Sunday, January 18, 2015

It usually happens in February, or better yet late January. However this year it actually went and started the first full week of this very month which is a record of sort! I'm talking about the winter blahs, that time of the cold weather season when you're sick of everything from the snow to the concept of human warmth and worse yet you're sick as in you wanna spend your days either puking your guts out or hacking thick yellow phlegm from your throat while struggling to breathe as you can hear your sinuses swell up like cooked sausages inna boiling water. And lemme tell ya, it ain't fun stayin' home from work like it was from school because hey, at least when yer at work you're getting PAID to goof off!

At least when I was in grade or high school I could spend the days bundled up getting sweaty while watching those fifteen-minute PBS educational classroom programs, all the while thinking about the wonderful classes and comrades in arms who were busting their behinds in order to get ahead, but now that I'm older and supposedly more gnarled I just can't lay back and enjoy a good throat hack the way I used to. Now all I do is what I do when I'm not sick (mainly sit around the house doing nothing), only the music doesn't quite have the same tangy zest to it nor does the printed word excite the way it should. It seems that all I did throughout the worst days of my malady was lay back and read some old collection of comic strips and imagine what kind of life some kid who was reading the exact same comic in the newspapers the day it came out had in some make believe burgh where suburban slob living was rife and a future in high energy rock was apparent. Then I'd imagine what was on the local UHF station that day in the mid-sized town complete with local and syndicated programming and whether or not the kid was watching said show, right before I myself would plop down to sleep all night not in my bed but my comfy chair right next to it. Let me tell you, they're making Ny Quil more powerful these days an' that's the truth!

I'm beginning to get outta this rut, though I might just keep on the Ny Quil if only to stimulate my imagination. (After all, it just might help my writing these upcoming posts.) Considering just how much the good stuff onna street'll set you back it's a whole lot easier to just head out to the supermarket and pick up a few of these cold remedies for just a fraction of the price. But then again the winter is young, and maybe I'll catch another good 'un before the season is through just so's I can get a li'l more creative with this blog 'n not just sleepwalk through week after week like I have been doing for a longer time than I can imagine. Given how turdsville my writing has become as of late, anything would be an improvement.
Would this really be a BLOG TO COMM post were I not to mention the very recent (like two days ago) passing of none other than Kim Fowley? Yeah, I know that those of you who aren't rah-rah cheerleading his death are probably wondering why it took him so long to finally deep six, but I gotta admit that I do feel differently about the guy than many of you (even those who HAVEN'T gotten the personal rap from his chauffeur) have. Of course I've heard all the stories about the folk who've met him then ran straight home to dump alla their Fowley records on unsuspecting chumps, but for me Fowley was one of those seventies cool guys who I always thought had the same sorta style and swing that the rest of those seventies big names who were living the high life in El Lay or En Why See had, and that was something that I always wanted myself but knew I could never obtain in a million zillion years!

And if you were a seventies mag careener like I was you couldn't ignore the name nor could you not notice his moniker popping up on every other record that appeared in your best friend's collection. From Emerson Lake and Palmer to the Modern Lovers to the Soft Machine, Flamin' Groovies, Helen Reddy, Mothers of Invention, Hollywood Stars and beyond, Kim was there. And like CREEM magazine said way back in 1973 (paraphrasing here), Kim was always where the action was or at least what he thought where it was, and well that is much better'n being stuck inside of Sharon with the Coraopolis blues again.

At least for me the Kim Fowley I knew the bestest was the one who was making all of those strange albums that used to pop up and disappear in the local record bins, especially the ones on Capitol. Never bought any of 'em at the time but they sure seemed interesting-looking enough to my adolescent blubber tub mind what with those beady eyes and lipstick. Alice Cooper seemed staid in comparison, and come to think of it so did the rest of those glitter types who were comin' and goin' faster'n you could say Max Factor back in those annoyingly gender bender days. And of course who could forget those other dare-I-say mandatory platters like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL not to mention Skydog's ANIMAL GOD OF THE STREETS, and of course the still invigorating SON OF FRANKENSTEIN credited to Fowley's own bastard offspring "Kim Fowley Jr." Bill Shute once writ, Frank Zappa could mock a musical genre while playing in his own seventies/eighties blowhard-y way, but Fowley became the music himself which is one good reason I can come back to his albums time and time again and many times have you (or I for that matter?) played TINSELTOWN REBELLION or MAN FROM UTOPIA anyway???

Really can't get into all of the whys and wherefores of Mr. Fowley here especially since he himself couldn't even do it in Part One of his autobiography. SUGGESTION: try and dig up your copy of DENIM DELINQUENT #5 to read Jymn Parrett's account of going over to Fowley's garage to listen to obscure single sides as well as a tape of him singing to a sped up Electric Light Orchestra backing track, or even the aforementioned Shute piece in one of his old INNER MYSTIQUE magazines (meet up with the guy and he may even tell you about his infamous phone call with Fowley which I was urging him to transcribe the best he could into print!). If you're really lucky howzbout copping the third ish of my own crudzine which had a few paragraphs of Fowley impressions that I still think hold up even a good thirty years later. But whatever, if you're gonna mourn, mourn the death of the seventies gritty rock underbelly even more now that this guy's finally hit the carbon cycle because no matter how hard we stamp our feet and cry IT AIN'T COMIN' BACK!!!
Saddest, sickest television image to be seen in quite some time: James Taylor mewling "You've Got a Friend" while John Kerry looks on tenderly.
Well, be thankful that I was able to scratch this much up this week considering the serious and life-threatening case of sniffles I've contracted last week. As you can see it's a boffo bevy of goodies, most of which were sent my way courtesy such illuminating lights as P. D. Fadensonnen, Bill Shute and even my own hard works (as for the items that Bob Foward and Paul McGarry have jetted my way, maybe next time...). Lotsa free jazz to be experienced here to which I will say huzzah since it seems as if this music is the best soother of my savage soul perhaps in a fight fire with gasoline sorta way, and although that don't mean I've forsaken the wild and woolly world of rock et roll it does mean that there just ain't as much of that stuff comin' out as there should be but so what since for all intent purposes rock's been dead a good forty-eight years in body and at least thirty-three in spirit. Don't see any revival comin' around either, and while jazz might not be as healthy at least there's a whole cartload of undiscovered free platters to find and enjoy and well, I gotta keep busy with my time when I'm not watching old tee-vee shows and reading HOMER THE HAPPY GHOST comics now, right? Awww sheesh, read these writeups and try to let a little of the inspiration rub off on you, hunh?

The Stooges-A THOUSAND LIGHTS CD (Easy Action)

If any platter was responsible for jarring me outta the wintertime sickies mentioned above it was this 'un, a collection of live Stooges during the FUNHOUSE tour that easily slipped through my maws when it came out way back in the dawn of the teens. Taken from the personal collection of Natalie Stoogeling herself, A THOUSAND LIGHTS really does bring back those hard-edged Stooges memories that crept throughout the psyche of seventies rock, jam-packed with some of the rawest Stooge sounds to ever come off the stage and into the sanctity of your fart-encrusted bedroom. Sound's perfect in that jammoid assembled in Mexico cassette (three for a buck!) sorta way, while you can't get any more o-mind with the scrangling (made that word up, and it fits!) sound that Iggy and co. were making at this point in whatever there was of their career. FOUR count 'em versions of  "1970" not forgetting a live take of "LA Blues" that was guaranteed to straighten out all the gal's hair without the aid of an iron. Shoulda been a bootleg back '77 way, and if only my teenbo self coulda gotten an earfulla THIS back when I needed it the most!!!
Frank Lowe-DOCTOR TOO MUCH CD-r burn (originally on Kharma)

Yet another Fadensonnen red cover series entry, this '77 side shows Lowe to still have his anger-addled (well, what else would you call it?) intensity at full tilt. Must have been before he read that review which accused him of "overblowing", but anyway he's still careening on as few wheels as possible here with the aid of bassist Fred Williams, drummer and drug partner Phillip Wilson and either Leo Smith or Olu Dara on trumpet. Yet another perfect encapsulation of that seventies free gnarl that didn't seem to make it into the eighties intact, perfect for those of you who still weep over all of those New Music Distribution Service records you didn't have enough money to plunk down for as well as the utter demise of the Freestyle Series that Dee Pop had the good sense to curate. If you really wannit you can go to youtube and burn a copy for yourself you computer savvy whiz you!
Bill Shute-WORRIED MEN AND WOODEN SOLDIERS CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions)

My cyst-er thinks that Bill sounds like Warren Zevon. I don't, and in fact I can't think of anybody in particular that he reminds me of but that ain't the point of this schpiel. The point is that I've had this 'un for quite some time and totally forgot about it, finding the thing while searching for something else and like a big caga I feel foolish for having ignored it for so long. But to be brief about it (having edited a good two paragraphs that I thought were droll enough to even make Shute himself wanna deck me upon our next meeting), let me just say this...deep, eloquent, creepy, nerve-y and at times maddening enough to make you wanna smash your Wal Mart boom box against the wall. WORRIED MEN AND WOODEN SOLDIERS ain't the High School yearly literary pub schlub any neophyte might think it to be, but edi-too-real bemoanings and observations that haven't hit home like this in ages. Also a whole lot better'n some of the wank heard these past thirtysome years...I mean I couldn't imagine Foetus backing Shute up inna millyun years (or this being released on Widowspeak for that matter)! Check with Bill via KSE (see link on left hand column) and maybe there's one available just waiting to get you into that beret and stale doritos mood you're always nostalgic for.
Don Pullen/Milford Graves-IN CONCERT AT YALE UNIVERSITY CD-r burn (originally on SRP)

I reviewed the other Pullen/Graves album entitled NOMMO a good five-plus years back  It would figure that it would take me that long to get to the other one in this series of live college shows the duo released during that busy year of 1966 but anyway... This Fadensonnen red cover series issue features more of that boffo pair's art what with Pullen doing his darndest to out-Taylor Cecil himself while Graves' approach to the tubs is freeplay enough to even give Sunny Murray headaches...NEFERTITI THE BEAUTIFUL ONE HAS COME redux anyone?
Cecil Taylor-JAZZ ADVANCE LP (Doxy Italy)

(Speaking of the master) interesting to hear that on this debut platter Taylor has pretty much gotten his free play splat and Unit Structures down pat! No room for earnest growing and early years of bitter struggle here! And compared with what else was going on in 1956 you could say that Taylor had 'em all beat to the free splatter punch. Taylor's classical sweeps and atonal clusterbombs are backed up by a pretty hotcha band too including soprano sax mangler Steve Lacy, drummer Denis Charles and bassist Buell Nedlinger, all of whom fit in with Taylor's unique approach almost telepathic-like. On clear vinyl if you care, and the sound is so crisp and clear that you'll wish all of those recycled placemats that the major labels were passing off as record back inna late-seventies sounded as good as this!
Joseph Jarman/Anthony Braxton-TOGETHER ALONE CD (Delmark)

I gotta admit that I was rather wary about buying some of these AACM duo/trio efforts after reading about how Lester Bangs almost bust a gusset while attending a Don Moye concert (or was he listening to EGWU-ANWU???). Being in a peckishly adventurous mode, I decided to pick up this album by Joseph Jarman and Anthony Braxton (recorded '71 but released '75 to cash in on Braxton's newfound college boy fame) to see just how far out these two could get w/o straining my sometimes already strained sense of put on. Thankfully the pair work it out rather fine when they're playing these neo-classical lines (sometimes with Braxton tinkling the ivories) or doing those familiar contrabass clarinet grumbles 'n groans. Standard AACM Great Black Music approach all the way. The only thing that I thought was pure jagoff was the one where a whole lotta tracks (including synthesizer and Jarman and Braxton's own prose) are layered upon each other to the point of one humongous aural glob...that was a letdown, but I'm still not dissuaded from trying more.
The New Order-LIVE IN LA 1976 CD-r burn (courtesy Fadensonnen)

This is the same New Order tape that has been flying around on a whole load of lists ever since those mid-seventies ROCK MARKETPLACE and HOOPLA set sale/auctions were offering rare recordings by underground acts at upwards of ten dollars a pop for deluxe chrome. Only this one sounds a whole lot better'n the grumbled murk that my tape had. Bound to offend the more cultured of punques out there who think that the only reason the New Order got so much coverage in fanzines was because there was nothing else to write about, but I find the uber-Detroit approach (with just enough Hollywood tossed in for decadent measure) of these track so refreshing even if they may seem rather commercial hard rock-y to some. Now let's get some Sirius Trixon out there, hunh?

With all of the Bill Shute samplers to pour through I picked this one outta the pile and you know why??? Because of the snap of the Studebaker dealership featured on the cover, dat's why! Nice music to go with my staring at the pic for hours on end too, what with the weirdo avant crank of Murmurists not to mention Ergo Phizmiz's sounding like Eno's "Discreet Music" with some eastern twang. There's also some locally-produced (meaning non-national, not that it was made like next door!) teenage neo-doo wop from the likes of the Trebletones and Treytones, jazzy instrumentals from Nat Adderley and King Curtis amongst others, and even a Scott Joplin piano roll that had me envisioning an old pre-D.W. Griffith-era Biograph short in my mind. Of course that pic makes me wanna jump into a Studebaker and drive myself to the nearest hamburger stand, but why did you include a snap of that rotted avocado Bill?

1 comment:

Trash Flow Radio said...

I agree pretty much 100% with your assessment of Kim Fowley. To commemorate KF's passing, I talked about his legacy, and let him speak for himself as well, and played a lot of his tracks, on Trash Flow Radio on Sat Jan 17, 2015. An archive of the whole 2.5-hour broadcast can be freely downloaded from: