Saturday, October 20, 2018

Well, it's been an "eh!" week if I do say so myself. FETV moved MTM and BOB NEWHART to the mornings so I can't get my fill of Ted Baxter or Mr. Carlin like I should during my days off (which turn out NOT to be "days off" ifyaknowaddamean), while the last time I tuned into JETV in the afternoons ol' Soupy was missing much to my sorrow. Let's just say that these programming changes really put a damper on my free time tee-vee viewing which is rather disheartening considering the lack ot good 'n definitely NON-wholesome boob tube intake I have been getting as of late. But don't worry, for the less time in front of the idiot box means more time in front of the computer cranking out these pertinent blogs, and boy do I have more'n a few wowzers to pass onto you these next few weeks or so!
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Hey, it's not often that my dad gives me any compliments but just the other day he handed me a lu-lu! Y'see, I've lost a few pounds as of late, and here he goes and tells me, now get this, that I'm "getting light in the loafers"!!!! Gee, THANKS DAD!!!!
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Ain't much else to gab about other'n politics, religion and the weather. And these days all THREE things are bound to getcha the Oral Surgery treatment so let's just be safe 'n avoid these rather touchy subjects and get to the music at hand (or in some of you reader's cases, cloven hoof).



BABY GRANDE LP (Hozac Records, available here)

Outta nowhere three albums in the new Hozac Records Fall 2018 Archival Three-Pack arrived at my door, and for some strange reason I was drawn to this particular spinner if only for the very mid-seventies glam-slam look of not only the cover but the participants involved. With a name like Baby Grande and long hair like the kind they got I was figuring that these Canberrans would fit in really swell with all those other groups that were caught in the twilight zone between glitter and punk rock, and naturally enough I was RIGHT once again.

If you are one of those fellows big on the more rock-out side of seventies rock 'n roll this one just might be your year's end big pick. Not quite the Dictators (but close enough!), Baby Grande take shards of all those top notch moments of platforms and sequins rock (Sweet, Mott, T. Rex, Slade...) and drives in into those vistas you always liked your mid-seventies non-stuffed crotch music to go. A track featuring a lead synthesizer even brought back memories of the Fast as well as Sweet circa. "Fox on the Run" if you can believe that, while the group often goes into overdrive playing that music that often got called heavy metal at the time even though the prissy "metal" advocates of the eighties (such as Andy Secher) would probably blanch at the thought of such fun, pop, overdrive sounds as the kind Baby Grande crank out. Too bad the hair groups of those days couldn't have been as good as this (or any of the other mid-seventies hard rock progenitors)!

It's exciting, driving and really makes you wanna stand up and shake the blubber! In many ways these guys tread close to the junk shop glam style of punk from whence acts like Mustard, Castle Farm, Stud Leather, Spunky Spider and many more came. It's always great to give a listen to these under-the-curb kinda bands these days, although in hindsight I only wish I coulda heard more of 'em way back when they were up and about because well, when you're an adolescent suburban slob it's stuff like this that forms and shapes you into a healthy, FULL human being, y'know?

Too bad these guys, like so many others, got woooooshed over in favor of some of the blandest, lowest energy music to ever attempt (and succeed) in turning youth from their natural primal states into complacent sludge. If we only had more Baby Grandes in the seventies and less Leo Sayers maybe the world'd be a much better place to thrive in these sad 'n sorry days!
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Ned Collette-OLD CHESTNUT 2-LP set (Feeding Tube Records, available here)

Hmmmm. The first thing I thought of about three minutes into side one was just how much this Collette guy reminded me of Nick Drake. Then I thought sheesh, I didn't like Drake back when I first heard him a good three decades back (and never since), so it can't be that.

But what it "is", on this ambitious two record set, is that Ned Colette is what I would call a very astute "singer/songwriter" for the 21st century. Heck, if I were a fan and follower of Drake I might even call him the NEW ND, but like I said I ain't even heard Drake in over three decades so why should I dredge his name up in the first place? STOOPIDITY, that's why.

OK, I can dredge my own handy references up even though they might seem even less connected to the music at hand. Gonna cheat and look at the hype sheet...Leonard Cohen (well, I kinda put him in the same wha' th' fuh category that I have stuck Drake in), Roger Waters (maybe the early Barrett/Gilmore cusp in Pink Floyd's career), Lou Reed (not really though at times this does have that rhythmic pulse that critics were always anxious to point out as a Velvet Underground drone homage during the early/mid-seventies) and Pip Proud (well, both people are Antipodean so maybe there is an upward stream mind gauge in common). Hmmm...won't look at the hype this time. Emtidi circa their brilliant SAAT does come to mind without the heavier eletroprog ingredients as do the underrated Comus even. Believe-it-or-not THE MARBLE INDEX in its icy sterility seems to figure in, at lease mood-wise. But then again, all four sides of OLD CHESTNUT are anything but sterile.

Voice is kinda nasal, but who would dare bring James Taylor into this holy stew?

What else should I say other'n trying to bop Colette's talents via comparisons (the easiest and most fun way out) other'n just to tell you that THIS DOUBLE SET IS ONE OF THE MOST SURPRISING OUTTA NOWHERE RELEASES I'VE HAD THE PLEASURE OF HEARING AS OF LATE. Hokay, the thing can get to be what I would call "slow" in spots (maybe it should have been edited down to one-and-a-half albums) but I probably would charge that up to my own lethargy and mammal instincts more than I would anything on Collette's behalf.

(Back to the MARBLE INDEX comparison) well, it's got that hotcha intimate feel to it (try it on an overcast winter's day) yet it has some rock chops that do evoke various late-sixties efforts that bypassed the general shag multitude. The songs themselves, while reflecting feelings of desolation and perhaps even paranoia (well, that's the impression I got, and I can get pretty paranoid at times!) fortunately have that deep soul-satisfying nature to 'em that makes one wonder if this perhaps isn't the reincarnation of a true singer/songwriter ethos the kind that has been getting some hefty huzzahs even amongst the more attuned of rock 'n roll cheerleaders at this late a date? And to think this Collette guy was born and bred in (ugh!) Melbourne!

Mebbee I should look into getting hold of those Nick Drake platters for a re-appraisal. But still I doubt that they'll sound remotely as good as this.
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Okkervil River-THE STAGE NAMES CD-r burn (originally on Jagjaurar Records)

What I said about their earlier recording reviewed a few years back goes here as well. For modern day post-post-post-POST whatever it is that is that came outta the groundswell of seventies innovative bared-wire rock you can't do better than this with its misplaced emotion and patented distorted pop riffs that have plagued many a young, brash and innovative platter of the past few decades. At least "You Can't Hold The Hand of a Rock and Roll Man" has a few good references to various seventies under-the-pavement hard pop moves, but one track does not an album make.
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Ocean Colour Scheme-MOSELEY SHOALS CD-r burn (originally on MCA Records)

This '96 effort does cook some hot enchiladas what with that distorto lead guitar sound and the obvious references to late-sixties moves that didn't reek patchouli. And frankly, other'n the presence of a few more curren-mode melodic riffs this might even pass as a lost 1969 forgotten effort that woulda made Lenny Kaye croak with more than a smile on his face.  Better yet a 1973 revival of late-sixties accomplishments that had the fanzine press popping like nothing since Jolly Time.

As usual the slow ballads kinda drag things down (too bad these guys never took a lesson from Elliot Murphy as to what a real "Rock Ballad" should sound like!) but when it kicks off you might flash back to all those fave flea market finds of the early eighties that sure gave your pocketbook a BIG break.

Of course I'll never listen to this again, but while it lasted it sure was a better than expected experience, eh?
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Donovan-FAIRYTALE CD-r burn (originally on Castle Records, England)

While I tend to hold a way more negative opinion of Donovan than many of you readers, I am tuff 'nuff to admit to enjoying some of his recordings which boast Jeff Beck lead guitar lines and words like "barabajabal" in 'em. Still, given the majority of what I've heard of that frizzoid Scots balladeer I tend to think of him as just one more of those late-sixties fops I could use less of.

