Wednesday, November 25, 2020

BOOK REVIEW! A MOON GIRL TREASURY BY SHELDON MOLDOFF ETC.(GWANDANALAND COMICS, 2020)

Well yuh, it sure is nice that these legendary (perhaps for all the wrong reasons!) stories from EC's only superhero title have been collected under one roof so-to-speak but sheesh, why such poor quality which renders a good portion of this book comparatively unreadable? If Gwandanaland really wanted to present a high quality reprint they could have at LEAST purchased some pristine reissues from some of their PD competition and used those 'stead of the microfiches and various on-line artwork that eventually made its way into this particular anthology.

An' talk about sloppiness! For some strange reason two pages from a Comics McCormick tale that originally appeared in Ed Wheelan's FAT AND SLAT pop up making me wish that Gwandanaland would issue those titles rather pronto! Whereas I usually can rely on quality reproductions from this published I really find A MOON GIRL TREASURY to be an extremely hard on the eyes effort. It really does take much away from the whole concept of fun suburban slob escapist reading which sure affected a few generations of everyday doofus kids more'n all the Ritalin that's being pumped into 'em by higher up authoritiarian types who just don't realize that all these kids really do need are A FEW SWIFT KICKS INNA BUTT!!!!

But otherwise the stories are fine once you get beyond the at times horrid reproductions. Sheldon Moldoff's art might not be as hotcha as the stuff he was doing at DC but it holds up fine especially when compared to some of the slop that was being pushed inna forties, while the stories are about as good as any of the Golden Age hero epics that the biggies were pumping out atta time so like what's there to complain about at least on that level. The house ad reprints as well as the various extras like Fat and Slat not to mention "Zombie Terror' the first EC horror saga, make for some better'n usual surprises that, when mingled with the Johnson Smith and various other typical comic book advertisements, sure do shoot one back to those days of pre-teen brain-addled bliss which was one thing that really gave me a reason to exist in a world of James Taylor and BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN

And the reproduction of original art which closes this set was a nice touch even if the lack of color for some strange reason detracts from the usual visual delights. Kinda funny in that I'm still a guy who prefers the monochrome dank of old moom pitchers and tee-vee shows to color efforts, but that's just one of my many idiosyncrasies which I'm sure you reg'lar readers are already familiar with. 

If you liked those early WONDER WOMAN tales or the idea of a powerful female character working in conjunction with a handsome yet comparatively stoopid sidekick (the Prince, who is more or less Steve Trevor with a costume) you just might go for this. Maybe Gwandanaland'll come up with a tidier version once some better source material arrives and this current edition is sold off to dolts like myself who sure know how to buy pigs in pokes repeatedly and never did learn their lessons in caveat emptorship!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

As we used to say inna stoolyard back when I was a mere single-digited kid, howz it hangin'! Naturally none of us knew what that meant since we were onlly mimickin' the older, street wise kids but anyway, for me a whole LOTTA things are "hangin'" due to age 'n gravity but that's besides the point. Actually I'm one chipper kinda guy who has a whole lot to look forward to including whatever new (and old!) sounds that may come my way not to mention whatever reading material I might be able to snatch up too pass my idle time away. These things sure makes my non-work hours all the merrier and give me an excuse not to do any of the much needed home and yard work despite all the neighborhood petitions to the contrary. 


Anyway, given the years of flotsam/jetsam I've acquired with regards to reading and listening to countless books and records you can bet that I'm well stocked for any future dry spells in the under-the-counterculture sweepstakes! Given the ones we've had on and off for quite some time that's really sayin' somethin'! Of course my collection ain't as humongous as many of the others I've been privy of seein' but ya gotta admit that I sure try harder...boasting about my comparatively miserable collection which I'm sure is quite miniscule when stacked up to yours, but then again you never hadda subsist of depression era wages and make the best of it like I hadda! Oh well, maybe if I get another run at life I'm sure that I'll acquire a whole slew of albums that'll make yours seem rather dwindling in comparison. But then again if there is such a thing as reincarnation I'll probably come back as a higher life form, like a retching jackal or something to that effect.
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YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT BUSTER! BLOG TO COMM GITS ALL POLITICAL 'N CONTROVERSIAL ONCE A'GIN CAUSING YOU MORE SENSITIVE READERS TO REND GARMENTS AND SNIFFLE MORE OF THEM POLITICALLY PIOUS TEARS! AN' MAN, DO I MEAN IT THIS TIME!!!-
Anyway, I just happ'd to catch this 'un while cruising the web and boy was I surprised! Y'see, a few days ago none other'n our former prez, namely one Barak H. Obama, just happ'd to make some comment/statement to the effect that the current prez, Donald J. Trump, is not (now get this!) John Wayne, but (now get this!!!) RICHIE RICH!!!!! As you can guess boy, was I heart warmed to read that a major Amerigan figure such as Mr. Obama even remembers who this old tyme comic book and tee-vee character was which, naturally, makes me feel all toasty inside knowin' that these kinda good ol' everyday sorta kiddie characters are remembered by the chattering class of which Mr.  Obama is most definitely a part of!

Wow, to think that a character whom I've grown up with via barber shop magazine racks is still vital enough to merit a mention at that, and from one of the bigger names on the behind-the-scenes deep state political machine t'boot! Of course alla this just dredges up a few thoughts regarding the once-vilified (by all but a few smarties out there) Harvey Comics line...if Donald Trump is indeed Richie Rich what does that make Obama...Hot Stuff? (Actually I was considering saying "Spooky" but I'm sure that would offend more than a few precious petunias out there which makes me wonder why I didn't use it inna first place!)
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Ss usual I do hope you like the vast array of reviews listed below (yeah, right!). All of 'em 'cept for the Plastic People effort and the Bill Shute "Virtual Thrift Store" collection were sent to me by none other'n Paul McGarry, a biped who knows how to arrive just in the nick ' time just like the cavalry right when the supplies are low and the Indians are disappointed that there's nothing to scalp on me. 'n ya know what...he actually sent a few items of worth my way this time so let's just settle back and not only imagine just how dreary a world without Paul McGarry would be, but just how DEVESTATING it would be without me!


