Saturday, February 17, 2018

After last week's belated "year end" roundup it's sure great to get back into the reg'lar swing of things! Hope ya like the bright, bouncy and bountiful batch that I have served up for you some real goodies in here that I'm sure'll make this week's entry rank as one of the BEST BLOG TO COMM POSTINGS SEEN IN QUITE SOME TIME! And considering the rise in quality around these parts (heh!) that's really saying something!
Hey, whadja think of that latest high school shoot 'em up down in Ef-El-Lay as Lou Reed woulda called it? Dunno about you, but way deep down in my filet of soul I gotta say that it sure must have taken a whole lotta courage for this Cruz kid to do what all of us suburban slob under-the-outkid types like myself only dreamed about throughout those lonely years of education. Talk about a St. Valentine's Day Massacre too (seventeen and who knows, maybe even counting!)---I also (deep down in my f.o.s.) kinda hope that the people who got the bullets were the ones who DESERVED it---y'know,  the big time snoots that put everyone down or the brainy straight A class self-absorbed people who never take their noses outta ADVANCED EUGENICS AND HOW TO APPLY IT IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD. And of course those mean Miss Grundy types and the rest of the teaching staff who gain joy in humiliating students in front of others ostensibly to make us students "stronger" but mostly due to a strong sadistic streak. Not the Eddie Haskells for the new era of fresh ideas/ideals, rockist or otherwise that's for sure! The rest eh, they can all go to Fitzroy for all I care, and come to think of it some are already there!
Excuse me if I'm coming off giddier than an inmate in a women's penitentiary on banana day, but I gotta tell ya all that I do feel kinda high right now. No, not as in opiate abuse or boozerbliss (leave those for another time, another place when I'm not so jollysville), but right now I do have a more positive than usual opinion regarding myself. After all these years of throwing myself into rock 'n roll, just plain "rock" and other musical forms, I've come to the realization that yes, I am a "star".

Not as big a star as the biggies like Lou or Iggy might have been let alone Patti, Marc, Sky and many others who have come and gone before us. But a star nonetheless. A fan, an obsessive/compulsive, a collector and other well-admired attributes is what makes me one. And who knows, if you are reading this you ma be a star too! Of course Bill Shute is a bigger star, but he is still down-to-earth enough to associate with the lesser beings of the Solar System such as I. Brad Kohler, Paul McGarry and John "Inzane" Olson are stars, and so are most of the people who read this blog and the ones who aren't stars better know it by now or else they're just deluding themselves.

Other people I consider stars...Lester and Richard and all those fanzine guys like Jymn, Billy and Miriam and the BACK DOOR MAN gang, the Gizmo bunch, and all of those teenage girls and boys who spent the mid-sixties to the early-seventies buying up all those under-the-underground and "teenybopper" platters that the Troggs and Seeds were putting out, soon delving into Velvets, Barrett and Beefheart territory. If you own a copy of WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT and your name isn't Robert Christgau you're probably a star. That gal who threw the "WE LUV YOU JOHN" note at Shea which Meltzer copped is a star as well. (As for John, I believe he stopped being a star around the time he grew that ugly beard.) So is that gal in her ritzy suburban upper-middle-class home who, when asked by her mother what the title of that song she was playing was and replied "Heroin", and the boy who listened to the Velvets and went to New York City and saw things he never saw before and did things he never did before as well is most DEFINITELY a star. I wonder what both are up to these days...I'm afraid they might have gone the straighter-than-thou route and prefer not to talk about their past "indiscretions", but I still get the feeling that when the grandkids have gone home they sneak FUNHOUSE onto the ol' Victrola and re-groove to those dangerous and exciting days just like they woulda the first time they got that spinner into their sweaty palms.

The Shaggs are stars. Lady Caga is not. And true we may not be living the wild ride that the likes of Henry Miller, Harry Crosby or J. Paul Getty III did but we're tryin' bub, we're tryin'.

Yes, there are MANY stars up and about, and I ain't talking metaphorically as in Aleister Crowley's "Every man and woman is a star" quote that opened HOLLYWOOD BABYLON. And golly ned if I don't feel that even the geekiest of sixties/seventies and beyond kids who threw themselves into the Big Beat wasn't a star in his own right. As for a good portion of the fanzine and rock critic cadre types I've come across these past thirtysome years, they sure ain't stars as far as I can tell .Maybe black holes would be a better way to describe this breed of scum but that's another post. Don't wanna ruin the high energy vibes I am wallowin' in right now y'know...
Here's one of those top ten/twenty/whatever playlists like people writing into THE NEW YORK ROCKER used to include with their letters in order to show just how hip and with it they are...Amon Duul II-TANZ DER LEMMINGS CD (Mantra, France), JUMP CD (Kismet), "Sweet Sister Ray" from the Velvet Underground's CAUGHT BETWEEN THE TWISTED STARS set, Cluster-ZUCKERZEIT, Michael Nyman-DECAY MUSIC and Dark Carnival-GREATEST SHOW IN DETROIT. Boy do I feel like the complete and superior over all of you kinda guy just for name dropping these platters I'll tell ya!
Before I get into the prime portion of this post (the reviews!) I gotta relay a neat dream I had Wednesday where none other than Marc Bolan (looking more 1971 than 1974 bloat---in fact he looks a lot like the Bolan from the cover of the first "T" 'stead of "Tyrannosaurus" Rex platter) is in my basement with his "wife" (who seems your typical neat if still bluejeaned early-seventies college co-ed) and my cyster the way she kinda looked back then and I'm spinning  THE SLIDER for him (first at the wrong speed, which didn't sound that noticeably different!). The weird thing about it is that even HE asked if he was singing "Bacciagalupe" instead of "Metal Guru" on the opening track number! Who would have known that Bolan was an Abbott and Costello fan! Somehow we're suddenly just east of downtown Sharon PA around where the library is and Marc sez he's gotta go home so he begins walking towards the "lower class" part of the town where I guess he resides in my dream while I trot back, record stack under my arm, to the place where the dream was originally taking place, the route of which looks all concrete and high fashion for some strange reason.

Well, it's better than the dream I had afterwards where my "grandfather" (who looks and dresses liek a 1940's character actor) arrives and calls me a sicko pre-vert type who should be committed, after which I am in a public shopping mall wearing nothing but a long blue t-shirt (no underwear!) which covers my genitalia even though my "bulge" sticks out and I'm desperately trying to avoid some cousins who just happen to be sitting nearby. Of course they spot me trying to ignore them.
Here's what you've been waiting for...thanks to the usual crew for the gibsmedats and of course to myself for the way I treat myself ever so kindly with these purchases. Read on, MacDuff!

Sandy Ewen/Weasel Walter-IDIOMATIC CD (ugEXPLODE Records)

Weasel Walter teams up with improvisational guitarist Sandy Ewen on this nearly eighty-minute jaunt that reminds me of such other interstellar improvisational acts as latterday (talking seventies-era) AMM. Not that they sound like that famed English musical crew but the same type of sartorial strains can be discerned throughout these tracks. Great enough wafting sounds and outright blares to keep your attention, and if you're one of those people who have been entranced by this breed of exploration ever since you thumbed through the music section of some "alternative weekly" type of rag and wanted to hear for yourself ,you know what to do already!
Various Artists-STOOGES JUKEBOX CD-r burn (one of those Mojo Magazine "giveaway" Cee-Dees you can find onna web for a pretty cheap price)

Dunno about you, but I like many of these theme-based compilations of songs that influenced so-and-so, or some famous doofus' favorite tracks, or songs that Don Fellman listened to after a hard day getting beat up at school that have been making the rounds these past ten or so years. This 'un is no exception---here the Ig of Stooge himself selected a whole buncha his fave rave numbers and MOJO magazine actually had the courage to release the thing even if most of us already have all these tracks in one form or another in our collections. But eh, like I said the personalist nature of such a collection is what gets me excited---after all, this is probably the next best thing to sneaking into Brad Kohler's digs while he's at work and listening to all of his records and such getting into the close quartered FEEL of the thing. Tracks include such immortal faves as "Surfin' Bird", "Tall Cool One", Bo Diddley's rankin' classic "Say Man" and other not-so-oddities from the likes of Link Wray, Junior Kimbrough, the Last Poets and the Mothers of Invention.
The Panacea Society-WE DON'T DIG DOOM CD (Dogfingers Records)

Yup, I was fooled by the Society's 10-inch clear vinyl EP with the bogus notes about 'em being a long-defunct late-sixties English commune act that basked in the eternal radiation of the Velvet Underground, Seeds and Thirteenth Floor Elevators! However (for those of you who must think that I am the eternal stoop for falling for a ruse such as this) as I said in the year before's NY eve cap I did have my suspicions.

But overall SO WHAT, because it turns out that the Panacea Society is an up and about group from these very days, and if this Cee-Dee is any indication these San Antonians are a pretty hotcha band that not only wallows in old, but newer forms of rock expression that don't sound as gloppy as one might think.

Various mid-eighties forms can be detected, from the neo-Velvet Underground rampage of Boston's Last Sacrifice to some toned down takes on what the spawn of the late-sixties local scene madmen a la Roky et al. were up to around the same time. (Think maybe a way subdued Butthole Surfers without the pee-pee.) Such attributes as TENSION and EMOTION as found in the best of the late-sixties musicmakers can be discerned while the material, while still "modern" enough to rate reviews in a variety of glossy magazines of a "subversive" nature, still borrows freely from the way more boffo past than they do the tender-treading present.

Not for the pure of rockist hearts true and I probably won't be spinning this much in the next hundred years, but the Panacea Society did put out a platter that rises, if slightly, above the reams of newer prance posing as the real tough underground rock deal. Worth an attempt to track down if you're of the post-rock yet pre-cyborg musical mindset, ifyaknowaddamean...

Needless to say there ain't much Devon and the Diplomats info to be found on the web, other'n their place of origin (Portsmouth England) and their ranking as a third-string mid-sixties beat act. These relatively primitive recordings do capture the  leanings of the Diplomats, who here sound like one of the edgier English groups with a style that's a whole lot looser than the usual bunch. That may be due to the recording quality but whatever helps boost up the rawness I'm all for it. Rather faithful covers of various Beatles fare and a rather Beatlesque "Roll Over Beethoven" point to what you all should more or less expect from these long obscured recordings. Who knows, you might eke a few beads of enjoyment outta it like I did.
Miles Davis-MORE STUDIO SESSIONS 1975-1976 CD-r burn

Can't say that this ain't mildly entertaining fusion that does "bop" one on the noggin, but correct me if I just don't think that the playing on Miles or anyone else's part really has that deep down swath of verve and vigor that I crave in my jazz. Not quite spirited, yet not quite gnarled. Only the set closer "TDK Funk" really got my back-brain up and moving and overall I can now see why those reviews at the time were quite middling. Here I thought it was just because them critics hated everything except Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor but sheesh, maybe there was more to it!
J. B Hutto and the New Hawks-SLIPPIN' AND SLIDIN' CD-r burn (originally on Varrick Records)

You might get the idea that da blooze ain't exactly something I settle back 'n listen to like alla those scruffy white guys in denim with greasy long hair usedta back inna seventies. But I do on occasion even if a lotta this music just tends to go right whoosh past me, and I ain't even talkin' about that new blues stuff that continues to get touted as the real deal a good thirtysome years after the debut of Robert Cray. Hutto's brand of expression ain't as down-home gritty as some of those earlier blues efforts that do "affect" me in ways where I don't have to "strain" myself to eke some enjoyment outta it (the Jr. Kimbrough track mentioned above). However, it sure beats the heck outta those recent real deal I got the down and dirty blues pity me making all this money stuff that I just can't hack no matter how many times I've been told that I am "supposed" to like it or else I can't be that complete and total human being everybody says I should be! Sheesh, I wish people would abide by MY rules for once in my life!

Welly golly golly golly if this particular post just ain't burstin' with blues what with the Stooges-related rouser, the Hutto platter and now this particular "tribute album" devoted to the works of Junior Kimbrough who gets a few words devoted to him in my STOOGES JUKEBOX writeup above. That's why I dug this 'un out in as you know I can't stand most of those cover/tribute concepts in my music collection but I don't mind about this one. It's got some halfway decent (and not-so) covers of Kimbrough that shine through even if the artists might be far from achieving even the slightest guttural bounce that the original had. Highlights include such worthies like the Black Keys as well as some you-thought-I'd-never-mention-'em types as the Blues Explosion, Spiritualized and none other than the reunited Stooges, who actually do their legacy good here with two versions of  "You Better Run" which open and close the thingie!
Various Artists-SACRED ALICE DAYDREAM SHIP CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Hey, this one starts with a Sacred Miracle Cave track. I think I used to hate 'em way back when, but their "Liquid In Me" comes off so psychedelic grunge that I in no way can see just why I didn't cozy up way back when. Dunno if the High Elevation who contributed "Odyssey" to this set are the same ones who popped up on PEBBLES VOLUME 3 but here they're doin' a good commercial late-sixties psych cash in that in now way could be called acid punk but why should we care.

Breaking the mood somewhat is Muggsy Spannier's "Alice Blue Gown" which sounds like the kinda 78 music you get on a silent comedy DVD...well, I can see the OUR GANG kids rollicking to the strains here. And yeah, the Crystal Chandelier that end up on this 'un just ain't the PEBBLES VOLUME 3 guy who thought he was Jim Morrison because hey, they sound NOTHING like the Doors! But who knows...

Ed Powers...sounds like one of those better late-sixties folk types who actually stepped far enough outside the Dylan-swipe sphere to create some interesting music. His "Mourning" had a good intense drive and folk rock backing that shoulda gone somewhere but like so what else is new? Even more surprising are the "song poems" from the Real Pros who take those kitchen table cantos and make 'em sound like actual (and good) late-sixties pop standards. And I guess ya hadda be a pro to take some mid-aged housewife's scribble and make musical sense outta it!

Fred Van Eps---more 78 rpm twenties twang that would sound good enough on some old Mack Sennett comedy this time. Quite Jungle and the Element who close this out are good cheap psych pop that ain't any great shakes (had I heard this stuff onna radio when I was eight I woulda kept searchin' until "Simon Says" got played) but good enough like when the latter gets into that rave up mid-section. And that's what Bill sent you wish you were his friend, right? Well, tough for you cuz he ain't as if he'd even want to spend a split second in your presence, y'know?


Head Company AB said...

You are right, you have made a good post this time. Please post more dreams of your grandfather. He sounds almost as cool as my dear Papa. He made a custom golf club for me to go golfing with him when I was only two years old. I hope you don't resort to your alcohol and opiates because you might not remember the next dream. P.s. not a star, I have a beard.

Christopher Stigliano said...

P is a star and as of this moment I have a beard (which I affectionately call my "Don Fellman") as well. Of course it's not as bushy as Lennon's but at least I trim the thing sorta.