Saturday, December 14, 2013

The secret special I had planned for this week didn't quite pan out---if you must know I didn't even begin the project---so its more of the same old blab 'n reviews as usual this time around. And, as kismet would have it, it's also time for part three (and the FINAL installment...aren't you glad?) of my running impressions of old issues of THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS that I have recently obtained thanks to the miracle of ebay. And true, these papers certainly would have done me much better had I gotten hold of 'em back when they came out 'stead of a good four decades later ('n they might as well have been four centuries), but who could deny that just one reading of these classic papers is enough to remind you of just how energetic and downright inspirational just about everything connected with rock 'n roll (as opposed to that fiendish cousin "rock") was, if you only knew where to look for it and needed a little guidance in order to figure out that maybe Sky Saxon was a better spokesman for your teenage situation than Terry Jacks ever could be!

The cover sporting a pic of Vietnamese culture aficionado Gary Glitter couldn't have been a better tipoff as to the entire mood and situation the rock world of the day was in. Nick Kent's piece on the then-current teenybop upstart's one of the better I've read from this trio of 'papers since it not only contains a concise appreciation of Glitter's entire crass appeal (which I will admit ranked with the New York Dolls for seventies by-the-numbers decadence aimed at mid-teen pimplefarms) but it dwells into the more perverse aspects of Glitter's---uh---fans! Like nobody knew about the object in question even then although we all sorta believed him to be a family man not unlike you or your neighbor??? But whatever, Kent's appreciation of Glitter and the phenomenon surrounding his way above average recordings and mystique is perhaps the only thing I've read IN MY LIFE that really captures that short-lived mania that had me tuning into the AM dial back when "Rock 'n Roll Part Two" was rousing ire in more'n a few suburban slob homes with a radio.

Kent's review of Van Morrison's TB SHEETS album is also encompassing???, enveloping????? in that seventies Golden Ages of the Rock Press days sorta fashion. I like it even if I do think Morrison is and will remain a mental midgie smudge who never shoulda made it outta Bang Records alive. Wish I could say the same about Charles Shaar Murray though...the guy strikes a big zero this time not only with a feature on Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show but a live review of Return to Forever that actually has the audacity to laud Chick Corea and company for their slickwhiz flyspeck-less techno music that recalls tossing pebbles in a canal on a Saturday afternoon or some other such hippie dribble that might have seemed perfect then but looked oh so retardoid just a good year or so later. Sheesh, aren't you sick of alla these rock critics who are so universal in their tastes that they can spout off punk rock palpitations one minute then rah-rah over the worst proggo hippie doodle the next? Whatever happened to writers (other'n me) who knew that hippie crap was crap and certainly unworthy of anybody's ears let alone some writer for an English Weekly who can actually find much of worth in a fusion group that didn't know whether it wanted to be Emerson Lake and Palmer, Miles Davis or L. Ron Hubbard noodling around on his Mellotron!

Of course you know I'm (half) kidding. After all, even some of my favorite writers have sickening musical asides that are definitely of an anti-rock/punk/garage/crud bent, and it ain't like I hate Murray for some weird sidesteps into "mature" and "respectable" musical matters like I do say---C***k E**y. (Actually, I don't hate E@@y for his musical tastes at all no matter how skewered they may be---that would be totally puerile on my part---but for his totally arrogant personality which was something that makes me want to obliterate him and anything he touches with a roaring passion!) Back to Murray---in retrospect (and after a good solid minute of thought), I must admit I did enjoy his double-header album reviews get this...the New Seekers and Commander Cody, so maybe that "big zero" I mentioned earlier as quite off the mark. I'll give him a 50% this time and hope he lays off the fusion and hippiedoodle from now on even if we all know of his love for those early Jethro Tull singles (to which I will say...just how early???).
Finally made it through another week, barely intact if you must know. I guess I should congratulate myself on being able to survive another week without enduring yet another crisis in somethingorother. I even managed to make it through the past seven despite the task of reviewing the following disques for your educational benefit. And I do hope you are appreciative...after all, would you want to go and download (onto some expensive Cee-Dee-Are you paid $15 for a pack of 100) an item you believed was hotcha before finding out from me whether or not it was worthy of your ears??? So read on, and take caution with the vast array of old and new items received that I get the feeling you'll probably want to pass on in favor of a Sun O)))) disque, but why should I pry into YOUR personal perverted affairs anyway???

Miller, Miller, Miller and Sloan-"Funky Family"/"Key To Your Heart" 45 rpm single (Meaningful Productions)

Disco-y yet spry single from these teenage funksters who managed to carve out a niche as one of those early-eighties CBGB acts that everybody seems to have heard of yet nobody had actually heard. Despite the white-kid funk approach, this is a refreshing spin not only in light of similar efforts being made around the same nanosecond but with regards to much of the self-produced "amerindie" recordings that were being pumped out throughout the eighties. You might find this hard to believe, but I wouldn't mind hearing an entire album, live tape or even retrospective compact disc from these guys even if I wouldn't want to exist on a steady diet of it. I get that way sometimes.
Jim Sauter/Kid Millions-BOANERGES CD-r burn (originally on Doubtmusic, Japan)

Borbetmagus guitarist Sauter pairs up with the fresh talent on the avant improv scene Kid Millions and produces a pleasantly hot guitar/drums session that just might boomerang you back to the glory days of New York experimental gunch. It is overpowering and soul-reaffirming enough, but will it replace DAILY DANCE as far as guitar/drums free splat free jazz cum rock offerings go? If you ask me (and why not?) the answer is never, but that doesn't mean you can't ooze as much pleasure out of it as you most humanly can.
Various Artists-WIGGLE WOBBLE CLAM KING COLE CD-r (via Bill Shute)

As usual, Bill keeps my ears on their toes with his surprising yet creative selections culled from the web. The Nat King Cole kiddie tracks were interesting enough not only for their musical content but for the plain fact that way more adults 'n kids woulda cared to listen to this inna first place. The spate of fifties rockers were necessary if only because they seemed to capture the true essence of the 1958-1963 seasons 'stead of the imitations that were usually passed on to us during the big "nostalgia" craze of the seventies (I've been particularly partial to Les Cooper's "Wiggle Wobble" ever since first hearing it on the infamous INSTRUMENTAL GOLDEN GOODIES album way back when) while Bill just hadda slip more of his sainted country 'n western numbers in and I don't mind. Made great Sunday afternoon paranoid introspective listening.
GR AND FULL BLOWN EXPANSION CD-r burn (originally on World in Sound, Germany)

Full blown is right...hard and heavy drones coming on like Dave Allen being swept into a jet intake engine. Extremely engrossing once you get suckered into the thing even after you realize it's all fairly recent (2009) and not some strange blast from the Golden Age of Underground Rock. In case you're interested the guy responsible for it is named Gregory Raimo  ("GR") and he played all of the instruments himself just like Todd Rundgren used to do after somebody told him he was a genius. For a change from the usual, this might be a worthy enough one you can easily download with the flick of a wrist.

Black Oak Arkansas-BACK THAR N' OVER YONDER CD-r burn (originally on Atlantic)

I never was one to call Black Oak Arkansas the best three-lead guitar group since Moby Grape or the new MC5 or a Southern psychedelic extravaganza in a 13th Floor Elevators vein or even the closest thing on vinyl to the Velvet Underground. However, time has proven that BOA were a top ranking on-the-verge hard-edged hard rock group with definite high energy leanings, and really who am I to disagree with such enlightened fans of the band as Byron Coley or Eddie Flowers anyway? This collection features recordings both old and from the group's recent reunion, and it's all (as long time fans would have guessed) attention-grabbing dixoid heavy rock that doesn't let up even when Jim Dandy Mangrum soulfully croons in that life-reaffirming gravelly way of his. So good that even the new material with a touch of synthdoodle doesn't tend to offend. It's certainly a stellar must have effort for all fans of seventies slop, but man could I have used a new version of "Feet On Earth, Head In Sky"!
Cheap Time-EXIT SMILES CD-r burn (originally on In The Red)

More of that buzzy nuevo punk drone rock that, surprisingly enough, still seems to be in vogue somewhere and somewhat.  I wouldn't call it essential music, but the feeling and approach seem to echo various mid/late-seventies under-the-underground efforts that sure meant a whole lot back in them times. Too bad there are way too many more modern tipoffs that date this which doesn't really do my prejudiced musical tastes any good but then again, who cares what I think or say anymore? You certainly don't and I'm still wondering why you're even tuning in to read what I have to say anymore!
The Nomads-SHOWDOWN 2-CD-r burn set (originally on Sympathy For The Record Industry)

The early material is fine. I sure remember when Imants Krumins was hipping us all to these guys via the pages of THE MOLE back inna mid-eighties callin' 'em a fantastico cross between the Sonics, Link Wray and some other tippy top acts whose names escape me. That's when I rushed out to buy WHERE THE WOLFBANE BLOOMS as well as some other fun rarities that I never was able to latch onto unless you count a limited edition cassette collection that was flying around at the time. Back then the Nomads seemed like the perfect prescription for the eighties lull in music,,,hard antagonizing rock that really resensified your brain and made you feel like a prime mammal once more. But those days were short if sweet.

The later Nomads records, like many other eighties high hopes and promises who just managed to ruin everything they once stood for within the span of a few measly singles, just didn't cut it, sounding too well produced and smooth for the tastes of a music-starved craver such as myself. I eventually dumped these guys from my must have list feeling even more hurt because...well they all shoulda knowed better what with being fans of the great sixties Northwest groups and Dictators and all of those other long-forgotten faves who were so needed in the middle of the rock 'n roll dry spell! But hey, at least I still had the rush of sixties garage band samplers to keep me well and good, and there was always something old, or even new, to discover that helped make the mid-eighties every bit as bubbling under energetic as the mid-seventies were!

This double disc set captures the Nomads at both stages of their career, first as a powerful punk rock (in the best seventies obscure rock critic sorta way) band and later on as a slowly burning out bunch who seemed to be resting on their previous image more'n anything else that can be humanly explained. I know it's hard to keep up the power and the pressure especially after an initial success but the later material just sounds more FM radio "Classic Rock" than high-spirited garage band boom boom, and you don't even have to be Nostradamus to see that the band was slowly if surely enough "maturing" in a direction that I sure wouldn't want to go in no matter how starved for a rock album I might be. And you can hear it all here in between the stunning cover versions of "Cinderella" and "Showdown" as the band slogs through numbers that might have even put a smile on John Cougar's face!.

Sheesh, it ain't like I'm not in favor of groups learning how to play their gear and displaying an evolution in sound and approach from year to year and record to record, but why did they always have to end up sounding closer to MTV gush or FM blubber anyway? At least the Sonics and Wailers knew enough to break up once their records started to sound like the antithesis of everything they stood for the past ten years...somebody shoulda given the Nomads the message a whole lot earlier and who knows, maybe I can even listen to their early great outings without doing a little bit of a wince.


Anonymous said...

I'd never heard of that Miller, Miller, Miller and Sloan record.

Is "Key To Your Heart" the 101ers/Joe Strummer song?!

Christopher Stigliano said...

No, 'tis an original.

evenspotspeaks said...

I agree w/ the BOA review. I was a late arrival fan
of Jim Dandy but it didn't stop me from shopping the bargain bins collecting BOA's vinyls. I enjoyed the new tunes and they fit right in w/ the other tracks.