Saturday, June 21, 2014

Yeah it's summertime, but the livin' sure ain't easy around here what with the specter of real life (y'know, the salt mines 'n all that) breathing heavily down my ever breathed down neck right to the point of insanity!. Sheesh how I envy you professional workers out there, what with your two week of vacation and lounge chairs in the back yard to go along with all of that iced tea you're drinking, not to mention the barbeque blasting away while you roast weenies 'n burgers on it next to the swimming pool where the kids are holding cousin Euclid under to see how long he can last until drowning. Can't ever hope to compete with a summer like that, mainly because all I ever do during the summer anymore is reminisce about the fun summers I used to enjoy which now seem about as distant as the Magna Carta!

Now when I was a kid summertime really meant a whole lot to this suburban slob of a guy even if the folks were always lining up work to keep me occupied (well, it was cheaper'n camp and besides, I always got the feeling that they felt that if they sent me to one I'd get raped within a few short days), but nowadays all summer is to me is just another season where I do the same old (and more!) only it's warmer out! The only thing that differentiates summer from the other three seasons is that I only feel more guilty about hanging around in my bedroom while the aforementioned folks toil out in the yard, but I eventually get over it by consoling myself with the truism that "well, SOMEBODY'S gotta trim the curb and pull weeds, so why should it be me????" Besides, they gotta pay me back for not sending me to camp, though if they were so concerned about the status of my sphincter they could have at least gotten a steel shank buttplug for protection.

Sheesh, Mick Jagger was right as rain when he said what a drag it is getting old, and just one look at him these days'll prove to you the truth of his own wordage! But gee, if we could just once again have one of them good ol' time summers that entailed days at the swimming pool 'n piling the kids into the station wagon to take 'em out for ice cream and other great turdly ranch house-styled fun 'n jamz like they used to be wouldn't it be just ducky??? But as that old comic strip song said "those days are gone forever!" and you know it's true.
Anyhoo, I think you'll dig this latest collection of writeups of both recently-received and one old-time faves that have crossed my laser launching pad these past few days. Nothing what I'd call SPECTACULAR has passed my ears true, but then again I've come to expect that from an era in music that certainly does not have the same instant energy and spark that the musics of the first, second and third generation of rock 'n roll did (I'm basically talking about rock music BEFORE it has been glorified and "praised" by definitely anti-rock hippies and other zealots who wouldn't know a good Velvet Underground song if it bit them on their butterfly-tattooed asses.) Oh yeah, there are some good platters of music both old and new being produced out there as anyone who's heard of Fadensonnen, Dark Sunny Land or One Hand Records can tell you off the bat, but for every top notch effort that is being released today you can bet that there are at least a hundred loused up logjams being made by people who, ironically enough, think that they're doing a pretty wonderful job imitating and emulating the power and accomplishment of the first three generations of rock 'n roll music combined, and then some!

Sometimes I'd just love to shove these new prissy rock acts into a big room, pump nothing but high energy music (rock and otherwise) and scatter the room with classic rock writings and even some videos of extant past glory, and maybe something'll sink into these braindead bozos' minds so at least I can live the last few years of my putrid existence secure in the fact that maybe rock 'n roll will STAND after all.
RIP CASEY KASEM---phone in a dedication to your dead dog in his memory.
Here's an extremely powerful, affecting, and insert your favorite golly gee descriptive adverb here bit of rock writing courtesy the underrated Jonh Ingham that certainly got me all hot and bothered like it would have had I read it back when he actually writ the thing! Thanks Jonh, I needed that 'un to get me over the fact that, for all practical purposes, rock 'n roll writing (let alone rock 'n roll) has been doornail dead for the past thirtysome years! Along with the music of course, but if you've read the fourth and fifth paragraphs written above you would have known that already.
So like uh---where was I??? Oh yeah, here be the reviews...


This 'un'll probably mean about as much to you as wiping up after a bowel movement does to a resident of Melbourne (Victoria, Australia), but given how I've spent the year of 1978 searching out (mostly in vain) for any sign of Cagean musical intuition it sure means a whole lot to me! Mister Cage may sound faggier'n usual in his various "communications" but he sure does make you "think"...about exactly what is another question but I'm sure there are some interesting pearls to be found in his various commentaries regarding the state of music and the late-fifties avant garde. David Tudor performs some current piano pieces from the likes of Christian Wolff and Bo Nilsson before doing a duet with Cage on his "Variations 1" for pianos and radio sets which really gets the audience snickering even more'n when Hans 'n Fritz gave Der Captain a TNT enema. If you still got your beret 'n stale doritos handy, this is a good 'un to spin while you're putting on even artzier'n usual airs.
Acoustic Trauma-A NIGHT AT THE TRAUMA HOUSE CD + DVD set (available via CD Baby)

My search regarding progressive rockers playing on CBGB/Max's Kansas City turf in the mid/late-seventies has turned up a gigundo goose egg (unless you wanna count TV Toy), but maybe this current act from upstate En Why could be considered a modern-day variation on those perhaps thankfully elusive acts. I originally caught about a minute or two of an Acoustic Trauma set via a CBGB cybercast and pegged them as some classical art rock group that was going nowhere, but this live set shows that this oft-tagged prog group actually could rock out pretty snat-like. And not only that, but for being classified as such a group they sure are more interesting and chance-taking than those other prog acts of the past who cluttered up the seventies with images of fiery dragons and blond-haired damsels with enough cleavage that you could hide an entire family of Cambodian refugees in 'em..

You might not cozy up to the use of acoustic guitars, mandolin and violin immediate-like, but this trio makes what would seem like music for a progressive rock posefest work. Leader Paul Nunzio Maceli's performances on these stringed instruments fits in swell whether he's strumming his guitbox or playing gypsy violin, and you could at least be thankful he didn't drag a mellotron into the act like he mighta had Acoustic Trauma had been around a good thirty-seven years back. Musically these guys owe plenty to the mid-late seventies prog slog scene but don't hold it against them, for Acoustic Trauma transcends the usual post-Crimson pratfalls and more or less keep your attention chugging for a far longer time than the likes of Curved Air or even UK ever did. And who knows, maybe someday I'll even watch the DVD that came with this! Nothing that tops my charts, but much better'n any of us woulda given 'em credit for.
John Coltrane-THE BETHLEHEM YEARS 2-CD-r burn set (originally on Bethlehem)

Pretty pleasing enough fifties bop with Coltrane mostly on the sidelines, though you readers who are more attuned to the nastier side of new thing histrionics will probably up nose at it as you atonal advocates are wont to do. It's your penny true, but personally I find it rather invigorating (even when Coltrane is paired up with guys like Al Cohn who I always thought were nothing but holdovers from the previous bowtie 'n tux jazz generation) and a smart enough indicator of the direction jazz was heading in back '57 way. Just get the fact that more'n a few bowtied doofs listen to this music outta your mind and yes, it will go down a whole lot better!
Jimmy Forrest/Miles Davis-LIVE AT THE BARREL CD-r burn (originally on Prestige)

Speaking of bowtied doofs I'm sure there were a few in the audience back '52 way when this sesh was laid down live at St. Louis' Barrel, but them guys were sure in for a good show no matter how hot on the trail for tail they might have been. No "Night Train" here, but tenorist Forrest swings in that bop kinda way that seemed so adventurous inna early fifties even if it was gonna be wiped out by the tide of Taylor and Ornette a good decade later. And Miles Davis plays away so smoothly that you just have to get the fact that this guy was a pain-riddled psychopath outta your mind. The sound quality may be feh, but that never stopped you from listening to METALLIC KO so if you can find this 'un and download it for nada but the cost of a blank aluminum tea coaster more power to ya.
Daina and the Tribe-ON A JUNGLE BOAT RIDE CD (via CD Baby)

