Saturday, January 10, 2015


More/less my own personal view of the situation
in case any of you happen to be taking notes.
As you probably have guessed by now, the only reason I am printing the above headline-sized banner is not because I have any compassion or lack of it for either what has happened at the headquarters of the Frog satirical weekly CHARLIE HEBDO, nor anyone who might hate the paper for whatever reasons they may hold dear 'n true. I only did it because frankly, in NO WAY could I see anyone of these luvvers of free expression post JE SUIS BLOG TO COMM banners on their websites perish the thought that something DEVASTATING should happen to ME due to my own acerbic scrawls! Just like I get the feeling that if the gunmen had shot up the Front National offices instead of a "daring" if bland NATIONAL LAMPOON cum VILLAGE VOICE swipe filled with typical European-styled comic art they'd be hailed as conquering heroes who finally got the bad boys! Once again we've stumbled across the tragedy that everyone out there in social consciousland was waiting for and remember, don't nudge too many people outta the range of the camera while you hold your li'l placard that proves that you do indeed care.

And from that sneaky attempt to climb upon my own soapbox thus making good of a bad situation in my own snide way here are this week's writeups and grumbles regarding the latest round of recordings to 'rassle their way into my mailbox (amongst other cozy little cubbyholes). Thanks again to the usual suspects...Bill Shute, Paul McGarry, Tom Gilmore, P. D. Fadensonnen and of course myself.

DARK SUNNY LAND LP (One Hand Records)

First biggo surprise of '15's this new longplayer courtesy the mostly-MIA for '14 Stephen Painter a.k.a. Dark Sunny Land. He's back with that ol' proverbial vengeance on this 'un which thankfully continues on the spacial avant musical sounds of the past which in many ways are the logical extension of what all this rock 'n roll was heading in the first place. From K/Cluster-esque cranks to warm encapsulating sound that you can burrow yourself into, DARK SUNNY LAND weaves itself into your very own nerve-endings with a music that, once you spin the thing repeatedly for a few hours, makes you wanna stand up and holler that this was made for you and you alone! And in some ways you may be right Snuggle up with an old issue of CREEM while this 'un spins brightly throughout these Artic nights.
Dr. Feelgood-BBC SESSIONS 1973-1978 CD-r burn (originally on Grand Records, England)

Not bad, especially if you (like me) kinda thought that Columbia's push of Feelgood back '76 way did reek of a bit of howshallIsay "hype". Shows how stoopid I was, for Columbia was hyping the right act at the time only the geeky 'lude generation just wasn't buying it up (much to Journey and REO Speedwagon's delight!). But anyway, I gotta admit that these sixties sounds re-honed for mid-seventies consumption really do sound even more hotcha here in the post-existence 'teens than they would have then (even for me!), probably because the British r/b sounds of the original Feelgoods is nothing but history and its like what else can ya do given how barren the soundscape has become! And it hold up a whole lot more'n Emerson Lake and Palmer have, but whatever you do don't tell Chris Welch that!
Philip Glass-LOW SYMPHONY CD (Point Music)

Well uh, I do like it more'n the HEROES 'un (makes for good pre-beddy-bye relaxation music to accompany my HELP! magazines) even if it is quite kitschy. Glass takes "Warzawa" and "Subterraneans" along with one of those bonus Cee-Dee tracks nobody listens to and mooshes 'em up in his own unique liberty-taking way to make a "homage: that is suitable even if it is kitschy. I wouldn't be surprised if it settled just fantastically with fans of Glass, Bowie or Eno 'stead of rub 'em the wrong way because, strangely enough, I kinda like it in my own high school jackoff way. But then I slip on Patti Smith and wonder what all the fuss about this was inna first place.
The Art Ensemble of Chicago with Anthony Braxton and Frank Lowe-LIVE 1975- NYC CD-r burn (available here as a download)

The first in the P.D. Fadensonnen red cover series of boptuous burns he sent me this holiday season, this one features one of my favorite seventies avant collectives performing at some unknown dive in the mid-seventies (the height of hot new thing cum loft jazz sounds) with special guests Anthony Braxton (who at the time was basking in the warm glow of an Arista Records contract) and Frank Lowe, who was probably basking in the warm glow of a heroin fix but we won't get into that. Hard to tell who is playing what considering how Braxton and Lowe and performing up against the two woodwind-spewing titans in the AEC, but why should I give a fanabla because it's all cool slow burn free play here, uncannily sounding like PEOPLE IN SORROW one minute before bursting into a hard drive free blast the kind we've come to expect from the AACM and scant few others. I thought it was perfect for those holed up in yr room introverted times, and if ya plan on being snowed in with but one internet burn to keep yerself company this winter this 'un just might do.

