Thursday, October 31, 2013


Lou Reed was a Jew who had an iron cross shaved into his hair.

He wrote the immortal songs "Disco Mystic," "My Little Red Joy Stick," and "I'm Just a Gift (To The Women of the World)".

He was simultaneously way too smart for rock n' roll and dumb enough to believe in its redemptive power. When I was in junior high, reading the latest skirmish between Lou and Lester Bangs in CREEM was like a teenager's version of William F. Buckley's FIRING LINE...for freaks.

In 1978 I was president of the Moon High School Lou Reed Club, not that there was much to preside over (check the yearbook if you think I'm shitting you). On a record player obtained from the A.V. room, I'd play "Vicious" off TRANSFORMER. I liked that the lyrics seemed tossed off in about one minute instead of dreadfully earnest rock opera crap. Maybe five kids would attend, mostly because I'd also play METAL MACHINE MUSIC and the sponsoring teacher would suddenly urgently need a cigarette break, allowing them to do one hitters while she was gone.

David Bowie was good, but he didn't have a rock 'n roll bone in his body. The Rolling Stones seemed geared more towards the popular kids. I had not heard the Stooges. I was working my way backwards to the Velvets. I was getting into punk but didn't see the Lou Reed DNA strand encoded in its helix. Lou I couldn't figure. I still can't. I liked that about him.

At almost every meeting, someone would sneer "Lou Reed sucks" just like you can hear someone in the audience opine after the last song on LOU REED LIVE. How many artists would have left that on there? How many would probably take a perverse pride in it? Good ol' Lou.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Yeah, I'm sure you all know by now that Lou Reed's dead, nyet, nada, no more, kicked the bucket, bought the farm and is probably even colder'n Nico. The nooze sources say it happened last Sunday but I ain't buying that a bit. I happen to know that Lou died sometime in 1968 only he just now found out.

Or better yet in the snark department, if John Lennon could say that Elvis Presley died when he joined the army (and that H. Gertz could say that Lennon himself died when he met Yoko Ono), then maybe Lou Reed died when he kicked John Cale out of the Velvet Underground! Now how does that one come off for doof-addled brilliance?

Not too good, hunh? Well yeah, I could've popped out a better one only I don't wanna come off too precociously smart like Oscar Wilde, and look what happened to him! But we're not talkin' that fag, we're talkin' this one, Lou Reed, a guy who love him or loathe him was responsible for almost single-handedly reorganizing rock 'n roll during its silver age, not to mention help keep the entire fanabla from totally tumbling into a stew of hippie spectacle and cheap progressive ploy. Perhaps he was thee rockin' redeemer at a time when we certainly needed a rock savior during the just-post-British Invasion era when rock music was beginning to flounder about unsure of its rightful place inna universe. Face it, the guy set the stage for Iggy, the Dolls and all of your favorite seventies bargain bin faves a whole lot more'n Jagger. Bowie or Morrison could, and you can tell he was good because he rubbed too many people the wrong way which in these days of unbridled cause/cult felcharama is certainly an asset.

And yes, the Velvet Underground were responsible for all of the good rock 'n roll music to have come out of the late-sixties and seventies, as well as all of the BAD music to come out afterwards. Can't argue with a bold fact like that!

But when Lou and the Velvets were making their own good rock 'n roll who but the stodgiest "classic rock" fan would deny that they were creating the best music to have come out of the form not only then but a good five decades later. The only groups that could come close were those that were directly influenced by 'em and yeah, I can name many instances of acts who had never even heard of the Velvet Underground who put out some wild sides themselves, but then again I get the feeling that your standard stuck up rock snob would blanch at the mere thought of the 1910 Fruitgum Company, Tim Buckley, the Sonics, the Sweet or the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (among many others) being considered "good" rock 'n roll. Kinda shows what kind of a chasm there is between high energy rockers like ourselves and the majority of people who claim to love rock 'n roll while paying homage to a hollowed out, cheap imitation of it.

Although it's supposedly hip to say so (even if Peter Laughner, a Mattel model version of Lou Reed if there ever was one, begged to differ), I will agree that the Velvets were at their best when Lou's street slime was countered by John Cale's avant garde inclinations. Hey, I will tell you up front that just about every note that the classic Cale-period Velvets, forever touted as being the "early Velvet Underground" even a few months after Cale had left the act (witness Dave Mush's review of the first Stooges album in CREEM) was beyond measure the best rock 'n roll to have been laid down to vinyl ever. Those sides continue to stand as a monumental testimonial to noise as art as a reason to tear things up, and its no wonder entire rock genres could be built on those two platters which were so powerful that they were talked about in tones maybe not so hushed even when these records had gone out of print in the USA. A basic template that could be extrapolated on or reduced to a basic pulse, and whatever was done it was something that was bound to make the unacquainted squeem in terror as any listen to WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT in its nerve-shattering entirety will prove.

Even the latterday Velvets would get compared to their early selves which only goes to show you just how important and life-reaffirming the Velvets were, even when they were singing about death and dope making a whole load of kids wanna cop some of that dark universe in the process.

But hey, I don't give a coprophaggot Reedian ass that the Velvets sang about drugs and sex practices that might now be legal but are certainly not risk free no matter how you look at it. It's the drone, the ideas and the repeato-riffs that sold me. And although the lyrics did have their air of beauty I guess Reed could have been mumbling the telephone book and it still would have come off overload. Some people just have that gift.

Of course solo Reed, even with the few bright spots and METAL MACHINE MUSIC searing the synapses of your mind, never did add up to anything he was able to cook up during his Velvets tenure. The early eighties Robert Quine band was a magnificent romp true (and I have been known to enjoy TRANSFORMER on a once-in-a-lifetime basis), but given the material Reed gave Quine to perform its a wonder it came out as good as it did. It reminds me of what Thomas Fleming on the CHRONICLES website recently wrote about how he much more enjoyed Reed back when the chap was a drug sotted degenerate...when he went liberal he started singing about saving the whales just like all of those protest kiddies Reed once upped nose at! The perfect move to cuddle up to the Jann Wenners in order to get some crucial bigtime rock space but certainly a downer for people like you. Or what Harvey Gold said at a Tin Huey concert in 1973 (prior to a particularly potent "Sister Ray" dedicated to Peter Laughner and Maureen Tucker)...that Lou Reed was once great, now he's only good (and guess what he became by 198X...a bigger embarrassment than the time Brad Kohler's uncle unscrewed that Oreo cookie and stuck 'em to his nipples while imitating a topless island hula dancer and in front of the entire fambly t'boot!).

Well, there is one thing that we should all be grateful about regarding Lou's death, and that is he won't be around this November 22nd to sing "The Day John Kennedy Died" for the fiftieth anniversary hullabaloo bash that's undoubtedly gonna happen all over the place. And you know he would have, for some sycophantic clingons out there!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Certain readers have written in noting a strain on my being that's persisted since at least the early days of Autumn. For those of you who have noticed all I can do is congratulate you on being such observant people! Really, the past month or so has induced a giant mass of pressure being pounced upon my being, not because of any personal demons I've been struggling with (face it, those demons have won long ago!), but because the thought of me having to rake up and dispose of all these leaves that have been falling off the trees this if they were gonna jump into the trash bag 'n dispose of themselves without any personal prodding on my behalf...not to mention cleaning the gutters is just too maddening to shake outta my obviously overworked and overwrought mind! And of course the mere idea of me going up and down that rickety latter to scrape who-knows-what outta the gutters (I have the feeling that the neighborhood cats 'n squirrels like to use 'em as a latrine) really does a number on me...enough to be giving me weirder dreams'n the one I had last night even (it was one of my recurring GILLIGAN'S ISLAND dreams dealing with a brief mid-eighties revival of the series with the original cast, only for some strange reason Richard Deacon was one of 'em! Stranger'n the one I had a good seven or so years back where the Professor was wearing a "hip" ponytail while dressed in judge's robes!). I know you all have had those falling dreams where you are pushed off a ledge or fall out of a tree only to suddenly wake up in a cold sweat, but not every night like I do during gutter cleaning season!

Well, impending backbreaking work and strange dreams dealing with untied ends from childhood kultural significance aside, here are this week's reviews!


Will strangeties never cease? I mean, here's an entire Cee-Dee consisting of nothing but tracks recorded by a bunch of English school kids which were pressed on to records from the late-fifties until the early-eighties, and it ain't like these kids were necessarily being led on by their over-rambunctious stage mothers or teachers either! Naw, these tracks were not only performed by kids but in many cases were written by kids for school projects, and I must admit they sure did a boffo job above and beyond the call of just putting forth enough to get a good grade. Well, it sure beats cutting open a dead frog!

