Saturday, July 04, 2015

Ah yes, this certainly has been a most  pleasant and tension-free week. The month-long monsoon has finally subsided, I actually got TWO days off inna row thanks to the July 4th holiday (and nothing to do but blog on the entire time), and best of all I finally acquiesced some long-awaited platters which certainly does break up the boredom that can build up like that waxy yellow stuff on the kitchen floor. Not only that but I even had a nice dream (no, not one of those) a few nights back where I was asked to sit in on rhythm guitar (and did!) with Alice Cooper during a KILLER-era show! Of course I'm still stuck on my accursed diet (doc sez to lose weight or join the la leche league) and all of the fruit and yogurt I'm downing is giving the Feen-a-Mint people a run for the money if I do say so myself.

But eh, it could be worse. I mean, I could be devoting my time, energy and hard-begged into a fanzine that nobody on the face of this worth would want to read. Believe-you-me, it's a whole lot easier writing a blog that nobody on the face of this earth...
Lessee, what else can I blab on about to make this post look a little more innerlektual (and longer than the usual weekend gab)??? Politics? Well not really though I will admit that a good year from now we're unfortunately gonna be inna thick of it prezidental wize so's we better prepare ourselves for the big onslaught now and prepare ourselves good! And as usual, the choice between the big names on both sides of the big divide (and same side of the coin) is turning into yet another choice between the gas chamber and the firing squad what with the Republicans doing their best to out-do the Democrats in the "War Party" department (and don't fall for that fambly values sweetness and light they keep pumping at'cha since it's turned into nothing but the usual pacify the rubes ploy--they don't mean it one bit and you know it!) and the Democrats trying to be just like those old thirties social do-gooder types with even more of a naivety than some social worker in a MR. A. comic! Nothing much to make you wanna get out 'n pull the ol' lever at that run-down once-vacant grade school in your neighborhood now, eh?

If you're the kind of guy who likes reruns of wishywashiness there's George III aka Jeb Bush to look forward to on the Republican side, and given that he seems to be the party favorite that sure says loads about the clientele at the local country club. The rest don't have much more goin' for 'em bein' mostly cookie cutter conservatives who look rather middling next to some of the earlier practitioners of the form like Barry Goldwater (not that perfect a choice, granted) or Robert Taft (better). Even Rand Paul, for all of the against-the-grain opines he has spouted, has that expected mix of party line-tow and dudster appeal that makes him blend into the wallpaper with the rest of the competitors. And as far as Donald Trump goes well, he'll probably be the gadfly in the old Pat Buchanan/Ross Perot vein so we can expect a "few" (maybe) laughs outta him which, come to think of it, we've already gotten.

And as far as the "other" side well, it's probably gonna be Hillary if only on name-recognition and feely-good vibes. Bernie Sanders would be a better choice than least he typifies the more socialist bent that the party has shifted in and he does give lip service to disgruntled righties who can't find a home anywhere. That Irish guy running is such a non-entity that I've already forgotten his name (I think it's Mr. McBeevee, right?), and while Jim Webb seems like the kinda toughie I could rah-rah behind I really don't know much about his who, whats, whens, wheres or whys. The fact that he had been married three times strikes heavily against him even is wifey #3 is a cute Vietnamese gal who might even be a good cook! (As you all know, I really do go head over heels when it comes to gals of Asian heritage...well all except for George Takei!)

Of course when the time comes, don't stay home! You can always go to your local polling place and, rather than skip and have to re-register years down the line, write someone in like Ron Paul, Ralph Nader (no big deal but at least he at least believes in deregulation) or better yet someone you personally know! Maybe even me! Just think, the Suburban Slob ticket with me at the head of the ticket...our motto, "A LEAVE IT TO BEAVER DVD in every player!" Heck, I'd even vote for myself with a platform like that!!!
Yeah yeah, cut the blab and get to the reviews! And while I'm at it, thank you Bill and Paul for the burns, and believe you me I've put plenty of Vaseline on 'em to help with the pain!

The Coba Seas-UNREFORMED LP (Norton)

Finally  got to hear these early James Williamson recordings laid down back when he went to reform school (or, as Mike Stax's liner notes makes it out to be, a reform resort), and frankly I'm glad I've experienced the guy's primo premier strumming given my total love for the old Stooges sound which, for all intent purposes, was the last word in rock 'n roll no doubt about it everything that came afterwards is total denouement as far as I'm concerned!

Even at this early stage in the game Williamson's playing was as good as those licks he laid down on RAW POWER (although chunkier!), and as usual these everyday teenage covers of the current hits from "Louie Louie" to an extended "Gloria" really do send me back to those days of just-post turdlerdom when I just couldn't wait to grow up and be a teenager, only by that time all the cool stuff had been replaced by disco and sappy AM pop! Too bad there wasn't a guidance counselor at school to tell me about the Stooges, because back when I was eleven I sure coulda used 'em!

Nice pix and package too, and the aforementioned liners are how-shall-I say packed with information that will certainly seep deep into your already Stooge-packed mind. The funniest thing relayed in these notes is the fact that the former members of the group, always in the belief that Williamson was bound for big rock things, always checked the credits to the platters they picked up in the hopes of seeing his name somewhere NEVER knowing out about his Iggy days until much later! Silly guys, you ain't gonna find James Williamson's moniker on any Ramjam disc!
The Lemon Pipers-JUNGLE MARMALADE CD (Aurora)

(And speaking of Ramjam...) I snatched a flea market copy of this 'un back '80 way hoping it was gonna be a total garage band freakout psychoganza, and boy was I miffed! To my tender ears JUNGLE MARMALADE wasn't exactly the NUGGETS nugget I was hoping for with too much flower and Beatle-mimic to it for me to take seriously. You can bet that after one good spin the thing ended up on the sell pile along with a variety of flotsam and other less-than-spectacular items acquired over the years headed for the used record bin, and who knows what lucky dog is in possession of that platter these very days!.

Listening to this very recent reish I can see why my young and open-headed self would loathe a platter like this. It wasn't straight-ahead total rock out (unlike say, the Seeds' A WEB OF SOUND which had become a perennial player) and the more sunshine poppy numbers weren't exactly anything that a kid zoned on fanzines and garage sales was looking for in order to accentuate that suburban slob lifestyle we all know 'n love. But JUNGLE MARMALADE does have its strong points, and come to think of it even the weaker tracks that didn't penetrate my developing music pleasure nodes back then come off a whole lot better'n I would've ever guessed.

The title track might not be as psychedelic as anyone with a high energy state of mind would care, but the bubblegum gloss does give it a nice AM radio feel that woulda been one of the highlights of the '68/'69 season along with Tommy James and the Shondells. That one track that they ripped offa Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" was nice 'n fragile enough in its shift from serious folk chording to patented pop moves that would curl the hair of any gal who used to iron it, and the ten-minute closing track "Dead End Street/Half Light" might have even gotten a bit of FM radio play during the day what with the heavy guitar lines, high-pressure arrangement and pseudo-intellectual lyrics. Well, at least it would have before the disc jockey saw the name of the group and decided to shuffle this 'un to the AM portion of the station.

And if you care, no I do not feel any pangs of retroguilt over dumping JUNGLE MARMALADE thirtysome years back, but this is a better platter than I remember spinning way back when the current state of undergroundness wasn't affecting me like it should have and I wanted more. Or could it be that rock 'n roll has become such a wimpoid force over the years to the point where even Donny Osmond felching the descendants of Joseph Smith while Marie does harmony on the entire King Family comes off total eruption? My money's on the latter, as your's most certainly is.

Another one from the El Saturn back catalog that's only now finding its way to all of us long waiting fanatics who got ripped off by Ra 'n company way back when. About half of it's previously unreleased as well which might make the wait a li'l bit sweeter for most of you ultra-frustrated types who sent your cash in to the El Saturn offices expecting a platter and getting nada in return. The Arkestra with the up and coming Pharoah Sanders replacing a MIA John Gilmore, as well as "Black Harold" Murray, who might as well be Weird Harold of Cosby fame for all I can tell! Surprisingly wild percussive workouts with those neo-jazzy passages that always remind me of the soundtracks to some obscure avant garde film of the day, and a great addition to whatever collection of Sun Ra platters you may happen to own.
The Doughboys-HOT BEAT STEW CD-r burn (originally on Ram)

Sheesh, when I first picked this disque up I thought it was gonna be yet another one of those carbon copy garage revival bands that have been coming out with an alarming regularity since the mid-eighties. Turns out that these Doughboys aren't exactly in that category, and even if they sound hotcha in the seventies Real Kids/DMZ vein they ain't that either! No, the Doughboys are actually a New Jersey-area band with roots dating back to 1963 who have been continuing those hotcha mid-sixties sounds ever since and boy do they come off hot!

There sure is a lotta that Red Star-styled late-seventies REAL rock 'n roll approach here that'll make any regular reader of YOUNG FAST AND SCIENTIFIC proud, and that's saying something considering all of the lousy "rock" music that came out between the mid-sixties and the "rediscovery" of past accomplishment a good decade later! The riffs (and the uncanny Jaggerese) on early Rolling Stones moves is convincing enough to make me wanna call the 'boys the Standells of the teens, and it's sure boffo hearing white men doing blues that don't SOUND like white boys doing the blues either!

Yessssss...this is one of the more driving, head-on platters heard since the latest Sonics, and a total surprise for a fellow like myself who didn't think rock 'n roll like this really mattered to anyone anymore. Once again it takes a buncha old fogies to do it which really must say something about these pallid, anti-high energy days don't it!
Frank Zappa & the Mothers-MUDSHARK LIVE CD (Keyhole England)

I know that many of you regular BLOG TO COMM readers aren't exactly fans of the second incarnation of the Mothers of Invention, but I've always retained at least a smidgen bit of fanboy appreciation for this group if only for the fact that Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan helped rescue this lineup from total oblivion. Still it ain't like I've regretted selling off JUST ANOTHER BAND FROM LA in order to gain the proper lucre to buy more Pere Ubu albums, and come to think of it how many times have I played CHUNGA'S REVENGE in the past ten years or so. (Hokay, that was billed as a Frank Zappa solo album, but back then how many solo Zappa albums were actually Mothers albums and vice versa?)

This latest issue from the Keyhole label does add something to the legacy of the second Mothers incarnation. What exactly I dunno, but it is a nice hidden li'l piece of Zappa esoterica that woulda flipped out just about any true blue believer had this happened to hit the bootleg racks back 1971 way. Live in the studios of CKGM-FM in Montreal, the Mothers go unplugged and freak about doing a whole bunch of  then-current stage and record faves while goofing off and seemingly having a good enough time (which does translate into fun by association if you're that much of a fan and follower of the guys).

Tracks from the three most recent platters (LIVE AT THE FILLMORE, JUST ANOTHER BAND and 200 MOTELS) get mutilated enough for my liking, with the recitation from "Penis Dimension" being backed by "Happy Together" being my own personal best of the bunch. Well, I sure am glad that Flo and Eddie were able to keep Zappa and his loud mouth in check this time!

The sound quality ain't so hot so you can't hear the mumbling in the back of the "Pirate Jenny/Nikki Hoi" jam. I get the feeling that this was recorded off the radio straight to the cheapest cassette tape available at the time, but who knows if the original broadcast tape even exists or was taped over as these stations were wont to do for years. Still it's a good piece of Mothers back when they were hitting their commercial height, and if you were one fanabla who used to thumb through the album racks looking at their covers just wondering what kinda sounds they contained, you must really dwell on the past a whole lot more than even I ever would!
Guru Guru-ESSEN 1970 CD (Garden of Delights, Germany)

This '02 release (don't know how I missed finding out about it) sounds perfect even if the drums are way out in the forefront (and so what---it's drummer Mani Neumeier's band anyway!). Well, it is a soundboard recording rarity considering how all of the other Guru X2 tapes floating around are of audience quality which adds to the primitive nature of it all. Performance is typically over-the-top too, and captures the band during their UFO days pretty snazzily at that.

More music that you can really absorb into your mind a whole lot better'n blotter even. Especially when given the sad fact that their definitely non prog rock approach slowly oozed away once Neumeier decided that hefty sales were a whole lot more to be desired than stoned vibrations. One of the better slices of live krautrock I've heard so far, and getting hard to find so leap while the leaping's still good.
The Real Kids-SHAKE...OUTTA CONTROL CD-r burn (originally on Ace of Hearts)

This recent reunion album (laid down due to the oncoming demise of Billy Borgioli?) caught me more off guard than the time I ran into the bathroom with a stack of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICs (the hula girl issues) thinking that nobody was home only to find my dad sitting on the pot! And as far as these reunion platters made by surviving members now heading into their mid-sixties go well, it sure is an entertaining slice of what used to be considered the Boston Sound presented for our enjoyment a good forty years later, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that there was a little something the original high energy bop and Big Beat sound that those early platters oozed. Well, it does contain some credible versions of the Modern Lovers fave "Fly Into The Mystery: and "Who Needs You" even if the latter sounds as if it was in dire need of some Christmas Trees, and not the kind you put in your living room either!
Various Artists-SHOCK CURTAIN CURRY VACATION CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Bill goes punk (make that PuNquE) what with the appearance of not only the infamous yet oft not heard Shock EP (they being big names about town back in '77 El Lay although nothing outerworldly) but some act called the Moles (paying homage to Crowley) and a Yugoslavian outfit called Pekinsaka Pata who actually do a credible variation on the p-rock sound considering that Yugoslavia wasn't exactly at the center of it all like London was. There's also yet another recording for a film strip having to do with infections (good time to take a snooze while the lights were out!), and for the life of me I don't know what Lee and "Lee Four" were supposed to be about. The Christmas song poem was typically cheezy the way we like it, and the radio commercials and stock music reminiscent of funzy days long gone waiting in the car while cyster would be looking for something at the Stationary Store. Dunno why Tim Curry was here but hey, Bill does like to stick the strangest stuff on these if only to get my goat!

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