Saturday, September 27, 2008


Like Superman and Fearless Fosdick, me and BLOG TO COMM are so devoted to our SWORN DUTY to dish the plain, unadulterated info your way to the point where we never take any time out to rest, relax or even recharge the ol' batteries even when we need to! No, while other blogs take sabbaticals and vamoose the premises for sandy beaches and Filipino sex tours, I remain devoted to delivering to YOU, the discerning BLOG TO COMM reader, some of the best blogwriting to be found on the pixel prairie! Devoted I am to pleasing you, and if I have for some unforseen reason ever let you down let me just say that it's all YOUR fault because...really, how can anyone hate this blog so perfect as it is? But what is an eager beaver of a blogster to do when he hasn't really gotten hold of any interesting items to write about whether they be recordings, books, Dee-Vee-Dees or new dishes at the local Chinese eatery anyway? Well, ya PUNT man, punt!!!!

Before I do get into two rather recent acquisitions you probably won't care about anyway, let me just clue you into some of the new linkups that I added to the ever-growing list of BTC-imprimatured reading material on the web listed to your very left. PUREPOP is a great 'un I just recently chanced upon, a blog devoted to mostly English/Euro glam rock that's owned and operated by Robin Wills of Barracudas fame! When I call PUREPOP "great" I'm not using some tossaway superlative in the same fashion that had every tinhorn rock critic calling Elvis Costello a genius back inna day, for this particular blog is that good and that exciting, almost as good as getting my paws on a classic seventies-vintage fanzine filled with heretofore unknown info on some group you just gotta hear no ifs, ands or buttz! If you were wondering just what a whole lotta those great early punk rock rarities that Johan Kugelberg was ranting about in his glam article in the latest UGLY THINGS, now you can not only read more about such soon-to-be faves as Mustard and Grudge (both of whom should be inducted into the PROTO-PUNK HALL OF FAME faster than you can say "DENIM DELINQUENT"!), but hear 'em as well since 'most every single that Mr. Wills has reviewed on his site has been archived! And with the flick of a few switches maybe you too can create your own NUGGETS (proto-punk sounds from the first glam era 1971-1975) to take along on that next heavy date! Save yourself a bundle on ebay and tune into PUREPOP as soon as you're done digesting what I have dished out for you hungry hounds, savvy?

Another interesting site that I just hadda link up for you is UHF-TV MORGUE, dedicated to all of those great UHF television stations that flickered their last sign off many moons back. I always had a soft spot for UHF television stations since that's all I grew up with, and even at an early age I could see a big difference between the UHFs that were broadcasting locally and the big city VHFs which looked so professional and ultimately less interesting to a gulcher-obsessed kid as I. And, as many of you readers probably already know, there were many a UHF station that popped up on the dial way back when only to fizzle out after a few years of bitter struggle, usually because the programming just wasn't drawing in the viewers, or the signal just wasn't strong enough, or mostly because people were too cheap to dish out for UHF converters thus signalling the deaths of quite a few promising yet underappreciated stations who hadda struggle to survive at least until the law made it mandatory for all sets to have both UHF and VHF dials back in the mid-sixties.

Some of these UHF stations managed to linger on for years until the advent of the smaller networks finally got 'em outta the red while others, like channel 53 in Pittsburgh (now a bland Fox station but back in the day boy could it crank out the early-sixties rarities!) went off the air until the world was ready for UHF in the late-sixties, while even more just went black never to grace our cathodes again which is pretty sad considering the promise for cheap reruns and BTC-approved television such channels promised. UHF-TV Morgue is devoted to those stations situated twixt 14-83 that may have had the programs we wanted to tune in, but for one reason or another could barely make it outta the fifties alive. And man, it's eye-opening albeit tear-inducing reading about these stations that dame fortune passed gas on en masse, thinking about all the fun I woulda had if I were only near a set that could get one of 'em in complete with a can of soda pop and a bag of pork rinds in tow. If you remember these stations and perhaps, in some sick way, are glad they went off because if they were still on they'd be showing BERNIE MACK reruns, you'll love this site. Gosh, I feel like one of those fat old guys I used to come across when I was like ten who were really hotcha on old thirties and forties radio stations and programs, only now I myself am a fat old guy whose into the early television portion of that anal retentive game!

