Monday, March 31, 2008

Can-OUTTAKE EDITION 4-CD set (Franny Record Music, bootleg of indeterminable origin)

Two-oh-oh-eight certainly is turning out to be a pretty snazzy bootleg year, perhaps the best year for boots since '95 (just-pre-crackdown) or, counting the vinyl era 1985 when it seemed as if the royal treatment was being given to these clandestine wonders perhaps in an attempt to blow the major labels outta the water using their own game! And no sooner than I had digested all of those Pink Floyd bootlegs a week or so back than comes this wonder, a four-CD set of none other than rarities from the vaults of the German uberpunk group known as Can that're so obscure even a pseudo-krautrock-intellectual such as I haven't heard most if not all of these numbers. And considering just how much of a Can maniac I have become as of late (or at least the past fifteen years) you could say that the arrival of this box set is about as welcome as manna from Heaven or at least a box of early-seventies fanzines, either one will suffice.

Can is a group that has been known to record just about every second of rehearsal and live scronkage that they've laid down for "posterity" purposes so this set is merely the tip of the iceberg. But what an iceberg it is...disc one starts off with a 16:40 instrumental entitled "Upduff Birth" which is mainly the original and best variation of Can in '68 working out an early take of "Mother Upduff" (from the (UN)LIMITED EDITION odds and sods) with Malcolm Mooney honking away on a saxophone he probably never did learn how to play. The takes of "Outside My Door" and "Man Named Joe" have been flying around in various formats prior to their appearance on OUTTAKE EDITION but they sure sound spiffy here so don't frown! But what's really surprising are the following numbers from the just-post Damo Suzuki days when none other than loner folkster Tim Hardin was being considered as a new lead vocalist for the group! Never thought these would see the light of day but they're here and you can judge for yourself whether or not Hardin would have made a good frontman for this esteemed krautrock aggregate! (As for myself, I find the inclusion of Hardin into the Can ranks rather out of place, but frankly I'm sure he would have worked out fine considering the stories I've heard about his personal habits!)

Disc #2 is all Damo-era with two 35+ minute numbers, one a TAGO MAGO outtake called "Tagothrowaway" while the other's the unexpurgated (not a note cut!) "Doko E", a sliver of which appears on (UN)LIMITED EDITION. I've heard a longer excerpt from this that was going around in the eighties, but this one appears to be the entire kit 'n kaboodle making OUTTAKE EDITION pretty tasty if I do say so myself! And frankly, only a clod would be bored by it...I've sat through the thing a few times and found every second exciting as the song moves and grows on you like yet another portion of the fabled three-day version of "Sister Ray"!

The third platter has a number of extended studio instrumentals that date from an Edinburgh Aug. '73 gig as well as a '75 studio recording, but what makes them even more desirable is that the famous Japanese vocalist Phew (of Aunt Sally fame amongst other goodies) overdubbed some free vocals over the entire schmeer! One might expect her, being Japanese and female, to have gone on a Yoko Ono trip and yodelled all over the place but actually Phew played it a lot differently, coming off pretty much like a femme Damo Suzuki alternating between speak-singing and scat and whatever popped into her highly-advanced beanie! If you ask me, Phew sure would've made a good frontwoman for Can...too bad she did all this caterwauling in the eighties long after the group broke up! After this 'un I'm definitely going to have to look into getting the stuff she recorded with ex-Canners Czukay and Leibzeit in the eighties (when these overdubs were undoubtedly recorded) as well as the Aunt Sally CD, not to mention dig out my Phew album that's moiling away in the collection somewhere in the basement!

The final disc is all live and was recorded in the mid-seventies, great extended romps that were done at a time when Can had somehow broken into the English hippoid market and were one of the bigger bedroom bonghit wonders on the Isle for quite some time. Well, I guess that the English longhairs did have much better tastes than their overseas counterparts whose heads were still in (or up?) 1967, because the likes of Can and Hawkwind were a lot more energetic than the way laidback mewlings of the Southern Californian singer/songwriters that the Amerigan hippies were so choked up about! Frankly I could listen to the mid-seventies version of the group get into these intricate-yet-energetic space rock tracks for hours on end, and that's even without the aid of any of that placebo guava root legal high spizz you'd see advertised in the back pages of CREEM for years on end!

If you're that game on hearing this and you don't have the bux to search out a flesh and blood copy heave awe, for Mutant Sounds have downloaded the entire shebang for your pleasure and you can burn a few copies for yourself and a close personal friend merely by clicking here. Anyway, it's sure better for you to do this than to try outbidding me next time this hits the ebay auction list!

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Brought to my attention courtesy of none other than Joe Carducci, this clip from the fifties/sixties tee-vee game show I'VE GOT A SECRET certainly is a rarity from the vaults where special guest John Cale (a.k.a. "Mr. X") and a fellow boho appear in connection with the then-recent eighteen-hour performance of Erik Satie's "Vexations"! (See Victor Bokris and Gerard Malanga's Velvet Underground book for more info on that proto-avant garde composition written in the 1890's.) Considering how SECRET used to play up moderne aht for all the strange qualities that could be exploited outta it (witness the John Cage appearance from around the same time not to mention this one episode where Alan King introduced a man who made abstract art timepieces!) I must say that Gary Moore and company sure did a good job hiding their usual confusion (though catch that smirk on Henry Morgan's face as the camera pans the panel during Cale's musical spot!). Anyway, for those of you who were not allowed to stay up late on Sunday nights back in the early-sixties, here's a pre-Reed John Cale on prime-time tee-vee '63:

Friday, March 28, 2008


I believe that some of you ancient ones out there might remember this beat group that sprung outta the sixties called Pink Floyd. Nowadays their name means about as much to the general listening populace as Heinrick Olausson's, but back in the day boy were they hot caga! Naturally by the time these ozobs stopped being a "cult" group (with about seven albums to their name) and broke into superstardom with THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, most if not all of their initial magic was long sacrificed in the name of "heavy jams" which is nothing new...I guess that their record label awarded them with hefty promotion just for sticking around long enough and for once it worked! And although a lotta you readers find about as much interest in Pink Floyd as James Dean did with personal hygiene, even a casual observer such as myself occasionally will slip back into the group's less-than-enthralling days just to remind myself of what all the hubbub was about especially during those extremely boring moments in our lives when it seems as if all other outlets for excitement have been exhausted. And for those of you who want to dwell even further into the Floyd mystique there are the bootlegs, and believe-you-me there are plenty of them ranging from brilliant to feh with most of 'em seemingly wallowing somewhere in between, and if you're looking for the proper pooper-scooper to differentiate as to which ones are just right for your own personal launching pad well, you've cum to the rite place!

Strangely enough, in this digital age a whole binfulla new Pink Floyd bootlegs have been appearing on the vinyl front and man do they look pretty spiffy if I do say so myself! I guess that the long-playing and 45 rpm revival must be in full swing if such things as vinyl boots by the likes of the Floyd and Velvet Underground are to even be permitted in today's high tech world, but if you ask me I'm glad these supposedly "archaic" slabs of plastic are allowed to be made long after the fact. After all, I've always found album art and packaging a lot easier on the eyes than Cee-Dee booklets and the like, plus the knowledge that good ol' plastic records exist just like they had when you were a turdler sure makes one feel young, just like knowing that there still was a CBGB (at least until 2006) and that THE BULLWINKLE SHOW was being aired on the same station that ran it in 1963 sorta kept you in touch with a funtime past that still seemed to have ties to your present, most certainly humdrum existence!

Gotta say that the crafty beings behind these things sure did a real nice job of bringing the GA of bootleg vinyl back, not only with those great full-color sleeves that remind me of the mid/late-eighties variety of ware before bootleg Cee-Dees came into being, but with the colored vinyl (tres 1978!) and vastly improved sound sources as well! Each and every one of these platters is given the royal treatment from the use of the freshest source tapes available to the professional covers which even cop the German "GEMA" insignia and EMI logo, plus you can tell that these bootleggers really know their beans given the painstaking liners which detail a lotta heretofore unknown (by me) facts behind the recordings in question.

There were a lot more Floydian booty available than the platters up for discussion today, but rather than write about THE DIVING BELL-era outtakes and other latterday Pinkie prattle I thought I'd confine my bucks to the platters I thought really mattered.

For the aficionado of the Syd Barrett-period Floyd, DOLL'S HOUSE DARKNESS is a fantastic find even if these BBC John Peel/Top Gear sessions have been circulating for ages on end. But you haven't heard them sound as good as they do here! Most of these early Floyd BBC tapes sound like they were recorded off a Nazi-era wire recorder from a bombed-out farmhouse in Belgium but thankfully someone snuck into the BBC vaults and pulled out the masters for this 'un, and the general results are pretty spiff-o. Not only do we get to hear the entire contents of the LOOK OF THE WEEK television program that rendered that great "Astronomy Domine" video, but the "interview" conducted by stodgy music critic Hans Kellar with the band appears as do the very first BBC sessions complete with the John Peel comments that sound just about as fresh as the day they were recorded. Even that clip of "Reaction in G" which ended up on just about every early-Cee-Dee-period Floyd boot pops up, and for once you can make out whaever corny joke that the announcer's saying as well as the music for that matter! I wouldn't toss out my copy of UNFORGOTTEN HERO given its vinyl-era nostalgic appeal, but given DOLL'S HOUSE DARKNESS and other recent Floyd dig ups you would be correct to think that it and many other long-classic boot sides have now hit their shelf life.

DOLL'S HOUSE DARKNESS does overlap a bit with FLOWERS AND VEGETABLES, but then again the once-rare Abdabs-era "Lucy Leave"/"I'm a Kingbee" track re-appear for those of you who missed them the first time as does an alternate take of "Interstellar Overdrive" (not sure whether this is the TONITE LET'S ALL MAKE LOVE IN LONDON version or yet another variation thereof) and the complete Barrett-era BBC sessions just in case you couldn't get enough of them on DOLL'S HOUSE. And, as you can see, it's all wrapped up in a nice vintage-y cover that uses the SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS logo amidst vintage snaps. Nice touch!

As we all know, once you get outside of the Barrett realm these Floyd recordings can become a strictly caveat affair, and further we strain from the psychotic insecurity of PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN to the classic rock comfiness of THE DIVISION TABLE (y'know, I have the sneaking suspicion that more'n a few FM-bred dolts are going to comment about this "obvious" faux pas totally unaware of the sophomoric nature of my rather immature twist on wordz!) the further our interest in Pink Floyd wanes. LIGHT THE FUSE, although being an effort recorded when card carrying communist (according to Mayo Thompson!) David Gilmour was fresh in the ranks, still has more of that late-period Barrett whiz or at least enough of it that even the most rabid Gilmour-haters will probably want to give this platter at least one spin. The '68 Top Gear sessions once again sound like they were taped straight off the radio, and the John Peel dialogue has again been left intact giving you those late-night chills just as if it was still 1968 and you were some ineffectual limey lad listening to this 'stead of the baroque strains your cultured parents were forcing down your throat. If you (like me) were bummed that the early eighties GREAT LOST PINK FLOYD ALBUM boot remained elusive way back when, this should help ease those twenty-plus year pangs!

The various boots of Floyd's '69 Amsterdam show haven't exactly been catching my eye as of late, but I decided to snatch THE MAN AND THE JOURNEY up just outta curiousity. Good thing my inner voice decreed that I do get hold of this 'un, for THE MAN AND THE JOURNEY is halfway-decent Floydian mewl that doesn't offend you like the group eventually would even if most of the jamz have strayed from crazy psychedelic psychosis into a progressive music for fun and profit. Basically this is the group in their MORE/UMMAGUMMA groove, and although the strains of the ever-dying psychedelic movement can still be discerned even those boring tracks like "Cymbaline" are good enough to at least sit through if you're engrossed in some old comic book you just happened to dig up.

While I'm at it, let me recommend this pic-disc LP entitled PINK FLOYD MEETS FRANK ZAPPA which I guess is also supposed to be from the Amsterdam show, but given the less-than-stellar sound quality I doubt it. Perhaps it's from another show at that famed Netherworld city but that won't stop fans of Floyd, Zappa or both for that matter from scarfing up this rarity that reminds me of those pic disc bootlegs that GOLDMINE was selling back in the very-early eighties until Krause Publications took 'em over and kicked out all the dealers of that fine unauthorized gookum for good. Great performance on the a-side (see snap for track listings) and you don't even mind if Mr. Zappa is playing along on the side-long "Interstellar Overdrive" because he does a pretty fine job fitting in with the Floyd who admittedly swiped more than a few ideas from Zappa and his Mothers. INTERESTING ADMISSION: in all my years of buying and collecting records, this is the first 12-inch picture disc to have made it into the sacred stacks o' wax sitting in my basement. And yes, in some strange, perverted way I am proud.

And finally for today comes ONE OF THESE DEMOS, a collection of odds and sods including what purports to be DARK SIDE OF THE MOON outtakes but sound merely like in-studio playbacks, demos from MEDDLE that are probably just remixes, the oft-booted ZABRESKIE POINT tracks and a Barrett rarity called "Late Night" from '68 that was done before Syd had the oppirtunity to add vocal tracks. And if you thought I bought this one for any other reason than the Barrett numbuh then may I suggest you've been reading the wrong blog for way too long a time???

Are you interested enough in latching onto these soon-to-be rarities yourself? If so, give Eclipse Records a go. That's where I got all of these modern-day bootleg wonders...most of the ones reviewed above are still available via their website as are a few consisting of nothing but latterday Floyd arpeggios custom-made for the more toffee-nosed amongst us that I passed on in the name of good taste. But if you go for that stuff it's all here at least for the time being. Unfortunately the live pic disc with Zappa is long-gone, but if you hurry up you'll most likely be able to latch onto at least a few platters that just might look good in the collection thirty years from now when you're retired and have nothing to do all day but re-live record store hijinx of days gone by. Either that or you can sell 'em at a humongous profit via whatever future technology that'll have you trading in such long-lost memories for colostomy-can cash I'm sure'll be much needed for future medical supplies incurred thanks to a life of depravity and self-abuse!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Paisley Plaid-SLITHER SPACE CD-R (visit the Paisley Plaid at

Remember back in the eighties when magazines like OP would praise to the rafters this new trend in musical evolution called the "cassette culture"? I sure do, and in fact how could I ever forget scouring that periodical's special cassette-only column just to see what home-cooked doo-dahs would fit in snugly with my own sense of addled rockism! Finds such as the Information/Mofungo/Blinding Headache tape and an early Hawkwind-ish roar from F/i as well as this strange electronic offering from David Solomonoff of Cleveland's Harlan and the Whips/Criminal Mystics fame were just as important to my bubbling under ever-growing sense of musical greed as the latest hotcha underground singles I'd also discover in OP's fruitful pages. Of course the vast majority of these cassettes were probably just some Joe Blow joking around with his tape recorder trying to create an "artistic statement" that perhaps added a few more "posts" to the post-post-Cage idiom, but I guess the real point of all this tapefoolery was that now with an easier and cheaper access for getting one's music out and about it wasn't like one had to spend major portions of one's trust fund to show one's pretensions for a much wider (for what it was) audience to hear!

The cassette culture of the eighties lives on, although by now we have entered into the digitized generation where not only can people make their music known and at even cheaper rates and perhaps better clarity via CD-R's, but now they can present themselves to an eagerly awaiting audience via mp3's and their very own myspace page. This release from what I guess is a "studio"-only affair called the Paisley Plaid is but one of many of these spiritual children of the eighties cassette culture days, featuring interesting instrumental grooves courtesy Rob Keay, whose brother David was involved with the Day Care Center twofa reviewed last year while a Dan Folkus provides vocals and other overdubbed speak usually uttered through loads of distortion, filters and perhaps speed modulation making his voice about as irritating as talking to me with a sinus condition over the phone during a tornado warning.

Definitely bedroom studio quality here, and like I said Keay's music makes for nice psychedelic (even Hawkwind-y) backdrop for evening reading sessions. These sounds would do just fine if they only weren't marred by the irritating manipulated vocalese which reminds me of some of the lesser eighties experiments that the aforementioned cassette culture could dump on us at times. If this is your cup of herbal then by all means go to the Paisley Plaid's myspace page (by the way, with a name like the Paisley Plaid you'd think these two'd be part and parcel to that other eighties under-the-counterculture trend, mainly the sixties garage band revival!), but frankly I was hoping for something that veered closer to brother David's kraut-y free rock structures that continue to keep me from further annihilating myself. But whatever, I guess eighties nostalgia (eck!) does continue to roll on...

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Part One:

Part Two:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Be Bop Deluxe-SUNBURST FINISH; MODERN MUSIC cassettes (Harvest England)

Be Bop Deluxe burst outta the import bin scene and onto your stereo back in the mid-seventies with an album called AXE VICTIM which sounded like a shotgun marriage between British glam rock and the progressive post-psychedelia of Pink Floyd that Be Bop's label Harvest was raking in beaucoup with at the time. Followup FUTURAMA sorta broke the ice with an all new group backing up leader Bill Nelson and it even got a US release which seemed strange for an up-and-coming English rock act on a progressive label, and since CREEM even gave the thing a good review even I knew enough that I just hadda buy it! That one was a dilly of a dooze, with a particularly high-energy and erotic sound permeating each and every second not forgetting Nelson's post-post-post-Hendrix pyrotechnics that gave me the overall impression of a hetero Bowie or perhaps even the Pink Fairies getting the Queen production treatment. Even today I find this a once-in-awhile pleasure, though the last time it got a spin 'round here was when I was laying out issue #25 and you know how long ago that was!

It took me a whopping 32 years, but I finally got hold of these two followup Be Boppers in that same big cassette sweep that yielded me the Electric Light Orchestra tape reviewed last week. The reason for my procrastination was very simple. I figured I already had one record by this band so why bother snatching up another? And with that sorta attitude you know that there are gigantic hunkerin' gaps missing in my rock & roll education, but at least I am solvent.

But all cheapness aside, I gotta say that I found SUNBURST FINISH and MODERN MUSIC both to be rather plain, nay, tepid romps compared with FUTURAMA's over-the-top guitar freakouts and Ferry-esque double-entendres. Both of these albums seem to borrow ideas from that righteous masterpiece while contributing little that really involves you outside of having some slightly-perked up music to play the soundtrack to your last toke. Now don't get me 100% wrong (as you usually do), I find the music generally good enough for late-seventies jazzy-hookdom sounds and Bill Nelson's playing, lyrics and vocalese are always entertaining enough for what they are, but otherwise all this has me thinking of is that big fat juicy order Fusetron's gonna be sending me soon. After all, some of this seventies English progressive twaddle might be palatable in spurts or, if you're Brian Eno or Kevin Ayers, in elpee doses, but an entire afternoon of it is more or less likely to send one to a group therapy session where everybody looks like Dave Lang!

Strangely enough, MODERN MUSIC did warrant a page-length article/review in BACK DOOR MAN of all fanzines, although the author of the piece was not one of the regular gang of idiots and in fact had not been heard from before or even since in their hallowed pages. Maybe the writer of this piece was blackmailing Phast Phreddie and Don Waller into printing this piece lest some pretty tainting information fall into the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department? One may never know! But yes, I was surprised when I read that review, but then again should anything really surprise anyone anymore, especially in these ultra-jaded times?

Of course there is more to life than scarfing up old Be Bop Deluxe cassettes and writing 'em up for a clientele who couldn't give two whiffs of a rock critic's ass enough to care...there's also TEE-VEE!!! Naturally the medium as it exists today, even with its 100-plus channels and stereo sound, really can't hold a candle to the days when you were lucky enough if you only got three channels, maybe four during a tornado warning, yet if you played your cards right you could get enough good down-home viewing with just those three stations and a smart-enough local programmer to last you a good evening of solid television viewing, or more if you happened to have the day off! And, as usual, it seems that some of the best stuff that was once available at certain times of the day is now 24-7 thanks to youtube.

And yeah, I know that most people think about youtube as a place for someone to show cutesy-pie pics of their toddlers toppling over brimming full potty chairs that they just happened to catch on their cell-phones or better yet a place to resensify yourself with years of classoid rock viewing that we may have missed out on because Beat Club just wasn't shown on Amerigan tee-vee, but it's also a boffo place to pick up some of those great programs that you or I never had the chance to see for whatever reasons. Or at least its a good way to cop an eyefulla stuff that we used to watch way back when but haven't in decades because some doofus out there thought that "Jot" was a lot more beneficial for our minds and our souls than TALES OF THE RIVERBANK (and besides, they were free!). But for me, old television programs being made available on youtube certainly is a godsend, not only because these pushing-fifty shows are naturally fun, classy, low-fidelity and thus perfect for my own sense of suburban slob living, but because now I don't have to dish out the big $$$ just to refresh myself with something that maybe I could have passed on in favor of GOMER PYLE USMC DVDs!

As far as recent youtube finds go, I was very pleased to see that FOUR FEATHER FALLS has popped up, at least for the time being, on the youtube roster. Being a humongous fan of the early Gerry Anderson "Supermationation" programs, I've always wanted to view this western which never did get aired outside of Merrie Olde since those were the pre-Lew Grade days before Anderson could hitch up a world-wide distribution deal. Anyway, watching FOUR FEATHER FALLS was certainly an eye-opener at least for this early-sixties maniac...when I first discovered that this show even existed I pondered for the longest time as to just how a non-sci-fi Anderson series would fare. I also had the strange feeling, at least until I found out about the "fantasy" aspects of the show (hero Tex Tucker is in possession of four magic feathers which not only grant speech to his horse and dog but cause his guns to fire at will!) that FOUR FEATHER FALLS was going to be in the then-popular "adult western" vein of GUNSMOKE and HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL. As I should have suspected from the beginning this was pure kiddie western, the kind where the hero talks to his horse, only this time the horse answers back in an upper-crust English accent!

The overall quality isn't quite up to SUPERCAR standards (not to mention the mid/late-sixties Anderson productions) but it's sure one giant leap up from those saccharine mid-fifties Anderson puppetshows that only lend credence to us Amerigans that Archie Bunker was right in calling the English a bunch of fags, cuz if they grew up watching TWIZZLE how else would them kiddos mature other'n into a nation full of bowler-wearing "Pip Pip and Cheerio" types trying to outdo each other in the Oscar Wilde/Lord Alfred Douglas game! All kiddin' aside, FOUR FEATHER FALLS is a transitional program from the early Anderson-era primitive "puppet" style to the high-tech wonders we still know and love, and in some ways such characters as Pedro do foreshadow future Anderson villians as Masterspy down to that great expressive look on his equally spherical face. Others (such as the elderly couple) seem to be nothing more than leftover stock from the TWIZZLE and TORCHY, THE BATTERY BOY days so if you're expecting the early-sixties space-race class of SUPERCAR and FIREBALL XL-5 you will be let down to say the least. But please be aware that FOUR FEATHER FALLS does show technological upheaval in the making. In all, it's a weird mixed lot, and not an unimportant piece of television history from the true Golden Age t'boot!

Unfortunately I was unable to embed ("by request") the two parts of the "pilot" episode here, but if you just click Part One and Part Two you'll be taken directly to the youtube site where you can watch 'em and decide for yourself whether or not FOUR FEATHER FALLS was just more hokum or perhaps a real lost tee-vee classic that should be remembered at least as much as CRUNCH AND DEZ. As for me, I gotta say that it sure woulda been swell watching this 'un pop up on the old weekday morning cartoon show on channel 33 as a pre-school kid, perhaps as a respite from that station's tendency to run the same LITTLE RASCALS short where Spanky, Alfalfa and Buckwheat run away seemingly each and every week!

From the sixties to the seventies...y'know, I actually gotten heat from people for admitting to liking that decade which I guess was way too sick for their particularly "cultured" digestive systems, but I will stick to my guns and say that I'll take the seventies (tee-vee, music and magazines included!) o'er the eighties (now in the throes of nostalgiamania even as we speak!) and nineties for that matter because there was a whole lot more interesting stuff happening in those times than there were later on, unless you're a computer geek or suffer pangs of sadness over the cancellation of MAX HEADROOM. While the eighties were cornball hokum and the nineties faux-decadent, the seventies were the real deal when it came to multi-faceted slobboid suburban living, and that includes in the humor department as well as tee-vee, music and nekkid broads for that matter.

And you really couldn't do better on the humor front than on the boob tube, not only with MONTY PYTHON and the original SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, but with surprise finds like such long-lost classics as FERNWOOD 2NIGHT. I hardly got to watch this summer replacement series for MARY HARTMAN MARY HARTMAN since the local station that was airing that 'un passed on FERNWOOD, but whenever I did get the chance (when channel 43 in Cleveland was coming in, perhaps thanks to that aforementioned tornado) I was sure to have a ball. Like PYTHON, SNL and NATIONAL LAMPOON there was bound to be a load of bad-taste and just plain offensiveness packed into some of these episodes of FERNWOOD (and later on AMERICA) 2NIGHT, and not like the kind today where uptight knowitalls love to tell hardworking ethnic Americans how evil they are in the most unfunny fashion possible, but one where the humor knew no race, creed or color but rammed it into them all!!! And that's what I call real brotherhood!

Too bad (for you) that I couldn't dig up any of the truly acerbic (note spelling, Jeff!) and oh-so-non-"Pee-Cee" bits from the show like "Dial-A-Jew" or "Yankee Doodle Gook" (not forgetting that UBS, THE FIRST FIFTY DAYS special where the retired general/president of the UBS network gave that Patton-esque speech completely in military terms relaying in shock about catching a program on another net that showed a white man kissing a Chinese woman), but here's a pretty good 'un that I believe in my heart o' hearts typifies an average episode of the series.

First, part one:

Then, part two:

And how about this beaut of a scene hawking the "Wunda Blenda"????

Finally there's this bit with none other than Frank DeVol proving that his contributions to the small screen amount to a lot more than I'M DICKENS HE'S FENSTER and writing the theme to THE BRADY BUNCH (note: audio not uppa par):

Anyway, a Happy Easter to you all. Sure looks like Christmas out thar right now, but from what I hear it's all gonna melt into slush in a few days which all you schoolkids can kick up and splash your fellow students with. And what better springtime memories can you make outta all the times that I got splashed by rowdy kids like you anyway!

Friday, March 21, 2008


Just one of those catch-ya-by-surprise things that I discovered while doing reconnaissance on other blogs in order to steal an idea or two. Click here and prepare to be taken away!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Electric Light Orchestra-THE LIGHT SHINES ON cassette (Harvest England)

Not really that much diff between this 'un and the MASTERS OF ROCK/SHOWDOWN compilation I reviewed in these blog-pages four years back. I believe there might be a few minor track changes (perhaps---too lazy to dig my copy of SHOWDOWN outta the pile), and the cover showing the Move unto ELO in eighteenth-century wardrobe does look classier than the television studio snap on the earlier Harvest cash-in. Still it is kinda neat having the cassette version of this release featured prominently in my collection...y'see, when I was a teenager I used to marvel at the differences between record and tape releases in the United States and elsewhere and found it totally amazing that an act which appeared on one label here would actually pop up on another overseas! You know...inna US of Whoa both Deep Purple and Black Sabbath were on Warner Brothers, but over there the Purps were on Harvest while the Sabs ended up on Vertigo! The international complications were staggering as well...for example, Columbia records here was CBS there, and although there was a Columbia there it wasn't the same Columbia as here and in fact was run by Capitol, or actually EMI! Whew! I kinda felt like Barbarino taking all this in...y'know, "I'm so confused!"

Like sex education or living bra commercials, the workings of international record labels was a mind-boggling experience for a lad such as myself, and such an anal retentive was I that I also wondered whether or not cassette release artwork amidst the various nations were also universal or not. Island releases were pretty much the same ('cept that the song titles on the rear "flap" were vertical rather than horizontal sans any indication of which side said tracks were on), but the rest had their own interesting diversions that really piqued my attention in a way algebra never could! And yeah, such self-absorbed prattle's bound to turn off 99.999...% of you readers tuning in for a writeup on some long-gone bargain-bin find, but if I can reach just one savant out there who shared the same manic devotion to small details that I did, then I'll know I wasn't the only goof who paid attention to such weirdities as part and parcel to a hefty rockism upbringing!

Surprisingly good sound (for a cassette) on this "Harvest Heritage" release that became a used-bin filler back in the eighties, and although a load of you readers might think these early ELO tracks pure progressive twaddle (and who can blame ya!) I still find them pretty good early-seventies UK pop applications of classic late-sixties style, at least until Roy Wood drifted off to dabble in Wizzardry leaving Jeff Lynne to indulge in his own Paul McCartney preening. Nothing to get whacked up over, but loads better'n the Lynne-helmed band of mega-hits and surpringly effete playing that most people remember with fondness. And the rehashing of 1967 psych with and without hefty "Eleanor Rigby" refs sure must've sounded refreshing in the wonder the likes of Greg Shaw and Alan Betrock seemed to find hope in the various Wood/Lynne moves (sic) back then!

One caveat...primo megahit "Roll Over Beethoven" is hacked up and edited (perhaps due to time constraints) to the point where I kinda thought that some editor in the throes of Burroughsian cut-up mania decided to take scissors to the master tape in order to create something a lot more feral than originally intended (he failed, natch)! I certainly don't remember this junior-high romper sounding so jagged onna radio, and if it had I don't think "Roll Over Beethoven" would've charted as high as it did!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Velvet Underground-LIVE AT THE GYMNASIUM LP (Velvet bootleg, Ireland)

When I first read that the legitimate flow of Velvet Underground "official" bootlegs was (perhaps) forever lost after the surviving Velvets sued to have their contracts re-examined, I feared that it was going to be a long and painful haul in between new-to-mine-ears VU wonders wasting away in whatever Welsh mineshaft John Cale deemed to dump all those reels down. Well, I have been wrong before, but this time I'm glad I was for as of late there has been a bit of Velvets fluttering on the bootleg market which has at least satiated my craving for these ultra-obscure rarities, and frankly I thought a good portion of those rehearsals, studio recordings and live treats never would have made it to our lobes no matter how hard us unreconstructed/unrepentant Velvet Underground fans stamped our feet and turned blue. I mean, those tactics may work for womyn 'n self-conscious hippoids, but as far as REAL PEOPLE like us...

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the live at the Gymnasium tape from '67, the Velvets' last stand in En Why See until the Max's gigs in '70, was available online at the mere click of a mouse. And imagine my BIGGER surprise when, for the life of me, I could not download said bugger onto disque to listen to in the privacy of my own prison cell! Well, no need to worry if you don't have your own computer nor the knowhow to make your own shiny pancake of the thing, for some enterprising bootleggers from Ireland of all places (who pressed this 100-copy run on green vinyl just to prove so!) have made these recordings available to the analog generation and given the neat cover (with an outtake from the Vox ad sesh) and sound you woulda thought they'd've been Japanese, eh?

Cale fans will rejoice in the discovery of another recording with their hero on board. Of course that feeling of elation will turn to abject dismay when they find out that he certainly has taken a backseat to Reed's showoffy self (plus his organ playing on the debut performance of "Sister Ray" seems to be reduced to a bizarre electronic hum akin to an Ondes Martenot), but all-encompassing Velvets fans like myself will find this recording yet another on-target on-schedule live gig. It reminds me not of the original satanic Velvets but the ones of the 1969/70 season (live and otherwise) who would be cranking out those fantastic extended romps with atonal guitar solos that eventually ended up on some of the brighter boot spots in Velvet history such as the indispensable HILLTOP ROCK FESTIVAL disque, which this GYMNASIUM show ultimately reminds me of!

"I'm Not a Young Man Anymore" does sound more like the hard-riffing Velvets of '69 as opposed to the more "avant garde" (or so we thought) earlier band, and even though it eventually got jettisoned for good within a short time I have the feeling that Reed might've resurrected it for a ne'er to be future Velvets platter just like he did with "Cool It Down" on LOADED.

"Fever In My Pocket"/"Guess I'm Falling In Love" is yet another take that doesn't appear either on the PEEL SLOWLY AND SEE box set nor the '82 John Cale radio show. It's somewhere in-between the two, not as crunchy as the Cale version nor is it as tossaway as the box set take. Still it's a boss song and I love the way Mirrors "deconstructed" it a good seven years later. Almost as good as the way Mirrors did the same to "Sweet Sister Ray".

"Waiting For My Man" again sounds more '69/'70 than '66/'67...ditto "Run Run Run" which riff-wise is almost a carbon-copy take on the '69 Hilltop version. It's interesting to hear that the group "evolved" these songs in such a fast time considering how they sounded on the November '66 Columbus shows that are available on more bootlegs than I'd care to dish megabucks out for. I'll bet that once this one gets out it's going to stymie all of those Yule-period haters (that Peter Laughner himself hated!) who thought the Velvets took a nosedive once Cale was unceremoniously kicked outta the camp!

And then there's "Sister Ray"...and y'know, I dunno if this really is the numbuh's premiere performance as is stated on the sleeve considering that the tune actually came outta a Poor Richard's (June '66 sans Reed) track called "Searchin'", but until that comes to the surface I guess we'll never know. Slightly slower than the WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT version and perhaps all the more sinister for it, "Sister Ray" almost sounds like one of the various arrangements that the Velvets would take this song into well up until the end at which point it would be bent, sped-up, slowed-down and inverted beyond belief. However it's pretty funny hearing Lou not only speak-sing the lyrics in smacked-out cyborgness but add a "Sock it to me" after each stanza! I know that LAUGH IN was a big hit at the time, but I never thought that the ultra-cool Lou Reed woulda been watching it!

Seems as if 2008's already shaping up to the a pretty good bootleg year (keep turned for a future post featuring a massive boot review of wares pilfered from the vaults of a notoriously fleshy colored English progressive rock soon as I can make my way through all of the rarities I scored a good month back!), and I'm talking about on the vinyl front as well. Sheesh, who would've thunk that there'd still be honest-to-goodniz long-playing records available at this late a date, but frankly I'm sure glad there are! And I'm sure glad that I instead of YOU scored this much-desirable beauty because I'm such an egomaniacal devotee of this bunch who livesbreathesfarts Velvets, but fear not for if you really do wanna hear what my green vinyl doozy doth entail just click here and you can listen to this year-end contender in its entirety for free!

Just a small note before we part: got an email from none other than Don Waller of BACK DOOR MAN fame who writes that he just came across an old videotape of his old tactical assault rock & roll band THE IMPERIAL DOGS performing live '74 at California State University Long Beach! The Dogs were being video'd as part of a planned documentary on "decadence" and Don says it's a pisser of a performance in front of their biggest audience ever (over 200!) and shows the Dogs "playing their balls off" as Don so succinctly put it, not only on songs off their legendary Dog Meat album but on a few unreleased gems as well. Now what Don (and I, come to think of it) would like to know is...are there enough raving proletariats out there interested in seeing this thirtysome-year-old vid enough to warrant a DVD release and, are there any enterprising entrepreneurs out there willing to release the blasted thang??? If you can give an answer to either of these questions please let us know via the comments box. Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Andy Haas-HUMANITARIAN WAR CD; Radio I-Ching-THE FIRE KEEPS BURNING CD (both available through CD Baby)

I've been getting hold of a lotta CD and even vinyl wares as of late mostly from people who would like me to review their offerings on this webthing, and although I'd love to tell each and every one of you BLOG TO COMM readers about these various platters all in one great lump of a post frankly I don't have the time right now to get into all of this wondrous booty and do it justice. However when I do get a chance I will fill you in on what new listening pleasures I have been subject to, just so's alla you will have the grand opportunity to know which "hip" and "important" records there are out there for you to go out and scarf up before you're reduced to bidding $195.43 for 'em on ebay like I am with many musical mysteries of these past fiftysome years.

Here are a couple I got from none other than Dee Pop of Jazz at Jimmy's fame (and a few udder things) which I believe you all should know about lest you end up even more lumpen prole than I think you already are. And considering that one of these platters is from none other'n Pop's current group (or one of at least ten) while the other features a longtime bandmember in solo setting, what else would you expect Pop to send me...Jan Garber outtakes? HUMANITARIAN WAR is the solo one, and fellow Radio I-Chinger and Hanuman Ensemble player Andy Haas is the guy responsible for it. You may remember Haas from a number of places including his membership in the early eighties Canadian new wave hugga-bunches Martha and the Muffins amongst other things, but as any smart cookie knows right now he's into the avant garde jazz improv bag and man he sure does a good job of doing the one-man band gig without coming off like an effete snob! On HUMANITARIAN WAR, Haas does everything from electronics to fife and a number of more "ethnic" instruments inclulding the shofar. That would figure, because most of the time Haas sounds like the Bar Mitzvah boy blowing his ram horn...right in the middle of the Gaza Strip, but as in Radio I-Ching and the long-gone Hanuman Ensemble Haas doesn't
come off like some kid goof off making noise just to annoy the Mr. Wilson next door! Naw, he turns out a nice, entertaining and dare-I-say pleasant album that I sure can find stimulating, engaging and downrignt brainy even while reading old rock fanzines just-pre-beddy bye time!

True it can get a bit cacophonistic (yeah, I know there's no such word but it sure sounds swell!) and perhaps HUMANITARIAN WAR isn't for some of you meeker readers, but I find this solo improv with elements of jazz and rock tossed about a lot more exhilarating than a load of the one-man jackoff music that I used to get inundated with during the so-called glory days of cassette culture. And true, this disque is (believe-it-or-not) a politically conscious platter dealing with the ruins of war which makes the thing rather contemporary even though all of a sudden the Iraqi situarion's been bumped off the front pages and into the classifieds, but I'm sure anyone who reads this blog'll like it even if they tend to have some sorta hawkish streak embedded into their DNA. Nice motives with this 'un but hey Andy, how are you gonna sell these things when peace breaks out? Oh yeah, the way things are going you better have a thousand year supply'll be making more moolah once they stretch this thing out, savvy?

As one-third of Radio I-Ching, Haas has laid down a good ethno-electronic backdrop for this current-day avant/improv/jazz group that of course hasn't gotten nary a notice from the rock-headed press that's more concerned with Britney Whazername and all the rest of these new age Jenny Linds at the expense of real-life high energy music! Too bad, but that's no excuse for you to miss out on Radio I-Ching's latest endeavor, yet another great rock/jazz improv setting where Haas along with Don Fiorino and of course Mr. Dee Pop himself do their darndest to bring some of the best musical classics of the past up to date along with some original material that surely knows how to soothe more than savage beasts. Those you you who liked LAST KIND WORDS, Radio I-Ching's debut splatter from '06, will be sure to like this as well which has more of a mideast bent to it (perhaps keeping in line with Haas' war-themed disque?) that sounds strangely enough 1950s exotica even with the patented avant skeweredness jolting you back into lower Manhattan reality. Between Haas's saxophone and electronics (as well as "Piri", which Wikipedia defines more or less as a Korean oboe), Fiorino's various guitar and banjo pluckings and Pop's free drumming you're in store for a nice free musical excursion unheard since...those old cybercasts of the even newer jazz that we used to catch at the CBGB Lounge every Sunday night. (In fact, I could swear that a few of these numbers, perhaps the re-do of Captain Beefheart's "Abba Zabba" or even Alfred Neuman's "Moon Over Manakoora" sounded very similar to the long-missing Noisetet, another jazz-cum-rock group whose cybercasts at the CBGB Lounge were so intensely entertaining that I woulda sworn they coulda played the main stage and held their own!)

CD Baby has both of these available as well as the previous Radio I-Ching offering in case you, like me, tend to make procrastination a high art. All are highly recommended and perhaps a nice addition to your "all-encompassing" record/CD collection. Well, you can do worse, and if you do want to may I recommended a number of blogs out there than can just help you accomplish that task withough nary a drop of sweat?!?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

BOOK REVIEW: BOMP! SAVING THE WORLD ONE RECORD AT A TIME by Suzy Shaw and Mick Farren (Ammo, 2007)

Y'know, it's strange when a natural-born illiterate like myself is handed not just one, but three books to read o'er the course of two whole weeks. But that's just what happened to none other than your not-so-humble blogger...first came Brian Doherty's RADICALS FOR CAPITALISM, a spry tell-all detailing the birth and growth of the libertarian movement in the U. S. of Whoa that for once names all(most all) the names (positively a keeper!), and right after that arrived another item to be named at a later date of which a review can be read in the forthcoming issue of UGLY THINGS. And now comes this gem, a nice hardcovered history of not only the entire ever-lovin' BOMP! empire but its founder and chief doer/shaker Greg Shaw! I mean, what gives???? Who would have ever thunk in a millyun years that such a book giving us the unvarnished lowdown on Shaw and his various writing/publishing/recording endeavors would even exist in the first place, and I'm not only talkin' in the here and now but in a thousand years when rockism culture is going to be dissected and studied to all get-out in college courses worldwide. Greg Shaw and BOMP! ain't exactly the things that even people in the underground rock "know" are going to be talking about even these sorry days, not with all of the hot air being wasted on the current flash-in-the-underground-pans that seem to be feasting on all of the innovation and hard work Shaw was pumping out a good three decades back. Yes, it really is strange that in 2008 there exists a book whose only reader is seemingly going to be ME!

Hopefully I'm not the only goober who's digging deep into this rough guide to creating your own underground rock fanzine/label because SAVING THE WORLD ONE RECORD AT A TIME rilly is an eye-gouging all-out saga detailing the Greg Shaw empire from humble fanzine beginnings up through seventies "new wave" domination and beyond (mainly snarfing up the remains of the late-seventies via the garage-punk revival scene). Sometimes I'd like to think that there are at least a few people out in the great unwashed who also have an interest in rock & roll fanzines, seventies underground rock and all of the jam-packed high energy that went along with it...I'm probably wrong, but man you all know just how much I flip when I get my grip on some old fanzine with a rare Metal Mike Saunders or Richard Meltzer article, not to mention a tape of some under-the-covers band of the past that was wreaking havoc with the same Velvets/Stooges influences that many a group namby-pambied to oblivion these past twennysome years. I have the sneaking suspicion that there may be a few more of you out there, but I wouldn't know. Actually, I'm having way too much fun re-reading my hefty collection of GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK WRITING (not "rock criticism") fanzines and books while listening to the umpteenth spin of Can cranking it out like the bestest late-sixties punk band to ever hit the boards to really care what you think. But if you wanna come along for the ride, feel free to latch on!

I must admit that I have been a great admirer of Greg Shaw for a very long time, perhaps well on over a good quarter-century but who's counting. In fact, there was a period in my life when receiving the latest BOMP! catalog was considered a major pocketbook-draining affair in my household...after all, those catalogs were like a life-line to some REAL WORLD out there where the past via PEBBLES and BOULDERS samplers and the present via the vast array of BOMP-label wares were coming together to give me a rock & roll education that I certainly wasn't getting on either the AM or FM bands here in the Light Metal Western Pee-YOU! area!!! I can still remember that rush I would get listening to a whole slab of six-oh reissues straight from the fabled BOMP! warehouse, then-current underground indie rock (before that went the way of too many cooks spoiling the broth by pissing in it!) as well as the reams of (who put the) BOMP! and PHONOGRAPH RECORD MAGAZINE back issues that really helped set me straight in a world that was becoming increasingly twee when it should've been going crunch!

So in a hundred words or less BOMP! helped this kid through an otherwise blanded-out eighties (one of the worst decades in modern gulch living not counting the '90s and '00s) and if it weren't for Shaw and his obsessive rockist vision where would I be today? Certainly not pecking out this blog nor would I have been spending my precious free time throughout the eighties and nineties cranking out my own fanzine to general obscurity and unrelenting hostility!

It really is a fine book, perhaps the best one of the year unless someone comes out with the secret diary of Dave Lang's "kept" koala. Authors Suzy Shaw and Mick Farren certainly did a good job in capturing the mad rock aura surrounding Greg and the empire he built and (of course) why not! After all, Suzy was the first wife of Mr. Shaw and was just as much the brains behind BOMP! as her eventually ex-hubby, and for the most part she pretty much ran the mailorder biz while Greg was more preoccupied with other more pressing matters like keeping a card catalog of just about every pertinent band he knew existed! (BTW, back in the eighties when I told onetime Blue Ash/Dead Boys member Frank Secich that Greg and Suzy were splitsville he couldn't believe it! He said that everytime he saw the two they were so cuddle-cuddle and kissy-kiss that you never would have thought they'd ever be torn asunder!) And of course just about everything that Mick Farren rattles on about, at least in the realm of rock & roll, is worth lending eyeballs gotta remember that the guy wasn't just an ex-Deviant but one of the stars of the NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS stable in the seventies and eighties that gave us the likes of Nick Kent, Paul Morley and Charles Shaar Murray, some of the best writers to come outta the English rock scene despite the staggering odds given just how dismal the British Weekly scene could have gotten at times.

