***These weeks have been getting slower and duller'n usual for my tastes...at least there's a downpour outside which is breaking up the monotony somewhat even if it lacks the violence and fear-frought tension of those storms that used to get me screamin' meemee when I was but a mere turdler. But still I know how to make the best of a rather fanabla situation what with all of the rock mags (and old issues of HELP! and MAD) as well as boffo listening material cluttering up the old abode. Its hard trying to keep up my perpetual adolescent sense of suburban slobism as the years roll by but at least, with the aid of such stimuli, I can still ooze some of that ten-year-old mentality ranch house living fun and jamz in a world which for the most part frowns upon such base bourgeois behavior. And if it weren't for the likes of Bill Shute and Guerssen Records the f 'n j wouldn't be comin' at me as fast as they are! So after all is said 'n done don't curse me, curse them!
There are are few fine fanablas out there who have tried to make the case that Ten Years After were a top notch example of British punk rock, or at least punk rock of a decidedly pre-Sex Pistols variety. Some of these fanablas are just plain wrong, but I still find this repackaging of the group's debut platter a whole lot more exhilarating than some of the music I heard by the later, more FM friendly band that appeared at Woodstock who come to think of it weren't that bad either. Thankfully this debut is still rooted in the British Invasion-era of English blooze music so it ain't as offensive as a lotta those those fringe jacket types fuzztoning Willie Dixon all over the place were, and not only that but on the first of these two discs its presented in both stereo and mono for all of you obsessive types who are so anal retentive that you know exactly how many wipes its gonna take!
The second disque has the group's boffo non-LP single which really shoulda done a whole lot more'n it did (the ringing phone on "The Sound" keeps getting me up to answer the real thing which must mean something other'n that I am very uptight!) as well as some BBC radio sessions that are not from the original source but we can't be too picky these days. In all these tracks compliment the legit music more'n one would have guessed, and as far as guessing goes I never woulda thought at one time that I would ever cozy up to this band considering the fact that these English blooze acts can wear thin after awhile.
By the way, did you know that the group got their name from an English tabloid headline dealing with the Suez Canal Crisis ten years after the fact? Sheesh, I always thought that "Ten Years After" meant ten years after the original rock 'n roll push, like in 1956 we had Elvis Presley and now we have Ten Years After! Well, it would make more sense to your typical twelve-year-old record shop scourer who at the time didn't even know what the Suez Canal Crisis was!
Some of these avant garde improvisational music acts"gets" me, some of them don't. Cosmists are definitely in the former group as they play a nice minimal free jazz-inspired sound that reminds me of those mid/late-seventies Art Ensemble of Chicago side projects that were coming out with an amazing regularity at the time. Not that Collette McCaslin comes off like Lester Bowie (at times she does believe-it-or-not!), but the use of percussion and a wavering theremin do recall some of the wilder AACM moments in past history and if you remain a fan of those indecipherable to most people under-the-counter jazz platters of the past as well as the whole improv groove that's been goin' on for quite some time you just might want to snatch this li'l outta-the-way offering up because hey, what else is there these days that can really set your soul on fire?
I didn't know that the other TERRANAUT Cee-Dees flying around out there were illegit, but Guerssen did this classic self-produced mid-seventies teenage album up pretty snat if I do say so myself. Sure coulda used Jeremy Cargill's booklet notes which are unobtainable on the web, but still this platter is a great collection of home-made local rock (recorded in Singapore by a buncha Amerigan expats!) that sounds so beautifully teenage inept that you woulda thought it was done by those jerks down the street who used to congregate in the knotty pine basement much to the neighbors' chagrin. If you're still under the impression that the Circulation album reviewed a few weeks back was a pretty hotcha affair then TERRANAUT just might be the atomic chaser.
A good portion of my kid-era tee-vee viewing time was taken up by watching THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES, and considering just how long this show has been off the air (not counting various revivals that either didn't make it to the local tee-vee markets or were just so depressing in spirit that they just hadda be ignored) you can just bet that I was more'n anxious to take a li'l trip back in time'n relive those funtime memories of an otherwise drab childhood existence. It's sure good lending ear to people who were really funny making cracks that were a whole lot more witty than the entire Bill Maher oeuvre, and believe it or not but only NOW do I discover that a whole lotta those jokes that I sure didn't get back when I was ten were down and out dirty! But they were a fun dirty, more like BEETLE BAILEY or Carson so that was OK I guess. As the Amish would say, give this one a spin and remind yourself of what funny IS!!!
While we're on the subject of back when I was a kid, there was a copy of the original YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT book that was setting on the tee-vee stand directly under the set where I watched all of those HOLLYWOOD SQUARES programs mentioned earlier, and for years I thought that the moom pitcher of the same name was actually an adaptation of this very book! Only in recent times did I discover that YAWYE was a hipster "mondo" film consisting of various vignettes crammed together for bizarro youth market appeal. This soundtrack gives a good idea of what that moom was probably like, mixing mostly dull interludes with songs of varying degrees all done up in a late-sixties cool sorta fashion that your budding protest kiddie woulda just dug at least before hitting the real thing via Zappa or the Fish.
Personal faves include (believe it or not) the Peter Yarrow numbers which made me forget some of the singer/songwriter gunk he made his career with, John Simon's "My Name is Jack" (a bouncy sorta kid song that had a nice underlying sinister appeal to it) and of course the two Tiny Tim tracks which eventually got him on LAUGH IN, one being a version of the Ronettes fave "Be My Baby" and the other a duet of the Sonny and Cher classic "I Got You Babe" done with Eleanor Baruchian of the Cake. The rest you can take or leave, though Paul Butterfield did tend to lend a certain snarl to it all
Bongo bongo bongo I don't wanna leave the Congo! That's what I thought was gonna be on this album that features the famed hand drums courtesy of some guy named Mike Pacheco who I gotta admit I never heard of before, or after for that matter. Either that or a whole lotta South Seas kinda exotica that conjures up images of sexy island gals walking around topless, and with big suckable juggins too! I wuz wrong on both counts, for BONGO DATE is nothing but solo bongo beats that sound custom made for the coffee house in the farthest reaches of your "Hey Beat Mon" mind. You can just see the smoke in the air and the beardo guy with the shades and beret (maybe even some stale doritos!) beating away in one of those basement hangouts that used to pop up on old detective shows. This platter might even make good backdrop for your own hip poetry...at your next shindig just spin BONGO DATE while you let loose with the free form. Okay, right from the top..."MILK, MILK, LEMONADE..."
***The Sandells-SCRAMBLER CD-r burn (originally on World Pacific Records)
Nice enough though not tough or anything like that surf rock which eventually turned up on the ENDLESS SUMMER soundtrack. Not as gutsy as most of the other Californian (or land locked even!) surf groups of the day, but still bubbling under enough to conjure up all of those great surf rock feelings of old that sorta got washed away around the time Jimi hadda make his "You'll never hear....surf music....again" comment and suddenly it wasn't such hot stuff anymore. A pretty good example of what the West Coast teen experience meant to a whole lot of us, at least until the whole scene sorta vanished into thin air and years of revival gigs.
Looks like the rain finally stopped and I just might be seeing just a li'l bitta sun on the horizon...sheee-yucks!***