THE BEST COMPILATION OF THE YEAR, AND IT'S AT THE TIP OF YOUR FINGERS!
Yes, I have just got hold of in my grubby li'l paws a collection of sounds past that, for all intent purposes, has just gotta be the all-out top spin hit here at BLOG TO COMM central, and with a little knowledge of this monstrosity known as internet it can be yours too! And what's best about it is that the whole thing can be had for a mere pittance, or let's just say a blank Cee-Dee-Are and some paper in your printer. That's it...no wild bids on ebay or mail order hassles need apply, because all you have to do is burn these specific obscurities right onto your very own platter and print up some great liners right offa the same website you got the moozik from and voila, you've got a platter that is (at least for me) to 2009 what SHAKE SOME ACTION and NUGGETS were to me spring/summer 1978, or Rocket From the Tombs spring '80 or SUBTERRANEAN MODERN to that very summer or even Angel Corpus Christi's I [heart] NY to summer '85! It's that much of a hitcha right between the eyes wowzer of a hot rock winner, and if you don't like it may I call you Karen Quinlan for you must be brain dead even if you showed vital life signs by tuning into this blog o' blogs.
Don't have a specific title for this platter, but I wrote something like "ASSORTMENT OF MOSTLY ENGLISH PROTO-PUNK GLAM SINGLE TRACKS FROM ROUGHLY 1973-1975" on my copy which ain't as cool as PEBBLES but it'll do for now. But as for the whys and wherefores of the creation of this custom-made rockster...well, y'see being a huge fan of the GLITTERBEST compilation of rare "junk shop glam" of a decidedly proto-punkish nature I decided that, instead of waiting around for someone to do a sequel why not create my own spinner from the wide array of offerings available via ex(?)-Barracuda Robin Wills' PUREPOP blog where not only can you read about these obscure singles that at least for me remain yet another "final frontier" for early p-rock excursions but hear 'em as well! So, after I finally figured out how to download and burn as they say music offa this internet I decided to create my own collection of these pre-punk rarities just so's I could spin 'em chairside whilst reading the various blog entries that I printed up in lieu of writing my own liner notes for this exemplary project. Naturally I think that if this particular disque ever did make it into the public realm that my following notes regarding the trackage included would make a swell accompaniment to the correlating sounds. Of course if you want to play it safe you'd do wise to stick with the originals that Mr. Wills wrote because he is a professional at this while I am but a mere dabbler.
In case yer won'drin just exactly what is on this seventies NUGGETS variation (and perhaps would like to compile one yourself) I have listed the pertinent tracks (more or less in order of appearance) below along with those aforementioned commentaries which I hope don't collide with what Wills and his various commentators have already written. And to make matters easier I even took the time to link up each and every numbuh that I used here so's all you'll have to do it click on the title to be taken to the particular entry to hear and read for yourself whether or not the song in question's worthy of being on your particular collection of glitter rarities. Makes me glad that I'm living in the here/now where technology can present such items on demand w/o you having to bid on GOLDMINE auctions or hope and pray for a compilation to come your way like we hadda do even a good decade back! Now if only the web will evolve to a plateau where just about any recording that one would want to hear no matter how obscure could be "dialed up" and listened to with the flick of a mere keyboard!
mystery group-"All Night Long/Down on 42nd Street" (unreleased acetate)-Not that much of a mystery for as Wills' notes say some guy from the El Lay group Shady Lady who had trekked to London afterwords was involved in its recording. That's his wife singing both sides in a pretty "common" English accent which adds to the overall toughness. The flip side has a particularly En Why punk swagger to it that wouldn't've had made this group seem outta place on a variety of 1973-1976 lower Manhattan outlets, or at least I coulda seen 'em playing at the 82 Club whilst Billy Miller fought his way through the transvestites and fags in the audience to get to the front of the stage.
Daddy Maxfield-"Rave 'n Rock" (Pye, UK)-Yeah, these are the same guys from the SATURDAY NIGHT POGO album whom I guess were one of a thousand of those up-and-coming local acts of the early-to-mid-seventies in that town who just happened to survive long enough into the decade to get called punks and make some money offa it. True they were yanks but there was a pretty steady hard rock attitude in this that I guess must've appealed to some people of the limey persuasion since Pye released it over there and I'm sure it might have influenced at least a few of the more introverted amongst them to kick at least a few jams out in the process!
(By the way, I sandwiched this one in between the ex-Shady Lady tracks by error, but I think the programming of this platter works better because of it. You may beg to differ, but don't come complainin' to me if your own variations here or elsewhere on this platter do not work out the way you thought they would.)
Castle Farm-"Hot Rod Queen"/"Jewels of Fire" (unreleased acetate)-Another hard rauncher that almost approaches HM standards, and come to think of it might've even been considered metal proper considering some of the groups that were doused with the heavy metal tag back in the mid-seventies. These tracks do have such a dynamic pace to 'em that they might just please polar opposites rather than alienate 'em even more. Well, at least Jillery expressed an appreciation of flipster "Jewels of Fire" and I didn't think anything outside the Moody Blues songbook ever lit a fire under anything she'd dare sit on!
House of Lilly-"Turn Around" (Eurodisc France)-Another one of those great outta nowhere platters that, if anything, show that punk rock was a pretty unintentional movement born outta the brains of guys who were probably aiming to be the next Yes or Grand Funk only they couldn't afford the fairy suits or electronic instruments. Not that House of Lilly sound like either, but their punkiness, like that of the mid-sixties variety, might have been only a temporary phase o' mind that got washed away by the next special acid delivery. Still, in many ways it's much better'n the way self-conscious punkiness of too many yobs who seemed to try so hard to do what House of Lilly could with the mere flick of a mind.
(Again, I stuck this one in between the Castle Farm tracks for reasons unknown, and if you have any semblance of sartorial elegance you just might do the same thing yourself!)
Melody-"Stepping Stone" (Negram Holland)-Here's one from a Dutch group who had a few toes in the punk idiom back in the mid-seventies and, seeing a good bandwagon to jump on when they did, went whole hog into the sound 'n fury merely by adding "Bad" to their name! Even without the "Bad", Melody show themselves to have been good students of late-sixties/early-seventies Troggsian thug pop on this particularly twangy spin that sounds like it woulda been a top play at Rodney's English Disco back in the day though I don't even think Bingenheimer was aware of records this obscure!
Pantherman-"Pantherman" (Polydor Holland)-Hokay, the cover snap (seen above) of some guy dressed in a leather costume with a panther headdress probably looked silly even to the glitter cognoscenti in '74, a throwback to the Batman craze days if not worse. Well, at least this Dutch thumper'll dissuade any ideas of this being some cheap cash in on the already flanged-out decacraze...an expensive cash in maybe, but still pretty gnarly in its vocals and overall approach nonetheless.
Sharaton-"Caught in the Act" (VIP Holland)-Three Dutchies in a row...sounds like something from an old nursery rhyme don't it? Still, another good (unintentional) punker that seems to breeze by just right even if it lacks the usual strutting power and energy of most of the tracks to be found herein. But then again, who says that power and energy necessarily have to be conduit to interesting music? It sure helps, but don't tell that to 99.999...% of today's rock musicians!
Wowii-"Hooray for the Hoods" (Cartoon US)-Another Amerigan one! These guys were pretty popular in their Florida burgh and they even used to tour up and down the coastline playing at prestigious dives like CBGB way back when LOLLING STONE broke the news about that club's open-minded booking policy. Wowii also recorded three singles that I always get outbid on whenever they pop up on ebay, this being the last of 'em. It's a good postpost-glam rocker (and why not, being recorded in '79) with the mandatory enough punk wave sound and a tough teen hipster vocal that seems typical enough for the time. A bit outta place here, but still obscure enough to warrant some standing in the seventies pre/punk sweepstakes amidst the rest of these outta-nowhere wonders.
Eagle-"Come In It's All For Free" (Pye International UK)-I sure woulda thunk this t'be one of those obscure glam singles but actually it's a way-late Amerigan garage band number by the group that was once famed Bosstown-area losers the Beacon Street Union! A surprisingly tough number that still fits in with the glam scrunchers here. Note: only a good minute and fifteen minutes of this song appears before fading off into the ether, but its natural goodness made it worthy of inclusion.
Slowload-"Big Boobs Boogie" (MAM UK)-With a name like Slowload you'd probably think that the group ate a lotta peanut butter. Whatever, I must admit that Slowload weren't that much glam as they were tough proto-punky hard rock a la the various Jesse Hector groups which should figure, since Slowload actually sported as a member the singer/guitarist for late-seventies punkers the Fruit Eating Bears who I might just actually look into if only to see if they're as Pink Fairies UK lowbrow as Slowload (probably not, but it would be fun to find out for myself). Oddly enough these guys were actually on EMI subsidiary MAM (considering the title of this song, an appropriately-named label) who also had Dave Edmunds on their roster and I believe even Gilbert O'Sullivan hisself. Talk about going from one extreme to another!
Spunky Spider-"You Won't Come"/"Perchance" (Phoenix UK)--When it comes to English proto-punky glamrock this 'un seems to hit just about every top ten I've come across (all ONE of 'em!). And who outside of Helen Keller could argue that "You Won't Come" is an incredible slice of English punk rock not only predating the 1976-era of bands but cutting a good portion of at least the sissier amongst 'em to shreds! And yeah, all of the hype that compares "You Won't Come" to everyone from Swell Maps to Cock Sparrer to Metal Urbain to first LP Yes (OK, I never heard that 'un!) does seem rather accurate! Again, only the first minute and a half or so of each side of their sole single appears here (the flip being a surprisingly more psychedelic number straight out of 1968!) but they sure give you enough taste. Besides, you can listen to "You Won't Come" in all its glory on GLITTERBEST if you so desire.
Stud Leather-"Cut Loose" (Dart UK)-Along with "You Won't Come" yet another left field screecher recorded by a group that was probably trying to be Yes (read the interview with Stud Leather singer Roger Cook that I linked up) and got sidetracked somewhere down the line onto the road of evil punkitude.Whaddeva these Stud Leather guys really put out a fantastico slab with "Cut Loose" that sorta straddles the glam and punk eras w/o looking as smarmy as many of those ex-glamsters gone punko coulda given the opportunity. Nice intense bared-wire streak here as well with a cutting chorus of "hally hally, oh hallelujah!" which I think won't make it with any of the more saccharine-laced religious acts rakin' in the sheaves these days.
Grudge-"When Christine Comes Around"/"I'm Gonna Smash Your Face In" (Black UK)-Here's one that's had every serious rockscribe from Johan Kugelberg to Johan Kugelberg drooling worse than my dog Sam during his final years leaving tinsel-y trails of dried slobber over this double-sided whammy that sounds like some totally disconnected with '77 dork's idea of what punk rock is so he gets together some equally detached cronies to cash in with their own single...only it works bubblegummy melodies and all! These Grudge guys really do have it in for Christine to the point where they promise her some serious GBH for reasons that are quite unclear. The reasons for such malice on b-side "I'm Gonna Smash Your Face In" are much clearer, since the unnamed victim was goin' 'round tellin' everyone the lead singer was a queer! This is the kinda record I wish the women's libbers woulda attacked mercilessly back when it came out in '73...at least think of all the publicity that would have garnered! Comes complete with horrid Mae West and Elvis Presley impersonations too that aren't as indecipherable as that WC Fields one on "Flight Reaction" but strange enough!
The Passengers-"Something About You (I Don't Like)" (private press UK)-OK, this is way outta the glamscope having come out in '79 and is pretty much stuck in the punk wave proper scene, but the hard drive does remind one a bit of some of the earlier proto-punk/late-period garage band tracks appearing here so its presence does blend in well with the rest of the numbers. I usually don't go for this late-seventies UK stuff finding the more Detroit/Velvets/experimental stylings more applicable to my high energy being, but this does suit me well even if technically we're talking effect not cause. But as that oft-mentioned around here saying goes, "Five-hundred years from now who'll know the difference?"
Mustard-"Good Time Comin'" (EMI UK)-Closing out this li'l soiree's a good enough thud-rocker that almost approaches glitzy heavy metal pop but fortunately doesn't make you wanna puke like too many of the eighties-era top forty hits doing the same thing did. Hard power-chording rock that sounds like it was custom-made for the ROCK SCENE gang, and if anything comes off more or less like an off night at Max's Kansas City in '77 which is a good thing if you're wanting a break from the usual Blondie/Ramones sorta thang and still had a hankerin' for sounds of glam rock past. I do wonder if Bitch's version of the same song (which is also available on the PUREPOP site) was any better? Perhaps I'll have to wait for Volume Two to find out!
'n so that's it, perhaps thee top comp for this otherwise iffy year of 2009. It's got me rockin' and boppin' for sure and if you had any sense you'd let this thing do the same to you. We can only hope that Mr. Wills will post loads more of these obscure punkers really soon so's I can scrape together another disque of such wonders, and whaddeva ya do Rob, don't just offer snippets...I wanna gulp 'em all down, not just have a little sample that'll have me starving from here to Hell (or Melbourne...same thing!) and back!
%%%BOOTLEG OF THE WEEK!: The Yardbirds-LAST RAVE UP IN LA 3-LP set (Glimpses)
Why would a guy like me who already has two CD versions of this infamous if obscure beyond belief Yardbirds bootleg want to latch onto the original vinyl version? Continuity's probably the most valid explanation I can come up with.
The sound is surprisingly good...digitalization usually improves on these audience cassette jobs but I still find this document of the Yardbirds' next-to-last stand (or thereabouts) to be strong enough sonicwise even if the sound tends to be a tad distant. Ah but that was the limitation of those old portable cassette recorders including the particular one used to record those two nights at the Shrine Auditorium before konking itself out for all eternity. The Yardbirds were about to konk themselves out as well, and considering the high energy (including their only known recorded version of "Waiting For The Man") these tracks exude how could anyone believe otherwise?
Strangely enough, while most bootlegs sport phony addresses with make-believe postal codes, Glimpses actually offer us what seems to be a legit address in the xeroxed insert enclosed where you can also purchase a Yardbirds t-shirt as well as photos from this very gig! I don't think that this address is still valid but I'm pretty sure it could have been at one time, which only goes to show you just how cheeky some of these bootleggers coulda been in the face of FBI harassment and the promise of long jail terms for exercising their fandom in one of the more extreme ways possible.