Saturday, September 05, 2015

I don't usually ask you reader's opinions or advice regarding just about anything considering just how knowledgeable and well-versed in the BTC-approved arts sphere I am, but sometimes there comes a rock 'n roll (I think) group that  I'm curious about and would sure like to give a listen to even if doing so will cost me some hard-begged moolah that could be put to better begged efforts. Perhaps it was a rock personality who I quite admire might have spoken or written about the group in question, or better yet a fave-rave group had mentioned them as an all-important influence, but whatever the fact may be it is """"""""""I"""""""""" who somehow is all excited over the mere mention of this mystery act, as if there was yet ONE MORE REASON for me to become all hyped up and bothered over a musical act that hopefully will change my perspective on the big beat once and perhaps FOREVER!!!

And given just how hard the rock thrills are comin' these days it's like I'm pretty interested in hearing said act because hey, what else is there out in what used to be rock 'n roll land to get any of us all hot and bothered anyway??? There are a few "current" groups that do perk my pubes true, but none of them really excite me the way talk about a hotcha band of the past woulda because back then, they all knew better. Like f'rinstance all that talk over the past ten years regarding the likes of the Wooden Gyps and Moon Duo (groups who seem as if they would be up my expansive alley) has gotten me a tad curious, but hearing the raves from a diseased mind of a San Francisco blogger ain't exactly gonna have me rushin' to the ebay "Buy It Now!" store to dish out any precious lucre, y'know?

Sometimes these li'l nudges work, such as with the Thorinshield album which made the Mirrors list of acts that had contributed greatly to their overall sound and approach. Sometimes they don't, and I gotta say that right now I do get kinda leery of trying out new to my ears acts because hey, the moolah ain't as flowin' as it once was and besides, when I play tracks from certain groups via youtube etc. there's a certain loss in translation from those vibrations to my ears that just doesn't happen when I spin a record in the privacy of my own fart-encrusted boudoir.

Jon Savage's liner notes for the recent DIE ELECTRIC EELS platter bring up the surprising fact that one of this venerable group's influences was the Fleetwood Mac THEN PLAY ON album (and I never really cared for Mac even during their Jeremy Green-era blooze days...oh well), so whether or not I decide to snatch up a copy of that particular slab is very much open to debate. However, the two not-so-recent references to the long-forgotten Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys that I just happened to chance upon got me curious enough to wanna give 'em a try, even though I can remember from way back in my teenbo record bin hopping day their early-seventies longplayer where the band appear on a cover painting looking like a buncha hippies playing nothing but commune inspired Scoobie Doobie Boones Farm downhome goodness!

But hey, I just feel like taking a chance on these guys because like I've said before I am STARVED for some more old rock 'n roll with that long-forgotten late-sixties anti-technological stylings, and it ain't like I'm gonna be living as long as The Phantom so's I better get my rock 'n roll energy in as soon as possible and any way permissible!

Jonathan Richman (in the pages of the FUSION sixties wrap up edition) listed Cat Mother's "Marie" as one of the top songs of that slam pow decade. Seemed like a good enough tip considering the man's great penchant for early-sixities AM pop, mid-sixties smart pop and late-sixties rock experimentation. I also believe that none other than BTC guiding light Imants Krumins was a fan and follower of theirs which adds up to mucho brownie points for them. However, for some reason or another (and while I was on the pot last night doing my daily doody) a review of the group's by-now already "All Night Newsboys"-less LAST CHANCE DANCE courtesy Mark Jenkins in the pages of HYPERION (summer '73 ish) popped up in between the splashes and it somehow struck me as a clear call to gobble up the group's early releases despite this particular writeup being quite damning. I'm sure that nobody on the face of the earth would mind if I reprinted it en toto here so I will if only that you will get a taste of what Jenkins was talking about...and besides I gotta class up this blog by reprinting some Golden Age of Rock Writing gems now, don't I???:

LAST CHANCE DANCE, huh? If that title indicates that this album is Cat Mother's last chance to sell some records before getting canned by Polydor, they've blown it. I have and like their first three albums and I still wouldn't give 'em another chance on the basis of this turkey. Recorded at Electric Ladyland in New York, but I'll give you one guess where songs like "Redwood Blues" were written. Actually Cat Mother's lived in Northern California since before their second album, but never has it been so obvious as on this rockless record.

A lot of things are predictable Cat Mother: they still produce some of the most inane lyrics in current rock ("He's an outdoor man/He's a far out man/Gonna save our land"). still believe that every album should have a long cut (the one for this album, "The Paranoid Papers," is actually their best yet, featuring an inventive medley of "Outdoor Man" and "This Land is Your Land" that turns into some mindless saxophone doodling), and still feature one instrumental per album. The real problem is shown by that cut: the present band's instrumental work is thoroughly uninteresting and, furthermore, they have not come up with one decent tune. They once featured competent guitar, two violins, and driving organ; these days organist Bob Smith is the only credible musician, and he plays mostly piano on this record.