Nice selection of early Shaw fanzine covers, his Sci-Fi biggie ENTMOOT amongst 'em, start off the book (this was a period in time Shaw seemed to be a bit leery in telling us about so the better-late-than-never info surely came in handy) after which we're treated to a whole lotta pages taken straight outta the infamous MOJO NAVAGATOR, Shaw's attempt at covering the nascent San Francisco rock scene long before some ineffectual bi named Jann Wenner decided to push Shaw outta his own game with his twist on Youth Rebellion as a marketable product. Lotsa neat repros direct from the pages of MOJO NAVAGATOR are included such as the interviews with the Doors (where Shaw and band discuss the latest syntheses of LSD and various other psychedelics [which was used in Joe Carducci's ROCK AND THE POP NARCOTIC to needle Shaw as revenge for sitting on the Black Flag tapes so long!]) and the one with Big Brother and the Holding Company where Janis said the Fillmore was just a hangout for sailors to get laid thus earning the wrath of Bill Graham who got into a big hitting and swearing fit with Joplin as she tried to enter his venue shortly afterwards! Talk about scenes we'd hate to see, but despite the fawning over the likes of the Dead and the usual hippoid pratfalls (and sheesh, for years I used to imagine Greg Shaw as this Brian Jones-haired guy who loved his surf and garage band records despite the oncoming hippie influx, but just take a gander at what he looked like in 1969!) there are nice and pertinent bits of important info on decidedly non-hippie local punks which does show the roots of bigger things yet to come. And as far as presenting San Francisco '66/'67 as something that was vibrant and exciting (long before the hackdom ensued) MOJO NAVAGATOR sure did a heck of a better job than most of the hipster underground press of the day ever could hope to!

By the time WHO PUT THE BOMP! showed up on the scene a good two years later we finally get to see the Shaw of garage band/surf/rockabilly fandom and discographies that has enraptured me ever since I started laying my paws on then-plentiful back issues of his rag way back in the early-eighties. It's sure great to once again gaze upon Lester Bangs' legendary Troggs article as it originally appeared with the Jonh Ingham cartoons showing notorious pud James Taylor getting run in with a broken wine bottle way back in '71 (and those snaps of Bangs accosting Lillian Roxon in a Superman shirt are really something else, aren't they?). Too bad the Meltzer piece on the Troggs and beer was lopped off the thing, but at least we once again get to see that famed photo of a drunk-outta-his-skull Prince Pudding in the company of a geekier-than-thou Dave Marsh back when Meltzer was less careful about choosing his friends. It sure is intestinal-fortifying reading all of those fantastic seventies-era BOMP! pages as they originally appeared (the sixties-punk pieces on the Seeds and Standells being particular standouts if only for the subject matter), as well as some of the non-BOMP items from PHONOGRAPH RECORD MAGAZINE such as that big New York Dolls piece where Shaw, Alan Betrock, Ron Ross (a Dolls insider who later wrote a positive review of Genesis for the paper!) and Lester Bangs get to give their all for the cause of decadence!

And it goes on from there through all the ins and outs of Shaw and BOMP! from the label and his growing dissatisfaction with the way underground rock was developing as the eighties progressed (thus resulting in his pushing of the sixties garage revival which never did seem to catch on despite his opening of the now-forgotten Cavern Club and the signing of more than a few newer generations of punks for his label). Unfortunately the book ends on a sad note with Shaw's 2004 death, and for a guy who seemed to be pronounced dead more times than Forrest Ackerman (who once hit on Shaw at an early-sixties Sci-Fi convention!) it's any wonder he lived as long as he did. Frankly I didn't know that Shaw was such a partier and imbiber even though his life-long diabetes and eventual organ transplant deemed such behavior verboten; who would have thought so given the time he had writing articles for magazines and running a record label (not to mention answering letters from ineffectual shrubs like me!).

But high-styled living and general burned-outness aside, SAVING THE WORLD... is one of those compilations that's custom-made for my kind of intense and heated rockism. Every page is a surprise whether it be something out of the early MOJO NAVAGATOR which mentions a heretofore unknown garage ideal (and in many ways it's funny to read Shaw rip on "teenybopper" groups he would later champion like Paul Revere and the Raiders while praising local SF punks, especially since both of these once-opposites would be lumped together into the great stew of sixties glory in less than a good five years!), or a page or three taken from a mimeo-era BOMP! that I only had access to via the great back issue xerox sale of 1981. But what really got my life-energy force flowing was the appearance of what's more or less left of the never-published issue #22 that was supposed to come out around the same time those great back issue photocopies were being sold at exorbitant prices! And when this issue was being advertised in the BOMP! catalog back in '81 even I sent my buck in hoping this promising magazine would wing its way to my door more sooner than later only to grumble ten years later thinking that giving away my hard-begged was all for naught! Little did anyone know that the masters to that legendary non-issue were considered lost until this very book was being compiled, but anyway here it is seeing the light of day looking a lot worse for wear and pretty much like the BOMP of the pre-new wave days which exactly was Shaw's point! It's sure swell reading all of Shaw's opinions on the then-latest garage band reissues (not forgetting a class rundown on the then-recent PEBBLES, BOULDERS and PSYCHEDELIC UNKNOWNS collections that were certainly inspiring awe in me) as well as informative pieces on the likes of the Barracudas and Blasters that gives blokes in on the rockism game (like myself and presumably you) a nice warm 'n toasty feeling of nostalgic pudding just remembering how much this stuff mattered at the tail end of one of the more fruitful rock eras in our lives. Not that it doesn't elicit such pangs of rheumy-eyed rose-colored rear-view mirror looks now, but ya gotta admit that back then the impact was surely stronger considering what we were (eager-beaver rock & roll lovers) and where we were coming from (some of the most boring places on the face of this earth!). But why the crack about these original pages to #22 showing just how fanzines were put together in the days before computers? Listen, every issue of my own fanzine well up until the year 2003 was laid out pretty much in the same way as BOMP! was and under much more primitive conditions, and frankly any future ones will be done even cheaper, if you technowhiz readers can fathom that in your underdeveloped ape-like minds! Still, if you value those memories of getting tons of garage band reissues via BOMP!'s mailorder business and discovering new groups that really did seem like they were going to save the world, a book like this is indispensable.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Flakier things have happened in the strange world of celebrity documentaries, with the likes of Rodney Bingenheimer and Roky Erickson being featured in their own flash-inna-pan tell-alls over the past few years. Now it's Jeffrey Lee/Lea Pierce and the Gun Club's turn, and if anyone woulda told me that this denizen of the long-gone bubbling-under-of-the-underground scene of the eighties was ever gonna be the subject of any sorta filmatic excursion I woulda thought 'em a pretty thick headed sorta batch of individuals. Well, now that a Pierce documentary is not only out but readily available for you rich-enough aging punk rockers out there all I gotta say is what's next...THE LIFE AND TIMES OF EDGAR BREAU??? Don't laff, I heard one was in the process!

Anyhoo GHOST ON THE HIGHWAY is a decent enough despite the usual pratfalls documentary, especially considering that most of this is made of of interviews with a buncha late-seventies SoCal scene survivors looking older and much grottier for the wear. And considering that there is no Gun Club music to be heard (only some typically nada incidental synth-string heart-tugs) and Pierce himself is in such short supply himself, seen only in photographs and brief bits of home-made video, its not like your'e getting the E! HOLLYWOOD STORY treatment here. But for what it is, GHOST ON THE HIGHWAY is an average yet at-times informative enough for you film about the former Gun Club leader and all the carnage he wreaked not only with audiences, but with former friends and associates who I'm sure felt a lot better after venting some of their anxiety and frustration for all to see.

Former Clubbers Ward Dotson and Jim Duckworth (from the "classic" lineup) take up a good portion of this flick giving their two cents as to what a great talent and guy as well as utter fiend Pierce could be when the right mood or drug took effect. Kid Congo Powers (looking real El Lay Vice Squad lineup) also takes up a hefty portion of this documentary as does none other than drummer Dee Pop which kinda surprised me at first until I remembered he was a member of the band somewhere around the time I kinda vamoosed from a lotta the eighties underground rock scene lest I go bankrupt. Also on hand telling us all about the BOMP! janitor made good are everyone from onetime BACK DOOR MAN editor Phast Phreddie Patterson to John Doe, Dave Alvin and a few more from what I would call the Slash contingent...even Plimsoul Peter Case pops up here which I guess is to be expected (big name from the same day and scene) but why did they get none other than Lemmy to make disparaging remarks about the music biz whilst sitting at a bar anyway? I mean, the closest Pierce and Lemmy probably ever got to each other was maybe a few yards at a Motorhead gig with Pierce in the audience so what's the purpose, hunh?

But as far as creating a portrait of yet another troubled young soul who joined the music-go-round only to end up a member of Kurt Cobain's fabled "Stupid Club", I'm sure GHOST ON THE HIGHWAY fulfilled whatever promise it may have had. And I do think it fulfills at least some. What I mean is...Pierce was just a young rock fan kid like I and presumably you who wanted to be a big star and was swept up in the vast tidal wave of underground music that enveloped the whole lot of us way back in the dreaded seventies, and yeah when big egos, drugs and instability enter into the picture only a fool wouldn't think some sorta disaster is in the cards. But at least I gotta stick up for Pierce for being a young upstart who made good (or at least better than most of us in the underground rock game), and whether GHOST ON THE HIGHWAY is exactly the right vehicle to tell at least part of the saga will probably be pretty much up to you and how this music figures into your very own sphere of rockism obsession.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Gotta question the date here (seems more like it would be '73 considering the Dolls refs.) but who really cares given this rare video find of Wayne County and band (with the Wyndbrant brothers of Miamis fame as members) doing the unplugged thing way back in the day.


My recent review of the new Lookies split-single had me going back to the group's CD-R from way back 2005 way, a release that certainly didn't make that much of an indent in my life or else I would have remembered it before writing last Sunday's review. After re-reading my original opinions regarding that "mini-CD" (five tracks only) I could tell that I wasn't quite that enthused by the thing, perhaps soured by way too many very-similar-minded endeavors o'er the past twenty-some years to really care. However, a replay last night proved that, if anything, the Lookies of '05 were just as good as the present-day model with a nice slowed-down sorta hardcore/heavy metal cusp sound (again) not that too dissimilar from the likes of various Jeff Dahl aggregates of the early-mid eighties. Of course Powertrip came to mind, but then again there seems to be a nice tip of the hat to various other young upstarts of the eighties making up the Lookies' DNA that kinda has my head swirlin' way back to the days when TAKE IT! seemed to be the true standard-bearer for such underground squall. And a note to Brad K., I am in a bad mood today and this review hasn't been tempered by any negative vibes on my part. For modern-rock enthusiasts searching for jamz in an ever-decreasing genre.

Getting humongous spin-time on the chairside laser launching pad's David Bowie's THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD, a strange admission for someone whose own personal opinions of the man have ranged from extreme wonderment (mostly during my teenage years) to rabid hatred depending on which issue of KICKS I have just read. I will say one thing about this 1970 release (acc. to Nick Kent a pair of bookends to the rock of that year with FUNHOUSE being the other), and that is it's sure a lot more pleasurable listening to Bowie rip off Black Sabbath for a change instead of Donovan or James Brown. This even tops all of that Ziggy-period glam and glitch that everybody says was a Stooges goof but to me came off more or less like Elton John after his latest hit of amyl nitrate at the White Swallow gay bar. I remember reading the always wonderful (even when he's getting into his underage teenage-idol gal lust mode) Metal Mike Saunders praising this one to the rafters in his must-read heavy metal history that PHONOGRAPH RECORD MAGAZINE published back in '73...of course a few years later Saunders was making "controversial" statements along the lines of "show me a punk band that was listening to the Stooges in 1972 and I'll show you a great band. Show me a punk band that was listening to David Bowie in 1972 and I'll show you a bunch of glitter faggots." Which kinda makes me wonder which year Saunders was listening to MAN... Care to retract anything, Mike???

Here's one that I picked up and reviewed in the latest ish of my own rag, and at the time I remember being rather iffy about it despite the fact that Crystalauger's TERRANAUT album was presented as an outta-nowhere self-released early-seventies artyfact with hefty Velvet Underground references. And yeah, this ain't no Hackamore Brick, but I gotta admit that I love the way TERRANAUT has this sorta early-seventies "hip" swivel filtered through primitive garage band playing and recording techniques. Kinda reminds me of the great albeit low-budget early-seventies vintage album by some here-now/gone-later guys from Los Angeles called White Light that I reviewed way back in issue #20. At times Crystalauger sound as if they don't know if they want to be the Velvet Underground or Steely Dan...well, what else would you expect from a group that were supposedly American soldiers (and American Indians too!) stationed in Southeast Asia recording this disc in Thailand!

Since Drag City's re-released this 'un on good ol' vinola (with additional tracks) I thought I'd yank my CD of Mayo Thompson's 1970 solo album CORKY'S DEBT TO HIS FATHER out just to see just how much it resonates in my ever-decaying brain this far down the underground rock turnpike. A long-desired platter for this long-time fan of the original Red C/Krayola (as well as those late-seventies forays with various Pere Ubuites adding some hotcha brownie points), I must admit that I originally wasn't that jazzed by CORKY, in fact likening it to a load of late-eighties mid-Amerigan underground recordings being made by way too many kids mixing their punk up with hippie rumblings coming to the fore. Nowadays I gotta say I really like it a lot more than I originally had...true this isn't an extension of GOD BLESS THE RED KRAYOLA like Greg Prevost said it was in the pages of FUTURE, but it's highly-engrossing late-period psychedelic singer/songwriter (in the best sense) rock with a garage credo still intact and running on good ol' down home Deep South hardsauce rather'n Southern Californian cocaine karma. These mixes of avant garde music and rural upbringings always worked wonders for groups like the Hampton Grease Band and Debris, and of course it shines fine when handled by Thompson on this attempt to "blow Van Morrison off the map" as he once stated in THE NEW YORK ROCKER. I had a good joke lined up about the cover engraving of a Victorian missy making goo-goo's at a chimpanzee behind bars, but for the sake of good taste I won't mention it.

And finally for today's chitchat's this relatively new platter that's certainly flew under my radar to the point of stealthness. Didn't know about this HARMONIA LIVE 1974 CD (Water) until recently and it's a good thing I got this 'un when I did because who knows how long it's gonna stay on the market! I mean, I lollygagged when that Harmonia with Eno disque was available about ten years back and just try getting a copy now! Anyway, you may be fooled into thinking this is a Harmonia studio album because not only are all the tracks previously-unreleased, but there is no audible applause or any indication that there's an audience out there grooving to Harmonia's rather hypno-beat electronica! I guess everyone there was stoned outta their minds to give any sign of life! It's a nice slice of mid-seventies krautopia, not as dynamic as their debut nor is it as electro-pop as DELUXE but still it has this great analog synth sound with a beat-box rhythm and Michael Rother's fine guitar lines weaving in and out when appropriate. At times this almost has the same ambience as a typical mid-seventies Suicide tape, without Alan Vega's over-the-top Stoogeisms and Byron Coley heckling the guy to fisticuffs, that is.

Monday, March 03, 2008


A recent post from the Taki's Top Drawer site that's just custom made for many of you spiritual leftoids (dunno how many neocon readers I have) out there who just love to spout now-meaningless terms and accusations at people such as I! And yes, I do hope you will consider the source!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

THE LOOKIES-"KEEP IT ROLLIN'" b/w TRUCKSTOP LOVE CHILD-"THINKIN' AIN'T DRINKIN'" 7-inch 33 rpm single (Zodiac Records...try Bona Fide for availability)

I thought I'd better review this 'un before Rick Noll (who sent the dang thang to me like last...December???) personally removes my giblets via an orifice to be named at a later date. The reason Noll's all hopped up about this seven-incher on pink vinyl's the fact that the drummer for the Lookies, none other than L. Ron Rummager a.k.a. Jay Spiegel used to be a member of the Velvet Monkeys, a group that got quite a bit of notice back in the mid-eighties American pseudo-garage scene thanks to the help of Mr. Noll. Special interests aside, this split-disc (other side featuring none other than a group called Truckstop Love relation to that other group) reminds me of a whole passel of those late-eighties/early-nineties self-produced underground recordings made my kids in their garages who had the money to press up all sortsa singles and perhaps even albums, but unfortunately only about .01% of 'em had any talent, imagination or just plain gumption with regards to what they were doing, or at least trying to convey to a miniscule but awaiting audience. And sure it was great back in the mid-sixties when even the most suburban-bound punk band would get some limited-edition single out that got posthumous praise fifteen years later when one of those clandestine garage band compilations finally brought their hard work to a larger audience, but if the same kinda groups are gonna scrounge up the same five Stooges/Sabbath/Nugent... riffs and grind them into the ground to the point of cliches what really is the moral of the story anyhow???

Not that the Lookies or Truckstop Love Child are the same kind of typical no-promise/no-deliver "amerindie" bands we've been plagued with for the past umpteen years. Far from fact I'd say that both of these post-teenage (perhaps way-post-teenage!) groups do continue on the more exciting path of what Amerigan underground punkitude-cum-post-hardcore rock did give us twennysome years back before it all slid into the mire. Sorta heavy metal chordings of the seventies filtered into a new and more violent eighties outlook (I'm thinking early Angry Samoans putsch) only slowed down a bit pretty much like Jeff Dahl used to do in Powertrip. And of course there's the loud, raw-throated screaming vocals that I hope still will not settle well with current satellite-radio-listening garage thudders part and parcel to the mp3 generation. Really spiffy, especially for a couple groups that've sprung up from outta nowhere and who'll probably just end up right back there thanks to the usually uncaring public brainwashed by thirtysome years of hippie mewl.


As time crawls on there's certainly no doubt in my mind that the "l" in front of my own particular brand of libertarianism (or perhaps "paleo-libertarianism") is shrinking smaller and smaller, perhaps at this point in time even more miniscule than that "c" that Pete Seeger says keeps shrinking in front of his own communist allegiance. The reason why really isn't that difficult to discern, especially when the entire genus at this stage in the political game seems to be anything but libertarianism as I knew and understood it with various high-profile members of the movement (most notably the staff of REASON, the flagship periodical regarding just about anything and everything libertarian or so it would seem) alienating me more than a few times with what seems to be a severe confusion between "libertarianism" proper and "libertinism". I really don't know if I can count all of the occasions when it seemed that a good portion of the magazine's staff (the usually annoying Cathy Young as well as equally odious Nick Gillespie come to mind) went out of their way to dig into people like myself and my social strata for going against what they now consider the libertarian-bearing standards of the day whether it be various aspects of gay rights (read: "marriage") or certain matters regarding the lives (and deaths) of people that seem to woosh away a good two-thousand years of solid Western values. It only goes to remind me about a certain bunsnitch (no names please) who once claimed that I certainly wasn't a "libertarian" but a reactionary (golly!) because I stood firm against those special "rights" that have been given to politically protected classes whom I believe, nay, know do not deserve them no matter how hard they stamp their feet in self-righteous indignation.

But then again, what can I say about a movement that is so fractured and can go just about any way anyone wants it to go (for their own personal purposes) that yet another internet scoundrel, a "man" who claims to be a tip-top libertarian and gosh, he even used to read books by movement biggie Murray Rothbard during his days of adolescent self-discovery, actually went out of his way to endorse not a staunch libertarian in the truest sense like Ron Paul but Rudy (I am tempted to say "Benito") Guiliani for the Presidency of These Here United States! A guy who seemed so transparantly New York liberal republican that I was so glad my prayers were answered when this career-ruining deca-phony was flushed out of the race long before he could cause any real damage. But as for myself, although I still will admit to having a clear libertarian "streak", my sympathies lie a lot closer these days with the paleoconservative movement (which does overlap with libertarianism, only not the kind that the aforementioned bozos bank their pseudo liberal beliefs on) and the likes of Paul Craig Roberts, Charley Reese, Joseph Sobran, Pat Buchanan, the late Sam Francis and the people at CHRONICLES magazine as well as the TAKI'S TOP DRAWER site where you can read a more traditional Old Right view of today's miasma with a load of commentary from people who may come off too "racist" (not honest appraisals of modern day race relations) and "anti-Semitic" (not fair critiques of Israeli policies) for my own personal tastes. But they sure read, venom and all, a lot more honest and in-tune with where I as some mid-Amerigan wastrel stands on the issues than a bunch of these new libertarians trying to outdo each other by seeing just how many mid-Amerigan holy cows they can take out in the name of "freedom".

Anyway there's this relatively new (last year) book out that might just add a few more controversies to the "what is and isn't libertarian" brouhaha that has been going on, but nevertheless it's still a wonderful, perhaps the first concise history of the Amerigan libertarian scene that I at least can recall and for that maybe we should all give it a read before we make any more self-congratulatory pronouncements as to our own breed of rugged individualism. Author Brian Doherty, besides being a senior editor at REASON and long-time contributor to a number of libertarian and conservative magazines (as well as MOTHER JONES) is also a rather well-rounded writer in the non-political world, perhaps even a modern-day renaissance man or about as close to one as you can get in the 21st century. Regular BLOG TO COMM readers might remember Doherty not only for his tenure in the Sawdust Caesars (way-above-par modern application of sixties garage aesthetics filtered through late-eighties Amphetamine Reptile sonics) but his late-eighties/early-nineties SURRENDER 'zine (this was way past the fanzine era, ifyaknowaddamean...) as well as for being the author of a book on the hippydippy Burning Man phenom, but like I said Doherty sure knows how to cover all the bases no simple punk he! Of the two issues of SURRENDER I have gazed upon, the first seemed more or less like one in a million of the CONFLICT imitations of the time (in the sage words of Spiro Agnew, "no comment") while the last one was a marvy mix of extended essays passing as multi-functional reviews, a funny Faust article, thorough interviews with various under-the-underground figures and even a large book section touching on many of the libertarian and even paleocon aspect of today's subject at hand. (And add to that the man's very own Cherry Smash record/cassette label which released a number of items that I probably would pass on in favor of cruddy-sounding Syd Barrett outtakes, but that's just my horse-blindered vision of music.) But it sure was a joy reading Doherty's smart-set assessment of everything from the Hampton Grease Band and a wide range of Milton Friedman books, all topped off with a current playlist that had everything from the standard "hip" underground rock to late-sixties psychedelia, classical and big band (a genre I probably would love to this day if only my father hadn't pushed the stuff on me heavy-like in an attempt to keep me away from that evil rock & roll when I was barely into the double digits!). If anything, Doherty was the intellectual punk descendant of the likes of Russell Desmond of CAN'T BUY A THRILL and the MIA Tim Ellison, and although SURRENDER will probably be remembered in the same sordid back-pages of eighties/nineties 'zinedom as BLACK TO COMM I'd certainly rate it, at least from the final issue, as one of the highlights of those rather tepid despite what anyone says times.

SURRENDER, the Sawdust Caesars and even Cherry Smash are not mentioned in Doherty's dustsleeve profile which did disappoint me a tad (THIS IS BURNING MAN naturally is), but that doesn't mean RADICALS FOR CAPITALISM is going to be a stodgy textbook case history of a political movement most BLOG TO COMM readers would probably care less about. Au contraire, RADICALS does live up to its freewheeling subtitle with Doherty mapping out a more thorough than one would expect history of American libertarianism, starting with the early roots of the likes of Lysander Spooner (a New England abolitionist who believed that the South had every right to sucession) up through the early pre-form movers and shakers such as the irrepressible H. L. Mencken and John Flynn (who didn't get as much space as I would have thought probably because they were more Old Right than libertarian) and onto the big guns of the twentieth century who, if anything, were the guiding lights of a movement that was extremely fractured then and will remain so given its inherent nature and perhaps inherent irritability for all I know!

Naturally all of the libertarian high and mighties are trotted out, starting with Albert Jay Nock whom I guess Doherty considers perhaps the first true jumpover from Old Rightism into the libertarian (and perhaps anarchist-right) camp, with the Austrian Schoolboys (von Mises, Hayek) and Chicagoans (led by Milton Friedman) firmly in tow. Especially enlightening is the section which Doherty calls the "Three Furies of Libertarianism" dealing with the femme torchbearers Isabel Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane (daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder of LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRARIE fame) and the infamous bulwark of reason Ayn Rand, a person whom I guess I can be ambivalent over (and my opinion hasn't budged a bit even after reading the massive amount of space RADICALS FOR CAPITALISM allots her). And from there the story goes on and on through more twists and turns and in-fights than even I could stand. But even with the back-stabbings and banishments from the Ayn Rand camp, you can still hear the cry of freedom throughout this book as these libertarians were fighting a good fight against not only what many thought was a losing battle against Government, but the stupid lackeys that kept the Machine well-oiled. After all, it was a fight for freedom against all manners of incursions via regulations and all sorts of "do-gooderisms" that today seem to be loved only by surviving New Deal chowhounds still buying the old line about benevolent leviathan, as well as their spiritual (and flesh and blood) children who somehow think it's a God Given DUTY of Big Government to satisfy their every whim and need because they were born East/Southern European blue collar workers which somehow entitles them to something. I dunno exactly what or even why the blind faith has lasted so long other than a sick form of tradition ("My pappy voted democrat and so did his, and I ain't gonna change!"), but its kinda strange hearing kids who were only being hatched when Big Nemesis Ron Reagan (not "quite" a libertarian icon) was prez still muttering vague obscenities over his cold body.

And like I said, this book does live up to the "freewheeling" nature of libertarianism with the strange ins and outs that this philosophy was capable of producing in a wide array of up-and-coming new minds whose ideals on the basic tenents of freedom certainly made strange bedfellows. Take the aforementioned Rothbard, a New York boy genius who shocked his typical-for-the-times liberal relatives by sticking up for Francisco Franco as a kid (good enough start) before campaigning for Strom Thurmond in the '48 presidential election (not because of Thurmond's staunch segregationist policies but because of his support of State's Rights, a concept Rothbard thought was much to be preferred over the Federal Government's encroachment into way too many facets of life via the New Deal), only to end up hobnobbing with the likes of Tuli Kupferberg and other hip radicals in an attempt to find "common ground" between the libertarians and the anti-Marxist youth rebels of the day! (And to make things even more confusing, Rothbard pretty much ended his political life working for the '92 Pat Buchanan campaign once again reconciling the libertarians with the paleocons, although he and his cohort Lew Rockwell never could get Pat to accept the tenents of free trade!) Perhaps Rothbard was the true cheerleader of a libertarian anarchism that transcended the usual boundaries to the point where hey, maybe some free-thinking kid who grew up reading his works could somehow metamorph into a Guiliani supporter. Stranger twists in the political evolution of people have happened...just ask me!

And of course all of the other latterday (anti)-movement heads from Boaz to Browne show up as does the birth of the Libertarian Party ending in what I would call a pretty accurate discussion of just where libertarianism stands in the here and now. Many of the plusses and minuses as to the state of freedom in the late-oh-ohs are contrasted and compared, and Doherty's assessments do seem fairly balanced even if you may personally disagree with the general "outcome". (And I should say that I do take issue with a few points here and there but I won't bring 'em up else this book review might just turn out to say more about me than it does its subject.) But really, the concept of "freedom" in general (at least in the United States, and perhaps a good portion of the world) is looking a lot better than it has in some respects...after all, the recent Ron Paul presidential campaign brought together disparate factions almost as diverse as the people Rothbard courted throughout his career. However for the most part I think the average Amerigan is so hooked on the big boobie of Benevolent (hah!) Government happily swapping freedom for security to the point where the upcoming presidential election is gonna be nothing more than a contest to see which side can offer up more goodies to the "Average American" dolt who pulls the lever for either major party. A hundred-year war to make the world safe for "democracy" (or whatever it passes for these days) for the Republicans and massive government door prize New Deal redux giveaways for the Democrats. Wow. And true, more freedoms have evolved over the years (perhaps in some ways to detrimental effect) and generally there are more choices and more opportunities for the everyday common man available now than ever, but my guess is that most people would be glad to chuck it all away in order to get whatever handout they can from their pal Big Brother. It looks as if libertarians of both the big and little "l" variety are going to have their work cut out for them for a very long time.