Sunday, July 26, 2015

If you can believe it, I am at peace! And frankly I'm not usually wont to be in such an upbeat, positive mood but I just cracked open my copy of THE INEVITABLE WORLD OF THE VELVET UNDERGROUND again and boy do I feel resensified. Resensified even more than had I just downed a bottle of potassium nitrate and washed about three weeks of impacted McNuggets outta my system. My opinions re. the linked-up review still stand---it's sure great reading about the Velvets while they were still alive/as it HAPPENED rather'n a good fortysome years later when all of these Social Justice Warrior types started getting on the same Velvets bandwagon they would have LOATHED back when the group was still up and functioning. Worse yet, when they began to "emulate" the music in their own cruddy bands they did it by banging away sans the tension and suburban decadent dinge the Velvets extracted from every pore on their rather malnourished bodies!

And this time I decided to read while playing recordings of groups influenced/INSPIRED by the Velvets rather'n the actual bunch themselves which you would know (if you only read the book review linked above!) is a pretty boffo way to enjoy an exploding plastic inevitability in yr own mind . Two nights ago it was the Electric Eels, last night Amon Duul in all their PARADIESWARTS glory...tonight ????? (My guess, the double disque edition of the first Stooges album.)

Yeah, a book like this that gathers all the pro/con and underground dribble on the Velvets (sure coulda used more foreign language opines, translated into Amerigan of course) is something that only a proud suburban slob like myself could appreciate to the fullest. Better than one of those dreams I always have where I'm going to a record shop that hasn't been in business in years only it's still there and albums I never even knew existed are there waiting on the racks for me to snatch up! And once again this read goes to show you that, contrary to public opinion, the Velvets were being recognized for their high energy rockist appeal to the point where their magick spell could be discerned---but do you really think I should dish out the moolah for the HAIR soundtrack just because some D.A.N. Jones in the pages of THE LISTENER wrote how "several of the more plaintive songs" with "a naive, untrained girl's voice against a sophisticated guitar" were reminiscent of the Velvets??? I could poo-poo this as being another bunch of hipster hyperbole but sheesh, this was written in 1970 and not in the pages of some current amerindie buttwipe bursting itself all over the place with politico/socio rage! This Jones person's gotta earn at least a whole boxfulla brownie points for mentioning the Velvets in such a popular light long before it became the snazzy thing to do, and like hey maybe natural born baldo like myself can find something of interest and Velvetude on that oft-scorned platter. Well with the kicks getting harder to find each and every day is it like I have a choice?!?!?!
***
(If I were you I'd totally ignore this up-n-coming paragraph [and maybe the next one after it] if only because well...I'm writing it to make this post look just an itty bitty smidge-y longer than it already is---there's nothing but talk about the weather 'n what little's going on in my life that really has nada to do with the music at hand but hey...)

Nice weather we're having now, ain't it? Well, it's great to know that July turned out to be a dryer month than June was even though frankly we coulda used a little more of those really hotcha days that turned into scary thunderstorm evenings. Y'know, the kind that used to creep the bejabbers outta me when I'd be watching tee-vee and alla a sudden the local station would break in tellilng us a storm was comin' and like I'd start panicking while my mother would open all of the windows and unplugging the electric appliances so's we wouldn't get blown away or struck by lightning! Of course when the network cable link would go kablooey and all we had to stare at (before the BIG ka-boom came) was a slide saying "Please Stand By" I'd get them feelings that thee end was near and that Kruschev or whoever was in charge by then was getting ready to launch those big missiles we used to see alla time on tee-vee. Then it was all over for the world only that we'd be dead a few seconds and then we'd all get in line to go to heaven, or something like that. But who knows, maybe if I espied the crowds of people who were coming back to be judged for the final time I might see George Washington! Well, when I was a kid I used to think crazy things like that up, as anyone who has heard my theory about the universe being kept in a box placed somewhere in Dick Tracy's police station could tell you.

And if there's anything that I'm nostalgic about these days it's stuff like this, not any of that flower power love and peace crap that the rest of the kids were swallowing faster than San Francisco fudge at a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition. If only I could watch an old moom pitcher on the tube and have it interrupted by one of those old Civil Defense (later on EBS) slides telling us a big thunderboomer was comin', boy could I relive those funtime kiddo memories even more'n the time I discovered that stash of old NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC hula girl issues under my uncle's bed when no one was looking!
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Well, I think I did a good enough yob filling this post out to a halfway-decent length. And now for what you've all been waiting for...once again thanks to Bill Shute for the freebee burns which I can always use (and I even received a fresh set of spinners from him yesterday...if I told you that guy burns me up I'd tell it to you in a nice, positive way!) and thanks to you dear reader for being just that (gawrsh)!!!!


Third Sun-ROOFTOP FOLLIES CD-r burn (Galactus, available via Richard Orlando)

Before interplanetary sonic explorer Doug Walker began performing under the name Alien Planetscapes he was using the rather mid-seventies cool-ish nom-de-blare Third Sun. Considered to be one of if not thee first New York City-area space rock/"progressive" group, Walker described his act as sounding like "Van Der Graaf Generator playing the Art Ensemble of Chicago songbook". And as you'd probably guess if you've been reading this blog since its inception such an outta nowhere remark such as that hits my own listening spheres with a hearty pow-zap-wham!

Third Sun had a shifting line-up (oddly enough David Javelosa from Los Microwaves was a one-gig member) and rarely played out .Well, at least I never saw any VILLAGE VOICE back page listing for them, but considering how some spring '76 live tracks popped up on THE BABY M TRIALS tape at least there's some recorded evidence that Third Sun was more'n just another basement band that never managed to go anywhere other'n the footnote section of the "Ultra Obscure Underground Bands" book of your choice.

This Cee-Dee-Are release is taken from a July 1976 performance recorded at 449 Pacific St., Brooklyn New Yoik in case any of you local readers wanna stroll by and stare at the building in abject interstellar awe. And maybe you should, because this platter is a pretty hot ball of free form rock unto AACM-styled free play (similar to the early AEC in that there are percussionists, but no drummers) that echoes more or less the Soft Machine filtered through Joseph Jarman and Roscoe Mitchell doing some nasty double reed duty while Malachai Favors slaps congas. It rocks as well as jazzes up rather smoothly, sounding dreamy at one point then jarring you into reality with a few well-placed blurts and believe-you-me, this is one session that's been in the ol' can for way too long a time just WAITING to be unleashed on our wax-encrusted ears.

Home-recording quality sound actually gives this a more earthy appeal that befits the music, and although the electric piano dates the recording it does so in a rather jarring mid-seventies way I can't complain about. If this is standard of what Third Sun were able to create they really should have gotten out a lot more than they did, even if I get the feeling that a good portion of the music listening crowd of the era would have been scratching their heads in mass confusion.
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Alien Planetscapes-LIVE IN BROOKLYN MARCH 13, 1997 CD-r burn (Galactus, see link directly above for more details)

This version of the group features nobody but Planetscapes mainstay Doug Walker with a Carl Howard (both handling synths and effects with Walker also dabbling in organ and flute), but the sound this duo makes is really something that's a whole loads better'n what I'm sure some 1979 band down the street thinking they were Yes could come up with. This is SPACE ROCK as in meteors pounding your craft into recyclable aluminum, not unicorns and damsels frolicking around somewhere in Middle Earth!

Three tracks ("Selma Freedom March 1965" parts one/two/three) ooze on in throbs and electronic burps kinda sounding like the track "UFO" by Guru Guru at one point and then moments from the first Tangerine Dream album...then throw "Kluster" into the mix then get into your head that none of the guys performing here are German! Perfect for krautrock fans, electronic gadgetry lovers and those of us who like noise for the pure sound of it. And vice versa. With Cee-Dees like this who needs to get off on listening to household appliances?
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TARANTULA CD-r burn (originally on A&M)

Boy, Bill really sourced the bottom of the 1976 Radio Shack cutout stacks with this one! Produced by none other than Chad Stuart of "and Jeremy" fame, Tarantula spent a good portion of what I suspect is their only album mishmoshing various late-sixties rock and pop moves that are clearly derivative of the big guns, but like eh! Not exactly my idea of a classic late-sixties platter true, but I gotta admit that the "Fool on the Hill" period Beatles moves do pay homage to the original without sounding too cheap (but cheap enough!) while the long horn-y instrumental number does come off slightly Mothers of Invention-ish to the point where I get the impression that had Frank Zappa heard this one he'd be flinging the turntable right across the room! I won't even tell you about the obligatory avant garde track. If you're the kinda fanabla who hated all of those post-SGT. PEPPER attempts to merge rock, classical, folk and jazz into a new artistic form be sure to miss out on this one.
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Jac Berrocal/David Fenech/Vincent Eppelay-ANTIGRAVITY CD (Blackest Ever Black, available via Forced Exposure)

If you like to feel toasty warm inside knowing that there are still some free-minded jazz musicians out there doing their best to out-avant the avant garde you'll really go for an album like this one. Bordering on Nurse With Wound concerns, the trio of Jac Berrocal along with David Fenech on guitars and various noisemakers along with Vincent Eppelay on percussion and various other noisemakers waddle between the new jazz and new rock thang with as much ease as a gerbil through a fleshy maze, making for sounds that recall the more outre aspects of 1980 Systematic Records catalog experiments and maybe even that all night college radio show that got axed in a flash. Might not exactly tingle your tastebuds at one sitting, but I do see myself (and maybe you) returning to it frequently like I do all my other Berrocal blockbusters.
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G.L.Unit-ORANGUTANG! CD-r burn (originally on EMI Odeon, Sweden)

I get the feeling that some of you readers aren't exactly fans of white (or Asian) Europeans (Asians) playing free jazz. Maybe I'm wrong, but I do get those mystioso "vibes" once in awhile, man. But if you do then this one just might be "thee" ticket for you.

I wonder how EMI got tricked into releasing this '60s/'70s cusp platter in the first place but they did, and this big band avant garde jaunt is pretty good stuff for fans of not only the Sun Ra Arkestra but the Globe Unity Orchestra and Alan Silva's triple-disc BYG outing that remains overdrive legendary even until this day.

Massive pure free flow that echoes not only Ra but Albert Ayler which would figure considering how both were like the ultimate benchmarks of sonic striveitude. Total free-form wigout music that should surprise you just the way it did when you were a teenager dabbling toes into the pond of experimental sound thanks to a few well-placed mentions in CREEM. Only one thing here that bugs me, and that is the creature featured on the front cover is not an orangutang but a gorilla! Sheesh, I guess all primates look alike to some people!
***
Various Artists-CLEAN FUDGE MATRIX WISEGUY CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Mixed bag time again, with the likes of Les Feles and Size (one's French and the other's Mexican) doing some late-seventies styled new unto gnu wave that really doesn't hold up the way some better practitioners of the form do a good thirty-six years later. The Fun-Atics, Genells and Romans material is good if patented obscure early-sixties doo-wah music good for a listen (although practically nada next to the heavy guys of the day) while the commercial jingles do tingle this aging fanabla's good-ol'-days nodes as much as a choice episode of ABBOT AND COSTELLO ever could.

As for the bread that sandwiches the rest well. Alice B. Toklas giving a recipe for hash brownies ain't anything I felt comfortable listening to...something that's strictly for the rainbow crowd to smirk themselves to death over while the Lenny Bruce radio gig only reinforces all of those reasons I loathe the man as a precursor not only to late-sixties hippie relevancy but modern-day sociopolitical mook. How anybody could listen to, laugh or even learn from this pathetic junkie is beyond me, but since we've gone beyond the pale ages back it's no surprise that people look up to him as some sorta wizened sage espousing the same pearls of wisdom these dorks have wanted to hear for years. The only thing Lenny Bruce was good for was inspiring one of Tim Hardin's best songs and even those movies he did inna fifties show him to have been nothing but a mediocre hack actor so foo on him and his sordid memory!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

UGLY THINGS #39     (more than just a crudzine!)

You can always count the passing of time by the latest issue of UGLY THINGS plopping itself on your doorstep, and here in the nice 'n balmy mid-summer days what should appear to lighten up my life but issue #39 of this oft imitated but never duplicated mag!

Yeah I've been reading this one ever since I managed to get hold of #2 via BOMP! MAILORDER (and got the LAST issue of #1 directly from editor Mike Stax himself) and of course it's extremely hard to write about this magazine impartially. But then again when was the last time anything in the press, mainstream or otherwise, been written with a detached objectivity? At least I don't pretend to be so distant from it all, and I also don't pretend to think that there's any other publication, music or otherwise, that delivers on all of the energy and fun that UGLY THINGS does. In the best under-the-counterculture/fanzine fashion UT transposes all of the pow'r and energy of the music into words and frankly, it leaves all of the competition (especially the bloated and shoulda died years ago pile of pus ROLLING STONE) in the shade. Don't read anything else (even this review!)...read UGLY THINGS and nothing but!

Always filled with surprises, this latest issue is no exception. The novel-length saga on the Clingers was a surprise, especially for a guy like me who knew practically next to nada about this all-gal rock group other'n one of 'em was involved with Rock Flowers, the retro vocal act who charted with a nice flashback to mid-sixties popdom with "You're Number Onederful" back in late-1971 when we really needed a gal pop group to listen to on the radio. Really, would there be anybody else on this planet who would have ever even THUNK about featuring this long-forgotten bunch on the cover of a multi-million dollar rag like UGLY THINGS? That's why I like this mag so much, it's so unpredictable that who knows what mad genius is gonna float through the brain of editor Mike Stax anyhow???

Unfortunately it seems as if Mr. Stax is in short supply this issue (probably too busy with the Loons as well as earning some REAL dough writing liner notes for a variety of comps and reissues) but that's no problem since the energy keeps on flowing through each and every page. UT regulars Jymn Parrett, Gene Sculatti and Johan Kugelberg are MIA this time but at least none other than Greg Prevost doubled up his doodies with a piece on the recently departed Kim Fowley, interviews with both Michael Des Barres of Silverhead/tee-vee fame, Chris Gerinottis of Zachary Thaks fame and Crypt Records' Tim Warren regarding the recent BACK FROM THE GRAVE volumes. Talk about delivering all you can for the cause of rock 'n roll!

And of course your regular favorites are here (I tend to prefer Doug Sheppard, and not only for his hard rock Cleveland outlook) as are reviews of all of the classy (as opposed to "classic") rock reissues and exhumations that have come out as of late. Don't seem to be as many of these as there were a few years back but at least we've got about a forty years backlog in case our current sources begin to run totally dry, like I get the feeling they will in a few short years.

I only mentioned about 1/1000 of what does pop up in this issue, and I expect you to buy yourself a copy and find out for yourself just how magnifico this magazine is and will most certainly remain. And hey Mr. Wenner, if you can break yourself away from your boytoy's butt for a few minutes and take a look at this mag maybe you'll get some much needed pointers as to how to put out a rock 'n roll mag! Check out the UGLY THINGS link on the left if you wanna obtain a copy for yourself, or try FORCED EXPOSURE where you can not only find the latest issue, but some of the records that were reviewed within these pages!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ah no, I ain't gonna start this post of with "Ah yes" like I did the past two weekends! Must be my nostalgia for the late-sixties/early-seventies W.C. Fields craze (complete with everybody doing the worst Fields impressions imaginable) that drove me to it in the first place---either that or a spinning of the Calico Wall's "Flight Reaction" complete with the mid-section "sampling" of Fields talking about George Washington putting down the Whiskey Rebellion. But if anything, there really ain't that much to gobble gobble diddilit about this week other'n the bountiful bevy of platters I have received and listened to o'er the past few days. Other than that, feh!

Now, I could tell you all about the dream I had a few nights back where I (in the company of an old school chum who is now in a successful local rock act) attended a Tiny Tim concert being held in what looks like an Eastern Ohio rural grange hall where not only do I get to sit right next to Mr. Tim during his performance but espy not only Tiny Tim enthusiast/rock entertainer in his own right Brian Sands but Marc Bolan prancing and preening around the venue. Somehow I get them mystical vibes sayin' you wouldn't want to hear about that.

You probably wouldn't want to hear about my urology appointment either, one that came complete with a finger-sticker-upper nor about my b-day visit to a local restaurant where I ordered some great grilled shrimp and a pesto dish made with mint, pistachios and an orange liqueur, nor anything remotely having to do with my days at the old salt mines as Fred Rutherford so eloquently called the everyday nine-to-five (and even longer!) drudge. So all that leaves us with is da revooze!, for which we can thanks to Bill Shute, Bob Forward and my own piggy bank.


The Electric Eels-"Spin Age Blasters"/"Bunnies" 45 rpm single (Superior Viaduct, available through Forced Exposure)

Of course I've owned, digested, and pooped the remnants outta this one for ages (and I even chewed Paul Marotta out for not tipping me off that he was releasing this gem---I had to read about it in the pages of that old alternative music tipsheet DIY!) and over the years I even latched onto yet another now-costly original on the Mustard label because I knew this was going to become a rarity! So why did I pick this reissue up even though both of these numbahs appear on a variety of Compact Disque collections and are probably downloadable with the flick of a mere mouse? I did it out of PURE UNADULTERATED ALLEGIANCE to one of my all-time fave rave rock 'n roll groups, that's why! The true spirit of mid-seventies mid-Amerigan rock 'n roll, and something that I gotta say sure hasn't been topped in all of these years even though many have tried, and all have failed.
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Sur Royal The Count and the Parliaments-"Scream Baby Scream"/"Scream Mother Scream" 45 rpm single (Norton, also available through Forced Exposure)

Hearing "Scream Mother Scream" on BOULDERS really straightened out the curvature of this suburban slob's slouch back '81 way, and for years I've wanted to know more about this wild guy's career and just why this particular track didn't appear on PEBBLES VOLUME THREE like it shoulda.

Talk about rock 'n roll HEROES forever lost to time, only fortunately for us this Sur Royal fellow was discovered and interviewed in a rather recent issue of UGLY THINGS so its like the mystery has finally been cleared up. Maybe now I can move my bowels in peace knowing that this Joe Yore fellow isn't one of those forever lost to time types whose whys and wherefores will remain buried along with all of those other mysteries only fanablas like myself seem to care about this far down the decayed line.

A combination Sky Saxon/Kim Fowley/Magic Michael/Wild Man Fisher/David Roter (and maybe even Dave E) who once acted as a Hollywood extra and had a professional association with none other than DEBBIE REYNOLDS (hope Eddie Fisher didn't walk in on them like he did on soon-to-be ex-wifey and Agnes Moorehead), Yore would scream his songs without instrumental backing to interested parties in the SoCal area. However on his sole single on Villa-Yore the Count was backed by a Canadian act that blew into town called the Parliaments (who I, like a millyun other music fans, thought for years were the George Clinton aggregation) and the resultant spew from their recording session gave us the infamous "Scream Mother Scream"/"Sgt. Ralph Yore USMC" single.

Unfortunately the flip of the original (a pro-Viet war ramalama from what I hear) ain't here but the "a"-side is and boy does this remain the ever-luvvin' winner! The sound has been cleaned up from the BOULDERS poor pressing (as if that mattered) so the screams and moans of Yore and company are even more potent than they had been previously. Of course the REAL surprise is the actual "plug" side which is, if you can believe it, an early DEMO version of the same song which was originally called "Scream Baby Scream" recorded around 1963 long before Yore created the Sur Royal character to deliver his warped if witty music. Recorded with a quickie makeshift group (Yore got some guy walking past the studio to play guitar!), the original version is just as funtime potent as the more familiar song and really packs a punch in its pre-Beatles crank out garage band feeling. Too bad this didn't get out like it shoulda, or maybe we would have gotten to the Stooges a lot sooner than we did.

A super set for sure which as usual makes my mouth water for more. If someone from Norton is reading this (hah!), howzbout an entire release of the Count doing one of his acapella live shows which I get the feeling woulda made Syd Barrett look totally comprehensible and sane in comparison! Now that just about everybody out there comes off nuts, it's time we were exposed to the real thing!
***
Fever Tree-LIVE 1969 CD-r burn (originally on Sundazed)

Not being a big fan of Fever Tree (even if they were smart enough to rip off their version of "Hey Joe" from the Red Crayola) it wasn't like I was exactly looking forward to spinning this live set. Turns out that for once I was wrong, because this show is pretty hot even if the heaviness might be a little to strong for some of you garage band lovers who remain true and blue to the cult of Sky Saxon. Sound ain't that great but so what, but most important of all the band really does crank out a late-period psychedelic roar which even includes yet another cover of "Hey Gyp" better'n Donovan and the Yardbirds but not as good as Greg Prevost 'n you know that rap by heart already! Notched a few points because the rage-on disque closer "San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native)" fades out way too early leaving me gasping for air, and that ain't exactly good for my inner juices!
***
Last Exit-IRON PATH CD (ESP-Disk...try Forced Exposure lak ah did)

Never heard this one in its original incarnation so this was like an ALL NEW listening experience for me! Wow! Unfortunately a lotta the blast furnace overdrive of those live Cee-Dees is missing in this studio outing but then again you get to hear interesting nuances and delicacies that you don't hear elsewhere. Like at the beginning of the title track where the percussion, along with the stringed instruments, give of this sorta gamelan sound that's kinda lulling if you can believe it.

True some tracks will disappoint those of you who are fans of the whole eighties funk punk movement from whence Last Exit was birthed, but even when Sonny Sharrock starts playing clean guitar lines worthy of Return to Forever or Peter Brotzmann saxophone savvies that might sound quite tonal the overall effect is a whole lot more potent (in that downright under-the-slick-veneer-of-jazz sorta way) that you'll think it's all hokay. Sounds like something Chuck Eddy would have included on a VILLAGE VOICE "Pazz and Jop" year end list, but so what.
***
Various Artists-NATIVE NORTH AMERICA, ABORIGINAL FOLK, ROCK AND COUNTRY 1966-1985 two CD set (or three LP set if you so prefer) (Light in the Attic, available via Forced Exposure)

I usually wouldn't go for something along this line, a collection of rare recordings made by Native American/First Nations/Inuit people of North America (in the case mostly if not all Canadian), but the various on-line mailorder come ons seemed so enticing. And in this case they were pretty much accurate, for NATIVE NORTH AMERICA is a sturdy selection of various self-produced and/or CBC-related releases featuring our indigenous brothers playing some rather entertaining music that probably wouldn't have gotten out any more had these guys been white, but still deserve at least some notice and notirety even if it is years after the fact.

No "heap big load of tracks" jive here, because this package is a well-documented effort (coming in a hard covered book) detailing a "scene" (in the strictest FLIPSIDE sense of the word) that nobody really knew or cared about. Nice reproductions of photos and drawings, very detailed histories of the musicians involved, and in the back there's even a section with lyrics that reproduce languages I haven't even heard of yet! I kinda wish someone would do something rather similar with the Cleveland scene of the seventies (that is, compile all of the extreme rarities with photos and recollections) because frankly, projects like this are necessary now that rock has finally been declared dead and the memories and personal recollections are gonna drift off into nada like we always knew they would.

Beware, a good portion of the music to be found does tend to fall into a mutated Indian folk/singer-songwriter vein that sounds like something which Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot and James Taylor would perform if invited to a Go Go Gophers powwow, but some snatches of brilliance in between the country and folkdom do occur. Personal fave tracks include the cut by Lloyd Cheechoo who does this steady beat folk rocky thing that has more than just an air of intensity to it called "James Bay" and the Chieftones, "Canada's All Indian Band" who tread the same waters of Minnesota rockism as the Trashmen and Fendermen which would figure, since they actually recorded at the Cuca Records studio just like their mentors!
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Gary Wilson-MUSIC FOR PIANO LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Byron Coley's extremely healthy fixation with Gary Wilson has produced a whole slew of wonderful releases o'er the past few, this platter being the latest and perhaps most startling of the batch. Recorded long before the likes of YOU THINK YOU REALLY KNOW ME as well as that other platter Wilson did that nobody seems to know about or like for that matter ('cept me!), this contains some of the most avant garde cranklings and crunches that anybody could ever get out of a line of 88's without the entire instrument collapsing like in that episode of ABBOT AND COSTELLO where Lou plays the piano for Hillary and her father complete with the old "all right" gag making things even more high-larious than any episode of any current television show could hope to be.

I thought this was gonna be all lounge schmooze (but fun lounge schmooze at that), but I was wrong and how many times do I ever admit that! Some moments on side two do get into solid song structures 'n all, but for the most part this one takes the piano innards plunking of every one from Henry Cowell to Burton Greene and hacks it all up even more. Enough to have given Xenakis nightmares. Of course since Wilson is a talented musician who actually can play keyboards and all this is considered part of the oeuvre and not some guy jacking off at the piano as had I done it. If any of my teenbo noisecapading had survived and I was nothing but another suburban slob jerk you can bet my sounds would remain inna cassette box with the rest of my long-ignored booty!

For some reason I am reminded of that avant garde Bob James album on ESP done long before he went the bowtie and tux brand of jazz smoothies route. But the similarities are slim at best, and in fact MUSIC FOR PIANO does come out on top as far as experimental sound quotient as well as dog gone reliability goes (meaning, I'm sure this one's gonna out-play the James platter by at least a 100:1 ratio).

Yet another winner there Feeding Tube, and something that should only further the entire Wilson mystique once we go down that old highway to hoo-hah and things just ain't like they were back when albums like this coulda been MAJOR EXPERIENCES in many a confused record maniac's collection.
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Roscoe Mitchell-BEFORE THERE WAS SOUND CD-r burn (originally on Nessa)

Talk about archival dig ups! Here's a pre-SOUND sesh (only released a good four years back) featuring AACM great Roscoe Mitchell leading one of those early pre-Art Ensemble aggregates of his, this time featuring not only future AEC bassist Malachi Favors but long gone by the wayside (or so I guess) AACM members Fred Barry on trumpet and Alvin Fielder on drums. It's got the same ebb and flow of those other early seshes that came outta the Chicago jazz underground sans the freak touches that made those recordings so memorable (small instruments, bells and gongs...) but with a surprising drone that recalls Ayler's BELLS so if yuo're a fan of that you'll lap this up!  If you've worn out all of those BYG and Arista Freedom albums of yours, be sure to wear this one out as well!
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Various Artists-FREE SOUNDOFF IN THE BAGGAGE CAR CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Another winner which, although top-heavy with jazzy instrumental r 'n b numbers (nada wrong with that!) has a few surprises in store. One of which happens to be the old radio jingles for everything from diaper services to department stores heard between the listed tracks. Some of it is historically entertaining such as George Jessel's knowing-the-corn-quotient-of-his-audience recitations of "In The Baggage Car Ahead "  and "The Pardon" (the former a real weeper according to none other than Bullwinkle!), some mildly funny like Macauley Culkin's "Pizza Underground" Lou Reed spoof, and some downright reminiscent of FM radio days gone by such as Jackie Gleason's "It's Such a Happy Day" (best known to you from the old Miami Beach Sun and Fun Capitol of the World-era JACKIE GLEASON SHOW).

A good portion of this is taken up by what is purported to be a recording for a Californian high school, fall semester 1964 kinda like an audio yearbook or somethin' along those lines....well, it sure sounds like one even though it is so contrived that I wouldn't be startled to discover that it was supposed to come with the NATIONAL LAMPOON "Kaleidoscope" yearbook spoof of ages past. Sure dredged up enough hideous school memories to the point where I'd sure like to blow up not only my old school but everyone I went there with (with scant few exceptions...and very scant). Talk about churning up those bad memories and FIE ON THEE, SHUTE!!! (Just kidding---though people can get so serious nowadays I just gotta wiggle my way outta these things by saying just that!)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

BOOK REVIEW! I FOUGHT THE LAW, THE LIFE AND STRANGE DEATH OF BOBBY FULLER by Miriam Linna and Randell Fuller (Kicks Books, 2014)

Man, like this is the ultimate biography of not only Texas rock 'n roll hero/martyr for the cause Bobby Fuller but of mid-Amerigan sixties rock 'n roll/kiddoid ranch house jollies! You know, that life you used to live in back when you were either a turdler, a grade school Beaver wannabe or maybe even the teenage tramp you most certainly were, but no doubt about it we're talking about a totally fun era that began in the late-fifties and petered out around the time teenage fun 'n jamz were fading fast into hippydippy relativist moosh. If your favorite memories of the mid-sixties are (like mine) being a stocking-foot kid on Saturday night watching OZZIE AND HARRIET as well as all of those local teenage dance shows and UPBEAT and stuff like that (while your babysitter was in the kitchen smoking cigarettes and playing STRATEGO with that kid up the street) thinking that you were in the thick of ONE OF THE GREATEST FOOD AND FUN KULTURAL MOVEMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF KINDERGARTEN LIVING then boy, will you like this book!

's funny, but back when I was first "getting into" that whole sixties teenage punk rock underground movement that seemed so refreshing in the face of Journey, I didn't even know who the heck Bobby Fuller was! I do remember asking some more astute fan of the era about the guy who seemed rather astonished that I had no inkling about the guy, and here I was with NUGGETS in hand trying to convert the entire tri-county area into the Roky Erickson Fan Club! It wasn't like any of Fuller's songs were being played on what passed for "oldies" radio at the time, and if it weren't for GHOST IN THE INVISIBLE BIKINI airings on  mid-seventies Saturday afternoon UHF tee-vee would ANYBODY in that brain-dead post-excitement world even know who the guy was?

Well, I eventually I got to hear Fuller thanks to some guy with the albums, a turntable and a tape recorder and like man, I thought this talent was too mid-sixties high energy to have been left off of that double disc throwback to the pre-protest dayze. At least Nigel Strange rectified the matter somewhat by including Fuller's boss version of "Wine Wine Wine" on PEBBLES exposing his talents to a new generation of punk rockers, and that was satisfying enough for me let me tell ya! (Notice how I didn't even mention the Clash's cover version of Fuller's hit hunh? Like I want to keep this review as pure as possible!)

Yeah, I know---I talk about myself too much and usually at the expense of the matters at hand. And I don't apologize for it one bit. But man, is I FOUGHT THE LAW the end all in Bobby Fullerism, the ultimate biography of a guy who I think many in the biz would have preferred to leave dead and buried. Co-written by the no questions about it ultimate fan herself Miriam Linna in cahoots with none other than Bobby's brother and bandmate Randell, this book is the one that says about all there is to say on the entire subject, answering some questions while inevitably creating many others in the process that'll never having you rest comfortably until the matter is settled and done with!

It's a read that takes you back to those great days when being a kid was a whole lot fun what with music like this on the radio, bands like the Bobby Fuller Four on the tee-vee, and the new teen culture was an easy out from the kind of world that you knew you were being forced into by the usual people who said they knew better but were nothing but shills for a darker, more evil force than any of us really could have imagined.

And man, do Linna and Fuller cover it all, from Bobby the talented musician and keeper of the Buddy Holly flame to the wild kid sneaking across the border to catch wildman bloozer Long John Hunter in Juarez before heading out to California to make the really big time and meeting his fate under circumstances that I doubt will ever be solved (though Randy Fuller, in a beautiful stream-of-consciousness monologue, brings up a few interesting, if at time unlikely, ideas as to who might have been the culprit*). And it really gets into the hardcore basis of it all too, with Linna probably having interviewed a whole lot more people than even Albert Goldman would've, digging beneath the surface to find out just who this Bobby Fuller guy really was. And by the end of it all you probably will know just about as much about him what with all of the tales that have been spun and slapped into this tome for the times.

Let's just say that Linna did more than just read a few old issues of CREEM and THE ROCK MARKETPLACE thinking that's it no more finito!

The book really gets into some of the rather disturbing nitty gritty too...such as the plain fact that Bobby could have been a real heel at times. Take the part where he gets some gal in the fambly way and tries to force a quickie Mexican "el pumpo grande" on her which she downright refuses (it is suggested that Bobby might have persuaded a few other femmes to take the suction way out so you could say he was a pro at this sort of crisis control). Well, maybe I'll get over this the way I eventually got over that saga where Buddy Holly, Little Richard and Richard's galpal Angel did a rather disgusto three-way backstage right when Holly was scheduled to hit the stage and hit it good!

Linna holds the book together with her insight and natural fan-level wonderment (though in no way does this come off like a giddy teenage gal pajama party fan club meeting), but it's Randy Fuller's reminiscences that give this 'un the meat and potatoes. Yeah I could hear some of you thinking that his stories come across like the same kinda ramblings that Aunt Margaret still prattles off about visiting the relatives in 1957, but at least Fuller ain't a full blown bore when he talks about whooping ass on a jagoff second looie in military school or the time he and his cousin escaped from the Mexican policia while half-brother Jack slugged it out with a whole batch of 'em. Betcha stuff like that never happened to Aunt Margaret!

A mix of toughass growing up sagas and funny reminiscences (filled with rare fambly snaps that coulda been bigger/clearer) as well as the usual downright sad tales that might mirror those that happened in your own li'l sphere, you ain't gonna be able to put this book down it's that overwhelming. And when you get to the part where Bobby's dead and it seems like nobody with the power to do anything constructive about finding the real culprits cares, you too will be mad enough to wanna go out there and do the private eye game yourself. Of course if you wanna end up in somebody's trunk that's your business, but if you ain't steaming mad because of the INJUSTICE of it all you really must have pawned your soul for a rare issue of BACK DOOR MAN!

Too much more to really dive into here. Just get the book, read it and experience all of the thrills and chills firsthand. It really oozes and seethes the whole Southwest lifestyle of the time along with all of the fun and agony that went along with it, and what better way to honor the memory of a real rocker who might not have been as hosanna'd as all of those Rock Hall of Fame bozos that aging hippies still prop up as some sorta godz on earth, but sure said more to you 'n me than alla those singer/songwriter lovelies ever could!

_________________________________________________________________
* 'n if you ask me, I'd say the culprit was a certain Big Name inna industry with roots stretching all the way to Sicily if you get my drift, but that's just about all I'm GONNA say!


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ah yes, I sure could tell that it was a confusing week what with the kind of dreams I've been having as of late (I won't even tell you about the one where my mother received an electric guitar as a present!). The strangest so far featured not only my cyster (who frequently haunts me at night as if the daytime wasn't enough) but none other than former MOLE editor and guy who hasn't even been in any part of my life for a good few years, who else but former Hamiltonian and current Bruce Mowat who most definitely was the man who popped up in the ether that passes for my subconscious mind! (And yes, I'd recognize that dimpled chin of his anywhere, stubble or not!)

All I can recall is that my cyst 'n I were in Canada somewhere, and she wanted to do something "fun" with me and a "friend" of mine, so who do I meet up with but Mr. Mowat who just magically appears out of nowhere. Turns out that the "fun" we're supposed to have is nothing other than watching some instructional video having to do with mental hygiene complete with Walt Disney-styled animation in what looks like a hotel conference room, and if you don't think I as well as special guest Bruce weren't bored gourdless you must be even crazier than Chuck Eddy the time he told me he knew more about me that I did myself!

But Bruce was nice about it and didn't throw a fit that he was being forced to endure such a dullsville time of it. But then again he appeared sober in my dream so maybe that's why he put on his best behavior. Only goes to show you what the downside of melatonin can be, so let this be a warning to you!
***
But as you will be able to tell once you do a little glancing downward I have been busy this week, trying to make sense of a good portion of the new musical listening experiences I have been inundated with while trying to avoid not only work but my manly doodies around the abode. The recent Forced Exposure order helped keep me out of mischief a bit as did Bill Shute's "Happy Birthday, Bozo" package (well, he didn't exactly say that!) , but even these wondrous offering aren't enough to lift me outta my current state of fanabladom (well, can you think of a better word to describe my weltschmerz?).

Y'know, the older I get the more things woosh by faster than a homo at a boy scout footrace, and with the seasons rushing with an uncanny pace to the point where I have this annual dream that for some reason summer has been postponed and we're going straight into winter again all I can say is...sheesh, how I'd like to have one of those summers like I had when I was a true suburban slob where all I lived for was Kool Ade, early-sixties vintage comic books, old tee-vee reruns and maybe a good "severe thunderstorm/tornado warning" interrupting my fave tee-vee show if only to add a little fun tension into my life! Things like these sure put the punch into what otherwise could have been a drab summer vacation filled with "educational" trips to various forts and historical sites etc.

Well, if I squint my eyes maybe some of the old kiddoid magic of summers past could come rushing back. And maybe if I squint my ears hard enough some of the following platters could sound just as good as all of those Electric Eels and Velvet Underground classics I continue to live and breathe for!


John Deen and the Trakk-BEAT 69 CD-r burn (originally on Europa Records)

English (Scot?) expat to Germany John Deen and band do the quickie crankout album game on this budget release, and do it pretty snazz as well. As usual there's nothing earth shattering here, but if yer game for some of that "ya gets whats ya pays for" late-sixties pop rock with a growl-y imitation black vocalist you'll go for this faster than you can say "Tom Jones"!

(Do you remember the big to-dos about when black guys would buy records by people they thought were black but were white and vice versa, only when they found out that the singer of the song was not of the race they thought they'd get totally mad pee-yoed and quit buying said artist's wares? Happened to Frankie Laine!)

The playing is standard by-the-numbers cheezoid chord organ and tame guitar line soul rock, though there are some interesting moves to be heard amid the late-sixties overused melody moves. Betcha it was a big seller in the supermarkets of Germany.
***
Andy Mackay and the Metaphors- LONDON! PARIS! NEW YORK! ROME! CD (The Metaphors, England)

Yeah, I know that about .0000000001% of you readers actually care about what Andy Mackay and Paul Thompson of Roxy Music are doing these days (when they're not on one of those money-grubbing Roxy tours that is), but for some strange reason I certainly do! That's why I grabbed a copy of this 2011-vintage Cee-Dee featuring the two's side-project the Metaphors, a group that does artistic covers of various pop hits past and maybe even some originals, but if you're looking for carbon copy dupes you've come to the wrong place!

Yeah it's subdued and sounds like something that would have been hyped in a 1983 issue of NME, but I kinda like the early-eighties chill of it. Sounds like a more rockified version of Harold Budd's PAVILION OF DREAMS at times due to the harp player, or soundtrack music for something I would have been sure to ignore at the theatre, or just plain dull art rock for that matter. But it does keep up that Roxy Music stiff upper lip schmoozy cocktails 'n little weenies image we've had of the whole bunch for years on end so maybe that's one good thing to say about it.

Surprisingly enough it does dredge up some good seventies import bin memories when the group tears into their version of "New York New York" that almost has a Canterbury jazz rock approach yet retains that Roxy tux 'n tails satin feel. I get the idea that, had this come out in 1975 it woulda found its way onto the Antilles record label like snap!
***
Ken Little-SOLO CD-r burn (originally on Dharma)

When I hear this one I keep thinking about the early-seventies music scene. Not exactly of what I would happen to hear on the radio at the time, but of all of those hours pouring through the racks of the local record stores looking at all of those album covers marveling at the neat artwork (I was especially fond of the ones that mimicked various thirties/forties/fifties design modes) knowing that in no way would I ever be able to afford any of 'em on the depression-era wages I was subsiding on.

SOLO looks just like the kind of album I would have spotted in the bins at the time...of course the cover doesn't stick in my mind like the one with the hippies on the cover with their eyes, noses and mouths airbrushed out, but I'm sure that I did come across this album while pouring through the racks. Of course the cover wasn't fancy or retro like Family's BANDSTAND not to mention Gentle Giant's OCTOPUS, but it does look typical 1973 wha' th' 'ey to me, and who knows...maybe it does to you.

And come to think of it, so does the music which wafts between early-seventies progressive and singer-songwriter introspection. Nothing really up my wide and expansive alley, though I'll bet it was the flea market find of 1979 for some misguided artsy rock type out there.

If you want to know just exactly what the low end of early progressive FM rock sounded like just give this one a listen. And if you aren't waiting in the bushes at the station ready to knock the living daylights outta the dee-jay who played this then you just ain't got any life in ya!
***
Heads of Our Times-THE SUBTLE ART OF SELF-DESTRUCTION CD-r burn (originally on Audio-Fidelity)

I dunno what exactly was goin' through Bill S's mind when he burned this one for me! Canadian in origin, Heads of Our Times were an exploito early-seventies horn rock act with psychedelic overtones and underground nudges, and I get the feeling that even the most stranded Newfie trudging ten miles in the snow to the nearest record shop wouldn't pick this one up on a bet!

Supermarket rack hokum with the right bits of BST/Chicago horn blurps and a dash of sitar to Indiafy it all. Something that I'm sure would have sounded great in the elevators of San Francisco right around the time that whole scene morphed from heavy to hack. Well, if you got any Hai-Karate or neck kerchiefs for Christmas from your Aunt Madge back 1970 way, this album would go along swell with 'em.
***
Frank Wright Quartet-BLUES FOR ALBERT AYLER CD (ESP-Disk')

I know, who woulda thought that the ESP label would once again be resurrected to teach alla those light jazz fans out there what music is! And while I'm at it, who would have thought that their current day items would be well-documented and sound as pristine clear as anyone could imagine? If you like the cheap cover art and comparatively iffy sound of the originals, man will you be disappointed by these new releases!

Wright's ESP albums were definite high marks in the post-new thing sweepstakes and this recently discovered platter (recorded at Rashied Ali's Alley) adds to the Wright mythos so to speak. Wright channels the spirit of main influence Ayler on these tracks rather snat-like, and if I must say so the addition of James Blood Ulmer (a good five years before his entry into the NEW YORK ROCKER "can black men play the punks" annals of new music miscegenation) into the ranks was perfect as well. He doesn't play as strangulated as Sonny Sharrock did, but he sure cuts Al DeMeola to the quick! Benny Wilson and Ali fill out the rhythm and they sure sound as if they could rule any loft in New York City that they wanted!

There are six (count 'em!) parts to this Ayler trib and all are full on. They don't sound exactly like Ayler true, but then again who wants imitations? The mid-seventies drive of this thing really does point the way for the avant jazz direction of the next few years, or at least until it ALL went under around the time even DOWN BEAT quit feigning interest. A must-have for you long-time freedom lovers, and if there are any newies out there who want to dampen their tootsies you couldn't find a better pond than this!
***
Albert Ayler-LIVE ON THE RIVIERA CD (ESP-Disk')

Naw this ain't the same Foundation Maeght Night recordings that have been floating around for years, but an earlier show which is totally new to mine ears (even if the thing first saw the light of day a good two years back!). No Call Cobbs on this one, but Mary Parks/Maria doesn't sound as annoying as many of you readers have complained to me she was, and the rhythm section of Steve Tintweiss and Alan Blairman do their best to play in and around the tenor's honks, squeals and of course reminiscences of jazz themes gone by. Full of fire and vibrations and all of those other hyperbolic rockcrit thesaurus words, it's hard to believe that a good four months from this show Ayler would be found doing the dead man's float in the East River under circumstances that make Bobby Fuller's own exit seem open and shut in comparison.
***
THE ABSTRACTS CD-r burn (originally on Pompeii)

A totally unknown until now entity, and thankfully with GOOD REASON!!!! At least the New Colony Six had some sexy vibes in their pop glop. These guys just reek patented 1970 rock moves filtered through some hippie rock schmooze just to make it look "daring" enough complete with a chromakeyed out cover photo guaranteed to get the exact same Aunt Madge from three reviews up to snatch this one up for yet another birthday present. Won't she ever learn???  Well, at least it ain't as bad as it was gonna get a good four years later when the lady actually wraps up a mood cock ring she found at some under-the-counter emporium thinking that it would be the most wonderful thing to place on your prize rooster.
***
THE SUPERLATIVE DAVID BOWIE CD-r burn (bootleg)

Although this originally was pressed up on vinyl (presumably in the early-nineties) this is a "legit" CD-r burn of an illegit release in the first place, so it would be more accurate to review the thing here rather'n in some "Bootleg Braggadocio" column due definitely more later than sooner.

Basically a collection of all of those rare Bowie numbers that have been cluttering up the bootlegs of the seventies onwards, this one has (besides a photo of the man during his Lauren Bacall days) not only his original version of "Waiting For The Man" that was recorded long before most other groups attempted it but Bowie's very own Velvet Underground tribute "Little Toy Soldier" with all of its "Venus In Furs" references. The rest ain't bad even if it wasn't slapped together during the MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD period (Bowie's best if you must know, and you probably didn't), but considering some of the poopies that have been laid in the name of rock 'n roll even this flitzy stuff sounds good in a late-sixties pop way. And who would have ever thought we would have devolved to the point where pixie-period Bowie actually sounds good next to the drek heard these past thirtysome years?
***
Various Artists-TIDEWATER RHUMBA PHILOSOPHER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

It's hard to believe, but Bill's topped his tippy top with this collection of webfinds that really bring back the Saturday night is FUN night ethos in me (that's when I listened to this 'un, and although it ain't as fun as going to a department store and buying a fifties-vintage MAD paperback like I was wont to do Saturdays past it's good enough for me!).

I wonder who the dog and cat who are respectively woofing and mewing here are, but I get the feeling that they're Bill's own brood who want out before they do something to the carpet that's gonna get 'em whoomped! But all kidding aside Pete Fountain doing "Louie Louie" is almost as cornball as the Sandpipers' version, while Southwest FOB do some passable cheezy psychedelia that I'm surprised ROLLING STONE accepted an ad for given how snooty they were about this sorta stuff. And the Fi-Dels did some good loco soul but with that name you;d think they were Cuban gorillas or something like that!

What I like about this 'un is the comedy angle. Eddie Lawrence (one of Don Fellman's faves...in fact he does a great impression of the guy) does his "Old Philosopher" routine that actually got him into MAD magazine, and for those of you who know about the Paul Frees knockoff on FRACTURED FLICKERS the original may come as a surprise. Roger Price is yet another one of those fifties-bred jokesters who typified the whole MAD/HUMBUG/HELP! style of pre-shame funnydom, and his jazz history (including a weird understanding of the avant garde!) and aural droodles are a whole lot funnier'n ol' Penis Nose Maher and Joy Behind combined! And of course the Christmas ad for a mobile home, although not intentionally funny, will get you laughing your butt off even if all it did was bring back fun memories of old time X-mases past and all the presents that went along with 'em!

The rest varies...the incidental music from "Music For All Kinds of Fun" was enjoyable considering this was used on the old ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET show and as we all know this kinda music is good by itself as well as while watching the antics of some of our favorite people. (Hey Bill, if you go to the YOWP blog you can download all of that old music from the early Hanna-Barbara cartoons which would really fit in well with my everyday experiences!) The Robert Parker and Frank Foster tracks were kinda go-through-your-head-like-aural-prunes, and the Plymouth Latin Orchestra sounded like something your long-gone Uncle Edsel would listened to before clicking on the tee-vee for Lawrence Welk back inna fifties. And whoever this Lee person is mewling to a bass guitar well, if you're gonna be performing at the local talent show I better make sure I got the rotten fruit concession!

And it all ends with these comical sound effect "boinnnnngggggs...still trying to think of a good was to use them in real life, like when some knockout of a lady walks by or something along those lines.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

BOOK REVIEW! HOLLYWOOD GOMORRAH-SEX LIVES OF THE HOLLYWOOD STARS by Skip E. Lowe (Skip E. Lowe, 2014)

This is a sick book written by one mighty diseased mind.

Of course that's why I like HOLLYWOOD GOMORRAH every cum dribble and violent belt worth of it all. We all know just how disgusting Hollywood was beneath that slick veneer, and if books like HOLLYWOOD BABYLON weren't enough to dish out the gossip its guys like bit player and tee-vee host Skip E. Lowe who lays it on the line and names the names, friends and foes alike, who made Hollywood the disturbing den of sexual sadism, sodomy and slurpdom it was and probably will remain.

And hey, this Lowe guy does a particularly good enough job at it to the point where you're never gonna be able to look at your favorite screen stars of yore the same way you had back when you were watching THE WIZARD OF OZ during its yearly CBS network run because your mother thought it would be best for you even if you were more keen on watching GILLIGAN'S ISLAND.

Considering Lowe's own place in the universe known as Tinseltown no matter how small or humble it might have been let's just say that the aging (now deceased) guy really knew about all of the inside dirt and doesn't shy away from letting us starry-eyed types be jaded over our once heroes. True a whole lotta the gossip is old news, after all we've all been aware of Marlon Brando and Wally Cox, Cesar Romero and Tyrone Power as well as Martha Raye without her dentures for decades not to mention the facts that Jimmy Durante was Mr. Nice Guy and Bing Crosby wasn't. But it's sure reaffirming to find out exactly what kinds of underhanded chicanery and sexual deviance had been going down happening in showbiz if only to make you feel all the more normal no matter what your ma and pa might say!

A good portion of this read is bound to disturb many of you readers, especially the parts when Lowe starts talking about all of the big name leading hunks he bedded and all of the disgusting story twists and asides that spurt forth from the author's memory like jiz from Ramon Navarro's manhood. Didn't know that Troy Donahue "swung that way" (he gave Lowe an unsolicited bee-jay while in a drunken rage) while George Raft's sexual proclivities pounding away on Yvette Vickers in a coffin was something I'm glad I wasn't around to experience (Lowe was!). And brother, there's more stuff like that if you really want to know which Hollywood stars you wanna love or hate!

You'll walk away disillusioned and confused. Maybe you'll wish you were there in some of the most treacherous spots in Vietnam (places Bob Hope never would go) with Lowe and Martha Raye as the two entertained Marines in ways you never thought were in their code of conduct. But whatever, HOLLYWOOD GOMORRAH is one read that will make you wanna do some bathing in Lestoil once you set this sordid saga down (and if you're a inquiring if masochistic sickoid like me you just might want to down it all in one gulp handle reading the entire book in one sitting).

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Ah yes, this certainly has been a most  pleasant and tension-free week. The month-long monsoon has finally subsided, I actually got TWO days off inna row thanks to the July 4th holiday (and nothing to do but blog on the entire time), and best of all I finally acquiesced some long-awaited platters which certainly does break up the boredom that can build up like that waxy yellow stuff on the kitchen floor. Not only that but I even had a nice dream (no, not one of those) a few nights back where I was asked to sit in on rhythm guitar (and did!) with Alice Cooper during a KILLER-era show! Of course I'm still stuck on my accursed diet (doc sez to lose weight or join the la leche league) and all of the fruit and yogurt I'm downing is giving the Feen-a-Mint people a run for the money if I do say so myself.

But eh, it could be worse. I mean, I could be devoting my time, energy and hard-begged into a fanzine that nobody on the face of this worth would want to read. Believe-you-me, it's a whole lot easier writing a blog that nobody on the face of this earth...
***
Lessee, what else can I blab on about to make this post look a little more innerlektual (and longer than the usual weekend gab)??? Politics? Well not really though I will admit that a good year from now we're unfortunately gonna be inna thick of it prezidental wize so's we better prepare ourselves for the big onslaught now and prepare ourselves good! And as usual, the choice between the big names on both sides of the big divide (and same side of the coin) is turning into yet another choice between the gas chamber and the firing squad what with the Republicans doing their best to out-do the Democrats in the "War Party" department (and don't fall for that fambly values sweetness and light they keep pumping at'cha since it's turned into nothing but the usual pacify the rubes ploy--they don't mean it one bit and you know it!) and the Democrats trying to be just like those old thirties social do-gooder types with even more of a naivety than some social worker in a MR. A. comic! Nothing much to make you wanna get out 'n pull the ol' lever at that run-down once-vacant grade school in your neighborhood now, eh?

If you're the kind of guy who likes reruns of wishywashiness there's George III aka Jeb Bush to look forward to on the Republican side, and given that he seems to be the party favorite that sure says loads about the clientele at the local country club. The rest don't have much more goin' for 'em bein' mostly cookie cutter conservatives who look rather middling next to some of the earlier practitioners of the form like Barry Goldwater (not that perfect a choice, granted) or Robert Taft (better). Even Rand Paul, for all of the against-the-grain opines he has spouted, has that expected mix of party line-tow and dudster appeal that makes him blend into the wallpaper with the rest of the competitors. And as far as Donald Trump goes well, he'll probably be the gadfly in the old Pat Buchanan/Ross Perot vein so we can expect a "few" (maybe) laughs outta him which, come to think of it, we've already gotten.

And as far as the "other" side well, it's probably gonna be Hillary if only on name-recognition and feely-good vibes. Bernie Sanders would be a better choice than her...at least he typifies the more socialist bent that the party has shifted in and he does give lip service to disgruntled righties who can't find a home anywhere. That Irish guy running is such a non-entity that I've already forgotten his name (I think it's Mr. McBeevee, right?), and while Jim Webb seems like the kinda toughie I could rah-rah behind I really don't know much about his who, whats, whens, wheres or whys. The fact that he had been married three times strikes heavily against him even is wifey #3 is a cute Vietnamese gal who might even be a good cook! (As you all know, I really do go head over heels when it comes to gals of Asian heritage...well all except for George Takei!)

Of course when the time comes, don't stay home! You can always go to your local polling place and, rather than skip and have to re-register years down the line, write someone in like Ron Paul, Ralph Nader (no big deal but at least he at least believes in deregulation) or better yet someone you personally know! Maybe even me! Just think, the Suburban Slob ticket with me at the head of the ticket...our motto, "A LEAVE IT TO BEAVER DVD in every player!" Heck, I'd even vote for myself with a platform like that!!!
***
Yeah yeah, cut the blab and get to the reviews! And while I'm at it, thank you Bill and Paul for the burns, and believe you me I've put plenty of Vaseline on 'em to help with the pain!


The Coba Seas-UNREFORMED LP (Norton)

Finally  got to hear these early James Williamson recordings laid down back when he went to reform school (or, as Mike Stax's liner notes makes it out to be, a reform resort), and frankly I'm glad I've experienced the guy's primo premier strumming given my total love for the old Stooges sound which, for all intent purposes, was the last word in rock 'n roll no doubt about it everything that came afterwards is total denouement as far as I'm concerned!

Even at this early stage in the game Williamson's playing was as good as those licks he laid down on RAW POWER (although chunkier!), and as usual these everyday teenage covers of the current hits from "Louie Louie" to an extended "Gloria" really do send me back to those days of just-post turdlerdom when I just couldn't wait to grow up and be a teenager, only by that time all the cool stuff had been replaced by disco and sappy AM pop! Too bad there wasn't a guidance counselor at school to tell me about the Stooges, because back when I was eleven I sure coulda used 'em!

Nice pix and package too, and the aforementioned liners are how-shall-I say packed with information that will certainly seep deep into your already Stooge-packed mind. The funniest thing relayed in these notes is the fact that the former members of the group, always in the belief that Williamson was bound for big rock things, always checked the credits to the platters they picked up in the hopes of seeing his name somewhere NEVER knowing out about his Iggy days until much later! Silly guys, you ain't gonna find James Williamson's moniker on any Ramjam disc!
***
The Lemon Pipers-JUNGLE MARMALADE CD (Aurora)

(And speaking of Ramjam...) I snatched a flea market copy of this 'un back '80 way hoping it was gonna be a total garage band freakout psychoganza, and boy was I miffed! To my tender ears JUNGLE MARMALADE wasn't exactly the NUGGETS nugget I was hoping for with too much flower and Beatle-mimic to it for me to take seriously. You can bet that after one good spin the thing ended up on the sell pile along with a variety of flotsam and other less-than-spectacular items acquired over the years headed for the used record bin, and who knows what lucky dog is in possession of that platter these very days!.

Listening to this very recent reish I can see why my young and open-headed self would loathe a platter like this. It wasn't straight-ahead total rock out (unlike say, the Seeds' A WEB OF SOUND which had become a perennial player) and the more sunshine poppy numbers weren't exactly anything that a kid zoned on fanzines and garage sales was looking for in order to accentuate that suburban slob lifestyle we all know 'n love. But JUNGLE MARMALADE does have its strong points, and come to think of it even the weaker tracks that didn't penetrate my developing music pleasure nodes back then come off a whole lot better'n I would've ever guessed.

The title track might not be as psychedelic as anyone with a high energy state of mind would care, but the bubblegum gloss does give it a nice AM radio feel that woulda been one of the highlights of the '68/'69 season along with Tommy James and the Shondells. That one track that they ripped offa Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" was nice 'n fragile enough in its shift from serious folk chording to patented pop moves that would curl the hair of any gal who used to iron it, and the ten-minute closing track "Dead End Street/Half Light" might have even gotten a bit of FM radio play during the day what with the heavy guitar lines, high-pressure arrangement and pseudo-intellectual lyrics. Well, at least it would have before the disc jockey saw the name of the group and decided to shuffle this 'un to the AM portion of the station.

And if you care, no I do not feel any pangs of retroguilt over dumping JUNGLE MARMALADE thirtysome years back, but this is a better platter than I remember spinning way back when the current state of undergroundness wasn't affecting me like it should have and I wanted more. Or could it be that rock 'n roll has become such a wimpoid force over the years to the point where even Donny Osmond felching the descendants of Joseph Smith while Marie does harmony on the entire King Family comes off total eruption? My money's on the latter, as your's most certainly is.
***
Sun Ra-FEATURING PHAROAH SANDERS & BLACK HAROLD CD (ESP-Disk')

Another one from the El Saturn back catalog that's only now finding its way to all of us long waiting fanatics who got ripped off by Ra 'n company way back when. About half of it's previously unreleased as well which might make the wait a li'l bit sweeter for most of you ultra-frustrated types who sent your cash in to the El Saturn offices expecting a platter and getting nada in return. The Arkestra with the up and coming Pharoah Sanders replacing a MIA John Gilmore, as well as "Black Harold" Murray, who might as well be Weird Harold of Cosby fame for all I can tell! Surprisingly wild percussive workouts with those neo-jazzy passages that always remind me of the soundtracks to some obscure avant garde film of the day, and a great addition to whatever collection of Sun Ra platters you may happen to own.
***
The Doughboys-HOT BEAT STEW CD-r burn (originally on Ram)

Sheesh, when I first picked this disque up I thought it was gonna be yet another one of those carbon copy garage revival bands that have been coming out with an alarming regularity since the mid-eighties. Turns out that these Doughboys aren't exactly in that category, and even if they sound hotcha in the seventies Real Kids/DMZ vein they ain't that either! No, the Doughboys are actually a New Jersey-area band with roots dating back to 1963 who have been continuing those hotcha mid-sixties sounds ever since and boy do they come off hot!

There sure is a lotta that Red Star-styled late-seventies REAL rock 'n roll approach here that'll make any regular reader of YOUNG FAST AND SCIENTIFIC proud, and that's saying something considering all of the lousy "rock" music that came out between the mid-sixties and the "rediscovery" of past accomplishment a good decade later! The riffs (and the uncanny Jaggerese) on early Rolling Stones moves is convincing enough to make me wanna call the 'boys the Standells of the teens, and it's sure boffo hearing white men doing blues that don't SOUND like white boys doing the blues either!

Yessssss...this is one of the more driving, head-on platters heard since the latest Sonics, and a total surprise for a fellow like myself who didn't think rock 'n roll like this really mattered to anyone anymore. Once again it takes a buncha old fogies to do it which really must say something about these pallid, anti-high energy days don't it!
***
Frank Zappa & the Mothers-MUDSHARK LIVE CD (Keyhole England)

I know that many of you regular BLOG TO COMM readers aren't exactly fans of the second incarnation of the Mothers of Invention, but I've always retained at least a smidgen bit of fanboy appreciation for this group if only for the fact that Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan helped rescue this lineup from total oblivion. Still it ain't like I've regretted selling off JUST ANOTHER BAND FROM LA in order to gain the proper lucre to buy more Pere Ubu albums, and come to think of it how many times have I played CHUNGA'S REVENGE in the past ten years or so. (Hokay, that was billed as a Frank Zappa solo album, but back then how many solo Zappa albums were actually Mothers albums and vice versa?)

This latest issue from the Keyhole label does add something to the legacy of the second Mothers incarnation. What exactly I dunno, but it is a nice hidden li'l piece of Zappa esoterica that woulda flipped out just about any true blue believer had this happened to hit the bootleg racks back 1971 way. Live in the studios of CKGM-FM in Montreal, the Mothers go unplugged and freak about doing a whole bunch of  then-current stage and record faves while goofing off and seemingly having a good enough time (which does translate into fun by association if you're that much of a fan and follower of the guys).

Tracks from the three most recent platters (LIVE AT THE FILLMORE, JUST ANOTHER BAND and 200 MOTELS) get mutilated enough for my liking, with the recitation from "Penis Dimension" being backed by "Happy Together" being my own personal best of the bunch. Well, I sure am glad that Flo and Eddie were able to keep Zappa and his loud mouth in check this time!

The sound quality ain't so hot so you can't hear the mumbling in the back of the "Pirate Jenny/Nikki Hoi" jam. I get the feeling that this was recorded off the radio straight to the cheapest cassette tape available at the time, but who knows if the original broadcast tape even exists or was taped over as these stations were wont to do for years. Still it's a good piece of Mothers back when they were hitting their commercial height, and if you were one fanabla who used to thumb through the album racks looking at their covers just wondering what kinda sounds they contained, you must really dwell on the past a whole lot more than even I ever would!
***
Guru Guru-ESSEN 1970 CD (Garden of Delights, Germany)

This '02 release (don't know how I missed finding out about it) sounds perfect even if the drums are way out in the forefront (and so what---it's drummer Mani Neumeier's band anyway!). Well, it is a soundboard recording rarity considering how all of the other Guru X2 tapes floating around are of audience quality which adds to the primitive nature of it all. Performance is typically over-the-top too, and captures the band during their UFO days pretty snazzily at that.

More music that you can really absorb into your mind a whole lot better'n blotter even. Especially when given the sad fact that their definitely non prog rock approach slowly oozed away once Neumeier decided that hefty sales were a whole lot more to be desired than stoned vibrations. One of the better slices of live krautrock I've heard so far, and getting hard to find so leap while the leaping's still good.
***
The Real Kids-SHAKE...OUTTA CONTROL CD-r burn (originally on Ace of Hearts)

This recent reunion album (laid down due to the oncoming demise of Billy Borgioli?) caught me more off guard than the time I ran into the bathroom with a stack of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICs (the hula girl issues) thinking that nobody was home only to find my dad sitting on the pot! And as far as these reunion platters made by surviving members now heading into their mid-sixties go well, it sure is an entertaining slice of what used to be considered the Boston Sound presented for our enjoyment a good forty years later, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that there was a little something missing...like the original high energy bop and Big Beat sound that those early platters oozed. Well, it does contain some credible versions of the Modern Lovers fave "Fly Into The Mystery: and "Who Needs You" even if the latter sounds as if it was in dire need of some Christmas Trees, and not the kind you put in your living room either!
***
Various Artists-SHOCK CURTAIN CURRY VACATION CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Bill goes punk (make that PuNquE) what with the appearance of not only the infamous yet oft not heard Shock EP (they being big names about town back in '77 El Lay although nothing outerworldly) but some act called the Moles (paying homage to Crowley) and a Yugoslavian outfit called Pekinsaka Pata who actually do a credible variation on the p-rock sound considering that Yugoslavia wasn't exactly at the center of it all like London was. There's also yet another recording for a film strip having to do with infections (good time to take a snooze while the lights were out!), and for the life of me I don't know what Lee and "Lee Four" were supposed to be about. The Christmas song poem was typically cheezy the way we like it, and the radio commercials and stock music reminiscent of funzy days long gone waiting in the car while cyster would be looking for something at the Stationary Store. Dunno why Tim Curry was here but hey, Bill does like to stick the strangest stuff on these if only to get my goat!

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

BOOK REVIEW! BLONDIE, FROM HONEYMOON TO DIAPERS AND DOGS, COMPLETE DAILY COMICS 1933-1935 by Chic Young (IDW, 2012)

No, I didn't buy the second volume of the Bobby Young POPEYE comics yet, and frankly I doubt that I ever will! My precious and overabused (overwrought?) psyche is being battered enough these days without me having to PAY to have it battered even more, and given how """""I""""" as a proud suburban slob am being attacked from all quarters because I go to work and wipe myself after every dump (or even when I just feel moist down there) why should I be a masochist about it and have to sit through a storyline (mainly the one dealing with a couple of priests who think that Olive is getting an abortion when in fact she just wants to dump her Bluto doll) that's more or less out to attack my own personal opines and values no matter how much Bobby London doth protested.

In its stead I decided to snatch up the second (and last) volume of early BLONDIE dailies, something that I thought I would never do in a millyun years. But hey, I've been known to do even stranger things with the gift cards that Brad Kohler sends me for Christmas so why not snatch this neato book up while the snatching's still good! And besides, you KNOW that there ain't gonna be any abortion talk in this particular collection...heck, in fact Blondie herself doesn't even show a baby bump when she leaves home to give birth to son Alexander if you can believe that! She doesn't even tell Dagwood she's knocked up and heck, she didn't even tell him why she was leaving home in the first place leaving the poor guy (and us readers) full of woe!

Totally strange (other'n for dramatic effect true), but at least it is a switch on the old thirties movie device where these old fogies somehow believe that their post-menopausal wives are gonna have babies when you kinda get the idea that those guys couldn't even get it up in the first place!

But this second volume is a good one, something that a comic stripped obsessed ten-year-old me woulda loved to have owned back when I was carefully studying the evolutionary drawing styles of everyone from Chester Gould to Chaz Schulz with a finer eye than I could ever hope to have now. Only back then there weren't any really ambitious projects like this goin' 'round and even if there were, do you think my folks woulda dished out the $$$ to get me any???

Starting with the Bumsteads' honeymoon, these comics show the slow but sure transition from the original serio-comedy strip to the domestic setting that lives on 'til this day. Having been cut off by his millionaire folk, Dagwood soon gets an office job even though the actual appearance and identification of boss Julius Dithers is a few months down the line (and at first he seems like a pretty nice guy, not the kind who would kick, fire and rehire Dagwood repeatedly). The Woodleys are also around this early in the suburban game along with an infant son who later becomes a daughter before disappearing altogether. And yes, even at this point in the strip Blondie is becoming a bitch par excellence nagging her new husband incessantly as well as accusing him of cheating on the flimsiest of pretenses.

The appearance of son Alexander (nicknamed "Baby Dumpling" which is something I always associate with my now-deceased aunt who fondly remembered these early comics, though for me the name only made me hungry) certainly was a boost to the strip's overall popularity (daughter Cookie was quite a ways off), and even this early you can see the origins of many of the same themes, gags and props that continue in the strip to this day. The Dagwood sandwich, Dagwood in the tub, the same bed they still sleep in (it takes awhile before Dagwood is sleeping on the left side, and the infamous alarm clock has yet to appear), Dagwood late for work and other situations can be espied here in their earliest forms, and somehow I feel a whole lot more important and intellectual seeing the origins of these long-running situations than I would looking at dinosaur turds at the museum.

Too bad this series has come to a close because I wouldn't mind reading a whole lot more, in fact the entire Chic Young run well into the early-seventies even though the creator had little if anything to do with the comic for years (bad eyesight, y'know). Well, there are all of those other IDW titles just begging for my bucks, though I sure wish they'd hurry up and get the next batch of NANCY dailies out as well as some of those ARCHIEs that continue to take up a good portion of my evening pre-beddy-bye time. And hey, maybe if they went and reprinted some cheap anti-intellectual strips 'stead of the important to comic history ones (like some boss fifties/sixties FRECKLES)  I'd be buying these titles more often 'n not! I may be a man of intellect and taste, but there's still this fat fanabla inside me just waiting to bust out and read the funny pages whilst spread out across the parlor floor.