Thursday, August 30, 2018

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! THE MAN IS ARMED! starring Dane Clark and William Talman (Republic, 1956)

Dane Clark plays Johnny Morrison, this schlub of a truck driver who just got outta the pen after doing a year for taking the rap for a robbery. First thing he does once he hits El Lay is visit his former co-worker who spilled the beans on him and topple him over an apartment roof to the concrete a good ten stories down. Then he shows up at his old place of employment looking for a break, and his boss tells him that it was HE who pulled the job and made Johnny the patsy!

It gets even better---rather than sock his former boss Johnny decides to get involved in a big haul that's bound to bring in a good million or so. Johnny's also hitched up with his old galpal who has been pumping it up with a new flame in the interim, an intern on his way up inna medical profession. And of course the heist goes on and Johnny seems to get away with both the murder and the heist, only there's a big double cross from one of his co-workers who ruins his alibi and then the boss decides to pull a fast one and...well, it all goes down pretty good just like those late movies you watched from the fifties until the eighties and somehow after watching it all you have this nice satisfied feeling to go to bed with.

For being an actor who never quite flibbened my jib Clark is fine as the psycho ex-con even though he coulda played it a whole lot crazier a la Cagney in WHITE HEAT if only to get this film into overdrive. May Wynn as the secretary who has to choose between Johnny and the Doctor is typical fifties b-flick leading gal material...you may think she's kinda one-dimensional but I'll take her over all of those self-assertive females I've seen onna boob tube these past few decades. William Talman as the boss is perfect what with that slimy PERRY MASON aura of Hamilton Burger transposed to the crooked head of a trucking company while Barton MacLaine as the cop out to get 'em is well...Barton MacLaine!

Dunno if the old "film noir" revival of the late-twentieth century is still in gear but if it is this li'l sleeper would make a nice addition to the list. Nothing that's gonna make any big city film critic's top ten list, but isn't that the down to earth reason why you all should go see the thing???

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

LIVE CONCERT REVIEW BY BRAD KOHLER! BLONDE BOY WILSON!

I went to high school with Mr. Wilson. He was blonde, if not yet Blonde Boy Wilson, and a somewhat legendary character and studious curator of his own myth. He was a STONES fan, but his snide sense of humor made him appreciate Lou Reed, which is where we found common ground.

Based in NYC for some time, I can hear some of his Stones fixation in his music, but the dominant strain seems to be New Jersey and acts like the J. Geils Band, not that I've ever bothered to listen to them. (I have a DVD collection of SCTV episodes which contains a show Geils et. all guested on, but I fast forwarded through their songs. By the way, Martin Scorcese is doing a documentary movie on SCTV which at the very least may feature the clip of Rick Moranis as Woody Allen doing the "Are you talking to me?" scene from TAXI DRIVER. Still hilarious.)

Blonde Boy Wilson writes some sharply acerbic lyrics, especially when it comes to treacherous women even if his backing comes off a mostly generic (for God's sake, boost the guitar and subdue the sax). Some studio cuts I've heard are topical, or were topical...references to Operation Desert Storm or waterboarding mildewed long ago, a curio that reminds me of an updated David Peel on angel dust.

The best cut to these ears, and really someone more versed in the genre may be able to guide you better, is "Wallstreets". If that one sticks with you, one can delve into more Blind Boy Wilson releases - all at your fingertips on the web at ten bucks a pop. At the very lease he's pursued his own dogged path, and beter to be an Armand Schauerbroek in these cyborg times than cut-and-paste indie rock weebils.

DOUBLE-LP RECORD REVIEW BY BRAD KOHLER! Simply Saucer-CYBORGS REVISITED (EXTENDED) (In The Red Records)

I assume we all are familiar with the considerable merits of this, one of the all time top spinners. OK class, then let's move on. What you get here, in a nice gatefold package, is the rest of the live show that made up side two of their original LP. "Rock n' Roll Brain Cells" is propelled by a primordial ooze of bass guitar and drums along with "I Feel Alright" refrain, even if the direct homage to their Velvet Underground heroes with a "Sweet Jane"/"I'm Waiting For My Man" alluded to in the liner notes is nowhere to be found. Whatever, I would've guessed they would have somehow channeled "Hey Mr. Rain" completely drenched with Ping Romany synth, even though there is no way they could have known about it at the time.

"I Can Change My Mind" will never be one of my faves of theirs, but it sounds better here than on the somewhat sterile 45 that really wasn't representative of them at their awe inspiring peak. "Gonna Throw it All Away" is a slow burner in which the fuse burns out before the tune can resolve itself. But the folllowingsong "Limitless Love" is a corker I could have seen the Troggs doing.

A six pack of Moldon Golden, some Tim Horton doughnuts and whatever other substances you have on hand will launch you into the rarefied air this monster inhabits. So go for it, and go all in. Oh Canada indeed!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

COMIC BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! HENRY ALDRICH #21 (Dell Comics, June 1954)

Among my recently acquired batch of fifty-cent comics was a cut-cover copy of the second-to-last issue of the HENRY ALDRICH series. THE ALDRICH FAMILY was a massive hit on radio (running from 1939-1953) and then in movies and in television, and the inevitable comic book adaptation came from Dell in 1950 and ran for four years and 22 issues.

I’ve heard about the radio show and the films, though I’ve never heard a show or watched a film, but fortunately, you do not need any background or backstory whatsoever to enjoy this comic book. The franchise is built around the character of quirky and bumbling but loveable Henry Aldrich, who is in his late teens, his parents and extended family and neighbors, and his best friend and neighbor Homer.

The best way for me to describe this comic book is to ask you to imagine a character who is like a cross between Archie and an older Dennis The Menace placed in a more slapstick-oriented version of the OZZIE AND HARRIET or LEAVE IT TO BEAVER family. In fact, I’ve never thought of this connection before, not being really familiar with the Aldriches, but Ozzie Nelson definitely was influenced by THE ALDRICH FAMILY in his creation of the OZZIE AND HARRIET universe.

It’s hard to do sit-com style comedy well in the comic book format ----the real thing relies so much upon timing, set-ups for jokes, tight back-and-forth editing, established personas of the regular characters which have to be understandable to first-time watchers while not repeating what the regular viewers already know, etc., and it can’t be TOO wordy though it relies on jokes--it’s EXTREMELY hard to do well and in a way that’s timeless and holds up 50 years after the fact....just look at the many un-funny shows of the 50’s-60’s era, some of which are still aired on nostalgia channels today), but HENRY ALDRICH #22 hits a home run in that department--it’s as entertaining and funny in the quirky-family-humor vein as an Edgar Kennedy comedy short or a Columbia BLONDIE movie, but etched on the comic-book page. The first story (the stories are not titled) deals with a family picnic to which various free-loading extended family members and neighbors (and their pets) invite themselves---the humor here has more of the sarcastic “bite” of an Edgar Kennedy short than the gentler feel of OZZIE AND HARRIET. The second (which could have been a LEAVE IT TO BEAVER or DENNIS THE MENACE episode) has Henry’s father having to get a client to sign an important contract he’s been reluctant to sign--Dad goes to the person’s office to find him, while the man comes to the Aldrich office and meets up with Henry, who is filling in for someone who is taking the day off, and whose quirkiness totally wins the man over and gets him to sign the contract. Next, Henry loans a two-dollar bill to his friend Homer, who offers to change it for him, but it blows out of Homer’s hand and in between two buildings with just an inch-or-so clearance and he has to fish it out somehow without admitting that that’s what he’s doing--the problem is that Henry needs that money in a few hours for an important date he’s got lined up for that evening. The final story features Henry’s pal HOMER in his own story. Homer overhears his girlfriend ordering a bunch of food items and party supplies for someone named “Bobby,” and of course he’s jealous and bumbles his way through figuring out what it is going on.

As stated earlier, this comic does a great job of doing 50’s family-sitcom style comedy--it’s as successful as a LEAVE IT TO BEAVER episode or Archie Comics at their finest. The Henry Aldrich comic books are public domain and available for all to read for free at comicbookplus.com , so you can experience this actual issue yourself and see what you think. I’m going to suggest to Gwandanaland Comics that they consider putting together a Henry Aldrich collection...maybe they’ll just sell the one copy to me (or two, if I buy Chris a copy for his birthday!), but I hope some of YOU will pick up a copy too. After all, doesn’t EVERYONE want a comic book as satisfying as an Edgar Kennedy comedy short or a DENNIS THE MENACE TV episode?

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Once again, the PHANTOM PHANABLA strikes with a boffo weekend post to make your funtime even more ginchy-gooshy what with alla the reviews and nooze that I have in store for ya. As you can tell from the music that flowed through my eternal being (oooh, I better stop reading Rod McKuen!) I've had a boffo week listening to some new musics that continue to speak for my existence more than people like you (who think you know more about me than I do myself!) ever will. Ah, but why be such an old turdball when I got this music to protect me more'n Paul Simon's books and poetry ever did! (I threw that line in only to razz Don Fellman...I'm sure he'll get the gag even if you don't!)
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Gotta give thanks to the ones who deserve it, like Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and (now get this!) BOB FORWARD for the items sent for review. Ditto Feeding Tube Records, who keep sending me these things at such a fast rate it'll take centuries for me to get through it all! Managed to work three of their longplayers into the post, so I am catching up kinda/sorta. And heck, even one of the items found in this week's gab was earned from the sweat of my own brow, or in my case the sweat of my buttcrack considering the weather, and although the item didn't set me back monetarily that much well, you can tell that I am not the Jack Benny-esque tightwad that some consider me when it comes to spending my own moolah!


Henry "Red" Allen-RECORDED DOCUMENT, THE AVANT GARDE YEARS 2-LP set (Merritt Record Society Records)

With the term "avant garde" inserted into the title of this double-header I had visions of this trumpeter guy blasting forth in pure Lester Bowie frenzy while dressed in a dashiki and rattling a whole slew of gourds in the process. Oh, I guess they meant "avant garde" in that pre-freeform sorta way meaning that the music at hand was being judged on its foresightedness instead of how much of a ruckus it could raise. But eh, this set is still hot boppin' what with the thirties-vintage small group jazz that Red and company (including such names as Fletcher Henderson and the inimitable because she's so good doofs don't know who she is Victoria Spivey) roar through with heart palpatatin' results. Full takes, mis-takes and other surprise pop up on this seventies-vintage throwtogether that I'll bet has really received the royal reissue treatment by now.
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Plankton Wat-PLANETS AROUND THE SON OR VICE VERSA OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT CD-r (Bob Forward)

Dunno what the origin of this is or whether or not the name of the group is the title or vice versa. Y'see, Bob has the habit of sending me disques with loads of cover copies and like, sometimes the covers get away from the disques so I don't know what I am listening to! But no matter what the shitsuation is this platter is great! It starts off with some instrumentals that have this Tad Gros Och Stenar-sorta repeato riff communal jam sound, while the only vocal piece reminds me of some better'n usual West Coast 1969 garage band attempt at karmik whooziz. Much of the rest has what I would call a "kosmiche" sound or better yet comes off like synthetic Harmonia buzz and jerk. Not bad at all, and if this act whoever they are is a current affair I would be all the more surprised since a lotta this sounds like it came straight from some late-sixties college dorm right before the cops came bustin' in!
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Jerman Barnes-THE FINGER'D REMOVE LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

I oughta dock a whole slew of Christgoo-styled points offa this for the mere fact that these guys copped their cover design (and record labels!) from the old Korneyfone bootleg series! It's just part of an ever-growing (amongst these self-produced platters made by kids who spent the seventies buying Korneyfone product!) move that reminds me of all the EC cover scheme swipes that permeated fanzines and other kultural forms from the mid-fifties well into the late-eighties! But considering what a hotcha platter this is I'll leave my growl on the back burner for once. As with most Feeding Tube efforts, this is hard to describe to the usually non-astute reader...part sound like typical free flowing music (Anima comes to mind) while others try to outdo that Folkways sounds to the junkyard platter I reviewed a good decade back. More like THE SOUNDS THE ROBOT ON "LOST IN SPACE"  MAKES WHILE BEING SODOMIZED BY A BROADCAST TOWER, but if you go for that kinda ideal in strikingly different music you'll like this 'un just as much as I did.
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Jon Collin-WATER AND ROCK MUSIC LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Does the world really need another post-blues guitar picker in the John Fahey/Robbie Basho tradition? Of course it does, and this Collin character just might be thee guy who keeps up on the tradition long after lesser minds (or even minds I never heard of before) pass to the wayside. Collin's playing might be way looser than those pioneering performers were, but it is clearly in the same sphere what with the slide twangs heading into even more amorphous than usual twists and turns that do make for a rather engaging listening experience. The results are quite "dreamy" as yer standard mid-teen galpal might put it. Only wish that the final track didn't end with the addition nature sound tape giving it a bit of a "New Age" feeling---sheesh what is this s'posed to be, Windham Hill'r sum'pin'?
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Tarp-PART LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

There's this gadfly goin' under the nom-de-somethin' of "MoeLarryandJesus" who keeps commenting on my blog, sometimes with words of advice even """""I""""" can easily enough follow without scratchin' my bean too much. Just recently he's been razzin' me to get hold of any and all recordings by this duo called "Tarp" who, from MLJ's description, just hasta be the bee's knees. Well, the latest Feeding Tube package arrived just this day (Wednesday if you do care) and wonder of wonders but a Tarp album was comfortably snugged in this package just like a sardine in a can and like, this just hadda be the first thing for me to pluck outta the box because...why not?

Musically it works even though some might say these two guys are just gaggin' around with their new found electronic booty. I don't care if they are or aren't...the sounds Tarp make are fittingly good enough tonearm cantatas that move and swerve sorta like those old dagos who were making futurist records in the twenties, only shuttered forth into the here and now. Words like "Cluster" and "Kosmiche" have been bandied about in describing the music created on this particular spin, and frankly who am I to disagree?

Byron Coley's notes act as just as much a juicy enticement to give this one a play with a proper mindset, and if you can't dig up your own copy just print one off the Forced Exposure website (link handily available just above). Makes the music even better just like R. Meltzer's liner gab re. the Innocence, Gizmos and that Eric Clapton/Jeff Beck/Jimmy Page collection turned those into items par excellence!
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The Shadows of Knight-ALIVE IN '65 CD-r burn (originally on Beat Rocket Records)

Well whaddaya know! A live recording from the Shadows of Knight about a good year or so before they hit the charts with "Gloria" has been issued and like, its everything I kinda expected an early Shadows of Knight show to be! All covers, and good ones at that as the nasal whine of Jim Sohns roars its way through the expected crunchers oif the day as well as a surprise or two, including Link Wray's infamous "Rawhide"! (No "Gloria" tho---and wouldn't that just figure!) Jim doesn't sing on "Rawhide", in fact NOBODY does but who cares because it is an all-out rocker anyway recorded in an era when the likes of Wray were definitely (and sadly) on the way out! A nice slice of mid-sixties music, and a whole lot more'n just fodder for rock historians who tend to look upon this music the same way that pudgy next door neighbor kid looks upon his bug collection!
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The Troggs-ON AIR : THE LOST BROADCASTS CD-r burn (originally on Vogon Records)

Most of this ain't exactly "lost" and has been reissued in various forms o'er the past decade or so, but these BBC tracks are great to hear no matter how many times they do turn up! You know me---I'm not gonna cry over the duplications like I would had this been a Madonna album in which case one would have been more than enough! Some new to my ears items do pop up making this 'un a definite chart topper around here (mainly, my bedroom) such as the new version of that psychedelic creeper "Maybe the Madman",  not forgetting drummer Ronnie Bond's boffo lead vocalized "When the Rain Comes" which should be front and center in any true Troggs fan's heart.
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The Royal Guardsmen-THE RETURN OF THE RED BARON CD-r burn (originally on Laurie Records)

Sure they're twee, but they're a FUN twee! And besides, who else but the Royal Guardsmen would have thought of recording an instrumental version of "So You Want To Be a Rock 'N Roll Star" complete with phony crowd noises throughout? Some of it is weaker than you might have liked,but it still cooks...even the cover of "I'm a Man" has some semblance of Yardbirdsy oomph to it that belies the Guardsmen's bubblegum (as if there was anything wrong with that!) credo. Actually a pretty neat piece of pre-relevance teenage goo rock if I do say so myself!
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Various Artists-TRICKLE DOWN CITY LIMITS CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

AND IN CLOSING, the usual and by now "traditional" Bill Shute burn of the week, a doozy of a dooze if I do say so myself. The usual Shute oleomargarine of purloined sounds grace this one, some of these tracks pretty hotcha (Rebel Truth's better'n average speedmetal) while I can't make durned sense outta what this "Lee" person was up to nohow! Things like Ray Sharpe's "Help Me Get The Feeling" (actually a soul rewrite of "Gloria"!) help get the bloodflow a' bubblin', while the early Jimmy Castor track and these Gaylord guys doin' the old hits in Dagoese are certainly a nice diversion from the usual quap one is bombarded with in public places. I also dug the weird synthesized takes on Erik Satie and sheesh, I hope that Bill knows that I've been familiar with both versions of Paul Revere and the Raiders' "Louie Go Home" for a longer time than I can remember!
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You want 'em, and I got 'em! Back issues of  BLACK TO COMM that is, and if yer tryin' to fill in those gaps in your collection or if the sogginess of modern day pap that passes for rock writing (or in my case "screeding") has gotten you down you might wanna try a few of these if only to resensify your droopy demeanor. What have you got to loose, other'n a good portion of your latest paycheck that is! And ya know, if there are any old out-of-print issues you're in the market for I can photocopy 'em for ya, for a more than minimal fee that is.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! THE NEW TWO-FISTED TALES #'s 1 AND 2 (Dark Horse Comics, 1993, 1994)

When this limited Two-Fisted revival hit the comic book collectors consciousness-razed readership mindswell a good quarter century back, I could just tell it was gonna be a masturbatory cash in on old accomplishments gussied up for the new and improved comic book readership! Well, either that or at the least a quickie cash in aimed at the few dozen old nerds who still took comic books seriously during the closing days of the twentieth century.

As you all know we can't go home again, and if we try to revive the past it's gonna be cluttered up with modern-day styles and values that totally wash away anything that's made these old efforts so engaging in the first place. And with this grave-digging effort the tenor is immediately set by the not-so-surprise appearances of some of those comic book professionals who praise the EC lineage to the hilt yet took only their worst aspects to heart, as well as by the general tone of these stories which come off just like every other post-mid-seventies comic book that was attempting to break the trammels of past cliches, only to create even worse new ones in their wake.

The fifties might have been the era that saw the birth of a whole slew of "new" comics, "new" comedy, "new" forms of expression and a whole lotta "new" things that might have shocked the previous generation bred in the twenties and thirties, but by now it's nothing but a huge sack of sagging offal that has permeated every form of once-cool entertainment and dare-I-say "art" to the point of meaningless. Really, what have all those "hip" and "innovative" comedians from Ernie Kovacs, Lenny Bruce (a guy who really got the relevance ball rollin') and even Steve Allen given us but today's scolds who come off more or less like the spiritual successors to D.W. Griffith's reformers only in hip garb? The bold and daring moom pitchers of those days should be destroyed if only because what they eventually led to are more concerned with the pummeling of pious pronouncements that excoriate middle Amerigan values to the hilt yet fail to combat their own vices of a far-more enormous nature. And let's forget that primitive and feral rock 'n roll music which, other'n via a few handy crazed connoisseurs and the like, has generally lacked even the thinnest shred of vitality! Or it has especially since the great punk rock attempt to breath life into the rotting corpse and look how much respect those pioneers got!

And comic books, and especially THE NEW TWO-FISTED TALES, follow suit pretty handily. Trying to be a brave and noble update on the original kinda/sorta "anti-war" title that had more'n a few armchair protest kiddile gaping in wonder, the stories to be found in this regurgitation fail on a number of levels. First off, NONE of the sages to be found have any of the spirit of early-fifties bared-wire comicdom, that special ingredient of "intelligence" that made the entire EC line stand out to the point where even more established companies like Atlas were copying the form with fairly good results. The plethora of Vietnam-era tales tend to lend a notion to the idea that the people who were involved in these (major comic biz names I never heard of) are still re-fighting the old peace 'n love fight long after the fact because...well, "we were so noble" and all of that back-patting rot. And frankly, haven't we had enough baby-boomer myopia these past forty or so years?

Not only that but the entire results end up as one big glop of cheap cash in on past innovation without any true innovation to be found. It's sort of if as someone had revived the Pierce Arrow automobile line but designed the new effort to look like a VW Rabbit.

The art is just as low-level feh as anything to be found in the new slick-paper era of new comics breaking out of old patterns into new vistas of bland, and as for the stories... Sheesh, most of this reads just as bad as any of those eighties-vintage SGT. ROCK tales which tried (and succeeded) in showing the men of Easy Company as a bunch of sensitive and touchy-feely doofs. Not that the characters found here are for that matter, but they sure come off one-dimensional and generally unsympathetic in a genre that perhaps deserves a little more'n the standard World War II-era comic book filler cheese.

The reprints from the original TWO-FISTED TALES filling out these issues not only come off subpar in this company, but make me realize that maybe the entire EC adventure line wasn't as hotcha as I once believed. When I was in my early teens, reading sagas like "Big If" from FRONTLINE COMBAT in the pages of Les Daniels COMIX history wowed me just as much as the next guy. Nowadays it all seems so calculated and cloying. Transform the attempts to awe and inform with the nineties-era socially conscious Civil War tale in issue two and its all washed away by a good hunk of SO WHAT!...as if we can still find any sympathy for the characters or somehow be affected by the surprise endings like we were oh so long ago. (And still can be, if only people could do things right anymore.)

I'll bet this 'un earned a few industry awards. I mean, why NOT? And I'll also bet that this was, despite calls to the contrary, a sad way for comic book great Harvey Kurtzman to go out on. But I'll bet the entire farm that the writers and artists (including Spain Rodriguez, perhaps my least fave underground cartoonist) are still basking in the knowledge that they were involved in this effort which stands as a beacon in a field filled with all those other beacons that are basking in the supposed fact that comic books ain't those simpy funnypage things for Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kids to pour over anymore. There ought to be some sorta pretentiousness award for that in the industry, eh?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

COMIC BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! STRANGE SPORTS STORIES #4 (DC Comics, 1973)

DC’s STRANGE SPORT STORIES lasted less than a year, with six issues in 1973-74. I remember seeing the title here and there over the years at reasonable prices (I just picked up 3 issues this month for 60 cents each--not bad when you consider it sold for 20 cents forty-four years ago), but I never took the plunge. Evidently, few others did either since it had such a short run. You could interpret the title a few ways--for some years, I just assumed that it consisted of strange-but-true stories from the world of sports: say, a high school football team which had been 0-13 for the last twenty years but somehow one weekend beat the state champs and set new scoring records, or the story of a one-armed baseball pitcher. However, that’s not it at all. These are strange fictional stories taking place in the world of sports. The two stories in this issue both have a kind of supernatural element and could almost have been in an issue of BORIS KARLOFF'S TALES OF MYSTERY, but one is set in the world of basketball and the other in the world of boxing.

THE CHALLENGE OF THE FACELESS FIVE tells the story of five guys who start playing basketball in the neighborhood and devote themselves to it every waking hour, so they dominate the high school leagues, NEVER losing a game, then they move on to college, still never losing a game, and they become arrogant and spoiled due to their success. Then their coach--who is having doubts about the whole enterprise--seeks out a mysterious fortune teller (because that’s ALWAYS the first thing to do when facing difficult issues in your life!) who spins them an incredible tale about how the group will eventually take their success into areas beyond sports and collude with aliens to oppress mankind, so the team winds up in some netherworld playing a faceless (literally, smooth fronts of their heads) version of themselves from the future, beating them, and thus keeping these bad things from happening in the future. Ummm, OK!

MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GLOVES deals with a third-string boxer whose 12 year old son wants him to get out of the fight racket and involves that go-to plot device from B-movies and comic books, the charm or amulet with some kind of weird magic power. Dad gets killed, the son grows up and becomes a police officer and puts the whole world of boxing behind him, but it rears its ugly head again when he least expects it, and that amulet of his father’s happens to be around to provide the “strange” element in the story, leading to a too-quick resolution.

I can see where DC felt this concept had potential. There was a market for TWILIGHT ZONE-style “strange story” comics for decades, and a good number of those had stories that brought supernatural elements into real-life situations, NOT horror settings or gothic castles. As for the sports angle, the motivation might have been the same as it was for Hot Rod comics. Kids who buy comic books like Hot Rods (or in this case, sports), so create a Hot Rod (or Sports) comic book and they’ll buy it. With the popularity of sports AND TWILIGHT ZONE-style stories, it must have seemed a very commercial prospect.

DC Comics had a lot of re-defining to do for itself in the 70’s and 80’s as the comics market and popular culture changed in ways (ways NOT for the best, alas) that no one could have anticipated, and by the mid-to-late 80’s, DC had evolved into something that had little appeal for me, but since it’s now a mutli-billion dollar property which is part of the Time Warner empire (even though I’d bet a small amount of its revenue nowadays comes from actual physical COMIC BOOKS--they do manage to get in the news every few years as they kill off Superman, though not really of course, or make Batman even more un-recognizable, but many more people read ABOUT those comics than read them), I guess they are having the last laugh.

As for me, I’m picking up forgotten and short-lived DC titles from 45 years ago for 60 cents, titles that will never be revived or reissued or championed in the corporate halls of DC/Time Warner, and finding them an entertaining way to kill an hour here and there. DC had a crack set of writers and artists during this period (Denny O’Neil and Dick Giordano were involved with the second story here), and even the lesser-known talents who were assigned to this kind of third-tier project were working hard to be as good as their star colleagues...and succeeding, at least as well as a college football team with a 6-6 record who gets an invitation to the Howdy Doody Snack-Cake and Fried Pie Bowl in St. George, Utah, teamed up against Armpit State Technical College, a bowl to be aired on ESPN-8 (or was it ESPN-9).

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Like, hey. Last weekend I was at Somerville Pennsylvania and this week I'm in Chesterland Ohio trying to get rid of all this old junk laying about the house (in exchange for money 'natch!), but that ain't gonna stop me from dishing out the usual weekend blab to you nohow! Even though I've been busier than a drool cup emptier at an old folk's home I will not shirk fromdoing my weekly doody, which I must admit is getting more and more fun what with the GOOD, energetic and life-reaffirming music I do seem to be hearing on a more than steady basis these days. If only more top notch sounds would hit me with an ever-increasing frequency would I cease being that old grouch you've been reading here for years on end and transform into something way greater! Like a new grouch as if you didn't see that one comin'!
***
In between the real life work and not-so-extracurricular duties I am more or less forced to perform I have been settling back, kicking up my feet, and trying my durndest to act like the suburban slob I have been and will remain for my entire life. Doin' a good job of it too what with the all of the musical energy that has been coursing through my ear canals, not to mention my (once again) goin' over those classic-era (1972-1976) fanzines that I love to indulge in not only for the mere pleasure of doing so but to resensify my entire being in these way low-energy times.

I've been pouring through my usual faves from SHAKIN' STREET GAZETTE to NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS natch, and surprises of surprises reading things like the Ann Arbor rock scene wrapup in JAMZ not to mention Mark Bingham's review of NUGGETS in SUNSHINE really did give me that inner chug-a-chug that keeps me goin' more'n Vigero ever could! (Not to mention that letter to HONEY THIS AIN'T NO ROMANCE written by Reiko Kose of DENIM DELINQUENT fame where she tells of her friend who actually balled Iggy in the audience of a Whiskey-a-Go-Go gig and muses how she wished she could do that even tho she "has no cock or balls"...I sure coulda used a whole load of fanzines filled with her second hand English abilities which make more sense than most current-day scribes' who were born and bred with the language at hand!)

Anyway, that NUGGETS review that Bingham of IF fanzine fame did really did wake up more'n a few nodes of interest and even faint memories of a time when the rock 'n roll world was a whole lot more chance-taking, teenage-conduit (back when there were teenagers and not pre-adults) and dangerous than it sure has been these past fiftysome years unless you count the valiant punk rock attempts to revive the form in the seventies. Needless to say. that particular review sure me lustin' for those low-wattage stations Bingham used to listen to (until the sun came down and the FCC told 'em to sign off) that spun the likes of the Magic Mushrooms and 13th Floor Elevators with a whole lot more regularity than the biggies on the market did. The review sure was a good eyeballer to boot because---while reading the thing (in a good enough ish also featuring R. Meltzer's insanely great Lisa Robinson putdown!)---I actually broke out in chills and a sweat and accrued a burning inner anger over the fact that I was BORN TOO LATE TO TOTALLY APPRECIATE THIS TOTALLY ORGANIC MUSICAL UPHEAVAL FIRST HAND and how it's all dead and buried lo these many years later, but at one time rock as high energy pounce actually got played on the radio, promoted on television and best of all the kids bought these up and because of their infinite tastes became just as important to the whole rock-as-energy continuum as the people creating and promoting these sounds were (and you better pardon my well-meaning runon sentence!).

Now, I could still catch a little of the buzz via late-seventies/early-eighties flea market searches, but man if I had only been born five/ten years earlier so's I could have osmosed the eternal drone while it was alive and kicking rather'n through overpriced and poorly pressed French albums of an early-eighties vintage released at a time when I was still young, but the music that was supposed to "speak to me" had become incredibly rancid. Man, you should get hold of that piece (I might slip it into a future HIGH SIX) because hey, it does dredge up all those feelings I and maybe you had about that overdrive sound that continues to say way more about your own status in life more'n Jerry Garcia ever did!
***
Lotsa goodies to go through, especially one taken from this bulging one from FEEDING TUBE RECORDS which is gonna take me months to go through but oh, what a PLEASURABLE task! Also got some winners here from Bill Shute and Paul McGarry and maybe even Bob F., whose packages seem to get buried under the ever-growing rubble in my room for some strange reason or another. Naw---forget that!


Alfred 23 Harth/Nicola L. Hein-WHEN THE FUTURE WAS NEW CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions....see link at left)

These Harth recordings never fail to amaze me (to be nice 'n cliched about it!) and as you'd expect from same-old same-old me this 'un is no exception. Here the "23" man himself is accompanied by some Nicola L. Hein on guitar, and although I never heard of this guy before I can tell ya that he sure must be a rising star on the improv jazz scene the way he handles his instro of choice. I mean at times it sounds like he's playing the drums! These tracks do have an Anthony Braxton/Derek Bailey sorta feeling to 'em and, like Braxton, Harth can play out-there and all indecipherable at one moment and beautifully introspective and/or traditional at others. Add to that the startling fact that while Hein can blare forth with relative ease he can also settle back when the mood fits. Nothing you're gonna hear on one of those upper-dial jazz stations that come with the cable tee-vee, but then again when have you heard the likes of true trailblazers like Albert Ayler and Sonny Sharrock lionized by the mainstream music moguls in general anyway?
***
Dead Girl's Party-THE THINGS I'VE LOST LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Here's an obscuro rock duo (with the talents of Matt Krefting, a name that rings a few Notre Dame-ish sized bells in my bean) that just might appeal to some of you ESP-disk/free rock bred listeners out there. It's a bit hard to describe with mere words, what with the spooky drone opening cut leading to a pretty primitive rock 'n roller that sounds like it came from the Scramin' Mee Mees school of addled attack. Other moments have a repeato riff essence reminiscent of those early Suicide demos, and it's all pretty copasetic with your own sense of twisted rock ideals to the point where it doesn't MATTER if the thing doesn't excatly fall into categories "a", "b" or "c"...just as long as they FALL. Well, it sure is a big step up from some of those similarly-minded yet way off base bedroom cassettes I've had the displeasure of coming in contact with during the mid-eighties/nineties era.
***
Frank Zappa-LIVE IN SWEDEN 1967 CD (Keyhole Records, available via Forced Exposure)

If you have 'TIS THE SEASON TO BE JELLY (or was it TRICK OR TREAT?) you might wanna pass on this because it's the exact same thing. If you don't (or want a spare copy) you'll really wanna snap this 'un up if only because you'll get a nifty early and live Mothers of Invention recording in excellent sound (well, the vocals are buried a bit) which contains not only a number of toonz that never made it to any legit albums but the first ever live recording of "King Kong". It's toned down compared to other extant recordings of the era legal or not (I prefer the now impossible to find PIG MUSIC on Mr. Natural Records recorded in Detroit that very same year), but if you were one who grew up following the newest groups looking for even fresher vistas of sound to resensify your sagging spirit well...this 'un'll bring back more'n a few sixties-era memories for ya!
***
Wayne Cochran-GOIN' BACK TO MEMPHIS 2-CD set (Ace Records, England)

Wanna give your mind a good calisthenic-styled workout? Then just slip some Wayne Cochran on and get just as excited and as heart-palpatatin' as if you were doin' a few jogs around the block tryin' to get rid of that spare tire of yours! Yes, with this two-Cee-Dee set documentin' the man's mid/late-sixties soul years on Chess and Mercury you can't miss havin' a high energy experience that'll get your juices flowin' like a poked roast turkey on Thanksgivin', and I ain't jivin' ya one bit!

On the singles/studio sides Cochran is so up and at 'em that he even makes the ballads sound like all-out rockers! From the hits like "Goin' Back to Miami" to a slew of hotcha covers (his version of "Get Ready" will make you wanna start a Rare Earth bonfire of Beatles proportion!) Cochran rants and raves all over the place as the C.C. Riders do their best to keep up James Brown-style. Talk about up and at 'em...one dose of Cochran just might cure the meth situation that's been plaguing the area as of late. Lotsa previously unreleased material here too that I believe was withheld all these years because of the fear of just how they would have affected the populace what with their total all-out pounce that jabs you more'n a twisted bra snag rubbin' your spine the wrong way. And for you ladies...

The second disque features Cochran performing two of his Vegas-styled sets in a studio to a minimal audience where ALL of the pounce and energy is put forth in the same time-tested tradition that made all of those MC5 shows so exciting. Yeah, you could say that these sorta shows were aimed at the same high rollin' midaged baldies who woulda preferred goin' to the topless shows hadn't wifey tagged along, but they still pack a whole lot more punch and verve'n Corbett Monica pretending he can tell jokes. And besides, listening to Cochran do his downhome routine in the privacy of your own abode is a whole lot safer'n having to deal with a pack of inebriated accountants bellowing out requests for "Surabaya Johnny"!
***
The Typhoons-GLAD ALL OVER EP CD-r burn (originally on Vergera Records, England)

If ya thought they only had imitation British Invasion bands in Ameriga yer mistaken, for these Typhoons were just about as much cheap cash in as all those Bugs and Spiders your gramma thought were the real meal deal way back in the mid-sixties! However, like a nice portion of these knockoffs these Typhoons sure did a swell job of imitating the source faithfully what with their suave takes on everyone from the Dave Clark Five to the Beatles themselves. Nice 'un if you can find it, even if it is yet another footnote to one of the last real raw surges that managed to envelop rock 'n roll.
***
The Elders-LOOKING FOR THE ANSWER CD-r burn

Not so hot early-seventies vintage local production that really bores me to no end given the group's adherence to the worst aspects of the hipster music of the day. Well, they did come from Dayton which is only about three notches above Hermitage as far as kultural upheaval goes. Neo-hard neo-hippie music that lacks any of the imagination and verve that made hard rock, both local and bigtime, such hot property that holds up more'n a Maidenform bra these days. Nothing but saggos straight outta NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC here guys---saggos!
***
MANDRAKE CD-r burn (originally on Crazy Cajun Records)

Given the label's title I was under the impression that this spinner was gonna be one of those Louisiana squeezebox affairs that you listen to while downing your gumbo and sticky rice. Wrong again, for this Mandrake bunch in reality are an early-seventies styled hard rock act that, while quite well-versed in the more boring aspects of the hard rock of the period, could blast forth with some rather good blues numbers that vaguely recall Black Pearl as well as a number of other outta-the-way efforts that really never made their way onto the charts of this here land. Interesting addendum...this platter was produced by the infamous Huey Meaux (he also owned the record label which also served as his nickname in case you're as dense as me!) which is probably one strange reason I suddenly have the urge to take a shower with a ten-year-old girl.
***
Various Artists-WINDY FREEDOM MENLO FLIGHT CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

The majority of this 'un is taken up by an act called Light of Darkness, a bunch who I must admit I never heard of before and probably for good reason. Mainly because whoever put this platter out was sure to keep it a secret from the kinda people who would enjoy it, and that includes those BLOG TO COMM readers who still swear by the sights and sounds of that early-seventies hard rock plummeting that seems to have gone out of style within a few short years. Kinda remind me of a less-heavy, blusier Black Sabbath with an equally nasaled lead singer. The name sounds familiar tho...

The rest ain't anything to vomit at either, with the likes of George Brigman (the "Blowin' Smoke" single---something I hope Bill knows I've heard these past thirtysome years) and the Beatle pop of Menlo Park. Even the infamous (I learned about him via BUS EUBANKS!) Wingy Manone appears with a spiffy jazz number that even got my toes tapping. The rest, from the Action and Marvelettes doing the same songs to this Mason Ayers guy was boss, though the definite UGH award goes to Morris and Mitch, not for their comedy take on the Everly Brothers hit "Bird Dog" but for the unfunny spoof of HIGHWAY PATROL that was on the flip. The MAD takeoff done around 1959, no gagger in itself, was way funnier.
***
You do want more, don't you? Well, if so just click this little link and be taken to a page where you can buy all of the still-available back issues of BLACK TO COMM which ought to be cluttering up your abode instead of mine. If you're looking for some worthwhile rockism reading that doesn't make you wanna jump out the window in abject shame, just give us a try. You still might jump out the window, but that might only be because of a temporary loss of your senses due to unbridled joy.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

GOSH-DIDDLEY-DARN-IT FANZINE REVIEW! VULCHER #4 (available at vulcherfanzine@gmail.com)


With high energy rock reads like VULCHER around, I don't really miss the downfall of THE GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK FANDOM which ran  from 1971 (the birth of JAMZ and TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE) until roughly 1983 at the very latest (the short run of Nancy Foster's GROOVE ASSOCIATES, the last of the seventies-styled rags to truly incorporate the entire sixties/seventies fanzine ethos in the face of rising hardcore hippietude). Yes, with every issue of this great read the unbridled mania (that made millions of suburban slob blubbertubs who posed in front of their mirrors pretending they were giving proctological exams in the "men's" room at the old 82 Club) comes back a good fortysome-years after the fact, and even if you (like I) missed out on much of the mania due to depression-era wages and the fear of your parents finding that issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC hidden under your mattress reading this is almost like you were there front and center for the latest sex orgy at Kenne Highland's Camp Penis barracks I'll tell ya!

It's a nice thick issue too which will have your heart palpatatin' just like it did during the barren eighties when the latest FORCED EXPOSURE or KICKS made its way to your door giving you some in-depth rockism pleasure at least until the next issues arrived. Another seventies sweetie adorns the cover (wonder whose sis/lay this was!), but it's what's on the insides that really will get your noggin a'twisted with many-a-heretofore unknown bit of information whether it be on a group you never heard of or something of a gigantic, earth-shattering nature which I will get to as this review unfolds. Believe me!

Even the tossout items don't make you wanna puke, like Kelsey Simpson's email interview with underground cartooness Trina Robbins who hands back to Simpson some rather pat answers that really don't say much. (Kinda like some of the interviews I've conducted so I know where she's comin' from!) But it's the raw spirit and idealism that gets me goin' here and as far as I can tell VULCHER #4 is almost like BACK DOOR MAN injected with an adrenaline overdose to the point where you think the mag's gonna burst into a load of intestinal moosh ready to splatter all over your face!

