Saturday, April 21, 2018

There ain't much to crow about this week, though crow I must over what GOOD has been happening. Take f'rinstance the bevy of beauteous booty that I had the opportunity to review, a good portion of it what'cha'd call prime listening material if I do say so myself! Big thanx to Bill, Paul, Weasel and HoZac for the donations. Also thanks be to William Burroughs that the anti-gun hysteria is dying down now once it has been realized that the fruits of David Hogg's "acting abilities" have actually SPURRED ON pro-gun attitudes (and raised Laura Ingraham's ratings as well!) and that nobody really cares what that drama queen fluid gender Emma whatzername has to say. I guess those acting lessons weren't all for the better as if I could stand seeing the two head off your typical High School production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Sheesh, weren't high stool kids smarter back in the seventies when they would walk out of class in protest because busing was turning their school into a battle zone what with inner city youth brutalizing (and in at least one case stabbing) the already-established students? Surprisingly enough, this was NEVER mentioned in all of those TV reports on busing I used to see at the time nor in any Norman Lear "comedy" I was tuning in to! Oh how times have changed! And oddly enough alla that negative Don Trump coverage is making his poll numbers go up which might not be so fine for those of you who thought he was gonna be the guy who would tear it all down, but boy does it make those prissy media types get more indignant by the day and that's sure fun to watch!

But hey, let's just talk about the music at hand. Some pretty good wowzers here that I will recommend, even highly, to you which I gotta admit is something that gives me HOPE for a bright future of even more high energy efforts such as these! And so, without any more bloviating here's this week's presentation complete without commercial interruption:


Dane Rousay-AN INEVITABLE SOLUTION (TO) CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Percussion lovers will undoubtedly go gaga over this new Rousay effort which, although easily enough drawing comparisons to a variety of previous solo-banging efforts, really can't be compared to any of those John Cage or Marcel Duchamp efforts that used to pop up on the old Finnedar label. There seems to be an underlying intensity to it, though the performance may come of slightly nonchalant. Whatever, the resultant music does make you draw attention away from whatever you're doing so you can enjoy Rousay's little intricacies and fills here and there which you might miss if you happen to be reading old comic books (like I was when this had been spinning) of doing the connect-the-dots. Yet another limited KSE edition so you better hurry up before it all gets lost to time.
***
THE WEEPING BONG BAND LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Yet another beautiful surprise from what is perhaps the most driven-by-their-own-personalist-view vinyl label extant. Dunno who the people behind the Weeping Bong Band are (the hypsheet calls 'em a supergroup of sorts, yet I didn't recognize any of the acts these people came from!) but their music is great lay back and watch the clouds roll by (it would help if you were under the spell of some cough syrup or just zoned your way back to age three) sounds that remind me of various early-seventies kraut-rocky items of worth. Perhaps that jam on side four of Amon Duul II's YETI would be a good reference point or better yet some of the lesser known records that have come out on the infamous Brain label. And not only that, but this album is filled with plenty of "crummy fuzztone leads" as Greg Prevost would have put it! You might be surprised that someone could have recorded and released such an expressive and even warm (ooh!) album here in the cyborg 'teens, but it has been done and perhaps we are all the better for it.
***
Shutaro Noguchi-LOVE SUPER TERRANEAN LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Gotta admit that I wasn't as happy about this 'un as I usually tend to be with much of the Feeding Tube catalog. Sure it has its moments of brilliance not only via Noguchi's fluid guitar playing and the almost in-the-background ethereal female vocals but sheesh, a whole lotta this reminded me of some of the frillier moments to be found in various seventies progressive rock recordings. Not that this is as tinkly aerie as say Steve Hillage or the just-pre Buggled version of Yes but I wasn't really enthralled by the thing. Well, the opening strains did recall the Fripp and Eno classic NO PUSSYFOOTING of which I could ooze some listening pleasure but otherwise I wasn't jumping up and down over the thing. Great cover tho.
***
Weasel Walter-SKHIIZM CD (ugEXPLODE Records)

WW plays all the instruments on this effort, but in no way is this anything akin to a Todd Rundgren album that's for sure! Hard-edged rock (borders on a whole slew of rockcrit-derived genre terms that really do not mean a whit) that sears as guitars wail on while synths create a demonic vision that Chrome never even dreamed of. Should appeal to fans of the eighties over-the-top screedage whether it be of the punk-unto-hardcore-unto-total sonic eruption style (meaning this ain't for ya punks who thought that the music was the then-current update on the ol' hippies throwing bombs at the man radical rabble movement) or of the even newer heavy metal as pure noise transposed into energy that never really did make it with the box boy pimplefarm crowd.
***
F.U.K.-"Road Kill"/"I Got a Head" 45 rpm single (Hozac Records)

There's so much intermingling with Destroy All Monsters here, from Sue Rynski's imitation of Niagara on "Road Kill" to the members that were shared by both bands, that I could see my four-year-old self being confused just like I was with SUPERCAR and FIREBALL XL-5. But plagiarism/homage aside this is a boffo rec, perhaps one of the year's best. Like you all know, I really miss the punk before pUnquE (I can't HELP writing it like Robot Hull!) style of rock 'n roll that sorta got wooshed over in favor of marketable fashion, and this more or less one-off effort has the same sorta late-seventies Detroit Rock spunk sim'lar to the likes of the likes of the Mutants, Cynecide and other acts that sorta paled in the shadow of the Grande Ballroom days! But hey, what else would you expect because frankly there's nothing WRONG with this! This take me right back to the eighties which were long after the heyday of groups like F.U.K., but boy were those records CHEAP!
***
TWEN MOODS CD-r burn (originally on Amaden Records, Austria)

European-styled instrumental fluff, the kind that reminds me of the opening and closing theme to some early-seventies afternoon dialing for dollars type program. Ra-daa-daa-daa-dippy-do and all that, but it still serves me well if only to dredge up some memories of funtime-era tee-vee. Credit must go to the Monterey Mood-Mixers and Johnny and the Shamrocks for creating this continental concoction and yes, you could just hear the besweatered locals in their burghs listening to this while eating their strudels midt cream und Museli while wearing ledehosen. Maybe even wearing hats with little feathers in them too!
***

The Sex Pistols-AUG. 29, 1976 LIVE AT SCREEN ON THE GREEN CINEMA, ISLINGTON, UK CD-r burn

The cruddy sound actually helps out, emphasizing the almost heavy metal levels that the Sex Pistols could attain while nobody was looking. Otherwise the performance is sloppy but sure with a whole lot more drive and even instrumental proficiency than the likes of Anastasia Pantsios would admit. Looking back it's strange to know that many of our associates were knockin' the Sex Pistols and anything under-the-underground in general yet this sounds overall straight-ahead and to the point as far as a rock 'n roll expression goes. I guess that listening to too much Styx will rearrange your listening parameters in ways even Lawrence Welk never would have dreamed of.
***

Charlie Parker-THE COMPLETE DIAL SESSIONS, DISC 4 CD-r burn (originally on Stash Records)

The fourth and final entry in the Charlie Parker box set I've been reviewing the last four weeks. A bit of a denouement next to the previous editions but still bop enough to make me forget all of those phony hipsters who swore by this guy's name these past sixtysome years. Best moments...the two takes of "Crazeology". The part I probably didn't care for the most..."How Deep is the Ocean" but then again I never really did like it when the new breed of jazz players would dip into the comparatively mild "legitimate" tin can alley sounds as if they were trying to prove to Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch USA that jazz indeed was a serious music as if said Front Porchers would care inna first place!
***
Various Artists-ORBIT RABBIT TWISTIN' STOP SIGN CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Not as top notch as I woulda hoped but that's probably because I am in no way in the mood for the twangy country strains that appear. In fact, I'm not in the mood for any of the instrumental dance tracks or foreign-language pop numbers or black guys trying to imitate white guys imitating black guys soul like we get from Bobby Powell. In fact I ain't in the mood for ANYTHING right now but I won't let that get in the way of this review. What I do like here? Well, the obscure Rascals single gets me right inna brisket (it is an early one before they went total negritude) while the two In Sound US Army radio shows sure bring back more of those middle-of-the-night work shift memories only without the smell of the sewage plant wafting nearby. Sometimes I wish Bill would send me Cee-Dee-Ares with radio ads that reflect a HAPPIER time in my life!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

BOOK REVIEW! JAMES BOND 007 : THE GOLDEN GHOST by Ian Fleming, Jim Lawrence and Yaroslav Horak (Titan Books, 2006)

Back when I was a young and inquisitive teenbo I wasn't allowed to watch them James Bond moom pitchers that were being broadcast on nationwide tee-vee at the time. They were just too durty or something like that especially for an up-and-sprouting suburban slob such as I, so even the thought of asking permission to watch GOLDFINGER or ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE with the hotcha Diana Rigg was out of the question.

However sometimes I would click the dial onto the station where these off-limits mooms were being shown and hope that perhaps I would get to see something rather nefarious, like a wild bloody fight scene with entrails a' drippin' or better yet some high quality bellybutton and bullseye action on the part of one of the Bond Girls. Alas, I didn't get to see anything as exciting as that when I did tune in, though perhaps I was just catching the moom at the wrong time. Oh well, there was always some NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC special on the other channel to contend with I'm sure.

There's very little bullseye action in THE GOLDEN GHOST...in fact there's only one to be espied via a distant photo of a gal en delegant flagrette or whatever the French call it, but that doesn't mean this book's a no go for us slo' mo's. The idea of there even being a JAMES BOND comic strip inna first place was pretty wild in itself, and judging from this book the likes of Jim Lawrence and artist Yaroslav Horak were able to pull such a task off rather smooth like what with such great scripts and hard-edged art that ain't as goop-ish as one might imagine.

Gotta say that I enjoy these BOND 'toons even more than some of the old continuing saga serious strips this was patterned after like say...RIP KIRBY which I never could follow despite the fine artwork because it was so upper crust or somethin'. Transposing the BOND theme to comics might have seemed impossible to some, but Lawrence and Horak did a splendid job of attuning the strip for daily consumption without sacrificing much of the over-the-top sex 'n bloodshed to be found in the flicks. The occasional use of mild expletives might startle those of you who are not attuned to seeing such language used in the dailies, but after a few "damns" 'n all I think you'll get used to 'em.

Four stories here...the first deals with the launching of a new dirigible whose flight is heavily rumored to be sabotaged by a seer whose previous predictions have come true (a goodie even if the fate of said seer and her involvement in it all never is revealed), the second has Bond coming into contact with a former MI-6 spy (and main squeeze as they used to say)  supposedly gone rogue and some weird robot men killers on the prowl, the third a weird case of some exact doubles causing trouble for the real deal people who eventually end up dead with Bond naturally falling for a Palestinian activist involved in the saga, and the last a weird plan where fireballs from the sky seek out and kill various folk sorta like those drones you read about today. In all some great comic strip reading that'll make you wanna seek out more, if you have the time and moolah that is!

As for me these BOND strips were fine and dandy, but what I really would like to see is the English comic strip take on the old GUNSMOKE series entitled GUN LAW. From what I have seen there's plenty of bullseyes and bellybuttons in that one!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

COMIC BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! CHEYENNE KID #83 (Charlton Comics, March 1971)



The first three of my six years in Oklahoma, 1979-85, I usually shared an apartment or part of a house with one or more other people--that’s what you do in a college town, it saves a lot of money, and people can drift away when they need to. At this distant point, I don’t exactly remember what exact chronological order these places were in, but I do remember that in my first two years, I wound up for maybe 6 months crashing with two guys from Mississippi in a place that rented for $80/month. That was the total rent, not 80 each. It actually had two bedrooms and a kind of sewing room (I was never exactly sure what its intended use was, but it was an internal room with no windows) that functioned as a 3rd sleeping area, which I got when I moved in because I was the last of the three. Why was it so cheap, you may ask? Because it had a hole in the wall.

Maybe I should have said a hole THROUGH the wall. There was, literally, an eight-inch wide hole in the main room wall that went THROUGH the wall and out to the external wall of the apartment, which was on an alley. We had it covered on both the outside and inside with tar paper nailed over the hole, but you could put your arm through it (I once did when we changed the tar paper), and anyone could have easily ripped it off from the outside....but what would it have gained them to put their arm into a cheap-ass apartment with three broke college students. They couldn’t have broken in, and if they did they would not have found anything worthwhile. Probably my cassette boom box, worth about twenty dollars, was the most valuable item. The restaurant I worked at each night fed me, so I did not need to keep much food at this place....I would keep a loaf of the cheapest white bread and the cheapest store-brand peanut butter, along with some twenty-two cent cans of mustard greens and collard greens and a little piece of salt pork or ham hock to season them. I also spent as little time as I could at this place. I would hang out at friends’ places whenever I could. I had some records but no record player, so people were happy to invite me over to let them listen to my copies of, say, ONE STEP BEYOND by The Chocolate Watchband or TIME OUT TIME IN FOR THEM or an Iggy bootleg of the Beatles’ YELLOW MATTER CUSTARD or my French 12” 45 of Cabaret Voltaire’s NAG NAG NAG/IS THAT ME FINDING SOMEONE AT THE DOOR AGAIN or the Public Image Ltd. NUBES bootleg, or one of the Radar Records reissues of International Artists albums or whatever. I probably had about 25-30 albums with me at this place (the rest in storage in another city with a friend who owned a home). Also, when I was lucky, a lady would take pity on me and invite me over for dinner and cook for me. I might stagger home at 3 a.m., get three hours sleep in this dump if I were lucky (there was no AC and next to no heat--again, that’s why it was $80 a month....we each had our own box-fan and would carry it with us to whatever room we were in), and then drag myself up, pour a quart of strong coffee over ice and chug it to get to my 7:30 a.m. classes and then to my work-study job at the college. Except at night while asleep, rarely were there even two of us at this place at the same time. We all had different schedules, and we all were smart enough to spend as much time as we could elsewhere. The good part of that was that when I WAS there during non-sleeping hours, I was often alone and could have the main sitting room--the room with the hole through the wall onto the alley--to myself. There also was a small stoop with a few stairs sitting on a broken concrete chunk that was our entrance/exit (there was no front entrance), which looked onto a dirt parking lot that was used by everyone who lived adjacent to it, probably seven or eight properties with room for maybe four cars. I did not have a car at that time.

We had an informal agreement that no one would smoke IN the place (one of the guys was a pipe smoker), so even though I did not smoke daily (maybe 3-4 times a week), when I wanted a cigarette, I’d go out back on that stoop and read an issue of TROUSER PRESS or CREEM...or maybe some orphan comic book I scored at a junk store or out of the trash. When I look back now, I can’t believe the things I did to get by in this period. I would discreetly finish half-eaten steaks from people’s plates when they came back to me at the dishwashing station or when I bussed tables. I would also, while cleaning up the place at night during closing, look for cigarettes in ashtrays that had only been partly smoked, put them in a baggie, and then when I’d get home after midnight from work, I’d separate out the burned areas and use the un-burned tobacco to roll my own. I must have done that for a year and never bought a pack of cigarettes....only Bugler rolling papers.

I’ve always been the kind of person who was happy to be alive--after all, look at the alternative! Living in a college town, I could always hear some band (who cared if they sucked!) for the price of a fifty-cent happy hour twenty-ounce beer, or go to the massive air-conditioned university library where they had all eight volumes of the 1950’s Yale posthumous collection of the unpublished writings of Gertrude Stein. I remember also reading and re-reading in that cool (or warm, depending on the season) and comfortable and spacious library Oliver Goldsmith’s 1760 CITIZEN OF THE WORLD, something which seemed timeless and really spoke to me.

I could also sit on my back stoop and smoke one of my Frankenstein cigarettes taken from people who might have had various illnesses, but I was too stupid or cheap to care. I’d say I could sit and watch the world go by, but actually, I could not. I saw a gravel lot, covered on all sides by the back end of fleabag student apartments--that was my “world” to watch.

One early Autumn evening on a night I did not work and wasn’t at anyone else’s house or at the library, I was sitting on that stoop and it dawned on me what a low-grade life I was living. I was sharing a tiny place with a hole THROUGH the wall onto the alley. I was smoking discarded tobacco. I had a place to sleep with no bed (just a cot mattress on the floor--trust me, none of us EVER brought girls home to this place!) in a room that was at most 8’ x 10’. What brought all that (and more I won’t mention) into focus in one crystalline moment of epiphany was when it dawned on me what I was reading: a coverless Charlton western comic that was also missing the first and last page which I’d pulled out of the dumpster in the parking lot. Somehow that throwaway comic book (hey, at least it didn’t have pickle juice or semen stains on it--I have SOME standards!) was the perfect symbol for my life at that time.

Also, though I often champion Charlton Comics and have spent a lifetime reading them, I’d be lying if I claimed most of what they put out was great. Much of it was, but there were some dogs--you could not put out the incredible number of books they did and not have some sub-standard items slip through. I love western films and western comics, but alas CHEYENNE KID #83 was a relative dog. The two CK stories that bookended the issue were adequate western timekillers, the first one actually slightly clever and witty, with a British “dude” character who could have been played by Terry-Thomas in a film (although missing the first few pages of the first story, I had to create my own beginning for it, which may well have been more imaginative than the actual beginning), but the middle story was an awful thing where some character set in the future went back in time to the Old West and spoke in Shakespearean English. It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t clever, it wasn’t exciting, and the language wasn’t even accurate or entertaining pseudo-Elizabethan. It just sat there on the page and took up space. Speaking of college, it was like a paper written by some kid who knew what he was doing sucked, but had to turn SOMETHING of a certain length in, so he just kept typing and hit the eight required pages or whatever. When you read it, you became part of the void that it existed in--it sucked you in to its world. Just like this awful story...and the apartment with the hole through the wall.

The question I have today is WHY do I still own this comic? It did not cost me anything, and I did not really enjoy it much when I read it. Why did I not toss it back into the dumpster? And even more than that, how did it make it through my many moves since then? Well, at least it was able to jump-start my memory about that apartment and that period in my life, which I’d put behind me, because of its continued existence. Now that that’s been accomplished, though, I am going to put it in the trash and pour this morning’s coffee grounds on top of it, so I won’t be tempted to reclaim it again. I’m hoping the coffee grounds will function like the stake through Dracula’s heart, killing it off once and for all.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Lots to go through today...as you can see from the vast amount of reviewage below I've been busier than a proctologist at a nudist colony writing up the following freshies, and believe-you-moi some of 'em are pretty good items that'll stand up to time, if not to at least a repeat play! Big heaping hunking thanks to the fellows at Feeding Tube Records as well as Gregory Raimo, Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and the irrepressible Bob Forward for the items they donated which, thankfully, have become the property of me and me alone! Not only that but there are even more goodies of an everlasting nature heading for the ol' abode which means we have some REAL wowzer reviews to look forward to as the days unravel!
***
I had a big schpiel regarding "current events" lined up but decided to scrap it in favor of a less windy (if you can fathom that!) summation of my views. And as my own soapboxing opinions go well, frankly I dunno where this Syrian brouhahaha is gonna end up but right here from my jaded POV all I gotta say is Trump, I thought you were the peace candidate! I thought you were against the war without end neoconnish "deep state"! And while I'm on a roll I thought you were a whole lot closer to the leave 'em alone anarchist principle than most everyone else on the boards 'cept maybe Rand Paul!!! Well you are a saber rattler true, but nothing next to what the Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama or Bill Clinton or even/especially George II were and like, I was under the impression that you had some sorta idea as to what constituted justified use of military might and that we were rid of those days when the use of force was instigated by various sociopolitical happenings that, only a short time later, were either proven to be false or exaggerated beyond the realm of what actually had happened!

Or, to put it more succinctly:



Well, if we're here next weekend I'll assume everything turned out kinda/sorta OK, though given that martial law will undoubtedly be slapped on all internet activity in case of a National Emergency maybe you won't get to hear it from me!
***
And now, onto something less burdensome on the mind and more uplifting than Penelope Playtex, the reviews!


New Parents-TRANSIENT RESPONSE LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Man oh man did I hit the jackpot this week with a HUMONGOUS package of freebies courtesy the infamous (as they should be) Feeding Tube Records label! Outta nowhere came this big box filled with the latest and upcoming offerings that label has or is about to unleash upon us, and as you can guess I am suffering from SENSORY OVERLOAD just thinking about all of the good times I'm gonna have plowing through this massive soundstorm!

Rather than listen to the entire batch in one sitting and end up with a bad case of mental indigestion I'm gonna take this package one day at a time. I hope you guys at Feeding Tube understand because you certainly do not want me to die of a brain attack...and with that in mind let me handle this particular lovely first. It's a platter by an act called "New Parents" and if that sounds ikky to you tough turds because this particular band is pretty good even if I believe they shoulda ironed a few things out before committing this to vinyl. But that's my opinion...for the most part New Parents present a pretty smooth folky-rock that comes off part early-seventies Amerigan garage rock and part late-sixties English folk screech a la Fairport Convention. Well, maybe a bit of that and other pseudo/neo hip refs might come up (Byron Coley mentions Brinsley Schwarz which I guess could be considered a fair approx. of the direction this one heads in) but whatever, these guys do make for some good easy going yet tension-tinged music that doesn't make you wanna join that progressive school in BILLY JACK'r anything like that!

Really, this might be a good try even for the gruffer amongst ya readers, and if you wanna kick my behind because you can't understand the thing well, maybe some other day.
***
Hollow Deck-ALL THE ROOTS LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via. Forced Exposure)

Hollow Deck are the duo of Mia Friedman (vocals, gourd banjo, fiddle, guitar) and Andy Allen (tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute, drum machine etc.) and when you put them together you get a pretty good combustion like when you put sodium and chloride or nitro and glycerin or ass and hole together coming up with something that sounds like a music you might have experienced ages back, or maybe it was just that fever dream you had last night. It's hard for an old turd like me to tell anymore.

The notes that came with this (yeah, I hate referring to these notes just like I hated going through Cliff Notes to discover what the hidden meaning in MACBETH was according to the doof who wrote them analytical money wasters) do give a wild approx. of where Hollow Deck are "coming from", but to me the hazy, dreamy and (dare-I-say) surrealistic stew that comes forth from these grooves recall everything from Erica Pomerance (sorta) to one of those soundtracks to some late-forties/fifties-era underground films that Sidney Peterson used to do. But like a Peterson film or any sort of what is now known as "outsider art" there's an air of self-produced elegance and individualism that comes forth that seems to  be void in many similar projects heard not only then but now. It's personal to the likes of Friedman true, but if you can join in on what she is trying to relate, get "into her universe" as Meltzer might have suggested, you're in for the ride ALONG with Hollow Deck and there's no reason why ya'd wanna get off!

