Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hah! I actually managed to crank out a post that not only seems varied enough, but perhaps even downright inspirational in spots!  In fact I thought it was so good that I decided to 86 the post I had planned for today until next week (or maybe even the week after!) which I will admit was a good idea considerin' how that 'un needed some "fine tunings" here and some gratuitous slams at various "protected classes" there in order to make all of you touchy feelies roar in put on indignation. This post also needs a few tweaks here and there, and something tells me that you will not be reading this 'un in its original published form a good year or so from now. (But then again Wilhelm Reich was always re-editing his work to reflect his ever-updating political/scientific beliefs and unlike what Lance "Torky" Koenigs or however it's spelled once said, people do have the right to change their noggins, at least once in awhile and as long as they don't keep changing it to fit in with the current mode of the music so-to-speak!)

In many ways I am amazed that I was able to dish out as much as I did this weekend considerin' that the pickins have been rather creepy crawl as of late. Of course the new Kiosks platter is all the rage here at BTC central, and those Bill Shute burns were pleasant enough even if they weren't anything that I'd kill you over (and sometimes I think I'm looking for a reason just to do that!). Not to mention the youtube find of Nick Kent's Subterraneans who mighta been one of those late-seventies novas that led us into the doldrum eighties had this only gotten out to more'n a choice few, but I sincerely doubt it .I'm sure that even a jaded curmudgeon such as yourself will have to admit that I did do a good job presenting something along the lines of a topper'n usual top quality post this week, and if I may pat myself on the back let me be the first to do so!

Concerned people have been asking me how I've been taking the news regarding longtime funnyman Fred Willard, best known to me and perhaps even you as the addled announcer Jerry Hubbard from the late-seventies talk-show spoof FERNWOOD/AMERICA TONITE, who just happened to've had the misfortune of being arrested pants down in a porn palace a week or so back. Well, I must say that I am saddened to see this high-larious comedian having sunk so low (even though it's like he hasn't been outta the public light since that classic show went off the tube) as to engaging in sinful onanism in a public theatre, but rules are rules and if anything the guy is a sicko who should have the strong arm of the law pummel him until he bleeds for mercy. Yeah, I know that there are some out there who, as in the case of Pee Wee Paul Reubens Herman, think that such arrests are outrageous and that flibbin' the jib is something that comes naturally in X-rated moom pitcher houses and the cops should be out there arresting the real criminals who are out there jaywalking...well, that might be find and dandy oh civil libertarianous ones, but to this argument I must retort "have you ever whipped out your dirty part of the body at a public meeting place such as a theatre, or at a playground or swimming pool or even voting booth for that matter? If you have, all I gotta say is EWWWW, UGGH, ORRKK!!!  (TRANSLATION: it figures!) As Bob Grant once said, it's getting sicker and sicker out there folks, and sometimes I get the feeling that its some of you readers who are help edging us all out over the cliff into total depravity to which I say hissssssss!

Of course the real question that nobody seems to be asking is...what was Willard viewing (that is,.what perverse and unnatural sexual act was being portrayed on the screen) that made him wanna do the naughty thing that got many a four-year-old threatened with scissors castration anyway? Now, finding that out is one thing that could change my opinion of him in a flash!

So without further ado (I know that I've probably reminded each and every one of you males about the time your mother chased you around the house with shears in hand!) here's what's been getting the royal treatment in my boudoir, and maybe this stuff should be in yours too!

THE KIOSK II CD-R (David Keay) 

I should raise some skepticism about the Kiosk releasing another album so soon, but dang if this ain't such a good 'un that I don't care if Keay's dishing product at us faster'n Frank Zappa used to back when he'n his Mothers were riding the top of the freakout bandwagon. Face it, very few acts are doin' this kind of rock & roll music in this day and age, and to hear some of it bein' performed to such peak perfection is kinda like dyin' and findin' out that Heaven's nothing but an endless stream of records, fanzines, books, classic tee-vee shows and other things that would take a good  infinity to make their way through here on earth, and of course we ain't got the time!

Wanted to avoid the usual Velvet Underground comparisons considering how just about every tinhorn up-from-bondage act that's pranced upon the amerindie scene claims total allegiance to 'em even if their music sucks turkey turds but sheesh, I can't. This Kiosk release reminds me of those great groups back in the seventies like Hackamore Brick and Lester Bangs' Birdland and Harry Toledo who had that hefty Velvets vibe yet were smart enough not to take on the superficial aspects of the quest by releasing gunk. In many ways this reminds me of the equally Vevetesque Shangs Cee-Dees from way back inna nineties and their own personalist nature, yet track #7 "Piano Boogie" comes off like classic Neu! so who knows exactly how to pigeonhole the Kiosk into terms that can easily be filtered through your obv. underdeveloped yet rock-saturated minds. 

Really, this is a monster. A platter that I can find nary a fault with and which is guaranteed to get hefty pre-beddy bye spin time considering its copasetic nature with the Golden Age of Rock Scribbling reading that usually accompanies my late-night platter sessions.  Anyway, if you want it bad enough you can write to Keay @, and who knows, maybe if you don't mention me he might slip a surprise or two into your package!

Twentieth Century Zoo-THUNDER ON A CLEAR DAY CD-R burn (originally on Sundazed)

Records like THUNDER ON A CLEAR DAY remind me of alla them old catalogs I used to get from Metro Music and Beathaven which would offer set sales of long-forgotten albums such as this one from an Arizona group that managed to get this album out on Vault Records back '67 way. I naturally was curious as to these under-the-counter acts that weren't exactly getting written up in BOMP! (though BLITZ's Mike McDowell usually gave 'em a go), and with my lack of moolah it wasn't like I was going to take a chance on a platter like this especially when there were many other spins that I was more'n willing to make my acquaintance with. At least the arrival of this at my abode (courtesy of GUESS WHO!) does sate a li'l bit of that curiosity I might have harbored alla these years even though, once I settle down 'n think of it, I coulda gone to potter's field w/o hearin' this and it wouldn't have made that big of a dent in my overall rockist nature!

Still a good one. Nothing exceptional 'r anything but still some well-settling if inoffensive, straightforward late-sixties garage morphing into punk that, with some firming up, coulda been one of those outta-nowhere threats the same way that It's All Meat and the Index were. Kinda jazzy at times and perhaps nondescript at others,  Maybe with a little luck Twentieth Century Zoo could have been yet another Alice Cooper (if ya wanna talk about local competition) if they had only stretched out a bit it was they did play it safe yet came up with a few good ideas that don't sound that bad a good 45 years later. Keep an ear out for their cover of "Hall of the Mountain King" which might not be as engaging as the Who's or Big Brother and the Holding Company's, but manages to hold its own freak quotient mighty proud-like.

Neighb'rhood Childr'n-LONG YEAR IN SPACE CD-R burn (originally released on Sundazed)

Rather "as you'd expect" musings from this Phoenix (Oregon, that is) transplanted to San Francisco group that tried cashing in on the hippie scene with their custom made sounds that were definitely too good to go anywhere with the dilated denizens of Haight Ashbury. Jeff Airplane comparisons are naturally in order thanks to the group's own Gracie Slick (a better vocalist at that), and given the Childr'n's folk-rockish nature comparisons between 'em and the early SF scene can be drawn with ease. Also count in the El Lay sunshine pop groups who were also making their mark on the AM dial just around the same time and you got this album that woulda made more'n a few sixties thrillseekers jump for joy had this ended up in their local flea market stack! Not only that but this group had the smarts (considering their Northwest heritage) to do a cover of "Louie Louie" which only goes to show that you can take the rock 'n roll group outta the Northwest, but you can't take the "Louie Louie" outta the group!

Once again, big humongous kudos are due to Bill Shute for shooting this one my way. Glad to know that there's at least one member of the inhuman race that appreciates a mentally deranged and loathed blog such as this and is willing to contribute to its abnormal growth by tossing me some tangy tidbits that are being gobbled up at the same rate that Roman Polanski goes down on some third grade hussy that happens to cross his path!

the Subteranneans-MY FLAMINGO

We always knew that the best rockscribes of the sixties and seventies really wanted to be punk rockers at heart, and just one look at the recorded output of Lester Bangs, Richard Meltzer, Lenny Kaye, Mick Farren, Crocus Behemoth, Peter Laughner and alla them Gizmos is more'n ample proof of this undeniable fact. Nothing especially strange about that, especially when you've noticed how the trajectory between these aforementioned giants in the rock writing (not criticism) game and the history of punk more or less overcrossed to the point where it ended up looking like one giant braid. I guess that hanging around with alla them big names like Iggy (or at least emulating 'em from afar) and seeing the decadent lifestyles they lead was mighty influential, and although pecking out paens to the big roosters in that barnyard we call rock 'n roll was a mighty fun task in itself it wasn't like these scribes were actually up there on the stage leading their followers in shamanistic ritual trying to incite spirits unknown now, was it?

I mean, what fun was it for a whole slew of writers both pro and fan discussing the apocalyptic fervor of the Stooges '73 when they very well coulda been part of the zeitgeist themselves? Or at least part of it via the rock 'n roll performer as magus schtick that I guess was goin' over really well thanks to Mick Jagger and his decadent charms. And hey, I can tell you firsthand that it may be a joy to experience the atonal blare of free jazz or whatever avant rock might come down the path, but it's really nothing next to being up there on the stage trying to conjure pure adrenaline in your pack of followers, while exuding plenty of it yourself.

