Saturday, August 31, 2019

Another kinda/sorta shortie this week, or at least it's short enough in a way that I shoulda put a little more meat, or at least cereal filler, into the package. Not that much brand spanking new, or brand spanking old for that matter to report. But I have that feeling that y'all will lap it up like a coupla lesbians because hey, what else is there out in internet land that's devoted to the raw being of music as that feral and downright fascist unforgiving form of sound that can drive most supposedly sane men totally wild? Not that you'll read anything like that on this week's post mind you.
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Life is pretty boff nowadays what with the maniacal (and long welcomed) tide which is trying to overturn a good five or so centuries of so-called "enlightenment" to contend with (it sure gives me hope that maybe I will check outta this planet on a staunchly UPBEAT note since I sure clocked in on one---in-between was something else altogether!) but there have been a few downsides to life I've had to contend with. The most striking one is definitely the sudden cancellation of ROUTE 66 on FETV which has thrown my television viewing patterns all to smithereens an' I don't mean that old time rock group! Now that the show was getting better with the arrival of Glenn Corbett in the passenger seat (see last week's post) I had much more to look forward to, but the people at that olde tymey cable network didn't even have the good sense to FINISH THE SERIES OUT and rerun the thing a few times so us people who missed out on some of 'em due to real life obligations could do some mighty necessary catching up! (Still haven't seen the one where Todd and Buz head out to Youngstown Ohio which should bring back some hidden kiddiehood memories!)  C'mon, howcum FETV couldn't run ROUTE 66 a few times over when they feel it right and just to give us a regular snoozathon like MATLOCK ad nauseum?!?!?! Someone is slipping up, and you know it ain't me!


At least I have LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES cartoons to keep my early-evening hours occupied. Mucho demerits are in order for the total abandonment of most everything pre-late-forties whether it be "offensive" or not so if you're on the lookout for a pre-Elmer Fudd Egghead, Beans the Cat or the original Porky Pig you're gonna hafta dish out for some over-priced DVD set. While you're at it, there's no Speedy Gonzales to be seen either so if you're interested in those late-sixties cartoons where he's teamed up with Daffy Duck tough turds as well. Seems there's a LOTTA things missing here and the way the same 'toons seem to be re-re-re-rerun I get the feeling that a whole lot that should be available has been excised for some reason or another, probably because some "stereotype" (a.k.a. "accurate portrayal") offended some precious petunia back when he was a mere turdler and you know WE CAN'T HAVE THAT! (unless its a stereotype of some generally loathed human specimen, mainly ME!).

But hey, watching a fifties-vintage Bugs Bunny or Sylvester sure beats a good hunka what has passed for entertainment these past fortysome years, and that includes all the WB cartoon revivals that have sprouted up during those rather desert-like times. And when I ain't in front of the boob tube for any of those funtime flickers I can always hit Youtube where some public domain wonder like THE DOVER BOYS AT PIMENTO UNIVERSITY is available with the mere flick of a key. Oh how I wish more women were like Dora Standpipe especially in these anti-feminine times, especially considering what a bully, coward, cad and thief I am and shall always remain!
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Seems like Paul McGarry devoted the lion's share of platters this week, with Bill's "Floor Sweepings" collection being his sole contribution and a newbie purchased and one of my own hard-begged filling out the batch! Dunno about you, but this might just set a record for Paul even if precious few of the platters he sends are anything I'd care to part with my filthy lucre for! Oh well, here it it, whatever "here" may be...


Direct Hits-BLOW UP CD-r burn (originally on Whaam Records, England I surmise); THE HOUSE OF SECRETS CD-r burn (Originally on The Forbidden Label, England again I think)

Twee English pop rock with a decidedly Beatles during their sunshine days slant which might not be the kinda music you he man women hater types go for but eh, I got it free. However I gotta say that the material on these two mid-eighties platters didn't "offend" me they way they shoulda, and I kinda latched onto both of 'em the same way I loved the dickens outta some equally English pop revival effort of the same strata I chanced upon in the mid-eighties yet haven't played since. I won't play these again either but I didn't think my time was wasted delving into these eighties attempts at regaining late-sixties pop glories.
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Various Artists-POPPIES -- ASSORTED FINERY FROM THE FIST PSYCHEDELIC AGE CD-r burn (originally on Craft Recordings)

Uh, a little truth is needed here. These recordings ain't from the first psychedelic era as defined on the NUGGETS anthology. Definitely second era around the time that psychedelic music became associated with pseudo-intellectual underclassmen hanging around in farted up dorms trying to discern the true meaning of Donovan's belly button while tripping on windowpane. The music on here is custom-made for your next bad trip (the one where you imagine you're working in the produce department of a Coraopolis supermarket) and serves to remind of as to just why the late-sixties weren't as Iggy Pop and Alice Cooper over-the-top earth shattering rock 'n roll like they shoulda been.
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Mitch Ryder-DETROIT BREAKOUT CD-r burn (originally on Cleopatra Records)

Well whaddaya know! That blue dress devil guy is back (again) with an album fulla covers (his "own" and others) with special guests including Linda Gail Lewis, James Williamson, Walter Lure, Sylvain Sylvain and even former Deviants guitarist Paul Rudolph! Some of this does rock out perhaps thanks to the additional talent, but sheesh if I can't get that image of Ryder as being one of those sorta second class Bruce Springsteen types who the more FM-addicted of my brethren really gobbled up during the eighties (for obvious reasons). Can't get that kind of stench outta my mind nohow!
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Chip & Tony Kinman-SOUNDS LIKE MUSIC CD-r burn (originally on Omnivore Recordings)

A collection of thingies recorded throughout the brothers' ---er--- "career", the early trax by the Dils and Rank and File being the rockinest while the rest topple over into moderne-day electro whiz that suits me about as much as castor oil milkshakes. Since these tracks are all mixed up its like yer goin' from a fairly listenable time to sheer agony so if you do get this 'un on Cee-Dee make sure you have a programmable one so you can listen to the better tracks in an order which suits you fine and forget the rest which only goes to show you just how much of a killer on the ol' talent time really is.
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Left Lane Cruiser-SHAKE AND BAKE CD-r burn (originally on Alive Records)

I pulled this one outta the Paul Pile because the ghoul onna cover reminded me of one of those AIDS-riddled pansies I always see in those high-larious A. Wyatt Mann cartoons that are splattered across the internet. Not that the guy has anything to do with the music to be found herein which is pretty much mid-seventies hard boogie metal, the kind that got the likes of Kenne Highland and various other fanzine fanablas really excited back when O. REXTASY and ROCK ON were being spirit duplicated loooong ago.

A rugged lead singer fronts a band that seems to be part (pick your favorite English long haired blues band circa 1973) and a Southern sleeper like Hydra and it surprisingly works, but who in 2019 (at least those who listened to this brew a good fortysome years back) would even think of giving Left Lane Cruiser a listen? Other'n desperate nerve-grated hard rock maniacs like ourselves that is.

To nobody's surprise this feels a whole lot better in the modern music world which has been gelded to the point where the whole concept of the consumerist/music/entertainment industry being reduced to something even lower than that basic common denominator that we all feared way back when has finally been realized! Like, those fifties-era future fears we all read about in various Sci-Fi rags are with us in the here and now, and just about anything that has been long gone 'n buried looks oh so LIBERATING. Never thought I'd say this, but the Four Aces and the Ames Brothers do come off way more inspirational and avant garde than Beyonce, Lady Caga's and Miley Cyrus's entire reason for existence, and come to think of it Left Lane Cruiser sure do too!
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Peter Perrett-HUMAN WORLD CD-r burn (originally on Domino Recordings)

I thought this guy woulda been washed up by now. But surprises or surprises it can be said that the use of narcotics and the creative process can go hand in hand given that the needle shoulda offed this guy by now and here he is doin' the same bared-wire neo-Thunders/Reed rock he was doing with England's Glory and the Only Ones almost fifty years ago. Songs are mostly in the old passionate drive-on style that Perrett made his mark(s) with, so if you are one who still has your copy of "Another Girl Another Planet" on steady rotation you just "might" cozy up to this particular release. But then again you might not.
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La Femme-PSYCHO TROPICAL BERLIN CD (Barclay Records, France)

Finally got hold of this current French act's debut platter and it's every bit as mystic-decadent as their latest. The new-unto-gnu feeling might spread itself a little too thick but when you ain't lookin' you get some of that "Sister Ray"/"Roadrunner" organ that still goes down so smooth.  Their entire reason for existence makes me wonder if La Femme are the real Heaven Seven-Teen as envisioned by Anthony Burgess way back when only with a Gallic 'stead of Soviet air to 'em. One of those recordings that sorta sneaks up behind you, acts all complacent and background-y, then WHAMS you into another world it'll take quite a while to wiggle your way outta.
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Various Artists-MAD MUSKRAT SPINY LOUISE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)


Starting this 'un off with Paul Revere and the Raiders' Stones-y "Great Airplane Strike", and including their very own "Louie Louie" answer record not called "Louie Go Home" but "Louise" really was genius. The Christmas-themed ads plus Walter Brennan's weepathon "Just Three Letters For Christmas were quite outta place here in August but they serve to remind me to do my shopping before the rush! The Roger Price platter, although skipping in spots, brings back some of those fifties comedy thrills that kinda flopped around the mid-sixties and eventually flops about itself! And as for Spiny Norman...for being a GET SMART cash-in that was pretty hotcha garage band rock! (Ditto the Skunks who must have been one of a millyun groups with that name and the Impressions shouldn't be left out of this either [tho maybe the lounge-y Dick and Libby Halleman should...]).

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BLACK TO COMM BACK ISSUES ARE STILL FOR SALE! NEED ANY MORE HINTS OR ARE YOU AS DAFT AS MOST OF MY ENEMIES MAKE ME OUT TO BE? C'MON, YOU WANT THEM AS MUCH AS I WANT SOME MOOLAH FLOWIN' MY WAY! I CAN'T MAKE IT ANY EASIER FOR YOU TO GET THESE INTO YOUR WORTHLESS LIVES! YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO SO DO YOUR DOODY!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

BOOK REVIEW! FIVE YEARS AHEAD OF MY TIME - GARAGE ROCK FROM THE 1950s TO THE PRESENT by Seth Bovey (Reaktion Books, 2019)

When I first discovered the existence of this book via a review in the latest UGLY THINGS I almost gagged on my Wheezies! Gosh all doggum, GARAGE BAND ROCK, that nicer Siamese twin of punk rock and starting point for many a rock 'n roll movement o'er the years, FINALLY getting an entire tome devoted to it! Talk about dying and thinking you went to heaven!

Now, that brain-blasting concept (a book on garage band rock, not going to heaven) was something I kinda thought woulda happened a good thirtysome years ago during the big under-the-counterculture paisley underground et. al. revival movement which gave the entire garage rock idea a voice outside a few smatterings of activity here and there, but better late 'n never I always say! And for such a (really!) Herculean task as defining, describing and layin' on the line what was so important about garage band rock in the pantheon of rock 'n roll (later just "rock") as that big biz moneymaking scheme made off the backs of unaware teenbo neo-thugs author Bovey does a pretty snat job of it. And he does swell enough even if he ain't the Lester Bangs or R. Metzer who woulda been more suited to such a rockist-related doody giving the subject matter a whole lot more body than is usually tossed into such works, but at this late date why should ANYONE complain?

Of course some sticklers will rant on because some group they've cherished o'er the years has gone missing in these pages from the Seeds to the Young Fanablas who you remember from down the street especially the time the local toughs decided to sheep dip 'em at the slaughterhouse, but while the former omission might seem like a careless faux pas we can't expect every group no matter how much they meant to your own suburban slob upbringing to appear in these pages.  An' sure I coulda used a whole lot more snaps but if they're the kind we've seen thousands of times before like, why bother? It ain't like I was expecting the Taj Mahal inna first place...just a read that gave us new and interesting details while commemorating just a facet of those exciting times we had either as radio listeners or purveyors of word-of-mouth hype passed on like those rumors about the fast girl in school or the kid who skidded his shorts in basketball.

I find no bouef with FIVE... even if I kinda think that Bovey might be making a few not quite substantiated statements regarding what might or might not be considered garage rock here and there. At least his concept and idea of such a vague "all over the place" term to describe a "style of rock 'n roll" (which is even vaguer than pinpointing the whole punk rock and heavy metal idioms which were so blurred together in the early-seventies yet struck up polar opposite [or so it seemed] factions a good decade later) sure reads a whole lot smoother than it did in the days when Anastasia Pantsios would blab on about Rush being the quintessential garage band or something equally idiotic. (I could only see that being factual if Rush did indeed sound like the New York Dolls as some early observer once mentioned...otherwise eh!) After all these years the basic thrust and feeling behind the simple concept of kidz inna garage or basement or attic for that matter clanging out a set and maybe going somewhere with is has been somewhat detailed in a book, and I sure do cozy up to the idea of entire forests being chopped down and turned into paper so that tomes for the time like this can be printed 'stead o one of those NY TIMES best sellers that nobody seems to remember a few months after the fact.

And this book you will remember, probably for better 'stead of worse!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! THE GOLDEN GOOSE (East Germany, 1964), presented by K. Gordon Murray!


The Saturday/Sunday “kiddie matinee” with special programming aimed at the under-12 set still hangs on here and there in various forms, but not in the same way it did in the 1960’s (and into the early 1970’s), when the scene was dominated by Florida-based “master showman” K. GORDON MURRAY. Murray got his start as a distributor with imported exploitation films (such as WASTED LIVES) which he dubbed into English. He then moved into horror films, importing dozens of fine atmospheric horror films from Mexico, and having his professional, Spanish-speaking crew (many Cuban expatriates) translate the dialogue and create English scripts. He was able to corner the market in the USA with these Mexican horror films in English (his only competition, on a minor level, being Jerry Warren, who used a very different technique in creating English-language versions of the Mexican source films), showing them at drive-ins (with outrageously attention-getting ad campaigns dripping with over-the-top ballyhoo) and eventually creating packages for television, where the films were widely seen in horror packages.

Murray’s keen sense of what an audience will buy also led him to dub and distribute in the US imported children’s films, originating in Mexico and in Germany. The first and most successful of these was the legendary Mexican SANTA CLAUS film, which played weekend matinees for at least 10 years around the nation. That film’s success led Murray to create many more English language “family” films, often based on classic fairy tales, whenever possible in “storybook color.” With eye-catching posters and special TV and radio ad campaigns, the films had great appeal for parents looking to have a few hours freedom from Junior, able to drop the child off at the local theater for two hours for a measly 25 or 50 cents and the cost of a box of popcorn.

This worked well for about 7 or 8 years, but Murray’s well eventually ran dry, and by the late 60’s, he was reduced to distributing 15-year old black-and-white German films which by then would have had little broad appeal, and with reduced box-office receipts, he did not even bother dubbing the songs into English. I can review one of those films at a later date, as I love them myself, and I had my children watch them when they were youngsters. Such films as TABLE, DONKEY, AND STICK are still beloved classics in the Shute family home!

However, at the time of THE GOLDEN GOOSE—an eye-popping color feature from East Germany (!!!!), made there in 1964 and released here in 1965, Murray had a recent film that truly played like a storybook come to life. It’s no surprise that the film did very well for him and was re-released for a few years after that. I actually reviewed this film on the IMDB many years ago, and just rewatched it yesterday, and it still works its magic, as only the products of “THE WONDER WORLD OF K. GORDON MURRAY” can!

Of all the many children's films exported to the US by Murray in the 1960's, THE GOLDEN GOOSE is one of the three of four best in terms of entertainment value. It’s fill of color, slapstick comedy, comforting broadly-played characters, and a sense of fun that even a four-year-old could understand and be part of. Also, it lacks the Gothic touches and overall weirdness found in some of Murray's Mexican imports (although those have a lot of appeal for adults watching them today). The young women in the film are dubbed by adults trying to sound like children, which gives the whole film a non-realistic quality, almost like story time at a daycare! I don't know what frame of reference today's children would have to help them with something like this (I should show it to my grandsons, who are 4 and 7)--perhaps the skits performed at theme parks or when the high school musical comedy players go to elementary schools to perform--but THE GOLDEN GOOSE holds up well as timeless, simple family entertainment for the under 10 crowd. And the visuals are interesting enough that adults would not be bored. Unfortunately, the days when films such as this played in actual theaters were dead by the early 1970's--your best bet today for finding old children's films might be in the DVD/VHS pile at your local dollar store. Some of the children's films imported by Murray in the later 60's were more strange than entertaining, but THE GOLDEN GOOSE still contains a lot of entertainment value for those with old-fashioned tastes, or those parents who want to broaden their children's horizons.

It would be interesting to see a subtitled version of the original German film with the original soundtrack, to see if the tone differs at all from what Murray grafted onto it, but honestly, I consider these Murray adaptations of Mexican and German films to be separate and unique creations. I’ve seen a number of the Mexican originals of the horror films, and there’s no comparison. Murray’s are not inferior (to me); they are just different VERY different. Maybe it’s similar to when Andy Warhol appropriates the paintings of Edvard Munch or junk-store print of The Last Supper and creates new and fresh works from them—maybe not.

K. Gordon Murray’s THE GOLDEN GOOSE will take you to another world, a world full of bold colors, happy people straight from the pages of a sanitized fairy tale, and narration that sounds like Miss Matilda’s Story Time for six year olds at the local public library. If you wanted to make a case that Murray actually DID create a “wonder world” for a period in the mid-60’s, this would be the film that could make your point for you.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

As you already know by now, here's another weakened post for y'all to enjoy in whatever masochistic ways you most certainly can. eke outta your obviously under-developed minds A fairly decent one too if only because none other that BOB FORWARD has dumped another package on me and this time I DIDN'T LOSE IT IN THE PILES OF BOOKS, CEE-DEES, FANZINES AND OTHER VARIETIES OF FLOTSAM AND JETSAM PILED UP IN MY ROOM! Thanks be to he, for those recordings he sent really did help beef up this week's output and kept the thing from looking like just another throwaway tossout to you reg'lar types who'll gobble up just about everything that I toss at'cha! Of course the other contributors like Bill and Paul helped keep this from being yet another dragout of long-forgotten faves I've reviewed many-a-time, so maybe they should get just a little smidgie bit of credit as well.
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I guess one of the bigger cataclysmic earth-shattering happenings in my current existence (at least this week) is the debut of the Glenn Corbett episodes of ROUTE 66 that are now popping up on FETV Saturday and Sunday evenings. And, contrary to what I guess everyone else who has seen this series before believes true to their hearts I actually prefer Corbett's Link Case to George Maharis' Buz Murdoch which might seem like total sacrilege but what else is new! While Maharis played it real ethno-street tough smartwise, Corbett comes off slow burn restrained and perhaps a tad too philosophical even for a brainy "quality" series such as this. But still nice and intense to the point where you think he's gonna raise your blood pressure ten times by extending his fingers around your throat nice 'n tight. Tee-Vee's first introspective, troubled Vietnam War vet! My humble opinion is that the series improved while he was in it, but maybe that was only because the show was heading into '63 by this time and it seemed as if the intensity levels were being notched up quite a bit with series such as this, THE TWILIGHT ZONE and of course that all time fave SAILORBIRD AND SUSIE.

The episode where the pair find themselves at Weekee-Watchee in Ef-El-Lay as Lou Reed woulda put it had a special personal touch to it because around the time this was filmed our whole fambly weny there as part of a Florida trip and I remember being in that auditorium watching the gals swimming around in those mermaid outfits breathing through air hoses! In fact in the brief audience shots there seems to be a turdler who looks just like I did watching the show while sitting on a lady who did not look like my own mother (well, the shot was rather quick!) making me wonder if I made my own network television debut at the mere age of three! Maybe some forensic work with frame enlargements and pertinent records will back me up---dunno where dad 'n cyster were but maybe they were having one of their typical arguments elsewhere.
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A FINAL FAREWELL HOOHAH TO PETER FONDA: well, he did say he knew what it was like to be dead...


Sir Douglas Quintet- RIO MEDINA CD-r burn (originally on Sonet Records, Sweden)

At first I thought Sir Doug had flipped his page boy wig what with the overtly-horny sound and the cover of the Police's "Every Breath You Take"...sheesh, was this guy so involved with baseball stats that he would be reduced to such depths as this? Then the platter continued on and the good ol' Quintet sound got back into gear with that great organ and chugga-chugga rhythm...I even started tapping my toe in approval and I only do that during inspirational Throbbing Gristle passages! Yeah it might be over-produced and slick the way I HATE music to be but it still has a kick to it that I've been wanting to hear for ages...sounds great despite all that ROLLING STONE jive coverage Sahm had been bestowed back inna seventies.
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The Beatles-BEATLES '66---MUNICH, SAN FRANCISCO CD-r burn

Gotta admit that these live Beatles bootlegs, even the ones that sound as if they were recorded on sandpaper with a mic jammed up your gaseous poopchute, capture the guttural rock 'n roll experience a whole lot more'n those scratchy singles that your big cyster used to spin in her bedroom with her galpals and they wouldn't let you in! The Munich tracks have Lennon talking in mock Kraut while der frauleins scream their li'l ol' Aryan hearts out, and not in jest either! Ol' Adolf woulda been jealous! The San Fran tracks are still good 'n hard '66 intricacy even if the locals in the audience are probably already settling into early-seventies mellow vibes this early in the game an' they don't even know it! Best thing about these boots is that the artists are not getting any moolah outta 'em so's we don't have to contribute to their drug intake, even if John and George are nothing but peat moss these days.
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BLIND BEAD EP (Imposter Complex Records)

Boy does thiis one remind me of the early days of my very own crudzine when slowcore grindout music such as the kind performed here was very big on the under-the-underground rock scene! Playable at 33 or 45 and it even comes on puke grey vinyl the same way that all of those self-produced noise merchants did 'em up back inna old days! All of those heavy metal and hardcore moves that were up and comin' duing the mid-eighties can be heard here and appreciated for the feral mess it is...didn't think that there was this much echhiness left in rock, but I guess there is!
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The Crummy Fags-POP BOTTLE FOREST DOG DOCTOR DREAM CD-r burn

Shee-yucks! A good portion of those thirty-plus-year-old Crummy Fags tapes slowed down to their proper speed (I never knew...) sounding a whole lot more----real. Now you can appreciate the sloppiness as it was meant to be. It even comes with an interview but it's kinda hard to follow. If you think there were too many acts in the eighties and onward mangling your fave sixties/seventies rock memories beyond recognition wait until you give these guys a listen. The Cramps come off like Jan Garber in comparison. More needs to be made available to the public, especially THE MONARCH BUTTERFLY STORY which is one film soundtrack you won't be snuggling in between MARY POPPINS and WEST SIDE STORY!
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Steve Reich-INFORMATION, TRANSMISSION, MODULATION AND NOISE LP (Alternative Fox Records)

This might not be thee one for Reich fans. Side one's "Four Organs" has been issued many times before and the following drum track ain't nuthin' but a field recording of some African percussionists that sounds no different 'n the ones Nonesuch have been issuing for years. Heck, the entirety of side two is taken up by a recording of "Music In Similar Motion" as performed by the Philip Glass Ensemble with Reich on electric harpsichord which doesn't exactly qualify this as being Reich's baby even if Glass and Reich are good buddies and even ran a scrap yard together. Still, if you ain't heard "Four Organs" before this would be one good place to start and the African drummers do get into a hefty groove that one can even sing avant rock cantatas over. Not only that but the early Glass take does have enough of an original flair to it that differentiates it from the more familiar Chatham Square version many of us have embedded in our brains. Good enough that even old turds like myself can still "get into" it!
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The Fundamentalists-ANCIENT PAPER cassette (Walls Flowing Records)

Strange blurs and clomps courtesy Bob Forward and company who act as if they're trying out for the next LAFMS sampler with this effort. Actually cool, actually mesmerizing and (unlike many of these bedroom clangathons) this has a beat that you might even be able to dance to. Only 157 made and when they're gone you'll probably be too stoopid to know that they were even made inna first place.
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Various Artists-THE RETURN OF THE YOUNG PENNSYLVANIANS CD-r burn (originally on Bona Fide Records)

Even though Rich Noll used to send me alla these Bona Fide records gratis I never got hold of this particular one! Well, after all these years I finally get to hear THE RETURN OF THE YOUNG PENNSYLVANIANS and as I woulda guessed it's a pretty spiffy affair. Lotsa minor-key songs here which give me the impression that these sixties garage band aficionados were of the horn rimmed glasses and pocket protectors Ernie Douglas types the "cool" kids used to sneer at, but they still get their backed up testosterone message out straight and sound even though you can imagine the aforementioned toughies lining up to beat the daylights outta 'em after they're done playing their set. My personal faves include the Centurys of BOULDERS fame whose "Hard Times" remains a tried and true mid-sixties classic.
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The Fuzztones-HORNY AS HELL CD-r burn (originally on Electrique Mud Records)

Heh---here's the legendary six-oh "revival" band that Billy Miller actually put down in a mid-eighties issue of KICKS! Nowadays they don't seem quite as cartoonish as some of those groups got, and the usage of horns on this does give these "hoary old chestnuts" a professional sound. Professional as in 1965 Raiders on Columbia mind you, never letting up as it keeps you pumped up and dancing your tootsies off without mercy. If you were the kinda kid who used to smoke cigarettes in the parking lot of your local shopping plaza while old ladies sneered you'll probably love the way this brings back memories.
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Various Artists-ROARING BLUE : RETURN OF THE INSTRO-HIPSTERS, VOL. 3 CD-r burn (originally on Psychic Circle Records, England)

Like TWEN MOODS this is Euro-hip-drenched jazzy instrumental music that sound as if they came straight outta some cheezy mid-sixties spy film that used to show up on Sunday afternoon UHF television back in the seventies. Cornballus as all heck, though you do get some surprises like a track from Beatle stand-in Jimmy Nichol to Casey and the Pressure Group's version of the Shocking Blue hit "Venus". And really, Shake Keane actually tackled the Smoke's mini-hit "My Friend Jack" which is abut as back-handed a compliment as you can give an under-the-covers act such as that! Somehow I keep thinking about those Holiday Inns the fambly stayed in furing summer vacations which had music like this piped into the dining area. Still wonder what went on behind that blacked out door that said "Adults Only" tho...after all these years maybe I shoulda peeked!
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Various Artists-GREEN POPSICLE MONKEY DUST CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Bill goes Burundi here with an extended tribal pounce filled with threatening voices and electronic gargle. Actually its an act called Black Pus playing live on WFMU radio, and if they ever play in your burgh be sure to get your Tetanus shot before attending. Bill flirts with the weird in other forms as well such as with the moderne garage band approach of the Hentchmen, Count Basie doing his version of "Green Onions" and even some rare Half Japanese live tracks which doesn't get that tinge of eighties amerunderground indie appeal outta my mind, but it does work in its own magical way. Tracks from the likes of Jimbo Easter (sort of a Captain Beefheart redux) and Crawl add to the overall obtuse soundscreed of it all, and the shebang ends with an early-sixties schmoozer from the Talkabouts that might have gotten your gal (if you were good looking enough to get one) all roweled up, and who could blame her?
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Of course there are many things that you need more than BLACK TO COMM back issues, its just that I can't think of anything offhand. Do yourself a favor and wash decades of Christgau outta your system for once, willya?

Thursday, August 22, 2019

DEE-VEE-DEE SET REVIEW! THELMA TODD & ZASU PITTS---THE HAL ROACH COLLECTION 1931-33 (MVD Visual)

It's been nigh on over two decades since my comedy short obsession (which at the time was wiggling well into my classic television and z-grade moom pitcher obsession) pretty much died out after one of those cataclysmic mood alterations hit my usually fragile mind system. But it ain't like I abandoned the classic short subjects idiom considering how I actually went on to purchase such classics as the complete Joe McDoakes collection within the last decade or so. Not only that but at times the usually too staid for my digestive tract TCM cable moom pitcher outlet will air an old Hal Roach short in order to fill up some time before the next overshown Liz Taylor classic pops up and like, frankly I sure could use a whole lot more Charley Chase and a whole lot less Mrs. Richard Burton in my life as I think you can as well.

These early Thelma Todd and Zasu Pitts shorts from the Roach studios sure help ease the pain of having to endure whatever it is that is passing for "comedy" on tee-vee these days...y'know, that endless prattle that seems to permeate every second of my waiting in doctor's offices hours as if watching THE VIEW is supposed to make me forget my upcoming anal probe. Of the early-thirties Roach creations this team was perhaps the better of the batch...THE TAXI BOYS was but a big muddle that tried to ooze out the guffaws while falling flat on its face and while THE BOYFRIENDS coulda turned into a bonafeed teenbo LITTLE RASCALS it didn't have time to really develop into one before that series got the big 86. But the team of Todd and Pitts worked better than anyone not familiar with the two's other filmic efforts would have guessed. Not that these ain't gonna make you bust a gusset while laughing your bean off, but in many ways they worked as mini-dramas set in a humorous theme and you could watch 'em like you would any serio-comedy that might have graced your tee-vee screen since even before the days you were merely piddling around in mom's guts waiting to be popped like a brand new blackhead.

I get the idea that Roach was hoping for a femme Laurel and Hardy with these two, and in some ways he did get it. But even if you aren't one of those types who appreciate the long lost art of feminine pulchritude and down-to-earth sitcom situations based on REAL LIFE (even more needed now than they were when these films were made well over eighty years ago) you can ooze yourself into Thelma Todd's blonde sexpot yet comparatively innocent approach as well as Zasu Pitts' coy and cute Olive Oyl-ish spinstertude. The chemistry works even better'n when you blew up the lab in high school, and the working gal situations are honest portrayals of the real feminine mystique which somehow has eluded all of those women's lip pamphlets and screeds directed at us since the early-seventies.

As with the usual Hal Roach productions the best of the B-grade comedy short supporting actors appear with the usual alarming regularity. Billy Gilbert is pretty much a regular doing his German impressions while the likes of James Morton, Bud Jamison (who wasn't really seen in that many a Roach production, he more or less hanging around studios like RKO, Educational and Columbia where the likes of the Three Stooges gave him more'n their fair share of heck) and Charlie Hall pop up with about as much regularity as they did in the RASCALS. And not surprisingly, in the sole Jules White direction for Roach Monty Collins appears as the manager of temperamental starlet Anita Garvin who pretty much was the definition of total gorgeousness set smack dab in the middle of the lower rung of Hollywood stardom.

And yes, that is Spanky McFarland playing Zasu's baby brother in "One Track Minds", a travelling by train and its travails short that doesn't quite equal Spanky's other train epic "Choo Choo" but you'll get a laff outta it when Sterling Holloway pops in as a candy butcher which is really what they used to call them peddlers back in them days!

Of course I like it on a whole load of levels, from the sexual undertone to the interesting plots that at times just seem to hang in the air at the end of the flick, probably due to the film going over budget. And who couldn't lose more'n just lunch while watching the Coney Island epic "On The Loose" which not only features a cameo by Laurel and Hardy (obviously shot at a different time with a double for Todd shot from the back filling in) but the classic scene where a boy with an all day sucker loses it on the slides and finds it affixed to Todd's butt from beneath her skirt! Lucky kid you!

Saturday, August 17, 2019


HIGH SIX! (THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN LAYING AROUND OR JUST DON'T FIT INTO ANY OF THE OTHER POSTS SO LIKE...TA-DAAH!)


POPEYES LOUISIANA KITCHEN (restaurant)

A Popeyes has just opened where the old Tim Horton's used to be, and the way cars are lined up all the way down the street you'd think that food as well as simple common sense was going out of style! Having heard wonderful things about Popeye's o'er the year (not the in-store brawls that sometimes erupt there!) I stopped by a few times and well, overall I thought the grub was good though man are they (like most fast food restaurants these days) getting way OVERPRICED! But as usual eating out has become a luxury that we can't all afford, but if you're hungry enough boy do you try!

Here's what I got during my various Popeyes excursions:

FRIED CHICKEN: the big deal natch and fairly good what with the crispy batter albeit smaller'n the Colonel's pieces. Can't tell much of a difference between the regular and the spicy making me think either that someone goofed the order or that my taste buds are burned out. I would order a larger portion in order to get my belly nice 'n full but man, I usually like to keep my drive-in orders under two digits!

BISCUITS: teeny compared to McDonalds or KFC and no butter pat is given, but it tastes nice and has melted butter in it anyway. Still not enough for big appetite guys like me who used to clear out those all you can eat buffets during my growing boy adolescent days (and you could tell I was a champeen the way the manager would be out there giving me those evil stares 'n all---but would I let that bother me???)

MASHED POTATOES AND CAJUN GRAVY: sheesh, such a small portion which is gone in like two gulps! The potatoes are rather loose and the gravy, although tasty to the extreme, is thinner than a Biafran. I want gravy you can cut with a scissors, and when I want mashed potatoes they better be piled up really high just oozin' with butter! Next thing you know they're gonna be givin' this stuff out in THIMBLES!

CAJUN RICE: Weird gunk in between the rice and I dunno what the heck it is! Taste is rather feh, though I wouldn't mind trying the rice and beans also on the menu even if I'm bound to get an amount the equal size if not smaller than the potatoes and gravy. Sheesh, what kinda chintzies work there anyway???

PO' BOY: I think they call these sandwiches that because if you buy one you WILL be a po' boy that's for sure! The shrimp one contained about seven or so popcorn-sized pieces in a small hoagie bun with lettuce, tomato and what I think was a weird cheese sauce. The limited edition fish Po' Boy (Lent only?) was much better what with the spicy (I could tell this time!) coating that had that kinda crunch you never got outta the square patties they used to serve in the school cafeteria. The Cajun tartar sauce I used only made this an even messier meal than is usually found with these drive in delicacies but oh wotta mess!
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FINAL VERDICT: good stuff though not quite what I was expectin', what with the skimpy portions and oversized prices. Still, I will probably find myself going back to Popeyes when I get those fried chicken cravings once in awhile and compared with my last visit to Kentucky Fried Chicken which has seen better days (at least the one around here) they might just take the greasy heart-clogging award for good, or at least until someone opens a Church's around here.
***

HI-CHEW CANDY (manufactured by Morinaga)

PEEL ME ANOTHER HI-CHEW, POCAHONTONG! 
If you like chewing gum but hate to have that piece of rubber hanging in your mouth tasting like your mouth is on the receiving end of a "safe sex" blow-a-thon you're in luck. Hi-Chew is a candy that has the texture of chewing gum yet delivers high on the flavor and the chewing satisfaction you get from gum only you don't have to worry about getting appendicitis if you swallow it! Yes, Hi-Chew is a candy that consists of a nice flavored slug of fruity goodness (grape, mango, green apple and strawberry) wrapped in an authentic slab of whale blubber which gives it that lasting jaw chomping satisfaction! Highly flavorable, really chewy and what's best is that the blubber acts as a tooth cleaner getting rid of all those food particles that were trapped giving your smile the clean and wholesome look! And if you do get appendicitis you can blame it on that bad peanut you gulped down, not Hi-Chew that's for sure!
***
CAR OF THE YEAR! Well, actually this car was made in 1954 but it's one automobile that says more about style and ideas in the here and now than anything that's being cranked outta Detroit or any other auto hotspot these sad and sorry days!  The ROLLS ROYCE SILVER WRAITH LWB SPECIAL SALOON, created for real-estate magnate Joseph Mascuch, jumped a whole lotta guns not only with its cool Eyetalian styling and such ahead of its time features as four headlights and a television set, but what makes it the vehicle to end all vehicles is (now get this!) a toilet in the back seat area! Yeah, I know that maybe there should also be one up front for the driver so he can save time making those gas station trips but hey, this sure beats fighting the smell and decay found in your standard Sunoco I'll tell ya! 'n yeah, I guess this car coulda used a little more ventilation or at least a big fan roaring away filtering the smell into the outside world, but technology ain't quite ready for that, I think. I'm really surprised that this particular idea didn't take off with the "head" bosses at the Big Three...I mean here's a car for the man who is REALLY on the go, and I do mean go!!!!
***
ECSTATIC PEACE POETRY JOURNAL #7


Bought this one (and for more money than it was worth!) if only for the ULTIMATELY BOFFO PHOTOGRAPHS OF BLOG TO COMM GULCHERAL HERO R. MELTZER WHICH ADORN THE FRONT AND BACK OF THIS PUBLICATION! The front sports a snap of Meltzer at his hippydippiest state which I've never seen him in before (this state of course) and which surprised me because  for the most part all of the Meltzer snaps I've seen during the height of psychowhatziz showed him a whole lot cleaner and cutter than the usual freak! I mean, Meltzer looks more like George Harrison Bangladeshin' it up here than he does himself and if I saw him way back when I woulda even given the guy a krishna hari hari greeting!

The flip's got a pic of a younger, perhaps AESTHETICS OF ROCK-brewing Meltzer looking rather ragged and juvenile delinquent-ish along with one of those girls he used to go out with, making me wonder if this girl might be the EXACT SAME ONE that Meltzer would write about on occasion whether she be the freakout frail who used to worry about getting knocked up by the guy or the one who got the jitters when she and some other students were in Meltzer's college dorm listening to the Fugs wondering whether the cops were gonna bust in on 'em and arrest the entire bunch!

As far as the innards go well, it's just poetry and for a guy whose tastes in it start and stop with "Milk, Milk, Lemonade" it doesn't really do much if anything at all for me. But those cover pics man...they really stir up a whole slew of funtime Meltzer worship from afar back when the mere mention of his moniker could incite a whole load of heart palpatations in more'n a few CREEM-loving outside-the-outsiders like myself.
***
NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, DECEMBER 23 1972 ISSUE (English Weekly Newspaper)

Now that I've pretty much read most of the classic early/mid-seventies issues of CREEM magazine I must look elsewhere. Elsewhere for my seventies-era rock fan screeding that is, and what better place to go than to these old issues of NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS what with the writings of the likes of Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray, Ian MacDonald (to an extent) and later on Mick Farren and (yeah, I will admit it even though I am loathe to) the comedy team of Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill who seemed to have their rockist sensors on a whole lot tighter than their compats at the other English papers, Giovanni Dadomo and Jonh Inghan excepted. (And where does that put Paul Morley despite his Frankie Says buckskin grab-a-thon?)

Although one issue of NME doesn't quite give you the same bang for the buck as an old Lester Bangs-manned issue of CREEM I gotta say that what you DO get is pretty durn good. Even when you think Kent and Murray are talking out their nether regions or the rest of the staff is just mooshing it up to the big labels and managers for their own personal betterment you still get a pretty good read outta these papers and they sure do their magic work on ya because frankly, when you do disagree with what these guys write you still gotta love 'em because well, they are on your side!

This just-pre-Christmas 1972 issue's got some mighty fine top-notch writing starting with the first part of Kent's Led Zep article which proves that sometimes the writer can make even the less interesting subject matter look good, or at least good enough to the point where you don't have to twist your listening or musical parameters in order to like the music somewhat. You might have read  in Kent's autobio about the gig and big ka-BOOMthat led up to this piece and how things were eventually smoothed out and everyone had a good time, and it sure looks like everyone was doin' fine the way Robert Plant was opening up about his love for the late-sixties West Coast sounds and how James Taylor was like the ultimate in sad sack tired folkie doldrum music. Can't argue with the guy there! So good that I might even splurge to get the second part of this...its rock writing along these lines that should be getting the royal reprint treatment, not that sappy 80s/90s drek that Penguin Books seems to find oh so in touch with the modern Quindlanisms that have passed for honest music appraisals for way too long.

Murray fares well with a small blurb on David Bowie and some live writeups on acts including King Crimson and Osibisa, two groups I never woulda considered right for the man to write up what with all the MC5 and Flamin' Groovies concerts in town. The rest (even MacDonald who I thought was slightly weaker than Kent or Murray in the gonzoid rock approach but comparatively level-headed) are pretty good what with their better than the competition (face it---MELODY MAKER had little if anything on these guys!) takes on the 1972 music set which I must say really do make those times look a whole lot more exciting than those late-seventies punques would have led us to believe all these years! 

Naturally this one feeds the rockist fire in my soul, making me crave for more high-powered rock reading and sounds in my life. Gonna purchase a few more of these when I can get the scratch together but for now will just re-re-re-re-read this issue of NME until it gets the really dog-eared treatment at which point I'll put it into mothballs until my next seventies gonzo-derived rock urge arises. For those of you in the area, I hear that McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario has these classic issues on microfilm so it might be worth your while to mosey on over to read a reel or two and get some power charged into your rock life. Just tell 'em yer doin' a term paper and maybe they'll leave you alone.

(Since I wrote this I got hold of even more old issues with some boffo surprises....Chrissie Hynd(e) on Tim Buckley, more Velvet Underground reunion rumors and everything that wouldn't appeal to your average black-stared foggy-headed FM rock fan of the day! After looking at this and then seeing some of the offal being presented as rock critique these days all I can wonder is---whatever happened to eugenics?)
***
MOBOGO VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT (Hermitage PA)

I was gonna run some comix that Brad Kohler had done for an never to be seen issue of BLACK TO COMM but I can't find 'em. Until I do I guess another restaurant review is in order! And for a kid who grew up with news about the Vietnam War blarin' in and outta his adolescent (and before) ears you'd think that I'd avoid a place like this out of sheer terror, but Mobogo sure has some fine (if expensive) grub up for sale.

No, I won't make jokes about all of the neighborhood dogs and cats goin' missing after this place opened up. I wouldn't dare because the food is really good even if the overabundance of VEGETABLES doesn't give ya that greasy Chinese food buffet sorta glop feeling. Yes, with all of the fresh bean sprouts and cucumber slices you'll be payin' more'n a few visits to the porcelain palace after eating a nice big mean here, but so what because the food is pretty hotcha and even if it will cost you about as much as two classic back issues of my old crudzine you'll be in for a culinary treat that might not be as good as the old Tip Top hot dog drive in (they used to have those hot dog buns that looked like folded slices of bread) but man can not live on pork bellies alone.

The various rice vermicelli dishes with grilled meat or shrimp are highly recommended even if the use of sprouts in with the chewy noodles seems like FILLER more'n anything. The Vietnamese submarines (marinated meat and sprout salad with a sweet dressing and jalapeno peppers---sometimes smeared with liverwurst if you ask 'em nice) are also good though sometimes the bread isn't quite as fresh as I would like. Maybe they have it flown in from Saigon...who knows? And even though cyster liked the Pad Thai I thought it wasn't as good as the kind I used to get at this Thai food stand that they used to have at the Ann Arbor Michigan Fairgrounds where the MC5 used to stomp. That ain't no reason to stop goin' to Mobogo because they have loads of things there that would appeal to you like their green onion pie, and not only that but you can watch 'em make up the stuff rushin' around playin' "Beat the Clock" like they've got grenades strapped to 'em and if they don't make up your order in time...ka-POW! Kinda like in the old days when some six-year-old peasant gal would wander into the local US encampment lookin' all cute and nobody knew just how booby trapped she really was!

The place is small---used to be a pizza joint, but they opened a small dining area in what used to be the UPS drop off so's you don't have to eat at home if you don't wanna. And if you're lucky you might even get a floor show like when something topples over and everyone in the kitchen starts panicking in Vietnamese rushing around doing this and that to clean up the mess. It kinda makes me glad that the USA lost that 'un and all these refugees flooded the land back in the mid-seventies. Much better'n had we fought and failed in Scotland and we hadda get inundated with Scottish refugees sellin' us haggis 'n blood pudding, that's for sure!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

UGLY THINGS #51

Like putting up your screen windows or changing your underwear, the arrival of the latest UGLY THINGS is definitely a part of the year one looks most forward to. This new ish is no exception, not only with the bevy of TRUE (real, no frills attached) rock 'n roll that's brought up in these pages but with the usually fine (with one or two exceptions, but why quibble?) writing that reminds me of what it was like to pour through A REAL HONEST TO GOODNESS ROCK 'N ROLL MAGAZINE 'STEAD OF THE KINDA HYPESHEET PASTE JOBS THAT WERE SO PREVALENT FROM THE EIGHTIES ONWARD. An' boy do I mean it!

Like a wild dog goin' for the guts of a dead hunka rot I always go for the JUICY UNDERBELLY first. And yeah, even though I have yet to peruse the bigger'n big cover story thingies like the piece on Ike 'n Tina as well as the Randy Holden interview (y'see, I wanted you readers to find out about this 'zine before some turdburger tells you about it).what I have eyeballed is pretty shall-we-say over-the-top RIAWOL reading that'll keep you in high energy heaven at least until the new BLOG TO COMM weekend post. It's like when I was younger and diving head first into all this rock 'n roll adventure and things we now take for granite seemed all the more mystical and unique, and those Velvet Underground tracks that were being bootlegged came off as some golden grail while the Television Eno demos had this weird clandestine power surge that made you feel as if you were listening in from some distant short wave broadcast........well, reading UGLY THINGS brings back all of those young and fresh "gee, I'm actually living through a period in music that is ALIVE and attuned to my teenbo suburban slob upbringing and sonic values and boy, am I as glad about it as ever!" feelings in your own kishkas!

Perhaps the juiciest of the bellygut bites this time has to be the Greg Prevost chat with Aleck Janoulis of (Little Phil and the) Night Shadows fame which details the entire rise and fall of the group with rather snat detail that most rags woulda left ou. Those of us who have bought, digested and lost our marbles over the infamous SQUARE ROOT OF TWO album will really get a kick outta those late-fifties snaps of the band. Lotsa really keen previously unheard of information piled into this 'un, Jack!

Also blew my mind o'er the rest of Phil Milstein's Lenny Kaye interview which I thought was fantastico considerin' just how cool I used to think (and still do!) the guy was and how much I wished I looked just like the man when I was but a mere teenbo pudge stuck inna middle of nowhere 'stead of New York which seemed like a fun place to be back in those high energy seventies days. Not only that, but ONE BIG MYSTERY about one of his pre-Patti Smith Group acts was cleared up which does make me rest a whole lot easier at night now that I know the truth. And yeah, I have been awake for nigh on twenny years wantin' to find out all about it 'n I hope the album comes out soon!

The rec reviews are fine (of course I ALWAYS read Bill Shute's first because---why not?--- he's such a neat fellow) even though I am not tempted to buy anything that's brought up this go 'round for some strange reason. I did actually buy a book that was reviewed and my own opines will appear shortly, And if anything out there can get this spiritual Scot to part with his precious coins it most truly is UGLY THINGS.

You know where to get it, and I hope the gettin' for you is good because we need all of this rockin' rah-rah especially here at the dawn of 2020 when I hope we're ALL thinkin' straight especially when it comes to us and our music. You know where to get it, and if you haven't gotten your copy by now may I call you Thilly Thammy Thidethaddle???

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! BATTLE RATS (Philippines, 1989)


While spending a relaxing weekend in Houston to catch the end of the thoroughbred season at Sam Houston Race Park, I was resting on the patio of my hotel room, sipping some stout-barrel-aged Texas whiskey, and had a strong desire for a Charlton war comic-book. Alas, I had not brought any on the trip (oh, I could read some Public Domain ones online, I suppose, but I prefer a physical comic to a digital one, unless I can’t get it any other way). However, thanks to the collectors/archivists who post the most marginal off-shore genre films on You Tube, I not only got the ultimate war comic book, I got a living, breathing three-dimensional feature-film length war comic book, one so ragged and misanthropic and brutal that it would never get past the Comics Code Authority, or ANY authority for that matter. But thanks to the market for war-exploitation films in the third-world video market, someone in the Philippines thought that if they made a film like this cheaply enough and had enough foreign markets lined up for video rights, they could make a profit on the project. Acknowledgement is made to the production company DAVIAN INTERNATIONAL (which I vaguely remember from the Filipino war-action films of kickboxer Dale Apollo Cook, who was originally from my former home state of Oklahoma) for getting BATTLE RATS into the can for us to savor.

Sometimes war films are made by people who have actually served in the military, people who try for some kind of accuracy and who try to capture the feelings and life situations and inner turmoil of the troops on both sides of the conflict….and the civilians in the middle. Such films (THE BIG RED ONE, for instance) would be at the exact opposite end of the spectrum from BATTLE RATS, which takes the most over-the-top and cartoonish elements of something like Chuck Norris’ MISSING IN ACTION or Sly Stallone’s RAMBO, and then takes those elements and blasts them off into the exploitation-film atmosphere. This film is to MISSING IN ACTION (or a Michael Dudikoff knock-off of it) what H.G. Lewis's JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT is to BLACKBOARD JUNGLE. That is, take all of what a 12 year old who tortures frogs on the way home from school would consider the “good parts” of such SE Asian-set war films, and do low-budget, completely over-the-top scenes “inspired” by that, throw a few Anglo names and faces into the cast, pretend that the Philippine Islands are Vietnam or Thailand, and let it rip for 85 minutes (or whatever length the video distributors required of a “feature film”) of machine-gunnings and explosions, accompanied by grunting and F-words. The end result is truly lightning in a bottle. The experience of watching this film is totally punk in its effect----I was reminded of Punk-sploitation albums like WORTHLESS TRASH by THE VACANTS, or maybe a more low-brow version of FEAR, minus the ironic stance, but channeled into a war movie, not two-minute anti-social punk noise-blasts. I’d love to slip this film into someone’s Netflix feed who was expecting the latest creation from Lena Dunham…or whatever is nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar, after the shitty Barefoot Wine has been poured and the cruelty-free snacks from Whole Foods have been micro-waved….and instead, BATTLE RATS comes on at maximum volume, with the sound a second or two behind the action, and the print full of splices. Now THAT I’d love to see!

The “plot” involves a crack American unit in the Vietnam War, put together from a rag-tag group (and the accents are all over the place….I didn’t know so many Aussies, New Zealanders, and Irish fought in the American Army then!), that specializes in tunnel warfare, set up to match the Viet Cong mastery of that technique. Of course, the one thing the Americans have on their side is a testosterone-fueled gonzo attitude toward EVERYTHING.

Director BEN YALUNG helmed about a dozen of this kind of film in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and like a lot of poverty row filmmakers, he’s quite ingenious at getting interesting-looking set-ups that don’t rely on money being spent. This is NOT one of those war films shot in a few limited areas, used over and over (Larry Buchanan’s HELL RAIDERS being an example of that, though that film has many other good things going for it). The tunnels are an unexpected and fascinating setting, which did not cost much to build, and provide claustrophobic sweaty excitement. However, as Herschell Gordon Lewis proved with BLOOD FEAST, if you provide outrageous gore and audience-alienating violence from left-field, the viewers are not going to be concentrating on your editing and mastery of two-shots and low-angle photography. Interestingly, star Jack Gilbert aka Brent Gilbert (who was from New Zealand, according to his son, who commented on a blog review of the film) also worked for legendary Hong Kong cut-and-paste Ninja filmmaker GODFREY HO (one of my heroes), and the film also has other connections to ‘Filmark International’ and to Joseph Lai’s IFD Films and Arts.

A film like BATTLE RATS is a welcome antidote to the numbing sameness of the films being foisted upon the public today by the prestige streaming services and your local multi-plex. There are still obscure z-grade straight-to-video action films being churned out today, many shot in Eastern Europe, and a little Googling can find you some blogs dedicated to sniffing them out, the way a pig sniffs out truffles.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

As you will shortly see it has been a week where one is lucky to stay alive, with perhaps thee
ultimate rock 'n roll effort of the past three decades up and ready for inspection! Sorry, no ramble ons about my personal upheavals or general autobiographical bornados this time...aintcha LUCKY???


PETER LAUGHNER 5-LP + BOOK BOX SET (Smog Veil Records)

If Peter Laughner was still up and about here in the dusk of the 'teens you can be sure that  he'd be considered just as much of an elder statesman of a whole variety of musical subkultures from folk to glam scenester to punk rocker as any of the people the man emulated during his near quarter century on this planet. In fact I'm sure some up 'n coming club would be hosting some sorta seventieth birthday bash a good three years from now while the guy would be basking in the light of a good half-century-plus of musical accomplishment complete with a WVIZ-TV special hosted by some trimmed beard geeky up 'n comer or perhaps even a CLEVELAND (or at least Cle area) mag feature where once again Anastasia Pantsios sings the man's praises even thought it was probably his ultra-deca-death that turned her into the anti-punk biddy she was and perhaps even remains a good fortysome years after the fact. Of course the fourth or fifth hardbound collection of Laughner poetry would be making the rounds for all of us doofs who missed out the first time to catch up on...heck I gotta even admit that some typically distorto Hollywood biopic mighta even been inna works once again failing to capture that inner feral feeling that rock 'n roll in its purest form delivers on with virtual ease! (But don't worry, you'll see ads for it on "Direct TV" in a few months.) Y'know, just like all those other films about rock 'n roll that miss out seizing the core of it all despite ya thinkin' that people would know a lot better about what rock 'n roll outside the standard biz/hippie/slicked up mindset meant (and perhaps continues to mean) for unabashed lovers of sonic noise such as us.

WHO 'M I KIDDIN'????? Ya know that had Laughner not taken that deep dive into forever that June '77 night he would have been practically forgotten by the same people who gave him that big boost if only to TEAR HIM DOWN. Or at least he'd've been as marginalized as alla those other seventies spokesmen for a degeneration that seemed to dissipate once the squeaky clean eighties and its music sans fly shit specs and overall grit rolled in. Yeah the man had the potential to be Ameriga's answer to not only Peter Perrett (musically) and Nick Kent and Yves Adrien (even Alain Placadis!) musically, but other'n producing a few new rock 'n roll efforts and perhaps writing for CREEM until their growing stodginess had him looking for other outlets I don't see the man making it too far into the eighties as a viable rock stalwart. With the trend from gonzo rockscreed to hack publicity sheet repatch growing his career as a rock writer woulda been dead by '83 at the least, while I could see the man easily become more and more frustrated with the decreasing quality of his sixties heroes from Lou to Ig in the eighties to the point of perhaps giving up on rock 'n roll (as it meant for you and perhaps even me) for good! Well, at least he would have abstained from the form until the next great boom whenever that would be. Maybe its all the better that Laughner died when he did---after all, I couldn't see him extolling the benefits of Prince and Madonna like way too many seventies icons of decadence ended up doing! (Not so sure about the latter---the former most likely.)

Yeah, the concept of a living and breathing Laughner born and bred of the 1964-1981 upheaval in the eighties and beyond seems rather disturbing if not downright disgusting, and if he were smart enough which I don't doubt one bit he woulda skedaddled the entire music scene and got a job in his father's biz where yeah, he would be living that sorta life the rock 'n rollers out there seemingly dread but at least he'd havethose hefty good MEMORIES along with a nice fat paycheck. And maybe all us in-on-the-game rock fans need here at the dusk of the 'teens is just that because really, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS other'n the big beat and the long green.

So let me break my promise of no longer being long-windy and blab on forth about this piece of rock ephemera that you most definitely need. And brother, if there is anything out there that you need to spend your precious shekels on at this late date its this five-LP Peter Laughner box set. Yes, finally after all these years of being shuttered off into the closet of "things" that just didn't fit into the "proper" evolution and digestion of rock 'n roll Laughner has been done right, not only with these platters which more or less cover the man's extant recording "career" (though why no Mr. Charlie even though a live show has been penetrating just about every hotcha rock collection except mine?) but with the nifty hardcovered book it looks as if the man is finally being recognized on a large scale for his role as a mover and shaker in Amerigan Underground Rock, at least when it was finally getting a voice and an identity that sure set more than a few pitted butt suburban slob asses on fire.

The enclosed book featuring not only the Laughner saga but some rather choice writings blows to bit just about every snatch of rock "criticism" or just plain fan scribbles that popped up in the aftermath of the Great Gonz Expurgation of the early-eighties. Everything you have read from even the more "respected" rock writers of the last thirty years wilts in comparison---even my own Fourth Reich Kitsch is rendered totally meaningless when stacked next to the pearls that Laughner exudes it's that zoned into the mid-seventies guttural approach of appreciating rock 'n roll as that "International Youth Language" it seemed as if less and less youth were understanding as the years crept on.

But as usual I am lurching ahead. First the albums...five beauts with tracks which each beg us for more and more Laughner trackage which I know is out there. Perhaps this is but a taste for future Rocket From The Tombs and Wolves efforts that Smog Veil has in store...well one can only hope. And really, these things sound a whole lot better'n the nth generation tapes and cheapo cassette quality efforts that have been flowing around. Good enough to the point where even my cheapo nostalgia turntable done up for your great Aunt Matilda sounds like a boffo late-seventies STEREO REVIEW pick of the month, and that's even without the giganto speakers and diddley daddy amplifier all the rich kids in high stool had. Let's just say that record pressings and the ability to make something beautiful outta those throwaway tapes has markedly improved since those scuzzy bootleg and legitimate record days forty years ago!

Record #1--FAT CITY JIVE---early Peter. Much of this is taken from Peter's debut "Coffeebreak Concert" on WMMS-FM, while tracks from a subsequent one are from an "episode" that was hosted by Kid Leo, a guy who I get the sneakin' suspicion would have disavowed any knowledge of havin' known the guy if you'd've asked him in 1978. (But don't worry---I'm sure that if you ask him about Peter these days he'd wax eloquent about how the two of 'em were best of buddies and that his passing was such sweet sorrow and the rest of that showbiz caga that keeps getting tossed on us even though we all knew better a good thirtysome years back.) These songs capture Peter in his still-sixties-bred down home folk rootsy self with the Dylan roarin' on all cylinders and even a nod to John Sebastian and Jackson Browne to be heard. And of course  this has the obligatory Lou Reed numbers which I get the feelin' sorta ruined it for the folkies who tuned in but ah, that's part of the joy. The Original Wolverines do their best Holy Modal Rounders-ish freak folk imitation and it all blends in swell. If Laughner's loopy yet passionate rendition of "Eyes Eyes" doesn't make ya feel some deep down emotional uproar I dunno WHAT will.

Record #2--ONE OF THE BOYS---by now (1972) Peter had lept straight into his glam rock phase which, like many of the other glam rock phases in rock 'n roll easily enough slid right into many a punk rock phase which seemed to get stuck on these guys PERMANENTLY! And yeah, a whole album fulla Cinderella Backstreet and Cinderella's Revenge (still wonder about Crocus Behemoth's mention of "Cinderella Airstream" in that SEARCH AND DESTROY interview) is what this particular sonic bopper needs here at the dawn of what will definitely be the "boring" twenties. So good that even I can stand Cindy Black's Mellotron careenings (well, listening to Hawkwind albums did help me "appreciate" that monstrosity!) and ya gotta admit that the sound is sure improved to the point where you woulda sworn these cassette tapes were actually taken straight from the soundboard. As if that really mattered, but in some way it does in my own cornballus way. Hearing Backstreet play Mott the Hoople was a surprise but an even bigger one was the Cinderella's Revenge take on the teenbo-era Laughner blooze classic "I'm So Fucked Up" live from the Viking Saloon. I just hope this tuneage is but a teaser for an entire Revenge album on its lonesome...well, at least that would be something to keep me fit and healthy just so's I will survive long enough for one to materialize!

