Un Dans Versailles

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A mid-'70s power pop rarity on the level of R. Stevie Moore's Phonography, 1975's Un Dans Versailles was the holy grail for power pop aficionados for years. Self-produced and recorded in the Murphy brothers' home studio on a four-track machine, originally released in a tiny edition of 300 copies, this is a true artifact of pre-punk power pop similar to Moore's work and the early Flamin' Groovies albums. What's most fascinating about the album is how fully formed the Shoes aesthetic was even at this early stage; there is not one song on this brief album that would sound out of place on Present Tense or Black Vinyl Shoes. The limited-by-necessity production is nonetheless surprisingly rich and full, and the group's trademark harmonies already sound amazing. [Traded on the power pop underground for years as a series of increasingly low-quality cassettes, Un Dans Versailles was finally issued on CD, along with the legendary never-released 1976 follow-up Bazooka, on the two-disc career summary As Is in 1996.]

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