Friday, September 29, 2017

COMIC BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! BLAZE BAYLOR AND THE ARSON RING (GWANDANALAND COMICS #68)


Gwandanaland Comics has issued well over 1000 books of classic public-domain comic reprints, and one area they’ve done a fantastic job with is republishing complete series collecting the stories of characters who had ongoing features in multi-character comic books. In this case, all four stories from Cat-Man Comics devoted to Blaze Baylor have been collected in one slim volume.

Cat-Man Comics (and this Cat-Man is no relation to the character introduced in the 1960’s into Batman comics) began in 1941 (the character had been introduced in Crash Comics the year before), and Cat-Man was a costumed crime-fighter with an alternate real-life identity, not unlike Batman, who had been introduced in 1939. He was popular during the WWII period (the Cat-Man and Kitten characters have been revived here and there over the decades, as recently as 2008!), and in the first four issues of Cat-Man Comics, there were stories devoted to another crime-fighter, Blaze Baylor. However, Blaze focused on one crime only: arson. Each of the four Blaze stories begins with the same prologue: “When the famous fire chief “Smoky” Baylor is killed in an incendiary fire, his son vows vengeance and dedicates his life to the task of tracking down all who profit from the crime of arson.”

The Blaze Baylor stories are essentially crime comics, but in three of the four stories Blaze dons a superhero-esque costume, which is not radically unlike that of Cat-Man. Perhaps the character’s creator Charles M. Quinlan felt that he could have Baylor ride in on Cat-Man’s coat-tails to some extent.

Blaze Baylor existed only in four six-page comic stories, published between May and September of 1941, and without this new book devoted to his exploits, he could well have stayed buried in those issues of Cat-Man Comics, known only to hardcore collectors and those who read Public Domain comics online at Comicbookplus.Com and other PD comics websites.

These brisk, fast-moving stories have the gritty feel of a Monogram Pictures crime film, and at six pages each, they don’t overstay their welcome.

Baylor is usually out of costume, and he’s your usual two-fisted but classy urban crime-fighter, who could easily be a cop or a private detective or an insurance investigator. However, since everyone knows who he is and that he’s an arson-fighter, I’m not exactly sure why the costume is necessary. He seems to put it on right when he springs into action in a burning building or warehouse. Yet he does NOT wear it when he’s doing the preliminary investigations and even engaging in fights with the bad guys before the story’s climax. The costume is not at all missed in the one story where he does not wear it. I’m guessing the costume is included to make the character appeal to Cat-Man’s regular followers, since HIS name is the one on the cover and the one responsible for separating a twelve-year-old from his precious dime.

The colors are eye-poppingly bright, and the fires and explosions are presented in such a way as to suggest movement and danger…which is quite an achievement, as drawings of a fire or an explosion could easily look static like a photograph. Not everyone wants a 300-page comic reprint book costing $35 or more, so this Blaze Baylor book is an appealing volume for those who want to sample a solid crime comic featuring a distinctive character but not spend two weeks of free evenings with it. The stories also hold up to multiple readings, the way a good Republic or Monogram 58-minute crime programmer does.

Blaze Baylor deserves to be remembered, and his crime comics have many of the conventions we enjoy so much with B-Crime films of the era: sensationalistic newspaper headlines; tough guys who seem to have stepped off the screen from a Crime Does Not Pay short-subject; no-nonsense police commissioners; harsh urban landscapes that also manage to look All-American.

We’ll be looking at more classic comic reprints from Gwandanaland Comics here at BTC in the coming months, but until then, you should check out their offerings. They sell through both Amazon and Create Space, and perhaps the easiest way to find their recent offerings is to put ‘Gwandanaland’ in your search box at Amazon, then sort your search by “Publication Date,” and you’ll get all the recent offerings. This is an outfit that has DAILY release announcements, so you might also want to “like” the Gwandanaland page on Facebook to get those daily updates. As for me, I’m going to join Blaze Baylor as he investigates a suspicious series of nightclub fires in the city that never sleeps…

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I never would have thought in a millyun years (if not longer) that any of the MLJ/Archie Comics material would have hit the public domain. Really, considering just what a bunch of litigious trademark-conscious people they were during the John Goldwater days, he being so protective about everything from the Shield's...er...SHIELD to various Harvey Kurtzman parodies of a particularly cutting edge that they would have kept better care of their historical backlog. Well suffice to say but some of the early MLJ/Archie material is now in the PD and any flybynight operator can reprint and sell up a storm of these without fear of a pack of lawyers breathing down their necks.

To all this I say BULLY!!!! After all if I'm gonna pack off my bucks in order to glom some of these Golden Age tales it better be from a publishing firm like Golden Age Reprints rather'n Archie Publications...considering what a cesspool that company (talkin' Archie Pubs.) has become in their never-ending quest to be up-to-date at the expense of ruining their characters' credibility I don't care if they ever see another penny from me as long as I live!

Yeah, ARCHIE as a comic book (as well as reprinted comic strip in selected papers, a mere shell of what it was since the untimely death of Bob Montana in 1975) is nothing but funtime fodder for adolescent gals, but back during the forties (and well into the seventies) there were still enough kicks for healthy adolescent boys of ALL ages to be found within their pages. And these selected titles I bought from Golden Age Reprints give ya a good idea of just what the old MLJ line was like at least until the old guard died out and the kidz just didn't know exactly what to do with this goldmine (so they ruined it!).

Golden Age has a good selection of MLJ titles including a number of superhero ones as well as some WILBURs (MLJ's attempt at doing their own ARCHIE swipe since everybody else was) and maybe a few PAT THE BRATs as well though I'm not 100 % sure 'bout that. But as you'd expect I decided to save time and $$$ by concentrating on the old ARCHIE standby because hey, why settle for second best when you can get the original teenage anarchistic teen comic instead? Besides I never really cared for the MLJ line of superheroes and WILBUR was a pallid excuse for teenage hijinx, at least next to what ARCHIE was up to that is.

Got three of 'em to discuss at'cha, the first being a thickie that reprints a whole slewwa early Archie appearances including the very first one from '41 when he was but a mere 12-years-old trying to impress new neighbor Betty, who seems like she's staring puberty even earlier'n some gals in my school did much to the discern of various teachers. Frankly these sagas ain't anything special especially when compared with the kind of comic strip Montana was cranking out throughout his realm...the art (even Montana's) comes off stiffer and less-inspired even though he sure knew how to draw the curves on Betty and Veronica even then, and the stories just aren't as catch you off guard funny like even a classic daily from the sixties could be. But still it's great reading these early stories and watching the series develop, not to mention grasp a peek at the curvature in Betty's derriere as she's floating up to Heaven during a rehearsal for UNCLE TOM'S CABIN.

Sure a lotta this has been reprinted by Archie Publications themselves via IDW but with these books you do get a better deal even if some of the pages look like they have either sputtered Post Toasties or dried pecker snot embedded in 'em for all eternity.

Also received was a collection of various ARCHIE appearances from the earlier issues of JACKPOT comics, one of the original MLJ titles that didn't make it into the Archie Age like PEP and LAUGH. Actually the saga where Betty floats to her final reward from a nice rear-view angle appears here, as does the one story where a proto-Reggie initiates Archie into a secret society while a character who goes by the name Reggie (but looks nada like him) appears later. Again it's pleasing in a I WANTED TO SEE THESE COMICS AS A KID BUT IT'S HOKAY BY ME ALL THESE YEARS LATER way to see these early Archie sagas even if they just don't gel the way the newspaper ones I grew up with did. But hey, if you wanna read that story where you see Veronica roasting topless under her sunlamp even though a shadow obscures the boob shape and bullseyes just like they did in a lotta those early-seventies movies well...HERE'S YOUR CHANCE, YOU LUCKY DOG!!!!!!

I got the reprint of PEP #65 from January 1948 because it was the latest in the ARCHIE canon available at the time, and it's a pretty solid read. Of course Archie's the featured cover story, but unlike future issues of this long-lived title there's only one tale from him in here and it's a pretty good 'un where Archie finally gets to out-wit Reggie at his own conniving game. (By the way, I gotta admit that I think that these early renditions of Reggie make him look a whole lot like none other than...Jack Nicholson who probably woulda made a good Reg had they done a tee-vee ARCHIE series inna mid-fifties!) The rest of the book is taken up with the likes of Katy Keene whose strictly for the gals, the now on the way out Shield (postwar superhero slump here...they even redo that old plot about the mad doctor whose attempt to revive the dead is thwarted by the police so he gets convicted, executed and his assistant revives him to wreak havoc on those who had him killed!), and an early Li'l Jinx done up in a more late-forties typical overdone and exaggerated comic style far from the gal you I and Brad Kohler know and loathe.

Even stranger are a couple of stories done up by some guy called "Red" Holmdale (who the internet sez was pretty prolific during them times) about a ghost and his guardian angel who take over the bodies of recently deceased in order to once again live only they end up getting killed again at the end of the story and have to start all over! Kinda grim and perhaps the misery is accentuated by Holmdale's fairytale suitable art. Sheesh you'd think that a company as wholesome as MLJ woulda nixed an idea as kiddietime violent as that given just how much they jumped on the "approved reading" bandwagon way back when!

's yer choice...might be a good 'un to spend your lonely hours pouring through at least until you can finally locate your old cache of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICs.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

HIGH SIX! 

Just a few things that have been piquing my petunias as of late.


THE AQUARIAN WEEKLY "NIGHT OWL" SECTION, December 8 through December 15 1976 issue

I really like reading these old issues of THE AQUARIAN WEEKLY. Well, not the really old ones which seemed more like lower-class VILLAGE VOICE gurgles what with the obligatory odes to whatever liberation movement might be the flavor of the week. I'm talking about the mid-to-late seventies issues when a good portion of the mag was devoted to musical growlings that usually reflected what was happening in the local clubs not only in New Jersey (where the paper originated from) but nearby New York City back in the days when news from such hangouts as CBGB and Max's Kansas City were filtering their way into the mindsets of young suburban slobs who were thumbing through piles of old ROCK SCENE magazines they got for a song at the local flea market.

And one thing about THE AQUARIAN's music coverage that really settles well with me is that, unlike the VOICE (which was always scouring the bottom of the local barrel for the avantest of the avant garde to write about in their typically urban armchair guerrilla way) the AQUARIAN's writers weren't necessarily concerned with covering the local talent that might have gotten the premier weekend gigs at CBGB but those who weren't necessarily trying to ape the current punk fashion in any way shape or form! Yeah, I'm talkin' about those li'l obscurities who would get stuck onna bottom of the bills who seemed to be more into the straighter and commercial aspects of musicdom whether it be jazz fusion or country twang or even (shudder!) progressive rock which, from what I have been able to make out, was fairly prevalent on the New York club scene even though you never would have known it by reading any of the books that were written on the subject then or even now.

This Dec. issue (actually part of the "Night Owl" local music tipoff section) is a good example. Lotsa music reviews  and ads permeate its pages, and the writeups of local soundmongers, between in-depth pieces of the likes of Johnny Cash and Neil Young, is focused towards some of the up and coming acts that were trying to make it big at CBGB thinking that some big name inna biz was just rarin' to walk in and sign these guys to a million dollar contract. I sincerely doubt that any of the groups reviewed in these pages got that opportunity which, who knows, might be as great a loss as all of those Falling Spikes rehearsal tapes moiling away in some forsaken closet!

Pithy reviews too, not ignorant of music and where it comes from stupid like the kind that show up in college papers nationwide but missing the target bad enough for my tastes! Well, not that bad but still you kinda wonder just who these outta nowhere writers THE AQUARIAN hired were coming from. Certainly not from any special underground rock mindset but eh, I guess that hadda take what they could.

Oddly enough, none of the reviews of groups emanating from the CBGB/Max's axis were anything but disdainful. The Slickee Boys at Max's got a shrill toss off (oddly enough set openers the Planets, subbing for a canceled out Mary Hogan and Mick Ronson [!], were not reviewed probably due to all of the space they copped in previous issues) while a Moonbeam/Ruby and the Rednecks show at the same venue (reviewed by the same reporter, one Cathy Nemeth) got the hard knocks. I know that Ruby Lynn and band didn't exactly wow many of the more sophisticated (or is that baser) rock fans in the area, but from Nemeth's review I woulda liked 'em because they were crass and loud and most importantly fun...ditto Moonbeam who sound as if they were a good enough hard rock act even if they hadda go the Frampton route and use one of those voice distortion gadgets on their version of "You Really Got Me" (a NEW YORK ROCKER review once mentioned them doing the same for "Wild Thing"!).  I dunno, but I think I woulda had a better time there than Cathy did!

Over at CBGB a guy named Elliot Cohen tackled a gig by an act called Icarian and long-time scenesters the Fleshtones during one of their first live appearances long before anyone knew or cared for that matter. At least Cohen, unlike his co-contributor, seems to have an idea of the goings on re. underground rock on the New York scene even to the point where he praises the jukebox at CB's for spinning all of the punk anthems including "Psychotic Reaction", "96 Tears", Patti Smith's "My Generation" and..."Born To Run"????? Well, I gotta admit that his definition of the term and mine don't quite jibe but maybe he was new at this sort of thing.

His writeup of the show is of interest if only to capture a small slice of rock history that nobody but myself seems to care about. Headliners Icarian were one of those names that pop up on NYC gig lists during the latter portion of '76 and with a name like that I thought they might have been a throwback to some late-sixties kinda local punk rock as in those trashy kids from down the block who kept everyone up all night banging away on their instruments. Maybe they were at one time, though these guys were probably more in the prog/jazz rock groove mentioned earlier considering they not only had an arp synth player but their closing number was Blodwyn Pig's "See My Way". The snap of them I found via internet showed 'em with the standard friz hair and beard look that seemed so omnipresent at the time that even school teachers and respected civic leaders looked like these guys! No wonder the rule amongst the youth of the time (the non-conformist hard-edged set) was to chop hair and look cleancut in the presence of the new authority in charge which is something I'll bet confused more'n a few uptight and perhaps shaggy themselves parents.

Now for the Fleshtones...I remember seeing a photo of 'em from CBGB in '76 (perhaps this very gig) and thought they all looked so funny with their mid-seventies long rock hair ('cept for the bassist) and leisure suits kinda coming off like a lounge act that got a little rowdy down the line. Who woulda thunk that these guys with those wide collars looking like rejects from the prom Carrie went to woulda been thought of as garage band saviors in a few years! Cohen didn't seem so impressed with 'em but even at this early stage inna game they seemed like the kinda local teenage punk band that I sure wish I coulda grown up with. Funniest part, when lead vocalist "Piotr Michael Zamben" yelled "Stop the music! We're out of tune!" Also interesting was the mention of the group's cover of sixties classic "Hey Little Girl"...guitarist Daniel Gilbert, when asked by Cohen why all of the numbers were originals except for this replied "Oh, did you recognize it? We were afraid that nobody in the audience was going to recognize it"! For some reason this line cracks me up, but then again I do have a strange sense of humor (as you will see as you read down further).
***
FRECKLES COMIC STRIPS (late-sixties version)

Given how my obsession quickly shifted to comic strips from Matchboxes 'n dinosaurs around this period in what passes for "life" it sure pains me to think that FRECKLES had been dropped from the local paper (and my life in general) for a good six years awlready! And really, if there was one thing I coulda used around this period in my life was more FRECKLES and less DROPOUTS! I mean, what else could a suburban slob such as myself struggling through one of the cheezier hipster times in history crave on the funny pages'n a strip like FRECKLES (as opposed to the newer 'n simpler scrawls that were passing as har-hars at the time)...classic thirties/forties-styled art and neato gags just aimed at the ranch house kiddie that I was and most truly remain even though admitting such at school would be akin to telling everyone that your favorite television personality was Alan Ludden. But so what if he was (though Bill Cullen was even cooler to us second grade types), and hey this far down the line does it really matter to anyone anymore???

Yeah, alla the other brats at school were too busy for that old goop what with their attempts to be hip, cool and shabby, but at least """""I""""" was still soaking up alla that thirties/forties/fifties fun 'n jamz that I learned about through my folks and relatives and I loved every gosh darn minute! I still feel all the better for it because hey...did Peter Max and Melanie ever have any "relevance" (hip libtard term of the day next to "right on") to the Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kid crowd anyway? FRECKLES, a comic that managed to retain its quality despite many striking changes throughout the years sure must have been outta touch with the hipper 'n thou types but really struck a chord with UHF-TV ranch house kiddies such as I.

You're only gonna get a small selection of my recent FRECKLES gains here (believe me, I got a millyun of 'em!), but oh what a selection it is! For some reason Freckles' pal (firmly seated in the Jughead chair of knucklehead sidekicks) Lard is missing in these latterday comics, but Bazoo (a virtual neo-Reggie if not as aggravating) seems to have snuggly crawled into his place. The '66 anti-longhair strips are a hoot if only to get more of that older generation take on the young'uns and their strange ways and yeah, I know that the whole idea of the FRECKLES characters taking the side of mid-Amerigan clean-cutness over long hair and wild fashions might have been totally verboten to a good portion of the comic strip reading kids who wanted to run away to New York City and do weird things with their bodies. But hey, it's sure refreshing seeing hip trends lampooned like this as was wont in a whole lotta media of the day, at least before youth got their buying power and all of a sudden every dim bulb hippoid was being presented in a favorable light much to the dismay of my stomach.

The '69 storyline where Freckles and Bazoo hitchike to Montana and meet up with a coupla cuties and their plump yet pulchritudish mid-aged mom is boff (come to think of it, even Freckles' own up-in-age mother with the horn rimmed cat glasses is pretty stacked which makes me wonder how the old fuddoid Mr. McGoosey ever got hold of that vixen in the first place!). I'll tell ya, it's ALWAYS fun to look at pix of nice looking members of that other gender drawn up all curvy and---oh, what's that word???---yeah, FEMININE which really is an eye-pleaser especially in these days of face-to-ankle tattoos and shiny things hanging from parts of the body men never could get pierced because...well we don't have any!!!

The more interesting of these particular strips happen to be the ones where Honeybee Birdwhistle, a Southwestern Indian First Nations runaway who her tribe seems glad to be rid of, is introduced as a reg'lar character. I dunno exactly why artists Henry Formhals (who took over from creator Merle Blosser when the the guy retired a few years earlier) thought of sticking her smack dab inna middle of this not long-to-live (three years at the max) strip...I mean, was it to liven up FRECKLES somehow by introducing a young'un to the cast (though come to think of it, Freckles did have a kid brother who went the Chuck Cunningham route) or was it to be up-to-date and relevant and all of those meaningful things that looked silly once 1973 rolled around! Well, Honeybee's debut did coincide around the time when the American Indian Movement was getting in full swing and we finally got to see some actual Hopis on the tee-vee screen who weren't being played by Italians. Whatever, I gotta say that I do like this Honeybee character just because she is spunky and sorta against the strip's whitebread-yet-funtime grain.  Her presence does make things a bit livelier even if for the most part I get the feeling that comic strip Ameriga was doin' nothing but yawning their heads off!

Too bad these haven't been collected in book or magazine form anywhere because FRECKLES really was the kinda everyday hotcha Silent Majority strip that I sure could use even in these stridently anti-cis days. And I know you could use a whole lot more FRECKLES in your life and a whole lot less DILBERT because really, a BLOG TO COMM fan without FRECKLES is like a Canadian without Macaroni and Cheese and I really do mean it! Spend a few hours at the library of your choice and comb through the newspaper microfilms for a nice selection guaranteed to reduce you to the true brat that you are and most certainly remain.  But whatever you do, tell the librarian you're doing a research paper for school on weather patterns in the tri-county area and maybe she won't bug you for inappropriate use of library property!.







***
OUT OUR WAY, July 1960


Like FRECKLES above, OUT OUR WAY was one of those things that I can remember clearly about since my earliest days of whose absence from the local funny pages seemed to signal the close of some sorta strange chapter in my life. Whatever, I remember really loving the dickens outta this one not only for its old-time style but the weird gags and situations that artist J. R. Williams (or, by my time, Neg Cochran) could put into one mere panel. True like FRECKLES OUT OUR WAY might have seemed too old fashioned for most of my compadres who liked the newer, post World War II style of  strip but hey, I found it the perfect encapsulation of the world I lived in, one which my elders had actually lived through (via the nostalgia "Born Thirty Years Too Soon" entries) as well as those which reflected a more modern-day type of living which, somehow, I still feel a birthright to every guy who puts in tough days at work and gets nada but a skimpy paycheck for it all.

Decided to buy some 1960 vintage OUT OUR WAY daily clippings if only to re-introduce myself to the type of comics that I had grown up with until the panel was unceremoniously kicked outta the local paper in the early-seventies. And judging from what I have seen I remember these particular strips perfectly. They still bring back those funtime memories of comics reading and the artwork still resonates within me, as if this was presented in the kinda style that was meant to document the kinda life and upbringing I had (again, at least the FUN portion) which I get the sad feeling will never be replicated no matter how much I sure hope the next generation of ranch house kiddies will be able to enjoy afternoon cartoons and Bowery Boys films without turnin' into a buncha hippies 'r somethin' like yer brothers did!


Cochran's artwork is really good, and even tighter than creator Williams (whose name was not taken off the masthead here even though he had been gone around three years by the time these strips were published). I find his aping of the original OUT OUR WAY style to be even firmer and more direct with even more care to detail than the originator's take. He did have Williams' down-homey touch as far as dialogue goes which might have been a tricky thing given how Williams tended to keep his Victorian style with him for quite some time, but as far as transcribing the ethos and manners of a vanishing era for mid-twentieth-century Amerigan consumption probably nobody could have done a better job than Cochran.

Perhaps not-so-surprisingly enough a whole number of old Williams-era comics were being reissued during these days, usually re-pattered for modern-day space concerns and updated if ever-so-slightly. For example the old "Born Thirty Years Too Soon" panels were now being titled "Born Fifty Years Too Soon" which I do believe missed the mark by quite a few decades considering these were the sixties. Dunno how long the repackaging of old Williams delineated comics had transpired, though I do recall that were was a Williams rerun in the Kennedy assassination papers that everyone and their uncle had saved on that fateful day if only for purely historical reasons (and so's that I could read the comics and tee-vee listings years later!).

S'funny, but even in the early-sixties the old "Bull of the Woods" and western comics were being reprinted, and for the life of me I can't recall ever seeing any of these in the papers during my crucial growing up days. Maybe by that time both of these sub-features were just too dated for the new 'n hip audience out there, but I am glad that they were both getting some action long after their shelf life would seemingly had expired. Not surprisingly enough Cochran seems to lend his talents towards the only comics here that could be somehow updated for a modern-day clientele. The kids who were always going on extended jaunts down the river are still around even if their confines don't seem as shantytown as they did back inna twenties, while the infamous "Worry Wart" and his brother can also be seen albeit now in more up-to-date hand-me-downs. Of course something's lost in the evolution but I find these comics a whole lot more copasetic with the way I grew up 'n more'n they ever did in something like...say...FUNKY WINKERBEAN.



And in many ways it was a disguised blessing that some of these strips (like the one on the lower left which dates back to the twenties) were still being disseminated a good thirtysome years later and being read by a new generation that was getting the same historical treatment via LITTLE RASCALS reruns. And true the comic just didn't have the same steam once the seventies rolled around and new artists were put on the series but hey, at least in 1960 the best aspects of early-twentieth century all-Amerigan living hadn't totally been washed away by the Bolsheviks who now run things, and maybe that's why these forgotten comics have all the more spiritual meaning to me!


***

ME AND THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC (on-line column by R. Meltzer ca. late 90s)

Yeah, it is hard getting hold of anything worthwhile when it comes to REAL ROCK JOURNALISM these days, or even from the past for that matter. I mean yeah, ROLLING STONE used to PRIDE
themselves on being in-depth investigative rock journalism but other'n maybe that Allman Brothers article Nick Kent used to mention and scant other examples were they anything other'n pure pandering to the worst aspects of late-sixties youth??? CREEM was more or less punkoid journalism in the early-seventies sorta way and maybe you could say ditto FUSION,  but otherwise rock scribbling certainly has gone under BIG TIME along with the music it was covering long ago. Even these days when rock screeding would (or so one would surmise) FLOURISH on-line it sure hasn't, and one would be hard-pressed to find anything that's really hotcha eye-grabbing anymore when it comes to rock-related reading unless it's by the likes of a Kenne Highland, and it ain't like you can just flick onna computer and pull his stuff up with any ease, y'know?

That's why the old grease from the old pits really hit the proverbial home this late in the anti-rock game. Yes, one reading of the DENIM DELINQUENT collection will make you forget thirty years of poor rock writing, while thumbing through a classic NME with Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray and Mick Farren delivering the goods really makes you feel all nice 'n toasty inside. And of course anything from the original masters will do you fine, even Lester Bangs at his worstest or especially today's case in point Richard a.k.a. "R" Meltzer and his ME AND THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC column.

Done for some online thing or other in the late-nineties, this must be (but correct me if I'm wrong) Meltzer's last steady gig as a writer on rock or any subject matter at hand. Although his ideas re. rock 'n roll and mine might veer off at times (f'r example, he thinking that punk was not exactly rock 'n roll per se but something on an equal balance) the guy still knows more about what he's clicking away about than you do, and I know how much you think you know everything now, do you!

I forget who copied and bundled these columns up for me, but they sure did come in handy during the equally rockist-starved late-nineties as they do now. Here we find the old and mature Meltzer espousing on a variety of subjects of all manners, from classical music to blues and rock and punk. Groovily good stuff here too, good enough that you won't mind digesting your dinner to his opines re. Stravinsky and Schoenberg not to mention the then Sex Pistols grab the moolah reunion where the entire gist of '77 is updated and Meltzer still seems to come out on top even if he did get thrown outta Winterland personally by Bill Graham for making fun of San Francisco.

Well, it is better to find out about classical music from Meltzer than it is from your eighth grade music teacher, just as it is better to read Meltzer's impressions re. Lawrence Welk than it is to hear about your Aunt Flabby's trip to Branson. And smart writing it is! After all the guy long before Sean Whatzizname (Brad Kohler's x-commie pal) pondered why Bruce Springsteen, idol of blue shirt dirtdiggers everywhere, is called "The Boss" when alla those hard laborers LOATHE their overseers with a passion! And hey, the writing was still top notch Meltzer in '98 as it was twentysome years earlier when the guy was seemingly at the top of his form back when he was penning such classics as the review of Redd Foxx's YOU BETTER WASH YO' ASS or whatever that one was called.

It even has a blindfold test that Meltzer conducted with a prospective concubine which is high-larious beyond belief! By the way, did I ever tell you that for years I thought a concubine was a farm implement? Just something I just remembered after years of neglect.
***
TYRONE RAGE CARTOONS

Every so often I stumble across these Tyrone Rage cartoons on the web which only goes to show you just what kind of sites I happen to be peeking at these days! (Or I was at least until many of them kept becoming unobtainable for some strange reason or another!) But man, you all know how much I like humor that's "guaranteed to offend" (the people who are never supposed to be---if I have to "take" a joke or even some defamation due to my standing in the community so can they!) and when it comes to bad taste I don't think anything can really top these that's fer sure!

I don't know who does these Tyrone cartoons but they have been appearing for the past few years on sites like 4chan not to mention "Know Your Meme" and with an alarming irregularity. There have been inferior knockoffs floating around as well, but the originals have an unmistakable style and are usually a cut above stylistically. But despite whoever does 'em up, I gotta say that these sagas about Tyrone Rage, somebody's cartoon version of a shiftless urban resident of African heritage, are what-they-call "deeply offensive" and downright maybe even racist true, but they're funny enough that they would probably get ever your typical uptight feminist snickering in delight before she pauses and says "that's not funny". "Over the top", but as I've said many-a-time when was the last time you saw southerners and ethnic blue collar workers presented in an honest light?

One pundit mentioned that Tyrone himself was drawn as a shameful negro caricature. Gotta disagree which him after seeing some of the other cartoonish depictions of blacks on the web which could make even a cast-iron bellied guy like me wince. Actually, if I attempted to draw a cartoon of a black guy he'd probably look like Tyrone which might be saying a whole lot about my own talents but still, I must admit that I and you have come across worse throughout the years (especially the past few)! But (unless you are a follower of modern trends in what is or isn't supposed to be "humor") these comics are sure funny, and I get the idea that a lotta black people would laugh at 'em given their first-hand knowledge of some of the shadier people who occupy their world.

