Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Truth And Janey - No Rest For The Wicked (1976) [Original Private Press]

Truth & Janey - No Rest For The Wicked
Original 1976 US Private Pressing
Montross Records ‎– MR 376 (Discogs)
~ThePoodleBites Rip in 96 kHz / 24 bit + Full High-Resolution Scans~

**UPDATE: April, 2019** -- I have subtracted my system's frequency response to reduce harshness and lend a more accurate reproduction of the original recording. Original, non-EQ-subtracted files are still available in the "Working Versions" directory.

This monster grail of heavy psych from the Iowa coalition Truth And Janey was discovered by collectors in the '80s psychedelic revival, and has since come to be known as "surely one of the greatest hard-rock albums of all time" (Aaron Milenski, The Acid Archives, 2nd Ed.). I've asked one of the leading private press specialists Josh R. (YouTube) to write a little about this record, and he has kindly agreed. Josh conjured some great thoughts and comparisons -- better than I would have been able to do -- so his write-up is below.

"When it comes to the best hardrock private presses from the 1970s, Truth & Janey's No Rest For The Wicked is most certainly among the top of the heap. The Iowa-based power trio's sound was greatly influenced by the major-name UK bands of the day, such as Cream, Jeff Beck Group, and Robin Trower. Their name in fact was a nod to Jeff Beck Group's Truth LP. Despite being a small run local release, over time this has proved to be on par with the classics of the era. It has one of the most iconic heavy rock covers, with a hand reaching out of a grave towards a Marshall stack and Gibson Firebird. Janey's tone is gold, and bassist Steve Bock's Gibson EB-3 tone leans heavily torwards Jack Bruce and maybe Felix Pappalardi. The band sometimes tries to stretch out, and they were indeed an over-the-top live jam act, with some songs clocking in close to a half hour on their archival live 1974 Topeka Jam LP. Thankfully here the arrangements are concise, the playing never wanders into jamming territory, and Janey's overdubbed guitar ensembles are tasteful. His riffs are hooky and his solos are exciting.

"'Down The Road I Go' is an anthemic pounding opener that sets the tone for the rest of the LP. Truth & Janey retain elements of blues music in their style, with a pummeling cover of 'I'm Ready' which really shows how good of a platform those old songs proved to be for reworking into hardrock extravaganzas. I hear a throwback to '60s westcoast psych on 'It's All Above Us.' The title track has a stuttering, infectious opening riff and what sounds like an acoustic guitar layered in the mix, and features a galloping instrumental section in the middle of the song, with Janey's overdubbed guitar harmonies. The closing portion of the song is a dreamy, slightly bluesy Trower-esque soft psych tone, and foreshadows the band's laid back direction they took in the future. The lyrics are probably my personal favorite on all the album, dealing with the questions a man has about reality and the echoing laughter he hears in the face of said questions.

"The original lineup broke up after the album was completed and Janey recruited two new guys to cut 1977's Just A Little Bit Of Magic which is funky, mellow, and stoned and sounds like Janey swapped his Gibson and Marshall for a Fender Stratocaster and Fender amp. However the spirit is there and while a terrific LP to my ears people expecting the masterful heavy sounds of No Rest For The Wicked may be a little disappointed." [Josh R.]

This original record was purchased as a still-sealed vintage copy from the band's original drummer, Denis Bunce. I had previously only heard the 2007 CD reissue (Rockadrome ‎ROCK006-V-2), which, like all other reissues of this album, including the somewhat scarce, band-sanctioned LP reissue from 1992 featuring a blank cover and Montross mock-up labels, was sourced from a DAT tape of an original pressing. To my knowledge, this is the first time that another original pressing has ever been digitized. The reissues had lots of sound problems, including vinyl noise, heavy compression, enormous bass boost, and a very sibilant high-end. I was a bit disappointed to find that the sibilant high end (and that annoying right channel essing / distortion) is actually present in the original pressing, which is not a sonic marvel. Regardless, the sound quality present here is still a vast improvement over anything available commercially. After some futzing with the distortion and EQ, I decided to leave everything as-is, so that the sound of the original record can speak for itself (and so that you, the listener, can dial in the sound of this LP to your heart's content). [UPDATE, April 2019: as stated above, I've now subtracted my system's frequency response curve to bring this project even closer to the original vision. Nonetheless, the un-EQ'd tracks are still available in a subdirectory of the "Working Versions" folder.]

- Billylee Janey: Guitar, Vocals
- Steven Bock: Bass, Vocals
- Denis Bunce: Drums

Track listing:
1) "Down The Road I Go" -- 4:04
2) "The Light" -- 5:51
3) "I'm Ready" -- 3:35
4) "Remember"
   (a) "A Child" -- 6:46
   (b) "Building Walls" -- 2:21
5) "No Rest For The Wicked" -- 4:54
6) "It's All Above Us" -- 4:31
7) "Ain't No Tellin'" -- 3:42
8) "My Mind" -- 5:55

Vinyl Condition: Mint (virgin playing)

– Audio-Technica AT150MLx Dual Moving-Magnet Cartridge
– Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB Direct Drive Professional Turntable (internal stock preamp/ADC removed)
– TCC TC-754 RIAA Phono Preamp (new regulated power supply, added LM7812 regulator)
– Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 MkII (96kHz / 24bit)
– Adobe Audition CC 2018 (recording)
– iZotope RX 7 Audio Editor (manual declicking, additional adjustments)
– Audacity 2.2.2 (fades between tracks, split tracks)
– Foobar2000 v1.4.2 (tagging, dynamic range analysis)

Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1PxjmvLYmY9YD6cVqQPbZmZUZUW9Ug4oT
Enjoy, and pay it forward! :) 


  1. Oh yeah!!! I cannot wait for my ears to hear this gem. Thank you.

  2. Many thanks for this (and other) gems TPB, an outstanding post and site !

  3. I already left a comment but I have to tell you thanks once again. I never heard of Truth & Janey before and I'm so happy to you cleaned & posted this nugget. I hope your posting helps get the word out about Billylee Janey. In Iowa they understand how great a guitarist he is ( in the Iowa Rock ' n Roll Hall of Fame) but he definitely deserves more attention. ...thnaks again !!

    1. Louis, thank you for all your comments! I am glad you liked this one. I really like it too. Janey's guitar playing on this one is great, and the band is super tight. This record deserves more public recognition.

  4. Thanks PB looking forward to this and I also appreciate the write up on the band.

  5. Wow this is really good anyone in to hard 70's style rock is gonna love this. Thanks for sharing something I would have otherwise never heard.

  6. Thanks a lot for this wicked heavy fuzzed out LP.

  7. This is such a wonderful album. No one song sounds like the other which is always a good thing in my book. You have done a fantastic job in bringing it to us. The sounds are just amazing. But I am wondering why you split up the song Remember? There is no space between A Child and Building Walls. Just curious.

  8. Thanks a lot TPB for drawing my attention to this gem unknown to me and for the work of love in the HR rip from an original vinyl source. Audio is awesome. Hard rock is usually not my cup of tea, but this one is and will remain an exception.

    1. Thanks for the comment Vincent, glad you're enjoying this one! :)