THE LAST "REAL" POST OF THE DECADE, AS IF THAT DOESN'T BRING A TEAR TO YOUR EYE!
Like I promised, here's a mini-smidgie kinda post to sorta top the year off before I pree-sent to you my not-so-massive year's end roundup this Thursday. Not much to say in the way of anything earth-shattering or life-reaffirming, but I thought it would be pleasing as punch to give mention to a few little items that have wormed their way to the bunker before we cap these oh-oh's off for good. I have no idea what this particular post is going to mean (for you, me or the bedpost for that matter) as far as anything aerie/philosophical-like, but I thought it would be a good way to "get rid" of a few reviews before 2010 clocks in and we all start anew. Anew at what I have no idea of either.
One good thing for you avid BLOG TO COMM readers to look forward to in 2010 is more Dee-Vee-Dee reviews! With my computer's DVD drive acting extremely finicky either rejecting disques totally or playing them at warp drive (meaning they play as if they're warped!), it was sure heartening to know that my very own mother has received not only a DVD player of her own on which she can spin her opera and JAG disques, but a mini-sized screen planted smack dab in the privacy of her own bedroom (since the tee-vee we have hitched up to the satellite is too old to accept such new technology as DVD players) as well! This means that, at least when nobody else is home, I can sneak into her room and watch a huge backlog of platters I myself have acquired, so expect some hotcha writeups of everything from THE CORPSE GRINDERS to THE HOWDY DOODY SHOW in the coming months! I spent a good portion of Sunday watching a few episodes of GOMER PYLE, including the huge guffaw-inducing one spoofing THE DATING GAME where Gomer remarks to Sgt. Carter how the other contestant's even handsomer than Rock Hudson and sounds like Cary Grant! Sounds like a date that can go three ways, at least if the rumors that have been going around for years can be believed! And the "OK, let's hear it for Henshaw" one had me rolling in the aisles, or at least in the comfy chair!!! Also watched were a few episodes of AMERICA 2-NITE which were really boffo though I recall "The First Fifty Weeks" special (touting the first fifty weeks of the UBS Network, whose motto is "We put U before the BS"!) being way funnier than what actually transpired thanks to a thirty-plus-year memory hell bent on embellishing everything to the point of rose-colored nostalgia rear-viewing so to speak. Whatever, this "replacement" series for MARY HARTMAN X2 remains a whole lot better than anything that has been broadcast since 1979, not counting reruns that is! Expect reviews of both of these series and of course much more in up and coming BLOG TO COMMs!
And now, here is the pittance I have been promising you:
Tin Huey-BEFORE OBSCURITY; THE BUSHFLOW TAPES CD (Smog Veil, available through the usual sources)
I remember getting grief from a few people (OK, maybe two at the most!) in the eighties for mentioning my like (not quite luv) for this bunch of Akron confusionites who weren't quite sure whether they wanted to be punks or Canterbury-derived art-rockers. The memories of Huey's solo major label output on Warners, CONTENTS DISLODGED DURING SHIPMENT, really must have thrown 'em for a loop and although I must confess to having loved the dickens outta the platter at the time (enough that I even own two copies of their "I'm a Believer"/"Hump Day" 12-inch promo single, one autographed by the band!) I should also admit that I ain't played the thing for nigh on twenny-five years! Not surprisingly, I find myself preferring the group's early "self-produced" seven-inchers on the local Clone label not to mention a number of early live and studio tapes that fell into my mitts during the late-eighties, a time when it seemed as if my yearnings for the seventies underground were growling louder and louder because that eighties stuff just wasn't cutting it and no matter how hard I tried the Membranes just weren't gonna replace the likes of Huey and MX-80 Sound in my book!
Smog Veil seems to be doing its job, albeit slowly, in bringing the seventies NE Ohio underground to the present with this Tin Huey collection being just the latest. Most of it was taped in '78, live as well as at the group's Bushflow Studios, and even at this later date the group still sound a whole lot more than the eighties ginchy goo Devo music this stuff eventually evolved into. (Which is saying something since one track features the more or less debut of the Waitresses complete with new wave songstress Whatzername Donahue fronting the '78 Huey lineup!) Looks like Harvey Gold was scouring the used and import bins of the area for all the Soft Machine and Amon Duul II albums he could find just like I and presumably you were. You can hear how the group had honed itself into a sleek underground rock act emanating out of the Industrial Midwest...of course I prefer their early raw material but it's sure nice listening to them being true to their punk roots while presenting them in a more stylish, professional way. Well, at least to the point where they're not going to make you sick with that eighties-bred Pee Wee Herman new wave music that ex-Huey Ralph Carney was excelling in after the group's 1980 break up.
And what is this??? Some early (1973) live tracks have been tagged on at the end, taken from that show recorded at the Townhouse which has been making the rounds at least amongst serious tape-trading circles for quite a long time! Showing the Hueys as a quartet in their pre-Carney days, these songs have that ragged, rawer and thus more appealing sway which'll give you an idea of how Huey sounded back when they were opening shows for Rocket From The Tombs and Mirrors and Peter Laughner was writing articles about 'em in the local entertainment rags. They had a stronger, more intense punk approach at the time with covers of the Velvets and Stooges rife in their sets amidst the krautrock, and although I would have preferred hearing the entire show including the show-stopping closer "Sister Ray" 'stead of the newer recordings that make up the bulk of this disque I guess beggars can't be choosers or so they say.
One major beef I have with this package is the uh-glee cover art which doesn't conjure up visions of seventies hard-flash but nineties/oh-oh's alternative kitsch seen in way too many record ads that were and continue to pop up in the "'zines" of then and now. I guess they couldn't get whoever did the artwork for that boss debut EP from '77 so they hadda settle for one of those Coop/Kozik-derived cartoony-time delineaters who continue to be in vogue even as we dig deeper and deeper into the new millenium. Well, I guess with a lot of alternative/underground clubs closing up and groups folding by the score they need to get some work considering all of the posters they won't be drawing in the upcoming years!
***ACID DREAMS EPITAPH CD (Past & Present, available through Forced Exposure)
Another questionable purchase considering how I have most if not all of these tracks on other albums and disques throughout my collection, and the selection really isn't quite as obscure as the blurb-writers would have you believe. Ranging from the familiar (PEBBLES lifts, Norton label signings) to the less-than (the Journey Men, the Sweet Acids), at least the sound is clearer and if you haven't been paying that much attention for the last ten or so years these do remind you of just one reason why listening to rock & roll music back in the late-seventies was a rather enjoyable task. Still, it doesn't match the wonderment on a boy's face when he'd go to his favorite local record shop and espy a copy of PEBBLES VOLUME ONE thinking it every bit as exciting and as adventurous as a moon rock, and in many ways he was right!
***HANK KETCHAM'S COMPLETE DENNIS THE MENACE 1951-1952 (Fantagraphics, 2005)
Look what Santa (aka Bill Shute) got me for Christmas! Never would have expected getting this collection of early Dennis the Menace cartoons sent to me and I'm glad that Bill knew what one needs for Christmas is not socks or underwear but fun unadulterated reading material like this! It sure beats the heck outta that one X-mas when I was ten or eleven when ever-sagging grades prompted the folks to get me books like MRS. WIGGS OF THE CABBAGE PATCH and TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST (along with some "scientific" games that were meant to educate me but were about as informative as a Julius Sumner Miller Physics Demonstration) in a vain attempt to "uplift" myself so to speak. A big hearty thanks to Mr. Bill for at least realizing that a dolt is a dolt and there's nothing you can do about it!
Since none of the very early stories were available in paperback when I was eleven and a huge fan of the comic and tee-vee show these are all new to me. It's interesting seeing the way the drawing style and the character developed during the comic's first two years, almost unrecognizable at the beginning but starting to take shape by the time '52 clocks out, and even at this early stage DENNIS THE MENACE was a fun, guffaw-inducing comic that was only hinting at the raw carnage that would take place once the strip "developed" into what we know it as in the mid-fifties. No Mr. Wilson yet (Mrs. Wilson does pop up later on) and you could expect a proto-Margaret here 'n there, but some of the great gags we all love like Dennis getting his wimpass dad into hot water with musclebound bullies are popping up and being used to good effect. And for you homos out there, Dennis even makes a few butt-naked appearances which I'm sure will get your jollies up even more than a few other things, if you know what I mean. The one where Dennis shows up nude at his (male) friend's door asking his mother if said pal wanted to join him for a bath will really get a lotta titters at the clandestine bar with the double-entendre name closest to you!
***Anthrax-"HyProGlo"/"Got The Time" (live) promotional CD (Elektra)
I may be wrong, but weren't Anthrax one of the better eighties heavy metal aggros making a far superior holy racket in the face of a load of pale imitations that cluttered up that decade with nothing but a lotta hair? This promo disque does give a good sample of why they were so good next to the competition...while loads of eighties metal seemed to be distorting seventies accomplishment or utilizing the worst aspects of its late-seventies variations, Anthrax remained true to metal's early-seventies thud-credo making them avant garde (with a retro attitude) the results which certainly sounded better'n what the anagram metal brigade (WASP etc.) were dishing out at that sorry time.
One studio and one live...a short deal but if you got it cheap you have a pretty good enough taste. Well, at least these guys came closer to the Alice Cooper credo than Alice himself did long after his fame ran out even if that ain't saying very much!
***Hmmmm, that was longer than I had planned...aren't you peons lucky?