Saturday, August 10, 2013

(The next few paragraphs dovetail somewhat to last Wednesday's post, in case you're keeping tabs)...a soul-shuddering thought flashed by me a few nights ago while talking to Don Fellman on the phone. And the best part about it was...Don agreed with me w/o even putting up a friendly facade of smug disbelief!

Here we are a month or so past the middle mark of 2013, and  no matter how hard I try to slice it I can't get it outta my head that 1963, the last year ever in truly boffo pre-freak civilization, is a good fifty years in the rear view mirror of killer time!.We're talking '63, the last years where just about everything was going right for us whether we be suburban slobs, workaday louts or turdlers, and only a fool would admit that things like tee-vee, radio (and don't kid yourself, early-sixties top 40 radio had much more to offer us than the "Bobbies"), fast food and general fun 'n jamz were not conduit to an existence I'm sure most of you reg'lar readers would have loved to have been wallowing in. Of course if you were a stick inna mud or latent peacenik or some general neo-communist type those days weren't exactly custom made for you, but then again why do you always have to take it out on us NORMAL types????

OK, if you wanted to march across bridges in Selma and feel better about yourself that was your business, but I'm positive that true racial harmony could have been attained if black 'n white kids just got together over an episode of BANDSTAND thus ensuring a great future we surely would be basking in these days had we only knew enough then. Maybe if things were worked out that way we wouldn't have to be inundated with alla these world savers who have made quite a big career for themselves these past five decades.

I told Don that I think life would be great if we could live on a 1958 to 1963 loop, though Don thinks that '57 would have been a better year to begin the cycle. I dunno...'58 seemed closer to the early-sixties high energy source but why quibble. Pseudo-intellectuals and regime-sympathizers may disagree, but no matter how you slice it that era had it all for everybody who didn't want to be forced to sit around campfires singing "Kumbaya" and hey, if you'd love to spend the rest of your life doing that fine. I could care less if you're a rabid world saver or comsymp or want to act out all of your favorite scenes in SALO, but pleasepleasePLEASE don't ask me to subsidize you, give you patented liberal cliche lip service or acknowledge you even exist for that matter.

But as that old song went, those days are gone forever and I'm sure stunned over it. Only a hidebound idiot would deny it. I mean, take a look at television, which has gone from action-packed, high-larious and attuned to your own low-fi existence entertainment to utter boredom no mater which of a thousand cable channels you choose (not counting those "retro" and "antenna" stations that air the good 'n mouldies of course!). Rock 'n roll (or pop if you like) lost the swing so long ago that today's songstresses are nothing but Patti Page with yeast infections, while (if you tend to be religious) tridentine masses have given way to clunky one-chord folkie strums and cocktail schmooze with fortune cookie sermons. (And speaking of religion...remember when religious tee-vee shows were pretty entertaining themselves as any episode of INSIGHT and maybe even THE FISHER FAMILY [ain't seen it yet] with Onslow Stevens would prove...heck it would be worth staying home Sunday mornings just to watch things like these 'stead of hanging around the pool hall while you tell the rest of your family you're at church!) Yeah we have medical advances coming out the wazoo and cars that are safe (if ugly) and we have a whole lot more free time on our hands because of technology, but sheesh what good is that free time if you can't snap on the television and watch BARNEY BEAN knowing that the youth of this world are in good hands watching this after school 'stead of some dyke who thinks she can dance?

Sure the aura of the late-fifties/early-sixties lingered on for quite a few years (or at least until the early-seventies when the networks canceled the last of their "Golden Age"-bred television series from LAWRENCE WELK and JACKIE GLEASON to THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES) since many mid-sixties programs like GILLIGAN'S ISLAND and THE MUNSTERS pretty much ran on early-sixties jet fumes, but even Don would say those years weren't quite the same. And true you could argue that the seventies were the Silver Age of tee-vee and that the post-Velvets rock groups of those years were a must-to-hear and that can't be argued with, but even those days weren't quite the same as they were back before the idea of losing our innocence wasn't supposed to be something to be loathed. And yeah, I wouldn't mind revisiting 1963 again...the thought of living through a day which seemed like a personal adventure where I'd crawl out of my crib, flick on the tee-vee and watch the test pattern until channel 33 signed on with Harveytoons and LITTLE RASCALS before engaging in a day-long adventure whether it be going to the supermarket, the toy department or my grandmother's house before settling back for an evening of tee-vee viewing sure seems a lot more appealing than what I'm doing now!
The recent passing of original Pere Ubu bass guitarist and DNA member (not to mention contributor to the Brian Eno/David Byrne album MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTSTim Wright as usual gave me pause for thought. The thought being that sheesh, I'm growing sooooo old and I'll probably be meeting the guy more sooner 'n later once I hit the great beyond. Of course if I go up and he went down we won't be seeing too much of each other, but anyway it's always frightening to see these stars of the past woosh on like this making me feel like an old maid ninety-year-old in some small Ohio town who still mourns the loss of Ish Kabibble. Only I have quite a way to go before I hit the nonagenarian mark and I'm sure the bodies will really be piling up by the time I hit that sainted age!

