Sunday, August 07, 2011

Like I said last weekend, don't expect too much. But, as usual, I decided to give you a little more than what you would have been expecting even if it was hardly anything, resulting in this typically long (winded) edition detailing my opines on a slew of records you and I have listened to consistently o'er the course of the past seventy-five years. Well, I just HADDA do something to keep myself occupied here in the beyond-zombiesque teens, and do something I did mainly spend more'n an inordinate amt. of time pouring through years of vinyl goodies that I thought should stimulate my stirrups given the lack of fresh gunch being made available these days. Of course some of the choices to be found are what you might call a li'l too obvious, but think of it as being my own personal LAST WORD on the subject as if any and all discussion regarding said classic album shall end immediate-like and right now I so do decree!  Sheesh, watching Vincent Price in QUEEN OF THE NILE last week's really done something to me!
Nothing much else to report to you order to stave off boredom I've been pouring through my storage box filled with those early/mid-nineties vintage EC reprints which have been bound into nice POPULAR MECHANICS-dimensioned collections making for handy reading. A nice diversion if any, but then again I sure don't get the same testicular tingle outta these that I did when I was reading those "East Coast" reprints of the same material back in the mid-seventies. Come to think of it, nothing gets to my eternal psyche like it might've back when I was a kid which I gotta say is depressing, even if it is par for the course given what an over-the-hill hasbeen I am and shall remain.. Sheesh, when I was four EVERYTHING used to affect me in a positive, mystifying way to the point where some Old Maid deck of my sister's might as well have been the Holy Grail, and if you don't think I miss those much-to-be-preferred days then brother you are sadly mistaken!

As far as previously-mentioned gunch that has passed into one ear and certainly not out the other...the Les Rallizes Denudes CDs (including those 10-CD sets that "Illegal Alien" records out of Germany had released a good eight or so years back) have been getting the frequent pre-beddy bye spins perhaps egged on by the recently-discovered blog that underground scronk great Fadensonnen has blessed us with. Other favorites include 50% of the extant Rotomagus releases that have appeared on the TETES LOURDES collection of early French heavy metal and the Guru Guru live CD which also has some Uli Trepte solo material that's not quite as engaging, but then again why did you think he put the Guru stuff on it in the first place if only to get somebody to listen to the later-on iffy stuff in the first place! The Rotomagus material continues to amaze, especially considering how these guys, if they had some strong label backing, could have become a continental MC5/BOC/Stooges/MX-80 Sound with relative ease! Has anybody ever heard the '73 post-Rotomagus album by Phoenix, featuring the act doing a few Zep covers amongst who knows what else???

Anyway, here's the latest batch...a nice selection if I do say so myself and one which might just go to prove that perhaps I'm not exactly the horse-blindered, one-track-mind type of writer that too many fabricators out there have always tried  to pigeonhole me as. True you won't find anything on the last four remaining "underground" rock acts out there that you can read about on every other "hip" blog, but then again BLOG TO COMM was born of truer ideals, dontcha think?

Considering how both Misters Diddley and Holly were primo instigators during the just-post launching of the rock 'n' roll idiom why not couple these two platters into one magnificent twist-cone of a review anyway? Diddley's Chess debut features what I believe are all of his early single sides making for one great down-home quick fix session displaying all of the man's basic drive in a way that you KNEW woulda influenced more'n a few sicko limeys out there throughout the sixties and seventies! Not only that, but I gotta admit that it's sure nice to know that the all-eternal primitive wail was making its presence known front and center this early in the game even if it was obvious that this guy was gonna spawn more'n a few pallid imitators. But hey, after hearing so many Bo covers from the Liverbirds to Stones to Velvet Underground ("Crackin' Up" via "Venus in Furs"...see the Warhol tapes) and Deviants (see "Garbage") on and on and onanism, the original template does tend to put it ALL in focus.

You can say pretty much the same things 'bout Buddy Holly that you can about Diddley, only except that if the guy hadn't died in that fatal airplane crash would he ever have been as lionized as he had been, and by some of the cube-est of specimens on the face of this earth? Would he have spent the sixties chugging out string-laden hits before going the country route and HEE HAW appearances? Would Southern Californian hot tub cokeheads like Linda Ronstadt record El Lay schmoozy versions of his hits or Gary Busey star in a biopic loosely based on the legends surrounding his life?  Who knows, but dollars to dildos I'd bet my ass that he woulda!

Still I gotta admit loving this rather stripped down budget release which showcases what I believe are some early and rather country-fried Holly demos in fake stereo, including a different version of "That'll Be The Day" which does make for a pleasant change even if it ain't as hotcha as the hit. Dunno if this stuff's been reissued, but I find that my old flea market scuffed up copy still fills the bill and who knows, maybe one'll pop up in a bin near you sooner or later!
Brian Sands-FIXATION LP (Bizart)

Although I find myself more often than not weeping pure tears of joy over Brian's debut effort REHEATED CHOCOLATE TANGOS, I never did cozy up to this 1980 effort as much as I perhaps should have. Of course, now that it's thirty-one years later and Brian's attempt at shaping and forming a musical career for himself might as well be pooft! I find myself listening to FIXATION once again and...well whaddaya know but the thing really does hold up, stands the test of time and comes off like the Great Lost Self-Produced Local Album of the Underground Era that people like myself have been yearning for for quite some time. And here it was under my schnoz all along but (once again) I was letting my preconceived notions get the best of me!

Dunno exactly why this didn't quite click that snowy December 1980 day it came in the mail, but nowadays FIXATION comes off like a fantastic amalgamation of some of the better snat late-sixties/early-seventies moments glopped together in an early-eighties independent release NOT recorded by an Englishman. Some moments, such as on "Dialogue in Limbo", recall MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD-period Bowie while other songs range from Tyrannosaurus Rex performing the theme from THE ODD COUPLE to Sadistic Mika Band-styled rhumba and even some Nurse With Wound/Smegma-esque oddities complete with Captain Beefheart-inspired titles ("Leg Beast"). Throw in a little solo Lennon before he really began to take after his Soviet namesake as well as a cover of Chris Montez's "Call Me" with screeching radio static recalling everything from the first Faust album to Xhol, and you've got a great pop/avant/throbber that really goes down smooth. Like a Tall Dwarfs record you never did get the chance to hear before or maybe what you kinda woulda imagined The Incredible String Band to have churned out after reading about 'em only you got one of those albums that didn't quite fill the bill with regards to alla them mystical rockist tendencies that were supposed to conjure images of damsels in distress and the plague (you know, the hotcha stuff!).

Nice packaging too (even with the sexually perverso cover snap taken in where else but Norway) and pressed on green vinyl in keeping with the late-seventies froth from which this one arose. And hey, if you want a copy bad enough you can just contact Brian through his myspace page listed on the left and probably get one at budget prices! Who knows, he may even autograph one for you which doesn't mean you can sell it for beaucoup in twenny years, but think of how the property value will go up in your collection!

One from the era when bootlegs sporting actual covers were considered prized possessions in any rockster's collection (and cost a whopping $5.99, one whole buck more'n what a boot with a simple insert cover'd set ya back). Anyway, THE GOLDEN AGE OF MOTT THE HOOPLE succeeds even if this was taken from a Columbia-era show when the group just didn't have the spark and energy of their Atlantic days (you may beg to differ, but it's my blog so there!). The sound quality ain't that much to sneeze at while any record that starts off with the opening to "American Pie" is bound to arouse my suspicion (even if I mentioned in the last issue of BLACK TO COMM that I more or less agreed with Lester Bangs' assertation that the infamous Don McLean hit was a whole lot better'n a good portion of the singer/songwriter crud that was hitting the charts in the early seventies...and come to think of it next to Joan Baez it was!) but for bootleg fanz like myself who used to drool over these illicit wonders in the bins of back-alley record shops as a teen I must admit that the tingle still resonates deep within my adolescent psyche. Yeah, there's nothing as good as "The Moon Upstairs" here, but it sure stands as one of the few highlights of the early/mid-seventies that deserved the fame that was ultimately bestowed upon it. And I ain't sayin' that just to look like some high falutin' Big City Rock Crit either!
AN AFFLICTED MAN'S MUSICA BOX LP (United Dairies, England)

My Kruminescences regarding the Nurse With Wound album reviewed last week had me digging out this collection which, gosh darn it, reminds me of the guy on principle alone. A great selection of NWW-sanctioned tuneage as well, featuring French genre-breaker Jacques Berrocal, oft-forgotten krautsters Anima, Foetus, AMM live '67, Operating Theatre and of course the Nurse guys themselves all creating a good cross section of music begatting noise in various stages of abstractions and sound carvings. Actually makes a good case for a living and vibrant avant garde scene in the late-seventies, a time when I kinda thought that it was all dead because, if I was only getting around to discovering it at that time it just HADDA be! 
Pere Ubu-THE U-MEN LP (Tri-City bootleg)

A long-ignored 'un that doesn't seem to be remembered today other'n for inspiring the name of a late-eighties underground rock group, U-MEN LIVE was a pretty important recording at the time if only because this was actually put out by Pere Ubu themselves as a feeler as to whether or not a real life live album would be a profitable venture. Turns out it was, since about a year or so later the 390 DEGREES OF SIMULATED SOUND platter was unleashed and, as you mighta figured, some of the tracks that appear on here ended up on that classic which really helped edjamacate us lumpen Ubuites as to what the group was all about live back when Peter Laughner was a front and center member.

