Scruffs – Break The Ice —-Power Pop Friday

Memphis in the early 1970s was more than Big Star. Many power pop bands and artists were coming out of there at that time. Not many made it huge but many were recognized later. They formed in 1974 and released their first album Wanna Meet The Scruffs? in 1977. Like the others around this period. Many of the power pop musicians worked with each other. The Scruffs worked with Alex Chilton, Tommy Hoehn, and Jim Dickinson. Break the Ice was the first single off of the album. It reminds me of the Raspberries.

Wanna Meet the Scruffs? - Wikipedia

To show what some rock critics thought of the band…here is Robert Christgau (rock critic):

Only a sucker for rock and roll could love this record, and I am that sucker. A middle-period Beatles extrapolation in the manner of Big Star (another out-of-step Memphis power-pop group on a small, out-of-step Memphis label), it bursts with off harmonies, left hooks, and jolts of random energy. The trouble is, these serve a shamelessly and perhaps permanently post-adolescent vision of life’s pain, most of which would appear to involve gurls. To which objection the rockin’ formalist in me responds, “I wanna hear ‘Revenge’ again.”

Pretty good endorsement right? That is just one of many but again they just couldn’t break through. They did not have the influence like Big Star did but they were a great power pop band. I listened to all of this album and that jangle of the guitar is infectious. The song was a regional hit but was not played outside of Memphis too much. They did move to New York in 1978 had some high profile gigs at  CBGB and Max’s Kansas City.

The Band broke up in 1981 but Stephen Burns the singer, guitar player, and songwriter  would continue recording albums under the Scruffs name into the 2010’s…with Peter Buck from REM guesting on the 2011 Kill! Kill! album .

Sorry I could not find the lyrics.

The Scruffs – She Say Yea —-Power Pop Friday

Introducing the Scruffs. I love that name for a band. They have been around since the  70s and have released an album in 2011.

Big Star wasn’t the only power pop band in Memphis in the 70s. This band formed in Memphis in 1974. It was started by writer/guitarist/vocalist Stephen Burns along with guitarist David Branyan, bassist Rick Branyan, and drummer Zeph Paulson.

“She Say Yea” was influenced by the Beatles and Byrds but also early 70s American power pop greats like the Raspberries and Big Star.

They used Big Star’s same studio (Ardent) and their producer Jim Dickinson who along with Big Star worked with the Rolling Stones,  Carmen McRae, Delaney & Bonnie, Jerry Jeff Walker, Dee Dee Warwick, Ronnie Hawkins, Sam & Dave, Dion, Brook Benton, Lulu, Sam the Sham and others.

I have heard some great power pop in the last 10 years but for me the golden era of Power Pop was in the 70s and 80s…I do believe in the last ten years it has made a comeback with newer bands…but I love these seventies bands that with a little more luck could have had major success.

The Scruffs  released their debut album in 1977 named Wanna Meet the Scruffs? The single from the album was Break the Ice  with  She Say Yea as the B side. Another single off the album was Shakin’ / Teenage Girls…we will go over that one in a few weeks.

All 13 tracks were written by guitarist Stephen Burns though lead guitarist Dave Branyan gets partial credit for three numbers.

(Sorry… could not find the lyrics)