Saturday, June 27, 2015

So here it is, an entire half a year over 'n all, and I have yet to come up with what I would call an original or even halfway decent post! Nothing but record, book and moom pitcher/tee-vee writeup so far, and no interviews or bold statements of against-the-grain socio-political angst are in sight which really must prove as to just how much of a rut I've fallen into! Now, I will admit that I have attempted a few jabs at comedy and satire, but articles such as "Holocausts We'd Like To See" and "Thalidomide Babies, The Problem That Won't Go Away" didn't just quite make it to fruition...some may say due to wise editorial judgement but I say due to chickening out!

Let's just say that what the folks at NATIONAL LAMPOON could get away with (and make wads of cash with) forty years ago could probably land a person in a heap big vat of trouble these days, as if anyone out there is still comatose enough to care...

But still I have my music to keep the ol' nodes stimulated, and this time I was motivated enough by those patterns of screech to write the following reviews. And yeah, although many of these spinners are of a donated variety there are some items here that I actually purchased with my hard-begged which I suppose I should feel proud about, but as usual the spirit isn't hitting me like its supposed to. But (again) as usual may I give thanks to Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and Thomas Gilmore for the burns, and while I'm at it may I give thanks to my boss for not withholding my last paycheck given all of the headaches and grief I've been causing at work.

Panacea Society-"Do Me Rattle"/"God Is Sexy" 10-inch 45 rpm single (Bedford Society, England)

Heh, wonder if this is one of those early-seventies English groups that Andy MacKay of Roxy Music fame told me had a heavy Velvet Underground influence back when I asked him (via dream) during the time that the famed oboist was eyeballing our school gym for an upcoming concert (again, via dream).

Maybe so even though these Panacea tracks were recorded in the late-sixties and the group for all intent purposes was kaput by the time I would have tossed MacKay such a question. But judging from these selections taken from a long-lost reel-to-reel that only saw the light in 2003 this band was yet another one of many boffo acts who took the Velvets' credo to heart at a time when more bands than the usual ROLLING STONE editor would have dared admitted were mixing their Lou Reed with Lord knows what else.

And it's that Velvets-punky overdriven to the point where this platter (on clear vinyl in case you're still 1979 conscious) actually sounds like something that could have only come outta my unconsciousness under the influence of a couple Ny-Quils or even some of those codeine tablets I take on rare occasion when my lower back certainly gets the best of me.

Beginning as a standard nth-string Bedford-area copy band, the Panacea Society eventually ditched the covers after being turned on to the Seeds, Thirteenth Floor Elevators and the Velvet Underground via that showstopper of showstoppers "Sister Ray". Soon they took to a Creation-like stage show with spray-paint pop art abstracts and smoke with a mini-skirted lass reading poetry in between numbers, but that was before the group took up the communal living gig growing their own veggies amongst other things.

But enough regarding bad lifestyle choices and on to the music. Dunno why more wasn't released because the two tracks extant are fine examples of that early DIY punk approach that would develop into a whole load of strange and twisted venues in a good ten year's time. "Do Me Rattle" reminds me of yet another Velvet Underground-saturated bunch of Englanders, mainly the Velvet Frogs, who were merely lucky enough to crank out a few choice acetates for future consumption. Mid-tempo drive with a great melancholy ennui to the style, A real toe-tapper, but I prefer the flip "God Is Sexy" which sounds like something I would have imagined a 1969 version of Roxy Music to crank out with this fantastic repeato-riff organ that recalls early Suicide more'n anything. Throw in Can circa. DELAY 1968 and you might get an ever better idea of how this wraps its way around your musical listening pleasure points like bacon on fake crab meat.

The singer repeats the title over and over in various manners of emotion and diction, and the groove this song creates is one that you can really work yourself into without much prodding. Heck, it might as well have even been Von Lmo singing "We're Not Crazy" over and over, that's how sock you in the psyche this particular number can be! Really, I could go for a nice hour-long version of this to listen to during beddy-bye time as I eyeball old comic strip art panels for minutes on end before snapping off the light as the music begins to mix with my still-cranking consciousness.

