SISTER DOUBLE HAPPINESS  “Don’t Worry” b/w “Wheels A’ Spinning” (Sub Pop Records SP77, October 1990)

“Hey Loser.  Wanna find some action?  Tired of being left out?  Here at SUB POP we’ve just started a special club for lonely record collectors like yourself:  THE SUB POP SINGLES CLUB.  Every month we’ll send you a limited edition 45.  All you have to do is SEND US YOUR MONEY.  $35.00 for a full year, $20.00 for 6 months.  Your subscription begins the month we receive your $$$.”

Yes, I was a Sub Pop loser.  I mean, c’mon…it was inevitable, right?  Make an offer like that to a vinyl fetishist working in a little indie store at the height of the grunge boom…fucking BLAMMO, you are going to get your sales on, Seattleites!  At what amounts to roughly $2.92 per single (or $3.33 if you go for the 6-month sub), and with at least 2 tracks per platter, we’re talkin’ ’round $1.46 per track.  Consider that nowadays people are paying 99 cents apiece for these shitty, pathetic, tinny-sounding little downloads with no artwork or sweet colored vinyl to look at.  PFFT!  I’ll take my Singles Club & go home, thanks.  Wish it was still around, I’d still be a member, dammit.

So, it’s inevitable that at some point I’d pull one of these discs outta Big Red, given the volume of ’em I lapped up back in the day.  This Sister Double Happiness platter is one of my personal favorites for two reasons:  first, it’s pressed on this uncommonly gorgeous seaweed-green vinyl, and B, SDH was one of those great, powerful groups that I always felt deserved a wider audience.

In the early ’80’s, Austin, TX punk legends The Dicks relocated to San Francisco then promptly busted apart.  Most band members fled back to Texas, but singer Gary Floyd and drummer Lynn Perko stayed behind and formed Sister Double Happiness.  Taking his new band’s name from a book about a legendary Chinese warrior, Floyd chose to broaden the old Dicks punk sound with the Texas blues and country music of his roots, creating a new brand of hard-hitting backwoods blues-punk.  The new sound fit well with the then-nascent grunge movement, yet stood apart from it at the same time.  It hit the spot.  In no time, SDH was a major live attraction on the west coast.  They cut a blistering debut LP for SST, then called it quits for a little while.  After reforming with a few different members, they recorded this one-off single for Sub Pop.

Side-A’s “Don’t Worry” finds Floyd & Co. in fine form, pulsing out a total distorted-guitar-&-sax-driven barn-burner if there ever was one.  The disc sounds great, with lots of thick bass propelling the sludgy riff under Floyd’s powerhouse voice.  Instead of one of my boring “record-spinning” videos, here’s a balls-to-the-wall live performance from ’93.  Turn up the volume & let the Sisters tear your silly little playhouse down. 

SISTER DOUBLE HAPPINESS \”Don\’t Worry\” on YouTube

Side-B’s “Wheels A’ Spinning” takes the opposite approach, letting some down-home bottle-neck slide guitar provide a bed for Floyd’s riveting backwoods blues howl.  This is real American music, folks.  No dolled-up MTV Britney Spears hogshit.  Floyd’s powerful, barrel-chested voice expresses everything you need to feel, every emotion in the human condition, and all with a heart as big as the great outdoors.

Sister Double Happiness went on to produce more LPs for both major and indie labels before calling it quits in ’95.  Gary Floyd has gone on to release albums both as a solo artist and with the group Black Kali Ma.  You can hear more great SDH music, including their amazing take on Roky Erickson’s “Red Temple Prayer (Two-Headed Dog)” from Where The Pyramid Meets The Eye, on this page here.

NEXT WEEK:  A drunk, a Catholic priest, and an Irishman walk into a bar.  And that’s just the first guy!