Sunday, August 03, 2014

The special post that I had planned on presenting to you this weekend still needs a bit of gestation before passing through the birth canal of my mind, so in its stead I thought I'd submit for your weary minds well...more of the same old same old. Sorry about that, but you wouldn't want me to just toss out a special edition of BLOG TO COMM when it wasn't exactly ready to pass your eyes now, would you?  Don't worry, I should have it all up and ready to go within a week, or maybe three for that matter at which time the post should be ripened to peak perfection just like one of those juicy blackheads on your forehead you've been picking at for the past three days.

Since I do have some space to fill up in order to pad this blog out to proper specifications, I figured that maybe it would ha best to put it to good use by writing about some of the links to other pertinent sites that I have up and goin' on the roster that can be seen to your direct left. Now to be honest and even more upfront 'n Raquel Welch about it I will admit that most of the ones that I do have linked really don't have much to do with BLOG TO COMM per se, they being mostly for my own personal use and abuse. However, I get the sneaking suspicion that some of you might chance goin' over to a few of 'em if, not out of curiosity, if only because you might find something of worth and value in them considering they have my own personal imprimatur stamped right one 'em. For both of you types, here are my own personal assessments and feelings regarding just a few of 'em which you can take or leave as I assume you usually do.

I assume that more'n a few of you are wondering why I, as an unabashed knuckle-dragging aficionado of the Old Right style of political barbarism (talking H.L. Mencken, Robert Taft and Wyndham Lewis along with a few other notables) would dare to link up an avowed commie leftoid site as COUNTERPUNCH on my sainted blog. Well, I do it because as far as commie leftoid sites go, this 'un reads a whole lot better'n a load of neocon war-throbbing rightist sites I often come across! And as far as being an outpost for some of the few straggling fist-pumpers in our world Counterpunch at least has the moral wherewithal to know when to stop pandering to the phonus balonuses among 'em (like the famed Nobel Prize winner currently sitting in the Oval Office) unlike many on both sides of the spectrum who'll stick by their guy no matter how embarrassing or impractical it may be while making up keen if deceptive reasons for doing so. Besides,  I find that some of their regular Even Newer Left'n That New Left that there used to be back inna seventies writers make some sense, whether it be Counterpunch's now deceased founder Alexander Cockburn or Norman Finkelstein, the guy who was cheated outta tenure by DePaul University not for his Maoist inclinations but for a little bitta back-door finagling on the part of Alan Dershowitz who certainly wanted to settle a score in the most damning possible way! And even though I probably disagree with him much more than I do agree, I can't loathe Ralph Nader in the same way that the ubercapitalists of the seventies most certainly did even if I do think that the Corvair was a snazzy bit of automotive genius. Even when he seems to be talking outta an orifice other'n his mouth, at least the guy has a better sense of reasoning and intelligence that's not exactly being flaunted by way too many spokesmen for their particular party line these sad 'n sorry days.

Some of the Counterpunch regs are rather copasetic with my own line of thinking. I really like Paul Craig Roberts' views even if his unwarranted praise of former boss Ron Reagan might be too hard to take (as I'm sure it was for Cockburn when Roberts told him something along the lines of him having the same spirit of ram-bunk-shuh and vision as our 40th prez), while Sheldon Richman remains perhaps the only anti-capitalist "left-liberal" I can really stomach anymore. And as I recall, even the last standing man of integrity Ron Paul was linked up a few times in Counterpunch's gallery of online opinions, which is more'n I can say about any standard Republican site out there would dare lest they feel the ire of a few thousand armchair commentators out there.

True, many of the articles found here aren't exactly what you'd call easy reading. I recall one article written by someone who resides in Moscow (and whose heart is most definitely with the regime of old) telling Counterpunch's readership that the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge in late-seventies Cambodia never happened (at least in the capacity that was reported) and were mostly a Western creation which is something that I'm sure would surprise fellow Counterpunch contributor John Pilger, yet another man of the left who comes up with more than a few intelligent writings that seem so rare even in these idea-lacking times. Cuban strongman Fidel Castro recently popped up here as well which must prove that even the bloodiest of dictators can have their say in the cyberworld as long as their hearts are in the right place. But the worst Counterpunch contributor of all is regular Dave Marsh, a scoundrel who is doing his best to make sure that the hippiedippy flag of the late-sixties is still flying high, and how anyone could read one word of his long-standing rock 'n revolution drivel is beyond me for sure! Let's just say that if you do care to peruse Counterpunch, please pick and choose carefully.
Did I ever tell you that when I was a kid I was not allowed to read 16 magazine? I never bought any issues but my older cousins who lived up the street did, and they had a stack of 'em lying around all the time. I liked looking through 'em to see the pix and find out about the new groups that were popping up and about, but my interest in what was going on in the world of music was soon quashed because these very same cousins would tell me that this mag was for girls, and since I wasn't one I wasn't allowed to read it! Funny, I didn't think that there was any harm in espying the newest rock 'n roll gear or up-and-coming groups from the Netherlands like the Van Doornes...mebbe it was the snaps of the gal actresses that the cousins didn't want me to espy all these years. Sorry gals, but contrary to whatever you might have been thinking in no way was I ever gonna get a woody looking at a pic of Grayson Hall!

Maybe they just didn't want me reading that article allegedly written by the now-teenaged and long-haired child star Billy Mumy talking about doing drugs and being a hippie kid, as if that was gonna warp my mind more than repeated reruns of RUFF 'N REDDY ever could. Well, at least all these years later I can always get my teenybopper kicks tagging on to the GLORIA STAVERS site which relives the gosharootie days of not only 16 but its most famous editor. True there are times when I think that Miss Stavers shoulda been throttled (after all, if it weren't for her gushing review of ROLLING STONE magazine urging her lumpen followers to buy the thing that subsputum read would have 86's ages back!) but the pics and bits regarding a whole bunch of First and Second Generation rockers (as well as the tee-vee screen faves of them dayze) sends me right back to my cousins' house pouring through alla that great kultur I missed out on because my own folk though that anything recorded after Nelson Eddy was the debbil's music.

Some of the smartness of 16 lingers on this site, such as when they repro the "Gee Gee Recommends" sections tellin' alla the iron-haired gals where to spend their hard-begged (lotsa duds true, but a few goodies) so if you, like me, want to know how the other half was spending their suburban slob teenbo time while we were diddlin' around with our Dinkys, this is the sight to see in the privacy of your cousin-free abode.
Hokay, howzbout one more site of interest before we get to the juiciest portion of this post (mainly, da revooz!!!). Back inna early eighties I, like many a wastrel turdburger with not enough money and too much time on my hands, looked over the sea to England for signs of punk life that I might have wanted to latch onto if only to relieve the boredom. England was still punked up despite what many of the mainstream pundits were sayin' (or better yet, wished), and as anyone who glanced at a Systematic or Rough Trade catalog could tell you, there were more'n a few interesting recordings coming out that were just beggin' for your attention.

True a good portion of these acts had about the same high level of intensity as Joe Feeney belting out "Oh My Papa" on THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW but quite a few of the platters I purchased (even the Exploited "Barmy Army" one, and don't laugh!) hold up pretty well next to most of the competition. Even the "anarcho-punks" that were crawling out of the post-hippie woodwork had their own stellar moments, and true the whole movement (at least in retrospect) seemed like the scum of the English New Left trying out their old piss in new punk skins at least acts like the Mob, Apostles and Zounds dressed it up in high energy screech to the point where I didn't even mind that the lyrics being belted out were about the evils of eating a nice juicy steak or a wimmin's right to choose whether or not she should use a sponge or a cork whenever Mister Monthly Visitor was gonna stop by for a week.

