Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ah no, I ain't gonna start this post of with "Ah yes" like I did the past two weekends! Must be my nostalgia for the late-sixties/early-seventies W.C. Fields craze (complete with everybody doing the worst Fields impressions imaginable) that drove me to it in the first place---either that or a spinning of the Calico Wall's "Flight Reaction" complete with the mid-section "sampling" of Fields talking about George Washington putting down the Whiskey Rebellion. But if anything, there really ain't that much to gobble gobble diddilit about this week other'n the bountiful bevy of platters I have received and listened to o'er the past few days. Other than that, feh!

Now, I could tell you all about the dream I had a few nights back where I (in the company of an old school chum who is now in a successful local rock act) attended a Tiny Tim concert being held in what looks like an Eastern Ohio rural grange hall where not only do I get to sit right next to Mr. Tim during his performance but espy not only Tiny Tim enthusiast/rock entertainer in his own right Brian Sands but Marc Bolan prancing and preening around the venue. Somehow I get them mystical vibes sayin' you wouldn't want to hear about that.

You probably wouldn't want to hear about my urology appointment either, one that came complete with a finger-sticker-upper nor about my b-day visit to a local restaurant where I ordered some great grilled shrimp and a pesto dish made with mint, pistachios and an orange liqueur, nor anything remotely having to do with my days at the old salt mines as Fred Rutherford so eloquently called the everyday nine-to-five (and even longer!) drudge. So all that leaves us with is da revooze!, for which we can thanks to Bill Shute, Bob Forward and my own piggy bank.

The Electric Eels-"Spin Age Blasters"/"Bunnies" 45 rpm single (Superior Viaduct, available through Forced Exposure)

Of course I've owned, digested, and pooped the remnants outta this one for ages (and I even chewed Paul Marotta out for not tipping me off that he was releasing this gem---I had to read about it in the pages of that old alternative music tipsheet DIY!) and over the years I even latched onto yet another now-costly original on the Mustard label because I knew this was going to become a rarity! So why did I pick this reissue up even though both of these numbahs appear on a variety of Compact Disque collections and are probably downloadable with the flick of a mere mouse? I did it out of PURE UNADULTERATED ALLEGIANCE to one of my all-time fave rave rock 'n roll groups, that's why! The true spirit of mid-seventies mid-Amerigan rock 'n roll, and something that I gotta say sure hasn't been topped in all of these years even though many have tried, and all have failed.
Sur Royal The Count and the Parliaments-"Scream Baby Scream"/"Scream Mother Scream" 45 rpm single (Norton, also available through Forced Exposure)

Hearing "Scream Mother Scream" on BOULDERS really straightened out the curvature of this suburban slob's slouch back '81 way, and for years I've wanted to know more about this wild guy's career and just why this particular track didn't appear on PEBBLES VOLUME THREE like it shoulda.

Talk about rock 'n roll HEROES forever lost to time, only fortunately for us this Sur Royal fellow was discovered and interviewed in a rather recent issue of UGLY THINGS so its like the mystery has finally been cleared up. Maybe now I can move my bowels in peace knowing that this Joe Yore fellow isn't one of those forever lost to time types whose whys and wherefores will remain buried along with all of those other mysteries only fanablas like myself seem to care about this far down the decayed line.

A combination Sky Saxon/Kim Fowley/Magic Michael/Wild Man Fisher/David Roter (and maybe even Dave E) who once acted as a Hollywood extra and had a professional association with none other than DEBBIE REYNOLDS (hope Eddie Fisher didn't walk in on them like he did on soon-to-be ex-wifey and Agnes Moorehead), Yore would scream his songs without instrumental backing to interested parties in the SoCal area. However on his sole single on Villa-Yore the Count was backed by a Canadian act that blew into town called the Parliaments (who I, like a millyun other music fans, thought for years were the George Clinton aggregation) and the resultant spew from their recording session gave us the infamous "Scream Mother Scream"/"Sgt. Ralph Yore USMC" single.

Unfortunately the flip of the original (a pro-Viet war ramalama from what I hear) ain't here but the "a"-side is and boy does this remain the ever-luvvin' winner! The sound has been cleaned up from the BOULDERS poor pressing (as if that mattered) so the screams and moans of Yore and company are even more potent than they had been previously. Of course the REAL surprise is the actual "plug" side which is, if you can believe it, an early DEMO version of the same song which was originally called "Scream Baby Scream" recorded around 1963 long before Yore created the Sur Royal character to deliver his warped if witty music. Recorded with a quickie makeshift group (Yore got some guy walking past the studio to play guitar!), the original version is just as funtime potent as the more familiar song and really packs a punch in its pre-Beatles crank out garage band feeling. Too bad this didn't get out like it shoulda, or maybe we would have gotten to the Stooges a lot sooner than we did.

A super set for sure which as usual makes my mouth water for more. If someone from Norton is reading this (hah!), howzbout an entire release of the Count doing one of his acapella live shows which I get the feeling woulda made Syd Barrett look totally comprehensible and sane in comparison! Now that just about everybody out there comes off nuts, it's time we were exposed to the real thing!
Fever Tree-LIVE 1969 CD-r burn (originally on Sundazed)

Not being a big fan of Fever Tree (even if they were smart enough to rip off their version of "Hey Joe" from the Red Crayola) it wasn't like I was exactly looking forward to spinning this live set. Turns out that for once I was wrong, because this show is pretty hot even if the heaviness might be a little to strong for some of you garage band lovers who remain true and blue to the cult of Sky Saxon. Sound ain't that great but so what, but most important of all the band really does crank out a late-period psychedelic roar which even includes yet another cover of "Hey Gyp" better'n Donovan and the Yardbirds but not as good as Greg Prevost 'n you know that rap by heart already! Notched a few points because the rage-on disque closer "San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native)" fades out way too early leaving me gasping for air, and that ain't exactly good for my inner juices!
Last Exit-IRON PATH CD (ESP-Disk...try Forced Exposure lak ah did)

Never heard this one in its original incarnation so this was like an ALL NEW listening experience for me! Wow! Unfortunately a lotta the blast furnace overdrive of those live Cee-Dees is missing in this studio outing but then again you get to hear interesting nuances and delicacies that you don't hear elsewhere. Like at the beginning of the title track where the percussion, along with the stringed instruments, give of this sorta gamelan sound that's kinda lulling if you can believe it.

True some tracks will disappoint those of you who are fans of the whole eighties funk punk movement from whence Last Exit was birthed, but even when Sonny Sharrock starts playing clean guitar lines worthy of Return to Forever or Peter Brotzmann saxophone savvies that might sound quite tonal the overall effect is a whole lot more potent (in that downright under-the-slick-veneer-of-jazz sorta way) that you'll think it's all hokay. Sounds like something Chuck Eddy would have included on a VILLAGE VOICE "Pazz and Jop" year end list, but so what.
Various Artists-NATIVE NORTH AMERICA, ABORIGINAL FOLK, ROCK AND COUNTRY 1966-1985 two CD set (or three LP set if you so prefer) (Light in the Attic, available via Forced Exposure)

I usually wouldn't go for something along this line, a collection of rare recordings made by Native American/First Nations/Inuit people of North America (in the case mostly if not all Canadian), but the various on-line mailorder come ons seemed so enticing. And in this case they were pretty much accurate, for NATIVE NORTH AMERICA is a sturdy selection of various self-produced and/or CBC-related releases featuring our indigenous brothers playing some rather entertaining music that probably wouldn't have gotten out any more had these guys been white, but still deserve at least some notice and notirety even if it is years after the fact.

No "heap big load of tracks" jive here, because this package is a well-documented effort (coming in a hard covered book) detailing a "scene" (in the strictest FLIPSIDE sense of the word) that nobody really knew or cared about. Nice reproductions of photos and drawings, very detailed histories of the musicians involved, and in the back there's even a section with lyrics that reproduce languages I haven't even heard of yet! I kinda wish someone would do something rather similar with the Cleveland scene of the seventies (that is, compile all of the extreme rarities with photos and recollections) because frankly, projects like this are necessary now that rock has finally been declared dead and the memories and personal recollections are gonna drift off into nada like we always knew they would.

Beware, a good portion of the music to be found does tend to fall into a mutated Indian folk/singer-songwriter vein that sounds like something which Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot and James Taylor would perform if invited to a Go Go Gophers powwow, but some snatches of brilliance in between the country and folkdom do occur. Personal fave tracks include the cut by Lloyd Cheechoo who does this steady beat folk rocky thing that has more than just an air of intensity to it called "James Bay" and the Chieftones, "Canada's All Indian Band" who tread the same waters of Minnesota rockism as the Trashmen and Fendermen which would figure, since they actually recorded at the Cuca Records studio just like their mentors!
Gary Wilson-MUSIC FOR PIANO LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Byron Coley's extremely healthy fixation with Gary Wilson has produced a whole slew of wonderful releases o'er the past few, this platter being the latest and perhaps most startling of the batch. Recorded long before the likes of YOU THINK YOU REALLY KNOW ME as well as that other platter Wilson did that nobody seems to know about or like for that matter ('cept me!), this contains some of the most avant garde cranklings and crunches that anybody could ever get out of a line of 88's without the entire instrument collapsing like in that episode of ABBOT AND COSTELLO where Lou plays the piano for Hillary and her father complete with the old "all right" gag making things even more high-larious than any episode of any current television show could hope to be.

I thought this was gonna be all lounge schmooze (but fun lounge schmooze at that), but I was wrong and how many times do I ever admit that! Some moments on side two do get into solid song structures 'n all, but for the most part this one takes the piano innards plunking of every one from Henry Cowell to Burton Greene and hacks it all up even more. Enough to have given Xenakis nightmares. Of course since Wilson is a talented musician who actually can play keyboards and all this is considered part of the oeuvre and not some guy jacking off at the piano as had I done it. If any of my teenbo noisecapading had survived and I was nothing but another suburban slob jerk you can bet my sounds would remain inna cassette box with the rest of my long-ignored booty!

For some reason I am reminded of that avant garde Bob James album on ESP done long before he went the bowtie and tux brand of jazz smoothies route. But the similarities are slim at best, and in fact MUSIC FOR PIANO does come out on top as far as experimental sound quotient as well as dog gone reliability goes (meaning, I'm sure this one's gonna out-play the James platter by at least a 100:1 ratio).

Yet another winner there Feeding Tube, and something that should only further the entire Wilson mystique once we go down that old highway to hoo-hah and things just ain't like they were back when albums like this coulda been MAJOR EXPERIENCES in many a confused record maniac's collection.
Roscoe Mitchell-BEFORE THERE WAS SOUND CD-r burn (originally on Nessa)

Talk about archival dig ups! Here's a pre-SOUND sesh (only released a good four years back) featuring AACM great Roscoe Mitchell leading one of those early pre-Art Ensemble aggregates of his, this time featuring not only future AEC bassist Malachi Favors but long gone by the wayside (or so I guess) AACM members Fred Barry on trumpet and Alvin Fielder on drums. It's got the same ebb and flow of those other early seshes that came outta the Chicago jazz underground sans the freak touches that made those recordings so memorable (small instruments, bells and gongs...) but with a surprising drone that recalls Ayler's BELLS so if yuo're a fan of that you'll lap this up!  If you've worn out all of those BYG and Arista Freedom albums of yours, be sure to wear this one out as well!
Various Artists-FREE SOUNDOFF IN THE BAGGAGE CAR CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Another winner which, although top-heavy with jazzy instrumental r 'n b numbers (nada wrong with that!) has a few surprises in store. One of which happens to be the old radio jingles for everything from diaper services to department stores heard between the listed tracks. Some of it is historically entertaining such as George Jessel's knowing-the-corn-quotient-of-his-audience recitations of "In The Baggage Car Ahead "  and "The Pardon" (the former a real weeper according to none other than Bullwinkle!), some mildly funny like Macauley Culkin's "Pizza Underground" Lou Reed spoof, and some downright reminiscent of FM radio days gone by such as Jackie Gleason's "It's Such a Happy Day" (best known to you from the old Miami Beach Sun and Fun Capitol of the World-era JACKIE GLEASON SHOW).

A good portion of this is taken up by what is purported to be a recording for a Californian high school, fall semester 1964 kinda like an audio yearbook or somethin' along those lines....well, it sure sounds like one even though it is so contrived that I wouldn't be startled to discover that it was supposed to come with the NATIONAL LAMPOON "Kaleidoscope" yearbook spoof of ages past. Sure dredged up enough hideous school memories to the point where I'd sure like to blow up not only my old school but everyone I went there with (with scant few exceptions...and very scant). Talk about churning up those bad memories and FIE ON THEE, SHUTE!!! (Just kidding---though people can get so serious nowadays I just gotta wiggle my way outta these things by saying just that!)


Anonymous said...

Hey Chris,

Excuse me for going off-topic but a contender for rock 'n' roll tome of this or any other year has just been dropped upon us. Andrew Matheson, crooner, ringleader, lyrics man and chief ego from the Hollywood Brats has put quill to vellum on his band's attempt to make it big in the good old bad old days of the early seventies. Matheson writes like he crooned - cocksure, opinionated, great turn of phrase and an unlimited supply of hilarious puts downs. Like a lot of aspiring showbiz types, he conveniently kept a diary during the old days (or has photographic recall) which makes for a smooth and coherent read. The old geezer certainly knows how to write an entertaining book, that's for sure.

Well worth a punt.


Anonymous said...

Totally agree with what's been said .I read it last week . Hilarious , great ! Very interesting stuff concerning the LONDON SS circa '75 .

ANDREW MATHESON : "Sick on you : the disastrous story of Britain's great lost punk band"