Saturday, March 15, 2014

Don't tell Don Fellman, but the publication pictured on the left is gonna be his birthday present come this upcoming week! Of course if you do tell him afterwards it won't matter, mainly because he would have received it already and thus your tattlin' won't do you any good, you spoilsport you! But here it is in its entirety, the forty-third issue of ARCHIE'S JOKE BOOK (cover dated November, 1960) and if you don't think I was gonna take a sneek peek at it before handing it over to the erstwhile phoner-upper then you're even stoopider'n I originally gave yez all credit for!

Longtime Archie staff artist Harry Lucey did the cover art, a fact which doesn't hit it with me because I always thought he was the lesser of the batch who were drawing for the Archie Series at the time. Certainly nowhere near Dan DeCarlo or Samm Schwartz even if those two could never reach the lofty heights of the guy who started it all, Bob Montana. Of course by that time Montana was nowhere to be seen in the comic book (in fact, his version of ARCHIE and the comic book were almost like dueling universes where some characters existed in different form if they even existed at all) but when you're operating a business as big as Archie Comics it's pretty hard to keep things such as continuity straight, as if these things really mattered in the first place.

The three to four panel-length gags that permeate this issue read like they were written by the same guy who used to think up stories for Bazooka Joe (Pud was too sophisticated for this crowd!), while most if not all of the artwork comes off so slapdash especially when compared with the lush beauty of Montana's renditions of the swimsuit-clad female form that you wonder if these renditions were created under the auspices of the Comics Code Authority in order to prevent Junior from rushing into the bathroom with the latest BETTY AND VERONICA snugged under his shirt. If I didn't know better I'd assume that a grand portion of the art appearing here was created by guys whose renditions of the characters were spotted in Tijuana Bibles and like, they probably work for peanuts and so what if they had nada in the way of style or class goin' for 'em anyway???

(By the way, I got this issue for Fellman because from what I could deduce one of these tales entitled "Horsing Around" was purportedly dilineated by his close friend and the author of THE FILMS OF BELA LUGOSI, the late Richard Bojarski. Given there could have been more'n a dozen Archie comics with that title floating around throughout the character's run I hadda nail it down to the year or so he had freelanced for the company, and with the miracle of internet working in my favor I came upon the same titled story in this particular issue! It could be "Bojack" who drew this particularly deadened story true, though since the artist's style seems to reflect everything else drawn this ish I must say that I do have my doubts. Still, this one is a curios for fans of the man, and I know Fellman will enjoy seeing his late friend's artwork unless he's a big fat INGRATE!)

As a strange "bonus",  none other than Archie's blonde galpal Betty submitted an article on noted guitar slinger Duane Eddy, a man whose talents I certainly can't deny though next to hard-edged fifties rockers like Link Wray or Bo Diddley he just doesn't figure in to any early rock weltanschauung on my part. Unfortunately this piece certainly lacks the swing and sway of any top-notch rock writer one could think of offhand, and as far as copying text straight from the hypesheet to the typewriter Betty really was ahead of her time, the Anthony DeCurtis of the early-sixties if you can believe that! Frankly I thought more of the oft-ignored blonde bombshell than to think of her as a typical rock hack, but I guess this sickening breed existed even back then and that the past forty year trend of zilch-dimensional  rock scribing definitely stretches back a whole lot further than I ever thought! Maybe they shoulda gotten Jughead to be the resident rock critic. He woulda been gonzo enough.

One nice surprise in this ish, besides the absence of the one-note PRISCILLA'S POP ripoff "Li'l Jinx", was the appearance of two "SHRIMPY" comics. You may remember SHRIMPY as an outright no-doubt-about-it swipe of PEANUTS, and as far as the many imitations and emulations of Charles Schulz's creation go this 'un is most definitely the swipiest of the batch! From the puffy dresses, button noses and ankles almost as long as the actual front of the foot to the not-so-sly knockoffs of established PEANUTS characters (I think Brando is a clever enough Pigpen as a beatnik swipe even if that gal seems unsure as to whether or not she is supposed to be Lucy or Violet), SHRIMPY just reeks as much a steal of the original goodie w/o coming off as a carbon copy, sorta like what THE FINEHEIMER TWINS were to THE KATZENJAMMER KIDS in years gone by. Close, and we're still deciding on the cigar.