THE ASTRONAUTS  came out of this muck 'n mire passing for a post-seventies scene, but they sure stood out from the reams of punks goin' about with names like Crisis, Even More Of A Crisis Than That Other Crisis, or "If You Think All Of Those Other Crises Are Crises, Just Listen To THIS Crisis!" First off they had a cool name, and although I already knew about the original Astronauts (RCA records 1962-1966) the retro appeal sure did strike a chord with homesick for the sixties me. Another thing about these Astronauts was that they looked more or less like a throwback to the early-seventies English underground scene that thrust forth both Hawkwind and the Pink Fairies what with their long hair and jean jackets that sure haven't been punk rock paraphernalia them past six or so years! Best of all, these guys SOUNDED like the early-seventies English u-ground which I will admit was a nice li'l refreshing change from alla that thrash 'n discord I so adored.

The group's site is a nice li'l testimonial to their long-lasting (over thirty years!) appeal, complete with the obligatory pix and of course the discography that always gets us record maniacs frustrated more'n a bridegroom with a jammed zipper because in no way are we gonna get to hear all of those obscure tracks that popped up on samplers and long gone extended plays. The site sure coulda used a li'l more in-depth history, but why quibble because this thing is a whole lots better'n nothing. And that's what most of us have had to settle with when it came to finding out about the groups we've craved and desired for lo these many years!
Well, after all that space-filler on to the reviews! Again, hefty thanks to the nice people who jetted most of these CD burns my way, and also thanks to my employer who at least gave me some moolah that I could spend for myself after I dump a huge portion of my pittance on the bare necessities of life. Hope you dig 'em, even if it ain't like any of these platters are gonna be making it to Anastasia Pantsios' top 40 of all time list or anything even remotely like that

The Dave Clark Five-SATISFIED WITH YOU CD-r burn (originally on Epic)

Not being as humongous a Dave Clark Five fan as Mike Saunders was and hopefully remains, I can't really judge this 'un next to their other long playing offerings (but I will---eventually!). However, would you please pardon me if I found this was more'n a trifle staid??? Rather uninspiring originals (one of which comes too close to the Beatles w/o their kinetic energy for comfort) as well as a limp cover of "Good Lovin'" don't exactly make for a ravin' rompin' British Invasion album, and it really is no wonder these guys wafted away while the competition kept going for quite some time. Well, at least they didn't get to meet the Maharajah!
The Deviants-"Fury of the Mob"/"A Better Day is Coming 45 rpm single (Shagrat, England)

Sure doesn't seem like it's been a year since Mick Farren took his final bow on the stage of some London concert hall but he did, and while the flurry of Deviants recordings both old, new and unreleased hasn't hit us like I thought it would at least we have this li'l spinner to contend with. Farren finally releases a Deviants "reunion" platter featuring at least a couple guys who were in the original bunch, and they sure rock out like 1971 never happened and a signing with Stiff records was right on the horizon.

"Fury"'s a heavy duty rocker that reminds me of those eighties Farren-related offerings that popped up on a whole slew of small labels---hard, uncompromising and filled with a whole lotta anger that I don't think Farren ever got outta his system. The voice may sound ragged, but you try sounding smooth 'n sweet after years of alla that booze 'n cigarettes!

Someone else (probably Andy Colquhoun) sings the first part of "A Better Day is Coming" and it figures because it does sound like one of Colquhoun's solo recordings that would have appeared on a Captain Trips album. Comparatively smooth, perhaps even a tad West Coast-y, but engaging enough even if the message of it all seems straight outta the mid-seventies whatever happened to the revolution sentiment that was going around.

Nothing that I would call remarkably different 'n what these guys have been up to since the last batch of Deviants albums, but it sure is good to know that Farren didn't spend his final days picking posies, y'know?
Gerald Mohr in THE ADVENTURES OF PHILLIP MARLOWE CD-r burn (CBS Radio Network)

Bill's sent me a stack of these old Marlowe radio shows, but lazyass me's only gotten to 'em right now. But hey, since the weather is gettin' kinda overcast-y what better way to dig into that mid-summer ennui'n to slip one of these mysteries on and pretend that I'm a nostalgia-bustin' adolescent listening to the radio wonderin' whether I should stay awake 'n see what's on the late movie or skedaddle it over to woods in back of the drive-in with binoculars in hand and some Vaseline Intensive Care---just in case.

The first episode is hard to get into, what with this being a rehearsal tape with a sub-broadcast sound that's got yer ears strainin' to make out what's goin' on in this tale dealing with tough guy sailors and a treasure map leading the way to some valuable black pearls. (Contrary to the cover come-on, there are sound effects heard on these, though the lack of incidental music does give this a sorta amateur hour performance at the Frostbite Falls Civic Auditorium feel.) The other one fares better what with the professional sound, music and best of all ads for juicy Wrigley Spearmint Gum in a tale about a former galpal of Marlowe's getting knocked off and the sordid trail of blood 'n other stuff left in its wake.

Mohr plays it particularly cool as Marlowe and thankfully you end up rooting for him 'stead of the bad guy, who don't have any particularly admirable traits about 'em like the Germans and Japanese in World War II mooms most certainly did (they being so vicious you just want 'em to down alla 'em Howdy Doodies they call Allied troops!). Long before the advent of the pussified male pretty much emasculated the entire gender, Mohr plays is tough and many times even dirtier'n the cold blooded ones, though in no way do these stories entail the amoral values of today...naw, good is still good here and the bad get it comin' to 'em even if you think Marlowe's gonna get his brains blown out by the least likely suspect who turned out to be the heel all along. 'n yeah, given the current state of entertainment affairs (or at least what I can discern about it via some Kathy Shaidle article) maybe these sixty-plus-year-old radio dramas do lay it out on the line regarding a whole lotta things that have been wooshed down the memory hole, like tough guys and sexy gals and maybe, when appropriately used, violence does solve a whole lotta problems in this world.

And really, if you wanna be kinda stunned about just how power-packed these shows could get, check out the last minute or two in episode #2 "The Glass Donkey" which even surprised a been around the block a few times guy like me!
Rockin' Rollin Blues Band-WILD AND UNTAMED CD-r burn

Dunno anything about the whys 'n wherefores of this 1973 self-produced platter, and I'm sure nobody other'n the group does either. But whatever and whoever this is, these white bluesters do a fairly good job. Garage band production hides the slicker aspects of the white blues phenomenon as these guys ('n gal) crank out a primal blues sound that true, might have a few aspects of the Grateful Dooges traipsing about but the dunce take on the Yardbirds which starts the thing out sure makes up for any laid back urges this band might have had. Not bad at all, even though I don't think I'll ever rate this one as highly as I do Great Plains.
Various Artists-VIOLET PROON-DOON PATTI MIST CD-r burn (Bill Shute Enterprises)

Another swingin' one here, what with the late-sixties psych-pop of Billy Shears and the All-Americans and Nova Local (an act I had been wanting to listen to for quite some time) tangling with everything from the dirty if hokey c&w of Big Rock and Tadpole to the Tamrons doing one of those garage band rarities that I haven't spun since I lost alla them comps in the vast resources of my fortysome-year collection. The Mersey Makers do a good double-sided Beatles impression that, while still sounding like a buncha guys trying to copy the successful elements of Beatlemania, does have a certain neat Poppees-like feeling to it. And don't let the name Robin Lee and the Lavenders fool you...these guys are 100% straight country music with an emphasis on the "straight"! It's even got a Jackie Gleason instrumental which falls into the time-honored category of "tit-squeezer", and you can bet that one listen to "Violet Mist" is way more erotic 'n sexual'n the entire PMRC list of explicit baddies that Tipper Gore lined up for extermination back in those dark and nefarious eighties!

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