Thursday, September 19, 2019

BOOK REVIEW! MOE HOWARD AND THE THREE STOOGES BY MOE HOWARD (Citadel Press, 1977)


I told you guys about how when I was a kid my mom'd hide a bunch of my toys in a box and put them in a place where I couldn't find 'em, then all of a sudden days/months/years after I had forgotten all about 'em spring 'em on me and it was almost as if I had a whole new buncha things to play with! It was sure a smart move on mom's part because not only did I get to re-acquaint myself with a whole buncha old friends so-to-speak, but she saved herself a lotta moolah by not buying fresh toys for me to sink my spirits into! It's kinda the same thing with old records, fanzines and other goodies that get lost in certain cracks and crevices in my abode, only to be dug out and re-discovered right at the point where I'm goin' nutzo over the lack of fresh material to occupy my free time!

Moe Howard's autobiography is just the kinda book that breaks up the doldrums the same way a dose of Fletcher's breaks up the caga capacity occupying your lower intestinal tract. Given just how much the Three Stooges have become downright cultural legends o'er the years this is the kinda book that a fan really would like even if, as you'd expect, Moe plays it safe and show-bizzy and leaves out some of the shadier aspects of what went on behind the scenes. One one had that's great if you wanna retain your old kiddiehood images of what these guys meant to your own suburban slob watching tee-vee in your stocking feet self, but eh, sometimes I pretty much wanna hear the dirt on some of those celebrities who coulda been real jerkoffs even if they happen to be people who I had admired my whole life. After all, when I was a kid I thought Jerry Lewis was the greatest and look how he REALLY turned out to be!

Not that Moe holds back on a whole lotta sick sagas that a fella would wanna know. Unfortunately he doesn't dish out enough regarding his old pal and adversary Ted Healy which really woulda juiced up this book considering how Healy pretty much forced Shemp Howard outta the act after chasing him around with a hypo filled with heroin! And that's not forgetting the aspects of Healy's own death at the hands of a severe beating from Wallace Beery. At least Moe gives us a whole lotta good poopie-pee-pee stories that will really appeal to your cruder instincts such as the time when Shemp bomped himself on the head really hard after relieving himself under a short boardwalk or better yet the one where Moe has this dream about barbecuing chicken halves when one of the chickens got loose and was flying around shooting sparks outta its own poop chute thus catching the curtains on fire, at which the only way Moe could put it out was by urinating on it! As well as urinating on Mrs. Moe who conked her hubby hard on the head complaining that he got her all wet! Too bad this all happened during the Production Code days because hey, something like that woulda been a HOWLER had it popped up in a Stooges film!

Yeah, its this kind of DISGUSTO that I really go for and thankfully Moe decided not to hold back on his own (and Shemp's) foibles proving that even the high and mighty amongst us can be just as careless in the defecation department as the rest of us.

As I've said, most of this consists of humorous and informative enough ramblings all done up in a talk-to-you way about everything from Moe's childhood appearing in Vitagraph movies to getting into showbiz and eventually making a bigger contribution to the benefit of whacked out turdlers and teenbos world-wide than the likes of Joan Baez ever did. Which is probably one reason why the Stooges are still remembered fondly while the remark one would most likely hear if the latter's name was mentioned these days would be "Joan who???"

Coulda used more old snaps (even a Vitagraph frame blowup woulda been nice amidst the publicity shots and moom stills that make up a large portion of this read) and maybe even more potty poopie dirt woulda jangled the thing up a bit. But why should I quibble? MOE HOWARD AND THE THREE STOOGES is a nice happy slice of showbiz history (the kind we like) that's presented to us in the same lighthearted and sanitized fambly entertainment way that an episode of THE MIKE DOUGLAS SHOW was. And like, considering all the times Moe was on that afternoon tee-vee delight wouldn't it just figure!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Well here I am, troddin' down that path we call life tryin' to make the best of it all no matter just how ikky and wonky the entire trip can get at times. Right now things are relatively smoothsville (as opposed to SWELLSVILLE), and although the kinda music that stimulates my nodes and turns me into the COMPLETE HUMAN BEING (with is about a 180 turn from being the NEW MAN that both the Soviets and the alternative rock media so deeply desire[d]) is in quite short supply at least I have a good X-some years of everything from great old records to comic books and moom pitchers to keep me up and stimulated. Frankly, at this point in time I'll take ALL of that long gone and oft-loathed entertainment and general back brain stimulation over what passes for human companionship, especially when one considers just what a low humanity has sunk to at least since the days when I clocked in. I mean hey, did your comic book or record ever talk back at'cha, unless you were listening to a Lenny Bruce album 'r sum'pin'?
***
I've been spending my free time goin' through about a dozen or so apple boxes filled with tons of letters (saved every one-a-them), large manila envelopes and loads of magazines that I doubt I'll ever read again (including throngs of eighties/nineties-era fanzines....excuse me....'zines), and I've come to at least one definite conclusion. That is, when I get back on ebay there are gonna be a TON of these items up for auction, and even if I am reduced to GIVING THEM AWAY I'll be getting the better bargain of the deal that's how worthless most of 'em are! Really, a lot of these home-produced musical rags really don't hold up to my sturdy standards the way most rock-related fanzines of the sixties and seventies do, and if I can only get rid of a whole mass of 'em (thus permitting me to devote more space to the musical matter at hand, mainly rock fanzines that are worth their weight in high energy reading material!) you can bet that I will be happier'n an Italian in a dandelion patch just knowing the fact that I will never stare down another copy of CONFLICT as long as I live!

Surprisingly enough but amid the under/alerna/amerindie rags that are wasting precious storage units at my cyster's abode (ya think I'd stash 'em under MY roof?) I have actually found a number of items worthy of keepsies! Not only a few old BUCKETFUL OF BRAINS and some NEXT BIG THINGs I ain't perused in over twenny years, but the third issue of this particular wonder entitled OSMOTIC TONGUE PRESSURE which was put out by a guy named Mike Kinney who hailed from San Diego in California for those of you who don't know. And it's a beaut too, not only because Kinney copped the name of his "fanzine" (see, I'm using the entire word in order to separate the hearty chaff from the gangling wheat) from AESTHETICS OF ROCK-era R. Meltzer (which does show that Kinney did have the proper sense of what intellectual punkism wasoh so needed back during them days when we needed it!) but because the entire project comes off in each and every way like what a fanzine oughta! An' yeah, there are many ways to fanzine success whether it be via the quickie xerox method or the high quality gloss that the best French offerings of the seventies and eighties gave us, but it's what inside that counts and OSMOTIC TONGUE PRESSURE sure had a lot in its innards goin' for it no doubt about it!

Layout can be slapdash true, but then again there were many a fanzine that went the mad collage route and still came out a whole lot better and more focused than SPIN dictating  the whys and wheres of hip youth culture. The mere contents show that Kinney had a good sense of rock as tantric sound leading us to the Cool World, even if a good portion of this ish (#3) was taken up by coverage of a few twenny-plus-year-back musical acts that never did quite burst outta their own specific niches. And true, the likes of Antiseen and Clawhammer are remembered by folks of high stature such as myself this far down the line but honestly, was there anyone out there who actually took Mecca Normal seriously?????? A lot of the acts that are mentioned in these pages are the kind I tried avoiding at the time if only because of the lifelessness of their entire musical spirit which might have reflected the utter decay of the people who listened to such sounds. All these years later I'd bet on it especially when you see just how the people who listened to and championed these sounds TURNED OUT.

Naturally I am drawn to the free jazz and under-the-underground refs. spotted here as well as to those mentions of the usual sixties/seventies rabble who roused more'n just a few suburban slob minds. But even if there wasn't that much in the BLOG TO COMM sphere of mind-shattering musical wonderment in these pages this rag'd still be fun 'n jamz worthy enough to peruse. I know I have #2 somewhere in the batch just waitin' to be dug into, and I also know that editor Kinney died in '97 and that was something that did shock me, or at least added to the overall mental deterioration I went through trying to get #22 of my own crudzine out only to shudder when I saw what it ended up looking like! I was such a wreck that even Bill Shute ditched me for a good six years or so---I mean, who wants to be around a overwrought wretch such as I when you can be having fun on your own free time! Anyway, OSMOTIC TONGUE PRESSURE we salute you, and maybe one of these days I'll understand what Meltzer was talkin' about when he coined that term inna first place!
***

Another one  I hope offends at least one of you
precious petunias out there. If not, I have failed.