Still, I'd most certainly want to read a SHRIMPY collection more than I would one of TIGER, WINTHROP or any of the mid/late-sixties PEANUTS knockoffs that were popping up in your local paper, usually at the expense of old tried 'n true favorites as FRECKLES and WASH TUBBS which I sure coulda stood reading back when I was beginning to pop into the double digits. And since such not-quite-up-there Archie Group entries as ARCHIE'S MADHOUSE have received the royal reprint treatment why not these forgotten faves on nice slick paper between a sturdy hard cover? I'd probably be the only one to buy it, but given how fast it would be remaindered I'm sure to save a bundle!

Interesting, fack---these SHRIMPY's are credited to a fellow named Joe Harold, a member of the ever-suffering ARCHIE bullpen of whom I could find practically nada about via the web regarding his career whether it be inside or outside the confines of the former MLJ group. However, considering just how much of a swipe SHRIMPY was I get the feeling Harold'd prefer to remain about as anonymous as he has been these past fiftysome years considering just how much the man "lifted" from the original while getting away with it. If you're in the mood for more SHRIMPY why not click hereherehere and maybe even here if you feel so inclined to do so, and if you still want to believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery you got my vote!

(Next time, Archie Comics' PAT THE BRAT versus Marvel's PETER THE LITTLE PEST...which was the best DENNIS THE MENACE swipe????)
Well here it is, yet another reason to dread the weekend! Anyway, I gotta admit that I have a nice selection for you to chew on today including some recent finds as well as some old faves that slipped between the cracks, not to mention a few Bill Shute finds (don't worry Bob and Paul---I'll be getting to your submissions eventually). Overall the listening scene is pretty flatline if you ask me (I've been tempted to give a spin to some of those "new" groups like Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo even if they have been championed by utter morons which just  goes to shows you just how hard up I am), but with some of the recordings I've been spinning this week the energy really shines through. And really, who needs "modern" rock when efforts from forty, fifty and sixty years ago is far more engaging and enveloping than anything being put forth in these cold, cyborg times?

 Various Artists-BONEHEAD CRUNCHERS VOLS. 1 and 4 LPs (Belter)

I liked the one with the tits on the cover a whole lot, but these now-obscure volumes from the BONEHEAD CRUNCHERS series really don't flibben my jib in a downhome punk rock sorta way like I sure hoped they would. The first 'un's perhaps the worst of the lot, a collection of locally-produced Amerigan singles that owe much more to the likes of Grand Funk and Mountain than they do the Stooges, and if it weren't for me getting to once again hear Left End's now-rare "Sunshine Girl" single (which got hefty AM airplay back '72 way, at least in the Youngstown Ohio area) this woulda been a total loss pocketbook-wise.

The fourth volume is better, a collection of "continent"-oriented acts who might have had a dose of that Detroit madness infused into their sound, only the more commercial moments of hard rock both of a European and Amerigan flavor just hadda get inna way. Still, much of this volume ain't anything spectacular either, especially next to some of the hard pounders (or proto punk as some would call it) that were coming out both here and abroad during those days people say the Sex Pistols saved us from! Laugh of the week---two Krautese gals singing about "The Hound of the Baskervilles" to the tune of "Paranoid".
Moebius & Plank-RASTAKRAUTPASTA & MATERIAL CD; Mobius-Plank-Neumeier-ZERO SET CD (both are on Sky Records)

Nice little dredge ups from the collection these. The first one's a post-kraut era early-eighties release featuring former and future Cluster member Hans Moebius with longtime krautrock producer Conny Plank while on ZERO SET former Guru Guru drummer Mani Neumeier joins the duo for even more Teutonic hijinx! Pretty decent listening too even if there may be a bit of  an eighties "taint" to it giving me the kind of feeling I used to get listening to various seventies legends' eighties recordings which seemed about as out of place and confused in the new musical clime as I was.

But the offerings do work wonders despite their confusion and at times escape into amazing brilliance---I'm still wondering just how Neumeier coulda laid down the drums that he did on "Speed Display" which I guess is where they got the title of that particular track! Sure it comes off total denouement after hearing the brash punk-drive of the early-seventies kraut scene, but these platters hold up a whole lot more'n many of the discs some of our old new wave faves were making around the same nanosecond.
ALI AND HIS GANG VS. MR. TOOTH DECAY CD-r burn (originally on St. John's Fruit and Vegetable Company)

When Bill Shute sifts through the virtual thrift store for items picked over by thousands of eager vinyl enthusiasts on the lookout for that elusive copy of THE JOHN KENNEDY MEMORIAL ALBUM this is what he comes up with! A flashback to those times in the seventies which we've been trying to extricate from our memories, ALI AND HIS GANG comes off like that ABC AFTERSCHOOL SPECIAL that got you mad because that meant there was gonna be no GILLIGAN'S ISLAND or LUCY SHOW reruns for you to watch, and after you dashed off all of your homework at that!

The guy who does Ali's voice sounds like the same character who sang "The Fonzarelli Slide" on that HAPPY DAYS exploitation album while the kids seem to be about as excited making this record as they would be performing a school play at Dachau. Even Frank Sinatra and Richie Havens pop into the mix which is strange because none of 'em had any teeth for the last forty years of their lives!

Of course for the ultimate in cultural carbon dating the entire schpiel is narrated by none other'n Howard Cosell which lends an easily identifiable enough stench to the proceedings. But in all I will say this one does capture that lost, ennui-filled feeling that used to overcome me a whole lot during those oft-maligned days...after listening to this I was actually scoring the tee-vee channels for a rerun of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN!
Major Chill-"Underfended"/"Tear Me Up" 45 rpm single (G&P)

Always being on the lookout for hotcha New York-area underground artifacts of the past, my interest in this one was piqued after reading a Ken Barnes review in one of those NEW YORK ROCKERs that Stephen Painter sent my way a short while back (see last weekend's post for more info). The comparisons to Roky Erickson being backed by the Bubble Puppy or something like that seemed too good to be true, but in this case they come closer to the truth the whole truth and nothing but than a whole lotta the rock hyperbole that's been brandished around these past five or so decades. A really outta time single from this short-lived act which sounds more like a 1969-1974 timewarp into proto-punk concerns rather than an artifact of the New York which was transmorphing from Von Lmo to Madonna. Maybe this ended up on one of those KILLED BY DEATH types of samplers? If not both sides are definitely big time contenders for the next one that might be fermenting in some frustrated collector's mind.

An oldie true, but a gooey. Eddie Flowers and crew really knew how to spew the confusion on this 2000 release, sounding like nothing short of that version of Smegma we sure wish would get the vinyl treatment, or is that the Grateful Dead ca. 1969 turning into Swell Maps (at least on disque opener "Tantric Beehive")? I do swear that some of this sounds like those Can outtakes that appeared on UNLIMITED EDITION, and not just those "E.F.S." numbers that came off like primitive folk numbers for cultures that exist only in Flowers' fertile imagination. Whatever, it's a crazy toss and turn of sound masquerading as rock 'n roll about 1000 light years ahead of the original Crawlspace tapes Flowers was sending off to anxiously awaiting knowitalls back '85 way. And that stuff was Gizmos redux so you can imagine what transpires within these grooves!
Various Artists-BLUE ARABIAN BARNYARD OASIS CD-r (courtesy of Bill Shute)

Along with Bill's patented pre-Barbara Mandrell country 'n western twang, the man tossed on some great instrumental-era musical numbers that really zoom me back to the Golden Years of Existence (tracks include the Wailers' boffo tit-squeezer "Driftwood" without the recording glitch at the beginning!) and a top of the heap bloozer from Garry Goodgion and Stan Holder entitled "Blues Party"! Nice punch to this one even though I thought it was a bit too heavy on the western music which doesn't quite excite me as much as it does him...Bill even used some old Peter Pan record recording of "Git Along Little Doggie" and "Lone Prairie" to pad the thing out which certainly made me feel like some toddler dressed like Leon outta THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW only without the Peanut Butter 'n Jelly samwich!
Think you'll stick around for a midweek review of some weird item I happened to find in the house? I sincerely doubt it!

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