Armand Schaubroeck

A Lot of People Would Like to See Armand Schaubroeck...Dead

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Armand Schaubroeck pours his experience over six sides of vinyl on this first release on his own Mirror Records label. The saga of Armand P. Schaubroeck, prisoner #24145, and his partner in crime, Daniel P. McCabe, sentenced as youthful offenders on February 21, 1962, and imprisoned for 18 months in the Elmira Reformatory, a maximum security prison, is equal parts catharsis for the artist, as well as documentary. The cover has a bullet hole in the center of Schaubroeck's forehead while he grins wide-eyed; the photos inside the gate-fold give a glimpse of the horror young Schaubroeck faced in the "reformatory." The tracks are listed as "Scene I," "Scene II," "Scene III," and so on, beginning with the 17-year-old confessing his crimes to a priest, Schaubroeck and McCabe going to the "Rock & Bowl" to steal dimes, his last night with his girlfriend Suzy before sentencing, up to his being delivered to Elmira prison. The soap opera style documentary is broken up with some musical bits, from an Elvis style rave-up to reformulated '60s riffs, which help the stories move along. Though not as refined as his classic Ratfucker album, where the artist takes on a different persona, A Lot of People Would Like to See Armand Schaubroeck...Dead would make a good independent movie and is intriguing. In his confession he claims 32 robberies, which, if true, require no sympathy from the listener -- let's face it -- the guy in his youth seemed to be a menace -- but the documentation of his year and a half behind bars shows the injustice disguised as "rehabilitation." Did the punishment fit the crimes? "Cut My Friend Down," "New Young Inmate Meets Lifer," and "God Damn You" give a unique perspective from the troubled young man, recording not only his experience, but the thoughts and feelings generated by his actions and their consequences. Side six is mostly dialogue, with the song "Ex Con," based on a Bo Diddley riff, deteriorating into a semi-monologue disguised as a conversation with McCabe, "Dan & Armand Meet on Streets While Going to See Parole Officer." If aired in its entirety on radio this album might be a little too much for the average listener. "Warden's Circus" concludes the epic with minimal music, sax, guitar, light drums, and Schaubroeck's distinctive voice. This is an adventurous first set of discs which show originality, but do not beg for repeated listenings. Still, it is a good look into the psyche of a unique individual who had a need to express himself on record.

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