Heather Perkins "Why I Did It/ Binky's Revenge" ( Land O' Newts 1988)
From Eugene, Oregon at the time, Heather Perkins released the sprawling tape, “Why I Did It/ Binky’s Revenge” in 1988. I had heard her music on some earlier cassettes and she was already a personal favorite of mine. Her voice is very distinctive and her stripped down rock style calls up feelings of loneliness, heartbreak and isolation for me. And yet, there is a playful quality of her music that is never far away as well. Many times her nutty sense of humor creates a beautiful balance to the gray skies of her prevalent sound. For example, her duet with Dan Fioretti on “I Got You Babe” ( not on this tape) is side splitting and endearing.
I’m not sure if “Why I Did It/ Binky’s Revenge” was intended as a double album, a spilt album or a concept work but it hardly matters. The tone is basically the same throughout and her abilities with her instrumental arsenal are evident from the get go. The guitars set the tone with a crunchy tone, the drum machine rolls, unadorned and propulsive like a train, the sax is especially plaintive and well placed. And on top, her voice defines her sound, claiming it as her own. Her voice is not angelic, nor does it operate in the soprano area but is deeper, not gravelly really but venerable and elemental like the earth itself. This is never more true than on this tape where her plea on “Darkness” is vulnerable and private.
I had actually lost this tape several years ago and was sort of forlorn about it. Now, with the digital re-release I am pleased that not only does it live up to my memory of it but actually surpasses it in many ways. It is like I am hearing it for the first time but with some unexplainable deja vu feeling. The digital transfer is beautiful, transparent and takes nothing away. I am thrilled to have this one back in my collection.
I was lucky to have her appear on a couple of my own releases. In 1988 she appeared on Pen Pals 1 , in 1996 she was on Pen Pals 2 and in 2005 on Pen Pals 3. I have always found her backing tracks very easy to collaborate with and I always feel honored to work with her music.
This is truly a classic of the home recording underground and my thanks to her for providing it for us.