Considerin' that these writers knew and in fact felt the meaning behind the blaring drone that made up the soundtrack for my life these past thirtysome year, they sure had a head start on the rest of us as far as reproducing the general mania of the Velvets/Stooges axis in their own special ways. That's why I believe that Birdland, Vom,  Smegma, Rocket From The Tombs, the Deviants et. al. were definitely the finest in their league. Having an O-mind ain't exactly something that comes naturally, and you always kinda had it figured out that these rockist writers could change media with a flash, producing good rock & roll or art at the drop of a hat while the rest of us would have to struggle to come up with anything even remotely as inspiring.

I've been curious about the scope and quality of noted English rockscribe Nick Kent's own musical endeavors for at least a few years, although I will admit that I haven't been that anxious to search out his scant recorded output the way I would some obscure early-seventies proto-punk genius's. Maybe I should have if only to sate some rockscribe as rock musician cravings that I've held for eons, but for some reason I thought it would only sound like some of the more third rate musings that were popping outta the immediately post-Sex Pistols days in England. TROUSER PRESS (for all of their good points as well as bad) aesthetics were also sticking in my mind...something was saying "new wave" as opposed to punk rock or garage and considering the reams of subpar sputum I've experienced during those years it wasn't like I was willing to suffer through all of those early-eighties musings again! Besides, even if there was an easily-obtainable recording by Kent's much-mentioned Subterraneans out and about I'm sure the price would be prohibitive, especially for a drudgery wage wonk like myself who really has to be cautious when it came to spreading his lack of wealth.

Thankfully the miracle of youtube can bring loads of once-rare booty to my door and this numbuh is no exception. Yes, while staring at a snap of Kent with onetime galpal and NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS contributor in her own right Chrissie Hynde (right before the gonorrhea set in) you now can enjoy listening to Kent and the remnants of the Only Ones cranking out this track entitled "My Flamingo" and decide for yourself whether or not Kent's moniker should be mentioned in hushed, solemn tones the same way we do with Meltzer's when hearing him rattle off his rants about sarsaps to a neo-TROUT MASK REPLICA beat.

If you ask me ('n hey, why not since it's my soapbox you're paying homage to!), "Flamingo"'s about halfway there and halfway off, with a sound that pretty much speaks 1980 "new music" the same way those other world saving groups you still see at the flea markets do. Naw, it ain't geeky rock lobstering gawdiness...y'know, 1962 JETSONS futurama repackaged for twenty-years-later tacky dancefloor jitters...but it still could've used some roughing up before seeing the light of day. Nice enough melody though with boffo bridges 'n coda, but still too early-eighties commercial FM radio's idea of new wave to really satisfy me. I coulda easily heard WHOT-FM caricature of a caricature Thomas John spinning it 'tween the usual FM gunk of the day, but maybe that's because of the Hynde factor figuring in (meaning, no matter how much I try not to think so, this does remind me of the Pretenders!). And sheesh, I was hoping that the influence of Iggy woulda made this 'un the logical followup to FUNHOUSE...guess I'll just leave that to some mid-eighties Australian aggregates like the Cosmic Psychos and Harem Scarem with their boffo "Figure Head", a record I'm gonna hafta dig out and dust off one of these days.

Good thing for him that Kent stuck to writing because judging from "Flamingo" he still needed to iron out the rumples and find his own voice in more ways'n one. Or maybe one of his big name friends like Keith Richards or Jimmy Page coulda gotten him some contract or bankrolled a recording session and Kent coulda made an album that woulda been a fine 1985 cut out classic even with the musical and vocal limitations. Maybe that coulda been a TEENAGE HEAD for the new rock generation, and wasn't that something we all coulda used? And hey, even I get the feeling that I'll be cozying up to this a whole lot more once I give it a few additional plays, but for now it stands as a nice enough period piece of that tail end on an era (which started 'round the release of the first Velvets album and ended with the death of Lester Bangs) that at the time I thought maybe deserved to die off and let the new sounds abound, but after a few weeks or so boy did I realize how wrong I was!
Harem Scarem-"Figure Head Parts One and Two" 45 rpm single (Au Go Go, Australia)

Took my own advice and decided to search and hopefully not destroy this classic '84 single by an Australian act in the "Detroit Heavy Metal" style (talking CREEM 1970, or "punk rock" style if talkin' CREEM '71!) who managed to release at least one good album and maybe some donkey turds after that for all I know. Well, my memories of this were rather firm, for "Figure Head" is prime Stooges circa FUNHOUSE high energy rock that probably sounds more like Ig and crew or even the MC5 did more'n all of those local acts that were tryin' to imitate 'em back '67 way. Or '77 or '87 or '97 for that matter. I could even make the case as to this having a stronger than anyone would have expected MC5 current at the point where the singer gets into this weirdo Rob Tyner-styled speak-sing on side two, but whatever the case may be this is fantastic lo-fi hard rock that speaks loads more about where the late-sixties were with regards to their influence on the mid-eighties. Well, at least it, along with the Fun Things and a few more, speaks more than all of those rather tiresome acts that crawled outta the cracks in the wake of hotcha Australian musings and pretty much turned me off to the newer acts in "the tradition" because they were so derivative. Only real question is, why did Au Go Go spread this one track between two sides when it easily could've fit on one, thus leaving the flip for some more heavy duty jams kicking out that we all could most certainly use!
After today's above par outing expect a tiresome tossout sometime midweek followed by a generic reject that I've held in so long it feels like one of those farts you just hadda let out in English class but saved until gym. Don't say I didn't warn you...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I guess if I were one of those lowbrow teenage types I used to see back when I was ten and my dad would sneer at 'em 'n tell me that if I ever ended up that way I'd get my ass plastered all over the wall, I'd go buy some LSD and head out to where this movie would be playing. More often than not at some rundown Youngstown Ohio theatre that's now probably all boarded up or sells porn dvd's. I mean, who else would a film like this have been aimed at other'n the addled flotsam of early-seventies self-conscious hippie kids, the kind who went wild only to turn into such L7 specimens that the parents they rebelled against sure seem rather swinging in comparison!

But in all, GET DOWN GRAND FUNK 'r whatever you wanna call it's rawther fuh-nee if I do say so myself, 'specially when you consider that the bulk of this film is a late-sixties documentary about Spring Break at Daytona Beach narrated by Billy Joe Royal with special guest appearances by the Swinging Medallions, Spooky Mike Sharp and the Tams. Pretty much outta-date stuff for the heady early-seventies "relevant" scene, but still enjoyable considering the bountiful footage of alla them gals in their bikinis and feminine hairdos who actually look like they don't smell bad. Lotsa innies too! As an attempt at a mondo film, at least this has a realistic enough documentary look 'n feel to it that reminds me of my own kiddiehood, even if the only time I experienced gals in swimsuits and college guys goofin' off in front of 'em was at the local swimming pool and I was too busy buying candy bars to care!

Ya gotta credit Barry Mahon for taking this "outdated" produce and adding some Grand Funk footage from a Florida club that he personally filmed while throwing in some weird psychedelic effects and bizarre segues, and then re-packaging this flick as if to suggest that it stars Grand Funk in order to sucker in the aforementioned acid freaks and other casualties of the day! The results can be staggering when you go from shots of gals lying on the beach to a hand squeezing an egg or a candle exploding a water-filled balloon, and I'm sure even the dorkiest kid in the class coulda told you that there was a world of difference between the Swinging Medallions and Grand Funk, but then again was anybody really expecting the results to coalesce into some new art form guaranteed to win buckets of trophies at Cannes? I've always believed in grabbin' the moolah and runnin' as fast as you could with it myself.

As for the Grand Funk footage, the early psychedelic scene with the still closeups of the various Funksters, some gal and a toy doll with wavy lines all over the place was definitely a reminder of just how lousy that whole post-psych trip could get, and a whole lot more irritating than the good dated Daytona footage which at least recalls truly halcyon days anybody with a conscious could enjoy. However (now sit down for this, for it is a surprise!) I did get a kick outta watching the group doing "Into the Void" in their own knucklehead, thud it out way. Believe-it-or-not, but I've come to love early-seventies knuckleheadedness whether it is being done by some megahyped act like Funk or some of those obscure English neanderthals whose single sides are being  re-released as we speak, and even jaded up the wazoo me can cheer on the feedback gronk of this music even though Mark Farner ain't exactly my idea of a rock & roll superman the way fellow Detroiters the MC5 and Stooges most certainly are. Let me reiterate it...I enjoyed 'em the same way I can appreciate other early-seventies hard rock acts that happen to pop up on a youtube playlist or via somebody's email, though it's ain't like I have to go out and buy their wares which I wouldn't do in a million years! And besides, I will give kudos (in part) to 1971 Farner 'stead of the creature that actually released that horrific cover of "Loco Motion" and of course "Bad Time To Be In Love", two of the more nerve-grating moments in mid-seventies AM decay if you dare ask me.

Heavy doody thanks be to Bill Shute for sending this unsolicited (for as you know, solicitation is a crime, especially if I ask him for Rebecca and the Sunnybrook Farmers burns!). Sometimes I get the idea that Bill's putting me on shuffling off Grand Funk videos my way, yet perhaps he is as serious about it as he is sending me that Herschell Gordon Lewis nudie cutie thing I wrote up a week or two back. Either that or he's reliving his own past as a teenage reject who went to rundown theatres in Colorado watching films along these lines totally outta his gourd on nutmeg and Seven Up! Well, it's better'n what I was doing at the same time, though then again the most action I got in the early-seventies was getting a huge hunka flesh ripped outta my kneecap while trying to keep my dog Sam from licking the gouge before my mom could get home!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bwah, was I feeling strange Thursday night! Here it was, the first heavy duty rainfall we've had in awhile, and I was looking out the window at the evening haze while giving my eyes a rest from the computer screen. Wouldn't you know but for reasons I will try to explain later, I done 'n zapped myself back to the most ennui-filled experiences of my long-gone teenage years to the point where I was actually re-experiencing all of those queasy and uncomfortable feelings that I had way back when I was eighteen smackin' years old and reaching out in twenty directions yet going nowhere! Why this happened I am not 100% sure, but somehow the strange rain-drenched and perhaps slightly-foggy atmosphere reminded me of none other than the summer of 1978, a span which just happened to be one of the most halcyon times in my life yet in many ways the eerie calm before the big kaboom that pretty much wrecked my life to the point of no return. The never-sated feelings of unease from those days actually drove me batty enough to the point where, as a result of this major mental breakdown, I ended up doing nothing but spin various seventies faves which I've been ignoring for quite some time (some which will be the subject of a future post!) and viewing not only old proto-underground avant garde shorts on youtube but a number of Cleveland "first wave" items and related (inc. Brian Sands' boffo remake of "Baby You're a Rich Man" and the Ex-Blank-X single which had John Morton's ass on the front cover) in a valiant attempt to buffer myself from these uncomfortable thoughts with the better moments from the music of our lives. Yeah, I know that the seventies never really left me in spirit, but sometimes I get these strange flashbacks regarding those days that are about as potent as any of the LSD variety, usually spurred on by dreams where some femme(s) that I may have had heavy duty throb thrills from afar re-enter(s) my life and well, still ignore(s) me about as much as the last time I saw them all inside the local A&P which is now a cheapo apartment complex. Yes, I even strike out major league-like in my dreams, and as Wilhelm Reich once said "thaz a bad sign, mister!"

Well, if Paul Simon had his books and poetry to protect him back when he was getting into one of his self-indulgent moods at least I got my music and fanzines, not to mention all of the boss rock writing (not "criticism") that helps occupy my time twixt the salt mines and snoozeville. Frequent fanzine digs really help re-charge the ol' batteries esp. when accompanied by music with the ability to transform (yeah that sounds unnecessarily brainy, but I don't want you all to think that I wallow in the realm of anti-intellectualism despite evidence to the contrary), and if I want to read some "Golden Age of Rock Writing" that's new to my system I can always hit the computer and print up some classic seventies rock critiquing that always seems to re-affirm my life at a time when high quality rock screeding has pretty much ground to a frightening and staid halt. Yeah, I know I can save the paper and just read 'em on the screen, but wouldn't you agree that it just ain't a rock 'n roll reading experience if the words ain't on paper and you're relieving your bowels while enjoying a particular potent paragraph courtesy Lester Bangs?

Given how I haven't been exposed to the NME state of things like I shoulda back when I was a sprouting teenage blubberfarm the various scribings of people like Nick Kent and Charles Shaar Murray (with appropriate sidesteps into Ian MacDonald, Mick Farren and the rest) really need to resonate now even if they didn't back when the resonating would have done its best on me. Gotta say that I now find it a total joy to read the old writings of these hands here in the teens even if the subject matter isn't quite as enthralling as it should be or if their own personal opines are totally foreign to mine. But sheesh, these guys were such good writers who never left their punkitude in the dresser drawer even when they'd be writing about subjects that I  personally find abhorrent or instantly passe.

Unfortunately getting my fill of seventies rock scribing on the web can turn out to be a rather costly affair especially if you have to rely on getting your fill through the Rock's Backpages website. Frankly, don't YOU (like I do) think that Rock's Backpages are really rooking us with their hefty fees which almost equal (including inflation) what a subscription to the NME would have cost ya airmail way back 1975 way? Yeah, I know they have "upkeep" and a high overhead to attend to, but once you settle down and think about it ain't charging us peons $90 for a year's access to their vault is nothing short of highway robbery?  This site, although containing all of those important and necessary NME/SOUNDS/CREEM pieces we need with a passion, is something that only the same people who could tackle getting all of the British weeklies and imports way back when can affort, and in case you haven't noticed I ain't exactly Rollo the Rich Kid! Sluggo is more like it, and unfortunately it ain't like I even have any Rollos in my life who can lend me their hand-me-down mags and platters like I did way back in the days when something like a social life wasn't exactly a luxury I couldn't afford!

I know I can find a few of the requested items for free elsewhere on the web, but in order to make my life (and reading material) much easier a subscription to Backpages would definitely be something on my Christmas list this coming December. Until then it's suffer, suffer, suffer, although if you readers are really hungry for more of my writing (and that of others) you can always go 'n buy a heaping hunk of BLACK TO COMM BACK ISSUES which will help keep me solvent enough not only for me to afford a sub, but at least a few ebay auctions and Forced Exposure orders t'boot. If any of you longtime fans (all three of you!) want to help out a financially destitute blogschpieler catch up on his reading and listening doodies, I'm sure you all know where to send your kopeks, right?

This week's selection of reviews is a nice smattering if I do say so myself. Gotta give thanks to Bill Shute for his frequent burns which help this lovable ol' pooperoo make it through the day, plus the remnants of my latest Forced Exposure order can be found roaming around somewhere in the mix. Not to mention a few ebay wins and whatever else in the line of jetsam I'll probably tack to the end at the last possible moment. If I must blow my own bugle so to speak I will admit that there is a good amount of energy extant not only in these recordings but in the reviews as well...nothing quite as exhilarating as that of a Bangs or Kent mind you, but then again one of my major writing influences is Greg Prevost though I get the feeling he'd blanch at the thought of it. Awwww, just go 'n read the things, willya?

Various Artists-ROCKABILLY HOODLUMS Vol. 2 CD-R burn (originally on White Label, Holland)

Ever since KICKS magazine went outta business I haven't been listening to rockabilly music as much as I shoulda. Well, at least Bill Shute has been gettin' on my ever-expanding tail by sending me burns like this 'un from the high quality White Label outta Holland. White Label has had a good reputation for re-releasing these fifties rarities at least since the eighties (maybe earlier!), and this collection of  self-produced/distributed rockabilly tracks ain't no different. Think of 'em as PEBBLES for the fifties and you'll get the gist.

Almost seventy minutes of obscuros here, some which I gotta admit woosh right past me but most of which connect in my mind enough that they sound just as representative of the mid/late-fifties ideal as ABBOTT AND COSTELLO reruns. And guttural too, even to the point where they can make those early Elvis Sun sides sound like Alvino Ray. Highlights include Johnny Pal & the Winchester Four's "Tired of Travelin'" , The Emanons' "Big Boy Rock" and the tastebud tantalizin' "Chicken in the Basket" by the Tri-Tones which ain't about eatin' foul, but I think they got around the subject matter just fine!
Factrix-SCHEINTOT CD (Superior Viaduct, available via Forced Exposure)

I wasn't as impressed with a whole load of those early-eighties West Coast experimental rock outfits like Tuxedomoon, BPeople and Human Hands like you were, and that's undoubtedly the reason why I passed up on all of those Factrix records back when the latest Renaissance/Systematic catalog would slither my way before I got unceremoniously dumped from their mailing list. Of course with such limited finances and so many new and hotcha records to choose from it wasn't like I'd throw caution to the wind as of which records out there were gonna thrill me the way they do!

Now that I'm a self-made man and can buy out the record shop and give it to the poor, I figure hey why not give Factrix a chance considerin' how a whole lotta the early-eighties canon is comin' in for a re-evaluation now that we've finally hit the post-post-POST-rock strata in World Affairs.

To be honest I wasn't that wowed by this, though I felt that Factrix's entire raison d'etre was as good an approach to various late-sixties accomplishment as that of Chrome or even early Cabaret Voltaire. But it's sure dang more'n passable than a good portion of the local groups that were fighting for the bottomest of my bottom dollar at the time, many of whom were traveling the same stratum as Factrix but tended to forgo their more rockist inclinations in favor of industrial noisesplat that never did settle well with my delicate system.

Who knows, maybe the entire dank dark despair that emanates from this does mirror the same feelings I was harboring at the time these tracks were being laid down. Then again I'm sure that more'n a few of you readers were spending the early-eighties just wondering where your next life-move was coming from and besides you didn't tune into this blog to read my rheumy reminiscences about past failures and rejections now, eh?

Actually SCHEINTOT is whatcha'd call a decent example of the early-eighties industrial scronk, even if this is far from the atonal blare of a Throbbing Gristle or any of their fellow travelers who people even in this neck of the throat talked about in hushed tones. They're a slow twist of the nerves rather'n an all out assault, and in that approach there are more'n a few spots of brilliance that'll even make my overworked hammer 'n stirrup rise in salute! Late seventies underground wankers will definitely approve, though the more rockist inclined amongst us should approach with at least a tad of caution. If not hey, send me all of the threatening and caustic comments you'd care to dig up...and just see if I publish 'em! 
Toi et Moi-THIRD ALBUM CD (MRC, South Korea)

Got this 'un for the promise of a Velvet Underground cover despite the fact that this male/femme duo of Korean descent were more or less bred of the early-sixties Greenwich Village folkie idiom (complete with a Simon and Garfunkel cover!) 'stead of the dark junkie visions of the Lower East Side that you all know I so desire. Considering how big heroin is over there you'd think these two would have been copycatting the entire Velvets oeuvre with ease, but I guess their heads were a whole lot clearer'n I gave 'em credit for!

But really, the prospect of hearing a '71 vintage VU cover from halfway 'round the world did seem enticing even if it were being done by some Korean folkies who probably wish they were at the Cafe Bizarre 'stead of a country that was being threatened with North Korean missiles for nigh on twenty (now sixty!) years.

Even if there weren't any Velvets covers to lure me in Toi et Moi do fine with a halfway decent if commercial folk music that doesn't sound too gravestone rubbing introspective for my own tastes...sung mostly in Korean, the duo strum guitars (the male member even playing a melodica at times!) and warble some rather pleasant ditties that don't exactly grate on ya like some of the less subtle masters of the form like Melanie did. And not only that but they made music that was driving if relaxing, at times imbued with the early-sixties all-inclusive credo to the point where even your stodg-o pop can tap foot to some of this while no one else is looking. The sound is great even if it was taken from vinyl and crackles are audible, and I can't complain about the S&G cover (even their take of "I Who Have Nothing" fits in swell!) because the two pull it off with just about as much taste as Lou Reed and John Cale might've during the reign of the Falling Spikes. Not only that, but the gal on the cover has a sweet, non-twee voice and sure is a looker who makes me wanna cop more snaps of her lovely visage via google (not to many there, unfortunately).

As you can tell Toi et Moi got a whole lot goin' for 'em, but where the heck's the Velvets song I was so looking forward to??? Sure ain't here!

Gee now, like don't go blaming me! When I bid on this album a coupla weeks back how did I know that legendary English jazzster Lol Coxhill was gonna up and die like he did! I mean, haven't you heard of coincidences, like the time Fulton Sheen said live on tee-vee after reciting a scene from Shakespeare's JULIUS CAESER (complete with various Soviet Union heavies like Berea and Malenkov's names replacing those from the oratory) that someday Stalin was gonna meet his doom and right then and there the Soviet strongman had the stroke that rapidly sent him off to The Big Politburo in the Sky? I mean, if I knew that buying this album was gonna knock off one of England's most legendary soprano sax players I would have waited until after he died, even though I've been wanting to give this 'un a listen (on/off) for well over thirtysome years!

Yeah, I know that Archie Bunker once sang "Didn't need no welfare state", but if you have even a modicum of interest in the English jazz scene of the seventies you probably need this one more'n you think. Not that I was expecting anything radical here, but WELFARE STATE is a nice, sublime example of English free music that can be traditional as all heck when it wanted to be. If you must know, Coxhill was the musical director for this bizarroid troupe that I could best describe as being a cross twixt The Living Theatre and a marching band, and the music to be found within these grooves is surprisingly tame and more representative of England in the thirties than they are of the 1975 in which this album was released. But don't let that discourage you...

Many of the tracks reflect the type of music you would have expected to have accompanied the "happening"-like antics Welfare State reveled in; nothing "out-there" as in mid-seventies English free jazz but pleasant enough ditties that sound like long-gone recordings from the BBC music library. With a little bit of spoken word and sound effects (and other recordings) thrown in to artsify the thing even more. The results may leave you scratching your bean (I guess you hadda be there to experience it en toto), but you probably will marvel at the mix and match of old time pop with a few atonal ideas that were thrown in undoubtedly to confuse the casual listener. Heck, they even do a veddy British version of Albert Ayler's "Ghosts" that could have been the theme for some 1940s radio programme aimed at the lot of sissy kids they got over there!  It's nothing I would want to spin on a nightly basis in order to recharge my life energy forces, but like the series of discs that came out on the Obscure label around the same time WELFARE STATE a reliable idea of where the old and new experimental sounds were at, and perhaps were heading at least until it all came down a short period later!
Various Artists-NEW WAVE cassette (Vertigo, England)

Had this 'un as an elpee for a good twenty or so years (an antique shop steal!), but picked this cassette up if only to rekindle some late-seventies record shop scrounging feelings in me. Of course the REAL question is, just what were the folks at Phonogram thinking of when they released this selection of punk rock flotsam on their Vertigo imprint anyway??? Given that Vertigo at the time was Phonogram's home for not only hard rock but progressive jollies of the English and German variety, I've often wondered as to why this obv. cash-in didn't make it out on Mercury or better yet Sire, a label that was best known for pushing the likes of the Ramones and Talking Heads on ya at least until they found their multi-million dollar cash cow in the form of Madonna!

After a whole lotta thought I concluded that this 'un got the Vertigo label-slap if only to reel in the beefy prog rock clientele that was Vertigo's forte with such unfamiliar music on a familiar looking label! I'm sure more'n a few fans of the standard Vertigo fare saw the label and thought "hey man, maybe this stuff ain't as bad as I think it is" so they up and bought it, only to get home, tear open the shrinkwrap with fingers trembling, remove the platter and spin it before ripping the thing offa the turntable and into the trash! I mean, what else would you have imagined?

Despite the opines of a few million ELP and Genesis fans, NEW WAVE was a good enough selection of punky-enough Phonogram artists suitable not only for the '77 beginner but for somebody who's just gotta have this stuff in order to re-live past accomplishments. It's got not only two prime New York Dolls and Dead Boys tracks each from their eponymous debuts, but Rich Hell and Talking Heads plus the Runaways, Patti Smith's "Piss Factory" and even the Flamin' Groovies doin' "Shake Some Action" which always get my blood flowin' like I know it does yours too! You can tell that at least a little care was put into this because the likes of French blues-punks Little Bob Story show up, although whose idea was it to include Skyhooks of all groups in the mix? I mean, if Phonogram wanted to get obscure they could at least've snuck on something by Sire's original CBGB signing City Lights 'stead of these phony outrage publicity seekers (who I've heard very little of but I still am mad at that one guy in the group who was goin' 'round calling Deniz Tek a Nazi...guess these Aussies will call anybody they remotely disagree with racist and sexist and get away with it because they're all so politically and genetically inbred!). Even with this obvious faux pas NEW WAVE's a release that at least reminds me of the days when music which you now take for granted was once a clandestine sound one could only find in the nearest import bin or maybe even cut out pile for that matter!
Perhaps the only thing I want to read/believe in the wake of the recent "Batman" shootings in Aurora Colorado can be found in Thomas Fleming's DAILY MAIL column which can be retrieved here. Everything else from the crocodile tears of Obama and Romney to all of the leeches trying to pump up their various causes because of this tragedy can go pound all of the fine grainy stuff at the beach if you really do want my humble opinion. Once again, Fleming shows true offensiveness in the face of us all "coming together" because some warped genius thought he was the Joker...well at least Wertham ain't around the pitch in his two cents!
BEFORE I GO, a hearty farewell to Alexander Cockburn, one of the few leftist journalists and webschpielers (COUNTERPUNCH) out there that I could not only stand, but enjoy reading and (shudder!) even agree with on many accounts. Funny that I was thinking about him just yesterday afternoon wondering why his writings haven't been appearing on the paleoconservative CHRONICLES website (where he was welcome just as he was on the libertarian as of late, and I only hope that my thoughts aren't what did the guy in like I'm at times wont to believe (kinda like the way Don Fellman tells me about the time he dreamed that Johnny Cash had died then woke up to find out that the Man In Black had indeed heard the train a' comin'!). Whatever, Cockburn's writings and interesting ideas will be missed, perhaps because he was one of the last probing scribes on either side of the aisle whose conclusions didn't HAVE to jigsaw in with whatever was haute and new on the mainstream left, which is probably one reason he was oft feted by the "unpatriotic" right most of the time as well much to the dismay of the neoconservative types like the Davids Frum and Horowitz. Whaddeva, I'm one stubborn curmudgeon who's sad to see Cockburn go, and who knows, maybe you should be one too.
Hope you can make it OK until my next post sometime during the mid-week. I think you can, but I do get the feeling that many of you just can't wait until I crank something out and fret away the hours until something from my keyboard finally makes its way to your sweaty boudoir. If so keep calm, read a whole lot of high energy fanzines and listen to life-reaffirming music while consoling yourself that I will be back in a few days to make your pitiful lives even more meaningful than they are now that you're totally under my power...

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Yet anudder freebee from Bill Shute, to which I say "Bill, what exactly was going on in your head when you burned this one for me? It's not like I'm one of those guys who slips on the ol' raincoat and heads down to the nearest X-rated moom pitcher palace with smile on face and plastic bag hidden in the brim of my hat! Sheesh, and as my mother would have said I thought you were a GOOD boy! No telling what kind of sickos we have out there nowadays, and they just might be one of your biggest pals! Why, I thought this film was so guttural and obscene that I almost took the thing outta the Dee-Vee-Dee player and slapped on something a whole lot more wholesome, like SALO or perhaps even ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS!

All funnin' aside (which I only brought up in order to use an old Archie Bunker joke), a film like ZAP-IN is perhaps one of the cleanest "X" films around, and that even includes Allen Funt's WHAT DO YOU SAY TO A NAKED LADY? which Funt himself was plugging on late-night tee-vee as the cleanest dirty move you ever saw! Sure there's lotsa nekkid juggins and butts here, but then again when it's all wrapped up in some of the cornballest jokes heard since they took HEE HAW off the air it just don't seem as downright nefarious evil as the kinda porn I understand that they have around today. Not that you'd wanna invite Uncle Archer and Aunt Petunia to see this, but if you like looking at topless gals who keep their panties on most of the time (and only take 'em off to show off their "cools", no haystacks in sight in this one!) while engaging in typical late-sixties blackout humor then hey, look no further!

Obv. a LAUGH-IN cash-in, ZAP-OUT's filled with typical sixties dirty humor'n calculated titillation (heavy on the tits) that I'd gander was custom made for the standard late-sixties jagoff...y'know, the kinda guys that went for the lower-class men's mags who just ten years earlier were high school greasers and in fact still had the 1959 flop up and jellyroll haircuts that Wally Wood and Joe Orlando really knew how to draw and sideburns to prove it. The blue collar guy who liked to provoke fights because he knew how to get away with doin' so and who was probably a few steps away from getting tossed outta his apartment between jobs, or at least those kinda guys I used to see sucking on cigarettes and nursing cups of coffee at rundown hamburger joints when I was a mere ten. These kinda guys wouldn't mind being caught dead seeing a film like this, and as usual Herschell Gordon knew that there were probably more'n a few of 'em scattering the diners and bowling alleys of Ameriga just beggin' for entertainment that was conduit to their way, "thinking".

So if you like your jokes off-color if hayseed 'n your gals pre-feminist with hotcha hairstyles and nary a shot of silicone in sight* (not to mention the wondrous lack of tattoos and shiny doohickies all over the fleshy realm) you'll probably like this 'un as much as those twelve-year-olds who spent some hot summer night peering at this 'un whilst hiding in the woods in back of the drive-in (binoculars in hand)! And hey even a suave sophisticado such as I found more'n a little worth within the quickie skits 'n topless dancers...there was at least one homo joke here that's good enough that I'm even gonna tell it to Jillery, and if I hadda spend a good 90 minutes sitting through this to at least catch one good gaggeroo then it was well worth it!

*...tho I did that that hostess Miss Nymphet's own knockers were rather suspicious...more dirigible-like w/o the natural hang to 'em that looks more realistic. I could be wrong, or maybe they just pumped her w/some helium before filming?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Yeesh, you'd think that the Grim Creeper'd give us olde-tymey tee-vee fans a break considerin' the recent passings of George "Goober" Lindsey, Frank Cady and Andy Griffith but nooooo, the guy just hadda cut a swath and mow down none other than former McHALE'S NAVY star and respected actor in his own right Ernest Borgnine this past Sunday! Like I'm sure it was in many households across the U.S. of Whoa back in the sixties, McHALE'S NAVY was burning brightly on our idiot box whenever it was on, and for some strange reason I can recall my mother laughing like anything when we were watching that episode about the Japanese sailors in a submarine who were catching Morse Code signals having to do with some grand dinner being served for some Navy bigwig, and these sailors were starving with nothing but fish sticks to eat so they gladly surrendered in order to get some of that high-falutin' grub themselves!

Yeah, that show was a doozy which thankfully survived in syndication for years unlike other many other early/mid-sixties programs of worth, though to be honest with ya I don't recall watching it that much when the reruns hit the just-pre-prime time hours in the late-sixties. I guess that I was still too immature to fully appreciate them given that I really wasn't tuning in to the sixties reruns until I was twelve by which time the values and qualities of these programs really began to sink in especially when compared with some of the gunk that was being made. Then (again) I do remember seeing the one with McHale's lookalike Eyetalian cousin (Borgnine in a double role) when it was airing in late-sixties pre-prime time, perhaps because I associate it with a day where I didn't have to go through any degradation and humiliation at the hands of either students or teachers at school. And believe-you-me, those days were mighty scarce!!!

Of course there was more to Borgnine than McHALE or any of this other tee-vee roles like AIRWOLF (that was from the eighties thus way outside of our scope), such as the wide array of feature-length films he had appeared in since the fifties. I always though it was a hoot that Borgnine would play a dago-hating soldier who murders Frank Sinatra in FROM HERE TO ETERNITY especially when you consider that Borgnine himself was of the Mediterranean persuasion, though MARTY used to get my dad cracking up whenever it hit the tube way back when, even to the point where he appreciated the MAD magazine spoof where Huey, Duey and Louie do the "What do you want to do tonight" gag when I showed it to him!. Naturally when Borgnine began popping up in those more adult "R"-rated films it wasn't like he was that much of a paizan as he used to be, but I gotta admit that he gave those late-sixties and seventies films more of a punch than the modern-day mooms of the same variety. This was undoubtedly  because Borgnine was part of that older school of acting and those films, no matter how risque or vulgar they could get, still had the classic H-wood feel to 'em that made the things watchable. Unlike the comparatively boring films seen these days which have about as much of a connection with the film industry at its height as Lady Gaga has with Lydia Lunch.

THE WILD BUNCH was definitely Borgnine as his best in these types of films, and I gotta say that seeing him play an aging and totally amoral outlaw on his last caper (in a role that Sammy Davis Jr. turned down!) was perhaps Borgnine at his dramatic best. (And why else would I run a snap of him taken from the exact same film if I didn't think his performance was one of the things that really made it so powerful, besides the all-out violence that is!) WILLARD, that outta-nowhere early-seventies hit about the weirdoid boy who befriends man-eating rats, also benefitted from Borgnine's at-times greasy persona. Never saw THE ADVENTURERS (which upset my mother because her old-timey favorite actress Olivia DeHaviland was in it!), though HANNIE CAULDER with Raquel Welch, Robert Culp and Jack Elam sure looked good when I saw it on AMC a short while back, and that ain't just because of the bathtub scene. Eh, another aging fifties/sixties icon bites the dust, making me wonder who the next forties/fifties film star to take leave will be (I'm thinking Kirk Douglas for some reason, though I hope to be wrong). If any of you are taking bets, please contact the oddsmaker to end 'em all Brad Kohler.

(And hey, did you notice how I made it through the above obit without once mentioning that infamous Ernest Borgnine quip about what he does with himself a whole lot while locked away in the bathroom???!!! Give me credit for keeping this blog clean at least once, though for some odd reason I can't get it out of my head [no pun intended] that right now as I type this very sentence Borgnine himself is standing right before God explaining himself in order to save his soul from an eternity in you-know-where..."Well, uh, God, uh, sometimes I got really lonely and I mean sheesh, if you were married to Ethel Merman wouldn't you understand????")

And with that outta the way, here's what you've been waiting for since last weekend!
The Pop Group-Y CD (Radar/WEA Japan) 

Mark Stewart-THE POLITICS OF ENVY 2-CD set (Future Noise England, both CD's available via Forced Exposure)

Looks like it's old altrockers at home week here at BLOG TO COMM, what with these two surprise offerings, one by an act that hasn't been mentioned in the annals of Stiglianodom in at least a good quarter century whilst the other's a new release from said group's singer which, considering the stellar and surprising array of guest musicians will only make you wanna mutter..."what year is this anyway???" The Pop Group debut shouldn't be a stranger to about half of this blog's regular readership, and although I should hate this group for the mere fact that I hate most people who like them (for purely aesthetic reasons mind you) maybe I should stoop so low to at least cop a little bit of that late-seventies English experimentalism that used to spark my electrodes back when I was young and perhaps didn't know any better. Heck, even Lester Bangs was all rootin' tootin' in favor of Au Pairs*, and if Lester in his ever-mutating yet firmly in trash gear brain could champion an act that had most faux crits gagging in abject rejection then why shouldn't I try to find something of excitement in this group which seemed tied to the whole late-seventies neo-communist/pseudo-anarchist bent of the time more than anything outside of the Crass contingent? I mean, it ain't like I have anything else to do!

So keeping out of  mind that more than a few alternageeks and armchair radical types rally towards the Pop Group as if they were a Feminist Armpit Hair Braiding Workshop what can I say?

Well, for one thing, I could mention that I heard practically nada of its world-saving energy and hope for a better future that way too many did in their entire back catalog. Yes, I know I've been criticized by at least one wank out there for sayin' that my music's gotta rock, earning a snide "What are we in, fourth grade?" comment from an ineffectual faggot whose idea of a good time is the double-dildo "Janus" position, but frankly yeah, that is what I'm searching for in my music and if you don't like it stick it sideways up your ever-expansive hiney. I know it will fit with ease but hey, I gotta say that Y maybe ain't the rockinest'  album out there to take me to those Sargassan depths and stratospheric heights like a good portion of the platters that are gettin' heavy spins here at BTC central. Perhaps the overt concentration on various funk and free jazz forms seem to deter, but then again the exact same things helped make FUNHOUSE one of the brightest rock 'n roll albums to ever rearrange a person's cranium during an age when David Crosby was considered hot stuff and Gene Vincent like, wasn't.

All joking aside, I will admit that I liked Y a whole lot more'n some of you definitely anti-BLOG TO COMM-sters would have gandered considering how you all think I'm some sorta subhuman form of life that's so far removed from the homo (and I do mean homo!) superiors you all are. Maybe that's true, but hey I can at least appreciate the Pop Group's heady mix of punkain overtones (including Can, who were perhaps the most influential punk group ever, outside of the Stooges, Dolls and maybe Velvets, to affect these upstarts who at least knew better at the time) and avant garde jazz, not to mention the deep dives into various dub reggae variants which I never did bother with perhaps because I wasn't exactly brought up properly. But it all works swell and although it, like some of the "Rough Trade"-styled musings of the 70s/80s cusp, doesn't quite engage me like I hoped it would I can't call Y one of those English experimental offerings custom made for lower-class stinkoids to rub themselves to while consoling each other for the raw deal life has given them (then again, don't you kinda get the idea that if God didn't create Margaret Thatcher then man would have had to---for whatever reasons he could milk outta her?). It's downright fun, entertaining, surprising (and yeah, maybe a little slow at times) and the best thing about it is you don't have to be one of those upper class kids slumming in the barricades to enjoy the thing either!

Flash forwarding a good thirtysome years and whaddaya know, but none other than Pop Group voice Mark Stewart's got himself not only a hotcha new cult following (thanks to "She Is Beyond Good and Evil" hitting the charts there due to a cover version done up by some new aggregation over there!) but a new solo album! Considering the lineup he's got backing him it does seem like yet another case of "what year is this???"...I mean, I didn't even know that Keith Levine, Youth, Gina Birch and Adrian Sherwood were still alive but I guess they are, and they're all on Stewart's new effort THE POLITICS OF ENVY which seems like the ideal Rough Trade supersession to get those old critics at SOUNDS and NME all moist in the crotch region. And hey, you'd think that maybe Stewart himself would be doin' a li'l chuckling wallowin' in the fact that the once-mighty Maggie Thatcher's brains are now scrambled more'n his breakfast meal but no, he continues to sound just as angry and as dedicated to whatever upheaval of English society and its structures as he was way back in '79 when he was just a young budding neosocialist upstart.

And now that he's just as full fledged a neosocialist as ever, the guy can dabble in his interesting musical veins and get his friends and personal heroes to help him out. People like Lee "Scratch" Perry (Stewart obviously sating his long-lived reggae craving to perform with a bonafeed leader in the realm) and Richard Hell pop into the mix, as does the theremin playing of none other than underground film-making legend Kenneth Anger who's now wowin' 'em with his own Exploding Skull act which is no mere feat for an 85-year-old! (Heck, he's even listed as co-writer of the track on which he appears entitled "Vanity Kills" and hey, what has your grandfather been doin' lately anyway???) And believe-you-me, more than your skull will be exploded once you give these rather hard-edged tracks a spin given the unique use of electronics both old and new coupled with the raging heavy duty hammered out post-whatever sounds that permeate the aluminum.

I could go on and give you one of those track-by-tracks, but considering how I took this one as a whole (which works especially if you are a 'hole) I won't. It's just a big overpowering throb that perhaps would have been too much for the typical Rough Trade follower of the early-eighties, but if this 'un had only come out back then (with or without the 15-minute "Experiments" disc taking the original sound into even deeper grooves of atonal gnarl) boy, you'd know they'd be talkin' 'bout this thing for years to come! And if a stick inna mud curmudgeon like me can hack it, I get the idea maybe you can (though hey, I've given up second guessing you readers looooooong ago!)
The Jimmy Giuffre 3-THE EASY WAY CD-R burn (originally on Verve)

Another one courtesy of Bill Shute (who is affectionately known around the BLOG TO COMM offices as "Santy Klutz"), this '59 outing by Jimmy Guiffre's infamous trio ain't as proto-Ornette as his '54 work with Shelly Manne on THE THREE AND THE TWO, nor is it as chamber avant as '61's FREE FALL. And although it is toned down as all heck there's still a good hunkerin' intensity a'surgin' through. Guitarist Jim Hall plays subdued for the course (never could stand him...too much late-seventies DOWN BEAT jazz establishment sticks in my cranium) and while Ray Brown ain't no Steve Swallow he's fine just by staying in the background giving this drummerless act a beat. If you're just getting into Giuffre this ain't the best place to start, but after giving the aforementioned essentials (and even a number of platters I ain't even heard yet!) a try this one will help fill in the empty spaces in your mind.
Chris Weisman-FRESH SIP 2-LP set (Feeding Tube Records)

They're already calling this Weisman fellow "the Brian Wilson of Brattleboro MA" (or was it Vermont?), but I can't fathom that. The Alex Chilton of B-boro would be much more fitting. Originally released on a limited edition cassette (!) which even got a mention on NPR of all places, FRESH SIP features some of the better "singer-songwriter" musings I've heard in quite some time, or at least since the David Patrick Kelly  (and Toivo) RIP VAN BOY MAN disc a good three years back.

Nice late-sixties vibe (maybe some Tim Buckley?) here, with Weisman's rather boy-ish vocalizing giving this a strange sunshine El Lay poppy feeling that sounds like something one of those iron-haired gals back in 1972 woulda been spinning in between TAPESTRY and maybe even AFTER THE GOLD RUSH if it only had that slicko El Lay production. At other times I'm thinking that the ghost of Syd Barrett has clasped his talons in pretty deep. Backing is sparse, though some of this was done with what appears to be a small band that thankfully doesn't get in the way of Weisman's at times witticist lyrics. A pretty good surprise that I'm sure most reg'lar BLOG TO COMM readers could find something of worth in, and although it ain't like a rip-roarer up and down the scales with amphetamine guitar lines and fire-pissing vocals man does not live by Stooges albums alone (though at times I've tried to do just that!).

Kinda wonder if this record is the basis for all of those cruddy lies one used to hear about the French playing lousy rock 'n roll. If so, then all I gotta say is that the French can sure play some lousy rock 'n roll that sounds great which is a whole lot better'n all of those pretenders the past fortysome years who were playing "good" rock (no "'n roll") that fouled up the air a whole lot worse'n the time I opened my gym locker with the half-eaten limburger cheese sandwich after being sick for two weeks. Total eruption primitive thud rock maybe one-step above the Shaggs that not only features a boss cover of "Be Bop Alula" but some totally addled originals that weren't composed as much as they were hacked out on a beat up electric guitar. Makes Jack Starr look like Ringo...Fonebone, that is!
BIZARRO DREAM TIME AGAIN!: haven't had many strange, kultural-related dreams as of late but the doozy I had Monday night really tops 'em all! Strangely enough, I wasn't even under the influence of anything other'n a strong dosage of Melatonin to overcome the usual caffeine jitters! And boy, this 'un was one that woulda gotten any sixties tee-vee fan all hot and excited, for the dream I experienced had me watching/participating in none other than (now get this!) THE FINAL EPISODE OF "HOGAN'S HEROES" THAT WE ALL WOULDA LIKED TO HAVE SEEN YET NEVER GOT MADE LET ALONE AIRED!!! Details as as usual sketchy, but this last HH naturally had to do with the closing days of World War II when Hogan and the rest of the POW's are escaping the Nazis while being imprisoned in what looks like a business complex with many offices and hallways. After making a good enough go at it while running down what seems to be a vacant corridor they just happened to get captured by Sgt. Schultz, who does a good job acting all mean and gnarly like any good Nazi should! However, when some even meaner looking soldiers close in on the POW's attempting to cut them down in their tracks Schultz machine guns 'em clearly signalling that he is now on Hogan's side, lovable puffball that he was! Unfortunately he takes some bullets himself in the side, but otherwise he's doing OK considering they were flesh wounds and he has a whole lotta it to spare!

When hiding his now buddies in what looks like a medical office waiting room who should show up but Col. Klink who, luger in hand, naturally chastises Schultz for his traitorous act, though during Klink's tirade none other than Gestapo man himself Major Hochstetter enters, chewing out Klink for being such a worthless being as usual! During this particular balling out """""I""""" notice a gold plated luger in Klink's holster which I sneakily approach and remove in order to facilitate a quick get out...then wake up due to an ever-bursting bladder! I know that if I had stayed asleep I would have shot Klink, Hochstetter and maybe even Schultz (hey, he was the enemy!) thus ensuring a happy ending, but then again, who knows???

Tune in next week when I'll probably relay to you an 'ALLO 'ALLO dream I will undoubtedly have, though since that series did have a final wrapup who knows what sorta somnastical visions I would dare to conjure in my illogical mind!
JUST IN VIA YOUTUBE, thirty minutes of Geofrey Crozier and the Shanghai Side Show (not Kongress!):

ONE FINAL NOTE: after reading Eddie Flowers' recent entries on Facebook I take back all I said about him being a closeted neo-libertarian! And I do mean it! This guy's just as radical as the next Weatherman down the pike, and don't you ferget it lest you find yourself waking up with a freshly-tossed pipebomb in your bed some hazy summer's morn!!! He's still cool people tho (hey, got anymore old recs 'n mags ya wanna sell me??? Of course not at a profit, that would be EVIL!!!).
* act whose version of "Smoke on the Water" I've been anxious to hear ever since some VILLAGE VOICE scribe mentioned a live performance of said number in which he brought up the "fact" that it contained the most inept drum solo extant...guess the guy never did hear the debut performance of Umela Hmota back '74 way but then again how could he?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


OK, get the fact outta your mind that Leonard Maltin is nothing but a bearded buffoon who not only has one of the most irritating voices (worse than mine!) to be heard on the cathode connection but tastes befitting those of Karen Quinlan after downing the booze 'n least he was watching long-forgotten comedy shorts and related flotsam on afternoon tee-vee while all of those other budding film crits were more likely to sneak into screenings of obscure art films with subtitles written in Sanskrit as MAD magazine once so eloquently put it. And yeah, even though I can take him and his nasonex voice for only so long I will say that Maltin sure did a good job with this once-omnipresent book (from which I've snitched more'n a few snaps for various issues of my crudzine) that, while not as up there and as thorough as I woulda liked, at least made for one of them nice "introductory" looksees back when I was a teenager and wanted to know more about them Li'l Rascals and Three Stooges comedies that were still gettin' the afternoon tee-vee play long before being banished into the far reaches of cable 'n low wattage UHF hell.

Gotta admit that THE GREAT MOVIE SHORTS is info 'n snap packed to peak perfection, and the inclusion of complete and detailed short subject filmographies with credits and synopses is what really makes this 'un a keeper. It's especially helpful if you're trying to keep track of all of the shorts you've managed to see on tee-vee and wanna know what you've missed out on. However, don't you think Maltin can get a li'l overbearing at times (but hey, if he really was that much of a kiddo as he was when he wrote this well, I can forgive 'im!) and some of his opines just don't jibe with what a typical BLOG TO COMM reader's would be with regards to what is good and what is douse? Yeah, me too but then again in those pre-internet times it wasn't like we had that much to rely on, eh?

OK, Maltin can complain all he wants about the "cheap" look of Educational Pictures and their supposedly duff scripts, but in many ways don't'cha think that the low budget look is just what made those latterday Educationals so appealing? And besides, any book dealing with short subjects and would limit a total great such as Joe Cook to a passing mention (and ignore another true comedy genius as Willie Howard) does have something crucial missing. And I'm sure many fans of the various Columbia short subject series were wincing from here to Bizoo and back over Maltin's curt dismissals of the Vera Vague and El Brendel comedies, but hey it's his book and I guess if you wanna do something better you can always start up your own blog, site or do whatever there is witin your means to get your message across.

As for me I can't complain that much if only because at least the guy gathered up most of the hotcha stuff (inc. all of the big names like the aforementioned Rascals 'n Stooges, and of course Lauren & Hardy, Edgar Kennedy, Charley Chase...) along with all of those other Roach, Columbia, Educational and RKO rarities and got the thing published and slapped into book stores and libraries where brain-addled teens could write weird obscenities and scribble in the pages when the virginal librarian types weren't looking. And if it weren't for him, where would typical suburban slobs like myself have found some of our first information regarding those old mooms we've seen on tee-vee for years on end! Can't fault him for that even if the sight of him on the tube is enough to make me want to click the remote to find a nice soothing braindead drama on Lifetime.

Who knows, if they still have libraries this one might be available even if it has been surpassed at least three times over by many other efforts both print and pixel. Grab hold of it while you can for a quick comedy short fix that might even leave a lump in your throat 'stead of your groin.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Guess it's time for a middle of the year assessment, and in this hot 'n hazy July all I can really say is that 2012 HAS SURE SHAPED UP SWELL AS FAR AS BEING ONE OF THE MORE EXCITING  ROCK 'N ROLL YEARS IN RECENT MEMORY!!!  OK, its true that almost all of the years that we did have in recent memory were not only downright dullsville but stridently anti-rock, but at least there have been enough good releases comin' out these past six months that warrant a hale 'n hearty all's well in the wild world of rock 'n roll. Now, I'm sure even you will admit that there aren't that many new 'n exciting groups comin' out like there were a good thirty or forty years back, but I must admit that a few of the upstart groupings out there are as good as some of the better underground rockage that we've been spinning for quite some time. Of course many of the old standbys can still kick it out, as I'm sure the hundreds of acts who are playing the various CBGB and Max's Kansas City festivals in New York this month can attest to. The "experimental" music coming out today, whether it be Fadensonnen's deep treks into electronic guitar soundscapades or the current Kendra Steiner Editions offerings, has been just as engaging, awe-inspiring and total envelopment as the entire Columbia Records "Music Of Our Time" series back in the sixties and more personal to boot! And naturally the reissues and downloads continue to enchant, from the Rocket From The Tombs 12/74 wonder (a current car-spin fave) and Rotomagus collection to such outta-nowhere delights like MICHIGAN MAYHEM and of course the new Can boxset (on Mute Records) which has just arrived to save me from yet another grab for the straight razor when all seems lost.

You can bet that I was religiously preparing for this 'un by spinning all of my Can bootlegs incessantly night after night, but even what I was playing in anticipation didn't prepare me for the onslaught to be found on these three shiny platters of pure perfection. Fortunately THE LOST TAPES concentrate on their hotcha late-sixties to mid-seventies years meaning you don't have to worry about those latterday platters that flopped about making people like Carl Mack from FUTURE wonder why they even bothered in the first place! And given the plethora of primal early Can to be found all I can say in typical Aunt Jemima fashion is like, what took you (read: Irmin Schmidt) so long?  For this set is one of the hallmarks of just what German expressionist rock stood for back when various NME critics were looking toward Der Fatherland for signs of rock life and even dorks like Sid Viscous were learning to play bass while MONSTER MOVIE was spinning endlessly in their fart-encrusted boudoirs.

Malcolm Mooney does get more than his fare share of trackage which is fine by me considering how his more DELAY 1968-ish sense of surge (as opposed to his nice if quieter moments) are firmly on display, "Waiting For The Streetcar" and "Deadly Doris" being just two of the primer examples to be found. (Other Mooney-era pieces range from a bizarroid "Your Friendly Neighborhood Whore" to "True Story", a free association monologue to horror organ backdrop which surprises me no end especially when Mooney actually drops the name of famed fifties television space ranger Rocky Jones!) And hey, even if you don't think the post-Mooney years were quite so tip top this 'un'll make you change your mind with the fine choice of rarities which seem to capture the TAGO MAGO feeling to a certain extent while concentrating on a more EGE BAMYASI atonal sense of elegance. Believe-you-me, if this don't give BAMYASI cheerleader  Eddie Flowers a hard-on more'n his Candy Samples photo album then nothing will!

Hopefully the springboard for more legendary Can releases, THE LOST TAPES is one reason that 2012 might be one of the better years for reissues and exhumations. And given just what a dour, anti-rock 'n roll climate we live in I guess this is all we have to bank our booties on right now, pod'ner!

Given the intelligence and fine taste you readers have procured (mostly from reading this blog), I'm positive that you already know just how much the death of Andy Griffith this past Tuesday induced the same ol' cringe-y effect of impending doom that I got after hearing about the recent passings of everyone from Dick Clark and Frank Cady to GRIFFITH co-star George "Goober" Lindsey. Now it ain't like I was crying all over the place about it, but like I said earlier this sorta news does kinda hit me "there" (pound edge of fist into chest right where heart is for emphasis) considering that the likes of Griffith et. al. have been with me ever since my earliest flickers of memory and how things like watching THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW on Monday nights was a weekly ritual that helped my learn the days of the week as well as a whole load of things they just don't teach you in school then or now for that matter!

Definitely one of the top twenty series of all time, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW obviously remains a personal fave and it is nice knowing that the series still continues to reverberate on the cathode connection lo these many years later. Who knows, perhaps the show, even in these jaded and unfunny times, will influence yet another generation about Ameriga and its nicer, funnier nature. That's something you just can't say about many of those great shows of the fifties and sixties which sorta got jettisoned from our lives about ten-fifteen years ago when even cable wouldn't run this stuff on a bet. At least you can still find GRIFFITH somewhere on the dial whether it's via the flaccid TV Land or your local outlet, and the thought of knowing that does make me feel a little better inside, for OBVIOUS reasons naturally. And hey, even though I've seen 'em all a good what, fifty times throughout my entire life I find the series remains fresh and vibrant no matter how many times I set my jaded self in front of the idiot box with can o' pop and snax in hand hopin' for at least a moment of revitalization...

Before THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW entered into our lives the guy wasn't exactly alien to the public what with a string of feature films ranging from NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS and of course Elia Kazan's oft-praised A FACE IN THE CROWD (the famed howling image from the poster even earning a reproduction courtesy of Bill Elder in HUMBUG's boffo spoof of AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS). And really, what fifties comedy fanatic could forget Griffith's infamous "What That Was, Was Football" monologue about a backwoods boy discovering the famous game for the first time and describing it in his own addled way? That was so popular it even got illustrated in MAD during the late-fifties when this once-satirical magazine was getting top comedians like Ernie Kovacs, Bob and Ray as well as Danny Kaye to either write new material or have their old classics illustrated by "the usual gang of idiots"*, an idea which sorta went by the wayside once 1960 rolled around and most of the comedians skedaddled over to HELP! Of course Griffith's own show was a hoot which perhaps showed to all of those cloistered Northern urban types that Southern people were well...people too. It's like in that rarely seen pilot for the series which ran on THE DANNY THOMAS SHOW where Danny was being held in Mayberry for some traffic violation and insults Griffith by calling him a hayseed and a hick, only to be eventually shamed by Griffith who lets out that maybe Southereners don't like being called those names any more than blacks or Polish or other ethnicities like being ridiculed by people who love to feel superior to others. Somehow I feel as if lessons like this one has been lost on the extremely cloistered upper-crust armchair radicals of today, but hey I might be wrong.

After GRIFFITH more or less ran its eight-year course well, even I had a hard time tuning into THE NEW ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW like I'm sure most of you did though for some strange reason I was perhaps the only one who watched Griffith's stab at youth relevance via HEADMASTER because, unlike on ROOM 222, the kids on this show were all spoiled brat mid-class goofballs (even that poor student who couldn't afford underwear) and the writers were older generation curmudgeons who sure knew what sorta havoc those pampered hippies would spread once they got into power. And as we all know, they were right all along! By the mid-seventies when Griffith was appearing in just about every variety show and TV Movie that would cast him I must admit I shrugged him off, but then again I felt most of the fifties/sixties innovators had pretty much lost it by the time Gerald Ford was rolling into office. I mean, Ford certainly did send this universe off on some weird tangent it never really did recover from.

(By the way, I missed HEARTS OF THE WEST with Griffith as an aging cowboy star on TCM a few weeks back...managed to tune in right at that scene where [I believe] Blythe Danner was doing a topless exotic dance dressed in cowgear complete with sheriff badge pasties for a buncha dirty old men hootin' and hollerin', and since my pop was in the room with me I switched over to something innocuous mighty fast! I recall the boffo writeups it was getting back '76 way, and considering how the early-mid-seventies seemed such a brief renaissance in films I figured this 'un'd be worth a little more of my time. Any recommendations out there?)

Hokay, one funny if self-deprecating ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW saga you might get a chuckle or two outta. And considering how I can now talk about these once-devastating experiences from my childhood which surely warped me with ease, why not this was early June, perhaps the first full day of Summer vacation, and a couple of my female cousins who used to live up the street from me came over to visit my sister and talk girl stuff. Well, while they were there what should happen to pop up on the tee-vee screen but yet another ANDY GRIFFITH rerun, the episode where Opie and his friend discover an abandoned baby on the courthouse steps and try to find it a home...y'know, the one with the high-larious "Miss Crump, do you want to have a baby?" line! Well, right after the second segment (where Andy gives Opie the birds and the bees talk which of course is neatly circumvented and Opie tells his pal he already learned that in school but didn't want to disappoint his father) my own mother says to me, and in front of my sister and cousins..."Chris, I'll bet you were wanting to find out where babies come from, weren't you?" as they all laughed and I cringed at the thought that my mother would even dare make a crack such as that. I mean was I that lowly a specimen to deserve such treatment from my dear own mother??? Recently I reminded her of this incident and she even apologized, which is about as meaningful as modern day politicos doing the mea culpa for eight-hundred-year-old transgressions, but I took it all in stride!

And hey, all who say that the episode about Andy having to eat three spaghetti dinners is the best of the latterday and oft-dismissed color GRIFFITHs (the aforementioned baby one being #2 and the filming of SHERIFF WITHOUT A GUN with Gavin MacLeod as Andy #3) please raise your hands, er, mouse!

A recent basement excursion had me digging up quite a number of oft-ignored booty, including the following three cassettes which really zoned me back to the dark, dank days of the eighties when nothing seemed to go right and I should know given the hassles and problem I had getting my writings out to a disinterested public. Anyway I'm sure many of you avid followers of this blog remember the humongous hubbub (at least in fanzine circles) that arose regarding Halo of Flies and the entire Amphetamine Reptile cadre of under-the-underground groups which I playfully referred to as being the "new era" of atonal bliss. I must admit that many of the Amphetamine Reptile groups haven't exactly withstood the battering of time and longevity (then again, I must admit that I haven't been spinning the likes of Vertigo, the God Bullies and Pogo the Clown for at least two decades), but flagship group Halo of Flies, led by AR head Tom Hazelmyer, sound just as hotcha as they did back when I was scrambling to snatch up the last copies of the group's rather limited edition singles which I'm sure are prized possessions amongst the more "in-the-know" fans and followers of eighties underground rock extant.

This collection of single sides sure comes in handy in case you want a quick Halo fix and can't gather up all of your originals or if you're too cheap to buy the Cee Dee compilation easily obtainable on ebay. Kinda sorta punk rock in the 1971 CREEM magazine sense on one hand and perhaps heavy metal if you use the same mag's definition from approximately the same time, FOUR FROM THE BOTTOM's got all of that sonic screech that helped save us from the eternal flames of Van Halen singles and enlightened us to a much better way. Personal fave: the inspiring, faithful yet all-out original take on Creation's "How Does It Feel To Feel" which I gotta say flashes back to the pop op haze of that group better'n even the Television Personalities or the Times, and those Englishmen even had a head start on it!
Another eighties cassette find that popped up on my recent field trip was this wonder, a compilation of the first two Celebate Rifles albums that was released on the tail of the group's massive success down Australia way (though from what the Mad Peck says you only have to sell 100 records in Australia to be a success). After listening to the Rifles' fair post-Radio Birdman approach (Detroit metal with a little local angst thrown in) I was wondering why I haven't been paying more attention to this act's admittedly powerful music for so long. After some thought the answer came to me and boy was it obvious...there's just too much "eighties" in here when it shoulda been seventies all the way! Not that it was exactly easy to transpose seventies intensity into an eighties variation, but sheesh if most of these acts which just shoulda had that hard-nerve drive back then didn't get wooshed over by the giddy 'n cuteness of the times, and no matter how hard some of these acts tried they just didn't succeed in transcending the kultur just like you thought they shoulda!

Still I gotta credit the Celebate Rifles for coming up with about as good a variation on the MC5 form as anyone else could have, without looking like total doofs as more'n a few extant recordings would prove. Of course they were doing it all in Sydney Australsia which was heavily Detroit-oriented at the time (thanks to the influence of a certain Deniz Tek and his local cult). Not only that, but the group had a good repertoire cranked out by vocalist Damien Lovelock (who was more Tyner 'n Ig but that's cool) and guitarist Kent Steedman, both of who might as well have been the Jagger-Richards of the group or at least Pop-Williamson. Can't really complain about it even if the dinge of twentysome-year-old concessions do take away from some of the majestic nature of it all.
Finally on today's cassette trip's this self-produced strangity, the first ever solo release from former Death of Samantha/Cobra Verde/Mice etc. (and I do mean etc.!) Cleveland-area guitarist Doug Gillard. COVER SONGS WITH BIG HEADS is the name, and the contents are nothing but Gillard playing his favorite old timey sixties/seventies songs all by himself just like Todd Rundgren used to do in sort of a PIN UPS fashion. However, instead of seventies rockers remembering their sixties roots this is an eighties rocker remembering his seventies (with some sixties) roots with the same sorta rose-colored rear view mirror fascination I hope we all like! Quality is feh but the performances are unique enough even if I don't quite appreciate listening to well-established musicians do covers the same way I like to hear 'em do their originals. And the fact that this is mid-eighties Cle does detract if ever so slightly---but for me the entire Cle underground might as well have deep-sixed 1/1/80 given how the local media treated the young and creative groups as mere aberrations while pushing to the hilt the worse "local" sub-bar scuzz as being the most creative and illustrious music to eke outta that once-vital city. At least the fact that Death of Samantha singer John Petkovac worked for THE PLAIN DEALER meant they'd get a little more publicity outta that rag than Jamie Klimek ever did!

But hey, I'll take Gillard performing versions of "Jean Genie" and "Needle in the Camel's Eye" over a good portion of the WMMS-FM (are they still around?) playlist anyday. Y'see,  I like my music with a whole lotta heart 'n vigor w/o the horrid schmalz that Cleveland rock (of a mainstream variety) had infused into it. Y'know, back when rock 'n roll was comin' in for another de-balling that was just about as bad as the one it got back when the likes of Bobby Rydell, then Donovan, then Cat Stevens etc. came onto the scene to show the teenagers of the world a more righteous, squeaky-clean way. COVER SONGS has the same spirit that a good portion of the late-seventies Cle groups oozed from each and every pore, and you know that if this had come out as a vinyl EP '79 way I woulda been flipping over it the same way I would cherish all of those Styrene Money Band singles as if they were precious moon rocks or somethin'!
That Bill Shute sure is a strange guy. Yeah, we both boycott Chick-Fil-A (but for different reasons---I happen to think their food is gunk!) and we have both been known to "pinch more than an inch", but if you must know (and I know you do) I wonder about this Kendra Steiner Editions label he's been running for quite some time. I wonder, because frankly I thought that if the guy would've ever started up a label it woulda been devoted to something along the lines of an International Artists type of thing with Texas psychedelic groups playing in "the tradition" filling up its roster. If anything, KSE is kinda like a new Obscure label only without the more fruity aspects of a Harold Budd nor the high-flying avant garde ideal of Carla Bley and Robert Wyatt performing 1940's vintage John Cage pieces. Though they do have a much better cover scheme, dontcha think?

The three latest entries into the KSE canon continue on the same fine path of earlier issues, all in those neat modern jazz-kinda sleeves and limited to practically zilch copies. Unmoor is a duo that creates rather kraut-y like spacial sounds that make you feel like you were floating on air, as Greg Prevost once said about Cluster. Matt Krefting is a strangeity as well, also making the same kinda slow, dirge-y yet deep sounds as Unmoor yet at times coming off like Thomas Tallis writing a sequel to "Spem In Alium". Not to mention that weirdoid opening track where he sounds like some six-year-old trying to play his chord organ by numbers while letting the air out of his pop's tires. What really gets me all nutzoid is Massimo Magee's SOPRANINO SOLO, a platter whose title says it all. Not only does he have one of the weirdest inter-ethnic names in jazz since Giuseppe Logan, but this Magee guy plays the sopranino sax'n nothing else other'n electronics and radio on "Confusion", and not only that but he has a weird enough sense of distortion so that the platter's closing track is (get this!) a playback of a VCR-recorded performance! Comparisons to Braxton might be in order (tho actually I was thinkin' Steve Lacy), but once you get down to it Magee is playing his own trip and doing a skewered enough job at it which I get the feeling will turn off more'n a few of your bow-tied "light jazz" friends who couldn't tell a Roscoe Mitchell from a hole in Chick Corea's butt!

What's really weird about this 'un is track #2 entitled "Pickled". Now frankly I thought that maybe Magee had recorded this one totally soused, but in fact he (probably) was straight sober...y'see, what he did was marinate a reed in malt and lemon vinegar for four months and used it on this particular piece which I guess really puckered his puss! Dunno exactly how this affected his playing, but in some ways I was reminded of that LITTLE RASCALS short where perennial bully Leonard Kibrick played "My Wild Irish Rose" on the trumpet while Tommy Bond and some freckle-faced compat sucked away on lemons! Hmmm, maybe this is the newest trend in playing, and considering some of the jazz I've heard recently perhaps a whole cartload of lemons are in order!

Anyway that's all there is, there isn't anymore as the old song said. Will try to crank out another measlie for ya midweek before whipping up a biggie for next weekend's midsummer's night scree!

*I remember Griffith during his "down" years in the seventies when he was grabbing just about any job he could lay his hands on doing this hoary old routine on that new SMOTHERS BROTHERS show on NBC and bombing almost as badly as the time Stanley Myron Handelman was on the same short-lived revival. Even a less-than-astute teen such as I did at least a little cringing myself, though considering how Griffith was apt to do everything from plugging Ritz Crackers ("things taste good when they sits on a Ritz, but some things taste even better with Ritzes jammed way up them, if you know what I mean") to appearing in about half of the TV movies being made and dressing up like Karl Marx in a Hudson Brothers Marx Brothers spoof, I guess he was there to take the money and run just like all those other comedians. But the thought of him reviving that old and out-of-date skit in the seventies was surely someone's bad idea of television, even at this stage in the game when variety shows were ruling the roost with some of the worst comedy and musical skits imaginable!

And before I forget, do you remember when be was hosting a syndicated broadcast of NATIONAL VELVET around the same time and gave us this downhome talk about women's liberation and how back when this movie was made men thought women couldn't do things as well as they which is why Liz Taylor hadda do what she did??? Considering Griffith's three marriages I'd think he'd be the last guy who'd ever give a speech regarding the libber movement of the day, but I guess if you dangled enough moolah in front of his nose...