Saturday, July 20, 2019

THE BLOG TO COMM INTERVIEW---JAY DOBIS!

(you don't know him, but you WILL!)

BLACK TO COMM-What can you tell us about growing up with Jonathan Richman. Like, what kind of a guy was he and (I assume) you were both heavily into music during your growing up days, right?

JAY DOBIS-We grew up in a quiet suburb of Boston, which was about 20 miles away, in a lower middle class/middle class town. We met at Bennett-Hemingway Elementary School in first grade and became friends right away, probably because of our senses of humor and love of baseball. He was easy to get along with. We were both smart and quick witted; he was the extrovert, and I was an introvert… I was captain of my third grade softball team. I wanted my best friend on the team, so I regularly went over to his house to teach him how to play. He learned quickly and became very good. John Felice would peep over the fence occasionally to see what we were doing. Later, we played on baseball teams together and went to the same summer camps… At some point, he decided to become a painter. He was very good... As far as ‘heavily into music,’ it seemed everybody was: It seemed ‘normal.’ Local radio played great songs. We could watch “Shindig” and “Hullabaloo,” and there were many syndicated rock shows, particularly “Upbeat,” and even a rock show with local bands somewhere in New England. He liked the Beatles; I didn’t, but loved most of the rest of the British invasion bands. I can remember being 15 and listening to kids in high school arguing about which was the better band: The Beatles or The BeeGees. I sided with the latter view. Jonathan was a big fan of The Four Seasons and The Lovin’ Spoonful… After he started listening to The Velvet Underground, he changed from wanting to be a painter to becoming a successful musician. Jonathan saw The Velvet Underground many times and became known as “the kid who saw The Velvet Underground more than 100 times.” Though I doubt anyone in Natick (except me) knew that or the fact that (probably in junior and/or senior year) he would fly to NYC every weekend and hang out at Andy Warhol’s Factory. He was very upset when Andy was shot… Perhaps the most remarkable thing about our friendship of 60+ years is that in all that time two guys that (each in their own way) were considered (by some) as ‘difficult people’ have never had a major argument or following out or even a hissy fit. Never. The only arguments that we have ever had were aesthetic. For example, in 2004, when Jonathan visited me in Istanbul, one afternoon we were in the offices of the promoters of his shows in Istanbul and Ankara, and for some probably ridiculous reason, the subject of Stevie Wonder came up. To the amusement of the other 7 or 8 people in the office, we had an aesthetic argument concerning the value of Stevie Wonder’s music with me saying it was all down hill after “Fingertips pt. 2” and Jonathan saying he had written beautiful love songs, which I totally disagreed with… About ’89 or ’90, I took my girlfriend of the time to see Jonathan play at the Middle East in Central Square Cambridge. After the show, I drove him to where he was staying, and for 30 minutes, we sat in the car and hilarity ensued. We laughed so much that my girlfriend said: “You must’ve driven your teachers crazy in school,” (which wasn’t in fact true). So I started telling her about the time when we were 15 that Jonathan and I decided to form a comedy duo. One day I went to his house for a rehearsal, which amounted to Jonathan and I improvising and throwing lines at each other for about 10 minutes until his mother -- wondering what was going on because we were laughing so much – came into the room with a mock serious look on her face and said: “What are you two boys getting up to?” This ended the rehearsal. Then Jonathan and I talked about the rehearsal and came to two conclusions: 1. We knew we were funny, but didn’t think other 15-year-olds would understand and 2. Adults wouldn’t listen to a pair of 15-year-olds doing comedy. So, we’re sitting in the car and I’m telling my girlfriend this story, and I notice Jonathan is in the backseat looking down and shaking his head. So I ask: “What’s up Jonathan?”

He says: “I don’t remember.”

“No. Not at all. I’m not saying it didn’t happen. I just don’t remember.”

“Jonathan, I can even describe every moment. This is etched in my memory!”

“I don’t remember.”

A random thought: In the early ‘80s, I was reading one of the weekly Boston area papers (either the Boston Phoenix or the Real Paper), and it had an article about America’s number one gay porn star: Al Parker Jr. It said he was from Natick, and he was our age. I wondered: Did Jonathan and I graduate with this guy? I knew there was no Al Parker at Natick High, but the article didn’t mention his real name. About 35 years later, via IMDB, I found out his real name. The article had been wrong: He was a year younger and graduated a year after us. I never knew him and didn’t recognize his photo. BTW: Both the name ‘Al Parker Jr.’ and his real name have since been expunged from IMDB.

Another random thought: Two months ago, I asked Jonathan if he had ever known (let’s call him) ‘X.’ He hadn’t. Maybe you or your readers can guess or find out the answer to the question: “Who was the most successful songwriter to graduate from Natick High School?” One hint: His band was included on a famous compilation that I’m sure is beloved by everyone who read your zine or reads your blog. And he was involved in writing some major rock songs that all of you are familiar with.

BTC-Is that graduate of Natick High Barry Tashian, or Willie Alexander?

JD-NO. Neither was from Natick. And I meant HUGELY successful.

BTC-You got me stymied with that one...who is it?

JD-You should let your vast readership do the research.

Just telling is far too easy.

BTC-I'll have to think about that (any of you readers know who this is?) Wha, if anything, can you tell me about Jonathan, Jon Kriedl and VIBRATIONS?

JD-I can’t tell you very much. It was an excellent Boston-based music magazine that I would read whenever I could find a copy. I have no idea whether it had national distribution, but it should have. I can’t remember if I ever met Kriedel, but Jonathan was a friend of his, and as I said in the Vulture article, one issue included a 4-page, newsprint insert written, designed, and illustrated by Jonathan. I think VIBRATIONS may have lasted 7-11 issues, but I’m not really sure.

BTC-Let's get back to yourself, what can you tell us about your Boston-area days as a budding music aficionado?

JD-In Natick, I listened to the radio a lot, particularly WBZ, and late at night there was a very strong station out of Buffalo, NY. One school night, about 3AM, this station debuted a song for the first time. It was The Beatles, and I actually loved it. It was amazing cause I hated The Beatles. The song ended, and the DJ said: “That’s the new hit song by the Knickerbockers –‘Lies’.” Oh well. I saw The Mothers of Invention in ’67 at the Psychedelic Supermarket, which was probably my first real concert. I was suppose to see Kaleidoscope the same year at Club 47 in Cambridge (with Jonathan I think), but I didn’t go… BTW: An older friend of mine had also managed a local garage band in the ‘60s, The Renegades or Richie and The Renegades, for a while. Erik Lindgren would probably know… I wasn’t much of a record collector until I entered Boston University as a freshman in September 1969. I lived in a dorm in Kenmore Square. One of my roommates had had a top 30 hit in Baltimore in ’65 or ’66. There were 2 record stores nearby. One of them was Strawberries, where I picked up Don Cherry & Okay Temiz live in Ankara (I was already collecting ethnic records and rock records influenced by Middle Eastern and Indian music. One day, at Strawberries, the manager tried to convince me not to buy the 1st Blue Oyster Cult album I bought it; unfortunately, they never were as good again. The closest record store to my dorm was New England Music City, and it was managed by Jeep Holland, who I had been told had come from Detroit and released the first single by The MC5. But a year or so ago I saw a photo of the Jeep Holland that released that single and had also moved to the Boston area, and now I’m just not sure who is who. Music City had a buyer named Jim who was into Krautrock, and had lots of cool albums, so I probably picked up CAN’s Monster Movie in ’69 or ’70: The first of many Krautrock albums. Jim had a short-lived nationally syndicated radio about Krautrock. Then I started picking up Amon Düül albums, Embryo, Passport (the one that sounded like Soft Machine, a band that I loved and had seen in a tent in Framingham, MA in ’68 opening for Jimi Hendrix. I liked the Softs more. The friend that I was with went on to manage a few local bands later be a roadie for Link Wray. In the same tent I later saw The Mothers again and 10 Years After). I loved bands like Family and The Move (but could never really get into their early pop hits). A 7 minute walk from my dorm was the 2nd manifestation of The Boston Tea Party and I saw lots of cool bands there, such as Pink Floyd, The Byrds, The Everly Brothers, The Kinks (the first of 5 times I saw them), Sha Na Na (actually great in their 1st incarnation with Henry Gross and their original lead singer), Quill, Doug Kershaw, Lee Michael (with Frosty, perhaps the worst drummer I’ve ever seen – what a dreadful night), and many more… I had an agreement with one of my roommates: When I was there, he wouldn’t play ELP, and when he was there, I wouldn’t play CAN.

Saw New York Rock Ensemble at B.U., and they were incredible. Also saw Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Had albums by Stretch (1st two are great blues rock) and Headstone (two great albums). I loved bands like East of Eden, Faust. I almost forgot: While in high school, late at night I would listen to UNCLE T AND THE FREEDOM MACHINE, which was broadcast on 3 local college radio stations, but most importantly the radio station at Boston University. Uncle T played great music. I still remember listening to him playing Yaphet Kotto’s single “ Have You Ever Seen the Blues” many times. Uncle T later moved to WBCN (so-called underground radio), but you could tell it was too structured…

There were many concerts on the Boston Commons where I saw the Beach Boys, The Strawbs, Deep Purple (when they were reputed to be the loudest band in the world [hard to believe]), Stone the Crows, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Rod Stewart and Faces. At Boston Garden, I saw Cactus and Badfinger (who were incredibly powerful live and a thousand times better than their records) open up for Rod Stewart and Faces (I was in the cheap seats watching while others threw firecrackers down on those in the expensive seats). Saw lots of cool shows at The Orpheum: David Bowie and The Spiders from Mars (almost ¾ full), Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies tour (that some unnamed fanzine editor raved about for their excellence when in fact they weren’t very impressive. I ran into Jonathan there. We both thought it was kind of juvenile. Alice’s best days were already way in the past), Ramatan (with according to David Robinson who I ran into at the gig, the female lead guitarist used to be a he, and the drummer who had been so great with Hendrix in ’68 was but a shadow of himself) opened for Procol Harum, who were great, particularly the drummer. I saw Suzi Quatro, Climax Blues Band, and Chet Baker at a short-lived club in Harvard SQ. And I saw The Modern Lovers many, many times. The only other local band that I enjoyed was the Sidewinders with Andy Paley… I started subscribing to New Musical Express (for 10 years) in ’72 and also read Melody Maker on occasion. I was always seeking new, interesting bands outside the main stream… Studied archaeology in Israel in the summer of ’73. In ’77, I lived in London on and off for 6 months. When not in London, I was visiting 27 countries. In London, I would go to punk gigs every night. I saw Phil Rambow, who was very good, and 999, who were terrible. I was shocked to find out that in Boston that they were a big deal. I saw Wire at a small club, and they were great fun, also Hawkwind, Caravan, a band (can’t remember the name) that could play songs off of “Who’s Next” better than the Who, The Yachts (great fun), at The Roundhouse saw The Dictators, who pissed me off because they were pandering to the Hell’s Angels in the audience, took my girlfriend to The Marquee (about the size of The Rat) and saw gobbing for the first and only time and enjoyed watching people spit on Billy Idol non stop for 45 minutes (that girlfriend went on to marry the lead singer of SPK a few years later). I also saw Jonathan’s first two shows ever in London at the Hammersmith Odeon, and the first night was (at the time) the best show I had ever seen. Backstage, Jonathan asked me about some acts that his label owner (Mathew King Kaufman) had mentioned, particularly The Sean Tyler Gang. I told him: “I saw them. Just a mediocre bar band.” I saw Marc Bolan walking around Earl’s Court two weeks before his traffic accident and saw Robert Wyatt at the London Film Festival. Despite interesting songs on a badly produced first album (courtesy of the overrated Brian Eno), I never expected Ultravox to be such a powerful, fantastic live band (at The Roundhouse). I saw many other bands… Got back to Boston in time to go to The Rat every night of the recording of “Live at the Rat.” And spent many nights at the Rat over the next 18 or 19 years...

On Oct.2, 1973, at Cirkus Khrone in Munich, I saw CAN, and they were magnificent. And don't believe that mediocre, mistake-filled "all gates open:" Damo's final tour with the band was not that October. He had left the band a few weeks earlier, but he was there, sitting in the audience watching, as fans flocked to his seat to talk to him. The opening band was Amon Düül II. Twenty-eight years later, I would be in a restaurant in Taxim sitting next to Chris Karrer, who was touring with Embryo on oud. He was telling me cool stories of his time in Amon Düül II, while I was telling him about Turkish psychedelic music of the '60s and '70s, particularly Erkin Koray. Christian Burchad and the other members of Embryo were there too, along with Okay Temiz.

BTC-What more can you tell us about the time Zappa asked you to join him on stage?

JD-Zappa didn't ask me to join him on stage. I was 16, and the first one in the Psychedelic Supermarket. He just asked me if I could help him set up the chairs.

BTC-What kind of guy was Zappa that night?

JD-That night, Zappa was just an ordinary guy. He was setting up chairs in the club for the audience. He was just affable. At that time in my life, I was too introverted and shy to talk to him. I remember that I enjoyed the show, but don't remember anything else.

BTC-Back to CAN, I find it amazing that you were aware of them and krautrock so early on. How did you learn about these groups long before everyone else in the USA did?

JD-New England Music City was just down the street from my dorm, and I would go in 3 or 4 times a week to check out records, particularly starting in January ’70, as I came back after Christmas Break with a $99 sound system. I would always look in the import bins. CAN’s “Monster Movie” caught my eye – the cover – and I kept looking at it day after day, and then I finally bought it, brought it to my room and was just blown away by the music. Throughout my life, I was frequently an intuitive buyer of records: buying records that I knew nothing about: where I hadn’t heard of the artist or heard the music. And I rarely made a mistake, rarely bought a lousy record. Usually, when I bought something that I didn’t like, it was because I’d read a good review or someone had told me how great something was, and frequently they were wrong. I’d never heard of, knew nothing about nor had heard any music by Pink Floyd when I bought “Piper at the Gates of Dawn in ’67,” and the same goes for Captain Beefheart’s “Safe as Milk” that same year… And the same held true when I searched the import bins in ’70 and later; somehow, I intuitively knew which albums to buy and which to avoid. I was reading the usual magazines at the time: Creem, Fusion, Crawdaddy, Who Put the Bomp and others, but I don’t remember any of them discussing Krautrock. In ’72, I started subscribing to New Musical Express and occasionally buying ZigZag. Slowly but surely, I started learning more from a variety of sources and picking up great discs: Amon Düül, Faust, and more. I’m sure that Jim at Music City made some recommendations. And there was another Music City in Harvard Square with different managers and buyers.

And soon it wasn’t just Krautrock; I was picking up albums by bands from Scandinavia (Burning Red Ivanhoe, Archimedes Badkar, and others I can no longer remember how to spell), Holland (Q65, Supersister), France (Heldon, Pôle, Urban Sax). After studying archaeology in summer ’73, as I traveled westward thru Europe, whenever I met someone from other European countries, I’d ask them about bands that I liked. Invariably, they’d have no idea what I was talking about. Except for one German guy, Klaus, I met in Greece who was very knowledgeable about Krautrock and told me lots of stuff about CAN, Faust, and others – stuff that didn’t surface until years later. By this time, I’d already picked up a lot from NME and MM.

Others over the years led me astray. I think if someone recommends a “legendary” album – run for the hills (Ant Trip Ceremony anyone?). Over the years, I’d read about the “legendary” Vashti Bunyon album. Finally, it was released on CD. I bought it. My initial reaction: “Buy this woman some NEW FUCKIN’ TEETH!” I hated it! Her pronunciation was so bad it made Trump sound articulate. But I digress…

BTC-How about Mahogany Brain, Dagon, Red Noise, International Harvester and the more intense mainland groups?

JD-Not familiar with Mahogany Brain, Dagon, Red Noise. I always liked International Harvester and its various offshoots. There were many, many bands on the continent that I liked very much. In Finland, Denmark, Sweden, etc. CouldN't remember (or spell) all of them. I think the first ALGARNAS TRADGARD album is the absolute best psychedelic album.

BTC-ALGARNAS TRADGARD...never heard of them before! Any additional information on 'em?

JD-In 1972, ALGARNAS TRADGARD released "Framtiden är ett svävande skepp, förankrat i forntiden." It is the most psychedelic, haunting folk-psych album you'll ever hear. Archival recordings from '74 were released about 12 years ago, but not up to the same level.

From prog archives:

"ÄLGARNAS TRÄDGÅRD's music never lapses into drugged-out silliness or aimless noodling. It ranges from earnest, to Medieval, to completely creepy - a sort of 'RIO meets folk'. They concoct some earthly (and unearthly) sounds using a combination of traditional, modern rock instruments and ethnic/archaic ones, the result being a spectacular blend of slow-smoking psychedelia with a strong vernacular Swedish folk bent. Their guitar-based, trance-like music is reminiscent of ASH RA TEMPEL; it also shares GONG's organic mayhem and the hypnotic qualities of early TANGERINE DREAM. If you can imagine a Nordic version of AMON DÜÜL II or ASH RA TEMPEL, you'll have a pretty good idea of what they sound like. The 2001 cd "Delayed", which makes heavier use of drums and guitars, is yet another marvellously atmospheric and creative mixture of prog and psychedelia."

The group's name translates to "garden of the elks," while the album title translates to "Two Hours Over Two Blue Mountains With A Cuckoo On Each Side"

some live '70s tracks on youtube

BTC-While we're on the subject...any thoughts about Savage Rose?

JD-I like them somewhat, but don't listen a lot. the singer's voice can be a bit too much.

BTC-What can you tell us about the seventies Boston scene, the Rat and groups like Fox Pass, the Yarbles, Mong, Hot Rain, the Third Rail...

JD-I have no memory of the Yarbles, Mong, Hot Rain. I think I saw Fox Pass open for Roxy Music, and probably saw them another time or two. They were a decent pop band. Third Rail was okay and the leader was a part time mortician. Most of the bands at the time were nothing special: The Boys, Dawgs, The Infliktors, Rings, Someone and the Somebodies. The best were The Real Kids, DMZ (and later its two offshoots: The Lyres and Bad Habits/The Odds, which was as good as The Lyres, but they played most of their gigs 50 miles from Boston in Worcester), The Nervous Eaters, and at the end of the ‘70s MISSION OF BURMA – a fantastic band that I probably saw more times than any other until I moved to Istanbul. There are probably more bands – both good and bad – that I just can’t remember at the moment. One just occurred to me: The Classic Ruins: I know a lot of people really liked them, but I was lukewarm about them. The Girls were very good, but I only saw them once or twice. I liked The Neighborhoods too.

There were lots of other cool clubs too. The Underground, Cantones, Space, Inn Square Men's Bar, The Club, The channel, and more.

BTC-As far as the Modern Lovers went, were they as popular in the area as I've believed for years? Seems strange considering the era they were up and about.

JD-NO. Not at all. A long-term acquaintance who I use to see at lots of Modern Lovers and I were just amazed that they were one of the best bands in the world, and their gigs were not at all well attended. At he Stone Phoenix where I saw them many times, there would be 15-25 people. They were not particularly popular in the area at the time. There was no real local rock scene. The Modern Lovers and The Sıdewinders were the only game in town, and it was a very small game.

BTC-Talking about another under-appreciated Boston band...any personal insights into the Sidewinders?

JD-Not really. Sorry no personal insights. I saw the band a couple of times. They were very good, but not nearly as good as The Modern Lovers.The only member of the band I even remember is the singer: Andy Paley. These were the only two decent bands in town at the time.

BTC-What can you tell us about Turkey and the music scene there? What you have written sounds extremely exciting, as if the music was yet another Velvet Underground rebirth.

JD-About 35 years ago, I made a 90-minute tape for Jonathan Richman called “Songs the Velvets Taught Us, which was a compilation of saz players, mostly from small villages all over Turkey, as though they had been influenced by The Velvet Underground, though they obviously hadn’t. The sound of their saz playing and the sounds on the White Light/White Heat album was uncannily similar, particularly that of Lou Reed’s guitar. Jonathan gave his copy to a friend, I lost mine in a move, but I may have sent a copy to David Lindley of Kaleidoscope. I know that some people in Turkey were aware of The Velvet Underground because a friend of mine was in a private high school in the U.S. in 1970, and he had a Turkish roommate (from Istanbul) whose favorite band was the Velvets, particularly the White Light/White Heat album.

The rock scene in Turkey in the ‘60s and ‘70s was phenomenal, particularly picking up steam starting in ’68 when bands started using amplified traditional instruments. The sounds of many of these bands was as unique as the Velvets but in a very Turkish way. I can’t say that the music was another Velvet Underground rebirth, but it was as distinctive.

When I put together HAVA NARGHILE in 2001, it was to let the rest of the world know what had been achieved by Turkish bands and the hope that current bands would emulate what their predecessors had achieved.

Many Turkish musicians and others have thanked me over the years for helping them remember what the great bands of the ‘60s and ‘70s had achieved. However, no bands here – as far as I know – were inspired to come together to play Anadolu Psych, although Replikas, an excellent band, did record an album of ‘60s and ‘70s covers of Turkish rock that was released in Turkey and the U.S.

However, the situation is different in Western Europe: At least two very good bands play Anadolu Psych:

1. Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek

2. Altin Gün

And both have albums out and numerous videos on Youtube.

Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek video:




And check out this cool video by the band I managed in the ‘90s.

ZeN – Derdimi Anla:



For the original Anadolu Psych of the ‘60s and ‘70s, check out: Üç Hürel, Moğollar, Grup Bunalim, Selda Barcan (currently touring with the Israeli group Boom Pam (named after the big hit by Aris San), Baris Manço Kaygızızlar or Kurtalan Ekspress (his tracks with Kaygızızlar are harder to track down but I prefer them. And get his album “Ben Billirim”), Erkin Koray (particularly “Elektronik Türkoler), Ersen, Edip Akbayram.

For more recent great Turkish rock, check out:

REPLIKAS’ albums – Köledoyuran, Dadaruhi, Avaz (a psychedelic masterpiece), and Biz Burada Yok İken (covers of ‘60s and ‘70s Anadolu Rock classics and released in Turkey and the U.S.). These four albums are absolutely essential!

ZeN – a great live band. Only one album really captures their sound at its best: Bakırköy Akıl Hastanesi’de, which was recorded live at Bakırköy Mental Hospital.

One summer night in ’96, I was in their rehearsal space, but only 3 members showed up. That night, Merih Öztaylan (co leader who sang and played bendir) played a ‘70s analogue synth), Murat Ertal (co leader) played electric saz, and Emre Onel played darbuka. I had tried to convince the band to record all their rehearsals to no avail. This particular night was a perfect example of what was lost. What they played that night could only be described as Anadolu Space Music. It was absolutely amazing. I have never heard anything else like it in my life. I was the audience. Incredible. If only they had been recording.

AYYUKA is another of the great Turkish bands of the 21st century. Their first album came out on vinyl and collects their older tracks. They have since released 3 albums that are phenomenal: Kiracı Odaları, Baba, and Sömestr. Have a listen.


One night, I went to one of their rehearsals, but only the drummer (Alican Tezer) and the bass (and occasional e. mandolin) player (Altan Sebuktekin) showed up, along with a cousin of one of the members of Replikas. The cousin played bass, and Altan moved to lead guitar, and he played perhaps the greatest wah wah psychedelic guitar solo for 25 minutes that I’ve ever heard. Incredible!

About 16 years ago, I picked up a demo in an Istanbul shop by Ankara-based HAYVANLAR ALEMİ. I was immediately impressed and wondered if they’d been influenced by the Sun City Girls, but they’d never heard of that band, but then checked them out and understood my question. They now have had a number of albums released (one released in the U.S. on sublime frequencies), some for free, and plenty of tracks on Youtube. The members now live in various countries but tour at least once a year in Europe.

Here’s an interview with the band.


And here’s an article (a bit old now).


I can also recommend Gaye Su Akyol (3 albums), Birbinasek, and (if you’re into Rembetiko) rising world music star Çiğden Aslan (2 albums).

I forgot to mention The Ringo Jets, an excellent punk/garage band.

They cover some very interesting songs, such as “Children of the Revolution” and “Heart Full of Soul,” and their own are excellent.

Check their song about the Gezi Protests in Turkey in 2013, which is called “Spring of War:”



BTC-What brought you to Turkey in the first place?


JD-That’s a long story… When I was 10, I was friends with 2 brothers – one my age, the other 5 years older. In the older one’s social studies class, the teacher had given all the students a list of countries and their information offices in the U.S. (all in Washington D.C. or NYC). So my friends were getting mail all the time. I wasn’t. So I borrowed the list and wrote to 2 info offices: Mexico and Turkey. I don’t remember what Mexico sent, but Turkey sent me a comic book about Istanbul, and it looked fascinating. Over the years, whenever I saw something about Turkey or Istanbul in a newspaper or on TV I would pay close attention, and I started reading books about the Ottoman Empire and Atatürk, the father of modern Turkey. But most importantly, thru my interest in rock music and record collecting, I expanded my interest into what was then called “ethnic music.” And I found that my favorite type of ethnic music was Middle Eastern music, and favorite type of Middle Eastern music was Turkish. I would pick up many interesting records at the Harvard Coop in their ethnic music section. But I remember picking up the first Kaleidoscope album and seeing my first saz and finding its sound very interesting. By this time, I knew that I wanted to visit Istanbul, but thought I’d never have the chance and never thought I would make it there. When I studied archaeology in the summer of ’73 in Israel, one of my friends on the dig was from Guatemala. His father was born and raised in Istanbul, and he wanted to see it for himself, as his father had told him many stories. And he asked me if I’d like to go there, and I jumped at the chance. It was a very different time then. There were no tourists in Istanbul, and no one spoke English, and I may very well have heard Moğollar live (but I couldn’t see the band). We got by on his Spanish and French. We spent 8 days in Turkey, and I loved it and thought I’d never make it back. But 4 years later, I decided to quit my job, and see the world. I found a type of travel that I doubt exists anymore. I was going to do a 9-week trip to 24 countries in Europe, including Turkey. We’d sleep in tents in campsites in these countries, and the cost for traveling, 2 meals a day, and some entrance fees was $900. In Istanbul, I walked into a music shop and bought 50 cassettes. Some were nothing, some were interesting, and one had these incredible sounds – like the greatest psychedelic garage band that you’ve ever heard. It was truly an amazing tape, but it had no info, and as I’d later find out, the song titles were in the wrong order. About 5 years later, while working at Boston University, the tape had stopped working, but I had a friend, a violinist and klezmer musician, who told me he could fix the tape. He did, and he told me that the musical instrument was a saz (and unbelievably, it was acoustic) and a percussionist. A few years later in ‘85, a friend of his called me and said he had heard I was looking for a saz to buy, and I bought it. It took me 9 months, but I found a saz teacher in East Boston (he was a musician, an instrument maker, a master of ebru (paper marbling). And then in ’88, I made it back to Istanbul where I bought an electric saz and a cumbuş (basically a cheap oud with a wooden composite neck and a tin body). I went again, in ’91 to try answer 2 questions: 1. Was there any such thing as Turkish horror films and 2. Was there such a thing as Turkish rock ‘n roll. The answer to #1 was no, but in the ‘70s they’d had these incredible fantastic films, such as “Dunya’ya Kurtaran Adam” (The Man Who Saves the World) and “Üç Dev Adam,” in which Captain America and Santo battle an evil Spiderman. For #2, I lucked out and found an expert on Anadolu Rock/Psych who invited me to his apartment and played one amazing record after another. This was the music I’d been searching for for almost 30 years. I also met the leaders of ZeN at his apartment. I asked them how their music was received, and they said: “We tend to get thrown out of bars.” I said: “That’s an excellent sign.” They gave me some tapes of their music, and it was fantastic. I went to Istanbul again in ’95 and taped one of their concerts. When I got back I gave a copy of the live concert tape to Byron Coley who shared it with Thurston Moore, and they decided they wanted to release an album by the band, making ZeN the first Turkish band to have an album released in the U.S. What I didn’t know is that while I was in Istanbul, all my colleagues at the publishing company where I worked were told that the 2 divisions in Cambridge, MA were going to be closed, and all of the jobs sent to Dublin. After getting back, I spent months like my colleagues wondering what I was going to do. My boss asked if I’d thought of relocating to NYC or San Francisco, and I thought about it, but then realized: I’ve always wanted to live in Istanbul; if I don’t do it now, it will never happen. My job dragged on for 7 months, giving me enough time to pay off my credit cars, then I took a 1-month course in how to teach English as a 2nd language, and moved to Istanbul for what I expected to be 1-3 years. However, I spent 17 years in Istanbul, but 6 years ago, I moved to a small beach town on a mountainous peninsula in southwestern Turkey and work remotely as a copy editor for a daily newspaper, which I’d done for my last 3 years in Istanbul, too. I’m now married, and we adopted a street dog about 4 years ago.

In 2013, REPLIKAS released a box set that included remastered versions of their first two albums "Köledoyuran" (2002) and "Dadaruhi" 2002) and "EP No: 1" (2013). This box set is great! It's available from Amazon and sources in Turkey and shipping shouldn't be expensive. With this box, their 3rd album "Avaz" and their album of '60s and '70s Turkish covers, you'll have some great music from what was once one of the best bands in the world (now deceased).

And I've been listening a lot to the live album by ZeN - "Bakırköy Akıl Hastanesi'nde." I was at the concert. It was amazing. The audience consisted of the members of ZeN, friends, doctors and nurses, and mostly patients. Watching patients sing along to the improvised lyrics as though they had heard the songs a thousand times before. After the concert, I asked (co-leader) Murat Ertel what he thought about the concert. He said: "That was the most difficult concert we've ever played." I asked why. He said: "We didn't want to over excite the patients. But I think it was great."

In addition to leading his current band BaBa ZuLa, Murat is now also a member of Dirtmusic,
which recorded the album "Bu Bir Ruya" in Istanbul. You probably know more about Dirtmusic than I do. (Ed. note---no I don't!)

About 15 years ago, I met Jaki Liebezeit at a party in Istanbul, and he agreed to be interviewed by me. At the time, Jaki had a band that consisted of some musicians
from Western Europe and 2 friends of mine from ZeN/BaBa ZuLa: Murat Ertel (electric saz) and Levent Akman (percussion). ZeN were an incredible improvisational band, while BaBa ZuLa was heavily into Anadolu Psych. The band was called K34 and were recording an album in Istanbul where K34 also gave a fantastic concert, which was kind of like a cross between ZeN and CAN. During the interview, Jaki discussed at length how much he liked Turkish music and how important it had always been to him as a drummer and how impressed he was by Turkish musicians, such as Murat and Levent. K34 was great!

I hope this isn’t too late, but I had two more things to say.

One is another quiz: one of the top female comedians of the ‘60s and ‘70s, who appeared in the top TV shows of the era, such as Ed Sullivan, Laugh-In, The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, the Merv Griffin Show, and many more, used to live down the street from Jonathan Richman and John Felice and, most importantly, she used to play mah jong with my mother. Who is she?

And here’s another story, I just remembered: sometime in the ‘80s, I was driving around with Michael Guardabascio, who was or had been a drummer for Jonathan Richman. He told me a story about when he was on tour in Europe with Jonathan (just the two of them I think), and they were playing somewhere in northern Finland north of the Arctic Circle. It was very cold, and everyone was dressed in animal skins (and I don’t mean leather jackets), and no one spoke English. Guardabascio said that it was an absolutely incredible show and that despite the language barrier Jonathan mesmerized the crowd and that he had never seen anything like it.

(Here are some more nice li'l anecdotes Jay relayed to me post-interview!):

I met up with Jonathan, and we visited his (younger) brother Steve. We were walking around the town where Steve lived, and I asked Jonathan if he remembered Jan Slickman from our childhood. He said: “Of course.” I asked him if he’d heard about that movie “A Civil Action?” He said: “Yes, but I haven’t seen it.” So I tell him: “The star of the film, John Travolta, is playing Jan.” Jonathan: “It can’t be the same guy!” I tell him: “It definitely is, but he’s changed the spelling of his last name a bit.” Jonathan: “It’s hard to believe that anyone would make a film about the Jan we knew as kids.” Me: “Yup. Nonetheless, it’s true. And you know what makes it even more bizarre. He was a lawyer representing families negatively affected by the dumping of pollutants in Woburn [Massachusetts]. And I know one of the families. In the book that the film is based on, the writer only dislikes one member of those families. He’s my [now former] brother-in-law.” Jonathan: “Damn!”

In the early ‘80s, Jonathan wrote a song about me that was supposed to appear on an album. The song was called: “I See My Father and I See What’s Underneath.” It was about his mother, his father, his brother, and me. I was at The Channel in Boston for one of his shows. His first two songs I’d heard many times before. The third song was new to me. It sounded very cool. He was singing about his mother, his father, his brother, and then I realized he was also singing about me. It was very touching. When he finished the song, Jonathan pointed at me and said: “I see you Jay.” After the show, he ran up to me and asked: “Did you recognize yourself.” I said that I had and that it was amazing. While recording his new album, in the studio Jonathan decided to play saxophone. If you’ve ever heard him play saxophone, you’ll understand why the song didn’t make it onto the album.

I mentioned my Aussie girlfriend in London in ’77 before who a few years later would go on to marry the lead singer of Australia’s most notorious industrial band, SPK, and death (are double suicides still considered romantic?), but what I failed to mention was that she had a much older brother back in Sydney who was a very good friend of RICHARD NEVILLE, who wrote the excellent rock books “Play Power” and “Hippy, Hippy Shake” and also a book about Charles Sobraj who isn’t very well known in America, but is famous among Aussies and Kiwis for being a serial killer in Southeast Asia on the hippie trail in the ‘70s. Neville made a splash in Australia and the United Kingdom in the 1960s as the co-founder of counterculture magazine Oz, which was known for its use of satire and pop art alongside serious journalism. Oz got busted for obscenity in both countries. Oz specialized in dissent and was known for pushing boundaries, and John Lennon and Yoko Ono marched in rallies to protest their guilty verdict.

(Final note...still trying to figure out who the Natick High School fellow who made it big is.  Anyone out there smart enough to let us all know???)

Friday, July 19, 2019

CEE-DEE REVIEW BY BRUCE MOWAT! DAONA-THE SECRET ASSEMBLY  CD (click here if you want one)



Flutes are nice.

So soothing and pastoral…but they can turn on you! You know those late night TV psychological thrillers? Think of the parts that scared you: you knew something was up when the flute notes went ragged.

Byron Coley hates flutes. I think it has something to do with being traumatized by Jethro Tull in his teens. I’d think he’d like Daona, though: they wear animal masks and hang out in the forest just north of North London. Coley wears animal masks and hangs out in the forests of western Massachusetts. David Solomons & Fiona McAlister make up the core duo and for all I know could still be in the forest. England is still pretty good for Wi Fi reception, you know. The duo play everything on the CD you hear, except for the guest spots & drums. There is no traditional rock drum kit on this album..no Mama Heartbeat for YOU! Also, they only use flutes when appropriate, meaning not all that much. This speaks well of them & we’ll talk about those guest spots later.

In this heady mix, late-night suspense soundtracks, latter-day 20th/21st century composers & their electrical technical support staff, thumbprints of Canterbury prog-rock caterwauling , ceremonial aspects of Nico’s The Marble Index , and other less discernible input material combine for a fine evening listening experience. No wait, one more thing: Fiona McAlister may have never, ever performed at the local Maypole dances, but she has an uncanny olde English folk vocal vibe sometimes. They even do a version of the traditional Reynardine. Thing is, they would probably get kicked off the local Pole Dance committee toot sweet if they ever bothered to show up for the fa la la la choruses. It’s all still teddibly English, so adjust your fog machine settings appropriately.

All the material on the disc is written and performed by the duo, with the exception of the aforementioned Reynardine & the standard Lush Life. To the duo’s credit, the relatively straight delivery of the latter is scientifically filtered to create a just off-kilter perception that may have already been there to begin with.

There are a couple of really cool collaborations done presumably through the magic of Internet drop boxes. One is Angel, which features UK free jazz Evan Parker saxophonist doing his thang, and the Third Part of the Night, featuring Edgar Breau doing his. Both of those cats wail swell in their own respective contexts. Bully!

Overall, you get over an hour of listening so I would have to rate this 8 out of 10 black capes.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! THE LION OF ST. MARK STARRING GORDON SCOTT! (Italy, 1963)

Sheesh, if it weren't for moom pitchers like THE LION OF ST. MARK your local tee-vee stations woulda been forced to air nothing but LEARN TO DRAW WITH JON GNAGY reruns Sunday afternoons! Films like this 'un were cheap, imported (an important factor in  local television movie broadcasting until 1961 showed up) and best of all entertaining for the standard suburban slob kid who shoulda been out playin' with the other kids but we knew our priorities whether it was a sunny day or not, and our priorities were television, comic books, records and Cheetos (the fried to a crackly crunch type!).

Onetime Tarzan Scott does better'n Roger Ebert would ever admit as the lead, a prototype Zorro/Scarlet Pimple type fighting off pirates who were plaguing the City State of Venice during the earlier part of the 17th century. One of them pirates just happens to be a kinda good looking gal (tho since she is Eyetalian just how good looking can she be?) who, like females in general, is so fickle you don't know whether she is working for our hero or her pirate bad boys switching sides when things seem to be going the wrong way. In between there are the usual slow scenes building up on the power struggles as well as the cool action sequences that the boys all went nuts for. In between the two you get a moom that will keep your attention at least most of the time since there really aren't that many slobberin' scenes, and right when you think the party sequence is gettin' a li'l too technical for your IQ 80 brain the pirates come in to add a little whomp! to boost you outta your doldrums.

Should be an easy enough find online---perhaps the whole thing is available via Youtube which is a place it seems these kinda films end up. Would make for a good experience if you can dial the thing up and watch it while layin' on yer belly with a snack handy, and don't forget to scatter a few Tootsietoys 'round the room so's you have something to push back 'n forth when the grownups are talkin' alla that extraneous stuff that seems like its there for the grownups 'n no one else!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019



MOOM PITCHER REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! TROOPERS THREE (1930), starring REX LEASE!


Some silent films survive only in their trailers (such as the silent version of THE GREAT GATSBY). Others survive only in a shortened form—there are two films where Rudolph Valentino had a supporting role prior to his stardom, and the films were re-released after his fame cut down to two or three reels, highlighting his role and making him more of a featured player than he’d actually been in them. The original films do not survive—the cut-down re-release versions do. There were also some five-reel indie westerns that were cut down to two-reels to provide cheap silent product in the waning days of the medium, circa early 1930, when only the most isolated small town theaters were not wired for sound. Some of these survive where the originals do not.

From this late 1929/early 1930 period there was a curious form that existed briefly—the silent version of a sound film. Since silent film is a totally different art-form than sound films, these tended to be weak, because they were not shot as silent….they were sound films with the dialogue cut out and awkward title cards inserted. I remember seeing a murder mystery from this period, which seemed to be VERY talky in its sound version, but I saw the silent version----not only did I not get most of the dialogue, but what I did get was far too much for title cards, which should be brief….AND the film was not acted as a silent would be acted. People just stood there moving their mouths.

TROOPERS THREE was issued by Tiffany in 1930 as a sound film at feature length (IMDB lists it at 80 minutes!)--my copy is a truncated silent edit that runs about 25 minutes. The first impression I had when first viewing this silent version a number of years ago was that it had few close-ups, mostly medium and long shots. I'm guessing that the dialogue close-ups were edited out, and in a way I'm glad they were. Nothing is more boring than the silent versions of early sound films with endless dialogue cards and static photography. This shortened silent version of TROOPERS THREE has a lot of action (in medium and long shots, although there are some good low-angle close-ups of the cavalry in action as well as Lease’s comic reaction shots to various events) and some comedy sequences with the boys and their failure to adapt to military life (of the two directors credited, one presumes Breezy Eason handled the action, and Norman Taurog, later director of a number of Elvis films in the 60’s, the comedy). Basically, after a show of the REAL U.S. cavalry in action (with quite impressive trick riding, but rooted in military and parade tradition, not rodeo tradition), three young men (Rex Lease, Slim Summerville, and Roscoe Karns) decide to enlist, and there are some comic hi-jinks in the recruiting office. They go through basic cavalry training and become horse soldiers. Rex Lease pretends to be injured as a ruse to meet Dorothy Gulliver, he saves someone from a fire, there are a few other scenes, and it's over. This silent edit was probably put together quickly and cheaply for the few backwater theaters that still booked silent product in mid-1930 (and 1930 was the year when the last remaining silent theaters went under or went sound). Any sense of pacing or any plot development or complexity is lost in this version, but it's nice to have it extant since the sound version is lost. The cast is excellent, and Slim Summerville gets in a few good comic scenes (I always thought of him as primarily verbal comic, though here I can see his excellent physical comedy skills and rubber-faced mannerisms), but with the editing and the lack of close-ups, no one--not even star Rex Lease--can be credited with much of a performance in the edited silent version. And since this was made with the intention of being a sound film, it was not photographed or acted in a silent film manner. Still, Rex Lease completists (and I'm one of them!) will want to see this, as will students of the early-sound/late-silent transitional period.


Lease, from West Virginia, came up in the late silent period with a kind of frat-boy persona but also with excellent physical comedy skills, subtle facial gestures communicating a kind of knowing wink to the audience, and when sound came around, a voice that worked in both dramas (especially westerns) and comedy. He starred in a few serials (he played the journalist Walter Jamison, assistant to “scientific detective” Craig Kennedy—played by BTC fave Jack Mulhall—in the outrageous 1936 serial THE CLUTCHING HAND), played second banana to canine stars in a few films, and starred in a handful of his own westerns. By 1938 he’d become a supporting actor, and his distinctive face (a bit heavier, perhaps) could be seen and his distinctive voice heard in hundreds of B-movies, especially at Republic. He also co-authored a cookbook (!!!) and played Santa at the local elementary school during his supporting actor days. He appeared in some 220 sound films (many unbilled, the true sign of the hard-working old-school actor, the type Ed Wood championed in his book HOLLYWOOD RAT RACE), including four MA & PA KETTLE films as the sheriff.

For its brief 25 minute running time (it seems even less), the abridged silent version of TROOPERS THREE is fairly entertaining. Just imagine you are in VERY small town storefront theater in the hot summer of 1930, one that still shows silent films, and this is what you have to keep you entertained during your Friday night trip to the county seat—mixed with a another western short and maybe a comedy short or two, I certainly would feel I’d gotten my money’s worth. After all, what would be the competition? TROOPERS THREE is in the public domain and can be found online the next time you have 25 minutes to spare….

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Pretty hefty batch of readin' we got here this week, even though I get the feelin' that you might just not snuggle up to it the way I sure wish you would! But man, I did have fun crankin' out this stream of unconsciousness which I'll hafta admit that I re-read and re re-read more'n usual (yeah---really!) in order to excise some of the more, uh, wordier passages that really woulda gotten my high stool English teacher runnin' outta red ink! Personally I think it coulda used some more tweekin' (not twerkin' you sicko you!) and perhaps a total scrapping for that matter but gee willikers, I only have a week to produce these things and I don't want any of you devout readers to have to go without eyeballing my superior than your average former newspaper rock critic now shining shoes for a living's personal opinions now! Let's face it, me at my blowhardiest is much more preferable'n whatever is left of the once promo-grubbing rockcrit field now reduced to finding new synonyms for "brave" and "daring" while relaying whatever positive attributes they find in Miley Cyrus' paens to modern slutdom.

It was a good week too what with the bevy of beauties that I found myself actually ENJOYING in a total, envelop yourself for the rest of your days sorta way. There may even be a classic or two in the batch---after all I find myself spinning the La Femme platter on a nightly basis and this 'un just might reach the same heights of BLOG TO COMM glory as all those other wonders that have thrilled me throughout the ages. The Shangs' latest effort is one that also tingles the nerve nodes, all of which makes me glad that I didn't chuck rock 'n roll fandom in after the final BLACK TO COMM print issue creaked off the presses back 2003 way like I originally planned. An' I get the strange sneakin' suspicion that there are more goodies comin' our way so whatever you do, don't forget making an appointment with the ear specialist in order to stave off deafness, even though he keeps yellin' at'cha for shovin' sharp pencils down your canal.
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I know, I know, I KNOW...y'all wanna read my personal take and rheumy reminiscences regarding the recent passing of MAD magazine! Y'know, my impressions of this now virtually dead but once an up 'n bubblin' publication, now relegated to merely reprinting past glories (or something like that) packaged in brand-spanking new covers just like those early-seventies Marvel monster reprints that had Brad Kohler all hot set on what he thought was gonna be a fresh treat created in the then-current Marvel style (I ain't lettin' ya ferget that 'un, Brad!). Well gee, since I've pretty much grew up with MAD and at one time thought it was the bee's knees as far as funtime humor goes well, gosh, I am sure flattered that you'd ask me, of all people, to type out my feelings regarding the more or less death of this all-Amerigan "iconic" (as the snoots say) publication. And if you want my unvarnished, bared-wire intensity on what I think about the mag doin' a flopside like this I ain't gonna disappoint nohow!

Didja know that when I was still in the single digits I had the strange idea that MAD was some sorta comic strip that certainly was not appearing in my local paper? Chalk that 'un up to kiddie logic..y'see, many a time I would peruse the humor section of the local department stores' paperback section and espy the wide range of books that reprinted the antics of a variety of comic strip characters from PEANUTS and ANDY CAPP to DENNIS THE MENACE and if lucky BLONDIE and THE KATZENJAMMER KIDS. After awhile I saw these thicker paperbacks with these rather attractive painted covers featuring this weird-looking guy who looked like he would be a fun sorta fanabla to be with. I'd peek inside and see things like ad spoofs, funny pictures, articles etc...and since these things had comics in them and were in a paperback form and since PEANUTS and ANDY CAPP were comic strips that appeared in paperback form as well then gee, MAD just hadda've been a comic strip! It all logically worked out, at least in the mind of an seven-year-old suburban slob who was repeatedly being told that he wasn't working up to his full potential but was straining his brain seriously!

The strangest thing at the time was that I didn't understand the nature of the book's titles! To me "mad" meant "angry" and I had no idea that this world could also mean "insane", which was the (as I soon found out) obvious meaning of the title as in "tales calculated to drive you..."!  Who sez comics ain't educational!

I believe I was about nine when I happened by a newsstand and saw a magazine with the title MAD and that funny looking guy onna cover and, naturally, I just hadda peek in like I would with a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC featuring shots of Tahiti, gals included. I dunno if this was the one with the "Odd Squad" cover story or not, but I remember seeing an ad for the then-current MAD SPECIAL of one of those giant-sized reprint anthologies with an ad where the same guy was selling "dirty" postcards that were enclosed with said issue...sheesh, this MAD thing wasn't a comic strip or a comic book in the trad sense for that matter, but a naughty subversive thingie meaning I JUST HADDA HAVE A COPY OR TWO!!!!

Later on in that equally dirty year of 1969 I was home sick and my mother, in order to help ease the pain of my clogged beyond belief sinus system, bought a few books for me to read while I was recovering from what later would be termed "Overt School Pressure Taking Its Toll On Innocent Stoops Like Me Disease". And well, whaddaya know but one of the paperbacks that she bought for me was THE MAD ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN KLUTZ, a totally unexpected move on mom's part but a good 'un in my behalf because, from that day forward, I became a pretty good fan of not only Don Martin's whacked out style and means of storytelling but the MAD empire itself, buying up then-affordable to me (fifty cents if you found the older editions) books that are still a major part of the BLOG TO COMM library because I knew better'n to sell these off at some flea market they were that fun to have.

My MAD mania spread as the years went on, perhaps even bolstered by the amount of space not only EC but  MAD originator Harvey Kurtzman got in the classic Les Daniels COMIX history book which came and went damaged beyond repair at the local library. I got to read the thingie before it was totally destroyed and thankfully I learned more'n enough in my obsessive/compulsive comics quest to have craved issues of HELP! and HUMBUG for years on end given how that old MAD style had lived on in those rags. And with me snatching old issues from various garage sale stacks and picking 'em up fresh at the newsstand, let's just say that my pennies were put to a much better use 'n had I sent them over to help the starving kids in Coraopolis 'r sumpin' like that.

As I passed through the portals of maybe not-so-higher learning my taste for MAD began to draw to a close, not that I didn't sneak a peek when they would come up with a surprise like their collection of old comic strip spoofs (which is one thing that, in my thirties/forties/fifties obsessive for the old stuff mind, drew me to the mag inna first place). Otherwise it wasn't as snide or as funny as it might have been even a few years earlier. Spy Vs. Spy seemed to be falling into a rut, and Don Martin, once the master of gag, wasn't able to crank out the laffs the way he did with "National Gorilla Suit Day" and other by-now legendary cartoons that still resonate in my teenbo brain matter. The switch from satire to kid gross out might have kept the lunch money flowin' in, but for all intent purpose the sorta-glory days (the original glory days being the Kurtzman years as the hardcore fans kept tellin' us year after year) were coming to an end.

Most of my eyeballing of the mag throughout the eighties and nineties (dunno about beyond) proved that either I outgrew MAD or that MAD outgrew the market it was originally aimed at. Gone were those stories written by guys who grew up in the thirties and forties making fun of teenage culture in a way that perhaps reflected the foibles of it more'n the kid themselves ever could (remember that personal fave of mine, none other than HULLABADIG A GO GO???) only to be replaced by cheaper than usual shots and an upsurge in the preachy liberal homilies and sexual references that were not kept as much in check as they would have been back when Paul Krassner couldn't get his Olive Oyl tit jokes into the mag. Oh, I've been told that there might have been a spark here and there (Bill Shute mentioned one interesting article featuring pages from Mary Ann of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND's tell-all book!) but it wasn't anything that would have made me dish out the moolah the way I would for some of those nice EC horror and sci-fi reprints that were starting to make the rounds.

Well, it was fun while it was up and roarin' on all cylinders, but ya gotta admit that MAD died the same way that Elvis did when he joined the army or (tit for tat!) John Lennon did when he met Yoko Ono as that Gertz guy who put out that UGLY TRUTH mini-zine said a long time back. That is, it died when fifties satire was rendered meaningless and hadda be replaced by things that weren't really funny but filled with the same homilies the righteous have been preaching for ages plus the catch you off guard disgusting that never was as good as it was in NATIONAL LAMPOON! And by "disgusting" I mean you coulda thought up a better bad taste pun 'n that while telling dirty jokes in the boy's room!

Not that those old feelings don't still thicken on occasion...like on a cold winter's Saturday night when I flash back to seeing that copy of LIKE MAD with the great Kelly Freas painting of Alfred E. as a beatnik onna cover thinkin' about that time on some equally cold evening when I was about eight lookin' through it at the old Treasure Island (now a crafts store) while really cozying up to that wild "Nansy" spoof thinkin' it was the most ridiculous and funniest thing I've seen in ages. Then I wish I had my copy too look at only to remember that its stuffed in a box stashed at my cyster's place and like well, at least I had that funtime memory of a maybe not-so-fun youth to think back upon for once. A time when maybe there was some true purpose and something to look forward to in a world that always seemed to bite your back when it was turned. Not that I mourn the passing of MAD, but I kinda mourn those old time happenings when even going to a department store and looking at MAD paperbacks was such an exhilarating experience.

Oh, 'n one closing thing. I always (or at least ever since first eyeballing the guy) thought that Alfred E. Neuman's voice would be kinda akin to that of Ringo Starr's, only with an Amerigan accent! Kinga flubbin' his speech in a mumble whilst talking in a near Marlon Brando mumble.
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Not that much in the way of quantity, but I think the quality is there. Read up.


GOLDEN HITS OF THE SHANGS CD (Judi Gee Records, Canada)


Gawrsh, like who woulda expected that the ultimate bedroom band the Shangs'd actually release a new album here at the end of the 'teens anyway? It's been ages since these guys were written up in the pages of the old BLACK TO COMM and even then the Shangs seemed as if they were some final word on everything that was wonderful about the music scene 1964-1968...the brightness of sunshine pop with the dreariness of suicidal teen gal vocalese with a few Nuggets to chew on in-between. And like that even-then long gone 'n decayed era of pleasure I thought the Shangs were an effort that would never be permitted to show its true feelings in a musical scene that had ceased having any meaning at least forty years back, or whenever FM radio became the enemy and we hadda search harder for them kicks because it wasn't exactly as if they were being presented on a silver platter like they used to!

And yes, GOLDEN HITS OF THE SHANGS still delivers on the promise we were anxiously awaiting throughout all those other rock 'n roll resurrections o'er the years. The music continues to play upon the best efforts of boss pre-hippoid relevance that makes mel recall hot summer afternoons where I would look upon sunbathing gals playin' the top forty on their portable radios. David Nelson Byers still sounds like a teenage singing idol as he remakes/remodels a good portion of the Association/Turtles' beautifully stylized glop pop with a devious angle that might have even appealed to the stoned out Viet soldiers of the time who I hear weren't as all-Amerigan as my folks let on. Sound slush oozes over you like one of those lava lamps you kinda feel trapped in as the mood ebbs and flows about more'n even Julie London ever did.

It might sound so under-the-counterculture deviant at one point yet beggin' for inclusion on NUGGETS VOLUME TWO BILLION. The perfect pop you sure wish you coulda heard back then, yet perfect for that 1971 loudmouthed pseudo-intellectual gal who thought she was so special because she copped her dad's aviation shades so she could look like Gloria Steinem.

Sometimes it is good to settle back after giving Beefheart and Iggy much of your turntable time and this one does the job sans ricocheting across the inner reaches of the skull failing to settle at that perfect pleasure point. And the best thing about it is that the core Shangs duo of Byers and Ed O'Neill are joined by ex- and current Simply Saucer members Paul Colilli, Kevin Christoff and group leader Edgar Breau (on "prepared guitar"!) which almost makes this a lost Simply Saucer album! Do ya need any heartier recommendation than that???
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The Taxidermists-TAX LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Coulda sworn I reviewed this one quite awhile back (too lazy to find out if I actually did), but since I just got a copy sent my way I figure that maybe this platter is new to my aural system and that I'm just confusing the Taxidermists with a few thou other free records that I have received o'er the past four decades. Whatever, if I did hear this before it's sure nice to get to hear the thing again, for TAX ain't that bad an effort, kinda reminding me of some of the late-eighties under-the-underground home-produced efforts that were comin' out faster'n you can say "fanabla". Neo-Beefheartian rhythms and temps sway in and out of that eighties-styled "emote" fashion that was popular at the time,  and when you're not expecting it something special drops into the mid, like an authentic mid-1960s garage band chord change that really put the thing all together! Even if I did hear this before well, it's still a snat effort!
***
La Femme-MYSTERE CD (Born Bad Records)

I've been wary re. a lotta these (to put it mildly) up 'n outta nowhere music "hypes" ever since my bank account pretty much plummeted during that search for the new Velvet Underground way back inna eighties. Not that there weren't a few acts that could live up to the total eruption of the seventies VU homages vying for your attention back then, but after awhile I could sure smell skunks as well as hyperbole to the point where I pretty much chucked the entire idea of anything re-capturing the gritty underbelly of 1964-1981 under-the-counterculture rock 'n roll the way it did back when iron-haired gals in their bedrooms would actually cry over things like Iggy.

But this La Femme band, suspiciously glowing reports 'n all, actually attempts to raise the spirits of that maddening drive that had me searching out the local shops and flea markets for anything that could take the sound destruction quotient of the originals and present it for a time and place that really couldn't care one whit. And considering that these guys (and gal) are up and alive here at the beginning of a new decade, they join a few sainted souls such as Fadensonnen and whatever ol' Stephen Painter is up to these days in the art of turning sound into something more than just backdrop. Not that La Femme is as atonally blessed as those two deep souls are, but they should be commended for keeping the TRUE BLUE nature of the music alive in a world that really doesn't deserve anything other'n "Mairzy Doats", which come to think of it in an age of Lady Caga (is she still around?) really might be way over the top 'r somethin' like that for most music aficionados of the newer form of goop.

And their sound actually might be easy enough to explain with mere words, but I doubt it. Imagine a mix of various mid-seventies electro/synth rock classics from COUNTRY LIFE to QUARK STRANGENESS AND CHARM with maybe a few sidesteps into Can all done up in a pre-feh punk-unto-punque way packaged as the new bright light hope to thousands of up-and-roarin' fans across the globe. Also, toss in some acoustic guitar French folk sounds that'll recall a whole load of chanteuses you've come across in your musical travels, only with a certain decadent flavor to it. Mighta been a 1980 Rough Trade contender the way the Metal Boys were with the same kinda continentalism that kinda made you wanna dress up like Alain Pacadis it's that European. Male/female vocals either on their lonesome or in interplay give even more dimension to the slick yet still driving enough treated rock instrumentation, and even when the sounds start conjurin' up musical images of bad eighties-era "gnu" wave the dance gunk-y feeling really doesn't last that long. Of course I dunno if La Femme will continue sounding this good before they begin to disappoint the way most of our seventies heroes did but hey, I might be sticking around to find out what does become of 'em because...why not?

Ignore the ugly hidden vulva cover which reminds me of that old MOM'S APPLE PIE platter and latch onto this deca-wonder. The front of their debut is also a gagger, but considerin' how most of the newer sounds passing for rock 'n roll have made me gag for years I'll pass these obvious faux passes up for once. And as far as "new" Velvet Undergrounds go, do we really need any considerin' just how ugly music has been since the death of the driving primal rock 'n roll spirit? Maybe not, but La Femme seem like a halfway decent contender and for that maybe we should give 'em a no prize or two.
***
Various Artists-THE VERY BEST OF SWINGIN' JIVE TRANSCRIPTIONS CD-r burn (originally on P-Vine Records, Japan)

(Here's another one I might have reviewed here before, but given just what an enjoyable spin it is do you think I'm gonna fre over such an obvious fox piss? no way sis-turd!)

These radio transcriptions might not really fit in with my current tastes in post-Velvet Underground sound-as-concrete aesthetics which I repeatedly find in a number of current faves, but as far as breezy music to make the summer afternoon hours go by smoothly well, they work their wonders. Sometimes I think that the only reason those highbrow music aficionado critic types (see opening paragraph) like this sort of music is to assuage their liberal guilt, but NORMAL PEOPLE LIKE US can enjoy these the way our pops and even great-great-maybe not-so-great grandpops did back when these toonz were broadcast in the thirties of forties. They're good on their own even without the pity heaped on 'em!

Some biggies here from Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Slim Gaillard and the Mills Brothers to the Ink Spots (who as a grade stooler I thought was some shuck 'n jive act because of their name!) and you can betcha it never does let down. Not only that but there's plenty of hotcha listening here from Timmie Rogers singing about getting drafted to the Mills Brothers' take on "Lulu's Back In Town" that won't remind you of the Muppets! And did you know that Gaillard's "Flat Foot Floogie" was the inspiration for the name of the Chinese boy who used to appear in the old NANCY comic strip, mainly "Floy Floy"?

Best of all you don't mind it one bit even if you do fear that dad'll walk into the room and start razzin' ya for likin' the kinda music he did 'n not that offal rock 'n roll you made your meat and potatoes all these years!
***
Various Artists-UNCOLA EXECUTION HAMHOCK CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

As you would expect, Bill courts the brilliant and the good with a few sidesteps into wha'? on this virtual somethingorother floor sweepings or whatever these internet rarities are now called. Much of it does affect me on contact such as this acoustic repeato riff track by a David Thomas Broughton who doesn't seem to recall any other handy musical points I can refer to offhand. The George Russell one was tingling enough in that quaint Lydian third stream sorta cultured way, while I can even get into the doo-wop of the Universals without thinking of that joke about Eyetalians kept outside all night long. The ads really hit the ol' O-Mind as well, and the rest, from the song poems to the James Brown imitation are...well good enough that you won't leave the room like I get the impression your dog would.
***
Are you upset that your collection of rock mags is jammed with articles that are little more than glorified hypesheets written by ineffectual hacks who know little or perhaps even nothing about the sounds and expression that they are supposed to relay to you as some sort of communication as to just how and what this music is to mean in your otherwise tired existence? If so then why not stock up on some back issues of BLACK TO COMM...then you'll really have something to complain about!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

BOOK REVIEW! ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS BY STAN LEE (Fireside Books, 1974)

While I'm waiting for the new NOT BRAND ECCH collection to wing its ways to my door I figured I'd bone up on my Marvel history by dragging this book out of one of the dozen or so apple boxes I have filled with over fiftysome years of flotsam I never had the good sense to toss out. Good selection ya made there Chris, for ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS is one of the better ways to re-acquaint oneself with the Marvel Universe, or at least what the Marvel Universe used to be before Stan Lee's megalomania became so convoluted in its attempt to top past accomplishment after past accomplishment to the point where the entire line became a total mess of pretension and feeble attempts at high art that ultimately didn't matter anymore. And at one point I must admit it didn't mean a thing to me either what with the writers and artists falling into the ol' "going through the motions" trap that had turned something that was once an obsession into more flea market sales material to dump on my part, Maybe a bad move then considering all the worthy titles I did part with, but at the time it seemed like the best thing for me to do. And, come to think of it, so did cleaning my genital area with Ajax which only shows just how discombobulated a fifteen-year-old can be.

When this book came out just in time for the Christmas market of '74 it really was a godsend. That's only because by this time both the original an the reprint series issues of the very early sixties Marvel faves (which had pretty much defined what that company would mean to more comic mad kids for at least the next few decades) had long vamoosed the flea market stacks leaving us true fans little of the early Marvel taste to suck on. Oh yeah, there were still the Kirby and Ditko monster/fantasy comics comin' out, mostly with fresh covers in the new Marvel style that fooled neophytes like Brad Kohler into thinking they were brand new spanking fresh fodder for his teenbo fantasies. (And frankly I was fooled at one time picking a MARVEL'S GREATEST COMICS seeing a Jack Kirby reprint and thinking the guy was doing double-duty for the competition while he was also cranking out MISTER MIRACLETHE FOREVER PEOPLETHE NEW GODS and JIMMY OLSEN which proves what a stoop I was a shall remain!) But as far as those early costumed hero epics which still seemed so new and fresh even with the Cold War plots and space trip mania a good ten years later---zip. zero, nada, and that made me furious because even at that early stage in life I could tell that 1962 had CLASS and as for 1972...well, I wasn't so sure of that...

So if ya didn't get the originals when they first came out or via the flea market circuit this book was the best opportunity to cop at least a little bit of the glory. It was also the perfect way to gauge the Marvel evolution from the days when it was reflecting the boffo Amerigan cultural lunge of the oft-loathed late-fifties and early-sixties until everything seemed to explode at a time when youth kultur (and comic books were always a humongous part of that) was startin' to earn a li'l respect 'round '66 way. And yeah, a guy like me who only knew about the seventies Spider-Man and the legend of Steve Ditko would be more'n just "wowed" to read that by-now hackneyed character's debut saga!

Even the more up-to-date "modern" efforts that were plunked after the origins in order to pad things else were also a joy not just for doofs like me who could always use another story to help us through the drudgery of puberty itching, but for those serious aficionados who liked to study art in detail and pick at stories for lack of continuity. Back in school we had a NAME for those kind of people...

Stan Lee's intros are not especially helpful but they just might educate a few unaware types who wonder just how these characters were coagulated in his brain. His style is easy enough to digest and fits his crafted persona just right, and it's not hard to see what with his breezy pace 'n posture just how this guy has influenced not only a generation of rock fanzine writers but myself for that matter.

Of course given the success of this Lee just hadda crank out SON OF ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS which duplicated the same format and reminiscences with some of the heroes who missed out on being in the first edition. We'll leave that for a different post, and for a different box of that aforementioned flotsam that I have to comb through one of these days. Besides, I can't find it right now.

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

ALBUM REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! DAVID BOWIE-PINUPS (RCA 1973)

My high school (in Golden, Colorado) had a radio station that was piped around the school and also had a low wattage over-the-air signal, which you could get for a few miles north or south, since east and west there were mountains blocking the signal (it was under whatever wattage limit the FCC had on that kind of thing). There was a core of 4 or 5 of us involved with the station. I can write more in the future about what I myself played on my shows, but that's not relevant here since this story is not about me. One thing we all agreed on, though, was that Bowie's PINUPS sucked. I didn't like much Bowie until DIAMOND DOGSand then the LOW/HEROES period through SCARY MONSTERS. I was always one of those people who felt that Bowie was an artistic inferior to people like Lou and Iggy----they were the real thing, while Bowie was to me an art-school APPLICATION/INTERPRETATION of their original ideas, a kind of artistic vampire who fed off the blood of the living.

In hindsight, PINUPS is not that bad, and it allowed Bowie to (in his own words) "shake off" his insufferable early 70's persona, by going back to his mid-60s roots (and Bowie himself made some great singles in the 64-66 period, though I had not yet heard them circa 1974) and led to his first listenable album (IMHO), DIAMOND DOGS. Back then, though, I did not have the detachment to recognize that: Bowie sucked, this was Bowie with all his pretentious mannerisms even though the material was not his usual fare, so by that logic, IT sucked too.

One day, over the lunch hour I was hanging out at the station, as I usually did during my free periods, when one of the other DJ's was broadcasting (Steve V.----who I hope is out there somewhere and doing well). Steve took PINUPS and dragged the needle across it back and forth, WHILE ON THE AIR. The 4 or 5 of us with him in the studio observed it as it happened and laughed and cheered him on. He then put something else on the other turntable, which then aired….I remember him being into Blue Oyster Cult, so maybe he put something by them on….took the scratched copy of PINUPS and put it on a chair and said, "I should take a shit on this piece of shit." We assumed he was speaking metaphorically, and went back to talking with each other, with a few of the crew still eating their cafeteria lunch, that day the infamous “mock filet,” a greyish patty that, to put it mildly, was very much “extended” with some kind of filler, and no one ever figured out what kind of meat, if any, was a part of it and what kind of filler it used—soy, oatmeal, sawdust, who knows.

Then, about 30 seconds later, Steve pulled down his jeans (this broadcast room was about 12' x 12', so we were all right in the midst of the action, including those eating lunch), straddled over the chair, and literally took a shit on the record, a long, thin, firm turd the size of a tube of breakfast chorizo.

He then pulled his pants up (no time for wiping….and in case you’re wondering, he wasn’t wearing underwear), grabbed the LP from the bottom, spread open the cover with his other hand, and put the disc and the hunk of shit in the cover. Once it was in, he pressed the cover on the top, presumably spreading the fecal matter over the album. Without missing a beat, he took the album cover, put it into a supermarket bag which happened to be laying around, opened the studio door, which led out to the school’s main hall, about four doors down from the principal’s office, and threw the bag into one of those round metal wastebaskets seen in school halls and classrooms.

I don’t know that any of us reacted more than laughing at this spectacle, and Steve went on to play more records during his DJ shift, which probably included a chunk of Zappa as I remember his tastes, and I went on to my 1 pm class.

Fortunately, Bowie went on to make albums like LOW, HEROES, LODGER, and SCARY MONSTERS, and I never really gave a second thought to PINUPS until I saw that Chris reviewed the single from the album in his recent SINGLES GOING STROONADIER THAN THEY’VE EVER BEEN column, and I thought I’d share this 45 year old story of a friend’s “review” of the Bowie PINUPS album. It’s a “review” one is unlikely to forget anytime soon….

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Well howdy, you doody you! Spendin' the day wallowin' in the bowels of suburban slob heaven....readin' up old fanzines and classy rock scribin' copped off the internet (with a few comics tossed in) while listenin' to some mighty hot sounds that coagulate along with the vibrations in my cranium the way music was meant to. LICK MY DECALS OFF, Cabaret Voltaire and the Plastic People really go well with Greg Shaw's early epistles and other blasts of 1964-1981 information that seems even more pertinent in an era that could care about as much about rock 'n roll as it does about all of that great art and entertainment from the past that is all but forgotten...'cept for a few manic beings out there somewhere and you know who you are or else you wouldn't be reading this!

In many ways I feel like that same late single-digits kid I once was who was usually marooned inna house on some hot Sunday summer PM, only now I have enough backlog of reading and sounds to keep me up 'n goin' when back then all I had was the same five or so PEANUTS paperbacks to read over and over to stave off the ever threatening curse of boredom! If I only had all this music and reading matter back then maybe I wouldn't have spent so much time trying to relieve my frustration in the bathroom! And they wonder why all of those pages in the medical journal are stuck together! But those days are long gone----in fact I now kinda welcome boredom as a respite from everyday high-stresses living, and frankly I now own a whole lot more'n a handfulla paperbacks to keep my mind goin' on those long lonely nights! Sure beats human companionship I'll tell ya!
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Whew---did you survive gay pride month like I barely did? Talk about everyone from Giant Corporations to cutting edge cable television networks taking the air outta just about everything with scenes of lezbo face slobbering as some sorta reflection of a world any human would want to exist in! 'n no, I can't bear to see another rainbow or unicorn again as long as I live given how those once-innocent symbols of things hung in little girls' bedroom has taken on a whole new meaning! All I gotta say is...when the hell're they gonna have FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD MONTH, hunh??? I'd march in a parade while wearin' a jock strap with a few feathers stuck innit for that!
***
I always was a guy who could never figure myself out. F'rexample, I can't love my neighbor as myself because frankly, I never could love myself like I could everything from food to the rock fanzines of the seventies to other earthly pleasures I've been in contact with a good portion of my sad 'n sordid life. I couldn't hate myself either....it's like I am me and other people and things are what I reflect off of and I have nil concept of either loving or hating myself no matter how much people tried to ram the concept of "shame" or "guilt" into me. Well, maybe not totally....after all there were many times I coulda killed myself for passing up some now-collectible record at the flea market, but other'n that...eh!

Maybe my own opinions regarding how I stand here in The Universe might just be reflected by a dream I had last Sunday night. It ain't a rock-related one where I discover a record shop loaded with the kind of outta print wares I'd love to possess either (haven't had any of those in awhile!) but one where I am in a building on South Irvine Avenue in Sharon (an old storefront located where the Soul Food restaurant and cash for paycheck buildings are) and I suddenly discover that I have this ability to take total control over people's minds! Just for giggles I mentally summon up a random slew of about thirty people who happen to be nearby, and via my psychic command I tell them to march down to Dock Street and jump off the bridge into the Shenango River! I discover that the final two people I mentally connect with are my younger cousins (who look as if they were still in their teens!) and tell 'em that they better not do what I am commanding them---only doing this because they are my cousins and like I don't wanna get in trouble with the fambly!

The hypnotized ones (mostly a selection of pudgy middle-aged ladies and elderly men with a few black people thrown in) are walking single file down the freeway where they take a right hand turn at Dock (which is strange because the bridge is on the left side) where the bridge happens to be, and emotionless-ly they all jump in. I find some standing in the river up to their waists or chests still blank-faced as others continue to do the lemming act. For some reason boy do I feel powerful.

Sheesh, if only real life could be as pro-Chris as this dream!
***
So what else have I been up to these past few weeks other'n dreaming the same kinda dreams I've been havin' throughout my entire butt pitted life? Well, like I've hinted above I've been re-perusin' my two BOMP! book collections, paying special attention to Greg Shaw's contributions to Jonh Ingham's FRANK'S APA (an item I would sure like to put my grubby paws on!) where Greg Shaw more or less accurately predicts the direction rock 'n roll music would be heading throughout the seventies---not on a mainstream AM/FM rigid categorized musical format but as far as free form true rock ideals go. Funny, but his mentioning about groups taking hard-edged Velvets and Beefheartian modes and mingling Sam the Sham and Red Krayola ideals certainly did flesh out as a good portion of the early Rough Trade roster definitely proved! I must admit that these entries into the APA field from Shaw pretty much influenced my writings not only with this particular post but the SEARCH AND DESTROY effort last Thursday---not forgetting a few upcoming efforts that might just get deleted before they pop up on this blog. You should see some of the bile-spewing and loathsome things I delete en masse because hey, nowadays you can get into deep trouble just for just merely thinking the wrong thing even if you never even thought up the dastardly idea before in your entire life. Not that I'm  shudderin' about these terrible times of "censorship" and "persecution" like those communists did during the fifties...in many ways I couldn't care less. Just wanna stay nice 'n free at this point in time because hey, I have a few years left and I'd like to spend it havin' fun fer once in my life!
***
Yeah yeah I know---cut the crap 'n get on with the dancin' gals! Or in this case dancin' records, or something like that! Nice selection I've been enjoying here too, and if it weren't for Feeding Tube, Bill Shute and Paul McGarry maybe we wouldn't be talkin' about much 'cept for this dream I had last night where I try to pawn off a review of a Throbbing Gristle album as a high school English assignment!


Trinary System-LIGHTS IN THE CENTER OF YOUR HEAD LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Roger Miller helms this act, and if you've been following this living treasure ever since Mission of Burma or Destroy All Monsters you'll be more'n adequately pleased over it. Like Burma, some of this sounds rather seventies/eighties cusp...y'know, what this "new wave" was supposed to be all about before the term got co-opted into a glitzy post-glitter monster that ruined a whole lotta things for us, while others tend to slip into what I would call an early-eighties metal grind that really ain't my kind of raw meat but it sure sounds much better'n the real deal that permeated fogged up bedrooms back then. Kinda a roller coaster ride from pleasing to aw cuh-mon!, but I think you will get something outta it because I sure did!
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Eugene Chadbourne-SOLO GUITAR VOLUME 3/13 LP (Feeding Tube Records)

The hypesheet was right! Describing this 'un would be akin to describing one of those really free-thought dreams of mine where plot, scenes, characters and disposition change without moment's notice as Chadbourne clomps, plucks and strews away in a manner that makes all those old tymey comparisons hackneyed and even more boring than I used to get comparing group "X" to the Velvet Underground back in the eighties. A nice cornucopia of free sound that somehow comes together and makes sense as a "whole", even to a hole like you and I. Believe me, this early Chadbourne material is Caroline Records worthy!
***
Lou Reed, John Cale & Nico-BATACLAN 1972 CD + DVD (Grey Scale Records)

This was about as much of a Velvet Underground reunion as that one the NME was hyping back when Eno joined up with the Cale/Nico ranks a few years later. At least that had people like Nick Kent jumping up and down spurting paens of pure joy...although I'll betcha that Yves Adrien's heart was all a'flutter over the mere idea of mingling with his rock electrique faves whilst coverin' this major event.

Adrien's nowhere to be seen on the brief DVD which accompanies this disque even though I'm positive that he was the interviewer heard in the audio portion of the direct from tee-vee to recorder audio tapes which had been flying around for ages. That didn't make it here, but it would have been fun to watch even if I know about as much French as Syd Barrett.

The reg'lar portion of this package won't disappoint since it gives us way more of that show than those overpriced European bootlegs did. Even a stickler for sonic blare like myself will admit that the acoustic and tres chic aspects delivers on that seventies decadent intensity that fans of the form were searching for not only in happenings such as this but their New York Dolls and Elliot Murphy platters. Total seventies involvement of a sonic stature in other words. Fair enough representations of old faves, and even that Jennifer Warnes track won't make ya puke.
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Big Jon Atkinson & Bob Corritore-HOUSE PARTY AT BIG JON's CD-r burn (originally on Delta Groove Records)

Recently there have been a whole lotta black people who have been slam-dunking white types for "appropriating their culture". Well, if more blacks were doin' the blues as good as Atkinson and Corritore so on this outta-the-nowhere effort then maybe they would have a case.

A lotta these white guy blooze acts really don't jib my jab...George Thorogood being one example of the wrong way to do it...but when a band like this one (or the Dicey-Ross Blues Band or even the Sugar Blues Band even tho their leader was a black guy backed by two French expats!) gets onto its natural course things are on "go" from here to the Checkerboard Lounge and back.

Hard and authentic-sounding blues that woulda gotten one of those old practitioners of the form to pen eloquent liner notes kinda like Muddy Waters did with the Seeds! I get the feeling some of you readers with more "universal" tastes might like it. But then again probably not.
***
Various Artists-FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE CD-r burn (originally on Trojan Records, England)

The way Paul McGarry and Brad Kohler try to "educate" me about the finer points of reggae music you think I'd go totally bonkers what with that ooh-chikka-ooh beat!  Gotta say that I find it heard to believe that tank topped wiggers in mock dreadlocks really do like this particular breed of sound, especially the way these downhome tracks from the Trojan vaults are produced. After all, this is rawer'n even your standard garage-recorded early-sixties single, and the selection here sounds a whole lot like something that coulda graced the charts of the day...I mean, if "El Watusi" could hit, why not some of these?

Bargain bin organ and creaky production sure help, as does the wopadago western theme that maybe proves that reggae, like the movies that these songs inspired, is a Sunday afternoon UHF-TV suburban slob sorta thing after all! DON'T listen to those ROLLING STONE-styled myopics who look at this kinda music through rose-colored socio/political glasses...it's the TRASH that matters!
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The Rip Chords-THREE WINDOW COUPE CD-r burn (originally on Columbia Records)

I was recently musing  that, in this gorgeous summer weather that we're finally experiencing in the tr-county area, that  the evenings are just not the same unless there's some wild, hard, medium-to-negative energy rock 'n roll blaring in the air. Especially around dusk, when it seems that the dark blue sky and the deep humidity could withhold the soaring rhythms and sonic modulations that were laid down by brighter minds fifty years or more back. But alas, no teenage combo in the area blaring an EPI cum "Black to Comm" (with hefty sidesteps into the Red Krayola) for me to somehow discover playing but a few houses down...and yeah, I know that here in the dawn of what will evidently be "The Boring Twenties" I could hope to find much less if anything for that matter.

But as far as summer music and grab you by the cajoobies songs go you can't beat the sounds of surf. Especially these Rip Chords who were not only produced by Terry Melcher but had a better Beach Boys verve to 'em than many of the other surf clingons out there. Good selection from Jan and Arnie's "Gas Money" to a bevy of originals that might have fooled not only mom 'n dad but you as they soak in that Beach Boys harmonic gush. Naturally this would sound a whole lot grand in the evenings during these times given that they might be a good counterpoint to the hard spew I do enjoy, but they're on the same see-saw as far as music to be drilled into your consciousness goes.

Big kudos go to Bruce Johnston and company for making the ORIGINAL era of rock as a truly teenage backbone of existence a whole lot more important 'n those coffee house simps strummin' 'bout sounds of silence and books and poetry to protect them!
***

Cliff Davis Sextet-DISCOTHEQUE A- GO-GO CD-r burn (originally on Epic Records)

You probably passed this one up a millyun times while pouring through all of John Kennedy memorial albums and WEST SIDE STORY soundtracks at the flea market in search of that obscure gem. And good thing you did, for this platter ain't nothin' but yet another shill the rubes cash-in that would have fooled Aunt Matilda, but if it fooled you it's time to get another hobby. Soul music without the soul's in store on this cash-in covers album that I guess prove that maybe there was a market for cheezy lounge takes on "Blowin' In The Wind"!
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Mike Curb & the Waterfall-THE DOORS SONGBOOK CD-r burn (originally on Forward Records)

Did I ever tell ya that when Jim Morrison died my cyster asked dad what he thought of the guy. You can just imagine the answer and come to think of it, you can imagine what he would still think after all these years of this Mike Curb take on the then-hot Doors name. It's great to think that at least around here some things never change! And come to think of it, but I prefer these cheezy takes to the real thing which tended to get a little too artistic/pretensioso (not to mention overtly commercial...ever hear the WAITING FOR THE SUN album?) for my own tastes. When it came to Los Angeles all-out rock 'n roll entertainment with charisma and talent it was the Seeds an' ferget about the rest!
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Jonny Chan and the New Dynasty Six-SO YOU WANT ACTION CD-r burn (originally on Dionysus Records)

Hmmmm, maybe there were more of those "garage band revival" acts who were worth their weight in cheeseburgers than I could remember. Not that Chan and his New Dynasty Six are any match for a spate of 1966-'67-era outta nowhere top forty smashes, but this album does that old sound up just right w/o the pretentious look-at-how-authentic-I-am feeling that made me feel as if I were watching some 1969-era Saturday Morning kiddie show. Great take of "Little Black Egg" via "We All Like Peanut Butter" via "Shian Hei Dan".
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Various Artists-INDIANA BEATNIK GRAVEYARD CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Another bee-youtiful collection of stuff I don't think has been listened to in ages, including some cool Amerigan instrumental rock, some cool if cornballus German instrumental rock, some Germans doing really hokey instrumental and vocal music and lots more. Radio ads from mid-seventies Indiana gettin' ya primed for Christmas are really Holiday Spirit toasty warming, while the state's own Harry Weber gives us some hotcha old/new country (talkin' Jimmy Dean of pork sausage fame era, not that dyke who was popular in the eighties!) with not only a song about his home state but a guy named Jimmy Bryan! Now that got my attention piqued because the kid who used to live in back of us was named Jimmy Bryan and like he was the Eddie Haskell to my Beaver! The mere mention of his names makes me wanna run for cover...he was that mean! He told me he actually hadda copy of SPIDER-MAN #1 but he never showed it to me...I think he was bluffin'---howzbout you?
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Oh how the mighty have fallen, and I'm not talking about Bette Midler's tits. I'm talking about the BLACK TO COMM empire which at one time was heralded as being at the forefront of the fanzine explosion of the eighties but today is a mere forgotten footnote in the annals of rock 'n roll screeding! And mister/sister, that massive effort I put out wasn't exactly journalistic or memorable for any bright insight into the music at hand but by gosh, was it sure FUN!!! Relive all of the IQ Zero fun and jamz you missed back then and snatch up one (or hopefully more!) of these fanzines by clicking on the link which will take you to a world of more wonder than an entire leather-bound collection of SUPERDOPE  CEREBRAL HEMORRHOID ever will!