Saturday, February 11, 2012

Well, it finally came. No, not what you're THINKING (as in "'to' is an adjective..."), I'm talking about TRADITIONAL WINTER WEATHER (the kind that freezes your nostril hairs and makes you don the heavy duty mittens)!!! Sheesh, here we've been having a relatively nice spell of springy (or at least Marchy) weather and whaddaya know, suddenly we've been blanketed with the white freezy matter which sure makes travel and general doin' what'cha wanna do stuff a whole lot more precarious'n it had been...oh well, that only means that there's now more time to stay home and watch old tee-vee shows on the Dee-Vee-Dee and (re)read alla them old books and fanzines that have been clutterin' up my room as of late. Bad weather does make for a good excuse for readin' 'n relaxin' while spinnin' all them old cassette tapes and Cee-Dees that are doin' their part clutterin' up my room as well...hey, at least when I feel that urge to goof off I'm bound to make up a good enough excuse when the occasion arises!

Otherwise, I must admit to you that I am feelin' a li'l glum, and frankly it's that old kinda grade school/adolescent glum that I haven't felt in ages. Remember the way you'd feel when your favorite tee-vee show would get canned? It might have been a classic like TWILIGHT ZONE or GILLIGAN'S ISLAND or perhaps many other olden faves you were most definitely hooked on which would get zapped from your local late-afternoon/early-evening schedules only to be replaced by DIFF'RENT STROKES reruns, and boy would you feel a combination mad/upset/depressed because of it!  Naturally those days featuring this specific kind of grave disappointment are long gone (I mean, just try tuning into these shows on the same stations that would regularly air 'em in the sixties/seventies/eighties) but that don't mean that a tee-vee letdown can't hit me in a new, even more "enlightened" fashion. My current misery is actually centered around the fact that the only show that I watch onna telly with about as much regularity as I can stand (not counting the occasional YOGI BEAR and RIFLEMAN tune-ins) has just been given the ol '86, and this series is none other than FREEDOM WATCH with Judge Andrew Napolitano on the Fox Business Network! And, as the old saying goes, you can bet that I feel lower'n a dachshund in need of a knee replacement!

Funny enough, I understand that the program was drawing in good numbers even though it wasn't on one of the more-watched cable nets out there, but word has it that Fox chief Roger Ailes was rather irritated at Judge Napolitano's more paloecon/libertarian views which went after the Republican estab. as much as the Democratic one. Being a strict no-no as far as Fox News protocol goes or something along those lines, I guess that's why the "fair and balanced" head of the net decided to drag out the old guillotine and put an end to all of the Ron Paul cheerleading and heavy-duty dissertations on everything from state encroachment to Police Achtung that could be found with ease on Judge Napolitano's show. And (as you could guess by the tone of this paragraph) too bad for that, because FREEDOM WATCH was the only program out there that would dare to discuss the sorry state of the ever-encroaching dictatorial powers over the average Joe Blow type as well as dare to have guests on as varying in political tone as one would ever be able to glom on the tube these days. Y'know, people like Lew Rockwell, Justin Raimondo and even Ralph Nader, a guy whose political visibility really shrunk after he dared to take on Al Gore way back when thus earning the ire of the new breed of leftoids who really tend to hold grudges about as long as I do! Frankly you just don't see this kinda assortment of guests on any of the other blabby political programs out there that are so numb-brained that even Mr. Rogers comes off smartypants in comparison!  Guess my 8:00 PM tee-vee viewing time's now gonna be taken up by watching those infomercials hawking old Greatest Hits collections with Neil Sedaka clips galore---at least those have more of a stimulating intellectual aura about 'em than Ed Shultz and Bill O'Reilly combined!

