were important also.
Sean Mulhall now teaches at the University of Louisville.
Chip Nold wrote The Insiders’ Guide to Louisville and Southern Indiana.
- The sleeve copywriter didn’t understand apostrophes.
Evidence from the back of the record’s sleeve: Back Cover Photo’s by John Nation. Not only a misplaced apostrophe, but also a Questionable Use Of Capital Letters. (And who is John Nation, you ask? Why, he was a photographer for Louisville Magazine for thirty years).
So there you have it – isn’t the internet clever? From this record by a previously unknown (to me) band, I’ve now glimpsed into the world of Babylon Dance Band, who it seems were big cheeses in the Louisville punk/hardcore scene, and who have pleasingly continued to live and contribute to that city and the state of Kentucky. What’s more, I’m now aware of louisvillehardcore.com, and its fantastic ‘History’ section, which is an exhaustingly comprehensive guide to a city’s musical heritage – and remember, Louisville was the birthplace of some cool bands like Slint and The For Carnation.