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 them 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 FOR 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!
***
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.
***
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.
***
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!
***
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!
***
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?????
***
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!
***
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!
***
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.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

These are just a few of the records, tapes and even Cee-Dee's I had hanging around that I thought were too "common" an item to have reviewed within my usual blogposts so I just set 'em aside for a year-end (or in this care year-opening) one if only for a li'l change o' pace. These records might mean more to me than they do you, but since this is my blog why should I care what you think?



Edgar Broughton Band-MASTERS OF ROCK (EMI Harvest Records, Italy)

Here's yet another in a series of European budget releases that always cost the same as the reg'lar imports o'er here even if they went for a mere bag o' shells o'er there. 


You may remember a few of these cut-rate series that were up and about in the seventies such as Decca's THE WORLD OF... collection and Phonogram's ATTENTION, not forgetting the MASTERS OF ROCK and HARVEST HERITAGE series courtesy of EMI Europe featuring the bigger names on the roster once again collected and re-packaged in a fashion that was easily identifiable due to a familiar and standardized yet hip enough cover pattern. With the MASTERS OF ROCK platters the particular scheme consisted of, at least in the continental portion of Europe, the musical act in question's name rendered in some sort of relief form that looked so professional that I would guess the mere artwork and photography up front alone took up a whole lotta the album's budget! Well, that wouldn't've been much because they were just dredging up old music for new skins anyway with maybe a rare b-side to entice the not-so-weak fans.

The Pink Floyd collection is probably the best known MASTERS (and for a long time the only place to get those rare single sides) but there were others from the Electric Light Orchestra to Wizzard and East of Eden to Jeff Beck, the Band, Geordie and even the Beach Boys. And surprisingly enough there was one which dealt with radical rabble-rousers the Edgar Broughton Band who you would have thought to have been far out of the budget greatest hits crankout loop, but obviously weren't as this very record's existence attests to.

I don't even recall seeing this 'un flopping about in the import bins back then (maybe I had in some of the California ones I've encountered during my vacations there), that's how rare this item musta been! But when I look at that cover boy does that RECURRING DREAM that I have pop into my mind where I'm in some old backroom record shop or even department store record section and imports such as this (as well as bootlegs and other desirable platters of varying styles) seem to be popping right outta the bins just beggin' me to buy 'em!

Well, now that I have this little mofo in my mitts I don't have to dream no' mo' because this MASTERS OF ROCK collection is the spiffiest. Well, maybe not as spiffy as that HARVEST HERITAGE Broughton collection that came out in England a few years later but still good 'nuff, what with a concentration on the hard-rocking revolutionary side of the group with less of the softer and "introspective" as I like to say numbers cluttering about. Faves like "Call Me a Liar" and "Death of an Electric Citizen" (with Broughton's best Captain Beefheart growl front 'n center) pop up, and for a budget crank-out all I gotta say is that whoever it was at EMI that was responsible for this they sure did a pretty good job! However, why in hell did they go and leave Broughton's biggest hit "Out Demons Out" offa this? Unforgivable to say the least!

***

Captain Beefheart-THE SPOTLIGHT KID/CLEAR SPOT CD (Reprise Records)

Way familiar with the latter...had a copy (make that two) for ages and think it's the bee's knees as far as early-seventies destructo-sound attempting to go commercial go. However, I never did give THE SPOTLIGHT KID a listen perhaps because I remember seeing the cover at a record shop age twelve thinking it was just another country and western disc! And back in those days country and western was, at least for me, OLD FOLK'S MUSIC if you can believe that!

But how could I not like a platter like this which starts off with Beefheart growling like Iggy in heat before plodding on beautifully. I like it because it is depressing in its approach and sometimes it is good knowing that something else other'n you is gloomed out en toto! THE SPOTLIGHT KID just plows its way through, kinda like a train that is derailed yet still moves with sparks flying and cars wiggling about. Kinda like my life come to think of it. Hard blues yet in its own realm, punk rock (or tadpole music) if you're still using early-seventies CREEM magazine applications of the term. Life-reaffirming if your heart is still stuck in the mid-seventies record shop bargain bins.

Can't complain about these Beefheart platters one bit! Kinda takes me back to the record department at Mason's Department Store at the plaza (now long gone) when I was looking at those big Warner Brothers/Reprise hanging-from-the-ceiling-on-thin-wires posters with snaps of the likes of Zappa, Black Sabbath, James Taylor, Neil Young and of course the Beef himself swirling about which was my earthly introduction to this guy a good year before I actually found any of his records in a bin! All these years later I still kinda feel like that kiddo inna record department, only now my life is a whole lot fuller in some respects, ifyaknowaddamean...

***
OS MUTANTES CD-r burn

I avoided these guys back during the big OS MUTANTES HIP TOTEM MOVEMENT of the early 2000's if only because said moo'ment reminded me of the even bigger MUSIC OF BULGARIA hype of the mid-sixties...y'know, that total adoration by the hipper amongst up regarding that music that just hadda be heard or else you weren't "with it" like the kids who used to taunt me for hating the Osmonds. Or something like that, but the constant barrage of praise certainly had my Geiger Counter clicking away like castanets!

Well now that everything has died down and it's safe to listen all I gotta say is...this is good pop in that late-sixties slick yet still spry way which echoes a whole load of hotcha AM psych pop moves (with even more twenties/thirties nostalgia cops to get my mother mad!)  to the point where these guys (and gal) coulda appeared on side four of NUGGETS and nobody would have complained. Good enough that I sure woulda loved to have read what Meltzer woulda said about 'em in THE AESTHETICS OF ROCK had they only made their way above the equator!

***
WOODY'S TRUCK STOP CD (Kismet)

Would you believe that the very first group that was ever described to me as being a "garage rock" act (and this was in the high school locker room which is probably why the scent of sweat 'n body goo is suddenly overcoming me) was Woody's Truck Stop? Well maybe these guys weren't exactly the best group to come to mind when thinking about that or any particular era in rock 'n roll music, but I gotta admit that they do put up a good late-sixties wail on this, their sole album. Nothing extra-special true, but for a third-string act that had little chance of breaking out nationally (even if Todd Rundgren was in the band for a short while) Woody's was about as good as those other outta-nowhere acts that we all thought shoulda succeeded but (as usual) failed miserably.

Nice white soul and jazzy pop touches permeate, with the psychedelic rouser "Color Scheme" being the perfect bitta whipped cream and cherry on this hot fudge sundae of a platter. It actually holds up more than some of the not-quite-made-it competition of the day which had promise but just couldn't get it together enough to make it past the break through line.

***

Deep Purple-IN LIVE CONCERT AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL cassette (Harvest Records, England)

One of those curiosities that got to me, and after hearing this 'un I'd gotta say that my curiosity must have killed at least a dozen cats. Sure the merging of pop and classical is nothing new, but somehow I get the idea that the only reason this is done is to "legitimize" pop to the classical snobs and unless they're one of those "open minded" New York types I doubt that these people could care less! And although it worked with jazz as a listening to SKIES OF AMERICA will attest to, it sure soured with rock music unless you're one of the goochies who still dribbles to DAYS OF FUTURE PASSED in its entirety. I mean, I can enjoy "Knights in White Satin" on scant occasion, but just try to get me to sit through the entire thing without slinging threats at me, cyster!

And IN LIVE CONCERT ain't even as """""good""""" as that prior monstrosity, what with a load of typically schooled orchestral lines eventually leading way to rock passages that just ain't as get out as they were on Deep Purple platters past and even future. Not so sorry to say, but this is perhaps the nadir of early sonic sound implosion gone sophisticado falling flat on its face. I mean, could you see Blue Cheer mixing it up with a symphony orchestra trying to insert various classical ideals into their overall bludgeon? Thank goodniz some things that coulda didn't!

***
Television Personalities-...AND DON'T THE KIDS JUST LOVE IT CD (Fire Records, England)

I loved 'em, then I hated 'em, then I was totally indifferent. Still feel the same way even if I continue to discern the occasional flash of brilliance found in their retro-camp. Still can't dig my way through their reason for existence the way I can their obvious influences but I will say that I can understand what those who hear whatever it is they hear in the Television Personalities hear in them. Actually nice in low doses. Twee rock before twee became so cool that even a twee-bred person like myself couldn't stand it anymore.
***
Throbbing Gristle-THE SECOND ANNUAL REPORT CD (Mute Records)

A real classic for real people like myself who want a li'l whatcha'dcall rambunctiousness in their music. The electronic splurge goes all over and thankfully is not transposed with the usual free verse hippie jiz that usually accompanied these early free sound endeavors. Good enough that (like THE MARBLE INDEX) I could rank this as top notch twentieth-century avant garde music as well as something firmly rooted in the rock 'n roll idiom and like, I get the feeling this will be getting spun around here a whole lot more than INTERSYSTEMS and other synthobubblings in my collection ever will.
***
Judee Sill-HEART FOOD CD (Asylum, Japan)

The only reason I bought this one was because Sandy Robertson recommended it, comparing HEART FOOD to not only PET SOUNDS but David Bowie's LOW of all things! Frankly after listening to this all I could think of were the rest of the laid back early-seventies turquoise and fringe brigades brainwashing the mindless battalions to the eternal genius of Glenn Frey. And really, wasn't one James Taylor more than enough, as if we needed even more sensitive junkies to clutter up the record collections of sensitivity USA?  No wonder it was on Asylum!
***
Tim Rose-TIM ROSE/THROUGH ROSE COLORED GLASSES CD (BGO England)

Before I clock outta here I'm giving it the ol' college try discovering various sonic exploration that I've neglected lo these many years, and surprisingly some of these musical acts are of the more howshallIsay "singer/songwriter" mode. 

No I don't mean the usual fringe 'n turquoise types so prevalent in the seventies (see review directly above), but the more gnarly amongst 'em like Tim Hardin or this particular chap. Rose may have come outta the folk music camp but thankfully he ain't no cry-me-to-sleep slouch with his first two platters gathered up on this neat disque. The debut may suffer from over-production and strings galore but it still shines with his rendition of "Hey Joe" done the slow way as well as such cover version faves as "Come Away Melinda" and "Morning Dew". The second one is tougher and driving with a few downright CLASSICS including "Maman" (an anti-war song that thankfully doesn't reflect that whole peacenik mentality that was constantly being drilled into our kiddie brains at the time) and the smart and cutting "You Ain't My Girl No More" which sure sounds wonderful especially in our matriarchal society.

If only more folkies knew  of the proper interconnections between drug use and the creative process!

***
THIRD WORLD WAR 2 CD (Repertoire Records, England

Last year I reviewed these guys' debut and mulled over buying their second effort. Feeling rather oatsy, I decided to splurge. Well, chalk up another win for me because not only did my order from Russia arrive safe and sound but this platter is a bonafeed hard rock effort that holds up really well! The slicker production and additional piano and horn section doesn't ruin it like you'd think it would, while the team of Stamp and Avery rock as heavy as the MC5 and all of our other 60s/70s cusp faves did! Only those groups were able to "get it out" to "the people" and Third World War didn't, or couldn't, or something like that. A really neat effort from a team that didn't look anything like your standard radical rockers then or now...in fact the two looked more like Chuck McCann if you can believe it!
***
BLACK PEARL CD (Wounded Bird Records)

Never can seem to find this 'un in my leaning tower of albums so I (or course) did the cowardly thing and BOUGHT MYSELF A CEE-DEE VERSION OF IT! Best cowardly thing I did in a long time too for BLACK PEARL remains one of those classic platters that, like the Stooges' debut, says goodbye to the wild raunch of the sixties and howdy to the decadent sleaze of the seventies. And man is this one the kinetic classic of all times not only with that three-guitar lead set up but Bernie "B.B." Fieldings' white man singing like a black man trying to sing like a white man vocals! Crazed through and through, and good enough for any true six-oh garage band fanatic to latch onto even if only half of the Barbarians appear on it! For three-fourths of 'em try getting the live album on Bell-Prophesy, a great slice of hard blues rock that has gotten its knocks over the years even if I would rate it one of the genre's best!
***
Eric Clapton/Jeff Beck/Jimmy Page-GUITAR BOOGIE LP (RCA Victor Records)

Why'd'ja think I bought this thing inna first place---for da music? Naw, I bought it for R. Meltzer's liner notes, and although Meltzer worship in this day and age seems just as out of place as Lester Bangs worship or Metal Mike Saunders worship or Nick Kent worship (an' I can go on) it sure goes down a whole lot smoother'n Parke Puterbaugh worship! 

Yeah, this is the same "British Archives"-culled collection that was issued with a freaky psychedelic cover in order to coax the heads 'n speds (that's a grade school-era neo-portmanteau. for "Special Education") into buying the thing, but so what! And believe-it-or-not but the playing is good enough that even yer pop'll swing to the boogie woogie track, second cut on side two! Well, he will at least until he sees what these guys look like! But Meltzer really brings it all together just like Bangs did with his MUSSORGSKY'S HEAD notes and like, what's wrong with listening to either the Yardbirds guitar greats or Mussorgsky with punk mode in mind?

***

Kim Fowley-BORN TO BE WILD CD (Elemental Music, Spain)

The one Fowley album I have never been able to FIND all these years is once again available, which makes me wanna mutter deep unto my soul WHY COULDN'T A USED COPY HAVE POPPED UP IN SOME FLEA MARKET OR GARAGE SALE BIN LO THESE MANY YEARS??? This is not the Kim we all know and love/hate, but the mad genius variant who could get away with producing Helen Reddy or recording an instrumental (mostly) covers rock album with himself playing the lead organ on each and every track. Of course it ain't earth-shattering, but if yer still of the seventies mind and think that this guy musta been great because his name was all over the place well...
***
Alan Snake-AXE PRESSURE LP (Bizart Records)

Brian Sands' passing had me pulling out this li'l remnant of what good was happening in early-eighties Cleveland, a time when the all of the real talent in the area was skeedaddling for New York City while the remnants were left to mull over what their place in the New Order was gonna be. Snake was the lead guitarist for Sands in a number of aggros, and here he gets to shine on a whole slew of top notch Cle power pop rockers that (no foolin') echo the heyday of the Raspberries-honed pop scene that spewed quite a few hotcha acts that never did make it far past the city limits. Former bandmates from Circus, the Andy Gerome Band and Milk help out as do ex-Raspberries Wally Bryson and Dan Klawon from the Choir, and it sounds just like what you wished more Cleveland power pop from the day did 'stead of what we got from those lame bar bands that got all the media attention. And if you don't believe me and wanna hear for yourself, just click here and find out what a fool you've been all these years ignorin' this.
***
Brinsley Schwarz-BRINSLEY SCHWARZ; DESPITE IT ALL CD-r burn (originally on Capitol Records)

First rec has heavy influx of CSNY harmonies and definite West Coast paens to down home wholesomeness. Second one borrows ("swipes" might be a better word) from the Band's rehashing of ancient Amerigana as interpreted by Canadians. In between are shards of interesting rock 'n roll ideas that really don't sound bad at all in this company but man, if you wanna sit through all the other stuff that's your problem, not mine!
***
Bobby Boris Pickett and the Crypt Kickers Five-THE ORIGINAL MONSTER MASH CD-r burn (originally on Garpax Records)

It's always a blast to give "Monster Mash" a spin once in awhile even if it ain't Halloween, and this particular time of the year is just as fine as if it were October 31st and yer toilet papering that old guy down the street's house. The rest of this consists of horror humor knockoffs that plagiarize not only from the hits of the day but "Monster Mash" itself. They're worth maybe a once in a lifetime listen. Good parodies of Fabian and Stan Freberg's "John and Marsha" (or was it "John and Yoko"?) can be found within the cauldron.
***
Kim Fowley-SUNSET BOULEVARD LP (Illegal Records)

I don't care if it ain't the hip thing to do here in 2018 (or at least 1985), but I really enjoy giving my Kim Fowley platters a spin, this one being no exception. Here Fowley channels everyone from Bowie, Marley and Dylan through that cheap Hollywood scenario that must have seemed totally decadent to everyone associated with the guy, but dang if it sounds rather positive and life-reaffirming to me. Highlarious in spots and poignant at others, this one does capture a good portion of the music listening pleasure of the time that had guys like me emptying our piggy banks trying to gab even a slivver of that Great Rock Universe that still seems mystical even a good forty-plus years later. If you're a Fowley hater (as I assume most of you are), how about giving this one a (second, third, fourth) chance!
***
Gene Pitney-IT HURTS TO BE IN LOVE LP (Musicor Records)

Actually this holds together well enough to the point where obvious toss outs like "Hawaii" still have that listenability to 'em that doesn't make ya wonder why ya spent a good quarter for this at the flea market. While many albums of the same strata seem to lurch on and on this 'un does make for some rather entertaining sounds that still weave their way into whatever gland of yours they dare to. I woulda expected some older cyster type to listen to while she was either cleaning her room or chatting with the galpals who came to visit. Grab her copy when she ain't around and listen to it...I mean, who wants their li'l brother crashing in on a hot gossiping session anyway?
***
The Who-ODDS AND SODS LP (Track Records)

Closing out this year's own "odds and sods" is this Who collection from the mid-seventies which went from full price directly into the cheapo bins much to the delight of depression-era wages kids like myself. Seems that I had my share of fun spinning this way back during my younger years and although it sounds way more polished and professional now than it did then these Who tracks bring back memories of what noted dolt (and Youngstown "hip" FM dee-jay icon) Thomas John (Meister) said when asked about what he though of punk rock...he hated it because it sounded like, or at least reminded him of the early Who! Now can you think of a better statement in favor of the punk brigades than that pearl of wisdom, outside of anything Anastasia Pantsios wrote about the subject that is!