Sunday, April 24, 2005


Yeah I know I said I'd do some weekend posting if I had something IMPORTANT to say and I don't, but considering just how you blogomites are more'n anxious to read every utterance, dropping, sputum and great gob o' goo I toss at ya, I thought I'd fling yet another high six your way so once again you can osmose to my impeccable tastes and qualified writings and try to be more like me rather'n some other nameless bigcity blogger/rock critic who's probably laughing at you while you're soaking up his/her/its critical acumen thinking just what a wonderful and talented spokesthing for your tastes this maverick scribe must be!

However, before I get started enlightening you hoi-polloisters, I just gotta continue commenting on the previously-reviewed MC5: A TRUE TESTIMONIAL DVD from a few posts back. Last night I spent the wee hours of the AM wading through all the "special" attachments and such that this DVD offers including (what else but...) testimonials from everyone from Cheap Trick, Blue Oyster Cult, Lemmy and the Dictators to the outtakes and archived live clips, and after this barrage all I gotta admit to you fanz and fienz out there is that the massive thrust of MC5 info upon my mental parameters (coupled with the late-night wear and tear which can affect one's handling of such sonic information since yer guard's lowered when deprived of sleep) really made for a psychically challenging time to be had. I felt the outtakes were good enough that they should have been included in the finished product but I guess they were excised due to time constraints which would figure, and I especially liked the clip where Detroit avant garde jazz trumpeter Charles Moore tells us about playing on the "Skunk (Sonically Speaking)" track making me want to know more about this legendary musician everybody seems to talk about but nobody seems to have heard outside the last MC5 album. Does Moore have any recordings whether they be available or not? Believe me, all of this MC5 mongering really dredges up the old throb thrills and sends me back to the days of old when the Five seemed like the ultimate experiment in what could be done with sound, and not only do I still wanna hear more of their great avant rock music that seems to have been pretty much stifled more/less, but I wanna hear more of the groups that came out in their wake playing the hard-drive Detroit HM style (not counting the modern-day wimpy practitioners, that is). I'm more or less talking about other Michigan wannabes from the Orange Wedge (as well as the dozen or so Detroit groups that Tyner [in an ANN ARBOR SUN interview with John Sinclair sometime in '67] said were copping the MC5 sound) to St. Louis' 1970 White Panther devotees Rush (definitely not the Canadian band) who made a big stir opening for Ike and Tina Turner (!) as well as the Titfield Thunderbolt (acc. to Meltzer via. JAMZ the MC5 of Virginia) whose "Born on the Wrong Planet" single has remained elusive for nigh on two decades. Heck, I'm still waiting to hear Umela Hmota 3's "I'd Rather Be Made Outta Stone" which was their 1975 homage to the Detroit MC5 splatter, and I'm sure there were many more Five mongerers hanging around in them proto-punk days that I'm sure you'll just love telling me about.

And as for this (or just scroll down to 4/20/05 paragraph two), maybe I would comment on it, if the thing only made some sense or had a cohesiveness to its message, but it don't so I won't. Anyway, here's the top six pix fer prix today.

NEU! 2 CD (Germanophon bootleg, Germany)

I'm glad I first heard this one in the late-eighties when I did, because if I heard it in the seventies I woulda been totally put off not only by the primitive minimalism of the thing but the continental (read: mainland European) air. Which would be surprising since I liked Kraftwerk and even King Crimson a lot during my early record/cassette buying days and this would certainly fit in with that and some of the other krautskapading I was doing at the time, but the unprofessional starkness just wouldn't've made it with my mid-teen tastes which were just being cultivated and honed and all dat important stuff. Fortunately when I did hear this one thanks to a cassette sent me by Imants Krumins, my listening parameters had been fortified by years of punk, industrial, avant garde, harder-than-hard rock and other niceties so you could say that I was "well prepared" for what I was about to experience. Again, this is one of them disques that has been blabbed about so much over the years that talking about it any more would only be flogging a dead rock critic, but I am giving you a high six o' faveraves and this one tops this list, so bear with me...

Deep Purple-IN ROCK CD (Warner Brothers Japan)

Keeping in tune with the MC5 addendum above, this is the one that respected early seventies gonzoids from Lester Bangs to Metal Mike Saunders would endlessly compare to the Five (with such eloquent terminology as "the British MC5" being invoked) back when the energy of the Five was still permeating the gonzo world even if the group had been written off as shucks by the tastemongers as soon as "the hype" had been exposed. (I believe that Saunders in his NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS Purps/UFO battle also compared FIREBALL to the MC5 making that one another must-get for action-starved sound maniacs like myself!) This Japanese CD (on Warners too, which surprises me since I thought all non-US Purp stuff came out on Harvest!) does satiate the need for hard-driving jamz even if the band sounds like they're trying to be more "professional" and aren't playing off vibrations like the Detroit groups did, but they can still deliver some non-"classic rock" energy like on the amphetamine streaks up and down the scales "Flight of the Rat." Even keyboardist Jon Lord doesn't get in the way even though I still have this sneaking suspicion he'd rather be with some "serious" progressive band and not these heavy metal noisemakers! (I never did hear those earlier classical Purple concerto any chance were they overtly proggy and cultured beyond belief a la their UK brethren???) Still, with the right amount of punkitude inserted, at least Deep Purple could have been as thud-rockish as My Solid Ground! As far as downers go, the entire no-holds-bar noise opening of "Speed King" was cut off for some mysterious reason, so maybe I will seek out a UK Harvest edition of this one and not only because Harvest's logo looks a lot cooler than Warners'.

Country Fried Chicken (food)

I remember Bill Shute telling me about this dish a long time ago when it was called "Chicken Fried Chicken," and if that sounds like some strange redundancy to you I'll have to explain things like Bill did...y'see, as you probably already know there's such a thing as "Chicken Fried Steak" which is a cube steak dipped in egg, flour and seasonings and fried to crisp perfection smothered in white gravy and usually served with mashed potatoes. (There's an episode of THE TWILIGHT ZONE, the one where William Shatner flips out over the fortune-telling machine at a small-town restaurant, and believe-it-or-not but none other than famed character actor Guy Wilkerson [as the Texas-accented {even though this episode takes place in Northeastern Ohio!} counterman/waiter] tries to push the Chicken Fried Steak on him!) Well, someone thought of doing the same thing with a piece of boneless white-meat chicken calling it Chicken Fried Chicken, only after some time both dishes were known as "Country Fried Steak/Chicken" probably because of some legalities involving the "Chicken" part preceding "Fried" (since there is no actual "chicken" as far as frying the steak goes...whoever named the dish probably thought that the steak was being fried with the same flour coating as a fried chicken would have hence the name and these governmental agencies are so dictatorial...). Anyway, I've been ordering Country Fried Chicken whenever I go to this local family-styled restaurant which was an IHOP until the late-seventies when an old-time friend of my folks re-opened it under the name "The Cookery," and I gotta admit that the greasy, floured chicken meat with the gravy and potatoes really satiates my strong breaded/fried food and starch cravings like no other food can. Worry about your health later and give your tastebuds a treat today!

Lou Rone-ALONE CD-R (to eventually be released by Gulcher probably this summer)

Guess what! Former Kongress/VON LMO/Single-Double-Triple Cross guitarist Lou Rone recorded a CD all by his lonesome in his home studio, and not only that but Bob "Bear" Richert at Gulcher is planning on releasing it. I'm supposed to do this promo thingie of which I'm honored, though at this point in time I'm stymied (buckwheated even! FARINA'D as well!) as how to go about it. Until then I've got the CD-R of it to spin in order for some magic words to pop into my mind and onto my word processor! 'n what more can I say than what's been posted earlier other'n it's sure good getting some real high energy music into my system and hearin' a bitta heavy metal that doesn't come off light and fluffier than Aunt Petunia's pancakes. I want it hard and heavy like MY pancakes, and I refuse to accept any substitutions unless its sausage for bacon.

Janis Joplin-LIGHT IS FASTER THAN SOUND CD (Midnight Beat bootleg, Luxembourg)

On this release from the tail end of the great CD bootleg era (coming outta Luxembourg right before the crackdown began there!), Janis gets sole billing while Big Brother and the Holding Company are once again relegated to sidemen status. Given that this July '66 concert was recorded right when Janis had joined the group nothing could be further from the truth...if anything, at this point in the game Janis was more or less a member on equal footing with the other Brothers who were still heavily into their avant-rock and not exactly catering to Janis's caterwauling tendencies. Quality's rather good considering the now-stone aged technology of the times, and performance is up there though if you search hard enough you will find superior product both legal (CHEAPER THRILLS) and not (I tend to prefer TRIBAL STOMP on Head even if the infamous recording of Big Brother jamming with Quicksilver and the Oxford Circle at the second Stomp is nowhere to be found, something which bummed me out upon first receiving the thing).

BUDGIE CD (Repertoire, Germany)

Last night after working my way through the MC5 DVD extras and getting settled in for beddy-bye, I grabbed a 1972 ish of CREEM and headed for the commode for some late-night bowel moving and happened upon none other than Hot Scott Fischer's review of not only the Bang album but the first Budgie which actually got a USA release on Kapp if you can believe that! Given my DVD-enhanced MC5 cravings and how Fischer brought their name up in describing the Budgie sound I just hadda dig this one out from my collection and you know ain't anything nearly as good as the MC5! Budgie are still good enough early-seventies thud though...not quite as dunce-rock as early UFO but fine dorky power-trio musings that were still primitive enough to the point that Fischer felt free to use the hoary term "punk" in describing their sound. 's funny, I always thought of Budgie as one of those nowheresville groups that I'd read about in MELODY MAKER along with all those other nonentities like Slik, Moon and Bruce Springsteen and I'm sure their later recordings would bear my prejudices out, but this is pretty fine riff/groan that sounds good if you TURN IT UP and ignore the fact that these guys could very well have been England's answer to Rush and that Chuck Eddy drooled over 'em as well. (Well, I remember his exhortations about Budgie's pro-long hair rant entitled "Rape of the Locks" which had me heading for the barber shop asap!)


Anonymous said...

I've never heard Budgie's first album, but "In For The Kill" (the 2nd?) and "Squawk" (either the 3rd or 4th) are EXCELLENT. all of these albums were staples of bargain and used bins for years.

I don't think anything they did after '75 got a US release - as I only saw their later albums as expensive imports and never heard too much about them outside of metal fanzines or mags like KERRANG (all notorious for unreliability from the POV of those outside the metal world). IIRC the albums originally came out on Kapp and MCA in the US.

Funny, for someone who was old enough to witness the Stoner Generation and having known many who were part of it, I never knew anyone who had the Deep Purple and the Royal Philharmonic Album. That must not have sold too many copies, and I don't remember anything from it popping up on best-ofs. I can assume that album allowed Blackmore and Lord to indulge their classical leanings and go a little in the prog direction. It seemed to have bad word of mouth (the members themselves seemed to view it as a failure). I don't know how it would sound today ; probably no better than any Nice albums hold up (not well).

I believe I did have chicken fried steak as a kid ; it sounds quite similar to the Spanish "milanesa".

Nothing that weird about that band opening for Ike and Tina ; what type of music do you think all those Detroit kids grew up listening to? As you probably know the late 60s and early 70s had A LOT of weird bills, too - there was no narrowcasting of demographics like today.

-Michael Snider

Christopher said...

I should have mentioned more about the Rush/Ike and Tina Turner billing...the disaster stemmed from the black urban crowd that showed up to see Ike and Tina not quite cozying up to Rush's high energy radical rock! It reminds me of the comments those two guys from Cheap Trick made about seeing the MC5 in Chicago sandwiched between Marc Bolan and Country Joe, getting booed the whole time with Country Joe coming out afterwards tellin' the crowd just how terrible the Five were to thunderous applause!

Anonymous said...

Of all the weird bills I've heard of (Wayne County opening for the Doobie Brothers has to take the cake though), I just found out about another one...
Neil Diamond having to follow The Who at the Paramount Theatre shows in April '67 (Herman's Hermits being the headliners).

Didn't know about Country Joe's comments re:the MC5.

I do remember hearing that the OTHER Rush did open up for the Dolls in Detroit.....- Michael

Christopher said...

I've heard about Rush opening for the Dolls, though I thought it was in Toronto. It could have happened more than once though!

As far as incongruous billings, I can think of a lot. Off the top of my head (other'n a lotta Fillmore gigs which had their own crazy mixedupness that probably worked) there was a show at Max's Kansas City in 1976 with Suicide, Kongress and power poppers Pezband which must've caused some head-scratching. Of course the Hampton Grease Band opening for Three Dog Night in Alabama was one setup that resulted in a riot!

Anonymous said...

you're right, it was in Toronto.

Another one: Suicide opening up for The Cars at the Universal Ampthitheatre in '79.....not surprising considering Ocasek's connection to Vega/Rev on one level, but that was reportedly a WEIRD show and the audience was very hostile to Suicide....

A weird bill that I actually SAW: Hawkwind opening up for Nick Gilder ("Hot Child In The City") in 1978 or '79 when i was a young 'un.

A weird bill that never occurred but was supposed to happen: Joy Division opening for Fowley protege/would be teenybopper queen Dyan Diamond at the Starwood. Rodney Bingenheimer described it as "Shirley Temple and Charles Manson". Ian Curtis killing himself prevented this show from ever taking place.

Anonymous said...

Dear Chris,
It's nice to see the food reviews back again. Chicken fried steak and chicken fried chicken are still some of Kendra's favorite foods (smothered in white gravy, of course)--being in my mid-40s
now, I've had to stop eating that kind of thing, but I can watch OTHER PEOPLE eat it as their arteries harden with each bite.

I have the Columbia Comedy Shorts
Vol. 2 VHS you wanted back (the one with the amazing Bert Wheeler/
Ben Welden short) as well as the
CANADIAN MOUNTIES VS ATOMIC INVADERS video ready to mail to you.

STOP THE PRESSES: There are now two
three-DVD sets out with the COMPLETE run of CLUTCH CARGO cartoons, from Brentwood Entertainment. I have volume 1.
I know that Clutch has always been a BTC hero. Maybe you have these already?

Turner Classic Movies has been running some incredible comedies this month as part of their April Fools focus: from many rare Fatty Arbuckle items that will appear on a forthcoming Arbuckle DVD box set,
to the lesser-known Brown and Carney films (now I've seen ALL of their output! they are of course best known for the two films they did with Bela Lugosi), some Great Gildersleeve films (what a talent that Hal Peary was!), and two Lum and Abner films (imagine TWO Pa Kettles teamed together!! Also, I'm now convinced that Buddy Ebsen based his interpretation of the Jed Clampett character somewhat on Lum). Just a few mornings ago I saw King Vidor's 1928 silent comedy SHOW PEOPLE starring the much-underrated Marion Davies, who in some ways foreshadows Lucille Ball.
It's a shame she's gotten such a bad reputation all these years because people think that she was like the depiction of Susan Foster Kane is CITIZEN KANE.

It's nice that SOMEBODY still remembers the great GUY WILKERSON!
I love those PRC "Texas Rangers" films he made with Jim Newill and Dave O'Brien (and, for the last eight, with Tex Ritter replacing
Newill). In the role of "Panhandle Perkins," he was different from the average comedic Western sidekick. Oh for the days when independent TV stations used to run those kind of films in the middle of the night instead of infomercials.

Well, bye for now. Keep up the good work.

Bill Shute

Christopher said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Christopher said...

Bill-Thanx for the report! To be brief about it...if you like Guy Wilkerson, be sure to catch him in the early GREEN ACRES episodes as the neighbor, Ben Miller (I believe that is his name). CLUTCH CARGO is definitely a fave here at the BLOG TO COMM offices though I'll have to say I much prefer SPACE ANGEL! Still might pick up CC since it's ALL better than SEX IN THE CITY! I saw a bit of the TCM "April Fools" showcase though was bummed out by no Three Stooges or Joe Cook or Willie Howard for that matter. (BTW, as for Howard, did you know he was actually kicked out of fourth grade for being the class clown? Also, he was replaced by JACKIE GLEASON in his last stage show due to the illness that eventually killed him!!!) Finally, don't dump any guilt trips on yr daugher for enjoying Chicken-Fried foods! Tell her she has good taste!!!!