Sunday, December 31, 2017

Well, there goes another year that I'm glad I managed to sweat through relatively intact! As if there were any good years these past few decades that graced my being but man, this one was worse than most, leaving me a mass of balled nerves and shattered tendons on the brink of total breakdown! Unfortunately for you I made it through relatively intact and even sane for that matter which means we just MIGHT have another year of BLOG TO COMM for all of you to shudder and toss epithets at...aren't you glad???

Well at least I did manage to get more'n my share of fun in having read about as many comic books during the past 365 as I did twixt 1975/2016, not to mention my getting into some more crucial (meaning more'n just weather bulletins) television viewing thanks to the appearance of programming that' WORTH tuning into (THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM, ROY ROGERSSOUPY SALES, PERRY MASON, TWILIGHT ZONE...). And there were many good rock fanzines (both old and new) and rock books to occupy my precious time, and best of all there have been many good records made by exemplary musical acts released in 2017 which helped keep me further and further away from the noose, or in my case a Ny-Quil overdose! And hey, knowing that the Droogs are still up and active after all these years does give me hope for the future I'll tell ya.

But if I hadda do it over again I would prefer doing it 1958 style, and I wasn't even ALIVE then! Dunno how 2018'll fare but frankly, I ain't bettin' for much in a positive direction. I mean, we all gotta decay sometime.

And with that well, here are the bests of the year which I gotta say I am going out on feeling slightly chipper about despite a gloomy outlook for the following rotation. Match your list with this one and see that mine is much better, smoother, easier on the touch...


CEE-DEE ALBUM OF THE YEAR!-The Droogs' YOUNG GUN (Plug 'n Socket)-Welcome back guys, we missed you!
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VINYL ALBUM OF THE YEAR!-The Lords of Thyme's THE FUTURE OF THINGS PAST, brought to you by the team of Byron Coley and Nigel Cross, and when two great saints meet it sure is a humbling experience!
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LIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR!-Gary Wilson and the Blind Dates' LIVE AT CBGB, one reason why I think the creative surge of the mid/late seventies in rock 'n roll (or in this case jazz rock) was even more important than the magic mid-sixties, albeit on an underground, more offensive level!
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SINGLE OF THE YEAR!-I don't think I've even heard a new single this year so I'll have to rely on an old one that spun my heels like mad! Namely Treatment's "Stamp Out Mutants"/"Dontcha Know" which came out like 1981 way but really captures the seventies space rock mantra as well as any of those leftover psychedelic warlords did!
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JAZZ (OR JAZZ-ROCK, OR CLASSICAL JAZZ-ROCK, OR AVANT GARDE  CLASSICAL JAZZ-ROCK, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT) ALBUM OF THE YEAR-Weasel Walter's A POUND OF FLESH Four-CD set (ugEXPLODE)-STILL tryin' to figure it out, and am goin' crazy in the process!
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REISSUE OF THE YEAR!-Jacques Thollot's INTRAMUSIQUE (Alga Marghen Records)
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GUITAR AND STRINGS CEE-DEE OF THE YEAR!-Tom Crean's 3 HEADS TAME (Kendra Steiner Editions)
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CASSETTE OF THE YEAR!-RAZORLEGS
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FANZINE (IN THE GRITTIEST SEVENTIES SENSE MORE OR LESS) OF THE YEAR!-VULCHER, what else (other'n UGLY THINGS which isn't gritty anymore and might just have made that transition into being a serious mag after all these years!)? OK, maybe this one.
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BOOK OF THE YEAR (ROCK 'N ROLL DIVISION)!-even if if came out last year just has to be TOTAL CHAOS, the history of Iggy and the Stooges the way we like it, up front and raw. Lotsa neat illios of items and stories that'll curl your insides, plus even more insight into one of the better concepts in rock 'n roll from the late-sixties/early-seventies cusp. Runner Up---the John "Inzane" Olson LIFE IS A RIPOFF collection I reviewed in (I think) VULCHER...it's been soooooo long ago...
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BOOK OF THE YEAR (SECULAR DIVISION)!-BEHAVING MADLY, which only goes to show you that imitation is the sincerest form of trying to make a quick buck and failing miserably at the newsstands!
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MOOM PITCHER OF THE YEAR!-WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH HELEN? which came out in 1972 but it was my fave popcorn popper into the mouth sitdown and enjoy yourself of this year!
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DEATH OF THE YEAR!-No bout a doubt it...CHARLES MANSON, the true spokesman (notice I said spokesman and not the neutered anti-male choice of the day spokesperson!) for a generation who was way more revealing of the true state of late-sixties/seventies youth than all of those other spokesmen ever could be!
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BLOG POST OF THE YEAR!-this HIGH SIX tickles my fancy, for obvious reasons.
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ANTI-HERO OF THE YEAR!-Tyrone Rage
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BLOG OF THE YEAR (OTHER'N MINE)-BoP-PiLLS, which is all in French but has the same spirit of those French fans of the seventies who helped put the likes of Patti Smith and Buddy Holly on the fandom radar. Plus they linked up my review of the classic French fanzine SNEAKERS which somehow egged 'em on to locate the editors of this one-shot wonder, and for that I somehow feel warm and toasty inside!
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PUBLIC ANIMAL OF THE YEAR!-John "Inzane" Olson!

Had enough? Howzbout some reviews (items courtesy Bill, Paul, P.D. and myself for that matter)...

Derek Bailey/Anthony Braxton-ROYAL 2-LP set (Honest Jon's Records England, available via Forced Exposure)

I'm sure most of you olde tyme BLOG TO COMM readers remember the days when Anthony Braxton was considered one of the hotcha up-and-coming stars in jazz? It sure seemed a miracle considering just how outta-the-bowtie and tux loop Braxton was, but at least his brief time in the spotlight allowed for many small labels to capitalize on his notoriety and release old sessions with him either as leader or sideman...a capitalist ploy even Archie Shepp would like. Some of these records even made their way into the local record shops especially if they were on small domestic labels like Muse or Inner City, and considering just how blahsville a trip to the record shop became a good five years later it's amazing that the karmic alignment was all whooziz to the point where things like Anthony Braxton albums could be sold in record bins at the same time groups like the Flamin' Groovies and Stooges were being hawked! As the old song goes, "Them days are gone for-ever!!!"

This session with noted avant garde guitarist Derek Bailey was recorded during Braxton's ascent into major label territory and shows the reedsman in relatively fine form going through all those contrabass bleats and post-Ayler squeals as Bailey gets even more expressionist than usual on his instrument. It might seem too aht-ty to some but I find it perfectly in that pre-pretentious seventies experimental mode that didn't reek so much once things got too experimental to the point where Braxton would eventually end up performing with a comedian (!---even concertos for 100 tubas seems sane in comparison). This is a driving sound that comes off like the soundtrack to my mental breakdown, not overbearing but forceful and (best of all) nerve shattering.

I still have an affinity for these sixties/seventies jazz trailblazers who were taking the music into areas many deemed unimaginable, and if you still harbor some thrills for the days when music had become more of an adventure than mere backdrop I get the feeling you might have a hankerin' for this as well.
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Son House-THE ORIGINAL DELTA BLUES CD-r burn

Sounds like one of those guys who spent a good portion of their upbringin' hangin' 'round the Southern States until some whiteguy Northerner (read: modern day carpetbagger) who was coppin' a whole lotta blues in his music went down 'n got the guy rediscovered 'n all making a FORTUNE in the process. Not that bad an encapsulation of the early pre-electric guitar slide sound that sounds drivin' enough even without the electricity or a full band behind it. Loads of drive and passion in this music and even a guy who is cool to the blues like myself can appreciate it for what is was and the whole barrel o' jamz this music ultimately led to!
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Martin Escalante-DESTROYED ON EVERY LEVEL CD-r burn (originally on Sploosh Records)

Leave it to Fadensonnen to brighten up my holidayze with a wild off-the-wall platter such as this. And I wondered where the new generation of nose splicers was coming from...outta nowhere Escalante (on "modified alto sax") comes upon us to present some of the most uncompromising, distorted and thus PURELY ENERGETIC jazz to be heard in some time...reminds me of this one Lester Bowie track I heard on WKSU-FM one night back '83 way, or maybe even Frank Lowe before he read that review about his "over-blowing" and changed his style for perhaps the worse.  Whatever, this is one of those little pit stops in life that prove to you that maybe all in music isn't quite lost...yet.
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The Feelies w/Richard Lloyd-LIVE @ MAX'S KANSAS CITY 1/19/78 CD-r burn

As you all know I never cared for the Feelies who, like a number of the under-the-covers New York acts of the late-seventies, just didn't translate into high-energy driving rock 'n roll the kind of which makes up my sustenance or something like that. However, these live recordings with soon-to-be ex-Television guitarist Richard Lloyd sound pretty good even if they're nothin' but jammin' the night away. Hot riffage based on everything from "Baby Come Back" to "Sister Ray" is utilized as the group goes in and out of the usual (and not-so) lines making for something that probably was not only fun to play, but definitely is fun to listen to! A dowload look-see on your part is something shouldn't be out of the question.
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Normil Hawaiians-MORE WEALTH THAN MONEY 2-CD set (Upset the Rhythm Records England, available via Forced Exposure)

Like a lotta these early-eighties English avant garde thingies, the brilliant is at times washed out not only by the effete, silly and repetitive. But as you would have expected the synthesized strings wash everything out. Still, in between the casiotones and the maudlin vocals one can discern snatches of Syd and the usual variety of interesting tidbits that were tossed into many a project such as this during those rather confused times. An interesting peek into the workings of the young English rock mind but be warned...exciting and perhaps even downright exhilarating passages will lead to tracks of total boredom and if discretion needs to be advised for anything it is an effort like this.
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Les Rallizes Denudes-5-13-87 MEGUMA ROCUMEIKAN CD-r burn

After a spell of nada it's sure good hearing Mizutani and company (whoever they may be this time!) again. Great performance including the same faves they've been performing for years, great sound and even the jazz drummer sitting in doesn't get in the way. What more can I say but...deep dark droning psychedelic rock that, unlike the San Fran brethren, continued its dark mission long after the hippoid affectations wore thin and all that came out was pure hackery.
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UFO w/Larry Wallis-MARQUEE CLUB 1/3/72 CD-r burn

I believe some of this came out on that UFO boot I reviewed a year or two back (don't have the hard info in front of me because y'see, I'm typing this while I should be working 'stead of at home on my own time) but it's still a MUST HAVE for those of you who still stand by the early-seventies Third Generation era of hard scrunch before it became so simpy that even your pudgoid ten-year-old cousin could like it. AGAIN, if you like the first three UFO albums and shudder at those later ones that seemed to speak for everything BAD about what heavy metal had become whilst we all were looking, look no further than a burn such as this.
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Various Artists-RED HOT SCHLITZ HOLIDAY TWIST CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Boy does this thing start out pretty inner city ifyaknowaddamean what with the great hunking blob of downright r&b/soul selections from the likes of the Moroccos and Bill Doggett to some Rudy Ray Moore tracks just custom made for the Holiday Season. Hey Bill, thanks for the warning now that EVERYBODY inna fambly got an earfulla his "Night Before Christmas" while I left the room! For a minute I thought this burn was gonna come with an invitation to join the Urban League! Then allava sudden the thing gets real backwoods country twang making for a shift in storm fronts that woulda caused a tornado in real life! Then it's back to the dirty stuff (the Couplings) before I get hauled off to bed with no supper...you really know how to spring them surprises on me Bill!!!
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And with that, piss on earth, good will toward none!

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