Saturday, March 23, 2019

Nice enough past seven earthspins for you? Gotta say I did a pretty good job livin' thru it...after all I SURVIVED! But I was eaten alive for all you Kongress fans out there. Anyway I sure had fun comin' out intact what with the new records I've been listenin' to as well as the gigundo fortysome-plus years of music, fanzoonies and comix that have been pilin' up in my fart encrusted bedroom (leading to some fart encrusted reading, but I got used to that) that does a good job puttin' a smile on my face and a tap in my toe. An' who knows, if yer brave (or rich) enough to tackle some of the sounds that have been violatin' my turntable as of late you might just agree with me that although music as we knew it may be dead today, at least music as we knew it wasn't dead yesterday, or somethin' like that.
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Hadda big 'un planned for you this week, only I hadda transfer about half of the planned reviews to next week's post because of one of those HTML problems where everything ended up in bold print and blockquoted making this thing look even less pro than it tends to be! While trying to rectify things I lost a few album covers which was a real turdburger of a fact to get through my usually stoic being, but after some perseverance and loads of ship in a bottle-level work I managed to make this 'un look at least trite 'stead of   Quinlanesque  So be appreciative of all the hard work and effort it takes not only to fulfill your own rockist vicariousness, but my own self-satisfaction in puttin' this well-known and loved blog out to you! After the ordeal I've just been through all I gotta say is (tryin' t' be positive about my misfortunes 'n all) I don't hafta knock myself out tryin' t' get NEXT WEEK'S POST outta the gate!!! heeeeeeeeeee....

But why quibble about things other'n to pad this post out a li'l given the major UPHEAVAL that's just transpired. Got a good selection of gunk for you to read about (some of which might even inspire you on to greater things, like remembering to replace the toilet roll after yer done wipin' up .Lord knows we need more people 'round these parts to do that, right cyster? But anyway thanks to those who sent some goodies in like Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and the guys at Feeding Tube. If it weren't for these people you'd be reading about things like my recent ringworm infestation and some of my rather abstract rock 'n roll dreams having to do with meeting Dennis Yost at a Frankenstein convention before he turns into Berk Parks?!?!?
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Jester few of the non-reviewable (due to the fact that I've written 'em up many a time in my illustrious career) recordings that have graced my ears during the period it too me to create this particular post...Guru Guru UFO (Ohr), Cabaret Voltaire LIVE AT THE YMCA (Rough Trade), BLACK PEARL CD (Wounded Bird), the Electric Eels portion of THOSE WERE DIFFERENT TIMES (Scat), the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Sister Ray" from CAUGHT BETWEEN THE TWISTED STARS (of course) and not much more unless you want me to bring up Mahogany Brain and Red Noise again. Vive le revolucion en musique energique (I hope I got that right)!
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Yeah I know. cut the crap and get on with it!!!


Maxine Funke-HOME FI 12-inch 45 rpm record (Feeding Tube Records)

's funny, but I pulled  this 'un outta the sleeve the VERY SAME DAY some guy went and blasted a whole buncha muzzies down New Zealand way. This Funke gal's from there too, but I don't think there's any connection between  her and hom. But sheesh, I thought the place was one of those outta-the-sphere snoozarama areas where nothing exciting happens! Boy was I wrong! Otherwise Miss Funke stays true to her national heritage with this singer/songwriter-y effort that is so quiet and practically nondescript that it withers into the ether upon escaping from your speakers. Makes Mary Hopkins sound like Blue Cheer.
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Eugene Chadbourne-SOLO GUITAR VOLUME 2 1/3 LP (Feeding Tube Records)

After this particular piece of hardened post-Cageian expression it was all downhill for Chadbourne. Well, not exactly and I shouldn't be so judgmental considering that I ain't heard everything the guy did since those early excursions into tackling a special approach to the six-stringed thing that came a whole lot closer to Derek Bailey than it did Montoya. Interesting clanks, clunks and the proper usage of the guitar as machine, all ending with a solo "proper" that will still twist your beanie into contortions it's never been in before or at least since you gave a Lol Coxhill record a spin.Worthy enough for alla you guys who saw this in the NMDS catalog and just didn't have the moolah to pick it up just like you didn't with DAILY DANCE and a whole batch of now-desirable spinners that are now all but impossible to find. And when you do, be prepared to empty that ol' wallet out...
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The Rockets-"Even Money"/"Steppin' Outa Line" 45 rpm single (Munster Records, Spain)

This fresh off the press platter really put the kick in this week's record session! This pre-Warsaw Pakt group with future Deviants/Pink Fairies crony Andy Colquhoun's got that early punk rock pounce that fans of those old Stiff and Skydog records should really enjoy, especially when you consider just how outta place these kinda acts got once 1980 began to clock in and new became "gnu". High energy jamz with a hefty rhythm 'n blooze input that took too long to get out to the public, but now that it's here I can see why all those mentions in the AYLESBURY ROXETTE were warranted way back before any of you readers really cared!
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Gram Parsons-HOW IT ALL WENT DOWN VOLUME 1 4-CD set (Country Records)

Who in their right mind woulda ever thunk that these once hard-to-find Gram Parsons sides would ever get what I believe is a legitimate release, and all I gotta say about it is BULLY FOR US! Within a nice package (none of that cheap same old snaps we've seen for the past hundred years stuff) we get a whole load of things detailing Parson's entire musical career from his '64 combo the Legends up through the International Submarine Band and Byrds until the final Fallen Angels days when a pre-brown eyed blue Emmylou Harris sang harmony. Byrds live in England, live at WBCN in Boston, Max's Kansas City...it's all here and more. And sheesh, this countrified rock 'n roll music is so good that you can even stomach the track where Neil Young and Linda of the reconstructed nostrils joins Parsons on-stage!

For a mere few smackers you can now have what it once took thousands in tape trade lists and bootleg catalogs to come up with. Of course here in 2019 buying a Gram Parsons set would be akin to your elders dishing out the $$$ for one of those nostalgic Big Band collections 'round '71 way but eh, aren't we in the here and how the spiritual successors to what those old scolds were way back when?
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SCAT RAG BOOSTERS CD-r burn (self released)

It sure is heart-cockle warming to know that there still were primitive rock 'n roll groups---OF WORTH---cranking out their own low-fi and definitely non-DeMeolaesque guitar-fashioned playing as late as 2004. That's when the Scat Rag Boosters put this effort out and it holds up better'n Penelope Playtex lo these many years later'n you;d think. Trash neo-bluesy garage band crankers sort sounding like the Heartbreakers vying for a spot on NUGGETS VOLUME TWO or at least the WZZZ-AM top 40 in Bumfug Indiana circa 1967. Flamin' Groovies circa Skydog run through a Veg-O-Matic. About an hour or so of nonstop trashpunk with solid chops and a sound to make the most sincere hi-fi nut leap off his speakers. A must for those of you who prayed at the altar of high energy hijinx for a longer time than any of us could remember.
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Rolley Polley-MAD DRUMS CD-r burn (originally on Capitol Records)

If you like e-z listening and LOTSA DRUMS AND CLANKING THINGS you might just like this Rolley Polley (and this ain't no puddin'!). Brings back that flea market spirit of 1979, or at least the stuff you came across while looking for the goodies. A must for the spiritual hi-fi nut circa. 1960 living in the old folks home of your choice, or your mind for that matter.
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Chet Baker-IN PARIS 1955-1956 2 CD-r set (originally on Fresh Sounds Records)

One of jazz's bigger creeps does good on these mid-fifties sides that were originally laid down for the Barclay label. Naturally this is a far cry from the usual fire music that gets the jazzbo rah's here at BLOG TO COMM but I find Baker's horn playing to be rather copasetic with my usual post-work-a-day moods. The moments where he ventures into more of a mid-fifties West Coast new thing makes me wish the guy woulda gone white chamber jazz style a la Jimmy Giuffre, but what we got is what we got. And this does sound a whole lot less bowtie and tux than I thought it would so bully for it all!
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Various Artists-LIVERPOOL ROCKET TOBACCO PASSAGE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Usual mix 'n match with some pretty high-larious moments like the radio ad for Peter and Gordon' OF CABBAGES AND KINGS along with some good strangities (or is it strange goodities?) from the likes of the Jam long after anyone thought they'd do a thing of worth, a tough groover from the Orlons and this really nice neo-something jazz rocker from an act called Calexo whose "Attack el Rocket Attqack" (really!) comes off like something I woulda thought the latterday original Mothers of Invention woulda worked up during one of their less boogied moments. Jerry Lee Lewis' ode to the Kennedy Assassination is also a good hoot and it even got a boff country backing! The various commercials are also a laff riot (and how can ya ignore the Every Mother's Son appearance on the IN-SOUND show promoting "today's action army"!), but I sure coulda used less of that singer/songwriter quap a la Rob Carpenter and Kris Kristofferson...sheesh!* (But hey, Gal Costa is always welcome here since we at BLOG TO COMM support hotcha femininity whenever the occasion, amongst other things, arises.)
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There was a time when BLACK TO COMM was considered one of the more cutting-edge, tell-it-like-it-is no bullshit rock reads one could find throughout the tepid eighties, nineties and beyond. Of course if you were one of many who thought that the innovations of rock videos, hair metal and general squeaky clean visages were the organs and blood vessels that made rock 'n roll so sparkly back during those days you might beg to differ. However, I do hope there are at least a few thousand of you out there who believe otherwise. I mean, how else am I gonna sell off these leftover rags and retire like a true Suburban Slob well stocked with pork rinds and comic book reprints anyway?

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*Actually I really do like the Kristofferson track which kinda reminds me of one of those introspective late-night Peter Laughner musings that you'll all hopefully hear once the box set is released. But sheesh, how can I present myself as being the ultimo top notch cooler-than-thou supreme being 'fessin' up to a truthism like that? Unless I present myself as a contra-hip hipster who likes a wide variety of things in my own individualist anti-cool is the true way to musical universalism way just like Laughner and many other rockscribe faves of mine (Nick Kent and Charles Shaar Murray, not to mention Jonh Ingham and even ol' Lester Bangs) have for quite a long time. Dunno, do you think that'll work?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

COMIC DIGEST REVIEW! ARCHIE...ARCHIE ANDREWS WHERE ARE YOU #19 (August, 1981)

Like Bill Shute, every so often I get hold of one of those Archie digests that always seem to make their way to some used book store or flea market table. I'll buy one if only to see what the heck's been goin' on in Riverdale ever since the days I pretty much stopped buying Archies when I turned 'round fourteen. Of course nowadays there ain't much for me to digest 'r enjoy with these things, what with the entire Archie Comics Group having veered from squeaky clean wholesomeness to squeaky clean SJW cause-orientation, but even the more recent digests have been reprinting the older Archie tales that still had a shard of snide humor and great art so picking one up does serve its purpose. Naturally there is nothing in these books as great as the original Bob Montana-helmed comic strip was, but good enough for a spiritual early-seventies suburban slob such as I.

Fortunately Archie Comics weren't as Socio-Political pious in 1981 as they are today, so the stories to be found herein ain't as disgusting as what the average trader's gonna be in store for (although the fairly recent Archie free publicity headline grabber regarding Jughead being asexual really is big ruse...after all, we've known that for years!). There is that dinginess of well-scrubbed all-Amerigan wholesome entertainment for adolescent girls to contend with, but thankfully the old style was still prevailing at this time so when you see ads with pictures of unicorns and rainbows in 'em just disregard 'em because like hey, the product may be old but the audience (other'n us aging suburban slobs) is jailbait!

As I've said MANY A TIME (like a good two weeks ago), I tend to ignore Harry Lucey's work which I felt had none of the vim and verve of Montana's, though the guy's summer beach stories are always fine if only because it's so nice to see the female form decked out without the belly blobs and tattoos you see on a whole load of what used to pass for ladies inna past! Of course most of these newer sagas have little of the plot twists or funny surprises that you'd find in the classic old stories, but I guess that if you've limited your audience to the slumber party set you gotta dispense with that old fashioned slapstick crazed out humor! Girls always found that stuff ikky anyway...

In all, it's what you'd expect outta some battered Archie digest flea market find that was published almost forty years back, but I sure coulda used more of those innovative Dan De Carlo late-sixties comics that had those funny generation gap jokes and commentaries regarding the young set who these comics were (in part) aimed at! Well, those would be better'n than the late-seventies one where Archie and Chuck (the "Token Negro" who was introduced to the strip in the earlier portion of that decade in order for the Archie line to look "relevant" and "up to date") scare a little runaway boy back to his mother by scaring the bejabbers outta the precocious jerk who woulda done society a service by skedaddlin'. And no, they didn't threaten to rape him like those hardened criminals did on that SCARED STRAIGHT-inspired episode of FAT ALBERT!

Also included are some Li'l Archie sagas taken from the late-sixties/seventies era (not as hotcha as the original, but you'll read 'em while taking a dump) as well as a coupla Li'l Jinxes (why the PRISCILLA'S POP people didn't sue over this one is amazing, but then again Archie Comics never did get called on the carpet over SHRIMPY!) and some post-Montana Archie dailies drawn by none other'n De Carlo which, although looking fine and dandy, just didn't have the same vim and vigor and snideness of the Montana original. But hey, given the fifty pennies you'll dish out for this at your next garage sale romp you'll be feelin' good thinking of what a bargain this digest was. Not only that, but you'll feel great that your purchase has just contributed to some pubescent lass getting her first diaphragm!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

YOU GUESSED IT...ANOTHER FANZINE FANABLA!

Once again let us take a prowl through the annals of fanzine-dom, that wondrous world where messages and various brainfelt ideas that weren't exactly welcome in the big industry magazines could be circulated (somewhat). Yes, whether it be via quickie xerox or spirit duplicated pages or even fancy professional layout for that matter the fanzine idiom was once the ONLY place which spread THE WORD while everybody else was either writing us off as a buncha loonies or an insignificant minority. A hallowed place where the high energy championing of Velvets/Stooges aesthetics in a world more suited to John Denvoid and Carly Horseface could rage on unedited and with testes kept firmly in place...I'll betcha can't remember them days now, can'tcha hunh!

For this post we will commence with a coupla real rarities from the land o' Cle. Back inna late-seventies, Larry Lewis was somewhat of a name onna local scene what with this particular rag entitled MONGOLOID, a publication which is probably best noted for documenting and celebrating the local Cleveland under-the-counterculture rock scene and doin' a pretty good job of it at that. Of course CLE was the monster Cleve/Ako/Kento mag of the day, but at least Lewis was able to get this MONGOLOID thingie out on a somewhat regular basis which was a good thing for those of you who were up and around in the tri-city area and had to get your straight rock info from sources like THE COVENTRY SHOPPING NEWS because frankly no one else was giving the SUPERIOR BREED OF THE DAY like Pere Ubu or the Styrene Money Band any sorta notice! Well at least not with the throngs of brain-dead teenagers who actually liked the slop that was being poured into their trough (an' yeah, it sounds even worse forty years later...sorta like a dead body that's been found in an abandoned house after nobody's seen the guy for quite a long while).


The two rags I got hold of are more'n adequate examples of just what was RIGHT in fanzine publishing in those hopeful days when we thought the Velvet Underground were finally going to be vindicated after all those years of abject ignorance. Snappy writing (Lewis does have a good fannish sense to him that doesn't make him look as airheaded as  someone like myself usually gets) and boffo graphics make MONGOLOID the kinda fanzine that I sure wish I coulda gotten my paws on had this 'un not been so hard to latch onto!

Issue #6 (April/May 1979) has the expected international punk news of course and loads of record writeups, as well as an interview with the guitarist from the old Public Enemy group about why they split! I really like it especially for the editorial where Lewis mentions that HE was the guy who wrote that hate note to Anastasia Pantsios which she responded to, clumsily enough, in her FRIDAYS column...y'see, I'm not the ONLY one!

The next 'un from the end of the decade is really snat as well complete with a Paul Marotta interview that really gets to the brass knuckles of it all, not forgetting scene reports from Milwaukee and Detroit which, while fine, should have stayed in their burghs so's there'd be more room for the local news we all so desperately needed! Reading MONGOLOID lo these many years later really makes me feel all nice warm and toasty inside, reminding me of the last great push to regain rock 'n roll respectability in an era of disco and AOR, ultimately failing in the process to the point where everything those anti-rock types wanted back then HAS come true (slick sound minus the tension and belligerence), unfortunately.
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Here's a fanzine of English extraction that pretty much outlived its fanzine existence and became a real flesh and blood PROZINE  as the years rolled on. I'm sure many of you have at least a handfulla BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS in your collection...I sure do ever since buying one of the earlier 'uns straight from Mr. Nigel Cross himself (who was once described to me as being a 300 pound hippie with an eclectic taste in various sound excursions) as well as subsequent ones from various dealers. As the underground music scene began to waft into areas I thought were comparatively dull my BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS purchases began to decline, but I can't deny that the earlier issues had that real personalist and on-target upstart attitude that I really go for in my rockist reading!

Managed to get issue #2, and even at this early stage in the game once could see the standard English fanzine style still extant. Sorta early ZIG ZAG-ish in its look and approach (heck, it even got a Pete Frame Moby Grape/Big Brother and the Holding Company family tree!), this ish clearly is in the more "genzine" category given how a good portion of coverage is devoted to the young upstarts inna game (Costello, Stamey, Brainiac 5) yet there was still room for a neat Michael Hurley piece to be plopped within these pages somewhat! Funny that the ratio of non-new-unto-gnu wave (copyright Bill Shute) would have been reversed in most of these English fanzines, but the same vigor and intensity that one could find in...say...COMSTOCK LODE as well as that English fascination with the entire boho scope can be found here. And although most of the acts mentioned on the cover aren't exactly my kind of dining and dancing music I gotta say that A BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS really does make for the kinda reading where you can enjoy what passes in front of your eyes even if you'd never think of listening to any of the acts being promoted!
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Another English fanzine of a genzine nature, OUT NOW never did from the best of my knowledge last as long or accrued the amount of fame that BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS did. Still, this 'un (issue #9 dated 1978) seems typical of the style what with its mix of rock both olde tymey and gnu wave-y but don't mind that. Local heroes (Newcastle) the Junco Partners of PEBBLES VOLUME 6 fame adorn the cover and get a nice write up on the insides (y'see, they had reformed, or never did break up, or something like that) while the innards are stuffed with articles on the likes of Bowie, Dylan, Diddle, Squeeze and the Rich Kids. And although OUT NOW lacked a good portion of the spirit and excitement that made other similar reads so throbbingly intense it still has a whole lot more spirit and verve than those horrid introspective and cloistered fanzines from the late-eighties onward written by the same kinda people you thought stood directly AGAINST rock 'n roll back when you were spinning those noisy surf records at exceedingly high volume. Wouldn't mind knowing more about this particular endeavor that's fo' sho'!

(By the way, future NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS scribe Ian Penman was a contributor in case that jangles any real bonus points in your rock psyche.)
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Huh, whuzziz? A long forgotten fanzine dedicated to the likes of Eddie and the Hot Rods, Dr. Feelgood and their enlightened pub rock brethren? Well, yes and no...I mean it's an oldie that's for sure, but it dates back to the not-so-rock-active year of 1991! Even from this lofty perch we call the 21st century that seems like a far off time albeit one I certainly would never want to return to. But from an early-nineties standpoint things like those early Feelgood and Hot Rods records as well as the underlying intensity that sure seemed centuries old given all the offal that came afterwards.

Nice production tho what with the glossy cover, and the writing ain't too bad as these guys keep the original Stiff Records spirit a'goin', what with their humorous takes on the entire "Canvey Island" scene and an import bin fulla all those records that you couldn't afford at the time given how they were goin' at $6.98 a pop. Pretty good effort from some true fans who, like me, refused to bend with the wind and go with the flow into territories I would feel insecure going into without my DENIM DELINQUENT book to guide me.
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Although I was one of the millions who thought that the second issue of THROAT CULTURE with the Lester Bangs tribute and all was one fanzine straight outta the seventies spirit of gonz, it wasn't like I had that much of a love for editor Rob O'Connor. Well, at least I didn't since he stiffed me outta moolah for an ad in a ne'er to be third issue of his mag, money I sure could use in the here and now. Since I never did get the first issue of his rag (was warned it was gonna be a turdburger) I thought maybe latching onto one this late in the fanzine game woulda been a great way for me to exert some juicy revenge and say a whole lotta nasty stuff about the guy if only to ease the pain of money loss. It did seem like the right thing to do, and come to think of it it still does.

But in reality THROAT CULTURE #1 ain't exactly typical of the blander-than-bland post-sense of humor styled rock screeding that people like myself stood against during those less-than-high energy years. It's pretty snat in fact, although the main fodder of this seems to be the standard amerindie underground sounds that 1) seemed more like watered down variations on various sixties/seventies successes and 2) stood about as much the test of time as BEANS BAXTER.

This debut, besides containing a flexi-disc I think I'll handily leave stapled to the inside of the mag, is filled with the usual reviews, satire, cartoons and whatnot actually featuring some worthy reading not only at the hands of O'Connor but a number of contributors who I never heard of before and probably will never hear from again. Between the entertaining articles (such as a review of the Rolling Stones COCKSUCKER BLUES film which was finally rearing its head inna late eighties) and expected iff-ish comics (none as funny as the kind you saw in BLACK TO COMM) and college art school exhibition rejects there seems to be a underlying burning intensity that you saw in the earlier rock fanzines. Y'know, the ones that weren't going instant ga-ga over the new trends and ways which woulda made THROAT CULTURE one of those all-time classics had it only gone on for a little while longer.

So no O'Connor putdowns this time which is a shame considering the man's, uh, reputation and hey, if I hadda do it all over again maybe my own fanzine efforts woulda looked something more like this. But I doubt it.
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A lotta fanzines that are part and parcel of the howshallwesay BLOG TO COMM credo have been published o'er the past fifty or so years (and that ain't even counting various Sci-Fi/Comic Book efforts that should also fit up our own expansive alleys), and it would take a good thousand years for me to straighten it all out, find and categorize the ones that would be most beneficial to the cause of rock 'n roll as a rabid, feral entity. The English language ones we probably know all about (with scant gaps in the ol' collection 'natch!) but as far as ones that were not published in the mother tongue---well, other than those ROCK NEWS and I WANNA BE YOUR DOG I'm sure that most of 'em'll remain forgotten for quite some time time.

Well, at least until some savvy aficionado tracks 'em all down and lays out the who, whats and whatevers about these mags that unfortunately slipped through the cracks at a time they were most needed in the face of ROLLING STONE's journalistic analingus.

I've heard PARAPLUIE mentioned as being a "fanzine" in the truest sense of the word quite a few times and from different sources who probably don't know each other! So using the same kind of mental acumen that once had me comparing every low-grade home-produced amerindie slosh to the Velvet Underground I'd consider it a fanzine even in the purest FREDRIC WERTHAM sense. A publication of French heritage running from about 1970 until 1973, PARAPLUIE was a tabloid in the tradition o the late-seventies NEW YORK ROCKER, albeit the content of at least the two issues that I own contain a mix of everything from music, art, politix, Amerigan underground cartoons translated into the mother tongue and moom pitchers making this closer to a Gallic version of yer standard hippoid underground paper of the day. One cover with Joe Dalessandro and his kin the buff was even swiped from EVERGREEN if I am not mistaken!  You know that these guys ain't exactly part and parcel to the yellow vests brigades what with the use of words like "Amerikkke" nohow!

Don't worry, because in between the rabble rousing and Timothy Leary interview there is still some rock 'n roll to contend with,! Even Yves Adrien contributes one of his columns, this one entitled  "Manifeste de la Panthere Electrique" which looks so gonzo even in its French original that I kinda get the idea that even Mme. La Merde woulda given Adrien an "F" had this been submitted in her class. Can't read it of course, but the thing looks wild what with the name-dropping of the likes of the Pretty Things, Mothers of Invention, Yardbirds, Beefheart and the MC5 amid the wild wailing on of revolution all done up in snatty layouts featuring faces of Robert Crumb characters. The Velvet Underground even get a snap published in the Viva article, and hey but is that really a live photo of none other than Third World War that I've never seen before??? Sorta makes up for all the bad stuff including that oft-seen pic of Charlie Chaplin in the snow that he's supposed to exude pathos from in order for us to feel sorry for him for 'n all that bunk.
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IN CLOSING, here are couple of fanzines that seem to stretch the ideas of what a fanzine is supposed to be and what possibilities can be done with 'em even more'n those Richard Meltzer AJAX and contributions to frank's apa, not to mention things like BREAKFAST WITHOUT MEAT and other hit/miss efforts to transcend the usual limits of paper and toner. What attracted me to ZGB inna first place was the Kim Fowley come on placed smack dab on the front of issue #2 (I thimk!) which of course jiggled on my own nervous system. Dinn know who these other groups mentioned onna cover were, but with Fowley gettin' the top billin' I just hadda snatch this thing up for my own personal pleasure.

'n it was sure nice readin' whaddeva they did write about the guy---nothing as good as Richard Meltzer's Fowley tour diary in HYPE or even Bill Shute's Fowley article in INNER MYSTIQUE, or
even my own Fowley appraisal in the third issue of my own crudzine, but any Fowley press seems good enough for me to dwell into wo like...why naught?

But other'n that piece with the liner note reprints taking up a good portion of the coverage plus a cheapo reprint of Captain Beefheart's face from the cover of an old NME and the back cover snap of Little Phil et. al. from SQUARE ROOT OF TWO I can't fathom a dang thing about this Dublin-oriented (I think) mag. Which makes it cooler what with the made up groups and records of groups with names like Adonis Walsh and the Pretzels With Mustard and Paranoid Fish Fingers. It's good for a strange-o laff in some weird introverted way and I figure eh, if people couldn't "get" the comics that used to pop up in my own aforementioned 'zine then why the heck should I be able to "get" this???

Little did I know that there was at least another one of these, "blob 3" as it says on the cover and as far as the rest of this monstrosity goes it seems to taken over by a weird clip art comic based on a super badboy going by the name of "Nihil Man". It doesn't seem to latch onto any real extra-sensory meaning that I can digest that well, and as far as these paste pieces go Jay Kinney did a much better job of it in ANARCHY #2 which at least had this outta kilter, er, "anarchistic" feeling to it. Can't make out what these ZGB-ers are trying to say with this, but it sure reads a whole lot smoother'n some of the other outta the cracks and crevices 'zines put out by the standard type of people who put fanzines out an' given the phonies who are out there in blogland this does come as blessed relief.
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I'm always on the hunt for old fanzines, especially those of the under-the-underground gonzoid variety not forgetting the post-MAD-era satire 'un's of the fifties and early-sixties which are all but impossible to find these days. Got any real 'un's, or good enough photocopies that you'd like to part with? Well then, howzbout supporting the REVOLUTION (in unbridled suburban slobbism) in your own personal way and SEND me some. Who knows, I might even send you some moolah in return!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

BOOK REVIEW! NOT FOR SALE - THE BEATLES' MUSICAL LEGACY AS ARCHIVED ON UNAUTHORIZED RECORDINGS by Belmo (Robert M. Walker and the Hot Wacks Press, 1997)

Y'know, I still have dreams about visiting some outta-the-way record shop I would just chance upon whilst walking down the street (or in one of 'em walking up a steep incline in San Francisco) and finding a bountiful bevy of records I either haven't seen for years or in some cases haven't seen before in my life. Of course this is just right before waking up and feeling so gol durn FRUSTRATED that the whole thing was just a deep-down reflection of how I wish things were today and that the era of outta the way record shops with things like walls of cutouts, imports and bootlegs were howshallIsay LOOOONG gone. Occasional cruises through the ebay bootleg listings help (best results are usually found by typing "TMOQ" in---that'll somehow take you to most alla 'em up for auction since these dealers cleverly describe bootleg items as "not TMOQ" hint hint nudge nudge as if the authorities are still keen on prosecuting guys selling beat up copies of ROYAL ALBERT HALL this late in the game), but frankly it's no substitute for combing through bins of albums you never knew existed while the guy behind the counter eyes you ever-so-suspiciously (like they always usedta do with me!).

As far as the classic era of bootlegs went, it seems as if the Beatles ones were the kind that you tended to see the most of. As I once recalled, the first actual Beatles boot I can recall laying eyes upon was that BEATLES IN ATLANTA WHISKEY FLAT which my addled teenbo mind interpreted as being live from the Whisky A Go Go just like you would have expected from a neo-autistic suburban slob such as myself. The one with the GET BACK sessions that had the deluxe color cover also stood out, but with things like Mothers of Invention and Patti Smith live platters competing with 'em all was I gonna dish out the $4.99 for a mere Beatles boot? Not on your depression-era wages nellie, bub!

This "Beatleg" book might help out those of you who are serious Beatle buffs but I didn't really care that much for the fanabla. Too late inna game what with the 1997 publication date, as if rock as it's meant to be appreciated hasn't existed since 1981 at the LATEST. Information on McCartney live albums complete with generic covers really doesn't do much for this punkoid who definitely is more interested in seeing the bootleg covers of the early-to-mid seventies---y'know, back when this stuff seemed to have a more earthy meaning for guys just gettin' into it all comin' off like pure gold in all their cheapness. And while I certainly applauded the bootleg coming of age in the late-seventies what with the abundance of platters with professional color covers that put the major labels to shame I sure would have liked to have seen repros of those old paper insert efforts which were wrapped with a plain white sleeve and usually banged to all heck once they made it to the record shops. After all, it was no-class like that which got me interested in these delectable booties inna first place!

Of course it ain't complete given the throngs of booty that I'm sure has surfaced in recent years, but as far as giving us a twinkle of what those early punk rock days were like up thru the neatened Brian Epstein suit and tie version of the group before everything (well, most everything!) seemed to get a little too lovey-dovey for my tastes to the point where you'd think that the only people who like this version of the Beatles still read DOONESBURY, well man this book will help one out. Still, I woulda just preferred seein' all those old insert sleeves and some labels while yer at it plus more detailed reviews as to just what was so good or horrid about---say---YELLOW MATTER CUSTARD before I decided to spend my money on one of these illicit wonders or an Eno cut out. All the while with that guy behind the counter starin' at me out the corner of his eye...

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! MY CASINO CAPER by Edd Byrnes (2014)

Here’s something I didn’t know existed until earlier today….evidently, some time around 1980 actor Edd “Kookie” Byrnes, of 77 SUNSET STRIP, won three million dollars on a slot machine in a Vegas casino, and the whole experience developed into a nightmare for him, sounding like something from a B-movie or a crime TV show in which Byrnes himself could have appeared.

I’m not sure if this yarn actually happened, or if it is one of those fictional memoirs like Chuck Barris’s CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND, but it plays well, and Byrnes is a natural storyteller. Of course, if the story is really true, it’s wild enough to be incredibly entertaining, but it does take a good storyteller to make it come alive, and a charismatic actor to get us believing in the character and rooting for him. Byrnes has those qualities, so that as he’s dropping his career highlights into conversations or mentioning his sexual prowess in passing or talking about being mobbed by teenage girls and the amount of fan mail he once received, he does it with such a self-deprecating charm that you want to pat him on the back, congratulate him on his success, and tell him he truly deserves to be a star. THAT is quite an accomplishment.

The format of MY CASINO CAPER is a dramatized audiobook, running about 75 minutes. The frame narrative has Byrnes telling the story to his friend Alan Young (yes, the real Alan Young, of MR. ED and THE TIME MACHINE fame, who sounds great here and still retains his quick wit and boyish charm, and even re-enacts Byrnes’ favorite scene from THE TIME MACHINE for him, in character with a Scottish accent!), and then we are swept away into a well-produced dramatization of the whole affair, acted out for us with sound effects, etc.


Out of the blue, Byrnes gets a phone call from an old girlfriend he’d dated a decade or two previous, and she suggests the two of them go to Las Vegas for the weekend. He gladly accepts, and while there, she tells him about a particular machine (he’s not much of a gambler himself) that has a potential mega-payout but only when you bet more than the minimum, and he might want to try it. While she plays another machine, he does give it a shot, and he wins the big jackpot of $3 million ($1.8 million after taxes). Rather than be happy for his good luck and perhaps taking advantage of his generosity while he’s in a good mood, she immediately demands half….and then a threatening thug-like figure (well-played by Michael Callan) starts making demands, and claims that he’d rigged the machine with an insider partner and had just gone to the bathroom when Byrnes took over "his” machine, and thus the money is his and he wants it all. He threatens and intimidates Byrnes in a number of ways. Byrnes along the way turns to two actor friends—David Hedison (THE FLY, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA) and Henry Silva (Rat Pack member and star of many great Italian crime films, the ultimate tough guy)—to play ‘roles’ (one a police detective, the other a mobster) to scare off Callan’s character. There’s another mysterious woman who appears out of the blue—or is it really out of the blue? Various other complications get in the way, and before you know it, the 75 minutes are over, and you’ve had an exciting and fun roller-coaster ride…and realize again what an entertaining and talented man Edd Byrnes is.

There are enough show-biz anecdotes to satisfy the lover of vintage films and TV. Want to know about the making of Roger Corman’s 1964 Yugoslavian war film THE SECRET INVASION, in which Byrnes co-starred with Silva? Here’s your chance to learn. Wonder what it was like on the Warner Brothers lot during the shooting of 77 SUNSET STRIP? Get some choice morsels on that here. Of course, with each passing year, the number of people impressed by name-dropping anecdotes involving Connie Stevens goes down, but if you do still care, as I do, you can get a few vicarious encounters with Ms. Stevens here.

Alas, Byrnes does not mention the classic 1973 slasher film WICKED, WICKED which was released by MGM and was shot by Richard L. Bare (Green Acres) in a split-screen technique (and thus was not able to get into TV circulation back in the day, so it’s not that well known….I managed to catch it on 50 cent night at the Lakeridge Theater in Wheat Ridge, Colorado,, and loved seeing Byrnes again), but there’s only so much time here, and if TOO MUCH time had been spent with anecdotes about his films and TV appearances, the excitement of the plot would get interrupted and it would come off as more of an ego-boosting memoir than an exciting “caper,” as the title promises Fortunately, the audiobook gets the mix just right between show-biz and mystery plot. All the celebrities who appear as guests—Alan Young, David Hedison, Henry Silva—come across as excellent actors but also as fun people you’d like to have a beer with.

The best news of all is that this audiobook, though only a few years old, is presently available for FREE on You Tube, posted by its producer just three months ago. Just search for “My Casino Caper - Audio-Book with Movie Stars,” pour yourself a cup of coffee, and settle back and be entertained by the great Edd Kookie Byrnes. And after that, make a point to search for his three Italian westerns from the 67-68 period, all of which are first-rate and he is great in them. Oh, 77 SUNSET STRIP  IS presently playing on ME-TV in the middle of the night, and I catch an episode or two a month, still finding ones I never saw initially, and Byrnes can be happy in the knowledge that even though he is surrounded by great talent on the show (Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Roger Smith, Connie Stevens, etc.), it’s HIS segment that many of us most look forward to, still, after all these years.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Didja ever have one of those days? Kinda like the one I'm havin' now. A purty bad 'un if I do say so myself. Y'see, for some odd reason the theme from the old FAMILY AFFAIR tee-vee series kept goin' through my mind, and I never thought that I would get rid of it! Y'know----"Daa daa daa dit daa daa daa daa daa"...
on and on. Worst yet, after I got that outta my system the Sly Stone song of the same name kept permeating my thoughts!

Otherwise it was a fun week. Spent alla Saturday night, well into the wee hours, doing my annual crawl through my box of mid-seventies vintage CREEMs (the just-pre Bangs exit years and the best by far) re-reading old classics like Peter Laughner's Rory Gallagher article (which said much more about Peter's decline into that eternal abyss than it did Gallagher that's for sure!) and things like Lester Bangs' own "Letter From Britain" which not only tells about the hipster inner-working of "sister publication" THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS during those sainted years but reveals the not-so-surprising fact that Mick Farren's own mom used to give him codeine-laced pills when he would have a headache, 'n at the age of FIVE at that! Talk about parents inadvertently setting their progeny on paths that were definitely not intended! Now I know why Bangs died at such a young age and why Farren had to subsist on tons of capsules and whatnot to treat his chemically-wreaked system during his tragic final days.

All of this visual and mental stimulation went down smoothly with the Electric Eels' EYEBALL OF HELL spinning gloriously in the background---listening to one of the highlights of the mid-seventies while reading some of the rock press' best of the same years really did this soul fine---zoned me back to an era when the planets, or at least the under-the-underground (and elsewhere) music scene, the Golden Age of Rock Journalism (and I don't mean ROLLING STONE) and television on the network, local and syndication levels were aligned in ways that could do nothing but make a true blue rockist soul smile even more'n those creepy pins that were all the rage at the time. Of course I did it ALL (or mostly) wrong during those formative years, and unfortunately if I hadda live it all over I'd naturally do the same thing! Wotta jerk!
***
Still making my way through HERBIE, that classic doof of a comic series that reminds me of just how much fun these titles could get even with the usual "restrictions" placed upon 'em by the Comics Code Authority. Y'know, back during them days when I was combing the flea markets for those by-then not so hard to find titles (though just try getting hold of a GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW---desirable if didactic!) I don't recall seeing any HERBIEs, or any ACG comic titles for that matter stacked up amidst tons of TEENAGE FATGAL ROMANCE or BLOODY GUTS ARMY TALES for that matter! Did they suffer from poor distribution or wasn't I just looking in the right flea market piles? Who knows, but the abject camp creepiness of this comic has me on the lookout for more sixties-era retardo visions within the pages of a 12-cent book, though for the life of me I can't understand why THE INFERIOR FIVE or NOT BRAND ECCH! have yet to be reissued in slick paged hardcover books. Given both titles' legendary status as outside-the-outside exercises in comic book STOOPIDITY you'd think that DC and Marvel would make a FORTUNE reprinting 'em! Quick guys, put 'em out before the Suburban Slob generation dies out and dies out HARD!
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The recordings up for scrupulation today (hmmmm---watching AMOS 'N ANDY has affected my abilities to create new words out of thin air, and for the better at that!) come to us courtesy of Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and Feeding Tube Records. A big hefty thanks to them all, for these guys have kept me from thinking about the big Deep Six that somehow overcomes aging Suburban Slobs who just can't get it through their heads that it's been well over fifty years since GILLIGAN'S ISLAND was canceled. Got some hefties  to talk about as well, so read on and try to glom some of the astral energies that I've been trying to eke outta scratchy garage band singles for years...



KNIGHT HOWLS 12-inc 45 rpm record (Feeding Tube Records)

Dunno what to make outta this particular spin which is a gol durned shame since I've found most of these Feeding Tube releases rawther reet myself. Two sides of recordings (or as they say, "found sound") and electronic weirdities mixed with threats and the crying of victims, all put on or is it? Somehow this Knight Howls thing comes off way too scattered in its abstractions and didn't "gel" in my "mind" the way similar sound excursions outside the beat 'n rhythm realm have. Ask me as soon as this review is posted and I'll probably tell you another thing!
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THE SECOND ANNUAL REPORT OF THROBBING GRISTLE 2-CD set (Industrial Records, England)

With these guys worming their way to the top of my hit parade I thought it would be best for me to dish out the hard-begged for this new double-disque take on the classic. Hmmmmm, sound is clearer here'n it was on the first Cee-Dee edition to the point where you can actually understand Genesis P.'s threats for once. You can feel the distorted guitar VVVVVRRRROOOOOOOMMMMMMS creeping up your spine like you were in the very same room as the band! Additional disque has rare goodies that continue on the beneath contempt music that the debut was legendary for all capped off with another appearance of the "Zyklon B. Zombie" single because hey, why argue with success?
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THE BLACK EARTH PERCUSSION GROUP LP (Opus 1 Records)

That cruise through my old JCOA catalog really must've gotten my latent teenbo interests in music outside of Donny 'n Marie up and about, for I actually decided to dish out for this percussion album that was proudly being sold within the catalog's pages---er---"flaps". Compositions by people I've heard of (John Cage, Lou Harrison and Peter Garland) and not are performed by people I've never knew existed, but cram 'em all together and you get a record that shows all the dynamism and excitement of sound as abstraction that young sprouts like myself had the pleasure of experiencing during our growing up years. One listen to this and you'll know that you can sure get a whole lot more outta blocks and bongos than ya did during yer kindergarten days!
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Junior Wells-LIVE AT BUDDY GUY'S LEGENDS CD-r burn (originally on Telarc Records)

When the slick horns get in the way I kinda feel like headin' for the fridge to stare at all that food I'm not supposed to eat.  But during the stripped down basic moments when it's loads of harmonica and pure groan I'm more up front and center than a twelve-year-old boy at a sex education class. Still good enough to get a  few energetic jolts into your otherwise Caucasian existence.
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ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK BY LALO SCHIFRIN---DEAN MARTIN AS MAT HELM IN MURDERER'S ROW CD-r burn (originally on Colgems Records)

Eh, without watching Dean Martin get into all of that campy fun with the usual bevy of sexy costars we used to snicker at on THE CBS FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE this music really ain't much. And since even ol' Dino doesn't' do any vocalizin' on it this won't appeal to whatever you have left of old Eyetalian uncles. In all, one for the heavy doody fans, and given how I once was on the horns of a dilemma when the aforementioned CBS moom pitcher show was airing a Helm film while a competing station broadcast an already-syndicated one in direct competition maybe I should count myself one too.
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Ssh Retina Stimulants-ZATSUON JUNK CD-r burn (originally on Old Europa Cafe cassettes)

You might not be able to enjoy the full aural scale of tones and hums that appear on this recording, but I get the feeling your dog can. So give Fido an extra treat for not messing the floor and spin this cassette culture electrowhizzer straight outta SOUND CHOICE for his dining and dancing pleasure. Synthed-up (or is it down?) sounds will whiz inside his caninical cranium leaving him blitzed out at best, or deader'n that one bowzer who happened to wander into a Blue Cheer concert and ended up with terminal brain damage. Oh well, the pooch was gettin' up in years anyhoo...
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Humble Pie-LIVE AT THE WHISKY A GO-GO CD-r burn (originally on Castle Records)

I never desired to buy a Humble Pie album 'cept for that one with the purty durty pix insides (which I found weren't as durty as I was led to believe once I found an opened up copy at the used record store) so sitting through this '69 set was like a new hexperience for me. And an unfortunate one at that for this group put out some pretty dullsville rock glopping fanzy shmantzy solos and other needless flash onto music that sounded a whole lot boffer ("Hallelujah I Love Her So", "For Your Love"...) without it. If you're nostalgic for the less jam-packed moments in seventies FM radio, this might warm at least a few cockles in your heart.
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Various Artists-IT'S FINKING TIME---60's PUNK VS. DANCING JUNK CD-r burn (originally on Beware Records, England)

This ain't one of those everyday six-oh garage band collections bub! With Steve Rossi and Marty Allen gracing the cover you know that IT'S FINKING TIME is perhaps the best vinyl voomer to be heard in quite awhile. Side one's scraping of the garage band bottom of the barrel doesn't quite zone me like it mighta even thirty years back, but the flip's selection of dance music (you know the kind!) has me up and hopping like nothing since my last cayenne pepper colonoscopy! Not only does this have a bonafide MAD magazine (influenced) spoof and a remake of (or was it the original?) of "Baby Let Me Bang Your Box" but even a rock 'n roll version of the old "Hokey Pokey" shows up to prove to all that bad taste is timeless! Best of the batch is Marsha Gee's attempt to hit the charts and start yet another dance sensation with "The Peanut Duck", oddly enough sounding VERY MUCH like none other'n (yep!) Patti Smith had she been recording at the time right down to not only the vocal flow and ebb but the backing band's primal garage aesthetics a la HORSES! I wonder---has anybody ever seen Marsha and Patti together???----hmmmmm.
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Various Artists-WYLD SIDES VOLUME 6 CD-r burn (originally on Retro Gene Records, Australia)

With a HIGHS IN THE MID-SIXTIES-styled cover you can tell that whoever it was that put this together really knows his onions, and thankfully there are no dudsters to be found on this platter no-sir-REE! Pretty good batch of moaners in the folk rock/down home trash vein guaranteed to get you into a Shake-A-Puddin' mood faster than you can say Conelrad! Groups like the 7 Dwarfs and Somebody's Children really knew how to get deep down into the mid-sixties angst groove, and the overall appeal of these definitely pre-Haight howlers remains as potent today as they were when these local bozos were recording 'em at some outta-the-way cheap-o studio. Be on the lookout for the Pied Piper's version of the Byrds' version of "Hey Joe", these Pipers consisting of none other than future Left End vocalist Dennis Sesonsky, who I just discovered (while researching this thing) has been dead for almost five years!
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Various Artists-CRAZY ROACH BOND HENDERSON CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

The strangies just keep on comin' with this recent Bill burn. An Easybeats EP is definitely the high point of this effort, which also includes organ blues courtesy Freddie Roach with Joe Henderson, Hal Sutter doin' more of that pre-Mandrell country that Bill Shute was breast fed on (or so I assume) and what sounds like backing music for a French porn moom pitcher that comes off so real you can swear you can smell the femme lead's unwashed poontang as if it were right up front and atcha. It's a good enough diversion from the same ol' metallic crunch that has been percolatin' your bean as of late, as you probably knew already.
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What would you say if I told you that the next person to order some BLACK TO COMM back issues is in store for a MILLION DOLLAR BONUS?!?!?!?! Well, not in actual paper dollars and sense, but the knowledge and entertainment to be found in each and every one of these magazines will provide for more satisfaction and a jollier time than a million bucks can deliver on. Try one (or more) and see if you don't agree that you get more for your moolah with BLACK TO COMM than you do with your solid gold Lamborghini.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

As anybody who's been chased away from more'n a few comic book displays can tell ya, comic book/strip character imitations can be pretty hotcha in themselves especially if they retain a sort of snide aura to 'em that sez that yer stoopid for reading our knockoff inna first place! But hey, you don't care cuz it's yer ten cents and like, seein' a DC or Marvel logo on what OBVIOUSLY looks like an Archie title does have a weird aura to it, a transcendental sort of appeal in its own suburban slobbish nothin' else to do this afternoon way. But what about when anyone, whether it be comic book publishers or SKY SAXON for that matter, decide to..now get this...rip THEMSELVES off in that eternal battle to go for the bigger bucks no matter how obvious and downright cheap such a move might look to the few of us who are shall-we-say now a lot older and perhaps not that much the wiser for it.

EC did it during their comic book days with PANIC...maybe it was just EC's way of beating the copycats at their own game sorta like when Frank Zappa released all of those old bootlegs of his earlier material complete with pops and crackles back in the early nineties. Maybe not---after all, the proposal for PANIC was on the table even before MAD became a twinkle in Harvey Kurtzman's eye. However, when it came to swiping from oneself the champeen comic book published in this particular vein (at least during the days when comic books definitely were a teenage/kiddoid form of quick pass around entertainment) has to go to the MLJ/Archie line, who really knew how to milk their cash cow for all it was worth and with occasionally good results at that.

I mean, who amongst us newsstand/flea market stacks prowlers could forget such efforts as JOSIE, THAT WILKIN BOY and of course the MADHOUSE MADS/GLADHOUSE GLADS what with those Dan DeCarlo covers that were steeped in the Archie house style yet featured character who sure looked a whole lot shaggier and long-haired'n the comparatively clean cut denizens of Riverdale! Maybe Archie head John Goldwater thought it woulda been too risky turning Archie et. al. into less-than clean cut teenbos so he decided to update the company image with other misfit high school students who would continue on with the crazed kid capers only with hair covering their ears and flashy clothes straight from the Sear's Tiger Shop. Mighta been too much for the parents (unless you were brought up in one of those liberal homes where the upper-middle-class folk didn't care if you smoked marijuana in the nude right in front of your little cyster just as long as you went to your Reichian therapist in order to assuage your inner angst over your draft card rating) but I think the twelve-year-old gals really woulda grooved to it!

Well, it seems as if the concept of Archie swiping from Archie wasn't totally a sixties-era quick cash in ploy because believe-it-or-leave-it those crafty souls at MLJ were doin' just that and around the time the ink on those early Bob Montana works were but barely dried! In fact, Archie's most vivid clone, WILBUR, actually debuted before Archie which does account for a mighty brain-twist on the part of comic book aficionados nationwide.  But who woulda known Wilbur was the firstest but not the mostest, what with his bow tie and sweater not to mention Muenster cheese-like criss crosses on his head and two blond and brunette girlfriends fighting over him! And what about that doofy sidekick with the same Jughead snarl only with glasses and red hair (with more criss crosses on his head---I guess MLJ was criss cross crazy!).

Golden Age Reprints has got a buncha these Wilburs available as well as many of the other PD Archie items from the good ol' dayze, and students of flash not-so-cheap imitations might do well to get a few in order to discern the interesting nuances, or just have a good time whatever comes first. I managed to latch onto #12 from April of 1947 and found it really satisfying as far as getting some quick reading into ya after a day straining the brain at the Salt Mines. The usual forties-era Archie staff is on hand here including Al Fagaly of THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW fame, not to mention Bill Vigoda (Abe's brother!) whose particular style seems way more suited to Wilbur than it did Archie! Even more similarities with Archie can be spotted in the stories that appear here complete with the aged parents (mother with totally white hair just like Archie's own---sheesh, didn't these comic creators ever hear of menopause?) who look more like grandparents to me, but people sure aged fast back then! 'n howzbout those crotchety old teachers with just a few tweaks here and there to differentiate 'em from the real meal Miss Grundy/Mr. Weatherbee deal. I don't think the kidz were complaining much. Heck, they probably didn't even care if they couldn't tell the difference!


Even stranger in the self-swipe sweepstakes is GINGER which really does the sex/role/swap/shift game to unique effect. And stranger still's the fact that this 'un works even better'n WILBUR in that the stories are even more twisted and the play up on the females is almost as over-the-top va-voom to adolescent boys as those later-on Archies were! Well, at least until the days that the artists were allowed to show Betty and Veronica's belly buttons. Even more strange is the Ginger logo which is a clear cop on the familiar ARCHIE style perhaps alluding to something closer to the tap root of it all than the other titles in the series.  (And who could miss the on-cover blurbs about Ginger being "America's Typical Teen-Age GIRL" who was the "Sweetheart [instead of "Mirth"] of a Nation"?!?!?!?!).

But what's supremely strange about GINGER is that these tales were drawn (and extremely close to the old house style) by none other than Harry Lucey, a guy whose work on the Archie proper comics in the sixties and seventies was so far away from the usual standards that I actually would skip over 'em for more years than I could imagine. But here it's fuller and way more pleasing on mine eyes perhaps because for once Lucey was copying Bob Montana and had yet to develop his own---er---ways of doing things outside the box! But the man does have his fans and like, I used to hear that he would send his pencil'd pages to Archie Pubs with everybody drawn in the nude other'n on the first page! The inker hadda draw the clothing on so the thing could be "presentable", but imagine whatta woulda happened if the guy decided not to for whatever nefarious reason he mighta had in his mind??? Ho-hah, as they used to say...

Ginger could be considered a sex change switcheroo on Archie though her antix just don't get quite into the overboard destructo mode that could appear in those stories where Archie accidentally decapitates Mr. Lodge on his yacht while adjusting the sails. (Though nothing like that ever would have happened in a classic-era Archie story...I mean John Goldwater was Mr. Wholesome to the point where you hadda read the comic strip for the really snat badgag sex jokes!) Ginger has two boys pining for her affection, one being Tommy who comes off the muscular all-Amerigan he-kid schmuck and Ickky, a short Dilton Doiley clone who at least seems to have enough testosterone in him to be somewhat attractive to a knockout like Ginger. The sidekick role's played by the slightly chubby Dottie who in a few ways resembles that un-named gal who used to give Betty advice in the old ARCHIE strips...nothing of whatcha'd call standout quality but a character who certainly fills her purpose with the plot as Ginger's associate/conscience a la Boo Boo in the Yogi Bear cartoons.

And right on cue there's a female Reggie-esque foil in Bunny, whose devil horn hairdo equals JOSIE's Alexandra Cabot's skunk style. (And as you woulda know since at least fetus days Bunny's rather nefarious plans always backfire somehow, which is of course where all the fun really lies...) Won't bother to mention the Big Moose double Monk, who's just the same as the original right down to the butch cut yet has enough of an IQ to have acquired an overtly "toxic" as they now say masculine personality.

Gotta say that I enjoyed these Gingers even more than I woulda expected since they do deviate from the Archie pattern ever-so-slightly. But slight enough what with the sly interplay twixt Ginger and her beaus that just couldn't appear in a standard Archie saga no matter the similarities!

If you liked the various sixties/seventies Archie variations (even the ones DC and Marvel were slapping onto the market like BINKY and GEORGIE) you'll love these fifties ones which thankfully lack the heavy-handedness and virtue that would eventually earwig their ways into the entire publishing house in their quest to look "hip" and "up-to-date".

If you don't have a batch of these stashed away in the attic (like I sure wish I did...an' I don't even HAVE an attic!) best you build an addition to your house just so's you can crawl in there during those rheumy reminiscing times and read a batch of these long gone and who could forget 'em titles! That is, before you start thinking back to all those failures throughout your days after seeing that football you fumbled, or the remnants of that science fair project that almost blew up the school and all of those other things you've stashed not only in the attic of your house but the attic of YOUR MIND that you sure wish you could cut out of your brain with a knife and like PERMANENTLY! Heaven knows I've tried.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Still enjoying the benefits of cold winter's days and long winter's nights, mainly a valid excuse to settle back and do nada inna evenings but listen to music and snuggle up with some fine reading material, that is if JACK BENNY or some Laurel and Hardy film ain't on. In this case I'm rereREreading my hardcovered collection of HERBIE comics, which I gotta say goes down smoothly with my continual spinning of side two of the Red Noise album, a platter which has become for me here in 2019 what WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT was in the late-seventies, or Amon Duul's PARADIESWARTS DUUL but a mere five years back. I've also grabbed a box filled with mostly prime 1971-1976-era CREEM magazines which I must say help me (thanks to the writings of Bangs, Meltzer, Hull, Ingham and scant few others) through the drudgery of real life more'n Ambesol-soaked joints ever could. To paraphrase a more famous person, give me a copy of the Red Noise album, a stack of old comic books and a bowl of fried to a crackly crunch Cheetos and there is nothing I cannot do!
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BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT REFLECTED THE TRUE BEAUTY AND STYLE OF AN ERA LONG GONE, I now present to you a boffo photograph of none other than the ultimo comedian (the Emo Phillips of his day) Stepin Fechit and his wife, a snap which sums up a whole load of style, snazz and ROMANCE that nobody sees anymore. Fechit, you lucky guy!


And like, now for the good stuff. Thanks again to Bill, Paul and Feeding Tube for the donations.



Mars-N.N. END LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Last if perhaps briefest in the Feeding Tube Mars series. This 'un tackles the group's final and perhaps meanest days with side one featuring a fraction (?) of a particularly gnarly 1978 Max's Kansas City gig while the flipster has a brief bit of rehearsal for the group's swan song performance at the same venue a few months later. In the haze of the 21st century it sounds just as potent as if always had and perhaps even more. Quality is typical portable cassette grainy but that only adds to the overall erotic splendor of these definitely end-of-an-era (it didn't get any better) recordings that, as usual, make you crave more. But will we get it? Given the many under-documented groups of the no wave era that were out there maybe the success of this series'll spur Feeding Tube onto even more unexplored vistas that sure need uncovering, ifyaknowaddamean..
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Dick Dale-UNKNOWN TERRITORY CD-r burn (originally on Hightone Records)

Yeah this release does have a few re-dos of the original Deltones greats mixed in with what I presume are compositions ne'er before heard by ears human or not, but if you wanna give these a listen-to in any way possible and are that big enough of a Dick Dale fan you'll probably already have these 1994 recordings in your clams. These were definitely given the big bass boost modern keep uppa date heavy metal production so some stick inna muds might not care for it, but in this world of cyborg emotions and ultra-precocious form over solid content I'd say that you need more Dick Dale in your life no matter HOW you get it!
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Willie Lane-GUITAR ARMY OF ONE LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Feeding Tube has done us a mighty service by reissuing this Willie Lane album especially when you consider that---really---no other company on this earth woulda had the gumption to do such a profit-decreasing thing as that. That's too bad for us true blue music lovers who like to dig into the sound a little and appreciate the strains for all they're worth, for this Lane guy is one of the young whipper-snapping upstarts in the solo guitar field who should be honored in the same way that even the major publications would honor the border-stretching minds of the past before that became too unprofitable.

Dropping all of the important names and hearkening back to past accomplishments would be futile in describing this. However, if you've been in on the new solo free guitar playing scheme since the get-go and absorbed Lane's previous Feeding Tube album to its fullest then, why you're on the right road to electric (yes, Lane plays on on this!) bliss that, like the best of these outside-the-boards releases, has this timeless quality that automatically makes this 'un as important as all of those other solo guitar slingers you've engaged in durty deeds to! Re-defines whatever limits there are to the guitar, and judging from this platter there ain't any!!!
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Wanda Jackson-THE VERY BEST OF THE COUNTRY SIDES CD-r burn (originally on Ace Records, England)

Some great pre-Mandrell C/W here that doesn't make ya wanna curse out the entire sub Mason-Dixon line like too many wags up here wanna do alla time. Reminds me of my very early-seventies existence when my father, sicker 'n you-no-what o'er longhair AM Top 40 radio, decided to check out the country stations for a respite from it all. That didn't last long, but when I was in the ol '63 Ford Falcon station wagon with him I gotta hear a LOTTA music that comes off like these post-rockabilly Wanda Jackson sides. Tough (and sentimental) reflections of rural slob living that come off a whole lot more realistic to the dangerous sex's way of existence (like the one where she threatens her man with a good iron skillet to the head) than Loretta Lynn moaning about gettin' pregnant for the umpteenth time ever did.
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The Arrows-FIRST HIT CD (Repertoire Records, Germany); WALK AWAY RENEE-DREAMIN' CD (Geltoob Records)

FIRST HIT fails if only because the ballad trend of '76 which was wreaking havoc on Eric Carmen's career is on prime display here. Not enough all-out rockers (if any) to save the thing. However the bonus tracks culled from the Arrows' previous RAK singles have that cheapo glam slam that I love about this particular era in rock 'n roll history. It's even got the original "I Love Rock And Roll" which I get the feeling Joan Jett heard more'n a few times while hangin' out at Rodney's English Disco. This is the kinda fun teenage girl squealin' kinda music that I was expectin' from this perennial bargain bin bustin' band all along.

The WALK AWAY RENEE platter features fairly faithful re-creations of not only the title hits but another take of "I Love Rock And Roll" making for a compact if more rockin' release. Bonus tracks ain't exactly filler either. Doesn't slow down and bore like the album. For a solid slice of rock without any soft schmooze letdown this is the one I heartily recommend.
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The Betterdays-BACKLASH CD-r burn (originally on NTR Records)

I thought these Betterdays were gonna be a new buncha guys who copped the PEBBLES VOLUME SIX band's name as is wont all good retrosneaks who can't think up a decent moniker of their own! Hah! Actually these guys are "thee" Betterdays of yore reunited and sounding as good as ever! Straight ahead mid-six-oh English rhythm and blues as only mop topped upper middle class kids could do, only these guys are in their seventies and are probably balder'n me! Old faves done up 1964-style only with a moderne-day production and quality that won't even get you mad about the un-authenticity of it all! Now that's what I call progress
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Various Artists-RUNNING LOOSE DUCK LOLITA CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

(I think I reviewed this 'un already---if so like, wha' th' hey?) Shorter than your appendage, but still pow'r toc'h'd to maximum effect. No big monikers here, but these coulda beens prove that they just mighta had they gotten in on the ol' payola game like all those others inna biz did. Mostly of a late-fifties unto mid-sixties sound, the acts on here from Bobby Jones (bright adult soul stirrings) to Ed (The Great) Gates  (cleaned up schmooze like Ray Vernon used to do) fit in swell with what the teenagers were gobbling up at the time. Some of it is a hoot (like Ray Whittaker trying to cash in on the "Purple People Eater" craze or the 5 Sable Sisters---I get the feeling that Mom's off stage right taking it all in like sunshine!) while you kinda wonder how others even got into the recording studio inna first place. But whatever, these tracks are yet another part of that boffo post-World War II/pre-hippoid time which twisted more'n a few susceptible young minds to the point of no return!
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With the Golden Age of Rock Screeding long gone 'n buried it's about time you did some catching up lest you think that proper rockist-oriented writing consists of rehashing the same hype everyone else on web has written. Latching onto a few back issues of BLACK TO COMM is but one way to set yourself straight in the age of a definitely anti-gonz nature. If you can't tell a Mahogany Brain from a Mahogany Rush  (even if you can) then man, this is "the" magazine YOU need!