And sure, these cartoons tend to be way over the top racially/socially/politically incorrect-wise (I've spared you some of the grittier strips like the one where he's making up a batch of "jenkem" or blasting off into space while achieving orgasm) but so were those GOOBERS strips in NATIONAL LAMPOON featuring a black Charlie Brown (Leroy Brown...hokay, that ain't so original!) who had a giant rat as a pet. In fact I think Tyrone woulda fit into the classic-era LAMPOON back when humor that cannot exist today most certainly did. Read the following 'toons and tell me if that just ain't the case!

If I had the money to market this strip people would be wearing "Tyrone" t-shirts, reading "Tyrone" paperback collections and "Shhhhheeeeeeeiiiiiit" would be the catch-phrase of the day! C'mon entrepreneurial newspaper editors...put TYRONE RAGE in your pages and help make him the new Amerigan hero we can all look up to in our own cornball vanilla pudding way!!!













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SUGAR PETUNIA (from TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE Vol. 1 No. 4)


(Since the TWG collection isn't anywhere near done [in fact, for all I know it hasn't even started] here's one item that's bound to stimulate reams of rahs for its inevitable publication. Punctuation and spelling remain "as was" and as shall will remain.)


Hi, my names Trisha Parker but my friends call me Sunshine. I'm only 16 years old, but I have to be one of the luckiest girls in the world, and do you know why? Because I won a DREAM DATE WITH THE GREATFUL DEAD. It wasn't easy, but then again it wasn't hard. Sit tight and I will tell you the whole story.

One day as I was reading through what I consider my "bible'', Rolling Stone Magazine. I glanced across from an article on why Ian Anderson likes to make money in America to see a full page ad by Warner Brothers Records. It said, "Are you different like everybody else? Then you probably like the Greatful Dead. Tell us in 25 words or less why you think Bertha, Playin in the Band and Sugar Magnolia are structurally the same song." Well I must admit at this point that I am a Dead freak. I mean these guys are really far out. You know, like, I saw them at the Manhattan Center Dance Marathon and I really dug it. all these people getting it on together, it was too much.And when they do their old stuff like Casey Jones or Dr. Johns Band I just flip out.....Well anyway I got out my paper and my lucky pad and started writing. I used a lot of musical terms like beat and rhythm to make it look like I knew what I was talking about, but of course I wrote whatever came to mind. Imagine me-Trisha Parker of 24 Elm St., Baldwin Long Island going out with the Greatful Dead. I get all hot just thinking about it. Then one day my mother told me I had a letter. I ran into my room to read it. To my great astonishment I found out I had won! My heart almost popped out of my mouth. The letter said next Satirday a limosine would pick me up with my own live Greatful Dead escort. Well I was on the phone all day telling my friends. a few of them wanted to stow away in the trunk, but I told them to fuck off that this was my gig.

Come zaturdayand I was just too excited. I put on the long tie dye dress me and Marsha made that rainy sunday afternoon, and all the beads and bells I could find. as I was putting on my last bell the doorbell rang. I ran downstairs and answered the door. Standing at the portal was Pigpen. He grunted, took my hand, and dragged me out to a big limosine outside. We sat inside when Pigpen took out a gold cigarette case filled with joints. We sat in the limosine smoking so much pot that the windows fogged up. Pigpen was so understanding, he even told me to call him Ron. But I said I would rather call him the Pig.

Pigpen said we were going to a recording studio to hear the mix on the latest Dead single. We arrived at the studio where the rest of the Dead were waiting for us. The Pig introduced me to them then went to talk to some friends. I sat in the corner praying this moment would last forever.Every time Piggy looked at me I felt my heart skip a beat. I finally heard the single called Fat Country Mama, and let me too you,it is very together. Piggy told me he played all of the tambourine parts all by himself. I was very proud of him.

We next went to the latest rock theatre to open in N.Y. It's called Peace Palace and the Dead were going to play there thatnight. This is where I really got to know the Pig. We both revealed our innermost secrets, One of the things he revealed to me was that he really does like perverted sex. This was something my gang always argued about, I then showed him some pictures of me and my friends.Some guy photographed us in his studio doing all these crazy things and put them in his magazine Lesbian Pussy. Pig really dug them. I then said he looked like "Chico" one of the junkies in my neighborhood and he said "Wow". I told him about Chico's band the Vanilla Sunshine and how they only do Grateful Dead and Bloodrock songs. I must say Pig is one of the few people I can really relate to.

It wasn't long before the audience started to arrive. There was such milling about.Backstage where I was, were all those groovy people. I never saw so much hair in my life. I also heard so many wierd expressionslike, "Heavy, man, heavy," or "Don't lay your trip on me". I was really getting into it when Piggy grabbed me by the arm and led me to this little room. He grabbed me at the shoulders and told me to get undressed. I was a little scared but I did what he said. Then he suddenly stuck his foot up my ass, I told him that that was not my bag. So he then took his hairy pud and put it up my Pudding. I felt all tingly inside and....(continued next week)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! SCARLET STREET starring EDWARD G. ROBINSON, JOAN BENNETT and DAN DURYEA! (1945)

I rarely watch the boob tube anymore unless there's an exciting storm warning or major disaster happening somewhere on this orb of ours (not to mention Jack Benny or Soupy Sales!), but I just hadda sit down and give this mid-forties "noirish" flick a go when it popped up on TCM recently. SCARLET STREET's a pretty hotcha film as far as these mooms go too...not too brainy yet still gripping enough to keep you up 'n front like the best Monogram or PRC film of the era most certainly could. And yeah, that innerlektual fave Fritz Lang did direct it, but frankly this 'un coulda been directed by William Beaudine or Christy Cabanne and it woulda been every bit as good (and perhaps even better if maybe Billy Benedict had a small role in it or something).

Edward G. Robinson plays Christopher Cross (not the famed late-seventies crooner), a cashier at some clothing retailer who's stuck with a shrewish wife and a whole lotta artistic aspirations down the ol' chute who comes across this slutsky type being roughed up by what turns out to be her boyfriend (played by Joan Bennett 'n Dan Duryea respectively). During some post-attack chitchat at a bar "Kitty" believes that Chris is actually a famous painter whose works are worth a ton of dough, and thus she starts acting all romantic and hitting up the obviously infatuated guy for loads of dough for a new fancy apartment because well, he ain't no starving artists type unloading melons at Cash Market or anything like that!

Meanwhile boyfriend Johnny takes some of Chris' paintings to an art dealer who sez they're nothing but caga, though a starving artist type of gallery takes a few on consignment and whaddaya know but the most famous art critic in the world just happens to see 'em and now Chris is one of the new rising stars in the art world! Only Kitty, under Johnny's maybe not-so-sure advice, signs her name to the paintings and is now the newest flash instead!

Nice bitta filmage here to be honest with a whole lotta neat twists and turns to keep this from being one of those gloppier mid-forties grownup flickers. Robinson is good enough as the fuddy duddy lead (gotta admit that some of his more sympathetic roles just didn't mesh with me) while the role of Kitty mighta been better suited to some other Hollywood bitch of the day. Big kudos do go to Duryea as Johnny, a guy who, although the dialogue doesn't actually come out 'n say it, was probably not just Kitty's boyfriend but her pimp. Well, it would seem that way the way he bitch slaps her around all the time!

And although Billy Benedict is nowhere to be seen, two bonafeed BLOG TO COMM faves turn up in small roles one being Byron Foulger as the crippled landlord who rents Kitty her new apartment and former Educational Pictures star and Shemp Howard foil Charles Kemper as Mrs. Cross' first hubby who surprisingly enough does come back from the dead and wants some money to keep things quiet! Nice, but maybe Benedict would have been good doing a delivery boy walk on 'r something like that.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

As if you really care, there's nothing really special goin' on here in the bowels of Pee-YAY other'n the usual certainties like death and poop. Been spending my free time recouping from the drudgery of work mostly by catching up on some Dee-Vee-Dees I actually got for Christmas only I've been too preoccupied with things like real life (hisss!) and various doodies to watch 'em until now. (Plus they were buried under a pile of other stuff and typically were lost for quite a long time.) These items should make for some interesting mid-week review fodder in the upcoming months so as they used to say "DON'T TOUCH THAT KNOB!" Ditto goes for some moom pitchers which have been tingling my cinematic sense of fun 'n jamz, a wonder in a time and place where jamz seem to have been extracted from our souls just like when I was five and I hadda go to the hospital to get neutered. Sure wish the folks didn't mix me up with the dog that day---he got the tonsillectomy!
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The definite highlight of my week was, whilst pouring through even more boxes of long-forgotten rarities (which, in my humble case, usually means rather static-looking computer laid out and static-reading lifeless-non gonz styled 1990s-era mags with all the heart and soul of a..."'zine editor")... was discovering that other issue of LOVE AND LAUGHTER that I was looking for a few months back. This is the second ish which I find just as boffo as I did the one mentioned a few months back, and even though the pieces that were presented on Radio Birdman and Red Crayola have been superseded by either books or more in-depth articles since the mid-eighties when this came out I still dig it all if only for the great taste in music and ability to display such a strong feeling for rock 'n roll without coming off like a gasbag buffoon or whatever it is you find in my own scribings. Although this was being done in the mid-eighties which was one of those best of (promising new underground surge that was being documented in such publications of this and FORCED EXPOSURE) and worst of (the general squeaky clean kultur sans any of the gruff tussle of the seventies) times LOVE AND LAUGHTER has that great spirit to it that drove the best rock mags of the past into realms that would be unimaginable today without any Meltzers or Saunders (or their spiritual heirs) to guide us all. I'd say that someone should gather all of these and make a book outta 'em, but I wouldn't want anyone to lose a large sum of money on the project.
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D'ya think I should mention a few words regarding the recent passing of Can's longtime bass guitarist creative force Holger Czukay? I'll mention more than a few even though sheesh, what can I say even if the major news outlets have already trotted out the usual tropes and press release fanabla in order to look just as on top of it as all of those fanzine kiddies who were in on the game since day one. Or at least in on it since EGE BAMYASI got an Amerigan release thus introducing a generation of thriving teenagers to the fact that there actually was life outside of mindless love and good will.

Dunno if you coulda called Czukay the group's leader, but he sure was a major light along with the especially mystical keyboardist Irmin Schmidt who's the only Can member alive at eighty despite years of occult practice and narcotics useage. For me it seemed as if there was a struggle between those two to see just who was the John Cale of the band...they both were soooooo academic and utilized quite a few great sonic-reduction ideas which made those early Can albums some of the definitive rock 'n roll highlights of the early-to-mid seventies. Of course any doof smart enough to own the entire EUROCK collection or at least a few fanzines with Eddie Flowers' rave Can reviews in 'em would know that, but I'm just filling in the gaps you won't read about in most of the obituaries you will eventually stumble across online.

Strangely enough, for years I was under the impression that Can just weren't the type of brew to glug my high energy jamz to! Well, at least I thought that way until I discovered 'n quite by accident (wouldja believe via Archie Patterson's EUROCK classroom course?) that they were just what I was looking for in sound morph albeit a good ten years after I shoulda been buying their platters via the local and by then long gone import bins! Perhaps it was because some of the reviews of the day were more oriented in detailing the classical and progressive nature of their act as opposed to their ability to rock out, something that just wasn't in the canon of sophisticated rockscribes who felt that primitive applications of tribal beats and offkey melodies were beneath the entire scope of what music was to aspire to. Or something like that. Stoopid me...if I only knew that these guys were on Mirrors' top influences list back during them days...

Won't get into any of those later albums nor Czukay's solo career which just didn't tizzle me, but when this guy was pumping on all cylinders Can really were one of the real hard-force driving rock 'n roll bands of the 1964-1981 outer fringe era. And I will continue to say so until my dying day, or at least until I'm tossed into the great gulag for unrepentant members of the lower class and driven crazy by repeated spins of Melanie albums.
***
I haven't been having many rock 'n roll-related dreams as of late, although last night amidst a whole buncha real doozies I encountered a real vivid one if I do say so myself. In this particular dream I'm at what is supposed to be CBGB (the place looked more like some outta the way cozy restaurant and not like the refurbished high school gym that I encountered in a previous dream!) to see the Velvet Underground play to a sparse but appreciative audience. Lou was in fine form and even duetted on "I'm Sticking With You" with Maureen Tucker looking rather young and healthy. Lou himself looked great for being in his mid-seventies so this appearance must have been happening in the here and now in some strange dimension where Lou (and CBGB) did not kick off like they did. Of course when he was singing "Lisa Says" the lyrics were about Lou's recent face lift and all of a sudden I could see the blue lines on his face where the snipping occurred, he standing up (he was sitting down whilst performing!) to bring attention to what had happened. Sterling Morrison looking particularly EPI-esque remained partially hidden and I dunno who else was up there, but it was a great show from what I could remember and I'm glad you weren't there.

Did I tell you that I also had yet another (repeating) dream about the advent of BLACK TO COMM #26? Don't bother, it was a smaller issue than usual and the print came out faint like a cheap early-seventies mimeo job. I guess I shouldn't be eating those dutch loaf and horseradish sandwiches too close to bedtime.
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And with that brilliant revelation behind you like a particularly tough bowel movement here are this week's reviews. As usual kudos to Bill Shute and Paul McGarry for the donations which do help out (man, do I feel like an online Goodwill or somethin'!). Must say this was a good bunch, not exactly a Beefheartian "Best Batch Yet" but good enough for the late-teens. Anyway, you know enough to read on so do just that, hokay?





THE PERFORMING FERRET BAND LP (Beat Generation, available through Forced Exposure)

I dunno about you, but sometimes I miss the whimsy and excitement of those English groups that had a bright sense of humor as well as some primitive if interesting musical chops that, while not "professional" 'r anything like that, still had an amateur hour sense of fun 'n jamz to 'em. The Performing Ferret Band definitely were one of many of these kind of groups who roamed Blighty from the seventies onward, and this album really does display just what these ozobs had in store for a whole worldfulla maladjusted suburban slobs on the lookout for the next big musical thrill.

The Ferrets had it all from boffo original material to smartypants humorous lyrics, and the way they approach their whole sound and vision through rather primitive means (even using the likes of a melodica, an instrument unseen in rock since Stevie Wonder who ain't rock but he ain't seen either) is pretty snat. Or maybe I'm just smitten by that gal with the braids who looks real wholesome and cute especially in these slut days.

And for those of you who mourn the passing of new-unto-gnu wave, these Ferrets are pretty dang close to the whole "cassette culture" mood (see Chuck Warner for more information) which should tip you off plenty as to what you'll be in store for if you'll only get it. Reminds me a lot of Swell Maps, and if only these funsters could have been just as "successful"...
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German Oak-DOWN IN THE BUNKER 3-CD set (Now-Again Records)

Hah, the famous obscure "krautrock" platter from these Dusseldofians is once again available and not only that but it's been expanded into a three-Cee Dee package featuring even more outtakes and other weirdities for us to digest! No excuse not to pick this entertaining collection up even if you might find disque #2 a little too long for your jamz and the proceedings kinda veer off into directions that you think might end up at the nearest meth lab. This is good 'nuff get-into-your-own-groove music that snuggles in tightly with your comic book reading or whatever it is you're doing around the house, and I might have said this before but will say it again...the modes and moods heard here really do remind me of the infamous "Sister Ray" "side project" "Room 101" who never did make it out as much as they should have.

Oh, and there's a booklet complete with an interview and rare photos included. Nothing much to holler about since there are no major revelations to be found and the guys in this group looked silly even by early-seventies standards. But so what...let the music noodle on for itself. and you'll get more than your money's worth, that is if you're using dollars or sumpin' 'stead of those paper coins you get when you buy a package of Mallow Cups.
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The Flamin' Groovies-FANTASTIC PLASTIC CD-r burn (originally on Sonic Kicks Records)

Somehow it does make me feel spry and happy to know that the Groovies are still up and about and as you'd expect these guy, whoever they may be other'n Cyril Jordan and (maybe) George Alexander, can still drum up a good enough record that holds up to past endeavors. Still these guys sound tired and old in spots, almost dragging in an FM/"Classic Rock" fashion on a number of toonz here (and sheesh Cyril, we thought you were a punk!). But right when I'm all set to leave the room for my daily dose of Syrup of Swill Cyril kicks back into either some Byrds-y 12-string mood or Stalk Forrest-influenced BOC psychedelia and I'm all aglow inside like a teenage girl who just developed her first drop o' gooey after hearing "Turn Turn Turn". One thing's for sure, and that is that SEPTUAGENARIANS RULE!!!
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The Blasters-AMERICAN MUSIC CD-r burn (originally on Hightone Records)

I assume that this contains the long-suppressed Rollin' Rock version of the classic Blasters album (withdrawn after a major rift twixt the band and RR headguy Ron Weiser) plus some leftover tracks from the same living room session. If so all I gotta say it that these toonz really capture the great cheapness that I've always liked in these homage to the fifties kinda records that usually fall flatter 'n any HAPPY DAYS episode where Scott Baio's hair is longer than the Rolling Stones'. Nice living room reverb that you could only get from the sound bouncing off the Naugahyde recliner. I can even see a pipe stand with a TV GUIDE nestled beside it somewhere. Turn your suburban slob ranch house into a recording studio and make yourself a record like this TODAY!!!
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Alex Chilton-LIVE AT THE HOWLIN' WOLF CLUB NEW ORLEANS, LA 1994 2-CD-r burn set

I gotta admit that I wasn't "wowed" by that Chilton platter where he was schmoozing up the old adult contempt hits like "Volare" one bit. In fact I hated the thing. But here in the dark recesses of the post-post-post rock 'n roll as your obsessive drive era, you can't deny that his rather poppish takes on various old chestnuts mixed in with recent compositions are whatcha'd call the gosh durnest best!

Don't believe me? Just download the thing here and see for yourself!

Marvel at the intimate quality of this live recording which gives you a front row seat in the sanctity of your own fart-encrusted bedroom. Re-live those great sixties covers that'll send you back to the days when the tough kids knocked you senseless. And while you're soaking it all in, remember when this kind of music used to get tagged as punk rock by people who thought they knew about it all after reading some article in GENTLEMAN'S QUARTERLY! You should like it enough even if you weren't in on this guy's career ever since his Box Tops days. Chilton was a national treasure and like I'd sure pay to see him if he were around 'stead of all of those doofuses milking the nostalgia train these days!
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Don Sebesky-THE DISTANT GALAXY CD-r burn (originally on Verve Records)

Jazz arranger Sebesky really pulled out more than the kitchen sink (like, lotsa electronics and studio gimmickry) to make this album the older generation trip it was bound to be. Now my folks woulda thought that the jazzed up arrangements of various hits and classical tuneage to be either outright blasphemy or just more of that hippie kid stuff, but I'm sure there were more'n a few aging hipsters out there willing to dig into the e-zy listening mode of everything from "Lady Madonna" to  a version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" that sounded like something outta an occult Joe Meek nightmare. Those of you still into that RE-SEARCH incredibly strange music gig'll just love it, but why did I feel like I was locked inside some swinging bachelor pad after his date walked out in a huff and he hadda resign himself to the bathroom with a towel and an issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC?
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KURT RUSSELL CD-r burn (originally on Capitol Records)

's funny, but I was just gazing upon the latest INQUIRER cover at the supermarket with alla the hot scoop about Russell and Goldie Hawn splitskying after like thirty-four years of connubial common law bliss and here I find this obscuro teenybopper longplay inna mail! I wonder if this attempt to capture the late-sixties teenage gal heart throb market had anything to do with the breakup but I dunno...I guess that Russell, riding high on a slew of Walt Disney teenbo features, was ripe for picking as far as these kinda discs go, but with his irritating high-pitched voice and lackluster arrangements on a variety of already hits of the day you can tell why this one swirled down in flames. Maybe if he had a Filmation Saturday morn cartoon series on ABC...
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Richard H. Kirk-VIETSONG CD-r burn

A solo project dating from '76 which doesn't convey much of the terror or atonal beauty that Cabaret Voltaire excelled in, at least until the eighties rendered them dance music for people who are about as coordinated as Clarabell the Clown. Still an interesting woosh for those of you who were entranced by the thought of electronic music whether it be of the amped up self-generating Velvet Underground variety or the doo-doo putzying around on a stylophone. Needs more dimension to it but I guess the rest of the band were holidaying somewhere and like Kirk couldn't remain idle for that long a period of time!
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UNIVERSE CD-r burn (originally on Experience Records, Norway)

If you thought that rock 'n roll was a rare commodity in early-seventies Ameriga you don't know that half of it. Other nations suffered from the curse of rancid music if this particularly putrid platter is any indication. I really can't describe to you the utter nada that this group exudes in their quest to take already tired moves from a variety of US and British acts and translate them into an even duller mode. And William Burroughs thought the Danes were a bunch of bores!
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The Primitives-BLOW-UP CD-r burn (originally on Arc Records, Italy)

English transplanted to Italy beat band (just like the Tages) do pretty well on this album mostly featuring hits of the day either sung in English or the local dialect in order to ooze more lire outta the teenage dago gals nationwide. Must've been a good idea because I can see a whole bunch of those hairy legs just rushin' to the local record shop to snatch this pretty cookin' platter which comes complete with a rugged lead vocalist as well as some rather potent performances on everything from "Cara Lin" to "I'll Be There". And believe it or nits, but the Primitives' versions rank as good as the original takes. Sure it's pretty much another mop top tossout, but at least when the tossin' was done back then it was tossed out right!
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The Fathoms-FATHOMLESS CD-r burn (originally on Atomic Records)

A lotta these retro type bands mighta been hot pus back in the early-eighties when I was young 'n anxious to hear it all in one fell swoop, but even I would have to admit that a whole buncha 'em just didn't have the same punch that the originals had. Of course they did make good substitutes. The Fathoms, however, are one post-sixties surf band that really conveys the excitement and fun that those early-sixties acts just oozed outta their not-so-clogged pores. Whereas many bands doin' the surf stomp sounded like 197X/8X/9X/0X groups playin' the classics through the miracle of 20/20 hindsight the Fathoms sound so fresh and authentico that I should be forgiven for thinkin' this was a bonafeed buncha guys smack dab outta the early-sixties Downey California scene. They're that real, and if you're of Californian blood and joyfully recall those reverb-y sounds as well as a scene that seemed to die out too soon you'll probably be filled with joy upon hearing this!
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Les and Larry Elgart-SOUND OF THE TIMES Cd-r burn (originally on Columbia Records)

Hey Bill, are you sure that this one was meant for me and not Aunt Mabel? And when I mean Aunt Mabel I mean Aunt Mabel 1966 'stead of Aunt Mabel today rottin' away at the Bide-A-Wee Rest Home. I mean, I wouldn't have even thought to give a platter like this to my dad for Christmas that sainted year because to him that woulda been nothin' but kid rock 'n roll or somethin' equally non-Glenn Milleresque. In no way would he have given a thought to any record with a Beatles or Mamas and Papas cover on it---just too raucous if you ask him. If I heard this stuff back when it came out I woulda thought it was just more of that grown up music for people who were somewhere in between the rock 'n roll generation and my parents' world. If you know which kind of market this record was aimed at, at least as it stood in the Sharon PA area circa the mid-sixties, please write in.
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FRESH BLUEBERRY PANCAKE CD-r burn

Thankfully the cruddy production and primitive performance saves this early-seventies self-produced platter from being yet another instant tossout. The usual inspirational suspects can be heard here (Grand Funk before they became pop hit material amongst 'em) only these tracks are all done up so cheesy that Fresh Blueberry Pancake might as well have been that buncha creepy guys from down the street you remember from your own youth who used to bang away endlessly in some ancient attic. There's even a God song that dates this to the Jesus Christ Superstar days of the early-seventies, though frankly this 'un hold up much better lo these many years later.
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Various Artists-THE RHYTHM AND BLUES SHOW CD-r burn (originally on Brunswick Records, Germany)

Hot non-stop big band bloozey music just perfect for those particularly pathetic days one comes across once in awhile. Not a turdburger in the bunch what with the likes of Stomp Gordon,  Big Bob Dougherty and Tiny Davis amongst others deliverin' onna hard bop neo-rock r&beezers that make me wonder (considerin' what this music eventually led to) where did it all go wrong??? Fave of the batch---Gordon's "Damp Rag" which I somehow could see being worked into a feminine hygiene commercial, though maybe that would be too tasteful for what transpires on the tube these days.
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Various Artists-ABANDONED ZEPHYRS TURN ON OPEN CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

SOMEBODY goofed with this one because nothing that's mentioned onna cover correlates?/colloborates??? with what's onna disc. No Dick Clark, No New Fun Quartet, no Cecil Taylor to be found...all that's here is a flashy silent moom pitcher organ rendition of "White Christmas", a whole slewwa early-eighties vintage hardcore punk that sounds as if it's of the short and punchy DC variety, an extended track featuring atonal guitars weaving in and out of each other's paths that I found quite entertaining, some soul jazz followed by some late-fifties teenage angst ended with a kiddie record which tells you all about how to be a motorcycle cop and windshield wipers!!! Made for a pretty nice period of time even if I didn't know what the heck I was getting into.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH HELEN starring Debbie Reynolds and Shelly Winters (1972)

If you wanna see some feel-bad mooms dealing with the 1930s (as seen through turd-stained rear view mirrors) there are a bunch to choose from, from THE DAY OF THE LOCUST to this particularly cool humdinger.

It's the mid-thirties, and Adele Bruckner and Helen Hill's sons have just been convicted for the grisly murder of the richest woman in some small forsaken podunk town. The trial gets national coverage, the kids get life, and the moms get these weird phone calls from some guy who thinks that their progeny got off lightly and that the mumzies should be executed because hey, they raised them murderers! Not only that but this mysterious man is willing to do the job himself, and knowing a good hint when it knocks 'em over the head the two not only change their names but skedaddle for Hollywood! Adele always thought herself the new Jean Harlow so she dyes her hair platinum blond and while waiting for the big break the two open a dancing and singing school for precocious little gals whose mothers want them to be the next Shirley Temple.

It gets even better, what with the now Adele Stuart hitching up with the millionaire father of a student and the extremely religious Helen Martin doing a slow motion flipout being haunted by the deaths not only at the hands of her son but of her husband seen in a particularly gruesome flashback (hold the pause button for maximum effect). Adele tries to put up with it but pretty soon things start coming to a head and the past starts catching up with the two until it all goes into a nice freaked out boil over that I gotta say I thought was gonna turn out differently but hey, I've been wrong before.

Great acting here from Debbie Reynolds eschewing that sickening wholesome gal image for once (actually looking kinda sexy in those thirties dance duds) to Shelley Winters as her friend who just can't shake the voice on the phone or recent happenings. Even a not always pleasing actor as Dennis Weaver shines as the slimy millionaire while Michael MacLiammoir as a cornballus diction teacher fits in even if I have no idea why he was stuck in this moom inna first place. The cameo appearances from the once-omnipresent Timothy Carey as a bum to Agnes Moorehead (in a drama-drenched scene that I'm glad she ended her career with) as an Aimee Semple McPherson type who Helen is particularly fond of add a little cheese on the top of this cinematic chili making it all the more tastier if I do say so myself. Kinda funny to think that Moorehead and Reynolds were in the same film considering that story that's been goin' 'round for years on end about the two, but if you've seen Rock Hudson on THE JIM NABORS SHOW you might get the idea that one close friend was doing a favor for another who coulda used a few extra bucks, ifyaknowaddamean...

And for all you Uncle Roys out there, you get to see a whole lotta single-digit gals doin' their dance routines from Shirley Temple swipes to a particularly potent Mae West impersonation...the next best thing to those dance numbers you used to see on THE LITTLE RASCALS you short eyes you!

The surprise ending catches you and even a thick skulled person like myself by surprise, but I for one would sure would like to see what director Curtis Harrington had in mind and what the heads at MGM nixed because they didn't want this film to head out into "R" territory! Bet that really woulda packed an even bigger punch into this film which already has a number of good 'uns innit, eh?!?!?!