Saturday, August 31, 2013

Barely could crank this 'un out! Lemme tell you, my life really is stuck in real outside stimulation of the ol' back brain t' be found 'round here, and I still gotta rely on ancient Bill Shute packages and deep digs into the record, tape and Cee-Dee archives to sustain any sort of sanity! What's worse, I ain't heard from Brad Kohler since July and that guy usually is as prompt as the landlady one minute before she starts tossing the furniture out onna street...c'mon man, where's that treatise on what was wrong with the first six months of this blog that you were supposed to send me!

Eh, it ain't that bad. At least the musical dry spell has helped me hold on a few bucks that I have planning to go toward my retirement, and the thought of saving six dollars in the here and now which will undoubtedly go towards a colostomy bag fifteen years down the line certainly does put a smile on my thrifty face. But until then it (unfortunately) is scrimp and save time, at least until I come into a li'l spending cash which you know will be thrown down a rat hole, as my father used to say! And a good place for it too I might add!!!

Here's what helped me make it through a rather work and stress-filled, tiring week. Just read it and think of just how better off all you stroonads have it next to my pitiful existence! Don't go sayin' I don't do anything good for you!

Various Artists-ROOKIES ON A PASTRAMI WEEKEND CD-R burn (courtesy Bill Shute)

Bill Shute does it again! And again and again but we won't go into that. However, we will go into this neato-sampler of various rarities and not-sos that really tickle my fancy among other body parts. Starting off with the Jimmy Piersall "Rookie of the Year" single (a song which was covered by none other than Milk!), this disque topsies and turvies into a wide array of styles and moods from the late-fifties instrumental "Honky Tonk Train" by Jack Melick to Cal Smith's country creeper "Lord Knows I'm Drinking" with loadsa points in between. Some interesting surprises abound like the Tymes' "Roscoe Jim McClain" (an outright steal of the Coasters' "Searchin'"), a post-fame Kingsmen side, and Gary US Bonds doing the future Dolls raver "Seven Day Weekend" among others. There's even a recording of the late-fifties ABC kid show UNCLE AL that pops up, and let me tell you that it was a turdbomb!

A few familiar things are present from "Hot Rod High" and "Hot Pastrami" to the Blues Magoos' version of "Jingle Bells," but you wouldn't care because it ain't like you've heard 'em yesterday. And it's all topped off by yet another batcraze cash-in, mainly Adam West's "Miranda" featuring a guest appearance by Burt Ward as "Boy Genius"! A top notch collection in all, but whatever you do don't play "Ring Dang Do" in front of momma. It's durty!
Pink Fairies-CHINESE COWBOYS LIVE 1987 CD (Captain Trip, Japan)

Frankly if you have one of these late-eighties Pink Fairies gigs somewhere in the abode you have 'em all, but this 'un's good enough to buck the trend. Featuring a selection of Wallis-period Fairies faves with the new stuff tossed in (my fave being the Mick Farren/Andy Colquhoun composition "White Girls on Amphetamine"), the performance is high energy exemplary and the sound better'n you'd expect (either) recorded from the audience or a less-than-perfect soundboard. A pretty much non-stop drive through the early-seventies post-psychedelic English underground that doesn't let up, making me wonder what else there is available that I've been missing out on lo these many years...
Ohm-LIVE AT THE CROWN CD-R (Last Visible Dog)

Purchased from Eddie Flowers (who really knows his noise) a good decade-plus back, this forty-minute trek through the stratum is one piece of music that really should get out a lot more than it has. Basically an electronic (in the late-sixties fashion) extended jam, this one has possibilities. As transcendental as a 1966 Family Dog Tribal Stomp, an Exploding Plastic Inevitable, a Wayne McGuire "Universal Musical Form," or even a krautrock group from 1971 nobody's ever heard of. Starts off soft yet foreboding before enveloping you in a wall of feedback guitar and primal pounce. I wouldn't mind hearing more by this act, though I do get the sneaking suspicion that it wouldn't measure up to the driving drone they emit on this burnt offering.
John Fahey-WOMBLIFE CD (Table of the Elements)

I have been neglecting the Fahey/Basho/Bull side of sixties stringbending for quite awhile, so I thought I'd dig this obscuro out from the archives of forgotten compact disquewear that sorta got shuffled in between the hardcore punk and experimental hoo-hah. Even more avant garde than REQUIA, Fahey soars and clangs like something Harry Partch might have come up with on one of those home made instruments he was so fond of, creating a nice mass of tangled soundscapading that you kinda think woulda given bad vibes to those hippie college radio new agers who loved playing his "Skater's Waltz" repeatedly. The embryonic existence of your favorite sea life transformed into sound, all done so vividly that it makes it seem as if it were you who were about to be plopped into the murky depths after a good two years of gestation.
Kahil El Zabar's Ritual Trio with Pharoah Sanders-AFRICA N'DA BLUES CD (Delmark)

After listening to a pack of Pharoah Sanders recordings from the late-seventies which bordered on the puke pail, I was a bit weary of latching onto this offering by him and Chicago free jazzers Ritual Trio back in the early oh-oh's. No need to fear though, AFRICA N'DA BLUES ain't a disco/gnu age extravaganza custom made for the peace-loving type of jazz-hole. Of course it ain't no TAUHID either, but it's pleasant enough despite the usual lapses into spiritual musings and Back to Africa kultural pride. If I were you I'd pass it up until either you're rich enough to buy everything you ever wanted to hear or just gotta have everything with Sanders on it, but if you do decide to snatch the thing up now it ain't like you're gonna get burned. Features longtime Art Ensemble of Chicago bassist Malachi Favors in the roster.
Eberhard Schoener-EVENTS cassette (Harvest, West Germany)

Don't have enough tapes to warrant any "cassette caga" feature just yet, but let me tell you, this one definitely is caga! Well, not caga en toto, but a good portion of it will have you rushing to the nearest toilet just so's you're impactus faeces will rush right out begging to be spared from the music to be found therein. At best a pale imitation of mid-seventies just pre-"Softs" Soft Machine, at worst some of the most gloppy jazz/classical pastiche to be heard outside the fetid realms of Jean-Michael Jarre. You can do worse, you have, but in all these sounds are rather pitiful musings that stand at the polar opposite of everything that was high energy, interesting, soul-stirring and affects you as a suburban slob that was coming out during the transitional year of 1980.
and in closing...A TREAT THAT CAN'T BE BEAT! Yes, for all of you old-time fanzine hunters who are looking for a little more than the umpteenth copy of BOMP! with Brian Wilson on the cover, here comes (now get this!) the next to last issue of HYPE available on-line and free to boot! Yes, the legendary fanzine edited by Mark Jenkins which featured a bevy of contributors from the likes of R. Meltzer and Lester Bangs to Gene Sculatti and Eddie Flowers can be had for the mere click of a mouse, and best of it the newsprint ain't gonna be crumblin' in your hands like it would with a real life flesh and pulp copy! If you like that CREEM-styled snot-nosed middle-fingered defiance at the (hippie) powers that be which made up a good portion of the seventies rock press at its best you'll definitely go for something like this! Now really, don't you all love your Unca Chris for pointing you in the right direction and making you aware of these gritty li'l reads you all need in your system? Now don't you???, go 'n fellate your neighbor's tabby for all I care, ingrates!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

DVD REVIEW! BIG BOY SHORTS (1925-1927) starring Malcolm Sebastian!

I haven't been buying many if any silent screen cinematic wares as of late, but the appearance of this li'l beaut on the Grapevine Video website had me palpatatin' great gobs 'o goo o'er the disque's mere existence. True, these OUR GANG/LITTLE RASCALS "imitations" weren't always pumpin' on all cylinders (witness the Educational Pictures BABY BURLESKS series with Shirley Temple and other potty trainers acting out adult dramas in the most paedophiliac ways imaginable), but these Big Boy comedies definitely went against the grain with their high production values, boffo plots and additional craft and value that equaled those of the Hal Roach Studios not to mention other comedy outlets of the day. And of course it helped that the lead character was a bouncy and cute li'l toddler who knew how to act even if he were a mere two 'n stuck right in fronna the action and told what to do or no num nums tonight!

Jules White thought up the Big Boy concept while at Educational, though as soon as everything was developed his own brother Jack gave the project to Charles Lamont who was a more than able comedy director as his work with the Three Stooges and W.C.Fields would attest. White was a bit bummed by this last-minute switcheroo, even to the point where a good fifteen or so years later he tried reviving his idea when working at Columbia, first using a new variant on the scamp in an Andy Clyde comedy then hiring longtime RASCALS director Robert McGowan to direct a kid comedy short featuring the revamped Boy. Unfortunately the projected series lasted only one film, probably due to McGowan already being shell-shocked from years of trying to make a passel o' unruly kids work in front of the cameras than anything else.

But at least this 'un ran from '25 until the dusk of silents in '29, not because production heads feared the advent of a squeaky-voiced Big Boy ruining their series but because the kid was now a hearty six-years-old and ready for the pasture. But before that dreadful day there were a total of twenty-eight BIG BOY comedies made, and a good choice six of 'em appear on this release that's bound to capture the fancy of us outta-the-whirlpool kinda people who were able to discern something special while watching old movies and cartoons as children plopped in front of the set!

The OUR GANG credo works well here because, although Big Boy a.k.a. Malcolm Sebastian a.k.a. Malcolm Sabiston was the official star of this series, these 1925-1927 shorts are jam-packed with kids both thin and fat, black and white, boy and girl and otherwise who scrap together in backyards and alleyways or make a wreck of some rich folks' home (like in RAISIN' CAIN, a classic kids get quarantined romp containing one big gag Lamont later lifted for one of his Junior Coughlan shorts inna thirties). In fact, in no way could I see a downhome suburban slob of a LITTLE RASCALS fan not liking these shorts which not only exude that great old time feeling that a squirt like me was fortunate enough to experience first hand (via relatives who decided to live in the twenties for the rest of their lives), but make for no-doubt-about-it fine entertainment in an era when all that's being presented to us in the name o' funny is some guy berating us every chance he gets and we're supposed to laugh at it for some occult reason or another!

Films are of a surprisingly good quality with close-enough-to-the-original scores by David Knudson that don't sound anything like that Boston Pops drek you've been hearing on PBS and TCM for years. Surprisingly enough the only ones that aren't quite up to snuff visual-wise are some over-used fifties-vintage tee-vee prints that, wonder of wonders, use the same canned music that was prevalent during the early years of LEAVE IT TO BEAVER! And if you don't think that makes quite an early-morning summertime vacation wake up and watch tee-vee impression on me you've been reading the wrong blog for the past eight years!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Well, whaddaya wanna talk about tonight Louie? Not much to discuss really, but try I must. Howzbout if I mention a few up-to-date 'n reliable current events, like perhaps that situation in Oklahoma where some kids drove around and killed an Australian baseball player just because they wuz bored! Sheesh, I always knew that sports could kill you, but when I was a kid and you were bored all ya hadda do was sneak into the bathroom with a copy of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (one with a hula gal or Japanese pearl diver article) smuggled under your shirt! I guess that despite some innocent guy (even though you kinda get the feeling the defense'll try to make him look like the bad boy in this situation) getting offed its actually good that things like this do happen every so often, if only for people to blab on about their pet causes and how such and such wouldn't have happened if things only went THEIR way.

What else is there---how about Chelsea ne. Bradley Manning?!?!?! Sheesh, the guy had been coming off like the biggest hero since Daniel Ellsberg leaked "The Pentagon Papers" to THE NEW YORK TIMES then right as he's about to be sentenced he does this big blubbering act saying how sorry he is for alla that damage his leaks caused (even if, dare I say it, this country has deserved a lotta the damage it's accrued for perhaps the past forty-four administrations) before going off to get a sex change! I guess the switch in sex is pretty well-timed...after all he's probably have it easier in a women's prison than a man's even though I'm sure his sexiness will be the envy of every butch guard and hardened lifer lucky enough to corner her in the gang shower! Either way Bradley/Chelsea goes you kinda get the feeling (s)he's gonna be enduring some rather interesting evenings for the next thirty years.

OK, enough of da's this week's musical reviews and I hope you can dig its reality as Nathan Beauregard would have said. Thanks again to Bill Shute because financial constraints have put a kibosh on my planned Forced Exposure order for at least the next month or so (by which time all of the items I have lined up for purchase will probably be gone for good!). Thankfully I do have a few things I picked up via ebay heading my way which should stifle some of the boredom around here, and you can bet your buttocks that I am anxiously looking forward to the day when I do receive the bevy of beauteous booty via FE which is guaranteed to keep me pumped up at least a good five minutes after which the excitement subsides. Until then it's shoestring budget time, and nothing else!

Sam Rivers-CONCEPT CD-R (originally on Rivbea)

It's nice hearing that longtime free jazz multi-instrumentalist Rivers went out on a good note 'stead of by recording some subpar sputum or disco drek that never did rake inna moolah like the label bigwigs thought it would. Hot trio settings from the mid-nineties featuring Rivers on tenor and soprano sax, flute and piano with Doug Matthews on bass and bass clarinet and Anthony Cole handling drums and tenor sax. Titles range from a woodwind trio to hot Cecil Taylor-ish piano romping and even some getdown swingy funky grooves can be discerned on (I believe) "Notion." Best thing about it is it's all as good as the stuff Sam was doing in the sixties and seventies back when more than a few people were paying attention to the "new thing" in jazz...nowadays the idea that this music even garnered a listenership as big as it did seems about as distant a memory as the record shops brimming with rarities similar to this and many other soundscapades that I never thought I would get to hear in a millyun years!
Big Joe Turner-I DON'T DIG IT CD-R burn (originally on Jukebox Lil, Sweden)

Early trax from one of those originator of rock 'n roll types, recorded with a number of trios and big bands throughout the forties back when this stuff was still considered swinging by the same folk who'd do the upchuck routine while you listened to Turner's spiritual successors a good twenty years later. Good flat-out performances of both the familiar and the new to my ears that somehow fit in swell during the Sunday afternoon I listened to them, though the entire proceedings would have benefited from some commentary from Bus Eubanks, eh Bill?

Butterbeans and Susie-ELEVATOR PAPA, SWITCHBOARD MAMA CD-R burn (originally on JSP, UK)

Sorta like a black Bickersons who set their act to music with swift 'n witty repartee. Gives you the feeling that those dirty Laff Record albums you used to see at the shopping mall record stores aren't that far down the proverbial line. Nothing outright nasty here, but the back 'n forth banter does approach areas that might have made Aunt Mabel a little uncomfortable. Nice bloozy twenties feel to these which should appeal to those who go for these various compilations of African-Americana coming out on disque, or even the Moran and Mack collection for that matter.

Various Artists-URANIUM IN MY BANANA SPLIT CD-R (compiled by Bill You-Know-Who!)

Better than I was expecting sampler courtesy Mr. Bill with not just one but two fifties Three Little Pigs jivers (one by the infamous Al "Jazzbo" Collins and the other by none other than "5 1/2 Year Old Humorous Dian"!), the Nutty Squirrels' infamous Chipmunks cash-in "Uh Oh," Keith West of Tomorrow fame and plenty more where that came from! And, as you would expect, there's even a Christmas ditty of an early-sixties variety here sung by some li'l Mexican chico asking mamasita "Donde Esta Santa Claus?" which is a whole lot more palatable than "Tu tiene una cara como un puerco!"

You're (or actually I am since you're never gonna get to hear my disque!) definitely in for a surprise whether it be Junior Wells and A.C. Reed getting all early-seventies "relevant" or some gospel crankouts that are so old-timey you woulda thought you heard 'em on some UHF station in 1959. Can't complain even if the Rovin' Flames' "How Many Times" can be found on PEBBLES and that unknown acetate from '67 is a bit too hippie commercial for my tastes, but since I'm getting these things for free it ain't like I'm gonna bark that loud!
Cab Calloway-ARE YOU HEP TO THE JIVE CD-R burn (originally on Columbia)

Yet another one of those "changes o' pace," this time from the immortal Cab Calloway who romps with band through a good twenny-two sides originally recorded for Columbia between '39 and '47. About as much the roots of rock 'n roll as the rest of that boogie groove, Calloway proves himself a master performer through a whole passel o' jivetalk numbers that have more of a swing and soul to 'em than anything broadcast these past thirtysome years. If you wanna know where alla those white nerds playing at hepcat you saw in those old MAD magazines got it, look no further. Of course it contains "Minnie the Moocher," a song that's pretty much not safe to perform these days if you're white.
The Yardbirds-LITTLE GAMES SESSIONS AND MORE two CD-R set (originally on Capitol)

Once again it's Bill to the rescue with a new bunch of savory goodies to arrive since the ones reviewed above, this being the first of what should prove to be a funzy weekend. And the best part about it is that well...I was actually thinking about buying this particular double-disque collection of various LITTLE GAMES outtakes, alternates and whatnot but decided not to because of the ol' tightening of the wallet! Gee Bill, you really saved me a bundle this time!

Purty good selection of goodies show up here too, including a variety of instrumental backing tracks that sound OK on their lonesome, some alternative takes, mono versions, a whole slew of tracks ne'er before heard and of course loadsof surprises including some items by the post-Yardbirds/pre-Renaissance Together (they sound kinda commercial folky but you won't throw up). A good portion of this stuff was new to my ears (which would figure since I never did get to hear the original album due to high collector prices), so you could say that it was a fine time to be had even if you can hear the aesthetic tug o' war between Jimmy Page and Mickey Most between the grooves, or whatever it is that CD-r's have!

Extra special bonus...the infamous "Great Shakes" commercial tops the entire shebang off and if you don't want to run down to your local store to buy some after hearing this then nothing will! Oh wait they don't make that any more...howzbout some of that Borden milkshake in a can that I used to think was endorsed by Patty Duke and that kid that played her brother because the actors they used on the commercial looked so much like 'em? Aw yeah, they don't even make that anymore (drat!).
Paul Revere & the Raiders-MOJO WORKOUT! 2-CD-R set (originally on Sundazed)

Whoa, where are my old issues of BOMP, KICKS and that all time fave FLASH #1??? Sure coulda used this double-header of early Columbia-era Paul Revere back when I was snatching those famzines up for the very first time I'll tell ya! And really, who in their right mind woulda thunk that Columbia would've ever unleashed their Raider vaults like they have on this extended romp of fun, even if they had collector's label Sundazed do it for 'em like they've been doing with much of their rockin' back catalog for the past umpteen years?

These platters capture the Raiders 1963-1964 right before their big break when the hard rage of Northwest rock was still foremost in the group's overall makeup and the more "commercial" if still full-force Top 40 stylings were a good two or so years off. Yeah you could say that the overall impact of the "live in the studio" and rehearsal tracks from September 1964 was a far cry from the stuff the Wailers or Sonics were cranking out at the same time, but the same energy and spirit is there not to mention a good portion of the repertoire. Y'know, those teenage white guy takes on aging black guy songs done up in that great knotty pine way that made numbers like "Louie Louie" and " Searchin'" anthems for suburban slobs nationwide!

The early Columbia singles are here too and the entire shebang ends with a few tracks that actually made it to HERE THEY COME's studio side, and frankly I can't think of a better tribute to the group's early Columbia days when they were about to consume the entire nation with one felt swoop. And not only that, but I'm sure that the original copy has a nice big booklet that has detailed liner notes by Billy Miller even!
Yeah it ain't much, but just wait until next time!!! JUST WAIT!!!!!!!!!!! Nyaaaah!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

BOOK REVIEW! THIS IS LITTLE LULU by Marge (Dell First Edition, 1956)

Thee olde favourite, snatched up at the July 4 1975 Mesopotamia Ohio outdoor flea market and ox roast, a day best remembered by me for nursing the remnants of a leg cramp I had the pleasure of enduring the previous night. Never thought I'd be nostalgia for beat up old paperbacks let alone leg cramps, but this 'un's got the memories flowin' like syphilitic pus!

After a slew of old Marge originals from THE SATURDAY EVENING POST (btw didja know that she was the replacement for HENRY after the famed bald mute made his way to the funny pages?) we get down to the bare-wired reason for buying this, mainly those John Stanley-era comics which really did hit a resonating nerve with soon-to-be hippoid fans nationwide. And hey, even a jaded old fanabla such as I gotta admit that the stories are still as potent as they were when I first read 'em that hot 'n humid day, even to the point where I do get kinda angry when the girls get the best of Tubby, Iggy and the rest of the guys who still resonate pure pride in being a boy who hates loud mouthed females this far down the line!

Stories range from the usual funtime fantasies that Stanley made his mark with (if you went for his take on NANCY around the same time these will strike a similar pre-pubescent scrunch) including some real strokes of gee-nee-yes like the one where Pop takes too many vitamins and becomes a kid who gives his allegiance to Tubby's gang, not to mention the one where Lulu and Annie play dead after li'l brat Alvin blasts 'em with his toy machine gun in order to make him think that he really did kill the pair, then he goes back to finish off the job off when he notices Lulu's pinky twitchin'! There's also a "Spider" story where Tubby goes undercover to find out why Pop shaved his mustache off not to mention two Little Itch sagas which always tickled my fancy perhaps due to the underlying strain of cruelty the evil brat dished upon Lulu, sadistic girl hater I was and shall truly remain.

Yeah you could dish out the big ones for the hard covered collection, but frankly I'll stick with my tattered paperback copy which brings back oh so many fun memories of teenbo treasure hunts through garages and abandoned drive ins tri-countywide. It's a good way to re-connect with my suburban pusbag past, as if I've ever left it in the first place and if you know what's best for you you'd do the same thing too only with a li'l less self abuse.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Not much to blab about this weekend. It's a combination of the lack of time, moolah, and downright ambition that's got me, coupled by a huge dose of fatigue which has been multiplied by this fruit and yogurt diet that I've been torturing myself with as of late. (Hey, wanna know what I've had for dinner for the past ten months? I can rattle it off like that!) Although things are looking brighter on the horizon (once I send for some pertinent yummies to help me make it through my post-midlife crisis) right now I must admit that it really took a whole lot of effort and struggle to even crank this measly post out. Doing this 'un I gotta admit that I feel exactly the way I did back when I was a young stool boy and I hadda do that book report on HIROSHIMA and struggled through the entire thing in two hours or so (because my sister said I could!) only to write down that a big bomb was dropped and a lotta people died and I didn't care because they were the bad guys anyway. And maybe it was better because they all died in such excruciatingly horrific ways being bad people and all and I still wonder why I only got a "C" on it! I hope I fare better with you readers, but somehow I think this 'un's gonna get me sent back a year at The Greg Shaw Memorial Rock as a Way of Life fandom writing institute.

Of course the lack of totally brain-fried music coming my way ain't helping any. I know I shouldn't expect much to get me all hot and bothered here in the post-rock age but sheesh, I'm still hoping that something out there will enter into my life and give me the same sorta teenage tingles I used to get when I was a high school pusbag thumbing through the bins at any local record shop just wishing I could take about 3/4ths of the available wares home with me! It takes a lotta gumption to 'fess up to the fact that those days will never come back (it's a miracle that rock 'n roll lasted as long as it had through so many anti-r/r forces from disco music to SPIN magazine) but hey, at least I can fantasize...

Again, thanks to Bill Shute and Paul McGarry for the following burns. If it weren't for them not only wouldn't there be a post, but I'd probably be out a few hundred bucks trying to track down and write about a wide range of recordings you probably wouldn't think about buying in a millyun years!

Curtis Hobock-HEY EVERYBODY CD-R burn (originally on Star-Club, Sweden)

Massive (28 track) collection of rockabilly legend and onetime Sun Records act Hobock, a historical trip back to the earlier days of a musical form that hasn't had this much swing in it since the day Bobby Sherman replaced Ricky Nelson in the hearts of many a pinup princess nationwide. Hotcha newies mingle with familiar faves (dig the particularly potent take on Charlie Rich's "Lonely Weekend" not to mention a totally out-of-character cover of "Wipeout"!) that benefit from that low-budget studio feel...these remind you of what any major act would call "demos" but this be THE REAL THING! Mix up some Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee, a tad Holly (and even a smidgen Jonathan Richman circa I JONATHAN!) and you'll get an idea of what Hobock sounded like. Naturally that ain't anything like experiencing the guy firsthand so like, find that download and find it now!
STERLING BLYTHE SINGS CD-R burn (originally on Crown Records)

Country music a good ten years before the long hair and beard crowd and thirty before it merely became standard ol' AM glop with a choice fiddle, steel guitar whir and standard southern accent thrown in. Some typical attempts at "crossover" can be detected, though there's still enough paens to the downhome style to be discerned. If you went wild for Marty Robbins you might find Blythe quite tasty, though typically snobbish anti-country urbanites will probably do best to stick with their K.D. Laing.
The Easybeats-THE SHAME JUST DRAINED CD-R (originally on Repertoire Records, Germany)

Australian faves' 1977 odds 'n sods collection with additional beef-up courtesy Repertoire. Like most mid-sixties groups on the ascent there's the flash of power-pop as well as the usual commercial aspects tossed in which usually dilute the energy, but in all the resultant spew is way more'n just passable. Still, there's nothing here as attention-grabbing or as earth-shattering as "Friday on my Mind" which might dissuade some of you pickier readers from considering the undoubtedly available download wandering about on the web. The additional trackage courtesy Repertoire are a boon, especially with the three Coca-Cola commercials that tops this off in a particularly heart-warming way.
The Woggles-THE BIG BEAT CD-R (originally on Wicked Cool)

Living proof that modern "garage band" acts don't have to smoke turd. 'n yeah, enough rockcrit hyperbole about acts like the Woggles has been spilled on the ground more'n Onan, but for once it's sure grand seeing it used on these long-standing practitioners of the high energy brigades 'stead of the usual hype o' the week. Takes the general mode of early-eighties six-oh crankout and magnifies it a few times to the point where it undoubtedly surpasses most mid-eighties wimpifiers of the form. Even topples some late-nineties brave tries a la the Mooney Suzuki and Star Spangles. Boy am I drowning in a frothing wall of bromides, but as usual I could give a stroonad.
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet-SAVVY SHOW STOPPERS CD-R (originally on Cargo Records)

Sounds like something Lindsay Hutton would have been dedicating one of his hand-printed pages to back during the late-eighties days of THE NEXT BIG THING and like, who could blame him? As for me, these moderne-day attempts at various sixties accomplishments did tend to wear thin, but I can handle Shadowy's tributes to early-sixties instrumental madness even if the production and general sound just calls out late-eighties. Nice attempt as reaping the fruits of the past for a (then)-modern clientele, though in many ways this does come off like hipster music's answer to THAT SEVENTIES SHOW, ifyaknowaddamean...
Various Artists-MAD ABOUT THE ENDS AND ODDS CD-R (compiled by Bill Shute)

More "thrift store" selections and some good 'uns too...Jimmy Reed starts this off with two pretty sharp blooze instrumentals (with "Odds and Ends" being particularly eerie what with that plucked violin) before traipsing off into various avenues of old timey strangities. One winner for sure's Marvin Rainwater backed by Link Wray and the Raymen on "Boo Hoo" while the Lee Dawson Syndicate's "Last Chicken in the Shop"'s a rather driving instrumental that woulda sounded good on any suburban hi-fi component in the early-sixties (or afterwards). But why did Bill hafta stick that English pooftah (a redundancy if Archie Bunker is to be believed) Noel Coward right in the middle of things? Talk about ruining the mood of the thing in one fanabla-esque swoop!
The Oblivians-DESPERATION CD-R burn (originally on In The Red)

Hey , this doesn't sound half bad. Or whole bad for that matter. As you might know a good portion of these eighties/nineties garage bands might have been a lot better'n what else there might have been out there in notice me land, but frankly I never felt any of 'em could stand up to the teenage dunce thud of the original generation of groups. But the Oblivians, although as modern as any other group trying to ape  mid-seventies suburban slobdom, have a good pounce in their sound and you can believe they're the 1966 deal if you squint your ears a bit. Or even 1976 if you believe that the punks of those days were merely ripping off the punks of yesteryear and peddling it as if created out of whole (or at least ripped) cloth.
Various Artists-FEELING HIGH-THE PSYCHEDELIC SOUNDS OF MEMPHIS CD-R burn (originally on Big Beat)

Didn't know so much psych came outta The South, but it did and it just wasn't Little Phil and the Nightshadows either! And hey, most of this is pretty solid late-sixties thud which doesn't sound all incest and pepperminty either. Groups like the Goatdancers laid down a pretty tough organ-dominated thud w/o any of the "spiritual" trappings of hippie mysticism and even the various Beatles covers don't come off all sunshine oracular either. Yeah it kinda drags in spots, but it sure beats the heck outta some of the gunk that was making its way to the radio at the time. Biggest surprise...three tracks by the Knowbody Else, an act that later went by the moniker of Black Oak Arkansas! Two of 'em 're from an early single if I do recall perhaps incorrectly, while "Flying Horse of Louisiana"'s taken from a live gig (not to mention a Black Oak sampler from '93) and man is it a dark and deep force of drive that perhaps makes alla that R. Meltzer blab about BOA being the closest anyone's come to the Velvet Underground on record seem for real! A live album of the entire show is needed, and the sooner the you know the rest of the score...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

BOOK REVIEW! THE COMPLETE DICK TRACY VOLUME 15, (1953-1954) by Chester Gould (IDW 2013)

Yeah I know. A whole lotta the original TRACY thrust was starting to wear down by the early-fifties and the new characters just weren't hittin' hard like they used to. None of the grotesque badskis since Mumbles really had the same impact as the ones who were giving Tracy such a bad time during the World War II era, while the new crop of good guys like Uncle Canhead, Bonnie Braids and the rather innocuous "Little Wingy" just didn't capture the public's imagination the way Sparkle Plenty did. I guess that since we were now entering into the age of tee-vee and sleek sports cars such a Roosevelt-era concentration on comic strips and other cheap forms of entertainment to bide the time just didn't fit in anymore. But hey, I could care less!

Still a whole fugguva lotta action in these amid the b-film melodrama and lessons in modern day police research and tactics. The 3-D Magee/Pony storyline has its share of creepiness (esp. the part where Magee, disguised as an ice cream vendor, drops a few poisonous Peruvian blue-black ants on Sparkle Plenty and Wingy to "persuade" BO Plenty's brother Canhead to pay up big bux), while the Dewdrop/Open Mind thread (for wont of a better way to describe these weave in/out sagas) is attention-grabbing enough even if your mind keeps tellin' you the glory days are over.

You can tell that Chet Gould and co. only plotted these stories two weeks in advance to keep things fresh, because sometimes certain parts of the story get neglected then, months later, we finally get to find out whether or not a certain character recovered from that mysterious malady because all of a sudden there's this break in the continuity with Gould telling us that readers wonder what happened to so-and-so, and of course we see them in their hospital beds and well 'n recovering! Sheesh, what a way for the writer(s) to tell the world that they forgot all about one pertinent part of the plot while concentrating on another!

As usual, the volume stops right at the beginning of the Rughead story and even though it ain't as crucial as the ones that'll be appearing in #16 (mainly the return of Mumbles and Flattop Jr., perhaps attempts by Gould to regain some lost forties fortune) you can bet I'll be holding my bowels in waiting until that 'un arrives! Until then I guess I'll just have to be patient and whatever you do remember, while riding subway trains with the windows open, hold on to your purse (page 211's Crimestoppers Textbook entry!).

Saturday, August 10, 2013

(The next few paragraphs dovetail somewhat to last Wednesday's post, in case you're keeping tabs)...a soul-shuddering thought flashed by me a few nights ago while talking to Don Fellman on the phone. And the best part about it was...Don agreed with me w/o even putting up a friendly facade of smug disbelief!

Here we are a month or so past the middle mark of 2013, and  no matter how hard I try to slice it I can't get it outta my head that 1963, the last year ever in truly boffo pre-freak civilization, is a good fifty years in the rear view mirror of killer time!.We're talking '63, the last years where just about everything was going right for us whether we be suburban slobs, workaday louts or turdlers, and only a fool would admit that things like tee-vee, radio (and don't kid yourself, early-sixties top 40 radio had much more to offer us than the "Bobbies"), fast food and general fun 'n jamz were not conduit to an existence I'm sure most of you reg'lar readers would have loved to have been wallowing in. Of course if you were a stick inna mud or latent peacenik or some general neo-communist type those days weren't exactly custom made for you, but then again why do you always have to take it out on us NORMAL types????

OK, if you wanted to march across bridges in Selma and feel better about yourself that was your business, but I'm positive that true racial harmony could have been attained if black 'n white kids just got together over an episode of BANDSTAND thus ensuring a great future we surely would be basking in these days had we only knew enough then. Maybe if things were worked out that way we wouldn't have to be inundated with alla these world savers who have made quite a big career for themselves these past five decades.

I told Don that I think life would be great if we could live on a 1958 to 1963 loop, though Don thinks that '57 would have been a better year to begin the cycle. I dunno...'58 seemed closer to the early-sixties high energy source but why quibble. Pseudo-intellectuals and regime-sympathizers may disagree, but no matter how you slice it that era had it all for everybody who didn't want to be forced to sit around campfires singing "Kumbaya" and hey, if you'd love to spend the rest of your life doing that fine. I could care less if you're a rabid world saver or comsymp or want to act out all of your favorite scenes in SALO, but pleasepleasePLEASE don't ask me to subsidize you, give you patented liberal cliche lip service or acknowledge you even exist for that matter.

But as that old song went, those days are gone forever and I'm sure stunned over it. Only a hidebound idiot would deny it. I mean, take a look at television, which has gone from action-packed, high-larious and attuned to your own low-fi existence entertainment to utter boredom no mater which of a thousand cable channels you choose (not counting those "retro" and "antenna" stations that air the good 'n mouldies of course!). Rock 'n roll (or pop if you like) lost the swing so long ago that today's songstresses are nothing but Patti Page with yeast infections, while (if you tend to be religious) tridentine masses have given way to clunky one-chord folkie strums and cocktail schmooze with fortune cookie sermons. (And speaking of religion...remember when religious tee-vee shows were pretty entertaining themselves as any episode of INSIGHT and maybe even THE FISHER FAMILY [ain't seen it yet] with Onslow Stevens would prove...heck it would be worth staying home Sunday mornings just to watch things like these 'stead of hanging around the pool hall while you tell the rest of your family you're at church!) Yeah we have medical advances coming out the wazoo and cars that are safe (if ugly) and we have a whole lot more free time on our hands because of technology, but sheesh what good is that free time if you can't snap on the television and watch BARNEY BEAN knowing that the youth of this world are in good hands watching this after school 'stead of some dyke who thinks she can dance?

Sure the aura of the late-fifties/early-sixties lingered on for quite a few years (or at least until the early-seventies when the networks canceled the last of their "Golden Age"-bred television series from LAWRENCE WELK and JACKIE GLEASON to THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES) since many mid-sixties programs like GILLIGAN'S ISLAND and THE MUNSTERS pretty much ran on early-sixties jet fumes, but even Don would say those years weren't quite the same. And true you could argue that the seventies were the Silver Age of tee-vee and that the post-Velvets rock groups of those years were a must-to-hear and that can't be argued with, but even those days weren't quite the same as they were back before the idea of losing our innocence wasn't supposed to be something to be loathed. And yeah, I wouldn't mind revisiting 1963 again...the thought of living through a day which seemed like a personal adventure where I'd crawl out of my crib, flick on the tee-vee and watch the test pattern until channel 33 signed on with Harveytoons and LITTLE RASCALS before engaging in a day-long adventure whether it be going to the supermarket, the toy department or my grandmother's house before settling back for an evening of tee-vee viewing sure seems a lot more appealing than what I'm doing now!
The recent passing of original Pere Ubu bass guitarist and DNA member (not to mention contributor to the Brian Eno/David Byrne album MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTSTim Wright as usual gave me pause for thought. The thought being that sheesh, I'm growing sooooo old and I'll probably be meeting the guy more sooner 'n later once I hit the great beyond. Of course if I go up and he went down we won't be seeing too much of each other, but anyway it's always frightening to see these stars of the past woosh on like this making me feel like an old maid ninety-year-old in some small Ohio town who still mourns the loss of Ish Kabibble. Only I have quite a way to go before I hit the nonagenarian mark and I'm sure the bodies will really be piling up by the time I hit that sainted age!

The obits I saw had it mostly right about Wright, though they naturally left out a few things. Few know that the guy was a member of the Eclectic Eels, an attempt to reform the classic Electric Eels group late-summer 1976 with Dave E, John Morton and Brian McMahon joined by Wright and drummer Anton Fier (story goes that future Peter and the Wolves/Contortions member Adele Bertei played keyboards at one of the group's two rehearsals). Tapes have been flying around for years and why they haven't been released is a mystery known only to the people behind 'em, but they really cook not only with a powerful version of the Sonics' "Strychnine" but Morton doing a solo spot singing "In a Pig's Eye" coming off like something that shoulda made TROUT MASK REPLICA but got shoved aside in the chaos. Maybe if we pester Morton or Paul Marotta these numbers'll finally get the royal treatment they oh-so-deserve.

Another Wright story that hasn't been publicized much was that he was a heavy aficionado of the lysergic lifestyle, in fact making himself known to the crew at the Plaza apartments for his ability to deal the stuff sorta like a Mezz Mezzrow of  Cleveland underground rock. A regular "Captain Trips" as one bystander once said. I believe this facet of his life is what eventually led to him being soundman for Rocket From The Tombs during their later days but don't hold me accountable if this all just turns out to be yet more false rumor concocted by various friends of the man, or maybe even enemies.

Anyway it's sayonara time for Wright, and maybe we should all spin those early Ubu sides if only in his honor. And while I'm at it, I wonder if it is true that he was involved in one of those marriages in name only with DNA drummer Ikue Mori in order to keep her from being deported, something which considering the legality of the entire mess I'm sure most people "in the know" did their best to keep all hush-hush for wont of getting the "newlyweds" into a heaping vat of hot water.
Well, I guess it's time for me to cut to the caga and dish out this week's round o' reviews. Frankly I must admit that I really don't have that much to spoon to you this go 'round. Not very much new gunch seems to be heading at me the way it used to, and between pinching my pennies and the lack of anything that wows me like it did back inna bad ol' days you can bet that I am going to be a pretty rich fanabla by the time I quite my day job at the Salt Mines and have nothing but the rest of my life to act the exact same way I did as a kid again. Let me tell ya, if it weren't for Bill Shute and Paul McGarry sending me these burns I don't know what in tarnation I'd be writing about this week, so once again give 'em a big hand for helping to contribute to the BLOG TO COMM way o' life in a way the dolts at those cutting edge (hah!) rock music blogs out there never could and never will in a millyun years!

The Nomads-SOLNA CD-R  burn (originally on Universal)

I remember the Nomads as being one of the mid-eighties last hopes for those of us still stuck in a seventies fanzine frame o' mind, an act that was being touted as the ultimate cross between the Sonics, Link Wray and the Flamin' Groovies that seemed so perfect that only Greg Shaw coulda dreamed 'em up.Well, they sure sounded boss enough to me, (especially after having been burnt on way too many items to fizzle outta rotting remains of the late-seventies/early-eighties rock underground miasma), and I must 'fess up to the fact that their (I think debut) 12-inch EP and a cassette of rarities that was flying around  at the time was one thing that gave me hope that maybe there would be a kultural boomerang back to old-timey rock aesthetics, if only on an under-the-counterculture level.

Unfortunately the records that came out in the wake of this initial burst did not satisfy me and I chalked the Nomads up as yet another one of those bright lights that just burnt out way too fast. So yeah, it was a surprise to give 'em a listen this late in the game when nothing matters anymore, and although I was expecting little change from what I believed was the tepidity of their late-eighties output what I got was...the tepidity of 2013.

Naw. not exactly, but that surge of sameness that  made many an late-eighties/early-nineties offering sound so fehsville permeates this thing. Yeah, it even happened on some of the latterday Groovies disques as well, and although I used to think that these retro-punk things sounded so plain was because they were being recorded in a different time and in much worse off surroundings all I gotta say here in the present where we're all clear-headed and can look back on a good sixty years of rock evolution is...these guys just got it too down pat to the point where it sounds like people from 2013 playing 195/6/7X music! Y'know, like how HAPPY DAYS looked like people from the seventies playing people from the fifties (ditto THAT SEVENTIES SHOW for a good two decade projection), the Nomads are modern day fanablas playing various aspects of past perfection with today's set of (anti) values firmly in place!

Actually this 'un's got some good rockers that don't irritate the already shot nerves, but man how I wish they could get me all hopped up and excited like they did back in '85! Back then the Nomads really were something to live for, and as one who did live through those years lemme tell you there wasn't much!

The Plimsouls-BEACH TOWN CONFIDENTIAL CD-R (originally on Alive)

I might be able to say about Peter Case what I said about the Nomads above, but since I never followed Case's career I shall remain peep! But although I'm supposed to hate these early-eighties new wave acts on mere (anti) snob pretense alone I don't mind these Plimsoul guys for their sheer ability to keep the seventies Bomp!-bred power pop movement propelling for at least a few additional years. You kinda get the feeling that Case 'n co. have been reading and re-reading the famed BOMP! "power pop" issue over and over again before going on stage to perform this mix 'n mash of originals that sound like the Groovies, an actual Groovies song, an actual Moby Grape song that the Groovies covered and even the Creation. Better than I would have expected, though I don't know if I'd enjoy myself with a steady diet of this. I'll just save it for one of those rare introverted moments when I can't get a hold of my copy of THE MARBLE INDEX.
Various Artists-MONSTER WONDERLAND CD-R (compiled by Bill Shute)

A surprisingly nice 'un that surprisingly enough varies from the usual country-heavy groove that Bill has been laying on me as of late. Sure there are two downright old timey c&w toonz here from the Foltin Brothers' Drifting Plowboys, but most of MONSTER WONDERLAND consists of decidedly non-country sixties strangities from the Seniors to Elaine and Derek, as if you cared.

Surprises include such wonders as Dave and the Starlights' "Starlight"/"I Wished Upon a Star" single (early-sixties nerdo goes garage band), the Swinging Embers revving up "Winter Wonderland," Billy Ford and the Thunderbirds cashing in on the Bobby "Boris" Pickett bandwagon with "The Monster" and hey, even Bobby himself shows up here milking his own formula to the hilt with "Monster Motion" and "Monsters Holiday"!

Patti LaBelle and crew even sell their heart to the junkman, and did I mention the Royal Guardsmen of "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron" fame doing an ode to feminine pudenditude with "Sweetmeats Slide," one of those twenties/thirties retro rock thingies that were so popular during the 1966-67 season??? I'm sure this might have been something that would have gotten your old kid-hating uncle, aunt or even parent smiling a little bit (well, other than my mother who thought that these hippies were making fun of old people with songs like "Winchester Cathedral"!) thinking that the youth were finally getting into good old timey music after years of noise, at least until they discovered what the song was "really" about! Then they'd all hate it even worse'n my mother ever could, and you know that's true!

And of course how could I even think of printing this writeup w/o mentioning Fred Emney's impassioned reciting of "Roses of Picardy" over a dinner organ backing? Sheesh, one listen to Emney stumble through this 'un sounding like a drunk with a stuffy nose and you'll kinda wish that he signed up for a course at the Bus Eubanks School of Announcing like pronto!

There's loads more too...the Chob produced by Greg Prevost fave Lindy Blaskey and Eddie Cooley and the Dimples among 'em. So what's keeping you...hurry up and make friends with Bill Shute today!
Gene Ammons-JAMMIN' IN HI-FI WITH GENE AMMONS CD-R burn (originally on Prestige)

It ain't like I wanna listen to a steady diet of bop, but as in the case of the Elmo Hope disque reviewed last week this does make for a refreshing change from the usual dregs of modern day anti fun. Dare-I-say exhilarating jams with a boffo band (see cover for details) that doesn't bore even if you're surely wishing for a screeching tenor sax to cut through it all. Also serves as a good enough point at the shape of grooves to come which is where I started paying attention, if you really must know.
When will I see you again? How does Thursday sound to you Snookums?

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

BOOK REVIEW! PONYTAIL by Lee Holley (Dell, 1963)

Well, it ain't like they're gonna be reprinting these 'uns like they are ARCHIE and DICK TRACY, and in some small way I'm kinda glad because it makes PONYTAIL all the more mine. One of the comics I've read or have been read to since my earliest days of recollection, PONYTAIL remains a fave not only for the nice gag humor but for the loose, DENNIS THE MENACE-styled art that still calls out 1963 to me as much as the last season of LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, THE RIFLEMAN and the earliest days of "Make Mine Marvel" combined! In fact as far back as my little mind will take me both PONYTAIL as well as ARCHIE were what gave me the idea of what teenage life was going to be like once I finally made it into the double-digits...y'know, with hot dog roasts and soda shops and all that, and when I was a mere six those years did seem like the most exciting thing for any suburban slob kid to look forward to! Too bad that when I did hit them years all I found out was that teendom was only youth with the homework, drudgery, insecurities and humiliation magnified about ten times...I guess the real purpose of these comics was to give kids like myself something good to look forward to just so's we didn't try to off ourselves before we hit the age of thirteen!

All kidding aside (after all, if you can't laugh at childhood suicides what can you laugh at?), PONYTAIL was a boffo comic panel (and full-sized Sunday strip) that really reflected a certain period in time when being teenage was supposed to have been some really big to-do. (Witness my sister's response at looking at the cover of this book and going "awwwww" as if she were remembering a friendly neighborhood dog of her own childhood or perhaps a favorite doll she still has stashed somewhere.) Gags ain't as out-there as they were during the classic years of DENNIS, but they're still ranch house attuned enough to make you wanna long for your own pimplefarm days when all you had to look forward to after a hard day at school was that art book with alla them statues you got outta the library and maybe some hand lotion, ifyaknowaddamean...

Nice, breezy encapsulation of those early-sixties days all your "enlightened" friends loathe and they'll surely hate this because well...there aren't any black people or gays or social issues to be found anywhere unless you're looking for a reference to Prez Kennedy's call for a more fit populace (I guess the later strips did deal with "relevant" social messages but how serious could they get being espoused by a teenage girl and her boyfriend wearing their early-sixties clothing not forgetting Donald's Frankie Avalon haircut?) so therefore they must be banished! To where I do not know but considering how I'm sure most people remember PONYTAIL about as much as they do Francis Gary Powers the social planners did a pretty good job of it, dontcha think?

And by the way, if you do think that artist Lee Holley's style comes a bit too close to Hank Ketchum for comfort it should be known that Holley did work as Ketchum's assistant in the fifties, even ghosting the Sunday DENNIS page before creating and selling PONYTAIL to King Features in 1960. So if you wonder why the gal looks like Dennis grown up with a sex change now you know.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

The passing of Mick Farren this past Saturday night (well, it was Saturday night over in London where it took place) did come as quite a surprise, the surprise being that he didn't keel over a whole lot earlier than he did given all of the drugs he's ingested over the years! Sheesh, given the amphetamine sulfate and methedrine lining his aortic valves you'd think his system would have popped a whole lot sooner'n it did. But here the guy goes and dies right in the middle of the umpteenth revival of the Deviants (anybody got a tape?), and you kinda wonder if maybe he didn't go out that way ON PURPOSE,  like it was the only way for him to expire right in front of a live and paying audience 'stead of in some gutter or in a bed a good thirty or forty years after the prime 'o life like way too many of us are probably going to exit probably more sooner'n later.

But what can any of us say about Farren that hasn't already been said a million times either in his autobiography (which I never got around to eyeballing...budget-conscious y'know) or the boffo KEEP IT TOGETHER book that came out a good five or so years back. Always on the fringe of English underground kultur, Farren was the epitome of the angry rock 'n roll radical back in the late-sixties when he was acting as INTERNATIONAL TIMES' chief rabblerouser and Deviants frontman before heading into a comfortable life of rock scribing for the NME (and, along with Nick Kent and Charles Shaar Murray, helping boost the paper's popularity through the sunroof) in the seventies. In between Farren had also become of novelist of some repute and columnist for TROUSER PRESS as well as TAKE IT! as well as a guy who was known for losing friends and making up with 'em---sometimes, that is so I don't know if he ever did have the opportunity to patch things with Lemmy, Larry Wallis or whoever else it was out there who locked horns with Farren but eh, now it's too late.

Don't wanna get too personal even if my own sainted crudzine sported two different Farren interviews within the span of five issues and that I had featured reviews and articles regarding Farren and band ever since the rag was founded back in the dark days of mid-eighties ineptitude. 'n yeah, at the expense of looking like a total fanboy douche I gotta admit that I was in on the Farren bandwagon at least since the late-seventies when SCREWED UP and the third Devies album had hit the import bins, and although nobody in their right mind could call an outright Farren maniac (other'n me still believing that PTOOFF! was the obvious English answer to THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO as far as rock-pop art statements go) I still spin those old records quite a lot more'n I do my old Zappa or even Fugs ones and that really must say something as far as longevity goes!

But hey, you know what to do, and that is to remember the guy by treating him the same way you did back when he and his music (and writings and whatnot) were first and foremost in your mind. Remember how you trembled when you first heard the Deviants and got hold of those extremely desirable late-sixties albums which were all but impossible to find back even a good ten years later? Me too, and maybe it's time you broke those out along with his late-seventies tribute to NME tastes and values VAMPIRES STOLE MY LUNCH MONEY while reading a stack of his writings. THE TALE OF WILLY'S RATS continues to slip through my fingers (though I am reading it via Funtopia...more on that in a future post), but his various rock screedings available (for a hefty sum) via ROCK'S BACK PAGES might be worth the effort even if they are ripoff artists. And don't cry too hard...I'm sure Farren woulda thought you a jerk even if you showed the slightest hint 'o emotion over his own demise and why sully his memory with even a mere sniffle?

Yeah I know...we ALL have been trying to forget Crosby's name for years on end, and believe you moi I have no time for hippie folkie icons who act as sperm doners for their dykoid musical spawn. But the legend regarding this David Crosby solo debut has a certain sorta mystico charm that would at least affect the portion of punkos (1972 division) who tended to mix their Groovies with their Neil Young...and it has happened before.

You all KNOW how much I try to listen to a fresh piece of music and analyse it objectively without inserting any of my own personal tastes and prejudices into the resultant spew, and I tried my darndest to do just that with this particular platter. But hey, even with the deadened nerve Southern California feeling that actually gave this 'un a certain drug-addled paranoia that comes off disturbingly appealing (that Joni really knows how to damper a recording...instant ether!) I find it hard to sing Crosby's praises given how most of this does remind me of a buncha hippies sitting on some Marin County porch playing the same chords over and over until they all pass out, the resultant splatter cut and fitted into album specifics just made for 1971 ROLLING STONE demographics. And if you were solidly rock-conscious back then (and I wasn't---comics were the modus opporandi for this suburban turdburger!) I'm sure you recall the frustration that gunk like this was the standard plunk for the day and the Stooges weren't!

Gotta take it back kinda/sorta...I did like track #2 "Cowboy Movie," an eight-minute electro-acoustic riff mess that sounded like a Crazy Horse rehearsal sung by a stoned twelve-year-old boy who thought there was something fishy about that pixie straw he just slurped up. Although Crosby would never admit it, this song just reeked of adolescent duncitude and frankly that was something we sure coulda used a whole lot more of in 1971 'stead of those West Coast whackoffs who really helped give rock 'n roll a bad name. However one number does not a pot-addled, mind-numbing album and this is merely more heavily dated inna wrong way disposable much. As for you stick with OAR boy, stick with OAR.
Elliot Murphy-IT TAKES A WORRIED MAN CD-R (originally on Last Call)

Ol' Elliot is still at it, and although the guy's major label career and mythical battle with Bruce Springsteen for the miter that Bob Dylan was still clutching at the time seems sooooo long ago at least he never did vamoose en toto from the music scene. True the guy really has been outta the bigtime ever since Columbia dropped him after the top notch JUST A STORY FROM AMERICA platter, but the assortment of spinners Murphy released for a variety of small European labels had (at least most of the time) stood up to those Polydor and RCA recs that uncovered the dark side of suburban slob living like few ever did or could. And his latest is no exception and man is it great, so great that one listen to it reminds me of a seventies I sure wish I could live through but things were so tight around here so like, how could I know?

Murphy sounds older and rougher but still energetic enough to beat his way outta any boss cutout rack still extant. His vocalese does fits the music which sometimes sounds surprisingly mid-seventies production commercial and at others downright Amerigan underground. Still kinda 1969 Velvet Underground with scads of Dylan and even the pre-pretentious three-piece Talking Heads tossed in even though no rock critic left will go near him. I'm sure if this 'un came out '76 'stead of NIGHT LIGHTS the same crits who loathed that 'un woulda peed all over it too, but listening to this does dredge up memories of all the promise those days held that never did come to fruition because like, there was too much disco and prog FM burying it all, y'know ('n yeah, like I am still angry about it...I mean, it was my teendom!).

If you were one of the few who gobbled up all of the rockcrit hosannas over Murphy's debut before his fall from critical grace and never thought there would be a return to that bold attempt at deep, emotional (w/o the self-consciousness) driving rock 'n roll well, you're wrong again bub! In these internet savvy times IT TAKES A WORRIED MAN should be easy enough to latch onto so you know what to do if you know what's good for you as if I hadda tell you. Awww, you know you need it, or would you rather self-indulge in yet more current-day phony-underground (and instantly forgettable) hype like you've been doing your entire musical life???
Elmo Hope-THE FINAL SESSIONS 2-CDR burn (originally on Evidence)

Sometimes I do need a switch from the usual beyond-free new jazz that's been making up a hefty portion of my listening pleasure o'er these past three decades, and it's stuff like that this helps me calm down after a Roscoe Mitchell solo endeavor gets my nerves a little too frazzled! Nothing avant here even if Sun Ra drummer Clifford Jarvis is on hand, but don't let that stop you from hearing Hope's rather Monk-ish takes on a variety of jazzbo standards like "Night in Tunisia" along with some originals that might have stood the test of time had the entire jazz scene not plopped into the "lite" category. And, as usual, these Hope swan songs (pneumonia having claimed him a year after these '66 sides were laid down) kinda make ya wonder what might have happened had the guy lingered on even a few extra years. Have all the fun in the world speculating what mighta been even tho what actually mighta woulda probably'd be way diff'n whatever you conjured up in your feeble-like mind.

This starts off with a strange Willie Dixon number from which the title of this disque was taken, an atypical sorta side where Willie does both the man and women's voice in the throes of koochie koo while a sappy instrumental back the entire gush. Many other goodies appear as well from some offbeat soul numbers dealing with everything from the topless bathing suit craze of 1964 to Charlie Allen's "Molasses" which is exactly what you think it's about (and no, not "molasses" as a kinky lubricant!). Some interesting surprises pop up too like the City Dwellers' garage band revenger "Your Turn To Cry," Link Wray's vocal crank out "Hidden Charms," the MC5's single version of "Kick Out The Jams" and Soupy Sales cashing in on the disco craze with "Break Your Back"! Soupy, I'm surprised at you for stooping so low as to go disco...I mean who do you think you are, Bill Cosby? Somebody sic White Fang on this guy like pronto!
Lee Hazelwood-THE LHI YEARS: SINGLES, NUDES AND BACKSIDES, 1968-1971 CD-r burn (originally on Light in the Attic)

Finally for today's this gusher courtesy of the late Lee Hazelwood and his LHI label featuring loads of tracks done either on his lonesome or with the likes of Ann Margaret sharing the warbling duties. 'n they all come off real goopy as if syrup was being poured all over your stereo system. Late-sixties country-pop slosh that brings back memories of where my next Matchbox car was comin' from more'n anything. Docked a hefty ten points for having one of those Jesus was a hippie songs snuck in even if you don't find out it was about Him until the last verse!