Sunday, May 21, 2006

Various Artists-SON OF HAM (HAMS VOL. 2); HOGWATCH (HAMS VOL. 3) CDs (via UNCLE HARRY'S CITY KIDS fanzine, Debasement 20, Buckingham Place, Brighton BN1 3PJ England...write to them @ [I tried linking it up so all you'd have to do it press the address itself but to no avail...sorry!])

Not much newz for youze in the world of BLOG TO COMM-dom today troopers, in fact, there ain't even any illios to drive whatever point I have to make to you lead-heads across which goes to show you just how comatose I've been o'er the past few days. It's been a slow week anyway...well, not exactly slow (note blogmeister slipping into his Mr. Kimball-esque addled mode which seems to be more'n part and parcel to his current mental capabilities or lack thereof, but what would you expect from a rockist maniac who is suffering from early-Velvets drone withdrawal anyway???)...I've more or less been preoccupied with other endeavors which will be dealt with in a future (maybe next week!) posting and since it ain't exactly related to my musical endeavors per se I thought I'd just hold off on this TOP SECRET PROJECT for the time being and review these two slabs that have only recently come my way, these perhaps being the only newies worth mentioning in a week that even your overly-rambunctious blogschpieler must admit was less than stellar, in fact even Schiavo-esqe.

Anyway, the Cee-Dees in question for today's nitpick are vols. 2 and 3 of the UNCLE HARRY'S CITY KIDS series which, in keeping with that mag's undying devotion to everything Deviants-related, feature a slew of ripe obscurities that people the caliber of myself never thought would see the light of day no matter how many eons mankind lasted until evolving into something even more pimple-infested. Now, if anyone has read some of the magazoons I've put out in the early-to-mid-nineties they'd be familiar with the UHCK bunch and all of the hard work they have done to propagate the Deviants name, and if one would look even harder (like, issue #20) maybe they'd see a review of the first volume of this series back when it was a cassette-only affair that still knocked this reviewer for a loop which was no mean feat considering the slew of fine tuneage being reissued at the time. Since those days the UHCK people have stepped things up so to speak with shiny pancakes replacing the jam-packed (meaning that them things JAM and crinkle up in your player!) cassettes of yore, and although they have climbed up another rung of the evolutionary scale be thankful that the music contained herein ain't some glossed-over technologically-proficient upheaval but the same ol' low-fidelity high-energy crank-out that we've come to expect from the Ladbrook Grove groovers ever since their worthiness was boosted thanks to the tireless efforts of a few NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS scribes who had nothing better to do, thank goodniz.

Unfortunately nobody's uncovered any original Deviants booty even after all these years, but that doesn't mean there's a shortage of Mick Farren's nasal bellow a-tall! In fact Farren can be heard in a number of settings from Tijuana Bible (the original rock-band-oriented Bible ca. '87 live at CBGB, not the poetry and music variant that recorded the GRINGO MADNESS Cee-Dee a few years later) doing the show-stopping "Memphis Psychosis" as well as a "Be Bop a Lula" that might even top Alan Vega's, not forgetting his early-nineties Los Angeles-based Lunar Malice amongst other neat aberrations. I particularly liked the studio take of his "Disgruntled Employee" (with ex-Bloodwyn Pig Jack Lancaster and Wayne Kramer doing the backing) which originally appeared on THE DEATH RAY TAPES about ten years back...and given its tres-mid-seventies usage of Velvet Underground riffage on a krautpunky platform (think Robert Calvert's CAPTAIN LOCKHEED AND THE STARFIGHTERS) maybe there still is some drone being done in the classic fashion to satiate even an ever-jaded stickler such as I!

Of course the Pink Fairies are more than represented, mostly in their spinoffs and asides which always seemed to have excited me as much as the original groupings have. Tracks from Larry Wallis' unreleased Stiff Records elpee (with Deke Leonard of Man and Pete Thomas of Elvis Costello's Attractions helping out) to such post-Fairies ruminations as the Lightning Raiders, Flying Colours and Fairyhead (Andy Colquhoun with Philthy Animal Taylor...geddit???) pop up with such alarming frequency that although the passerby won't understand what all the fuss is the anal-retentive Devies/Fairies fanatic will. And what's best (this being a sampler containing tracks from various sources and varying qualities) is that it all holds together pretty snat-like with a neat continuity to it that one could only find in a sampling of the creme-de-la-Deviant-crop. The high-point of the series so far...the ne-er before issued take of the Pink Fairies' "Marilyn" from a '73 BBC John Peel session recorded during the short time that ex-Junior's Eyes/Tickle/James Taylor (!) guitarist Mick Wayne held down the frontman chair, and from the sounds of it (hoarse screaming mess of vocalese within the frame of a wild performance that bears little resemblance to the song that appeared on WHAT A BUNCH OF SWEETIES) you would have thought that Wayne had disintegrated rather than got kicked outta the band!

IN OTHER NEWS: I've been boning up on my comic book swamp-encrusted monsters as of late, and besides reading more and more about the Heap (not only Hillman's proto-Hulk of the forties who appeared in the back pages of AIRBOY comics but the MAD spoof of "Outer Sanctum" fame) I've begun to pay more and more attention to the likes of such mimics as the Glob (short-time Hulk adversary in the late-sixties), the Man-Thing (pretty much outright Heap-swipe complete w/mini-elephant-like snoutage) and National's SWAMP THING (be sure to miss the movie!). Weirdest variant on this doomed man who becomes living swamp story so far is the original take on the "legend", dating back to the "golden age" of the pulps back in '40 (and written by noted Sci-Fi writer Theodore Sturgeon) called "IT!"...Marvel did a pretty neat adaptation (despite the Roy Thomas-drenched artistic prose-snooze so common amongst the comic book writers trying to disprove Wertham at every turn) in '72 in the first issue of SUPERNATURAL THRILLERS and I did encounter a batch of GIANT-SIZE MAN THING annuals which, besides featuring a number of sagas I'm sure to like despite the patented seventies liberal outlooks that come to think of it haven't aged (ecological concerns and greedy businessmen being the norm) contain those great pre-hero Marvel reprints I've loved for so long including the last "original" Dr Droom/Druid saga, this time drawn by nth-stringer Paul Reinman. (The later MAN-THINGs have bonus Howard the Duck stories, and call me a crank or whatever but I never did cozy up to that character, and in fact considered him such a bad turn in seventies comicdom which I thought was akin to the same bad turns STAR WARS and disco were to the movies and music that was "going down" in the same era I unfortunately hadda come of age in!) All in all I think I'll have a ball romping through those tales despite any bad injection of the lesser aspects of seventies riffage...though there's one thing I gotta ask ya and that's do any of you know of any major Heap collections that might be floating around out there in reprint land? All I have is one measly anthology appearance and frankly I think this long-time fave-rave is deserving of his, or its own retro appraisal dontcha think?

Oh, and one more thing before closing down the comic queries (and post) for today...I'm trying to find that issue (from mid-'71 or so, one of the last fifteen-centers if anyone out there remembers) of one of those Marvel sci-fi/horror reprint titles (perhaps CHAMBER OF HORRORS, or even one of the old standbys like MONSTERS ON THE PROWL/CREATURES ON THE LOOSE/WHERE MONSTERS DWELL and so forth) which had what the Bullpen Bulletin eerily billed as an "underground comic!" I believe I had a typically beat copy of this issue sometime during my avid comic collecting days and (as usual) wouldn't mind obtaining another one, if only I knew the title and issue number. Considering how Stan Lee was agog over the whole underground comix spectrum and even published a pre-ARCADE bigtime-distribution title of Denis Kitchen's via Curtis (COMIX BOOK I issue even featuring wordage from none other than Richard Meltzer!) it's no surprise that he would snatch one of the underground horror artists (perhaps Greg Irons, more likely Richard Corben) for an allegedly Code-approved saga which I wouldn't mind reacquainting myself with. If anyone can point me towards the title and number of this particular publication a special NO PRIZE awaits you!

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