PLEDGING MY TIME comes next---Laughner goes acoustic decadent! Folk becomes sleaze and it works out in the end...no pun intended. Some of it sounds particularly singer/songwriter done up right for once..."Rain on the City" might have even become one of those things 'MMS woulda played in slight rotation had this gotten out (and if the station was still as "free form" as everyone used to think) and I gotta say that after growing up with the idea that someone with an acoustic guitar was undoubtedly affixed to the whole James Taylor/Melanie beads and doves soft introspection breed these songs are but a vicious reaction to all that hippie infection. The same disease that everything from BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN to that new folkie teacher with the da capo'd guitar ready to lay a tune on ya was more'n anxious to infect on us disturbed types.

More rock 'n roll in that hard-edged Cleveland style that never did come into vogue  with the prissies....ROCK IT DOWN highlights Laughner's mid-seventies contributions to the local stage even if Pere Ubu and Peter and the Wolves are suspiciously missing from the brew. Trackage from the Finns (the same one from the SOL single but how often have you been pullin' that one out?), an unreleased live version of Rocket From the Tombs' "Ain't It Fun" and some Friction both rehearsal and live show up in better than expected sound quality. A pre-Wolves version of "Rock It Down" with Adele Bertei singing appears but even that ain't the highlight of this 'un, that honor being given to yet another take on the infamous "Amphetamine" not only with Laughner being backed by Don Harvey's harmonium but additional lyrics and the most beautiful musical segue heard in ages. Sounds like a rough demo for THE MARBLE INDEX and if you still harbor some emotive non-restraint from your youth you might want to sniffle at the passion of it all. Personally I couldn't (I've been all cried out for over twenty years) but if you haven't shed a tear in your life maybe it still isn't too late.

Hmmm, platter #5 NOCTURNAL DIGRESSIONS is pressed on white vinyl. I guess this was done in order to identify it as something special since it was Laughner's final session recorded just a few hours before he passed on that fateful June night. This does seem like it could have (intentionally?) been his ultimate "so long"...listening to Laughner hoarsely work his ways through such longtime faves as "Slim Slow Slider" and "Blank Generation" makes me wonder if he knew that he pretty much was recording his own obituary that very evening. But then again maybe not since the man does come to life, especially after the rather dreary and uncharacteristically obtuse "Going to China" (with a guitar riff lifted from Friction's version of the Richard Thompson "chestnut" "Calvary Cross"...unfortunately the version recorded that very night was inexplicable left off the album!) when he springs into a lively impromptu "Summertime Blues". Like he's sayin' "Hey kids, I ain't gonna knock off tonight nor never, or at least until the music I love knocks itself off and knocks itself out for good! An' like, I know it's gonna live on for a long long time and that those people who are my friends at the Big City FM station and the paper are gonna see to it that ROCK AND ROLL WILL STAND because like, if it dies or even gets watered down to fit the Big Suits' idea of what Teen Nation should be rather than how it stands in its jaded decadence so will I. And nobody would want anything as ridiculous as that to happen, eh?"

If you are lucky you will get a bonus see-through EP with your box, a tasty addendum to an already smorgasbord of greats. Laughner with Lester Bangs from that tape that WMMS was s'posed to broadcast, a dolorous version of "Venus de Milo" with accompanying harmonium, a snat country blues, a jazzy blues riff with Laughner blarin' in on guitar about halfway through. and the most interesting bit of music I've heard from him so far, an Asian-influenced instrumental with rock overtones that reminds me of something off Eno's ANOTHER GREEN WORLD. It's really a fine cherry on top of a sundae of sound you'll most likely be chompin' on for years on end and even if your mind is stuffed to the gills you will be begging for MORE.

The hardcover book is more'n just the whipped cream 'n cherry on top of this rock 'n roll sundae. It's the ROCK BOOK OF THE YEAR no doubt about it and as every bit as important as the various Lester Bangs, Richard Meltzer or Charles Shaar Murray collections that I'm sure adorn your bookshelf like they adorn about a dozen boxes scattered about my place. I am not exactly sure what was not enclosed in this effort but the thing does thrill you as much as such an effort should not only with the bio, the reviews and articles and rare snaps, but the ads do recall a time when the big lurch of underground rock seemed as if it would envelop the entire universe and that once again the spirit and energy of what was once a teenage given (that is rock 'n roll in its more feral guise) would shine through and that the kids of the seventies would be buying up the likes of Patti, Television, Suicide, Ubu etc. the way their older siblings sharpened their teeth on the Velvets, Stooges and all those English groups that were too over-the-top even for kids who loved English groups! All leading the way for a healthy rock 'n roll future at least until everyone got too old and went the housewife route age thirtysomething but if you think they'll still be spinnin' "Sister Ray" during those bridge games you might be right.

Shows how wrong I could be what with teenbo USA being totally zonkified by total mummery not only in music but other entertainment, general lifestyle patterns and philosophical mulch and the future we were promised adding up to nothing but forty years of low-intensity nerve-fray. Fortunately none of us that I know of was stoopid enough to forsake rock 'n roll or music in the raw state of becoming as Wayne McGuire put it once we toppled over the big three-oh mark.

Of course one question does remain. Like,since when and where did none other than Electric Eels lead vocalist Dave E die and he MUST HAVE, because his moniker is plainly mentioned in the obligatory "In Memorium" section of the book! Eels drummer Nick Knox ain't mentioned so I guess there hadda've been a mix up somewhere down the line,  but the last time I've noticed the man was still among the living, so I believe that Smog Veil OWES HIM AN APOLOGY and like mighty soon!
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Jeffrey Alexander-MEDITATIONS FOR BEOWULF LP (Feeding Tube Records)

What a weirditie of a surprise from this former Dire Wolves member. The electronic piano noodling with various other sound effects tossed in had me thinking this could have been the handiwork of some seventies-vintage sound crankpot messing around with various electronics and DOING IT RIGHT FOR ONCE! Then a track that kinda sounds singer/songwriter but in a way where James Taylor's testicles are getting chopped off as he tries swiping a syringe from Carly Simon. It's all so poetic in many ways, but not the "Milk, Milk, Lemonade" kind. Nice swirls and creative manipulations of sounds that coulda come off much worse in the hands of people...like you and me.
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THE JIM JONES REVUE CD-r burn (originally on Punk Rock Blues Records)

Paul McGarry sez that if I don't think that album opener "Princess and the Frog" ain't hot then I'm not fit to run BLOG TO COMM! Silly Paul...actually I'm not even fit to run a one space parking lot concession let alone a blog, but I get the idea of what he's hintin' around at. Actually this relatively recent effort (from 2008 which is recent enough in my book) is pretty over-the-top hotcha in my book (or on this blog for that matter) what with this particular Jim Jones revvin' up the fifties sounds for an even more pumped up clientele soundin' kinda like prime-era Sonics if someone had shoved some juicy hot peppers up their assholes. These guys give Bunker Hill and Link Wray a run for the money, they're that over-the-top rock 'n roll in their approach! Your standard "Classic Rock" fan should be forced to listen to this until they cry for mama's boobies or die, preferably the latter.
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Various Artists-THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE---FINGERNAIL PARINGS FROM THE VIRTUAL THRIFT STORE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

I love these collections that Bill slaps together with bits and feces from various on-line sources gathering up things as fun as old radio ads for contests or the themes to YOGI BEAR, WALLY GATOR and YAKKY DOODLE for that matter. Most of these ads seem to emanate from Detroit which kinda makes me wonder what the luxurious Sheraton Cadillac Hotel looks like these days! I also need to know if Babe Krajenki is still around because I'm in the market for a Buick! Only really bummer to this effort's the cover, not because of the fatty gal posterior pictured but because of the turtle! Not that I hate those shelled creatures at all (even if I ran over one a few weeks back) but seein' that smiling amphibian reminded me of this story that was goin' around when I was in first grade about some kid we all kinda knew who made a snow man and used used the severed head of his former pet turtle for the nose. Sheesh, couldn't the kid just tossed him into Lake Julia like everyone else who didn't want their turtles anymore?
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Well, selling back issues of BLACK TO COMM on-line is slightly more dignified than selling pencils on the street. And besides, I don't have to fake being blind to get away with it...the sympathy angle, y'know. And besides, I don't have to put up pretending that I don't "see" some kid plunking slugs into my tin can and have to say "thank you" after ever plunk! Get some before I do lose my sight (but not in the standard way most kids go blind, ifyaknowaddamean...).