Sunday, November 17, 2013

Since a lotta gals lost their heads over JFK, he obviously felt it proper to
 return the favor!
A VERY SPECIAL EPISODE OF BLOG TO COMM---well, not really, but continuing on my demi-nostalgic paens to a variety of "Golden Jubilees" that have been crossing my path as of late (such as the fiftieth anniversary of the first Christmas I can remember, the fiftieth anniversary of the last LEAVE IT TO BEAVER to be filmed, a good half-century since I've been able to control my #2 functions enough not to wear diapers...) I thought it would be neato and keen to mention this upcoming Friday's big semicennial festivities, none other'n that of the last successful presidential assassination on record and you know what the hey I'm talkin' about by now, don't you all you aging conspiracy theorists and assorted riff raff still living in 1963 (lucky dogs) out there!

Frankly, I really didn't wanna bring up JFK's head-dive into oblivion if only because of the more mawkish and sentimental souls out there who are holding back tears even as we speak---y'know, the kind of peace creep type who ties every protest movement to come down the line with their own sixties spirituality---precisely because the subject is just so baby boomer heart rendering one would just have to wretch! You're no doubt familiar with that tired.old "on November 22 we all lost our innocence!" rant as if each and every one of us alive on that fateful day was some sorta precocious artzy-litzy introvert listening to Joan Baez albums while holed up in our lower-midclass workingman box houses. Well if you're that kind of "Save the World" sorta feelygood about yourself don't let me stop you from parting your pithair inna middle, just steer clear from outta my sight and frankly, the day I lost my "innocence" was the day I found out that those vending machines in the men's room at the bowling alley weren't selling gumballs. But they sure made funny looking bubbles!

Personally I like that other "baby boomer" trait that fortunately has never really gone away, the one that had kids watching loads of tee-vee and listening to the radio and racing slot cars,  reading comic books, eating strange food and doing all that stuff the high school phony intellectuals were supposed to sneer at because it was just...icky. And of course gabbing about it ever  since because  you knew those days were so great and that unfortunately they never ever would come back. Y'remember, like back when it was 1971 and all you wanted to talk about with your buds besides Alice Cooper and the Who was nothing but greasy reminiscences of all the great times you used to have not so long ago, like "remember how fun it was watching TWILIGHT ZONE" or about such and such a musical act that was playing around back then but you haven't heard a peep outta since. Things like that which, when gathered about and added up, just go to prove what fun the kids had back before everything hadda have "inner meaning" and be "relevant" like they eventually ended up being by the time I was old enough to have my own serious fun! Yes, in the early-seventies ten years ago...even five years ago for that matter sure looked rather enticing especially in the face of Cat Stevens and BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN!

So it's in this spirit of hotcha baby boomerism that I bring up the big fiftieth splatzo reupholstering of that Lincoln limo, and all I gotta say that this particular day continues to resonate in my mind because hey...I was there! Not in Dallas or anything like that, but in the tee-vee room on that overcast November Friday afternoon talking with my sock-darning mother while MOON OVER MIAMI was airing on AFTERNOON THEATER on WKBN-TV when, right at that scene where there's this big ball the first bulletin pops up via the CBS network which naturally stymied my mom who was soon on the phone calling her sisters with the news. Of course I was wallowing in turdler confusion myself especially when it was known to the world that something big was goin' on, and you can bet that I was a sad stroon over the proceedings because...that only meant there was gonna be no BARNEY BEAN for me that evening!

Or Saturday AM cartoons for that matter because we all hadda endure a good three or so days of "national mourning" which really musta sucked, especially if you were one who loathed JFK to the point where you still take Lee Harvey Oswald's birthday off to celebrate! But the bright part of it all is that everybody I knew kept their newspapers which sure added up to loads of fun for me when I was ten and I'd read through 'em enjoying all those old comic strips and moom pitcher ads and the rest of that last flash of a fun, kid-oriented civilization that was slowly but surely slipping from sight.

What was even weirder about the events transpiring at hand was the fact that mom definitely wanted to have the tee-vee tuned to CAPTAIN KANGAROO that upcoming Thursday (Thanksgiving) because, for some maybe not-so-strange reason, she thought that the program at hand would mention something about the events of the past week as if ol' Bob Keeshan was going to tell the assembled brats at hand "now children, remember that we should be thankful for everything even if our previous president got his head blown to bits just short of a week ago!" So tune in we did as mother was preparing our feast (she even checking in on things to see if her premonition was coming true)...naturally nothing specific about the assassination was mentioned, but even I do recall a rather solemn tone in Cap's demeanor that morning which reflected the proper response to the "skull full of era's end" as Lester Bangs once so succinctly put it.

Of course the best "where were you when Kennedy got shot" saga just has to be the one that's been spouted off by none other than the infamous Don Fellman for quite some time he was at school with news of the multi-Excedrin headache hit the classrooms at Campbell Junior High in Queens New York and some kids were naturally stunned saying "they shot the president" while one, a chap named Gary Frank, jokingly retorted  "shot him in the ass!" Of course when the gravity of the situation finally became known, Frank responded to the shame being dumped on him for making light of things by uttering (in a rather Snagglepuss-ish delivery) "that was before I knew!"

As for Don well....he was waiting all week to watch RETURN OF THE FLY starring Vincent Price on the Friday late movie and was so keyed up about it that he actually sat through the wall-to-wall television coverage of the events unfolding in the hopes that local programming would eventually resume. When eleven o'clock hit and assassination coverage continued Don kept up the hope that maybe by MIDNIGHT the station would air the film. Dunno exactly what time Don gave up and went sleepy bye but he did, having to wait for FLY to make its way back into syndication a good year or so later!

But that's not all---y'see the Fellman family tee-vee just happened to blow a tube or two the very next day so the repairman was called in to fix things. Back then if a television set went on the blink the repairman would give you a loaner, in this case a micro-sized Hotpoint portable with a teeny screen which you could at least watch something. But that was the thing...since Kennedy was dead all there was to watch was a buncha small horses dragging Kennedy's body all over the place, so what good was having even that small substitute around if all you hadda watch was dungeonsville stuff like that???

Hey I know that these stories aren't as dramatic or as moving as the ones that were cluttering the newsstands forty years ago back when the tenth anniversary was fodder for not-so-faded memories, but I sure hope they serve as an antidote to all of the self-righteous, soul-searching and humanistic quap we're all gonna be inundated with this Friday! Well at least Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian weren't around to join inna national grief like many of us oldsters (and man, it was bad enough when Billy Joel hadda spout off his self-righteous opines when asked a good quarter-century back!), but don't worry, I'm sure they (along with Kanye and the rest) will come up with some beautifully touching mewlings about that fateful day if prompted...
I'LL BETCHA DIDN'T KNOW THAT JERRY LEWIS® WAS A PROGRESSIVE ROCKER!: of course he never was even if his son did use an accordion in his act just like PFM, but after viewing these two clips where Jerry gets a chance to show off some of his musical talents I kinda wonder why the comedy titan didn't up and join some up-and-coming progsters just yearning for an electronics wizard! In the first clip from THE DELICATE DELINQUENT, Jerry meets up with a theremin resulting up some high-larious antics that had me gagging back when I was a mere age of ten! Jimmy Page eat your heart out!:

What's even kookier is this clip of Jerry demonstrating his new "Chamberlain", which as any prog rock freak knows is the Amerigan equivalent of the way more popular Mellotron (check your albums for mentions of the Chamberlain on David Bowie's LOW or even Sonny Sharrock's PARADISE where it is referred to as a "Chamberlain Mellotron"!). Given that during the sixties the Mellotron became the fun play thing among the millionaire set, sort of an even more sophisticado organ what with the left row of keys emitting all sorts of drum and rhythm patterns (the version more familiar with those of a rock knowledge emitted the left row of keys and focused on the cheezy strings, flute, brass and voice we've been inundated with for ages!), it's no wonder Jerry would have picked one up for his own highbrow pleasure. Well, I will admit that the sounds the famed comedian emits from the Chamberlain were a whole lot more entertaining than anything Rick Wakeman was able to get outta his, but then again what else is old?

And as you were hoping all along, here come this week's reviews! Well, not reviews as much as the usual top of the head comments revealing my impressions regarding a variety of platters that have crossed my path the past week or two, only a couple of which were purchased by me with my hard-begged moolah (the rest being Cee-Dee-Are burns sent gratis by various fans and followers who wanna to d the big daddy J. Paul Getty II routine to my Kenneth Anger I guess). Gotta thank you guys for the kind thought really...and considering the absolute dearth (or unavailability) of BLOG TO COMM-friendly sounds being unleashed these days well, I wish I could go over to each and every one of your places and thank you personally. That's outta the question though...y'see, I can't use a strange toilet.

And speaking of toidy functions what better disque to begin the critiques'n with the following classic!

The Urinals-NEGATIVE CAPABILITY CD-r burn (originally on Warning Label)

Wow, what primitiveness...and yeah, I remember back when such dunce-addled rock perfection was sneered at by the reams of classic rock dolts I hadda put up with for many a year. Of course as time has proved I was right, as usual, all along! Classic sides from the late-seventies that were being spoken about in tones hushed even then, a time when such sub-garage techniques weren't exactly considered chic by the smarmy rock handlers. Fantastic mix of "six-oh" and late-seventies modes mixed and matched to your perfection and it sounds so "real" that you might hallucinate that it's still 1976 (or even '66) and these are the kids next door who got peed atcha for spying on their rehearsal! A tip of the skull to Tom Gilmore for deciding this one worthy enough for mine ears.
Peter Brotzmann and Steve Noble-I AM HERE WHERE ARE YOU CD-r (originally on Trost)

Very recent euro flash sesh featuring the time honored Brotzman and percussionist Noble cooking up such a racket that you'd think they were trying to wake Albert Ayler up. Brotzman plays at seventy the same pure spout he did on MACHINE GUN while Noble proves once and for all that the future of jazz doesn't necessarily have to be in the hands of those squeaky clean mutants you hear when you happen to traipse upon the "lite jazz" station on your cable system. Gives me more hope for the future of music than even Herman Munster hand after espying Eddie's autographed photo of the Standells!
Rudimentary Peni-CACOPHONY CD (Outer Himalayan)

Wow, can you believe it? A concept album about H.P. Lovecraft from these ever-popular anarcho punks! And it's pretty good too, with its expected mix of sharp underground drive, heavy metal (in the hotcha, truest 1972 CREEM meaning of the term) sensory overload and a general attack and approach that reminds me of all of the better moments the eighties had to offer without all of the pretense and misguided gush that seemed to have permeated those years. Underground rock in the truest sense, and it's so good that I almost feel ashamed about having written the whole load of these peaceniks off as just a bunch of hippies wearing leather jackets and spiky haircuts!
Peter Stampfel and the WORM All-Stars-A SURE SIGN OF SOMETHING CD-r (originally on Korm Digitaal)

If you wanted to hear what that legendary unreleased Holy Modal Rounders album sounded like well...maybe this would come durn close. Maybe not, but this does have a version of the HRK "chestnut" "Fucking Sailors in Chinatown" that was to have appeared on that elusive effort. Also has a new version of "One Will Do For Now" and probably a whole slew of  oldies that just happened to fly under mine radar. One for fans of the (Un)Holy Modals as well as the Bottlecaps as well as a whole slew of Peter Stampfel-related folk splat (including the Muscular Christians) which have been springing up like age spots all across the New York underbelly these past fortysome years.

Various Artists-FUZZ, FLAYKES AND SHAKES VOL. 1 CD-r (originally on Bacchus Archives)

The first in a recent (1999) series of garage band compilations which, as I suspected, just doesn't have the same sense of mid-six-oh wonderment as the original garage collections that came out in the v. late seventies. Not quite bottom of the barrel scrapings, yet not quite total hard flash brainwarp worthy of a PEBBLES VOLUME TWO let alone a PSYCHEDELIC UNKNOWNS. But alas, that's been the case with many of these mid-eighties-onward punkoid excursions which just don't have the same crash 'n bash that we've come to expect after being exposed to the Sonics and Seeds thinking that it was all gonna sound as good as that! I frankly don't expect much more from the other volumes but give 'em a try I will, ever persistent nebb I am and will remain.
The Velvet Illusions-ACID HEAD-THEIR COMPLETE 45's CD-r burn (originally on Tune In Records, England)

Best known from their appearance on some early-eighties Moxie garage band extended play, the Velvet Illusions certainly had that minor key creep factor fully in flush on their signature number "Acid Head." That's on here as is their theme song "Velvet Illusions" which is also good in the creep department. The rest varies from standard if entertaining mid-energy proto-punk to a thirties nostalgic number which sounds good enough that I'm sure even the older generation types like my mother who hated being made fun of like this would have been suckered in. Definitely worth looking into (if you definitely think recordings like these are worth looking into), but sheesh I sure think these tracks sounded better when pressed up on that cheap Moxie vinyl whilst being slapped into a cover that looked as if it were designed by a bunch of twelve-year-olds who were being paid off in Thunderbird to tackle the dirty deed! Just as long as the mailorder businesses didn't jack the price up too much!

The legendary Tokyo underground assemblage of various Fluxus wannabes and asst. bangers on (cute, huh?) finally get their hotcha Cee-Dee dues with this triple disque threat collecting a passel of neo-readymades and  not-so-found sounds recorded during the wild days of the early seventies. The spirit of late-sixties free fall fanablaism is in full force here complete with wild scat singing, toy wooden flutes (the kind you used to see at tourist trap hangouts with feathers sticking out of 'em), tape squeals and tom toms. Sorta like an extremely loose Amon Duul I with the Czech musical aggregate Aktuel tossed in...might get kinda tranceville at times but that's your problem.
Various Artists-PAUL IS DEAD AND ELEPHANTS ARE FLYING CD-r (compiled by Bill Shute)

Perhaps the most sit-down-and-don't-touch-that-fast forward-button entertaining of Bill Shute's recent send me's. The Wyncote Squirrels might have been a 99-cent attempt to cash in on the Alvin and the Chipmunks Beatle bonanza, but their "Be My Girl" is top notch hard -edge rock 'n roll with some mighty boss playing worthy of Lou Reed's Roughnecks. Solo cup backed vanity entertainer Dora Hall continues to curdle with "Cuddles the Calico Kitten" while "Squee-Gee the Happy Clown" just doesn't go over too well in these days when ya just gotta wonder about guys who never take off their face paint and wear baggy pants. The syrupy string selection helped ease me into a "Stereo 99" stupor akin to any hi-fi nut turning to the e-zy listening dial a good fiftysome years back, while even the c&w twang didn't make me wanna go ghetto like it sometimes does.

What I really liked about this 'un though was the CBS radio report on the Paul McCartney death hoax which not only served as an example of pop kultural history being re-experienced, but gave me that "grown up" feeling just like it woulda had I heard this onna radio during my single digit days copping some of that weirdo adult nutzo world that seemed so alien to my suburban slob upbringing. I'll tell you, I got almost as much creeped out over this as I did when I saw that tee-vee special on CHARIOTS OF THE GODS a few years later.

Closing out the disque is that old Jiminy Cricket chestnut "Give a Little Whistle" which urges you to pucker up and blow "when you meet temptation and the urge is very strong." Somehow I get the feeling that if this song had gotten around a little more you'd be hearing a whole lotta whistling coming from the bathrooms of households containing adolescent boys and rock fanzine writers. Don't think it would do much good though.

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