The burnt offerings that are to be found in the following reviews were sent to me by Bill Shute, as was the Harth release which came out on his own Kendra Steiner Editions. To which I say "huzzuh", and mighty heartily at that! Good thing that Bill exists, or else there wouldn't have been anything really interesting to write about this week given the general lack of stimulation that's goin' on 'round here! I gotta say that I do appreciate Bill's various "gifts" to the max, not only because he sure has a kind heart and all if he even considers sending me this stuff in the first place (I just hope he isn't feeling guilty for saying something about me behind my butt, but then again that's more or less something I would do-------------hee!) but who knows. Maybe he just feels sorry for me being such a pathetic example of a human being who never did amount to anything and never will especially in this internet age of instant revenge and cyberspace backstabs. Yeah, that's probably it---boy do I feel a whole lot better about myself now!
Can-TAGO MAGO (40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION) 2-CD set (Spoon/Mute)

Sheesh don't these record companies keep thinking up different ways for us to latch onto the same product of theirs over and over again! Like in this case...I mean I already had the original two-disc version of TAGO MAGO (with the English flap cover that I certainly do not want to get squooshed any more than it already has) proudly poised in my collection as well as the original Cee-Dee take on it, but now the crafty folks at Mute thought up this new gimmick bound to get the cards and letters pouring in! It's a special fortieth anniversary edition of this legendary Can release that not only comes in a mini-fold out sleeve somewhat replicating the previously-mentioned English cover but contains an additional disc featuring never-before-released live material that I'll bet had more'n a few longtime fans dishing out hard-to-keep moolah for something they've already had for eons. Nice move, only the new take of the original album doesn't sound any better'n the original plus the live stuff's the same 1972 FM broadcast that's been circulating amongst collectors for a pretty long time. Yeah, I coulda splurged this hard-begged money of mine on something else, though frankly I woulda felt shamed if I hadn't! At least the enclosed booklet's got some informative reading, and besides the discography printed in the back mentions a Can box set to be released this year which purports to contain rarities which I hope haven't been in circulation for ages. Now, that's something for me to look forward to in the upcoming months especially considering how the archival digs have become rather dismal over the past few years, and you can bet your bottom booties that a writeup of that'll appear in these "pages" as soon as it hits the boards and I can scrape up enough lucre to grab a copy for myself! (IN OTHER WORDS, buy more of these before it's too late!).
Alfred Harth/Carl Stone-GIFT FIG CD (Kendra Steiner Editions, see blog roll call on the left for address + info)

Multi-purpose saxophonist Alfred Harth's at it again, this time making some even more incomprehensible and even newer than that New Music you used to hear about soundage! This time he's doing it with the help of a Carl Stone, a man whose name I believe is an in-joke regarding the old DONNA REED SHOW. Maybe it's kosher after all, but anyway when these two got together they really knew how to whack out a free improvisational piece of total abandon which really is nothing special for the kinda brew that the Kendra Steiner Editions Cee-Dee label puts out!

Harth handles his usual reeds (don't think all 23 of 'em are present), some of them of a definite Russian/Far Eastern origin while others are of the standard saxophone variety, while doing some electronic workage himself. Stone just sticks to electronics and computers, and the resultant music remind me of a whole lotta the avant garde computer sounds that were coming outta college music departments and New Music Distribution Service catalogs (the "classical" section) back in the mid-to-late seventies back when the universities had enough money to prop up these kinds of arts as well as the polo team. Not quite free jazz, the music on GIFT FIG is nevertheless engaging, provoking, all-enveloping and perhaps just enough to drive you over the edge even after years of "having heard it all before" and "that's nothing compared to what Throbbing Gristle would do" self-comforting reassurances. As usual, a very limited edition release which I have the feeling you'll be collecting pop bottles for refund money just so's you can send in a nice li'l order to Bill Shute, right?
Various Artists-IT'S A ZIMMERMAN WORLD, WE JUST LIVE IN IT CD-R burn (Pet Records)

Personally the idea of listening to an entire Cee-Dee of Bob Dylan ripoffs, spoofs, swipes and downright imitations was something that settled within me about as well as the concept of an entire platter of Ed Sullivan impersonations. Look at it this way Clyde...considering all of the Dylan swipes both legit and cockamamie we've hadda endure since the dawn of Zimmerman, all of the Donovans and Beatles/Stones rips as well as a ton of "relevant" camp counselors and bedroom revolutionaries strummin' the Dylan catalog in their own inimitable droning ways, do we really NEED something like this when we've probably hadda LIVE it whether we wanted to or not? Heck, I'll even take listening to Don Fellman do his Dylan impressions over the least he's keen enough to insert the right offensive, politically incorrect and tasteless lyrics that always get me laughing my head off more'n an old issue of  NATIONAL LAMPOON that I might chance upon at some flea market/antique set up. And besides, it's free! (And come to think of it, his Sullivan impression's pretty snat as well...just ask him to do his Jane Keane on the Sullivan show with special guest James Brown routine!)

