Thursday, December 31, 2015


Well, here's another year on the highway of life that I'm sure glad I'm getting on the exit ramp offa given all of the bad deals that life dished out during them past 365. Now that it's over and done with all I gotta say is (other'n having to survive [almost] solely on the accomplishment of music, tee-vee and general funtime entertainment past) wasn't 2015 one big turdball of a year what with all of those molly-coddled "Social Justice Warrior" types becoming even bolder in their Satan-giving ways telling hard-working and definitely against-the-grain people like myself how to live and breathe. And of course I'm not forgetting the general dankness covering each and every one of us that pretty much permeates what used to pass as everyday suburban slob living now all but gone. Sad to say, those Mike Stivic types you used to see way back inna seventies have taken over with a vengeance, and just about every bit of their kumbaya kultur has metastasized itself into what used to be a rather enjoyable life of fast foods and ABBOTT AND COSTELLO reruns.

I'll tell you, the wolf ain't at the door ready to overcome you and your downhome living arrangements anymore...he's inside sitting in your favorite comfy chair in front of the idiot box screen, and he's using your moolah to order up all the cable tee-vee porn he can!

Given just how sanctimonious and self-anointed our "betters" are and how they've gotten control over just about everything that once made life all the more meaningful (like tee-vee, music and other flaccid forms of beyond numbing forms of "expression") maybe I should be so irked that during the past year I have not come across not one acknowledgement or celebration or what-have-you over the 100th anniversary of the release of the D.W. Griffith extravaganza THE BIRTH OF A NATION (at least fifty years ago there were thoughtful analyses discussing the film's pros and cons without any hefty heaping sanctimony some might have expected given its er, controversy). Lord knows the high tower people will be making a big fit over next year's centennial of INTOLERANCE (in my opinion an inferior film), but that's only because it's a...well, cooler moom than its predecessor and it says things we like and all, y'know. Speaking of INTOLERANCE, I am kinda surprised that none of the Hollywood bigshot types had given thought to making a SPECIAL 100th ANNIVERSARY EDITION remake of Griffith's "sun play of the ages" only updated for current tastes with the intermingling story lines consisting of pagans struggling against Christian oppression in fourth century Rome, cruelly-treated black slaves in the antebellum South, the persecution of gay lovers in 1950's Ameriga and a trans kindergarten boy being denied the gal's room in today's saga. C'mon Schpielberg, maybe it ain't too late to get this one out to your begging public, because if they've bought into your last few films you know THEY'LL BUY INTO ANYTHING!!!

Excuse the sour turds being popped out from the anus of my mind here, for I must admit that despite the raw deals that 2015 has forced upon me the music that had come out (or at least the music I've heard) this past year was pretty hotcha even if a good portion of it was recorded long before you were even a glimmer in your milkman's eye.

ALBUM(S) OF THE YEAR!: Many great sounds have passed my lobes in '15, but the greatest of them just hadda've been THIS IS THE SONICS (a fantastic comeback from a group we've been beggin' to make a comeback for years!), WIRE (who woulda thunk they woulda been relevant in 2015?),  Elliot Murphy's AQUASHOW revision and (would you believe) Rocket From The Tombs' BLACK RECORD? And (of course), anything by FADENSONNEN is fine by me!
SINGLE OF THE YEAR!: Not too many because hey, it ain't like singles are comin' out like they were back when you prowled the top 40 rack as a kid. Best one by far---Kim Fowley's "The Trip"/"Underground Lady" on (what else?) Norton.
BOOK OF THE YEAR (ROCK 'N ROLL DIVISION)!: I FOUGHT THE LAW by Miriam Linna and Randell Fuller, a read which, once you get through the thing, you'll think shoulda really been entitled I FOUGHT THE MOB AND THE MOB WON! Close second: SNAKES! GUILLOTINES! ELECTRIC CHAIRS!
REISSUE(S) OF THE YEAR!: Francis the Great's RAVISSANTE BABY, a deep-groove throbber from the third into the second world. Tied for second...Mahogany Brain and Red Noise.
JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR!: Weasel Walter/Chris Pitsiokos' DRAWN AND QUARTERED (One Hand)
ARCHIVAL DIG UP OF THE YEAR! Definitely the CHINA TO MARS album on Feeding Tube, something we shoulda heard back '79 way but well, why should we complain 'long as we have ears? Also worthy of note...Gary Wilson's MUSIC FOR PIANO (also on Feeding Tube), a real avant garde wowzer that holds up after even 2000 listens---dunno about 2001 but I'll give it a try!
OUTTA NOWHERE SURPRISE OF THE YEAR!: Doug Brockie's Infinity's THE HIGH COUNCIL OF INTERGALACTIC BLUES, a surprisingly good mid-seventies-sounding hard rock jazz blues thingie that for once doesn't remind me of any of the ginchy-gooshie guitar god grumbles of them days! Says something, and that something is probably something you DON'T want to hear, right?
LIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR!: THE JAZZ DESTROYERS LIVE @ JB's, KENT which you can pick up FREE onna web with the mere flick of a wrist, and you know what I mean you silly you! And as far as real and not downloadable things go, the Flamin' Groovies' IN THE USA.
MAG(S) OF THE YEAR!: UGLY THINGS (rock division), LURID LITTLE NIGHTMARE MAKERS (secular division).
THE "I WANNA HEAR MORE!" AWARD!: The Panacea Society. And while we're at it...
FAKE OF THE YEAR???: The Panacea Society. Sure sounds legit, but somehow I get the idea that these late-sixties Velvet Underground/Seeds/Thirteenth Floor Elevators wannabes ain't exactly as vintage as I would have hoped. If they aren't legit they're still boffo in the way they revisit 1968 accomplishment, but sheeesh, whatever happened to TRUTH IN ADVERTISING?????
POST OF THE YEAR!: Most were just snoozeville-y rec revs true, but this particular one I held near and dear to my heart. No, maybe it was this one.
BLOG OF THE YEAR!: Once again...YOWP.
EVENT OF THE YEAR!: Getting those little blebs of skin removed from my eyes (lids included). Painful but satisfying.
DEATH(S) OF THE YEAR!: Kim Fowley (his passing kinda made me wish that I did take up Bill Shute's offer for him to transcribe that phone call he had with the man and run it as an interview in one of the early issues of my crudzine), Josef Vondruska (even though he died last December), Ornette Coleman and Steve Mackay (a guy's kinda guy as you'll read in my obit if you'll only click on the link like ya never do!) All votes for Holly Woodlawn may be considered.
FAG OF THE YEAR!: Milo Yiannopolous
BLOG TO COMM READER OF THE YEAR!: My secret admirer in Mountain View California who keeps trafficking this blog when he/she/it should be busy working in the heart of Silicon Valley...mister/sister, you must be a devoted fan to keep tuning in alla the time like this!

Anyway, a happy 2016 to you and yours, although we all know that just won't happen! But we can always dream now, can't we?

Sunday, December 27, 2015

So how was your Christmas anyway? Mine wasn't so hot what with the realities of life and the lack of moolah hanging over my head like the Sword of Damocles and all. But don't wanna get you down. Actually the Christmas Eve/Day holiday (and for me that's a Holiday considering my work schedule!) wasn't a total bust considering how P.D. Fadensonnen sent me a beauteous bevy of burnt Cee-Dee offerings that really will last longer'n Dentyne. If it weren't for him I woulda been spending both days just starin' at the fart encrustation on the walls of my bedroom so THANKS BE TO YOU P. D. for making this winter solstice season something more'n just rheumy reminiscences of biting my cousin on the back of the neck because he wouldn't let me near his new toy gas station and (a few years later) kicking him after he broke the new drum I just got that Christmas morn!

Anyway, here's what I've been listening to in between thinking about holiday visitors and eggnog and piles of presents under the tree, none of which I got so screw you!


