The Shaggs
(Dorothy Wiggin) 1969

I had longed to hear 'The Philosophy Of The World' for years.
Frank Zappa, Jad Fair and Jonathan Richman loved it
But could not really describe it
And there is no way to describe The Shaggs

I expected something childlike, maybe something distressed
I did not think the inner clock of Shaggs-time
Would take quite so long to fathom
The downstrokes on the guitar and snare are insistent
But never accent anything
Things appear to speed up and slow down
But not necessarily in unison
Rasheed Ali could not replicate the drumming if he tried for a million years

There are moments of intense precision
Like the singing on 'Who Are Parents?'
And moments of stiff recklessness like 'Shaggs Own Thing'
Shaggs-syntax is at once mannered and natural
There is a definite purpose to everything
But it remains discrete
There is something very difficult about 'Philosophy Of The World'

Three stages people go through when they first hear The Shaggs
Stage one: silence - mouth and eyes remain open in a frieze of shock
Stage two: laughter - disparate parts register and fall in and out of place
Stage three: silence - brows furrow as listening fails to reap any understanding.

They are similar, in the grand scheme of classification, but they are not the same
I can't think of the 1960s or the history of popular music in relation to The Shaggs
I have to tell myself "This is The Shaggs"
This is The Shaggs
They don't fit