Saturday, November 29, 2014

Welcome to the further deteriorating adventures of BLOG TO COMM. And deteriorate is the word for it---I've been reading over the past few months of posts and I must admit that my writing, enthusiasm and general ability to congeal have certainly taken a downslide, and considering that my writing never was up to that tippy top rock gonz/fanzine style that I most certainly try to ape that's really saying something. Of course I have my excuses from real life woes to the lack of energy on the part of myself not to mention the lack of the kind of music I most crave, but I'm sure the last thing you want to hear are a buncha lame excuses from me. In all its a shame, because what WE (non apologetic longtime high energy music mavens) need in the here and now is more of that post-Bangs/Meltzer/Saunders/Kent/Tosches/Farren/Kaye... musical screeding (and the kind of music they used to screed over), and it's more'n obvious that you ain't getting it HERE!


P. D. sent this 'un my way, perhaps because he could tell that I need quite a bit of resensifying after some of the dog tired posts I've been putting in as of late (see opening paragraph). Well, if this in fact is so then all I gotta say is Mr. Fadensonnen really produced one kicker of a platter here that helps me to remember just why I used to pick pennies up off the sidewalk in the first place. The music that's to be heard here is probably familiar to most of you reg'lar readers, but even if it is I gotta admit that it's sure great hearing it all in one blob 'stead of spread across dozens of platters just like it's grand to listen to those "Roots of Punk" type collections that have been springing up these past ten or so years and at collector's prices as well.

The music to be heard here is what I would call heavy metal in the old 1972 CREEM style, which in some ways is the same punk rock that CREEM was blabbin' about around the same time. Hard rockers from the likes of the MC5 (and spinoff Ascension), Crushed Butler, High Rise, DMZ, Coloured Balls and Sir Lord Baltimore appear, and even though we've all heard these tracks before all I gotta say is SO WHAT!  Even the new to me stuff from Birds of Maya and Highway Robbery sounds enticing enough to the point where I might do some internet diddlin' as soon as I get this review typed, but given my inbred laziness don't count on it. Too bad Fadensonnen isn't one of those big-time underground legends that alla us geeks look up to with reverent eyeballs affixed (at least not yet) or else we'd be buying this one complete with detained liner notes and snazzy pix on ebay for a good twenny bucks!


The presence of DMZ on the above disque (as well as me coming across an old ad for a '76 performance where they were billed as "Boston's Newest Heavy Metal Band") got me into digging this old hoary chestnut (to be quaint about it) outta the collection and into my ears. And really, DMZ were heavy metal in the best CREEM/DENIM DELINQUENT/BACK DOOR MAN sense, hard-hitting high energy rock with an overdriven mania conduit for the best decadent aspects of teenbo living extant, at least until the glitzy fru fru and shrunken head aspects got into the mix sometime in the mid-seventies.

Taken from a live '76 show as well as a '83 reunion gig, I gotta say that the band is pumping on all cylinders (see above quaintness comment) even if I have heard tapes that were more raw 'n alive before (a '77 NYC show wallowing around somewhere in my closet's the proverbial screecher). Still I ain't gonna complain what with the hot mix of mid-sixties Northwest rock, late-sixties Detroit and general teenage Ameriga that somehow got lost in the shuffle of Classic FM and disco doldrums. But it was there, and a whole lot more'n what most industry moguls woulda dared admit way back in those bubbling under bared wire intensity days.

Good enough that I'm gonna hafta do some more collection surfing for not only the Bomp! singles but DMZ's infamous Flo and Eddie-produced Sire album that nobody ever seemed to like. Well it sure beats all of those other "hip" pastimes that permeate the behavioral cycles of way too many wonks out there in amerindie musicland, like publicly showing your undying appreciation for your favorite uberlib cause or combing the Matador Records self-hype blog, that's for sure!
Dead Moon-DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH CD (Dog Meat, Australia)

A pluck out from the collection that I thought I'd pay some attention to given the large span of time I've ignored the thing. Anyhow, this 'un's a special release cooked up especially for the group's mid-nineties Australian tour complete with seven tracks taken from each of Dead Moon's albums up until then, and for a nice representation/introduction to the band I gotta say that this 'un does showcase this trio's neo-metallic approach rather swell. Kinda down home drag-out garage blooze HM that sounds down and dirty the way rock 'n roll hadn't since the hippies got in charge of things. It's also good for a cheapo like myself who never did get around to hearing these platters in their original forms, though as far as inspiring me to trek down all of the originals well...maybe when the inheritance from that Great Uncle I never knew rolls in...
Kitty Brazelton's Dadadah-LOVE NOT LOVE LUST NOT LUST CD (Buzz, Netherlands)

It may not be Musica Orbis, but Kitty Brazelton's nineties aggregation is just as mix 'n match of a variety of seventies pop forms with avant garde inclinations and some toe tappers tossed in that'll make you wonder why she hadda get a job in a topless bar to make ends meet. Might be a bit professional for your own tastes, but I find it about as true to the whole rock as the real experimental music thing as all of those late-seventies no wavers who used to play in art galleries. Get the Musica Orbis album (widely available via ebay) first then let Dadadah fill in all of the holes in your musical consciousness.
The Plastic People of the Universe-VOZRAEJ JAK SLIVA CD (Globus, Czech Republic)

Would you believe that I actually forgot that I owned this second volume in the Plastic People series of chronological recordings that Globus released way back in the late nineties? So in actuality this was like a brand-spanking new listening experience for me and I'm sure glad that I played the thing today rather'n forty years from now when the only listening I'll be doing is to a buncha angels strumming on harps. Either that or the earthworms wigglin' their way through my cranium.

Very Eastern Bloc...maybe even krautrock-esque what with the over-the-head Zappa influence and the surprising free jazz sax intermingling with the death dirge violin. What really makes it tick (and separates it from similar Zappa-cum-prepunk units like Tin Huey) is the hopelessness that envelops the sound. Ya gotta suffer if ya wanna make good music (or at least some introspective rock critic I hate said that), and given that the countries that were under Soviet control weren't exactly fun places to picnic really added a tension and sorrow that you just didn't hear around here even from the really repressed types (mainly us suburban slobs)! No wonder the Czech underground took to the freak element of Zappa, Beefheart and the Fugs like no one some strange way these acts gave hope to a nationfulla lost teens who certainly weren't satisfied with the government-approved teen pablum and craved a whole lot more in their international youth language of a music!

Live and elsewhere material recorded during the group's EGON BONDY period. Sound quality is good enough for tapes that you thought would have been destroyed by the secret police, liner notes are in Czech so I can't read them, and one final thing---anybody who hates the Plastic People's got his head either buried way deep inside his ass or well into his collection of eighties post-funtime rock platters smug in his "so above it all" complacency, and you all know who I'm talkin' about dont'cha!
Gang of Four-A GIFT CD (V2)

I know what you're thinking....some gift! But hey, considering that I ain't heard Gang of Four in over thirty years and forgot what they sounded like this promo Cee-Dee I found inna collection sure came in handy. And actually, these guys (at least on this platter---can't judge about their other post-ENTERTAINMENT output) weren't "that" bad. They weren't that good if you want to stretch a point but I could enjoy the first elpee's "Damaged Goods" about as much as I can some MESSTHETICS contemporary, although the "mixed" material wasn't as attention grabbing as it would have been had this still been 1980 and my underground tastes were still fluttering around a bit. As I would have thought, it sounds like something that might have been boffo at one time in my life but a few years later all I hadda say was...wha???
Noah Howard-LIVE AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD CD-r burn (originally on Freedom, England)

As with BLACK ARK Arista decided to pass on this 'un when they were getting the Freedom catalog out inna mid-seventies. Which is a durn shame since this 'un's yet another free jazz killer that needed to have gotten out into the used record bins of the late-seventies just like all those other Arista/Freedom albums I once picked up for a song. Fantab backing (Frank Lowe and Rashied Ali amongst 'em) and exemplary performance from Howard who proves that he was one of the few heirs to the Albert Ayler sphere of interstellar insanity around. And speaking of Ayler, you never heard a tribute to his overall being as you did on "Dedication" which posts most of the other Ayler homages I've heard to shame! (By the way, if you're worried about the presence of Earl Freeman's fuzz bass after reading a few on-line reviews don't doesn't get in the way at all. In fact, I gotta 'fess up to the fact that I can't even hear it so quit your fretting!).
Various Artists-WALK LIKE THE STARRY-EYED WOLFMAN CD-r burn (so what if it's redundant...nearly everything on this blog is!) (courtesy Bill Shute)

This selection actually perked mine ears up to the point where I felt like giving Bill Shute a ring-a-ding to tell him just how much his Cee-Dee worked wonders with my life. Of course considering how cheap I am I decided not to, but if I did call him it would have been thing right thing to do. Highlights (for me, maybe not for Bill or for you for that matter) include the 13th Floor Elevators single cut of "Slip Inside This House", the obscure Sensation doing some rather decent mid/late-seventies pop that woulda beat the usual schmoozer music of the day all hollow, the strange duet between a chap named Jackie Edwards and Millie Small of "My Boy Lollipop" fame and Charles Gayle singeing your free jazz nervefrazzles for a good eight or so minutes. Nervous Norvous is always good for a spin while the Paul Horn jazzy hipster track made me wanna sneak into a 1969-vintage adults only film for some not-so strange reason. As for the inclusion of Divine screeching "Walk Like a Man" well Bill...I never knew...

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


The TRACY saga continues on and with a potent splat, what with the culmination of the Flattop Jr. episode as well as the "Spec" storyline (she's the tyke who was framed for murdering her stepdad), the Kitten Sisters and the Clipso Brothers, a pair of conniving twins who look remarkably like Jackie Gleason. Pretty heavy stuff here esp. with the Flattop saga where the cad meets up with a cute boho gal called Skinny who enters ones of his paintings at an outdoor exhibition and wins first prize which, not so surprisingly enough inna world o' TRACY, directly leads to the gal's death by her getting heaved off the top of an apartment building by none other'n an angrier'n hell Flattop himself.

At first I was rather disheartened that Skinny met such a spattering end---after all her character was cute 'n sexy as well as sassy enough to like without anyone wanting to bash her face in---but thankfully she stays in the continuity as a ghost who clings to Flattop Jr. whether it be ethereally or metaphorically (you decide). The crashing outcome is mind-boggling even for a strip that never did mind stretching some of the comic boundaries that were to be found in the more "serious" endeavors on the funny page, and I for one believe that this particular storyline was one of the better TRACY sagas to appear in print and that's even stacked up against the ones seen during the forties which alla them comic snobs say was the bestest days for TRACY no doubt about it!

The rest ain't anything to sneeze at either, what with Spec's mom's new boyfriend "Ivy " losing his left forearm to a shark after mom pushes him off a cliff into the drink before he can do it to her, not to mention the whole Kitten Sisters saga where one of 'em gets revenge on an ex-member of the gang by dressing up like a snowman at a ski contest and shooting her through the heart with an arrow as she flies mid-air! The Clipso Brothers episode features the appearance of B.O. Plenty's long-lost father Morin and his teenaged barefoot bride (one of the Clipsos gets his right index finger shot off during a shootout giving us a good two amputations this volume!) while the Crystal saga's got the absconding with a bit pile o' loot husband frozen solid in the family walk-in freezer and some good close calls when the brat gal sneaks in to get some ice cream on a stick! Yes, there's no shortage of thrills this time around, and if you're somewhat bored, nonplussed or shocked at all of the action and adventure to be found may I call you Fredric Wertham?

One caveat, I must admit that Max Allen Collins' forwards are becoming a tad baby boomer moralistic preachy, that is mainly preaching against what Collins believes are the foibles and stuck-upness of Chester Gould and his anti-delinquency ideas that were starting to pop up in TRACY on scant occasion. Yeah I can see Collins being snarky about Tracy and his new crew cut (which was just as bad a move as the time Tracy was given long hair and a mustache inna early seventies!) and who could deny that Gould's pushing the (nonexistent) trend towards teens dressing up so's not to look thuggish was nothing but wishful thunk, but when its being delivered to you in a tone that could only come from a sainted member of the brave sixties generation who sacrificed so much for YOUR right to throw frisbees and felch in an non-obtrusive, peaceful world you can just BET that the b.s. meter's gonna be clicking more'n a buncha mad castanets driven by a pack of PMS-induced senoritas on the hunt for the bullfighter of their ill-tempered ire!

Of course Collins has to redeem his former mentor somewhat by saying that Gould takes a more "liberal" position in the story sidebar where Flattop's ex-pal Joe Period's mother pleads for forgiveness for ignoring her now-murderer son then throws herself into the path of a truck when he shoos her away...gee, I didn't know that the concept of bad parents making bad kiddies was exactly in the realm of the enlightened ones (after all, Taki himself got into hot wa-wa for saying that the thugs of England was descendants of other thugs who raised 'em that way and last time I heard Taki wasn't exactly Senator Heartbleed!) but hey, I learn somethin' new every day. Only wish the new thing I learned today was something about an obscure hard early-seventies post-Velvets monolith of a band, but maybe that'll be tomorrow.

Whatever you do, skip the sob saga (or take it as what it is...uberlib feelygood masturbation) and get to the meat 'n potatoes. But no matter what you like me'll be glad you're working your way through TRACY a whole lot more'n FOR BETTER OR WORSE, that's for sure!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Another slimmo post this week. Sheesh, the inspiration (in the form of new 'n hotcha disques to spin) just ain't comin' as fast as I'd like 'em to come, an' if I don't dig into the ol' pile to see what else I can blab on 'n beef about in order to plump this 'un up I'm sure gonna be in one big mess o' trouble! But blab on I will if only to pudge this 'un out to at least a respectably decent length because hey, I think you guys deserve something to read after a hard day working at yer job as testers at the dildo factory.
Anyway I hope you readers in the US of Whoa are looking forward to Fangsgiving this Thursday. Remember to keep the BLOG TO COMM tradition up for the holidays once again this year...don't shave or bathe for at least three days, wear your shabby clothes and try to get to the local rescue mission before the food's all gone. And remember to sneak out when they want you all to sing along with the corny hymns.
Can't let the 51st anniversary of the big JFK ka-boom go unnoticed the weekend, so for those of you who missed last year's Golden Anniversary (one of the most-hit posts I've dared unleash on the pubelick) just click here and marvel o'er the fact that I didn't receive any internet award for this masterpiece. Even this late inna game I'm chortling over Don Fellman's recollections of that fateful for him day (no RETURN OF THE FLY that night!) which sure beats all hollow those reminiscences that ROLLING STONE printed in their '73 tenth anniversary baby boom "we're the best and brightest generation ever!" slobberfest, and somehow I get the feeling that you readers would probably agree!
In the IF YOU THOUGHT LIFE WAS STRANGE ENOUGH AWLREADY department...remember that issue of BACK DOOR MAN where Phast Phreddie was interviewing Adny Shernoff of the Dictators and asked him is the Dics'd ever play the Vatican? The question seemed funny har-har at the time but it turns out to have been more'n just "prophetic" in a way since I have just found out that yes...none other than PATTI SMITH is going to appear at the Vatican Christmas Concert next month!!! I couldn't believe it even if the gal did get to chat with the recent pope during some meet 'n greet but I guess that the ever-famed and aged punk poetess is going to be performing for ol' Francis in the not-so-distant future! I get the feeling that she might be dishing out a neatly censored set w/o any of the Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine and Wilhelm Reich Peter diddling shockarama that put her on the map, but no matter how bowdlerized the show might get all I gotta say is...I wonder who's gonna be the opening act, Kongress??? Maybe Suicide can do a Punk Music Mass for the gig 'n wouldn't THAT be somethin' t' fill up the baskets???
Anyhoo here're some revooz of some items I was able to scrape together and stick onna ol' bedside boom box this week. Thanks to P.D. Fadensonnen for the late entry (Dixie Dregs' THE GREAT SPECTACULAR as well as some more that'll get the nod next weekend) and thanks to Paul McGarry for the Chrome, Jerry Jerry, Daddy Long Legs and Love spinners. And while I'm at it, thanks to Bill Shute for the spiffy sampler that closes out the post...if it weren't for you guys the only thing that would be reviewed this week would be the Jean-Francois Pauvros discs that I bought (thanks to ME!).

Chrome-FEEL IT LIKE A SCIENTIST CD-r burn (originally on King of Spades)

It's platters like this that give me hope that the feral past can have some meaning here in the tepid present. Chrome rock on just as hard and as electronically infused here as they did back when you used to see ads for their albums cluttering up the fanzines of the late-seventies, crashing up and about while all of those other seventies punk wonders have floundered about as if too much Donovan had gotten into their systems. A pretty good approximation of the ALIEN SOUNDTRACKS/HALF MACHINE LIP MOVES Chrome era, and it's been recorded and released in an era (mainly, TODAY!) that has been more conduit to the Chrome mindset than the late-seventies (a wonderful time if you must know!) has been. If only more interstellar cyborgs out there would only listen...
Jerry Jerry-THE SOUND OF THE JERRY CD-r burn (originally on Aquarius)

Singer/songwriter-y guy here who gets into the usual under-the-mainstream musical snark yet still comes off pretty hot in some respects. And that's even though this form for all intent purposes has been long gone from the "music" scene for at least fifteen or so years. A bit altie/folk coming off like a snarling Jonathan Richman after a bad day at the shopping center. Nothing that I'd want to spin on a daily basis but it does have a certain style to it. Quite clever at times even...just skip over the song where Jerry Jerry sings about his garden hose and you'll probably take a liking to it even with alla the swearing.
Dixie Dregs-THE GREAT SPECTACULAR CD-r (originally on Dregs Records)

I must admit that I've been tingling my toes in what used to be (and still may be) called "Southern Rock", though other than Black Oak Arkansas, the Hampton Grease Band and Hydra I really haven't found one of these groups that fits it totally with my BLOG TO COMM sense of high energy hijinx. The Dixie Dregs just might snuggle up with the aforementioned one of these days, but their slick approach (even on this pre-major label outing) just doesn't satiate the way I was hoping a hotcha deep South bluegrass jazz rock group woulda. Still interesting enough for a quick spin, though frankly I wish these guy were listening to a whole lot more Miles Davis and a whole lot less Return to Forever. (For real Dixie thrills get a hold of former bassist Andy West's RAMA 1 Cee-Dee and be prepared to change your bigoted opinions regarding him and his fellow musicians for all time!)
Daddy Long Legs-BLOOD FROM A STONE CD-r burn (originally on Norton)

Wow is this 'un exciting as all get out! The Long Legs "channel" all of the best moments of the original fifties-sixties punk thrust through various seventies and eighties (even nineties and oh-ohs!) influences giving out with a sound that reminds me of the Raunch Hands aping early Black Oak Arkansas after spinning a variety of Flamin' Groovies,  Dr. Feelgood and Count Bishops platters that were found in Charles Shaar Murray's backpack which got lost in the NME listening room sometime in '78. If you wanna get all hopped up over the BIG BEAT the same way you did back when you were young 'n impressionable this 'un just might restore your faith in rock 'n roll as a healing force. And I don't mean any of that Haight Ashbury mystical mumbo jumbo either!
Jean-Francois Pauvros-MUSIQUES POR ANNE DREYFUS CD (Spalax France)

Ex-Catalogue man Pauvros makes music for the choreography of an Anne Dreyfus, a lady whose works I assume would never ever have been attempted by the Class of '66 even though that gal with the ironed hair who wanted to be a Freedom Rider so badly mighta attempted it. It varies from soft if unnerving violin strains to clunks and clangs as well as even some rather rocking passages (thanks to the presence of Modern Lover/Elliot Murphy bassist Ernie Brooks), and it all sounds just as alien and as indecipherable as all of those other French neo-punkian avant free jazz RIO things that have been coming outta France for quite some time. Nothing that special for the standard reader of this blog, but it just might be of interest if you're experiencing one of those really ennui-filled introspective moments like I tend to do on overcast snowed-in days.
Love-BLACK BEAUTY CD-r burn (originally on High Moon)

Hey, McGarry actually sent me a Cee-Dee-Are that I had my eyes on for quite some time! Yes it's the legendary long-unreleased Love album finally getting its just dues, and even if I never was whatcha'd call a humongous fan of Arthur Lee and company (more like a passing fancy fan) I gotta mention that I did enjoy this 'un quite a whole lot! Kinda funky in a mid-seventies sorta way, but its still a power-packed offering that manages to retain some of the excitement of the Electra-era band if not the oft-maligned version that popped up on Blue Thumb/Harvest. And really, you haven't heard anything until you lend your ears to Arthur Lee singing the old Rooftop Singers hit "Walk Right In"! Bonus tracks don't let you down either (the interview was quite illuminating!) but don't get yer hopes up over the inclusion of a track called "LA Blues"...this 'un's a latterday numbub ('n an actual blooze!) where Lee is joined by an act called Ventilator and as you woulda surmised by now it ain't even the Stooges song! Awww c'mon, don't let that get to you---go buy the durned thing!
Various Artists-MONKEY DOGS DOIN' THE FLAME CD-r burn (directed by Bill Shute)

A good hour's worth of downloads courtesy the Inner Mystique Man himself. The Maymie and Robert track mixed late-fifties pop and Chipmunks voices to a good effect, and while the Buchanan/Goodman cut-ins ain't as funny as they were when I was ten they still do reverberate spasms of pre-teen har hars as well as any good ARCHIE comic should. It's interesting the way Bill follows the gospel rouser "One More River" with "Marijuana Polka" (I wonder if he's trying to tell us something), while the theme from SANFORD AND SON as well as the Raiders' "ss 396" and Clark Chewing Gum tracks do recall more fun frolics of the past than I thought they would. And it all closes out with Ray Sharpe doing a great "Gloria" swipe that'll curdle your curry, and with horns too! (Shouldn't forget that the obv. scuffed up Christmas recordings that Bill slapped on do signal that the Holiday Season is almost upon us, which means that YOU Bill are going to get an ADDED if not addled bonus this year---mainly two lumps of coal instead of one!)
Might see you Wednesday though probably Thursday...if I can pry myself away from the table long enough to crank something out that is!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


As the age-old question goes, "do we really need another book on krautrock (or as I like to call it 'German Expressionist Rock')???" If you're anything even remotely like me then you'll know in your heart of hards that the answer is most definitely YES!!! Just like we need more books on the Cleveland underground rock scene circa. 1972-1980 not to mention a few on those British groups from the late-sixties and early-seventies who took their musical cues from the Velvet Underground and Stooges. Hey, we need ALL the books we can on each and every style and genre of rock et roll that used to tingle our hammers and stirrups during that era's height and one more book on the subject is, at least for me, one more reason to stay in every night and cuddle up with such a read while some classic Can or Amon Duul I, II or III for that matter careens on the bedside boom box!

As it stands FUTURE DAYS isn't a particularly revealing read---most of the knowledge presented has been chopped away from a variety of previous krautreads not to mention the author's exhaustive collection of ancient British weeklies and ZIGZAGs cluttering up his own boudoir. Maybe I am being pickier'n I am with my nostrils because hey, once all is written and digested I gotta admit that FUTURE DAYS is dang fine enough for me!

If you like your rock kraut-y and still harbor fun memories of careening record shop import bins wishing you could dish out a good twelve smackers for one of the German imports that would often be displayed in conjunction with head supplies (really, as I once saw in a West Covina CA plaza disc emporium!) then this'll surely warm the cockles of your heart, amongst other things.

Slim onna pix but heavy on the facts, FUTURE DAYS at least gives the non-German fan a glimpse into the German music scene and the reasons as to why these bands (which actually were not that popular in Germany even if they were underground faves amongst the British heads and proto-punks) even existed in the first place being cast about due to post-war conditions and a searing sense of self-loathing. Of course all of the biggies from Can, Kraftwerk and the Amon Duuls on down are here, and although you oldtimers are probably gonna be sick to your stomachs reading these stories for the umpteenth time I will admit that author Stubbs does manage to add in a li'l more insight into the German Expressionist saga than has been spewed forth in earlier tomes. The German experience and the bubbling teenbo dissent that helped create the climate for this musical genre is delved into (with the author perhaps discerning more than is actually there!) while more information than has previously been distributed regarding the inner workings of these bands (por ejemplo the Amon Duul commune saga with all of its disturbing neo-Mansonish inner workings is presented in way more than passing) is also disseminated whether you want to know about the time Chris Karrer was forced to screw a femme Duulite or not. So if you think FUTURE DAYS is nothing but a quickie rehash cash in custom made for blobs like us who'll read just about anything plopped in front of us you are sadly mistaken.

Maybe it ain't as flippant as Julian Cope's infamous  KRAUTROCKSAMPLERschpiel nor as vivid as the various oversized collections that have popped up o'er the years, but FUTURE DAYS wasn't that bad a read even if most of this was remedial rockism reading to resensify my sense of high energy. Now if only someone'll write a concise history of the Cleveland seventies underground rock scene and early Velvets/Stooges inroads into late-sixties English rock, but I ain't holding your breath.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Yeah, another short 'un this week. Sheesh, despite the best efforts of the likes of Bill Shute, Paul McGarry, P.D. Fadensonnen and Bob Forward to enlighten me with burns of new and not-so items I really can't muster up the same rah-rah energy to crank out a halfway decent post the way I might have even a good two years back. I hope I ain't suffering from the same burnout that wasted many a once-vital writer out there in notice-me land, even if I must say that my best days as a scribe are a good what...fortysome years behind me (I mean, you should have read that short story I did for fifth grade English Composition having to do with a Venusian and a sheep dog with an extremely cold nose!).

But given the week I've been through it's amazing that I have been able to crank out even this much bile. Yeah, a real toughie. A week I would wish on my worst enemy that's how bad it was. Oh well, maybe there will be MORE weeks like the one I've been through to wish on those who have dared defile the name of BLOG TO COMM lo these many years, and somehow I have the sneaking suspicion that there will be!

But until that glorious day arrives, enjoy these precious pearls and get all of the goosebumps you can just thinking about all of the angst, stomach acid and gnash that went into the creation of this particular post. You'll be glad you did!

Roy Orbison-EARLY DEMOS AND SUN OVERDUBS CD-r burn (originally on HMC Records)

Here's an interesting batch of early Roy Orbison numbers that show the genesis of the famed Orbison style that wowed many a transistor radio throughout the early 'n mid-sixties.

The very early tracks where Roy rams through a buncha early Elvis numbers might not exactly get the top notch rating in an old issue of STEREO REVIEW but the energy and party-like ambiance really does lend a certain fun feeling of old fun times long gone. The Sun-era demos may or may not have been done with the String Kings (ain't got no liner notes!), but they sure pack that late-fifties wallop that really put the electricity into funtime teenage living way back when.

Thoroughly enjoyable, and if any of you readers were wondering what Orbison was up to in the days before "Southbound Jericho Parkway" here's your chance (if you can find it that is, and I'm sure a good search engine will help out just fine!).
Jeremy Gluck-I KNEW BUFFALO BILL CD-r burn (originally on Diesel Motors)

Noted fanzine regular and Barracuda Gluck does pretty snat on this solo outing where he's backed by various Swell Maps, a Birthday Partier and Jeffrey Pierce of Gun Club fame.

To be honest about it I thought about half of this was singer/songwriter snooze, not as bad as James and Joni and the rest of the SoCal sleepers but still a bit too introspective for my personal tastes. However when he starts cooking Gluck does pretty fine himself even if the ghost of eighties post-inspiration tends to seep into the mix at times (really, 1987 was not an inspirational year for ANYTHING and I should know!).

It's probably worth the trouble of finding, at least for all of you longtime Barracudas and DENIM DELINQUENT fans because frankly you could have done much worse and as the old saying goes you probably have.
Isis-LIVE SELECTIONS 2001-2005 CD (

This ain't the feminist horn band of the seventies, but a newer act I gagged on about a month or two back re. the current Islamic army traipsing through the Arab world. And believe-you-moi, from what I can tell these guys have little if anything in common with the other Isis recording act other'n they both use(d) guitars and drums---this Isis is what is called a "post metal" band which probably means something to highbrow rock critics and nobody else, and while they sound quite similar to the slew of ______core/metal acts that were cluttering up the mid-to-late eighties they just might appeal to your own sense of sludge.

If you will, the spiritual successors to the whole Slayer/Metallica cum Flipper grind it out, good enough at just the right nanosecond in your stress-laden world even if I'll probably listen to it once ever four or so millennium.
The Astronauts-RARITIES CD (Bear Family, Germany)

(Speaking of recording acts with the exact same name existing decades apart) this ain't the English anarchist band who released some great platters back in the eighties but the surf one who ended up being RCA's brave if vainglorious attempt to crack into the Beach Boys market during the early-sixties! And although you won't believe it, for a buncha landlocked surf types they almost did as good a job of surf rock as the Trashmen did from an even more landlocked locale.

And it's a nice collection of tracks too starting with the group's debut self-produced single up through their maybe not-so-stellar height during the surf era ending with a bunch of garage band-y Brit Invasion pop 'n blooze numbers that, while rather solid by any suburban slob's standards o' excellence, just didn't cut it against the Gerry and the Pacemakers and Rolling Stones tracks these were obviously influenced by. I mean, even back then kidz were picky about what they would cram in their ears which in many ways is a durn shame.

The surf material whether instrumental or vocal shines as some of the better trackage to make its way outta the I-don't-care-what-you-say-but-it-was-HOPPING early sixties. They're filled with strong guitar lines, rugged melodies and a sturdy performance that really stands tall against some of the squeakier acts of the day. The mid-sixties numbers should put more'n a smile on the face of many a NUGGETSphile even if they will probably give those breastfed from the nipples of Jann Wenner a serious headache, which is a good thing considering just how much rockers like us hadda suffer thanks to the efforts of that horrid rump-wranglin' tastemaker who actually pushed the idea (along with Jon Landau) that James Taylor and his sibs were no doubt about it the first family of rock!

So good that even the numbers with strings sound boffo enough to bring back alla them fond memories of getting beaten up in the boy's room at the local drive in when you were but a mere kid.
Khun Narin-KHUN NARIN'S ELECTRIC PHIN BAND CD-r burn (originally on Innovative Leisure)

Every so often some ethnically-oriented recording or another comes around to get all of the more phony-intellectual than thou types all excited, and from what I can tell you, given my lofty status as a well-respected somethingorother, this is the latest one. True it ain't no MUSIC OF BULGARIA but this Khun Narin and his Electric Phin Band put out a wild excursion into a world music I can enjoy and the sounds they create just might sate the high energy pangs and desires crumpled up in your psyche like some old smelly skidmarked underwear nestled in the corner of your room. Although hailing from Thailand the Phins have more of an Indian sound and feeling about 'em that'll bring back fond memories of alla them raga rock records you used to spin while pretending to be high, and if you're the kinda BLOG TO COMM reader who still stands by your Seventh Sons and Malachi albums you'll probably fall for this 'un head o'er heels. Made for fantastic lay back 'n read old comics listening this very weekend, and if you have a copy I know it will do the same thing for you!
THE LEGENDARY EDDIE COCHRAN CD-r burn (originally on United Artists, England)

Do you have the two-LP Eddie Cochran LEGENDARY MASTERS SERIES set like I do? Like I hadda ask, but if you're in the market for more Cochran material to shatter your soothed nerves this 'un just might do the trick.

Dunno if it came out inna U.S. of Whoa but you might be able to snatch up this import of umport if you scour the auction lists close enough. It really would be worth your while to do it unless you're just another lazy computer guy who'll download and burn this with the flick of a wrist.

Alt. takes, sideman work not to mention an interview done shortly before Cochran's own unfortunate demise pop up, and other'n a repeat of the corny yet cool "Fourth Man Theme" there are no dupes with the LEGENDARY MASTERS set unless you wanna count the original version of "Skinny Jim", which you just might!
Ivy Pete and his Limbomaniacs-LIMBO PARTY CD-r burn (originally on Somerset)

This looks like one of those albums that I'd find while thumbing through Farts Flanagan's parents' record collection stashed in their parlor console when nobody was around, only to chased out of the place by Ma Flanagan when she discovered what a mess I left.

I could make a joke about Bill Shute's brain being in limbo for him sending me this supermarket crankout that was probably snuggled right next to the very same budget MARY POPPINS rec my mother bought us when I was but a budding suburban slob, but I won't. But sheesh, this is nothing but cheapoid limbo crankout music that went right from the budget bins of the sixties to the flea market stacks of the seventies and eighties, and only the boffoest of limbo lovers will like these Island ditties even if they're too chubboid to do the actual bend over backwards like the pretty gal pictured on the cover does.

Hmmm, I must admit that it would have been funny to see Ma Flanagan position her flabby body in the strange contortion that slim miss seems to do with ease! But given her bursitis (and the fact that she's now 95 years old) I won't ask her if she still can.
Various Artists-BLUE BUMBLE AZTEC GYPSY SANDALS CD-r burn (via Bill Shute)

Another boffo mix 'n match courtesy one of the few human beings on this earth who will even talk to me! Hodgepodge of various six-oh stylings from the likes of United Travel Service's socially conscious suburban teenage psych (two sides!), the Warm Sounds and the Bumble Bees to the outta-nowhere gospel/soul of Margie Hendrix and Syl Johnson. The Mad Hatters' earnest yet hilarious version of "Blowin' In The Wind" done up garage punk style is a must to hear, while the infamous Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs' take on "Dancing in the Streets" might be effete, but is still driving enough to keep you from throwing your copy out the window. Personal fave has to be the Davie Allan/Arrows track but I guess that's just because maybe I'm still stuck in the boffo era of Metro Music catalogs at least in spirit. I do tend to get that way sometimes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

BOOK REVIEW! TUMBLEWEEDS #5 by Tom K. Ryan (Fawcett, 1972)
I still dunno what got into me that day I bought this paperback at the now long-gone Strouss' downtown Youngstown Ohio store! I mean, at the time of this 'un's release I certainly was NOT 
whatcha'd call a fan of the looser post-PEANUTS-era comic strips like BC, THE WIZARD OF ID and ANIMAL CRACKERS. Not by a long shot---my tastes ran towards the firmer, more traditional comics like ARCHIE, NANCY and PRISCILLA'S POP not to mention a good portion of those strips that were seeing their final days around the time the new crop of comic crap was beginning to replace 'em on the funny page. Comics like TUMBLEWEEDS just seemed too modern and snide for my twennysome years behind the times and proud of it sense of comic strip elegance, and frankly the last thing this fifties barbershop kid stuck inna hippydippy world wanted to read was a strip like this 'un!

But bought it I did instead of the usual Marvel, DC and Archie Comics tossout that I was wont to get while probing the Mezzanine at that once-viable store, and let's just say that after enduring the snarky sagas and dryer'n an Arab's anus humor to be found in this book I quickly shoved it to the back of the paperback rack in my own personal newsstand of a bedroom book shelf. While all of the other paperbacks there had become dog-eared and creased due to constant reading TUMBLEWEEDS #5 remained almost as glossy and brand-spanking new as the day it was bought, and despite a few age spots and a slightly dinged corner it holds up a whole lot sweller'n some of the paperbacks you'll find cluttering up the flea market tables of many a retiree out to make a few bux on some gunky ol' weekend.

But as we all know times change, and so do old fanablas like myself whose tastes mutate and glop all over the place to the point where maybe I can enjoy some of the dry gags 'n subtle guffaws that TUMBLEWEEDS was best known for (at least amongst the small batch of fanz who kept this strip going for nigh on twenny-two years).

Not being that much of a fan of western strips other'n the recurring panels in OUT OUR WAY as well as some old CASEY RUGGLES book I chanced upon, I gotta admit that TUMBLEWEEDS creator Tom K. Ryan did a fair job of taking the ol' western theme and updating it for the new era of BC/WIZARD OF ID styled strips. Nothing earth-shattering, but good enough especially when stacked up against the positively staid and unfunny strips one sees these days. The dialogue tends to get quite wordy and sometimes the gags are more groans than guffaws, but I can still appreciate some of the catch-you-off guard humor that pops up on scant occasion. 'n although the artwork ain't as eye-popping suburban slob friendly as the Bob Montana-era ARCHIE or Bushmiller delineated NANCY comics most certainly were, they sure beat the feminized cutesy-pie plop permeating the funny pages of today which I still say is a leading cause as to why newspapers are dying off.

Good enough that even the lameass gags revolving around Tumbleweeds' horse Epic ain't as hopeless as I originally thought they were, while the Poohawk Indians portrayed are high-larious to the point where I get the idea that even the most Marxist of First Nations types might get a laugh outta the way they interact and throw some good zingers (verbally as well as visually) at the whiteys. Some of the takes on various western cliches might wear thin, but then again ya gotta admit that when the comics in this collection were drawn (1969) those western satires were still a bit (at the least) fresher'n they were when TUMBLEWEEDS finally packed it up in 1987.

True it ain't a classic in the way I like my comic strips, but at least TUMBLEWEEDS had its own charm, some nice artwork and a strange subtle nature that sorta petered out when the mid-sixties minimalist comics gave way to the comparative snoozers seen today.  'n hey, I would say that I was slightly inspired by these comics even to the point where I just might pick up this nineties collection of selected strips that the local Thrift Shops just can't give away, and hey can you tell me of a better way for me to squander my fifty cents???

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Gawrsh, another week gone, and the way time's been flying around here it sure seems like autumn out there. Wait, is is autumn out there...sheesh, where has all of that summertime weather I've been waiting for gone anyway! Well, enough of alla them gosh crimonies and welcome to this weekend's BLOG TO COMM post. As you can see there's nothing that much (again) to blab about and, given that the era in rock that served us well is forever gone (only to be replaced by a monster that stands 180 against the throbbing genius of the BIG BEAT), it's a miracle that I've been able to scrape up at least this much to write about. But like that chef who was able to whip up a tasty dish of Chicken Marengo with just a few ingredients at hand I think I did "fairly" swell with the few shards of new material that managed to make their way to my ears. Maybe not, for somehow I get the idea that if Napoleon would have read this blog I would have been drawn and quartered post haste!

I must admit that I am greeting the arrival of the winter season with a whole lot more anticipation than I have been these past few decades. The thought of being snowed in for a good month with nothing better to do than devote more time to listening to oft-ignored records and pouring through boxes in search of long-forgotten fanzines really does settle well with my ever-impending approachment towards my second childhood (or at least second adolescence) which would suit me just fine. At least when I was a turdler life was a fun adventure and even when I was older and had to endure the terrors of school and social congress those weekends and holidays with nothing but my transistor radio and my comic books to protect me were way more beneficial'n anything else I could conjure up in my mind. I'll tell ya, when I'm old enough to retire I'm gonna do NOTHING but stay home all day and read comics, listen to music, play with my toys, watch old tee-vee shows and hide from the mailman just like I used to do when I was only three and knew better. And somehow, I feel that I would be serving mankind in a more beneficial way doing this than would I volunteer for hospital poop pickup and meals on wheels work like alla them other retirees do.
So anyhow, here it is for worse or even worser. The listening (and reviewing) situation may brighten up in the future what with a number of hotcha items that are up for sale via FORCED EXPOSURE as well as via ebay (plus I've discovered a whole buncha platters that are posted on youtube that I wouldn't mind some enterprising computer whiz to download for me), but those goodies'll have to wait until I can get a large load of scratch up. And since I've pretty much given up on anything current (which to me translates into just about anything that sounds as if it were recorded after 1981) you can just bet that the kicks will be getting harder to find once I mutate into an even grouchier caga'n the one I am at this very nanosecond. But hunker in the bunker I will, because I get the feeling that someday, somehow, I will get to hear each and every one of those obscure ne'er released groups that I've read about via obscure mentions and strange asides (like, who in heck was that Mexican rock group who sent an audition tape to CBGB in early 1976?) and frankly, I ain't leaving this mortal coil until I do and that's a promise!

Awww g'wan, read the blasted things willya???

Achim Reichel & Machines-ECHO/A.R.IV. 2-CD set (New Amos Records, Germany)

Even though it's been a good two or so decades since I began to seriously listen to the vast array of krautrock with a post-Stoogian mindset meant for the music, its more'n obvious that I'm still feeling myself out (no, not THAT!) when it comes to discovering some of even the more noteworthy acts who were wallowing around in that particular genre back during the Golden Age of import bins. And to be upfront and natural about it, the works of Achim Reichal are definitely among the wads of krautscapading that I haven't been paying much attention to lo these many years. True I  gave the former Rattler's boffo THE GREAT JOURNEY the royal BLOG TO COMM treatment o'er a year ago, but other'n that it wasn't like I was bustin' down the barn door attempting to give any more of Reichel's works a proper ear-ticklin'. Until now that is.

Y'see, sometimes (actually, ALL of the time!) I really do get hard up for a fresh solid straight ahead rock 'n roll spin and this collection has not one but two of Reichel's old works found in one nice li'l package! Yes, this truly is a moderne-day equivalent of those twofa's they used to have where you could snatch up once-outta print platters by your faves at special budget prices custom made to fit your depression-era wage laden pocket book. Only the prices on these things sure ain't as budget as they were inna olden days that's for sure!

ECHO is a quandary in many a way, with lush 'n rather proggy instrumental passages morphing into some rather hot repeato-riff neo-punk manifested in the best krautrockian way one could imagine. The overall results are a give 'n take what with the rather dry experimental sounds turning you off before the flashier drones send you off into pure early-seventies metallic scronk. However, if you've been able to sit through your cyst-er's reams of Moody Blues albums spinnin' on the turntable before you were able to get to it with your Iggy I think you can handle this 'un hands down. And if you're one of those early-seventies survivors who brazenly stood against the tide of timid with your unapologetic stance re. the Velvet Underground and various seventies/eighties permutations you'll undoubtedly find much to enjoy with ECHO. As the old saying goes, you can do worse, and you have!

Don't get the wrench shown on the cover of A.R. IV. confused with that of Can's INNER SPACE because unlike that pitiful later-on edition to the once-snat Can line of albums this one ain't that bad at all. Of course you have to put up with a lotta experimental whackadoody voices and classical music interspliced with the usual kraut-talk but after that's all over there's some more hot krautrocking that sorta reminds me of the likes of Can and Amon Duul II romping through various late-sixties punk motifs. (It may remind you of some English faerie prog landscape a la Yes, but if it does I'm not going to take away your no prize because to an extent I agree with you!)

But after it starts to sink into your mind like a greasy ball o' dago dough in your stomach you'll discover that A.R.IV. can be pretty driving. Driving like an early-seventies Can splurge through the realm of interstellar rock, and although I doubt there'd be anything on this 'un that'd convert the typical "classic rock/AOR" schmuck to the cause of pure unadultered rockism it might suit the typical BTC reader to the infamous "T". Well, at least in small doses so don't go off buying this under the impression that the latest variation on WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT has been finally unearthed. But if you thought the best moments of Can, Amon Duul II and their spiritual brethren were their interstellar forays into free form enveloping jams you'll definitely cling to this like undigested bran to my sphincter.

An overall not bad set of two early-seventies kraut-unto-underground platters that, while perhaps steeped a little too much into the progressive miasma of the day, still can deliver on some high energy jamz worthy of the better German expressionist rock one can imagine. One you might not wanna pass up, but if you do I think I understand.
The Human Condition-LIVE AT THE COLLEGIATE THEATRE 13th SEPTEMBER 1981/LIVE IN EUROPE NOVEMBER 1981 2 CD-r burn (originally on THC)

I know I'm not supposed to like this on purely aesthetic principles, but I find these two live recordings to be slightly inspirational. And although I'm not supposed to like the members of this band on purely aesthetic principles as well I can't find any fault on the part of the ex PiL people and cohorts who were present on these instrumental live jamz that not only hearken back to the group's earlier roots, but set the stage for a whole slew of interesting eighties romps along the lines of Mark Hanley's excellent Room 101. The use of various riffage copped from everyone from Pere Ubu to Pink Floyd makes for an interesting springboard into free form jamming and I should admit as to just how inspiring this comes off next to some of the cruddo musings that were beginning to infiltrate the entire "vague rubric" (© 1985 Robert Christgau) of new unto gnu wave music, but danged if I'm never EVER gonna listen to this again. I mean, with a shoebox fulla Electric Eels Cee-Dees inna closet would YOU???
The Fall-C.R.E.E.P. SHOW CD-r burn (taken from bootleg)

Never having been a Fall fanatic like way too many of you were out and about during the HOTCHA UNDERGROUND I HEARD IT BEFORE YOU! bandwagon jump of the eighties, I must admit that I do find Mark Smith and cohorts' antics pleasurable "once in awhile" to be corny about it. The one-chord thump and grind does wonders for a fanabla like me who doesn't mind his music doused with the proper amount of "minimalism" at least until it starts sounding like an art project, and the band delivers that great and beautiful eternal drone like nothing since the days of back when the Stooges were first learning how to handle their instruments and failing miserably at it. I've been told that these Fall live album releases (legit or not) are rather hit and miss, but this one hits it on all quarters and even a few nickels and if you dig it up and download it for your pleasure that's your good luck!
WALTER WINCHELL BROADCASTS (via the internet I s'pose)

Bill sent me a whole slab o' these Winchell programs but only now (after over a year) have I started to dig into 'em, undoubtedly because there's hardly been anything else to dig into this week. Good stuff they are with the famed crusading commentator's rat-a-tat reporting and hard-edged commentaries that would give even Perry White a headache. Sound quality ain't that hotcha, but the fast pace and down-to-earth drive of these is enough to show you just how much the concept of news broadcasts has changed o'er the years. Face it, next to guys like Winchell all of those people you see on the news today like Brian Williams and Scott Pelly really come off looking like sissies, though I must admit that even next to me they look like sissies as well!
Various Artists-SOUR DIAMOND TAILFEATHER HEAVER CD-r (a Bill Shute Production)

Nice but not as tippy top as last week's entry. Two Danny and the Juniors demos really don't toggle this guy's switch (still suffering from the dreaded malady of seventies nostalgia overhype) while I'm still nauseated even thinking about Steve Allen even though he's been gone for x-teen years, but the various takes/rewrites of "This Diamond Ring" actually make me wanna forget what a jerk Gary Lewis is supposed to be while the Homer and Jethro take on "Battle of New Orleans" had me smilin' and guffawin' more'n any George Carlin routine you'd dare to conjure. Even the Allman Joys (one of ROLLING STONE's favorite garage bands---no foolin'!) ain't as disgusto to your punk attitude as they normally would be, while the Jerry Landis/Paul Simon produced and recorded tracks that close the disque out evoke more early-sixties proto-singer/songwriter pop fun than they do anything you'd expect from a guy who has to team up with longtime partner/adversary Art Garfunkel because otherwise nobody would go see him perform. A whole lot better'n what you can dig up on Sirius XM I'll tell ya!

Thursday, November 06, 2014


Although Marxist critics have disagreed, the aesthetic nuances found in these films are highly redolent of the expressionistic cinematic ideologies of certain individualistic voices immeasurably enhanced by some of the subtleties obviously influenced by the work of Renoir (see Chauncey Heidelsmith's excellent summary in FILM BETWEEN 1942 and 1943, page 946).

But what are we to make of the striking symbolism regarding the feminist motif to be found? Such a melange of totally unrelated actions most exquisitely cross-cut could not have been conceived at the time, though from the perspective of many an anthropologist the searing indictment of bourgeois habits may have been a bit contrived. The nihilistic urges of the director notwithstanding, such elaborations have been seen as mere excess by theatregoers and Northeastern scholars alike. Still, the vividly fluent if calculated value (perhaps grossly distorted by the director's wavering attention to historical analogies) might have seemed to be just plainly generic. The smoldering lack of pathos in the supporting characters perhaps lend credence to this hypothesis.

However, as film critic Wesley Petersen recalled offhand ("Film in Fractions", EAST VILLAGE SOCKET, May 24 1961, page 19), some of the wanton destruction seen might just be a clever ruse to exact revenge on various adversarial viewers who were dismayed at previous metaphoric implications. This may be an idea that would have been bandied about by various young upstarts trying to exert their way into the Hollywood machinery, but the ornateness of the romantic allegories again may only be an exploitation of the microcosm/macrocosm devices found in the later work of such directors as Welles.

I personally scoff at the idea that the films presented were based on the works of the French novelist Delarue (the vivid singularity does remind one of du Breck), even if a certain luxurious air to the interior scenes is vaguely Altman-esque in composition. Some interludes might offend certain sensitivities, though many polled outside a recent viewing in Soho have spoken highly of the heightened predesign filtered through an engaging burlesque of film conventions.

Further, fascinating variations on past tensions do create controlled havoc in various film adaptations, albeit even in the most baroque setting such innocence and dedication may seem merely hypothetical as the film scholar Flaubert once stated. Speaking in theatrical terms, such ideals are highly reminiscent of various uncanny fallacies in the conclusions of many post-postmodern commentators who somehow confuse the abject symbolism of the interior scenes with a neo-archaic plot development long-discarded by most serious aesthetes. Or, as the noted cinematographer Vincent Berliner once said in the course of a heated argument with director Alexander Bishnikov, "So ya think you can do better ya pussy?"

If your sentiments tend to shy away from spatial relationships monitored through pre-Cultural Revolution cinema, you might harbor reservations regarding the definitely anti-Spenglerian understanding found throughout. However, those who have ridiculed the contemplative nature of the universal components of... (to be continued)

Saturday, November 01, 2014

As some of you wide awake readers might have guessed by now, obsessions have ruled a major portion of my sad 'n sorry life. When I was a kid I was all agog over dinosaurs 'n Matchbox cars (soon to spread out to all of the major manufacturers from Lonestar to Corgi) to comic strips and then books, and eventually rock and related music even if it only meant listening to some of the AM dial and shuffling through department store record bins never even dreaming that I'd ever own any of the wares that were being pushed on grade stool kids during those more action-packed days. Surprisingly enough a whole lotta these youthful free time wasters never did exit my system like so much caga, for I must admit that even in my advanced age I continue to enjoy a whole lotta the same kultural kravings that helped make me a straight "C" student during my formative years.

And I am proud to say that comics of the strip and book variety continue to be as important to me as they were back when I was first buying issues of WHERE CREATURES ROAM hot off the press liking the pre-FANTASTIC FOUR Jack Kirby art in 'em even more'n I did the stuff he was doing in MISTER MIRACLE not to mention JIMMY OLSEN. By the time comics began morphing into something more'n just teenage fun 'n jamz I knew enough to bail out and sell the entire collection off, but who could deny that there certainly were more'n a few moments in my life when I had just as much of a passion for an early Steve Ditko-drawn SPIDER-MAN saga that I later would for some heretofore unknown early-seventies Velvet Underground-emulation! 'n true, I eventually "grew outta it" and certain medications can help the compulsive behavior trends but dagnabbit if I still can appreciate digging into the slew of comics I've snatched up o'er the past quarter century enjoying 'em all as much as I did back when I was in eighth grade 'n awaited the weekend just so I could devote more hours to my favorite pastime. And it sure wasn't pubic hair weaving I'll tell you that (mainly because at that time I didn't have any!).

Now that even the comic reprint biz seems to be going down the tubes it's sure nice getting some of those four colored 'n hard covered DC and Marvel collections at depression-era prices! Well, not exactly that cheap but I sure do enjoy reading alla those long-loathed 'n forgotten stories that I coulda only dreamed
about reading back when I was swallowing alla them stories my dad usedta tell me about those Golden Age heroes he really went nuts over. True some of those sagas just ain't as juicy as I thought they would be (hadda struggle through some of them early DC stories because quite a few of them heroes were just too goody two shoes for even my galvanized stomach to handle, even to the point where I felt like rooting for the Jap-a-Nazis!) but when a certain series clicks in the right suburban slob way settling back with one of these books is perhaps thee best way to spend an afternoon next to being marooned in yer room with a stack of old CREEM and GULCHER magazines to keep you occupied.

My current comic book obsession lies within the realm of the aptly-named Quality Comics line, and before being gobbled up by the DC monolith in the mid-fifties this company certainly churned out more'n a few good heroes who unfortunately ain't getting the reprint treatment like ya know they oughta. I guess with the lagging interest in these early good guys there just won't be any of Quality's own SPIRIT ripoffs liks MOUTHPIECE, 711 or MIDNIGHT stories for me to peruse in my advanced age, but at least the Quality biggies have gotten somewhat of a red carpet treatment which certainly does this guy's free time much good. But then again, if the entire run of both THE SPIRIT and PLASTIC MAN were to be ignored by the comic publishers at hand all I could say is just how STOOPID can yez guys be treating your past as if it were something to be loathed (like today's simp-ified PC-metastasized characters represent a zenith in ranch house fun 'n jamz) while you drool all over some latterday SPIDER-MAN saga as the height of komik kulture???

Although the reams of SPIRIT imitators that Quality cranked out (hey, they knew a good trend when they saw it!) aren't going to get reprinted other'n in some anthology or on-line blog at least the original masked guy in a suit has been given his just dues. And yeah, the LAST thing I want to read in MY comic books are "comics that virtually sang and danced, laughed and cried. and that could fly..." (didn't know Anna Quindlen wrote dust jacket come ons for DC), I can still appreciate these stories even if they aren't the ones particularly drawn by cartoonist graphic novelist Will Eisner. Even though they all seem somewhat attuned to the more "sophisticated" comics dabbler no matter who's doing the art, a spiritual tardo such as myself can like 'em just as much as some enlightened hippie fanboy, and that's even without sacrificing any of my own mid-Amerigan sense of values and morality (remember that word?) like one has to do when reading just about anything passing itself off as post-postmodern entertainment these sorry days.

A quickie assessment: earliest stories are the best (I hate to say this, but there seems to be a sense of doom to the series even when Eisner dragged in Wally Wood to add some of his EC space style to a space epic) while later on sidekick Sammy just doesn't cut it the same way the oft-ridiculed Ebony White had (though I thought it nice when Ebony made a few guest appearances during the final days). The brief run of SPIRIT dailies were rather enticing almost in a DICK TRACY sorta way while the various sixties/seventies revivals came off just like that (the special one regarding the mid-sixties Lindsey/Buckley NYC mayoral race was mildly entertaining, even showing a now-grown Ebony who looked more like a young Al Roker!). And most surprising of all, the early-seventies "underground" version courtesy Kitchen Sink was not pornographic at all...always thought it woulda been a huge t&a bash because of the "Adults Only" come on but ironically it was mostly palatable material with a slight "hip" edge, but you can let the kids read it w/o worrying about their moral caliber being reduced to that of yours.

Like with THE SPIRIT, too much has awlready been spurted regarding PLASTIC MAN and although it took some time for Plas creator Jack Cole to be considered as much of a craftsman, storyteller and comic legend as Eisner why did DC have to pull the plug on THE PLASTIC MAN ARCHIVES after only eight volumes??? Just when everything is getting really hot the folk at National have to drop the series, and I really don't know who to blame, the company or the lazy comic ass readers who are probably more content with their STEROID MAN and BODY-MOLDED POLYETHYLENE BABE titles than the hot 'n cookin' stuff.. But at least they were able to crank eight of these out and like, every word 'n panel of 'em is what ya'd call "indispensable". Violent, funny, sarcastic, downright snat and with stories like these its no wonder that even Harvey Kurtzman called these stories an inspiration for the old MAD comic book. And hey, did the Kinks ever write a song about you (unless you wanna count "Ape Man")???

When you have books like these handy who needs things like human companionship and other outdated modes of self-serving niceties anyway? Gimme a cold and rainy autumn day and some SPIRIT and PLASTIC MAN along with some Savage Rose on the bedside boom box and I'll be happier'n a math teacher in a room full abacuses. Well, it's a whole lot better'n being so altruistic that you actually believe that going through the motions of voting reallty changes things, and Ayn Rand was right at least some of the time dontcha think (just ask Ditko)???
Another week, another half-there ho-hummer of a post. As you will see, I hadda rely on a coupla old collection finds to pad this 'un out to a respectable length, and then again I don't think that the overall quality of this 'un (along with those I've popped out these past few months) are anywhere near the peak perfection that would have been found even a good year back. But then again all I gotta say is "so %$#@*& what", because once ya get down to it I'm not writing this blog for you, but for ME.

Al Caiola-TUFF GUITAR CD-r burn (originally on United Artists)

Lez jus' say I've heard tuffer. The MAGNIFICENT SEVEN stringster comes off even  gloppier on these covers of various mid-sixties faves than he had before, and when you get down to it you kinda wonder exactly who was this album recorded for anyway? It's too wild for your Aunt Flabby, and even your pop who's man enough for alla them tee-vee westerns will think this is more hippie jiz for the teenage peace 'n love crowd. In other words, a perfect one for the perennial 1965 pimplefarm nerdo high school freshman with the pocket protector, and I do mean you!
 Amon Duul II-LEMMINGMANIA CD (Captain Trip, Japan)

Cee-Dee reissue of one of those Euro-only single side collections that you used to see cluttering up the import bins back in 1975. Only I must admit that I don't recall having seen LEMMINGMANIA in any bins I've been able to peruse at least until my 1977 venture into the record shops of Southern California and even then I didn't buy the thing. Good faves from the group's early days intermingled with a few non-LP b-sides that later on ended up as "bonus tracks" on a number of reissues, and even if you have the originals this makes for a good sampler for those times in your life when German Expressionism sure means a whole lot more to you than the gunk that came out in its wake ever did!
Curtis Eller's American Circus-1890 CD (

Back when I used to watch the CBGB cybercasts with a voracious appetite trying to discover new and exciting groups attuned to my own strange sense of rockist elegance, I must say that I really enjoyed the sounds being coaxed forth from my speakers that were being made by quite a variety of acts nobody seemed to have heard about before and nobody would undoubtedly hear from since. And nowhere was this phenom more present than via CBGB's "sister" stage next door at CB's 313 Gallery. Acts like Lucky, Third Stone Collective, Kleiner's Kalabah Syringe and many more played there more often 'n not and what I had heard from these acts was rather encouraging what with their definitely stripped down style and approach that in many ways evoked the CBGB of 1974-1975 more than many of the current acts that were playing there could ever hope to.

Unfortunately most of these outfits never did record or if they did their releases got lost in a wash of amerindie alternative schmooze, but the ones who did sure put out some rather neet-oh recordings that still sound exciting and against-the-grain as much today as they did when I first got to hear 'em. And Curtis Eller's American Circus is no exception. Eller's a classic singer/songwriter (even if you wanna dig up the oft-loathed Joni Mitchell def. of the term) whose modus opporandi comes off just as much Holy Modal Rounders as it does the eighties breed of "anti-folk" practitioners who were taking up mucho alternative rock press space back inna late-eighties. Quite rustic in fact, yet with a whole lotta that urban broken tooth yodel that somehow reminds me of some novel about a displaced hillbilly fighting his way through a depression-era Bowery comin' up against local street toughs and five o'clock shadowed gangsters alike. Would make a good movie if it hasn't been done awlready.

If you like acoustic banjo pluck with some accordion tossed in you'll probably go for this in a big way. And even you anti-rootster types might find it a tad enjoyable although I will admit it does get kinda hard washing alla that Boone's Farm Apple Wine hippie commune imagery usually associated with latterday acoustic folk jamz outta your system.
Fats and the Chessmen-LET'S DO THE TWIST CD-r burn (originally on Somerset Records)

Once again we hit the cheapo side of hi-fi frolicking with this '63 twist cash in available at all respectable supermarkets nationwide. A beautiful rip off it is too not only with the eye-catching yet suspicious candy-stripe cover but with the music which boasts a rather good Chubby Checker impersonator and a hot enough backing band. And hey, once you get alla those cash-in ideas outta your sophisticado mind you might just like this crank out just a tad bit. Of course it ain't anything I would call "earth shattering" and listening to a half-hour of "twist" themed music just doesn't evoke the better memories of the early-sixties the way a good LEAVE IT TO BEAVER rerun does, but for a crankout it ain't that bad and if you find a copy at the local St. Vincent's maybe it would be worth snatching up along with alla those Hello Kitty tossoffs your wannabe daughter of a son keeps begging you to buy.
Various Artists-STRAWBERRY BOHEMIAN SAKI MADNESS CD-r burn (via. Bill Shute)

Nice-o sampler courtesy Mr. You-Know-Who, with TWO Pigmeat Markham sides (LAUGH IN lost a real talent when they let him go!), a rare Hasil Adkins track, some low-fi/budget soul ravers and some early garage finds from the likes of Jimmy McConville and the Dawnells (who do one of the more anemic versions of "Little Egypt" I've heard but wha' th' hey!). My personal fave of all these tippy toppers just HAS to be the infamous Jim Backus single side entitled "Delicious", a boff bit of fifties sophisto humor gone haywire and although it ain't as kneeslapping as "The Dirty Old Man" I still crack up listening to the future Thurston Howell III and his galpal laughing it up and making all those funny wisecracks you'll never get outta any of them dyke comics ya see all over the place in a millyun years! Somebody shoulda chained Robin Williams to a chair and made him listen to this over and over until he realized what real comedy is!