Sunday, December 21, 2014

A COMICS-SATURATED HIGH SIX FOR ONCE!

You've noticed too eh? Y'know, how this slimy fanabla of a blogschpieler would rather peck away about his favorite comic book 'n strip reads 'stead of the worth and value of a Wooden Shjips platter (frankly I've heard wonderful things about 'em but that's just the kinda thing that gets my b.s. detector clicking away like that Geiger Counter Kingfish was using on some old AMOS 'N ANDY episode). Well all I gotta say is YAS I am really heavily into them old comics (even animation, and I ain't talkin' pixel!) just like I was back when I was a single-digit suburban slob spread across the parlor floor reading the latest antics of my favorite characters acting like a modern day equivalent of a bear skin rug. Maybe it's the time o' year...after all visions of kiddoid Christmas breaks as well as snowed in winters always stirred up the pre-teen comic spirits in me with visions of settling back in a snug bedroom reading the latest BATMAN while my sister was shoveling the driveway, and although I'm older and supposedly know better I just can't help but wanna relax during the cold season with a comic---dredging up all of those old and happy memories of getting outta school 'n work. Well it's either that or come across some other long forgotten pasttime that vividly pops into my mind whenever a chance upon that certain issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC with those Japanese pearl-diving gals who were at least smart enough not to hang heavy weights from their boobs!

So right now it's comics and that's all I wanna read (other'n old fanzines) and watch onna tee-vee (the good ol' ones natch!). I figure that with all of the stress and strain I got in my life only a good comic strip or book can make me revert back to age ten, and although I was being treated like a doormat even then at least those comics helped mold and shape me into the unrepentant jerk that I am and shall remain!

So in keeping with the spirit of a pre-adolescent ranch house upbringing here's a HIGH SIX (so called because another certain blog runs a HIGH FIVE list 'n I wanna do you all one better) where I discuss a whole slew of my current favorite comic strip/book reading (and watching) material that reminds me of all the fun I had back when I knew that things were more important than people (take that you UP WITH PEOPLE hippies!). And if my kiddoid self could only SEE his adult version reading up alla the old comic collections and watching the cartoons on tee-vee (though admittedly the good old ones are becoming scarcer and scarcer) boy would he wanna gobble down a bottle of grow up pills and do it like now!


ARCHIE'S CHRISTMAS LOVE-IN #478 (January 1979), VERONICA IN INDIA #5 (December 1989)

Like I said many-a-time, the Archie comic books just weren't as top-notch snide sightgag guffaw-inducing as the Bob Montana-penned comic strip, but they're still good for a once-in-awhile perusal if you were a fan of the Archie Empire as a kid and wanna relive old-timey memories of your skidmarked underwear and stinkola sweat socks days (which, come to think of it, might still be upon you!). Dunno about the current batch of comics what with Kevin Keller (wretch!) making up for years of overboard wholesomeness with a faggoty vengeance, but these relatively old titles do conjure up some of the magic that I got from 'em in between Marvel-styled annihilation and DC-approved social concerns.

Never bought any of the Archie X-mas titles either on the stand or via the garage sale/flea market trade, admittedly a peculiar thing considering how much I used to like them holiday vacations and that these titles would have added to my enjoyment of those once-uberfuntime times. So it was nice that Bill slipped this 'un into a recent package, and even nicer now that the holiday season is in full fanabla gear and I can finally experience something I missed out on the first time 'round.

Frankly I was expecting a sugar-coaty sweet saga bound to up the glycerin levels to Tom Hanks level but the saga printed here ain't that bad despite being vaguely based on the ever-popular A CHRISTMAS CAROL premise (remember, this title came out in 1978 and the IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE credo had yet to be milked to it's nauseating conclusion). Archie's boss is the greedy and skin-flinty Uriah Scourge who dresses up like a bum in order to scam a free meal at the rescue mission...he gets his well-deserved comeuppance when a crook tosses the loot from a stick up at his store into the mission's Santa Claus kettle and he can't get it back! Archie also mistakes the garbage for Betty's Christmas gift (a theme worked out much better in a four-panel 1962 daily) and Veronica acts her rich bitch self when dragging Archie along for a day's shopping. Standard ARCHIE comic book fare true, but a whole lot better'n things to come once the company began targeting the adolescent girl trade at the expense of us feral boys.

What really gets me is that this "Giant" comic that was going for a whopping thirty-five pennies only houses TWENTY-EIGHT PAGES!!!!! Really, what kind of a rip-off is that, calling a standard-sized comic book a "Giant" which used to mean anything from  80 or even 100-pages then eventually 64 once the early seventies started rolling around and prices really began getting out of control! Makes me wanna get into a time machine, scoot back to the late-seventies and yell at a buncha kids YOU'VE BEEN RIPPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I called Veronica a rich bitch in the previous paragraph and that's one statement I will stand by no matter how much you "women can do no wrong" types may stamp and holler! 's funny, but she never was like that in the original comic book stories, and throughout the Bob Montana run of the strip the gal even came off sweet and lovable even if she was constantly being showered with luxuries and living an existence that would make Richie Rich look like Sluggo. I guess that the Archie Comics people had their female readership pegged with this character...after all why would some twelve-year-old sassy type just sprouting suckems want to be sweet and adorable gal next door Betty when they could be the mean, vindictive and spoiled rotten Veronica! Good move on your part, MLJ!

This solo Veronica series, at least judging from this particular title featuring our heroine in India, tones the bitchiness down a tad but I think the teenbos reading it still get the sordid message of it all. Frankly I kinda wonder how Veronica would manage in a nation where public defecation is the norm and feminine hygiene ain't exactly flowing outta the local vending machines the way the blood is flowing outta the volcano, but the gal manages to keep at least a decent face of respectability up while she and billionaire pop see the sights and get involved with some business intrigue in the interim. The usual redeeming educational bits you'd expect to appear are tossed in but as usual there is that one big flub up that shows the artists weren't doing their homework...in India, people drive their vehicles on the left side of the road (steering wheels adjusted to local driving customs) and really how could anybody make such a gigantic goof as that!

It's always nice to check up on these later on sagas just to see what these comics were up to ever since you "outgrew" them, or they outgrew you for that matter. It gives me a feeling that maybe there are a few things from my past that remain meaningful, more or less, even if it is only to brats a good thirty-plus younger than you (or forty-plus than me!) who never were in on the original snide punch of the Bob Montana strips. Then you get to thinking about the way the comic has turned out these days, and feel like puking your guts out because too many demons have popped outta that Pandora's Box called kultur and there's no way gettin' 'em back in!

Well, we can always console ourselves thinking about what Veronica's gonna be like thirty years from now, with more tattoos and body piercings than your standard gutter-pus trollop could stand! Well, hope always springs eternal that maybe she'll get caught in an electrical storm, and with all of those doohickeys on her man, will that be one lightning-strike that'll light up Riverdale for miles around!
***
PRISCILLA'S POP (comic strip, 1946-1983)

Here's a comic strip that never did hit it big with all of the big time funny paper readers of the day. Yes, while everyone from Queen Elizabeth to Hugh Hefner were busy pouring through the papers to see the latest installation of LI'L ABNER, the only ones who were out and about looked forward to the latest edition of PRISCILLA'S POP were suburban slobs the likes of you and I. Yep, it was more'n obvious that this strip certainly wasn't gonna be winning any Reuben Awards though the fact that this sometimes loathed comic lasted thirty-five years is testament to something many people would like to overlook, and that is that there are more'n a few everyday Joe and Jane Blows out there who eat comics like this up while avoiding the likes of DOONESBURY the way most DOONESBURY readers avoid a bar of soap!

Got hold of a few of the earlier PRISCILLA (as they were known in the local paper) strips and really was amazed at how different they looked from the ones that I grew up with. Even when compared to the early-sixties version these were finely delineated with a special care and detail that hasn't been seen in the comics for quite some time  I guess in the days before it was discovered that doing one strip could take ten instead of twenty minutes to produce an artist like Al Vermeer didn't mind taking the extra time to give the reader a little more finely-hewn art, and as with the early ARCHIE strips it's always nice to let the eyes linger awhile at the detail and fine shading just like some old coot looking at the painting of the nekkid lady at the museum always seems to do (please pardon some of the cockeyed reproductions---I've been experimenting as to how to make these strips larger and the things do tend to flop about a bit when I close the scanner):











Notice some of the unique differences in the strip besides the omission of various soon-to-be established characters like Stuart (who reminded me of a young Joe Flynn for obvious reasons), the grandparents and the Reverend Weems. Most striking (at least for me) is the absence of Priscilla's short 'n pudgoid pal Hollyhock who I always had a soft spot in my heart for---however we do get an early version of Priscilla's other long-time friend Jenny Lu who I gotta admit just doesn't pack the same sorta sidekick fun 'n jamz as she did after she became a boy-hungry proto-slut who was always after big brother Carlyle. Also note that the fambly dog Oliver ain't around either, but I will mention that mom Hazel looks very nice here in her forties frocks 'n hairdo! The way she's drawn with that sad look on her face really does something to me more'n those paintings of the kids and pup with the big eyes ever could (gets me right inna kishkas) to the point where you actually do see her smiling you feel a hearty relief and glad that one of your favorite comic strip moms can have a good time despite having a daughter who has been begging her father for a horse for nigh on twennysome years!*

I've also included some of the final PRISCILLA strips from the summer of '83 to compare the earlier ones with, these being drawn by NEA "troubleshooter" Ed(mund) Sullivan, a guy who had been known around the syndicate for taking over long-running strips after the guy who had been doing 'em was either retiring or had died. Although it took awhile for Sullivan to master the old Vermeer style he eventually got a pretty good grip on it, and looking at these final PRISCILLAs are, I must admit, a rather tear-inducing experience given that the strip was on its final legs and the era which begat such everyday folk kinda titles was beginning to be replaced by various hippie-generation crud that never did induce a hearty guffaw in anybody other'n someone who thinks he's doing the world a big favor by owning a solar powered buttplug. You can see how the strip was straining to become modern and while it might have worked with BLONDIE (which PRISCILLA was considered to have been a swipe from---c'n you believe that???), but I'm sure that many of the regular readers who were tuning into it did so with their mid-twentieth-century ranch house sense of fun 'n jamz intact so why quibble! And really, is there any other way this strip could truly have been appreciated?

Reading these old strips really is like visiting with some old relatives only better. After all, it ain't like they're gonna bring up all of those past indiscretions on your part which ruined the family name now, eh?



***

 SUPERNATURAL THRILLERS #1 comic book (December 1972)

Did you ever wonder where the idea for all of those Heaps and Man-Things that cluttered up the comic racks way back when really popped up? Well, it wasn't exactly from the fertile mind of Roy Thomas and as Roy himself would tell you (and if you don't believe me just check his introduction to the HEAP anthology). In actuality, the original muck monster was first espied in the pages of the long forgotten (by me, anyway) science fiction magazine UNKNOWN in the very early forties! That was a few short years before the arrival of comicdom's first human/hay hybrid and the story came via the typewriter of none other'n SciFi heavy Theodore Sturgeon as well.

Maybe in homage to the original (or perhaps the guilt over using a variation on the idea for one their latest anti-heroes), Marvel re-did the story up nice and proper in the first issue of their SUPERNATURAL THRILLERS title. "It!" was the name of the piece, and as you would have expected this hulking swamp pile was born in pretty much the same way alla the other and of course he's vicious just like his spawn...I mean what would ya expect him to do...start spouting heart-warming New York better-than-thou cliches straight out of the Dave Berg handbook?!?!? However, although unlike those Heaps and Swamp Things  It! doesn't have any redeeming qualities that would have warranted his own title for Marvel because let's face it, unlike the rest this guy's especially nasty! Which  I guess is why I kinda like this animated shrub.

Of course it's done up in that overly wrought and flowery early-seventies Marvel style that came off kinda pretentious (it was as if the company was actually swallowing the whole comics as art hype hook line and Glade Air Freshener) but it should settle well with fans who were in on the whole Marvel experience since at least Fin Fang Foom. If you're one who is deeply nostalgic for the Bronze Age of Comics and would fight to the death for a complete run of SON OF SATAN man, this is the one for you!
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TUMBLEWEEDS (comic strip)

Like I said a few weeks back I never could stand this 'un throughout its twennysome year run, but here in the dusking days of 2014 I find myself snatching up every TUMBLEWEEDS paperback being made available which I know is something that really woulda surprised even my thirty-year-old self. Here in the post-post-post FUN AND JAMZ era a strip like this really does pack the punch I need to make it through the real world (Give us this day our daily groan) and considering how even the once-mighty like BLONDIE and BEETLE BAILEY are mere shells of their former mid-Amerigan selves a comic like TUMBLEWEEDS shines all the more! Frankly I'll take a strip like this not only over the moderne-day unfunnies seen in the dying (I wonder why!) newspapers of this land of ours, but even the rest of the late-sixties slapdashes like BROOM HILDA which never did get my jollies up even when it was a fairly easy thing for even an iffy episode of HENRY to do just that!


Considering that there's only a slight chance that these strips are gonna be gathered up in smythe-sewn hard-covered form I've been snatching up the seventies paperback reprints at relatively depression-era wage prices via various online and flea market dealers. Of course the prices might just scoot up once this post hits the blogosphere (heck, look what my writings on fanzines did to that market!) but right now I'm content in the notion that TUMBLEWEEDS ain't exactly one of those strips that is near and dear to the comic strip lover's heart. But at least at this very nanosecond I an content in the knowledge that whatever paperback I do snatch up it ain't gonna cost me a fistfulla lasagna having to bid it out with some STONE SOUP fan, and in these budget conscious times that is something nice to go to sleep knowing.

Since I blabbed about this strip in a previous post it ain't like I'm gonna rehash all of the gritty details to be found therein, though I will mention a few addendum-like things...for example I must admit that I prefer the antics of the Poohawk Indians more than I do the whiteys, while my favorite characters in the strips are (for the whiteys) Deputy Knuckles (who might be too much of a Zero from BEETLE BAILEY swipe but wha' th' 'ey!) and Lotsa Luck (the one-time mute Indian who used to jot down his snarky bon mots for the rest of the tribe to groan over) for the First Nations crowd. Favorite second-string characters...Ham and Beans the muleskinners even if their entire schtick seems built on the timeworn overgrown lunk Lenny routine from OF MICE AND MEN, only this time he's paired up with Yosemite Sam 'stead of Burgess Meredith. But hey, when you gotta swipe you best swipe from the best already swiped ideas in the biz, right?

One interesting aside, I've read that TUMBLEWEEDS was a popular comic strip in the Soviet Union of all places! If this in fact is true I gotta wonder...was there something changed in the translation or were there passed around Samizdat-style???
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THE STORY OF MENSTRUATION (1946)

When I was in grade school they used to round up the older girls in the gym, tape up the windows with paper so nobody could peek in, and show them some film about how they were flowering into full blown womanhood or something along those rather disturbing lines that would disgust any self-respecting kid fed up with the amount of slobbering movies seen on tee-vee. Back then I used to conjure up the worst things about these educational films, thinking that they somehow were quite pornographic in nature with detailed descriptions of multiple orifice lovemaking and various barnyard hijinx, but as this 1946 Walt Dizzy in cooperation with Kotex production reveals, these films were actually pretty tame in comparison to all of the triple-penetration and multple orgasmo hoo-hah that was certainly fermenting in my mind!.

This warning salvo about a girl's upcoming entry into the world of "Tick Tock Time" is certainly done nice and dainty, perfectly aimed at the same gals who MYSTERY DATE as well as the ARCHIE comics mentioned above were created for. Nicely animated (in the cheap sense---this ain't no FANTASIA big budget brouhaha you know), we get the inside story about what's gonna happen in each and every one of them gals' plumbing once the gears o' womanhood start cranking away, along with the outward behavior that they exhibit which has always warned us guys to STEER CLEAR of 'em! And gee, I really didn't know that femmes had such a bad time of it---from what I can tell I'm surprised the whole lot of 'em haven't committed suicide en masse considering all of the agony and grief they have to go through during those times of trial.

It's funny as well as educational too, like the scene where the little ladies are told that it's OK to bathe while Miss Monthly Visitor is around but don't make it too hot or too cold (ice cubes popping outta what was a shower head hitting the nekkid adolescent who, although her sprouting boobs can be seen, bears no bullseyes). Kinda makes me wonder just how much misery it woulda been had, as in the past, the gals didn't scrub themselves up...I mean some gals smell bad as it is w/o the odor of a vagina running amok to worry about!

But still it is a nice and sweet film that has a sentimental tone to it even when the female reproductive system is being presented to us like an old Pepto Bismol commercial. It sorta puts into the mind of the young and impressionable types the idea that maybe they were put on this earth for a special reason and that starting families and having babies isn't the strange and evil thing that quite a few people have told ALL of us both male and femme for far too longer than any of us can imagine.  I know that may sound foreign to some of you casual observers, but that's the way it goes no matter how many of you angry and bitter liberated types may stomp your feet to the indignant beat.

And hey, for a minute I must admit that I thought Minnie Mouse was going to do the honors, like talk about her own period problems with Daisy Duck perhaps with a guest appearance by Goofy for comedy relief. Well, anyone who's seen that UN film persuading people in India to defecate into toilets instead of on the ground (again, see the VERONICA review above) would know that stranger animated educational films have happened!
***

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MAKE MINE FREEDOM (1948 cartoon)

One version of the above educational cartoon floating about on youtube is filled with editorializing subtitles claiming, with recent legal cases being trotted out to prove the point, that we've bypassed the ideals of freedom for security loooong ago! Considering how more 'n more people out there seem to want to stay home 'n goof off at the expense of us suburban turdfarms who gotta work I can see their point but hey, even in 1948 at a time when the idea of a strong government (which will provide for you and your not-so-basic needs, and oh yeah we can confiscate your property when it suits us and you men better put your lives on the line for us when we so desire) was riding high I'm surprised this cartoon wasn't totally banished into some deep pit of forgotten Old Right faves along with the comic book version of THE ROAD TO SERFDOM. This is one cartoon that'll be sure to make the standard BLOG TO COMM reader of a paleocon slant sit up and think about the concept of rights and where they stand these days, as it will be sure to make the standard BLOG TO COMM reader of the left-leaning or "mainstream" variety think what a knuckle-dragger I gotta me what with all of this talk of personalism and people earning what they work for w/o being forced to dole it out to anyone on the public titties whether it be the usual lazybone suspects or the latest haute artiste of a non-starving variety (the same thing, really!). And it looks like it's all here to stay, and although I sure ain't glad I know that YOU are, you lazy loafers you!

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*though in some ways don't you think that when Priscilla finally did get that horse of her dreams the strip was all over in the same way that Charles Schulz thought that LI'L ABNER jumped that fabled shark when Abner married Daisy May? Sure it's kinda tough comparing the two strips but after years of pleading for a horse and finally getting one a certain dimension to PRISCILLA kinda went the sewer route. Thankfully I will admit that the strip wasn't ruined in any major way shape or form....just that Vermeer really didn't know HOW to draw a decent horse!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

BOOK REVIEW! NANCY LOVES SLUGGO by Ernie Bushmiller (Fantagraphics, 2014)

Heading into the early-fifties, we are now beginning to come upon the chubby cheek era of NANCY, the years where she and her pals began to look like squirrels hiding nuts in their jowls for the wintertime. The art, at least in my opinion, didn't quite look up to typical Ernie Bushmiller snuff once the year 1951 rolls into view (I dunno, due to a new assistant?) but don't worry because by the late-fifties it all finally works out once the NANCY style that I fondly remember develops and oozes into the living rooms of many a prone (or maybe even supine) kid reading the funnies as part of that daily ritual that made the day of many a suburban slob element! And if we only knew enough to appreciate it back when it was here and now 'stead of then and there, because in no way was any of it gonna last forever.

Pretty good gaggeroonies in this 'un from a series of strips where Sluggo inexplicably gains about fifty pounds overnight to one where a cute Spanish gal has Sluggo acting a whole lot hornier than his seven-year-old hormones would normally allow. Thankfully the usual NANCY gags, gaffes and (dare I say) cliches are in full force, what with Nancy at her most hungry/jealous/envious/fantasizing, Sluggo at his laziest and most-disheveled, and of course Aunt Fritzi is a bigger bitch than any of us could imagine the way she's more'n prone to whack Nancy for even the slightest of infractions!

The forward to this 'un was written by cartoonist Ivan Brunetti, who oddly enough had submitted a month or so of strips when United Features Syndicate had finally decided to drop the horrid "update" of this venerable strip that had been running since '84 or so and get back to the original minimalism of it all. (You can read the entire saga complete with the comics that were submitted for the syndicate's approval here.) As we all know the Gilchrist Brothers got the contract and, after a short while of redrawing old Bushmiller strips as well as doing some new gags in a fairly decent style, went off on their own tangent to the point where it too has become not only "modernized" but downright unreadable. If Brunetti had gotten the gig I get the feeling, at least judging from his samples, that the state of NANCY 2014 would have been a much different ballgame 'n what has been happening on the funny pages as of late. Probably not, but then again how could anyone really have followed in the footsteps of the mid-Amerigan master known to one and all as Bushmiller?

Yeah it ain't the same as readin' 'em onna parlor floor osmosing the same world that begat NANCY in the first place, but it's about as close as yer ever gonna come so shut your trap for once!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Since Christmastime is just around the corner I'll bet you're all getting hot 'n tingly for the yuletide season what with alla them presents and parties and holiday cheer that's gonna be hurled right at'cha, right??? Yeah, I didn't think so. Let's face it, as soon as the World War II generation that gave us everything from hotcha tee-vee to sleek cars and a general easy-going life gave way to the spoiled brat hippies who've been ruling things since the eighties, nothing is what is used to be. I remember when kids were kids and kids tee-vee was a funtime experience what with the loads of cartoons and funny sitcoms that used to be pumped at ya. And Christmas was a good one-anna-half weeks off from school where you'd get presents and go to parties galore where you got to break your cousins' toys* and get into big fights. No more. Ditto the fun toys they used to have and the mere concept of acting like the suburban slob you and I were born to be. All out the window. The hippies were supposed to be liberating, but all they turned out to be were iron-fisted dictators who sure knew more about us peons than we ever did. And with them went all the fun and joy there was in being a ranch house guy who might have been materialistic, but that materialism was limited to records and tee-vee and Studebakers and not Oprah that's for sure!

And as I told Don Fellman, there aren't any children anymore. They're just mini adults who are being programmed into being sluts and layabouts and bleedhearts at an early age. I get the feeling that none of 'em would be caught dead watching SUPERCAR, though if Brad Kohler's story about his sis's kids getting into the old LITTLE RASCALS comedy where Joe Cobb and Chubby are tearing each other's shorts off is true perhaps there is some hope. But I doubt it.
***
Enough of the wallowing in misery act and onto the part you've been waiting for---the reviews! Got some goodies this time which have certainly lit up my hemorrhoids as I know they will yours, so let's just say these closing days of the year 2014 ain't as dullsville as I thought they were gonna be. Seems as if there are a number of issues coming out (all of the old school/style natch!) that are worth sticking around for, so if anybody out there is planning on killing me at least wait until after I get to spin some of these. And who knows, what with the promised Magic Tramps platter and other seventies dig-ups that are bound to make their way to your favorite internet shop there's all the more reason one should stick around and enjoy all of those long-forbidden sounds to permeate your ape-like mentalities. So save up those pennies and eat your vegetables because maybe the next few years ain't gonna be as morbid as Phillip Dick used to hint around at!


DMZ-RADIO DEMOS/Lyres-LIVE AT CANTONE'S 1982 CD (Munster, Spain)

The third (but not necessarily last) in my series of DMZ reviews, this 'un's got what I think is the entire WTBS broadcast from the days when David Robinson hadn't yet sullied his credibility by joining the Cars while the rest consists of a post-DMZ Lyres gig at Boston's Cantone's club that came out in part on a Crypt LP ages ago.The DMZ tracks are as killer as all get out what with their hard-rockin' approach that I delved into in my previous weekend posts, and although the Lyres were more sixties-oriented in a garage band revival sorta way their songs don't have the worn out feeling of the group's later platters (A PROMISE IS A PROMISE come to mind). These live rompers just go to show you just how exciting these guys coulda been, especially when stacked up against alla that eighties rock that was supposed to "speak to you" but came out sounding like Chico Marx. Might be worth your while to snatch this up at the next ebay "buy it now" offer you see.
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The Unrelated Segments-THE STORY OF MY LIFE 2-LP set (Guerrson, Spain)

These Detroit high energy rockers have been due for a honorable retrospect for quite some time, and this one does 'em up just fine. The boffo original singles we've heard for ages appear on the first side of this double header, while the rest is filled up with ne'er before released tracks not only by the Segments but by singer Ron Stults' later-on act Lost Nation, and boy are these the proverbial killer dillers in a CREEM magazine sorta way! Kinda makes me wonder why nobody there thought of mentioning them at all, but since they were ignoring a whole lotta local talent I guess that was par for the course.

No need to tell you how great the familiar material is, but the rest is really up to Detroit snuff to the point that people never did stop talking about all of the energy that was coming outta that state. Side four's collection of backing tracks and demos does fill out the legend quite a bit, but the Lost Nations material is surprisingly hard even by local standards. This is "heavy metal" in the classic sense long before a buncha poofs took the original notion and added a whole lotta phony debbil signs to it---pure hard scronk that resembles the MC5 and various other local practitioners of the form (also be sure to catch that "Communication Breakdown" riff swipe), and even the trendy synthesizer doesn't detract from the overall fun and jamz.

Stults's typically teenage whining vocals fit in swell giving it all that snotty adolescent feeling that made these records relate to you as a suburban slob NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC-sneaking ranch house jerk, and one spin of this'll connect you to your teenbo roots faster'n you can say "GILLIGAN'S ISLAND reruns!" One of the better exhumations and re-creations I've heard as of late...definitely worth the megabucks that various online dealers are offering for it!
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Philip  Glass-SYMPHONY No. 4 "HEROES" CD (Orange Mountain Music)

Yeah maybe I shoulda spent the dough on the LOW symphony...after all that one was one of my favorite late-high school dayze listening experiences right around the time I thought that it all came outta the same font of inspiration. But SYMPHONY No. 4 ain't that bad at all. Can't recognize any of the melodies from the original HEROES album and sometimes this does sound like your typical TCM soundtrack for a "silent" film that some college creep thought should be "updated", but listening to this did give me some hallowed kultural feelings that reminded me of things that never did happen in my life! Don't worry, if you haven't been in on this blog (or in on any of my other scribblings) since day one you'll never make sense outta it. (Available via Forced Exposure.)
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Magma-RIAH SAHILTAAHK CD (Jazz Village)

A might be good enough for you Magma unearthing from their mid-seventies big label days when they even rated a mention in NEWSWEEK, this 'un's got that hotcha euro cum free jazz sound that got me interested in a whole lotta that continental screeding way back in those dark and dank mid-seventies. Kinda funko-commercial at times, but if you squint your ears this fits in with that molten lava sounding group that seemed like one of the more mind-blasting concepts in what was being called "progressive" rock. Only twennysome minutes long, so if you wonder where the rest of it is there ain't none!
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Kurt Schwitters-URSONATE UND ANDARE KONSEQUENTE DICHTUNG CD (Wergo, Germany)

These ain't the original surviving Schwitters tapes (like the one Eno used on his BEFORE AND AFTER SCIENCE platter) but recent recordings made by Sprechbohrer, a krautese ensemble featuring two males and one femme performing Schwitters' unique vocal-cum-singsong creations, most in German but some en Inglese. And unique they are, and in fact these are musical enough that I could listen to this while reading the latest UGLY THINGS and the spreckense seemed to fit in excruciatingly well.

Interesting parts (no track listing given and even the liners are kinda sparse), the song where the trio keep saying "Rocket To Bee-Bee", the one which sounds something like Tommy Dorsey's "Rag Mop" trying to get started, the moments where various future rock 'n roll syllables are spouted and the one where one of the gentlemen does a rather good impression of Gruber from 'ALLO 'ALLO. Nice historical document especially for people who think alla that weirdo art began with the beatniks or something like that.
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Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart-PROVIDENCE COLLEGE, RHODE ISLAND, APRIL 26th 1975 2-CD set (Keyhole)

If you thought (like me) that the Zappa/Beefheart/Mothers BONGO FURY was the best thing ol' stinkeroo did during the reign of the third Mothers of Invention lineup you'll probably go for this faster'n a starving homo for a turd. I sure did, though when I got this double disque set it wasn't like I was that enthralled. The recording, while clear enough, is too vocal heavy with one having to strain to hear the instruments while there frankly ain't enough Beefheart on this 'un to satiate his diehard fans. However I figure "wha' th' hey..." both of these guys are deader'n Shemp and releases like this only exist to heighten the original experience for alla them Bizarre freaks who were snatching these platters up way back when and sure wanted even more'n what the bootleg market was willing to offer.

But still PROVIDENCE COLLEGE has its many moments, from Beefheart vocalizing the ZOOT ALLURES numbuh "The Torture Never Stops" as well as a boffo encore of that all time real fave "Willie the Pimp". Zappa may get too overbearing at times (as he was wont to do) but even the fusion numbers don't get to you the way alla them Return to Forever diddies that drove your FM band nutty way back when did. And even with the off-balance sound and slow moments where Zappa once again talks down to all of us this one does retain that smelly gym socks and mildew feeling you've come to expect from the Bizarre/Discreet line. A bonafeed sleeper, and I certainly don't mean you're gonna sleep through it!
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OUBA LP (Out-Sider/Guerrson, Spain)

A late sixties free-form jam album performed by a buncha Montreal hippoids (including future power pop legend Michel Pagliaro) sure sounded like a must-buy to me, but after listening to this 'un I must admit that I wish I had passed. Without the gnarled intensity of a Can or Soft Machine, this music just comes off like a buncha potheads getting together having fun inna basement. Some charm to it, but it's mostly late-sixties neo-fusionoid music that reminds me of something you woulda heard in a "now" film of the day. If you're nostalgic for THE PEOPLE NEXT DOOR you might want to look into it.
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Sun Ra-THE COMPLETE REMASTERED RECORDINGS ON BLACK SAINT  &  SOUL NOTE 4-CD set (Black Saint/Soul Note, Italy)

These nearing the end of Sun Ra's orbit recordings laid down in Milan might not be the ones to agitate the nodes of those brought up on Ra's ESP and various sixties/seventies releases, but for a career swan song they represent an artist's final output far better'n some of the things other beings had released before their big dive into the eternal cesspool.

Yeah a whole lot of the edgy feeling of those HELIOCENTRIC WORLDS and SOLAR MYTH APPROACH platters might seem lost and gone forever in classic "My Darling Clementine" fashion, but in many ways Ra was returning to his roots on these albums and frankly there's nothin' wrong with that! Not only returning to the roots of his early Fletcher Henderson Big Band days, but that of the mid-fifties Arkestra when the new thing was just being born and developed much to the ire of way too many a bopster who needed more'n a little nudge to make his way into the new world of freedom that was popping up on the horizon.

Three Arkestra outings appear in this box, all in varying forms of intensity and entertainment value with forties themes getting jammed into interstellar overdrive and perhaps some of the most off key vocalizing I've heard from the Sun Ra camp ever! Even more interesting is disque #4 which is actually a Billy Bang sesh featuring Ra on piano...its entitled A TRIBUTE TO STUFF SMITH (not Snuffy Smith as some wags would probably put it) where Bang and band including Andrew Cyrille and bassist John Ore explore some of the long-forgotten classics in their own new thing style. Actually invigorating though you can tell just how much Ra was suffering from his maladies with one listen. Perhaps his single-handed playing minimizes things a bit, but the overall results make for a rather intense slow burn session that should sate fans of both Ra and Bang.

A worthy addition to any BLOG TO COMM freedom lover's Ra collection that better get the gal of your dreams inna mood more'n your etchings every could!
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Various Artists-SILVER SANTA STAIRS IN REVERSE CD-r (A Bill Shute megaloperation)

The elf sipping away on a Genesee featured on the cover really got me into the holiday mood, so I figured why not slap this 'un on and try to osmose more of that jeer and not-so-goodwill that I always come across this time of the year! A really boffo one this turned out to be too, what with the act called Dawn (who OBVIOUSLY never heard of "Tony Orlando and...") opening and closing this 'un with some weird avant punk cum pop that I just can't categorize other'n it sounds like the GOOD stuff that used to come out during the early-eighties days of amerindie, You do remember, the time when the chaff was really beginning to make its way into the form and buying a platter by a new group became a rather risky situation.. (Can't find a blamed thing on 'em via the web which must make 'em a really under-the-NEW YORK ROCKER-ground act...where'd you get this 'un Bill?)

Zeitgeist also surprised me on "Set Sail for the Sun" which is a Stockhausen composition realized for a new music ensemble and released on Finnedar. the short-lived WEA-backed avant garde label of the late-seventies whose releases are now going for much in the bucks department. (I got two of 'em and no, I'm not gonna part with either!)

The rest is boff too from the punk rock Christmas ditties to the early-sixties pop of Patty York, and even the infamous George Hamilton IV turns up (so do Yo La Whatzername as well!). But its the Dawn and Zeitgeist numbers that made the biggest impression on my brain, and the more of that sorta swill in my pigpen the better I always say. (Did I mention the Marc Bolan Christmas message? That'll get your season in gear especially if you [like me] still have your head and listening parameters set in 1972!)
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*like the time I got my cous' new bendable Barbie doll and tried to make her spread eagle snapping her leg off! She cried like there was no tomorrow and I hadda spend a couple bucks outta my gift money to buy her a new one! Years later I brought this up to her and she started laughing, having forgotten the traumatic experience, saying that I must've been a sicko for wanting to get a peek at Barbie's beaver or something like that! Goes to show you who the real victim was as far as innocent childhood toy-breaking sagas go now, eh???

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

UGLY THINGS #38!

Of course it's more than obvious why I'm happier'n Roman Polanski at a Camp Fire Girls cookout, for the latest issue of UGLY THINGS has finally arrived on my oft barren doorstep! Sheesh, it's amazing as to how Mike Stax can get this mag out on a bi-annual basis with all of the goodies and gunk he packs into each and every one of these rags and naturally this 'un's no exception. However it I must gripe (and why not?) I better mention that this 'un woulda been much better had it been TWICE the size with more occult references to the Velvet Underground than there were, and of course they shoulda enclosed a Cee-Dee of Stax singing lullabies to his kid the way Sky Saxon crooned his puppies to sleep, but maybe I'm just nitpicking.

But whadevva, this is yet another boffoid issue that's kept me glued to the toilet for quite some time, and come to think of it the crapper's a good place ot read this 'un because you'll be so surprised at what you read that who knows just what rectum rockets'll be flyin' outta your hiney when you chance upon an article or mention of one of your faves. The Dave Davies interview is definitely a coup for Stax as is the Jon Savage Screamers thingie, but since I ain't in a Kinks mood this very minute (next minute I will be!) and I've written off the Screamers as yet another buncha punk unto punque wannabes (I mean, look at their fans) I've skipped those over for now. I mean, there are meatier things in life, and in this issue of UGLY THINGS as well.

Actually for me the best part about ish #38 are the little surprises that are snuck in, like that piece on none other'n Lester Bangs' upbringing that sheds light on a whole buncha things we never knew despite all of the articles and books that have come out in the wake of that great's demise. Also boffo were the Greg Prevost (yay!) pieces on Alice Cooper (complete with a Dennis Dunaway interview and some early rare snaps) and Blue Cheer, as well as Alex Stimmell's article on the ever-popular Dust, a band who shoulda had their saga written up long ago making me wonder why it took someone so long just like Aunt Jemima! Jymn Parrett shines as well especially with his piece on Stoney and the Jagged Edge, a forgotten group in the late-sixties pantheon of Detroit Rock who never did make it into this official history books. And of course the myriad assortment (TM) of reviews of recordings, books and DVDs that always has me running to the bank so I can mortgage the house appear...gotta admit that it's my dog's house that's being mortgaged and I do hope he won't mind especially since he's been dead thirty years already!

As you may have guessed my favorite part of this issue has gotta be the continuing Cyril Jordan (of Flamin' Groovies fame) saga where he actually makes late-sixties San Francisco look like an exciting place to have been despite all of the contrary evidence. Sure the burnout hadn't quite set in, but the little sagas that Jordan trots out like the time he shared a joint with Ted Kennedy (!---I hope it didn't affect his driving) and went shopping for EC comics with Jimi Hendrix (makes me wish I hadn't made alla them choking jokes!) really shed some new light on what I woulda thought was the dog ass end of the sixties experiment. Even Janis herself comes off looking swell, she not only being a Groovies fan but someone who used her power in the industry to get 'em a few choice gigs! More power to ya gal, and I don't mean B.O.!

A boffo read for sure, and one that I have the feeling's gonna be sticking around the commode abode for quite awhile. And it's a quite handy read to have around because hey, I get the sneaking suspicion that with the flu season coming up a whole buncha us are gonna be spending more time on the throne than usual, and of course it's always good having a handy read like this around to keep your mind occupied so's you don't have to concentrate on the more disgusting facts facing (or behind) you. Just make sure you have plenty of toilet paper handy because hey, if you do run short you certainly don't want to resort to drastic measures and tear your mag up, do you?

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Hey, guess what today is! The seventy-third anniversary of the (so they say) sneak attack on Pearl Harbor but that's not ALL! It's also the fiftieth anniversary of the first time I can recall my dad telling me it was the anniversary of that infamous day in history (which brought a big smile to Winston Churchill's mug) thus beginning a multi-year tradition here at the ranch complete with the usual "it all seems like just yesterday" comment tossed in for good measure. Of course in later years it wasn't like he was bringing it up that much, probably because real life was more apocalyptic than what transpired lo those many years ago. I can still vividly recall those Pearl Harbor anniversaries of yore and in fact today's in very similar to the ones I used to encounter, only I'm much older and fatter and balder and in fact there ain't nearly as much good stuff onna tee-vee now as there was then.
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Ann Hoohah*, here's this week's miscellany of mostly old fanablas I found in the collection, not to mention a couple of Bill Shute drop offs because he knows what a shallow life I must truly lead. Maybe things will perk up in the near future when I can get some scratch together but I doubt it. Right now I'm pretty much on a self-imposed austerity kick brought about by a general lack of savings as well as lack of anything I'd really like to plunge into musicwise. Unless I come across some rare recordings by the Yarbles (the mid-seventies Boston group) or Iggy sliding his Hawaiian guitar at that John Sinclair Halloween Party way back '67 way.


DMZ-WHEN I GET OFF---THE CLASSIC ORIGINALS CD (Voxx)

Part dos of my ongoing DMZ revisits, this being the Cee-Dee that not only contains the whole of the RELICS album but some interesting radio-only and studio outtake tracks that really do add to the teenage rambunction of it all. Gotta admit that I really like the freshness DMZ exude here---for me too many of those eighties garage band revivalist types lacked a certain set of something or others that dangle between your legs, but DMZ really knew how to take the hard rock of the sixties and play it like the mid-seventies hard rockers they were, making all of those connections between Sky Saxon and Iggy Pop that fanzine writers were blabbing about for years on end all the more plausible. Highlights include not only the boffo originals but the true-to-life yet not carbon copy covers, the theme to the Oedipus Show sung by Mickey Clean of the Mezz, and a high-larious attack on the English punk rock scene done to the tune of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" proving that Monoman is not only a true patriot but a true Irishman who remembers alla that horrible stuff that the limeys did to his mother country for years on end.
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Bob Bailey as YOURS TRULY JOHNNY DOLLAR CD-r

More old time radio, only these shows clearly date from the very very late-fifties which means that they were the lasty-last-last of the original radio dramas that had been running for quite some time not counting various brief attempts that continue on until today. JOHNNY DOLLAR was a good 'un too starring Bob Bailey as an insurance investigator who never seems to get those easy open 'n shut cases...naw, every week the guy was comin' up against these big deal matters having to do with (as on this Cee-Dee-Are) a phony mattress distribution set up and a Wild West celebration with a jealous boyfriend and a gal who ends up with a bashed in head! Sheesh, why can't the guy get something easy to investigate like a torched mob nightclub or a widow living off the policies of six dead hubbies, and she's only twenny-five!

But if you like old tee-vee like I do and love those ideas of what is cool and masculine and energetic (or at least were before the geldings took charge) you'll dig these episodes to the max. If you want to listen with a maximum effect you should try hearing these in a 1959 Studebaker Lark while dressed in the same work suit you wore to the office during a dark night while waiting for your daughter to finish her piano lessons at the local music store. A nice rain'd help as well along with an ashtray fulla butts to add to that old familiar aroma you just don't get anymore. Works every time!
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Vito Acconci-WATERWAY FOUR SALIVA STUDIES CD (Squint)

Here's the "official" explanation of it all"
Acconci explodes the notion of an artist’s creation, his creative act being the build-up and discharge of saliva, an activity more properly belonging to the realm of necessary and autonomic bodily functions than art. Positioning himself as a hyper self-conscious artistic subject, Acconci fuses the terrains of body art and process art, formulating the body as process, and art as a natural function of the body. This title was in the original Castelli-Sonnabend video art collection.
And if that don't sound like a load of malarkey I don't know what does! But anyway considering that I haven't heard this 'un since I reviewed it in one of the later issues of that monstrosity I used to put out. it was nice giving this another spin after all these years. Along with Chris Burden and maybe even John Morton, Vito Acconci was one of those seventies "performance artists" who really defined the genre with interesting and even entertaining works that were way more imaginative than the socio-political dross that came out inna eighties after a lotta precocious pooters were scared silly over the idea of Ronald Reagan to the point where they were splattering AIDS-infested blood over each other in order to soothe their shattered nerves. Or prove some maybe not-so-viable point. Or something like that.

Dunno exactly what WATERWAYS entails en toto, but it does sound like Acconci had recorded his very own tastebuds drooling away at the thought of a nice juicy steak complete with greatly magnified snorts and sniffles added to give it that realistic feel. You can just hear the slobber gushing from those little pores and if you don't start getting your own mouth a waterin' after listening to this then you really must have a will of iron. Well, it does make for a better time'n watching some man-hating dykazoid cramming yams up her twat, and for all of you late-eighties self-righteous NEA chest beaters out there I hope you are offended!
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John Cage-ATLAS ECLIPTICALIS CD (Hat Art, Switzerland)

Cage's '61-'62 composition realized by flautist Eberhard Blum multi-tracking three different versions of his instrument with all of the appropriate gaps of silence adding just as much of a pounce to this as the actual sound parts do. Bound to get the less-enthused amongst us muttering about where art is headed, but the concept is clear enough to me at least as far as these esoteric zen-influenced chance operations go. Grab a bag of stale doritos, don a beret, stick your cigarette in a fancy holder and pretend you're in some New York loft ca. 1962 while this 'un spins and who knows, you might even bump into Marian Zazeela somwhere down the line!
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Various Artists-SELLIN' DAT STUFF CD (Ratcage)

For me the music on this particular release is one of the many representations of the dark dying gasps of the boffo 1964-1981 rock et roll generation that managed to hang on this bloody long down the line after most would have believed it dead 'n buried. I'm not talkin' 'bout that hippoid generation that gave us all of those delightful ideas like AOR (later to be tagged as "classic rock") or mudfests either...naw, I'm blabbing about the hard-edged sounds birthed from the Brit Invasion and nurtured through high energy Detroit Rock, early-punk screedings and metallic konk outs. A sound that pretty much had died out around the time Max's Kansas City closed up shop and Lester Bangs deep sixed in his apartment and the music just didn't have the same bared-wire intensity it had if only a few years back. Or so we thought, and with good reason I might add.

Basically a mishmosh of various Ratcage acts that were plopping around a good decade or so back, this Cee-Dee proves that maybe the spirit of decadent under-the-counterculture rock didn't croak in the early-eighties like ROLLING STONE had boasted at one time. Lotsa hot faves show up here from Day-z Daze (SEE HEAR's Ted Gottfried's ukelele band) to Joy Ryder without Avis Davis and Florida's Psycho Daisies as well as some of the bubbling unders on the En Why scene who never did make it humongous, and they really do bring back those goodtime memories of when you knew you were living through a vibrant age in rock 'n roll and the music that was being cranked out was happening now 'n not then, and everybody thought you were a turd for liking it but then again, it's thirtysome years later and you have your MX-80 and Von Lmo to keep you occupied and all they have are their lush Emerson Lake and Palmer reissues digitally remastered!

Personal faves include the pair of Ruby and the Rednecks tracks that remind me of just what a classic All-Amerigan rock 'n roll spinner her own album (due to re-eval in these pages) remains as well as Jayne County and her new Back Street Boys doing an extended version of the old fave "Max's Kansas City" which really does stir up the ol' rambunctious feelings that I used to get hearing songs like this. If you're still stuck with your rock 'n roll head in the ROCK SCENE era this is one to cuddle up to in your fart-encrusted bedroom while staring solemnly at your Aerosmith poster.
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Various Artists-LOBSTER GIRLS GOSSIP CD-r (Bill Shute)

Picked this 'un outta the pile because of the Buddy Hackett track featured onna cover, but personally I thought that one was about as funny as all of the woofs and meows my dad'd make whenever I'd eat Chinese food. But the rest really ain't that bad. Starts off really high-larious like with an instruction record (to the toon of "Ballin' the Jack") on how to eat lobster and goes from funny funky comedy (Effie Smith) to early sixties nerdo-cum-teen idol wackiness (Oliver Cool) with a pre-Deep Purple Ritchie Blackmore (Outlaws) and I don't know what the hell it is (Microbe Ensemble) in between. There's even some of that lame-o British comedy courtesy a Tony Payne that reminds me of nothing but circa.-1978/1983 PBS and indie television during the late hours. Freddie Cannon was hokay though even though I should loathe him for putting down Link Wray while the two were headin' towards some gig resulting in Wray kicking Cannon's ass out of the car stranding him inna middle of nowhere!!! In all, a better reminder of the past'n those horrid home movies my mom made of me and my cousin running around in front of my grade school (yech!).

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*If you get this ref there's a special no prize or at least a back issue of your choice waiting for you! You're welcome.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

DVD REVIEW...SPACE PATROL 3-disc set (Barkview)

Don Fellman was tellin' me over 'n over about this faux-Supermarionation series for years on end, and although his mem'ry about it was what we shall call "fuzzy" what he did remember was down to earth amazing for a man of his advanced age! Here he hadn't seen the series for a good fiftysome years, and the guy was doing these impressions of the show's Martian sidekick Husky's "I'm hungry" routine with an unbelievable resemblance to the rill thing! However, for some strange reason Don thought that the show was filmed in Germany---in his Howdy Doody voice Don once mimicked the by-then unemployed marionette saying "I'd get a job on PLANET PATROL (the show's USA title since there already was a show called SPACE PATROL o'er here even if it had been off the air a good seven years) only I don't know what country that's made in!" and you can just betcha that I was rolling on the floor laughing even harder'n the time my cousin's dog started getting amorous on her leg and cous was yelling at me saying how terrible I was for showing my true feelings over this rather embarrassing situation!

Dunno which came first, the FIREBALL XL-5 chicken or the SPACE PATROL egg, but if you really went for the former with all of your suburban ranch house Saturday Morning slob inclinations firmly intact you'll most certainly go for the latter. From the imitation "Space City" to the flying motor scooters SPACE PATROL has FIREBALL written all over it and you won't mind one bit. If its early sixties fun and jamz you want this'll help you just as much as having your next door neighbor come over and break all your tootsietoys not to mention the resultant scratch 'n bite out you two'll be engaged in as a result.

You can also tell where the producers took a lotta shortcuts to keep costs down (like the animated space ship scenes), but who cares if the end result's a boffoid program that really sates that repressed ten-year-old in you who sure wished you could have watched top notch television like this when you were a kid, only by that time everything hadda be peace and love with bell bottoms to match!

Even the characters themselves seem to have come straight from the fevered imagination of Gerry Anderson from the hard-nosed by-the-books space commander who kinda looks like Mose Allison as opposed to Barry Goldwater to the sexy Venusian secretary who, along with fellow Venusian Slim, acts as the show's proto-Spock faction spewing forth reams of rational thought and the usual five dollar words. Fellow Patrolman Husky, the Martian Don imitated so well, is more comic relief akin to Ito on ULTRAMAN...a credit to the force yet you kinda wonder which well-connected uncle got this comparative dim bulb his job! And as for the show's star Larry Dart well...I gotta say that he does fill the Steve Zodiac role well enough but sheesh, why did they give him that long hair and beard in 1962 anyway??? I know this show was supposed to be about the future, but we're talking 2100 not 1969! He looks more like a Shakespearean actor or even Papa John Phillips than a rough 'n tumble spaceman but hey, given some of the pussies that pose for youth role models these days he's a whole lot better'n what was to come! Maybe they were planning on doing a "Supermarionation" ROBIN HOOD series and got stuck with this puppet before revamping the entire concept.

There are more marionettes to contend with from this Irish scientist who seems genial enough yet flies into a rage when his cute daughter calls him "Pops" to a Martian parrot who ain't as irritating as that Zuni on FIREBALL but you still wanna cement his beak anyway, and of course it all works out fine even if you know that the director is straining to save precious pounds by having characters talk about occurrences rather than actually show them. But that's only part of the charm behind these early-sixties crank outs and hey, what do four-year-olds plopped in front of the set with a bowl of Cap'n Crunch half-splattered on the carpet care about these things anyway?

One thing I gotta admit's got SPACE PATROL beating out the Andersons is the fact that 1) these shows actually have fight scenes where the puppets sock each other out via quick edit cuts and 2) the puppeteers actually can get their marionettes to WALK in a halfway believable way unlike the competition. Yeah, I even remember back when I was a mere turdler imitating the way the supermarionettes on SUPERCAR and FIREBALL walked by bobbing up and down, but somehow SPACE PATROL's characters actually move the legs and bend the knees and ankles when traipsing from one part of the planet sphere to the next! Things like these really do make up for the other budget consciousness shortcuts seen here, but then again even """""I""""" plopped in front of the set with a bowl of Cap'n Crunch half-splattered on the carpet could've care one whit and I get the feeling maybe you would have felt the same way too.

And one final note...the theme/incidental music is truly (to be nice 'n cornballus about it) "out of this world"! Sure the Anderson programs had that boffo Barry Gray jazzy music blaring all over the soundtrack but in comparison SPACE PATROL is total avant garde electronic that kinda sounds more fit for yet another PBS showing of METROPOLIS! Nothing but seemingly random Varese-influenced bloops and bleeps along with simple clavioline tones whenever the space sphere is taking our heroes to some distant planet. The mere soundtrack alone would make a boffo album and not only that, but it makes me want to hear some of the early avant garde compositions from a whole lotta schnooks who never did get the same notoriety as John Cage or Stockhausen, perhaps because they were doing their bleeping in Sioux City or Melbourne rather'n some music capitol of the world! And if those sounds were to be the "music of the future" then why does the gunk we hear here in the early 21st century just sound like Patti Page filtered through Captain and Tennille? Goes to show you just how advanced these folks were...I mean, when I was a kid I thought we woulda all been driving Supercars by 1978 at the latest!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Welcome to the further deteriorating adventures of BLOG TO COMM. And deteriorate is the word for it---I've been reading over the past few months of posts and I must admit that my writing, enthusiasm and general ability to congeal have certainly taken a downslide, and considering that my writing never was up to that tippy top rock gonz/fanzine style that I most certainly try to ape that's really saying something. Of course I have my excuses from real life woes to the lack of energy on the part of myself not to mention the lack of the kind of music I most crave, but I'm sure the last thing you want to hear are a buncha lame excuses from me. In all its a shame, because what WE (non apologetic longtime high energy music mavens) need in the here and now is more of that post-Bangs/Meltzer/Saunders/Kent/Tosches/Farren/Kaye... musical screeding (and the kind of music they used to screed over), and it's more'n obvious that you ain't getting it HERE!



Various Artists-HIGH ENERGY ROCK FOR LOW ENERGY TIMES CD-r

P. D. sent this 'un my way, perhaps because he could tell that I need quite a bit of resensifying after some of the dog tired posts I've been putting in as of late (see opening paragraph). Well, if this in fact is so then all I gotta say is Mr. Fadensonnen really produced one kicker of a platter here that helps me to remember just why I used to pick pennies up off the sidewalk in the first place. The music that's to be heard here is probably familiar to most of you reg'lar readers, but even if it is I gotta admit that it's sure great hearing it all in one blob 'stead of spread across dozens of platters just like it's grand to listen to those "Roots of Punk" type collections that have been springing up these past ten or so years and at collector's prices as well.

The music to be heard here is what I would call heavy metal in the old 1972 CREEM style, which in some ways is the same punk rock that CREEM was blabbin' about around the same time. Hard rockers from the likes of the MC5 (and spinoff Ascension), Crushed Butler, High Rise, DMZ, Coloured Balls and Sir Lord Baltimore appear, and even though we've all heard these tracks before all I gotta say is SO WHAT!  Even the new to me stuff from Birds of Maya and Highway Robbery sounds enticing enough to the point where I might do some internet diddlin' as soon as I get this review typed, but given my inbred laziness don't count on it. Too bad Fadensonnen isn't one of those big-time underground legends that alla us geeks look up to with reverent eyeballs affixed (at least not yet) or else we'd be buying this one complete with detained liner notes and snazzy pix on ebay for a good twenny bucks!
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DMZ-LIVE AT THE RAT CD (Bomp!)

The presence of DMZ on the above disque (as well as me coming across an old ad for a '76 performance where they were billed as "Boston's Newest Heavy Metal Band") got me into digging this old hoary chestnut (to be quaint about it) outta the collection and into my ears. And really, DMZ were heavy metal in the best CREEM/DENIM DELINQUENT/BACK DOOR MAN sense, hard-hitting high energy rock with an overdriven mania conduit for the best decadent aspects of teenbo living extant, at least until the glitzy fru fru and shrunken head aspects got into the mix sometime in the mid-seventies.

Taken from a live '76 show as well as a '83 reunion gig, I gotta say that the band is pumping on all cylinders (see above quaintness comment) even if I have heard tapes that were more raw 'n alive before (a '77 NYC show wallowing around somewhere in my closet's the proverbial screecher). Still I ain't gonna complain what with the hot mix of mid-sixties Northwest rock, late-sixties Detroit and general teenage Ameriga that somehow got lost in the shuffle of Classic FM and disco doldrums. But it was there, and a whole lot more'n what most industry moguls woulda dared admit way back in those bubbling under bared wire intensity days.

Good enough that I'm gonna hafta do some more collection surfing for not only the Bomp! singles but DMZ's infamous Flo and Eddie-produced Sire album that nobody ever seemed to like. Well it sure beats all of those other "hip" pastimes that permeate the behavioral cycles of way too many wonks out there in amerindie musicland, like publicly showing your undying appreciation for your favorite uberlib cause or combing the Matador Records self-hype blog, that's for sure!
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Dead Moon-DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH CD (Dog Meat, Australia)

A pluck out from the collection that I thought I'd pay some attention to given the large span of time I've ignored the thing. Anyhow, this 'un's a special release cooked up especially for the group's mid-nineties Australian tour complete with seven tracks taken from each of Dead Moon's albums up until then, and for a nice representation/introduction to the band I gotta say that this 'un does showcase this trio's neo-metallic approach rather swell. Kinda down home drag-out garage blooze HM that sounds down and dirty the way rock 'n roll hadn't since the hippies got in charge of things. It's also good for a cheapo like myself who never did get around to hearing these platters in their original forms, though as far as inspiring me to trek down all of the originals well...maybe when the inheritance from that Great Uncle I never knew rolls in...
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Kitty Brazelton's Dadadah-LOVE NOT LOVE LUST NOT LUST CD (Buzz, Netherlands)

It may not be Musica Orbis, but Kitty Brazelton's nineties aggregation is just as mix 'n match of a variety of seventies pop forms with avant garde inclinations and some top tappers tossed in that'll make you wonder why she hadda get a job in a topless bar to make ends meet. Might be a bit professional for your own tastes, but I find it about as true to the whole rock as the real experimental music thing as all of those late-seventies no wavers who used to play in art galleries. Get the Musica Orbis album (widely available via ebay) first then let Dadadah fill in all of the holes in your musical consciousness.
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The Plastic People of the Universe-VOZRAEJ JAK SLIVA CD (Globus, Czech Republic)

Would you believe that I actually forgot that I owned this second volume in the Plastic People series of chronological recordings that Globus released way back in the late nineties? So in actuality this was like a brand-spanking new listening experience for me and I'm sure glad that I played the thing today rather'n forty years from now when the only listening I'll be doing is to a buncha angels strumming on harps. Either that or the earthworms wigglin' their way through my cranium.

Very Eastern Bloc...maybe even krautrock-esque what with the over-the-head Zappa influence and the surprising free jazz sax intermingling with the death dirge violin. What really makes it tick (and separates it from similar Zappa-cum-prepunk units like Tin Huey) is the hopelessness that envelops the sound. Ya gotta suffer if ya wanna make good music (or at least some introspective rock critic I hate said that), and given that the countries that were under Soviet control weren't exactly fun places to picnic really added a tension and sorrow that you just didn't hear around here even from the really repressed types (mainly us suburban slobs)! No wonder the Czech underground took to the freak element of Zappa, Beefheart and the Fugs like no one else...in some strange way these acts gave hope to a nationfulla lost teens who certainly weren't satisfied with the government-approved teen pablum and craved a whole lot more in their international youth language of a music!

Live and elsewhere material recorded during the group's EGON BONDY period. Sound quality is good enough for tapes that you thought would have been destroyed by the secret police, liner notes are in Czech so I can't read them, and one final thing---anybody who hates the Plastic People's got his head either buried way deep inside his ass or well into his collection of eighties post-funtime rock platters smug in his "so above it all" complacency, and you all know who I'm talkin' about dont'cha!
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Gang of Four-A GIFT CD (V2)

I know what you're thinking....some gift! But hey, considering that I ain't heard Gang of Four in over thirty years and forgot what they sounded like this promo Cee-Dee I found inna collection sure came in handy. And actually, these guys (at least on this platter---can't judge about their other post-ENTERTAINMENT output) weren't "that" bad. They weren't that good if you want to stretch a point but I could enjoy the first elpee's "Damaged Goods" about as much as I can some MESSTHETICS contemporary, although the "mixed" material wasn't as attention grabbing as it would have been had this still been 1980 and my underground tastes were still fluttering around a bit. As I would have thought, it sounds like something that might have been boffo at one time in my life but a few years later all I hadda say was...wha???
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Noah Howard-LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD CD-r burn (originally on Freedom, England)

As with BLACK ARK Arista decided to pass on this 'un when they were getting the Freedom catalog out inna mid-seventies. Which is a durn shame since this 'un's yet another free jazz killer that needed to have gotten out into the used record bins of the late-seventies just like all those other Arista/Freedom albums I once picked up for a song. Fantab backing (Frank Lowe and Rashied Ali amongst 'em) and exemplary performance from Howard who proves that he was one of the few heirs to the Albert Ayler sphere of interstellar insanity around. And speaking of Ayler, you never heard a tribute to his overall being as you did on "Dedication" which posts most of the other Ayler homages I've heard to shame! (By the way, if you're worried about the presence of Earl Freeman's fuzz bass after reading a few on-line reviews don't worry...it doesn't get in the way at all. In fact, I gotta 'fess up to the fact that I can't even hear it so quit your fretting!).
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Various Artists-WALK LIKE THE STARRY-EYED WOLFMAN CD-r burn (so what if it's redundant...nearly everything on this blog is!) (courtesy Bill Shute)

This selection actually perked mine ears up to the point where I felt like giving Bill Shute a ring-a-ding to tell him just how much his Cee-Dee worked wonders with my life. Of course considering how cheap I am I decided not to, but if I did call him it would have been thing right thing to do. Highlights (for me, maybe not for Bill or for you for that matter) include the 13th Floor Elevators single cut of "Slip Inside This House", the obscure Sensation doing some rather decent mid/late-seventies pop that woulda beat the usual schmoozer music of the day all hollow, the strange duet between a chap named Jackie Edwards and Millie Small of "My Boy Lollipop" fame and Charles Gayle singeing your free jazz nervefrazzles for a good eight or so minutes. Nervous Norvous is always good for a spin while the Paul Horn jazzy hipster track made me wanna sneak into a 1969-vintage adults only film for some not-so strange reason. As for the inclusion of Divine screeching "Walk Like a Man" well Bill...I never knew...