Sunday, January 22, 2017

Well, here're the reviews of records etc. that I thought were just too obvious to appear in my everyday 2016 posts yet I thought should have a yellout of sorts because I did listen to 'em. Somehow I get the inklin' that you reglar readers want to know what I think about EVERYTHING out there inna world, right?, and that's why I'm presenting this special edition of BLOG TO COMM for your very inquisitive nature! Unfortunately it wasn't like I had the opportunity to run down into the basement and crack into my vinyl collection when I had the time and opportunity to (mainly because I didn't have as much free time to spare this solar rotation as I usually have) but what I could give a listen to I did. Also threw in some old cassettes and Bill burns that were lyin' around, and I know you would have too if you were only lucky enough to be me.

The Droogs-KINGDOM DAY cassette (PVC)

This particular platter (or in my case freebee cassette) was motivational enough to the point where the Droogs actually earned the front cover spot on the twelfth issue of my infamous (and that's just about it!) crudzine. But does KINGDOM DAY hold up a good twenny-nine years after this soiled and sad fact??? To be honest and up-front about it this particular Droogathom doesn't quite excite me the way it used to, but it's still a deep 'n down soul-killer with a couple of bonafeed knockouts like "Webster Field" and "Collector's Item" (which were collected on a handy-dandy single at the time) as well as the title track. The rest of this will be suitable enough for those of you who find psychedelic AGENTS OF FORTUNE styled Stalk-Forrestisms more to your bent, and I most certainly do even if the overall professionalism now seems to detract a tad. Definitely one of the better platters (or in this case tapes) to come out during those dark ages of rock 'n roll we knew as the eighties.
Frank Zappa-LUMPY GRAVY CD-r burn (originally on Verve)

Haven't spun this 'un in quite some time (or at least since I did my Zappapiece in issue #18 of my esteemed fanzine) so thanks be to Bill Shute for skeedaddlin' a dub my way. A weirditie for sure that was available only as an import back during my Zappafanatic days, LUMPY GRAVY doesn't sound as disjointed or as nerve-scraping as it first did, but then again years of Nurse With Wound and related stylizations had altered my listening parameters quite a bit. The orchestral sections sound typical late-sixties poppish while the "musique concrete" passages ain't as frightening to my current state o' brain as they where when I was sixteen, and overall I gotta admit that the thing sure brings back a whole lotta funzy memories of prowling through record shops and flea markets trying to cram a good fifteen or so years of hardassed rockist history into such a short span of time. Now where's my copy of George Harrison's ELECTRONIC SOUND?

I've heard the YOUR DAILY GIFT and REFUGEE platters quite awhile back. In fact so long back that I don't remember what I wrote of those long-cut out Amerigan releases of 'em, and it ain't like I'm gonna comb through thirtysome years of scribbles to refresh my memory. But I did get hold of these twofas of the aforementioned along with the previous heard, digested and loved TRAVELIN' as well as the ne'er before spun by myself DODENS TRIUMF. Yeah, these platters do reinforce my belief that Savage Rose were a hefty good mainland European late-sixties/early-seventies rock 'n roll act up there with such other mindcrankers as Can, the Amon Duuls and even Magma, a batch who I (if not you) gotta admit weren't as tippy-top in their earliest Chicago-influenced stage as Savage Rose were by even their eponymous debut, but I guess they were good enough that A&M did release at least one of their albums stateside.

TRAVELIN' is, at least for me, the last great Savage Rose spinner what with it documenting the last of the classic three-keyboard lineup and a downright get-inside-you popper with smart asides to jazz and folk themes that for once don't make you wanna puke. Annisette's voice might take a tad to get used to but so did Ethel Merman's, and the musical portion of the program really does rate up there with a whole slew of contemporary classics from Fairport Convention and other late-sixties against-the-tide aggregations what with its sophisticado pop that even had stodgy music professors tuning in. Contains perhaps the best of many stellar Savage Rose tracks, namely the controversial "My Family Was Gay" which hints at a whole lot more skeletons in the closet than mere "love that dare not say its name" hoo-hah.

YOUR DAILY GIFT doesn't quite zing me in the same fashion the first three Savage Rose platters had, perhaps because of the loss of Maria Koppel on harpsichord coupled with musical arrangements that don't quite suit the material at hand. Still this 'un has enough material to classify as near-top notch what with such tear-jerkers as "The Poorest Man on Earth" and the title track. Not one to pass up, at least after hearing the first three.

REFUGEE starts off total eruption with the gospel-y "Revival Day" and keeps going strong even when the mood gets bloozy on "Granny's Grave" and the title track. Still there seems to be a lack (though not too much) of the original oomph that made the first few such on-target albums which as you can tell seems to have been some sorta sore spot with regards to the entire Savage Rose oeuvre (though the late Imants Krumins told me that the group's output eventually became so rancid that even a longtime admirer such as himself could't hack 'em). Like on YOUR DAILY GIFT you do have to wade quite a bit between the good and the eh, but what a wade it is! If you snatched up the Amerigan release on Gregor along with GIFT back during the great Radio Shack LP and cassette cutout market saturation of late 1976 consider yourself lucky.

Haven't heard DODENS TRIUMF until these sorry days, and frankly I'm glad I didn't hear it way back when my impressionable self would have been cryin' boo-hoos over losing even more hard-begged to such a duffer as that. This particular concept album really doesn't zing me nor sound anything like the Savage Rose of previous platters. In fact Annisette doesn't even make an appearance until the end and the music sounds like treacly accordion-laden progressive rock (with a europop bent) that won't make any hardcore rock 'n roller a fan. Maybe it's a thing only the Danish can understand. Still I am not giving up on Savage face I am looking forward to listening to their BABYLON album with various jazzbos including Ben Webster if only because it was because of Webster's association with Savage Rose than I first read about the group while reading an issue of DOWN BEAT in the waiting room of my orthodontist back 1972 way!
Deep Purple-IN ROCK cassette (Harvest England)

After reading John "Inzane" Olson's punkified appreciation of this early-seventies heavy metal definer I figured I better give this 'un another pre-beddy bye go instead of spinning PARADIESWARTS DUUL for the umpteenth time this week. And lo and behold, but IN ROCK does hold up in early-seventies doof-addled hard rock glory even more than I would have expected. Surprisingly enough, this platter (or in my case cassette) does have plenty in common with other early-seventies punk rock efforts (such as Ainigma and Siloah, thanks to Jon Lord's addled neo-prog organ playing) to qualify as being a hefty part of that entire overlooked movement and I ain't foolin'! So good that I don't even have to mention various MC5/Detroit high energy reference points (or early Metal Mike Saunders paens of praise) in order to get you indifferent types to latch onto a flea market copy yourself. Oops, I just did, and here I was trying to avoid tugging at your overworked rock psyche. Sorry!
The Velvet Underground-POP GIANTS VOL. 9 LP (Brunswick "Silber-Serie", Germany)

Most Velvet Underground compilations tend to be totally useless and poorly packaged to boot, but those from the early-to-mid-seventies sure had that dark mystique that undoubtedly equaled the occult vibrations the band emitted like crazy during their up 'n about days! This German effort circa.1973 is no diff...far from being a "greatest hits" collection POP GIANTS VOL. 9 features NO tracks from THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO,  two from WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT, three from the third album proper and the rest from Nico's CHELSEA GIRL! The selections used from "The Murder Mystery" and "The Gift" to "Lady Godiva's Operation" and "I'm Set Free" cover a spectrum of jarring stylistic extremes that really give this that ol' dimensional feel while the Nico numbers (including the John Cale-penned "Winter Song", "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams" and the platter topper "Elegy to Legny [sic!] Bruce") fit in snugly as well giving an even more striking additional "balance" to the rock tracks proper. Up there with the Pride "Swan" cover edition as well as the double set lip-sucking comp that was an omnipresent stable of the mid-seventies import bins. Once again a huge tip of the sombrero to John "Inzane" Olson for pointing this sleeper out to me.
Deep Purple-FIREBALL cassette (Harvest Australia)

That IN ROCK tape had me scurrying deep into my cassette collection for this particular offering which I believe was Purple's followup achievement. Again the same hallowed names in ROCK SCRIBEDOM (not criticism) had been hyping this 'un up as yet another crowning achievement of early seventies metaldom, and while FIREBALL seems to have less of a oomph than its predecessor it still packs a mighty somethingorother.

I really thought that the way Jon Lord's organ was modulated and toned and all that to sound like a viola not only on "The Mule" but "No One Came" was pretty smart esp. for a buncha guys thought of as lunkheads and heck, even the goof track "Anyone's Daughter" has a good gallop to it that you wouldn't be hearing from most heavy metal acts in the years to come. Makes me long to dig out that 1981 CREEM special heavy metal issue which was perhaps the last place in the mainstream rock press where the term heavy metal was still being used in its early-seventies adjectival state right before the advent of the hair mob a very short time later.
The Rock-A-Teens-WOO HOO CD (Sparkletone)

Sheesh, I gotta admit that I believe these fifties garage bands were way better'n the sixties ones! Maybe it's because these local rockatrashers were (most definitely!) operating under the influence of boffo cheapo Amerigan kultur that really resonates with the suburban slob that will continue to live in me as long as they have ranch houses! And who could deny that there's the same sorta pre-snoot rock impulses working within the psyches of acts like the Rock-A-Teens, Fendermen, Wailers and heck even Johnny and the Hurricanes that was the aural equivalent of those cheap plastic toy tanks you used to find at the local five and dime. At this point in time I'll even take the Rock-A-Teens over many of the famous rockabilly rousers of the era just because they have the same sorta chintziness that I've loved my whole life whether it be via UHF tee-vee reruns or bargain store toilet paper. On this CD reissue you get the entire album in stereo and mono as well as a buncha outtakes and studio banter featuring a rather irritated engineer!

One of those BYG/Aktual albums people don't like talking about. The conglomeration Germ (or at least members Gerard Fremy and Martine Josie) tinkle ivories on an obscure Terry Riley composition and frankly it doesn't sound like his more familiar work at tall. Featuring shimmering sounds akin to an old Philip Glass album being played at 78, it's probably something that will stymie fans who've only heard of Riley through CHURCH OF ANTHRAX and IN C. I found it nice in a non-dilettantish avant garde kinda way. The other track's Germ proper (a nine-piece ensemble of a chamber variety) who perform member Pierre Marietan's "Initiative" which sounds like many of these 12-tone kinda post-Webern kinda compositions whose listening audience seemed to be made up of the entire cast from the movie LOT IN SODOM. Well it's better avant garde'n watching some money grubbing dilettante shoving yams up her butthole.
Paul Revere and the Raiders featuring Mark Lindsay-HARD N' HEAVY WITH MARSHMALLOW CD-r burn (originally on Sundazed)

By the time the Raiders were starting to wind down on the AM charts I wasn't exactly front and center for any of their material even though I was a big fan of WHERE THE ACTION IS during the latter part of my turdler years. But dang if HARD N' HEAVY don't sound pretty great as far as the pop rock late-sixties hitmakers go. Sure it's straight ahead transistor radio sounds custom made for the mammary-sprouting early-teen gals who had posters with rainbows and unicorns in their bedrooms (this being before the homos appropriated alla them girly things as symbols of their struggle against not being able to peckerhole anything male under the age of fifteen), but hey even the grittier amongst us suburban slob guys coulda gone for this without looking too goony. It is "Hard 'n Heavy" and there ain't that much marshmallow to it either! Bonus tracks even got the infamous Pontiac "Judge" commercial for all you motorheads out there! Next stop COLLAGE with the infamous heavy metal trip "Just Seventeen"? One can only hope so!
The Fendermen-MULE SKINNER BLUES CD (Dee Jay, Germany)

Who woulda thought that this 50s/60s cusp group with only one major biggie onna charts woulda made that much of a mark on the listening public of the day? Well, maybe not, but it is quite obvious that the Fendermen were the precursors of the likes of the Trashmen and a whole slew of early-sixties local rockers who might have gotten somewhere in life if the Beatles and their mop-topped ilk just never happened. From the title hit to the slew of originals and cover material (even including a pretty ritzy take on Duke Ellington's "Caravan"), this one straddles the late-fifties original rock 'n roll thrust and the upcoming generation the way a tightrope walker'd cross the Grand Canyon, and if anything really exemplified the very-early sixties rock 'n roll mindset it would be acts like the Fendermen, the Rock-A-Teens and alla those other no-count aggregations that somehow get passed over in the rock "history" rush from Elvis getting drafted to the Beatles.
The Seventh Sons-RAGA CD (ZYX/ESP-disk, Germany)

An old fave dug up during a major Cee-Dee exhumation project. AKA FOUR AM AT FRANK'S, this legendary band cooks up some pretty good Indian-styled drone music that you can really wrap your psyche around in whether you're doing the laundry or just cooling your heels reading some old comic strip collection. Kinda beatnik yet pointing the way towards late-sixties excess, RAGA seems to predate a whole lotta things to come that unfortunately didn't sound so hotcha when its time eventually came. Gotta say one thing...if these guys were so popular in the New York rock scene what with appearances at the Fillmore and all, howcum this is their only recorded output? True they were turning down offers left and right (or so the liner notes say), but you think there woulda been someone else who woulds recorded these guys and got it out to us hungry rock 'n rollers, right???

Part of the original line of Obscure releases that made up more'n a few paragraphs in the rock magazine of your choice, somehow this 'un never did get the same huzzahs as Eno's effort or DECAY MUSIC for that matter did. Nevertheless this is a pretty on-target example of what English experimental music was all about back in the sixties and seventies, with Max Eastley providing a number of recordings created by sound sculptures (or something like that) that were activated by natural or artificial movement while Toop performs his compositions of free sound clatter/clutter along with some falsetto vocals and the assistance of who else but Brian Eno himself. The results are everything from mesmerizing (especially the self-producing soundworks) to eyebrow raising. This was not the over-the-hills-screaming-all-the-way effort that a negative review I read back in them days had me thinking it was gonna be, but I think I have been wrong premonitions about prospective album purchases before.

As far as I can tell this has most if not all of the Norton material and a few new things mixed up and about for all of those who missed out on the Big Hasil Adkins revival of the late-eighties. Sure you've heard 'em all before way back when but sometimes it's really nice to give a listen to these great one-man hunchers in the present when frankly we could sure use a whole lot more Hasil Adkins and a whole less...well, whatever there is that's big out there in Tinselland not that I'm payin' any attention. But when all's said and done it was fun stuff like this that got a certain nth rate rock scribe (not "critic") into thinking of broadenin' his horizons and doing his own self-published screed an'...well, don't wanna pat myself onna back any more than I should now, eh???

I guess the show was such hot property back inna seventies that just about any product related to the show would get whatcha'd call the big push! And, as Paul McGarry can tell you, ALL IN THE FAMILY was one show that really reaped in the merchandise bucks what with games, attire, political badges, books and in this case record albums being pushed onya like nothing since Davy Crockett. Like the various Archie Bunker-related books that were cluttering up the paperback racks of the day, this album consists of nothing but juicy clips from the series featuring some of the best mots, bon or not, from the likes of that lovable ol' Archie. And considering those were the pre-VCR/DVD days a rec like this sure came in handy just like those Beatle boots featuring the entire soundtracks to their various features most certainly did! As for myself the mere tee-vee series was just enough, though if someone had come up with the idea of a LEAVE IT TO BEAVER album I just might have been saving up the coinage to purchase that!

No comments: