Saturday, December 08, 2018

I know that quite a few of you reg'lar readers might not have the cognitive abilities to do so, but if any of you are able maybe you'll see from this exhaustive and (admittedly) blow-hardy post that I've been...shall I say... keeping busy! Yeah, there sure was a lotsa records and gunk to write up this week, and as usual lots of things for motormouth me to say because well...why not? And, as you might have guessed, I sure had a lotta fun DOIN' it up even if the odds of anywhere from 10-20 people reading this schpiel might be chancing it a li'l too high, but so what---I gotta say that this is about as FUN as those kiddie science projects which ended up blasting the entire school to smithereens, and what healthy minded brat wouldn't go for THAT especially if the principal was locked in the basement!!!
***
One thing that I've been up to as of late has been doin' a bit of DAYDREAMING, and not the kind you think I'm doing ifyaknowaddamean... It helps with the reviews, it helps me sleep at night (hmmmmmm...maybe it is the kind you think I'm doing!) and sometimes boy do I come up with a whole load of whoppin' good ideas that I wish I could turn into COLD HARD CASH if I only had the ability to flesh 'em into actual moolah-making product. Like f'rinstance, I recently was thinking about that horrid nineties-era tee-vee series called THE WONDER YEARS and just how unreal it was in its portrayal of baby-boomer kids and the world around them in the suburbs...like, when I was a good ten years old NOBODY I knew would consider kissing a gal let alone onna lips, and we weren't as sexually savvy and know-it-all about life as those teleplay writers made us sixties-bred and buttered kids out to be. After all, Hollywood is a long way from the real world.

I have a better idea, a highlariously FUNNY (remember that word?) take on those days...title unknown at presstime...but the results would obviously be quite outrageous and despite the overdone plots still way closer to the suburban slob aspects of growing up the way I and people around me did. An ASUNDER YEARS so to speak featuring these under-the-audio/visual club types doing over-the-top stoopid things just like WE used to do and you actually get to see their parents WALLOP 'em just like in real life!

One proposed episode had these doofy kids meeting in the woods behind the drive in theater one Friday night to see some hot "adults only" kinda flick. and although they remembered to bring the binoculars they forgot the Vaseline and get chased out by that fat redneck whose land they were on! But it doesn't matter anyway because all the good stuff was matted out. Another one has the guys being invited over to a friend's house so they can have some fun beating up and tossing this girl they hate down the stairs in a sly variation on the old Sylvia Likens story! All played for laffs, of course, sorta like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER filtered through Charles Addams or better yet Charles Rodrigues! Boy, I could sure think up a lotta gags for that 'un! I might think up a few more proposals but sheesh, if I could only get this one going it's sure gonna be Emmy time, dontcha think? Oh, I keep forgetting---I'm not a lesbian!
***
And like, what else have I been doody dooin' these past few weeks you might (but probably won't) ask? Well, for one thing I've been undergoing one major, Herculean task that I've been trying to avoid like Melbournites and that's ORGANIZING MY RECORD COLLECTION SO IT HAS SOME SEMBLANCE OF ORDER TO IT! Well, the organizing part is what I'd call rather minimal so far where I'm segregating my twelve-inch platters into nine count 'em categories; bootlegs, albums that would have popped up in the import bins until the late-seventies, krautrock, classic-era Zappa and related (this one does cross-over with the import bin category making for some confusion), sixties (and early-seventies) garage band collections, classical avant garde, freedom (and related) jazz, records I will be playing shortly and those I probably never will play again or at least won't be playing as often as---say---SWEET SISTER RAY. I've been having fun doing this not only finding old tyme favorites that deserve another go at it but even a few platters I haven't played yet, so expect a whole bunch of surprise reviews to pepper up this blog as the months progress, unless I lose these platters in the shuffle again...

Naturally I do tend to throw myself into fun projects like this, and boy does the re-discovery of these friends of mine as I've called 'em then and now dredge up the ol' memories. Like man, do I flash back forty-plus years when I pull out, say, that copy of Tim Buckley's LORCA which I had been looking for endlessly until chancing about a copy in the dollar rack at a Cleveland record shop, or remember the heavy sadness and loss of hope in life (and, as it turns out, I WAS RIGHT!) when coming across another fave that was purchased during one of MANY less-than-happy times in my existence. Some of these reminiscences do bring back a tear or two, but then again all I have to do is take a swig of NyQuil and everything is mellow down fine.

But sheesh, all I gotta say is that if you hadda same kinda life to lead like I did I'll bet you so-called stalwarts wouldn't have been able to make it through kindergarten ALIVE! Now I know what Eddie Haskell meant when he said that you'd think differently (about life, music, the core of your very being) if you'd been pushed around as much as he was! And now I really know why Eddie Haskell was perhaps the only real, true to life character to make his way to the cathode connection ever! Wish me luck...I might find yet another wowzer that I never had the energy to open up back when I picked it up at some warehouse flea market a good few decades back!
***
Wanna talk about something a little more timely, and somewhat controversial? Well, although it's already a few weeks old howzbout the fact that ALL OF A SUDDEN viewers have noticed that Franklin, the black kid from the ol' PEANUTS gang, sits to one side at the Thanksgiving table while the rest hover across the way during the infamous A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING tee-vee special! Not only that, but Franklin has to suffer the indignity of sitting on a foldaway chair while the rest ('cept for Marcie on the folding chair) are seated on nice sturdy hardwood dining room table chairs! Sheesh, I caught on to the very same things that many observers seemingly just discovered back when this one first hit the tube '73 way! Come to think of it so did everyone else watching along with me catch this what is now called a "microaggression" and of course we were sayin' to each other stuff like "Well, looks like Franklin's sitting by himself...I wonder why?" snicker snortle playing dumb and all. Well, you know why...the same reason the Cabin Kids hadda sleep in their own room at the orphanage in that one Educational Pictures short of theirs. And howzbout the time the Little Rascals were on that train and Stymie hadda sleep with Petey? (Personally I thought Stymie got lucky---I mean, I always wanted Sam to sleep with me because we all loved our dogs so much and wanted to be with them all the time!) Or better yet that one black cowhand in OF MICE AND MEN who had his own shack with a "nice view of the dungheap!" Sheesh, you have to knock people over the head sometimes before the ol' reality sets into 'em!

It's strange that what I caught immediately is like all of a sudden a hot topic which goes to show ya that even in this age of flash and instant information at our fingertips it takes some people forty-five years to notice the obvious. Maybe Franklin's seating was accepted as a "given" for all these years, but nowadays NOTHING goes by the self-appointed moral guardians meaning that it's ALL gonna go down (all the good stuff we grew up with, that is!) more sooner than later. But hey, howcum nobody says anything about Franklin slapping Charlie Brown "five" and Charlie Brown looking on in total befuddlement? Now, that's more racially divisive than where Franklin got seated if ya ask moi!

And while we're at it. howcum the sudden controversy (via the who else but HUFFINGTON POST) o'er the RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER special, one which I remember seeing as it debuted that wintery 1964 Sunday evening (my dad was tutoring this college kid and we had him for roasted wieners and beans cooked up in the basement rec room before us kidz trodded upstairs to watch the thing. I even remember that tall elf with the glasses hawking various Norelco electric razors during the commercial breaks, something that was cut out of every other viewing as far as I can recall!). Sheesh, it seems as if nothing old and mid-twentieth century and ranch house living is exempt from the scrutiny of the powers that be who have taken over the old nosy reform league type roles dictating what is and isn't good for us because well, they naturally know better because they're better looking! Well, what other explanation do you have as to why these lofty ones are so eager to tell the rest of us what to do! What's next...segregated rock 'n roll groups???
***
Enough. Here are the writeups of recordings you've been drooling away like a boxer puppy for. Thanks again goes to Bill Shute, Feeding Tube Records and Whatshisname McGarry for the freebees which really helped because hey, I didn't have to pay for any one of 'em this time around! Really helps out on the ol' pocketbook, especially during this time of year when people expect me to dish out money for them so they can have an excuse to like me, or something like that.


Takiji Naka/Tim Olive-QUINCE CD-r (Kendra Steiner Editions, see link on left for more information)

Having completed undergoing some experimental pile surgery this afternoon I found this release to have been the perfect soundtrack for what went on in my nether regions. Electronic drones compete with in-between the beat throbs for a good half hour of experimental music you might be able to enter into, mentally that is. As with these new under-the-counter sound collage offerings this is a bit hard for a neophyte like me to describe, but anyone who has been in on the New Music game since finding some old Max Neuhaus platter at the used record shop and playing it to bits should be able to appreciate the efforts of KSE star Olive and co-inspirationist Naka with more'n just mere aplomb!
***
Arkm Foam-BLOODROOT SPITBALL LP (Feeding Tube Records, available here)

There have been tape manipulators (or as I like to say, "tape mangipulators") around at least since John Cage produced "Williams Mix" if not earlier, but this guy has got 'em all beat! Well, not really but this Arkm Foam person does do some interesting things with the old ferrous oxide coated thin slip of plastic that many similar-minded yet feeble attempts (including my own 1978 excursion using radio and the sounds of Brioschi bubbling in a glass!) failed miserably at. It definitely rates as more'n just plain ol' "interesting", especially on side two when Foam ventures onto the streets of Boston and mixes his sounds in with the natural goings on including sirens and a crying baby! One of these days you're gonna wonder why you didn't think of this yourself!
***
CLIMAX LANDERS LP (Feeding Tube Records)

When I saw the cover of this 'un I thought it was gonna be yet another one of those goofy neo-Velvets type of groups who seem to have taken most of their cues from late-seventies Talking Heads and the Feelies and other eighties pop takes rather than WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT. Wrong again, for Climax Landers are a fairly good variation on the old three guys/one gal precocious and forward looking kinda rock acts we've been inundated with for the past four decades only done up with some interesting lyrical and musical moves that keep my attention going, at least for a short spell. Songs about Muslims tend to make my ears perk up does this poem the group's singer recites on side two, and although the specter of "twee" might wanna slip into your own personal psyche, it certainly doesn't want to slip into mine.
***
Meade "Lux" Lewis-ALTERNATE TAKES, LIVE PERFORMANCES, SOUNDIES ETC. CD-r burn (originally on Document Records)

This album (well, two album set) honed down to a single disque sure reminds me of that Red Allen Merritt Record Society double-header I reviewed a few months back. That is, this set takes various radio broadcasts, film appearances, fragments and outtakes and slaps 'em together sorta like one of those old bootlegs you and I used to treasure back inna seventies. I'm sure the album cover neatly denotes where all of these tracks came from and so forth just like all of these nice packages should. And, in between the radio announcments and listening to James Stewart trying to order a martini or at least trying to find a guy named Martini there's some really toe-tapping boogie woogie blues piano here that proves that those "nostalgic" kinda days we all were bombarded with during the early-seventies weren't all Kay Kyser!
***
Southern Culture on the Skids-ZOMBIFIED CD-r burn (originally on Cortex Records)

Like most of these punkabilly platters, ZOMBIFIED is good for one spin before slipping your copy back into the collection next to Rebecca and the Sunnybrook Farmers. However, that one spin you'll give this 'un will be a more'n joyous occasion around your stereo system if only for Southern Culture's snat usage of various hotcha late-fifties forms that don't sound THAT bad updated for modern geek consumption. Even if you go for those tuffer late-eighties-and-on updates like the Mummies you'll probably love this particular effort to no end, at least before you forget all about it like I tend to do.
***
NIKKI AND THE CORVETTES CD-r burn

Prob'ly a Bomp! issue of some sort, but whatever the origin of this specie is well, it's a good 'un. Frankly I tried avoiding a good portion of the late-seventies under-the-counterculture days going for the "punk rock" (whether that be in an early-seventies CREEM mode or not) bands that came off what I would call "giddy", and these gals were no exception. Nowadays I find their style of pop to be rather smooth going and easy on the nerves, even at a time when for all practical purposes I want something that snizzles the nodes just like Pere Ubu was wont to do so long ago. Straightforward punky pop sound that were considered extremely verboten by the FM AOR dolts...even this life-reaffirming stew...which only goes to show ya just how far into the ol' colon the radio listening fans in the Youngstown Ohio area were willing to stick their heads deep into back when this stuff was guaranteed to save us ALL!
***
The Astronauts-COMPETITION COUPE CD-r burn (originally on RCA Records)

When the Astronauts were imitating the vocal harmonies bein' done up by the big guns on the surf set they did come off kinda Johnny Come Lately, but when they stuck to their instrumental and definitely non-Beach Boys styled sounds they weren't bad at all! These totally forgotten guys (well, you ask somebody who the Astronauts were and they'l probably answer you with "Neil Armstrong" or "Tony Nelson" if not "Tom (yech!) Hank") sure do swell as RCA's attempt to get in on the whole surf/hot rod game, and perhaps it isn't too bad they never did go as far as they shoulda because well...maybe someone inna eighties woulda done a gloppy TV movie about 'em if they did and you know how bad that woulda been!
***
Jesse Malin-NEW YORK BEFORE THE WAR CD-r burn (originally on One Little Indian Records)

Malin's been around for ages, and just for that maybe he should be given some testimonial dinner complete with a slice of vein-y roast beef!  Anyway, this 2015 platter shows Malin in more of an introspective singer/songwriter mood than as a rocker, kinda sounding something like what I would've expected James Taylor to come up with had his connection been a few hours late. No, it's not that bad but it is kind of a downer with all of those slow songs that are bound to put a frown on even Mr. Roger's face. You might like it and I might love some of Malin's other efforts, but boy did I wish I coulda checked into McLean Hospital for a few months after giving this one a listen!
***
The Cute Lepers-SMART ACCESSORIES CD-r burn (originally on Damaged Goods Records)

Nothin' cute about this '09 hodgepodge of every pop punk riff and move that I've been hearing these past fortysome years that got me more Quinlan'd out than Sominex! Mebbe a few moments wander into late-seventies expressionism that sounded so fresh next to BT Express, but for the most part this just reeks of the same ol' pampered upper-middle class school kid sounds that made me think hey, maybe Chuck Eddy was right after all! (Just kidding!!!!)
***
Dinah Lee-THE VIKING RECORDINGS 1964-1967 CD-r burn

For being a talented kinda gal in New Zealand making local versions of international hits for the local population, Dinah Lee did a better job of it than I would have expected from a mere female. Still slick and girl-y, but her vocalese isn't anything that would make you sick and if you had heard it onna radio way back when you wouldn't've turned it off just like I wouldn't've unless I was on the search for a fave like "Simon Says"! I understand that she was pretty popular over there, but given how most people couldn't even spot New Zealand on a map it's no wonder why she never gained any fame (that I know of ) north of the equator. I might be presumptuous, but people like you just might lap this up!
***
Various Artists-HUNDRED-DOLLAR SNOWFALL CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Izzat Bill Shute on the cover? Hope not (and I don't think so, even though he is a "wise-cracker"), but whoever it is ought to be ashamed! Laid back instrumentals meet weirdo commercial rock and soul talkovers in yet another one of those incongruous Bill-burns. A track from the Sally Starr space album shows up giving us at least some interesting kiddie-fun styled entertainment while I dunno wha' th' heck that "Million Dollar Weekend" thing is supposed to be what with the sexy coo-ing and all. At least the easy listening numbers had me flashed back to a 1960s where I'm some old hi-fi nut in his knotty pine rec room listening to the local FM station with headphones on and doors locked so the nervy wife doesn't go interrupt my pleasure to have me do the dishes or something equally un-hi-fi nut like!
***
Remember those little ads in MAD magazine for glossy Alfred E. Neuman snaps? Remember how year after year they hadda think up new, funny and interesting little blurbs in order to get those dumbfounded readers to buy a few? And remember just how long those ads ran givin' ya the impression that selling Alfred E. Neuman glossies was not as easy as it seemed? Well, here at BLACK TO COMM headquarters I sure know what a struggle it can be getting rid of all my available back issues, that's fo' sure! Not to mention think up clever come-ons just so's you'll buy a bunch. C'mon, think of all the hard effort I have to put in week after week in order to coax you guys into getting hold of these fantastic fanzines and at least pick up a few....pleeeeze?

Thursday, December 06, 2018

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! BRAIN BOY #1330 (Dell Comics, April-June 1962, available from
Golden Age Reprints)

Until recently, I never knew much about the Dell comics line other'n a few blurbs in that one comic strip history collection I fondly remember from my youth. From that book I learned that Dell was the first company to put out comic books, and at the time of that book's publication they were still publishing TIP TOP, a title which I thought was hot since they ran not only the NANCY and CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS comic book-only stories but the PEANUTS ones which have finally been collected in book form after years of neglect..

I also used to think that Gold Key, who were rather omnipresent on comic book racks when I was a youth, was Dell under a new name. Seemed logical since both titles dealt with the usual kid comic strip characters as well as comparatively stiffly drawn adventure-type fare and both did not subscribe to the Comics Code. It wasn't until years later that I learned the two companies were in no way connected. Chalk up another youthful misconception that dogged me for many a year...

In the midst of all my confusion I did snatch up one Dell title from Golden Age Reprints, the debut issue of a title I had no knowledge of but purchased if only for the weirdo front cover pic. And yeah, BRAIN BOY is just about everything one would expect from an early-sixties Dell comic, not only with the rather plain artwork but the Cold War saga as well as the Science Fiction angle that seemed to mingle well with the whole Brave New Future we were promised in 1962 but never did get. These three elements crammed into a nice if pricey (fifteen cents!) comic put together did make for a fairly decent combination of up to date relevant comic book fare for I rather enjoyed this 'un despite the more "cultured" comic kiddoid in mine soul screeching at me to do otherwise.

Origin-wise, BRAIN BOY couldn't get any more early-sixties to-the-point-of-it-all. An auto accident where a blown tire on a 1961 Dodge rams into a power line leaves Matt Price dead, though his with child wife Mary miraculously escapes. Son Matt Jr. is born and is shown to have the power of telepathy, ESP, and the ability to move objects with mere thought (including his own self). He keeps his powers secret even to his mother (the kids threatened to beat him up when he moved someone's bike) and, while stag at the high school prom, he's approached by a man with similar powers who wants Price to get into some spy work considering those were the early-sixties and tensions were pretty rife if you ask me. Well, better'n had this been the early-seventies and Brain Boy woulda been solving all those "relevant" problems we had inna world just like Green Lantern and Green Arrow did!

In this inaugural issue Brain Boy is sent to one of those mythical Central Amerigan countries where the rulers that be certainly don't cozy up to Unca Sam like they woulda (this area is referred to as "The Sombrero Curtain"!). A Xochtan (that's the name of the nation!) composer named Hillary Gomez (that's right!) has returned from Ameriga to his native land for a music festival. During a speech on music he suddenly goes into an anti-Amerigan diatribe and is shot drive by style by a bunch of United Statesers which turns the entire affair into one massive international hoo-hah! It's up to Brain Boy to really use his mind to get to the bottom of what's happening where along the way he forces an assassin named Anka (!) to kill himself, affixes shoe polish to his face in order to disguise himself as a Xochtan soldier (leaving his blond locks alone) and of course on the way meets up with a pretty senorita who, surprise surprise, turns out to have telepathic powers herself!

Yes it's a winner in my book even if the story turns out more military than paranormal, and for a change of early-sixties comic book pace I'm sure BRAIN BOY did have enough of an appeal for those unlucky kids who got to the newsstand long after the big name DC and Marvel titles were long gone (and hadda pay an extra three cents for it t'boot!).

A coupla weirdo things about this mag...first off, the guy seen flying about like Superman onna cover is...oddly enough...NOT Brain Boy at all but his mentor who, while having similar powers, is just not the kinda guy one wants to see on the cover of a comic book! I mean, the real deal hero is a whole lot more youthful and appealing to the comic book grabbing kinda kid---why stick some mid-aged guy there who's sure to draw in a whole lot fewer readers even if he does look weird enough! Also strange is when, on page one, when right after the crash it is written that although Matt Price had died in the accident "his pregnant (my itals.) wife escapes"! I gotta say that, prior to the "Pregnancy Chic" movement of the very early-seventies (which had my mom rushing up to change the channel whenever a big-bellied gal would pop up...even GET SMART succumbed to the fad!) these things were better left hushed up even if Wilma Flintstone and Samantha Stevens were obviously showing and DRAGNET would frequently mention knocked up teenagers who were in trouble with the law as early as the fifties! I dunno, it all seems just too "risque" reading that word in an early-sixties comic book and yeah, I do feel kinda "filthy" about the whole thing myself!

Do what I do...read BRAIN BOY but go wash up after you're done reading the first page, hokay?

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

COMIC BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! OUTLAWS OF THE WEST #82 (Charlton Comics, July 1979)


During my years in Stillwater, Oklahoma (1979-1985), I spent one year sharing the bottom floor of an older home in a quiet neighborhood with a guy from Alabama named Donnie Stackman. We were both part-time employees in the same academic department at the college we both attended, and we’d both lived together for the six months prior to that in the infamous $80 a month apartment with the hole through the wall into the alley, which I discussed in a previous piece here at BTC. I did not know Donnie prior to the hole-in-the-wall apartment, but we were both friends of the third person who lived there, Jonathan, a long-haired zen-calm kind of guy from Birmingham who’d been in the Marine Corps, who’d invited both of us to move in so he could split the rent three ways and cut expenses. Jonathan did not join us when we found this other house to rent--it was just Donnie and yours truly....at least at the start.

Above us, occupying the second floor, lived two male graduate students in Agriculture from Tanzania--sorry, but I don’t remember their actual names. Like a lot of people from Africa or Asia who lived in the US back in that period, they affected a “Western-sounding” nickname to assist the locals in referring to them, and because those were not their real names and half the time I referred to them by those real names, not the nicknames, I’m drawing a blank on names, though I can see them clearly in my mind’s eye. Both were slim, serious-minded men in their late 20’s. I don’t think they drank, but I do remember sharing some cigarettes with them on the back steps a number of times. They probably would not have had time to drink or to waste precious hours on anything non-essential, as they were doctoral students working on Ph.D.’s. One thing I found interesting about them was that their higher educations had both been in Eastern Bloc countries. Their undergraduate work in agriculture had been in East Germany, and they’d both earned master’s degrees in the Soviet Union (though at different universities). The Eastern Bloc was looking to curry favor with third-world countries, both for influence and for potential trading partners. And now these men were in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I’d always been interested in getting to know international students (learning about distant cultures through conversation is cheaper than traveling to the places themselves, and also you’re getting it straight from the core of the culture, not the tourist version--also, people in an unfamiliar foreign land appreciate locals who welcome them and show an interest in and respect for their culture), and not having known many folks who’d lived in communist countries (this was the early 80’s), I found their stories about life in East Germany and Russia fascinating. Donnie never really got to know these fellows, other than saying “hi” when they crossed paths, but I would chat with them for 15-30 minutes maybe twice a week, and they invited me up to their apartment to eat a few times, where they prepared an inexpensive dish made with potatoes and eggs and onions and tomatoes and chile peppers and, of course, some spices from the homeland that were unfamiliar to me but delicious....and potent. Though they lived above us, these guys rarely made any noise and spent late nights at the university library in advance scientific study. They both earned doctorates in Agriculture and went back to Tanzania, where I believe they were promised jobs with the government agriculture ministry.

I was never really close with my downstairs roommate Donnie. He had a kind of Grizzly Adams vibe to him----stocky, big blond-red beard, wore overalls, and affected a kind of folksy charm. We worked different hours, went to school at different times (I was a morning person--he was not), and stayed out of each other’s ways. We had an agreement where we’d split the kitchen and the refrigerator in half, one sink each, etc., and his side of the sink and his half of the refrigerator were always filthy. I wound up cleaning them up for him (which I’m sure he counted on!) because the stink of rotting onions in the fridge or the sight of bloated pieces of old bread floating in his sink was too much for me to take. Whenever he was out, I’d have the stereo on----probably playing PIL SECOND EDITION or one of the early Wire albums or a Chocolate Watchband album or one of Coltrane’s twelve Prestige albums over and over. He claimed to be into bluegrass, but he did not seem to know much about it. He’d sometimes listen to music with me and was the kind of guy who’d drink or smoke with me if I provided the supplies. I never knew him to buy a cigarette or beer of his own. He’d do without rather than spend a cent of his own on those things.

He would also go on crash diets from time to time.....or should I say starvation diets. He would literally starve himself for three or four days. After a few days of that, he would have some odd metallic odor coming out of his mouth. I asked him about this once because he mentioned that he was meeting a lady one night and I thought he should know that his breath was not good. He told me that he was diabetic and what I was smelling was ketones, and not to worry about it because he knew how to handle it. Unfortunately, as this unpleasant scent was not coming from his mouth but from somewhere deeper inside him, mouthwash and brushing would not have helped the breath problem. Who knows if he had any luck with the ladies that night.

When he did go off these fasts, he’d always hit some local watering hole during happy hour when they would have specials on pitchers of beer, and he’d choose a bar where people would know him, and he’d join a group who would, being the good sports that most happy hour drinkers are, invite him to join in. He’d usually stay until the last person left and/or the last drop of beer paid for by someone else had been consumed. I’m told he would also take the tip off the table, a tip left by those paying for the beer, and pocket it for himself. I used to hit a certain bar that served burgers and fried food on Fridays with a poet friend, who was also a friend of Donnie’s, and we’d get happy hour pitchers and cheap baskets of French fries and gravy and chat about life and literature and music and art for hours on end. Donnie would often crash these get-togethers and drink our beer and eat our fries and gravy. He was an entertaining guy always conscious of an audience, and as stated earlier, he played the colorful Southerner role to the hilt, so I doubt anyone ever minded his mooching, since he did provide entertainment value for the beer he drank and bar-food he pilfered.

One Wednesday--I think it was right before a holiday weekend, so he’d have a few days off work while the college was closed--he announced to me that he was going to Las Vegas for the weekend and would be back the next Tuesday. He did not drive, owned three shirts and three pants (and the shirts were all flannel checked shirts that were not great for those hundred-degree Oklahoma summers----I can’t imagine he would have worn those back in Alabama!), and was a tightwad all around, so I was quite surprised by this move.

However, nothing prepared me for what I experienced that next Tuesday when he came back home.....he introduced me to his new wife, Candace. Yes, he met someone in Vegas over the weekend and married her on the spot and brought her back to Stillwater, Oklahoma. She had one suitcase full of clothes, and she moved into his room with him (we had endless arguments after that about whether the rent should be split three ways, as I suggested, or two ways, as he suggested).

Candace struck me as the mature one in this duo----after all, it would be hard NOT to be----and she had the case-hardened toughness that you find in, say, waitresses in all-night diners, people who’d seen it all and were prepared to face any hassle and stare it down. She had experience as a speech pathologist (though that was not what she’d been working at most recently), so she was able to get a job at the college within a week of arriving in Stillwater. Like me, she was a morning person, and her new husband was not, so they were rarely home at the same time. He tended to work in the early evenings--she was getting off work when he was starting. The result of this was that I spent many more waking hours with his wife than he did! This lady who was married for two weeks or whatever was stuck at home with ME each evening, and although things were awkward for a while at the beginning because I never approved of her as a “new roommate,” I accepted reality rather quickly, and we would wind up playing Scrabble or discussing art or listening to Coltrane’s BLACK PEARLS album on Prestige, the kind of long-tracked jazz album full of bluesy jams you could play over and over and over, getting up every 20 minutes to flip the record. She was a very intelligent person, had held a number of interesting jobs, was quite well-read, and had a kind of jaded cynicism that I found admirable and fascinating. She was about ten years older than I was and about five years older than Donnie.

When we would spend a few evenings in a row hanging out together, we both sensed a kind of innate need to not get too close----after all, she was newly married and had moved across the country to live with this man, for better or worse. She’d put all her eggs in this basket. It was funny when I thought of how we would pretend not to know each other as well as we did whenever he was around. It was almost as if we were involved and hiding it, though we were not. Her relationship with her husband can be summed up in the following anecdote: when she got her first paycheck, she purchased an ice cream churn--she told me she loved to make homemade ice cream. When she first used it--after buying the cream and the salt and the ice and the caramel & butterscotch--she wound up serving this amazing ice cream to me and to the African guys, whom I invited down to join us as there was too much ice cream for the two of us to eat by ourselves. Her husband Donnie was working....or at a bar....or somewhere, probably mooching beer and fried mushrooms off someone.

Candace always referred to her husband by his last name--she would say, “hey Stackman,” if she had a question or wanted to tell him something. I NEVER heard her call him Donnie--or even refer to him by his first name when talking to some third party. Also, when they would be walking together (he affected a walking stick or cane which he did not need when out “on the town,” thinking it helped the Southern Gentleman persona) on the streets of Stillwater, which did not happen often, he’d be in some kind of detached zone in a personal fog. If she was turning a corner or having to stop somewhere, she’d tap Donnie and push him in the direction she wanted to go. It reminded me of someone walking a dog that had not been fully trained.

This old two-story home we rented the lower floor of was owned by a retired couple from the nearby town of Pawnee, who would come to town each month to pick up the rent money from us and from the African guys. It had the proverbial white picket fence around it and was at a corner on a tree-shaded neighborhood only about eight blocks from the campus but it seemed like it was miles away in terms of atmosphere, so it had a large lot. I volunteered to mow the lawn twice a month (they had an old push-mower in a shed behind the house) for a discount on the rent (although Donnie benefited from the discount too, he never offered to mow). It also had a large wrap-around covered porch. We took one side of it and half the front, and the African guys took the other side and the other half, though they rarely if ever used them because they were studying all the time.

There were three or four old rocking chairs out there (and this was the kind of area where they could be left out all the time and would never be stolen), and being at the corner there was often a breeze from one side or another, and being shaded, it always seemed ten degrees cooler than the yard. I spent a lot of time--when I was keeping apart from Candace--on that porch reading. And some of that reading was inevitably comic books, and many of those comic books were inevitably Charlton Comics. Back then, as I still do today, some 35 or 37 years later, I had a box where I would keep the new comics acquisitions, all gotten for a dime or at most a quarter at some used bookstore or junk store or in the garbage pile at a comics shop that treated Charlton product as if it had leprosy, and when I was bored, I’d work my way through a few, and then put them at the back of my stack.

They weren’t making many western movies in the early 80’s.....although I could still catch some obscure Monogram or PRC or Republic western in the middle of the night on UHF television, along with an occasional Italian western such as LEFT HANDED JOHNNY WEST starring Steve Reeves’s old pal from the sword and sandal film days, Mimmo Palmera (or as it was Anglicized in the credits, Dick Palmer), or Sergio Corbucci’s MINNESOTA CLAY with Cameron Mitchell as the blinded gunfighter who killed by sound....so western comics such as OUTLAWS OF THE WEST provided a cheap, action-filled fix with the wonderful stereotyped characters and situations that one could find in a Durango Kid movie, if they ever showed any of those, which they did not in early 80’s Oklahoma, but minus Smiley Burnette’s comedy and songs and with more violence and brutality. In the great tradition of Charlton’s waning days in the 80’s, the stories in this particular 1979 issue (which I probably acquired in 1981 or so for a dime) were all taken from 1959 Charlton western magazines and “re-purposed”. Did it REALLY matter in a western comic? I think not. All you need is an introduction like “Red Gruber’s huge ranch occupied the upper half of Bone Valley--he fought every owlhooter in Arizona to build the Three Bar brand--“ and lots of blazing pistols and stand-offs and fistfights in saloons and men on horseback shooting the guns out of the hands of other men on horseback, and you know you are getting what you have paid for. And with ten-cent used comics (which, in the case of the Charlton westerns, appeared to have never been read, with tightly creased spines), it did not take much to earn back that ten cents and satisfy me. In my eyes, terms like “owlhoots” and “varmints” and “ornery polecats” are like code-words among members of some secret society--I hear them, and whoever is using the terms is “in” as far as I’m concerned. We’re members of the same lodge and brothers.

That next summer, I moved on to my own solo garage apartment, where I lived for three years. Donnie left town, and I believe Candace went her own way to a different part of the country from where he went. I later heard that he had never actually gotten a divorce from a first wife up in Illinois, and I’m not sure how that situation wound up. Life brings you together with people you are friendly with but do not get close to, it forces you to interact with them, and then you stumble into your next situation. Only the yellowed Charlton Comics and the Prestige-label Coltrane albums survive to document that it was not all just a dream...

FOOD REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! PATTI'S GOOD LIFE SWEET POTATO PIE (3 oz. size)

You can’t get much for 50 cents nowadays--in my area, the cheapest donuts or breakfast tacos are over 50 cents--but you CAN get a mini-version of Patti LaBelle’s sweet potato pie at your local Wal-Mart for 50 cents!

Ms. LaBelle--soul singing star for over 50+ years (there was a great collection of her 60’s Atlantic
recordings with the Blue Belles on Ichiban 15 or so years ago called OVER THE RAINBOW, which you can still get used for under $10--if a sublime combination of the girl-group sound and female soul singing groups is what you are after, this is it!) and still touring regularly--is also a food person, with multiple cookbooks and packaged-food items for sale, much of it in the soul-food vein, which is always welcome at my house!

I’ve picked up a few of her cobblers and pies when they have been consigned to the outdated bin at the local Wal-Mart and cost about a third of their original price, but unfortunately, they are ultra high calorie items, and if I want to be around for future Cornflake Zoo compilations or the eventual release of Jerry Lewis’s THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED, I can’t really eat that kind of thing. Oh yes, I can hear someone say, “why don’t you cut it into twelve slices and eat it over a week or two?” Maybe someone else has that kind of discipline, but I don’t. I could eat this kind of thing in a double portion at every meal. I DON”T, but I could. If the world were going to end in three hours, and my A1C diabetes number and cholesterol ratings were no longer an issue, I might want to eat an entire buttermilk pie, while swilling some Islay Scotch (neat, with two small ice cubes) and blasting some Frank Wright albums as I perused my favorite passages from Melville and Henry Miller. Let Nero fiddle while Rome burns--I’ll take a soul-food pie.

Fortunately, some genius at Ms. LaBelle’s “Patti’s Good Life Foods” came up with the idea of offering an individual 3 ounce version of Patti’s rich and flavorful sweet potato pie, and even better than that, it’s only FIFTY CENTS, the same price as the generic store-brand mini-pies sold at Wal-Mart.

For those unfamiliar with sweet potato pie, it’s a close cousin to pumpkin pie because both are essentially custard-based pies with similar spices in them--cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc. I think of the sweet potato pie being lighter in color and texture than the pumpkin, and also with a hint of molasses--and checking Patti’s list of ingredients on this pie, I do see molasses....but just a hint. Patti likes to use a lot of butter in her cooking (I'm glad she's still around if she actually eats these things herself), and that’s true here too.

I first had one of these mini Patti pies two months ago when I drove three hours each way to see Bob Dylan in Sugar Land, TX (SW of Houston) and arrived at the venue too early to enter. I picked up one at the store down the street, slipped it into the inside pocket of my coat, and took it into the swank "Smart Financial Centre" Theatre, consuming it about fifteen minutes into the show while Dylan was performing his new arrangement of "Cry A While," with guitarist Charlie Sexton grafting the riff from Link Wray's "Rumble" onto it. Somehow, that made perfect sense.

One of these mini-pies is only 250 calories, and it creates an instant down-home holiday event wherever you consume it. Pick up a tall-boy of malt liquor for $1.29 while you’re at it, and you’ll get change back from your two dollars. If you’ve got a computer handy or a friend does, go to You Tube and find one of those channels that has all the chronological singles of someone like Freddy Cannon or Duane Eddy or The Fireballs so you can listen for hours, turn up the volume, and then go to Comic Book Plus and read some free Public Domain issues of Charlton Comics such as Billy The Kid or Submarine Attack (be sure you’ve read the most recent entry here on BLOG TO COMM first, though). It’ll be the best two dollars you ever spent.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

FANZINE FANABLA NUMBER WHO KNOWS WHAT!!!



For a change let's start this fanabla out with a fanzine that just happens to have nothing to do with music! And believe-you-me, when it comes to fanzines of a science fiction, comic book or fantasy nature there are plenty in those realms as there are in rock 'n roll, if not a thousand fold more considering how it was the sci-fi/fantasy realm that practically BIRTHED the entire self-publication form!

FANTASY ILLUSTRATED was but just one of 'em---a fanzine created right smack-dab in the middle of the budding comic book fan boom of the sixties. From the outset FI boasted that it was gonna live up to the classic high-class yet down-to-earth pre-code EC style of art and swerve even if was being done on an amateur basis, and as far as I can tell from the second issue (Spring 1964) editor Bill Spicer sure lived up to his pretty brazen claims. I mean, look at the multi-color cover and (if you happen to have a copy in your mitts) the fine print job and layout. Yeah, none of the artists who contributed including future undergrounder Grass Green or Joe Staton were ready for the big time yet (give Staton a few more years of improvement before he entered into the Marvel Universe) but the art was much more pleasing to the eyeballs than any of the overwrought artists who have appeared since the mid-seventies, and the stories were straightforward and entertaining, certainly not the Sunday School lectures that were to come outta comic fandom within a few years that's for sure!

As far as trying to reach that EC level of quality and Comic Code tweaking that would rise to even higher levels as the fanzine movement wore on, FANTASY ILLUSTRATED did a much better job and did it without sinking to juvenile snicker levels that seem part and parcel to these sorts of endeavors. "The Life Battery" echoes the old horror style fairly well and thankfully doesn't become yet another fanzine homage with little originality. "The Invaders"'s title pretty much gives away the whole bit about aliens disguising themselves as earthmen of stature ready to take over the planet, though the switcheroo ending does make this more'n just another rote rate. "Someone Please Help Me!" has pretty hotcha artwork courtesy Green and a story that begins enticingly enough but ends pretty lame (it's a play on the old severed head kept alive routine which has been making its way across the horror comics and sci fi realms for ages!). "Adam Link's Revenge" is the followup to the first part which appeared in the Winter '63 debut issue...and in case you're not familiar with this legendary Sci-Fi tome its the same Eando Binder 'un that was later used on THE OUTER LIMITS and had been published in pulps long ago to the point where it's practically branded on the brains of each and every fantasy buff of the mid-twentieth century. Don't let that scare you off 'cuz "Revenge" is a good 'un even with the overabundant narrative that tends to drag down the more action-packed portions of the story.

There's also two pages of a comic strip demo courtesy the infamous Al Williamson entitled ROBBIE...looks good as all of Williamson's EC and Warren material did in that Alex Raymond fashion, but as these kinda strips go they might have been artistic enough, but would anyone who's gone near a comic strip page these last fifty-plus years read the thing? Too bad the man hadda be reduced to drawing the STAR WARS comic strip once he did get a newspaper gig.

Judging from the letters editor Spicer must have sent a copy of FI #1 to every big name in comics, fandom or otherwise. Notes from Otto Binder, Carl Barks, Harvey Kurtzman and even Al "GOD COMICS" Kuhfeld who himself knew all about creating fanzines that would definitely not be approved by the Comics Code show up! Somebody oughta reprint those, even if I get the impression that each and every copy of GOD COMICS comes complete with a mandatory thousand years in Purgatory!
***
While we're on the subject, here's another non-music fanzine, a science fiction oriented one that I acquired as of late if only for one special reason you'll find out about as the story unfolds. LOCUS was (is?) more of a newsletter than a 'zine but it still has that early-seventies typewriter pecked-out look akin to all of those early issues of WHO PUT THE BOMP! that we still pour through lo these many years later. That's not the reason I got hold of this particular issue...I bought it because there's an article by none other than LENNY KAYE on science fiction rock, a pretty good 'un too that gabs about the birth of the form as well as the groups of the early-seventies who were wallowing around in the space-rock mode and how Pink Floyd were milking their old sound to the point where the udder has run dry and that Hawkwind were the outer space way to go as far as rock 'n roll as it stood at the time went. Pretty good stuff as usual (has Kaye every let you down even when he was writing about the Grateful Dead and James Taylor?) and I dunno if this was a regular column or not but hey, I could sure use more Lenny Kaye in my life and I know you can too! By the way, have any of you wild eyed rock fanzine types out there discovered any of Kaye's old rock 'n roll fanzines that were up and about the same time such creations as MOJO NAVIGATOR and those old hand-stapled CRAWDADDIES???
***
Now onto some good ol' Amerigan kinda rock 'n roll fanzines with hair on their chest and an attitude that would make most folk who claim(ed) allegiance to the music (via the AM/FM-bred dolt mentality as promulgated by the likes of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY) blanch with fear. And what better mags to start off this portion of the program with than with the first two issues of RAW POWER, the legendary El Lay-area fanzine that I have praised in past posts and will continue to hosanna as long as I'm in the business of doing such things. RAW POWER was a very good and top of the heap home made publication that put out a variety of good issues even if their swan song, a foldover newspaper/local freebee-sized effort, echoed the area during the final days of El Lay smarm 'stead of smarts. Getting hold of these early efforts really has put the bloom on my rosebud of a fanzine collection if I do say so myself!


These  two mags are particularly potent. Everything a good fan-oriented fanzine should be and perhaps the closest anyone in the area got to the BACK DOOR MAN-style of rah or even the spirit of  DENIM DELINQUENT during their local stay's unbridled (though non-scholarly as if that ever mattered!) all out fandom. One-sided printing, xerox quality and total mania make these RAW POWERs total winners with the team of Quick Draw and Bobalouie going all out for punk rock and heavy metal without making apologies to either camp! And to bug you purists even more these come with loads of Kim Fowley and Rodney Bingenheimer worship bound to upset any and all Angry Samoans out there! An' yeah, in my own downhome corny way I love it all especially when they print that hate note from the Germs after a duff review of a live show or smudge a few facts here and there...it's still all ROCKISM to me and frankly pretty potent as far as relaying that feeling I sometimes still get where the music makes ya TINGLE like you were undergoing electroshock therapy without the nodes on your head. And if you read closely enough you will learn something you might never knew of...like that Punky Meadows of Angel was once slated to join the New York Dolls?!?!?!?!
***
I've bragged about the various issues of HOOPLA that I've had the pleasure of latching onto before, so there's no reason why I shouldn't rah-rah about the first two issues of this under-rated fanzine that I've received in the interim. Sure they're primitive what with the single staple inna corner job as well as the lack of any illustrations, but as far as early endeavors that grew HOOPLA was pretty much set on the same trajectory of humble fanzine beginnings that flourished as the months drew on in the same tradition of other fine self-published diatribes as BLACK TO COMM.

This mag has a whole lotta things that I just crave as far as these home-produced, personalist publications go, from that friendly sense of kick up yer feet and stay a spell demeanor to the rabid raves that the likes of Jon Ginoli (who I understand went into musical as well as other territories that are not quite copasetic with the BLOG TO COMM credo) and his contributors spew forth with their "amateurish" yet strikingly powerful writings. Of course putting out a fanzine at a particularly fertile time in music as these guys did sure helped, making me wonder why there weren't even MORE fanzines coming out during those days considering all of the suburban slobs and decadent wannabes who were buying up albums by the cartload. I know I woulda had my own mag out then, if I only knew how to put two words together (and when I did---whew!---it was pretty close to that potent match up of "nitro" and "glycerine" if I do say so myself!).

Of course, like in the case of the best rock writing extant HOOPLA is worth eyeballing even if you think Ginoli is dead wrong on a certain platter (such as in the case of his review of Elliot Murphy's JUST A STORY FROM AMERICA) or that the space devoted to Bruce Springsteen bootlegs could be put to a better use. But I sure enjoyed it all (especially the on-target Robert Christgau spoof) even if I wasn't exactly looking forward to yet another Venus and the Razorblades writeup. It's that good and refreshing kinda like the way you feel drinking a glass of Kool Aid after cutting the yard in 100-degree (F) weather. Or better yet it's really great after you've perused the web trying to find some semblance of rock 'n roll sanity and all you come up with is a load of straight hypesheet hooey written by the usual better-than-thous waxing eloquent as to why early eighties AM crotch pop was such a treat for those bonged up kids we all knew and loved. The only real doggie here was a review of a Jesus Christ album which flops about not only blasphemingly (tho it ain't that much compared with some of the drek out there!) but humorously as well...well, sometimes ya gotta throw these things out and see what sticks---I've done that and found out that the only thing it does stick to is my face once the wind shifts!
***
While I was at it I also got hold of a copy of OUTLET #2, a fanzine that I had praised to the hilt in previous fanablas and will probably continue to praise until I get the entire run of this oft-ignored title. The end of the run cheap xerox job and the one-sided print job doesn't help this much, but like many of these home made efforts the spirit and fun that went into the thing transcends the streaked pages and eye-straining faint print.

This 'un does take on a bit of a collector's mag feeling with Joe Meek and Stiff Records (Part Two) discographies, but the fun 'n spirit of a fanzine that was not only well-connected with the present but the past does make itself known what with the articles on Del Shannon and Screaming Lord Sutch's pirate radio efforts. And, like with most of these fanzine efforts that were created by fans who had no connections to the real-life press and the people who promulgate the tastes and attitudes of a world full of gobble-it-up sheep, OUTLET comes off oh-so HUMAN in an industry of cyborgs and downright evil people. We needed more mags like this back then, and as for today well I wouldn't complain if there were a whole slew batch of new mags that got to the hard rock center of it all and spurned the feeble jive one bit!
***
It's amazing just hoe many "obscure" fanzines came out of England during the late-seventies. Even at this late a date I'm turning up more and more of these rags that I never even heard of before, ST. ALBANS ANTIBOF being just one of 'em. I just got a recent (?) collection of all the issues of this rag spiraled up for modern-day reading, and although this 'un just lacks not only the spark and drive of the English fanzines but the Nick Kent/CS Murray/Jonh Ingham spirit and zip that influenced these mags inna first place all I gotta say is that well...I like it.