Anyhow, for a change of pace, here (finally!) are them reviews for whatever you can get outta 'em:



I wasn't that sussed by that BEAT OF THE EARTH reissue from a few years back, so why did I dish out the additional shekels for this "follow up" from Beat leader Philip Pearlman anyway? I was just hard up for something new, thaz why! Unfortunately where THE BEAT OF THE EARTH was more or less drone jamz filtered through a 1967 sense of aw shucks RELATIVELY CLEAN RIVERS is the same Californian karmic whooziz ten years later and you know how dreck-y that place could get! (Lissen, it wasn't all BACK DOOR MAN and DENIM DELINQUENT no matter how cool those mags be!) The hype compared 'em to AMERICAN BEAUTY-era Dead while THE RISING STORM sez Crosby Stills and Gnash, and that does come close enough for discomfort. Definitely not by cup of herbal tea, but given the patchouli leanings of some of you readers you'll probably like this 'un even more than a Sit In at a pin factory!
Marcel Duchamp-THE ENTIRE MUSICAL WORK CD performed by the S.E.M. Ensemble (Dog w/a Bone, available through FORCED EXPOSURE)

Back during my avant garde beret and stale doritos phony intellectual days I was really engrossed in the early compositions of none other than dadmeister Duchamp, as I usually would be given how a team of psychiatrists had classified me as an obsessive compulsive autistic terminal asshole even then. The idea that Duchamp was creating these chance operation pieces as early as 1912 seemed like an incredible feat, and that Finnedar album with percussionist Donald Knaak performing "The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even Erratum" along with a solo John Cage percussion piece was one of those platters that proudly adorned my doo-wah classic bin even if I didn't play it nearly as much as I did Sparks. This collection of every known Duchamp composition (I think they left out one from the thirties tho!) certainly brings back maybe not-so-fond memories of listening to people like Stockhausen and Berio when I shoulda been spinning "Wipe Out" on a daily basis, but, like good table manners and sex I hadda learn about this stuff sometime! These numbuhs are pretty interesting realizations of various open-ended compositions that, given the fact that the instructions could be as vague as possible and that their performance is totally dependent on numbered balls dropping into a toy wagon, sound different each time they are performed. And what's best about it is that if anyone makes a mistake, who'd know?

Pieces for voice (written for Duchamp and his sissies to perform), player piano and ensemble appear sounding as they might have back in the day, and yeah, that is John Cage, who has admitted his debt to Duchamp repeatedly, performing "Sculpture Musicale"! For a guy who thinks that presenting a urinal as a work of art is pure har har genius and painting a moustache and beard on the Mona Lisa a nice li'l slap inna face to the concept of art and aht! (though he has spawned too many bad imitations, which would figure considering his entire career might have been a bad imitation as well!) I gotta admit that Duchamp's musical works are the aural equivalent of a beyond-belief aesthetic outlook that you know works because he still manages to piss off quite a few people! And in a way I find that marvy...rilly!!!
While pecking out the above write ups I had the pleasure of listening to the archived WFMU-FM MAD MIKE RADIO SHOW WITH MIRIAM LINNA, which I must say proves something that many a person would never believe and that is I can certainly do two things at once without stumbling all over myself! Anyway, after all was said and done I must admit that particular program was a fantastic impetus for cranking out a couple of sausages that probably don't taste that well but boy, what fun it was turnin' the handle! I probably wouldn't be that far off sayin' that this show (tip of the toupee to Lindsay Hutton for mentioning this on his blog!) was more or less an infomercial for the three volumes of the obscure until now recs that the equally obscure-o Pittsburgh dee-jay known as Mad Mike (maker of hits including "Hanky Panky") played on his radio show and at dances back during the still-sainted mid-sixties, but no matter the nefarious reasons behind this particular broadcast all I can say is that I really got a kick lending ear to the vast variety of vinyl rarities that have been collected on those shiny platters by Mr. and Mrs. Norton for our benefit! Now that this show is readily available on the web I must give thanks, because now I don't have to BUY the platters and can merely dial up this show whenever I get the hankerin' for that mid-sixties greaseball schmooze! And they say the Scots are cheapskates!

Anyway, this show did conjure up one fine memory when the great Red Rose Tea commercial with the Marquis Chimps miming this mind-boggling r&b snapper graced my lobes after years of wondering wha' 'app'd! I sure remember laughing my socks off at that ad while I was still in my pre-school days because it used to run locally on channel 27 during AFTERNOON THEATER daily thus making a strong impression on my own chimp-esque cranium. I also remember a number of other Red Rose Tea ads featuring the famed primates of HATHAWAYS fame including a golf-oriented one complete with apes in tam o'shanters and knickers, but for my money this particular commercial remains the best of the batch! Hope you aren't offended:

Before we part, I thought I'd link you up to this neat little page which features nothing but episodes from the long-forgotten (I wonder why?) kid series TELECOMICS. (You can probably also find it on Youtube with a little bit of dialing.) Avid followers of the early days of tee-vee might remember this series but I doubt it...for those of you who don't TELECOMICS was a fifteen-minute weekday program (produced by NBC but syndicated to a variety of non-affiliated stations) which I s'pose was to have brought the wonders of episodic newspaper cartoons to the b&w tube of the day but obviously fell short of its rather lofty goals. Contrary to what you might think given your limited knowledge of early television, TELECOMICS did not consist of cheaply-animated imitations of the big-time comic strips of the day created by shifty producers anxious to make fast bucks with flimsy product! Far from that...actually, TELECOMICS was nothing but a series of PICTURES featuring characters based on well-known strips of the day done up in a slapdash style and presented with narration which I'm sure saved those chintzy producers even more lucre than they bargained for! (OK, if you wanna nit-pick there "was" some very minimal animation to be found in TELECOMICS, that is, if you consider a rocket taking off or a spinning barber chair "animation"!) If you thought those mid-sixties King Features POPEYE cartoons were cheap hunks of crap, TELECOMICS will show you just what low-budged children's fare can really aspire to! In many ways TELECOMICS reminds me of those afternoon 15-minute educational series they used to show on PBS in the seventies and eighties where some kiddie story was read as pastels denoting the action adorned the screen, only I doubt anyone would be able to ooze any edjamacational benefits outta these fifteen-minute quickies that are nothing more than pale imitations of DICK TRACY, JOE PALOOKA and FLASH GORDON! Needless to say, I love every second of it!

Not surprisingly, TELECOMICS must have been one of those series cheap enough for the low-rung UHF stations of the fifties to afford (especially the long-gone ones mentioned in the UHF Morgue) since the only reference I can find to any stations running it ever were WICA-TV channel 15 in Ashtabula Ohio and WMGT-TV channel 74 in Pittsfield Massachusetts. I'm sure a more studied search of mid-fifties television listings will prove that TELECOMICS appeared on quite a few more channels during those low-budgeted days, but whadevva here's a slice of heavy duty obscure classic tee-vee that I'm sure woulda made Uncle Ferd wanna hold off on buying a set at least until they started airing travelogues with topless Tahitian maidens romping all over the place in living color!

Well, how did I do for stretching a blog with a coupla measly reviews into one of my typical weekend megaposts? Gimmee some due fer once, willya???


laurent said...

maybe it's old news, but did you know that phil pearlman's son, after being a death metal fan, became one of al qaeda officials?

Bill said...

Those TELECOMICS are incredible. The "Danny March" one is like a combination between the 60s Dick Tracy cartoon and Clutch Cargo, but more static. I like the acted-out narration, however. Somehow it really captures the feel of a generic newspaper comic strip. I don't remember TELECOMICS playing on UHF anywhere I lived---I wish more of them were available, but I'd recommend that people watch the ones that are available at the link you provided.
Didn't know about Phil Pearlman's son. I think I like BEAT OF THE EARTH more than you do.
Hope all is well. Is that Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips in your neck of the woods still open?


Christopher said...

TELECOMICS was perfect for those low-budget UHF stations to pad their schedules out. Unfortunately these same stations, if they are still broadcasting, are probably showing an informercial or one of those PEOPLE'S COURT imitations during the same time spot which would figure. On youtube, the same episodes can be found with perhaps a few others scattered about. When I watch TELECOMICS, I certainly do feel like some eight-year-old doofus tuned into the local UHF outlet, that's for sure!

The Arthur Treacher's in Sharon is still open and in fact I bought a couple orders of fish and chips there last spring, undoubtedly spurred on by my review last January. The Youngstown one is still open, and occasionally advertise on the radio.