If anything got me outta the Christmas Spirit (not that I had that much of it inna first place) it was this particular reish that really laid it out on the line as to the entire gnarliness of it all. Nice-looking digipack houses the expanded versions of these two ultimo classic Ayler platters that (if you ask me, and why not?) show the man at his atonal best not only with his brother Donald doing some apropos trumpet blasts on BELLS but the by-now infamous Peacock/Murray dissonance section transcending everything that was going on even in the new thing pointing hefty ways towards the decade-end clash of the AACM and other unclear minds. Too much has been written about these long-legendary albums already and why you're even reading this feckless blurb (and why I'm writing it in the first place other'n to tell ya all "I GOT IT!!!!") is certainly beyond my brain capacity!
Lou Reed-AGORA BALLROOM CLEVELAND, 10/3/1984 CD-r burn

Remember that time in Lou's career where he sorta bumped up from the nada he had been unleashing on audiences for quite a few years? That was undoubtedly due to the presence of Robert Quine in his band which really helped zoom things up as far as any sorta return to previous Reedian glories go. This WMMS "Coffeebreak Concert" thankfully captures Lou during this particular bump what with his precision band which made even those doggier compositions of his sound good, and once you get over the entire slickness of the effort (remember, these were the days of rock videos and the selling of gristle over sizzle) this does become whatcha'd call a satisfying affair. It might not break into any unheralded realms but, dang ya, this recording does come off a whole less schleppier'n some of the post-Velvets Reedian-related wares I (and you) have had the displeasure of listening to.
The Tapes-RADIATIONS CD-r burn (originally on Industrial Tapes)

Another recording that jarred me outta what little Holiday Cheer I might have been able to muster up this pathetic year. Not having been spinning whatcha'd call a wide array of industrial music as of late, this particular offering (the second one Bill sent me making me wonder...) features loads of atonal banging mixed in with various recordings making for a particularly garbled time. At least groups like Boy Dirt Car had a solid basis in the rock aesthetic that was common to find in the underground rock of the day. The Tapes are even fringier and custom-made for the unfeeling cyborg state of humanity that began its manifestation around the same time OP began giving space to such tape-only projects as this. With my current state of terminal agitation I don't know if I can take anymore...someone please slip on some METAL MACHINE MUSIC to soothe my nerves...

I might be getting older'n Methuselah 'n all that, but dang it if these early cylinders (some recorded before the twennieth-century even got into gear!) affects me in my own suburban slob way a whole lot more'n a good portion of the next hotcha big thing rock that's been begging for my bucks these past thirtysome years. Thirteen rousing brass-band pouncers guaranteed to get you up and marching around the room just like I used to do when I was three 'n spinning "Washington Square" over and over. Best of the batch..."Home Sweet Home" as played around the world. This is what soul-stirring music meant to alla you Amerigans long before the likes of Johnny Mann turned it all into addled hokum for those whose systems were just too tame for the rabid likes of Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods.
Various Artists-POP SOUND '70 CD-r burn (originally on Polydor Europe)

Those hip label samplers that came out inna seventies were certainly helpful if you were the kinda guy who wanted to hear a smattering of acts yet didn't want to dish out the big bucks for alla the albums these toonz originally appeared on. This Polydor collection's but one of many of these kinda platters, though I really gotta admit that just what Polydor was offering during the rather barren year of '70 ain't really anything that really flibbens my jib ifyaknowaddamean. Rock was heading well into that dirge we all knew and hated by that time, and although the likes of Taste, Fat Mattress and TOMMY-period Who might tingle your toes I prefer to pass. Only Savage Rose really made my ears perk up and yeah, I finally got to hear Cat Mother here and I really can't see what the big to-do was about them like Mark Jenkins and Jonathan Richman did. Made for a rather annoying half hour if I do say so myself.
Nelson Riddle and his Orchestra-ROUTE 66 THEME AND OTHER GREAT TV THEMES CD-r burn (originally on Capitol)

Who out there in BLOG TO COMM-land doesn't like the theme from ROUTE 66? And what real fan and follower of this blog doesn't just drool at the thought of classic television from the late-fifties until the mid-sixties back when looking forward to the new tee-vee season was something that was as much a part of mid-Amerigan suburban slob living as summer vacation or checking out the new Studebakers with yer pop. Well, if you're the kinda guy who's beholden to the values and morals of sane pre-hippie relevance tee-vee then this platter is the one for you! Sure the jazzing up of such themes as BEN CASEY and MY THREE SONS might not settle well (just like the theme from THE UNTOUCHABLES doesn't do by me because I hate that show the way they make those bootleggers [you couldn't find bigger heroes!] look evil!), but you ain't gonna get back to the whole spirit of just what life was for people like us without a platter like this in your abode. Well, that and about a few thou DVDs both legit and grey area and a few of those substations that still show fun programming like this and, come to think of it, maybe a Studebaker in the garage would help out a bit!
Ian and the Zodiacs-LOCOMOTIVE CD-r burn (originally on Star Club Germany)

Being one of the lower-caste "British Invasion" groups didn't quite help out these guys' career even though Ian and the Zodiacs are remembered (and even "fondly") this far down the line by those who followed them. Which I must admit wasn't much at home but BIG over in Germany. However being comparatively passive-sounding didn't help these guys out much either. Let's face it, Ian and the Zodiacs weren't exactly whatcha'd call hard 'n gutzy like the Stones nor were they primitive punk like the Troggs. They were good true, but in many ways they were also rather wishy-washy as these particular tracks definitely point to. This did make for a nice Christmas Eve listen-to but I'll admit next to any or all of the big guns of the day you can see why the Zodiacs never did make it outta their own niche alive and kicking.

Sandwiched between two of the unfunniest comedy sides I've ever come across via the Bobby Roberts Trio are more of Bill's fave rave song poems and old country infatuation tracks along with some early soul sides from a Roberta May who's about as obscure as the rest of the folk getting their second chance at success via this burnt offering. The Counts (one of many) are strange, kinda sounding mid-sixties pop with snatches of late-sixties cliches and a subject matter that's clearly early-seventies relevance, while the c 'n w's definitely pre-gloss stuff that warns about flying saucers heralding end times and such other pertinent subjects guaranteed to remind you of what that Old Time Religion used to mean.

The song poems are good as they always seem to's great hearing these guys take some of the worst lyrics sent to them and make something out of the disgusting mess, but I've probably said that before. In all, a nice way to spend a Friday day off lounging around the house in my sweatclothes I'll tell ya!

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Don't worry---this ain't one of those James Bond films your mom wouldn't let you watch when they were hitting the network tee-vee schedules back inna seventies! Naw, this one's a whole lot better, with less of that gloss and Hollywood ooze and more of that Euro cheapness that made many a drive in monger actually sit up and watch the screen 'stead of the action goin' on in the car next door.

One of those mainland European spy knockoffs, YPOTRON stars Luis Davila as secret agent Lemmy Logan who, after being shot up by a hidden machine gun (turns out he was testing a new bulletproof vest) is on the hunt for a missing scientist who had been kidnapped (he has a special affinity for the guy because the man saved Logan from some Nazi human testing during the Big One). Along the way Logan meets up with not only the scientist's daughter (played by the rather restrained Gaia Germani) but a whole load of especially badski types and more plot twists and added hoohahs that most of these films could stand. Of course it's fun alla way what with the action scenes and the general chaos that takes you into a climax that you never woulda guessed in a millyun years!

Not bad at all, and in fact so good because of the low budget and lack of Big Studio Pretension that's ruined many a film these past few decades. Davila's the right kinda "cool" while his sidekick is slow but not stoopid. The leading gals might not be anything to throbaroonie over but you get the feeling that they wash more than most libber types do these days, and the evil ones play it so violent amoral like that you (at times) kinda wish they'd get away with it! And of course I thought it was a good way to spend ninety minutes considering I coulda spent the same amt. of time reading old NANCY books but hey, I gotta do something outta the ordinary sometimes! 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Don't worry, I hear Charlie Sheen's signed up for the next one!

"You'll be der hit of der bund midt dis luger, you
little schnitzel you!"
Since I already vented my hatred 'n anger for many an aspect of the Holiday Season here, I thought that maybe these cute li'l illustrations would kinda relay to you just what kinda Ecchs-mas spirit I'm going through as I type these very words. The A. Wyatt Mann/Nick Bougas cartoon on the left's an oldie but still goodie...funny thing, but this guy's probably the only humorist as of late (and "of late" for me can span upwards of ninety years!) who can get me rolling on the floors with his way over-the-top work which really says something (something that perhaps doesn't exactly place me in a favorable light, but then again has anything ever???). But man, I'm still laughing over his nude Andrea Dworkin originally printed in ANSWER ME and if you haven't erupted in hefty har-har's over that then mister, you don't know what funny IS!!! And of course there's the snap of ol' Adolf (or "Addie" as Don Fellman affectionately refers to him) handing out presents to der jungen just like some good natured old uncle we all used to know and love. Sheesh, who amongst us woulda ever thought that this oft-reviled guy could be so warm 'n generous anyway??? Kinda makes ya wanna re-think the past hunnerd or so years of history seein' him actin' so nice 'n friendly, y'know? Maybe it all just was just a sad conflict of nervous systems and der Fuehrer actually was just a misunderstood fellow like all of us who just got a little bit rambunctious... (And anyway, next to some of the shenanigans that Winston Churchill and FDR were pullin' it ain't like anybody should be out there casting aspersions especially in these nice 'n cozy-wozy times!)
"C'mon Jesse, how big iss it???"
Well, now that I got the golly gee goodwill crap outta the way here's this week's bevy of bountiful beauties for you to osmose through my own superior rockist genes (or something like that!).

Rocket From The Tombs-BLACK RECORD CD-r burn (originally on Fire Records)

I told myself not to buy the thing because I'd only be disappointed in seeing what had become of an uberlegend, and thankfully I didn't! Y'see, Paul McGarry burned a copy for me so I didn't have to dish out any of my filthy lucre, and I'm actually GLAD he did...y'see, BLACK RECORD is a good fact perhaps it's very good and even better'n BARFLY and the first ROCKET REDUX reunion effort that had Crocus Behemoth singing the entire platter through his nostrils, and although he does plenty of nose-singing here this one actually affected me in a positive way!

And I mean "affected" as in this coulda been a great mid-eighties reunion effort that woulda brightened up the dank atmosphere back then. It sure brightens things up here now, what with the total eruption post-Detroit heavy metal (see last week!) style and approach. The new material is grand in its own post-sixties garage band era of hits way, the cover of "Strychnine" not as hot as the Electric/Eclectic Eels but still savvy, and not only that but the new version of "Sonic Reducer" sure beats its original appearance on REDUX, a platter which in retrospect sounded like a quickie run through cash in onna brand name worth raking the bucks in on. Here "Sonic"'s got a deep hard groove and might as well have been a 1974 Stooges showstopper the way it roars all over your average Doobie Brothers fan like one of Don Martin's out of control steamrollers.

Craig Bell's "Read It And Weep"'s got the late-sixties punk approach all tied up as well. Somehow I keep thinking Aerosmith for some reason, but if that act could only sound this together. Way better'n expected and for that I'm glad...all that's needed at this point in corralling Charlie Wiener into the fold and resurrecting some of those comedy routines that have unfortunately been lost to time. And if you'll do this for us Crocus there's one thing I will do, and that's PROMISE TO LAUGH!

Sheesh, I'm sure glad I held out for this special edition of ONE OF THE BESTEST ALBUMS TO HAVE EVER MADE ITS WAY OUTTA THE MID-SEVENTIES 'stead of just picked up the standard old reissue way back when! Of course I'm STOOPID because I didn't wait for the SUPER DUPER DELUXE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY EDITION that's undoubtedly gonna make its way to our mailboxes ten years from now complete with even more funtime archival digs 'n reminiscences! But man-oh-Manitoba does this album really perk up the lobes even this far down the line what with the mighty thud rock (more reminiscent of the late-sixties punkstravaganza than the metallic pop of the day) coupled with some of the funniest lyrics ever laid down to vinyl.

Like alla our faves THE DICTATORS GO GIRL CRAZY captures the mid-Amerigan suburban slob credo better'n the glam competition of the day ever did (unless you were one of those kids who used to sneak into sis's room and try on her nylons), and besides all of those ADDED BONUS TRACKS really make this more'n just the 99-cent bin picker upper that made your day back 1979 way. If your soul and spirit leans more towards classic UHF tee-vee,"cheap plastic junk" passing for toys, toe fungus and cheeseburgers, man you know where your loyalties lie!
Teenage Jesus and the Jerks-LIVE 1977-1979 CD (Other People, England)

Yup it's another Teenage Jesus collection, and as far as I can tell this one is a pretty chock-fulla thing at least if you count whatever live tapes there are of these guys extant. Weasel Walter sez that there is more that just didn't make the cut, but unless ya wanna be a GLUTTON this will soothe you until the even newer version of this makes its way to our abodes in 2039 (and you know it will!---see Dics review directly above for a similar remark re. the constant re-packaging and fixing up of archival digs such as these). Classic live versions of our faves as well as a newie or two including an instrumental which actually has a rhumba beat you can dance to! And hey, if you were one who was in on the entire no wave game ever since it first bleated its way off the stages of Max's way back when well, that feeling ya got int yer chest is just a li'l tad o' personal satisfaction 'n pride! Nothing to be ashamed about, bwah!
BADABOUM LP (Bruit Direct Disques, France)

Freaky monster movie organ permeates this release which somehow has an odd (if not unexpected) tinge of European progressive rock to it. The better stuff mind you as in RIO or kraut, not the kind I mentioned in last week's Zenith Effluveum writeup. At times it sounds like Kleenex singing with King Crimson backing or something equally incongruous, but even an anti-prog type like I will admit that it made for a pretty hotcha listening experience that lacked the overwrought schmooze that could affect both early-eighties "post punk" acts as well as mid-seventies progressive music. Yet another outta nowhere surprise courtesy of Bruit Direct Disques.
David Peel and Death-KING OF PUNK LP (Hozac Records)

Leave it to the fine folk at Hozac to re-release this particular slab of craziness courtesy of none other than the Lower East Side showman himself David Peel. A cash-in on then-current trends to some, in actuality there ain't that much difference between the kinda blare that Peel had been doing for Elektra and Apple.  If you were one of the few who went really hog-wild for those well then, you'll be a nut not to pass this one up. Heavy cursing, local group name dropping (even the Shirts!?!?!?) and primitive chord churgling's what's in store, all done up with the same cheap electric guitar and closeout sale drums that graced  the guy's AMERICAN REVOLUTION platter. And if you hadda hide that one from the fambly well then mister, you better hide THIS one as well!
The Typhoons-JUST LIKE THE BEATLES CD-r burn (originally on International Records, Italy)

From the look and sound of it I thought this was gonna be yet another one of those quickie Beatlesploitation platters that was aimed at the supermarket record bins of Ameriga. How wrong I was, for this platter was actually a Beatlesploitation album aimed at the supermarket record bins of ITALY! It woulda made a big splash here as well, but at least after all these years we all can get to hear this album which sounds about as good/bad as those Pickwick/Design things that Lou Reed used to work on. A good encapsulation of the mid-sixties pop zeitgeist, at least from the vantage point of kids who could only afford the cheap knockoffs and hadda listen to the real thing onna radio only the parents didn't want 'em listening to the real thing or the cheap knockoff (Beethoven rules the roost!) so ya know they were getting screwed both ways!
The Nutty Squirrels-A HARD DAY'S NIGHT CD-r burn (originally on MGM)

And while we're talking about Beatle rip offs---it would have been an obvious move for the Nutty Squirrels to take the Alvin route and do their own Beatles album, and even I gotta admit that those rodents did a pretty good job of it even w/o the slicker technowhiz of Ross Bagsadarian and crew. The Squirrels do have a little trouble hitting those high notes which you think woulda been easy for these guys, but otherwise can you think up a better encapsulation of the boffo mid-sixties era which in many ways was the proverbial bridge between early-sixties suburban slob-oriented energetic fun and late-sixties hippie trips??? Not me, bub.
Various Artists-PROUD PHILLY NIGHTMARE WHISTLER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

The Christmas (and after Christmas sales) jingles do fit in with the holidays true, and Jimmy Elledge doing "Bo Diddley" sounds better'n Brooke Brown's lounge take on "Proud Mary" which maybe ain't sayin' much. The "Alfred & Dorothy" recording where youyouYOU get to act with Fernando Lamas predates Monty Python's "Be a Great Actor" skit by a good twennysome years, while the Professionals here ain't the post-Sex Pistols band but a pop act you'll probably loathe but that's your poor opinion (and Brand X ain't Phil Collins' sideshow either though the Supremes are the same group undoubtedly post-Diana!). Elvis at Lake Tahoe channels his early self on "Trying To Get To You" and the Eisenhower trib'll make more'n your arm salute! Of course I didn't even tell you about Norma Dragoo or the Tikis let alone the snattily-named Dick Hyman for that matter. BAD NEWS DEPARTMENT: while opening the package Bill sent this 'un in I accidentally scored the edge of this disque which is why it breaks and chops up during the second Supremes track. Oh well, guess now I'll NEVER get to hear "Journey Through a Thousand Meditations Part 9"!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


These Wheeler and Woolsey features seem to be gettin' better as time rolls on, for CRACKED NUTS has to be one of the funniest films I've seen at least since SOMETHING OF VALUE. True I hadda fast forward through the musical number which was about as entertaining as little Sally Sue's tap dancing recital, but the rest of the action is pretty good and keeps your spirits high.

Hokay, it ain't like I was really rolling on the floor laughing 'til it hurt, but like a lotta my fave sixties sitcoms it worked out well as sorta a pseudo drama with lighthearted gags thrown in and a plot that really ain't that bad, at least one that you could compare with THE HIDING PLACE.

Bert Wheeler plays a scatterbrained rich kid in love with perennial W/W leading lady Dorothy Lee who, when persuaded by his creepy butler (played by BORIS KARLOFF), heads out to a small Central Amerigan country in order to lead a revolution and thus become ruler. Little does he know but his old time pal Woolsey had just won the crown in a dice game which puts the chums somewhat at odds. In between, they get to rehash some great vaudeville routines and toss in a few somewhat smart gags into what coulda been yet another three AM snoozer on your favorite local tee-vee station.

Besides the appearance of Karloff at his wicked best, eternal dowager Edna Mae Oliver turns up as Lee's stodgy aunt while none other than the great Ben Turpin makes a cameo as the (what else but) cockeyed airplane pilot appointed to bomb Wheeler and Woolsey during the film's upsidaizy climax. Personally I found it all fine and even if you hate cornball (like I don't) you might be able to squeeze some fun outta it whilst settling back and eating snacks. You'd do yourself good to eyeball this long-forgotten frolic that conjures up more fun memories of growing up watching old mooms like this more thsn repeated viewings of THE WIZARD OF OZ ever could!

Saturday, December 12, 2015


As I've once said and will continue saying until my dying day (who am I kidding---I'm not goin' nowhere!), while other blogs give you their HIGH FIVE favorites of the day, BLOG TO COMM does 'em all ONE BETTER!!! Here are six things I thought I'd write about that may or may not have been piquing my interests as of late, with an item or three tossed in just to make this particular edition look oh-so eloquent and all.

LIFE WITH ARCHIE #10 (September, 1961)

This comic book might not be important to you, but it sure is to who-else-but ME if only because it holds a special purpose in my otherwise drab existence! 

Y'see, on the very same day that I discovered comic books as a fun way to spend less moolah in order to get hold of some quickie suburban slob thrills (via a garage sale my mother and a neighbor were having), this very same issue of an ARCHIE comic was up for grabs in a box of various goodies that the neighbor's kid had supposedly bought at an auction a short while earlier. Well, undoubtedly not the exact same copy that I had manhandled that day, but anyway I sure wanted it if only because of its 1961 date (even then I could see a lapse in fun ranch house comic book thrills settling in around the mid-sixties) but despite that longing and yearning for the things I didn't get it.

The reason? Y'see, the fifteen cent comics inna box were going for five cents and the twelve centers for ten since they were older, but because the original cover price on this particular ish was a cool dime the neighbor's kid didn't have a price handy for this 'un. Being the greedy sorta fellow that he was, the kid offered it to me for a whopping FORTY cents!

Naturally that costly sum was way too much for my mother to handle (as if I had forty cents to my name!) so I had to decline my neighbor's maybe not-so-generous offer. After that well, it wasn't exactly like I particularly cared what that particular comic book was all about because once I grew up there were more significant things to worry about it my life like school, success, and most of all TRYING TO GOOF OFF MORE AND GET AWAY WITH IT!!!! So this particular comic was pretty much forgotten even though back when I was a mere elevem I sure would have loved to have given the thing a read or three!

Well maybe I really DID want to know what that issue was about ever since that fateful day, because (now get this!) I finally got this particular LIFE WITH ARCHIE and you can bet that I hadda pay a whole lot more'n four dimes for the thing! Wazzit worth the wait? Not really since it ain't like I have the same throbby thrill pangs o' obsession o'er comic books the same way I did way back during my pubesprout days, but I wouldn't be lyin' t'ya if I said it was a pleasant enough read in itself.

You may remember the LIFE WITH ARCHIE title (which was keenly listed as being part of the "Archie Adventure Series") if only for their comedy/drama issue-length stories where the Archie Gang would either be marooned on a deserted island or battling a pair of spies who look suspiciously like Khrushchev and Castro. Later on Archie and gang would appear as superheroes or secret agents and at times the stories would even take dramatic turns such as when Mr. Lodge evicted Pop Tate/Tait (as he was known in the ARCHIE strip universe) from his Choklit Shoppe after Riverdale's richest man found him selling nude snaps of Veronica that Reggie took through the two-way mirror he put in the girl's locker room. These sagas were mainly standard Archie fare stretched out into an entire issue with some dramatic elements tossed in, and naturally this particular tale is no diff'n the rest.

In this 'un Riverdale High is celebrating, along with a good portion of the US of Whoa, the Civil War centenary complete with a battle reenactment in the football stadium. Of course amidst the standard down pat gags and typical comic cliches put to good use our hero Reggie (comicdom's version of Eddie Haskell) is out to spoil things because the only role he could get in the pageant was latrine duty. There really ain't much development in the dramatic storyline and frankly, if Reggie hadn't appeared anywhere in this issue this coulda been chopped up into a number of nice li'l vignettes which coulda been spread out to at least five times the pages this story takes up. But hey, I don't know the comic book game like the pros who did this 'un up did so I guess that whoever wrote it decided to compact alla his ideas into one nice ball and, as usual, swiped from it all in the distant future when the girls reading this stuff had graduated to 16 and no one would be the wiser.

But hey it was a good issue after all, one that did dredge up those FUNZY comic book reading memories that I sure hold near 'n dear to my heart'n all! But mother, I really would have enjoyed this 'un a lot more had I read it on that overcast spring 1971 day! You shoulda coughed up the forty cents, and I really do mean it!
FRIED PORK RINDS (food, and you better believe it!)

Yeah I'm still on my diet which is taking more energy and zap outta me than it is blubber, but sometimes I allow myself to splurge. And one thing I really splurged on last week was pork rinds! I remember my father introducing these to me when I was but a mere six or so when he brought home a bag of 'em, and I really liked the stuff in my own snack food sorta way even if for the life of me I had no idea what they were made from. I even thought it was cool that the bag of rinds came with a little packet of Louisiana-styled hot sauce which I aptly squirted onto said rinds and thusly munched away. My love of these rinds soon ended when my cyst-er or someone along those lines told me that pork rinds were nothing but FAT that was fried and puffed up and if I were to continue eating them I'd get even porkier than I was, and being a puffed up single-digiter I must admit that I was scared back into the arms of healthier between-meal-snacks like Fritos (these being the pre-Doritos days) and home made popcorn with tons of greasy butter melted on it.

Later on when I discovered that Pork Rinds were not fat but actual pig flesh fried up to a crackly puff I got back into this definitely non-kosher treat. Of course they were fattening so it wasn't like I was gobbling them down on a daily basis, but once in a while I do get the craving for them and, thanks to a nearby Dollar General Store (where they sell 'em with the rest of the meat snack treats like Slim Jims and Beef Jerky) I got a few bags to down for lunch. And man were they good, sorta reminding me of cheese puffs only with a meat taste to 'em, and I'd be lying to you if I said they weren't better'n most of the pork I have been eating for quite awhile if I do say so myself.

Regular is OK even if there is a strange demi-putrid smell that comes from the bag when you pop it open which I don't wanna know the origin of. Barbequed is better because the flavoring hides the strange smell. No packet of hot sauce alas, and while I'm at it let me tell you that you must avoid the microwave hot rind packets that are similar to microwave popcorn because the rinds don't always pop up and you're left with a bag of tough and impossible to chew or digest pieces of skin left. Save those for Fido and salvage what you can if you do decide to go the modern-day pork rind route.

I definitely linked this up before. You probably ignored it. Anyway, here is some early Rocket From the Tombs publicity which will answer all of your questions about how the group moved from a comedy act to a Detroit juggernaut in maybe one not-so-felt swoop. Again (for rock categorization collectors) it's interesting to see just how the term "heavy metal" was transmogrifying into something that was pretty different from its original intent as the decade cranked on. It's also interesting to see how Rocket themselves were transmogrifying what with Crocus' not-so-stated attempts for the group to be less comic and more serious (even though the skits and props were still in force) which obviously irked the rest of the original members (as well as recently recruited third lead guitarist Chris Cuda) who were splitsville soon after this particular article hit the college dorms of the day.

When I was a young 'un I was really really swept away by the mere concept of the station wagon. They seemed like not just an automobile but a truck as well with lots of room in the back to pile into when it came time for alla the kids to get some ice cream at the local plaster whippy cone hangout. For some reason I was especially enamored by those station wagons that had different tail light/fender configurations than their sedan variations. Cars like the '58/'59 Edsel and '60/'63 Mercury Comet (not forgetting the '63/'66 Studebaker Lark Wagonaire or the Saab) really turned me on because of this, especially the Comet because the rear fenders were none other than exact copies of the original Ford Falcon which added a certain suaveness to the car's already stylish early-sixties look. I dunno why I was really turned on by these station wagon variations but I think it was a veiled sexual thing only a preschooler could men were sedans and women were station wagons. Only big difference is...women have different headlights than men!

I was also enamored by the Citroen DS-19, a vehicle which had a particularly unique style and was popular enough over there in Frogland that the basic body design was made well into the early-seventies with a few maybe not-so-subtle changes. The DS-19 was stylish and sleek, and although it never made much of a splash over here in Ameriga (however it was prominently featured as a "clue" in an early episode of PERRY MASON) the rest of the world was certainly in awe over its sleek aerodynamic originality. I didn't know it until later, but there was a station wagon (or "break") version of the DS-19 (called the ID-19) as well and guess what, it had different tail lights and rear fenders too! Naturally when I discovered this fun fact I just hadda have a toy version of it to play with, and not only did I get one but I got a buncha 'em which really pleased my pre-adolescent mind a whole lot more'n you'll ever know!

Considering the popularity of the vehicle perhaps it is time that somebody compared the various 1:43 scale models variations if only so that you can judge which version to buy when shopping for a toy you can play with when nobody's looking! This ain't exactly a consumer guide and it certainly ain't complete, but it'll hep you to what is out there (which I have been able to peruse myself) that you might wanna have around when you take your bath and wanna pretend that the side of the tub is a roadway like I'm sure all you red-blooded fanablas did back then (a practice encouraged by parents too because well, with boats in the tub and cars alongside the imaginary lake it wasn't like a lad was thinking of anything else to play with ifyaknowaddamean...)

CORGI TOYS-This is the one that introduced me to the "break" back when I was but a mere one-digiter, and boy did I think this particular model was the swellest thing available in a line that was slowly dropping their early-sixties fave raves replacing them with newer models that just didn't bop my top. True Corgi's models just weren't as nice looking as main competitor Dinky's, but they had li'l gadgets and other innovations (plastic windows, opening doors and hoods/bonnets and trunks/boots as they say here/over there) that predated their main competition. And besides, Corgi Toys were a whole lot more easier to find around here considering how they had the entire 1:43 scale toy car market sewn up in just about every store I set foot in. And with the Citroen wagon (introduced in the boffo year of 1963) Corgi really went all out to create a toy that really seemed state of the art in a business where the more unique the model with all of the moving parts the better.

Coming with a rack on the roof that fit anything from luggage to skis depending on which variation you bought, the Corgi ID-19 also had a tailgate that not only lifted up but folded down on the bottom just like the real thing! However, the real knockout gimmick with this particular one is the fold-down rear seats which could be operated by a dial found on the toy's chassis! For a kid like myself who really went crazy over seemingly little things like this you can bet I was mindblown by the mere fact that this had not only a double duty tailgate but a fold down for more cargo back seat. And of course I also went nuts over the "different taillights" to be found, in fact lining the Corgi break up against my Corgi Citroen sedan comparing the posteriors of each with a certain sense of pleasure! It wasn't until years later that I would do something similar with...well let's not get into THAT!!!

DINKY TOYS-These guys were the best in 1/43 even if Corgi were more innovative. Whoever designed their models was a way better craftsman (more detailed and true to the original) than Corgi and not only that but Dinky wasn't afraid to tackle relatively obscure models as well as vehicles from such outta-the-loop places such as Holland (DAF) or Australia (Holden). And given the chance Dinky could be as innovative as Corgi...the "Ed Straker's Car" from the Gerry Anderson live action series UFO remains a classic what with the self-propelled self-winding gears that propelled the car for yards after you backed it up for only a few inches!

Dinky's version of the ID-19 sure looks sleeker than the Corgi variation, though it lacks the folding back seat and the two-piece tailgate is made of plastic so be sure to keep this 'un outta the reach of your four-year-old brother! Top rack doesn't hold any skis or luggage like the competition's, but then again there ain't more things to lose in the junk heap passing for your bedroom. And the interior looks really snat right down to the one-prong steering wheel which must have been a real stylistic coup back in the way suave fifties!

Atlas International (A Mattel company) has reissued this one along with many of the old French Dinky models in case you're looking for something to vroom around the house. Might be worth a purchase if that suburban slob kid inside of you is wanting to do a li'l busting out.

QUIRALU-This French company started out making toy soldiers but in the fifties moved on to slightly-larger at times and rather clunky looking diecast cars. They do have their charm and were in fact the only toymaker that I know of who produced a scale model version of French VELAM Isetta, and Quiralu's take on  the ID-19 is no exception. No innards and no moving parts to speak of, but the design is true to form and decent looking enough in its own long-gone Europe of past way. The entire Quiralu line was reproduced in the nineties and I've been seeing many of these knockoffs (including the ID-19) available rather cheap-like, so if you wanna buy yourself one for your next bath or line up the cars in front of the tee-vee and pretend its a drive in moom pitcher (like I used to do and strangely enough would still like to do w/o looking like a total 'tard!) better hurry before they're all gone!

NOREV-Looks great, has opening side doors, comes in a plastic showcase all its own, and is fragile as all heck! For the serious Citroen ID-19 break fan, though definitely not recommended for bathtime fun. Comes in variations including a hearse which, come to think of it, would be a boffo way for one to go out in style.

Haven't seen the Burago, RIO or any other version that might be floating around. Of course any additions to this list would be most gratifying.

(And one final note on the subject---the only time in my life I can recall seeing an ID-19 was on the Gordon Ward interchange in West Middlesex PA around 1970 or so. The car had broken down and two fellers had the hood up tryin' to figure out what to do next!)

