Saturday, May 12, 2018


For a nice change of pace I thought I'd review for youyouYOU some cassettes that have been moiling away in my collection for quite a long period of time. Old stuff, newer stuff, stuff that can also be found in modes either less or more advanced. Just stuff I found in some box blocking the entrance to my room that I decided to spin if only to prove to you what lucky people you are tuning into this blog 'stead of the competition.


The eighties "cassette culture" might have given us a whole load of cloistered bedroom brouhahas that didn't really translate well outside of the minds of the inhibited types who recorded 'em, but quite a few were good enough that had they come out on actual vinyl they might have sold a few copies---more than a few even! This one's definitely one of the better of the batch, a tape from that killer outfit "Your Mom Too" which not only featured the once-all over the place rock critic (a term I am using derisively---we weren't exactly friends y'know) Frank Kogan but some gal named Leslie Singer doing the underground trip a whole lot better'n I remember a whole buncha people doin' it back thirtysome years way.

The "Your Mom Too" side sure sounds like it was recorded in an Ashbury St. apartment on a hot humid day with the windows wide open and the sweat sticking to know...whatevers. Most of it sounds like Singer screaming her neo-Lydia Lunch-ish vocals to someone-or-other (prob'ly Kogan) flailing away on an acoustic guitar.  Kogan gets to sing too, but not as much since it's Singer's game, and although I'd normally click this stuff off within the span of a minute or so there seems to be something quite redeeming to it all! It's as if maybe this ain't the art project these kinda people usually make it out to be and still has some connection (no matter how tangential it may be) to that seventies-era straight squonk that sounded so good then burned out so fast.

Flip it over and we now get to hear Singer singing to a blaring electric guitar before Kogan takes over first with a steady live rock 'n roller before going into some rather well-crafter country folk outings, including a halfway decent rendition of the Terry Hartman classic "The Alcohol of Fame". Surprisingly sturdy music for a bunch of boho nohos, and something that I maybe should give a spin more often than the ten or so years it usually takes me to get to this.
Albert Ayler-MY NAME IS ALBERT AYLER/Steve Lacy and Michael Smith-SIDELINES cassette

In the days before Cee-Dee-Ares Bill sent me wares on cassettes, and surprisingly enough this one still plays after all theses years! The Ayler one's from his early days playing in Sweden where he did a whole buncha standards and the like in his own inimitable much imitated by both the good and the bad style while the Swedes backing him probably were wondering what was going on with this crazy guy! On the Lacy and Smith album, the former pays pretty good homage to Ayler albeit in Lacy's special angular fashion while Smith pounds chords that veer from classical to St. Bernard on the keys. Got cut off at the end tho, so I'll never find out how it ends up.
Dennis Carleton-RETRO (Green Light, PO Box 19154, Cleveland OH 44119)

Carleton's what I would call a Cleveland power pop rock LIVING LEGEND and although he is pretty much a celebrity with a rap sheet that extends all the way back to the mid-sixties you can bet he has to struggle to make ends meet while lesser talents get their extracurricular drugs and booze free. And so what if he has to toot his own horn because the guy DESERVES TO, and that's just what he did with this nineties-vintage cassette which more or less comes off as a "Greatest Hits" collection for a guy who couldn't get played on the radio if you payola'd the local stations for all the money in the bank.

Side one features Carleton in his sixties and seventies outfits from the Lost Souls and Choir through Moses and the Cleveland Cuties laying down the foundation for the Cleveland Sound and doin' a pretty good job of it. The songs are spry and commercial in that boss sixties way too and considering just how rare the Cuties single "Pregnant Molly"/"Could She Love Me" is (perhaps even rarer than the Don Young Productions one) where else are you going to hear this mid-seventies claim for the Raspberries/Circus market? And who could forget Carleton's re-make of the Milk via Pagans classic "Boy Can I Dance Good" which sounds even more like a sly putdown of seventies decadent rockstar worship than the Pagans take did!

The "B-side" has the newer, perhaps more modern Carleton at the helm and although the sound may be eighties (ie. cheap casiosynthetic at spots) the tunes are still boffo seventies-derived rock. It's as if all of the bad moments and movements of eighties rock (except for casiosynths) never happened what with the pop meter being cranked up to a level that just didn't fit in with them days. And good for him (and us) because this tape is a fine tribute to one of the forgotten men of Cleveland and if this stuff had only gotten out more maybe we wouldn't have had to suffer through Bon Jovi inna first place. Although I frankly doubt it.

Imants Krumins used to send me tapes of this show and as far as presenting an interesting portion of what was happening in punk-unto-punque rock at the time well, it is an interesting "cross-section". Or maybe it's a good cross-section of a cross-section of a cross-section. Lotsa rarities on this particular program, some which are even of interest to me such as a few of the Australian offerings which might be going for beaucoup as we speak. Of course I hadda put up with the stoopid interviews and the annoying announcers whose self-righteousness just oozes from their mouths straight into my speakers but them's the breaks I guess. The price I gotta pay to give a listen to something different!
Hawklords-25 YEARS ON (Charisma, England)

Basically a newer version of Hawkwind with Robert Calvert as leader, 25 YEARS ON roars on kinda like a more rock 'n roll-y version of QUARK STRANGENESS AND CHARM with a vision meant to fit in with the new breed of "cold wave" that was making itself known at the time. Going beyond the standard Hawkwind formula these 'lords not only swipe from themselves but from a number of electronic-minded mavens of the day thanks to Calvert's uh, more extraterrestrial than thou mind. Coulda used an early Pere Ubu sense of terror and tension but given Calvert's mental stability be glad we got this much!
Sam Rivers-HUES/SIZZLE cassette tape

This is one that Brad Kohler sent me ages back and it sure comes in handy while the Cee-Dee boom box is acting up. '75's HUES is standard Rivers on a free bared wire groove typical of the Loft Era's post-Ayleristic approach while next year's SIZZLE has an almost commercial swing to it that still sounds pleasing even if you start thinking that Rivers is attempting some GRAMMY-READY MATERIAL when he gets into his flute flights. Kinda makes me nostalgic for the days when the New Thing was such hot gravy that even Anthony Braxton could get a major contract with college nerd kids swooning at his ever bleat just like it was Trad All Over!
The Turn-Ups-COSMIC DEBRIS (We Say So Records)

These guys were Billy Synth's back-up group who did some things on their lonesome, this 1984 cassette being just one of 'em and it's a doozy. Nothing earth-shaking but still pretty hot early-eighties post-apocalypse (that being seventies underground spasms) rock that owes quite a bit to the rabid sixties of yore yet is still rooted in eighties technologies and rose-tinted rear view mirrors. All originals too which is neat enough considering that bands ought to be ORIGINAL (and in a good way too!). Side two was left blank but the first thirty minutes of this was enough to remind me of a whole lotta eighties talent that got wooshed under the tide of Madonna and that sorry ilk, which is one reason that I am about as nostalgic for those days as I am nostalgic for Castor Oil.
Patti Smith Group-LA FORUM 9-11-96

That's on one side of the tape, the other has the Musickhaus in Hamburg 8/1/96 show and both of 'em are pretty snat if you ask me! I usually don't go for post RADIO ETHIOPIA Patti that much if at all, but I really liked the ambiance of these recordings...oddly enough, they sorta had a San Francisco ballroom feeling that reminded me of some obscure act that might have played there once before floating off into that Opium Den in the Sky. Old faves and new, and surprisingly exhilarating in spots if you can believe that.
Pere Ubu-REHEARSAL 9/75

It sure didn't tale long for the first wave of Cleveland underground rock to slip into the second, given that the corpse of Rocket From The Tombs was only a good month-plus old when these Pere Ubu rehearsals were getting into gear. Without the presence of synthesizer the spirit of Rocket shines through on the "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" takes and re-takes while "Heart of Darkness" sounds quite rabid in this embryonic form. Given what this musical movement was to sound like in a good five-plus year's time it sure does one good to give these songs a listen to and appreciate 'em for what they once meant to addled suburban slobs with asparagus disease who sure dreamed that one day they would get a glimpse of the outer universe.
MX-80 LIVE 4/10/92 (Quadruped Productions)

I believe I reviewed a CD-r burn of this a good seven years back. But since this is a "Cassette Caga" and not a "CD-r Burn Caga" why not give it another go to! Amierga's favorite under-the-counterculture hard rock jazz fusion whatever band live in some San Francisco dive in front of an audience of ten cooking as if they were playing the Fillmore with Bill Graham thinking up new cuss words to use as soon as they got off. Nice "feeling" to it all and a fantastic performance of then-old and now just plain older material. I dunno why Bruce Anderson never made it as a professional flash guitarist, but naturally I'm glad he didn't!

A Jim Clinefelter collection I reviewed in #17 of my rag, featuring tracks mostly well known but not quite scattered about on a 90-minute cassette. Total Cleveland and Akron area oriented complete with various first wave (Electric Eels, Paul Marotta) and afterwards material that chronicles the state of the area from dark insect doom to new wave glitz. Of course we've all heard these tracks before and heard them many a time, but who says we can't hear 'em even MORE now that time is drifting away and like, you ain't gonna be hearing this stuff when you're dead!

The Circle recordings were whatcha'd call a pretty good documentation of a late-seventies Euro jazz festival, and finding the various albums in the series really ain't as hard a task as you might think. Fortunately I not only have the vinyl versions of these shows but both on a cassette which does make for handy listening. Two three-piece sets (with drummer Charlies Bobo Shaw the only constant), the first featuring whiz saxophonist Luther Thomas and bassist John Lundberg and the second guitarist James Emery and trombonist Joseph Bowie. Intimate approach yet total free splurt in front of a small but appreciative audience. Each set contains a version of "Concere Natashiah", perhaps this loose aggregation's theme song and a doozy of a theme song it most certainly is.


MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Did you ever review/get hold of the Sick Dick & the Volkswagens cassette? I know you’ve mentioned them somewhere.

Christopher Stigliano said...

Try this: