August 18, 2008


Doruff, Wlezien 1970


3 Responses to “Gretchen”

  1. michel2014 Says:

    Dear Cow folks, Lovely to have these distinctive and delicious performances made available. ‘Mary Hamilton’ packs more ideas into 9 minutes than many other groups have explored in decades-long careers. One question: the stated dates vary from 1970, 1976 and “circa 1978”. Yet to my ears, all the live recordings sound as though they occurred in the same venue, with the same (superb) sound & appreciative audience in situ. I assume this means that the dates denote when the pieces were originally composed. Could you let me know when & where the live recording was done? And by the way, if you think that the dearth of responses to your archive means that nobody is interested, I’m happy to let you know you’re mistaken. Best wishes, Michel Faber

    • fieldings Says:

      Hi Michel,
      Thank you for your interest in our old work. It’s always a pleasure to receive comments and a surprise to find that some folks are listening.
      As to dates of the live recordings, we’re actually not sure … that’s why we’re so unspecific.
      We think the concert was in 1978 or 79 at a small venue, the Heartland Cafe, in Chicago.

      Question for you: are you by chance an author?

      all the best,

      • michel2014 Says:

        Hello CotC.

        Yes, I am an author; Wikipedia will tell you more if you’re interested, but I would like to flag up two music/literature connections here – my novel THE COURAGE CONSORT is about an a cappella singing ensemble rehearsing an avant-garde commission, and I contributed a substantial essay on 1970s German music to a tome called KRAUTROCK.

        I note that there is no Wikipedia page for Care Of The Cow, nor for Christine Baczewska. I may eventually have to devise one, if nobody else does.

        But thereby hangs an apprehension: Much as I love Wikipedia, I find its criteria for inclusion quite puzzling. For example, there’s a Wiki page for a cellist called John Contreras who is tagged as failing to “meet Wikipedia’s notability guideline”, which dictates that a subject should be “worthy of notice” – that is, “significant, interesting, or unusual enough to deserve attention or to be recorded”. Never mind that Contreras has played with Nurse With Wound and Current 93, two of the most revered & influential groups in the English avant-garde scene — the Wiki watchdogs are concerned that he may be of too little import to warrant inclusion in an encyclopedia..

        Quite possibly, if Care Of The Cow were given a Wiki page, Wikipedia watchdogs might likewise argue that the group is not “worthy of notice”. CotC is undeniably obscure. Yet their artistic value is remarkable and Wikipedia is (let’s be honest) hopelessly awash with articles about phenomena whose cultural value is nil. Video game franchises, celebrity psychics, reality TV contestants… there are even individual webpages devoted to thousands of porn stars, comprehensively listing the acts & orifices for which they’re best known. It seems very odd to me that an encyclopedia which is sufficiently capacious to include all this stuff should be so worried that information about an avant-garde artist might waste the casual browser’s time.

        It’s a strange world, indeed. But a richer and happier one due to the music that Care Of The Cow made.

        Thanks & best wishes,

        Michel Faber

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