Saturday, March 07, 2020

Nice March we're havin' so far, 'eh? Not so bad even if the temps have been dippin' a bit inna morn, but otherwise things're lookin' hokay and pointin' the way towards an early spring which really gets the warm 'n happy feelin's rollin' in the guts (or was that the cabbage?). Not only that, but the advance of higher temperatures makes me appreciate music in a whole fresh and exciting way that sorta reinforces one's stay on this planet. An' when it gets to the point where I'm deriving all of my inner strength and fortitude to appreciating sunny weather and warmth boy you can tell that I'm goin' off the deep end!
Here are just a few of the droolies I've spun as of late. A few familiars in the batch true, but ya better get used to 'em because I decided NOT to devote anymore yearly columns to those platters that I deem maybe too everyday and too well-known to brag about this late in the development of rock as that INTERNATIONAL YOUTH FORCE! The more obvious ones I will forget writing about unless necessity deems so, tho recent digs and other archaeological exhumations of my collection will be brought to your attention because well, better you hear about it correctly here than get your misinformation out on the streets. In other words, if you kiss one of these records you won't get it pregnant.

Nice selection anyways, and thanks to Bob, Bill and Feeding Tube (but not Paul!) for the goodies!

Big Blood-DO YOU WANT TO HAVE A SKELETON DREAM? LP (Feeding Tube Records)

I never know what to expect with these Feeding Tube releases, and this one really flew me for that ol' cliched loop! Here I was hexpectin' the usual rabid artzy yet funzy screams and what do I get but downright straightforward and pleasing to the ears gal group-styled rock 'n roll that reminds me way more of Snatch than it does the Sadista Sisters. It doesn't sound like Snatch but it has that same gal vocal style backed by a group knows a whole lot about the forms of various late-sixties and seventies rock moods. The combination of the two makes this a whole lot more fun to listen to and enjoy than the usual feminist rantathons that have been coming outta the under-the-underground wimminz rock mooment these past thirtysome years. Weird thing...this ends with a straightforward version of "Ave Maria" which I gotta say is my least fave religious toon but it kinda fits in here, sideways at least.
The Flesheaters-A MINUTE TO PRAY, A SECOND TO DIE CD (Slash Records)

Of course this is every bit of the open gash ultimate hard-rock soundspew, the eighties answer to STARSAILOR in fact, that I remembered to be almost forty years back. And in many ways it sounds a whole lot better now, especially in light of all of the atrocities committed in the name of rock 'n roll ever since the punks put up that valiant fight to save it from the overbearing force of pap. Soon many of those same punks became the force of pap but we'll talk about that later...right now all I wanna say is that Chris Desjardins proved that he coulda singlehandedly rearranged a whole load of fertile rock-savvy minds had this 'un only gotten out a whole lot more. Given just how sapped out the teenage music scene was back then this 'un only came on STRONGER in the force of laid back schmooze, something you can also say about WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT and FUNHOUSE in their relation to their own perspective times. Good company you're in, bud! The only problem with both A MINUTE TO PRAY and Chris D in particular is knowing that a lotta my most loathed enemies love 'em, but that's something I'll hafta get over. And I am, obviously.
Elmer City Rambling Dogs-JAM IT! LP (Dog Dirt Records)

So I did what I promised to myself to do after hearing that track on Bill's burn two weeks back and yeah, this batch of biker rockers are every bit as wild and down home (w/o the cornpone) as I knew they were gonna be. None of that "good timey" jive either, just straight-ahead blues-y and country-tinged rock 'n roll that wallows in a rustic sorta view but still has all of the primitive energy and excitement of the Gizmos. If you can't shuffle your feet listening to this you must have had them amputated, so at least shuffle your ankles. The early-sixties-styled instrumental that closes side one was a creative touch!

A recent toe-dip into the English experimental music scene (which also resulted in a spinning of the Scratch Orchestra's Douche Gramophone album) had me emptying out my pockets for this early (in fact the first!) Obscure Records release. Bryar's "The Sinking of the Titanic" is a slow hymn complete with various artyfacts of the actual sinking tossed in (as reported by those who were there and made it out alive) such as a music box and a piano tinkling away not to mention snippets of an interview with a survivor. It reminds me of Eno's rather keen refurbishing of that awful Pachabel song that was the rage a good forty years back, which I guess would figure since the Cockpit Ensemble who played on that also appear here. The flip has a tape loop of some ol' coot singing yet another religious-themed tune with instruments added slowly to the mix making for a rather sentimental effort about as nostalgic for days gone by as an old photo album. If you still think that avgarde music is nothing but a bunch of atonal sound being performed by people who are pulling our collective legs this might sway your opinion somewhat.
BILL PLUMMER AND THE COSMIC BROTHERHOOD CD-r burn (originally on Impulse Records)

I thought this was gonna be a bummer what with the opening cut featuring this Plummer guy spewing trendy Eastern Mysticism jargon while those sitars just twanged away. Well, it ain't all that bad but it sure ain't as gripping as your freer-than-free jazz platter of the day. The raga modes do hold up somewhat but get tiring, and if you're not a member of the Meher Baba set you probably won't understand the spiritual whoozeez and whatzeez of this one bit. But before you decide to spurn this one en toto I will mention that some of this platter (like the straight-ahead jazz track, included probably because Impulse wanted to retain somewhat of a jazz aura) do deliver on the same moods that you would have found on earlier releases commonly found on the jazz labels of the day. And if you've been begging to hear an India'd up version of "The Look of Love" lo all these years then search no further, Vishnu!
Bob Forward-WHAT'S LEFT OF THE BONES (AN ANTHOLOGY) CD (Walls Flowing Records, see image at left for address)

Hoo chee, another one of dem jagoff tape things like we all usedta see all over de eighties. I coulda sworn I heard big patches of this on previous Bob Forward efforts and maybe I have since this is "an anthology, and I gotta say that at first I felt like driving straight over to Tempe Arizona to bust Forward inna mouf for making me lissen to not only him talking into a cheapo cassette player and playing slide blooze guitar in a bedroomy fashion, but then smack dab when I'm ready to smash the bedroom boom box to smithereens some really good if basement-level rock 'n roll comes on saving my spinner from total destruction! Sometimes I do think that Forward is pulling my leg with these random dada recordings of his but one's thing's for sure...that's some might BIG limb yer pullin' there Bob, so watch out!
Various Artists-CAKEWALKS ON CYLINDERS 1897-1916 CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions)

It is pretty mind-boggling to me when I view some old Biograph actuality film or listen to one of the songs on tubes like these and it really hits me that alla this stuff was going on in the century prior to the one many of us just barely escaped outta! Maybe the really boggling thing about it all is that I have more of an affinity for some 19th-century film or song than I have with just about anything passing for entertainment in these oh-so enlightening days.

These early cylinders feature some of the hits (big or not) of the Victorian era all done in a nice and bouncy fashion that really would fit in swell with some cheap VCR featuring those barely surviving shorts that wowed 'em back when McKinley was prez. If you know how to get hold of this do might just be that antidote to techno that you've been looking for!
The Cleveland Wrecking Company-"Say There's a Reason"/"Hat Full of Dreams 45 rpm single (Roaratorio Records)

After snatching this 'un outta the mailing packet I looked at the front cover of this and thought this Cleveland Wrecking Company single was some recent exhumation of a long lost late-seventies punk rock artyfact that's finally getting its well-deserved just desserts a good four decades after the fact. Little did I in my advanced state of brain decay remember that these guys were a late-sixties San Francisco group that unfortunately went nowhere after a series of personnel changes and general bad luck with both record labels and a sneaky manager. Of course the group's very name and its close proximity to a more popular local draw should have tipped my off as to their whens wheres and whys, but deduction never was one of my stronger points as you all probably know by now.

But mental shortcomings aside I still hope you will seek this pleasantry out. The Cleveland Wrecking Company may have hailed from Hippydippyland, but they sure put out a totally hard wham of a sound that ranks with the better moments to escape from the very-late sixties West Coast music scene.With none of the psychodoodling of the Dead at their more lysergic or the Airplane when they were trying to be innovative and fell flat on their faces, the Company pushed forward into total high energy abandon with their turning the air into cottage cheese sound that owed a whole lot more to local faves such as Big Brother, Blue Cheer, the Daily Flash, the Final Solution and the Oxford Circle. That no-holds-barred manic drive that, had it only gotten out a little more, would have put San Fran on the same level of sound as destruction as Detroit to the point where we'd hopefully never have to hear Grace Slick yodel again. Yeah it's that sonic-provoking hot and you'll even enjoy it despite the fact that the a-side was recorded at Nick Gravenites' studio!

