Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Good thing this Cee-Dee arrived when it did...y'see, I'm just not getting enough of a boss 1959-1963 fix in my life, and all of those LEAVE IT TO BEAVER reruns and COMBAT discs just aren't enough for me to osmose into those great times of high-energy TV and low-quality lunch meat. Neither are my early Marvel reprints nor a steady Hostess Twinkies/Yoo-Hoo diet helping matters much, and even a cruise down the main drag can't elicit any cool 1962 energies a'stirrin' in my soul like they should. (Of course, if the strip still had alla them old drive-ins with the George Jetson-styled early-sixties space age designs and used car lots and mini-plazas like it usedta then maybe my 40+-year urges'd be satiated for once! But who knows if I can really go home again!) So it's grand that the wonderful people at Norton Records sent me a copy of this 'un or else I'd probably go nuts and start drooling over 1969-1973 gulcher...LANCELOT LINK! NANNY AND THE PROFESSOR!! PAUL LYNDE!!!

An Arch Hall Jr. disque certainly is something that people like me have been waiting for ever since the Norton folks (who remain who else but Billy Miller and Miriam Linna) printed that hotcha story on Arch and his films way back in one of those eighties issues of KICKS (a fanzine that was one of the bigger influences on my BLACK TO COMM...please don't hurt them!!!). Believe me, that saga of a kid who was more or less tossed into the teenage idol whirlpool by his father and all he hadda show for it were a buncha good zilch-grade films and a short-lived singing career was just something that appealed to my pre-hippie funtime Amerigan sense of cheepniz, and soon after that missive hit the stands I was on the search not only for videos of Hall's flicks (which got dubbed for me usually at low speed on cheap VCR's which I didn't mind considering that most of the people who first saw these films on TV probably saw them in worse quality via some distant UHF station) but for his recordings that were hopefully available via the vast array of reissues that were beginning to clog the collections of a lotta anal-retentive compulsives like me. Naturally a few of Arch's single sides (one actually released on STEVE ALLEN's label if you can believe that!) did pop up on a variety of those great sixties samplers that I was buying up (and reviewing) a decade back, and come to think of it, the Norton people had a hand in those too which might make one think there was something a li'l shady going on, but if you ask me, all I gotta say is they sure knew how to MILK a long-gone teenage-idol wannabe for all he's worth!

Anyway here's an actual Arch Hall Jr. CD. It's got a whole buncha stuff from singles, films, live gigs, and to top it off a lotta classic dialogue between tracks kinda like the PULP FICTION soundtrack, but at least Hall's flicks weren't film geek pretentious with lotsa swearin' to boot! What you do get is about eighty minutes of boss music, all them cool lines that should be spouted off by YOU in group situations just like people trying to be hip at gatherings always do that "pucker up and blow" routine, 'n not only THAT but we also get a whole buncha live recordings tagged at the end, most of 'em from a Drive In appearance in Pensacola during the hot month of December, 1962 even if the definitive book notes tell us that it was freezing cold that night Arch and band took to the stage! (And you can just see the kiddies in front in their jammies on the swings and jungle jim, complete with mittens 'n overcoats weaving and bobbing while Arch and band belt out "Suzie Q"!!!)

You'll probably be disappointed in Arch and the Archers if you think this is gonna be a wild and raving Northwest-styled screamfest or at least something Ralph Neilsen or Link Wray woulda whipped up. But don't...Arch Hall is still the master of great early-sixties fun and games not only on his pleasant, steady-rocking single sides and film tracks (which include the eerie theme to EEGAH recorded with an organ borrowed from Arch's mom!) but live and in action where he trots out a lotta the current top forty (Ricky Nelson...) and does 'em his way! Not only that, but the wacky between-song patter (including a spot where WILD GUITAR co-star Nancy Czar interviews Our Hero onstage!) is worth the price of admission, and it all holds up better'n not only all of the lesser aspects of what was going on at the time (pre-packaged teen idols with little verve, budding folkies...) but ranks well with the best stuff from that musical era that everybody seems to love putting down despite all the evidence to the contrary (the Tornados, early Beach Boys...).

And, as is expected from Norton's high quality stable, the whole thing comes with a nice li'l booklet complete not only with the usual rare snaps and informative bits of trivia (like, did you know that one of Hall's Archers was none other than Dobie Gray of "In Crowd" and "Drift Away" fame???), but it also comes with that smooth and underappreciated writing style courtesy of none other than Miriam Linna herself. Being a fan of Ms. L's style for quite some time I've always wondered why the lady never made it "big" on the rock scribner circuit especially since her work for fanzines and other mags has always seemed so tippity-top notch in a world where "aspiring" rock writers ("critics" and otherwise) seem to be more or less doing a written version of the act commonly known as "felching." The answer to this query came to me only recently...the ONLY reason Miriam Linna never "made it" as a pro writer is because she's good! And in a world of flaccid alternative rock and Quinlanesque big hypes that never do go anywhere, is there really any room for good writing in the current "rock" scene?

With a package like this who can go wrong? It's only February, but this one just might tie the Chinaboise CD for best archival dig of 2005! Geddit??? GET IT!!!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ditto to all of this; and ditto again; 59-63 forever