Sunday, January 03, 2016

Sheesh, I still find it hard to cram into the ol' cranium the sad 'n sorry fact that it's now the Year Of Our Lord "Common Era" of 2016 that we're all now residing in. Another year has gone by and here I am entering into yet another rotation where (if you can believe it, and why not?) I feel older than ever to the point where I'm thinking about stocking up on Ensure here in the old abode (vanilla only---chocolate tastes ecch!).

And I have a good enough reason to feel downright ANCIENT as well, considering that a good portion of my uncles and aunts were born around or before 1916 and when I was but a mere teenbo they were at the age that I am now (do the math yourself!). And really, back then I thought they were as old as the hills growing up during the twenties and having fought in/lived through World War II and all that (which in many ways was like recent history the way they were still talking about it!). From my lofty perch in the enlightened twenny-first century this passage of time on one hand seems so monumental given all that has happened since those rather hopped up days (most of it downright disgusting), though in others it seems pretty current given how much I still enjoy old silent movies as well as long-forgotten comic strips that sure pack a whole lot more punch (and eye-pleasing detailed art) than the downright unfunny offering that parade themselves on the funny pages nowadays! I can see just why my relatives held fun memories of those days despite their obvious hardships while loathing the seventies I hadda come to teenbo age in, and frankly next to the world I hadda live in back then I wouldn't have minded joining 'em!

If I hadda choose between now and a hunnerd years ago I'd take the hunnerd years...true there were influenza outbreaks, World Wars and snooty WASP types to put up with, but at least we didn't have the phony concept of "equality" being pushed, the one that has made that sicko guy in the roadside rest men's room every bit of an upstanding citizen as the most righteous beings to have ever walked this planet of ours.

But anyhoo here we are in 2016 and maybe I should try to make the best of it. Exactly how is something else, but I guess it's definitely a case of living in the here and now because the obvious ALTERNATIVE to all this has got me rather scared if I do say so myself!
How'd did you spend your final day of 2015 anyway? For me it was about as uneventful as they usually can get during this stage in my life, what with me spending a good portion of my time in my room (making it out for only one TWILIGHT ZONE episode on "ScyFy", the one with John Hoyt as a scientist who created an army of servants to do his and his wife's bidding much to the dismay of his uppity daughter) and closing out the final hours by listening to THE MARBLE INDEX which, in many ways, was a fitting cap to this rather cyborg solar rotation I've had to endure. Not that this particular bit of information matters much if at all, but just think of how interesting this turdbit of information's gonna look a thousand years from now when somebody's doing my biography (and you know that will happen more later'n sooner!).

But trudge on I will, and in fact I've even made a list of NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS that I am going to at least make a serious attempt to keep, including not only losing weight and not kicking neighborhood cats but NOT SAYING ANYTHING NASTY OR UNKIND ABOUT MY SO-CALLED "BETTERS" ON THIS VERY BLOG OR ANYWHERE ELSE OTHER'N PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS!!! A tough one for sure, and here's hoping I can keep that particular one these next 364 as well as I did the first two days of the year! Wish moi luck.
BAD NEWS DEPARTMENT: Given my rather pathetic financial straits, looming retirement (hopefully just around the corner cuz I just can't get enough goofing off into my life) and other big-time moolah concerns the pickings this year are, sad to say, gonna be even slimmer than the previous one which was a rather austere year if I do say so myself. Not that there's gonna be any great mad rush to buy a whole lotta material here in the post-post-rock age, but let's just say that for the unforeseeable future BLOG TO COMM will feature even less brand-spanking-new items and more old standbys from the collection, not forgetting various items that I hope to BEG off certain individuals. Fortunately I still have a huge pile of Bill Shute and Paul McGarry burns to go through and I am certainly thankful for that, plus the bevy of goodies that Fadensonnen gave me last X-mas will help pad these posts out if only a tad. But otherwise expect me to be sifting through the old stack of vinyl looking for some elusive spinner that I haven't touched in twenty years if only for blog fodder. As the old saying goes, "them's the breaks".

But for now here are some items that have had me ringing in the New Year, and for that matter have had my ears ringing all on their lonesome. Dig my reality!

X-The Jazz Destroyers-X-ALBERT AYLER'S GHOSTS LIVE AT THE YELLOW GHETTO CD-r burn (originally on Smog Veil)

Gotta admit just how AMAZED I am with this band's ability to STILL adhere to the v. late-seventies art zeitgeist long after that particular spurt dribbled over into postpunk miasma. Particularly in the way John Morton and Co. wallop the no wave ("non wave" in Cle) aesthetic into something that was out and about in the burgh at the time yet never was properly documented anywhere even to this day (paging Paul Marotta...make those HARLAN AND THE WHIPS recordings available and in the here and now!). Highlights include Andrew Klymek's boff Dave E. impersonations, a cover of Klymek's "Felt Hammer" which sports the exact same opening bass riff as the Gizmos' "Pumping to Playboy" (which would figure since Craig Bell plays bass guitar in both the reunited X-X and Gizmos) and an all-too abbreviated version of that all-time classic "Tool Jazz".
Various Artists-T.M.I. 018 CD-r burn (originally on T.M.I. Productions)

Sometimes a little bit of that early-eighties new wave goes a long way. Sometimes not, but surprisingly enough this compilation of tracks from the Pittsburgh-area T.M.I. label (most famed to you for the incredible Todd Clark album) doesn't send you back to new as gnu wave spasms of unbridled irritation. Even when the acts do veer off into the patented sound patterns so prevalent those days they're kept to a bare minimum and you ain't exactly flashing back to when people were pushing the first U2 album on ya. Contains some familiar faces like the Dancing Cigarettes, Tripod Jimmie (ex-Pere Ubu) and Carsickness, an act that played plenty of times at the Cedars Lounge in Youngstown only I never even thought of checking 'em out even once.
Ducks Deluxe-JOHN PEEL SESSIONS CD-r burn

I remember these guys getting more'n enough under-the-radar circulation back inna seventies to the point where people who you never thought woulda heard of Ducks Deluxe were hailing and hosannaing over 'em like there was no tomorrow. It's rather easy to see why considering not only the Ducks' neo-Groovian approach to retro-sound but the competition out there, but in many ways it was strange hearing about these guys from a classmate or associate who you never thought woulda known about this act in a millyun years. These BBC sessions are custom made for those kinda guys, for they lack the studio techwhiz that can sometimes drag these rockin' affairs down and present the group in a straighter-ahead fashion that probably was the next best thing to hearin' 'em live. A pretty good set of rockers that I somehow get the impression are what Bruce Springsteen fans thought they were experiencing from their hero back in those rather confusing (and many times disgusting) days.
Motorhead-FIRST CONCERT-1975 CD-r burn

Do you think that it's a mere coincidence that I not only receive this burnt offering on Lemmy 70th big one, but that the guy ups and DIES a good four days later? Or is it of your mind that my receiving and listening of this particular platter has some strange sorta evil hoodoo goin' on about it??? Let me know what you think, because in many ways the entire idea has made me extremely SCARED!!!!

This is the legendary Roundhouse debut from July of 1975 with Larry Wallis and future Warsaw Pakt/Bedrooms of Europe drummer Lucas Fox in the fold playin' it particularly low-fi and LOUD, sounding more post-Hawkwind than pre-speedmetal. In my humble opine Wallis makes this 'un a success with his fluid neo-MC5 guitar playing which never was replicated in the act, and for those of you who remember Motorhead to be the only heavy metal band to matter this will fit into your own preconceived prejudices nice and snuggly. Contains all of the biggies from "City Kids", "Silver Machine" and "Lost Johnny" as well as a knockout version of "Waiting For My Man" that's just as cranked as every other English band who'd been doing it for the previous ten years.

Featuring John McLaughlin on "smack guitar", Miles and the rest zone out as much as they do on all of those live albums the guy seemed to be releasing every other month back when his name could push about any product on the market. 's funny, but throughout my late-seventies gotta know more about jazz phase Davis came off (at least to me) like some sorta established bigwig who was so removed from the experimental sounds that I was more'n apt to listen to at the time. But listening to these particular plows into atonal fury has me wond'rin' just how stupid even a level-headed guy like myself coulda gotten because this one does trail and blare on in that atonal if funky "avant garde" way that really made my ears perk up! And here Miles was knocking Ornette 'n Cecil all to hell at the same time which really does confuse my at-times ordered mind! Quality ain't up to the usual Sony standards but hey, just keep tellin' yourself "this is HISTORICAL!!!" and it'll go down smoother'n quadrophonic.
Folk Blues Inc.-CORN STREET CD-r burn (originally on Pep, Sweden)

Ten years after the big folk blues boom got into gear comes this Swedish album by an equally Swedish group which goes to show you just how long the prewar blues held its spell on white people who were about as disconnected to the real down-for-the-struggleness of it all as they could be. For a fellow who is also disconnected as can be I gotta admit that this album does sound a whole lot more authentic'n some of those white guy blooze-y recordings (both acoustic and electric) that had been coming out for a longer time'n any of us could imagine. And for a guy who is not a connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination I must admit that I played this in its entirety twice and didn't frown one bit. It'll probably turn some of you whiter types who like your sounds bleached off 'n all, but I guess that's your choice.
Sun Ra Arkestra-COSMOS CD-r burn (originally on Inner City)

I was kinda surprised that this particular platter emanated from the mid-to-late-seventies, for COSMOS really seems to capture the early-to-mid-sixties Arkestra ebb 'n flow more than it does any seventies sorta jazz cataclysm. Laid back yet burning intense astral vibrations that echo back to those days when finding a smattering of Sun Ra albums in the jazz and import bins was just as much of a record shopping thrill as alla those Patti Smith import singles you wanted to buy so bad. And to think that within a good three or so years the bloom would be off the avant garde rose with alla the attention being directed towards the Al DeMeola bowtie and schmooze wing of the movement. Yech!

Purportedly the soundtrack to a clock being filmed for an hour, Lennon seems to be having a whale of a time romping through a bevy of oldies on his acoustic while the phone rings and we hear Yoko talking in the background. It's an interesting peek into a world which has pretty much been on display whether we wanted to see it or not, but I couldn't help but being bored silly by it all having heard these fly-on-the-wall type of recordings for years on end. For diehard Lennon fans only, or at least those who could see beyond the peace 'n love jive that the famed duo had been dishing out at us for a sizable period of their career.

The Wailers-"Mashi"/"On The Rocks" 45 rpm single (Night Club, Germany)

One of those "inessentials" that I just hadda have because it looks so old tymey 'n all. Side one's the same hotcha instrumental (unless you count Kent Morrill's strangulated screams) that appeared on 1961's WAILERS AND COMPANY which continues to drive ya nuts even fifty-five years after the fact, while the flip's actually the re-do of the Wailers' '59 smash "Tall Cool One" that itself did a little charting somewhere down the line (though not as much as the original from what I can tell). These two numbers certainly are a nice way to remember just what kinda fun and energy rock 'n roll music had for millions of teenagers world-wide, at least until it all hadda turn into introspective goo a good ten years later (and Morrill would certainly know since his early-seventies solo album DREAM MAKER reportedly gives James Taylor a run for the persecuted sensitive singer-songwriter money!).
Various Artists-ZERO UTRECHT FASHION MIND CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

This Bill burn is different from the others in that it pretty much is thematically solid. Well, except for a few outbreaks of punk rock in a more decidedly eighties vein courtesy the Ignerents and Lullabies (and a soul-stirring orchestrated number), but the rest is pretty much straight sixties garage band and as you know there is a direct line from sixties local rock sounds to eighties self-produced sputum so in some ways it all fits together.

Nothing punk-y here, but it's still hefty good sixties music that has a nice drive to it. Mostly ballads but entertaining enough, though the Zero End's "Blow Your Mind" could have been good enough San Francisco ballroom fodder and Yesterday's Children relied on the old Rolling Stones ripoff mode so common of sixties bands (in this case "Paint It, Black") for their "To Be Or Not To Be".

In all, good mid-energy music that didn't upset me especially in these out to upset you times. Could use some more of it, which is why I think I'll be digging into my collection for that one Norton album with the liner notes by Ernie Douglas on the back. Plenty of ranch house adolescent musings on that!

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