Saturday, September 24, 2016

YET ANOTHER (can ya believe it???) CASSETTE CAGA LISTENING SESSION!!!!!

I just loved my romp through the box of cassettes I uncovered about a month back, enough that I decided to do yet another one these tape-only review sections given how those cassette-y throb thrills of the past just came rushin' back! Yes, there are plenty of these cassettes in my collection that have been ignored for a longer time than I can imagine, and I gotta admit that yankin' 'em outta the box and givin' 'em a play has been a most cathartic (and money saving!) experience that really has brightened up my otherwise feh existence! And after this one more, more and even MORE cassette cagas are bound to come your way! Consider yourselves lucky you rockers because this very post (and blog) exists if only to prove to you unbelievers that the Golden Age of Rock Fandom is not dead!!!


JUMA SULTAN'S ABORIGINAL MUSIC SOCIETY (THE LPs)

Actually this one is a relative newie that somehow got lost in that infamous shuffle that happens around here all the time. Thankfully there seems NO END to the rash of free jazz/experimental/avant whatziz recordings that have been made o'er the past few decades, and these guys must certainly be given their dues for making some mighty unattached by any sorta credo we know sounds. Sultan and band (which at one time had James "Blood" Ulmer and maybe some other notables in its ranks) cook up some rather high-flying and downright inspirational music on these recordings that go from AACM atonal to Afro percussion in the best Art Ensemble of Chicago sorta way. And even though I get the feeling that NOBODY who played on these platters would last more than a year if they were plunked right inna middle of Deepest Darkest I really do like the feral atmosphere a good portion of these recordings exude.
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PLAYETTE (Sirius Music)

If 1975's CHINABOISE were harbingers of the local neo-Velvets uprising to be found in more-enlightened-than-thou Amerigan music land of the late-seventies then 1983's PLAYETTE mighta been the proud coda. Let's face it,  underground rock (what used to get called "new wave" as opposed to punk rock until both terms were co-opted outta existence) did seem kinda outta-place during the eighties, a watered down version of its once vital self that was beginning to look like more of an embarrassment than anything. At least this MX-80/Angel Corpus-Christi spinoff captured just what is was that made suburban slob rock neophytes like myself feel oh-so-PROUD following a musical trend that had roots dating back to those late-fifties cheap parlor recordings by teenage rock aficionados yet was so crucial to the modern sense of sound deconstruction. Sirius Music was supposed to have released a whole slew of MX-80 material on tape including the Chinaboise project as well as the non-Rich Stim-manned MX-80 going under the name the C-Minus Humans. Whatever happened to that 'un?
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THE STYRENE MONEY BAND

A C-60 with one side live at the Pirate's Cove and the other singles and outtakes. Only one channel is present for the live one yet the power and energy of the group remains steady with Jamie Klimek doing a whole load of old  faves mixed in with recent compositions, and not only that but he slips a Pere Ubu reference in that just might be a sly putdown---I dunno. The flip has a load of unreleased gunch as well as faves like the true blue version of  "Radial Arm Saw" that never did get reissued proper-like. Hopefully tracks like the jazzy "Overload" and "Girls Girls Girls" will get the royal treatment one of these days, but as usual I ain't throwin' a temper tantrum until they do.
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MIRRORS, ROCKET FROM THE TOMBS, PETER AND THE WOLVES, NEPTUNE'S CAR

C-46 filled with goodies beginning with a smattering of Mirrors and Rocket From The Tombs tracks we've heard for years, followed by a cut from the Adele Bertei-edition of Peter and the Wolves we haven't (and why it ain't been released by this time I certainly do not know!). Neptune's Car, the Pere Ubu spinoff, sound totally in tune with the early-eighties switch from new wave as underground thunder monster to neo-funk riffage, but if you enjoyed those other neo-Ubu bands from the day you'll probably enjoy this as well. Still a firm reminder of what the Cleveland underground was pumping out until all of the come-latelies and shock-effect tyrants decided to get in on the game and it just wasn't the same anymore.
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Charles Tyler-SAGA OF THE OUTLAWS (Nessa)/Frank Wright-CENTER OF THE WORLD (Creative Worlds)

Tyler's "Polyphonic Sonic Tale of the Old & New West" sire doesn't sound like the aural equivalent of tacky furniture with wagon wheels and steer horns proudly emblazoned. What it is is a fantastic set recorded at the Studio Rivbea fest that gave us the WILDFLOWERS albums, and why this particular piece didn't appear anywhere there I do not know. Tyler once again shows why he's one of the better mid-seventies free players to have made the transition into the mid-seventies overdrive before it all seemed to tumble into oblivion. Frank Wright was yet another player who went from the ESP-disk groove into a world of self-released magnificence, and this sesh with longtime partners Bobby Few and Alan Silva's still got that mid-sixties blare that did translate well into the seventies to the point where even DOWN BEAT felt it proper to give this music ample coverage much to the dismay of Leonard Feather. If you can find 'em and stick 'em somewhere in your collection then, more power to ya.
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TIN HUEY THE MISTAKE 7/76 PLUS THE ELECTRIC EELS 9/9/75

Can't make out the exact date on the Huey stuff though I originally was under the impression that this was recorded at the same show that gave us the finale of the original Pere Ubu with Peter Laughner and Tim Wright. A pretty good if truncated show with better'n expected sound quality featuring Huey somewhere between their Canturbury/kraut/punk phase and the more new-unto-gnu wave they eventually evolved into before clocking out. Biggest surprise: "Train Kept a' Rollin", unfortunately cut in its prime. If you were a big fan of the Clone Records releases this edition of the band will most likely be up your rather expansive alley.

The Electric Eels tracks have been issued (well, I believe most of 'em have) on a variety of albums and the like, though on this original recorded as it happened session you get to hear the between song guitar scronks and the like. Nothing as outrageous as the time the group broke into Mott the Hoople's "Violence" but still as spontaneously satisfying as if you were in that very room getting into an argument with everyone involved.
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ALHAJI AYINIA OMOWURA/FRANCOIS TUSQUES

Omowura and band recorded this album for EMI Nigeria, and somehow I get the idea that EMI wouldn't exactly cozy up to the idea of any international release considering the specific audience for such items that I kinda doubt would exist in Greenland. Heavily percussive call and response vocals do get into a rather hypnotic groove, though the only thing I could think about after hearing this was when my next meal of missionary is going to be.

The Tusques recording here is actually that of INTERCOMMUNAL MUSIC which I reviewed for these very pixels a good ten or so years back, so dig that one up if you care to know what I thought about it then. As for today I feel the same way I did then about this ecstatic session featuring the likes of Sunny Murray and Alan Silva amongst others doing the expat game with the same push that we expected (and got) from a good load of those BYG albums.

Filling out the sides are a number of eighties hard/grind/metal/applecore tracks that, while certainly a great portion of what the eighties underground rock scene typified, still remind me of just why I had those strong longings for various seventies under-the-radio forms around the time 1985 was creeping into my psyche
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Boy/Dirt/Car-GHOSTSHIRT (Artweather Communications)

Packaged in a mini burlap sack with inserts (actually little xeroxed papers), this infamous group (once mentioned in an Ann Landers column!) did the industrial music thing about as good as all of the competitors on the OPTION/SOUND CHOICE bandwagon could. Some electric instrumentation from the Die Kreuzen people give this a rock 'n roll bent at times, but mostly this just churns away with some surprisingly quiet moments that lull you into a sense of somethingorother which kinda gets me staring at the ceiling for hours on end. Still looking for the rest of these Boy/Dirt/Car tapes which are hidden in various nooks and crannies, and if I do fine 'em you can betcha they just might end up in a future CASSETTE CAGA column!
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Various Artists-WHERE THE BIRDMEN FLEW

A ho' maid job complete with a xerox cover featuring a load of then (and now) rare Australian single/Eee-Pee sides that some of us were known to have craved for in their original vinyl form. The Radio Birdman and related groups have that definite Detroit-cum-Doors sound that sure sounded great in light of what was happening in "rock music" at the time (y'know, those days when a photo of an overweight Rob Tyner in the pages of CREEM was cause for celebration) while the Psycho Surgeons and Lipstick Killers bring back the sixties sound from around the time that it was still kinda fresh and not fodder for ROLLING STONE issue stuffing. When I was starting my illustrious journalistic career it was high energy rock 'n roll like this which made up my entire reason for being, so if it weren't for these guys who knows...I'd probably be writing about the posies at some flower show!
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STALK FORREST GROUP/PATTI/MELTZER & BURDEN/BURROUGHS

Here's one Eddie Flowers sent me a good THIRTY years ago, and it holds up today just as well as it did way back when I was younger than that now.

The Stalk Forrest Group Elektra album has been given its proper release dues long after the fact, but back then the only way you could hear it was on tape and let's just say the whole thing holds up a good forty-seven or so years later what with that psychedelic drive that seems to have been forgotten once the group went heavy metal. If you've read that Meltzer blurb that appears in the DENIM DELINQUENT book you'll understand this even more. Patti Smith on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE continues to thrill me long after first seeing this live as it happened, and although Russell Desmond might disagree I found this appearance epiphanal! Well, at least for a mid-teen pimplefarm who was just starting to buy records it sure was, and back then I was a guy who really hadda count my pennies so you can bet I was more'n careful as to where my money went! And closing out side one that famed soopergroup the Afrika Korps doing the six-oh revival thing a good five years beforehand and a good deal better'n some of the acts doing the same riffage a good decade later.

On the flip of the tape is part of the HEPCATS FROM HELL radio show when Meltzer had on as his guest famed "performance artist" Chris Burden who brought his automatic weapons along and really yuks it up doing this tough guy maniac act. Unfortunately the tape cuts right before Burden fires one of his weapons out the window which really woulda been a hoot to hear. Closing out the tape is a segment of the infamous CALL ME BURROUGHS album that sure beats those audio books written for misguided teenage gals too lazy to read the real thing. In all, a great selection of boffo o-mind drool we could sure use a lot more of these rather subdued days.
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Twink-WMSE 10/17/88-Ron Asheton-WBCN '88

Side "A" features the famed ex-Pink Fairies/Tomorrow/Pretty Things/Iggy audition drummer during his late-eighties comeback days getting interviewed by a number of local entities about his associations with everyone from Syd Barrett to the Deviants. Interspersed are a whole slew of tracks you've heard and probably haven't heard before but hey, it's always boffo to hear 'em again if you've heard 'em already! The Stooges' own Ron Asheton gets the interview treatment on the flip talking about the early days of the Detroit high energy movement making a fellow like me want to hear even more than what is available (especially the Seventh Seal and like, when is their album coming out???). This 'un ended up on one of those Stooges platters that came out during the late-eighties Stoogerush but it's nice hearing it again uncut and with that live 1971 version of "What 'cha Gonna Do". Closing out the thingie's the Imperial Dogs single which we all know and love these days, but just try latching onto these things back when it REALLY hurt not having 'em!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

BOOK REVIEW! OFFICE HI-JINX by Jimmy Hatlo (Ace Books, 1961)

THEY'LL DO IT EVERY TIME was one of those comic strips (or in this case "panels") that I really enjoyed peeping at back during my plunge into the double-digits days. Naturally I liked this 'un if only because of the old-styled art and grown-up attitude to be found that you just couldn't get outta most things the hippoid generation was pushing at'cha at the time. For me it was a comic that more or less reflected the ideals of the older-than-old generation, that of the uncles and aunts who came of age in the twenties and thirties who pretty much spent a whole lotta time in offices like the ones seen in the various sagas featuring boss J. P. Bigdome and his subordinates like Cheddar,  Angleworm and of course Tremblechin, the long-employed underling who never did get that bigtime break inna biz. Of course that world is (sadly) now gone for good but at least this collection of Jimmy Hatlo workplace-related gags remains, albeit in a battered old paperback that I musta gotten nth-hand but so WHAT!!!

These comics really do capture that whole office mileau of passed up promotions, collections for retirement gifts and football pools, stenos who just sit around gossiping until you have a paper for them to type THEN they're busier'n all heck and other (I guess) real-life office practices that I guess go on in offices (at least from what my father, who worked in one, told me). Well, it does seem a whole lot more real'n the glimpses of what I've seen on various tee-vee series (whenever I pass by a set that is) which I think might reflect the miasma that is modern living more than what real life has to dictate, but then again it's come to the point where EVERYTHING I see on tee-vee comes off more a reflection of today's dystopia but the again what else is old???

The artwork is what really appeals to me, what with that fine pen work and style that seemed to go our forever once artists like Hatlo passed on to that big syndication office in the sky. From the looks of it Hatlo, unlike most of today's funny page delineators, actually took some comic art courses and produced an effort that looks as if it took more than five minutes to create or wasn't drawn by a half-blind suburban slob pimplefarm on leftover lined out school paper. In a day where meaning and intent beat talent and end results out all hollow it's sure grand giving these old comics (which capture the angst of modern workaday living honestly) a good eyeballing.

And as far as that "workaday living" goes OFFICE HI-JINKS sure beats that other comic about office life DILBERT all hollow. (And sheesh I hate to keep complainin', but they used to criticize Ernie Bushmiller's art for being "primitive"...Scott Adams makes the creator of NANCY look like Da Vinci!) Not only that, but it sure conjures up memories of what working a desk job meant (and perhaps means) to many a bummed out scrounger trying to make ends meet and keep up with the bills while having to endure all of the shame and degradation that Tremblechin did merely to keep on going. You know who I'm talking about...people like YOU.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

FANZINE FANABLA ESOTERICA TIME!

I'm through with the ol "Fanzine Fanabla" bit...it's back to the original title of this fanzine historical roundup thingie I started way back in the pages of my not-so-infamous crudzine a longer time back'n I can imagine. Anyway, here are a few self-produced rags that I've chanced upon since the last fanabla "esoterica" edition, and although there are still many a fanzine on my want list I have yet to receive (such as NIX ON PIX #1 and most of the old issues of NEW AGE), I think I did pretty good with what I have picked up this last year or so. You might not, but then again you were probably one of those RICH KIDS who could afford alla the fanzines you wanted merely by putting on a stamp your feet act in front of mommy 'n daddy who'd do ANYTHING to get you to stop making such a pantywaist of yourself! Me, I hadda work for these things!
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First up on today's schedule's this infamous bit of fanzine history that I only recently had the pleasure of getting hold of. Ever since I read the later-than-late Gary Sperrazzas' review of TERMINAL ZONE in a by-now ancient issue of BOMP! I've been wanting to read it if only to catch this mag's take on the whole Richard Meltzer appreciation of rock as more'n just "art" via that all-time classic THE AESTHETICS OF ROCK. Being a sucker for anything even quasi-Meltzer related I figured that this particular pub would be just chock brimming full of various unheralded insights and heretofore unrealized ideas regarding the famed ex-rock critic, all written up in that boff gonzo style that sure seemed refreshing next to some of the academic mirror-gazing self-conscious quap that could surely be found in the rock writing sphere not only then but now.

Well, TERMINAL ZONE certainly ain't no Meltzerian wonder a la TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE that's for sure, what with its uber-intellectual (whether real or phony is not the question) approach to the 1977 rock music scene for all the good or bad that may imply. The Meltzer article itself is beyond belief as even the title "Primordial Etiologist" would imply and the rest, from an appreciation (I think) of Charlie Gillett's SOUNDS OF THE CITY to an overview as to just where rock music (and the wide array of pop/rock/jazz/etc. sounds of the era) stood in terms of overall aesthetic principles can wear heavy on those of you weaned on my own dumb-down rock screeding approach. A chart showing the state of music 1977 is rather strange (where "new wave rock" takes on a whole new meaning and PFM are categorized as "avant garde") while the blues one tracing the development of the sound to where it was to what it became tends to baffle. Wading through this is about as bad as working your way through a textbook on some subject you haven't an inkling of an idea as to what it's about, although the academic pieces on Bruce Springsteen and Todd Rundgren do come off about as good as some of the second string efforts to appear in the pages of many a publication which does redeem things a bit. Not that any of you would particularly care to read articles on either of them...

Of course I like it all even with the brain-twisting writing and general hoity manner that seems to permeate perhaps because of TERMINAL ZONE' overall strange nature. Were there any other issues? I tend to doubt it but I have known to be wrong once.
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It's really a shame that a whole load of the English fanzines that came out in the late-seventies never did make their way over here, because some of them (even with their self-conscious poses and paens to Working Class schmooze) were pretty hotcha in their own grubby British sorta way. One of the better of these mags was THE STORY SO FAR which, not-so-surprisingly enough, was the b-side to the Red Crayola 12-inch single that had been released on Rough Trade only a short while earlier. The Crayola are in here, as are some of the better names to pop up on a Rough Trade catalog like Cabaret Voltaire (right before the fall), Swell Maps, Essential Logic (hokay, not the best of the batch) not forgetting the French rock group that went by the name the Dogs, neither the Flamin' Groovies nor the Detroit trio in case you happen to be that stoopid! Surprisingly enough the cover feature is on none other than the Barracudas who were one of those Great White Hopes for the return of surf music sounds in an era when the mode seemed like one of those good memories of the past that was simply not coming back!

And true it all looked kinda silly once 1983 rolled around, but then again all of the things goin' on in 1983 looked silly in 1983 so why should any of us quibble about those Rough Trade singles that just didn't hold their zing the way we thought they all would???
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I gotta say that I most certainly do dig these old fanzines that were devoted to a specific artist, group or spinoffs of said artist or group, depending on how much I dug the group at hand that is. After all fanzines like WHAT GOES ON made up a great part and parcel of my early fanzine buying days and I can still recall the thrill and inner wooziz discovering heretofore unknown to me facts about Lou and company back during the days when the Velvet Underground's music was having an incredible impact on my very being. It is obvious that many of these types of 'zines really don't measure up to their more "genzine" brethren due to being abysmally fannish---and that's fannish as in some overweight 65 + year old who still wears her "I LIKE GEORGE" button on her quivering mass of boobie---what with the overtly trite 6th grade level writing usually found not forgetting the lack of real facts or in-depth uncovering of the secrets behind the powers at hand.

These types of zines come off sorta like the pre-internet version of Facebook, only said fans get to make their inept comments immediately 'stead of sending them to the printer and distribute them months after we've all found out what was happening to said act via some by-then crusty old issue of CREEM. Thus, we can now read some gal's post via computer a good week or so after we first found out about it via some "major" source rather than two months which I guess is a real step-up with regards to unbridled fanaticism!

MOONLIGHT DRIVE is different. It's obviously a Doors-oriented mag as if we didn't already have enough of those, but it's a whole lot better'n a good portion of the fan club-styled 'zines I've come across lo these many moons. In many ways this 'un continues on the fantastic proto-punk fanzine idiom (at least those with wider tastes a la BACK DOOR MAN, DENIM DELINQUENT you know the drill...) in the way that the people behind this don't stick Morrison all over their xeroxed pages and cram every inch of space with teenybop gal flowers and rainbows and hearts and other cutesy slumber party hijinx. There's a lot more'n Jim in here and hey, what that "more" entails is something that really flibbens my jib ifyaknowaddamean...

The Doors coverage is kept to a minimum which is a blessing to a guy like me who had to endure more'n enough of Morrison worship throughout the seventies and eighties. It's thankfully mostly limited to an interview with Ray Manzerek and a piece on Morrison's poesy, all of which I naturally skipped (heck, I got C-minuses in English class for writing better poems than this moron!), but what got my all hopped up about MOONLIGHT DRIVE were the neato articles that pad out the rest of this particular ish (#3/81 in case anyone is keeping track). From the cover story on Yoko Ono to a review of a Flamin' Groovies/Radio Birdman show, this is a fanzine that really captured the whole sixties/seventies and beyond rockist outlook without the snob appeal or artsy pretension, and man could we have used more'n a few fanzines like that these past thirtysome years don'tcha think!?!?!

And that's not to mention those brief though appreciative histories of both H. P. Lovecraft (the group, though the guy does get pictured!) and Arthur Lee's Love to the International Artists label and a thingie on the Monochrome Set, a band I always tended to loathe though this piece actually had me searching out some available booty to see if I may have been wrong (which I doubt!). Scads on Captain Beefheart and a brief history of the Teardrop Explodes also show up, and although the information (though not the critiques) once again tends to be more of that re-hash of things we've known for years on end it's all done in that great crazed fanzine-ish style that really wasn't that far removed from the likes of what was going on at THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS or ZIGZAG, at least before their great fall into the Marillion abyss. I kinda wonder if the people behind this mag did it in order to gain the attention of the editors of this mag, who probably couldn't see a decent new crop of writers they were starin' 'em inna face (or THE FACE for that matter)!

