Wednesday, February 29, 2012


First time I heard about this 'un was during a carpool ride back '78 way. Seems that this already decade-old film was playing at either some revival house or local porn palace "Midnight Movie", so in order to boost that all-umportant college kid attendance a particularly slimy commercial plugging said showing was airing on none other than the local top 40 outlet. From a good thirty-five years of brainfog, I most definitely recall this particular ad being one of the sleaziest and downright sickest things to have been allowed on the airwaves at least until the advent of birth control commercials...boy you could tell from the outset that the copy writers were trying hard overtime to make SKIDOO out as one of the most outrageous cinematic excursion extant since L'AGE D'OR, or perhaps even SALO with a little bitta ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS tossed in for good measure! Still remember the snarling "hey kid, c'mere here!" tone of voice the announcer was using to reel us lumpen ignoramuses in, complete with the shocking revelations of a scene featuring co-star Groucho Marx smoking marijuana and of course that hoary old "Banned in 23 Countries!" come on that even David Peel got a whole lotta mileage outta! Not surprisingly, I recall similar ads being used around the same time for other revived cinematic excursions ranging from MYRA BRECKENRIDGE to that Sherlock Holmes film with the "quick Watson, the needle!" line...sheesh, I can't believe we were all that innocent to fall for such POOR WHITE TRASH PART TWO hype that promised the world but only gave us slight pseudo-innuendo and perhaps a gratuitous reference to VD!

After doing some research I decided that SKIDOO just hadda've been one of those typical late-sixties "Now Films" considering the lineup of stars from Jackie Gleason and Carol Channing on down mixed with the up 'n comers whose careers undoubtedly fizzled out soon afterwards. Naturally it wasn't like I was just champing at the bit to see it the way I've always wanted to catch a flick like say, THE BABY MAKER (which at least had Lois Lane herself Phyllis Coates and Beaver's Aunt Martha in it to hold yer attention). However, given the secrecy surrounding this feature as well as the utter pans and general unavailability (with director Otto Preminger's daughter sitting on the negatives for years on end) you gotta admit that curiousity got my cat's tongue!. And now that SKIDOO's finally available on disque well, you could say that at least one li'l cold case file in my gulcheral experience life has been closed though maybe I'm still trying to decide whether it was worth all of the time, trouble, wonderment and dishing out of hard to come by $$$ to find out.

But just how can one describe this film anyway other'n as an establishment freak out of the highest order? Trying to be one part "generation gap comedy" (think THE IMPOSSIBLE YEARS with an even more lascivious bent) and the other part mafia crime romp, SKIDOO stars Gleason as a retired mob torpedo who's not only living a respectable life running an automated car wash but is now married to none other than Carol Channing and coping with a typical curvy teenaged daughter played by some flash goin' by the name of Alexandra Hay. However, the sanctity of Gleason's new middle-class existence is shattered when none other'n a father and son team (Cesar Romaro and Frankie Avalon) show up at his digs to tell him that crime boss "God" (Groucho Marx complete with hair dyed worse than Jack Lord) wants Gleason to come out of retirement to rub out prison inmate Mickey Rooney before the guy blabs to a senate subcommittee. Gleason balks at returning to his old ways, though when he finds pal Arnold Stang stung so to speak his bulbousity decides to play along sneaking into prison in order to carry out the wicked deed.

As for the "youth market" portion of the film,  Gleason's daughter just happens to be an up-'n-sprouting hippie chick of the Gloria Stivic variety who hitches up with a '68 stock moom pitcher flower child played by John Phillip Law. This interesting subplot makes at least a small part of this flick an eerie precursor to ALL IN THE FAMILY with all of the proper components intact (Gleason as Archie, Channing as Edith...). With Gleason missing in prison, Channing opens her home to all of her daughter's hippie friends who proceed to "do their own thing" despite the objections of the local yokels who definitely want to keep their town nice 'n odor free.

The story gets a li'l more complicated from here, and since this ain't some late-seventies TIME magazine review which gives the entire film away I'll cease with any more detailed plot summaries in case you're just as puzzled about the whys of this 'un as I was. But as for my impressions of it...well, they're certainly a "mixed bag" as the Troggs woulda said. First off, it's kinda strange seeing a whole buncha these old H-wood hands acting in a moom such as this, especially when you consider that Jackie Gleason's one of the guys who was leading the charge against Jim Morrison's on-stage flasher incident a year after this was made. However in this film The Great One seems to be taking a kinder view to at least one of the Now Generation's favorite pastimes, mainly dropping acid. In the scene where he accidentally gets dosed with LSD, Gleason believe-it-or-not actually makes a subtle if perhaps effective case regarding the usage of psychedelics as a positive force for better mental health, which I guess is the reason why none other than Acid Guru himself Dr. Timothy Leary ended up endorsing this 'un! (See below for more.) And although I'm sure a good portion of your older relatives would probably relish viewing something along the lines of SKIDOO considering all of the old hands who've appeared in the thang, you know that if they actually were to give this 'un an eyefull they'd just mutter "what the hell was that all about anyway? Is this film pro-drugs??? Can't believe that! And how could a nice wopadago kid like Frankie Avalon be in this...oh the horror of it all!" Give it a try time you go visit Uncle Ferd and Aunt Mabel take a copy along and offer to spin it for 'em! You'll see the look of anticipation turn into a swift kick inna ass right before your very eyes...and buttocks!

I like the mix 'n match myself, where the film on one hand looks like a typical sixties comedy that woulda got stuck on the CBS LATE MOVIE sometime inna early eighties yet comes off like a standard generation gap/brainy relevant film albeit not as strong a one as THE POOPIES NEXT DOOR, BILLY HACK or SOLDIER BLUE BALLS. But shocking enough in its own new morality way as were a great number of similar-minded films for the next four or so years that the folks in Hollywood for some reason thought we all wanted to see. A lot of SKIDOO is as ridiculous as you'd expect, though some parts such as the aforementioned Gleason LSD trip scene are about as "there" as the various acid trip experiences in all of those other late-sixties films you've endured lo these many years which might not be saying much, but frankly I'd rather watch Gleason tripping out than Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper anyday.

Of course considering some of the material that's juxtaposed in this 'un (the musical climax with Channing dressed like a pirate leading an army of hippies through God's boat being just one of 'em) you kinda wonder whether or not this was originally supposed to be a tender generation gap seriocomedy, only thanks to rewrites and editing it turned out to be something quite different. And if you're the type to ponder over something like this I guarantee you'll be doing plenty of head-scratching, especially during the escape scene where the entire prison clientele's tripping their brains out while Gleason and his cellmate (Austin Pendleton) make their grand escape via hot air balloon! Maybe you'll think (like I did) that the part where the prison guards manning the search lights (played by Fred Clark and Harry Nilsson, who also did those spright pop tunes on the soundtrack) hallucinate dancing trash cans comes off eerily like an outtake from 200 MOTELS that Frank Zappa had the good sense to leave on the cutting room floor, but then again maybe not.Well, I guess that an audience that would eat up the hipster hokum on LAUGH IN would've gobbled a scene like this hook line and flower power sinker, so let's just chalk it all up to period piece misfire!

As usual, I decided to pad this post out with the trailer for the film which features, besides Dr. Leary's endorsement, commentary by Sammy Davis Jr. who I guess just hadda be anywhere where the hip stuff was happenin'! Yeah, I know what you're thinking...just what was Leary on when he was watching this anyway? Well, frankly I think you already know the answer to that, but then again I think that the trailer's probably just as funnily terrible (but it's a fun terrible, and perhaps even terrible fun) as the film is, and worth it if only to see Leary and Sammy Davis Jr. juxtaposed with the likes of Peter Lawford, Fred Clark, Frankie Avalon, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, George Raft and Groucho Marx who were at least in the thing! If you make it through the following 2:19 having even a semblance of curiosity then you might just wanna dish out a few measlies for a copy of this 'un like I obviously did!


One final note of kultural significance that I should you can see by the poster that is reproduced on the left, SKIDOO originally earned the old MPAA "M" rating* when it first came out in 1968. This rating does seemed justified if only due to the at-times sexy nature of the film not to mention the scenes with actress "Luna" showing a good inch or two of her butt crack, the body paint that's been applied to quite a few nubile hippie chick juggins, the Green Bay Packers playing football buck nekkid and Frank Gorshin** uttering the oft-used yet verboten exclamation "God damn"...typical "M" stuff if I do say so myself. The odd thing however is that, after forty-four years SKIDOO is now rated "R" which really does stymie me since the only real bare boobs with clearly visible nipples one sees is on the pin up spotted in the tower guard scene (and way in the background at that) and the language does seem rather tame compared with the string of obscenities that can be heard in many multiplexes these sad 'n sorry times. I guess that the new rating downgrade (upgrade?) is in fact due to not just whatever femme body parts might be visible to young 'n tender eyes (which I guess were much sturdier when this film was made), but for SKIDOO's "drug content," something which I gotta say makes me wanna chortle and chuckle to no end considering how the drugs being used were certainly not being "glorified" but used totally for comedic effect. In fact, I consider the part where Gleason's cellmate doses the entire prison in order to facilitate an easy jailbreak to be a sly update on the ancient yet belly-shaking gag where uptight, usually strongly anti-alcohol types get stoned outta their gourds without knowing it! Yeah, I can see it now...some sick white liberal blue-haired old lady whose job it is to rate motion pictures just frowning up a storm thinking that a scene where Burgess Meredith and Peter Lawford are flying high is a danger to the youth at large..."we mustn't let our children see such...such dangerous and damaging frivolities, so this movie must be rated "R"!!!" Funny thing is, that ol' gal probably would not object to letting kids see something that's the equivalent of what they glom in any sex ed class these days which contain material that's probably graphic to the nth degree and more or less an enticement for kids to go out and scam some gamahootch themselves!

Frankly, sex in the modern age is a whole lot more dangerous 'n using the kind of LSD (extremely mellow!) that's being peddled these days so let's just say that once again we can all see just how skewered the collective consciousnesses of the New Moral Guardians can get when they' re left unchecked as usual! Yeah kids, whore it up all you want, but whatever you do, don't trip out!!! And while you're at it, don't tell me we're not living in the Bizarro World because I can see the cracks on all of your faces from way back here!!!

*The "M" rating ("Recommended for MATURE audiences. Parental discretion advised") had been changed to "GP" ("General Patronage. All ages admitted")  in 1970 because many people were under the impression that ""M" films contained extremely strong material of a sexual and/or violent nature and that an "R" rating was in fact indicative of a milder movie for the whole family to see! Since most of the films of the day were getting "M"'s  it was decided that perhaps a new rating that didn't sound as strict would be less apt to scare of prospective patrons. So then came the "GP" (General patronage. All ages admitted") rating which nobody could differentiate from the standard "G" ("General audiences. All ages admitted") so kids, who were previously prohibited from going off to see those nasty "M" features, were now able to attend the screenings of such films as CAT O' NINE TAILS and RYAN'S DAUGHTER which even had a bitta bare titty in 'em (lucky kids!) and the parents never even knew! That's undoubtedly the reason why somebody at the MPAA finally had the brains to reverse the letters to "PG" ("Parental Guidance Suggested") in '72 thus giving folks at least a semblance of an idea as to what they were gonna be in store when they set foot inside a moom pitcher palace. I gotta say that I always did prefer the old "M" to those ratings that came after because...well, it sounded dirtier and like I could think of myself as being a cool tough guy by watching an "M" film 'stead of the goofy "G" stuff that people thought I should be watching lest my mind be corrupted by...well, whatever it is you see in "M" films that supposed to corrupt you!

**Gorshin, along with Romero and Meredith, were of course part of the BATMAN tee-vee ensemble which closed up shop shortly before SKIDOO went into production. Dunno how that would exactly play into the hands of fans of that particular series other'n as a strange coincidence, but it's a creepy enough of one to make note of even if it really means nothing to any of you regular blog tuner-inners.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Yes, these are trying times where we all have to "stick it out", and with our assets having been exposed to some of the worst inflation in ages I guess we all have to put some of our usual frivolities behind us. Cut costs since the bottom has been falling out of most of our financial investments, and do with a little less until we can put the current recession in the posterior. As for me, I've been saving a few centavos by attempting to cut back on my grocery bill, like eating my burgers without the buns and there ain't gonna be any rump roasts around here for quite awhile! It's gonna be quite a few moons until I can afford that house I've always wanted with a southern exposure, though I guess that plan will undoubtedly have to be put on the back burner.

Perhaps that is why I am still all goshy-goo over these Care Packages that Bill Shute continues to send my way, for they at least help introduce me to new and (at times) hotcha/exciting sounds that I wouldn't be able to hear otherwise! And frankly, mentioning my old faves over and over again can get to be asinine. Even Brad Kohler thinks I'm milking a property for all its worth with my incessant title-droppings of old classics like Doug Snyder/Bob Thompson's DAILY DANCE and  LIVE AT CBGB'S over and over. The cheek of that guy.

So until I can work a li'l more money into my "entertainment allotment" it looks like it's gonna be these Bill Shute packages alla way, and while I most heartily await seeing my woes in the rear view mirror at least I have these burns and the like to keep me well 'n happy. So without further ado like well, here's the rest of the post!
I guess that, considering how not only the fanzine that I used to crank out but perhaps this very blog is named after an infamous MC5 song which according to Chuck Eddy "doesn't exist,"  I should respectfully note the recent passing of that group's bass guitarist Michael Davis due to liver failure last week at the not-so-ripe old age of 68. Funny enough, if I had told some old fogy back in the late sixties that a member of a radical longhair rock 'n roll act like the Five would live well into his sixties I'd be more'n positive that this member of the silent majority would scoff at the idea, undoubtedly thinkin' that all of that partaking in drugs 'n an immoral lifestyle would most certainly off the guy before he could hit twenny-five! Funnily enough, many of those old fogies who used to sneer at the hippoids back then are still around and perhaps in some weird way think that Davis got just what was comin' to him even if it was over forty years later!!! Just goes to show you that some things just don't change, and you should be glad about it unless you're a dyed-inna-wood heartbleeder or lack the kinda sense of old-timey values that I most certainly adhere to!

As expected, the obit that I had glommed courtesy of Lindsay Hutton's THE NEXT BIG THING blogsite neglected to mention Davis' other groups, but considering how many outlets from AOL/Huffpost to CHRONICLES neglected to note Davis' death in any capacity maybe I should have been grateful that I got what I did. But yeah, Davis certainly was a major stalwart in that eternal rock 'n roll war against the jive, not only as the MC5's backbone between '65 and '72 but as the lead singer for the excellent post-Five avant rock aggregate Ascension (who've deserved the proper release treatment for nigh on thirtysome years!) as well as the bassist for Destroy All Monsters during their most active days. And just TRY to quiz me on the vast array of acts Davis had been with from the eighties on and you know that I'll flop worse'n a goldfish in a Roaring Twenties college student's belly...the only one that comes to mind off the bat's the one he had in Arizona with some former Giant Sand members and that's only because there was an interview with Davis (pix included!) which appeared is issue #23 (long gone!) of my aforementioned crudzine which came out sometime during the turn of the millennium.

Since there's probably a load of heart-rendering reminiscences and rheumy condolences elsewhere onna web I'll dispense with any hardcore emote for now. After all, it ain't like I actually knew the guy and the only "real" contact that we had was when he commented on a post regarding the identity of the drummer for the old Detroit group the Apostles who I spotted hanging around onstage with the Five in a photo reproduced on a picture sleeve (or at least it looked like him!). Taking the easy way out so-to-speak, I thought that I'd conclude this portion of our broadcast with the following clip of the MC5 (with Davis stage right in obv. SGT. PEPPER-inspired mustache and Nehru jacket) from Detroit television, the same clip that was oh-so-verboten to circulate a good twenny-five years back but now's so common that it pops up everywhere with alarming regularity! Even after all these years it remains a classic showcasing of the pre-LP Five avant rock sound if I do say so myself, and of course what better way to remember Davis than by watching this and listening to his records rather'n indulging in all that blah blah deeply-moving we miss you blubber sniff sniff crap that's not only so sickening, but in many ways so self-serving. You know the score, so do some private homage yerself and while yer at it lift a can of Pabst in his memory or something equally appropriate.

The Sorrows-OLD SONGS, NEW SONGS double Cee-Dee burn (courtesy of Bill Shute)

The weren't they that limey band that tried to make it big in dagoland where they recorded a number of songs inna Mama Mia tongue for the local fazools? And not only that, but one of their ex-members had a hit in England with "Indian Reservation" which of course Paul Revere and the Raiders did wonders with a few years later. Yeah, I remember readin' 'bout 'em in the British Invasion edition of WHO PUT THE BOMP was back when but considering my usual financial straits I never bothered to pick up any of their recordings. 's kinda like when Brad Kohler told me that he would buy reissues of old platters by the Poppees and Pezband if only there weren't all of those cee-gars and brews that were takin' up most of his entertainment for me I probably woulda been buying Sorrows disques if there only weren't all of those speeding tickets and pork rinds that have been taking a big crunch outta my pittance of a pleasure allotment I let myself have each month!

That Bill Shute did send me a good selection of Sorrows material for me to sift through, and from what I could tell these guys were a rather capable if not quite hard-as-nails tough beat band. Of course they could've/should've been a whole lot gnarlier with the proper feedback drone applications of the day, but like a good portion of the European rock groups on the cusp they sure knew how to mix their beat and their psych to palatable effect.

The SORROWS IN ITALY portion is pleasant if standard Eurorock, where the freakbeat gets mixed up with what I'd call a tamed Kinks aesthetics and of course a few Eyetalian language numbers thrown in to wow the signoritas over there the same way  that "Sie Lieb Dietch and "Komm Und Holt Der Hand" had all the krauts burning their Horst Jankowski albums in defiance of national pride. A nice example of what was going on rock-wise not only in England but the continent during the time before the big progressive putsch got into effect (some references of which can be noted here if only by the appearance of two covers of Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy" not forgetting the occasional sitar twang).

Platter #2's a mixed bag of early wop demos which display a good mix twixt the late-sixties freak familiar (as well as a cover of the Bee Gees' "New York Mining Disaster 1941" that goes to show you how pervasive the influence of those Australian twits were even this early in the game!) and the inner turmoil of whether or not to remain hotcha teen popsters or hard-nosed rock 'n' roll maniacs. The cover versions, Bee Gees and others, do show a much needed tension that was certainly slipping outta the Britpop scene at the time and who knows, if these guys had kept it up by '69 they might have given the late-sixties primal thud groups like the Deviants a run for their moolah!

Well, actually NO because the Sorrows actually lasted well into 1980 (not counting the recent reunion) and wouldn't ya know that their "original"  final gig is also included here. Mucho covers of the mid-sixties standards pop up which must've proven that these guys were more or less eking it out as a revival band, and although the set ain't as wowzer as I'd kinda've hoped it still woulda passed an audition for Stiff or maybe even Raw Records. Nothing to sneeze at and hey, many good groups went out way worse'n this. Perhaps you remember a few of 'em, like the Beatles and Rolling Stones...

Various Artists-IMPRESSED 2 CD-R burn

I don't think it would be that insulting to the British readers of this blog when I say that the new UK jazz never did thrill me, or at least what I've heard of it never really impressed me the way I'm sure most people out there thought it would. Yeah, I can take the Soft Machine for what they were, and even the rest of those Canterbury groups did have some  interesting ideas about 'em. But for the most part this New English Jazz sounded just about as sterile and as non-chance-taking as a good portion of fluff that made up the entire MELODY MAKER reason for being back in the seventies, and next to what was being scribbled down in THE NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS and SOUNDS we all knew what a buncha pansies they were, eh?. (Just a cheap reference to my previous offense inferred or intended.)

Not that playing it safe and cool and swiping from Amerigan reference points while making your own provincial statement with the sound ain't anything to be ashamed of. And frankly, I find that I can like even the most clunky or ill-placed imitations in their own way, which is why I sometimes find Fabian to have an entertaining quality about him. The artists on IMPRESSED 2 are kinda like that as well. I remember reading about a good portion of these acts way back inna late-seventies when I came across a book on the English jazz scene of the sixties and beyond, It seemed all so interesting to me, though other'n Harry Beckett and Barbara Donald little of what I heard in the interim was inspiring in that gotta have every recording extant obsessive/compulsive fashion that made up a good portion of my musical being.

Aww, it's OK, though far from the hard core of what most readers of this blog would consider the essential stuff that inspirations are built on. Much of it seems only a few steps removed from the likes of the Softs and their longhair brethren only without the more daring aspects. I guess most of you reg'lars'll wanna pass on it and I can't blame you, but since I'm so hard up I'll probably be spinnin' this for the next three hours straight...
New York Art Quartet-35th REUNION CD-R burn, originally released on DIW Records in Japan)

Considering how I never play my NY Art Quartet album on ESP and believe Amiri Baraka to be a loudmouthed fanabla, it wasn't like I was exactly cherishing a spin of this '99 reunion show (with bassist Reggie Workman replacing Lewis Worrell). But wouldn't ya know these proceedings run on some might potent spark and flash I thought woulda been missing from these ever-aging musicians. Roswell Rudd never grabbed my gonads with his playing but he's outside the rim on this 'un, while John Tchicai proves that he is still one sixties survivor who continues to have just as much meaning with regard to this new thing (which ain't new anymore and comes off remains stuck in the mid-sixties, for which I cherish it all the more!) in the here and now as he did in the there and then. Of course Milford Graves remains just as thrillsome and as experimental as all get out (anybody out there have a tape of that CBGB Gallery gig with him banging alongside William Parker on bass and Peter Brotzmann on horns? Heard part of that one and thought it resonated like a session emanating from the bowels of hell, or at least from a fart-encrusted bedroom). And like, for once Baraka ain't gettin' into his sicko kill Jewboy riff either and in fact can prove that once he gets all of the goo goo muck outta the way he can sure be funnier'n even Moms Mabley! For example, take "Seek Light At Once" (please!) where not only does he rattle off a string of "poo poo pee pees" to harken back to your own toddlerhood but rants away with "The Sayings of Mantan Moreland" which had me rolling on the floor and chortling worse'n when Ed McMahon would over-react to Johnny Carson's various "Siss Boom Bah" and "Hat Full Of Ralph" gag lines! For the best merging of ESP-disk and Laff Records this one can't be beat!

Denny King-EVIL WIND IS BLOWING CD-R burn (originally on Specialty)

Believe it or not, but sometimes these old white blues platters hit a certain clavicle in my body of musical karmic whooziz! Not only that, but at times these recordings don't come off like the skabby white trash pale imitation that I'm sure turned you off faster'n your mom used to do to the tee-vee when a feminine hygiene commercial'd come on. This Denny King guy's just one of 'em...yeah, you could just ignore him with your staid sense of pride intact, but strip away the prejudices and you too might be able to enjoy this obscuro (released on the same Specialty label that ripped Little Richard outta plenty cash)  that came and went before anyone noticed way back in the year of 1972.

King sounds a lot like early Beefheart on the tracks where he ain't sounding like some tb'd up Mississippian  bluesman with the cooties, and that would figure since his band consists of both Alex St. Claire and Doug Moon of Beefheart fame making this a must get for fans of the recently-deceased pilgrim. Most of the time the tone is straight early-blues period Beefheart which makes this an even tastier preposition for those scouring the depths of seventies strangitude. Naturally there isn't any of the inherent freakness that could be found in Beefheart's entire career, but King does it straight ahead enough that you don't exactly feel like filing this one next to your failed white guy blues jam experiments that were all the rage back in the late-sixties but sounded even sillier'n Maynard G. Krebs as soon as the seventies rolled in.

An undocumented surprise that I'm sure at least a few of you readers will want to discover on your own, despite the dated blippoid lettering that can be found on the front cover!
The Devil Bat-FABULOUS SOUL CD-R (burned from a Sister Skull Rekkids release)

A newie from a group which also features a member of the boffo Texas Psychedelic rompers ST 37, an act I believe I reviewed a few times in my rather illustrious career! That mere fact should prove these gals' (and guys'???) pedigree is pretty high on the BLOG TO COMM scale, and not only that but the fact that this group's named after a pretty hotcha Bela Lugosi film has me paying a whole lot more attention'n if they were named "Love Story" or "Mercy Hummpe" for that matter. Lee Ann Cameron sings nice 'n sultry on these tracks that seem to borrow from a wide variety of psycho-sixties sources Texas and otherwise, while lead guitarist Lisa Cameron might have been channeling Stacy Sutherland from her lava lamp for all I know. And what's even better is that this group actually had the 'nads (!) to reshape the theme from THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN here 'n turn it into the next to last track entitled "Nothing Left To Say"! They did a pretty convincing job passing it off as their own, which I gotta say adds up to something if you're a sneaky kinda person like I am! As these recordings as well as those by such acts as the Tix and Plastic Idols would indicate, the soaring power of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators never did  escape the boundaries of the Texas! Try to seek it out, which in these times shouldn't be that hard to do (or so the guy tryin' to hook us up to internet keeps tellin' us).

It's amazing just how much the average "classic rock" doofus, who claims undying devotion to the mid-sixties rock scene and can tell you just about every Beatle story that he's copped outta fortysome years of ROLLING STONE all dripping with peace and love ginchy goodness, pretty much knows NADA about the music scene which the Beatles were part of nor the groups who were also doing their Liverpudlian darndest to make a dent. Yeah, I know that rock 'n roll ain't supposed to be just another version of history know, "on which date did Mick Jagger develop his first herpes sore" or something equally odious, but if an entire generation of flower children claimed such a devotion to the fab four then why weren't they more interested in learning about the other acts who were frequenting the Cavern Club and creating a similarly-minded ruckus in the same clime and to the same clientele? I'll tell you why...them kids wuz spoiled ignoramuses!

This is a nice enough collection from Liverpool pals Casey Jones and the Governors, and if I do say so myself it sure sounds a whole lot better'n them Beatles ever were! Yeah, there was "more" to the Beatles, but it was mostly behind-the-scenes workings and Brian Epstein micromanagement that did it. Unfortunately acts like Casey and his Governors didn't have the big push beind 'em but that doesn't mean they weren't as hard-edged and as powerful as you'd expect any early-sixties rock 'n roll group to have been. Maybe if they wore love beads and technicolor mod jackets...

Thankfully they didn't which is why I sure have a whole lot more interest in these guy'n I do with the Beatles (especially during their latterdays when all they were wuz four solo acts who just pretended to work together). Of course that all will change after I spin some old Beatles bootleg I might chance upon in my collection, but as it stands at this very minute Casey Jones and the Governors are it!  And great buncha guys they is, real raver-uppers who not only romp through the standards of the day with mucho aplomb but even know how to re-arrange the classics to fit their own high energy levels. The results are just perfect for that one-man party you always seem to be holding in these ever-isolating times as the Governors rip through everything from "Lucille" to "Jack The Ripper" with a particularly ferocious attack. After listening to this you'll kinda wonder why it seemed as if the tamer English acts were the ones to get all of the attention while these wild ones kinda got pushed to the back of the burner so-to-speak.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

BOOK REVIEW! NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS BOOK OF ROCK (a guide to rock in the seventies) 

Gotta kick myself for a lotta things that I didn't do during the seventies, and one of these things (besides not getting up the courage to try the Velvet Underground earlier. nor recognizing the utter 'tardoid brilliance of the Stooges upon first spin and somehow operating under the impression that all intelligent and cohesive rock 'n roll sprang from the font of Frank Zappa instead of Lou Reed) most definitely was not having the money or smarts to have winged a subscription to the NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS my way! Well, considering the extra cost us overseas readers hadda endure to get this British weekly sent here airmail 'n all I'm sure it wasn't like most kiddos'd've been able to afford it, but frankly if I were one of them New York upper-midclass suburban pampered brats with the money to afford not only a NME sub but one to CREEM 'n ROCK SCENE, I wouldn't've hadda put up with having to go to the library once every so often to scam the latest issue of ROLLING STONE like most poor folk hadda. Of course we all know that the minions at STONE had their heads up their expansive Whole World Catalog butts for way too long, but as you might have guessed sure as shit smells I wasn't that smart to realize it from the outset. If you really wanted a taste of what rock 'n roll was supposed to be (as a teenage source of high energy thrills and expression) it was NME all the way.

True that paper, along with every once-viable source for high energy jamz, eventually sunk into the grasps of eighties self-conscious political piousness (as could be judged by the reams of poems and cartoons sent in by readers who mourned the death of Lennon with a snide anti-Amerigan sneer on their faces and jumped heavily onto the no cruise missiles bandwagon which in retrospect just looked as hippie as all of the rest of the New Left ventures over there), but in its prime NME delivered the total eruption no holds barred goods. Great writing, great writers (led by Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray, Mick Farren and even Lester Bangs) and a great attitude that seemed to have favored the high energy and smart new bubbling under trends could be found in each and every issue. While chief competitor MELODY MAKER was concentrating on the budding progressive rock market and looking upon the growing punk populace with ever-increasing bewilderment NME had the bared-wire underground intensity all summed up as if each and every reader couldn't've seen the onslaught coming for at least a good five years! Frankly I don't even think Chris Welch and his minions knew what hit 'em, but throughout the seventies NME was on top of the game not only with their bright stable and outside-the-hype suspicion, but with their snide attitude and cult of energy stylizings which really set them apart from the competition. Heck, Cliff Richard wouldn't even allow a copy of it into his abode, and that was something Nick Kent wore as a badge of honor!

The various NME book collections that feature some of the better moments of the paper's then-recent writings are definitely worth owning (especially with the way newsprint yellows and crackles and all that), and no self-respecting rock 'n roll library should be without 'em. The same goes for this 'un, a rock encyclopedia so to speak that was made by collecting the weekly inserts from the paper and puttin' 'em together inside a glossy full color cover. I think this eventually came out as a legit slick book inna early-eighties, but this 1973 timepiece is just the thing for doofoids like myself who really coulda used such booty back inna day but were too poor or too ignorant to find out!

Nice effort, and of course all my faves like Kent, Murray and maybe even future Generation X manager/WHO PUT THE BOMP cartoonist Jonh Ingham have contributed even if their particular writings weren't credited. Well, I'm sure you can sense out who wrote what without much guesswork, especially if you're aware that Shaar and Kent were the "punk" cheerleaders and the likes of Roy Carr concentrated on the fifties aspects of the quest!  And considering how this "encyclopedia" came out during a time which I would call "transitional" (post-sixties rebellion/pre-seventies underground upheaval) it is important in its own right as a gauge as to where rock 'n roll stood at a time when there was plenty of innovation, yet the forces of dull were more'n bound to overtake the landscape and act as self-appointed "spokesmen for a generation" for kidz who were either too stoned or too wired to know or care.

Some interesting listings here...por ejemplo the term "punk rock" was still being used to describe the mid-sixties Amerigan local acts who were or most likely weren't having hits local or otherwise. I was hoping that whoever wrote that entry would have included some then-recent examples of the form if only to spur me onto finding some heretofore lost item but that was for naught. Not so strangely enough, the entry on the Stooges once again brings up that quote about Iggy being "the Robert Johnson of Heavy Metal" which goes to show you that the definite battle lines between musics that seemed the same on some levels yet polar opposites on others haven't been drawn yet. And even more curiouser is the Alice Cooper entry which mentions how their first two albums didn't do "anything to distinguish them from countless other dull and crude garage bands" making me wonder exactly which other groups the writer was thinking about (as you can tell, I am one of the few people who enjoy those early albums!).

As far as the "underground" portion of the book goes this is about as far as it gets (even the Velvet Underground entry is totally lacking in the descriptive verve [!] that say, the Lillian Roxon entry in her own book had). Naturally the rest seems to fall into typical early-seventies place (at least the John Cale entry brings up the use of "the possibilities inherent in noise and monotony" which made up an important part of the early-Velvets style). Most entries fall into standard rock history (meaning, you've known about it before and probably wouldn't want to know about it again), though thankfully the writing steers far away from the weepy and stuck-on-itself narcissism that had overcome way too much "youth culture" writing of the day. So it ain't like you're gonna gag on the usual "we're so persecuted" moanings of upper class armchair revolutionaries when you read it, and thankfully the people who compiled this knew enough to just stick to the facts and don't let any of the rhetoric get in the way.

And perhaps it was nothing special when compared to some of the other rock as an "International Youth Language" bromides that were being pumped out at the time on both a pro and fanzine level, but next to what else was being pushed on us empty-brained peons regarding rock as a part of our lives (everything from gulcheral screeds to weird treatises tracing the early-seventies peace music movement back to "Get a Job"!) this book does rank alongside the better entries in your personal rock 'n roll library. Sweet, smart, and to the point even if the typical bigotries and strange dismissals of potent rockities do seem to creep in at times...

Hokay, one could nitpick about the usual errors (such as Stevie Wonder's real moniker being "Steveland", not "Steven" Judkins or Link Wray's birthday being '29 'stead of '30), but ya gotta remember that back then it wasn't like all of the truths and inner workings of rock 'n roll were being laid out in front of us like they are now. Of course even these days a whole lot remains buried, but as far as representing a good hunkin' portion of just where, what, who and why rock 'n roll was you couldn't say this book didn't try. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Got some hotchas for you to discover with typical mouth-drooling wonderment this weekend (the Rocket one being perhaps the cream de resistance) along with a few more Bill Shute burns and who knows what else at this point in time, not even I considering how the Saturday morning mail hasn't arrived yet! And as you can probably get a hint of by now, I'm even more excited about this 'un than the time when I accidently found that stash of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICs (the hula girl issues) in the trash can considering the all-umportant credibility of this week's writeup! Yes, bookmark this one because I know you're gonna be referring back to it as the years roll on and you all realise what a brilliant visionary I've been all along 'stead of the doofus retardo that many of you have oh-so-snobbily pegged me as in order to build up your own feeble sense of self-value!
Rocket From The Tombs-EXTERMINATION NIGHT 1974 download (available through

Well, better late'n never that this recent exhumation of the 12/22/74 Rocket From The Tombs gig at the Viking Saloon's "Extermination Music Night" makes its way into our minds and maybe even into our hearts. Given the dearth of recent upheavals of vital worth these days an item such as this is most certainly welcome even if we have to download it straight from the source and for a good $10 at that. Better this had been part of a Rocket box set featuring the group's rarities from their early comedy rock days up through the final bellow of "Search and Destroy," complete with a satin embossed sleeve and 100 page booklet featuring reminiscences from all of the surviving members but hey, it ain't like I'm complainin'. Let's just say that I've been waiting to hear this for well over thirty pain-packed years and I don't care if the folks at Hearpen were issuing this on a cylinder I wanna heat the thing and by gumption I wanna hear it like yesterday!!!

Yeah I know, as Archie Bunker always said "patience is a virgin", but dagnabbit I'm not getting any older and frankly I wanna digest each and every morsel of sixties/seventies underground merriment extant before I dare to venture off any further! And frankly this recording is a good place to start...really good sound, not quite FM clear but good enough to convey some mid-seventies bar ambiance during the Christmas rush. And, as I would have expected, Rocket also put on a rather hotcha show...pretty much the same set list as the infamous WMMS-FM broadcast of February '75 only with two additional Peter Laughner songs and (get this)...NO CRAIG BELL!!! No bass guitarist at all in fact, since wouldja believe that Bell was FORBIDDEN to perform with Rocket that night on strict orders of Jamie Klimek which makes this version of Rocket yet another one of those bass-less Cleveland underground groups along with the Electric Eels, Lepers, the early (and reunited 1986 variety) Dead Boys and even a version of Klimek's own Styrenes albeit this omission wasn't exactly something that was planned on!

I don't think that the lack of Bell has made a particular dent in the sound, but I will say that the group was pumping on all cylinders even if you can tell that these guys were still working out their bugs in their transition from comedy to serious. Many of the songs we've known and loved for years can be heard getting fleshed out before our very ears, with early takes on such classics as "So Cold" (with O'Connor on organ!) and the monstrous "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" sounding great even if you can hear some clutziness ensuing. Laughner's "Aint It Fun" sounds so teenage angst you kinda think it was Bud from FATHER KNOWS BEST doin' the singin' , while the show closer "Down In Flames"/"Search and Destroy" comes off like a beautiful mess and it falls apart then comes back before your very ears.

Naturally the ne'er before heard numbers will make your jaw drop as the magnificent energy reveals itself to you. The Stooges' "Rich Bitch", vocalized by Laughner at his punk toughest, sounds like a remake done entirely from memory the same way that Mirrors took "Guess I'm Falling In Love" and it came out "Hands In My Pockets". It's sure a winner though perhaps improved on by the addition of special guest Robert Bensick on alto sax, he being a long-time Laughner pal who later up formed the artzy-fartzy duo Berlin with his wife who were certainly the darlings of none other than Anastasia Pantsios back during the time she was going out of her way to ignore the true Cleveland underground force. Not holding this against him, I will admit that Bensick plays some mighty good alto here coming off a whole lot like not only fellow Clevelander Albert Ayler but what I was kinda hoping that Crocus Behemoth himself'd done on those latterday Rocket tracks recorded live at the Piccadilly Penthouse.

"Gasoline"'s a nice trip in itself, a still-timely ditty about the Energy Crisis where Laughner rants on about all of the people and things we're gonna have to sell to the Arabs in order to get our fuel. The downloaded liner notes state that it's Laughner himself who's doin' the wild mouth organ wailing here, and if he can do that and sing at the same time like is evident here let me say that he's really pulled off a hotcha coup this time! (I think the actual on-stage guest playing the "harp" is mentioned by Crocus himself though too muffled for my ears to pick up whoever the blower was that night.) And as for "New York Stars" well...if you need any more reason to drag your copy of SALLY CAN'T DANCE outta the pile now you have one! Can you think of any other excuses to listen to it???

I know that 99.999...% of you haven't even read this far into the review and have already downloaded and enjoyed your disques by the time, so for those of you who are too stoopid to have done this let me just say in my own inimitable way LIKE WHADDAYA NEED ANYWAY, AN ENGRAVED INVITATION??? This 'uns definitely the highlight of the brand new year and we can only hope that before we all get tossed into the miasma that '13's bound to be Hearpen'll have a whole load more downloads ready for us, like perhaps the original Rocket line up or rare rehearsals and naturally the many unreleased numbers that need to come to light (such as Crocus' "Redline"). Perhaps even some inter-band arguments would sweeten up the pot. Whatever, I know that its things like this that keep me going, so let's just say that if you wanna off me long before my given time just dry these wild metallic seventies hard gunch sources up and you won't have ol' Chris to kick around any more!
Jonathan Halper-"Leaving My Old Life Behind"/"I Am a Hermit" 45 rpm single (Puck Productions)

Yeah you can tape this soundtrack from the Kenneth Anger film PUCE MOMENT off the internet anytime you so desire, but dagnabbit if the idea of some enterprising youth making an illicit single version of these classic English-styled folk rockers wasn't just what the ol' collection needed. Evocative of solo Syd Barrett as well as certain Los Angeles post-Byrds outfits, these bedroom recordings not only made for a boffo soundtrack to Anger's ode to decadent Hollywood in the twenties (and replaced the original soundtrack taken from Verdi!) but reflects the entire jaded atmosphere that actress Yvonne Marquis certainly emulates as she slips on her black bangled gown. She's definitely a thespian who portrays the glamor of the twenties moviemaking world so vividly, perhaps as if she herself were a fading silent star who would eventually be eaten up by the powerbrokers that be or for that matter her starving whippets. Donovan should be tied down, poked with hot metal rods and forced to listen to this as punishment for all of the slurpy neofolkadoodle he's inundated us with way back when ("Barabajabal" notwithstanding).
Figures of Light-DROP DEAD LP (Norton)

"Drop dead!" Now there's a phrase that can be heard around the house and with relative ease at that! Maybe that's why this album of new recordings by the once lost to everything group Figures of Light really resonates with this humble bunghole. Yes, once again original members Wheeler Winston Dixon and Michael Downey are joined by A-Boners Miriam Linna and Marcus the Carcass, not to mention ex-Gories Mick Collins (who also produces) on guitar and as you've probably guessed by now the results do reflect the typical standards this blog has stood by since the very beginning. Rolling Stones '64 meets the Velvets filtered through the Stooges and pureed into the Ramones, a group who weren't even around when the Figures of Light chopped up televisions on stage which only goes to show you how psychic Dixon et. all were. Amazingly enough, this group of fifty 'n sixty-year-olds sound just as teenage and as growly about the world around 'em as the Fleshtones did in '77 which is no mean feat especially in these decidedly anti-rock 'n roll times! Great high energy romp throughs with typical muffled and slurred vocals (on "With a Girl Like That" I thought I heard Dixon singing "don't play with the thermostat" 'stead of the actual title!) and a general baby boom feel that'll make you wanna visit the group in their garage before dad gets home from work and the band beats you up after they find you lurking through the basement scarfing up unattended tootsietoys!

Archie Shepp-THE MAGIC OF JU JU LP (Impulse)

Considering some of the rather dullsville platters Shepp was presenting us with in the seventies, it's sure great to slip back in time to when the guy was creating some real FIRE MUSIC that really brings out the adrenaline in one's mind. Unavailable for years and going for the usual collector's prices on ebay, it's grand that Impulse has decided to re-release this one on 180 gram vinyl if only to present for us johnny-cum-lately po' boys just what all the fuss over this 'un was about in the first place. Shepp plays particularly outre here in the same manner as he did on those classic BYG sides, honking and screening to a bee-youtiful display of African percussion telegraphing out underworld-ly messages that I'm sure would scare the bejabbers outta you if you only knew what it meant. That's on the title side, whereas on the flip the man plays in a more "conventional" setting yet still gets into the gritty urban gnarl and atonal flare ups that I've known him best for. Yeah, Shepp's recordings eventually did take a noise-dive so-to-speak (though many of his later indie releases, such as the one with Zusann Kali Fasteau, remain unheard) but this 'un does cook more'n a cannibal bake off and ranks along with Coltrane's OM and Sanders' TAUHID some of the brightest moments of late-sixties New Thing morphing into early-seventies comprehension stretch.

Egg Eggs-THE CLEANSING POWER OF FRUIT LP; Anla Courtis, Okkyung Lee, C. Spencer Yeh, Jon Wesseltoft -COLD/BURN LP (Feeding Tube)

Two of the latest from the same bunch that brought you the Mars live LP released a few months back. Egg Eggs is a real strangity, a total off-kilter thought-splat courtesy a Matt Krefting who some fancy as a cross between Crocus Behemoth, Little Lulu and Col. Bruce Hampton or something like that (it always pays to read the accompanying hype sheets!) but actually transcends those influences into something so incomprehensible that the only reference I can think of offhand is perhaps the Butthole Surfers at their most lysergic addled with special guest Wild Man Fisher on lead vocals. Imagine a crazed retarded yet savant musician whose feasted at the table of the above visionaries and more who spews it all back at'cha with muddled brilliance and had the resultant trips through his various mental and visionary escapades pressed onto a low-fi low-press run platter. That's what'cha got here and if you can't take the cold hard fact of it well I guess that's something you're gonna hafta sort out between yourself and your own personal demons. Of course when all's said and done who's the real crazy, the guys who recorded this, released it, bought it, or ME trying to make some sense outta something that might be yet another example of self-produced beyond-the-ken-of-human-comprehension brilliance or one of the biggest hoaxes to be pulled off in the rock world since SOUND CHOICE magazine?

The COLD BURN platter's yet another interesting affair, an album of heavy duty droning and other squeals that were recorded by this particular quuartet live in Oslo Norway during the grand appearance of the Aurora Borealis nonetheless! Two of the names here, C. Spencer Yeh and Okkyung Lee, are familiar to me from the old "Freestyle Music" series that used to take place at the CBGB Lounge, though the others are totally unknown (though I sure would like to know more about the Argentinian electric guitar that Anla Courtis utilizes here). Together this aggregate performs some of the bestest one-tone noise drone I've had the pleasure of hearing since Lamonte Young. Most of you readers will probably just write it all off as more of that stodgy experimental music that only a mental ward major could appreciate, but I (as usual) tend to find more'n a li'l bitta worth in this type of tone. Brings back fond memories of my early avant garde music interest buddin' away whilst I would scan just about every obscure and usually stodgy publication extant trying to find out more about this music that was behind a lotta the stuff I was listening to, and maybe it's for that I give COLD/BURN a higher moozical grade'n I'm sure most of you booshy trolls out there would ever dare to!

Alex Chilton-FREE AGAIN: THE 1970 SESSIONS CD-R (burned for me by Bill Shute, no other info available)

Sheesh, I didn't even get through last week's package and here Bill sends me another batch of hot-pressed booty outta that ol' proverbial left field so to speak! And this one is definitely the pick of the litter being none other than the legendary unreleased for ages debut Alex Chilton solo album which was recorded between the fall of the Box Tops and the ascent of Big Star. Unfortunately that 'un never got released at the time for reasons I'm sure someone can dig up with enough internet searching under their elastic waistband, but that don't mean that it's not a definite WINNER.

Now I heard a tape of this that was goin' round back inna eighties but that was far from complete 'n kinda muffled to begin with....these tracks sound like they coulda been recorded yesterday though thankfully lack the modern sterility that makes for a suitable substitute for ipecac! Music-wise this is classic Chilton at his solo-est (and wildest), not that different from his late-seventies work that stymied more'n a few observers. Imagine the best moments of both the Box Tops and Big Star along with hefty references to the early-seventies pop scene back when it gave fans so much hope that even Greg Shaw said it was all coming back. Badfinger, T. Rex, the Raspberries and the Sidewinders combined into a mid-South pop recording and you pretty much get an idea of what this platter'll have in store for you once you download a copy yourself

Dunno if you can find this at the local five 'n dime, but heavy bets are on that a download should be available just as far as your fingertips. Just what you need in an age when tripe like Lady Caga and Nicki Menaste is being paraded across our television screens as if they were 2012's answer to Tiny Tim and Mrs Miller (and just wait until you hear what Chilton did to "Sugar Sugar"!)
David Hemmings-DAVID HEMMINGS HAPPENS CD-R burn (originally on MGM)

David Hemmings'll probably be forever (give or take 100 years) known for his role in the moom pitcher BLOW UP (y'know, that film your folks wouldn't let you watch when it was on tee-vee), but didja know that he also recorded this album for MGM shortly afterwards? I didn't, and surprisingly enough this 'un ain't an English production like I thought it would be but typical '67 Southern California sunshine folk rock that's also got the imprimatur of having been backed by the Byrds (you woulda thought the Yardbirds'd woulda gotten the job considering the BLOW UP angle!) as well as some of the better musicians the El Lay recording scene could whip up.The results are smooth and enchanting even if they somehow brought back too many vivid memories of early school years insecurity with the gloppy orchestral arrangements and pre-hippie pop trappings. Otherwise its a funzie trip, with Hemmings' rather creepy English-accented vocals playing well against the patented late-sixties pop that's about ten steps up from Rod McKuen and about on par with what I woulda hoped alla them early singer/songwriter albums that eventually drowned out the seventies woulda sounded like. Don't miss the sitar/tabla drones nor the sharp production courtesy of Jim Dickinson, a name that seems to stick out in my mind somewhere...
Here's an album that I thought I was gonna have a fun time reviewing! I even had a really good gag lined up for it..."this is an album that you really could throw stones at!"...but I thought that'd go over the heads of most of you heathens so I left it out. In actuality I really think this '69 platter from future Nervous Eater Steven Cataldo's a pretty hotcha release...naw, it ain't anything I'll be spinnin' consistently if at all o'er the next year or so but I think it's great that Cataldo was continuing on the psychedelic path while everybody else was either going whole earth catalog or straight to sopor heaven. It ain't anything that I'd call garage rock, but it ain't hippie either. Like the Hemmings album above. this is something that I sure wish more of the singer/songwriters of the day woulda done 'stead of the dippoid "Peace Train" scuzz and such that these fibre-plus types made their buckwheat with. It sorta straddles the line between decent, well-crafted pop and the kinda murk that teenage gals who used to iron their hair and press leaves in books while writing poems for the school literary magazine woulda liked, and even the bonus tracks from the magic year of '66 lend a bit of intelligent credence to the entire affair. An outta nowhere surprise that might have been trying to cop the James Taylor sensitive junkie market but sure the hell runs rings 'round all of the posturings he and his ilk had inundated us with for eons on end.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Golly, does this one remind me of the massive Dennis the Menace obsession that I was nursing age 11! Back then yer humble blogschpieler was scarfing up all of the available paperbacks, reading the current newspaper panels and waking up early during the summer months just so's I could catch reruns of this series that channel 33 would sign on with at eight inna morning!  The station eventually moved 'em into the afternoon because I remember watching this 'un on the divan after I got a big hunka flesh gouged outta my kneecap courtesy of the guy who used to live behind me and hadda walk around like Chester Goode for a good month or so. Ahhh memories. I mean, it was worth having a humongous blob of flesh 'n fat taken outta my knee given all of the goofin' off I was bound to have in store, and darn tootin' you can't get any goof-offier'n than watching old DENNIS THE MENACE reruns!

Anyhoo this second season Dee-Vee-Dee set was sent to me as a Christmas present courtesy of Lou Rone, a guy who really knows a good old time baby boom growin' up 'n stuff program to watch when he sees it! Thanks a mill-yun Lou, because I gotta admit that I've had so much fun watching these comedies (that really conjure up the kinda single-digit fun and games that I wish I coulda indulged of more in!) followed by an episode of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN which gave me some of the best UHF/indie tee-vee thrills experienced since the Golden Age of Kiddie Slob living way back when!

But boy, did the better moments of funtime just-into-the-double-digits suburban living just come rushin' back into my ever-aging beanie after watching these! Jay North of course is perfect as the saccharine yet deadly Dennis, while of course Joseph Kearns (famed JACK BENNY alumnus) is Mr. Wilson even if his successor in the series Gale Gordon looked more like the character in the comics! Gloria Henry and Herbert Anderson do a real good job as the parents who'd never haul off and wallop Dennis no matter what he does (not that he does anything dangerous here, so don't go expecting any episodes where Dennis accidently neuters Mr. Wilson with a chainsaw) and of course don't you wish you had a grandma or aunt like Sylvia Field as Mrs. Wilson??? I mean I sure did, and the quality of aunts I had remains pretty top notch if you ask me!!!!

Dunno if your standard DENNIS aficionado'd consider season two to be the show at its height (there are those who wax eloquent over the debut season's general kiddie anarchy) but there are some pretty good doozies here that rank as some of the better moments of late-fifties/early-sixties sitcom tee-vee viewing. My own personal fave has to be the one about the soap box derby where Mr. Wilson inadvertantly drives Dennis' car and gets him disqualified! I was kinda hopin' this 'un 'd be an eerie foreshadowing of the famed 1973 Soap Box Derby where the kid who entered fixed his craft with a magnet which his uncle operated from the finish line thus ensuring a certain victory, but I guess even that would have been too out-there for early-sixties television!

Naturally the episode that I was kinda hoping for (but knew never would have popped up) was the one where Dennis discovers the nude photos of his mom hidden in the photo album! The real-life nekkid snaps of Gloria Henry are legendary although I've never been able to, er, "uncover" them even on the web, and the thought of Dennis finding 'em and embarrasing his folk to all heck makes me chortle every time I think of it..."Mom, were you going skinnydipping in the pond when they took these pictures???" "Henry, I thought you destroyed those photos!!!" "Well gee Alice, sometimes I get lonely when you're away and those pictures do come in handy"!!! Just think of all the belly laughs we coulda gotten outta a storyline like that!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Well, it finally came. No, not what you're THINKING (as in "'to' is an adjective..."), I'm talking about TRADITIONAL WINTER WEATHER (the kind that freezes your nostril hairs and makes you don the heavy duty mittens)!!! Sheesh, here we've been having a relatively nice spell of springy (or at least Marchy) weather and whaddaya know, suddenly we've been blanketed with the white freezy matter which sure makes travel and general doin' what'cha wanna do stuff a whole lot more precarious'n it had been...oh well, that only means that there's now more time to stay home and watch old tee-vee shows on the Dee-Vee-Dee and (re)read alla them old books and fanzines that have been clutterin' up my room as of late. Bad weather does make for a good excuse for readin' 'n relaxin' while spinnin' all them old cassette tapes and Cee-Dees that are doin' their part clutterin' up my room as well...hey, at least when I feel that urge to goof off I'm bound to make up a good enough excuse when the occasion arises!

Otherwise, I must admit to you that I am feelin' a li'l glum, and frankly it's that old kinda grade school/adolescent glum that I haven't felt in ages. Remember the way you'd feel when your favorite tee-vee show would get canned? It might have been a classic like TWILIGHT ZONE or GILLIGAN'S ISLAND or perhaps many other olden faves you were most definitely hooked on which would get zapped from your local late-afternoon/early-evening schedules only to be replaced by DIFF'RENT STROKES reruns, and boy would you feel a combination mad/upset/depressed because of it!  Naturally those days featuring this specific kind of grave disappointment are long gone (I mean, just try tuning into these shows on the same stations that would regularly air 'em in the sixties/seventies/eighties) but that don't mean that a tee-vee letdown can't hit me in a new, even more "enlightened" fashion. My current misery is actually centered around the fact that the only show that I watch onna telly with about as much regularity as I can stand (not counting the occasional YOGI BEAR and RIFLEMAN tune-ins) has just been given the ol '86, and this series is none other than FREEDOM WATCH with Judge Andrew Napolitano on the Fox Business Network! And, as the old saying goes, you can bet that I feel lower'n a dachshund in need of a knee replacement!

Funny enough, I understand that the program was drawing in good numbers even though it wasn't on one of the more-watched cable nets out there, but word has it that Fox chief Roger Ailes was rather irritated at Judge Napolitano's more paloecon/libertarian views which went after the Republican estab. as much as the Democratic one. Being a strict no-no as far as Fox News protocol goes or something along those lines, I guess that's why the "fair and balanced" head of the net decided to drag out the old guillotine and put an end to all of the Ron Paul cheerleading and heavy-duty dissertations on everything from state encroachment to Police Achtung that could be found with ease on Judge Napolitano's show. And (as you could guess by the tone of this paragraph) too bad for that, because FREEDOM WATCH was the only program out there that would dare to discuss the sorry state of the ever-encroaching dictatorial powers over the average Joe Blow type as well as dare to have guests on as varying in political tone as one would ever be able to glom on the tube these days. Y'know, people like Lew Rockwell, Justin Raimondo and even Ralph Nader, a guy whose political visibility really shrunk after he dared to take on Al Gore way back when thus earning the ire of the new breed of leftoids who really tend to hold grudges about as long as I do! Frankly you just don't see this kinda assortment of guests on any of the other blabby political programs out there that are so numb-brained that even Mr. Rogers comes off smartypants in comparison!  Guess my 8:00 PM tee-vee viewing time's now gonna be taken up by watching those infomercials hawking old Greatest Hits collections with Neil Sedaka clips galore---at least those have more of a stimulating intellectual aura about 'em than Ed Shultz and Bill O'Reilly combined!

The burnt offerings that are to be found in the following reviews were sent to me by Bill Shute, as was the Harth release which came out on his own Kendra Steiner Editions. To which I say "huzzuh", and mighty heartily at that! Good thing that Bill exists, or else there wouldn't have been anything really interesting to write about this week given the general lack of stimulation that's goin' on 'round here! I gotta say that I do appreciate Bill's various "gifts" to the max, not only because he sure has a kind heart and all if he even considers sending me this stuff in the first place (I just hope he isn't feeling guilty for saying something about me behind my butt, but then again that's more or less something I would do-------------hee!) but who knows. Maybe he just feels sorry for me being such a pathetic example of a human being who never did amount to anything and never will especially in this internet age of instant revenge and cyberspace backstabs. Yeah, that's probably it---boy do I feel a whole lot better about myself now!
Can-TAGO MAGO (40th ANNIVERSARY EDITION) 2-CD set (Spoon/Mute)

Sheesh don't these record companies keep thinking up different ways for us to latch onto the same product of theirs over and over again! Like in this case...I mean I already had the original two-disc version of TAGO MAGO (with the English flap cover that I certainly do not want to get squooshed any more than it already has) proudly poised in my collection as well as the original Cee-Dee take on it, but now the crafty folks at Mute thought up this new gimmick bound to get the cards and letters pouring in! It's a special fortieth anniversary edition of this legendary Can release that not only comes in a mini-fold out sleeve somewhat replicating the previously-mentioned English cover but contains an additional disc featuring never-before-released live material that I'll bet had more'n a few longtime fans dishing out hard-to-keep moolah for something they've already had for eons. Nice move, only the new take of the original album doesn't sound any better'n the original plus the live stuff's the same 1972 FM broadcast that's been circulating amongst collectors for a pretty long time. Yeah, I coulda splurged this hard-begged money of mine on something else, though frankly I woulda felt shamed if I hadn't! At least the enclosed booklet's got some informative reading, and besides the discography printed in the back mentions a Can box set to be released this year which purports to contain rarities which I hope haven't been in circulation for ages. Now, that's something for me to look forward to in the upcoming months especially considering how the archival digs have become rather dismal over the past few years, and you can bet your bottom booties that a writeup of that'll appear in these "pages" as soon as it hits the boards and I can scrape up enough lucre to grab a copy for myself! (IN OTHER WORDS, buy more of these before it's too late!).
Alfred Harth/Carl Stone-GIFT FIG CD (Kendra Steiner Editions, see blog roll call on the left for address + info)

Multi-purpose saxophonist Alfred Harth's at it again, this time making some even more incomprehensible and even newer than that New Music you used to hear about soundage! This time he's doing it with the help of a Carl Stone, a man whose name I believe is an in-joke regarding the old DONNA REED SHOW. Maybe it's kosher after all, but anyway when these two got together they really knew how to whack out a free improvisational piece of total abandon which really is nothing special for the kinda brew that the Kendra Steiner Editions Cee-Dee label puts out!

Harth handles his usual reeds (don't think all 23 of 'em are present), some of them of a definite Russian/Far Eastern origin while others are of the standard saxophone variety, while doing some electronic workage himself. Stone just sticks to electronics and computers, and the resultant music remind me of a whole lotta the avant garde computer sounds that were coming outta college music departments and New Music Distribution Service catalogs (the "classical" section) back in the mid-to-late seventies back when the universities had enough money to prop up these kinds of arts as well as the polo team. Not quite free jazz, the music on GIFT FIG is nevertheless engaging, provoking, all-enveloping and perhaps just enough to drive you over the edge even after years of "having heard it all before" and "that's nothing compared to what Throbbing Gristle would do" self-comforting reassurances. As usual, a very limited edition release which I have the feeling you'll be collecting pop bottles for refund money just so's you can send in a nice li'l order to Bill Shute, right?
Various Artists-IT'S A ZIMMERMAN WORLD, WE JUST LIVE IN IT CD-R burn (Pet Records)

Personally the idea of listening to an entire Cee-Dee of Bob Dylan ripoffs, spoofs, swipes and downright imitations was something that settled within me about as well as the concept of an entire platter of Ed Sullivan impersonations. Look at it this way Clyde...considering all of the Dylan swipes both legit and cockamamie we've hadda endure since the dawn of Zimmerman, all of the Donovans and Beatles/Stones rips as well as a ton of "relevant" camp counselors and bedroom revolutionaries strummin' the Dylan catalog in their own inimitable droning ways, do we really NEED something like this when we've probably hadda LIVE it whether we wanted to or not? Heck, I'll even take listening to Don Fellman do his Dylan impressions over the least he's keen enough to insert the right offensive, politically incorrect and tasteless lyrics that always get me laughing my head off more'n an old issue of  NATIONAL LAMPOON that I might chance upon at some flea market/antique set up. And besides, it's free! (And come to think of it, his Sullivan impression's pretty snat as well...just ask him to do his Jane Keane on the Sullivan show with special guest James Brown routine!)

So keepin' all this in mind here comes this burnt platter, a collection of mid-sixties Dylan swipes that ain't as obvious as Mouse and the Traps yet ain't as disgusting as yer least-fave early-seventies introspective singer/songwriter who fell back on the Dylan bandwagon because he maybe just got a li'l too tired copping ideas from James Taylor and Joan Baez this week. Fortunately they ain't all in the way-too-obvious nasal vein that Stealers Wheel etc milked like Farmer Alfalfa, but they're appealing enough w/o coming off like humorless drones. Some of 'em are famous like Johnny "Mr. Spaceman" Cymbal and Tommy Boyce, while others are just outta the suburbs and into the gutter types who wouldn't have been outta place on a classic early-eighties edition of BOULDERS. Most of 'em haven''t been heard by me before (though how could anyone fergit the faux Dylan via Sonny and Cher cop of Boo Boo and Bunky's "Turn Around"?) and it all settles in well enough here in 2012 as it might've a good forty-five years back. Now, I sure woulda preferred giving it  all a listen if only Moxie had pressed 'em up on cheap 1962 floormats and passed it off as the latest in a series of folk rock obscurities somewhere in 1984, but why should I complain!  These cheapities continue to affect ya in a straight on, positive way which I gotta say is perhaps more'n I can say 'bout a portion of not only Dylan's recorded output, but the entirety of his sycophantic soft-schmooze followers from Melanie to Joanie's which only manages to make me CRINGE even these many years down the line!
Johnny Winter-SIDEMAN CD-R burn (Home Cooking/Collectables)

I'm surprised nobody thought of releasing this back inna early-seventies when Winter was riding high on the hype that had surrounded his discovery and thrust into the hotcha blues rock guitar player hall of fame! Back then there were tons of reissues of Winters' early albums and various garage-level outings to be found in bargain bins nationwide, so why not this collection of the famed albino doin' the sideman routine while finding his way to the top of the ROLLING STONE-approved panthenon of guitar heroes? Just slap a pic of the man with his long white hair and pale complexion onna cover and the thing woulda been guaranteed to just fly off of the shelves of your local record shop and into the flea market bins of the mid-seventies!

Still, this is a proper gathering of some of Whitey's early side-sides so to speak, showing off everything from Winter's country licks to his blues and rock wizardry in a variety of appropriate settings. Some of this stuff is surprisingly Old Timey like on the hokey yet heartfelt "We Just Call Him Sam" (a recitation re. the Vietnam War uttered by a Gordon Baxter) while other tracks present a straight ahead blues holler (Loudmouth Jackson's "Take My Choice"), and wouldja believe that Winter actually worked with Dickey "Patches" Lee on yet another sixties slurper called "Big Brother"??? Yeah, I know that a good portion of you think of Winter as being one of those late-sixties/seventies hotcha big time mainstream guitarists who practically built the entire GUITAR PLAYER/MUSICIAN magazine industry because he could play fast and slick solos utilizing his tonsils it he wanted, but these early sides are mighty hotcha no matter who's doin' the noodlin'! Probably easy enough to find for free on this thing we call the web.
The Velvet Underground-SPECIAL PRICE SERIES cassette (MGM England)

Funny how just a short while ago I mentioned how I rarely if at all listen to the Velvet Underground 'cept for an occasional bootleg side or better yet the first disc from that complete box set featuring those July '65 demos showin' the group at perhaps their most embryonic state. Well, on the tail of that statement what do I do but pick up this collection on a lark, and yeah like I've had the actual vinyl for quite some time and of course these tracks adorn my collection in at least six other different modes but like, I thought it'd be a good 'un to spin in the car while I'm going about doing my daily duties and y'know, I was right.

Part of that mid-seventies Polydor series that gathered up the hippest of their back catalog in a budget series made noteworthy by the "safety film" motif, I recall a really nasty review of this via who else but MELODY MAKER who ended their capsule writeup with something along the lines of "just how many versions of 'White Light/White Heat' do you need in your collection?" Now, if the MM scribe asked the readership if at least two dozen copies of OLIAS OF SUNHILLOW were mandatory I'm sure that he and the target audience for that paper would heartily agree that the more the merrier but that's beside the point...really, for a rockist maniac like me there's always room for something such as a seventies-vintage Velvets tape in my boudoir, and I gotta admit that although no new ground's broken with these MGM-era numbuhs the tape does lend a certain connection to a past when things such as import cassettes were all but unavailable to a kid who at the time didn't wanna clutter up his home with too much vinyl!

Great selection of material, not as brave as the MGM 2-LP set with the Warhol-inspired lips sucking a straw on the cover, but almost as good as the Pride label VU platter with Lou Reed suddenly getting top billing. Utilizing four tracks from WL/WH was a smart move, plus considering how hard it was to come by the then-elusive third platter it's nice to see that '69's THE VELVET UNDERGROUND earned six tracks in itself. So what if there's no "Sister Ray" or "Heroin"...if ya saved up a li'l more cash you might have been able to afford that aforementioned double disc set which had that'n a lot more, but for budget-conscious 1977 doltoids who've read loads and loads about the Velvets via CREEM and ROCK SCENE and wanted to hear what the hubbub was all about this effort certainly did come in mighty handy!

Anyway, considering how Lou Reed himself has put an end to any new Velvet Underground exhumations thanks to his own personal pettiness regarding copyright and other musical legalese (thus stalling the release of more of those '65 rehearsals which I am agonizing over not hearing right now when the impact is bound to be the strongest) this is all we're gonna have to survive on until the fateful day all of this lawyer garble is worked out! Anyway, you too can now re-live what Velvets fandom meant in the seventies when all we hadda rely on were budget over there (but import priced over here!) albums such as this!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


You bet your booties you know what nearly popped my eyes out when I saw this 'un proudly displayed on a shopping mall book store shelf back '77 way...t'was the very sight of none other than the name of LENNY KAYE, he being not only the guitarist for the Patti Smith Group but a neato writer who was one of the few of whom I could really delve into during those whacked out days we used to call the late-seventies! Yes, back when this book came out (during one of the most fertile times for underground music spewing in fact) I was one who really thought that Kaye was cool...spent loads of time reading his old record write ups in ROLLING STONE long before even the thought of being seen reading any of these became kinda creepy (I mean, how could they be with Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer writin' for 'em...of course that was before I found out about THE GREAT PURGE), and like I once said if there was anybody on the face of this earth I wanted to look, in fact be, it was Lenny Kaye with his cool long hair and of course the glasses which gave him a sophisticated sixties like punk look thrust forth into the early-seventies! This was at a time when my own listening parameters were starting to shake and shimmy, kinda like being on the cusp between late-sixties experimental accomplishment and seventies hard-edged drive, and people like Kaye sorta fit into my weirdly timewarped musical opines the same way everybody from Mick Farren to Pere Ubu were doing the same darn thang! Didn't know who that Dalton guy who shared writing duties with Mr. Kaye was, but I figured he too mighta been in some cool undergroundy rock act that I'd discover once the right reference to the right act fell into my lap...still waiting for that information to make its way into my cranium, but I know that when I find it it's gonna be a cool revelation!

In actuality, I do know that Dalton had previously written some respected though unread by me bios of Jim Morrison, the Dead and other wonders while working for STONE as a self-proclaimed "rock evangelist". Who knows, maybe he was in some boffo outta-the-loop kinda act that I sure would have enjoyed hearing, but that doesn't make ROCK 100  a better book (other'n as to give it a certain rockist backbone lacking in every aspect of the current "rock press" these days). It's cool because the people who wrote it had that great late-sixties/early-seventies sense of high energy fandom, the same kinda fan as rock critic power that you would have sensed in any of Kaye's CAVALIER columns or his appraisal of the Velvet Underground via the Seeds in the first issue of that tacky underground publication NEW TIMES (which I believe evoled into a mid-seventies "New Journalism" slickie that eventually went kaput). And with Kaye being a musician and collector as well as a writer, it was like he was covering all of the bases that a nobody like me sure wished coulda...after all being a musician, fan and exponent all rolled into one hipster longhair mass that still got the fogies uptight was something that I really longed to be! And true the sixties and seventies were filled with way too many false starts, downright flubs and horrid whole grain granola goodness to a music that was supposed to be known for its tension, but when you extracted the hippie credo and counterculture two-faced nature outta the equation the music was the best thing going for anybody and fellows like Kaye and Dalton sure knew where the might and attraction was coming from!

Great tome here even if the publishers hadda do the obvious and slap a pic of the Rolling Stones onna cover just so's a few hundred thousand teenage CIRCUS readers'd nab it up! It's the innards that really count, and the pair do it just about as well as Kaye did earlier with Richard Robinson in those ROCK REVOLUTION paperbacks that not only did their darndest to make 1971 look better'n it actually was but went outta its way to say that the likes of the Velvets, Stooges and Hackamore Brick were gonna be the big stars of the decade. Well, these groups might not have copped as many toothpaste endorsements as Marie Osmond, but their spawn certainly made quite a bang that was so vivid even the cubes at STONE had a pretty tough time ignoring it!

Of course you ain't gonna get the lowdown on any of your favorite outta-the-back-alley garage bands like we all kinda hoped, and in fact a chapter on the NUGGETS period of mid-Amerigan garage rock is sorely missing perhaps due to editorial restraint. However, amidst the straightforward and thankfully non-hippoid writing (meaning you aren't gonna be inundated with loads of "getting high on music" bromides and other unfortunately common rockscreed straight outta some 1971 junior high rap session)  you're gonna get a more concise history of rock 'n' roll as that fun suburban pastime than you ever would in a demi-Marxist tract such as Robert Palmer's tie in with a rather horrid PBS miniseries book which, after years of pondering, perhaps does deserves eternal damnation. ROCK 100 lays it on you straight from the originators to the early-sixties heroes and fops all the way through the mid-sixties accomplishment on and...hey, this book is so good that they even make the late-sixties and early-seventies come off way more intense and exciting than I'm sure most hard-core rockers remember 'em! In an age when the likes of Melanie and Cat Stevens ruled the roost that sure is one task that I would call Herculean!

In other words...ROCK 100's written as if it's aimed at the clientele who were patronizing CBGB and Max's Kansas City during those times 'stead of the squeaky cleans who tuned into those "rock awards" shows on television and thought of drek like STONE as their bible. Strict historical background for the CREEM and ROCK SCENE gang that's so smooth and constructed with the idea that rock 'n' was an "International Youth Language", fortunately without the sick philosophical trappings that have been so often attached to the concept of rock music for way too long.. I mean, smelly acoustic guitar strumming longhairs were a sickening sight back then and they still are, and their spawn pulling the strings and doing their darndest to make this world one big park where we can all throw frisbees and act brotherly and all might just be even worse! At least the power and stamina of the music that's championed as well as Kaye's own career efforts gave me a reason to stick with the music, and the attitude, excitement and everything that made me wait with bated breath for a new fanzine or collection of sixties garage rarites is to be found here  and bountifully at that!

So from Elvis and Little Richard up through the sixties and into the mid-seventies, the good bad 'n ugly are presented for your approval. And hey, you might even approve of this even with the likes of James Taylor and Elton John mixed twixt the metallics and glitter boys...I mean, if a book can make a group like the Grateful Dead sound good then it really gotta have something good going for it! And really, once you think about it how many other tomes of the times (even those gigantic ROLLING STONE HISTORY OF ROCK tombstones that were all the rage yet were comparatively worthless even if the likes of Bangs and maybe even Kaye contributed) would actually devote an entire chapter to what is referred to as "The Outer Limits" (MC5/Stooges/Velvets/Love...)?

(One final aside, besides being a decent detailing of many of the better and some of the lesser moments of the rock/soul/folkie era this book does make for a good historical brush up on my part. Like in the chapter on fifties r/b nurture and growth I am reminded that it was not Etta James who had the hit with "Dance With Me Henry" but Georgia Gibbs unlike what I had written two weeks back regarding Miss James' passing, and although you'd expect me to take the entire flub up onna chin and start grovelling with "mea culpas" all over the place I will most certainly NOT! Naw, I'm gonna spin it all back on YOU the reader and chastise ya for not catching the error, comin' down on ya with the usual "what kinda readers do I have anyway, graduates from Polk State Hospital?" insults which better shame you all into being more observant BLOG TO COMM readers! Not that I would have acknowledged anybody writing in with the correct answer especially if they did so in the usual snooty, oneupmanship way that many of you readers, troll or not, feel free to do so, but it woulda been interesting anyway!)