Saturday, February 25, 2012


Yes, these are trying times where we all have to "stick it out", and with our assets having been exposed to some of the worst inflation in ages I guess we all have to put some of our usual frivolities behind us. Cut costs since the bottom has been falling out of most of our financial investments, and do with a little less until we can put the current recession in the posterior. As for me, I've been saving a few centavos by attempting to cut back on my grocery bill, like eating my burgers without the buns and there ain't gonna be any rump roasts around here for quite awhile! It's gonna be quite a few moons until I can afford that house I've always wanted with a southern exposure, though I guess that plan will undoubtedly have to be put on the back burner.

Perhaps that is why I am still all goshy-goo over these Care Packages that Bill Shute continues to send my way, for they at least help introduce me to new and (at times) hotcha/exciting sounds that I wouldn't be able to hear otherwise! And frankly, mentioning my old faves over and over again can get to be asinine. Even Brad Kohler thinks I'm milking a property for all its worth with my incessant title-droppings of old classics like Doug Snyder/Bob Thompson's DAILY DANCE and  LIVE AT CBGB'S over and over. The cheek of that guy.

So until I can work a li'l more money into my "entertainment allotment" it looks like it's gonna be these Bill Shute packages alla way, and while I most heartily await seeing my woes in the rear view mirror at least I have these burns and the like to keep me well 'n happy. So without further ado like well, here's the rest of the post!
I guess that, considering how not only the fanzine that I used to crank out but perhaps this very blog is named after an infamous MC5 song which according to Chuck Eddy "doesn't exist,"  I should respectfully note the recent passing of that group's bass guitarist Michael Davis due to liver failure last week at the not-so-ripe old age of 68. Funny enough, if I had told some old fogy back in the late sixties that a member of a radical longhair rock 'n roll act like the Five would live well into his sixties I'd be more'n positive that this member of the silent majority would scoff at the idea, undoubtedly thinkin' that all of that partaking in drugs 'n an immoral lifestyle would most certainly off the guy before he could hit twenny-five! Funnily enough, many of those old fogies who used to sneer at the hippoids back then are still around and perhaps in some weird way think that Davis got just what was comin' to him even if it was over forty years later!!! Just goes to show you that some things just don't change, and you should be glad about it unless you're a dyed-inna-wood heartbleeder or lack the kinda sense of old-timey values that I most certainly adhere to!

As expected, the obit that I had glommed courtesy of Lindsay Hutton's THE NEXT BIG THING blogsite neglected to mention Davis' other groups, but considering how many outlets from AOL/Huffpost to CHRONICLES neglected to note Davis' death in any capacity maybe I should have been grateful that I got what I did. But yeah, Davis certainly was a major stalwart in that eternal rock 'n roll war against the jive, not only as the MC5's backbone between '65 and '72 but as the lead singer for the excellent post-Five avant rock aggregate Ascension (who've deserved the proper release treatment for nigh on thirtysome years!) as well as the bassist for Destroy All Monsters during their most active days. And just TRY to quiz me on the vast array of acts Davis had been with from the eighties on and you know that I'll flop worse'n a goldfish in a Roaring Twenties college student's belly...the only one that comes to mind off the bat's the one he had in Arizona with some former Giant Sand members and that's only because there was an interview with Davis (pix included!) which appeared is issue #23 (long gone!) of my aforementioned crudzine which came out sometime during the turn of the millennium.

Since there's probably a load of heart-rendering reminiscences and rheumy condolences elsewhere onna web I'll dispense with any hardcore emote for now. After all, it ain't like I actually knew the guy and the only "real" contact that we had was when he commented on a post regarding the identity of the drummer for the old Detroit group the Apostles who I spotted hanging around onstage with the Five in a photo reproduced on a picture sleeve (or at least it looked like him!). Taking the easy way out so-to-speak, I thought that I'd conclude this portion of our broadcast with the following clip of the MC5 (with Davis stage right in obv. SGT. PEPPER-inspired mustache and Nehru jacket) from Detroit television, the same clip that was oh-so-verboten to circulate a good twenny-five years back but now's so common that it pops up everywhere with alarming regularity! Even after all these years it remains a classic showcasing of the pre-LP Five avant rock sound if I do say so myself, and of course what better way to remember Davis than by watching this and listening to his records rather'n indulging in all that blah blah deeply-moving we miss you blubber sniff sniff crap that's not only so sickening, but in many ways so self-serving. You know the score, so do some private homage yerself and while yer at it lift a can of Pabst in his memory or something equally appropriate.

The Sorrows-OLD SONGS, NEW SONGS double Cee-Dee burn (courtesy of Bill Shute)

The weren't they that limey band that tried to make it big in dagoland where they recorded a number of songs inna Mama Mia tongue for the local fazools? And not only that, but one of their ex-members had a hit in England with "Indian Reservation" which of course Paul Revere and the Raiders did wonders with a few years later. Yeah, I remember readin' 'bout 'em in the British Invasion edition of WHO PUT THE BOMP was back when but considering my usual financial straits I never bothered to pick up any of their recordings. 's kinda like when Brad Kohler told me that he would buy reissues of old platters by the Poppees and Pezband if only there weren't all of those cee-gars and brews that were takin' up most of his entertainment for me I probably woulda been buying Sorrows disques if there only weren't all of those speeding tickets and pork rinds that have been taking a big crunch outta my pittance of a pleasure allotment I let myself have each month!

That Bill Shute did send me a good selection of Sorrows material for me to sift through, and from what I could tell these guys were a rather capable if not quite hard-as-nails tough beat band. Of course they could've/should've been a whole lot gnarlier with the proper feedback drone applications of the day, but like a good portion of the European rock groups on the cusp they sure knew how to mix their beat and their psych to palatable effect.

The SORROWS IN ITALY portion is pleasant if standard Eurorock, where the freakbeat gets mixed up with what I'd call a tamed Kinks aesthetics and of course a few Eyetalian language numbers thrown in to wow the signoritas over there the same way  that "Sie Lieb Dietch and "Komm Und Holt Der Hand" had all the krauts burning their Horst Jankowski albums in defiance of national pride. A nice example of what was going on rock-wise not only in England but the continent during the time before the big progressive putsch got into effect (some references of which can be noted here if only by the appearance of two covers of Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy" not forgetting the occasional sitar twang).

Platter #2's a mixed bag of early wop demos which display a good mix twixt the late-sixties freak familiar (as well as a cover of the Bee Gees' "New York Mining Disaster 1941" that goes to show you how pervasive the influence of those Australian twits were even this early in the game!) and the inner turmoil of whether or not to remain hotcha teen popsters or hard-nosed rock 'n' roll maniacs. The cover versions, Bee Gees and others, do show a much needed tension that was certainly slipping outta the Britpop scene at the time and who knows, if these guys had kept it up by '69 they might have given the late-sixties primal thud groups like the Deviants a run for their moolah!

Well, actually NO because the Sorrows actually lasted well into 1980 (not counting the recent reunion) and wouldn't ya know that their "original"  final gig is also included here. Mucho covers of the mid-sixties standards pop up which must've proven that these guys were more or less eking it out as a revival band, and although the set ain't as wowzer as I'd kinda've hoped it still woulda passed an audition for Stiff or maybe even Raw Records. Nothing to sneeze at and hey, many good groups went out way worse'n this. Perhaps you remember a few of 'em, like the Beatles and Rolling Stones...

Various Artists-IMPRESSED 2 CD-R burn

I don't think it would be that insulting to the British readers of this blog when I say that the new UK jazz never did thrill me, or at least what I've heard of it never really impressed me the way I'm sure most people out there thought it would. Yeah, I can take the Soft Machine for what they were, and even the rest of those Canterbury groups did have some  interesting ideas about 'em. But for the most part this New English Jazz sounded just about as sterile and as non-chance-taking as a good portion of fluff that made up the entire MELODY MAKER reason for being back in the seventies, and next to what was being scribbled down in THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS and SOUNDS we all knew what a buncha pansies they were, eh?. (Just a cheap reference to my previous offense inferred or intended.)

Not that playing it safe and cool and swiping from Amerigan reference points while making your own provincial statement with the sound ain't anything to be ashamed of. And frankly, I find that I can like even the most clunky or ill-placed imitations in their own way, which is why I sometimes find Fabian to have an entertaining quality about him. The artists on IMPRESSED 2 are kinda like that as well. I remember reading about a good portion of these acts way back inna late-seventies when I came across a book on the English jazz scene of the sixties and beyond, It seemed all so interesting to me, though other'n Harry Beckett and Barbara Donald little of what I heard in the interim was inspiring in that gotta have every recording extant obsessive/compulsive fashion that made up a good portion of my musical being.

Aww, it's OK, though far from the hard core of what most readers of this blog would consider the essential stuff that inspirations are built on. Much of it seems only a few steps removed from the likes of the Softs and their longhair brethren only without the more daring aspects. I guess most of you reg'lars'll wanna pass on it and I can't blame you, but since I'm so hard up I'll probably be spinnin' this for the next three hours straight...
New York Art Quartet-35th REUNION CD-R burn, originally released on DIW Records in Japan)

Considering how I never play my NY Art Quartet album on ESP and believe Amiri Baraka to be a loudmouthed fanabla, it wasn't like I was exactly cherishing a spin of this '99 reunion show (with bassist Reggie Workman replacing Lewis Worrell). But wouldn't ya know these proceedings run on some might potent spark and flash I thought woulda been missing from these ever-aging musicians. Roswell Rudd never grabbed my gonads with his playing but he's outside the rim on this 'un, while John Tchicai proves that he is still one sixties survivor who continues to have just as much meaning with regard to this new thing (which ain't new anymore and comes off remains stuck in the mid-sixties, for which I cherish it all the more!) in the here and now as he did in the there and then. Of course Milford Graves remains just as thrillsome and as experimental as all get out (anybody out there have a tape of that CBGB Gallery gig with him banging alongside William Parker on bass and Peter Brotzmann on horns? Heard part of that one and thought it resonated like a session emanating from the bowels of hell, or at least from a fart-encrusted bedroom). And like, for once Baraka ain't gettin' into his sicko kill Jewboy riff either and in fact can prove that once he gets all of the goo goo muck outta the way he can sure be funnier'n even Moms Mabley! For example, take "Seek Light At Once" (please!) where not only does he rattle off a string of "poo poo pee pees" to harken back to your own toddlerhood but rants away with "The Sayings of Mantan Moreland" which had me rolling on the floor and chortling worse'n when Ed McMahon would over-react to Johnny Carson's various "Siss Boom Bah" and "Hat Full Of Ralph" gag lines! For the best merging of ESP-disk and Laff Records this one can't be beat!

Denny King-EVIL WIND IS BLOWING CD-R burn (originally on Specialty)

Believe it or not, but sometimes these old white blues platters hit a certain clavicle in my body of musical karmic whooziz! Not only that, but at times these recordings don't come off like the skabby white trash pale imitation that I'm sure turned you off faster'n your mom used to do to the tee-vee when a feminine hygiene commercial'd come on. This Denny King guy's just one of 'em...yeah, you could just ignore him with your staid sense of pride intact, but strip away the prejudices and you too might be able to enjoy this obscuro (released on the same Specialty label that ripped Little Richard outta plenty cash)  that came and went before anyone noticed way back in the year of 1972.

King sounds a lot like early Beefheart on the tracks where he ain't sounding like some tb'd up Mississippian  bluesman with the cooties, and that would figure since his band consists of both Alex St. Claire and Doug Moon of Beefheart fame making this a must get for fans of the recently-deceased pilgrim. Most of the time the tone is straight early-blues period Beefheart which makes this an even tastier preposition for those scouring the depths of seventies strangitude. Naturally there isn't any of the inherent freakness that could be found in Beefheart's entire career, but King does it straight ahead enough that you don't exactly feel like filing this one next to your failed white guy blues jam experiments that were all the rage back in the late-sixties but sounded even sillier'n Maynard G. Krebs as soon as the seventies rolled in.

An undocumented surprise that I'm sure at least a few of you readers will want to discover on your own, despite the dated blippoid lettering that can be found on the front cover!
The Devil Bat-FABULOUS SOUL CD-R (burned from a Sister Skull Rekkids release)

A newie from a group which also features a member of the boffo Texas Psychedelic rompers ST 37, an act I believe I reviewed a few times in my rather illustrious career! That mere fact should prove these gals' (and guys'???) pedigree is pretty high on the BLOG TO COMM scale, and not only that but the fact that this group's named after a pretty hotcha Bela Lugosi film has me paying a whole lot more attention'n if they were named "Love Story" or "Mercy Hummpe" for that matter. Lee Ann Cameron sings nice 'n sultry on these tracks that seem to borrow from a wide variety of psycho-sixties sources Texas and otherwise, while lead guitarist Lisa Cameron might have been channeling Stacy Sutherland from her lava lamp for all I know. And what's even better is that this group actually had the 'nads (!) to reshape the theme from THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN here 'n turn it into the next to last track entitled "Nothing Left To Say"! They did a pretty convincing job passing it off as their own, which I gotta say adds up to something if you're a sneaky kinda person like I am! As these recordings as well as those by such acts as the Tix and Plastic Idols would indicate, the soaring power of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators never did  escape the boundaries of the Texas! Try to seek it out, which in these times shouldn't be that hard to do (or so the guy tryin' to hook us up to internet keeps tellin' us).

It's amazing just how much the average "classic rock" doofus, who claims undying devotion to the mid-sixties rock scene and can tell you just about every Beatle story that he's copped outta fortysome years of ROLLING STONE all dripping with peace and love ginchy goodness, pretty much knows NADA about the music scene which the Beatles were part of nor the groups who were also doing their Liverpudlian darndest to make a dent. Yeah, I know that rock 'n roll ain't supposed to be just another version of history know, "on which date did Mick Jagger develop his first herpes sore" or something equally odious, but if an entire generation of flower children claimed such a devotion to the fab four then why weren't they more interested in learning about the other acts who were frequenting the Cavern Club and creating a similarly-minded ruckus in the same clime and to the same clientele? I'll tell you why...them kids wuz spoiled ignoramuses!

This is a nice enough collection from Liverpool pals Casey Jones and the Governors, and if I do say so myself it sure sounds a whole lot better'n them Beatles ever were! Yeah, there was "more" to the Beatles, but it was mostly behind-the-scenes workings and Brian Epstein micromanagement that did it. Unfortunately acts like Casey and his Governors didn't have the big push beind 'em but that doesn't mean they weren't as hard-edged and as powerful as you'd expect any early-sixties rock 'n roll group to have been. Maybe if they wore love beads and technicolor mod jackets...

Thankfully they didn't which is why I sure have a whole lot more interest in these guy'n I do with the Beatles (especially during their latterdays when all they were wuz four solo acts who just pretended to work together). Of course that all will change after I spin some old Beatles bootleg I might chance upon in my collection, but as it stands at this very minute Casey Jones and the Governors are it!  And great buncha guys they is, real raver-uppers who not only romp through the standards of the day with mucho aplomb but even know how to re-arrange the classics to fit their own high energy levels. The results are just perfect for that one-man party you always seem to be holding in these ever-isolating times as the Governors rip through everything from "Lucille" to "Jack The Ripper" with a particularly ferocious attack. After listening to this you'll kinda wonder why it seemed as if the tamer English acts were the ones to get all of the attention while these wild ones kinda got pushed to the back of the burner so-to-speak.

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