Saturday, May 14, 2011

Due to the recent day-long blogger outage which gobbled up a rather giganto portion of what was to have been my typical weekend post (well, it was my fault since I kept peckin' away at the keyboard ignoring that "unable to save draft" warning thinkin' it would eventually go away!), there probably will not be as much hard and pertinent info being spouted off this weekend as I personally would have liked. Well, I will give it the ol' college try as far as  being typically long-winded, stodgy and irrelevant about just everything that passes for living here in 2011 goes, but it just won't be the same as what I originally had in store for ya. Oh man, and I was just champing at the bit waiting to regale you with all of these wacky zingers wothy of Paul Lynde on HOLLYWOOD SQUARES as well as the usual insight I put into each and every one of my posts with the same dedication as the man who gets all of those tiny little tea leaves into a bag of Tetley! I'm sure you'll understand because really, if it weren't for BLOG TO COMM where else would you get your hefty dose of watered-down imitation seventies-styled gonz writing done in an even more debased and crudzine-ish way, hunh?
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Led Zepplin (no sic)-KASHMIR bootleg LP (Berkeley)

This 'un, along with an equally worn copy of the first Good Rats album, is a rather-recent flea market acquisition which I must admit surprises even myself! Well, at least it does considering how I rarely if ever pour through stacks of such garage sale booty like I did back when I was on the lookout for that forever elusive Thirteenth Floor Elevators album that I thought just hadda be out there in used record land! Believe-you-me, I don't even want to LOOK at another VOICE OF FIRESTONE Christmas album or WEST SIDE STORY soundtrack as long as I live, but for some strange occult reason I was drawn to this particular carton of longplayers and actually bought a couple of 'em just to like, have yet another Zep bootleg and Good Rats album in my already-bursting collection!

You shoulda seen it...this old fogey hippie type (who's probably my age!) was pushing Steely Dan 12-inch singles and Eagles albums with those flimsy Taiwan sleeves on me telling me how great they were, me keeping a straight face the entire time trying not to let on that I'm not exactly whatcha'd call a fan or follower of "classic rock" one iota! Well, I guess since this guy ended up getting my moolah he's the one who's probably doing all the snickering but hey, I'm not complainin' because once all's said and done I actually kinda like this!

Recorded live in the audience at a May '75 gig at Earls Court (y'know, one of those shows which MELODY MAKER used to hype on their covers in x-large font so's to clue in their prog rock readership as to where they should dump their pences!), the sound is surprisingly professional, and although the entire show ain't here it at least should suit people out there who are at least looking for a taste. And as far as the overall performance goes well...I did sit through the entire thang w/o having to be committed to the Chuck Eddy Rest Home for Unrepentant Failed Rockscribes which obviously says something! In fact, this writer actually liked the John Paul Jones workout entitled "No Quarter" where the group's bass guitarist and least visible member gets to show off his keyboard prowess sounding like a good kraut band circa 1971 trying to imitate Pink Floyd circa '69 which really ain't as bad as it sounds. Even typical seventies tossaways like "Tangerine" (which I thought was gonna be the old Helen O'Connell song...boy was I surprised!) and the title track were bearable enough that I didn't feel like ripping the disc off the turntable mid-play. The rest is well...."there", but I didn't feel reamed over the deal which is one good thing even if the folks at Berkeley didn't use the entirety of "Dazed and Confused" from whence the track "Woodstock" came like you think they shoulda.

But after all's said, done and filed into the crate next to all of those other bootleg platters I've picked up over the past thirtysome years, I gotta admit that KASHMIR actually was "enjoyable" enough (a "keepie" even!), though given just how low rock as some credible form of teenage passion has sunk all these years later even a total waste of a band like Yes would sound glorious next to today's pablum brigade! In one way this doesn't say much, but in another it says about all you can about today's snooze-filled world and you better believe it!
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THE DRONGOS LP (Proteus)

I missed out on the big New Zealand as the New Liverpool movement of the late-eighties not necessarily out of apathy, but out of lack of cash. Other than the Verlaines and Membranes (which I got only because I used to be on a whole hunk of mailing lists which I will admit really helped finance those early issues of BLACK TO COMM...take that, Homestead!) alla them Flying Nun albums that aware and socially-minded collage-age kids used to swoon over had totally wooshed right past me. Not that I particularly cared about missing out on the New Zealand scene (after all, the eighties were more or less the decade when under-the-counterculture music began to take on the same aura of nil that the mainstream had been emitting since the late-sixties) but I will admit that I'd still like to hear that one NZ-bred platter that Chuck Eddy reviewed in the pages of THE VILLAGE (retch!) VOICE back '87 way (the one he compared to the likes of Syd Barrett and the Velvet Underground), not because I would particularly like it but I sure would like to refresh myself as to just what a dull miasma of low-energy mewling the eighties had wrought!

Don't know if the Drongos actually fit into this particular NZ rock movement. Especially considering how these particular New Zealanders had re-located to En Why See in the very-early portion of that decade and had lived and breathed in that particular cesspool for at least a good five or so years before whatever happened to them eventually did. And besides, the Drongos don't exactly have that NZ sound to 'em, reminding me more of the likes of the kind of groups that were coming outta lower Manhattan just around the time that scene had lost all of its seventies energy and was wandering around trying to latch onto something new, still trying to fit in with a late-seventies sense of new wave smart but doing it in a gnu wave world. Perhaps out of time, yet something that with a little twee added here and precociousness added there became alt rock and for that maybe we should all stone 'em to death!

All kidding aside at least the Drongos were able to whip up some smart pop numbers and white Australasian funk moves even if their overall well-scrubbed squeakiness made 'em a little more palatable'n the droves of those Talking Head imitators who were making the rounds. Bright and poppy and melodic, but thankfully the saccharine level had been reduced a little bit to the point where you're thinking more NYC '78 than Athens '86. With a little darkness added they coulda come up with something as stark as the early Comateens or even Nervus Rex, but for what they were doing and when they were doing it maybe the Drongos should be given a hand at least for not coming up with an approach that was as dry and as anti-rock as some of the music that was coming outta the land of sheep and squishy socialism. Well, at least that's what I could gander from what little I did hear, and somehow I don't think anybody out there could alter my opinion one iota!
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Doug Snyder and Bob Thompson-ROBOTS cassette (New Frontiers)

Most BLOG TO COMM readers (at least the ones who ain't a buncha pansies who got oh so offended over what I write like old maids with blue pencils as they used to say) are well aware of the shutter-rock classic DAILY DANCE,  a 1972 recording by the duo of Doug Snyder and Bob Thompson which successfully merged the concepts of the even-newer free jazz thing with o-mind rock ending up somewhere in between FUNHOUSE and the late-seventies no wave experiments which owed more'n a few nods to Snyder and Thompson's effort. As "time" has proved DAILY DANCE was a pretty on-target u-ground rockist effort, one that ranks up there with PARADIESWARTS DUUL and HERE COME THE WARM JETS as some of the best early-seventies faux Velvet Undergroundisms recorded by guys who weren't geeky short-haired Bostonians singing about being in love with the Modern World which I guess sez somethin' purty important!

The subsequent Snyder/Thompson efforts didn't exactly ooze rah-rah's outta the same people who waxed eloquent over DANCE, what with their more electronic sound (not in the sixties Velvetist speak so common during the day) and comparatively clean natures. I even get the feeling that most of you readers who were titfed on Snyder and Thompson's early-seventies guitar/drum duels had pretty much written the pair off as having succumbed to the clean eighties rock streak which had watered down more than a passel o' once-potent seventies visionaries. Well tough turds to thee, for I gotta admit to liking the dickens out of the various post-DAILY DANCE efforts of Snyder either on his lonesome or in the company of his longtime percussionist pal. And ROBOTS is just one of these faves of mine, right up there with THE RULES OF PLAY, the Sick Dick and the Volkswagens tape, TOUCAN SMILES and maybe even THE CONVERSATION which I sure wish I had readily available considering how the only copy I have is an ancient cassette tape dubbed for me by one Mr. Bill Shute, a name that should ring a bell with you somehow.

This tape reminds me some other bright lights in the eighties canon recorded by seventies underground rockers, mainly the first O-Type tape which had MX-80 backbone Bruce Anderson and Dale Sophiea doing some insane quasi-metallic hard lope with a wailing wall of guitar sound playing against rhythm machine cadences. True ROBOTS has that eighties MIDI sound that I sure wanted to run fast away from at the time, but here in the teens it sure holds up a whole lot better'n some of the underground careening that I actually thought was the end-all regarding people having something to say...that would interest me, that is. Snyder's electronic keyboard work with its techno-edge at least has a drive and energy to it that thanks to the repeato-riff droning does seem like the logical late-eighties end result in a style and swerve that began with WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT a good twentysome years earlier. Not quite as jarring perhaps due to the upgrade in recording quality, but still bound to cremate Taylor Swift's Premium Ham fans at forty paces.

Come to think of it, this does have that sorta 1978 late-night college radio feel to it that reminds me of something I would have loved to have heard on an especially humid summer evening (preferably a Sunday) while doing the age-old demon rasslin' that still gets me blues workout. And hey, along with some of those latterday Harmonia excursions that I've glommed this is some good old fogeys do well with up-to-date technology kinda music that doesn't sound like a squeaky-clean take on the post-electronic cyborgisms we've been inundated with for ages already! An outta-nowhere winner that I'm surprised didn't make last week's "Cassette Caga" rundown of oft-ignored soundscapading from deeper in the vaults that I ever would have imagined.
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The Edgar Broughton Band-DEMONS AT THE BEEB CD (Hux, England)

Gee, I dunno. That straight offa the radio BBC tape that Larry Boyd sent me complete with all of those John Peel asides and the occasional static sure comes off better'n this collection that's just too sterile and scrubbed over for me to enjoy. Far from complete (why no "Aphrodite in Your See-Through Nightie"?) and too cleaned up for human consumption, but if you don't have it the way they were broadcast or can't find your tape like me this is a good enough substitute. As for you beginners, just start with WASA WASA like any good blootch and work your way down to this after it has all settled well deep within your rockist psyche.
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DIET DR. WHAM (soft drink)

Whenever I'm able to, I like to try out some of the food and liquid refreshments that are available in other parts of the nation (and world) but are all but impossible to latch onto here in the Tri-County area. Yes it is a big wide wonderful world that we live in, and thankfully it's filled with loads of goodies I ain't et yet and if there's anything that I'd like to do before I check into the Big Buffet in the Sky its give just about every tasty food morsel of worth a try whether it be turducken, poutain or even some Milk Soda for that matter. And  while I'm at it I sure wouldn't mind munching down on some cuttle fish marinated in teriyaki as well as some of those "crisps" that alla them fag English poofters eat while uttering inanities like "pip pip",  "cheerio" and "let's kill the Irish"!

Given the vast array of gene whammies (both sides of the fambly) that have or will eventually affect me like baldness, insanity and diabetes hanging over my head like the Sword of Damoclese  I gotta watch what my aural intake is lest the last of these three sends me into insulin shock and a sorry future without Sugar Smacks. That's why I take my diet pop seriously, and when I go for some I usually call on the Doctor---Pepper that is! I gotta admit that as far as the dark cola-based drinks around here are concerned Dr. Pepper is my hands-down fave-rave. Funny thing---ever since I was a kid watching AMERICAN BANDSTAND I wondered just what the heck Dr. Pepper was made out of thinking it was a spicy drink that was chock fulla ground table pepper and certainly nothing that I would wanna drink lest it burned my esophagus! But tried it I did and whaddya know the stuff was pretty good even though I still don't know what Pepper is actually supposed to be other'n a cola variation that's gotta be the biggest guarded secret since Coke itself! And considering its popularity it's not like there's any shortage around here like there is Moxie, another one of those health drinks that's probably killed more people'n the diseases it was supposed to cure I'll betcha!

As you all know when something makes a big splash in whatever market it's been tossed into imitations are bound to arise, and the same is true in the world of soft drinks. It took awhile, but eventually the Pepper knockoffs began appearing---first there was Mr. Pibb which didn't quite have the same zing as the original then there were various in-house takes like Dr. Aaah, Dr. Fun and Dr. Taste which you could get at Wal Mart and other megalopolitan outlets. On the heels of these quickie toss outs comes this relative newie which you can only latch onto if you live in Alabama or surrounding areas, so if you do live down that way be sure to keep an eye out for this latest in a long line of well-meaning if not-quite-up-to-snuff ripoffs, Dr. Wham!

Dr. Wham does have its benefits even if it is a copy of the real thing...mainly it's a lot cheaper than Dr. Pepper, but then again like these imitations the taste seems to not be quite "there". Wham seems to lack maybe one or two of those secret 33 ingredients that made Dr. Pepper the drink we all know and love which might not be much to you, but sure means a world of difference to picky anal retentives like myself! It's also comparatively weaker with more of a seltzer-y taste to it which I must admit doesn't bother me in the least considering some of the heavier and more sickening beverages that are available. It suits me fine when I'm tired of the standard soft drink fare (and pale dry ginger ale just doesn't cut it for me one bit anymore unlike a good strong guzzler such as Vernor's) and you don't even have to be a cost-conscious person to have the class to pick some up for yourself. However you do have to live down south which might put quite a dent into your traveling expenses if you happen to live in British Columbia, but if you are that interested there's always ebay or perhaps a gourmet soda pop distributor near you who can help you out with your Wham jones!
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Well, it ain't quite the masterpiece I was expecting, but it'll do at least until the next blogger outage forces me back into panic mode! Bear with it now, y'hear???

3 comments:

django said...

let me know where I can buy a cold bottle of Diet Dr. Wham when I'm next in the greater Hermitage-Sharon area...

diskojoe said...

Speaking of British crisps, I wonder what these would taste like:

http://www.walkers.co.uk/clashofthecomics/

Anonymous said...

PAH! a duel sah i challenge you to a DEWAAL..... AT DAWN!
[umm in response to jpj and tangerine comments]
...feels stupid and crawls off the pa