The "remixes" that end both sides were nothing but wastes of grooves that could have been used to present more original material, but if you liked the Can SACRILEGE reworkings you might like these. I don't, but despite the moderne hipness of the reshapings of classic sound into meaningless glurbs this is one that I'm sorry to say slipped underneath the limbo bars for too long.

I can only hope that more similar-minded efforts from the likes of the Panacea Society as well as all of those other proto-punkin' high energy rockin' acts from the late-sixties onward and upward would make their presence known because hey, in the new Victorian world we call earth 2015 we sure need a whole lot more Panacea Society and a whole lot less whatever is out there in that communist-styled mass grave they call music-land!
Marcus Rubio-MORE EASE (stylistic deautomatization) CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions, see link at left)

Yet another under-the-underground recording from the KSE imprint, this one features a variety of amazing tracks that recall everything from Controlled Bleeding to Cluster with a whole lotta Nurse With Wound tossed in. Yet it's all in its own crazed sense of a basement music approach you could only expect from some guy whose mother locked him down there for the past twenny years! One track sounds like seventies-era electronic soundscapading that barely missed making its way onto a SOURCE magazine 10-inch record insert, while another actually takes on a spastic rock 'n roll melody that comes off as much Smegma as it does the Velvet Underground. And yet another one has some vocals from the composer who sounds like he's barely making his way into the world of pubes and deodorant! A real smorgasbord of avant garde inspiration and energy, and to think that it was recorded by a well-known politician who right at this very moment is running for presi...wait, that some other guy, now ain't it?
Screamin' Jay Hawkins-"Armpit #6"/"The Past" 45 rpm single (Red Top)

Hotcha rarity from the true originator of black rock 'n roll. A-side is proudly in the cheap disgusto mode that Hawkins had been known to revel in (title kinda gives away the subject matter), complete with all of the same guttural groans and grunts that he continued to emit throughout his career. From what I've heard, this song would have been perfect for Patti Smith to perform. The flip ain't as fun what with the gal backup singers 'n all but it makes for a better than usual spin than some of these flipsides which just don't live up to the pluggers (though the exact opposite has been known to be true!). Dunno if this one has been reished on any Hawkins collection but if you like your technology mid-twentieth century why not give Norton Records (see link at left) a try?
The Grip Weeds-HOW I WON THE WAR CD-r burn (originally on Jem)

Funny, but who woulda thought that the famous import record company (as well as label dealing in various European obscurities) was still around. Maybe it's a different Jem but whatever, they have released this platter by the group called the Grip Weeds entitled HOW I WON THE WAR which is a strange pun in itself. Y'see John Lennon played the character Musketeer Gripweed in the 1967 Richard Lester film that everyone seems to have heard about but few actually saw entitled (now get this!) HOW I WON THE WAR and to make matters even more intertwined the bloke posing on the front cover of this 'un looks remarkably like Lennon's Gripweed which is something that should get Beatleologists world-wide all in a tither, if they would ever find out about this 'un that is!

Dunno if they will because this album is probably as far away from the Beatle taproot as the Rolling Stones, but it's a good enough platter for me. Nothing I'll probably be spinning again in a long while (lacks that certain grip on various BLOG TO COMM-endorsed gulcheral ideals) but still spiffy enough as a pop-rock artifact that is obviously derived from various sixties and seventies endeavors that fortunately didn't get mucked up in the evolutionary process. Pretty bright pop moves here that woulda fit snugly into any late-seventies issue of BOMP! you care to find.

Kinda reminds me of some late-eighties forgotten fave that I woulda gotten as a promo, and all of these hipster types would wonder why I liked the thing considering they sent the thing my way thinking it would get a doof writeup (and that's true)!
Ray Martin and his Orchestra-THUNDERBALL CD-r burn (originally on RCA Camden)

Yeah Uncle Ferd, that's a real neat stereo you just bought. Portable too...where'd ya get it, Zayre's? Nice touch hanging those speakers on the wall...really will fill the room with sound when you're playing alla those Christmas albums you have at the party. Yeah, that album you're spinning sounds really great too. Naw, those ain't the original tracks Unc, but they're OK if you don't wanna dish out the extra two bucks for the originals or wait a few years until you pick 'em up real cheap. Yeah I think HONEY WEST is a fantab show, hope they don't yank that one off the air like they did ARREST AND TRIAL. How much did you pay for that record player anyway?
Alex Chilton-OCEAN CLUB '77 CD (Norton)

Sounds too good to be the Charles Ackers tape. Definitely a soundboard job. The performance tended to be rather loose and rough around the edges, but perhaps that only adds to the rough attitude of late-seventies local rock. Former Box Top/Big Star frontman Alex Chilton right at the beginning of his brief comeback which, although it brought forth two independent seven-inchers on Ork and Lust/Unlust as well as a Japan-only album, seems to be the stuff of legends if you were one who followed the fanzines of the day.
Various Artists-NEW WAVE DUTCH HEAVY JAZZ CD-r burn (no label)

...and, come to think of it, no way in the world to get it considering that only 500 of these platters were pressed up and frankly I dunno where in the world you can get 'em! But get 'em do, for this 'un's a total killer of an avant/free jazz nature that goes to prove that there are out-there over-the-hills-and-far-away jazz players on the face of this earth, or at least in Holland where these killers were laid down only recently. Heretofore unknown acts with names like Albatro, Cactus Truck, Donne Et Desiree and Dead Neanderthals present for your untamed ears a particularly heavy industrial-strength jazz on these sides recalling everyone from WILDFLOWERS-era Roscoe Mitchell to seventies-generation Luther Thomas in their approach and execution, and when I say execution some might feel that this music is the aural equivalent of being drawn and quartered!

My own personal fave has to be the Donne Et Desiree track which sounds like a cross between side one of Sonny Sharrock's MONKEY POCKIE BOO and DAILY DANCE what with its spaced out ethereal percussion and heavy duty electric guitar shards that'll tear a few more holes in your psyche, all before the song decays into a particularly doof version of "Over The Rainbow" if you can fathom that! And if you can, then just maybe you'll be able to relate to the rest of this crunch as well!
Kim Fowley-"The Trip"/"Underground Lady" 45 rpm single (Norton)

It really is too bad that ol' Kim himself ain't here to enjoy this fiftieth-anniversary reissue of his PEBBLES VOLUME ONE blockbuster single that was oh-so-eloquently remade by Godfrey just two PEBBLES later. The other side is equally mid-sixties punk rock-y and perhaps even wilder to boot what with the way the melody speeds up and slows down with Fowley even sounding giddier than usual. I wonder if these tracks were sped up on purpose...wouldn't doubt it if they were one bit!
Ark-VOYAGES CD-r burn

Dunno much about this particular home-produced item other than it was released in 1979 (though it sounds very 1971 to these stirrups) and that it is of a Christian bent. And that it actually comes off a whole lot better'n what I would have imagined a platter of this type to be. Lyrics ain't gonna make you gag much (in fact sometimes they come off downright well-written) and the playing ain't of the introspective ROLLING STONE-hyped singer/songwriter sensitivity schlock style either. Kinda reminds me of Tim Buckley in spots with the more rocking numbers taking on a late-sixties West Coast fashion that isn't offensive to your punk-addled ears either. As with many of these locally churned out and distributed platters nothing that'll make you go "aah", but a halfway decent one-time spinner for sure.
The Dawgs-MY TOWN CD-r burn (originally on Star Rhythm)

Here's one of those early-eighties hotcha local records that it seemed as if Miriam Linna and no one else would have bought back then. I know I sure wouldn't have (with moolah being a great scarcity at the time) and I'm sure you wouldn't have as well (too many Culture Club platters for you to snatch up at the expense of these guys) but now that it's 2015 we can all download this with the flick of a few keys and a few handy blank disques. Not as good as the Real Kids from whence the Dawgs sprang but still mighty satisfyin' what with the mid-sixties transistor radio pop/soul bent that didn't make as much of a splash during those days as I sure wish it would have. If the Sidewinders were the alpha of the great seventies Boston local rock 'n roll movement these guys might've been the omega, which is something they sure must be proud of in some strange way perhaps only I could comprehend.
Various Artists-MISFIT MUPPET WINTERIZING CD-r burn (Bill Shute t' boot!)

Looking at the custom cover sure brings back fun memories for me what with the old Columbia Records "The Man Can't Bust Our Music" ad! Bill always thought that this Mitch Miller-conceived ad was one of the more awkward, annoying concepts ever executed to try 'n get down with the youth buying record market. From the mere slogan to the photo which featured the usual paid models dressed exactly as your middle aged admen envisioned the New Left rabble to dress, even your average Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kid still mired in that great mid-twentieth century suburban slob kultur could spot this 'un as a cheap ploy to rake the dough in.

And as Bill so pointed out, this ad campaign was so put on phonus balonus that such a concept was hard to top, at least until the arrival of Gerard Cosloy's MORE ADDICTING THAN SMACK new-decadence heroin chic-oozing ad propping up his old Homestead Records label that turned up in more than a few amerindie 'zines in the late-eighties.

But enough of old farts passing as fresh innovation and onto this week's Bill Shute spinner. And what a spinner it is starting off with a flexi-disc intended for members of the Muppet Show fan club! And if you (like me) thought it was a whole lotta fun watching Saturday evening tee-vee with this particular effort starting off the festivities back inna late-seventies then this is the disc for you!  And speaking of flexis, the one that appeared in that Mr. Bill book '79 way also pops up in case you have rheumy reminiscences of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE ending your Saturday evening broadcast jollies.

Ernie K-Doe's "Mother In Law" might be too obvious considering how it's still being played on those oldies radio stations that dare broadcast something recorded before 1980, and I didn't think that Bill was that much of a Misfits fan either but they're both on this 'un and I don't seem to mind one bit!

As far as the obscurities go, the Rocki Lane Christmas cash in comparing Santa Claus to a hippie is cornball good enough for me, or at least way better'n Arlo Guthrie's "The Pause of Mr. Claus" while the Humpback Whale track also churns up alla the mid-seventies hype about that famed water mammal who made sounds that were low and guttural and actually got a record out because of it. Well, at least I hope those sounds were coming from his front and not his back!

The old radio ads managed to pop those pre-adolescent feelings into my consciousness after years of being buried perhaps due to traumatic experiences I experienced as a kid, and while the World War II instructional record was nada w/o the film strip to watch it by and Roger Price's fifties humor not as cutting as Stan Freberg's or even Jean Shepard's, Etta James' "Ooh Ooh Pah Doo" was a wild rouser and Bob Kayli's soul stirrer so good you wish his brother Berry Gordy woulda done something to get it out and about!

But the real surprise for me was none other than Nancy Walker's tracks, three of 'em to be exact! If you liked watching the lady on tee-vee throughout alla them years and thought she was a real belly shaker you'll slobber over these rip roarers with titles such as "I Hate Men", "You Irritate Me So" and "Take Him" which not only show off Walker's surprisingly smooth singing talents but a mean wit you just don't see in comedy anymore. And with blatant liberal types like Jerry Seinfeld avoiding college campuses because the students have become so pee-cee to the point that even these morality wreckers can get labeled bourgeois and counter-revolutionary one wonders how the likes of Miss Walker and her jabs and jibes would go over. Sheesh, trying to get a laugh outta the enlightened moral superiors who rule things today is akin to trying to make Josef Stalin crack a smile, other'n by telling him that a few thousand kulaks were buried alive that is.

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