Deaf School-SECOND HONEYMOON, DON'T STOP THE WORLD, ENGLISH BOYS/WORKING GIRLS CD box set (Strange Days, Japan)
Not much going on this week...well, at least not right now (at this very nanosecond of what has proved to be a rather yawnsville life). Well, I know that there was ONE big thing going on here in the US of Whoa only a few short days ago and that was of course the election, but now even that's over and frankly the results of "the people speaking" for some strange reason have gotten me utterly chilled! Not that I didn't expect Tuesday's outcome especially with the last few months of political nitpicking (such as the overblowing, pardon the pun, of the Tom Foley gay e-mail "affair" [but what really got my bile up about that one was when career bathhouse buddy Barney Frank was actually taking the moral high ground regarding the sick situation as if somehow his well-traveled hiney was more sacred than the closeted one's] to John Whatzizname's well-flubbed "joke" which was more or less a political pass of gas uttered by some hasbeen), but I gotta say that the thought of the Democratic (read: "evil") Party holding the reigns on both houses while the Republican (read: "stupid") Party sorta moils around waiting for next time is pretty disgusting...even more disgusting than the current state of politics as (un)usual if you ask me. I mean, wishy-washy conservatism like we've seen for the past umpteen years has been pretty condescending, but it ain't as condescending as the past umpteen years of the liberal patronizing moosh we're certain to be inundated with once a more "progressive" tone hits the national scene. As you probably know, I have a GREAT mistrust, perhaps justified, of the same kinda liberal/radical "Up With People" happyhappy "we are all one" claptrap style-of-thinking that """they""" (teachers, "authority") tried cramming into my cranium when I was a kid, and if you ask me the current state of the Democratic Party (actually, the Party after Woodrow Wilson) reminds me of ONE BIG HOOTENANNY where you're forced to sing uplifting campfire songs or else they take you out back and put a bullet through your head! Of course the real problem was that the Republicans for whatever idiotic reasons didn't get their lines on cue (or get the hardcore "social issue" vote out) thereby snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and the liberal types (who have, ever since the glory days of William Jennings Bryan, been so cloyingly saccharine that I'm surprised more people haven't seen through their act and continue to fall for the mass felch) naturally saw the right opportunity to slither into power. And frankly, I gotta admit that I kinda have a softer spot in my heart for what is passing for the Right these days than I do the Left in case you haven't noticed...after all, the Right can easily accept a free mind such as Representative Ron Paul within its realms but what does the Left have to offer other than a whole lotta cheap pandering to gays (and sorry folks, but I seriously think it's disgusting when heterosexuals do the same things that homos do in front of or behind closed doors!), ethnics and the laziest, most destructive instincts that man can muster up? That fact should be more than OBVIOUS, especially given that the vast array of open-minded and free-thinking alternative music/lifestyle types out there seem to be enamored by what passes for progressivism these days. Only these sons and daughters of the chic elite are more or less born and bred of the same old romantic Marxist useful idiot visions that had starry-eyed youth trekking to the nearest Central American revolution they could find back in the sixties. Thankfully those guys were the first to get lined up against the wall.
I gotta say that the worst thing to come out of the election is the reaction from some of the more thumbscrew-minded people out there. Some are saying that this election marks "a new dawn in America" as if things seriously are going to change either way. No withdrawals from Iraq or Afghanistan are in the cards as far as I can see! (And I know that even a staunch Right Winger as Paul Craig Roberts would concur.) Howevah, what really got my goat for reasons not-too-hidden is how a certain blogger who shall remain nameless actually posted the Stars 'n Stripes on his site as a patriotic cudos of sorts that this recent political shift was somehow beneficial for "America" (whatever that may mean to people of the bloggers' same political persuasion). Oh.....really??? I mean, I'm not a flagwaver myself nor do I think anyone doing so for whatever cause or nation he might think appropriate is particularly wrong, but seeing this guy sporting the US flag on his latest post more or less reminds me of all those old photos of Communist Party rallies in the thirties with Ol' Glory flying all over the place to the point where you'd think the snaps were taken at a 4th of July picnic! (Another liberal organization [at least judging from just how copasetic they were with the entire brunt of twenties progressive thought], mainly the Ku Klux Klan, were also hot on the American Flag [and not the Stars and Bars as many would believe] which should be even more food for thought for you starved minds out there.) Perhaps all of this proves once and for all that maybe the Stars and Stripes should be banned!...of course I'm being facetious, but there is maybe a grain of truth in what I say. The weirdest thing about seeing flag waving done by the same people who seem to think it "redneck" when the opposition does it is that honestly, I have the sneaking suspicion that the fellow who posted that flag in triumphal pride wouldn't object one bit to the right for someone to burn that same flag...and frankly I feel the same way too although I'm also of the thought that whoever decides to burn that flag shouldn't complain when he gets the shit kicked out of him.
(And, come to think of it, and I don't wanna pick any fight but just point something out, but I didn't see [or wasn't aware of] the aforementioned blogger or any of the current rabid antiwar crowd getting all hot under the collar when the previous prez was engaging in military action in Kosovo and elsewhere, or get angered when that shill Madeline Albright cheerfully exclaimed that the embargo against Iraq was worth all the dead children that resulted from it. Oddly enough, I remember Ron Paul and Justin Raimondo complaining, so let's just ask ourselves who really is right and wrong as far as selective antiwar sentiment goes!)
