Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sheesh, another weekend another post. Let's face it, if it weren't for those package that P. D. Fadensonnen, Bob Forward and Tom Gilmore sent me I'd probably be crawling the walls here, or at least re-reviewing PARIDIESWARTS DUUL while trying to get my daily fix of a very-early seventies band that was influenced by the Velvet Underground (y'know, before everyone including me jumped onna bandwagon) into the ol' system. But at least the following newies helped me make it through the fact that I'm stuck knee deep in the middle of winter here and like, this time of year always brings back miserable memories of winters past no matter how far down the line you get and how much you curse your teachers and classmates who hadda make up your social intercourse no matter how much you doth protested! Oh to be snowed in until the spring thaw with nothing to do but spin records, watch old tee-vee shows and eat frozen pizzas, but trudge on I must no matter how bitter cold it gets and how irritating those memories of yore may be!
Are any of you reg'lar BLOG TO COMM readers fans of the legendary Czech underground rock act Umela Hmota? (I do have my doubts because hey, I'VE been the one championing 'em for a good twenny-plus years and you certainly wouldn't want to be caught casting your lot with anything connected with me even in the slightest, right?) Well, if you too consider this act in any (UH2 and 3) incarnation the boffoest in Eastern Bloc proto-avant-punk you might wanna cast eyeballs upon these extremely rare photos featuring none other'n UH guitarist Otakar "Alfred" Michl in a variety of groups including (besides UH) DG 307, the Plastic People of the Universe and his 1966 kid combo the Rotters, a bunch who look about as suburban slob Amerigan as they come but remember, this was all happening under the boot of the Soviet Bloc so it ain't like they were able to run to the local corner grocery store and buy Shake-a-Puddin' like teenagers were able to do over here! Historically significant and fun to look at as well! Of course you're welcome.
Since this ain't exactly one of those big to-do kinda posts I might as well get started with this weekend's brouhaha if only to get it over with. Once again thanks to P. D. for the red cover series, Forward for the Stones and Dead (I think), and I didn't get to any of yours Tom but maybe next time...

The Stranglers-GIANTS 2-CD set (Fontana, Canada)

Have you ever wondered what the Stranglers have been up to these past few decades? Yeah, that's what I thought but for some reason I was curious which is why I snatched this recent ('13) set by theirs up almost pronto like. As I suspected, the post-Cornwell group doesn't quite have the same kick that the original band did (well, at least up to a point) though they still can dish out that pseudo-Doors sound when the inspiration hits. Which anymore is rarely. Hardly anything on the studio set is memorable, though the live platter does conjure some Stranglers memories of old that even new guitarist/singer Baz Warne can't eradicate. Nothing stupendous, but doesn't it warn the cockles of your heart knowing that this band is still alive and kicking all these years later???
Frank Lowe Quartet-LIVE '77 CD-r burn (courtesy Fadensonnen)

Yet another from the red cover series, this '77 Amsterdam set has Lowe with trumpeter Butch Morris backed by a coupla local guys and y'know what...its pretty good 'n I mean it! Nothing outrageous the way THE FLAM and FRESH are, but stable enough. Lowe isn't at his "overplaying" best but he still beats out a whole lotta those guys who just picked up a horn and thought they were Coltrane because they could squeal with it, while Morris shows some of the spark 'n promise that would make him a free jazz fixture as the years rolled on. Even the Dutch rhythm section (for wont of a better word) hold their own and don't get in the way. Now that Lowe has gone to his final reward you'd think there'd be more of this making the rounds, huh? Well thankfully there IS!
The Rolling Stones-ITCHY FINGERS CD-r burn (originally on Invasion, Germany)

In between suffering through listening to a set of Grateful Dead (!) burns that Bob Forward sent me I decided to sneak this little nineties-vintage bootleg into the mix, something that purports to be part of a series of Rolling Stones rarities in the ULTRA RARE TRACKS tradition I surmise. Considering that the tracks here are stuck between the v. late-sixties just post-Brian Jones deep six days and the advent of STICKY FINGERS (the cover actually being the Spanish version without the Joe Dalessandro bulge) I must commend it for remaining thematic enough not to sound as hodgepodgey as some of the other Stones boots that've hit the racks o'er the years. Lotsa this ain't whatcha'd call recently discovered, but it's still nice hearing that country hokey take of "Honky Tonk Woman" as well as the various "Wild Horses" "works in progress" which come in handy after you get tired of hearing Jagger doin' his sharecropper act once too often. And for your homo readers this 'un ends with two takes of what you probably consider your own national anthem, none other'n the infamous and oft-circulated "Cocksucker Blues"! (And boy did I have a wickedly nice sentence to end this particular review but I dare not use it, high-larious if chicken rockscribe that I am!)
Amon Duul II & Guru Guru-DOUBLE KRAUT PLEASURE, DOUBLE KRAUT FUN CD-r burn (courtesy Fadensonnen)

Tee-vee rarities and the likes from two of krautrock's biggest hitters recorded during their better days before they both fizzled out after a series of platters that just weren't noisy enough for my tastes. Amon Duul II are captured live in Paris at the Olympia sounding kinda thin next to their studio efforts, but they really do knock over more'n a few trashcans in the alley of your mind with their by-then "outdated" psychedelic approach. Must to hear: a take of "Jailhouse Frog" with an even stranger coda that evolves into weird oompah music played on an ocarina! Guru Guru continue to sate as well not only with a fragment from a rehearsal of "LSD March" but that take of "Electric Junk" where bassist Uli Trepte creates weird electro wah-wah with a smal hose connected to his mouth. Not only that but the BEAT CLUB appearance where "Oxymoron" is given some broadcast-friendly lyrics closes out the thing. Funny, that show didn't mind when the MC5 did "Kick Out The Jams" in all its unexpurgated glory so why did they get all nice and wholesome now?!?!?!
Art Ensemble of Chicago-GO HOME + CHI CONGO CD (Free Factory EU)

Handy twofa of what I believe were the final French Art Ensemble albums collected on one nice li'l disque. Never heard GO HOME so that was an experience, not exactly a tip top one since I didn't think it held up next to their other Frog releases but time may change things. I felt CHI CONGO was way better, what with the great free play on tracks such as "Hipparippp" not to mention "Enlorfe" Parts One and Two which really do hearken back to the fantastic free splat of the group's various BYG efforts let alone the oft-referred to slow burn PEOPLE IN SORROW. Both serious free jazz fans and those just tingling their toes in the avant garde would do well to snatch up all of the AEC's French albums and spin them to their heart's content, even though you might feel more'n a li'l guilty knowing that nobody got paid for any of 'em which I understand has led to a whole lot of bad vibes even this late inna game!
Sunny Murray-LIVE AND RARE CD-r burn (via P. D. Fadensonnen)

I believe most of this is actually Murray's rare Shandar album (ain't got it!), but what really tops that juicy sundae of an album off is the rare opening track taken from a kraut radio broadcast featuring Sunny with that other "Sonny", Sharrock that is, creating this wild wall of free joy with Murray splaying sound all over as Sharrock does his best to fill in the cracks with those patented lines of sheet metal he'd been using for quite some time. Quality ain't what you'd call hotcha, but it sure helped break the mental logjam in my psyche. The Shandar one is boffo too...not as hot as his ESP or BYG offerings but still free in that late-sixties expat way that'll only burn you up even more when you realize that Murray probably didn't get paid for this 'un either!
The Grateful Dead-LIVE AT THE FILLMORE WEST JUNE 6 1970  2CD-r burn set (originally on SB 27TK)

Well, I made it through both disques. And I survived even though it sounds as if what little fun and jamz the Dead may have had even a year or two earlier has been washed away by too much bad acid, bad vibes, or bad front porches to hold alla them Marin County get togethers for that matter. The acoustic set ain't anything to rah rah about unless you like hearing half-there covers of old country and western standards, and although the electric portion does show signs of psychedelic flash you can't deny the fact that the Dead really didn't have that spirit of rockist vision to carry off a song the way the Thirteenth Floor Elevators not forgetting a slew of San Franciscan competitors could with ease. Spin the Dead's version of "It's a Man's World" next to the MC5's and get a first hand lesson in dynamics, and who was lacking in it. Lest you think I'm being a punk snob about it all let me admit that I actually caught myself tapping toe to "Uncle John's Band" so maybe there is some decay above the neck setting in...

The inclusion of the Iguanas (the eighties midwest band that created a bit of a hubbub in the pre-grunge mid-eighties) and Hellcows certainly slammed me back to my earlier days when I loved then tired of the newer spurts coming outta garageland (as of today I'm rather iffy of it all), though the James Cotton tracks were better'n even I remembered that one film of his concert that the local PBS station used to show between afternoon instructional television programming and the kid shows and Bobby Rydell not half bad if not entirely interesting. You may like Lamar Harrington if local blooze is your chooze while Janice Giteck's OK if you're in the mood for avant garde compositions borrowing heavily from various world musics whose practitioners probably ain't gonna get a sliver of the publicity she has. And hey, even the Legend prove that the MC5 weren't the only act to "borrow" heavily from "I Can See For Miles"! Good 'un the web and make your own up now, willya?

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