One interesting if relatively obvious bassist/vocalist Jim Moscoso is the brother to none other than Victor Moscoso, the guy who drew all those mind-destroying Fillmore posters and the Mr. Peanut ZAP cover along with a few other items now going for big collector's bucks!
Section Urbane-THE FINAL PROGRAM EP ("I'd Rather Stay Home and Watch TV", "Obsession"/"Goddess", "In That Case/Sounds Like") (Fivefourzero Records)

I'd say that Section Urbane were a standard whatcha'd expect from an early-eighties under-the-underground kinda group right down to the typical Systematic catalog influences to the top-heavy bass guitar thunk. There were plenty of home-produced bands putting out recs like this way back when, and heavens to Betsy if a good number of 'em pretty much do hold up years afterward. And so does this 33 rpm seven-incher from the bowels of Brisbane, a rather controlled and "cool" take on a whole number of rock movements that were happening at the time that might have whizzed past the usual FM-bred dolts but sure meant a whole lot more to all of those people who sorta got shunted outta eyesight because like, they were REAL. Somehow I imagine Section Urbane getting a rave review in the old TAKE IT! had it only made its way above the equator, that's how in tune it is with everything that the O-mind was spewing about before things got too complicated to control.
Calliope-STEAMED CD-r burn (originally on Buddah Records)

I can't discern the circus-y strains of the calliope on this platter, but if ya gotta hankerin' for commercial pop-rock as well as early "heavy, man" rock STEAMED might suit 'cha fine. At one moment post folk rock teetering straight into the California sunshine groove then hard-edged 1969 blues revival the next, Calliope are yet another big miss in the morass of late-sixties albums that mighta gone somewhere if only... The cover of "Hound Dog" does come off a little top heavy but "California Dreaming", "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Jimmy Bell" are unique enough in their arrangements and proto-metallic approach to hold your interest. Strange as it may seem (or is it believe it or not?) but bassist/vocalist Danny O'Keefe is the same one that did "Goodtime Charlie's Got the Blues" way back when which goes to show you what sorta strange tangents one's musical career can go in.

Various Artists-WEST OF THE BEEP-BEEP WALL CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

A burn that's downright pleasing enough and about as nondescript as my old publishing company. Well it does go along swell with those Sunday afternoons of my blue laws youth when all we had were flea markets, old tee-vee movies and comic books to occupy our pre-teen Sunday afternoon lives. Lotsa easy listening and spiffy instrumentals to contend with not to mention a few interesting early rock 'n roll efforts to cut through the mental miasma. Of course the mere presence of Louie Prima here is enough to conjure up those memories of that Nick Tosches article in KICKS about the highly unnatural hijinx that went on between Prima, Keely Smith and a blackjack dealer backstage at some Las Vegas club. Gee, thanks a lot Bill!
Just a friendly reminder that there are still back issues of BLACK TO COMM available so now's the time to fill up those cracks in your collection, or the cracks in your wall if the case may be. And please keep in mind that future reminders will not be as friendly so it would be advisable to part with the money now while you're still in my good graces.


Anonymous said...

lol more bands no one has ever heard of lol hey, some punk rock is good! why not write about those artists? why not: police, u2, springsteen, b52s, elvis costello, talking heads, ac/dc, kiss, pat benatar, graham parker, cars? oh! wait! they can play their instruments lol they win grammy awards lol they don't count lol people actually like them lol

Anonymous said...

Any chance of Blog to Comm doing a feature on pub rock? Or skiffle? Or ska? Or oy? P'rhaps you already have, myte, an' I missed it? Cheers! Alvin Bishop

Anonymous said...

Hey, Boomer! Keely Smith was a whore, Louis Prima was a perv. OK, Boomer? Deal with it, Boomer Town Rat!

PS: Your "hero," (((Bob Dylan))) is a drug addict and a fairy! OK, Boomer?!