Saturday, September 01, 2012

Eh, another week's come and gone. Seems like time is just wooshing away compared to back when I was a mere schoolkid and the span of two weeks seemed more like an eternity. Well, as old people used to tell me during my kiddoid days once you start getting older and older time stops crawling and starts sprinting to the point where you wake up and realize that you've become an old fogy who's gonna be planted in a pine box before you even know it! Those old folk must have really had it in for me if they were so anxious to tell me scary if true factoids like that!

Sometimes it doesn't really faze hey, what is there of consequence to get me all hot and bothered like I was when I was a kid anyway? Tee-vee lost its prime time appeal for me during the early-eighties while all of my favorite old timey programs can't even be found in syndication or on cable (and I can't get in any of those "antenna TV" stations which at least pump the afternoon hours with goodies like BACHELOR FATHER and ROUTE 66 before filling up their prime time schedule with bad seventies police dramas!). Rock 'n roll radio is practically non-existent unless you can pick up something wowsville on the internet (which I'm not that keen the moment was thirty years ago and any improvement in the here and now is just too little too late!). Sheesh, even women don't look as cuddly as they used to with the prime look nowadays sorta balancing between slut 'n dyke! I could go on, and if I were man enough I'd bo the "most honorable thing" as Al Capp once said and leave this mortal coil, only I'm even MORE scared of the alternative and as you all know by now I'm a coward. So I guess I will just stick around and survive on whatever morsel of high energy rockism I might chance upon or some DVD collection of an old tee-vee favorite that I shoulda been watching when it was on but really, just how much can a six-month-old comprehend Alfred Hitchcock anyway?

Hearing that Byard Lancaster passed away a week ago Thursday was a bit sobering, once again serving as a reminder that maybe we aren't as invincible and invulnerable as watching all of those ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN reruns made us feel for years. Although Lancaster wasn't as huge on the out-there free jazz totem as the likes of Albert Ayler or Roscoe Mitchell amongst many other notables, his various performances as either leader or sideman proved to all of us that he was more than just a "contender" in the field of avant garde jazz. Lancaster's IT'S NOT UP TO US platter with Sonny Sharrock remains an occasional introverted moments spin, while his take of "Over The Rainbow" from the WILDFLOWERS series shows the same sense of addled twist as Ayler which I gotta say is a feat that nobody should take lightly. (Same goes for his stint at the same series with Sunny Muray's Untouchable Factor, and what obit on the guy would be complete w/o mentioning his appearance on Murray's boffo ESP longplayer???)  I only wish more of his playing was made available to our ears and can only hope that maybe we will now be inundated with Lancaster recordings now that there won't be any royalties to pay out, eh?

One gig I naturally would like to hear is the one Lancaster did with none other than Material at CBGB back November '79 way (on a bill with James Blood Ulmer and DNA!)...I remember seeing this 'un listed in the back pages of THE VILLAGE (retch!) VOICE and wishing to all heck that I coulda been front and center to witness it because at the time Material had this rep for being a rather new wave-y art rock band that somehow sounded appealing despite the scads of iffy publicity, and for some strange reason I thought that Lancaster had joined the act as a full time member which really made me all the more interested in hearing what these suburban white kids were up to playing with a black avant master such as he! Turns out that Lancaster was just sitting in for the evening, though as far as black avant masters went wouldn't you know that none other than guitarist Sonny Sharrock did join the act by July of the following year which is something that I will admit made me feel like I was living in a special age. Really, my two fave musics of the day being joined up in this peculiar way...outstanding!

FWIW I was one guy who was astute enough to tune into the old CBGB cybercasts when Lancaster was scheduled to play Dee Pop's Sunday evening "freeform" series at the Lounge, though wouldn't you know it the Philadelphia resident couldn't make the trek to En Why See because of the horrid winter storm that had just hit the East Coast! I was all excited thinkin' I was gonna experience some more history in the making before it became too late only to be let down more'n a knocked up weinerdog, and now it's too late and all I wanna do is listen to every recording that Lancaster made even if it's some of his less outre material that doesn't quite grab me the way you knew it won't. Oh well...I'm sure my triple CD collection of the WILDFLOWERS set not to mention Ronald Shannon Jackson Decoding Society platters are around here somewhere...

'nuff of the gloom 'n are but a few platters/tapes/whatnot I've been listening to this week that you just might wanna know some more about. Nothing special, but just some deeply pondered, well thought out and savagely sublime rockscreeding that I know the world could use a whole lot more of these days. I'm not gonna say that I hope you find something of value in these writeups, but if you do then maybe there is hope for the rockism world which has been sorely neglected for nigh on thirtysome years already!


Got a nice huge package from Feeding Tube Records, and boy is it the proverbial wowzah! In it are a new album from Gary Wilson, one from the Miller Brothers of Destroy All Monsters/Sproton Layer fame, and other niceties that I'll be telling you about as the weeks progress. Not only that, but Feeding Tube even slipped in another copy of the FRESH SIP double album undoubtedly because they want me to review it again they liked my first writeup so much. The wide selection looks so tasty, but they're gonna hafta wait until my next big record roundup because right now all I wanna do is talk about Mars!

This '78 Irving Plaza show ain't exactly nothin' new to the hoards of Mars fans who either copped a tape of it or heard portions via various Cee-Dees over the years. To be honest about it I don't even know offhand if this show has been issued in its entirety before, but either way it's available in the here and now and on good ol' vinola which is something that should make every no wave lovin' heart out there sing to the highest rafters. They'll be singin' mostly because LIVE AT IRVING PLAZA is that good of a live album and besides, this particular recording is one of the many peaks in the '77-'79 no wave development, growth, and ultimate factioning off into other styles and credos and sheesh, just having a vinyl document of it is bound to raise the property value of your collection tenfold!

Sound is mighty good...a whole lot better'n the Artist's Space recording if you're gonna be a tight ass about it, while the performance is definitely late-period when Mars had become incredibly atonal and noxious-sounding to the point where you kinda wondered what they were gonna sound like had they only continued on a good year or so. Extreme stuff here which will suit all of you no wave aficionados who couldn't wait to get your copy of the 12-inch Lust/Unlust EP wondering what the group's next move was gonna be even though they were already dead 'n gone a good 21 months by that time only nobody told you! (Still remember getting mine special ordered from the local National Record Mart [!] and picking the thing up on September 19, 1980 at 7:35 PM...hope you have as good a memory for HISTORICAL DATES like I do!)

And of course the side-long "N N End" with Rudolph Grey on additional guitar is enough to make you wanna petition the guy to release his ENTIRE TAPE RECORDED OUTPUT which is right now moiling in his apartment somewhere. Rumors that the second Blue Humans show with Alan Vega and Arto Lindsay joining Grey have surfaced but I haven't heard a peep of it even though I was promised a disque ages back...but we do need to hear more of the man and his Mosrite soon before it all withers away into the ether and I'm sure you've known that drill by heart for the last thirtysome years like I have!

Whatever, a very important release that I know will worm its way into your li'l ol' heart with its over-the-top avant garde rock approach and totally enveloping psychodramatic performance. And if you were lucky enough like I was, you might even get a booklet with your copy containing a complete as you can imagine history of the band as remade/remodeled by Thurston Moore and Byron Coley! It's "adapted freely" from their classic no wave tome for the times, a read that I hope will get the "revised edition" treatment just like all of those hippie rock screeds we've been inundated with for the past forty years!
ORPHAN EGG CD-R burn (originally on Carole/GNP-Crescendo) 

This is one of those late-sixties psychedelic offerings that I can tell straight off the bat won't be everybody's cuppa tea, but if you've ever snuggled up to the more commercial aspects of 1968 you'd probably get at least a little bit of a charge outta it. Kinda fact this reminds me of the Association in spots (a wonderful thing, mind you) yet has enough of a good late-sixties wah-wah drive to it that keeps the thing moving. Covers of "Bird Dog" and "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby" help the overall spirit, though I must confess that Orphan Egg just don't sizzle me the same way that the Druids of Stonehenge and various other under-the-radar psych albums of the era did. If ever an album was just made for the cutout bins of 1972 and the flea market stack of 1976...
Fire & Ice Ltd.-THE HAPPENING CD-R burn (originally on Capitol)

Dint gedda chance to dig into any of my old Wayside Music and Beathaven catalogs to see if this particular platter was gettin hyped as being garage punk or perhaps even Velvet Underground/Deviants emulating, but one thing's for sure and that is these mid-sixties exploito records at least EXPLOITED THE RIGHT THING! Loads of semi-weird vocals of a femme and masculine variety can be heard through a variety of r&b and rock pastiches with a li'l piano strangeity thrown in to make matters even weirder. Actually a whole lot more "relevant", if not more pleasant, than some of the things that were comin' outta Hate-Assburied at the time. Really wanna hear it? Then just go here.
The Pretty Things-PURE AND PRETTY CD-R burn (Chapter One bootleg)

Back during the original Golden Age of Cee-Dee bootlegs there was all sortsa weird esoteric stuff comin' outta the clandestine pressing plants of Europe, and this weirditie was just one of 'em! And oh what a strange one it is...given the underground bubbling under popularity of the Pretty Things you woulda thunk there'd be a whole lot of boots on 'em floating around, but at least this early-nineties issue has enough raucous material to make up for years of neglect. Starting off with tracks from the group's first psychedelic foray EMOTIONS done up without the gloppy overdubs, PURE AND PRETTY then careens into some early tee-vee appearances before heading straight into some '69 live tracks including a rather crunching "Talkin' About The Good Times" that sounds positively punkist! And it all ends with some surprise tracks including that same take of "Defecting Grey" that Norton released on a ten-inch EP awhile back!  A gotta grab for any true blue Pretty Things aficionado that just might be chancing upon this blog (and from what I can tell there ain't too many of 'em!).

Another Bill burn and a fairly good one too. I'll never listen to this again, but at least I did get to hear some rather interesting British rips of Amerigan soul ideals hear which range from downright entertaining to tepid. It's funny to think that some of the musicians and acts which pop up on this platter would be doing the progressive rock prance in a few short years time (such as the pre-Gentle Giant Simon Dupree and the Big Sound), but at least ya gotta give 'em credit for doing it right at the beginning. Acts include a couple of  popular recording stars such as Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas not to mention the Mike Stuart Span, as well as a buncha flybynights who never could get far considering just how crowded the British beat market had become by the mid-sixties.
I might have a nice, theme-based post for you next weekend, but if I don't please don't get your hopes down too much...

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