Sunday, September 28, 2014

IT'S FANZINE FANABLA TIME AGAIN (and boy do I feel sorry for you having to miss out on yet another info-packed post on all of the recent recordings and gunk I've been listening to lo this past week)!!!!!!

You're probably wondering why I'm doing another Fanzine Fanabla post so soon (having cooked one up only a few mere months back and like, I usually go years between the things). Well, I'll tell you why! Y'see, back in the days before the gift of internet gave us instant information to whatever we wanted at the tips of our booger-laden fingertips, there were a buncha guys out there who for whatever fan-inspired reason they may have had, actually saved their monies, worked extra hard, and put their opinions regarding a whole slew of musical ideas, forms and styles that just weren't getting the "hipster" ROLLING STONE coverage to PRINT if only because they had a great LOVE for the music being created and produced that couldn't be expressed by merely listening to the things! These people, besides being especially thrifty with their already scarce lucre, toiled above and beyond the call of duty to make their opinions known to the common man (or at least a few people who they happened to know) as well as lay out pages and clip photos from other mags to use, and many times these idea-driven beings collated and stapled their publications in the privacy of their fart-encrusted bedrooms and WHY??? Just so you could read what they wrote about some long obscure album by some long forgotten group or even a new act with a new platter out who you probably never did care about and never would in a million years!
And so you, in your smugness and oneupmanship snitty little way,  IGNORED every blasted word and every ding dong issue these kids, who knew they were not going to make a profit or even break even publishing these things, wrote up if only for the express purpose that you might be inspired enough to go out and pick up a Seeds album at the local National Record Mart 'stead of the latest Bonnie Raitt blahzer you most certainly had your sights set on!

And yeah, I can hear you saying just like Ed Norton did after he told Ralph Kramden he wasn't gonna vote "Well, if they only knew that I wasn't going to read it they coulda SAVED themselves alla that money an' time printing the fanzines up!" but that ain't the point. The "point" is that these fanzine publishers and contributors are just as much the REAL heroes of rock et roll as the one-shot garage bands and musical miscreants they were writing about, and if somebody (like me) doesn't  mention these home-produced publications that might have topped 200 copies max who will other'n their mothers! And THAT is but one reason why I'll occasionally set some time aside and detail these long-ignored publications of the past even if it ain't "cool" to educate rock 'n roll fans as Patrick Analream once writ to my utter amazement.

Besides, I find reading a good cranked out fanzine with a powerful gonzoid approach just as invigorating as listening to a 1969 side by some guys in their knotty pine basement who just discovered the Stooges yesterday and found the true meaning of rock 'n roll happiness. And even though I should know better I kinda get the feeling that you would feel the exact same way too.
Starting off today's 'zine bash is this European import, one which has been hailed as an important home made rag in the annals of home made rags yet I get the sneakin' suspicion that most of you people don't know a blasted thing about it. That's because this rag was printed in France and is thus written in the local vernacular, and as we all know that nobody who reads this blog knows the French language because nobody who reads this blog was stupid enough to take the language as an "elective" while in high school. Naw, it was advanced jackoff 101 for you guys, but don't let that stop you from getting hold of this glossy mid/late-seventies fanzine because hey, you can always look at the pictures!

And given that I've been looking at a lotta pictures in these fanzines because I am not familiar with the mother tongue they were written in, it ain't like I'm at any loss to settle back and enjoy these issues of ATEM which gave us the lowdown on a whole slew of interesting experimental rockist excursions from the mid-to-late seventies! What EUROCK was to the United States and IMPETUS was to England, ATEM was to France and I must admit that these people did a pretty slam-bang job in writing about a whole slew of artists and acts nobody else wanted to touch with a ten-foot pole, even if the staff's tastes did tend to sometimes seep into the gutter of Southern California country rock as an Eagles feature would testify to!

But Hotel Californication or not, ATEM certainly was what you would call a great fanzine effort what with the slick paper and professional printing, and you'll have to admit that hardly anyone else at the time was tipping off their readers to everything from the likes of the Rock In Opposition groups to Magma or Peter Hammill let alone Philip Glass, who during his pre-Dalai Lama days wasn't exactly getting much hotcha press anywhere on the globe. ATEM even digged deep into the well of punk rock proper as well making this one of those magazine offerings for just about everyone in the entire family, which really would have helped if the family just happened to be Mel Lyman's.

There's also a book which collects the choicest nuggets that this 1976-1979 publication had to offer that is available somewhere in this world of ours, but then again those collections never were as good as settling down with the real artifact in your hands perusing the best you can while some choice side was spinning on the turntable right next to you...
Well, what do you know! Another issue of NEW AGE, and one from the early-eighties at that. Hmmmm...its got interviews with the Stranglers' Hugh Cornwell and U2's Adam Clayton which I won't hold against 'em, as well as some local Connecticut scene reports but WAIT!!!!! NEW AGE emanated from the green pastures of North Carolina so like what's all this Connecticut stuff doin' here anyway???? I guess that this magazine is not the Nancy Foster-edited classic after all but another fanzine which just happened to have the exact same title which really did lead to a whole lot of confusion on my part!!! You'd think there would have been enough fanzine titles to go around, but then again I guess not! Awww, it really ain't that bad and in fact is a whole lot better'n many of these "crudzines" that were proliferating the mailboxes of the day, and despite the name I give it a whole load of high marks that I probably would not have if only out of spite of being punk'd like this!
Some people might have thought, given the mind-addled capabilities of some of the participants on the late-seventies English punk rock scene, that the fanzines that were coming outta that particular area and timescope were about as readable as my sophomore high school term paper on electronic music (y'know, the one with "Sien Ra"!). Frankly, I've discovered that the vast majority of the ones I've read were of a rather high quality both in production and execution. It's pretty obvious that the people who were cranking out these fanzines knew their rock history and based their writing style on the likes of Nick Kent and Charles Shaar Murray if not Mick Farren and Jonh Ingham. And let me tell you, that was something which was truly a welcome relief from the "mainstream" college paper hacks of the day still wallowing around in Jann Wenner's hippiedippieland values thinking about music in terms of flowery flamingos and up the system, man (wait...we ARE the system now so forget all I said!).

And if you dare ask me, I would say that most of these fanzines were every bit the equal of the likes of BACK DOOR MAN, DENIM DELINQUENT, THE NEXT BIG THING and many more as far as delivering those heart (and mind)-felt missives regarding those various rock 'n roll acts that still get my heart palpatain' even a good thirtysome years after I was supposed to be too old to let this trivial goo matter to me anymore.

NEGATIVE REACTION's a fanzine that certainly ranked as one of the better reads that were comin' outta Ol' Blighty during them late-seventies days of high energy rage. I wonder how this one slipped by me the way it did, but at least this issue (#4, November 1977) delivers on the goods what with the space given to some of the better acts of the English punk scene (like Savage Pencil's Art Attacks) not forgetting precious space on everything and everyone from recently kicked outta the Sex Pistols Glen Matlock to Stiff Records faveraves Roogalator, not forgetting a not-so-outta-the-place interview with Phil Manzanara regarding a now-Enoless 801. NEGATIVE REACTION has that proper blend of fannish yet intelligent writing coupled with the kinda rockist sensibilities that would naturally appeal to the breed of person who regularly tunes into this very blog, and one's gotta marvel at the quality and oomph that went into this particular magazine which (as all good fanzines do) makes me wanna read more and more from this particular stable.

Not only that, but there's a review of the very obscure Fellini's Hideous Mutations single which hasn't surfaced since those halcyon days, so you know that editor Jon Romney and crew knew where their true rockist values lied!

(Pssssst! Hey kid, if you want a FREE copy of the first issue of NEGATIVE REACTION just click here 'n do a li'l downloadin' yourself! It's a doozy of an ish if you ask me, and not only that but there are more fanzines of an English variety to be had if in case you are so inclined to read some of these rags that never did get out 'n about as much as they shoulda. Considerin' the nosedive in rock scribe screeding these past few decades, it's not only a public service that ESSENTIAL EPHEMERA is doing but a blessing because the more time ya spend reading these boffo old time fanzines the less time you're gonna spend reading Joel Selvin (is he still around???).
Whereas NEGATIVE REACTION shows just how interesting, past-connected and fresh the early English punk rock scene could have been, IN THE CITY, at least judging from this 1980 copy featuring the Poison Girls on the cover and on the free flexi, shows just how battle worn, weary and generally un-fun the now-politicized scene had become. I can hear some of you saying "well yeah, with all of the bad things that were going on in the world like the threat of nuclear annihilation and grilled steaks wouldn't  you TOO feel inhibited by the culture at large and want to rebel, only being able to enjoy yourself once the enemy has been VANQUISHED???  I can hear what you're sayin' Che, but that doesn't mean these punques hadda become a buncha tireless updates on the whole Carrie Nation dogooder mentality to the point where I could see a whole buncha 'em storming into my house and smashing my George Foreman Grill with a passion!

