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!

1 comment:

planckzoo said...

Nice Reviews Chris. I saw the Buzzcocks a couple of weeks ago, it was a really good show.