Saturday, September 22, 2018

You think you're tired and disengaged? Try being good ol' ME for a change! Don't believe me? Well, just try making your way through THIS post which I gotta say I struggled with even more'n I did that bowel movement made after about five trips through the Garden Gate Kentucky Fried Chicken buffet near Butler Pennsylvania some time during the winter of 1975! Dunno it it was just one of those weeks, or if my own personal batteries are running down, or for that matter if I have hit that big iceberg of spiritual nada which befell many a writer of value over the past few eons? Nah---just need to get more VELVET UNDERGROUND into my life...that's all.

Otherwise in this autobiography..well, I've been goin' through more boxes of "junk" as they say tryin' to find salvageable items amid the usual turds I never felt like throwing out a good thirtysome years back. Among the usual flotsam/jetsam (old Homestead Records hypesheets and the like that shoulda been destroyed upon receipt) were a number of Bomp Records catalogs which not only brought back warm 'n fuzzy memories but made me kick myself over my stupidity in not buying those later-on desired fanzines at ridiculously low prices when I coulda!

Also re-discovered after years of neglect that issue of DOWN BEAT with the Tim Buckley article which was written by his former guitarist and then DB editor Lee Underwood. Now, that was a piece which I gotta say really lit a fire under my teenbo pimpled ass which, considering I was farting at the time, blew me sky-high into wanting to get hold of his then impossible to find (at least around here) avant garde jazz platters! Considering that my cyster was attending school in Cleveland at the time and that I suddenly realized that I had access to scouring used record shops wish certainly came true even tho much earlier I coulda latched onto an 8-Track of STARSAILOR that was up for sale even if I had nada machine to play it on. I mean, why let that stop me?

But looking through that now-mildewed mag did conjure up a whole lot more seventies memories (the good stuff that is) even more'n those MARY TYLER MOORE and BOB NEWHART reruns I've been watching (more on those in an upcoming post). One memory that pops up almost immediately is that boy, wasn't DOWN BEAT a pretty stodgy mag even when they would write about some free players I did enjoy! Another is that their writers weren't so hot trying to be hip and analytical while missing the whole core of the Bangs/Meltzer transformation of sound into printed description that swings just as much as the music---in fact they were just as downright miserable as any young upstart of the eighties onward who made their money expressing the worthiness of some (take your pick) hype o' the minute in the worse post-Erma Bombeck way, complete with a few Glade air freshening spritzes and Creative Writing 101 tricks to please even the stodgiest arm-patched college professor extant!

Thankfully, at least this time, Underwood did slightly better than expected. Oh yeah, the patented and downright staid DOWN BEAT "house style" so eloquently described above seems to be fully in gear, but man is it nice to read something about a really innovative kinda fellow (who I had only known about via those Warner Brothers "loss leaders" like ZAPPED and DAYS OF WINE AND VINYL) and how he fought the biz and LOST, but maybe it didn't matter because if he had only hung on a little longer he might have made that big Iggy-styled comeback and put all of those in-the-know bigwigs to shame. Maybe not, but somehow everything that I LOVED about rock 'n roll music, the seventies, the avant garde and yeah, even Buckley just came rushing back like a middle of the night diarrhea attack and boy does my rear end hurt because of all that wiping!

I ain't gonna be searchin' out more forgotten DOWN BEATs any time soon if the writing in 'em is as stiff as these pseudo hipsters who I suspect were berets and eat stale doritos comes off (I do recall their Art Ensemble of Chicago article to have been pretty cut and glue), but some more Buckley in my mainline just might work out rather swimmingly well. As they say, watch this space (but not too closely---I mean, who knows how temporary this infatuation with my teenage longings is going to last)...
Gotta once again thank the people who helped make this post the spiffiest what with their contributions to the cause, mainly my good friends Bill Shute, Paul McGarry, PD Fadensonnen and the folk at Feeding Tube Records. Gee, don't you wish YOU TOO could be a friend of mine just so's you can send your own burnt offerings my way for review purposes? If you were smart enough (and sometimes I wonder about you!), you would be!

Metabolismus/Mono Pause-DON'T LOW UP TO THE AMPED BUENAES LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Feeding Tube has come up with some stranger than strange platters over the years, but I would not say that this was one of 'em. It's rather intact ifyaknowaddamean, one side each from this megabunch called Metabloismus who kinda sound like a French movie soundtrack gone bananas and the other Mono Pause, a supposedly Amerigan transplanted to Europe act who can play straight-ahead rock 'n roll yet muss it up with the usual experimental music concoctions that others have for the past fortysome years. Lotsa weirdo stuff here from neo-kraut themes to a pretty retro-hot male/femme take of "I Know You Rider" all topped off by some kid singing some French song kinda reminding me of Nico's own bastard's solo spot on DESERTSHORE. That's the Metabolismus side, on the Mono Pause flipster a straight ahead sixties-styled rock 'n roll runs up smack dab against sound fractures, more rock and even more things that sound like Merseybeat being shot out of a Gatling gun. Considering this came out on Feeding Tube, do I need to warn ya???
Fadensonnen-BRUT cassette (see blog link on left for details)