Sure it's got a nice layout, nice slick paper and a look and style to kill for (not forgetting that flexi!), but IN THE CITY also has that dire dank feeling of the eighties is already beginning to creep into the mix what with two pages by Crass' Penny Rimbaud giving us the ol "part of the problem or part of the solution" rap while fellow bandmember Steve Ignorant reviews the competition hating everything handed before him except Adam and the Ants. The lettercol sports something from the local Animal Liberation Front types who may have been sincere, but somehowin the back of my fevered imagination I wouldn't mind seeing 'em all infected with diabetes and then denying them any treatment that may have been gained by animal experimentation.

It's still a worthwhile read, if you want to know just how flaccid the English (and Amerigan, and Canadian, and...) scene could have been in the post-Sex Pistols era. I have the sneaking suspicion that the earlier issues of IN THE CITY were popping on all cylinders perhaps with the same sense of high energy fun 'n jamz that typified the music that was being produced at the time. And remember kids, it was only three years between this issue and some representative from Existencil Press telling the folks on the MRR radio show that in no way was the music being performed by Crass and associated bands within their sphere meant to be taken as "entertainment" was highly significant social commentary and nothing but, and if you DARE enjoy if for totally puerile purposes somebody was gonna come over to your place and give you a lecture and lecture you but good!
As far as the rest of the English fanzines of the seventies went well...surprisingly enough a good many of 'em were not whatcha'd call p-rock oriented at all, and I mean not one iota! Oh yeah, many of 'em might have featured a piece on the likes of Television or the Flamin' Groovies along with the West Coast fave raves who were still making an impact on the head scene over in Blighty, and I must admit that quite a few of these types of 'zines were rather good even if they weren't exactly covering my particularly cup of java. COMSTOCK LODE was one of these self-produced wonders that comes to mind, while I've been told that DARK STAR woulda been fine had Steve Burgess took over the thing and dumped alla that dope 'n Dead worship that made up the publication's meat 'n potatoes. And besides, with covers as hippydippy as theirs I'd be embarrassed to be caught inna bathroom with a copy to keep my company during my frequent doody duties!

Anyhoo, here are a coupla more English kinda-sorta pre-punk yet rock-y enough fanzines that I'm sure you might wanna know about when building up your own collection to show off to your mother. I have two other issues of FAT ANGEL other'n the one seen onna left...the first 'un's from '73 and features Iggy Pop on the cover and a story written by 'zine editor Andy Childs apologizing to his New Riders of the Purple Sage-bred readers for liking the Stooges so much when he most definitely shouldn't...after all, leave that punk worship to those nimrods at THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS and let's concentrate on the real heavy stuff, y'know? The other issue was from '79 and, along with the usual smattering of whatever was left of the hippie remnants there was a rather in-depth and appreciative piece on Jonathan Richman as well as the same interview with Crocus Behemoth of Pere Ubu fame conducted by Jim Jarmusch that popped up in THE NEW YORK ROCKER a few years earlier. If there ever was a mag that bent with the prevailing tide of underground tastemongering, FAT ANGEL certainly was it!

Nothing especially different from this particular FAT ANGEL than there was with the others. Lou Reed adorns the cover, though the piece of the Velvets that appears within ain't exactly groundbreaking the way those other pieces where Lou would talk about entering "the cloud" and how it would take a day to do "Sister Ray" with all of the preludes tossed in. Naturally there ain't that much else here to interest a hardcore rock 'n roller, but I ain't knocking these guys for giving it a hearty go of writing about music on an independent, stay away from the mainstream of fetid ideas level.

I didn't care that much for the issue of O.D. that I scarfed up about two or so decades back...too staid in the worst aspects of late-seventies British hippie mystical whooziz for my own personal tastes. But buy another one I did, and I gotta say that although it ain't as bad as I thought it would be it still lacks a certain warmth and funtime feeling that I certainly got reading DENIM DELINQUENT or many of the similar-minded seventies fanzines that I've had the please of coming across lo these many years. Well, I did like the piece on Van Der Graaf Generator even if I never really did cozy up to a good portion of what I have heard from them (outside of the oft-hyped NADIR'S BIG CHANCE) while the Man piece was a pretty good introduction for a guy like myself who was always scared off by their West Coast reputation.

And for the Man fans who were scared off by those punkian rumblings that were cropping up at the time well, the "introduction to punk" article presented here is yet another one of those roundups for the uninformed that reads just like every other piece written for the hippoid amongst us who was in such an induced coma (from too many sips of Boone's Farm no doubt!) who was totally unaware of everything outside of his private li'l commune. Nothing revelatory, but it does bring out the warm 'n toasties in ya. A nice reminder of a simpler, more pleasant time no doubt, but still rather tame compared with many of the fanzines, both punk and general, that were popping up with an alarming regularity during the mid-to-late seventies.
Remember that old saying "but will it play in Peoria"??? Well, I get the impression that HOOPLA played really well in that esteemed burgh because hey, HOOPLA originated from that very city and if the tastes these homegrown writers were any indication as to what the tastes of the rest of the populace held near 'n dear they the place must have been the swinginest spot in the entire Midwest!

Definitely in the same kultural strata as all of those other post-BACK DOOR MAN 'zines like TEENAGE RAMPAGE et. al., HOOPLA had that smart sense of where rockism stood in their mid-amerigan existences not to mention things like tee-vee, humor (or humour...y'see these guys were big Monty Python aficionados) and alla those other things that the intellectuals at MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL used to tell us was bourgeois and thus deserving of being crammed into the nearest oven! But we knew better now, dint we???

Naturally a lotta the then-hotcha new wave before it traipsed into "gnu wave" style of rockism gets covered...I mean, it wasn't like these guys were ROLLING STONE wannabes concerned with the plight of Jerry Garcia's missing finger 'r anything (and believe-you-me, being stuck in the decidedly anti-rock 'n roll clime of the Youngstown Ohio area I used to see people get giddy over the latest issue of STONE hitting the stands well into the nineties!), and I gotta admit that it sure is refreshing reading reviews written by people who remembered the great acts of the past (Velvet Underground, Roxy Music) and related them to the music that was busting out all over the map even though Jann Wenner's head was way too deep up his lover's hiney for him to notice!

Smart writing, entertaining analysis and a general ability to convey exactly why rock 'n roll was such an exhilarating mode of life juice for many a person back during the 1964-1981 period in world youth kultur. I for one wouldn't mind knowing more about this particular rag as well as the minds behind it, because the whole project comes off a whole lot more tastier than knowing the whys and wherefores behind the dolts at TOO FUN TOO HUGE that's for sure. And of course I wouldn't mind picking up all of the issues that unfortunately haven't made their way to my door (in case any of you happen to be cleaning your rooms out and are in need of a li'l filthy lucre to make your way through life or whatever else they're calling it these days...)
Did you have a small-run rock 'n roll fanzine in the seventies that might have gotten lost in the shuffle of alla the rest, a mag with a run of anywhere from three to thirteen that, although jam-packed with reviews and reminiscences on all of your favorite acts past and present got laughed at by any and all who espied it? Did you consider yourself a bedroom Bangs or Meltzer wannabe who had something to say and only a few bucks to say it? Well if you were, boy do I feel sorry for you!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! SANDOK (1965) starring Richard Harrison!

Well, stranger things have happened, and they sure do in this Italian moom about an Amerigan guy who, under threat of death, steals a multi-million dollar diamond known as "the Mountain of Light" from the forehead of an idol with the assistance of a local fakir, and not only that but the Amerigan as well as everybody else in the film speaks perfect Italianese! Thankfully the results come off like the rest of those sword 'n sorcery import timefillers that used to fill out Sunday afternoon tee-vee schedules back inna seventies, and like a whole load of those crankers this'll keep you glued to the imitation Corinthian Leather at least until you have to take a quick pee break during the Smokey Bear PSA.

Not bad at all. The locale shots done up in Ceylon have the entire Southern Asian region looking cleaner'n even a Howard Johnson's, while the acting and adventure keep up a good enough pace that your mind doesn't start wonderin' as to whether or not you have an advanced calculitis test that you're supposed be studyin' for 'stead of just goofin' off in front of the tee-vee. In fact, this 'un's so good that with a change from Rome to Hollywood fifty years in advance and the usual big name acting bonanzas in the deal this could be one of them current day blockbusters that really rake in the cash. But, thank goodness, it sure ain't, it's just an Italian adventure film sans any duty other'n to entertain which is why I give the once-titled LA MONTAGNA DI LUCE all the stars in the world!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

So howz be you on this rather rainy Sunday afternoon??? Hope you're all doin' fine, and I'm sure you'll all be digging my reality via this latest post where, as usual, I write up the best of this week's batch of platters to make their way to my turntable and/or laser launching pad and let you groove at my uncanny abilities to relay my opinions to type. And, as you will eventually see, I have done my best to keep a positive and uplifting spin on things even thought at this point in my life I can hardly give a whit whether I come off more upbeat'n the entire run of Johnny Mann's STAND UP AND CHEER with a few LAWRENCE WELK SHOWs tossed in for good measure. And to be honest about it, I really don't care if you're all doin' fine. The way I really feel right now I'd probably sneer at you all if we happened to meet at the local flea market THAT'S how I feel about you and your lowly sorry existence. Bleh!
As far as current events go, I gotta say that the recent Scottish Independence vote that the locals rejected last week really did set me on an even gnarlier path of loathing than I had been on already. Really, I gotta say that the recent 55% "no" victory was one that I certainly had not been hoping for ever since I read about the SNP's Alex Salmond's success in getting the referendum on the ballot, and just knowing that Great Britain remains about as "great" as it was last week really does send me into a grumpoid stupor that nothing short of an exhumation of Stooges rarities can get me outta...really!

Y'see, I am a HUMONGOUS fan and follower of whatcha'd call "succession". I believe that Sicily should secede from Italy, the Basques from Spain and even the Amerigan South from the Amerigan North. About the latter, its like what Lysander Spooner, the great abolitionist libertarian said, that the Southern States didn't have the right to legalized slavery (and what about the Northern ones who kept their slaves yet remained faithful to the union???), but they sure had the right to skeedaddle if they so desired. And really, it would have been just GREAT if more Scots felt that they should be outside the United Kingdom not only so's they could keep things more "local" but hey, why bother sucking up to the British royalty who are nothing but a buncha inbred horse carcasses who are basically living on the dole while the people who have to support them and the rest of the loafers over there are getting taxed outta their gourds! And really, once you get down to it what has being British done for the Scots 'cept buy into the prejudices and bigotries of the few snobs over there who think they're oh-so-superior to the rest of us turds!

Lew Rockwell said it was the parasite vote the toppled any plans for independence in Scotland and I would tend to agree. After all, it seems that no matter where you go anymore the entitlement mentality is in full swing, with more and more folk coming to the conclusion that if somebody's going to work twice as hard to support me why should I have to do it for myself? Maybe Rockwell's wrong on this 'un, but I'm sure even the most jaded reader out there can get the impression that the lazybones in the land o' kilts thought they'd get a better bargain had London kept passing out the freebees 'stead of Edinburgh, perhaps due to the fact that the Scots have a reputation for being stingy penny-pinchers while the English are more'n happy to circulate the wealth taken from people who weren't even that wealthy to begin with!

Whatever the situation regarding why people voted the way they did, all I gotta say is Scotland, ye blew it! Now we're gonna hafta hear all of this sappy sweet talk about just how one big happy fambly the United Kingdom is and how the British never will be slaves (as if any of 'em would dare get their hands dirty in the first place) and the rest of that rot, just like we here inna U.S. of Anxiety always get that  united we stand schpiel at the end of every Civil War documentary that pops up on the tube. To any of you Scottish readers (or actual Scottie Dogs for that matter) who may be tuning into your local media outlets, watch your glycerin levels.

Well, after that heartfelt if inchoate edi-too-real maybe I should switch gears'n blab on about some a li'l more fun 'n jamz oriented. Like one of my favorite fallbacks, none other'n my dream! Now I ain't been havin' many of them whatcha'd call "rock 'n roll" and related dreams recently, but oddly enough I had not one but two last night which is makin' me wonder about the potency of alla that melatonin that I've been pumping into my system. Won't bore you with the one where I'm in early-eighties England and I actually witness members of the female rock group the Raincoats taunt and humiliate a punkette of rather short and bulky stature before prancing away from the scene, but the other one I had was...well one for the dream archives if you ask me, and why not???

I'm back in high school, a freshman to be exact, and while in the school gymnasium who do I see but none other than Roxy Music saxophonist/oboe player Andy Mackay! I believe he's at the school to scout about for an upcoming Roxy concert there (!) and, after noticing him sitting atop the bleachers within rather close proximity of where I was, on the uppermost row of seats (this must have been during some school assembly although nobody was talking to us a tall!) I ask him if there were any new Velvet Underground-influenced acts over there in Ol' Blighty that I should know about! Immediately Mackay starts to tell me about this new group that I believe was called "Slipstream" (which not surprisingly was the name of a real-life cover band our high school club booked for a Friday night dance around the same time this dream was taking place!) as well as another called "Woodchopper's Ball" who I don't think had anything to do with either Woody Herman or Ten Years After but from Mackay's description (which of course was lost in the ether of my subconscious) they sure sounded swell! By the way Mackay was talkin' all of the groups you can bet that I was more'n apt to google the names spouted even though the internet as we know it was still a good twennysome years away, but who says that dreams (as well as real life) necessarily make any cognitive, linear sense!

Mackay was waxing eloquent about all of these acts in some of the most esoteric speak one can imagine (almost in Glade Air Freshener terms), but even though what he was blabbing was, like I said, quickly forgotten I recall having clung to his every word wishing that I had a pen and paper to jot them names down. And yeah, there was an pounding to my pulse almost to the point where I thought I was gonna have one of "those" dreams conjuring up the unbridled excitement that I was gonna be in for if I were only to hear these obscure musical endeavors! I also asked him if he knew of any new Stooges-influenced acts that were up and about but I can't remember the one name he popped off at me regarding that query, which naturally would figure.
I know I know---you wanna read less blab about dreams and more about actual records right? Well fine and dandy, but considering your rudeness don't start writin' in to me with YOUR rock-related dreams if you don't wanna hear any more of mine!

The Mothers of Invention-WOLLMAN RINK, CENTRAL PARK, NY, AUGUST 3rd, 1968 CD; Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band-LIVE 1966-67 CDs (Keyhole Records)

I guess that these rinkydink labels like Keyhole are pleased as punch that 1) either the copyrights on these classic have expired or 2) even if they haven't nobody's gonna come after 'em because nobody cares this late in rock moozic history! But whichever way this equation goes, there's gonna be more of these once-rarities heading our way more sooner'n later and for that maybe we should all rejoice more'n the time we got a nice big plump A+ on our Wasserman tests!

Unfortunately a good portion of these releases are gonna be about as interesting to us as a Lester Bangs-inspired lecture on the whys and wherefores of rock music appreciation would be to Anastasia Pantsios, but the ones that do tickle our particular callus-tough hide well---what's keeping you with splurging with your hard-begged shekels anyway????

This pair of platters by those infamous sixties freakout moneyrakers Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart do come at a fitting time when frankly, I wouldn't mind hearing more of the former's earlier mutters and the latter's entire career being presented for my edification or mortification for that matter. And after giving these two a spin all I gotta say is...howcum it took so long to get these recordings out considering just how big I was on both of yez back during the final years of my high school existence!!!

As some of you more astute followers of the form already know, there have been more than a few good Mothers of Invention bootlegs o'er the years including a trio of platters for the aptly named and in no way related to the original "Bizarre" label in the mid-eighties, not forgetting the more recent batch coming out via a company known as Mr. Natural being amongst 'em. I'm sure there are many more out there as well, though given their scarcity and the lack of a load of $$$ on my part I doubt that I'll ever make my way through whatever was, is and shall be out and about from here to infirmary.

Where the WOLLMAN RINK release figures in I don't really know given just how lacking I am with regards to everything that is floating about, but frankly I find it a comparative snoozer. Sound's good but thin, the vocals are buried and the jams are some of the more rote if not fatigued to be heard from the MOI catalog. The playing does tense up about seven or so minutes into "The Orange County Lumber Truck" and Don Preston cranks out a rather nerve-wracking organ solo which is cool, if you want to wait that long for your jollies to hit that is. No doubt in my noggin that this was recorded during a real off night which is strange considering the prestige that Zappa and Co. got from being top billed and raking in a whopping $4000 for just a few hours of acting like a buncha whackoffs!

Buddy Beefheart does better on his disque which is divided between that same r&b-infused 1966 Avalon show that's been bootlegged previously as well as some first-album period radio station seshes that're (surprise!) new to me. The sound's so-so yet plenty enjoyable and the performances historic enough to send those same chills down yer spine that ya got back when you (and I) first gave the original mulch a listen to back during your young 'n impressionable years. So if you wanna pretend you're a good fifteen/eighteen (my early years of intellectual impact) again maybe ya'd better slip this 'un on and relive those bargain bin days even if this one certainly ain't of a bargain bin price!

It is recordings like LIVE 1966-67 that make me wish I was a mid-sixties teenbo with an electric guitar, lotsa money to buy records, good looks and a severe back injury. After all, I'm not gonna have a whole lotta time to play records stationed in Vietnam now, am I???
LSD UNDERGROUND 12 LP (Lysergia, available through Forced Exposure)

Like with them Acid Trips albums that seemed so revealing and mystical and alla the other righteous goo your adolescent mind can conjure up, LSD UNDERGROUND 12 promises a whole lot but really comes off self-satisfying to everyone involved but the listener. Kinda reminds me of everyone from the Thirteenth Floor Elevators to the Blues Magoos and early Pink Floyd, if you took the rock 'n roll outta their music and just let them play the effects. Mostly jag-off, though ya do get the feeling that the musicians involved were having a fun time at least until they came down and started throwing up all over each other.

Well, there was one good thing about this 'un and that is had it ever made its way outta the back page ads of THE LA FREE PRESS and actually did get pressed up back then you can bet that the kids'd be shocking more'n a few parents by bringing this 'un home and scaring the wits outta 'em with the cover alone! Almost scarier'n the David Peel HAVE A MARIJUANA one, and tastier too!
The Thirteenth Floor Elevators-KAZZ BROADCAST-AUSTIN, TX 1966 CD-r burn (courtesy P. D. Fadensonnen)

At least when Roky and his Friends took to imbibing in extraterrestrial stimulation they created a rock 'n roll that seemed to transcend the usual heady appraisals of psychedelic pleasure that were going around back 1966 way. In other words, THEY ROCKED OUT!!! unlike a good portion of their orbiting brethren, and really can one do anything more important or as life-reaffirming than that in this miserable existence of ours?

Dunno if this 26-minute radio broadcast is available legitimately, but you can easily enough find it somewhere online and download the bastid for yourself (if I were you I'd try youtube). As you longtime Roky Erickson fans already know, its a hot slice of mid-sixties garage band rock done up right around the time rock 'n roll as an intellectual concern was beginning to take on airs of college professor snootiness, yet groups like the Elevators, amongst many others, actually came off even better because hey, it was like they were suburban Texas kids out on a lark and hey, how innerlectual can people like that get???.

The performance is as tippy-top as the rest of those Elevator live tracks you have floating around in your collection, the announcer's annoying yet "authentic" enough to "date" this appropriately, and even if this sounded as if it was recorded live in the vast open spaces of Chuck Eddy's colon you'd know enough to getcherself a copy and like right now, eh? And although its stuff like this that woulda made an eighteen-year-old me slobber uncontrollably had this only gotten around back then, I don't find it shameful to dribble on even this late in the game!
Tetsu Akiyama & Che Chen-COLD SOUP CD-r burn (originally on Incunabulum Records)

After hearing this I kinda got the idea that Henry Flynt oughta be suin' 'em for taking his entire whackoid violin stylings to even more absurd heights! Heavy duty catgut grate mixed in with noisy post-Derek Bailey blast makes for one of those free splats that had many a miserable teenage turdball such as myself scouring the New Music Distribution Catalog for the latest in "free expression", only to pass up stuff like this because the money was tight and the spirit wasn't quite willing. Taking their Japanese credo of inscrutableness to even further realms, all I can say is that Tetsu Akiyama and Che Chen are gonna have more'n a few of us occidentals trying to figure this 'un out for years on end!
Cluster-SOWIESOSO CD (Sky/Caroline)

Like the title says, it's "so-so". Not the best these Germans hadda offer, but considering they were doing this in '76 when the original thrust of krautscapading was dying down it sorta figures that its a little more candy coated'n their previous efforts. Still beats listening to the latest underground flash peter out right before your very ears, but if you're looking for the hard-Velvets-freeform-avant jazz-thrust of it all listen to the earlier K/Cluster offerings as well as the choicest in krautrock one can find in the auction list or download of your choosing.
Various Artists-CARAVAN TO NOWHERE CD-r burn (via Bill Shute)

Not quite the usual Bill Shute poppin'-on-all-cylinders kinda disque that helps me make it through yet another boring Sunday afternoon, but it'll do. Starts off big w/Muddy Waters and there are a few numbers by the likes of the Plunkett Family and Chu Reyes that come off like something Barney Fife would have had playing on the radio while making Chili in his boarding house room. Hmmmmm, maybe it ain't as downer as I thought it was.

The Monarchs' "Sauce and Tea" single made for some good early-sixties Jamaican fun and games as well, while Gelu's "Y Yo" coulda been straight outta some foreign film running on tee-vee back inna late-sixties. However Al Horn's country & western didn't quite settle well in this mix while Roberta Shore ain't ever gonna make it to Kolob squeakin' around like she does here! Come to think of it that E-Z listening platter that closes this thing out better skedaddle back to the flea market bin from whence it came which leads me to believe that maybe Bill was thinking about his future colonoscopy when slapping this one together!

In all a mixed bag that can tend to irritate once the schmooze groove gets too grating on yr nerves, but it's not like I'm losing any plasma over it'r anything!.
Well I gotta go...think I'm gonna hit ebay now and see if I can pick up a record or two by Woodchopper's Ball, but until then stay cool until we meet again sometime mid-week!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Watching this burnt DVD offering of THRILLER (disque 7, episodes 25-28) made me wonder---how ever did this series get forgotten among the same spiritual adolescents who still go gaga over the umpteenth ANDY GRIFFITH and TWILIGHT ZONE rerun to hit the ol' cathode tube! Yeah, I know that many of those kinda kids still exist if only in aging bodies (and I should know, I have one!) but really, I haven't read or heard any of the aging pre-teen twats I know blabbing about these old shows the same way they do every other once-biggie now appearing on one of the myriad assortment of small channels popping up on the dial even as we speak.

Rilly, I don't know hardly a soul that remembers THRILLER other'n maybe Bill Shute and this guy who bobs around the place with a one-week Poopdeck Pappy growth on his chin that looks like my aging scrotum who mindlessly babbles on about life with a brain syntax that makes Zippy's look like Isaac Newton, and I don't even think the guy has been in front of a boob tube within the last thirty years, y'know?

Sheesh, for years I wondered why Boris Karloff would warrant his own Gold Key comic book 'n after seeing this show, now I know! As far as anthology hosts go I would rank him up there with Rod and Alfred teasing you into sticking around for the subsequent saga that guaranteed to fray at least a few nerve endings. And, for a series on NBC, a network that perhaps came off third-rank because they tried to be so "Tiffany's", the production and general clarity does not get in the way for once. And the stories...well, in this day and age when even discovering a mass grave filled with crushed skulls doesn't even bat an eye maybe they ain't as creepazoid scary as OUTER LIMITS, but they sure got me glued to my seat and that ain't because my sweaty flesh got stuck to the Naugahyde either!

First 'un's a trio of weirdo sagas set in Olde Tymey England including one eerily Jack The Ripper-based tale where the nefarious ne'er-do-well hides out in a strange museum filled with stone relics of famous murderers and becomes a pillar himself when he gazes upon the face of none other than thee actual and it turns out to be non-mythical Medusa!  A strange one that I'm sure got Stan Lee on the horn to Steve Ditko within a few minutes with an idea for a new AMAZING ADULT FANTASY saga, though frankly the face that turns men to stone kinda reminded me of Reba from THE SOUPY SALES SHOW!

The second episode featured John Ireland as a big band leader on some Caribbean isle who discovers the sacred voodoo rhythms and incorporates them into his latest work. Of course the outcome to this plot's telegraphed well in advance, but I kinda get the idea that the writer of this 'un was not familiar with Chano Pozo, the Afro-Cuban conga player who was offed because he used some real-life secret signals to the beyond in the classic Dizzy Gillespie track "Cubano Be Cubano Bop".

After that comes this tale having to do with a younger brother's attempts to save his sibling (played by Edward Platt from GET SMART) by framing bro's murder of his cheating wife on the guy wifey was sluttin' around with. Of course you get all of the patented false alarms and actual close calls to contend with, before it all comes to a conclusion that really doesn't satisfy and frankly makes you feel lower'n your mother's boobies. At least the bad guy on ALFRED HITCHCOCK got away, at least until Alf came back after the commercial break and tells us all that the murderer was eventually caught and thusly punished just so's everything will play well in Peoria wink wink nudge nudge.

Closing out the disque's yet another Jack The Ripper-based saga which might seem strange considering how the matter was dealt with only three episodes earlier, but then again these television series were never known for spacing out similarly-themed programs between months or even years. This Jack The Ripper's a modern fellow though, and although he must be about ninety by the time this program hit the tube he's still at it, this time in Ameriga. John Williams plays the Scotland Yard detective on his trail while zilch-movie fave Donald Woods helps him, and eventually himself out heh-heh-heh!

Did I have funzies this past Sunday afternoon watching these? I most certainly did, re-living those blessed seventies-era feelings of lounging in front of the tube while some long-forgotten (by most attention-span-of-a-flea types) mooms and tee-vee shows would unveil themselves in front of my eyes. And all I hadda do was make sure that Sam wasn't prowling the kitchen nearby on the hunt for food to swipe off the counter. Of course I must have gained at least thirty pounds during those rather halcyon days when the only thing that seemed to get to me was work and humidity, but given the satisfaction of just being a layabout watching the local UHF maybe it was worth enlarging the ol' pectorals to at least a Sandy Duncan configuration.

'n now, if somebody would only dig up Karloff's '62 OUT OF THIS WORLD series and make it available again!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Life for me has been akin to a gerbil winding his way through one of those dark, dank and mysterious San Franciscan labyrinths after the tether broke, but sometimes a few curveballs can be tossed my rather sorrowful way. Curveballs that'll give me that ol' neato surprise that I've been craving ever since the Big Beat took a humongous fall way back inna late-sixties, or was it early-eighties? And thankfully (due to the keen workage of one P. D. Fadensonnen) I got a nice trio of said balls tossed my way in the form of some killer Cee-Dee-Ares which lay down to aluminum some of the racket that had been produced by the reunited legendary "cannon fodder" (copyright Anastasia Pantsios) group Mirrors over the past year or so! And true, I might have had a tad bit of trepidation (a word I've been overusing these past few posts, and with good reason!) wanting to hear the musings of a batch of sixty-plus guys trying to either relive past glories, but since the only other option I had for cheap thrills this evening was stare at my nude body in the bathroom mirror I figured that maybe I should go the least sickening route for once.

Obviously I did make the better choice, because the reformed Mirrors here in 2014, alive and kicking as if the past forty years was just...well...more cold storage are shall I say THE MOST KNOCK-OUT HARD ROCK FUZZ THRILL HIGH-ENERGY ROMP I'VE HEARD IN AGES!!! Rilly, I didn't think that anybody could revive the long rotting corpse of seventies underground rock successfully but Mirrors certainly do on this trio of platters which come off like a three-way asteroid collision of Stooges, Pink Fairies and Can proportions splattering rock-hard shards of atonal pleasure upon the masses. After surviving the sensory-overload of these recordings I am speechless, and as close associates can tell you there's hardly a moment in this life of mine when I ever am!

First on the list...WRUW STUDIO-A-RAMA 2013, live at Mather Courtyard at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. The grand return and wotta return it is what with 4/5th of the original group and who knows what else proceeding to blast a few braincells with their rock in overdrive approach. From the opening "She Smiled Wild" (unfortunately missing the fantastic psychedelic extended guitar passage but wha' th' hey) to the set closer "God Sells" (a recent addition to Mirrors' set that  had been recorded under proper conditions a few days earlier) Jamie Klimek and company overload the digital phones and whatever else was used to record this, sounding as if ten Blue Cheers were playing simultaneously wiping out every microphone and headset in the process. The overbearing distortion always lends the proper "ambiance" to this kind of performance (which makes WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT come off like one of those 24-bit remastered albums so in vogue in the late-seventies), and frankly I'll give a listen to Mirrors even if they were recorded on wax cylinder since their energy and might is bound to overcome whatever technology is stacked up against it.

The Beachland Ballroom show from this Janvier might lose something considering the sound quality does reach a more respectable standard...about the same quality as one of those live Mirrors tapes from the old Clockwork Orange days that've been floating around for years...but I ain't complainin'. It's nothing that would have gotten any of those old time STEREO REVIEW creeps palpatatin' but you can make out the melodies and vocals a whole lot easier if it does matter to ya. (But then again I rate METALLIC KO as a recording masterpiece and even find the debut Siouxsie and the Banshees performance at the 100 Club just the right quality for a recording of this stature.)  The overall performance is akin to the group during their mid-seventies romp upon the terrain, and the revival of Mirrors melodies unheard since the group's '75 breakup (including the boffo cover of the Captain Lockheed classic "Ejection") really does infuse a whole load of long-decayed rock forms into a world that has been needing 'em ever since Max's Kansas City closed up shop! I gotta admit that the two additional guitarists (including one-time Styrene Money Band member David Franduto, a guy who I thought looked more like Lenny Kaye than Lenny Kaye did when I saw him live) adds even more tension to the already unbelievable Mirrors sound.  The effect of the three lead guitars weaving about on "I Saw You" is enough to drive you to sanity. Brilliant move on your part Mssr. Klimek!

A li'l over a month later Mirrors were back at the Beachland Ballroom for a Lou Reed birthday celebration bash, and although Lou was nowhere to be seen his spirit surely moved through the band's entire set since all they did that night was play nothin' but Velvet Underground songs! And hey, I gotta say that it's sure great hearing Velvet Underground songs done up in the here and now that aren't being performed by overly-pierced gals with tattoos galore and a body odor that could overpower a dungpile. Klimek and his guitar onslaught performing old VU songs that hadn't yet been vinylized until the eighties really is a earful to behold, and it's even fabber hearing their version of the legendary "Sweet Sister Ray" with that multi-guitar drone cum lead entanglement that weaves its way in and outside of your psyche like nothing since PARADIESWARTS DUUL, a Velvets-stoner classic in itself. The best of the sixties filtered through a seventies consciousness being presented in the teens, a time when I thought that I was the only idiot out there standing against a bulwark of subpar sputum screaming at the top of my lungs LISTEN TO THIS BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE, AND IT ALREADY IS YOU TURDBURGERS!!!!

What's even better about these new slabs of live energy is Klimek's between-song banter. If you can believe it (and why not?), the guy sounds really glad to be up on stage again, this time playing to an audience (and maybe even world) that finally caught up with him after all those years of bitter loathing. (Heck, ol' Anastasia Pantsios herself is now on-board as a Mirrors maniac and although she's been claiming to have been a front and center fan for years [???] it just goes to show you just how much of a bandwagon jumper on the dame can be when it suits her own purposes!) Rock fans like you 'n me who are appreciative of not only Klimek but Jim Crook, Craig Bell etc. can at least be glad that finally they're gonna get their just dues, and although it took a pretty long time well...they say revenge is sweet, and nothing really could be sweeter'n being recognized by the same idiots who wrote you off long ago! Now it's HIP to love those long drones even though you readers knew that all along, eh?

Once again a hearty muchos gracias to P.D. Fadensonnen for the burns, and if you too want to hear some of the better rock 'n roll that's being made today (not to mention the best releases of the year that haven't even been released properly!) go to youtube, gather all of the videos in question, and burn 'em onto a Cee Dee yourself! Or do what luddite me did and have someone do it for ya! Either way you're gonna experience some music that at least gets me up and goin' in a world that does its best to put a damper on everything and anything I like and believe, and in this day and age it's sure a cleansing experience listening to Mirrors whether it be in their original form or the new and expanded edition. And you just know these'll make a great teaser for the upcoming release and when's the battle of the bands between 'em, Figures of Light, Simply Saucer and even the Imperial Dogs (and Umela Hmota if they can make it!) gonna transpire anyway???? Oh so many loose ends that need tied up before it's too late!!!!!
Now that I finally got the latest bitta hot off the presses nooze outta the way, lemme say welcome to the latest Blog to Commpost! Gotta say that I've been feeling a little better this week, perhaps due to the arrival of the above platters as well as some (if not all) of the ones reviewed below. A hearty thanks to everyone who contributed those burns like Bill Shute, Paul McGarry, Bob Fo'ward and of course P.D. Fadensonnen himself. Also thanks to me for being able to hold down a job so I can at least afford a few of the recordings that I scarfed up via the usual sources. Anyway I got some pretty nice newies as well as some oldies that'll curl your straighties and since I know you're just champing at the bit to read about 'em all, so without further ado...

Lou Reed-EARLY LOU, PRE VELVET UNDERGROUND RECORDINGS 1958-1965 LP (Andy Records, Germany, available from Forced Exposure)

When Lou Reed finally thanked God that he just couldn't care didn't you think that the floodgates of unreleased Velvet Underground recordings were gonna come rushin' their way to our doorstep faster'n you could say "tai kai ko"??? Me too, and although it's been a good year since the guy departed this mortal coil for alleyways unknown STILL we haven't gotten a proper send off in the form of rare archival recordings for the guy. Well, at least other'n this thing which ain't exactly gonna get you bustin' into your piggybank to send for, but it still serves its purpose which is why I'll give it credit where credit is do, savvy?

You've heard most of it already and for years on end from the Jades single to that Lewis Reed demo which had him ridin' the early-sixties well-groomed boy singer merry-go-round, but you haven't heard 'em sound as good as they do here! Well, I gotta say that the rare "Intimates" version of "I've Got a Tiger in My Tank" with the overdubbed roars does sound a bit muddy, but otherwise these tracks have got that sparkling early-sixties Hi-Fi sound that made sneaking into your dad's den to spin your Rolling Stones albums so fun. And it's sure nice having these rarities (including the Donnie Brooks version of "Why Don't You Smile Now" which I've never lent ear to) gathered in one place 'stead of spread out on a variety of albums and tapes you've gathered over the years.

One big surprise in the batch is the inclusion of that Lou Reed "Heroin" demo that Ritchie Unterberger told us about years back but had yet to surface until now. Recorded at the Pickwick studios of all places, Reed's Dylan fixation is in full form here as he folksies this favorite up the way any broken-tooth wannabe troubadour from Hibbling Minnesota woulda done it. Not only that, but the end results are as soul-wrenching as Lou's best to the point where you wanna hear alla 'em Falling Spikes and Warlocks tapes languishing in John Cale's mineshaft which only makes me wonder why the people at Polydor are dragging their feet the way they are!

This one's also got a typically nice Europeen-styled sturdy collectors sleeve as well, and the liner notes from one "Doctor Rawk" do lend me to believe that perhaps thee Lenny Kaye himself wrote 'em. To which I say "HEY LENNY, IF YOU'RE SO KEEN ON PRESERVING THE ROCK 'N ROLL PAST LIKE YOU THINK, HOWZBOUT RELEASING A MAN RAY ALBUM OR TWO?????" Really, I've been waiting for it for quite awhile, and although it ain't gonna be the 1976 bargain bin/flea market platter find I so hoped it woulda been at least you can help warm out that oft-unlit pilot light in my rockist soul by making those recordings public!
Crime-MURDER BY GUITAR CD-r burn (originally on Superior Viaduct)

I'm sure glad that this collection of rare slabs by the infamous San Franciscan punk rock group Crime came out (actually, I'm more'n glad that Bob Fo'ward sent it to me so's I wouldn't have to dish out any hard-begged for it), because if there's anything that we need in the here and now is more there and then! Fantastico rumblings on these late-seventies sides that really show that there was more to SF than then hippoid dreams that ROLLING STONE tried to keep alive for ages. The roaring onslaught of these tracks (which tastefully squoosh various mid-sixties punkisms and then-current trends together) definitely make for a tasty main course music meal that'll have you begging for seconds (and there are---another Crime Cee-Dee's worth of demos is also available if you act fast!). Not surprisingly I can even hear a load of early (and even mid)-seventies Flamin' Groovies influences in Crime's musical make up, something which doesn't surprise me a bit not only because both acts spurted forth from the same location but because they even shared a member, none other'n Lost and Found-era bass guitarist Ron Greco.
The Muffs-WHOOP DEE DOO CD-r burn (originally on Burger)

Sheesh, didn't know that the Muffs were still around. I'm sure they're all greying by now, but these once-lassies sure do sound as poppy punk fresh as I'm sure they did around the time they first met up with Mr. Massengill. This has got some rather nice Beatle-swipes that'll warm the hearts of you oldsters who'd like to know that the music of fifty years past still resonates this far down  the line, and its also got a good production and performance which make this 'un the spiritual heir to alla that Kim Fowley-hyped new girl group huzzah that was going around in the pages of BOMP! back in the mid-seventies. But if I ever listen to this 'un again it's gonna be because I'm on a deserted island and the only other platter that's washed ashore is Cliff Richard's LET US PREY, LIVE AT THE BILLY GRAHAM REVIVAL (though if you ask me, the entire story seems like a cheap ploy to scam loads of moolah outta the once-huge singing sensation...even if the stories "have" been flying around for years!).
Ned Lagin-SEASTONES cassette (Ryko)

My mention of this Grateful Dead-related rarity in my review of the Plunderphonic'd "Dark Star" two weeks back NATURALLY had me scouring ebay to scoop up another copy of this oft-ignored side project, dedicated sufferer that I am. However, after giving the thing a few scrutinizing spins I figured that hey, maybe SEASTONES wasn't as turdly as I remembered it to be back during my shoulda-been-misspent-better teenage years. True it has the usual tinges of burnout "haughtiness" that you would expect from these things, but at least the vocals of guests Gracie Slick and David Freiberg are modulated to the point where they're unrecognizable and Jerry Garcia doesn't take up the entire platter doing one of his "cosmic" guitar solos that you have to smoke the same Persian heroin he indulged in to appreciate.

In fact, even though the credits make this out to be yet another one of those Dead spinoff projects (Lagin on keyboards and electronics, Garcia on guitar, Phil Lesh on bass guitar, Mickey Hart and Spencer Dryden on percussion, David Crosby on twelve-string guitar and of course the Jefferson Airplane vocal choir) which'll conjure up many images of hippies jamming on the front porch, there's hardly a noticeable beat nor any discernible rock music (no matter how spacey it may be) to be found anywhere in this project. In fact this album glops and slithers like just about any New Music Distribution Service offering you would have found at the same time SEASTONES hit the racks, and by the eighties just about any college kid with the right amount of tape and access to a sewing machine could've created music to equal it on just about every level. All I gotta say is I can just see alla the remnants of the unwashed sixties social experiment slapping down their Boone's Farm money for this, truckin' on home and discovering that even with a copious offering of whatever mind-stimulation might be, this music sucks!

But I can enjoy this one even without the additional inspiration if only because 1) this does not sound like a Grateful Dead exercise in hippie excess and 2) the music does sound like real classical avant garde instead of youth culture whackoff. It's nothing that really rates with the actual works of the leaders in electronic computer music, but at least on a suburban slob level SEASTONES is akin to the likes of Stockhausen what the Stooges ca. FUNHOUSE and STARSAILOR-era Tim Buckley were to the likes of Ornette Coleman.

The '90 Ryko edition features a bonus, mainly a later-on version (in six as opposed to nine parts) recorded a few months after the original session that varies enough to rate a mention, even featuring (in part one) this weird synthesizer/string passage that recalls none other than something the reformed Faust easily could have whipped up on one of their many releases! Maybe because of this strange fact that I don't find SEASTONES the steaming pile of hippie turd that I thought it was upon my first spin oh-so long ago, even if the presence of San Francisco's finest does add a certain taint that still has people conjuring up all sorts of strange, huggabunch images in their minds.
New Cat's Pajamas-CBGB 1974 CD-r burn (courtesy P. D. Fadensonnen)

I thought I'd give this very-early CBGB-era band (so early that they broke up before THE VILLAGE VOICE began accepting ads from Hilly Kristal again) a try, especially considering how they billed themselves as a "free blues jazz avant rock garde" act which is something that certainly tickles my tootsies! At first I wasn't that impressed with what I heard, but subsequent spins had me thinking this was some mighty good fusion-type rock that was closer to the likes of Good God rather than John McLaughlin's Shakti. Intense and dare-I-say even exhilarating at times. Kinda wonder whatever happened to 'em anyhow, and if you're interested in hearing what these "scene pioneers" sounded like you too can go to youtube and scarf these three tracks up for practically nada!
Various Artists-TALLAHASSEE MADISON EARTHQUAKE CD-r burn (via Bill Shute)

Another one of the Bill Shute grab-bags filled with alla that music he's gonna play day after day once he retires and has nothing else to do! Naturally Bill slipped some of his favorite country stuff on here (Herb Gale and Red Foley) not to mention some South of the Boudoir spice ("Ponchita") as well as the mid-sixties mayhem I remember listening to via other people's radios (Paul Revere and the Raiders doing "BFDRF Blues" which I assume stands for "Being Friendly Daily Returns Favors"). Of course Bill just hadda slip in an instrumental schmoozer like Eddie Harris' "Alicia" into the stew but hey, I guess there just ain't no accounting for taste anymo'! And being the most tasteless guy on the planet I should know!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! SOUL HUSTLER starring Fabian Forte, Casey Kasem, Tony Russel and Nai Bonet (1973)

Well, if Frankie Avalon could milk an acting career for all it was worth well into the seventies (and beyond), why not Fabian? Yes, the Hound Dog Man himself pops up as a hippydippy ne'er-do-well in this early-seventies crankout drama, driving along the Californian environs in one of those old panel vans that haven't been made in years looking a whole lot looser than he did back when he was cranking out those "Boys of Bandstand" teen hits that's for sure.

After getting busted at a revival meeting (Fabian hands the crowd a sob story about being robbed of his wallet the night before then unconsciously pulls it outta his pocket when presenting the local gendarme with his driver's license!), Fabian is bailed out by the preacher himself who lets him in on the biggest scam to lay a whole lot more bread on 'em 'n the time the Schweibel's bakery exploded.

And the preacher's evil plan actually works! Soon Fabian is dressed up in a white robe calling himself Matthew, Son Of Jesus and is wowin' the crowd with his early-seventies singer/songwriter schmooze while everybody's raking in the cash in one of the biggest religioso blitzes seen since Aimee Semple McPherson. Naturally (I mean, what else) Fabian's still leading one o' them naughty lives behind the scene, hot for the tramp trade wherever he goes while his junkie Vietnam vet buddy scores heroin for him all the while presenting the Mr. Clean Jesus Freak image to the adoring populace who wouldn't guess in a millyun years that their substitute savior was acting like an even bigger hippie 'n alla those scuzzballs you used to see pull up in a Volkswagen camper buying cheap wine at the local stop 'n rob.

Kinda like an updated version of THE WORLD'S GREATEST SINNER for the seventies, SOUL HUSTLER just ain't as good as that legendary exploito what with its more laid back '72 SoCal feeling that makes you wanna blow up a granola factory not forgetting quite a few loose ends (such as the whys and wherefores regarding the death of one of Fabian's Great Danes) that just don't get tied up leaving you to go "wha???" Not only that but the introspective music only reminds me of why the Stooges and Alice Cooper were oh so needed during those decidedly energy-starved days when it seemed as if many teenagers were eating their 12-string guitars for roughage as Flo and Eddie once said. But still it's entertaining enough perhaps thanks to the b-movie acting and general low-budget feel which always was one of the better assets of these funtime crankout features.

In fact Fabian is pretty boffo in the lead (makes me wish he had stuck around doing these drive in films 'stead of popping up in disco mooms a few years later) while Tony Russel as the devious career-guiding preacher who takes him in is also top notch even if the guy tends to look like one of the Gardner brothers from the old Mothers of Invention. Larry Bishop as the doomed vet is perfect for the part even if you think the guy's dreaming "God I gotta get a best supporting actor nomination" during his big emotional scene, and dee-jay bigwig Casey Kasem as the sleazy PR man is...well...about as real life biz as they come. Special note should go to Nai Bonet as Helena, a particularly hot dish who actually worms her way into Fabian's lust-filled heart and kinda makes you wish they woulda made this 'un an "R" 'stead of a "PG" ifyaknowaddamean...

Without spoiling things for those who actually do want to see this movie despite the tepid review I will say that SOUL HUSTLER does have one of them endings that kinda makes you go "hunh?" because it happens so fast, but naturally I ain't gonna ruin it for you by getting into any great detail ene though I get the feeling that few of you are interested in seeing this film  due to the religious subject matter. But you might be shocked, saddened, or even go "wha' th'" when you get to that point in the flicker. Maybe it was deigned to be that way, or as some would say maybe they just ran outta money but anyway this is one I think just might suit you on one of those muggy summer nights if you put your tee-vee in the back yard and pretend you're at the drive in, only don't let the neighbors catch what you're doin' in light of the fact you don't have a gurl wit'cha, right (I know, old habits are hard to break)?!?!?

Saturday, September 06, 2014

If you think my writing generally sucks the Big Juicy Lactating Teat of Mediocrity you should just try reading this week's offering! Although it's admittedly packed with a nice slab o' reviews and of items that I have the feeling many of you will be selling various body orifices for (if you live in New York City that is), I felt myself struggling to whip up that expected zest and oomph to rise to the levels of journalistic aptitude and integrity that I usually strive for with these things. Unfortunately, I fear that the resultant gush from my mind to my fingers to the computer keyboard just doesn't translate into high energy printed jamz the way that I hoped it would have. Sorry to say so, but that's the Turd's Truth and you better believe it!

Now I could be a typical pantywaist about it all and give you my reason as to why I feel that I have shortchanged you readers with my failing writing abilities, ranging from the horrible back 'n ribcage ache I've suffered during the middle of the week (doin' fine now so no get well cards please!) to the middle-of-the-night stomach inflation of Hindenburg magnitude brought on by a knockwurst and cabbage supper. Or better yet a general lethargy and tired, run down feeling brought thanks to that overwhelming malady known as REAL LIFE which has been catching up with me no matter how hard I try to avoid it. And given my good excuses maybe I will...after all, if anybody in this world deserves the hearts 'n flowers treatment it's me, and after going through a rough bowel movement that feels as if you've just given rectal birth to a giant Douglas Fir like I have (and I'm not kidding...after wiping myself after a particularly painful and gut-wrenching dump I thought that the assembled poop remnants clinging to my overworked sphincter had the sludgy texture of wet sand with a few twigs and seashell bits tossed in!), just try cranking out a blog chock fulla etapoint writing and opinions you'd be hard pressed to find anywhere else on this sick planet of ours!

So soldier on I must (and did) in my usual devoted way, and I'll admit that even if the resultant spew comes off as if its got its own case of the flu there might be some tasty shards of info that will pass your rather sharp scrutiny with ease. So maybe eh, I wouldn't write this 'un off totally and even if it does have a slimy coating to it maybe one or two of the following writeups just might end up in my posthumous collection of critical pearls entitled ANY OLD WAY YOU SODOMIZE IT, available via Limp Arrow around the time my earthly remains become the biggest smorgasbord the worms have seen in ages!
(As you would have expected me to say after having read ten years of this blog....) what I'd said a few weeks ago regarding Robin Williams' own passing goes for that of "funnyperson" Joan Rivers as well! Shit, I really don't know what is worse, the fact that some overpraised media puppet has passed on, or the reams of sniffles that are coming from the same people who somehow couldn't find anything of worth in a Three Stooges film. And as you've already guessed by now, the pundits have been in full swing with their lionization of someone who was nothing but another insult comic, but since she insulted the same people the manipulators at hand loathe she most certainly got a free pass in life. You never saw any of the grief or torn garments you're seeing nowadays when any of the Stooges died, and I should know because I for one remember it all quite well (fifteen minutes into ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT, right after the latest on Gerald Ford farting in Congress).

Of course (as you would also have expected me to say all along) I will admit that Rivers was a comedienne who may have caused me to emit a few hearty guffaws during her various early-eighties tee-vee appearances, but as time crawled on and the entire comedy industry turned from all-around bad taste to a socially-charged onslaught rampage against voiceless targets who never could fight back (after all, where are alla them daring Muslim jokes these new social critics comedians could be popping out with relative ease?), the lady seemed to be as funny as a gay rights protester at a Marine Corp recruiting station. Just another tool of that ol' multi-million dollar steamroller known as "progress" that's been doin' their best to keep lower-middle class Polish plumbers and Southern farmers in their place while crying crocodile tears for the same folk they've been trying to obliterate all these years. Har-de-har-hars for people who get a kick outta feeling superior to others because of their unique value systems the same way down on their luck losers have nothing better to do than hype themselves up over their ethnic/racial/religious identity. Sheesh---at one time comedians used to tell funny jokes that made you chuckle and/or groan, but today all they do is castigate all of the proles who are smart enough not to pop up at any of their dissertations otherwise known as concerts!

(And really, if you do want to feel like a hotshot next to the average Joe Blow all you have to do is be like me, and judge others not by their skin color, yearly income or body rankness but by the number of Velvet Underground albums they have in their collection. Works every time!)

As I suspected, the obits that this face-life freak has been chalking up o'er the past few days are even more high-larious'n all of those other recent ones which try to tie in some haughty socially-conscious angle to the person's life no matter how tenuous it may be. In their usual try to say the nicest things about people whether or not they fit the current PC mode of what's righteous, these new obit screeders strain to come up with some of the most tenuous if guffaw-inducing angles to make their subject come off more attuned to "the cause". As such, the always way-off-kilter pundits have been hailing Rivers as a groundbreaking standup comic in a world of men breaking down all barriers that have kept female standup comediennes suppressed etc., and while that may have been true in the standup realm I certainly could have thought up a whole slew of  ladies who have come and gone long before Rivers began sullying the scene with her haughty bitch routine. In no way would I have expected a REALLY funny lady like Vera Vague to have gotten even one spec of the notice or adulation that a comparative droop like Rivers has received (and I'm sure her mid-seventies passing slipped by the collected consciousness of the same folk who now dribble tears over Rivers' 86-ing), especially in these Marcusian times when some pigs definitely are more equal than others. Ditto Gracie Allen or any number of laugh merchants whose preserved work passes my muster while the likes of Rivers only induce me to pass gas. Of course Lucy got her share of fond farewells back when she passed on, but the lady was larger than life and y'know, how could they afford not to report on her own capsize?

But I will admit that it was fun reading about Rivers' crashing of the standup comedy "glass ceiling" almost as fun as finding out that Shirley Temple was a pioneer in the Civil Rights Movement because she acted with those of the black persuasion, or that William F. Buckley had at least some redeeming qualities because he jettisoned the more "extreme" members of the "right" (including Murray Rothbard, a guy who makes more sense twenty years after his death than anybody writing for NATIONAL REVIEW does today) from the pages of his definitely non-mainstream publication. It almost made me feel bad for Fred Phelps since his own obit in the pages of TIME didn't rate even one li'l huzzah for this oft-scorned religious leader which I'm sure really hurt his precious feelings wherever he may be in the afterlife!

Another one for the "rest in piss" category that's for sure, and you can guess that I'll be mourning the ol' biddy just about as much as I mourned the cancellations of  NORTHERN EXPOSURE and I'LL FLY AWAY! May you meet up with your old stubbleface of a nemesis Elizabeth Taylor who I hope has swelled back up to 400 pounds, and may she sit on you for life everlasting, amen!
Yeah I know, you want the reviews and you want them NOW!!! Won't keep you waiting because I can just hear all you readers with your recently-cashed welfare checks just champing at the bit to know what to do with alla that money, and as we know the essentials must take precedence over alla 'em luxuries like stale doritos and toilet paper now, don't they!

MADRIGAL LP (Lysergia, available through Subliminal Sounds)

This album is gonna set you back quite a bit but hey, if you're in the market for rare home-cooked underground rocking maybe it's best you give up on a few week's groceries in order to save up the shekels for this messterpiece! Long desired on the big bucks collectors circuit, the Madrigal platter has been rumored to be one of the last great finds in the home-produced, heavy drone Velvet Underground sweepstakes that enveloped the teenage punk mindset of the seventies (at least until every suburban slob got in on the act thus creating the monstrosity known as "amerindie"). Now that it's available to a wider audience maybe you too should find out exactly what all the fuss was with the mighty few who were able to get hold of this 'un at the local garage sale back when you were still looking for that elusive copy of George "Goober" Lindsey's I LIKE UGLY GIRLS.

Quite a melange here not only with a decidedly Velvets ping to the thing but with passages that recall just about everything from Suicide to Amon Duul I with a few side treks into the late-seventies variety of industrial music that really made YOU feel top dog back when you were listening to the dark strains. A tad bit of them ol' experimental bedroom hijinx do seem to make their way into the mix giving you the idea that you're experiencing yet another one of the less-enthralling "OP" "cassette culture" items prevalent during the early-eighties, but any feelings of college student pretension are soon swept away when all of a sudden Madrigal stretches out into total high energy bliss that is in such short supply these days. And given just how hard those kicks are getting to find, maybe its like you better snatch this one up regardless of the pricey tag on it!

Sheesh, at times Madrigal sound just as late-sixties innocent as many of those former flea market finds that got Greg Prevost all hopped up in the pages of FUTURE, and if your mode of the music changes from late-seventies hard-splat to post-garage band teen pop with a little freaky flavoring man, you'll really wanna be up, front and center for this!

Only 500 of these have been unleashed so hurry up and grab one while you can. Or if you're the really cost-conscious type you can wait a good ten years for a Cee-Dee reish to make its way to your door. But if I were you I'd try to grab this platter up more sooner 'n later because hey, in ten years time who knows if we'll even have any hearing left intact and I doubt this 'un'll translate well into sign language.
And we dig you too, Miriam!
 Muchos thankias!
Miriam-NOBODY'S BABY CD (Norton)

Gawrsh, I sure didn't know what to expect from this 'un! Y'see, I thought that the vocalese of one Miriam (formerly Miriam Linna, as if you thought Miriam Makeba was making a comeback) was gonna be akin to the kind of Granny Clampett sounds she was emitting on those classic A-Bones sides like "Sham Rock"---real raw 'n guttural---but on NOBODY'S BABY it sounds as if she's gobbled a few bags of Fisherman's Friends because her voice is nice 'n smooth and real teenage-like! In fact, a few spins of the latest in a long line of Norton Records masterworks had my mind playing them usual tricks on me to the point where I thought I was listening to some obscure mid-sixties record made by some weaselly mid-aged Phil Specter wannabe! Y'know, some long-forgotten private pressing thing that got buried for years until Tim Warren dug up a copy thirty years later, and although Mary Weiss (queen of the sixties femme emoters and yet another Norton Records signee) ain't gonna be losing any sleep over this it just might just get her up a coupla times during the night to take a few pees.

The production coulda been more Phil, but I woulda been satisfied even if Abner Specter of Jaynettes fame had the honor of translating the Miriam sound to wax or aluminum in this case. Thankfully, this does sound pretty funzy mid-amerigan suburban slob in that ripe '65 folk cum gal pop way, and like the best works of pure rockism extant it has me visioning back to all that great past teenbo culture that I was trying to gobble up second hand via a slew of early-seventies flea markets. In fact, I coulda seen twelve-year-old myself snatching this 'un up with some old SUPERMAN 80 Page Giants on a Sunday afternoon garage sale romp and going home to spin it on the fambly stereo while doing weird spazzy interpretive dances like I did with Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog", and don't tell me you didn't act like a jerko like that when you were the same age because I know you all did, and you should be PROUD of it!

In all, a boffo platter outta that famed left field we've all heard about that does capture a long-gone era back when women actually used Norforms and didn't go outta their way to nauseate men. In fact, they made records that really appealed to the male s-x just like this latest in a long line of femme emoters most certainly does. And the only reason that I'm mentioning that the likes of such decidedly non-KICKS approved artists as Neil Young, Tim Buckley and Bobby Darin (let alone the Ramones, who I guess were OK with Billy and Miriam but not as much as Jerry Lee!) are covered is so I could crank out a "hip" namedropping review connecting the reader with some "cool" hooks for them to relate to! Y'know, just like the kind that woulda graced the pages of STEREO REVIEW or maybe even that granddaddy of hipster spunk ROLLING STONE back during their lost in the haze of post-hippie hackdom days. Did I do a good job of it guys, hunh...did I????
Dane Clark in CRIME AND PETER CHAMBERS CD-r burn (NBC radio show 1954)

These old radio shows Mr. Shute has been sending my way really know how to make this particular suburban slob feel like its the early fifties and Red Ball Keds still matter to my sense of sartorial elegance, and CRIME AND PETER CHAMBERS is no exception! One time tee-vee perennial Dane Clark stars as the private eye who, as you'd expect, manages to solve some of the toughest and nut-crackinest cases anybody could come up against, and in less than a half-hour t'boot, which for one reason or another reminds me...

...about  my seventh-grade teacher used to tell us repeatedly that, given us dumbass kids were growing up under the influence of  television, we thought the world's problems could be solved in the course of an hour (something he probably perused in a READER'S DIGEST---these teachers have no cognitive function and you know it), but since Chambers could solve the most complex cases in less time I'm sure said teacher would have had this show BANNED! Can't argue with a man who can't even handle a class of unruly doofs custom made for the ritalin market now, can we???

But sick teachers aside there are two good 'uns here with my fave being the second that deals with a bank teller who absconds with a nice $100,000 for use in an interesting bank scheme I was kinda hopin' he'd actually get away wit given how neat the idea he had was! For once wouldn't it be just DUCKY if the writers let him because hey, he did put a whole lotta craft and work into his rather devious plan and like he shoulda been rewarded somewhat for it now, dontcha think??? Yeah I know that this has gotta play in Peoria, but still it would be nice if the sneaky guy with the good idea got away with it at least once!
The Buzzcocks-THE WAY CD-r burn (originally on Pledge Music)

The Buzzcocks??? Dint even know they were still around but its obvious they are, and the Mancunians' (izzat the right term?) latest is really a platter to, as they used to say,  contend with. Well, not en toto 100% but it's good enough for this fanabla, kinda sounding like one of those hard-thunking proto-punk singles that came outta England in 1973 (albeit maybe not crunchy enough, though "Dream On Baby" coulda been a Mustard track if it were only heavier) with vocals that sound gruffer'n that crime dog that you still see doing Public Service Announcements on UHF-TV. And boy have they aged, not only with their finer sense of punkitude firmly on display but definitely age-wise. They're English frails no more as is obvious from their pic onna front cover which leads me to think sheesh, who ever thought that the Buzzcocks woulda eventually turned into the Stranglers!
The Zobo Funn Band-LIVE AT THE HAUNT JANUARY 28, 1980 CD (Studio Records)

These Zobos first came to my attention via a listing for the 1975 CBGB Christmas Fest as well as some '78 Max's gigs that must have been very successful if you're the type of guy who believes everything you read in a group's press release. As for me well, I figured that they just hadda've been part of the first wave of local talent that was creeping its way to the En Why See clubs right around the time the upper-crusts at THE NEW YORK TIMES began paying attention to the likes of Patti Smith, so hey why not plunk down a few and find out whether or not they wuz worth the gamble!

Turns out that I was right once again at least on one aspect of the quest, for the Zobo Funn Band from Ithica were undoubtedly typical of a lotta the home-bred groupage that could be found in just about any burgh throughout the seventies. They're nothing that will light up the typical BLOG TO COMM reader's fancy being more of a standard jazzbo rock cum prog act, but in some ways they remind me of Tin Huey with a heavy AJA-period Steely Dan influence which'll only matter to you if you like Tin Huey and/or AJA, I guess.

To be truthful about it, there's little use you discerning types'll have for a disque such as this. Now you might enjoy the jazzy lines and find the soprano sax not as upchucky as it was in the soprano saturated seventies, but the lead singer does come too close to Terry Kath for comfort which of course make me wanna play a game of "Polish Roulette" more sooner than later. And face it, a lot of the Zobo's rep is nothing but uberslick jazz refuse that sounds as if it were made just for your favorite female college radio deejay with a terminal case of perioditis which reeks from every nuance in her whiny if flat voice, amongst other holes that is.

But on the plus side this release does have a fairly creative spark at times (which you can count on your right hand if you're Jerry Garcia) and comes with an FM broadcast immediacy to it that'll remind you of sitting by the radio ca. 1978 waiting for the "new wave" hour to come on your local college station. And since I haven't found the desire to smash the bugger against the wall yet maybe it's gotta be good!

One huge caveat...guitarist David Torn of the group later went on to gnu age fame with albums on Windham Hill and ECM, not to mention his chalking up mucho studio time backing everybody from Cyndi Lauper, k. d. laing and maybe even some females for that matter! If you listen hard enough the roots of eighties musical slickdom may be discerned, but if you're interested in experiencing a slice of what was considered "Amerigan Underground Rock" in the seventies that li'l fact might not affect you that much. Knowing you readers, it probably will.
Pharoah Sanders-LIVE KEYSTONE KORNER, SAN FRANCISCO 6/6/71 CD-r burn (via P. D. Fadensonnen)

For folk like me who struggle with the fact that Sanders, when he coulda been making albums of pure sonic structure, ended up going the disco route to the point where even his earlier entries into music making seemed tainted, this does help kill the pain somewhat. Dunno exactly who Sanders is performing with on this '71 outing but they're definitely copasetic (wonder if that's a pre-Scientologized Stanley Clarke on bass, and that surely is Lonnie Liston Smith on piano, right?) but he's still got that power and might which made everything from TAUHID to THEMBI must-spins for anybody who would dare consider themselves fans of the 1958-1977 underground jazz sphere. Beautiful guttural screams make it worth the price of admission (mainly a good search via your local search engine). And like those actual flesh and blood Sanders platters that were in ample supply during the seventies this does have that driving rock sound that might even appeal to more than a few of you Stooges aficionados who still tune into this blog...dig?
Various Artists-GREEN-EYED JUKEBOX MANSION CD-r burn (via Bill Shute)

This 'uns mostly got late-fifties/early-sixties popster sides ranging from yet another bunch who were goin' 'round under the Temptations moniker (and really, it woulda been funny to hear this white group from New Jersey wrap their tonsils around "Ball of Confusion"!) to the gal group-y Bleu Belles not forgetting a load of femme soloists the likes of Gloria DeMarco and the New Breed. The English get their digs in via Hedgehoppers Anonymous and the Mad Hatters (with a single that dates back to '76 which is a surprise because it sounded  '69/'70 cusp to these ears!) The ads for Sears Warehouse and WABN "What's Happening" clip are of course always welcome (they make me feel like I'm a li'l kid inna car pestering my mother to take me to Mason's for a new toy!) and the experimental improv via "Trans-Idio" and "Idio-Savant" added that certain oomph that jolted me outta a sixties sensibility right into a seventies one! Great gunch here, and to think that you too can snatch it all off the web if you only had the intelligence and savvy unlike me!