Saturday, August 29, 2015

I dunno if any of you readers out there pray, but if you do or at least want a good reason to be sure to offer up a few of 'em (or even a goat sacrifice if you so desire) for none other than Billy Miller. Yes, the venerable co-head (along with lovely wife Miriam) of the Norton Records empire is, sad to say, suffering from Multiple Myeloma as well as various complications from it which, compounded with Billy's ongoing diabetes, ain't exactly doin' the guy a bit of good health wise. The situation has gotten so bad that the man hadda have his left leg cut off last week, and one thing's for sure and that is he'll be looking forward to chemotherapy as well as a possible kidney transplant before he'll be even close to getting outta the woods. Right now it's crossed fingers and a lotta hope, and I know that all of you who are tuned into the blog are gonna wish the guy a whole lotta good luck with regards to his health and well being because well heck, like the man deserves our best at this point in his life!

You're probably wondering why a hate-filled humanity-loathing type of guy like myself is oh-so-concerned about Miller given my warped (mostly by the words of others) reputation for a longer time than any of us could imagine. Well sheesh, it ain't like Miller or his better half deserve any loathing on my part. I mean hey, Billy is a guy who I would call top notch and totally with it on all BLOG TO COMM levels, he not only being an upper-echelon rock "writer" (as opposed to "critic") for THE NEW YORK ROCKER and at a time when their coverage ranged from gnu wave silliness to boffo fifties/sixties accomplishment, but the man who co-edited seven energy-pumping issues of  the decidedly against-the-grain KICKS fanzine which I believe holds up a whole lot more than another fanzine we all know and hate! And I'm not done yet...Mr. Miller also heads up the entire Norton Records empire of records, books and other tasty treats which has proudly released, reissued and generally thrust upon us a whole slew of platters we either never even knew about or have only dreamed about hearing for years on end. And tell me, what have you done lately?

Of course add to that his tenure as the frontman for the great Zantees and later the A-Bones who have undoubtedly rocked out more in one second than you or I have in an entire lifetime and if my mathematics are correct. But if you were too busy spending 1982 searching out Bow Wow Wow albums I don't blame you if you never heard of 'em.

And another thing---in a rock 'n roll world where a turdburger such as myself has come up against nothing but brick walls and a whole lotta (maybe not undeserved, but so what!) derision, Billy was a guy who actually treated me like an actual bonafide human being. None of that build up and knock down jive like Gerard Cosloy and his brother in butt Patrick Amory (as well as some others in their scene) so cheerfully pulled on me, Billy actually was a nice guy in our dealings and had class which the aforementioned twats most certainly never did. Yeah Billy once razzed me via the US Mail (along with my order for KICKS #1) about things like appreciating the finer aspects of Von Lmo and could have done some serious asshole-drilling on me if he wanted to, but Billy ain't the kind of guy who had a hard-edged anger directed at those whose tastes veered from his. Heck, he even treated the great Tim Stegall with class even after Stegall told him that his fave rave rock 'n roll act of all times was the Sex Pistols! Miller merely shrugged that definitely anti-Norton bitta personal tastes off saying that well, it was better'n alla those Marillon fans he's come across as of late (this being the late-eighties or so!). If only Chuck Eddy had been as nice as Miller maybe we'd be exchanging Christmas cards today!

Yeah, Multpile Myeloma and diabetes ain't exactly fun things that liven up your life to its fullest potential (and sheesh, with my recent coming in contact with people who are either undergoing cancer treatments or are so far beyond it [or dead for that case] it seems like the malady is growing 'stead of coming to a grind like I'm sure we all hoped it would have at this stage in time) but really, in all honesty (remember that word?) Billy is not the kinda guy who deserves this sorta fate. Cosloy and Amory definitely do, as do Jay Hinman, David Lang and all of those jerks who threw their lot in with them 'stead of me. But Billy? No way in heck. Anyway here's hoping for the best for you Billy, and as for you Miriam...well, I'll be thinking of you through these troubled times as well. And as for the rest of you BTC followers, howzbout dropping 'em a line and showin' 'em a li'l bitta support. I know they'll appreciate it, and but good!
Otherwise I must admit that things are going rather swimmingly around here at the ol' BTC orafices. Still working through a whole buncha platters that I either bought or obtained from the great likes of P.D. Fadensonnen, Bill Shute and Paul McGarry, and you can bet that I'm happier than a burro in a Mexican nightclub every time I get a parcel from one of the aforementioned or even someone else for that matter! Yes, people out there do love me and that makes me feel and nice 'n toasty inside, and besides that it sure is nice for me SAVING A WHOLE LOTTA CASH this way.

For the sake of being up-to-date and all maybe I should mention that there are some new and hotcha releases that have just been released like yet another Mars live album on Feeding Tube (featuring tracks from their first ever gig as China which are reportedly straight-ahead rockers in the mid-seventies NYC scene style) but that'll have to wait until I get some scratch together. But as for now, I think the following selection of recordings will suffice until I dish out more big bucks for beauteous recorded booty:

The Cramps-1976 DEMO SESSION W/ GIRL DRUMMER MIRIAM LP (no label, available via Forced Exposure)

Not sure if this is an actual bootleg, a grey area offering or perhaps a "fan club" spinner for that matter, but if the Tiny Tim CONCERT IN FAIRYLAND album can be called a bootleg and those crazy budget platters by Dylan, the Stones and Led Zep on the Joker label can be called bootlegs then this 'un dang sure can be called a boot as well! But since it's so current and in fact can be purchased first hand even to this day I think I'll blab about it now rather'n wait a good year or so before the next BOOTLEG BRAGGADOCIO entry comes out. Really, like time, this one can't wait!

These early rehearsal-quality recordings of numbers better known by you from a variety of eighties releases are what I'd call custom made for the average Cramps fan, only this comes off a whole lot more rec room sounding circa. 1959 as in old issues of COLLIERS lying around than anything the seventies or eighties coulda come up with. Sounds like you're sitting in on some teenage band rehearsal done up by some of the big kids from down the street right before they all got drafted, shipped off to Ol' Miss and had beer cans thrown at 'em. The guitar tag team of Ivy Rorschach and Bryan Gregory do their best stealing riffs from various late-fifties instrumental singles (such as the Frantics' Northwest classic "Werewolf") while Lux Interor worries at the crossroads of life wondering whether he should turn onto Rockabilly Drive or Garage Band Way.  And of course Miriam Linna does her best to emulate Honey Langtree and Maureen Tucker all in one big ball of premenstrual angst...the Cramps really lost something (and Nervus Rex gained something) when Linna broke outta the corral for vastly different pastures that's for sure! If you're only going to buy ONE Cramps record this year, you must be poorer than me!
CLEAR LIGHT CD (Leemoon, available via Forced Exposure)

Remember Dallas Taylor? He was that guy who used to help out Crosby Shits and Turds on albums such as DEJA POO and a few others that the iron-haired gals in school used to bring to class if only to show the other gals that they actually owned the album and thus were complete human beings. Howzbout Cliff De Young? He was this actor who was best known for starring in that all-time weepie SUNSHINE, the tee-vee moom pitcher and short-lived series about this young laid back sensitive jamoke who was trying to raise his young son as a perfect specimen of pure hippoidism despite all of the neighbors around him coming off like the oldsters in BILLY JACK. Betcha the same iron-haired gals who brought them CS&T albums to school were front and center for that 'un as well.

But if those same classmates knew that the two of 'em were in this group they'd probably toss all of their folky-rocky records inna garbage disposal and start watching THE DEAN MARTIN SHOW because these very same guys, cogs in that great early-seventies drive towards laid back whole grain world peace and stuff, were involved in this particularly wild slice of late-sixties psychedelic rock that wasn't quite yin-yang with the whole anti-punk mileau of the Nixon era. Yes, CLEAR LIGHT (and Clear Light) were a rather hard-edged bunch doing what I would call a post-Doors/Love-styled Electra psych pop rock with clear garage band echoes, and in no way could I see that Art Class A-plusser in your junior high spinning this while doing impressionistic abstracts the way she undoubtedly could listening to James Taylor do his introspective junkie routine!

I wouldn't call lead vocalist De Young a screamer by any stretch of the ol' turkey, but for this kinda smart-pop lysergic drive he does pretty good. And that's even when he's affixing this neo-English accent to the album's obligatory by act of congress token "avant garde" track entitled "Mr. Blue". The group fits into that late-sixties Electra groove doing their El Lay Byrdsy thing at one moment before skedaddling into some jazz-tinged moves that I thought sounded so phonus when the Doors pulled 'em off but seem kinda bright here. A mixed bag true, but if you like those equally jumbled efforts from the likes of the rest of the post-sunshine psych brigades (and that even includes the Seeds, dummy!) you might enjoy this on a middling level.

Certainly not anything that sears the top echelons of late-sixties accomplishment true, but a better buy'n some of the offal passing as pseudo-intellectual perception that was comin' out at the time.
Fadensonnen-PD7 CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions, see link on left if you really wanna get it, and you do!)

Seems as if Bill Shute got the smarts to release some of these Fadensonnen soundscapades on his own KSE imprint, and just for that he gets the HE-MAN OF THE YEAR award and not from TIME magazine that's for sure! Two tracks totaling a little over a half-hour, and what's more but Mr. F played all of the instruments on this one himself just like Todd Rundgren used to do! The first one ("Feedbacker") is in the standard Fadensonnen style which is akin to what Chrome used to come up with only without the melodies, while the flip actually reminded me of some of those late-eighties Controlled Bleeding tracks that were getting quite a few people hot under the collar. This might be one of those blink and you'll miss it affairs, so if you value your judgement better send them checks off today!
Various Artists-ACID VISIONS CD (Spalax France)

I don't think this particular volume of ACID VISIONS is gonna go down with you like Linda Lovelace did, what with all of the late-sixties doom-laden psychedelic tracks that pop up here. Sure there are some winners out and about like the Mayo Thompson/Rick Barthelme helmed Saddlesore single-side "Pig Ankle Strut", Johndavid Bartlett's "Tree Frog Lady" as well as underground cartoonist Gilbert Sheltons' ESP-released "Hell's Angel", but a lot of the tracks that show up here more or less typify the post-psychedelic trip descent into darker regions.

Not that such a plunge was something to dread, but only a few of the tracks present have that early Black Sabbath sense of tension and abyss-staring that stood STARKLY in contrast to the Cat Stevens Piss Train that was chug-chug-chuggin' throughout the speakers of many a transistor. They're mostly the typical bloozy/hard rock style that wasn't exactly scarce (with some proggy turns), all done up with that distinct Texas accent that wasn't anything to sneer at. Not horrible or anything 'long those lines, but quite boring especially for those who would have loved to have come across a Texas Stooges.

And one more thing---how did the Legionnaires Disease Band and their "Rather See You Dead Than With Wool On Your Head" slip into this mix???
Johnny Clarke-DREADER DREAD 1976-1978 CD-r burn (originally on Blood & Fire)

Yeah I know that a whole load of this ray-gay stuff ain't exactly the sorta music I built my knotty pine rec room existence on, but I actually got a bitta toe-tappin' fun outta this particular platter featuring longtime biz name Clarke if ya can believe that! Nothing earth-shattering true, but its still way more melodic and gripping than a good portion of the gunk that was being pushed on me as new and exciting back inna late-eighties. But sheesh, did this Clarke guy swipe from a whole loada talent...I can hear the strains of everyone from the Clash, Pop Group, Slits and even Lee Perry reverberating through each and every echoed track to be found!
Lost and Found-EVERYBODY'S HERE CD (Charly England)

This 'un's the FOREVER LASTING PLASTIC WORDS album under a new title and with a number of additional tracks you might enjoy if you're up to enjoying the rest of this. Actually I had some qualms about buying EVERYBODY'S HERE considering how some of those later International Artists albums weren't quite up to BLOG TO COMM-approved listenability snuff (Endle St. Cloud comes to mind)...turns out my fears were unfounded because Lost and Found weren't the doped out hippie band I kinda thought they woulda been. They were in fact kinda like a Southern Californian folk rock act a la the Byrds or Love with a load of that Texas lysergic reaction that was so prevalent at the time tossed in for good teenbo measure. A cover of the Elevators' "Don't Fall Down" will attest to that, and if you were the type of fanabla who would save up to $35 for an International Artists original back in the mid-seventies (or $35 for an International Artists pirate back in 1988) I can see you dishing $15 or so out for this today!
THE WORST OF MONTE CAZAZZA CD-r burn (originally on The Grey Area)

I just gotta dock this one a few notches if only for the tres passe title which was already trite enough when the Jefferson Airplane and Mothers used it, and considering the gnu wave-y offal that pops up maybe I should dock it even some more. Not the atonal hardass screech that I hoped it would be, though not without its own charm such as that track about kiddie killer Mary Bell done in conjunction with Cosey Fanny Brice or whatever her name is playing a toy piano and singing along with some other dames kinda like on one of those tracks from the second Red Krayola album. The rest is eh!, but if you like casiotone beat box bedroom recordings man will this one be up your rather expanded alley!
Various Artists-STARKIST MAMBO AUTHORITY THEMES CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

A nice start to a week that I thought is gonna be about as rewarding (as well as expansive) as a proctology checkup in your standard maximum security prison. There's lotsa fun old-tymey commercial clips (courtesy Charley the Tuna and Felix and Oscar from THE ODD COUPLE) buffered with loads of fun finds that Bill Shute got while skitzying around the internet, and thank you Bill for doing the kinda work that Americans just won't do anymore!

Some of this like the Taylor Tops tracks are standard no-gowhere early soul that shoulda gone-somewhere other'n the local St. Vincent de Paul, while others like Magic Lantern is good enough though still too "FM 101" classic rock for my tastes. Highlights for me include the Phoenix Authority doing the old Amboy Dukes hit late-sixties brass-style (kinda reminds me of something I would hear in a cabana while swimming at some fambly resort), Croatian composer Milko Keleman's rather abstract and Stockhausenish piece entitled "Homage a Heinrich Schultz" (woulda prefered a "Homage a Sergeant Schultz" myself!) and the Mystified's strange and hypnotic "Detective Theme" which I understand actually was used in a real private eye moom!

Also of worth...Stan Kenton's smartime Big Band jazz, the Skyscrapers' even smarter early-sixties instrumental rock, Billy Childish pretending to be a deep south black sharecropper (and succeeding!) as well as the new singing/guitar sensation Ignatz, who has a few well bricks of musical amazement aimed your way!

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