So keepin' all this in mind here comes this burnt platter, a collection of mid-sixties Dylan swipes that ain't as obvious as Mouse and the Traps yet ain't as disgusting as yer least-fave early-seventies introspective singer/songwriter who fell back on the Dylan bandwagon because he maybe just got a li'l too tired copping ideas from James Taylor and Joan Baez this week. Fortunately they ain't all in the way-too-obvious nasal vein that Stealers Wheel etc milked like Farmer Alfalfa, but they're appealing enough w/o coming off like humorless drones. Some of 'em are famous like Johnny "Mr. Spaceman" Cymbal and Tommy Boyce, while others are just outta the suburbs and into the gutter types who wouldn't have been outta place on a classic early-eighties edition of BOULDERS. Most of 'em haven''t been heard by me before (though how could anyone fergit the faux Dylan via Sonny and Cher cop of Boo Boo and Bunky's "Turn Around"?) and it all settles in well enough here in 2012 as it might've a good forty-five years back. Now, I sure woulda preferred giving it  all a listen if only Moxie had pressed 'em up on cheap 1962 floormats and passed it off as the latest in a series of folk rock obscurities somewhere in 1984, but why should I complain!  These cheapities continue to affect ya in a straight on, positive way which I gotta say is perhaps more'n I can say 'bout a portion of not only Dylan's recorded output, but the entirety of his sycophantic soft-schmooze followers from Melanie to Joanie's which only manages to make me CRINGE even these many years down the line!
Johnny Winter-SIDEMAN CD-R burn (Home Cooking/Collectables)

I'm surprised nobody thought of releasing this back inna early-seventies when Winter was riding high on the hype that had surrounded his discovery and thrust into the hotcha blues rock guitar player hall of fame! Back then there were tons of reissues of Winters' early albums and various garage-level outings to be found in bargain bins nationwide, so why not this collection of the famed albino doin' the sideman routine while finding his way to the top of the ROLLING STONE-approved panthenon of guitar heroes? Just slap a pic of the man with his long white hair and pale complexion onna cover and the thing woulda been guaranteed to just fly off of the shelves of your local record shop and into the flea market bins of the mid-seventies!

Still, this is a proper gathering of some of Whitey's early side-sides so to speak, showing off everything from Winter's country licks to his blues and rock wizardry in a variety of appropriate settings. Some of this stuff is surprisingly Old Timey like on the hokey yet heartfelt "We Just Call Him Sam" (a recitation re. the Vietnam War uttered by a Gordon Baxter) while other tracks present a straight ahead blues holler (Loudmouth Jackson's "Take My Choice"), and wouldja believe that Winter actually worked with Dickey "Patches" Lee on yet another sixties slurper called "Big Brother"??? Yeah, I know that a good portion of you think of Winter as being one of those late-sixties/seventies hotcha big time mainstream guitarists who practically built the entire GUITAR PLAYER/MUSICIAN magazine industry because he could play fast and slick solos utilizing his tonsils it he wanted, but these early sides are mighty hotcha no matter who's doin' the noodlin'! Probably easy enough to find for free on this thing we call the web.
The Velvet Underground-SPECIAL PRICE SERIES cassette (MGM England)

Funny how just a short while ago I mentioned how I rarely if at all listen to the Velvet Underground 'cept for an occasional bootleg side or better yet the first disc from that complete box set featuring those July '65 demos showin' the group at perhaps their most embryonic state. Well, on the tail of that statement what do I do but pick up this collection on a lark, and yeah like I've had the actual vinyl for quite some time and of course these tracks adorn my collection in at least six other different modes but like, I thought it'd be a good 'un to spin in the car while I'm going about doing my daily duties and y'know, I was right.

Part of that mid-seventies Polydor series that gathered up the hippest of their back catalog in a budget series made noteworthy by the "safety film" motif, I recall a really nasty review of this via who else but MELODY MAKER who ended their capsule writeup with something along the lines of "just how many versions of 'White Light/White Heat' do you need in your collection?" Now, if the MM scribe asked the readership if at least two dozen copies of OLIAS OF SUNHILLOW were mandatory I'm sure that he and the target audience for that paper would heartily agree that the more the merrier but that's beside the point...really, for a rockist maniac like me there's always room for something such as a seventies-vintage Velvets tape in my boudoir, and I gotta admit that although no new ground's broken with these MGM-era numbuhs the tape does lend a certain connection to a past when things such as import cassettes were all but unavailable to a kid who at the time didn't wanna clutter up his home with too much vinyl!

Great selection of material, not as brave as the MGM 2-LP set with the Warhol-inspired lips sucking a straw on the cover, but almost as good as the Pride label VU platter with Lou Reed suddenly getting top billing. Utilizing four tracks from WL/WH was a smart move, plus considering how hard it was to come by the then-elusive third platter it's nice to see that '69's THE VELVET UNDERGROUND earned six tracks in itself. So what if there's no "Sister Ray" or "Heroin"...if ya saved up a li'l more cash you might have been able to afford that aforementioned double disc set which had that'n a lot more, but for budget-conscious 1977 doltoids who've read loads and loads about the Velvets via CREEM and ROCK SCENE and wanted to hear what the hubbub was all about this effort certainly did come in mighty handy!

Anyway, considering how Lou Reed himself has put an end to any new Velvet Underground exhumations thanks to his own personal pettiness regarding copyright and other musical legalese (thus stalling the release of more of those '65 rehearsals which I am agonizing over not hearing right now when the impact is bound to be the strongest) this is all we're gonna have to survive on until the fateful day all of this lawyer garble is worked out! Anyway, you too can now re-live what Velvets fandom meant in the seventies when all we hadda rely on were budget over there (but import priced over here!) albums such as this!


Anonymous said...

look at this!
The February release on is the 1974 debut of the classic version of RFTT (actually v.3.1) at Special Extermination Music Night at the Viking Saloon. The event was the first and last time all three of the legendary Cle Underground bands: RFTT, The Electric Eels and Mirrors, appeared together.

Three previously unheard songs appear in the RFTT set, including the long lost Peter Laugh...ner song, Gasoline (btw, this is the only known recording of this song).

RFTT this night played as a four-piece: Thomas, Laughner, Cheetah and Madansky. Craig Bell, who had been with the band for a month or so, was forbidden to play in the band by his other band, Mirrors. It is the first performance of So Cold, Down In Flames, Ain't It Fun, and Never Gonna Kill Myself Again.

John Morton designed the cover art for the release based on his original poster.

A PDF of liner notes is included in the download.

Anonymous said...


Have you ever heard this band ?

TWITCH - s/t 7" EP (1973)

Canada's long lost doom/proto-punk legends finally unleashed! This Canadian group from Vancouver formed in 1971 becoming a hard rock trio unlike any other local group. A newspaper article dated January 18, 1973 mentions "the ear-splitting Twitch" playing regularly to capacity audiences. Band leader Ian prompted the band to wear make-up, becoming the first in Vancouver to do so (also believed to be first to use smoke & fog). Complete with bloody horror-fantasy make-up and bizarre outfits, they packed full house night after night. Late March / early April they did two recording sessions documenting the entirety of original compositions - a mere four songs resulting in two 45 singles. The first 45 was issued in May and the second in August, both pressed in roughly 100 copies. Near to the end of '73, drummer Bernie decided that make-up was against his principles and left on amicable terms. The original power trio ended giving way to the legendary and shocking "Dark Years" of 1974-75 with all together new group, heavier sound, darker image, and elaborate show. Twitch's legacy is the missing link for both early '70s proto-punk and proto-metal of the Pacific Northwest region; what was yet to come during 1974-78 only confirmed such to be true. Originally issed as two separate sleeveless 45's in very small editions, now compiled onto one EP with orange repro labels, deluxe picture sleeve (not fold-over), and 16 page booklet with detailed history & tons of photos. Fully authorized, limited edition of only 600 copies. (Supreme Echo, 2012)
*This listing is for the regular version. An additional limited version (1 per person) with bonus collector cards will be available in March.

The Twitch EP is an amazing discovery for collectors of rare Canadiana, comparable to early Pentagram, Crushed Butler, Imperial Dogs, Edgar Broughton Band, Troyka, Dust, and others. Still unknown outside of Canadian collector circles; a high quality reissue that adds yet another missing link into the history of proto-metal and pre-punk groups over the North American continent! A truly deluxe release. Brace yourselves folks, Twitch's story will rewrite Canadian underground history!

Listen to side A here: ...more audio samples coming soon.

Anonymous said...

Could you say a bit more about what exactly is the issue regarding any futuyre VU archive exhumations? I've never seen it spelled out very clearly...

Christopher said...

The best response to your question might be answered by this edited portion of a Wikipedia entry on the Quine tapes: "The second volume in The Bootleg Series was to be an April 1967 show recorded at The Gymnasium in New York City.(Two songs from this show, 'Guess I'm Falling in Love' and 'Booker T' appeared on the 1995 box set Peel Slowly and See.) Apparently monetary disputes between the band and Universal have put a hold on future entries in the series.[citation needed] (This same dispute over a revised contract also kept 'Miss Joanie Lee', recorded during a rehearsal at Andy Warhol's Factory, from appearing on the deluxe two-CD reissue of The Velvet Underground & Nico.)"

Anonymous said...

Oh right - thanks! Although loathe as I am to cut Lou Reed any slack, it implies there that the band as a whole are at loggerheads with Universal, rather than just Lou... Either way, it's kind of ridiculous, bearing in mind how the Gymnasium recording leaked and NOBODY got paid!

Anonymous said...

First-ever career anthology spanning three decades of solo material by visionary Velvet Underground member!

As one quarter of one of the most influential bands of the twentieth century, Maureen “Moe” Tucker’s work in the Velvet Underground created a template for all rock drummers that followed. Even today, Moe’s primal, tribal rhythms can be heard in countless songs from artists around the globe. Her no- nonsense style—spare kit, no drum stool, almost no cymbals— conveyed an urgency and an honesty that was the foundation of the band’s sound. In a patchouli-soaked world of 20 minute double-bass drum solos, Moe kept it simple, direct and to the point. As Lou Reed put it, “She’s the driving force. The hardcore heart of the Velvets’ mindset.”

Following her tenure with VU, Moe emerged as a solo artist, building a body of work that stretched over three decades. Ranging from home recordings to collaborations with members of Sonic Youth, Violent Femmes, Half-Japanese and her former band, the songs cover a gamut of styles but all bear the unmistakable thumbprint of their creator.

Released by various independent labels on LPs, EPs, singles and compact discs, collecting her catalog has been a daunting task. This compilation finally gathers those far-flung tracks in one place.

More than just a drummer, Moe is a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, bass, sax, keyboards, harmonica and whatever else the song might need. For prime examples of her DIY recording technique, check out her rendition of Chuck Berry’s “Around and Around” and her Bo Diddley tribute “Ellas,” both originally found on her debut LP Playin’ Possum. Recording that album at home on a four-track tape recorder allowed Moe to reconnect with her rock roots and eventually led to a return to live performing.

Moving to Douglas, Georgia as a single mother in the early ’80s greatly impacted her songwriting. Themes of workaday blues and tough times are reflected in songs like “Spam Again” and “That’s B.A.D.” Loss is also a recurring topic, as in “Andy,” a touching tribute to the late Andy Warhol. However, it is not all darkness and melancholia. Bursts of exuberance in songs like “Hey Mersh!” and her loving cover of “Bo Diddley” radiate infectious joy. Moe also faces the VU legacy head on, reinterpreting seminal tracks like “Heroin,” “I’m Waiting for the Man,” “Pale Blue Eyes” and “I’m Sticking with You” and making them her own. Of all the former Velvets, Moe’s solo work is perhaps the most direct continuation of the band’s sound and structure. She never lost her love for pure, lean rock and roll. You might even say it saved her life.

This collection has been mastered by Sundazed’s Bob Irwin and includes notes by David Fricke. Available on three LPs or two compact discs, Sundazed is honored to present this first-ever career anthology for an uncompromising artist of remarkable tenacity and vision.

Anonymous said...

Carl Stone is an avant garde composer who's been around since the early '70s and teaches at CalArts. His work is too hippie IMO but he's legit.