The writing ain't so hot but their tastes are good enough what with their covering of the better acts to ooze their way outta England at the time like the Stranglers (not always a top choice as far as snobs go but who every said that I was one?) while the eclecticism of the crew at hand was open enough to even feature the likes of John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett on one of their covers, a real boffo move if you happen to ask me! (I'm still trying to find my tape of these two recorded at Max's Kansas City which is moiling somewhere in my collection...a review of it will be forthcoming once I do find it!)

A not bad collection of a rag nobody has heard of or remembers for that matter, but one that should get more'n its share now that it's been give a second chance which I hope is more'n a subtle enough hint for many of you thick skulled ex-fanzine types out there...savvy?
***
Heading into the mid-eighties (a good time for fanzines actually and a whole lot more fruitful than the rather dim fanzine trend of the nineties if I do say so myself) we got this English goodie called PSYCHLON which is devoted to psychedelic music both then (1967) and now (which in this case would be 1985). For a so-called "primitive" effort PSYCHLON sure is a proverbial wowzer not only with the fan art (good enough in a budding fandom sort of way) but the coverage of psychedelic warlords throughout history. Yes another Syd Barrett tribute appears here which doesn't say much new as if anything since Nick Kent's tour-de-whatever has, but at least it has to be appreciated for the (once again) personal view of WHOEVER IT WAS THAT PUT THIS THING OUT! (Can't find any name or address innit!)  I liked the piece on Lewis Carroll's influence on psych via the ALICE books (which reads more fannish than scholarly, and I like it that way!) not to mention bits on the Bomp! Records BATTLE OF THE GARAGES platter which was about four-years-old by then but so what, and other scads on the Mighty Lemon Drops and Prime Beats which doesn't get me up and runnin' (but so what again!). Again, great reading if only because this presents a facet of rock 'n roll that flies RIGHT OVER the standard portrayal of rock (with or without the "roll") as something gutless and castrated, which is what I would call about 99.9999...% of the music and attitude created after the rise of the turquoise and sniffling troubadour crowd sometime in the seventies. (Tho I do tend to exaggerate...)
***
Here's one that I hope doesn't just slip by...HIGH VOLTAGE was a Detroit-area (actually Holland Michigan which I think is nearby) fanzine that I don't recall hearing about before. Maybe because the thing was so small and only eight pages, but those pages at least have some pretty good rock 'n roll spark to 'em what with the fannish hype on the new local groups like Cinecyde as well as reviews of the new local releases that were beginning to make their way into the mindsets of ex-CREEM-reading bedroom bigshots nationwide. Ya get thingies on Devo, Armand Schaubroeck, Orchid Spangiafora and the Residents. Something tells me that the guys who put this out not only were on the BOMP! mailing list but frequented each and every "specialty shop" in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area!
***
The French were always good sniffer outers when it came to hot rock 'n roll groups, brainy rock fans like Yves Adrien and Alain Placadis who infiltrated the legitimate rock writing world, to-the-point records labels that documented the seventies surge in high energy particularly well, and best of all a whole slew of fanzines which reflected the same sorta awe at the explosion of hard aesthetics that was taking place in a universe of pure pap being guzzled up like pigs at the trough. I'm sure you know the fanzines that I am talking about, such short-lived yet memorable titles as ROCK NEWS and I WANNA BE YOUR DOG are just two of what I assume were many others that were so obscure that they just didn't have the opportunity to make their way to these shores.

However, whereas ROCK NEWS and IWBYD chronicled the birth of the seventies under-the-underground rock spirit LOSERS was there at the bitter end, a time when folk like myself sure missed all of the excitement of the seventies yet were stuck having to bury the corpse while its offspring darted about in all sorts of tasteless directions. LOSERS really did hail back to the original era of French fanzines, at least in SPIRIT...it was printed on slick paper and not-so-surprisingly enough the layout was very similar to at least IWBYD's typeset style and verve. And if both of those hallowed fanzines had lasted long enough into the mid-eighties you know they would have come off just like LOSERS what with their coverage of those acts still managing to hang on in a world that didn't really seem to care as much as it did a decade back (Johnny Thunders, Wilko Johnson) as well as the newer breed that was the logical conclusion to everything that had transpired the past decade w/o coming off artzy/pretentious, gnu as opposed to new wave or hippie hardcore (Fleshtones, Plan 9). Why the people who put this mag out haven't been given the French Medal of Rockism by now is way beyond me. Maybe when Marine gets into power...
***
And speak of the devil but, just as press time was about to strike me with a ferocious growl I managed to get hold of FIVE copies of the aforementioned French fanzine legends ROCK NEWS and I WANNA BE YOUR DOG (three of the first, two of the other as you can tell by the cover repros) which really thrilled me to bits because I didn't even have a few of 'em in my possession and, unlike you, I now have TWO of the Rolling Stones Special Edition which makes me feel a whole lot more superior than usual!!

Yes, these fanzines were the top-notch in craziness transposed into print and represent to us just what every fanzine out there could have aspired to be, and even though I love the cheaply-produced aura of a CAN'T BUY A THRILL or TEENAGE NEWS these Gallic Goodies just go to show you what could be done with an idea and a load of moolah to back those dreams up.

As for ROCK NEWS, think of it as an inspired take on the ever-lovin' ROCK SCENE only in French and without the more boring aspects of the music biz and the cheapo ads, all dolled up on slick paper which is something that was a total no-no in the Charlton world of publications! I WANNA BE YOUR DOG is more akin to a French language take on BACK DOOR MAN with coverage of items related to Iggy (New Order) and not (Ted Nugent...I kinda wonder how he felt about being pictured on the covers of fanzines with obvious Stooge song title names given how much he loathed the Ig!). Lotsa fun reading here if you know your French language, and if you don't you can always marvel at the pictures just like you did when you were three and found your daddy's stash of HUSTLER.

Covering everything that made you wanna raid mommy's purse for record buying money during those extra-lean times, the mags say more about the state of hard-driving, knuckle-dragging, total eruption rock 'n roll in the mid-seventies than the entire hidebound collection of CONFLICT ever did! Where are the hails and hosannas for the likes of ROCK NEWS and I WANNA BE YOUR DOG as well as every other mad dog crazed under-the-counterculture fanzine that continues to speak for our hungerin' throbbin' musical selves even fortysome years if not longer past the white heat of it all? My guess is as good as mine.