SP-70026 Call of the West
Produced by Richard Mazda
Released on 1982
Find it at GEMM
SP-70026 cover
[high resolution photo]

I n contrast to David Byrne’s lazy assessment of the Midwest on “The Big Country,” Stan Ridgway troubles himself to get into the head of the characters he condemns on Call of the West. Ridgway’s pulp fiction narratives and dry delivery paint an American Southwest peopled by misfits, made all the more compelling by the taut, agitated arrangements that support him. Wall of Voodoo has often been compared to Devo, but the big difference is a perceived sympathy for the characters they would lampoon. In the tales of incest, factory workers, and gamblers exist a pervading sense of doom that follows from birth, like characters in a William Faulkner novel. As bleak a travelogue as it is, Call of the West in some sense sublimates the dark and desperate actions of its subjects by placing them in such a godforsaken setting. “Lost Weekend,” “Factory” and “Call of the West” grow out of the landscape, as prickly as cactus but with a resilience to be admired. In the middle of all this is “Mexican Radio,” handily the catchiest song on the album. You won’t find anything else as upbeat on here, though there’s a sense that with a different vocalist this band could really kick up some dust (just check out Marc Moreland’s guitar on “Spy World”). Generally, the synthesizers keep a tight rein on the music, borrowing bits of Brian Eno in the process. The effect reinforces the displacement that underlies Ridgway’s characters -- what could be more outmoded than the old west in the new wave? Call of the West remains the best example of Wall of Voodoo’s idiosyncratic sound, and “Mexican Radio” its strongest advocate. Ridgway and, later, drummer Joe Nanini left after this album, relegating the band to the role of one-hit wonders despite the release of new albums throughout the decade.

SP-70026 back cover SP-70026 lyric sleeve
SP-70026 back cover SP-70026 lyric sleeve


  1. TOMORROW    3:03
  2. LOST WEEKEND    5:00
  3. FACTORY    5:15
  4. LOOK AT THEIR WAY    3:18
  5. HANDS OF LOVE    3:53
  6. MEXICAN RADIO    4:09
  7. SPY WORLD    2:40
  8. THEY DON'T WANT ME    4:31
  9. ON INTERSTATE 15    2:43
  10. CALL OF THE WEST    6:00

    All songs by Wall of Voodoo


CHAS T. GRAY -- synthesizer, bass, backing vocals
MARC MORELAND -- 6 and 12 string guitars, printing
JOE NANINI -- percussion, drums, voice
STANARD RIDGWAY -- vocals, words, harmonica, keyboards, cover concept, design
Richard Mazda -- additional rhythm machine programming and bass guitars
Louie Rivera -- additional percussion
Jess Sutcliffe -- engineer, mixing engineer
Robert Bahaglia -- mixing engineer
Avi Kipper -- mixing engineer
Scott Lindgren -- cover concept
Francis Delia -- design, photography
Paul Peterson -- production design
Stephen Sayadian -- styling
Carl Grasso -- art direction/layout

return to WALL OF VOODOO discography

US/CAN 1982 IRS LP/CS SP-70026 lyric sleeve
UK 1982 Illegal LP ILP10  
AUS'L 1982 IRS LP ELPS 4370 lyric sleeve
JPN 1982 CBS LPPRO 25AP-2616  
US   IRS CD 70026  


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