Just a quickie post to let you know about a wowzer of an article that I just read by Paul Gottfried on the TAKI'S TOP DRAWER site which I'm sure will help me in the battle against a wide variety of socially mooshy constraints that I've had to put up with for nigh on twenty years. Maybe it won't, but it still makes for some mighty pow'rful reading in these rather repressive times!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The Vibrators-PUNK'S SONIC GOURMANDIZERS LIVE AT CBGB'S 5.5.2000 CD (Almafame/Yeaah! UK)
After giving a whole lotta listen to proto-punk, avant-punk, groups who weren't punk but were punky, punk funk and various punk variations thereof, I discovered that I wasn't listening to any punk as in 1977 sunglasses and leather jackets sell newspapers with screaming headlines punk! That's the only reason I whipped out this still-sealed Cee-Dee outta the collection for a listen, because as far as that punk as pUnK stuff goes I really don't have that much of it in my handy dandy Cee-Dee collection. In fact I really have a dearth of it because as far as my musical tastes go these days I tend to prefer the Amerigan variety o' the punk form, or at least the stuff that seems to have a strong connection to the sixties via the post-Velvet Underground/Detroit breed of "aesthetics" that's a whole lot more bared-wire intense than a good portion of the English musical grime that was so prevalent during the way back when days.
So 's safe t' say that spinning this Vibrators disque recorded a good 23 years down the line at CBGB for the nouveau rich midagers is akin to what many of these still-touring punkers continue to dish out for those nostalgia-seeking baldoids and penny-pinchers who couldn't afford all those import prices back in '77. Mostly the quick 'n messy style of punk (not barring a few good heavy metal moves such as on "Troops of Tomorrow") with the big hits popping up at just the right moment all packaged in a nice jewel case with a book that rehashes the CBGB story once again incorrectly but at this point in time why bother complaining!
Knox seems to be in fine form and the rest of the group is nothing to complain about in their quest to crank out a decent drone to accompany Mr. Corcoran's ever-aging punk croak vocals and churn guitar. Nothing out of the ordinary to be found on this nice if sloppy crank out set which might disappoint those who know the group only from their original (and comparatively perfunctory) recordings, and if you can latch it up at the usual bargain prices bully for thee. And even a horse-blinkered soul such as I must admit that I got my share of enjoyment out of the thing even if it ain't one of those items I will be playing day in and day out for weeks on end like I do with various items that grace my ears and cut into the quick of my eternal being as Alan Watts might say. After all, when I tune into the groove of CBGB it's not quite for the likes of the Vibrators but the kind of acts that made that club one of the most popular hangouts in En Why See for over three decades. Acts like SANDY BULL, ETRON FOU LELOUBLAN, SONNY SHARROCK, BINKY PHILLIPS, MUSICA ORBIS, KONGRESS, DAVID PATRICK KELLY...
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:05 AM
Friday, September 25, 2009
Haven't had one of these in awhile, mostly because I've been immersing myself in enough good high energy recordings and reading (not enough viewings) o'er the past few months to not warrant some obvious space-filling toss out "best of" list. Then again, I'm positive that you reg'lar readers must love these lists or else there wouldn't have been such unmitigated jive as the old VILLAGE VOICE "Real Life Top Ten" (as if we really wanted to know what was tingling R. J. Smith and Greil Marcuse's frontals back in 1988!) nor would various letter writers to THE NEW YORK ROCKER back in the early-eighties been including their own top faves at the end of each and every missive (hokay so I eggs-aggerate, but only a tiny bit!). So in order to please you curiosity seekers and help sate my own sense of purpose educating your vapid craniums here's my very own "high six" of current items that I've not only encountered as of late but actually enjoy nonetheless. Hey kids, if you wanna grow up to be JUST LIKE ME you'll know enough to do everything Unca Chris tells ya to, and do it RIGHT because I'll be sure to clobber each and every one of you impudent little brats or I ain't just the ram-bunk-shuh-nest blogger on the face of this darn here Earth!
***Stan Freberg-A CHILD'S GARDEN OF FREBERG LP (Capitol)
I think my constant re-reading of the HUMBUG collection is what got me on the lookout for this early-sixties Freberg Greatest Hits album that some of you will remember I had originally reviewed way back in issue #5 of my very own publication. Well, all I gotta say is that after listening to the reams of pompous comedians turned "commentators" like Bill Maher and Dennis Leary etc. it's sure great experiencing someone who can hate a whole number of various peeves yet attacks his targets in an entertaining and truly cutting way. Plus the fifties musical arrangements and digs at everyone from Elvis to Mitch Miller are as on target as can be meaning that even the fans of the ones spoofed can enjoy 'em full well knowing that they too are the in for the keen roasting at the hands of the one called Freeb! Too bad Freberg dropped out just when things were starting to get juicy, or at least I'd gander that his punk rock parody would have beat Frank Zappa's to all heck!
***HANNA-BARBERA'S THE FLINTSTONES (authorized edition, Whitman Publishing, 1962)
Sure I'm a fan of the Flintstones enough to even enjoy those obv. shark-jumping Gazoo and Gruesomes episodes, but I gotta 'fess up that I really don't think their entire schtick transcended those six seasons of prime time entertainment they gave us during the real Golden Age of Television (roughly '57-'67 give/take a few). It's (perhaps ashamedly) true that I enjoyed the early-nineties special where a fully grown Pebbles and Bam Bam finally tied the big one, but others like the one dealing with the once-controversial subject of girls playing little league baseball was just a pack of trendy social significance only about a step above YOGI'S GANG (y'know, that series where Ranger Smith uttered the telling phrase "Gee, how I hate people who are different than me!"). The various seventies/eighties Saturday morning spinoffs like FRED AND BARNEY MEET THE SHMOOS were perhaps the worst examples of milking an entity for every tiny drop of potential cash (on both a Hanna Barbera and Al Capp level) seen since the later years of PEANUTS, though if you're game to hear Jean Vanderpyl demean herself even more by portraying Wilma as a private detective you got plenty of fodder to wade through. Yeah, it's expected and it's typical, but for a guy who grew up and revered class six-oh junk kultur and sat around all day watching reruns it did bug me a little that the new stuff couldn't retain the classic shine of the original.
Dunno where the comics that appear in this '62 Flintstones hardcover originated since the stories contained therein seem too long for Sunday pages and too short for the comic books, but they're more or less attuned to the entire Flintstone universe as it stood during the early pre-Pebbles days. Interesting enough stories, horrible continuity and obvious major league artistic style changes with each succeeding artist. I mean, what else would you expect? But for being a relic of those great consumer kiddie days maybe this should be enshrined somewhere.
***ACRES, STEREO ACTION, and THIS DAY WITHOUT by Bill Shute; DOG NIGHTS DOG DAYS by Brad Kohler (chapbooks published by Kendra Steiner Editions)
Going through the rubble of my bedroom can be an experience akin to an archaeological dig. Who knows what I might find once I hit the Pleistocene Era---could be an old issue of CREEM from their pre-stadium rock sellout days or perhaps a fanzine I forgot I had won on ebay a good six months back, or maybe even a slim case burnt CD of some Serge Gainsbourgh album that Mike Snider made me ages back. Well, on my latest search for funtime reading material that I hope will soothe me into slumbers after a hard day at the salt mines I came across the latest bunch of "chapbooks" that none other than Bill Shute had sent me with his last slew of burnt Cee-Dee-Are offerings! What a dirty trick on Bill's part because he knows that I'm a closed-minded anti-art snob who hates a good portion of this moderne artsy prose, but in order to be "nice" maybe this time I will slip on the beret and act like an effete snob which I know will make at least a few of you out there in readerland happy, right?
Three of these are by Shute and the final one's from Brad Kohler, and if those two names don't have you hopping up and down in unbridled ecstasy then you haven't been hanging around the BLOG TO COMM universe long enough! Shute's writings are sensational as always...yeah, his prosody for wont of a better word might not settle well with people who, like myself, believe that the end all in poetry begins with "milk milk lemonade" but he sure is attuned into the everyday hard grubby world o' existence to the point where you can almost feel the humidity in his world rise to the point where any moment now a rumbling thunderstorm is about to woosh through. He's so good in portraying this rush of everyday you-are-there that you're actually gonna taste that cheese whiz on broccoli that's dished up on "Southwestern-themed paper plates" not to mention wanna make a stop at the Saigon Express that he mentions while regaling us with his hotcha Texas environs. I dunno about you, but Bill Shute makes me long for those days when the main strip in your local town was cluttered with billboards and drive in restaurants intermingling with used car lots before the taste police decided to call it "urban blight" (I thought it was beauty, but then again beauty sure took a downturn when they stopped making Studebakers!)
Kohler's DOG NIGHTS DOG DAYS seems to be about the Manson murders, a subject that I know has been near and dear to his heart ever since I came in contact with the guy way back in the humdrum year of 1987. Ostensibly this tale (with such lines as "humid pre-dawn air disturbed only by a dragonfly's pirouette", something I doubt Kohler would ever spout out in a conversation at the local bar lest it had a double-entendre kinda name) is written from the point o' view of the ill-fated Steven Parent, the high school nerk living in the cottage behind the murder house and, pretty much like the author himself, the tale weaves in and out of kilter with it getting demi-erotic at times w/a description of Miss Sharon Tate's "swollen breasts and ripe nipples" before it all turns bloody red, kinda like some early-seventies R-rated film where the teenage kids do that dirty thing and end up hacked by the mystery killer who naturally gets revealed to be the least-likely film cast member by the moom pitcher's close. Only there ain't some hasbeen forties/fifties Hollywood star here to give this sausage some class amidst the reams of acting upstart wannabes...this here be the real thing!
It's a shame these books won't get out to the public like they should, but then again neither will my very own BLACK TO COMM fanzine so welcome to the obscurity club, boys! But otherwise, you should get these and some of the other books that the Kendra Steiner people have put out, especially if you're familiar with modern artistic ramble and want to read what it would be like were it good.
***KELLY'S POLITICAL CARTOONS IN "THE ONION"
Let's face it, these days political cartoons, no matter from what side of the aisle they may originate, are for the most part unfunny, unimaginative, party-line pious and worst of all ineffectual to the point of being mere window dressing for already sagging Opinion Pages in your local paper. Is it any wonder why newspapers are dying like they are when the typical "editorial" section has been reduced to the typical mainstream liberal columnist versus the typical mainstream conservative one with a usually typical dud-like cartoon that more or less attempts to be typically offensive to a person's own political taste or credo. How typical! Toss in the boring advice columns, watered-down funny pages and yawnsville local news (usually the same "Frostbite Falls Dog Chases Frostbite Falls Cat up Frostbite Falls Tree" nada you've seen for years) and it's no wonder why Nibsy the Newsboy is undergoing therapy as we speak. Frankly I could care less if newspapers went the way of the Edsel, though I sure am much more fond of that better idea of Ford's than I am the current state of the Fourth Estate, at least as it stands here in the faster-than-light twenty-first century!
Now I do recall a few funny political cartoons I've seen down the line, and not surprisingly all have been done not by the mainstays of the field but small-timers and/or upstarts who couldn't get a Pulitzer if their sorry lives depended on it. I remember this one guy whose last name is Stayskal who did a few funny abortion-related comics that had me howling...one of 'em had this pregnant woman walking in the direction of a sign pointing towards an abortion clinic, with a thought balloon coming from her belly saying "I wish I was a whale." Another had a doctor labeled "abortionist", a shabby guy labeled "child pornographer", two gays and a Hitler lookalike holding up cards reading "ACLU" with the caption reading "Don't Leave Home Without It!" I dunno if I guffawed more because of the outright political incorrectness or because they sorta hearkened back to the days of chance-taking, off-the-wall humor that seemed to go out of style sometime around the early-eighties when the original SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE cast dissipated and cutting humor sorta fizzled out of fashion. Whatever, I thought it nice that the enlightened social planner types were on the butt end of the jokes this time because, for some odd reason, they seem to be continually spared the same biting barbs and vitriol that's usually reserved for people like me!
I also recall a few other relatively recent (which for me seems to be spanning twenty years) political cartoons that had me in stitches, one being by AKRON BEACON JOURNAL cartoonist "Bok" who did what I believe was an "answer" cartoon to established biggie Conrad's one about Michaelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel today (everyone's depicted in skeletal form with war and hatred abounding, all of this as the result of organized belief I think)...Bok's cartoon had David flipping God the middle finger to His surprise while a member of the NEA standing next to the beaming artist on a scaffold tell him his work is "cutting edge" and "socially significant"! Now both Conrad's and Bok's cartoons were what one would call "predictable" and "going for the cheap joke", but Conrad's seemed like the ravings of a humorless aging humanist akin to more than a few well-tenured college profs, while Bok had me rolling in the aisles with its oversimplification of the early-nineties "trash art" controversy and his ability to get an honestly funny cartoon out of it. Unfortunately most political cartoonists seem to take the snobbish route of such noted names as Conrad, Danzinger and Herblock, and those that try to be entertaining and "cute" like Mike Peters usually fall completely off the map and end up purposefully distorting the record or making things up to suit their own positions which they just better keep lest they be out of a job.
In light of all the prepared cuteness and cheap sentimental pap (like the kind seen around the time of President Obama's inauguration...not to demean our Commander In Chief but some of the saccharine displays regarding the first Amerigan president with any trace of parental heritage near the equator unless you count Warren Harding were sappy enough to make any edition of Johnny Mann's STAND UP AND CHEER look like your typical mid-sixties underground theatre production), it's sure nice to read something nasty and sacred cow skewering these days. And if the one being skewered is more or less a target usually considered "off limits" to modern day tastemongering the better I say. Which is why I have suddenly become hooked on the cartoons of this Kelly guy whose work appears via that satirical news site called THE ONION. I had been avoiding that site for some time even though I had read a few good link ups via such alternative right webpages as TAKI'S TOP DRAWER and that site is perhaps the closest anyone has come to the spirit of the original NATIONAL LAMPOON acting like that magazine would have had it made it into the modern world (it does survive in some form, I think?), but when I discovered just a few of this guy's political cartoons I just hadda read all of 'em! Really, they are that MANDATORY for you especially if you're a jaded hates-everything suspicious kinda person like I am. There's no sappy sentimentality in any of Kelly's comics...if he thinks the deceased is worthy of heaven you'll see the guy up there with St. Peter, like the time Jerry Falwell died and was told it was his duty to root out all the gays(!), and if Kelly thinks the carbon-cycle celeb is deserving of going "down there" (and I'm not talking Australia unless it's Melbourne naturally!) you'll see the dead guy in a pool of fire with some devils making an all-important comment regarding the new resident of the netherworld! No kissy mush bye bye dearly departed here! Topping it off in typical political cartooning fashion is a little self-portrait of Kelly himself at the drawing board on the lower right portion of the panel spouting some on-target, pointed closing comment, just like they used to have in those OUR BOARDING HOUSE and OUT OUR WAY cartoons that I used to devour as a child before they were axed to make way for more Want Ads in the seventies!
And while the vast majority of political cartoons either of the traditional or new school seem more or less like the creations of tepid horse-blindered fuddy duddies with that self-important task of educating us peons like an uptight school marm trying to subjugate a classroom full of Huckleberry Finn wannabes, Kelly dishes his "opinions" out with an abandon that's bound to hit more than a few targets and send blood splattering all across the computer screen. After reading more than a few of his creations one must mutter to himself...Is Kelly spoofing the sanctimonious stature of today's political commentators? Is he really that crazy about eighties television programs like MATLOCK and MURDER SHE WROTE? Are his opinions slanted that far to the right and if so why does he seem to throw a few morsels of what appears to be a more trad liberalism into the mix once in a blue moon? Really, why should you care?
Anyhoo, here are ten great examples of Kelly's work that sure had me in stitches...you of course can find more at the Onion's own site, but really what I'd like to see/have/own is a nice hardbound collection of this stuff and a whole lot more including those obvious fake reprints of seventies and eighties-era comics that seem to dredge up the past perhaps in ways many of us wouldn't have cared for. But eh...read on and I must tell you, I do hope you are offended!
***THE CAN BOOK by Pascal Bussy and Andy Hall (SAF 1989)
Consider it a brush up course!
***Iggy and the Stooges-MORE POWER LP (Cleopatra UK)
In an age when buying posthumous Stooges exhumations can be akin to buying the same old tracks re-repackaged in new covers by new labels you never heard of before, this one actually fills the bill with regards to satisfying the high energy maniac on the lookout for classic Ig tidbits! True some of these tracks have been making the rounds for nigh on thirty years, but packaged amidst some recently-unearthed rarities like "I'm a Man" and yet another "Louie Louie" and in a bee-youtiful package with a smart Mick Rock snap and you too will be sent straight back to the heyday of Iggymania like I was! Sound quality is perfect and the overall feeling is sorta like imagining what that mythical fourth Stooges album that Ig was talkin' about back then mighta sounded like had the Stooges been able to hold on just a little longer. A nice taste of prime Ig that I hope will hold me until those 1971 live disques make their way to my door just about any day now (right!).
***QUICKIE ADDENDUM: Here's a linkup to a really good piece on your fave even if not quite mine (I'd rather read about him that read him!) H. P. Lovecraft which just happened to be written by one of my favorite political commentators, the long-gone Sam Francis. Just so's you know that there's more to this internet thingie than Dave Lang talking about his pus-riddled appendix!
***Pretty good post there dontcha think? Just goes to show you what a guy can do when he's home sick with a cold and is under the influence of some pretty potent over-the-counter medicine (and gulps it down in double doses so's it'll do the job twice as fast!) If I survive, expect another one midweek. If not, don't send flowers.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 2:36 PM
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Death-FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TO SEE CD-R burn (Drag City)
Remember a few months back when this whopper hit the underground music market resulting in a huge ka-FAW!??? I'll tell ya, not since the MUSIC OF BULGARIA album has such a platter crept into the crannies and crevices of hotcha punkitudenal Ameriga and taken 'em by the toolies into the realm of hosannas recited in unison by the remnants of the hipster brigade! And yes, this disque was consered to be so sacred and crucial to the high energy credo in us all that even a few nabobs out there dared chastise me for not being in the vanguard of the forefront or whatever it's called these days in getting a copy of this collection of mid-seventies proto-punk high energy sounds before the rest of the breed! (As if I had some sorta duty to clue the blank-minded masses as given to me from up on high, though last time I talked with God I forgot to ask him if this were so.) To which I must say "who do you think I am...J. P. ROCKEFELLER OR SUMPTHIN/?????"...I mean, true I like these kinda hotcha Detroit-rock spasm and have for a longer time than many of you readers have fingers and toes, but I have other priorities to think about. Like buying up old PLASTIC MAN collections and watching Pixie and Dixie whenever I have the chance. I can't just go around whooshing up ever record, tape or Cee-Dee that looks even slightly interesting even if I would want to, and since I've been kicked off just about every promo gravy train that there is out there (which is no great shakes considering the state of "music" 2009) I gotta cough up the long green to buy (remember that word?) these things. Sheesh, you'd think that by this point in time people would send me everything and anything under the sun because I am Christopher Stigliano and I deserve these things just for being glorioski ol' me, but that ain't the case sweetie!
But now I have this Cee-Dee, or actually, Cee-Dee-Are, that was burnt for me by Brad Kohler precisely because he thought I should give it a listen, and y'know what? FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TO SEE is certain a "nice" disque. It's not trembling earth-shattering or anything like that, but it's good enough to keep me from recycling this one into a Christmas ornament. These Hackney brothers who recorded it did a pretty nice job at emulating their Detroit high energy roots, and this Cee-Dee, albeit pretty short in the time department, is a fancy enough representation of what just about another hundred or so groups of the same time strata were doing in their garages during the transitional year of 1975. Yeah, Rocket From The Tombs, the Imperial Dogs or even any edition of Umela Hmota with or without their un-tuned anti-bourgeois guitars could have whomped their butts in a battle of the bands, but if I hadda choose between seeing Death at a showplace on one side of the street and the Doobie Brothers on the other side, it's Death all the way...viva la Death!!!
Musically these Hackneys do have their Detroit style down pat. Maybe they ain't that high energy Detroit rock, but I think they cut a swath through some of the late-seventies practitioners of the form Detroit or otherwise who really didn't fill any bills w/regards to keeping up with the proud tradition that the sixties generation of bands shocked mid-Ameriga with. I do find Death a lot more palatable than a lotta those Detroiters who claimed eternal Stooge worship but couldn't find it in themselves to kick the jams outta their soul-less pre-conditioned poses. Maybe I gotta give 'em credit for that even when they tend to carouse in the same mire of predictability that ruined many a promising record, let alone act, way back in those bleary days between punk rock victory and post-rock pretension.
