Saturday, September 15, 2018

Well here I is, bangin' the same drum and rattlin' on about the same old musical cause (the cause being rock 'n roll) that I have been doin' for well over thirtysome years now already! Must seem like a tiresome and perhaps even boring type of existence to oh-so enlightened you, but in actuality I feel just as unbound and free via the music now as I did back in my v. late teen days when everything from the Electric Eels to Troggs and a bazillion points in between played the soundtrack to the kinda existence I sure wish I coulda lived without the trammels of hip youth kultur (talkin' FM radio and the dolts who supported it!) weighing me down.

And, in my own aw-shucks sorta way, I sincerely do hope that my cheerleading of various 60s/70s under-the-underground rock modes here in the late 'teens makes me the modern day version of those olde tymey film buffs of the fifties and sixties who were so agog over Mary Miles Minter long after the sound era wiped her out because hey...I can identify with THEM more than I can some eighties-vintage "rock critic" type who somehow could find much of value and worth in the music of Prince and Madonna while chiding alla us suburban slob sixties salvationists as nothing but a bunch of losers! Y'know what kind of species I'm talkin' about, the same form of primitive life that made its fame extolling all of the worst aspects of pop music in that I'm so hip in that square way that I'm hipper than the hip! Or something along those weird lines. Yeah, the Chuck Eddy fashionistas that ruined the entire rock in print gig more'n Christgau ever could to the point where all of the gonz, the Bangsian energy and reasons we like the music inna first place were banished from the frilly pages of the music press seemingly forever!

And, in case you weren't paying attention, in this life of ours we could sure use a whole lot more Mary Miles Minter these and a whole lot less Chuck Eddy! Sheesh, given my love of the old and forgotten primal rock sounds of yore maybe I should get my own PBS Saturday afternoon show where I just talk about records and show off pieces of my collection for a half hour. Well, it's better'n watching that guy with the dandelion hair and soft toned voice think he can paint!
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A SPECIAL NOTE FOR ALL YOU BILL SHUTE FANS: starting this week Bill's Tuesday posts will appear every other week and it was all planned in advance (and I gave Bill the OK to do so), so it ain't like he's being tardy with his doodies 'r anything like that. This is the way Bill wants to do it from now on and like, who am I to argue even though his posts sure draw in a whole lotta people who otherwise wouldn't go near this blog with a ten foot somethingorother... Just don't go thinkin' there's anything bad goin' on between us because there ain't!
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PERSONAL THROB THRILL CHILL OF THE WEEK! Johnny and the Dicks doing enough art terrorism to give those pamby NEA types skidmarks galore!


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And with that outta the way, maybe we better get onto the reviews!


Eugene Chadbourne-SOLO GUITAR VOLUME 1-1/3 LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via
Forced Exposure)

It's about time someone reissued this extremely rare (even though you coulda bought one via NMDS for a mere song a good fortysome years back) and  extremely early Eugene Chadbourne solo guitar album! Now I gotta admit that Chadbourne's cassette "schtick" of the late-eighties wore me down so thin that I didn't even finish the big batch of tapes he sent, but this mid-seventies effort has all of the atonal scronk that made the new improv thing of the day so much more exhilarating than some of the things it ultimately led to. Side one has heavy (and I hate to be PREDICTABLE but...) Derek Bailey references while the flip gets even scronkier with the addition of various "found" (I think) tape sources that do manage to creep me out in that mid-teenage way even more than UMMAGUMMA ever did! Remember reading about him and John Zorn in that old issue of DOWN BEAT back when that mag was trying to look hip on one end and trad on the other? If so this might just fill in some lost piece of the growing up and learning more about the even-newer music of the seventies puzzle than you ever would have guessed in the first place.
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Smegma-ABACUS INCOGNITOLOOK'N FOR YA LPs (Alga Marghen Italy, availabe via Forced Exposure [click on title to be taken to the album of yer choice])

Once again a deep dig into the Smegma vaults yields a whole slew of sounds that sure brighten up the otherwise drabness that is to be found in modern day life. Abysmal mutterings lead to AACM/BAG-ish "small instrument" play and insane asylum role acting, and somewhere in the midst an ACTUAL ROCK 'N ROLL TUNE doth emerge. Featuring the usual Smegma lineup (including future Dream Syndicate drummer Dennis Duck who contributes a poem on LOOK'N), this is thee place to go not only to hear the pre-electronic soundscape version of the band but a particularly boffo take of Wild Man Fisher singing his own "The Taster"  that cuts the Zappa-backed version to pieces.
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Billy Lee Riley-IN ACTION CD-r burn (originally on Vogue Records, France)

Yes this is the same guy who did "Flying Saucers Rock n' Roll", only by now it was 1966 and Riley definitely had found a different bag to crawl into! Having forsaken the rockabilly that made him famous to more'n just a few collector geeks, Riley was now into that swingin' El Lay club scene mode doin' the Johnny Rivers bit the best he could, and boy could he do it swell! Now don't go expectin' any "Queenie Wahine's Papaya"-styled swiggle 'n swerve here, though you'll feel like slappin' on some Hai Karate and doin' a li'l bedroom mirror go go dancin' yourself after hearing Riley swing the likes of "Good Night Irene" and "Kaw-Liga", maybe even wearin' one of those neckerchiefs that whatzizname on SCOOBY DO had. Could be just as big at your next down home get-together as the pimento and cheese spread.
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Moe Bandy-HONKY TONK AMNESIA CD-r burn (originally on Razor and Tie Records)

Hmmmm, gotta slip into Nick Tosches mode to handle this Paul McGarry burn considerin' that country 'n western never was whatcha'd call my all time fave rave moozik! But hey, this pre-schmoozey CW sure sounds a whole lot better'n the current brand of pudding that gets piped into many a Dollar General these days! Bandy can sing swell (as you punk rockers woulda known from his Uniques days!) while the lyrics to be heard reflect the old love and loss that each and every one of us were lucky enough to be too ugly to go through. Thankfully the sad state of todays' Trashville Sounds is nowhere to be found on these seventies-era platters which still hold much of the old C&W respect and vision that poured out of victrolas for years.

But why do I suddenly get the urge to comb my hair (or whatever's left of it!) into a pompadour and hang out at the coffee shop of my choice while nursing hot java and chain smoking Luckies?
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FREE ACTION INC. PLAYS EDDY KORSCHE---ROCK & BLUES CD-r burn (originally on Help Records, Italy)

Help indeed! Talk about a cheezy early-seventies hipster instrumental album, and considering this was made in Italy it's gotta be provolone! Dunno about you, but this platter sure conjured up a whole LOT of early seventies memories---BAD ones that is, but if you're trying to find what a counterpoint to the better moments of those musical days were well this would fit in quite nicely in between Melanie and James Taylor trying to ease the entire world into narcolepsy.
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Lonesome Shack-MORE PRIMITIVE CD-r burn (originally on Alive Records)

Hmmmm, here's a surprise! A relatively recent (2014) recording of imitation whiteguy hard-blues that sounds almost as authentic as the original gut bucket black stuff that was all the rage back in the sixties. No cigars emerging tho, but I thought whoever this Lonesome Shack group is they sure have the right approach to how the blues should appear here in the dank last days of the 'teens more'n a whole slew of washed up guys with predictable leather jackets 'n droopy mustaches have. Hokay, they look rather plain and nondescript (just take a gander at the snap of 'em!), but believe me their music has that deep down slide blues approach and feel that (no hypin' it up here!) comes close to those Peter Laughner bedroom recordings that I hope get unleashed on the public rather soon!
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Various Artists-MILK MICHELLE KAHUNA GOLDFINGER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

 This 'un starts off with, ends and is filled with some Jesus and Marychain which is great because I need to get some of their drone into my system once in awhile, even if they can sound as same-y as ever. The rest of this does measure up to Bill standards, what with some C&W twang from Wayne and Floyd (sorta like Homer and Jethro without the funnies) and the slush of Sam "The Man" Taylor doing a fifties-era tit rubber called "Flamingo". Even Billy May shows up as does Dick Hyman, whose "Goldfinger" brings back the memories for me! (Mainly how when we were kids we'd go around singing "BROWN-finger---he's the man---who ran out of toi-let paper!!!!!!!!")

The radio ads tickle my pickle, what with one of those Cowsills un's for the Amerigan Dairy Association, Bobby Fuller for KHJ, the Monkees for their latest album and Spencer Davis plugging Great Shakes! And of course the infamous Frank Zappa and Linda Ronstadt for "Remington Electric Razor" which goes to show you something...only I ain't exactly sure what it is!
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If you liked this week's frivolity you just might like the laff-filled frolics that appeared in my long-gone fanzine BLACK TO COMM! As they say, buy some try some, but don't come complaining to me when you go through a pack of Depends in one evening just losing yourself to the mirth and merriment within.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! CONTRABAND SPAIN STARRING RICHARD GREENE (1955)

If any of you are old enough to be nostalgic for pre-1961 Amerigan tee-vee you might just love this 'un.

Of course not for the RIGHT reasons. Maybe it'll dredge up those memories of the days when Hollywood put a damper on pre-1945 Amerigan-made films being aired in this country and television stations hadda rely on old European cinema, usually of the low budget variety, to fill out those pre-prime time and late-night schedules. And if there was any flick that could cure your insomnia during those those insomniac times in your life its CONTRABAND SPAIN, a particularly snoozearoo feature that loses it in many ways even with the presence of tee-vee's very own Robin Hood, mainly one Richard Greene.

It's a police/spy sorta affair having to do with smuggled counterfeit plates and the dead brother of an Amerigan agent who was in on the deal. Sounds spiffy true, but the whole thing is just dampered by the lack of action and general boring Old World outlook that many of these films had garnered over the years. Bad enough to the point where, when giving this one an eyeballing, your mind actually FLASHES BACK to those early dayze when you were wonderin' yourself why you had this one on when you coulda been watching Jack Paar cry his eyes out on the other station.

Greene really ain't nothing without a bow and arrow, while female lead Anouk has all of the charm and sexiness of...well, any of the actresses who are up and about TODAY. The rest seem to be phoning it in, and given the stuffiness these low budget European monstrosities can exude well, it ain't like I have to be watching this but SOMEBODY'S gotta warn ya!

Hokay, I should say something GOOD about it because we have to be all inclusive and nicey-nice in these kulturally-saturated inoffensive unless it's to someone who deserves it times, so lemme say that the color print was quite expressive, the outdoor scenes breathtaking and those old European automobiles really do look suave a good fiftysome years after cars lost a whole lotta that elegance they once had. Hope you're happy, you hand-holding world-saving types you!

Ya have kids? If they're badskis do what I would and make 'em watch CONTRABAND SPAIN on a rainy Sunday afternoon just like I woulda had I experienced the same misfortune age eight...no snacks and no bathroom breaks either, and when they complain about how bad their own life situations are just tell 'em that these films were OUR version of the old thumbscrews and hairshirts of yore so don't say we didn't have it bad either! Nyah!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! TRAPPED IN TANGIERS (ITALY-SPAIN 1957), STARRING EDMUND PURDOM!

With the first scene taking place on the Tangier docks in the murky evening----a sports car whose driver’s face is not clearly seen is extracting a gun from the car’s glove compartment----and with a slow and moody jazz vocal (kind of a cross between Julie London or Anita O’Day at their most languid, trading lines with a mellow and bluesy muted trumpet) on the soundtrack from the start, you know immediately that the makers of AGGUATO A TANGERI (aka TRAPPED IN TANGIERS) understand what a crime film is expected to deliver. Nightclub scenes, rich people having tedious parties where they sit around and drink, Interpol agents looking at maps and discussing strategy, narcotics deals transacted in seedy alleys after midnight, a hero (Edmund Purdom) pretending to be someone else for the majority of the film—in fact, the way Purdom is nursing a drink, smoking cigarettes, and hitting on the ladies, it’s as if he took a page out of Eddie Constantine’s playbook! And there’s no better crime-film playbook than THAT in 1950’s Europe!

Director Riccardo Freda was a master in many genres, including classics of sword and sandal/historical adventure, Eurospy, Eurowestern, and Euro-horror (I VAMPIRI, and Barbara Steele’s THE GHOST, the sequel to HORRIBLE DR. HITCHCOCK). He does an excellent job here of channeling the best elements of 1950’s B&W French and British crime films into the visual style, and the film moves as quickly as the better Columbia B-crime programmers of the late 40’s and early 50’s.

Star Edmund Purdom was at the beginning of his long and successful European career at this point, after his short Hollywood starring phase. He is mostly known nowadays by MGM completists and fans of Euro genre and exploitation films. Originally a British stage actor with a Shakespeare background (he’d been in Lawrence Olivier’s Shakespeare troupe!), he came to Hollywood right as the old-school star-making system was coming to an end. His first two major roles in American films were as replacements for other actors, Mario Lanza and Marlon Brando. Obviously, stepping in unwanted for someone else who is loved by the audience is not the best way to start one’s career push. Then he was in two big-budget historical spectacles (THE PRODIGAL and THE EGYPTIAN) that did not do as well as expected because the wave of widescreen historical films coming out after THE ROBE was winding down. He was excellent in his next film, THE KING’S THIEF (with David Niven, George Sanders, and Roger Moore), which allowed him to turn on his natural charm and show his gift for swashbuckling with a light comedic touch, but by then Hollywood had moved on, and his final Hollywood film was done at Allied Artists (MGM to Allied Artists! Wow!), the bizarre STRANGE INTRUDER, where he plays a character dealing with what would nowadays be called PTSD, put into an over-the-top melodramatic plot. He was chilling in the role, but the film was not exactly commercial----after all, a film where an emotionally scarred veteran is on the verge of killing the children of his old war buddy is not exactly a date movie! In fact, with the Warner Archive having reissued a lot of Allied Artists’ output, it’s telling that they have not yet reissued STRANGE INTRUDER on DVD….even today it still keeps its power to alienate! Purdom left Hollywood for good at that point, and started working in Europe immediately after—and he never came back. He was a natural for the historical spectacles being made in Italy in the late 50’s and early 60’s----he’d starred in REAL Hollywood epics, and he had the Shakespearean background, so if you needed someone to play King Herod or whoever, he was the man. He was also VERY active as an English language voice artist working in Rome on the export versions of Italian films. Dozens of times I have been watching some dubbed film and suddenly, the rich, British stage-actor tones of Edmund Purdom start coming out of someone else’s mouth.

TRAPPED IN TANGIERS was Purdom’s first film after STRANGE INTRUDER, and it was eventually released in the US in a dubbed version, a few years after its making, although I’ve never seen that English language version offered on the grey market or shown on cable TV or UHF. I have an Italian-language copy taped off European Cable TV in the middle of the night. Purdom is excellent and exudes star quality, whether grinning on the beach trying to seduce a young lady of affluent background, or maneuvering his way through the dark backstreets of the Tangiers waterfront, gun in hand. We’re not sure exactly who his character is until the film is 2/3 of the way through, but at that point, everything that’s happened earlier falls into place. This also features one of my favorite set-ups in a crime film, which has been done so often, I’ve come to expect it when someone is working undercover and posing as a criminal to get “inside” the organization: the inevitable scene where to show his allegiance to the mob, he is asked to kill the person who is ALSO an undercover agent and has been outed and caught. TRAPPED IN TANGIERS, though probably written off in its day as a formula crime film, was an excellent vehicle for Purdom to show other sides of himself that were not an display in his Hollywood work. I’ve seen him in dozens of European films and will probably review some more here eventually (don’t forget that he was the headmaster of the school in the early 80’s Spanish slasher film PIECES). People often write him off as either hammy and over-the-top, or wooden and unconvincing (how could you be BOTH of those things?), but I beg to differ.

With the exciting drug smuggling plot, mysterious waterfront setting, jazz score, crisp B&W photography, car chases, back-stabbing and double-crosses, and the cool and magnetic presence of Mr. Purdom, TRAPPED IN TANGIERS delivers the goods that I want in a 50’s European crime melodrama. The fact that it’s in Italian and not dubbed English just adds to the atmosphere, and this is a film with atmosphere to burn!

Saturday, September 08, 2018

As you can see from the extensive length of this post, I have been busy spinnin' (but not necessarily grinnin') o'er a variety of records 'n such I played this past week. I guess with the holiday weekend 'n all I  had a li'l more 'n usual suburban slob goof off time on my hands, and rather'n lock myself in the bathroom with wartime atrocity photos I figured eh, why not write about alla those platters that Bill, Paul and Feeding Tube have sent yer way. Be GRACIOUS for once in your life, ya little stroonad you! And so's I plowed through a fairly nice batch if I do say so myself even if one or two don't exactly come up to BLOG TO COMM heights of total eruption bliss!
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Why didn't any of your fanablas out there tell me that the NANCY strip is indeed being continued??? Not that this new version by Olivia Jaimes is anything to do any crowin' about, but the knowledge that it hasn't gone the way of too many old faves is kinda/sorta nice despite the new heights in vapidity. As for me there's always the original to keep me well and happy.

See, it's funny---get it??? A real laff riot! Wow, with humor like this we'll forget Bushmiller in no time flat!!!
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I've enclosed the meme below if only because some of you do need to be offended---and given most of the readers I got you most certainly WILL be!:

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And while I'm in an offensive mood---THE FEELGOOD VIDEO OF THE WEEK, at least for all you cat haters out there. Dunno about you, but things like this really bring out the adolescent in me a whole lot more'n a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC hula girl issue ever could...





...and now that we got the REALLY GOOD STUFF outta the way...


THE AMAZING CHARLATANS CD (Big Beat Records, England)

Sheesh I thought I gave this group a tremendous rah-rah on this blog quite awhile ago, but my searching has turned up nil. Funny, because given just how important the Charlatans were as far as meaningful rock n' roll history of a San Francisco nature goes (and I ain't talkin' the history of the music as seen through the sickening eyes of the major magazines and other assorted "classic rock" media) they should have rated something in these "pages" ages back!. But fear not, since these guys obv. do not need my imprimatur to let anyone know just how good they were especially in the face of their San Francisco "offspring" a good four or so years after the fact. Countrified hard rock that's so together even the campy stuff seems to hold up better than I would have expected.
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Bryan Gillig-LIMITED GRACE LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Well, I gotta say that I was certainly disgusted after giving elpee opening "Nashville Flash" a listen, but the rest of this ain't really gonna make you dislodge that clot from your lung in abject disgust. Yeah, Gillig is about as "singer/songwriter" as they used to come down Laurel Canyon way, but some of these tracks have what I would call a boffo mid-sixties folk-unto-rock drive that...hey...might have even gotten Gillig some hefty under-the-counterculture points from yours and my favorite rock "critics" had this made its way out a good fiftysome-years earlier. No, this ain't narcoleptic James Taylor feel sorry for me music, but astute ramblings from a man who very well could be to today what Biff Rose was to the early-seventies. Or somethin' like that!
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The Challengers-CALIFORNIA KICKS CD-r burn (originally on GNP Crescendo Records)

By the time this '66 effort was makin' its rounds the surf scene was slowly but surely evolving into the Sunshine Pop era. But that didn't stop Richard Delvy and company from last gasping the Big Wave the best way they could with this effort. Affable (and maybe even eff-able!) covers of the latest hits 'n themes get the surf treatment, and they don't sound bad in the translation. It's for those of you who like the cheezier side of sixties rock entertainment, and for those who don't maybe you can scour a flea market for a scratched copy of Carole King's TAPESTRY or something equally suitable to your obviously advanced tastes!
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Canned Heat-BOSTON TEA PARTY 6-29-70 2-CR-r burn set

These white blues bands have always been a chance-y affair---I might have said that before---and way too many of 'em just seemed to wallow in a certain miasma that really didn't transcend anything if the original intent of it all. Can't say that much about these boogie busters other'n they do hit a few jam heights here and there and they really aren't as hippydippy offensive as some of these acts could get. Still, you do have to sit through the less-enthusiastic moments of this performance before those bright spots do hit, so I don't blame you for taking a tinkle break during the drum solo. And it is better to give Canned Heat a listen to via these discs rather'n be in their close proximity where you could smell 'em!
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Joshua-WILLIE AND THE HAND JIVE CD-r burn (originally on AVI Records)

A whole lotta our six-oh heroes never did make it into the seventies intact. I mean, how many times have YOU dumped a good ten bux on an album by some ex-NOOGIES favorite only to find out the thing was either an introspective singer/songwriter schmoozer or a Doobie Brothers get-it-all-together-and-throw-it-in-the-trash affair?

This effort with ex-Standell Dick Dodd fares slightly better'n quite a few of the former punks make BAD records I've had the displeasure of hearing these past few decades, but maybe that ain't really saying much.

You ain't gonna like it (neither do I) but at least it ain't reek-o/narc-o "I'm so sensitive I cry when I see a broken flower" emote or hashish hoopla you can certainly do without. In fact, its nothing but a buncha rock music standards done up with an under-the-covers studio band and produced by Ed Cobb who wasn't exactly riding the charts at the time either.

Overall it ain't terrible 'r anything, but you'd be better off spending your last few kopecks on a used copy of KILL CITY if you really want to inject a really good mid-seventies El Lay drugout ambiance into your otherwise drab existence.
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The Sound of the Reign-REIGNED OUT CD-r burn (originanly on Wilber Records)

The ultimate prom band! If somebody had asked me to the prom maybe I would have had the chance to hear an act like this go through their versions of today's hits, though somehow I get the feeling I'd probably be spending most of my time puking in the bushes to really get into their thingie.

To be truthful about it, the Sound of the Reign were a better than expected local teenage cover band doin' up the likes of Hendrix, Supremes via. Vanilla Fudge and a slow unto fast "Hey Joe" that woulda gotten those bratskis up and dancin' like anything! Not bad, but nothing that you'd care to grace your record collection.

Kinda makes me wonder tho...do they still have proms, and if they do well, I am available...
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THE WALKER BROTHERS CD-r burn (originally on Star-Club, Germany)

I always (even as an up and coming rock analyser) considered the Walker Brothers to be a "grown up" kinda act....y'know, something just ginchy-gooshy RIGHT for the gals once they graduated and got real life jobs and went hunting for doctors to marry. Maybe I wasn't as "spot on" as they say, but I gotta admit that the string slush of these tracks really does affect me in a positive way. Hot pop goo that woulda had your mid-sixties date doin' the topless cha-cha-cha as you tried to handle the situation in the best way possible. It has the hits plus a whole lotta covers that should remind you of the sloppier side of top forty before it really became formulated.
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The Raymarks-COMPLETE RECORDINGS CD-r burn (originally on Tommenton En La Cuadra
blogspot)

The Sonics might have been able to beat these guys to a pulp at a battle of the bands, but so what! Even if they ain't the screamin' kind of sixties rock 'n rollers we all like the Raymarks were a pretty hefty Northwest-area batch who had that hard-edged pounce to their music which set the groups in the Washington/Oregon/Idaho area apart from the rest of the US of Whoa. Enough pseudo-"Louie Louie" riffage here to drive more'n a few nonagenarian relatives to an additional two weeks at the Abundant Life Retirement Apartments, and if that platter closer just ain't too close to the Sonics' own "Stop" for comfort...
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Billy Childish and CTMF-ACORN MAN CD-r burn (originally on Damaged Goods Records)

A little bit of Billy Childish can go a long way, and frankly I had my fill back around 1990 or so. Nothing here gives me those extraterrestrial wild-eyed throb thrills that should be part and parcel to the kind of music I like...y'know, the sounds that give you that deep gut adrenaline rush that makes you wanna go out and murder people you just can't stand. Still, ya can't deny that this and the works of Mr. Childish stand as a testimonial to the wide and swaying effects of anti-"Classic FM Rock" doldrums, but it needs something to make it through that Jonathan Richman "made it" line but fast!
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Various Artists-BACKSTREET CHECKMATE PIERRE CD-r burn

If I was some hotshot kinda loudmouth troublemaker kinda guy I'd say that this one proves that Bill Shute has turned into a power pop turd! But I'm not that kinda guy, Bill is not a turd and I really enjoyed the selection of early-eighties and before/after pop rockers that appear on this effort.

Menlo Park return with more typical of the upstart pop rock movement goodies as do Cleveland's Lucky Pierre (not as hard as they could get but punch-packed nonetheless), the Bit (whoever they are!) and even some older sixties things from the likes out the Outside-In and the not who you think they are Back Street Boys. Goes to show you there was more to new unto "gnu" wave innovation inna early eighties other'n bandwagon-jumping Go-Gos freaks.

The rest ain't bad either and hey...now I know where that music they used for the "blackout" gags on THE SOUPY SALES SHOW comes from because that's none other than Ray Bryant doin' "Little Suzie" and you can just see Soupy and co. acting out some badgag chuckle while this music plays!
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You know what...if somebody doesn't buy some back issues of BLACK TO COMM from me I'm gonna kill myself! Actually, if somebody BUYS some back issue offa me I will kill myself! Hope that threat really gets the ball rollin'!

Thursday, September 06, 2018

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! BLIND DATE (1959) STARRING HARDY KRUGER, MICHELLE PRESLE AND STANLEY BAKER!

Yeah, I know a whole lotta you think that English movies are dryer than Taylor Swift's reproductive system, but this one is more than a worthwhile Sunday afternoon UHF tee-vee circa. 1976 timewaster.

Hardy Kruger plays this starving artist of Dutch ancestry who has a date with a hotcha French gal whom he's been having a simmering affair with. However, by the time he gets to her pad for the big pump nobody seems to be there despite the music playing full blast and the door wide open. After a few minutes the cops arrive and act their typical cop selves, and before you know it ol' Kruger himself's being held on a murder rap.

The detective ready to try convict and execute the guy with one felt swoop's a real jerkoff, and in no way is he buying Kruger's story about his relationship (told in flashback) with the Frenchie who he had the affair with. However the loads of intimidation and downright threats ain't breaking Kruger who's sticking by his saga and will continue to even though it looks like the gallows are being strung up just for him.

Naturally the usual plot twists appear what with heretofore facts previously unknown popping up and changing the narrative quite a bit, but you really don't care much about that at all. BLIND DATE's steady going enough to keep you glued to your seat even with the expected slobbering scenes and you all of a sudden notice that you have to empty Mr. Bladder even though he ain't exactly bursting at the seams.

Kruger plays it pretty good throughout and Stanley Baker as detective Morgan's so evil that you kinda hope he'd be the one getting the ax----right through the head. Michelle Presle as the Frenchie comes off convincingly enough even though you can't get the fact that this is an English production and boy can these films get stiffer than their upper lips! Still worth it if the mid-seventies ever happens again, it's Sunday PM and it's a choice between this and celebrity felching on the other station.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

COMIC BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! DENNIS THE MENACE : RISE AND SHINE (Fawcett, 1972)


I’ve always been a fan of Dennis The Menace, but as someone with grandsons of 4 and 7, I am again reminded why Dennis has had such appeal for so long and to such a wide audience. His wide-eyed mischievous enthusiasm totally nails childhood, and kids see themselves in him and parents see their children in him. Writer-cartoonist Hank Ketcham also nailed the adult world fairly well too--boring, clueless, self-absorbed, arbitrary, set in our ways, unable to put ourselves in our children’s shoes. It’s EXACTLY how the adult world is viewed by children, and Dennis often laments how out of it the “grown-up” world is.

Dennis also had a long life as a comic-strip spokesman for Dairy Queen, from 1971-2001 (see pics). Unfortunately, he was dropped by DQ after forty years because he was no longer “relevant” and not recognizable to young people (who were growing to view him as a Dairy Queen character and not as a celebrity with his own life outside DQ). In my hometown of Golden, Colorado, there was a certain combination department store and drug store downtown that was the most important business in the city other than the Coors brewery. That store had a lunch counter which sold sandwiches, burgers, soups, etc., and since they were well-connected in the town, the city council NEVER approved the licenses for any fast-food restaurants in the city limits until the mid-1980’s, long after I was gone. However, the city council DID allow for a Dairy Queen on the north side of town (they did not sell ice-cream at this store) and a Pizza Hut on the southeast side of town (they did not sell pizza at this store) because neither would cut into their business. Thus, I grew up with DQ as a big presence in my teenage life, and I remember pretty much every product and every new ad campaign being introduced by Dennis The Menace. Also, here in Texas, where I’ve lived for almost 30 years now, pretty much EVERY small town has a Dairy Queen (and, coincidentally, a Pizza Hut too). That’s where you go after a Friday night highschool football game, that’s where the family goes for a “treat” after Dad and/or Mom get paid, and that’s where a child or teenager goes to spend their pocket change or that dollar given to them from Grandma. With the “Beltbuster” burgers and deep-fried chicken strip baskets as entrees, every member of the family in whatever small town you’re in can get a huge, three-thousand calorie meal at the local DQ....and then a dessert. They probably offer some kind of fried fish during Lent, but if you’re a salad person, or God-help-us a vegan (!!!!), you’d better go back to Austin or Boulder or San Francisco or wherever with your uppity, citified ways. In my dream world, Ma and Pa Kettle would be teamed with Dennis The Menace in the ad campaign....forget the fact that no one under 65 (except for BTC readers and members of my family) would know who THEY are either. That’s MY America: fried food and ice-cream at the end of a long work-week, and having it pitched to me by my favorite comic strip and cartoon and B-movie characters. And if you have a smart phone (I don’t), you can read the latest BTC while munching on that Dilly Bar after your Double-Beltbuster with jalapenos! Dennis was the perfect corporate image for DQ--after all, who could you trust more than Dennis The Menace to tell you that your meal and/or ice cream treat would be "Scrumpdillyicious."


Fortunately for us all, there are many ways to get a cheap fix of Dennis The Menace in thrift-store or used bookstore printed form. The newspaper strips were recycled in MANY Fawcett paperbacks. I’ve always made a policy of picking up any that I don’t have if they are selling for $2 or less. Also, Dennis had a long life in comic books, and you can find them, particularly the 70’s ones, for next to nothing if you search a bit. Fawcett held the Dennis license from 1958-1980, issuing both comic books with original material and paperbacks with newspaper-strip reprints. In 1970, Fawcett began the DENNIS THE MENACE BONUS MAGAZINE SERIES, which later changed its name to the DENNIS THE MENACE BIG BONUS SERIES, and it ran to almost 120 issues in its almost ten-year run. I recently picked up a 22-comic lot of Dennis The Menace comics for just over 20 cents each--they were marked on the poly sleeves as $1.99 each, but presumably the seller decided that four dollars in hand is better than forty dollars in dreams for comics which have no doubt been sitting in his stock for years as people fought over and bid excitedly on superhero comics. As he was dropped by Dairy Queen, Dennis has been dropped by comic book collectors--I hope the rejection does not drive him to drink, and if it does, he drinks nothing more harmful than a root beer float at his local DQ in Wichita. This lot consisted of a number of the Bonus issues, plus an odd DENNIS AND THE BIBLE STORIES comic and an issue or two of Marvel’s (!!!) revival of the character post-Fawcett. I’ll try to review both of those in a future column.

I can unreservedly recommended the Bonus series....if you find them for under three dollars each, they should be picked up. Of course, I’d doubt that Hank Ketcham did the artwork on these--they have a sloppy, one-take feel to them, which actually works well, in my humble opinion--but his assistants understood the strip intuitively, and even if Ketcham didn’t plot the stories (I’d guess he did.....at least on some of them), they could probably invent perfect scenarios for Dennis in their sleep. Doing a little online research, I see that some of the 1970’s Bonus comics reprint material from 60’s Fawcett comics, while others are newly created. Many are devoted to a theme, but this one, RISE AND SHINE, is so broad it could apply to any Dennis comic. After all, when he enters the room or enters your life, you MUST rise up and pay attention.....or you’ll wind up with water squirted in your face, a dog peeing on your leg, or a face full of egg yolks....which will probably happen anyway even if you do pay attention because that’s the charm of Dennis The Menace. He’s like a one-man Marx Brothers in that he brings anarchy whenever he goes.

The Bonus comics are not paginated, but they seem fat and full, so I’d guess they are 64-pagers, and within those slapstick-filled pages, we’ve got a number of long (10-15 page) stories that are well-developed and extended over a number of hours in the characters’ lives. Dennis’ friend Tommy’s uncle from Australia brings back an anteater which the boys “borrow” and that goes wild; Dennis’ dog Ruff buries a shoe belonging to his Dad, and as Dennis tries to hide Ruff, the dog causes trouble after trouble in the town, all of which gets charged to Dennis’ Dad; Dennis’ friend Joey has a penny and tries to buy a pet with it, and winds up with all sorts of unwanted pets all of which wreak havoc and do damage; Dennis’ father takes the boys camping, but Ruff and/or Dennis destroy all the supplies and they wind up camping in their own backyard; Dennis’ friend Margaret goes bird watching, and Dennis decides to tag along, totally destroying everything (unintentionally, of course).....so much so, that the leader of Margaret’s birdwatching group decides to completely get out of the hobby of birdwatching. However, my favorite story involves his neighbor, Mr. Wilson. Dennis is collecting old newspapers for some school fund-raising drive, and when he goes to the Wilsons to ask for some, Mrs. Wilson allows him to take a stack. In that stack is an important contract Mr. Wilson needs for his business. Of course, by the time this is discovered, the papers are already on the recycling truck....which forces Mr. Wilson and Dennis to track it down, BUY the whole truck full of trash from the driver, go through the entire truck full of trash, which gets dumped on the street, get a police citation for littering, not find the contract, and THEN have to pay the truck driver to take the papers back. It’s a nightmare scenario which is a riot as played out in this comic book story--and, if you can believe it, it has a happy ending with Mr. Wilson thanking Dennis for losing the contract in the first place. I’ll let you read the story and find out for yourself how that happens.

Set in a kind of generic Midwest but with few particulars that give away any particular decade, these 70’s Dennis The Menace Bonus comics are timeless, like a good comedy short or Jack Benny radio or TV episode. They put a smile on my face and remind me that however well I prepare for the future, some Dennis The Menace will come along and mess it all up, so why bother! Take advantage of the fact that these comics are presently out of favor and can be gotten cheap. As we say here at BTC, used vintage comic books are your best entertainment value!

Saturday, September 01, 2018

I used to feel sorry for all of them kids who were goin' back to school around this time of year (remember when Labor Day was that last gasp of fresh summer vacation air?), but not anymore. These days I can't give a friggin' hoot about children (or as they are now known, "pre-adults") given that most of 'em are nothing but criminals and troublemakers in waiting and like, these bastards (literally and figuratively) are way way WORSE in the cutthroat department next to how bad they were when """""I""""" was growing up! At least I have something to look forward to once the weather gets colder and the days shorter and that's LESS KIDS TO ENCOUNTER, and given how much I've drifted into elderly age and far away from my own youthful Aspergers-ish behavior all I can say is that the fewer brats I come in contact with the BETTER!

Still September does bring back a few good ol' memories of growin' up, like the new Tee-Vee Season (not necessarily for the new programs but for the old timey reruns!), the new line of automobiles and seein' just how much the gals' boobies have grown since last June! But otherwise feh!...Jerry Lewis ain't even around anymore to sorta signal that transformation from fun summertime blitz to chilly autumn leaf raking and storm window replacement, and if you think I still have the same joys and hopes I had back when I would appreciate any season for what it would give us well...maybe I still do have an inkling...
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Just this Wednesday AM I heard the news via "l nimoy" about the passing of none other than Brian Sands, ne. Brian Kinchy who amongst many other fan-oriented endeavors (such as leading the International David Bowie Society long before Bowie became a twinkling in the eye of many a confused gender benders) fronted the Cleveland under-the-counterculture acts Moses, Milk, Brian and the Juniors and ultimately Brian Sands and the Confusions. Groups that you probably heard about in passing or perhaps even seen live for that matter, and a man who you too probably have admired from afar but in reality probably meant little if nil to you. But to me Brian meant, and still means, a whole lot as far as being a TRUE figure in what innovative and entertaining rock 'n roll music is supposed to be (mainly a sound that makes you wanna snarl, maim and kill but also relax and kick up your feet) and as far as delivering on any promise went, Brian did in and like did it over and over and over (and over...).

Dunno about you, but I always found Brian a class act in all respects. Sure some of his musical tastes didn't quite mesh with mine but so what! I mean, he was an "eccentric", and sure as shit smells the guy wasn't like some blowhardy Chuck Eddy type steamrollering all over you with his own pithy opines not letting you get a word in edgewise in that eternal quest to make you feel inferior to his own pat blab. I was a frequent Sands phone-pest ca. 1980-1982 and although I'm sure the man woulda preferred to slam the receiver down right on my ear a few times he was always nice and cordial to me, perhaps somehow aware of my screwloose nature in advance yet always willing to tell me about his various musical encounters and the famous people he rubbed shoulders with. And boy did he meet up with 'em, everyone from Zappa and Kim Fowley (I wonder if Sands had the proper amount of moolah to pay Fowley in order for the guy to make him a star) to Vivian Stanshall (his English encounters fully documented in CLE #3-A), Marc Bolan, Tiny Tim, Captain Beefheart and Alice Cooper amongst 'em. Some nice shoulder rubbin' goin' on there for sure, eh?

Sands' tastes were more mid/late-sixties to my mid-sixties/late-sixties/seventies, but like most astute musical types he had his ear to the more flippant acts to have popped up in the meanwhile. He liked T. Rex but was more enamored with the boppin' psychedelic duo Tyrannosaurus Rex that seemed eons away (well, I do exaggerate)  from the megahit girl bedroom poster'd act of later on. As for Sparks well, he went for 'em in quite a big way---he even posted a tee-vee appearance of the NUMBER ONE IN HEAVEN era electronic version of the group that nobody (other'n he and me!) seemed to care for on fecebook once, but his heart was with the original Halfnelson bunch who were wallowing in cutout and used bins for ages on end. If I were a wholly unique human being type I'd call Sands a "child of the sixties" but in a good way---sorta like in that same "sixties" mode when the boys watched top notch boob tube television and emulated Jagger more than McCartney while gals spun records and chit-chatted about boys emulating Jagger more than McCartney in their bedrooms. Y'know, the good and HEALTHY sixties 'stead of the fringe jackets and ROLLING STONE-bred radical "sicks-sties" as Ron Weiser would have put it which continues to stench this far down the line no matter how much punkitude we tried to inject into our midst.



Of course Brian's bands are what really got my obsessive-compulsiveness interested in the guy a juicin'. Starting off with Moses, Cleveland's first all-original rock 'n roll band (well, that would eventually change), Brian brought home-grown shock rock to Cleveland audiences with his whacked out visions which might have been a little too much for the high school kids who were in attendance in various gyms across the area but I get the impression a few were taking note. Stories abound of the gig they did with a high school choir in their robes doing "Great Balls of Fire" after a recording of an atom bomb explosion, or when they would reflect light into the audience via mirrors during "Instant Karma" ("we all shine on"...get it?).

Recorded evidence does survive including an acetate that was shipped off to various labels (including Bizarre/Straight at Alice Cooper's suggestion) to nil response. These recorded results are harder that I would have expected for the time tho with a heavy early-seventies attitude but still metallic enough Cle pop (avant Raspberries meets early Grand Funk?) enough for my senses. Must hear----show stopper "Shock Treatment" complete with a wild and careening theremin solo courtesy Sands.

According to Mike Weldon in his Sands article which appeared in CLE #3, by 1971 bassist Dennis Carleton was out (see latest UGLY THINGS for more info on yet another Cleveland legend even if I haven't!) and Jack Springer (he had the Move/ELO Fan Club and BRUM BOYS fanzine) was in becoming Mouse in the process. By '73 a new act with original Moses men Sands, Carleton and drummer Dave Alexy along with monster guitarist Al Globekar coalesced in Milk, a glam-slam act that was once described to me as Sands' attempt at trying to do for Cleveland what the New York Dolls did for New York. Even to the point where Sands would hang out in working class bars complete with makeup and dangling purse in order to get the STATEMENT out and get threatened by blue collar types in the process. The Milk/Cle Dolls/NYC comparison might be a fairly accurate portrayal of their approach to taking on the local scene at least judging by what relatively little we have to go by, and hopefully as time rolls on we'll certainly know a whole lot more.

Wild freakout garb left over from Moses merged with crazed covers (the Stones' "2000 Man", "Child of the Moon" and "Memo From Turner"!) and a take of "Jump Into The Fire" I'd sure like to lay my ears on. There were plenty of weird originals too like "Eat Hot Dog Now Get Sick Later" (aka "Eat and Run") and "Boy Can I Dance Good", later a staple of the Pagans' repertoire (more on that two paragraphs from now). Milk were definitely part of the Cleveland "first wave" of underground acts that made quite a few rock-starved denizens of the area believing there still was life in rock music after all, even if they rarely did get a mention in Jane Scott's PLAIN DEALER column that is. (Although a rare snap of them [with commentary from Carleton] popped up in her pages a good five years after the fact!)

Like Moses they had a bizzarroid stage show, complete with WW II-era ARMY LAFFS styled gags during the slow moments and wild antics like when the band members would switch instruments even if they had little knowledge of the foreign gear they were playing!

Fortunately, Milk were able to secure quite a few shows not only locally but across the tri-state area including nearby Transfer PA where they shared a gig with Blue Ash at the long-gone Bug Out. Good management even got Milk jobs as far away as Pittsburgh which is more than could be said of many the local bar acts who might have been hot locally but flopped like fish outside their realm. The weirdest Milk in a live environ saga just might have been the oft-repeated one about how these guy played an outdoor rock festival in front of a biker gang more intent to hearing headliners Canned Heat, with Sands retorting to the irate crowd (who were throwing beer cans at the stage during the THE KING AND I medley) that they were nothing but a bunch of spoiled brats! Thankfully no Altamont occurred but if one only had boy, would Milk had been rolling in the notoriety over that!

Milk's Friday night string of shows at the Willoughby Ohio YMCA might be infamous not only for their ability at getting steady work but for the fact that these shows helped give birth to another Cleveland legend. The Hudson Brothers, mainly Mike and Brian and their own group the Mad Staggers were out and about at these shows, perhaps due to the fact that the Hudson family were on speaking terms with the Carletons. Well anyhoo, it seems that when Milk was taking their break at these gigs the Staggers were given permission to use their equipment to perform a set of their own and well...one night Brian took some extracurricular medication which caused him to pass out causing some minor damage and Milk losing their running gig because of the their supporting act's mishap! The Staggers didn't do well from the negative publicity either, ultimately changing their name to Venus in Furs before evolving into the Pawns and then ultimately the Pagans we've all known and love ever since.

Recordings left behind are out there. I acquired a zilcho-quality one of Milk at one of the Willoughby shows doing "Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat" (complete with Sands affecting a nasal Dylan vocal to make Mouse and the Traps proud) as well as the infamous Tiny Tim medley of "Down Virginia Way"/"Bring Back Those Rock-A-Bye Baby Days" which as I once wrote really did Mr. Khaury's originals swell (search on-line and you-too might see the snap of a mop-topped Sands with Tim taken circa. 1968 on a day when the kid got special permission to leave school to meet with one of his ideels!). A studio recording also exists with bassist Carleton singing the aforementioned KING AND I "Getting to Know You"/"Whistle a Happy Tune" medley while Sands mimed to it, as he did live, in the studio! Also on the recording was "Alice", a strikingly Move-ish number (vaguely "Cherry Blossom Clinic"-ish) with Carleton once again singing lead though with Sands clearly on rhythm and backing vocals. If you wanna hear the Tiny Tim tracks and "Alice" bad enough they did appear on the now long out of print twenty-second issue of my crudzine which still has enough leftover disques for me to give away to ya  FREE. Catch is, you order some back issues so's that I can slip a copy in. See details below, as I always say. (They're also on a Dennis Carleton Cee Dee which is long OP---CD Baby might have downloads handily available.)

Are these Brian and the Juniors?
Not too sure about Brian's planned solo effort "Brian Bulldog" which actually was a one-man band attempt to perform with pre-recorded backing tapes,  but his '78 group Brian and the Juniors did rate a mention or two in CLE magazine. Those are probably the only mentions this act ever did get considering the band only lasted one appearance at the Pirate's Cove opening for Pere Ubu and from reports (Brian's own as well as Carleton who saw the gig) the results weren't exactly as good as those concerned would have hoped. The Juniors (two of 'em only fifteen if not younger!) played to a slide show of Salvador Dali paintings not quite meshing in effect, and although I have never heard this particular Sandsian act I still do get the feeling that, if they had developed, they would have become something that might have made Cleveland stand up and holler. Or maybe not considering just what a devoid of energy and excitement the non-Cle underground musical scene had become by this time but yaknowaddamean...

According to the "CLE Guide to the Groovy Groups" in the same issue which featured Weldon's Milk history Brian was to concentrate on film making in the wake of the Juniors demise...dunno the results of any of those filmatic excursions but by 1979 Brian had returned to music, this time with a 12-incl EP or 45 rpm album or something along those lines entitled REHEATED CHOCOLATE TANGOES. Released on his own Bizart label (also home to a variety of early-eighties wonders such as the Foreign Bodies, Monte Carmont, former Milk lead guitarist Alan "Snake" Globekar's solo album and drummer Wayne Weston's take on Sandy Nelson), the package was exquisite for being a "home made" product what with the variety of colored vinyl pressings not to mention the great collage of various movie/surrealist iconography on the reverse sleeve. The music wasn't any slouch either what with the squooshing of various sixties accomplishments into about twenty-plus minutes of that record you wish coulda come out in 1969 but hadda wait a whole decade to hear. And I still think Sands' version of "Baby You're a Rich Man" tops the Beatles' any day of the week! Of course it remains a fave despite the fact that local rock critic Anastasia Pantsios was only moved to call it "a weird juxtaposition of sounds" which only says more about her lack of musical conception and digestion that anything!

TANGOES also marked the return of Sands to the stage with his group the Confusions which also featured former Milk lead guitarist Globekar who at the time had been doing double duty with Milk's Alexy in the local power pop group the Andy Gerome Band. Fortunately there seemed to be somewhat of a bigger audience for Sands' musical abilities during the dawn of the eighties; not only was he part of the cadre of local talent that opened for Pere Ubu when they were back in town recording NEW PICNIC TIME (two nights at the Real World which also featured as opening acts a variety of the first wave survivors, some of whom had a hatred for the entire Plaza scene but what choice did they have anyway?) but a series of gigs at a certain local dive whose name escapes me which even earned a glowing review in THE SCENE of all places. Again the AV portion of the program was important, this time with Sands showing off his home-made kinescopes of old HOWDY DOODY and cigarette commercial broadcasts made when the guy was but a mere twelve or so years old!

1980's FIXATION was yet another above par affair, this time a full-length album also on colored wax and featuring a cover that might have been just too provocative for its audience. This 'un (received GRATIS straight from Sands himself!) was found in the mailbox about ten minutes to twelve on December 8th 1980 (it was lightly snowing if you must know) and although it didn't quite zone me upon first play I gotta admit that it did feature a good influx not only of Beefheart (though for that you should listen to TANGOES closer "Shoeater", a [Beef]heart-filled tribute to TROUT MASK REPLICA if I ever heard one!) but some of Bowie during his MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD best (check out LP opener "Dialogue in Limbo"). Not quite as Velvet-y as that platter could be (in fact, Sands told me he really did NOT like Lou Reed, which I guess would somehow figure given the friction between Reed and Sands fave Bowie) but it grows, especially that one track which reminds me of the theme to THE ODD COUPLE.

Unfortunately the early-eighties marked the demise of the entire Sands/Bizart line. Perhaps it was the musical miasma of the day what with new forms replacing the older ones with less energy and stamina, but Sands once again faded back into obscurity. You can read more about the lost period in my Sands article which appeared in issue #16 of my aforementioned crudzine, but things were pretty downhill what with his vocalizing on a single by some group called "Part IV" which I was told, by Sands himself, was not really his type of music and that I would hate it immensely. Later on he and Globekar were talking about forming some "New Country"-styled act (!) and rumors of his eventual resurgence have usually been met with crushing results. Then there was Sands' production of local act the Offbeats which, judging from a group interview which appeared in some self-produced rag, wasn't exactly smooth sailing between both parties. I am very tempted to drag that rec out again for a future "Singles Going Stroonad", so keep posted.

We were friends on fecebook before I dumped those Big Brother types, and true to form he was still about rah-rahing his Beatles faves as well as the usual late-sixties suspects, some of them who were actually up my own expansive alley. His tastes in post-seventies music seemed to be as off-target as the rest of my seventies heroes who have managed to survive into the bleak days (he liked...Prince???) but then again he wasn't being so obnoxiously cool about those updated and modern tastes like CREEM and too many seventies types who managed to crawl into the eighties were. But why quibble? Sands was a great guy, made some amazingly fantastic recordings and best of all treated me with a whole load of respect and fellow fan camaraderie that I just couldn't get from most of you snobbish toffee-nosed twits out there in above-it-all land. Rest in peace, sport!

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Boy, that obit was originally supposed to last a paragraph or two but it sure growed like Topsy! Anyway, I got some niceties to share my opinions wit'cha this week...thanks to Bill Shute, Paul McGarry, Bob Forward and Feeding Tube for the donations.


Lori McNamara-KNOBBY KNOLL LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

That Eggs Eggs gal is back on her lonesome and does a fair job in the singer/songwriter gone clanky department. Kinda loose, but McNamara and her associates are swell enough cranking out cantatas that sorta remind me of the Association doin' creaky demos while under the brain-damaged influence of Daniel Johnston. Well, you try whippin' up your OWN hotcha gotcha comparisons if ya think yer that hot! Still, a good way to creep yourself out even more what with the weird found sound inclusions and general nutziness (but a sane nutziness ifyaknowadamean) that McNamara's band cranks out here.
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Lou Reed-ULTRASONIC - THE NEW YORK BROADCAST 1972 CD (FM Concert Broadcasts Records Ltd.)

Yup, this is the same live FM tape that was goin' around on the tape trading lists for years, and despite what you might think this is a good 'un. Contrary to popular opinion (or at least Nick Kent), the Tots really suit Lou fine giving his work a punk punch that was so desperately needed. I wonder if they left us any recording done on their lonesome but I doubt it. The material here also outshines those other live Lou efforts which (even ROCK 'N ROLL ANIMAL!) didn't sound quite right what with the keyboards drowning everything out. And the performance---well it's probably gonna be the ONLY place yer gonna hear "Walk on the Wild Side" the way the Velvets probably played it (and I hear they did!). Better'n anything else Lou did during those rather wasted times...'cept for METAL MACHINE MUSIC that is!
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The Lime Spiders-NINE MILES HIGH 1983-1990 CD-r burn (originally on Raven Records, Australia)

Yeh, the eighties Australian under-the-counterculture scene. Our last hope for a high energy renaissance in rock, but as you would expect a total dud thanks to the prevalence of video worshipping FM-bred duds who would never take the attitude of a Don Waller over that of a Chuck Eddy (sorry to mention him twice in one post...the odds are usually against it). Some of the groups that blurted outta the area were pretty true to the Detroit aesthetic from which they suckled while others... Well, these Spiders were more of a sixties revival act in the Greg Shaw/Cavern Club vein and, like many of those acts, they didn't quite convey the entire fun essence of the times the way we sure wished they could've. But the Spiders tried and yes, some of this is worthy enough "six-oh" scree that sounds pretty good even here in the twilight of our existences. But ask me to sit through the entire hour-plus rampage of tracks featuring eighties re-dos of a varying nature and I'll tell you to sit on the nearest sno cone you can find!
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DIRE WOLVES/Miaux-ABOVE THE HIGH RAYS CD-r burn

Again I can't make high near sense outta whether Dire Wolves is an act or title or if Miaux ABOVE THE HIGH RAYS is the track or the actual name of the release or whatever. So I'll tell ya what ya get here...first two numbers are good blooze-y rock jamz with such a deep groove you can really sink into the thing while reading your NANCY paperbacks. The violin makes the two extended workouts sound almost like the old Bobby Beausoliel/David LaFlamme Orkustra and it does have that tad of early San Francisco intensity to it. The final "Miaux" thing more or less reminds me of some mid-seventies obscure continental European prog-schlock release that I wouldn't really care to hear more of even if you might be willing to pay up to four digits for a copy.
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Teddy Randazzo with the Dazzlers-TEDDY RANDAZZO TWISTS! CD-r burn (originally on ABC-Paramount Records)

For being one of those early-sixties wopadago teen idol types, this record really does rock! I mean it, even though Randazzo's voice is particularly thin and any 1961 Northwest combo coulda done this material a whole lot better. But still, this effort does produce some rock 'n roll magic with the energetic playing of the Dazzlers beefing the already up-tempo tracks way up as well as Randazzo doing his best to sound every bit as hard as those late-fifties trailblazers. He falls far short of his goal but I can't hate him for it. For being but a mere twist record this does deliver on lots more than what I would have expected and yeah, I can see just how Randazzo produced the Third Bardo of "Five Years Ahead of My Time" fame a whole lot clearer now.
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Barrence Whitfield and the Savages-SOUL FLOWERS OF TITAN CD-r burn (originally on Bloodshot Records)

Wow, another top notch surprise from Whitfield and the Savages, one that'll keep you dancing until your feel fall off or you get arch cramps whatever comes first! Totally aware r&b-influenced rock 'n roll that most of the time comes way too close to the driving spirit of DMZ or the Lyres for comfort! Some slow ones, many hard-edged fast ones, but no matter what Whitfield could sing "Donna E Marmalade" and make it sound like beer brawl backdrop! This is one man I just can't get enough of but the real question remains...can you stand it (and I sincerely believe you can!)??????
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Various Artists-GREASY CHRISTMAS INCENSE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Sheesh, it would figure that late August would be this time of the years for me to pull out an X-mas related Cee-Dee-Are which IS as cockamamie as that time when I was about six and mom got all flabbergasted with cyster and me when we decided to spin them holiday platters during the hot and broiling summer months! (Gee, maybe that was just our way of getting cool!) But eh, non-conformist me used to eat candy for breakfast during those days, so why should I get all self-shaming over listening to the likes of Walter Brennan talk about the Christmas turkey that lived over a corny musical backing or Jerry Lewis do his bestest kid voice to express dismay over yet another season gone slush!

Actually liked Cliff Arquette as Charlie Weaver's New Year's Eve churnout while the little radio ads and greetings made me feel like I was in the store room of a long-deserted radio station playing shards of commercials past that were left behind. But what's even weirder is the Midmore family record yourself platter that was sent out to some hapless relative with the kids plunking away on the piano and forgetting the words to "Jesus Loves Me"...I feel kinda naughty listening to this 'un, like I'm opening somebody else's mail and reading it or something like that.

And for you HEATHENS out there, you get plenny of secular twangs from the likes of another Misfitted-named bunch to the Saharas garage band ode to the Republicans and even some rare Stiff Little Fingers tracks. It's all topped off with a boff Art Blakey drummed up mid-eastern themed effort that really doesn't make you wanna cringe the way the Herbie Mann track Bill slipped on did.
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Like I do at the Internal Revenue Office every April 15th, I must once again plead...for you to buy up some of these BLACK TO COMM BACK ISSUES which I would like to turn into long green for future funtime endeavors if not my future existence. Click the link and please be kind and generous...the fifty cents per day you could be sending to feed some starving kid in India could be saved up so that in a few months you just might be able to send a nice and hefty order to ME! Of course you know which one is more important, and it ain't Hadji that's for sure!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! THE MAN IS ARMED! starring Dane Clark and William Talman (Republic, 1956)

Dane Clark plays Johnny Morrison, this schlub of a truck driver who just got outta the pen after doing a year for taking the rap for a robbery. First thing he does once he hits El Lay is visit his former co-worker who spilled the beans on him and topple him over an apartment roof to the concrete a good ten stories down. Then he shows up at his old place of employment looking for a break, and his boss tells him that it was HE who pulled the job and made Johnny the patsy!

It gets even better---rather than sock his former boss Johnny decides to get involved in a big haul that's bound to bring in a good million or so. Johnny's also hitched up with his old galpal who has been pumping it up with a new flame in the interim, an intern on his way up inna medical profession. And of course the heist goes on and Johnny seems to get away with both the murder and the heist, only there's a big double cross from one of his co-workers who ruins his alibi and then the boss decides to pull a fast one and...well, it all goes down pretty good just like those late movies you watched from the fifties until the eighties and somehow after watching it all you have this nice satisfied feeling to go to bed with.

For being an actor who never quite flibbened my jib Clark is fine as the psycho ex-con even though he coulda played it a whole lot crazier a la Cagney in WHITE HEAT if only to get this film into overdrive. May Wynn as the secretary who has to choose between Johnny and the Doctor is typical fifties b-flick leading gal material...you may think she's kinda one-dimensional but I'll take her over all of those self-assertive females I've seen onna boob tube these past few decades. William Talman as the boss is perfect what with that slimy PERRY MASON aura of Hamilton Burger transposed to the crooked head of a trucking company while Barton MacLaine as the cop out to get 'em is well...Barton MacLaine!

Dunno if the old "film noir" revival of the late-twentieth century is still in gear but if it is this li'l sleeper would make a nice addition to the list. Nothing that's gonna make any big city film critic's top ten list, but isn't that the down to earth reason why you all should go see the thing???

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

LIVE CONCERT REVIEW BY BRAD KOHLER! BLONDE BOY WILSON!

I went to high school with Mr. Wilson. He was blonde, if not yet Blonde Boy Wilson, and a somewhat legendary character and studious curator of his own myth. He was a STONES fan, but his snide sense of humor made him appreciate Lou Reed, which is where we found common ground.

Based in NYC for some time, I can hear some of his Stones fixation in his music, but the dominant strain seems to be New Jersey and acts like the J. Geils Band, not that I've ever bothered to listen to them. (I have a DVD collection of SCTV episodes which contains a show Geils et. all guested on, but I fast forwarded through their songs. By the way, Martin Scorcese is doing a documentary movie on SCTV which at the very least may feature the clip of Rick Moranis as Woody Allen doing the "Are you talking to me?" scene from TAXI DRIVER. Still hilarious.)

Blonde Boy Wilson writes some sharply acerbic lyrics, especially when it comes to treacherous women even if his backing comes off a mostly generic (for God's sake, boost the guitar and subdue the sax). Some studio cuts I've heard are topical, or were topical...references to Operation Desert Storm or waterboarding mildewed long ago, a curio that reminds me of an updated David Peel on angel dust.

The best cut to these ears, and really someone more versed in the genre may be able to guide you better, is "Wallstreets". If that one sticks with you, one can delve into more Blind Boy Wilson releases - all at your fingertips on the web at ten bucks a pop. At the very lease he's pursued his own dogged path, and beter to be an Armand Schauerbroek in these cyborg times than cut-and-paste indie rock weebils.

DOUBLE-LP RECORD REVIEW BY BRAD KOHLER! Simply Saucer-CYBORGS REVISITED (EXTENDED) (In The Red Records)

I assume we all are familiar with the considerable merits of this, one of the all time top spinners. OK class, then let's move on. What you get here, in a nice gatefold package, is the rest of the live show that made up side two of their original LP. "Rock n' Roll Brain Cells" is propelled by a primordial ooze of bass guitar and drums along with "I Feel Alright" refrain, even if the direct homage to their Velvet Underground heroes with a "Sweet Jane"/"I'm Waiting For My Man" alluded to in the liner notes is nowhere to be found. Whatever, I would've guessed they would have somehow channeled "Hey Mr. Rain" completely drenched with Ping Romany synth, even though there is no way they could have known about it at the time.

"I Can Change My Mind" will never be one of my faves of theirs, but it sounds better here than on the somewhat sterile 45 that really wasn't representative of them at their awe inspiring peak. "Gonna Throw it All Away" is a slow burner in which the fuse burns out before the tune can resolve itself. But the folllowingsong "Limitless Love" is a corker I could have seen the Troggs doing.

A six pack of Moldon Golden, some Tim Horton doughnuts and whatever other substances you have on hand will launch you into the rarefied air this monster inhabits. So go for it, and go all in. Oh Canada indeed!