Bill Wilson-TALKING TO STARS LP (Bar-B-Q)
Oh the indignity of it all...after a few years of kicking about you're finally signed to none other than biggie Columbia and actually get that rare opportunity that few others could ever dream of, mainly to release an album on a major label and here it is 1976 and you're back in Bloomington Indiana recording for a local label that's actually a front for a drug dealing operation! (Well, that's what Mark Bingham said, and who am I to argue with a spokesman for a generation, or at least for a scene???) That's just what happened to this Bill Wilson guy, yet another one of the thousands of singer/songwriters of the early-seventies who sorta got wooshed outta existence thanks to the likes of Joni and James and the rest of those trashed-out troubadours who made millions singing about the same sorta personal angst most of us had better sense to keep in the closet while overtaking the same market that stifled the voices of thousands more who might've been even more neurotic! Well, at least Wilson didn't revel in the same sorta "Fire and Rain" self-psychotherapy that seemed to permeate the entire Taylor clan, but that doesn't mean he's exactly outta the woods w/regards to making us sick with the poetic precociousness and pseudo-rock he does dish out for the listener on this mid-seventies whomper.
Frankly the entire disc is instant douse even if the aforementioned Bingham (then local bigshot with his Screaming Gypsy Bandits and later on leader of the Hoboken NJ-based Social Climbers) does trot out his 12-string guitar for a track or three. TALKING TO STARS (as if the title wasn't a tipoff!) is nothing but your average pseudo-intellectual playing at bigtime star about one step above Jim Croce but still "down there" mind you and a pretty good reason that mags like BACK DOOR MAN sprung up to counteract alla that folkie (w/heavy country honky tonkness to sucker somebody in!) whiz o' the seventies. However, there are some things regarding this platter that would satisfy the normal peruser of this blog, one of 'em being that the drummer on five of the tracks here is none other than one Kenny Aranoff, a guy whose "talents" (for wont of a better word) on various recordings by one John Cougar Mellencamp has wowed aficionados as disparate as Chuck Eddy and Bill Shute o'er the years to the point of froth worthy of my dog Sam's snout on a particulaly hot day. I remember Shute telling me back in the late-eighties that he thought Aranoff was one of the best drummers in the biz, and I recall telling Bill he was fulla beans! It was all in fun though, but really if there's any big dif between Aranoff's style (which, as you can tell from my various remarks is nothing that impresses me in any special way) and a number of Aranoff's "competitors" I can't hear it. Not that I'm trying to pay attention though...
For us readers who couldn't stand the sight of Mellencamp and his whole mid-Amerigan jeeter pose its the rest of the credits that'll make us turn heads in a 360 a la Sherwood on the old BARNEY BEAN SHOW. Bruce Anderson from MX-80 Sound is here for "color direction" (under the heading "cover design") while none other than Andrea Ross, also known as the infamous Angel Corpus Christi helped out with the "back cover photos and cover assistance" whatever that means, but since the gal posing in the two snaps which look more like fine ink drawings than actual photos on the sleeve's reverse seems to very closely resemble one ACC I wonder if in fact she was being credited for being a flesh-and-blood MODEL for this rather plain elpee's sleevework! And I would certainly like to know if this is so, because if in fact it is the future Mrs. Stim who lent her visage to this platter's cover I swear never to sell, dump, fold, spindle or mutilate this album in any way, shape or form! Perhaps a very close and personal friend like Lindsay Hutton could find out, but until then this bizarroid fact just might be one of the bigger mysteries to clog up the minds of Bloomington Indiana moozik freaks world-wide!
***Zuno Keisatsu-ALBUM 4 CD (Victor Entertainment, Japan)
Those of you who've read my previous reviews of Zuno Keisatsu (Brain Police to you) already know what to expect here...more Japanese-language agitprop backed by an interesting sorta folk-punk that seems to draw heavily from Marc Bolan during both his Tyrannosaurus Rex and T. Rex days. Having a knowledge of leader/cute teenage throb guy Panta's native tongue would certainly help in the enjoyment of these disques, but even if you haven't taken the Berlitz course in Japanese you might get a slight bitta pleasure outta these early-seventies romps that at times do take on a bit of the Kyu Sakamoto effect (sappy strings and slight folk introspection a la the 1970 Les Rallizes Denudes sides which reverberates in a lotta the current Japanese underground sides even to this day!). Nothing Earth-shattering especially when compared to a lotta foreign-tongue early-seventies garage/punk (Umela Hmota come to mind), but an interesting enough excursion for those of you who wanna take a break from the usual high-energy thrills and wanna cruise at mid-energy for awhile.