Thursday, February 28, 2019

OLDE TYMEY RADIO SHOW REVIEW! THE GREAT GILDERSLEEVE VOL. 18! (Radio Archives)

Back when I was growing up in this world o' ours there was this Big Nostalgia Fad that was up and bloomin' full force that was havin' everybody talkin' 'bout a whole load of things that seemingly weren't up and about anymore! Not only that but these old tymers and even young 'uns were reminiscing (or vicariously living through it all) with fond memories as if influenza epidemics was anything funtime to want to remember inna first place. I'm not exactly talkin' fifties-era fun 'n jamz mind you (that would have to wait until the "Spirit of '57" 7 Up ad reared its zit-faced head) but 20s/30s/40s lookbacks which, not surprisingly enough, seemed like nothing that special to this ten-year-old. After all, given that my own folk and relatives were still heavily rooted in the past what with World War II still a frequent subject of discussion and the desserts straight outta some recipe of the exact same confection Bess used to make for Harry (Ozark Pudding...good stuff too!), I myself was pretty much LIVING in the 20s/30s/40s while growing up and was sure glad about it! Of course books filled with comic strip reprints as well as LITTLE RASCALS and old moom pitcher reruns onna tee-vee sure helped bolster the illusion.

's funny but alla that nostalgia for some of the better things that went down entertainment and even food-wise in the past seemed to vanish by the eighties. Even stranger was the sixties/seventies nostalgia that popped up sometime in the early-nineties which totally stymied me because hey, the fondness for the twenties throughout the fifties was a total reaction, not only by the Agnewites but the Hubert Humphreys amongst us, against the social upheaval that the late-sixties and seventies were rife with. Having lived through the seventies many of the things I remember with fondness were TV reruns, old movies and scant few records, most of which were created in that now-loathed past as if I would care to re-live the days of disco and rampant radical rage. Sure I wouldn't mind one bit experiencing the flowering of underground rock ideals and other forms artistic or not, but this time I'd either like a front row seat or to be a proud participant in the zeitgeist of Velvet Underground potentials taken to their logical conclusions.

But eh, this GREAT GILDERSLEEVE radio show was fab! Perfect for whatever is left of the old fashioned 40s radio fan out there, and even younger fanablas like myself can get into it not only because of the situation comedy aspects that ricocheted for quite a few decades after but the mere fact that Leroy, Gildersleeve's adopted nephew, is played by none other than tee-vee's Sherman aka Walter Tetley.

As far as sitcoms go these episodes do fill the bill especially at night when one can just laze back, stare at the lamp-lighted room with the same secure shades that lighted rooms had looked like this ever since one can remember, and just absorb yourself into the rather entertaining saga that comes outta the nifty boom box snugly situated at the side of yer bed. Harold Peary as the title character (I hear that his Gildersleeve was the first ever character to spin off into his own radio series, in this case FIBBER McGEE AND MOLLY which is due for a review in these pages one of these days) does the old pompous midaged bachelor role perfectly while the kids (who besides perennial castrati Tetley included Louise Erickson as the coming of age sister with all the passionate gush that would imply) seem to behave like most kids usedta before that law where childhood was declared illegal and now all we have are adults in waiting was put into effect. Lillian Randolph as Birdie the maid adds the proper punch to the fambly situation and if any of you save-the-world types would be "offended" by a black woman playing a maid on forties radio well then, you'd be offended by Rochester as well. And probably are!

I find these GILDERSLEEVE essipodes pretty snazz in the sitcom department what with the not-necessarily hackneyed plots dealing with everything from the post war housing shortage (a similar plot was used in an Edgar Kennedy short) to Gildersleeve falling madly in infatuation (or was it lust?) for a woman he briefly glanced upon which I gotta say makes the kinda things I assume they still show sitcom-wise (foo-give me if I haven't even watching a real one since 1990) seem like even more piddle. (Did you ever notice that the same pompous and demanding of others generation that scoffed at the "banality" of these old comedies have created programs and other attempts at humor which not only are lacking in laughs but downright grim?) With THE GREAT GILDERSLEEVE you not only get to hear some pretty interesting stories performed by talented individuals, but the characters they portray sure seem a whole lot more realistic and flesh and blood than most anything seen in current entertainment (or so I assume...).  Hey, I couldn't care one whit if Roseanne OD'd on Oxycontin but I do feel the same pangs of angst that Gildersleeve did when he espied that lovely lady or the terror Leroy did when that bully was out to get him and he hadda rush home after dark!

To add even more realism to the proceedings the original ads for Kraft products were left on, giving us stuck inna past maniacs an idea as to what a whole lotta our forerunners hadda go through right after the Big One what with Kraft apologizing for the shortage of Miracle Whip due to sugar being in such short supply. (But that don't matter to me cuz I never did like the stuff, me preferring the real deal Kraft Mayonnaise which is now plentiful!) One thing I'd like to know is, whatever happened to Kraft's home made ice cream product Frizz, which sure sounds like something I woulda pestered my mother to get me had the stuff still been around a good twennysome years later! And they said us pampered suburban slob ranch house kids had it all!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! WANTED, SABATA (Italy 1970) starring Brad Harris



Originally from Sicily, director Roberto Mauri was involved with many worthwhile sword and sandal films and westerns in the 1960’s……and he continued on, doing whatever genre of film was in fashion at the time. 1968-69 alone saw him doing the great western with Tab Hunter SHOTGUN, the beyond-belief KING OF KONG ISLAND, and one of the late-period Kommissar X films, THREE GOLDEN SERPENTS aka ISLAND OF LOST GIRLS, the latter two starring BRAD HARRIS, an American who was quite successful as a sword and sandal star (his FURY OF HERCULES and SAMSON sold tens of thousands of copies each in the early days of VHS) then Eurospy star then Eurowestern star. Harris was also a stunt director who had a background working with second-unit (action) work and as an athlete himself did a fine job of fight choreography. As a lead actor, he had a strong presence and the gravitas needed to play Hercules/Maciste, but he also could radiate a real charm, and in his Kommissar X films with Tony Kendall he had a great sense of humor. Having worked with Mauri before, he was a natural choice for leading man for this low-budget formula Eurowestern made in 1970.

One thing the viewer notices in 1970-71 lower-rung Eurowesterns is how they were no longer being shot in Almeria, Spain----no more of those endless, expansive stretches of barren imitation US Southwest/Northern Mexico. Instead, they were shot within driving distance of Rome in wooded areas where they could be found (and they weren’t that large when they were found), so the films had a very different look, and with the landscape being a huge presence in the earlier films, with a sense of dread and foreboding and bleakness, the later films had a different FEEL.

Also, there seems to be by 1970 fewer of the operatic, Gothic touches one would have seen in films from 1966-1968. Individual directors would still have their own unique styles (Gianfranco Parolini, aka Frank Kramer, who’d worked a lot with Brad Harris in the early-to-mid 60’s, for instance, played by his own rulebook in the early 70’s), but there were a number of relatively straight-forward, bread and butter westerns that moved from Point A to Point B relatively simply, with the kind of matter-of-fact approach one would see in the series B-Westerns of the 1930’s and 1940’s—westerns that were made because there was an audience wanting to see them and which were ground out quickly by people who had an intuitive feel for the genre. By 1970, the Eurowestern had its core audience both in Europe and abroad, people who would pay to see anything that resembled what they were expecting, and modest-budgeted films (no expensive location shooting in Spain!) that had few pretensions but delivered the goods had a niche market.

WANTED: SABATA is one of those. The plot could be written on a napkin in magic marker. It could be from a 1930’s Bob Steele western (one where the plot DID NOT involve Bob on the revenge path because his father was killed). Sabata (played by Brad Harris), a simple rancher who’d had some trouble earlier in his life and is trying to rebuild things for himself, is tagged for destruction by someone who sold Sabata some land and wants it back (or something like that….my Italian is not good and the subtitles are minimal, and based on what I do know, not always accurate). This character (Jim Sparrow) is played by Greek actor Vassily Karis, and to say he’s over the top is an understatement. In a 30’s western, the character would probably be played by Wheeler Oakman (as in THE MAN FROM GUNTOWN, with Tim McCoy), at his leering, twitchy best. Just in case you weren’t sure HOW bad a person he is, in the first three minutes of the film, when Sparrow’s brother takes him to task for being so maniacal in his hatred of Sabata, who has done nothing wrong, Sparrow blows his brother away….and then pins the murder on Sabata. Sabata is captured, escapes, flees, and hides out in the hills while plotting his strategy and eventually gets justice. Well, kind of…..a Roy Rogers kind of justice that might seem unsatisfying to Eurowestern fans who grew up on those immortal lines from the trailer of DEATH RIDES A HORSE, “when you’ve been searching fifteen years for a man, it’s a shame you can only kill him once!”

Brad Harris does not get good notices from the few who have written about this film, but he and the director have clearly decided for him to under-play the part, a la Gary Cooper or Randolph Scott. I feel that Harris is a strong enough presence to pull the viewer in with this approach, in the way a Randolph Scott or a Charles Bronson could, and that it fits the character, who is meant to be something of a cipher, but you the viewer can decide for yourself.

Not sure that this was ever given an English dub. I watched it on You Tube in Italian with minimal English subtitles. You’ll have no problem following it. I first watched it this summer, when I was in El Paso, and my wife was busy with her Mom running some errands…..I borrowed her tablet and watched it on that while the ladies were out for the afternoon. I’ve now watched it a second time, and I do think that people who enjoy a straightforward Spaghetti Western that is full of action and suspense, has a decent musical score, and moves quickly will find this to be 90 minutes of their life not wasted. Also, Brad Harris has many fans (Mr. Harris just passed away a year or so ago), and his westerns are not as well known as his sword and sandal and his Eurospy films. Considering this is up for free on You Tube in an OK quality widescreen copy, what are you waiting for?

Oh, this character has zero to do with the Sabata of Lee Van Cleef (or the Sabata through dubbing after the fact of Yul Brynner). Like the many cut-rate Django ripoffs and Sartana ripoffs—or the many Italian “Maciste” films which became Hercules films when dubbed into English--they just took the name and hoped it brought a few more patrons into the theater. For me, that just adds to the charm.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Sorry if this post is a shorter one than usual. No, I am not sorry. In fact after a lifetime of being forced to apologize for every indiscretion no matter how slight or imagined it may be I am THROUGH with the apologizing game once and for all! Naw, I'm GLAD this is a short post and if you don't like it fooey on you! An' if I went through this anti-sorry tirade once before it's just too bad now, so blow it out whatever orifice that isn't prolapsed ya got!
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Don't really feel like talking much if at all about the recent passing of Monkee Peter Tork. Not necessarily due to any intense dislike...in fact I have been a casual follower of the Monkees for quite some time and if interested one could read not only a review of a Monkees bootleg in issue #5 of my own crudzine but one of Tork live at CBGB Cee-Dee-Are reviewed in its final issue (see below for details). I won't say that much because whatever anyone else has already said pretty much goes for what I would also mention so why should I be even more redundant than usual?

It's funny, but whenever I get the chance I still view the old Monkees tee-vee show "airing" on FETV Saturday mornings, and after a long delay of having done so I tuned in just last Sad-turd-day to see the famous Prince and the Pauper burlesque with Rodney Bingenheimer as Davy Jones' double! I hope that my desire to catch this particular episode isn't what accelerated Tork's demise. Man, when I was a kid I used to think that my mental actions could lead to unintended disasters and even this many years later I still have this maybe not-so-strange idea lodged back in the suburban slob area of my mind! Well, I was watching GOMER PYLE when my mother told me that Frank Sutton had died plus reading the LITTLE RASCALS book when I heard via the news about the passing of Spanky McFarland! How mystico/strangeo can I really be? Better watch out all you enemies of mine, for even the slightest vibrations of negativity in my brain might cause your impending DOOM just like that weird implant in Donald Pleasence's brain! Unfortunately my negative energy never did work on my most hated associates---maybe it has to be more of a "subconscious" thing for the occult power to work its full potential but try on I will!
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Here's this week's pittance. Fairly good if limited selection if (to use a long-loved phrase) I do say so myself. Maybe you will come in contact with some music that will re-arrange your way of looking at the universe, music that will withstand the fads and passage of time and remain the blaring soundtrack for your own personal existence. But then again, probably not.



Dan Melchior and P.G. Six-EXHIBIT A LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Here's an oddity, but (as usual) it's an oddity that I like! Melchior's an acoustic guitar player and vocalizer who reminds me of Mark Steyn of all people who does material that ranges from neo-sixties folky punk to Syd Barrett insanity, and here he is assisted by a P. G. Six who performs on a variety of gear adding a little more dimension to had this just been Melchior strumming away on his lonesome. The results? Pretty dang good rock-folk music that sounds as if it coulda been a bonafeed "It's a NUGGET if ya dug it" spinner on the creaky AM station of your choice circa 1966, or just about any bedroom project of the day without the pious pretentiousness that ruined many a similar outing. A cover of Creation's "Painterman" might point out to you the direction in which these numbers tend to go. But then again it might not, but ya gotta give it a listen and find out for yourself. It's that evocative even in these beyond jaded times.
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Letha Rodman Melchior-MARE AUSTRALE LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Dunno just how this particular Melchior is related to the above one (though they were), and the fact that her previous material was released by Siltbreeze Records doesn't exactly make me wanna endear myself to the gal's memory. But this record is something that really---makes me scratch my head and wonder just what went right. Melchior seems to take shreds and fragments of sounds both "found" or not and adds what I believe is her own vocalizing or instrumental playing to create a new brand of music collage or whatever they used to call this stuff at chi-chi colleges back 1960 way. What sounds like recordings of old piano recitals and string symphonies collide with electronic zarkl and (again I assume) Melchior's vocalizing resulting in this breed of sound that ain't quite Musique Concrete but it sure sounds swell next to those college bedroom experimental tapes you used to read about in SOUND CHOICE way back when.
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Terry Riley and Nayan Ghosh-AMSTERDAM 2015 CD-r burn

Fans of Pandit Pran Nath might want to give this disque (easily downloadable for those of you who find such things easy to do) a try if only for its easy enough to get into what it's tryin' to say attitude. Indian drone music with appropriate-if-undecipherable to my ears lyrics abound, featuring Riley playing some rather atypical classical piano lines in with the traditional Indian sounds making for something that woulda been branded "new age" thirty years back but nowadays sounds too ferocious for that pallid description. If you think this sounds like the soundtrack for LILIAS, YOGA AND YOU think again. Actually, this goes swell with the chicken curry I absorbed a few hours back, and if you grab this 'un and some naan to go along with it you might find yourself in for a rather fun evening. Without the diarrhea of course.
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The Aints-THE CHURCH OF SIMULTANEOUS EXISTENCE CD-r burn (originally on Australia Broadcasting Corporation Records)

Hey, Ed Whatzizname from the old Saints in the mastermind behind this new act, and although I never really went as save-the-wold over the Saints as some of you readers I gotta admit that this effort is...kinda OK. Too horn-y and slick for my own preferences, but the mix of pop with past rock proclivities sure make things go smoother down the ol' ear canals. Of course I'm never gonna spin this one again---the mere musicianship and production tend to deter from any feral aspects it may have---but people like McGarry obviously will think the world of it.
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JD McPherson-UNDIVIDED HEART & SOUL CD-r burn (originally on New West Records)

It's a real SURPRISE hearing a modern everyday kinda musical artist who has made a record that I can absorb myself into, and believe it or leave it but this McPherson guy has done just that! McPherson ain't exactly a retro-rocker in the old Flamin' Groovies sense, but he does some pretty straightforward rockers that borrow from the past without comin' off so 2-D obvious. Nor does he sound kinda weird and something phony about it like Marshall Crenshaw did. Talented man he, and his sounds can evoke everything from what you woulda hoped a late-seventies Gene Vincent album would have sounded like (eh---no) to some outta the way import single TROUSER PRESS hyped back '76 way to the kinda sound that Stiff Records shoulda been promotin' 'stead of some of the acts that eventually made their roster once the eighties clocked in. Not bad a' tall!
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Wilbur Harden/John Coltrane-JAZZ WAY OUT CD-r burn (originally on Savoy Records)

I remember this 'un back when Affinity reissued it under the title DIAL AFRICA, an' I also remember being told by a certain someone that I wouldn't like it because this wasn't the same Coltrane who was searing to new heights whence he gained favor with the wimpiest of jazz aficionados a la Ralph J. Gleason. Heh, the VERY SAME GUY who told me to avoid this 'un, or at least hinted that I wouldn't appreciate the thing the same way kidz just can't appreciate good sharp cheddar cheese sent me a burnt offering of the very same platter! C'n ya believe it? Well, said person prob'ly thought that I wasn't "mature" enough at the time to handle it way back when. Maybe he was right. Come to think of it, he was.

Coltrane along with trumpeter Harden lead a sextet through some mighty snappoid jazz that ain't over-the-top freeform yet still has a lilt which keeps ya goin' without sinking to the lounge level schmooze that still seems to be quite in vogue. Remember, it was only three years until "Impressions" and this was the logical starting point for it all.
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Philippe Debarge with the Pretty Things-ROCK ST. TROP CD-r burn (originally on Madfish Records)

Didn't think that this '69 recording where the Things got together with international somethingorother Debarge was gonna be a thriller, but it does work out pretty good. Nothing neo-prog/psych like the Things of them days, but as far as a slick yet listenable pop rock album that sinks itself into your teeth or something like that goes it does work. For being one of those jet set types Debarge sings really good, even to the point where he coulda been another Jean Pierre Kalfon and started his own rock 'n roll career in France (but don't worry, us Amerigans would be dishing out beaucoup for import copies of his records) and the Things compliment him rather swell like, not getting in the way with their mostly acoustic playing. Another nice switch from the usual pummeling my ears get these days.
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Various Artists-BONGO MUMMY CIVILIZATION ALLIGATOR CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Bill swung a good 'un my way with more force than that angry gorilla at the zoo who picked up that brown lumpy stuff and flung it at the observers like a fast ball! This 'un's got some true winners that warrant some further research like Jonathan and his teenage warbling of  "The Mummy" over a "Green Onions" backing to Soul Inc.'s "The Alligator" which sounds like Rochester Jr. talk-screeching some hotcha speak to a primal musical backing! All of these are due to be splattered right inna middle of the BLOG TO COMM hall of fame as are some other total winners here from the Dynamic Capers' cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins to Gene Morris doin' some South Seas war chant rocker! (And dig the Javamen swiping their chorus directly from the Amboy Dukes?!?!?!) I guess that barrel bottom hasn't been scraped that much when it comes to that total under-the-counter crud we like to call music!
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Just what the Doctor ordered...Doctor Feelbad that is! Back issues of BLACK TO COMM! Got a batch still available and if you don't want to pay exorbitant prices on ebay for these rarities then pay exorbitant prices to ME!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! THE LAST MILE starring Mickey Rooney! (1959)

After Mickey Rooney stopped being all cute and cuddly he did what would come naturally and took on a whole buncha these tough guy roles that made more'n a few b-films of the day look positively gnarly! Here's a good cheap one where Rooney plays a death row inmate that I'm sure woulda looked swell onna late movie back 1963 way, and believe it or not but it's not your average prison flick either!

THE LAST MILE's got what you'd expect from a prison flick like this what with the typical batch of inmates being introduced to you trying to ooze all that compassion and touchy-feel outta you like you'd kinda expect. There's the nice young guy who you get the feeling didn't deserve the chair because he's so sweet, the oldster waiting for a stay, the guy who went insane and is driving everyone else crazy in the process, the black guy who naturally just seems too good to be on death row and prays for everyone around him, and Rooney as the toughest and hardest of the bunch who makes the usual hard-as-nails type seem like Mister Rogers visiting a convent.

Naturally the main guard is a real sadistic jackoff who likes to taunt the doomed men while the others are better but still suffer from guilt by profession. The warden's the warden but he ain't anything you'd wanna care to root for if only because he da MAN! Believe-you-me, you're gonna have a hard time cheering for the nasty yet redeeming to your own sense of sticking-it-to-the-man prisoners or the guards who just don't have anything to 'em that you'd wanna root for!

The film starts off kinda slow-like what with alla the talking and details about what happens to the condemned before they get the jolt, but when Rooney leads the guys into a daring break it's excitement personified with the bad boys now in control and the guards whimpering and sniveling like nothing since the time I got caught with that medical encyclopedia in the bathroom. You might even start cheering when the guards get the tables turned and act like total namby pambies (I liked it when this particularly putrid 'un turns total pouty-pout and told Rooney to take the other guard as a human shield because he was much older!) and maybe you'll even give a standing ovation when Rooney toys with the most hated of the batch who also cracks up before getting his just desserts! Only Arch Hall Jr. coulda done better!

And the best part of it all is that the entire thing ends is a great cataclysm which really soothes your soul in a nice way even if you kinda wish everything woulda ended up a whole lot more GORY (I know I would, but this was 1959 and quite a few years before moom pitchers became "freer"). A hot 'un for sure...worth an eyeballing on your fave local low-budget station or even TCM which is where Bill Shute got his copy from!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

I WANT TO BE ALONE...AT THE GAS PUMP by Bill Shute

Like the late great Greta Garbo, I want to be left alone. Oh, don’t get me wrong…. I love other people. I’m the kind of person who asks grocery baggers how their day is going (hey, I bagged groceries at a Food Lion in Virginia, back during the early years of BTC), talks about the weather with bored security guards (I’ve put in a few years at THAT too, as did Chris), smiles and makes a funny face at children on the bus or wherever, and I consider my neighborhood postal carrier my friend, giving him some of our family’s homemade tamales at Christmas. No, what I want to be left alone from is corporate advertising and infotainment. In the pre-internet age, if I put on the radio or the TV, I was entering a commercial zone, and I knew it came along with the territory. Since the internet crawled out from under a rock in the early 90’s, I’ve had to get used to the constant ads on my screen, the pop-up ads trying to sell me whatever I Google-searched ten minutes before, and the intrusion of ads into special-interest blogs and websites for people who use the “free plan”, as I do with my KSE Wordpress blog. If you get on the internet, you are going to be hustled, and I’ve come to accept that. When I was watching a Bud Spencer film last night on You Tube (which I will review eventually for BTC), I knew that I would get some bullshit ad interrupting my film every fifteen minutes, but for me, that is worth it for getting the best in obscure Euro genre films for free online. If you are online, to some extent you are asking for it, and I can accept that.

However, what I cannot take is the corporate tentacles encircling me when I am NOT online or consciously consuming media. I do not have a smart phone, and I never activated the WI-FI in my car because I did not want to pay the $30 a month they wanted…..AND for me, my car is a private place. I can blast 1920’s dance bands in my car, listen to an audiobook of Stacy Keach playing Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, enjoy the local jazz radio station, ponder lines for future poems, re-live the joy of those frog legs I had in East Texas last year, anticipate a future romantic tryst (being sure to not get carried away with that and get into an accident), sing an Elvis song by myself in a baritone worthy of The King, laugh at old Bowery Boys routines re-playing in my head, or think of an angle to use for my next BTC review of an old Charlton comic book.

Similarly, another place that is sacred space for me is the gas pump. When I’m in my own neighborhood, I can ponder the meaning of life while I’m putting 13 gallons into my Buick Encore. If I’m on the road, I can check out the landscape in whatever area I’m in. Nothing defines the flavor of a community like its gas stations and convenience stores. Some might have faded-by-the-sun posters of fried chicken in the window, or colorful enchilada plates, or 24 packs of beer, or homemade Cajun boudin or cracklins. In terms of the pump itself, all I want is that official notice about the octane levels and maybe an ad for the gas company’s credit card or a hustle for an over-priced robo-carwash. The one thing I DO NOT want is f**king corporate info-tainment blaring out at me from the gas pump. I’d rather have a homeless person approach me for spare change….at least I can shoo him away. No, what we’ve got now is something like a 10-inch screen WITH SOUND near the top of the gas pump, shouting out at you as you pump your gas.

I’d only seen these in the Houston area and only at some chains in the last few years, and since I do not live in Houston, I did not have to encounter them often. The ones back there were affiliated with NBC, and would have clips from awful NBC shit-coms or the monologue from last night’s Jimmy Fallon show, which if I wanted to see I would have watched….but I didn’t, and I didn’t. It would start up as soon as you started to pump and would go on until you got the receipt out of the pump after you paid.

Unfortunately, these have now invaded San Antonio, including the Shell station right down the street from where I live, at the back road into Retama Park horse racing track. I’d just come back from a pleasant birthday party for my daughter-in-law at an Asian Buffet in her part of town, where I gorged myself on sautéed shrimp, low-grade crab legs, shrimp-tempura sushi, eel rolls, sautéed oysters bathed in duck sauce, and those mini-balls of fried donut filled with custard. My blood-sugar numbers probably spiked as much as Amazon stock does each time a brick-and-mortar store chain goes out of business from online competition. I was feeling good, headed home and thinking of what Elvis bootleg I would put on when I got home, and whether I’d accompany it with an oolong or a black tea on this cold February day.

I glanced over at the Mexican restaurant located to the left of and connected to the Shell station, where a man with a mustache and wearing an apron, probably about my age (meaning, already calculating his Social Security), was peering out the front door window of the business at me with a look that cried out, “hey, we NEED your business….I have a family to support and the rent I’m being charged for this place is NOT being made up for with sales….PLEASE, sir, stop by, bring dinner home to your wife and she’ll love you even more.” Unfortunately for him, my wife had also gone to this buffet and was filled to the brim with crab legs. As I turned away from him, not wanting to keep eye contact and perhaps lead him on that I might possibly grab a few tacos, I was startled when the gas pump starting talking loudly to me with meaningless bullshit about what the week’s top hiphop and pop and country hits were, how the newest book by Dan “Da Vinci Code” Brown was at the top of the best seller lists, what Kanye West and the Kardashians were up to, and pushing whatever bloated and pretentious superhero film was dominating the suburban multi-plexes this weekend. Give me a break. I would have no problem if Shell was bombarding me with ads for their fine gasoline products and enticing me to come inside and get a refreshing Coca-Cola or an ice-cream bar. They have a right to hustle me at their store—hey, if I’m thirsty or hungry, I might just go in and get something I hadn’t planned on getting….especially if I’ve gotten paid in the last few days. However, I resent getting the same corporate crap thrown at me that I make a point to avoid by not having a smart phone. Soon only some ex-hippies somewhere in some rural commune beyond cell-phone reception and Wi-Fi, or some Amish (bless them for refusing to accept the modern world—they’re onto something!) making furniture or reading the Bible by candlelight will be “outside the grid.” To me, it seems like some nightmarish dystopia from the pages of Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs has come to life, and I’m the un-corrupted Kevin McCarthy among the pod-people in some real-life version of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. But hey, if you are reading this online at BLOG TO COMM instead of an old hard-copy of BLACK TO COMM, and if I’m watching Bud Spencer films on You Tube and running a blog myself (and contributing to this one), then I suppose I’m a hypocrite to complain. I’ve bought into it and have no justification to feel superior just because I do not have a smart phone and I essentially “check the internet” 3 or 4 times a day. As it was once put so well by the hard-core porn actress who entertained a dozen men at once in a hotel room and had it documented by some film-school graduate who’d previously had dreams of getting a film shown at Sundance, “in for a penny, in for a pound.” Bah humbug.

Excuse me, I’m only halfway through that Bud Spencer film on You Tube….

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Time for another jambus packtus WEEKEND POST, eh? Sure is, and boy am I rarin' to go and get down to it this time. Had an interesting week, technically a "week off" so to say, but hey, do I, like Superman, really ever get any days off in this life of mine? No way, but still I was able to crank out this rather neat post which might rank as one of the better ones in recent memory and if there were any Academy Awards for BEST POST DONE UP BY A SUBURBAN SLOB WHO STILL HOLDS THINGS LIKE RECORDS AND OLD COMIC BOOKS TO HEART well then man, I should win the things HANDS DOWN!!!!!!!!!
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It's a DAD-BURNED shame that my article on Brian Sands (a man deservin' of his own whopping biography!) didn't quite pan out, even though I had been in contact with former Sands friends and musicians who seemed very interested in helping out! Sheesh, it even came to the point where former Brian and the Juniors drummer Mac Chafer offered to drive down my way along with guitar player supreme Alan "Snake" Globekar and Moses/Milk bassist Dennis Carleton to talk about things face to face! Heck, Chafer even offered to PAY for a meal at the beanery of my choice and although I usually don't turn a freebee down this time I thought it best I do for my own personal interests. Y'see, not only have I tended to become a hermit shunning intercourse social or otherwise these days, but my table manners are ATROCIOUS.

However, in the meanwhile (and I hope that an article will still be forthcoming somehow, I have received a few items of interest and worth that I feel my moral obligation to share. The Cleveland Cuties EP, autographed by Al, Mac and Dennis was but one interesting thing that was winged my way (I'll save my review for a less-cluttered day) but the snaps, pix etc are what really made my endeavor all the more exciting. Here they are in the here and now lest things get too hectic and memories of this particular project fall to the wayside.


First, a photo of Milk I've never seen before.



Next, a photo of Globekar from the same session.




Here's one of Globekar live in the late-seventies or v. early eighties.



Globekar with Sands at approximately the same time.



Here's what I assume is one of Sands' groups circa. the late seventies or at least from the same gig the above photos were snapped.




And lo and behold, a copy of the BRIAN AND THE JUNIORS giveaway booklet. Copy it, paste it up and have one of your own!







I really do hope that biography gets written, and written soon for that matter! Globekar was tellin' me about a whole lotta fun incidents that happened with Sands such as the time Milk played a ritzy country club in Pittsburgh and the entire band arrived in their manager's Rolls Royce! If you guys are still out there. howzbout getting back in touch so the REAL story can be told by some true blue rock 'n roll fans 'stead of alla those hacks they have up in Cleveland, savvy???
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An old adage I just thought up...First you tolerate them---then you accept them---THEN they start passing laws against you! As that old philosopher Snagglepuss would say, ain't it the truth!.
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And so with that outta the way here are this week's reviews. Some old, some new, some borrowed and some blah, but all something that I've listened to, discerned and judged with not only your best musical interests in mind but a long black robe, gavel, and white wig. And remember, it took a lotta hard work and many hours of sweat, toil and creativity to produce recordings such as these, but it only takes me a good minute or two to TEAR 'EM DOWN!


John Collin-WATER AND ROCK MUSIC VOLUME 2 LP (Feeding Tube Records)

More from this mysterioso guitarist who seems to be trying to do for today what John Fahey and Robbie Basho were trying to do in the sixties. Naw, I don't think WATER AND ROCK MUSIC VOLUME 2 will turn out to be any sorta pillow plunge music for the hornier amongst the co-ed set, but it sure does continue on that fine avant garde guitar strumming tradition that grew out of the love for past forms a good four or so decades after the fact. Collin plays with an appealing aplomb (or a plombing appeal for that matter) that, while not as striking as those acoustic guitar folksters of yore, sure is a mile and a half above the sappiest of gnu age hippoids that were all the rage back inna mid-to-late eighties. And he uses varying soundscapes as a backdrop to his strumming (most prominently the seashore) which gives this music a pretty weird effect kinda like when Fahey was utilizing Hitler speeches between various passages! Hey, if ya liked sittin' through Leo Kottke on SOUNDSTAGE (like I admittedly did!) this is much better!
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Bill Bissett and Th Mandan Massacre-AWAKE IN THE DESERT LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Bissett and th Mandans' platter might resemble a few thousand other self-produced freakout efforts that came out way back when, but one listen to this thingie (released via Feeding Tube's new foray into th reproduction of obscure Canadian home-done freekdom of worth) an' you'll be convinced that there was more goin' on down on th farm than just cheap wine. This classic paste-up cover holds some equally paste up sounds with Bissett uttering weird prose in a fashion that brings to mind Kurt Schwitters of all people while some totally unskilled bunch make one-strum sounds on $15 beginners guitars...this is so primitive it makes Mahogany Brain sound like th Godz! Notorious hippie-haters will be sure to smash this one to bits but if you were the kinda guy who sat through ALL MEAT MUSIC (and liked it) you'll beg to differ.
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Hasting's Street Opera-SLIPPERY WHEN WET CD (Guerssen Records, Spain)

Other'n during a rather deep-groove flute/bass/drums track ("Lo-De-Do"), I found this extremely limited edition album dating from the not-so-magical year of 1969 nothing that special. Just typical neo-jazz rock offerings from a buncha talented guys playing originals as well as covers of "Scarborough Fair" and "Summertime" that just doesn't transcend any sorta gravity in order to do that astral soarin' that's so necessary with this type of music. I'm sure that the fambly and friends of Hasting's Street Opera enjoyed this platter and why wouldn't they. However, I get the strange feeling you will beg to differ.
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Mandrake Paddle Steamer-PANDEMONIUM SHADOW SHOW CD (Guerssen Records, Spain)

Not that I'm much of a fan and follower of (yech) "progressive rock" but there was a time when some of it wasn't that far removed from the psychedelic freak sounds that preceded it. These stars of THE PERFUMED GARDEN series are back with their own album of '68/'70 recordings, and if you were one of those folk who was a fan of the classic Harvest Records sound (Pink Floyd, Syd, Ayers...) you might get a kick outta this. Still rock-y yet with those artistic touches that would get out of hand in a few years. This is still a mile away from that gag-inducing racket that would epitomize the whole progressive rock movement a good five or so years later with its strong melodies and engaging playing, and somehow I can see more'n a few of you readers sneaking a copy off the racks and creeping your way to the cashier without any of your "hipper-than-thou" friends espying you!
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The Hoodoo Gurus-GORILLA BISCUITS; B-SIDES AND RARITIES CD-r burn (originally on BMG Records)

Hey, it's even more of that sixties-styled rock 'n roll, done up all eighties-styled! Of course we've heard about the Gurus for years, maybe even heard 'em, but if you've been as far away from the Antipodean root of it all like I have since the late-eighties maybe it does sound all fresh and exciting once again. But no matter how much the spirit of the Flamin' Groovies (and Fleshtones come t' think of it) might hang over this platter these guys just don't cut it like the inspiration did. Chalk it up to rock 'n roll burnout, and if you think it'll ever get any better you got another THINK comin'!
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Jonathan Richman-SA CD-r burn (originally on Blue Arrow Records)

Well yeah, I really think it's great that Richman has remembered his Velvet Underground roots. I also think it was fantabulous for him to record this album with that beautifully droning harmonium which undoubtedly accentuates his music, and his penchant for middle-eastern-influenced melodies has really improved his game overall. But sheesh man, why did you have to disavow the Old World after years of propping it up against the catcalls of the modernists who would like to see it (and everyone and everything associated with it) a good six feet under? That song really brought down my day, and I do hope the man will reconsider his recent change in attitude because like, he was one of the few who was rah-rahing in my corner, y'know?
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Hillstomp-DARKER THE NIGHT CD-r burn (originally on In Music We Trust Records)

Well whaddaya know! a retro-roots group that doesn't make me cringe! Parts sound real swamp rock trudge through the sludge bloozey rock while others could have been Holy Modal Rounders outtakes. Unlike various eighties underground rock fixtures trying to cash in on the trailer jiz aspects of downhome swill this does have that swing and broken-toothed yelp that doesn't date nor come off like one of those pampered upper-crust alternative music snooty look downs at the white trash.You could just see Sheriff Taylor busting the entire Darling family whilst they were playing selections from this album blasted on something even more powerful'n Moonshine---and perhaps JOINING IN!!!!
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Various Artists-BLACK BOTTOM PIPELINE DETECTIVE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Bring back those lazy hazy crazy days of mindless record collecting with this particular beaut, if you can latch onto one that is. Loads of interesting garble to choose from including Anita Louise (the old tymey moom pitcher star?) doing LaVerne Baker's "Jim Dandy" not to mention thingies like Kai Winding trying to cash in on the surf craze, the Ramones doing Dylan, Zoogz Rift doing Zoogz Rift and other terminally satisfying goodies that you might have missed the first time around. Whoever that Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra was they did weird with some neo-new unto gnu wavey item, and the Deuce Coupes carried the hot rod torch fine with their offering. It even closes off with one of those "song poem" entries which only goes to show you that the lack of talent isn't just limited to professionals, everyday people have it too!
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You need 'em---I don't! BLACK TO COMM back issues that is! You need the wealth of the knowledge of high energy rockism that each and every issue exudes from its well-manicured pages, I need the moolah I will get for these issues in order to further my very existence---mainly eating, paying bills and perhaps spending a few bucks on a musical item I most surely can enjoy. If the feeling is mutual well, then you sure know what'cher supposed to do!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

BOOK REVIEW! SMALL TOWN, BIG MUSIC---THE OUTSIZED INFLUENCE OF KENT, OHIO, ON THE HISTORY OF ROCK AND ROLL by Jason Prufer (Kent State University Press, 2019)

This one was a little hard for me to read. And not because of all the big words either. Let's just say that for a rabid rock 'n roll obsessive/compulsive like myself (one who is OCD about the more feral, gnarlier and bound to shock the pseudo-squares now just as much then aspect of it all) there wasn't enough meat on this particular bone.

Yeah, a book on the Kent Ohio musical scene is something that I'm sure more'n a few old tymers out there would wanna snatch up, and I'm positive that more'n a few already have. But for this particular scribe who used to prowl through small record shop bins and salivate o'er those Bizarros records we all now take for granite I wasn't that sussed.

Hell, there's no Miriam Linna or Human Switchboard to be found here, and as far as 15-60-75 goes the mere mentions and passings they get seemed to be washed over making 'em mere sideline rah-rahers next to the bigger names who happened to be in their company. Someone like myself who used to spend much cranial time pondering the importance of the Cle/Ako/Kento axis would definitely not be enticed by this tome a bit.

The problem is that SMALL TOWN reflects the local area music scene more through the eyes of the flowery hippie mentality that helped ruin rock in the first place, complete with loads of space taken up with coverage and snaps of that grinning junkoid James Taylor, Dame Elton and every other visitor to the fair city most of whom I could not stand one whit of! (And I assume you too or else you would have already clicked this post off and headed straight for Democracy Now.)  Much of this seems to be made up of reprints of past articles from various local publications (patched together by author Prufer who ain't that bad a writer when he doe cut the fat off) that might remind some Kent State University grad of various seventies good time, but frankly the results make me glad that I sorta avoided that whole bell bottom era even though this particularly fortunate occurrence took me into the misfortune of having to be bred right inna middle of Donny and Marie mania. Like any student paper of the day, I have to really trudge through the grown up kid offal to get to the 15-60-75 and Patti Smith articles that at least appeal to me on that definitely suburban slob level that makes this music sound and feel all the better. 

Sheesh, some things never do change, at least in a positive life-reaffirming way, do they?

I myself am waiting for the ultimo Cle/Ako/Kento under-the-underground rock 'n roll history book that takes the atomic age steel/rubber industry crunch of that particular era and lays it out as the survivors remember. Not holding my breath tho (other'n various Charlotte Pressler efforts past endeavors including my own left much to be desired). Until then you can do better than this, though for some strange reason I really doubt it. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! WYATT EARP : FRONTIER MARSHAL TREASURY, VOLUME FOUR (Gwandanaland Comics #1025)

Charlton Comics was always a major force in western comics, having (in my opinion) the strongest offerings in the field and staying with westerns until Charlton’s final days (in the last years of the early-mid 80’s, via re-prints….they certainly had enough content in the can from all those 50’s and 60’s comics to pump out re-print material for decades, had Charlton not folded….after all, it’s not like westerns date). Charlton was always ready to stick the ALL-NEW tag on the BILLY THE KID comics from the 70’s that actually were new because people were so used to recycled material—it was an event when you did get something new!

Charlton had its share of licensed western titles based on characters/real people such as Lash LaRue and Tex Ritter, characters with a pre-sold audience. Characters who were historical figures, such as Billy The Kid, a Charlton mainstay for decades, were also popular, but did not require any payment to anyone as they were in the public domain. In 1955, the TV series with Hugh O’Brian THE LIFE AND LEGEND OF WYATT EARP premiered and became a smash hit, running six seasons and generating a massive amount of merchandizing. It’s still being re-run today, and although Hugh O’Brian did a lot of other things later in his career (a favorite of mine is the Harry Alan Towers-produced 1966 remake of Agatha Christie’s TEN LITTLE INDIANS, with an outlandish cast including Shirley Eaton and Fabian, a film perhaps best known for having a gimmicky “whodunit break” right before its climactic reveal), he was never really able to go beyond the Wyatt Earp identity in the public mind, something I’m sure he eventually came to terms with. Someone at Charlton had the brilliant idea of piggybacking on the success on that show without having to pay anyone a license fee because Wyatt Earp was a public domain historical character. Change the title a bit, create a depiction of Wyatt that echoes Hugh O’Brian without looking too much like him, and you’ve got a western comic book that can ride the coattails of the TV series without costing a cent for licensing. That’s the kind of thinking I admire (and which I admire in the so-called “mockbuster” straight-to-video films of recent years which have a title echoing a hit film but just different enough to avoid a lawsuit—I’m a huge fan of the productions of THE ASYLUM and other mini-studios working in that vein).

Fortunately, Charlton’s artists and writers brought their A-game to the Wyatt Earp comic book, which ran for 61 issues, from 1956 to 1967. The plots are not as outlandish as those given to Billy The Kid, as the Earp persona in popular culture (the real Earp is a subject for another article) was always the “gentleman gunfighter,” and that identity is respected in these stories. Also, although Wyatt is a marshal, he is able to travel, to assist friends, and to be hired by those who need him elsewhere, so the stories can be set in any number of different locales and situations. It’s not like, say, the 1930’s Bob Steele films (which I love) where at least half the time (or so it seems) Bob is out for revenge after his father is killed.

I’ve read this collection twice (I probably read some of these issues in original copies way back when too), and it holds up very well. One reason I am reviewing it here is that it would be a good example of western comics for someone not into western comics to read. The five issues here run from 1960-61 (and as the cut-off for Public Domain status in comics such as this, where the copyright was not renewed, is 1963, Gwandanaland could potentially issue at least two, if not three, more WYATT EARP volumes of PD material—I hope they will!), and that was a Golden Age for the western. Dozens of comics were being published, hundreds of paperback-original western novels were being churned out and actively consumed, and westerns were dominating the TV airwaves. The pacing of these stories is excellent, there are colorful and interesting antagonists/villains as well as supporting characters, and the scenes are framed in a way that brings to mind some late 50’s B-western starring, say, Audie Murphy or Rory Calhoun or George Montgomery (to name three actors who were still working in that vein in the late 1950’s). Earp’s character is not only mature and somewhat realistic, but he’s actually somewhat cerebral and complex, no doubt echoing the qualities that Charlton saw as attractive about the Earp TV show.

I am at work while they are on, but I notice that ME-TV is running something like four hours of old-school 50’s and 60’s western TV shows, in black and white, every weekday, for retirees to relive their childhood days of watching GUNSMOKE and WAGON TRAIN. Personally, I’ll take the comic books over those TV shows, but if you are in the mood for, as the cover puts it “GUN-QUICK WESTERN ACTION” that’s well-paced, well-written, well-drawn, and features an interesting and somewhat complex main character, Gwandanaland’s collections of Charlton’s WYATT EARP, FRONTIER MARSHAL are a great buy with clearly presented and sharp scans of the original pages. No recoloring of the originals here---it’s like getting mint copies of these on the newsstand the day they were released, but on quality paper and bound into a book that won’t yellow and “roll” as the original comic would.

NOTE: Gwandanaland has three earlier volumes of Charlton Wyatt Earp…..AND a collection of the Dell Wyatt Earp comics, where ARE directly based on the TV show and licensed (Dell liked to do licensed adaptations of TV properties) from the producers of the Hugh O’Brian TV series. I have not read those yet, but I’m sure I’ll get around to them. Until then, the Gwandanaland Charltons are waiting. And as they remind you at the top of nearly every page,CHARLTON COMICS GIVE YOU MORE!

Saturday, February 09, 2019

So, how have you been sweatin', or at least freezin' then once again sweatin' out then freezin' up again these past few weeks anyhow? (Yeah, there goes that azzole Chris gabbin' bout the weather agin---wotta imagination-less bore!) Bwah, talk about the roller coaster conditions we've been having to put up with so far this year! But eh, when I was a mere turdpole we had worse winters, but no matter what the situation is outside boy is it fun to stay indoors and cozy up with some hotcha music and boxes filled with old rock reading material so's I can get more'n my share of resensification in! Let's just say that whatever the weather is like, I have good enough an excuse to GOOF OFF and in these Salt Mine times o' mine boy do I need it!

Anyhow, I hope you can appreciate the toil 'n labor it took to to put this post together, fun yet hard but worth the effort just as much as that sixth-grade science project that unfortunately didn't blow up the entire school. But man it sure was worth the effort blowin' up whatever could be.

The releases just ain't pourin' out into my musical DNA the way they should (tho I did get a beautiful bounty of Feeding Tube items in a few days ago!), but given this is 2019 and we're so far away from the taproot of it all ("all" being the driving bared-wire intensity of music as we knew and loved it when we were younger and it made up THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES) what else should I expect in my old 'n decrepit age? 'n true, the flow of toonze worthy of mine ears is dribblin' like a leaky diaper on some low-class turdler in the local Dollar General, but at least I, in my olde tymey geriatric thinking way, ain't takin' the lack of high energy jamz sitting down! Hey, even a jaded ol' fanabla like myself faced with a future of downright death-reaffirming sounds can easily flash back to my teenbo years when the moolah was scarce and the fifty cents that went towards some flea market album hadda be put to PRETTY GOOD USE. But boy did my money go far when I made that right choice and picked up a beat up spinner that continues to satisfy me even until now! These days it's merely a matter of a slower'n usual market but when I do get those special sounds comin' my way things are bigger than the Fourth of July! Or in my case, Thanksgiving.

Otherwise I really gotta say one thing and that is FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ALL MY BORN DAYS (at least the adult ones!) I FEEL REALLY HAPPY AND ALL TINGLY AND GREAT TO BE ALIVE AND ALL THAT FUNTIME ROT THAT HAS ELUDED ME FOR THE PAST FORTYSOME OR SO YEARS OF MY MEASLY GROWN UP EXISTENCE!!! I think I know why, what with the kinda people I've known and eventually hated lo these many years being reduced to sputtering and priggish updates on all those scolds of yore (y'know, the same types who they originally RAILED against but eventually BECAME),  not to mention the generally energetic hope for a BRIGHT AND POSITIVELY NEGATIVE (ponder that 'un fr'awhile!) FUTURE THAT DOESN'T SEEM LIKE SOME WEIRD DYSTOPIAN PHILLIP K. DICK SHORT STORY EVERYONE SEEMS TO THINK DEFINITELY IS UTOPIAN mess that we've been inundated with by our "betters" (usually meaning you!) my entire grown up and get off my ass life!

Not that the phony intellectual baddies, born of eighties fanzine culture and spoiled upper middle class entitlement (the exact same ones who practically escorted me into my hard right neo-fascist anarchic state!) have ceased to exist---in fact they've grown to stellar lesion! But at least there are now enough voices thanks to a technology that has freed us from the Dictatorship of the Cocktail Party Set (or rock magazine staff roster) to call these enlightened types on the carpet whenever and wherever they may spew their phony virtuousness at us all! In the old days all we could do was shout at the TV...now there are enough angry mammals out there that can shut down more than a few comments sections, and while that ain't exactly major progress in having that two-way discussion that usually turns into a one-way street (remember Eric Holder?) it is a nice and pleasant start. IN OTHER WORDS, all you finger-wagging computer catmothers who have been inundating us suburban slobs with your twisted anti-morality being tossed at us under the banner of fixing everything that's wrong with everything but yourselves better get used to getting YOUR feelings hurt! And boy do I relish that!
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'n so, here be da MOOZIK...like I said I got the new Feeding Tube stash which should brighten my days a bit, not to mention the boffo new Big Brother and the Holding Company collection featuring loads of previously unheard wonders, plus alla the goodies that Bill, Paul and even Bob sent have turned this post into something that has made doing blogs like this way more than just beneficial to my mere existence. Nice selection if I do say so myself. Dig in.


My Cat is an Alien-THURSTON MOORE PRESENTS ATP NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS 2006 LP (Feeding Tube Records)

First pick outta the Feeding Tube package. I've heard about My Cat Is An Alien more than a few times o'er the year but never picked any of their wares up. Perhaps I was under the impression that these two guys who make up the group were just dabblers in the whole experimental jiz scene that's brought forth many a disque, some brilliant and others feh. From this live offering this act proves that they are at least as good as the myriad of artists appearing on the Kendra Steiner Editions imprint the way they bend sound into the usual abstract realm yet retain a rock 'n roll sense---electronic blare sounding like a stripped down, nicer Controlled Bleeding that forces you to absorb yourself into what they are saying with their otherworldly instrumentation. And you don't mind it one bit!
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Big Brother and the Holding Company-SEX, DOPE & CHEAP THRILLS 2-CD set (Columbia/Legacy)

Gonna hafta keep this 'un brief or else I'll be splatterin' sputum all over this particular post and for the sake of brevity I'd sure like to keep this one as streamlined as possible! And who in a millyun years'd think that these CHEAP THRILLS outtakes'd ever be issued! The band is as hot as ever while Janis sounds closer to Roky Erickson than even Robert Plant and the combination of the two is pretty amazing even fifty years down the road. As usual, this recording leaves you wanting to hear more, making me wonder when some of those pre-Janis tapes that reveal an even more carnal Big Brother will ever be unleasehed on a public that probably couldn't care one whit.
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THE MONKEES' MONO SINGLES CD-r burn

Collected on one nice shiny pancake, now all those years of garage sale Monkee record browsing can be tossed right out the window. Great sound, great music and a great way to get a history of the group from their early prefab days right up until the bitter end when Davy Jones and Mickey Dolenz went out on a nice, commercial yet sleazy tone that reminds me of the Troggs of all people! What else can ya say about the group all the hipster types thought were pure fooey yet who made sounds that continue to stand the test of whatever test ya wanna throw at 'em! Only one beef and that is why compiler Bill Shute left the "Randy Scouse Git" single off...perhaps he was embarrassed by the nature of the title and didn't want my virgin ears to be poked any.
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Various Artists-MASS AVENUE, THE BOSTON SCENE CD-r burn (originally on Rhino/WEA Records)

Better'n average lookback rock comp (especially if you got it free like I did!) that gives us at least a small look at the late-seventies Boston rock scene that turned a whole slew of heads way back in those more starved than usual rock 'n roll days. Yeah there's no Yarbles, Third Rail, Hot Rain or a thousand other local characters that never did quite get their doo-doo, but at least we've got some faves like Willie Alexander, the Lyres, the Classic Ruins and La Peste to keep us all hot and anxious like we were 40 + years back and this stuff was hitting us like nothing since the time your dad caught you inna bathroom with a copy of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. The big fans already have these in their original form, but for us cheapo neophytes----whew!
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Raik's Progress-SEWER RAT LOVE CHANT CD-r burn (originally on Sundazed Records)

Here's one of those long known-about but rarely heard groups who seem to be legendary if only because of a few mentions in a variety of magazine articles o'er the years. After all these years I finally get to hear what these blokes were all about 'n whaddaya know they weren't too bad. Nothing that really squeezes the awe outta me like pus from a ripe pimple but it's still fine in that late-sixties obscure act outta nowhere makes good way. Boffo cover of the Amboy Dukes via MC5's version of "Baby Please Don't Go" as well as some tracks wafting between the psychedelic and pop vein that ain't exactly top notch when compared to the wilder aspects of the form but-----still nice!
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Various Artists-US GARAGE GEMS, VOLUME 31 CD-r burn

I take it back...there still are plenty of good sixties-era local rock 'n roll recordings out there that are just being unearthed EVEN AFTER THIS LATE DATE! US GARAGE GEMS VOLUME 31 (didn't even know there were thirty others, or did I!) collects a sensational smattering of 'em too, and not just of the geekoiod variety but of a nice wide range of garage-y styles that'll bring back those memories like nothing since potrzebie! Y'know, back when rock was a way of life 'stead of just some backing music for whatever sin you felt like committing that day.

Wide variety too from the usual minor key cantatas to the all-out popsters and for once there's nary a turdburger in the batch! Personal fave of mine's by this band called the Spades whose "You Gotta Go" features the lead vocals of some guy who I doubt has even hit the crotch hair cycle yet---boy does he sound young! :Amid the local hoo-hahs who were lucky enough to put their moans to wax are some relatively "big" names in the biz including Jonathan Halper of PUCE MOMENT fame (and naturally, this track comes from that!), Detroit's Third Power and.......DEL SHANNON?????
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Sunn Trio-BALI KRANTON (1/8)/ FAYRUS (1/8) CD-r burn

Bob Forward didn't give me much info on this particular 'un other'n some newspaper clipping on the Trio that was pretty well done considering it was done by a professional news outlet of some sort. Too bad about the lack of info on this particular effort, but what I did hear was like Bit-O-Honey for the ears. First part has the three (one a progeny of two Arizona rock historical kinda guys) banging away on a gamelan set sounding pretty professional if you ask me even if I doubt the resultant sounds woulda ever made it onto the Smithsonian Folkways label. Later on it gets a li'l rock-y with the addition of some definite electric guitar and drum banging which leads me to believe...am I still listening to the same act or did Bob pull another fast one and switch groups on me in an attempt to make me look even more doofus than I usually do!
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Various Artists-STATE OF YOUR QUIET VILLAGE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Good putzying around the house music here what with some sixties cheezoid instrumentals from everyone from the Ceyleib People to John Schroeder's Orchestra doin' their take on "Agent OO-Soul" not foo-gettin' the usual country twangs and "exotica" that usedta get yer Unca Ferd all hopped up when heard on his hi-fi system. There's also a number by a grown up Darla Hood of LITTLE RASCALS fame showin' off a rather sultry voice that makes me wanna know more about her adult singing career. Maybe that episode of THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM she guested on will pop up more sooner than later! The boogie-woogie of Amos Millburn churns some spirit as well. As usual, surprises and weird turns abound and after one of these things is over the only thing I can do is go....woooooosh!
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Did I ever mention to you that back issues of BLACK TO COMM are still available? I think it might have slipped my mind o'er the past year. But there are some that are up 'n about and they can be yours for a mere song, and maybe some moolah as well! If you're interested in any unavailable issues, just ask and maybe you shall receive---photocopies, that is. For a fee, of course.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

SOLEDAD VOLUME ONE, JANUARY 2019 (available from Jeremy R. Richey, 220 Tupelo Trail 1607, Frankfort KY, 40601)

What is this thing supposed to be anyway? From a quick glance inside you'd think SOLEDAD was one of those frilly and fruffy art periodicals with the same upper-crust deep message you used to see way back inna sixties (EROS comes to mind) complete with the same kinda artzy photographic essays and Glade air freshener prose that woulda gotten ya laffed outta whatever Junior College you happened to drop out of. The old ads for classic z-grade drive in fodder and the tribute to Bernardo Whatzizname who made LAST TANGO IN PARIS (not to mention an article on that slice of intellectual tee-vee goo TWIN PEAKS) gives SOLEDAD a bit of a FILM CULTURE under-the-underground flair and savvy that seems dated yet perfect for this kind of project. Let's just say I haven't come across a publication like this since I used to storm the magazine racks at the Youngstown libary on the search for Lester Bangs' latest paen to music improper in THE VILLAGE (retch!) VOICE! (And speaking of that guy, he's here with portions of his review of  Lou Reed's THE BELLS splattered across what seems to be an old ad for that particular platter. You could say that the taste in music that the editors hold would echo those of the seventies/eighties cusp underground fold charting into unknown waters that only saw the destruction of what they had so loved the past fifteen years being moshed into MTV fodder.)

But there's one thing that makes SOLEDAD superior to past publication endeavors and in fact perhaps one of the premier artyfacts to hit this final year on the 'teens (and yeah I know that 2020 is the real end of the decade---I'm just adapting this 'un for the more reality as opposed to mathematically-minded ones in the audience!) and that is the appearance of two interviews, each with a top notch surviving member of the Cleveland First Wave who just happen to be lucky enough to be around this late inna game to give their particular spin on what did happen and what just might! 'n true, gabs with such folk as Craig Bell a.k.a. Darwin Layne and John "Regular" Morton might be about as outta place in SOLEDAD as a foreskin in an Israeli nudist camp but they sure are welcome in my own frame of what really constitutes fun and jamz even this far down into the descent. And was we approach 2020 I'll take my high energy in any way shape or increment I can!

Not that there's much we didn't already know about the two presented, and the same pix being reprinted over and over doesn't extend any real class to the proceedings, but reading about the Cle First Wave groups is something that will always thrill me to my suburban slob bones 'n like, if I can still be all agog over the comics and music I heard when I was but a mere preschooler why not about the sounds that helped mold me while I was lurching into my twenties? Even though the story has been told and re-told to stellar effect it's always like the FIRST TIME when I read about how Bell got kicked outta Mirrors or the people Morton knocked some sense into with his fists (not that he really does that this time or has ever for that matter....it just reads like the tough no-shit Morton of legend). That's one fact of life that I cannot truly deny and if you grew up searching out for any shard of rock life or info via your own limited resources at hand, you'd probably know too.