Wednesday, October 19, 2016

BOOK REVIEW! OUT OUR WAY 1923 DAILIES by J. R. Williams (Ecomics Space, 2016)

For the first full year of this usedta-be-infamous comic the details are beginning to come through. The rotundus Elf Dakin and Wash Funk are still to be seen, while the roots of the long-running Western stories (that would have classified OUT OUR WAY as the first western comic had these guys appeared every day) are just beginning to pop up. None of the familiar stars of this particular OUT OUR WAY subtext like Curly or Wes have yet to show up, though a guy who kinda resembles Cotton does in the one about a greased pig contest. Still Williams is improving on his art which is beginning to look more like the OUT OUR WAY I remember seeing when a youth which might figure since I think a buncha the ones that were appearing by the time I hit the comics scene were actually old Williams-era comics re-fitted for modern newspaper space consumption. I guess Williams' associate (and Sunday page artist) Neg Cochran was overloaded with other work for the NEA syndicate...who knows?

One running gag that really got my mind jumping was the one with the railroad crossing guard. You remember, those guys who used to come out and hold up a stop sign when the train would go by back in those pre-blinking light days. These guys used to stay in these little shanties and just sat around until the trains came and stood proudly with their long signs holding a whole lotta power over us pedestrians who hadda use the sidewalks! And yeah, one thing I really wanted to be back when I was a mere turdler was a railroad crossing guard...after all they gotta see alla the trains and hold up a sign and have control over a whole flock of people---talk about power! Well, in these comics it seems like the train engineer and his workers are always trying to think up some way to snatch the extremely small (telephone booth dimensions) shanty away from the guard and deposit it somewhere down the track---either that or pull some other rather cruel gag on this old kinda guy who ya'd think never did any harm to anyone and is always getting the rough end of the joke schtick. I'll tell ya, if you ever worked a menial blue collar job and stayed in a shanty and hadda take the usual numero dos from the workers and bosses (like Bill and I and maybe even you have at one point in time) then you'll really appreciate these particular panels I'll tell ya!

Loads of great comics here about a time that's long gone and (even if it shows a rare, soft side to my crusty exterior) I gotta admit that I really do feel kinda sad 'bout these being a relic of DEAD Ameriga 'n all. After all, a time and place where nobody got all offended about the slightest indignation and kids were allowed to be stoopid kids and guys hadda work hard for a pittance yet were able to get by fairly well ain't really that bad. And yeah we now have miracle medical treatments, deodorants and instant entertainment at our fingertips, but I kinda go for a world where there was a stability to life where reading the funnies was a highlight of the day you could look forward to just like I did along with looking forward to my favorite television programs and enjoying my model car collection. After reading OUT OUR WAY and seeing what postpostPOSTmodern life entails these sorry days all I gotta say is...where did we go wrong?????

Sunday, October 16, 2016


This week's blog title was created in honor of the current presidential election process. Y'know, this portion of "current events" really does give a new meaning to the phrase "up for grabs" if ya ask me (gotta get my much beloved badgags in early!).
Of course the real deal news of the week just has to be the plain unadulterated FACT that none other than Bobby Dylan himself has---now get this!---won the NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE, or so it was announced this very past Thursday morn! Sheesh, who amongst us (at least those of us who were alive) woulda ever thunk back '63 way that this smelly whiny folk beatnik type of guy would have been awarded one of those prizes that ya always thought would usually be given to old kinda guys wearing Malcolm X glasses and grey suits. Really, ya just gotta wonder if this guy won this award for his lyrics (I guess that the prize committee never did hear PLANET WAVES) or because he more or less is the last man standing and since he ain't English he can't be knighted like Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger were.

But the real question is---how can this richer'n you'll ever be multimillyunaire get to be a recipient of a prestigious prize and alla the moolah and acclaim attached to is while THIS particular blogger who has blessed the world with reams of fun time and informative rock scribing has to wallow about inna toilet of unappreciated moiling along with the rest of the rock scum that you just can't wipe away like the remnants of a particularly sticky bowel movement. Sure I'm a nobody and Dylan is a rich and famous troubadour for the times, but when you get down to the nitty gritty of it all---I can really use that filthy lucre and he can't!
In other news, I'm trying to (despite fervid opposition from REAL LIFE) live the perfect suburban slob lifestyle which has been a lot harder to do here in 2016 than it had been even a good fifteen or twenny (let alone fiftysome) years back. Right now I'm going through more and more of those old comic strip reprints via old paperbacks or recent softcover editions, some of which as I've previously stated will undoubtedly be mentioned on this blog as the months roll on. I'm even copping some tee-vee when time permits from my other "activities", usually an old moom pitcher or JACK BENNY whenever I get over the blooze regarding me even being ALIVE in this rather dullsville period in time. But soldier on I must, because who knows, 2017 just might turn out to be just as full and frolicsville as the 1958-1966 tee-vee/comics/moom pitchers/music/food seasons were for a ton of teenbo fanablas and if so, I wanna be first in line to see the remake of TILLIE'S PUNCTURED ROMANCE which I know will be a real side-splitter!
Hadda rely solely on handouts this week, so please whatever you do...THANK Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and Bob Forward for their generous givings. Might plop in an order to Forced Exposure one of these days (for the new Mars and MX-80 Sound on Feeding Tube Records along with a few other potential faves) but with moolah being such a scarcity these days well...I guess I'll have to wait until these items hit the cutout racks just like I hadda do when I was a depression-era wages pimplefarm way back when. So until cutout bins do make a comeback dig it, as Jimi Hendrix said to Vin Scelsa in the men's room of the Fillmore East.

THE BANDITOS CD-r burn (originally on Bloodshot Records)

I mean yeah, it's sure good knowin' that the same sorta hotcha hootch rock that started off way back inna fifties and continued on via the Flamin' Groovies and NRBQ is still up and runnin', but as usual don't this stew sound a li'l too thick inna cauldron??? I can see it appealing to fans of the original rockabilly and seventies smart re-do (Graham Parsons comes to mind as well) but the slick production does tend to draw away from what I assume are the Banditos' intended get-down intentions. If you get your mind offa the modern studio sound this will go down a whole lot better...sheesh if only this were recorded at the Wray Shack!
Sun Ra-THE SHADOWS TOOK SHAPE---THE LOST REEL COLLECTION VOL. 3 2 CD-r set (originally on Transparency)

I woulda thunk that even more and more Sun Ra recordings woulda made their way out this late inna musical game, and as usual I AM RIGHT! Kinda vague information behind these two spinners but they sure have that early-seventies vibe to 'em and are good enough as standard Ra starting points re. what the guy was up to back when even the cubes at DOWN BEAT hadda sit up and take notice. Nothing outta the ordinary here but if you prefer the wilder aspects of his BYG spins this double set might just be the thing to make you wanna set your sights on El Saturn. Judy Jetson would be proud.
Bernie Schwartz-THE WHEEL CD-r burn (originally on CoBurt/MGM)

Yeah I know this ain't Tony Curtis under his nom-de-birth doin' the singer/songwriter thing. I'm not that much of a stoopid doopid despite what most people say. But whoever this particular Bernie Schwartz may be I gotta admit that he does a good job doing the 60s/70s cusp pop unto rock rigmarole that too many lesser minds have failed at. Unfortunately very little of THE WHEEL really grabs me. Sure the Indian music theme go on the way we all wish that Ravi Chancre himself woulda liked but otherwise this just lacks a whole load of zip that made some of those outta-nowhere late-seventies flea market finds so enticing. Well if I hadda choose between this 'un and a good portion of the 1970 introspects that THE WHEEL hadda compete with, I'd choose gas.
Bobby Darin-RARE PERFORMANCES CD-r burn (originally on Stash Records)

I could be like some of those "hip" rock critic types who are sooooooooooooooo open to a whole slewwa non-rockist forms to the point where they would badger you about the all-important meaning of every boo-boo-boo-boo Bing Crosby uttered or moan about all of the racism that Bessie Smith hadda endure.

Heck, it's their privilege they being such exalted beings and all, but frankly I would be more concerned with every "do it do it do it" that Lou Reed might have blurted or the racism Stymie was up against. In the long run it's more interesting.

So I am afraid that I will have to give the big thumbs down to Bobby Darin and these live recordings which really don't have much to say other'n remind me of what "grown up music" meant when I was a mere turdler. It was like the old folk went for Darin and Sinatra and the like, the college kids were into folk music and soul (if you can believe that...I always thought soul sounded "mature"!) and the grade/high school kids top forty rock et roll. My set was more attuned to "Mairzy Doats" and the theme to THE DEPUTY DAWG SHOW which I think says all there is to say about just how advanced us kiddoes were in our own suburban slob way. I mean, could you see the oldsters at one of their parties swizzling sticks and drinking martoonies while the theme from SUPERCAR blared onna hi fi? Me neither!
ELECTRIC JUNKYARD CD-r burn (originally on RCA Records)

Hoo boy, what a turdburger of a selection from the land of Bill Shute burns! This sounds like something Paul Lynde woulda played for some aspiring actor who came over to his place to do some auditioning...really hip 'n withit instrumental horn rock that sounds like it was lifted from one of those early "now" films that look dated once 1971 got into gear. Even contains the music that accompanied the dancing trash can scene in SKIDOO which I guess is way better'n the fact that two numbers from HAIR were included. All I gotta say after hearing these way out 'n mod tracks is that I hope Paul was able to slip some Spanish Fly into the up and comer's drinkie while he wasn't looking. I mean, the evening wouldn't have been a TOTAL waste.
Arthur Gregory Band-ROCK OPERATION CD-r burn

Mid-seventies Texas bar band rock that ain't that bad really. Just nothing that gets my inner juices flowing like I kinda hoped this self-released under-the-radar item would. Contains a fairly butch version of "Gloria" as well as some neo-hard metal pop things that might have gotten a few guys at BACK DOOR MAN charged up had they chanced upon this one way back when. Mostly mid-level excitement but if hard choogle is your game...

Various Artists-SUNDOG COPENHAGEN SILVERTONE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Here be a Bill burn that really resonated with my entire reason for being. Whether it be due to the various Amerigan power pop efforts extant (including the Andy Gerome Band single "a-side" which even got airplay on the AOR 'MMS knockoff station in Youngstown for some strange reason only Thomas John knows!) to the hot soul cookers from J. J. Barnes as well as Towanda of the same last name (any relation?) and the infamous ska performer Roland Alphonso, this sorta stew made for one of those great Saturday PM listening sessions that always goes swell when I'm in my bedroom watching everybody else work outside. Wouldn't mind knowing more about such acts as Sundog Summit who do a convincing mid-Amerigan take of "Gudbuy T Jane" or even reggae performer Pluto Shervington, and although I'm too lazy to google their names I get the feeling that they both have interesting histories behind 'em 'n all.

The only thing here that didn't quite get me by the kishkas was this un-titled hippydip thing where some stoned guy is talking about the time he tried to make his plate of spinach look like a map of Antarctica! Not as funny as that bonus cut on PEBBLES VOLUME 16 where some kids are tripping out in one of those make your own record booths, and while we're talkin' 'bout hippies didja know that when I saw that "Herby Hippy" doll pictured on the sleeve for the first time whilst in the toy department of Strouss' store downtown Youngstown I actually got physically ill because I really loathed hippies and loveydovey stuff and the thought of a doll like this really triggered the mid-Amerigan rage in me! Who woulda thought that this "Winking Herbie Hippy" woulda led to an entire generation of narcissistic pampered pseudo-intellectuals continuing to pat themselves on the back because they "ended the war" and made the world safe for whatever it is they made the world safe for! From the vantage point of almost fifty years all I gotta say is that they shoulda made a George Wallace doll, and no jokes about wheelchair accessories from you heathens out there!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Well it is kinda smaller'n it used to be but wha' th', because we're gonna be getting three of these rags a year and let's just say three UGLY THINGS per annum sure beats 26 ROLLING STONEs during the same time span. But we knew that already...after all ever since Mike Stax decided to put his fingers to typewriter UGLY THINGS has been thee magazine to read, and let's just be gracious that this stellar mag is roaring on while lesser ones (like my own crudzine) petered out like that last fart you tried to get outta your rectum trying to make it twenty inna row which is something that I unfortunately was never able to do!

At least the contents are enough to get me slobberin' like Sam watching me eat my dinner what with the cover stories on the Weirdos ('s about time!) who never did get their just reckoning outside of some old BOMP articles and an interview with Paul Samwell-Smith, perhaps me least favorite Yardbird because he well...he did produce Cat Stevens which is one reason that Peter Asher is my least favorite Peter and Gordon (just look at who he produced!). But ah, it was a good 'un so why be picky.

Really gripping was the piece on Custom Fidelity Records, one of those vanity-type labels where you could make your own album and be the hit of your high school sub-clique as well as the one regarding Robert Bensick, whose FRENCH PICTURES IN LONDON album is one important mid-seventies Cle document that it's better to have heard now than later. I hope some of Bensick's other acts like Claw get the release treatment soon...who knows? Also boffo is the interview with Jymn Parrett of DENIM DELINQUENT fame...sure glad to see this guy getting his just dues for all he's done because he is one guy who pioneered the entire rock 'n roll fanzine idiom and maybe for that he deserves a steak dinner at your expense!

And of course there's the reg'lar reads like the various review sections filled with items I certainly couldn't afford to buy as well as the usual columns that are pretty nerve-tingling in their own way (my fave being Cyril Jordan's year by year Flamin' Groovies histoire). And given the relatively low price you'll have to pay for this (at least put in terms of 2016 currency rates as opposed to those a good fifty years from now) I can't think of a better way to spend your money and get such a good amount of fun and games in return. I mean, what do you wanna spend it on...UNCUT???

Monday, October 10, 2016


As with the music business and the film business, I’ve always been fascinated by the products of the murky underbelly of the comics industry. They’re edgy, they’re unpredictable, and they don’t play by the established rules.

I. W. COMICS (1958-1964) was one of those companies. explains the company’s origins, which really tell you all you need to know about the outfit: “I.W. Publications (1958-1964) was part of I. W. Enterprises, and named for the company's owner, Israel Waldman. Reportedly, Waldman came into possession of a printing company and among the assets were the production materials for several hundred comic books previously published by various publishers as well as a limited amount of previously unpublished material. Waldman equated possession of production materials as the right to reprint and I.W. became notable for publishing unauthorized reprints of other company's comics, often with new covers as Waldman's windfall did not often include the production materials for covers. The later half of the company's existence, it published comics under the Super Comics name. Usually these companies were out of business, but not always.”

This was one of a number of 50’s crime comics I recently purchased from Golden Age Crime/detective/mystery comic books have always been among my favorites, so I intentionally chose some comics I’d never heard of, figuring I might stumble across something interesting, and even if I did not, I’d have some enjoyable crime-comic reading, the equivalent of watching a B-crime film or reading a paperback original 50’s crime novel.

The main story, and the one on the cover, features a character named “Young King Cole,” a detective with reddish hair, glasses, and a bow tie. The plot involves a woman who has been kidnapped and is being held on a seedy cargo ship. Twelve pages of action allows for a bit of backstory and plot development (Cole’s assistant gets a job on the ship to infiltrate), and I could see this being re-tooled as a Charlie Chan or Boston Blackie film.

Then comes a two-page short story called “End of the Line,” featuring one of the most common plots in crime fiction and films, the newly released prisoner who seeks revenge on someone he blames for his situation. What can one say about filler stories in comics? I enjoy them because they are quick and can be read when one is too tired or burned-out-from-work to even read a comic book or watch a 30-minute episode of a crime TV show such as HIGHWAY PATROL or HARBOR COMMAND. They also provide a change-of-pace from the comic content--similar to the role of a yeast roll or a slice of cornbread with a downhome meal!

Next we’re introduced to detective Homer K. Beagle in “The Missing Worms.” Beagle is a bumbling yet interesting character (yes, he’s a human, not a dog detective like McGruff), sort of like if Eb from GREEN ACRES decided to take his mailorder detective degree and put it to use. It seems someone has stolen the worms from the zoo because it’s fishing season and worms are very much in demand and the price is so high they are worth stealing, the way people steal copper from old buildings today. Putting a comedic detective story in the middle of the comic is a good idea in terms of changing the mood. Think of it as functioning the way a five-minute Smiley Burnette comedy sequence in a Charles Starrett “Durango Kid” western does to lighten the mood (and pad the length of the feature) and get you ready for the serious action coming up next....or so we hope!

The comic finishes with an eight-page story featuring “Dr. Drew, The Zoo Man,” another light-haired (reddish blond--does someone not like dark-haired detectives at this publisher?) Shamus. One odd feature of this one is that Drew has a South Asian (I’m guessing a comic like this does not make distinctions between cultures and nationalities outside of the USA) assistant named Gray who wears a loincloth and has a monkey to aid him. He also refers to himself in third person the way Senator Bob Dole used to. Everyone Drew encounters in the typical city in which the comic takes place just accepts the man in the loincloth and the monkey, so they must have an established history of crime-fighting in the area....or the people there are like New Yorkers, so jaded and having seen it all that nothing fazes them. This plot involves a snake farm and a crooked banker who convinces the local rural folk to take their money out of traditional savings accounts and put it in cash into a safe deposit box at his bank....and then he kills them and takes the money out of the deposit boxes with his duplicate key. After all, who would know what they put in the box, right? The plot aspects of this story are easy to follow even if you are tired or hungover while reading....the crooked snake farm and the thieving and murderous banker’s schemes are all explained thoroughly in a series of cram-packed dialogue balloons. Drew seems like he could be an interesting character, but with all the odd happenings here, the plot exposition, and his sidekick and his monkey, he’s almost like a guest star in his own comic.

With the usual ads for trade schools (I worked at a trade school once, and we found that our targeted TV ads brought in the most response when we advertised on local professional wrestling programs, so I can see why comic books feature ads from these places), novelty products, and rip-off books (like “Learn Ju-Jitsu At Home”), TOP DETECTIVE COMICS #9 was an enjoyable time-killer of a read.

When I finished reading it for the second time (I want to get my money’s worth!), I was even more convinced of an initial impression: although the book had a 1958 date, it seemed very dated, at least eight to ten years out of date. Then, in the tradition of the private detectives in the comic, I did a little sleuthing of my own and found out that most if not all of the pieces here were lifted from earlier comics (see the explanation of Israel Waldman at the top of this review). On this low rung of the comics ladder, the publications these were ripped-off from were probably too under the radar to ring any bells of recognition...and this kind of thing was far easier to get away with in the pre-internet age. It’s like the comics equivalent of an exploitation film being shopped around in the hinterlands for decades under different titles. In this case, the book’s content is lifted from a 1948 comic called Criminals On The Run, and one of the stories from that had already been re-printed once in another 1951-52 Avon comic (thanks to for the information on this).

Also noteworthy is that I. W. Comics lists this as #9 in the series of TOP DETECTIVE COMICS, when it’s actually the one and only issue in the series. No doubt people would be more likely to buy something that seemed like an ongoing series (which must be successful to be ongoing) than a one-off, particularly when they could open the comic and find something that  looked and sounded like 1948...but it’s 1958!

I once worked for a supermarket chain back in Virginia (which will remain nameless) which instructed us to cut the rotten sections off fruit and vegetables and meat (hey, I had a family to support!), re-date them, re-color them, etc. They were “refurbishing the product,” we were told, and “offering budget-minded consumers access to premium products at an affordable price.” (My only other employment opportunity in that semi-rural area was the competing grocery chain, which routinely locked employees in to work an hour or two off the clock each night.) Hats off to I. W. Comics (Read I. W. Comics--They Are Top Quality Comics....we are told in a crudely inserted box at the bottom of page one, no doubt where the publishing info on the original 1948 comic was) and Israel Waldman for working in that time-honored American tradition of re-selling dated and third-rate content in a new package to unsuspecting consumers like me. A lot about life and contemporary society sucks, but a beer and a crime comic book at the end of a long workday (even if the content is recycled) make it a slight bit more tolerable. I can live in my imagination in a world where the detectives wear glasses and a bow tie and where people can wander around in a loincloth with a monkey sidekick without calling attention to themselves. A place where I can buy a 10-cent comic like TOP DETECTIVE from a poorly-lit rack in the back of a seedy neighborhood grocery or drug store to keep my feeble mind occupied until my girlfriend Mabel gets off work at the diner at 2 a.m. And nice guy that I am, I also bought Mabel a copy of the Charlton comic SOAP OPERA ROMANCES at that same store. She appreciates good reading too. No wonder we get along! 

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Congratulate me! Here it is October of the year 2016 AD CE, and I've survived well over thirty-six years of a definite lack of HIGH ENERGY ROCK 'N ROLL JAMZ being pumped into my system on a regular basis (talkin' 'bout music fostered by a definitely Bangsian/Meltzerian-derived power source in case ya didn't know)! While I'm at it give me my fairly earned kudos for surviving forty-one years since the last decent television season dared to show its cathodes into my tee-vee room (1975-1976 unless you count 1980-1981 if only for MATINEE AT THE BIJOU) and a whopping FORTY-NINE YEARS since the last great age of teenage trash radio dared to broadcast the likes of the Seeds and Shadows of Knight until Bill Drake or someone made it verboten. I've also survived a good number of other gulcheral catastrophes that make me feel older 'n Methuselah just thinkin' about 'em, but I won't bore you with them gross details. Les' just say that it's 2016 and at least we now have...uh...wait don't tell me...something good to look forward to. And that my dear friend's my bi-weekly editions of BLOG TO COMM!

Got nice lovely batch o' posies for you to pick at here, and once again thanks for Bill and Paul for the bottomless cup o' freebees I hadda chose from. Them and Weasel Walter of course. Ya gotta give 'em credit for keeping me goin' because hey, if I wasn't typing my tripe out who knows what I'd be doin' with these hands of mine!


Don't wanna show my igorance of the entire jass idiom here,  but once again I will. Surprisingly pow'rful free players (Flaherty, Swell, Yeh, Weasel Walter) working out on an extended romp that recalls at various times Ornette's FREE JAZZ as well as some of the earlier AACM moments from Art Ensemble of Chicago to the Creative Construction Company. The fanablas involved are some of the better players around (well, for a guy not following the current free scene I can't VOUCH for it, but they sure sound good!) and as you'd probably know if you've read this far down this is a pretty tough sesh that should recall some of the free bleats of yore that were popular enough that even DOWN BEAT couldn't ignore 'em any longer. Might just be worth the entertainment set-aside portion of your government check that's gonna hit the ol' mailbox during the beginning of the month.
Weasel Walter-CURSES CD (ugEXPLODE)

Ninety-nine mini-tracks, all made to mix and match as you please or listen to as they play, featuring an electronic and percussion soundscape that can sound irritating 'n atonal an' alla those things your music teacher warned you about but sure sounds swell while lazing away the hours. I dunno if you can call it an avant garde classical work in the same way you can John Cage's various chance operations (I'm not too well versed into the making of CURSES to even know if it was composed in the same aleatory fashion as say, "Variations IV") but Walter's notes on the recording do have a brainy component to 'em what with his talk of him "trying to achieve a sort of microcosmic drama with limited materials and processes"...whew! Whatever the case may be, I get the feeling that this 'un sounds a billion times better'n some of the dilettantish sounds passing themselves off as avant garde these days most certainly do!
IANCU DUMITRESCU/DAVID PRESCOTT CD-r burn (originally on Generations Unlimited)

And while we're on the subject of avant garde...I must 'fess up to the fact that really haven't paid that much attention to the moderne-day classical sounds that were coming out from the eighties on at tall. If it weren't for items like the above Weasel Walter album and a number of Bill burns I probably wouldn't know anything about what had been happening since the days I sorta dropped my avant interests for more rocking horizons. Perhaps I felt that the entire music genre had run its course and was infected by the kneejerk and already metastasized political/social snobbery of the era, but then again I guess I just wanted to spend more time listening to Sky Saxon and less Pauline  Oliveros.

Of course even if I were paying attention I doubt that I'd've heard of this particular spinner featuring the works of two up-and-comers in the avant classical realm. Both Dumitrescu and Prescott work with electronics that sound like smooth feedback drones and in many ways this sounds similar to various other feedback recordings of the past such as the Figures of Light's recreation of their own feedbacking guitar concert which is a classic in itself. It's mostly stuff ya've heard before and if you have a low threshold for atonal drone ons you probably won't like it. But for me I figure the more noise the better so hey, this one does get an atta boy which I hope won't ruin whatever prim and proper images these guys must keep up to survive in the art world these austerely pious days.
The Raymond Brake-PILES OF DIRTY WINTERS CD-r burn (originally on Simple Machines Records)

Sad to say, but a whole lotta the more art-rocky aspects of late-eighties underground rock, a groove which I certainly found the time to give praise to, really didn't capture my entire imagination the way various sixties and seventies variations on the form did. Not that these acts were horrid mind you, but at least for me a little of this neo-emo guitar rock just went a whole long way within my listening parameters and it just didn't stick to my ribs the way a good meal of mid-sixties garage band favorites most certainly could. Not that I'm giving the Raymond Brake any hard knocks...after all they don't offend me and at times come up with interesting melodies that fit in with the guitar shards...but these guys really ain't the kinda bunch I usually feel like rah-rahing over they way I do all sortsa acts you'd wish I'd just shut up about. For 1987-on introspects only.
Boston Rats-THIS AIN'T ROCK N' ROLL CD-r burn (originally on Brainfeeder)

Psychobilly lives on, and although I ain't exactly whatcha'd call a big fan 'n follower of the form it ain't that bad to give this stuff a listen to at least once in a blue movie. Done up in that tough 'n rumble sorta English rock way that's been around since at least the Stranglers, the sound's definitely post-Groovies hard neo-pub and the vocals about as thug as you can get. Mix that up with a pretty boffo repertoire (including a cover of the Other Half drug rock classic "Mr. Pharmacist") and ya got an album that really does hold itself together and captured my sagging attention that's for sure. Who thought that anything of worth would come outta whatever there is left of that thing that usedta get called "punkabilly"...certainly not me!
SEVEN DAYS TO BETTER BOWLING CD-r burn (originally on Audio Dynamics)

When I was a kid I always thought bowling woulda been a real fun game to play, but the folks never took me. It took a while for me to realize the reason for was because of those machines they had inna men's room, that's why! However, if I ever do wanna take the sport up I might be able to be a reg'lar bowling whiz by listening to this platter. Brought to you by the same people who had you quit smoking in a week's time, the same nasal voice that told you to relax your toes, arches, ankles, calves, thighs allaway uppa torso has you doin' the same schtick here only its for the benefit of improving your game 'stead of kicking the habit. But do ya really think that one's game would be greatly improved by listening to a subdued voice tell you to release alla yer tension and play it cool as a cucumber? If you do maybe I can sell ya a copy of SEVEN DAYS TO BETTER WIPING done up by the Audio Dynamics label! "Relax your left cheek....relax your right cheek..."
Jimmy Oliver and his Soul-Twisters -HITS AU GO GO CD-r burn (originally on Sue Records)

Well, at least this ain't the same kinda twisto cash-in music that Ray Anthony inundated us with last week! But it still is cash-in time here what with the Soul-Twisting people here taking the big hits of the day and playin' 'em in their own cheezy way. I guess if you like Kim Fowley's BORN TO BE WILD album you'd like this, though I gotta say that the lack of up-front vocals on these means you can sing along in your own faverave adolescent way while these tracks roll on just like you usedta do when listening to that instrumental version of "Ruby Tuesday" that popped up on various Rolling Stones bootlegs! If only you hadda copy of this 'un back 1966 way on that day off from school when you and Farts Flanagan went and wrecked up the house because there was nothing else to do!
Alvino Rey and his Orchestra-PING PONG! CD-r burn (originally on Capitol Records)

When I was a kid I wanted to murder the entire King Family, that's how much I hated those squeaky clean cut types to no end! At the age of five I certainly knew what cornball of the rottenest 'stead of the most funzy variety meant, and when it came to that the entire King brood was a prime example of just how hokum television could have aspired to even in an age of high energy fun and jamz. I even hated Alvino Rey who actually played an electric guitar 'n all which I thought was a cool looking musical instrument (still do!) but suffered the same fate if only due to extroverted wholesomeness by association. Nowadays I dunno...after all this album of Rey 'n band doing the usual standards for the stick inna muds of the day ain't that bad. Of course it ain't that stimulating either but it sure lacks the saccharine sweetness of a dozen King Family specials with a few STAND UP AND CHEERs tossed in. I particularly liked the part where Rey set off a wall of feedback during a rather powerful version of "I Heard Her Call My Name" and...just kidding about that!!!
The Fleshtones-THE BAND DRINKS FREE CD-r burn (originally on Yep Roc)

Hokay, the groups does sound a tad tireder'n they have on previous engagements but they still can pump out the good ol' straight ahead rock 'n roll even if they sounded a whole lot more jumpin' jack a good forty years back! Still has a tad o' the slickoid production that marred a few Fleshtones sessions (at least not to the point of pukedom) and there ain't enough all-out rockers like I kinda hoped there woulda been. But otherwise THE BAND DRINKS FREE's a definite 2016 GODSEND from a long-lived band that's survived despite all the odds, and if you liked their other bazillion platters you'll probably like this one as well. While we're on the subject can anyone tell me if there are any very early live recordings by these guys floatin' around on the Cee-Dee-Are lists out there???
Various Artists-FLASH COCKROACH LINE LOCO CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Rather'n dig down into the deepest reaches of my Bill burn files I decided to pluck this particular platter from the most recent Care Package sent my way courtesy My Fearless Leader. 'n as usual it's a boffo selection too featuring everything from foreign language rock 'n rollers to sassy pre-lib gal singers, not to mention a few clunkers inna batch that really didn't grab onto my hammer 'n stirrups the way I'm sure Bill hoped they would. Personal faves include Larry Young doing some of that soul-styled jazz organ he played in between gigs with Miles and Lifetime, Vess L. Ossman's "Silver Heels" (a nice twenties-ish 78 r.p.m. that really fit in well with  the collection of OUT OUR WAY comics I've been reading. Especially heart-warming was the recording of the "Great Stalacpipe Organ" at Luray Caverns in Virginia which brought back some old memories of a kiddie trip that I sure wish I remembered a whole lot more of! Nice and cornballus in its own gosh darn way, sorta like that Abraham Lincoln recreation which got cut off before it really could go anywhere.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

BOOK REVIEW! OUT OUR WAY 1922 DAILIES by J.R. Williams (Ecomics Space, 2016)

Over the course of the past few months, the next few months and maybe even longer, you have and are going to be seeing a whole lot MORE reviews of both comic strip and comic book collections in these "pages". They have or will be written either by myself or Bill Shute or perhaps even Brad Kohler, and in my case (since I can't vouch for either Bill 'r Brad) these reviews will emanate from books either purchased recently or those that were stuffed in nooks and crannies for years only seeing the light of day now. I'm sure that some less astute readers will get the impression that BLOG TO COMM has transformed into a comics blog but (as if I hadda tell ya!) it will remain a "general interest" outlet for things that interest the likes of myself, Bill and Brad dealing with quite a variety of subjects that are most attuned to the suburban slob way of existence. And right at this moment it just happens that comics interest us quite a bit so if you're a fan of obscure Lithuanian sexual practices or last night's college archery scores you've come to the wrong place buddy!

I've written plenty about OUT OUR WAY on this blog and elsewhere, and as far as "serious" historians go this long-lived (1922-1977) comic was whatcha'd call (to be trite about it) "classic". And at least this one time I tend to agree, so therefore it's really good to see that Ecomics Space has begun reprinting the panel in handy if pricey softcover form.

OUT OUR WAY has been a favorite of mine ever since I could remember, and the style and stories to be found therein continue to resonate inside me reminding me of a time that was perhaps still in gear (if ever so slightly) when I was a child which has since slowly slipped away with the advance of age and the loss of those whose era OUT OUR WAY best exemplified. IN OTHER WORDS the characters in OUT OUR WAY, like those in MAJOR HOOPLE and other old faves, bring back memories of long gone relatives and those who certainly went for comics like these, and although at one time I might have shed a tear thinking about 'em when pouring through these collections nowadays I get the feeling that they would appreciate in their own "up there" way 'n all.

The comics that make up the inaugural year of OUR OUR WAYs are quite a surprise since I never did get to read many of these early examples of J.R. Williams' creation. The familiar large-eyed and finely thin-penned style Williams was best known for is only beginning, and not only that but none of the famous continuing characters like the Worry Wart, the Willetts or Curly and his cowboy friends have arrived. However, you do get the old time rural stories about kids sneaking under circus tents and going barefoot during the summer that Williams just inundated us with for the comic's entire run. Like many comic efforts Williams was still feeling around trying to hit on successful ideas and although he sure had many that would last throughout his life you can see that he was trying to hit the right chord with his craft.

It's interesting to note that some of the regular characters Williams did come up with during the comic's inaugural run didn't last that long like Elf Dakin whose rotundus belly is oft the butt of many a sight gag or Wash Funk, the black guy who might seem stoopider'n most but ends up being the smart one after all. I guess they just didn't pan out with either Williams or his readers which is why these two eventually headed towards the overloaded funny page unemployment line. At least those who came after really stuck in the comics consciousness because hey, without Williams would my dad have called me "Worry Wart" throughout my entire blamed life???

Great start to a classic series. Can't wait to see how the subsequent volumes pan out (which I am most certain they will)!

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Wowee, after a coupla weekends of "specialty" posts I'm back doin' the reg'lar roundup of everyday normil recordings that I've received as of late, and as usual I SHORE DO HOPE YOU 'PRECIATE IT ALL!
Got some goodies to share wit'cha as usual, and I just know you'll be rushin' to the corner store to buy up every bitta the treats I've clued you in on because hey...if you're that much of an introvert that your entire week rotates around readin' this trash you're probably goofy enough to take every word and comma that I peck out at face value! Oh well, it could be worse like eh, maybe you take alla my COMPETITORS' blogs for what they spit out as the Gospel Truth an' ya know that really ain't exactly the case with them fakirs!!!
Ain't been having that many rock et roll oriented dreams that I can proudly tell you about like I had been experiencing say...a few months or so least the kind that are worthy of repeating in this here blog even if the only one who really has anything to say about 'em is Brad Kohler. Like take the one I had last week where I was at some old-styled supermarket and saw a row of records for sale just like some of those kinda markets used to have when I was a kid! Only instead of just some small bin with a handfulla platters I'd like to get amidst the classical and crooner stuff (such as the one at D'onofrio's which had THE WHO SELL OUT for like $3.50 which was still a humongous amount for a thirteen-year-old like myself to dish out) there was a rather hefty number of albums for sale in a section that would perhaps equal the size of those found in stereo shops around the same time. Anyhoo I pull one spinner outta the pile and it turns out to be a Simon and Garfunkel one with tracks taken from their Tom and Jerry days which I actually pondered getting. It had a nice bright cover too complete with a cartoon-like pic of the two in their mid-fifties teenage days striking a rockin' kinda dance pose akin to them doin' the Charleston...further excursions into the bin popped up other S&G platters with artwork in a drawing style similar to the first one I dug up only with the more early-seventies era-looking twosome in situations that seemed ridiculous, like operating some recording contraption using brainwave power complete with electrodes attached to their foreheads.

But the real kicker to that 'un was when I decided to check a lower bin and pulled out a Screamin' Jay Hawkins platter with a similar cartoon cover featuring the famed  musical pioneer! Now that was a record I recall definitely wanting to snatch up for my collection albeit the dream kinda fizzled out after that!

But even that doesn't top the one I had the morning of September 29th of this year. In this nocturnal somnission I have somehow been selected to get this...15-60-75 the Numbers Band as a guitarist! I'm at the club we are to appear at and have my guitar in hand, nothing spectacular in looks but I am proud of it because I always wanted a fancy instrument like this (procured in a previous dream whilst shopping at a nonexistent music shop in Youngstown Ohio), but then again I realize that I know nada about what music is going to be played or for that fact how to play a guitar which stymies me no end! (Of course a situation such as this would never happen in real life since it was the practice of Robert Kidney et. al. to not only pick a good player for the band but to rehearse the standards until the new member was well versed! But then again how I got selected to join the band, and this dream taking place back in the seventies as well, is a total mystery)

It is evening and we are scheduled to play at some  rank 'n rundown outta the way dive. I see the stage where the opening act which was a throwback to the glitter days of yore with platforms and face makeup are playing and strangely enough the rest of the Numbers (I espy Robert Kidney and the other guitarist who wore a long ponytail---maybe Chrissie Hynde's brother too) seem to be acting rather cool towards me though not exactly unfriendly. All I'm thinking about is exactly what I am going to do once I get on the stage...perhaps try to fake my way or make atonal sounds and hope they fit in...but whatever I'm hoping that I can remember all of those bar chords I usedta know just in case...

Tuning the guitar is becoming a struggle, and I step into the men's room which I believe also doubles as the group's dressing room which would figure. Turns out that at the end of the room a door exposing a bee-youtiful lakeside view opens, and I gaze into the lake and can see starfish and coral. The overall scene looks placid enough, and that's all I can remember.
Here's a snap I discovered while pouring through a box of old correspondence from the early-nineties, which is right around the time when this photo was taken come t'think of it. It's a graven image of none other than memeME
and I thought I'd post it here not only just for kicks sake, but because I think I look pretty "cool" here what with my five o'clock shadow to rival Nixon's, that Captain Kangaroo-esque double chin, disingenuous grin and of course the unwashed hair that makes me come off like a real tough guy that most of those stringy bloggers who hate my guts certainly wouldn't want to deal with lest they break a fingernail amongst other appendages! Gazing upon this particular visage sure brought back a whole load of memories that I perhaps would have preferred to have been kept repressed (after all, fanzine publishing isn't the fun la de da life many impressionable youth make it out to be), and if there's anything I really like to share with you its my own personal misery so snivel on pilgrims!
Now if you have any old pictures of yourself YOU'D like to see posted here do send them along. However I just might post 'em in order to get a rise outta the blog's reg'lar audience because we do need to inject a li'l humor into this thing. Until I can dredge up a chuckle or two howz'bout just giving this post a read
now, eh???

