Sunday, February 07, 2016

Well one, down, eleven to go. I guess you can tell what my atty-tood is re. this particular year which, for some maybe not-so-occult reason, has me filled with dread and fear. And if I can trust my Spidey Senses something terrible, upsetting or even distasteful is just around the corner, though I can always comfort myself as to the fact that many of my ill feelings as to what would happen to me (such as the fact that I always thought I was gonna croak age 42) just never did happen, much to your chagrin I would imagine. Of course I have an even greater dread of what I'm going to find once I make my way into the realm of 2017, but as it stands in the here and now all I can hear is Sun Ra and June Tyson chanting "It's after the end of the world, don't you know that yet???" over 'n over 'n over...

I've been keeping myself occupied while the maelstrom of life keeps blowin' on outside. Naw, I ain't exactly one of those "hiding in my room, safe within my womb" kinda guys that Paul Simon was singing about (satirically/sarcastically as Don Fellman keeps telling me, though how could I think any differently about a guy who would team up with Art Garfunkel inna first place!), but with these short winter days and the Glory Days of Prime Time Tee-Vee looooooong gone it ain't like there's not much for me to do when I clock outta work and try to occupy my free time until its beddy-bye. Thankfully I've been digging into my life-long collection of paperback books and various comics collections in order to have some fun during the winding down hours, and dagnabbit if the music that I've been spinnin' a whole load of ain't helping me from goin' stir crazy these perhaps not-that-frigid winter months. Current fave rave group is Savage Rose, a perennial BLOG TO COMM chart topper that's certainly building up steam in my cranial capacities because hey, they did represent everything I like about late-sixties rock what with their melding of a whole slew of styles sounding way better'n anything else that would dare to do the same. Expect to read a whole lot more about 'em here, at least in my now-traditional year-end wrapup of platters just too obvious to review in my weekly record roundups.

Other'n that, here's the MANDATORY "thank you" section regarding those wonderful fans 'n followers who sent me some delicious wares to be writ up. First off thanks go to the fine folk at Guerssen for the Bare Sole platter (don't worry, Rocket Robert or vicey-versey should be next week) and Feeding Tube for Moonsicles. Also kudos go to BLOG TO COMM's #1 fans Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and PD Fadensonnen for their contributions to the cause. If you wanna add your name to the Friends and Benefactors of this blog feel free to do so, only remember that I'm a pretty picky sorta fellow so if you're still tryin' to peddle that eighties amerindie moosh better find another sucker to slurp it all up!


Bare Sole-FLASH CD (Sommer Records, available via Guerssen)

Last week Guerssen thrilled me with their double Uther Pendragon set of late-sixties San Francisco rock of a decidedly non-Garcia-ish strata, and now this late-sixties English offering of ne'er before heard rumblings has graced mine ears and for the better I should add. I like Bare Sole for their primitive heaviness (though these are more or less demos and I'm sure some big label really woulda glossed the proceedings up a bit) and neanderthal lead guitar lines which come off more like early UFO back when Mick Bolton was in the band. So primal that even on songs like "Woman-A-Come" (of which there are two takes of!) Bare Sole dig back even further into rock history and evoke a whole slew of mid-Amerigan garage band combos who probably went about as far as our heroes from Hull did. Proof positive that there was a whole lot more comin' outta very late-sixties England than flitzy Moody Blues gunk or Emerson Lake and Palmer precociousness back during those rather confusing days. (And just dig that Big Band drum solo on "Jungle Beat"...it's something that cries out "take THAT Ginger Baker!")
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Moonsicles-BAY OF SEETHING LP (Feeding Tube, available via FORCED EXPOSURE)

I wasn't expecting this 'un to be as much of a SURPRISE as it was, but man was BAY OF SEETHING by the Austin TX-based Moonsicles perhaps thee album of the week to catch me totally off guard! For being an outta-nowhere sorta act Moonsicles really know how to pour on the heavy-duty sound stylings comin' off one part cheezy film soundtrack and about ten post-krautrock electronics with the results being pretty nerve-bending in a Can meets O-Type sorta way. If you're comfortable with any of those abstract releases that Bruce Anderson and Dale Sophiea did under the O-Type moniker back in the nineties Moonsicles should be one act that should fit snugly up your mighty expansive back alley.
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The Mustangs-DARTELL STOMP CD-r burn (originally on Providence)

Well, if you ain't got a Ventures album about the place these guys do come in handy. The nice 'n cheap way to have gotten your instrumental rock jollies in '65, the Mustangs were definitely the budget bin acts to go to back in those penny-pinching days, especially if you wanted to get an album but had only ninety-nine pennies to spend. I remember back inna mid-seventies my dad got hold of a scratchy and no cover version of the Mustangs' Beatles album because he heard there was moolah in Beatle collectibles and you know what, he actually sold it scratches and all making a profit in the deal! So you can just see how much the Mustangs rate in our fambly given the juicy buck fifty we profited from their hard toil of making an album inna first place!
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ARCHIE AND THE BUNKERS CD-r burn (originally on Dirty Water)

You know what kinda band that I wuz expectin' with a name like dat! Turns out that there is none of the duncitude or outright punk slob appeal to Archie and the Bunkers that I was banking my shenaniganzas on, but that don't mean they're a duff grou by any stretch of the imagination. Heavy duty organ recalls early Uriah Heep for some reason, but the results are more late-sixties garage band as in what Otto von Ruggins and Von Lmo were doing back before they hit the big time. Pretty exhilarating in fact. Siloah of SURKAM GURK PLAYING also come to mind even though this pair certainly ain't of the same hippoid mentality which is OK in my book. Only goes to prove that if you gave some turdler a Magnus Chord Organ for Christmas he'd come up with a group like this in a good ten year's time.
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Video All-Stars-TV JAZZ THEMES CD-r burn (originally on Somerset Records)

Just one look at this and I can osmose its entire history from bein' some hi-fit nut's pick back '59 way before getting sold in a stack of platters at some garage sale circa. '71 where it was stuck in some record collecting fanabla cum old tee-vee fan's collection ever since. Listening to this I somehow feel like some fiftysomething bachelor circa them days ('59 that is) who smoked a pipe and sat in a recliner all night after work. With a platter like this all I need are some etchings to show some nubile young thing I coaxed up to my abode, though how many gals around today even know who Peter Gunn was? Sheesh, no wonder there are so many fags out there these days given that manhood and all of the things it used to mean has been replaced by a pretty cuck-minded version of the male sex!
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Absolute Grey-WHAT REMAINS CD-r burn (originally on Midnight)

Absolute Grey come off like one of those eighties bands (which figures, 'cause they were) that were so good because hey, was the mid-eighties and like, what else was there to listen to? Considering the virtual chasm that rock 'n roll has tumbled into since the late-sixties over-greening of it they should STILL sound good, and they do. I find that WHAT REMAINS does pale perhaps a tad next to the various sixties/seventies acts that Absolute Grey got more'n a few of their moves from, but next to the various aggregations that have OBVIOUSLY ripped Absolute Grey off (probably via a few generations at that) this sounds a whole lot livelier and perhaps even emotional next to the cyborg state of many of  today's trying to act human musical acts. Better'n even what this droll review is trying to relay. In fact, a downright startler from an era that I didn't think I would ever wanna cozy up to even in the slightest.
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Miller, Miller, Miller and Sloan-FUNK WITH... CD-r burn

I really dug this teenbo funk band's single which I reviewed a few months back, but how does an entire elpee-length Cee-Dee hold up? Pretty good actually! Hearing a buncha guys who looked more like yer standard heartfelt amerindie type of group doing some halfway-convincing funk does have a certain lilt, maybe charm to it, and surprisingly enough I was able to sit through the entire schpiel (including some live tracks recorded at CBGB '83) w/o doin' the kinda barf up I would do listening to an entire platter of Wild Cherry romping through pretty much the same whiteboy thing. You can find it all on some soundcloud out there, and it includes the group's only single meaning you don't have to dish out the big bucks for it like I did!
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Lew Lewis-BOOGIE ON THE STREET AGAIN CD-r burn (originally on Vinyl Japan, or something like that I think)

Not bein' in an English blooze revamping mood maybe this one wasn't the pick o' the pile to soothe my overworked nerves. However sitting through the hour-plus of BBC sessions wasn't quite as bad given these guys did have that sorta late-seventies pub/thud attitude which sure differed from the reams of Caucasian Cutups that have not impressed me these past few eons. Nice 'n raw feeling to these live tracks that certainly will not have you thinking about those fu manchu mustached types with strong garlic aromas who have been playing the white variation for a longer time than I can imagine. If you still thumb through your collection of old Stiff and Dynamite singles you know what to do when your next welfare check comes in, eh?
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THE BUZZCOCKS CD-r burn (originally on Pope Music Productions)

Haven't listened to the Buzzcocks in years so this particular disque was like, er, a nice refresher course. The Howard Devoto-era side was particularly pleasing as in I've been wanting to hear those early tracks from whence the first Buzzcocks EP came for years, and as I thought they were just as punk (as in what everyone thought punk rock was supposed to sound like back then) as can be. Frankly, it was sure great hearing that whole buzzsaw blast being performed without a whole slew of neo-Marxist jargon you'd expect from the useful or not idiots who make this sorta drivel nowadays. As for the post-Devoto flip taken from a USA promo LP and the LOVE BITES demos well...somehow or other I don't recall ever liking this version of the band but these tracks really pleased me to no end. They kinda reminded me of the Velvets via Eno on the first two albums he cranked out complete with that wicked sense of pop that was known to sneak into these affairs at the time. When all is said and done all I can say right now is VIVE LA BUZZCOCKS because hey, they weren't a buncha hasbeens and mebbee those gnu wave creeps waxing eloquence were right all along!
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KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES CD-r burn (originally on Full Breech Kicks Records)

Like Hanoi Rocks and a number of similarly-minded aggregations, the Joneses sure stood out proud against the hair metal bands of the eighties what with their playin' hard rock scronk (with bleached locks) just it was meant to be! Of course the hair bunch had a whole load of snooty press and big label putsch behind 'em while acts like the Rocks 'n Joneses were lucky enough to make enough gig money to take the bus home, but from a good thirtysome-year lookback we can all tell who the real victors of the rock scrapheap were, eh? Sure it ain't as knockover as hearing the Dolls the very first time way back in the suburban slobby seventies, but considering the dire state of rock during  them eighties days these guys might as well have been the second coming of Eric Emerson, y'know?
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Various Artists-RIDING THE TRICKSTER EXPRESS CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

No track listing here so I guess I'll have to wing it in Leonard Feather "Blindfold Test" fashion. And no, I won't go the Miles Davis route and just lambaste everyone and everything with terse vulgarity-laden responses either! Of course I can identify the opening track because hey, if anybody out there in BLOG TO COMM-land can't recognize Roy Rogers singing "Happy Trails" then they don't know what Saturday afternoon ranch house UHF-TV living is all about! The rest does have me a bit corn-fused, though the synthesized versions of various e-zy listening faves did register some sorta teenage nostalgia in me to the point where I thought I was watching tee-vee on a snow-bound Friday night in 1975 trying to stay awake through a buncha dress shop commercials! The ads that Bill stuck in between the tracks were boffo as well...and if you can't relate to a Hailey's MO commercial (and what it's used for) then hey, how can you relate to this blog? Fair enough question if I do say so myself.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! MOON GIRL (and the Prince) #'s 1 and 5 (Canton Street Press)

Now that all of the "New Trend" and "New Direction" EC titles have been reprinted to all heck maybe it is time that some of their "Pre Trend" comics got the royal retro-treatment as well. Of course most of those early EC's ain't exactly anything special or much different from the sorta crankout material that all of the other nth string comic publishers were putting out at the time, but since they have that nifty "EC" logo on 'em and since the company went on to do much better things I'm sure a whole lotta fans out there would be eager to read just about anything with that imprimatur of quality even if it is DANDY, TINY TOT or THE HAPPY HOULIHANS, right?

In all honesty not all Pre Trend EC's were standard comic duds. WAR AGAINST CRIME and CRIME PATROL were about as good as the New Trend crime titles at least to the point where Russ Cochran had those reproduced along with the rest of the classic EC's back in the nineties, and the very recent appearance of these two publications help destroy the notion that all of the early titles that company put out were out and out turdsville. Not that MOON GIRL really had anything strong going for it, but it sure makes for a better sit down and kick up yer feet comic book read than some of the snoozeroonies that were making their way to the racks back in those post-World War II days.

Drawn by former DC whiz Sheldon Moldoff (and sometimes inked by EC superstar Johnny Craig), MOON GIRL wasn't just any WONDER WOMAN swipe but a pretty tasty turn on the basic concept. Fortunately none of the overt psychohooziz of the original (nor the latent women's libber fodder) shows up...here we get some straight-ahead superhero(ine) comics that don't get all gosh-gee on ya. And for a company whose only foray into the superhero(ine) biz was this lady EC certainly went for the then-shrinking market about as much as they could. True there is that underlying unrequited romance angle that's been milked for ages elsewhere (this time between Moon Girl and her sidekick the Prince, a second banana Steve Trevor knockoff only with super strength) but if you could get over all that soap opera moosh while reading the early DAREDEVIL issues maybe you can put this li'l bit of disgust in the back of your mind.

Contrary to popular belief the art is good enough that I could have seen Moldoff (along with other early EC-ers like Rudy Palais and Leonard Starr) being a major asset at EC had be stuck around long enough for the New Trend era, and unless you're one of those uberstickler types I really can't see you not having these two in your own personal comic book collection.

As far as I can tell only two MOON GIRL issues have been reprinted, the debut issue from '47 and the fifth from the following year. The chronological jump is only because the latter features the very first EC horror story (unless you count an earlier appearance of a vampire in a Moon Girl saga a few issues earlier) entitled "Zombie Terror". This 'un was, interestingly enough, drawn by Craig who would later on do the Vault Keeper stories during the horror craze era, and it's pretty good at that bein' all about some badski smugglers who force these South Amerigan natives to retrieve some booty in dangerous waters and they all drown but (as you know) that ain't the end of it! "Zombie Terror"'s about as crazed as at least the early EC horror stories, and somehow I think that Bill Gaines missed a big opportunity by not reprinting this one during the height of comic book gore with a blurb saying something along the lines of "FROM OUT OF THE PAST, OUR FIRST HORROR STORY EVER IN THE GRAND EC TRADITION!" Well, it would have been cheaper'n paying Sid Check to fill up another few pages with new material.

These come repro'd in their original Golden Age size with all of the ads (both in-house and out-house) intact, and all I gotta say is that with these comics and a Saturday afternoon visit to the barber it's like you're a ten-year-old kid inna middle of Suburban Slob Ameriga again! Don't miss this grand opportunity to recreate a part of life that made life a whole lot better'n the downer gloom atmosphere its been wallowing in these past thirtysome years!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's been gettin' pretty hard writin' these preambles to my rambles as of late. NOT  because of any lack o' inspiration in the grey room, but because of a whole LOAD of inspiration lacking in the overall musical realm. Or, to be more succinct, inspiration that might just come from any sorta day-to-day existence which just goes to show you just how beyond ordinary (heck, I'll take "ordinary" over dead dull any day!) life has become for a longer time'n I can imagine. Yeah, the Chris o' yore who used to chew off many an ear over the latest record, group, discovery, tee-vee show and just about any outta-the-realm-of-stodgy piece o' kultural info is pretty much dead and buried, replaced by a sagging set o' cells who seems more concerned about nasal blackhead poppings than whatever there is comin' out on the "cool music listening scene". Hey, you might not want to face up to the facts but very little music of spark and energy has come out on in these past few years no matter what some on the blogosphere might think, and if you've heard it from me then you know it's old news!

But (as I've said many a time) trudge on I must even if I do repeat myself without even realizing it. Thankfully a few morsels of sonic sustenance have make their way to my cranial capacities as of late. Thanks to Guerssen Records for not just the Uther Pendragon release mentioned below but two other spinners I'll be reviewing in the future considering how I gotta piecemeal this good stuff 'n not shoot my wad off all at once. Also praise be to P.D. Fadensonnen and Bill Shute for the various freebees I'm still paving my way through. As for you Paul McGarry, I managed to give one of your burnt offerings a go, so I do hope you will not be offended by it all! (Just kiddin'---can't you take a joke? I know that """""I""""" sure can't!)

Back to the subject of this bein' the "no future" Johnny R predicted way back when, sadly enough a whole lot of the dire 'n gloom that I predicted back as early as the late-seventies has come true. Back then I just knew that the great old tee-vee shows that used to make up the afternoon rerun circuits back inna sixties and seventies would be banished to the far reaches of cathode heaven only to be replaced by the dour comedies and dry dramas that were being produced at the time (and come to think of it, those programs have been stricken from the schedules themselves only to be replaced by even worse shows!). I also predicted that rock 'n roll would lose its general pounce and sound even worse than the AM/FM slop that was permeating the air then. Of course I was spot on with that 'un! Worst of all, I just knew that once we got into the new millennium it would all be wooshed away in a technological electronic revolution that pretty much made the entire history of civilization meaningless, sorta like a new Year Zero with the robot from LOST IN SPACE in charge of everything. And maybe I'm right (just barely) about that 'un as well too!

But like I said...trudge, trudge, TRUDGE... And you WILL read it because hey, what else is there for you to do in this year of post-post-post everything and anything for that matter. And if you like, you may even live vicariously through me via these writings. Don't mind at all. After all, I live vicariously through Sluggo.


Uther Pendragon-SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE 2-CD set (or 3-LP if you prefer) (Guerssen Records, Spain)

You won't remember this, and I will admit that sometimes it is hard enough for even me to remember in the first place, but San Francisco was at one time the big rock 'n roll promise that many both astute or not were waiting for back in them greening of rock 'n roll days. Sure in 1966 just about every snatch of rock music fiber was firm and frolicking, but there was a particular folk rock strain cum avant garde expression in the music of San Fran that made more'n a few budding acolytes sit up and take notice. And believe-it-or-leave-it, but it wasn't even a snobbish movement born of a beret and stale Doritos mentality either. Keeping the love'n jamz outta the equation it's easy to see that a good portion of the bands coming outta the soon to be fleabitten burgh were definitely feedback-laden hate-spewin' hard attacks that pretty much were not the soundtrack to the laid back minions who flocked to various parks and did whatever they were programmed to do there. These bands were loud, violent and even punky, though by the end of the decade the entire area was so shell shocked that all it could do was nothing but find comfort and solace in ancient memories of the Old West and early folkie down home front porch Marin County jams. The sickening aspects of laid-back whole grain health 'n stench had become firmly entrenched into the entire area by this time and only the Flamin' Groovies and Moby Grape were left standing to defend the rock 'n roll spirit that once was, no doubt about that!

And maybe we can count Uther Pendragon as one of the last rockin' rebels to make it outta the whole debacle alive 'n kickin' as well. Yeah, I do believe that I've never heard of 'em before this hotcha collection of the group's 1966-1975 best came out, but after even one spin even I could see that these guys were perhaps the last true-to-form group in the area that didn't succumb to revolutionary Slickisms turning unto e-zy listing downer-kid hackdom. Nor did they evolve into Wild West radicals for the sake of pandering to a buncha patchouli-laden est-lovers like the Dead undoubtedly did (at least via. their association with the New Riders of the Purple Sage). No, Uther Pendragon were, like the Groovies and Grape and Oxford Circle, (live) Quicksilver, early Big Brother and the Holding Company and (naturally) Blue Cheer one of those local acts that could actually bypass that whole patented and preachy youth movement we-are-all-one-culture hype and produce some music that could smash through any preconceived barriers put up against them. Plutonian Music that was made for the times only the times were too dense to realize it.

Yes it sure does sound West Coast late-sixties, only without the gnawing pretension and slick production that marred many a platter that came outta hipstersville at the time. In fact, these recordings could have come outta Anytown USA (even that buncha kids who used to blast away down the street) they're that indicative of the entire rock mindset of the day that didn't get washed away by the heart-rendering relevance trip of the early-seventies. They kinda sound the way I sure wished Redwing did after reading about 'em in DENIM DELINQUENT...born of the mid-sixties garage band groundswell and still retaining that primitive enthusiasm long after it became unfashionable.

Sheesh, Uther Pendragon are so keyed into the entire under-the-underground rock spirit that even their mid-seventies tracks have the same basic strut and pounce that their mid-sixties ones had! It's amazing just how the core of this band (Mark Lightcap on rhythm guitar and vocals, Martin Espinosa on bass guitar and vocals and Bruce Marelich on lead guitar and vocals) could work up such a tight fit music-wise, but if Mike Stax can be believed these guys really did live together, rehearse seven days a week and maybe even did the dirty deed together in typical MC5 fashion all of to which I can say is take that Captain Beefheart!

And not only that, but the guitar play's good enough to have had Jerry Garcia sweat it out lookin' over his shoulder for the new big guitar turk onna block that's how entrenched in the Big Beat Marelich is...heck the whole platter woulda had R. Meltzer peck out paens for CIRCUS that woulda made his Soft White Underbelly plugs seem rather tepid in comparison. (Well, bassist Espinoza might have even been the best up-and-comer on the instrument better'n any of the big names of the day and alla Meltzer's gab about SWU sounding like "Rhinoceros plus a Moby Grape version of the Velvet Underground plus the Kinks version of Donovan plus a Stones' version of the Airplane plus Del Shannon..." might apply to these guys way more if only we didn't know he was yanking us around all along. Or was he?)

Come to think of it, but when Uther Pendragon really start cookin' on all hot plates they might even be the best merger or early-seventies Floydian space excursions and CREEM-honed punk rock since My Solid Ground! Just give a listen to "Troubles" (disque 2) if you wanna clear up any doubts.

I'll bet Stax's liner notes are a hoot, but I didn't get 'em with my FREEBEE promo copy courtesy of Guerssen (thanks for the disques guys!). Hopefully you'll be able to get an eyefull once you order yours, and if I do say so myself get the three-LP set which not only has nicer and bigger pictures but a poster you can even hang on your wall just like your big sis used to do in 197X! If this ain't one of the best exhumations of 2016 well, then it ain't (but it most certainly is...at least so far!).
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GEOFF KROZIER & KONGRESS CD-r burn

A nicety in that this platter contains just about everything available on-line regarding Geof Krozier and his various acts before and during (but not after, alas) the Kongress days. A must for any of you readers who have been following my under-the-underground New York rock ravings these past three or so decades, GEOFF KROZIER AND KONGRESS starts out with the two Magic Word recordings from '67 (tough punk psych worthy of any LP collection that may coagulate soon) and follows with the tee-vee appearance of the Indian Medicine Magic Show that, true, does lose a little in the translation without the madcap visuals but still delivers on the REAL 60s/70s cusp heavy metal meaning of it all.

The Kongress sounds that make up the Krozier video re-appear---twentysome minutes of kraut-inspired late-sixtiesisms bordering the metallic and punk realms, and the Max's clip from '76 just might be the only place any of us are gonna hear the two-guitar line-up where an equally German gal joins the already German Robert Crash for some hefty guitar battles. The Marilyn tracks which close this out are of iffy quality but still conjure up more late-seventies New York magick that would all be wooshed away once the eighties and Mad Donna got hold of the entire burgh. Assemble one for your own wake for the seventies that I seem to be holding every dang day of my life.
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Rudi-BIG TIME---THE BEST OF RUDI CD-r burn (originally on Anagram)

A lotta this British punk rock stuff really doesn't hold up the way something along the lines of say...Throbbing Gristle, Suicide, early Pere Ubu or the Seeds do. However, Rudi were definitely one band that didn't fall into the usual ruts of pre-conceived predicaments what with their definitely pop sound which owes about as much to the early-seventies English punk underbelly as it does the spikier stuff. Believe it or not, but the rock Rudi made come closer to the Greg Shawvian tastes of the time from Bolan and the Dolls to those junkstore glam acts that snuck out quickie singles and vanished into the nada. If you thought groups like Spunky Spider and Stud Leather were just as umportant to the growth of punk rock in the area as the familiar names you'll probably like this one better'n Johnny Commode and the Turds!
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Television-ARROW CD-r burn (originally on Double Exposure)

I sure remember seeing this particular piece of illegit booty being sold via the likes of Golden Disc, Venus, and other mail order businesses that used to advertise in magazines such as TROUSER PRESS and GOLDMINE. I also remember wanting to possess this platter in the worst way possible, and as you all know I do everything in the worst way possible!

especially remember the hefty price tag that was placed on ARROW because it was a European import bootleg goin' for upwards of twenny-five big ones, which is today's money is like a bazillion dollars which I will admit I just didn't have back during the turn of the decade. But to think that had I only bought it back then I wouldn't really need it because I have it here a good thirty-six years later and like, I saved all of that money in the bargain even if I did have to wait a good lifetime (a lifetime of a horse but who's counting) to get the thing. I hope you have that all figured out in your mind.

But for being a bootleg it sure sounds good 'n professional like it should. Great sound, great performance that captures the group just-pre-breakup, and most of all it gathers up the better aspects of what was passing for underground street rock New York style somewhere between the fall of the Dolls and the fall of Max's. Unlike those early brilliant if loose tapes we've heard the past decade or so Television has tightened up to the point where they almost could classify as a fusion-jazz-punk rock aggregation not that dissimilar to what a whole lotta lesser names on the scene were coming up with.

Tom Verlaine's guitar lines may sound slick next to what he was doing only a good four years prior, but they certainly match the big names in guitar prowess as far as impassioned, non-linear playing goes. And come to think of it, the rest of 'em follow suit with some solid backing that only adds to the overall strength being spewed forth.

Might be available in a free download form out there. I'd gander at that because really, how else would Bill get a copy for either his or my entertainment pleasure???
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Various Artists-DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH VOL. 1---18 UNEARTHED GEMS FROM THE MID-SIXTIES CD-r burn (originally on no particular label)

Six-oh serenades continue on with the arrive of even more garage band gunch from the vaults. Or make the from the record collections of a whole buncha geeks who are so out-of-the-loop that they do nothing else but collect old private-press records by long-forgotten local groups and life/eat/sleep this stuff! Good for them, for who else on this planet would care to preserve a past most fanablas out there would like to forget!

Mostly on the weepy side, the tracks to be found here aren't as top-notch and instantly-embedded-in-your-teenbo-psyche as the goodies that ended up on BACK FROM THE GRAVE. But they sure beat a whole load of the high fiber folkdom that I hadda endure age ten I'll tell ya! Only one familiar name here (the Moving Sidewalks) but with groups sporting monikers like Harley and the Night Riders, the Ivy, the Morning After and the Quarrymen (who obviously give us a halfway-good Beatles swipe) you know you're in for some of the best mid-sixties experiences extant since GILLIGAN'S ISLAND reruns. Heck there's even yet another group goin' by the name the Warlocks on this platter and whether or not they eventually became either the Grateful Dead or the Velvet Underground is irrelevant, since they probably became the crew at Joe's Car Wash down on Main Street right across from the Hot Dog Shoppe!

