Hiya. Being the all-honest rockscribe that you've known for well over two decades, I should admit to you anxious readers that I'm not really inna mood to detail a whole slew of real-life musical fun 'n' games which have been taking up a good portion of my freetime this week. But (given that I never shirk to duty) I will persevere! Now, I've been having my fun as I usually do week in and out, but its not like I've been latching onto many new things to alert you anxious monovisionists about...I mean, there were a lotta reruns on my personal playlist (Jackalope, the debut Fairport Convention LP and the Pink Fairies "Greatest Hits" collection on Polydor amongst 'em) popping in amongst the various oldies you can read about elsewhere on this blog, and a few newies which I think I'll save for next go 'round after I've savored 'em a bit, but other'n the following few items it hasn't exactly been gangbusters here at BLOG TO COMM central. Maybe the holiday cheer turned to jeer is getting me down (it certainly has affected my writing capabilities which were suspect to begin with). Maybe it's the sad realization that those days when I could rush to the local mall with all my Christmas moolah and buy up a few of those exotic rock wares that have caught my eye are long gone. Whatever, reality has finally hit me harder than a ten-ton safe on Basil Fonebone's cranium, but enough ennui. Here's my obligatory post, and in order to at least toss a bone out to all two of you starving dogs out there here are just a coupla things that I've come across this week that I'm sure you'll wanna know my honest and unbiased opinion on.
The Velvet Underground-THE WARHOL ACETATE DEMO CD-R (homemade boot)
I'm sure all of you unreconstituted/unrepentant Velvet Underground fans have heard about this one, y'know, where some lucky schmuck found a rare acetate of the original take of what was to have been the first Velvet Underground album in a garage sale bin and snatched it up for mere pennies! Certainly the kind of windfall of good luck that Ralph Kramden could only dream of, and hey, if you're the kinda guy who wants to own this rare slab of punk rock esoterica why dontcha just bid on the thing here and add a little something onto your very own Velvets collection that you can show off to alla the missies and doofs who populate your puckered life! That is, if you can afford the hefty price tag (well beyond what our lucky seller paid for this wonder!) you'll hafta dish out for a record that'll wear itself into obscurity with a few more plays.
Fortunately some enterprising young chap felt it prudent (and profitable) to make a CD-R out of this acetate so's us lumpen prole types can enjoy it as well, and THE WARHOL ACETATE DEMO certainly fills the bill at least for this year's addition to the ever-growing Velvet Underground mystique that's multiplying by leaps and bounds despite a bushel load of alternative wanksters damning the entire movement by their faint praise of some superficial aspects of the form. And for an old acetate it's pretty neat...even with the pops and crackles it sounds hot and true a couple skips and sticks show up here/there, but it's still strong enough to pose as a top contender for bootleg of the year which might be an easy thing considering how the bootleg industry has sorta fizzled away from its pinnacle a good decade-plus back. But even if the boot market was being swarmed with disques of Lou Rone and Von Lmo jamming with Rudolph Grey and Otto von Ruggins backstage with the Who at the Fillmore 1968 I'm sure THE WARHOL ACETATE DEMO would be a top pic for illegal spins anyway!
Naturally a lotta this disc appeared on the legal oft-cited as one of the most influential albums ever version almost a year later, though these are radically different in the mix and, like the time you accidentally switched the "aux" button on your stereo while playing RAW POWER you're gonna hear a really big difference! Such as on "Femme Fatale" where some distinctly femme background voice can be heard along with Lou Reed and John Cale's offkey chant! Of course the "radically different" takes that didn't make it to the actual album are great, as is the surprisingly brutal original sequence of tracking which I think beats the finished version on at least a few fronts. Hey, starting an album off with "European Son" and following it with "The Black Angel's Death Song" especially in 1966 would have been the ultimate statement in rock & roll at the time, and speaking of "European Son" the take here is different, at least with the closing "jam" section which sounds closer to those live Velvet stretch-outs of the day. Smart stuff, while "Heroin" has the "correct" "I know where I'm going" lyrics which puts the song in its proper perspective and the rhythm guitar twang of "I'm Waiting For the Man" and "Run Run Run" is just too dense for any advanced mind to comprehend! (Listen to it and YOU try coming up with a better description!)
And speaking of the original versions, "Heroin" is pretty snat with the more sparse layout as is "Venus in Furs" with a more prominent guitar and a general one-beat trance appeal to it. And what's best about THE WARHOL ACETATE DEMO is the sound quality...nice and FLAT like WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT bringing out all those decadent nuances a lot better than the legit thing ever could! And (like the best of low-class Amerigan gulcher) it only makes you wanna snatch up MORE making me hope that all those tape reels with long-unheard Velvets rehearsals from '65 make it to our laser launching pads more sooner'n later!
Friction-'79 LIVE CD PLUS DVD (Pass Japan)
I got this one over a year ago but'm playing it only now in preparation for the 3/3 LP (with Friction bassist Reck) on Shadoks that Volcanic Tongue will be slow boating my way once I get some dinero together for a huge hunkerin' order. Anyway, I'm glad that I got hold of this disque when I did (good luck finding it now) because it does capture a lotta the Japanese underground sound of the time (late-seventies) which was pretty much the handling of various New York and London moves filtered through a Tokyo mindset. And considering how Reck not only got to know everybody but saw everyone during his New York jaunt (the one where he ended up not only as an original member of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks but the Contortions) you can pretty much imagine the way Friction sounds like a lotta the En Why punkage of '77 remade/remodeled for the Far East clientele. I caught a few Theoretical Girl riffs here and Red Transistor moves there, and it's all wrapped up in a Richard Hell throb that kinda makes me wish that Reck and crew were still stationed in the Big City just like all those Asian emigres flocking to the burgh making it Tokyo West!
Oh yeah, and this one also comes with a DVD showing some arty film shot at a rehearsal that's of a surprisingly professional quality as well as silent footage on and off the stage with a weird ambiance to it that reminds me of those Floor Sweeping tape compilations that LSVideo used to sell!
(And BTW, in case you were wondering...yeah, Reck was aware of Peter Laughner's group of the same name while he was leading his Friction, and frankly I think that our Japanese pal actually ripped the name off for his own band willingly, perhaps as a homage of sorts. And given the handgun theme in the silent footage showing closeups of a revolver and Reck in a firing position [and Laughner's own well-documented love of firearms] perhaps the homage didn't stop there!)
I guess that's about it for today. Like I said, I just can't seem to get into the holiday spirit enough to write you a post abounding with good tidings of Christmas joy but who knows...maybe as the days roll on and more awestriking wonderment hits my brainlobes I'll be able to crank out some woolly mammoth posting just bursting with rockism pleasure as per usual. Until then I'm wondering if any of you readers, casual or otherwise, can clue me in as to whether or not the following acts are/were of any worthiness, interest or purchasing of wares for that matter. The first artiste on my itinerary is none other than harpist Daphne Hellman who was not only the mother of stringster Sandy Bull but a jazz musician in her own right who, besides having a contract with Columbia in the early sixties once performed (with a fellow called Mr. Spoons, some kitchen cantata specialist Hellman befriended after he got kicked outta the house by his third wife) at CBGB way back in the day. Hellman's style has been described as free jazz (which would be strange given that she was in her forties/fifties when she was playing out and certainly not in touch with the young new player of the day, or so I would assume), and although I have been rather cautious with regards to latching onto her various recordings I obviously do harbor a strong curiousity. Any recommendations from you readers out there???
Another act I'm interesting in knowing more about and hearing for that matter is Jango Edwards and Friends. Yeah, there are a ton of albums of his that seem to be available on ebay more often than not, but it's not like I'm exactly interested in taking a chance on a disc that is listed in the "adult contemporary" category especially if I have to pay fifteen smackers plus overseas postage for the thing! All I know about Edwards is that he's some sorta clown act who has not only played for heads of state but at a nudist colony (which would explain a nude LP cover of his!), and that he has a load of DVDs out so somebody out there must recognize the man as a towering figure, at least in clown circles. I also know that Edwards and "the Friends Band" (as they were billed) played at Max's Kansas City around '76/'77 for two nights in a row, the first with Suicide and the Cramps opening and the second with the Brats (who now have a CD compilation out that you might wanna go for!) in the warmup position and for that my attention has been lit! Any of you "serious" readers willing to clue me in as to whether or not I should fork over hard-begged cash for these relative obscure-o acts' wares??? (I also should slip Carribean voodoo rocker Exuma onto this list, he having played Max's not only in '72 but during the high holy days of punk on a bill with rockabilly punkers the Werewolves!)
Sunday, December 17, 2006