Black Monk Time is the only studio album by German-based American garage rock band The Monks, released in March 1966 through Polydor Records. The album's subversive style and blunt lyrical content were radical for its time, and today it is considered an important landmark in the development of punk rock.

Black Monk Time
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 1966
RecordedNovember 1965 in Cologne, West Germany
ProducerJimmy Bowien
Monks chronology
Black Monk Time
Five Upstart Americans
Singles from Black Monk Time
  1. "Complication" / "Oh, How to Do Now"
    Released: May 1965

Background edit

The album was produced by Jimmy Bowien and recorded in November 1965 in Cologne, West Germany. "Complication" b/w "Oh, How to Do Now" was released as a single to promote the album. Like the album, it failed to garner commercial success. The single was re-issued in 2009 by Play Loud! Productions.

Black Monk Time was not officially released in the United States until 1994, as Polydor Records deemed the music too experimental for an American audience and too blunt in its condemnation of the Vietnam War at the time.[3]

Critical reception edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [4]
Robert Christgau [5]
The Observer     [6]
Pitchfork Media9.2/10[8]
The Quietusvery favorable[10]
The Daily Telegraph     [12]

The album was initially met with a muted critical and commercial reception, but has since become widely critically acclaimed and is now viewed as an important proto-punk album. In a retrospective review for, Anthony Carew called it "possibly the first punk record" and "one of the 'missing links' of alternative music history", also citing it as an influence on the German krautrock movement.[1] Andrew Perry wrote in The Daily Telegraph in 2009: "Listening to it now, finally, in full, remastered glory, it's hard to imagine how this primitive and often nightmarish music could have been allowed to be made at that particular time and place. [...] It may not be to every taste but, lurching according to its own sublimely clueless logic, it has a purity and heedlessness which can never be repeated."[12] According to Len Comaratta of Uncut, "there's really nothing that can dull the impact of hearing the Monks' music for the first time."[13]

Accolades edit

Legacy and impact edit

Black Monk Time was later described by Julian Cope as a "lost classic" in his 1995 book Krautrocksampler.[18] Cope writes:

NO-ONE ever came up with a whole album of such dementia. The Monks' Black Monk Time is a gem born of isolation and the horrible deep-down knowledge that no-one is really listening to what you're saying. And the Monks took full artistic advantage of their lucky/unlucky position as American rockers in a country that was desperate for the real thing. They wrote songs that would have been horribly mutilated by arrangers and producers had they been back in America. But there was no need for them to clean up their act, as the Beatles and others had had to do on returning home, for there were no artistic constraints in a country that liked the sound of beat music but had no idea about its lyric content.[19]

In 2006 Play Loud! Productions released a Monks tribute album, Silver Monk Time, featuring 29 international bands (including the original Monks), in conjunction with the film Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback.

English post-punk band The Fall covered four of the album's songs: "I Hate You" and "Oh, How to Do Now" (as "Black Monk Theme Part I" and "Black Monk Theme Part II") on their 1990 album Extricate, "Shut Up" on their 1994 album Middle Class Revolt, and "Higgle-Dy Piggle-Dy" on Silver Monk Time.

"I Hate You" was featured in the 1998 film The Big Lebowski.

"Monk Time" was featured in a 2000 Powerade advertisement.[20]

Beastie Boys, Jack White of The White Stripes, and Colin Greenwood of Radiohead have praised the album.[9]

"Boys Are Boys and Girls Are Choice" was featured in a commercial for the Apple iPhone in 2017.[21]

"We Do Wie Du" is featured in the 2017 film Logan Lucky.[22]

Track listing edit

All tracks are written by Gary Burger, Larry Clark, Dave Day, Roger Johnston and Eddie Shaw

Side A
1."Monk Time"2:42
2."Shut Up"3:11
3."Boys Are Boys and Girls Are Choice"1:23
5."I Hate You"3:32
6."Oh, How to Do Now"3:14
Side B
2."We Do Wie Du"2:09
3."Drunken Maria"1:44
4."Love Came Tumblin' Down"2:28
5."Blast Off!"2:12
6."That's My Girl"2:24
1994 Repertoire Records reissue bonus tracks
13."I Can't Get Over You"2:41
15."Love Can Tame the Wild"2:38
16."He Went Down to the Sea"3:03
1997 Infinite Zero Archive/American Recordings reissue bonus tracks
13."I Can't Get Over You"2:41
15."Love Can Tame the Wild"2:38
16."He Went Down to the Sea"3:03
17."Monk Chant" (Live on Beat Club, 1966)1:59
18."I Hate You" (Demo version)3:24
19."Oh, How to Do Now" (Demo version)2:39
2004 Retribution Records reissue bonus tracks
13."I Can't Get Over You"2:41
15."Monk Chant" (Live on Beat-Club, 1966)1:59
2009 Light in the Attic Records reissue bonus tracks
13."I Can't Get Over You"2:41
15."Love Can Tame the Wild"2:38
16."He Went Down to the Sea"3:03
17."Pretty Suzanne" (previously unreleased)3:55
18."Monk Chant" (Live on Beat-Club, 1966)1:59
2011 International Polydor Production reissue bonus tracks
13."I Can't Get Over You"2:41
15."Love Can Tame the Wild"2:38
16."He Went Down to the Sea"3:03

Personnel edit

  • Gary Burger – vocals, electric lead guitar
  • Larry Clark – vocals, Philicorda organ, piano (bonus tracks only)
  • Roger Johnston – vocals, drums
  • Eddie Shaw – vocals, bass guitar, trumpet (bonus tracks only)
  • Dave Day – vocals, banjo guitar, electric rhythm guitar (bonus tracks only)

Release history edit

Region Date Title Label Format Catalog
Germany May 1966 Black Monk Time International Polydor Production Stereo LP 249 900
Germany 1979 Black Monk Time Polydor Stereo LP 2417 129
Germany January 19, 1994 Black Monk Time Repertoire Records CD REP 4438-WP
USA February 11, 1997 Black Monk Time[a] Infinite Zero CD 9 43112-2
USA October 12, 2004 Monk Time Retribution Records CD 105523
Germany March 13, 2009 Black Monk Time[a] Polydor LP/CD 1785 208 [LP], 177 1723 [CD]
USA April 14, 2009 Black Monk Time[a] Light in the Attic Records LP/CD LITA 042
USA 2011 Black Time International Polydor Production LP 249900

^a This release includes extensive liner notes, including interviews and photographs

References edit

  1. ^ a b Anthony Carew. "Definitive Albums: The Monks 'Black Monk Time' (1965)". Archived from the original on 20 March 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  2. ^ Pitulah (February 7, 2015). "Record Bin: How the Monks predicted the rise of punk on "Black Monk Time"". NOOGAtoday. Retrieved July 4, 2019. [The Monks] released one of the first punk rock records ever recorded.
  3. ^ Robertson, Tom. "Obscure 1960s rockers the Monks make comeback". Retrieved August 4, 2016.
  4. ^ Mark Deming. "Black Monk Time". Allmusic. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  5. ^ Robert Christgau. "The Monks". Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  6. ^ Peter Kimpton (15 March 2009). "Rock review: The Monks, Black Monk Time". Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  7. ^ Stephen M. Deusner (14 April 2009). "The Monks: Black Monk Time". Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  8. ^ Joe Tangari (20 April 2009). "The Monks: Black Monk Time". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  9. ^ a b Dan Nishimoto (12 June 2009). "Review". Prefix. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  10. ^ Alex Ogg (23 April 2009). "The Monks". The Quietus. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  11. ^ Spin. May 2007. {{cite journal}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ a b Andrew Perry (23 April 2009). "The Monks, Black Monk Time: pop CD of the week". Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  13. ^ Len Comaratta (4 September 2010). "Monks - Black Monk Time". Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  14. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (7 February 2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  15. ^ Keenan, David. "The Best Albums Ever... Honest". Sunday Herald. Archived from the original on October 13, 2004. Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  16. ^ "The Top 100 Alternative Albums of the 1960s - SPIN". Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  17. ^ "The 200 Best Albums of the 1960s". Pitchfork. August 22, 2017.
  18. ^ Cope 1995, p. 6.
  19. ^ Cope 1995, p. 7.
  20. ^ "Powerade "Bus Ride"". Adweek. 13 January 2008. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  21. ^ "- YouTube". YouTube. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Logan Lucky Original Soundtrack Album". Amazon.


External links edit