***
Thanks to Bill, Paul and Feeding Tube for the Care Packages.


Bridget St. John-LIVE AT BETSEY TROTWOOD LP (Feeding Tube Records)

It may seem odd to you, but I never cozied up to St. John's English folk styling which I tended to think was nothing but a more English take on the usual female strummers who have plagued us since the first big folkie boom of the early-sixties. But hey, this particular platter does have some nice smart folk moves that kinda gets alla those Joni Mitchell "persecuted self" memories outta my head. Gotta say that I found this live performance pretty meaty as far as a serious and perhaps even intense take on the entire female folk genre goes. Only beef with this one is the take on "America the Beautiful" with updated lyrics that sound as if they were taken from the soundtrack to a Pete Buttigieg campaign film.
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By Products of America-MOVING AND STORAGE LP (Hospital Records)

Back 'round 1986 way I sent Nolan Benz of By Products of America a copy of PHFUDD! #6 with a request for a copy of his group By Products of America's most recent tape in exchange for my humble offering. Never heard back and if you think I hold a grudge this far down the line well----you'd be right as usual. I mean the nerve of poo-pooing a chance at some free publicity, and shattering my sensitive soul in the process as well. Oh drat!

Thus it was with much forethought that I decided to pick this '84 album up knowing of all the sorrowful memories owning this would dredge up. But stoic me must plow on in my quest to discover the better moments of what used to be known as rock 'n roll, and whaddaya know but I find this platter to be fairly good in that midwest avant garage fashion that gave us more home-produced records than my collection can stand.

The nice brittle guitar playing matched with the usual angst-riddled vocals (not too bad even if at times approaching Mark Mothersbaugh territory) don't sound like the art project I'm sure a millyun coke-bottle glassed undergrads were vying for, and I can even handle the spastic neo-Beefheartian drive in doses even if that trend in under-the-underground rock had been mined for centuries.  Overall a pretty enjoyable bit of angular rock music and if Benz had only returned the favor who knows, he might be as big as Bob Bannister is today!
***
The Monkees-HEAD  -- 3-CD RHINO HANDMADE BOX DISC THREE CD-r burn

The third and final platter from the box set Bill burned me ages back sorta ties up everything heard on the first two tea coasters in what some might consider in a nice, tidy fashion. Much of this seems to be taken up by a Davy Jones interview regarding the music (which I assume was meant for broadcast given the commercial breaks) interspersed with pertinent tracks from the film, all capped off with a hefty twentysome minutes of the group recording that "Ditty Diego" over and over until youse just can'ts stands it! They do seem to have fun chanting out that ridiculous rant and things do start getting out of control, especially when one Monkee actually utters that famous four-letter word that rhymes with Donald's last name (and I don't mean Fellman!) on a few occasions. Wanna know who this foul mouthed primate was? Well, just get the box and find out for yourself before the DAR does! Sheesh, Jimi was nothing next to this!
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Shirley Scott with Stanley Turrentine-SOUL SHOUTIN' CD-r burn (originally on Prestige Records)

A little goes a long way, and I still think I got my share from the last organ jazz burn Bill sent me quite awhile back. Not exactly sittin' that well with me right now...good, got some Gunter Hampel ready to line up...yeah, that's it!
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Various Artists-RAMPAGE! LP (Atomic Passion Records)

I've been sittin' on this late-fifties rockaroller album for nigh on twentysome years and only NOW do I open it! Shows just how much I keep track of some of my purchases which I unfortunately forget all about as soon as I open up the blasted packages!

Gotta say that all these years of waiting wasn't that much worth it, because although RAMPAGE! has some fine single sides here that do say more about the teenage attitude of 1959 than say, Mitch Miller, these tracks just ain't as upper-echelon raw 'n primitive 'n make you wanna go out and smash peoples' faces in energetic as it should be. I guess even the bosser delinquents of the day couldn't always run on pure Adrenalin. Hate soundin' like some high falutin' well respected rock critic type from a formerly major newspaper here, but you may wanna pass this 'un up in favor of LIKE WOW or a bevy of other rare single side collections that really lay it on the line as to how it was a good six decades back.
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Jerry Lee Lewis with the Nashville Teens-LIVE AT THE STAR CLUB CD-r burn (originally on Philips Records, Germany)

Twenty lashes with the wet noodle for not having given this classic live platter a spin before Bill jetted this burn my way. Not that it was one-a-those-things you could just snatch up at the local record supermarket, but I coulda bought one via Midnight Records even if I was supporting a man who was cheating his stable! Anyway it sure is grand givin' Mr Jerry Lee Lummox (as MAD once called him much to Bruce Mowat's eternal indignation) a listen to romping through his biggies (and more) backed by one of England's premier punk rock outfits of the day, mainly the Nashville Teens of "Tobacco Road" fame. Good enough that it even helps get rid of those creeps that I'd get readin' about the guy's private life!
***
Bobby's Blues Band-GOLD DUST CD-r burn

Bobby's Blues Band---geddit????  Fortunately the joke stops there because this one is in fact listenable. Not enough for me to warrant a second spin, but these white guys act does more'n just blues (mainly, rock music) and their piddling talents are complimented by the staid sound quality which gives the entire thing a knotty pine rec room appeal. In other words A REAL WINNER for those of you who revel in the whole self-produced home made independent spirit. But sheesh, just see how far this group would go if stranded in the South Side of Chicago at the Checkerboard Lounge---I'd hate to see the results!
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Various Artists-TEXARKANA CHANCE RUMBLE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Another shortie which is OK by me considerin' how my attention span is about as long as that of your average three-year-old brain-damaged mongoose. Within the half hour or so of this collection we get treated to a number of pretty good late-fifties rock instrumentals, some teenage gal-minded efforts (such as Vigor Fisher's "Padiddle" about the kissing game of the same name) and even a Johnny Cash track that has a nice rock 'n roll enough beat to it. And of course Bill put some more of those "Apple Gunkies" ads to pad the thing out which is cool because I really like them even if they were the creation of some late-sixties hippoid social commentator type who probably was a freedom rider for all I can tell. Well, they do have a slight air of smug moral superiority about 'em, y'know, so what else is new???.
***
I know you have at least ten good reasons not to buy some of these (or all for that matter) BLACK TO COMM back issues, it's just that I hope you do have the good sense not to mention any of them while I happen to be in your presence. Hope that we don't cross paths soon, and I also hope that maybe your reasons aren't as rock solid as you might believe if only to part with some of your precious lucre. After all, in order to obtain some fine specimens of late-twentieth century self-published rock anti-journalism what other choices do you really have??? Bound to be collectible one of these days, as any trashman can tell ya!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! WORLDS UNKNOWN PRESENTS THE THING CALLED...KILLDOZER (April 1974)


Like most normal people with their heads screwed on tight, I like to enjoy a comic book during those long lulls in the day between one tee-vee show and whenever the next tee-vee show I wanna watch is gonna be on, and as it is with my listening and viewing habits I'm mighty particular as to whatever comic book reading is gonna be poured into my senses THAT'S for sure!

That means no relatively "recent" (that means post mid-seventies at the latest) artzy-gooey precocious works with heavily distorted art (such as the kind seen in the eighties-vintage SPIDER-MAN) nor the early-seventies DC relevance cash in unless I'm really hard up, not including those horrid TEEN TITANS efforts that read as if Denny O'Neill wrote 'em after listening to SOME TIME IN NEW YORK CITY either! Just about any good ol' ragged comic from the bottom of the pile will do such as this find, a tattered but true effort not only based on a novella by Theodore Sturgeon but the inspiration not only for the tee-vee moom pitcher this was based on but two under-the-underground late-eighties rock bands, one who eventually changed their name to Sharkey's Machine to avoid confusion.

Considering just how gloppy Marvel coulda gotten at the time they sure did a better'n usual job translating this from the cathode to pulp. This tale about a possessed bulldozer was custom-made for a Marvel title created right at the tail end of that company's truly Golden Age what with Dick Ayers' art keeping up on the hallowed tradition that his former partner Jack Kirby begat while Gerry Conway fortunately doesn't fall into that Glade air freshener prosody that often befalls these efforts in that "hey, us comic book writers ain't as illiterate as you make us out to be Dr. Wertham!" style which pretty much ruined things for me during the late-comic seriousness days of my mid-adolescence.

And it is a keep you enthralled 'n no peeking at the Johnson Smith ad tale too! I mean sport, it's got a murderous machine killing the inhabitants of an atoll who are clearing space for a plane runway, doing a pretty good job of not only splattering people across the land but turning the survivors against each other in a way that woulda made for a pretty hefty good episode of OUTER LIMITS. Or at least good a one that woulda sent my turdler self screaming bloody murder outta the room while dad made one of his funny comments like he did when Warren Oates took off his goggles exposing his radioactive eyes saying "Hey Chris, it's MICKEY MOUSE!!!"

All in a "lesser" Marvel title that I don't think anyone remembers fortysome years down the road. Whatever, it gave me that good half hour of funtime thrills in the here and now the same way it woulda in the there and then, and the only thing that saves this 'un from being a TOP NOTCH effort is that, being one of those off-titles an' all, Marvel didn't include some old Sci-Fi/fantasy reprint featuring one of those giant monsters like Googam and Fin-Fang-Foom to pad it out! That woulda been a hoot...a seventies comic paired with a sixties one featuring the same artist from a different age. The mere thought of it makes me feel all warm and toasty inside.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019



ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING by Bill Shute

Those of you who have met me or spent much time with me know that I’m very much into Elvis. I have recordings of 600+ live shows, I have pretty much every circulating outtake, and I have the privately published books devoted to separate Vegas residencies, written by people who took off work for 7-10 days, stayed 4-6 in a room with other poor fans, and saw every concert while out there. The kind of people who would scout out the breakfast area near the hotel lounge, hoping to chat with Elvis’ father Vernon or one of the band or one of his entourage.

As a kid of 10 or 11, in the late 60’s, I would ask my parents to drop me off at the local movie theater on either Saturday or Sunday, the Lincoln Theater. My older sisters used to joke that you needed two sticks to go there—one to hold the chair up, and the other to chase the rats away. The Lincoln would have cheap double-and-triple bills on the weekend afternoons—different from what they showed during the week and at night on the weekends. Many times it would be random films united by some theme or some star. They would have 2 or 3 second-tier Hammer releases, often the ones WITHOUT either Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing (those must have been cheaper to rent)—I remember seeing FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH and THE VULTURE (the latter being faux-Hammer) on a double bill there. Another common offering—maybe every two or three months--was two or three Elvis movies dumped together. This was probably circa 1967-1969, so you would not get the present Elvis film, whatever that was, but ones that were at least six months old, together with ones maybe six or seven years old. The randomness of these double and triple bills was appealing. I probably saw 20+ Elvis films this way, virtually all of his 60’s output. It also affected my development. I would see Elvis with the pouty look and the curled lip and the Elvis attitude and I saw how it attracted women in the films. Not knowing any better, I began to affect the curled lip and the pout, thinking it would work for me too. I was probably 14 or 15 before it dawned on me that more was needed than that for real-world success with women.

Unfortunately, I never did get to see The King in person. He played Denver in 1976, when I was a poor college freshman, living in a furnished room and taking the bus everywhere. When tickets were announced, they sold out within a few hours except for “obstructed view” seats (and I was not sure what exactly that meant), and those were not cheap by the standards of the day….$12.50, $15, something like that. More than I’d paid for excellent seats to see David Bowie or The Kinks. I seriously considered getting an obstructed view ticket and taking the plunge, but when you are paying $60 a month for a room (and an unlimited monthly bus pass on Denver’s RTD was only $12!), and a ticket is $15, that’s a quarter of your rent, so I decided to pass. I thought to myself, “that Elvis, he’s ALWAYS on the road. He’ll be back next year or the year after, and I can catch him then.” Of course, Elvis died about a year later and never returned to Denver, so I’ve tried to avoid the “I’ll catch him later” excuse ever since.

Although the sullen Elvis pout did not help my social life in high school, I did during my single adult days (note: I’ve been happily married for decades now) meet a number of ladies because of a mutual interest in Elvis. While The King has a large male following, it’s no secret that there are millions of ladies still devoted to him today. If you are seeing or involved with such a lady, you simply have to accept that you will always be second in her heart to Elvis. However, since you are there physically and he is not, you do have that advantage, the old “love the one you’re with” logic. Remember the old Doug Sahm/Texas Tornados classic, “Who Were You Thinking Of (When We Were Making Love)”—who cares if she’s actually thinking of the King. In fact, that could actually work to your advantage, but since I try to keep my writings within the PG-13 rating area (and because I don’t want to be a bad influence on my grandchildren), I will leave that to your imagination—and I know that BTC readers have an active imagination in that area.

I remember one particular lady, Janet, I met at a gas station during my years in Oklahoma. We were both looking at the Elvis budget cassettes on a spinning wire rack while in line to pay for our RC Colas or Moon Pies or whatever. I forget who made the first comment, but one of us was impressed that the other knew about the film DOUBLE TROUBLE (a budget cassette of the soundtrack was on sale there), and we continued talking about Elvis for fifteen minutes outside after we’d both made our purchases. We agreed to meet for coffee the next afternoon at the Waffle House on the east-west state highway out of town, where we talked further.

She was probably in her forties and had reddish-chestnut blonde curly hair, freckles, and an anxious-to-please upbeat attitude and reminded me of the actresses Kathleen Freeman (who was in many Jerry Lewis movies) and Kathy Bates, when they were 40-42. She’d gotten married out of high school to someone from her then-church, Todd, who eventually got into a management position at one of the national furniture warehouse companies. He oversaw ordering and stocking and what was placed on the floor for sale, supervising a dozen or so employees. He was effective and efficient with that job, was a stern taskmaster, and worked there his entire career out of college. He also started drinking the minute he got off work each evening, and for the entire weekend. Usually, he’d go to an out-of-the-way sports bar where they knew him, he could stay out of the way and hang out with friends, and he’d watch whatever games were on. He stayed there until it closed and knew back roads home so he would not get caught drunk driving. Sometimes he would stay home at night, but it would be all beer drinking (with the occasional Jack-and-Coke) and sports watching. They never had children. Todd never drank on the job and never showed up late for work. Also, if company was over or an aunt was in town for a few days, he would not take a drink at all and would play the attentive husband and host. He could turn it on and off like a faucet. He was always polite and civil with his wife—he was not a mean drunk. He would probably have been the first person to tell you that he loved his wife, but the problem was that if you’d ever seen him drink (and I did on a few occasions when he was home when I visited), he was a man on a mission. He was out to get loaded as fast as possible and as heavily as possible, and don’t you dare get in his way. He would inhale a six-pack of Old Milwaukee in ten minutes or less. Clearly, he was drowning something inside with this drinking, but she never knew what it was. He was quite generous with money to her, but in a medium-sized town, it was all about preserving appearances, even when everyone knew that the appearance was false. Thus, they stayed together as a couple, attended the occasional work-related event of his together (her work-related events she attended solo), and she filled her time with other things.

Janet worked in home health care, when that field was starting to expand in the early 1980’s, and supervised six home health-care nurses, handled the billing and the insurance issues, etc. She worked from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. When she came home from work, she loved to eat a pint of ice cream, mint chocolate chip and vanilla bean being her favorites, and she’d put on an Elvis cassette on her boom-box in the kitchen (she did not have a record player—it was all cassettes). I’d say she had 30 or 40 cassettes, especially the budget-label ones on Camden, which had an odd mix of movie songs from films that did not have soundtrack LP’s (some actually getting their first release anyplace on these budget albums), B-sides of singles, and oddball combinations of things going back to the Sun era. These albums certainly showed off Elvis’ versatility as an artist, and to isolated fans in the hinterlands like Janet and me, they were even more interesting and satisfying than the better-known, mainstream albums.

After our meeting at the Waffle House, we agreed to get together from time to time to listen to Elvis, and we would meet at her house in the evening, while she was home and her husband was out drinking. While The King entertained us, we would chat and sometimes make dinner. She was heavily into dill, and she put it in virtually everything, except perhaps oatmeal and ice cream. When I held her, her body smelled of dill, and her mouth tasted of dill.

I was soon spending two or three evenings a week at her house, always with Elvis playing, so some of these albums, I surely heard 20 or 30 times, and I still have them memorized today. I can’t say that I felt exactly comfortable, being at this lady’s house who was married though acting as though I was at the home of someone I was dating, but true to form, her husband NEVER came home before midnight, and she told me that even if he did, he would not mind. She told me that he wanted her to be happy and that he knew that he was not providing her with what she needed emotionally. I actually wound up meeting the man 3 or 4 times, and he was pleasant enough to me, treating me as if I were an old friend of hers or some close work colleague. He HAD to know what was going on, and indeed, she told me on a few occasions that “he’s OK with things,” but never clarified what that meant.

This might have gone on for a year or so, but one day when I entered the living room of their modest home, I saw something new—a gun cabinet, with a rifle, a shotgun, and down at its bottom, a revolver. I asked what that was about, and Janet told me that Todd was “getting into guns.” The next month (presumably after payday) I noticed another new and attractive rifle and shotgun (I did not go close enough to check if he’d gotten another pistol too) in the case, and I felt a cold chill up and down my spine. I’d seen enough B-movies and read enough crime paperbacks to see myself becoming a character in one of those, the character blown away by an angry husband tired of being made a fool of, and in Oklahoma, he’d probably have gotten off with a claim of self-defense for protecting his family or his manhood or whatever.

So to my regret, I took up with someone else and never went back again to her home. I’d told her that I was uncomfortable with the guns being there and told her what I feared, but she said, “it’s just a hobby with him—he’s fine with us being friends as long as we remain discreet. You should not worry.” I felt guilty about cutting her off, but I was still in my 20’s and felt that I had a long life ahead of me, one that I did not want to lose in some tawdry love-triangle killing.

I myself still own a number of Elvis cassettes today, and I play them often. Last night as I was listening to the PARADISE HAWAIIAN STYLE soundtrack on cassette, I thought of Janet, the old-fashioned red and sparkly-white diner-style chairs in her kitchen, the wok in which we would do stir-fry as The King crooned on about “Hawaii….USA.” As the tape played, I could taste the dill scent on her loose and frilly cream-colored blouse and see her turquoise and silver earrings swaying with the beat, as if it were yesterday.

Once maybe five years ago, as I listened to the budget cassette ELVIS SINGS FOR CHILDREN AND GROWNUPS TOO, I wondered whatever happened to Janet, so I did an online search for her (as the album played with songs such as “Cotton Candy Land” and “Five Sleepyheads”), both under her married name and her maiden name (in case she’d gotten divorced). She was nowhere to be found, no Facebook page, no reference to her with the company she worked for, etc. No reference to her husband either online.

I have no evidence to support this, but my guess is that her husband drank himself to death, and then she re-married and took her new husband’s last name, and all of this happened in the pre-internet age, so there is no online record of any of it. But I’ll never really know…

I still have and enjoy my Elvis cassette tapes, and I hope that she still has and enjoys hers. Whenever I hear that jaunty theme from the film DOUBLE TROUBLE, I get a little tinge of excitement inside me and remember that first meeting at the gas station. Life brings us together temporarily with people in strange ways, breaks us apart and turns us against each other in stranger ways, and then we stagger on to the next encounter, the next month, the next year. As The King himself once recited, on “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” one day THEY’LL BRING THE CURTAIN DOWN, so best to enjoy what there is to enjoy about today because you’ll never get a chance to do a re-take of it…and you never know when the show will close down for good…

Saturday, September 07, 2019

It's that time of the week again, which is surely a whole lot better than THAT TIME OF THE MONTH which I don't have to tell you about if you have a cyster. But I gotta give myself credit for making it through intact (somewhat), ready willing and able to enjoy a nice weekend of cutting the grass and acting like my typical suburban slob self pouring through a good fiftysome years of old books, music and whatnot that I just don't get enough of during the weekdays. Some people think that it doesn't take much to get my inner turdler goin' and with the bevy of things I've collected o'er the years you couldn't pry me outta my bedroom given all the things I got to keep me well and happy. Well, that is unless I have to take a dump 'r sumpin'.
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Otherwise it sure hasn't been a top notch week for a suburban slob such as I. First there was the cancellation of ROUTE 66 reruns and now I find out that the all-important YOWP blog is no more! YOWP was a beautifully laid out and written blog that was (mostly) dedicated to the early Hanna-Barbera  tee-vee cartoons that most of us grew up with at least until they were unceremoniously removed from television screens in order to air more "meaningful" and "deep" programs like THE VIEW (c'mon, if YOGI'S GANG wasn't over-the-top socially conscious television then what is?), and its demise sure has me cryin' a whole lotta boo hoo's and the like because hey, even though this is the internet and everyone in the world can have a look-see at whatever it is that flutters their putter there really ain't that much funzie stuff for our own dining and dancing enjoyment available on it! I mean, other than BLOG TO COMM who else is out there pounding out the praise for THE BIG BEAT???? Believe me readers, I will never abandon you in this sorta way and will continue bloggin' until I just can't, even it I'm 120 and all I can peck out is "ooog fa dirnwom!" But it won't be like I'll announce that BLOG TO COMM is no more because, in actuality that is impossible! (I'm sure some sap out there will continue with it once I'm wormfood---I mean this blog is on a roll and I ain't talkin' Kaiser!) BTC will survive in some form or another, and despite the adversarial forces and general apathy it will....hey, who'm I KIDDING?????
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BILL SHUTE WAS RIGHT! Just got hold of a Patti LaBelle "Good Life' mini-sweet potato pie at the loco K-Mart and boy was it good! Really sweet, buttery and tangy with just the right spices tossed in to give you that mid-morning sugar rush you oh so desire. So good I actually ate two of 'em for lunch this past Wednesday! Bill, I will never doubt you and your gizzard-lovin' gullet again!
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Did any of you turn into TCM Wednesday evening to see that 1919 all-time tragedy BROKEN BLOSSOMS? Y'know, that classic DW Griffith feature starring Lillian Gish that sorta signalled the end of the Victorian Age, at least as far as moom pitchers and Griffith's own Golden Age of Directing go? I sure was gonna do just that, but when I heard that simpy modern-day musical score that was laid upon it boy did I tune out faster'n Speedy Gonzaga...why is it that every time TCM gets their hands on a silent film they have to get some moderne-day schlockmeister to add a new soundtrack, one which had none of the emotion or vigor of the original which (in some cases) has survived the passage of time! I should know because the previous times I've seen this one broadcast, first in the mid-seventies via PBS's THE SILENT YEARS and then in 1990 when GREAT PERFORMANCES aired it the original score was rendered and rendered well, first in a transcribed to piano version which retained the beauty of the original and later on in a fully orchestrated  manner which is the way I presume the audiences got to experience a hundred years ago. Dunno why TCM, which is "supposed" to known better considering all of those allegedly brainy hosts they have telling us about these mooms, has the audacity to change things around for whatever occult reason these bright minds might have. If you ask me, they're just trying to bring down the overall quality of old moom pitchers to suit the dulled out present, an age in which I sometimes think entire nervous systems have been removed from people considering the comparatively passion-less and utterly cyborg entertainment and general LIVING that many supposedly normal people feel oh so complacent about.
***
In order to both pad this post out and try to look all superior to you what with my massive musical collection and all I decided to list some if not all of my extracurricular playlist faves heard during the execution of this blogpost---Ornette Coleman-TOWN HALL 1962 CD (ESP-ZYX version), Red Noise-SCARCELLES - LOCHERES Cee-Dee-Are burned for me by Brad Kohler's ex-communist friend (can't find my real life one on Mellow Records, and this tends to pause on occasion!), Art Ensemble of Chicago-CERTAIN BLACKS LP, Syd Barrett-MAGNESIUM PROVERBS CD bootleg, Iggy Pop and James Williamson-JESUS LOVES THE STOOGES CD EP (the one with the 3-D cover), ZYKLUS --- KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN --- FOUR REALIZATIONS BY MAX NEUHAUS CD, MC5-ICE PICK SLIM CD, Deviants/Pink Fairies/UFO CD-r Fadensonnen made for me, Freedomland-AMUSEMENT PARK and YIA YIA'S SONG CD-r's (Rent Control), The Fleshtones-BLAST OFF CD (Danceteria), Ornette Coleman-THE GREAT LONDON CONCERT 2-LP set (Arista/Freedom), Max Neuhaus-THE NEW YORK SCHOOL - NINE REALIZATIONS OF CAGE, FELDMAN, BROWN CD, Can-UNLIMITED EDITION CD on Mute, and other stuff that I don't think will add anything to my image as being a well-rounded, totallyl unique sorta blogster here in the final days of a decades that really didn't come off as gangbusters as we all woulda hoped!
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And now, the goodies! Thanks to Bill, Paul and Bob which, contrary to popular opinion, isn't some early sixties folk singing group!


Flud-MANAGE TO LIVE CD-r burn (Walls Flowing Records)

This disque begins like something outta Bob Forward's Fundamentalists with weird affected voices taken from a broadcast treated and modulated until it turns into total gibberish. Sorta like talkin' to real people these days but its done on purpose! The appearance of random chord organ notes to the squealing of electronics (with some sort of beat thrown in) really starts to make it sound interesting, and THEN an electric guitar hops on board and the thing kinda comes off like an unreleased track from the DAILY DANCE sessions! For a buncha unknowns outta some place near Tempe Arizona I'd commend them, but isn't it dangerous for neophytes to be monkeying around with such a potent sound chemistry?
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Muhal Richard Abrams-YOUNG AT HEART/ WISE IN TIME CD (Delmark Records)

Side one's almost-half-hour piano solo isn't quite as fluid as Cecil Taylor but it traverses pretty much the same neo-classical realm. So if you were one to spend the seventies spinning those Freedom sides like SILENT TONGUES you might be able to eke out some appreciation of this. The flip with band (including Henry Threadgill on sax and Leo Smith on brass) pretty much hovers around the same kinda territory that those other AACM group efforts from the Art Ensemble of Chicago to the Creative Construction Company made their DOWN BEAT stars with. But don't hold it against 'em. A fine encapsulation as to what was going on in the under-the-underground Chicago jazz scene of the day, and I decided to pick it up after reading Leonard Hootkin MD's review in an old issue of THE NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS!
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The Brats-THE LOST TAPES CD-r burn (originally on Arg! Records)

At first I thought these Brats were the Brats who were a club fixture on the New York rock scene in the mid-seventies, but they ain't. These guys are from Copenhagen and probably never heard of the group who had the Brat name long before they even thought about gettin' together, but that's no reason for name snobs like myself to hate 'em. The reason to hate 'em would be the fact that these Brats are just one of a million punk rock copycat hanger ons, probably the kinda guys who you would think found out about punk rock from some old ROCK SCENE and decided to try it out themselves. Even if that were the case at least their brand of raunch sure beats a thousand other similar efforts that really don't stand the test of time like all good rock music does. Hard and powerful...you might get an extremely energetic kick outta it if you're as true to the BTC sense of anti-aesthetics like I sure hope you are!
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JACK WEBB AS PAT NOVAK, FOR HIRE WITH RAYMOND BURR CD-r burn

After years of seein' Webb as the stone-faced "Just the facks ma'am" cop Joe Friday it was sure a surpise hearin' him play Pat Novak, a cheapo errand boy who takes the strangest kinda jobs handed out to him which usually gets him in dutch with the law (played by Raymond Burr, who comes off as the more irritable law enforcement agent imaginable---makes some of the gendarmes around come off like Mister Rogers!) Webb's kinda mealy-mouthed rat-like himself here making him about as lovable as the usual jerks he comes in contact with, but that's part of the overall appeal. No sparkly Dover Boy types around here nohow! First episode has Novak picking up his laundry which turns out to have been mixed with another order then finding out the recipient of his package ain't exactly fun and games, the second find him being paid $50 to deliver a geranium to this wheezing woman who just happens not to be there when the cops bust into the apartment and find a murdered man. If your mind can take all the convolutions in these stories and keep things straight as to who was doing what and where and when for that matter I do kneel before you in honest awe.
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INSPECTOR THORNE CD-r burn 

Sheesh, another early-fifties radio program that I'm sure not as many people heard considering just how much tee-vee was creeping into the suburban slob mindset. Still, considerin' just how few television sets were up and about at the tiime and the fact that anybody who owned a set probably wouldn't invite you over to watch it radio was perhaps your best bet for broadcast dramas such as this 'un. Inspector Thorne, along with his sidekick Sgt. Muggins, solve murders of prominent people with a slew of suspects to contend with, all who seem so creepy themselves that you'd kinda wish that they'd ALL get the chair. The people who get offed ain't that angelic themselves so's you also get the idea that the world is much better off without 'em so why bother finding out who did it inna first place! Unless it's to give 'em a medal for ridding the world of such a fanabla. If you have any wits, match 'em with Thorne and end up losing.
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Various Artists-DIE HAMBURG SZENE CD-r burn (originally on Bear Family Records, Germany)

"Yah Hanz, dis iss der real Cherman musik uff der sixties!" "Uff course Frits, vhat vith der likes uff der Cherman Bonds, der Cops und Robbers und Herr Achim Reichel playing der big beat mit all uff der bold energy uff un svift panzer diffision!" "I must admit dot eeffen some uff der Amerikanner und English svine ve copped diss musik frum sound rather pale vhen stacked up to der Teutonic might und vill uff der superior sounds that VE make!" Yah Frits, midt musik like dis on our side how could ve haff effer lost der var?" "Yah Hanz...I mean, ve are so PERFECT!"  "Hanz, lett uss go to der beergarten und drown our Aryan sorrows in sum brau...perhaps dey vill haff sum Johnnie Cliff Five on der musikautomat!"
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Various Artists-BEAT WUNDERBAR --- UN-LOST TOMMYKNOCKERS CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Not exactly a "Virtual Floor Sweeping" or your usual Bill Shute collection, this contains what I would term really under-the-wire overseas rock 'n roll tuneage that I assume is so off-the-beaten-track that even Mike Stax doesn't know about it! I sure don't know anything about it either but that's to be expected considerin' how outta the loop I am. Maybe the Dave Berry of Dave Berry and the Cruisers is the same one who became a record producer, or maybe it's the Dave Berry who was taken under the tutelage of Joe Meek and later replaced Trevor Bannister on ARE YOU BEING SERVED? Maybe neither, and maybe that Chants group who pops up on this ain't one same as Chants R&B who were from Australia 'r somethin'. Not that I  am gonna any serious searchin' to find out --- I gave up doin' these school report kinda things when I was seventeen!

Actually this ain't anything to crow about and in fact comes off quite wimpoid what with the pallid covers of well-established rockers not to mention the rather insipid originals which certainly wouldn't have done any self-respecting transistor radio any good back in them pumped up rock 'n roll days. I can say that many of the tracks here do have their "charm", but the potency of such talismans leave much to be desired. Back to the stack, Jack!
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After reading through a hefty portion of fanzines (both rock 'n roll oriented and not) that have been produced from the mid-eighties onward I can safely say that BLACK TO COMM is perhaps the bestest one of a batch both inspired or not. This may be your last chance to latch onto some of the still available issues that can be had at prices less than what I've seen goin' on ebay. Well it's either that or bid some ridiculous price on a SWELLSVILLE that has nothing to offer for it but extremely extroverted angst!

Thursday, September 05, 2019

BOOK REVIEW! WINSOR McCAY EDITORIAL WORKS (Checker Books, 2006)


I first espied one of McCay's political cartoons in some comics history book 'bout forty years ago and knew it was the most inane thing I've seen in that particular "field"! Well, at leastit was the most inane thing I've seen until the era of current editorial page amateurisms that mistake concrete thought for feminine cushy soft feelings which transpired sometime inna eighties. In the example that graced my eyes was the presence of some bearded Russian-looking anarchist with a bomb who is told by either Unca Sam or some clean cut Amerigan type that if you don't like it here in the USA why don't you go back to where you came from? Not that the sentiments aren't downright TRUE even resonating this far down the political landscape, but given what a unique and creative comics brainiac McCay was heralded as for many a year I was kinda hoping that he woulda come up with something a whole lot more imaginative and brutally cutting, like "If you don't like it here I can see to it that you'll be sent to a nice little cubicle that you'll be sharing with a man named Sweet Willie". Neater, funnier and a whole lot closer to the target.

Those of you who've read my previous reviews of various non-NEMO McCay collections will already know how I feel about the man's work and style, and the examples that are repro'd in this book are just as eye-catching and as exceptional as the efforts I've reported on earlier. But oh do they reflect a Victorian mindset that even gets me craving for that bathtub gin. Sure I can agree with some of the points that McCay makes such as his pacifist stay outta World War I tone with did a good 180 once the Lusitania deep-sixed (at which point he deserves the "turnabout from a good idea in order to pacify the big guns" award of the century!) but I most vehemently disagree with his woman's suffrage take which puts him in the same group as every other pussy-whipped male feminist wearing them pink hats with ears on 'em...I guess he didn't know just how overly emotional the species could sometimes get, but back then I guess hearts overruled brains at a good hundred-to-one ratio. But that artwork put into these works rises above any soft-headed thoughts that might or might not be emanating from the skull of McCay, what with the fine engraving-like lines which are almost unheard of anymore and sure made these early cartooning efforts such a pleasure on the orbs unlike the slapdash over-emote we've seen for ages on end.

Actually it ain't all polly-tix as usual here. McCay does a nostalgia comic for a time which has been nostalgicized years back ("Whatever happened to...collapsible hat racks, the cigar store Indian, the milkman with the bell buck-board and dipple"...) and his plea to make the holidays happier for a buncha lowbrow brats by supporting THE NEW YORK AMERICAN's annual Christmas Fund might just charm ya the same way some old D. W. Griffith socially inclined short mighta. The same goes for an important warning regarding married men with families flirting with the fresh stuff which was the basis for both of Griffith's versions of THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES. It's that early-twentieth century look and finery that makes a collection such as this so important and a potent antidote to the cheap crank out and flitzy political commentary that only tends to tell us about the general stupidity of its creators who are somehow trying to prove their innate cranial and moral superiority because well...gosh ain't they so much more advanced than the rest of us?

I dunno what your comic strip/book/art library looks like, but I believe that mine is all the more IMPROVED by the various McCay efforts that adorn the shelves next to everything from old paperback collections of long-forgotten strips to the latest IDW DICK TRACY compilation. Might do you good to add something like this to your bookshelf...I mean, those etchings just don't cut it like they used to when it comes to the gals, and you do want 'em to think you've got some sorta taste in the "finer" things!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Another kinda/sorta shortie this week, or at least it's short enough in a way that I shoulda put a little more meat, or at least cereal filler, into the package. Not that much brand spanking new, or brand spanking old for that matter to report. But I have that feeling that y'all will lap it up like a coupla lesbians because hey, what else is there out in internet land that's devoted to the raw being of music as that feral and downright fascist unforgiving form of sound that can drive most supposedly sane men totally wild? Not that you'll read anything like that on this week's post mind you.
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Life is pretty boff nowadays what with the maniacal (and long welcomed) tide which is trying to overturn a good five or so centuries of so-called "enlightenment" to contend with (it sure gives me hope that maybe I will check outta this planet on a staunchly UPBEAT note since I sure clocked in on one---in-between was something else altogether!) but there have been a few downsides to life I've had to contend with. The most striking one is definitely the sudden cancellation of ROUTE 66 on FETV which has thrown my television viewing patterns all to smithereens an' I don't mean that old time rock group! Now that the show was getting better with the arrival of Glenn Corbett in the passenger seat (see last week's post) I had much more to look forward to, but the people at that olde tymey cable network didn't even have the good sense to FINISH THE SERIES OUT and rerun the thing a few times so us people who missed out on some of 'em due to real life obligations could do some mighty necessary catching up! (Still haven't seen the one where Todd and Buz head out to Youngstown Ohio which should bring back some hidden kiddiehood memories!)  C'mon, howcum FETV couldn't run ROUTE 66 a few times over when they feel it right and just to give us a regular snoozathon like MATLOCK ad nauseum?!?!?! Someone is slipping up, and you know it ain't me!


At least I have LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES cartoons to keep my early-evening hours occupied. Mucho demerits are in order for the total abandonment of most everything pre-late-forties whether it be "offensive" or not so if you're on the lookout for a pre-Elmer Fudd Egghead, Beans the Cat or the original Porky Pig you're gonna hafta dish out for some over-priced DVD set. While you're at it, there's no Speedy Gonzales to be seen either so if you're interested in those late-sixties cartoons where he's teamed up with Daffy Duck tough turds as well. Seems there's a LOTTA things missing here and the way the same 'toons seem to be re-re-re-rerun I get the feeling that a whole lot that should be available has been excised for some reason or another, probably because some "stereotype" (a.k.a. "accurate portrayal") offended some precious petunia back when he was a mere turdler and you know WE CAN'T HAVE THAT! (unless its a stereotype of some generally loathed human specimen, mainly ME!).

But hey, watching a fifties-vintage Bugs Bunny or Sylvester sure beats a good hunka what has passed for entertainment these past fortysome years, and that includes all the WB cartoon revivals that have sprouted up during those rather desert-like times. And when I ain't in front of the boob tube for any of those funtime flickers I can always hit Youtube where some public domain wonder like THE DOVER BOYS AT PIMENTO UNIVERSITY is available with the mere flick of a key. Oh how I wish more women were like Dora Standpipe especially in these anti-feminine times, especially considering what a bully, coward, cad and thief I am and shall always remain!
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Seems like Paul McGarry devoted the lion's share of platters this week, with Bill's "Floor Sweepings" collection being his sole contribution and a newbie purchased and one of my own hard-begged filling out the batch! Dunno about you, but this might just set a record for Paul even if precious few of the platters he sends are anything I'd care to part with my filthy lucre for! Oh well, here it it, whatever "here" may be...


Direct Hits-BLOW UP CD-r burn (originally on Whaam Records, England I surmise); THE HOUSE OF SECRETS CD-r burn (Originally on The Forbidden Label, England again I think)

Twee English pop rock with a decidedly Beatles during their sunshine days slant which might not be the kinda music you he man women hater types go for but eh, I got it free. However I gotta say that the material on these two mid-eighties platters didn't "offend" me they way they shoulda, and I kinda latched onto both of 'em the same way I loved the dickens outta some equally English pop revival effort of the same strata I chanced upon in the mid-eighties yet haven't played since. I won't play these again either but I didn't think my time was wasted delving into these eighties attempts at regaining late-sixties pop glories.
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Various Artists-POPPIES -- ASSORTED FINERY FROM THE FIST PSYCHEDELIC AGE CD-r burn (originally on Craft Recordings)

Uh, a little truth is needed here. These recordings ain't from the first psychedelic era as defined on the NUGGETS anthology. Definitely second era around the time that psychedelic music became associated with pseudo-intellectual underclassmen hanging around in farted up dorms trying to discern the true meaning of Donovan's belly button while tripping on windowpane. The music on here is custom-made for your next bad trip (the one where you imagine you're working in the produce department of a Coraopolis supermarket) and serves to remind of as to just why the late-sixties weren't as Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper over-the-top earth shattering rock 'n roll like they shoulda been.
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Mitch Ryder-DETROIT BREAKOUT CD-r burn (originally on Cleopatra Records)

Well whaddaya know! That blue dress devil guy is back (again) with an album fulla covers (his "own" and others) with special guests including Linda Gail Lewis, James Williamson, Walter Lure, Sylvain Sylvain and even former Deviants guitarist Paul Rudolph! Some of this does rock out perhaps thanks to the additional talent, but sheesh if I can't get that image of Ryder as being one of those sorta second class Bruce Springsteen types who the more FM-addicted of my brethren really gobbled up during the eighties (for obvious reasons). Can't get that kind of stench outta my mind nohow!
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Chip & Tony Kinman-SOUNDS LIKE MUSIC CD-r burn (originally on Omnivore Recordings)

A collection of thingies recorded throughout the brothers' ---er--- "career", the early trax by the Dils and Rank and File being the rockinest while the rest topple over into moderne-day electro whiz that suits me about as much as castor oil milkshakes. Since these tracks are all mixed up its like yer goin' from a fairly listenable time to sheer agony so if you do get this 'un on Cee-Dee make sure you have a programmable one so you can listen to the better tracks in an order which suits you fine and forget the rest which only goes to show you just how much of a killer on the ol' talent time really is.
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Left Lane Cruiser-SHAKE AND BAKE CD-r burn (originally on Alive Records)

I pulled this one outta the Paul Pile because the ghoul onna cover reminded me of one of those AIDS-riddled pansies I always see in those high-larious A. Wyatt Mann cartoons that are splattered across the internet. Not that the guy has anything to do with the music to be found herein which is pretty much mid-seventies hard boogie metal, the kind that got the likes of Kenne Highland and various other fanzine fanablas really excited back when O. REXTASY and ROCK ON were being spirit duplicated loooong ago.

A rugged lead singer fronts a band that seems to be part (pick your favorite English long haired blues band circa 1973) and a Southern sleeper like Hydra and it surprisingly works, but who in 2019 (at least those who listened to this brew a good fortysome years back) would even think of giving Left Lane Cruiser a listen? Other'n desperate nerve-grated hard rock maniacs like ourselves that is.

To nobody's surprise this feels a whole lot better in the modern music world which has been gelded to the point where the whole concept of the consumerist/music/entertainment industry being reduced to something even lower than that basic common denominator that we all feared way back when has finally been realized! Like, those fifties-era future fears we all read about in various Sci-Fi rags are with us in the here and now, and just about anything that has been long gone 'n buried looks oh so LIBERATING. Never thought I'd say this, but the Four Aces and the Ames Brothers do come off way more inspirational and avant garde than Beyonce, Lady Caga's and Miley Cyrus's entire reason for existence, and come to think of it Left Lane Cruiser sure do too!
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Peter Perrett-HUMAN WORLD CD-r burn (originally on Domino Recordings)

I thought this guy woulda been washed up by now. But surprises or surprises it can be said that the use of narcotics and the creative process can go hand in hand given that the needle shoulda offed this guy by now and here he is doin' the same bared-wire neo-Thunders/Reed rock he was doing with England's Glory and the Only Ones almost fifty years ago. Songs are mostly in the old passionate drive-on style that Perrett made his mark(s) with, so if you are one who still has your copy of "Another Girl Another Planet" on steady rotation you just "might" cozy up to this particular release. But then again you might not.
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La Femme-PSYCHO TROPICAL BERLIN CD (Barclay Records, France)

Finally got hold of this current French act's debut platter and it's every bit as mystic-decadent as their latest. The new-unto-gnu feeling might spread itself a little too thick but when you ain't lookin' you get some of that "Sister Ray"/"Roadrunner" organ that still goes down so smooth.  Their entire reason for existence makes me wonder if La Femme are the real Heaven Seven-Teen as envisioned by Anthony Burgess way back when only with a Gallic 'stead of Soviet air to 'em. One of those recordings that sorta sneaks up behind you, acts all complacent and background-y, then WHAMS you into another world it'll take quite a while to wiggle your way outta.
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Various Artists-MAD MUSKRAT SPINY LOUISE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)


Starting this 'un off with Paul Revere and the Raiders' Stones-y "Great Airplane Strike", and including their very own "Louie Louie" answer record not called "Louie Go Home" but "Louise" really was genius. The Christmas-themed ads plus Walter Brennan's weepathon "Just Three Letters For Christmas were quite outta place here in August but they serve to remind me to do my shopping before the rush! The Roger Price platter, although skipping in spots, brings back some of those fifties comedy thrills that kinda flopped around the mid-sixties and eventually flops about itself! And as for Spiny Norman...for being a GET SMART cash-in that was pretty hotcha garage band rock! (Ditto the Skunks who must have been one of a millyun groups with that name and the Impressions shouldn't be left out of this either [tho maybe the lounge-y Dick and Libby Halleman should...]).

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BLACK TO COMM BACK ISSUES ARE STILL FOR SALE! NEED ANY MORE HINTS OR ARE YOU AS DAFT AS MOST OF MY ENEMIES MAKE ME OUT TO BE? C'MON, YOU WANT THEM AS MUCH AS I WANT SOME MOOLAH FLOWIN' MY WAY! I CAN'T MAKE IT ANY EASIER FOR YOU TO GET THESE INTO YOUR WORTHLESS LIVES! YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO SO DO YOUR DOODY!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

BOOK REVIEW! FIVE YEARS AHEAD OF MY TIME - GARAGE ROCK FROM THE 1950s TO THE PRESENT by Seth Bovey (Reaktion Books, 2019)

When I first discovered the existence of this book via a review in the latest UGLY THINGS I almost gagged on my Wheezies! Gosh all doggum, GARAGE BAND ROCK, that nicer Siamese twin of punk rock and starting point for many a rock 'n roll movement o'er the years, FINALLY getting an entire tome devoted to it! Talk about dying and thinking you went to heaven!

Now, that brain-blasting concept (a book on garage band rock, not going to heaven) was something I kinda thought woulda happened a good thirtysome years ago during the big under-the-counterculture paisley underground et. al. revival movement which gave the entire garage rock idea a voice outside a few smatterings of activity here and there, but better late 'n never I always say! And for such a (really!) Herculean task as defining, describing and layin' on the line what was so important about garage band rock in the pantheon of rock 'n roll (later just "rock") as that big biz moneymaking scheme made off the backs of unaware teenbo neo-thugs author Bovey does a pretty snat job of it. And he does swell enough even if he ain't the Lester Bangs or R. Metzer who woulda been more suited to such a rockist-related doody giving the subject matter a whole lot more body than is usually tossed into such works, but at this late date why should ANYONE complain?

Of course some sticklers will rant on because some group they've cherished o'er the years has gone missing in these pages from the Seeds to the Young Fanablas who you remember from down the street especially the time the local toughs decided to sheep dip 'em at the slaughterhouse, but while the former omission might seem like a careless faux pas we can't expect every group no matter how much they meant to your own suburban slob upbringing to appear in these pages.  An' sure I coulda used a whole lot more snaps but if they're the kind we've seen thousands of times before like, why bother? It ain't like I was expecting the Taj Mahal inna first place...just a read that gave us new and interesting details while commemorating just a facet of those exciting times we had either as radio listeners or purveyors of word-of-mouth hype passed on like those rumors about the fast girl in school or the kid who skidded his shorts in basketball.

I find no bouef with FIVE... even if I kinda think that Bovey might be making a few not quite substantiated statements regarding what might or might not be considered garage rock here and there. At least his concept and idea of such a vague "all over the place" term to describe a "style of rock 'n roll" (which is even vaguer than pinpointing the whole punk rock and heavy metal idioms which were so blurred together in the early-seventies yet struck up polar opposite [or so it seemed] factions a good decade later) sure reads a whole lot smoother than it did in the days when Anastasia Pantsios would blab on about Rush being the quintessential garage band or something equally idiotic. (I could only see that being factual if Rush did indeed sound like the New York Dolls as some early observer once mentioned...otherwise eh!) After all these years the basic thrust and feeling behind the simple concept of kidz inna garage or basement or attic for that matter clanging out a set and maybe going somewhere with is has been somewhat detailed in a book, and I sure do cozy up to the idea of entire forests being chopped down and turned into paper so that tomes for the time like this can be printed 'stead o one of those NY TIMES best sellers that nobody seems to remember a few months after the fact.

And this book you will remember, probably for better 'stead of worse!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! THE GOLDEN GOOSE (East Germany, 1964), presented by K. Gordon Murray!


The Saturday/Sunday “kiddie matinee” with special programming aimed at the under-12 set still hangs on here and there in various forms, but not in the same way it did in the 1960’s (and into the early 1970’s), when the scene was dominated by Florida-based “master showman” K. GORDON MURRAY. Murray got his start as a distributor with imported exploitation films (such as WASTED LIVES) which he dubbed into English. He then moved into horror films, importing dozens of fine atmospheric horror films from Mexico, and having his professional, Spanish-speaking crew (many Cuban expatriates) translate the dialogue and create English scripts. He was able to corner the market in the USA with these Mexican horror films in English (his only competition, on a minor level, being Jerry Warren, who used a very different technique in creating English-language versions of the Mexican source films), showing them at drive-ins (with outrageously attention-getting ad campaigns dripping with over-the-top ballyhoo) and eventually creating packages for television, where the films were widely seen in horror packages.

Murray’s keen sense of what an audience will buy also led him to dub and distribute in the US imported children’s films, originating in Mexico and in Germany. The first and most successful of these was the legendary Mexican SANTA CLAUS film, which played weekend matinees for at least 10 years around the nation. That film’s success led Murray to create many more English language “family” films, often based on classic fairy tales, whenever possible in “storybook color.” With eye-catching posters and special TV and radio ad campaigns, the films had great appeal for parents looking to have a few hours freedom from Junior, able to drop the child off at the local theater for two hours for a measly 25 or 50 cents and the cost of a box of popcorn.

This worked well for about 7 or 8 years, but Murray’s well eventually ran dry, and by the late 60’s, he was reduced to distributing 15-year old black-and-white German films which by then would have had little broad appeal, and with reduced box-office receipts, he did not even bother dubbing the songs into English. I can review one of those films at a later date, as I love them myself, and I had my children watch them when they were youngsters. Such films as TABLE, DONKEY, AND STICK are still beloved classics in the Shute family home!

However, at the time of THE GOLDEN GOOSE—an eye-popping color feature from East Germany (!!!!), made there in 1964 and released here in 1965, Murray had a recent film that truly played like a storybook come to life. It’s no surprise that the film did very well for him and was re-released for a few years after that. I actually reviewed this film on the IMDB many years ago, and just rewatched it yesterday, and it still works its magic, as only the products of “THE WONDER WORLD OF K. GORDON MURRAY” can!

Of all the many children's films exported to the US by Murray in the 1960's, THE GOLDEN GOOSE is one of the three of four best in terms of entertainment value. It’s fill of color, slapstick comedy, comforting broadly-played characters, and a sense of fun that even a four-year-old could understand and be part of. Also, it lacks the Gothic touches and overall weirdness found in some of Murray's Mexican imports (although those have a lot of appeal for adults watching them today). The young women in the film are dubbed by adults trying to sound like children, which gives the whole film a non-realistic quality, almost like story time at a daycare! I don't know what frame of reference today's children would have to help them with something like this (I should show it to my grandsons, who are 4 and 7)--perhaps the skits performed at theme parks or when the high school musical comedy players go to elementary schools to perform--but THE GOLDEN GOOSE holds up well as timeless, simple family entertainment for the under 10 crowd. And the visuals are interesting enough that adults would not be bored. Unfortunately, the days when films such as this played in actual theaters were dead by the early 1970's--your best bet today for finding old children's films might be in the DVD/VHS pile at your local dollar store. Some of the children's films imported by Murray in the later 60's were more strange than entertaining, but THE GOLDEN GOOSE still contains a lot of entertainment value for those with old-fashioned tastes, or those parents who want to broaden their children's horizons.

It would be interesting to see a subtitled version of the original German film with the original soundtrack, to see if the tone differs at all from what Murray grafted onto it, but honestly, I consider these Murray adaptations of Mexican and German films to be separate and unique creations. I’ve seen a number of the Mexican originals of the horror films, and there’s no comparison. Murray’s are not inferior (to me); they are just different VERY different. Maybe it’s similar to when Andy Warhol appropriates the paintings of Edvard Munch or junk-store print of The Last Supper and creates new and fresh works from them—maybe not.

K. Gordon Murray’s THE GOLDEN GOOSE will take you to another world, a world full of bold colors, happy people straight from the pages of a sanitized fairy tale, and narration that sounds like Miss Matilda’s Story Time for six year olds at the local public library. If you wanted to make a case that Murray actually DID create a “wonder world” for a period in the mid-60’s, this would be the film that could make your point for you.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

As you already know by now, here's another weakened post for y'all to enjoy in whatever masochistic ways you most certainly can. eke outta your obviously under-developed minds A fairly decent one too if only because none other that BOB FORWARD has dumped another package on me and this time I DIDN'T LOSE IT IN THE PILES OF BOOKS, CEE-DEES, FANZINES AND OTHER VARIETIES OF FLOTSAM AND JETSAM PILED UP IN MY ROOM! Thanks be to he, for those recordings he sent really did help beef up this week's output and kept the thing from looking like just another throwaway tossout to you reg'lar types who'll gobble up just about everything that I toss at'cha! Of course the other contributors like Bill and Paul helped keep this from being yet another dragout of long-forgotten faves I've reviewed many-a-time, so maybe they should get just a little smidgie bit of credit as well.
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I guess one of the bigger cataclysmic earth-shattering happenings in my current existence (at least this week) is the debut of the Glenn Corbett episodes of ROUTE 66 that are now popping up on FETV Saturday and Sunday evenings. And, contrary to what I guess everyone else who has seen this series before believes true to their hearts I actually prefer Corbett's Link Case to George Maharis' Buz Murdoch which might seem like total sacrilege but what else is new! While Maharis played it real ethno-street tough smartwise, Corbett comes off slow burn restrained and perhaps a tad too philosophical even for a brainy "quality" series such as this. But still nice and intense to the point where you think he's gonna raise your blood pressure ten times by extending his fingers around your throat nice 'n tight. Tee-Vee's first introspective, troubled Vietnam War vet! My humble opinion is that the series improved while he was in it, but maybe that was only because the show was heading into '63 by this time and it seemed as if the intensity levels were being notched up quite a bit with series such as this, THE TWILIGHT ZONE and of course that all time fave SAILORBIRD AND SUSIE.

The episode where the pair find themselves at Weekee-Watchee in Ef-El-Lay as Lou Reed woulda put it had a special personal touch to it because around the time this was filmed our whole fambly weny there as part of a Florida trip and I remember being in that auditorium watching the gals swimming around in those mermaid outfits breathing through air hoses! In fact in the brief audience shots there seems to be a turdler who looks just like I did watching the show while sitting on a lady who did not look like my own mother (well, the shot was rather quick!) making me wonder if I made my own network television debut at the mere age of three! Maybe some forensic work with frame enlargements and pertinent records will back me up---dunno where dad 'n cyster were but maybe they were having one of their typical arguments elsewhere.
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A FINAL FAREWELL HOOHAH TO PETER FONDA: well, he did say he knew what it was like to be dead...


Sir Douglas Quintet- RIO MEDINA CD-r burn (originally on Sonet Records, Sweden)

At first I thought Sir Doug had flipped his page boy wig what with the overtly-horny sound and the cover of the Police's "Every Breath You Take"...sheesh, was this guy so involved with baseball stats that he would be reduced to such depths as this? Then the platter continued on and the good ol' Quintet sound got back into gear with that great organ and chugga-chugga rhythm...I even started tapping my toe in approval and I only do that during inspirational Throbbing Gristle passages! Yeah it might be over-produced and slick the way I HATE music to be but it still has a kick to it that I've been wanting to hear for ages...sounds great despite all that ROLLING STONE jive coverage Sahm had been bestowed back inna seventies.
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The Beatles-BEATLES '66---MUNICH, SAN FRANCISCO CD-r burn

Gotta admit that these live Beatles bootlegs, even the ones that sound as if they were recorded on sandpaper with a mic jammed up your gaseous poopchute, capture the guttural rock 'n roll experience a whole lot more'n those scratchy singles that your big cyster used to spin in her bedroom with her galpals and they wouldn't let you in! The Munich tracks have Lennon talking in mock Kraut while der frauleins scream their li'l ol' Aryan hearts out, and not in jest either! Ol' Adolf woulda been jealous! The San Fran tracks are still good 'n hard '66 intricacy even if the locals in the audience are probably already settling into early-seventies mellow vibes this early in the game an' they don't even know it! Best thing about these boots is that the artists are not getting any moolah outta 'em so's we don't have to contribute to their drug intake, even if John and George are nothing but peat moss these days.
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BLIND BEAD EP (Imposter Complex Records)

Boy does thiis one remind me of the early days of my very own crudzine when slowcore grindout music such as the kind performed here was very big on the under-the-underground rock scene! Playable at 33 or 45 and it even comes on puke grey vinyl the same way that all of those self-produced noise merchants did 'em up back inna old days! All of those heavy metal and hardcore moves that were up and comin' duing the mid-eighties can be heard here and appreciated for the feral mess it is...didn't think that there was this much echhiness left in rock, but I guess there is!
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The Crummy Fags-POP BOTTLE FOREST DOG DOCTOR DREAM CD-r burn

Shee-yucks! A good portion of those thirty-plus-year-old Crummy Fags tapes slowed down to their proper speed (I never knew...) sounding a whole lot more----real. Now you can appreciate the sloppiness as it was meant to be. It even comes with an interview but it's kinda hard to follow. If you think there were too many acts in the eighties and onward mangling your fave sixties/seventies rock memories beyond recognition wait until you give these guys a listen. The Cramps come off like Jan Garber in comparison. More needs to be made available to the public, especially THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY STORY which is one film soundtrack you won't be snuggling in between MARY POPPINS and WEST SIDE STORY!
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Steve Reich-INFORMATION, TRANSMISSION, MODULATION AND NOISE LP (Alternative Fox Records)

This might not be thee one for Reich fans. Side one's "Four Organs" has been issued many times before and the following drum track ain't nuthin' but a field recording of some African percussionists that sounds no different 'n the ones Nonesuch have been issuing for years. Heck, the entirety of side two is taken up by a recording of "Music In Similar Motion" as performed by the Philip Glass Ensemble with Reich on electric harpsichord which doesn't exactly qualify this as being Reich's baby even if Glass and Reich are good buddies and even ran a scrap yard together. Still, if you ain't heard "Four Organs" before this would be one good place to start and the African drummers do get into a hefty groove that one can even sing avant rock cantatas over. Not only that but the early Glass take does have enough of an original flair to it that differentiates it from the more familiar Chatham Square version many of us have embedded in our brains. Good enough that even old turds like myself can still "get into" it!
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The Fundamentalists-ANCIENT PAPER cassette (Walls Flowing Records)

Strange blurs and clomps courtesy Bob Forward and company who act as if they're trying out for the next LAFMS sampler with this effort. Actually cool, actually mesmerizing and (unlike many of these bedroom clangathons) this has a beat that you might even be able to dance to. Only 157 made and when they're gone you'll probably be too stoopid to know that they were even made inna first place.
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Various Artists-THE RETURN OF THE YOUNG PENNSYLVANIANS CD-r burn (originally on Bona Fide Records)

Even though Rich Noll used to send me alla these Bona Fide records gratis I never got hold of this particular one! Well, after all these years I finally get to hear THE RETURN OF THE YOUNG PENNSYLVANIANS and as I woulda guessed it's a pretty spiffy affair. Lotsa minor-key songs here which give me the impression that these sixties garage band aficionados were of the horn rimmed glasses and pocket protectors Ernie Douglas types the "cool" kids used to sneer at, but they still get their backed up testosterone message out straight and sound even though you can imagine the aforementioned toughies lining up to beat the daylights outta 'em after they're done playing their set. My personal faves include the Centurys of BOULDERS fame whose "Hard Times" remains a tried and true mid-sixties classic.
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The Fuzztones-HORNY AS HELL CD-r burn (originally on Electrique Mud Records)

Heh---here's the legendary six-oh "revival" band that Billy Miller actually put down in a mid-eighties issue of KICKS! Nowadays they don't seem quite as cartoonish as some of those groups got, and the usage of horns on this does give these "hoary old chestnuts" a professional sound. Professional as in 1965 Raiders on Columbia mind you, never letting up as it keeps you pumped up and dancing your tootsies off without mercy. If you were the kinda kid who used to smoke cigarettes in the parking lot of your local shopping plaza while old ladies sneered you'll probably love the way this brings back memories.
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Various Artists-ROARING BLUE : RETURN OF THE INSTRO-HIPSTERS, VOL. 3 CD-r burn (originally on Psychic Circle Records, England)

Like TWEN MOODS this is Euro-hip-drenched jazzy instrumental music that sound as if they came straight outta some cheezy mid-sixties spy film that used to show up on Sunday afternoon UHF television back in the seventies. Cornballus as all heck, though you do get some surprises like a track from Beatle stand-in Jimmy Nichol to Casey and the Pressure Group's version of the Shocking Blue hit "Venus". And really, Shake Keane actually tackled the Smoke's mini-hit "My Friend Jack" which is abut as back-handed a compliment as you can give an under-the-covers act such as that! Somehow I keep thinking about those Holiday Inns the fambly stayed in furing summer vacations which had music like this piped into the dining area. Still wonder what went on behind that blacked out door that said "Adults Only" tho...after all these years maybe I shoulda peeked!
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Various Artists-GREEN POPSICLE MONKEY DUST CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Bill goes Burundi here with an extended tribal pounce filled with threatening voices and electronic gargle. Actually its an act called Black Pus playing live on WFMU radio, and if they ever play in your burgh be sure to get your Tetanus shot before attending. Bill flirts with the weird in other forms as well such as with the moderne garage band approach of the Hentchmen, Count Basie doing his version of "Green Onions" and even some rare Half Japanese live tracks which doesn't get that tinge of eighties amerunderground indie appeal outta my mind, but it does work in its own magical way. Tracks from the likes of Jimbo Easter (sort of a Captain Beefheart redux) and Crawl add to the overall obtuse soundscreed of it all, and the shebang ends with an early-sixties schmoozer from the Talkabouts that might have gotten your gal (if you were good looking enough to get one) all roweled up, and who could blame her?
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Of course there are many things that you need more than BLACK TO COMM back issues, its just that I can't think of anything offhand. Do yourself a favor and wash decades of Christgau outta your system for once, willya?