Upon further listening I felt that "Politicians in my Eyes" (a-side of the group's original '75 single now worth mucho astral credits) actually sounds a lot like Castle Farm's "Jewels of Fire", a side which Death in no way would have had the chance to have heard but since various similar innovations have been happening across the globe @ the same time w/o their participants knowing of each other I wouldn't consider this some sorta strange kozmik whooziz like some of your readers might, but I thought it wouldn't hurt pointing this out to you.
So whazza final verdict? Death were a pretty hot power trio group that thankfully are finally getting their posthumous due, and although they ain't what I would call top notch proto-punk I'm sure you'll find that dishing out bargain prices for a used copy (which, as some commenter mentioned, is a relatively easy task) would be worth your while. But when it comes to Death the version I'd prefer hearing would be yet another group with the exact same name from around the exact same timespan, these Deathsters being the ones from Milwaukee that not only featured future Contortionist James Chance on sax and organ but were so wired to the heart of the sacred o-mind that they actually would perform WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT and FUNHOUSE in their entirety for jaded brewery workers well before Chance felt the call to go to New York City and give them a lesson in what for. Now I'll bet those guys woulda been able to hold their own in a battle against Rocket, the Imperial Dogs and Umela Hmota no matter how outta tune they were, so all I gotta say is where is Dog Meat records when you really need 'em!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 6:42 AM
Saturday, September 19, 2009
EVEN MORE SINGLES GOING STROONADIER EVERY DAY!!!!
Yes, I know I could spend the next couple of hours ranting and raving about a whole batch of long playing twelve-inchers and even smaller Cee-Dees that I have encountered as of late. Or maybe I could do some soapboxing and rant and rave on about the current state of political affairs, attempting to and failing at looking so suave and innerlektual the whole time. Maybe I could foam at the mouth to you about the strange joy I felt after reading that an old high school adversary of mine has died after "an extended illness" (the best kind, for high school adversaries that is!), but I won't even though I should tell you about my regret at not being able to fulfill my long-running fantasy about laughing in the guy's face while he writhes in agony on his death bed (well, at least there's still Gary U. and Mark Z. to look forward to). Naw, I'd rather shoot the shinola not about mega-releases and oldtime aggressors but, for a change, those real compact discs otherwise known as seven-inch singles. I'm especially wont to brag on about the hugga bunch of 'em that I have recently received and am holding near and dear to mine heart even as we speak for they fortunately happen to be so good and so necessary for a complete lifestyle that I don't know how I lived so long without hearing any of these life-reaffirming slabs of vinyl!
As you probably already know, I just love the dickens outta these small records with the big holes, and even this far down the post-postmodern line I still get a lotta throb thrills slapping a whole buncha these fifties/sixties/seventies vintage singles onto my turntable before walking around the room just like me and my one cousin'd do to "Washington Square" circa ages 3/4 (it was the only record we had which we could do anything remotely BANDSTAND-like to, and for some reason we thought walking around the room was a whole lot better than dancing to the music!). OK, it just might be a little hard to do any sorta walking to a '79 vintage no wave single, but there still are many of these discs both old and new that will get my blood flowing and my fists flying, preferably into the face of the one I hate the most if he/she is situated within arm's reach.
Anyway, all of these items are newcomers to my collection and sure snuggle in nicely next to the similarly-molded items that have been in there since I was a wittle kid, so sans further ado here are a batch of records that I know will get you hopping and perhaps make you want to walk around the room right before cranking out your Kenner's Give-A-Show Projector for a spirited MR. ED slide and taking a nap!
***The Barracudas-"I Want My Woody Back"/"Subway Surfin'" (Cells)
The only reason I bid on this one is because the group's guitarist, namely Robin Wills, had it up for auction on ebay along with the following three singles which I fortunately had won or else this post might just be about my latest experiences trying to go through the buffet line at China Wok an unsurpassed four times. Maybe I figured that bidding on the item might, for some strange occult reason, help my win the other records, or perhaps the thought of me having a copy of this pre-EMI Barracudas single with its typical early-eighties indie release look would have been a swell addition to my own post-sixties surf-rock collection. I guess the real truth is that Wills said he'd knock a whole pound off this item if the winner would ask him to autograph it, and how could I, one who can even claim nary a drop of Scots blood, pass up a bargain like that!
Unlike the "better known" hit singles that the Barracudas had at the time, both of these numbuhs have a sound quality typical of your favorite late-seventies English garage-level punk pop recording. Ditto for the relatively plain picture sleeve which one might have mistaken for that of your standard "DIY" Isles quartet of the time. Naturally that adds up to the item's overall charm, and for a guy who does harbor some warm 'n toasty feelings about buying items like this back in the day I must admit that it brings a tear to my eye remembering all of the excitement and fun it would be to go to Cleveland and snatch up a hot looking English import single only to rush it home and find out what a DUD the thing would be. Well, you'd cry too if you plunked down $2.99 for a loser record!
But dud this is not...it's hot low-fidelity surf music played by a buncha limeys who had more of a handle of what surf music was all about at that time ('79) than I'm sure most people in California did. Lead singer Jeremy Gluck (yeah, the same guy who used to write for DENIM DELINQUENT and THE NEXT BIG THING) sounds pretty Amerigan even though he is a Canuck, so there is a shard of realism to this record which on one hand seems like it's being played for a joke and on the other comes off so much of a homage you don't know whether to guffaw or genuflect. Well, it sure stands as a good TESTAMENT to what used to be and what was washed away by a rising tide of hippiedom in only a few short years time.
Those of you who berate me for my love of early-sixties television, attitudes and general fun and games should be sure to miss this one as well.
***Stud Leather-"Cut Loose"/"Emma Louise" (Seabird France)
"Cut Loose" is such an unexpected outta nowhere winner, at least in my judge and jury book, that it even earned a proud spot on my own personal English proto-punk Cee-Dee-Are that I compiled a few tasty months ago. But I just hadda get an original, and since copies of this are rarer'n teenage virgins in Melbourne I decided to jump at the chance to bid on it once Robin Wills himself put it up for auction on ebay. Naturally the a-side is a hands down raver that I and many others have blabbed about before so I will dispense with the adulation, but sad to say flip "Emma Louise" doesn't measure up to the high energy quotient of the a-side sounding like a typical early-seventies pop paen custom made for ugly teenage girls with pimples on their thighs. Funny, this side could have been the big hit had it got played on Amerigan AM pop radio around 1970 during the rise of Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy! All I gotta say is, it's a good thing for us they stuck these losers on the b-side and left the ravers for the "a"!
Hector-Bye Bye Band Days"/"Lady" (DJM England)
Although Hector recorded for the same label that gave us Dame Elton John, don't expect any limp wrists (or limp anything elses) in this group! True they were but a small part of the English glam rock movement of the kinda-early/more-middle seventies, but these guys were pretty hotcha pop rockers who could probably hold a candle to a good portion of the less effete New York glamsters who were then cluttering up the stages of the Mercer Arts Center and Club 82. Not only that, but Hector were a rather off-kilter group at that dressing up like Dennis the Menace complete with slingshots that I'll bet helped ward off any tough guys were were willing to cause trouble!
Whaddeva, this one's the second and last of the group's two singles and it's yet another one of those killer sides that probably didn't make it to the top of the charts because it wsa too good for the same giddy teenyboppers who liked Donny Osmond. Actually both sides of this one are steady stompers that kinda sound like they're paving the way for the English punk explosion of a few years later at one point, then all of a sudden Hector sticks this sorta Sweet/Queen-ish harmony chanting of the old "School Days" song into the mix adding even more to the confusion! It probably would have been a wowzer at Rodney's English Disco which almost 40 years later sure sounds a lot better'n most people of exquisite rockism tastes would have admitted at the time!
***Helter Skelter-"I Need You"/"Goodbye Baby" (Sticky England)
A pretty rare just-pre-Hammersmith Gorillas single from Jesse Hector (no relation to the gang above!) and crew, the a-side of which you can proudly hear on the GLITTERBEST compilation which I'm sure you're seeking out even as we speak. I got this one for the other side which ain't as powerful as "I Need You" but still has this wild enough buzz to it that at least keeps me interested. Uh, did I ever tell you about the time I grew a beard and decided to shave everything off except the sideburns which were very Hectoresque, and got bludgeoned by just about everyone in the household to the point where I shaved 'em off just to keep the peace????
***The Third Rail-"It's a Surprise"/"Take That" (Long View)
It's a good thing I didn't hear this one before I lent ear to this group's boffo earlier recordings. For a band that wowed me with their powerful music that sounded like an all-out transmaniacon between the Velvet Underground and Blue Oyster Cult at their pre-arena rock best, by the time this '80 effort rolled around it's not hard to see that the insidious evils of "new wave" as a practiced, cultured style had overcome the band to the point where all of their seventies intensity and hard edge has clearly been washed away. It's pretty disappointing, almost as bad as when I was reading about how the Helen Wheels Band were supposed to be hard-rockin' high energy late-sixties west coast monsters only to get their early-eighties mini-album and find the whole thing drenched in new wave synthesized drivel! Kinda makes me all the more appreciative of acts like MX-80 Sound and Von Lmo who didn't succumb to the prevaling tides...and come to think of it where did it get them?
***Neon Leon-"R&R is Alive"; "Noh Time"/"Heart of Stone" (Big Deal)
I had some hesitation regarding whether to bid on this particular single, especially given all of the bad 'n nasty things that have been written about this Neon Leon guy o'er the years. I mean, if you couldn't trust THE NEW YORK ROCKER to help define and modulate your personal tastes, who could you trust? Well, being the thinking kinda guy I am I decided to latch onto this single just to experience for myself firsthand the Neon Leon experience and y'know what, this guy was pretty good given that he was yet one in about a thousand of young upstarters in En Why See trying to make it up that rock & roll ladder into the big time, though thankfully he never succeeded lest he lose a lotta the energy and stamina he did have to begin with.
Leon sounds a bit like Cheetah Chrome and he really knows how to rock it up on "R&R is Alive" which is yet another one of those clarion calls to all of us suburban voyeurs to come to NYC and get a handle on all of the action that was going on at the time. 's one of those nice upfront rockers that doesn't flop like a fish trying to be artistic yet fall flat on its face in attemptint to "rock out", something which really offends prissy school marms and homosexual latin majors alike. "Noh Time" is a fairly good if innaccurate pseudo-reggae number complete with a Hammond B3 organ just like the real reggae groups were using at the time, while "Heart of Stone" is that "Heart of Stone"...and it's no surprise that Mr. M. Jagger and K. Richard are thanked on the sleeve because I guess Leon and the two were about as tight as three overweight lesbians in a hot tub and you can't get any tighter (or more disgusting) than that!
If you're curious as to whatever became of this guy, why dontcha just click here and be taken to an actual online ROCKTOBER interview that'll shed just enough light on the subject to quell your innermost questions. Well, maybe not about the rumors regarding him murdering Nancy Spungen but I didn't read into it far enough to see for myself.
***The Poppees-"If She Cries"/"Love of the Loved" (Bomp)
Here's a Bomp label rarity that seemed to have gone out of print (or at least it was by the time I started buying records from BOMP mailorder) rather fast, a 1976 single by those Merseybeat wannabes from CBGB better known to us as the Poppees. Of course we all have their second single for the same label with the group resplendent in their mid-sixties mop top attire looking like the latest buncha Beatle cash-ins to pop outta the cellar, and this one (co-produced by Craig Leon) is just as 1962 Beatle beatoff as that one was, perhaps even more so because they even do a Lennon/McCartney original "Love of the Love" that was written for Cilla Black. Years before the Beatles' own version appeared via bootleg the Poppees were doing their own take as they imagined the Fab Four would have themselves and you know what, I've heard both versions and I like the Poppees one much better! The phony English accents do sound rather dated, but it sure worked for the Ramones so why not these guys! Yet another nice surprise from the mid-seventies just-pre-punk as pUnk days when it was conceivable for a group like the Marbles to open for AC/DC without causing too much of an uproar.
And with that note see you who knows when...maybe next Wednesday, next weekend, next month, next year???? In the ever volatile world of BLOG TO COMM nothing is ever certain, so remember...look both ways before crossing the blogosphere.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 1:07 PM
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Catalogue-ANTWERPEN LIVE 11 AUG. 1979 1:30 H BELGIE CD (Spalax, France)
Do a little googlin' and you can find out about the time Catalogue played a jazz festivel in Austria where Cecil Taylor thought their set was great but the jazz critics just couldn't take these Frenchmen's free-play concepts and labeled the whole thing "punk rock". Well, after giving this Jac Berrocal-led improv jazz-rock group a listen to all I gotta say is that both Taylor's enthusiasm and the stodgy critical "acumen" of the jazz establishment are both spot on with regards to Catalogue, who in many ways seems just as apocalyptic end-of-decade full nova as the Contortions, Chrome and all of those acts that used to hang out at Max's Kansas City at the time were. Heck, Catalogue's got even more up-against-it atonality and glorious musical nihilism tossed into their genetic makeup to satiate sublime onlookers such as myself a good three decades after the fact and sometimes that's a pretty Herculean feat in itself!
Berrocal never was known for his adherence to strict tonal formats, and with five-like minded souls performing with him (including guitarist Jean-Francois Pauvros, another prolific Gallic post-jazz adherer) what could anyone expect but a record that starts off with clod-sy rhythms as horns squeal before breaking into a true punk rock (as in 1977 London and all that stuff that frightened way too many people who shoulda known better) rave right before it all turns into a homage to the Eyetalian Futurists proving that what's fifty years when you're making music for the ages like this.
The entire effect is rather free-spirited, or is that free-splat, and at times even THE FAUST TAPES seem to be recalled in between the mock punk and sub-AACM weird instrumental passages (which include glockenspiel, harmonium and toy saxophone), and yeah at times this does sound like it could have been an outtake from a Creative Construction Company session, that's how small-instrument sounding it can get! In all it makes for nice, perhaps even introverted listening and why Rough Trade didn't think of picking up on this 'un thus garnering it some much-needed publicity is quite a mystery to me. After all, in many ways ANTWERPEN fits into the whole Cab Volt/Throbbing Gristle post-rock style and the best thing about it was that you knew this wasn't going to devolve into unlistenable "dance music" once 1980 rolled around!
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 10:47 AM
Saturday, September 12, 2009
MY WEEKLY ABOVE AND BEYOND, AND THIS WEEK I MEAN IT!
You think you have problems? Well try being me...y'see, this very AM I was having one of my typical high-velocity allergy-induced sneezes and after one particularly wrenching one that involved every muscle in my upper torso I strained my neck and shoulders to the point where I can barely move my head and constant pain is the result of any serious above the scapular movement on my sorry part! About a dozen Ibuprophen just barely makes me feel tolerable, and although I now have an excuse not to do my daily exercises (which I gotta admit have been boring me to all heck) I am suffering needlessly which of course is way too much suffering for me considering all of the other indignities and sorrow I have to put up with in my real life! And although I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy (which some say is myself!---wonder where they got that strange idea?) that's only because compared to having a safe fall on your foot my backache's merely discomforting, and when I want my declared foes to suffer I want it to be in the most gnarly way possible!
But occupy myself I must if only to get my mind off this annoying ache o' mine, and that means I've been attempting to seek out sounds that have unfortunately waited this long to grace my otherwise well-traveled ears. In my usual desperation to find such new and unheard music, I (re)discovered a number of Cee-Dee-Ares burnt for me by various people o'er the years, most notably Bob Forward and Jon Behar, that were wallowing in a few old shoe boxes in my stacked library amidst a variety of disques that surprisingly enough arrived at my abode solicited. While many of these disques have frankly either left me cold (really, I can't "get into" the Taj Mahal Travelers for the life of me!) I managed to find a few niceties sprinkled amidst the Larvals and Black Dice that, come to think of it, I might have even thought of buying way back when had I knew this music was going to have been as engaging as it was. And considering how I was for some strange reason all of a sudden interested in hearing the music of one Loren Mazzacane Connors, a man who I had purposefully avoided due to the incessant underground hype surrounding him, I was fortunate that Mr. Forward had included some of the man's material at the end of a platter that also included the nice yet not earth-shattering Frank Lowe/Phillip Wilson duo on Ecstatic Peace which I no longer have to pluck out of my massive record collection to hear anymore.
Whatever it was of Connors' works that Mr. Forward put on that disque for me, it sure was good enough late-evening listening. But whether it was good enough for me to go and search out any other Connors releases or downloads well...it was! Now, I ought to 'fess up to the fact that some of the acoustic explorations of the man that I have come across on youtube in my search for more Connors material to evaluate wasn't quite as grasping (of my mind, temperament, cojones) as his electric guitar work but I wouldn't routinely dismiss the material offhand like I might have been wont to do even a good decade back. But I certainly to like the feel of his electric music, which seems to travel in between seventies avant garde explorations and that relatively newly-coined term "outsider" which, again, is something that tends to turn me off especially when uttered from the keypads of relatively one-dimensional arbiters of whatever the new flavor of the week music/art/value system people in the "know" are supposed to follow lemming-like off the nearest hip cliff.
Strangely enough, the Connors music that really did get to the quick of my soul was this piece entitled "The Hymn of the North Star" which I found via youtube which is always a good place for me to test out various recording artists before plunking down the hard-earned for their records. Dunno where this particular piece comes from or who did the sublimely simple (tres 1975 minimal quasi-Anger-esque) film of the moon rising that accompanies it, but I (gosh darn it!) was mesmerized by both the audio and visuals enough to the point where I felt that I was back in those halcyon days watching some interesting PBS filler on a muggy summer night before waiting to see what was on the channel 17 late movie. Can anyone tell me which album this 'un comes from, and what other Connors records there are worthy of my lucre? Thought I'd share it with you to see if you too got the same thrill chills as I did. You probably won't. It figures.
But until someone does fill me in some, here are a few reviews that you might find interesting enough, to boycott this blog for the rest of its natural days but at least it gotcha to do something like REACT, right?
***The Quick-MONDO DECO LP (Mercury)
Here's another one of those whoosh what HAPPENED? albums that sorta came and went at your local record shop, or you probably thought it would go cutout any day only to find that when it did the disc somehow missed your local bins which I know burned me up a bit during the early eighties. But now that it's 2009 you finally have a SECOND CHANCE to latch onto these desirable demi-punk obscurities (usually via ebay), albeit you now have to pay about 1,000% more than you woulda had you lucked out finding a copy at the flea market of your choice lo those many years back.
Mercury might have known how to handle the Runaways, but when it came to such equally suburban squall outfits as the Quick and the Demons they had little if any idea what was going on. Tis a shame too, since this Quick album was what'cha'd call a pretty neat slice of '76/'77 El Lay pop, heavy on the Sparks (why'd ya think they got Earle Mankey to take time out of his busy Beach Boy schedule to produce?) and overdosing with that teenage ginchiness for the gals which I hope helped sales quite a bit. True, the more sturdy amongst you regular BLOG TO COMM readers will probably gag at the Russ Mael-esque castrati vocals on elpee opener "It Won't Be Long" (which sounds like it coulda been the flip to Sparks' own glossarama cover of "I Want To Hold Your Hand") but as the album progresses (and you discover just what a good hard-pop minded songwriter guitarist Steve Hufsteder is) vocalist Danny Wilde's vocals don't quite get to you like you thought they would and in fact come off kinda snot teenage in a healthy 1976 way. And, as far as various Sparks-ish emulations throughout the years go (Jet, the Gleaming Spires, the Mumps...) the Quick managed to make it out alive without looking like a carbon copy or a quickie cash in on a sound and style that would probably look silly and dated in a few year's time.
A surprise winner, actually, even with what I would call a duff tossaway cover version of the Four Seasons' "Rag Doll" which makes Frankie Valli sound like he's discovered that he man voice he's been looking for his entire career!
***ELMER FUDPUCKER AT THE NUDIST COLONY LETTIN' IT ALL HANG OUT CD-R burn (originally on the Vulgar label)
I don't think anyone other'n Bill Shute is expecting a review of this behind (no pun intended)-the-barn classic, and considering how I don't think anyone other than Bill reads this blog it's like I have little choice but to fulfill the wishes of my number one fan and I don't mean Westinghouse! Anyway this little doozy supposedly went gold back in the mid-sixties, and considering all of the talent and general hoo-hahs that went into this thing it's not hard to see why. Elmer Fudpucker's a pretty durn funny guy who cranks out more laffs in this thirtysome-minute longplayer than Comedy Central does in a year, hoisting loads of hefty smart double-entendre jokes atcha coupled with some tasty musical numbers that'll have you rolling in the aisles squealing like two pigs on their honeymoon. 's funny, but this record purports to contain "adult material", but I find it a whole lot cleaner than the tepid smut so commonplace in the comedy world these days, and you can bet that Elmer and company are a whole lot funnier'n hearing some bigmouth swear up a storm while belittling the same little man his armchair Marxist self believes is uplifting from the evils of...I guess owning your own home and putting in a good 40-plus a week.
So ferget those simpering sassies and give this platter a spin. It's got (between the smart nudist colony patter and jokes guaranteed to wow 'em at the water cooler) some great rewrites of the classics including the perennial Halloween fave "Hunted (sic) House" as well as a snappy CISCO KID spoof not forgetting yet another cover of that Jimmy Dean homo piss-take "Big Bad Bruce" which, if anything, proves I was right all along. I guarantee you'll be laughing your head off before the taste police come to get you and send you to re-education camp! And what's best, this Fudpucker guy is still up and at 'em with his own website...for living proof just click here, and be prepared to dish out mucho moolah for his swamp root potion!
***Anthony Braxton/Derek Bailey-ROYAL VOLUME ONE CD-R burn (Ictus)
Another Shute burn, which did come in handy considering my recent re-evaluation of Anthony Braxton and his surprising rising star in seventies jazz circles that was bound to sink like a stone once the eighties rolled around and jazz suddenly became bow tie and tuxedo chic again. Here he's cavorting with English guitarist Derek Bailey in Luton July 2 '74 putting up more of a squonk than a squee as he clanks and burps in between Bailey's clunks and plucks. In fact mesmerizing as opposed to all-out free play. A welcome collaboration between two of the more abstract yet classical-attuned avant gardists of that strange period in time somewhere in-between Vietnam and Jimmy Carter riding the hokum route to the White House.
***Khan Jamal-GIVE THE VIBES SOME CD-R (originally released on Palm Records in France)
Pretty durn entertaining set here from Jamal recorded with Hassan Rashid on drum and Clint Jackson III on trumpet in Paris '74. In this setting Jamal and company remind me of some long-forgotten Milford Graves session as the vibes or marimba play on as the drums do their best beyond-the-patterns push, or when in consort with a trumpet they conduce some nice inward-energy numbers that evoke some of the best out of the many better moments that seventies free jazz had to offer. It's amazing just how many good above-ground, Euro and self-produced good avant garde jazz was produced back then...I'll betcha that if I live to be 139 (and I would like that!) I'd never get to hear it all. Or if I did live that long, with my luck I'd go deaf by age 120.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 1:51 PM
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Bubble Puppy-A GATHERING OF PROMISES CD (International Artists/Charly UK)
Can't seem to find my copy of the ELMER FUDPUCKER AT THE NUDIST COLONY Cee-Dee-Are right now (hmmmm, it was in the same pile as the rest of the Bill Shute burns...maybe the folks grabbed it for laffs!), so I'll guess I'll settle on reviewing this exquisitely-packaged reissue of the Bubble Puppy album done in the same bookbound fashion as the Golden Dawn's POWER PLANT album, not forgetting a few more of these reissued International Artists platters that I might even buy one of these days. You can read my review of the Puppy's chart-topping single "Hot Smoke and Sasafrass" here if you so desire, but if you're one of those many members of the record buying public circa. 1969 who snatched this single up and didn't bother to engage in any more research (and regret it), well here's yet another chance to do so w/o breaking the bank for a prized original.
You may be expecting A GATHERING OF PROMISES to be one big heavy metal throbfest, right? I sure was. Well, it wasn't quite the hard-edged metallic roll of thunder I was expecting, but if you think I was disappointed you're WRONG as usual because although this platter ain't quite as indicative of what an early HM classic could entail it's still a mighty good record outta nowhere that came atcha and went off w/o a trace. It sounds more Midwestern than Texan, with a style that comes off one part late-garage band-era/early-punk, another part early progressive (more or less like 1968 garage mutating into the early prog beat as performed by kids who weren't aware of what havoc they would wreak!) and yet another part early heavy metal back when that emerging form didn't know whether it wanted to be hard blues or all out crank. It is a great combination, especially when you throw a little mid-sixties folk rock harmony into an already-overloaded mix resulting in a record which frankly I can hardly categorize myself if only to explain what you dolts might be in for taking a chance on this rather unique-sounding record.
I'd be lyin' if I said that I thought A GATHERING OF PROMISES was a total wowzer high energy headspinner, but then again I have the feeling that this one will grow on me as the years progress. Yeah, I know that for most of you a good record is one that usually hits you immediately or leaves you cold forever, but in many a case I, like Lester Bangs, have originally felt tepid towards certain platters but have come to like them after a few plays, or after the artist/label whose record I "dissed" wrote me to complain. Well, I do like this one, and I'll betcha dollars to doughboys that before my life is through I'll probably enjoy it all the more to the point where this one'll top one or more of my own personal charts which exquisite fanzines of the future will be more than glad to publish once I become the trendsetting maverick of rock fandom that I've always fashioned myself to be lo these many years.
Oh yeah, and it even comes with (besides the enclosed booklet detailing the history of the band) the prerequisite bonus tracks including the mono single take of "Sasafrass" not forgetting such b-side rarities as "What Do You See" which has to be my SECOND fave-rave Bubble Puppy song (as if you didn't know what my primo fave was!).
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 11:16 AM
Saturday, September 05, 2009
A POX UPON THEE, LIKE THERE IS UPON ME!Well, some of you have wanted to see a recent photo of the private-beyond-recognition me, so what better one'n this snap taken when a strange mark (which I had originally believed to have been the results of some hideous curse!) appeared upon my forehead! Originally I thought it was a pimple and jammed many a straight pin into the itchy sac hoping to drain it of pus, but all that come out was blood and bloody water after more than a few vigorous squeezings. The spot eventually went away (after a few months time) and all is well above the eyebrows, though I have the sneaking suspicion that the blemish will re-appear in a few months as a huge greenish-colored whitehead which I could then squeeze with ease thus putting "The Case Of The Persistent Pimple" to rest. I guess that's enough regarding my illustrious life that more than a few of you would most certainly want to emulate, if not imitate.
Between pimple-squeezing, nose-picking, boil-lancing, earwax-probing and other fun bodily sports I did manage to churn out a few reviews that I thought would satisfy you, at least until I can post some more record writeups and insights as the days progress. Right now I'm digging through a good portion of my old vinyl jazz collection on the hunt for forgotten atonal goodies (as you will see from this particular post), although I'm still making my way through the Shute burn-pile which contains a whole load of rarities that I and I'm sure you never even knew existed, at least prior to the Age of Digitation! I may continue to review a good portion of the booty Bill sent in these "pages" though I think a good hunkerin' slab will probably not make the grade, probably because I dunno if you really would want to read five whole paragraphs extolling the praises of ELMER FUDPUCKER AT THE NUDIST COLONY LETTIN' IT ALL HANG OUT. Maybe if I don't get enough responses from this post I will write one just to punish you!!! All kidding aside, I really am appreciative of the disques not only Bill Shute and Paul McGarry have sent me not only because they're saving me millions of dollars by sharing these obscurities, but because it's sure nice and heartwarming to know that some people out there wuv me unlike those mean and nasty bloggers out there who think bad and evil thoughts about me and for no good reason at that. To which I say fie on thee, and may all of your "relevant" and "meaningful" alternative records warp in the sun and may your compact disques rate a G+ rating according to GOLDMINE standards! In this day and age, can you think of a better rant of indignation???
Hmmmm, after that I think I'll just skeedaddle on to the record reviews (and for a change, they all are records, as in good ol' vinola just like mom used to make!)...
***Cecil Taylor-SILENT TONGUES LP (Arista-Freedom)
Here's another one from the Rick Noll package from a month or so back which netted me a number of seventies-vintage free jazz albums that sure bring back fond memories of seventies-vintage free jazz albums! Solo Taylor live @ Montreaux July 2 '74 in front of what seems to be a small but appreciative audience that is so polite that nary a boo or even an "all right" can be heard during the very few silent spots. Taylor plays it loud and noisy proving that he didn't need a Unit to get his message across (no slight re. Jimmy Lyons and Sunny Murray), and his homages to Bartok played at lightning speed proves that he is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated scions of the new thing to have appeared during the mid portion of the previous century no matter what that Marsalis jerk might thing! (Yeah, Taylor's treatment on Ken Burns' Jazz documentary still gets to me like bad...but then again what can you say about a musical genre that shuns the likes of Taylor, Coleman etc. or at least treats 'em like cute freakshow wonders while praising to the hilt some of the wimpiest, weakest music ever transcribed?) Beautiful energy translated into sound, and you can tell that this one overcame me if only for that particularly florid piece of description so uncommon of a stable individual such as myself!
***Anthony Braxton-ALTO SAXOPHONE IMPROVISATIONS 1979 2-LP set (Arista)
Have you ever sat through four sides of Anthony Braxton improvising on saxophone? Well I have, and best of all I lived to tell about it! All kidding aside this is a stellar side from the Dave Brubeck of the seventies (acc. to Richard Meltzer 'n that wasn't meant as a compliment!) back when the guy was so popular in the avant garde jazz world that Arista would be pumping out albums by him ever few months (a la Columbia and Miles Davis during his tenure as the king of the jazz heap) and all of Braxton's back catalog was being tossed out as us faster than you can say "RachelMaddoweatsbush!" Maybe not so surprisingly, Braxton borrows freely from his bop roots on many of these numbers so in between the atonal hard trills and utter bleats there are moments that do reflect that particular era of jazz's coming of age and (interesting considering Meltzer's derogatory comments) Brubeck sideman Paul Desmond himself! (An aside...is Dave Brubeck's own foray into the avant garde from '75 with Braxton in tow worth the time, effort and money?) A nice way to spend a good hour and a half even if Braxton is hardly a Roscoe Mitchell or Julius Hemphill, but then again, who is?
***Circle-PARIS CONCERT 2-LP SET (ECM)
The above album got me thinkin' about just how big a name Anthony Braxton was on the late-seventies international hotcha jazz scene, and what better impetus could there be for me to grab this moldie outta the collection given how PARIS CONCERT was one of many albums rushed onto the market in the wake of Braxton's newfound fame and fortune! Yes, once the noted reedman made good at Arista it seemed as if just about every old label he recorded for, or at least some small outta-the-way company like Inner City or Muse that had tapes of him in action were (re)issuing his solo contrabass clarinet albums and duos with Joseph Jarman at the speed of light! Anyhoo, this 'un, courtesy of the German pristine jazz label ECM, was easy enough to spot for a good many years before fading away into flea market bins nationwide, and I sure remember looking at the tightly-shrinkwrapped album pondering exactly what feral and unnerving sounds could be heard on those two discs enclosed...then I noticed none other'n Chick Corea's name on the thing and figured that something certainly was amiss!
Actually the famed joybell isn't that much of a hindrance to this co-op which consists of, besides Braxton, bassist/cellist Dave Holland and drummer Barry Altschul, even though his definitely classical leanings tend to raise this live sesh a few notches, if you know what I mean. Corea's playing is so perfect to the point of sterility that his associations with such free players as Braxton et. al. just damper the entire shebang. Oh, there are some great moments and at times shards of pure brilliance, but I sure would have preferred a more copasetic pianist on this session like a Muhal Richard Abrams or even a Paul Bley rather than the soon-to-go-commercial-all-over-the-floor Corea who would have been put to much better use leading some progressive pomp band of the day than mucking up the jazz world with his tinkletune inanities.
But other'n that this is a boss set with Circle doing the free play about as well as any group with Chick Corea in it could...not exactly in a "fire music" mode but with a good enough jazz/classical balance that doesn't quite make you wanna run crazy but doesn't make you wanna rip the album off the turntable either. Only real dud is side four's cover of "No Greater Love" which is just too pre-inspirational tuxedos and bow tie for my tastes, and most certainly yours.
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 2:20 PM
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
DEREK BAILEY/HAN BENNINK CD-R burn (ICP, available for download here)
Bill Shute burned this one for me, but if you wanna sidestep the middleman why dontcha go to the source (in this case the Modern Illusions blog) and cook one up for yourself! And as for being a hot avant duo release from two of the biggest improvisers outta late-sixties England...well, I gotta admit to you that I never was that much of a fan of English guitarist Derek Bailey perhaps because I haven't had the opportunity to hear as much of his playing as many of you reg'lar readers have, but on this endeavor the guy sounds like he's playing way outside the bun as they say nowadays. At times you think he's using a fancy corkscrew for a guitar pic and it sure is interesting the way he can pick and get such unworldly sounds outta his gear to the point where you don't know whether he's playing a guitar or plucking a chicken. Percussionist Bennink does his part trying to out-do Sunny Murray at his own game with his pleasingly at-times irrythmic patterns. Add a few shouts and moans, not forgetting this weird trumpet that sounds like one of those ancient instruments archaeologists always seem to dig up and you got an honest-to-goodniz doo wah classic here. And the best thing about it is that the entire shebang is free with a mere click of a mouse and a blank Cee-Dee-Are. Sorry if you paid beaucoup bucks for these experimental rarities throughout the seventies and eighties when now you can download 'em for next to nada...for one thing I sure am! (Not really...I mean, I sure coulda used a good listenin' to all of these out-there classics back when I was fifteen and most susceptible to their charms than I can now that I'm old and raggedy, but better late'n nada I always say!)
Posted by Christopher Stigliano at 11:21 AM