The Plastic People of the Universe-MAN WITH NO EARS CD (Kissing Spell Records, England)

I hate to say it but I got bamboozled! Having had a fix for some be'er heard before Plastic People recordings I decided to snatch this 'un up thinkin' that it was gonna satiate my wants and desires for some late-sixties trash principles in music. However when I slapped it on I realized that this actually was but a reissue of the boffo MUZ BEZ USI collection that's been around for quite some time, here reissued to people who are rather attuned to the English as opposed to the ways of Czech readin' ritin' 'n' rythmatic. 

Well if you ain't got that 'un you can get this, and it's certainly worth the effort to track down considering just how well the Plastic People took the better moments of late-sixties rock and molded it to fit their own Eastern European vision. Some classics appear including brief covers of "Motherly Love",  "Milk Cow Blues", "Foxy Lady" and "It's All Over Now "which will naturally make your ears perk up like nothin' since Petey's. And really, how can any of you readers not relate to a song called "Rosie Rottencrotch"?
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The Grateful Dead-TERRAPIN STATION CD-r burn (originally on Grateful Dead Records)
 

Yet another offering from Public Deadhead #1 McGarry which makes me wonder just how many veggieburgers the guy has been eating as of late. Lemme tell ya, this 'un is an utter poopathon par excellence what with the funky disco version of "Dancing in the Streets" not to mention the mix 'n mulch of varying styles to nil effect on the "Terrapin Station" suite. The entire effort only goes to show ya just how much San Fran had gone HACK in its effort to be hip 'n uppa date just like all of those new hitmakers skidmarking up the airwaves in the seventies. Bohos trying to pass themselves off as everyday slobbos sittin' onna front porch and y'know, maybe it does kinda work itself  out on that level.
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Augustus Pablo-KING TUBBY MEETS UPTOWN ROCKERS CD-r burn (originally on Yard Music Records)

I dunno why Paul McGarry keeps sendin' me these old reggae spinners since I never was one who appreciate what sounds like calypso music slowed down and chopped up somewhat. But these (mostly) instrumentals from down for the struggler Augustus Pablo are quite mesmerizing with that right touch of tension and nerve which is what attracted me to "rebel music" (in the purest SLASH terminology) inna first place. Best thing about this is that some of these tracks sound almost like early-sixties popsters with even more freaked out effects than Joe Meek would have come up with during some of his more occult moments. Actually holds up well enough to capture this old fanablas' attention which is really sayin' somethin' since I won't absorb myself unto any record these days unless it has a strident Velvet Underground throb (recorded before dummies like myself even knew about it!) feel to it!
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The Pretty Things-BARE AS BONE, BRIGHT AS BLOOD CD-r burn (originally on Madfish Records)

Guess this will be the last ever real Pretty Things platter and to that I say pretty good way to go out, guys! Not sure who these Things are but I'll ass-soom that this is but Phil May singing along to Dick Taylor's guitar (with a li'l harmonica) and the two without any additional clutter sure made a great introspective inna right way deep and (gosh darn it!) moving effort that sure puts some of those other whiteguy efforts to attempt the blues in their proper place. With a whole load of our six-oh faves having disappointed us with their swan songs at least the Pretty Things don't have any reason to be ashamed of how they treated their fans!
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Nick Lowe and Los Straightjackets-WALKABOUT CD-r burn (originally on Yep Roc Records)

Didn't even know this old codger was up and about here inna twenties but he is and this 'un with Los Straightjackets has just been released for anyone and everyone who still wears their Stiff Records pins proudly.  It's pretty much what one would expect, as if Lowe's MO woulda changed any since the late-seventies, with that same sorta pop feeling and swerve that had more'n a few goofs prowling the import bins of the past just so's they could have a JESUS OF COOL 'stead of a PURE POP FOR NOW PEOPLE album in their collection. Old tracks and re-dos make this an at least one-a-lifetime spin, at least in my lifetime that is.

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The Chocolate Watchband-REVOLUTION REINVENTED CD-r burn (originally on Twenty Stone Blatt Records)

Sheesh, who do the Chocolate Watchband think they are re-recording their more famous tracks and slappin' 'em on a new (by now eight-year-old) album anyway, the Troggs? Yeah, well the Troggs' re-dos ended up on some budget label that I can't for the life of me find, and this 'un's more or less aimed towards collectors rather'n sudzy housewives so's I guess you won't be seein' it in the flea market stacks any time soon. Despite lead singer Dave Aguilar having lost his snarl I must admit that these are pretty good re-dos too that even a few of you more jaded types out there might wanna give a spin to.
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Various Artists-ODE TO SUNNY VILLAGE CLOWNS CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Here's a Shute surprise in that the entire slab o' aluminum features nothing but pre-avgarde bop that sure made for some rather decent listening while typing my latest letter to Brad Kohler. Names both familiar and not pepper up this particular spinner which comes off with some rather pure feel, even if we have to experience George Adams working out a cover of "Send in the Clowns" (well, his take was much better'n the one I heard Jerry Lewis do on some seventies variety show!). Too lazy to find out, but is the James Brown who did the "What Kinds of Man" single THEE James Brown or one of a millyun guys who happen to have the exact same name? Maybe some of you readers c'n find out for me but to be honest about it I'd say....naah!

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If you liked what's been written above then there's a good chance you'll like what was written in the wide array of BLACK TO COMM back issues that are easily enough available for whatever hopefully moral pleasure you might derive from them. But then again you might not, as if alla you tuner-inners are copasetic with the high energy rock 'n roll spirit that's been SPURTED from these pages for quite some time. Sheesh, I didn't know there were so many Ann Powers fans out there!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

BOOK REVIEW! LA FRANCE UNDERGROUND - 1965-1979 FREE JAZZ ET ROCK POP LE TEMPS DES UTOPIES  BY SERGE LOUPIEN (Rivage Rouge, 2018)

Sheesh, who woulda thought there woulda been so many books written on the French Rock Underground, especially when you consider just how many snoots out there have written off French rock 'n roll as bein' nothin' but a buncha subsputum hooey not worth lendin' an ear to! Haw, what a lie, especially when I consider just how much French rock has bolstered up my own record collection what with a load of efforts delivered to us by the likes of Skydog not to mention a whole load of heretofore forgotten wonders from the likes of acts such as Bijou, Shakin' Street, Little Bob Story and Mahogany Brain! And really, who can forget alla those great fanzines which I gotta say sure look great even if I can par-lay-voo that Francais about as well as I can understand Bill Shute's horsetrack betting logic.

And with alla that in mind lemme clue you in to this particular screed...LA FRANCE UNDERGROUND's a relatively new read detailing the birth and growth of the French musical underground, not only the rock 'n roll acts that played the under-the-counterculture soundtrack during the fifties onwards, the avgarde jazz and freeform rock 'n roll acts who are only legendary NOW outside their Gallic domains but who made quite a brash sound back in them days when music really was that soundtrack to a wild, uninhibited lifeforce that usually resulted in weird scabs appearing on your genitals but hey, that's the price you have to pay for FREEDOM!  

Hokay, there are some portions of this which I can kinda/sorta decipher, and as you can guess they are the jucier bits of the book which pretty much detail the side of French under-the-underground music that more or less fits in with the cranial mindset of most of you regular tuner-inners to this blog. Loads on the birth and growth of the new free sounds via jazz not to mention the concept of rock 'n roll as a furious fit of rage that could fit into the inner musical makeup of a French kid as well as an Amerigan one!

The likes of such freeform jazzers as  Francois Tusques  and Barney Wilen are given more'n ample space and if you'd like to see an early snap of future Rollsticks/Gong saxophonist Didier Malherbe looking rather innocent in the early-sixties look no further. The early proto-punk era which ties into the then-roaring French avgarde is also given ample space and packed with some good snaps of everyone from Daevid Allen-period Gong to even an old ad for the legendary Open Market record shop (perhaps the only record shop I'd time travel to do my shopping other'n the Drome that is) pops up. And if you want to use your handy dandy google translator you will find out some more crucial info on those Gallic groups who were elaborating on the whole Velvets/Stooges-inspired like the aforementioned Mahogany Brain to Red Noise as well as my current sure-wanna-hear-'em-NOW!'s Cruille Marteau, with former LES IDOLES co-stars Jean-Pierre Kalfon and Pierre Clementi (best known to you for the reference to him "snorting cocaine" in Patti Smith's "Space Monkey") whose form of out-there "freak rock" had some who experienced their live efforts referring to them as being "the French Velvet Underground"! Definitely one act that deserves a royal record release since this very book refers to a session for BYG (and who knows how many tapes are flowing about in a variety of Francophile collections up and about!).

Not much on Dagon (who the French Lester Bangs a.k.a Yves Adrien called the French Velvets which just might make for a three way battle with Brain and Marteau for the coveted crown!) but others like AME Son and Fille Qui Mousse, groups that really don't ascend to the true underground spirit but 'eh, are brought up. There's also a snap of an overweight Jim Morrison during his final days en Paree and considering his importance in the French scheme of things it sure ain't outta place here.

Yet another tome for the times that I wish I could really delve into despite the obvious language barrier which sure makes me wish I took French during my high stool days. Until an English translation appears try to get hold of this book, and maybe you can force your old French teacher to translate this for you while you hold a knife to her throat. Serves her right for sending you to the Principal's office for telling her that "merde" actually meant "sea of" just like Patti Smith led ya to believe!

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Believe me, I've been feeling a lot like the Mr. Bill lookalike on the right side of the page as of late. Confused and muddled might be the word for it, and even more so than usual what with the lack of music out there I would actually want to part money with for (sheesh, I've had to resort to digging out old and often neglected rarities from the past fortysome years of collecting these things...for SHAME!!!), not to mention the current political situation which is pretty much more of a toss 'n a fresh garden salad! Well, in that case I hope that the fight over who will really be president for the next four years will lead to massive violence with loads of shooting and blood flowing in the street and bodies piled up like firewood before the True God Emperor (not the grinning 'tard with the bad dentures)  eventually emerges victorious! (In Criswellian fashion I predict something big is gonna happen early December!) And hopefully that just might happen making for a future without alla those trouble-making rabble rousers who act as if they were born from the butt of Tim Yohannon causing all of that mayhem we see while getting a pass from the tee-vee and political press who kinda see 'em as being young if slightly misguided keepers of the faith! Well, it sure beats those hokey talent shows they have on tee-vee these days!

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Havin' a fun time as it is, that is when there is some time to have a li'l let loose around here. Night time dreams have been pretty wild as well, especially the one I had Wednesday night/Thursday AM where I won the Nobel Prize for somethingorother that never was clearly explained to me which would figure since nowadays they give these things out like free toy surprises (just look at the one Obama got...sheesh, and given his pro-war record HE SHOULDA GIVEN IT BACK!), but anyway I am waiting for a presentation of my award in what seems like an old barn shed or something along those lines filled with various neer do wells, and suddenly I hear from the outside that infamous Fugs song "Defeated"! I walk outside wearing my suit with no shoes (socks only, and there's a hole in the toe!) and I see three long haired and aged yippie types who did sorta look like Tuli Kupferberg and company singing and strumming along from the roof of the structure I was in. A real down home hoot so to speak, with alla the dirty words intact!

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Anyway, I don't care if you love or hate the following reviews. They're here and if you for whatever reason cannot face up to the cold hard fact that these are hard-edged writeups of music that has mattered more to many people than you would care to believe ever existed then maybe you should ditch BLOG TO COMM 'n go find one of those internet havens for confused gals with skin and parent problems who like to tie in whatever recording they're blabbing about with memories of some lost friends who were total washouts but were still worth their salt in being some of those Complete Individual Human Beings that these "ladies" like to romanticize even if they were for all intent purposes human dregs. Thanks be to the likes of Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and Stigsounds Records for the contributions to the cause...


The Glitter Band-THE ALBUMS 4-CD set (7Ts Records, England)

I remember Charlotte Pressler referring to glitter rock as being akin to a fart at a formal dinner...something that was mostly best left forgotten when discussing the history of what used to be known as rock 'n roll. Not sure of the exact quote and you can always dial up her infamous "Those Were Different Times" article if your a stickler for accuracy. But man, I gotta say that a lotta the glitter/glam music of the early/mid-seventies sure holds up way more than a lotta the amerindie music of the early-mid eighties, or the grunge plunge of the nineties, or most of those flavor of the weeks that have been slopping up the general culture that made groveling through the past few decades a rather arduous task. Those old Slade and Sweet singles do sound better here in the dark days of the twenties and y'know what, so do these Glitter Band albums which I'm sure must have excited more'n a few of those buxom British beauties you still see dancing about on various youtube clips featuring alla them shows they never did show here in the U.S. of Whoa.

Never did spin any of the records made by these former Gary Glitter sidemen (who I hope didn't share the same sexual proclivities as their boss) so you can say that they're totally up 'n at 'em to me. And even with alla that glitzy playin' and general commercial gloss the Glitter Band sound as set the controls for the heart of the MATTER as all of those other glam rarities both famous or not...pretty wild shenaniganzas that I know woulda fit snugly in any Amerigan pyjama party playlist over here as they would in whatever kinda gal get togethers they have over there (just ask Mary Bell).

Debut HEY! has the cheap commercial formula down pat, what with the Glitter guys revamping a whole load of fifties/sixties faves that were part and parcel of any pre-hippie hotcha youth's lifespan, only updated for a seventies teenbo mentality. Not the mentality of the self-conscious mindblown denizens of course but the kinda kids who populated the old PONYTAIL comic panel. And somehow hearing these neo-decadent updated versions of old Elvis and Chubby Checker hits kinda makes me glad that there were some kids with steady rock 'n roll tastes populating the same time frame as those who were buying up Cat Stevens records. Nice way they decided to borrow from "Rock 'n Roll Part Two" on their rather stunning version of "Gimme Some Lovin'".

ROCK 'N ROLL DUDES continues on, starting with a pounding popper called "For Always and Ever" whilst roaring on with some above par mid-seventies-styled wowzers that in many ways sound like dumbed down versions of the more "progressive" English deca-rock efforts of the day. But sheesh, do they sure sound life-reaffirming and refreshing when compared with some of the commercial plop that I still remember with a great dread. The plagiarisms are also out in full force giving my mind more'n a workout when phrases from at least ten past hits are crammed into one concise two-plus minute effort. Almost like a Roxy Music platter aimed at thirteen-year-olds without the TnA covers which is why those thirteen-year-old boys bought 'em inna first place! Be-Bop Deluxe without the oral sex double entendres. T. Rex for the kids who thought Bolan was perhaps a little too chubby for their tastes. All infused with the same comfy bounce that made those early Sweet singles so fantastic to the point where even the jaded druggies could go for 'em.

LISTEN TO THE BAND doesn't veer from the path much if at all, coming off just like the kinda Rodney's English Disco rave you woulda expected the thirteen-year-old girls with double D bra sizes to have gobbled up while doing their best to balance a world of Sopors and driver's ed. I can detect a little pinch of Queen here and I guess Mike Leander knew how to steal from the successes so hey, why not? But eh, even the disco instrumental and soppy ballads which I otherwise woulda skipped over are passable in a way that those James Taylor cryathons of the same strata were most certainly NOT! Actually quite refreshing even you kinda get the nerve-end tingling spider-sense feeling that perhaps the end of it all was closer'n any of us woulda expected. Kinda makes me wish that I was in some cute English lass's bedroom at the time listening to this alongside her...hehehehehehehe......

Oh oh...now it's 1976 and the Band find themselves kicked offa the teenybopper Bell label (not counting their "Prophesy" series which gave us Amon Duul I and Black Pearl) and recording for CBS. 'n with glam having gone comatose it looks as if the Glitter Band are on the way out themselves, or so would the PARIS MATCH album lead us to believe. The glossy outta focus photo should be a tip off to the fact that you just might be able to judge a record by lookin at the cover (just ask Meltzer!), and the disco pop heard within only goes to prove that the moment has passed and the shark has been jumped and that for all intent purposes THE GLITTER BAND HAVE HAD IT!!!! Pffft, finito, zip...archaic within a few mere months of having been quite something that was part and parcel of good seventies rock 'n roll music.  However, I am sure that one could, with a few tweaks of their listening parameters, find this somewhat cheezy yet pop enough for their own skewered tastes. 

Well...maybe that would be stretching things quite a bit but still, you just might find some worthwhile music to be found such as I did on the passable "Hard to Settle Down". Look out for their discofied cover of "Sympathy For the Devil" if you want some rather jarring node sensations to start popping in your very own cranium.

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AMON DUUL II CD-r burn (Stigsounds Records)

A new label with an incredibly limited press run (one only!) debuts with this collection of rare Amon Duul II recordings from the early seventies taken from what were thought were long-lost television broadcasts. Great for those of you who were around back when Lester Bangs was raving about these guys bein' a teutonic horrorshow rock extravaganza 'r something to that effect what with some pretty interesting extrapolations on material that showed up on those classic albums that were mostly available via import bins (tho a few did make 'em into the domestic piles). One listen to this'll show ya why many of the experimental rock cadre heard from the eighties onwards were nothing but pale imitations of the TRUE FORM!!!

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Ty Segall-TY REX CD-r burn (originally on Goner Records)

Haw, a pretty good tribute to the one called Bolan featuring the under-the-underground musician Ty Segall doin' his durndest to resurrect the waves of T. Rextacy that swept England way back when I was just starting to understand what was so special about girls with lumpy sweaters. I gotta admit that Segall does a pretty snat job of paying tribute to the one called Bolan on these very entertaining covers, but like with just about alla these efforts its only good for one or two spins before getting filed away with the rest of these similar-minded efforts. After all, the real thing is still within the reach of your pinkies and frankly, they always did sound better anyway.

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LOWELL DAVIDSON TRIO CD (ESP-disk/ZYX Music)

One I pulled out if only due to desperation that not that much new was hitting my hemispheres as of late. Good choice on my part too given the breadths and depths of Davidson's pianismo and the fact that the guy was offed long before his talents could have been  developed any further. Vaguely like Cecil Taylor with a tad of Bley with a feel to it as if Davidson's trying to "get there" but thankfully goes off on his own personal tangent. 

The fact that Gary Peacock and Milford Graves appear helps plenty. Slow, moody, enveloping and of course perfect for these dark autumn evenings when the skies cast that feral mystical blanket of dank across the landscape (yeah, I actually wrote that...and I'm not embarrassed either even though for all intent purposes I should be!).

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Various Artists-WYLD SIDES VOLUME 8 CD-r burn

It still amazes me just how many of these local records there were back inna sixties. An' hey, a good portion of 'em were well made, enjoyable and not as dated as hippie-minded "rock fans" would lead you to believe. This WYLD SIDES series presents some of the rarer sixties local platters that naturally went nowhere outside of their burghs or even that far, but for the most part they did serve their purpose in exciting a few teenagers who were trying to escape the humdrums of the day. 

Surprises include the Wailers spinoff the Rooks goin' even more British Invasion than the Wailers did on "I'm Down" (more Dave Clark Five than Beatles), the Bitter Sweets risking a hefty lawsuit from the Byrds with "Cry Your Eyes Out", the Brotherly Lovers' folk rockin' "I'm Gonna Try" and of course "The Name of the Game is Love" by the Renaissance who later dropped the "the" from their name and made such legendary rockin' platters as MOTHER RUSSIA which continue to resonate within many a high energy record collection lo these many years later.

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Various Artists-HOMEFIRE BULLDOG SUNSHINE APARTMENT CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Another big surprise that helped take the edge offa my usual workaday worries like nothing since Vaseline Intensive Care. Some pretty hotcha things here including the oft-heard Slade interpretation of "The Shape of Things to Come" to the Julie Driscoll/Brian Auger/Trinity hit "This Wheel's On Fire" which I brought up in my review of the Polydor budget collection a few months or so back. Some surprises include Youngstown Ohio's Tom Calhoun who does this postwar-styled shiny teeth'n brylcreem number called "Sunshine Girl" which I actually thought was gonna be a cover of the Left End single (!) as well as a track by an act called Henry Turtle who I thought were going to be an imitation of Henry Cow! They're pretty much yet another one of those late-sixties soft pop types who do a middling job swiping from the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby". Coulda done without the more hippoid heavy rockers but otherwise a pretty solid set of sounds to be found, hound!

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Always remember---BLACK TO COMM back issues are NEVER past their "best by" dates! Still as fresh as the day they were birthed, these mags are as smooth, as rounded, as fully packed, as quick and easy on the draw as they were back when things like rock 'n roll and cheapo reruns were still a very major part of our lives. Those things still are important to us of course, and so should these not-so-legendary crudzines which I hope you do take off my hands before the landfill eventually gets hold of 'em. I really would hate to see my life's work placed a hundred feet beneath some of those new atrocities that pass for houses these days.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

BOOK REVIEW! GOLDEN AGE DR. OCCULT : THE COMPLETE MORE FUN COMICS STORIES BY LEGER AND REUTHS (GWANDANALAND COMICS)

I often tell my close, personal friends like Don Fellman that I am mentally retarded! And yeah, in my own cornballus suburban slob way I must admit that I am proud to tell 'em so. However, it's not like I'm one of those kind of low IQ types who have to be institutionalized complete with a drool cup or the kind who lope around the neighborhood where the kids can beat 'em up, but one whose mind is permanently stuck at age thirteen which makes me more or less an overgrown adolescent gosharootie than it does a full grown slob trying to meet up with his turdler funtime roots.

Yes, this old corpsie that I reside in is but a vessel for a guy who never really made it outta fifth-grade hygiene class alive, a guy who for the most part thinks all gals are ikky (and considering the gals I usually hafta put up with, why not?) and one who would rather spend an evening watching fifties tee-vee and reading old comic books than going to the local bar to eyeball flatsie gals who think they've got Mae West all beat trying to do their best to shake their tater tot toogles!

CASE IN POINT...just this past week I got hold of the Gwandanaland collection of what is purported to be the entire run of DR. OCCULT, the pre-SUPERMAN Jerry Seigel and Jerome Schuster character that sorta set the stage for the entire DC universe what with his mystical powers and dabblings in an underworld of the forbidden that predated a whole slew of comic heroes who were more magician than muscleman. So what did I do on a rather cool weekend when I shoulda been out raking leaves and acting like the productive member of society that I'm supposed to be? Nothin' but sittin' in my bedroom reading the entire run of this much-needed obscurity with the same intense voracity that I would had I got hold of this 'un during my early comic book reading days almost a half-century back!

An' boy, even in my advanced stages of mental decay did I feel swell! Almost like it actually was the early-seventies and like I was that nerdo goofoff doof once more only my cyster's AM radio was not blarin' from the other room and dog Sam wasn't sneakin' around when nobody was lookin'. Yeah, I felt GREAT once again, 'n in that early-teenbo sorta way when things like music and comics and sneak peaks at NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC pearl diver issues really had a strong, life-reinforcing hold on ya!

But enough of that and on to Dr. Occult. Some blabs have mentioned him as being the first costumed crime fighter but since the Phantom did precede him and besides he only wore a costume in one adventure I'll toss that 'un off. However Dr. Occult was a pretty on-target hero, part Dick Tracy detective and part Dr. Strange (or better yet Dr. Droom what with that trench coat 'n all) who uses his knowledge of the hidden realm to solve some of the stranger mysteries to hit the pages of 1930s comicdom. And considering the vampires and other bugaboos he comes up against well, he sure better have a good handle on how to take care of these demonic threats which seem to be enveloping his world week after week!

These sagas have also got that good ol' Jerry Schuster art ya also got with SLAM BRADLEY an' of course those early SUPERMANs (not forgetting those S/M works with a suspiciously-looking Man of Steel ' n Lois all tied up like roast beef in the butcher shop) and if you do squint your eyes a bit especially during the episode where Occult dons a caped costume the guy even LOOKS like an early Superman prototype right down to the li'l curl on his forehead. 

And with galpal Rose Psychic resembling the early Lois well, all I gotta say is that if your mind tends to flash back to early takes on well-known comic book tropes the way wags like me see all sorts of pre-Marvel Age of Comics precursors in the early Lee/Kirby/Ditko monster/fantasy stories well, you'll be up to your subconscious finding future hints of ideas that would eventually be padded out AND MAKE MILLIONS FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED EXCEPT FOR JEROME SEIGEL AND JERRY SHUSTER!

A few "caveats" exist what with some of the poor source material, some so bad that bold text had to be added to word balloons and captions, plus some of the stories that were "to be continued" just weren't, leaving Our Hero in a most precarious state that woulda had me chewin' my nails down to the knuckles had I read these as an overemotional kid! 

Despite this, true blue comic book fans will definitely glom over these various "setbacks" in order to enjoy some good pre-pretentious and non-boggled comic sagas. And now they're presented for our enjoyment without the threat of National's lawyers bearing down on the people who presented this to us in the first place!

Saturday, November 07, 2020

Boy ain't this been a week! Are ya still biting your nails while sitting on needles and pins over how the election's gonna turn out 'n all like I am??? Sheesh, I haven't been this gut-wrenching nervous since my mother was cleaning up my room and I forgot to hide my NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICs! Whatever, it sure is making me queasy thinking of how this particular contest will go ('n probably for months!), and of course you all know who I'm rooting for as if a return to the political ways of yore (four more years? more like four more EONS) is anything that would particularly suit my fancy!

Sheesh, at this point in time I don't know what the future holds in store---though the fact of four years of the self-conscious and oh-so-virtuous rabble seen today with all of the modern day equivalents of the Social Planners and Old Scolds of yore once again wielding even more power than they every should have been given doesn't do exactly too much good for my tummy. If Biden does get in you can say goodbye to the Peace President as well as a guy who, for all intent purposes, was the closest thing we'll ever get to a real life John Galt, or much better yet Rex Grainge. Someone who stands up against whatever that monolith (NWO/Deep State/the dictatorship of the pampered midclass pout with daddy issues...) that unfortunately too many of you see as the keystone to a healthy utopia where we can all throw frisbees in the park without being hassled by the man. 

Back to the same old...Democrats and Republicans you can't tell apart and even more rabble out on the street rending garments to every perceived slight in this world which only makes me beg the question...whatever happened to "Shoot To Kill" orders anyway?

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Yet all things seem good enough to warrant what just might be a positive future, at least for myself that is.  However it ain't due to the influx of much new and interesting music...I mean if it weren't for the offerings of Bob Forward, Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and myself there wouldn't be that much to write about this week, eh? Let's face it, rock 'n roll as we knew and loved it has been dead for a good four-plus decades and its come to the point where even the leftover tidbits are drying up more than an Ethiopian mother's teat. Of course there are plenty of good recordings waiting to be unearthed and presented, but the flow sure ain't as powerful as it was back when things like music really were the soundtrack for more'n a few sprouting teenbos' (and before, and beyond) way of existence. Now that's a dry spell I certainly can do without...

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I JUST KNOW HOW HELPFUL YOU BLOG TO COMM READERS ARE, so maybe you can give me just a little assist with this particular issue that has been bugging me inna head for quite some time. Quite awhile back I came across an ebay listing for a group called the Velvets, not "thee" doo wop group of fame or any variations thereof but an early-seventies garage band who put a single out on yet another one of those small labels whose name escapes me which makes my trek to find out about 'em all the more difficult. The auction listing erroneously mentioned that this record was by what was left of none other than our faves the Velvet Underground which at the time was something that did pique my interest in this act if only in the slightest. I managed to locate a Youtube link to the single's a-side which has since seemed to vanish plus I recall a brief mention of the rec online somewhere that brought up the fact they were comped (an' of course the name of this platter has also slipped away from my sieve-like mind). With so little to go on all I gotta ask is...any of you loyal COMM-sters out there able to tell me just who these particular Velvets were and perhaps give me the name(s) of whatever collections these sides might appear? I know some of you readers haven't done your "good deed" ALL YEAR so now might be the time to make up for your past selfish indiscretions! 'n with that note...


Alternative T.V.-VIVA LA ROCK 'N' ROLL 3-CD set (Cherry Red Records, England)

Although I find more'n just a "little" bitta worth in the entire run of the legendary SNIFFIN' GLUE fanzine I gotta admit that it pales next to the wide variety of competing home-made efforts both British (THE NEXT BIG THING, JUNGLELAND...) and elsewhere (as if you didn't already know by reading my fanzine rundown two weeks back!). To me GLUE editor/published Mark Perry's best claim to any sorta seventies punk-as-trash mantle is better served by his work with Alternative T.V. and the Good Missionaries, acts which really put the avant into punk rock and gave more'n a few pretentious late-teens an excuse to be both cool 'n to explore their inner sense of artistic appreciation or such other drivel that we used to justify our sometimes wobbly tastes in sound. 

This box's got all three of the ATV/Missionaries longplayers plus the Perry "solo" 'un along with the rare single and outtakes that they always pack these long-after-the-fact reissues with. It's a good job and a good buy as well, cheap enough especially for alla us who hadda pay out the ol schnoz for imports forty years back but can now get everything we dreamed of seventies underground-wise for a mere bagatelle. 

Of course as we stand in history these days we are more or less the modern day equivalent of those oldsters back when I was a budding puber who would buy those big band collections the Longines Symphonette would hawk via Helen O'Connell on tee-vee. Only we still can't afford to head out to the local classy restaurant each and every Saturday night like yer unca and aunt usedta for years on end...go figure.

The ATV/Missionaries 'uns are nice 'n loose...good enough altho failing to reach the inner core of one's being and other hippie jargon unlike the wide assortment of ATV live platters from the same strata. I chalk it up to the discordance of these live/studio mash-ups which just don't keep your attention the way great atonal drone is supposed to. Still some better'n average surprises like the original "Love Lies Limp" which is some of the better phony reggae punk to emanate from these Angloid dodos' minds.

I prefer LP #2 VIBING UP THE SENILE MAN which shows not only the strong influence of various proto-industrial and free flap recordings but has the perfect aura to send one into total warp minded duncitude. The perfect backdrop (along with THE MARBLE INDEX 'n a few of the more "out" Lol Coxhill and/or Henry Cow-related efforts lingering about) for an evening of body modification. The great "The Force is Blind' single (which introduced me to this group way back '79 way 'n purchased on A MERE WHIM...the proggoid record clerk could give me no information on 'em whatsoever) sure brings back memories of a simpler, more doofoid time in my life while the Peel stuff is also fun to compare to the real deal, and at times can be infinitely better as well! 

SNAPPY TURNS is about as much a solo Mark Perry platter as those Frank Zappa albums were solo what with all those Mothers backing him up. But it sure has a more skewered outlook with those offkey vocals revealing unrequited somethingorother (can't be love) along with the diddling music created by squeaky violins and clarinets and faux angular funk backing which in some ways sounds more or less like a spoof of what had become of punk-unto-punque once the eighties rolled about. I'll bet it was the comedy hit of the season.

Doubt it'll be getting hefty repeato spin time 'round here but VIVA LA ROCK 'N' ROLL just might make thee backdrop to your next art project or trip to the transvestite botique nearest you. And although Perry's SNIFFIN' GLUE really didn't hold a candle to Mike Scott's JUNGLELAND at least you can say his music sure beat Oasis and the Waterboys all hollow.

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The Fundamentalists-A SLUG OF THE TRUTH DRUG CD-r burn (Walls Flowing, write ubgun12@yahoo.com if ya wanna get hold of the thing)

Hah, some guitar work gives me the impression that these Fundamentalists are trying to ape the opioid gutter sounds of Mahogany Brain. But then there's a whole lotta that sound and tape mangipulation that brings back the earlier musique concrete side of this ongoing project. It does keep you goin' more'n Ex-lax and did make for a good backdrop to some Sunday afternoon free time reading so like, why should I complain?

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SILVERTONE TREMELO E.P. CD-r burn (Walls Burning, see above for more info)

A shortie (13 + minutes) but still kinda/sorta memorable effort from the same guy who gave you all of those other Walls Burning Cee-Dee-Ares to split your nerve endings to. Slow mo drone with a beat which for some reasons reminds me of something Nurse With Would woulda whipped up somewhere down the line. At one point it kinda sounds like a fetus fiddling around with a Stylophone and another the same blob goofing off with an electric guitar (a Silvertone no less) on tremelo, though I wonder how any of those woulda gotten up there??? Ow!

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Spykes and Parashi-EMPTY ROADS IN STAGNANT SPEECH CD-r burn 

I reviewed these guys' single back March 21st of this year and now I happen to come across a Cee-Dee-Are of 'em that Bob Forward definitely DID send me because his standard style of printing is all over the gol-durn thing! As I woulda expected there's more of that neo-avgarde improve cum jazz sound on these that I must say I still find rather exhilarating in a METAL MACHINE MUSIC sorta way. Electronic sound bubbling about as various woodwinds and what I'll swear is a musical saw weave in and out of the blare 'n it comes off better'n what a usually skeptical type like I woulda expected. All I gotta say is, if yer paw or da gals call you a weirdo for listening to this, then man you have SUCCEEDED!!!!!

