Saturday, June 06, 2015

Hi-it's Chris the Cis here, welcoming you to yet another fun (as opposed to fudge) packed edition of BLOG TO COMM! For a change I got some actual newies this time out thanx to the likes of Bill, Dave 'n Paul (not to mention...Light in the Attic???), and of course I'm more'n glad to share my opinions of with you desperate readers out there who have nothing better to do in life than read my blog. Hey, I know you deserve more than Jay, but don't we all???. Not so spendthrifty me even got some hot 'n PURCHASED items for you to schmooze which, although a strain on my pocketbook, sure ain't a strain on your willingness to know a whole lot more about music than you think you do!

Hey. I'm actually feeling kinda top notch for a change so hey, rather'n bitch 'n moan about life (of which I am most certainly entitled to do) here be this week's wrap up of totally hot and ginchy goodies!

 The Ventures-FLIGHTS OF FANTASY CD-r burn (originally on Liberty)

Good thing Bill sent me a copy of this or else I'd have to search through tons of local flea market record bins to locate one for myself! Of course these old Ventures albums are about as easy to spot in those old stacks of records as John Kennedy assassination platters, but unlike that death casheroo-in the Ventures are actually listenable 'n besides, why does anybody care about JFK and brood this late inna game anyhoo?

Hot covers of the local hits as only a still riding high on their early sixties success band can do, with funzy enough versions of "Bonnie and Clyde", "Scarborough Fair" and other tip top chart successes that sound exactly the way you would expect some early-sixties instrumental group to have whipped 'em up in the hippydippy latter portion of that decade. Don't miss their surprisingly true to the original while Venturing it up version of Blue Cheer's "Summertime Blues".
Various Artists-HADLEY MURRELL PRESENTS THE BEST ARIZONA GARAGE BANDS 1967-1970 CD (HDM, available via Forced Exposure)

Sheesh, from the cover photo showin' off his early-sixties band the Carnations to the way his mug is splattered all over the booklet insert, you kinda get the idea that the real title of this collection of soul/disco producer Hadley Murrell's early studio successes should read HADLEY MURRELL PRESENTS THE BEST ARIZONA GARAGE BANDS 1967-1970.

Well, at least somethin' like that. But despite Murrell's obvious mugging for the attention (after all, this was released on his own label) this li'l spinner is better than a lot of barrel-scraping garage band collections that have popped up over the past few decades. From the boffo Caravelles "Lovin' Just My Style" single (BTW it turns out that future Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith was not in the band!) to the downer folk rock of  the Sect and the frat rockin' Noble and the Matadors 'n Jokers, ths 'un does present a nice slice of what was goin' on in Arizona rock way back when it was ALL regional scenes and local radio.

Even the aforementioned Carnations got their sole single (a nice slice of turn of the fifties/sixties instrumental plunkdom) represented here, though for the life of me I dunno why eight tracks by the awful Bliss pop up inna mix. This late-sixties hard rock just doesn't make it next to the boffo blasts from earlier in the decade 'n besides that, Bliss' moves are so bad-move shuck that even the likes of Rare Earth sound lively in comparison.

Proceed at your own headband and fringe jacket risk with Bliss but the rest...yeah!
The Feelies-DEC. 14th, 1977 CBGB'S CD-r burn

My abject loathing of the Feelies o'er the years has since turned to mere dislike, but I do find this particular early recording to be more or less middling. The group's natural geekiness doesn't quite irritate me the way their recordings as well as spawn did throughout the eighties, and if you listen to them in the context of the times (Television and Talking Heads vs. B-52s and...Talking Heads!) the Feelies don't sound bad at all. At least they don't when they're cranking out their post-Velvet paens they sound about as coherent as any suburban slob geek surviving on cutout bin treasures and back issues of CREEM. But still I'd rather give any third string CBGB group of the day a spin over this because hey, sometimes I actually think that I would rather hear a good Aerosmith impression over a bad David Byrne one!

David Keay and Laura Feathers are back with yet another spinner, this one featuring nothing but instrumental versions of past rockist accomplishment (and then some). Not quite surf, but these straightforward instrumentals can sucker you in with their repetitive drone. At times reminiscent of an early Amon Duul II jam, the Kiosk make the perfect background (and foreground for that matter) sounds for these lazy late-spring days. Covers of the Byrds, Beatles, Velvets, Wire and...Bruce Springsteen??? Ya better believe it, Bub!
Smokey-HOW FAR WILL YOU GO? CD (Chapter)

I've been interested in this Smokey character ever since I first read about him in BACK DOOR MAN way back when (wouldja believe 1987?). After alla these years I finally get to hear not only the guy's rare mid-seventies singles but a whole passel of unreleased studio efforts that I'm sure nobody would've thought would've seen the light of day and if you wanna, so can you (just click above)!

Although none of these tracks are whatcha'd call high energy rock 'n roll they (at least the early 'uns) do have a nice mid-seventies synth punk drive that should appeal to the more glam-oriented amongst you ('n they should considering that the likes of James Williamson, Hunt/Tony Sales and Randy Rhodes sat in on these sessions). Smokey has the showbiz talent groove down so pat that you won't even mind when the guy slips into those bad late-period Jim Morrison moves which only Iggy could turn to gold!

However I gotta admit that the newer late-seventies disco-wave numbers sound like the kinda after-hours bathhouse blahdom you'd expect anonymous luvvers to listen to while trying to dig deeper and deeper down the Hershey Highway with their lappers. So proceed at your own risk, and remember that water sports don't always involve skis and scuba gear.
Sweet Madness-MADE IN SPOKANE 1978-1981 VOLUME 2 LP (distributed by Light in the Attic)

If you liked these Northwesterners' first edition of archival dig ups you'll be sure not to pass up this collection of even more late-seventies/early-eighties under-the-covers rock 'n roll. And if you (like me) tended to have an aversion toward some of the, er, giddier moments of 1980s wave music and attached yourself to the more nerve-digging sounds of the day this might suit you well. Entertaining (and maybe even commercial!) pop moves mix with snazzy keyboard stylings that remind me of everything from very early XTC (at least the stuff I liked!) to the Embarrassment making for a platter that really does remind ya of just what fun it was to mix sixties accomplishment and seventies experiments. Now if only more acts out there would come up with a sound as bright, energetic and life-reaffirming as this 'stead of the gloomy glop that usually came from many a young and precocious sort!

The Royal Guardsmen-ANTHOLOGY 2

According to Bill this is an online-only deal so if you're online and you wanna deal then hey, why not snatch the thing up. The Red Baron gang cover the hits of the sixties with all of the budget-mindedness that went into the group, and although they ain't the original hits they're better'n those soundalikes that used to get plugged on afternoon UHF tee-vee back inna seventies.

I'm sure that if Bill were to write about these he'd go whole hog into the intricacies and subtleties that separate the Royal Guardsmen's versions from the original (perhaps even going on as to how they were improved in the process!), but since I'm writing this thing I won't.

Of course to sweeten the ol' pot the "Snoopy" hit along with a whole batch of Red Baron-related tracks are clumped on at the end of the disque, and they come complete with a couple of comedy skits off the original album that feature some of the worst imitation English accents I've heard since MARY POPPINS! For the life of me I couldn't see any suburban turdler laughing at that mess of misplaced humor no matter how PEANUTS-related it may be...heck, I even get the idea that the same turdlers who liked the whole PEANUTS jive would have preferred experiencing Peppermint Patty and Marcie getting involved in a hot game of snatch the pearl 'stead of this brand of cheap humor, that's how bad it is!

But the music here's snat, and if you wanna re-live some of those better cheapo rock 'n roll moments of the pre-lovenpeace blitz this should snuggle into your mind a whole lot more'n Judy Collins.
Various Artists-JUST CALL ME KARMA EYE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Starts off fair 'nuff with two sides of a passable Indiana garage band single. Then comes this old radio ad ca. '69 for some Californian tape-only store selling the latest Beatles in four and eight track not to mention cassette. Jan Hodson is a standard late-sixties AM pop wannabe aimed at the same Bobby Sherman crowd, and Roy Buchanan's version of the Neil Young fave rave "Down By The River" is a strict snoozeroo. "Bottom of the Soul" and "Let the Good Times Roll" (no, not the...) by Alvin Robinson's pleasing local soul but like alla this bargain bin music you know it wouldn't go anywhere. Crocodile Tears' "Prostate Exam" sounds like a 1963 surf instrumental recorded while the musicians were performing such an exam on each other while its flip "Karma Swamp" returns to the early-eighties experimental avant-drone rock movement in ways that would make any fan of those Bruce Anderson/Dale Sophiea O-Type Cee-Dees blush.

As for Paul Howard's Quality Serenaders its time for yet more soundtrack music for a Grapevine Video comedy short while the radio ad for REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE probably tempted enough subteen kids to sneak into the theatre only to be bored to death. "Sanctified Sue"'s nothing but more neo-r&b that reminds me of "grown up" music as it was when I was six. Factory Sounds (not to be confused with Three Sounds who recorded the previous platter) aren't the Industrial Music noisecrankers I thought they would be but do an interesting acoustic bloozy thing that would appeal to various Fahey/Basho types. They also perform a clunky electric guitar/drums romp that does have much merit due to the go-everywhere guitar line that kinda reminds me of a bug Spanky just hit with a hammer that keeps staggering all over the place.

Whoever recorded the "Bell Solo" and "Meet Me in St. Louis" trax would probably wish to remain anonymous (the first sounding as if someone had taped a pre-recorded church bell as it was ringing while the latter's somone's Aunt Flabby singing the classic song so's the entire family could ooh and aah over it at the Fourth of July picnic), while Angelo Finaldi sounds like some furriner copying the old Crazy Elephant and Rolling Stones hits (sorta) for the local market (I think France even though the guy sings like a dago).

Well it was better'n any of us woulda expected. Nice slice of under-the-counter weirdness you can find on the web if you look hard enough, and I get the idea that the ONLY one on this planet of ours who would dare look would be Bill Shute himself. Well, I guess he's gotta do something when he's not cursing out greyhounds!

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