I guess that that first DIRTY WATER collection of "punk attitude" must have sold faster than KY at a San Francisco boy scout jamboree because only a few months later what should pop up on the ebay set sale lists but this piece of disposable fun plunk. To be totally honest about it this ain't as good as the original nor is it anywhere as boffo as the selection """""I""""" would have used had I been as underground-famous as series compiler and rockscribe in his own right Kris Needs, but I think it will make do. And make do pretty good as well because really, what else is there to get me through this soggy spring which certainly ain't stirrin' up any of the primal juices the way that the warm weather and short shorts SHOULD be doin' this time o' year!
Like with the first volume this ain't exactly a punk rock primer the way any of us reg'lar readers would have envisioned it...'s something more like a hot selection of bared-wire intense moments from the past, or a selection of what the people who were so preoccupied with a punk sense were listening to before that term sorta got snuck into the tee-vee mindset of the late-seventies, or even a more free-form idea of what clubs like Max's Kansas City and CBGB were aimin' for in the booking policies roughly between the years 1965-2006. Maybe if you were more up-to-date (or better yet backtracked) on the classic CREEM writings ca. '71-'76 and overindulged on similarly-honed fanzines of the same strata you'd understand, but if you were one to have and to hold the complete run of BLACK TO COMM I wouldn't have any explaining to do now, wouldn't I?
I must say that the careen through these two disques does work wonders in the way they shift from genre and year to style and attitude. Listening to these gives me a vague idea of what it might have been like to visit original Pere Ubu drummer Scott Krauss' Prospect Ave. apartment back in the seventies when he's hold these record spinning sessions that were so free-form going from Tibetan gong workouts to Grateful Dead live sides to the Chantays to Beefheart that friends would even invite themselves over to engage in the aural fun while reading their books or just zoning out in their own personal way. Not that this particular aluminum romp is that esoteric in nature but it sure is a wild trip (especially while perusing various seventies-vintage fanzines like I have been as of late) hearing all-black punksters Death smashing their way through a decent Stooge-ploy before lending ear to Dizzy Gillespie leading off the Silhouettes heading for the poor house! Then in comes Suicide once again from their mid-seventies demo tape and then you suddenly realize this is what FM radio was supposed to have sounded like somewhere around 1977 if only the free form freaks weren't let go only to be replaced by the same AOR-conscious bottom (line?) feeders who helped ruin rock and roll to the point where any chance at resuscitation was futile no matter how hard the punks valiantly tried!
Hokay, the selection is useful if only because the music-that-matters might either be buried deep in my triple-decade-old collection or unavailable on disque, and having these tracks here in the palm of my hand does make things a little easier for me when a certain jag hits.. And hey, it's sure a breeze having all of these great and essential tracks available on two platters which makes for a listening experience that reminds me of my July 3 1997 late-night session trying to fight off impulses of self-mutilation spinning everything from "Talk Talk" to MX-80 Sound's "Face of the Earth" with mind-addled passion and desperation occupying my mind before Morpheus's uneasy arms finally set in. And if the careening from six-oh to bop to reggae to avant garde to doofus guys in their 1973 garages ain't the soundtrack to what made up MY own personal soundtrack (you better 86 the reggae which I still can't quite fathom despite recent earnest tries in order to placate Brad Kohler) well, then maybe I should start spinning old scratchy James Taylor albums and act like the schlub you obviously think I am!
Personal highlights---Dizzy Gillespie's "Bebop" which sounds a lot more '60 Ornette than I would have thought, Parliament doing Procol Harum via Bach taken from the boss OSMIUM or RHENIUM album if you prefer, the late Captain Beefheart doing "Zig Zag Wanderer" offa SAFE AS MILK, Big Star and the Flamin' Groovies trying to act as if it were still 1965 in 197X, Bo Diddley segueing right into Stackwaddy, Albert Ayler, the Holy Modal Rounders and the Godz keeping ESP in the mind and the Doctors of Madness, Faust and Edgar Broughton keeping European trash rock alive in the face of Genesis. And that's only part of it! True, MY own personal choices of essential proto-punkisms put Needs' attempts to shame but hey, I guess I'll have to wait until I'm famous before I get my turn at bat.
The real price of admission is Needs' enclosed booklet, another thickie which details more and more about the acts enclosed herein which we already knew about but sheesh, if you liked ZIGZAG and miss the breezy talkin' to ya style of the likes of Needs it's good to know that such rock screeding survives even this late in the game. Sure beats havin' to turn into a standard rock blog and find nothing but empty bleat which only reflects the emptiness of a world that didn't know it slit its own throat in the name of inclusiveness and worse yet picked culture over civilization to the point where even the snob university-bred Europeans think that the impending sharia laws in their land would be a welcome change. Well, can't say that anyone who would subscribe to such multikultural values won't deserve what they will get in the long run but its the rest of us normal people that I worry about! Once again I digress...let me just end this by saying that DIRTY WATER 2's a boss collection which, combined with the first volume does give you a good tip-of-the-iceberg encapsulation of the hot and maddening world that was sixties and seventies underground rock sway, a music which really didn't have the name or identity until folk like Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer finally dubbed it underground or punk in a vague sorta way but at least the more onna ball kids knew. Sad to say that entire era is pretty much dead and buried by this time but hey, at least the aura lingers on....y'see, nobody bothered to embalm the corpse.