These recordings of the earlier Dylan-oozed fare he made his mark with shows us that Donovan was a mid-sixties fop as well. Other'n "Hey Gyp" (a goodie which has been done better by others including Greg Prevost) this is nothing but more music for the iron-haired gals to feel all socially conscious and heart-throbby over. So if you're in the mood to give a leotarded lady a spin of this in between grave stone rubbings this might be the thing for you. But as for me...sheesh, I'd take a Bernie Sanders album over this anyday!
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David Roter Method-THEY MADE ME CD (Sellsum Records)

Yet another Roter recording that's somehow passed me by, and I gotta say that it's---OK. Really!

The comedy routines can get a little tiring (especially the one about Roter giving his infant son a bath which devolves into some weird and tasteless skit about penises that would even make Woody Allen blush) but the music for the most part is pretty up to par Roterian neo-hard rock 'n roll.

It's got a fairly nice re-do of the old Joan Crawford song that got Roter some Blue Oyster Cult shekels as well as a transgloppification of sorts of the title track from his I LOVE NEW YORK platter now called "Legends of New York". Sure it's about as slick as some of those recordings made by people who were straddling the underground and mainstream during the early eighties, but most of the time the expected Blue Oyster Cultisms ever-so-present don't ruin things like you'd think they would.

What I would like to know is....when is someone gonna release those late-sixties Roter songs like "I'm a Doper (And Not Ashamed)" and "Jame Brown" for our listening pleasure? (As I keep asking...and why not given the hefty amt. of Richard Meltzer/Bobby Abrams hype these past forty years?!?!?!)
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Various Artists-TEEN-&TWEN-PARTY CD-r burn (originally on MFP Records, Germany)

Hmmm, der Chermans do sehr gudt on dis vun! All kidding aside, this is a purty entertaining sampling of German beat music done up by some of the lesser known acts that were around at the time...the only names I recognize here are the Lords as well as Nick(y) Hopkins, who does a pretty wild organ-based instrumental that had me doing a dance akin to the one I did the time I spun that Elvis Presley record in my aunt's basement!

The obscuros are good too...the Black Cats are more than adequate capturing the Amerigan soul style while the Beat Six do that Europeanized instrumental music that has an appeal for a guy like me who only knows about Germany through repeated viewings of GUTEN TAG on the PBS station. If you like mid-sixties German beat music and can't get enough, this 'un'll suit'cha just fine, mein herr...
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Eartha Kitt-NOT SO OLD FASHIONED CD-r burn (originally on MFP Records, Germany)

Gee, another MFP budget cheapie! I always wondered what kinda person would buy an Eartha Kitt album...well, I guess it's the same kinda folk who would snatch up a whole batch of records that I wouldn't particularly care for so they are out there somewhere. And eventually they got alla their records and decided to sell 'em at the flea market where they STILL might be lingering for all I know!

The weird wispy voice takes on a number of tracks both familiar and not, and the fact that at least three Donovan covers show up does tend to make this a more excruciating than usual affair given how I sat through the atrocity reviewed a coupla disques above. One mo' thing---gimme Julie Newmar or Lee Merriweather over Kitt anyday!
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Various Artists-BLUE FREIGHT ANGEL CRAZY CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

It's a good one, but not FANTASTICO! The Crickets without Buddy Holly were always a good and underrated act as these tracks prove, while the soul jazzy stylings of Ray Bryant are mesmerizing enough that it's easier than ease to get into their grooves during those down times. However, most of the cuts by the likes of Skip Milo and Johnny Lynd (not forgetting the V-Classics) fall into that early sixties soft schmooze style that definitely was made for the gals, and even if the gals back then were a much healthier creature than today what with pony tails, bobby socks to stockings and perfume instead of crayons and stuff like that the music they went for was feh! At least the thing ends with a funny faux Swedish tale of cuckoldry sung by a fellow called Slim Jim whose work I've heard on an earlier Bill Burn! Sheesh, remember the days when the Swedes were considered the stoopid ones long before the Polish and Wop-a-dagos began their own fight for the crown???
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As the Teddy Bears sang oh so long ago, to know them is to want them, and they were most certainly talking about BLACK TO COMM BACK ISSUES! Buy some try some, as some Apple Records recording artist once said!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! DICK SMART 2.007 STARRING RICHARD WYLER! (Italy, 1967)

Just what this hoary old moostache needs here during the dusk of his dear existence---a James Bond copycat film made by Eyetalians in Brasilia!!!! And w/o getting into the whole schpiel spouted by not only Bill Shute but myself regarding how imitations are often much better (and much cheaper!) 'n the real thing lemme say that this DICK SMART thing is really that fun of a disc to watch even if the budget ain't as big as a BOND film and the sexiness never does develop into levels that had yer parents kicking you outta the room when the bedroom parts came on, even if they stayed 'n watched those things themselves!

I never thought that star Richard Wyler was exactly the kinda guy who would have made a good imitation Bond but he is nifty enough here, no Matt Helm mind you but still boffo, as the cooler'n any cucumber you've ever seen secret agent who not only gets to tangle with not only the bad boys out to make their fortunes in artificially-created diamonds but with those Euro-styled gals who are supposed to be bee-youtiful but just come off like animated mannequins to me. Well, at least they look much better'n those plumpos you see all over the place these days but anyway the various action scenes and surprises the pop in are enough to keep your attention even if the scripts coulda used a beef up here and there. And frankly, in no way can you hear the chief villain speaking through that weird neck-brace/voice box of his!

Cheap gadgets too, like whereas Bond always got the cream of European automobile makes souped up to specifications Smart hadda rely on this neat li'l Vespa scooter cum helicopter cum submarine! Well, I guess given all the cost that goes into spying (as well as mooms like these) they hadda keep the budget down no matter how much a threat to world safety there might have been during those rather snappy late-sixties days!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

I've always been a guy who TOOTS HIS OWN HORN, but this is ridiculous! Actually I was scouring the basement looking for my copy of Richard Meltzer's A WHORE JUST LIKE THE REST just so's I could do a little needed research for a future review, and lo and behold what did I come across but none other than my old Polaroid Swinger photo album!!! Yes, that's none other than memeME!!! circa age eleven seen to the left of ya, and boy does this pic (and the rest of the ones re-discovered) bring back a whole lotta memories, some not exactly great mind ya but still a few nice ones do linger about. Of course after looking at the above snap the only real thing that comes to mind is...given the way I looked back then (and still do to a certain extent) no wonder everybody treated me like sheeee-it! I still am proud of my esteemed blubberfarm self tho if only because at least I had better taste in trash junk entertainment and overall lowbrow kultur back then more than you ever will, digging NANCY and DENNIS THE MENACE while combing the radio for late-fifties/early-sixties trash rock hits that were certainly scarce at the time! Hope you like it...just don't go 'round making a MEME outta it!

I'd show you the rest of the snaps that were taken, but for the sake of time I figured why should you wanna see everything from a covered bridge to my cousin pumping up his equally eleven-year-old bicep! It'd even more boring than had I chained you down for an hour or two of those home movies taken of me at Bedrock USA! However, I thought I'd at least present for your own glomming on my suburban upbringing a pic of my dearly departed dog Sam the Champion Fartster in one of the photos where he's not turning his head away from the camera at the last minute. It's not surprising that in most of the photos of this sometimes not-so-lovable canine he has this wild Manson-ish stare to him (and just LOOK at that glowing left eye!)...let's just say that training Sam to be a well-behaved dog was akin to trying to turn me into a nice and polite sissyfag Freddie Bartholomew type as had been tried many a time. I guess both he and I had much STRONGER wills and for that I salute you, Sam!
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Ya know what I did this past Thursday night? It was a little before seven and while looking out my window to admire the deepness of the dusk sky I pondered, "The sky the way it looks right now would be much improved on with a nice droning backdrop based on elements of the Velvet Underground, Can and the Stooges. So I made one up in my mind, a repeato-riff that went something like "da-dum...da-dum...da-dum-dum-dum-daah-dum..." And you know what" It worked really good! You should try it sometime.
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Not much else brewin' up around here as you can tell from the reviews below...all of 'em freebee offerings from the usual batch who are probably embarrassed over me mentioning their monikers each and every week so I won't. But still I am getting by with 'em since they do break up the monotony. Otherwise I'm putting my time in at the salt mines before spending my precious free hours doing things like mowing the yard and taking out the garbage. I actually gotta say that I enjoy cutting the grass this time of year because this is when all of those neat looking mushrooms start sprouting up across the lawn. Ever placating the brat in me, I like to think of those little mushrooms as being a village where small elves live and work merrily, at least until I turn them into mulch as the peaceful villagers cry forth with high-pitched screams of "HELP!" and "ARRRRGH!" Don't tell me that ain't funny!


Wendy Eisenberg-TIME MACHINE LP (Feeding Tube Records, available here)

I've heard my share of bedroom-level recording personal woo-woo stuff over the years, but this one ranks as one of the best! Originally released on cassette last year, TIME MACHINE is a quiet little affair featuring composer Wendy Eisenberg recording a number of rather nice 'n intimate songs usually backed by her own guitar or one of those chord organs that were all the rage when I was a kid, and as far as intimate personalist sounds go this 'un takes the awards. Sometimes this reminds me of some of those quieter Japanese groups who appeared on the infamous NIGHT GALLERY sampler or others the musical musings of some teenage gal in 1970's suburbia putting her slightly whacked compositions to tape in between reading 16 and watching PARTRIDGE FAMILY reruns. Quite invigorating in many ways...not at all the Joni Mitchell angst that I would have associated with a record like this and you might like it too!
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The Now Generation-THE LEGENDARY SPAR RECORDINGS CD-r burn (originally on SPV - Yellow Records, Germany)

Given Bill's penchant for burning the strangest things I just knew there was gonna be an overt exploito nature to this. And as usual I was right! But as you know I can enjoy these imitations as much as I can the real meal deal, and THE LEGENDARY SPAR RECORDINGS by the Nashville-based Now Generation has its fair share of moments that do rise above the cheesy. Given these tracks were recorded during the late-sixties I was surprised at just how much of this had an early-sixties AM pop feel that's really not bad at all...sorta like a Four Seasons only done less dago-esque or something like that. Even the covers of the big hits like "You Showed Me" and "Rainy Night in Georgia" have some of the zip of the originals. One big caveat tho...this platter contains the dreaded ingredient known as JIMMY BUFFET!
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TOMMY FOGERTY'S THE BLUE VELVETS (AND) THE GOLLIWOGS CD-r burn

Dunno why I ignored picking up the Golliwogs' 1975 album that was released to cash in on waning CCR-fever (especially since this was a used bin filler throughout the late-seventies), but at least it's good to finally get to hear these things despite my typical lethargy. The Blue Velvets material actually does sound in-tune with the better aspects of early-sixties garage band aesthetics with little of that era's "gingerbread" style to muck things up much. As I would have expected the Golliwogs-era tracks do sound commercial yet have that typically subdued cool that the best groups of the middle portion of that decade had to offer. Little if any of the more countryesque Creedence sound can be discerned, but only a turdburger'd deny that these guy were headin' for bigger things after giving these sides a spin!
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Hawkwind-THE ROAD TO UTOPIA CD-r burn (originally on Cherry Red Records, England)

Well, I guess I shoulda expected it. An entire album of Hawkwind re-dos featuring the horn arrangements of some Mike Batt guy who really knows how to add the schmalz onto songs that were vibrantly beautiful four decades back. Now they sound like elevator gush but what else should one expect here in that future that Hawkwind sang so much about. Much worse'n all those other remake albums by people who were once on top of this slam bang music world but were reduced to resting on more'n just a few laurels and, once I get my head together why shouldn't I find it all just a li'l bit depressing?          
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The Spots-BEAT BEAT BEAT CD-r burn (originally on Europa Records, Germany)

Mock Big Beat record that varies somewhere in between tepid and totally feh! I know that eager beaver German frauleins were more'n anxious to hear some of the home-grown variations of the mop top experience, but these Spots just don't have the same rock 'n roll drive to their fare that made alla that long hair rock so tasty inna first place. I'm sure der volk approved of the softer strains of teenage music being played in the haus but vhat about der Hans und Fritzes amongst 'em? All I could say had I been an aching Bundrocker during those particularly arid Aryan days woulda been "Hurry up Can, und qvick!"
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Various Artists-STYLECRAFT ROSEBUD DOUBLE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Here's a different VIRTUAL THRIFT STORE FLOOR SWEEPING in that most if not all of the musical numbers to be heard are from those "song poem" records we've known about for years, or at least since those boho so-anti-Middle Amerigan types began touting them in order to look oh-so SUPERIOR to the rest of us'n all. As usual, these really are a fun hoot such as the one dealing with late-seventies tee-vee cop shows not to mention the disco wannabe "In Love In Love" with what's gotta be the shrillest spoken opening I've ever heard on disc, outside of Diamanda Galas. The radio ads for everyone from Ford (with the Four Lads re-doing their hit as "Standing On The Corner Watching All The FORDS Go By"!) to Gillette razor blades are a hoot as well. And while I'm at it, when was the last time you heard the old Frito Bandito commercial...without having a load of shame being tossed at'cha from better-than-thou knowitalls that is?!?!?!?
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Did you get the hint yet? I've got a whole bunch of BLACK TO COMM back issues that art still available and like, I just KNOW that most if not ALL of you readers could use a few. So what's keeping you from clicking on the above link---your CONSCIENCE (hah!) or somethin'?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! PEP #46, February 1944 (available via Golden Age Reprints)

I'm just about positive, unless you were one of those tight-sphinctered gal types I went to school with, that you like I spent a whole lotta your youthful goof off time reading PEP comics. Like the rest of the Archie universe PEP not only gave you that funny Archie comic on the front cover but loads of stories featuring the entire Archie gang as well as some of the other character that have popped up over the years like Li' Jinx 'n maybe even Josie for all I know. Easy enough to find on the rotating comic book stand or in piles of flea market fodder, I just can't get the image of me on a hot summer afternoon sipping on some soda while reading PEP during one of those desolate afternoons before the reruns started popping up around four o'clock.

But PEP had been around even before Archie made his buck toothed debut, and its no surprise at all that a Golden Age comic with a title like that would have been devoted to MLJ/Archie Comics' superhero stable. After all, their #1 costumed do gooder the Shield debuted in this very rag, and when the whole biz was bursting out all over these masked maulers were the reason many a suburban slob would spend the ridiculous price of a dime for 64 pages of pow! My father was a big fan of the Shield and once drew a pic of him for me which is now stuck in some book of ours...if I can dig it out I'll print it on this blog one of these days.

Managed to get hold of one of the Golden Age Reprints PEP reissues as of late, and all I gotta say is yeah, this book is exactly what I would have expected of an MLJ title from the World War II days. Judging from the cover it's not hard to see that the Shield is slowly but surely giving way to new oil gusher Archie, though judging from the innards this title is still firmly rooted in the superhero craze of the day what with appearances by not only the Shield but Captain Commando and the Hangman taking place before we get to any of the funny stuff which is nicely nestled in the back. Oh how times will change all this!

The Shield story is actually kinda creepy. It's similar to TALES OF MANHATTAN only with a safety pin which causes horrible luck whilst being passed on from a dead soldier to his widow to a conman on and on until the very same pin helps the Shield and his sidekick Dusty brings down a killer. A better than usual tale but I still can't get over that poor widow losing her life savings and not being avenged (all that is mentioned is that the pin was passed on by the swindler---I would have hoped he would have gotten his just desserts but as far as I can tell he got off Scot free!). Well, who sez comics were known for any real CONTINUITY???

Captain Commando was one of the lesser MLJ heroes or so I would guess, but the story about an old gruff but lovable Dutch ferryboat captain who is living on a Japanese controlled tropical island and pays the ultimate price by kamikaze-ing his boat "Matilda" is pretty good. Good enough that I even forgot to root for the Japanese like I always do in these stories because well...their characters seem more in touch with myself than the squeaky clean good guys!

Now the Hangman saga is what really made the price of this reprint worth it. This 'un's kinda grotesque in its own Golden Age way featuring a former optometrist who decides to go into the blackmail business after creating a machine where the last images seen by the murdered victim (captured on the retina) shows just who the killer was! This guy and his stooge sneak into morgues and plucks the eyes out of deceased gangsters, plops the eyeballs into his creation and right on the screen appears the victims last image, usually of an underworld character with a gun going off!

The rest of the mag is filled with the fun stuff, or at least stuff that's supposed to pass for fun and I guess you might be able to squeeze a few har har's outta 'em. The Archie tale is a Christmas-themed heart-string tug attempt dealing with his dwindling Christmas funds which get lower and lower after dad buys him a war bond and he gets into an automobile accident, all exacerbated by a loudmouth gal I never saw before or since appropriately named Gabby. A rather annoying character who kinda reminds me of what the short-lived "Charlotte Braun" from PEANUTS might have ended up looking like, Gabby blabs to the gang Archie's gift list which is no longer a feasible concept considering he only has ten bucks left and boy are they expecting the biggies this time! Nice li'l typically Archie-ish episode, only it's ruined by the definitely non-Bob Montana-ish work by one of the lesser MLJ artists who makes the whole thing look more like a standard back up feature rather'n the flagship force behind one of the more successful comic publishers extant!

The rest of the fun funs ain't exactly up to par and in fact make this particular Archie feature look like the Three Stooges. There were so many Li'l Abner swipes throughout the forties to keep track of and none that I've read were good, and that includes this particular story featuring a Catfish Joe is about as unfunny as you would expect something like a comic called "Catfish Joe" to be. Skip over the cutesy wootsy Chief Bugaboo story custom made for the fetus in your life as well as Marco Loco, an adventurer whom I wish stayed home so I wouldn't hafta put up with those silly puns that just don't work here like they did in Little Lulu.

Despite the lack of real belly shakers in the comedy department I gotta admit that this issue of PEP was a pretty good effort which does give you that mid-forties comic book feel without the hefty price or the decaying pages. And as is customary with Gold Age Reprints efforts this comes complete with the original ads as well including the one which appears on the back cover, a toy machine gun which is being sold under the name KRAK-A-JAP! As I said earlier, I find myself rooting for the Japanese in these World War II comics (and perhaps even REAL LIFE) because their characters are usually so nasty and vicious in a way I could only dream of being (and in some ways these guys are more honest than the phony Amerigan heroes who are so one-dimensional you'll just hope for a Death March in their future), but an ad like this just makes me wanna krak up myself---'s almost as good as one of those old comic book spoof ads you'd see in NATIONAL LAMPOON only this is real life so you know life can be satire without anyone knowing so! In all my years of flea market scouring I never came across a Krak-a-Jap...have you???

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! ARIZONA TERRITORY (1950), STARRING WHIP WILSON AND ANDY CLYDE!

Whip Wilson was one of the last, if not the last, newly developed star of his own B-Western series (Wayne Morris is said to have had the last series of B-Westerns, but he was already a star, not one groomed from scratch). He appeared in a Jimmy Wakely western in late 1948 and was soon spun off into his own starring series of WHIP WILSON westerns at Monogram, running for four years, from 1949-1952, which lasted for 22 films. He also had his own comic book during this period (I should try to find a copy and then review it here!).

With “Whip” in his stage name (his real name was Roland Meyers), it’s clear that Monogram was hoping to cash in on the popularity of Lash La Rue, then at the height of his fame in 1948/49. However, Lash with his black outfits and Bogart-style line delivery was a far cry from Whip Wilson, who harkened back to more straightforward western heroes such as Roy Rogers or Buck Jones (Whip has a Rogers-like personality and looks somewhat like Jones). One problem with many of Lash LaRue’s films is that despite Lash being in them and being supported by the great comedian Al “Fuzzy” St. John and by top quality Western supporting actors, the films often had a slapdash quality (and NOT in an endearing way!), especially the later ones which were cobbled together from earlier LaRue footage. On the other hand, while Monogram was certainly a low-budget studio, they had a crack western unit which could do a lot with a little, and the films tended to move well, offer lots of action, and have fine supporting casts. At the same time as the Wilson series, Johnny Mack Brown had a long-running series at Monogram, and those films are considered the model of late-period B-westerns, helped a lot by Brown’s personality and presence (this was a man who co-starred in the silent era with Greta Garbo twice!). A lot of the quality of the Brown series rubbed off onto the Whip Wilson series.

While it must be admitted that Wilson has a bit of the “aw shucks” quality of a Reb Russell or a Jack Hoxie (Wilson is not often mentioned among the greats of the B-western, unfortunately), it lends an authenticity to his persona, and since he is inserted into well-constructed features made by the same Monogram machine which made the Johnny Mack Brown films, for me the Whip Wilson films are very entertaining, and you can see why he lasted for 22 features.

When I say “series,” I am referring to the fact that these films were sold to exhibitors in packages of four or six or eight which would then be delivered over the next year. They might have titles associated with them to help close the sale, but often the films would not have been made yet----in a sense, they were made to order. This film is called ARIZONA TERRITORY, but honestly, that title could be applied to ten other films just as well. There’s an Indian reservation nearby where the film is set, and St. Louis is referred to as being “back East,” but beyond that, this could be called NEW MEXICO TERRITORY or >b?OKLAHOMA TERRITORY
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One thing low-budget Western filmmakers understood is that beyond having a charismatic cowboy star, you needed a quality sidekick, usually a comic side-kick. Even the most threadbare PRC western with LaRue or with a Bob Steele or a Buster Crabbe would be made entertaining by the antics of Al “Fuzzy” St. John----I remember reading somewhere once that Al’s solo bits in the films were in some films not even scripted, other than the general situation....Al St. John, nephew of Roscoe Arbuckle and a first-rate silent comedy star himself, would just be let loose to do his thing, and all you needed to do was give him a piece of rope or a barrel or a gun that needed cleaning, and you’d get 3-5 minutes of side-splitting slapstick improvisation. Do that 3 or 4 times in the film, and you’ve got a quarter of its running time already filled....and filled in a manner that audiences would love.

At Monogram in this period, the great Scottish comedian ANDY CLYDE (see pic) was used in support of both Johnny Mack Brown and Whip Wilson. Clyde goes back to the silent days and worked with Mack Sennett beginning in 1921 (!!!!)----he continued on with Sennett in the early sound days, including a number of Sennett-produced shorts distributed by BTC faves EDUCATIONAL PICTURES. (EDITURD'S NOTE: after leaving Sennett he even got his own series at Educational Pictures "proper"!) He then got his own sound comedy series at Columbia, which ran from 1934-1955....only the Three Stooges lasted longer, but their line-up changed over the years. Clyde was still working regularly on TV in the mid-sixties on shows such as THE REAL McCOYS and LASSIE, and he passed away in 1967, leaving us a huge legacy, which deserves more attention than it is getting. Little if any of Andy Clyde’s Columbia work (or earlier shorts, for that matter) has ever been released legitimately in any video format, although there is a recent book out about his shorts. Over the years, Chris and I have had to rely on grey-market “collector” sources for VHS copies of his Educational and Columbia shorts, but those became much harder to find in the DVD era, probably because the dupey 16 mm sources, often a copy of a copy, were considered unworthy of DVD-quality replication. Fortunately, the Brown and Wilson Monogram westerns with Clyde have always been available from outfits specializing in B-westerns, and now many of the films are available in pristine quality from the Warner Archive.

My copy of ARIZONA TERRITORY is from a grey-market source which offered all 22 of Wilson’s Monogram westerns (he never worked for another studio as a star) on six discs, and they look to be taken from 16mm TV prints, but they are good enough to enjoy on my 27-inch TV screen. ARIZONA was Wilson’s 8th starring role (of 22 total) at Monogram, and it’s a good example of a solid B-western action-adventure that would have had the small-town bread-and-butter audiences sitting on the edge of their chairs and feeling as though they’d gotten their money’s worth. I know that I would have wanted to buy a Whip Wilson comic book when I would get my next allowance or lawn-mowing money after seeing this film.

As often happens in these kind of films, Whip wanders into a new area and observes a young lady in a wagon being shot at....the shooter escapes as Whip offers help to the lady, who is clipped in her arm and luckily not seriously hurt. It turns out she’s got a sleazy uncle who is an ex-con who is doing some counterfeiting on the side, and his equally sleazy partner is always putting the moves on her and asking her to marry him. She owns a small business that sells supplies to the locals on the reservation and also distributes pottery made by that local tribe up in the Midwest. The pottery was not very popular until a new “formula” supposedly made it better quality and it started getting snapped up in Missouri, Kansas, etc. The young lady doesn’t really know what the “formula” is----she was kept in the dark----it actually is counterfeit money which is being stuffed into the bottoms of the pottery and then distributed in the Midwest. The sleazy uncle and his business partner are the ones behind this, although the lady is technically the business owner but innocent of it all. It’s just convenient for them that she is shipping this pottery out of state.

Whip smells something fishy as he gets to know the lady better and observes the shady characters involved with the business. Andy Clyde, whose character is an old pal of Whip’s, plays a federal marshal who is posing as a broke cowhand and gets a job as stage driver for the business. Together, they smash the crooks, break the counterfeiting racket, and salvage the lady’s business...and ride away into the sunset, though Whip promises her he’ll be back.

Running a crisp 56 minutes, ARIZONA TERRITORY’s tagline states, “ FRONTIER FURY! Bullet-Studded Story Of Badmen And The Badlands”, and it certainly delivers on that ballyhoo. If you are a person who appreciates post WWII B-westerns, I would highly recommend the late 40’s/early 50’s Monogram westerns of Johnny Mack Brown and/or Whip Wilson. Not all are great, but the batting average is high, and when you consider that Monogram was also making multiple Bowery Boys films every year (and continued making Charlie Chan films until 1949), you can see why we here at BTC adore the mighty Monogram Pictures!

Saturday, October 06, 2018

I dunno about you, but right now I'm feeling PRETTY GOOD for once in my ever fanabain' life! Sure the work load is tough and I usually end the day feeling like a wash rag that's been rung too many a time, but at least when I come home from a hard day at the Salt Mines I got plenty of funtime reading, tee-vee (thanx to FETV and the ol' Dee-Vee-Dee player!), and best of all MUSIC (or something like that) waiting for me with open arms. I dunno about you, but I sorta feel like I'm the 2018 equivalent of your old bachelor Uncle Ernie 'r somethin'---y'know, that pudgy guy from your youth who wore a bow time, used suspenders instead of a belt and had a pair of those standard Clark Kent specs right up until the day he finally died years after you thought he woulda. The one with the office job who had a lot more moolah 'n most because he had no wife or brats to support, and although he hadda fend for himself food-wise (but would enjoy that weekly steak dinner at The Brown Derby) at least he had that comfy leather recliner waiting for him as well as a tee-vee that was blasting out those hotcha westerns and sitcoms I myself just can't get enough of these days! Well, I guess you all can call me an Uncle Ernie for the 21st century, but don't expect those lavish Christmas gifts and freebee toys every time I come over to visit!

It ain't so strange that at this point in time I'm getting into the same dig out and read my old books habit that I've had ever since I was but a budding suburban slob! Dunno about you, but when I was in my single digit days I just hadda (no other choice!) re-re-re-read those old PEANUTS paperbacks I had (and still have!) because like, when you have parents who lived through the depression either they gave you EVERYTHING you wanted or were the stingiest people on the planet because like, why should you have it any better than your folks did, y'know? Nothing wrong with goin' the cheapo route if you ask me and in fact being tightwads was a good move on their part because hey, I too can have the memory of a flea and a cartoon I read one week might still not have registered into my mind by the time I re-perused the thing a good month or so later! Thus reading the same PEANUTS book over and over could be like a brand new experience to me, as if I could retain anything I learned in school all those years one iota!

This week I've been looking over my DENNIS THE MENACE collection which I gotta say put a smile upon my lips a whole lot more'n Kathy Griffin acting so sanctimonious all the time ever could. It's definitely Bill Shute's fault for this given all of those Dennis comic books he's come across and has been writing about as of late! Well, thank you a whole lot Bill, because you just had my own Dennis obsessions circa age eleven just flowing back even more'n the second season DVD collection of the tee-vee series I once reviewed in these pages ever did! I can really see how a comic like Dennis would appeal to a pre-pube kid like myself and dang it if these earlier editions of the famed panel just didn't revert me back to those days when you could still pack a whole lotta fun outta life even if the highlight of your day was watching 'em unload the melons at Krogers. Too bad I don't have a dog to tease or creek down the street to pee in like I did way back when during those truly halcyon days---then the funtime frolics would really be hittin' like they usedta!
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Don't wanna keep ya waitin'...here are just a few of the really boffo items that I've heard this week, some of which I know is really gonna zone ya the way it did me while others might just pass by your wayside. Thanks goes to Bill Shute, Paul McGarry, Bob Forward and Feeding Tube for the donations, and to me for being wealthy enough to buy some things that I really DO need years after I thought I had already heard everything I've needed to about a hunnerd times over!


Bernie and the Invisibles-All POSSIBILITIES ARE OPEN LP (My Mind's Eye/Smog Veil Records)

The biggest surprise of the week (other'n the results of my chromosome test) has to be this record which, for all practical purposes, has been forty years in the making. Bernie Joelson was (and perhaps still is) the king of the late-seventies Third Generation Cleveland under-the-counterculture, and the fact that his musical anti-genius has been ignored lo these many years is only more proof as to how the tastemakers and audience at large in the Cle area were nothing but a buncha nth degree mainstream slush lovers who bought into the whole Madison Ave concept of hip and cool while the real chance tasters and adventurers were passed over and ridiculed, only to be "praised" with the usual faintness once the "scene" they helped create (and themselves for that matter) was long dead and gone.

(I know I told you this a millyun times but considering how many of you readers have a head like a sieve...) imagine a maddening cross between Lou Reed, David Peel, David Roter, Magic Michael and Wild Man Fischer and you'll only be scratching the surface as to what this Bernie creature might be. Might wanna throw some Jerry Lewis into the mix as well...wouldn't hurt'r anything.

Totally lo-fi and reduced to a point where, to borrow a phrase, even the Ramones sound like Mantovani in comparison, Bernie and crew plow through their work with no-chord aplomb complete with his own poetry that I gotta say sounds pretty down home and basic especially when compared with the moon/june/poon stuff that gals used to spout in English class. Straightforward rant backed by his own guitar playing which acts like a sound-generator more'n anything as drums and occasional bass guitar make some sort of sense outta things. And back to those WORDS...they sure hit the core of late-seventies up from under NE Ohio living more'n the kids these songs were made for would ever realize. I was especially surprised by the neo-Velvet circa. WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT drive on "In Hell" (just a segment from a live performance but oh what a segment!), not to mention the rant entitled "Is It Good?" which Bernie actually "dedicated" to Anastasia Pantsios, and when I put quotation marks around dedicated you BEST know what I (and he) means!!!!

I know that forty decades is a whole lotta time to wait for a record like this. But man it was worth the wait to give this a listen to while we still have ears, and who knows what other items might be popping up in the near future which will bring back all of the obscurity, frustration and pure energy that went into the Cleveland of Drome and the Phantasy Night Club which was purposefully ignored by the original "anti-monsters" who became monsters themselves. Hope the wait is short, because if there is any time for us to lay out all the fact that time be NOW!
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Michael Hurley-LIVING LJUBKJANA LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Here tis a twenny-three-year-old recording of Michael Hurley and band, live in Slovenia of all places, playin' the same music that was just as Amerigana in 1963 as it was in 1976 as it is today and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. An audience of three (all pictured on the insert!) were sure treated to a fine set by Ameriga's last leading folk as true down home practitioner on a bunch of tracks I sure am not familiar with but still the smart country flavor seeps through. Personal fave: "Horses Ass" which cracks enough fart and butt references to really get the ten-year-old suburban slob in me chucking like nothing since my cousin's dog decided to make love to her leg. And that dog was a St. Bernard!
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Barracudas-TWO SIDES OF A COIN 1979-1984 CD-r burn (originally on Anagram Records)

Fairer than fair enough "odds and sods" collection from the outta nowhere hitmakers who gave us "I Wish It Could Be 1965 Again" back when nobody in the world was expecting it. Can't really complain about the Barracudas' approach to those magic rock 'n roll years of yore one bit, though I might say that sitting through the eighteen songs here can be a bit of a six-oh overdose. Try it in spots...it just might remind you as to why "then" was more of a tempting period in existence than "now" ever will be!
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Various Artists-LONDON BEAT CD-r burn (originally on Europa Records)

Like your slutty sister, the cheap-o crank outs just KEEP a-comin'. And for a batch of obviously studio only groups who definitely ain't English (even with names like the Peers, the Dukes of Soho and the Spots!), these faux Londoners are pretty good (well, at least some of the time) if you let your listening parameters loosen up even more'n your sphincter. The covers of "Yellow Submarine" and "Winchester Cathedral" seem faithful enough while the various originals can have that spark of mid-sixties popcraft that made even the sappier records in the genre worth a spin. True, a fair number of these tracks lack a good hunk of mop top swerve, but given this is a budget platter you do get a good amount of jamz for the moolah you put into it!
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Various Artists-SONGS THE NEW YORK DOLLS TAUGHT US CD-r burn

Shouldn't that title read SONGS WE TAUGHT THE NEW YORK DOLLS? Despite the boo-boo, this is yet another one of those themed compilations centered around either the original versions of cover songs or numbers which are somehow tangentially connected by some thin thread of a theme yet they sound so good when bunched up together. The hit versions of all those Dolls songs you probably heard first via them, such as Bo Diddley's "Pills", the Shangri La's "Give Him a Great Big Kiss" and a whole buncha other older 'n old wowzers you probably would have avoided if the Dolls didn't bother to cover these most potent wares.
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The Bill Barron Quartet-MOTIVATION CD-r burn (originally on Savoy Records)

Barron does the Coltrane Quartet on this rarity (the last "original" platter on Savoy) and does it rather snat-like if I do say so myself. Having busted his butt with the fifties generation of avant garde players like Cecil Taylor and Charles Mingus, Barron had better known what to do and do RIGHT as far as any approaches to the New Thing went! But fear not, for the man does swell straddling the hard bop and the experimental that, while perhaps a bit "behind the curve/times" when this '72 sesh was recorded, still echoes the raw cry of the late-fifties as well as those Ornette Coleman albums that sounded so innovative even in the face of the generation that spewed forth from those early sides. Dunno about you, but this sure beats that "light jazz" cable station all hollow.
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Olson/Case/Hardiman-MARCH OF THE MUTILATED VOL. 3 (Tape Drift Records)

While cleaning out my room for the first time in several years I came across this particular platter in the ongoing Olson/Case/Hardiman series of mutilated music. Dunno where my copy of vol. 2 went (that is, if I did get a copy), but this 'un's just as equally good a free form exploration of soundscapadings as the first 'un. Should be humongous with the improvised cacophony crowd...strums of strings, woodwinds and percussion taken to even less human levels than previous works. The sound of a world where the musical instruments play the performers???
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Various Artists-AIN'T GONNA TWIST & TURN CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Compared to many of these (can I still call 'em) "Virtual Floor Sweepings", this Bill burn is comparatively short but still fills the bill on one of those lazy Saturday afternoons while I wallow around with an old book listening to this 'stead of outside working like I should be. From soul to country-blues to local garage band mulch (but good mulch), this 'un does make me wanna pretend it is still a pre-gunkified Ameriga even more'n THE ROY ROGERS SHOW could! Wouldn't mind knowin' more about Curly Hamner and those early-sixties era duets he does with some sassy gal---too lazy to look him up right now so if any of my mutated minions are anxious in helping der leader out just this once...
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I just know that quite a few of you reg'lar blog readers out there are just anxious to fill in the gaps in your BLACK TO COMM collections. Well if so you don't need a golden invitation to do so...just click that highlighted link and find out just how easy it is to get that elusive issue that you've been wanting for quite some time only you never had the knowledge or capital to dig it up. Hurry, copies are limited...limited to how many I can sell and I sure got a whole bunch clutterin' up the place ifyaknowaddamean...

Thursday, October 04, 2018

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! THE WILD, WILD WORLD OF JAYNE MANSFIELD (1968)

Hokay, I'll start off with the obvious jokes about how Mansfield was once two of the biggest stars in Hollywood who won many an award from the American Dairy Council and how a mountain range was named after her (the Grand Tetons). But there was another Jayne, a girl who liked to head off to Europe to check out the wild life before trekking back to New York to catch a transvestite beauty pageant and the topless life in El Lay which must have been fun for alla you boys who got treated to suckem-showing ice cream vendors (wonder how their milk shakes tasted). And like, who could forget those window washers working out inna sun inna right and natural way we all wished those jiggling young things would appear! Sheesh, back in late-sixties Californicate all you budding adolescents guys needed for a good time was a good pair of binoculars and plenty of Vaseline Intensive Care...no droopoids outta NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC for you kids nohow!

But eh, it's a fun enough flick if you like your sexiness nice and sixties and cheezy with corny Europeanesque music playing throughout. If it weren't for the concentration on Eyetalian guys who like to pinch gals onna hiney to French nightclubs featuring once-risque dances (and if it weren't for the bountiful butts 'n boobs on display), this could pass as a typical travelogue film that would have been seen on Sunday afternoon television throughout the sixties and seventies. Of course if THE WILD WILD WORLD was aired in its natural state you can bet that an opening for a new program director at the station would be popping up like pronto!

Eh, it's good enough sixties-styled fun all topped off with a heart-wrenching finale where hubby #2 Mickey Hargitay and two of the boys wander around Jayne's mansion and reminisce about the good ol' days. A nice and touching way to cool off after seeing all that sex and debauchery goin' on, but thankfully the closing shot of a revealing bust of Jayne brings everything back into true focus

Sunday, September 30, 2018

(To be repetitious and hackneyed about it...) Well, gotta say that the advent of October sure does bring back quite a few nicey-nice memories in this ever-shiny bean of mine, and that's despite those of me having to endure the usual hassles of school as well as older people trying to "guide" my life into being even more cube than their own. Halloween...cool weather...apple cider...gutter cleaning... Gee, I better stop before I get all rheumy eyed about storm window placements and running over cats that were hiding in the leaf piles next to the curb.

But given my advanced age all I can do is think back to the days when at least living mattered, or at least when I was living more'n existing. Sheesh, even though a whole lotta bad stuff went down back when I was a kid and didn't know how to tell people to fuck themselves at least I am thankful that there were still a few fun things that were made for kids who could get away with a few bits of pleasure in their suburban slob lives without any real adult constraint. Like Halloween, at least until the bigger and more lethal children amongst us got control of the overall situation. And those are the kind of memories I cherish the most---being a trick or treat kinda kid, not getting beaten up! Kinda makes me wanna put on a Halloween costume and wrap toilet paper around the principal's house, even though that guy's probably been dead for at least twenny years awlready!
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Oh yeah, last week I did say I was gonna discuss my re-exposure to both THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and THE BOB NEWHART SHOW via recent satellite-casts via FETV. Well, after sporadically watching both series on those rare days off all I gotta say is YEAH, these programs sure were the precursors to the staid situation comedies that I've seen since the eighties and have been avoiding like Christgau ever since. Y'know, those static neo-dramas (really!) which have a lotta talkin' and little action to add that humorous punch oh-so drastically needed? To be honest about it, THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW was the series that really got the sophisticado-styled comedy shows from the seventies until these sad times up and running, but ya gotta admit that both MOORE and NEWHART paved the way for such excremental television viewing from FRIENDS to THE BIG BANG THEORY which only makes me wanna know...sheesh, how many times can ya stand to watch ever-perky Mary toss her hat into the air for all to see without avoiding that ever-encroaching sense of CRINGE???

Then again, I am drawn to both series but for quite different reasons than I suppose their creators had in mind. For MTM it's the appearance of  Ted Baxter, a guy who in his self-important corniness practically saves the show just because his mere presence overcomes much of the drollness and saccharine that permeates the production. (And as I said many a time, don't you think the best episodes of that series were the ones that focused on a rather buffoon-ish Ted played up against Mary or Lou 'stead of the talkie ones with Mary, Rhoda or Phyllis the focus of attention?) NEWHART's saving grace is usually the variety of patients who end up on his couch like John Fiedler's Mr. Peterson and especially Jack Reilly's Mr. Carlin whose subdued if outrageous presence and various complexes really makes him someone I CAN REALLY IDENTIFY WITH!

But the real reason these shows have a strange appeal to me might only be because they bring back those adolescent and downright teenbo feelings from back when these shows were part of that CBS Saturday night comedy blockbuster lineup that was getting many snooty critical nods at the time. I'm sure some of you remember those days when I, and presumably YOU. would be holed up in your bedrooms posing in front of the full length mirror on your door just WISHING you could be out having fun like those less-restricted kids at some local variation of CBGB or Max's that some wise entrepreneur was BOUND to come up with in the very near future?! Them teenage years that looked so fine and promising when I was six yet by the time it was my turn all I got was disco and pukka shells---sheesh! Well, those years certainly weren't as hotcha as some might make 'em out to be, but at least some of us had a little misguided hope to keep us goin' (and for the luckier amongst us knowledge of the World Saving effects of acts like the Stooges and New York Dolls)... And yeah, just hearing the themes to both MARY and BOB remind me of when these shows would be blaring in the tee-vee room and here I was soothing my sorrows to some Sears catalog underwear ad!

Gotta keep watchin' whenever I do get the time...between these shows and SOUPY SALES on JLTV afternoon television has been rescued from the soap operas and courtroom programs that have permeated the boob tube for years on end! And for once I am GLAD I have an excuse to goof off in front of the set 'stead of go out and make money like alla the "nice" kids inna neighborhood were doing back when I was young and my suburban slob senses were even more attuned than they are now! Feh!
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While waiting for that next big archival drop to go splat right in your lap why not give this li'l gem a go of it? Never knew about these '68 (or so they say) Hampton Grease Band demos, but they sure do sound fine despite the loss of the right channel ('n these are definitely stereo recordings so's you miss out on Glenn Phillip's guitar duel with Harold Kelling on "Evans") and occasional tape glitches...remarkably similar to the finished MUSIC TO EAT product with just enough difference to make your ears perk up even more'n the Rice Crispies elves'! I'll bet you're sure glad that you (like I) were in on this act a whole lot earlier'n all of those come latelys who only discovered 'em after that early 00's reissue! Another historical dig-up that in some ways rectifies that dream I had '77 way about that undiscovered album of theirs I found in some flea market pile if you can believe that!



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Welp, here are but a few of the things I've listened to o'er the past seven or so days. Hope you can make your way through the slosh...personally I don't think all my batteries were charged this go 'round which might be why these read kinda wonky if you ask me. Who knows, some of you less discriminating types (y'know. the kind who pattern their reading parameters on free form 'stead of Geoffrey Chaucer) might enjoy it, but frankly I know I coulda done a much better job had I only given my brain the enema it most truly deserves. Well, one thing can be said about this week's spew and it's that even at my own disheveled state of mind my writing runs rings around those eighties-bred neat and petite scribes who are still cluttering up the ozone, but in the long run that ain't sayin' much either!



SPIELGUSHER 2-LP set (Feeding Tube, get hold of one here)

You can read my review of the Cee-Dee version of this here if you so desire, but even if you won't...  Well anyhoo, if you're one of those vinyl only types who I admire to the FULLEST you can now get this famed collaboration between Man God Richard Meltzer and not-so Man God Mike Watt and his Japanese cohorts on two solid albums, both of which will make you glad that you've been part of the continuum for a longer time than most people have been alive.

Meltzer speaks (dirty at times so better not spin it around Aunt Mabel) while Watt and crew provide ample and fitting tinkertoy backing making this the kinda platter I sure wish I coulda gotten hold of way back in my neophyte days when it was all new and fresh to my brain. As you'd expect, this is an item that should prove to you that Meltzer is still important here in 2018 while alla those hotshot types who stole the thunder away from not only him but a good portion of the gonz rock writing set back inna eighties remain DOA!
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Frank Zappa-LUMPY GRAVY PRIMORDIAL LP (Zappa Records)

If anything, the latest UGLY THINGS spurred me on to buying this "Record Store Day" release so who sez that mag's good for nothin'! (Not moi.) Yes, this is none other than the original Capitol Records version of LUMPY GRAVY that came and went with such a velocity that only a quarter-track tape version was ever released. But a good fifty years later it's back, and not only that but the thing was pressed on burgundy vinyl and speeds on at 45 rpm even though for all practical purposes this is of an official long playing length!

This 'un sure brings back many of those teenbo feelings I had towards not only the old Mothers of Invention but of various mid-late-sixties rock modes I was digging into at the time that really helped me through a whole load of tough growin' up pains and things like that (boy am I in a retro "woe is me" mood this week!). And as I would have expected, the original LUMPY GRAVY take even sounds better without the added noise and mumblings that seemed so cliched even back when I was a kid and was on the lookout for cliches just like this! Too bad Zappa hadda believe his own hype and ended up recording such timeless classics as "Jewish Princess" and "Broken Hearts Are For Assholes", toonz which hold up these days about as much as that whole Suzy Creamcheese schtick did.
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The PHLORESCENT LEECH AND EDDIE/FLO & EDDIE 2-CD set (FloEdCo Records)

And speaking of Zappa...am """""I""""" the only one on this planet who enjoys the Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan edition of the Mothers almost as much as the original grouping? Okay, JUST ANOTHER BAND FROM LA wasn't exactly a winner in my book, but I can still weasel my way through things like "The Mud Shark" and CHUNGA'S REVENGE. Not to mention a good portion of 200 MOTELS's snatty pop songs with the two doing their special vocalizing even if that film was a disaster unraveling right in front of your eyes. Maybe I am one of the few who enjoy the two mixing it up with Zappa and although many would say otherwise why the heck should I apologize???

But back to the issue at hand...during my mid-seventies Zappafied days I attempted to order BOTH of these platters through the local record shop (no used or specialty emporiums in sight at the time) and even the people who gave us the Schwann catalog couldn't locate either of 'em! These platters had only been released a good two/three years earlier and you woulda thunk at least a few were hanging around in some record warehouse but NO...both THE PHLORESCENT LEECH AND EDDIE and its followup were nada to be seen even though it wasn't like Flo and Eddie were no longer a profitable team. Not with their own radio show, appearances in magazines galore and a Columbia Records contract which even had the fanzines swooning over their even more risque'n ex-boss Zappa's stage show featuring such skits as "Dildos of the Stars" (ranging in size from Mick Jagger to John Denver). But hey, about 90% of the gunk I'd order via Schwann never did turn up including the early Fugs platters on ESP which I KNEW were still available so's I guess I could chalk ALL my frustrations up to some lazy dock worker who'd rather nap behind a crate of James Taylor platters 'stead of do his doody and enrich my musical parameters!

The fortysome years wait wasn't that bad 'n yeah, I coulda bought both of 'em during my frequent trips to Cleveland during the late-seventies and eighties! And thankfully these albums have finally been reissued and like, I sure am surprised that they even sound better than I would have imagined. Of course I was under the impression these were gonna sound like the Mothers without Zappa but they don't. Pretty straightforward rock is what they are, and for a guy who had even the best moments of the Flo and Eddie Mothers in mind they don't even sound like that which does tend to shock the system, but in a nice, pleasant way.

'72's THE PHLORESCENT LEECH AND EDDIE might have been Reprise's hopes that the two would continue the Zappa gravy train loot a'flowin', but it's more like what you would expect an early-seventies Turtles album to sound like only with decadent sleeze a la KILL CITY fueling it instead of late-sixties commercial California sunshine pop. Surprisingly commercial yet deep down intense, it's sure strange that these guys who were doin' "Magdalena" only a year earlier were putting out this extremely smart pop which makes me FORGIVE 'em for making mucho moolah with Strawberry Shortcake once the eighties began clocking in. Kinda sounds like what the Doors would have been like (just check out "I Been Born Again"!) had Jim Morrison not been such an irritating phony intellectual, or even Sparks had Russ Mael only reached puberty. Given the musical renaissance of the '71/'72 AM radio era it's a shame none of this got mixed in with other definitely pro-horny youth music that was getting blasted into a load of teenbos' ears thus saving 'em from a severe Melanie overdose. Heck, even the corny if slyly double entendre "Nikki Hoy" ain't worth turning down the volume for, unless your strict daddy just happens to walk into the room and has some qualms about the "pearl diving" nature of the thing.

It took another year for FLO & EDDIE to make its way out, and given not only the heavy duty Bob Ezrin production but the retro-goof front cover you know this 'un's gonna be a thicker 'n usual production. Definitely a more upbeat effort (less dreamy haze here) FLO & EDDIE's got the heavy metal pop genre all figured out and even the horns 'n strings don't intrude like they did on all those other records of the day that you don't remember with any shard of fondness. And heck, why wasn't their cover of "Days" a hit single? Come to think of it, why wasn't "Afterglow", which was actually released as a single yet was given about as much promotion as the album itself, topping the charts in a world of "Kung Fu Fighting"? Sure coulda been one of those teen gal weeper biggies that even the cool guys could 'fess up to liking!

The comedy bits aren't overbearing, that is if you consider "Carlos and de Bull" a comedy track (I'm still trying to figure it out) and "The Sanzini Brothers" a tangential connection to the Mothers days. Those don't really ad up in the long run---it's the neo-Spector drench of tracks like "The Best Part of Breaking Up" that makes FLO & EDDIE a winner that sure would have ENRICHED me had only a copy turned up in that Columbus Ohio warehouse.

Now collected in one package, these records go to show you that the seventies pop renaissance coulda been a whole lot more'n just the Raspberries and Big Star had more of these efforts only GOTTEN OUT into the bedrooms of suburban slob teendom like they shoulda. One can only think of all those plump gals lying across their beds with a bowl of Cheetos reading the latest CREEM fantasizing about their own special love for Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan before trotting in front of the television set to catch a glimpse of David Cassidy!
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From-O611-CAT QUARTER CD-r burn (originally on CBS Records, Germany)

Dunno what prompted Bill Shute to burn this one for me, other'n to tweak my nerve endings (nasty boy!). After all, it ain't like I ever really went for this fusion jazz which, when performed by Germans, sounds even STODGIER than the stuff comparatively more exciting Englishmen and Yankoids were cranking out. And man, most of that wasn't really so hot to begin with. Maybe we better humor them in case they get wise...I mean, have you ever seen the power of an angry Kraut??? One of those seventies records that came with a cover that was way more pleasing than the watered-down Soft Mechanisms to be found within the grooves.
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Various Artists-96 CAMELS WOULD LIKE TO KNOW CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Not whatcha'd call "A VERY SPECIAL EPISODE OF BILL SHUTE BURNS" by a long shot, but the thing does fill its purpose! Starting off with a rare Archie Bell and the Drells track (when I was a kid, I asked around inquiring as to what a "drell" actually was!) Bill's usually eclectic mix keeps the attention goin' even when you're up against such wonders as Ted Newman's early-sixties attempt to cash in on the "boy singer" rage or the Plus Four's not that strong (but I like it!) version of the Tremeloes' "Silence is Golden". The added radio clip novelty gunk (including a slightly sped up ABC radio report on the 1980 Kentucky Dribble) doesn't excite me like those old radio ads Bill sometimes sticks on, and while the music ain't anything to scream about it did make me feel better'n listening to my cyster try to sing in church.

But I will say that Bill ended it all on a fine note, what with Jackie Harris' down groove repeato riff "My Kind of Man" followed by the Rinky Dinks doing an equally negative energy hot instrumental, all ending with the Foundations of "Build Me Up Buttercup" fame tackling the all-time classic "96 Tears" and adding their own style of soul to rather boffo effect.
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You know you want 'em...old issues of BLACK TO COMM, right? Well pard, like what's keeping you from buying up a batch anyway? Not that these things're gonna sell out any eon soon, but better now when your eyes can read the tiny print than later on when...well, your mom did say you would go blind doing it...

Thursday, September 27, 2018

BOOK REVIEW! THE FLYING TRIO (Gawandaland Comics)


Hoo is this ba-ad stuff! Cheap art and sappoid stories...I coulda seen a whole slew of page-boy'd bell bottom and kerchief'd teenagers who made up the bulk of early-seventies comic fandom gag at the antics of these guys before returning to the safety of GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROWBLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN and of course the soothing strains of Carole King.

And that's not the only reason I like it!

The slapdash delineation found in this early-forties back-page feature from CRASH COMICS actually does appeal to me a whole lot more'n today's fine-penned and unintentionally TRITE style. A style which I get the idea is done up by young upstart primadonnas who think they're creating something unique and cutting edge as far as industry standards go yet its so cloyingly "same old" and wooden. In other words, the art probably fits the story to a "T". But, as we all know, all that'll get said doodler a cover story in COMIC ARTIST a good three years from now and maybe that's all that really matters!

Well, at least I get that impression just like I do the one where I imagine some "comics as aht" type right, at this very moment,  polishing up on his acceptance speech for the next Eisner Awards get together!

As for me well...I don't care if whoever it was that drew FLYING TRIO did it with his feet, because the cheap crank out look does more for me in my own counter-slob way than the whole of that abysmal style that makes up the creme of the last four decades of comic art. And it is way more pleasing on the eyes as well.

The simplified broken down stories with loose ends and unanswered all over the place questions also prove that FLYING TRIO had a whole lot more going for it than all of those graphic novels from the seventies on...after all, this series was nothing but filler and like it wasn't anything that was gonna actually sell a mag the way a costumed hero or skinny teenager with red hair onna cover would. But for the same kids Bill Shute always seems to mention who were out for a cheap entertainment thrill and had that now-long lost sense of adventurism and what it means to be an adolescent stay at home schlub on God's Great Earth, this sure meant more than the latest slobberin' picture as Beaver would have said. Straight ahead fun that was to the point, concentrating on what needs to be concentrated on and nothing more.

Kinda like a stripped-down BLACKHAWK, THE FLYING TRIO featured the antics of three Soldiers of Fortune stuck in the mythical Eastern Euro nation of Sylvania during those pre-WW II days when everybody knew something big was gonna happen but the big question was when. Two of the guys seem to be yer standard gosh all golly hero types with nothing special to separate 'em from the reams of similar types in the comics, radio and film realm. The third, surprisingly enough, is a Chinese who, as you would expect, spurts out more pearls of Oriental* wisdom than Joe Jitsu himself! Oddly enough this particular character named "Low" seems to be the real wild card (and most interesting character) of the bunch---not necessarily some Cholly-esque Chinese comedy relief but a guy who takes the big risks and gets away with it each and every time...sorta! As far as personality and general like-atude go Low is the one who stands out far more than his compats, and it's easy to see that he certainly ain't no "Chop Chop" from BLACKHAWK who was such a stooped cretin that I'm sure many readers had a hard time believing he was human!

Well anyway, take that you hidebound moral guardians who think that everything from the wicked "past" is evil, racist, sexist and the rest of those naughty "-ists" which should be shielded from modern day sensibilities!

There's a lot that's packed into these four page stories even if plenty had to be left out for "practical purposes" (well, could you think of a better excuse?). But sheesh, why do I find these adventures so much more entertaining and "satisfying" than I do just about every shard of comic book entertainment that's been shoved at me since the days I turned away from the medium with a vengeance? Answer ain't hard to figger...give this 'un a read and find out for yourself!

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*Yeah, I know that the term "Oriental" is verboten in certain quarters for reasons I still cannot fathom, but it sure is grand to watch the easily offended types squirm with moral indignation every time I sneak something that could be considered offensive into my writings, and usually on purpose! And, as we all should know, in these Old Biddy days just about EVERYTHING can be twisted and shaped into someone's idea of "racism" if they put their all-knowing minds to it, just like any simple phrase or saying can be construed as being "dirty" as the little boy said to the little girl on the way to the picnic.