Saturday, September 19, 2009


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'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.

1 comment:

planckzoo said...

Robin Willis is a cool guy! I wouldn't mind owning that 45 myself, the Cuda's have gotten plenty of play over the years around here, as have Robin's albums with the Fortunate Sons.