LAZY SUMMER BLOG POST #1
I am a woodpile-laden stroon...the only reason I've been posting these Youtube goodies all this week was to keep from having to write anything of actual substance (no jokes please) regarding the wild and wooly world of BLOG TO COMM-dom. And believe me, I did have a few mega-romps planned from a review of a five-CD set by a noted British experimental rock unit (only got past disque #1 so far) to a new compilation of tracks by a not-so-famous late-seventies Detroit-area punk rock aggregate as well as that Swedish underground platter from '70 mentioned last go 'round, but danged if I can't bring myself to put to words exactly what I WANT to put to words about these particular items. Blame it on the weather, blame it on laziness or just blame it on unenforced eugenics. You'd probably be right on all three counts. But I will struggle to pass something your way today, which might be akin to passing a kidney stone but don't go sayin' I won't go the extra yard (or post) for ya.
Archie Shepp-FOR LOSERS CD (Impulse Japan)
Having been burned by a variety of latterday Archie Shepp albums which seemed to draw way too much from past endeavors (gospel, blues and Ellington) and not enough from then-present days brilliance you can bet I was wary to give this '70 romp a try. But then again Nick Tosches (in his highly-recommended piece on avant jazz in FUSION gave rave to this then-recent excursion to the point where he called elpee opener "Stick 'Em Up" the best rock & roll song of the year! And really, how could a guy on the search for hot rampaging music like myself ignore such a plea for general jamz kickoutness such as this? Actually "Stick 'Em Up" is more or less a quickie attempt (or at least it seems like one!) to get a hit record complete with lead vocals by Leon Thomas (who shot his wad with a few Pharoah Sanders yodels long before finding sanctuary in the arms of Carlos Santana!) and Doris Troy on the backups and though the meeting of pop vocals and avant garde jazzters seems enticing, well I don't think it works at all, or at least to the very minimum! I never did hear Ornette's '69 hit single attempt capitalizing on the moon shot complete with a synthesizer (!) but I have the feeling that one'd top this on all counts...wonder how that one compares to this?
Actually side one goes through a variety of hot funk/r&b grooves with a particularly early-seventies urban feel (this album would make good backdrop while reading the "relevant" 1971-vintage comic book wares of DC and Marvel) but what makes this ticket a hot item's the side-long (using old elpee-speak) flip "Un Groove Monsieur (Poem For Losers)" where Shepp and band (inc. such longtime standbys as Grahan Moncur III and Beaver Harris) get back into the free swing of it all with a hot riff crankage that mixes the avant garde and funk like nothing since FUNHOUSE. Now this could be the rock & roll song of the year, and yeah, it does sound good in the mix of hot punk and jazz flash! Wear one out for size!
***And that's about it (at least as far as ready-to-go reviews) for now. But in case you're of the inquiring mind variety and wanna know what else is tingling my tootles civilization-wize here at BLOG TO COMM I gotta say that coming across a buncha old BACK DOOR MAN and DENIM DELINQUENT fanzines that I haven't read in almost a decade sure did the trick with regards to jolting me back to life. It's always great reading some REAL rock & roll writing which is in such low supply even on the web (not counting this particular endeavor), and naturally both fanzines have not only that but unique illustrations galore and high energy rock & roll potential packed into each and every one of their yellowing pages! It's always nice to resensify oneself with these thirty-plus-year-old gems not only to remind me of just what rock & roll (as a fan-based, teenage-oriented, international youth language) used to mean, but to re-establish within my mental synapses as to what this entire rock medium is SUPPOSED to represent not as a backdrop for "partying down" or alternative muzak self-consciousness but as a form that, really, goes beyond words and sound. Giving another look at these mags also helps point out past factual errors of mine both on and off this blog...like, you all remember that Redwing review of mine from a few weeks back? Well, sad to say but there is a mistake made on my part within that otherwise I must say excell-o review. Y'see, the group's previous moniker was not the Marauders as I thought but the New Breed, a name which was changed to Redwing upon getting signed to Fantasy records probably because it seemed more "in tune" with the late-sixties but I dunno. See, I too can humble myself!
Also big on the reading block this week were more of those great OUT OUR WAY comics mentioned last week. Right now I'm working my way through their five or so cowboy volumes which are definitely a hoot...like the "Worry Wart" and "Bull of the Woods" series that ran within this panel, these western-oriented comics have a steady cast of characters ranging from Wes, the geeky Easterner out to write a book to Curley, the rambunctious one who seems to be the focal point of these comics given his strong presentation at the hands of J. R. Williams (himself an ex-cowpoke), and surprisingly enough many of these panels are part of a long continuity contrary to what I would have led you to believe in my earlier review! (There's a particulary startling one reagarding Smokey and his love for the new school marm that gets into some interesting twists and turns including what we are led to believe is an attempted suicide!) And along with the humor and tension to be found throughout we even get a bitta pathos, like in this one strip which turns out to be an allegory about the dying West where Curley, after shooting a coyote, kneels besides her pups with a sad look on his face knowing that they too will have to be destroyed, sort of like the way his own way o' life is slowly being taken over by a new world he'll definitely have no part in. Pretty powerful stuff esp. to the novice who I'll bet never will know about OUT OUR WAY let alone understand it to its fullest, thinking the past is one big ball of blue meanies out there trying to ruin the fun of free-thinking soap-dodgers everywhere.
On to a happier note, here are some Youtube linkups (in another vain attempt to pad this thing out???) featuring the ABC special aired in order to tout their new '63/'64 television season. And this ain't just some plain ol' trot out the new shows for the season time-filler/free advertising that you'd expect given years of such horn-tooting, for it turns out that after being in existence for fifteen or so years this terminally-third-place net's now the NEW ABC(though the only really new thing I could discern was that their logo was ever-so-slightly changed from the standard lower case letters set within a large lower case "a" to the familiar white letters within a black circle used even to this day), but whadevva and at the risk of showing my TRUE GERIATRIC AGE this 'un has an even more special appeal to me because '63/'64 was the first new tee-vee season that I can remember being hyped about as if something of greatness was being bestowed upon us all! Maybe it was Jillery who was all agog about the new programs on tap putting these shards of excitement into my little beanie at the time (kids used to flip over things like that for years afterwards, though by the mid-seventies all I really cared about were the new reruns that would be popping up in the afterschool/pre-primetime hours!) but sheesh, even I remember when BURKE'S LAW came on the air and they had these network comeons hyping an episode where all of these clowns are barrelling outta some small automobile and one clown tells the last one in to hurry up and get out, only to see him dead by a bullet wound to the head! Believe me, this made toddler me wanna watch that show about a millionaire police detective even more, and too bad I couldn't understand a thing about it once the episode did air!
Anyway, enjoy it,even though all hostess Edie Adams makes me wanna do is smoke a cigar for some odd reason. I'm still curious about the infamous JERRY LEWIS flop that appeared on Saturday nights (only to be revamped as THE HOLLYWOOD PALACE) while THE TRAVELS OF JAIMIE McPHEETERS looks like a pretty good winner that I think actually did get watched at the old homestead Sunday nights, at least before somebody thought MY FAVORITE MARTIAN a better choice. (Mother liked THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER a lot as well, much to the anger of Jillery who was a TWILIGHT ZONE fan [and perhaps even denizen!] all the way!) And how about that brave experiment in television ARREST AND TRIAL??? Frankly methinks that Chuck Conners shoulda stuck around on the ranch with Mark and the comparative safety of THE RIFLEMAN 'stead of heading straight for this 90-minute cops and lawyers show, especially after the scene aired here where he, as the District Attorney, is mercilessly grilling a witness on the stand and the dunce of a defense attorney even goes along with the travesty in order to "get to the truth!" Anyway, as Jimi Hendrix said to Vin Scelsi in the Fillmore East men's room, "dig it," cornball segues and all!