Public Speaking-CARESS, REDACT CD (Floordoor Records)

I've heard a number of similarly styled recordings lately, but Jason Anthony Harris' Public Speaking is one of those platters that I just couldn't pass up mentioning in these hallowed pages. Hard to categorize this 'un since it takes in some rather unfamiliar to myself terrain, but at least to these grizzled ears I can hear echoes of eighties English import pop, seventies English avant garde "serious" sounds (Michael Nyman and This Heat somehow come to mind, and while we're talking avant garde I even heard one definite Conlon Nancarrow reference!) as well as other hoary old musical points only an aged fanabla like I can remember. The results are a quiet if subliminally stirring music that sounds as if it were taken from a forgotten drug-induced dream from the previous night, with a hazy feeling to it that I remember a few Japanese post-rock acts working into their repertoires about fifteen or so years back. It's sure great hearing something created in the here and now that really lacks pretension.
STINKY TOYS CD (Vogue France)

Many a soul warned me not to snatch up anything by this French punk rock aggregation, and I was perhaps aghast at the story about how Stinky Toys' gal lead singer was such a temperamental prima donna of the donna-est kind, but dang if this album just ain't the kinda thing to get my vital juices all in order. Elli Medeiros sings in a slightly offkey twangy punk rock sorta way while the band cranks out early-seventies Rolling Stones cum Velvet Underground rock that sounds so good it coulda been done up like mid-Ameriga 1975 style and you wouldn't have even blinked. Once again proof that the French can play hotcha rock 'n roll and I'll take Stinky Toys over a good portion of the pretentioso flub-a-dub punk musings that have cluttered up our civilization these past few decades I'll tell ya!
Lydia Lunch and Weasel Walter-BRUTAL MEASURES CD (Widowspeak)

Lydia is still at it a good almost fortysome years afterwords, spewing out a whole load of neo-Burroughsian rant and rave that somehow sounds quaint next to the spiritual successors of her "womanist" stylings. Weasel Walter adds drums that recall the Andrew Cyrille BYG album with a tad bit of electronic fun thrown in.

Lydia sounds a whole lot older than the Teenage Jesus self used to, with a heavy cigarette voice that really drives the venom home and the drums are about as fitting as those backings to Emilio Cubeiro on that one album of his that the New York elite scum at up way back when (y'know, the one where he mentioned this vignette about there being nothing wrong with a guy having sex with his five-year-old daughter because she enjoyed it) most certainly were.

If you still take everything that dragon-faced anti-moralist rasper Diamanda Galas says at face value and own a DVD of MONDO NEW YORK you probably will like this---I like it even if I loathe Galas and never saw that film so I guess I am the odd fanabla out, right?
Ed Kuepper-LOST CITIES CD-r burn (originally on Prince Melon Records)

Ex-Saints or something like that guitarist Kuepper really does a nifty re-write of Judy Collins' "Send in the Clowns" on opening track "Pavenne", and his folkie muse continues throughout to the point where you wonder if Prozac being pumped into the water supply wouldn't be a great idea after all. Well it's obviously a singer/songwriter introspective and all that effort, however there's a certain element to it that jibes with my creepier side to the point where I can empathize en toto. Actually the depressing mood of this might have worked enough to get that overly-sensitive gal you knew in college to share more'n her Algebra II homework with you, but considering my current state of mind it ain't exactly like I want to get gloomier'n I can sometimes get during these downer days. Might connect with you serious pre-avant garde jazz-era Tim Buckley fans and people who like to press leaves in ancient books.
THE EDDIE ALBERT ALBUM CD-r burn (originally on Columbia)

Yes its Oliver Wendell Douglas from tee-vee's very own GREEN ACRES cashing in on his notoriety with a hip album containing not only a Simon and Garfunkel cover ("Homeward Bound") but some Dylan and even the Sandpipers fave "Guantanamera" (which the heads of the past used to spoof as "A Ton of Marijuana"...remember that doper humor so teenbo hip back inna seventies?).

Albert even does a new version of the infamous GREEN ACRES theme as well as some then in-style thirties standbys, camping everything up when necessary yet turning on the ol' emote with his deeply moving renditions of "Don't Think Twice" just aimed at the younger portion of his listening audience. Heck, it even comes to the point where you kinda get the ol' intuition that Albert felt that he was performing a "meaningful" and "relevant" duty in bridging the generation gap somehow, or is that just the cover shot with a rather loose looking tee-vee actor posing with his kids including future star in his own right "Edward" Albert?

Whatever the resultant effect may have on you, this personally makes me wish more of the GREEN ACRES cast got to do their own albums with Dylan and S&G covers galore. I mean, couldn't you just imagine a Mr. Kimball album featuring "Hattie Carroll"..."William Zantzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll...well, I don't know if she was that poor since I heard she had quite a lotta money socked away from her numbers racket and maybe he didn't kill her at all, like she could have really died of gastritis for all I know..." Then you can just hear a voice from the control room goin' "What about Hattie Carroll?"  "Who?"

More of those old tymey memories that dredge up a few teary-eyed reminiscences of Bus Eubanks. If your heart is marooned in The Jazz Age this li'l spinner should get you a-hoppin' what with the Ray Miller Orchestra blasting a whole load of hip swivelin' dance music while the Meadows Company get the opportunity to plug their low-grade washing machines. So good that I thought I was watching some old silent-era Educational Comedy short that I got via Grapevine Video these songs are that authentic to the late-twenties popular music game. The tenor voiced singer can get to ya a bit (he's kinda nasal-y) but otherwise this offering is just one more good reason as to why someone should invent a Wayback Machine so's we can head back to them really good ol' days and have some fun for once!
Various Artists-LIVE AT THE VORTEX VOL. 1 Cd-r burn (originally on NEMS, England)

O'er in England the kidz were so punk rock crazy that the record labels didn't even know where to START as far as it came to signing and packaging a whole loada young upstart bands. Thankfully there were a whole buncha good documentations of the days there than there were here, what with even the nth-string band getting a recording contract and maybe even a much-coveted mention in one of the weaklies. And if it weren't for alla that hubbub a record like this, recorded at the short-lived Vortex club, probably wouldn't've even existed inna first place. Good thing too because this 'un's fairly good straight ahead punk (at least most of the time) that woulda probably sounded better had Raw or Stiff released it but eh! You get the Wasps doing a version of "Waiting For My Man" that's almost as good as the Imperial Dogs or most of those Ladbrook Grove bands who'd been doing it for the past ten years, while Bernie Torme's heavy metal is pretty good even though none of the critics that I knew of liked him. Other under-the-underground faves like the Art Attacks and Neo show up and considering that this sampler coulda sounded like be glad it's still a straight ahead rock 'n roll item and not just a cheap cash in (which can work on its own funzy level as any serious collector of the form could tell ya!).
John Stewart & Scott Engel-I ONLY CAME TO DANCE WITH YOU CD-r burn (originally on Tower)

The Walker Brothers never did register in my mid-sixties mind the way other mop top maniacs of the day most certainly did, so it ain't like I was that anxious to drag this 'un outta the leaning tower of Cee-Dees that make up a variety of Bill 'n Paul burns cluttering up my burp-laden bedroom these past umpteen years. Turns out this was a pleasant spin even though there's little of the  ram-bunk-shuh! that made the mid-sixties so memorable at least for moi. The vocal numbers have that typical neo-Spectorian Walker woosh to 'em guaranteed to get even the frigidest of femmes thawed out, while the instrumental covers  of various past hits 'n the like have some shards of past rockist accomplishment even if the originals are better. Of course I wouldn't trade my Sonics or Seeds for this platter, but if I had any Melanie ones I most certainly would!

Ray Anthony-THE TWIST CD-r burn (originally on Capitol)

Talk about crass cash ins! Back inna early-sixties everything was so twist crazy that even Mantovani put out a twist album! Whatever possessed Ray Anthony to do one I'll never know, but the music heard on this album (mostly covers of fairly recent instrumental wonders with some sorta twist motif tossed into the title) is so down pat nada that I don't think that even Jackie Kennedy would've swiveled her bony hips to this! Not that the players don't cook and even a guaranteed flounder like "Hound Dog Twist" appeals in a trashy b&w Saturday afternoon UHF TV sorta way, but only a downright and insanely obsessive twist maniac woulda gone for a platter like this back during those rather up and down days. I smell a 1971 flea market record bin stuffer here!
Lalo Schifrin-"BULLITT" SOUNDTRACK" CD-r burn (originally on Warner Brothers-Seven Arts)

Never did see the film so like this 'un doesn't really register any warm 'n toasties with me like they might with Bill Shute. On its lonesome the music doesn't do a thing for my like the soundtrack to a then-contemporary film like say, CANDY might. General jazzoid jamz that don't exactly thrill this particular pud and frankly I get the feeling that you might be snoozed out by the late-sixties schmooze of it all---unless you're the kinda guy who I used to see hanging out at the bar area of some restaurant complete with one-inch sideburns puffing away on cigarettes watching football. Ya know, the kinda guy who was also buzzed enough that the woman he's chatting up looks like Venus to him even though you could have used her chest for an aircraft carrier. Some memories are best left buried.
Various Artists-RANDOLPH THE ROUGE-NOSED REINDEER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

It's a li'l too early for Christmas but I have been known to rip into a package or two before its "don't open until X-mas" date. Here's one, sorta, and though the Christmas quota ain't that big it sure would be a good thing to spin during the Holidays 'stead of that dippy Paul McCartney song the rock stations play to death every year. A definite Southern bent to this what with the likes of the Elgins and the Mirrors (both from Big Spring Texas) doing some fairly good early-sixties styled soul that never woulda made it big despite its boffo beat, not forgetting Fred Crawford singing about some football game and Jimmie Riddle who sure SOUNDS Southern. And of course the infamous Justin Wilson (who used to clog up a whole lotta PBS tee-vee time during the eighties) does some not-so-funny thing about safe driving as well as a couple Christmas numbers that do fit into the overall holiday spin of things. This disque even ends with some Country Music Association propaganda platter where Roy Acuff and Tex Ritter shoot the shinola about promoting C&W sounds. Given what drek the whole "new" Country Music scene is I kinda get the idea that had they known they woulda kept their big mouths shut---either that or die from self-inflicted lead poisoning!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

BOOK REVIEW! BEETLE BAILEY 1950-1952 by Mort Walker (Checker, 2008)

The '66 BEETLE BAILEY volume reviewed earlier had me on the go for more classic strips, and although for the life of me I thought there would have been an ongoing attempt to reproduce the series in its entirety I was wrong. Too bad for me, because I certainly would like to read those late-fifties and early-sixties BAILEY comics from right around the time the strip really began to get into the swing that it was known for for years, and why IDW or Fantagraphics doesn't get into gear I'll never know because hey, you think there'd be a market for reprints of a strip as popular as this 'un!

Thankfully the comparatively obscure-o Checker line has reprinted the first two years of BEETLE BAILEY strips and I at least should be thankful for those at least until I can get hold of some worthy paperbacks at a rummage sale. And yeah, although I gotta admit that the early-fifties BEETLE ain't quite the same as the one that I grew up reading there's still a whole lot more fun 'n jamz to be found here than there is to be found within the entire comic strip medium (including the modern day BEETLE BAILEY) these days.

The early college-oriented strips really don't do that much for me, perhaps because this BEETLE and the one I grew up reading don't quite mesh. Galpal Buzzy isn't as cute as Bunny and although there is a certain feeling to these which hints at the latterday strip the early BEETLEs just don't affect me the way I was kinda hopin' they would. Naturally the switch to the army helped out plenty, and although most of my fave BAILEY characters have yet to be introduced we do see early versions of Sarge, Killer, Cookie, Captain Scabbard and the General, none who've yet been developed to their fullest potential but still fit the strip better'n the college guys who seemed so pale in comparison.

The "retired" army-era characters are interesting as well from Dawg, the unsanitary one with flies buzzing around to the gambler Snakeyes (phased out in favor of Cosmo in the sixties), not to mention Bammy, a guy who was such a major character in the BEETLE sphere of things to the point where you wonder why he was dumped in the first place. A rather strong personality, Bammy is always being described as a Southerner "who is still fighting the Civil War", though none of the strips I've read even hint at this so once again I chalk this description up to Northern snootery since ya know, "enlightened" people gotta keep up their NEGATIVE images of others or something like that. If ya got any evidence to the contrary please do send it in, but as for now I'm sticking in Bammy's corner considering the unfair trouncing Southerners have been getting for a longer time 'n anyone deserves!

Yeah, no Zero or Lt. Fuzz or even Otto, but these strips sure do show a whole lotta promise that would come to fruition within a few short years. I'd sure like to get an eyefulla more of these earlier BAILEYs so if there's any enterprising published out there willing to crank out more reprint editions got at least one customer out there!

Saturday, September 24, 2016


I just loved my romp through the box of cassettes I uncovered about a month back, enough that I decided to do yet another one these tape-only review sections given how those cassette-y throb thrills of the past just came rushin' back! Yes, there are plenty of these cassettes in my collection that have been ignored for a longer time than I can imagine, and I gotta admit that yankin' 'em outta the box and givin' 'em a play has been a most cathartic (and money saving!) experience that really has brightened up my otherwise feh existence! And after this one more, more and even MORE cassette cagas are bound to come your way! Consider yourselves lucky you rockers because this very post (and blog) exists if only to prove to you unbelievers that the Golden Age of Rock Fandom is not dead!!!


Actually this one is a relative newie that somehow got lost in that infamous shuffle that happens around here all the time. Thankfully there seems NO END to the rash of free jazz/experimental/avant whatziz recordings that have been made o'er the past few decades, and these guys must certainly be given their dues for making some mighty unattached by any sorta credo we know sounds. Sultan and band (which at one time had James "Blood" Ulmer and maybe some other notables in its ranks) cook up some rather high-flying and downright inspirational music on these recordings that go from AACM atonal to Afro percussion in the best Art Ensemble of Chicago sorta way. And even though I get the feeling that NOBODY who played on these platters would last more than a year if they were plunked right inna middle of Deepest Darkest I really do like the feral atmosphere a good portion of these recordings exude.
PLAYETTE (Sirius Music)

If 1975's CHINABOISE was a harbinger of the local neo-Velvets uprising to be found in more-enlightened-than-thou Amerigan music land of the late-seventies then 1983's PLAYETTE mighta been the proud coda. Let's face it,  underground rock (what used to get called "new wave" as opposed to punk rock until both terms were co-opted outta existence) did seem kinda outta-place during the eighties, a watered down version of its once vital self that was beginning to look like more of an embarrassment than anything. At least this MX-80/Angel Corpus-Christi spinoff captured just what is was that made suburban slob rock neophytes like myself feel oh-so-PROUD following a musical trend that had roots dating back to those late-fifties cheap parlor recordings by teenage rock aficionados yet was so crucial to the modern sense of sound deconstruction. Sirius Music was supposed to have released a whole slew of MX-80 material on tape including the Chinaboise project as well as the non-Rich Stim-manned MX-80 going under the name the C-Minus Humans. Whatever happened to that 'un?

A C-60 with one side live at the Pirate's Cove and the other singles and outtakes. Only one channel is present for the live one yet the power and energy of the group remains steady with Jamie Klimek doing a whole load of old  faves mixed in with recent compositions, and not only that but he slips a Pere Ubu reference in that just might be a sly putdown---I dunno. The flip has a load of unreleased gunch as well as faves like the true blue version of  "Radial Arm Saw" that never did get reissued proper-like. Hopefully tracks like the jazzy "Overload" and "Girls Girls Girls" will get the royal treatment one of these days, but as usual I ain't throwin' a temper tantrum until they do.

C-46 filled with goodies beginning with a smattering of Mirrors and Rocket From The Tombs tracks we've heard for years, followed by a cut from the Adele Bertei-edition of Peter and the Wolves we haven't (and why it ain't been released by this time I certainly do not know!). Neptune's Car, the Pere Ubu spinoff, sound totally in tune with the early-eighties switch from new wave as underground thunder monster to neo-funk riffage, but if you enjoyed those other neo-Ubu bands from the day you'll probably enjoy this as well. Still a firm reminder of what the Cleveland underground was pumping out until all of the come-latelies and shock-effect tyrants decided to get in on the game and it just wasn't the same anymore.
Charles Tyler-SAGA OF THE OUTLAWS (Nessa)/Frank Wright-CENTER OF THE WORLD (Creative Worlds)

Tyler's "Polyphonic Sonic Tale of the Old & New West" sire doesn't sound like the aural equivalent of tacky furniture with wagon wheels and steer horns proudly emblazoned. What it is is a fantastic set recorded at the Studio Rivbea fest that gave us the WILDFLOWERS albums, and why this particular piece didn't appear anywhere there I do not know. Tyler once again shows why he's one of the better mid-seventies free players to have made the transition into the mid-seventies overdrive before it all seemed to tumble into oblivion. Frank Wright was yet another player who went from the ESP-disk groove into a world of self-released magnificence, and this sesh with longtime partners Bobby Few and Alan Silva's still got that mid-sixties blare that did translate well into the seventies to the point where even DOWN BEAT felt it proper to give this music ample coverage much to the dismay of Leonard Feather. If you can find 'em and stick 'em somewhere in your collection then, more power to ya.

Can't make out the exact date on the Huey stuff though I originally was under the impression that this was recorded at the same show that gave us the finale of the original Pere Ubu with Peter Laughner and Tim Wright. A pretty good if truncated show with better'n expected sound quality featuring Huey somewhere between their Canturbury/kraut/punk phase and the more new-unto-gnu wave they eventually evolved into before clocking out. Biggest surprise: "Train Kept a' Rollin", unfortunately cut in its prime. If you were a big fan of the Clone Records releases this edition of the band will most likely be up your rather expansive alley.

The Electric Eels tracks have been issued (well, I believe most of 'em have) on a variety of albums and the like, though on this original recorded as it happened session you get to hear the between song guitar scronks and the like. Nothing as outrageous as the time the group broke into Mott the Hoople's "Violence" but still as spontaneously satisfying as if you were in that very room getting into an argument with everyone involved.

Omowura and band recorded this album for EMI Nigeria, and somehow I get the idea that EMI wouldn't exactly cozy up to the idea of any international release considering the specific audience for such items that I kinda doubt would exist in Greenland. Heavily percussive call and response vocals do get into a rather hypnotic groove, though the only thing I could think about after hearing this was when my next meal of missionary is going to be.

The Tusques recording here is actually that of INTERCOMMUNAL MUSIC which I reviewed for these very pixels a good ten or so years back, so dig that one up if you care to know what I thought about it then. As for today I feel the same way I did then about this ecstatic session featuring the likes of Sunny Murray and Alan Silva amongst others doing the expat game with the same push that we expected (and got) from a good load of those BYG albums.

Filling out the sides are a number of eighties hard/grind/metal/applecore tracks that, while certainly a great portion of what the eighties underground rock scene typified, still remind me of just why I had those strong longings for various seventies under-the-radio forms around the time 1985 was creeping into my psyche

Boy/Dirt/Car-GHOSTSHIRT (Artweather Communications)

Packaged in a mini burlap sack with inserts (actually little xeroxed papers), this infamous group (once mentioned in an Ann Landers column!) did the industrial music thing about as good as all of the competitors on the OPTION/SOUND CHOICE bandwagon could. Some electric instrumentation from the Die Kreuzen people give this a rock 'n roll bent at times, but mostly this just churns away with some surprisingly quiet moments that lull you into a sense of somethingorother which kinda gets me staring at the ceiling for hours on end. Still looking for the rest of these Boy/Dirt/Car tapes which are hidden in various nooks and crannies, and if I do fine 'em you can betcha they just might end up in a future CASSETTE CAGA column!

A ho' maid job complete with a xerox cover featuring a load of then (and now) rare Australian single/Eee-Pee sides that some of us were known to have craved for in their original vinyl form. The Radio Birdman and related groups have that definite Detroit-cum-Doors sound that sure sounded great in light of what was happening in "rock music" at the time (y'know, those days when a photo of an overweight Rob Tyner in the pages of CREEM was cause for celebration) while the Psycho Surgeons and Lipstick Killers bring back the sixties sound from around the time that it was still kinda fresh and not fodder for ROLLING STONE issue stuffing. When I was starting my illustrious journalistic career it was high energy rock 'n roll like this which made up my entire reason for being, so if it weren't for these guys who knows...I'd probably be writing about the posies at some flower show!

Here's one Eddie Flowers sent me a good THIRTY years ago, and it holds up today just as well as it did way back when I was younger than that now.

The Stalk Forrest Group Elektra album has been given its proper release dues long after the fact, but back then the only way you could hear it was on tape and let's just say the whole thing holds up a good forty-seven or so years later what with that psychedelic drive that seems to have been forgotten once the group went heavy metal. If you've read that Meltzer blurb that appears in the DENIM DELINQUENT book you'll understand this even more. Patti Smith on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE continues to thrill me long after first seeing this live as it happened, and although Russell Desmond might disagree I found this appearance epiphanal! Well, at least for a mid-teen pimplefarm who was just starting to buy records it sure was, and back then I was a guy who really hadda count my pennies so you can bet I was more'n careful as to where my money went! And closing out side one that famed soopergroup the Afrika Korps doing the six-oh revival thing a good five years beforehand and a good deal better'n some of the acts doing the same riffage a good decade later.

On the flip of the tape is part of the HEPCATS FROM HELL radio show when Meltzer had on as his guest famed "performance artist" Chris Burden who brought his automatic weapons along and really yuks it up doing this tough guy maniac act. Unfortunately the tape cuts right before Burden fires one of his weapons out the window which really woulda been a hoot to hear. Closing out the tape is a segment of the infamous CALL ME BURROUGHS album that sure beats those audio books written for misguided teenage gals too lazy to read the real thing. In all, a great selection of boffo o-mind drool we could sure use a lot more of these rather subdued days.
Twink-WMSE 10/17/88-Ron Asheton-WBCN '88

Side "A" features the famed ex-Pink Fairies/Tomorrow/Pretty Things/Iggy audition drummer during his late-eighties comeback days getting interviewed by a number of local entities about his associations with everyone from Syd Barrett to the Deviants. Interspersed are a whole slew of tracks you've heard and probably haven't heard before but hey, it's always boffo to hear 'em again if you've heard 'em already! The Stooges' own Ron Asheton gets the interview treatment on the flip talking about the early days of the Detroit high energy movement making a fellow like me want to hear even more than what is available (especially the Seventh Seal and like, when is their album coming out???). This 'un ended up on one of those Stooges platters that came out during the late-eighties Stoogerush but it's nice hearing it again uncut and with that live 1971 version of "What 'cha Gonna Do". Closing out the thingie's the Imperial Dogs single which we all know and love these days, but just try latching onto these things back when it REALLY hurt not having 'em!