Sunday, May 22, 2016

It's HAPPY CAMPER TIME here at BTC central and you wanna know why??? Well not only does it have to do with the recent rash of FUNTIME READING that has bit the domicile as of late (including the tres-boffo DENIM DELINQUENT book and MIDNIGHT comic collections) but a load of fine listening that you're gonna be reading about in just a few minute minutes (that reads "mi-noot minutes" in case you didn't get that RATS REAGAN joke in some cartoon I drew age elevem which I printed in a crusty old issue of BLACK TO COMM). Yes, when it comes to my ever-dwindling free time these days it's nothing but being holed up in my bedroom reading some top notch rock 'n roll or old tyme comic excitement while some hotcha sounds blare from my bedside boom box (one of those small cheap types that peter out every three or so years), and you can bet that when I settle down and relax in this particular fashion I am in SUBURBAN SLOB HEAVEN and nothing inna world can pry me away from my comfy chair...other'n the urge to go to the kitchen and get some peanuts to eat 'r sumpin' like that.

Not only that but just yesterday I received the new DICK TRACY volume which should occupy my evening hours rather swell, so let's just hope for tons of rain and stuff in the next few days just so's I don't end up feeling guilty and decide to do some outdoor work to soothe my aching conscience.

But in between real life and fun time there's BLOGGING TIME to contend with, and that's just what I've done if only to get some personal satisfaction into my life. Yes, other guys my age might piddle around making rocking chairs for the kids in their workshops or join golfing and bowling leagues or maybe even donate their energies to various socially meaningful endeavors like volunteering as crosswalk guards or driving for Meals on Wheels that just might get their name dropped on page two of the second section of your local newspaper, but I spend mine in a HIGHLY MORE SIGNIFICANT WAY and I'm sure you agree with me en toto!

Before we go any farther, a sad sendoff to Alan Young of MR. ED etc. fame who just passed away a few days back. Really, who amongst us still don't relish those fantab episodes of what was definitely the first sixties fantasy series and a show that still holds up in 2016 more than ROSEANNE did a mere nanosecond after it ceased to exist! Sheesh, with all of these childhood heroes dying like this who can I look up to as a tee-vee role model as the years dwindle down to a precious few...Noh-vember...Dee-cember...

And with that, enter into my universe where maybe you'll learn about something you'll never care about no matter how long you live!


As far as I can recall, CAPTAIN SCARLET wasn't aired in any of the tee-vee markets around here so it wasn't like I have any strong kiddoid feeling about the thing like I do SUPERCAR or FIREBALL XL-5. But since this program was a Gerry Anderson production and Siouxie felt it kitsch cute enough to perform the theme song during her earliest and most potent Bansheeing days you can bet that I am front and center for this incidental music from the series! Barry Gray did a lot of good soundtrack work on a variety of Lew Grade IBC series and he's no different here, creating all sorts of mood-setting music that sound good on their lonesome as well as while watching all of the supermarionation that was goin' on on-screen. Fit in well with a Sunday afternoon of Golden Age comic book readin' I'll tell ya, and if only I could get music like this to play the actual soundtrack to my very being boy would life be more exciting!

Billy C and the Sunshine were one of the early Grande Ballroom bands back during the high energy Detroit Rock days, and that's but one reason why I've been interested in giving a listen to 'em all these years. Disque one of this 2007 collection of old and older material features the original Sunshine who were led by Alabama transplant Billy C Farlow, a guy who really did an eye-bugging job emulating the Chicago blues sound which makes up the basis for most of the Sunshine's repertoire even though he looked like your typical late-sixties suburban slob kinda kid. It's nothing that lights me the way that the Detroit big guns did but it's still commendable, especially the deep urban groove of disque closer "Watch My .38" which eventually ended up on the first album by Farlow's newer group Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.

Disque #2's mostly if not all live material done by Farlow post-Cody inna mid-seventies and it's kinda slick-like country blues rock that could have made an indent on the charts had Farlow only gotten out a little more. I'll have to admit that some of it does come off rather pederstrian to my raw ear canals, but a nice hunk of this had me jumping up and down just like I did when I was five years old and did interpretive dances to the top 40 blaring from some neighbor's radio.

Overall a nice general overview of a good portion of Farlow's musical career, and the Sunshine material is definitely worth a listen to for a historical perspective re. the late-sixties Detroit goings on.

Mr. Stress Blues Band-LIVE AT THE BRICK COTTAGE 1972-1973 CD (Smog Veil)

Sheesh, more of da blooze! Well at least it's the Mr. Stress Blues Band we're talkin' here and not one of those chintzy blues aggregates that have been popping up in dingy dives across the U.S. of Whoa these past four or so decades. A Cleveland-area institution as Jane Scott might have once said, Stress and band had been wowing the scungier amongst us since the late-seventies and although he has been whatcha'd call a loco legend for quite some time it's like most folk I know are aware of him more from what they've read or heard worda mouth rather'n by actually givin' the guy and band a listen.

Well, that's all changed now for Smog Veil has issued a collection of rarities from Stress's long-running Brick Cottage residency, and what I assume is the best of the surviving tapes is now available for even the more neophyte bluesers around. Lotsa familiar tuneage here for the blues crowd to go gaga over all done up in a pretty convincing way that (according to the booklet notes) even had black patrons at Stress gigs complimenting the man for his accuracy! And that only goes to prove one thing, which is back inna late-sixties black people still cared about the blues because since then it was almost like they ditched the music with a vengeance if only because it just dredges up too many bad memories or something like that. I know how that is...I get the same feeling with algebra.

Speaking of the enclosed booket which always seem to accompany these things it's fantab, not only with the detailed Stress band history that's expected of a project such as this but tons of rare illustrations including a couple snapped when Peter Laughner was a front and center member of the band! The stories to be found herein really do make for a nice slice of Cleveland musical history you just couldn't osmose from listening to WMMS-FM then or now for that matter, and the list of people in the credit due section really comes off as a who's who of gruff underbelly of the scene as it stood in the early/mid-seventies. I noticed that Charlie Weiner's moniker was mentioned in said list which makes me wonder if Smog Veil might have an early Rocket From The Tombs platter planned for the very near future...I could only hope 'n pray so given how like, time is runnin' out.

Creeping commercialism does hamper the energy levels quite a bit (why couldn't distorted, high powered blatant NOISE be commercial for once in my life?) but Loyde still saves the day with his overdrive guitar playing and metallic nature making this something more than just another mid-seventies progressive rock excursion for pimplefarm pubescents. Nothing that I'll be spinning again in quite some time, but not really that bad considering the time and place, or something like that!
Controlled Bleeding-DEATH IN THE CAMEROON CD-r burn (originally on cassette)

What more can I say other'n Controlled Bleeding were perhaps "thee" ultimo in eighties-era atonal (and perhaps amoral) soundscapading extant and that most if not all (even those "softer" tracks) really hold up even this far down the line when we all shoulda known better or something like that. Heavy duty electronic gurgl that reflects various past accomplishments (krautrock comes to mind although Paul Lemos vehemently denied any connection which I can empathize with) and you might be surprised but this particular and ultra-rare effort does hold up to repeated spins here at BLOG TO COMM central. Beyond beautiful surges of aural energy that reflect a certain point in rock history where maybe these out-there experiments didn't sound so college boy holed up in his dorm narcissistic after all!
Various Artists-HEY JUNE CD-r burn (originally on Imperial, Netherlands)

Sheesh, how am I gonna fill up this review so it'll be long enough to support the nifty picture of the cover that appears directly to the left. Howzbout I've said before these European progressive rock samplers really don't light a fire under my psyche and this particular entry is pretty much on par with my past experiences in the realm. Unless you go for Jethro Tull-inspired breath-y flute playing and the usual classical influences up the ol' chute you ain't gonna like this, and besides that it seems as if all of these Dutch progressive acts have this certain taint of ultra-clean professionalism to 'em that is sterile beyond belief! The only act on this 'un that I could derive any decent enjoyment out of was by the jazzed up Ritmo Naturel who got into a nice neo-funk jazz groove that wouldn't have been outta place on a say...Roland Kirk album. But still this track wasn't enough to make me wanna seek out any of the group's other recordings which I'm sure are easily enough downloadable at this time. Hmmmm, I did a pretty good job padding this one out...congratulate me for once in your pallid life, willya?
The Bats-A SHABBY LITTLE HUT CD-r burn (originally on CBS South Africa)

This South African band really does hit all of the proper British Invasion hot buttons to the point where I gotta admit that they actually came up with a pretty good platter here! Lotsa Liverpool ideas of course with a bit of London pop and the usual English touches. Vocals sound rather Americanized for this kind of music, but the Bats still manage to get a whole lotta energy out that's really up there with the Beatles and Dave Clark Five not to mention some of the lesser names that you probably think cubesville (but I kinda like) such as the ever-popular Chad and Jeremy. Too bad these guys were stuck in South Africa because if they had only hailed from Merrie Olde they could have been as big as...the Undertakers???
Blackwater Park-DIRT BOX CD-r burn (originally on Long Hair)

Dunno why Paul McGarry (a man who I thought should know better) sent this hippydippy bitta early-seventies hard rock sans basic punk surge my way because this German group's overall sound is so mediocre that I hadda listen to DISCREET MUSIC in order to get some raw power back into my system. We've all heard it before and hated it every time, and why I hadda be inundated with more of that decidedly anti-life, anti-energy music that I've been trying to steer clear of for many a year I'll NEVER know. Paul, this platter, this group is SO TERRIBLE that I want you to return alla them Christmas presents I got you...I mean it, and like RIGHT NOW!!!! Snarl......................
Various Artists-WALKER BURNER ZU-BRIGADE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Not bad a-tall. 

Al Allen's "Egghead" fits in with the late-fifties instrumental scheme about as good as Johnny and the Hurricanes did while Wee Willie Walker's souled up take of "Ticket to Ride" sounds better'n most Beatle cover toonz of the time (assuming this was recorded while the Beatles were still up 'n mop top). City Zu're kinda mid-energy late-sixties local yokel rock while Derby Hatville sound mellow but still sturdy. As for the Hand Grenades I can't tell if they're late-sixties local garage band or late-seventies local punk rock but either way they do have this nice kinetic sound that woulda done either genre (that is, if in fact they were two different ones) proud. 

As for Lee Austin. he's even more low-budget soul doing a song where he actually talks his way through the first half of a pre-recorded track before finally getting into the number. The Evil I were on one of those early PEBBLES-type series and they still sound up there even if their singer is trying to ape Jim Morrison to the point where you think he ended up in one of those early-eighties Doors cover bands that were so popular back then. In contrast the Glass Family do the late-sixties psych pop sound different-like making a nice wall of rumble in the meanwhile. As for the Space Monkey Death Sequence well...experimental bedroom electronics can only go so far and like, maybe I do have a low threshold for this sorta sound, at least after awhile. At least Group Axis' take of "No Fade Away" rescued me from whatever dada-inspired ennui the previous track gave, and that's even with the wimpy singing!

Nova Local (I think they're from Rochester New York) drive with their garage folk rocker "Games" while former Gene Vincent sideman Scotty McKay shows that he really fit into the mid-sixties groove with "All Around The World" which might as well have been the 13th Floor Elevators what with the tin foil reverb of the guitars and all! 

A great way to spend a good fortysome minutes. And you were probably doing something disgusting during the exact same amount of time, right?

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