Enough...actually the greatest sadness I have over the results of Tuesday's election is that Kinky Friedman did not get elected. Texans, you've lost your chance!
Well, let's see, now onto the review...yeah, Deaf School! I remember when these guys (and gal) were getting hyped about in the English Weaklies back in the '76/'77 thinking they were yet another band in the (then) short-line of Roxy Music/Sparks imitations one would see during those days. Of course, I got that impression just from looking at the album covers languishing in all those now-infamous import bins that were so common in the seventies...heck, I got the same idea looking at Cheap Trick album covers so what was a dumboid kid supposed to know anyway???
And although they looked strange enough, it wasn't like I was that anxious to spend hard-begged bread on any of their wares so for the most part Deaf School were more or less shoved way back into the rockism-bred reaches of my psyche whilst the likes of Captain Beefheart and John Coltrane lurched to the forefront. In fact, I only managed to get hold of a cheapo cutout copy of their final effort ENGLISH BOYS/WORKING GIRLS a few years later and, although thinking it kinda insteresting, immediately tossed the horribly-pressed platter onto the sell pile. I guess that such a group as Deaf School wasn't exactly endearing to my early-eighties hard-mulching Rough Trade-brewing tastes in music, and for years afterwards I kinda figured that this batch were yet another college-bred art project about which the less said the better. Of course, that was way back when, and in this day and age I'm a more mature, open-minded rockism pundit who can see all of the good and worthy in any type of musical endeavor...right????
Well, actually NO, but since there wasn't much catching my attention as of late and a mention of this group onna web somewhere (more likely the article in the issue of I WANNA BE YOUR DOG that got written up last post) sorta piqued my interest, I actually dished out money for a Deaf School box set chock fulla their three disques repro'd in mini-LP covers. I gotta admit that I really love those Japanese mini-LP reissues that have been coming out o'er the past decade or so where British import classics of the day are reprocessed for people nostalgic enough for the seventies UK sound in the here-and-now. So having a box set with all three Deaf School disques available in one place is pretty neat...now if only I LIKED the thing!!!
As I said, Deaf School were an art school project (really!) featuring various students and professors at the Liverpool School of Terminal Flunkers who sorta got together to do a musical act for the faculty and student body just like Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland used to, and it kicked off with the eight-piece troupe winning a MELODY MAKER talent show which in turn got 'em signed to Warner Brothers and onto the turntables of select anal-retentives everywhere. Sporting the suave retro-chic look so well put to use by such names as Bryan Ferry and Ron Mael, Deaf School were bound to make it big with those with their ears tuned to the Big Beat, or whatever was being pushed as new and interesting that week before flubbing about to an early death.
You could say that Deaf School were punks just waiting to happen sorta like Alberto y los Trios Paranoias and a few other "whatever-happened-to"'s getting comped on "roots of punk" disques these days, but in reality they were more or less timewarp English prog-into-new wave, still rooted in a mid-seventies chic-smarm groove a la Roxy Music yet brave enough to have appeared at CBGB, and during the great blackout Summer '77 as well. Their debut disque SECOND HONEYMOON complete with the cover shot of male lead singer Enrico Cadillac and femme frolic Bette Bright in Hollywood pose (perhaps the Warner Brothers influence?) does set the pace for this disc, but unfortunately the pace is more or less mid-seventies campy sub-Roxy Music romantic kitsch which doesn't quite translate into what I would call an enjoyable disc. This 'un and followup DON'T STOP THE WORLD seem to be more or less concerned with fey British upper-crust spoof/pose sans any real high-energy rockism that I would have expected from this group.
Ironically, I found swansong ENGLISH BOYS/WORKING GIRLS to be a true-blue wowzer of a platter with enough interesting rock & roll and little puton pretension (or maybe "just the right amount of puton pretension to give this thing a nice tasty push). Cadillac's slumming-classes vocalese actually does well with its moan and growl while Bright belts it out pretty good on the Sparks-ish "All Queued Up" which at least has that mid-seventies pre-punk British woosh that I was expecting from all three platters. ENGLISH BOYS also has some spunky lyrics which seemed part and parcel to these lower-case English groups including a tongue-in-cheek trib to Ronny Zamora (the kid in Florida who killed his grandparents and blamed it on too much KOJAK) as well as British soldiers in Northern Ireland (title track) which isn't exactly anything to cheer about, but somehow Deaf School can pull it off slyly enough that it can rank as "social commentary" yet not upset the blue pencils. Really snappy stuff, especially in these days when lyrics can more or less sink to the level of just about any other instrument given their leaden nature. And yeah, maybe Deaf School don't quite "hold up" as much as their influences do, but they do make for a nice once-in-awhile spin alongside such similar-styled "revue" groups as Human Sexual Response and Orchestra Luna who were doing pretty much the same schtick as Deaf School only in Boston and not Liverpool.
Tune in this weekend for the usual kaboom. And remember, choose the blogs you read just as studiously as you choose your suppositories, and considering what you can do with most blogs there really isn't any difference, is there?
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Deaf School-SECOND HONEYMOON, DON'T STOP THE WORLD, ENGLISH BOYS/WORKING GIRLS CD box set (Strange Days, Japan)