Saturday, January 15, 2011

No I don't wanna talk about Tucson. But I will. Really, what could I say that's remarkably different than all of that the predictable blab which has already been said other'n my own personal opinions which are bound to get me hell from all quarters! The whole circus of self-righteousness surrounding a "current event" we won't even remember in six month's time makes me laugh, especially when all of a sudden we the great unwashed hoi polloi are being preached about "brotherhood" and "civility" from people who never exuded an ounce of it in their born days! (As if anybody being uncivil had anything remotely to do with what transpired that fateful day---it still seems like the sole work of a lone wanker than the result of any political commentators or even the "division" in this land I thought President Obama was supposed to obliterate once and for all!) Frankly I think the nastier these pundits and people are the better even if they are irritatingly so and while you're at it members of the media, quit using these isolated incidents as an excuse to start beating your chests in self-righteous angst because we've known you all to be amoral phonies from the get go! Sheesh, it's really irritating to be lectured like a little kid on how to behave by people who never had an ounce of moral fiber or dignity yet prance and preen as if they were some sorta gods leaping straight offa Mount Olympus for us while we all gaze upon 'em in utter rapture!

Naw, I'd rather gab about something way more nearer and dearer to the hearts of every true blue BLOG TO COMM reader, mainly the recent passing of none other than David Nelson. Yes, the last surviving (and least visible) member of the once-omnipresent Nelson Television Family (as in THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET, ABC-TV 1952-1966) has passed on to the great syndication package in the sky, though frankly if you think that I'm going to unquestioningly praise the memory of Nelson since we should speak no ill of the dead well, once again you've guessed wrong. Not that I loathed the man, far from it actually considering his all-umportance as a cast member of one of the better long-running sitcoms in tee-vee history but sheesh, if you ask me I think the guy was a little creepy. A few of his off-screen comments and actions really had me scratching my head wondering "wha' th'???", like the time when I read this entry on him in one of the old WHATEVER HAPPENED TO... books from the seventies where it was mentioned that David had been directing his parents in OZZIE'S GIRLS, the early-seventies vintage post-O&H syndicated series that had a slightly successful run back in those Watergate-laden days. (Unfortunately it never ran here so all I can really go by is the pilot which aired on NBC one evening that really got my mom 'n me all excited though as usual Ozzie-hater dad could care less!) Strangely enough, in his entry Nelson actually stated that although he was directing his parents in this new series he didn't associate with them outside of the studio because frankly, David and his folks just couldn't agree on anything politically so the less time the three of 'em together the better lest some major eruption occur to really create a rift in Ameriga's Most Typical Family! And if something like political differences could induce such a divide within the Nelsons whom we all used to see proudly walk out their front door with big smiles on their faces every week well, I just wonder...

Not only that, but David also mentioned that at this point in time he had also given his life to Jesus, offering up this piece of information perhaps in order to tell us workaday readers that he really is a good and downright wholesome person even if his liberal views don't quite jive with the old folks' conservatism 'n all. Okay, but then again if this is in fact "so" why did David contribute to that one series in HUSTLER of all places where celebrities would "direct" their own photo shoots, something that I wouldn't quite associate with a person who proclaims to adhere to any verifiable Christian attitudes and values. Maybe Nelson had fallen off the churchwagon by then but anyway, learning about this particular career move was but one thing that not only made me think of him as the most expendable member of the Nelson's but the shadiest one as well!

Of course I know that what we saw on television regarding the Nelson Family and what really transpired are two different animals and anybody who'd think otherwise is probably of the terminally delusional variety, the same sort who used to come to Liberace's defense back in the fifties when my dad'd tell 'em he was a fag. But you might ask, does this tarnish my opinions of the O&H show even one minuscule degree? Not in the least Nellie, for I know that it was a fun, entertaining and realistic in many ways sitcom that reflected the lives and attitudes of a whole lot of people I knew as a child, many of whom continue to live on in a world that's certainly a whole lot different than the one they grew up in and has more or less passed them by a good many years back. A vulgar and degrading world at that which is not only going to get worse the more the social planners and do-gooders amongst us get their way but is going to attack the adherents of the Old Way with a passion once they get a firm hold on their unchecked power. And though I could go off on a tangent about that I will spare you, at least this time. I'll just end this soapboxing by saying that despite any personal shortcomings (which I really couldn't care that much about...y'see I'm not one of those living vicariously through my tee-vee heroes types who blindly follow the leader through whatever abyss might befall us blah blah snooze snooze) OZZIE AND HARRIET was and remains a program that will continue to obsess me and a great way to wind the day down back when I was but a toddler and my mother and I would watch it while eating corn chips and drinking root beer. I'm sure it was also a weekly passion for more than a few overworked white collar guys who could fantasize about Ozzie and the kind of family he had especially while the wife was out whoring it up and the kids were overdosing on Bactine stashed away in the medicine cabinet. I still have strangely fond memories of one Saturday evening when I had the show on while being babysat feeling great in that way only a young kid could feel. And knowing what a creep David might have been ain't gonna stop me from liking this show the same way knowing that Lou Reed wanted Duncan Hannah to drop bowel movement upon his face ain't gonna make me give up any of my Velvet Underground records either!
***
Not many pickings this week, and given the technical difficulties I've been having with the computer (mainly trying to download certain pix) it's lucky that I was able to come up with this pittance. If you really must know, I've been enjoying myself with many an old recording that's been dug up after a short time in moozical limbo which, while too obvious to warrant their own personal reviews (or perhaps they've already had one) still rate a top mention on this blog where the prestige'll do 'em good.

Amongst this week's old-timey plays are the first Wire album (my spinning of it spurred on by a Kris Needs review in an old ZIGZAG) and Syd Barrett's THE MADCAP LAUGHS, both not surprisingly enough released on the old Harvest label, the company with the logo that either looks like a harvest moon hanging above a valley that looks like a cow nipple or a closeup of a man burping a big gas bubble. As far as the former act goes, I refuse to classify Wire as "post punk" which is a term I associate with dullard experiments and fizzling inspiration that eventually set the stage for the dryer moments of eighties/nineties "independent" rock (no "roll"). But semantics aside, PINK FLAG really is beyond that even though it inspired a whole load of the Rough Trade stylings which I believe fizzled out before their time, and to these ears it sounds like the perfect mix of English punk take on the Ramones and the Velvet Underground back when their name hadn't been trashed about by lameass eighties rock dweebs the caliber of....me??? Well, that might be debatable but at least PINK FLAG comes off as if it were recorded by experimental music bozos who spent the year of 1973 wearing out copies of EGE BAMYASI makin' 'em more of a Can for the late-seventies than some nth-rate flybynights cashing in on the punk rock cow. Still, these guys sound as if they've spawned more than their share of imitators and for that maybe I should knock 'em down at least a notch or ten.

As for THE MADCAP LAUGHS it's surprising how great this 'un satisfies me during the late-night hours whilst thumbing through ancient issues of CREEM. Slow burn intensity, folky yet punky and a good idea of what Pink Floyd might have sounded like had Syd Barrett kicked the rest of the guys out 'stead of the other way around! (Yeah I know that the Floydians were always in Syd's corner even when he shunned their presence helping him on his albums whenever they could, and in fact they sure saw to it that his specter hung about for years given all of the sly references they stuck into their ever-increasingly maudlin music!) And while we're talking about the Velvet Underground's hanging influence on the seventies rock scene I sure thought that "No Man's Land" had a strikingly Velvet-y sound to it. Wonder how intentional that really was given how the Floydsters seemed more or less anxious to disavow themselves from any Velvetist relationship no matter how teensy weensy it may be!

Lessee, what else can I blabber on about in order to pack this post up to a normal-sized bornado of an entry? Howzbout talking tee-vee! Naturally I haven't watched a prime-time network tee-vee program in ages...life's too short to waste on such dribble even if only to "educate" myself as to what is happening out there in tubeland...but I sure enjoy the older programs that occasionally will turn up when one is not looking. The TCM tribute to Hal Roach this month had the cable network digging out a load of rarities from silent OUR GANG shorts with horrible modern musical scores added (sheesh, it was way better when channel 33 just ran an LP of old ragtime sounds or channel 25 that creaky organ music that had no relationship to the screen action at hand!) to the Laurel and Hardy two/three reelers which unfortunately have vanished from sight probably thanks to the same tastemakers who somehow thought that Whoopi Goldberg was funny. Not having seen many of the L&H shorts since they vamoosed from local television back in the early-eighties it was sure grand to give 'em another go especially when such faves as THEM THAR HILLS and TIT FOR TAT were being aired for the millionth time in broadcast history. And what was best about these presentations is that we didn't have to put up with some conceited and smug actor like Alex Baldwin telling us what was so good about the acting and directing when we could see such things with our own eyes and discern for ourselves what made comedies like these so great in the first place! I guess that, according to these presenters and commentators, we're too stupid to understand the context and the timing and things of that nature, and frankly if I did wanna know more about what made a certain movie "tick" I'm sure some geek freak in the neighborhood would have more insight and depth in his opines than some ham actor who probably thinks he's the new Elmo Lincoln!

One program that I'll tune into whenever I have the opportunity is THE RIFLEMAN, which is now being shown on some religious cable network which also run episodes of DANIEL BOONE and GREEN ACRES in the afternoon kinda reminding me of those old indie stations that existed on this sorta stock for years on end before they got bought out by the small yet rising networks in the eighties/nineties. THE RIFLEMAN is one program that I can't complain about given its mix of hard-edged western drama, ultra-violence and downhome family entertainment rolled into one massive and at times bloody ball. And of course a guy like myself who will always believe in the eternal beauty of 1958-1963 just can't get enough of this type of entertainment even if you could say that Chuck Connors as Lucas McCain's can get too straight and narrow for even a straight and narrow person like yourself. I dunno...it's just that THE RIFLEMAN's one of those programs that you can easily get sucked into the same way I'm sure the terminally unemployed and/or those incapacitated by their personal "habits" got into THE MATCH GAME/HOLLYWOOD SQUARES hour back in the mid-eighties. Only THE RIFLEMAN exudes tension while MG/HS was custom made with its mind-numbing sameness for the addled misfits amongst us! Am I correct about this? Any lower-class scum from the past willing to write in to fill me in on all of the gory details? And while we're talking gory, what do you take of the opening showing Connors walking down the street firing his rifing while striking a particularly phallic pose with it?

Well, I think I blabbed enough about my personal well being...here are the reviews which I hope you can squeeze some beneficial information outta. Hope to get some more fresh goodies in soon when my Forced Exposure order arrives. Funny, the package should have shown up here yesterday but for some occult reason it's been held up somewhere along the way, but I know it's a doozy and you're going to believe so as well once I open up the cardboard package and indulge myself in some pure sonic bliss! More information the next time around, or maybe even the time after that!
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Charlie Mingus-MINGUS MOODS LP (Trip)

Talk about blasts from the past! Remember the old Springboard label, this really strange quasi-bootleg company which used to clutter up the cheap bins of Ameriga with records of dubious quality like JEFF BECK AND THE YARDBIRDS not to mention ERIC CLAPTON AND THE YARDBIRDS and of course who could forget JIMMY PAGE AND THE YARDBIRDS? Well, I'm not sure the last two existed but this label was pumping out a whole lotta albums back in the mid-to-late seventies featuring old and usually out-of-print material recorded by people now hitting their stride in the big time. I believe the Yardbirds material used was taken directly from their Epic albums while the Rod Stewart stuff was from his Steampacket days. Might be wrong but I guess that after awhile the legal eagles caught up with Springboard which is probably why these platters seemed to be nothing but a mid-seventies memory by the time I saw them popping up in flea markets during the early-eighties.

Well guess what, turns out that Springboard had their own jazz subsidiary label called Trip who originally put out today's platter in question, a '57 side from Charles Mingus leading pianist Hampton Hawes and longtime drummer Dannie Richmond through the usual smattering of originals and standards done in a hot late-fifties pre-Ornette style. Teetering between post-Ellington bop and the avant garde, MINGUS MOODS is a surprisingly engaging enough set showing the volatile bassist at his more trad yet adventurous enough moments especially when he takes up some of the lead lines or makes his instrument sound like a whacked outta-tune guitar. Hawes, who later got sentenced to ten years in the slammer for not ratting on any of his, er, inspiration suppliers (eventually getting his sentence commuted by none other'n JFK) holds up well though he ain't a Cecil Taylor by any stretch of the imagination while Richmond is fine as usual, no Sunny Murray but still wild enough even while staying the course with Mingus' exemplary (ooh!) bass playing.

Great slice of pre-new thing here that might hold the average tuner into this blog's attention complete with typical seventies sexploito cover and of course a come on for the 8-track version on the backside. The really ironic thing tho is that now you'll have to pay at least four times the original price for this knockoff which you probably coulda found for $3.99 even at National Record Mart!
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THE ROCK REVOLUTION by Richard Robinson and the editors of CREEM magazine (Curtis Books, 1973)

It's as obvious as the chancre on my face just how much rock scribing has declined in quality since the early-eighties as if this blog wasn't living proof of just that! At this point in time rock writing (in the classic high-energy sense) is pretty much a dead horse and has been for at least the past three decades, surviving only via small fanzines and an occasional blog where some old gonz spirit might glow on like a pilot light waiting for that big gust of gas. At least during the GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK WRITING (roughly 1971-1982 more/less) the ominous specter of half-insane gonzoisms and Nietzsche-ripoffed attitude permeated the pages of the better rock publications (with even the notion that the more hippie/radical rags were spouting off June Moon Poon palpitations for a better world being quite off-the-mark), and believe-it-or-not but there actually was a time when even the token college newspaper rock critics were more than aware of the energy that was being spewed forth from the likes of Bangs and Meltzer! Unfortunately those days came to an end somewhere around the time that rock as a heavily controlled industry began to exert its iron fist and the founding fathers of the New Gonz had either passed on or were passed up to the point where the spirit of Lester Bangs, a guy who probably was responsible for a good 75% of ROLLING STONE's sales ca. '69-'71, would have his memory trashed in a STONE review of the LET IT BLURT biography by New Generation Hack Parke Puterbaugh! It was an action that, although an obvious payback at Bangs and biographer Jim DeRogatis, perhaps enhances the overall credo of Bangs but frankly I'd rather live in a world filled with even the worst of Bang's tossaway prosody than I would anything that STONE deemed important enough to publish in the last three decades (to be generous about it).

CREEM was always the Amerigan rock scene's Stones to STONE's Beatles, and even though the two rags often shared contributors and at one time maybe even a shared vision there was a marked difference between CREEM's Detroit punkitude and STONE's San Franciscan journalistic tendencies. Eventually CREEM would ditch its smartass nature in a vain attempt to alienate less members of boxboy stoner nation while who knows what STONE has been up to since that brief time in the early-eighties when they began playing up to the English Rough Trade people in order to look "hip", but back in the seventies battle lines were definitely being drawn. Unfortunately the worst aspects of sensitive schlock Ameriga as defined by STONE won out which is one good reason that the entire rock writer field as created by Richard Meltzer has caved in and NOTHING seems as fresh or as back-brain stimulating as it one had way back when we were actually young enough to be altuistic about it all!

And if both rags could dupe self-important pseudointellectual teenagers out of enough dosh with their magazines then by gum they could do even more biz in the book trade. Gotta admit that STONE did a pretty good job with their collection of record reviews (if only for the Bangs/Meltzer/Tosches/Smith/Saunders/Kaye contributions) while CREEM held their own with a series of rock histories and the like which might have looked like crank-out fodder but read pretty good sans the elegant underlying current that STONE seemed to be exuding at the time. ROCK REVOLUTION was but one of the CREEM reads, a nice li'l encapsulation of the history of rock & roll from the rough and tumble beginnings to the early-seventies miasma "written" by ROCK SCENE editor Richard Robinson! Surprisingly enough, for being the "author" of this trade paperback Robinson's contribution to the entire shebang seems rather limited considering how Ben Edmonds wrote the foreword and the majority of contributions are done by rockscribe regulars Lester Bangs, Lenny Kaye and even Greg Shaw before he was unceremoniously kicked off the masthead for reasons that I've totally forgotten about but I'm sure it was all politics as usual as someone who was the victim of a purge at YOUR FLESH could tell you! (Well, it wasn't actually a purge...y'see Peter Davis called me to ask if I'd care to contribute to their newest ish and since I was too busy tidying up the then-current ish of my own rag I respectfully declined...just never heard back from him after that which I guess was a message being sent the hard way even if at that point in time I could care nary a whit.) But whatever, ROCK REVOLUTION is a winner, a top notch early-seventies paperback written for us dolts by the same guy who also gave us the ROCK SCENE book a few years earlier, yet another quickie crankout that also went out of its way to tell us that the Stooges were one of the most important rock & roll groups of the day even if none of us had heard a note of 'em yet!


The writing does vary...f'r example the opening schpiel regarding the birth of rock & roll zooms past you to the point where the compression of the years 1956-1959 within the span of a few pages leaves you muttering...wha'??? And naturally a whole lotta important facets of them early years are gonna be MIA but whaddaya expect from a 95-cent paperback anyway! But when the CREEM-sters get into their own comfy li'l niche and start talking to you about matters nearer and dearer to their corazons then the book begins to cook hot tamales. You get things like Shaw on Los Angeles in the sixties, Kaye on the Beatles and the East Coast scene, Lisa Robinson on Led Zep, Ed Ward on the early San Francisco Sound and of course Bangs gets to lecture us all about the Stones and heavy metal which at the time was not only the cutting edge end-all in rockism but something that seemed to hold promise for a bright and pleasant future to the same kinda guys who would eventually embrace punk rock by 1976. Naturally this was long before heavy metal got the patented trademarked look/style/attitude that CREEM undoubtedly banked any mid-eighties sales it could eke out on, but hey it's sure strange to remember that to many in the CREEM camp metal was born of not only the Yardbirds blues wail but the Velvet Underground on WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT and the Detroit epiphanies of the MC5 and Stooges! Talk about notions that went out the window within a few years time!

So whaddya got? Howzbout a pretty nice, concise collection of rock basics being yapped to you 'stead of at you by some of your most fave-rave writers who were sure smart enough to realize early on the importance of the Velvet Underground and Stooges to the canon (their albums actually make the "best of" listing in the back, something you never would have seen even CIRCUS have the nuts to do!) and were willing enough to stick their heads on the chopping block 'bout it at a time when hardly anybody else outside a few fanzine editors were addled enough to take a chance like that. And really, I find it nice and engaging enough even with the obvious glaring errors such as the identification of Sterling Morrison as John Cale in a Velvets photo or Lester Bangs mentioning Pink Floyd's first US hit as being "Monday" (and while I'm at it, Paul Jones was in PRIVILEGE, not PERFORMANCE) but hey, I think I might have made one or two errors like that in my 29-year "career", eh?

I read the second edition to this book about a good twenty years back and thought it was the end-all especially when Lester Bangs was yapping about the acts he thought were going to define the rest of that sorry decade he seemed to like enough despite it all. The original edition is fine as well, once you forget the asinine writing of Dave Marsh and settle in for the hard-clang. A fun time is to be had with ROCK REVOLUTION which only goes to show you that if people thought the rock & roll scene was rancid in 1973 they shoulda waited to see what it would be like in 2011!
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TV Jones-"Eskimo Pies"/"Skimp the Pimp" single (Nomad)

It was about time somebody got the two surviving TV Jones sides and slapped them onto a handy dandy single for one-stop enjoyment. Great high-energy rock the kind that Detroit used to produce with a passion before the revolution fizzed and the entire area turned to economic rust. Radio Birdman maniacs will definitely want one for their collection while the rest of us will just think it looks fine and dandy moiling about with all of those other recently-churned releases that hearken back to the days when these kinda singles seemed like the end-all in a well-rounded, healthy rockist upbringing. Dionysus has 'em, and I'm sure a number of other mailorder bizzes that deal with the high energy end of the stick got 'em in stock as well so check the search engine of your choice and have your card and number handy!

8 comments:

Bill said...

David must have been an interesting and complex man. He had some interesting comments to make on the OZZIE AND HARRIET box set, although it took Rick's son Sam asking him questions to bring out the info. He seemed like a laid-back, friendly guy on those commentary tracks, with a good eye for detail. I liked his 1980's b-movie LAST PLANE OUT, starring Jan-Michael Vincent, and he also directed an OK horror film called DEATH SCREAMS around that time.
And let's not forget he acted in both PEYTON PLACE and Jack Webb's classic -30-!!! And he was funny in John Waters' CRY BABY. And week after week he had perfect timing and created a likeable persona on OZZIE AND HARRIET...we forget sometimes that these were CHARACTERS and that Ozzie, Harriet, David, and Rick were ACTING.
Re the Hustler photo "spread," I remember that Frank Zappa and Dennis Hopper also "directed" them for Hustler around that same time. Forget what other celebrities did that...
BTW, I saw a number of episodes of Ozzie's Girls; it DID air in Denver
and was a noble effort. However, I've never seen that revived ANYWHERE. Wonder how it would play today? The two girls who lived w/ Ozzie and Harriet in the show were not bad...I hope that someday the run of this show (just one season) will come out on DVD.
The Nelsons will ALWAYS be "America's Favorite Family" to me!!!!!
ps, the IMDB lists a 1972 Rick Nelson concert film called EASY TO BE FREE (named after one of Rick's finest songs), directed by David (always the biggest supporter of brother Rick's musical career). Was that ever issued? I've NEVER heard of it and have been a Rick fan since before 1972. Let's hope THAT also comes out someday...

Laurent Bigot said...

Could be wrong about this buit I'm pretty sure TV Jones 45 only has one TV Jones tune on it. Eskimo Pies is actually Radio Birdman. There's another TV Jones track available on a Deniz Tek disc, Monday Morning Spunk.

Christopher said...

Really? The vocals on "Eskimo Pies" sound quite Tek-ish to me. Anybody else care to weigh in? Anybody else care to release this single proper-like???

Jimmy said...

Agree with Laurent. Lot of talk back around when the TV Jones 7" first came out (gotta be at least 10 years ago?) that 'Eskimo Pies' (i-94) was an early Birdman demo. I recall it being confirmed by Deniz Tek even, as both tracks came off a cassette tape he furnished for the release. Can't remember where I read it, maybe the i-94 Bar?

Bill said...

In case anyone cares, I did a little internet research, and it seems the other celebrities to "direct" Hustler photo shoots (in addition to Zappa, Hopper, and David Nelson)circa 1984 were Burt Ward and Marjoe Gortner. There may have been others, but those are the ones I could track down.

Anonymous said...

i remember the old "ozzie's girls" show back in about nineteen seventy five. it's possible that at that time david was more "conservative" than his former bandleader father. or perhaps their political disagreements just COULDN'T be schematized along some left/right divide. david nelson directed not one but TWO of my favorite films. (so he obviously had some behind the camera talent.) he did "last plane out," of course, and i'm glad that i'm not the only one who remembered it. and he also co-directed "tale of the cock" with none other than sleezemonger john derek. ("cock" is a picture combining both religiousity and sleezy exploitation elements. it's one of a kind and highly recommended.) david nelson may have been a paragon of bourgeois virtue, but he was also quite broadminded.

DTD said...

Yup, Laurent and anonymous are right. I released the TV Jones 7". Once it was out Deniz advised me that Eskimo Pies was an early Birdman demo but Skimp the Pimp was TV Jones

Anonymous said...

The Springboard LP Eric Clapton and the Yardbirds does exist -- i scooped it out of the local dollar bin and judging from the applause on it i'm guessing it's more or less (probably less) Five Live Yardbirds

Andrew