The Laura Palmer Tape

  1. Governement Center more
  2. The New Teller more
  3. Thunderbolts Of Joy more
  4. My Honest Dear more
  5. Singing In The Rain more
  6. So Much Respect For You more
  7. I'm Not Alone (The Heavens Love Me) more
  8. Kumbaya more
  9. Hi Fred, We Still Love You more
  10. Flying Saucers Rock n' Roll more
  11. Wonderful Girl more

I love this tape!

Before I got it through a trade a while back, I thought that it was just going to be a novelty. Something to listen to a time or two and then be satisfied. But no, this tape has something special.

This tape is Jonathan Richman at his most "Jonathan Richmany."He's playing music for someone that he cares about, and you can hear it in his voice.

I've heard that this tape was recorded in 1974. That means(let me know if my history is a little off here) that this was the period directly after the original Modern Lovers broke up, and before the next version of Modern Lovers would be formed. He was at a true transition state, and this must have been the time where he felt most alone.

When you hear old shows of his, and you hear people shouting "Roadrunner", and "She Cracked", they think that he is still a 19 year old kid with attitude. This must have been the time in his life though, where he was really starting to leave that old person behind and really mature.

The pauses is in his voice, especially on songs like "The heavens love me", and "My Honest Dear", to me at least, suggest someone who is an expert on Rock n' Roll voice phrasings, and is experimenting on the fly. He is letting his emotion carry his voice completely, trusting that it will come out correct.

These songs are classics! Thunderbolts of Joy is uplifting, My Honest Dear is sentimental, So Much Respect For You is a true mature song, The Heaven's Love Me is beautiful, Hi Fred will stay in your mind, and Wonderful girl is the perfect conclusion. Not to leave out the other songs either, to me they are the perfect compliments to the material on this tape that wouldn't be heard on any studio album.

I have a live version of "My Honest Dear", and "Wonderful Girl". Does anyone know of any live versions of "Hi Fred", or "Thunderbolts of Joy", or "So Much Respect For You", or "The Heaven's Love Me"? Also, does anyone have any more information about this period of his work, the tape itself, it's origins etc? If you have info on this please post below. edit: if you have any info about this tape, post here

Update(7-9-2010): Jacques from Jojo blog has sent me some more information about this tape. Thanks Jacques!
I have paraphrased this information:

        This guy one time sent a mail in which he was explaining that he was a Jonathan fan and that it just happened that he was playing a Jonathan record when his girlfriend Laura said  "Oh this sounds like Jonathan". And he said sure it is him and Laura told him she had never been aware he was a known singer. Because 25 years earlier he had been more or less dating her and had sent her at one point a cassette on which he was singing "singing in the rain". Being a true fan, he asked if she still had the tape and yes she did and brought it to him. Having discovered this treasure, he informed the jojo list. Someone immediately urged him to send her a copy of the tape, as she would then distribute to those who would ask her. It went on like this and as she was a Twin Peaks fan renamed it the Laura Palmer tape. At one point someone transferred the tape to a PC, and someone did the cover art and CDs got burnt.

Update(10-3-2014): Saw this on youtube:

        “This is an interesting piece of “curiosa”. In 1998, Brad, a member of the old Jonathan mailing list, was playing a CD of his favorite artist when his girlfriend named Laura came to his place and said “this sounds like Jonathan”. Sure it did, Laura explained that she had got a recorded cassette from that guy Jonathan ages ago (24 years actually) and had never realized he was a singer, but she managed to find the tape for Brad who distributed it to the other members of the mailing list. The recording and production is homemade by Jonathan, his mike falls down once in a while. If you ever dreamed of hearing Jonathan singing “I’m singing in the rain” , here it is.” VG homemade recording.

        The background to this disc is fascinating - the music even more so. In 1974, after all, Richman was both mourning the end of his Warner Brothers career, and anticipating the rebirth that would be spelled out by Beserkley. The performances here, however, can best be described as demos of demos, starkly cracked acoustic run-throughs of what were obviously his latest compositions. Plus a version of “Singing In The Rain” that might as well be one.

        “Government Center,” “New Teller” and “Kumbaya” bookend a handful of unfamiliar numbers - one about thunderbolts, one about a girlfriend’s pristine honesty, one about meeting her parents, and so on… and all interspersed with asides to the tape’s recipient, Laura, Richman’s comments on the songs, and even an apology for the trials of trying to find a place to balance the microphone. “You have no idea how difficult this is!”

        A very prototypical “Ice Cream Man” is revealed in “Hi Fred,” while Richman’s love of oldies explodes through “Flying Saucers Rock ‘n’ Roll,” complete with unscheduled broken string incident. Eleven songs altogether, and as pure and personal a performance as any Richman set you could name. A magical discovery! - (written by Dave Thompson)

This is so sweet.... God Bless Jonathan Richman

tooo cooool!

Sweet like Lemon Drizzle Cake!

Thanks for sharing this!

Thank you so much for posting this wonderful tape. (Anthony, Santa Sprees)

Thanks to Patrick for the images below!!!!


Wow, tnx a mil for sharing this treasure :-)

The Runaway Lovers?!!! Named after the JR song? Cool. If you send me a son g I'll put it up on my webpage if you want.

gracias¡¡¡¡ muchas gracias ¡¡¡ aaaaahhhh¡¡¡ thank you. i recorded one song called JONATHAN with my group THE RUNAWAY LOVERS. i´ll send you

great link crystal canyons!!! I hadn't seen that before

crystal canyons
Here is a link with a long & nice story of the tape: http://www.bigozine2. com/archive/ARreviews06/JRlaura.html

Does anyone know how close of a rendition JR's version of "Singin' In the Rain" is? Or does he change it around a lot?

I've been looking for this for ages, and am overjoyed to see you posting i t here. It truly is a gem... Now I'll think of Jonathan's rendition of "S ingin' in the Rain" whenever it rains.

Jerry B
Wow! I would love a cd of this!