So in other words this ain't bad at all...and thankfully it eschews the too personalist aspects of much art where we have to share in the misery and disgust the artist dishes out, soaked menstrual pads and armpit stench included!
***
Tommy Jay and the General-FLORIDA SONGS LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

What a surprise! When I was listening to this outta-nowhere (actually Columbus Ohio, and NO JOKES!) platter I thought I had stumbled across some great lost (and probably loathed at the time) late-sixties/early-seventies album that somehow got released in the here-and-now! Yes, Tommy Jay and the General are a pretty retro rock act that conjures up the better moments of the post-garage/pre-glam era in Amerigan pop/rock music, and if you were the kinda guy who used to pinch pennies to buy those mid-seventies cutouts by the likes of the Flamin' Groovies and Woody's Truck Stop you'll just love the dickens outta what Jay and the General are up to on this long player! Only trouble is, you'll have to pay a lot more than 99 cents for this but given the rate of inflation you still might come out on top.
***
Hopital de la Conception-THE ELECTRIC ROCKIN' CHAIR cassette (Opaque Dynamo Records, write to Gregory Raimo, 29 Rue imbert Colomes, 6300 Lyon, FRANCE)

When it comes to the early French punk rock groups you undoubtedly never heard about before, European Son might have been one of the more tasty of the entire batch of obscurities who should have released something but remain forgotten because of their misfortune even to this very day. Perhaps somewhere in between the atonal flow of Mahogany Brain and the arrival of Metal Urbain (at least from the few reports extant they were!), European Son were a two-guitar and two-guitar only group who wore their influence on their name. Not only that but the two were perhaps one of a handful of seventies acts to actually tackle "Sister Ray" long before the Velvets' more cute and camp influences began to penetrate the hearts and minds of acoustic buskers and other precocious jellybabies, people who never were able to stomach the real reason for being that I would have ASSUMED was part and parcel to the Velvet's entire reason for existing in the first place.

Like you, I never had the opportunity to hear European Son and they do rank on my list of various VU-minded acts who never released any documents I must hear sometime in the near future. However it is a WELL KNOWN FACT that this new French group, Hopital de la Conception, is the SPIRIT AND ENERGY OF EUROPEAN SON WOOSHED INTO THE MINDS AND BEINGS OF TWO OF THE TRUE HEIRS OF FRENCH UNDERGROUND ROCK BRAVE ENOUGH TO ACTUALLY CHANNEL THE FERAL ELEMENTS OF THE VELVET UNDERGROUND INTO THEIR OWN DECADENT DNA, and I really do mean it.

Two tracks (flip the tape over and it's the exact same thing!) that surprisingly enough have that "Sister Ray" hard-nosed Velvets drive which kicks up the spirit and makes you PROUD that you are a mammal and alive in the here and now if this is any indication of what the future shall bring us in music. Like European Son this is two guitars (and vocals) and nothing else, with loads of feedback, atonal soloing, repeato riffs and that whole general basement/bedroom/garage recording rock 'n roll that'll get you up and moving like you did when you'd rush to the mailbox and open up the latest issue of TAKE IT! even before you got to your welfare check. It's that much Velvet homage and thankfully eschews all of the sappy sweetness that never really was part of that group's heritage no matter how many versions of "Sweet Jane" you may hear strummed.

Yes this "Electric Rockin' Chair" is rockin' me crazy (the package this came in sez INTENSE SATURATION INSIDE and who am I to argue?) and I suggest that you send these guys (or at least Gregory Raimo, see address above) some filthy lucre and hope he sends you something back. And (as Peter Laughner said about the Electric Eels) just hope it doesn't bite you when you open the thing!
***
METTE RASMUSSEN/TASHI DORJI cassette (Feeding Tube Records)

Part of the Feeding Tube package that arrived this week, this particular item is so new that it isn't even listed as a forthcoming item in the Forced Exposure on-line catalog. That means you better keep your peepers wide open lest you want to miss out on this pretty top notch cassette featuring saxophonist Rasmussen and guitarist Dorji in a duo setting that (to coin a phrase) is probably the LAST WORD as far as they go. Rasmussen's playing reminds me of Roscoe Mitchell...in fact when guitarist Dorji is wailing away on his guitar this comes off like one of those deep groove Art Ensemble of Chicago sessions during their French stay when Mitchell would be getting into some gnawing solo while Malachi Favors would aimlessly pluck his zither. A necessary must-have for any of you who still harbor some hope that the whole jazz idiom hasn't succumbed to the same classical dalliances that it seems to have (or at least that's the impression I get after combing through some of those upper-reached cable stations which feature the latest in piano jazz tinklings...and I do mean "tinkle"!
***
Hy Maya-THE MYSTICISM OF SOUND AND COSMIC LANGUAGE CD-r burn (originally on Smog Veil Records)

Gave this Bob Forward burn another go at it (like I said I would) and hey, it sounds less leaden and in fact downright inspiring in parts just like I thought it would. Robert Bensick's early-seventies aggregation (which also included the likes of Scott Krauss and his then galpal Cindy Black, both who later shared the stage with Peter Laughner in Cinderella Backstreet) actually perform a steady riff rock raveup on the live tracks and come off as psychedelically explosive as those double-LP Amon Duul II albums on the "studio" tracks. You can hear echoes of Pere Ubu to be (thanks to member Allen Ravenstine) as well as some surprisingly quiet tracks heavy on the flute that recall various krautrock experiences around the time everyone started coming down off the trip. Another one of those "too bad it didn't get out a lot more than it did" efforts that still sound refreshing to us more continental rock types.
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ALISON'S TEA HOUSE LP (Chelsea Productions)

NYC radio bigwig Alison Steele might have a big fanabla in the local market, but around here she was just someone whose face once appeared in some ad that popped up in CREEM. I guess the three-minute interviews that appear on this album were meant to break her big nationwide, though I don't think they did any good because...for the life of me...I can't recall having heard any of these on any of the local radio stations that would have been ripe to air 'em!

Still they're fun enough to listen to what with Steele doing some fairly good interviews with an array of dunces (Graham Nash, Chi Coltrane even if I did like "Thunder and Lightning" a whole lot!) and downright geniuses (Lou Reed---he was still one at the time I think---and Tim Buckley) with Steele trying to make sense out of it all no matter how inchoate or uninterested her subjects may be. Some good moments pop up here like when a slightly addled Lou talks about others swiping from the Velvets credo (or so his friends say, he can't hear it) or when Tim Buckley asks for cognac in his tea. The J. Geils Band one's a particular hoot. Might be worth searching out if you miss your old local "free form" FM station before it went "classic rock" oh so long ago.
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Tactics-THE SOUND OF THE SOUND VOL. 2-1984-1988 2-CD set (Memorandum Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Sometimes I wonder just why I spent precious lucre on a collection of eighties-era Australian-vintage new wave considering that by this time the new had undoubtedly metastasized into gnu and bore only a slight resemblance to what this breed of music represented only a short decade prior. DESPERATION is why I got it---after all, what else new is coming out to get me to part with my hard-begged? Plus the Velvet Underground/Television/Love comparisons didn't hurt either even though I have known well eough to not to fall for that gag since at least 1986.

Of course it's feh. The kind of glopped up synthed out music that I in part started up my own crudzine to rebel against. If you have a soft spot for the casio-sound of the day by all means go for it, but for a soul like myself who was hoping for perhaps the LAST VESTIGE of the aforementioned Velvets/TV/Love approach I must admit that I was gravely disappointed.
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Bruno Fontaine-PIANO WORKS-ERIK SATIE CD (Aparte Records, France, available via Forced Exposure)

Naw, I ain't goin' highbrow on ya, but I did have a hankerin' to give the works of Erik Satie a listen to if only because of years of just won'drin'. For a novice like myself these tracks come off fairly good, relaxin' on a Sunday afternoon piano music that, while not exactly a part of the noise explosion in classical music that was about to transpire, does show the beginnings of the un-tethered approach. Might go well with small sandwiches (crusts cut off) and tea at your next chit chat get together.
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Various Artists-WHAT'S SHAKIN' CD-r burn (originally of Elektra Records)

Yeah I would leave it to Elektra to take their pre-Buddah Lovin' Spoonful recordings, slap 'em on a platter with other tracks Elektra owned the rights to and put it out in a way that made it look as if this was a Lovin' Spoonful platter and nothin' but! After all, how many of us SAVAGE YOUNG BEATLES owners fallen for the same gimmick over 'n over? Well, despite the obvious scammitude associated with the thang WHAT'S SHAKIN' is what I'd call a pretty swell album and not only because these Spoonful tracks ain't bad at all! There's also some early Paul Butterfield efforts ca. EAST/WEST (an' y'know I was listenin' to that 'un last night and thought it was boffo---and when the title track came on...whew!) and even those steady bloozy efforts from Al Kooper and a pre-God Eric Clapton back when he was tryin' to be black just like everyone else sound real neat! And if you can imagine, the famed folkoid Tom Rush sounds good in this company too. Well, this platter did come out 1966 way, and for the most part did anybody in the so-called rock 'n roll world stink up the atmosphere the way they would even a good two years later?
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Charlie Parker-THE COMPLETE DIAL SESSIONS, DISC 3 (originally on Stash Records)

Third part in this box set starts off with two takes of "Dexterity" (which should be well known to fans of the early Art Ensemble of Chicago) then rages through a number of takes of the likes of "Bongo Bop", "Dewey Square", "The Hymn", "Bird of Paradise". "Embraceable You". "Bird Feathers", "Klack-oveesede-tene" and "Scrapple From the Apple" each. Again this made for fine Sunday afternoon morning listening and although this particular era of jazz doesn't fray the ends of my nerves the way future endeavors would I can just hear it all coming with the way Parker and company swing the style in ways I'm sure your Aunt Martha never would have thought of!
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Various Artists-ME, MYSELF, MELINDA, AND SANTA CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Gotta say this one didn't really get me all hot and bothered, but maybe that's because I was listening to the Christmas-oriented tracks in the month of April which is something I might have been gung ho on when I was five but today....eh!

And I must say that the bevy of corniness on this one surpasses past corny burns on Bill's part, what with the like of Sammy Walker singing a deathly dirge about global warming which really does make me laugh considering the plunging temperatures we've had here recently, to a "song poem" about Georgia that sounds like something Lester Maddox would have had the good sense to run through the garbage disposal at his restaurant.

A good portion of the tracks are naturally hokum true (Freddie Lennon's "That's My Life" is what son John's records woulda sound like had the ex-Beatle survived that fateful day) and seeing that Groucho's daughter Melinda Marx was another one of those sixties singers trying to cash in on daddy's fame is of mild interest. And those Bill Cosby and Andy Williams Christmas Seals PSAs sure brought back memories of three in the morning AM radio on the midnight shift. But for the likes of me the only track here that really got me cookin' was the one by "the Death Killers" who sound all but seven-years-old, but man can they play electric guitar!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

FANZINE REVIEW! OWN THE WHOLE WORLD #17 (edited by Robert Forward, available via 200 W. Hermosa Dr., Tempe AZ 85282 USA)


Sheesh, what gives with this cover anyway? It was taken STRAIGHT off the front of the infamous (and I should know, even  I own one!) Beatles/Rolling Stones bootleg SING THIS ALL TOGETHER which features a wide variety of once-rare efforts all done up in fabulously flat sound. But I can't find a single thing about the Beatles, Stones or bootlegs for that matter on the inside! Sheesh, whatever happened to fanzines that you could judge by looking at the covers like with DENIM DELINQUENT and BACK DOOR MAN, mags where you KNEW what you were in store for with one mere glance of the visage of one Iggy or Ray Davies. (Well, the earliest issue of HYPERION I possess woulda fooled one what with the abstract almost Von Lmo-ish drawing more akin to a science fiction fanzine but I digress.)

Still it is strange seeing a real honest-to-goodness fanzine in the here and now. I do come across a scant few which capture the spirit of the GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK SCREEDING in the seventies, and OWN THE WHOLE WORLD might just be one of these welcome wonders. It has a long history (back to Akron Ohio during the prehistoric eighties even!) and the issues I own were pretty good---can't say about the ones I don't. Well, not as engrossing as any hot seventies-era rag when it was on full blast, but better'n the usual prissy fodder that is more emblematic of the energy crisis in rockist attitude one has come across these past fortysome years.

Highlight of the issue...a LOOOOONG letter from Tin Huey brainkiddie Harvey Gold in what was supposed to have been a Q&A interview but turned into an article in itself. The letter is better as it really gives you an idea of where the Tin Huey mindset was planted especially during those days before even they succumbed to the new unto gnu wave credo! Man I sure would like to hear their should be infamous medley of the Stooges into "It's a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl" into "We Did It Again" which I think would work a whole lot better'n some of you curmudgeons might think! This piece makes for a perfect addendum to the Akron underground rock history I blabbed on about last week.

I also dig the off-the-top prattling of current personalist faves (the infamous Crummy Fags make the list!) as well as the hotcha book review (THE GHOUL!!!!!) and ME TV huzzahs (I remember THE NEW ADVENTURES OF WONDER WOMAN being one of the few late-seventies tune-ins I liked eyeballing!). Big letdown...a buncha free jazz album reviews by some doofus who doesn't know his "pffffft" from his "pffffft" as my cyster would say. Sheesh, where do you dig up these guys who have to go around making their ignorance known in print Bob???

Otherwise a fine effort even if I really can't stand that post-seventies slap on layout (which I used for my own crudzine many a time...not that I'm exactly PROUD of it!).

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

TEE-VEE REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! THE DETECTIVES (1959-1962), starring ROBERT TAYLOR!


THE DETECTIVES was a popular and critically acclaimed TV crime series which ran for three seasons between 1959 and 1962. The first two seasons were on ABC and lasted 30 minutes; the third and final season was on NBC and lasted 60 minutes. The lead detective and main star was ROBERT TAYLOR, longtime presence at MGM and always an impressive actor. He accepted his eventual aging, and in the post WWII-period he began to gravitate toward parts that reflected his maturity. He was not afraid to show his age (unlike so many actors after him who “had work done” on them) and developed a deep gravitas in the 50’s and 60’s. He was working steadily until the day he died (we reviewed one of his last films, the European DAY THE HOTLINE GOT HOT, here a year or two ago), and had he lived into the 1970’s, I could easily see him being put into another detective role with a slot in the NBC MYSTERY MOVIE series alongside COLUMBO, McCLOUD and McMILLAN AND WIFE.

This series has never, to my knowledge, been given a DVD release in North America. It HAS been released in Germany in a German-dubbed form (for any German BTC readers!). Perhaps Mill Creek or VCI or Timeless or some such company can put it out—especially season 3, where Adam West was added to the cast and the shows were bumped up from 30 to 60 minutes, giving them a larger canvas to work with. One would think the Taylor-West combination would have some market value. To be honest, I’d forgotten that Adam West was in the final season of the show until I watched the 2 episodes I’m reviewing—I guess I’d only watched early episodes before he joined the cast. We all know of West’s pre-BATMAN appearances on PERRY MASON and in the 3 Stooges final feature film THE OUTLAWS IS COMING and in his Italian western THE RELENTLESS FOUR---here’s another entry in West’s filmography that fans will want to track down.

Robert Taylor is the lead detective, Matt Holbrook. He makes the important decisions; he comes to the important conclusions; he spots the important clues. When the series was initially re-broadcast in syndication, it was called CAPTAIN OF DETECTIVES, and it also ran under the title ROBERT TAYLOR’S THE DETECTIVES, so RT was front and center always on the show. Second in command is Tige Andrews as Johnny Russo. Andrews was a decorated veteran in World War II, went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, worked on the stage as both actor and director, and had a role on the Phil Silvers Show (aka the Sgt. Bilko show). He may be best-known for this role on the MOD SQUAD TV series, though he also appeared on many crime shows. He radiates no-nonsense authority, so it’s no surprise he later was given multiple guest star roles on shows like KOJAK, POLICE STORY, and CHIPS. We also have Mark Goddard, later to become a bigger star with LOST IN SPACE, as the fourth cop in the unit, though he’s not given as much of a role as the others in the two episodes I watched. Taylor, Andrews, Goddard, and West (West being the charming and handsome member of the foursome) are a dynamite front line and contribute a lot toward making the series so strong and interesting. This multiple-cop format has become so omnipresent that we forget that shows like THE DETECTIVES helped create it. I don’t watch much of today’s TV, but when my wife and I go to Planet Fitness a few days a week to work out, our exercise machines are facing toward a huge bank of televisions, and there are ALWAYS at least five different ensemble-cast detective shows playing on the various monitors. These all owe a debt to THE DETECTIVES.…although as wonderful as, say, Mariska Hargitay or Joe Mantegna may be, they are not Robert Taylor or Adam West (or Tige Andrews!).

I watched two episodes from season three, so here are some comments on them.

THE QUEEN OF CRAVEN POINT (22 December 1961) is set in a fancy arts community on the coast (the show seems to be California-set…although that’s never made explicitly clear). The man who started the community, named Craven, has a manipulative Black Widow wife played by Lola Albright. She tries to get her weak-willed boyfriend (played by Russell Johnson of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND fame) to murder her husband. He constantly drinks and wipes his brow to show his nervousness (everybody drinks like a fish here, actually!) and tells her that he can’t do it. So SHE does it and then allows him to become the prime suspect. However, another person in this arts community, a sculptor and beat poet played by Michael Forest (of Roger Corman’s ATLAS), saw her leave the party and then slip back in, so he KNOWS her involvement. By the way, I always love the way that Beatniks (he’s not really a full-on TV Beatnik, but he’s an artsy type) are depicted in an insulting manner on TV shows and in B-movies of the day. Here we have Forest reading a Gertrude Stein-esque poem at the party where jazz is playing and people are making out that is outrageous and should be included alongside John Drew Barrymore’s famous beat poem recitation in HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL as a classic of the faux-Beat Poetry in movies/TV genre. Taylor bears down on the suspects, and Johnson’s character is not too smart to begin with, so everything is tied up neatly in an hour. Lola Albright may be best known as the jazz-singer girlfriend of Craig Stevens in the PETER GUNN TV series, which came before this TV episode. She was also in the Elvis Presley film KID GALAHAD. This episode is not unlike the Warner Brothers crime shows with an ensemble cast----HAWAIIAN EYE, BOURBON STREET BEAT, 77 SUNSET STRIP, etc.—but less slick and less built around pretty boy stars.

THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT (20 April 1962) stars James Douglas (later co-star of PEYTON PLACE) and Aneta Corsaut (Andy’s girlfriend on THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW) as brother and sister. Their father was once convicted in some housing scandal and spent years in jail because people died due to faulty workmanship. He’s now out of jail and can’t get or keep a job due to his bad reputation. At one point, he tries to kill himself. His son (Douglas) takes the gun away from him. As he puts the gun in his pocket, it’s photographed in such a way that you KNOW it will figure into the plot again. And of course it does. Oh, one of the three main witnesses against this fellow in the housing fraud trial years ago was Matt Holbrook (Robert Taylor). The brother and sister run a bookstore, and in the first scene we see Douglas dressed up in costume and reading THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO to a group of children. That book is referred to throughout the episode, and of course it mirrors the situation in the episode’s plot (one of these writers must have been an English major!). I don’t want to give away the plot, but let’s just say that Douglas gets a little over-zealous in protecting his father’s reputation and going after his father’s accusers.


 THE DETECTIVES was a co-production between Dick Powell’s Four Star Productions (one would assume Powell and Taylor were old pals, and no one would know better than Powell what a hard worker and good character actor Taylor was) and Levy-Gardner-Laven Productions, best known for THE RIFLEMAN and Elvis’s CLAMBAKE. Each of the hour-long episodes in the third season compares with the best crime B-movies of the day. The permanent cast is excellent; the acting from the guest stars is convincing (they were probably bringing their A-game to these shows, having to work alongside the legendary Robert Taylor); the writing is sharp and intelligent but fast-moving; the directors are mostly old-hands who have proven themselves in low-budget films (Thomas Carr, for instance). Overall, it’s a great show if you like detective dramas of that era. The picture quality of the shows in circulation varies. Some are from a TV Land run, some are from a Bravo run, and some seem to be earlier than that. Many look to be from VHS recorded-off-the-air tapes, with a generation or two (or three) loss in quality. Let’s hope better quality copies surface, or some other network airs it today and people can make sparkling digital copies of the off-the-air broadcasts. I’d rate the picture quality of the shows I have as in the 6 or 6.5 range on the proverbial 10 point scale. The show would surely be even MORE impressive from sparkling archival masters. If you can’t wait for that, your usual grey-market TV DVD sources (Chris and I know those characters well!) can provide you with a set of these on DVD-R’s. Better a mediocre quality copy of a gem like THE DETECTIVES than a High Definition copy of some contemporary crap. Oh, there was also a short-run of a Dell comic book based on the show, and wouldn’t you know, the great Gwandanaland Comics has republished that in book form. If I know myself, you’ll probably be reading a review of that collection here at BTC somewhere down the line…

Saturday, April 07, 2018

As the old saying goes, another week another week, and like a bad penny here I turn up with this weekend's batch of reviews of the hits the keep on hittin' or something like that. I'd love to tell you that I had a really fun time putting this post together and that I most sincerely hope you will enjoy this particular entry of rock writing of a kind you won't find anywhere anymore, but then again I would be lying.
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So what have I been up to these past few days anyway? Well, on Eas-turd I decided to dig out my box of the original run of CRAWDADDY (or actually the reprints that I bought a few decades back) and give 'em a nice visual scouring so-to-speak. Now CRAWDADDY, especially the famed monthly prozine it became in the late-sixties, was never my idea of a full fledged rock-spirited professional newsstand read like CREEM or FUSION were, but these early fanzine-like issues (which sure come off like your standard early/mid-seventies fanzines albeit without the punk spew of Stooges/New York Dolls news) do have their merits what with the reviews and writeups of groups worthwhile (Love, Velvet Underground) and not (you can guess the rest). Plus the contributions of the WRITERS WHO MADE ROCKISM, the Gene Sculattis, Richard Meltzers and Wayne McGuires (maybe even Robert Sommas) are worth more than their weight in gold especially if you happen to be gung ho (like I was) to read Sculatti's early pre-suck San Francisco scene report. Or for that matter McGuire's "Universal Music Form" piece which comes off like the PERFECT encapsulation of Velvet Underground sound and aesthetics (along with other pertinent late-sixties touchpoints) worked into an audio-visual wowzer I sure wish I could experience! I also enjoyed the various Sandy Pearlman, Allen Lanier and Al Bouchard offerings found in these pages. It all makes me wonder sheesh, what happened between this original spurt of critical genius and the hypesheet scribbles that began popping up all over the "rock journalism" world sometime in the eighties?
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Here's something else that's been taking up much of my youtube time this past week, and for being a Walt Disney product I gotta say that I, surprisingly enough, really enjoyed the thing. Yeah, Disney has been known for ultra-saccharine entertainment (though FUN saccharine entertainment at times) for years, but this KING NEPTUNE cartoon is a whole lot more enveloping than some of the fodder that came outta Disney's studios 'specially after the death of the Mussolini of animation himself. And oh those topless (complete with bullseyes!) mermaids! Well, it's a lot better'n those MIGHTY MOUSE cartoons that I thought were kinda creepy even when I was a mere turdler!



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Gotta say that the passing of Cecil Taylor was yet another signpost of impending DOOM on my part given how I had been buying the guy's records on and off for nigh on forty years, but given that none of us who read this blog are exactly spring chickens what else can I say? What I CAN say is that Taylor was one of the bestest of the leading lights in that music we call jazz (especially that of the new stuff) and that, as you'd expect, his passing is gonna be wooshed over in favor of reporters trying to be the first to count the chancre sores on Lady Caga's twat. And yeah, Taylor's classic platters are "old" (remember when "old" had always been associated with "bad"???---heard that 'un for years!!!!!) but they sure hold up to repeated listening and sound as fresh and as driving as ever. My personal fave of his recorded output just HAS to be the infamous NEFERTITI, THE BEAUTIFUL ONE HAS COME (also known as LIVE AT CAFE MONTMARTRE) on Arista Freedom, reissued over and over again and certainly worth your effort what with Taylor's performance on that outta tune yet fitting piano, Jimmy Lyons' post-bop sax and Sunny Murray keeping it all together in ways John Phillip Sousa never woulda dreamed of! Here's hoping that Bill Shute'll deliver on his piece relating to the three days he spent with Taylor in the seventies back when Bill was co-producing (or something like that---I forget the details) a show at a Denver jazz radio station where he actually guest hosted as a teenager!
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All FREEBEES this week 'cept one (a late cummer) for which we must give thanks to Bill and Paul. Gotta hand it to them for keeping this blog going singlehandedly and no, I am NOT going to give their addresses and phone numbers out to you so you can "thank" them personally. I'm sure they get enough letter bombs as it is. Anyway as Ethel Merman once said, on with the show...


Massimo Magee-TENOR TALES CD-r (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Maybe I should stop reviewing these Massimo Magee platters considering how I might be digging myself into a groove I'll never be able to crawl outta given my, er, "limited" vocabulary with regards to the world of jazz. After all, how many times can I draw comparisons to Magee's work and either a) Roscoe Mitchell, b) Anthony Braxton's early solo saxophone album or c) various English experimentalists of the AMM/Scratch Orchestra variety. What do you think? Send your cards and letters to Bill Shute (or better yet contact him via the Kendra Steiner Editions link above) and let him know. He will no doubt drop the ax on me at a future date. (But in all honesty this is perhaps thee best, most swingingest in the Magee canon, especially the tracks where he sounds like a squealing synth or electronic static from planets yet to be discovered...)
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BOLD CHICKEN 7-inch EP (Lysergic Sound Distributors, available via Forced Exposure)

I've always dug these early outta-nowhere kinda releases featuring forgotten bands of the pre-gnu wave era when punks were PUNKS and not pUNQuEs, and this recent release ain't no diff'rent. Like many of these future punk rockers (this band was formed by Buzz Clic of Rubber City Rebels fame) Bold Chicken delivered some hot and PRIMITIVE neo-heavy metal riffage that I'm sure pleased somebody in the dank bars and high school gyms these guys played. But I really doubt it. But it's fantastic stuff that I'm sure fans of groups as diverse in the hard rock brigade of the time as Status Quo and the Stooges could bond over, and the seventies aura this platter exudes is amazing. After all, side one features tracks about the midunderstood homo and the teenage boy who can't get his rocks off while the flip's got the obligatory good looking prostitute number as well as an ode to VD. How SEVENTIES is that for you anyway?!?!?
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St. Phillips Elevator-ENDLESS TRIP CD-r burn (originally on Living Eye Records)

They're not sure whether they wanna be late-sixties punks or mid-seventies ones, but either way St. Phillips Elevators do a good job of cranking out rock 'n roll that doesn't sound like an apology for being young and unpretentious. Fast and rip-roaring rock here that, although nothing that startles you and makes you wanna go out and beat up babies, sounds good enough to make one think that there still is some rock 'n roll life even a good thirtysome years after I thought it ALL went down the poop chute. Yet another interesting outta nowhere surprise that reinforces my belief in.....well.....SOMETHING...
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Charlie Parker-THE COMPLETE DIAL SESSIONS, DISC 2 CD-r burn (originally on Stash Records)

Not as hubba as the first, perhaps because the repeated takes do tend to wind me down a bit. Especially the various versions  of "Dark Shadows" with vocalist Earl Coleman which I'm afraid have nothing to do with the television series of a good two decades later! The instrumentals do me fine and made for good Sunday afternoon reading as Parker and crew plowed through various takes of "Cool Blues", "Relaxin' at Camarillo", "Cheers", "Carvin' the Bird" and "Stupendous". It all makes me anticipate the NEXT BIG MOVE in jazz expression which was so out-there even those phony beret types who went for Bird were totally surprised by the next logical step...
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Bill Haley and The Comets-IN MEXICO-TWIST ESPANOL 2 CD-r burn set (originally on Jasmine Records, England)

Here's a beaut I never knew about, not that I was up and about trying to FIND OUT ABOUT IT! A collection of tracks recorded by Bill Haley and His Comets Suid of Der Border especially for the Mexican audience! Well, I guess Bill hadda go fishin' where the fish were during the lean early-sixties, and I must say that his efforts down there produced some pretty tippy top recordings that stand up straight and tall even a good fifty-five-plus years later when for the most part, the idea of rock 'n roll let alone FUN seems to have been banished into some strange abyss from whence it shall never return, or something as equally corny as that.

The instrumental tracks (mostly covering the familiar tuneage of the times) really sates a soul like mine which thrives on these kind of tracks that seem to have fallen by the rock mindset once the Beatles came along, while it's really cool hearing Haley singing in Spanish and doing I good enough job that I doubt the locals would be laughing at him! (He does one song en Ingles but it's a Hispanic Hotcha one at that!)  Too bad that Haley and company hadda be branded as counter-revolutionary cubes as time rolled on (have you seen the PBS history of rock series which presented the form through hippoid ROLLING STONE glazed glasses? Boy did Haley get the shrift!) because frankly, this one ranks as more proof that the early-sixties weren't the dog days as most wire-rimmed self-conscious politically-drenched rock critics would have you believe!
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Bevis Frond-LONDON STONE CD-r burn (originally on Woronzow Records, England)

Approached this one with "apprehension" considering how I feel that much of Mr. Frond's output is howshallIsay "chance-y". Thankfully this one is "chance-y" but in the right way. Frond's psychedelic guitar stylings are prevalent true, but the music seems to switch from olde tyme Gaelic folk (not yet rock) to straight-ahead late-sixties onslaught to even mid-seventies punk rock in the days before it all pUnQueD out. (Oops, used the imitation patchword version twice in one post...sorry [not!]) Not as straightforwardly level as that one Frond platter I reviewed two years ago. I even enjoyed the final track entitled "On a Liquid Reel" which says about as much about the late-sixties London cooler-than-thou scene as Hawkwind's "Days of the Underground" did!
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Terry Riley-SHRI CAMEL CD-r burn (originally on CBS Records, Canada)

I remember the bitta-a-hubbub this 'un got back when it was released, though for some strange reason I can't recall seeing a copy of SHRI CAMEL in any of the record shops I inhabited. It was probably one of those special order things which woulda been expected given that most of these rekkid hangouts were concentrating on THE BIG DISCO BOOM which capitulated around the time the seventies began to clock out. At times Riley and his organ sound like interstellar church music while at others the strains of the East can easily be discerned. If you still have your copy of Riley's PERSIAN SURGERY DERVISHES double set handy for those hot and humid summer nights (well, that's when it works best for ME!) you might want to give this one a late nocturnal try during the tornado warning of your choice.
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Bill Black's Combo-BILL BLACK'S RECORD HOP CD-r burn (originally on Hi Records)

This 'un doesn't get to the quick of my being the way a whole lotta other boffo instrumental rock (especially from the '59-'61 era) does. Bill and the rest, despite their high-falutin' rock credo, just don't crank it out on all cylinders the way they should as they wank their way through a number of originals, near-originals and cover takes. Of course it's better than most anything recorded since 1980 at the latest, but for a real boffo instrumental rockin' time I'd suggest a few faves along the lines of any Link Wray, early Johnny and the Hurricanes and of course that infamous INSTRUMENTAL GOLDEN GOODIES available at a flea market near you.
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The Boss Guitars-PLAY THE WINNERS CD-r burn (originally on Kapp Records)

Bill must have known that I was on an instrumental rock jag because this particular fave popped up in the same package the above Bill Black 'un did! Of course this's obviously not of the early-sixties stratum but much later as the inclusion of a number of mop top faves from the likes of the Beatles and Kinks, done up all sax and guitar style, would prove. Cheap yet satisfying enough versions of the hits that I'm sure would have pleased some star-struck teenage gal spinning this on her cheapo portable. Would have made a fine 1972 flea market find on my part that's for sure!
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Various Artists-ROOSEVELT PETTIFORD CARHOP RUNAWAY CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

As usual, a wild and wooly  mix of things only Bill Shute could gather about and slap on a Cee Dee Are for (supposedly) my entertainment. And boy does he entertain swell, what with the cheapo soul of Roosevelt and the 7C's and the Ragtime rollicking of Die Ragtime Specht Groove who, contrary to what their name sounds like, are not a kraut rock group! I personally preferred not only the Walter Brennan Christmas single even if it is a bit outta season but Oscar Pettiford doing some down-groove jazz, the Runaways (no, not them!) late-fifties teen duo heart-throbbing, Los Voiladores' Argentinian takes on various Sex Pistols/Heartbreakers moves and the Exports doing some hot car cruising instrumental numbers ca. 1963-65 before the mop tops wooshed it all away! And with that I woosh you all a happy week and hope to see you probably Thursday if I'm still alive after this particular post that is!

Thursday, April 05, 2018

BOOK REVIEW! THE AKRON SOUND---THE HEYDAY OF THE MIDWEST'S PUNK CAPITAL BY CALVIN C. RYDBOM (History Press, 2018)


Lotsa lotsa books comin' out about the punk rock revival of the mid/late-seventies, some of 'em seemingly worth the effort to peek through at the local chi-chi book shop and other not even earning the added effort to lift the thing outta the bin to open (which is why """""I""""" do it for you!). But I haven't come across many that I'd say were devoted to or dedicated to for that matter a single rock scene where these local acts sprouted up from their garages and suddenly got an ample audience and press space in BACK DOOR MAN thanks to a few self-produced records and a thriving fandom devoted to the wilder side of the rock music equation.

And believe-you-me, there were plenty of local scenes and locally-produced records to go crazy about back in the late-seventies, not only here in the United States (and Canada, which is nothing but an appendage of the U.S. no matter how much its denizens may loathe the thought of it) but in England, mainland Europe and even behind the Iron Curtain where acts like the Umela Hmotas and DG-307 were doing their best to add a little oomph to their existence with a load of late-sixties-style punk spirit added to their own home-bred rockist attitudes.

But Akron...man, was that the word on the lips of more'n a few Rock Lobstering kiddos back during the seventies-eighties cusp. That was a time when there were records and groups GALORE pouring outta all sections of the globe and for the most part alla them records actually sounded GOOD (and attuned to yours and maybe my own set of anti-aesthetics for once)! Or at least they did until a few years later when the general direction of "new wave" sorta crept into "gnu wave" (copyright 1982 Bill Shute) and many of us sorta wondered where the energy had gone almost overnight.

But Akron was the place where many looked to if only because of a few good local releases (mostly on the Bizarros' Clone label) as well as the promise it held that maybe those mid/late-sixties musical ideals that got wooshed away were still meaningful, and that maybe rock 'n roll could still have that bared-wire intensity and international youth language approach to it that seemed to wallow about once the Woodstock mentality began to replace the teenage fun and thrills that preceded it.

Nothing that was actually copasetic with the general AM/FM mindset of the times but hey, at least we could all pretend rock still had meaning.

And sure the Akron scene also pretty much piddled out about as fast as it became known to the rick kid subscribers to THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS and the gnarly seventies flowed into the calm cool and collected eighties, but while it was happening the Akron/Kent rock scene was almost as much on "10" as far as presenting hard-edged, high energy rock 'n roll as Cleveland or any other midwest burgh for that matter.

Calvin C. Rydbom did a really good job capturing the spirit of the age with this tome. OK, a few nit-pickers might wonder why that one group (I forget their name though a live radio broadcast exists somewhere---something like Lifeline???) consisting of various Tin Huey and Numbers Band members wanting to do some straight jazz on the side ain't mentioned or why their favorite under-the-counterculture local group didn't get more space, but otherwise I can't find a thing that would make me wanna chuck this book out the window. Rydbom pretty much covers all the bases and does it well enough to the the point where you don't mind him inserting his one "one-two" into the fray with comments regarding said group's recorded output. The man does it with verve, suaveness and a better than most knowledge regarding what was happening in the Kento/Ako area and just how it related not only to the local fans, but those same worldwide kids like you and me who (as I always seem to point out) used to pose in front of the full length bedroom mirrors pretending they were hanging out at Max's Kansas City 'stead of being stuck in the suburban slob havens they sure loved, but which sure coulda used a whole lot more ACTION.

Anyhoo...all yer faves get a good mention from the Numbers Band on (and has anyone out there discovered who the short-lived "Letters" Band were?) to the Bizarros and Tin Huey as well as Devo and that whole AKRON COMPILATION brouhaha that really helped up the rubber stock as far as English listeners were concerned. Even some of those early-eighties acts like Unit 5 get a hearty mention, and for the life of me I don't remember 'em one bit which must mean they were in existence long after I gave up giving a hoot. But forgotten Akron rocksters aside, overall THE AKRON SOUND's a great encapsulation of a time and place when the ideas and the energy were aligned right, and for once more than just a few local fans in a few local enclaves were taking note of a music that, really, deserved the adulation that was laid down upon it for once.

And if you think that's the last word on Akron, just wait until next Thursday!