I'd sure like to know more about this fanzine, like how long they lasted and what else was covered in their issues etc. and so forth. Most of all, are there any other issues still available? As usual, you will ignore my plea.
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Here's another fanzine that is devoted to a single entity of interest (at least of interest to the fanablas putting the thing out!), mainly the man known and loathed as Iggy Pop. I gotta admit that I really dig the two Iggy Pop/Stooges fanzines that had come out during the mid-seventies at a time when interest was bubbling over during a time of definite Poppian inactivity...HONEY THAT AIN'T NO ROMANCE (Iggy's European fan club's 'zine) was discussed in an earlier FANZINE FANABLA ESOTERICA and an earlier issue of IGUANA might have been as well...both were basically fannish endeavors filled with loads of zilch quality xeroxed pics taken from the biggie mags, but their energy and passion for the man called Pop made up for any shortcomings in the print department. Never did get the second and final issue of HONEY but I got the last 'un of IGUANA and the thing ain't nothin' but snaps taken at a then-recent gig in San Francisco, the city where the Amerigan Stooges fan club originated from if you can get that! One-sided, xeroxed and really nothing to sneeze at, but just for being an artifact of the seventies underground I can osmose a whole load of pulsating pleasure from each and every page, and I somehow get the feeling that a fellow like you can do just the same as well.
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As opposed to IGUANA, ALICE COOPER'S ANONYMOUS goes full hog into its subject, filling up its mimeo'd pages with rare snaps and information on Alice and band that didn't even make it into the recent autobiographies and musical collections that we all crave like the dickens. Created by a buncha English fans whom you never heard of before or since, you kinda wonder where they got all of the inside-track information that they did given that I never did hear about like how the Nazz's original composition "Mr. Machine" was reworked into "Woman Machine" on MUSCLE OF LOVE. Great writing (this ish dealing with the early years of bitter struggle) too, once again done up in that NME Kent/Murray/Farren sorta way that made more than just Metal Mike Saunders drool, complete with a sense of rock 'n roll history with that funtime attitude that always went with my appreciation of this particular type of musical form. If you (like me) considered (and continue to consider) the best of these rock 'n roll groups to be more than just musical entertainment, dwelling deep into an indescribable form of mutant energy and jamz that borders on the religious, well then I'm sure you could really appreciate a literary endeavor such as ALICE COOPER'S ANONYMOUS. It's a whole lot more enjoyable than many of the artist-based 'zines out there which came off worse'n some chubboid teenage gal's musings about David Cassidy scribbled out on notebook paper complete with flowers and smiley faces done up in magic marker.
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And speaking of DAVID CASSIDY well, it turns out that there was a fanzine devoted to him way back inna seventies which I doubt you've ever heard of! And believe-it-or-not, but it was a pretty good effort despite the at-times zilchville print job which really doesn't deter from the energy one bit. Originally going under the name DAVID'S GIRLS, STAR SPECIAL was a poorly repro'd yet power-packed 'zine done up by a gal named Terri Ferris who I suspect was part of the same buncha prepubescent pudendum who Lillian Roxon told to do fanzines of their fave artists resulting in such legendary titles as SLADE PARADER and ELECTRIC WARRIOR FREE PRESS. More than just a buncha fandrool dribble the kind mentioned above (the part in the ALICE COOPER'S ANONYMOUS review about the chubbiod teenage gal, that is) STAR SPECIAL was really hotcha on not only David but the Raspberries, the New York Dolls and Iggy with Terri herself even venturing into the Ig's hotel room to have a chat and he didn't even go after her vital juices! Heck, Terri even plugged the Planets and Fast who were just starting their careers at the time, giving the infamous Binky Philips his due saying "you'll shiver with disbelief" upon hearing his guitar strains! And amongst that there's David Cassidy of course, and even a review of his ROCK ME BABY album which was about a year and a half old at the time but did urgency really matter to these home-made productions? Hmmmmm, these teenybop gals were a whole lot more on the ball than I originally gave 'em credit for! A fanzine that I'm sure Tim Stegall would just kill for, so I better watch my back extra good, eh?
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Back to the "genzines" as they used to call 'em. And here's one that I remember reading about in the old BOMP "punk rock" issue (that is, the one with the Seeds, Standells and Leaves in it, not the one with Johnny Rotten on the cover). I never really wanted to give ROLLER READER a chance considering how editor Art Shaak was more of a West Coast folkie rock sorta guy and that didn't exactly jigsaw with my own spirit of raw poweredness, but ROLLER READER, or at least this Vol. 2 No. 1 issue from '74, had a lot going for it. A great print job a la DENIM DELINQUENT, good layout and loads of fine writing which always made these self-produced efforts a whole lot better'n a good portion of what rock criticism had been, is and will become long after anyone on this planet cares..

Unfortunately very little here appeals to me. True the Little Feat article was a nice recap of what many of us have read about the group for years, but did Jesse Colin Young, John Stewart and the Average White Band ever register even a "blip" on your taste-meter? The infamous and much-missed Lisa Fancher (later of Frontier Records fame) contributes an article on Cockney Rebel which seems rather out of place as well as a review of Sparks, but was that enough to wash the spiritual granola outta this particular mag? Ahhh, it's a good job. You might go for it.
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These punkish rock zines, or at least the ones who had that seventies fandom spirit, pretty much petered out once the decadent seventies started creeping into the squeaky clean eighties. However, there were a few stragglers who didn't get the memo that alla that seventies raunch and crunch was now "passe". Fortunately for us that is, and thankfully there were a few mags that continued on that great fanzine path of utter rockist destruction such as KICKS, GROOVE ASSOCIATES and a certain one outta Western Pee-Yay whose name escapes me at the moment.

Oh, and OH YEAH! too. Never heard of this 'un until recently, but better now than when I'm dead 'n rotted because this xerox wonder (put together by a Joe Tortelli, who sounds like a tasty Eyetalian dinner!) is a real wowzer of a mag. Like UGLY THINGS there was a definite sixties vibe what with the cover stories on the Dave Clark Five and Johnny Rivers which weren't too bad, as well as a pretty hotcha piece on Dean Torrance talking about the post-accident Jan and Dean days when the J&D label was set up creating a number of releases that surf fanatics continue paying high prices for even to this day. The first issue even has a great piece on folk rock that's bound to dredge up more'n a few fine protest sign memories in a whole buncha ya (almost brought a tear to my eye, and I was only a mere turdler at the time!). And to prove that he ain't a stick inna much Tortelli even included a piece on Lene Lovich and writeups of some of the newer under-the-underground punky (not hardcore but punk like it was talked about in the mid-seventies) releases that we probably still have and hold. It's too bad that OH YEAH! is all but forgotten these days while utter drek got all of the underground rock praise and glory, but considering how topsy turvy life is, maybe that should be taken as a compliment of the grandest style!
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I'm not too familiar with LIVING IN PARADISE which was a New York City fanzine with a strong English bent to it, which is too bad for me because this 'un was a pretty worthy read and might have made it humongous had it only gotten out a li'l more'n it did. Nice pieces of the likes of Ultravox, the Only Ones and even the Fabulous Poodles who come to think of it were a whole lot more revved 'n a certain Ypsilanti (or is it Lake Orion?) Michigan rock critic once made 'em out to be (at least judging from the that track on the CAMDEN TOWN Cee-Dee set Paul McGarry sent me quite awhile back). There's even an interview with Meg Griffin who was once seen as the true savior of rock 'n roll radio in a sea of AOR eventually to capsize into "Classic" format music. If ya were an "Anglophile" who couldn't get enough info outta your TROUSER PRESS magazines I get the impression that this 'un woulda made a good addendum to it all. Yet another fanzine that deserves a little retro rah rah because hey, like just about alla the mags on this post, this is that good and don't let any puerile pud out there tell you different!
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Before I go, I just wanna point out to you a few more issues (mainly one and two) that I got of the previously mentioned MOONLIGHT DRIVE which were received in the mail this very day! They're digest-sized as well and fairly readable even if the Doors material found in 'em really doesn't go down well with my own sense of rockist pride but what else is old. Still these guys had their rock heads screwed on tight enough, what with their coverage (and love of) ideas closer to the BLOG TO COMM stratum such as sixties Amerigan garage band rock, Captain Beefheart and even some surf music complete with an early photo on Jim Messina of Jesters fame back when he seemed like the cool kinda cat you'd wanna hang around with! Good Bowie piece too, and we're even talking early eighties when nobody in their right mind would want to write about him! Makes me wonder if any more of these made their way out to the populace at large, though considering how good this publication was (and the era in which they were being produced) I seriously kinda doubt it.

Until next time, keep an eye out for any issues of CHUCKLEHEADS GAZETTE that you may have hidden in your bedroom. They just might make you a richer man (even if, from what I can tell, the mag never made it outta the draft stage...).

Thursday, September 15, 2016

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! NO DOWN PAYMENT starring Joanne Woodward, Jeffrey Hunter, Tony Randall, Cameron Mitchell, Sheree North and Pat Hingle! (20th Century Fox, 1957)

 I remember catching the last third of this li'l flick on AFTERNOON THEATER during some mid-seventies Christmas break, and all I could think about it was sheesh, they even had them sick side o' suburbia moom pitchers back inna fifties! Now that I'm older (not exactly wiser) and have seen the film in its entirety all I can say is that NO DOWN PAYMENT is a snappy moom that really does capture the gross underbelly of SoCal existence, and it's such a good encapsulation of a whole lotta the sin and depravity that's goin' on that it makes PEYTON PLACE look like LITTLE MISS MARKER with a few episodes of THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW thrown in.

Jeffrey Hunter and Sheree North play young marrieds who are more'n anxious to move into their new suburban digs and meet the neighbors. The Flaggs seem pretty neat what with Jerry being a fun-loving if sometimes tipsy used car dealer, while the Kreitzers are an equally stoic bunch even if the mister never does pop up at the local modern-architectural construction known as the neighborhood church. And the Boones from Tennessee seem easy going what with their Southern charm 'n all, but as we all know there's a whole lotta seethin' loathin' tragedy rumblin' underneath the shiny exterior that's naturally gonna ALL COME OUT sorta like that red pimple that was festerin' on your nostril until ka-SPLAT it bursts all over the bathroom mirror with a whole lotta bloody pus an' water dribblin' down your finger making ya reach for the rubbing alcohol which stings like the dickens!

Everybody plays their role to the hilt and they really do a fine job of it to the point where you kinda wonder why this 'un didn't get out more'n it should. Hokay, the rape scene where a horny Cameron Mitchell (who can go from Southern Gentleman to redneck with the drop of a hat) rapes North is kinda bizarroid (it kinda reminds me of those z-films from the thirties where the murder victim just stares at the offscreen assailant saying "no...not you!" without putting up any sorta resistance) but he and Joanne Woodward as wife Leola do pack the pathos into their roles to the point where even snobbish Southern-hating New England snoots can empathize with 'em. Hunter and North are good 'nuff as the young neophytes itching to get a start in late-fities fun and jamz while a pre-nose job Tony Randall as the alcoholic flop of a car salesman is brilliant especially when you consider all of the comparatively dippy comedy and family moom pitcher roles he is best known for. However, even at this height in his dramatic acting career I can see Randall's perennial Felix Unger peskiness seeping through more than it perhaps shoulda.

Hingle and Barbara Rush (who, come to think of it, was part of the cast of the tee-vee version of PEYTON PLACE!) as the Kreitzers don't quite stir the ol' pathos up quite as much as the others but I ain't gonna let that stop me from liking NO DOWN PAYMENT. However, I sure gotta admit that I didn't like the teeny weeny subplot regarding one of Hingle's underlings, a Japanese, who wants to move with his fambly to the estates only Hingle doesn't exactly wanna push for him because of well...property values and World War II and all that. (Of course it has to be interjected into the script that said Japanese fought on "our" side so it ain't like he's Tojo'r anything.)  Sheesh, stuff like this should've been kept on old Sunday morning religious tee-vee dramas like THIS IS THE LIFE and steered clear away from big budget mooms, but back then I guess it was the noble thing to stick these little racial hoo-hahs into pictures.

Rumor has it this was David Bowie's favorite moom which surprises me since I thought that woulda been GAY GUYS IN BONDAGE 'r somethin' like that. But anyway if this is in fact true it was a good call on Bowie's part so maybe the ol' chameleon did have some interesting tastes after all. No more AFTERNOON THEATER to watch this one on, so if you can eyeball it via tee-vee or disque I suggest you do just that!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

GUEST COMIC BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! BUSTER CRABBE #5 (July, 1952)

As with so much else in popular culture (and life in general, unfortunately), comic books have become laughably pretentious over the last thirty years. The spirit of fun seems to have been forgotten (just look at what’s happened to figures as diverse as Batman and Archie) as comic books seek to “reflect society” (whatever THAT means....the only comics to ever reflect MY world were written by Harvey Pekar!) and to deal with social issues. Today’s comics audience praises a Batman comic or film because it’s “really dark.” That pretentiousness is reflected in today’s film adaptations of comic book properties. Instead of being pulpy B-movies or serials, the natural format for comic book adaptations, for the last thirty years they have been bloated, big-budget affairs with tons of unconvincing CGI effects which make the whole thing look like a video game (which might well be the intended effect, considering the target audience). There ought to be a law that comic book adaptations should have a budget limit of about $3 million and should be made by someone like Fred Olen Ray, who knows and understands and appreciates the genre’s roots in serials and B-movies. The people who make the Sharknado films should be handling comic book properties. Ironically, comic books had a lot more VALUE when they were considered disposable, before people wrote academic papers on them and they were sent to CGC for numerical ratings as if they were chemicals being sent off to a lab, with collector-nerds and dealers getting into arguments over near mint vs very fine ratings. In many ways, what was great about comics died with the passing of Charlton Comics (maybe I should write an essay about that sometime? needless to say, I still grab ANY Charlton Comic I can find). 

When the Buster Crabbe comic book under review here was published, comics were purchased by children and adolescents who had an extra dime earned by lawn-mowing or given to them by a grandparent, and then went down to their local drug store and looked through the racks for the best escapist entertainment they could find. That dime was important--it had to be spent well. Comics also had an adult audience, the kind of adults who still read comic strips and went to serials. In movies of the day, the comic-reading adult was often depicted as a child-at-heart security guard or as an out-of-it member of a criminal gang who would be off in a corner with his comic while the gang boss was explaining the plans for the next heist. Any of us related to BTC would probably fill those roles well....I can still be found with an old DURANGO KID or BARON WEIRWULF'S HAUNTED LIBRARY comic book while waiting in a doctor’s office or at the local tire shop, unashamed, while everyone else is hooked up to electronic devices feeding them content and looking like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel.

While western film stars such as Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and Tim Holt had had their own series of comic books during the height of their popularity, in the early 1950’s there was a curious phenomenon of people who had stopped making B-westerns (and who’d moved into character actor roles) getting a new-found popularity among youngsters because of their old films being re-run on television. The early days of TV were full of broadcasts of 1930’s and 1940’s low-budget movies which had been sitting on dusty shelves unwanted for years. The major studios had not yet cut deals for TV broadcasts of their film libraries, yet low-budget product was available and for next to nothing. Thus, in the early 50s, western actors such as Bob Steele and Buster Crabbe, both of whom had stopped starring in B-westerns circa 1946, became new heroes to the youth of America through their old low-budget films and got their own series of comic books. Crabbe, in particular, got a big career revival among youth to the point where he hosted a television show for kids where he showed clips from his old movies and he got a new juvenile-oriented show (which was still being re-run when I was a child) called CAPTAIN GALLANT OF THE FOREIGN LEGION, where he co-starred with his young son, Cullen “Cuffy” Crabbe. 

In many ways, Crabbe was the perfect person for comic book stardom back when comic books mattered. First, he had starred in films in three of the most popular comic book areas--jungle, science fiction, and western--so he could be put in any of those situations in his comic stories. Also, as a former Olympic athlete and someone whose public persona was as an affable, self-deprecating, witty man who loved children, he was the textbook example of a popular culture hero to American youth. He had an amiable public persona yet he could be tough. He’d played Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, AND Tarzan...as well as appearing in a number of other serials, as late as 1952, the year of this comic book, when he starred in the Columbia serial KING OF THE CONGO based on the comic book property THUNDA. Crabbe’s name and persona suggested action and adventure....with both a square jaw and a smile.

As I understand it, Crabbe had two different comic book series with different publishers in the 1951-1954 period, and then he also had a comic devoted to the CAPTAIN GALLANT series. This particular issue was published by Famous Funnies (also known as Eastern Color), a company going back to the 1930’s. Many of Crabbe’s comics have lapsed into the public domain and can be found for free online, and some have been re-published in handsome exact reissue format. The back cover is devoted to an ad for kids to send a quarter to join the “Buster Crabbe Western Club” (I would have joined had I been around back then!), where you get a badge and an autographed photo. Clearly, a deal had been worked out with Buster Crabbe by the publisher that was mutually advantageous....and just as clearly, a deal had NOT been worked out with Crabbe’s sidekick in 36 (!!!) of his 1940’s PRC westerns, Al “Fuzzy” St. John. Fuzzy continued on as sidekick to Lash La Rue when Buster retired from the Western screen, and after the movies with La Rue came to an end, Fuzzy continued to do personal appearances where he’d screen a film and do his routines live for a juvenile audience. I believe he was still doing that in the mid-to-late 1950’s. However, while St. John is present in these comics, the character name is changed to “Whiskers.” St. John’s name is never mentioned, nor is Fuzzy’s, but he looks and acts exactly like the Fuzzy character. Guess the celebrity endorsement budget was spent entirely on Buster Crabbe!

Although the cover of this particular issue is by Frank Frazetta (who, coincidentally, was responsible for THUNDA, mentioned above), the art in most of these second-string comic books tends to be somewhat functional--like what you’d see in a public health comic book or comics given away with children’s products like cereal or toys. As with a formula B-movie, it’s atmosphere and fast pace that matters....and the presence of Buster Crabbe. There’s an interesting mix of contents in this issue....I’d certainly think I got my 10 cents worth had I bought it with lawnmowing money in 1952. This issue is book-ended by a western short story, ”Backfire,” NOT featuring Crabbe, one of those mini-stories used as filler in comics well into the 1970’s. This was probably sitting around the publisher’s office and who knows if it had been used elsewhere under another title. It seems hastily written, as if the author was simply riffing on western clichés seen in B-movies and found in pulp fiction. The quick writing does give the piece a certain kind of “flow,” but that’s probably an unintentional side effect of the five cups of coffee the (uncredited) writer drank while writing the first and only draft.

After that comes the feature story, eleven pages long, the one depicted on the cover, “Buster Crabbe and The Maid of Mars.” Although playing on Crabbe’s identification as both Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, he’s paired with Fuzzy (oh, I mean Whiskers), his western sidekick, though in a sci-fi setting. We have a glamorous outer space heroine who first tries to capture Buster but then falls for him. Of course, juvenile boys have little time for “sappy” romance, so Buster does NOT settle down with her or bring her back to Earth as his mate.

As an old-time movie theater would give you a double bill, a comedy short, a serial episode, a newsreel and maybe a cartoon, a comic book of the day also threw in many different elements of different lengths and different tones. Thus, next we have a one-page comedy western featuring Whiskers, “Gold in the Mouth of the Creek.” Then, Buster and Whiskers return in an eight-page western called “Showdown,” which begins promisingly where the boys are arriving in a new town and overhear someone claim to have just “shot Buster Crabbe.” Who could NOT want to read the story after that!

In the PRC westerns, one quality that Fuzzy’s character had and exploited for comic effect was outrageous exaggeration in long-winded stories which no one believed. You know, the “I held off the entire regiment single-handed with only three bullets and a broken arm” kind of story. The six-page “Whiskers The Indian Fighter” features Whiskers only and is in that vein. Continuing with the slapstick, though with a big drop in quality, comes a one-page filler comic--kind of like a skit or blackout but lacking a decent punchline--featuring neither Buster nor Whiskers, called “Homer On The Range.”

The issue closes with a five-page western adventure with Buster and Whiskers called “The Round Up,” and then on the last page, the last few paragraphs of the short story which began the comic.

That’s a heck of a lot for 10 cents. It’s the comic book equivalent of an afternoon’s program at the local theater, but (almost) all of it devoted to Buster Crabbe and Fuzzy/Whiskers. And unlike a movie, you could re-read this comic as much as you wanted, and then later trade it to a friend for an issue you did not have. You owned a piece of Buster Crabbe which you could keep in your room and look at when you were bored or after your parents put you to bed for the night. Or maybe you were 25 years old, reading it in between customers while working at the transmission shop, wanting some escapist entertainment until you could get down to the neighborhood theater on the weekend for a Johnny Mack Brown double bill. Whatever, this Buster Crabbe comic book delivered the goods in 1952....and it still delivers the goods today. A Google search for ‘Buster Crabbe #5 comic book 1952’ should find you the comic online so you can read it for yourself, or you can purchase a reprint of it.

The ad on the back of this comic proclaims, “Hi Gang....You Should Be A Member of the Buster Crabbe Western Club.” Since that offer is no longer good, the next best thing would be to go online and read this comic book. You can then become, at least, an honorary member.

Buster and Whiskers and I will be proud of you!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

I gotta admit it's kinda fun watching what passes for "civilization" these days run towards oblivion like yer favorite Warner Brothers characters over a handy precipice. Yeah, although I may eventually be flung over with the rest (thought not due to my active participation) at least it's worthwhile getting an eyefulla the most evil scum of the earth types extant ruin themselves (and the rest of us) in the name of all the feelygood causes you can muster up. And while I do all of this sidelining I gotta say it's sure grand to have the following recordings to listen to if only to add more voomph to the proceedings. Agin thanks to Bill Shute and Whatzizname McGarry for the burns, for if it weren't for them a good hunkerin' slobberin' portion of this blog just wouldn't be there, ya DIG???
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Before we commence with the festivities let me clue you into this all-umportant fact you might wanna know about, mainly that a little rock cold case of mine has once again been solved. Some background...quite a long time ago I mentioned how none other than seventies fanzine great Hot Scott Fischer told me about a local ca. 1971 St. Louis Missouri group called Rush, obviously not the Canadian metalloid Randsters mind you but a bunch who were heavily into the whole Detroit revolution rock scene to the point where they even joined up with the White Panther Party and had the badges to prove it! Besides telling me about the band's revolutionary credo, Scott mentioned the time they caused a riot when opening for Ike and Tina Turner if only because the black audience set to see the headliners weren't exactly keen on Rush's white-oriented hard rock, or something like that. Well, since those days an anonymous birdie has told me that the following film of them has been uploaded to Youtube, and naturally for the sake of historical analysis I present it for you thusly:




While it ain't exactly the Detroit hard rock spasm I was hoping for this particular Rush sure do a good bonehead crunchers early-seventies hard rock blurt that I sure find a welcome change from a good portion of the softee slurp that was goin' on at the time. In other words (and need I ask???)if you were marooned on a desert island who would you rather listen to, these Rush guys or Melanie??? Maybe if some enterprising rock fanatic who's putting together an LP of early-seventies hard gunch rarities reads this he'll get the message and slip this track on, with some sonic mustering up I hope! No need to thank me for this tip Robin or whoever gets to this first, but maybe a free album would be nice!
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Mike Rep and the Quotas-HELLBENDER LP (Hozac)

It's 2016 and these fortysome-year-old rarities are only now seeing the light of day! Well, actually a few of these things have been released before but I was never privy to 'em, but my own lack of knowledge aside it's sure great hearing these basement-level rarities of the infamous Mike "Rep" Hummel! From workouts so primitive that even the Shaggs wouldn't have done 'em to particularly Pebbles and Bam Bam-ish takes on Bo Diddley and Roxy Music's "Editions of You", this album's gotta be the primal pouncer of the year. And yeah, there must have been thousands of groups like this playing their paradiddles to their fambly and no one else back then, but how many actually were smart enough to save their sounds for hungry future generations??? Itza nice 'un that I'm sure will stand the test of time, or at least the test that your more Pantsiosesque musical fan'll puke upon the needle hitting the grooves.
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Charlie 'ungry-WHO IS MY KILLER 7-inch 33 rpm EP (Hozac)

No matter how disgusted I get with the sorry state of MUSICAL ENJOYMENT here in the mid-teens, at least platters like this 'un pop up to put a smile on my face, a shine on my shoes, a cheap suit and a ten dollar bill to start me on a new life. Lost in the shuffle of late-seventies English punk do-it-yourselfisms, Charlie 'ungry managed to release a platter that would not only alienate the progressive rock dinos of the day but the punques themselves with this commercial yet deadly toetapper! Believe-you-me, this is one spinner that's crammed a whole lotta what I liked about England and the seventies onto two neet sides, and after playing both I kinda wonder where Charlie 'ungry has been (certainly not my record collection!) these past forty years!!!

Shades of the Sweet and Slade pop up and while this particular popunk certainly ain't of the spiky-haired contingent you can hear bits and feces of everyone from Generation X to early Stiff Records to even the Vibrators in 'ungry's patented teenage sway. But still, this woulda been considered too "tame" for the p-rock types and too "punk" for the straights, a dilemma which befell many a platter back in those rather over saturated with good (as well as rancid) sounds days.

Like a whole lotta these outta-nowhere records that time seems to have forgotten, one listen to this'll make you wonder why they got wooshed outta the way they did since they're so good! And then sadly, you'll come to the realization that it was because they were so good that these guys got the critical/musical bum's rush.
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The Paisley Zipper Band-LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY CD-r burn (originally on Trident Records)

Hmmmm, these guys sound like a rather similar bunch of mid-six-oh revivalists who've been making records for the past XXX years (or at least until the turn of the sentry!). OK, I'll cut out all the gosharooties and flat out tell ya that this is the Chesterfield Kings under a nom-de-plume or alias or somethin', and on this live platter they roar through a good batch of the oldies that show off just where they're comin' from sixties-wise. By that I mean the sixties experience of the Stones (two covers)  as well as even some fifties faves revamped and of course a buncha tracks that I could only describe as being originals even though even an astute toot such as I cannot be sure. In all it's a winner what with the Big Beat being so evident and the energy being exerted by lead singer Greg Prevost, a guy you think woulda been awarded SOME sorta medal in this lifetime but hasn't. For obvious reasons I would surmise (like, he's that good!).
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Thee Sixpence-STEP BY STEP CD-r burn (originally on Akarma, Italy)

As y'all know "Incense and Peppermints" never was my idea of whatcha'd call a top notch psychedelic number. Heck, I'd probably even take the collected noodles of the Grateful Dead o'er that one because hey, sometimes those noodles can hit you in the right way when you're in a Lenny Kaye frame of mind. The pre-Strawberry Alarm Clock Thee Sixpence also do "Incense" and it's just as sappy here, but at least the rest of this snuggles up to hotcha cheap garage band levels to the point where you're zooming back to the early eighties of Moxie Records and those garage band EPs where some of these were originally repro'd. From the Seeds swipe of  "Heartfull of Rain" to three Love covers (that is if you consider thee Sixpence's version of "Hey Joe" a cover) this collection presents a neato slice of 1966 rock 'n roll at least before the big fall into nada. Too bad they couldn't have made the transformation into the Strawberry Alarm Clock a li'l less ginchy, ifyaknowaddamean...
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Ron Asheton's New Order-VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE CD-r burn (originally on Vivid Sound Records)

Ah yes, do I remember some TROUSER PRESS REVIEW OF RECORDS AND STUFF LIKE THAT book where a contributor ran the New Order down for being subsputum hard rock that had none of that Stooges fun and jamz or something like that. Don't quote me, it was a long time ago. Funny thing, but I still go for these Asheton/Thompson/Recca et. al. Los Angeles cokehead sounds and all and not only because they did the mid-seventies heavy trip as good as some of those great if ignored local groups like the Killer Kane Band. Real Sunset Strip call girl decadent flash that stresses itself out like the best Detroit bands while emitting all the sleeze of the Hollywood acts that BACK DOOR MAN made their moolah with. If I didn't know better I would rate every track on this late-oh-oh's collection up there with the rest of those transplanted Detroit escapades like KILL CITY or even...Jump???? Better than most of you readers would expect.
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Various Artists-I AIN'T LOCKING THE WINDOWS---VINTAGE SONG-POEMS AND COMMERCIALS FROM THE VIRTUAL THRIFT STORE CD-r burn (sent in by Bill Shute)

P.T. Barnum said there was a sucker born every minute, but after listening to these set your poems to music "song poem" recordings I gotta admit that there must've been at least three-and-a-half born per every sixty seconds. Well, maybe some of these efforts did have a li'l sit down at the kitchen table and come up with a good 'un sorta swerve to 'em, but otherwise (as I said long ago) ya gotta admire these song poem artists who could take the most lackluster rhymes and make 'em sound good enough that alla the relatives of Mrs. Maud Berwick of Staten Island would ooh and aah when she spun her ode to her late dog Fanabla sung oh so professionally for 'em, and they all thought it coulda even been played onna radio it was that good!

Besides the song poems (varying from soft pop to medium-strength rock 'n roll to da blooze) there are some old classic commercials that really perk up these ears. I know that most if not all of you could care less, but these ads for everything from Bosco to the new 1940 Buick really bring back memories of those days, and I wasn't even alive then which is really saying something! Maybe I'm thinking of the 1970 nostalgia trip when the adults of Ameriga, sick of their hippoid children and their rampant hypocrisy, decided to spend their free hours basking in the long-ignored kultur of the twenties onward which really brought out a lotta long-forgotten cartoons, moom pitchers and radio broadcasts from outta the mothballs and into my adolescent consciousness.  Most striking of all is the one where Dick Powell plugs Camel cigarettes, striking considering how his love for the product eventually led to his demise a good twentysome years later via The Big "C".
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Stanley Unwin-ROTATEY DISKERS WITH UNWIN CD-r burn (originally on Pye Records, England)

I guess ya hadda grow up with Unwin to enjoy him, because frankly I really don't care for his swichawordy kinda humor that may be clever but wears thin for a guy like me whose idea of classic humor is watching someone you hate's head get smashed on the sidewalk. As you better know by now,  I'm actually the kinda fanabla who likes old cornballus gags the kind Unwin tosses about like potrzebie. But really this guy just seems to miss a whole lotta marks with me perhaps because his brand of English hoo-hah doesn't have the same swivel that alla them BBC tee-vee imports of the seventies onward did. Then again maybe there just ain't anything to rip roar about these sad 'n sorry days, that is unless you can get your kicks chortling at the misfortunes of people you absolutely loathe just like I do. For serious Anglojokesters only.
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TWO DAUGHTERS CD-r burn (originally on Methane Music, England)

Another lost entry (and the second by this act to be reviewed in these "pages") in the eighties "cassette culture" sweepstakes that might have been mentioned in the pages of OP...I dunno. Pretty hotcha stuff too, what with the interesting neo-electronic sounding drones going up and down the speakers and the amorphous music settling well within your screwed-beyond-belief psyche. Nothing that's gonna make any of us wanna toss the tootsie rolls in pure ecstasy,but a definite maybe should have for those of you who used to send away for these things thinking you were on the cutting edge of technological music. Of course all you got in return was a tape of casiotone cantatas recorded by some bedroom boy who passed 'em off as culturally significant swill, but didn't you feel great about it???
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Various Artists-INSENSITIVE CUMQUAT RAG CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

It was the Studebaker onna cover that drove me to this and man, was this one of the better choices I made in my life since I switched from Peach Pomade to Vaseline Intensive Care! Roy Brooks begins things with a bluesy jazz jam called "The Free Slave". After that it's and up and down roller coaster ride going from the exciting (the Rock-A-Bouts as well as the South Amerigan Beatle beat of Los Shakers and Lose Mitos) to the snoozeville sounds of Duncan Lamont and his Holiday Inn Lounge band you can just imagine some washed-up salesman puffin' cigs away to before headin' back to his room for the night. Much of it is top notch though, and if you can't chortle a bit to Charley Weaver singing "It's Cumquat Time in Mount Ivy" (gee do I miss the original HOLLYWOOD SQUARES!) then you must be an uptight prissy just like your average repressed school marm or social justice warrior...same thing! Big surprise here is the saxophone-laden turn of the century recording from the Six Brown Brothers...sheesh, I always thought that the sax was thought of as the instrument of s-xual seduction back then so a number like this really must have been considered scandalous! Oh the shame!!!!

Friday, September 09, 2016

GUEST ARTICLE BY BRAD KOHLER ENTITLED INTO EACH LIFE A LITTLE AIR SUPPLY MUST FALL.

Jim Croce didn't even bother to clip his nostril hairs for the cover photo of his LP. That's what I thought as I held up album number one from (fifty pound) box number one. I was tired, I was sweating like a pig, I was outta beer, and I was looking at Jim Croce.

If aliens came down to clarify their understanding of certain human concepts and, upon landing, asked me the meaning of the word "mediocre". I'd hold up the Croce LP. Ah, but I would have rather dealt with bad Leroy Brown then venture further into the contents of the veritable Pandora's Box at my feet. But let me backtrack...

My father's millionaire girlfriend called me one day and informed me that she had answered an ad from someone selling one hundred LPs for a hundred bucks.

"What are these LPs?"

"The ad said 'from Aerosmith to Zeppelin.'"

"Uh huh. And what kind of condition are they in?"

"I didn't see them but he says they're good."

No way they are I think. A used record store would give him a little more if it's stuff they could move.

"So I know you like music so I'm shipping you two fifty pound boxes (imagine the cost! Then imagine the time drug-sniffing dogs spend flaring their nostrils around these boxes...) and you should have them Thursday."

"Well...I don't know what to say...(say "DON'T SEND THEM!"). thanks."

The appointed day arrived and I returned home from work at eight PM exhausted. I was hoping against hope that someone would have stolen both boxes. Hey, you see it on the news all the time at Christmas, thieves boldly running up and snatching a package off someone's front steps. Maybe someone figured the hernia in this instance may be worth it.

Rounding the corner I saw them. They sat by the mailbox taunting me. Maybe someone had tried to take them but gave up. The thieves in my town are of the lazy variety, specializing in taking cigarettes and loose change from unlocked cars.

As tired as I was, I now had to hump these boxes up the steps to my porch. It was 88 degrees and the humidity was like a vice tightening around my windpipe .Still, some faint flicker of hope fluttered within me. I imagined an original first Velvet Underground album, banana sticker intact. I dreamed of pulling out a mono copy of the first Pink Floyd LP. Unnervingly however, the soundtrack to these dreams was "More Than a Feeling" by Boston. An ill portent indeed.

I will spare you the list of obscenities I spouted as I climbed the stairs. Collapsing into a chair, I used my house key to slit the adhesive tape on box number one.

Aerosmith to Zeppelin. Most people would figure that they were getting an abbreviated classic rock schlock collection but no, this was more along the lines of the hustler who flashes an impressives wad of bills that is comprised of a fifty on the outside and a whole lot of ones tucked underneath.

Jim Croce. John Denver. Bob Welch. Ambrosia. Seals and Crofts. Simon and Garfunkel. Barry Manilow. Four (FOUR!) copies of Fleetwood Mac's RUMOURS. Three Aerosmith albums and Led Zep II. The kicker was that things I would have kept, like Black Sabbath's WE SOLD OUR SOULS FOR ROCK N' ROLL was so full of skips it was unplayable.The first Madonna album looked fresh from the factory however.

Sitting there flipping through the damned and the dreadful, I thought about how if I expired in my sleep that night relatives going through my belongings would imagine I led some strange double life. What to make of someone who had Stooges bootlegs and Supertramp? Multiple personality disorder?

What I kept:

A Buddy Holly greatest hits comp.

The Carly Simon LP where her high beams are on (sleeve only).

Klaatu, because I remember Capitol's brilliant "Are they the Beatles?" publicity campaign on the radio when I was a teen. No they weren't the Beatles and no, they weren't very good but...

Laura Nyro and Labelle. Nyro plays piano and Labelle sing old hits like "Jimmy Mack". Go ahead, turn your nose up. Believe me, it sounds better when it's sandwiched between the Doobie Brothers and Lionel Ritchie.

On garbage day I trudged back down the steps with the remaining records and deposited them at the curb. Using a threadbare broom, and old golf club, a bag of rubbish and a Sean Cassidy LP cover for the head I fashioned a crude scarecrow. The finishing touch was positioning a Joan Baez Vanguard LP with her mug prominently displayed so it looked like she was kissing Sean. Turning to do, I caught sight of the LP on top of the pile. Jackson Browne. What an ignominious end. At what - sixteen? - he was sleeping with Nico. Now here he was next to a broken toaster over and some cat litter.

If my fathers' squeeze ever answers another ad I'll tell her sorry, I just don't have any more room for more records. Will there be the box with the Chocolate Watchband on Tower in it? No doubt brother, no doubt.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

BOOK REVIEW! OUR BOARDING HOUSE 1935 SUNDAYS, by Gene Ahern (Ecomic Space)

's not so funny, but I still get the same ol' time comic strip thrills reading MAJOR HOOPLE that I usedta get back when I was slipping into the double digits all agog o'er the funny pages and want ads where OUR BOARDING HOUSE was planted by that time in newspaper history. Maybe it's because comics like this really do dredge up the happier moments of my rather confused growing up days, a time when getting the newspaper, turning to the funnies and plopping myself down on the parlor floor was just one of the fun things for an oft pushed around type like myself to look forward to along with fave tee-vee shows and evening snacks.

Gene Ahern is one of the truly forgotten greats of the comics page. Now I'm sure that a lotta modern day cool cats would undoubtedly turned up their booger-riddled nostrils at the outdated style and cornball gags that could sometimes be found therin, but OUR BOARDING HOUSE was definitely one of the highlights of the comics page of the twenties onward. It always had an especially off-the-way screwball sense to it equaling that of such famed screwballers as SMOKEY STOVER and SALESMAN SAM that was even more evident when Ahern was drawing his creation before being lured away by King Features Syndicate to do ROOM AND BOARD. These Sunday comics from 1935 really show just how nutzo Ahern could get when he had a chance to y'know, go and stretch out a li'l.

The artwork is (of course) fantastic in that old fine-point pen style that went out of favor a loooooong time ago, and ya just gotta marvel at the amount of detail and craftsmanship that went into a single panel making these comics a true work of art only one aimed at us lumpen proles 'stead of the beret and stale doritos crowd. Compare these to the current batch of comics which look even more primitive as the years go by (even the old standbys like MARK TRAIL and DENNIS THE MENACE which used to feature some mighty slick artwork but now seem dashed off) and you kinda get the impression that Ahern really put a good number of hours into his efforts with a clarity and style that seemed to vanish once the new enlightened generation got into power and decided to get rid of the past few millenniums of civilization THEIR way.

Stories are pretty hotcha as well, usually focusing on Hoople's various past exploits as an officer in the Boer War or elsewhere for that matter which always seemed strange even to his gullible nephew Alvin. But eh, it's fun to read these comics where Hoople fantasizes about his mighty prowess or gets so wrapped up in a horror story he gets the scares himself or is goaded into proving himself and fails miserably because hey, it's done up in that great old style that may not mean a thing to you, but certainly resonates with a perennial suburban slob mid-twentieth century fun and jamzster such as I!

The "Nut Brothers" and "Mr. Blotto" toppers are complimentary to OUR BOARDING HOUSE's extended romps into hokey if brilliant fantasy, what with the bros tossing badgags back at each other and Blotto always mistaking cigar store indians for the real thing. Actually I prefer the Major Hoople "Jobs I'd Like to Have" panel over Blotto where Hoople gives out a variety of careers he'd most certainly want to hold such as captain of the Swiss Navy, launderer at a nudist colony etc. but I believe that gag ran out a year earlier.

Before you read the new stuff read the old. Sometimes I get the feeling you'll never want to go back to the modern day again but knowing some of you haters of the past I really do doubt it!