Right when my apathy was just about to get me comes this li'l surprise, a new effort from the noise king of the decade Fadensonnen which yet another guitar-heavy scruncher! Atonal wavering sounds blare in and out like a METAL MACHINE MUSIC homage attached to RADIO ETHIOPIA to the point where you'd swear that those were bagpipes comin' on around the middle of side two! (That was probably PD's own "Electro-Amplified Tenor Sax" but man, it sure DID sound like bagpipes to me!) If you thought new music was old turds just give this guy a listen to and be prepared to eat more'n just your words! And yeah, welcome back to the living, PD!
Pink Floyd-THE GRAND UMMAGUMMA PARTY CD (Alraritit Records)

The only good thing I can say about this bootleg is that the cover looks nice. Kinda reminds me of the one on Can's UNLIMITED EDITION. Otherwise this is just one of those snickety-snick har-har rehashes of legitimately-released and easily enough available recordings, this time taken mostly from the second album in the UMMAGUMMA set all chopped up and feebly made to sound like an actual live effort. If you have a sick sense of humor like me maybe you can get some weird satisfaction outta it...otherwise it's only for them serious fans who ain't that particular about what it is they're collecting just as long as they got it to show to their pals in order to get them much-appreciated "wow"'s.

We've all heard and even seen Mel Blanc playing some supporting character in a Jack Benny episode or in a variety of forties/fifties vintage moom pitchers, or I assume you have unless you're one of those modern day snobs who loathe anything old and wholesome. But how does Mel fare as far as playing a starring character in his own radio series? Sheesh, does this series come off kinda---skewered? It's even stranger'n watching Vernon Dent as the star of some Educational Pictures short after seeing him as the brunt of the Three Stooges lo these many years! Unlike with Dent (who came off as a sympathetic Oliver Hardy-ish type in the films he did teamed with Monte Collins) I can't really see Blanc as the affable owner of a fix it shop complete with a galpal, cranky uncle, and sidekick who sounds suspiciously like Porky Pig. The chemistry doesn't quite jibe the way it did with Benny, and I just can't feel any emotional hoo-hahs towards anyone the way you might with other comedic stars of forties radio. Nice try, but stick to Professor LeBlanc from now on, eh?
Benny Bailey/Nathan Davis/Mal Waldron/Jimmy Woode/Makaya Ntzhoko/Charly Campbell-SOUL EYES CD-r burn (originally on Saba Records, Germany)

There are so many of these overseas-released jazz platters floating around that it's only been until recently with the advent of the internet and downloads that one could even begin to listen to these rarities let alone start sorting everything out. And that (overseas), dear reader, is where this effort comes from. I gotta admit that this live show recorded in Munich doesn't start off in the proper free splat spirit I would have hoped, but by the time side two gets into gear the players are blurting forward into areas that at least pique my own latent jazzbo attention. Particularly stirring is the album closer "Mid-Evil Dance" which has a great one-groove drive and stirring solos from not only trumpeter Benny Bailey but saxist Nathan Davis. Pretty hot stuff which even pleased the stuffy looking audience pictured on the album's front cover.
Sun Ra and his Arkestra-DANCE OF INNOCENT PASSION CD-r burn (originally on El Saturn)

Late-period Ra which I gotta admit sounds as good as that mid-period stuff done up at a time when the guy could even get a major label release. Recorded live at New York City's Squat Theatre (one of those artzy places which also booked no wave acts and proto-NEA controversy performance artists), Ra and Arkestra pour through their usually insane repertoire playing a bunch of numbers that I honestly don't believe have appeared elsewhere. Well. as you can all tell I ain't no expert so look elsewhere for solid electronic woosh houses various solos of equal atonality making for...yes, one of those Sun Ra efforts you know that NOBODY in your family is gonna enjoy listening to. Have fun in the closet with this one kids!

Various Artists-KOOKIE FROG WANNA MINEO CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Leave it to ME to pick out another Christmas-themed Bill burn here in the early days of Autumn! Well, it's better'n picking it out in the middle of summer but still... As far as the Christmas stuff goes it's nothing but radio ads, mostly PSAs for religious organizations or in one case an after Christmas sale where you can buy all the goodies you were too poor to get during the hoilidays at half price! The PSAs have a distinctly middle-of-the-night feeling while the after Christmas sale one conjures up images of items picked over to the point where you know their next stop just has to be Dollar General.

Otherwise there are some niceties here from the Spats' infamous "She Done Moved" to some kraut singing "Stagger Lee" and some other thingie that might be an original with this mixed German/Amerigan black guy accent sounding weirder'n anything! There's also some fairzy-wairzy rockabilly from a Richard Turley, a hard rock snoozer from Trixx, some neo-glammy thing from Inheritance, Ramrods doing equally fairzy-wairzy punky beat and (now get this!) Sal Mineo trying to cash in on the teen screen idol goes vocalist craze of the late-fifties/early-sixties! Place your own fag joke here.
Yes, BLACK TO COMM BACK ISSUES ARE STILL AVAILABLE, and thanks to the scheming likes of Dave Lang, Jay Hinman and Gerard Cosloy scarin' off prospective buyers there are plenty of 'em still available! If you wanna wipe the smiles off their smirkin' rat-like faces the best way possible, just buy a few of these journalistic, high quality fanzines (in the PROUDEST self-produced tradition) and show the world what rock scribing really meant in those barren eighties, and come to think of it these barren 'teens as well!


diskojoe said...

My clearest memory of watching 200 Motels is hearing one of the Mothers say "I always carry a copy of DOWNBEAT with me so it looks like I know what I'm doing."

top_cat_james said...

DOWNBEAT is mentioned in a episode of Top Cat ("A Visit from Mother").