Saturday, March 23, 2013

Yez, it's just one of those weeks where nothing exciting really happens. As if anything exciting (in the world of music, tee-vee, radio, food...) has really been happenin' in quite some time. Music sheesh...I mean rock 'n roll (as a force to really consider) lasted until no later than '68 as some well-known prophet once said (though punk/underground was a valiant if vain attempt to recover lost ground) while tee-vee began its dive from the second Golden Age (roughly 1972-1979) into a well-deserved oblivion ages back. And as for radio, that medium that "spoke for all of us kids" well...I guess kids weren't worth being spoken for if AOR and Top 40 is what was doin' the speakin' for 'em, and has food really been worth eatin' ever since they took  Shake-A-Puddin' off the market? Well, we all gotta eat and all, but I sure liked eatin' better when Chinese restaurants were more geared towards quality dishes such as Wor Shau Duck and not just pumpin' the usual stir fry out for budget conscious retirees at buffets.

I had a li'l fun this week watching some rare Ed Wood Jr. filmage that's recently been discovered. SUN WAS SHINING (1951) comes off exactly like some fifties half-hour religious program that was still getting shown on Sunday Morning tee-vee well into the sixties, only it's fifteen minutes long and doesn't have any overt religious message that I could discern. It is a nifty drama about this lady who's not long for the world and wants to have one final night out on the town even though the excitement might kill her. Moving in its own realistic way (no foolin'!), and not only that but watch for Phyllis Coates herself in the best friend role. FINAL CURTAIN (1957) is about twenty minutes of Poe-ish narration (courtesy Dudley Manlove) regarding an actor in an abandoned theatre who senses strange spirits before finding a casket, and crawling into it. Might seem like kiddie caga to you, but frankly if I was three years old and this 'un popped up on the tee-vee screen you could bet I would be runnin' outta the room just as much as I did when the Conelrad logo would suddenly appear with that voice of doom announcer voice followed by the high-pitched screech and...sheesh, there I went 'n peed my pants again!

Another thing that's been pumping up my free time as of late's been the spinning of disc #14 taken from Bill Shute's ever-desirous SURFSIDE SIX collection. You all know of my eternal love 'n gratitude for the early-mid-sixties breed of television (which I never could get enough of throughout the years), so Bill's li'l gift sure came in handy for a guy like me who just pines away for the return of the 1958-1966 television seasons (emphasis on 1961-1964) if only to rescue me from the drudgery we now call the "new" and "improved" future that we're now living in. These Warner Brothers detective shows that helped keep ABC from keeling over well into the seventies really do suit me fine...true they were all cookie-cutter made and certainly nothing that the intellectual snobs who watched PERRY MASON would go for, but they all had great plots, great acting, great entertainment value and best of all they didn't pound a whole lotta midclass suburban slob shame on you like way too many modern day programs most certainly do. What I really like about SURFSIDE SIX (and the other WB series like 77 SUNSET STRIP, HAWAIIAN EYE and maybe even BOURBON STREET BEAT and THE ROARING TWENTIES if I ever would be lucky enough to see any of 'em!) is that the leading characters, in this case Troy Donahue, Lee Patterson and future Green Hornet Van Williams, are likable enough because they don't come off like squeaky-clean goody-two shoes who are so antiseptic and high horse moral that you end up rooting for the bad guys. I mean the bad guys can be pretty admirable in their own down and dirty way, but the stars come off real early-sixties slick and wild in the most admirable to suburban slobs fashion possible and not only that but they get to hang around with the best looking dolls you'll ever get to see on pre-feminist froth television no doubt about it! Yeah, no ugly crones are gonna contact these private eyes for help finding a lost husband (or lost bulldyke for that matter) which is something we can ALL be thankful for!

(And one interesting, heart-toasting aside)...the private eyes, or at least one of 'em on the show gets to drive around town in a white 1962 Pontiac convertible which really hits me right inna breadbasket because that's the exact earliest vehicle that I can recall my fambly having ever since the dawn of time, or at least ever since my own memory cells were in full function! That's right, we also had a '62 Pontiac convertible which held up pretty good at least until 1967, at which point we got a '67 Pontiac convertible which was nice though not as good looking as the original because by then automobiles had pretty much lost their boffo early-sixties stylings! Of course the guys on this high-budget network series drove around in one of the higher-ranking brands of Pontiac like the Bonneville or Grand Prix...we hadda settle for the more economy priced and less-chromed up Catalina in order to save some kopeks, but we did have one with a maroon interior which was made up especially to my mother's specifications! For years I would tell the kids at school we had a "customized" automobile and a whole buncha 'em were all agog, like it was a hand-crafted job right outta Pininfarina, Ghia, Bertone or any of the classier coachbuilding facilities of Italy! Naturally none of 'em believed it, but it sure made me feel all the more important and hotcha!
Bad news. I had to remove Mark Jenkins' (he of HYPERION fame) blog from the roll at left because his "sponsor," namely BLURT ONLINE, was found to contain malware virus that could affect not only your, but my computer. Sorry I had to let it go since Jenkins' snide and sublimely sarcastic writing was, and remains, something that we sure could use more of here in these rockhack times when gracious goo is rewarded over gonzo grate. Of course Jenkins only had a handfulla entries on said blog before he abandoned it, but reading that great Michael Jackson obituary which came to bury and not to praise is still worth the price of admission, especially after reading the roars of "racism" being directed at Jenkins via the comments box solely because the guy dared to mention a few uncomfortable truths that don't mesh with the legend. Dunno what you think, but nowadays I get the idea that "racism" means any criticism of a non-white person no matter how innocent, light and non-threatening it may be. Unless it's Sammy Davis Jr...I mean, he deserved everything that came his way!
Got the usual old, new, borrowed and fanabla for you this week. Still trying to stave off the shock of modern (and anti/post-rock) living by digging into the archives for sustenence as well as relying on the ever-pouring in Bill Shute Cee-Dee-Are burns which do satiate, at least when they play that is. (Bill, if you sent me a DVD or CD-R and it ain't been reviewed, that's probably because the thing ain't spinnin' on my machine for some stroonad reason and it ain't like I'm actually ignoring the thing!) But still, I sure do long for the days of yore, at least the ones where I could pour through a record shop, flea market stacks and catalogs galore and wanna buy at least 50% of the goodies being offered. Of course back then I might have been able to scrape up enough $$$ to be able to afford either a cut-out (or used goodie) and have enough left over for a corn dog and just drooled over the many items I wanted for my very own but knew I would never be able to have. Now I can buy out the entire record shop and give it to the poor as Eddie Haskell might have said, only there ain't any more record shops (at least in the good ol' backwaters way) and I don't even think the poor still have their old Victrolas in up and working order come to think of it!

So as I say every week, without further somethingorother...


I guess picking the BOMP 2, BORN IN THE GARAGE book offa the shelf last night influenced me enough to get me digging into the ol' collection for this oft-ignored wonder, none other than Greg Shaw's very own tribute to his friendly (and long dead) competitor Dave Gibson's Moxie label! And as far as sixties punkist concerns go I'm sure that all of you aging collector punk types remember who Dave was! I mean, who could forget this down-to-earth collector geek turned record label head and particularly his various BOULDERS, GARAGE ZONE and EP collections that came out via Moxie and a number of offshoot labels back in the days when we all thought there was still a strong connection between underground rock of a mid-sixties variety and that of an early-eighties one!

If you were a big fan and follower of "six-oh" garage band trends, it's more than likely that you owned quite a few records that Gibson released on his wide variety of label. Besides a good eleven or so volumes of  the flagship BOULDERS albums just jam-packed with both the familiar and downright rarites, there were also a variety of interesting extended plays he released including the one featuring nothing but Chocolate Watchband single sides, one of 1962/3-vintage Zappa productions, some pre-ZZ Top Moving Sidewalks (with a boffo cover featuring some fifties automobile that I understand inspired the group to use one in an upcoming video!) and even an early-sixties instrumental surf sides including the whacked out "LSD 025" by The Gamblers featuring Elliot Ingber. Heck, there was even a Zachary Thaks album as well as an actually live 13th Floor Elevators platter, and the entire Moxie catalog seemed like manna for garage punk freaks in 1979 who never thought any of this grub would ever see the light of day!

It might seem like piddle to some, but back in 1981 getting a load of Moxie records was cause for celebration here in the BLOG TO COMM abode not only for the loads of rare material they contained but because these records, in their cheap low-fidelity, really radiated a fun prowl through the box of old toys charm dredging up old memories of what it was like back when these records in their original configurations were available for the first time and rock 'n roll was a cheap funtime excursion for kids just as much as late-afternoon tee-vee reruns and trips to Kiddie City!

Most collector scum types tended to hate Gibson and Moxie because of his cheap pressings and lack of care in mastering and packaging the thing. Sheesh, I even remember getting a sealed copy of one of the later BOULDERS volumes, I believe the sixth, which had some crud fixated between the shrinkwrap and the cover...upon pulling the album outta the sleeve I discovered more corruption embedded in the grooves that hadda be cleaned out before I could even think of playing it without gross harm coming to my stereo needle. Of course that was par for the course, and call me a sickie but I feel like rushing downstairs right NOW! to pull that rec outta the collection and give it a spin if only because that record did exude more than its fair share of charm and garage band energy no matter how cheap the vinyl Gibson used was!

But hey, I loved and continue to love those Moxie platters not only for their low-fidelity charm but because they presented for us the ultra-rare punkoid sides that most had only read about via fanzines such as BOMP! and of course FUTURE, and how many of us were lucky enough to have traipsed through the flea markets of the seventies like the two Gregs (Shaw and Prevost) and find these discarded self-produced wonders anyway? Not me that's for sure and shuckins, I sure didn't care if some of the tracks were taken from the scratchiest single copies extant or that you hadda crank up the volume for SRC's "Get The Picture" that started off side two of the second volume because this stuff sounded fantastic no matter how "muffled" it might have been! If you ask me (and why wouldn't you?), Gibson was doing us a great service presenting the rarest garage band sides and at rather decent prices as well, like $5.99 in 1981 money which translates into $55 today!

Eventually the quality went up and Moxie also began releasing moderne groups (starting with the Unclaimed and going up the revival ladder from there) but its the early recordings that capture my fancy. And Shaw collecting the best of 'em on to two disques was undoubtedly noble of him even if the proposed series of a Moxie reissue series never did get off the ground and Gibson's legacy wasn't altered one iota after this made it into the collections of people who were warmly reminiscing about the early-eighties, a time when they were even more warmly reminiscing about the mid-sixties.

Shaw also did the Moxie legacy one turn by using choice source material 'stead of the cruddy copies Gibson was more or less wont to stick on his various platters. Dunno what you think of this, but frankly I think Shaw only demeaned the original intent and if he wanted to do these platters justice he woulda rolled each and every one of 'em in gravel, because I'm sure Gibson woulda liked that in his own weird way.

Even with the technowhiz clean ups this collection still proves that Gibson had good tastes when it came to picking the best garage band singles at their peak perfection, and even if the guy had no aesthetic sense and his albums earned the ire of more'n a few big names out there (I remember Billy Miller mentioning something about how they sounded as if they were pressed on old rubber floormats swiped outta various early-sixties wrecks) I'd say that this 'un more than vindicates him. Great selection of tracks here ranging from mid-sixties El Lay washouts (or at least groups sounding like 'em!) to Texas obscurities, and thankfully Shaw decided to leave the more familiar (and comped to death) single sides for some of these weirdities that never did seem to get the time of day. If you must know, personal faves include the Beaver Patrol ripping off the Pretty Things mightily with "ESP," the Communication Aggregation's "Freak Out USA" (which RCA actually pumped money into when they weren't hyping the Jefferson Airplane),  the Chylds' "Hey Girl,"  the Basooties' version of the Mothers' "You Didn't Try to Call Me" and the Cindermen (of "Don't Do It Some More" fame) singing a particularly down and disgusting "Don't Knock It" complete with Chipmunk background vocals. You may have your faves, and given the company my faves keep I ain't gonna knock you one bit because this 'un's programmed perfectly w/o a turdster to be found in the batch!

Like I said Gibson is no longer with us (which I guess is why the Moxie catalogs stopped coming...I thought I just got dropped from the roster!) but the music lives on. Come to think of it Shaw is long gone as well, and somehow I can imagine the two palling around in the afterlife sharing musical anecdotes and generally living it up even though they are both deader than doornails. But then again, if the pair went "down there" who knows what turmoil would befall them...I mean, there's probably nothing but Barry Manilow records and Anastasia Pantsios press releases to pour through in Hades and you know they wouldn't have it any other way, and if such a fate befell the two boy do I feel sorry for them!

Freddie Hubbard-BREAKING POINT CD-R burn (originally on Blue Note)

"Aw Sheeeee..." as Archie Bunker used to say. I thought this was going to be the soundtrack to the 1963-1964 BEN CASEY spinoff series BREAKING POINT, the show where Edouard Franz dealt with sicknesses of the gray matter the same way that Vince Edwards dealt with sicknesses of the body. Turns out this is an album of jazz by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard who probably nicked the title from the series because this came out '64 way as well. Fine enough bop that, while not as soul-searing as the new thing being touted around the same time, still manages to come up with more than a few moments of drive and energy. Of course I would trample over it to get to FREE JAZZ, but I'm sure glad I heard it.
Various Artists-SPIKY DREAD ISSUE ONE: PUNKY REGGAE & POST DUB 1978-1984 CD (Rongo Rongo, available from Forced Exposure)

As you may know I never did cozy up that much (if at all) to reggae music, and although Brad Kohler had tried his darndest to embarrass me into liking it I never did fall for the hype no matter how down to earth and guttural it may have been. However, I thought that a dose of mostly late-seventies/early-eighties punkisms filtered through various reggae dub techniques and musical turns would do me fine. Well yeah they do whether it be that of an Amerigan variety (the Offs, Bad Brains) or English types working closely with various Jamaican expats, but there ain't anything here that grasps my psyche the same way various other punk stylings of the same era do. I guess that only shows what a narrow minded, horse blindered sorta fellow I most truly am. Oh how I wish I could be one of those enlightened blogger types who can listen to everything from Cat Stevens to the Moon Duo, and feel so superior to everyone else because I do!
ALLAH-LAS CD-R burn (originally on Innovative Leisure)

Allah better be praised over this El Lay garage revival combo or else he can go back to listening to alla that Moroccan market square warble for all I care! Nothing which I would call out of the ordinary (in fact they, like many of the garage aficionados from the eighties onwards, manage to leave the inner gut punch of the originals on the back porch while concentrating on the twee) but I ain't gonna pee all over this 'un because it is a nice and entertaining effort even if it falls short of the same boffo mid-sixties aesthetics that sounded so fresh to me throughout the late-seventies and into the eighties (and even afterwards!) . Don't get rid of your NUGGETS and PEBBLES albums just yet, but for a nice diversion this just might do.
Various Artists-ROCKET INFINITY, THE GLOBAL RISE OF ROCKING MUSIC, 1942-62 10-inch LP (Mississippi, available through Forced Exposure)

Nice li'l surprise here, a ten-inch album with a cover custom made for that chain smokin' lady with the cough at the flea market's booth to sell. ROCKET INFINITY features nothing but early rockarolla ideas transmuted and re-shaped for local consumption whether that locality be the Middle East, South America or Milwaukee for all I know. So what's in store is that yer gonna get a buncha rockin' ideas being used (and mutated (by everybody from the Indians to the Arabs and even the Colombians as well, and I gotta say that they do a pretty good yob of taking the initial form and squeezing as much drive and verve outta it to suit their own tastes. A lot of this bops, even the Japanese boogie woogie number from 1949, while some (like the polka variety rocker on side two) sounds straight outta Sunday morning AM radio in these here parts. But it's all good, even the swingin' organ instrumental done by some midwest cornball and the way South of the Border rockin' rhumba beat that you would have laughed at back then, but times sometimes do change for the better.
Electric Death-FORGOTTEN TENEMENTS CD (Electric Death Productions, available via. CD Baby)

I reviewed another one of this group's platters awhile back...too lazy to link it up so find it yourself...but here's another one by this New York trio and it's good stuff. Nothing what I'd call cartwheels all over the place spectacular, but fun enough straight ahead rock 'n rollin'  done power trio style. Not that dissimilar to the kind of CDs that various ex-Dictators/Ramones/Shrapnel types have been making since the nineties, so if you're frothing at the mouth for more this is one recordings that can't be beat!

Bill's combing the cyber-thrift shops again and boy has he picked up a beauteous bounty of fun finds without even passing by a stack of old BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS either (remember, it's all on-line and I don't even think he skipped by a BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS website to get to these either!). Some familiar trackage pops up here, such as Mick Jagger's "Memo From Turner," Buddy Holly's "Blue Days Black Nights" and the Cyrcle's "Turn Down Day," but there are also loads of fun rarities as well. A pre-Monkees Davy Jones gets to belt out "It Ain't Me Babe" sounding even twee-er than he did in the famed band, while game show host Wink Martindale's top ten hit "Deck of Cards," the story about a soldier who pulls out a deck of playing cards during a church service and explains to a commanding officer how the deck reminds him of not only the Bible but works as an almanac, also pops up! We don't get to hear whether or not the private was exonerated for his rather cunning explanation, but personally I like to think that they threw the book, or in this case maybe even the deck, at him!

Other goodies include two sides of a String-A-Longs (of "Wheels" fame) single, the Rockin' Berries trying to do the Beatles and falling sort, country musican Sammy Masters trying to latch onto the rock craze (along with a b-side entitled "Lonely Weekend" which I was hopin' was his version of the Charlie Rich smash), the Megatrons latching onto the instrumental craze and the Attack doing Jeff Beck amongst other funzies. The virtual thrift store is the next best thing to the virtual locked bathroom door, that's for sure!
Guess that's it for now...see you for a mid-weekly review of something non-aural (and maybe non-visual for all I know!) then the usual weekend kap-POW!

1 comment:

Paul Chester said...

Met Dave Gibson at a couple of record shows in London and bought both Moxie records and other stuff he had with him. I found him to be a genuine down to earth guy who was in love with the music.