Nothing that early on the Ubuscope appears here, but this did feature the band during their MODERN DANCE days back when they were striking forth on what seemed to be a pretty austere direction.  Naturally it was one which did sorta stumble and fumble about to the point where David Thomas' more sunshine-y side eventually came to the forefront thus producing such releases as "Lonesome Cowboy Dave" which didn't exactly seem to measure up to "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" and confused more than a few longtime followers out there. But when these numbers were laid down in the run down clubs of NE Ohio back '78 way it was more'n obvious that Pere Ubu were helping to drive rock 'n' roll into the eighties, or at least what we kinda thought the eighties were gonna be long before punk rock begat new wave begat gnu wave and all of those groups I had a lotta hopes for began sounding extremely shallow, And they were supposed to KNOW BETTER (given that the lessons of the previous quarter century were supposed to have been indelibly embedded into their definitely advanced brains 'n all!) which really irritated me to no end once the early eighties rolled around and I kept thinking of that ol' sayin' that was goin' 'round..."it ain't comin' back!"

Still, it's better to dwell on the gnarly and appreciate what these guys as punks using the great Stooges-to-Dictators-to-Ramones/1973 CREEM mag aesthetics definition meant. Great sound quality considering these recordings were probably taken from audience tapes...nothing glitzy mind you but still sounding sweaty enough like a typical humid August night that always gets the tornado sirens wailin'. Great selection too. For a long time this was the only place you could get to hear "My Dark Ages" which somehow didn't make it onto the DATAPANIK IN THE YEAR ZERO collection like it shoulda. But for those of you who bought and cherished THE MODERN DANCE as soon as it hit the racks (or waited a few months before it hit the cut out circuit like I did) this should bring back a few haunting memories of the power and energy that made up seventies underground rock whether it been urban, suburban or even Euro for that matter!

For historical purposes, I have reproduced the exact same track listing translation that I laid down on that fateful day I first gave this platter a go circa March, 1979. Not that it means a heckuva lot in the face of actual historical archival finds and digs (face it, what does it really matter next to an original Laughner manuscript?), but ya gotta admit it sure looks interesting as some sorta blog eye-catcher not to mention as a doorway into the inner workings of a blogschpieler like myself! And after looking at my lettering abilities from a time when I certainly was not as much of a nervous wreck as I have become all I gotta say is, boy have I degenerated these past thirtysome years!
Scott Morgan-"Take a Look"/"Soul Mover" 45 r.p.m. seven inch single (Detroit)

Talk about unexpected surprised. This was supposed to have been reviewed for BLACK TO COMM #24 only the dang thing wound up missing somewhere around press-time! And y'know what? It took the thing a good eight or so years to finally turn up to which I say whatever suitable enough cliche you wanna pop in here (I love fact, I AM a cliche!) to describe my utter amazement and fascination that after years of searching the dad-blamed item has finally made itself known.

And it's about time too, because I can always use more of that high-energy Detroit o-mind resensification in my life and this one does a pretty good job of deliverin'. Now, I never thought that the Rationals were exactly one of the top-notch Detroit metal acts extant (though "Guitar Army" was their defining post-MC5 moment) but Morgan sure shines here with a buncha future Sonics Rendevous types (including Fred Smith himself) doing an impassioned hard-rocking variation on the ol' "stop and smell the roses" take life easy theme on the "a" side as well as a good hard riff on his Motown heritage on the flip. Sound quality ain't too hot (though it was taken from an unplayed original which was pressed on cattle turds) but the energy shines through and is perhaps even enhanced by the rawness of it all. Limited to 1000 copies, and although probably not as rare as the '73 original it's gonna be the dickens to find. Comes on grey vinyl which'll remind you of all of those dodgy indie releases that also got the color wax treatment to the point where whenever I saw a non-black release the thought of gooshy emote just overtook my blood sugar levels.
That's it for now (as if you were even thinking of expecting more!)...don't forget to tune in this Wednesday for a writeup of the Tommy Kirk beach party favorite CATALINA CAPER 'n until then, don't take any woodies!

1 comment:

Robert Cook said...

Ah, yes...I got this wonderful Ubu boot back in the day at Chapter 3 Records in Gainesville, FL...'round about 1979 or '80. Loved it then and now, (though, to be honest, I haven't played it in years, but the music contained on its two long grooves is vivid in my mind's ear!). MODERN DANCE always was my fave Ubu disc, it being the first of their music I heard. I hated it at first, and it kinda actually scared me...but something kept drawing me back to it until I found I couldn't get enough. I could never figure why everyone thought DUB HOUSING was their great record. Don't get me wrong, I do think is is A great record, but DANCE has a consistency of vision and mood throughout that lends it great power. (After DANCE, my favorite Ubu is NEW PICNIC TIME.)