Sunday, December 18, 2016

With the X-miss season in full gear 'n all, it's so good that the following albums/platters/cee-dees/whatnot have entered into my life to make these days a whole less ennui-filled disgust than they just happen to be now! Otherwise I'd be just a li'l frettin' waste, trying to get through the hollow-day season without trying to eyeball even the smallest Christmas tree or wreath lest I get into some really gnarled-up mood! And, unlike the Christmas seasons of yore, there ain't no TIME OFF FROM LIFE that really recharged yer adolescent batteries back when any time of the year really mattered because hey, it was your life to have and control! (Or so I thought but never mind that!) Nothing but work, work and oh yeah, alla those real life threats to your everyday normality and sanity! Now if I can only get those creepy dark Christmas party and fambly gathering dreams (usually taking place years ago in settings that look quite different than the ones they actually transpired in!) outta my subconscious!

Oh and...hrummph!...welcome to this particular edition of BLOG TO COMM! Hope you dig it even though I find the entire concept of doing a blog here in 2016 rather disturbing for some occult reason. But trudge on I must. Got some goodies here for you to digress, some from the burntable of Bill Shute and a couple from the hard work (hah!) of my sweat 'n brow or something like that! Nothing spectacular mind you, but I think a good portion of these platters would do your own turntable or laser launching pad swell, so without further ado, here's this week lineup of reviewable raunchiness!

Amanaz-AFRICA 2-CD set (Now Again)

Dunno about you, but I never woulda believed there would be that much good rock 'n roll comin' outta Africa considerin' just how far away it seems from the Northern Hemisphere realm! But there was (is?) and I've reviewed quite a few bits of African rock wares as of late in case you weren't paying attention. This collection from a "Zamrock" (Zambian Rock...geddit?) group called Amanaz proves that there were groups over there that had that straight-ahead rock 'n roll feeling that was out of vogue when these were recorded (mid-seventies), and who ever thought that one would have to go all the way to Zambia to given some straight ahead Amerigan rock complete with cheap fuzztone lead guitars a listen?

Not that this doesn't tend to slow down once the disque plays out, but it sure beats a whole lotta similar-minded self-produced platters all hollow. Of special note is track #3 entitled "Sunday Morning" which, while not thee "Sunday Morning" of first VU LP fame, claims to have been directly influenced by the Velvets and was written in 1968 t' boot making Amanaz one of them outta-the-way groups that were copping Velvets influences while that band was still alive and kicking! Once again who woulda thought that Lou Reed and company woulda had that far-reaching an effect but they did, and Amanaz sure had their number down pat which is more'n one feather in their rock 'n roll cap!

Contains two disques, one with the album proper and another with a "reverb" mix, if such things happen to light your fancy. Not mine particularly, but at least if I break one of 'em the other will come in mighty handy!
Greg "Stackhouse" Prevost-UNIVERSAL VAGRANT CD (Mean Disposition Records Spain, available via Forced Exposure)

He's back, and for some reason I get the impression that you wouldn't be surprised one bit. After all, this is thee same Greg Prevost who thrilled you with Distorted Levels, the Chesterfield Kings and maybe a few other outfits that didn't manage to make their way to my ears just yet, and if you think he's gonna scrambootch from the music biz and shuffle off to Florida well then you got another think comin'!

Kinda like early-seventies Stones in part---y'know, the stuff that Jagger and co. were doin' when they were doin' that down 'n durty I wanna be black sorta groove. Read Lester Bangs' article in the last issue of HYPE if you wanna know more 'bout it. It also has two downright Arthur Lee and Love covers (one of 'em actually a re-cover via Buffy St. Whatzernames' "Codine") which gives this an added "cool" late-sixties West Coast vibe and I ain't talkin' the grooves the ROLLING STONE was putting forth either! Over half of this contains Prevost originals, and the whole feeling kinda reminds me of what I think those snooty rock critics thought they were hearing back when Neil Young and the rest of those Laurel Canyon obsessives were getting boffo writeups in a whole load of hippie rags that really haven't held up over these years, ifyaknowaddamean...

Pretty hotcha stuff and a whole lot more varied'n this review might indicate. Let's just say that with this album and his previous solo excursion Prevost has done just about everything that was "supposed" to have been done via the whitey reconstruction of hard-edge postwar blues (w/o coming off looking like a doof) that only a few from the Numbers Band to a few choice outfits have succeeded with. And from the looks of it he did it all sans the usual tough guy pose leather jacket stubble trappings that seemed to come with the territory and I'm talkin' for YEARS!
Various Artists-THE A&M BOOTLEG ALBUM CD-r burn

