Saturday, October 08, 2011

In a week where the most kulturally-inclined happening tends to be picking up a pack of smoked hot sticks with American cheese ground into 'em at the supermarket, the arrival of an old beat up Kitchen Sink edition of the 1958 LI'L ABNER dailies (or at least those running from 12/19/57 until 11/21/58) certainly is cause for mucho joy and spirited agitation here at BLOG TO COMM headquarters. Received this (totally unsolicited-like) from Brad Kohler, who got it from Bill Shute (himself) who told Brad to pass it along to me, and if you think that I'm gonna be passin' this onto anybody else out there you're sadly mistaken because this is one collection of comic capers that I'm definitely keeping for my old age when all I'm gonna do it sit around and read old comic strips! No "Meals of Wheels" for this self-absorbed  pensioner nohow, and thanks be to Misters Shute and Kohler for making this book available to me and for a mere nothing at all because it's folks like them who really know how to keep a shut in such as myself happy when, for all intent purposes, I should be miserable being forced to live in the walking dungheap that most people out there call 2011, and don't you forget it!.

Y'know, 1958 was a pretty good year not only with the Royal Teens' "Short Shorts" and Link Wray's "Rumble" amongst many other spirited tunes on the radio, but with hotcha television shows like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER and who could forget THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET lighting up the cathodes across this fruity plain thus insuring a great evening of television viewing for hotcha suburban kids! Yes, it certainly was fun livin' during one of the best times in the nation even if Kruschev was causing a whole lotta woe across the globe, and I should know even if I wasn't even alive then because...well look at the evidence!!! And if one was a steady peruser of the comic pages there certainly was no shortage of fun and energy, not only with the classic strips of the past thirty years still being pumped out in force but with the new cream of the postwar era adding a li'l bit of dimension to your evening laff parade. And along with DICK TRACY,  LI'L ABNER was still chuggin' away on all cylinders with Al Capp's keen sense of satire and sarcasm fitting into the hotcha late-fifties mode of fun 'n games a whole lot keener'n alla those fifties-haters you see around these days would like you to believe.

In this volume the story line twists and turns through such everyday situations where a mobster gun moll switches places with Daisy Mae (who has amnesia and strangely enough rises to the top of the crime world!), the mayor of a neighboring town's pet parrot tips off the local Mafia in exchange for feathered cooze, an alien civilization buys Manhattan from General Bullmoose to use in a theme park, and perhaps the strangest genderbendinly confusing Sadie Hawkins Day race ever inked involving Abner's long-lost little brother Tiny (see the panel on the right or directly above depending on your browser  and tell me that maybe Capp wasn't hinting at the shape of things comin' all over the place)! If you think that outrageous and envelope-pushing comic strips began with ZIGGY I'm afraid that your'e gonna have a wild reckonin' to go through when you get done with these!

And now, as they say, the stuff that you've been waiting for...

Larry Young-CONTRASTS LP (Blue Note)

Third in my trove of recent Larry Young acquisitions, this 'un features the man during his Blue Note days continuing on the r 'n b-y hard bop which turns into magnificent free form right before your very ears. A surprisingly good sesh here that not only features his wife Althea cooing a version of "My Funny Valentine" that doesn't make me wanna puke but some hefty free splat that only goes to show you that there certainly were more'n a few ears being attuned to the "new thing" in the sixties long before the snobbish white kids discovered it and used it to their own nefarious ends. Not too bad, especially when you realize that in only a few years time Young would be pushing the organ pedals in Lifetime, perhaps the crowning achievement of his entire career and don't you forget it!

Stare Case-LOSE TODAY LP (De Stijl, available through Forced Exposure)

Gee, and I thought Fadensonnen was the only guy out there working on death-droning anti-rock cantatas these days! Looks like Stare Case is out there to give him a li'l competition, and on this longplayer this duo does a mighty good job of it what with the stripped down (I think they used to call it "minimal" back in the late-seventies) base in which just the right amount of cacophony is added to give it that sparkling air of irritable genius. Some pundits have compared this to "Sweet Sister Ray" but I would go back further in the Velvets catalog to like maybe their Falling Spikes/Warlocks days when monotonically maniaical ideas such as "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams" were being fleshed out into directions I don't think the pop world had quite seen before...or since. A surprise outta nowhere winner that just might hold your attention for at least a spin or two before being filed to the back of the stack. 

Although I am whatcha'd call a halfway decent fan of the MX-80 Sound cadre, I really don't find myself playing the numerous recordings made by their various "offshoot" bands as frequently as I perhaps should. This '97 release being but just one of 'em, a double sided slab of bizarroid improv featuring MX-80 guitarist and drummer Bruce Anderson and Marc Weinstein, along with additional drummer/vocalist Russ Shoenwetter, bassist Ken Kearney and Myles Boisen on additional guitar. The sound is free, sparse and pretty downright intense with drummer Shoenwetter adding a whole slew of half-crazed speak-sing ranting all over the thing thus adding an even more offsetting air to the concept of avant garde improv post-heavy metal rock. Actually, I think it woulda worked out a whole lot better if it had remained an instrumental disc (in fact, if so it would have retained the free/fusion/experimental jazz-rock edge of the original pre-Rich Stim-era MX-80), but it ain't my album so I better shut up. And yeah, this is a surprising slab of under-the-gulcher rock that you know will get washed away by the tide of inferior amerindie  produce, but what's even more amazing about it is the cover photo...I mean, how did they ever get Chuck Eddy and Robert Christgau to pose for it?
ST 37-KBDP mini-CD (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Haw, didn't know that this long-lived Texas psychedelic/garage/experimental act was still up and operating but I guess they still are, and would you believe that they actually released a platter for Bill Shute's very own Kendra Steiner imprint? And would you also guess that this act hasn't lost any of that great flyover country exuberance that they had way back when dorks were writing up their psychoscuzz with some of the most absurd descriptors in the pages of YOUR FLESH??? Total eruption high energy hijinx here that I must say comes off like a hotcha buncha jammers playing lost Elevator vibrations in some abandoned farm house while riddled with some of the most scathing stimulants to be found on the planet channeling every forgotten acid casualty from the Lone Star State via their lava lamp. Speaking of lava lamps, if you liked the psychoscronk of Jim Shepard and his Vertical Slit this might make inroads into your own third sphincter. Only 113 pressed and when they're gone you know the rest...
THINGS ALSO HEARD, BUT NOT QUITE DIGESTED: via Bill Shute (who else?)-The Mike Stuart Span-TIMESPAN CD-R-Sorry but this didn't quite kick in like I thought those late-sixties English psychedelic beat platters should. Maybe a little too straightforward for my own personal tastes with only the cover of Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle" capturing my interest any. And that was just a BBC session track tagged on at the end! Karel Velebny-SHQ (ESP-disk) CD-R...passed this one up back when the ESP catalog was first being digitized in '92 (which was the only reason I bought a CD player in the first place!) for obvious reasons (the cover!), but the actual recording does hold up a bit even if the European free jazz feeling always did pale next to the localized take. Kinda think a Czech Gunter Hampel and you might get an idea of where this one's headed, only without Hampel's hard attack and total devotion to the Ayler ideal. Maybe they shoulda smuggled more ESP disks into Czechoslovakia just so's the bohemians coulda gotten a better idea of what was goin' on over here thus washing away that classicist European dinge that permeates this stuff!

No comments: