Anyway a Happy Easter to you and yours (and mine as well), and although I always thought Easter chocolate ain't as good as chocolate from other holidays (too thick and waxy for me) unless you're talking about Cadbury or Reese's eggs I hope you enjoy your baskets brimming with plastic hay and maybe even a fluffy bunny doll or two. And to all my Zoroastrian readers happy Naw Ruz 'n I do mean it!
Which reminds me of a story Al Capp brought up in the forward to a 1978 LI'L ABNER collection regarding his transformation from a thirties lib to a proto-neocon. Y'see, some photographer had approached Capp in the mid-sixties saying that she made a deal with a big name publisher stating that if Capp would provide witty captions to her photographs they'd get printed. I guess she was one of those new realist types, and the famed cartoonist, eager to help out some up and coming talent, agreed to provide snappy asides and retorts right off the top of his head.
Capp was shown the photos, and accordingly tried his best to provide humorous responses to what he saw. Then it came to the last one. "This will break your heart" the femme photographer said before showing him a photo of a rundown urban street strewn with trash, all the while a number of teens were sitting on a front porch smoking and drinking and generally having a fun time. Quick to wit, Capp blurted out something along the lines of "Why don't you kids get off your asses and clean your street up!" at which point the gal stormed out of the room huffing all the while! Good bye book deal, and hello to Capp's new found political outlook.
Frankly, hardly anything breaks my heart anymore, undoubtedly because there's hardly anything out there worthy of breaking my heart in this radical/gay/bastard/mollycoddling world where the stupid and ugly are praised and rewarded and the ideals of righteousness and justice have been twisted beyond recognition. Like I ain't gonna be crying when bad things happen to bad people (and don't kid yourself, you know what "good" and "bad" are even though the world has been trying to deny it for the past 500 years). However I came across this particular article courtesy none other than Jim Goad (yeah, the same Jim Goad who put out ANSWER ME! and THE REDNECK MANIFESTO and now writes some pretty good definitely non "heartbreaking" pieces for the fantastic TAKI'S MAGAZINE), and I gotta admit that although my heart didn't bleed like a poetry lover's does over a broken flower I felt a whole lot more sympatico with the story of Bucky Goad than I did with the ones regarding all of those AIDS patients that had liberals sobbing hefty heaps of body fluids back inna eighties (while smugly poo-pooing the plight of everyday folk who die from more common, and less "lifestyle"-related maladies which tear holes in families at a greater rate than a slew of fashionable diseases ever could).
I dunno, but I wasn't on one of my food deprivation days which might affect the ol' brainjuice flow a tad, nor had I taken any analgesic which might give me a tad loopy feeling. Undoubtedly I felt strongly about this story because frankly, Bucky wasn't exactly one of those people who the chic and fashionable would want to rally around like they used to do with the Black Panthers and Ruben "Hurricane" Carter. Come to think of it, I'm sure even the folk at the local schools and churches would have wanted to steer clear of him, or at least brush him off as an abnormality that would go away. A real fall through the cracks kinda guy, someone who needed that all-important help but wasn't severe or drastic enough for anyone to give it to him. He also needed that attention and nurturing (in the right parental way) but got stuck with a father of the old school who believed in a few hard whaps before, during and after as well as a mother who was more or less content to stick her head in the sand to avoid the shame of it all. And yeah, I know how that feels given my extremely erratic behavior as a youth which certainly could have used to honest to goodness "professional help" yet was denied it, only to be handled by people such as my teachers who, while "having good intentions," certainly didn't know what the hell they were doing considering the scatterbrained jerkoff I was and shall remain. As if anybody wouldn't have known that from the get go, but people who oh-so obviously knew better reap what they sew, and I'm the bumper crop!
Maybe that's why I can really understand the entire story behind Bucky. It kinda makes me feel that, although I did grow up intact and lived comfortably and all, maybe I (and perhaps even you) did get the shaft worse off'n all of those poor kids who maybe didn't have all the opportunities that were offered you at least had their minds and sanity to guide 'em through. Kinda makes me wonder how alla 'em other kids I saw who got slapped and humiliated beyond belief as a kid turned out, and if they were all as scrambled as I turned out I wouldn't doubt it in an instant.
***There I go, feeling sorry for myself (if through someone else who for once in history deserves pity even though he wouldn't want any in a millyun years!)...well gee, I can't help it if only because I'm such a sympathetic kinda guy...I mean, who with a heart, soul and mind WOULDN'T feel sorry for me! All kidding aside (well, not really...I mean if you wanna feel sorry for me go right ahead!) here are this week's top of the slops.
The first of the Ornette Denardo releases, and OD plays as beautifully sympatico to pop's works as Billy Higgins or Ed Blackwell ever did. Charlie Haden stays in the background which is better'n him being at the forefront because whenever he's taking over things just aren't just quite cohesive. Of course Ornette the Elder is doing fine not only on alto but trumpet and violin, an instrument which when played with Haden's arco bass and OD's drums reminds me of future Revolutionary Ensemble endeavors even if Ornette and Leroy Jenkins are separated by a few measures of styling. But gawrsh, the fact that a kid like OD could actually play on his father's album and not stick out like a vain sore thumb like Linda McCartney did really does say something about the concept of fresh playing and approach in free jazz, and really don't it make you wish you had a father like Ornette now, hunh?
***Archie Shepp and Roswell Rudd-LIVE IN NEW YORK CD-R burn (originally on Verve Soundscape)
How long ago was it that Gary Giddins said that Archie Shepp's "embouchure was all fucked up"? The late eighties I presume. Funny, this was recorded in 2000 and Shepp sounds full enough here. Of course he ain't playing wild and free like he was in the sixties (and I always thought Rudd was nothing but dead weight and his FLEXIBLE FLYER album on Arista/Freedom was one of the worst of the batch) and the general performance is so restrained that even my Aunt Petunia would like this. And she's been dead for twenny-five years!
Shepp's piano playing is also worthwhile as is his singing, but it ain't like he was pouring his soul out with bitter anger like he did on "Poem For Malcolm" back when he was getting hotcha players like Anthony Braxton to record with him. This is the sound of a man whose best years are far behind him and who has strayed so far from the earlier righteous fire music that drew in many a fan that it's impossible to hear just how he inspired the MC5 to create those soaring spectaculars that they gained fame with. Stick with the BYG and Impulse sides and venture this way with as much caution as you can dare to muster up.
***THE MANY MOODS OF VENISON WHIRLED CD-R (Kendra Steiner Editions)
Latest in the long line of KSE ltd. ed. releases, and the first one to escape the old cover scheme which might make this a collector's fave. Venison Whirled (aka Lisa Cameron) creates some rather craze-oid "musique concrete" here with the aid of everything from tapes, contact mics, kalimbas and even a vibrator (!), and the results bring to mind everything from UFO-period Guru Guru and "John, John, Let's Hope For Peace" to even that track on George Harrison's ELECTRONIC SOUND he ripped off of that guy from Beaver and Krause. Also detected some of the Musica Electronica Viva/AMM album on Mainstream's influences within the...'er...grooves. A rather engaging one that, like the rest of the KSE label output, ain't gonna be gettin' spun on Sirius Radio any day soon.
***REBECCA AND THE SUNNYBROOK FARMERS CD-R burn (originally on Musicor)
Bill Shute sent me this probably because I was joking with him about burning a copy for me for the past two years or so. Now that I have this the jokes are naturally going to stop. Thanks a heap, Bill!
Actually not bad, for a bunch of hippies that is. With some work it coulda been Savage Rose. Halfway decent melodies and mostly good vocalizing (though I can't forgive the Dylan imitation that opens this) makes this one of those off-label (in this case Musicor) efforts that was trying to cash in on a Jefferson Airplane vibe but didn't quite get there. At times even exciting, jazzy and something that sounded totally dated by the time 1972 rolled around. Nothing special, but better'n the usual hippydippy relevance that was gushing forth around the same nanosecond.
***Various Artists-RATFINKS ON HUSHABYE MOUNTAIN CD-R burn
Bill doesn't bill this as a "Thrift Shop" collection, but in some ways it could be. Nice splattering of various deep in the collection trackage from the Chipmunks doing "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" to Ken Thorne's themes to two biggies of the 1963-64 season, PETTICOAT JUNCTION and THE RICHARD BOONE SHOW which surprising enough was running directly opposite the Paul Henning classic. A few Joe Meek productions also pepper up the platter, and Tony Bennett even shows up to perform "Eleanor Rigby" and a song that's listed on the sleeve as being "MacArthur Park" but sure ain't. The non-LP Pink Fairies single shows up as well, as does Allan Sherman's "Rag Mop" rewrite "Rat Fink" which is even better than Crawlspace's version, and I do mean it!!! (really!)
I know I have the original Cee Dee version tucked away somewhere in my collection. I mean, I was so whacked out by the inclusion of their track "Susie's Gone" on BEYOND THE CALICO WALL (boffo acid punk inna PEBBLES VOL. 3 vein) that I snapped this 'un up via Bill Finneran as soon as I got hold of his latest catalog. Oh well, Bill's inclusion of this in his latest package only gives me an excuse to give this 'un another listen, and listen to it I most surely did!
Those of you who would be expecting a total acid punk excursion based on "Susie's Gone" will be in for a surprise, since AFTERGLOW (and Afterglow) were a rather talented straight-ahead psychedelic pop group that sounded like a garage band Association with elements of late-sixties AM baroque pop a la the Left Banke or at least Montage. Well-produced for a small label deal and musically proficient at least to the point where you won't puke...good enough harmony vocals and classical enough keyboards give it a classier than you'd expect feeling. If you still go for the likes of the David and other mid/late-sixties under-the-radarscope aggregates that got lost in the shuffle because they just weren't gettin' out there, this "could" put a smile on your face!
Various Artists-BLACK AND WHITE PIANO, VOLUME 2 CD-R burn (originally on Document Records, Austria)
I mean, like wha' the heck with the title? Aren't all pianos black 'n white anyway??? So despite the obvious title wha' 'cha' get here are more of those old 78 tracks from the archives, this time of rare piano music of a jazzbo or jellyroll style that really helped make for a nice relaxing Saturday afternoon here at the BTC office. A lot, like Frank Melrose' "Cosmic," reminds me of Duke Ellington at his suavest, while others continue on the old ragtime bounce that continues to live on, at least among collectors of old silent films who buy their wares from miniscule dealers who've been in the business for seemingly ages. Names to watch out for...Kansas City Frank, Alex Hill, Cass Simpson and who could forget Smith/Irvine!
AND IN CLOSING, just take a gander at this li'l beaut from the archives entitled INSIDE POP - THE ROCK REVOLUTION which I believe was one of those oft-heard about but seldom seen affairs that did rank "some importance" among people following the rock 'n roll music scene of the '66/'67 cusp. The reason I plucked this one outta the youtube files is because Don Fellman called me last night and brought up Janis Ian's appearance on this very special along with host Leonard Bernstein's framing commentary regarding the song "Society's Child." Don remembered Bernstein saying certain things which he wanted to clarify after a good 47 years of not seeing this special, and after playing him not only Bernstein's comments but Ian miming the entire song (as a joke...y 'see, Fellman hates "Society's Child"!) it turns out that the line Fellman remembers Bernstein saying was not in the program! Makes me wonder if Darnold (as I affectionately call him) correctly remembers Ian's appearance on THE JOEY BISHOP SHOW singing the same song with Phil Silvers actually saying to her that if he had a daughter he'd want her to be just like Janis, which is strange because he already had a daughter who I'll bet wasn't too pleased with what pop said!
But digging this 'un out for Don was a good excuse to watch the entire special which I personally think tops a whole bunch of those other CBS REPORTS-type shows which tried to be so informative and understanding while usually falling flatter'n a DICK TRACY villain's head. Bernstein's actually passable as a member of the older generation admitting what he likes and dislikes in the new rock, although his attempts in helping to make it all the more "respectable" should be condemned considering some of the quap that came out after more and more intellectuals began paying attention to rock as "culture" instead of rock as avant garde. At other times, such as in the opening discussion between he and some unnamed longhair kiddo, he seems more like music's answer to Dave Berg with all of that New York enlightened liberal pose that's still in fashion (sad to say). Surprisingly enough, the aforementioned Janis Ian segment is actually hotcha which is hard for an Ian-hater like myself to admit, as is the fact that "Society's Child"'s actually a nice well-constructed slab of gussied up mid-sixties folk rock. But that's only because of Shadow Morton's snazzy production because otherwise it's just a whiny post-menarche girly drool bedroom folkie number ...eh!
The second portion's typical CBS news slog-through documentary featuring Herman's Hermits and the Hollies on and off-stage as well as a particularly irritating (due to both the interviewer and interviewees) segment where some Canned Heat member and some Gentle Soul and UFOs' (including future Lyman Family member Lisa Kindred) get uptight discussing the concept of love to the point where you think they were gonna break the interviewer's neck! Clips of Tim Buckley performing and Frank Zappa pontificating also pop up, as do the not-yet-Roger Jim McGuinn talking about drugs and Brian Wilson performing an early version of "Surf's Up" which didn't see the light of vinyl until a good five or so years later!
Y'know, I just coulda seen some suburban ranch house family watching this when it was broadcast, with mom 'n pop in utter shock over the subject of hidden meanings in lyrics and mixed combos while Junior was bummed out because some of the wilder and less inhibited acts of the day were unceremoniously left outta the thing! Too bad these kinda situations are long gone from the same kinda homes that probably used to bicker endlessly over the values set forth in an episode of ALL IN THE FAMILY...nowadays parents are probably concerned that their kids aren't getting enough nookie by age twelve and whether or not can afford all the tattoos their own folk so vehemently denied 'em! Sheesh, it's enough to make any self-respecting adolescent wanna go 'n join the castratis!