Sunday, May 22, 2011

Well, don't expect that much. Not that you ever do, but let's just say that this week the lack of the long green coupled with the absence of any hotcha archival reissued material headed our way really is taking a toll on the whole BLOG TO COMM reason for being! And given this has been one of the worst seasons for any significant archival material within my recollection I get the feeling that things aren't gonna be gettin' better any day soon. Now don't get me wrong, that there are still a number of good rockin' and rollin' acts out there who are more'n apt to neuter your neurons (some of which have been reviewed on this blog within recent weeks if not months), but a li'l bird keeps tellin' me that it ain't the same as it was in 1976 when the arrival of the Modern Lovers album was being hailed as the greatest event in rockism since Cass Elliot decided to have a rather hard-to-digest midnight snack!

Lotsa water's run under the bridge since then and, sad to say, lots of the primal urge has left the music along with it. I could feel the loss of "vibes" as early as '85 when I was just hoping for a powerful underground resurgence, but at least back then there were some vestigial organs left in the music even if they weren't as obvious to me as they are here in the teens. But since there's no reason to stay up late or pose for Leee's camera at Max's like there was forty years back I'm not gonna be predicting any great return to the bared-wire underground avant-putsch that sorta filtered Burroughs through Link Wray and came out the Velvet Underground. (I won't let the fact that there ain't even a Max's to pose at anymore get in the way. Maybe that sex club where Club 82 used to be...) Yes, the energy has left the ozone ages back to the point where everything from music to entertainment (and life in general) has lost all of the verve and swivel it sure had when I was a mere toddler and really had a lifetime of fun and games to look forward to. And if you think that Moon Duo (to pick an up-and-comer in the hip realm off the top of my rather shiny head) is gonna save us from anything I'm afraid you're even more deluded than I sized you up to be.

For now the only thing I'm runnin' on is the old tried 'n true, and with a good 35-plus years worth of it in the abode it's not like I'm gonna be hungerin' for anything else for quite a long time I'll betcha! True I sure could stand a listen to another forgotten New York obscurity, the kind that played the CBGB/Max's/Club 82 circuit for a short spell before vamoosing for parts unknown, but unless some hapless ex-band member reads this and dubs every note his failed act recorded for me I guess my chances are slim. At least there's a plethora of long-forgotten wares just ruminatin' in the collection that deserve a pick up and re-listen, and for the time being I guess that's just what's gonna be in store here at BLOG TO COMM central.

If you have any other ideas well, you always know who the enemies are, and you can dial up their blogs just as easily as you did mine!
Oliver Lake-HEAVY SPIRITS CD (Black Lion Germany)

If you read my review of NTU: POINT FROM WHICH CREATION BEGINS a few months back you'd already know my feelings 'bout the man. The strange thing is, for a free player whom I've previously been rather feh towards howcum I seem to be liking more and more of these mid-seventies offerings? Seventy-five's HEAVY SPIRITS is a lot better than I originally remembered it to be, with Lake not only playing pretty scranky (well, can you think of a better word?) whether in the company of some standard free players or even a string duo that reminds me of Charles Tyler on ESP. Disque closer "Rocket", complete with the backing of trombonist Joseph Bowie and Human Arts Ensemble reg'lar Charles Bobo Shaw, seems to be yet another one of those end-alls w/regards to the outer limits of seventies free-play that were so genre-crashing that Lester Bangs even thought they were nothing but jokes!. Best part about it is that you're gonna have a lotta pocket change left over after you latch onto a copy for yourself (with careful ebay scouring, that is).

NRBQ always seemed like a "funny" kinda band to me and not exactly in the haw haw or "strange" fashion either! More like "unh?" Or howzbout "er" or "hmmh" while we're at it. Back when their albums were plugging up the cutout bins my teenage brain had 'em pegged as being one of those early-seventies eclecto bands that only herniated ROLLING STONE critics might have found some enjoyment in, but then again their mix of fifties re-do, white-kid blooze and Sun Ra covers had me thinkin' perhaps NRBQ had more on the ball'n the rest of those long haired seventies eclectic types that bored me to pieces. And you know what, I was right (as usual).

You could say that NRBQ burrowed too deep into the font of seventies jazz-blues retrostyle just custom-made for equally tight-anal'd seventies collegeboy rompers. Then again you could say that Parke Puterbaugh is a well-honed and insightful rock critic and either way you would be wrong. Frankly, you couldn't be wronger than to ignore NRBQ because you thought they were some never-were bunch that couldn't break outta the club circuit if their life depended on it. These guys were the seventies conscious of geeky teenage trash Amerigan Groovies (whom NRBQ come aesthetically close to on occasion) or alla them acts that used to clutter up the stage of Max's Kansas City even before a name was given to this consciousness, and they sure fit into my ideals and passions more'n anything being catered to me as of late I'll tell ya!

OK, maybe the more "trad" blues/jazz numbers on this best of the Columbia years collection do have some of that seventies bar-rock mentality to it,  but for the most part the band swings fine from Groovieized fifties thumpers ("C'mon Everybody") to Sun Ra's "Rocket #9" to Bruce Chanel, doofified gospel and even a rockin' li'l Three Stooges ditty which sure hones me in to lost UHF television pleasures like nothing since SNOOPER AND BLABBER. Maybe it was their eclecticism that did 'em in not to mention their love of the same fifties/sixties tee-vee/baby boom gulcher that ultimately doomed everybody from the Dictators and myself in the face of modern-day "relevancy", but NRBQ had the chops and smarts to have released some mighty hotcha numbers that fortunately are easily enough to track down. And at least for that I salute 'em, even if they shoulda been a whole lot more omnipresent on the late-seventies underground scene than they unfortunately were because like, they did "fit in".

My burrows deeper and deeper into the BLOG TO COMM vaults has yielded yet another obscuro, mainly this live recording of a concert featuring the meeting of two titans of 20th-century doo-wah music at a Coney Island sideshow of all places! Dunno whose idea it was to match the whiteness of John Cage with Sun Ra's astro-black visions but considering how both of 'em were major twisters and shakers in what used to be known as the "avant garde" maybe a performance by the two alternating between hot free-jazz spasms and epiglottal mutterings is something that would seem the "end all" in just what music as it stood was all about. Or at least music as it stood as far as being not just on the edge but way over it would mean to way too many of us more concerned with the sound between the notes, if you know what I mean...

Nothing revelatory here and I'm positive that members of both camps will find more'n a few bugs and errors here but I do think it's rather charming in its own way. What it was, was Ra playing electronic paradoodles on his keyboard for a spell followed by Cage doing more of those late-eighties throaty singing which sounds rather post-tracheal, kinda like listening to Lon Chaney Jr. talking during his final years. Major gaps of silence pervade Cage's segments as well. Then in comes Ra with more of his atonal scronks and screeks jolting you back into a more er, urban frame of mind.

Well, it's a footnote to the careers of two guys who certainly helped me listen to music with more'n my AM-radio ears attuned. And hey, if you think the whole idea of putting Ra and Cage on the same stage was kinda misguided in the first place well, I gotta admit that the concept does sound as screwy as all of those DC/Marvel crossovers that we've seen since the late-seventies!
Guru Guru-30 JAHRE LIVE 3-CD set (Captain Trip, Japan)

No, no, PLEASE don't let me listen to the first two disques of this set which feature nothing but Guru Guru leader Mani Neumaier along with the most recent incarnation of his group (that I know of) boring me outta my brain with the aid of former Can-sters Damo Suzuki and Michael Karoli amongst various krautrock wannabes! Just let me spin the third one recorded in Frankfurt 1971 at the height of the group's once-infinite power. Here the trio of Neumaier, bassist Uli Trepte and guitarist Ax Genrich live up to that old claim made in the German SOUNDS magazine about having the humor of Country Joe and the Fish and the power and energy of the Stooges, or at least something along those rather tasty lines. Fantastic show here with Genrich cranking out some mighty fine chords worthy of '69 Asheton along with some rather acidic moments that kinda remind me of Jimi undergoing a famous Jewish operation without the painkiller dabbled onto his own personal wah-wah. Some moves taken from WL/WH-period Velvet Underground can be detected as well. Too bad the group eventually fizzed out to the point where even EUROCK couldn't stand their stuff anymore, and they seemed to like just about everything that was continental!
Brad Kohler received the spare copy of Sandy Bull's third and perhaps least album (which only goes to show you how good the others were!) for Vanguard E PLURIBUS UNUM safe and sound last week, and what's more he seemed to have liked it enough to save it for those late-night introverted moments we all have. Funny thing, I always seem to save PERSIAN SURGERY DERVISHES for those humid summer nights, the kind that brew tornados and thunderstorms that wake you up at three AM, but to each his own. Good for him that he's now a fan of Bull's, and good for us as well that this trailer for the Sandy Bull documentary is now up and running on the web which is why I've embedded it into my own blog! Did it just so's you can watch it yourself and see why I've come to enjoy the music of Bull perhaps even more than that of fellow sixties stringbenders John Fahey and Robbie Basho! Don't think this's gonna exactly be available via Starz any time soon so, as they used to say, keep your eyes peeled when it hits the nearest chi chi filmfest near you!

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