Saturday, May 14, 2016

Nice seeing you here again! As you can tell by the length of this post I've been busier than a janitor at a school for the transgendered (c'mon, you get it!) writing up a whole slew of items I've actually had the unmitigated PLEASURE of hearing this week! Given the usual doldrums that typify what passes for rock 'n roll (or any other come to think of it) music these days I gotta say that it pretty much was a joy to give most of these spinners a thorough listen...really made these past seven a real toe tappin' time 'round here if you get my drift and for once I kinda feel about as happy as I did back when I was fifteen, rambunctious, eager to listen to all sorts of sounds and was able to scrape up a few bucks to actually go into a record store wishing I had a few more bucks scraped up so I could actually buy an album!

Once again thanks to Bill Shute, Bob Forward, Paul McGarry, P.D. Fadensonnen, Weasel Walter, the guys from HACKAMORE BRICK and my employer for not firing me. And although I could fill up reams of space blabbing about everything from the current world situation to my recent eating experiences I'll just stick to the music this time, so as I've said many-a-time without further ado...

Robert Bensick Band-FRENCH PICTURES IN LONDON LP (Smog Veil)

I had my doubts. After all, this Bensick guy was one of those oft-touted Cleveland talents who used to get loads of praise in the pages of THE PLAIN DEALER usually at the expense of the likes of say...John Morton, Jamie Klimek or even Bernie and his Invisibles which really used to gall me to no end! Well, Bensick certainly didn't get as much press as Michael Stanley (pardon me while I puke!) but he sure got enough from the same media types who sure wished that the entire Cle underground Velvetspew would "go away" by acting as if it didn't even exist, only to go 'round claimin' that they were always fans and followers of it a good fortysome years after the fact because now it's a really cool 'n hepcat thing to do so!

But hey this album, recorded summer '75 by Bensick and band (which included a good portion of the Plaza scene who eventually became the backbone of the whole Pere Ubu cadre more/less) isn't the work of some industry hack trying to make it really big in the music biz. FRENCH PICTURES IN LONDON in fact is nothing but a snide li'l artyfact that sure brings up a whole lotta good memories of the seventies 'stead of all the horrid ones which continue to permeate my mind. Bensick might sound a little too fey vocalwize for my stomach, but his multi-instrumental talents really carry the platter and the material is pretty professional (yet not techwhiz like say, Todd Rundgren could get at times) especially for some under-the-counter kinda guy who got knocked off A&M for no good reason. The various players Ubu or not also do the platter good, not exactly sounding like the Ubu that would close out the seventies with a rather frightening vision but fine enough at least by patented BLOG TO COMM standards.

Musically this does get into some intellectual proggy territory at times, but mostly comes off hotcha jazz rock without its irritating side having you reaching for the ipecac. Imagine an early if less pretentious take of Steely Dan mixed with Gary Wilson's YOU THINK YOU REALLY KNOW ME with some Roxy Music moves tossed in and maybe you'll get an idea of how FRENCH PICTURES comes off with regards to seventies aesthetics.

Another winner from Smog Veil, complete with packaging that'll stun your corneas (wait'll you read the book as well, complete with one ne'er before seen by these peepers live photo of a BTC fave!) which'll certainly go with the stunned ears the platter will most certainly give. If you (like me) are still holding that wake for the seventies in the privacy of your own farted up bedroom this'll be a great one to spin in between the salty pretzels and warm/flat Dr. Pepper.
Weasel Walter Large Ensemble Featuring Henry Kaiser-IGNEITY: AFTER THE FALL OF CIVILIZATION CD (ugEXPLODE, available via CD Baby)

WW leads (and I do mean "lead" as in the way jazz drummers a la Sunny Murray etc.drove their ensembles as if their sticks were cracking whips could) an eleven-piece band that blares and shapes itself into a myriad of beyond-free playing. Reminds me a whole lot of Rudolph Grey's oft-circulated but never issued "Flaming Angels" even if IGNEITY kinda makes that one sound like incidental music for THE DONNA REED SHOW. If you think that Ornette's FREE JAZZ was the unmitigated beginning of the enlarged out-sound ensemble then this might very well be the end all. Massive reduction here, not for the squeamish or fans of that music that seems to be passing for "jazz" these days (y'know, the kind that requires you to wear a bowtie whether you're going to a club or not!).
Hackamore Brick-SNAILS IN ASTORIA CD (HBM 1001---try CD Baby)

Well there ain't any "Zip Gun Woman" on it but doggone it if SNAILS IN ASTORIA isn't a platter that kinda suckers you into its pleasantness. With a definitely mid-seventies pop sound that tries to evoke past AM successes, the duo of Chick Newman and Tommy Moonlight present for us some pretty sucker-you-in numbers that evoke the more folk rock-y side of what was going on in underground New York! And they sure do work the way you wish a whole lotta "soft rockers" of the day would. Imagine if all of those hit-making acts of the day you hate (say---Orleans or even that much loathed Jim Croce) were actually clever, took their moves from the poppier British Invasion acts and had some interesting chord changes in their compositions (and weren't overproduced to the point of schmaltz) and you might get the idea of what this sounds like. But better you pick up a copy for won't hurt and sheesh, you might even think higher of me for it!
Reverend Raymond Branch-THE RAINBOW GOSPEL HOUR...ON THE AIR! CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions, check blogroll for more info)

For a change of pace, KSE sets aside the avant garde for this bitta weirdness courtesy of some nice ol' kinda guy called Reverend Branch and his weekly radio show THE RAINBOW GOSPEL HOUR. Originally broadcast on KTYM-AM April 18, 2010 smack dab inna middle of the night, the Good Rev. moans and groans through a whole buncha hymns backed by either some newfangled synth-type contraption or some pre-recorded disques sounding like the modern-day version of those pump organ tent crusades that used to pepper up the place. And that's not including TWO ads he does for his good friend Brother Louie, the tax specialist!

After sitting through this 'un I certainly got the impression that Reverend Branch was either trying to hook some souls who are either coming down from an all-night drug trip or who were holed up in their urban cramped quarters afraid to leave the premises until it got light out. There is an ethereal atmosphere to Branch's songs that gave me an eerie feeling of things that seem so vivid but only existed in my more feverish night time dreams. The overall effect kinda reminds me of the time I had my first tooth abcess back June 1983 way and I was wallowing in agony throughout the night and all that I could pick up onna tee-vee was the snowy religious station outta Canton. And believe-you-me, that only added to the overall miserable feeling that was pounding away in my jaw! If you want to osmose my misery, play this on the next humid summer night around three inna morn while biting on a piece of aluminum foil!

Slapped this 'un on the laser launcher thinkin' it was gonna be one of those bottom of the barrel sixties garage band dredgers, the kind we've been hearing these past thirtysome years (and paying good money for under the impression that they were every bit the NUGGETS/PEBBLES wowzers that turned heads way back when). Turns out I was WRONG (something that I rarely am) because hey, this STRANGE WORLDS thingie really does cook enough mid-sixties feeling to make me wanna hop in the car, head for the corner grocer and cop a can of Borden brand milkshake. From the cheezarama opening cover of "Get Offo (sic) My Cloud" by Dave Stan and Robin (mostly instrumental with a weird teenage chant for the chorus that sounds like it was being handled by the entire female class from MR. NOVAK) to an ode to Superman sung by some Tony Harris, STRANGE WORLDS 3 gives you a pretty good idea of just where mid-Amerigan teenage minds were bubblin' about in the middle portion of the sixties.

Gotta admit that the Neutrons' version of "Don't Be Cruel" kinda sounded too lambchop sideburns and medallion pendant for my tastes but hey, better this than listening to Joan Baez moan sad songs about people who undoubtedly wouldn't be allowed to be even within ten miles of her.

#5 in the series, this one taken from a '76 session that didn't even get the official release until a good three decades later. Can't see why because THE LABYRINTHS OF KLIMSTER just reeks of mid-seventies concept album progressivism to the point where I thought maybe I should "diss" this 'un on the mere basis of its title! But even with the typical synthesizer droning I gotta admit that this really ain't that bum of an effort even if a good part reminded me of the usual SHUT UP AND PLAY YOUR GUITAR flash that had everything but spirit goin' for it. Still a whole lot more better'n the usual guitar god up 'n down the scales look how fast I can play jive which suckered in more'n a few pimplefarms back in the seventies, and today as well come to think of it.
Various Artists-WAY IN TO THE 70's CD-r burn (originally on Polydor Europe)

These budget progressive rock compilation albums were once as common as skin tag burn marks on my face, and other'n a few early-seventies Harvest entries and maybe a Vertigo or two w/Black Sabbath on 'em all I gotta say to the entire concept  of  'em is fooey! The usual generic toss-together for the cheap-o hippies who couldn't afford buying these albums separately, with only the fusion burn of Tony Williams' Lifetime daring to sate my savage soul. At least slabs like this make all of the good moments in seventies rock 'n roll sound better which might mean that if you need an incentive to make your punk rock records come off even livelier well then, by all means give this 'un a try!
Rusalnaia-THE GIRLS (or is is The Girls-RUSALNAIA???) CD-r burn

Sure wasn't in the mood for any female folk singing when I slapped this 'un into the machine, but dang didn't the downer folk groove just latch onto me like aural Quaaludes or whatever seventies ref you find handy lo these many years later. Great if you think Nico's a little too stimulating or just can't locate any ether. Only trouble with this 'un is that the thing started sticking by the time track #5 popped up so I didn't get to enjoy this leap back into olde English Folke Ballades in its entirety. And call me a liar, but I really do get the feeling that I woulda enjoyed this one alla way through!
THE WINKIES CD-r burn (originally on Chrysalis, England)

Without Eno at the helm I gotta admit that the Winkies sound like...well, they sound like Eno just ain't at the helm if you get mah drift! Nothing bad here mind you, but dang if there just ain't some element of creative spark missing from the entire proceedings that makes what could have been a unique listening experience rather mediocre. Kind of a snooze in fact even if I gotta admit that Philip Rambow and company do tend to drive on a steady course that doesn't really offend my own listening parameters.

Then again they don't "excite" said parameters either. And whatever you do, don't get me started on the cover photo because hey, I'm still trying to keep to my New Years resolution about not saying anything nasty about my "betters", and if there ever was an opportunity to do so it would most certainly be through this very snap!

Can you match wits with the great detective and solve these baffling crimes? Of course not! Talk about convoluted crime solving based on little shards heretofore unknown facts that only .000001% of the population knows! But then again, that's why Ellery Queen's a detective and you're not! Still, you'll have a ton of fun trying to guess why the service station attendant was guilty of arson or how Lopez the gambler managed to make his suicide look like a mob bumpoff even if your conclusions are gonna be about as far off the beaten track of logic as mine were!

A fun change of pace from the usual stuff but hey, while I'm at it I gotta take issue with the cover blurb onna left which states that this program was syndicated to radio stations "circa 1965-1967" if only because well...the Gulf Oil Corp. logo on the ad repro'd on said cover is the old orange disc one which was replaced by the current Gulf logo around 1963 way! So then it is more than obvious that these Ellery Queen radio shows date from an earlier time though I don't doubt that they were still making the radio rounds into the early eighties like the cover sez! The best thing about this li'l fact is that I figured out that the blurb was bogus in way less than a minute! Y'see, I can be a dick too...a private dick that is!
Anton Ignorant-LA CASA DE SAL 2-CD-r burn set

Originally on cassette, this double-duty whopper's probably a good enough intro and outro to this Spanish musician's entire musical makeup. Sorta borders between dada chopshop and bedroom cassette lonely boy electronic blurp. At times symphonic, at others a whole lotta sonic gargle that Nurse With Wound sure wish they should have come up with, and even others something like John Cage writing a piece for ol' Jimi himself! That's only disque #1---on the other 'un the sound of waves crash and gulls crow as a voice speaks intermittently and what sounds like a zither plays harp-like tones. It's almost like the soundtrack for some forgotten early-sixties art film! A nice diversion, that is if you like nice diversions like this!
Various Artists-PERPETUAL CROSSTOWN SCORPIO CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Good gunk here, what with a nice array of rare mid/late-sixties wowzers that (believe it!) are new to mine ears like the Crosstown Bus (weren't they part of the Detroit high energy scene?) and K. Lawson and Four More, whoever they was. These garage band-y rarities aren't even bottom of the barrel scrapers but downright worthies that woulda lit up those early PEBBLES and BOULDERS platters had these somehow gotten out a whole lot earlier'n now.

Now I was a bit surprised that David Santo's "Rising of Scorpio" wasn't about the movie while I couldn't make out much if not all of what George Jessel was saying about Al Jolson, but call me cornball and send me to Nantucket but I actually liked the Columbia Orchestra's "Musical Snapshots" which I think woulda accompanied an old silent moom pitcher a whole lot better'n those slicked up sounds that one hears on TCM.

In all a fine way to spend one's quite time but one final query...what is that strange bongo drum track that pops up between "Won't Come Down" and "50 BC Man" anyhow...sure ain't listed on the cover!

1 comment:

Charles Hodgson said...

Hey Chris, Shame that Rusalnaia cdr broke down. It looks from the picture like The Girls (of "Jeffrey, I Hear You" fame) were on there too with the "Punk Dada Pulchritude" LP recently issued on Feeding Tube.