CAFFEINE JAG POST TIME!
Five cans of Dr. Pepper inna row'll do it to ya.
Bob Dylan-ROYAL ALBERT HALL GWW 1966 (TMOQ)
Readers of the latest but not necessarily greatest issue of my fanzine might remember lending eyeballs to a blurb somewhere in my over-rambunctious opening schpiel about how an essay-length review of both the original Bob Dylan ROYAL ALBERT HALL bootleg disc (which was making hefty inroads into general rock consciousnesses beck during the days of its early-seventies release) and the Columbia legit release of the same material come thirty years too late was scheduled to appear in said rag, but that along with such other promising pieces as "Shemp Howard, the Man and the Myth" and "A Listener's Guide to Content Providers (complete with prequisite earplugs)" were jettisoned into some great black abyss (or some box inna basement) due to space limitations ne'er to be heard from again. There really ain't that much to compare twixt the two...the boot vinyl take's got the legal variety beat all hollow not only with the great analog just-like-when-you-wuz-a-kid sound (not as flat as gypster Clinton Heylin makes it out in his own bootleg histoire) but with the way that classic mid-sixties (a time when very little rock & roll was intolerable) aural excitement is teleported to your pleasure principle a good fortysome years after the fact. And keep in mind that Robbie Robertson and company had only been a good year away from BOULDERS garage band immortality as the Canadian Squires before they got this gig backing one of the brighter stars of '65 before they all fell inna mud! But sheesh, in '65 who woulda realized it?
***The Real Kids-FOGGY NOTION ten-inch EP (Norton)
Yeah yeah, I know I already reviewed this 'un here but that was way before I actually listened to the dad-blamed thing! I sure did a pretty good job a la my main man Meltzer in pecking out so much drivel just by osmosing to the grand Velvet Underground homage cover (Norton being the best inna world w/regards to reshaping past accomplishment for present tastes sans coming off like pretentioso alternative rock hanger onners), but now that I actually found my copy while in the possession of a workable turntable (said disque re-discovered while looking for the legendary Bob Vivants rec, also a ten-incher that I can't locate nohow!) I figured...wha' th' hey...
'n it is every bit as wondrous as one could imagine, especially to one like myself who found an extra-special charm in these seventies post-Velvets groups during the final days of my teenage years when my VU-meter was perhaps even more inna red than it is lo these jaded years later. As you know, Boston, like Cleveland and New York, was a rabid center of Velvet Underground mania and like you also know that burgh, just likes its brothers in Velvetdom, had pumped out more'n its share of Velvets-inspired groupings long before such a move became the bastion of halfway-there youth who were able to only take on superficial aspects of the quest without offering the listener anything in the way of deepness or vitality. And I dunno about you, but sometimes even meek and mild me gets all blood-boiled over hearing those great old drones, repeato-riffs and heavy-duty art moves getting reduced to mere toothpaste by the likes of people who never really understood the true o-mind drive behind every note the Velvets laid down and at a time when it seemed that only the most sainted and aware amongst us knew what the entire vision was truly about. That's pretty much why I'll never let down as far as ridiculing and debasing the likes of people like J. Neo Marvin who never did nor never will understand what that holy trip really meant either on an urban level or for the throngs of suburban goofs like myself who just LONGED for Max's Kansas City, a trip which is certainly more VIBRANT than plagiarizing various musical moves setting it all to a too-easy beat with asinine lyrics reflecting equally idiotic lifestyles as well!
But hey, these Real Kids, like Mirrors and Simply Saucer as well as a load of long-gone garage greats yet to be categorized and numbered like extinct insects, knew all about the sights, sounds, attitude, sweat and pow'r. And what the likes of John Felice and company knew is readily evident on these 1974 sides...maybe by this time more and more people were finally beginning to understand exactly what Lou Reed and gang were doing eight years earlier because it was then that rock magazines other'n CREEM and a myriad asst. of fanzines were beginning to mention them again and groups like the Real Kids (then just "the Kids") were playing their songs and understanding their works with that deep feeling that very few today can comprehend. But even with the sparse audience response that great high-energy feeling I loved so much seeps through all these years later. Believe-you-me, I felt like that same teenager once again listening to the group tackle this material, complete with all of that wide-eyed, jaw-dropping awe that made me wish in my heart of hearts that I only had that talent, that imagination and swing to be able to pull my own band off that could rise to such rockism heights with seemingly relative ease.
Really good sound here too that's surprisingly a lot clearer than the cruddy cassette quality of the time which most-of-the-time reduced said proceedings to mud. Not that a muddy low-fidelity aura wouldn't hurt here, since the a-side's got Felice and band doing three Velvets covers (!) in that patented Modern Lovers/Mirrors seventies proto-everything crank but it ain't like this 'un sounds Cee-Dee crystalline clear so maybe I should be thankful for what we did get! And as far as Felice's introductions to the tuneage goes, I thought it was extremely funny when the guy introduced "There She Goes Again" as one of those songs Lou Reed wrote before he put makeup and sunglasses on...reminds me of a Tin Huey live tape I have from a year earlier where Harvey Gold prefaces a Velvets number saying that when Lou was in the band he was "great" and that now he's merely "good" which cracks me up even today because we all know what he is THIRTY-FIVE YEARS LATER!!! The spiritedness of these numbers reverberate even in the cyborg cold of 2007 (and have such a powerful presence to them that makes all of those current VU cover-takes seen on Youtube sound like utter nonsense) but what really got my synapses snapped was the flipster which presents none other than a six-plus minute take on the Modern Lovers ultimate statement "Fly Into the Mystery" complete with a rather dare-I-say touching intro from Felice telling the seemingly unaroused audience of how important the Lovers were to Boston. Which natch is followed by a dare-I-say moving (and keeping with the theme of the disc Velvet-y) rendition which I (under penalty of death) will admit I do prefer to the more-famous Modern Lovers take found on a variety of disques legal and not, but really I must also confess to you loyal readers that I think, nay, believe that the acoustic version found on ROCK & ROLL WITH THE MODERN LOVERS from a few years later tops 'em all. Maybe it's because that, when I first heard it, I had envisioned that the line about the boy who lost his girlfriend referred to her dying...the way Richman sings it to the sparse backing sounds so dolorous how could my underdeveloped mind think otherwise?
FOGGY NOTION's a masterful, important disc bound to get hefty spins here at BLOG TO COMM central and really, when I do find the Bon Vivants rec I wonder how its post-Velvets applications will hold up next to this 'un. It will be fun to find out, and while we're at it I hope Norton doesn't stop with the adoration here. Hey Miriam, how about getting back in touch with your old friend Joe Viglione and sweet-talk him into letting you release his Astrals stuff, that being his mid-seventies Boston-area group with a number of future Boston-area underground names like Fred Pineau (Bonjour Aviators) and John Hovorka (Turbines) that also did the Velvets spree before it became the hip fad to wreck, and for that they all deserve hefty royalties, eh?
***And while I'm on my George Kuchar kick (see y'day's post) here's another classic via Youtube...WILD NIGHT IN EL RENO (1977):