Saturday, May 03, 2014

Are any of you tri-county readers still waiting for spring to appear in the area what with all of the rain and cold, windy weather we've been having? And here it is early May and the trees are still bare! Frankly """""I""""" could stand some warm and sunny weather to soothe these old bones of mine, but at this point in time it's like hey, why BOTHER??? Like I wrote a tad while back the faster I experience the changing of the seasons the faster I'm heading for THAT BIG DAY when the grim you-know-what's gonna be visiting me, and I still remember the time when I was about ten telling my mother I wish I was grown up and she said not to do that, because the sooner you grow up the sooner you're heading to your grave and there's like no turning back! Well in my case it's probably gonna be the incinerator at the old fogey's home (someone's gotta cover up them mistakes!) but now that I am an old turdly sorta fellow I can see my mother's point a whole lot more clearly than I did way back when.

HOWEVER, considering the kinda life I've led (through no fault of my own I might add) maybe I shoulda wished it woulda zoomed by even faster...then alla them past indignations and embarrassments and cringe-inducing moments would be further and further in that dark past and maybe I wouldn't be feeling like the over-abused whipping boy that I've been for a variety of uber-mean spirited figures in this life for a longer time than I can imagine!

Yeah I know you just think that I'm feeling sorry for myself, but as Eddie Haskell said (and I've repeated many a time) you'd feel the same way if you've been pushed around as much as I've been! But enough of the are just a few of the recordings I've been spinning for my own personal pleasure these past seven or so days. I actually even spent some hard-begged moolah for a few of these items (the rest came courtesy of the usual suspects) which makes me feel even prouder than usual because hey, it ain't like I particularly like the idea of mooching off people even if they think they're being "kind" to me because I do cut such a pathetic pose. Awwww, just go 'n read the things, willya?!?!?!

The Planeteers-CROSSINGS SHADOWS 2-CD set (Life Rock, available through CD Baby)

Dunno about you, but it seems as if only me, Lydia Lunch, Gilda Radner and precious few others were awash in the freaky jazz-fusion sounds of Man-ster. Stars of the LIVE AT CBGB'S double album set, Man-ster's neo-Zappa-esque cum John McLaughlin-styled rock taken to mid-seventies New York underground heights didn't seem to satisfy anyone. Other'n Fred Kirby's writeup in VARIETY it seems as if this unique quintet turned a whole slew of big city crits (and even people who shoulda known better) off faster'n a stream of urine during a thunderclap. THE NEW YORK ROCKER wrote their appearance at the Max's Kansas City 1976 Easter Festival up saying something along the lines of when their lead vocalist (Warren Stahurski) left the stage during the long instrumental breaks the group became unbearable, while just about every review of LIVE AT CBGB'S (other'n the dozen or so I wrote) were merciless towards the band. A real shame too, because I know that Man-ster were probably the best fusion group to come down the pike since at least Tony Williams' (original) Lifetime, and it's really a shame that the Genya Raven-produced album recorded during the group's brief 1982 reunion never did make it out because hey, it woulda been a much needed artyfact at a time when the seventies underground rock scene was really becoming worn and fizzling out into either self-parody or boring giddiness that lacked the intestinal fortitude that made seventies under-the-counterculture rock such a fun flea market experience.

Dunno what Stahurski or most of the other ex-Man-ster guys are doing these days, but bass guitarist Thomas Giordano is still up and about as this double disque offering will attest to. While the post-Man-ster careers of most of the other members remains relatively unknown (other'n in an article on the '79 Zu Fest written by one of the worst ever rock writers for BOSTON ROCK which mentioned what was reportedly a no wave group featuring both Stahurski and Hertzberg, the latter who is reportedly a much in-demand session guitarist these days), Giordano led a couple of groups by the names T.V.M.D and Pets on the Couch that filled out those CBGB Tuesday night bills for a few years in the eighties. And now he has this offering to give us that might just satisfy, and surprise the few of us who sure wished that Man-ster woulda offered us more during their fifteen minutes of fame (and ten minutes of recorded posterity, not counting a brief minute-long clip of a show where Stahurski annouces "New York's most eligible bachelor, Mr. Joe Garagiola!" before the band breaks into a jazzy twin lead guitar instrumental).

Giordano, now known as "Tommy Gee", plays most of the instruments here from guitar, bass guitar, drums and mandolin and sings in a voice that reminds one of some adolescent cousin in 1978 doing his Steve Martin/"King Tut" impressions under the influence of a massive head cold. Femme backing vocals chirp along pleasingly to what sounds like early-eighties rock that woulda been done by the survivors of the mid-seventies CBGB onslaught who were still stuck in going nowhere bands but refused to die!

Brilliant at times, slow at others, CROSSING SHADOWS  has that sorta home-made outside-the-realm feeling that made many of those outside "underground" recordings of the late-stratum (roughly 1981-1983) rather interesting and perhaps the true last gasp of something that was getting major music press coverage only a few short years earlier. Of course those records weren't exactly the kind of raw meat that many of you "serious" appreciators of the new wave were shedding shekels over, but a lowly practitioner of the rockist form such as I found just as much if not more in these groups than you did. I know many of you reg'lar readers believe that such ignored items as FUTURE LANGUAGE and Another Pretty Face's FACE FACTS sound truer to an underground rock ideal than the Waitresses ever did, and so do the Planeteers even if the sophisticados would in no way cozy up to the autobiographical, personalist and down-homey sounds that Gee cranks out on these twenty-two tracks.

Well hey, I like it not only in a rock continuum dating back to the mid-seventies sorta way but as an entertaining sit down slice of honest gosh-it-all bare-your-soul music. You might feel the same way about CROSSING SHADOWS as well, but judging from the inherent snobbishness of some of you readers I kinda doubt it. Sheesh, sometimes I do get disappointed with you guys!
JUMP CD (Kismet)

Yet another early eighties Hartville Flea Market pass-up that I at times thought I had only dreamed about, this pre-Stooges Scott Thurston effort never did get the fan-panting notoriety you kinda thought it would have given not only his presence, but the glitzy glam rock-y cover this thing came in. It's too bad because although Jump and JUMP exhibit some of the slicker aspects of 1971 FM rock there's a nice punky jazzy feeling to it that makes most of the numbers listenable even for a jaded fanabla such as myself. For some reason I am reminded of Germany's My Solid Ground who also teetered between progressive inclinations and punk rock aspects, and that's not just because Jump actually got a release on Bellaphon over in Germany! Pretty good effort here, though what the band really needed was a mighty powerful lead singer the caliber of Iggy to really pull it off!
Chris Wilson-IT'S FLAMIN' GROOVY! CD-r burn (originally on Twenty Stone Blatt)

The longtime Groovie himself goes the aged schlock route here with the aid of some other Groovies both past and present who I sure wish woulda known better than to be involved with drek like this. Although touted as a return to past accomplishments, IT'S FLAMIN' GROOVY! has more of a Bob Segar bar booze approach to rock 'n roll with none of the sleek British Invasion push that characterized the Sire-era Groovies albums I cut my punkitude on. Rather disappointing, though maybe I shoulda seen it comin' considerin' the rather middling solo albums that Wilson and various other members of that rather venerable group were putting out back in the nineties.
Bruce Anderson & Rich Stim-BAR STOOL WALKER CD (via CD Baby)

Not quite the MX-80 album I was expecting, longtime members Anderson and Stim continue on their decades-long sidesteps into other realms on this outta nowhere newie. The two, along with Angel Corpus Christi and George Earth, create a wide array of sounds from e-z listening to spy soundtrack to something that woudn't have sounded outta place on one of those eighties Quadruped cassettes I still tend to go caga over. Nice "Peter Gunn" swipe on "Major Fips", and the rest should satisfy anybody who's been in on the MX-80 (Sound) groove ever since those guys were creating an interesting Midwest underground ruckus that rivaled all of those early Northeast underground rumors that were flyin' around back inna late-seventies.
Joey Welz & Link Wray-BROTHERS AND LEGENDS CD-r (Canadian American, also available via CD Baby)

Former Bill Haley sideman Welz hitches up with Link Wray and the original Raymen for this '69/'70 recording that originally got unleashed on the Music City label outta Nashville and of course nobody told you about it. Not bad at all despite some ill-conceived production flubs (I mean, whose idea was it to glop some synthesizer on those already saccharine tracks?) and a must for fanz who dug not only the original Raymen bop via YESTERDAY AND TODAY but those who grooved to Wray's first Polydor album released a few years later.