Personal faves this go 'round include Jymn Parrett's little blab on Australia's Wild Cherries (an act I tackled on this blog a few years back) not to mention the various sputum to be found on the likes of the Screamin' Mee Mees, the Crawlspace discography in detail (hey, this is more or less Eddie Flowers' baby!), the aforementioned Simpson giving Richard Lloyd the interview treatment with way better results, and Krazy Kenne H's various sputterings about dead people and his lineage (mom 8-th cuz to Edgar Rice Whatzizname) that'll have you thinkin' he made it all up. But he didn't.

BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE ISSUE! This just has to be the "letter" from Jay Dobis, some guy who just HAPPENED to be not only the next-door-neighbor but a CLOSE PERSONAL FRIEND to none other than thee Jonathan Richman, who details a whole slew of never before told by anyone information regarding Richman and the Modern Lovers which'll give you brain indigestion as you take in all of the head swelling information being force fed inside your mind. BIGGEST BOMBSHELL: Dobis' revelation of an act NONE OF US knew existed, an all-gal band called the Bloody Virgins led by none other than former Velvet Underground percussionist Maureen Tucker! They were scheduled to play at that Lovers/George Thorogood Valentine's Day 1974 show (if you have that Varulven "I'm Sticking With You" single you probably have the repro poster of that gig which notes the appearance of Tucker bereft of any band mention) but didn't make the stage due to club owner stupidity! Boy, does this mere factoid screw up your brain like potrzebie, and this mere addition to the entire Velvet Underground legend is surely enough to add even more burning questions to the entire canon of whos, whats and wheres that I'll bet'll take more'n a few centuries to get to the bottom of!

Wanna read more about these bloodied ones, as well as many other interviews, articles and record reviews that are geared to resensify even the stodgiest of hardened olde tyme hardshelled post-underground rock 'n roll survivors? Just send 'em a note (link above...couldn't embed it so paste away!) and reap your just desserts! Yum....

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! A MARTIN KANE PRIVATE EYE TREASURY (Gwandanaland Comics #1596)


The early TV series MARTIN KANE, PRIVATE EYE is considered the first television detective show and was quite a hit, running from 1949-1954, and for the first few years featuring the acclaimed radio and stage actor William Gargan as Kane (he left after a few years, with others such as Lloyd Nolan taking over but still faithful to the character as Gargan had created it). This show was not syndicated when I was growing up, and now that I’ve seen a few episodes, I understand why. Many shows such as THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW were sponsored by cigarette companies and featured ads with the cast talking up and puffing away on Kent Cigarettes or whatever, but those ads were separate from the show and could be edited out for syndication. In Martin Kane (note the pipe in his mouth in the show’s logo, which we’ve reproduced for you here), the tobacco ads were worked INTO THE SHOW. Yes, he would go into a tobacconist’s shop during the action and talk about the sponsor’s brands of pipe tobacco!!!! Though the first TV detective show, it was shot live, so it does not look like what most people expect from a 50’s cop show. It’s all studio-bound on a few sets, so no car chases, violent shootouts in urban alleys, etc. You can find some of the Gargan episodes on You Tube, and sampling a few minutes can give you a good idea of how they play, looking more like a soap opera than a HIGHWAY PATROL episode.

Another first is that the Martin Kane comic book was supposedly the first comic book adaptation of a television property! Fox Comics, best known for BLUE BEETLE and MYSTERY MEN COMICS, issued two 36-page issues in 1950, during the show’s heyday, and Gwandanaland Comics has released an attractive volume with scans of the complete books, from cover to cover.

Gargan’s name is all over these books, billed as “star of stage, screen, and radio,” so either he was a big star with a devoted following at the time or he had a good agent.....or both. The pipe-smoking character looks more like someone’s uncle than like Mike Hammer, but that just adds to the charm of the show and the comic books.

One odd quality about these comic book stories is that in a number of them, Kane does not actually appear in the core story itself....he is TELLING some colleague or acquaintance, or some group of rookie cops, a story in a detached narrative frame, and after a page or so we cut to that crime story--which may well have already been in the can at the publisher’s!--which goes on its merry way and then concludes with no further involvement from Kane. It’s almost like those 60’s TV shows such as Boris Karloff’s THRILLER or DEATH VALLEY DAYS, where Karloff or Ronald Reagan give a short intro and then step aside to let the show play out. Kane is “hosting” his own comic book! Not all stories are like that, but the fact that even some of them are has me scratching my head.

Whether or not Kane is the hero in the stories, they are all solid, violent, gritty crime comics which deliver the goods to any fan of the genre. And they are not stage-bound and dialogue-driven like the TV show, at least in its early years (when the comic was issued)--change the name and it could be any generic late 40’s/early 50’s crime comic, and I mean that as high praise as that was a golden age in the crime comic. How excellent it must have been in that era to have many hard-boiled crime shows on the radio, have a steady flow of noir and crime films at your local B-movie theater, have lots of paperback detective and crime novels at your local newsstand, AND have dozens of gritty crime comics to choose from each week/month. I would have been happy and satisfied with that situation.

In addition to the Kane stories (or should I say, the Kane-hosted stories) you also get a two-page filler crime short story in each of the two magazines, and both are good examples of the quickly tossed-off pulp crime mini-story, and there are also a few one-page filler comics on crime-related subjects (Devil’s Island, etc.). Overall, each of the two issues is a satisfying package, well-worth your 1950-value ten cents.

An entertaining and historically significant collection, filled with colorful (and well-transferred), action-filled crime stories from the Golden Age of crime comics--highly recommended! Just Google the title and Gwandanaland, and you can find out how to order. I’ve already read MY copy of this book three times!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

SINGLES (AND OTHER RECORDS OF A SEVEN-INCH NATURE) STILL GOING STROONAD!

This 'un shoulda been out March-way but (as usual) it got delayed, waylaid and filleted to the point where I thought I'd just save the blasted thing for one of them busy times in my life where I wasn't able to produce a power-packed weekend post for your enjoyment. Anyhoo, more of those platters, both old and new, that I've had the---pleasure???---of not only listening to but writing up for your own benefit (and karmik awareness) these past six or so months!


Mark Beer-ISOLATIONS EP ("Finks Jinx", "Litany"/"Other Doubts", "Song For a Public Man") (Waste Records, England)

Who knows, you might not have but I've pretty much forgotten about this English underground artist who Greg Shaw once compared to Marc Bolan trying to record a sequel to "Catch the Wind" in an echo chamber, or something along those typical rockscribe reviewing style lines. Beer did a whole number of records that I can keep track of but I believe this was his first, and it's a snapping good one at that what with this under-the-underground kinda guy evoking the English traditional music artist syndrome filtering it through the haze of the late-seventies avant garde coming up with some nice smart pop results that people only seem to hit upon once in a blue moon (I am reminded of Brian Sands for obvious reasons).

Beer has a strange enough voice to make these tracks the unique ear-pleasers that they are, and the songs recall a folk rock that might have been sung either on Deneb 3 or an 18th century public house. Overall results have this 'un coming off like the kind of music that would naturally flow from the creative juices of someone who came of musical age with everyone from Bolan, Syd Barrett and Nick Drake to the Velvet Underground and Eno. A nice (and extremely successful) attempt at the mashing together of various past musical accomplishments, and the fact that Mark Beer is not exactly the name heard from the lips and keyboards of self-proclaimed tastemakers who claim such an allegiance to the history of rock 'n roll only goes to prove something that I don't want to exactly get into right now.
***
The Star Spangles-"I Can't Be With You", "Get You Back"/"The Party", "Science Fiction-Science Fact" EP (Munster Records, Spain)

These guys were one of the last hoorahs on the last-days-of-CBGB scene right before that tumbled into the musical graveyard, and as you'd expect me to say it's not hard to see why they were getting the huzzahs if only from a small portion of what we know as "rock fandom". The Spangles recall all of those great mid/late-seventies punk rock moments from the Heartbreakers and Marbles to the Ramones with their straight ahead high spirited sound, and although a whole lotta that stuff happening that late seemed like too little too late it was sure great to hear in light of what else there may have been out there vying for our listening time. Dunno what happened to 'em, but they certainly were the last of a breed most of us thought died out at least by '79.
***
The Rolling Stones-"Stoned"/"I Wanna Be Your Man" (Decca Records, England)

It's legendary not only because the thing got banned for the "a-side" but because of the number of bootlegs (at least Amerigan ones) it showed up on. The early Stones at their best back when they were still wearing matching suits and looking a whole lot more clean-cut than their image let on. As far as "I Wanna Be Your Man" goes...well, considering the love/hate relationship twixt the Beatles and Stones you kinda wonder why the Stones'd cover their main competition inna first place. Maybe it was akin to something along the lines of what was going on between the Jamie Klimek camp and the folk living at the Plaza Apartments, what with the Styrenes hating the latter bunch with a passion yet performing "Final Solution" and sharing many a gig for years on end (not that there was that much of a choice I guess). I never understood these weird associations between various so-called warring camps I'll tell ya.
***
Luna-"Hollywood"/"Dumb Love" (Titanium Records)

The Orchestra Luna remnants trying to keep on keeping on to ill effect (within a year they ended up stuck on the cover band circuit before it all fell apart). But they did go out with a nice flash as this single would attest to, an effort that had Rick Berlin and company pulling out some of the better aspects of Queen (their more clear pop orientation) along with their worst (the irksome choir) with a tad of Sparks and a heap of Cheap Trick tossed in to sweeten the pot so-to-speak. Hard pop that actually perks ya up in a late-seventies sorta way and not bad one bit once you get the hang of it all.
***
Paul Thornton-"I'll Be Around"/"Give a Damn" (Fowl Records)

Former Godzman Thornton went the early-seventies relevance route just like everyone else you used to like (or maybe didn't or maybe don't want to admit to!) as most of the tracks of GODZUNTHEIT or PASS ON THIS SIDE will prove. The flip-side of this solo effort is actually the exact same one that appeared on the GODZUNTHEIT effort while "I'll Be Around" falls into the same rocky folk terrain that softened many an already soft head during those bell bottom and headband times. Do I give a damn? Frankly other'n for the neato collectible nature of it all I'd generally say no.
***
The Downliners Sect-"Colour-Coded Red"/"You Ain't Doin' Me Right" (Inner Mystique Records)

Rough and tumble mid-eighties issue of some previously-unreleased 1980 recordings from this long-lived band that were so hated that there actually was a contest goin' about to see who could swipe Don Craine's deerstalker cap and pee in it. A-side has this hot "Sweet Jane"/"Max's Kansas City" riff and a low-fidelity bounce that reminds me of some forgotten Stiff Records release circa. 1976. The flipster could also pass for one of those pub platters that were so craved by the same people who discovered rhythm and blues after the advent of Graham Parker...people like myself I guess. I hope I don't get into more trouble with this review, but for some strange reason I get the feeling that I will.
***
Hoy Boy and the Doys-"Two Kinds of Tears"/"Keep on Tryin'" (Knotty Pine Records)

Whenever I see this group's name I am reminded of the final days of Max's Kansas City when bands like Hoy Boy were playing the stage perhaps oblivious to the fact that their particular era of underground rock was coming to a maybe not-so abrupt end. However while other "Max's" acts like the Smithereens and Zantees actually had lifespans lasting well into the eighties I dunno what became of these guys, not that they had anything special goin' for 'em! Actually Hoy and his Doys played a more-than-palatable form of pop rock which had a tinge of early-sixties feel to it yet eschewed any blatant copping of the pre-Beatles form, and for being one of those outta-nowhere acts that almost immediately fell into the memory hole they did a good enough job of it so like, who's complainin'?
***
Mark Beer-"Pretty"/"Per(version)" (Rough Trade Records, England)

By the time Beer got signed to Rough Trade he (alas) also fell into the slick if still underground-y early-eighties new-unto-gnu wave style that was unfortunately taking shape at that exact same nanosecond. This still has a spry sense of bright pop spark to it, but the reggae bounce and bright outlook seems to point in a direction I wish these acts most certainly didn't go in. Still wondering---whatever did happen to Beer once the years rolled on and the music became way less relevant to our highly-wired suburban decadent pose lifestyles?
***
The Who-"Anyway Anyhow Anywhere"/"Daddy Rolling Stone" (Brunswick Records, England)

This one is probably etched into your grey matter after eons of spins, but dad blame it if still doesn't sound all hot and exiting a good fiftysome years later which is more than you can say about the whole Journey/Foreigner/REO Speedwagon cadre that supposedly "replaced" this raw and primitive music. Oddly enough, the scratches and nicks resplendent on my copy only add to the overall rage of the thing, which should teach you sound-savvy technotypes a thing or two.
***
The Doors-"Wild Child", "Touch Me"/"Frederick", "Light My Fire EP (Lizard Records bootleg, France)

Not being a Doors fan by any stretch of the imagination, I wonder why I bought this 'un way back during the mid-eighties or so. Must have had a brief lapse of judgement there, but still I find this platter fine enough if only to present to me a slice of the whole Morrison mystique without making me sick. Good sounding taped off the tee-vee versions of "Wild Child" and "Touch Me" from SMOTHERS BROTHERS, "Light My Fire" from ED SULLIVAN and the ultra rare "Ode to Friedrich Nietzsche" recorded live in Saratoga Springs, New York. That free-form spat does go down well like prime Patti Smith did, and the rest of it ain't that vomit inducing even if my ears keep telling me that "Touch Me" still sounds like rhumba. Insanity must be spreading faster than I first thought.
***
Lou Reed-"Walk and Talk It"/"Wild Child" (RCA Records)

Before I dig into the first Lou Reed solo album (scorned by many but enticing enough my by standards) I thought I'd give this oldie a spin. The "Walk and Talk It" heard here is supposed to be a more spiced up version than the one that appears on LOU REED, and no matter how you take it you can't deny its overall punkiness and early-seventies snark attitude of it that drove many away from, and naturally many to the "sound". Of course "Wild Child" is a winner that every Reed fan should know by heart and it sure woulda been swell hearing this on the radio back then...I could see it mixing in perfectly with the brief AM renaissance that was displaying itself at the time courtesy a number of spinners that even in retrospect sure sound better than the glitz and snooze that was to befall the realm within a few short years.
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John Lee Hooker-IT SERVE YOU RIGHT 7-inch jukebox EP with a strip to prove it! (Impulse Records)

Sometimes I need these blues if only to variate my listening modes, and this one did its job well. Pretty deep and dwelling material from the legendary bluesman who at first shocked me when he did that album with Canned Heat...I mean, could I take an album with the title HOOKER 'N HEAT home with me? I should say NOT! Contains a down blues take of Barrett Strong and everyone else's "Money" that might just make you wanna shred your Flying Lizards records in total regret. (And don't get me wrong---I am reconsidering that one as an outright avant garde hits the radio dial classic!)
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Burt Ward-"Boy Wonder I Love You". "Orange Coloured Sky"/Bob Guy-"Dear Jeepers","Letter From Jeepers" EP (US Ltd. bootleg)

I probably reviewed this one onna blog a good decade or so back but a hale (or is that hail?) and hearty so what! to that! On the a-side the infamous Zappa-backed single presents the idea of what would have happened if none other than Robin the Boy Wonder joined the Mothers of Invention, complete with enough campiness to stick this one into every homo record collection of the day right smack dab next to "You Turn Me On". Sheesh, the producers of the tee-vee series weren't exactly trying to hide the whole gay aspect of the true relationship as they say between the Dynamic Duo, and here this song comes along pushing the whole schpiel into territories even Fredric Wertham would fear to tread! Flip's got some local horror host reading cheapo ghoul gags to some early-sixties Studio Z backing that has a good r&b/"Wipeout" vibe. This Guy guy probably was snoozeroo next to the big names like Zacherly, but considering the early Zappa involvement you better give him some slack, willya?
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Swell Maps-"Dresden Style"/"Ammunition Train", "Full Moon" EP (Rough Trade Records, England)

Like a good portion of the Rough Trade cadre I've had a love 'n hate relationship with Swell Maps. Now that the pendulum seems to have been stuck on "love" for quite some time lemme say that it's sure good to give these guys a listen considering how their v. early-eighties approach was about as radical yet firmly garage/traditional as some of the better acts making themselves known at the time. Fantastic primitive quality production and all around performance makes this one that sorta stands out regarding everything that was good about the seventies/eighties cusp before it all seemed to get tired and trite (mostly through no fault of its own) seemingly overnight.
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Rosie and the Originals-"Angel Baby"/"Give Me Love" (Highland Records)

The a-side remains one of those eternal oldies that remind me of flea market fanablas in the seventies looking for those old hits that just weren't hittin' no more. And anyone who just can't get into the slow trance mood of this number might just be lacking a heart, or more likely be a member of today's cyborg act-on-faulty-instinct action committee, or most likely both. I found the flipster to be the real surprise tho, a gutzier r&b romper that sure didn't deserve its fate being hidden on the other side. Sheesh, I now sound like one of those dipsy doodle gal types I went to school with who PRIDED themselves (and let everyone know it!) on how special they were because they played the other side of  those big hit records which obviously proved their natural superiority over dim bulbs like myself!
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The Rockin' Rebels-"Wild Weekend"/"Donkey Twine" (Lost-Nite Records)

Late-fifties/early-sixties instrumental rock remains a faverave music of mine, and this legendary track is whatcha'd call no exception. I believe that "Donkey Twine" on the other side got some action as well which would figure since that one's a ballzy bloozy effort that sure fits in with the deep groove mode of the genre. And like most of the solid instrumental sounds these numbers hold up extremely well which is something I couldn't really say about the likes of "The Boys of Bandstand" (well, I do have a soft spot in my head for Fabian!) and some of the gunk that was getting played not only during those "wimpy" as they say early-sixties, but the reinvigorating mid-sixties which had its share of grown up schmoozeburgers as well.
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David Ackles-"...about 'Subway to the Country'"/"Subway to the Country" promo single (Elektra Records)

Radio station promo featuring Ackles on the topside discussing this particular song and how the kids in the city really didn't know what winter was like because by the time the snow hit the ground it was all grey! You're probably gonna write the guy off as a dunce after hearing this side but the actual song is pretty good in a new folk rock singer/songwriter fashion. Only a bit of annoying string glop mars what I thought was an otherwise neat enough if perhaps over-emotional number. Sorta akin to what Harry Chapin woulda come up with if someone sewed his gonads back on and maybe got him an Elliot Murphy album or two. Not bad really, and I'm surprised I said that!
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Television Personalities-"I Know Where Syd Barrett Lives"/"Arthur the Gardener" (Rough Trade Records)

I dunno if the entire group is on here, but I assume it to be a Dan Treacy solo effort given how stripped it is. The a-side's a surprisingly interesting cop of some DARK SIDE OF THE MOON/WISH YOU WERE HERE Syd Barrett paen to madness with "Grantchester Meadows"'s insect buzz added for pure homage effect. The other side might be a weird twist on the "Arnold Layne" tale only with Arthur the Gardener being a paedophile, but don't quote me on it. Like a good portion of the Rough Trade stable these guys seemed to get more and more boring once the eighties progressed but I can stand this pixie charm well enough. A glycerin test may be recommended tho...
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The Rubinoos-"I Think We're Alone Now"/"As Long As I'm With You" (Beserkley Records)

I know there was nil chance that this Tommy James and the Shondells cover would hit the charts back then, but it does stand as a true testimonial to the poppier aspects of rock 'n roll that fortunately hadn't died out entirely by this time. The flip has a load of Southern Californian feel that of course would have been great to have heard at the time, only songs like "Chevy Van" and "Undercover Angel" seemed to be cornering that particular market with a laid back vengeance. Sure it sounds like piddle when played up against any of your favorite all-out high energy rock groups, so don't play it up against any of 'em and it just might work out fine.
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Tragic Mulatto-"The Suspect"/"No Juice" (Alternative Tentacles Records)

Yeah they sound like an "art project", but if I were the teach I woulda given Tragic Mulatto a nice "A". Well, that is more than I would many of those bedroom-level college acts that seem to have been populated by the forbears of those precocious petunia types you see cluttering up the campuses and high schools of Anywhere USA these sad and sorry days. Nerdo adolescent voice screams atop a sax/trumpet/bass guitar/drums backing that kicks out something you might call "neo-funky", but ONCE AGAIN it works! Eighties art music that you kinda get the feeling was being played by balding guys wearing wraparound shades dressed in ultra-modern suits, but in this case I don't think so.
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The Poles-"C.N. Tower"/"Prime Time" (Nimbus 9 Records)

Bruce Mowat will probably shudder in fear upon reading that I am even giving this Toronto group the time o' day, but then again ever since he moved to Saskatchewan and joined the Doubhokers I doubt he'll even read this in the first place. Which I guess it best for me because I really do go for this act who, besides getting a good thumbs up from John Cale, managed to mix the better aspects of 1973-76 punk rock with all of the good things that were happening during the torn shirts and bad taste days that immediately followed. "C.N." has a fairly good Velvet Underground oomph riff while the flip sounds particularly contempo---and it's all held together by the rather girly-girl voice of Michelle Jordana who certainly doesn't sound like the world weary femme seen on the cover.
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The Moving Sidewalks-A BAND FROM TEXAS! EP (Moxie Records)

This 'un has been made obsolete by subsequent issues but the cheap aspects of it all, from the old car on the cover to the definitely home-pressed aura, draws me closer and closer to it. Perhaps its the memory of seeing this at the old Drome up Cleveland way dangling amidst a whole slew of records that were tasty but way overpriced for my depression-era waged budget is what kicks it in for me. Whatever, a fine collection of two non-LP singles from future Z.Z. Topper Billy Gibbons and his gnarlier than ever band recorded long before he discovered that beards and MTV glitz were the best ways to get into those money-filled teenage pockets.
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CHRISTOPHER MILK EP (United Artists Records)

John Mendelsohn might have a good enough rock "critic", but to me he never was part of the upper echelon of scribes like all of those guys (and occasionally gals) I continue to name-drop even this far down the line. However judging from this particular collection clinger I can say that Mendelsohn was a purty good group leader, singer, lyricist and even toon-writer while he was a member of the legendary Christopher Milk. I never did get to hear their Reprise album but this earlier United Artists EP does point the way to a lotta things that would make it big and boffo in the record-buying world within a few short years. Humorous lyrics and bright piano-laden melodies recall what Sparks would be up to once they headed over to Merrie Olde, while even the slower Beach Boys-y ones kinda bring up memories of some of those feh singles that popped up on the charts summer of '76, only done with a lot more backbone and intent. I might dish out for SOME PEOPLE WILL DRINK ANYTHING once I get a few bits of scratch together...I get the feeling it's still going for the same sorta flea market prices that it probably was a good forty or so years back which definitely would be a break for my wallet for once in my life!
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Charlie Burton and Rock Therapy-"Rock and Roll Behavior"/"That Boy and My Girl" (Wild Records)

That Burton guy might have been one of the lamer rockcrits to hit the pages of the original ROLLING STONE or any other turn-of-the-decade rockmag extant (even though I do kinda/sorta like his skewered review of FUNHOUSE), but he sure made up for any lacking in the rock writing department with this killer rock group of his. Don't have the other single (yet), but if it is any good as this retro-yet-still-rooted-in-seventies-trash-aesthetics slab it's gotta be a good 'un. Rhythm and blues not to mention rockabilly get the trash garage band update here. A tinge of Kama Sutra-era Flamin' Groovies helps the sound out as well. For those of you who liked that part of late-seventies "DIY" rock that wasn't so self-conscious of what it was "supposed" to do, or mean for that matter.