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.