Saturday, April 27, 2013


Well yeah, rock is dead and long rotted as I've been telling you for the past umpteen years or as you can tell by reading any of the competing "rock music" blogs that are still up and running. However, thankfully there are still some reasons for you not to take the easy way out and go Mantovani like I'm sure you've been tempted to lo these many years. Following are some never before heard by my ears recordings that I've been fortunate enough to experience as of late, mostly reissues and archival digs with even a few newies thrown in to give us all hope for a future that looks more like the past if anything! And hey, sometimes I think that if I woke up tomorrow and it was 1962 (or even 1972 but not 1982) again I'd be the happiest guy alive, and come to think of it most of you would be too unless you're some miscreant social planner type who sees klansmen hiding under the bed and perverts "bullied" because they like the feeling of feces in their colon being broken up by hard erect objects. At least back then they knew enough to throw people like you in prison where you most certainly belonged, even if you didn't exactly cherish the idea of being on your knees with the nazis just so's they'll protect you from the blacks!
Before we get into the main vein of this writeup, here's a rather invigorating review of Lou Reed's ROCK 'N ROLL ANIMAL platter I thought you oughta read if only because it begins with a name-drop of none other than obscure and mystical rockscribe figure Wayne McGuire. Considering that this came from a college freebee paper it's amazing that the thing reads as credibly as it does (and it doesn't hurt that I agree with Mr. Foye's opines even if ROCK 'N ROLL ANIMAL is more pose 'n pout), especially when the reams of collegekid scribing I've come across o'er the years come off like Erma Bombeck after a few too many pink ladies at the garden party. And there was this one character I remember who actually went by the name of "Guz Scullin" who wrote this particularly rancid prose for one college paper tying in everything that was honest and noteworthy in late-seventies "music" to...Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes??? Really, was it actually thirtysome years ago that even a relative fluffweight as Elvis Costello seemed so revolutionary and trendsetting and "out-there" in the face of blind Eagle worship? Well, next to the stuff Scullin and his classic rock pals were pumping to even Elmer Fudd singing in the shower came off avant garde!

Anyway, enjoy some truly hotcha rockscribing for once in your life, some of it coming right up...

The Velvet Underground-SOUNDTRACKS, 46th ANNIVERSARY DELUXE EDITION 3-CD-R + 1 DVD-R set (no label)

This collection comes as the surprise of the week if not month, but don't get your jockeys too far up your crack because it ain't like this set's chock fulla any ne'er before heard obscurities. Most of this has been in circulation for years, though if you don't have the Warhol Museum stuff that hasn't been issued legally or the soundtracks to THE CHELSEA GIRLS and HEDY that have appeared on long gone collections this is the place to get 'em all in one nice package.

As for me, the ten minutes of CHELSEA GIRLS Velvetizing taken from the DVD release was an ear-opener as it sounded almost totally different from the audience take that's been circulating since the eighties (which also pops up here for interesting comparison mongering). The brief clips from the PHILLIP JOHNSON GLASS HOUSE film as well as the heavily distorted "I'll Be Your Mirror" from SCENES FROM THE LIFE OF ANDY WARHOL were also enjoyed if only because of their rarity and hey, I'll listen to any Velvets even if it sounds like it was recorded in the vast cavernous reaches of  Patrick Amory's obviously cavernous rectum.

As an added bonus comes a DVD-R of the Velvets filmed live in Boston '67 doing a wide passel of sounds that I doubt any of us ever heard before including the rarity "I Heard Her Call My Name" as well as an early take of "Walk and Talk It" guaranteed to get any self-respecting fan of the band salivating worse'n Sam during his days of dementia. Oddly enough, what I got with my package was not this promisingly juicy slice of Velvets live that I hoped but the Japanese film classic TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA that, while not a bad flick in itself, ain't exactly what I was looking forward to after the promise of a CD-R of a poorly filmed Velvet Underground show had been circulating for quite awhile. It was kinda like the old sitcom standby routine where a buncha guys are hoping to see naughty nudie films and all they get were home movies of someone's trip to Mexico, while at the exact moment the Women's Club was getting ready to view  what they thought were the vacation trip flicks only to get a buncha teenage gals romping around in the all together! Mighta been funny when you saw it on tee-vee back then, but I sure felt bummed. Oh well, it'll probably be on youtube within a week.
The Infrared Radiation Orchestra-9 GREAT ROCK 'N' ROLL DANCE HITS; PREPARING THE FEAST OF SKELDON CD's (Jargon Records, available from Kim Draheim, 2457 State Route 89, Seneca Falls NY 13148 USA or try if you so desire)

Oh no...more recordings by OLD FOGIES!!!! Well, I'm more'n positive that we're all gettin' up there now and besides, considering just how dead 'n decayed rock 'n roll is here in 2013 (no later than '68, '82 at the very latest, and 2006 when they boarded up CBGB the final nail) I'll take my rock 'n roll any way I can even if Grandma Moses were to appear in a leather g-string and pasties singing "Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell" while cutting up an effigy of James Taylor with an electric carving knife. Well, it'd probably be a whole lot sexier'n the stuff that is being presented as eroticism these days which, once you strip away the clothes, tattoos, shaved nether regions and various piercings, is about as sexy as a medical book showing feminine hygiene techniques...for your pooch.

But heyheyHEY ya gotta admit that its oldsters like the Infrared Radiation Orchestra who are the only ones who are cranking out hotcha high energy rock these days, and the reason is rather obvious if ya ask me. It's because their rockism memory goes back farther'n MTV videos that's for sure! Like back to the mid-sixties when rock was  finally getting some heavy-duty respect (or, as Lou Reed once said, "rock 'n roll is the real avant garde!") and heading for a quick supernova before becoming a mode that was, for the most part, meaningless. And as far as I'm concerned it was the SIXTIES where rock (and rock 'n roll especially) held its last stand before becoming mutated beyond belief, and with a name like the Infrared Radiation Orchestra you know you ain't in for that modern mewl emote that has permeated most rock music for the past few decades. Now they ain't gonna be a Hawkwind knockoff like I kinda had 'em figured to be with that moniker, but they're still pretty good. They kinda sound if the members were locked in a closet since 1978 and just emerged thinking that ROCK SCENE was still being published, that's where their minds are at and hopefully will remain!

The Infrareds have two platters out that are pretty snat, sorta in the intersection between the Figures of Light, Flamingo Road, the Bizarros, post-synth Simply Saucer and a few dozen more local rock groups that sorta flopped around in the seventies but came off so hot thirtysome years later when there was nothing left that could touch it. Both of their albums are definitely worth the time and (perhaps not so much) trouble it'll take to procure 'em, because frankly in the here and now it ain't like you can just run down to the local record shop and buy stuff like this. That is, if there really are any record shops left (alla 'em here've been bulldozed or now serve as law offices or plumbing depots...go figure!)

PREPARING THE FEAST OF SKELDON is the longer of the two, translating into what you would have called a two-album set a good three-and-a-half decades back. Here the trio of Kim Draheim (guitar, theremin and vocals), Paul Nolan (drums and vocals) and Richard Terry (bass guitar and vocals) rage through some hot sixties/seventies hot flash points done (thankfully) w/o the self-conscious back-patting and self-congratulatory feelings associated with way too many sixties leftovers that are about as appetizing as four-day-old meatloaf. Nothing that I would call upper-echelon true (that lofty height being reserved for the higher-than-high standards set forth by the Velvet Underground, Stooges and even Seeds), but powerfully potent and even more so in this post-rock era which, come to think of it, is the "no future" that was being blabbed about ad infinitum back in the late-seventies. And it all ends with a mad medley of "Eight Miles High"/"Third Stone From the Sun"/"2,000 Light Years From Home"/"Interstellar Overdrive" that fortunately doesn't make you think of your older sister's first boyfriend, the one that your dad beat up when he brought her home two minutes late some dark Friday evening.

You may like 9 GREAT ROCK 'N' ROLL DANCE HITS better, but then again you might not! Shorter in length but still worth the wallet, 9 features more hot trio workouts that touch on six-oh in some spots and psych-o in others (and late-seventies local group powerpop elsewhere), and overall this 'un does make for a nice companion piece to the above (so like, ORDER 'EM BOTH AT THE SAME TIME!!!). I can even detect some snattier British Invasion moves done up with the same production and overall execution that had college profs uttering paens of pleasure thinking that this music wasn't only in the realms of dumbasses but art on the same plateau as Shakespeare and Bach. But I like it anyway...nice, smooth and really a surprise here in an age when waiting for the next wowzer to be delivered to your door takes a whole longer wait'n it did back during the glory days of mail order record businesses. You really would be doing a good deed for your collection picking both of these sides up for your own personal enjoyment, and while you're at it, send the guys some money willya?
A.R. & Machines-DIE GRUNE REISE/THE GREAT JOURNEY CD/DVD set (Tangram, Germany)

Yeah, even after all these years I'm still lookin' for them hot seventies groups that I hope will give me the same kinda thrill that I got when I first slapped on those old Alice Cooper and Stooges albums oh so long ago. Y'know what I'm talkin' about...bargain bin unadulterated high energy suburban slob FUNZIES, the same kind that the Seeds and Sonics and the whole NUGGETS mentality was supposed to mean to people like us only the scourge of progressive rock and people too chicken to say they liked Guy Lombardo so they liked the Moody Blues kinda overtook everything. Well, at least it overtook everything until rock 'n roll (or just plain "rock music" by now ) became obsolete (and I beating a dead issue this post or what!) because the kids were just as much a buncha assholes as their folks were only they were too altruistic to admit it.

Although there are many an unrecorded group that deserves to be discovered I kinda get the feeling that the Amerigan scene has been tapped out for all its worth. Of course there are some promising releases that are scheduled to come our way pretty soon, but otherwise I have the sick feeling that we've pretty much heard all there is to be heard outta this nation of ours unless some delusional sixty-plusser who was in some wild 60s/70s underground aggregate gets the idea that maybe we wouldn't mind hearing his nth-string band no matter how loathed and hated they were back when they were actually delusional enough to think that Kim Fowley was gonna walk into the bar they were playing and offer to produce 'em like "that!"

Krautrock has always been a good source of these late-sixties/seventies jamz. This is a proven fact especially when considering how the entire genre (at least at its fringiest) adhered to the wilder aspects of mid-Amerigan trash aesthetics rather than they did of English progressive rock regurgitations of early-twentieth century classical moves. Y'know, those panderings that in retrospect seem more like a lame attempt to relay to the oldsters that this rock music wasn't just a buncha noise, but had "class" and "integrity" and all of those things that tin pan alley, symphonic struts and other "legitimate" forms of music most certainly possessed as well (it didn't work). Another proven fact is that a good portion of krautrock at its most extreme could easily be played in heavy rotation with everything from the Dolls to the Remains with a little Beefheart and STARSAILOR thrown in, and if groups like Ainigma or Siloah weren't stuck in their little Teutonic enclaves and got out more maybe more people would be trying to gobble up their albums the same way holdover Beatle fans in the mid-seventies were on the lookout for that flea market copy of YESTERDAY AND TODAY that just "might" have the butcher cover underneath the pasteover!

Dunno how A.R. and Machines would fit into this, but gawrsh I sure hoped they would have been a fun slice of krautrock with enough punkian overtones to make even Greg Shaw blush. Yeah we all knew that A.R. is in fact ex-Rattle Achim Reichal and that he went the kraut route after forsaking his beat roots like I'm sure a whole buncha similar-minded mop toppers did nationwide. What little I had heard did not impress, but Imants Krumins was big on 'em and that guy always had tastes that I sure loved to latch onto like the remora I most certainly am so why not cling onto the man's musical memories even in death!

After a number of spins and some deep contemplation usually reserved for revenge fantasies involving handcuffs and electric cattle prods, I've come to the conclusion that A.R. and Machines are in fact fairly good krautscapading. Nothing that I would say exactly thrills me in a 1972 Can/Amon Duul shining beacon to the rest of the world in their Germanic prowess sorta way, but fine enough for those who still thought that the wa-wah was the best thing that happened to the guitar, and in 1972 as well. Reichel obviously hadn't forsaken his pop roots when this spinner was made, and that in fact keeps this from developing into another progressive snootfest with all of those "hey look, a Stravinsky cop here and a Vaughn Williams swipe there!" moves that were even more pretentious than a whole lotta punk-into-punque leftovers were once 1985 rolled around.

Sure at times the electronics sound like a buncha kids goofing off with the stereo tonearm and the congas banging on and on can intrude on the electronic groove a bit. Even the opening track "Globus" comes way too close for comfort to the progressive blather that way too many wonks consider rock music. But hey, most of this is fair enough krauty pop that, while pale next to the bigger releases oozing high energy pulse and drive, might just sound neato next to what the seventies greats were doing in the eighties when none of us could give a toss what with all of those underground and sixties garage band releases to contend with.

Via youtube, here's a track, in fact the track, that got me interested in picking this up after years of ho-humness. If you study the description of the video carefully (after being taken to the page it originally appeared on, natch!) you will note two words that especially piqued my interest, and if I do say so those potent words do heavily figure into not only the particular sounds heard, but the entire backbone of the German rock zeitgeist that made the movement the Teutonic equivalent of Amerigan late-sixties/early-seventies garage punk explorations. Listen on and tell me you don't agree with my (once again) vital and pertinent opines regarding these musical genres that are seemingly long dead 'n buried! (Don't worry, although you will agree you never would admit it in a millyun years...I've come to expect that from you lofty and oh-so-pious knowitalls!)

The "NYC" August Rock Band-BETTER DAYS CD-R (LosTraxx)

Sure had high hopes for this 'un. Y'see, August was one of those under-the-wire New York groups that played a whole lotta times at CBGB, the 82 Club and Max's during the '75/'77 seasons, and although they weren't as obscure an act as say, Master Radio Canaries or the Jesse Fields Band they at least had enough of a rep to earn themselves a few off-mentions in the pages of THE NEW YORK ROCKER about as often as the Planets or Just Water got 'em. After what little I had read of the group I was conjurin' up loads of images of some hot post-Ziggy-styled glam slam done up in a guttural/gutter-al New York fashion, but it turns out that August, for all of their underground credo and image, were little more than a standard post-Stones bar band with various "classic rock" moves that coulda made someone a mint in the eighties. At first listen I was furious, at second I thought August were a good enough straight ahead band even if they strayed far from anyone's idea of what a New York band was supposed to sound like. It's your choice, though I should warn you that the exorbitant price LosTraxx is offering for a half hour of music might dissuade you more than just "slightly."
ANYHOO---in closing here are a few youtube clips that I thought you'd might want to see, the first being a rather interesting (esp. in these uninteresting times) trailer for an imaginary ARCHIE moom pitcher that shows the Riverdale kiddoes getting involved in various moderne-day teenage mishaps, sorta like an update on the old MAD standby "Starchie" taken into full-tilt overdrive. Surprisingly enough I kinda liked it, even if I thought Big Ethel was actually attractive here 'stead of the dog she used to be in the comics...howevah, the guy who played Jughead looked real enough for my own personal tastes and really deserves some sorta special award for his rather mixed up, cringe-inducing portrayal of Archie's long-time best friend. This actually won some Canuckian internet award which, if anything, goes to show ya that the spirit of SCTV lives on somewhere, somewhat "up there."


Of course if this is too "bad taste" for ya maybe this pilot for an ARCHIE television series will do you right. Dunno if the '64 date given is accurate unless William Schallert was thinking of doing a quick exit from THE PATTY DUKE SHOW, but it's still a nice li'l slice of what might have been (and perhaps what thankfully wasn't since this particular Archie is so...un-Archie-like!) had somebody decided to take the bait and get this idea into production. Perhaps it's too DOBIE GILLIS all over, but where do you think Max Shulman got the idea for that 'un inna first place?!?!?

Sure some of the casting seems strange enough (Schallert is nothing like the plump 'n bald comic Mr. Andrews) but getting Wilma Flintstone herself Jean Vanderpyl as Archie's mom was a snat move if you ask me. And hey, that's none other than Ralph Monroe, Mary Grace Canfield, as Miss Grundy so if I were you I'd just settle back and enjoy it because hey, if she could get a role in this 'un you know it's gonna be a boss half-hour of sitcom jollies 'n not just another excuse to present half-assed humor and pseudophilosophical goo as quality entertainment. And as you know we've had enough of that these last umpteen years!

Gotta go...boy was that a struggle to type out! I guess my budding Alzheimer's is starting to get the best of me, but hopefully I'll be recovered enough to present for you something a li'l less analesque (and perhaps more cognitive) next weekend. Until then, as they say in Holland don't take any wooden shoes!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Here's a silent moom double feature for all of you jungle bums out there presented to us courtesy of Grapevine Video (see link on left) or in my case Bill Shute, a man who knows what'll make me sit in front of the boob tube to watch a film. And dollars to dillweeds it sure ain't THE LADY WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO or any of those flickers that used to make Roger Ebert skid shorts even at a time when he had considerable control of his nether regions!

The first flick's a 1913 effort only a half-hour in length about this gal living in Africa with her explorer father who seems to like the flora and fauna, if not the fact that she's millions of miles away from any sorta sensible feminine hygiene. Anyway, the gal comes across a buncha guys from the Barlum (no sic) Circus on the hunt for Thor, the legendary Lord of the Jungle lion! Soon both Thor and the gal (named "Gene"...well at least it wasn't Ralph Monroe!) are in Ameriga with the circus, and as you can guess both are really homesick for the old country! When the head of the circus has eyes for Gene and tries to take advantage of her, it's up to Thor to save the day and he does so in the most grisly way possible!

As for the original 1918 version of Tarzan with Elmo Lincoln in the lead role well, this film does figure into my own growing up years because in December of 1973 my father finally decided, after a whole lotta prodding, to put an antenna on the roof of our house 'stead of just stick a UHF corner reflector/bow-tie in the rafters of our garage because he didn't want to keep paying some repairman to fix the thing everytime a strong wind blew into town. At that time we only got one station in clear, one fuzzy yet watchable, and two so fuzzy that half the time they'd be blizzarded outta existence. Well, on that late-autumn cold and blustery Saturday around five or so in the afternoon we finally turned on the tee-vee to see what kind of reception we were now getting, and not only did we pick up the local stations crystal clear but distant ones I wasn't even familiar with at the time and as you can tell by now my life was forever changed.

Anyway to make a long story short we just happened to be pulling in Cle PBS station WVIZ channel 25 well enough to get a fuzzy picture with sound, and since it was the top of the hour an ad for the movie that was to appear on the OLD MOVIES, THE GOLDEN ERA  program that evening was being aired. Turns out that moom was none other than what else but the original 1918 version of TARZAN OF THE APES, and naturally old thing-loving me waited the rest of the day with baited breath to see this film considering how I harbored an interest in things like old films even at a time long before I discovered that a good portion of the guys who were into old movies weren't exactly the kind you'd like to meet up with in a gang shower or trough urinal. But hey I was fourteen, and they weren't teaching stuff like this in sex education like they shoulda so what did I know!

Not-so-surprisingly enough, by the time it was ready to be aired wouldn't ya know it but the signal fizzed out for good! This came to be a frustrating experience for me, considering how sometimes I would be able to get channel 25 in clear enough to watch such movies as Lon Chaney's THE PENALTY and at least the first fifteen minutes of THE CAT AND THE CANARY, but most of the time the signal would be so faint that I could barely make out the futuristic flying machines in THINGS TO COME or the extreme closeups and grotesque medieval faces in THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC.

Almost forty years later wouldn't you know it, but I finally got to see TARZAN in its entirety (the take from FRACTURED FLICKERS does not count!) and gotta admit that it's a pretty good sit-through even for a doof like myself who grew up watching the Johnny Weismuller version on Sunday afternoon tee-vee. Elmo Lincoln may look ridiculous as the Ape Man with that fright wig and barrel chested physique, but he does come off convincingly primitive enough. I guess the story comes close enough to the original (or at least what I could get from the graphic novel that came out around the time this was being aired), and I for one felt that the effort was rather noble considering just how many liberties Hollywood takes with the original mangling it in their own sickoid image.

Yeah the humans in ape suits do detract a bit, but at least they stick some real ones in among 'em just to give it a li'l air of respectability if not an air of breathableness! And not only that, but you homo readers'll really get a kick (as well as something else!) outta the scene where a young Tarzan (played pretty expressively by Gordon Griffith) runs around buck nekkid and you get to see a whole lotta his tanned rear end! There's something in TARZAN OF THE APES for everybody no matter how decayed they are in the grey matter area, and watching something like this does remind me of the days when your local PBS station wasn't just another outlet for educational kiddie shows and boring theatre, but aired honest to goodness fun films and surprises like this and nobody seemed to complain! Of course hardly anybody was watching, but that mere fact made it something special for turdburgers like us ifyaknowaddamean...

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Doc said I should go on a diet, and diet I did. In fact I've lost about thirty pounds already even if for me losing thirty pounds is akin to Coraopolis PA losing thirty Italians, but trudge on I do on the fruit 'n yogurt diet where three days during the week I eat nothing but that 'n only that and the other three just watch my reg'lar intake. TRANSLATION: three days a week I feel like the Skipper longing for a "nice, juicy steak" and the other four I eat rather sparingly because my stomach has shrunk to the point where even a bowl of cereal for breakfast'll keep it swelled until it's time for my evening repast of soup broth and crackers.

Needless to say nighttime dreams have been overcome with those of food instead of the usual murder/revenge ones that usually permeate my subconscious. Sometimes I will have a dream where I'm privy to some of the tastiest fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy, only to wake up to find a giant pool of slobber all over my pillow. Gives a totally new meaning to the term "wet dream." Surprisingly enough most of the time I wake up without any pangs of hunger in my guts, although a good hour or two later I sure wouldn't mind downing a bag of White Castle burgers in order to fill the crater that used to be known as my stomach.

In honor of those days where I don't have to follow a strict dietary regimen comes this article featuring just a few of the tasty tidbits that I have been eating and, in some cases, enjoying. Of course indulging in too much of these platters can not only put a dent into my diet but my pocketbook, so please keep in mind that it's not like I'm eating the following foodstuffs on a daily basis, or weekly for that matter. Believe-you-me, most of these foods are plainly an occasional pleasure that I partake of on special occasions, the next one undoubtedly being the beginning of planting season next week. So whenever you're in the mood to celebrate either St. Swithin's Day or Roky Erickson's birthday or Eric Shute's for that matter (they're all of the SAME DAY which makes for an excuse for one big celebration!) feel free to use today's post as a guide to gullet filling pleasure. Just don't tip off my doctor, savvy?

LONG JOHN SILVER'S FISH, CHICKEN AND ONION RINGS PLATTER-now, I usually don't go for the costlier items that pop up on a drive-through restaurant's menu, but I was sooooo hungry and sometimes my stomach can feel bigger than my pocketbook. Not only that, but the thought of batter-dipped onion rings did sound rather enticing, so throwing caution to the wind I went and ordered this kit 'n caboodle hoping for a nice lunchtime gulpdown. Well, all I can really say is, if you want a meal that'll stay with you for the rest of the day you can't do better'n this!

Maybe it was meant for TWO people to eat, but after the second piece of fish my gall bladder was beggin' for mercy in Roberto Duran "no mas" fashion. Not wanting to waste food I did gobble the whole thing up, though the grease factor did play havoc with my entire digestive tract to the point where not only did I decide to mow the yard after things settled down quite a bit (hoping the activity would help calm the gastronomical turmoil) but all I had for dinner was, besides about three large glasses of Sprite Zero to douse the flames, a tube of frozen yogurt ("Splashy Strawberry" flavor) and an ice cream bar! A meal to share with about three other friends, or maybe they can serve this to all of those starving kids you used to see on those old CARE commercials. At least it'll prove to 'em that there are more important things to life than food!
McRIB-Don't usually eat at McDarnold's anymore since my funds are low and waist is massive, but I was kinda hungry one day and wasn't exactly looking forward to eating a brier patch. Drove through and, since the buy an extra Quarter Pounder special was on Monday and it was too late in the day to buy a Steak Burrito, I decided to get the McRib which has come back for yet another limited run at the home of the Golden Starches (as we used to say).

It's a very messy sandwich, so if you drive and eat like I do you'll get globs of the sweet bar-b-q sauce all over your snazzy jacket. Otherwise it's merely passable, kinda reminding me of those Army k-rations with the hunk of bbq pork that comes in the pouch. I kinda like that in my own way but as far as Army food goes my fave is the omelette, as long as they have some hot sauce to put on it and maybe some shredded White Cheddar to top it off with. I've been told that NOBODY but nobody likes the omelette which I guess means that I might have made the best soldier of all time given how I'm the only stroon in the toilet who goes for that calorie-laden food that was made sometime during the Taft administration! As for McRib, it might be a good sit at home meal along with an order of fries to balance it off and a cold soda to help douse the spicy aftertaste so you don't keep burping this up during your evening hours of relaxation, but it ain't like I'm gonna find out until they bring this samwitch back!
ANDY CAPP HOT FRIES AND FUNYONS-And speaking of fries... For years Andy Capp has been known as a once-funny English import to the comic strip pages that, like most comics, is hardly worth reading these days. At least the loafer's legend lives on in a series of corn/potato-based snacks shaped like thin french fries coming in cheese, barbeque and hot flavors. I first knew about the latter way back in the seventies when a younger cousin of mine swore by 'em, and thirtysome years later I can see his point. Hot and spicy's the word, not enough to burn a hole through your esophagus but enough to induce small bumps of blackheads around your mouth. A good enough he-man snack that's not for the flitzy-litzy types who hold their cup and saucer with their pinkies sticking up.

If you can't find Hot Fries the old Funyons standby will do. Onion ring shaped corn/potato mixture with onion seasoning...a good idea and worth it even if you wanna pick up the cheap imitation they sell at Aldi's. When I was a child I thought the world of these and considering how new they were on the market they most definitely were a gourmet item for the pre-pubescent crowd. Today they're as much a part of the landscape as illegitimate children and can be enjoyed by not only the very rich but scuzzos like you! Heck, they're even good for things other than snacking...say you're out of real onions for your hamburger...well just sneak a few Funyons on and you won't know the difference. Outta breadcrumbs for your meatloaf? Just crush a few bags 'n mix it in...the kids won't know a thing! Crumble some up and stick it in your soup if you're out of crackers! Sheesh, I dunno who invented these, but if the guy just didn't get a Nobel Prize (or at least Betty Crocker Award) for this invention there must be no justice in this world!

SAD NOSTALGIC NOTE-I'm old enough to remember when BUGLES were introduced back inna mid-sixties, and at the time the "roast corn" come-on being used to hype these miniature STAR TREK interstellar space suck 'em ups was enough to get me pestering momsy to get 'em as soon as they hit the aisles. Unlike PIZZA WHEELS which was introduced at the same time, BUGLES has lasted well into the present and exists not only in its original form, but cheddar cheesed and barbequed and even coated in caramel if you so desire. I decided to buy some for purely nostalgic purposes and found 'em to be rather salty and oily making for a less 'n stellar eating experience. All I wanted to do after eating these was sit like a sick lump in front of the television and watch GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, and they don't even show that anywhere anymore!
YUMMY POTATO LATKES!-I've made these many a time thanks to the miracle of Maneshevitz, but Jewamongyou's blog (see link on left) had a post on cooking 'em from scratch a few months back and I naturally decided to give these potato pancakes a try in a money-saving move! The guy who does that blog didn't have a set recipe for it and recommended that we try our own variations, so here goes...first, peel and shred about three or four medium potatoes or two biggies or a whole buncha pee wee ones...whatever you have available. Then get a medium-sized onion and stick it in one of those mincing machines until it's all chopped into small pieces.  Then break about four or so eggs and beat 'em up real good in a bowl, then add a heaping teaspoon of either all purpose flower and some backing powder, or bisquick if you got it, as well as yet another heaping teaspoon of matzo meal. Mix well, add the potatoes and onion, some salt and pepper, and then mix it all until it's evenly gooey. Now, drop some of it into a hot frying pan with oil (I used olive oil and some margarine) and fry until nice 'n brown on both sides. I used a non-stick pan to avoid the usual gaffes. Makes about ten small cakes or five big ones if you're stuffing your face. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Important note---if you do decide to make some bigguns it'd be best to microwave 'em for about a minute before gobbling down because sometimes the innards aren't quite as cooked as they should be. Got stuck with one that was kinda raw inside yesterday and well, you wouldn't want that to happen to you now, wouldja.

Sour cream goes with 'em swell-like, and although applesauce is recommended even in conjunction with the sour cream I decided not to use any. Y'see, applesauce reminds me of my school cafeteria days (yech!), and  if there's anything that I hate its having those memories of degradation and getting it from everybody from fellow students to teachers without fair and due process, and do I mean it! That's why I even avoid using blue ballpoint pens these days...the memories are just too painful!
Jimi whips out more'n his python!
CAP'N CRUNCH-Sometimes you're whole hog for something then you "outgrow" it, only to come back to the thing as an aging fanabla because it reminds you of your lost youth (see BUGLES comments above). CAP'N CRUNCH is yet personal slip back into the funziness of kid days gone by that I try to recapture (at least the good parts) even though too much water ran under the bridge back in the good old days or something like that. Heck, I remember the first time I had the was on the exact same day that the Beatles first appeared on THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW and my family happened to get hold of some free samples (about the same size as a Kellogg's Snack Pack box) which were actually consumed as a dessert after we downed our traditional Sunday night fried weenies and baked beans! Of course that did not prepare any of us for the Fab Four's appearance later that evening, but the memories of eating CAP'N CRUNCH and my dad yelling at the tee-vee in over-the-top anger are firmly etched in my mind.

The sweet, corny taste really sent me, as did the fact that the commercials were made by the Jay Ward people meaning they were more or less condensed versions of the same ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS humor that's been on the tube perennially ever since the late-fifties. I wonder if my abandonment of the cereal has to do with the post-Ward revamping of the television commercials, but by the time I was sixteen it wasn't like I particularly was paying attention to such details and besides, even with Crunch Berries it wasn't like I was that big of a fan of the cereal or even breakfast anymore.

But considering that a box of the stuff had somehow entered our abode as of late I naturally had a bowl, and the taste was so happy memories good that I have another and another until we were all out and in no way would I touch the Honey Bunches of Oats! I mean, it was so good in the way that whenever I eat the stuff I reminisce about them days of yore running around in my stocking feet yellin' at my sister while some cartoon would be blarin' onna tee-vee and all I ever cared about were my toy dinosaurs and Matchbox cars. I know, I do live the exact same existence lo these many years later (with rock fanzines and records replacing the aforementioned) but eating CAP'N CRUNCH makes it all the more relevant. Local varieties at budget prices will also do.

And hey, if anyone out there ever had any CAP'N CRUNCH SHIP SHAKE (which used to go by a slightly different name amidst the third graders in my school) can ya tell me what it was supposed to be anyway???
TOOTSIE POP DROPS!-I vividly remember when I first head about these wonders during the summer of 1971 when, during some prime time ABC program, a guy dressed up like Unca Sam (this being during the Silent Majority patronize the rubes with patriotic push days) was peddling this unique idea of miniaturized Tootsie Pops without the sticks! And just like Sam said, I actually rushed down to the corner shop to see if they had any, that's how hot I was on a treat that I thought would replace Life Savers as the food to carry in my snot ragged pockets!

They didn't have 'em that night, but soon Tootsie Pop Drops were the biggest thing to hit candydom since Pixie Sticks. And they're still around and proliferating candy counters from here to Fredonia and back which of course makes me a happy little hypoglycemic. Unfortunately there's no more Lemon inna bunch, but they still have chocolate, cherry, grape, orange and now "blue raspberry" which tastes like your fifth grade science project but I ain't complainin'. I only eat 'em first and save the other (better) ones for later. And fortunately for us the taste remains the same, and one suck'll bring back those fond memories of when you were a kid'n you got a freebee Tootsie Pop at the shoe store 'stead of the uninspiring Dum Dums they still push on you at banks and life insurance waiting rooms. One of the few things we have left that connects us to our prepubescent pimplefarm blob days, so don't forsake it!
HOTCHA DELICIOUS TREAT TO GET YOU THROUGH THEM COLD WINTER MONTHS (OR HOT WINTER MONTHS IF YOU SO DESIRE)!-I'm not whatcha'd call a drinker of hot beverages considering how they always burn my esophagus when I gulp 'em down fast (and hey, when I drink something I do it because I'm thirsty, not to warm the cockles of my heart!), but here's a hot drink that not only keeps me warm these chilly days but actually tastes pretty good too. You've probably noticed how the grocery stores have been selling apple cider (which unfortunately has been pasteurized...if you can find some of the kind that has the propensity to turn hard then you're in luck!) not only during the autumn months but year 'round...well, get some, pour it into a microwave-safe bowl (hopefully one with a handle), sprinkle a little cinnamon in it and zap the thing until it's as hot as you want it. If you have a sweet tooth like me, stir in a little sugar or saccharine (or any other artificial sweetener as long as its the kind that doesn't lose its potency when heated up). Then pour into a mug and sip away! Keeps you warm and really satisfies your tastebuds to boot. Not only that but if you drink enough of it your bowel movements are gonna be nice and carefree, the kind that have you struttin' outta the bathroom feeling as if you're walkin' on a cloud! So for once there is something out there that's good for you which also tastes good, and if I didn't know better I'd say it was all an insidious plot to lure us all into better living. To which I say...well, OK this time!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! THE YIN AND YANG OF MR. GO (1970), directed by Burgess Meredith?!?!?

Kinda strange to see none other'n respected actor Burgess Meredith not only directing, but acting in as well as writing the screenplay for this weirdo spy flick that comes off like some fevered mutation between an NBC "Mystery Movie" and one of those hip "now" films that came off so laughable only a few years later. I mean, this 'un'll certainly get the snobboids snickering into their Neil Gabler FILMS THAT MADE A TOTAL ASSHOLE OUT OF ME collections but hey, I got a whole lot more enjoyment outta it'n I ever got from THE FRANK CAPRA COLLECTION OF TOTAL CORN PASSED OFF AS LIBERAL-ASSUAGING MESSAGE CINEMA and thank heavens fer that!

James Mason (one of many old Hollywood actors trying to make their way through new Hollywood in this film) plays the lead, an ultra-evil half-Chinese/half-Mexican underworld figure on a mission to get hold of the blueprints for an early version of what later would be known as the "Star Wars Missile Defense System" a good ten or so years later. Jeff Bridges (in his first role) plays this draft dodger hanging out in Hong Kong with hotcha gal Irene Tsu who gets to play something a little looser'n the usual cookie cutter roles she had been getting. Also present are Broderick Crawford as the head of the CIA and Peter Lind Hayes as an Amerigan agent who, although expressly stating "I am not a faggot!," gets blackmailed by Go when he was secretly filmed getting some rough 'n tumble humiliation via Bridges, who got a hefty bundle of money for his part in the deal even if he hadda act like a total turd in the process.

Kinda messy true (and I ain't even talking about what Lind Hayes experienced!), and it all gets even more confusing when a CIA agent by the name of Zimmerman enters into the picture and Go takes Bridges for a last ride in a helicopter berfore...all of a sudden...the jewel in the Buddha (as explained in the prologue) alights and Go himself does a 180 becoming the exact opposite of his former dastardly self! I told you this was a jumble, and it gets even more so as the moom progresses and twists and turns more'n a lower intestinal tract making this about as hard to follow as my fifth grade history report on the boxer shorts rebellion!

But still it's a fun one to watch if only for the entertainment value which includes the cheezoid 1970 youth music (it sure ain't rock 'n roll), the Hong Kong nightlife scenery and best of all a few glimpses of Tsu's own suckems, the first time in a quick dressing scene and later on when some dyke attempts to get some nookie off our bound up heroine before Bridges makes his Errol Flynn entrance at the nick of time. Nice to see a respected actress such as her give us a little more exposure to her hidden talents, if you know what I mean.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Although it is bound to offend more than a few of you regular BLOG TO COMM readers, I must mention the previous week's passing of a lady of great historical importance, a woman of controversy who has divided people like few others have or ever will. A person who has changed the course of history by her sheer (shall I say) talent and might, one who even to this day will bring out either the utmost of praise for her mere existence or the most loathsome of sneers from many a quarter (or even a dime and a few pennies too). I know that even the mere mention of her name will bring forth a torrent of profane catcalls from those who've had to endure her during her reign, but then again I know many others will raise hosannas believing her to have been one of the leading lights, if not the beaming beacon that she was, during the second portion of the twentieth century. And you can bet your bottom butthole that we're never going to see the likes of her again no bout a doubt it!

I remember first finding out about Annette Funicello back when I was about eight years old and reading some old PEANUTS collection containing a cartoon where Linus cries in a particularly angst-filled exasperation "ANNETTE FUNICELLO HAS GROWN UP!!!!" Not getting the joke since I didn't know who Annette was I asked my mother just that, and although what I was told didn't mean anything special it at the time at least her name did plant a seed that would flourish once I began noticing lumpy sweaters in a few years' time. Of course watching various "nostalgia" specials and clips from the original MICKEY MOUSE CLUB had me drooling, not over Annette's pre-teen cutesitude, but because the show looked so hotcha and by that time all they were offering me on afternoon tee-vee was Virginia Graham and the same repeats over 'n over again ad infinitum! Talk about being born too I was old enough to appreciate these types of pre-"relevance" kiddie programs and they were either off the air for good or considered total cornball hokum by the same crowd that was gobbling up NANNY AND THE PROFESSOR!

But still, what teenager out there didn't spend the seventies watching a variety of AIP beach movies with or without Annette being aired on weekend tee-vee just thinking up all sorts of dirty thoughts you just couldn't get looking at the kinda seventies gals who were sitting in front of ya during Civics class. Yeah, the mid-sixties were perhaps the last age of hot lady-likeness before hippies and women's libbers took body hair growth to great heights, and just one look at Annette and her wholesome sexuality is enough to make one long for the days when yeah, you got all excited over calves and thighs and bare arms, but at least they weren't covered with tattoos and shiny doohickies!

Unlike many in her profession who do nada but irritate (especially these days when it's pretty hard to tell entertainers from loud-mouthed relatives who like to start arguments over politics) Annette was classy. I mean, she never acted in any John Waters films even though he actually expressed the desire to direct her. And I don't recall her getting all activist when it became the chic thing to do. Well, at least she didn't have to live it all down like too many faux revolutionary types who looked silly only a few years after the radical days gave way to the age of duh sometime in the early-seventies!

And so Annette, we hotcha UHF-watching junkfood-eating suburban slobs salute you not only for your great efforts in illuminating the cathode tube with rerun fun for all of us, but for helping us pimplefarms think of gals as something other'n whiny blobs that smelled funny. And who knows, maybe if more kids were tuning in for BEACH BLANKET BINGO on sunny Saturday afternoons 'stead of engaging in athletic competitions we'd have more he-men around 'stead of  guys who like to spend their time in close physical proximity with each other, ifyaknowaddamean...
Not much in the BRAND SPANKING NEW department to tell you about this week, and not necessarily because of a lack of moolah on my part either! Obviously there just ain't as much music that matters in my life being popped out these days, so until a number of orders of music that does comes my way (just sent for one promising platter while another respected biz is taking their good ol' time for reasons I do not know) I guess I'll just have to rely on the occasional Bill Shute package which is BOUND to get the mind juice flowing! If you think all is lost rockism-wise you are wronger than wrong for I do have some interesting items lined up for future analysis, but it sure ain't like it was back when we wuz young and there were fifty hotcha items coming out each week that were more or less custom made for our way of listenin'. Nowadays we're lucky if we can muster up a few hot spinners a month and well...gee, I don't wanna go soundin' like the same kinda wretch who used to bore everybody but me with tales of just how snat music, films and radio were back when they were kids inna thirties even though everyday life was sadder 'n anything you'd have to endure today...but I will.


Not-so-surprisingly enough, spinning this disque (which just hadda've been compiled right off the top of Bill Shute's fertile imagination) on a Sunday afternoon reminded me of the old days when definitely pre-rock 'n roll era musics would get played on the AM dial or, in this case, reminds me of what just about every radio station south of the Mason/Dixon must have been playing in heavy rotation at least until playlists became homogenized beyond belief. Local c&w spinners abound which all have that patented steel guitar slide and moan. Contains two versions of that weeper "Can I Take My Pony to Heaven" as well as a cornballus Christmas cut entitled "Christmas Time is a Merry Time" (complete with irritating faux kiddie vocal) as well as the all-out whomper "Your Atom Bomb Heart" by Hank King which I'll bet some ditzy teenager listened to in preparation for his school finals sometime back in 1957 (and hey I would know, since I used to do the exact same thingie!).
John Coltrane-MORE LIVE AT THE SHOWBOAT 1963 CD-R burn (originally on BLR Records, Europe)

Audience quality only enhances the roughness of this live sesh which, for the first three-and-a-half tracks, features Coltrane in a trio setting with Jimmy Garrison and Roy Haynes. You can't even hear Garrison meaning this comes about as close to INTERSTELLAR SPACE as one could hope for, and a good four years beforehand too."Impressions" suffers from a lack of Dolphy but I won't complain that much. Features tracks rarer'n a white man on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard as well as Coltrane taking his turn on piano doing a more'n passable job at it too. Actually a good place if you're just starting, and in fact perhaps thee roughest Coltrane I've had the pleasure of listening to in quite some time.

Anudder poe poe ree of various strange things Bill thought I should listen to, but for what reason I do not know! A real mess here from cornballus horror (Thurl Ravenscroft's "Loch Ness Monster") to fun fifties frolix (Castle Kings' "You Can't Get Him Frankenstein") to sixties garage band rock (the Exotics' "Come With Me") and country crankouts (Cal Shrum's "Shut The Door" and "Apple Blossom Waltz" from TROUBLE AT MELODY MESA). Bill even threw some early rock 'n roll cash-in caga and (get this!) kiddie records that remind me of my earliest of early days when I thought those old scratchoid yellow records featuring various famed fairy tales were on par with the Beatles and Kinks! Well, back then a whole lotta things used to run together like a rather sloppy breakfast and come to think of it sometimes it was hard to tell a Beatles record from a kiddie tale spinner, especially those that were recorded during the Fab Four's later days!

I dunno, maybe I shoulda given this one to my dad to review. After all, he used to listen to the Duke of Paducah way back when, and I get the feeling that he'd appreciate the Duke's hayseed jokes a lot more'n I ever would. Historical enough slice of pre-slickazoid country humor  from the days when these country music types didn't try hiding their hickdom and in fact flaunted it, unlike today when c&w is just as by numbers as every other brand of music that one could care to think of, and that includes the underground gunk you're obviously listening to right now, you masochistic little boy you!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

BOOK REVIEW! THE GUMPS (the saga of Mary Gold) by Sidney Smith (IDW/The Library of American Comics, 2013)

You may not realize it now, but back when the Tom Carr/Mary Gold storyline was running in an ever-growing host of newspapers nationwide, THE GUMPS were perhaps one of if not thee biggest comic strips appearing on the printed page. No foolin', it was as popular as LI'L ABNER and PEANUTS were during their respective heights back in the days before the funny page, along with newspapers in general, became outclassed and outmoded in a new and less appealing age. It's kinda funny noting that such a famous strip (so much that more'n a few Tijuana Bibles featured the Gump fambly in risque situations, a sign of a strip's all-over popularity if you ask me!) is all but forgotten today because if it weren't for Jay Lynch swiping head Gump Andy as the model for his own Nard of NARD 'N PAT fame I don't think anybody'd even  know who Andy Gump was! And come to think of it does anybody even remember Nard this far down the line either?

But throughout the twenties and well into the thirties (at least before creator Sidney Smith was killed in an automobile accident and the guy who did DONDI took it over), THE GUMPS was definitely uber-popular funny paper reading. This was undoubtedly so because Smith really tapped into the early-twentieth century mid-Amerigan swing of things with his down-to-earth 'n quite lovable characters who seemed just about as real as any early-twentieth century bred Amerigan types who are now about as long gone as your own relatives who used to exemplify the same close knit love 'n concern. The Gumps in fact were a real family that Smith met and thusly put to ink, headed up by the former Andy Wheat (who legally changed his name to Gump during the strip's success), a man who had the misfortune of losing his lower jaw after an infected tooth ran rampant making me wonder if his own story didn't inspire P.J. O'Rourke to write a piece for THE NATIONAL LAMPOON BOOK OF COMICAL FUNNIES (scroll down, as they say) regarding "real life" names in the news who inspired such famed strips as DICK TRACY, HENRY, POPEYE and LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE. Wife Min was a nice, sweet lady (and pretty sexy looking with her twenties 'do), the kind you never see today with the tattoo, body piercing and fat roll anti-femininity trend overtaking womanhood while son Chester didn't seem to hang around much probably because he was getting into his own adventures in the Sunday topper strip. Infant Goliath was a weirditie though, a baby with no special character or power who looks more or less like a prototype for Ziggy a good fortysome years later.

But whaddeva, Smith sure had the funny-reading unwashed by the fanablas with this serio-comical strip, one which was picking up papers by the score especially during the Mary Gold installments that comic strip snobs consider the height of the strip's 1917-1959 run. In typical pre-World War II fashion, long before glitz and high-falutinness captured the attentions of people with very little, throngs were following the adventures of comic strips such as THE GUMPS and living vicariously through these characters so much to the point where many would write in offering their own sage advice to Mary, or tell Smith to deal some much needed justice regarding Tom Carr's own sad predicament which I guess was bugging more than a few who just couldn't take the downright tension this strip was dealing out with such masochistic aplomb.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. THE SAGA OF MARY GOLD for the most part was a GUMPS tale that ran from May 1 1928 until May 3rd of the following year. Collected it reads like a graphic novel even if the first few months are "introductory" (showing the Gold family settling in next door the Gumps) but when the saga gets rolling with the introduction of local inventor/goodguy Tom Carr things begin to mesh to the point where you can see just why people would be living day-to-day for the next installment just like they would for a serial at the local theatre. I mean I'm surprised that people weren't going  nutzoid waiting for the next day's paper to appear the way Smith builds up the momentum playing his audience for every emotional tug, romantic yearn and plot twist he could stand to muster up!

Without giving too much away here's the deal...Carr's an amateur inventor who just happens to fancy the young and winsome Mary Gold. Seems that Henry Ausstinn, the playboy son of a local banker and up-'n-comer all over the place kinda guy, also has eyeballs for Gold's precious juices. Anyhoo Carr's big brainstorm invention is a perpetual motion machine (makes me wonder if Ayn Whatzername didn't swipe this plot device when she wrote ATLAS SHRUGGED) which promises to bring in not only millions but Gold herself, and not surprisingly the once-skeptical Andy is impressed enough to back the inventor with a hefty $10,000.

Seeing Carr as competition to get outta the way asap, Ausstinn first accuses Carr of stealing the perpetual motion idea then, after getting a well-deserved whomping from Carr and seething with revenge, overhears the combination to the safe where Andy and Carr are stashing away the money and attempts to swipe it if only to get Carr into deep doody. Of course there are other circumstances not-so-extenuating, like Carr's no-account brother on the run from the Mob who, after discovering Ausstinn swiping the money out of the safe knocks the scoundrel out and stashes the stash, but it all rolls on like a snowball getting bigger 'n bigger from there. Carr, after making himself scarce for a few months, is put on trial and not surprisingly there's even more dastardly deeding on the part of the played-as-a-grade-A-prick-to-the-hilt Ausstinn to the point where you'd think that mobs of people would be on the loose attacking men who even looked remotely like him, sort of in the same way various film heavies would occasionally get punched out by avid viewers who were having a hard time separating fact 'n fantasy.

And it's a pretty enveloping twist and turn from there even with the comic asides (I guess Smith hadda break the tension somehow!) up until the bitter end which, while it won't make you wanna cry or even get a lump in your throat, is enough to make you remember the power that the comic page once had back when Dick Tracy'd leave bad guys laying in a pool of their own blood or Al Capp would spoof the latest atrocity in the annals of Amerigan living with a particularly biting satirical edge. Read this all the way through and, in between marveling at the fine pen artwork and lack of continuity (I guess Smith was hoping that people wouldn't remember certain occurrences from months back which make no sense once certain important plot twists happen), get yourself a hefty does of good ol' days entertainment done up in such a melodramatic way that I'm sure even D. W. Griffith himself wished he coulda worked this into one of his features!

(Two questions do remain though...the first being what was the purpose of "The Eagle," the Wild West bounty hunter who was on the search for Tom Carr only to accidentally kill himself while cleaning his pistol in the January 7 1929 strip [a plot device which is mentioned almost as a casual aside]? After months of this shadowy figure being on the periphery of the story being shown on the trail of Carr and at times having entire strips devoted to him, he's suddenly out of the picture ne'er to be heard from or mentioned again! And after such a grand build up too. I get the idea that Smith originally had The Eagle written into the story then, after coming up with an even better plot device, decided to drop him like a bird turd but like I said continuity wasn't exactly something that could be relied upon in this strip! And while I'm at it, and this part deserves a SPOILER ALERT so if you actually wanna dish out the moolah to enjoy this saga nice 'n fresh-like stop reading here, bad guy Ausstinn actually escapes punishment for his vile deeds after he breaks out of his jail cell and, as far as I know, is never caught! Maybe he did get his just cagas in a later story, but here he pretty much becomes beyond the reach of the long arm of the law even though his name is lower'n Anastasia Pantsios' titties. Guess that mighta been another loose end the Smith forgot to tie up, though given how Smith built the guy up to be the heel of the year you think Ausstinn would have met a particularly nice 'n grisly end now, wouldn't ya?)

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Maybe I should say a few words about the recent passing of film critic Roger Ebert considering how both he and I were pretty much in the same line of business, even though his forte was film and mine music and he was a big time critic and I a mere fan. Given my mixed feelings regarding the man and his work/persona with a special animosity directed towards his later years, I will admit that I was planning a piece that might have rivaled H. L. Mencken's infamous William Jennings Bryan obit. Maybe I will...we'll see how I'm feeling a few paragraphs from now after I really get rolling. Really, just because someone is dead doesn't mean that we have to say nothing but niceties about him which I know will be the case once I do the ol' 86-ing myself, but then again I could care less what lesser minds will say about me. I get the feeling that I ain't gonna be collecting any postmortem writeups in a scrap book, y'know.

Gotta admit that there are some honestly beneficial things that can be said about the famed film scribe, at least regarding what I perceived of his earlier years before he settled comfortably into snobbish upper-crust respectability. Coming up from humble fanzine beginnings in the late-fifties, Ebert did seem level-headed enough to the point that he, while writing for the University of Illinois student paper, defended none other than Revilo Oliver (not exactly a poster boy for protected political speech) after Oliver wrote his controversial articles regarding the JFK assassination. And could you think of any "established" college rag in the country that would take such a pointed stand in these days of metastasized reverse discrimination? Ebert's tastes in moom pitchers were admittedly rather all-encompassing to the point where he could freely (and without much put on high horse shame) fess up to liking everything from mainstream goo to low-budget crank outs even if he sometimes veered off straight into the realms of Judith Crist sophistacado (though said tastes also came close to those of Michael Weldon's from time to time, so why complain?). And hey, I used to actually love it when, on SNEAK PREVIEWS, he'd take the piss outta the more laid-back Gene Siskel who seemed to ooze sweaty sticky substances from his pores when experiencing melodramatic goo...I mean it was sure refreshing to see somebody stick up for the rough and tumble in an era when men were only starting to become extremely feminized to the point where you could see the concave cleft in their jockeys from time to time!

Yeah, but that was like uh, back in the seventies and eighties before people like Ebert, along with alla 'em comedians and news commentators who seemed so cutting edge and roaring against the bulwarks of The Establishment, turned out to be even BIGGER Establishment boosters'n any of us would have thought in the first place. Y'know, kinda like the way everybody though that George Carlin was the voice raving against alla that Big Business corruption and the Powers That Be, until we discovered that he was but a spokesman for the Big Boys who when you get down to it were really just as radical/amoral as Carlin. Kinda reminds me of this story David Brenner used to tell about these two brothers in Philadelphia who, although owning stores adjacent to each other, were bitter enemies and rivals for years competing and undercutting each other in every which way possible. Years later after both brothers had died it was discovered they were actually working together fooling all the locals and raking in the money because of their seemingly bitter rivalry! That's just how the likes of Ebert (along with all of those SNL/talk show host types) first presenting themselves as smash the state revolutionary types (cleaned up enough for network television viewing natch!) before they decided that BEING the state and loving their concept of Big Brother wasn't such a bad idea after all.

So Ebert the young upstart hipster, like the rest of his sycophantic generation, became just another variation on the socially aware and crusading Carrie Nation mode writing lame-brained screeds against any real or perceived enemy of "da people," taking on the likes of a variety of fluff commentators like Bill O'Reilly and of course those evil hoodoos known as The Tea Party with some of the most patronizing and smug "I know better than you" fashion straight outta the do-gooder uplifter mentalities of the early twentieth century. (Kinda makes me wanna know what he'd have thought of some of the more forceful rightists of the day from Justin Raimondo to John Derbyshire, but perhaps they would have been too far from the periphery of his ken.) It's enough to make you puke, and that's not only regarding the lofty attitude so inherent in those who belong to the beret and bidet crowd that Ebert ascribed to even if he wouldn't think so. But oh man, I haven't experienced this much  condescension since grade school!

Yeah Roger, you were good at one time but that's before you became a pussy whipped whelp of a human being who, after wandering around the rim of social sanctimony for years on end, finally fell into the toilet bowl and became a mewling sycophant for that Even NEWER World Order that's obliterating all that was good and just even as we speak. Yeah, another relic of what was good about tuning into PBS before that entire network along with you and your statist generation became nothing but one big back-patting self-congratulatory circle jerk. Big shit, for the last umpteen years of his life he looked like a ventriloquist dummy with a broken string. Readers, whatever you do, DON'T take the hot radical bait like he and so many of his ilk obviously least when the pendulum swings back us mid-Amerigan suburban slobs will have our day in the sun and we can toss all of these Eberts and unfunny comedians and patronizing ass-felchers they call politicians into the scrapheap of history along with Marx, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, at least after we toss those assholes back in since it's so obvious they're now chicer 'n chic in today's upside down, goodness-loathing world! And until then, go watch a "video nasty" in his memory, I'm sure he would have hated the thought of you even doing so.
Not much to write about review-wise this weekn'd. In fact if you'll notice, all of the items up for reviewsies this week are taken from the Bill Shute collection of fine downloads that he sends my way for reasons known to he and he only. Sad to say, there just ain't that much good stuff being released as of late, and things have gotten to the point where although I can afford to purchase a whole slew of records 'n things that I only could have dreamed of back when I was a depression-era wage kid there just ain't anything that I am aware of being unleashed that I would care to plunk down a wad of hard earned for. Yeah, it's a far cry from thirty-plus years ago when I would have loved to have possessed at least three-fourths of the latest BOMP! catalog but LET'S FACE IT (again), rock 'n roll for all intent purposes is six-feet under and half-decayed by now. And while I'm at it so is avant garde jazz and all of those other boffo musics that made the 20th century so exciting. 'n yeah, all we're really doing now is just ruminating about it like yer pop did about the big bands in 1971, and you know how pathetic he looked back in them days of student unrest!

Really, it's gotten so bad on the musical front that the only order I've placed for any music since February has been for CD-R reissues of items I've had on cassette since the eighties and have wanted to have in digitized form for years. Somehow I get the feeling that I've hit the end of the road and there's nothing more new to hear, but then again when I least expect it some rarity finally hits my ears and gives me hope that maybe there is some life in this modern equivalent of grandpa's Model T. However when all's said and done I pretty much know how Alexander The Great felt when, after he realized there were no more worlds to conquer, all he could do was cry his eyes out.

Unless something drastic happens in the world of what used to be known as rock 'n roll, expect the same old for perhaps the next fifty years. Maybe by then something will spring from a bonafeed anti-establishment (and not a phony anti-estab that's merely a hand puppet of da big boys) that'll spin more'n a few minds, but something tells me that few of us will be around to enjoy it. But until then all you guys who are cranking out the energy (like Fadensonnen and Stephen Painter) keep doing so, and for all you archival types out there keep digging because I'm sure there are many unheralded acts of the past deserving of a second try here in 2013, and a trial they deserve because I've already sentenced most of today's mewls to death row and I really would like to hear something meaningful to my everyday life, even if it was recorded forty years back!


From the Golden Age of Cheapness come these quickie exploito covers that I guess ended up either on free giveaway records that only the poor kids or the ones with tightwad parents got to listen to. You know, remarkable (funhouse) mirror image versions of the hits usually recorded by studio acts with front names like Freddie and the Fanablas or The Young Stroonads. The real low-budget stuff that ties in with that Beatlemania country ripoff album I wrote up awhile back, only that one was a winner in a world of flops. Now this collection ranges from the pretty decent ("One Fine Day") to the halfway-there ("Day Tripper") to the downright ugsville ("Turn Turn Turn," which in this case should be called "Turd Turd Turd") and for a laff riot it's not too bad. If you remember those "just like the original hits" collections that used to run on UHF television throughout the seventies you'll get the idea of what's in store with these grade-z crankouts.

Don't laff...Telly Savalas went to #1 in England with his softly spoken rendition of Bread's "If." Of course the celebs who were tryin' to cash in on their fame and fortune with these single sides didn't fare quite as well, with David McCallum going laughibly over the emote meter and Anthony Quinn using his gruff grumble to talk over some already laid down musical tracks. Of course it ain't all that cheesy, with John Cleese's novelty 45 sprite enough to get you up and running (probably to the lavvy, but up and running enough) and the Goon Show guys trying to give it their best even if they sound kinda datedly dodgy. Oddly enough some reg'lar Top 40 faves were tossed in the heady mix as well as two sides of a Splinter (produced by George Harrison) single, which I believe is Bill's way of daring me to listen through this all the way.
Perry Robinson/Nana Vasconcelos/Badal Roy-KUNDALINI CD-R burn (originally on Improvising Artists)

Even an ignoramus such as I remember when Paul Bley started up the Improvising Artists label back in the late-seventies. That was a specialty jazz label which issued, along with various titles that escape me at the moment, an album of solo Sun Ra piano. This one has longtime free-clarinetist Perry Robinson performing with South American percussionist Nana Vasconcelos as well as Indian tabla player Badal Roy, and as you can gander the results are pretty much in an avant garde meets Third World vein. Basically Robinson playing in that standard cadence of his with rhythms popping all over the place, not quite inspirational or anything but more stirring than a lot of recent free jazz excursions that make me wonder where the inspiration all went, other'n up the participants involved's nostrils.
B. B. King-THE JUNGLE CD-R burn (originally on Kent)

As you may know blooze ain't exactly my #1 choice in pre-beddy bye slip into slumbers listening matters. I will give it a spin of course knowing that it is an important musical phenomenon that contributed to rock 'n roll as we used to know it 'n all, but sheesh if the mental image of loads of mustachioed mirror-shaded whiteguys with scuzzy hair giving substance abuse a bad name just don't pop into my head whenever I heard the form being abused o'er the past thirtysome years! At least these early B. B. King sides recorded in the fifties don't yet have the tinge of commercial smarm and are about as raw as the rest of the fifties brigade when it comes to raw-gut wrench. Hard-edge emote and sharp guitar lines even make me forget that the big band drags King down rather than punctuates his musical jabs.
Thelonius Monk-THE EARLY THELONIOUS MONK CD-R burn (originally on Moon Records, Italy)

The not-so-noted Italian bootleg label Moon somehow got hold of these early Monk live tracks which sound pretty snat considering the Flintstones quality of some of these early club recordings. This is the early, pre-bop Monk at the start of his career playing smooth enough aided 'n abetted by some equally well-known players along the lines of Roy Eldridge and Kenny Clarke. I know that most of you readers prefer your jazz in full-tilt free strata, but these romps through standards 'n such do show us the beginnings of things that were gonna go supernova within the span of a good fifteen years or so.
Curtis Hoback-HEY EVERYBODY CD-R burn (originally on Star- Club, Sweden)

Rockabilly, like da blooze, can muster up images of everything from early innovation to seventies/eighties copycat phonus balonuses, so when I do get to hear some popping on all cylinders examples of the form you can bet that my day feels a little bit brighter'n it would had all I had to listen to was J. Neo Marvin's Violent Femmes jackoffs. These '58-'65 sides by Curtis Hoback do fill the bill as I like to say, and not only because they're solid enough and typify the late-fifties pre-wimp rock style that epitomized the era at its height either! I like 'em because there ain't an ounce of hokum to be heard in the batch! If you like hard-edged tough 'n punky late-fifties rock (think Tony Conn, even a little Jack Starr) you'll be more'n apt to go for this juicy, crazed, outta left field rock 'n roll that goes to show just how far we've "devolved" since stuff like this was ruling the airwaves! (And hey, Hoback's "Lonely Weekend" is the Charlie Rich 'un, and even though Rich's take is tops 'n all Hoback does it up real smooth too and I can osmose to it even without the backing chorus!)
See you with yet another "don't get your hopes up" post mid-week, and until then remember the old adage, "do not be mellow, be CURMUDEONLY!"

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW DOUBLE FEATURE! TWO MISSIONARIES (1974) and WATCH OUT, WE'RE MAD! (1975) starring Terence Hill and Bud Spencer!

Ferget Hope and Crosby...when it comes to buddy-buddy action on the screen with plenty of biff-bang-pow fun you can't beat the team of wopadago western stars Terence Hill and Bud Spencer! Here they are in a coupla hotcha Eyetalian mooms that really pack the pasta for your money, and I gotta say that these flicks really are worth their weight in raviolis! And in this particular pair of mooms the two are out of the buckskins and into some present-day clothing working out some great mid-seventies filmage that was bound to make the backdrop for your local drive in bucket seat action, at least before it hit the boob tube a few years later where I'm sure your unca actually watched the thing unlike you obviously didn't!

I at first thought TWO MISSIONARIES was gonna be one of those religious mooms filled with sanctity and heart-felt messages guaranteed to get you up on your feet and down on your knees at the local church, but it actuality it's a pretty high-larious affair that even the most athie of athiests would get a kick outta. Here Hill and Spencer play a couple of wildguy priests on a small Caribbean island who, besides selling the locals' pepper and parrots on their trip to market, also engage in a little liberation theology of their own when they help not only a young sugar plantation escapee hide from the authorities but free a bunch of slaves being held by a local bigwig! In between all that they engage in a whole load of mischief and some of the best fight scenes filmed since the cancellation of BATMAN, and on a whole I would say that as far as religious mooms go this held up a whole load better'n alla 'em nun flicks that Rosalind Russell used to appear in way back when.

I find WATCH OUT, WE'RE MAD even better'n this already top-notch flick, and as far as seventies comedy action films go it sure beats the fanabla outta alla 'em EAT MY DUSTs and CANNONBALL RALLYs that were obviously ripping these originals off to a "t" (small "t", that is). Hill and Spencer win a much coveted dune buggy which they both suspect each other of wanted to take off with, only the thing gets destroyed when the local mobsters start wrecking the local amusement park because the boss (veteran English tee-vee star John Sharp, aided by his psychiatrist played by Donald Pleasance) wants to build a skyscraper on the property. Naturally the two don't take it all lying down, leading to some pretty funny scenes where they intimidate a local enforcer at the amusement park and joust on motorcycles before it all leads to a pretty neat climax that'll get you all hot and pumping. Strangely enough, I thought this film was supposed to take place in Southern California because the two talk about heading down to San Diego...turns out that it takes place in Spain! Well, I never thought that San Diego California would have had that many sixties European automobiles flying around, not to mention all of those obviously furrin license plates, but I never did imagine that there would be hot dogs sold in Spain either!

Got these courtesy of Bill Shute, who I must thank for making this particular day off a whole lot more pleasant than had I decided to clean the septic tank like I was supposed to have! Thanks a lot Bill, and if you have any more films to wing my way I sure have a whole lot more work not to do around here!