Some of it might seem out of place...after all, the Nick Nack Kids are pretty much household names in households that still bellow out "This Old Man"...but the all-gal choirs, avant garde soundscapes and a Scarlatti piano piece do prove that grade schoolers like these ain't as stoopid as teachers and parents tend to make 'em out to be. Some of this is amazingly serious while a don't drink and drive project is light hearted kidstuff that kinda misses the intended target. After all, how many ten-year-olds are boozing it up and jumping into the family car anyway? But whatever, this sorta comes off as the aural counterpart to those artwork by children studies where some seven-year-old's art is compared to ancient works or Picasso for that matter. Only this ain't as stodgy or as clinical in its approach (though the booklet notes should have been more thorough---many a gap and omission leaves me hungerin' for more background information!).

Kinda makes me wish that the songs that my cousin and I created at age seven were preserved for future generations and collections such as this. We really created some doozies, like our spoof of the classic "Let The Sun Shine In" entitled "Let the Moonshine In" which really rattled my aunt who thought we were ruining a nice wholesome song, not to mention that all-time classic "Pick My Nose in the Middle of February"! Yeah, I know that stuff like that would never make it outta the back porch and onto a record let alone Cee-Dee years later but hey, what can you expect from a buncha suburban slobs anyway? It ain't like we were creative like all those English fags now, were we?
Bill Barron-THE TENOR STYLINGS OF... CD-r burn (originally on Savoy)

Wish that I had one of those encyclopedia kinda jazz minds like Gary Giddins or Bill Shute so I can rattle off to you more about this jazz saxophonist, but since I don't I hadda do my googlin' just like everyone else. Turns out that Barron's a guy who had previously played with Cecil Taylor and would later end up on Ted Curson's TEARS FOR DOLPHY, an album that I never really quite wrapped my Eustachian tubes around. Nothing quite awe-inspiring on this '61 sesh either, though Barron and band (also including not only Curson but Coltrane bassist Jimmy Garrison) know how to keep things moving while doing the post-bop drive. Might even suit you well even if you don't feel as nerve-beaten as I have these last few days!
Various Artists-KEEP OFF THE GHOUL-TIDE! (pudgy pickings from the virtual thrift store) CD-r (compiled by Bill Shute)

Another Bill Shute sampler of stuff you're never gonna hear on drive time radio (unless I was program director!), that's for sure! Mostly unfamaliar, at least one bell-ringing name (Positively 13 O'Clock of "Psychotic Reaction" on PEBBLES Volume 1 fame) appears...oh wait, so do the Kasenetz-Katz Super Cirkus doing "To You With Love" which just hadda've stymied all of the kids who bought the "I'm in Love With You" single and, as usual, wanted to get their money's worth outta it by spinning the flip!

Also on board is more country twang courtesy Ruth Dalton with Wayne Johnston's Boys, black gospel by the Angelic Gospel Choir for those of you who go for things like this, locally-produced soul from Cleveland's Soul Notes and various garage band gurgles that sound so neighborhood you kinda get the idea that they were recorded next door! (As far as "answer records" go the Imposters' "Wipe In" has gotta be the cheeziest of 'em all!) Especially strange is a side off an album by a Korean singing group called "Bunny Girls" who do their sixties pop schtick in their own native tongue...they may not be the Korean answer to Japan's Peanuts but man, if you're gonna riot in their neighborhood I'll betcha they've got pretty good aim so out!
The Dirtbombs-OOEY GOOEY CHEWY KA-BLOOEY! CD-r burn (originally on In The Red)

Personally I like mine Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy, but this will do. A surprisingly crafted tribute to late-sixties SoCal sunshine pop with a few sidetracks into Box Tops mid-South twang. Not quite the bubblegum bonanza that leader Mick Collins says it is, but considering the lack of any sorta smart pop criteria being pumped out in this age of eternal Patti Page glop recycled as _________________ (fill in the blank with whatever female "belter" you have the most loathing for) this does come off fresher'n your gal's rag after a heavy dousing of lye. I get the feeling that Brian Wilson's gonna be wantin' to do some heavy boppin' on this group's collective heads after he hears "We Come In the Sunshine," but its best to let the courts decide.

Various Artists-THE BYG DEAL CD-r burn (originally on Finders Keepers)

One via Thomas Gilmore, this time a sampler of the BYG (with and without Actuel) label's rock wares that was released obviously to cash in on the collector's cult surrounding the legendary French label. Y'know, the one that was best known not only for a slew of late-seventies bargain bin entries at your fave shopping mall emporium but poor pressings and a notorious ripping off of the artist. Mostly hippie stuff here, though you don't have to feel self-conscious listening to Daevid Allen and Gong or AME Son because they certainly don't reek patchouli like some of the entries do. Oddly enough, this contains a cover of the Standells hit "Dirty Water" as performed by some English cats (oooh, am """""I""""" in the groove!) called Freedom you probably will hate, but since they probably hate you everything's even. Dock ten pts. for including the Art Ensemble of Chicago's "Rock On!" (a boffo inclusion mind you), and fading it out right when Roscoe Mitchell's toughass sax solo gets into gear!
THE OFFSET: SPECTACLE CD-r burn (sent by Tom Gilmore)

Not too sure about this one...was it originally a vinyl album released by the Spectator K label, or did this one come out as a Cee-Dee somewhere? Whatever it was, I went into it cold not knowing a thing about 'em. Thought the low-fi drone the Offset: Spectacle people put forth was interesting enough what with the references to a whole slew of acts both well-known and well-loved from early Pavement to Tyrannosaurus Rex, and what's more the singer was not elocutioning in the Queen's English...sounded something more like French to me!

Turns out that this group wasn't Gallic in the slightest but Chinese, and the Offset: Spectacle are an act that has made their home in none other than Peking of all places! Yes, the sorry spectacle (whether offset or not) of self-produced non-commercial rock 'n roll has made its way deep into the heart of Maoland, but thankfully a whole lot was lost in the translation because this act is mighty entertaining w/o harboring the self-conscious narcissism of many similar acts who had been paraded out as the next hotcha wowzer save-the-world band over the past three or so decades. A pretty decent outing from this outta-nowhere act, and frankly I hope they stay in China with their mad drone music and unique under-the-garage stylings---after all, I'd hate to hear what they'd sound like AFTER being exposed to Western alternative/amerindie values, and so would you!
THE KIOSK III CD-r (David Keay, available via

Latest addition/edition from this boffo bedroom act that seems to be improving with each and every release. On this one the specter of krautitude seems to be growing with a few references to Neu! here and Faust there, and for some maybe not-so-surprising reason I can hear quite a bit of Slapp Happy in the mix! Even some very early Fairport Convention back when they were doing a better job of being the Jefferson Airplane than the 'plane themselves were. A pretty pleasant slice of home-made music that reminds me of the good ol' days of sub-garage antics---before it became just another cheap ploy for people to wanna swap their cassettes of musical jagoffs for my crudzine as if it were an honest and legal barter. (And don't worry, I used to attempt to do the exact same thing with people of a much greater stature than I was or shall ever hope to be!)
Left Lane Cruiser-ROCK THEM BACK TO HELL CD-r (originally on Alive)

Paul McGarry doesn't care for this one, but he thought he should send me a burn of it anyway. Thanks a lot Paul, now how about sending me some more things you don't like, such as MANTOVANI'S GREATEST HITS or even a few of those collections of THE WORLD'S BEST LOVED MELODIES that they used to sell on weekend tee-vee in order to shame loads of doof families into getting some culture into their homes!

All kidding aside this ain't bad. Nothing I think I'll be spinning again any time soon, but good enough hard-country thunk rock that owes about as much to early heavy metal moves as it does rockabilly. Maybe even Z.Z. Top (or even choice-era Black Oak Arkansas) meets the Cramps? Could be! Whatever, a fair enough screecher that delivers quite a lot more than many of the competition that's roaming out there in new and refreshing land.

The Hammersmith Gorillas-MESSAGE TO THE WORLD CD (Damaged Goods England)

Gotta say that I own a whole load of Jesse Hector-related booty whether it be in disc, disque or tape format. Also gotta admit that I ain't been spinnin' as much Jesse Hector-related material as perhaps I should, but now that winter's almost upon us maybe I will have some more time to spare in a few months time. A good 'un here finally digitized, showing the trio in tippy top form cranking out material both classic ("Foxy Lady") and new with that patented hard thrust that evokes everything from T. Rex and Slade to the late-fifties experimenters. Not bad, though wha' th' %*#& is it with those oscillating intros and outros???
Hooo boy have I got a hot one for you comin' up this you can't stand waitin' for it, eh? Well tough turds, because yer gonna hafta wait for the thing just like everyone else...what makes you think YOU'RE so special anyway???

