Sunday, December 31, 2006


Y'know, I sorta feel like some respected radio announcer of yore or classic editorial columnist sitting here in my lofty blogger chair giving you the lowdown on all the good and bad that has been part and parcel of this gone-before-our-eyes year of 2006! And it's no wonder I have these warm-'n-toasty feelings regarding the last day of any year even this far down the line. After all, back when my extended family (uncles/aunts/cousins) was bursting with baby-boomer kiddies and the older generation was still sturdy enough to put on New Year's Eve parties (with the elders in the basement watching Guylum Bardot while the kids would be cluttered upstairs listening to the Top 40) these shindigs were really something to look forward to given all of the rambunctious hubbub that would be going on all over the house. I remember the '70 capper clearly, especially when the deaths of Jimi and Janis were displayed (with pix!) in the paper as being highlights of that wild year, while the following one was pretty hot in itself given it was perhaps the closing moments of one of my top fave Christmas holidays ever. Naturally I did express some not-so-feigned dismay when "Bang A Gong," then not only my top fave of '71 but the early-seventies for that matter, made it to a measly number thirtysomething on the WHOT-AM top 100 countdown, but for some odd reason that very night I also decided that maybe those Marvel comics (which I had previously thought were way too convoluted!) I got for Christmas weren't so bad after all! (These mags included the great AVENGERS Kree/Skrull wars conclusion where Rick Jones conjured up a whole slew of Golden Age Marvel characters which was boffo for a classic comic fan like least I remember suddenly being swept up in 'em whilst reading the things at two AM New Year's Day!) Later on New Years celebrations weren't as all-out as they were when I was a kid (after all, what is there to do comes December 31 when you're stuck inside of Sharon with the New York blues again?), but I gotta say that even with the clampdowns and general lethargy seeping into all corners of life at least we still got a December 31 to sort out the previous 364 days of mayhem and put it all in a proper perspective, or the trash can whatever the case may be.

If you want my general consensus of '06 all I gotta say is that it was...OK. Thankfully there were no major crises here at BLOG TO COMM central, and although things ($$$$ situations, availability of recordings I would like to hear) could have been better they also could have been worse. And if that makes me a Pollyanna then just slap a dress on me and call me Hayley Mills! True there weren't any really blockbuster disques coming out this year, but then again I haven't come to expect any real cutting-edge (no, not in the patented "alternative" mode either!) records or musical movements to happen in at least the past two decades either. Well, at least the earth didn't spin off its axis into the sun (now THAT would have at least gotten my juices flowing, at least before they bubbled up into the atmosphere), but I sure coulda used more hot new bands playing the BIG BEAT, more archival and reissued material and perhaps an underground sense of wonder akin to what was happening in music 30/40 years back when rock & roll seemed like a hot magical basis for the soundtracks of a few million kiddies out there on this thing we call Earth.

But who am I kidding? I'm no spring chicken and I wonder how many of you out there reading this ain't as well! But do you really need to be a young'un anymore to tune into a high-energy rock & roll mindset? I mean, Tuli Kupferberg was a hoary ol' 42 when he joined the Fugs, while our dear sainted Richard Meltzer is a healthy 61 and not only that but he's singing with Smegma now which makes for a much-needed BRIDGE 'twixt classic noise mumblings and the new breed of warblage which seems to be still coming out even this late in the game. (And let's not forget Alex Harvey who had a steaming seventies rock career going while he was a whopping forty which back then was practically geriatric!) So lemme get off this ageism rant (after all, you're only as old as your MIND!) and get down to the brass tacks, mainly the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the ins and outs and the saintly and retching moments in music and civilization in general for the gone-before-our-eyes year 2006.

BEST "ALBUM" (or Cee-Dee for that matter) OF THE YEAR-Hands down winner is the Coachmen's AMERICAN MERCURY. A natural shoe-in although I do have my own, er, prejudices regarding the thing since a few choice tracks originally popped up on the Cee-Dee that came with the latest issue of my humble fanzine and I still consider Coachmen leader J. D. King a "close, personal friend." Other winners for the year include Michael Xul's GIZMOS MY WAY (scroll down for the review, as they say), Doodles' FRANCE TOUR (again, scroll down) and MX-80's WE'RE AN AMERICAN BAND which came out last year but I just heard it anyway (ditto). As far as last-minute entries go, who could forget Smegma (with Richard Meltzer)'s RUMBLINGS which I guess is good enough for this year even if I just got the thing!


BEST REISSUE OF THE YEAR-The Left's JESUS LOVES THE LEFT (scroll down, but not that much). A wonderful reminder of the few bright spots that popped up in that sad sack decade called the eighties. A Bona-Fide (heeee!) winner!

BEST ARCHIVAL DIG OF THE YEAR-Either Les Rallizes Denudes' TWIN SILVER or LIVE 1972 (I don't have to tell you by now that you'll probably have to do some scrollin' if and when you decide to check out my original reviews of these year-end winners!) Honorable mention goes to Wire's two-disc LIVE AT THE ROXY/CBGB THEATRE set which probably makes me an alternative post-punk pile of twaddle in your book but frankly I've been called worse (and by my mother!).

BEST BOOTLEG OF THE YEAR-Given it was a bad year for bootlegs (other'n reissued wares in new packages that don't warrant the ultra-high price tags) the hands-down winner for '06 goes to Kraftwerk's BREMEN RADIO 1971 which you can download on your lonesome if you have the technical smarts and know-how (unlike me!).

BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR-THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT JONATHAN even if it is a few years old, but that doesn't matter as far as BLOG TO COMM time goes.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER-Lou Rone, hopefully to be back in the majors this upcoming season!

DEATH OF THE YEAR-I was gonna say James Brown, but his passing didn't affect me as much as it did Al Sharpton so I think I'll pass on him. With Brown gone, I kinda wonder how Fred Harris (or whatever his name is??? has been sooo long!!!!!) and his presidential aspirations are going to end up! Given my own lilly-livered completion I'd say the hands down winner for death of the year (at least in the entertainment department) just has to go to Don Knotts (for which I will buy a DVD of his legendarily risque 1969 feature THE LOVE GOD?, basically an early version of THE PEOPLE VERSUS LARRY FLYNT for the sixties sitcom crowd!) far as politics go, '06's biggest loss nearest and dearest to at least my heart is none other than top BLOG TO COMM hero Augusto Pinochet, a man who should be saluted if only for the self-indignant ire he raises amongst a whole slew of people I downright HATE! (Kinda makes me wish I was front and center bashing in the palms of one Victor Jara whilst taunting him to play one of his dippy folkie agitprop numbers!)

HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR-The return of PUNK magazine, or is it the return of Bill Shute????

BUMMER OF THE YEAR-This just has to be the closing of CBGB and the related next door clubs which offered me (via cybercast) a whole wondrous range of musics ranging from free jazz, avant garde, blues, folk, reggae (not my fave, but I'll give it a chance), funk, country and oh yeah, rock!

POST OF THE YEAR-A personal fave I guess, and although my writing has done some extreme rollercoasting (along with my mood) from abysmal lows to stellar heights this past year I gotta say that there were plenty of moments o'er '06 that I can be rightfully proud of. However, my own pick for top post this year goes to my review of Jay Gatsby's THE MOST WASTED BOY ALIVE album from the glitter glam days of 1974. Actually, as astute classic CREEM readers already know, this was a fictitious album that was "advertised" in the pages of that famed rock read back in '74 even garnering a bogus review from none-other-than Peter Laughner himself where I got a few "facts" on Mr. Gatsby for my own writeup! The best thing about this one is that this review actually elicited a "comment" from a reader who thought THE MOST WASTED BOY ALIVE was a legitimate disc which makes me feel kinda like Lester Bangs when his Count Five article continued to spark interest in those "later" albums...good thing this reader didn't try searching out the equally mythical Gatsby debut on ESP-Disk, a concept album about the death of Jean Harlow!

BEST AVANT-GARDE JAZZ ALBUM/CEE-DEE OF THE YEAR-Since freedom jazz is such a big part of my life these days and in many ways more pertinent as a here-and-now music than even rock & roll (!) I thought I'd give it a category of its own. Again, these discs may not be part and parcel to '06 but I first heard 'em this spot goes to Luther Thomas' THE RAP (a fine return to the laser launching pad for this long-gone alto legend!) with Radio I-Ching's LAST KIND WORDS ranking up there in the higher reaches of the jazz realms somewhere even if their music isn't "quite" jazz proper (but YOU tell me what it is!). Another fave this year...the Dom Minasi Trio's GOIN' OUT AGAIN which seems to get played a lot more often than I thought it would, so it must be a winner, right?


Well, as David Frost used to say that was the year that was, and maybe you can KEEP IT for all I care! Just kidding...2006 was a pretty nice year all around, and like I said, although there weren't any miracles happening it wasn't like there were any major disasters in my life so I gotta be thankful for at least that! Now, I don't hold out any great hopes for 2007 producing any great rock moments but who knows, maybe we'll be able to find a few jewels, a few interesting moments amidst the usual flotsam and jetsam that passes for life these days. I dunno. Anyway, to all the fans and friends of BLOG TO COMM (all THREE of you!) here's to a happy and jam-kicked new year...and after the past few years boy do we need one!

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