Thursday, January 29, 2015

BOOK REVIEW! TINY TIM---TIPTOE THROUGH A LIFETIME by Lowell Tarling (Generation Books, 2013)

Being on a longer (and stranger) than usual Tiny Tim jag, I figured that it would be best to part with some hard-begged to get hold of this biography of the World's Forgotten Eunuch. It was done up by some Australian guy unknown outside of his prison/colony who got to know Mr. Tim more'n any of us ever would and y'know what, this Lowell Tarling does a pretty good job capturing the madcap manner of the one called Khaury, As usual I'm left begging for loads more since frankly, a whole lot was left outta this admittedly pretty swell read but why complain since there's a Tiny Tim bio out and it ain't gonna cost you an arm and a bottle of skin conditioner like you thought it would.

Yeah you could say that Mr. Tarling spent too much time talking about his personal relationship with Our Hero and his various tours of the Antipodes and he neglected to remind us of the things we already knew about, but at least on the second count I wouldn't mind being reminded about  a whole lot of these things again. A whole lot more than I wish was left of the floor which did ruin this book a spell like, why no mentions of Tim's 1963 appearances with the equally New York underground-bred entertainer Moondog that transpired during the month of April which produced a boffo pic of the two along with the manager of the club they were performing at (still on the hunt for that 'un). The MERV GRIFFIN appearance where Tim got booed during the height of antiwar angst because he was wearing a hardhat and singing patriotic World War I songs (even earning the ire of Dick Shawn) would be considered mandatory Tim histoire but that's left out as well.  Or how about his performances at Max's Kansas City during the spring of '76 where former Stiletto Rosie Ross was the scheduled opening act, or for that matter his appearance on Al Goldstein's cable show where Tim's moral and sexdrive storm fronts probably did a huge colliding of tornado intensity? Leaving information like that outta a bio is akin to if someone would write one about me and leave out the infamous skidmarked underwear incident!

And of course the lack of rare photos (wouldn't mind seeing some of Mr. Tim with his long locks during the fifties) and other showbiz paraphernalia woulda helped termendously. Those little bits as well as a complete discography are what really woulda made this a Tiny Tim book to reckon with, but we have this and maybe I shouldn't be the crybaby complainer as I tend to be given my lofty rank as an arbiter of what should and should not penetrate into your sacred realms.

But hey, Trilling certainly captures the whole nutzoid genius of Tim who, while seemingly going through life half-corked went further with his career than the rest of those mad geniuses who just starved in garrets only to be remembered as trailblazers long after their need for pilfered hamburgers expired for good. After all. Tim was the boho who didn't even know he was who was wearing his hair long even before Che Guevara, Chet Helms, and the rest of those guys who claimed they had long hair before the Beatles let their locks grow. The guy who was puritanical to the extreme  (making my own reactions to various 80s-on sexspurtations seem bawdy in comparison) yet acted in Jack Smith's NORMAL LOVE and admitted in public that he wished he could have been as well-endowed as John Holmes. The one who, had the late-sixties glitz and decadence scene not happ'd, probably would have spent the rest of his days haunting the same clubs he began in over and over until even that novelty wore off. And hey, a guy who was more like me than you'll ever know considering how he too used to scarf up comic books and that two of his three favorite comic strips were DICK TRACY and NANCY (the third, MUTT AND JEFF, never ran around here though if it had I get the feeling that I would have liked it a whole lot more'n any of you woulda!).

But he was Tiny Tim with a hit record and plenty of sixties/seventies television appearances that at least kept him in the national spotlight, and even after his fall from grace he was on the go somewhat even if it meant HOWARD STERN and JENNY JONES appearances...anything that at least got him out to his adoring public or whatever it was that was jelling in Tim's definitely 30s/40s-bred imagination.Yeah he was a freak and a relic that serious minds (read, yr parents) couldn't handle but in many ways that's what made up a good portion of the "charm" that got an equally once-uncaring self-respecting turd like myself to finally sit up and take notice.

But wha' the hey...what I'd  really like to see is something like an oversized softcover book entitled TINY TIM'S MUSICAL MEMORIES SCRAPBOOK, some real old-timey collection covering Tim's entire lifetime musical or not with all of the rare photos and hypesheets and printed memorabilia done up in a style that woulda appealed to your old sixty-year-old aunt back 1971 way only she woulda preferred one about Guy Lombardo 'stead of some long haired hippie type no matter how flag-waving he was. I think Tim woulda liked to have seen a book such as this as well and perhaps its not too late for someone to sneak a project like this out on an unsuspecting public, at least while those of us who grew up with this guy on tee-vee and did funzy impressions of him complete with soggy mops on our heads are still alive and thumping. It would make a boffo flea market find in the year 2040, and somehow I'm stubborn enough to stick around that long if only to pay the sum of a good fifty-cents from some unsuspecting ten-year-old gal who'll undoubtedly be selling the thing along with the usual stacks of cook books I hadda sift through in order to get this prized possession! Money consciousness transcends all time, and don't you just know it!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sheesh, another weekend another post. Let's face it, if it weren't for those package that P. D. Fadensonnen, Bob Forward and Tom Gilmore sent me I'd probably be crawling the walls here, or at least re-reviewing PARIDIESWARTS DUUL while trying to get my daily fix of a very-early seventies band that was influenced by the Velvet Underground (y'know, before everyone including me jumped onna bandwagon) into the ol' system. But at least the following newies helped me make it through the fact that I'm stuck knee deep in the middle of winter here and like, this time of year always brings back miserable memories of winters past no matter how far down the line you get and how much you curse your teachers and classmates who hadda make up your social intercourse no matter how much you doth protested! Oh to be snowed in until the spring thaw with nothing to do but spin records, watch old tee-vee shows and eat frozen pizzas, but trudge on I must no matter how bitter cold it gets and how irritating those memories of yore may be!
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Are any of you reg'lar BLOG TO COMM readers fans of the legendary Czech underground rock act Umela Hmota? (I do have my doubts because hey, I'VE been the one championing 'em for a good twenny-plus years and you certainly wouldn't want to be caught casting your lot with anything connected with me even in the slightest, right?) Well, if you too consider this act in any (UH2 and 3) incarnation the boffoest in Eastern Bloc proto-avant-punk you might wanna cast eyeballs upon these extremely rare photos featuring none other'n UH guitarist Otakar "Alfred" Michl in a variety of groups including (besides UH) DG 307, the Plastic People of the Universe and his 1966 kid combo the Rotters, a bunch who look about as suburban slob Amerigan as they come but remember, this was all happening under the boot of the Soviet Bloc so it ain't like they were able to run to the local corner grocery store and buy Shake-a-Puddin' like teenagers were able to do over here! Historically significant and fun to look at as well! Of course you're welcome.
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Since this ain't exactly one of those big to-do kinda posts I might as well get started with this weekend's brouhaha if only to get it over with. Once again thanks to P. D. for the red cover series, Forward for the Stones and Dead (I think), and I didn't get to any of yours Tom but maybe next time...


The Stranglers-GIANTS 2-CD set (Fontana, Canada)

Have you ever wondered what the Stranglers have been up to these past few decades? Yeah, that's what I thought but for some reason I was curious which is why I snatched this recent ('13) set by theirs up almost pronto like. As I suspected, the post-Cornwell group doesn't quite have the same kick that the original band did (well, at least up to a point) though they still can dish out that pseudo-Doors sound when the inspiration hits, Which anymore is rarely. Hardly anything on the studio set is memorable, though the live platter does conjure some Stranglers memories of old that even new guitarist/singer Baz Warne can't eradicate. Nothing stupendous, but doesn't it warn the cockles of your heart knowing that this band is still alive and kicking all these years later???
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Frank Lowe Quartet-LIVE '77 CD-r burn (courtesy Fadensonnen)

Yet another from the red cover series, this '77 Amsterdam set has Lowe with trumpeter Butch Morris backed by a coupla local guys and y'know what...its pretty good 'n I mean it! Nothing outrageous the way THE FLAM and FRESH are, but stable enough. Lowe isn't at his "overplaying" best but he still beats out a whole lotta those guys who just picked up a horn and thought they were Coltrane because they could squeal with it, while Morris shows some of the spark 'n promise that would make him a free jazz fixture as the years rolled on. Even the Dutch rhythm section (for wont of a better word) hold their own and don't get in the way. Now that Lowe has gone to his final reward you'd think there'd be more of this making the rounds, huh? Well thankfully there IS!
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The Rolling Stones-ITCHY FINGERS CD-r burn (originally on Invasion, Germany)

In between suffering through listening to a set of Grateful Dead (!) burns that Bob Forward sent me I decided to sneak this little nineties-vintage bootleg into the mix, something that purports to be part of a series of Rolling Stones rarities in the ULTRA RARE TRACKS tradition I surmise. Considering that the tracks here are stuck between the v. late-sixties just post-Brian Jones deep six days and the advent of STICKY FINGERS (the cover actually being the Spanish version without the Joe Dalessandro bulge) I must commend it for remaining thematic enough not to sound as hodgepodgey as some of the other Stones boots that've hit the racks o'er the years. Lotsa this ain't whatcha'd call recently discovered, but it's still nice hearing that country hokey take of "Honky Tonk Woman" as well as the various "Wild Horses" "works in progress" which come in handy after you get tired of hearing Jagger doin' his sharecropper act once too often. And for your homo readers this 'un ends with two takes of what you probably consider your own national anthem, none other'n the infamous and oft-circulated "Cocksucker Blues"! (And boy did I have a wickedly nice sentence to end this particular review but I dare not use it, high-larious if chicken rockscribe that I am!)
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Amon Duul II & Guru Guru-DOUBLE KRAUT PLEASURE, DOUBLE KRAUT FUN CD-r burn (courtesy Fadensonnen)

Tee-vee rarities and the likes from two of krautrock's biggest hitters recorded during their better days before they both fizzled out after a series of platters that just weren't noisy enough for my tastes. Amon Duul II are captured live in Paris at the Olympia sounding kinda thin next to their studio efforts, but they really do knock over more'n a few trashcans in the alley of your mind with their by-then "outdated" psychedelic approach. Must to hear: a take of "Jailhouse Frog" with an even stranger coda that evolves into weird oompah music played on an ocarina! Guru Guru continue to sate as well not only with a fragment from a rehearsal of "LSD March" but that take of "Electric Junk" where bassist Uli Trepte creates weird electro wah-wah with a smal hose connected to his mouth. Not only that but the BEAT CLUB appearance where "Oxymoron" is given some broadcast-friendly lyrics closes out the thing. Funny, that show didn't mind when the MC5 did "Kick Out The Jams" in all its unexpurgated glory so why did they get all nice and wholesome now?!?!?!
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Art Ensemble of Chicago-GO HOME + CHI CONGO CD (Free Factory EU)

Handy twofa of what I believe were the final French Art Ensemble albums collected on one nice li'l disque. Never heard GO HOME so that was an experience, not exactly a tip top one since I didn't think it held up next to their other Frog releases but time may change things. I felt CHI CONGO was way better, what with the great free play on tracks such as "Hipparippp" not to mention "Enlorfe" Parts One and Two which really do hearken back to the fantastic free splat of the group's various BYG efforts let alone the oft-referred to slow burn PEOPLE IN SORROW. Both serious free jazz fans and those just tingling their toes in the avant garde would do well to snatch up all of the AEC's French albums and spin them to their heart's content, even though you might feel more'n a li'l guilty knowing that nobody got paid for any of 'em which I understand has led to a whole lot of bad vibes even this late inna game!
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Sunny Murray-LIVE AND RARE CD-r burn (via P. D. Fadensonnen)

I believe most of this is actually Murray's rare Shandar album (ain't got it!), but what really tops that juicy sundae of an album off is the rare opening track taken from a kraut radio broadcast featuring Sunny with that other "Sonny", Sharrock that is, creating this wild wall of free joy with Murray splaying sound all over as Sharrock does his best to fill in the cracks with those patented lines of sheet metal he'd been using for quite some time. Quality ain't what you'd call hotcha, but it sure helped break the mental logjam in my psyche. The Shandar one is boffo too...not as hot as his ESP or BYG offerings but still free in that late-sixties expat way that'll only burn you up even more when you realize that Murray probably didn't get paid for this 'un either!
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The Grateful Dead-LIVE AT THE FILLMORE WEST JUNE 6 1970  2CD-r burn set (originally on SB 27TK)

Well, I made it through both disques. And I survived even though it sounds as if what little fun and jamz the Dead may have had even a year or two earlier has been washed away by too much bad acid, bad vibes, or bad front porches to hold alla them Marin County get togethers for that matter. The acoustic set ain't anything to rah rah about unless you like hearing half-there covers of old country and western standards, and although the electric portion does show signs of psychedelic flash you can't deny the fact that the Dead really didn't have that spirit of rockist vision to carry off a song the way the Thirteenth Floor Elevators not forgetting a slew of San Franciscan competitors could with ease. Spin the Dead's version of "It's a Man's World" next to the MC5's and get a first hand lesson in dynamics, and who was lacking in it. Lest you think I'm being a punk snob about it all let me admit that I actually caught myself tapping toe to "Uncle John's Band" so maybe there is some decay above the neck setting in...
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Various Artists-IGUANA CATALOG HELLCOW SOUNDMAKER Cd-r burn (BSP)

The inclusion of the Iguanas (the eighties midwest band that created a bit of a hubbub in the pre-grunge mid-eighties) and Hellcows certainly slammed me back to my earlier days when I loved then tired of the newer spurts coming outta garageland (as of today I'm rather iffy of it all), though the James Cotton tracks were better'n even I remembered that one film of his concert that the local PBS station used to show between afternoon instructional television programming and the kid shows and Bobby Rydell not half bad if not entirely interesting. You may like Lamar Harrington if local blooze is your chooze while Janice Giteck's OK if you're in the mood for avant garde compositions borrowing heavily from various world musics whose practitioners probably ain't gonna get a sliver of the publicity she has. And hey, even the Legend prove that the MC5 weren't the only act to "borrow" heavily from "I Can See For Miles"! Good 'un here...search the web and make your own up now, willya?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

BULL TONGUE REVIEW No. 1 (available easily enough via Forced Exposure)

When was the last time you settled back with a nice bouncy rock 'n roll read that seemed to sear every asset of your rockist psyche just like a good ish of (classic 1971-1976 period) CREEM or some up-'n-coming fanzine of the past did? Yeah, you can find loads of inspirational rockscreeding on the web if you singe your search engines hard enough, but other'n UGLY THINGS there really ain't that much of a higher-than-thou energy to be found on the printed page these days, and the reams of rather doodyesque publications just hemorrhaging their way into the underground eye with a dynamite velocity only stands to prove one thing---that the Golden Age of rock writing, fanzines, and general fun and jamz is long gone, deader'n Lester Bangs and Pete Laughner combined and if those days ever come back I'll be more surprised'n the time I found that toy rocket in Farts Flanagan's mother's dresser drawer and got yelled at like mad because we wore down the batteries trying to get it to blast off.

But there are some exceptions, and BULL TONGUE REVIEW is but one juicy example. I never read any of the Byron Coley/Thurston Moore Bull Tongue columns in ARTHUR (in fact, I never even read ARTHUR!) but from what I heard their column was the best part of the blasted thing, so consider this debut issue of BTR ARTHUR without the bad stuff, or "Bull Tongue" without ARTHUR or something like that. Yes, it's finally time to settle back for some of the better rock in hand reading to be found in the mid-teens which as you know is a time when we thought we'd be doing something better'n alla this if we had only been asked if we would back when we first started off on our rock 'n roll fantasies way back in our budding suburban slob days.

Coley and Moore open the festivities so-to-speak with their opines regarding a few of their current favorite things setting the stage for the upcoming games with natural aplomb (amongst other things). Coley's views are mostly (operative word) etapoint...can argue with at least one glaring huzzah of his...and his hearty and heart-felt recommendations are mostly whatcha'd call mandatory osmosing for us 2015 kiddoids stuck in the 1980 rock 'n roll frame of mind. Por ejemplo (and I do mean a good 'un)---Coley's review of the heretofore unknown Adele Bertei book on Laughner and her association with him in PETER AND THE WOLVES makes this missive sound like a real winner even if I know that the late Pat Laughner would do some ethereal upchucking regarding Bertei's assessment of her son. Although Bertei reportedly has nothing but glowing praise for Laughner and how he bought her a guitar and all that, according to Pat the gal easn't exactly what'cha'd call "nice" towards Pete once the chips were really beginning to fall. Oh yeah, at first Bertei came off like some young and streetwise waif who actually was fond of Mr.s L enough to the point where she actually shoplifted a poinsettia to give to Pat during Orthodox (faith of the family) Christmas, though the fact that she was the one who got Peter kicked outta his own band (he performing his last ever gig  with 'em only when Bertei got sick and Laughner was called back to duty) still rankled the World's Forgotten Mom for years after everything had been said and done and there was no way to return to any sorta past solace or closure as the fru frus call it for that matter. Maybe that's one reason I view whatever I have heard about Adele B's unquestioning love for Laughner with suspect, especially considering how she sorta nudged on something that Johnny Thunders encouraged in the guy ifyaknowaddamean...

But still praise be that Coley is here to clue us cloistered workadays about things that we wouldn't mind spending our shekels on, like the Red Krayola double-LP collection of single sides (and I didn't even know that they had enough singles to spread across two longplaying platters!) or the plain fact that Half Japanese is still up and functioning considering that I gave 'em up for dead years ago!

Moore's contrib's inspiring as well if not quite as geared toward my sorta kultural tastes. But I've expected that and it ain't like I loathe him for anything (after all, he is the one who gave me Rudolph Grey's phone number and without that Don Fellman never would have gotten in touch with me!). A long dissertation on a new Cookie Mueller bio takes up the first part of his portion of the program (interesting enough even though I never had any positive feelings towards B.B. Steele himself) which is followed by a slew of mentions of recordings that might just tickle your fancy as much as they did Moore's, but then again I'd have to take an additional job as a tester at the dildo factory if I wanted to be able to afford 'em all. Whatever, it's amazing that all of this tasty material is out and about and available for whoever can dole out the dough for it, and if you seek hard enough maybe some of this'll pop up in areas where you'd least expect it!

The rest of BULL TONGUE's taken up by a vast array of reviews, writeups and whatnot by a bevy of names past and present that were mostly known via the pages of Coley's former stomping ground FORCED EXPOSURE. Maybe not, but it's sure heartening to know that such people as Joe Carducci (reviewing old Francis Ford silent films) and Ira Kaplan (reviewing the men's room at a San Francisco Jack In The Box) are still up and functioning. The reviews are of whatever is flibbin' the jib of the write-ee in question, and some of the resultant prose can be anything from enlightening (Chris D's film reviews) to high-larious (Donna Lethal's essay on "You Tube Tutorials") and almost all (even the review of WE ARE THE LEVITTS???) are worthy of your eyeballs even if the subject matter might not. Really, I am humbled to having have read these contributions regarding everything from Big John Atkinson (yeah, 'tardoid me don't know who he is either) to the memorial service for Peter Gutteridge (ditto), and sheesh even Richard Meltzer himself has presented us with what must be his first music review in a gadzillion years (and it's a mofo of a writeup too)!

So what else can I say? BULL TONGUE REVIEW's worth the EXTREMELY HIGH PRICE you'll have to pay for such decidedly non-mainstream self-produced printed matter these days and if you dare scoff well...think of how much you could have spent buying all of those DENIM DELINQUENTs back inna mid-seventies compared to how much you'll have to pay for 'em all today... In case you haven't noticed, now's definitely the time to raid mommy's purse while she's having one of her mid-afternoon siestas, and while you're at it yank out an extra few $$$ for the Bergerette CD (I know I will!). 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It usually happens in February, or better yet late January. However this year it actually went and started the first full week of this very month which is a record of sort! I'm talking about the winter blahs, that time of the cold weather season when you're sick of everything from the snow to the concept of human warmth and worse yet you're sick as in you wanna spend your days either puking your guts out or hacking thick yellow phlegm from your throat while struggling to breathe as you can hear your sinuses swell up like cooked sausages inna boiling water. And lemme tell ya, it ain't fun stayin' home from work like it was from school because hey, at least when yer at work you're getting PAID to goof off!

At least when I was in grade or high school I could spend the days bundled up getting sweaty while watching those fifteen-minute PBS educational classroom programs, all the while thinking about the wonderful classes and comrades in arms who were busting their behinds in order to get ahead, but now that I'm older and supposedly more gnarled I just can't lay back and enjoy a good throat hack the way I used to. Now all I do is what I do when I'm not sick (mainly sit around the house doing nothing), only the music doesn't quite have the same tangy zest to it nor does the printed word excite the way it should. It seems that all I did throughout the worst days of my malady was lay back and read some old collection of comic strips and imagine what kind of life some kid who was reading the exact same comic in the newspapers the day it came out had in some make believe burgh where suburban slob living was rife and a future in high energy rock was apparent. Then I'd imagine what was on the local UHF station that day in the mid-sized town complete with local and syndicated programming and whether or not the kid was watching said show, right before I myself would plop down to sleep all night not in my bed but my comfy chair right next to it. Let me tell you, they're making Ny Quil more powerful these days an' that's the truth!

I'm beginning to get outta this rut, though I might just keep on the Ny Quil if only to stimulate my imagination. (After all, it just might help my writing these upcoming posts.) Considering just how much the good stuff onna street'll set you back it's a whole lot easier to just head out to the supermarket and pick up a few of these cold remedies for just a fraction of the price. But then again the winter is young, and maybe I'll catch another good 'un before the season is through just so's I can get a li'l more creative with this blog 'n not just sleepwalk through week after week like I have been doing for a longer time than I can imagine. Given how turdsville my writing has become as of late, anything would be an improvement.
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Would this really be a BLOG TO COMM post were I not to mention the very recent (like two days ago) passing of none other than Kim Fowley? Yeah, I know that those of you who aren't rah-rah cheerleading his death are probably wondering why it took him so long to finally deep six, but I gotta admit that I do feel differently about the guy than many of you (even those who HAVEN'T gotten the personal rap from his chauffeur) have. Of course I've heard all the stories about the folk who've met him then ran straight home to dump alla their Fowley records on unsuspecting chumps, but for me Fowley was one of those seventies cool guys who I always thought had the same sorta style and swing that the rest of those seventies big names who were living the high life in El Lay or En Why See had, and that was something that I always wanted myself but knew I could never obtain in a million zillion years!

And if you were a seventies mag careener like I was you couldn't ignore the name nor could you not notice his moniker popping up on every other record that appeared in your best friend's collection. From Emerson Lake and Palmer to the Modern Lovers to the Soft Machine, Flamin' Groovies, Helen Reddy, Mothers of Invention, Hollywood Stars and beyond, Kim was there. And like CREEM magazine said way back in 1973 (paraphrasing here), Kim was always where the action was or at least what he thought where it was, and well that is much better'n being stuck inside of Sharon with the Coraopolis blues again.

At least for me the Kim Fowley I knew the bestest was the one who was making all of those strange albums that used to pop up and disappear in the local record bins, especially the ones on Capitol. Never bought any of 'em at the time but they sure seemed interesting-looking enough to my adolescent blubber tub mind what with those beady eyes and lipstick. Alice Cooper seemed staid in comparison, and come to think of it so did the rest of those glitter types who were comin' and goin' faster'n you could say Max Factor back in those annoyingly gender bender days. And of course who could forget those other dare-I-say mandatory platters like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL not to mention Skydog's ANIMAL GOD OF THE STREETS, and of course the still invigorating SON OF FRANKENSTEIN credited to Fowley's own bastard offspring "Kim Fowley Jr."...like Bill Shute once writ, Frank Zappa could mock a musical genre while playing in his own seventies/eighties blowhard-y way, but Fowley became the music himself which is one good reason I can come back to his albums time and time again and well...how many times have you (or I for that matter?) played TINSELTOWN REBELLION or MAN FROM UTOPIA anyway???

Really can't get into all of the whys and wherefores of Mr. Fowley here especially since he himself couldn't even do it in Part One of his autobiography. SUGGESTION: try and dig up your copy of DENIM DELINQUENT #5 to read Jymn Parrett's account of going over to Fowley's garage to listen to obscure single sides as well as a tape of him singing to a sped up Electric Light Orchestra backing track, or even the aforementioned Shute piece in one of his old INNER MYSTIQUE magazines (meet up with the guy and he may even tell you about his infamous phone call with Fowley which I was urging him to transcribe the best he could into print!). If you're really lucky howzbout copping the third ish of my own crudzine which had a few paragraphs of Fowley impressions that I still think hold up even a good thirty years later. But whatever, if you're gonna mourn, mourn the death of the seventies gritty rock underbelly even more now that this guy's finally hit the carbon cycle because no matter how hard we stamp our feet and cry IT AIN'T COMIN' BACK!!!
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Saddest, sickest television image to be seen in quite some time: James Taylor mewling "You've Got a Friend" while John Kerry looks on tenderly.
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Well, be thankful that I was able to scratch this much up this week considering the serious and life-threatening case of sniffles I've contracted last week. As you can see it's a boffo bevy of goodies, most of which were sent my way courtesy such illuminating lights as P. D. Fadensonnen, Bill Shute and even my own hard works (as for the items that Bob Foward and Paul McGarry have jetted my way, maybe next time...). Lotsa free jazz to be experienced here to which I will say huzzah since it seems as if this music is the best soother of my savage soul perhaps in a fight fire with gasoline sorta way, and although that don't mean I've forsaken the wild and woolly world of rock et roll it does mean that there just ain't as much of that stuff comin' out as there should be but so what since for all intent purposes rock's been dead a good forty-eight years in body and at least thirty-three in spirit. Don't see any revival comin' around either, and while jazz might not be as healthy at least there's a whole cartload of undiscovered free platters to find and enjoy and well, I gotta keep busy with my time when I'm not watching old tee-vee shows and reading HOMER THE HAPPY GHOST comics now, right? Awww sheesh, read these writeups and try to let a little of the inspiration rub off on you, hunh?



The Stooges-A THOUSAND LIGHTS CD (Easy Action)

If any platter was responsible for jarring me outta the wintertime sickies mentioned above it was this 'un, a collection of live Stooges during the FUNHOUSE tour that easily slipped through my maws when it came out way back in the dawn of the teens. Taken from the personal collection of Natalie Stoogeling herself, A THOUSAND LIGHTS really does bring back those hard-edged Stooges memories that crept throughout the psyche of seventies rock, jam-packed with some of the rawest Stooge sounds to ever come off the stage and into the sanctity of your fart-encrusted bedroom. Sound's perfect in that jammoid assembled in Mexico cassette (three for a buck!) sorta way, while you can't get any more o-mind with the scrangling (made that word up, and it fits!) sound that Iggy and co. were making at this point in whatever there was of their career. FOUR count 'em versions of  "1970" not forgetting a live take of "LA Blues" that was guaranteed to straighten out all the gal's hair without the aid of an iron. Shoulda been a bootleg back '77 way, and if only my teenbo self coulda gotten an earfulla THIS back when I needed it the most!!!
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Frank Lowe-DOCTOR TOO MUCH CD-r burn (originally on Kharma)

Yet another Fadensonnen red cover series entry, this '77 side shows Lowe to still have his anger-addled (well, what else would you call it?) intensity at full tilt. Must have been before he read that review which accused him of "overblowing", but anyway he's still careening on as few wheels as possible here with the aid of bassist Fred Williams, drummer and drug partner Phillip Wilson and either Leo Smith or Olu Dara on trumpet. Yet another perfect encapsulation of that seventies free gnarl that didn't seem to make it into the eighties intact, perfect for those of you who still weep over all of those New Music Distribution Service records you didn't have enough money to plunk down for as well as the utter demise of the Freestyle Series that Dee Pop had the good sense to curate. If you really wannit you can go to youtube and burn a copy for yourself you computer savvy whiz you!
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Bill Shute-WORRIED MEN AND WOODEN SOLDIERS CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions)

My cyst-er thinks that Bill sounds like Warren Zevon. I don't, and in fact I can't think of anybody in particular that he reminds me of but that ain't the point of this schpiel. The point is that I've had this 'un for quite some time and totally forgot about it, finding the thing while searching for something else and like a big caga I feel foolish for having ignored it for so long. But to be brief about it (having edited a good two paragraphs that I thought were droll enough to even make Shute himself wanna deck me upon our next meeting), let me just say this...deep, eloquent, creepy, nerve-y and at times maddening enough to make you wanna smash your Wal Mart boom box against the wall. WORRIED MEN AND WOODEN SOLDIERS ain't the High School yearly literary pub schlub any neophyte might think it to be, but edi-too-real bemoanings and observations that haven't hit home like this in ages. Also a whole lot better'n some of the wank heard these past thirtysome years...I mean I couldn't imagine Foetus backing Shute up inna millyun years (or this being released on Widowspeak for that matter)! Check with Bill via KSE (see link on left hand column) and maybe there's one available just waiting to get you into that beret and stale doritos mood you're always nostalgic for.
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Don Pullen/Milford Graves-IN CONCERT AT YALE UNIVERSITY CD-r burn (originally on SRP)

I reviewed the other Pullen/Graves album entitled NOMMO a good five-plus years back  It would figure that it would take me that long to get to the other one in this series of live college shows the duo released during that busy year of 1966 but anyway... This Fadensonnen red cover series issue features more of that boffo pair's art what with Pullen doing his darndest to out-Taylor Cecil himself while Graves' approach to the tubs is freeplay enough to even give Sunny Murray headaches...NEFERTITI THE BEAUTIFUL ONE HAS COME redux anyone?
***
Cecil Taylor-JAZZ ADVANCE LP (Doxy Italy)

(Speaking of the master) interesting to hear that on this debut platter Taylor has pretty much gotten his free play splat and Unit Structures down pat! No room for earnest growing and early years of bitter struggle here! And compared with what else was going on in 1956 you could say that Taylor had 'em all beat to the free splatter punch. Taylor's classical sweeps and atonal clusterbombs are backed up by a pretty hotcha band too including soprano sax mangler Steve Lacy, drummer Denis Charles and bassist Buell Nedlinger, all of whom fit in with Taylor's unique approach almost telepathic-like. On clear vinyl if you care, and the sound is so crisp and clear that you'll wish all of those recycled placemats that the major labels were passing off as record back inna late-seventies sounded as good as this!
***
Joseph Jarman/Anthony Braxton-TOGETHER ALONE CD (Delmark)

I gotta admit that I was rather wary about buying some of these AACM duo/trio efforts after reading about how Lester Bangs almost bust a gusset while attending a Don Moye concert (or was he listening to EGWU-ANWU???). Being in a peckishly adventurous mode, I decided to pick up this album by Joseph Jarman and Anthony Braxton (recorded '71 but released '75 to cash in on Braxton's newfound college boy fame) to see just how far out these two could get w/o straining my sometimes already strained sense of put on. Thankfully the pair work it out rather fine when they're playing these neo-classical lines (sometimes with Braxton tinkling the ivories) or doing those familiar contrabass clarinet grumbles 'n groans. Standard AACM Great Black Music approach all the way. The only thing that I thought was pure jagoff was the one where a whole lotta tracks (including synthesizer and Jarman and Braxton's own prose) are layered upon each other to the point of one humongous aural glob...that was a letdown, but I'm still not dissuaded from trying more.
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The New Order-LIVE IN LA 1976 CD-r burn (courtesy Fadensonnen)

This is the same New Order tape that has been flying around on a whole load of lists ever since those mid-seventies ROCK MARKETPLACE and HOOPLA set sale/auctions were offering rare recordings by underground acts at upwards of ten dollars a pop for deluxe chrome. Only this one sounds a whole lot better'n the grumbled murk that my tape had. Bound to offend the more cultured of punques out there who think that the only reason the New Order got so much coverage in fanzines was because there was nothing else to write about, but I find the uber-Detroit approach (with just enough Hollywood tossed in for decadent measure) of these track so refreshing even if they may seem rather commercial hard rock-y to some. Now let's get some Sirius Trixon out there, hunh?
***
Various Artists-FERAL RAGTIME SNOWMAN SAMBA CD-r burn (BSP)

With all of the Bill Shute samplers to pour through I picked this one outta the pile and you know why??? Because of the snap of the Studebaker dealership featured on the cover, dat's why! Nice music to go with my staring at the pic for hours on end too, what with the weirdo avant crank of Murmurists not to mention Ergo Phizmiz's sounding like Eno's "Discreet Music" with some eastern twang. There's also some locally-produced (meaning non-national, not that it was made like next door!) teenage neo-doo wop from the likes of the Trebletones and Treytones, jazzy instrumentals from Nat Adderley and King Curtis amongst others, and even a Scott Joplin piano roll that had me envisioning an old pre-D.W. Griffith-era Biograph short in my mind. Of course that pic makes me wanna jump into a Studebaker and drive myself to the nearest hamburger stand, but why did you include a snap of that rotted avocado Bill?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

BOOK REVIEW! MC5 - THE FUTURE IS NOW! by Michael Simmons and Cletus Nelson (Creation Books, 2004)

The mere idea of an MC5 book is enough to make any red-blooded reader of this blog wanna swipe money from daddy's wallet while he's fast asleep, but is a book like this worth getting switched up the backside???

It's not that THE FUTURE IS NOW is a turdburger of a read, but it's just how shall we say lifeless. A shame, since the entire MC5 story if told with the right 'n proper zest 'n zeal of  1972 CREEM article not written by Dave Marsh can really rejuvenate the senses and remind you just why this rock 'n roll sludge is such a beautiful, resensifying experience. Y'know, actually bring back all of those ginchy googly memories of the days when you'd rip open your latest BOMP! parcel trying to scam some of that high energy kultur that was so deeply in demand way back into those high energy times. But feh!, this 'un just reads as if the authors googled "MC5" and went about it as if they were doing a high school term paper on the subject, perking it up here and there for publication purposes as well as a nifty "A" from Miss Fafoofnik. Oh yeah, and you kinda get the feeling that they also won a bunch of 1970-vintage Five photos (along with one of Stooges-period Iggy) on ebay and slapped the whole thing together to peddle to the lumpen and unrepentant MC5 fans out there...nothing wrong with that (after all, I did the same thing in the final ish of my own fanzine which I won't link up for your benefit anymore since none of you are buying any back issues) but in this case it just reeks of shortcut city!

We all know with a passion that the Five saga is worth a whole lot more'n slash-outs such as this. I should know being that I heard a local FM jock (who I believe had been fired from about five deejaying jobs over the past thirty years for being such an asshole) badmouth the band on the local once-AOR station and called him up to tell him just how pussified he was. (Actually before that I wrote him a long, nice letter explaining the error of his way and decided to see if he had received the missive...apparently he had and boy was I naive thinking that my efforts woulda done his attitude a bit of good!) We (even at this late stage in the game) need a tome for the times that would have appealed to the young 'n rabid me who'd go to those crazed extremes actually believing that I was a modern day Lester Bangs if not Paul Revere born to fulfill my duty of spreading the high energy news across the land, and if only a Bangs if not a Jymn Parrett or Nick Kent or just about ANYBODY with a white-hot passion coulda done a Five history complete with the soul and rock 'n roll energy their writing exudes then we REALLY woulda had a book to contend with.

But instead we got this well-intentioned yet particularly stuck-in-neutral read which I would only recommend to the up 'n coming rock neophyte who just heard about the band and can't figure out how to use search engines. Good for the completest I guess, but us old fogies sure could go for something a li'l more tasty to sink our gums into.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


I AM NOT CHARLIE HEBDO


More/less my own personal view of the situation
in case any of you happen to be taking notes.
As you probably have guessed by now, the only reason I am printing the above headline-sized banner is not because I have any compassion or lack of it for either what has happened at the headquarters of the Frog satirical weekly CHARLIE HEBDO, nor anyone who might hate the paper for whatever reasons they may hold dear 'n true. I only did it because frankly, in NO WAY could I see anyone of these luvvers of free expression post JE SUIS BLOG TO COMM banners on their websites perish the thought that something DEVASTATING should happen to ME due to my own acerbic scrawls! Just like I get the feeling that if the gunmen had shot up the Front National offices instead of a "daring" if bland NATIONAL LAMPOON cum VILLAGE VOICE swipe filled with typical European-styled comic art they'd be hailed as conquering heroes who finally got the bad boys! Once again we've stumbled across the tragedy that everyone out there in social consciousland was waiting for and remember, don't nudge too many people outta the range of the camera while you hold your li'l placard that proves that you do indeed care.

And from that sneaky attempt to climb upon my own soapbox thus making good of a bad situation in my own snide way here are this week's writeups and grumbles regarding the latest round of recordings to 'rassle their way into my mailbox (amongst other cozy little cubbyholes). Thanks again to the usual suspects...Bill Shute, Paul McGarry, Tom Gilmore, P. D. Fadensonnen and of course myself.


DARK SUNNY LAND LP (One Hand Records)

First biggo surprise of '15's this new longplayer courtesy the mostly-MIA for '14 Stephen Painter a.k.a. Dark Sunny Land. He's back with that ol' proverbial vengeance on this 'un which thankfully continues on the spacial avant musical sounds of the past which in many ways are the logical extension of what all this rock 'n roll was heading in the first place. From K/Cluster-esque cranks to warm encapsulating sound that you can burrow yourself into, DARK SUNNY LAND weaves itself into your very own nerve-endings with a music that, once you spin the thing repeatedly for a few hours, makes you wanna stand up and holler that this was made for you and you alone! And in some ways you may be right Snuggle up with an old issue of CREEM while this 'un spins brightly throughout these Artic nights.
***
Dr. Feelgood-BBC SESSIONS 1973-1978 CD-r burn (originally on Grand Records, England)

Not bad, especially if you (like me) kinda thought that Columbia's push of Feelgood back '76 way did reek of a bit of howshallIsay "hype". Shows how stoopid I was, for Columbia was hyping the right act at the time only the geeky 'lude generation just wasn't buying it up (much to Journey and REO Speedwagon's delight!). But anyway, I gotta admit that these sixties sounds re-honed for mid-seventies consumption really do sound even more hotcha here in the post-existence 'teens than they would have then (even for me!), probably because the British r/b sounds of the original Feelgoods is nothing but history and its like what else can ya do given how barren the soundscape has become! And it hold up a whole lot more'n Emerson Lake and Palmer have, but whatever you do don't tell Chris Welch that!
***
Philip Glass-LOW SYMPHONY CD (Point Music)

Well uh, I do like it more'n the HEROES 'un (makes for good pre-beddy-bye relaxation music to accompany my HELP! magazines) even if it is quite kitschy. Glass takes "Warzawa" and "Subterraneans" along with one of those bonus Cee-Dee tracks nobody listens to and mooshes 'em up in his own unique liberty-taking way to make a "homage: that is suitable even if it is kitschy. I wouldn't be surprised if it settled just fantastically with fans of Glass, Bowie or Eno 'stead of rub 'em the wrong way because, strangely enough, I kinda like it in my own high school jackoff way. But then I slip on Patti Smith and wonder what all the fuss about this was inna first place.
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The Art Ensemble of Chicago with Anthony Braxton and Frank Lowe-LIVE 1975- NYC CD-r burn (available here as a download)

The first in the P.D. Fadensonnen red cover series of boptuous burns he sent me this holiday season, this one features one of my favorite seventies avant collectives performing at some unknown dive in the mid-seventies (the height of hot new thing cum loft jazz sounds) with special guests Anthony Braxton (who at the time was basking in the warm glow of an Arista Records contract) and Frank Lowe, who was probably basking in the warm glow of a heroin fix but we won't get into that. Hard to tell who is playing what considering how Braxton and Lowe and performing up against the two woodwind-spewing titans in the AEC, but why should I give a fanabla because it's all cool slow burn free play here, uncannily sounding like PEOPLE IN SORROW one minute before bursting into a hard drive free blast the kind we've come to expect from the AACM and scant few others. I thought it was perfect for those holed up in yr room introverted times, and if ya plan on being snowed in with but one internet burn to keep yerself company this winter this 'un just might do.
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CHARLES MINGUS AND FRIENDS IN CONCERT 2-CD set (Columbia Legacy)

The second-biggest loose cannon of the mid-fifties jazz scene, Mingus returned to the En Why See where it all began for him with this massive welcome home concert. It was on February 4 1972 at Lincoln Center, complete with a big band made up of some of the noted names and Mingus boosters over the years including Dizzy Gillespie and conductor Teo Macero. Mingus even got the once-mighty but now fallen (and don't get me off on that!) Bill Cosby to emcee, and the results were pretty much what you'd conjure up in your teeny tiny mind as to just what kind of celebration this big blockbuster concert was gonna turn out to be.

Sure it ain't got the same dignified jazz pounce as all of those early-sixties avant garde sound poems Mingus was educating a whole slew of pseudointellectual upstarts with, but this show does have a nice Ellingtonian rhapsodizing envelopment (or something like that) that recaptures early-fifties successes with nice asides into the blues and gospel that Mingus never did wash outta his boho mentality. Cosby may seem intrusive but even more gosh darn thrilled to be up there with his idol, and at least it sounds as if everybody except Mingus himself had a good time that evening.

As for Mingus, I don't think that he ever had a fun time in his life (I think Lou Reed was caught smiling more'n he!), but then again I guess he hadda keep up that volatile mad genius pose that got him more'n his share of notoriety (as well as Jimmy Knepper's front tooth knocked out, but we'll talk about that some other time)...
***
Big Star-LIVE IN MEMPHIS CD-r burn (originally on Omnivore)

Hey, for being one of those "reunion" thingies (with Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens being the only originals brave or alive enough to show up at the time) this one does capture that seventies pop-cum-hard rock feeling that used to get people like Greg Shaw muttering "It's all coming back!" even though when it did come back he wasn't quite satisfied in the way that it eventually did. These '94 tracks have that same restructured mid-sixties feeling that I sure wish ALL AM pop rock had back when these tracks were being laid down and it all sounds just as fresh and alive in the jaded '90s as it did back inna mid-seventies. Also available on DVD in case you want to experience this using two of your senses instead of three when the walking turd with a bad case of B.O.plants itself smack dab next to you at the theatre.
***
Frank Lowe Quartet-OUT LOUD cassette dub of 2-LP set (originally on Triple Point Records)

This 'un's probably long op by now, but if you're brave enough give the link above a click for this double platter effort (sent via Robert Forward---forgot to mention his name above) is yet another hotcha top-notch killer from one of the leaders of the seventies "out there" players to lay sound to tape. Backed by a crackerjack outfit (including the up and coming Joseph Bowie blowing some rather frenetic trombone), Frank Lowe careens and screams like nobody before or after through ninety-minutes-plus live and studio tracks complete with not only Bowie but drummer Steve Reid going cablooey on drums and bassist William Parker at the beginning of a long and involved career in the free sound. (Also look for Ahmed Abdullah making a surprise appearance on trumpet.)

The performance is on par with previous and future Lowe gatherings from BLACK BEINGS to FRESH and the only thing offhand I can compare it with would be Arthur Doyle's ALABAMA FEELING. The New Thing getting even newer as instruments fly about even more'n I'm sure Albert Ayler coulda imagined, what with alla that hard thud and careening solo sax colliding with BAG small instruments and some pretty freaked out vocalizing courtesy Lowe taking the entire idiom into areas that I'm sure woulda ruffled Leonard's Feathers had he only gotten a loud whiff of this (whew!) And hey, this says as much about the state of mid-seventies jass (even more) than what was being tossed about as new and unique by the standard bearers at DOWN BEAT who were doing their durndest to make sure that jazz was a respectable (read "square") music. It says maybe even more if you consider that there was a time when even the majors were pumping enough $$$ into the free jazz via labels like Novus and Douglas, at least before the big vinyl crunch of 1979 his and new wave arrived to save the entire industry.

Definitely one to ring the new year in the right way (in fact, I did just that with this while the rest of you were out making fools of yourselves), and if this indeed is sold out I ain't shedding any tears for you, lazyass!
***
Mr. Fox-JOIN US IN OUR GAME, THE TRANSATLANTIC RECORDINGS CD (Castle, England)

Being as hard up for a good early-seventies Velvet Underground-influenced/induced romp, I snatched this collection up after a few good years of deep consideration. Maybe I should have considered quite a while longer, for these Elizabethan minstrels, although heaving heaping hosannas for the lobotomized energy of the John Cale-driven Velvets, exude none of the punk energy and drive that made blackhead popping pus sacks like ourselves pour through CREEM magazine for the latest hint of life outside of Terry Kath. Even Steeleye Span sound like RAW POWER next to this red death rouser. For a better idea of the Velvets cum folk revival romp that I was expecting, try Emtidi.
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The Daggermen-DAGGER IN MY MIND CD-r burn (originally on Own Up)

This 'un came out ('86) around the time I was beginning to tire of not only the new garage band revival acts but the scattered leftovers of the late-seventies rock exhumation who just weren't cutting the cheese like they used to. Well maybe not...I think my general disenchantment was in actuality a long, drawn out agony that lasted perhaps the entire decade but anyway, as far as THESE revivalists/seventies underground rock survivors go... Well I gotta say that they do recall various Stiff Records-era English blooze ponk done up the way that was bound to get 'em trifle British Weakly coverage and their teenage sounds come off as such a relief next to the scuzz this ultimately led to. But there's still a lacking dimension in sound, mind and maybe even body that pales next to the outright pounce that acts such as the Flamin' Groovies and aforementioned Dr. Feelgood popped out with relative ease. One for the Paul McGarry files (which doesn't surprise me because hey, he's the one who dubbed this for me!).
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Pete Molinari-THEOSOPHY CD-r burn (originally on Clarksville)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the artist sometimes does live up to the hype. However, I ain't gonna be bustin' out my Roget's to come up with a whole slew of eloquent and flowery superlatives to describe the music of this rather talented individual. In BLOG TO COMM terms lemme just say that Pete Molinari might not be any new Dylan or heaven forbid Springsteen, but he's doing rather well as a new Elliot Murphy and what better thing could I say about the bloke? A singer/songwriter cum late-seventies new thing for this late in the rock 'n roll game, Molinari seems to be picking up where a whole load of promising acts that never made it left off. And for once I'm glad he's doing it in 2015 'stead of inna seventies where you KNOW he woulda been washed away by all of those "new Dylan" wannabes that were peppering up the field during those somewhat directionless days.
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Tim Buckley-12-15-1969 SANTA MONICA AUDITORIUM; VARIOUS LIVE 1970 CD-r burns (courtesy P. D. Fadensonnen)

The second and third of the Fadensonnen "red cover series" entries for the week, these find Tim Buckley live doing his jazz folk trip at a time when I'm sure many a listener thought he was gonna break through into mass acceptance what with all of the tee-vee time and publicity he had been gettin'. After giving these a listen you'll probably wonder why he didn't. SANTA MONICA features Buckley and band (including future DOWN BEAT editor Lee Underwood on guitar) getting into some rather serious jazzy grooves and gropes all the while Buckley stays true to his singer/songwriter self making for a collision that I'm sure stymied some of the more altruistic listeners of the day. VARIOUS features the STARSAILOR band getting even deeper into the jazz thang while Buckley stretches his vocal cords more'n even Yoko'd dare as he channels the spirit of Leon Thomas and outdoes him at every turn. You can just feel the throngs of fans turning their backs on Buckley after experiencing these stabs as the new jazz thing, but in the long run I guess we all know by now that Buckley's career moves made a whole lot more sense than Melanie's ever did even if he did end up making those albums for Discreet that everyone I know can't stand!
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UFO-09. JUNE 1973 BERNIE RIDES AGAIN PECKINGHAUSEN GERMANY CD-r burn (courtesy P.D. Fadensonnen)

Sheesh, I didn't even know there was a guitarist in UFO between Larry Wallis and Michael Schenker! But there was and his name was Bernie Marsden, and frankly I don't think he was all that tough next to the primitive crank outs of his predecessors! But for the overall crunch factor he sure fit in with the neo-Zep posturings of Phil Mogg and company so who am I to argue with success? Actually this is a good enough show, no UFO LIVE by a long shot, but a whole lot more digestible mid-seventies metal 'n some of the turdmongering that just happened to be going on in the metallic idiom just after that great fall from early-seventies grace.
***
Various Artists-GREASY DREAM KISSES AT PARADISE PLANTATION CD-r burn (I've run out of those pithy ways to tell you that Bill Shute made this for me)

Not too long (clocking in at 42 + minutes) but still a goodie featuring a bitta surf instrumental, early rock-a-blues and even some straight ahead c&w that Bill so desires he living in the middle of it all. I thought the Sleepy LaBeef tracks for Plantation Records were rather boffo, and the early-sixties teen pop of Clyde Stacy was pretty good if only to remind me of how good ladies used to look back in the days when this song was recorded (really!). The Mexican jazz pop of Ricardo Luna and Tony Dones really struck a cha cha cha in me as well, though my fave of the batch just has to be the closer "Crime Does Not Pay" sung (or actually chanted) by none other than longtime tee-vee second banana Durwood Kirby, a guy I grew up watching in front of the boob tube thinking that, when I got to be his age, I was gonna be every bit as grown up and as dignified as he was! Don't think I made the grade (which would have been an impossible task for me), but it sure is nice being reminded of some of the happier things that I grew up experiencing that seemed to be expurgated from life once we all got older and certain things became erased from our collective consciousnesses in a way Stalin could have only drooled at! In other words: Durward Kirby was to human beings what Studebakers were to automobiles and don't let anybody tell you different!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

MOOM PITCHER DOUBLE FEATURE! DIAL RED O and SUDDEN DANGER starring Bill Elliott! (Allied Artists, 1955)

Aging cowboy star "Wild Bill" Elliott himself hangs up them ol' Colt 45s for a new set o' weaponry in this mid-fifties Allied Artists series! Yes, the grizzled one after years of riding the range was now portraying an El Lay County Sheriff Lieutenant going under the name of either Flynn or Doyle in these rather hard-hitting crank outers just custom made for the cheap-theater to late-night tee-vee moom pitcher circuit. And man are they just what the he-man in us all have been craving lo these many years, what with alla that jam-packed action, grubbiness, women who look like ladies and sinister plots that keep people like us going in the face of the general geldarama that has befitted mankind for the past thirtysome years of our sorry existence.

The films in question today come from the first disque in the BILL ELLIOTT DETECTIVE MYSTERIES set that Warners had the good sense to release (thanks for the Christmas present Bill!), and let's just say that these early entries into the Flynn/Doyle series really do this old turd well as far as resensification of self, masculinity, take no shit from no one attitude goes even this late down the line. It's all hard-edged cop drama worthy of the best of the day (DRAGNET and M SQUAD included) and best of all these don't get bogged down in any sociopsychological goo that confused more'n a few young kids who grew up seeing men carrying purses and wimmen smoking cigars! Just hard-edged, stripped-down tension here. It's no wonder that none other than Sam Peckinpah was the dialogue coach on DIAL RED O, and if he wasn't taking notes I woulda been surprised.

DIAL RED O features ex-BRAVE EAGLE himself Keith Larsen as a veteran holed up in a VA hospital who escapes the day his divorce is finalized, right at the exact time his former Marine mate murders the guy's ex with a few well-placed judo chops to the neck! SUDDEN DANGER's got this blind guy who comes home from braille school only to find that his mom committed suicide in order that he get the moolah needed for what will hopefully be the last in a long series of operations that the guy has little faith in. Of course the discrepancies in the case pop up faster'n vaginal scabs on your sister, and after even a cursory look it seems as if Doyle's got the sightless one pegged as the killer himself! But then more clues and conflicting testimonies get poured into the stew and after awhile even you're not sure just how this crazy case is gonna end up what with certain parties fudging their sagas to fit their own sordid needs.

Elliott actually made the transition from cowboy star to grizzled detective just as well as any a-list actor who was getting on in years, while the supporting players from Larsen to Beverley Garland, Jack Kruschen (as a gruff Don Thompson-esque sci-fi fanzine writer type) and Lyle Talbot (who never turned down a role!) add the right sorta feeling that aids the filming dinginess even more'n any of us would have hoped. And best of all these did come out via Allied Artists who gave us all of those fantastic BOWERY BOYS films so if you liked the way those looked and felt all those lonely afternoons ago you'll be sure to love these films in the here and now Gene Shalit be damned!

Sunday, January 04, 2015

BOOTLEG BRAGGADOCIO 3!

Well, back to that imaginary small outta-the-way record shop of your mind where you'll find yourself pouring through the bootleg bins just marveling at all of those albums you never knew existed but were glad they did. Y'know, the ones that looked oh-so enticing to your mid-teenbo sense of rockism elegance to the point where you were conjuring up all sortsa strange ways to raise that $4.99 to get that Roxy Music BETTER THAN FOOD album that you so desired! Of course that was well before you were  thinking about how you were gonna hide it from your parents what with that insert cover (the one with the bald young gals on the cover ifyaknowaddamean) that I must admit I haven't seen since that halcyon day in 1976 when I was wondering what to do with my last few well-begged bucks at White Wing Records in Niles Ohio, but as well all know those are the perils of growing up right!

Yeah, just TRY buying a bootleg for that small an amount of moolah these days, but even if you'll have to scratch up ten times the dough to buy that still-desirable platter in the here and now at least rest assured that yeah, there still are vinyl bootleg albums coming out along with the standard Cee-Dee  types which sure would look nice in the collection even a good forty years afterwards! And not only that but alla these sure woulda looked snazz in any self-respecting record collection of the mid-seventies which only makes me wish all the more that they came out back then instead of now when r/r for all practical purposes is nothing but old fogey music!

Enough self pity---here's a smattering of honest to goodness vinyl boots, most of the new variety and one or two not-so, that I have come across as of the past few months. And y'know what, I gotta admit that I woulda dug each and every one of these if they had come out during the seventies, but they didn't which I guess as usual is our tough turds. However, they're more or less available in the here and now even if you might now have to pay collector's prices but eh, as long as you can embezzle or at least snatch money outta mommy's purse you're in for a good rock 'n roll treat with these!

So, sans further blab on here are just some of the illegal entries that made the previous year one of my favorites as far as sneaky under-the-kultur shenanagans in the rock et roll world go...


A few Bootleg Braggadocios ago I reviewed two Mothers of Invention platters that had appeared on the never-before-heard-of Mr. Natural label, both of high quality not only with regards to pressing but with full color cover inserts and colored vinyl for you late-seventies collectors geeks as well! Turns out that there was at least another Mr. Natural release out and about, this one featuring the early-seventies Mothers of the Flo and Eddie variety and frankly I gotta admit that this one is a real lollapallooza in itself! Heck, it's so good that it might just appeal to all of those people who hated the second version of the band and as I can recall there were many of you scoffers and downright loathers out there not only then, but now.

You'll marvel at the selection of rarities that pop up on UGLY NOISES, including an early version of "Lonesome Cowboy Burt" sung by Howard Kaylan, some live trackage from the Fillmore in '70, a late-'71 appearance on DICK CAVETT, a radio ad for the 200 MOTELS album which reminds me of that fifteen-minute "Tin Huey Story" broadcast on WKSU, and even some tee-vee and radio clips including an interview with an obviously distraught Zappa conducted right after the group lost all of their equipment in that fire at Montreaux. Some amazingly good reworkings of old favorites appear as well even though I did cringe when Zappa broke into the old "standby" "It Can't Happen Here" in that off-key "oh am I so above you all in my fifties bopster hipdom" sorta way I'll tell ya! But hey, if you thought Zappa's Bizarre-era material was the bad taste best and shuddered at his rather in-Discreet fusion sounds, you'll like this even more'n "Billy the Mountain" and "B'wana Dik" combined!
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Now for a trip back to the Golden Age of Seventies Bootlegs complete with the battered covers and easily-lost insert sleeves, here be a pretty lethal Roxy Music outing called ABSINTHE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDLE that came out via The Amazing Korneyfone Record Label some time in the mid-seventies. Some of this ended up on the legit VIVA ROXY MUSIC set but personally I find ABSINTHE a lot more energetic and spontaneous while VIVA did come off like a budget quickie to shill the rubes with. Even though this was recorded during the Eddie Jobson-period (which I have no bones against, and his scorching violin solos are one reason for it) it's still a pounding, pulsating outing that proves why so many people were affected by the Roxy mystique at a time when it was either that or vegetation music recorded by folk singers who never did seem to have their nuts on tight enough. Which I guess was one reason James Taylor used to look extremely nervous when Euell Gibbons was lurking about.

In typical Korneyfone fashion each side is padded out with then-current b-sides for alla us US fans who couldn't find or afford the import singles that weren't available at our local National Record Marts and to that I say "bully!" (The thoughtfulness of TAKRL certainly was a public service the comparatively lazy Amerigan record companies never would have extended to us peons!). I gotta admit that it's always a blast to hear that dark kraut-y drone "The Pride and the Pain" again, while I will admit that even """""I""""" have never heard "Hula Kula" or the new version of "Remake/Remodel" that Roxy blessed us with during their primo years. They really appealed to my long-lost import sense of musical wonderment making me feel like a booger-infested mid-teenbo lard factory once more, and that's really saying somethin'!

Like their other Roxy boots (CHAMPAGNE AND NOVOCAINE as well as FOOL PROOF), ABSINTHE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDLE captures Roxy Music at the prime of their pulsating, Velvets-driven madness and that unfortunately was a period that Bryan Ferry never could recapture what with all of those Roxy reunions and solo shows ever since the eighties. Good enough that you might wanna don that big raincoat and head out for the nearest record shop to do a little stealin', only to be shaken into reality when you discover that said store closed in 1981!
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Unlike many of you reg'lar readers, I was never whatcha'd call a big fan of the Buzzcocks...I mean true they were miles ahead of the Lindas (both McC and Ronstadt) and Barry/Robin/Maurice and Nugent and just about anything else that was on AM/FM 18-34-year-old radio during them days, but even with their punkish demeanor and short 'n sweet songs I believed that they were miles behind that Pere Ubu/Contortions/Electric Eels-styled hard energy sub-slum bared knuckle intensity that made life so pleasing in all of its bared-wire misery! When I think about what a typical Buzzcocks fan was to have looked like, I imagine some flat-chested co-ed art major who dressed immaculately most of the time in something outta Judy Jetson's closet whose latest effort included a juxtaposition of dead guppies and used tampons swiped from Richard Meltzer's boudoir. Heavy on the makeup too...wonder how far she got with her art career though I kinda get the feeling she's now a housewife in Orlando Fla.

But still, I appreciate it. Performance and "importance" of the selected material is soo-perb. Love how these 'leggers framed that opening segment of "Boredom" between two snippets of a recording hyping a Big Bands sampler, and although the live stuff ain't what anyone'd call crystal clear quality it'll more'n suit the rabid punkophile in your life with its pop urgency and middling-level drive. Features the group with and without Howard Devoto, and even if you threw away all of your old issues of TROUSER PRESS ages ago you'll still find this 'un a reminder of happier, more rockism-oriented times before MTV ruined it all for good! On the Edible records label, but don't you try it.
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Now as far as some fresher (I thimk) vinyl bootleg brouhaha goes well... Lemme start with this---some loudmouths have been blabbing about the new Velvet Underground CHELSEA GIRLS soundtrack (on one-sided color plastic a la the Agents of Misfortune and Sun Ra platters reviewed in these pages recently) as being the first ever vinylization of this rather important track taken from the infamous Warhol moom pitcher of the same name. Wrong again bustards, for those glorious descending neo-Asian chords have appeared on an early Velvets double-set which is wallowing in the confines of my rather expansive collection somewhere. However, if you want it on plastic and you can't find the original it's now available if only for a very limited time, and yeah it does rank up there as some of the better abstract expressionism sound to come from this electronic (in the truest sense) rock group the way the music creeps around and envelops you like the best late-sixties music always did. I only wish some genius out there could erase the distracting dialogue and extraneous sound and beef up the Velvets so we can experience this in its purest, most unadulterated sense, but maybe that will come in the future once FBI sound improvement techniques become available to the public.
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Also on the recently-released circuit's this wonder! Just when you thought the early Pink Floyd archives have been exhausted here comes this new platter going under the maybe not-so-enticing title of THE SYD BARRETT TAPES! Really sounds droolsville now, don't it? IME Records is the label that put this one out, and they really did a spiffy job what with the high-quality cover, imitation EMI labels and blue vinyl disc that make this package the beat-all of anything the early-eighties major labels would have cooked up reissue-wise.

However, is this one really worth the load of money you'd have to dump down for it, what with the same alternate mixes of "Scream Thy Last Scream" and "Candy and a Currant Bun" amongst many others that have popped up of Floyd bootlegs these past twennysome years? BUT WAIT, there's a bitta instrumental trackage on side two that I haven't heard before, and what's this with an early version of "Interstellar Overdrive" from September of '66 not only of pristine sound but one totally different from the take heard on that oft-circulated CBC interview (which closes this platter out)??? This "Overdrive"'s quite faster and way more frenetic than any of the versions I've lent ear to, and along with the old standbys this makes THE SYD BARRETT TAPES one for not only the recent inductees into the Pink Floyd fanclub but old fanablas like ourselves who've been in on the Syd Barrett game for a longer time'n any of us would dare admit.
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Another recent press up and a fair one at that, Kraftwerk's KARUSELL DER JUGEND (on red vinyl in case you're keeping track) presents a heretofore unknown 1970 gig recorded around the time the group's first album had hit the German record racks. Quality ain't crystal clear but suitable enough, although I must admit under pain of bowel gas that the performance sounds just the same as the rest of those early Kraftwerk recordings that have been flying about. In fact, next to the B-13 release of that 1971 radio broadcast from Bremen this doesn't quite measure up to the punkoid possibilities of the band. However the improv that closes the proceedings did show a few sparks of genius so maybe I shouldn't be such a complainer. There's a video of this floating about so if you wanna download it for free, seek and ye shall find.
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Of course one of the bigger surprises on the bootleg front as of late has been the appearance of this bauble, a fairly new at this time but old by the time this post hits the screens Stooges boot entitled IGUANA DE BANDA..ETIQUETA NEGRA DE LUGO which has come out on the more obscure than thou Boca Del Ray label. Advance hoopla had more'n a few Stooges fans salivatin' over the inclusion of ne'er before heard trackage from the RAW POWER days, and although I was a little skeptical myself I decided to take the plunge considering there was nothing better to do with my last twennysome bucks. Well, I must report that I'm glad I plunked down the potatoes for this 'un because like, it's really good and I mean good like back in the late-eighties when all of that other rare RAW POWER-period Stooges material was finally making its way to Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch and like you never thought you were gonna be hearin' this stuff in the first place and boy did you piss your pants in front of everyone once you did spin it!

Gotta say that I was a bit disappointed after listening to the first two tracks which sounded like straight rips from the official el-pee. However I then noted something different, like a radically vibrant mix of "Penetration" with the backup vocals way in front and no electric piano, a strange instrumental with sax I believe was listed as "Search and Destroy" on the cover but is an entirely different iguana, an all new "Death Trip" and (now get this), the legendary Stooge track that was supposedly performed live at their '72 London gig and never heard again called "Hombre de Negro". That 'un's a wild herky jerk reminiscent of "Gimme Some Skin" only longer and even gnarlier than the original. A really interesting reminiscent tune, if only because it reminds me of back when people like Iggy and Patti Smith could get away using racial epithets and get away with it because people were so much cooler at the time.

Dunno how these rarities slipped by for so long, but better now'n when they finally get the proper "legitimate label" release sometime after you've all gone deaf! So until then why dontcha go to where your old time fave record shop that sold bootlegs like these was and stare at it for a few minutes or so thinking about alla the fun you used to have there! Sure it's now a plumber's supply outpost and passersby will look at you as if you're retarded, but you'll sure enjoy yourself once those high energy memories just start rushin' in now, wontcha?