Monday, April 21, 2014

DVD REVIEW! FORBIDDEN HOLLYWOOD ARCHIVE COLLECTION VOLUME 6 (Warner Brothers), reviewed by BRAD KOHLER!!!!!

Like Chris, here at the satellite BLOG TO COMM office in Coraopolis we don't go to the multiplex much. This way we know where the sticky spots on the carpet are, and what they consist of. Well, at least most of them.

And what multiplex is going to offer the unparalleled thrill of Jimmy Durante in 1932's THE WET PARADE 's death scene? "They say cats got nine lives...well...I gotta million of 'em!" I actually spilled some beer on the front of my shirt from scrambling to my feet to applaud ol' Schnozolla. If he'd have thrown in a trademark "AH-CHA-CHA-CHA" before the tongue wag and eye roll I'd have started a petition for a posthumous Best Actor Oscar! The film is from a book by muckraker Upton Sinclair, but at least it's about booze instead of sawdust-laden bologna. Walter Huston is particularly good in a scene where he has the d.t.'s, and I lived in Utah for a time so I know what's up with that. The whole scope and storyboard of this movie owes so much to D.W. Griffith I kept thinking the Biograph logo would appear in the corner of the screen.

If that's too weighty for you (or you've had a bad experience drinking wood alcohol...hey, at BLOG TO COMM we know our audience) check out John Gilbert as a super cad in DOWNSTAIRS (1932) where he plays a sociopath on the make to filch what he can as a philandering chauffeur to the moneyed class. He even swats a lovestruck lump of an over-the-hill moon faced fellow servant in the kisser, telling her "You oughta pay me to look at you!" And she still wants to give him the life savings secreted in her support hose for a nonexistent business venture! Sheesh, they need to bottle what Gilbert had and spray it on me from an atomizer. I don't wanna give too much away, but he doesn't even get his comeuppance in the end (like so many of these pre-code wonders. Take that Legion of Decency!).

MANDALAY (1934) is a passable programmer, tidy and compelling enough. Notable mostly for Warner Oland as a bad guy who finagles Kay Francis into indentured prostitution. As #1 Son might say, "Gee Pops!" A good enuff flick but anything Lyle Talbot is in where he doesn't rip off his shirt and sprout fur is a bit of a letdown. (Editor's note---uh, Brad is undoubtedly thinking about Larry Talbot, and this of course might be yet another one of his snide in-jokes or something. I can't tell anymore.)

Following we have Richard Barthelmess and Ann Dvorak in 1934's MASSACRE, playing American Indians and looking the part about as much as Johnny Winter. A First National pictures humdinger exposing the gummint's dirty dealing on the reservation, watching this you'll wonder just how a sixty-five minute film could so aptly sun up the plight of the Native American (Yeah, you who always griped about having to be Heap Big Chief Cap'n Crunch Breath when you never got to scalp anyone and always got shot first playing cowboys n' indians at age six) and use the word "injun" so indiscriminately! But hey, political correctness is the biggest red herring since, uh, herrings came in colors, or something, and what's really ironic is Barthelmess has a black manservant. But, unlike the oppressed Indian, it's understood that he knows his place! There's a scene where Barthelmess gives him a honorary Indian name as they cross into one reservation, the name being (now get this!) "Ramona"! I'll never hear the Ramones the same way again!

These pre-code packages were upwards of forty bucks when they were first offered, but can be had for about half that now. And each volume contains three or four films so it's your move. Check out Jean Harlow in RED HEADED WOMAN and learn something about real life that Bishop Sheen tried to sweep under the Shroud of Turin!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter used to be a favorite time of year for me for reasons stated in previous Easter posts, but anymore I couldn't care one whit or even a fig for that matter. With life zizzing by as fast as it has these past few decades and with nothing to look forward to other than less and less music, tee-vee, quality and companionship to keep me up and running its like why should one holiday matter other'n being yet another road sign on that big trip to Wormsville. At least back when I was younger and I actually had delusions that life, love, happiness and LOTSA MOOLAH were just around the corner I could appreciate the arrival of spring and all of the warm weather activities that were in store for the next few months. Nowadays nothing really matters anymore...true I can look forward to the warm weather wear your bermuda shorts days with some anticipation, but then again I kinda like the winter months because I can stay put all day and goof off while listening to records and reading old comic books all I want. Its a trade off I don't mind one iota either.

Anyway the following consists of a buncha platters I spent spinning this past week. You may find these writeups interesting, but frankly with the specter of eternal douse that has overcome me these past few days I fear that I'm just not up to my usual low standards of fannish rock scribbling done up pseudo gonz with a whole lotta my suburban attitude firmly in place. I would say that I gave it the ol' college try, but after looking over these writeups I wouldn't even say that I gave it the ol' nursery school try. And that's with an added emphasis on "nurse" because frankly, these reviews suck more than a La Leche convention!


Fossils/Bill Shute-DIESEL FALLOUT DIXIE STAMPEDE CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Can't believe that this 'un even exists! Yes, our own Bill Shute, in conjunction with the mysterioso Fossils, set forth on a free-splat poetry cut-up extravaganza that's so potent (even here in the heard-it-all-before teens) that it would even give William Burroughs a hard on right in his own crypt. Bill's very copasetic voice (Bus Eubanks would have given him an "A") is run through distortions, fragmented, muffled and sliced and diced as his poetry concrete is uttered resulting in a strange melange that recalls John Cage's INDETERMINACY being forced through a Veg-O-Matic. And that stuff Bill spews forth...extremely splice and dice in itself even without the editing hijinx of the ones called Fossil. Let's just say there's none of that "Stick your finger in the hole/Now you have a Tootsie Roll" jive here, and maybe you should be glad for it!
***
The Three Stooges-AND SIX FUNNY BONE STORIES CD-r Burn (originally on Peter Pan)

Here's one a them kiddo records that a whole load of moms usedta buy for the brood to spin during play/nap time. We had (and still have) HUCKLEBERRY HOUND AND THE GHOST SHIP (still a good Saturday Night pop the corn spinner) but fortunately some lucky suburban slob kids got to enjoy this one featuring the Three Stooges themselves at the height of their sixties pumping the tee-vee generation for all it was worth revival! Hear Moe, Larry and Curly Joe take a rocketship travel through time and meet up with Cinderella, the Ugly Duckling (who sounds like Cinderella after screaming her lungs out at a Bobby Rydell concert), the Princess (who sounds like Cinderella after downing a few Fisherman's Friends) and the Pea (not surprisingly, when I was a kid mattresses and pee went hand in hand!) and the Magic Lamp (no Cinderella here!). A platter that's definitely of historical value if only for the appearance of the Stooges, but considering the lack of the slam-bang action these three were dishing out on television screens nationwide at the time I'm sure that most tots woulda thought that the 99 cents mom spent on this one at the supermarket would have been put to better use buying a few packets of Fizzies.
***
The Len Price 3-NOBODY KNOWS CD-r burn (originally on Wicked Cool)

What I said about these guys earlier goes double here. Good 'nuff retro rock 'n roll true but like really, how could I get excited over Len Price and the Three as if they were supposed to be the latest in that long line of rock 'n roll saviors who are supposed to save us from...whatever there is in musicland to save us from here in the teens. By the looks of it, we've gone from the retro movement of the eighties to the retro to the retro-eighties movement. Disque closer regarding the horrors of the Margaret Thatcher years because she nixed free milk in schools does prove one thing that Archie Bunker got right---the English are a bunch of fags if they thought the world owed 'em a free glug of moo juice!
***
The Hitmen-DANCING TIME 78-79 2-CD-r burn (originally on Savage Beat)

I ain't been listening to much music being created beneath the equator as of late so this one comes as a mild surprise as well as a mild diversion. The infamous Australian underground group featuring the usual assortment of ex-Radio Birdman and Saints types do a wild mixture of garageoid cover and originals for an audience that (believe-it-or-not!) seemed a little more than appreciative which is probably more than you could say about any audience above the equator! Kinda run-through and dashed off in spots, but I sure got that mid-eighties thrill of trying to find something to live for right in the midst of Madonnamania feeling listening to it, as if that was something to feel nostalgic about!

With over fifty tracks to absorb this might be a little too much for one sitting, so be sure to handle it piecemeal. But as for the glory that once was Australian post-Detroit rock, I must admit that the strains of the Hitmen kinda makes me wanna go do a quickie retard crudzine over the course of a nothing-to-do weekend, print up 40 copies and see which way the wind blows.
***
Ron Carter with Eric Dolphy and Mal Waldron-WHERE? CD-r burn (originally on Prestige)

Maybe I should still be mad at Carter for some of those sell-out turds he's been ladling out  these past thirtysome years, but this '61 side shows that the guy started out with his jazz sights well in focus, at least before he decided to cooperate with the hip hop generation. True the recording is kinda dry lacking a lotta the tension I like in my jass, but the presence of Eric Dolphy saves this from being one of those DOWN BEAT schmoozers that you feel like you have to wear a tuxedo to listen to. Dolphy soars on the bass clarinet (and his flute playing ain't bad either even if I found it a bit irritating during its giddier moments) while Carter is at his best seated at the 'cello. However, Mal Waldron is more or less wallpaper and the drummer sounds as if he'd be better suited playing in the Mister Rogers band. Overall one of those ones you'll want to listen to...after you've listened to all the rest.
***
Joe E. Ross-SHOULD LESBIANS BE ALLOWED TO PLAY PRO FOOTBALL CD-r burn (originally on Laff)

Gotta say that the disc this one was "sourced" from sounds as if Iggy danced upon the thing with his golf shoes on,  but from what I could make out the famed CAR 54 actor was about as schlocky a stand up comedy as one could be. None of them off-color scratch crotch while asking if anyone knows a good cure for dandruff gaggers here, but from what I can tell a good portion of 'em come pretty close. If you wanna hear some of the dirty jokes that were making their way around the water cooler back in them days dig up a clear copy and maybe you'll wish you hadn't.
***
Cheap Trick-BUN E. CARLOS BASEMENT BOOTLEG VOL. 1 CD-r burn

Dunno the exact whys and wherefores of these ltd. ed. releases, but this volume's a gotta get for those of you who thought that Cheap Trick were one of the better bridges between late-seventies hard pop stirrings and what had become of the FM consciousness during the height of AOR sopor sonatas. A snat selection of Trick before, during and after their big breakthrough complete with special guest appearances from the likes of Roy Wood, AC/DC, Dave Edmunds and Cozy Powell. You'll really get a laff outta the time they got Alex Harvey to join 'em on "Shakin' All Over" and totally flub it up!
***
Jack "Bongo" Burger-THE END ON BONGOS CD-r burn (originally on Hi-Fi Records)

More stereo stompers created for that guy who looked like Dennis the Menace's dad  who used to spin stuff like this on the hi-fi in his knotty pine rec room back '57-'66 (and even thereafter!) way. A typical flea-market finagle that does conjure up the exotic jazzy status of mid-Amerigan living during a good portion of the dreaded by progressive types postwar/pre-Vietnam era, but would anyone have noticed if it weren't for the painting of the topless gal onna cover???  Like I always said when it comes to these things..."titties triumph totally!"
***
Various Artists-STUPID STARRY EMERALD IGUANAS CD-r burn (via Bill Shute)

Funny, there's no country and western on this 'un, nor is there any down home folk blooze as well. Bill must be slipping. However, he did enclose a good hunk of early-eighties-vintage underground from the likes of Chem Dyne (from Hamilton Ohio), El Lay's Nervous Gender, the (Kansas) Iguanas as well as the infamous Dejavoodoo, an act who made a small splash in amerindie circles during the eighties. Also included were some really obscure garage rockers courtesy the likes of the Poor Boys, Up-Tights and Emeralds that helped smooth out the tangled nerve-endings as well as the tres-obscure Sky Saxon "Starry Ride" EP which taught the new garage band era kids a thing or two about how it should be done. The snippet of Merry Pranksterdom left me hungering for at least a little more (it sounded loads better'n that Grateful Dead radio broadcast bootleg) while the Richard and Willie segment off some old Laff Records sure brought back memories of strolling through seventies comedy album bins wondering exactly what kinda jokes were being spewed forth on those "Adults Only" platters. And after all of these years I now know why none of these ever got any in-store play!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

BOOK REVIEW! THIMBLE THEATRE PRESENTS POPEYE, CLASSIC NEWSPAPER COMICS VOLUME ONE: 1986-1989 by Bobby London (IDW, 2014)

So hot off the presses it's scortchin' my pinkies comes this collection of Bobby London-period POPEYE "daily" cartoons, and I'm sure you eighties survivors remember this 'un, right? Y'know, that version of the long-running THIMBLE THEATRE strip that was now being done up by famous underground/DIRTY DUCK/NATIONAL LAMPOON cartoonist London which was something that certainly caused a minor stir back in the days when the fun and entertainment of the comics page certainly was taking a dive, what with the classic strips either dying off or beginning to become mere shells of what they used to mean for depression-era kiddies who got all of their entertainment from these pages and nothing else!

It was '86 when King Features Syndicate, stuck with a property that just wasn't pulling in any readers under seventy anymore, decided to "update" their flagging stock inna one-eyed sailor by getting London to do the honors, undoubtedly figuring that he'd give the strip some "hip" credo. Which he most certainly did, pulling it off not only in a painfully obvious way by tossing every eighties fad 'n feature into the concoction, but by making the strip pretty cutting in a rather politico/sociopathical way!

And for the most part this worked even if London's zeal to poke and prod at the sacred cows on and off the funny pages is what ultimately tossed him out of a job, but mebbee I am gettin' a li'l too ahead of myself (but wha' th' hey...).

But unlike the POPEYE that preceded it, stories inspired by the headlines seemed to be popping into the strip more frequently than not, and while this THIMBLE THEATRE wasn't exactly as topical nor as oafish as DOONESBURY or BLOOM COUNTY are/were you knew where London's allegiances lied. And it sure wasn't with the seventies thumb your snouts at the left wing flakies and right wing stiff upper lipped ones anymore either! Like it was with the rest of the once-free form satirists of the seventies who were suddenly shocked outta their post-hippie complacency when Reagan got elected, it was with the left-wing flakies where London (and the rest of the seventies humor cadre) cast his lot. No more of that DIRTY DUCK humor that lambasted the sixties radicals anymore, bub! From then on in it was all-out war on the stiffies even if some of 'em had more'n a few good ideas rolling around in their minds but that never did matter when you were selling your heart 'n soul to DA MOVEMENT!

London's morally and intellectually superior to the rest of us's values eventually came to a head in the early nineties when he decided to introduce the subject of abortion into a comic that had been toddler fodder for a longer time than any of us could imagine. Not that abortion talk had been alien to them once-slam pow pages as some quickly substituted DOONESBURY storylines would attest to (and I kinda wonder about some of the behind-the-scenes goings on in BLONDIE as well...I mean with a daughter like Cookie you'd think the Bumsteads would be taking a trip to the local reproductive health center on a weekly basis!), but dealing with such a hot potato topic in a strip like POPEYE just mighta been taking the hip radical in the establishment trip just a li'l bit too far beyond the realm of decency, or so your Aunt Gladys might say.

And hey, when was Aunt Glady wrong other'n the time she mistook her daughter's vibrator for an oral health gum treatment that tasted fishy! The story, or at least what got printed, had to do with Olive Oyl receiving a baby Bluto (or is it Brutus?) doll which she supposedly ordered via Home Shopping Network. Turns out the doll is so repulsive that she doesn't want it so Popeye, doing the most honorable thing, throws the grotesque figure into the trash can. A passing priest overhearing the conversation between Popeye and Olive misconstrues what has been said believeing that Olive got knocked up by the bearded Bluto/Brutus and wants to deep six the sucker, which of course would naturally lead to some mighty hefty belly laughs you just never did get outta ZITS!

That's pretty much where the story ended when London got his own cord cut, and the usual tongue wagging and finger pointing that went on for a short while after did come off about as morally self-righteous as any world-saving type of deeply-offended scion can get even in these garment-rending times. It was back to Bud Sagendorf reruns for the strip and the end of a half-decade run for a variation on the old form that, I will admit, did its best to keep one of the funny papers' once-bright stars afloat in a world where the old classics were being replaced by these cheaply-drawn and unfunny strips that well...reflect the shallow personas and one-dimensional make up of the people who read 'em.

