Saturday, October 20, 2018

Well, it's been an "eh!" week if I do say so myself. FETV moved MTM and BOB NEWHART to the mornings so I can't get my fill of Ted Baxter or Mr. Carlin like I should during my days off (which turn out NOT to be "days off" ifyaknowaddamean), while the last time I tuned into JLTV in the afternoons ol' Soupy was missing much to my sorrow. Let's just say that these programming changes really put a damper on my free time tee-vee viewing which is rather disheartening considering the lack ot good 'n definitely NON-wholesome boob tube intake I have been getting as of late. But don't worry, for the less time in front of the idiot box means more time in front of the computer cranking out these pertinent blogs, and boy do I have more'n a few wowzers to pass onto you these next few weeks or so!
Hey, it's not often that my dad gives me any compliments but just the other day he handed me a lu-lu! Y'see, I've lost a few pounds as of late, and here he goes and tells me, now get this, that I'm "getting light in the loafers"!!!! Gee, THANKS DAD!!!!
Ain't much else to gab about other'n politics, religion and the weather. And these days all THREE things are bound to getcha the Oral Surgery treatment so let's just be safe 'n avoid these rather touchy subjects and get to the music at hand (or in some of you reader's cases, cloven hoof).

BABY GRANDE LP (Hozac Records, available here)

Outta nowhere three albums in the new Hozac Records Fall 2018 Archival Three-Pack arrived at my door, and for some strange reason I was drawn to this particular spinner if only for the very mid-seventies glam-slam look of not only the cover but the participants involved. With a name like Baby Grande and long hair like the kind they got I was figuring that these Canberrans would fit in really swell with all those other groups that were caught in the twilight zone between glitter and punk rock, and naturally enough I was RIGHT once again.

If you are one of those fellows big on the more rock-out side of seventies rock 'n roll this one just might be your year's end big pick. Not quite the Dictators (but close enough!), Baby Grande take shards of all those top notch moments of platforms and sequins rock (Sweet, Mott, T. Rex, Slade...) and drives in into those vistas you always liked your mid-seventies non-stuffed crotch music to go. A track featuring a lead synthesizer even brought back memories of the Fast as well as Sweet circa. "Fox on the Run" if you can believe that, while the group often goes into overdrive playing that music that often got called heavy metal at the time even though the prissy "metal" advocates of the eighties (such as Andy Secher) would probably blanch at the thought of such fun, pop, overdrive sounds as the kind Baby Grande crank out. Too bad the hair groups of those days couldn't have been as good as this (or any of the other mid-seventies hard rock progenitors)!

It's exciting, driving and really makes you wanna stand up and shake the blubber! In many ways these guys tread close to the junk shop glam style of punk from whence acts like Mustard, Castle Farm, Stud Leather, Spunky Spider and many more came. It's always great to give a listen to these under-the-curb kinda bands these days, although in hindsight I only wish I coulda heard more of 'em way back when they were up and about because well, when you're an adolescent suburban slob it's stuff like this that forms and shapes you into a healthy, FULL human being, y'know?

Too bad these guys, like so many others, got woooooshed over in favor of some of the blandest, lowest energy music to ever attempt (and succeed) in turning youth from their natural primal states into complacent sludge. If we only had more Baby Grandes in the seventies and less Leo Sayers maybe the world'd be a much better place to thrive in these sad 'n sorry days!
Ned Collette-OLD CHESTNUT 2-LP set (Feeding Tube Records, available here)

Hmmmm. The first thing I thought of about three minutes into side one was just how much this Collette guy reminded me of Nick Drake. Then I thought sheesh, I didn't like Drake back when I first heard him a good three decades back (and never since), so it can't be that.

But what it "is", on this ambitious two record set, is that Ned Colette is what I would call a very astute "singer/songwriter" for the 21st century. Heck, if I were a fan and follower of Drake I might even call him the NEW ND, but like I said I ain't even heard Drake in over three decades so why should I dredge his name up in the first place? STOOPIDITY, that's why.

OK, I can dredge my own handy references up even though they might seem even less connected to the music at hand. Gonna cheat and look at the hype sheet...Leonard Cohen (well, I kinda put him in the same wha' th' fuh category that I have stuck Drake in), Roger Waters (maybe the early Barrett/Gilmore cusp in Pink Floyd's career), Lou Reed (not really though at times this does have that rhythmic pulse that critics were always anxious to point out as a Velvet Underground drone homage during the early/mid-seventies) and Pip Proud (well, both people are Antipodean so maybe there is an upward stream mind gauge in common). Hmmm...won't look at the hype this time. Emtidi circa their brilliant SAAT does come to mind without the heavier eletroprog ingredients as do the underrated Comus even. Believe-it-or-not THE MARBLE INDEX in its icy sterility seems to figure in, at lease mood-wise. But then again, all four sides of OLD CHESTNUT are anything but sterile.

Voice is kinda nasal, but who would dare bring James Taylor into this holy stew?

What else should I say other'n trying to bop Colette's talents via comparisons (the easiest and most fun way out) other'n just to tell you that THIS DOUBLE SET IS ONE OF THE MOST SURPRISING OUTTA NOWHERE RELEASES I'VE HAD THE PLEASURE OF HEARING AS OF LATE. Hokay, the thing can get to be what I would call "slow" in spots (maybe it should have been edited down to one-and-a-half albums) but I probably would charge that up to my own lethargy and mammal instincts more than I would anything on Collette's behalf.

(Back to the MARBLE INDEX comparison) well, it's got that hotcha intimate feel to it (try it on an overcast winter's day) yet it has some rock chops that do evoke various late-sixties efforts that bypassed the general shag multitude. The songs themselves, while reflecting feelings of desolation and perhaps even paranoia (well, that's the impression I got, and I can get pretty paranoid at times!) fortunately have that deep soul-satisfying nature to 'em that makes one wonder if this perhaps isn't the reincarnation of a true singer/songwriter ethos the kind that has been getting some hefty huzzahs even amongst the more attuned of rock 'n roll cheerleaders at this late a date? And to think this Collette guy was born and bred in (ugh!) Melbourne!

Mebbee I should look into getting hold of those Nick Drake platters for a re-appraisal. But still I doubt that they'll sound remotely as good as this.
Okkervil River-THE STAGE NAMES CD-r burn (originally on Jagjaurar Records)

What I said about their earlier recording reviewed a few years back goes here as well. For modern day post-post-post-POST whatever it is that is that came outta the groundswell of seventies innovative bared-wire rock you can't do better than this with its misplaced emotion and patented distorted pop riffs that have plagued many a young, brash and innovative platter of the past few decades. At least "You Can't Hold The Hand of a Rock and Roll Man" has a few good references to various seventies under-the-pavement hard pop moves, but one track does not an album make.
Ocean Colour Scheme-MOSELEY SHOALS CD-r burn (originally on MCA Records)

This '96 effort does cook some hot enchiladas what with that distorto lead guitar sound and the obvious references to late-sixties moves that didn't reek patchouli. And frankly, other'n the presence of a few more curren-mode melodic riffs this might even pass as a lost 1969 forgotten effort that woulda made Lenny Kaye croak with more than a smile on his face.  Better yet a 1973 revival of late-sixties accomplishments that had the fanzine press popping like nothing since Jolly Time.

As usual the slow ballads kinda drag things down (too bad these guys never took a lesson from Elliot Murphy as to what a real "Rock Ballad" should sound like!) but when it kicks off you might flash back to all those fave flea market finds of the early eighties that sure gave your pocketbook a BIG break.

Of course I'll never listen to this again, but while it lasted it sure was a better than expected experience, eh?
Donovan-FAIRYTALE CD-r burn (originally on Castle Records, England)

While I tend to hold a way more negative opinion of Donovan than many of you readers, I am tuff 'nuff to admit to enjoying some of his recordings which boast Jeff Beck lead guitar lines and words like "barabajabal" in 'em. Still, given the majority of what I've heard of that frizzoid Scots balladeer I tend to think of him as just one more of those late-sixties fops I could use less of.

These recordings of the earlier Dylan-oozed fare he made his mark with shows us that Donovan was a mid-sixties fop as well. Other'n "Hey Gyp" (a goodie which has been done better by others including Greg Prevost) this is nothing but more music for the iron-haired gals to feel all socially conscious and heart-throbby over. So if you're in the mood to give a leotarded lady a spin of this in between grave stone rubbings this might be the thing for you. But as for me...sheesh, I'd take a Bernie Sanders album over this anyday!
David Roter Method-THEY MADE ME CD (Sellsum Records)

Yet another Roter recording that's somehow passed me by, and I gotta say that it's---OK. Really!

The comedy routines can get a little tiring (especially the one about Roter giving his infant son a bath which devolves into some weird and tasteless skit about penises that would even make Woody Allen blush) but the music for the most part is pretty up to par Roterian neo-hard rock 'n roll.

It's got a fairly nice re-do of the old Joan Crawford song that got Roter some Blue Oyster Cult shekels as well as a transgloppification of sorts of the title track from his I LOVE NEW YORK platter now called "Legends of New York". Sure it's about as slick as some of those recordings made by people who were straddling the underground and mainstream during the early eighties, but most of the time the expected Blue Oyster Cultisms ever-so-present don't ruin things like you'd think they would.

What I would like to know is....when is someone gonna release those late-sixties Roter songs like "I'm a Doper (And Not Ashamed)" and "Jame Brown" for our listening pleasure? (As I keep asking...and why not given the hefty amt. of Richard Meltzer/Bobby Abrams hype these past forty years?!?!?!)
Various Artists-TEEN-&TWEN-PARTY CD-r burn (originally on MFP Records, Germany)

Hmmm, der Chermans do sehr gudt on dis vun! All kidding aside, this is a purty entertaining sampling of German beat music done up by some of the lesser known acts that were around at the time...the only names I recognize here are the Lords as well as Nick(y) Hopkins, who does a pretty wild organ-based instrumental that had me doing a dance akin to the one I did the time I spun that Elvis Presley record in my aunt's basement!

The obscuros are good too...the Black Cats are more than adequate capturing the Amerigan soul style while the Beat Six do that Europeanized instrumental music that has an appeal for a guy like me who only knows about Germany through repeated viewings of GUTEN TAG on the PBS station. If you like mid-sixties German beat music and can't get enough, this 'un'll suit'cha just fine, mein herr...
Eartha Kitt-NOT SO OLD FASHIONED CD-r burn (originally on MFP Records, Germany)

Gee, another MFP budget cheapie! I always wondered what kinda person would buy an Eartha Kitt album...well, I guess it's the same kinda folk who would snatch up a whole batch of records that I wouldn't particularly care for so they are out there somewhere. And eventually they got alla their records and decided to sell 'em at the flea market where they STILL might be lingering for all I know!

The weird wispy voice takes on a number of tracks both familiar and not, and the fact that at least three Donovan covers show up does tend to make this a more excruciating than usual affair given how I sat through the atrocity reviewed a coupla disques above. One mo' thing---gimme Julie Newmar or Lee Merriweather over Kitt anyday!
Various Artists-BLUE FREIGHT ANGEL CRAZY CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

It's a good one, but not FANTASTICO! The Crickets without Buddy Holly were always a good and underrated act as these tracks prove, while the soul jazzy stylings of Ray Bryant are mesmerizing enough that it's easier than ease to get into their grooves during those down times. However, most of the cuts by the likes of Skip Milo and Johnny Lynd (not forgetting the V-Classics) fall into that early sixties soft schmooze style that definitely was made for the gals, and even if the gals back then were a much healthier creature than today what with pony tails, bobby socks to stockings and perfume instead of crayons and stuff like that the music they went for was feh! At least the thing ends with a funny faux Swedish tale of cuckoldry sung by a fellow called Slim Jim whose work I've heard on an earlier Bill Burn! Sheesh, remember the days when the Swedes were considered the stoopid ones long before the Polish and Wop-a-dagos began their own fight for the crown???
As the Teddy Bears sang oh so long ago, to know them is to want them, and they were most certainly talking about BLACK TO COMM BACK ISSUES! Buy some try some, as some Apple Records recording artist once said!


Head Company AB said...

I have this book that explains a newspaper quote about "stupid Italians" as what they called all the immigrant people back in the good old days. It didn't matter whether you were from Sweden or outta Mongolian. If you want to make your father proud, go hunt a big animal and bring it to him.

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Baby Grande included Steve Kilbey and Peter Koppes of later Aussie bigwigs The Church. In case you wanted to know that.

Christopher Stigliano said...

I knew that, but wanted my review to retain some dignity.