Y'see, unlike many of you rich kids out there I was never one who could find let alone afford the NME over here in the middle of Nowheresville USA (MELODY MAKER used to be my choice of English Weekly fodder if only because it was the only thing one could find at the various short-lived small record stores). It was definitely my loss because hey, I sure would have loved to have been reading this 'un as a blank-minded 14-year-old 'stead of the pooperoo that was offered me, and who knows but if I had only been exposed to the likes of the NME staff raving on about Iggy and Mott when I was younger and more susceptible maybe I coulda gotten my own rock fandom "career" off at an earlier age. Well, it sure as shooting sure beat drawing all of those "Rats Reagan" cartoons nobody in their right mind would want to read!
Got the May 18th, 1974 issue and it's a pretty good doozy of a paper. In fact the quality's so good that I wonder just how the folks behind it could keep the energy and quality going on a weekly basis for all those years. Or at least until the original prime movers gave way to a new generation that never did know which way the wind was blowing 'em into the abyss. And hey, that generation of prime movers sure produced a whole lot of top-notch writing from the likes of Charles Shaar Murray and Nick Kent (Mick Farren wasn't on board yet) not forgetting Ian MacDonald which makes these magazines indispensable for the standard runna-da-mill pre-glitz takeover rock freaks that we have been for years and most truly remain (I hope!). Each and every word plucked outta the typewriters of these guys is worthy of not only minute study but down on your knees hosannas, and frankly you do gotta give thanks because if it weren't for scribes like these what would the English Music Paper crowd have to do than look forward to other than the weekly ramblings of Chris Welch plugging away at the more technowhiz side of sixties rock upping toffee nose at anything even remotely "punk"???
Kent seems to be in short supply this edition, with a short but sweet article on Brian Eno, co-credits (with Roy Carr) on a Pink Floyd album rundown and a review of Kevin Ayers' CONFESSIONS OF DOCTOR DREAM, but Murray sure sent in a heavy dosage of rockist sputum to be dealt with including a feature article on the under-rated Mike Nesmith and a career retro on Mott the Hoople which really do take up more'n the expected amount of space that was usually allotted to the more gonzoid scribes around. Kinda think of it in the terms of a ROLLING STONE of the same time period, only with the likes of Lenny Kaye and Gene Sculatti taking up a huge portion of the mag while the down pat hippies only got a few meager morsels tossed their way!
What really makes this a top notch ish just happens to be the half-page or so article/interview with...MELANIE (as in shaggy hippie "Brand New Key" Melanie) conducted by none other than Chrissie Hynd (without the "e" at the end) long before her Pretenders days. I think it was pretty funny when papers like the NME would assign their "gunslingers" to interview or generally rave on about some downright scuzzoid performers and the scribes in question are of course expected to turn in a solid, editorial-free piece highlighting the artist in question's "talents". It was expected that they did, but rarely if ever was their objectiveness ever delivered on and you can really see the disgust and contempt Hynd has for her tinkle bell subject even if you have to read way between the lines to really understand it. It's too bad the lady didn't continue on with her writing career, because from the few things I've read of her NME contributions we sure coulda used a lot more of her articles and a lot less of her singing!
Was it boffo reading??? NATURALLY IT WAS!!! Am I getting another classic-era issue into my hairy palms shortly??? OF COURSE I AM, AND AS SOON AS I DO I'M GONNA WRITE IT UP AND TELL ALL YOU GATHERED GUYS JUST WHAT A FUN TIME I HAD POURING THROUGH YET ANOTHER ISSUE!!! OK, I know it is impolite to yell, but this stuff (even Ian MacDonald's review of Sparks' KIMONO MY HOUSE and the Charles Gillett contributions) is just as good as any Amerigan gonzoid or fanzine offering of the day, and the more I read of this the more I want to grab Jann Wenner, tie him up and stick sharp objects into his torso! But I better not...I do get the feeling that he'd kinda like it...
(Velvetphiles take note---the Velvet Underground reunion mentioned on the cover was not exactly the kind you would have hoped for. Actually the tempting headline was only a come on for the upcoming and infamous ACNE [Ayers, Cale, Nico and Eno] show that eventually came out as a live album soon to frequent many a flea market nationwide. The page three blurb does mention that Lou Reed was originally scheduled to take part in this one-off gig but backed out due to previous engagements, though frankly without the presence of Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker I dunno if one could call this a bonafeed reunion (even w/Reed) without stretching the honest truth quite a bit.
A CREEM item mentioning a reunion with Eno scheduled to take the place of Reed did appear shortly thereafter and I do recall that Tucker herself said that she was unaware of any reunion plans but that she would have been glad to have hitched up, so who knows? Maybe the plans regarding a seventies VU with Eno taking Reed's place was more than just idle rockfan gossip even though it did seen rather far fetched I'm sure even then! Another one of those "it could have beens", though of course it ain't as good a downright rock fantasy as my dream this past March where in 1972 news that Andy Warhol was going to reform the Velvets with the addition of not only David Bowie but himself on rhythm guitar and rhythm guitar only was swirling across my fevered subconscious, and you know that fantasy would have been a much more interesting deal than what did transpire in the early nineties! Well, at least the album would have been a boffo mid-seventies cut out bargain, and I probably would have waited until it was marked down to 99-cents before I'd buy it!)
***And with that, tally ho on to this week's record and Cee Dee reviews! I managed to get a little more'n I would have expected out this time, and of course the freebee items which I have received have also helped out so to all of you disque burners out there, thanks a heaping hunk! I even managed to buy a few things with my own hard-begged, so let's just say that I ain't the no account mooch that I sometimes come off like even if I hardly have two pennies to rub together! And so, without further somethingorother...
Swinging selection I must admit, from zilch-rate covers to down home (and even further down) country twang to the same kinda e-zy listening that your Unca Ferd used to settle back with in his den with the doors locked and headphones on while you and your cousins were getting into a rumble inna other room over a game of Mouse Trap gone foul. Coulda done without James Stewart's recitation of "Shenendoah" (an blatant movie tie in, and an obv. bandwagon jump on considering Walter Brennan's and Lorne Greene's successes with the spoken word chart toppers "Old Rivers" and "Ringo") but at least it has Diana Dors singing away as well as some oddities like a swinging pop number based on the movie BROKEN BLOSSOMS! Made me feel like the downtrodden and spat upon member of the Silent Majority I most truly am, even with the beyond-passable cover of "The Kids Are All Right" done up by some clandestine copycats called the Mopp Tops!
BOZO AND HIS ROCKET SHIP/TOM AND JERRY AT THE CIRCUS/LUKE THE SINGING DUCK CD-r burn (thanks to Bill Shute)
This trio of 78 rpm kiddie records pressed up on a single disque reminds me of when I was a kid...not because any of these spinners were being played around the old abode but because they conjure up memories of back when I was about ten or so and I'd go traipsing through some relative's attic or basement looking for old things, and most likely they had items like these records stuck away somewhere or other. Of course that wasn't what I was on the look out for...I was more interested in finding things like newspapers with old comic strips or neat toys that hadn't been broken by some older cousin who was now more apt to be breaking open clogged pores in front of the bathroom mirror. Records like this? That was sissy stuff more suitable for the "Sids" (an old family term denoting pantywaists) in your life 'n not the he-man red-blooded type o' suburban slob you and I were and most hopefully will REMAIN.
I never did like Bozo the Clown for reasons I might go into in a future post, but for those who do here's an early Capitol label record and book which has a story you can follow by turning the page when the special sound effect tips you off. Here Bozo gets on his rocket ship and goes all around the world meeting up with a whole load of strange people who speak in cartoon dialects and probably reek which is why I am glad they never did get to invent smell-o-vision in order to enhance the "aura" of things. Really dullsville...kinda hoped that when Bozo landed in the USSR he'd be placed up against a brick wall and given his just desserts which woulda made for a funny NATIONAL LAMPOON during their heyday comic book spoof, but no such luck here.
As for TOM AND JERRY...when they first started running their cartoons on Saturday mornings (actually early Saturday afternoons) I thought Hanna/Barbara had lost their minds. These seemed trite and typically derivative, and what's more the animation looked so old fogey and stuck inna forties which just didn't jibe with my tastes which were definitely stuck in the fifties back then. Of course I was too stoopid to know that these were made inna forties, but when I was like six or so I must admit that I felt a bit creepy watching these cartoons...not as creepy as I felt watching MILTON THE MONSTER or THE BEAGLES, but creepy enough.
Not that this record helps their image any. Like with many of these crossover media cartoon items there seems to be little connection between the original characters and the sames ones transplanted into a new format. Naw, it ain't as bad as those thirties KRAZY KAT moom pitchers which had nada to do with the strip other'n the name and a very slight resemblance to the kat of newspaper comics fame, but it is cringe-y enough. First off the characters speak on this 'un, and they don't sound anything like you'd've imagined them to sound like inna first place. They come off more like some guy who never saw the cartoons' idea of how the two would flap their jaws. The story's equally hackneyed...a re-do of that one T&J which was a swipe of Androcles inna first place which only goes to show you...if you gotta swipe, swipe from something that was written eighteen centuries ago because the author ain't gonna sue (well, it also worked for George Bernard Shaw).
LUKE THE SINGING DUCK...like I'm gonna even bother to tell you about it. Like you wouldn't know what was in story after looking at the kissy-cutie cover. I can't tell you how many of these I tossed aside at garage sales and flea markets county-wide on the search for that elusive copy of some garage band album that certainly wasn't as easy to find as I'M IN YOU.
As for yer own kids...force feed 'em SUPERCAR and GILLIGAN'S ISLAND...stuff like this'll only turn 'em into a buncha Freddie Bartholomews and heaven knows you don't wanna pay for all those dental bills after they get their teeth knocked outta 'em by the neighborhood kids!
***Various Artists-PAINK (French Punk Anthems 1977-1982); MOBILISATION GENERALE (Protest and Spiritual Jazz from France 1970-1976) CDs (both on Born Bad France, available through Forced Exposure)
Another "Vive la Frenchies" review here, this time honoring the Gallics in their never-ending quest to get some of that well-desired musical respect that's been so long denied 'em because well, the French have been known for rubbing snobbish Amerigans the wrong way for a lot longer time'n any of us could imagine.
Yeah, I know how many times I've heard the French couldn't play rock 'n roll. And I can recall how many times I've refuted that claim by dragging up a whole number of rock acts from the Frenchies and Rotomagus who certainly knew their way around a stage or two. PAINK is a neat collection of French punk rock rarities worthy of a Skydog issue...fourteen hotcha rockers that remind me of just how potent the entire punk credo was back inna seventies before it fragmented off into a million different directions and pretty much fizzed out into lackluster cover versions of "I Wanna Be Your Dog". Some relatively familiar names here like the Dogs show up, some recently uncovered favorites like Ruth as well as Soggy balance things out, and a whole slew of newies to my ear make me glad I decided to pick this one up after debating whether or not the exorbitant price was really worth it depression-era wages and all.
A good spin of this'll remind you exactly what punk rock meant especially in lieu of the punque rock that followed immediately. These guys weren't afraid to take on the rawer aspects of the Stooges or Velvets unlike the more superficial eighties p-rockers, coming off as "demonically intense" (copyright 1979 Charlotte Pressler) as the rest of those seventies slayers whose music had every bit the impact and energy as the originals they were obviously copping entire images offa. These guys knew which way the blood was flowin', like on Les Ollivensteins' "Eithanasie" which begins with a perfect "Out in the Streets" rip that'll have you turning your beanie it's that good! If you have the rest, this is a nice maraschino on top and if not, it's a better'n usual place to start!
A quickie Berlitz course might help considering how the lyrics and booklet notes for this and PAINK are all en Francais, but considering this used to be some sort of "Universal Youth Language" to the point that we could even communicate with some aboriginal in Sweden despite any other barriers maybe it doesn't really matter what language they're jabberin' in!
Anyhoo, these two are the latest in a long line of resensifiers that I really can use especially when you consider just how "no future" the past thirtysome years have been for high energy cultists such as ourselves. Might be worth your while to snatch these up but then again, when have YOU ever listened to me in the first place? Yes, be ashamed...
It's been out for a few months, but I just got this collection stuffer inna mail and I know you wanna know what I think of it. Nothing here is what I would call essential if you already have the album...even the alternate take of "Someone You Know" ain't radically different enough to cause any major heart palpitations, but if you're a fan of the group like I am and you know you'd be bothered if this one just happened to slip past your fingers I'm sure you'd want to latch onto a copy before it's too late. And if you're still stuck in the seventies of the Flamin' Groovies, Stooges, New York Rock, CREEM and R. Meltzer well, you know that a platter like this is custom-made for your own refined tastes now, don't you!
***Satanic Rockers-FU KUNG CD-r burn (originally on Albert's Basement, Australia)
Ain't posting the cover of this 'un...it's really durty and the family status of this blog just might be ruined if I presented for you a pic of an erect you-know-what ramming some solid boards in a John Holmes meets Bruce Lee sorta fashion. The music itself ain't that much to rave about though...sorta like reworked Flipper sludge without the narcotic influx and whatever else it was that made Flipper interesting. Kinda monotonous, and in a negative way at that. It figures Satanic Rockers woulda come outta Melbourne, and I don't mean Florida!
***Anonymous-INSIDE THE SHADOW CD (Machu Picchu, available through Forced Exposure)
Here's a self-produced platter that originally came outta the wilds of Indianapolis in a limited edition of 300 which has really captured my imaggynation as of late. The strange thing about that li'l truth is that this 'un is being plugged as being an offering of the "progressive rock" persuasion, and if indeed it is prog music then call me Chris Welch and send this 21st Century Schizoid Man to the heart of the sunrise!
Well I gotta admit that a whole load of music I downright enjoy gets tagged as "progressive" even if I wouldn't want to be caught dead listening to any music with such a denotation considering just how listless, dull, narcissistic and downright anti-rock progressive music can be. However like it or not a whole slew of the German Expressionist acts (a.k.a. "krautrock") that I've been raving about for some time does get categorized as progressive, while some of the mid-seventies underground acts that I've enjoyed like TV Toy and Musica Orbis got the progressive tag slapped on 'em as well which does seem rather strange in retrospect. And as I've stated a few posts back, I wouldn't mind hearing some of the other "prog" groups who were playing CBGB and Max's in the seventies (and beyond) if only for historical purposes and who knows, maybe they too had enough of a garage band sway and swing to appeal to the likes of your typical reader, whatever that sort of creature may be.
Anonymous, like TV Toy, Musica Orbis and I'm sure a whole flock of other acts that were wallowing around in the rock netherworld of the day, don't sound "progressive" as in layers of mellotron strings with synthesizer blurps and keyboard rolls straight out of the advanced John Schaum learn to play book...heck, there ain't even a keyboard on this 'un and when you listen to the music images of fog machines and colored lights do not dance in one's head like the sugar plum faggots. Actually, Anonymous present for you a more late-sixties West Coast rock with all of the bad acid and shaggy leather washed out...straight ahead rock 'n roll without any of the pretense, pomp, "hey look at me I'm being artistic!" above-it-all-isms that really helped make the seventies and beyond a lousy place for me to be in control of my aural faculties.
I am reminded of the post-Flamin' Groovies mid-seventies combo Hot Knives more than I am the Jefferson Airplane name-dropping that often surrounds this release. INSIDE THE SHADOW is actually a straightforward rock album, with smooth male/femme harmonies and lots of 12-string to give your Byrds fanatic some rather embarrassing beneath the belly spasms would he happen to hear this 'un in public. And best of all, the lack of all sorta thumbs in the production pie leaves off that slick gloss and professional goo which undoubtedly had ruined many an album o'er the years. Or as I like to say sometimes, the road to a lousy album is paved with good production.
Might be one for the late-sixties followers of Love, Byrds, Grape etc. to affix themselves to. And don't let the "progressive rock" tag frighten you away...this is probably the best music I've heard wallowing under that banner in years or at least since the last time I played Angel in Heavy Syrup, another group who got the prog rock tag even though I couldn't even find a polymoog or ripoff of Bartok anywhere in their oeuvre!