Saturday, October 11, 2014

With all of this talk about ebola and ISIS as well as other cheerful things that put a smile on our faces and a tap in our toes, maybe it's best that we talk about something totally dreadful that's happened in this world of our o'er the past seven or so earthspins. Things like the recent passing of none other than "the Madman of Rock 'n Roll" himself Paul Revere! As a skidmarking, toy-throwing  kiddiegardener-type who used to spend more'n enough time snuggled in front of the set watching WHERE THE ACTION IS, you could say that I was one guy who grew up with Mr. Revere as a front-and-center entertainment ICON, and yeah, I will admit that finding out the guy has finally met General Washington in the Great Beyond is enough to once again remind me of my own mortality, at least to the point where perhaps I'd better skip on the second helping of Eggplant Paramecium during dinnertime lest I blow up into an even bigger blubberfarm that I'm struggling not to be.

And frankly who can forget that Revere was, along with the Wailers and a few thousand other groups, part of the infamous "Northwest Scene" during the first rock 'n roll strata which was content on cranking out hard-edged r&b-influenced garage band rock while the national charts seemed to reflect a more civilized approach to teenage suburban slob living. Those early Revere records continue to stand the ol' test, and even though I am going out on a limb to say this I'm sure that only the most rabid of Mark Shipper haters out there would dare think that those Raiders platters from the mid-sixties (and on) were nothing but teenybopper trash when they sure sound fresh and exciting even after the umpteenth spin of "Him or Me". Yeah I know that the Raiders did tend to have their own soft side that was custom made for the pimply plumperoo gal in her nightgown with Mark Lindsey snaps clipped from 16 magazine pasted all over the walls, but they were still tuff enuff for the he-boys who really dug such hotcha anthems as "Steppin' Out" and "Kicks"! And hey, you could say that if there wasn't a Paul Revere and the Raiders there wouldn't have been an MC5 or Flamin' Groovies because the influences are certainly wallowing around in there...

Yeah, mebbee I could mention alla the distasteful stuff I've heard regarding the Man of the Hour such as the story about how Revere was gonna back out on meeting a terminally ill gal and 16 editor Gloria Stavers was gonna expose his real last name (which was "Dick"!) if he did! Not forgetting those behind-the-scenes rumors regarding the animosity between Revere and the various other Raiders and how he wouldn't let them smoke pot lest they ruin the group's youth appeal image!!! I'm sure there are a few things other things that you more on-the-ball readers would be able to fill me in on as well, and if so like, what's keeping ya! (And howzbout those interviews with various ex-Raiders conducted by Jeff Jarema that were supposed to reveal some mighty distasteful things that were going on in the Raiders camp...things that made the Zombies look tame in comparison!) But since the guy is no longer with us and can't defend himself from such perhaps truer than a few of you'll ever admit charges I'll leave such muckraking to a better time, like when he's ruminated enough in the afterlife and such disturbing anecdotes can finally be brought to light in that grand old kick 'em while they're decayed tradition.

But until those creepy days arrive here's to you Paul, and frankly I'm still stymied over that one WHERE THE ACTION IS skit where you guys were acting out a shoe store pantomime to some song whose title I now forget, and while trying to pull off a shoe I believe you took off Phil Volk's entire leg with it! For quite a long time I actually thought Phil lost his leg in the deal, being such a trouper to the cause that he'd actually sacrifice his limb in the name of afternoon teenage tee-vee entertainment!
Just when you thought all hope was lost and live was not worth farting in, here comes something that really makes you glad that you're alive and kicking and not just another zomboid roaming the streets of this gollyforsaken world! You all know how much of a boffo fanzine that THE NEXT BIG THING was, what with Lindsay Hutton's top notch articles on alla those great late-seventies acts that we hadda wait a good year for when they hit the cut out bins??? Well, now some of those early issues (which would cost mucho bucks if we were to win 'em via an ebay auction) are now available via the NBT site for the price of a few sheets of paper and a computer that happens to work better'n the one I'm typing this mess out on! Yes, Mr. Hutton has it in his heart to present those early and much sought after NBT's for you fanablas who missed out the first time around, and really it is a blessed (or is it blasted?) thing that once again we can enjoy Hutton's early fanzine romps and relive alla 'em fuzzy warm memories of the days when such fanzines roamed the face of the earth...y'know, of picking up punk rock platters at the local music emporium thinking we were big shots ownin' those 99-cent Flamin' Groovies albums! And what's best about it is that Lindsay is NOT
charging us an arm and a leg to download these and that it's freefreeFREE!!!!, a fact that certainly is wonderful for folk like us who can't always afford such luxuries even though we've tried our darndest! Here's a big hefty hearty BLOG TO COMM huzzah to you for your public service Lindsay, and don't ever catch me saying that Scotsmen are cheap because you certainly have given us a bargain that we can't pass up on!
Haven't had any whatcha'd call "rock 'n roll dreams" as of late but a few nights ago whilst in the midst of a rather strange 'un I came up with a great, cornballus riddle that I thought was pretty funny considering that it popped into my head whilst snuggled up inna arms of Morpheus. Here it is...Q: Do you know the name of a frustrated science fiction writer? A: H. G. Willikers! Heck, I'm still laughing at that one just like the people in the dream I told it to were, and if you wanna impress your friends and family with this pearl please do so but don't forget to give credit where my subconscious mind is due.
Well, after all THAT blabber-on here are the reviews of some (if not most, if not ALL) of the platters I've been spinning this past week! Well, at least the ones I've spun when I wasn't playing my usual current favorites which just happen to be the same krautrock klassics with hefty Velvets/Stooges references in 'em since sometimes I suffer system overkill when I listen to the actual artifacts too much. Once again I must thank the likes of Bill Shute, Robert Fo'ward and Paul McGarry for sending me these tea coasters (you'll know which of these I didn't purchase on my lonesome since I mention they are "burns"), and also thanks to my employer for paying me so I could snatch up the rest of these time wasters! Maybe there's something in this batch that'll tickle your fancy (if I were writing about a Gallic act would that mean they would "French tickle your fancy???") but then again do any of you really care? (Frankly I should say not!)

The Jimmy Giuffre 3&4-NEW YORK CONCERTS 2-CD set (Elemental Music)

Although I've pretty much enjoyed just about everything I've ever heard by this now-deceased avant jazz pioneer I gotta admit that a good portion, if not all, of what I have heard was, how shall I say, rather chamber jazz-y. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I'm in the mood for the wild ravings of a Roscoe Mitchell or Archie Shepp and the fifties-bred style of a Giuffre or George Russell just doesn't light my nodes in the exact same way. Now there are moments when Giuffre's drummerless trios do strike a certain chord of introspective ennui with me but frankly, I'm not the kinda guy who likes to hide under the bed ALL day and don't you just know it!

But on these mid-sixties live sets (recorded with the express purpose that they be broadcast once and forever locked up!) Giuffre shows that he's absorbed the better aspects of the entire Coltrane/Coleman wing of jazz erudition  On disque #1 Giuffre plays in a trio setting along with noted bassist Richard Davis and drummer Joe Chambers sounding a lot like the way Ornette Coleman did right around the time of his first retirement trip late-'62 way. Still rooted in the bop of the previous decade yet with that dark intense feeling that got more'n a few goatee'd pseudo-intellectual college kids' hearts a'flutter, Guiffre even does a Coleman composition ("Crossroads" which appeared under that title on the LIVE AT THE HILLCREST CLUB making me wonder where Guiffre heard the thing since it didn't even get released until the late seventies!) so you know just how far he'd wandered from the Thundering Herd at this stage in the game!

The second 'un features Guiffre in quartet setting from a few months earlier with Chambers still on the drums, but with bassist Barre Phillips and Don Friedman on piano. Another boffo set even though Friedman's playing is more or less copasetic and doesn't really add to the performance and Phillips still seems to be feeling himself out on his gear, or am I being presumptuous as usual? Still, more of the original new thing as is was being unraveled before our very ears, and not-so-surprisingly both platters show a tension and dare-I-say "maturity" that I really haven't heard in many of the new players of the old form these past two decades or so.

By the way, this month marks the fiftieth anniversary of the legendary "October Revolution in Jazz" and if you wanna celebrate it the way any proper BLOG TO COMM fan and follower would, howzbout sneaking some Giuffre in with your Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler? Wouldn't hurt, y'know?
Bogs Visionary Orchestra-RECESSION SPECIAL CD-r (CD Baby)

Have you ever wondered what hold in the wall the new generation of Holy Modal Rounders-styled urban folk groups were hidin' their little butterbuns in? Well look no further, for outside of the infamous Muscular Christians there's also Bogs Visionary Orchestra to contend with. Not since the early days of the Rounders have such brill downhome lower east side sounds been set forth complete with mandolin, accordion and a singer who might look a bit like John Cale but sounds as if he just walked off Walton's Mountain after giving John Boy a good kick in the 'nads. Nothing that makes me wanna scream hosannas of huzzah like HAVE MOICY! does, but a good country folk thumper and I'll bet that even their other releases are worth a spin or two if you have the moolah and are so inclined. (Ten points docked for the political number regarding the "First Amendment" as if the likes of Bog ever cared for it pertaining to anybody but themselves, or so I get the idea!)
Allah Las-WORSHIP THE SUN CD-r burn (originally on Innovative Leisure)

Another relative new-ish underground pop act that's more or less the latest in a long line of white rock groups that are continuing a lineage of new wave precociousness begun by Talking Heads. Actually they're pretty nice and pleasant with some good songcraft to their name, but as usual there's nothing here that grips me the way a whole slew of 1964-1981 vintage rock (of an underground and mainstream variety) does. If you are one who still pines away for the days of the Paisley Underground and those early issues of BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS (actually an all time wowzer) you'll enjoy this but for!
Sun Ra and his Arkestra-IN THE ORBIT OF RA 2-CD-r burn  (originally on Strut, Germany)

Longtime Ra-man Marshall Allen slapped this double set consisting of old and newies together, and as far as it being any what-cha'd-call "representative" slice of the Ra pie goes it does itself rather well. Nothing of the extremely outer-worldly here, but IN THE ORBIT does have that nice straight lilt to it that reminds me of the Arkestra at their late-fifties/early-sixties Big Bandiest clinking plenty of percussion along with the rest of all that exotica, at least enough to give Les Baxter a bad case of the hemorrhoids. Some familiar faves you've probably heard for years on end are here true, but so are some different takes, different renditions and even a couple all-newies to your ear so quit complaining like you're still five years old and you didn't get your Maypo!
The Hoodoo Rhythm Devils-THE LOST ALBUM; LIVE FROM NEW YORK CD-rs (Rear Window, available via CD Baby)

Always on the lookout for a good outta-the-way discovery, I first became intrigued with the Hoodoos after reading a review of a live Max's gig that was reported in the pages of NIX ON PIX (of all places!), a fanzine that hit the same masterful heights of TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE and CRETINOUS CONTENTIONS as far as crafty satire went even though you'll probably never read a word of any of those rags no matter how long you live. That writeup made these neo-Dixieites come off like one of the better bunches to approach older forms of music with an early-seventies rock approach in gear, and although I wasn't expecting their takes on fifties classics updated for seventies tastes to be as perfecto as ELECTRIC WARRIOR's were well, they seemed a good enough gamble, and who woulda thunk that any of their material would still be available even this late inna game!?!?!

But it is, and being the adventurous sorta stroon that I am I decided to scarf these two available platters (there's also a "best of") that CD Baby has put up for sale. And y'know what? They really ain't my type of rockist thrills being too much on the seventies heavy side for me (using "heavy" as a pejorative as in hippoid tokes 'n smokes 'stead of punkoid needles 'n Burroughs)  to enjoy, especially whilst in the throes of seventies innovation and on the hunt for the long-forgotten hard rock grail. The Hoodoos do sound typical of what many a seventies outta nowhere band coulda cooked up true, and while they ain't offensive and in fact rather listenable at times it's that...uh, one singer with the gruff overdrive voice who makes me think he's gonna be singin' "I'm gonna get me a woman!" that drags this down quite a bit!

THE LOST ALBUM features mostly if not allly covers of fifties faves, and while it thankfully doesn't insult the memory of alla 'em original hits with their primitive poundouts and puerile production it does have way too much seventies hippoid overload not that dissimilar to what alla those Dead-like biker bands were doing around the same time. Nothing wrong with that (I think), and I frankly can take listening to this in small doses. But it's like eating a tub of yogurt when your heart's all set on a nice juicy cheeseburger, and as Patrick Analream can tell you my heart is set on cheeseburger rock rather'n yogurt and in case you're interested you can eat all of the rectums your heart so desires Pat dear!

The live 'un was actually recorded at the studios of WLIR-FM in Hampstead Long Island, and considering how the same station also used to air similar sessions by the likes of everyone from Lou Reed to Big Star I get the feeling that these broadcasts were intended to hype upcoming gigs at various local hotspots such as the Academy of Music or Max's for that matter. In all it's a nice showcase for the group to stretch out and have fun while hyping some upcoming show, but still the performance can tend to be a li'l too straight-ahead commercial for a guy like me who really goes for something a li'l more'n the same old in my sounds. Again this is not too bad, but I find the usual seventies good timey styles to be rather trite in the wake of what else was happening in rockist circles around the very same time!

(The Dr. Pepper commercials that appear seem to be the highlight of the set, reminding me of the days when that hallowed soft drink was constantly vying for the youth market what with its advertising on AMERICAN BANDSTAND for years on end. Pick up a few bottles and down it while listening to the Devils do their fifties re-dos and who knows, it might all actually sound better!)
Lauren Agnelli-LOVE ALWAYS FOLLOWS ME CD (Bongo Beat Canada, also available via CD Baby)

Onetime Trixie A. Balm (former Nervus Rex/Washington Square) does the chanson d'amore schtick really good on this platter which has the former rock "writer" (NOT "critic") doing the e-z listening soft piano and martoonies act pretty convincingly. For her old-time fans she throws in an acoustic guitar an electro-wave number at the end, but otherwise this is the kinda stuff you used to hear in those lounge scenes on fifties tee-vee private eye shows back when smoking and drinking weren't nary the evil habits they tend to be now (translation: "kids, it's OK to JACK OFF!") And you know what, Agnelli does a very convincing job of it even if your Unca Louie's still gonna think she's another hippie fake out to make fun of his generation. Knocked a WHOLE LOTTA POINTS for featuring a back cover blurb by ANGELA'S ASHES author Frank McCourt, perhaps the worst person to sully the Irish People and her Common Core Values since Ian Paisley if not that ever-lovin' blockhead Oliver Cromwell (I think Sinead O'Connor, the Virgin Prunes and Bono fit in here somewhere as well)!
Various Artists-DONNA MARIE ROSEMARY RAINBOW CD-r burn (courtesy Bill Shute)

Nothing but early-sixties schmoozers here, most of which remind me of not only the importance of tee-vee during those days but the frightening fact that maybe those rock snobs who think the sixties began with the Beatles mighta been right after all. Actually it ain't all girly-girl cutesy-pie sounds here since some of this coulda fit into a 1978 Jonathan Richman show with mucho ease, but a whole lotta the mewl is standard kiddoid gunch that Frank Zappa used to make fun of as if he was so above it all. And after hearing some of these numbers, maybe he was! Does earn a hefty bonus point for including a side by the Treytones (of BACK FROM THE GRAVE fame) who were from Warren Ohio and sure did a wild Bo Diddley beat on their '63 vintage "Nonymous"! Unfortunately "Blind Date" ain't that tip top but at least we've got some home pride here, I guess.

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