Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's been gettin' pretty hard writin' these preambles to my rambles as of late. NOT  because of any lack o' inspiration in the grey room, but because of a whole LOAD of inspiration lacking in the overall musical realm. Or, to be more succinct, inspiration that might just come from any sorta day-to-day existence which just goes to show you just how beyond ordinary (heck, I'll take "ordinary" over dead dull any day!) life has become for a longer time'n I can imagine. Yeah, the Chris o' yore who used to chew off many an ear over the latest record, group, discovery, tee-vee show and just about any outta-the-realm-of-stodgy piece o' kultural info is pretty much dead and buried, replaced by a sagging set o' cells who seems more concerned about nasal blackhead poppings than whatever there is comin' out on the "cool music listening scene". Hey, you might not want to face up to the facts but very little music of spark and energy has come out on in these past few years no matter what some on the blogosphere might think, and if you've heard it from me then you know it's old news!

But (as I've said many a time) trudge on I must even if I do repeat myself without even realizing it. Thankfully a few morsels of sonic sustenance have make their way to my cranial capacities as of late. Thanks to Guerssen Records for not just the Uther Pendragon release mentioned below but two other spinners I'll be reviewing in the future considering how I gotta piecemeal this good stuff 'n not shoot my wad off all at once. Also praise be to P.D. Fadensonnen and Bill Shute for the various freebees I'm still paving my way through. As for you Paul McGarry, I managed to give one of your burnt offerings a go, so I do hope you will not be offended by it all! (Just kiddin'---can't you take a joke? I know that """""I""""" sure can't!)

Back to the subject of this bein' the "no future" Johnny R predicted way back when, sadly enough a whole lot of the dire 'n gloom that I predicted back as early as the late-seventies has come true. Back then I just knew that the great old tee-vee shows that used to make up the afternoon rerun circuits back inna sixties and seventies would be banished to the far reaches of cathode heaven only to be replaced by the dour comedies and dry dramas that were being produced at the time (and come to think of it, those programs have been stricken from the schedules themselves only to be replaced by even worse shows!). I also predicted that rock 'n roll would lose its general pounce and sound even worse than the AM/FM slop that was permeating the air then. Of course I was spot on with that 'un! Worst of all, I just knew that once we got into the new millennium it would all be wooshed away in a technological electronic revolution that pretty much made the entire history of civilization meaningless, sorta like a new Year Zero with the robot from LOST IN SPACE in charge of everything. And maybe I'm right (just barely) about that 'un as well too!

But like I said...trudge, trudge, TRUDGE... And you WILL read it because hey, what else is there for you to do in this year of post-post-post everything and anything for that matter. And if you like, you may even live vicariously through me via these writings. Don't mind at all. After all, I live vicariously through Sluggo.

Uther Pendragon-SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE 2-CD set (or 3-LP if you prefer) (Guerssen Records, Spain)

You won't remember this, and I will admit that sometimes it is hard enough for even me to remember in the first place, but San Francisco was at one time the big rock 'n roll promise that many both astute or not were waiting for back in them greening of rock 'n roll days. Sure in 1966 just about every snatch of rock music fiber was firm and frolicking, but there was a particular folk rock strain cum avant garde expression in the music of San Fran that made more'n a few budding acolytes sit up and take notice. And believe-it-or-leave-it, but it wasn't even a snobbish movement born of a beret and stale Doritos mentality either. Keeping the love'n jamz outta the equation it's easy to see that a good portion of the bands coming outta the soon to be fleabitten burgh were definitely feedback-laden hate-spewin' hard attacks that pretty much were not the soundtrack to the laid back minions who flocked to various parks and did whatever they were programmed to do there. These bands were loud, violent and even punky, though by the end of the decade the entire area was so shell shocked that all it could do was nothing but find comfort and solace in ancient memories of the Old West and early folkie down home front porch Marin County jams. The sickening aspects of laid-back whole grain health 'n stench had become firmly entrenched into the entire area by this time and only the Flamin' Groovies and Moby Grape were left standing to defend the rock 'n roll spirit that once was, no doubt about that!

And maybe we can count Uther Pendragon as one of the last rockin' rebels to make it outta the whole debacle alive 'n kickin' as well. Yeah, I do believe that I've never heard of 'em before this hotcha collection of the group's 1966-1975 best came out, but after even one spin even I could see that these guys were perhaps the last true-to-form group in the area that didn't succumb to revolutionary Slickisms turning unto e-zy listing downer-kid hackdom. Nor did they evolve into Wild West radicals for the sake of pandering to a buncha patchouli-laden est-lovers like the Dead undoubtedly did (at least via. their association with the New Riders of the Purple Sage). No, Uther Pendragon were, like the Groovies and Grape and Oxford Circle, (live) Quicksilver, early Big Brother and the Holding Company and (naturally) Blue Cheer one of those local acts that could actually bypass that whole patented and preachy youth movement we-are-all-one-culture hype and produce some music that could smash through any preconceived barriers put up against them. Plutonian Music that was made for the times only the times were too dense to realize it.

Yes it sure does sound West Coast late-sixties, only without the gnawing pretension and slick production that marred many a platter that came outta hipstersville at the time. In fact, these recordings could have come outta Anytown USA (even that buncha kids who used to blast away down the street) they're that indicative of the entire rock mindset of the day that didn't get washed away by the heart-rendering relevance trip of the early-seventies. They kinda sound the way I sure wished Redwing did after reading about 'em in DENIM DELINQUENT...born of the mid-sixties garage band groundswell and still retaining that primitive enthusiasm long after it became unfashionable.

Sheesh, Uther Pendragon are so keyed into the entire under-the-underground rock spirit that even their mid-seventies tracks have the same basic strut and pounce that their mid-sixties ones had! It's amazing just how the core of this band (Mark Lightcap on rhythm guitar and vocals, Martin Espinosa on bass guitar and vocals and Bruce Marelich on lead guitar and vocals) could work up such a tight fit music-wise, but if Mike Stax can be believed these guys really did live together, rehearse seven days a week and maybe even did the dirty deed together in typical MC5 fashion all of to which I can say is take that Captain Beefheart!

And not only that, but the guitar play's good enough to have had Jerry Garcia sweat it out lookin' over his shoulder for the new big guitar turk onna block that's how entrenched in the Big Beat Marelich is...heck the whole platter woulda had R. Meltzer peck out paens for CIRCUS that woulda made his Soft White Underbelly plugs seem rather tepid in comparison. (Well, bassist Espinoza might have even been the best up-and-comer on the instrument better'n any of the big names of the day and alla Meltzer's gab about SWU sounding like "Rhinoceros plus a Moby Grape version of the Velvet Underground plus the Kinks version of Donovan plus a Stones' version of the Airplane plus Del Shannon..." might apply to these guys way more if only we didn't know he was yanking us around all along. Or was he?)

Come to think of it, but when Uther Pendragon really start cookin' on all hot plates they might even be the best merger or early-seventies Floydian space excursions and CREEM-honed punk rock since My Solid Ground! Just give a listen to "Troubles" (disque 2) if you wanna clear up any doubts.

I'll bet Stax's liner notes are a hoot, but I didn't get 'em with my FREEBEE promo copy courtesy of Guerssen (thanks for the disques guys!). Hopefully you'll be able to get an eyefull once you order yours, and if I do say so myself get the three-LP set which not only has nicer and bigger pictures but a poster you can even hang on your wall just like your big sis used to do in 197X! If this ain't one of the best exhumations of 2016 well, then it ain't (but it most certainly least so far!).

A nicety in that this platter contains just about everything available on-line regarding Geof Krozier and his various acts before and during (but not after, alas) the Kongress days. A must for any of you readers who have been following my under-the-underground New York rock ravings these past three or so decades, GEOFF KROZIER AND KONGRESS starts out with the two Magic Word recordings from '67 (tough punk psych worthy of any LP collection that may coagulate soon) and follows with the tee-vee appearance of the Indian Medicine Magic Show that, true, does lose a little in the translation without the madcap visuals but still delivers on the REAL 60s/70s cusp heavy metal meaning of it all.

The Kongress sounds that make up the Krozier video re-appear---twentysome minutes of kraut-inspired late-sixtiesisms bordering the metallic and punk realms, and the Max's clip from '76 just might be the only place any of us are gonna hear the two-guitar line-up where an equally German gal joins the already German Robert Crash for some hefty guitar battles. The Marilyn tracks which close this out are of iffy quality but still conjure up more late-seventies New York magick that would all be wooshed away once the eighties and Mad Donna got hold of the entire burgh. Assemble one for your own wake for the seventies that I seem to be holding every dang day of my life.
Rudi-BIG TIME---THE BEST OF RUDI CD-r burn (originally on Anagram)

A lotta this British punk rock stuff really doesn't hold up the way something along the lines of say...Throbbing Gristle, Suicide, early Pere Ubu or the Seeds do. However, Rudi were definitely one band that didn't fall into the usual ruts of pre-conceived predicaments what with their definitely pop sound which owes about as much to the early-seventies English punk underbelly as it does the spikier stuff. Believe it or not, but the rock Rudi made come closer to the Greg Shawvian tastes of the time from Bolan and the Dolls to those junkstore glam acts that snuck out quickie singles and vanished into the nada. If you thought groups like Spunky Spider and Stud Leather were just as umportant to the growth of punk rock in the area as the familiar names you'll probably like this one better'n Johnny Commode and the Turds!
Television-ARROW CD-r burn (originally on Double Exposure)

I sure remember seeing this particular piece of illegit booty being sold via the likes of Golden Disc, Venus, and other mail order businesses that used to advertise in magazines such as TROUSER PRESS and GOLDMINE. I also remember wanting to possess this platter in the worst way possible, and as you all know I do everything in the worst way possible!

especially remember the hefty price tag that was placed on ARROW because it was a European import bootleg goin' for upwards of twenny-five big ones, which is today's money is like a bazillion dollars which I will admit I just didn't have back during the turn of the decade. But to think that had I only bought it back then I wouldn't really need it because I have it here a good thirty-six years later and like, I saved all of that money in the bargain even if I did have to wait a good lifetime (a lifetime of a horse but who's counting) to get the thing. I hope you have that all figured out in your mind.

But for being a bootleg it sure sounds good 'n professional like it should. Great sound, great performance that captures the group just-pre-breakup, and most of all it gathers up the better aspects of what was passing for underground street rock New York style somewhere between the fall of the Dolls and the fall of Max's. Unlike those early brilliant if loose tapes we've heard the past decade or so Television has tightened up to the point where they almost could classify as a fusion-jazz-punk rock aggregation not that dissimilar to what a whole lotta lesser names on the scene were coming up with.

Tom Verlaine's guitar lines may sound slick next to what he was doing only a good four years prior, but they certainly match the big names in guitar prowess as far as impassioned, non-linear playing goes. And come to think of it, the rest of 'em follow suit with some solid backing that only adds to the overall strength being spewed forth.

Might be available in a free download form out there. I'd gander at that because really, how else would Bill get a copy for either his or my entertainment pleasure???
Various Artists-DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH VOL. 1---18 UNEARTHED GEMS FROM THE MID-SIXTIES CD-r burn (originally on no particular label)

Six-oh serenades continue on with the arrive of even more garage band gunch from the vaults. Or make the from the record collections of a whole buncha geeks who are so out-of-the-loop that they do nothing else but collect old private-press records by long-forgotten local groups and life/eat/sleep this stuff! Good for them, for who else on this planet would care to preserve a past most fanablas out there would like to forget!

Mostly on the weepy side, the tracks to be found here aren't as top-notch and instantly-embedded-in-your-teenbo-psyche as the goodies that ended up on BACK FROM THE GRAVE. But they sure beat a whole load of the high fiber folkdom that I hadda endure age ten I'll tell ya! Only one familiar name here (the Moving Sidewalks) but with groups sporting monikers like Harley and the Night Riders, the Ivy, the Morning After and the Quarrymen (who obviously give us a halfway-good Beatles swipe) you know you're in for some of the best mid-sixties experiences extant since GILLIGAN'S ISLAND reruns. Heck there's even yet another group goin' by the name the Warlocks on this platter and whether or not they eventually became either the Grateful Dead or the Velvet Underground is irrelevant, since they probably became the crew at Joe's Car Wash down on Main Street right across from the Hot Dog Shoppe!

There's probably a download available somewhere on line, though I get the feeling you'll want an actual vinyl copy for your digs. If so, dish the fish out because hey, this ain't exactly gonna pop up next to the Anita Bryant albums you'll find during your next flea market excursion!
Dead Neanderthals-WORSHIP THE SUN CD-r burn (originally on Relative Pitch)

This Dutch Jazz might not sound as "new" as those who are promoting it probably would like ya to believe, but it sure sounds old as in the best of what old should sound like and no I ain't playin' any verbal tricks on you. When I mean "old" I mean hotcha post-Ornette late-sixties onward total expression that doesn't conjure up images of flamingos, but mental views of that dark and dirty underbelly of it all. Frank Lowe or Roscoe Mitchell come to mind as this mad horn/drums duo scronk forth some of the better jazz to have been heard from the free realm in quite some time. If you think the avant garde took a swan dive into oblivion after the fall of the Loft Scene, this 'un might restore some faith you've lost in humanity, or jazz, or something like that.
Hound Dog Taylor-1960-67 CD-r burn (originally on Blue Eye Blog)

Yeah I was born with the blues too, so maybe I am about as entitled to write about this sorta spew as all of those brainy white critics who think they're down for the struggle just like the bluesmen that they sure love to scribble on about. Taylor's got a great postwar style and verve that sounds about as trasho urban as you can get, and on these sides he sure can lay to waste a whole slew of hippie attempts at the same stratum we've been inundated with for quite some time. Not bad at all, and that's comin' from a guy who pretty much had an aversion to a lotta this blues hype that's been goin' on since I was but a mere adolescent fake.
Various Artists-COSMIC SMOKEY DEBORAH JOURNEY CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Eh, this 'un ain't as funzy as some of the other Bill burns, but it'll do considering the headcold I'm now trying to fight off. Tracks by the Grapes of Rathe and Harbinger (not to mention the extremely precious Butterfly who probably thinks he sounds like Syd Barrett but comes off like James Taylor during detox) are more or less hippie folk musings that I never could get away from far enough, though Tom Bailey did have a bit of spark even though he might consider himself the latest incarnation of Warren Zevon. The furrin' stuff seems to satisfy more, what with the French Les Luths doing a good '64-styled neo-Beatles outing and Die Skypipers playing "Red River Rock" with what sounds like a sweet potato. Jerry Raye and Fenwick are neato as well even though they were probably suburban oneupman types who got straight "C"'s unlike us bottom-scrapers. The big band stuff wasn't so special though, but I better shut up because I wouldn't want to lose the Jean-Claude Pelletier Orchestra a gig at the Paris Econo-Lodge'r anything.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! CURSE OF THE DOLL PEOPLE starring Elvira Quintana and Ramon Gay (American International, 1961)

I like my moom pitchers creepy, and this one does such a good enough scare the little kids shitless job of it that had I saw this one onna boob toob circa 1963 my turdler self woulda been runnin' out the room screamin' to high heaven worse'n whenever they'd burst into programs with conelrad. A Mexican import courtesy K. Gordon Murray, DOLL PEOPLE's got a spooky dinge to it that's hard to get outta your system not only for the freakazoid camera work and dark feel, but for the midgets as killer dolls and the occult leader who looks more like Sky Saxon gone OTO if anything!

It all started innocently enough when an archaeologist snatched a sacred statue from Haiti and brought it back to Mexico because he thought it would look good in the parlor. Pretty soon the dolls (who look somewhat like the members of the archaeology team) are out and about killing not only the archaeologist but everybody connected with the trip and it all turns into one big mystery for the male and female leads who have to deal not only with those pesky dolls but this weird braided hair that keeps popping up at the scene of the crime.

Dunno if there was something lost in translation but I could swear that I had missed out on some crucial plot about halfway through making this one a bit hard to catch up with. Or maybe it was the Sunday afternoon catch up with the lag I've accumulated over the week considering how I have to WORK unlike some of you lucky ones out there. But the story really builds up and twists itself around you like these cheapies always could, and it naturally all ends in a great climax that kinda catches you by surprise though you knew something like the way this turns out woulda happened all along.

A flick that goes to show you that there actually were some pretty SEAT-GLUING films (which could even pass as "cinema" if you so desire) coming outta Mexico back then, not just that sick Luis Bunuel stuff that intellectual snoots who loathe folk such as you and me just love to drool over.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Cephas-3 1/2 YEARS LP (Private Press)

If there is anything your neighborhood thrift store has in spades besides the ugly ceramic novelty ashtrays your Aunt Agnes used to butt her cigs into before pulling your eight-year-old personage over for a squirmy kiss it's private press religious albums. They abound in numbers just below Babs Striesand or Jim Nabors and when I see them I always wonder if they are there because someone died or someone lost their faith or someone figured you can only have so many of these things in the collection. I mean we all need space for those crucial high school chorus private press albums too.

I picked this LP up for a buck because it's of the "youth oriented" genre. So I was hoping some teenbo got to play a fuzz guitar solo on some uptempo rockist number that some faith group doofus figured really "spoke to the kids" but in reality made Loggins and Messina sound like Black Sabbath.

There is no info on the date this record arrived from the stampers of the vanity record pressers, but judging from the mutton chop sideburns on the lad on the back cover playing bass guitar I'd say 1972-74. Besides bass boy there are other black and white photos arrayed about, and it looks like a six-year-old cropped them. You get to see three teen girls in the chorus, one with so little talent she got handed the tambourine and got stuck behind a dead microphone. She's got glasses and frizzy hair you just know is a rusty red shade. Can't make out the boobage quotient but you just know this chick got no action at all from the guys so she figured she'd turn to Jesus because, you know, looks and all that are so superficial and when it come down to it it's way more important to help out getting clean water to a third world hovel, far from where that cute Tom Paxley wouldn't give her the time of day, and won't he feel bad when she dies of cholera and realizes what he could have had instead of that phony Marcia Grossman who stuffs her bra anyway.

Chick next to her has rather alluring features and dark hair but the overall effect is ruined by her big honker.

TALKIN' ABOUT JESUS (shouldn't that be SINGIN' ABOUT JESUS?) says on the back cover should be played IN CHURCHES, AT RALLIES, IN COFFEEHOUSES, IN SCHOOLS...waitaminnit, schools? I guess maybe Cat'lick schools but these born again types usually don't cotton up to stodgy ol' Catholicism or versie vicey, but maybe if they performed gratis and all so Father O'Brien didn't have to dip into the communion wine budget what the heck.

The best photos are from the rallies with hundreds of bellbottomed, long haired early 70s teens clapping along, or with arms raised in the air, and if you didn't know they were listening to "All My Trials" they could be shakin' it down to Grand Funk and the Pittsburgh Civic Arena. Yeah, that's another reason I wasted a buck on this. It's from my home town, and if YOU want information about TEEN CHALLENGE OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA and CEPHAS you can write to them at Box 6102, Pittsburgh PA 15212 or phone (412) 265-4100. If anyone answers tell 'em you got their number off an ancient private press religious LP, or just ask if their refrigerator's running.

Without using a magnifying glass it's tough to see if there are any really hot chicks in these photos, but of course given the fashion of the time it would be tough to tell anyhoo since OUR BODIES, OUR SELVES feminism was the rage and chicks were dressing like they were gonna go fell some trees in British Columbia. There seems to be one beauty up front wigglin' away and keeping time with the band, gorgeous ironing board straight brunette tresses falling to her waist. She probably got guilted into going with her Plain Jane friend who was always a third-wheel on Friday nights, but her boyfriend promised he'd have a doob sparked up the second she could split the place.

The IN SCHOOLS pic is great for the presence of a fat kid up front who either looks bored out of his skull or guilty he just cut a silent but deadly one. I can't decide. 

I can identify just a single black person in the photos of the crowds. Did they go to the trouble to insure there was indeed a "token" black? Must've been a tough sell, since black church attendees know that an acoustic guitar is in no way an instrument to get the booty shaking.

The IN COFFEEHOUSES photo has me confused because hey, this is Pittsburgh circa. early 70s and a coffeehouse would have been considered some esoteric West Coast thing where who knows what kind of weirdo things went on. In Pittsburgh you went to the Jenny Lee bakery and shoved a maple cruller into your mush and there just happened to be coffee in the joint. Coffee wasn't its reason to exist. Anyway I don't see any coffee machines and the architecture looks very much like a church basement or rec room and not like a coffeehouse at all. So unless some archaeological dig brings evidence to light I'll have to stuck with my gut and say there were no coffeehouses in Pittsburgh. Actually I'm still a little surprised there are coffeehouses today.

A sign on the wall of supposed COFFEEHOUSE says "Love is Patient" which pretty much tells you that the hip jean jacket wearing youth counselor would lay down a rap about not giving into premarital relations after rapping about how if Jesus appeared today he'd be shunned or thrown into jail for vagrancy or some other half-baked nonsense 'cause he's a rebel man, and if he makes people "uptight" about this point Johnny Schmoe in the audience is wondering if he'll be home in time to catch THE MOD SQUAD and wonder if Julie is gonna go undercover in some strip joint or something. And sheesh, Johnny'll wonder if he remembered to hide the last tube sock he jerked off into...

By the way Kris Kristofferson, if you read this, I doubt if you got any royalties for "Why Me, Lord" right?

Like I wrote, there is only one black kid in the audience but as for the musicians, they have a black dude pictured on the back who looks like he's nodding on junk!

And a few words from Reverend Richard Turgson (name written AND typed on the back sleeve) who penned these liner notes:
Some 1900 years ago a life, destined by the will of God, for 3 1/2 years gave hope to a lost and dying world-to this life we sing. Because of these 3 1/2 years Teen Challenge of Western PA's musical outreach "Cephas" has a hope to share with this "now" lost and dying world. We hope this record will keep you "Talkin' About Jesus".
Three-and-a-half years? I thought Jesus live to be thirty (actually about 33, ya heathen-ed.) I mean I was usually drawing pictures of Marvel superheroes in CCD classes, but 3 1/2 years? What's that? His prime miracle years?

What is a Cephas? My dictionary goes from "CEO" to "cephalic" being "of the head" which might be a derivation of "Cephas" I guess. Hey, Rite Record Productions Inc., did YOU check what it meant? After all it might been sumthin' dirty gettin' snuck by. It is something to do with "head" and all, but I guess if you can't trust Christers who can you trust? Don't answer that. Rite Records was out of  Cincinnati, and on the record label it's abbreviated as "Cinti, Ohio" which is QUITE an unusual abbreviation. "Cincy" being the most popular, or maybe "Cinn". Certainly not "Cinti" which I've never seen before.

Checking out the inner groove run-off for secret messages now. There's the matrix number and...aha! The date this killer diller platter was birthed scratched into the inner groove, 7/19/1974. I estimated this was done between '72-74 so let's have a big round of applause for me!

I realize I haven't mentioned the front cover of the LP, but that's because it's deadly dull with no pictures. Two color cover, black and gold. If you know about private press sleeves you know that once you go beyond two colors you're talkin' more mazzulah, and Jesus freaks aren't made out of money, right? Don't answer that. Do you think black and gold were chosen because they were the colors of the Pittsburgh Steelers? In '74 the Steelers had developed into a potent football force. Locals were proud of them for the first time, yeah, there is an off chance. But I doubt it. But if so, take that you Cinti Bengal fans who had to press this record up!

I can imagine that when this came out it was sold at shows, and of course foisted on family members who just had to buy one. Gramma filed it away next to her SING ALONG WITH MITCH LPs and someone's little brother or sister got one for a Christmas present when they woulda really wanted a 45 of "Bang a Gong" and by then they were really sick of their born again sibling talking about how Jesus was in tune with the North Vietnamese. You know, this "now" lost and dying world and all. Hey, that money you wasted on a pet rock could've gone to help a disadvantaged inner city kid!

Oh, and "Ensemble" is misspelled as "Ensamble" on the back cover, though I shouldn't really point it out given my spelling errors in this piece (what spelling errors???-ed.)
Bill Black's Combo-PLAYS TUNES BY CHUCK BERRY LP (Hi Records)

Winner winner chicken dinner! The shrink wrap was still on this beaut and the price sticker from some long demolished department store listen a mark down from $3.98 to $1.47. The thrift store charges a buck per, so I save 47 cents on top of that. Enough for a Strawberry Shortcake change purse had I intentions of luring an eight-year-old.

This record is so great on many levels...the basic cover art has no art at all, just the name of the band and the songs performed. Don't need some cockamamie Roger Dean fantasy world to try to disguise the turd inside. Add to that the back cover blurb by Elton Whisenhunt of THE MEMPHIS PRESS-SCIMITAR claiming that the album could very well become a music collector's item in the future. Well, may I call you Criswell Mr. Whisenhunt, because forlorn abandonment next to a bent ski pole in the thrift shop notwithstanding, I consider this a treasure indeed, easily one of the top five thrift finds of my life.

In Mr Whisenhunt's liner notes we also learn that "Nadine" blends a bop beat with a bequine beat that has to be heard to be believed  (!). "In the background one envisions a jungle drum beat. And to the minds eye comes a scene of exotic dancers swaying beneath palm trees beside a South Pacific ocean shimmering in the moonlight."

Bequine beat. Whatever happened to the days when people with pocket protractors reviewed records?
Tom Rush-THE CIRCLE GAME LP (Elektra)

"No Regrets" is an OK song but the rest bores mightily. And the best thing about this LP is that some sensitive teen girl did some artwork on the inner sleeve. Over a blue and black miasma that is either the sea, the earth, or an oil slick, a large peace sign done in alternating red, white and blus is in the foreground of an orange sun sinking below the horizon against a backdrop of yellow and red clouds. On the back of the album cover she doodled a basic tree, with red ink globes taking the place of leaves. How do I know a girl did it? Please, I went to Junior High you know! I onlly hope that the lass that bought this (probably on the basis of Rush's good looks, though she considered herself too "with it" to fall for some TV readymade heart throb like David Cassidy) eventually scored a Love LP from the same label.

I don't even remember if I owned this at the time of its release but I figured it was worth a buck at the thrift store and it is...if not much more. Supposedly the thin white duke's cocaine infused outing. It is more in tune with YOUNG AMERICANS soul vibe and therefore might sound better under the influence of ripple. The brief wash of Kraftwekian opening on the title cut notwithstanding, this hardly sounds like the pre-punk gestalt that was in the air and you mighta figured if Bowie had his ear to the ground he woulda come up with something more of the times than this rather stillborn LP.

I always liked the track "Stay" even though it sounds like a crystalline FM progressive exercise ready to be plugged in next to whatever swill rock jocks were plugging at the time, but the next two releases, LOW and HEROES, really usurped this. Probably because Brian Eno was on board and he had the presence of an actual human, Iggy, in his constellation. I played this on 1-11-16 because the news broke that Bowie joined Major Tom in outer space. I pretty much only listened to Bowie and Lou Reed in Junior High and pretty much listen to neither now. Horrid memories of being tortured by jocks has something to do with it, but I gotta say that's not the only reason.

Chris Stigliano (and a whole more even doltier than him beings-ed.) says THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD is the "go to" Bowie album and I can't argue, but even that is shuffled to the back of the pile. You gotta remember though, back in the early 70s it was Bowie or CSN and Y or ugh... I don't wanna think about it, so wham bam thank you David.
Ruby Short and his Dragsters-HOT RODDER BATTLE ROCK AND ROLL (Palace Records, a division of Buckingham Records)

Hot rodders battle rock and roll, and which will win? Given that the overdubbed hot rod sounds are mixed way up above the somewhat stale but passable sax-driven instrumentals I'd say the hot rods, but that doesn't stop this from being a totally boss thrift store monster.

The front cover alone is worth the buck I paid, with HOT RODDER ROCK AND ROLL in big print above the name of the fictitious band, so small you'll need to spend another buck on a pair of reading glasses at the dollar store to make it out.Two great photos in full color, a slightly blurry model of a dragster, since I guess they were to cheap to use a picture from a car magazine and perhaps (but not too likely) credit and remunerate the photographer. Beneath the toy car is a photo of a biker (huh? It's not BIKERS BATTLE ROCK AND ROLL) straight out of a Kenneth Anger wet dream, his sidekick who sports a construction helmet instead of the usual biker chapeau, and the face of a dirty blonde in some magnificent shades. As for Mr. Construction Hat, with his cigarette dangling from the corner of his sneer, it seems he is signalling a right turn in his pants!

With titles like "Wrecked T-Bird" and "Drag Strip Doll" how can you go wrong? Includes a glossary of hot rod terms on the back of the LP, a few which may actually be correct. In the grand tradition of budget labels dredging up product and retro-fitting it to any fad, definitely blare this on your hi-fi before heading out to see the asphalt eaters at your local drag oval!

Subtitled "A Product of United Artists Special Products" (!) from 1967. You could probably get this for turning in Marlboro packages a la green stamps. Unfortunately I'm sure this never got re-relased on CD, so if you got emphysema from smoking, you're gonna have to get up from your recliner and change sides of this LP.

Some of the cuts are from the motion picture RETURN OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN and others are variations on the score from the above and THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN by Elmer Bernstein. I kinda remember this music being used in Marlboro commercials on the tube, but I could be mistaken as I was pretty young when the gumment put the kibosh on cigarette TV commercials.

Front cover has some long shots of cowboys out in the plains. Some photos show them enjoying a refreshing relaxation break with some pure Carolina tobacco. One shot has a cowpoke lighting up a Marlboro for his buddy in an intimate interlude. Kinda reminds you of that movie with the two gay caballeros who shared more than cigarettes. "So settle back and enjoy over thirty magnificent minutes of music---the music from Marlboro Country!"

Not Morricone by a long shot, but will suffice with a Jack Daniels chaser.
Doug Clark and his Hot Nuts-HOMECOMING LP (Gross)

I could only make it through one side of this. I had more enjoyment imagining the fashion choices of the people at the parties this was played at. Groaner double entendres with somewhat saltier material, it's actually refreshingly tame by today's standards (so is SALO: 120 DAYS OF SODOM-ed.), when even I think comedians should have their mouths washed out with soap.

This is Gross 103, Gross 101 being NUTS TO YOU and Gross 102 being ON CAMPUS. The cover shot on here seems to be an outtake photo from ON CAMPUS as it shows the band in a really dark, washed out photo obviously taken in winter (bare trees in the background) with a partial banner visible in the foreground where "PHI PSI" is no doubt part of some fraternity appendage. Two of the Hot Nuts are holding red square banners. You can't tell if they are simply red or had some writing on them that the crummy photo didn't pick up. Maybe they were in their Mao Tse Tung commie phase but knew better than to try Worker's Party limericks - they'd probably come off even more duff than the ones on this LP.

As an added bonus my copy has some brown stains on the front cover, no doubt some cheap whiskey and water someone spilled while trying to make time with a smokin' fox at a party where this was playing. Hope he didn't stain the shag rug.
Dick Dale and his Del-Tones-KING OF THE SURF GUITAR LP (Capitol)

The seams on the cover of this great LP (Dale's second) were so split that the previous owner covered three-quarters of the sleeve with duct tape! Hence, about two inches of front and back photos and text are hidden. The record looks gnarly but plays OK and if you have a Bar Mitzvah planned for a special someone may I suggest Dick's version of "Hava Nagila"?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Well, howd'ja like this year so far? Uh yeah, me too. But at least there's one thingie for you to look forward to during these frigid days and that's tuning into BLOG TO COMM twice a week, maybe even more if you're lucky! And to that I say "sorry to hear that" since you certainly do not have that much of life if you have to rely on ME to provide you with those life-affirming jollies you most certainly need to get by in these rather slow-moving times! And since I can't think of a single thing else to say let's cut this opening schpiel to the quick and get onto the reason you cruise the internet for this blog every so often...the reviews (with material provided by PAUL McGARRY [bold enough for you Paul???], P.D. Fadensonnen and Bill Shute)!

Various Artists-GOODBYE NASHVILLE, HELLO CAMDEN TOWN---A PUB ROCK ANTHOLOGY 2 Cd-r set (originally on Castle Communications)

Unlike a whole lotta you rock 'n roll aficionados out there I never was whatcha'd call a big fan and follower of the English "pub rock" scene of the seventies. Naw I ain't no Chris Welch type mad at any and every movement in pop music that dare take one iota of attention away from the progressive rock scene that MELODY MAKER banked their buckskins on, but for some reason or another the entire brouhaha that was transpiring over there (and getting scant coverage over here) seemed to me like more post-hippoid attempts at recreating a past that didn't quite have any vim, vigor or verve to begin with inna first place. Well after giving this double set a listen to all I can say is...sheesh, just how wrong can a fellow as perfect and as devoted to my musical self-IMPORTANCE as myself be????

Yeah, GOODBYE NASHVILLE does have its share of howshallIsay leftover late-sixties West Coast laidback cops true, but the likes of Brinsley Schwarz or Unicorn (are they the same bunch David Gilmour produced?) doing the CSNY harmonies doesn't exactly ruin this neat set. That's because this 'un gathers up a good cross-section of the various kinds of acts that were barnstorming the various pubs 'n social halls across ol' Blighty during the mid-seventies making for a fine settle down session that's entertaining as well as educational. 

You get it all, from hard-driving country rock (Country Fever's take on Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried"'s probably even better'n Arlo Guthrie's or the Grateful Dead's had I only heard their versions!) while Ian Dury's pre-Blockheads Kilburn and the High Roads do give us an inkling as to what people like Nick Kent and Chrissie Hynde saw in 'em inna first place. The punk rock of Dr. Feelgood, Eddie and the Hot Rods and Mick Farren also adds a particular tinge of late-seventies immediacy to the proceedings and hey, with a name like Mickey Jupp you kinda get the notion that had this collection come out '79 way it woulda been on a pre-new-unto-gnu wave Stiff Records it's that tuned into the pub undergroundness of it all!

And surprises do Chilli Willi and the Red Hot Peppers were pretty driving what with a pre-Ralph Snakefinger on board playing some particularly hotcha guitar licks and hey, that is the same Fabulous Poodles who were being touted as new wave casher-in-ons but a few years later doing some admittedly decent post-folk rock, eh? Maybe we weren't that stoopid following what we thought were new and exciting vistas in rock 'n roll music that seemed to phony by the time 1982 rolled around to the point where we kinda felt EMBARRASSED by it all, eh?
Christian Brazier Quartet with Sunny Murray-PEREGRINATIONS CD-r burn (originally on Bleu Regard, France)

I think it's just peachy the way some of these established people on the jazz scene lend their talents out to a buncha up-'n-comers thus boosting these newbies' credo a li'l bit more in the world of scronk. That's just what famed outside-the-beat drummer Sunny Murray did with this French jazz aggregation who I must admit I never heard of before and most likely probably will never hear from after I file this 'un away for an indefinite period of time. Bassist Brazier and band are pretty in-groove with the early-sixties new thing on this particular spinner---nothing outerworldly or anything along those lines but kinda good like those outta-the-way acts you used to see at the CBGB Lounge during the freestyle series were. Of course Murray is prime in a particular way that made things like Cecil Taylor's NEFERTITI album so enticing...when the jazz world finally loses him boy, will he be ignored like all of the greats he's that good! For the serious aficionado of the form, one worth a snatch up.
Ramleh-HOLE IN THE HEART CD-r burn (originally on Broken Flag, England)

Dunno how much you like or hate the "power electronics" genre but I gotta admit that it sometimes does flibben the ol' jib in my neck of the psyche. Ramleh don't quite make me wanna toss the confetti and toot the ol' party horn in abject joy, but their atonal blares of pure white screech might just be the resensifying thing to get your life back onna right track. Guitars and electronics merged into a new form that's so potent it woulda given Lou Reed nightmares. Kinda reminiscent of Faust's later material, this sorta sound never did seem to go out of style even though back then we kinda thought it would all be plowed over by the usual tastemongering suspects.

Christopher-WHAT'CHA GONNA DO? CD-r burn of Scenesof reissue (originally on Chris-Tee Records)

Sheesh, with a name like CHRISTOPHER I thought these guys were gonna sound like a bunch of fags! Turns out that this group (or South Carolina origin) were pretty hotcha in that white teenbo take on black 'n blues. It's perfect for those of you who like electronic Yardbirds right before they combusticated (copyright 1969 Julius Sumner Miller) themselves into Led Zeppelin, or for any low down white male type who really goes for the urban blues sound but doesn't have the wherewithal to be black about it. As for me I can appreciate the work and effort put into a home-made relic of late-sixties DIY-isms like this but (of course!) will be searching for some old Nico album one this one clicks off the laser launch pad.
Derek Bailey & Evan Parker-THE LONDON CONCERT CD-r burn (originally on Incus)

If you've read this far you know what to expect to the point where I wonder if I should even bother writing about it. Old timey improv fans'll eat it up what with the sparse atonal clank of Bailey's guitar supported by the muffled croaks of Parker's saxophones. Like a good portion of this English sixties/seventies experimental stew it's not for everyone, but those of you who were weaned on the under-the-underground experimental nature of the New Music Distribution Service and still hold onto your old catalogs as if they were beauteous relics from a distant past will have probably heard this by now.
Cowboys International-THE ORIGINAL SIN CD-r burn (originally on Virgin)

A little of this new wave stuff could go a long way, and a lotta it just makes me wonder what exactly it was that made this sorta stew that much different than some of the soul-less smirk it was all supposed to replace. Sheesh, this kinda music reminds me of the stuff that was battling it out with Blondie and the Psychedelic Furs for your hard-begged, and after a few spins you knew that it sure didn't have the sway that the Stooges or just about any 197X fanzine front cover aggregation oozed from every syphilitic pore could muster up sans heavy duty effort. So dumbed down that even Jann Wenner could undoubtedly appreciate the subtle nuances and forward-looking intention of it all. Feh!
Marty Gold-MOOG PLAYS THE BEATLES CD-r burn (originally on Avco Embassy)

Just what the Beatles fan who couldn't get enough of their real albums needed! An entire platter of Beatles covers done up synthesizer style thus cashing in on two big trends of the day at once! It's about as cornballus as you can imagine but you can just see the bell-bottom and iron-haired gals of the day getting down to the glurps and bleebles almost as if this were the real deal Beatle blast! Naturally mom 'n dad will join in on the merriment thinking those longhairs were good musical craftsmen after all, at least until the see the unexpurgated and uncensored cover that cashes in on that other late-sixties trend, mainly nudity. A perennial used bin find which has now made its sorry way into my own abode.
Various Artists-SELECTIONS FROM AMP 3 RECORDS (NY) CD-r burn

Rather'n close out this post with a writeup of one of those mix 'n match collections that Bill always slips my way I thought I'd scribble on about this Shute specialty, a gathering of single sides that originally appeared on the AMP 3 label. Yeah I know nada about 'em either, but I guess they were operating in '57-'58 and they specialized in those early rock 'n roll sounds that I will admit are hit/miss in my particular book o' rock esoterica. A nice portion of these sides are a bit dippy for my tastes but some bubble over the good enough line like when the Don Clairs ramble through the rather spiffy "I Lost My Job" single or the Miamians employ their best Elvis Presley imitation on "Call Me a Coward". Nothing spectacular to these ears true, and if you're of the mind that anything recorded pre-'64 is old fogy hoo-hah you won't care for it one bit, but for those who wanna hear what the misses in a world of top 40 hits sounded like in those early days you can't do better 'n track these flops down.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


I mean like, who would have thought it? An autobiography by (and about in case you're that dense) the guitarist from Blue Ash, Sharon Pee-YAY's only major label claim to fame and bonafeed seventies rock 'n roll legends! True they might not have made an indent in your neck of the woods, but man-oh-man were Blue Ash hotcha enough to not only garner a whole slew of gigs in the tri-county area but (now get this!) get a FULL PAGE ARTICLE in the local paper when they got signed to Mercury Records back '72 way! I remember that article clearly because I was over at my cousins' house that day and a buncha aunts were on the back porch reading the paper and one of 'em, who just happened to know Frank's mother, was just absolutely disgusted looking at the pix of him with his long hair and mustache wonderin' why his mother just didn't lay down the law and make him go the clean cut route like alla us suburban slob kids just hadda do!

Well Frank no longer has the mustache and his hair's more 1965 folk rock these days, but that doesn't mean he doesn't deliver on a hotcha saga in CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. It's a wowzer of a read, a story that affects me because I just happened to be living in the midst of it and for the most part didn't even know that whole scene had EXISTED, me being so cloistered from the real world due to parental constraints and all. I mean sheesh, I never would have believed in my wildest dreams that Secich and his various bands used to perform at not only my own high school but my grade school, and not only there but a whole slew of places across the area that I probably never would have been allowed to attend due to depression-era wages and all. And believe-you-me, I feel like I missed out on even more fun than I think I missed out on growing up due to the lack of money, social grace and (worst of all) transportation to take me to and from these various shows that certainly would have done me a whole lot better'n being dragged to see THE SOUND OF MUSIC or something equally tedious that's for sure!

Of course the rock 'n roll angle (filtered through Secich's own funtime postwar upbringing) really does appeal to my own sense of ranch house credo. Memories are sure dredged up in this 'un not only regarding various local legends (like the Popbottle Jonesies who I almost ran over a couple times) but of some of the groups who were playin' around by the time my rock consciousness began connecting syntax-wise in the gray room. True a lotta the acts who were prancin' across the stages at the time like Menagerie didn't quite mean anything special to me, but some like Salem Ohio's Sound Barrier (of PEBBLES "My Baby's Gone" fame) not to mention the pre-Left End Pied Pipers were rather copasetic with my entire reason for taking up precious garage band rock airspace. And of course there's plenty of room here given to Marty Magner's infamous Mother Goose, an band that not only was Secich a member of at one time but was eventually fronted by none other than Stiv Bators, a fellow who does get a whole lotta mention in this book given that he and Secich were closer'n two peas in a pod, but in a nice 'n normal way.

Yeah, the future Dead Boy does make quite an appearance in this read, and after glomming this particular tome for the times I find him to have been even crazier than previous reports would have deemed. (If you don't believe me just read the story about the time Bators and Secich met Dick Van Dyke!) Of course all of the run ins that Frank has had with celebrities, musical or not, are definitely guffaw-inducing if not awe-inspiring what with tales of Tiny Tim's demands for tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwiches and a limo before performing at a Youngstown night club 'n all! Not to mention the time Blue Ash opened for the Stooges at the gig that just happened to turn up as the METALLIC KO album a few years later!!! Lemme tell ya, this book is one non-stop trek through the life 'n times of a real-life rocker with more'n the usual surprise sagas and gee-I-didn't-know-that! asides that certainly make reads like this worth picking up.

But hey, this is Frank's story and of course he's the main reason to get hold of it even if you might be from it all. The guy never did give up (even today he's leading the Deadbeat Poets, an act not only featuring former Peter Laughner crony and Backdoor Man Terry Hartman but ex-Infidel John Koury, a guy who will actually walk up to me and start talking even if I hadn't seen him for umpteen years!), and while others have drifted by the wayside and more or less blended into the scenery Secich has done his durndest to keep true to any sorta rock 'n roll relevancy that may remain even in these Dark Ages we now live in. In many ways it is amazing that the guy could still be up and running considering that the impact of the life he's led would have knocked out any lesser being, but he's still here and like, I sorta feel all warm 'n toasty inside just knowin' it.

And, once all's said and done, it's sure resensifying to know that Joni Mitchell really is, as Secich points out, a self-indulgent/important whiny sensitive singer-songwriter who certainly fits the mold we've had the neurosis-laden lass pegged into lo these many years! Maybe I won't pick up some of those mid-seventies albums of hers now even though Nick Kent thinks we should all do just that! Thanks for helping me save a whole load of bread Frank!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Hi-de-ho y'all. I must admit that I delivered on a hotcha post this week if I so say so myself, blush blush! Even managed to sneak in a review of an item I actually bought, which as I told you is probably going to be a rarity here in the money-starved year of 2016 considerin' that I have to save my moolah up for the important things in life like Metamucil. And for a buncha cast offs, the platters I was able to osmose were of a pretty good quality, so thanks be to Paul and Bill Whazernames for sending 'em all inna first place.
RIP DAVID BOWIE, dead at age 69. His teeth were 40. Can't think of anything else to say right now, though did you know that on December 25 1979 Bowie and John Lennon took a stage right front seat table at Max's Kansas City to see Von Lmo, staying for the entire set with blank (e)motionless faces before leaving after the gig was over??? Hope that one makes it into whatever "day by day" book on either Bowie or Lennon that'll be coming out in the near future.
IMPORTANT VELVET UNDERGROUND UPDATE! It wasn't the "Transcendental Simulematic Orchestra" after all, but the Cineola Transcendental Orchestra! Click on the link and discover some recently unearthed Velvets history that's certainly got me all hot 'n bothered!
And with that particular bit of esoterica gurgling in your brains let's now get to the beefy heart of it all, the reviews!

Mike Barrett/Tom Crean-CASUAL LUDDITES CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Crean (of FACEBOOK WHILE DRIVING fame) is joined by electronics specialist Mike Barrett on this ltd. ed. KSE offering that I will admit got lost in the leaning tower of Cee-Dees stored in my bedroom for the past three months. As far as these affairs go it was more'n just passable, what with Crean's guitar and banjo sounds (as spaced and soaring as they can be) working well in consort with Barrett's bubbling and burping synthetics. At points it reminds me of some of the more erratic sounds that used to emanate from Dee Pop's Freestyle Series at the old CBGB Lounge, while at others it kinda comes off like a duet between a freaked out Robbie Basho having a nervous breakdown and the La Brea Tar Pits. Mad genius or inspired outsiders? Take your pick.
George Gobel-IN PERSON "AT THE SANDS" CD-r burn (originally on Decca)

This guy has always been about as funny as a turd sandwich (I'm tempted to say a "dirty turd sandwich"), and not quite as appetizing. I never understood how Gobel got to be as big and famous as he was, and come to think of it I don't understand how the audience could laugh at any of his dull and humorous jokes which wouldn't even turn on the attendees at a testimonial dinner for Karen Quinlan. Tell you what, for more insightful gags and awkward personal reminiscences go visit yer Unca Ferd at the old fogies home and spend 45 minutes listening to him ramble on about the trip he took to Utica New York back in '49.
Moms Mabley-AT THE PLAYBOY CLUB and BREAKS UP THE NETWORKS CD-r burn (originally on Chess)

Sheesh, I can still remember Moms Mabley crackin' the fambly up during all of those late-sixties tee-vee appearances, and this particular platter (actually culled from a Kip Nesterhoff broadcast!) sure's got those memories a'rushin' back faster'n diarrhea. It's too bad that I can't understand about half of what she's saying (you'd think that with all of her money she could afford relines) but she sure does deliver on that har-hars in the best black comedy way and without the dirty words too! Not only that, but her vocalese on such hits as "Sunny" and "Abraham, Martin and John" (where she does a few appropriate choke-stifles) fit in well with the funny stuff and please me a whole lot better'n the original hits did! And be thankful that the folks at the Playboy Club didn't approach her for a pictorial. Spin this 'un for your typical Bill Maher fan and watch the self-indignant attitude bubble over right before your very eyes.
Rodney Dangerfield-D.A.R. CONSTITUTION HALL WASHINGTON DC 10 MARCH 1984, early show CD-r burn

The thirdest (and lastest of the Cee-Dee-Are comedy burns Bill sent me has Dangerfield firing off at his bluest doin' all of those kinda jokes that woulda made yer dad see red had he sat in for the sesh thinkin' it was gonna be all nice 'n just a slight bit edgy like on THE TONIGHT SHOW. Dangerfield never was known for his dirty stuff but he sure dishes the naughty jokes out here making you crack up like nothing since "milk, milk, lemonade"! Not only that but he sure does a good job providing the kinda banter that'll really make you a big hit when the cousins come to visit and you wanna show off a bit. And hey, if you gotta hear the dirty stuff better it be from a hotcha pro like Dangerfield than one of those modern day scolds who think they're so "above" you because they're up on the stage and you aren't!
Lou Reed-CLAIM TO FAME CD-r burn

This ain't my favorite Lou Reed period (kinda sounds gynecological, don't it?) but it's good enough for a spin or three. Live at the Roxy Dec. 1 '76, Lou and his patented (meaning no troublemakers like John Cale in here!) backing band are joined by Don Cherry who adds a few interesting blurts throughout the set. Otherwise this is Lou during his lounge act period back when he thought he had his audience's tastes pegged, and I ain't gonna make any obvious joke regarding the use of that word! Jazzy enough that your own folks might even take a shine to it while gulping down their martinis before hitting the PTA meeting, at least until they find out that the guy singing here's the same one from those horrid Velvet Underground albums you drive 'em crazy with at which point it's TERMINAL GROUNDED for you and you know it!
Terry Riley and Don Cherry-KOLN CONCERT, 1975 CD-r burn

Boy that Don Cherry really got around...just last night I was listening to him sitting in with the Mothers of Invention via the PIGS AND REPUGNANT bootleg, and of course he makes a grand appearance on the Lou Reed platter reviewed directly above. And NOW here he is showing up with none other than the famed modern day composer Terry Riley adding his appropriate trumpet styling working his way into the entire Riley riff drone rather fittingly. Riley's (and Cherry's) particular brand of new music does fit in swell during these long winter nights, and not only that but the quality of this is good enough that I'm surprised that the entire gig didn't show up on either Shandar or the Columbia Masterworks label. Brings back those days when my parents would complain about this sorta racket and I'd tell 'em it's classical music!!!
Various Artists-$300 FINE CD-r burn (originally on Expo 67)

One of the better recent compilations of garage band esowhooziz out there in buy me land featuring names both blabbed about (Bad Seeds, Choir, Wailers...) and not. Some of these tracks have been heard to death already, but that really doesn't matter much considering they're in the company of a whole slew of acts that I've never heard of before and probably won't hear about after filing this particular 'un away after the requisite ten-thousand spins. Good enough that even the songs you think are gonna stink to high heaven (like the Flower Children's "Mini Skirt Blues") sound really hot in that 1966 listening to the radio sorta way that none of us'll ever experience again no matter how long we do the old mortal coil thing. Read more about it here if yer inna mood for osmosing your heritage, and why not? Bonus tracks include (along with the way-too-obvious inclusion of the Choir's "It's Cold Outside") a good folk rock-y version of the Kenny Rogers smasheroo "Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town" done by some anonymous bunch who really shouldn't remain so!
Laurie Anderson-RADIO STATION-ONLY PROMO LP FOR HOME OF THE BRAVE CD-r burn (originally on Warner Brothers)

Sheesh, were the eighties that long ago??? Given the load of lousy music, tee-vee and general gulcher that decade exuded I'm sure glad they were, and its little tidbits of drizzle from them days like this that keep reminding me as to just how loathsome those days were next to the deviant seventies. Laurie Anderson's work never did gel with me true, and to be upfront like Jayne Mansfield about it I find the music that pops up on this soundtrack album to be art project spew that somehow forgot to rock out (an important thing in case you didn't know). However Anderson's commentaries are informative and downright entertaining at times (especially when she's discussing pertinent artyfacts re. Bauhaus and Burroughs) and make for a better way to spend your time listening to this particular spinner than trying to enjoy the rather pretentious synth sounds that permeate this thing.
The Frowning Clouds-LISTEN CLOSLIER CD-r burn (originally on Saturno Records)

These six-oh retro recording acts haven't been doin' me the ol' do since the eighties closed up shop and I gotta admit this particular item (released in 2010) is no different. It's good stuff though with that original PEBBLES sense of beneath-the-suburban slob mentality to it which made those outta-nowhere platters so great. Not only that but being from Australia these guys have an Easybeats sense of antipodean madness to their musical approach that doesn't make Stevie Wright's passing as painful as it should be. Good enough for a spin which you will enjoy (like I certainly have), but I can't see me playin' this one at the old fogies home once 2045 rolls around nohow. Y'see, alla the Bee Gees fans'll be hogging the neural implant manipulators and do you think they'll even let me near the thing with this???
The Nomads-STAGGER IN THE SNOW 2-LP set (Bang! Records Spain, available via Forced Exposure)

Now when I think of sixties garage revival acts that packed more'n their share of pounce I think of guys like the Nomads, the Droogs, DMZ and quite a few other purveyors of power who ebbed and flowed throughout that dismal decade we called the eighties. And although they did slack off a bit by the time those ten years clocked out for good at least the Nomads started them out with some real hard-edged, action-packed music that was just as powerful and as meaningful to my ranch house spirit of life as the Sonics and Seeds. Releases like WHERE THE WOLF BANE BLOOMS and this 'un were items that definitely stood strong in the face of the tepid pop of the day, and even this far down the ol' time chute STAGGER IN THE SNOW says a whole lot more about rock 'n roll as a force for fun 'n jamz than alla the hair bands you could stack up against 'em, and throw a li'l Mad Donna into the mix to make 'em look even better.

Originally a cassette-only release that was probably heard more via dubs'n the real thing, STAGGER IN THE SNOW does retain that quick slapdash quality that makes these tracks all the more digestible. The live cuts are undoubtedly straight from cassette player and thankfully have that raw quality to 'em, while the outtakes give even more insight into the music that did manage to come out and catch a whole load of six-oh aficionados (like myself) by surprise. The rare single sides are a blessing for jamokes like myself who couldn't afford them, the covers are faithful enough yet ain't carbon copy cheap varying from Northwest pounce to psychedelic duncitude, and that ain't even mentioning the one where they back up the gal group "Kissettes" on a spry cover of the Supremes' "Come See About Me" that won't win 'em any girl group converts but...wha' th' hey...

It's like what Imants Krumins wrote way back when about these guys being the perfect distillation of Sonics pounce and Link Wray rock-a-guitar, and it's too bad that they couldn't have continued on that fine path what with their later releases having a more, er, professional approach to their reason for being. But for the earliest (and best) years stick with STAGGER IN THE SNOW, brought to you by the same people who gave us Van Morrison and Neil Diamond---Bang Records! (Wait, this particular Bang is a totally different organization, right?)
BLUE BEARD CD-r burn (originally on Derium, Italy)

I dunno what possessed Bill to burn this particular platter for me, but if he thought I would be the kinda guy who'd enjoy it he'd probably also think that I'd enjoy a nice heaping bowl of spaghetti with pus sauce. Typical early-seventies all-over-the-place hippoid rock that lacks any of the inspiration and gut attack that some of those smelly types had before the granola washed it outta 'em. The only reason anybody seems to remember this (undoubtedly) studio-only act is due to the presence of future Fleetwood Mac/AM hitmaker Bob Welch in its ranks but whatever you do, get "Sentimental Lady" (a turdster which sounds good in the presence of this mess) outta your mind...BLUE BEARD ain't even fit for the supermarket record bins of the early-seventies and you know what losers those tended to be stocked with!

Various Artists-ODOR SHADOW PAIN-TROLL CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

The last seven tracks would have made for a boffoer-than-usual garage band compilation in the mid-eighties (I especially dig that Alpha Hydrae attempt at mangling various Brian Jones sitar modes), but the first nine numbers here ain't bad in themselves. Odor Baby contribute a good piece of abstract music that ain't good enough for the snobs in New York but suits people like me fine enough, while Dave Pike's r 'n b sounds little like anything I would have expected from a former Ornette sideman. Especially interesting is "Little B" from none other than the Shadows, a band that never piqued my prongs by any stretch of the imagination. Brownie points are definitely earned on that 'un if only for the inclusion of a Big Band drum solo. Still won't buy any of their records but considering I got this 'un free I ain't complainin'!

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Is DICK TRACY getting better or izzit my imagination goin' whacko again??? I'd definitely say the former, for Vol, 19 in this long-running series of the original Chester Gould strip is tip top on just about every level one can imagine from grosser villains, disturbing story lines, sicker art and just about everything custom-made for your standard suburban slob who eats this stuff up for breakfast and poops it out right before taking a bath. Of course it helps that by this time in history we were well on that great slide into postwar/prehippie fun 'n jamz that was beneficial to anyone with a level head whether it be via tee-vee, music or food for that matter, and that ride was goin' on for a good seven or so years before it all fizzled out into a faint shadow of its former self but you know that already.

The Rhodent story finally comes to an end which is good considering the part where the Rat-faced badboy's '59 Ford gets hitched to the back of a train and dragged a good ten or so miles before the car bursts into flames, while the Fifth/Flyface saga's even cooler what with us thinking that the guys were captured and imprisoned only they break out in time for the next storyline dealing with a strange mystery a-brewin' in the latest and hula-est state ever to enter the union, Hawaii. Even after Fifth and Flyface (one of the better sickos Chester Gould came up with in the post-forties era) are bludgeoned to death in a tsunami the Hawaiian adventure continues with the appearance of a li'l wahini who just happens to be heir to a huge fortune and well---uh...

That's where Spots and Ogden come in, the former a weirdo guy with spots in front of where the eyes should be who kinda looks like that baby from ERASERHEAD grown up who pals around with this poet obviously named after the great Ogden Nash. Even these two manage to make their way into the next storyline having to do with the abandonment of Little Boy Beard, an infant with a goatee and the strength of at least ten average comic strip babies including Swee Pea and Trixie and throw a few Bunkys in for good measure.

Beautifully strange and somehow totally in groove with the swinging mood of the day, you can't put these comics down no matter how hard you try and reading 'em over and over while sweet sounds blare from my bedroom boom box has made the past few days a rather enjoyable way to slip myself into slumberland. The only bad thing I can say about it is that #19's definitely a slimmer'n the rest volume, though I wonder if that's not just for the typical greedy reasons and only because IDW wants to categorize this series prudently before TRACY gets into the Sci-Fi moon stories and law and order-based strips nobody seems to like. Dunno about you, but I'll be tuning in for those even if you won't!

Oh, and one more thing...last time I reviewed the entry in this series I made some comments about former TRACY author Max Collins' opening pep talks regarding the stories to follow, perhaps being a tad too harsh on the man which did elicit some critical if puzzled responses from him. So I guess you're wond'rin what I think about Collins' forward to this edition, right? Well, in typical BLOG TO COMM fashion I decided to do the only honorable thing that I should given how I don't want to rankle the ire of anyone who I don't have a fight with and certainly don't want to get fired from any gainful employment.

I simply just didn't read it.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Don't worry---I'll be back with a real-deal post next weekend! But until then I thought I'd share with you some reviews of various items that a) I haven't heard until the year 2015 yet were just too obvious to stick in a reg'lar "column" or b) I've had and cherished for many a year yet I thought too obvious-er to include in said columns as well. Which of these recordings are "new" or not to mine ears in 2015 is yours to I gotta go out and tell you EVERYTHING???

 The Stranglers-RATTUS NORVEGICUS/BLACK AND WHITE 2-CD set (Capitol England)

This '03 entry in EMI's series of United Artists-bred twofas really is a top notch help in reminding this particular fanabla as to just how good these guys were, even if their bassist was rude to Lindsay Hutton and he swore out a vendetta against the group once and for all. Their anti-feminist stance is so refreshing this far down the suffragette line while their overall punkian nastiness is something that more'n a few practitioners of the modern rock form should take to heart. And for being associated with the likes of Johnny Sid and the rest I must say that they knew enough not to succumb to various new trends, keeping the best of the late-sixties punk push at the forefront even if stuff like that only appealed to the Amerigans who were in on the fanzine game for some time. This is what those later Roxy Music albums shoulda sounded like if Bryan F. woulda only gotten his fingernails dirty, but he didn't and we're all for the worse because of it.
The Seeds-A WEB OF SOUND 2-CD set (GNP Crescendo/Big Beat England)

Last year I treated myself to the boffo RAW AND ALIVE two-Cee-Dee collection, this year it's the WEB OF SOUND expanded edition for me. Gotta say that I loved the dickens outta this one ever since I snatched this one up from a two-buck cassette bin back in the late-seventies, and may I be so gosh-it-all but the high energy feelings that I had for that one back then linger on even this far down the suburban slob line. I mean, what else can you say about a platter that delivers on the hot punk rock drive and fervor (without the overly conscious precepts that plagued many an eighties follower of the fashion) and comes off teenybopper on one hand and mad evil genius on the other???

You get a mono and stereo version if that means anything to you, and not only that but each platter is filled out with alternate takes of the familiar faves (disque 1) and the infamous Sky Saxon Blues Band SPOON FULL OF SEEDY BLUES on the second. Yeah, that one never did figure well with many Seeds fans but I find Sky and co.'s trek into bloozy territory fascinating and a whole lot more authentic than some of the scuzz that has passed for blues these past few decades. And really, who would you prefer to hear singing the blues, Sky Saxon or some potbellied greyhair who think's he in for the big 'n nasty from the comfy confines of his roll-a-sage chair?

Izzit safe to listen to Buddy Holly now? I mean it always was, but things were rather shaky about doing so during the late-seventies what with all of those Linda Whatzername with the Parkinsons' Laurel Canyonized covers and those fifties/sixties biopics that made everybody front and center fans of the bespectacled one. Sheesh, when I first heard "Peggy Sue" as some duncified ten-year-old long before the Holly craze got into full gear I thought I was listening to some nice straight-ahead rhythmic music that settled well inside my ranch house sensibilities. Only a few years later did it seem as if everybody was in on the Holly game, and lemme tell ya it's sure hard being a fan of the guy when the guy who hates you the most in class (and vice versa) thinks he's the top turd on the pile because now he likes Buddy instead of Starcastle!

These platters do sate my Holly brainbuds even if, after all is said and done, he was the idol of many a late-seventies turdball who somehow tied Holly's entire reason for existence in with Jackson Browne. Think of it this way, Holly was also the inspiration for Bobby Fuller and Roky Erickson and that should be the ONLY thing that counts when thinking about the legacy the man fortunately did leave us. So all of you laid back hippies and one-dimensional rock followers out there...take a hike, willya???

THE VERY BEST OF BUDDY HOLLY AND THE CRICKETS is from what I understand a collection of the three Buddy/Crickets albums and maybe a few solo Buddy things as well. I'm not as well versed in the whole Brunswick/Coral situation like I am the Parliament/Funkadelic thing and other similar group/solo/backing band recording set ups, but whatever it's a boffo gathering of the greats for those of us who want the most for our money and aren't ready to dabble in the world of bootlegs at this time. These numbers only prove just how in-tune Buddy and the Crickets were, what with their straight-on country/blues/rock 'n roll sound that sure led the way for a slew of boffo sixties grooves that would be popping up on a whole number of single sides at least until the late-sixties became too dribbly that even a thing as a Buddy Holly influence could not possibly exist. And these songs prove that Holly was good at just about everything he did, even to the point where all of those symphony schmoozers like "Moondreams" sure sound beautiful after getting a load of what passes for top forty these days!

THE GREAT BUDDY HOLLY's that '67 Vocalion album that's been in print in one form or another for years. Basically a '56 sesh that lacks all of the polish and verve of the "real" stuff, I find these tracks to capture a whole load of what made fifties/sixties rock so good at least before it got tossed into the money-go-round. This is the kinda Buddy Holly there shoulda been more of, with the kinda sound that has all of the raw integrity of your standard garage band single which would turn off most of the nuevo Hollyites who discovered the chap via the likes of Paul McCartney. True most if not all of this can be had on other Holly compilations but gee, I like the great sixties-styled cover more suited for a Big Band reissue that sorta flies in the face of alla that psychedelic dribble that was being force fed us at the time.

Both of these are monsters, and yeah it is safe to listen again. Just be sure to leave your turquoise and 'ludes at home next time you venture out to the Cee-Dee Emporium to pick yourself up copies of these.
Ornette Coleman-THE GREAT LONDON CONCERT two CD-r burn (originally on Arista/Freedom)

Like the ESP TOWN HALL CONCERT, this blink and you missed it 1975 Arista/Freedom live set's got the proverbial pounce down pat. Instead of a string quartet bowing away this has a woodwind quintet taking up a whole side giving us Coleman distilled to a more highbrow "this jazz ain't just more of dat dumbo music" attitude. The trio of Coleman/Izenzon/Moffett retain the original approach to the new jazz while stretching out into mid/late-decade shapes of sounds to come. Early violin and trumpet extrapolations pave the way for the various AACM and related splurges to hit the collections of all kinda tightass spiritual college boy record collectors for years to come, one of whom might even be....ME?????
THE SADISTA SISTERS LP (Transatlantic, England)

Well, I was warned. But sheesh, the idea of hot punkoid theatre rock with a mass o' musical variations tossed in did appeal to me so what's a good thirtysome years of ruminating about it? Unfortunately THE SADISTA SISTERS LP is just more of that overproduced cabaret schmooze done up with some snappy lyrics and perhaps a few good pop rock melodies that don't quite offend even our more refined tastes. But is that really enough??? This is better'n the oft-hyped mid-seventies feminist pootenanny group the Deadly Nightshade, but that's kinda like saying rectal itch is better than groin pull.
The Grateful Dead-ANTHEM OF THE SUN (expanded edition) CD-r burn (originally on Warner Brothers/Seven Arts/Rhino)

I will admit that I harbored a tad bitta interest in this after looking at the instrumental line up on the back and seeing the use of a prepared piano (this was during my John Cage appreciation days) and later on reading a writeup of this in BAM BALAM drawing comparisons to the Red Crayola (this was during my Red Crayola appreciation days), but now that I've finally heard ANTHEM well... The dumboid rock kids playing avant garde schtick is interesting yet so shallow sounding next to more punkified practitioners like the Stooges, while the psychedelic imagery really flops about next to the real deal of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators and just about every other lysergic lingerers who weren't lucky enough to appear on PLAYBOY AFTER DARK. And when they get into that twango-neo-funk groove it's pretty much time to forget the entire enchilada. "Love in your heart, acid in your veins and ANTHEM OF THE SUN on your turntable" indeed!
Nico-THE END CD (Island)

Here's Nico during her brief stay at Island right before she blabbed herself off the label during one of her more lucid moments. The mid-seventies deca-smarm that Island was wallowing in at the time certainly did help what with the appearance of Eno and Roxy Music's Phil Manzanara (playing a fitting enough neo-Reedian solo on "The End") not to mention former Velvetite John Cale who surprisingly enough was also basking in the glory of an Island Records contract. The usual dark ethereal musings with just enough avant garde to lift it outta the Middle Ages, capped off with a stellar reading of "Das Lied Der Deutchen" the hit of your sleeper cell with this album which has enough Teutonic trounce to last until the thousand years are up.
The Soft Boys-A CAN OF BEES CD (Ryko); RAW CUTS CD (Overground England); UNDERWATER MOONLIGHT 2-CD set (Matador)

The Soft Boys were probably my favorite seventies retro-dig of the year and I do mean it! Like all of my favorite rock groups from the era (take Mirrors f'rinstance), the Boys took the best moments of sixties rock 'n roll and shaped it for a seventies consciousness, and in this case they actually managed to get people to sit up and take notice which I guess was easier to do in the rock-active clime of seventies England than it was in Cleveland. Really, nothing has made me a happier camper than this group which, although totally ignored by your standard "FM rock"-bred fan who is now gumming his mush to Journey, are still remembered by smart rockers and amerindie turdbombs alike meaning that...these guys have influenced a whole lotta weak-kneed floppers out there and you better believe it!!!!

RAW CUTS contains what I believe is everything these guys recorded (if not released) for the infamous Raw Records label. As with most of the Raw catalog this rumble has much to do with various sixties innovations as it does with late-seventies punkdom, and the primal baseness of these tracks (featuring early versions of such downright hits as "Give it to the Soft Boys" and "Wading Through a Ventilator") really do drive home the ol' FACT about just what this p-rock thingie was all about before it along with heavy metal got slammed about and fitted into a form that was more or less easier for geekoid kids to identify with. Or something like that. Anyway, I sure wish that the group's Radar Records single got popped into the mix but, considering that was for a different company we're outta luck on that one.

A CAN OF BEES was one record that I really would have loved to have picked up back when I first espied it at the old Record Revolution (now an extremely mere shell of its former self) when it hit the racks back '80 way, but considering just how scarce moolah was at the time I really hadda choose my record purchases wisely (TRANSLATION---twas better to hit the used records available in the basement and pick up now extremely rare spins for mere pennies at that). Too bad I didn't slip this one under my purposefully baggy jacket because A CAN OF BEES is the kinda album that I was most definitely looking for at the time and it really would have fit in swell with all of the Pere Ubu/Velvet Underground/New York rock that was taking up a good portion of my shoulda been studying time. Again, all of those late-sixties English psychedelic moves meets mid-sixties Amerigan punk rock filtered through mid/late seventies fanzine consciousness rolled into one mighty ball of well-produced psychopop sounds can be found here, and if you had told me that these were unreleased Syd Barrett track back in 1973 I wouldn't have said a word, mainly because in 1973 I had never even heard of, let alone heard Syd Barrett! But yeah, I can say that I got about as excited about this one as I did when I first heard PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN.

UNDERWATER MOONLIGHT seems to be another balla wax entirely though, sounding well overproduced and professional almost in a major label scoopup and polish sorta way. Maybe a few more spins'll have it growing on me like those weird skin blebs on my eyelids, but for now all of those roots of REM and eighties wuss alternative sounds are kinda making me wish that I had gone deaf around 1983. This double set is what I'd call a pretty good package for the fan and follower of this band and David Fricke's liner notes and good enough (and jambus packtus enough) to get any real aficionado of the form frothing at the mouth, but between you and me let me tell you that this 'un does sound how-shall-I-say too refined next to the group's earlier efforts. But if you're into refined eighties indie rock and still find solo Hitchcock enticing you probably have this one already and don't give two hoots what I think about it, right?
The Lollipop Shoppe-JUST COLOUR CD (Revola England)

When I first heard this a looooong time ago I thought it was a mess of good intentions that sorta got gobbled up along the way. Nowadays I find this sole Lollipop Shoppe platter a little more...cohesive???? Well, it STILL doesn't seem to hold up as a solid whole for solid holes like myself, but nowadays I can't help but noting all of the boffo West Coast reference points that make this a definite keeper. Traces of Love, early Alice Cooper circa. PRETTIES FOR YOU and of course the Seeds can be discerned, and even when Fred Cole and company seem to be going off on a wild goose tangent you can appreciate the whacked out approach even if you kinda think it's screwed. The rare post-LP single on Shamley is also included, but that's a real sickie (or so Erik Lindgren once said) which is why the stuck it on at the end.
Phil Ochs-CHORDS OF FAME 2-LP set (A&M)

I s'pose I should hate Ochs if only because this comsymp was the idol of more'n a few of my grade and high school teachers (the young just outta-college gal types who would lambaste us third graders for not caring about the problems and troubles in this world), but like I always do I thought I'd give the guy a chance with this '76 double set that was pushed out to cash in on the guy's recent deep-sixing.

And here's da verdict----although I find most all of his solo acoustic folkie material too derivative of the more earthier Dylan folk grumblings, Och's electric (read: commercial) trackage is rather pleasing. In fact at times it could be quite invigorating. But the message-laden preciousness of it all tends to wear thin to the point where I loathe all of those teachers even MORE for adhering to this feelygood wash and trying to jam it all down our eight-year-old suburban slob throats.

Liner notes by the Fugs' Ed Sanders attempt (and mostly fail) to keep the revolutionary spirit alive at a time when nobody seemed to care anymore, while at least one live track was recorded during Och's stay at Max's Kansas City when Patti Smith was making her professional debut as the opening act. (And you dear reader can make up your own sweet and poignant closing line to this review considering what I was about to say was telegraphed a good ten miles in advance and it would just be too OBVIOUS for me to blurt it out myself!)  Overall it's nothing but something that reminds me of somethings that remind me of just what a struggle it was being a ranch house kiddie forced to deal with world savers.
Country Joe and the Fish-ELECTRIC MUSIC FOR THE MIND AND BODY CD-r burn (originally on Vanguard)

While we're on the subject of how the sixties mighty protesters have fallen, gotta say that ELECTRIC MUSIC still don't sound as revolutionary as more than a few snoots have suggested. Even with the psychedelic organ swirls I find the whole shebang rather tame compared with the sustenance we call sixties garage band rock, and although it is more'n easy to see why some up-and-front sixties rock ranters swear by them all I can discern's the entire collapse of hard-edged protest rock into the miasma of late-sixties peacenlove happy-happy. Nothing to sneer at, mind you, but nothing that'll speak to my 1966 sense of rock 'n roll purity the way Sky Saxon does.
Moby Grape-20 GRANITE CREEK CD-r burn (originally on Reprise)

I must admit that I did have an aversion to listening to any of the post-Columbia-era Moby Grape albums if only due to rumor, but 20 GRANITE CREEK ain't nearly as bad as some of the schmucks out there made it out to be. The group still do the blooze/country/rock thing as precisely as they used to, and although there is quite a bit of that bloat-on gruff 'n tumble snarl that ruined many a platter for me extant it ain't like I'm gonna wanna rip this particular spinner off the way I so many of the early-seventies overwrought specimens of West Coast over-rambunctiousness. The re-emergence of Skip Spence in the band was a benefit, but why is he limited to only one composition, the surprisingly strong instrumental "Chinese Song"???
Screamin' Jay Hawkins-I PUT A SPELL ON YOU CD (Black Tulip, try Norton records)

I've been in the market for a neato collection of Hawkins' more scabrous tracks throughout the years, and I guess this one comes closest to what I've been looking for. Nothing otherworldly special about it (and in fact kinda supermarket/budget store worthy what with the lack of liner notes and tons of rare pix we all adore), but its packed with most of the better known Hawkins treasures as well as a number of rarities that pad these collections out so well.  And don't you think it was coincidental that I was listening to none other than "Constipation Blues" while suffering from the very same affliction, and whilst on the pot as well? I don't...sheesh, it seems like I'm ALWAYS suffering from not being able to dump the rock collection into the porcelain pool!
The Red Crayola-PARABLE OF ARABLE LAND 2-CD set (Charly/Snapper England), GOD BLESS THE RED KRAYOLA AND ALL WHO SAIL WITH IT CD (Charly/Snapper England)

Dunno how I passed up on these professionally-packaged and sourced from the masters reissues of the first two Red Crayola platters all these years (actually only four of 'em!), but I'm sure glad they have appeared in the presence of my bedside boom box at least this late in the underground psychedelic game. No need to tell you just how vital, essential, ahead of the game and downright FUN these releases are, and the detailed notes with rare information and even rarer snaps (the photo of the Familiar Ugly in the studio makes 'em out to look just like that teenage crime gang Audie Fulton and the Mod Squad who popped up in an episode of DRAGNET!) are enough to make us long-time under-the-underground types gush with pure addled record bin hopping glee! The sound's good (if that matters) and the overall care and love that was put into these projects is enough to make me wanna run down the street nude screaming in unbridled joy so until streaking makes a comeback MAKE MINE CRAYOLA!!!

Whatever happened to Slade indeed! I mean, here was this group who was pretty hot property back inna early/mid-seventies to the point where I'm sure more'n a few frazzled fanatical followers of the form were thinkin' they were the next Rolling Stones if not MC5 (though some had Black Oak Arkansas pegged as just that!). By the time 1976 had rolled in the hits they were having in ol' Blighty and elsewhere (not the US of Whoa!) had just dried up. I mean it was almost like they didn't even exist in the first place and nobody out there even seemed to remember them or even wanted to admit they ever existed for that matter!

And it was a shame too because although Slade weren't exactly a perfect group they delivered a good whalloping style of rock 'n roll that was part British pop and heavy metal with a little bitta punk in the ol' 1972 CREEM magazine definition thrown in for good magick. And these two platters which are an obvious attempt to cash in on the seventies recovered memory crowd only prove just what a fantab bunch these guys were along with the Sweet and the rest of those English acts that alla the snobs sneered at, but only distant Amerigan fanzine types could see as something beyond the teenybop curse that was laid on 'em by jealous progressive rock ditzes.

The Salvo release features the first two Ambrose Slade-era platters and as far as first tries go these guys did pretty otay. Slick true, but slick in that top-notch well produced way that sounded good enough to me back when I was twelve and the likes of T. Rex would pop up on the radio. Not always at Slade's best, but the tough pop sound, no matter how much it's aimed at the same geeky gal who sat next to you in school and smelled like stale gym socks, still manages to exude that tough nerve-rattle which might as well have been taken straight offa BACK IN THE USA! And if their cover of "Shape of Things to Come" ain't just that maybe I should find a better way to waste my time like salvaging gloves from the wastebaskets of proctologists county-wide.

The Polydor "Greatest Hits" package is cheezy looking enough but as usual that's part of the fun. Alla the big hits are here including that thing that Quiet Riot wrecked a good ten years later as well as that one where Jimmy Lea plays some tasteful violin, and for having everything all in one neat pile you can't do better. Unfortunately you can hear the group's downfall as they're somehow manipulated into mere product and at a time when we sure coulda used more high energy, but as the famous philosopher Heinrich Schtunk once said "dem's der breaks". But hey, even Slade at their cornballiest like on "Merry Christmas Everybody" sounds fresh enough that if I had seen this 'un in the import singles racks way back when well, I wouldn't buy the thing but I might pick it up to glance at the picture sleeve.

A band that should have experienced a full blown revival long ago, and as far as reeducating yourself these might come in handy, along with the live in Poland platter which I still think somebody just made up as a sick ethnic joke.
THE GOOD RATS CD (Repertoire. Germany)

Not quite better'n the MC5 and Stooges as some guy wrote in a letter to Lester Bangs that was printed in in some early-seventies issue of CREEM, but if I dare say so it's darn close. Well, not "close" but if you like late-sixties outta nowhere carnage in your music---y'know, the stuff that stood in stark contrast to the whole grain folk music that was beginning to make a comeback at the time---this should sate. True the horns and strings tend to irritate more than accentuate while you just WONDER why the producers get more pic space in the gatefold sleeve than the band (who ain't even mentioned by name!), but this album is prime post-Rascals white soul cum garage band pounce that still sounds great even fortysome years down the line. The Dictators done up by dagos five years before the fact? Maybe.

Two olde  tyme classics that I finally stooped to picking up digital-wize despite owning three vinyl copies of the former. SINGS remains the warped mid-sixties wonder it was even when Lester Bangs was drawing comparisons twixt Waters' moanings on "Black is the Color" to Yoko Ono's extraterrestrial experiments, and like Ono's early-sixties Cagean works (as well as her solo extrapolations) there is a heavy and dark En Why See feeling that just reeks of the gritty ennui those "filmed on location" bits of cinema made in the burgh always heaped up on me. COLLEGE TOUR is even more avant in approach thanks to the touring ESP stable backing her up, and both of these do make for a nice bitta free sound to play 1965 college pseudointellectual to! Well, at least before you discover the life-reaffirming strains of Grace Slick or something like that. No nude photos, alas.
BUDDY HOLLY & THE CRICKETS 3-CD set (Real Gone Rock & Roll); ROCKIN' BUDDY HOLLY CD (Ting-A-Ling)

Stop da presses time here, for BUDDY HOLLY & THE CRICKETS has just about everything that the guy laid onto wax within its four silver dollar sides from all of his album and single cuts, session work of varying interest as well as the 1960 Crickets effort that gave us the original "I Fought the Law"! The package may be sterile considering the lack of a slam-bam informative booklet, but if you go on line and weed out alla that nauseating fan dribble ("Oh Buddy how we miss you and there's nothing else in this world for me to do now that you've been dead for over fifty-five years boo hoo slobber slobber!!!") maybe something of interest on the man will pop up. Though I kinda doubt it. You might want to also know that ROCKIN' BUDDY HOLLY has a few repeats from any and/or all of the above on it, but the alternate takes and newies that do show up'll make you feel a whole lot more complete in your Hollyphilia than you already are. But all I wanna know is...did someone tape the time Buddy and his folks got into a heated argument because they wouldn't let Little Richard stay for supper??? That would make for a great disc at any cost!
Lol Coxhill-FLEAS IN CUSTARD LP (Caroline England)

A legendary one (well, at least it was one if you used to read MELODY MAKER's jazz coverage in the seventies), but not as maddening "out there" as I would have hoped. Side A's duet with electric guitarist G. F. Fitzgerald ain't what you'd call out-there AACM atonal catharsis, but it is a slightly intriguing slice of chamber jazz that goes off on its own proper tangents. Closer to the English "new jazz" thing than to the Amerigan urban variety, but I'm sure most discerning listeners have come to that conclusion long ago. The flip has Coxhill talking about a variety of jobs he had held (including one where he tossed cow heads into a crusher) as well as engaging in various solo saxophone excursions usually filtered through some type of electronic gadgetry. Slightly liberating, but then again there's that whole dinge of cultured proper behaviour that seems to permeate most aspects of British Isles jazz approach whether it be trad or avant. Maybe if he had only moved to France, 'cause at least those guys knew how to blare out!
Juicy Groove-FIRST TASTE picture disc LP (Payola)

For years I've passed on this one if only out of fear (of losing money if not a good forty minutes outta my life), but Greg Shaw's review of the Rainbow Stardust "Two Shy"/"Starry Ride" single in an old BOMP certainly opened up my orbs! That's on here as well as other downright punk rock-y tracks from this neo-Seeds related groupage that not only featured guitarist/singer Stardust but former Steppenwolf somethingorother Mars Bonfire and Zappa/Beefheart crony Elliot Ingber. Don't let the hippie looks fool ya, this is great repeato-riff post-sixties garage band-styled rock 'n roll that true, does have a tinge of that love and beads commune-sorta bent to it, but it still sounds so out of time that it could have been late-sixties leftovers on one hand and Rodney Bingenheimer English Disco fodder on the other.
Giorgio-SON OF MY FATHER CD (Repertoire, Germany)

The single was hotcha enough, but a whole album from this pre-Donna Summer masterwhiz??? Sure why not, especially after reading Gene Sculatti's review of it in FUSION where he dropped hints about a Seeds influence which of course would get my waxy ear canals in an uproar! Nothing as crucial as Sky Saxon and Co. here true, but if ya like that cheap seventies Europop cheap that never did seem to appeal to anyone over fourteen (at least in my circle) you too will agree that the synthesizer does perk things up quite a bit! And so do the downright electronic pop numbers that sorta bridge the gap between the 1971 AM charts and...Abba???