Thursday, October 24, 2013

BOOK REVIEW! THE LITTLE RASCALS (the life and times of Our Gang) by Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann (Crown, 1992)

Here's a long-honored book that comes in handy not only if you were one of the millyuns who sacked out in front of the boob tube watching LITTLE RASCALS and OUR GANG comedies long before Bill Cosby made good on his threat and bought up the rights, but if you're one (like me) who thinks that there was a "Golden Era" of films that began in the 1890's and lasted until the outbreak of the Second World War which will never be replicated, replaced or emulated for that matter. After that era the world became too distraught to ever become innocent again, and right now you can bet we're bearing the brunt of it all.

A nice enough read you betcha, even when Leonard Maltin's getting into his patented "above-it-all" chortling about somethingorother and slaps in his two-cents of knock me over the head with a sledgehammer observations (yeah, the MGM GANGs just don't measure don't have to keep reminding us!). I mean, what sorta suburban slob wouldn't go for a book listing the entire 22+-year series short by short with typical posed production stills that usually have nothing to do with the films, not to mention the behind the scenes hijinx as well as bios on your fave and not-so characters even if that bearded buffoon was behind the entire shebang!

So it's a good enough effort with bits 'n pieces not only on the actual comedies themselves but the actors, directors, controversies and all sorta observations spewed forth from the soon-to-be-86's members themselves. There's even a page or so on not only the copycat series that were flooding the market for years, but the reams of people who were claiming to be former RASCAL members and going to their deaths living their illusions even though all of the evidence was pretty much stacked up against 'em!

I must admit that breezing like Brisbane through this book really did jog a few memory cells loose from my didja know that onetime RASCAL imitator Malcolm Sebastian (better known as BIG BOY) was a member of the troupe once and only once for the difficult to sit through "Shivering Shakespeare"??? However the Nanette Fabray controversy still rages on considering how the book definitely claims that the pert-nosed one was not a member (something which contradicts what she actually said on MATCH GAME!)...well since this book's revised edition came out it has been discovered that Fabray actually did appear in an early silent as a kiddie extra which just "might" qualify her as a member, but that also might be like saying Don Evans was a member of Rocket From The Tombs or that Eve Plumb appeared in the DICK TRACY pilot episode. It all depends on how you look at it.

But phonus balonuses and peripheral membership aside I gotta say I love this book to the dickens. Not only does it fill me in on a whole load of film history I could stand crammed into my beanie (unlike all of those other textbook stodgy treatises which praise the likes of Chaplin to the rafters and say that Buster Keaton was fantastic until those dread talkies came into being), but it sure brings back them boffo memories of my favorite years of all time, namely the pre-school days, when watching LITTLE RASCALS in the morning was just as much as ritual as...waiting until the end of AFTERNOON THEATER to watch some King Features filler cartoons (BEETLE BAILEY, KRAZY KAT...) before tuning into BARNEY BEAN at five for whatever animated wowzers he'd would happen to be running (DEPUTY DAWG, DICK TRACY!!!). And if you don't think that those years were the bestest, most fruitful years of my being you certainly haven't been reading this blog long enough!

(Did I ever tell you about the time when I was about four or so and watching ROAMIN' HOLIDAY during the morning hours, and the film actually began "flickering" and snapped [probably due to too many syndication spins!] during the finale when the bees begin flying all over the place much to Spanky, Alfalfa and Buckwheat's dismay? Mother was vexed because she wanted to go to her mother's place and had to take me along, but I wouldn't budge because as long as "the end" didn't appear on the screen the movie just wasn't over for me I actually watched about another five or so minutes of the television well into the next program just hoping that I would finally see "the end" flashed thus signalling the culmination of my morning viewing hours, but eventually gave up hope that it ever would be finalized at least in my mind. To this day I must admit that I do feel unfulfilled, as if I have been denied some sort of closure lo these many years and if you wonder why I come off as this sort of gruff and unlovable coot that I've revealed myself to be throughout my not-so-illustrious "career" well, know you know.) 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Eh, not much to say right now. Don't feel like talking, being sociable, or even breathing for that matter. Here's what's been spinning on my various 'tables this past week, and if you don't like it why don't you go write a letter to your mother or this point in time I could hardly give a whit what any of you think (and judging from the amt. of feedback I get via the blog, the feeling is most certainly mutual!).

Kim Gordon and Bill Nace-BODY/HEAD CD-r (originally on Matador)

Like, what the fuh? I mean, me actually reviewing a release on the Matador label which is run by that adolescent tough boy poseur (copyright 1977) grand master of self-important assholism Gerard "Go back across the room and stick Eddie Flowers' dick back in your mouth" Cosloy himself? The guy who pretty much single-handedly caused a huge drop off in sales of my saintly fanzine with his incessant rantings against myself-financed, hand cranked pride and joy??? You'd think I'd take to reviewing a Matador release with about the same sense of objectivity as Chuck Eddy would review a release by Sister Ray, but since I got this one free via Bob Forward (to whom I give a big "thank you," I think) I figure hey, why not? And besides, at this point in time I am that hard up.

Really nothing that special here. Music that's been done a good twenty-plus years ago by other remnants of the New York Lower East Side cadre. Perhaps they didn't do it as good as Nace and Gordon do here though, but at least it's in the same vernacular. Moody drone that's enveloping enough, but lacks the proper warmth and drive that made previous drones oh-so-enticing.

But hey, these modern-day experimental types are totally devoid of any humanity or feeling don'tcha know...I think it had something to do with eight years of Reagan and four years of Bush I, then eight years of Bush II later on. Well, if you were some young radical type writing about rock music for your blog you'd probably come up with the same excuse now, wouldn't you??? (And oh, am I trying to be copasetic with all of you Marcusians out there who love to troll blogs such as mine!)

To be honest about it, I can't say that I've been that much of a fan and follower of the entire Sonic Youth cadre since the very late-eighties. The lack of money, access and a serious reaction against the entire miasma that had settled upon what we used to call "underground rock" sorta had me steering clear of these post-no wave styled acts for quite some time. Well, at least Miss Gordon hasn't gone new age, which I somehow would have thought the next logical evolutionary move given some of the other offal to have come out of the New York under-the-underground.

Your take may differ, but for me BODY/HEAD represents the sounds of the once-bright hope of past accomplishment stuck in neutral not going anywhere and merely existing if only to exist as a musical artifact. Certainly a labor of love, even if some might be tempted to say self indulgence. I wouldn't, but then again I wouldn't exactly say that this has the same verve and style that drew me to Sonic Youth back when they had just released their debut on Neutral which sounded like yet another one of those intelligent and brilliant flashes of early Velvet Underground energies wrapped up for an era in rock that seemed rather precarious. And hey, if a certain label head would just happen to see this particular writeup and once again feign self-pitying rage (as we'd all expect) well hey, look at the bright side...maybe Patrick Amory is across the room, and you know what to do now don't you sweetie!
Barrance Whitfield and the Savages-DIG THY SAVAGE SOULD CD-r burn (originally on Bloodshot)

Uh like, this is more like it! I gotta admit that I was one bozo who had ignored Mr. Whitfield back during his eighties rise to "fame" perhaps because there were too many other things that were begging for my money out there, but who could deny that this guy was one of the few real-life people singing the blues in an era where the genre seemed to get slicked up thanks to the likes of Robert Cray and a whole buncha white guys who thought they were pursuing the down-and-out lifestyle. Whitfield sings tough and gruff the way you'd expect a blues man to belt it out, and the Savages mix just the right amount of garage band energy and hard urban blues to make this a record that (maybe) could unite the hardened r 'n' b  and rock & roll fans! Though I kinda doubt it...I mean, why would they WANT to unite in the first place? It's kinda surprising to hear such a hard blare here in the 'teens long after the original spirit had died...give it a listen before it too gets buried under the weight of way too many Miley Cyrus disques.
Various Artists-SWEET CRAWLIN' REBEL CATERPILLARS CD-r burn (tossed my way via Bill Shute)

Remember Captain Beefheart's "Best Batch Yet"? Well, the latest round of Cee-Dee-Ares that Bill Shute sent me were the worst batch yet, since none of 'em would play on my chairside entertainment system w/o emitting a loud chirpy squeaky echo-y sound that makes each 'n every one of 'em all but listenable! And sheesh, it seemed as if Bill had sent yet another set of goodies that I woulda enjoyed too. Well, worse things have happened to once I was on the Atlantic Records alternative music promo list!

This slightly older collection does spin fine enough, all the way through in fact w/o skipping or just stopping as if it were a deer caught in your headlights on some late-autumn midnight road. It's got some way-too familiar trackage true (Max Frost, Blues Magoos, Seeds...) but some neat surprises as well, like an early Buckinghams track that sounds just the right balance of pop and garage band without the overbearing horns that cluttered up their hits! Bill also slapped on a toon by one of a thousand groups from the sixties calling themselves the Invaders, Hasil Adkins taken straight from 8-track (!), and for a change of pace, a lounge-y version of "Sweet Caroline" that sounds as if it was recorded live at the "Ripple Room" in the Moonlight Lounge right before the mob burned it to the ground. Good stack of singles you got here Bill, and next time make sure the heads are clean on your machine next time!
Various Artists-MICHIGAN MELTDOWN VOLUME 2 LP (Coney Dog)

And I thought volume one was a wild ride...lemme tell you in this case the sequel tops the original hands down. Here's more of that MC5-driven Detroit rock style via a slew of extremely obscure self-produced single sides which really bring all of that hype about the area being one force field of musical scronk home, y'know???

