Thursday, June 21, 2018


I've read MANY books on rock 'n roll over the years, some good and some---who am I kidding?---MANY just a whole load of socially-conscious hippie rehash with little regards for the bared-wire intensity of it all. But man, I never read a book like THISWhile many books on the subject bask in a whole slew of "youth culture" hoo-hah and various speculations about the music vs. "The Man" and the ultimate significance of the venereal warts on those veiled gals that "popped up" on the cover of that Alan Parsons Project album, here's a book that digs straight into the heart of what rock 'n roll as that funtime hobby and soundtrack for your life really is supposed to mean! For once there's a read for "us" (the rock kultur minded) that is geared towards our standard suburban slob senses, tackling the subject with all of the same verve and vigor we had when we were but mere adolescents and discovering the unbridled magic of music at large before real life dragged us ALL into the ground.

And the strangest thing about it all is that this tome for the times is perhaps one of the most indecipherable rock 'n roll books I've read! It's part biography, music collecting trivia, collectors ephemera and who knows what else, yet it's all presented to you in a sturdy hard-bound book that lets you wander over all the pages marveling at the record covers and the text as well as reprints of...USED RECORD CATALOGS???
Might sound strange, but man does it all work out and I mean DOES IT ALL WORK OUT!!!!

You may remember, either through your own collecting experiences or time hanging out on a variety of rock scenes,  just who Paul Major is. He's the guy who is to records what Supersnipe was to comic books. In other words he's got more wild, obtuse, rock 'n freakin' records in his collection than most record shops keep in stock these days! A collector par excellence who knows more about rock 'n roll collecting (as a way of life instead of a mere passing fancy) and owns perhaps the brightest collection of the stuff to be seen on this planet than any of us EVER will! Not only that but at times Major has been generous enough to sell some of these items (even to me!) via his mailorder biz called respectively SOUND EFFECTS and later on FEEL THE MUSIC where his various record listings were accompanied by personal descriptions (sometimes autobiographical) of the platters at hand. And as far as knowledge goes he sure knew a whole lot about rock albums common and obscure, that's how devoted to the cause of Rock As A Way Of Life this guy was and shall remain.

This book captures the spirit of it all in a way that you too will seep into his  own world and live vicariously through his actions and acquisitions the way you always wished you could but hey, it ain't like yer ever gonna find a copy of some 100-pressed local garage band artifact amidst the reams of High School choir platters scattered about your local Goodwill bin now, are you?

If anyone could be called a fan of rock 'n roll in all its wildest manifestations well, I'm sure Major is in the running for TOP OF THE HEAP contender. A collector since his paperboy route days, Major eventually went from his Louisville MC5 revolutionary teenbo years to a stint in St. Louis as a member of local punk rock group the Mouldy Dogs (they rubbing elbows with the infamous Screamin' Mee-Mees!) before heading off to rock active En Why See where he ended up in the Tears and ultimately the metallically-inclined Sorcerers, considered one of the best of the unknown and under-represented bands on the scene at the time.

From there on well...not only did Major eventually start up the way underappreciated yet stellar Endless Boogie band (see last Sunday's post for more info) but grew and grew his record collection (and record business) to the point where I'm sure no regular fan could keep up with the manic pace of it all! But I would greatly assume that Major is made of STURDIER stuff! And it's all captured in this hardcover book and as far as books go well, it's just something you'll have to experience more'n just peruse or even downright "read".

First part of the book is pretty much a collection of Major's pre-collecting fame years chock fulla interesting items such as a letter to CREEM, various fliers promoting band gigs and thankfully more than a few lines on the infamous Sorcerers, complete with live action pics taken at Max's Kansas City showin' 'em off to be more'n just your typical jean jacket local heavy metal band. (They look more like your un-typical local hardnosed not-so-cliched early-seventies local band who copped their looks from various Iggy and the Stooges snaps found in ROCK SCENE.)

After the scrapbook introduction we get treated to a nice hodgepodge of various Paul Major artyfacts, from various reviews (complete with savvy cover snaps) of items he might or might not care that much anymore (mostly rarer than rare finds done up by hard rock kiddies out west who never did get that break) along with Christian-oriented items of interest that actually rock on and of course the esoteric and the perhaps even downright silly. Lemme tell ya, romping through this book is almost as good as if you went over to Major's very own digs and went looking through his record collection yourself, only without having the opportunity to swipe a few that is!

The reprints of various choice SOUND EFFECTS and FEEL THE MUSIC catalogs might seem a little too outta-the-way for just about any rock book, but here these items do fit in swell considering not only the bevy of rare and crucial items Major had up for sale (and at prices that might have seemed too high for your pocketbook back then but just try FINDING one of these rarities now!) but his entertaining descriptions which like I said can get pretty interestingly autobio at times. Like an old issue of NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS or DENIM DELINQUENT, it's always good to have something like this around in case you're thinking about buying some rarity yet there are no immediate sources to lead you on as to whether said item is worth the moolah to part with. Yeah, this book will end up being one of my favorite references when it comes to those items of "questionable" historical and jam-kicking value, snuggled on the shelf right next to my various Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer treasures 'natch!

The between-chapter patter from various fans and acolytes might seem overdone to some, but we ain't talkin' a testimonial dinner to the company janitor retiring after sixtysome years but a collector who thankfully is getting some needed hosannas thanks to the efforts of a few good friends. And after reading this you too will feel like you know Major just as well as his pals, that's how focused and true to the core (the core being rock 'n roll) this package most certainly is!

Of course the bigbigBIGGEST surprise about this FEEL THE MUSIC just HAS TO BE not the actual book in itself but the enclosed seven-inch record found safely snuggled in the inside front cover. Not knowing what the heck it was I was under the false impression that maybe the thing was a sampling of some of the obscure and impossible to find for under a thousand bucks music taken from those fifty-cent finds that have cluttered up Major's collection for nigh on fiftysome years. Wrong again pud, for this single (presented at 33 rpm at that!) consist of (now get this!) one side of Sorcerers and the other Endless Boogie and man was that a surprise!

If you read last Sunday's post you'll know about how much I dig Endless Boogie's primal approach to the matter at hand (being rock 'n roll) and "Acknowledgements" is no different than the boff sounds to be found elsewhere in Endless Boogie's canon---hard down and dirty late-sixties psychedelic punk gunch that sounds even BETTER here in the dark reaches of that future we all looked forward to at least since the days when THE JETSONS were promising us technological advances beyond our wildest dreams. However it's the other side that's really got me so hot and bothered I thought I was going to turn into the Wild Man of Borneo upon play, for on this side appears a track by the wanted-to-hear-them-for-thirtysome-years-already SORCERERS!!! Man is it a total eruption killer that might have been too "base" for the people at the sophisticated New York magazines,  but it sure comes off beyond exciting and something that really refreshes your own sagging spirit of existence with its outright brash hard-edged mania that we sure could use a lot more of these days.

How to describe "Dog's Life" for those of you without ears---definitely late-sixties/early-seventies hard rock cusp, perhaps punk rock in that CREEM sense yet heavy metal in a way that Sorcerers would have fit in swell with that 1981 CREEM HM special I still refer to even these many years later. Its psychedelic as well since I do hear some Stalk Forrest shards out and about while the overall rage comes rather close to Sonic Rendezvous' "City Slang" in its overall bludgeoning drive for comfort. "Dog's Life" would have fit in perfectly with those various BONEHEAD CRUSHERS collections, perhaps even blowing the other tracks right off that grooves that's how high energy crazed it is! No wonder the elites shunned this one since it had little to do with their own ideas of where rock 'n roll was supposed to be "heading", but I get the impression that had Sorcerers stuck it out a little longer there might have been a record deal somewhere down the line and well...I'm sure that album woulda been a prime flea market find somewhere around 1985 way.

More Sorcerers is definitely needed, but until then I'm hoarding all the Endless Boogie I can lay my mitts on which is something every self-respecting reader of this blog should also being doing. I mean, who knows when an even STRONGER anti-rock cold spell than the one we're in now will be hitting us, eh?

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