Saturday, August 19, 2017

So I had one of those rather herky jerky kinda weeks---y'know the kind where the work never stops and ya end the day feeling like ya just put in an eternity at the salt mines and dread going back the next day. And boy do the evening hours when ya can unlax and rewind come off so goooooood after all of that hard work and drudgery. Yeah, that's the kinda week I had 'n I gotta say that I'm sure glad I survived these past seven spinners if only because once I got through them days, puking seems so fine...
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'n so, what should I write about before we get down to the meaty potatoes of it all. Howzbout some "current events" to spice things up? Well, not really...I had a really big schpiel planned re. my take on the rawther recent Charlottesville hoohah that transpired this past Sunday, but I thought I'd scrap letting you know my innermost thoughts on what happened because hey, I'm bound to upset more'n a few precious petunias out there with my news 'n views that just might seem unsettling to the reg'lar as well as uninitiated reader! I really don't wanna bruise any feelings out there in Pansyland y'know.

Come to think of it---maybe I BETTER give my own guts out opinion of this and all of the hoo hah surrounding that nice li'l kerfuffle that the State Media turned into an even BIGGER propaganda push than they even did with Pavlik. I mean, what else am I but PREDICTABLE, so why not stop being so this late in the game o' life and let you know exactly how I feel about recent events that seem to have shaken the sensitive to their very core and have made brave men fall to their knees! And maybe even caused a few people to skid their shorts for all I know!

To start things out let me "come out" as they say (hah!) and admit that I am whatcha'd call "Alt-Right" and PROUD to be so...after all, Paul Gottfried (the guy who coined the term), Pat Buchanan and H. L. Mencken* are my favorite political commentators these days (along with Andy Nowicki, Gavin McInnes, Justin Raimondo, Kathy Shaidle, Paul Craig Roberts and scant few others---even Milo ranks in there somewhere!) and if anyone out there stands as a counterpoint to what the stodgy types in the Republican Party and the official conservative movement stand for these days it's guys like these! After all, ya gotta admit that the writings and actions of these political stalwarts who are about as outside of the usual Dem/Rep loop as I am get about as much respect from these well-ensconced ones as I would at a rock fanzine convention! Hokay maybe these folks got their claim to be called Alt-Right swiped by what Ramzpaul has been called a bunch of "Hollywood Nazis" over the past few years, but if you look at the original (and perhaps "real") definition of the Alt-Right term these guys are the ones who created and nurtured a real counterpoint to what's passing as the republicans or the conservatives or whatever there is these days that I gotta say nauseate me. And they do make me wanna puke about as much as the bleedhearts out there in Ivory Tower Land who seem to have taken everything that was good and right these past hundred or so years and trashed it in a manner that would make those reformers of yore smile on from their portals in Hell.

(Hokay, maybe i am skirting around the fact that the fine chaps who were there to keep a statue of an anti-slavery Civil War general who just wanted to defend his state from Northern Aggression intact weren't exactly the kind of people who share the same views that Gottfried et. al. hold, but in this situation I gotta let ya know where my true sociopolitical views lie, as if you didn't know them by now.)

Too bad they didn't have a Starbucks to go to afterwards.
Besides being a proud member of the anarchist right (if you stretch that term a bit) let me admit that in no way can I even in the smidgiest way cozy up to those antifa, or as I like to call them antifanabla types (who seem to be the darlings of the newspapers and the networks for reasons that should be more than obvious) wrecking property (which ain't theft---though see what happens to you when you come after my records!), wrecking people (who I guess don't own themselves and thus are worthy of their pain) and yammering away on their high chairs horses at anything that's to the right of Jay Hinman with predictable moral indignation. Talk about SANCTIMONY INCORPORATED---I haven't seen such altruistic useful idiots as this since I stopped reading MAXIMUM ROCK AND ROLL back in the late-eighties! These kinda/sorta "rebel" types (hah!) remind me of those Spanish communists in the thirties who were digging up graves of nuns and exhibiting them, sometimes in pornographic positions whilst getting the praise (and moolah) of rich Amerigan liberals who were doing their part to make this a better world where we can all join in and sing in harmony like some old Coke commercial (or PBS documentary), preferably atop some mass grave as yet to be uncovered.  And, of course, we all know what a virtual hellhole Franco's Spain was next to Stalin's Workers Paradise throughout those year, eh???

If some of the Alt Right elements are whatcha'd call "beyond the pale" (and frankly I'd say that a good part of 'em ain't despite the hoots and hollers to the contrary---Mike Cernovich and Paul Joseph Watson come to mind), the antifa "Alt Left" is a way more violent creature without a conscience that's driven by pure Marcusian ideological bulldozer zealotry to put it mildly! Take it from me, you'll find more variety and excitement in ideas and expression on the other side, not to mention people who still like the Velvet Underground and Thirteenth Floor Elevators and don't feel the need to apologize than you will in the precious petunia world of today. And when I get down to it I must admit that I will choose sanity over the creation of the kind of world that the kind of corpse gazers seen above undoubtedly wanted, and thanks be to God for that.

Not that it matters to the real powers that be who are intent on wrecking everything that was working rather well these past few centuries while using their hired goons as disposable pawns. The tearing down will continue, and hapless fools who get run over are gonna be the new heroes of the new state perhaps with plays, movies and museums devoted to them. And with sights being taking off the internet (including those like ALTERNATIVE RIGHT which was a well though out and comparatively balanced blog, at least compared with most on the other side of the spectrum) you can tell that anything that's even mildly offensive and contrary to current tastes is going to be banished with a deep vengeance. If so, may I say toodle-oo now 'n before it's too late???

As usual Jim Goad puts it into a language even your most addled fuzzpitted self-righteous gal can understand. Ditto the oft maligned Ramzpaul. Ya better read 'em or die!
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Look ma, no cavities other' the
one that hunka hair's covering!
Guess what I found while looking through about fortysome years of boxes filled with various flotsam and whateveritissam that I have collected throughout the years. No it ain't yet another copy of SUPERDOPE but (now get this!) a snap of memeME!!! that was taken at a mid-seventies Christmas party whilst under the influence of too many Coca-Colas I snitched while no one was looking (of course the stuff I added to the otherwise soft drink will be discussed in detail in a further post). When I see this snap the memories just keep on flowin' because when this pic was popped it happened to be during a time in my life when I was spinning many a Zappa, Beefheart, Patti, Eno, Alice, Lou and whatever album enjoying 'em all to the utmost. Come to think of it I was a few days into having purchased and enjoyed to the fullest the Hampton Grease Band platters at the time and was a few days away from snatching up the Monty Python live import on Charisma that never did get released o'er here if that makes any difference to you (like it did to me given how the former represented the extent of my freeform freak tastes and the latter my own dabbling into various cutting edge comedy troupes that would fizzle out within the span of a few short years). Yes, those memories just keep flowin' thinkin' of all the suburban slob fun I was having while this pic was taken, and for the life of me will someone out there identify that dark wavy stuff that was set splat upon the top of my bean???
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Oh yeah, I just discovered (and posted on the left) Craig Bell's own website. It's a really good 'un too what with alla the history and pix of Craig and his various groups that can be found. Lotsa nice information to be found here and like, if you want you can even spend some moolah on Craig's fairly-priced booty that you can't find anywhere else now you have the opportunity to spend, spend, and  SPEND EVEN MORE!!!! 

Funny thing, but the guy himself has posted that very same snap of him playing in Rocket From The Tombs while wearing a Left End "I'm Spoiled Rotten" t-shirt that I discovered in my own collection only last Sunday and was planning on posting this week! His is in much better quality natch and I thought I was gonna getta real scoop posting this 'un, but what th' hey here is my photocopied copy anyway!

Anyway....the Bell site's a good place to waste some time while you're cruising the web and you're getting tired of all of that clickbait that seems to be cluttering up the screens while searching for something that's a little...."mentally stimulating"... at least for nonviable masses of tissue like ourselves that is
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Things are looking bright not only with this week's batch of beauts to spin but with the promised arrival of the latest UGLY THINGS in a few day's time.  And that's not forgetting a few interesting platters I actually paid for with my own moolah which are bound to make their way to my front porch within the next few days (or weeks, or months in the case of my Forced Exposure preorder). Looks kinda bright out there in soundsville for a change, and between these purchases and the goodies sent by Bill Shute, Paul McGarry, Weasel Walter and even Bob Forward I should be basking in pure musical mayhem for quite some time. Well, it should keep me off the streets but really, have I ever been out of trouble???



Weasel Walter-A POUND OF FLESH 4-CD set (ugEXPLODE, available here)

I just got done listening to all four Cee Dees of this set (well, I actually broke the listening sesh into two disques yesterday and two today) and gotta say that I am not only visibly, but physically...spiritually shaken. And that's something that music rarely does to me anymore...you could say that A POUND OF FLESH is an effort that has pretty much skewered whatever is left of my sense of musical appreciation to the point where I feel like one of those shish kebabs that pop up in the meat case of your local Cash Market just beggin' to be doctored up for at least another day's shelf life.

Much of Weasel Walter's other efforts have been whatcha'd call "cutting edge" and other terms that come straight outta the new lexicon of hip descriptors. Forget those...A POUND OF FLESH beats 'em all as far as a mass of totally unclassifiable (jazz? avant garde classical? rockism???) really don't cut it. To be safe I'll call it jazz because the way this one reaches out and twists your frontals it's gotta be the most crazed (but not crazy) release with a neo-free bent to come out at least since the decline of the AACM!

Dunno how he did it...some sorta electronic sampling or something along them lines...but this is technically a percussion album. Not quite the solo percussion platter that you got with the likes of Andrew Cyrille or Jerome Cooper. You hear electronic roars and squeals all about not to mention electric guitar attacks, some which are particularly unnerving especially on "Xenoglossy Part 3" (last track on second disque). Some sorta bell-like sound can be heard pealing and although Walter's booklet notes explain it all it's like I can't comprehend any technical explanations of musical instrumentation beyond the flute-o-phone. Even when it's Walter and his drums and nothing but (like the first track on disque 4) it's a wild rumble worthy of the Milford Graves Drum Ensemble (and there's only one of him doin' this!). All I can do is settle back, turn on the machine and be CRUSHED!

To be cornballus about it listen at your own peril! But do enjoy it because somehow the angular synth sounds and beyond Sunny Murray rhythms seem like the perfect soundtrack for the kind of lives many of us are existing in these days. Definitely worth the relative ease it takes to obtain a copy but hurry...limited to like 500 copies and they may all be gone by now!
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Lou Donaldson-POSSUM HEAD CD-r burn (originally on Argo Records)

When I come home from work I sometimes wanna just soothe my nodes with sounds that I consider sonically stretching and bared wire intense None of these schmoozing to James Taylor while swilling cocktails sitcom stuff for me! So when I plunked down this pick outta Bill Shute's latest package I was hoping for some strong soul jazz sounds that would get my cranium up and goin'!

Not exactly so here, since most of POSSUM HEAD came off too straight ahead and nicey-nice for me...y'know, bowtie and tux music far removed from the feral screams of a Shepp or Coltrane. Still I found myself getting engrossed as the platter proceeded and the sesh began to seep into a deep groove that got me moved at least a tad. Plays swell enough I guess, but for total real life demon exorcism it's THE NEW THING and nothin' else, hear?
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Eugene Chadbourne-BOOGIE WITH THE HOOK CD-r burn (originally on Cleo Records)

Ain't paid too much attention to Chadbourne since his DON'T PUNK OUT album with Frank Lowe but this one is the proverbial cats! It'll drive you about as nuts as I got listening to Chadbourne and band (threw away liner notes or lost 'em or something like that...boy will Bob Forward be mad!) do everything from twangy hillbilly sounds about ten generations through the brother/sister continuum to some rather suspiciously-sounding mid-seventies Braxton/Mitchell/Jarman-styled interplay with a bit of Chadbourne's electric guitar in there somewhere. I dunno what else to say other'n if you like crazy twang folk music and experimental seventies loft jazz sounds and want it all in one package well, do I have to tell you the rest?
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Sweet Toothe-TESTING CD-r burn (originally on Dominion Records)

There must have been thousands of these self-produced rock albums popping up outta nowhere back inna mid-seventies, and Sweet Toothe were but one band to manage to crank out a longplayer that I'm sure didn't even get to make it as far as the old rundown flybynight record shop that mighta taken something like this in the first place. Well, no big loss 'bout that for TESTING ain't really worth your time unless you happen to like the lighter end of the seventies hard rock spectrum. Sweet Toothe might have been a big hit live and all, but on this one they just flop about doin' the same ol' riffs 'n grooves that certainly made those New York Dolls albums sound all the better back then. These guys were from West Virginia as their name obviously should reveal to you---after all, if they weren't from that state they'd be called Sweet Teethe!
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Third Floor Strangers-LAST CHANCE CD-r burn (originally on Trelaine Records)

The late-seventies and early-eighties produced their fair share of what was to be called "power pop" groups and like, who can deny that these Strangers were trying to nudge their way into the movement! This '81 offering was recorded by a group I never heard about before, although they were from Buffalo New York which means that I'll bet that Bernard Kugel knew a thing or two about these guys. And like most of these platters there seems to be quite a few tracks that don't knock my socks off, but then again there are a few downright gems to be found when you're not especially looking for any. I'd say these guys rank about a notch or two lower than Pezband, though they're about as good as Morgan Taylor's Rock Group so they can't be that all bad.
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The Nazz-NAZZ NAZZ CD-r burn (originally on SGC Records)

Should this 'un 've been in the year end post of familiar albums that are worthy of at least one mention lest they wither away into obscurity (or some ass reviews them on his/her/its blog)? Well, maybe the answer is no because I never did lend ear to NAZZ NAZZ before, and besides maybe this is too good a platter to forget about until the new year's tidings ring in (if they ever will). But once you get down to the brass balls of it all NAZZ NAZZ is a pretty decent pop-rock excursion from those NUGGETS faves with a good portion of heart-melting teenygirl rock mixing in with some Who-inspired wowzers and of course those more, er, heavy "FM-sounding" tracks that kinda put me off like nothing since coffee stir enemas. Thankfully nobody told Todd Rundgren he was a genius yet, and this is a far way from his horrid late-eighties Broadway-inspired platter I had the misfortune of being sent a review copy way back when. But to answer the old SPOONFUL fanzine question is Todd a punk? From this one I'd say only when the guitar chords suit him and they do (well, at least part of the time).
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Various Artists-FARAWAY ACORNS AND IMPOSSIBLE SINNERS CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

I thought this particular Shute-shoot was a good enough selection of what Bill used to call "Thrift Shop" somethingorothers. There are lotsa good moody mid-sixties weepers here that are enough to put me down in the dumps while the Blue Mitchell piece of solid blues/jazz was enough to pep me up if you can believe it. A pre-"Four" Bobby Fuller track was a nice inclusion while a pre-"Strawberry Alarm Clock" Thee Sixpence sure had a Seeds style to 'em I obviously wish woulda made its way into the newer edition of the group. Some real real surprises show up like a track called "Puppy Love" (not the Paul Anka tearjerker) by Jerry Samuels before he put on his Napoleon XIV hat and coat and like I can't find a thing wrong with this one, other'n the fact that Bill did not sneak any of those great old radio ads in between the toonz like he usedta.

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*OK, the undeniable fact is that Mencken has been dead for over sixty years awlready, but he seems more alive via his writings and opines 'n most scribes out there, especially in these days when political punditry has been reduced to various feely good catchphrases meant to tingle the nodes of some out-there prole who for the most part can't care less what some newscasters thoughts re. subject X are!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BOOK REVIEW! BEHAVING MADLY---ZANY, LOCO, COCKEYED, RIP-OFF SATIRE MAGAZINES by Ger Apeldoorn and Craig Yoe (2017 Yoe Books/IDW)

In the great BLOG TO COMM tradition of hailing the cheap, the swipe, the copy and the things us kids got instead of the real deal for years, I now present to you an entire tome for our times dealing with none other'n all of those definitely teenage-oriented humor mags that came and went during the latter part of them oft-loathed (but we know better!) fifties, a time when funtime entertainment was available with the flick of a switch, trashy lo-fi rock 'n roll was plentiful, life was stable enough that even the garbage man could afford a good home, wages were high and boy were some people PISSED OFF about it!

But certainly not us suburban slob baby boom ranch house UHF-TV dwellers who were soaking it all in until the seventies really put a kibosh on everything. And along with all of those other cheap imitations from cereals to comic books and tootsietoys, hipster-type satire mags were sprouting up and about the fruity plain in an attempt to coax even more pseudointellectial college kids outta their hard begged. And man, there were plenty of 'em about from CRACKED and HUMBUG to THIMK and ZANY, and you can bet your banana that alla 'em were in one way or another a swipe of that BIG TIME humor rag that was taking the teenage world by storm, an' I certainly don't mean POPULAR MECHANICS!

This long-awaited book is the brainkiddie of Dutch comics fan Ger Apeldoorn whose THOSE FABULEOUS FIFTIES blog can be espied if you'd only click the link listed on the left, while co-author Craig Yoe's one of those BIG TIME OPERATORS on the scene who lives/breathes/eats and for all I know defecates comics so you know what he's talking about! Together the two have put together a nice and solid history of the various humor mags (which were and remain oversized comic books if you ask me) that didn't last too long, and for most of us woulda been forgotten to history if we hadn't come across tattered remnants of 'em in early-seventies flea markets and still wouldn't pick 'em up for a nickel!

Apeldoorn and Yoe ignore the biggie titles which is all fine and well and stop their saga with the dawn of the sixties which ain't, but nevertheless we still get a hefty handfulla not only pertinent information regarding the titles and publishers but actual complete stories that were vying for the imaginations of people like you and me back in those funner than fun times. And ya gotta admit that the pair really do a good job not only with their li'l histories of each and every tmagazine extant but with their selection of the kinda sagas that were popping up in these pages which really do give us a good idea of just where college har hars stood a good sixty or so years back!

And those various entries from the pages of many a forgotten title remarkably show that some of the stories and artwork that appeared in these knockoffs did reach MAD's usual high standards of trashdom. I woulda been under the impression that these flybynight publications mostly run by flybynight conmen were but mere nth-raters that made mags like CRACKED and SICK look qualified in comparison, but most of these examples were good enough to have made it into the originator of it all. (Even the worse ones were about as good as a typical satire fanzine of the day, so there ain't that much dross to be found.) The stories for the most part were comparable to anything that MAD was churning out at the time, while the artwork (at times done by men before, after, or after/before their various MAD sojurns), is mostly up to the kind of airbrushed quality that were found in Bill Gaines's baby which ain't that surprising given how many of the artists were obviously swiping ideas from the usual gang of idiots given all of the Jack Davis cops to be seen here.

Well, I will take one thing regarding the art to be found within these pages back, because in NO WAY did Bill Elder ever do anything for the likes of CRAZY and LOCO that was as good as the detailed delineations he did while working for Harvey Kurtzman, but I don't really care because I'd take anything from this book over some 1973 issue of SICK with Huckleberry Fink taking Sonny's place in Sonny and Cher onna cover.

So yeah, BEHAVING MADLY really is a fantastico settle back 'n read offering with surprises galore and a few things that I'm sure will even get you all hot and bothered under the collar. Not only that but this thing can be funny (remember that word?) in a way that the entire history of COMEDY CENTRAL let alone its spiritual predecessors like Lenny Bruce and Dick Gregory (and don't forget SNL after say, 1980) haven't been even though we have been told otherwise by people who know better than us. If you value your fifties kultural jamz this might be a book to snatch up to have and to hold at least until the next significant hardback to hit us right in the psyche makes its way out.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hey, howdja like the updated blog header which, as you probably could tell having been in onna game these past thirtysome years, is "based" on the old BLACK TO COMM logo that was created by a very famous artist who prefers to remain anonymous for some strange reason or another. Makes this blog look "professional" and all, right??? (Yeah, right!)  I just did a little snip snip here and there, and although the results just ain't what I expected I kinda like the sloppoid thing in my own gosh darn it suburban slob way. I hope you do too since hey, it does have that cruddy sorta aura to it that suits the contents of BLOG TO COMM rather well, and if you have any suggestions regarding it or just how the item can be "altered" and "adjusted" to your own personal tastes well, you know what you can do with them now, do you!!!! But really, I find it pretty neat...ya think I should gussy it up with some pastels or even crayons for that matter because once you really get down to it, this is a "wreck in progress"!!!
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You could say that I'm feeling so good, feeling so fine, until tomorrow but that's just some other time, and for once you'd be RIGHT! Right now I am radiating like nothing since Three Mile Island if only because of the bevy o' bouncing stimulation that's been pounding my brain these past few days which have certainly benefited my health more than Vigero ever could. The various Dee-Vee-Dee programming I've been watching certainly helps me avoid having to tune into Anderson Cooper's or Kennedy's for that matter snooty mug, while the music making up the soundtrack to my mere being gives me a charge that makes me feel like I've just got off Dr. Frankenstein's slab. Even the reading material that's been accompanying much of my musical mayhem during those evening hours has been helping me stand strong against the rages of Moderne Day Living, and if it weren't for these three things where would I be? Probably in front of the boob tube trying to eke some entertainment outta the latest non-sitcom that only reflects the rather unfunny concept of life and humor here in the late-teens. Sheesh, would I be glad if only someone would throw a pie in someone's face thus upsetting the spirit of Fred Rogers for all eternity!!!
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Now if you really wanna know what the highlight of my week was (other'n the creation of the new header that is) well, I gotta say that of all the things that did occur over these past seven earthspins the grandest of all was the discovery of the DENIM DELINQUENT facebook page which I have linked up on the left somewhere or other. Yes, like you I was bummed beyond belief when the actual DD sight more or less wafted off into nothingness but now I can once again groove to the myriad assortment of photos and whatnot that DD head Jymn Parrett has found suitable for sharing with the rest of us starved rock 'n plunder types. And boy has the man come up with some great goodies from the archives (really must've dug deep because even I don't remember seein' a whole buncha 'em!) what with the snaps of everyone from Iggy and the Dolls to Lou and Kim and Sky and  Beefheart and Moon the Loon on and on, and prowling through his page is like prowling through the past fiftysome years of everything that was good and life-reaffirming about music inna first place. Thanks for all of the snaps Jymn...but GRACE SLICK???? Sheesh, I'll even take Pigpen over her any day!
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Hey, I got an actual bloomin' complaint that there haven't been any interviews on this blog in a skunk's age. Anyone out there for the taking? If so please tell me, but be oh so discreet about it because I don't want any news of this gettin' out.
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Nothing more to report, so here be this week's gruel to be served up to this week's Oliver Twists. Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and even P.D. Fadensonnen are the ones responsible...will get to Bob Forwards wares eventually I'll tell ya...


Razorlegs-WFMU 6-23-2017 CD-r (Fadensonnen---see blog on left and like you know the rest!)

P.D really fooled me with this one since he used the exact same cover photo from his cassette release here! But this is a different recording as the Razorlegs duo rip it up on the radio (WFMU to be exact...donate all you have to 'em!) doing a pretty good job of scaring off alla them old ladies who were tuning in to hear SERMONETTE. Won't be too redundant but once again the total eruption of the guitar/drums onslaught (with some stylophone tossed in...paging Rolf Harris!) hearkens back to many an earlier gtr/dms situation from the Hampton Grease Band and DAILY DANCE onward, and the entire performance is one top notch attempt to reclaim the avant rock banner from the various assortment of bedroom bounders who have popped up these past thirtysome years. I guarantee you that if you give this one a spin (or at least download the thing) you'll be in for a pretty hefty resensification, and like how many current day acts can do that to you and your frazzled cyborg nerves???
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ROBYN HITCHCOCK CD-r burn (originally on Yep Roc Records)

Gee, I wonder if Syd Barrett himself woulda sounded like this had he been fit 'n fiddle enough to make records forty years after his Pink Floyd debut! Of course it woulda had somewhat of a commercial bent (which in these tender times means clean, professional sound and performance sans any spec of flydirt or muscle) and of course it would upset alla the same early-seventies English rock fans who were smart enough to pick up the albums before they became budget priced twofas. My guess is that Barrett's efforts woulda been pretty dullsville given just how much of a rot the music has become o'er the years, and I do get the impression that the powers that be would have tempered with the resultant stew to make it sound like THE DIVISION BELL redux. As for this platter well...maybe this is what Barrett's platter woulda sounded like had some of them newfangled producers and bandfans got into the act---solid yet too sleek to really appeal to those familiar with the original thrust of it all. But it will. Features one of the better country unto rock goofs since the Left Banke if not the Byrds or Beatles themselves.
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John Bell-CAMBRIDGE SURPRISE MINOR AND OTHER PEALS CD-r (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Now I could be like one of those DOWN BEAT critics and wax rhapsorious about this all-percussive endeavor in some of the most stringently somnambulistic terms extant, but I won't. But sheesh if this doesn't remind me of some effort that would get your typical jazz snoot type rushing to his thesaurus to come up with new and witty ways to say "this record reminds me of flamingos frolicking in a crystal rain before the rays of the sun evaporate every drop of dew on their precious accouterments (ie feathers)."  But it is a grand one natch as percussionist Bell gets more music than you would expect outta a vast array of instruments sounding like church bells at one time and a buncha pixies plunking around the forest the next. Charming, mesmerizing and even...listenable. Reminds me of something I think I heard before, but that was probably before I was born. Amongst the instruments to be heard on this effort are vibraharp, glockenspiel, scrap metal, piano frame and Khong Vang, and boy was Khong mad about getting banged up the way he did!
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Wilko Johnson-PULL THE COVER CD-r burn (originally on Skydog Records, France)

I never did care for the Wilko Johnson Solid Senders album, but this li'l bijou from a good six or so years later's really a boffo affair if I do say so myself! At one time this brand of newer than new English r 'n b was getting tagged with the punk moniker until the spiky hair crowd came into being, but in this day and age it sure has more of that p-rock meaning than a lot of those halfway-there acts pseudo-glam punks from the late-seventies (and there were many!) ever did.

This is Stiff Records punk ifyaknowaddamean, the kinda music that was being bandied about as the new in direction even if it was a flashback to the mid-sixties of pure back alley bashout. Looking back I can sure see how the likes of Feelgood and those other early Stiff signings could mingle with Johnnie Allen and Stones Masonry in a broad view of the term that never did sit well with some of the more arty types about.

Contains originals and covers that sound just as exciting as the familiar takes...sure glad the guy survived his recent medical tragedies because if this 'un stunk I'd be doin' a few Indian War Whoops for his demise and like right now!
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ERIC DOLPHY IN EUROPE VOLUME 3 CD-r burn (originally on Prestige Records)

Good enough but not the best Dolphy that's out there, but then again is it like we have to be picky? The pickup sidemen are just that, though fortunately they don't hinder Dolphy's always entertaining woodwind whirls that shoulda made him as famous as the other great names of the day only the guy hadda die and for the stupidest reason possible. If you're just beginning to delve into the Dolphy mystique this ain't the best place to start (try his various Mingus dates not to mention OUT TO LUNCH) but after you've let those weave their way into your soul give this live sesh a go at it.
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Air-AIR RAID CD-r burn (originally on Why Not Records, Japan)

It's hard to understand why this free jazz trio was given so many hails and hosannas during the mid to late-seventies. After all, they were good, and a whole lot more exciting than the soft schmooze bowtie music that would eventually capture the jazz mindset by storm (or should that be "mist"?). Bred from the entire AACM intermingle of various sonic irregularities, Air performed a particularly strident breed of the new thing that certainly fit in with the under-the-counterculture loft jazz scene if nothing else.

This Japanese-only (until the eighties when India Navigation released it o'er here) album sure captures the team of Henry Threadgill, Fred Hopkins and Steve McCall in a good way what with the trio easily flowing from hardass crash to straight-ahead urban bop with mere ease, not sounding too outre yet being tense enough to make your typical Al DeMeola fan nauseous. Terse-beyond-belief reeds intermingle with Hopkins' hopped up bass while McCall shows us that the force he put in on those old Anthony Braxton albums wasn't anything but a fluke. And we better not forget Threadgill's "hubkaphone" which ain't nothin' but a hubcap he beat on with a drumstick, but he could actually get melodies outta the thing which is more than I'm sure you could! (Come to think of it, wasn't a hubkaphone actually a metal rack with a variety of hubcaps hung up which Threadgill beat with a drumstick thus getting different tones???)

Way back when you'd have to pay lotsa greckels for this particular item, and have to search far and wide for a copy at that. In the here and now all you need is a flick of a mere internet switch to be taken to a download, which I know is less expensive and excitement of the ol' hunt for you all but sheesh, think of all the frustration you'll save!
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Various Artists-ROYAL CHALLENGER SUBVERSIVE BABY CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Another old "floor sweepings" compilation (the newest one Bill sent, on a black Cee-Dee-Are, will not play on my bedside box!) that really captures the whole essence of suburban slob trashdom. Every track here (well, most of 'em!) sounds like something I woulda loved to have picked up at a flea market some Saturday afternoon back 1974 way what with the reams of rarities from the Jalopy Five doing their take on "Paint It, Black" to the Staple Singers out-doing Buffalo Springfield and more t'boot! The Christmas jingles worked fine even here in the August heat while the weirdo hits of the day sung partly in German by Evi Kent really had my ears perking more'n Sam's. The folk rock stuff from the Minute Men and Royal Knights coulda been PEBBLES produce had these made their way to Greg Shaw's collection while even the big band rouser by Kressbronner Dorfmusikanten shows just how much them krauts wanted to "catch up" after twelve years of being without that decadent Western music they were so warned about. Even the mandatory musique concrete from an act calling itself  "Subversive Intentions" doesn't come off like college kid jerkoff! You can make your own copy, if you try hard enough!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017



MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! FEAR IS THE KEY starring BARRY NEWMAN (1972)

Two years after THE LAWYER and one after VANISHING POINT, once hot stuff actor Barry Newman starred in this forgotten feature that I'm surprised didn't turn more heads during the early-seventies New Hollywood (with tinges of the Old One still around) days. But this one ain't no hype and I gotta say FEAR IS THE KEY's a pretty maddening film that'll prove to you that there was a certain bared-wire intensity to many of these seventies flicks that just didn't survive into the eighties and beyond, perhaps because moom pitcher goers were too stressed out from all of those hard-edged films and they just wanted to mellow out a bit. And if so...shame on them!

But not me Sam, because its these kinda flicks that get me up and excited, and FEAR IS THE KEY does a pretty good job of it. Newman plays Talbot, some guy who we first see talking to his brother via short wave radio. Turns out that bro, along with Talbot's wife and turdler son, are the lone occupants of a plane (with bro the pilot) carrying some extremely precious cargo. Without warning another plane swoops down and blows Talbot's entire family to Kingdom Come leaving not only Our Hero but us viewers totally caught off guard.

Next thing we know Talbot is in some backwater Louisiana town causing trouble and beating the bejabbers outta some local gendarmes before being hauled into court, where he makes a brilliant escape while taking a local gal (played by the naturally good looking Suzy Kendall who sure has a hard time turning her English accent into Deep South). This leads to a pretty hotcha ten-minute car chase scene that ends with Talbot taking his hostage to his hideout before getting captured by some ex-cop out for the reward moolah. THEN
it gets really strange what with the introduction of the shady Vyland (played by Dean Wormer himself John Vernon) and his weirdo sidekick Royale, who in a good ten years later shaved his bean and became Gandhi, both of who offer to get Talbot off the hook because they have, in the catchphrase of another film of that very same year, a deal he can't refuse. And you know he just can't!

Hokay, I thought the film might have sagged a bit after the non-refused deal began getting into gear, but then it perks up perhaps thanks to the presence of the sadistic bodyguard who gives Talbot a bad time as well as a really big plot twist that might seem unbelievable but helps tie up the big loose end in the story (like, what about Talbot's dead family???). And hey, you just better not be a Lou Costello type who gets wrapped up in moom pitcher plots living vicariously through the people on the screen because the last five minutes of this 'un'll leave you literally gasping for air!

Newman plays it great throughout as the wired troublemaker while Vernon is his usual evil self in one of those nasty guy roles he was definitely born to play. Even Ben Kingsley, who I still think is an overrated professional ponce type, is particularly creepoid as the sidekick who comes off more like a three-piece businessman who just happens to be a little greedier than should be allowed. Kendall as the galpal/hostage is also an asset to the film, or is this just because back in 1972 females didn't come off as purposefully unattractive as they tend to be these days?

This shoulda gotten out a lot more'n it did. If you think its due for a major re-eval then maybe this li'l writeup'll start the ball rolling. Help give it a li'l nudge if you can.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Y'know, sometimes it's hard to come up with these preamble rambles given that the previous week just didn't produce anything that's worth blabbing about. Like many of you more productive members of society I put in my forty (and sometimes plus!) hours and do the right (if minimal as possible) amount of drudgery to keep the premises looking prim and proper, but it ain't like such subject matters are likely to get you sophisticated readers up and chattering. I'm also crawling my way through a Dee-Vee-Dee box set of a once-popular television series which I will review in an upcoming post, but naturally I don't want to give anything away at this point. There's nothing of a social or political nature I'd care to bring up (other'n I sure like the way Donald Trump makes the tweedy college professor types cackle like a bunch of indignant hens as Wayne McGuire might have said) and besides, I don't want to alienate any of your precocious easily-bruised readers who sniffle and sob at broken flowers while bashing in windows of local businesses.

So what can I do but...get into the reviews and like immediately. Thanks be to the forces as usual, Bill Shute, Paul McGarry, Bob Forward and even my own hard work (hah!) and perseverance (double hah!).


Massimo Magee & James L. Malone-THE LIMITS OF THE POSSIBLE CD-r (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Multi saxist Magee teams up with electric guitarist Malone to create a sound that recalls AMM and a variety of other old time electronic scronkers who used to get quite a bit of music press until---all of a sudden they didn't. Don't expect any neo-Coltrane play from the former nor any Sharrockian shards of sound from the latter...this is quite a different'n the standard free play music that has been seeping into your collections as of the past thirtysome years...its more dark and indecipherable style that has been tackled on some of the more severe AACM offerings but even goes further. If you're really looking for that far out mind-expanding music that the man can't bust well...maybe this will tickle your tonsils amongst other body parts.

One more thing...doesn't that cover photo remind you of the beginning of MR. ED? Sure brings out the suburban slob kiddoid in me I'll tell ya!
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Iggy Pop-GARDEN OF EVIL CD-r burn (originally on Zaubertank Records)

When it comes to these shady type of grey area offerings you never really get to know what yer in for. Of course this particular piece of plastic is no exception featuring a slapdash of various Popperties in a way that resembles your typical 1981 European bootleg. Quality is snat enough even though solo Iggy never really cut it next to the original Stoogian artyfact, but these rarities do have a nice li'l bounce to 'em plus the real bonus (Iggy on the Flo and Eddie radio show) is pretty much worth the price of the package. Be warned though..."Search and Destroy" is but the original Stooges mix before Bowie got his manicured mitts on 'em while "Pretty Flamingo" and "Mule Skinner Blues" are not the Manfred Mann/Jimmy Rogers respectively songs.
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Roscoe Mitchell-BELLS FOR THE SOUTH SIDE 2-CD-r set burn (originally on ECM)

Not bad even though you woulda thought Mitchell's old enough to be in the old jazzbos home at this point in time. Yes, if your heart is still with that once-new thing in jazz complete with all of those tinkling bells and gongs not to mention depressing alto sax solos that seem to go on and on man, is this the album for you! Mitchell plays as angular as he ever did while the newbies who back him up are just as boff as the oldbies who used to way back when. ECM aesthetics don't clog up the works on this set which varies from early classical avant garde musings to all free play points in between, and for being a modern day affair done up by such a long-time player in the game it's like...actually enjoyable. 
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John Coltrane/Alice Coltrane-COSMIC MUSIC CD-r burn (originally on ABC/Impulse Records)

Mitchell was the end result of the movement that Coltrane helps boost inna fifties, and by the time the latter clocked outta existence ya gotta admit that he was doin' some rather outre material himself. The famed saxophonist only appears on two of the four tracks but all of 'em feature wife Alice (who has come upon her fair share of criticism o'er the years), Pharoah Sanders, Jimmy Garrison and Rashied Ali along with some additional percussionists, and it all (thanks to Sanders) really fits in swell with the whole late-sixties jazz culmination which would top off the decade with one of the bigger musical bangs one could imagine. "Nova Music" as Wayne McGuire (rating two mentions this blogpost---wow!) called it, driving and personal yet quite introspective sounds that could appeal to the washed out hippie as well as the punk even if it were for totally different reasons. Certainly a proud addenda to the whole canon of the avant garde that still sounds as raging and over-the-edge as it did the day it was created.
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Patti Smith w/ Lenny Kaye-FEBRUARY 10, 1971 CD (Mer, PO Box 407, Murray Hill Station, NY, NY 10156)

This one has been out for ten years and AS USUAL you snips out there didn't clue me in! Fie on thee, but before I dish out my patented evil voodoo curse lemme say that this 'un's what you'd call a rare holy grail sorta recording, the first appearance of Patti Smith and collaborator Lenny Kaye in front of a live and hopefully breathing public! Long before any of you read about her in CREEM Patti dishes out early versions of her typical ripped out entrails and Mexican boy wiping ass with the funny pages raves, and on some of them Lenny plays that hot guitar he would later use to create that Patti Smith sound we all knew and appreciated. Patti sounds a whole lot younger and more innocent this early in the stage even if her dirty mind is in full gear, and Kaye plays like he's auditioning for the Seeds at one minute and Man Ray at the other. The two combined make for that grand collision of beat poesy and mid-Amerigan teenage garage gunch we all wish would have happened much earlier, and if your idea of sophisticated rock was always some neo (won't say "phony") intellectual rants set to the best of NUGGETS well, this is probably about as close as anyone's gonna get, at least until the next big exhumation.
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THE RATIONALS CD-r burn (originally on Big Beat Records, England)

I've always enjoyed these guys' "blue eyed soul" moves, but I never really realized what an over-the-top high energy Detroit offering this platter could be! The slow tracks are moving enough without being mooshy while the definitely high energy contribution "Guitar Army" is right up there with the rest of the local big names we've been listening to ever since these bands were around (or we heard about 'em x-teen years after the fact). Like the best late-sixties/early-seventies albums the mix of intensity, tension and melody make for a gripping experience and like, I can't see how anyone who swears allegiance to the Detroit rock scene of the sixties could ignore it (and of course they have). Bonus tracks include a pretty sizzling take on that bloozy faverave "Wang Dang Doodle" as well as the rare self-produced single featuring the original versions of "Army" and "Sunset" I've not only never heard before but never saw for sale anywhere!
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Peter Perrett-HOW THE WEST WAS WON CD-r burn (originally on Domino Records)

Yes, your favorite junkie with the common law wife and alla them bastard kids is back with a solo platter that is pretty good despite the odds being against it. Maybe it is kinda tired in comparison with those England's Glory and Only Ones albums, but this guy is still cutting tracks like Sam cut farts and doing a pretty good job keeping up the old energy even though, this late in the post/anti-rock game, who really is listening other'n us old poops. Nice to see him still up and about, and having more meaning (in a true, non-clinging way) than some of them other "survivors" out there in hasbeen land.
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Various Artists-HEN'S TEETH VOL. 1 CD-r burn (originally on Hen's Teeth Records)

Here's some more of that rarer'n rare English psychedelic rock of the late-sixties done up nice and lysergic-like for all of us doofs who missed out the first time around. Most of this is done up by acts we never heard of before and probably never will hear from again while a few familiar names like the Swingin' Blue Jeans and Junior's Eyes managed to make the cut, but all of it is more of that spacey neo-pop sounds that kinda wooshed you into some world where things seemed swirling, peaceful and unreal. And at the most perfect, sartorical moment Pop stormed into the room and blasted some Mitch Miller in order to bring you back down to earth and give you a good whipping for being such a hippoid. It's educational too because now, after all these years, I finally got to hear the State of Mickey and Tommy and they were as good as Greg Shaw made 'em out to be!
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The Shocking Blue-LIVE IN JAPAN CD-r burn (originally released on Polydor Japan)

Japan-only issue of a live gig featuring a stripped down version of the group (no electric piano!) cranking out TWO versions of "Venus" and a whole slew of interesting originals and covers, including a neat version of "Tobacco Road" that sounds nada like the Nashville Teens nor the Blues Magoos' takes! The guitar/bass/drums instrumentation actually makes these track sound better...kinda stripped down like the Stooges were while Mariska Veres sure displays a healthy set of pipes, something you can see when you catch a glimpse of her visage on the album cover.  OK it does tend to veer off into snoozeville on scant occasion but so does this blog so why quibble?
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Broken Toys-DIRT CD-r burn (originally on Incognito Records)

As you might have noticed a whole load of these burns that I've received o'er the years made by relatively new and up and coming groups really don't grab me by the fanablas, but sometimes some platter that has been slipped my way pops up and makes me STAND UP AND TAKE NOTICE!!!!! The Broken Toys album reviewed here is but one, a total surprise because this rather recent (awlright, 1990!) release is a cooker. Nothing that's end of the world mind you, but the thing is still hot enough what with its pound out MC5/Ramones rhythms and total eruption playing that's bound to bring a tear to the eye of a few New York Dolls fans the way this thing shakes you outta your slumber and into the real life blare of it all. It's even got this interesting Yardbirds harmonica blast inna middle of the closing track entitled "If I Had a Gun" that's bound to make you think you slipped on the live Swedish radio tape by mistake and are listening to the 1968 rendition of "I'm a Man". Not bad---really!
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Elliot Murphy-PRODIGAL SON CD-r burn (originally on Murphyland Records)

It ain't an AQUASHOW or even JUST A STORY FROM AMERICA but it's as good as just about any seventies under-the-radar platter you can think of, the above and more included. Sure the coot sounds much older now and probably needs a bottle of Geritol in order to get it up, but PRODIGAL SON still captures the same decadence in the 'burbs feeling of old, and a whole lot better'n PEYTON PLACE ever could at that. Musically this stands with the early Murphy albums with that deep and decadent neo-Dylan sound that,come to think of it, didn't sound too bad next to the competition on the radio (well, let's keep "Hurricane" outta it). Not only that but Murphy actually COMES OUT and "all but" admits he a member of sex #3 on "Hey Little Sister", a nice li'l ol' number where he talking about kissing (and more) one Bobby Jones. What took you so long Elliot???
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Various Artists-UGLIEST MALFUNCTION MUTINY CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Here's another deep dig into the bowels of old Shute burns and although this 'un must be at least four years old it's got enough vim vigor and pop to make it as new as the day I was born. Lotsa punk unto pUnunto punque here, but so what because not only is it all omnipowerful but it sure sounds better'n anything you'd be able to come up with in a millyun years (me too!). Highlights include the avant sorta jazz of the Viking Suicide Orchestra, Roach Motel's good as you can get under-the-counterculture punk, Peter's Pipers flooty snooty hippy dippy poppy woppy "The Magic Book" and even the Plastic Pianos were fine even if they did sound like the lounge band at the gay bar where Pixie and Dixie hang out at. Best track of all...the radio spot pushing the new movie starring the Iron Butterfly or something like that...sure brought back memories of listening to the AM top 40 station as a kid late at night under the covers with the li'l earphone fulla wax stuck inside my 'hole (earhole that is)...well, I used to do things like that before I discovered other pre-sleep activities which we won't dwell into at this point in time...ifyaknowaddamean.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

I hate the entire concept of "woman" as it stands these days...y'know, the whole rigmarole that we've all been inundated with since kiddiehood about how the opposite of man was this roaring lion that could do anything those brutes like us dingalinged ones can only better as espoused by such potent to current day mores publications like MS. and of course Billy Jean King trouncing Bobby Riggs in a tennis match that he obviously threw. (I'm surprised that when the erroneously-named "B.J." revealed her bush sniffing side a few years later Riggs didn't blurt out to the world "SEE, I WAS PLAYING A MAN AFTER ALL!!!!" But as we all know Billie Jean and Bobby made nice later on and that's OK by me.) As you all know I like ladies who look nice even if they don't particularly ascribe to any sensible ideals of what beauty is and are all petite and smell good and do away with unnecessary body hair (a hard task to do if you live south of Austria) but this "woman" thing...yech!


It's so sad seeing just how the female race has degenerated since the thirties when these DIXIE DUGAN comics (available from Golden Age Reprints) appeared in the late-thirties. Here the women, even the older and baggier ones, look rather hot and of course Dixie and her galpals are beauty beyond belief coming off so fetching in their appealing fashions and even more so when in various stages of undress.You know the tale about how Dugan was modeled after Louise Brooks (no slouch she) and just what a popular strip it was (even spawning a number of cheap Tijuana Bible knockoffs) until the mid-sixties. By then sex was so prevalent in real life who needed her, even though I gotta admit that the gal just didn't look so hot with forties-styled and beyond hair and clothes as she did in the thirties but maybe that's just because I don't think ladies look as hot then as they did in the twenties and thirties, or fifties and early-sixties. The war must've done something to the fashion industry of the day I'll betcha.

But man in the thirties was Dixie the kinda woman who made yer then adolescent grandpa sneak the funny section into the bathroom, and if you don't think I've spent enough time staring at a particularly potent panel for minutes on end as the bedside boom box spun away endlessly then you don't know the meaning of autism!

Even if the gags go flat there are still a whole buncha good 'uns that catch you by surprise just like they did with all of your old time faves. And that coupled with the exemplary art (sheesh, I'll bet it took more'n twenny seconds for artist J. H. Streibel to draw a panel) sure made DIXIE DUGAN such a funtime strip that I'm positive made the whole fambly happy, and that includes cyster when a page would be devoted to paper doll cutouts, or brother when those cutouts included a drawing of Dixie in her undergarments!

Mention must also be made of Imogene, Dugan's niece who appears in quite a few of these sagas. A young 'un of about five, this particular character comes off a whole lot like Bushmiller-era Nancy only with a meaner streak with a mayhem level approaching Dennis the Menace's and I'm even talking "Look what I found in Mr. Wilson's head" for that matter! One particularly gruesome strip had the brat fishing in Dixie's galpal's aquarium after being bored when the two began gabbing about dresses! She even caught a bunch of exotic ones and strung 'em up just like she woulda done with the carp, and for some reason the sight of this made me puke even more'n the queer seeing the cop kiss the feet of a priest!

I wonder if, like in the case of NANCY, Imogene coulda taken over the strip making her yet another precocious pudge uncontrollable brat type guaranteed to bring the audience in. Who knows what ramifications it woulda had on the funny pages, and frankly I say the more suburban slob turdlers seen in the comics the better! Hey, we needed those kids to look up to then and I'm sure more'n a few need the same kinda bastids to admire even in these cyborg times!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Golly ned but it sure seems like just yesterday that this whole idea of punk rock, no matter what usage or permutation of the term you were talking about, began to penetrate my ever-sagging midgie mental state during them years o' me as an un-cured teenage blubberfarm. I'm sure you too remember those days well---I sure do bein' so anxious and easily swayed by articles in CREEM (which was perhaps the BIGGEST pusher of the p-rock idiom in Ameriga until the thing got bigger 'n usual and then it was nothing but STADIUM ROCK much to my dismay)---finding out about new bands and new movements and discovering all of those things from the sixties that I missed out on really put a thrill in my mid-teen mind, and frankly if it weren't for the likes of people like Richard Meltzer, Lester Bangs and all of those bands that they were pecking away about where would """""I""""" be today? Probably doin' the exact same thing I'm doin' now only not wastin' so much time gabbin' about groups, comics and moom pitchers you people could care less about! Feh!

And yeah, somehow the concept of punk as the vindication of mid-sixties mid-Amerigan teendom really appealed to me and m embryonic-beyond-belief sense of wonder. To me punk was the Shadows of Knight and Seeds as well as the Stranglers and Stooges, a huge counterattack against the ongoing rape of the teenage mind takin' 'em for for the pack of fools that they most certainly weren't, or at least weren't until the advent of Tuinols. Punk was fun and invigorating and assertive and other strangely positive enough things to rectify one's life and although it was brushed off by many as a weird aberration in the history of a movement that gave us James Taylor and Carole King and, according to the likes of Andy Secher, totally rootless the negativity that was blindly directed at all manifestations of the form (sheesh, the guys I knew even hated Ian Gomm!) that only made the sound more appealing as only a rejected and oft-loathed creature like I was and most certainly will remain can tell ya!

A local FM disc jockey who has finally retired from the airwaves was once asked about his views via punk rock and he said he despised it. It reminded him of the early Who which undoubtedly proves why the station never played "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" but blasted "Who Are You" continually.

I remember asking a certain former BTC conspirator who was well-versed in various musical mores about punk rock and he told me to avoid it all with a flaming passion. The same fellow later advised me against buying the recently-reissued KICK OUT THE JAMS which only goes to prove something to you, only I can't exactly figure out what it is lo these many years later.

Considering that early August marks the Big Fortieth Anniversary of the second (and unfortunately last) Mont de Marsan Punk Rock Festival I thought that a post devoted to not only that particular festival but French punk in particular would be appropriate. After all the French had always been known for their general lack of rockist ideals (why just ask Robert Christgau!) even though they were the nation that spawned Marc Zermati and Skydog Records as well as Patrick Eudeline, Yves Adrien, Rotomagus, Marie et les Garcons, Little Bob Story and other acts that I'm sure the likes of Christgau would find consequential to the growth and development of a high energy punk rock climate. But eh, we always knew better (didn't we always?), or at least I did after seeing (in high stool history class no less!) that snap of Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye receiving some award from a Frenchman for RADIO ETHIOPIA...the French always knew more about rock 'n roll than Christgau did and if only someone had thought enough to translate Eudeline and Adrien into English just so's their verbiage of value could have reached more rock-starved peons such as yourself maybe we wouldn't have had to kid ourselves that THE CHRISTGAU CONSUMER GUIDE was actually worth the time and effort to peruse.

But really, French punk was a beautiful entity all to itself. Part late-sixties US garage band drill and part mid-seventies English hard blooze with a whole slew of points in-between, the music was perfect for rock 'n roll reactionaries whose idea of punk was a buncha wired kids in that garage at the end of the lane cranking out a sound that was mostly atonal but had that feral quality that was sorely missing from most of the music being heard them days. Of course once the Sex Pistols' aura permeated everything in its path things changed, but even then there was a unique approach and attempt at a new INTERNATIONAL YOUTH LANGUAGE that transcended mere gab being made. Perhaps this really was the last attempt to keep it from all tumbling into the abyss, but they did give it more'n the ol' college try if I do say so myself and maybe for that we should be thankful.

And now, a REVIEW OF A BOOK entitled LE MASSACRE DES BEBES SKAI---PUNK ROCK FESTIVAL; MONT DE MARSAN 1976 & 1977 by Thierry Saltet (Julie Editions, 2012)

It's all in French but considering how many consider English nothing but sloppy French maybe I can make it out just a little. I guess that the two Mont de Marson punk fests were famous enough in France at least to rate a book, and this one seems like it would be the kind of read that really laid down the line as to what was goin' on at the fest, the ins and outs of the entire shebang detailing things we never knew about given the various backstage hubbub 'n all. It sure LOOKS good that's for sure, what with the great snaps and fliers present not to mention that author Saltet got his info from some of the better (Jonh Ingham in MELODY MAKER) and worse (Caroline Coon in MELODY MAKER!) extant.

Before we go on any further maybe I should mention how organically together (man!) the concept and portrayal of punk rock was. Many have mentioned how the definition of punk rock was different in 1971 (when CREEM would use the term to describe the likes of Ten Years After and Ashton Gardner and Dyke along with the Seeds and Stooges) and 1975 and 1977, but somehow the news really didn't hit the likes of Zermati who actually presented a wide array of acts that coalesced loosely under the punk banner. Well, not that loose (after all there weren't any of those neo-punk prog "Zeuhl" acts around that's for sure!) but having a "Big Tent" appreciation of the punk term really fitted in with my own understanding of just how deep and of what kind of width the entire underground had absorbed. Even if it did come to the point where NONE of the people I knew could handle Nick Lowe because he was a punk even though they liked "So It Goes" until they found out he was one!

Interesting shards can be discerned. F'r example the boss-beyond-belief rhythm and blues act Roogalator were supposed to play the '76 fest but didn't because an electric piano was not provided, while a cloudburst actually cut the second fest short thus denying attendees the opportunity of seeing a few acts (and I don't know which ones...my understanding of French ain't that spiffy!). Bits and pieces I never knew about (such as that the Pink Fairies who appeared here were actually made up of Twink, Duncan Sanderson and a pickup guitarist) are also present, but what I was rather interested in were some of the "also ran" types who appeared, those acts that most of us never heard of before and more likely never heard of again which naturally got my mind in an uproar over the possibility of discovering a new lost seventies wonder.

Now some of these flash inna panners did release material which I have fortunately had the opportunity to review for all of our further rock edjamacation, but acts such as Passion Force, an all-black power trio who came, played a blazing set of punk-funk (long before that concept was officially coined!) and scooted back into obscurity are the thing that make me want to uncover even more and more of the gritty underbelly of underground rockism that was permeating the scene at the time. Like ever-decaying film, these memories and sounds must be preserved lest the vanish like some long-gone D. W. Griffith feature that we sure read a lot about, but never will be able to see.

Also interesting is some of the things that were presented as fact to a punk-starved populace but were somehow twisted about in the process. Take this one flier for the '77 shows presented by some Spanish punk fans who make a whole load of errors (which I somehow think were intentional but who knows) regarding a variety of subjects. Hokay, we all know that the Tyla Gang were not from Holland nor the Police from Belgium (the promoters of the '76 shows listed the [Hammersmith] Gorillas as being Scot!) but why were they leading unsuspecting attendees into thinking that Lou Reed was actually part of the fest even though he was playing the day after and the audience was just expected to hang around for that 'un. And I dunno who gave 'em the idea that the TROGGS were to play the fest since I hard nada about that until chancing upon this particular poster! Must have been wishful thinking or better yet a pure lie conjured up to get more Spaniards heading up north. Well, the year before promised the appearance of a band called "Mirrors" who were not our Cleveland faves but a makeshift operation featuring Richard Hell along with Nick Lowe and Ducks Deluxe's Tim Roper and I wonder just how much credibility one coulda put into a pairing such as that ever making it to a stage!

While someone's doin' translations on those Eudeline and Adrien articles howzbout workin' this one over??? Your punk rock public demands such a task because hey, we all know that Ann Powers never cut the mustard when it came to detailing the true nitty gritty and fun side of rock 'n roll music!
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And now for the records! All of them have something to do with either French punk rock, rock acts that appeared at Mont de Marsan or something vaguely related to either one. Whatever, these platters prove that the French rock scene, especially that of the underground rock 'n roll variety, wasn't as staid and as restrained and as boring as some neer do wells would lead you to believe. Read on, and if smart SAVE THEM SHEKELS!!! Because you will need these to cop all of the booty that's been mentioned and like, better now'n when you're deaf!


IL BARRITZ LP (Atlantic France)

I always wondered what the story was behind this Anglo-Irish-French group who recorded this album with Phil May producing and a whole load of Pretty Things helping out (though not pictured on the back cover...that was the performing group that got the entire reverse to themselves) with the kicker being that these guys were up and operating in France which is probably the only nation that released this '76 platter given its outright obscurity. I guess some old UGLY THINGS has the whole story but I'm too lazy to comb through my collection and find out right now. As far as a relic of punkisms gone by IL BARRITZ really don't measure up to what was expected of the mooment at the time---nice if slightly commercial hard rock is what'cher in store for, but I gotta say that I'll bet that more'n a few bands of the day who sounded like this got tagged as punk rock so why quibble? If you find a copy for fifty cents in your local flea market bin you're probably hallucinating.
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Shakin' Street-AXE KILLER WARRIOR'S SET 2-CD box set (Axe Killer France)


It mighta seemed strange to some that Shakin' Street played both Mont de Marsan fests considerin' just how much this act hovered around the heavy metal hive in order to get their honey. But hey, if yer once again usin' the '71 punk definition o' the term, these guys (and gal) were just as much of a buncha punks as Hot Scott Fisher said Budgie were, and in no way did Shakin' Street ever cower in the macho metal (or femme approximation) as many of the losers of the eighties who might have made metal a household word but paled in all-out intensity when lined up against a whole load of hardcore punk blare that was stealin' thunder like anything back then.
This package has everything (including a booklet in French) which details the group's history from the early days up through their two studio albums and live effort which you know was all good because the heavy metal pansies of the eighties ignored it like the plague while slurping up to comparatively dull acts like Ratt and Wasp! Both studio efforts are great high energy excursions that, like Motorhead, owed more to a punkian past than the dolts at HIT PARADER would ever 'fess up to, and like who could ignore the fact that a post-Dictators/pre-Manowar Ross the Boss is up front and center for a number of lead lines that would make Ted Nugent wet his loincloth. The live set, while not up to KICK OUT THE JAMS/METALLIC KO standards, still delivers some hot and straightforward music that I know woulda made the supposed HM dopers wail like babes just like they did upon hearing Von Lmo (a true story!). It's too bad the Shakin' Street are pretty much a forgotten footnote in a book where comparative comatic (made that word up...cool, 'eh?) acts in the faux metal category are considered "hard and heavy" man!

The bonus tracks which close the disque out (featuring spacial guests Buck Dharma and Jimmy Page) sound closer to the metal than punk taproot what with their standard riffs and without anything to make it burst out into pure sound as energy. Still you gotta wonder that since both Blue Oyster Cult and Led Zeppelin have on occasion been lumped into a punk continuum maybe everyone was in on the p-rock game and wittingly knew it when laying down these tracks, right? Nawwww.....
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Little Bob Story-OFF THE RAILS----LIVE '78 CD (Ace/Chiswick, England)

Only in France could a short goofy looking wop-a-dago kid achieve fame and fortune as the frontman for a hot high energy rock 'n roll band like this! I never really cozied up to these guys after hearing their Chiswick EP a good thirtysome years back, but nowadays Little Bob Story sound like the perfect blues/punk/high energy band that shoulda ruled my growing up existence had only someone nudged me in the right direction (like told me this music even existed!). Bob moans with a great hoarse voice sounding like the high school geek gone good while the band cooks like a combo Dr. Feelgood meets MC5, and if this stuff was verboten amongst the FM-bred Pantsiosites of the late-seventies then you KNOW why that generation better get ready for a toasty afterlife in Lawrence Welk Hell!
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Maniacs-SO FAR...SO LOUD CD (Overground England)


This is English punk rock (of the punkiest kinda mind ya) right around the time it was starting to become pUnk yet wasn't whatcha'd call an embarrassment next to what it would become by the time 198X crept into existence. For a group that never really went anywhere this is some pretty solid hard-knuckled music they got here (which is probably why they never did go anywhere), and a whole lot better in approach/anger/energy than some of the lower-rung acts that were comin' outta Blighty at the time. It's too bad that these guys petered out the way they did (being in existence for the lesser part of a year) because who knows, maybe they coulda gotten somewhere and made one of those albums that really fit into the moods and modes of the day, at least the kind of moods and modes that affected disenfranchised suburban slobs like ourselves!
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Various Artists-LES PLUS GRANDE SUCCES DU PUNK CD (Skydog France)

Given that more'n a few of the acts that appeared on this platter also appeared at the Fest I felt that it was my sworn doody to latch up their recordings if only to re-create at least in my mind the energy and might that used to be punk rock. And with the infamous SKYDOG COMMANDO platter unfortunately out of reach (back then I didn't think I'd like it...can you believe that???) I've gotten hold of this Cee-Dee which has a good portion of just that on hand plus other French faves to make this an especially adorable package.

Once again this platter contains more of that rough and rumble punk before it lost its original THRUST meaning and became just another prop for armchair radicals worldwide, with roots still heavily into the usual Dolls/Stooges/Velvets-sorta drive that made these bands so delectable in the first place. Personal faves include Little Bob Story's Dr. Feelgood swipe, the Lou's dyke rock, Taxi Girl's art takes via Roxy and Terry Riley and Kalfon Rock Chaud's Dollsalike rave which makes me wonder why everybody out there in French punk land (and beyond) seemed to hate 'em! Also hot are Gazoline, Electric Callas and Marie et les Garcons who prove that even people who look as wimpoid as every other Velvets homage band on the planet can do it right for once (witness Les Scooters' "Hygiene", a "Sweet Jane" re-do that sounds unlike every other weep take of the toon recorded these past thirtysome years!).
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BRAKAMAN CD (RCA Spain)

As I said there were a number of acts at Mont de Marsan that weren't exactly whatcha'd call punk rock in the strictest 1977 sense, but they mighta fit in using the early-seventies NME/CREEM definition of the term. Spain's Brakaman were too loose an aggregation to even fit into these criteria but hey, I can see how they coulda scored a spot at the '77 fest even if they were probably gonna get about as much respect there as I would at Jay Hinman's birthday party. Brackaman played whatcha'd call a more or less toned down glam rock that, although nothing bad, just doesn't hit the same strata that those English groups that used to appear on Bell Records did. But wait...right when you're about to write these guys off they come up with a pretty good rocker that sounds as good as those early glitter-unto-punk mainland Euro singles that you occasionally see posted on the Purepop web site. Not bad at all guys, and hey next to the likes of some of those atrocities committed in the name of underground rock purity back in the eighties you definitely were punks, that's for sure!
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Various Artists-DANGER: LA FRANCE A PEUR! LP (Danger Records, France)

Now none of the acts that appear on this recent collection of rare French punkers popped up at the Fest, and most all of this is whatcha'd call punk of the '77 variety influenced more by recent English doings than earlier sound extrapolations. However, the punk that pops up here is of a pretty good quality being laid down long before the music got mooshed over by the various kling ons that toilet paper could never remove. Highlight of the set is the first cut on side two, "Strike Up" by the band of the same name who best represent the mid-seventies spirit with their sound that was highly evocative of the early Stooges run through the entire gamut of late-sixties/early seventies grit rock stylings. I sure could use an entire platter from them THAT'S for sure!
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The Pink Fairies-NAKED RADIO CD + DVD (Gonzo Multimedia, England)

Mind you, this is not the version of the Fairies that played the '76 Fest which as I told ya was naught but a quickie put-together. This is more or less the latest in the continuing line of Pink Fairies revival acts centering around originals Sanderson and Hunter with longtime hanger-on and guitar hero in his own right Andy Colquhoun and that same gal who was also in the Deviants the day Mick Farren gave an audience a show they'll never forget. Of course it's good in that straightforward Ladbroke Groove sorta way that still retains that post-sixties jaded feeling that made those early Fairies records pretty hotcha even this far down the line. Cover features some of the best schizo/kultural rock references seen in a while what with the hippie and punk stormfronts colliding into something that sure sounds pleasurable in a way that you never could get outta the rest of 'em hippie punks.
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And where does that leave the rest of the French punk acts from European Son and Metal Urbain on down? Don't ask me...still have a lot to hear while I still have ears and I sure would like to give some of the more obscure aggregations out there a spin before I check out into used record bin purgatory. Any help would be appreciated, but certainly not expected.