The obits I saw had it mostly right about Wright, though they naturally left out a few things. Few know that the guy was a member of the Eclectic Eels, an attempt to reform the classic Electric Eels group late-summer 1976 with Dave E, John Morton and Brian McMahon joined by Wright and drummer Anton Fier (story goes that future Peter and the Wolves/Contortions member Adele Bertei played keyboards at one of the group's two rehearsals). Tapes have been flying around for years and why they haven't been released is a mystery known only to the people behind 'em, but they really cook not only with a powerful version of the Sonics' "Strychnine" but Morton doing a solo spot singing "In a Pig's Eye" coming off like something that shoulda made TROUT MASK REPLICA but got shoved aside in the chaos. Maybe if we pester Morton or Paul Marotta these numbers'll finally get the royal treatment they oh-so-deserve.

Another Wright story that hasn't been publicized much was that he was a heavy aficionado of the lysergic lifestyle, in fact making himself known to the crew at the Plaza apartments for his ability to deal the stuff sorta like a Mezz Mezzrow of  Cleveland underground rock. A regular "Captain Trips" as one bystander once said. I believe this facet of his life is what eventually led to him being soundman for Rocket From The Tombs during their later days but don't hold me accountable if this all just turns out to be yet more false rumor concocted by various friends of the man, or maybe even enemies.

Anyway it's sayonara time for Wright, and maybe we should all spin those early Ubu sides if only in his honor. And while I'm at it, I wonder if it is true that he was involved in one of those marriages in name only with DNA drummer Ikue Mori in order to keep her from being deported, something which considering the legality of the entire mess I'm sure most people "in the know" did their best to keep all hush-hush for wont of getting the "newlyweds" into a heaping vat of hot water.
Well, I guess it's time for me to cut to the caga and dish out this week's round o' reviews. Frankly I must admit that I really don't have that much to spoon to you this go 'round. Not very much new gunch seems to be heading at me the way it used to, and between pinching my pennies and the lack of anything that wows me like it did back inna bad ol' days you can bet that I am going to be a pretty rich fanabla by the time I quite my day job at the Salt Mines and have nothing but the rest of my life to act the exact same way I did as a kid again. Let me tell ya, if it weren't for Bill Shute and Paul McGarry sending me these burns I don't know what in tarnation I'd be writing about this week, so once again give 'em a big hand for helping to contribute to the BLOG TO COMM way o' life in a way the dolts at those cutting edge (hah!) rock music blogs out there never could and never will in a millyun years!

The Nomads-SOLNA CD-R  burn (originally on Universal)

I remember the Nomads as being one of the mid-eighties last hopes for those of us still stuck in a seventies fanzine frame o' mind, an act that was being touted as the ultimate cross between the Sonics, Link Wray and the Flamin' Groovies that seemed so perfect that only Greg Shaw coulda dreamed 'em up.Well, they sure sounded boss enough to me, (especially after having been burnt on way too many items to fizzle outta rotting remains of the late-seventies/early-eighties rock underground miasma), and I must 'fess up to the fact that their (I think debut) 12-inch EP and a cassette of rarities that was flying around  at the time was one thing that gave me hope that maybe there would be a kultural boomerang back to old-timey rock aesthetics, if only on an under-the-counterculture level.

Unfortunately the records that came out in the wake of this initial burst did not satisfy me and I chalked the Nomads up as yet another one of those bright lights that just burnt out way too fast. So yeah, it was a surprise to give 'em a listen this late in the game when nothing matters anymore, and although I was expecting little change from what I believed was the tepidity of their late-eighties output what I got was...the tepidity of 2013.

Naw. not exactly, but that surge of sameness that  made many an late-eighties/early-nineties offering sound so fehsville permeates this thing. Yeah, it even happened on some of the latterday Groovies disques as well, and although I used to think that these retro-punk things sounded so plain was because they were being recorded in a different time and in much worse off surroundings all I gotta say here in the present where we're all clear-headed and can look back on a good sixty years of rock evolution is...these guys just got it too down pat to the point where it sounds like people from 2013 playing 195/6/7X music! Y'know, like how HAPPY DAYS looked like people from the seventies playing people from the fifties (ditto THAT SEVENTIES SHOW for a good two decade projection), the Nomads are modern day fanablas playing various aspects of past perfection with today's set of (anti) values firmly in place!

Actually this 'un's got some good rockers that don't irritate the already shot nerves, but man how I wish they could get me all hopped up and excited like they did back in '85! Back then the Nomads really were something to live for, and as one who did live through those years lemme tell you there wasn't much!

The Plimsouls-BEACH TOWN CONFIDENTIAL CD-R (originally on Alive)

I might be able to say about Peter Case what I said about the Nomads above, but since I never followed Case's career I shall remain peep! But although I'm supposed to hate these early-eighties new wave acts on mere (anti) snob pretense alone I don't mind these Plimsoul guys for their sheer ability to keep the seventies Bomp!-bred power pop movement propelling for at least a few additional years. You kinda get the feeling that Case 'n co. have been reading and re-reading the famed BOMP! "power pop" issue over and over again before going on stage to perform this mix 'n mash of originals that sound like the Groovies, an actual Groovies song, an actual Moby Grape song that the Groovies covered and even the Creation. Better than I would have expected, though I don't know if I'd enjoy myself with a steady diet of this. I'll just save it for one of those rare introverted moments when I can't get a hold of my copy of THE MARBLE INDEX.
Various Artists-MONSTER WONDERLAND CD-R (compiled by Bill Shute)

A surprisingly nice 'un that surprisingly enough varies from the usual country-heavy groove that Bill has been laying on me as of late. Sure there are two downright old timey c&w toonz here from the Foltin Brothers' Drifting Plowboys, but most of MONSTER WONDERLAND consists of decidedly non-country sixties strangities from the Seniors to Elaine and Derek, as if you cared.

Surprises include such wonders as Dave and the Starlights' "Starlight"/"I Wished Upon a Star" single (early-sixties nerdo goes garage band), the Swinging Embers revving up "Winter Wonderland," Billy Ford and the Thunderbirds cashing in on the Bobby "Boris" Pickett bandwagon with "The Monster" and hey, even Bobby himself shows up here milking his own formula to the hilt with "Monster Motion" and "Monsters Holiday"!

Patti LaBelle and crew even sell their heart to the junkman, and did I mention the Royal Guardsmen of "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" fame doing an ode to feminine pudenditude with "Sweetmeats Slide," one of those twenties/thirties retro rock thingies that were so popular during the 1966-67 season??? I'm sure this might have been something that would have gotten your old kid-hating uncle, aunt or even parent smiling a little bit (well, other than my mother who thought that these hippies were making fun of old people with songs like "Winchester Cathedral"!) thinking that the youth were finally getting into good old timey music after years of noise, at least until they discovered what the song was "really" about! Then they'd all hate it even worse'n my mother ever could, and you know that's true!

And of course how could I even think of printing this writeup w/o mentioning Fred Emney's impassioned reciting of "Roses of Picardy" over a dinner organ backing? Sheesh, one listen to Emney stumble through this 'un sounding like a drunk with a stuffy nose and you'll kinda wish that he signed up for a course at the Bus Eubanks School of Announcing like pronto!

There's loads more too...the Chob produced by Greg Prevost fave Lindy Blaskey and Eddie Cooley and the Dimples among 'em. So what's keeping you...hurry up and make friends with Bill Shute today!
Gene Ammons-JAMMIN' IN HI-FI WITH GENE AMMONS CD-R burn (originally on Prestige)

It ain't like I wanna listen to a steady diet of bop, but as in the case of the Elmo Hope disque reviewed last week this does make for a refreshing change from the usual dregs of modern day anti fun. Dare-I-say exhilarating jams with a boffo band (see cover for details) that doesn't bore even if you're surely wishing for a screeching tenor sax to cut through it all. Also serves as a good enough point at the shape of grooves to come which is where I started paying attention, if you really must know.
When will I see you again? How does Thursday sound to you Snookums?

No comments: