Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ya wanna know why I'm crazy? Ya wanna know why I'm sad? I'll tell ya, it's because none other than FRANK CADY himself has died. And nobody really seems to care like they did when Farrah Fawcett or Michael Jackson hit the carbon cycle. Not even Lindsay Hutton, who always seems to keep us up to date regarding the movers and shakers in our World Community who have sadly left us. Yeah, the ol' pooperoo, age 96, has left This Mortal Slinky and has passed on to much bigger 'n better things, and although it wasn't like we were next door neighbors 'r anything I miss the guy already! Not only did Cady play the role of General Store owner Sam Drucker on two concurrent series (the much-loved GREEN ACRES and its cornball "sister" series PETTICOAT JUNCTION, not forgetting the rare BEVERLY HILLBILLIES pop up when the storyline got rewritten regarding the Clampetts' origins as being from Hooterville 'stead of Bugtussle) but he was oft-sceen on various other series throughout them golden days. Avid OZZIE AND HARRIET fans'll remember him as Doc Williams for a spell, and of course he even popped up on that ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW "pilot" that ran on THE DANNY THOMAS SHOW as the proto-Otis who happened to be goin' by the name of Hoople (oddly enough, he later appeared as a Mount Pilot drunkard who befriended the corpulent souse in a '64 episode!)  And howzbout his boffo appearance as the father of the boy who got killed over a spelling bee ribbon in THE BAD SEED and hadda put up with his soused wife not to mention a whole slew of other tee-vee and moom pitcher appearances throughout them long gone suburban slob times when all we hadda worry about was how to get through six hours of school before all the fun started!!!

I'm sure a lotta you people out there already thought that Cady was dead, especially since he looked so old back inna fifties and sixties when we thought he was already in his seventies! Only goes to show you that when you are young, you should try to look older than you are so that when you really do get old people will think you look incredibly good for your age. Then again, if you wanna look like a senior citizen for most of your life that's your bizniz!

But hey, those Frank Cady memories just keep rollin' along. Can't forget all of those great GREEN ACRES moments and one-liners that he zinged throughout the show. Most vivid moments that enter my mind include the "Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, Bunker Hill" running gag, the board games Drucker was selling including MONOTONY, and of course the time he bought a cheap toupee which Mr. Kimball dropped in the pickle barrel thus turning the thing green! After Drucker put it on I gotta admit he reminded me of Elton John after his hair weave, and that's with the new green color added to it as well!

So long Frank...never did get to watch THESE ARE THE DAYS which you lent your voice to, but just like the recent passing of Duane Breyers had me looking up and digging old Hilda calendar art I get the feeling that I'll be buying the entire series on DVD soon just to hear your voice! Funny how death can do that to a feller...kinda makes me guilty for not paying more attention while you were alive but hey, I get that way sometimes.
Not much new picking-wise this week. In fact there's hardly anything new about the following items which I've owned and enjoyed for nigh on a decade or so. Well, maybe now's the time to do a li'l re-evaluatin' and, in response to those of you who have caught on to my usual long-windedness and have commented so, I've tried to keep the resultant spew short and perhaps even sweet. Think I'll leave the mega essays for the next go 'round...y'see, I actually got up the courage (and some $$$) for an order to Forced Exposure just so's I can inject a li'l fresh lifeblood into my usually mundane existence but until that hefty package arrives it's gonna be oldies but moldies from here on in, savvy?

Tiny Tim-SONGS OF AN IMPOTENT TROUBADOUR CD (World Serpent, England)

Dunno how I got on my latest Tiny Tim jag but I found this particular platter a pretty relaxing way to wind the day down, old fogie style. Listening to Mr. Tim rattle off the tales about femme pulchritude while strumming his original compositions is akin to back in the old days when my father'd tune in Arthur Godfrey and listen to that ol' pooperoo blab about everything from dearly-departed entertainment standbys to Colgate toothpaste. Tim's voice was pretty shot by the time this 1994 recording was made, but the original songs as well as his personal anecdotes about meeting Liz Taylor in 1947 to flipping over Tuesday Weld via DOBIE GILLIS (I never for the life of me would have thought that Tiny Tim watched television!) really make this a nice way to relive a long-forgotten part of your entertainment heritage. Only real beef is the final cut where the Nurse With Wound/Current 93 schlubs take Tim's opinions regarding the Antichrist and add their own electronic whirl to it which seems way more ridicule than homage if you ask me (and why not???)!
John's Children-THE LEGENDARY ORGASM ALBUM CD (Cherry Red)

It should be obvious to you as to why I don't spin this 'un as much as I do those John's Children platters that feature the talents of Marc Bolan. Mainly because there ain't any Marc on this 'un at all, but that don't mean THE LEGENDARY ORGASM ALBUM ain't total douse. Of course the backwards take of "Strange Affair" is totally needless (is there a reason why Cherry Red allowed this inna first place other'n perhaps some sorta legal screw to a publisher?) but the rest of this pre-Bolan outing, from the single sides to the "live" portion, is about as hot an artyfact of the First Great Punk Rock Era as any other garage band item you might be able to dig up. Enough lewd and lasciviousness on this one to give the bluest haired DAR member in your life more'n a few apoplectic pops and gurgles...try one out on her just for size!
Paul Revere and the Raiders-LIKE LONG HAIR CD (Flash)

An obv. "grey area" release from the early days of Cee-Dees featuring what I believe is most of the Raiders' Gardenia LP as well as some single side rarities. If the mid/late-sixties version of the group continues to bring back living-room hipster values in your soul this will zone you back even further. From the choice '59/'61-era instrumental sounds (including two Wailers covers!) to the alternate take of "Sharon" to the boffo front cover snap showing the early pre-Drake/Fang/Smitty group in their matching blazers, LIKE LONG HAIR's bound to conjure up all of those long-repressed youthful memories just beggin' to burst outta your dark reaches. If you still hold the boffo '58-'66 season of pre- and teenage gulcher near and dear to your heart this'll play the soundtrack to your life as much as old home movies and b&w reruns!
Ruins-REFUSAL FOSSIL CD (Skin Graft) 

Yeah, I reviewed this in the (probably) final issue of my own crudzine way back when, but that was sooooo long ago and besides I must admit I haven't played the dang thing since! So in many ways this was a lot like buying an entirely new item which not only sounds fresh to me, but keeps a whole lotta dough in my wallet as well!!! And as far as this "progressive" "heavy metal" group (who consider Gentle Giant as an influence!) goes, all I gotta say after listening to this is that the Japanese are a whole lot harder to figure out than I originally thought!

Being a bass guitar/drums duo you'd think that Runs couldn't get much outta their gear, but surprisingly enough these guys have the power and energy of a Motorhead with the stripped-down aesthetics of just about any art punk radical rock group of the eighties. That is, without the angst and pain brought upon by too much upper-middle class guilt. Mostly total noise hard-grate jackhammer music that really will not cozy up to most of the aficionados of either the metal or the prog camps, even when this set closes with some wild synthesizer solo that sounds like something Keith Emerson would cook up with a couple batteries hitched up to his babymaking machines.
The Fleshtones-SOLID GOLD SOUND CD (Blood Red Vinyl & Tapes)

Should I feel guilty for pretty much ignoring this long-running true blue underground Amerigan rock 'n roll group, or at least for shoving 'em to the back of the burner while giving many lesser lights the big-time rah-rah instead? Gotta say that I don't particularly feel bad about it, perhaps because of the fact that whatzizname from the group co-hosted that show on MTV back inna effing eighties. Something like that's bound to get more'n my dander up I'll tell you!

But I do feel creepy for not devoting more of my time, heart, head, hands and feet to this perennial mid-Amerigan teenage suburban ranch house UHF-TV rockin' 'n rollin' group, especially since they seemed like thee ultimo rock 'n roll concept even back when I first read about 'em in the pages of THE NEW YORK ROCKER oh so long ago. This turn of the millennium platter's typical of the Fleshtone style and substance that I've been familiar with for quite some time...six-oh rock 'n roll w/a smattering of early-mid-seventies New York influx that does seem about as much akin to the whole gutter vision of the day as it would to the suburbanism that makes this group so appealing. 'n yeah, I could go on and do a track-by-track rundown padding this post a good ten or so paragraphs, but even that would be too hard a task even though I did spin this 'un through twice. Let's just say that, on a hot sunny Sunday afternoon SOLID GOLD SOUND sure made a fine soundtrack for thumbing through a box of Silver Age DC's that happened to get uncovered, and as far as tributes go I couldn't think of anything better!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Tried spinnin' the Rin-Tin-Tin serial that Mr. Shute sent me, but all that was coming up on the screen were little cubes of color and sputtering on/off sound/visuals. Guess I'll have to pass on that 'un, but before I stamp my feet in self-righteous indignation I might as well watch this late-in-the-game film noir that has all of the things goin' for it that I like in mooms...late-fifties attitude, tough-guy pose, monochrome starkness, sleepwalking acting and of course a nice, intense streak that doesn't let up even when the acting and plot seems to take those little zig zags away from the climactic ending we're all hoping for!

Gerald Mohr plays this down-on-his-luck tramp trying to make it to El Lay despite getting kicked off trains by uppity goons with sledgehammers. After getting tossed from a moving freight car inna middle of nowhere, Mohr finds an automobile with a dead man in it and, doing just what any self-respecting bum would do, he switches clothes and steals his identity! Naturally this all suits him fine, at least until he's stopped on the outskirts of town by some motorcycle cops and is escorted smack dab into city hall. Turns out that the murdered fellow was some bigshot dragged in from New York City to act as the new Chief of Police as well as to rid the town of an unsavory element that's being spearheaded by Robert Clarke, an actor who often played these kinds of cringe-y white collar lowdown types on everything from I LED THREE LIVES to DRAGNET!

Along the way Mohr bumps into famed felon Liz Renay who had something to do with the murder (her monogrammed sweater being found at the scene) as well as a policeman who's been bucking for the Chief job which would sure help things out considering he's Clarke's favorite man in blue. And thankfully the tension and the plot changes hit you nice and fast, with more monkeywrenches being thrown into the machinery leading to even more highly charged scenes and an ending which, while it coulda been a whole lot stronger, at least suits its purpose. (But then again if I were writing screenplays I'd be including such manic acts of depravity as the good guy and badski fighting it out to the end with ears being ripped off, eyeballs bouncing outta their sockets and blood spilling all over the place like fruit punch at a three-year-old's birthday party. Maybe even have a scene where the good 'un subdues the evildoer and subjects him to some mighty miserable humiliation, the kind he deserves complete with a whole lotta moaning, screaming, and cries for mama permeating the soundtrack. Sorta like DEADBEAT AT DAWN on even more steroids!)

True the acting on the part of some of the minor characters can be rather, shall we say, rote, but then again most people I talk to seen to have the emotional range of a sweatsock so you could say that the thespianship to be found in this film was "real" enough. Well, at least it's a whole lot more real (despite some plot twists which never woulda happened---of course you gotta suspend your reality checker watching a whole lotta these films!) than most of the stuff I used to see on tee-vee until even that became an uncomfortable thing to do. A DATE WITH DEATH is yet another film that satisfies to the utmost, and only goes to remind me as to how cool and tough life used to be (as reflected via films such as this, tee-vee and even the music) until the sensitive male types and superbitches who call themselves "women" (yech!) decided to make everybody as miserable as they've been since day uno. And unfortunately, they've all won hands down!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Something must be going wrong (or right)...I don't have anything special to piss and moan about this week! Therefore, on with the reviews!


At long last comes this collection of single sides and demos from legendary Gallic heavy metal group Rotomagus, an act who singlehandedly disproved the common fallacy that French rock makes for lame jamz. Many people (myself included) have frothily written these guys up o'er the past few years, and you can betcha bottom dullard that this release has been as highly anticipated  'round these parts as the Rocket From The Tombs download from a few months back which only goes to show you that there may be hope for us high energy rockers in the upcoming months, if not years!

This comp shows that Rotomagus were, if anything,  a bunch the more or less flung themselves straight into the hard rock dungheap after performing  a more commercial bent pop music that lives up to the prejudices many have towards French rock. But even at their most oo-la-la Rotomagus had more going for 'em than the competition...take the flip of their Polydor debut "Nevada" which is good enough "Beatle Rock" for everyone from Ritchie Unterberger to Tim Ellison to scrutinize and might have earned at least a paragraph in an issue of JAMZ if it had only gotten around back then. The CBS single roared on like a continental Deep Purple (???) shoulda while "Fighting Cock" continues to amaze with its definite punkian overtones that just mighta given the Imperial Dogs a run for the francs. Still, it ain't hard to discern that Rotomagus were drawing their energies from the more commercial Anglo and Amerigan acts...fortunately they were savant enough to take their cues from everyone from the Mamas and the Papas to Led Zep while still coming out smelling like "punk gryphons" just like the Sweet did, and that ain't anything easy to do! It may seem strange to you, but I find this approach a whole lot better (and fresher) than the various upstarts of the late-seventies/eighties who gobbled the entire Velvets/Detroit/New York saga and proceeded to churn out some of the lamest,  most anti-rock 'n roll music to have made it out of the decades to come.

The nine demos recorded for the group's final label Butterfly are flat out engrossing even if they don't quite pack the nuclear punch of their swan song (eh, but I guess they were just "run throughs") and what I guess was an unreleased single (one side complete with Chipmunk vocals!) deserved to remain in the can all these years. But I ain't arguing with having 'em all on one nice shiny platter even it woulda been grand if the post-Rotomagus Phoenix album with those Led Zep covers was slapped on here as well. Why bitch when the music is some of the best representation of hard-edged rock recorded during a time when most people were jumping on the peace train and listening to Melanie albums. When prodded hard enough Rotomagus were probably one of the better straight-ahead high energy rock groups that came outta the continent at the time, and although I couldn't rank 'em up there with the Stooges or Groovies I might be able to muster up a good argument 'bout their standing in the rock pantheon of fun trash alongside Black Pearl or the Up (they were certainly miles ahead of Stepson), and that ain't small potatoes either!

Various Artists-MICHIGAN MELTDOWN LP (Coney Dog Records)

No doubt about it, the early/mid-seventies just weren't as conduit to rockist concerns as millions of hardcore rockers wished they were, especially when compared to the over-the-top mid-sixties when the music had made such a big inroad into the collective psyche that even stodgy college professors and aging beatniks were paying attention to it. Well, at least there were more than enough hard-edged, high energy groups around back then to keep all of you true rockers afloat, right? Right, but only a few of 'em pop up on this sampler of rare Michigan rock sides that I sure hope woulda kicked jams righteously but hits and misses all over the place.

Unfortunately I gotta admit that most of the acts on MICHIGAN MELTDOWN echo the socially aware Grand Funk aspects of the era 'stead of the anarchistic radicalization of the MC5. Thankfully that don't mean they're all a bunch of FM rock losers; in fact most of this album is warp drive even if some groups tend to waft over into the hippoid relevance and boogie blahs that were so common at the time. So amidst the Sabbath ripoffs and pseudo-voodoo numbers that appear you get some goodies like a mellotron-laden garage thumper by Apparition (featuring Scott Campbell, later of local punk faves/Max's Kansas City semi-regulars the Sillies) not forgetting two sides of the Flying Wedge single which was way closer to the Detroit rock taproot than the horn laden Tribal Sinfonia even if the drummer sounds like he's banging on a whole passel of bongos 'stead of some fifty-gallon oilcans.

For me, the album highlight is Metropolis with their "Age of Evolution," a track which only goes to show you that if you thought the MC5 could take basic rock 'n roll and reduce it to no-chord avant garde music, these emulators could do 'em one better! This track is to "Starship" what the Greek Fountains' cut on BEYOND THE CALICO WALL is to the medley on GOD BLESS THE RED KRAYOLA AND ALL WHO SAIL WITH IT and that's no lie! Coulda used a whole album of tracks with the same energetic quality, but with the vast amt. of late-sixties Detroit weirdities floating around perhap I can make my own compilation on a personal shiny disque and leave the dross on this platter, where it belongs!
OMNIVORE LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Omnivore's actually Glenna Van Nostrand, a Mass. performance artist who I guess likes to fiddle around with tape loops and telephones to interesting effect. Unlike a good portion of her fellow artistes Glenna can sure makes some downright entertaining if not enchanting sounds on this platter which features her overdubbed voice doing some of the most out-there femme acapella vocalese I've heard since "Music" on the second Red Krayola album (which, as you can tell, is a disque that has been laying heavily on my mind). Accompanied by nothing more than her telephones being used for keyboards and electronic percussion, Omnivore creates a fine choral music that reminds me of Phillip Glass's NORTH STAR album, or at least that vocal track that had Joan LaBarbara and Dick Landry amongst others doing some jazzy scat which coulda been used to a bank commercial. If you like being mesmerized by repeato-riffage (which has always made up the best rock 'n roll, as if monotony can't be a manifestation of genius) I'm sure you'll like this. If wary, try some youtube vids first.
Blanche Blanche Blanche-OUR PLACE LP (Feeding Tube)

Housed in a sleeve highly  reminiscent of  those early-seventies neo-nostalgia covers a la Harvey Mandel's BABY BATTER, the Blanche Blanche Blanche duo pop out snat little odes that, while not quite as catchy as Omnivore's rhythmic musings, still please the same way some of those early-eighties art projects did before they became way too self-conscious for my tastes. Short and sweet, these femme vocals backed by cheap organ and guitar have a more Ameriganized feeling than the Rough Trade booty I believe they were emulating, and dagnabbit if a good portion of this don't come off like some of the better AM radio commercial produce of the past, the kind that Erik Lindgren used to make his moolah with in the morn while working on Birdsongs of the Mesozoic in the evening. Smart, intelligent music that certainly comes off a whole lot better'n similar-minded gunk that filled up miles of cassette tape in the eighties (and is bound to be lionized by someone who doesn't know better in a few short years from now!).
The Phantom Keys-THE REAL SOUND OF THE PHANTOM KEYS CD-E (Screaming Apple)

Heading towards the bottom of the McGarry package, this time its a Spanish buncha guys doin' the Mike Stax r 'n b approach who are gettin' the well-deserved BLOG TO COMM spotlight.    Oddly enough this brings back a whole lotta memories, not of the original mid-sixties beat boom mind you but of the early-mid eighties "garage revival" phenomenon which seemed to have had so much promise, energy and a lotta hard work put into its music and fanzines yet got ignored like just about everything else that was good about that rotten decade. Like most of these latterday groups aping the early-sixties English blooze scene there's a whole lotta Pretty Things refs to be heard and definitely loads more approach and attack'n what has been passing for the "blues" scene lo these many years (mainly aging white ethnic guys trying to find the same thing in Robert Cray that they found in Howlin' Wolf). However, for some strange reason I get the feeling that if I were to spin this one for some typically aging blues aficionado I'd get a bullet neatly placed through my skull...well, did you ever think you could reason with 250 pounds of craggy bent toothed b.o.-laden unemployed steelworker types who could drink enough Canadian Club to drink Canada dry???
Cheap Time-WALLPAPER MUSIC CD-R burn (In The Red)

Another one from the McGarry pile, this time of a current act (originating from Tennessee) who do a pretty good job recreating various seventies punk concerns for a world that couldn't give a fig anymore. Frankly, I usually couldn't give a fig about any of these new acts anymore myself, but at least Cheap Time are grabbing enough in the way they mush up various aspects of hard pop, Amerigan punk and even some British post-Barrett psych and present it to you and new and innovative. And it is a refreshing change o' pace even if the whole thing reminds me of one of those boffo eighties punk rock acts that sorta got forgotten amidst the gnu wave, lite metal and hippiecore that was so prevalent then. I guess WALLPAPER MUSIC is old stuff done in a new way, or maybe a new rendition of old p-rock concerns whipped up with some new flash in order to make it seem less old-sounding or... Aw shucks, just go 'n download a copy yerself!
The Pagans-BURIED ALIVE LP (Treehouse)

The latest in a long line of albums to rise to the top of the pile like scum onna pond, this late-eighties wonder "might" have been made obsolete by the vast array of Crypt Cee-Dees that came out in its wake but I ain't cryin'. All of the single sides and more (comps etc.) are here making this a handy-dandy collection for you late-seventies punkophiles who fondly remember browsing through the various Dromes searching out booty such as this while pondering whether to spend your last $2.99 on Teacher's Pet or some Buzzcocks single. And man it's boss hard Amerigan punk of a '77-'79 variety that hasn't and will never let us down unlike a load of the gunk that came in its wake, a hard and driving sound that should prove that, as far as rock 'n roll concerns go, Brian and Mike were the real Hudson Brothers 'stead of that bunch we used to see on television alla time back inna seventies! Guaranteed to make any trueblue BLOG TO COMM fan dribble in pure addled erotic joy as the music slams you up against the wall and slithers through your sphinctor, and its better'n a good portion of the English stuff that was gettin' the high five at the time not to mention a nice hunk of what was passing for "precocious" and "visionary" back inna days when even a brief mention of the Pretenders in some weekly hippie read was considered a step forward! Yeah I know I'm overdoin' it, but this platter was the one thing that got my batteries on "recharge" this afternoon, and I ain't gonna be comin' down in quite a long time!

Bonus liner notes from Tesco Vee, Johnny Dromette and Byron Coley 'mongst others are bound to bring back the pulse and stamina that goes with the sound and vision of these forgotten boys. And hey, if anybody out there has a tape of the pre-Pagans Mad Staggers passing out while opening for Milk at the Willoughby Ohio YMCA please forward it to me asap!
THE COMPLETE DICK TRACY VOLUME 13 has finally made it out and, as you can already guess, has captivated me for the past few nights to the point where I've been having dreams of being stuffed into hospital sterilizing units and being steamed like a hunk of fish*. If you think thirteen's a bad luck number this volume's the one for you, not only when Tracy and Tess' new million-dollar home (how he could afford it on a cop's salary I'll never know!) burns to a crisp but when noted stinkpen BO Plenty gets shot in the chest and teeters between life and death for weeks on end! And, in a plot twist perhaps foreshadowing the Moon Maid episodes of a good fourteen years after, Tess gives birth to a strange mutant with an enlarged head and marmoset eyeballs that even gives a stoic iron-cast stomached person like myself the creeps!

Oddly enough, when you consider that by the time these early-fifties strips appeared the famed forties era of TRACY with the best-known villains and infamous twists and turns were pretty much behind us, TRACY seemed to be improving not only with better artwork but gnarlier plots and enough grotesque happenstance that might've even gotten the most notorious child molester a li'l sick inna stomach. The scene where Tracy's hair's set ablaze while searching for Junior in the burning inferno is memorable (all that hair tonic he uses must've ignited), as is the part where Crewy Lou's mute accomplice Sphinx gets crushed to death in an elevator shaft! And really, who could forget the time some badski kills himself by jumping out the window while trying to take Junior with him (you never see kids get offed, so that was quite startling!).  However, most striking for me was the brief passage where Tracy prays at the bedside of a dying Plenty asking God for mercy on the ol' pooperoo, a scene milked to cornball peak perfection but somehow perfect amidst all of the violence and brutality that was part and parcel to the strip!

Don't know why this volume hadda end right in the middle of the Crewy Lou saga (they coulda made it a bigger 'un) because these cliffhangers always make me feel sooooo cringe-y and I'm gonna hafta spend the next # of months just wondering what's in store until the fourteenth volume eventually makes it out! (And I thought it was bad as a kid watching BATMAN having to wait a day before discovering if the Dynamic Duo were gonna survive the Joker's nefarious death trap!) Of course I could sneak down into the basement and refresh myself as to what did happen via a slew of long-forgotten DICK TRACY MONTHLIES/WEEKLIES I lapped up well over twenty years ago, but I'd be cheating if I did a nefarious thing such as that!
BEFORE I GO, a quickie mention regarding the recent suicide of none other than former Fleetwood Mac member and solo star in his own right Bob Welch. Funny, just last night I had yet another wacky dream* where I was watching some ancient rock clips on television and what was supposed to have been the early Mac (and I mean very early, like perhaps 1964 because the band members had short hair and wore suits and ties giving them a more early-sixties BMOC look) were performing, complete with a bassist who did not quite resemble John McVie playing what looked like a huge guitarron-sized bass guitar, hollow bodied yet with distinctive Rickenbacker-styled cutouts (a close-up revealed a bridge that looked closer to an actual string bass, or at least a cello). Not only that but this version of the Mac were doing choreographed moves that were so akin to many of the acts of the day! Anyway, I only bring up Welch's demise because frankly, all I wanna know is am I the only guy who noticed that the riffs from "Ebony Eyes" and the opening of Pere Ubu's "Street Waves" are identical??? I caught the similarities way back when but nobody else ever mentions this, perhaps out of terminal hipstertude if anything.
*Speaking of dreams, last night, amidst a long wowzer of one that had something vaguely to do with a LEAVE IT TO BEAVER episode where Wally falls for some weird record-a-record scam that included filming a "video" with members of the Association and some fair maidens in a strange ROMEO AND JULIET burlesque, I had envisioned that Eddie Haskell was a member of the Beach Boys who got to sing lead on a number that sounded strangely like "Do It Again"! Not surprisingly, I find that such a song (as rendered in the dream) really fit in with the (perceived) vocal talents of Ken Osmond making me wonder why the longtime teenage star wasn't offered a recording contract like they did with Johnny Crawford and Shelly Fabres! Now you know why I get more of a kick outta things happening in my dreams than I do with real life, and with these kinda whacked out dreams wouldn't you too?

Thursday, June 07, 2012


Y'know, if I never bought that POPEYE comic book a few weeks back I wouldn't've even known that a collection of comic book material by the noted screwball cartoonist Milt Gross had even hit the racks! Can you imagine that there's been a book out for a coupla years already containing nothing but Gross' various contributions to the under-the-radar American Comics Group back inna forties/fifties and I, a person who could really use the finely honed wit 'n wisdom of this oft-ignored artist dished out with regularity, wasn't even aware of its mere existence! Well better late'n never I say, but on the other hand the entrance of this book into my life two years afterwards is kinda like taking two years outta my life and throwing it down the toidy. Y'know, like these people who've been in comas for years or on certain medicines that messed up their comprehension of time and it's still like twenny years ago for 'em...kinda makes me wanna live an additional two earthspins than I'll be allotted if only to make up for this drastic loss of time, if not life!

We all know just how important Milt Gross was to the growth and development of the wackier side o' comic strip creativity, but few (inc. myself for quite some time) didn't know that Gross had more or less gone over to the comic book side of the biz after flooding the twenties and thirties with some of the boffo-est creations to hit the funnies. Along with many other talents it was Gross who exemplified the Golden Age of Newspaper Comics, and although he never received the publicity or notoriety that such compats as Ernie Bushmiller (a good pal) did his influence continues to linger on if only in dribbles and drops. Maybe it ain't as strong as it could've been given just how toned down comic strips became afterwards, but scratch an underground cartoonist of the sixties or some fanzine nutzoid and you just might get a whiff of Gross here and there.

Gotta admit up front that most of these comic book sagas just don't measure up to what Gross was doin' on the funny page. Maybe the guy was workin' in an idiom that wasn't conduit to his talents, or maybe his later work just didn't have the zing of his classic NIZE BABY 'n DAVE'S DELICATESSEN Sunday pages which continue to make me roll on the floor in ecstatic frenzy a good eighty years after the fact. Still Gross at his worst outdoes that guy from THE BOONDOCKS' best, with such old favorites like Count Screwloose 'n "That's My Pop" revisited amongst such newies as "Pete the Pooch," "Moronica" and personal fave "The Kitty-Katty Korner" featuring a classroom that was probably about as blitzoid as the one I was thrust into.

'n even some of the old standbys do themselves well, such as the Count Screwloose 'un 'bout the guy who could eat anything but kumquats and  the "That's My Pop" where "Doc" Pearson devises an "everything on the house" gimmick for a medical clinic's opening day! And hey, considerin' that this 'un'll probably cost you less than a year's sub to MAD at least you'll be guaranteed a whole lot more guffaws'n that once-venerable mag has delivered on since the early-seventies at least! (And speaking of MAD, longtime contributor Al Jaffee contributes a "fold-introduction" that really says all there is to say, to which I can respond in the loudest and clearest tones "BANANA OIL!")

Saturday, June 02, 2012

I know, you're all tired of readin' 'bout my financial straits and just how I don't have the right amount of moolah to buy out the record store like I wish I coulda back when I was fifteen 'n all that! I'm even getting tired of writin' 'bout it myself, but facts iz facts and frankly given just how iffy the economy is it ain't like I'm gonna be wallowin' in new booty the way I sure wish I could. Of course I can console myself knowing that there frankly just ain't that much good, hard, high-energy and all-out rockin' material being flung at us these days like there was back when rock 'n roll seemed to be that one unifying drive that separated the geeky kids who wanted to be part of the "inner circle" (like me natch!) and the real "inner circle" that wouldn't have anything to do with us no matter how hard we tried flashing our rock 'n roll credentials all over the place! It don't do any good, but I can still console myself instead of beat my head against the wall like I'm wont to do!

But as luck would have it I've just received a number of new items that might make this blog look a whole lot more tastier'n me just ramblin' on about old finds at flea markets and what I had for supper the day I first got to hear UNCLE MEAT before giving my dog Sam his daily share of noogies. The fine folk at Feeding Tube records have shipped off some of their fine wares (which will take some time for me to make it through 'em all...see next week) plus a few stragglers and ebay wins were lucky enough to find themselves in today's soiree, so let's just admit that this post ain't as much of a total loss as some of you less scrupulous people would like it to be. But sheesh, do I miss the days (which even include the oft-loathed seventies!) when weekly trips to the record shop were akin to some 1900's kid with dime in hand torn between buying the latest issue of some adventurous looking pulp novel and a bag of cheapo candy. Only it was me handlin' the hard-begged $3.50 trying to figure out just how I could swing the latest CREEM and of course the cutout gem of my choice with maybe just enough left over for a jaw breaker. The most comforting thing about those days is that, had all else failed, I could always go home and drown my sorrows in a GREEN ACRES rerun.

So these are just a few of this week's highlights mate, just a few, but still I think I got my share of pounce and wallop outta each and every feedback screech and sour blurt that emanated from my boom box speakers situated next to my comfy chair. Hope you can squeeze just a tad outta it because, frankly at this point in time I'm just coasting!

Les Rallizes Denudes-MARS STUDIO 1980 4-CD set (Phoenix)

Financial constraints (as usual) prohibited me from passing out loot for the original Univive edition of this box set a few years back. Thankfully the fine somethingorothers at Phoenix have made this Les Rallizes Denudes rarity available for myself and the rest of you Johnny-Cum-Latelies out there who wouldn't touch a recording unless you heard about it from one of those enlightened bloggers who I tend to avoid like bars with petunia wallpaper. An exemplary selection of Denudes studio rarities, sometimes fragmented, that presents the group in a setting where you can finally hear something beyond the amp whiz and atonal screeches (not that it ever mattered). MARS STUDIO also features the usage of additional instruments not usually heard in Denudes circles such as hammond organ and what I would assume was a tinkly celeste or a warped music box! New to my ears tracks like the four takes of "White Waking" (which comes off like a mutated "Enter the Mirror") appear, plus the mind-searing 24-minute  Davie Allen-esque instrumental "Guitar Jam" (which some unworthies had previous passed off as the live '68 "Smokin' Cigarette Blues" number which can be heard on 67/69 STUDIO ET LIVE) starts off disque three to most stellar effect. Its one to compliment the rest of your Japanese post-psych platters to the utmost, but when are we gonna get to hear some fresh romps anyway? If there was any time to open the vaults wide open, it would be in the here and now 'stead of thirty years from now when I don't think any of us will have ears left!!!
Gong-CONTINENTAL CIRCUS CD (Flawed Gem, Sweden)

I guess this is gonna be another one of those albums I'm gonna hafta cozy up to. Not that the idea of noted French psychedelic progsters Gong playing whacked-out "Blues Theme" riffs with Syd Barrett mindsets wasn't a snat one to begin with, but their soundtrack to a dirt bike documentary doesn't quite grab me by mine the way it probably doesn't quite grab you by yours. Even the bonus tracks including a rare single side and some French television appearances don't excite me like they would have in the late-seventies when my tastes were certainly careening from one end of the import bin to the other end of the cutout one.

Of course the big question it the music that's getting old, or is it me????  That certainly is one to ponder, though from what I can tell it looks as if the two of us are having some manic race to see which of us can hit oblivion first! I'll have to see what kinda odds Brad Kohler'll give on this 'un!
Art Taylor-TAYLOR'S TENORS CD-R burn (New Jazz)

Sheesh, what did I do to deserve yet another package from Paul McGarry anyway??? Anyway there's a good selection in this one (even though I probably wouldn't have boughten any of 'em had I the dinero to do so!) beginning with this '59 side from a guy who turned up doing some mighty rhythm log playing on Archie Shepp's YASMINA album a good decade or so later. Nothing explosive here, just some good bop that almost approaches hard but still's worthy enough if you're the kinda guy who thinks that the early Ornette sides are close but still to tonal for your obviously over-spiced listening parameters! If you're feeling adventurous, go for it!
TRIZO 50 CD-R burn (World in Sound)

Another McGarry find, this time of an obscure early/mid-seventies Missouri group who actually released their own album long before the whole DIY "ethos" encouraged kids who had little if anything to say to put their ineffectual mewlings to plastic! Actually this oddly-monikered group's pretty good...again nothing I'd want to spend my ever-dwindling monetary supply on but hotcha enough mid-Amerigan "power pop" that woulda done swell if it had only made it to the attention of Greg Shaw back when Trizo 50 were romping this planet of ours. Sometimes Beatle-esque and at other times typical midwestern Shoes/Scruffs-styled tough guy pounce, I can only wonder why these guys never made it to the pages of BOMP! back when they really coulda used the publicity!
Sonic Liberation Front-MEETS SUNNY MURRAY CD-R (High Two)

I've written up this avant collective before in these "pages," but little did I know that these "mainstays" from the CBGB Lounge "Freestyle" series were not only still together but have recorded a platter with none other than free jazz pioneer Sunny Murray! Those of you who still mourn the passing of the sixties/seventies bare-wire intensity of the stalwarts will most definitely want to hear this 'un, which surprisingly enough recalls everything that the late-sixties had to offer which we all thought went down the crapper somtime around the end of the loft jazz scene. The performance and playing's pretty angular and has a hefty BYG as opposed to ESP vibe, and whoever's playing sax comes about as close to Roscoe Mitchell in guttural performance and intensity as anybody I've heard in quite some time. The African percussion vibe also brings back fond memories of early Art Ensemble endeavors, and of course having a hand like Murray on board only exemplifies things ifyaknowaddamean...  Paul, I think you did a good deed by shipping this 'un my way!
Hawkwind-ONWARD CD-R burn (Eastworld)

If it wasn't for this 'un I never woulda even know'd that Hawkwind were still around. But they are, and hey I gotta admit that they sound about as good as they did during the QUARK STRANGENESS AND CHARM days. Electronic space rock with some new wave-y punk moves with the right amount of oscillation to differentiate it from the reams of cum latelies who've been doin' the Hawkwind trip for the last umpteen years. Even features a re-do of "Aerospace Age Inferno" from CAPTAIN LOCKHEED AND THE STARFIGHTERS, a real "classic rock" platter if I ever heard one!