Saturday, September 09, 2017

THE RETURN OF SINGLES GOING STROONAD!!!


While romping through my vast collection of good ol' vinyl recordings just the other day I reckoned to myself that sheesh, there sure were a whole lotta good seven-inch singles and extended plays that came out back during the glory days of rock 'n roll as a true soundtrack for lives like the kind I tried to live. There were also a whole lot of bad ones too but we won't talk about 'em right now. Amazingly enough a few of the acts that recorded these paens to popitude have for the most part remained lost to time, something which I gotta say is a pity because even though a whole lotta these groups got shuffled about under the weight of items that were more heavily touted they sure had the zip, vim, vigor and old tah-DAAH! that coulda made 'em big guns in a music world that just wasn't big enough for everyone to grab hold of every platter extant.

So with this in mind I thought hey, why not do a post devoted to some of these rarities as well as (now get this!) random plunks into the pile that have been plopping about in my collection for years, mostly ignored o'er the sands of time but worth yet another spin in order to see if my brain was working on all nerve nodes back when I snatched these things up inna first place. Some nice surprises abound while other offerings weren't exactly worth the $1.99 I pried from my wallet to purchase, but I am getting ahead of myself. Anyway read on, absorb my spacial opinions and once again get ready to tell me what a jerk I've been lo these many years.


The Invaders-"Could You, Would You"/"Long Time Comin'" (Sea West Records)

Remember that bunch who corralled former Sonics vocalist Gerry Roslie into recording a new Sonics album for Bomp! way back inna early eighties? Well these guys were the ones who did it, a band called the Invaders who I guess already knew that there were two groups with the same name working the Northwest circuit in the sixties (not counting all of the other Invaders that popped up including a New York act inna late seventies), but do you think they cared??? No way, Louie!

These Invaders did keep the old Northwest spirit going, or at least they kept it going the way it should have gone considering how the hard rush of the Wailers/Sonics/Kingsmen et. al. kinda petered out once 1968 got into gear and it was Gary Puckett and nothing else. Both sides contain some pretty hard neo-metal rock that has quite an early-seventies approach to it. Kinda reminds me of Mott the Hoople for some strange reason. Maybe "The Moon Upstairs" stuff but nothing much else. Top notch really, though I prefer their version of "She's Boss" that popped up on that late-seventies Bomp! sampler with the picture of the kid with the acne and pocket protector filled with pens and such...the ultimate BLOG TO COMM reader if I do say so myself!
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TOOL PRESENTS PAUL L. MAROTTA EP (Tool Records)

I forget the story behind this 1973 issue that future Mirrors/Electric Eels/Styrenes member Marotta recorded on his lonesome...something about him being approached by some guy to do a record which he did, even playing a few gigs to get the word out before abandoning a whole bunch of 'em in a bus depot. Well if that's so I'll betcha that some janitor got hold of a goldmine because hey, just try to find a copy of this 'un these days because you just can't!

The sound quality ain't as bad as I remembered it to be and the songs, while quite melancholy and maybe even downright depressing, have that nice neo-classical moody sound that would eventually seep into the Mirrors/Styrenes mode of late-sixties English rock influences put to a pretty good use. A chill akin to the kind people who let their guards down get while listening to THE MARBLE INDEX also seemed to permeate my nerve nodes in spots, and for some reason even a bitta the specter of the you-know-who (initials "V.U.") kinda crept in amidst what I thought were some clever Syd Barrett cops.  If Nick Drake sounded like this maybe I'd like his records!

Nice package too which even includes a silk-screened cover by none other than John Morton! Talk about one of the best music-cum-artwork packages seen since LE STELLE DI MARIO SCHIFANO or Alice Cooper's SCHOOL'S OUT for that matter!
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DEEP SPACE SEXTET EP (Nile Records)

Had trouble finding this one for some time and then like ta-DAAH! the thing pops up from outta the box and into my loving arms! This is the kind of group I really lusted after during those dank late-eighties/early-nineties days...acts that were heavily steeped in rock history (especially that of the 1964-1981 rock as something beautifully stupid yet worthy of intellectual scrutiny which suddenly made it "smart" for all the good and bad that would dredge up) yet something that sounded modern enough, but only in a retrogarde way or something totally convoluted like that. You figure it out, but since I really like those outta nowhere and back there again band that came outta New York City this 1989 release from a comparatively obscure group seemed the thing that would shivver me timbers more'n the usual under-the-armpit radical schmooze that was making a name for itself at the time.

Big Brother and the Holding Company look to be the Sextet's (who are actually a quartet but want to confuse us for some occult reason or another) main source of inspiration what with not only Elin Hunter Heilman's vocals (closer to Betty Boop than Janis Joplin, but still fitting) and a cover of "Turtle Blues" which I will rank being as tops as the original! The guitarist (Stephen B. Williams) has a way to go before he can approach the sonic sheer of James Gurley but he's still better'n those slickster shysters out for your music moolah, and the songs do take on this neo-sixties garage meets new pop style that works swell with a guy like me on the lookout for something that takes the best of the past and realizes that there ain't nothing that hot about the present!

Yet another lost to time act that appeals to my more rockist sense of existence. At least they put a record out which is more than I could say about most of the bands that sure had something goin' for 'em but they gave up while lesser talent got all the fame 'n glory! Maybe there's more by this group available...well I sure would hope so
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Peko & Naka-"Ageso-Na-Omae"/"Kamete" (The Label, England)

Dunno the whys and wherefores of this Japanese duo getting a release on an English punk rock label. Heck this record ain't even punque let alone pUnK but a new wave-y sorta disco rocker on the "a" side and a Japanese slosh popper a la "Sukiyaki" glossed up to Roxy Music levels on the flip. It does have that Far East pop charm that makes these records so sixties-ish (flashes me back to my five-year-old self getting sweaty inna basement while the radio would be pouring out adult contemporary sounds that somehow set the soundtrack for my stickiness). Frankly I was hoping for something else from Peko and Naka like maybe a sound akin to Talking Heads going to the local love motel or something like that, but it's good enough to keep because I know someone I hate undoubtedly wants this record and will act all nice to me in order to GET IT! Tough luck, dude.
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David Bowie-John Cale-TWO GENTLEMEN IN NEW YORK ("Velvet Couch"/"Piano-la") (F1 Records)

Of all the bootleg singles I own none can get any bootleggier than this particular offering. Recorded in the Ciarbissstudio in New York City on October 5th of 1979, Bowie and Cale joke around and have it all recorded for some strange reason. Basically this is Cale playing his classical woosh piano while Bowie croons like nothing since Alfalfa, and natrually you can expect something that---only the biggest sucker who plunked down his moolah for this 'un would pretend to enjoy! Historical true, but the quality of this is akin to those cassette tapes of some local piano recital that Mr and Mrs Merkel recorded of daughter Suzie back in 1973 but since Bubby and his pals recorded over it doing their usual kiddie jokes and fart sounds it's all lost to history and boy was Bubby given a good wailin'! I'm tempted to say that I would probably prefer hearing Bubby and friends goofing off 'stead of Cale and Bowie doing this same..but if I did I would be lying, sorta.
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Styrene Money-"Radial Arm Saws"/"Just Waking" (Mustard Records)

The Marotta EP above had me grasping for this longtime fave, with the original a-side version of "Radial Arm Saws" that I must say is vastly superior to the take that ended up on the CD collection along with their polystyrene jass number "Just Waking" (which used to make a fine capper to the Styrene shows esp. when they had the dancers with 'em). Dunno exactly why the powers that be used another take for the plug side when doing the reissuing because this one's a wild ride in itself as it builds up those chords in the beginning and the song builds and overtakes you as it sounds as if its rushing towards a cliff and you're about to be tossed off. Maybe someone can correct this oversight in the future but for now well...try to search this one out because you'll love it, and might even love me in the process as well toots!
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Mushroom-"Cosmic Dance"/"This is It" (Vulcan Records)

Talk about bands that hung around on the periphery of the New York "rock" scene. Mushroom were up and about as early as 1973 and actually got mentioned and interviewed in ROLLING STONE when the Mercer Arts Center came tumblin' down along with all of their equipment. After that they were playing around clubs like CBGB and Max's as well as getting some opening gigs for big names like Uriah Heep until giving up like most of these bands tended to do in the face of little if any financial success.

But at least they left us with this platter, the "a-side" being a good enough hard rocker that veers somewhere in between the Dolls and Kiss, teetering between snotty punkisms and hard pop energy. It works as a mid-seventies hard rock pounder for the bratski in your life but I prefer the flip which, although resplendent in three-part harmonies that would bring a tear to David Crosby's face (but whether for good or naught I do not know), rocks out like a high powered country number that comes off like one of those early Stiff Records singles! Not bad at all, and good enough for some sort of compilation keeping tabs of these things a la BONEHEAD CRUSHERS and the like...really.
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Jefferson Airplane-"Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil"/"Two Heads" (RCA Victor Records)

Here's one from DEEP within the bowels of my collection (OK, it was given to me decades ago!), a not-so-rarity from the Airplane that is wallowing about with some of the also rans in the dark corner of my collection which at times can be akin to the dark corners of the internet. "Pooneil" starts off hot with some feedback and a crunching riff but stumbles about with Paul Kantner meandering on about somethingorother as the melody rambles on in typical psychedelic blunderbuss fashion. The other side isn't much better what with Grace Slick singing her typically pseudo-intellectual lyrics which probably have something to do with Lewis Carroll as an equally irritating tune wheezes about. And people actually thought the Airplane were one of if not the best American group of the sixties? Sheesh, Fairport Convention had those bozos beat hands down, and even when copying their entire schtick!
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The Left Banke-"Things Go Better". "Hertz Rent-a-Car", "Toni Hairspray" EP with both sides exactly the same! (bootleg)

Yes, the sweet classical rock of the Banke goes "commercial" on these commercials which really take that familiar hit format and puts it to good buck-ka'chinging use. Steve Caro Martin's voice smoothly suckers in the iron-haired gals out there in radioland extolling the virtues of Coca-Cola, Hertz and Toni while the backing is pure baroque rock complete with what sounds like the patented Michael Brown keyboard style (or maybe it's a keen imitator?). Rock 'n roll acts never did "prostitute" themselves this way once the sixties fizzled into oblivion, so we should really be thankful that our favorite recording stars from them days were so moolah conscious because otherwise we'd never hear not only this but a few thousand other gems by everyone from Jan and Dean to the Troggs (btw...is their Miller Beer ad available anywhere???). Too bad the Stooges never "plugged" Massengill's fine line of products...woulda loved to've heard that, to the tune of "Fresh Rag" of course.
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Harvey Gold-EXPERIMENTS single ("I Keep a Close Watch"/"Armadillo") (Clone Records)

Tin Huey keyboardist/guitarist/singer Gold's solo single once again exemplifies the English import bin roots of much of the early Huey sound. The cover of the John Cale classic was definitely bound to bring tears to more than a few mid-seventies co-eds roaming the University of Akron campus, while the flip reminds me of Robert Wyatt or even Kevin Ayers himself filtered through the giddier aspects of that "new wave" which would overtake the musical imagination within a few short years. It's still way better'n what it would all lead to once the eighties churned innovation into hackdom. Worth a look-see if you were the kinda guy who thumbed through a Jem Records catalog back during those rather confusing (but oh-so-satisfying!) times.
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Kronos-9 PUNK POEMS EP (Moxie Records)

This is one of the rarer Moxie Records releases featuring none other'n the man behind it all Dave Gibson (Kronos) reading some of his prosody either all by himself or with backing from "the Felching Vampires". Who in actuality are nothing but a buncha tape cut ups utilized in order to suit the wordage (and with varying results). Gibson recites his lines in pretty much the same way Meltzer does and like ol' R even gets into some questionable for all members of the family language and subject matter that might not be to your liking (sissy!). The results comes off so El Lay cheap that you could easily enough imagine Gibson in his Kronos guise as some bizarre self-promoting musical act roaming the streets of the Sunset Strip ca. 1966 in typical Kim Fowley/Sky Saxon/Sur Royal Da Count/Wild Man Fisher fashion! The back cover sez only 150 of these were pressed (and not onto old automobile floormats as Billy Miller once said!), but I think otherwise.
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Tavares-"Whodunit"/"Fool of the Year" (Capitol Records)

Yet another inherited platter, as if I would ever think of buying a Tavares record in the first place! But hey, this one does have some interesting pre-disco soul moves that weren't so offensive back when I was listening to this stuff playing in the other room (cyster's radio blaring) while I was reading THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Gets points for adhering to various past soul accomplishments, but by the time the decade was about to bust into the cornballus late-seventies you can bet that it was all gonna be oomp-thumpa-thump disco from these guys and nothin' else! Music to meet strange men at bars to and to go home and do certain things that I understand are still illegal in Zaire.
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DMZ-LIVE!! 1978!! 7-inch EP (Crypt Records)

This li'l wonder seemed to pass by more'n a few worthy brains when it came out in 1986, which I guess would figure because the rock 'n roll scene was so down back then that I'm sure most people who would have jumped at the opportunity to buy such a hot item had given up and didn't even know the thing existed! The heavy metal kids from Boston roar on through three covers and one original doin' it just as hard and heavy as they did on all those OTHER records of theirs whether they have the Crypt imprimatur of quality on 'em or not. Nice package and nice sound gives me the feeling that I'm some 1967 suburban slob kid slapping this on the ol' console inna living room and prancing around to it in my stocking feet right before THE BARNEY BEAN SHOW comes on!
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Gary Glitter-"Hello! Hello! I'm Back Again!"/"I.O.U." (Bell Records, Germany)

If Garry Glitter's back ya'd better lock up all the boys! Keeping the guy's, er, "sexual preferences" outta it this single's another good pounder on the hit side while the flip's no drip either with Glitter taking a classic sixties-styled leftover of some sort injecting a whole lotta early-seventies hit potential pounce to it. If this one doesn't become popular at your local transgendered boy scout hoot I don't know what will!
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Gee wasn't that fun? Gotta do another one of these and like, real soon!

5 comments:

David Brown said...

Regarding Kronos, I must protest that the human walrus David Gibson was *not* Kronos; he was in fact a semi-douchy guy named 'Doug' who lived in Sonoma County for awhile and did nothing but yak yak yak about how fabulous it was and how hot the chicks there were maan and what shit L.A. was maan (despite living there at the DH rent free). Typical Cali blond with a 70s mustache, kinda looked like a gay clone but within 30 seconds of meeting you he would assure you he was not :) the embodiment of Lou Reed's 'California Fool'

How do I know this... I lived upstairs with Richard Gibson, or Mr. Rich, who was the greatest collector of 50s 45s ever... his porcine brother lived below with his 60s discs (and a disc mastering machine which created all the um, weird sounding Moxie library. The machine didn't do variable groove mastering, why is why they sound that way).

One midsummer morning in 1977 while I was slumbering on my air mattress there on Carondelet St. I awoke to what sound like loud pounding on a pipe. I looked outside the window and there was David, pounding a series of dents all around his brother's 1963 Dodge Dart with a ball peen hammer. This was because Mr. Rich had found a particularly interesting 60s record the day before; they had a deal where Rich would turn over any 60s stuff and David would turn over any 50s stuff which seemed reasonable.

This particular time, however, Rich had said, I'll be happy to give it to you, I just want to listen to it over the weekend first. This enraged Bob Hite-body double David to past simmering and into full boil. Later on, I went out myself to fetch a burrito as David glowered at me from the window. Small Mexican-American children who lived next door were playing and pointing at him, cackling 'STAY AWARE FROM THE DANGER HOUSE.' When David came out to rebuke me futher (I had nothing to do with this whole fiasco), they whooped with fear/frivolity and dived into the bushes.

This is where I came up with the name for my record label. All good ideas come from children, I think sometimes. In any case, even though I'd bribed David with a very large stash of like-new Marvel comics that would buy a condo on the Riviera these days, his sour attitude and Doug's malicious behavior drove me out not long later to move into a slum apartment with Black Randy (for more info on that, check the 2nd verse of X's 'We're Desperate' on my label).

Good times, but Kronos was a sociopathic, talentless putz who is hopefully buried in a ditch somewhere along with his 'punk poetry.' I would be willing to put money (if we could prove it) that 150 copies sounds about right. I sold my copy to Ryan Richardson who is a Moxie fanatic some years ago, and miss it less than I ever thought I would.

Yours from mighty Renfrew PA, Dave Brown

David Brown said...

Addendum, I should point out that the Moxie 45 by Jay Condom (another DH denizen) is far more interesting, as he was a much more creative person. At the time they made this vinyl sticky paper (like you'd use on your kitchen cabinets) with the image of a brick wall; I first noticed Jay (forget his real name) when at a stoplight I noticed he had covered his 60s compact car with it. This was fairly jarring, the visage of a brick wall driving down Beverly Blvd.

A true L.A. weirdo of the soap plant era, I will leave it to anyone reading this to look at imdb and other sources to check him out. One of the funniest people I ever met in my life.

Yours with nothing better to do in Renfrew, PA,

David Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Brown said...

Also Richard Meltzer is a self-aggrandizing piece of shit who couldn't box his way out of a paper towel. I wish he was in that same ditch with Kronos, and being thrown off his crappy radio show was one of the high points of my life.

Christopher Stigliano said...

David-Thanks for the correction, and additional information.