DUFF WEEK IF YOU ASK ME (AND WHY WOULDN'T YOU?)
Yeah it has been a bad 'un with the demise of Alex Chilton, one of the few survivors of the boss sixties who fortunately enough didn't wuss out once they morphed into the snide seventies. As for Charles Gillett well, eh, I dunno, since I do rememeber him dismissing the Velvet Underground in the pages of BOMP way back in their early days and just forgive me if I never even laid hands upon a copy of SOUND OF THE CITY. But Chilton...well, he did prove that there were second acts in American rock, although they weren't always as strong or as potent as they were in the first. You've read all of the accolades elsewhere from mental giants and midgies and since I don't have any personal memories of the man and in fact didn't even care for some of his efforts (including that one late-eighties album where he did a whole load of lounge schmoozers like "Volare") maybe I better keep my trap shut at least for now. But don't let it be said that I didn't put my two centavos in w/regards to the passing of this musical might. His work with the Box Tops, Big Star and solo speak for themselves (anyone out there got the unexpurgated version of LIKE FLIES ON SHERBET which I must say is rarer than kosher pickle sundaes?) and even if some of his latter work is not up to snuff well, it's like he did enough for us music-wise so why should I quibble?
Before I get onto the meager meat and potatoes portion of this blog (translation: DON'T EXPECT MUCH!) I thought that I'd better letcha know that any of you readers who were enthralled by my coverage of the Titfield Thunderbolt and wanted to hear more will most certainly be in luck, for a double-disc set entitled NECROSCOPIX featuring the Thunderbolt and more is in the works and might just be unleashed upon an eagerly-awaiting public (hopefully) within the next few months. Really, I never thought that any of those obscure tracks that lurched forth from the Richmond Virgina underground in the very-early seventies would ever get the reissue treatment but it looks as if they're going to get just that, and from what I can tell you the people who are putting this out (mostly former TT member Bill Altice and some smart backers) did a fine job slapping these two disques together, complete with an insert booklet with loads of obscure information on groups I don't think anybody outside of the area (or inside it!) knew existed. Some of it, like the TT material, is primitive garage rock cum Smegma-like experimentation while others, like the Big Naptar tracks, are early proto-punk musings which settle really swell with my own personal aesthetics. And yet other moments range from Albert Ayler-influenced "fake" jazz as well as home experimentation the kind you used to read about in OP. In all a fine effort that I hope brings the Thunderbolt and their brethren to a new audience that I guess got fed up on the stuff these groups ultimately led to a good two/three decades down the line. I'll let you know when this thing actually hits the real-life market.
Following are just a few bits 'n feces that I threw together to make it look like I actually care about doing this particular post. Nothing spectacular, but then again I'm spending my time immersing myself in old recordings that have been languishing for quite some time which I don't necessarily think warrant posts of their own but who knows, if I get that hard up maybe they will. The Norton Link Wray sets (as well as various Epic/Sundazed reissues) are getting plenty of spins here (my personal favorite being SOME KINDA NUT, volume three of the MISSING LINKS series which I remember pestering Tim Warren to put out as early as 1985!) as is the 39-minute "Sweet Sister Ray" live at La Cave 4/30/68, perhaps the Velvet Underground's most avant-garde statement extant which I believe to my soul must have been the precursor to a variety of drum-less Cleveland underground aggregates that came out in its wake ranging from (sometimes) the Electric Eels to Harlan and the Whips. Everything else right now can take a back burner except for Can, as you will find out in just a short while.
***BRIAN SETZER AND THE BLOODLESS PHARAOHS CD (Collectables)
Who ever woulda thought that Collectables would issue a Bloodless Pharaohs Cee-Dee anyway! But they have, with most if not all of that old Distortions album included as well as their set from the 1979 Max's Kansas City Easter Festival! Not only that but you get a single side which I believe was recorded long after Setzer skedaddled the band for rockabilly glam fame. A decent presentation of just what New York underground rock could aspire to during the closing days of the seventies, with a sleek enough electric sound that reminds me of early Roxy Music most of the time and, along with such acts as the Comateens and Ronnie and the Jitters kinda straddles the boundaries between mid-seventies intense underground energies (Pere Ubu, Kongress, MX-80 Sound...) and early-eighties gnu wave fashion-kitsch. But don't blame 'em yet, or at least until Setzer put on the eye makeup and sashayed his way to fame and fortune.
***Can-OGAM OGAT LP (bootleg of European origin)
Given the dearth of exciting archival digs (forget anything new of worth ever to be materialized) it's sure great hearing these discards and rejects which have remained buried for years. This Can album is no exception, an outtake from the TAGO MAGO sessions featuring Damo and the boys ranting and droning away reaching new heights and hitting a few bummers in the process. Nothing that I think would have been worthy of a legitimate release during those days, but forty years down the line it sure has more potency and meaning to you (the discerning BLOG TO COMM reader) than all of the amerindie stuff that was attempting to imitate Can and failing miserably in the process.
***BOOGIE #3 (fanzine, volume 1 number 3, Winter 1973)
Slowly but surely these old issues of the South's only rock fanzine (during the early seventies---dunno about later on) keep reaching my abode, and while this one has a higher-quality cover than the first issue it still has a way to go on the evolutionary scale to reach the heights of the fifth, a pretty a-OK budget production in itself. Still...why the one-sided pages and faint Eddie Flowers drawing on the front, and why put the masthead there as well when it fully belongs on the title page?
Picky ain't I? But whaddeva, this issue of BOOGIE is another early-seventies two-fister that I will have fun (re)reading for a good lifetime or what's left of it, if only because it contains all of that fanzine spunk and energy that really was in short supply once the eighties rolled in and everybody got worried about being bombed to shreds. This ish starts off with a hotcha "best of '72" section which of course is fun to peruse especially when you consider what a load of hooey had been coming out during those days and how the good stuff was usually buried under tons of Carole King albums for anyone to notice. There's also a great piece on the then-current rock et roll fanzines not forgetting some book and record reviews. I must bring up Bialas' review of Richard Meltzer's GULCHER, a book that had earned many positive reviews throughout the years but none quite like this one which, in the interest of spreading critical thought and padding this post out, I've decided to reprint at least in part:
Meltzer's book deals more with rocknroll as a way of life as it does rocknroll as a form of communication. The articles in GULCHER are evidently the core of what America has become, a seamy and slimy perversion of what most people are not able to observe. In other words, GULCHER is the literary equivalent of the Stones' EXILE. Meltzer concerns himself with the subjects that represent American depravation: booze, Hollywood, dope, sports, sexual deviation. Yet Meltzer, unlike the pop sociologist who would see the connotations of those subjects pointing to the shadow of doom, treats his subjects with a whimsical lightness. The lucidity of humor in his writing in GULCHER brings Meltzer to the forefront in his fields of rock journalism.And maybe truer words have never been said, even if I thought Meltzer was holding up a death mirror to Ameriga in the throes of early-seventies decay...
The record review section pretty much fills this ish out with writeups of current releases of varying stripes. Mostly of a not-so-interesting stripe mind ya, but at least we are treated to interesting opines regarding the Raspberries and, poignantly enough, Big Star's #1 RECORD. And as was the norm, the mag closes out with a nice bit on current bootlegs even listing sources where you could find 'em (this being just before the BIG CRACK DOWN much to the dismay of rabid rock fans such as yourself). Kinda interesting to see bootlegs going for $3.50 back then (they were $4.99 by the time I started buying the things) especially since these items, when they pop up on ebay, usually go for about ten times that amount and in VG+ condition as well! And yeah, I forgot the Eddie Flowers singles review section and a roundup of current cutouts!
Sparse when compared to an UGLY THINGS true, but if you had to choose between this and ZOO WORLD would you choose to lose or choose to go?