Now that I have satellite tee-vee inna abode all of the shows that I want to watch have either gone into cold storage or are now cluttering up those small sub-stations which naturally none of the local outlets want to air around here (Youngstown tee-vee has always had an aversion to running the classic old programs I wanted to see, and my dad was too CHEAP to put up a high enough antenna [because of wind storms blowin' 'em down alla time] to drag in the Cleveland and Pittsburgh UHF stations that were airing such needed wares meaning I sure missed out on a lot during my growing up years!) At least Jewish Living (or is it Life???) Television has the smarts to run things like THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM Thursday nights which really does a fellow like me proud knowing that I can go to bed after being ENTERTAINED during prime time the same way I used to be back when I was a mere turdler! MOLLY GOLDBERG ain't that hot unless they're 'casting one of the mid-fifties syndicated episodes which were better'n the rather boxy Dumont series, and for some odd reason SOUPY SALES is now MIA which is bad even if nobody at JLTV had the smart idea to try and get episodes from his old ABC series to intermingle with the WNEW and late-seventies variations. BEST OF GROUCHO seems gone as well although I've had enough of it in previous syndication runs while DINAH SHORE...well, you can see the USA in your Chevrolet if you like but I'll pass. Keep a close eye and maybe you'll be surprised at what you'll find here, like the time they outta the blue (wasn't on the schedule) aired an episode of the classic 1959-1962 detective series CHECKMATE that not only starred Benny in a quasi-humorous role but featured none other than Ginger herself Tina Louise (quality of this one was lacking, but being the kinda guy who used to watch distant stations during tornado warnings I didn't mind at all!).

DOWN AND OUT IN THE BOWERY (article by Steve Lake printed in MELODY MAKER, August 16, 1975)

When Hilly Kristel decided to put on a summer rockfest at CBGB back '75 way he couldn't have thought up a brighter idea for promulgating the cause of under-the-counterculture rockism. Not only did the fest expose a whole number of up-'n-comers to the world (as well as a few go-nowheres, some of who maybe shoulda stayed nowhere), but it actually drew in reporters from many of the major rock news outlets not only here in Ameriga but overseas thus helping to build stock in the likes of the Ramones and others who would help germinate various punkist seeds worldwide. Heck, even ROLLING STONE devoted some space to this definitely summer of '75 highlight complete with a snap of none other'n  David Byrne himself, but ya gotta remember that back then the transition from try'n to be hip youth journalism to downright hackdom was slow but sure...

Heck, you know that the CBGB fest was making enough waves inna music press if a paper like England's MELODY MAKER  would actually devote two whole pages to it. True the article was written by their En Why See correspondent Steve Lake (not exactly the brightest bulb in the English Weekly sweepstakes), but it was a good enough especially when you consider how MELODY MAKER under the auspices of Chris Welch was pouring all of their hopes and dreams into the progressive rock of the day and had an editorial policy of shunning anything that seemed raw and alive. I guess they decided that the likes of Yes were more compatible with their tastes than Lou Reed, but for a paper that was devoting a whole slew of space to letters criticizing Patti Smith as a no-talent warbler and Nick Lowe for releasing "Breaking Glass" at the time of the queen's silver jubilee two pages on a New York punk fest was pretty impressive!

And despite the forewarning re. just how iffy this piece would be (via FROM THE VELVETS TO THE VOIDOIDS if you can believe that!) Lake's article wasn't as vacuous as one would imagine. There actually is some thoughtful/insightful input being delivered to an audience that was probably more concerned with Rick Wakemen's shimmering gown than any Velvet Underground aesthetics, and you gotta say that Lake really had an understanding of this branch of rockism that the higher ups at MM certainly lacked. Some rather interesting observations courtesy Lake do pop up, such as his description of the original pre-art project Talking Heads as "a mix of musique concrete and the Troggs" (actually, this was a quote tossed at him!) so you can't say that he wasn't trying! Another quip, such as his agreement with the Shirts' Artie Lamonica that the entire NYC scene was gonna be doomed to extinction because if the Dolls couldn't make it how could any of the bands here may have seems probable in 1975, but practically impossible even a good year or so later when a whole buncha these acts were getting signed up and heading directly for the bargain bins which is where """""I""""" snatched 'em up (depression wages again)!

Since I know more about the familiar faces that were popping up on the scene at the time and had read about 'em ever since these articles first started popping up I naturally gravitated towards the parts telling us about those quick flashes at CBGB, some of whose only gigs might have been the summer fest before the inevitable break up occurred in the back alley. Stagger Lee, not surprisingly considering the tone of their own moniker, were described as "blue eyed soul" so I think I'll pass, while the Movies ("almost in the tradition of the old New York jug bands", a stunning 180 from the over-synthed yet at scant times pleasing AM-styled pop album they eventually recorded for Arista) and even future Necessaries/Love of Life Orchestra member Randy Gunn's guitar/drums duo Ice get passing mention. However, a load of space is devoted to the equally "who were they?" Second Wind whose leader was, now get this, in Sha Na Na for a short spell in 1970! From what I could tell from Lake's rather anxious description they too were just another batch of folk/soul/old tyme rock aggregate who were at odds with the more punkier aspects of the quest but hey, historical tidbits like this really do help fill out the overall snapshot of an era that, at this point in time, seems about as distant as the signing of the Magna Carta.

In some ways you can say that MM's inability to understand or comprehend anything outside the snootier realm of the rock sphere did work what with all of the in-depth coverage of an act that from what I can tell didn't even record or perhaps perform after this CBGB appearance. At least we got some more important background information on what was happening in NYC at the time which was good enough for me. And considering how Lake reportedly did tend to veer towards the more obscure acts via his weekly New York Scene column (such as with his piece on future Rattler Dave U. Hall's Zymosis, the first group ever to be dubbed "punk jazz") I get the feeling that his other submissions to the paper might be just chock-fulla the kinda obscure and needed information that I could most certainly use in my otherwise drab life. Any photostats out there available and for minimal cost?

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

MAGAZINE REVIEW! LURID LITTLE NIGHTMARE MAKERS #5 (Boardman Books,  8062 Jills Creek Drive, Bartlett TN 38133)

If I hadda say anything bad about the reams of Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Comic Book fanzines that clutter up my collection it would be that almost all of 'em have this whatcha'd call snobby hipster attitude permeating every (original made-for-fanzine) comic, editorial, article and letter column to be found therein. And really,that can be too tough to take at times especially if you have either an aversion to pretentious writing or a weak stomach.

You even notice this seeping self-reaffirmation of personal bopness in the fifties fanzines which exuded that cool cat feeling that came off vibrating hip hosannas to the fact that all who were involved were just so much better'n the rest of us with their whole concept of beret-wearing suave copped from MAD 'n PLAYBOY mixed in with their Miles Davis record collections. Of course it was all mirror gaze but hey, it was the fifties and one of the coolest times to be alive in Ameriga unless you were a creep so maybe I can take all of that blab printed about Scientology that got hyped up in these pages with a li'l grain o' salt.

By the sixties it sure got worse if only because the budding "Social Justice Warrior" types had by then pretty much captured the spirit of SF/comic fandom and in the process cranked out some of the worst bleedheart dramas to see a printed page. Really bad stuff too...preachier 'n a SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES tale covering everything from racial unrest to the environment in sagas that, while showing the influence of EC and MAD to Wil Eisner, lacked none of the spirit and wonder that the originals exuded. No wonder Fredric Wertham, the sworn enemy of fifties comic book kiddies turned sixties uberleft patron of all that was hippie, eventually became a friend and supporter of the comic book praising the reams of nauseating peace 'n love dramas that began appearing in those late-sixties fanzines that Wertham thought were the best!

And man were these 'zines lockstep in their terminal hipness! Sure the editors had their fans pegged (as opposed to "pegged their fans" which is a rock fandom practice as of late) and shared the same comic book (and other) values that went along with the whole relevant bell bottom 'n bangs on the boys crowd, but maybe like for ONCE I'd like to open up a sixties vintage fanzine and find an article in FAVOR of the Comics Code Authority or the Kefauver Crime Commission look into comic books. Not that I have any real love for the CCA, but it sure would be a refreshing change from reading the same story we've heard and heard repeatedly for the past sixty years to the point where we all just can't STAND the sanctimony that can just come dripping off some of these pages!

(By the way, did I ever tell you that when I was but a mere adolescent I at first thought that the Comics Code Authority was an organization that pre-read comics before publication only to see if they were fun and action-packed enough for us kids to enjoy? Really, I used to imagine a bunch of people sitting around at a table making sure that the jokes to be found therein were funny, the artwork good, and for the serious ones the good guys had unique super powers and the bad boys strange 'n fun gadgets to use as well! As soon as they passed inspection the CCA stamp was affixed on the cover and it was all set to go for an awaiting public of young 'n eager comic book kiddies like ourselves. That's probably why I bought DC, Marvel and Archie and steered clear of Gold stamp on them!)

I have mentioned in earlier posts that comic fanzines, even in this anti-paper digital age, are still up and about and various pubs like IT'S A FANZINE can be found on-line with relative ease. LURID LITTLE NIGHTMARE MAKERS is one of the newer titles to hit the fandom circuit, and for a mag that claims to be a fanzine it's miles ahead of the old mimeo cruds that were oozing outta the basements of suburban slob Ameriga back in the early-sixties. More or less a soft-covered book totaling 124 pages, LURID LITTLE NIGHTMARE MAKERS does bear a bar code on its reverse which leads me to believe that this effort is a li'l more'n just another crankout inna rec room affair, but the spirit and attitude of the sixties/seventies fanzines is still present along with a bunch of not only original artwork but some pertinent reprints that really does send me back. Back to what I don't exactly know but wherever it was I sure with I had been there!

True the hip snobbery does live can be easily detected in the article on CCA honcho Charles Murphy that does give a li'l insight into the already milked-to-death saga of Wertham and Co., but like I said you know who the audience is here! (Though really, was it necessary to republish the entire original Code which we've read in other books and mags for ages?) The Murphy piece is a proverbial doozy, but I prefer the interview with the long-gone Al Feldstein of MAD fame tellin' us not only about his travels/travails with EC but the falling out he had with longtime boss 'n I thought friend Bill Gaines! The animosity that eventually developed between them is one reason why you never did get to read Feldstein's autobio which was rarin' to go for ages (Gaines' family wouldn't let Feldstein reprint any of his EC artwork unless the unflattering portions regarding the silver haired one were removed. And of course...NO SOAP!)

The article on EC cover swipes (of which LLNM sports a good 'un, in fact using the splash panel from the very first horror comic the company printed!) is fair enough I guess, though I am thankful that all of the spoofs and homages done o'er the past thirtysome years weren't used if only for the sake of brevity and taste. The old mimeo-era fanzine reprints were also soothing to my olde-tymey home-produced comic fanzine lovin' soul, but what really made me sit up 'n take notice were the vintage comic book sagas unseen by me and perhaps even you. The old horror comics weren't as bad as some of the churnouts that many publishers both big 'n little had released in the early-fifties, but what got me especially jazzed were the MOON GIRL stories representing EC's only attempt at a superheroine, let alone superhero. A fairly good swipe of  DC's not-so-popular at the time WONDER WOMAN (and drawn by early DC whiz Sheldon Moldoff), MOON GIRL didn't have the same pounce as the Golden Age heroes and seemed a bit out of place in the late-forties post-superhero era, but the stories were entertaining in their comparatively quaint way. Not only that, but the artwork's hardly as terrible as ALL IN COLOR FOR A DIME made it out to be and stands up against not only then-current DC, but EC standards. Funnily enough, one of the lady's stories deals with "Metropole City"'s "Old Countries" section where people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds have been living together for years without hassling and berating each other UNTIL Moon Girl's arch enemy Satana has her way! It's a great story an' all but ethnic 'n racial harmony---what kinda fantasy is that???

Pretty good 'un here even with the editorial slant which maybe ain't as slanty as many seventies rags coulda gotten so be THANKFUL. Worth an effort to find even if the EC fanzine market has become what...oversaturated these past fiftysome years because it's bangs for the buck time and just try getting hold of old issues of Bhob Stewart's POTRZEBIE without having to dish out a good portion of your welfare check!

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Well, I know that some of ya wanted to see a recent photo of myself so like man...HERE IT IS! Yeah, the receding hairline doesn't do me justice and I must admit that I photograph fatter'n I really am and maybe I shoulda put a smile on my face, but be glad to know that the photographer had an age-spot screen on his camera and I did manage to pop out all of those icky blackheads that gather on my nose...well, all except that big honker on my right nostril. And rilly, that strand of drool hanging from my lip? I kinda look like I'm in the tenth hour of a starvation diet dreaming of the three-course meal everyone else is eating in the other room! Mebbee I should use this as my profile pic 'stead of the Creative Construction Company cover painting that's adorned this blog for almost a good decade or so! As usual, your votes won't matter.

Here's wishing you a happy Pearl Harbor Day. Go out and get bombed!
Tryin' to get in gear for the Christmas season now that we're only like three weeks away from the Big Day. Most if not all of the presents will be mailed out to various friends and fambly in about a week or so, and those who are receiving their goodies via the internet have (undoubtedly) mistakenly sent their special goodies to spam. Be careful guys, that ain't no million dollar viagra account from a Ugandan bank I'm sendin' ya! As for me, I've been passing time (and gas---hey my bedroom didn't get fart encrusted because of my pet Enchilada!) by reading old books including Charles Shaar Murray's SHOTS FROM THE HIP which believe-it-or-naught was the first book I ever writ up on this blog (holds up though the Jerking Working Class Socialist opines overcome the clear writing much if not most of the time) as well as a slew of old ARCHIE digests that my cyster picked up for me at some junk shop that are good for the older reprints only (the new stuff's strictly for prepube gals to read at slumber parties---when they're not using vibrators that is). And of course I'm digesting a whole batch of new books and mags that you'll be reading about on BLOG TO COMM as the weeks progress, so don't touch that knob, slob...keep tuned to BLOG TO COMM same fanabla-time, same fanabla-station!

Sven-Ake Johansson-KONZERT FUR 12 TRAKTOREN picture-disc LP (Trost, Austria)

I guess if someone could write a concerto for a choir of gas-laden bowels one could be written for a dozen tractors. And that's just what longtime Swedish free jazz maverick Johansson did on this recording which featured him conducting a slew of those popular farm machines with the big wheels on the back as if they were tubas or perky children singing "Kumbaya". The resultant roar does conjure up images of what John Cage might've cooked up had he took a job pitchin' hay to make ends meet what with engines roaring and idling making for some of the best music heard since my last trip to the ironworks. Side two's a mesmerizing drone similar to the "blank" side of Ayler's BELLS so you know where Johansson's personal tastes in music lie. The lost episode of GREEN ACRES nobody wants to remember? Well, I can imagine Mr. Drucker conducting all of the tractors in Hooterville during some country concert while Mr. Douglas grimaces on in disbelief.
Mirage-OUT OF LUCK, OUT OF MONEY CD-r burn (originally on Stallion Records)

Many of these locally-produced seventies albums that I've heard over the years are nothing but eighties flea market fodder, and OUT OF LUCK, OUT OF MONEY is no exception. But that doesn't mean that there still ain't a lick of goodness and hard-to-find entertainment value lurking within. Yes, between the riffs stolen/approximated from everyone from the Jefferson Starship to the Steve Miller Band there's a halfway-there album lurking about, though frankly it ain't anything that I'd particularly like to cuddle up to on these chilly evenings we've been experiencing as of late. Back to the bars guys and who knows, maybe they'll let you perform at least one cut from this 'un in between the top forty covers.

Live AM radio broadcasts from Birdland ca. early-sixties don't really do justice to the Mingus legacy, but I find these recordings of boffo bootleg-level performances better'n well...nothing. Moving at times, feh at others but still a good enough encapsulation of the whole Mingus mystique and legend that really coulda gone off the deep end at times. If you're partial to the Atlantic albums that Mingus was cranking out at the time (and kinda shuddered at some of those recordings he did was doing right around the end) this might be a good 'un to pick least after hearing all of the crucial ones. BTW, didja know that (according to their website) Mingus attended the release party that was held for the Hampton Grease Band's MUSIC TO EAT double-duty album, even though it was only for the free food?
Zenith Effluveum-ALMOST MADE IT IN THE USA CD-r burn (originally of Separate Records)

A whole lotta the progressive rock that I've heard o'er the past fortysome years might have sounded pretty boffo, innovative and just as good as Mantovani had at first, but after awhile a good portion certainly had me thinkin' BOY WAS I DUPED! Of course there were exceptions to the rule like the German "expressionist" groups, Roxy Music, Savage Rose etc. but then again those acts coulda easily been categorized into the same niche where such stellar musical mavericks as the Velvet Underground and even the Stooges reside. Rochester's Zenith Effluveum fall into the latter category with this 1978 platter sounding closer to the freakier side of the import bin (Canterbury and kraut via French RIO with a few sidesteps into Roxy and King Crimson) along with old standbys like Cap'n Beefheart hanging by handily enough. The results aren't quite staggering but will perk your earlobes more'n Sam's because this sure ain't the kind of prog rock that soothed your willing AOR fan into a somber slumber with visions of dragonslayers and cleavage-laden maidens in danger the way Yes sure did! Features 2/3rds of Distorted Levels and no, contrary to rumor Greg Prevost was not a member of the group!
The Ventures-IN SPACE CD-r burn (originally on Dolton)

It probably will seem surprising to you but I've actually enjoyed the variety of Ventures albums I've picked up at flea markets over the past few decades, and this particular item is, as the old cliche goes, no different. Sure this early-'64 entry can tend to get prune juice on you with its inability to match up with the original hit versions, but as far as cheap-o imitations go these really can't be beat as far as your budget-level fun and games suburban slob ranch house living goes.

OK the TWILIGHT ZONE theme sounds nothing like the original (other'n having the same "Out of Limits" opening guitar line, only played correctly) and their version of "Penetration" lacks the backbone that made the hit so potent, but at least we do get a version of fellow labelmates the Frantics' "Werewolf" and some rather driving guitar-based instrumentals complete with a haunting keyboard that sounds similar to all of those chord organs that were cluttering up the bottoms of Christmas Trees from about 1962 until at least the end of the decade.

Re-live your Christmas childhood pasts with OUT OF LIMITS and scour the flea markets/antique shops for a cheap console, aluminum Christmas tree, all the toys you wanted then but didn't get and don't forget the colon ashes for brother Michelangelo! It's sixties X-mas all over, and if you have kids boy will they THANK you for bring back that REAL spirit of the holidays that's been so long gone that even YOU probably can't even remember when it was thee main event o' the year!
Various Artists-THE MEN WITH THE DEADLY DREAMS CD-r burn (originally on White Stains Tapes, England)

Like many a folk who thought small is beautiful, I was a big fan of the cassette player for many a year. When the underground hubbubbers decided that cassette-only album and releases were the hotcha thing 'round 1981 way I felt that mankind had advanced a step or three! Instead of going through the process of recording their own album and dishing out big bux to have it pressed, groups could now record an album on a cassette recorder in their garage, make dubs, and thus have an album on tape available for the ten friends who wanted it and at minimal charge t'boot!

Of course there were tons of quickie nobodies releasing their nothing wares on tape, but then again there were tons of vital recordings (the English anarcho-punks were good at this) that put out a slew of rare and vital mutterings on a variety of releases that represent the entire genre more than some of their vinyl releases had.

This particular release features the more out-there of early-eighties atonal screech done up by the same artists who were spinning Stockhausen and AMM when they shoulda been listening to King Crimson but don't you dare tell them that! Most of it is whatcha'd call post-Cabaret Voltaire, but there are some interesting tape splices and experiments to contend with. Self-indulgent at times but so what, THE MEN WITH THE DEADLY DREAMS ain't no cheap flash. It can get pretty nerve-wracking if you're not accustomed to this brand of soundswill, but if you can and have been latching onto the artists involved (everyone from Eyeless in Gaza and Rema Rema to Cabaret Voltaire's own Richard H. Kirk) ever since them BIG DAYS you might just wanna search for an available and free download.
HERE COME THE HARDY BOYS CD-r burn (originally on RCA)

Considering that I had been conscripted for home 'n garden duties on Saturday mornings by this time in my life I can't say that I was that familiar with the ABC-TV animated Hardy Boys series. And frankly I wasn't familiar with the two albums that were released during the series' run as well, so giving a listen to this particular release was just as good as if I were to prowl through the budget records that you used to find at RADIO SHACK in 1976 and played all of the early-seventies pop refuse on one of their cheezy stereo systems right inna store. Bubblegum rock was starting to lose its flavor and stretchability once the flashoid sixties began clocking their way into the socially aware seventies, and this particular platter with its slick production and puppy love lyrics just wasn't gonna cut it with a good portion of the female audience it was aimed at! Sheesh, could you have seen your cyster spinning this one on her portable player in her bedroom as her girlfriends and she talked about the bulges seen during the boys' gym class? Me neither!
Henry Jacobs-THE WIDE WEIRD WORLD OF SHORTY PETTERSTEIN CD-r burn (originally on World Pacific)

It's too hipster bop for me, but if yer the kinda guy who goes hog wild for fifties shoo-bee-doo-bop humor the way them San Fran beach types dug it you might groove-y doove to it more'n I ever could. Pacifica Radio personality Jacobs plays studio on these late-fifties skits that seem to predate a whole load of future comedy platters both good and bad doin' that beatno thing, and if you like obscure skits (chock fulla studio phasing) that sound like Monty Python twisted through old Jack Kerouac scratchies BINGO!!! However its on the side of fifties satire that doesn't gag me the way Kurtzman or Kovacs could, so just see me givin' this 'un another spin! For espresso schleps only.
Cherokee Mist-ANTHEM OF THE MOON CD-r burn (originally on Euphoria)

Given the group's name and album title I thought this was some late-sixties self-produced hippie platter done up by a buncha Marin County holdups cloistered in their log cabin somewhere. ANTHEM OF THE MOON, surprisingly enough, was recorded in the late-nineties, though I must admit that the sound and vibe of this is firmly entrenched in the hard and heavy late-sixties which should satisfy the more lysergic amongst us.

Side one ain't that hotcha and in fact is kinda like a rambling jam that starts cooking in spots yet doesn't reach the expected heights leaving you kinda hungerin' for more. The flip fares somewhere better beginning with a Hawkwind riff that soon turns into yet another hard 'n heavy post-Hendrix workout that really ain't that bad. Then again it ain't as hard-hitting as similar offerings that were going on in the English underground (Deviants, Pink Fairies, the aforementioned Hawkwind...) but if you can download it on-line like Bill did you might just have a handy copy ready for your next Coke and aspirin trip.
Pezband-THIRTY SECONDS OVER SCHAUMBURG CD-r burn (originally on PVC Records)

Yuh, Pezband never did become the late-seventies answer to the Raspberries like Greg Shaw thought they shoulda, but they really did give it a good go even if PVC records didn't quite have the same push power as Capitol. On this '78 live slice which packs all of the power of a hot FM broadcast most stations woulda been afraid to air, Pezband sound a whole lot harder'n sweater'n I remembered these guys to have been on their studio efforts. Nothing wimpoid here brudda...quite energetic in a late-seventies Cle pop vein a la the Andy Gerome Band and other acts that unfortunately fell into the abyss of a late-seventies world that couldn't see beyond their SGT. PEPPER'S soundtrack albums. Brings back a whole lotta memories of what coulda been had the Big Beat only manifested itself in in the brains of teenage Ameriga like I (and presumably you) sure hoped it would.
Various Artists-GOLDEN MARTINIS COW DISGUSTED CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Bill didn't leave any info on this one so I guess I'll have to wing this collection of downright weirdities. The ol' scratchy 78 of some guy singing comedy numbers was mildly entertaining, as were those Japanese pop rockers featuring some teenage-sounding gals singing about Gold Beetles and Yokohama first in their native tongue and then in English. The vintage ads not to mention the theme from THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN were pretty nostalgic for this guy who still can't get enough of 1962 and gets way too much of 2015, and believe it or not but for the life of me I can't remember anything else about this 'un which shows you just what kind of a sieve-like head I have! Odd enough cover on this one, featuring the famed visage of that up and coming movie personality...SONNY TUFTS?!?!?!?!?