If you're a humongous fan of self-produced, garage-recorded, poorly-pressed singles man, this is the platter for you! Twelve rarities pop up here, and if they ain't trying to mimic the avant rock of the MC5 they're going for the Stooges sense of aural overload. Or maybe even something of their own for that matter, but whatever it is these groups really do create that high-energy style that had doofuses like me scouring THE MUSIC INDEX trying to find any reference to these groups and more as if the publications of the day were exactly gonna be brimming full with detailed minutiae on the Up or even Carnal Kitchen!

Fave raves (at least for me) include Attack's "Dream" (mildly MC5 riddled), TNS's "Time's Up" (heavily Stoogified), Canada's "Money is Love Heredity" (I'll bet they didn't even know they were influenced by the Velvet Underground!), the Mixed Generation's "Unhooked Generation" (Freda Payne taken to the logically correct Detroit-rock extreme) and Spaced's double sider! And hey, I don't even know who what or where these obviously punk rockin' locals with names like Ape and Chuckles who appeared in this band were comin' about a group trying to create their own genre of rock 'n roll right before your very ears, succeeding, then losing it for a good forty or so years!
The Sadies-INTERNAL SOUNDS CD-r burn (originally on Yep Records)

Not much I can really say about these Canadian alt-country rockers other'n they can put up a halfway-decent moderne-psychedelic sound even if fully ingrained in the "patented" indie style and that their more twango numbers do emit an air of Elliot Murphy around the time of NIGHT LIGHTS which really is a good feat. Other'n that all I can say is that, although the Sadies are a group with musical talent and an ability to craft some slightly appealing numbers, they seem to tread the same waters of post-eighties Long Ryders psych rock compete with western ride-'em-cowboy sensibilities. If I ever do happen to spin this one again it'll probably be out of either extreme boredom or the fact that I forgot I had spun it in the first place and decided to repeat myself as usual (it has been done.) My moolah's gonna be on the to plunk down a dime for a bet???
Clifford Thornton-FREEDOM AND UNITY CD-r burn (originally on Atavistic)

Bill sent a fanabla of a good one here (which didn't even sport any defects unlike the platters promulgating his last package), a '67 sesh from valve trombonist Thornton and his "New Art Ensemble." Somehow I don't get the feeling that Roscoe Mitchell would have been one to sue over the name of Thornton's aggregation, and after a spin or two I'm sure the erstwhile AEC multi-instrumentalist found someone who most definitely was more than just a "kindred spirit".

Fantastic down vibe on this session, very similar to the boffo Marzette Watts ESP platter probably because of not only Thornton's but Karl Berger's presence on that 'un as well as this. It's even gnarlier if you can imagine which is saying something about a release featuring the guitar maulingness of Sonny Sharrock. Fantastic players too, most of whom other'n Jimmy Garrison are unknowns not only now, but then (one guy sports the moniker of Tyrone Crabb, one of the best nom-de-trues to pass my eyes since Dick Hyman). The reissue also has two bonus tracks meaning that you're getting a better and cheaper bargain downloading this 'un rather'n dishing out the bucks for an original. Be thrifty for once, willya?
Doubt I'll be in a better mood for next week's extravaganza, but I will give it a try. Until then, as Adam Clayton Powell used to say, "keep the faith---and better hold onto the cash too while you're at it."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Still milking the BIG SCREEN BOMBSHELLS Dee-Vee-Dee set for all its worth, and surprise surprise today's double header was a pretty hotcha if botcha one if I do say so myself. First on the bill's THE STEPMOTHER, a "melodrama" (that's what I think they call 'em) starring none other than Alejandro Rey of FLYING NUN fame in the lead as this hot-headed and jealous to the nth architect who not only kills a client who has been doodling his wife, but accidentally (or so I think) pushes his best friend and business partner off the roof of a partway-completed structure. Considering the friend was played by none other than Larry Linville of M*A*S*H fame you could say that I've been waiting for a scene like this for quite a long time!

THE STEPMOTHER reeks early-seventies gloss and flash even when you consider its grimy deca-suburban (considering everybody is either talking about doing the dirty deed or doing it with everyone else) feel. In many ways it comes of like an NBC MYSTERY MOVIE with tits. And hey, that's what makes it so interesting because when you get bored with the police work scenes there are always some areola bound to pop up on the screen to keep your mind occupied for at least a few seconds.

'n hey, if does make for a good round of entertainment even if your mind isn't focused on mams 'n paps, because the pace is pumped up enough that you don't have to do much if any fast forwarding like I have to at least when I get to some filler (walks through the park, strolls through the zoo...) that exist only to pad an hour's worth of material into a solid feature length. Just don't let the arty "freeze frame" effects get to you. (If you are an epileptic you might wanna steer clear of this one.)

I hadda do more than my share of fast-forwarding with THE SISTER-IN-LAW, a '74 effort starring future youth-appeal actor John Savage as a young fanabla returning home after trying to "find himself," where he's not only seduced by his brother's oft-overexposed  wife, but bro's mistress who bears a bit of a resemblance to the wife so like, why the switch? Actually this 'un is a good enough drama in itself (especially when it comes to the underworld elements who are more'n anxious for brother to deliver a certain package to Canada, and it ain't Paul McGarry's Christmas gift!), though some of it does tend to drag like the dickens. Especially the scenes where we see Savage and bro's whore driving through the countryside followed by a pair of comedic baddies making sure that they do their doody, and maybe get shot right afterwards...I mean, if they just cut those down to proper lengths and maybe added a few more boob shots you wouldn't be hitting the ol' refrigerator so often now, would you?

Actually you can't really go wrong with these drive-in creepers that I'm sure woulda been worth your while seeing back when they were hitting the projectors, though I get the idea that if you were to trek down to the local outdoor theatre when any of these classics were being run the only thing you'd be seeing would be some gal's legs up inna air in the car ahead of you. Well, as they used to say, there was probably more action going on in the cars than on the screen, and after all of these years I finally realize why my mother would always tell me to look straight ahead when we'd drive to the Reynolds to go see SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES or BAMBI...well, at least the entertainment that was being provided was rated "G" unlike everything else that was happening around me!

Saturday, October 12, 2013


How are you enjoying the nice 'n warm October weather we're having here in the tri-county area anyway? Believe-you-moi I sure do appreciate this summertime extension we're having which I must say reminds me of some of the surprisingly nice and toasty Octobers that we've had in the past. Y'know, the kind that somehow intermingle with the better moments of my (and maybe even your) growing up days when I'd be reading comic books and watching old tee-vee programs when I should have been smoking pot like all of the other eight-year-olds out there!.And hey, since the Indians are predicting a cold winter I better get my hot weather jollies in while I can because this January you know that I'm gonna be freezing my toogles off shoveling the snow at six inna morn just fantasizing about all of that warm weather most of us took for granted only a few months prior! But hey, other'n that at least winter gives me a good enough reason to GOOF OFF!!! and we all I sure could use a whole lot more of that as the year winds down.

In other news...Tom Hanks has diabetes. And like... are we supposed to cry about it??? Even a sniffle or two regarding the fact will certainly not come from my obvious clogged sinuses I'll tell ya. I mean, thanks to a double family whammy which already guaranteed my baldness I'm gonna be more'n apt to get the dread disease than YOU probably will and guess what...NONE of you young whippersnappers are gonna care one bit whether or not my blood can be used as syrup for Dracula's pancakes.

I gotta admit that, although I couldn't give one fig what you think, it does burn me up a bit hearing all of that sad and sympathetic talk aimed towards a man of whom I have a total loathing and hatred for. Someone who I frankly wouldn't mind wishing some evil upon if only for the past three decades of his sniveling career which I somehow think was supposed to be directed towards the likes of me, as if anyone from Hollywood had cared to ask me what I like inna first place. This current crop of mewling reminds me of when I was a kid in school just loaded with all sorts of problems and miseries and inner demons trying to bore a hole through my noggin, and alla the girls would feel sorry for not me but some cutesy boy kid who had something not-so-drastically bad befall him! Of course the skirts felt this way only because he was a good looker and I was just another blubboid pimplefarm! I mean---I know I look more like Karbunkle or even Fester Bestertester than I do Guy Smiley, but I was the one who was having the problems and my heart and soul getting ripped outta me, and like the same people who were shedding tears over some updated Freddie Bartholomew type were continually tell me to "get over it" like it was that easy to toss off those traumatic experiences that pretty much shaped my entire personality and being!!!!

Yeah, tell me to get over the constant haranguing and debasement and abject ridicule, then go home and rub yourselves off while listening to Dylan sing about Hollis Brown and Hattie Carroll thinking you're all oh-so-superior to the rest of us mouth-breathers! Hope you feel really good, and don't forget to clean up the mess!

So you can (obviously I hope) tell that I have an extreme aversion to people showing sympathy for well off big name stars who bruise their pinky whilst all these poor schmucks with nada to their name actually cry' their li'l eyes out because of it! (An exaggeration???  Well, maybe not by much!) Well, I guess that now that the Kennedys have been dropping off like flies Ameriga needs some new hollow idols to bleed heart over and really, can you get any more hollower-than-thou than Hanks?

I think I've dished out enough curmudgeoness for the week...anyhoo here's what stimulated my stirrups this past week or so:

The Walnut Band-GO NUTS CD (Numusi Records, Germany)

Back during the illustrious days of underground rock making inroads into barfoid teenage listening patterns, I was thoroughly under the impression that all of the acts that were playing the much-fabled CBGB/Max's Kansas City circuit in lower Manhattan were of a thoroughly punkoid stock! Yes, I actually believed that each and every artist that set foot on the hallowed stages of those clubs was worthy of my record collection, and the fact that both clubs were able to subsist on the bevy of bountiful acts that not only existed in the local area but worldwide was living proof that this world was heading toward a powerful post-Velvets vista of high energy jamz that would last us for nigh up to a good decade or so, at which point something even more beneficial would come around to push us true believers into even greater realms of musical expression! Yeah, back then ignorant kids like myself could really conjure strange if compelling theories as to where rock music was heading and thankfully it wasn't into the sordid album rock direction the rest of the kids thought it would!

Funny how a li'l research could change your perceptions within the blink of a wink or however that old saying goes. Loads of digging and review scrounging had me discovering early on that maybe some of those CBGB and Max's acts just weren't as punk rock or even gnu wave-y as we all thought they were going to be. Oh yeah, some of 'em may have been punk rock in a 1971 CREEM magazine punk rock sorta way, or punkier than thou or even sorta punk, but a good portion of 'em weren't exactly punk like you me and the bedpost thought it might be. In fact, some of the groups that were appearing on the stages of those haunts were pretty much aping their directions from rather non-punkian sources, or even non-underground stylings of any sort or maybe even non-rock 'n roll ideals for that matter! Hard to believe that, but it's true as anyone who plunked down moolah for albums by the Movies and City Lights (both good enough acts at least in part) could tell you with a slight sense of disgust on their faces.

I have, at least as of the past two or so decades, been surprised at the number of decidedly non-punk acts that were playing the clubs during the mid-to-late seventies which as you know has shattered my pre-conceived notions like potrzebie! Of course there were the slew of heavy metal groups from the likes of Sun/Son and Sorcerers not to mention that all-time great Von Lmo at CB's and Max's, but they had at least a shard of early punk credo that I'm sure kept 'em interesting enough to the reams of regular attendees (as well as the unacquainted few). Rhythm and Blues (and just straight-ahead blues) was a big enough ticket in mid-seventies New York to the point where Max's even got mentioned on the cover of a Spivey Records sampler as a hot place to hear the likes of the Dicey Ross Blues Band, the Sugar Blues Band and other acts that never did get out as much as some thought they should have. (Did the legendary Rice Miller Band ever release anything?) And who could forget this quote that ex-Shirts singer Annie Golden spewed forth about how going to CBGB wasn't exactly a predictable experience given how Hilly Kristel would book not only the standard punk rock locals but jazz rock, rockabilly, psychedelic and other kinds of acts that probably couldn't get a gig anywhere other'n CBGB especially in those original music-starved days.

(One of the weirdest things I've discovered about the booking patterns at CBGB and Max's [and to a small extent Club 82] was the presence of progressive rock acts at the clubs! Max's seemed to be the bigger offender even though Peter Crowley drew a thirty-plus-year memory block when presented with some facts [blaming it all on Deerfrance who was booking acts while Crowley was cavorting in England managing Wayne County], but both places actually did book quite a few prog rockers amid the usual up-and-coming acts. One of them was called Amber Waves [led by mellotron and acoustic guitar player Jimmy Maraval] who actually performed their rock opera entitled "Justice and Sundown" at Max's twice where a special showcase for Manticore Records was attended by Emerson Lake and Palmer's manager! The guy was impressed, but this was right when ELP was falling apart and both they and Manticore's days were pretty much numbered. Another group called Elixir started life as a Genesis cover band complete with the Peter Gabriel costume changes but got to play Max's providing they did mostly originals. Another act that played CBGB a bit more frequently than Max's called Travan billed themselves as "a progressive rock band for the twentieth century" making me wonder which centuries the other prog acts were playing, and who could forget Chicago's Pentwater who played CBGB and Max's late-'76 and even used a track from their CB's show on their self-produced OUT OF THE ABYSS platter! If any of you have any more information on these or any other prog groups that made it to the stages of these clubs [or photos, tapes or even personal recollections for that matter] please send it along because frankly, we need all of the information we can get before it all fizzles out into the ether! And who knows, I might even like what I hear!)

Of course one of the strangest acts that I've noticed popping up on the local punk circuit (or at least at Max's) was this Boston aggregation that was going by the name of the Walnut Band. Saw their name on two Max's gig listings (considering the gaps I have as far as these gigographies go there may have been more) during the summer and autumn of 1976, one on a five-band packed bill that also featured none other than local hard-rock and Kongress mates Guardian but space rock explorers and probably progs in their own right Master Radio Canaries. A li'l googlin' out of pure curiosity brought up the fact that the Walnuts not only were a "pop" group but had an album out on the Appaloosa label which did stimulate my bean a bit considering how Boston was pumping out good pop acts like Coraopolis PA pumps out unemployment checks. Sounded OK enough to me I'll tell ya. However, further research had me discoverin' that this group was more or less closer to the Grateful Dead than they were the Atlantics, at which point I kinda wondered what the heck was going on since hippie rock never was the forte of the New York underground scene unless you considered the Shirts or Hackamore Brick to be hippies (I didn't).

So yeah, with influences ranging from the Dead to Allman Brothers you could say this group was more suited for Watkin's Glen rather than Max's Kansas City, but how did their home-made effort of an album turn out anyway? Gotta say that frankly, this thing ain't that bad...nothing that would tweak the nodes of your average BLOG TO COMM fanabla but interesting enough to keep you going through at least one spin. Maybe a four out of ten star deal...the Dead references and Allman twin guitar leads do prevail, and although that ain't exactly a selling point when it comes to me parting with my moolah I gotta say that I wasn't offended at all. Maybe the hippie dippyisms weren't as overt as I had expected, though the seventies San Fran vibe does its best to make its way through the boundaries of your headband. Strange that such a prim, proper and downright staid area as Boston could produce a group like this...

In all, this probably ain't that different from a few thou other local psychedelic acts who were selling their records at gigs before dumping 'em off at the local Goodwill. At least another little missing bit of rock esoterica has been uncovered in this great jigsaw puzzle of long gone underground rock history, though once you get down to it couldn't it have been Junior Birdmen instead???
The Connection-LET IT ROCK CD-r burn (originally on King Yum)

Who woulda ever thunk that power pop would still be up and running here in the 'teens! Of course it's been quite some time since Greg Shaw's famed PP-themed issue of BOMP! made its way to your door, and as far as I can recall the movement didn't congeal that far outside of a small cadre of local moptops and their miniskirt wannabes. But if you were the kinda guy who plunked out the pezoozahs for SHAKE SOME ACTION (even an early import copy!) before it hit the cut out racks like I managed to do given my depression-era wages or met up with the Scruffs, Shoes, Socks or even Suspenders on the basis of a few fanzine articles boy is this the group for you!

Gotta admit that I don't think that the Connection live up to the power and energy of '76 Groovies, nor do I ponder that the same folks who praised Pezband would think as highly of these New Hampshireites as they do Chicago's answer to the Raspberries. But for those of you starved for that seventies take on sixties accomplishment this just might be the group for you. Pretty hotcha rip throughs featuring that floor-stomping midwest-sounding take on Beatledom with a touch of Who, reshaped for a seventies clientele that shoulda prevailed against the fartwind of AOR but never did make it outta the garage. And yeah, like I once said listening to stuff like this in 2013 is kinda akin to my uncle listening to Bix Beiderbecke toons being played on mid-morning PBS, but at this point in time can any of you really care what people think of you anymore???
Various Artists-SLY DOG SHAKIN' CD-r (compiled by Bill Shute)

Hey, some real surprises here including an early take on the infamous Moving Sidewalks crowd pleaser "99th Floor", Kai Ray's "Trashmen's Blues" (the song where the group got their name from, and I don't mean the Rays!) and the Continental V's "Wake Me Up Girl" which sounds as good here as if did on that FLASHBACK compilation of Texas psychedelia a good thirty years back. As usual the country twang that Bill also included sticks out as much as a hunk of smegma in an Israeli nudist colony, but I guess Bill likes it that way. Also worthy of your ears is Chiyo and the Crusaders' "Pink Dominoes" which was produced by Kim Fowley and which also just might appear on one of those new Norton collections of various rarities from the famed King of the Cagas, but if not its here and you can pick it up for download with the mere flick of a mouse!
Wolf Eyes-NO ANSWER: LOWER FLOOR CD-r burn (originally on De Stilj)

Not bad a-tall scrounge noise from this long-lived Robert Forward fave (he sent me the disque!), though next to such masters as (former Wolf Eyes collaborators) Smegma this just don't come off as pow'r 'n might. Nice enough free crank that sounds like the attic of  your mind is being cleaned out of old LIFE magazines, and you can just feel the layers of dust being shaken offa your uncle's old World War II uniform as you listen to these guys making sounds akin to a gestating android in the second trimester of transistorized gurgle. But hey, I've listened to many of these post-LAFMS-styled groaners before and, although it makes a fine resensifier, if you have a handfulla the stuff that was being made thirtysome years back it ain't like you have to part with your hard-begged for more of the same! Get it free like I did and save a wad, John!
The Len Price 3-CHINESE BURNS CD-r burn (originally on Wicked Cool)

Another McGarry power pop burn he obv. deemed important enough for me to hear. Neat enough straight ahead power pop rock, but way too "Little Steven" for me to fully appreciate. Coulda used a little push of somethingorother to make it through the intestinal tract of my listening parameters, perhaps because I feel like I've heard this album throughout the past thirtysome years only it's been issued under different names and on different labels considering that the drive and feeling is unchangingly the same. Otherwise, it's fairly good rock that kinda makes me wanna go down to the radio station and strangle those giggling guys you hear on FM morning drive time as they make the off color remarks in between repeated spins of Journey, so it ain't like a total douse!
CELLULAR CHAOS CD (ugEXPLODE, try CD Baby for a copy)

Sure seemed like only a few months ago that this whacked out group (featuring Weasel Walter among others) put out a platter, but they have a new 'un anyway and boy is it a crazy affair. Doesn't sound as much Teenage Jesus or Siouxsie (two selling points CD Baby is using to push this one) as it does various mid-eighties underground noise acts, but it sure does its best to destroy all the cells huddled in your ear canals. Female vocals screech over a sonic attack that typified the whole spirit of underground mania, at least before the people in these groups began settling into chi-chi hi-fi living and totally forgot they were supposed to be degenerates in the first place. By the way, ugEXPLODE seems to be in some sort of flux, so if you want this order from CD Baby until the mail label can get themselves back on track.
Charity Chan/Peter Evans/Tom Blancarte/Weasel Walter-CRYPTOCRYSTALLINE CD (ugEXPLODE, see above for details)

A surprising free jazz outing led by Montreal pianist Chan and her ragtag band which not surprisingly also features ugEXPLODE label head Weasel Walter on drums. A might rage have we here, reminding me of nothing more than a Cecil Taylor Unit Structures session with Chan's piano sounding even more percussive than Taylor's (if you can imaging that!) while trumpeter Peter Evans plays even freer than Ted Curson ever attempted to. Coulda used the new generation's Jimmy Lyons on there (whoever he may be!), but maybe on the next 'un. Burton Greene's inner/outer piano approach also freely comes to mind. This has got all of the energy and tension that I loved in the music way back when packed into it more'n fudge, and if you too mourned the loss of the blare sometime in the early-eighties boy will this put a smile on your face! Gotta give this one all the stars in the world of the best heard by a batch of young upstarts in quite some time.
See you again, but who knows when...

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

BOOK REVIEW! A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF VAUDEVILLE by Bernard Sobel, foreword by George Jessel (Citadel Press, 1961)

This book's obviously aimed at a breed that's not just dying, but died out at least a good forty years ago! I mean, I'm sure there are just about as many people out there who are nostalgic for the days of vaudeville as there are people nostalgic for sandpaper toilet tissue, but that didn't stop me from snatching this book up quite a while back. What actually had me parting with a particularly potent double-digit fee for this tome was the fact that A PICTORIAL HISTORY OF VAUDEVILLE featured not only a concise history of the form (dating back to just post-revolution France) but spilled plenty of ink on the main players on the Amerigan scene, and as you'd guess many of the talents who sharpened their talons on the big stage later made it to the big time and it's kinda nice seeing pictures of 'em back when they were nothing but upstart punks.

Of course for me the "big time" means Educational Pictures, and naturally many of the stars of the stage who later performed in front of the cameras are shown here during their days when their main claim to meat was traveling from town to town and honing their skills in front of people who probably didn't know that they were experiencing history in the making. And believe-you-me, for a kid who grew up with the culture of the past via tee-vee and family being pounded more'n the Golden Rule things like the Marx Brothers and Eddie Cantor were historical figures who had just as much star power in my growing up days as they did in my parents and grandparents', and that's no idle chatter!

Naturally the photos presented here (and there are more'n you can believe!) really wow the eyes, from a turn of the century Avon Comedy Four snap featuring longtime faves Smith and Dale to those of future Educational mainstays George Shelton (looking even more screwball than he did at that famed comedy studio), Willie Howard (back when he was teamed with brother Eugene who quit the act to become Willie's manager!), Bert Lahr, Tom Patricola and of course the fantastico Joe Cook, whose infamous Four Hawaiians routine (which he never performed!) is fondly remembered. Of course there are loads more from the Seven Little Foys and Jimmy Durante to future stripper Gypsy Rose Lee in these pages (not to mention a pre-HONEYMOONERS Pert Kelton), and I'm sure even the stodgiest of BLOG TO COMM readers who dare pick this up'll end up feeling like Joe Franklin after lending eyeballs to this collection of old timey pix!

Yes, some of the people spotted here from Fred Astaire to Lahr made it bigger'n most of the now forgottens pictured, but you kinda get the idea that maybe some of these oft-ignored acts were every bit as wowzer as the ones who happened to strike it humongous. If it weren't for the Educational and Columbia shorts some of these stars would probably be lost to all eternity, and for those who weren't lucky enough to score it big in the moom pitchers well...somehow I get the impression that they coulda been just as big as those who did if they only got that big break. That's why I'm thankful for small favors like surviving films and detailed recollections regarding such once-biggies like Bert Williams, a guy who made it humongous on the stage but who probably would have been all but forgotten today if it weren't for a sympathetic mention in W. C. Fields' autobio. Here's one of his two films which were made for the infamous (and by this time on the ropes)  film studio Biograph during their post-D.W. Griffith days: 

And if you have three-and-a-half million to spare, maybe you should be made aware that Joe Cook's legendary haunt Sleepless Hollow is now up for sale. Dunno if the gag furniture and guaranteed hole-in-one "miniature golf" course are still there (the infamous autographed piano and other items have been put up on the auction block long ago), but if you buy the place and suddenly a mystery panel pops up, boy will you be surprised!

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Hey, look at what one of my faithful readers sent me! I mean, can you absotively believe it? And I didn't even request that the artist in question draw the thing for me! I really don't know why this faithful follower sent me this caricature of Fred Whazizname, but I get the sneaking suspicion that it was because he sent a similar one to some kiddie tee-vee show when he was six years old and guess what...they didn't put it up for the whole world (or at least the tuned in viewing audience) to see! Well Paul, now your life-long dream to have your picture seen has been fulfilled...hope you're happy after all these years of bitter frustration! Sure better'n that Cal Smith album cover I also got from a fellow fan and follower, that's for sure! And while I'm at it...thanks for the Cee-Dee burns you sent along with the drawing. Might even review some this post if time and sanity permit.

Paul McGarry and his wife (Paul's the one on the left), happy in the knowledge that Paul is finally an officially published artist.
Lessee, what else can I blab about to fill their beaut of a post out even more? Howzbout I type this very paragraph out the United States government has shut down and, although I'm still getting my mail and the cops are still out there catching speeders and all seems biz as usual, a whole load of people have been crybabying about the fact that they can't go to some national monument while poised in front of a whole load of tee-vee cameras as if anyone in their right might would give a shit. All I can say to you World War II vets and geyser lovers out there is"tough turds," to put it mildly!!!! Go to the VFW and drown your sorrows or hang out in your backyard if you wanna see some nature, but the thought of me not having to contribute to your wants and desires (and even needs!) even if it is for a few days does tend to put a smile on my face. I just hope the government stays closed long enough to become irrelevant for good, then maybe us normal people can get back to living our lives without some commentator or politician telling us how much we them as if they were the only thing standing between us and total annihilation!

And now, here's a nice selection of platters I've received as of the past few days, or even weeks for that matter. Some via Bill Shute, others via the aforementioned McGarry, one or two thanks to Tom Gilmore and even one courtesy of Robert Forward! Not forgetting the remnants of a recent Forced Exposure order that I've been nursing 'til my nipples cracked, so while my creative boobies are still lactating here's what's been passing for entertainment at my abode these past few days:

Novak's Kapelle-NAKED LP (Cien Fuego, available through Forced Exposure while supplies last)

Not as much has been written about Austrian underground act Novak's Kappelle as there perhaps should have been, what with the group's downright legendary status as an undigested and wigglin' peanut fragment lodged in the rectum of polite society. Some have compared them to the Who, others the Stooges, but whatever the reference may be it ain't like anyone out there is tootin' the Novak's Kapelle horn the way you thought they would. Maybe the fact they're Austrians has put any downhome serious discussion of the group outside of polite company. Too far outta the loop, and besides you don't see hoards of high energy rock fans bustin' down the barn door to talk about Umela Hmota and everyone knows they're as good as any patented cult group you can think of out there in fandomland only folks ignore 'em because well...I stick up and holler for their cause and who wants to be associated with me even in the slightest!.

But then again, what can you really say about a group that would stick a cover like the one repro'd above onto one of their platters? So tasteless that makes those early-seventies Rare Earth offerings like WILLIE REMEMBERS look classy in comparison! Really, I like the un-draped female form as much as the guy in the raincoat next to you at the moom pitchers, but dontcha think these ladies are whatcha'd call a little too ripe for consumption??? I mean, what is this supposed to be, members of the Jack Benny Fan Club on a "nature camp" outing, or perhaps the last two surviving members Hitler's Honeys getting ready to entertain at an SS convention? I know that people have been using ingenious methods (read: s-x) to try and sell albums for years on end, but ya gotta admit that this is a far cry from those early-sixties jazz albums that your Uncle Ferd used to sneak a peek at during one of his frequent trips to the record shop!

I wish I could say more about the sounds to be found herein for that matter but really, I didn't think that the sounds of NAKED were anything that would pique the attention of the average BLOG TO COMM reader let alone a guy like me whose musical tastes never were as "horse-blindered" as my critics make 'em out to be. If anything the music made on this platter is half-there pop rock with the expected punkian overtones that do approach intelligence and verve, but comes off like one of those platters that will take at least a good ten spins before it finally sinks in.

Nothing wrong with that, but as far as my initial impression goes NAKED shoulda been worked out a bit more with some of the more commercial edges (such as the femme background singers) lopped off and the production dirtied up a bit. Then it mighta sounded like that lost Stooges album I was kinda hopin' it to be, but as it stands I find NAKED about as representative of unfulfilled potential as the rest of them mid/late-seventies good tries in the power pop and punk spheres that coulda done it, but somehow didn't. Ain't givin' up on either the album or Novak for that matter, even if I don't think I'd wanna hear the guy's new wave paen to Farrah Fawcett in a millyun years! As for NAKED, ask me in a few months and maybe I'll tell you a different story...y'see, unlike Ernest T. Bass I do chew my cabbage twice!

Yep this infamous obscurity has once again been reissued for all of you people who splurged on the previous reissue, and this time it looks as if it's the legal deal! And Born Bad did a fantastico job of it as well, with understandable liner notes (written by UGLY THINGS's Lawrence Bigot), rare snaps and a pretty clear sound that really brings out the garage-level recording nuances. Speaking of sound, the group come off really teenage here, almost like Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers on a New York Dolls fixation after listening to Edgard Varese albums. Even after one listen you can tell that these guys ranked up there with Mahogany Brain, Red Noise and Dogon as heirs to the French Velvet Underground tag no doubt about it! A must have especially in these jaded times when all of the real good stuff happened over forty years back!

One caveat...the bonus tracks included really don't live up to the group's fullest potential and maybe shoulda been kept under wraps a little longer. You may not care, but whatever you do don't listen to these numbers first because they might tamper with your own preconceived notions regarding cult-status early-seventies punk rockers who were brainy enough to include home-made cheap electronic buzzes in their primitive yet enthralling originals. Otherwise a powerful, evocative and downright peen-age platter.
Agali Ag Amounine-TAKAMBA CD-r burn (originally on Sahel Sounds, then Bandcamp)

Another one from the Tom Gilmore collection, this time from a guy whose (sub-Saharan) African musical roots had me doing even more research than the time when I was ten and I hadda crank out a term paper on the Civil War. Electrified ngoni player Amounine creates a "hypnotic" (to use the same word 1000 rockcrit types have been utilizing as of late) drone-on music that I will admit is similar to many of these Third World alienated from the rest of mankind musical movements who still act and breathe as if it were BC days. He also does a good enough job of it that you coulda imagined this to be a top bed-hop spin in the college dorms of late-sixties Ameriga the same way John Fahey was with that hot blare he produces! Does what all of those minimalist composers of the eighties sure wished they could've done, with way lower overhead to boot. Pretty reet though that one track with the kids singing scared me---for some strange reason I kinda get the feeling that in a few years each 'n every one of 'em is gonna bomb us!

All realistic fears aside, if you liked those Group Inerane releases that Sublime Frequencies released a few years back you might find this a stripped down addition to your late-evening NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC reading sessions...just don't spend too many hours starin' at them hula gals' boobs like I tend to do though or you'll go blind!
Kraftwerk-LIVE AT EBBETS FIELD IN DENVER, MAY 20, 1975 LP (B 13, Russian Federation)

A little too late in the game but interesting enough. Side one features Ralf, Florian and the rest entertaining a small yet appreciative audience who were probably at Ebbets to see opening act Greenslade (I remember rumors regarding Greenslade's roadies getting into fights with Kraftwerk's throughout the tour...must've been a kultural thing). Sound is kinda wooshy as if the recording used was picked up from a radio station two hours away but still strong enough to entertain, and you'll be surprised to hear that I thought their renditions of popular numbers from not only the AUTOBAHN but RALF UND FLORIAN albums were unique enough to make the originals sound staid in comparison. Whether or not that would warrant you wanting to purchase this platter is strictly up to you.

The side-long "Autobahn" was recorded live in Koln a couple months earlier and sounds close enough to the original to the point where (considering the use of electronics and pre-recorded tapes) they coulda just mimed to the album and nobody would have noticed. Nothing particularly special here but if you were one to bop to the "Autobahn" groove during the spring of 1975 I get the feeling you might want to pick this one up. The rest of us would do better to stick with early Can and Amon Duul offerings which at least had that spark of punk snarl mixed in with the Stockhausen.
Various Artists-ENGLAND DON'T RULL ME!!! CD-r burn (compiled by Bill Shute)

At a period in time when I thought that the six-oh garage band font had been run dry and holed up for good, Bill comes up with his own NUGGETS of rare Amerigan garage band sides that somehow missed all of the previous cullings that ended up on those eighties-era albums that were going for upwards of $25 a pop. There's nothing of what you would call "Earth Shattering" or " Life Reaffirming" here but it's still snat enough, loaded with cheap teenbo groups who probably never got outta the grange hall with their musings but eh, we're all the richer for these sides and don't you forget it!

If you like the BACK FROM THE GRAVE series of cheap early punk drool you might go for these, though be warned they just ain't as gnarly. The songs here come closer to the suburban slobs who frequented the SHUTDOWN 66 batch of garage band groovers---the kids from Nowheresville who were so out of even the "out-of-the-loop" crowd at high school that getting an electric guitar outta the 1965 Sears catalog as a Christmas present was the stepping stone to fame, fortune and maybe even a running gig at Arnie's Bowl-A-Rama!

Loadsa goodies here with the likes of the Cadds, Statics, Jacemen and Romans helping to rock away your everyday pains. Personal faves include the Minute Men standing up for Amerigan pride 'n somethingorother as they warn us to "Please Keep the Beatles in England," while the Conchords produce a double-sided whammy with their tasteful covers of "Telstar" and "Little Black Egg"! And how could I forget the sounds of ranch house USA going socially conscious with the Young Men singing about "A Young Man's Problem" which I believe refers to the Vietnam War and the draft if I do say so myself. Maybe they put this on the "b" side because the flip was a cover of Rosie and the Originals' 1960 weeper "Angel Baby" and like, that was considered ancient history by the time the wild and tres-hippified late-sixties rolled around!

Great job Bill. I know this doesn't make you the new Greg Shaw, but then again who has the wherewithal these days to be the new Bill Shute (I know, we still have the old one and he's working out just fine!).
The Bizarros-COMPLETE COLLECTION 1976-1980 CD-r burn (originally on Windian Records)

Yet another from the Tom Gilmore collection, and what a collection this 'un has turned out to be. I've been a fan (albeit a tad belated-like, money concerns y'know) of the Bizarros ever since I heard their blistering track entitled "Nova" on the Stiff Records Akron sampler. Almost bought "It Hurts Janey" from the same record shop Miriam Linna used to scarf used platters from shortly after (didn't have enough money so it got jettisoned along with the latest NEW YORK ROCKER), and definitely did buy their Mercury album as soon as a copy hit the local National Record Mart racks about a year or so later if I do recall. Yes guys, I'm the one that bought your album when it was fresh in the shops, and I didn't even wait for it to go cutout like I was usually wont to do during those depression-era wage days. Just thought ya'd like to know.

This comp has been out for a couple years already, but once again lack of finances (oooh that real life!) and a memory like a sieve kept me from getting a copy into my obviously sweaty palms...until now, that is. I guess Gilmore didn't see any reviews of this with my name attached to it so he figured I was in need of a copy, and you know he was right. And hey, if anybody deserves to review this its just gotta be a guy who first discovered the Bizarros via the AKRON alhum and didn't have enough money for the "It Hurts Janey" single though managed to plunk down full price for the Mercury album once it hit the local record shop bins.

As far as I can tell it's nearly all here...the early singles, the tracks from the split LP with the Rubber City Rebels,  and a good portion of the Mercury album. Since I'm not a Bizarros scholar (and didn't get any booklet notes or whatever with this burn) I'm kinda in the dark about what's what as far as the LP stuff goes, but I can tell you that the AKRON sampler version of "Nova" ain't here which is too bad (the group considered it a throwaway for an album that they thought was a subpar cash-in on post-Devo British rock press mania) and come to it, neither is the take of the same song the group did while they were still called the Eyes and trekked into a studio December '75 under the influence of their good friend and general tastemaker Peter Laughner.

But what did  pop up here is more than enough to sate the late-seventies underground rock fan in us all, that side which really went whole hog for these neu-punk groups and supported and fostered 'em to the ends of the earth only to get let down horribly once 1980 rolled around and these groups either broke up or mutated into commercial feelygood poopsters that embarrassed us all to heck. And as far as the late-seventies U.S. of Whoa punksters go these guys had it all...not only did they have hefty roots in the mid-sixties NUGGETS brand of AM-radio transistor popping hard rock (as the distorto cover of "Talk Talk" would attest to) but a whole slew of hotcha seventies underground cheapbin faveraves from Beefheart on down to the sainted Velvet Underground themselves (Terry Walker's viola might not be as drone-filled as John Cale's but he served the same purpose in the Bizarros that the guy who played violin in Umela Hmota 3 served in his group!). Even the energy and power of early Pere Ubu back when Laughner was a member can be discerned, and I really am thankful that all of the tracks do hold up even if some seem like they shoulda been worked on a bit before being presented to the public. At least as far as I can tell the Bizarros never went "gnu wave" like so many of their compatriates, ifyaknowaddamean...

I guess there must be thousands of copies of this collection cluttering up the warehouses of amerindieville because I see it for sale a whole lotta places on the web. Anyway, I do declare that this package is one that's just gotta be stuck inside your collection if you consider yourself a fan and follower of late-seventies Amerigan u-ground post-Velvet spasms (and who reading this, even if you're one of my enemies spying on me in order to swipe ideas, isn't?). And while you're at it, howzbout reading the Bizarros website and getting an idea of what the long-reformed band is up to here in the teens at a time when they should all be enjoying the benefits of retirement and watching old tee-vee shows all day like I plan to do. Just click here and maybe you can say howdy while you're at it.
The Miller Sisters-PLEASE MR. DISC JOCKEY CD-r burn (originally on Famous Groove, France)

Classic gal group sounds from an act that I believe consisted of the daughters of the president of the Hull Record Company in New York City. Well, that's one way to get on a label as Neil Norman coulda told ya, and from what is revealed on this platter the sisters cranked out at least thirty wild rockers that really typify the 1958-1963 gal group season with typical gusto. Wish I had more info on this act which holds up pretty good especially in these anti-move and groove times since the lead Miller has a great vox whether doing smooth leads or a growly sound that comes off like a lesbian downing some pork rib bones sideways. And as we've known all along, you don't have to be an aged record collecting hobbyist who hasn't left the basement since the last Richard Nader revival show to appreciate music like this, though sometimes I believe it would help out quite a bit.

Fresh from the post office's this bizzaraty that was recorded by a group that actually made all of their own instruments! If you think that this act is something like those wacky early-sixties instrumental groups whose members actually crafted their guitars and drums in their high school woodshop class you are mistaken, because Sky Needle's wares are what you would call extremely "unconventional" electronics, string things and percussives that have a rather non-traditional clank to 'em. They even make the Junkyard Band on FAT ALBERT sound like Miles. Top that off with a femme vocalist who sing-songs around the resultant spew like that gal on the boffo LEAD SHOES soundtrack and you'll be halfway there. Nothing that really grabs hold of my attention the way similar home-made electronic or outsider recordings might have over the past few decades, but you gotta admit it's one that will separate the true lovers of pure grating sound from the pretenders!
The Kinks-ANOTHER GREAT LOST KINKS ALBUM CD-r bootleg burn (originally on Eye)

Yeesh, yet another unsolicited surprise that I found in my mailbox, this one courtesy Robert Forward who I guess is bucking for an extra-special Christmas present this year! And he certainly deserves one for having the mental hoo-hah to know enough to send a top notcher like this my way, even if I've never been a part of the Kinks kadre the same way Edgar Breau, Jymn Parrett and other people who might not even be of Canadian heritage have been for years on end!

But national origins aside, this is a particularly good selection for the kasual Kinks listener like myself. The early tee-vee performances sound just as vital now as they must have for millions of peenagers tuned in to SHINDIG way back when, and best of all these tracks capture the group at their rawest with 'em even sounding outta tune and hitting a clinker or two! The various BBC sessions and tee-vee appearances come off snat too, and as you hear the group transform from a hard punky act to a matured arbiter of taste before your very ears you'll feel like you're experiencing rock history first-hand! And who knows, you too may shed a tear like I did during the 1972 television performance of "Waterloo Sunset" despite the fact that you probably hated the Kinks during their brass band period as much as some Kinks aficionados I've known have claimed they have for ages!

If you can find it download the thing, or just make sure you have a big buddy out there who'll burn wonders like this to his big hearted content! And Bob, watch your mailbox for something nice around the Yuletide Season, that is unless I forget to send it off like I am wont to do most of the time!
Various Artists-STRUMMIN' MENTAL, PART ONE CD-r burn (originally on Crypt)

This one sure brings back memories, not of the Golden Age of Rock 'n Roll Instrumentals but of picking up hotcha collections of rarities such as the kind found on this platter throughout the eighties! I already have the originals neatly stacked in my record collection elsewhere, but considering the time and trouble it takes to move heaping piles of albums this small spinner does come in handy for lazyass me. Hot non-vocalized spins from the 1958-1965 season that are sure to dredge up plenty of ranch house UHF-TV memories with all of those beyond-obvious swipes of Link Wray, the Wailers and Johnny and the Hurricanes! Not to mention some original moves these kids were able to come up with. A fine testament to the glory days of youth long before it all tumbled into an abyss of double-digit IQ decadence.
Cyril Jordan w/Gordon Waller-FEB 15th 2002 PALO ALTO, CA CD-r burn (courtesy of the same guy who sent me the Fred Flintstone picture above)

Dunno where Paul got this 'un from, but  whoever he got it from really messed up with the track listings! Iffy-quality live recording of ex- and future Flamin' Groovie Cyril Jordan live with his then-group the Fiendish Thingies, here joined by none other than Peter and Gordon's own Gordon Waller adding his own special vocal talents!

Now, I must admit that I always thought that Gordon was a guy who was part of one of the wimpiest acts to come out of the British Invasion (and certainly not as good as their doppelgangers Chad and Jeremy who at least made straight-ahead pop rockers I can enjoy) but Jordon obviously thought otherwise, and I guess that because Jordan likes the guy he's now cool enough in my book too! I get that way sometimes.

Good enough smattering of Groovies originals and covers done their way, and Waller does a snat job singing along with these garage busters to the point where I can't fault him for his previous incarnation as part of one of the wussiest acts to come out of the British Invasion. Well at least he didn't end up producing Linda Ronstadt and hanging around with the coke and cause Laurel Canyon cadre,or at least I hope he didn't. Aw shucks, why can't I just settle back 'n ENJOY this thing w/o thinking up all sortsa excuses to justify me liking something I'm not supposed to like, or should like even though I'm not supposed to, or something. After all it ain't like I have to curry favor with Gerard Cosloy anymore!
I got loads more to tell ya about, but I think I'll save 'em for the next go 'round lest I run out of material! See you later, masturbater!