The second-biggest loose cannon of the mid-fifties jazz scene, Mingus returned to the En Why See where it all began for him with this massive welcome home concert. It was on February 4 1972 at Lincoln Center, complete with a big band made up of some of the noted names and Mingus boosters over the years including Dizzy Gillespie and conductor Teo Macero. Mingus even got the once-mighty but now fallen (and don't get me off on that!) Bill Cosby to emcee, and the results were pretty much what you'd conjure up in your teeny tiny mind as to just what kind of celebration this big blockbuster concert was gonna turn out to be.

Sure it ain't got the same dignified jazz pounce as all of those early-sixties avant garde sound poems Mingus was educating a whole slew of pseudointellectual upstarts with, but this show does have a nice Ellingtonian rhapsodizing envelopment (or something like that) that recaptures early-fifties successes with nice asides into the blues and gospel that Mingus never did wash outta his boho mentality. Cosby may seem intrusive but even more gosh darn thrilled to be up there with his idol, and at least it sounds as if everybody except Mingus himself had a good time that evening.

As for Mingus, I don't think that he ever had a fun time in his life (I think Lou Reed was caught smiling more'n he!), but then again I guess he hadda keep up that volatile mad genius pose that got him more'n his share of notoriety (as well as Jimmy Knepper's front tooth knocked out, but we'll talk about that some other time)...
Big Star-LIVE IN MEMPHIS CD-r burn (originally on Omnivore)

Hey, for being one of those "reunion" thingies (with Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens being the only originals brave or alive enough to show up at the time) this one does capture that seventies pop-cum-hard rock feeling that used to get people like Greg Shaw muttering "It's all coming back!" even though when it did come back he wasn't quite satisfied in the way that it eventually did. These '94 tracks have that same restructured mid-sixties feeling that I sure wish ALL AM pop rock had back when these tracks were being laid down and it all sounds just as fresh and alive in the jaded '90s as it did back inna mid-seventies. Also available on DVD in case you want to experience this using two of your senses instead of three when the walking turd with a bad case of B.O.plants itself smack dab next to you at the theatre.
Frank Lowe Quartet-OUT LOUD cassette dub of 2-LP set (originally on Triple Point Records)

This 'un's probably long op by now, but if you're brave enough give the link above a click for this double platter effort (sent via Robert Forward---forgot to mention his name above) is yet another hotcha top-notch killer from one of the leaders of the seventies "out there" players to lay sound to tape. Backed by a crackerjack outfit (including the up and coming Joseph Bowie blowing some rather frenetic trombone), Frank Lowe careens and screams like nobody before or after through ninety-minutes-plus live and studio tracks complete with not only Bowie but drummer Steve Reid going cablooey on drums and bassist William Parker at the beginning of a long and involved career in the free sound. (Also look for Ahmed Abdullah making a surprise appearance on trumpet.)

The performance is on par with previous and future Lowe gatherings from BLACK BEINGS to FRESH and the only thing offhand I can compare it with would be Arthur Doyle's ALABAMA FEELING. The New Thing getting even newer as instruments fly about even more'n I'm sure Albert Ayler coulda imagined, what with alla that hard thud and careening solo sax colliding with BAG small instruments and some pretty freaked out vocalizing courtesy Lowe taking the entire idiom into areas that I'm sure woulda ruffled Leonard's Feathers had he only gotten a loud whiff of this (whew!) And hey, this says as much about the state of mid-seventies jass (even more) than what was being tossed about as new and unique by the standard bearers at DOWN BEAT who were doing their durndest to make sure that jazz was a respectable (read "square") music. It says maybe even more if you consider that there was a time when even the majors were pumping enough $$$ into the free jazz via labels like Novus and Douglas, at least before the big vinyl crunch of 1979 his and new wave arrived to save the entire industry.

Definitely one to ring the new year in the right way (in fact, I did just that with this while the rest of you were out making fools of yourselves), and if this indeed is sold out I ain't shedding any tears for you, lazyass!

Being as hard up for a good early-seventies Velvet Underground-influenced/induced romp, I snatched this collection up after a few good years of deep consideration. Maybe I should have considered quite a while longer, for these Elizabethan minstrels, although heaving heaping hosannas for the lobotomized energy of the John Cale-driven Velvets, exude none of the punk energy and drive that made blackhead popping pus sacks like ourselves pour through CREEM magazine for the latest hint of life outside of Terry Kath. Even Steeleye Span sound like RAW POWER next to this red death rouser. For a better idea of the Velvets cum folk revival romp that I was expecting, try Emtidi.
The Daggermen-DAGGER IN MY MIND CD-r burn (originally on Own Up)

This 'un came out ('86) around the time I was beginning to tire of not only the new garage band revival acts but the scattered leftovers of the late-seventies rock exhumation who just weren't cutting the cheese like they used to. Well maybe not...I think my general disenchantment was in actuality a long, drawn out agony that lasted perhaps the entire decade but anyway, as far as THESE revivalists/seventies underground rock survivors go... Well I gotta say that they do recall various Stiff Records-era English blooze ponk done up the way that was bound to get 'em trifle British Weakly coverage and their teenage sounds come off as such a relief next to the scuzz this ultimately led to. But there's still a lacking dimension in sound, mind and maybe even body that pales next to the outright pounce that acts such as the Flamin' Groovies and aforementioned Dr. Feelgood popped out with relative ease. One for the Paul McGarry files (which doesn't surprise me because hey, he's the one who dubbed this for me!).

Pete Molinari-THEOSOPHY CD-r burn (originally on Clarksville)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the artist sometimes does live up to the hype. However, I ain't gonna be bustin' out my Roget's to come up with a whole slew of eloquent and flowery superlatives to describe the music of this rather talented individual. In BLOG TO COMM terms lemme just say that Pete Molinari might not be any new Dylan or heaven forbid Springsteen, but he's doing rather well as a new Elliot Murphy and what better thing could I say about the bloke? A singer/songwriter cum late-seventies new thing for this late in the rock 'n roll game, Molinari seems to be picking up where a whole load of promising acts that never made it left off. And for once I'm glad he's doing it in 2015 'stead of inna seventies where you KNOW he woulda been washed away by all of those "new Dylan" wannabes that were peppering up the field during those somewhat directionless days.
Tim Buckley-12-15-1969 SANTA MONICA AUDITORIUM; VARIOUS LIVE 1970 CD-r burns (courtesy P. D. Fadensonnen)

The second and third of the Fadensonnen "red cover series" entries for the week, these find Tim Buckley live doing his jazz folk trip at a time when I'm sure many a listener thought he was gonna break through into mass acceptance what with all of the tee-vee time and publicity he had been gettin'. After giving these a listen you'll probably wonder why he didn't. SANTA MONICA features Buckley and band (including future DOWN BEAT editor Lee Underwood on guitar) getting into some rather serious jazzy grooves and gropes all the while Buckley stays true to his singer/songwriter self making for a collision that I'm sure stymied some of the more altruistic listeners of the day. VARIOUS features the STARSAILOR band getting even deeper into the jazz thang while Buckley stretches his vocal cords more'n even Yoko'd dare as he channels the spirit of Leon Thomas and outdoes him at every turn. You can just feel the throngs of fans turning their backs on Buckley after experiencing these stabs as the new jazz thing, but in the long run I guess we all know by now that Buckley's career moves made a whole lot more sense than Melanie's ever did even if he did end up making those albums for Discreet that everyone I know can't stand!
UFO-09. JUNE 1973 BERNIE RIDES AGAIN PECKINGHAUSEN GERMANY CD-r burn (courtesy P.D. Fadensonnen)

Sheesh, I didn't even know there was a guitarist in UFO between Larry Wallis and Michael Schenker! But there was and his name was Bernie Marsden, and frankly I don't think he was all that tough next to the primitive crank outs of his predecessors! But for the overall crunch factor he sure fit in with the neo-Zep posturings of Phil Mogg and company so who am I to argue with success? Actually this is a good enough show, no UFO LIVE by a long shot, but a whole lot more digestible mid-seventies metal 'n some of the turdmongering that just happened to be going on in the metallic idiom just after that great fall from early-seventies grace.
Various Artists-GREASY DREAM KISSES AT PARADISE PLANTATION CD-r burn (I've run out of those pithy ways to tell you that Bill Shute made this for me)

Not too long (clocking in at 42 + minutes) but still a goodie featuring a bitta surf instrumental, early rock-a-blues and even some straight ahead c&w that Bill so desires he living in the middle of it all. I thought the Sleepy LaBeef tracks for Plantation Records were rather boffo, and the early-sixties teen pop of Clyde Stacy was pretty good if only to remind me of how good ladies used to look back in the days when this song was recorded (really!). The Mexican jazz pop of Ricardo Luna and Tony Dones really struck a cha cha cha in me as well, though my fave of the batch just has to be the closer "Crime Does Not Pay" sung (or actually chanted) by none other than longtime tee-vee second banana Durwood Kirby, a guy I grew up watching in front of the boob tube thinking that, when I got to be his age, I was gonna be every bit as grown up and as dignified as he was! Don't think I made the grade (which would have been an impossible task for me), but it sure is nice being reminded of some of the happier things that I grew up experiencing that seemed to be expurgated from life once we all got older and certain things became erased from our collective consciousnesses in a way Stalin could have only drooled at! In other words: Durward Kirby was to human beings what Studebakers were to automobiles and don't let anybody tell you different!

No comments: