Saturday, January 19, 2019

Waiting for the long-anticipated snow storm to hit. Hope it's a proverbial biggun just so's I can have an excuse to stay inside and enjoy my books and music more, not forgetting some ol' ROY ROGERS that might pop up on FETV or Dee-Vee-Dee that's been lyin' around just beggin' to be played. Had a good week of it anyway finding that Red Noise Cee-Dee (or at least the early Cee-Dee-Are of it I had burned for me before getting the actual deal) that I've been looking for and getting the latest DICK TRACY collection, both of which occupied a good portion of my evening hours these past few days! Expect a review of the TRACY book more sooner than later. Just hope that I will be snowed in for a good week so I can catch up on some of that FUN that I have been denied lo these many years due to school and work and other sundry things that always detracted from THE IMPORTANT STUFF!

THINGS FOUND WHILE LOOKING FOR THINGS I CAN'T FIND DEPARTMENT!: I've been looking through about forty-five or so many years of books, records, magazines and other important facets of a healthy suburban slob lifestyle while on the search for a few rather important things guaranteed to keep my well and happy. Unfortunately, I have yet to find those old French fanzines which collected (en Francais) some pertinent articles on the likes of Mahogany Brain, Red Noise and Dagon, but surprises of surprise I did come across an old New Music Distribution Service catalog that I originally managed to latch onto during my high stool days! And yes, you can bet the memories of me discovering even more new sounds to expand my parameters (a process that is continuing TO THIS VERY DAY as if you didn't know) has popped up giving me some GOOD reminiscences of days that could have been tragic at times but were glorious at others. And these memories are made even BETTER because these were the types of sounds that I was seeking out which made up the better part of my musical existence and no nightmarish reminiscences of irksome classmates or strung out teachers can take THAT away from me.

What makes this catalog even more hotcha in my own humble opine is that I actually checked off the various records that I was interested in purchasing at the time. Nothing that strange about highlighting the items that appealed to me at the time, but in the fortysome years since latching onto this 'un how did I do with regards to delivering on my musical wants of the day. Well, as Baby Judy once said, "come and see".

On the New Music side of the catalog the first item circled is Philip Glass' MUSIC IN FIFTHS/SIMILAR MOTION on Chatham Square 1003. Got that one probably with the very first order to NMDS, though I traded off my copy in the 80s considering just how much of a douse Glass had become what with his New Age inclinations and taking photos with the Dalai Lama and other stoopid things like that. Bought another copy in the '00s after I remembered that by the eighties EVERYONE was making lousy records but that doesn't mean we have to ignore their earlier efforts which had a whole lotta different effect on us during those whole lotta different times. Not only that but around that time I read that Glass was influenced by the Velvet Underground and like, if I gotta hear a Velvet drone in my music it best be made before their entire schtick was taken up by geeky gals with tattoos and pierced nostrils with shiny balls that look like atomic whiteheads. Good choice for a kid 'n in fact I was listening to the Cee-Dee reissue of this just this past night!

Turning to the next column we find Finnedar 9017, an album which has percussionist Donal Knaack performing John Cage's "27'19.553" not to mention Marcel Duchamp's "The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even Erratum"...bought this one too but I don't think it was with my first NMDS order. Still have it in the ol' vinola collection and might drag it out for a re-play once I get the chance in between searching for those early-seventies punk relix o' mine that somehow got lost in the shuffle.

Next recording to be circled...Folkways FTS3704 John Cage and David Tudor' INTERMINACY: 90 STORIES AND CONCERTO. Didn't get this one until the mid-eighties or so and when I heard it (even though I was prepared for what would lie within them grooves) I wasn't too shattered. Maybe a jadedness against the new era of art was settling in, even if I still thought that art in general did begin with Duchamp. Another one deserving a second/third/nth chance.

Flipping the sheet over and what do we find but the jazz records. First item circled (with a question mark beside it) is The 360 Degree Music Experience's SANITY on Black Saint Records. I think I was wary of this due to it being a double-platter set and thus more expensive, but I could be wrong. Might be time for me to snatch this 'un up given this collective was led by ace drummer Beaver Harris, along with pianist Dave Burrell who's hokay at least some of the time (even if some of his efforts don't have the same pounce as the late Cecil Taylor's did---not his fault rilly). Also circled...Henry Cow's CONCERTS on Compendium also gets noted which doesn't surprise me even if to this day I've never heard a Henry Cow album proper (unless you count DESPERATE STRAIGHTS) as well as the IOWA EAR MUSIC set of improvisations on Cornpride which seemed interesting enough after I read about it in DOWN BEAT though I passed it up every time I saw it in the dollar bin in Cle throughout the eighties. Ebay now has it for $100 which makes me think that maybe I did pass on a bargain...stoopid me!

And that's it for items that I sure as shootin' wanted to grace my record collection a good era or two back, and for some strange reason those old coals inside me have been stoked and like, maybe I wouldn't mind giving the chosen for consideration platters a spin here in my advanced state of mental hoo-hahness. Well, it's memories of things like this that really perk up my inner suburban slob and like, if you can't revert to your teenage crazed obsessions once in awhile why do you even bother existing in the first place???
OK, I know you can't wait. Here they is...

The Jooklo Trio-LIVE @ STROMRAUN, STUTTGART 12/6/2018 CD-r burn

Pretty powerful sax/electric bass/drums aggregation here that might seem to some like a vast update on the old collective improv/jazz acts of the seventies. The performance is rather ferocious as is a whole lot of this post-New European freedom music, and although it might not exactly be unique to the form it really does serve its purpose exorcising the daemons from your frayed nerves. Oddly enough I thought I heard some rather Sharrock-esque guitar sprawl during the opening number but maybe that was just my ears playing a trick on me once again.
Stan Kenton-CITY OF GLASS CD (Capitol Records)

A whole lotta this Third Stream Jazz stuff never really went down my gullet like it might have yours. P'haps it just seemed too high falutin' for a genre that could also produce the likes of Sonny Sharrock or Roscoe Mitchell. And come to thing of it, the mere existence of Gunther Schuller didn't help any. Thankfully some class does permeate CITY OF GLASS what with the soaring sound sculpture tones that actually do dredge up those well-lit downtown images that you see on the cover. Kinda reminiscent of Ornette's SKIES OF AMERICA and certain George Russell arrangements ("A Bird in Igor's Yard" comes to mind), not to mention various similar excursions into that realm which treated jazz as a serious art that upper crust snobs could get into. You just might be able to ooze yourself into this 'un's "universe" the way it managed to make its way into mine.

Interesting what you'll find when you look under tables, beds and the like. Shoulda reviewed this Bill Dag 'un when I writing about the other Alan "Snake" Globekar-related  releases a month or so back, but thankfully I got this better later than never, or something like that. Mostly straight ahead country-tinged rock or rock-tinged country music for that matter which I gotta admit really doesn't light my soul the way various other musical forms do, but there is some slight pop influx that makes a few tracks such as "Hot Desert Nights" rather pleasing even in a non-condescending way. Try it, these guys might just be able to wiggle into some previously-uninhabited portion of your brain!

NadanilNOTHING I could find out about Mrs. Peacock even via the miracle of internet. Judging from the cover I thought this was going to be another late-sixties outta nowhere (in this case Gloucester MA) post-garage surprise but I guess they're one of those mid-eighties vintage amerindie acts with more of a Doors bent. As opposed to Velvets  bent albeit with the same post-rock direction that marked many of the groups of that particular strata. Not quite my brand of gruel but if you were one of those types who clinged onto the new wave as opposed to punk credo as that decade creaked on I'll bet you already HAVE this one in your collection!
Peter Laughner and Friction-PIRATE'S COVER CD-r burn

This McGarry burn's good enough to warm me up for the Peter Laughner box set that's finally due to make its way out sometime this year. It's the November 1976 Pirate's Cove gig that's been flying around for some time, only it sounds a whole lot clearer'n the previous 'un's so now you can hear Laughner's vocals as well as his Bob Dylan/Jimmy Carter putdown as they were meant to be heard. Of course the performance is exemplary what with Sue Schmidt's electric violin careening to heights that add such a passionate turn to the music while Laughner himself has never been as forthright as this in a group setting. Almost brings a tear to my eye and reminds me of the (should be) famous Mick Farren comment re. the Rolling Thunder Revue sounding like a rural Velvet Underground running on folk mythology 'stead of urban grime. (Not anywhere near the exact quote but good enough for this setting.) With the arrival of the box set maybe Laughner will get all of that true fan adulation that's eluded him during his lifetime and a whole lot more.
The Fabulous Jokers-GUITARS EXTRAORDINARY CD-r burn (originally on Monument Records)

As the old television commercial once said, your dog might be getting enough cheese but are you? The Fabulous Jokers remedy that situation with this album chock fulla some of the cheesier instrumental takes on tunes familiar to all of us done in a way you only thought the Scandinavians could. Twangy guitar churnouts that bring back loads of memories of just what the standards for everyday mainstream commercial sound living was like in those distant pre-relevance times. You could just imagine any one of these songs backing up your favorite local furniture store commercial on the local mom and pop AM. Part of a world that went out with side-window vents on cars and roll-y UHF dials on tee-vee sets, and for some not-so-strange reason I am sad.
Paul Messis-SONGS OF OUR TIMES CD-r burn (originally on 13 O'Clock Records)

Typical emotive singer/songwriter neo-garage band rock that didn't do a thing foe me other'n during a brief neo-Indian instrumental segment. You might go for this brand of music and if so  go to it, but as for me it only made me want to yearn more for the sweet strains of some Throbbing Gristle moiling away in the collection.
Various Artists-CHILLY DARTELL SLURPEE GAMBLE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Kinda uneven but still has its charm. Things that stuck out like the nightgowns in the Army ward back when the nurses wore miniskirts include two JFK-related novelty disques, one a thirties-styled Big Band number that urges John John to take up where his now-dead dad left off and the other with JFK getting into the new "Klak Stik" craze that I sure as heck don't remember! Sheesh, I thought it was Jackie who was the fad minded one in the family! Along with the C/W and blooze rarities there's also a promo record pushing 7-Eleven Slurpees (the kidz used to laugh about slurpees because it rhymes with HERPES!!!!), a nice cornballus version of "Turkey in the Straw" which must date back to the 1890's judging from the sound quality, and some hillbilly singer named Lucille Bassett who...really...I thought was a high-pitched guy singer!!!!! I guess gender confusion ain't such a new thing after all...
How about if I put it this way...if you don't buy any of these BLACK TO COMM back issues I'm gonna hold YOUR breath! With two hands firmly placed around your neck! Need any more nudges, Gertrude?

Thursday, January 17, 2019


Some of my greatest loves during the latter days of my single-digits existence were comic strips and old moom pitchers, tee-vee, radio and general pre-hippie entertainment. While I was existing in the late-sixties I felt I was stuck right inna middle of dayglo Peter Max boredom...only the older comics that were being drawn by twenties/thirties/forties survivors and leftover afternoon tee-vee entertainment, usually performed by leftover entertainers from my parents' generation, appealed to me. If I only had these Mutual Radio Network broadcasts of THE COMIC WEEKLY MAN to settle down and listen to boy would I have been one happy blubberfarm...imagine, two of my favorite pastimes combined making for a long of fun at least for this suburban slob who really could tell all of those faux hipster fourth-graders where they could stick their Woodstock dog tags, that's fo' sure!

So let's just say this volume of kiddoid radio really did the ol' nostalgia titty twist in my beano and for a good reason too! Lon Clark plays the title character who each and every episode, reads a selection from THE PUCK COMIC WEEKLY to Little Miss Honey, played by who knows who (tried googlin' to no avail) who does a pretty good job as not only a one-gal audience but a funtime foil to Clark and on occasion voice for some of the female roles such as that of Blondie (though Clark does Cookie who sounds just like a man doing a young girl's voice...wonder what went wrong there!).

But if you were one to sprawl out onna living room floor to read the funnies or fondly remember your own dad readin' 'em to you until your girth became the thing of hernia legends you'll probably get a kick outta these too. Clark tackles, with plenty of sound effects, roaring radio organ and occasionally some voice overdubs helpin' out, that particular week's Sunday funnies whilst handling the mighty Herculean task of keeping the right charactes and the right voices straight, adding that all-important oomph to the proceedings (well, I gotta admit that his Donald Duck coulda used a little more work!). After which Miss Honey throws in her own usually high-larious two-cents regarding that week's episode of anything from ROY ROGERS to HOPALONG CASSIDY and FLASH GORDON, UNCLE REMUS, BLONDIE and others that have also vanished (well, 'cept for BLONDIE) from the local comic pages. Y'know, them dayze after the relevant generation got in charge and axed all the good ol' comics with a radical vengeance. Sheesh, I'd hate to see what this show'd be like today with Clark having to handle a strip like RHYMES WITH ORANGE.

And yeah, it's all in good early-fifties fun for not only the Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kid crowd but their spiritual offspring lo these sixtysome years later. The talents of Clark and Honey make these broadcasts just as suburban slob ranch-house PACKED these days as they were then, and like if you ever were one to tear open a freshly delivered newspaper and lunge at the comics section or maybe even listened to some old classic radio broadcast being rerun on some pokey AM station (like I have both) you'll appreciate these. Can't wait to hear the ones where the Comic Weekly Man tackles the newly Sunday-ized BEETLE BAILEY in a few more weeks...sheesh, I wonder how the overt sexiness of those would go over with Miss Honey anyhow???

Tuesday, January 15, 2019


There is something charming about the re-purposing/re-cycling of product in the low end of the popular culture marketplace. I recently saw a collection of late 70’s newspaper ads from the South and from Texas for drive-in theaters and was surprised to learn that the 1960’s and early 1970’s films of Herschell Gordon Lewis were playing regularly in various combinations up through 1980 or so--imagine going to your local passion pit on the outskirts of town circa 1980 and getting a double-bill of THE GORE GORE GIRLS and TWO THOUSAND MANIACS. At the same time, you could go to your local Sound Warehouse’s budget bin and purchase some dodgy budget label LP for $1.99 containing the grungy Ed Chalpin-produced R&B jams featuring the pre-fame Jimi Hendrix, fifteen years after they were recorded (and who knows if Hendrix was even aware that the tape was rolling!). In the comics world, Charlton Comics was putting out new product consisting of reprints of older Charlton content (comics looked down upon and ignored by the comics powers-that-were back then, whether they were new or reprints), some going back to the late 1950’s! Why, you could potentially have bought the Charlton GUNFIGHTERS comic under review here, picked up the budget-label Hendrix album, and gone to see the Lewis films THE SAME DAY. And for most people back in the pre-Internet age, it would all have been new to you. My, what a satisfying day that would have been! Also, all of those things would have been relatively “off the radar” in terms of the gate-keepers of popular culture, and you could have experienced all of these from your small-or-medium sized town in Western Kansas, or Central Pennsylvania, or the Texas Panhandle. All you needed on top of that for a perfect day was a ‘Big Plain’ from your local Burger King and an oversized can of Big Cat Malt Liquor to wash it down.

Long before people attempted to document everything via the internet, daily life had a pleasurable randomness factor to it and a sense of the unknown. Things were thrown at you in the course of your everyday routine that could not be looked up on your smart-phone. When you found for a quarter a used copy of some odd paperback book from a publisher you’d never heard of, you could not look it up and get its backstory--you had to read it, and even then, you might not have a handle on where it came from and what was its context. You could stumble across an obscure film at 3 a.m. on the UHF station, something that did not appear in your local newspaper TV supplement or TV Guide, which just had LATE MOVIE listed, see it once, mention it to people afterwards and no one would have ever heard of it, even though it may have had a name star in it such as Rory Calhoun. After a while, you wondered if you were the only person anywhere who saw this....and did you REALLY see it, or was it all just a dream as you were dozing off (I have seen non-existent European movies starring Guy Madison in my dreams, and heard non-existent Kim Fowley albums in my dreams, undoubtedly constructed from known elements in my brain) and the station was in reality running an ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW re-run? It’s hard for people who were born into the internet age to understand that, the way it was difficult for me as a child to grasp the concept of life before electricity, which my grandmother who was born in 1896 lived through for her first few decades (women did not even have the vote when she turned 21!). The important thing to remember about these eras is that people got along just fine, and in some ways life was more pleasurable, or perhaps the proper term would be MORE INTENSELY AND DIRECTLY EXPERIENCED. That’s true whether we are talking about 1979, 1896, or any other random date you want to mention....1733, 1142, 212 B.C.

One thing that has always annoyed me is people who look at the past through the lens of the present and view themselves and the present age as being superior. Anyone with a sense of history, and a sense of modesty, and a sense of perspective, knows that many aspects of present-day life and society circa 2019 will make future generations cringe! I would hazard to guess that many BTC readers are already cringing today, as these things are happening! We’re no better than previous generations, and in many ways we’re probably worse. Oh, but you can watch a shitty sit-com on your phone rather than talk to the person sitting next to you, and you can find out in three seconds who led the American League in home runs in 1981....and you can take a picture of your meal and post it so people on another continent can see your tedious dinner. How advanced we are!

Fortunately, we can escape this world of people watching corporate infotainment on portable devices they are addicted to as much as (or even more than) any junkie they’d look down upon (at least the junkies would for the most part be well aware of their addiction) picking up a cheap and unwanted late-period Charlton Comic, still available for a dollar or so in unread condition.

As with most Charlton product, I did not get this new at full price--I picked it up later (though not much later, maybe 8-12 months) in the secondary market. Many convenience stores had a used or remaindered magazine section back then (you still saw this in rural areas until a few years ago, particularly in non-chain Mom’n’Pop stores), where something like this 60-cent comic would have a 25-cent sticker on it. That section was often beside the full-price section or in a corner (or on a separate rack). I’d learned by 1982 that if a Charlton comic did not have the words ALL-NEW in big letters at the top, then it was recycled material from their archives. You could also tell that from the masthead, which did not hide the fact that the material was old. This magazine reads “all editorial material herein contained was originally published in and is reprinted from publications copyright 1960, 1961 by Charlton Publications Inc.” There was certainly no problem with that, as far as I was concerned. It was unlikely that I’d have had many 1960 comics in my collection, and if I did, I’d probably have vaguely remembered the stories. And if I didn’t, then I would not mind re-reading them. Considering that the late 50’s and early 60’s were a Golden period of westerns on TV and in comic books, I was actually happy to be getting vintage material. And Charlton had been pumping out so many series of western comics for so long that whatever this magazine contained, it would surely be worthwhile, and well worth a quarter. A broad title like GUNFIGHTERS could cover pretty much any western comic material--it would be hard to find a vintage story that did not have a gun drawn by someone somewhere in it.

What makes this issue so appealing is exactly the wide variety of material and the various “big names” of western lore who are represented: ANNIE OAKLEY, WILD BILL HICKOK, WYATT EARP, KID MONTANA....and checking out the Grand Comics Database on this issue, I see that even the cover was re-cycled from an old TEX RITTER magazine (and if you look at the cover pic we provided, you can see that yes, it does resemble the comic book version of much as any Charlton comic “resembles” a real-life model!).

I can remember sitting on my front porch in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with the porch light on and a citronella candle burning to keep the mosquitoes away, at about 2:30 a.m. reading this.

The bar/club/restaurant I worked at closed at 1 on weeknights, we usually had it closed up and ready to go for the next morning’s day shift by 1:45-2:00 a.m. As I would walk home in the middle of the night, I would savor the provided a blank canvas on which whatever minor sounds were out there would stand out in contrast to the silence (when I met John Cage 6 or 7 years after this, I mentioned this image to him and brought up his citation of Thoreau’s line about sound being “bubbles on the surface of the silence”--Cage smiled like an uncle proud of his nephew graduating from high school, and said something along the lines of “that’s it”). After I got home, washed up, and took my copy of GUNFIGHTERS out on the porch (probably sipping one of those Big Cats), I would relax----no more dishwashing, marinating and cooking cheap steaks, preparing plates full of nachos, and doing inventory of kitchen supplies until tomorrow....which was actually TODAY since it was after 2 a.m.!

Annie Oakley took on a sleazy and corrupt faux-Frenchman who was trying to control the entire valley, steal her ranch, AND force himself upon her. As I tuned into the middle-of-the-night silence, and looked out toward the dimly-glowing horizon west of town, I could imagine all this being played out just a few miles from where I sat.

I would come out on the main street from the frontier café where I worked as cook and bottle-washer and I would wave at and applaud Annie Oakley as she rode down the street after gunning down the Frenchman and turning him over--wounded, bloodied, and defeated, with his head down in shame-- to the Sheriff. I could then go back to my daily life--in the Old West or in Oklahoma circa 1982--and feel a sense of victory. Thank you, Annie Oakley....thank you, Charlton Comics....thank you, Big Cat Malt Liquor!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Nice finally gettin' back into the ol' SWING OF THINGS after alla that Christmas hullaballoo (only yesterday did I kick the tree down the stairs and yank the wreath off the door!), and for some strange reason I do not feel any of those post-Holiday blahs that I used get way back when. Y'know, the kind that hit during my (and maybe even your own) stoolboy days when ya hadda go back to the salt mines after a good week-plus get away from it all. Maybe that's because Christmas ain't what it used to be what with the dearth of relatives and dearth of TOYS for that matter to bring back those good ol' happy feelings. But hey, at least it's now January and we have a whole year to look forward too, all that snow shoveling and dangerous driving not to mention weather bulletins and then it's TORNADO SEASON... Lotsa thrills and chills in store for us panic-stricken suburban slobs who always hide under the bed when that Conelrad tone goes off, eh??

As for some of the things I've been listening to while putting this particular blog together, the Mahogany Brain albums continue to get frequent bedroom play which wouldn't surprise anyone given bot disques' ability to conjure up the primal ghosts of under-the-counterculture Velvets/Stooges energy w/o succumbing to the ditzy tendencies of various practitioners of the form these past forty or so years. Another current fave o' mine just has to be Brian Eno's DISCREET MUSIC which actually flows around my subconscious nicely while I'm reading old comic book reprint titles during the late hours, not to mention the long-unreleased T. Roth/Another Pretty Face 21st CENTURY ROCK spinner which, although I found it bland upon first play a good decade-plus back, now sounds like a solid slab of glam glitter titters that woulda confused more'n a few tightroping teenage boys had this 'un only gotten out when it shoulda inna first place! Let's just say that when it comes to musical mayhem here at BTC central we're not gonna wile away the hours listening to Guy Lombardo (unless Bill just happens to send a platter of his my way 'n like, what's STOPPING him!).

And with that here's this week's bevy, a wondrous asst. if I do say so myself. Thanks to Bill, Paul, PD and myself for the contributions.

UT-EARLY LIVE LIFE CD (Out Records, England---available here)

Occasional fave o' mine finally gets digitized for those of you who want to hear what this ass end of all-femme neo-Velvets rock was supposed to sound like before feminist indoctrination really turned these artistic womyn types into bitter creatures. The primitive pounce, which at one time might have seemed more or less like total decadent anti-art to some musical types, comes closer (at least in what's left of my mind) to the ultimo end point of the same bared-wire continuum direction that the likes of Mahogany Brain were working in. Also contains the rare live at Venue tape that only a few lucky people were able to latch onto back 1982 way, me included (tho a good three or four years after the fact).
Gasenta-LIVE @ MEIJI UNIVERSITY  5/14/1978 CD-r burn

For those of you who aren't of the tightening sphincter variety this blast of rock unto noise will satisfy more'n a few nodes in the same kinda mind that's been following these under-the-underground styled screechathons for a few more years than you've been alive!  Raw sound quality only exacerbates the entire modus of these guys who actually had the nerve to sneak a li'l melody into the mix! This is the starting point where a whole lotta those Japanese groups whose wares popped up in more'n a few hip catalogs got their ideas from, you not-so-honorable one!
Various Artists-TOWER RECORDS 45's, VOLUME 12 CD-r burn

If you were one of those fanablas under the impression that Tower Records was just a subsidiary of Capitol where they dumped the stuff they didn't think was gonna sell much well, there was a whole lot more to 'em 'n just that! Thisgathering of the label's '67 sides does include a whole buncha forgetables that just don't zone me mixed in with the familiar goodies that are always nice to hear again. Good mix of soul (Sam Williams), sap (Keith Gordon's answer record to "A Letter to my Teenage Hippoid"), the welcome (Pink Floyd's "See Emily Play") and the wha'??? (Nino Tempo???) Lotsa goodies here, the best being the Chocolate Watchband's "Are You Gonna Be There" which remains the ultimo punk rock song and don't let any rock historian out there tell you different!
Various Artists-BE BOP BOOGIE CD-r burn (originally on Esoldun Records, France)

Downhome pre-snob C/W that goes down my psyche nice-like, at least in small doses. More obscuros sorta make this the PEBBLES of local country pressings. Note are kinda sketchy as to who does what, where and when but if you've been keen on hearing any recordings made by the likes of Frank Sims, Earl Songer, Earl Slone, Johnny Rector, T. Texas Tyler, Tex Grimsley, Jimmie John, Mustard and Gravey, Ray Batts, Wayne Bushy, Ted West, Jimmy Little John or Carl Deacon Moore then man, look no further than here!
Blue Oyster Cult-DETROIT '73 CD-r burn

Sound's pretty good considerin' this was recorded off the radio about five or so generations ago and the performance is good enough for someone like me who thought these guys certainly were shudderin' in the shadow of the Dictators. Still I gotta admit that I miss the psychedelic frenzy of those Soft White Underbelly and Stalk-Forrest Group-era recordings that would have made for me the ultimo cutout bin finds of 1976 had they (like Another Pretty Face!) only gotten out back when they shoulda. Can't wait for the SWU recordings that I posted awhile back to get all gussied up and presentable for release, hopefully in a top notch package with liner notes by Meltzer even!
Jeff Conolly and the Maggots-JANUARY 14, 2005 STOCKHOLM SWEDEN AT DEBASER CD-r burn

Smudgy-wudgy live recording that has all of the clarity of the rest of those sludgy-wudgy live tapes we have in our collections! But you don't listen to these things for SOUND QUALITY do you?

Who cares what the fidelity of this is like as long as you're getting that solid mid-sixties-oriented music exactly as you woulda thought the former DMZ and Lyres frontman'd dish it out! Conolly's a guy who, as evidenced by this tape, could still whip up an audience like nothing since Carol Doda, and it's amazing just how long that sixties revival thing that got into swing during the early-eighties has lasted despite the drop in overall quality during the late-eighties!

It's also amazing that the better practitioners of the form like Conolly are still up and about while many of those hanger-on types who mighta had the looks but not the SWING haven't been heard from for a good thirtysome years! I'll bet you wish the same thing could be said about former crudzine editors like me who'll NEVER shut up!
LYLE SHERATON AND THE DAYLIGHT LOVERS CD-r burn (originally on Sympathy For The Record Industry)

Just the sorta hotcha gotcha wild rave up that gets a body goin'. Sorta rockabilly but way into overdrive. Yet it ain't of that phonus balonus fake outrage put on pretend energy that too many acts have been wallowing in over the past few decades. The cover of "Nervous Breakdown" kinda had me imagining Sheraton as a reborn Eddie Cochran rarin' to play the 1976 Mont de Marsan punk fest after undergoing a hefty dose of Heartbreakers filtered through the Senders (who weren't around then but so what!). A reminder for those of you who somehow saw the inner light after hearing U2 for the very first time.
Various Artists-DOKIE FRITO MIDNIGHT COOKER MOVE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Unlike most of these Bill Shute "Virtual Thrift Store" styled samplers, this one seems to have a solid theme to it. Mainly organ-based soul jazz that used to be performed in the same kind of clubs sycophantic white performers used to go to under heavy guard. Most of this 'un seems to be taken up by tracks by Billy Larkin and the Delegates who do a pretty hotcha job taking the usual dull covers and straightening 'em out a little. Great if you have a hankerin' for menthol cigarettes and Colt 45, or just want something to pass the time before your
chicken and waffles breakfast.
You're not getting any young and neither am I. Maybe it's time you settled back, kicked up your feet, and bought yourself a nice steamin' stack of BLACK TO COMM back issues to wile away the precious spare time you have left. Remember, you can't take 'em with you down there.

Thursday, January 10, 2019


Well, it woulda figured. I mean, John Wayne was one of the biggest stars in H-wood and his fame transcended all sortsa socio-commercial boundaries to the point of pure mythology, so why not slap him in his own comic book thus conquering yet another medium of communication! And whaddaya know, but Toby Press sure did the legend up mighty good with this series that ran during the guy's peak (until it got eve peakier in the sixties!) in fame back in the 40s/50s!  And honestly, what sorta true ranch house kinda kid wouldn't've liked to have seen the Duke hisself gettin' into all sortsa wild comic book adventures that I gotta admit woulda made many a comic character blanch with total crazoid mental breakdown geewillies to the point of instant perish! Could you see Jughead gouging the eyes outta a man-eating alligator in order to save his miserable existence? Reggie maybe, but JUGHEAD???

This ain't exactly the John Wayne comics you used to see during the Dell days when one of his moom pitchers would be comicized just in time for the flicker's release. Although a brief scene from HONDO pops up these stories feature Wayne playing himself as everything from a Wild West drifter or big game hunter to an international spy right so obviously straight out of the STEVE CANYON mode to the point where whoever did those particular stories sure stole a lot from Milton Caniff's style! He also pops up fighting in Korea and as an airline pilot leading survivors through the desert...sheesh, this guy never did get a break nohow, which only adds up to more SUBURBAN SLOB THRILLS on our part that's fo' sho'! 

Gotta admit that the stories had more twists and turns in 'em than I woulda expected from a what I woulda thought woulda been a cheapie crankout series, so in other words these weren't exactly the slapdash efforts I'll bet a few comic snobs have been making 'em out to be since those sainted days! Surprises do abound such as in this Egyptian saga where a page boy'd mummy who's been telling the sexy daughter of a deceased archaeologist to jab herself right through the heart turns out to be the gal's half brother out for some good ol' revenge! Never woulda saw that comin' no matter how obvious it might have to you, though I gotta admit that with these stories I kinda like to ooze myself back to age nine in order to get the full funtime comic book IMPACT of it all so maybe I do miss the so obvious you can hit me over the head story plot like this!

Wayne might have (at least to me) seemed a little too larger than life back when I was growin' up when the guy was plastered all over the moom pitcher and tee-vee screen as well as newspapers for that matter. However, now that he's long dead 'n buried and the kind of image he projected is now totally verboten in these ball-lopping days (I think they now call the entire Wayne style "toxic masculinity") his films (mostly the earlier, grittier ones though his take on various Eastwoodisms in the seventies like McQ and BRANNIGAN might be worth the ticket) sure mean a whole lot more. It ain't like I've ever been the outdoorsy type myself, but I could sure get into the adventures of a hard-edged, take-no-shit guy like Wayne than I can the precocious castratis they now have flittering around the Moom Pitcher capital these days!

This book also comes with EXTRAS like a few definitely non-Wayne related stories mostly of a comic variety (I kinda wonder how a gal comic like "Tookie" got in the mix!) and of course the ads which are almost as fun to read as the stories themselves! My fave of the batch just hasta be the one where you can spread God's word and make the world a better place (and win lotsa fun prizes in the process) by going door to door selling inspirational prints! Well, it sure beats THE WATCHTOWER if ya ask me!

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Wellwellwelcome to the first real deal 2019 posting of BLOG TO COMM, starting off a year that I get the feeling will be even more banal than the previous fifteen or so years of this monstrosity COMBINED! Hope you can stand the thing what with me pretty much having to rely on nothing but oldies and handouts to keep it goin' for quite some time...y'see, the financial situation has become rather skimpy as of late what with me dishing out beaucoup not only for a much-needed dental implant (boy, am I moving up in the world!) but for some major home improvement, mainly gutter guards! Now, that's something which I hope saves me a whole lotta major backaches these upcoming years! Well, it was either that or spend all that money on records and maybe that really fancy stereo system I've wanted all my life, but I think I would be safer falling from a stack of albums than I would falling off the roof. You can tell what kind of logic reels about in my mind with that one.
Big surprise of the unsolicited package arrived and whaddaya know was in actual DROOGS t-shirt emblazoned with the cover of their latest album YOUNG GUN! Aww gee guys, I really didn't deserve this surprise which I have the feeling will turn more'n a few heads and non-drug users when I parade around town in it. But hey. I'll support one band that REALLY DESERVES IT like the Droogs most certainly have done over the past fortysome years, and in any humanely possible way too. Really appreciate the thought, and I'll bet those people who are writing for competing blogs don't get the kind of freebee wonders like I have been these past few months! Nyah!
A li'l New Year's gift (hah!)---a rare film of Patrick Vian and Red Noise really digging deep into the O-Mind vein. Live it up kids!

With that, here are this week's writeups. Some great stuff here too really kicking '19 into what could be one of the better years in memory what with the various Otto von Ruggins efforts and Bill Shute submissions (and don't ferget whatzizname up there in Waterdown, a town that does not describe his booze intake nohow!). Now read on and don't bug me...I'm too busy enjoying these beyond human comprehension efforts to deal with your inanities right now!

Cybercrazed-VIRTUAL REALITY CD-r, Funeral of Art-FUGUE OF DEATH CD-r (try writing Otto von Ruggins at 6618 Ovington Court, Brooklyn NY 11204 USA)

Dunno the exact whos/whats and whyfores of these two platters but I must say that these things REALLY GOT ME ALL RIP ROARING AND READY TO GO FOR 2019!  Both of 'em have Otto von Ruggins on keyboards and that definitely is Von Lmo on lead drums, but the Funeral of Art thing sounds a whole lot different than the early demos they did in England! The Cybercrazed disque from 1973 has all of the original Kongress plus Sal Maida on bass guitar and it sounds just as wild as those snippets of yore that have been flying around for quite some time. A female vocalist chants and coos through the VIRTUAL REALITY disc and the strains of synth can be heard, so if you are bound to think this in fact must BE Kongress and not some earlier aggregation of the von Ruggins variety you are forgiven. But just watch it this once...

But back to the Funeral of Art effort---its even wilder that such a jaded fanabla like I could think be humanly possible. The varying sound quality of the tracks lead me to believe this is a patchquilt of old rehearsal efforts, but no matter where this originated the power and energy surely shines through. Throw some kraut-esque ragas straight outta Can and Amon Duul II into the mix and you got a platter that gets into maddening heights that might even surpass the later on Kongress free form musical rants that got me all hot and bothered oh so long ago. The fact that this music has remained buried for so long really is criminal I'll tell ya!

Oh yeah, I also got this weirditie of electronic Christmas tunes that were done up by Mr. von Ruggins himself which I will say kinda caught me off guard. All your holiday faves appear here but sheesh, listening to Christmas songs on New Year's Day is pretty much akin to thumbing through your girly book collection a minute or so after having that big bombaroona!
Jan Van Den Dobbelsteen-KRINGLOOP/NEW ADVENTURES LP (Feeding Tube Records)

As usual, these Feeding Tube Records releases (this one included) tend to throw me for one or another proverbial loop! This particular effort has sound sculptor or something like that Jan Ven Den Dobbelsteen creating his own self-playing percussion music that works pretty much on the same principle that Joe Jones' efforts did. Two sides of tinkle and similar sounds of a jangle sort that come close to the flip of that Michael Nyman Obscure Records album from back '75 way. Or maybe Van Den Dobbelsteen just got a bunch of those wind up cymbal-clanging chimpanzees and let 'em go at it for two sides. It's always good hearing these new streakers of the sonic skies who put these definitely post-post Cagean efforts together, especially when they tend to work out fine and not solely as some art grant guzzling scam.
High Rise-TRUTH SERUM '87 CD-r burn

Given all of the extreme under-the-underground rock music I've heard these past few decades it's no wonder why a top notch Japanese act like this seems to have fallen into the cracks of my collection. Bad thing, because if you really wanna go for noise of a high energy rock mode High Rise are up there with all those other Far Eastern pearls like Les Rallizes Denudes and other neglected assaults upon the eardrums. Kinda low-fidelity true, but when listening to this over-the-top blast who says you need ears?
DAVE VAN RONK AND THE HUDSON DUSTERS CD-r burn (originally on Verve Folkways)

Never been a fan 'n follower, so it was like I was expecting this Van Ronk-oriented rock attempt to be the funniest things I've experienced since I saw that documentary on rickets. Surprise, it works even with the sappy treatments of two Joni Mitchell songs (tho next to the originator they sure come off rather meaty!). The rest takes the '67 jazz-cum-rock modes and shapes them into things you can take either as a fun goof ("Alley Oop") or straight-ahead drive ("Keep Off the Grass"). Heck, it even ends with a cover of the Holy Modal Rounders fave "Romp Through the Swamp" so you know where Van Ronk's loyalties really lie! Sure it ain't whatcha'd call NUGGETS worthy, but if you liked the Innocence album even without the Meltzer liner notes to give it some under-the-counterculture credo this one just might go down your musical gullet nice 'n smooth!
Eric Arn/Margaret Unknown-PARANZA CORTA LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Feeding Tube has been tossing out some pretty interesting solo acoustic guitar efforts as of late from that early Eugene Chadbourne reissue I've written up a short while back to this effort which ranks as one of the more interesting guitar sets I've heard in quite awhile the Chadbourne one included. The team of Eric Arn and Margaret Unknown (the latter who is a man---sheesh!) play a fiery and driven form of acoustic sprawl that in some parts sounds like those intricate Derek Bailey/Fred Frith efforts on those old GUITAR SOLOS album and at others like a couple of Spanish Flamingo guitarists (don't write in---thassa JOKE! bad pun as it is) having a duel to the death using nothing but their six-stringers! Lotsa nice intricacies and melodic moves to keep your attention throughout. Pretend yer eighteen again and just discovering this stuff in some rancid dorm and it'll all work out fine. Hashish not included.
Various Artists-2-TONE SKA ORIGINALS CD-r burn (originally on HandMaid Records)

Didn't care for much of the Ska I heard during the early-eighties revival and a good portion of these originals really don't bring back any real fond memories of record bin prowling ifyaknowaddamean... Still I can settle back and enjoy the likes of the Pioneers, Prince Buster and Millie Small's legendary "My Boy Lollipop" (so legendary that Rush Limbaugh used to use the song along with dubbed in slurps for his Barney Frank updates!) the same way I like a whole load of early-mid-sixties single sides which always seemed to have a lot more spirit to 'em than the later-on re-dos. They sure sound better without the afterthought of new youth sociopolitico gunk added upon the whole kaboodle, y'know?
Various Artists-CRAZY, BATTY & GONE CD-r burn (originally on Olympic Records)

Thanks! I needed a dose of this down-home, bass-slappin', toe-tappin' and maybe even other bodily-function-related music in my system after putting in a grueling day at the Salt Mines. Obscurity-packed platter that'll have you (like me) thumbing through you old issues of KICKS to get that lowdown you passed up while looking for rare Sky Saxon pix like I'll admit I did. Somewhere, Ron Weiser must be smiling.
Sweet Toothe-TESTING CD-r burn (originally on Dominion Records)

Like most of these local productions you can expect more than your fair share of hackneyed highlights and heard it all before (and didn't even wanna hear it the first time) riffs that were handed down fifth generation by someone who just happened to be hotcha on the teenybop hard rock circuit. Thankfully Sweet Tooth manage to throw in at least one hard rocker that helps ease the boredom a tad. Nothing I'd prefer listening to for the next few years but hey, you might find something of worth within these grooves or whatever they call 'em on CD-rs.
Various Artists-HIGH MULE TEENAGE SKYLINER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

As usual, the quality varies on this particular sampler that might upset some and thrill others to joybell velocity. I happen to love the thing in my own corny suburban slob way tho. Best parts included some of the weirdities that Bill stuck on like Walt Wilder's "Chicago 7" (a country and western romp that is actually pro radical if ya can believe it!) to Effie Smith doin' some funny teenage putdowns to a standard generic rock/soul backing. Even Oscar Brown Jr.'s poem about not gettin' his forty acres and a mule was smart commentary that one never would hear from today's high class crybabies.

Some of the popsters don't quite suit me while I thought Lee Moore's voice was too blah for the country strummers he was singin', but I also got to hear some non-"Papa" Rivingtons and High Noon's "Drivin Drivin" was a popster that really should have done some chart action in a world of James Taylor and other somnambulist singer songwriters. And that take on the big band fave "Skyliner" was kinda snat what with that vocal arrangement. Pretty wowzy after all...but please Bill, you know better than...PEACHES AND HERB!!!
Recent research into this blog has shown that nobody reads it this far down the page, so to prove it I am going to make a whole slew of outrageous and perhaps even CONTROVERSIAL suggestions (the kinda that can get one in trouble!) that no one will lay eyes upon, showing just how on-target that study most definitely is! Kids, don't do your homework! Kick your sister in the wiener area! Real hard too! Don't wipe up after taking a dump! Or if you do do it on your classmate's homework! Expose yourself to old ladies! Write dirty words on the walls of your Youth Club! Push your little brother's crib down the stairs. While he's in it! And oh yeah, buy all the back issues of BLACK TO COMM your poor little heart can stand! See?

Thursday, January 03, 2019


This looks like one of those vanity press-kinda self-published books, the kind published by  companies where people send their wares because no publisher in their right (and moolah-obsessed) mind would go near the thing. These books must be more common than I have thought, after all my dad's old school friend wrote one once about playing in the minor leagues. Anyway, this thing would be prime vanity publishing matter if only because the subject matter (Les Braunstein) if not the subject itself (the Soft White Underbelly before they because the Stalk Forrest Group before they became Blue Oyster Cult) ain't gonna be the kind of reading material that's bound to hit THE NEW YORK TIMES top ten an' you know it's a sad thing in life if someone along the lines of Braunstein is IGNORED in this world of ours because hey, at one time (and maybe even now) he was a SOMETHING!

And that SOMETHING was as the lead singer for the Underbelly, that oft-hyped (along with David Roter) act that came out of the Stonybrook University underground of the late-sixties that everyone from future manager Sandy Pearlman to lyricist/punk rock muse Richard Meltzer hyped incessantly (along with Lillian Roxon who plugged 'em in THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ROCK ) because they sure looked like the future of rock as far back as 1967! Y'know, when these things were still germinating and ideas later to topple the under-the-underground rock world like THE AESTHETICS OF ROCK and AJAX for that matter were still squiggling around in Meltzer's ball ready to be spurted upon some sheet of paper and dried for the next edition of that legendary fanzine!

But as all reports had it, Soft White Underbelly were worthy of all of the underground hype bestowed upon it, and I'm sure you will agree after hearing this rough early demo of the group that I've only discovered recently. Y'see, for years I thought that official "Stalk Forrest Group" tape floating around was the Les Braunstein-era group, and only until recently did I discover otherwise much to my addled shock. Anyway, here is the original tape. Sound isn't that great but the music surpasses even the recently-released official Stalk Forrest album that's been taking up much of my precious free time. Wish someone'd find the originals of these and give 'em the royal release treatment!

Pretty hotcha stuff eh? Psychedelic yet still potent enough to have clung onto the latter NUGGETS period of local ignored yet just as good as the biggies if not even BETTER rock, the kind that only seemed to get played on the smaller AM stations at the time by disc jockeys you never heard of before and never would again. If you're interest in knowing more, then just check Braunstein's book out.

It's a howshallIsay "interesting" affair, kinda rough with the usual misspellings and such that'll get all you sticklers' anuses tightening even more, but if you can bear my stuff you can bear this. For an autobiography Braunstein really lays it down good and he SHOULD considering just how much of a pure rock 'n roll story he has and how maybe what he has to say is SOMETHING that needs to be heard in these days of phony rockscreeding that reads worse'n even my sixth-grade book report on John Hersey's HIROSHIMA (drop, boom, arrrgh!). The book starts off with the day Braunstein's dad died, and although that was definitely a sad time for the teen it also triggered the dawn of a new era where now the guy can get out and do what he always wanted to un-chained so-to-speak. And for Braunstein that means entering into the wild kultur of mid/late-sixties cool cat-ness what with the guy earning moolah for writing a song that popped up on a Peter Paul and Mary platter (it helped to be college friends with Peter Yarrow's younger brother) up to getting in line with the Pearlman/Meltzer gang and fronting the hottest group in the area, one who might have been tossed off as East Coast psych nobodies had they been anyone else but who had that spark of straightforward originality that separated the unique acts from the hacks! And this was long before hackdom was in and it became easier for the hacks to play footsies with the suits which is why rock 'n roll, as presented and packaged for the most part these past fifty years, really did suck the royal turdburger.

Lotsa clip and quote lines here from various old and on-line sources featuring the opinions of the other proto-BOC members. There's also a lotta things about Meltzer here that I never knew about before which is cool, the weirdest thing being about the time Our Hero had Braunstein slap on some boxing gloves so the two could be filmed duking it out on-stage for Meltzer's upcoming boxing film. It all ended when Meltzer toppled back after a good 'un from Braunstein and ended up strangled in between his gloves which were still tied together. No wonder Meltzer still can't stand the guy 'til this day! If you want more of this kind of jocularity believe-you-me the book is FULL of it!

There are two more volumes in the "Lucky Monkey" series, one called A LUCKY MONKEY WANDERS AMERICA AND EUROPE and another A LUCKY MONKEY ON THE HASHISH TRAIL. Feel like tearin' into any of those other Braunstein efforts by any chance? If ya do howzbout tellin' us whatcha think of 'em...right now I'm still re-re-rereading this book as it is!

Tuesday, January 01, 2019


(Radio Archives)

by Bill Shute

THE WHISTLER radio series ran from 1942-1955 on West Coast CBS. The only recurring character was a mysterious narrator, The Whistler, who would set up the stories, provide transitions between the acted-out sequences, and on occasion directly address the characters with sarcastic put-downs or withering questions about the stupidity of their murderous plans (such as....”ahhhh, you didn’t know that the milkman would notice when Matilda was not waiting at the door for the bottle of cream for her precious cat Delilah, as she did every morning at 5:30 a.m. sharp, did you....when you MURDERED HER!”). There is a grim yet ironic tone to the show, and once you listen to a few of them, they become addictive, like Fritos or Coca-Cola. The show was so successful that it spawned a series of eight similarly-themed B-crime films at Columbia, seven of which starred the great Richard Dix (see pic), and four of those were directed by William Castle, long before his fame as a horror film auteur (we can discuss those Whistler films in a future review--they are all worthwhile, and the under-stated but intense Richard Dix is perfect for them--he plays a different role in each one!).

Hundreds of the Whistler radio shows are available free for online listening, but I recently acquired an attractive six-CD set of 12 straight episodes, running from 11/5/1945 through 2/25/1946, from Radio Archives, sourced directly from mint transcription discs, and it is certainly a treat. Listening to two straight months’ worth gives me a renewed appreciation for the show (I have listened to a few dozen random shows over the years, from many different seasons of the run), and certainly gives a clear taste of the 1945-1946 season. Many of the Signal Oil ads reference the recent end of World War II and the shortages that existed during the War, so you really get the feel that you are hearing these during that cold Post-WWII Winter. With the excellent sound quality on the Radio Archives discs, the shows have a presence and depth that makes them come alive.

The typical show in the series has someone who has committed a murder....or is contemplating a murder....or who has talked a weak-willed friend into committing a murder for him or her....or is thinking of murder as a convenient way to get rid of some problem he or she is facing. The main character is either a sleaze or a miserable coward or a brutal thug or a manipulative operator....or some combination of those. As the show proceeds, after the main characters seem to get what they want from the killing (insurance money, getting rid of spouse they can’t stand, getting rid of a witness to a crime, etc.), the walls start to close in on them....and not through any police work, but through accidents of fate, a fate that is dripping with irony....and after the pause at the climax, when the show returns for a brief closing sequence, the ironic twist ending tends to double-down on the earlier acid-tinged irony of the person’s fate, digging the knife of poetic justice even deeper. It’s as if they’ve taken the best qualities of Edgar Allan Poe stories such as “The Tell-Tale Heart” or “The Cask of Amontillado,” along with 40’s fatalistic murder films such as “Double Indemnity” and also the clever twist endings from the stories of O. Henry or Guy De Maupassant, and put them into a lean, hard-boiled fast-moving radio drama. Each episode satisfies, because not only is the killer defeated, but the killer is defeated by his or her own stupidity or vanity or blindness AND the lacerating irony of fate. You almost feel like cheering.

If you’ve never heard a Whistler radio show before, try one of them from the November 1945-February 1946 period documented on this set. You can easily find 100+ episodes of the show online. Yes, they had a formula on the show, but it’s a successful formula (they’d have been foolish to tamper with it), and it can really provide an infinite number of dramatic situations. Few radio shows or B-movie series drive home the CRIME DOES NOT PAY message as powerfully as this one does--especially because these murderers often fool the police, or manage to stay under the radar during the crime’s investigation, but cosmic justice finds them and breaks them, and does it in a salt-in-the-wound manner that these creeps truly deserve.