When you think about alla the guff and putrid putdowns the Seeds encountered throughout their storied career (I mean, even Greg Shaw used to think they were teenbopper fodder before he wised up!), it's really amazing that this reissue of the group's final album has been given the Royal Treatment usually reserved for the likes of the Stones and Dead! And that's not only with the deluxe double disque treatment which includes all of those tasty extras, but with a nifty fold out package which (of course!) contains one of those li'l booklets not only chock fulla the required rare snaps and pertinent artyfacts but in-depth liner notes detailing rock history you thought would have been lost to history ages back. Gotta hand it to Big Beat...when they do a reissue job they do it up real spiffy like!
No bout a doubt it, RAW AND ALIVE remains one of my favorite all-time live platters! Yeah I know, the cat was let outta the bag regarding the true nature of this album long ago but if you ask me it was recorded like a live album (which naturally the booklet gets into detail about) and it has the energy and power of a live album, so in fact it most surely is a live disque in the truest sense! And really, when you spin something like this next to an "actual" recorded in front of a supposedly living and breathing audience album like say, BOB DYLAN SLEEPWALKS THROUGH AN APPEARANCE AT BUDOKAN, what sounds for real and what really sounds phoned in???
Platter #1's got the album proper, first WITHOUT the over-dubbed gal screams and then with 'em! Nice to compare and contrast the original take with what got released, and although you can pick up more subtle nuances and the like sans the frenzied screams I gotta admit to still liking the original we've known and loved for years. Especially when heard via a scratched-up 50-cent flea market copy on a cheap Woolworth's portable record player which I somehow think is the ONLY way to give this one a listen. It's got that cheap suburban feeling I love that seemed to get wooshed away once the kids who grew up on rock 'n roll action like this decided to deny the same fun-loving experience to their children, cramming down some of the worst offal to pass as youth expression since Johnny Mann's STAND UP AND JEER!
The bonus is great, yet another live in the studio affair this time with an actual audience of flower children up and hollerin' for their fave raves. At least at first---later on they seem to tire out or are coming down off whatever was perkin' 'em up which is a shame since Sky Saxon and cohorts are really cookin' on all hotpoints here. A downright exciting performance by these now-seasoned veterans even if the hippoids in attendance can't seem to get beyond contemplating their foreskins, and even though the reaction dwindles more and more into the proceedings the energy still pumps on like a buncha sailors in a bathhouse on their first night in San Francisco.
One of the best by one of the best, and it sure makes me feel good knowing that, after a good 45+ years, Sky and his band are finally getting some long-deserved respect! And yes, it does make me sleep a whole lot better at night!
I obviously have a love/hate relationship with Swell Maps, at first having flipped my punkoid lid over WHATEVER HAPPENS NEXT before being snoozed away by A TRIP TO MARINEVILLE and then becoming disillusioned by the whole Rough Trade shebang once the promise of the late-seventies dried up in the mung of the early-eighties. But this collection of pre-first album trackage (sorta like WHATEVER only less bootleggy) reaffirms my faith in these whackoids...it ain't as varied as I would have liked it to have been true, but WASTRELS sure has loads of everything that was good about Swell Maps crammed into its grooves good. Those early sound-pieces cram into them wild takes on such wonders as "Blam!" and "Vertical Slumber" and it sure rocks out (something that Patrick Amory would never approve of) the way you always liked your disgusto disturbo music to have been, be, and will remain for the rest of all eternity.
The overall effect is everything you've always wanted these English underground groups to be and more, with the sound and approach of the early Velvet Underground intermingling with Syd-like fantasy and Marc mania as first two LPs of Eno experimentation soar through your cranial cavity. So pure in approach and spirit that you'll wish you coulda picked this 'un up for mere peanuts at the 1976 cut out bin of your choice. So naturally of its own essence of being that it's even got skeptical me scouring through my Cee-Dee collection for those Swell Maps platters Bomp! put out...the same ones that I remember despising with a passion when they first came out and considering how I tend to remain true blue to my own preconceived notions regarding my personal tastes in music that's really saying something!
Sheesh, if you wanna remember the "other" side of early-seventies youth movement music (the flip to the Melanie/Cat Stevens/John Denver folkie drag that is) give this self-produced platter a listen. Maybe Grand Funk Railroad don't sound so bad in comparison. Rather snoozeroo hard rock (Third Generation off to a bad start) that really doesn't capture the energy that the CREEM writers were tagging this sorta rock to have back when your $4.99 went a LONG way! Listened to it twice for penance (eyeballed the nipple configuration of a lady at work) which not only shows that I have a strong constitution for pain, but shows that maybe I should also remember to turn off the air conditioning when it gets too cold.
if you want one, which I get the feeling you will)
The latest in Keay's homespun recordings has once again been made available to the general public, and although most people are too cowardly to even think about wanting to hear such vivid and dynamic sounds I get the feeling that you, if you had the courage to hit this blog without the express purpose of being a TROLL, wouldn't mind giving it at least one spin. Again the proceedings take on a strong early Kraftwerk/Neu! approach giving me a better idea of what those early guitar-oriented Kraftwerk shows that supposedly showcased the group's Stooges influences were like, along with more of that simple drone that always seemed to work no matter which group of addled teenagers were cranking it out in their 1967 garages. Two vocal numbers even showed up to my surprise, and I can't say that I found a bum track anywhere on the platter which is really saying something---especially for a genre (home-recorded recordings made available in comparatively non-traditional ways) that certainly spawned a whole number of turds during the eighties and beyond.
Best of the batch: "Mr. Blount's Rocket Ride" which, contrary to the title, does not conjure up memories of Arkestras past but is more attuned to the Cecil Taylor style of out-there keyboard histrionics. And if this is fake jazz, this is just as good as some of that fake jazz we've heard from many a New York saxophone tooter back during the cusp between the decadent seventies and the comatose eighties!
My Archie is not dead---sorry about yours! Sorry, I couldn't help sayin' that considering the strange permutations that have happened in the once-funzie time ARCHIE COMICS sphere in recent days, what with the famed freckle-faced turdburger taking a bullet for MLJ's contribution to the bludgeoning force of dippy racial/sexual propaganda as midclass kiddoid entertainment, Kevin Keller. (Jim Goad and Kathy Shaidle had two pretty knee-slapping columns on the subject in last week's TAKI'S MAGAZINE, but then again my sense of humor may be radically different than yours.) So it's pretty neato getting a does of the old Archie via these late-forties radio shows which feature the recently departed Bob Hastings as the title character doing for the teenage bobbysoxer gals of the forties what the current variation on the character does for a million of fag hags in waiting.
The first 'un entitled "The Red Cross Benefit" references the then-current Larry Parks Jolson biopic (funny, considering Shaidle's opinions toward both Jolson and the ARCHIE sphere you could just see her upchuckin' great gobs o' phlegm over this episode's mere existence---well, at least there weren't any Milton Berle reference to be found therein!). This 'un has to do with Arch thinking he's just as good a Jolson imitator as Parks was which at least gives Hastings to do a rather good if still not convincing impression at Mrs. Lodge's Red Cross get together. Gotta say that this 'un struck a sentimental string in my zinged up heart, if only because it oozed that sappy sentimentalism that ya just don't get anymore because Luis Bunuel told a whole buncha pseudo-intellectuals that people like us just hadda be distrusted and loathed.
The second 'un's yet another bathtub-related subject having to do with Mr. Andrews wanting to take a bath on a Saturday night and Archie getting his head stuck in a hold he made in the bathroom door. Come to think of it, this one is a remake of the previous Mr. Andrews want to take a bath episode I reviewed awhile back, only with a few minor changes and an integrated commercial for Swift Premium Franks! One slight change in the script has---now get this!---Archie and Jughead taking a bath together with Jughead admittedly scrubbing Archie's back, perhaps amongst other things!!! Hmmmm, maybe alla that Kevin Keller stuff that's been infused into the Archie swing of things isn't new after all!
Like, uh, wha' th'..... Backed by the soppiest synth strings and piano tinklings you can imagine, the mysterioso Lewis mewls his way through ten love-drenched ballads that make Perry Como sound like Gerry Roslie and James Taylor look as energetic as Speedy Gonzales. If you forget just how dull and saccharine the late-seventies and early-eighties could get when it came to top 40 schmooze, just give a listen to this and you'll be begging to hear the hard-edged and high energy sounds of Christopher Cross. Something tells me that this is what was going through Karen Quinlan's mind all those long and lonely years.
Not as tip-toe-tappin' as some of the other Shute collections, this does have some interesting ditties that keep my attention from wan'drin' o'er to the ARCHIE comic strip panel which has Betty digging for clams in her bikini (side/rear shot). The off-track weirdities like Phil Tate's "Countdown" and the Ding-Doo Rattlers do perk things up, and Bill even included a track by Marlene Dietrich just in case some fags were gonna be stoppin' by for tea (he shoulda knowed better!). Nice touch including a rare Redwing single even it I don't think as highly of 'em as Jymn Parrett does, while those song poems always did sound better'n the real deal to these ears! However, what on earth possessed Bill to slip on the Sparky Thurman Duo's rendition of Morris Albert's "Feelings" let alone some horn-y jokes called the Cavaliers doing the Chicago hit "You Make Me Smile"??? Keep this up Bill, and I just might be doing my Terry Kath impression a lot sooner'n any of you woulda expected!