Saturday, March 12, 2011

So, what can I talk at'cha today in order to look up-to-date and in tune with this rather sad and sick world o' ours anyway? Howzbout some current events, like perhaps the Earthquake in Japan? Yeah, that's too bad...I keep thinking of all the gorgeous gals who probably got offed or maimed in that disaster. What a loss. Hope enough good looking ones survived.

On to another pertinent subject. Maybe you'd like to know my opinions regarding the standoff between the public school teachers and the gov over in Wisconsin? Well, if you must know, I say with total Shakespeareian gusto intercourse to thee, TEACHER SCUM! Frankly, I really do find it puzzling as to why many otherwise intelligent people (some who even read this blog) feel sorry that the teacher's union lost their right to collective bargaining, because as you'd already guess I COULD CARE LESS given the way these people played hooky just so's they could rant and rave in front of sympathetic television eyes and act like persecuted peons when these sanctimonious pueriles're making a whole lot more per year'n I'll ever see, and still they want MORE!

Hell, Archie cares a whole lot less about Miss Grundy than you seem to about that old crone who used to give you a hassle in Sex Education, so why are all of these tears being shed for some of the most narcissistic, self-centered people on this planet (outside of gays, that is!)? At least one good thing has come outta this strike, and that's the STALEMATE that this showdown has resulted in...just think, no new laws are being created to screw you Wisconsinites even more which only makes me hope this impasse continues on ad infinitum!

Now if only somebody could drive it in real hard to the governor who ain't exactly a peaches and cream sorta person himself (sheesh, these debacles are kinda like having to be forced to root for Hitler over Stalin or vicey versey...something equally gruesome in the long run if you think you have to root for one side or the other, that is!). Gee, ain't current events fun? A lot more so than when Beaver hadda find one for school and the only thing he could come up with was "the Indians are predicting a severe winter"!

Hokay, enough of are a few platters of various sizes (though the same shape) that I've been spinnin' this week. Some old, some new, nothing borrowed or blue though!
Suicide-WE NEVER SAID WE ARE MUSIC, WE ARE SUICIDE LP (no label bootleg, Germany)

I've never seen this one mentioned in any Suicide bootleg discography, or at least any that are available at my cracked and crevice-y fingertips. I even did a google search and came up goose eggs which must attest to the rarity of this particular item which is something that makes me feel warm and toasty inside! In fact, I wonder if this even exists at all though the blasted thing has resided in my record collection for well over twenny-four years, but then again there it is, so it must exist, right? Or is my mind playing a grandiose trick on me and all of these years I've only been imagining owning and spinning this album? I mean, things could be worse like the stories I heard of a 2-LP Pere Ubu live in London bootleg that was espied in the basement of the old Record Revolution in Coventry (Ohio, suburb of Cleveland), or even a reported Rocket From The Tombs bootleg that was flying around as early as 1981, records that I doubt ever materialized even though the people who claim to have seen 'em might even be having as many doubts about what their orbs encountered as I am trying to figure out what exactly's up with this particular platter!

But yes WE NEVER SAID WE ARE MUSIC... does exist and it's a pretty good doozy of an album recorded right before Suicide took that big plunge into soft schlocky music more fit for your martoonies and nibbles party than anything remotely related to rock & roll. Naw, the music being performed here's way closer to the Suicide circa '76 when the music was really hard-edged and high energy and the duo of Alan Suicide and Martin Rev were helping to create a new booking policy at Max's Kansas City. Well yeah, that one song that sounds like Barry Manilow singing "Can't Smile Without You" does pop up here (and is titled "Heroin" t'boot!), but even that sounds good enough like an early-sixties top 40 rouser when performed with an outta-control beat box and Alan Vega mewling out the lyrics like Frankie Avalon with his stones cut off.

The rest is total out-there screech music that seems to bear little resemblance to anything Suicide did either during their Ze period or directly after that affair. Hard soundscapading with manic rhythm backing it and insane street bleat all over the place, the sound of the subway 'stead of the salon which is what the Suicide of '88 obviously reveled in for reasons known only to them. Although this really ain't as good as this one live tape I have of Suicide at CBGB around the same time (which would make an excell-o bootleg in itself) I find it sounds a whole lot more "New York" "Arty" "Avant Garde"'n a good portion of the rather unmoving underground music being made in the wake of Suicide's, er...success?
Shirley Collins-AMARANTH including the ANTHEMS IN EDEN SUITE LP (Harvest England)

I gotta admit that at one time I didn't know Shirley Collins from Adam or Eve, but all of those plugs in FORCED EXPOSURE and name-droppings from various Throbbing Gristlites did pique my curiosity up just a tad bit. And since ANTHEMS IN EDEN, Collins' long op album on English Harvest is now going for collector's item prices I figure that maybe this '76 "Harvest Heritage" quickie budget collection would be just thee place to start before even thinking about dishing out beaucoup for the woman's '69 longplayer which has garnered a whole load of critical acclaim o'er the years, if that means anything to you.

Interesting album this is too, for unlike all of the other Harvest Heritage releases the entire first side consists of freshly-recorded material 'stead of the standard album tracks and rare b-sides. Dunno why this ended up being half new and half old, but Collins herself states on the back cover that this will be her final outing on vinyl or whatever recorded mode there was and shall remain, and I guess half an album of new material would be better'n none at all. And hey, her "new" material's pretty hotcha as well, nowhere along the lines of the hippified medieval moanings of Steeleye Span but faithful if modified versions of old English and French folk numbers that do bring a smile to my face and a tap to my toe. And even if I doubt that the original songs sounded anywhere near the way Collins and crew (which includes a few Fairportites and other names on the English Middle Ages scene) perform 'em these sure don't make me irk the way some of those foppier folksters coulda rendered 'em!

The "Anthems in Eden" suite takes up the whole of side two and it's more of the same renditions of ancient folkage that I guess is trying to be faithful to the original form. Sheesh, I wonder if the English hippoids of the day were trying to re-live their past sorta the same way alla them San Fran laidbacks borrowed from the Old West in an attempt to reconnect with their own roots? Well, at least Collins doesn't offend like she coulda, and I found her singing to be most pleasant along with the musicianship, obviously played on instruments that had to be returned to the National Museum after this session was over.

A nice once in awhile affair...wouldn't wanna gulp down a steady diet of it but after giving this a listen I kinda wonder was it really that far a jump between some 14th century troubadour and what the Falling Spikes were doing on that 1965 demo tape? But hey, I'll bet if you loaded Geoffrey Chaucer up with enough heroin I'm sure he woulda come up with "Venus in Furs" too!
Various Artists-DO WHAT THOU WILT LP (no label, England)

Don't try getting it...the thing's already sold out, but if you were lucky enough to latch onto a copy of this limited edition album I'm sure somebody out there will envy you. Despite the title, this album is not some collection of satanic ritualistic soundtracks for practitioners of the "olde religione" or whatever they called it but a sampler of rare acetates and obscure single sides (mostly the former) featuring a slew of English groups who recorded some good hard thud rock that should appeal to people who want to know more about what interesting music was being made during that great chasm between the time the last sixties garage bands hung up their guitar straps and the Sex Pistols arrived to rescue us all from the ravages of Robin Trower albums. (Yes I know it wasn't that simple and that there was plenty of good rock & roll being made between 1968 and 1976, but sheesh, sometimes I feel as if I gotta dumb down things for some of you readers!)

I guess I could consider myself lucky for latching on to one of these for my very own, for I emailed the guy who had compiled and was selling this album about a nanosecond after Robin Wills notified us of its existence via his PUREPOP blog. Not too many were left after that and a lotta fans of the form were S.O.L. as they used to say, but not me!

Anyway, I finally got mine a good two months after ordering the thing (lotsa worry clouding my mind thinking this 'un got lost in the GREAT ENGLISH SNOWSTORM OF 2011) and frankly I'm pretty glad about it! After all, English thud rock of the early-seventies is an often neglected genre, and with the rest of the seventies punkism sources either drying up or holding tight on the releases (and hey, I know there were thousands of seventies groups out there worthy of getting the royal carpet treatment at least before the surviving tapes crumble into nothingness!) records like these help soothe the pangs of realizing that all the good stuff was happening up to forty years ago and most everything since is nothing but pure taffy!

Actually most of this album isn't anything that's gonna make you wanna go and chant homages to Cthulhu while rolling your eyes back until they're all white, but it's pretty entertaining slime at that. Much of it comes off in the early Black Sabbath/UFO vein back when both aggregates were trying to take English blues forms and strip away all of the chording, while others come closer to the primitive Deviants/Fairies/Hawkwind Ladbroke Grove style of pre-punk screech. A group calling itself Grind was particularly good in taking this ethos to even more primal levels, while another called Tonge were also adept enough to create a pretty good punk rock wail a few years before the snides at MELODY MAKER decided to perk their antennae up. Still others sorta come off like a weird cross between this brand of ethos and the popular progressivisms of the day sorta reminding me of the group Stud Leather whose aim was closer to that of Yes but whose single was pure punkism!

Of course there's nothing along the lines of a Stud Leather here but the mix of hard scrunch and primal splatter is one that should appeal to fans of rock & roll so raw you'd think it was recorded live at 100 BC!

(And maybe I should note to you that the only group here whom I've read anything about and who perhaps were the only ones to break out of the acetate mold into flesh and blood vinyl were Lucifer, who actually got an article written 'bout 'em in the old English fanzine PENETRATION and who appear here closing out the proceedings with a number called, appropriately enough, "Fuck You". Not exactly the best track on an album filled with some of the more blatantly low-fidelity English thud-speak but hey, you tell 'em!)

If you really want to read the PUREPOP post which brought light to this album (and hey, why not?), all you really have to do is click here to see what you missed out on. And hey, a long hard cry will make you feel better, and given the loads of classics I missed out on when the missing was good I should know!
Streak-"Bang Bang Bullet"/"Black Jack Man" 45 rpm (Deram, England)

It's really gosh-it-all nice to get hold of an actual vinyl copy of this under-the-radar single recorded during the glory days of glitzy rock terrace stompers as they used to say. When this one originally came out it was being touted as one of the leading lights in the big punk rock putsch of '73, a movement that I assume was well-known and growing at the time even though you and I undoubtedly missed out on it all for some strange reason. Well, at least Charles Shaar Murray, one of the original p-rock boosters back in the NME glory days knew enough to rate it as a top notch single and a harbinger of even better things to come down the pike! And if somebody like him said so, you knew it hadda be true, savvy?

If you wanna read more about Streak click here, but if you don't just take my word that this single (featuring two future members of the English glamboppers Arrows ifyoucanbelieveit) is a "red hot bopper" as the lyrics put it. Kinda think of the Sweet if they had a Max's Kansas City attitude, complete with that innocent yet decadent-looking English stomp rock feeling that was so big at the time although it eventually mutated into various areas perhaps best left unnoticed. "Bang Bang Bullet" is a natural winner that I'm surprised missed out on any chart action given how it was tuned into the whole platforms and sparkle mindset o' the day, and while the flip "Black Jack Man" ain't as high energy as the plug side it still cuts swaths in the path of James Taylor records with its basic (demi) crunch. No matter, this is a punk rock classic that has been done good by its placement on the GLITTERBEST collection of British fop pop, and not being familiar with it would be...well, something I would expect of most of you readers these sorry days.
Treddie Frogs and the BMT's-"Crazy Little Mama"/"I Can't Help Fallin' In Love" 45 rpm single (Off the Wall!)

My mission to track down and uncover just about every available bit of obscure information regarding the seventies NYC rock scene continues after all these years, and oddly enough (thanks to the existence of this here internet) my efforts to locate rare recordings and eke recollections out of aging band members have become a whole lot easier than they were a good quarter century back when I began my research efforts in earnest. True I've been running up against a brick wall trying to locate information on some totally outta-the-loop groups, but as of late it has become quite a breeze to trek down at least a little previously-unknown information regarding a whole load of groups who otherwise might totally be lost to history like some old-stock silent film or even a pre-pubescent girl from Youngstown Ohio's virginity!

Prior to the here and now, all I knew about the BMT's was that they were one of those groups that used to play Max's Kansas City's "Fifties Rock" night (on Sunday I believe, I do know that Thursday was hardcore night) along with such acts as the Zantees, the Buicks and the Ribitones. Given the types of acts that were playing Max's at the time (80/81) I figured out that perhaps their idea of fifties rock was filtered through the Heartbreakers-inspired punk that made a whole lotta inroads on the local scene whether you liked it or not and guess what, once again I was right!

Aided by the Ribitones, the BMT's do some pretty good punked up doo-woppy things on this outta-nowhere platter, the a-side being the El Dorados via Pat Boone hit done as you would expect Italians playing at Max's to have done it in 1980. Fifties verve, style and lotsa chooch kinda filtered through the previous quarter-century of bared-wire rock evolution. The flipster's the Elvis classic which surprisingly enough starts off as a straight ballad faithful to the original before heading straight into Johnny Thunders territory like any good Max's band should before returning to the original heart-tugging intent of it all. Let's just say this was another nice shoulda-been-plugged surprise that I sure could use more of, and if this 'un ain't comin' at you via some seventies indie/underground collection soon I really do not know what's wrong with this here world.


Anonymous said...

He might do a cd version of the "Do what thou..."" record though...mebbe....

Peter Crowley said...

Hi Chris,

There's a great Freddy Frogs documentary movie making the rounds of film festivals. It's called, "Days On Earth" and snippets can be found on YouTube.