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The Cramps-ROCKINNREELININAUCKLANDNEWZEALAND Cd-r burn (originally on Vengeance Records)

It's been around fo-revver, but not being able to snatch up every shard of musical mayhem that I woulda likd to've back in them days it's nice hearin' it at my advanced age. It's what I woulda expected from these guys at that stage in their career, straight-ahead punkabilly with the usual sidesteps into suburban ranch house rockola circa 1963 thrown in for good measure. It also has this really glossy hi-fi sound that woulda gotten your stereo nut daddy all agog had he heard it in his knotty pine den way back when. The music woulda offended him deeply, but the sound...whew!

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Various Artists-FIFTH ROGUE RING ZOMBIE-FIED CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

One-a-those Bill Shute burns that really keeps me goin' through one of those days off in which I try to recover from the past five days of treacherous labor. The surprises always abound, from the weirdo mystery early-sixties gal singer platter to some more of that weepy lonely teenbo garage rock Bill seems so fond of, not to mention a rare Zombies side and THE BILL RING SHOW, a ray-dee-oh program which presents more of that western swing that is bound to alienate more'n a few BLOG TO COMM readers who happened to tune in thinking they were gonna read a complete list of Laura Nyro neuroses coupled with some Joni Mitchell oracular mysteries revealed. Closing out this efforts' what seems like a COMPLETE ALBUM from Columbus's Fifth Order, an act that I assume has gone under the radar of even the more astute Ohio six-oh rock historians. Well, considering how good they were with their brittle yet forceful appearance here I can see why the usual AOR doofs would ignore 'em like the weird green pus comin' outta their genitals.

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A hundred years from now (or actually fifty-four) when Elliot Murphy's rock 'n roll history class is in full session you can bet that the mandatory student reading list will include back issues of BLACK TO COMM! Of course by that time I'm sure to be wormfood and will not be basking in the glory of my fame. Until then maybe you can purchase some of these not-so-legendary rags just so's I can at least bask in some monetary glory before I check into that big cheap record shop with sawdust onna floor up there in the sky.  

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

BOOK REVIEW! PETER AND THE WOLVES BY ADELE BERTEI (Smog Veil, 2020)

Well I gotta say that the wait was long enough, but yet another addition to the ever-growing Peter Laughner legacy has been documented. This time by none other than noted Cle/NYC scenester Adele Bertei who besides being a roomie of Laughner's for a number of months '76/'77, was front and center as the frontwoman in his final group "The Wolves" (which I always thought were called "Peter and the Wolves" as was his earlier effort with various Pere Ubusters and Cindy Black...learn something new every day!). Of course that was before she headed out to En Why See and spent her time basking in some bigtime limelighting thanks to her activities not only as a Contortion but a Blood and an under-the-underground personality/film star before her star shot into areas quite outside the realm of BLOG TO COMM (Sandra Bernhardt, Tears for Fears...) but eh, as you all should know by now that's her business no matter how sordid it may be.

'n yeah, I have been waiting some time to lend ear to her side of the Laughner as intellectual punk story, especially since I have heard some rather dreadful sagas regarding her and the famed rockscribe/local raconteur, and would you believe from Laughner's own mother*, who would sometimes burst into utter shards of overwhelming despair when describing the treatment her son got at the hands of supposed friends who had given him the ol' backstab?  Another side to the story would most surely be welcome to a man like me who wants to know more than just the patented and official side of the saga. And do it she does and in a pretty decent, talk-to-you way that doesn't make you think that she's some domineering tyrant queen who is so high and mighty that every mere keystroke from her computer should be treated with all of the sacredness and awe as one of the Dalai Lama's turds.

This book does give us a lotta insight into just what kind of a man Laughner was, from his musical tastes (which were rather broad as you would have gathered from his collected reviews available in the book accompanying last year's box set) to his various groupings and eventual downfall which I now see as rather inevitable given the man's penchant for pleasure-inducing self-destruction. Along the way Bertei doesn't dismiss the man in any real way---her recounting of the group firing Laughner is told with tears rather than disdain, a difficult task for her to have done considering just how much the man had bolstered her musical ambitions. 'n although the guy sure made a load of enemies along the way and is still regarded as Public Jerkoff #1 by some of the surviving members of the seventies Cle underground well, I sure don't get the idea that Bertei is among the Laughner loathers after reading this precious tome. Besides, I can see how grieving mothers can have their outlooks colored with "what ifs" and "maybe they should have"'s like a whole load of us regular people who tend to look back on our youth as one big wasted experience that could have been way better IF ONLY...

There're also some great personal recollections. The Electric Eels' Dave E is portrayed as a real cool rock guy nicer'n nice could be (though why no mention of Bertei's appearance at one of the two Eclectic Eels rehearsals circa late Summer '76?) while John Morton's reputation for being a larger than everyone else domineering force is only buffered by Bertei's first hand encounters. Not surprisingly, considering some of the reports I've heard from various hands on deck, the seventies-vintage Crocus Behemoth comes off as an overbearing and irritable (downright malevolent?) person which might have been why those early Ubu recordings were so vital to many late-seventies record collections. 

Other local greats pop up along the way from Miriam Linna to Bradley Field and of course some internationally well-knowns as Lester Bangs who just mighta gotten this whole Laughner deification ball rolling with his NY ROCKER obit. And for those of you who miss the early hard drive of the ROCKER to the old cathartic thrill of what the 1964-1981 era of rock 'n roll as that overdriven soundtrack to your own personal reason for being then well, this book really should dredge up a whole load of throb thrill memories both evil and good. It's been a good week or so since I polished it up in a good evening and the effects are still raging.

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* 'n boy did she have the stories, like the one about the time Bertei wanted to impress Peter's mother who was celebrating Orthodox Christmas by shoplifting a poinsettia from some convenience store for a get-together that was being held.