Saturday, December 29, 2012


Although this is being posted sometime during the final weekend of 2012 I am typing this particular entry on Christmas day. The time is 1:07 PM to be exact, and at this very moment and being totally upfront and honest with you all I can say is that this has been at least one of the TOP TEN WORST CHRISTMASES I'VE EXPERIENCED IN MY SAD AND SORDID LIFE!!! No contest otherwise...even worse than the one Christmas when, after getting a smattering of "C"'s and "D"'s in the less "cake" subjects, I was inundated with books and "games" that were meant to bolster my learning capabilities (they didn't) in lieu of the kinda toys, comic books and other flotsam that would have most benefitted a typical suburban slob mass of tissue such as I. Not to mention the Christmases where family get-togethers of various sorts turned into shouting matches and flaring tempers which were totally at odds with the festive time of the season. Certainly the polar opposite of some of the better Christmas Seasons I've endured (with 1971, 1975 and maybe even 1976 sticking out as the most fun-tastic) and, to be uncustomarily blunt about it, one that's doused on even more by the fact that the further out we go in time heading towards that future of uncontrollable decay and loathe-of-life, the further the classic Christmases of old are but fading memories that only serve to remind us as to how cyborg and cold existence has become ever since the reigns of civilization were given to the same breed of do-gooder thieves and perverts Al Capp warned us about many moons back!

Sheesh, last week at this time I was remarking about how this Christmas is the fiftieth one I can recall, and exactly that long ago up to the very minute or so I'm typing this I was undoubtedly being readied up to go the Christmas Party my aunt and uncle down the street were holding. Not surprisingly I'd sure love to re-live that day, though I'd do so only if I had enough adult composure to not bite my cousin on the neck and enough maturity to let him alone with his toy garage. Only an asshole would argue that those weren't overall better times for ALL of us even if we were right in the middle of a Cold War that deserved to be won by the good guys who were so indistinguishable from the badskis (though nobody I've talked to ever said they thought an all out nuclear war would really actually happen and certainly didn't live in cowering fear over it like us kids who watched too many TWILIGHT ZONE reruns and listened to too many teachers) and we all knew who the ones who deserved to win should have been...mainly us FREE-LIVING, CAR-DRIVING, BIKE-RIDING, COMIC-BOOK READING KIDS, that's who!  But nowadays its inarguable that the enemies we have to fight are right here living next door to us or are propagandizing about their pet causes on TV, radio and print, and they're certainly doing their best to make the righteous feel like ogres while bemoaning the fact that nobody buys their reading material or watches their television programs so we can discover just how more miserable we really should be! Too bad too many eat up the guilt game even though they're probably about as guilty as some kid with Down's Syndrome who gets the knife to the skull...but then again I've discovered that most of these people who look down upon themselves as the problem and not the solution are nothing but self-conscious, guilt-riddled masochists. And they want everyone else around them to feel just as self-consciously bad as they do too. Edgar Breau once wrote that the wolf was at the door...if you ask me the creature has barged in and is calling the cable company so he can get all the porno channels he wants, and on your bill!

So, what did I do while the rest of you were out carousing, caroling, scoring and whoring like you do every other Christmas? Spent the entire day in my room 'cept for Dr. Pepper and pee breaks, that's what! One way I tried fighting off the Christmas douse was digging out my hardcover collection of the entire run of AMAZING ADVENTURES/AMAZING (ADULT) FANTASY that I raved about a good four or so years back and which, come to think of it, would have best befitted by Christmas of forty years ago back when I was in the middle of my own personal Marvelmania and valiant if vain attempts to scarf up not only current Marvel superhero issues but reprints of early Marvel-age sagas and all Golden/Silver Age points in-between. These are the same stories that Marvel continued to milk for all they were worth throughout the late-sixties and well into the seventies via a slew of reprint titles such as MONSTERS ON THE PROWL and CREATURES ON THE LOOSE; y'know, those obviously early-sixties stories about grotesque science fiction monsters and creepy aliens that were collected with new covers in order to fool kids like Brad Kohler into thinking that the stories inside were as up to date as the modern Marvel style that housed it all.

But the AMAZING ADVENTURES/AMAZING (ADULT) FANTASY title was certainly an important one even with all of the Gagoons and Stroonads that you could find in the other early Marvel mags. This is so if only because it began life featuring the first bonafeed Marvel Age hero (Dr. Droom) and ended with the debut of Spiderman making this collection historic even if Droom flopped out so bad he remained in comic book limbo until the mid-seventies. It's all junk food and stocking feet good in the same way that I sure wish I was born a good decade earlier just so's I could have enjoyed these tales first hand (though you know that if I had been born earlier the parents I would have ended up with'd probably been the strictest beasts on the earth and would have forbidden me to even look at let alone buy such "trash"...such is life!). Not only that, but (re)reading these sagas I loved so much via reprints and osmosing the original covers and finally getting to read Spiderman's debut as it happened (not to mention those whimsical Steve Ditko sagas which showed a finesse lacking from his Charlton work) really would have been one of the bestest Christmas gifts I coulda had back in those rather entertaining times when the ol' skull was just beggin' to be penetrated with this style of brain addle. Of course reading these without the pressures of school and growing up doesn't add that certain dimension that's needed to appreciate comics at an adolescent level, but if I try hard enough and maybe precede my reading with a bowl of Cap'n Crunch so I can relive some kiddoid feeling if only a tad bit.

That didn't quite fill the bill, so I pulled out a box of fanzines from the closet and grabbed hold of the next-to-last issue of the former HYPERION (now called HYPE) for what has turned out to be a bi-annual (at best) perusal of this classic if now-forgotten publication. As I've written many a time, HYPE was one of the better rock fanzines to burst forth from the early/mid-seventies scene with its professional printing, fine stable of writers led by Mark Jenkins, and best of all an approach and feeling that really didn't differ that much from what CREEM was doing under the tutelage of Lester Bangs at that very same nanosecond. Seventies appraisals of the more interesting aspects of then-current musical endeavors have always read better than most everything since (given the anti-hippie snide and loathing attitude of these proto-punk scribes no doubt), and given that HYPE covered the more important releases with their social consciousness drowned in a well each and every issue that is within my possession is a treasure that goes to remind me of just how aggressive and against the (hippie) grain a whole lot of rock scribing was way back in the sarcastic seventies. But still, a pouring through the Fall/Winter '74 issue even with all of the New York Dolls and Stooges coverage coupled with the usual Velvet Underground homage didn't lift me out of any holiday funk.

Neither did watching an ABBOT & COSTELLO DVD of a choice second season episode which usually tends to lift my spirits even on the dankest days imaginable. You can tell that I'm in sour spirits when I can't even get off on the one where Bud and Lou attempt to fix Mr. Fields' television set and bust if after winning $1000 from a TV quizmaster and all of the boffo gags that one let forth! Really, I was still so bummed out that I didn't even watch the "Efficiency Experts" one (with the classic roulette table scene!) that I was planning on after this usually gloom-chasing episode!
Following are the recordings I've listened to throughout the week, some written before my Christmas crash, some after, and some even during. Nothing much to bark at true, but I know you all expected me to work through the holiday while you were out goofing off so you're lucky you got this 'stead of one of those typical "I'm taking the week off, so here's a list of previous posts for you to enjoy" entries, eh?

Jimmy McGriff-CHRISTMAS WITH McGRIFF CD-R burn (originally on Sue)

Managed to spend the middle portion of Christmas day listening to this platter with the dim hope of eking some holiday cheer out of it. Didn't quite work though I must say that the strains of Cleveland jazz/blues organist Jimmy McGriff (author of not only the GHOULARDI tribute "Turn Blue" but the theme to SOULMAN) did help lift some of the spirits that accompanied my reading experiences detailed above. Jazzed up organ trio takes on the Holiday Classics that were probably being spun right across the country right at the very same nanosecond I was enjoying my very first Christmas in memory. A hefty tip of the eggnog to Bill Shute who not only burned this one and many others for me but sent a rather exceptional Christmas present which will get its just dues in a future post.

Another totally gonzoid offering from Feeding Tube, this time from a new Boston act that sounds as if they were still stuck in early-eighties NEW YORK ROCKER experimental gotcha mode. Kassie Carlson sings like a young Lydia Lunch after the clitorectomy while the rest of the act produce an electronic rock sound that reminds me of some of the early-eighties El Lay beneath-the-underground groups that were coming at'cha like B-People and Human Hands. Nevertheless its a rough 'n tumble trip that evokes the best of the experimental punkisms of the past with some no wave influx here and LAFMS drive there...and it is heavily recommended for those of you who still find this brew your cuppa tea. Note to all of you pervo readers out there...the name of the group is "Guerilla Toss," not "Guerilla Toss-Off"!
Julius Hemphill-REFLECTIONS CD (Freedom)

One of those once-in-awhile spins from this well-punctured St. Louis BAG-man. Side one (in real album time) veers from post-Ellingtonian themes twisted beyond belief to a darker appreciation of the new thing while side-long "The Hard Blues" comes off like the soundtrack to that part of town where you're afraid to get out of your car. Hemphill plays especially guttural here in a way you woulda expected from one of the St. Louis crew who were bridging the gap between avant jazz, hard funk and what would later be known as the "funk-punk-jazz-thingamabob." Special mention should be made of Abdul Wadud's cello playing which, due to his instrument's range, makes fine substitution for both string bass and violin. While I'm on the subject, anybody know where I can get a free download of DOGON AD?
The Remains-A SESSION WITH THE REMAINS CD (Sundazed); THE REMAINS CD (Fan Club France)

No need to spill even more seed over this group after having done so in issue #21 of my sainted fanzine (the one with the massive appreciation of then-recent comps and a repro of the cover of JAMZ #3 that I had a dickens of a time retouching for publication) so lemme just jot down some fresh 'n friendly late 2012 opinions on a group who was being birthed a good fifty years back which is more'n enough to make one feel older'n Anastasia Pantsios' last tampon. The Sundazed set sounds just as crisp and booger-free as that high-standard label can get (without sacrificing any of the inherent energy) and feature the infamous Capitol demos that Lenny Kaye was fretting were lost for all time in the liner notes to NUGGETS, not forgetting a passel of outtakes and such which actually sound better'n what eventually ended up on their album! The Fan Club one's got the original album as well as the rare single b-sides, a track from the group's brief 1976 reunion and a slightly-rawer sounding version of the Capitol demos without "I'm a Man" for some strange reason. Great, but really none of these "legit" Capitol takes sound as good as the direct from the acetate demo I first heard courtesy Lawrence Azrin back in the those tore through me like a pack of Turkish sailors on shore leave at the local YMCA locker room and I know that if you heard 'em you'd agree with me 100%.Of course you won't admit it, but...
Various Artists-TALKING ABOUT THE GOOD TIMES VOLUME 1 CD-R burn (originally on Past and Present, England)

It's sure grand that these outta nowhere psychedelic rarities from the late-sixties have survived via acetate and tape lo these many years, or else the groups who recorded 'em would probably be lost to time like an ancient silent film of legend we'd all like to see. Of course a set like this is pretty much mix 'n match with some hard-gnarl here and a lotta pussy wuss there...Skip Bifferty (who at least got around quite a bit) leads off fine enough while the Smoke (with future Pink Fairy for a week Mick Wayne) get into their own flower power groove without making one wanna upchuck. The rest wavers between imaginative and derivative without anything really reaching out and grabbing you by the fanablas like you'd kinda hope they would. Of course I could have used some of that hard Deviants-styled punk drive in order to saturate my senses, but how often does a rarity of that stature come along?
Various Artists-WOLF CALL! CD-R burn (originally on Norton)

It's now December 26th, and although it ain't like I'm back in the holiday swing of things I will admit that I am feeling a little better. Maybe it's this collection of tracks from the old Golden Crest label that Norton released way back in 1999 (sent graciously by Bill Shute) that helped lift my spirits about "half" way which is kinda like getting that blackhead half way out the pore but it's good enough anyway. Known only to me as the label that The Wailers released their early wares on before deciding to do it themselves via Etiquette, Golden Crest was also home to a wide variety of musics, styles, educational records and whatnot as their gigando-packed catalog of yore woulda revealed to you if you were smart enough to send for one like I did.  This collection of hot single sides from the label is only one facet of Golden Crest's contributions to the wild world of vinyl and it's a doozy too...of course The Wailers show up with not only "Tall Cool One" but "Snake Pit," but fellow Northwesterners Lord Dent & The Invaders do the late-fifties instrumental drill pretty snat themselves as well (you may remember this track from the HIGHS IN THE MID-SIXTIES Northwest volume, but then again you might not). The rest veers in between various weirdities such as an obscure Isley Brothers knockoff ("Roaches" by Mask Man/The Agents) and early-sixties-styled vocal/instrumental stylings with a rather strong New York feel to 'em. The latest in the batch undoubtedly has to be the Japanese Beatles' very own "The Beatles Song" featuring faux Brit Invasion riffs with a guy doing a bad Japanese accented rant about the moptops over it all (he better watch it or else Yoko'll sick the authorities on him the same way she had 'em sock it to Paul back in '79!). He keeps saying "Ah So" all through the side, but given the opinion that most recording artists and moguls have towards their audience he could be using a similar word to describe the listener, ifyaknowaddamean...
Lonnie Mack-LONNIE ON THE MOVE CD-R burn (originally on Ace, England)

I'm typing this on the 28th and must admit that the dour feelings of Christmas have passed completely! And that even includes the overtime I've been putting in at work as well as the sweatshop conditions I have to endure there, but I'm not complainin'. In fact, I gotta say that I really enjoyed this Bill Shute-dispatched Lonnie Mack platter a whole lot, and I never really considered myself to be a Mack fan in the first place! A selection of mid/late-sixties sides that mostly remained in the filing cabinet, LONNIE ON THE MOVE's got hotcha originals, stunning covers (the Bell Notes' "I've Had It" among 'em) and loads of fine guitar slinging with even a few vocals from the guy himself  tossed in for good measure! They ain't that bad if you squint yer ears a bit, but you'd buy this for his guitar playing anyway. True the later-on numbers have that sideburns and neckerchief sorta feeling that sound as if Mack was going for the same crowd that bought Glenn Campbell albums, but how can you put down a rockin' guy who is the idol of both The Sonics' Larry Parypa and MX-80's Bruce Anderson!
And with the year closing faster than a lesbian's vagina at the sight of a penis here's a particularly potent piece that comes from none other than the blog of former NATIONAL LAMPOON cartoonist Balloo who, sad to say, is pretty much not only summing up the current state of affairs we all have to suffer through but will continue to at least throughout the Aquarian Age (yech!). Hate to say this, but it's all ruined, dead and done with, and what's even scarier is that this microcosm of what is happening is just a taste of what the next two thousand years of civilization (or what's left of it) has in store for us! Thanks a whole load all of you sixties do-gooders and world savers...too bad most of your breed is now dead 'n buried because I sure woulda loved to have seen you all roasting in the pit you helped fan the flames of with your good intentions oh so long ago.
See ya early Monday morn with my year-end rundown/runover, which won't be the last word regarding the year 2012 at hand but I get the feeling you will think more highly of it than the rest of the summations that will undoubtedly pop up on the web. Until then, keep it up and while you're at it, keep feeling sorry for me!

No comments: