1988 saw Devo's first attempt at a comeback from the debacle of 1984's Shout album. However, Total Devo, released on Enigma Records was a flop. The album was loose, unfocused, and sounded almost nothing like the Devo that made the landmark Freedom Of Choice. To complicate matters, Engima's limited funds forced Devo's planned tour for Total Devo down to dates in small clubs instead of large concert venues. (One show on the tour put them at Pirate's Cove in Cleveland, where back in 1977 they had shared a set with Pere Ubu.)

There was an upside, however. At The Palace in San Francisco, Devo recorded their performance for a live album release. While Total Devo was miserable, Now It Can Be Told was an interesting, and excellent live album. It's an almost complete performance from the Total Devo tour, omitting only the songs Pity You, and Beautiful World. It opens with a mock solemn, acoustic version of the classic Jocko Homo, then into a 60s ballad style song It Doesn't Matter To Me. Going Under appears in its E-Z Listening version, slow and smooth. Girl U Want is performed in a very hard rocking style, and the album's closer, the epic Somewhere With Devo is not to be missed.

The cover image of Now It Can Be Told is taken from the book The Beginning Was The End by Oscar Kiss Maerth. This book was a major influence on Devo's philosophy. It has been called the New Testament of devolution. (The Old Testament of devolution is an old religious tract called Jocko-Homo Heavenbound.)

Now It Can Be Told was released on both double LP and a single CD. The double LP version is worth tracking down for collectors, as only three sides of the vinyl are used. The fourth side is lithographed with signatures of the members of Devo. The liner notes are full of pictures from throughout Devo's history, from early performances and music videos, to the Total Devo tour itself. The words to the Devolutionary Oath are also printed in the notes. In 1994, Now It Can Be Told was re-released on Restless Records. It contains no bonus tracks.

Tracklist:

  1. Jocko Homo
  2. It Doesn't Matter To Me
  3. Going Under
  4. Working In A Coal Mine
  5. Happy Guy
  6. That's Good
  7. Jerkin' Back 'N' Forth
  8. Girl U Want
  9. Whip It
  10. Baby Doll
  11. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
  12. Uncontrollable Urge
  13. Gut Feeling
  14. Gates Of Steel
  15. Somewhere With Devo

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