But hey, that MONDO POPEYE paperback I snatched up a few years back was a quickie har-de-har-har in itself so I figured why not get this new volume featuring the first coupla years of London's POPEYE anyway? And frankly it's a good buy if you don't wanna scarf up collectors prices for the MONDO edition plus it's got a whole lot more. And true you do have to suffer through some of those eighties politico woes that seemed about as distant in 1990 as Kruschev did in '67, but you can easily enough "bleeb" over 'em just so's you don't have to put up with the usual editorializing that's always been done up by people who need to be the subjects of quite a bit of editorializing themselves.

Not only that, but these strips can get quite high-larious almost on a level with those DIRTY DUCKs that London was dolloping out in the pages of NATIONAL LAMPOON! Now you ain't gonna get outright sex jokes and snide concentration camp references here, but there is a nice snark that pops up more'n a few times that keeps my belief system high afloat. Of course it ain't like it was back when these people really knew how to dish it out being the equal opportunity offenders they most surely were, but hey I'll take it!

The early quick one-off gags are on-target enough even if the references to various eighties television programs, products and gadgetries are even more obvious than any early episode of HAPPY DAYS rattling off about Studebakers and paint-by-numbers sets. The continuing stores fare better when London is cooking on all cylinders, and tales such as the one where the Sea Hag turns Popeye's home town into a giant shopping complex do have the proper mix of being late-eighties current and high-larious even to the point where the limitations that have been placed on comic strips at the time (size, panels) don't deter much if at all.

Gotta 'fess up that some of the sagas to be found here don't exactly hold up such as the one where Olive moves out of her abode and finds herself as an all-night 7-11 clerk, but it ain't exactly as if  you're about to chuck the entire concept of a Bobby London-helmed THIMBLE THEATRE onto the trash heap of particularly turdly ideas. You might (like I did) object to the portrayal of General Bunzo as a stark-raving capitalist anti-communist (as if pro-communists were just dandy!), and if London only balanced the strip with some fey cowardly world-saving types like he and his radical cronies used to only a good decade back... But, as Kathy Shaidle put it so succinctly recently the left/liberal types have more strawmen than a WIZARD OF OZ convention, so why should I expect 'em to behave differently?

Can you stand it? I guess I can, having had to stand the entire shebang of being talked down to and shamed (well, at least they tried...) by my mental masters for quite some time now. Once ya get around the usual fluff and post-hippie karmik whoozis this stuff is mighty good. Not exactly anything that'll make you laugh out loud (something which I haven't done since my cousin's dog started humping her leg at the family party a good twenny-five years back) but you'll probably emit a few little "arf arf"s from your very own windpipe. And yeah, I'm even planning on getting volume two with the abortion story line, though I do dread the sanctimony that's gonna come gushing from the forward of that 'un!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

RIP MICKEY ROONEY, "forever Puck", who I now envision is somewhere in the afterlife continuing his once-infamous feud with the equally once-infamous yet quickly forgotten Jack Paar. Also say goodbye to Leee Black Childers, famed shutterbug who was probably just as enviable as all of those hot celebs he spent his career clicking away thanks to his visage's frequent appearances in the pages of ROCK SCENE and CREEM.

Now that I got the heart-tugging sentimentality outta the way, there are this week's batch of reviews. Gee, if it weren't for Paul McGarry I woulda had hardly nothing to write about this go 'round. I guess the financial straits ain't hittin' Paul (or Mr. Bill---Shute himself who also tossed a few in) as much as they are me, but then again with the quality of current platters making their way to my favorite internet outlets it's not exactly hard to take the Scottish route to Stingyville if ye know what I mean, mon! So until Lindsay Hutton comes after me with a nine iron for making fun of his tribe, here be the reviews!


The Dogs-FED UP! CD-r burn (originally on Bacchus)

I'm really surprised at this McGarry fellow! Here my own fanzine has been not only writing about this displanted Detroit high energy trio for years but actually printed an INTERVIEW with 'em, and Paul goes and sends me a CD-r burn of 'em as if I've never even heard of 'em inna first place! Keep this up Paul and I'm not only gonna take alla your AC/DC albums away from you, but maybe even all of your Ten Years After ones as well!

Well, at least I got a good excuse to listen to this boffo platter again which has not only the famous "John Rock" single side on it, but a hot live set and some newer studio sides to top it all off! Raw hard-edge rock that they used to call "heavy metal" at least until alla them sissies with the teased hair got hold of the title back inna eighties. Close to the MC5 in approach and spirit, and the true spiritual successors to the Up in more ways that one unlike the Ramones, which is what Robert Christgau woulda wanted you to believe. Not only that, but it's wild enough to even make Ted Nugent wanna run to the comfort of his mommy's tits for some much needed solace.
***
THE NUNS CD-r burn (originally on Bomp!/Poshboy)

Another oldie McGarry sent my way as if he didn't think I'd've owned this 'un inna first place either, and again thanks be to he because otherwise it woulda taken me another twenny years to dig my way through my vinyl collection to get to the thing.

As far as those seventies post-Stooges groups go the Nuns were on top of the reason and backbone behind it all, not as intense as Rocket From the Tombs or the Electric Eels but far ahead of the rest of the pack whose idea of a Stooge homage was to rush their way through the umpteenth cover of "I Wanna Be Your Dog" without any of the suburban slob appeal of the original.

Jennifer Miro makes for an adequate Nico substitute, and while the production can get kinda new wave-y it doesn't get in the way of the overall decadent thrust. However, for a gobble of the real Nuns get hold of the early single sides which I hope some enterprising soul has (re)unleashed on the public somewhere in this vast, glorious universe.
***
The Troggs-BLACK BOTTOM CD-r burn (originally on New Rose or RCA depending on which one ya have)

's always good giving a listen to this once-omnipresent early eighties Troggs platter, which I believe was the first album the legendary band from Andover did after hipster pundits kept writing about how there wouldn't be any punk rock if these guys weren't around, or at least something like that. Yeah the re-dos of "Strange Movies" and "Feels Like a Woman" ain't as stellar as the originals, but the title track and such gems as "Bass For My Birthday" are typically top notch Troggs tracks that coulda easily passed for sides to be found on some rare English punk rock collectible yet to be discovered. As a bonus there's yet more rarities and re-dos including a medley of sixties hits done Troggs style, not to mention the infamous "Troggs Tapes" which really washed alla them thoughts we had about these guys being clean mouthed nice guys outta our system for good!
***
MOONDOG CD (Prestige)

More of that by-now ancient "outsider" underground music that was uncategorizable then and perhaps remains so even to this day. Having wondered about this infamous street performer ever since espying his early-seventies albums at the National Record Mart, it's sure interesting to give this 1956 debut platter of his a go 'round, and as you might have expected it's just as outside-the-realm nutzo crazy to appeal to a man of universal tastes such as myself. Ethno polyrhythms intermingle with Indian and Far East melodies making this one good entry into the early jazz avant garde canon.  A general feeling of etherealness also permeates yet you thankfully end up feeling more beat 'n hippie when it's all over. And best of all, it doesn't have that decadent hate-everything-good-'n-righteous smarm that has ruined most anti-establishment tracts from the seventies onward, and that's something we can ALL be thankful for!
***
GRAHAM KENNEDY'S BLANKETY BLANKS CD-r burn (originally on Laser, Australia)

Oh chee...an Australian version of the old MATCH GAME program! Those of you Amerigan kiddoes who rushed off your homework in order to catch the original version on CBS every afternoon at 3:30 can now enjoy this '77-'78 spinoff that's guaranteed to be just as dirty as the one you've grown up with for years. Once again cringe when Graham gives out the double-entendre-laden questions and you think the naive contestant is going to fill in the blank with something along the line of "anus" or "penis" or perhaps even worse. Enjoy the running gags involving "Cyril" and "Big Derek" not to mention the "Dick Did" routine and please keep in mind that Australians are simple people with a crude sense of humor so don't feel too smugly superior over them like we all tend to do.
***
Mark Lindsay-LIFE OUT LOUD CD-r burn (originally on Bongo Boy)

When I saw that McGarry had sent me this one, I thought it was going to be another one of those Mark Lindsay solo albums like ARIZONA or YOU GOT A FRIEND. You know, the kinda schmoozy stuff that misguided teenagers bought for their dads for Christmas gifts back in the seventies because it seemed MOR enough and the dads hated that long hair stuff to no end anyway so there went all of those good intentions! Well this 'un ain't like that at all, and in fact it's a good enough rock 'n roll excursion that, while having somewhat of an eighties revival tinge, sure beats much of the competition out there all hollow. If Lindsay had joined the Flamin' Groovies or the Plimsouls, this is what the resulting album would sound like. PEBBLES consciousness lives, and via one of the originators to boot!
***
Guardian Angel-INTO LIGHTNIN' CD-r burn (originally on Easy Action)

Former Rational Scott Morgan tried to keep the seventies full tilt with these two bands who, while continuing on the fine path of Detroit high energy rock, mostly met with indifference what with them coming off like a remnant of the recent past not too many "rock music" fans wanted to know about let alone remember. Nothing here's as hard-driving as the likes of the Stooges, but the studio and FM live material has enough of that rhythm and blues feeling that pretty much predated the "blue wave" sounds that would clutter up the underground in a few years time. Almost as good as Black Pearl as far as these white guy r&b crank outs tend to get.
***

THE HOLLYWOOD STARS CD-r burn (originally on Arista)

Did I ever tell you that the only time I ever saw this album for sale was at a flea market back 1982 way? I passed on it because well, I thought that the Stars were gonna be geeky ultra-commercial pop rock that was more in tune for yer kid sister who was just getting weaned off Shaun Cassidy and wanted something just as comfortable and soothing to her adolescent acne-riddled existence. For years I buttkicked my psyche for making what I considered a major non-purchasing faux pas (almost on par with passing up not only the first Yardbirds album but some cheap exploito British Invasion crank out I haven't seen since, and at the SAME flea market only three years earlier!), but after finally hearing this thing all I gotta say is that I ain't missed much.

Even though the Stars got hefty BOMP! coverage and Kim Fowley kudos, I think they're just more sappy showbiz ultra-commercial pop with none of the AM zip of the Babys or Nick Gilder and hardly any high energy hard plop that made groups like the Flamin' Groovies must-get budget bin kings. After thirty-one years all I gotta say is that I knew how to save a good fifty cents, and that's no lie!
***
Various Artists-MY FUNNY IRONSTRINGS POPPINS CD-r burn (submitted via Bill Shute)

Nize li'l selection here---some Mexican Big Beat courtesy Los Comodines (a song called "Puedo" which I think is Spanish for a male of loose morals), some pre-Blowfly soul courtesy Clarence Reid, da blooze via Chick Willis (always thought it was "Chuck") and the fun if antiseptic Crew Cuts start things out. Personal faves include the French all-gal rock 'n roll outfit the Lolitas who were produced by Alex Chilton as well as Pat Suzuki's vain attempt to save the entire female gender from total sag/pithair ruination with some sultry coo-ings. Totally cubesville (at least IMHO) is Ira Ironstrings aka Alvino Rey) with some of that cornballus instrumental music that got your Uncle Edsel and Aunt Flabby front and center for his appearances on THE KING FAMILY all those years ago. And Louis Prima singing MARY POPPINS??? After knowing where that tongue of his has been I think he needed to put much more than  a spoonful of sugar down his throat ifyaknowaddamean...

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! FLATFOOT IN AFRICA (1978) starring Bud Spencer!

In this late-seventies smash up Bud Spencer proves that what he can do as well with Terrence Hill he can do just as well all by himself! Spencer plays a Naples (Italy, not Florida) cop named Rizzo who's on the trail of a South African-based drug smuggling cartel that is somehow tied in to the nation's diamond industry (Rizzo himself getting the few clews to work on from the lips of a dying South African agent). From there its straight to Johannesburg where Spencer not only meets up with a now-retired fellow cop named Caputo who's mostly in this film for comic relief, but a whole slew of high society swingers and other lily white types who I get the feeling have no place in the new South Africa now that it is being ethnically cleansed via murder and emigration!

At the risk of looking more like Lunchbox Larry and less like Pauline Kael I found this one pretty sock-pow action-packed myself, with loads of great violent fight scenes, comedic torture routines conducted by Spencer on various doofs out to get his hide, and its all with a good balance between action and har-hars even if some of the latter don't quite work out right (such as the scene where Caputo dons blackface and curtains to disguise himself as an African woman). Overall I'd say this is one of the better action/comedy films of the late-seventies that I've seen which didn't devolve into a grade-z cartoon like some of those auto chase films of the same strata more or less did.

One thing about the film that's bound to get more'n a few people's stomachs all gurgled up, besides the fact that this took place in apartheid-era South Africa, is the appearance of a young local named Bodo (played by Baldwin Dakile), the son of the murdered  agent who surprisingly enough takes to Rizzo as if he were Bodo's very own dad! Bizarre to say the least, though since this film was made before such ideas as young black kids looking up to big white men (non queerly, that is) was considered one big ethnic boo-boo I guess that at least Europeon film makers, being so far away from a lot of the Amerigan turmoil of the late-sixties, could get away with it. But nowadays with all of the racial strife going on such an idea wouldn't make it into a screenwriter's mind let alone a first draft. In some ways it kinda makes me long for the late-seventies when many of us thought all of that tribalism was long behind us, for in many ways it was.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Yeah I know---who reads this blog anyway? Well, there's at least one person who does and that's none other than Paul McGarry. He's the reason why I am going to use the preamble to the following reviews (written for purely cathartic purposes---like I said, who reads...) to communicate directly with the ol' fanabla in a fashion that is way more secure than if I gave him a ring or wrote him a letter via post (his wife has been known to open his parcels). Why I am writing this particular introductory paragraph detailing our forthcoming plan I do not know because hey, you guys don't read it anyway.

Anyway Paul, when you come down to the tri-county area we'll meet in the parking lot at the Corral drive-in restaurant on Route 18. If you want to get a milkshake fine with me, but from there we will head off (in your car natch) for the First National Bank at the plaza where you will loot the teller's drawers while I help myself to free coffee. While bee-lining for the Big Town (New Castle) we can knock over a few gas stations on the way while you pump up...after all, that's a pretty long drive from Waterdown to this area. If you're interested in nookie I know where we can pick up some Amish gals or if we don't, I know where they keep the sheep.

Of course you may want to head for some Indian cuisine first. If so there's a good buffet in Niles Ohio and we can take our trail of terror west if you wish. However, considering some of the Mediterranean talent that's already operating in the Youngstown-Warren area ifyaknowaddamean it might be wiser to stick closer to home. If you do decide to head west I can always point out some of the highlights of the area such as the remains of the old Jungle Inn where Dean Martin used to man the blackjack table, or better yet the Bus Eubanks School of Announcing (or was it School of Broadcasting?).

If you don't feel like knocking over any banks maybe we can go to Linesville and feed the carp.

Then again if you're feeling tired and just want to stay home and sack out for a few more hours I'll understand. I'll be pissed, but I will understand.


Olivier Messiaen-COMPLETE ORGAN WORKS performed by Olivier Latry six-CD set (Deutsche Grammophon)

After hearing "Apparition de l'eglise eternalle" (or was it "La nativite du seigneur"?) on the local classical station this past Christmas Eve I figured that I needed to get more Olivier Messiaen into my life. Being an astuter person than you might have given me credit for I took myself up on the offer and bought this collection consisting of each and every one of his organ compositions. I just hadda...the howling freakout organ that was being presented that day was just so overpowering that I immediately flashed back to a late-seventies Memorial Day weekend play of some baroque organ program that was airing on yet another Ohio college station thinking about just how in-place a whole lotta the wail being heard that evening would have fit in if stuck between various krautrock and avant rock offerings. And this was before I even knew about Richard Meltzer's HEPCATS FROM HELL radio show where such a concept might have actually been fleshed out, though I get the impression without the krautrock considering that I don't know what Meltzer thought of the stuff one way or the other.

Spooky yet sensuous enough organ music recorded on the famous Notre Dame pipe machine that, while definitely in the avant garde realm, does retain a strong connection to the entire history of church music that I've been exposed to o'er the past few centuries. Maybe just a step or two removed from FESTIVAL OF FRENCH ORGAN MUSIC and just as repressive in the same way most great music (rock 'n roll or otherwise) is. Best of all, it has a deeply spiritual, ethereal effect on me that even Klaus Schultze never would have been able to pull off.

And it's mostly if not all religious as well, and just as in-tune with earlier sacred sounds from John Wycliffe on. Vibrant to the point where a good portion of anti-Christian art from the previous seven or so decades just looks like amateurish fluff in comparison. It's also good for washing the residue off your soul after a folk mass, so if you're ever roped into attending one of those monstrosities just slap one of these platters on (I personally recommend "Livre d'orgue") and get that "Kumbaya" out of your system once and for all!
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Toy-JOIN THE DOTS CD-r burn (originally on Heavenly Recordings)

At first I wonder why my ol' partner in crime Paul McGarry stuck me with this one, especially when you consider that I really don't go for any of this new rock 'n roll clatter that just doesn't have the Burroughsian grope of that old rock 'n roll clatter. But despite my misgivings I actually will go out on a limb and say that Toy are pretty----------------------decent. The group with the funny name are a new English "psychedelic" aggregate but they have little in common with either the Blighty psych groups of the late-sixties variety or the early-eighties acts that were springing up in the just post-new-as- gnu wave era (see A SPLASH OF COLOUR)...they sorta remind me of Ultravox with a tad bit of Kraftwerk and other kraut masters thrown in for good measure. Driving pop rock with a few interesting avant garde touches that don't bog the proceedings down or come off so sweetly precocious. Nothing that I would call overly essential, but a surprising change from the usual pace and something worth listening to from an up-and-going rock music concern as well.
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Jerry Colonna-MUSIC? FOR SCREAMING!!! CD-r burn (originally on Decca)

Sheesh! I'm surrounded by wopadagos on a daily basis and now I hafta go 'n listen to 'em during my free time! All funnin' aside, the BOB HOPE sidekick screams and bellows through a whole buncha nice jazzers as well as barbershop quartet smoothies (all with himself quadrutracked!) on this 1954 outing that might put a smile on your Uncle Fafoof's face but for me has the same lasting impact of any comedy album once the needle lifts. That is...nada, unless you were one of those high school creeps who used to cum buckets with each and every re-spin of George Carlin's FM & AM. Play this one for people who think Eyetalians are supposed to be good singers and watch them dump their Perry Como albums but good!
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CHUBBY CHECKER'S PSYCHEDELIC ALBUM CD-r burn (originally on Underground Masters, the Cee-Dee reissue that is)

Well it ain't exactly called that---the correct title is just CHUBBY CHECKER. But it seems that everybody who comes in contact with this 'un calls it by the aforementioned so hey, why should I buck  the trend no matter how inaccurate I may be (and like, what else is new?). And frankly this ain't as bad an album as I thought it would be...mid-energy psychedelic rock recorded in Holland in the early seventies with just the right touch of relevance and enough heaviness that woulda made your mama (who thought Chubby was such a "nice" boy) shake her head in disbelief. If you like those Curtis Knight albums with Jimi Hendrix you'll like this...there's even a tribute to Jimi himself along with an ode to Jesus so you know just who are bigtime in Chubby's life! And to top it off there's even a drug-sotted pro-pot ditty that kinda cancels the holiness of the Christ thing out much to the glee of all of you heathens out there no doubt.
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Eddie Noack-PSYCHO, THE K-ARK AND ALLSTAR RECORDINGS, 1962-1969 CD-r burn (originally on Bear Family, Germany)

Didn't some mid-eighties Australian "garage band" act do a cover of this particular song entitled "Psycho" and we all thought that it was the Sonics fave? Whatever, here is the "hit" (more or less) version that was done up by Texas tunecroaker Noack, something which'll really make you really wonder just how such a sickoid song coulda made it into the nice 'n wholesome (well, that's what everybody thought back then!) world of country 'n western music without Noack comin' in for a bit of a lynching himself. If you like your backwoods downhome music sick, this is the one for you. Also contains a good twenty-three other songs for all of you snobbish Northern phony intellectual types out there to listen to in order to assuage your feelings about what you think of Southerners, kidding yourselves into believing you really like them when all you do is up your snouts at 'em like you do at Northern ethnics and other members of the real world who hold down jobs and just ain't as decadent as you obviously strive to be!  
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Sun Ra and his Astro-Infinity Arkestra-OTHER STRANGE WORLDS CD-r burn (originally on Roaratorio)

Magnif '67 sesh recorded with a stripped down Arkestra live in Ra's own apartment showcasing the group mainstays fiddling around with stringed instruments they know practically nada about. The results are brilliant in their exploratory way in the same fashion of a slow-burn Art Ensemble of Chicago workout, part addled yet with a strange drive that seems to protrude from every plunk and strum. Not anybody could have his band work out on junk shop mandolins and busted autoharps and get such engaging and downright entertaining music outta it, but Ra managed to with flying colors. Another one I can scratch off my next Forced Exposure order thanks to Bob Forward, so blame him guys, not me!
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 Various Artists-FINK ALONG WITH MAD CD-r burn (originally on Big Top)

Sure am glad that I didn't get to hear any of those beyond-the-realm-of-corn MAD albums that came out during the sixties, because if I did I probably would have been turned off to the entire MAD oeuvre faster than you can say "potrzebie"! Teenage pop circa '63 (as envisioned by middle-aged schmoozers) complete with lyrics that come off just as cubeoid as some of the material that was getting printed in the magazine not only then (the early sixties) but for years afterwards. One wonders if this wasn't produced by Dave Berg...it's that New York middle class suburban square. Maybe if Big Top coulda wrangled their big guns like Del Shannon and Johnny and the Hurricanes to lend a hand... Partially redeemed by the presence of Alfred E's stellar vocal appearance on "It's a Gas" as well as a revival of the all-time fave (via Mogen David) "Nose Job".
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Karlheinz Stockhausen-MUSIK IM BAUCH CD-r (originally on Douche Grammaphone)

I must admit that I haven't been paying that close attention to Stockhausen even before his infamous remarks about the destruction of the World Trade Center being "the greatest work of art that is possible in the whole cosmos" (sheesh, what about Hiroshima?),  but dang if Bill Shute didn't send this by-now rarity my way so it's like I gotta. The title track (performed by "Les Percussions de Strasbourg") mixes live performers with music boxes especially programmed for this piece, and it surprisingly reminds me more of John Cage's aleatory work than anything I have heard by Stockhausen. Also coming to mind is Michael Nyman's "Bell Set" off of DECAY MUSIC, something which might ring a ding with the rest of the suburban turds who first latched onto the concept of "new music" after Eno said it was hip.

"Tierkreis" is nothing but weird music box cantatas named after the signs of the zodiac, sounding like the kind of lullabies that I'm sure J. Neo Marvin got more than his share of during his own mid-day naptime ventures. It's that twisted, and would be bound to make a mental moosh outta you had you had these played to you at a young and impressionable age. And although you might think that this sorta concept is "nothing new", back when it was being created it most certainly was so quit acting like the pretend cultural avatar you most truly are!
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Various Artists-ONE-SIDED CUMULOUS CAKESHOP KITTENS CD-r burn (contributed by Bill Shute)

If I didn't say this one shot farther off course than that Malaysian jetliner I'd be lying more than Ginger Lynn. Goodie effort with plenty of better 'n the last ten years of comps garage band rock (the Bad Boys, Allusions, Hangmen and the all gal Butterflies), a li'l country (Jimmy Dean), bizarro avant garde (Simon Mathewson) and even a couple of those "song poems" that Bill sure wish he coulda sent his bux in for if only to hear "There Once Was a Man From Albuquerque" set to music. Some node-jarring music doth appear (such as by Montreal's Alcrete), while I sure got a good 'n hearty laff outta Uncle Clyde's open letter to some Soviet serf named Ivan which kinda comes off so conciliatory that you'd kinda think the authorities woulda dragged Clyde away for being such a pinko! Well, at least I woulda hoped so after giving a listen to this cornballus recitation guaranteed to melt the heart of your average gravestone-rubbing forever teenage beatnik cousin!

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! TICKET TO DIE (a.k.a. INVITO AD UCCIDERE) starring Lewis Jordan (not the jazz guy, that's Louis---1966)!

Eyetalian spy films seem the stuff of Sunday afternoon sixties/seventies UHF teevee, and undoubtedly that's the feeling I got watching this particular endeavor. Lewis Jordan (or as he's known in the homeland Tiziano Cortini...what kinda name is that?) stars in this espionage flick as a secret agent who is let out to pasture for "health" purposes that, as the dialogue suggests, might have been brought on by himself. In order to make a big bundle (as if a secret agent's pension pays beaucoup) Jordan's on the hunt for a special formula divided into three separate pieces scattered across the European continent which he plans to sell to the highest bidder, and it ain't the recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken either! Meanwhile he has to fight some tough guys and gets whooped pretty hard while also having to match wits with a former spy/friend doing a little catmouse, all the while taking heavy dosages of pain medication for reasons revealed toward the end of the moom.

Good stuff actually. Not brain-rendering or anything like that and kind of run through quickly if you know what I mean, but it has that mid-sixties spy feeling that I certainly remember from watching MAN FROM UNCLE and laughing my head off silly when that radio-controlled plane starts chases some scientist into a tent before exploding because it seemed so ridiculous. (And boy did I get yelled at!!!) Good dark ambiance here with of course the typical violence to keep our interest up. I especially like the part where some confederate meets his maker after the phone booth he's in  when its picked up by a crane and dropped from a height of at least 100 feet! I wasn't laughing at this one like I was when that model plane blew that scientist to pieces, but it did give me a slight throb thrill.

Of course just about any highbrow film snob'd up his nostrils at this spy craze pseudo-cash in, but then again that's why they don't tune into BLOG TO COMM now, isn't it?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

So like, uh, what have I been doin' these past seven or so earthspins anyway? What else but (once again) trying to get over the miasma of  having to live in a post-gulcheral 21st-century environment by resensifying myself with hotcha rockism-oriented reading material to accompany my evening musical listening excursions, THAT'S what! For me that means scraping up every shard of pertinent rock 'n roll-oriented reading material that had yet to graze my eyes and print it up for those pre-beddy bye hours when I'm just too tired to gaze at a computer screen but too mentally (and physically) active to actually go 'n hit the hay. Y'know, slip some late-sixties/early-seventies musical offering that has something to say as far as what a wretched fanabla I might be while reading some still-pertinent words written five decades back that seem to contain all of the meaning and knowledge I need to get through life, and if you can think of a better way to spend your evening hours other'n watching GILLIGAN'S ISLAND reruns then hop to it! And leave me alone while you're at it because frankly, I'd rather be spinning PARADIESWARTS DUUL while reading Nick Kent or some other worthy rockscribe that MATTERS!
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Speaking of Kent, I've discovered a whole load of his classic NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS scribblings that I do not have to pay ROCK'S BACK PAGES' steep costs for (a nice site they may be but man, music is for THE PEOPLE and this writing should be free to all at least if you want to use hippie terminology to back up your pallid argument). I just did a little googling and came up with some classic writeups that I didn't have to spend a dime for (other'n for toner and electricity) including a pretty funny putdown of Pink Floyd circa. WISH YOU WERE HERE as well as some choice words pointed at Lou Reed and Iggy that were uttered a good eight or so years back when everyone else was singing their hosannas to high heaven because---well, they were Lou Reed and Iggy Pop.

And while I'm at it, Kent's old galpal Chrissie Hynd(e) did a good job herself not only with that by-now famous Eno article where he discusses the pornography of the world but a review of the Velvets' 1969 LIVE album that's almost as good as the one her former Ohio buddy Peter Laughner did for the short-lived underground rag ZEPPELIN. Y'know, I really wish that Hynd(e) would have given up her musical endeavors (which were never anything to sneeze at) and stuck to rock screeding on a permanent basis. At least we wouldn't have been inundated with her band's rather fallow musings for lo these many years.

Like just about everything else connected with that once-driving and nerve-rattling world known as rock 'n roll, it's sure life-reaffirming to read these thirty-plus-year-old opines which sure make more sense'n anything that's been written since, including my own pissy prattle for a world long-dead if I must say so myself.  And as the years drag on and those high energy sounds seem more and more a relic of a time when music like this mattered on a first-hand basis, you know that the scribblings of Kent, Hynde, Bangs, Murray and so forth reverberate a whole lot more in our heart of rockist hearts now more than ever. Maybe it's time I crack out the check book and pay for another year of ROCK'S BACK PAGES because hey, I need Nick Kent TODAY a whole lot more'n ROCK'S BACK PAGES need the pittance I will have to pay ransom to get hold of their captive articles!
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I know I shoulda mentioned them when they first hit the blogosphere, but some of these stories might have been flying even lower 'n that Malaysian plane to the point where they even zoomed past me! So in order to at least fulfill some sort of imaginary duty that I might have to you, the perhaps not-so-discerning BLOG TO COMM reader, here are a couple of obituaries that I thought I'd better pass your way lest I end up looking like a total stroon...

The passing of Scott Asheton, or "Rock Action" of Iggy and the Stooges fame did catch me off guard, because head-buried-in-the-sand me didn't even know the infamous drummer for the band had suffered a stroke a few years back marking his exit from the revamped group in the first place. But yeah, I will say that Asheton's death was a big one in the world of true rock 'n roll (and yeah, we can bicker about what that means to me as a pure rock fanatic and you as a dabbler at a future date), a bigger loss than that of such other pounders as John Bonham (a mere piddler in comparison) and Jeff Porcaro, a guy who certainly gets the kudos from mainstream rock-bred dolts but not ME! Keith Moon came really close, but gets notched a few points for having a big prog rock gong in his early-seventies set up. Ditto Mani Neumaier of Guru Guru fame, although both he and Asheton were obviously listening to the new thing drummers from Sunny Murray and Milford Graves on which reverberated in their playing. And allow me to stick my neck on the guillotine one more time, but I still think that Asheton coulda played drums on a whole slew of free jazz sessions and sound just in place as Don Moye, and the fact that he didn't might have been one of the greatest losses in the avant garde jazz world since Eric Dolphy died strictly because he didn't take drugs or drink booze unlike his more inebriated fellow musicians.

Although just about every "classic rock" aficionado would definitely up snoot at Asheton's stylings, those of us on that sainted "lower" plane have always reveled in the fact that Asheton's entire approach seemed like he gathered all of his knowledge regarding the drums by listening to Elvin Jones and replicating what he heard while behind the traps. A wild and primitive sound to match the subhuman antics going on from the rest of the band, and at a time when critics were writhing in pain over the rise of heavy metal and all of the base sludge that music in its better form was infesting across the amber waves of grain, the Stooges were taking that basic groan and making it sound even lower to the point where the music had gone from one chord to none. It was a strange sideshow music, a real ass-rape to the phony peace and love generation antics that were getting all of the accolades and money-go-round support, and although things wouldn't really flower until a few years later you can't deny it was the Stooges who helped edge this new decadence along. And of course Asheton's drum prowess was a huge banging oil can vibrant thud component to it all.

Whatever, another great in the true world of rock 'n roll has died, and like I really do feel like my own folks did back when their old timey faves were dropping like flies throughout the sixties and seventies. Rest on Scott, and say hiya to the other Stoogesmen who beat you to the punch.
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While I'm at it, would this really be a blog that didn't know its duty (or should that be "doody") by neglecting to mention the recent passing of actress Mary Grace Canfield? I mean, who could forget that face which was proudly splattered across television screens throughout the sixties? Yes, none other than Ralph Monroe herself has gone to that big workshop in the sky (and as Brad Kohler said, "Now the Douglas's closet will never be finished!") and of course I couldn't be any sadder. I mean, this was one lady who really got around on tee-vee back then, and not only that but she appeared in a whole load of top-notch high-energy comedies from THE HATHAWAYS (the one where Jack Weston and Peggy Cass lived it up with the Marquis DeChimps in a boffo early-sixties Screen Gems Production that somehow foreshadowed BEWITCHED on a whole slew of levels) to THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW not forgetting more'n a few sitcoms (and even serious shows) that used to light the pre-prime time syndication cathodes until they got replaced with snoozeville entertainment news programs. Heck, as I mentioned she even turned up as Miss Grundy on that strange (because it had little to do with the actual comic) ARCHIE pilot, and if I could think of any actress other than Canfield to play the eternally spinster teacher it would have to be...Minerva Urecal but I don't even know if she was still alive at the time.

Brad thinks that Canfield's finest moment was that ANDY GRIFFITH episode where she plays Gomer Pyle's blind date and he runs off after gettin' a good eyefulla her, but that's only because he forgot to buy her a corsage like Andy and Barney did for their gals and the two of 'em end up partying it up in the living room anyway while Andy, Barney, Helen and Thelma Lou spend their evening thinking that Gomer was being nothing but a turdburger. Of course that's before Gomer espies Opie skinny-dipping across the way with the moonlight reflecting on his buttocks and highlighting them in a rather resonating way, accentuating his smooth mounds and cleavage and...oh that Brad really does have an active imagination because none of that really happened! In actuality right after the date Gomer did his usual Saturday night rounds at the Mount Pilot Greyhound bus station and YMCA acting extra friendly to the lonely boys striking out for fame and fortune in the big city...I mean, what did you think???
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And now here's something I hope you really like! Gotta say that I've been pretty busy writin' up the revooze this week, and as you can see I've been inundated with a wide variety of boffo wares this go 'round that I will admit put a smile on my face and a song in my heart which is something that hasn't quite hit me in quite some time! Anywah, I get the same sneakin' feeling you'll be cozyin' up to these writeups as well given the plethora of hotcha information that's being spewed forth from my mental loins, and hey, if you even get aroused by my scribbles enough to latch onto one or more of these disques (some which still may be available!) I will be quite surprised. Y'see, I don't think anybody really reads this blog!


Simply Saucer-"Bulletproof Nothing"/"Bulletproof Nothing" (live) 45 rpm single (The Mammoth Cave Recording Company, Canada)

Big surprise of the week's this nice little single that reminds me of all of those other small-label self-produced singles I've been getting sent for a longer time'n I can imagine, if only because this 'un's a much better effort'n most of that ilk! Yes, it's a "new" one from perennial faves Simply Saucer, the fantastico "Bulletproof Nothing" done twice with the a-side being the familiar track from the always boffo CYBORGS REVISITED album while the flipster's a live take that sounds as if it could have been taken from the portable tape recorder of Imants Krumins himself. If I have to tell you how great and essential this is, you definitely must be a troll. One of the best pairs since Dolly Parton as they used to say, and a definite must for those of you (like me) who still seem stuck in a seventies underground rock whirl if only because just about everything else that came in its wake is but mere putty next to the original thrust of it all.
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THE CHILD SEDUCERS, written by John Steinbacher and narrated by John Carradine CD-r burn (dunno what label it was originally on ???)

Do you (like me) think we've been screwed up beyond redemption what with all of the rampant decadence and libertine behavior permeating even our own tri-state area (which I'll admit has always been filled with its share of  uppercrust WASP-y social reformer types and their fellow buttlappers)? If so, just give a listen to this 'un and tell me that the sickness hasn't been lingering on for quite along time before Ameriga had become a haven for bringing out the worst in man. John Carradine narrates John Steinbacher's etapoint text regarding the steady slope we've been sliding down for quite a long time, and given that these bizarre occurrences and factual displays of depravity were going on in our schools (and entertainment industry) even as early as the late-sixties it's a wonder that not only the nation, but the entire planet itself, hasn't spun outta control right into the sun if only to purify itself. I can't argue with anything that's been revealed on this platter, but considering how narrator Carradine had just finished filming his part in MYRA BRECKENRIDGE when he recorded this 'un don't you think he's being just a little more than hypocritical on his part???

Well, I must admit that I love it the way he reacts after mentioning a magazine article from some pervo-sexo rag entitled "Does Penis Size Matter?"!!!! UGH! indeed!
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MASTER PLAN INC. CD-r burn (originally on Jazzman)

Mid-seventies funk ain't exactly the thing that lights my pilot, but I gotta admit that the self-produced music made by this Chicago outfit is slightly engaging. Maybe its because these songs aren't glopped over with major label gloss that didn't always work out that well. Perhaps its due to the fact that some of these compositions are actually fine jazz-soul hybrids that don't sound like they're aimed at the same teenyboppers who voted "Kung Fu Fighting" the #1 song of all time on CKLW back '74 way. Maybe it's because there ain't a trace of disco beat to be digested. But mostly it's because none other than Paul McGarry sent me this 'un and if he likes it it gotta be good? Yes, I am not ashamed at taking the easy way out by resting on the laurels of someone whose tastes I really do admire!
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Silvio Gualda-PERCUSSION CD-r burn (originally on Erato, France)

Not so surprised that this 'un slipped past my feelers, but better now'n 2100. Gualda leads a rather bang up ensemble through two sides of Moderne music that's not as plutonian as Xenakis yet strong enough to get your pop flipping out worse'n the time you accidentally played "Our Bizarre Relationship" in front of Aunt Prudy at the confirmation party. Maurice Constant's "14 Stations" reminds me of a percussion backing for an AACM album (the tubular bells coming off veddy similar to Anthony Braxton's CCC work) while Stockhausen's "Zyklus" is so sparse you kinda think John Cage would have been suing. I plan on getting the recently-released Max Neuhaus version once I get some scratch together...dunno if these two "realizations" are anything that can be compared side-by-side but by gum, I sure am up to the job if I do say so myself!
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Matching Mole-BBC 1972 cassette tape dub (originally on B13)

Nope, dint buy this one, though I will say I was tempted. But hey, it ain't like I can have everything that I want, and for that matter I don't think I'll get everything that I need despite what Mick Jagger might think. But at least I got a dub of this thanks to Robert Forward via cassette tape with Leroy Jenkins' FOR PLAYERS ONLY on the flip. Nice to see you thinking about me Bob, but I already bought the latter with my hard-begged a short while ago a review of the actual vinyl which can be read almost directly below give or take a few writeups. But yeah, it's the thought that counts, and I gotta admit that it's grand to see that SOME people think only nice and precious thoughts about your humble reviewer while others certainly have the mental daggers forever aimed at a good and virtuous person such as I. But as well all know, that's the price ya pay for TELLING THE TRUTH!!!!!!

Robert Wyatt's post-Soft Machine effort doing the live thingie on the BBC with a future This Heater as well as some other Canterbury types whose other efforts escape me. Pretty hot in that early-seventies Soft Machine sorta way---jazzy yet nowhere near creating those knights in shining armor fending off dragons images that acts like Return to Forever and the Mahavishnus made a whole wad of dough with. In the reserved English avant jazz style that came up with more than a few import bin winners back in those days, and good enough that I might even comb through a few hundred boxes of cassettes to find my copy of LITTLE RED RECORD which I haven't spun in quite awhile and always considered a fairly feh effort in itself.
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Smegma/Blood Stereo-GUFF VOUT MULCH LP (Nashazphone, available via Forced Exposure)

Yet another amazing Smegma collaboration, this time with English beret and stale doritos eaters Blood Stereo making a pleasant racket that doesn't sound that different from the past thousand Smegma releases. But that doesn't matter a bit like you thought I thought it would. Pre-recorded bits of everything from old 78s and teach your parrot to whistle instruction discs intermingle with neo-free horns and patented tee-vee sitcom quips. Extremely engaging even if it doesn't exactly hit you over the head, and if you're patient enough you'll even get to hear some nice neo-Velvet Underground riff drone on side two, and I mean that in a positive, pre-Velvet cult of alternative drivel sorta way!

Reconstructive facial surgery is definitely not in Blood Stereo's health package.
***
Leroy Jenkins/the Jazz Composers Orchestra-FOR PLAYERS ONLY LP (JCOA)

The writeup of NO ANSWER a few weeks back prodded me to get this by-now forgotten platter from '75 featuring noted AACM violinist Leroy Jenkins leading the Jazz Composer's Orchestra through two sides of free form brilliance that sorta represents where jazz was during those uneasy times between sixties freeform radicalism and late-seventies loft. Basically the Revolutionary Ensemble plus fifteen more musicians, Jenkins leads not only his fellow ensemble mates Sirone and Jerome Cooper but the likes of Anthony Braxton, Dewey Redman, Charles "Bobo" Shaw and Dave Holland among other worthies through some aural terrain that's surprisingly moving and engaging, not necessarily free metahonk splat but intricate and dare-I-say enveloping textures that can actually get you nice and relaxed while you still enjoy the form of it all. Definitely a must for AACM freaks as well as people like myself who sorta went head first into the new jazz via purchases of everything from the Creative Construction Company and Art Ensemble of Chicago with my hard begged money on the basis of some backpage CREEM magazine reviews and nothin' but!
***
Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds-HAUNTED HEAD CD-r burn (originally on In The Red)

Surprisingly wow-wee effort from Mr. Powers, the same guy who played for the Cramps, Gun Club, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds as well as a number of other groups I'm too tired to google at the time. If you (like me) thought the whole "garage band" idiom (whether it be revival/primitive rock/Anastasia Pantsios' asinine usage of the term to describe early Rush) was a dead and buried affair prepare to re-think your position after hearing this behemoth! A rehashing of old hoary riffage and ideals that don't sound like the latest bit of rockcrit fodder. Mature and maybe even erudite, yet retaining the boffo sub-schlub levels of punkitude that had me happily hopping through all sorts of bins for a good twenty years of my flea market existence. And I ain't just sayin' that because the leader of this group's a follower of this here blog!
***
Various Artists-FRIED DENNY SUMMERTIME FOCUS CD-r burn (via Bill Shute)

Some famous artists (Booker T., Jimi Hendrix, Blue Cheer) mingle with the likes of Denny McLain at the organ on this new platter of strangeities culled from all over the web. A nice mix of soul, blues (and yeah, I do mean Jimi whom I should loathe for technical reasons only) and hard rock (Crazy Elephant, an act that I think could have developed into an underground contender with a little putsch), with the likes of Rodney and the Blazers, Lord Rockington's XI and Eddie Miller and his Oklahomans (doing the original version of Engelbert Humperdink's "Release Me"!) scattered about. Also included are both sides of the DENNY McLAIN AT THE ORGAN platter where the hits of the late sixties are played on the Hammond for your own personal pleasure. Dunno about you, but when I heard this 'un all I could think about was hitting the Rockshore Lounge on Route 87 for one of their Friday night all-you-can-guzzle seafood buffets...in 1967, that is!
***
See you mid-week? So like I even have to tell ya???

Thursday, March 27, 2014

BOOK REVIEW! ELVIS DIED FOR SOMEBODY'S SINS BUT NOT MINE, a lifetime's collected writings by Mick Farren (Headpress, 2012)

Like Lenny Kaye, Patti Smith or Lester Bangs, Mick Farren was one of those rock writers who epitomized the best that the mid/late-sixties had to offer (which I will ashamedly admit consisted of more hippie musings than I ever would have given those lice-infested mutants credit for in the past) merged with the nascent underground energy and fury of what was being brandished around as "punk rock" during the early-seventies. All of which coalesced into something that was so interesting that even a suburban slob such as I hadda turn away from the HOGAN'S HEROES reruns once in awhile in order to pay some much needed attention.

Past + Present was always supposed to = Future, and although the eighties never did pan out as the ultimate culmination of rock 'n roll as it was supposed to stand for us as that International Youth Language at least hunting down long-gone Deviants albums and Mick Farren books was one good way to beat the squeaky clean gush that was that decade. If anything this is one reason I revere Mick Farren even if everything about him should have me rushing away from him like hillbillies from a bar of soap. And here, just in time for Farren's own skeedaddling from this mortal slinky came this book (actually a year in advance) which collects his writings in a nice little package which is something we all could have used a good decade or three back. But hey, why is it so sparse???

I guess it's because there just ain't enough of the Mick Farren we want in this book and just too much of the one we get! Mick was a whole lotta things to a whole lotta folk from a hippie provocateur to proto punk leather hood as well as a Science Fiction writer and all 'round kultural kritik whether it be political, societal or (best of all) musical. Even tee-vee, which is something you wouldn't have thought afro-haired  rabble rousers watched. But it's all here and although ELVIS DIED does hunk out a good cross-section of Farren's scribing for a wide array of publications it just doesn't satisfy you the way I'm sure that issue of THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS did to all you English kiddies once you got hold of the latest issue and rushed to the comfort of your fart encrusted boudoirs and read the latest scribblings courtesy Farren et. al. with unbridled teenage glee.

Speaking of NME I sure coulda used more of Farren's rants for that paper of record and tape because frankly there just ain't enough to satisfy me here. We do get some choice articles including a pretty high-larious one on Frank Zappa conducted during a time when Zappa was suing the Royal Albert Hall because they wouldn't let him perform "Penis Dimension", while the one with Chuck Berry is also a top notch must-be-read-by-everyone bit, especially the point where Berry tells Farren (and with a straight face at that) he was never ever in prison! Not once in his entire life which is a point I'm sure Farren coulda easily counteracted though really, how would it have looked if he got in a barroom brawl with one of the originators of rock 'n roll anyway??? I mean, this sure wasn't gonna be Lester Bangs going tootsie-to-tootsie with Lou Reed and although I wouldn't have minded reading about a possible Farren/Berry kerfuffle it is nice to know that Farren had a sense of caution about him!

This is the Farren I plunked down my precious kopecks for and I sure wish I coulda read more of his rock-oriented odysseys in them thar pages.

Not that his LA READER,  CITYBEAT and TROUSER PRESS material was anything to kerchew at, but by the eighties I guess everybody was getting worn out. And with the quality of music sinking oh-so-fast it wasn't like raving buckets over Pebbles was akin to the pioneering screech of Richard Meltzer's review of Jimi or Lester Bangs rhapsodizing over Count Five albums that were never made. But while Meltzer lost faith in the rock aspects of sound after the capitulation of late-seventies underground and Bangs died probably because he saw the future and it was Chuck Eddy, Farren managed to exist as a bonafeed rock writers for quite some time after most thought the entire game was dead and gone. Of course he was writing about subjects that weren't always within the mindset of your average punque wannabe but hey, if you hadda read an article on David Bowie or even Michael Jackson better it be from the pen of Farren than the Glade Air Freshener prose of your typical college paper glitzy who gets her oh-so descriptive adjectives from tampon boxes. Farren's eighties work is so good and beyond the dimension of press sheet hype you get the feeling that he's still trying to cling to the wild rampant rockism of the seventies until they pried it from his stiff, dead fingers.

Of course Farren's more politically-oriented opines don't always jibe with me, and it ain't exactly because I really don't see eye-to-eye. Sometimes I do believe-it-or-leave-it, but when Farren talks politics he comes off about as patented left groove as many mainstream conservative pundits fall into their own comfy enclaves. His admiration for Che Guevara rots even more now that the truth about the motorcycle longhair being a rock 'n roll hating guy who shot twelve-year-olds and bashed heads with shovels has come out, and while his critiques of the cagey politicians who make up the Amerigan "conservative" movement do ring true at least when he isn't getting into a kultural revolution snit he sure does his best keeping his eyes closed to some of the atrocities being perpetrated by those on his side of the Great Political Divide. I will give him kudos for seeing the political worth of the Ron Paul Revolution no matter how little of a threat it may be at this time in history, but you can read similar-minded takes and fits on-line just about anywhere you look now, albeit none of the writers would have a rock 'n roll rapsheet as long and gnarled as Farren's.

You get lyrics, chapters from a variety of Farren novels and even a forward from Charles Shaar Murray. Unfortunately you don't get such wanted wonders as Farren's articles on STAR TREK or Kenneth Anger let alone some of his early record reviews for IT or even that great piece on the El Lay hardcore scene that popped up in an '81 NME, I guess we should be thankful for what we've received (like the prophetic "The Titanic Sails at Dawn") though man, I sure could have used some more rockist action and less El Lay schmoozing that's for sure!