***Probably the biggest thrill to hit me this week was the dream I had last Wednesday night where, believe it or not, I was asked to perform with the Sun Ra Arkestra who just happened to be playing at where else but my old high school, unfortunately not on a double bill with Woodchopper's Ball or Slipstream. It was to be a weird sorta concert where various "unknowns", myself included, were to perform with the Arkestra, and of course I was honored to have been amongst the chosen. But given that I was supposed to play a bass clarinet along with a flute or two which are I sure do not know how to play (nor was I provided with any of the instruments I was supposed to play) I was getting nervous about performing at this concert which seemed to be set up more like a banquet room than a jazz venue. Thus, I relegated my duties to some young gal who I somehow knew could play these instruments...how I knew along with as to why we were to play as if we were seated at a cafeteria is just another one of those dream logic things I can't tell you about at this time since I'm now awake.
But the best part of the dream was when I told Sun Ra himself that at this very school I submitted a term paper which misspelled his name as "Sien Ra" due to my sister's inability to read my manuscript. That got us all laughing up and down the dreamsphere so it wasn't like the evening was a total bust!
***As you were expecting, here am some of the things I've been listening to this past week. Please don't hold it against them:
One Hand Records)
Haven't heard from the likes of Weasel Walter for quite awhile, so this entry into his ever-expanding discography is definitely something that made me sit up and take noogies. I know I'm up for a major flaying just by saying this, but Walter's drumming abilities have improved (or is it the warm vinyl sound bringing forth the best in his oeuvre?) to the point where even longtime trailblazers like Sunny Murray come off half-there, and am I hallucinating it or does Chris Pitsiokos sound like the logical extension of Joseph Jarman, Anthony Braxton and the rest of those mid-seventies even newer-than-new trailblazers who were making it so big even DOWN BEAT couldn't ignore them? If you're a guy who still recall fondly your various mail order catalogs from Delmark, Inner City and Muse you may just cozy up to this li'l last-stop-can't-go-any-further-than-THIS jazz release.
Given the tip o' the hat this 'un got in the third issue of SPOONFUL (btw, rip to SUNSHINE's Dennis Metrano, dead at age 72) where editor Fred Whitlock wrote on about how what with the Flamin' Groovies holidaying in England these guys were gonna take their place o'er HERE, you could say that I was certainly in for the Five Dollar Shoes real deal! So naturally I snatched this 'un up under the impression that these Shoes were yet another forgotten early-seventies fave in the Hackamore Brick/Sidewinders vein, but unfortunately this was not to be the case. Five Dollar Shoes're more in the mid-seventies El Lay/Stepson watered down hard rock category, sounding like some guys who took what they perceived were the better moments of STICKY FINGERS and re-did 'em with much of the grit and crud taken outta the mix. And they looked so glam rock cool too but then again, what can you expect from the same record label that gave you Melanie???
For those of us who were around when "My First Band" was lighting up the review section of many a fanzine it's pretty nice to find out that Ben Vaughn is still up 'n about making records like this 'un. Authentic-sounding country-tinged sounds here, music that makes alla that pathetic "new" country and "roots" rock heard these past thirtysome years sound rather potty-poopie to me. Kinda reminds me of classic Sir Douglas Quintet in spots, or perhaps some of those latterday Alex Chilton records that kinda caught us by surprise back when those obscure albums of his were comin' out back inna late-eighties. True it ain't something that's gonna be gettin' the constant repeato-spins the way Rebecca and the Sunnybrook Farmers do, but still this is a hotcha-gotcha MODERN DAY rock 'n roll platter that unfortunately's gonna get tossed aside like nothing since the Electric Eels! A big heaping thanks to Paul McGarry for sendin' this, he being a man who would obviously want to listen to this a whole lot more than he would Beethoven's Second Movement Because He Didn't Pay the Rent.
Wouldja believe I've never heard anything by Cowell before (or at least I don't recall having)? Of course you would, considering how you all think I'm a turd-huffin' backwoods inbred who just ain't as INSPIRED as you all think you is. But better late'n never I say, and this '63 release (on the usually broken tooth hillbilly Folkways label) is a pretty snazzy introduction to this early avant gardist's piano music. Yeah some of it is a bit outside the sphere of usual BLOG TO COMM concerns (sheesh, some may even think it sounds line gnu age on a testosterone high) but when the chording get atonal and Cowell HIMSELF begins plucking the inner strings just like you used to do as a turdler (only nobody slaps Cowell's hands for doing so) there's some rather other-worldly sounds comin' outta that piece of furniture that yer momma made you practice a good hour a day on. Best track: "The Banshee", a 1925 composition that features a whole load of string strumming and other manipulations that shows just how much John Cage was inspired by (or should that be "swiped from") Cowell! (Thanks be to Bill Shute for da edjakashin!)
Even MORE heavy riffage than the Black Sabbath they emulate could have dared produce! Enough wah-wah to keel over just about every teenage 1969 combo extant! Enough distortion to make Blue Cheer sound like Windham Hill and turn Jimi Hendrix white!!! It's hard to believe that Philadelphia could have produced a fine and hearty act like this but it has, and its got the power to wither at least ten Pantsios (give or take a few Christgaus) with one mighty BLAST!
This 'un doesn't quite spark the way previous funzy-packed Bill burns have, but then again can even each and every one of these BLOG TO COMM posts be gems (near all of 'em are, I say!)??? Lotsa downhome middle-Amerigan tracks from the likes ot Rex Zarion, Bob Sigveland as well as Sanford Clark appear, though the ones that really piqued my pucker (sounds durty, do'nit???) were the Cryan Shames (of NUGGETS fame) doin' some late-sixties psych excursion as well as Link Wray's "Black Widow" which ain't exactly new to mine ears but hey, better to hear it here than ne'er hear it at all! Also of interest are these early Ronnie Hawkins sides for those of you who want to hear what he was doing before he met up with John Lennon, Karl Denver for those of you who want to hear what he was doing before he met up with the Deviants, and this blind guy playing accordion and singing about his guide dog at the Beaulah Sea-View Inn in Yachats, Oregon and no, I didn't make that up!