The first two Cat Mother albums are the real winners, featuring lots of rock 'n roll, instrumental flash, and some catchy laid-back numbers. They're in the bargain bins, so they're worth your money. If, however, you see a Cat Mother album with pictures of a rock festival on the front and a bunch of fagged out hippies on the back, don't touch it at any price: it's this one. More proof that Marin County degenerates your rock and roll soul.

Like many of the best rock 'n roll reviews extant, this one stimulates many musical pleasure nodes in one's mind even when trying to explain the futility of the subject at hand (Lester Bangs' review of the first MC5 album did this, albeit in quite a different fashion). The likes and loathes about Cat Mother are laid out for you to see, and although no way in fanabla would I think about obtaining LAST CHANCE DANCE for my collection the earlier ones do sound tasty. And with Richman's own thumbs up I actually do feel like snatching up a copy of THE STREET GIVETH rather flash-like if only to hear "Marie" may be turned off because ol' Jimi himself produced the thing (that is, if you hold the same sorta opinions about the left-handed one that Don Fellman does), but it did sport a really cool cover, eh? Kinda reminds me of those early-seventies Kama Sutra offerings in that cheap, lower-class guttural style.
Those of you who are on the lookout for more heart-cockling info regarding one of the top BTC bands of all time, just get an eyefulla this interview with Electric Eels strongman John Morton for a resensification you'll never forget. It's really great to see that the Eels are still remembered this far down the high energy rock memory lane we all like to stroll in, but in all honesty is there any way we can get humanity to forget Anastasia Pantsios???
Other'n that all I gotta really say is...whatta week, eh? Pretty slow around these parts, though with the weather finally getting warm I guess we can all hope for a real hot autumn before those snow cloud start rollin' in. And thankfully I got a few newies to brag about, and with the workload easing up a tad bit I have had enough time to listen to some old faves which I sure am glad are getting their money's worth  too!

Considering what is coming out on the under-the-underground (like the Mars LP) I do have reason to stick around if only to give these particular platters their proper place in the pantheon of BLOG TO COMM greatness! Heck, I had even been thinking about snatching a copy of the new Chrissie Hynde autobio not because I am a Pretenders fan by any stretch of the imagination but I gotta admit ol' Chrissie sure was a good writer back when she was freelancin' for the NME what with those live reviews of Magma as well as that piece on Mose Allison everybody seems to be talkin' about even this late in the game. Besides that I'm sure interested in hearing her memories of not only the Kent/Cleveland/Akron underground of which she was a very peripheral member, but her stormy relation with Nick Kent that sure gotta lotta space mention in Kent's own tome. Maybe I'll wait for this one to hit the remaindered rack...after all why should I pay $20 for at least a good fifty cents of information that'll probably be disseminated on the web gratis???

And with that here's what you've all been waiting for!:

Marty Wilson-JUN'GALA CD-r burn (originally on Warner Brothers)

Flea market stack ya-ta-ta that's been around so long you think that the last person to listen to this 'un was your Unca Edmund, and he died in 1968. Anyhoo this is more-a-dat exotic rhumba bumba for the hi-fi nut who used to play Tchaikovsky's 1812 OVERTURE full blast to get them cannon effects. Unfortunately the kinda gals who used to love to get their tits rubbed to these soothing strains have given way to a more feral bunch I wouldn't wanna go near in a millyun years. As they usedta say, "that went out with the Edsel" though in many ways it went out with Norforms as well.
The Stone Canyon Rock Group-MACARTHUR PARK CD-r burn (originally on Custom)

Bill slipped somethingorother by this group into one of his "mix tapes" (or in this case "mix Cee-Dees"), and probably because I LOVED IT SO MUCH he's sent an entire album by this studio group who was riffin' on the hits of the day and shippin' 'em straight to the budget bin of your choice! It ain't that bad really if you're in the market for 99-cent versions of those real-life albums that would cost you $3.50 at the local Montgomery Wards, complete with poop juice versions of faves such as the title track (still wanna hear the Choir's legendary tackling of the famed Richard Harris romper) as well as a sampling of misses both famous and not. Most notable of the batch is their take on "Wild Times" which is best known by you via THE INNER SOUNDS OF THE ID album which is a real cooker in itself. A good enough spinner that, if you had snatched this up at any supermarket ca. 1968 you probably woulda forgotten to buy the eggs you went for and thus woulda been sent back to complete your task!
RALPH RECORDS 10th ANNIVERSARY RADIO SPECIAL with your host Penn Jillette CD-r burn

Words just can't express my loathing for that Jillette guy (faux REASON-styled libertarian who really is just as much a shill for the lamestream powers that be as Jon Stewart and the rest of those "cutting edge" smirkers) so it was quite a struggle for me to make it through this particular program ostensibly "celebrating" Ralph Records's tenth anniversary way back in the early days of the eighties.

I don't exactly believe the premise behind it all, but supposedly Jillette was cloistered in a cheap-o motel for six days listening to various Ralph produce, giving his so-called honest opinions of what had passed his ears that particular day. Most of the time Jillette comes off like a typical eighties above-it-all musical ignoramus or better yet yer grandpappy who thought that those abstract paintings were just a waste o' paint. Maybe he was clueless, or maybe he was just putting us on in that typical Jillette style. Who knows (or dare I say cares).

I guess Jillette was trying to put a decent spin on these recordings and trying to be entertaining in the process, but frankly I could care as much about what he thinks about these platters as I do Pinky Lee's. Why some of his comments were double tracked making for difficult listening I do not know, but I do know that this particular spinner made for a rather unpleasant Wednesday evening listening experience.
Alien Planetscapes-BLUE MARS CD-r burn (Galactus, available via Richard Orlando)

This edition of Alien Planetscapes features group regular Doug Walker duetting with synth/guitar player Richard Orlando doing what I'd call some nice introverted calm electronic soundscapes that woulda been the perfect thing for any self-respecting Sci Fi fan(abla) to listen to while reading the latest issue of LOCUS. There are eighteen tracks featuring short pieces that conjure up all of those Hawkwind memories without the big beat, sounding a lot like the kind of incidental sounds one might have heard on a PBS television station back '75 way. Warm-sounding in that analog tradition that might make you wanna wile your way to the nearest import bin, that is until you realize that there ain't been any import bins around for at least the last thirty-five years.
Sam Setzer-HUNTER/JUMPER CD (Gulcher)

Sometimes these outta nowhere platters that seem to spring from outta nada really catch me totally by surprise. This one sure does, that's for sure! I dunno who this Setzer guy is, but he sure sings like that guy in America who was trying to imitate Neil Young. Don't let that put you off because the man sure comes up with some nifty melodies (think classic Byrds filtered through the Shangs) and puts out a product that recalls late-sixties el-lay moves more than it does 2010 emoindie mewl. For a nobody, this guy really made a platter that puts alla those big name moneygrubbers (old and new) to shame. A must pick up if you ever feel doubt that those folk rock days of yore have been replaced by a whole slew of "rockers" who are so pallid even Patti Page comes off high energy in comparison.

What was once shocking and controversial is....still shocking and controversial. Well, at least it is around this ol' abode, and frankly it's questionable morality crankout stuff such as this which keeps my mattress all lumped up considering how I gotta hide these things from the fambly somewhere! Mike Curb's soundtrack does the ongoing screen carnage rather well complete with those Davie Allen fuzztone cantatas and cute li'l Asian-themed ditties to keep your ears perked. The narration doesn't begin until side two, so if ya wanna hear some dour establishment voice blab on about marijuana, teenbo whores and wopadago homos you'll have to wade through the boffo instrumental trackage before the sermonettes start.
Various Artists-CLASS OF '66 CD-r burn (originally on Wanted)

More of that other end of the six-oh spectrum. There were probably more of these freshman loser teenage bands frolicking around in the knotty pines of Ameriga back inna mid-sixties than we thought existed, and in case you didn't get enough of 'em on a myriad asst. of other compilations o'er the years here are more. Actually these nerdoid sons of the cheap drums and Japanese copy guitar set can put out good enough rockers, some boffo enough to have made it to a BACK FROM THE GRAVE even, and I sure gotta admit to liking these horn-rimmed homebodies' ability to transcend the Mechanical Drawing 101 mindset to produce these moody moaners. Besides featuring bands who were calling themselves the Saints and Pastels before other groups thought such monikers up years later CLASS OF '66 actually sports a track by the infamous Hunt/Tony Sales pre-Rundgren/Iggy aggregation Tony and the Tigers, and I still can remember my mom wondering why Soupy didn't march his kids off to the barber shop and like right NOW!
Various Artists-JOHN GLENN PHASER-SLIPPER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

In between some of the most laid back ca. '73 radio jingles ever created (so lame that even Harry Chapin comes off hardcore in comparison)  are a number of quite interesting internet finds courtesy Bill Shute the Science Snoot! Don't care much for Cara Stewart singing some fifties lounge thing that sounds as if it were created especially for an episode of the old MIKE HAMMER television series, but it was sure fun listening to Ken Richards trying to apply the "Big Bad John"/"PT 109" formula to John Glenn's spacecapade while the infamous Neil Norman "Phaser-Laser" shows up reminding me of all of those mentions it used to get in the pages of fanzines nationwide. Stonehenge were so zoned out that I thought they had put out a hypnotism record though the American Express were pretty nice post-garage that lacked hooks and energy but so what. However, I must tell you that this spinner didn't even hit the half-hour mark making me wonder what's wrong with Bill...sheesh, you're spending too much time betting on dawgs and not enough on your ol' pal Chris aren'tcha!

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