Yeah, Welz's voice can get kinda irritating but so was Dylan's when you first laid ears upon it, and even if some of the lyrics are whatcha'd call stoopid have you heard any of the things Lou Reed was writing since the late-seventies? It's still smooth enough to conjure up late-fifties accomplishments even in the void of the '69/'70 cusp. Top notch of the bunch..."Jesus Be My Friend", a song which, given Welz's vocals, not only predicted Bobby D's own dalliance with Christianity a good ten years later but has a clanky clank piano line and guitar riff straight outta the early Velvet Underground which I guess does vindicate Richard Nusser's own Wray=VU comparison in a VILLAGE VOICE review of a Max's Kansas City gig a good two or so years later!
Kim Fowley-KING OF THE CREEPS CD (Norton)

Dunno how I missed out on this particular third volume of Norton's Kim Fowley producer and performer rarities but I did. It's too good a platter to miss out on too, not only with a whole load of various sixties productions to keep count of (including a post Skip and Flip side by Skip and Johnny!) but some actual Fowley single side wonders like '63's "Astrology" that I and I'm sure you have never heard of prior to this coaster being popped out on the music scene like pus against a teenager's bathroom mirror.

Some of it treads in familiar waters like the Grains of Sand's "Goin' Away Baby" (but I'll betcha never heard the psychedelic flip, recorded with the aid of Tacoma's very own Wailers!) and of course Fowley's own sainted "The Trip" (I hear in this what Robert Hillburn heard in David Crosby!) graciously pops up, but most is so out-there obscure that I don't think any of 'em even made it to them Greg Shaw want lists that permeated the final issues of BOMP! And to top it off there's a radio ad for Kim's infamous OUTRAGEOUS album which, if your mom heard it, would guarantee that you'd never bring it into the house while SHE'S on morality patrol! Yet another Norton winner which only makes me wish that Billy and Miriam would get really busy and dish this stuff out at us at ten times the rate they do now!
Pat Todd and the Rank Outsiders-14th AND NOWHERE CD-r burn (originally on Rankoutsider Records)

This effort from the former Lazy Cowgirls (or "Cowlgirls" as I inexplicably/retardedly would type it during the mid-eighties) warbler surprisingly enough reminds me of Kama Sutra-era Flamin' Groovies in spots, and thus the Rolling Stones around the time that STICKY FINGERS had more'n a few record bin hopping kiddoes busting zippers. "Known to Stumble/Known to Fall" even comes way too close to "Dead Flowers" at least in the same ways "Makin' Deals" sounds like "Sympathy For the Devil", and if the Stones could swipe with impunity like they've been doing for the past hundred years maybe they should suck it up for once! Surprisingly good sounds here that remind me of the rootsy stuff that was coming out in the eighties which was echoing various seventies endeavors that were being praised sometime in the sixties. And it does go back further than that, y'know.
Various Artists-PHANTOM PORTER SHUFFLE FOR SALE CD-r burn (courtesy Bill Shute)

Another crazoid hodgepodge that certainly belongs in your lodge (Canadian tee-vee ref for all two of my north of the border readers). Speaking of Canada, the Phantoms (who are from Canada but dunno where) contribute five tracks inna early-sixties instrumental mode including covers of "Sleepwalk" among other familiar ware which date this in a nice, pre-hippie sorta way. Come to think of it, this 'un tends to take on an instrumental sorta flair what with Jimmy Smith and his organ cranking out not only two versions of the GOLDFINGER theme but the Munsters as well. And I ain't even mentioning the slew of Cole Porter covers taken offa some Capitol album recorded by one Joe Bushkin. They're good e-zy listening relaxers true, but do you know where Porter's mouth has been???

Downside includes a Steve Allen horror/rock cash in that's about as convincing as Mr. Rogers talking about mortal combat not to mention a bunch of Korean kiddies singing a rote English version of "Daydream Believer" that'll soak your undies. But topping 'em all is this extremely cornballus gospel groan regarding the thorny subject of evolution recorded by some Hugh X. Lewis that strangely enough gives off an entirely different message than the one that the Rev .Lewis had intended, and that is H. L. MENCKEN WAS RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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