Saturday, April 21, 2012

As you might have expected, news of the passing of Dick Clark last Wednesday did bring out at least a little of the sad 'n gloomy feelings in me, if only because his death goes to show us all the ravages of time passing right before our already blodshot weary eyes and just how old most of us readers have become even if...deep in our minds...we still see ourselves as toddlers rompin' around the house with Tootsietoy in hand. Fifties television pioneer, sixties innovator and seventies/eighties fixture, Clark was a guy who certainly had a whole load of thumbs stuck in various pies from his long-running AMERICAN BANDSTAND to that mid-sixties after-school classic WHERE THE ACTION IS, and I'm sure avid early-sixties television fans remember his Saturday night DICK CLARK SHOW as well as the short-lived DICK CLARK'S WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT with some sorta ennui-like nostalgic fondness. (I even recall a fun Saturday afternoon when I was around twelve watching Clark doin' a bitta acting as a high school teacher in BECAUSE THEY'RE YOUNG, a flick which really satisfied me on a whole slew of early-sixties levels that seemed so enticing right in the middle of hippie relevance!)

Of course the guy was plastered all over television in the boffo seventies and not-so eighties not only as the host of THE $10/20,000 PYRAMID but on a variety of nostalgia specials and even a movie of the week or two. In fact you couldn't escape Clark's perennial grin from those blooper shows he did with Ed McMahon (yet another refugee from the early-sixties ABC afternoon schedule) and other projects that seemed to pop up here and there.  Maybe you too recall that obscure game show he hosted that I remember channel 21 in Youngstown airing just-pre sign off at two inna morning during the late-eighties! And yeah, I know that Clark had more of his share of detractors and that a lotta the criticism he endured was perhaps earned (I'm sure you remember the story about the time Screamin' Jay Hawkins needed a favor from Clark to promote his latest single and Clark replied "Screamin' Jay Hawkins? Never heard of him!" before slamming down the receiver), but sheesh, I just can't stop thinkin' of the boss sixties and afternoon tee-vee and rock 'n roll being marketed for the same audience that was eating up THREE STOOGES and junk food when I think about Dick Clark. It's like they were all inseparable in their own consumerist yet fun cheezy way. 

Of course I'm remembering the Dick Clark of an early-sixties variety, a species that probably wasn't that rockist to begin with considering how AB was always a program that rolled with the trends (translation: it was as good as the music it was promoting). However, although a lotta condemnation towards Clark and his geekier aspects is due...after all he was plugging that late-fifties Philly sound where wopadago teen idols overtook the more rabid aspects of what had been rock 'n roll...ya gotta admit that at least he was out here promoting Link Wray when hardly anyone else in the biz'd give the great guitarist the time o' day. And who else was making sure those hotcha Epic and Swan Wray sides were being heard on a national level 'stead of being promoted market by market! Clark was also there for the mid-sixties garage band scene always coming off like the typical grownup while interviewing some rough 'n tumble upstarts, and yeah I know he was about as much a part of the problem as the music itself throughout the seventies and eighties (I remember reading that his favorite recording artists of that era were Ambrosia!) I gotta admit that it was fun watching the guy interviewing everybody from Steely Dan (mentioning that their name came from a "device" in the William Burroughs novel NAKED LUNCH) to the Fleshtones and whatever new group was out there trying to break into that big Hollywood showbiz circus that eats 'em up and spits 'em out.

Unfortunately I missed the infamous Public Image Ltd. appearance as well as most of the very rare highlights of the show's seventies/eighties days, but that's because the local ABC station opted out of running AB since the mid-seventies, preferring to air CREATURE FEATURE in its place. Snowy viewings via channel 23 in Akron were in order when there was something that did seem to capture my fancy, though after I finally got it sorted out in my ape-like brain that the sixties weren't coming back I must admit that those moments were few and far between. Either way, I'm sure I'd be in store for a lotta horror no matter which channel I watched, albeit of a vastly differing variety.

But here's to you Dick, since you along with Mike Wallace were but two of the few remaining remnants of my earliest memories who just happened to deep six within a few weeks of each other. Yeah, you were always a geek and presided over the growth and death of the once-vibrant Top 40 scene, but at least you were there on those snowy winter days when I needed to take a break from my typically adolescent comic book obsessions. Gotta admit that being a doofus kid who'd actually sit through appearances by El Chicano and Redbone because there was nothing else to do might've been a sign of a latent mental deficiency on my part, but somehow in my own suburban consumerist, junk food ranch house upbringing way I gotta say that moments like those just hadda've been some of the happiest ones in my life. Gotta thank you for that, and that's something I thought I'd never do.
This weekend's platters come (once again) courtesy of Bill Shute, a guy who along with Paul McGarry has been keeping me in Cee-Dee-Are burn heaven for a good portion of the past few months. Given the overall lack of filthy lucre heading my way as well as the dearth of hotcha sounds and releases that I most certainly would look forward to if only somebody out there'd release 'em, let's just say these "Care Packages" satisfy me just as much as it did those starving kids in Africa you used to see on teevee commercials spooning up that white lumpy stuff with those big wooden spoons*. Once again a big humongous thanks to you guy who I gotta admit really have kept this blog afloat for a much longer time'n had I hadda rely on my own resources, or ancient platters wasting away in my record collection for that matter!

Ornette Coleman-CHAPPAQUA SUITE 2-CD-R BURN (originally on CBS Japan)

Although I am really grateful to Mr. Shute for his selection of fine wares for me to lend ear to, sometimes I wonder if he really thinks that I am the doof who wouldn't already own some of the platters he deems to burn for me in the first place! Take this 'un f' I've had this rarity from the annals of Ornette Coleman's vast discography in my collection ever since I felt it wise to dig up the extra yen for a then-recent Japanese copy, but Bill has to go 'n INSULT me by sending this my way as if I were too stoopid to latch onto it inna first place! Well, now I have two of 'em to keep my warm 'n toasty on those cold winter nights, but sheesh ya's think that Bill'd shoot me something that I really could use, like Rebecca and her Sunnybrook Farmers or even Lester Roadhog Moran...something for me to really sink my gums into if only to prove what an open-minded and all encompassing snootish rock crit type I can be just like the rest of those azzoles who write for THE VILLAGE VOICE!

But hey, it's always great to give CHAPPAQUA another listen and I gotta thank Bill for at least nudging it into my psyche since my "real" copy is probably buried in one of those Cee-Dee boxes stored in the closet where I should be keeping my shoozies! Recorded for the phony underground movie of the same name**, this was rejected by director Conrad Rooks because he believe it would overpower the action taking place on the screen. And although one might beg to differ I can see his point. Classic mid-sixties Coleman here with his trio (Izenzon and Moffett) along with Pharoah Sanders helping out as well as an orchestra that adds just the right amt. of tension to Coleman's brilliant free play whether it's needed or not. Plenty of soundscaping here, going from Coleman's typical "skippy" playing to all out crisis and it all settles down pretty snat if you're a fan and follower of these obscure Coleman albums that always seemed to pop up and disappear w/o warning. If you go for such other Coleman double-disc rarities such as WHO'S CRAZY and LIVE IN LONDON this does snuggle in between 'em somewhat cozily.
Various Artists-BARRY 7's CONNECTORS 2 CD-R 

This who ever knew it existed in the first place burn features material from the same sound libraries that were used to pow'rful extent by the Italian Film Industry way back in the low-budget sixties. And if you think this is all gonna be accordion pastafazoola yut-ta-da-da music you're gonna be wrong as usual...some of this is sneaky spy trackage while others sound potently Romanesque. Still others have a sort of decadent classiness to 'em to the point where they sound like instrumental outtakes from Roxy Music's COUNTRY LIFE album. You can just see the scenes that this music would undoubtedly be used for appearing right in your bean...Hercules saving the day, the sexy spy latching onto the microfilm, the wild brawl over some winsome lass and (best of all) THE BOUNCING TITS!!! Yes, have a dirty movie party in your obviously sick mind by spinning this and thumbing through whatever old issue of CLUB you'll be able to dig outta a good fifty years of pornography collecting!
The Jesus and Mary Chain-THE SOUND OF SPEED (Japanese version w/diff. tracks)

Here's an act that really got shoved to the back of my record collection worse than Rosa Parks, and for the life of me I never thought I'd ever give the Jesus and Mary Chain another listen to as long as I lived. Too eighties y'know, and although these guys were perhaps the last gasps of a sixties/seventies aesthetics that I continue to hold near and dear to my heart I gotta admit that the dinge of alterna-hype ginchiness was enough to have me smelling more'n a li'l foulness floating about. I get that way sometimes, though we should all know that sometimes it is hard to seeks out what is good 'n high energy and what is typical nth-generation washout. Using your own instincts to figure out what's what on your own can get to be a rather embarrassing, if costly endeavor which is why """""I""""" was put on the face of this earth! Y'know, to sort it all out for people like you who just can't be trusted to make your own decisions let you end up with hundreds of Antony and the Johnsons discs on your hands!

'n so here's this burnt surprise which has re-introduced me to the Chain after all these years and hey, I gotta admit that listening to this was a most pleasant experience. Don't have the non-Japanese version to compare this to, but for the most part THE SOUND OF SPEED is good enough straight-ahead late-sixties pop experimentalism that for once is untainted by the grossness of eighties squeaky-clean production or patented post-punk ideals.

Gotta say that the acoustic version of "Teenage Lust" (do I hafta tell ya it ain't the MC5 "chestnut"?) was perhaps too much in the false angst mode that has affected too many of these eighties post-whatever acts, but the general drive and force to be found here is (gosh I hate to admit it!) quite admirable. It's great listening to something in a rock mode recorded within the past thirty years that doesn't sound as if it's being pushed on those pseudo-radicals who made up your local high school phony intellectual society, eh?
Archie Shepp-THE NEW YORK CONTEMPORARY FIVE (originally on Storyville)

I'd see this 'un plugged in a whole number of jazz catalogs over the year but never gave the time of day to picking it up. And it ain't no surprise that this '63 side's a must hear which kinda makes me wish that Bill would have sent it to me back in the eighties so's I coulda spent a larger portion of my life listening to it!. More early free jazz (or avant garde if you prefer) laid down right around the time folks like Shepp were taking it all into even more stellar realms than the originators of the style were doing way back inna early fifties.

Shepp is in top notch form here playing pretty angular alongside such equally innovative wowzers as Don Cherry, John Tchicai and J. C. Moses (anyone out there got a bio on bassist Don Moore?) and with only a little stretch of the ears can you hear the angry, sad and soul-wrenching music that he would be shaking the jazz world with within the span of a few years. Oh yeah, you can still hear the anger, but right now it's just developing into the total scronk abandon that used to get people writing in to DOWN BEAT complaining that it was just a buncha guys farting through their horns and that only immature rock 'n roll freaks could enjoy it even to the barest minimum! Well, those readers really had it on the ball even then, dontcha think?

Mighty good fire music you got there Shepp...kinda makes me wish you weren't the rabid communist type just so's I could enjoy it a whole lot more knowing you're not a mouthpiece for the bloodiest thing to hit the twentieth century and beyond!
IN CLOSING, I thought I'd do you all well by linking up this particular piece from the always interesting TAKI'S TOP DRAWER site. I did it if only to remind alla you "ex" punks out there that maybe that radical left youth of yours which only turned you into yet another New Deal Liberal type wasn't exactly the proper way for you to evolve no matter how much Tim Yohannon told you different. Yeah, you all know that I personally can't stand its author Gavin McInnes especially when he gets into his smug, Scots-Irish "If there was a God I'd be a member of his chosen people" credo, but considering how a lotta the punks that I remember in the past have since developed into such a carbon copy of the old fifties/sixties type of liberal to the point where most of 'em might as well have been Dave Berg (with bald spots where their mohawks used to be) I gotta admit that this particular piece of his was whatcha'd call downright exhilarating. And frankly, I must say that a lotta the points that McInnes made could very well have appeared in just about any self-righteous fanzine of the past with perhaps a few tweeks here 'n there, though I have the strange feeling that the crew at MAXIMUM ROCK 'N  ROLL and FLIPSIDE mighta passed on it in favor of some hotcha Scene Report from Nairobi or even a piece on sugarcane harvesting time in Cuba! Gotta keep them priorities straight, y'know...
* Always wondered what that goop tasted like...I used to think that maybe on one week it came in cheddar cheese and the next in peanut butter or something equally weirdo to the mind of your atypical eight-year-old, and all of those African youth were just as curious as I was as to what the new flavor was gonna be just like kids my age used to get all excited about free toy surprises in boxes of cereal!.Hey, when you're a kid that's how your mind works, and frankly some of us still got noggins that operate in that fashion which come to think of it's gotta be an attribute in these Attention Deficit Disorder/Asperger's Syndrome-laden days!

**At least "phony" according to Parker Tyler via his infamous UNDERGROUND FILMS book, and given some of the critera he uses for "good" underground vs. "bad" perhaps he does have a point. You may beg to differ and I might too, 'cept that the only scene I've caught from this was the ones with the Fugs playin' and I'm in no position to state whether or not Mr. Tyler was right or wrong in his critique. Wishy-washiness was always one of my better attributes.


Anonymous said...

do you want Rebecca and the Sunnybrook Farmers? I can burn a cdr of's odd, to say the least, but not sure if it's odd in a way that will appeal to you...


Christopher Stigliano said...

Chris to Bill...JUST KIDDING!!!!

Anonymous said...

it's too early in the morning for me to handle irony!

Anonymous said...

Don't waste time on The Sound of Speed... what you need is this beauty:

An AMAZING collection.