Saturday, February 26, 2011

So how am I? HOW AM I YOU ASK???? Pretty washed out is how I am especially after the rollicking fun time I hadda endure last Saturday night and Sunday morning, a time which I must say would not have made the basis for an Albert Finney film considering the sudden attack of the flu that swiftly and w/o warning overcame me like Hitler running roughshod over Poland. Let me tell you it was not only one of the worst bouts with the dreaded influenza I've had since that one time when I was kid that swore me offa home-made pizza with the really spicy sauce ever since (!), but I actually set a record for MOST PUKES PER FLU BOUT, a good five of 'em between ten PM and two AM which saw not only loads of mushrooms from the once-frozen pizza that I ate swimming around stomach-acid charred in the toilet (guess who's gonna be avoiding  that  now and perhaps forever!) but had my nasal passages just filled with the aroma of regurgitation along with the acid burn reaching up into those very same nasal cavities which certain did not make for a fun time trying to get at least a few hours of shuteye in. Not only that but the diarrhea just kept spurting from my hindquarters like Vesuvius, first as a dark brown puh then as clear liquid (I still wiped up though even if the lack of doing so would not have left skid marks!), while my guts were continually playing the belly bossa-nova which along with the chyme-y aroma clinging in my nostrils sure made for a pleasant way to spend one's precious weekend hours.

Not that I didn't let my ill feeling go to waste...using the same theory as Ron Carter playing cello whilst deathly sick and coming up with a style of wonder I actually wrote last Wednesday's book review post on Sunday morning, beginning the project a good six or so hours after taking my final system mismanagement with the hope that maybe I could ooze something of worth out of all the pain and suffering I had to endure. Not being a good judge of my own work (to me it's either all worthy or all disposable) I don't know if I've quite succeeded. Nature tends to say I have, but ultimately you're going to decide.

The strangest thing about it all is that, surprisingly enough, I predicted my own travails in a backhanded way in last week's review of the Smegma/Wolf Eyes album! Really! Go back and read it for yourself and tell me that I'm even more amazing than Kreskin!

You can gather that, with the post-barf flu symptoms continuing to linger on I haven't exactly been a social butt fly these past few days. Most of my evening free time has been taken up by reading familiar old faves for the n-teenth time (the "Mumbles" segment of the latest DICK TRACY volume having great spiritual as well as physical healing powers) while a few new-to-grace-my-ears spinners have appeared on the sets which I will of course document for all history below. Other'n that, not much is flibbin' my jib as of this time (don't even have the energy to watch those MIKE HAMMER DVDs I've been eyeing for the last few months) BUT (I'm tellin' ya this for the sake of confrontation, controversy, discourse and obviously to pad this post out a li'l) I did manage to catch one rather horrid item on youtube that was so disturbing it shocked my outta my slumber last night worse'n a Jolt Cola jag that I just hadda tell ya about it! Couldn't get back to sleep either since the thing was so horrifying not only in its overall grotesqueness but due to the historical inaccuracies that were being lobbed out faster than anyone outside of Speedy Gonzaga would have the chance to refute 'em, and although I've encountered many a bad piece of quickie agitprop in my born days this particular screech-o-rama was so strange and absurd on all levels I'm surprised anybody could get away with its presentation as having anything remotely to do with facts historical or otherwise!

Y'see, somebody out there in youtubeland did a series of videos using those great old-style grinning ventriloquist dummy heads (slightly reminiscent of the dummies who used to occupy the pot-bellied stove on THE SOUPY SALES SHOW...Reba was one of 'em hence the once-popular catch-phrase "Cool It, Reba!") that sure looked interesting enough even if the main thrust of these videos was to ridicule a wide range of radikally reaktionary ideals along the lines of the tea party movement, female republicans, and who could forget that all-time bugaboo traditional marriage! And yeah, such subject matter's most def. on the table just like everything else these days but with the rapid fire distorto-cliches being lobbed directly atcha these vids not only wallow in their elitist comfy-caring smugness you see from blowhards all over but worse yet are filled with twisto-changeo historical demi-truths and downright inaccuracies (which, despite the levity of using dummy heads have that always-nauseating moral oneupmanship air of smug superiority in typical "We know the true meaning of life and you don't so shut up!" fashion) that it's no wonder people have a grasp on where we've been and where we're going like they do these days with falsehoods being presented as bonafeed truths!

Naturally every side of the political spectrum (all ten of 'em!) pumps out this kinda slap 'n sashay poopaganda and when it gets higher up on the already high horse you know you're in for a preaching that's bound to give you the runs. But after all of the tracts and home-style animation and whatnot I've viewed o'er the years this puppetmaster's work had a particularly irksome reaction, reminding me of the mix of condescension and hatred that a whole load of WASP-y types and other wannabe higher ups on the evolution scale had and in many ways continue to have for ethno-peons such as myself. Kinda thought the part where the KKK-hooded dummies, in a segment dated 1913 for some strange reason (the Klan didn't revive until at least a good three/four years later which should give you an idea of the historical accuracy of these "shorts") are portrayed to be rallying against Woodrow Wilson to be pretty disturbing, since for all practical purposes Wilson was a firm Klan supporter and certainly no friend of blacks! Of course the segment ridiculing the Southern cause during the Civil War also earns points for rose-colored 150-year hindsight, especially since Lincoln really didn't care one whit about freeing slaves and merely wanted to keep the country together at any cost (and frankly, Lincoln's opinions regarding black people made Jefferson Davis' look utterly saintly, not to mention Mark Twain's, he being a guy who's getting racked over the coals for racism as we speak)! Really bad analysis*, especially when after all's said and uploaded it's all nothing but snobbishly slanted PBS-endorsed history filtered through a starry-eyed pseudo-Marxism (or at least rabid Washington stranglehold on every aspect of life, which is of course evil unless those enlightened demi-Mussolinis are the ones calling the shots!) coupled with idiotic patronization presented to you via ventriloquist dummy heads! Big Brother agit prop goes Saturday morning...if the progressive vanguard keep putting up these videos I might just start liking the Tea Party out of spite if anything!

And to think that this was recommended to me because I tuned into a Knucklehead Smif clip from the late-fifties PAUL WINCHELL SHOW!
ANOTHER CEE-DEE-ARE THAT PAUL McGARRY BURNED FOR ME BUT I DIDN'T GET TO SPIN UNTIL YESTERDAY-Television-LIVE AT THE OLD WALDORF SAN FRANCISCO 6/29/78- Here's what McGarry sez on the back sleeve..."New York art fags that do their thing on the West Coast! I can dig it!" Now here's what """""I""""" sez...even the lack of practice, general worn-outness and obvious goof ups can't hurt much, though if you didn't do a little wincing like I did during "Venus" maybe you were outta the room 'r sumpin'!
MORE STRANGE DREAMS I'VE BEEN HAVING (well, they do fill up the space on these posts rather pleasantly at that plus Brad Kohler likes 'em ever since he bought that Freudian Analysis of Dreams tome!) DEPARTMENT: Still having the weirdie dreams, some (like the one where I'm taking a high school class in the basement of my home and the test being given by my old Spanish teacher is filled with two pages of totally non sequiter'd multiple choice and fill in the blank questions and I only have ten minutes to figure out what it's all about!) not really worth the bother to detail for history's sake, but two of 'em are doozy enough to relay to you in their entirety! Dream #1- on a warm sunny day my father and I travel to a typical small and ancient-looking farm to perhaps purchase some antiques we can turn a buck on. However, some farmer who looks and sounds remarkably like Denver Pyle barges from his barn and tells us to get out in no uncertain terms! He's obviously extremely angry at us and I have no idea as to why he is provoked the way he is, but without any warning the guy "sics" on us this weird machine that looks like the top of a gas barbeque grill but has rotating blades/wheels (like an earth tiller or snow thrower) which not only propel it but chops up everything in its path! The machine is rather swift, and although it's sure making quite a racket as it chops up debris in its way both my father and I find it easy enough to swerve and sway around on the trek back to our van. However, this infernal machine can shred logs and other matter like nothing which is something it could also do to our legs if we don't get outta there asap, but anyway both dad and myself manage to dodge the machine on its treacherous mission and without much effort at that.

Amidst this rather strange pattern of events I decided to have some fun with this automated monstrosity after seeing a kitten...I run swiftly in front of the li'l pillow scratcher then get out of the way so's the cat would get chopped up in the machine! It does (kitten leaving this world with a sharp meow!) while my father gives me this pained expression on his face, like "how could I do such a thing!" Of course I'm taking this all in stride, cat puree or not. We finally make it back to our van, but not before seeing what looks like the cat's mother and another kitten runnin' around doing the meow bit which I guess sorta assuages my so-called shame in the matter, like perhaps the little one was the first cat I saw and the pitiful thing actually survived the ordeal!

SECOND DREAM! MY folks are doing an outdoor antique show in what's supposed to be DISNEYLAND but looks more like any rundown theme park that has been very lax on the upkeep since 1957. Even with all of the work that has to be done setting up and selling items, I tell 'em that I'm going to instead spend the day at this decidedly non-Disneyesque-looking locale (which has more of an air of an industrial park than an amusement park!) with none other than EDDIE FLOWERS and some of his pals whom I don't recognize from anywhere. I assume they're more of his Crawlspace kith 'n kin for obvious reasons, but although I feel guilty about letting the folks do their setup w/o my immediate assistance (they don't seem to mind) I go off on some movable shuttle-type system with Mr. Flowers and his associates (did I tell you this was all taking place on a rather hot, humid overcast day?) when one of Flowers' cronies looks at a row of rusted poles that look like power lines or an unsafe ski-lift and remarks that it was the Matterhorn, a ride we were all going to get on within a few minutes! Soon after we are off and crossing what are supposed to be tracks for that infamous in-mountain ride but looked more like old trolley rails that have been paved over throughout the years. Suddenly, I am without my compats while sitting in an area waiting to get on the ride, during which time I win a prize (a tray of assorted cheeses that looked more like fancy pastry all covered in saran) for a Valentine's Day drawing I didn't even make. The rest of the dream had to do with my confusion at what was happening around me...
As you can see below, not too many new and fresh enough items to review in the age of pixels (maybe there will be in the next great age of information breakthrough!), though that doesn't exactly mean I've been taking a sabbatical from the realm of recorded horcha! A lotta long and forgottens have found themselves planted on my laser launch pad as of late, mostly things that really don't warrant any full-time writeups due to the sake of repetition, not to mention that I still feel sicker'n ever, but perhaps they should be brought up in the annals of BLOG TO COMMunism just to set the record straight. Take the Cecil Taylor Unit's SPRING OF TWO BLUE J'S on the Jazz View label, one of those euro budget Cee-Dee releases that somehow made it to the mailorder catalogs of the US of Wha? back in the nineties. Great set recorded live in New York, one track Taylor solo and the other with longtime sidekick Jimmy Lyons, avant bassist supreme Sirone and Andrew Cyrille on drums. No liner notes or any special packaging here, but the music sure speaks reams of high energy, intense free soundscapading! The early Art Ensemble of Chicago spinners also seem to be taking up an inordinate amt. of airplay, but can I help it if their primal style and swerve continues to affect me lo these many years later? Gotta do some research...I think there are a few of their Parisian platters that have eluded my grasps even this late in the game o' life, and I'd sure like to hear 'em sometime before I head off towards my just rewards, mainly a retirement village in the tri-state area that's passed the surprise state inspection drill.
And now the moment you've been waiting for...

THE CRYERS (Mercury)

These guys hit the stage of CBGB around the same time Steve Forbert did which would figure, since both of 'em trekked up to New York City from Meridian Mississippi around the same time and in fact were pretty pall-sy with each other t'boot. Of course Forbert made it big while the Cryers just wallowed around making this album and perhaps yet another that kinda got those few good reviews out there and went poof. 's actually not as horrid as one might think; I'm sure MANY of the third-rung groups playing the clubs at the time sounded like this, but it can get into sap drive when one's least expecting it. Good in small doses, and this one when used properly can last a pretty loooong time.

The success of Cohran's 7-inch 45 rpm box set had me swinging through the Forced Exposure website looking for more wonders from this obviously overlooked Chicago practitioner of the avant garde jazz style. Since this also features the guitar of one Pete Cosey (of various Miles Davis free-scronk adventures) I figured the property value would double and for once I'm right! No, Cosey does not get into his famed atonal histrionics and settles back for some traditional jazz strumming here, but the entire procedure's still a must to absorb from Cohran's tres-Ra big band stylings to the devotion to well-honed fifties jazz/blues forms all aided and abetted by his extraterrestrial "Frankiphone" playing. Snobs will poo-poo it for the lack of total free-blast so akin to the various Chicago/AACM big guns but if you're one of those who like to snuggle up to some of the pre-Ornette moves in the new jazz thing this'll be like old folks at home week for you.
The Holy Modal Rounders-BIRD SONG LIVE 1971 CD (Water)

Funny how I missed out on this recording of the seven-piece Rounders recorded live on WLIR-FM Long Island when it finally got released...back in 2004! But whatever the situation it's good that I got to hear this 'un now than never at all. Despite the typical gaffe-prone FM sound this 'un's documented proof that the Rounders were always a pretty accurate all around group dabbling in the likes of not only gonz folk but blues, rock (with and without the roll) and even a li'l jazz with none of that early-seventies Marin County "relevance" seeping into the Lower East Side sleaze of it all. There's a nice New York lilt to it that doesn't rub you the wrong way like most of the hippiedom of the era tended to do, and if you don't think their version of "Smokey Joe's Cafe" coulda stood up against a whole lotta mid-seventies New York rock stylings you are sadly mistaken! Somebody ought to release that Unholy Modal Rounders WBAI-FM broadcast from a good four or so years later which featured ex-Leather Secrets warbler and Robert Mapplethorpe haberdasher Camille O'Grady on lead vocals!
*But really, it is strange (yet totally expected) for anybody to seriously think that the Tea Party's roots are in the likes of the KKK considering how the Klan, or at least that of the 20th Century variety, were dipping heavily into the same "making the world safe for Northern Euros" eugenics font as just about every other progressive out there (read: the people who made these videos) who was pining away for a better, more Calvinist world. In fact, some of these eugenicists who sat on the Supreme Court (Oliver Wendell Holmes' grave really should be desecrated for him coming up with that "three generations of idiots is enough" line!) who pretty much supported their efforts at least in spirit, and what's the difference between a university-educated man of letters and a backwoods county sheriff if they both condone throwing retarded people into gas chambers! Now, I could trace the Tea Party movement perhaps back to the Goldwater campaign of '64 or maybe the early-nineties Buchananites who were so loathed by their own party members, but if I had to link the Klan with anybody around in today's political clime it would be those survivors of the Birth Control League who always seem to be making their pitch to the darker segments of our society while pushing that do-gooder Northern European sense of superiority on all of us! I guess if you do scratch a bleeding heart in the right place his swastika tattoo will eventually show.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

BOOK REVIEW! POST-NATAL TRASH by Richard Meltzer (Illuminati, 1984)

Well, it ain't like I coulda trotted down to Borders to pick it up 'r better yet just stood and read this slim volume right off the racks. Given the number of pages (25 including the intro and "about the author" eyecatcher in the back) I most very well coulda, only this looks like one of those reads that just wouldn't make it to any local book store, esp. the kind that has a coffee bar and loads of self-improvement reads that always worked the opposite direction if any of the jamokes I know who read 'em are any indication.

A breezy read it is as well, this being part one of CANED OUT: The Authorized Autobiography of Richard Meltzer and a book that should have been on any true-to-form BLOG TO COMM reader's book list for well over twenty-seven years (which coincidentally is the number of years that this book has been in existence).

Avid FUSION readers will be familiar w/this since most and more (including the pix and other sundries that were lost to time) took up a good portion of that January 1973 issue with David Bowie on the cover. And yes, the pix were lost (a long and unfunny story about that and the story behind CANED OUT appears in the preface), but this is the read deal, unedited, slanderous and downright enveloping even if you don't consider Meltzer to be one of those Living Treasures of the sixties/seventies rockism scene who should be honored and appreciated in the here and now like he was in the there and then like I tend to think.

So you get a whole lotta juicy goodies, scandalous family trash that'll earn him a card table seat at the next Thanksgiving banquet (page 14-17, regarding mother Esther B. Meltzer, might be the best Mother's Day screed guaranteed to get mom's pacemaker more wound up than a microwave oven!) as well as equally evil daggers poised at father Elihu "Mueller" and sis. Why a major lawsuit didn't erupt over this is beyond me, though I'm sure some civil action would have made a dandy episode of one of those afternoon judge shows for pampered housewives and terminally unemployed yourself.

But really, there's nothing totally shock-your-socks and any longtime Meltzer aficionado who hasn't read this will most certainily like the thing. It does make for a fine trip through the gnarlier underside of Amerigan postwar living even if there seems to have been more honest, down-home information packed into some of Meltzer's FUSION-period reviews and columns than there would be in this slimline edition.

And before I split, let me say that even with the loss of visuals this book reads like a beaut, for rather'n deprive you of the snaps that were supposed to have been included Meltzer describes 'em for you, and since a picture is worth a thousand words a good two hundred or so words can also be as good as a picture which I think is a fantastic return on the word deal!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Is this post going to read like a rambling, disjointed mess of words? I have the feeling that it will, since right now I feel like a rambling, disjointed mess of a man! So please, whatever you do, expect a WHOLE LOTTA REHASH with this weekend roundup! Sometimes the words do flow endlessly and perhaps even gracefully from my fingertips onto the screen with unbelievable ease, but the last few days I've been feeling pretty run through a Cuisinart choppy. Some may say it's a lack of Vitamin B, but it's more like a lack of truly brain-stimulating aural/visual thrills to get my hotcha juices a'flowin'. Y'know, like the way when the mere sight of a Thirteenth Floor Elevators album was enough to send me into pangs of unbridled joy and life-reaffirming ginchiness. I'm afraid that nowadays it'll take a lot more'n that to get my gears into full overdrive which I must admit makes me feel lower 'n Anastasia Pantsios' tits. (Did I used that anal-o-gee before? If I did it's good enough to toss out again.) Sheesh, where's the next Rocket From The Tombs exhumation comin' out to uplift my spirits like a psychic living bra?

Until then I'll manage to get by (sheesh, I don't wanna end up sounding like Lindsay Hutton...he seems to be having a bad enough time of it himself!) but like I said last week, man do I need something in my system to get my spirits rising and this blog into full hell-bent overdrive! Of course expecting something like that to catch us all by surprise ain't gonna be the same as it was back when music seemed like an exciting, maddening form of expression that could make any suppressed cube of a teen feel like Lou Reed! I still have hope that my high energy rockist lifestyle can survive on the gas fumes of reissues, exhumations and information overdrive (via the computer natch!) to keep me running at least another what, three or four years. Until then it's gonna be get what I can and as often as I can even though everybody'll think I'm the modern-day equiv. of those Golden Age of Radio buffs who used to sparkle up my childhood looking so outta place in the face of early-seventies "relevance"!

ANOTHER SMALL PACKAGE OF VALUE WILL ARRIVE SHORTLY: Got this 'un from Paul McGarry, a whole buncha Cee-Dee-Ares which he burned offa the internet with a note attached sayin' that this was my Christmas present, and, like get this, what what was he gonna get from me in return! Man, I didn't even know we were exchanging gifts and besides, what do you give to the man who has guzzled everything anyway! If any of you readers have any suggestions as to what I can get Paul for Christmas please leave 'em in the appropriate place and maybe I can wing something worth more than a Von Lmo sticker his way shortly. But sheesh, talk about springing a surprise on me...maybe I should get him a buncha dirty books which'll get him in trouble with the wife...that'll learn him! (In reality, I'll just wing an extra big package next yuletide to make up for this one and the next...y'see, right now I'm strapped for cash which I'm saving up for the next big order to FORCED EXPOSURE and well, priorities come first!)

Anyway I've been spinnin' a few of the burns he sent me and thought it's be nice to mention exactly what I have heard complete with a few lines (or more) of comment. Nothing elaborate but something funny enough to make this particular post look a little livelier than the last few months have been. Thought it'd be a nice enough way to show my natural wit and smartitude while filling you eager beavers in on what's making me all hot and bothered here in blogland. So as they say in Italy, here 'a goes...

The Saints-HOPE AND ANCHOR Nov 26, 1977- Sounds like one of those rock groups who a lotta people (critics and otherwise) that I hate love the dickens outta. Maybe for that reason I should hate the thing but I don't. The obv. Ramones riff rips don't settle well with me but I find it pleasing enough as an occasional tidbit.

The Sonics-Sept. 8 2008 Oslo Norway- If you get the wrinkles on these guys and placed them end to end, they'd reach all the way to the moon and back again. This actually is a well-performed set by the reformed Northwest group (with almost all the original members in tow) that doesn't make me cringe in fear of either retro-schmalz or "we invented punk rock" paeans to the new muzik crowd. Hard to look at, delightful to hear.*

The Rendezvous Band-LIVE AT THE MAGIC STICK Sept. 11 1999- Since I haven't been paying attention I didn't even know that the old Sonics Rendevous Band (no relation to the Sonics mentioned above) had reformed with Radio Birdman's Deniz Tek taking the late Fred Smith of MC5 fame's place. But they have and at least this bit of documentation survives for those of you who doubt the entire affair ever happened. Detroit hard rock not as good as the late-sixties stuff that spawned a whole load of translucent imitators, but pleasing enough.

LOS MOCKERS (EMI)- Well, I suppose a Uruguayan Rolling Stones was a much better idea than a Uruguayan Peter and Gordon! Great Stones ripoff right down to the twang voice trying in vain to hide the Spanish accent, and they even had the preying mantis look down pretty good too!

The Theolonious Monk Quartet Featuring John Coltrane-"LIVE AT THE FIVE SPOT" DISCOVERY (Blue Note)-A load of shapes of things to come while still being firmly stuck in a late-fifties bopdom which in many ways LOATHED the sound of what was about to happen right under their very noses. A pleasant enough set worth a few spins even if it doesn't move like the music this stuff eventually evolved into.

Sheb Wooley-COUNTRY BOOGIE, WILD AND WOOLEY (Bear Family)- Eh, he shoulda jus' stuck to yellin' at Clint Eastwood on RAWHIDE an' forgot about the singin'! (Actually I like it fer what it is, but I thought I'd give it a bad review just to be snide kinda like when Craig Bell gave the Sadistic Mika Band one in CREEM in order to impress Lester Bangs!)

The Treniers-THEY ROCK, THEY ROLL, THEY SWING (Sony)- The guys at UGLY THINGS like 'em, so in order to look just as hip I will go on record saying that yes, I too like 'em! Hope that puts all of those brainy intellectual rockcrit types who rush to to find new and innovative wordage in a valiant attempt to buffer their credentials (heck, some of 'em even listen to the music they review!) to shame!!!!!

Buffalo-DEAD FOREVER (Vertigo Australia)- Wonder why Vertigo signed these guys since they already had Black Sabbath under contract! After all, Buffalo were nothing but a mere knockoff in the hard crunch department. Perhaps the label lapped 'em up because Buffalo were from another country, another hemisphere, or better yet they were afraid to let such a good carbon copy end up elsewhere. Early-seventies gloom and doom so deep into the mire and depression of the day that you kinda wonder if they offed themselves by '74 at the very latest.

The Feelies AKA Foggy Notion-MAY 13 1982 @ Maxwell's, Hoboken, New Jersey- The Feelies doing an entire set of faithfully rendered Velvets numbers. Not offensive like most Velvet homage has become but after all's said and done all I gotta say is "SO #^$&#*@ WHAT!"

OK, enough of the bitter vileness, here are za reviews!
Anthony Braxton-THIS TIME CD(Sunspots Italy)

Sure didn't take me long to get the Cee-Dee repro of the second Anthony Braxton BYG Actuel disc! Nice cover on this one too with none other than Leroy Jenkins the featured star perhaps proving that this album was not so much an album with Braxton as leader but a Creative Construction Company collective endeavor. Waddeva, it's yet another one of those great AACM groupthink effort not unlike the Art Ensemble of Chicago recordings that were being laid down at a variety of French studios around the same time, only with one solo saxophone effort and a spoken word track that perhaps points to Braxton as being the "real" brains behind the album.
Scratch and Company-THE UPSETTERS CHAPTER 1; Upsetters-BLACKBOARD JUNGLE DUB CDs (Get On Down)

You already know what I think about reggae. Not that I loathe it. Just can't stand the stuff. However, I have nothing against the people who perform or listen to it (well, almost nothing) and if I was one of those guys who managed an under-the-underground rock & roll club in New York mid/late-seventies I would have booked reggae acts onto the same stage that Kongress and Manster would undoubtedly have played. But as far as being a deep-in-the-heart-of-Trenchtown fan and follower, ferget it!

So Brad Kohler comes around as sez that yeah, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, maybe Toots and Third World and a few others did have a tinge o' hippie sentiment that "perhaps" was preventing me from enjoying the genre, but then again I wasn't starting in the right place which was the stuff that came out on the small labels which was way gnarlier'n the major label approved National Record Mart fodder. Kohler went so far as to recommend the Lee Perry and the Upsetters material not only because of the echo-y production but for the weirdo "sampling" (pardon my French) of squeaky doors and babies crying that would suit me fine. And since I had thirty dollars on me that wasn't doing anything else I figured that maybe including a couple of their disques in the upcoming FORCED EXPOSURE order wasn't exactly that bad of an idea...

And maybe it wasn't because I found these platters, to put it mildly, amusing. Nothing earth-shattering (and foo-give me if I think that Rastafarianism was just another one of those trendy new seventies religions everybody talked about but very few had the brains to see as the scam it most certainly is) with loads of "dub" that never hit me even when the Pop Group was doing it. What I liked about these were the instrumental numbuhs that kinda sounded like either early-sixties near-hits that woulda sounded marvy mixed in with the girl groups and surf/hot rod rockers, or perhaps something that Barry Gray might have slipped into an ITC production even with them herky jerky rhythms! I guess imbibing in chemical stimulation would have altered my perceptions of these greatly, but can I help if I'm totally out of Ny-Quil?
Wolf Eyes/Smegma-THE BEAST LP (De Stijl, available through Forced Exposure in case you couldn't figure that out yourself!)

Yet another massive stew o' free splat from the Smegma soundscapaders who just continue to crank the bleat out like it was runny fecal matter flowing from my hiney during a bout with the flu. Here they're once again joined by Wolf Eyes who thankfully don't get in the way o' the total sound 'r anything, and to add to the overall joy Buster Hudson himself R. Meltzer is up front (or at least buried in the mix) speaking his inspired free verse coming up with what just might be some bonafeed gems if one could only hear 'em.

There really ain't that much here to differentiate this and other recent Smegma releases. It's got that noisy yet beautiful like an autumn fungus free sound with tape loops, percussion, squeaky toys and other things going all hawg wild while Meltzer speak-sings on a wide variety of subjects (which I am assuming re. above paragraph) as the sound builds and clanks in your cranial cavity (i.e. empty skull) until once again it all morphs into this great Velvet Underground-sounding "Sister Ray" riff which has you thinking 1971 basement rock groove more'n 21st century chasm. If you're wondering why Smegma rank so highly in my mind as perhaps thee only band that matters, a record like this is a good indication as of where I base my own perhaps not-so-peculiar musical compass.
Ron Geesin and Roger Waters-MUSIC FROM THE BODY LP (EMI Harvest Japan)

Sheesh, no wonder this 'un (in its Amerigan incarnation on the short-lived Import Records label) used to show up in flea market bins well into the nineties! Yeah, I can imagine all of those mellowed out jeeters who were stoked on DARK SIDE OF THE MOON buying this because it was made by Pink Floyd's very own Roger Waters along with English "eccentric" (well, at least that's what I think they call 'em) Ron Geesin and you could "get high" to it especially in quad! Well, if you ask me all of the ragweed marijuana in the world coupled with copious amounts of cheap wine ain't gonna make this mess sound good nohow! Maybe if they threw a li'l Coke 'n aspirin in...
Love-FALSE START (Harvest England)

Is this the first, or second of the post-Electra Love albums that came out on Blue Thumb over here and Harvest over there? I can't recall not being as much of a Love aficionado as many people seem to think I am for some strange reason or another. (Click here to read my review of OUT THERE, the group's other effort for this fine pair of labels.) But hey, it's sure a pleasure giving a listen to just about anything Arthur Lee has laid down and buying his platters once every so often is a whole lot better'n having 'em forced into my brain the same way the Leader acquired every bit of known knowledge extant back in the pages of some old HULK comic and keeled over because of it. And Lee (Arthur, not Stan) and company do well here, not as well as when they were romping around in the 1966 El Lay post-Byrds scene but fine enough for me even with that special guest guitarist making a nuisance of himself wailing all over the place! Its what ya'd expect of the folk rock scene a good six years after, that is without the fringe jacket David Crosby Canyon mope of it all.

*A funny aside, Don Waller once mentioned how the reformed Sonics were playing in El Lay awhile back and in no way could the infamous BACK DOOR MAN scribe drag Mark Shipper, the man who not only edited the notorious FLASH fanzine which exposed the whole sixties punk mystique to a large audience but reissued the group's better Etiquette material on a compilation entitled EXPLOSIVES back in the mid-seventies, to that particular gig nohow! This could be just as bad as my purposefully missing out on the one-off Mirrors reunion in Cle a couple of Junes back, though of course I had an was a long, hard day and I most certainly did not want to trek all the way to Cleveland only to get beaten up by an irate Jamie Klimek and Paul Marotta! I dunno what got into Shipper considering his role in making the Sonics the legends they most certainly have become thanks to his efforts, but I thought it was an interesting enough story that should be passed around!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


If I can't have the collected writings of Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray and Mick Farren (throw in some of the Chrissies, Salewicz and Hynde that is, into the mix) presented to me in a nice bound leather volume for handy reading well...better I have this book nearby to sate those GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK WRITING pangs o' lust! And frankly, this collection's arrived just in the nick of time to save me from clawing at my collection of BACK DOOR MANs in nervous agitation...heck, I didn't even know that the Fleet Street Beats had issued any collections of their writings in book form until recently, but this best of THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS 1974-style does exist and it stands as about a good a comp of seventies rockspeak as the various Lester Bangs reads not forgetting those old ROLLING STONE record review guides which were at least chock fulla nuts like Bangs, Meltzer, Kaye and Tosches even if we did have to wade through the Wenners and Holdens to get to 'em!

And in an age when the seventies-era fanzines are getting harder and harder to find and very little modern wordage seems to fill the bill a book like this is but one thing that stands between me and my upcoming bout with insanity that's gonna envelop me a whole lot more sooner than later! And if this hold me off from my inevitable fate by at least one month, I know that it has done its job.

No Farren or Hynde here which is a shame since I coulda used an eyefulla the former's Hawkwind on tour in Chicago piece and the latter's Eno interview where the he discusses his porn collection in grisly detail, but since I don't wanna subscribe to another year of ROCK's BACK PAGES (which I find not only costly but a gyp when I can find a lotta the stuff they sell for free elsewhere on-line) this nice hardcovered albeit 93-page read will help me save some moolah! And as far as being a nice, varied selection GREATEST HITS works wonders, heavy on the Kent and Murray which suits me fine with some good sidesteps into Roy Carr (a nice enough fave even if he was part of that older generation of "mature" rock writers who seemed to have little connection with the brash upstarts) and Andrew Tyler, who I think was one of the second-stringers at NME if only because he wasn't old enough to be a hippie nor wild enough to be a punk. Even Ian MacDonald (here "McDonald") gets a big spread of his on Todd Rundgren repro'd, and although it's not like I'm a huge fan and follower of the Philadelphian's work especially considering some of his mid-seventies misfires at least MacDonald makes you wanna read on with his hotcha swerve and style which you certainly never did read in any official college paper crankout on the likes of Genesis!

But that's always been the case when the writers were in fact just as big and important as the stars and you read whatever your faves were lucky enough to get published if only because you could live vicariously through a Kent or Bangs just as easily as you could through a Reed or Pop. And hey, you get plenty to fantasize about in these pages, from Kent talking about the "new", married Lou Reed who does more than just walk, talk and crawl on his belly like a reptile (like tell Polish jokes???) as well as a nice update on the Captain Beefheart tale just when the guy was getting signed to Virgin and his career was heading into a freakish MOR hybrid. And there's more Kentish wit extant from his high-larious Slade critique to a fantastico piece on the New York Dolls that really captures a whole lotta the intense energy and mystique that followed the group around but unfortunately never did translate into record sales.(An interesting fact-ette that I was never aware of is dispensed in this piece regarding how none other'n Eno was to have joined the group on their recording of "Mystery Girls", or was that just more toss out demi-truth used to buffer up the legend?) Oh yeah, Kent's infamous Syd Barrett piece appears in its entirety (the CREEM reprint was heavily cut) and it reads better'n it did in the bloke's DARK STUFF if only because this book is laid out like the actual old-timey NME type 'n all which gives it that seventies rock-read paper cool look that sorta got replaced in the eighties when magazine layouts hadda be perky and as shallow as the music that was being recorded at that time.

(And what's with that comment Kent made to Bryan Ferry about punk rock being "last year" [i.e. 1973] after the latter said he ate the stuff for breakfast??? Never thought of '73 as being that much of a p-rock year outside of the various "successes" of the Stooges and Dolls! It makes me scratch my head and there something I missed out on???)

Murray gets his share of reprints as well, including some tres readable pieces on Bowie, Mott the Hoople and heavy metal (an interesting history of the form which is inclusive yet not as gnarly as the one Bangs did for ROCK REVOLUTION). Especially strange is Murray's review of none other than an Osmonds live show, a strange assignment to give to someone whom I'd say was one of the more gonzo guys on the NME staff but Murray pulls it off with little effort, in fact giving us the impression that he enjoyed the show just as much as the screaming teenyboppers he was seated amidst while the Toothy Ones wowed the rubes. The piece even ends with a plea to the Osmonds regarding the gestapo-like tactics that security was imposing on these young gals who weren't clearing outta the hall as fast as the management would have's nice to know that somewhere deep within that body of his Murray had enough of a conscience to address such an issue in what was perhaps a vain attempt to reform the brutal security measures that were part and parcel to concerts for many a year! Heck, if I were there I probably wouldn't have done a thing, or perhaps would have joined in with the bruisers and bopped a few of them gals myself spirited soul that I am and will truly remain.

And hey, if your tastes don't quite run in the same direction as mine there's still plenty of fun fodder for you, such as a piece on walking ball of nerves Dory Previn to a Sly Stone interview where he gets to tell us all about his special relationship with Doris Day! Who could fault anybody tuning in for the Mick Jagger interview where he once again lets it all hang out and shows to the world just how cold and cyborg he can be while still retaining that air of decadent snobbery! A HOLY GRAIL-period Python article is also here for you serious fans, while pieces on Jimmy Saville and Russell Harty will appeal to someone...over in England since their monikers have zilch recognition inna US but then again who in Blighty knows who Brad Kohler and Don Fellman are? I guess that makes us even!

What's really great about the articles collected (and in fact the better moments of what passed for rock screeding in the seventies) is that whether you're reading Murray giving his own personal interpretive take on the Hoople history or Kent trying to make sense outta the post-TRANSFORMER Lou Reed (especially after being an eyewitness to the first of the now-legendary Bangs/Reed faceoffs during his brief Detroit sojourn) none of it reads like they're whoring out for the powerbrokers and moneychangers behind the scenes!!!! This definitely is a wondrous sigh o' relief esp. after being inundated with rock journalistic felching whether it be STONE's creampuff treatment of any Laurel Canyon survivor ca. 1979 or MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL's blind allegiance to various "scenemakers" who could do 'em good by tossing a little positive press their way, filtered through a seamy Marxism that came off more like a death knell than a clarion call. CREEM certainly had it as did a wide array of fanzines that'd probably remain totally lost to time if you hadn't read about 'em on the web and elswhere (hint!), and obviously enough so did NME to the point where I feel like taking a drive up to the Hamilton Ontario Public Library and camping out in their microfilm department just so's I can read all of the NME's that they actually have ready to view for all comers lucky enough to know how to thread a machine!

Were there any other NME collections making their way out to the unwashed rock-obsessives of the seventies? Am I going to search them out as fast as I can to ensure yet another reading filled winter season to chase away the doldrums? Can I think of any more beyond-obvious, idiotic questions to pose to you readers who certainly deserve much better than this slop?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tomorrow's Valentine's Day, but if you're expecting a lovey-dovey post I'm afraid you've made yet another huge error in your life (other'n tuning into this blog inna first place---see, I beat you to the punch with that OBVIOUS takedown!). After all, this ain't one of those blogs where we don't judge you and vice versa thus nothing gets done! Don't you worry, I'm going to be my usual cranky self and with pride dish out yet another bile-filled, cringe-inducing entry into the annal of BLOG TO COMM-dom which probably won't rank as one of the best I have to offer, but then again I doubt the thing'll have you rushing for the nearest vomitorium to cleanse your lilywhite soul after it being soiled in such an unnatural fashion as this.

Gotta say that things are picking up around here with the arrival of a few new spinners that have been brightening up my evening easy chair calm-yerself-down time. Still, in the grand tradition of Samuel Gompers I yearn for more. After all, last year's winter season was perked up by the arrival of some old issues of THE AQUARIAN which spurred me on to write a lengthy, passionate post about an era of rock & roll that continues to resonate inside my otherwise hollow beanie. Still waiting for something that'll spark my nerve-endings to the point of boundless pleasure this winter season, but until then I guess I'll just settle for what I've got. Which of course is never enough, but then again we can't all be Byron Coley.

But please, don't go about thinking that I'm nothing but a rotten swarthy layabout who can barely blog his way outta a paper bag, for just this week I obtained, read and devoured the entire contents of the latest volume in the DICK TRACY COLLECTION and man is it a cringe-inducing doozy! This volume (#11 if you're counting) is particularly blood/gore packed not only with the entire "Mumbles" episode (considered pretty hotcha in the realm of the TRACY universe and of course they're right!), but the Coffyhead and Heels Beels sagas which I've never laid eyes upon and (after careful thought) must admit gotta rank up there with the best that the sick mind of Chester Gould could wretch upon a drawing board. The Beels one was particularly creepy, especially the part where he climbs into what he thinks is an empty drainage pipe (this after stabbing a taxi driver in the neck with a hat pin thus causing the cab to crash into a lightpost before making his escape!) that turns out to be a giant papier mache soda bottle being used for a Sparkle Plenty Cola billboard! By the time he's found over a week later (after the soda bottle is taken down at the request of BO Plenty who claims his daughter's image was used without his consent) Beels is barely alive and has to be put on life support! I dunno about you, but things like that always give me this weird, perhaps disturbed feeling of joy if only because evil characters getting strange and particularly cruel comeuppances in totally unintended ways such as this is so satisfying given these perverted, justice-starved times where people tend to feel more sorry for the eviler aspects in life while poo-pooing the good and decent. If only real life could be so harsh and poetically justifying, especially after a good fiftysome years of us having to feel "sorry" for the same people who have caused so much damage and heartbreak in the first place!

Of course it ain't as nauseating as the time when Beels' girlfriend Acres O'Reilly went insane and began searching for her stolen cab after breaking away from her hospital bed while subsisting solely on a raw chicken she swiped from a nearby farm! And Ed Norton had the nerve to ask a cop if the stories in TRACY were taken from actual police files!
Here's what's been stroking my medulla oblongata more/less/kinda/sorta these past few days. A nice grab bag of wonders if I do say so myself...nothing life-shattering true but its just enough to stimulate that aforementioned back-brain a whole lot better'n Robert Calvert's orgone accumulator ever could! Remember to take notes, because you're gonna need 'em when you write about the exact same items of interest on your very own blog!
Anthony Braxton-B-XNO147A CD (Sunspots Italy)

I remember a loooong time ago when I was spinning this in my bedroom and my father, after looking at the back cover, thought it was a JOHNNY MATHIS album that was gettin' the spinnin' 'round here! Good thing I didn't let dad listen to this platter by longtime avant godhead Braxton or else he'd never let me inna house again! But sheeee, Johnny Mathis? And I didn't even have a girl in the boudoir at the time!

This 'un, as is BYG followup THIS TIME, ain't really a Braxton as leader album per se. Dunno why it didn't get billed under its proper Creative Construction Company moniker since members Leo Smith and Leroy Jenkins even contribute two compositions on the a-side (the latter in his usual soul-wrenching style) and any doof could tell that this bunch really were a working collective 'n not a Braxton solo star excursion by any means. But I guess even if the entire group is pictured on the front that Braxton would get the star billing...after all he does get to play all of those neato instruments plus he sure looks cooler'n all the rest with that 'fro and those sideburns!

Naturally this is more of that early AACM scronkabrang that keeps my juices flowing, perhaps a little less out-there and swinging than the Art Ensemble of Chicago but engaging in its own incomprehensible way that had college students making Braxton such a noted icon back in the beyond-strange mid-seventies. If you've heard one Braxton album you definitely ain't heard 'em all, but at least you get the idea. Intricate, mathematical and maybe even irritating at times, but still firmly rooted in the late-sixties stretching of jazz boundaries that made Leonard Feather such a broken down man during the final thirty years of his life.

A Cee-Dee copy of THIS TIME is also winging its way to my door and a future post'll feature what I would consider yet another writeup that I'll dumb down to suit the cranial capabilities of most of you regular tuner-inners. Until then can anyone tell me if there were any other CCC releases made while the four were holed up somewhere in the jazz ghetto of Paris at the time?

Dunno why I even purchased this "tribute" Cee-Dee considering how almost all of 'em (esp. the Velvet Underground ones which'd figure considering their doofus spawn) are nothing so much as more dirt onna coffin of the once-vibrant form of music known as rock & roll. Even the tributes I like such as the HARD TO BEAT Stooges two-LP set and the Troggs and Sam the Sham ones hardly get any spin time around here. But given the subject matter of this 'un I figured why not, esp. since I am really in an English underground rock groove so-to-speak and if I can't read every NME with Mick Farren, Nick Kent and Charles Shaar Murray innit then I might as well get as close to that particular pipeline as I can with what is within my grubby reach!

Surprisingly enough this does come close to that 60/70s underground taproot that made England a little more than a place which birthed Chris Welch-imprimatured progressive rock the likes of which MELODY MAKER banked their buckskins on. After all, the Deviants and Pink Fairies were the pick of the seventies underground rock scene and certainly brightened up any import bin, and the fact that anybody would have waited so long to pay tribute to these bubs in any fashion is what some might say "downright criminal".

And although I'm sure this one will eventually get pushed to the back of the collection with the rest at least PORTOBELLO SHUFFLE's got some nice moves on it that will at least stick in my mind until the next bright flash of seventies underground ephemeris just happens to wing its way to BTC world headquarters here in the dankness of my bedroom.

This one's got an all-star roster as well, from various ex-Damned guys twisto-changing the Pink Fairies catalog to ex-MC5 manager John Sinclair ripping up Mick Farren's "People Call You Crazy" and Wilko Johnson (!) and Band doing the title track about as good as if they were a buncha 1972 Ladbrook Grove upstarts rehearsing it in some antiquated outhouse. Even none other than Jello Biafra and "the Guantanamo School of Medicine" take on "Metamorphosis Exploration" from DEVIANTS III and pretty much make it their own while going off on all of their own weird tangents that don't make you think of bad eighties radicalism one bit! Considering how Biafra's been writing album notes for Zolar X and Cold Sun reissues maybe he should just drop that political hackdom pronto (the "new" Lenny if the old one wasn't enough of an asshole!) and become a rock fandom scribe.

Biggest surprise of all is that even the honorees themselves lend a hand, with a reunited (!) Pink Fairies doing a new version of their old hit now entitled "Do It '09" while Mick Farren and Larry Wallis show up (separately of course since rumor has it they can't stand the sight of each other!), the former doing a song called "Baby Pink" which is the second song written (after Rocket From The Tombs' "Life Stinks") in which every line rhymes with "ink" and the latter an original tribute to the famed (and ailing) Deviants/Pink Fairies hanger on Boss Goodman called what else but "He's The Boss"!

Well, if you want me to be honest about it (and why not?) I'll admit that I had a fun time listening to this; reminded me of the days when Stiff Records seemed like such a great record label with loads of interesting and admittedly varied acts all done up in a nice, self-produced sorta way. And it had a good history about it with an eye towards the past and present heading us towards th future more or less. Of course, that was before Stiff decided to bank their fortunes on the likes of a whole slew of rather nondescript new wave groups who seemed to holler "WELCOME TO THE (yawn!) EIGHTIES!" a lot louder than Ronald Reagan ever could!

And I should 'fess up to the fact that gettin' an eyefulla of what the old Deviants/Fairies axis looks like these days was hard on the ol' psyche! Talk about the old and wrinklie types they've all turned out to be this far down the rock & roll line! Then again it's seems as if everybody's getting older these days, everybody except me, but can I help it if I am so well-preserved that I still have the body of a three-year-old, with a mind to match???

I can remember when this platter first hit the record shops, and why not with that cleavage-filled cover bound to give any 14-year-old a good tingleling in the kajoobies! Of course the wasted blond is the only thing that SIXTEEN AND SAVAGED has goin' for it! Michael Des Barres ain't exactly another David fact he ain't even a halfway decent Jay Gatsby whom at least could milk the nipple-ring'd glam teat for all it was worth. Musicwise it's just more of that middling-energy seventies "hard" rock trying to be brash and pose-conscious going nowhere except to a future of duff reviews courtesy the likes of Joe Fernbacher in THE SHAKIN' STREET GAZETTE. Sounds like somebody at MCA's idea of what decadence was all about, and if they played their cards right maybe Silverhead coulda made the best use of their label's prowess like maybe scored a cameo in the next episode of POLICE WOMAN 'r sumthin'.
Various Artists-EPITAPH FOR A LEGEND c-CD set (International Artists/Charly, England)

Now that I got this new deluxe double set complete with a neet li'l booklet replicating the original Lelan Rogers liner notes and a whole load of other fundries all I gotta say is that I can sure rest at night knowing that I don't have to bother looking for one of those slim-case double-Cee Dee holders for my Collectables version which got crunched up in transit way too many years ago!

But all funnin' aside this is a nice package done up like those other International Artists packages Charly has been offerin' us o'er the past few years. Everything's nice and in place with new notes interminglin' with the old and a nice glisten to the entire affair. It's sure nice seeing something the likes of an International Artists collection getting the royal treatment 'stead of just shoved out onto the market by the same kinda people who push Ken-L Rations on pacified pet owners.

And of course the recordings themselves...I remember when this 'un first came out thirty years ago and it sure seemed like the gosh-it-all ultimate garage band collection. Of course the price was way prohibitive esp. for people like myself who hadda subsist on pennies picked outta urinals, but thankfully through the miracle of home taping I was able to at least hear the long-lost goodies that make up this collection from one of the wildest independent labels to ever come outta the United States. (So wild that Greg Prevost once wrote that none other than Ohr records was like the German answer to what IA were doin' these neck o' the sphere!)

Highlights include the massive Roky/Elevators material which remained unheard for ages (ya gotta remember that even the Spades reissue nor many of the IA albums didn't make its way to the Western Pee-YAY area unless they happened to hit the Zayres bargain bins when we weren't lookin') as well as those stripped-down Red Crayola demos that had more'n a few doggies howling early-eighties English underground hosannas given the universal nature of it all. The straight garage band tracks are also worth the price of admission (I especially warmed up to the Emperors' "I Want My Woman" even if these guys were a pre-Texas Rogers production) while the blues stuff well...doesn't offend you like way too many years of Robert Cray-inspired sophistcado showoffisms do. Coulda used that one Endle St. Cloud single which is supposed to be so weird it ended up on Erik Lindgren's list of top psychedelic nutjobs back in the last issue of TAKE IT!, but that's probably on one of those extra-deluxe International Artists 10-CD box sets none of us could ever hope to afford (but then again I never thought I would be able to afford this one in its original configuration and I managed to track one down...ten years after the fact but man I did get it!).

Is this the real MAX'S KANSAS CITY VOLUME ONE? Don't laugh, for back in the Autumn '75 to '76 season Max's was booking a lotta blues amidst the New York underground and (shudder) weekend disco to the point where the club even gets a handy plug in this elpee's liner notes alongside such other legendary beergardens as the Bitter End and Folk City. And at least three of the acts who pop up on this platter, Paul Oscher's Chicago Breakdown Blues Band, Sugar Blues Band and the Dicey-Ross Blues Band were pretty much regulars at Max's around the time this album was unleashed why not think of this as yet another Max's album especially if you consider that Ratcage sampler from the early oh-oh's to have been the latest in a long line of disques emanating from that hallowed haunt!

Maybe I should disqualify myself given how I am not exactly a follower of the blues situation but I will admit that this record did jive with me at least as any mid-seventies artyfact that had a connection of the New York underground would. Oscher's group had a particularly potent approach to 'em as did the Dicey-Ross bunch and fortunately they didn't reach into that horrid whiteguy styling which got a whole lotta outright dweebs thinkin' they were ninety-year-old Mississippians with TB. Sugar Blues actually suited me better if not for the sexy gal bassist as well as the fact they had no drummer which gives their sound a particularly basement-level appreciation. The rest is more of the real deal blues (meaning these were recorded by actual survivors and not a buncha youngster upstarts!) with a special appearance by Spivey herself and nothing I'd care to ignore in its stripped down, certainly not backed by any major industry way which kinda ruined the appeal of this stuff for me long ago!
Tiny Tim-LOST & FOUND 1963-1974 (Rare & Unreleased Recordings) LP (Secret Seven)

There must be tons of this stuff flying around, but at least the folks at Secret Seven gathered up a few choice rarities covering Herbert Buckingham Khaury's just pre/post fame acetate and extremely rare singles and slapped 'em onto two good ol' timey vinyl sides for our (standby for upcoming cliche) "dining and dancing pleasure".
A nice selection it is too featuring everything from ancient heart tuggers like "When You And I Were Young, Maggie" (which you may remember from a set-shaking scene in the Buster Keaton Educational comedy THE TIMID YOUNG MAN) to some really good takes on current hits like "Maggie May" and Tom Jones' "Delilah" which have their own rustic charm. Sheesh, I gotta say that I really admire the version of Jonathan Edwards' early-seventies "relevant" antiwar hit "Sunshine" where Tim actually changed "damned" to "darned"...good to see that somebody was looking out for the morals of youth back then even though it obviously didn't do 'em much good!

These sides (some dating as early as 1963) show Tim to have been a whole lot more versatile that all of the oldsters who thought he was "mocking" their generation would dare to admit, and even a guy who ain't even a Tim follower by any stretch of the imagination such as I found this a pretty enjoyable set-down sounding as much 1912 as they did 1966. Coulda used some early pre-fame snaps and more in-depth historical background but I guess they're saving all of that for the biography, eh?
BEFORE I GO, I thought I'd hip you readers to the crucial fact that the Le Stelle di Mario Schifano album DEDICADO has just been reissued on Cee-Dee by the English Relics label! Yes, in case you are one of the few reg'lar BLOG TO COMM readers who don't possess a copy of your very own now's your chance to experience this album by Italy's very own Velvet Underground who just happened to have been mentored by Italy's very own Andy Warhol, and in case you haven't read the scores of reviews which followed the release of the Italian Akarma edition you'll know that this is a pretty important platter to grace your ear canals indeed! Unfortunately this reissue, although up-to-par in the sound department, lacks the repro'd original booklet and overall pop art feel of the Akarma deal and for that should be had only if you somehow can't find the original reish. (And that shouldn't be that hard to do with a little bloodhound work considering the thing's only a few year's old.) You do get a brief history on the insert card, but nothing exactly spectacular other than the fact that Gerard Malanga joined the group on-stage at least once, presumably doing his whip dance whilst the band did their darndest to replicate the EPI experience. That must have been back when the Warhol sidekick took a trip to dagoland back '67 way and met up not only with the Stelle guys but local popsters Equipe 87 who wanted to perform "Heroin" and actually asked Malanga to write to Lou Reed to get permission to do so! Hmmmm, never expected Italy to have been a hotbet of Velvet Underground activity back then but I guess they had quite a following even if Equipe came off more like an Italian Standells, and with four Tony Valentinos at that!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Philip Cohran and the Artistic Heritage Ensemble-THE ZULU 45s COLLECTION 3x7-inch disc set (Jazzman Records England)

I forget the exact reason as to why I snatched this particular item up...personally I think it was because of cornet player and bandleader Phil Cohran's one-time association with Sun Ra. That would seem the most obv. one, yet perhaps Cohran's co-founding of the AACM struck a receptive chord, or maybe the presence of whacked-out guitarist in his own right and eventual Miles Davis member Pete Cosey in Cohran's Artistic Heritage Ensemble was the catalyst that made me dish out a good $15 for these spinners. Most likely it was because I was looking for a fresh new sound to immerse myself in for the first time in a few weeks and this seemed like a better chance to take'n on yet another one of those GARAGE BAND RETREADS CONSTANTLY BEING REISSUED OVER THE PAST THIRTY YEARS VOLUME 100 samplers I've been foolish enough to dump way too much moolah on!

Cosey ain't on this reissue of rare 7-inch sides that were pressed up on the small Zulu label (though he does pop up on the ON THE BEACH CD which was not reissued on the Jazzman label), but that doesn't mean this li'l treasure's not worth the rather easy-enough effort to snatch up! Y'see, these six sides contain some pretty hot funk-unto-jazz that reminds me of early Sun Ra taking a detour to Saturn via Africa while getting into more'n a few moves that I'm sure everybody from Funkadelic to a lotta those those post-no wave New York artistes would eventually call their own. And if that don't get you scurrying for your credit card...

If you like the nice and cheap-looking self-produced single look akin to those old Moxie EPs that were coming out like mad back in the late-seventies you'll certainly go for these three late-sixties vintage platters that never did get far beyond the Chicago city limits. They even come housed in a nice picture sleeve with liner notes 'n everything which should appeal to (I hope) a lot more than your pathetic collector snob attitude! However, unlike the Moxie produce of yore these records are pressed up on something other than retread floormats and sound pretty good so you don't have to worry about pulling one of these platters outta the sleeve and finding it caked with all sorts of alien crud and corruption!

On these single sides Cohran and band dabble in everything from jazz-tinged r&b to avant and even some gospel settings sounding pretty hotcha, especially when they get into their hot funk/soul groove that goes to remind you about yet another dimension of the energetic underside of black music in the days before disco proved that black people could be just as boring as white ones. It's no surprise that a few of the original Arkestra men appear in the Ensemble, though in no way could I imagine Sun Ra leading his group through anything with the hotcha early-seventies commercial potential of a song like "Loud Mouth" or even the black power rousers that like the best avant garde jazz took the past eighty years of black music and jumped over the wall yelling and hooting it up all the way into infinity.! Well, maybe Ra coulda (after all, some of those recordings with Yochannon do tred the boundaries between r&b and orbit music), but I'll leave that to the serious Ra chroniclers who know a whole lot more than could ever be stored inside my ape-like beanie.

True the Afrocentric ideals here might just sour a lotta people who actually have been to Africa and found that the legend sure superseded the reality, but the traipses through late-fifties-styled new thing to hot funk to even some gospel vocalizing done with the Spencer Family is bound to give your nervous system a nice flushing out. And for those looking for a new listening experience there always is Cohran's Frankiphone, an electrified thumb piano that sounds like a cross between a vibraphone and an electric piano which gives the proceedings that special 1962-esque sense of futurism just as much as Ra's clavioline did on those early/mid-sixties sides. Considering how the future Ra and many others sang about (meaning "today") has turned out to be not as Jetsons as we may have liked maybe we actually were living in the future when it was the past, or in other words Devo was RIGHT!

Is this set inspiring enough to me to the point where I will eventually seek even more Cohran platters out? Certainly, and I probably will start with the ones featuring Cosey (an under-rated player in his own right) that I'm sure live up to the promise if not the hype. Until then Forced Exposure has this as well as a few other Cohran reissues via the Mississippi record label you might want to lend ear to, and if you too find yourself tapping toe and humming merrily to the deep groove of it all don't say I didn't warn ya.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Remember the old days when such a creature known as the "rock critic" existed? This was a time when most if not all major news publications had 'em on their staff, and not only that but student newspapers at your local college campus or free imitation VILLAGE VOICE weekly had at least one of 'em on the masthead so-to-sprechen. You could say that rock magazines even had 'em and some did, but once you got down to it the people who were writing for such publications, the Lester Bangses and Richard Meltzers and the people who followed directly in their wake, weren't as much "rock critics" as they were "rock fans" who were people just as you and I only they got to rah-rah about their personal faves from a bigger soapbox than any of us could imagine. The best thing about these rock fans was that they were working from inside that nefarious system trying to tear the entire mutha down from within destroying the boundaries between fan and professional in ways where sometimes it seemed impossible to tell one from the other. And, at the times when they succeeded in doing this, these writers were just about as much "thee" stars of the scene as the Stones or former Beatles were and it was all for the better, mainly because for once, "they" really were us!

And because of this sudden elevation of the rock fan to snide professional (and it was true) these rock crits (and even rock "fans") really were just as important a part of the biz as the managers, promoters and maybe even the acts themselves. If I recall correctly, these scribes were being lavished with free records and expensive promo items of all kinds, and even if the pay wasn't that hot they could always exist by cashing in those free records for the coin of the realm to help pay the water bill with. Rock critics were even being wined/dined and laid all over the place thus keeping the economic wheels turning and escort services at their busiest levels to date. And all these people hadda do was pump up certain musical acts and berate others which is why you used to see people like Bruno Bornino and Anastasia Pantsios lavishing heaping schmalzy praise upon various groups that had the big bucks backing 'em while ignoring, distorting, half-truthing and downright lying about the really interesting and high energy aspects of what was happening right under their very noses and for whatever not-so occult reasons existed within their pointy heads! (And yeah, I know that Pantsios actually did a piece on the one-off Mirrors reunion a couple of years back which is strange considering her loathing of the entire Velvet Underground ethos but really, here in the 21st century is that impact as important or as crucial to a long-dead era as it would have been had she written positively about the Styrenes or even Serena WilliamS Burroughs back '78 way?)

Nowadays rock critics (not "fans", they've been purged from the mainstream press loooong ago!) are getting fired left and right. Newspapers that are losing readers hand over fist in the age of immediacy can't afford critics of any stripe especially when they can barely stay afloat supporting their dull political columnists and lazy reporters, and considering how there really ain't that much "rock" to write about why bother employing 'em inna first place? Besides, by the eighties there were thousands of spanking brand new upstarts popping up amongst the weekly papers and fanzines of the world who were willing to do what the crits were making a living on and for nada at that (maybe just to see their name in print and get a free platter in the process), and frankly these kids were doing just as bang-up a job shilling as the professionals so why pay for dodgy quality when you could get the same level of dodginess for free? True maybe a few rock writers whom we know and revere were also pushed to the back of the kitchen cabinet along with the typical hacks, but then again it is always good to see the bloated, self-righteous and pious beyond nausea crits who acted as the tastemakers of the past having to resort to real life jobs more suited to their talents like emptying out refuse tanks at abortion clinics or volunteering for experimental hemorrhoid surgery.

And with the rise of blogs you can get higher quality opines on music old and new and with the same quality that a fan put into a 1972 fanzine dissertation on Alice Cooper, and with the mere flick of a mouse t'boot. No more do we have to be bothered with the shrill tones being emitted by harridans the likes of Pantsios who pretend to be the lone rebel voice fighting against the machine when in fact they are the machine! It is much better hearing about rock & roll from some disaffected kid or oldster who's been around the block a few times (like myself?) who at least believes that he has a mind and soul closer to the Big Beat. And when I talk "soul" I mean one which continues to affect him in a positive, life-reaffirming way while other have been moved and swayed by trends that never should have been conceived in the first place.

So next time you hit your favorite music blog (not necessarily this one!) thank the writers for doing a grand job of it. As for me, I don't know what I would do without blogs now that the fanzine era has pretty much dribbled down to a precious few. THE HOUND BLOG remains my fave even if Jim Marshall has gone on yet another hiatus while THE NEXT BIG THING would rank even higher if only Lindsay Hutton would get off his royal hiney and write a buncha reviews 'stead of mopin' 'round the castle feeling sorry for himself (I'm having enough trouble feeling sorry for myself as it is!). And really, we could use some blogs from Eddie Flowers, Imants Krumins, Paul McGarry, Michael Weldon and many more out there whom I know have something really groovy to say.

Or look at it this way, would you rather read Robert Hillburn or Joel Selvin the rest of your born days? I sure as poop plops wouldn't!

A SMALL PACKAGE OF VALUE WILL ARRIVE SHORTLY: Amidst the bills and junk mail that usually hit the box what should show up in my mail box but a parcel from none other than Bill Shute! As you may know, his Kendra Steiner Editions imprint has been branching out into real flesh and blood soundscapades as of late, and after the previous explosion of rare ltd. ed. CD-R's on this new label comes a series of tiny three-inch diameter recordable Cee-Dees that sure look nice and nifty but are harder to store in your disque collection than 10-inch platters are with your good ol' vinyl!

Most of these releases might be categorized as "musique concrete", that sound that my father once said sounded as if it were made by people who looked as if they were hit with a big slab of concrete which I know ain't that funny but it's good enough to warrant yet another mention on this blog. Some of this reminds me of that weird, haunting sound that was "Sisyphus Part Two" on UMMAGUMMA while others seem to be the direct descendant of those old Pierre Shaffer experiments and whatnot that were so much the rage amongst collegiate phony intellectuals back in the fifties. But the biggest surprise of the batch just has to be SENESCENCE, a psychedelic slice of mystical wowzerism that was more/less put together by a group which calls itself Kuschty Rye Ergot. This outta-nowhere act with the rather lysergic moniker features the talents of one John Stanton, a name that somehow rings a bell in my clogged up mind (and yes, I am ashamed of re-using that oft-tread joke!). Recorded live in Our Nation's Capitol, SENESCENCE begins with a floating amorphous acoustic guitar sound that reminds me of the better aesthetics of early-seventies space music sorta reshaped for modern day ears. Really pleasant and (to coin a phrase) "dare I say relaxing?", at least before it turns into this great long jam that comes off like a cross between the Pink Fairies and the live bit that opens side two of the first Faust album. If only Ash Ra Tempel ended up sounding as good as this on those mid-seventies albums!
As you can see, this week's pickin's are mighty slim indeed. In fact if it weren't for the pizza review located at the end of this post I don't even think this blog would be worth tuning in to. Not that I've been giving up music as some sort of self-penitential way of atoning for my evil life (or lack of it you may say)...I have been playing more than a few golden greats repeatedly such as say, the Troggs' TROGGLODYNAMITE CD featuring a hefty sampling of mid-sixties numbers that were and were not on the original album of the same name, but you don't want to read my opinions on those sides again now, do you? Hopefully when I get some more motivation comin' my way (in the form of records and such that should be winging their way here soon) this blog will pick up a li'l in the high energy dept., but for now let's just say that I'm just coasting, just tryin' to get by with what I have and until then well, it's a good three anna half decades of backlog and nothing else, y'hear?!?!?!
Anthony Braxton-OPEN ASPECTS (DUO) 1982 CD (hat ART)

Talk about here today and gone tomorrow. Or make that here long long ago and gone just long ago. In the late-sixties and early-seventies Anthony Braxton was just another smart up-and-comer on the avant garde music scene who'd made some recordings while in Chicago for Delmark that earned him slight recognition, then he hightailed it with the rest of his "Creative Construction Company" to Paris for a couple of albums that continued on the same tangent that teetered between the new jazz and the classical tradition of John Cage and the rest of those New York School types. Then suddenly WHUMP!, Braxton somehow gets noticed as the brash up-'n-comer he's been for the past six or so years and is signed to the budding Arista label, thus garnering him a large college kid following and a whole lotta airplay on those college stations lucky enough to have a free jazz slot snuggled somewhere between the dulcimer hour and lezbo chit chat. Braxton's back catalog suddenly came to light, rare recordings are issued on labels like Inner City and Muse, and Braxton's now consider so important to the entire jazz scheme of things that he even plays alto on Dave Brubeck's own avant garde album on Atlantic. That's a fact I'm sure didn't phase Meltzer one bit since he did mention in the 77 things about '77 year-end roundup for PHONOGRAPH RECORD MAGAZINE that Braxton was the seventies equiv. of Brubeck and he didn't mean it in a positive, life-reaffirming way either!

Then just as suddenly as he rose from obscurity the entire bottom dropped out of Braxton's notoriety, or fame or what-have-you. Well, not exactly, but after being given free reign at Arista to record 100-piece tuba orchestras and having enough moxy to sit in with Dixieland bands as nonagenarians looked on with puzzlement while Braxton tooted out old rags on his contrabass clarinet it was like Braxton was suddenly on the outs. Maybe it was a new age dawning which had little use for the extreme avant garde or maybe Arista began looking at the books a little closer and figured they couldn't afford being modern day patrons of the arts in this costly fashion but whatever, Braxton was scrambootched from the confines of Clive and back to recording for small labels as if he never was one of the chosen faces of the new world of jazz to begin with. Heck it was the feelygood eighties anyway---leave the whole voice of new jazz thing to Al DeMeola who at least could churn a few more bux outta the smooth jazz huddled and not be so offensive like I assume Braxton had been.

This '82 sesh must have been one of the first post-purge Braxton recordings which finds him working with former MEV member Richard Teitelbaum on a series of saxophone/electronic duets. Not the first time the two had gotten fact there was an entire album with 'em doing a live show that came out on Arista/Freedom at the height of Braxtonmania. That album entitled TIME ZONES has long escaped my grasp, but I would assume that this particular sesh recorded a good five years afterwords captures the experimental meeting of minds just as well. And hey, this one surprisingly isn't as stodgily offensive to my own tastes even though I never did like Teitelbaum's work in the old MEV one bit!

The entire disque is subdued and lulling without the crash of the typical AACM/BAG "little instruments" to rouse you from whatever bout with ennui you might be induced into after listening to this 73-plus minute offering. Braxton does fine with his spacial noodling while Teitelbaum adds the perfect textures of sampled sound (in fact, he's so good I thought there was an actual grand piano being banged on the opening track) and you can read or even sleep through this w/o the fear that all of a sudden you're going to be deluged by the mad clanging of gongs and log drums like on those old Art Ensemble of Chicago forays that switch from European classical to Wild Man of Borneo with the drop of a hat.

I am reminded of Idiophonic, this electronic jazz group who not only performed at the legendary freeform series at the old CBGB Lounge but released their own disque on the Rent Control label. I wrote it up a long time ago...too lazy to link the revew up but if you want to read it bad enough you know what to do. Idiophonic had the same electronic buzz as the Braxton/Teitelbaum duo only with a drummer and even more modern electronic equipment which could reproduce acoustics perfectly to the point where you'd swear there were chimes and choirs somewhere around. That's a good one to keep an eye out for and if you can find this one somewhere in whatever they have left of record shops (excuse me, "Cee-Dee emporiums") these days maybe it would be worth picking up. Nothing essential, but engaging enough at least for people like myself who used to prowl the record bins wondering...wha' th'???
Captain Beefheart-DICHOTOMY CD-R

I usually ain't the kinda guy who ritualizes his listening experience though I sure usedta do just that, like f'rexample making sure that the last record that I listened to on 12/31/79 was WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT and the first one of 1/1/80 was exactly the same, as if to frame the "decade" (yeah I know, the eighties technically began on 1/1/81 but let's not get too analytical!). Fortunately by the time 12/31/89 came around I was too smart to engage in such meaningless behavior, but back when I was younger I thought doing something like playing certain records at certain moments would bring about positive change akin to the coming of the Comet Kahoutek, or at least the local TV station buying up the rights to show SUPERCAR once again.

When Captain Beefheart died last December I oddly enough did not grab any of his platters to spin as my own special way to mourn. Now if he deep-sixed thirty years back I sure would've been spinnin' the discs in his memory but nowadays maybe I'm too old fogey, or jaded, or better yet a combination thereof to do something as ritualistic as that. However, I'm still not old enough to be shamed into doing such things which is why when Brad Kohler wrote me about spinning some of his Beefheart items in solemn recollection I felt "guilted" enough into doing the exact same thing myself. My attempt to spin the CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, THE EARLY YEARS Cee-Dee bootleg last night ended when, in typical cheapo bootleg press fashion the thing started sticking halfway through, and in desperation what should I do but...dig into an old collection of burnt offerings that Bob Forward sent me ages ago which not-so-coincidentally included this bootleg which came and went as these usually flash items tend to do in a market that is certainly too small for the rabid audience that exists for Captain Beefheart bootlegs, that's for sure!

If you wanna track listing and another human's review just click here, and while you're at it there may be a download of this platter available somewhere out there in megabyte land that won't cost 'cha a dime. But for now lemme just say that DICHOTOMY is a better than average Beefheart boot and that's in a field where just about every Beefheart boot you come across is just about as much a winner as the legit artifact! This's got outtakes from all of the hot periods in Beefheart's career from TROUT (though I suspect these are merely elpee takes...I mean, how could they come up with a sound like this TWICE?) through his late-seventies rebirth and all good points in-between. It even has, for this zillionth time in bootleg history, "I Was a Teenage Maltshop"! And now that Beefheart's dead and there's nobody around to pay royalties to I'll bet it's all gonna come out in droves, right?

I remember back in the early or mid eighties when a local pizzeria began offering what they called a Hawaiian pizza (basically a plain cheese 'n sauce pizza with ham and pineapple on it) and I thought "whatta stoopid idea!" Well, the ham part seemed OK since using sausage, pepperoni and even meatball and bacon on pizza had been goin' on for quite some time but the pineapple part just came off like a practical joke par excellence. Was thisreally a new taste treat created after hours of culinary trial and error, or more likely somebody's idea of pulling a major gag on the collective psyches of the pizza eating world? My bets were on the latter. I mean, what's next...Polyps Jubilee? Smegma Surprise???

Being not quite the brave soul you might have thought me to be it took a long time for me to even think about giving a Hawaiian pizza a go, and since Card Holders at the local supermarket were getting a few bucks off I figured eh, why not go in for an experience bound to make you sit up and take notice? Always being on the hunt for a good eating experience (and a good subject matter for this blog) I actually bought a frozen Hawaiian pizza that was produced by the California Pizza Kitchen company, an outfit that I will admit makes rather delicious Margarita and spinach pizza-type wares that sure make for a funtime tasty treat on those days when you wanna pizza and are too lazy to go out and buy a fresh one (or too stingy to tip a delivery boy). And today was the day that I just HAD to try one since nobody was home thus sparing myself the embarrassment of having anybody see me eat a pizza with pineapple on it!

So, what was the thing like you ask after these past few paragraphs of puff? Well, actually not too bad, but nothing special. The ham part is OK, tasty and smoky which goes with the not-overbearing sauce and the by-now crunchy cheese around the rim. Those meat lovers pizzas that the national chains advertise which load up on the carnivorous matter must be extremely delicious albeit cholesterol-laden if they have such tangy cured items as ham on 'em. I will say one thing, and that is next time I order a tray from the local pizza dealer I might just have 'em put ham upon it, and maybe even pay extra for a double helping!

As for the pineapple, well it wasn't as obtrusive as many would lead us to believe but frankly I could do without it. Doesn't detract from the overall effect yet it doesn't add anything to it either. It kinda sparks things up like when people sprinkle raisins on baked fish (an idea I find nauseating) but unlike say, an actual baked ham with pineapple rings or sweet and sour pork the tropical fruit just doesn't work as an integral part alongside the sauce and cheese plus whatever else you decide to put on the dough. I'd eat it again and not even under protest, but otherwise I find that I coulda gone another thirtysome years w/o having any touched my ever-hungerin' palate!