Hooboy, I remember a whole lotta hubbub about this platter back inna seventies when bootlegs were the talk of many a rock 'n roll maniac. Of course the ripoff aspect was lost on neophyte mid-teen me because hey, if the actual legit label put this one out then by golly it wasn't a bootleg but a nifty imitation. Kinda like alla those "legitimate bootleg" albums we've seen in the seventies from THE VELVET UNDERGROUND LIVE AT MAX's KANSAS CITY onward. But the thingie did serve its purpose what with the inclusion of those Captain Beefheart single sides that were hard to come by back then, not to mention some then-rare Tyrannosaurus Rex numbers and a buncha popster things from the Move and even (really!) Procol Harum that don't really sound that stomach-twisting. Even the Dillard and Clark track sounded good late-sixties Byrdsy enough for me to not wanna chuck this inna trash, and so what if such early-seventies worthless ones as Joe Cocker and Leon Russell are on it...ever hear of skip buttons????
Freddie Roach with Joe Henderson-BROWN SUGAR CD-r burn (originally on Blue Note Records)

Doan worry, this one was recorded a good seven or so years before the Rolling Stones copped the title for their big hit of the day so it ain't like you're gonna hear a soul jazz version of that particular spinner! But whatever this one is a goodie, nice and relaxing in that jazz organ style that ain't as tough as---say---Larry Young but pretty potent as far as wind down jamz go. Spin it when you're about to hit the hay and it just might make you forget alla them daytime worries that seem to grip you by the kajoobies more 'n more than these things ever should.
Bill Justis-12 OTHER INSTRUMENTAL HITS CD-r burn (originally on Smash Records)

Yup, the "Raunchy" guy himself was still crankin' 'em out well into the mid-sixties what with this platter just chockfulla instrumental blare that's bound to have some sorta sneaky effect on you. As for me listening to Justis cover the classics so-to-speak did bring a whole lotta turdler-era memories back like the time me and my cousin would walk around his basement to "Washington Square" pretending we were on BANDSTAND, and sheesh, but one lissen to the ol' MONDO CANE theme "More" sure jolts me back to happier times marooned in the '62 Pontiac if I do say so myself. Of course a whole lotta this slushes all over you with E-ZY listening goosh, but I gotta admit one thing, and that is the goosh of fifty-plus years back sure sounds better'n the goosh of 2016 and maybe (hopefully?) that's something we can all agree on!
SOUNDS INCORPORATED CD-r burn (originally on Columbia Records England)

These guys used to get a whole lotta ribbing from the usual rock fandom sources, but I find this platter just as entertaining as those Joe Meek instrumentals that were coming out around the same time. Very English-sounding pop rock with a kinetic, bouncy edge. Of course there's nothing here that's gonna make your typical rock snob ditch his James Taylor platters, but the platter still rocks out in that good early-sixties style that, come to think of it, wasn't really that cornball what with its intense sublimity. See the "goosh" remark from the above review and apply here.

HUMBLE GATHERING CD-r burn (originally on Stang Records)

Boy-oh-boy, did Bill bomb with this particular burn which I assume (and you know what Felix Unger said about that word!) he sent me either as a joke, a "test", or something like that. Nothing but typical hippie musings on this album which dredge up all of the BAD memories of those days that I unfortunately had to live through. (At least I had my DENNIS THE MENACE paperbacks and "Milk, Milk, Lemonade" to "protect" me in typical Paul Simon fashion!) Shades of the early-seventies horn bands can be discerned as well as a hefty dose of the Moody Blues at their moodiest...spin this one and go watch one of those "now" films of the day (topped off with a sampling of GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW) and you'll know of just about everything that seemed "meaningful" and "relevant" in 1971 yet came off so hokey just a few years later.

We've heard these early Floyd rumblings from "Lucy Leave" and that October '66 recording of "Interstellar Overdrive" on before, but what's wrong with hearin' 'em again because hey, this was a perfect encapsulation of Pink Floyd at their all-time best. This 'un has just about everything that appeared on those early platters like UNFORGOTTEN HERO other'n the stuff that's been legitimately reissued as of late, not to mention a track from that Rotterdam show that sounds pretty clear and some Syd outtakes. Of course it ain't complete like a thorough early Floyd survey should be but hey, if you haven't heard any of these tracks before and you consider yourself an aficionado of the form then why not go for it (or some of the similar under-the-counter releases that have been coming out these past thirtysome years)???
Various Artists-DECOMPRESSED YORKSHIRE EXPRESS CD-r burn  (Bill Shute)

Yuh there're more of them garage band barrel bottom scrapings here, but they ain't as bad as those...say...glam rock barrel bottom or heavy metal barrel bottom scrapings that we've heard a whole lot more in our lifetimes than we would have ever dreamed. Some of it is pretty snatcha like say, the Quarrymen (not the pre-Beatles act) and their "Why" or the Mysterions' "It's a Lie" so it ain't like I'm complaining. I am complaining about the Shadows who never really hit the target as far as early-sixties instrumental rock goes, but the soul of O.V. Wright and the Sods' late-seventies English punk protests more than make up for the blandness of those over-rated timmies. Another good Saturday afternoon time waster that's not as good a time waster as a tee-vee western or action-packed matinee, but I'll take it!

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