There's probably a download available somewhere on line, though I get the feeling you'll want an actual vinyl copy for your digs. If so, dish the fish out because hey, this ain't exactly gonna pop up next to the Anita Bryant albums you'll find during your next flea market excursion!
***
Dead Neanderthals-WORSHIP THE SUN CD-r burn (originally on Relative Pitch)

This Dutch Jazz might not sound as "new" as those who are promoting it probably would like ya to believe, but it sure sounds old as in the best of what old should sound like and no I ain't playin' any verbal tricks on you. When I mean "old" I mean hotcha post-Ornette late-sixties onward total expression that doesn't conjure up images of flamingos, but mental views of that dark and dirty underbelly of it all. Frank Lowe or Roscoe Mitchell come to mind as this mad horn/drums duo scronk forth some of the better jazz to have been heard from the free realm in quite some time. If you think the avant garde took a swan dive into oblivion after the fall of the Loft Scene, this 'un might restore some faith you've lost in humanity, or jazz, or something like that.
***
Hound Dog Taylor-1960-67 CD-r burn (originally on Blue Eye Blog)

Yeah I was born with the blues too, so maybe I am about as entitled to write about this sorta spew as all of those brainy white critics who think they're down for the struggle just like the bluesmen that they sure love to scribble on about. Taylor's got a great postwar style and verve that sounds about as trasho urban as you can get, and on these sides he sure can lay to waste a whole slew of hippie attempts at the same stratum we've been inundated with for quite some time. Not bad at all, and that's comin' from a guy who pretty much had an aversion to a lotta this blues hype that's been goin' on since I was but a mere adolescent fake.
***
Various Artists-COSMIC SMOKEY DEBORAH JOURNEY CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Eh, this 'un ain't as funzy as some of the other Bill burns, but it'll do considering the headcold I'm now trying to fight off. Tracks by the Grapes of Rathe and Harbinger (not to mention the extremely precious Butterfly who probably thinks he sounds like Syd Barrett but comes off like James Taylor during detox) are more or less hippie folk musings that I never could get away from far enough, though Tom Bailey did have a bit of spark even though he might consider himself the latest incarnation of Warren Zevon. The furrin' stuff seems to satisfy more, what with the French Les Luths doing a good '64-styled neo-Beatles outing and Die Skypipers playing "Red River Rock" with what sounds like a sweet potato. Jerry Raye and Fenwick are neato as well even though they were probably suburban oneupman types who got straight "C"'s unlike us bottom-scrapers. The big band stuff wasn't so special though, but I better shut up because I wouldn't want to lose the Jean-Claude Pelletier Orchestra a gig at the Paris Econo-Lodge'r anything.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! CURSE OF THE DOLL PEOPLE starring Elvira Quintana and Ramon Gay (American International, 1961)

I like my moom pitchers creepy, and this one does such a good enough scare the little kids shitless job of it that had I saw this one onna boob toob circa 1963 my turdler self woulda been runnin' out the room screamin' to high heaven worse'n whenever they'd burst into programs with conelrad. A Mexican import courtesy K. Gordon Murray, DOLL PEOPLE's got a spooky dinge to it that's hard to get outta your system not only for the freakazoid camera work and dark feel, but for the midgets as killer dolls and the occult leader who looks more like Sky Saxon gone OTO if anything!

It all started innocently enough when an archaeologist snatched a sacred statue from Haiti and brought it back to Mexico because he thought it would look good in the parlor. Pretty soon the dolls (who look somewhat like the members of the archaeology team) are out and about killing not only the archaeologist but everybody connected with the trip and it all turns into one big mystery for the male and female leads who have to deal not only with those pesky dolls but this weird braided hair that keeps popping up at the scene of the crime.

Dunno if there was something lost in translation but I could swear that I had missed out on some crucial plot about halfway through making this one a bit hard to catch up with. Or maybe it was the Sunday afternoon catch up with the lag I've accumulated over the week considering how I have to WORK unlike some of you lucky ones out there. But the story really builds up and twists itself around you like these cheapies always could, and it naturally all ends in a great climax that kinda catches you by surprise though you knew something like the way this turns out woulda happened all along.

A flick that goes to show you that there actually were some pretty SEAT-GLUING films (which could even pass as "cinema" if you so desire) coming outta Mexico back then, not just that sick Luis Bunuel stuff that intellectual snoots who loathe folk such as you and me just love to drool over.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

THRIFT STORE RECORDS, reviewed by BRAD KOHLER!!!!!!!!!!

Cephas-3 1/2 YEARS LP (Private Press)

If there is anything your neighborhood thrift store has in spades besides the ugly ceramic novelty ashtrays your Aunt Agnes used to butt her cigs into before pulling your eight-year-old personage over for a squirmy kiss it's private press religious albums. They abound in numbers just below Babs Striesand or Jim Nabors and when I see them I always wonder if they are there because someone died or someone lost their faith or someone figured you can only have so many of these things in the collection. I mean we all need space for those crucial high school chorus private press albums too.

I picked this LP up for a buck because it's of the "youth oriented" genre. So I was hoping some teenbo got to play a fuzz guitar solo on some uptempo rockist number that some faith group doofus figured really "spoke to the kids" but in reality made Loggins and Messina sound like Black Sabbath.

There is no info on the date this record arrived from the stampers of the vanity record pressers, but judging from the mutton chop sideburns on the lad on the back cover playing bass guitar I'd say 1972-74. Besides bass boy there are other black and white photos arrayed about, and it looks like a six-year-old cropped them. You get to see three teen girls in the chorus, one with so little talent she got handed the tambourine and got stuck behind a dead microphone. She's got glasses and frizzy hair you just know is a rusty red shade. Can't make out the boobage quotient but you just know this chick got no action at all from the guys so she figured she'd turn to Jesus because, you know, looks and all that are so superficial and when it come down to it it's way more important to help out getting clean water to a third world hovel, far from where that cute Tom Paxley wouldn't give her the time of day, and won't he feel bad when she dies of cholera and realizes what he could have had instead of that phony Marcia Grossman who stuffs her bra anyway.

Chick next to her has rather alluring features and dark hair but the overall effect is ruined by her big honker.

TALKIN' ABOUT JESUS (shouldn't that be SINGIN' ABOUT JESUS?) says on the back cover should be played IN CHURCHES, AT RALLIES, IN COFFEEHOUSES, IN SCHOOLS...waitaminnit, schools? I guess maybe Cat'lick schools but these born again types usually don't cotton up to stodgy ol' Catholicism or versie vicey, but maybe if they performed gratis and all so Father O'Brien didn't have to dip into the communion wine budget what the heck.

The best photos are from the rallies with hundreds of bellbottomed, long haired early 70s teens clapping along, or with arms raised in the air, and if you didn't know they were listening to "All My Trials" they could be shakin' it down to Grand Funk and the Pittsburgh Civic Arena. Yeah, that's another reason I wasted a buck on this. It's from my home town, and if YOU want information about TEEN CHALLENGE OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA and CEPHAS you can write to them at Box 6102, Pittsburgh PA 15212 or phone (412) 265-4100. If anyone answers tell 'em you got their number off an ancient private press religious LP, or just ask if their refrigerator's running.

Without using a magnifying glass it's tough to see if there are any really hot chicks in these photos, but of course given the fashion of the time it would be tough to tell anyhoo since OUR BODIES, OUR SELVES feminism was the rage and chicks were dressing like they were gonna go fell some trees in British Columbia. There seems to be one beauty up front wigglin' away and keeping time with the band, gorgeous ironing board straight brunette tresses falling to her waist. She probably got guilted into going with her Plain Jane friend who was always a third-wheel on Friday nights, but her boyfriend promised he'd have a doob sparked up the second she could split the place.

The IN SCHOOLS pic is great for the presence of a fat kid up front who either looks bored out of his skull or guilty he just cut a silent but deadly one. I can't decide. 

I can identify just a single black person in the photos of the crowds. Did they go to the trouble to insure there was indeed a "token" black? Must've been a tough sell, since black church attendees know that an acoustic guitar is in no way an instrument to get the booty shaking.

The IN COFFEEHOUSES photo has me confused because hey, this is Pittsburgh circa. early 70s and a coffeehouse would have been considered some esoteric West Coast thing where who knows what kind of weirdo things went on. In Pittsburgh you went to the Jenny Lee bakery and shoved a maple cruller into your mush and there just happened to be coffee in the joint. Coffee wasn't its reason to exist. Anyway I don't see any coffee machines and the architecture looks very much like a church basement or rec room and not like a coffeehouse at all. So unless some archaeological dig brings evidence to light I'll have to stuck with my gut and say there were no coffeehouses in Pittsburgh. Actually I'm still a little surprised there are coffeehouses today.

A sign on the wall of supposed COFFEEHOUSE says "Love is Patient" which pretty much tells you that the hip jean jacket wearing youth counselor would lay down a rap about not giving into premarital relations after rapping about how if Jesus appeared today he'd be shunned or thrown into jail for vagrancy or some other half-baked nonsense 'cause he's a rebel man, and if he makes people "uptight"...at about this point Johnny Schmoe in the audience is wondering if he'll be home in time to catch THE MOD SQUAD and wonder if Julie is gonna go undercover in some strip joint or something. And sheesh, Johnny'll wonder if he remembered to hide the last tube sock he jerked off into...

By the way Kris Kristofferson, if you read this, I doubt if you got any royalties for "Why Me, Lord" right?

Like I wrote, there is only one black kid in the audience but as for the musicians, they have a black dude pictured on the back who looks like he's nodding on junk!

And a few words from Reverend Richard Turgson (name written AND typed on the back sleeve) who penned these liner notes:
Some 1900 years ago a life, destined by the will of God, for 3 1/2 years gave hope to a lost and dying world-to this life we sing. Because of these 3 1/2 years Teen Challenge of Western PA's musical outreach "Cephas" has a hope to share with this "now" lost and dying world. We hope this record will keep you "Talkin' About Jesus".
Three-and-a-half years? I thought Jesus live to be thirty (actually about 33, ya heathen-ed.) I mean I was usually drawing pictures of Marvel superheroes in CCD classes, but 3 1/2 years? What's that? His prime miracle years?

What is a Cephas? My dictionary goes from "CEO" to "cephalic" being "of the head" which might be a derivation of "Cephas" I guess. Hey, Rite Record Productions Inc., did YOU check what it meant? After all it might been sumthin' dirty gettin' snuck by. It is something to do with "head" and all, but I guess if you can't trust Christers who can you trust? Don't answer that. Rite Records was out of  Cincinnati, and on the record label it's abbreviated as "Cinti, Ohio" which is QUITE an unusual abbreviation. "Cincy" being the most popular, or maybe "Cinn". Certainly not "Cinti" which I've never seen before.

Checking out the inner groove run-off for secret messages now. There's the matrix number and...aha! The date this killer diller platter was birthed scratched into the inner groove, 7/19/1974. I estimated this was done between '72-74 so let's have a big round of applause for me!

I realize I haven't mentioned the front cover of the LP, but that's because it's deadly dull with no pictures. Two color cover, black and gold. If you know about private press sleeves you know that once you go beyond two colors you're talkin' more mazzulah, and Jesus freaks aren't made out of money, right? Don't answer that. Do you think black and gold were chosen because they were the colors of the Pittsburgh Steelers? In '74 the Steelers had developed into a potent football force. Locals were proud of them for the first time in...ever...so, yeah, there is an off chance. But I doubt it. But if so, take that you Cinti Bengal fans who had to press this record up!

I can imagine that when this came out it was sold at shows, and of course foisted on family members who just had to buy one. Gramma filed it away next to her SING ALONG WITH MITCH LPs and someone's little brother or sister got one for a Christmas present when they woulda really wanted a 45 of "Bang a Gong" and by then they were really sick of their born again sibling talking about how Jesus was in tune with the North Vietnamese. You know, this "now" lost and dying world and all. Hey, that money you wasted on a pet rock could've gone to help a disadvantaged inner city kid!

Oh, and "Ensemble" is misspelled as "Ensamble" on the back cover, though I shouldn't really point it out given my spelling errors in this piece (what spelling errors???-ed.)
***
Bill Black's Combo-PLAYS TUNES BY CHUCK BERRY LP (Hi Records)

Winner winner chicken dinner! The shrink wrap was still on this beaut and the price sticker from some long demolished department store listen a mark down from $3.98 to $1.47. The thrift store charges a buck per, so I save 47 cents on top of that. Enough for a Strawberry Shortcake change purse had I intentions of luring an eight-year-old.

This record is so great on many levels...the basic cover art has no art at all, just the name of the band and the songs performed. Don't need some cockamamie Roger Dean fantasy world to try to disguise the turd inside. Add to that the back cover blurb by Elton Whisenhunt of THE MEMPHIS PRESS-SCIMITAR claiming that the album could very well become a music collector's item in the future. Well, may I call you Criswell Mr. Whisenhunt, because forlorn abandonment next to a bent ski pole in the thrift shop notwithstanding, I consider this a treasure indeed, easily one of the top five thrift finds of my life.

In Mr Whisenhunt's liner notes we also learn that "Nadine" blends a bop beat with a bequine beat that has to be heard to be believed  (!). "In the background one envisions a jungle drum beat. And to the minds eye comes a scene of exotic dancers swaying beneath palm trees beside a South Pacific ocean shimmering in the moonlight."

Bequine beat. Whatever happened to the days when people with pocket protractors reviewed records?
***
Tom Rush-THE CIRCLE GAME LP (Elektra)

"No Regrets" is an OK song but the rest bores mightily. And the best thing about this LP is that some sensitive teen girl did some artwork on the inner sleeve. Over a blue and black miasma that is either the sea, the earth, or an oil slick, a large peace sign done in alternating red, white and blus is in the foreground of an orange sun sinking below the horizon against a backdrop of yellow and red clouds. On the back of the album cover she doodled a basic tree, with red ink globes taking the place of leaves. How do I know a girl did it? Please, I went to Junior High you know! I onlly hope that the lass that bought this (probably on the basis of Rush's good looks, though she considered herself too "with it" to fall for some TV readymade heart throb like David Cassidy) eventually scored a Love LP from the same label.
***
David Bowie-STATION TO STATION LP (RCA)

I don't even remember if I owned this at the time of its release but I figured it was worth a buck at the thrift store and it is...if not much more. Supposedly the thin white duke's cocaine infused outing. It is more in tune with YOUNG AMERICANS soul vibe and therefore might sound better under the influence of ripple. The brief wash of Kraftwekian opening on the title cut notwithstanding, this hardly sounds like the pre-punk gestalt that was in the air and you mighta figured if Bowie had his ear to the ground he woulda come up with something more of the times than this rather stillborn LP.

I always liked the track "Stay" even though it sounds like a crystalline FM progressive exercise ready to be plugged in next to whatever swill rock jocks were plugging at the time, but the next two releases, LOW and HEROES, really usurped this. Probably because Brian Eno was on board and he had the presence of an actual human, Iggy, in his constellation. I played this on 1-11-16 because the news broke that Bowie joined Major Tom in outer space. I pretty much only listened to Bowie and Lou Reed in Junior High and pretty much listen to neither now. Horrid memories of being tortured by jocks has something to do with it, but I gotta say that's not the only reason.

Chris Stigliano (and a whole more even doltier than him beings-ed.) says THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD is the "go to" Bowie album and I can't argue, but even that is shuffled to the back of the pile. You gotta remember though, back in the early 70s it was Bowie or CSN and Y or ugh... I don't wanna think about it, so wham bam thank you David.
***
Ruby Short and his Dragsters-HOT RODDER BATTLE ROCK AND ROLL (Palace Records, a division of Buckingham Records)

Hot rodders battle rock and roll, and which will win? Given that the overdubbed hot rod sounds are mixed way up above the somewhat stale but passable sax-driven instrumentals I'd say the hot rods, but that doesn't stop this from being a totally boss thrift store monster.

The front cover alone is worth the buck I paid, with HOT RODDER ROCK AND ROLL in big print above the name of the fictitious band, so small you'll need to spend another buck on a pair of reading glasses at the dollar store to make it out.Two great photos in full color, a slightly blurry model of a dragster, since I guess they were to cheap to use a picture from a car magazine and perhaps (but not too likely) credit and remunerate the photographer. Beneath the toy car is a photo of a biker (huh? It's not BIKERS BATTLE ROCK AND ROLL) straight out of a Kenneth Anger wet dream, his sidekick who sports a construction helmet instead of the usual biker chapeau, and the face of a dirty blonde in some magnificent shades. As for Mr. Construction Hat, with his cigarette dangling from the corner of his sneer, it seems he is signalling a right turn in his pants!

With titles like "Wrecked T-Bird" and "Drag Strip Doll" how can you go wrong? Includes a glossary of hot rod terms on the back of the LP, a few which may actually be correct. In the grand tradition of budget labels dredging up product and retro-fitting it to any fad, definitely blare this on your hi-fi before heading out to see the asphalt eaters at your local drag oval!
***
THE MUSIC OF MARLBORO COUNTRY LP

Subtitled "A Product of United Artists Special Products" (!) from 1967. You could probably get this for turning in Marlboro packages a la green stamps. Unfortunately I'm sure this never got re-relased on CD, so if you got emphysema from smoking, you're gonna have to get up from your recliner and change sides of this LP.

Some of the cuts are from the motion picture RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and others are variations on the score from the above and THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN by Elmer Bernstein. I kinda remember this music being used in Marlboro commercials on the tube, but I could be mistaken as I was pretty young when the gumment put the kibosh on cigarette TV commercials.

Front cover has some long shots of cowboys out in the plains. Some photos show them enjoying a refreshing relaxation break with some pure Carolina tobacco. One shot has a cowpoke lighting up a Marlboro for his buddy in an intimate interlude. Kinda reminds you of that movie with the two gay caballeros who shared more than cigarettes. "So settle back and enjoy over thirty magnificent minutes of music---the music from Marlboro Country!"

Not Morricone by a long shot, but will suffice with a Jack Daniels chaser.
***
Doug Clark and his Hot Nuts-HOMECOMING LP (Gross)

I could only make it through one side of this. I had more enjoyment imagining the fashion choices of the people at the parties this was played at. Groaner double entendres with somewhat saltier material, it's actually refreshingly tame by today's standards (so is SALO: 120 DAYS OF SODOM-ed.), when even I think comedians should have their mouths washed out with soap.

This is Gross 103, Gross 101 being NUTS TO YOU and Gross 102 being ON CAMPUS. The cover shot on here seems to be an outtake photo from ON CAMPUS as it shows the band in a really dark, washed out photo obviously taken in winter (bare trees in the background) with a partial banner visible in the foreground where "PHI PSI" is no doubt part of some fraternity appendage. Two of the Hot Nuts are holding red square banners. You can't tell if they are simply red or had some writing on them that the crummy photo didn't pick up. Maybe they were in their Mao Tse Tung commie phase but knew better than to try Worker's Party limericks - they'd probably come off even more duff than the ones on this LP.

As an added bonus my copy has some brown stains on the front cover, no doubt some cheap whiskey and water someone spilled while trying to make time with a smokin' fox at a party where this was playing. Hope he didn't stain the shag rug.
***
Dick Dale and his Del-Tones-KING OF THE SURF GUITAR LP (Capitol)

The seams on the cover of this great LP (Dale's second) were so split that the previous owner covered three-quarters of the sleeve with duct tape! Hence, about two inches of front and back photos and text are hidden. The record looks gnarly but plays OK and if you have a Bar Mitzvah planned for a special someone may I suggest Dick's version of "Hava Nagila"?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Well, howd'ja like this year so far? Uh yeah, me too. But at least there's one thingie for you to look forward to during these frigid days and that's tuning into BLOG TO COMM twice a week, maybe even more if you're lucky! And to that I say "sorry to hear that" since you certainly do not have that much of life if you have to rely on ME to provide you with those life-affirming jollies you most certainly need to get by in these rather slow-moving times! And since I can't think of a single thing else to say let's cut this opening schpiel to the quick and get onto the reason you cruise the internet for this blog every so often...the reviews (with material provided by PAUL McGARRY [bold enough for you Paul???], P.D. Fadensonnen and Bill Shute)!


Various Artists-GOODBYE NASHVILLE, HELLO CAMDEN TOWN---A PUB ROCK ANTHOLOGY 2 Cd-r set (originally on Castle Communications)

Unlike a whole lotta you rock 'n roll aficionados out there I never was whatcha'd call a big fan and follower of the English "pub rock" scene of the seventies. Naw I ain't no Chris Welch type mad at any and every movement in pop music that dare take one iota of attention away from the progressive rock scene that MELODY MAKER banked their buckskins on, but for some reason or another the entire brouhaha that was transpiring over there (and getting scant coverage over here) seemed to me like more post-hippoid attempts at recreating a past that didn't quite have any vim, vigor or verve to begin with inna first place. Well after giving this double set a listen to all I can say is...sheesh, just how wrong can a fellow as perfect and as devoted to my musical self-IMPORTANCE as myself be????

Yeah, GOODBYE NASHVILLE does have its share of howshallIsay leftover late-sixties West Coast laidback cops true, but the likes of Brinsley Schwarz or Unicorn (are they the same bunch David Gilmour produced?) doing the CSNY harmonies doesn't exactly ruin this neat set. That's because this 'un gathers up a good cross-section of the various kinds of acts that were barnstorming the various pubs 'n social halls across ol' Blighty during the mid-seventies making for a fine settle down session that's entertaining as well as educational. 

You get it all, from hard-driving country rock (Country Fever's take on Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried"'s probably even better'n Arlo Guthrie's or the Grateful Dead's had I only heard their versions!) while Ian Dury's pre-Blockheads Kilburn and the High Roads do give us an inkling as to what people like Nick Kent and Chrissie Hynde saw in 'em inna first place. The punk rock of Dr. Feelgood, Eddie and the Hot Rods and Mick Farren also adds a particular tinge of late-seventies immediacy to the proceedings and hey, with a name like Mickey Jupp you kinda get the notion that had this collection come out '79 way it woulda been on a pre-new-unto-gnu wave Stiff Records it's that tuned into the pub undergroundness of it all!

And surprises do abound...like Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers were pretty driving what with a pre-Ralph Snakefinger on board playing some particularly hotcha guitar licks and hey, that is the same Fabulous Poodles who were being touted as new wave casher-in-ons but a few years later doing some admittedly decent post-folk rock, eh? Maybe we weren't that stoopid following what we thought were new and exciting vistas in rock 'n roll music that seemed to phony by the time 1982 rolled around to the point where we kinda felt EMBARRASSED by it all, eh?
***
Christian Brazier Quartet with Sunny Murray-PEREGRINATIONS CD-r burn (originally on Bleu Regard, France)

I think it's just peachy the way some of these established people on the jazz scene lend their talents out to a buncha up-'n-comers thus boosting these newbies' credo a li'l bit more in the world of scronk. That's just what famed outside-the-beat drummer Sunny Murray did with this French jazz aggregation who I must admit I never heard of before and most likely probably will never hear from after I file this 'un away for an indefinite period of time. Bassist Brazier and band are pretty in-groove with the early-sixties new thing on this particular spinner---nothing outerworldly or anything along those lines but kinda good like those outta-the-way acts you used to see at the CBGB Lounge during the freestyle series were. Of course Murray is prime in a particular way that made things like Cecil Taylor's NEFERTITI album so enticing...when the jazz world finally loses him boy, will he be ignored like all of the greats he's that good! For the serious aficionado of the form, one worth a snatch up.
***
Ramleh-HOLE IN THE HEART CD-r burn (originally on Broken Flag, England)

Dunno how much you like or hate the "power electronics" genre but I gotta admit that it sometimes does flibben the ol' jib in my neck of the psyche. Ramleh don't quite make me wanna toss the confetti and toot the ol' party horn in abject joy, but their atonal blares of pure white screech might just be the resensifying thing to get your life back onna right track. Guitars and electronics merged into a new form that's so potent it woulda given Lou Reed nightmares. Kinda reminiscent of Faust's later material, this sorta sound never did seem to go out of style even though back then we kinda thought it would all be plowed over by the usual tastemongering suspects.
***

Christopher-WHAT'CHA GONNA DO? CD-r burn of Scenesof reissue (originally on Chris-Tee Records)

Sheesh, with a name like CHRISTOPHER I thought these guys were gonna sound like a bunch of fags! Turns out that this group (or South Carolina origin) were pretty hotcha in that white teenbo take on black 'n blues. It's perfect for those of you who like electronic Yardbirds right before they combusticated (copyright 1969 Julius Sumner Miller) themselves into Led Zeppelin, or for any low down white male type who really goes for the urban blues sound but doesn't have the wherewithal to be black about it. As for me I can appreciate the work and effort put into a home-made relic of late-sixties DIY-isms like this but (of course!) will be searching for some old Nico album one this one clicks off the laser launch pad.
***
Derek Bailey & Evan Parker-THE LONDON CONCERT CD-r burn (originally on Incus)

If you've read this far you know what to expect to the point where I wonder if I should even bother writing about it. Old timey improv fans'll eat it up what with the sparse atonal clank of Bailey's guitar supported by the muffled croaks of Parker's saxophones. Like a good portion of this English sixties/seventies experimental stew it's not for everyone, but those of you who were weaned on the under-the-underground experimental nature of the New Music Distribution Service and still hold onto your old catalogs as if they were beauteous relics from a distant past will have probably heard this by now.
***
Cowboys International-THE ORIGINAL SIN CD-r burn (originally on Virgin)

A little of this new wave stuff could go a long way, and a lotta it just makes me wonder what exactly it was that made this sorta stew that much different than some of the soul-less smirk it was all supposed to replace. Sheesh, this kinda music reminds me of the stuff that was battling it out with Blondie and the Psychedelic Furs for your hard-begged, and after a few spins you knew that it sure didn't have the sway that the Stooges or just about any 197X fanzine front cover aggregation oozed from every syphilitic pore could muster up sans heavy duty effort. So dumbed down that even Jann Wenner could undoubtedly appreciate the subtle nuances and forward-looking intention of it all. Feh!
***
Marty Gold-MOOG PLAYS THE BEATLES CD-r burn (originally on Avco Embassy)

Just what the Beatles fan who couldn't get enough of their real albums needed! An entire platter of Beatles covers done up synthesizer style thus cashing in on two big trends of the day at once! It's about as cornballus as you can imagine but you can just see the bell-bottom and iron-haired gals of the day getting down to the glurps and bleebles almost as if this were the real deal Beatle blast! Naturally mom 'n dad will join in on the merriment thinking those longhairs were good musical craftsmen after all, at least until the see the unexpurgated and uncensored cover that cashes in on that other late-sixties trend, mainly nudity. A perennial used bin find which has now made its sorry way into my own abode.
***
Various Artists-SELECTIONS FROM AMP 3 RECORDS (NY) CD-r burn

Rather'n close out this post with a writeup of one of those mix 'n match collections that Bill always slips my way I thought I'd scribble on about this Shute specialty, a gathering of single sides that originally appeared on the AMP 3 label. Yeah I know nada about 'em either, but I guess they were operating in '57-'58 and they specialized in those early rock 'n roll sounds that I will admit are hit/miss in my particular book o' rock esoterica. A nice portion of these sides are a bit dippy for my tastes but some bubble over the good enough line like when the Don Clairs ramble through the rather spiffy "I Lost My Job" single or the Miamians employ their best Elvis Presley imitation on "Call Me a Coward". Nothing spectacular to these ears true, and if you're of the mind that anything recorded pre-'64 is old fogy hoo-hah you won't care for it one bit, but for those who wanna hear what the misses in a world of top 40 hits sounded like in those early days you can't do better 'n track these flops down.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

BOOK REVIEW! CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE---UNTOLD STORIES OF AN ORIGINAL ROCK AND ROLLER by Frank Secich (High Voltage Publishing)

I mean like, who would have thought it? An autobiography by (and about in case you're that dense) the guitarist from Blue Ash, Sharon Pee-YAY's only major label claim to fame and bonafeed seventies rock 'n roll legends! True they might not have made an indent in your neck of the woods, but man-oh-man were Blue Ash hotcha enough to not only garner a whole slew of gigs in the tri-county area but (now get this!) get a FULL PAGE ARTICLE in the local paper when they got signed to Mercury Records back '72 way! I remember that article clearly because I was over at my cousins' house that day and a buncha aunts were on the back porch reading the paper and one of 'em, who just happened to know Frank's mother, was just absolutely disgusted looking at the pix of him with his long hair and mustache wonderin' why his mother just didn't lay down the law and make him go the clean cut route like alla us suburban slob kids just hadda do!

Well Frank no longer has the mustache and his hair's more 1965 folk rock these days, but that doesn't mean he doesn't deliver on a hotcha saga in CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. It's a wowzer of a read, a story that affects me because I just happened to be living in the midst of it and for the most part didn't even know that whole scene had EXISTED, me being so cloistered from the real world due to parental constraints and all. I mean sheesh, I never would have believed in my wildest dreams that Secich and his various bands used to perform at not only my own high school but my grade school, and not only there but a whole slew of places across the area that I probably never would have been allowed to attend due to depression-era wages and all. And believe-you-me, I feel like I missed out on even more fun than I think I missed out on growing up due to the lack of money, social grace and (worst of all) transportation to take me to and from these various shows that certainly would have done me a whole lot better'n being dragged to see THE SOUND OF MUSIC or something equally tedious that's for sure!

Of course the rock 'n roll angle (filtered through Secich's own funtime postwar upbringing) really does appeal to my own sense of ranch house credo. Memories are sure dredged up in this 'un not only regarding various local legends (like the Popbottle Jonesies who I almost ran over a couple times) but of some of the groups who were playin' around by the time my rock consciousness began connecting syntax-wise in the gray room. True a lotta the acts who were prancin' across the stages at the time like Menagerie didn't quite mean anything special to me, but some like Salem Ohio's Sound Barrier (of PEBBLES "My Baby's Gone" fame) not to mention the pre-Left End Pied Pipers were rather copasetic with my entire reason for taking up precious garage band rock airspace. And of course there's plenty of room here given to Marty Magner's infamous Mother Goose, an band that not only was Secich a member of at one time but was eventually fronted by none other than Stiv Bators, a fellow who does get a whole lotta mention in this book given that he and Secich were closer'n two peas in a pod, but in a nice 'n normal way.

Yeah, the future Dead Boy does make quite an appearance in this read, and after glomming this particular tome for the times I find him to have been even crazier than previous reports would have deemed. (If you don't believe me just read the story about the time Bators and Secich met Dick Van Dyke!) Of course all of the run ins that Frank has had with celebrities, musical or not, are definitely guffaw-inducing if not awe-inspiring what with tales of Tiny Tim's demands for tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwiches and a limo before performing at a Youngstown night club 'n all! Not to mention the time Blue Ash opened for the Stooges at the gig that just happened to turn up as the METALLIC KO album a few years later!!! Lemme tell ya, this book is one non-stop trek through the life 'n times of a real-life rocker with more'n the usual surprise sagas and gee-I-didn't-know-that! asides that certainly make reads like this worth picking up.

But hey, this is Frank's story and of course he's the main reason to get hold of it even if you might be rather...er...disconnected from it all. The guy never did give up (even today he's leading the Deadbeat Poets, an act not only featuring former Peter Laughner crony and Backdoor Man Terry Hartman but ex-Infidel John Koury, a guy who will actually walk up to me and start talking even if I hadn't seen him for umpteen years!), and while others have drifted by the wayside and more or less blended into the scenery Secich has done his durndest to keep true to any sorta rock 'n roll relevancy that may remain even in these Dark Ages we now live in. In many ways it is amazing that the guy could still be up and running considering that the impact of the life he's led would have knocked out any lesser being, but he's still here and like, I sorta feel all warm 'n toasty inside just knowin' it.

And, once all's said and done, it's sure resensifying to know that Joni Mitchell really is, as Secich points out, a self-indulgent/important whiny sensitive singer-songwriter who certainly fits the mold we've had the neurosis-laden lass pegged into lo these many years! Maybe I won't pick up some of those mid-seventies albums of hers now even though Nick Kent thinks we should all do just that! Thanks for helping me save a whole load of bread Frank!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Hi-de-ho y'all. I must admit that I delivered on a hotcha post this week if I so say so myself, blush blush! Even managed to sneak in a review of an item I actually bought, which as I told you is probably going to be a rarity here in the money-starved year of 2016 considerin' that I have to save my moolah up for the important things in life like Metamucil. And for a buncha cast offs, the platters I was able to osmose were of a pretty good quality, so thanks be to Paul and Bill Whazernames for sending 'em all inna first place.
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RIP DAVID BOWIE, dead at age 69. His teeth were 40. Can't think of anything else to say right now, though did you know that on December 25 1979 Bowie and John Lennon took a stage right front seat table at Max's Kansas City to see Von Lmo, staying for the entire set with blank (e)motionless faces before leaving after the gig was over??? Hope that one makes it into whatever "day by day" book on either Bowie or Lennon that'll be coming out in the near future.
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IMPORTANT VELVET UNDERGROUND UPDATE! It wasn't the "Transcendental Simulematic Orchestra" after all, but the Cineola Transcendental Orchestra! Click on the link and discover some recently unearthed Velvets history that's certainly got me all hot 'n bothered!
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And with that particular bit of esoterica gurgling in your brains let's now get to the beefy heart of it all, the reviews!


Mike Barrett/Tom Crean-CASUAL LUDDITES CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Crean (of FACEBOOK WHILE DRIVING fame) is joined by electronics specialist Mike Barrett on this ltd. ed. KSE offering that I will admit got lost in the leaning tower of Cee-Dees stored in my bedroom for the past three months. As far as these affairs go it was more'n just passable, what with Crean's guitar and banjo sounds (as spaced and soaring as they can be) working well in consort with Barrett's bubbling and burping synthetics. At points it reminds me of some of the more erratic sounds that used to emanate from Dee Pop's Freestyle Series at the old CBGB Lounge, while at others it kinda comes off like a duet between a freaked out Robbie Basho having a nervous breakdown and the La Brea Tar Pits. Mad genius or inspired outsiders? Take your pick.
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George Gobel-IN PERSON "AT THE SANDS" CD-r burn (originally on Decca)

This guy has always been about as funny as a turd sandwich (I'm tempted to say a "dirty turd sandwich"), and not quite as appetizing. I never understood how Gobel got to be as big and famous as he was, and come to think of it I don't understand how the audience could laugh at any of his dull and humorous jokes which wouldn't even turn on the attendees at a testimonial dinner for Karen Quinlan. Tell you what, for more insightful gags and awkward personal reminiscences go visit yer Unca Ferd at the old fogies home and spend 45 minutes listening to him ramble on about the trip he took to Utica New York back in '49.
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Moms Mabley-AT THE PLAYBOY CLUB and BREAKS UP THE NETWORKS CD-r burn (originally on Chess)

Sheesh, I can still remember Moms Mabley crackin' the fambly up during all of those late-sixties tee-vee appearances, and this particular platter (actually culled from a Kip Nesterhoff broadcast!) sure's got those memories a'rushin' back faster'n diarrhea. It's too bad that I can't understand about half of what she's saying (you'd think that with all of her money she could afford relines) but she sure does deliver on that har-hars in the best black comedy way and without the dirty words too! Not only that, but her vocalese on such hits as "Sunny" and "Abraham, Martin and John" (where she does a few appropriate choke-stifles) fit in well with the funny stuff and please me a whole lot better'n the original hits did! And be thankful that the folks at the Playboy Club didn't approach her for a pictorial. Spin this 'un for your typical Bill Maher fan and watch the self-indignant attitude bubble over right before your very eyes.
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Rodney Dangerfield-D.A.R. CONSTITUTION HALL WASHINGTON DC 10 MARCH 1984, early show CD-r burn

The thirdest (and lastest of the Cee-Dee-Are comedy burns Bill sent me has Dangerfield firing off at his bluest doin' all of those kinda jokes that woulda made yer dad see red had he sat in for the sesh thinkin' it was gonna be all nice 'n just a slight bit edgy like on THE TONIGHT SHOW. Dangerfield never was known for his dirty stuff but he sure dishes the naughty jokes out here making you crack up like nothing since "milk, milk, lemonade"! Not only that but he sure does a good job providing the kinda banter that'll really make you a big hit when the cousins come to visit and you wanna show off a bit. And hey, if you gotta hear the dirty stuff better it be from a hotcha pro like Dangerfield than one of those modern day scolds who think they're so "above" you because they're up on the stage and you aren't!
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Lou Reed-CLAIM TO FAME CD-r burn

This ain't my favorite Lou Reed period (kinda sounds gynecological, don't it?) but it's good enough for a spin or three. Live at the Roxy Dec. 1 '76, Lou and his patented (meaning no troublemakers like John Cale in here!) backing band are joined by Don Cherry who adds a few interesting blurts throughout the set. Otherwise this is Lou during his lounge act period back when he thought he had his audience's tastes pegged, and I ain't gonna make any obvious joke regarding the use of that word! Jazzy enough that your own folks might even take a shine to it while gulping down their martinis before hitting the PTA meeting, at least until they find out that the guy singing here's the same one from those horrid Velvet Underground albums you drive 'em crazy with at which point it's TERMINAL GROUNDED for you and you know it!
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Terry Riley and Don Cherry-KOLN CONCERT, 1975 CD-r burn

Boy that Don Cherry really got around...just last night I was listening to him sitting in with the Mothers of Invention via the PIGS AND REPUGNANT bootleg, and of course he makes a grand appearance on the Lou Reed platter reviewed directly above. And NOW here he is showing up with none other than the famed modern day composer Terry Riley adding his appropriate trumpet styling working his way into the entire Riley riff drone rather fittingly. Riley's (and Cherry's) particular brand of new music does fit in swell during these long winter nights, and not only that but the quality of this is good enough that I'm surprised that the entire gig didn't show up on either Shandar or the Columbia Masterworks label. Brings back those days when my parents would complain about this sorta racket and I'd tell 'em it's classical music!!!
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Various Artists-$300 FINE CD-r burn (originally on Expo 67)

One of the better recent compilations of garage band esowhooziz out there in buy me land featuring names both blabbed about (Bad Seeds, Choir, Wailers...) and not. Some of these tracks have been heard to death already, but that really doesn't matter much considering they're in the company of a whole slew of acts that I've never heard of before and probably won't hear about after filing this particular 'un away after the requisite ten-thousand spins. Good enough that even the songs you think are gonna stink to high heaven (like the Flower Children's "Mini Skirt Blues") sound really hot in that 1966 listening to the radio sorta way that none of us'll ever experience again no matter how long we do the old mortal coil thing. Read more about it here if yer inna mood for osmosing your heritage, and why not? Bonus tracks include (along with the way-too-obvious inclusion of the Choir's "It's Cold Outside") a good folk rock-y version of the Kenny Rogers smasheroo "Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town" done by some anonymous bunch who really shouldn't remain so!
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Laurie Anderson-RADIO STATION-ONLY PROMO LP FOR HOME OF THE BRAVE CD-r burn (originally on Warner Brothers)

Sheesh, were the eighties that long ago??? Given the load of lousy music, tee-vee and general gulcher that decade exuded I'm sure glad they were, and its little tidbits of drizzle from them days like this that keep reminding me as to just how loathsome those days were next to the deviant seventies. Laurie Anderson's work never did gel with me true, and to be upfront like Jayne Mansfield about it I find the music that pops up on this soundtrack album to be art project spew that somehow forgot to rock out (an important thing in case you didn't know). However Anderson's commentaries are informative and downright entertaining at times (especially when she's discussing pertinent artyfacts re. Bauhaus and Burroughs) and make for a better way to spend your time listening to this particular spinner than trying to enjoy the rather pretentious synth sounds that permeate this thing.
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The Frowning Clouds-LISTEN CLOSLIER CD-r burn (originally on Saturno Records)

These six-oh retro recording acts haven't been doin' me the ol' do since the eighties closed up shop and I gotta admit this particular item (released in 2010) is no different. It's good stuff though with that original PEBBLES sense of beneath-the-suburban slob mentality to it which made those outta-nowhere platters so great. Not only that but being from Australia these guys have an Easybeats sense of antipodean madness to their musical approach that doesn't make Stevie Wright's passing as painful as it should be. Good enough for a spin which you will enjoy (like I certainly have), but I can't see me playin' this one at the old fogies home once 2045 rolls around nohow. Y'see, alla the Bee Gees fans'll be hogging the neural implant manipulators and do you think they'll even let me near the thing with this???
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The Nomads-STAGGER IN THE SNOW 2-LP set (Bang! Records Spain, available via Forced Exposure)

Now when I think of sixties garage revival acts that packed more'n their share of pounce I think of guys like the Nomads, the Droogs, DMZ and quite a few other purveyors of power who ebbed and flowed throughout that dismal decade we called the eighties. And although they did slack off a bit by the time those ten years clocked out for good at least the Nomads started them out with some real hard-edged, action-packed music that was just as powerful and as meaningful to my ranch house spirit of life as the Sonics and Seeds. Releases like WHERE THE WOLF BANE BLOOMS and this 'un were items that definitely stood strong in the face of the tepid pop of the day, and even this far down the ol' time chute STAGGER IN THE SNOW says a whole lot more about rock 'n roll as a force for fun 'n jamz than alla the hair bands you could stack up against 'em, and throw a li'l Mad Donna into the mix to make 'em look even better.

Originally a cassette-only release that was probably heard more via dubs'n the real thing, STAGGER IN THE SNOW does retain that quick slapdash quality that makes these tracks all the more digestible. The live cuts are undoubtedly straight from cassette player and thankfully have that raw quality to 'em, while the outtakes give even more insight into the music that did manage to come out and catch a whole load of six-oh aficionados (like myself) by surprise. The rare single sides are a blessing for jamokes like myself who couldn't afford them, the covers are faithful enough yet ain't carbon copy cheap varying from Northwest pounce to psychedelic duncitude, and that ain't even mentioning the one where they back up the gal group "Kissettes" on a spry cover of the Supremes' "Come See About Me" that won't win 'em any girl group converts but...wha' th' hey...

It's like what Imants Krumins wrote way back when about these guys being the perfect distillation of Sonics pounce and Link Wray rock-a-guitar, and it's too bad that they couldn't have continued on that fine path what with their later releases having a more, er, professional approach to their reason for being. But for the earliest (and best) years stick with STAGGER IN THE SNOW, brought to you by the same people who gave us Van Morrison and Neil Diamond---Bang Records! (Wait, this particular Bang is a totally different organization, right?)
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BLUE BEARD CD-r burn (originally on Derium, Italy)

I dunno what possessed Bill to burn this particular platter for me, but if he thought I would be the kinda guy who'd enjoy it he'd probably also think that I'd enjoy a nice heaping bowl of spaghetti with pus sauce. Typical early-seventies all-over-the-place hippoid rock that lacks any of the inspiration and gut attack that some of those smelly types had before the granola washed it outta 'em. The only reason anybody seems to remember this (undoubtedly) studio-only act is due to the presence of future Fleetwood Mac/AM hitmaker Bob Welch in its ranks but whatever you do, get "Sentimental Lady" (a turdster which sounds good in the presence of this mess) outta your mind...BLUE BEARD ain't even fit for the supermarket record bins of the early-seventies and you know what losers those tended to be stocked with!
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Various Artists-ODOR SHADOW PAIN-TROLL CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

The last seven tracks would have made for a boffoer-than-usual garage band compilation in the mid-eighties (I especially dig that Alpha Hydrae attempt at mangling various Brian Jones sitar modes), but the first nine numbers here ain't bad in themselves. Odor Baby contribute a good piece of abstract music that ain't good enough for the snobs in New York but suits people like me fine enough, while Dave Pike's r 'n b sounds little like anything I would have expected from a former Ornette sideman. Especially interesting is "Little B" from none other than the Shadows, a band that never piqued my prongs by any stretch of the imagination. Brownie points are definitely earned on that 'un if only for the inclusion of a Big Band drum solo. Still won't buy any of their records but considering I got this 'un free I ain't complainin'!