Last week's spin got me interested in finding out more about this gal who has a number of tea coasters available via CD Baby, so I decided to pick up this 'un which was recorded about the same time as that 'un and happens to have that early-eighties En Why ennui about it that perfectly captures the time 'n place well. Some surprising jazz musician inclusions here (Joe Chambers, Ray Mantilla and once again Jeremy Steig among others) give these tracks a boppish feelthat comes off like that weird three-way meeting point between jazz, fusion and New York underground rock you would have hoped woulda happened a whole lot more'n it did. Ain't gonna be spending any more $$$ of Daina's other platters (yet), but this is a mildly pleasing one that's gonna get a return spin more sooner 'n later.
Various Artists-CUCA RECORDS ROCK 'N' ROLL STORY CD (Classics, Sweden)

Sometimes I just hafta dig deep into the collection not only to give a listen to something different for a change, but to reacquaint myself with a lotta those old favorites that once made up the soundtrack for my existence but got lost somewhere in the shuffle of life. And what better a disque to give another go 'n this collection of rarities that came out on the legendary Cuca label, the same company that not only introduced the world to the Fendermen's boffo bash "Mule Skinner Blues" but was originally called SWASTIKA until label owner Jim Kirchstein decided that maybe that geometric figure wasn't as lucky as people in ancient times were led to believe. Especially with a smattering of special interest groups breathing heavily down your neck.

Besides the original recorded version "Mule Skinner",  this collection's got a whole slew of Minneapolis-area platters recorded for the entire Cuca family of labels which also included the likes of Sara, Fan and Sunderland. Most of the inclusions show the strong influence of the Fendermen pretty much in the same way the Wailers lit up the entire Northwest area for a good seven or so years, what with all of the "Mule Skinner" cops and swipes to be heard from the likes of Bob Mattice and the Phaetons not forgetting the Fendermen themselves in a variety of post-fame aggregations (including Phil Humphrey's Fendermen, the same ones who put out the definitely latterday POISON IVY album on Koala). It certainly is a rock et roll education listening to the strong Fendermen influence which you thought woulda petered out once their hit record got shoved to the back of the collection around the time the new Bobby Vinton single came out.

Besides the various Fendermen spinoffs and other local cashers-in-ons, you get a few decent imitations of the other big names of the day (Rick Nelson, Dion...) as well as some outta nowhere surprises like Kenny King's 1962 "I'm Gonna Love You", a surprise given that this song sounds more 1965 mid-Amerigan garage band than early-sixties country rock. And yeah, you probably heard a lot of this on those White Label albums that were popping themselves into the fifties collectors market back inna eighties, but they're all here in one nice glop so's you don't have to change platters so often during those late night rock jags.
Various Artists-FRIDAY NIGHT RAIN SCRATCH TROUBLE CD-r burn (via Bill Shute)

Another nice-o selection ranging from  the familiar (Mick Farren) to obscure (Outer Spacists). Speaking of the Spacists, they're one of them newfangled groups who do it up oldfangled-style, and they do a pretty good job aping past accomplishments to the point where you're kinda confused as to whether or not they're an old band or a new band doing an old thing in a kinda new-old way (got all that?). Bill had the good sense to put some late-sixties garage band cum psychedelia on here (The Ferguson Tractor) as well as some strange novelty goo from Billy Barty and Spike Jones, and in no way can I even begin to categorize Mister Murray's "Down Came the Rain" which comes off like something Johnny Ray mighta emitted while sharing an overnight lockup with some Turkish sailors.

There's even some rare exploito emulation from Pakistan (the Savages), e-z listening glop from Charles Magnante ("The Girl From Ipanema" done up on accordion) and an act called the Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments who somehow ring a distant bell in my ever-hazy memory. All in all the inclusions on this Shutestacular are custom made for those who would agree that trying to find rarities such as these is pretty much in the same realm as trying to find a toilet in India!

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