Monday, October 31, 2016

COMIC BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! GUNFIGHTERS #82 (Charlton Comics, January 1984)

Charlton Comics was running on fumes by the mid-1980’s. They still had a distribution network, but their non-comic publications such as HIT PARADER were not what they once were (HIT PARADER in the mid-to-late 80’s was a metal-oriented magazine! More often than not, Ozzy was on the cover. I also remember they would champion the 1980’s Kinks, for which I thank them). I cannot quote chapter and verse on this, but from the Charltons I bought back in the 80’s and the ones from that era which I’ve found cheaply and purchased in the years since then, it seems they relied a lot on reprinting older material (they were so starved for cheap content, they even encouraged fans to submit comics for consideration). Many of Steve Ditko’s earlier Charlton comics were reissued in this period, although at the time, I did not know if they were new or old. Ditko liked the creative freedom he’d been given at Charlton (kind of like director Edgar G. Ulmer at PRC Pictures....if you would work cheap and were a professional who could deliver a product on time, you could do what you want creatively--the boss was concerned only about having product), so whenever I stumbled across a Ditko piece in HAUNTED or GHOST MANOR or some other Charlton title back then, I did not know if he was back at Charlton again or if it was older work being re-used (and with the exhaustive comic histories now available on the internet, I’ve learned that some of his work re-published by Charlton in the 80’s was more than 25 years old!!!). After all, there is a timeless quality to a horror comic.

The same was true for western comics. It’s not like those would date, and Charlton was never a publisher to go for contemporary or edgy/artsy comic art. It’s kind of surprising that there was still an audience for western comics in 1984. I would still buy them here and there, but based on my observations at the time, I’d say that they tended to be most popular in the small and moderate-sized towns of the Midwest, South, and Southwest. Charlton had had a number of successful western comic series over the years, some based on figures such as Billy The Kid, others based on western film stars such as Lash LaRue or Tex Ritter. When I was growing up in Colorado, there were still many “ghost towns” and also small towns that still looked like they belonged in some 1930’s independent western shot on real locations and not constructed sets. As a teenager I worked at the County Fairgrounds (right down the hill from where I lived), which featured rodeos, and there were always horses there (and shoveling horse manure and digging post-holes there was my first “real” job at age 14, not counting earlier lawn-mowing and the like), so when you add all that up, it’s no surprise that I chewed tobacco as a teenager and wore cowboy boots for a few years (I had to re-learn how to walk properly after I finally got rid of the boots) and read western comic books....and was still buying them in my 20’s (heck, I STILL buy them today, when I stumble across them at junk stores and antique malls and they are cheap).

GUNFIGHTERS is a series Charlton ran in the 60’s and then revived from 1979-1984 (this particular issue is the second-to-last). Of course, that’s such a broad concept that you can throw almost any western comic property into it. Western comics tended to have more gunfights and bank robberies than the cattle rustling or water-rights plots you’d see in B-western films. I suppose cattle rustling would not look too exciting on the comic page. This later run of GUNFIGHTERS consisted of a lot of old western material from the 50’s and 60’s, reused here in a new package. Much of the content in this 1984 comic is reprinted from a 1966 issue of OUTLAWS OF THE WEST. In fact, the cover of the 1984 GUNFIGHTERS comic is just a re-tooling of the old OUTLAWS cover (see pictures of both). (Ed. note---this is nothing new is comic book rehashing---DC and Marvel were also famous for re-using old covers, at times updating them with pictures of Nixon where Eisenhower once was!)

At the core of this issue we have three stories dealing with outlaw Cole Younger, of the Younger Brothers fame, and colleague of Frank and Jesse James. The stories depict various bank robberies, his time with Quantrill’s Raiders, and his time in the Confederate army....the “Blazing Fast, Six-Gun Action” ballyhooed on the cover is certainly delivered, but Younger is not really depicted in an interesting way. Even in a minor Billy The Kid product--movie or comic book or pulp story or whatever--Billy is usually either wacko or charming or misunderstood or whatever, but there’s some motivation for him to do what he does. The same is true for Jesse James. The stories here tell of how Younger worked his way up to his famous outlaw status....and we do get a story devoted to the legendary botched Northfield, Minnesota robbery that ended his criminal career, as well as explaining his final years in prison after that. The problem is that he’s basically a cipher, a place-holder. There’s nothing really distinctive about him in any of the three lengthy stories, no backstory that provides motivation (and that could have been provided in one or two panels, as most kids reading this might know his name but not his “legend,” whatever THAT was), not even any character quirks or distinctive habits.

However, I cannot imagine some 12 year old living on a ranch outside Goodland, Kansas, would be complaining much. There’s action, gunfights, scheming outlaws, colorful western settings, the expected clichéd western dialogue, etc., and Cole Younger is one of those famous “outlaw names,” so what else could the juvenile or adolescent reader want? Charlton, cynical though it may have been, certainly knew its audience.

And speaking of audience, it’s often said that if you want to know a publication’s audience, look at the advertisements. Clearly, most of the ads are aimed at adolescent and even adult (in their 20’s or 30’s, maybe) readers, NOT children. There are the expected Charles Atlas-style “be a he-man” ads, but there are THREE different FULL PAGE ads that deal with wanting to use mind-control over another person, and it’s strongly suggested that that’s a woman. One is selling a plastic “Venus Love Goddess” statue, which you are supposed to use “thought power” on and then MAKE SOMEONE LOVE YOU FOR ONLY $3! There’s another one promising AUTOMATIC MIND COMMAND and then another selling some booklet on HOW TO READ ANYONE’S MIND, with a picture of a woman in a bra having her mind read (presumably by the sweaty-palmed reader). It does not take Dr. Freud to figure out what audience these ads are aimed at and what deficiency (or perceived deficiency) in the readers’ lives is being manipulated here. The ads for weight-loss products (do 12 year olds need those?) and hair-loss products further confirm the older members of the audience for this mag.

For me, the glory days of lowest-common-denominator, mass-market comic books died out with Charlton’s going under in the late 1980’s. When you pick up a late-period Charlton comic such as this one, you are taking a walk into a pre-Internet world where comic books were not some specialized, fetishized cult product around which a nerd-underground would form. No, they were a taken-for-granted, low-end part of popular culture. They were considered throwaway, of no lasting value. And that, of course, is why they are of value, why they are a pure creation, why they are a window into a world that will never return, a world that is little understood by those who did not live through it in the belly of the whale, a world that revisionist historians and cultural critics don’t even bother to get wrong as they don’t care about it. We at BTC remember, however. And we’ll never forget, until we reach that Dodge City in the sky, where there’s no internet, where people are not chained to portable devices feeding them corporate content and manufactured info-tainment masquerading as news, where there are still UHF stations that fill their broadcast days with dubbed historical Italian adventure films starring Lex Barker and Guy Madison and public domain 1950s TV shows, where Charles Starrett and Tim Holt and Gene Autry come to mind when the word “hero” is spoken (and where we know the names of their horses), where Mickey Spillane is still writing new books and doing beer commercials, where Mamie van Doren is entertaining the troops overseas, and where Elvis is still around and appearing next week in Wichita or Tulsa. If you wanted to, you could drive for five hours and catch The King live....and if you are a lady, he might throw you a scarf. Unfortunately, the King is dead...and I’m not what I once was either....but I refuse to get a smart-phone and I don’t drink lite beer....I’m not interested in whatever “app” they want me to download, and I will not pay Starbucks $4 for a bitter yuppie cup of coffee.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Well I'll be fanabla'd! We've actually had some nice 'n dark autumn days here just perfect for stayin' marooned in my bedroom reading old comic book/strip collections and listening to those cool Cee-Dees that Bill, Bob and Paul have sent my way. In udder words I finally got a chance to lean back and do some battery recharging for a change, and boy do I still feel tired!

Sheesh, if nobody was looking I'd even drag alla my old Corgi and Dinky Toys out and make up a city street scene like I used to do back during those funtime turdler days of yore, kinda lookin' over the pretend buildings and cars as if I were none other than God himself while PETE AND GLADYS reruns blared from the boob tube.

(Speaking of PETE AND GLADYS didja know that this DECEMBER BRIDE spinoff is where I first found out at a young and tender age about hypnotism via an episode where Pete [officer Bill Gannon of DRAGNET to you!] either hypnotizes or is hypnotized? Still can remember seeing him swinging that pocket watch back and forth telling his subject that he was getting sleepy asking my mother what the *%#& was going on! It was aired during the mid-late morning hours when CBS was using this by-now canceled show to pad time before the game shows came on, and if anyone out there who is writing a biography of me can find out when this particular episode was rerun you can pinpoint the very same day I discovered this rather occult if fun-looking practice, so get to work all of you budding nitpickers out there!)

As far as the music being reviewed this week goes well...didn't get to the Bob Forward burns quite yet (actually I played one whose title escapes me that begins with a freaky electronic sound reminiscent of Faust, though by the time the latest MX-80 Sound album came on it was stop and go all the way---guess that will be part of my next Forced Exposure order sometime in December!) nor did I get to the freebees that Feeding Tube and Bruit Direct Disques passed my way, but I did get to the following bunch which only goes to prove that one of my weeks probably equals one of your seconds and though you will probably out-live me at least it'll all seem longer in my case!

Rubber City Rebels-RE-TIRED CD-r burn (originally on White Noise Records)

From what I can tell this release's got the Rubber City Rebel side of the Clone album they shared with the Bizarros along with a then-contemporary live show that actually sounds way snatter'n what the cover notes suggest. Either way these recordings prove that the Rebels were not one of those carbon copy punk rock acts that certain wags made 'em out to be but one that in fact took more'n just a "few" cues from the more metallicized punks of the past---y'know, the ones who for some reason weren't that popular with a good portion of the spiky haired gang once 1977 rolled into town even though they made it possible for those kinds of bands to spout up inna first place. Overall a great slice of rock 'n roll music that sure brings back memories, not of actually appreciating this music first-hand but trolling through the used bins of the Cleveland/Akron area looking for items like these tossed off by preppies moving onto even more hip 'n with it sounds once the sublime seventies were moving into the aching eighties.
Frumious Bandersnatch-A YOUNG MAN'S SONG CD-r burn (originally on Ace Records, England)

I always had the inkling that San Francisco's Frumious Bandersnatch woulda been one of those loco groups who came closer to the likes of the Flamin' Groovies and Moby Grape in their approach to West Coast caterwaulings than they would the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. Y'know, with more of the good timey yet driving guitar and harmony vocals that both the Dead and Plane might have excelled in at one point but ditched once the acid became a li'l purer than any of us woulda imagined. Turns out that (once again) I was right because this live at the Matrix gig has the Bandersnatch cooking the way you liked the Grape to...with wild lead guitars intertwining along with vocals that haven't yet reached the Whole Grain "Suite Judy Blue Eyes" stage at this time. Pretty exciting music was to be made that night, although I should admit that the gig gets slightly tiring in spots when the music just doesn't adrift the way I woulda liked it to. Maybe that was just my stressed out nerves collapsing after a usually hard day. Still wouldn't mind hearing their legendary if obscure self-produced platter.

If ya ask me these tracks really ain't that much different'n a whole lotta the local action music you woulda found in most parts of the US of Whoa during the fifties. In other words, if you're thinking of heading towards Wilkes-Barre Pee-YAY! to cop something different from the usual musical blooze, save the gas money. Most of these single sides are pepped up pop numbers that might give you a tingle (Joe Noto and his Diplomats with Phyllis Ruby and the Rea Sisters' "The Rock 'n Roll Beat" had a strange appeal that might be only rock 'n roll in name but wha' th' hey!) but for the most part music like this just doesn't work over my psyche unless it has something to do with bringing back memories of hygienic and nice looking ladies who served cheeseburgers in long-gone dives. Don Woody's "Not I" has a slight rockabilly romp to it that might appeal to the more serious lovers of the form, but then again as many people have said these past thirtysome years what do I know???
Billy Childish with the Singing Loins-AT THE BRIDGE CD-r burn (originally on Damaged Goods)

If you thought that folk music was more or less performed by a buncha pampered upper-class self-blessed deities who were so ashamed of their standing in life that they just hadda do some spiritual slumming by donning old clothes and yodeling about the plight of those less fortunate than they are (unless they're not that
less fortunate, that is!) well, maybe you are right! However, these supposedly old English folkie classics (yeah, right!) as done up by the legendary Billy Childish along with the Singing Loins kinda put the folk (as in downhome slobs who hack up a whole lotta coal-laden phlegm) back into folk music ifyaknowaddamean. With their guttural English accents and clangy playing, Childish et. al. actually do sound more like some authentic folk music performers rather'n cultured musicologists and even when they slip some standard rock riffs into their work it still comes off down to earth. Best of all, no "Kumbaya" to be heard let alone "Tom Dooley"...put that in your sweat sock and smoke it!
Frank Foster-FEARLESS CD-r burn (originally on Prestige)

Bill Shute knows that I could use more 'n more freedom avant jamz in my musical vocabulary, but these bop sides are a nice diversion from the usual atonal fun. Foster and band drive through mostly a bunch of originals doing the late-fifties jazz groove thing pretty well-behaved and all, and it did make for a good afternoon off reading old comic strips and the like. Though between you me and the bedpost, for music that really grabs me by the psyche and drives me into a whole load of universes only autistic art appreciation minors could conjure up in their feeble minds its the hard drive of BYG, Arista/Freedom and anything even remotely connected for me and (at least I feel like this some of the time) NOTHING ELSE AT ALL!!! I do appreciate Bill's attempt to edjamacate me the same way Veronica would ply Jughead with anchovy paste and cologne to acquaint him with the finer things in life but sheesh, maybe I am too ruff 'n tumble to be tamed!
The Bintangs-BLUES ON THE CEILING CD-r burn (originally on Decca Holland)

Former "indorock" group from the Netherlands that, unlike genre leaders the Blue Diamonds and Tielman Brothers, didn't go the soft adult contemporary path to midaged musings once the Golden Age began to tarnish. In fact if this platter is any indication the Bintangs became a pretty solid r&b group whose output was...shall I say...rather kinetic in attitude and performance even if overall these guys were nothing that special next to the likes of the Pretty Things or Downliners Sect. Nothing punky about 'em true, though if you tend to go for some of the wilder reimagings of old standards done up for the solid body guitar set complete with long locks and psychedelic attachments you just might go for this 'un!
THE EASY CHAIR CD-r burn (originally on Vanco Records)

Jeff Simmons' "Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up" was one of the better tracks on the ZAPPED one buck Bizarre/Straight Records sampler of yore and I personally think it was a smart move for Zappa to have tapped him for the Mothers of Invention Mark II even if he didn't last so long. However I can't say too much uppity about Simmons' pre-Mothers Easy Chair, a group that sounds like they might be on the verge of hitting an interesting rock groove but never really follow through the way you would have hoped. Kinda dirge-y music in fact. Maybe I can see why Zappa would foot the bill for two Simmons platters for Straight...after all wasn't that label supposed to be a tax write off (but eh, if I recall correctly those records were rather good---not that I've played them recently!)???

Yeah we're all familiar with the tee-vee series, but how many of you remember that before those days Ozzie and Harriet Nelson were also the stars of stage, screen and radio? Here are two 1945 vintage episodes of the radio version of THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET that should satiate any red-blooded fan of the television series, the first having to do with David (not played by the actual David Nelson---the real life kids weren't used until TV) selling one of Ozzie's old suit jackets to make some moolah and the other Ozzie's hypnotic abilities having more powers than any real-life hypnotist could dream of! Both are pretty good chuckle-oriented (in fact I believe the first one was re-done for the boob tube) and I was certainly surprised by the presence of Gloria the cook who never did pop up during the program's televised days. She sure sounds like a funny corker with that voice of hers and I'm sure that had she stuck around she really woulda lent some hefty belly laughs to the proceedings!
Richard H. Kirk-DISPOSABLE HALF TRUTHS CD-r burn (originally on Industrial Records)

Cab Volt foremember Kirk does good on the solo schtick, though there seems to be a humongous dimension (perhaps the rock 'n roll osmosis for wont of a better somethingorother) missing without his bandmates adding their guitars and squeals. Still good enough for a taste of the electronic music via punkist concerns thingie that was a real big smash back inna late-seventies, what with the industrial electronics whirring all over the place while strange tape loop voices try to convince you to do things you never thought you would wanna do in a millyun years. Sometimes I think I'd like to clobber these electronic music abstractions for plagiarizing my dreams, but Salvador Dali said the exact same thing about Robert Cornell quite awhile back and maybe if I do have to plagiarize better Dali'n anyone else on this planet!
Various Artists-SUNDAY PINOCHLE RUFFLES CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

There's a nice third world-y tone to this 'un, even though I doubt that the Los Angeles Azules could be considered third world by any stretch of the imagination. Still their "Rita" has this East El Lay sound to it that sorta reminds me of something that Zappa wouldn't have minded ripping off during the early-to-mid-seventies.

The African music suits me better'n a Brooks Brothers special as well, especially the Nigerian guitar playing of Mohamed Karzo whose "C'est La Vie" has a nice mournful tinge to it that kinda fits in with the dour weather we've been having these past few days. (So does Ketty Lester's "Gloomy Sunday", perfect for these overcast autumns that have you digging into the ol' comic book collection.)

On the other end of the spectrum, the "Unknown" group play a kinda snazzy form of progressive rock that ain't all fluff 'n fairies like Yes were, while Lee Morgan and Duke Ellington present some nice jazz soul that actually fits in well with the rest of these spinners. And with the Como Zoo Carousel Calliope and the All Star Trio battling against Steve Lacy, everything but your mind is bound to come up winnin'.

Nice selection that, whatever it has in it, ought to be bottled and sold like Scope.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

BOOK REVIEW! OUR BOARDING HOUSE DAILIES DARIES (b&w) 1934 by Gene Ahern (Ecomics Space, 2016)

A guy like me who dug the 1927 gathering of OUR BOARDING HOUSE dailies reviewed ages back would definitely be game for any other sampling of prime Gene Ahern comicdom that may be available. Thus these '34 comics come in mighty handily what with more of that same ol' cornballus yet sophisto screwball humor that might have stymied a suburban slob kiddo like me age ten, but nowadays come off like the sorta comic reading manna I've been hunkerin' for these past few odd decades.

Some pretty tasty storylines here including one where Major Hoople actually has a remarkably surprising streak of gambling luck much to the surprise of boarders Mack, Clyde and Buster, not to mention his fortunes with a supposedly bunk goldmine that actually hits big. Of course a li'l bitta bad luck does reign into the otherwise boom-filled world of Hoople when his lookalike 'cept for the bald head brother Jake comes to town for one of his yearly mooch offs and tries suing the Major because Jake gave him the deed to the mine as collateral and wants what he thinks' a' comin' to him. And even the Major comes out on top on that 'un!

There's also a story brewin' where Hoople, on the advice of his odd jobs worker Jason, invests in a racehorse the Major names Dreadnaught not to mention the usual tall tales and even a few where nephew Alvin takes his violin lessons to new atonal heights equal to Jack Benny's workouts with Professor LeBlanc! Of course it's all a real sight to behold from the gag-infused dialogue to the old thin-pen style that looks as if each and every drawing took a good number of hours to complete what with the detail and other particulars just not seen these days. And although I've read a good portion of the 1935 strips via other collections and various clippings lying around well...just can't wait to read 'em again but you'll have to wait a few weeks to read what I think about THOSE...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Don't expect anything that I would call eye-opening or revelatory (yeah, I made that word up!) in this post. But then again, what else is new??? Let's just say that it was one of those weeks, a week that was so nada that I didn't even feel like grabbing one of those burns that Bob Forward sent me that's how nada the past seven days were for me. I did play a few items that both Bill Shute and Brad Kohler sent so it wasn't like a total loss, plus I did get a nifty freebee from Guerrsen in Spain which naturally makes me feel all the more impor-TANT! knowing that my personal opines matter more'n just to a person such as myself! Thanks for the spiritual uplift, Guerrsen!

Various Artists-COLOGNE CURIOSITIES---THE UNKNOWN KRAUT ROCK UNDERGROUND, 1972-1976 CD (Mental Experience, Spain)

Wish I had the liner notes to this freebee courtesy the people at Guerrsen Records if only to dig up some info on the so low they're under the bunker acts that appear on this sampler. Originally recorded for the obscurer than obscure Pyramid label, these curiosities do add a bit of dimension to the overall German Expressionist outlook that captured more'n a few import bin imaginations during the seventies.

The Astral Army do a good over-moog'd neo-punkish pop rock while Spirulina drift off into repeato riff dream music that you could see more'n a few heads in your pithy neighborhood shooting up to. Chronos blast out some rather intricate sorta-metal that vaguely reminds me of MX-80 Sound while Neil Andersen shoulda been sued by Achim Reichel and Machines. The aptly-named Baal do the occult rock thing sounding something like Iggy mighta during his mid-seventies El Lay jaunt (the vocals veer way close to Der Igster to make me think it was all just a "coincidence") and Ten to Zen oddly enough come off as the ultimo three-way meeting point between Kraftwerk, French progressive electronics and Metal Urbain. Closing out the whole shebang is Fuerrote who do the Cluster musique concrete thing pretty snat-like even throwing some weird guitar noodling in towards the end for good measure!

I guess there's more to this kraut thing than meets the ohrs and hopefully more will come out. Well, I sure could use some more of these acts in my life, and I get the feeling you probably do as well!
Chet Baker and the Lighthouse All-Stars-WITCH DOCTOR CD-r burn (originally on Contemporary)

This '53 recording is just a tad outside of my personal radarscope but it still has enough of that West Coast drive to it that makes it an ear-popper in my own personal playlist. Of course you gotta get that whole weird mystique about the guy outta your bean before you can really enjoy something like this, but even if you know the guy's history and legend and alla those things that are just jam-packed into dullsville biopics this does make for a strikingly good spin. Features some of the creem of the local West Coast crop including Jimmy Giuffre and Shelly Manne not forgetting Max Roach before he really began spouting the strange philosophical rant. Contains a version of "Winter Wonderland" that just might conjure up old Christmastime memories in your turdler-obsessed mind, but I kinda doubt it.
Eric Clapton-OLD SOCK CD-r burn (originally on Bushbranch)

Well, I guess that if Bob Dylan could record a whole buncha old-tymey tracks that hearken back to the pre-rock 'n roll days Eric Clapton could as well. However, no Nobel Prize will come from this 'un. Since I ain't exactly been following Clapton's recording career it ain't like I have anything to judge this particular platter by, but I am kinda surprised to hear him milking the same ol' reggae riffs this far down the line. The rest might get your grandpappy thinkin' that the kids have finally come to their senses. Hopefully it will have the exact opposite effect...gotta keep up that generation gap tension that made this music all the more merrier, eh???
Various Artists-YOU & ME BAK TO '69 VOLUME 2 CD-r burn

I've never been a reggae romper the way some of you sophisticados were (or remain for that matter), but I gotta say that this selection of early island sounds did make for a nice diversion from the usual diversions in my life. Nothing that I would call spectacular (to be old and cliched about it), but these sides do have a nice lilt to 'em that even recalls some early-sixties top 40 tries only done with that familiar oom-chukka riff that's been abused so much o'er the years but can still stir a soul when the moment is right. If you just get the whole whigger reggae fan stereotype outta your mind these numbers just might actually work for you!
The Mark Four-LIVE AT THE BEAT CLUB CD-r EP burn (originally on Bam Caruso, England)

Shows you just how outta the loop I am since I never even knew this recording existed! Three tracks by the pre-Creation Mark Four live, and the quality is pretty good considering the time and place it was recorded. Not too much in the way of bowed guitar or feedback, but the mid-sixties British blues/rock scene is pretty well represented with a boffo version of their Decca "a-side" "Hurt Me If You Will" as well as the old standbys "Got My Mojo Working" and "That's How Strong My Love Is". Coulda used an entire album of this, but I better be thankful for what I got!
Fossils-CAMELOT TOWERS CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions...see blogroll for more information)

Yet more from the now defunct Hamilton Ontario-based Fossils, who surprise with each and every release that comes out not only on Kendra Steiner Editions but the Middle James Co. if you can believe that. On CAMELOT TOWERS the duo of Daniel Farr and David Payne cook up a slew of sounds that you can wrap your prehensile mind around, at times doing these duos where one of 'em plays a Cecil Taylor-styled piano and the other clanks away on an acoustic guitar while at others producing electronic sounds that remind me of my stomach around suppertime when its gurgling on real loud like. For some strange reason I was reminded of watching Sunday morning television during my younger years when CAMERA THREE would present somethingorother on twentieth-century musical compositions written by guys with Albert Einstein hair. Relive those lost days of wading through educational television while waiting for the cartoons to come on with CAMELOT TOWERS.

Since I have been called a "cylinder head" more than a few times I do have an affectation as Leo Gorcey would say for these early sound recordings. And given the novelty of actually hearing the voice of a famous politician of the day it's no wonder that the Edison Company cranked out more'n a few of these talking tubes just so's the yokels back in rural Ohio could spend a Saturday evening nestled around the player listening to musical and oratorical selections. Lemme tell ya, I felt like I was in one of those old OUT OUR WAY "Born Thirty Years Too Soon" comics listening to this.

A nice array can be found too with some interesting surprises. Sure the selections from that all-time soul stirrer UNCLE TOM'S CABIN ain't gonna bring a tear to anyone's eyes but Bullwinkle's (though I got a big laugh outta the cornballusness of the whipping scene as well as the introduction of Topsy), but it really is surprising to hear that Teddy Roosevelt had a rather high-pitched milquetoast-y voice without the big boom I woulda expected, while both William Howard Taft and William Jennings Bryan had remarkably mature voices that remind me of the kind of radio and television announcers that used to promulgate the airwaves until the advent of tweedom in the seventies. And I'm sure that the recreation of Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" as well as "Sheridan's Ride" would bring back fond memories in the mind of that Civil War vet in your life, unless he fought for the South that is.

Once again, a nice slice of an Ameriga that disappeared long ago, though if you prowl through old antique shops and local museums in small towns scattered across the fruity plain you might just get a li'l smidgen taste of it all.
Various Artists-LONEWOLF BLUNDERING BEDFORD CD-r burn (Bill Shute

A li'l early for Christmas, but why wait until the last minute???  This selection contains a good bunch of sixties local rock and power pop (actually the Limits from Allentown sound more mid-seventies post-Raspberries to these ears) which I gotta admit ain't exactly PEBBLES worthy ifyaknowaddamean but still packs more bop than the combined playlists of ten dozen AOR stations circa 1980. Stuck right inna middle of it all is an episode of the radio fave LONE WOLF which is kinda shall-I-say not as good as many of the competitors (a little too dry for my rather wet tastes), all capped off with yet another one of those ELLERY QUEEN MINUTE MYSTERIES which you'll never guess inna millyun years! If you like your listening tastes mid-Amerigan (or at least mid-Amerigan of a 1967-73 post-Beatles pop influence) this might be the next best thing to washing and waxing your rusted out 1963 Valiant!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

BOOK REVIEW! OUT OUR WAY 1923 DAILIES by J. R. Williams (Ecomics Space, 2016)

For the first full year of this usedta-be-infamous comic the details are beginning to come through. The rotundus Elf Dakin and Wash Funk are still to be seen, while the roots of the long-running Western stories (that would have classified OUT OUR WAY as the first western comic had these guys appeared every day) are just beginning to pop up. None of the familiar stars of this particular OUT OUR WAY subtext like Curly or Wes have yet to show up, though a guy who kinda resembles Cotton does in the one about a greased pig contest. Still Williams is improving on his art which is beginning to look more like the OUT OUR WAY I remember seeing when a youth which might figure since I think a buncha the ones that were appearing by the time I hit the comics scene were actually old Williams-era comics re-fitted for modern newspaper space consumption. I guess Williams' associate (and Sunday page artist) Neg Cochran was overloaded with other work for the NEA syndicate...who knows?

One running gag that really got my mind jumping was the one with the railroad crossing guard. You remember, those guys who used to come out and hold up a stop sign when the train would go by back in those pre-blinking light days. These guys used to stay in these little shanties and just sat around until the trains came and stood proudly with their long signs holding a whole lotta power over us pedestrians who hadda use the sidewalks! And yeah, one thing I really wanted to be back when I was a mere turdler was a railroad crossing guard...after all they gotta see alla the trains and hold up a sign and have control over a whole flock of people---talk about power! Well, in these comics it seems like the train engineer and his workers are always trying to think up some way to snatch the extremely small (telephone booth dimensions) shanty away from the guard and deposit it somewhere down the track---either that or pull some other rather cruel gag on this old kinda guy who ya'd think never did any harm to anyone and is always getting the rough end of the joke schtick. I'll tell ya, if you ever worked a menial blue collar job and stayed in a shanty and hadda take the usual numero dos from the workers and bosses (like Bill and I and maybe even you have at one point in time) then you'll really appreciate these particular panels I'll tell ya!

Loads of great comics here about a time that's long gone and (even if it shows a rare, soft side to my crusty exterior) I gotta admit that I really do feel kinda sad 'bout these being a relic of DEAD Ameriga 'n all. After all, a time and place where nobody got all offended about the slightest indignation and kids were allowed to be stoopid kids and guys hadda work hard for a pittance yet were able to get by fairly well ain't really that bad. And yeah we now have miracle medical treatments, deodorants and instant entertainment at our fingertips, but I kinda go for a world where there was a stability to life where reading the funnies was a highlight of the day you could look forward to just like I did along with looking forward to my favorite television programs and enjoying my model car collection. After reading OUT OUR WAY and seeing what postpostPOSTmodern life entails these sorry days all I gotta say is...where did we go wrong?????

Sunday, October 16, 2016


This week's blog title was created in honor of the current presidential election process. Y'know, this portion of "current events" really does give a new meaning to the phrase "up for grabs" if ya ask me (gotta get my much beloved badgags in early!).
Of course the real deal news of the week just has to be the plain unadulterated FACT that none other than Bobby Dylan himself has---now get this!---won the NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE, or so it was announced this very past Thursday morn! Sheesh, who amongst us (at least those of us who were alive) woulda ever thunk back '63 way that this smelly whiny folk beatnik type of guy would have been awarded one of those prizes that ya always thought would usually be given to old kinda guys wearing Malcolm X glasses and grey suits. Really, ya just gotta wonder if this guy won this award for his lyrics (I guess that the prize committee never did hear PLANET WAVES) or because he more or less is the last man standing and since he ain't English he can't be knighted like Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger were.

But the real question is---how can this richer'n you'll ever be multimillyunaire get to be a recipient of a prestigious prize and alla the moolah and acclaim attached to is while THIS particular blogger who has blessed the world with reams of fun time and informative rock scribing has to wallow about inna toilet of unappreciated moiling along with the rest of the rock scum that you just can't wipe away like the remnants of a particularly sticky bowel movement. Sure I'm a nobody and Dylan is a rich and famous troubadour for the times, but when you get down to the nitty gritty of it all---I can really use that filthy lucre and he can't!
In other news, I'm trying to (despite fervid opposition from REAL LIFE) live the perfect suburban slob lifestyle which has been a lot harder to do here in 2016 than it had been even a good fifteen or twenny (let alone fiftysome) years back. Right now I'm going through more and more of those old comic strip reprints via old paperbacks or recent softcover editions, some of which as I've previously stated will undoubtedly be mentioned on this blog as the months roll on. I'm even copping some tee-vee when time permits from my other "activities", usually an old moom pitcher or JACK BENNY whenever I get over the blooze regarding me even being ALIVE in this rather dullsville period in time. But soldier on I must, because who knows, 2017 just might turn out to be just as full and frolicsville as the 1958-1966 tee-vee/comics/moom pitchers/music/food seasons were for a ton of teenbo fanablas and if so, I wanna be first in line to see the remake of TILLIE'S PUNCTURED ROMANCE which I know will be a real side-splitter!
Hadda rely solely on handouts this week, so please whatever you do...THANK Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and Bob Forward for their generous givings. Might plop in an order to Forced Exposure one of these days (for the new Mars and MX-80 Sound on Feeding Tube Records along with a few other potential faves) but with moolah being such a scarcity these days well...I guess I'll have to wait until these items hit the cutout racks just like I hadda do when I was a depression-era wages pimplefarm way back when. So until cutout bins do make a comeback dig it, as Jimi Hendrix said to Vin Scelsa in the men's room of the Fillmore East.

THE BANDITOS CD-r burn (originally on Bloodshot Records)

I mean yeah, it's sure good knowin' that the same sorta hotcha hootch rock that started off way back inna fifties and continued on via the Flamin' Groovies and NRBQ is still up and runnin', but as usual don't this stew sound a li'l too thick inna cauldron??? I can see it appealing to fans of the original rockabilly and seventies smart re-do (Graham Parsons comes to mind as well) but the slick production does tend to draw away from what I assume are the Banditos' intended get-down intentions. If you get your mind offa the modern studio sound this will go down a whole lot better...sheesh if only this were recorded at the Wray Shack!
Sun Ra-THE SHADOWS TOOK SHAPE---THE LOST REEL COLLECTION VOL. 3 2 CD-r set (originally on Transparency)

I woulda thunk that even more and more Sun Ra recordings woulda made their way out this late inna musical game, and as usual I AM RIGHT! Kinda vague information behind these two spinners but they sure have that early-seventies vibe to 'em and are good enough as standard Ra starting points re. what the guy was up to back when even the cubes at DOWN BEAT hadda sit up and take notice. Nothing outta the ordinary here but if you prefer the wilder aspects of his BYG spins this double set might just be the thing to make you wanna set your sights on El Saturn. Judy Jetson would be proud.
Bernie Schwartz-THE WHEEL CD-r burn (originally on CoBurt/MGM)

Yeah I know this ain't Tony Curtis under his nom-de-birth doin' the singer/songwriter thing. I'm not that much of a stoopid doopid despite what most people say. But whoever this particular Bernie Schwartz may be I gotta admit that he does a good job doing the 60s/70s cusp pop unto rock rigmarole that too many lesser minds have failed at. Unfortunately very little of THE WHEEL really grabs me. Sure the Indian music theme go on the way we all wish that Ravi Chancre himself woulda liked but otherwise this just lacks a whole load of zip that made some of those outta-nowhere late-seventies flea market finds so enticing. Well if I hadda choose between this 'un and a good portion of the 1970 introspects that THE WHEEL hadda compete with, I'd choose gas.
Bobby Darin-RARE PERFORMANCES CD-r burn (originally on Stash Records)

I could be like some of those "hip" rock critic types who are sooooooooooooooo open to a whole slewwa non-rockist forms to the point where they would badger you about the all-important meaning of every boo-boo-boo-boo Bing Crosby uttered or moan about all of the racism that Bessie Smith hadda endure.

Heck, it's their privilege they being such exalted beings and all, but frankly I would be more concerned with every "do it do it do it" that Lou Reed might have blurted or the racism Stymie was up against. In the long run it's more interesting.

So I am afraid that I will have to give the big thumbs down to Bobby Darin and these live recordings which really don't have much to say other'n remind me of what "grown up music" meant when I was a mere turdler. It was like the old folk went for Darin and Sinatra and the like, the college kids were into folk music and soul (if you can believe that...I always thought soul sounded "mature"!) and the grade/high school kids top forty rock et roll. My set was more attuned to "Mairzy Doats" and the theme to THE DEPUTY DAWG SHOW which I think says all there is to say about just how advanced us kiddoes were in our own suburban slob way. I mean, could you see the oldsters at one of their parties swizzling sticks and drinking martoonies while the theme from SUPERCAR blared onna hi fi? Me neither!
ELECTRIC JUNKYARD CD-r burn (originally on RCA Records)

Hoo boy, what a turdburger of a selection from the land of Bill Shute burns! This sounds like something Paul Lynde woulda played for some aspiring actor who came over to his place to do some auditioning...really hip 'n withit instrumental horn rock that sounds like it was lifted from one of those early "now" films that look dated once 1971 got into gear. Even contains the music that accompanied the dancing trash can scene in SKIDOO which I guess is way better'n the fact that two numbers from HAIR were included. All I gotta say after hearing these way out 'n mod tracks is that I hope Paul was able to slip some Spanish Fly into the up and comer's drinkie while he wasn't looking. I mean, the evening wouldn't have been a TOTAL waste.
Arthur Gregory Band-ROCK OPERATION CD-r burn

Mid-seventies Texas bar band rock that ain't that bad really. Just nothing that gets my inner juices flowing like I kinda hoped this self-released under-the-radar item would. Contains a fairly butch version of "Gloria" as well as some neo-hard metal pop things that might have gotten a few guys at BACK DOOR MAN charged up had they chanced upon this one way back when. Mostly mid-level excitement but if hard choogle is your game...

Various Artists-SUNDOG COPENHAGEN SILVERTONE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Here be a Bill burn that really resonated with my entire reason for being. Whether it be due to the various Amerigan power pop efforts extant (including the Andy Gerome Band single "a-side" which even got airplay on the AOR 'MMS knockoff station in Youngstown for some strange reason only Thomas John knows!) to the hot soul cookers from J. J. Barnes as well as Towanda of the same last name (any relation?) and the infamous ska performer Roland Alphonso, this sorta stew made for one of those great Saturday PM listening sessions that always goes swell when I'm in my bedroom watching everybody else work outside. Wouldn't mind knowing more about such acts as Sundog Summit who do a convincing mid-Amerigan take of "Gudbuy T Jane" or even reggae performer Pluto Shervington, and although I'm too lazy to google their names I get the feeling that they both have interesting histories behind 'em 'n all.

The only thing here that didn't quite get me by the kishkas was this un-titled hippydip thing where some stoned guy is talking about the time he tried to make his plate of spinach look like a map of Antarctica! Not as funny as that bonus cut on PEBBLES VOLUME 16 where some kids are tripping out in one of those make your own record booths, and while we're talkin' 'bout hippies didja know that when I saw that "Herby Hippy" doll pictured on the sleeve for the first time whilst in the toy department of Strouss' store downtown Youngstown I actually got physically ill because I really loathed hippies and loveydovey stuff and the thought of a doll like this really triggered the mid-Amerigan rage in me! Who woulda thought that this "Winking Herbie Hippy" woulda led to an entire generation of narcissistic pampered pseudo-intellectuals continuing to pat themselves on the back because they "ended the war" and made the world safe for whatever it is they made the world safe for! From the vantage point of almost fifty years all I gotta say is that they shoulda made a George Wallace doll, and no jokes about wheelchair accessories from you heathens out there!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Well it is kinda smaller'n it used to be but wha' th', because we're gonna be getting three of these rags a year and let's just say three UGLY THINGS per annum sure beats 26 ROLLING STONEs during the same time span. But we knew that already...after all ever since Mike Stax decided to put his fingers to typewriter UGLY THINGS has been thee magazine to read, and let's just be gracious that this stellar mag is roaring on while lesser ones (like my own crudzine) petered out like that last fart you tried to get outta your rectum trying to make it twenty inna row which is something that I unfortunately was never able to do!

At least the contents are enough to get me slobberin' like Sam watching me eat my dinner what with the cover stories on the Weirdos ('s about time!) who never did get their just reckoning outside of some old BOMP articles and an interview with Paul Samwell-Smith, perhaps me least favorite Yardbird because he well...he did produce Cat Stevens which is one reason that Peter Asher is my least favorite Peter and Gordon (just look at who he produced!). But ah, it was a good 'un so why be picky.

Really gripping was the piece on Custom Fidelity Records, one of those vanity-type labels where you could make your own album and be the hit of your high school sub-clique as well as the one regarding Robert Bensick, whose FRENCH PICTURES IN LONDON album is one important mid-seventies Cle document that it's better to have heard now than later. I hope some of Bensick's other acts like Claw get the release treatment soon...who knows? Also boffo is the interview with Jymn Parrett of DENIM DELINQUENT fame...sure glad to see this guy getting his just dues for all he's done because he is one guy who pioneered the entire rock 'n roll fanzine idiom and maybe for that he deserves a steak dinner at your expense!

And of course there's the reg'lar reads like the various review sections filled with items I certainly couldn't afford to buy as well as the usual columns that are pretty nerve-tingling in their own way (my fave being Cyril Jordan's year by year Flamin' Groovies histoire). And given the relatively low price you'll have to pay for this (at least put in terms of 2016 currency rates as opposed to those a good fifty years from now) I can't think of a better way to spend your money and get such a good amount of fun and games in return. I mean, what do you wanna spend it on...UNCUT???

Monday, October 10, 2016


As with the music business and the film business, I’ve always been fascinated by the products of the murky underbelly of the comics industry. They’re edgy, they’re unpredictable, and they don’t play by the established rules.

I. W. COMICS (1958-1964) was one of those companies. explains the company’s origins, which really tell you all you need to know about the outfit: “I.W. Publications (1958-1964) was part of I. W. Enterprises, and named for the company's owner, Israel Waldman. Reportedly, Waldman came into possession of a printing company and among the assets were the production materials for several hundred comic books previously published by various publishers as well as a limited amount of previously unpublished material. Waldman equated possession of production materials as the right to reprint and I.W. became notable for publishing unauthorized reprints of other company's comics, often with new covers as Waldman's windfall did not often include the production materials for covers. The later half of the company's existence, it published comics under the Super Comics name. Usually these companies were out of business, but not always.”

This was one of a number of 50’s crime comics I recently purchased from Golden Age Crime/detective/mystery comic books have always been among my favorites, so I intentionally chose some comics I’d never heard of, figuring I might stumble across something interesting, and even if I did not, I’d have some enjoyable crime-comic reading, the equivalent of watching a B-crime film or reading a paperback original 50’s crime novel.

The main story, and the one on the cover, features a character named “Young King Cole,” a detective with reddish hair, glasses, and a bow tie. The plot involves a woman who has been kidnapped and is being held on a seedy cargo ship. Twelve pages of action allows for a bit of backstory and plot development (Cole’s assistant gets a job on the ship to infiltrate), and I could see this being re-tooled as a Charlie Chan or Boston Blackie film.

Then comes a two-page short story called “End of the Line,” featuring one of the most common plots in crime fiction and films, the newly released prisoner who seeks revenge on someone he blames for his situation. What can one say about filler stories in comics? I enjoy them because they are quick and can be read when one is too tired or burned-out-from-work to even read a comic book or watch a 30-minute episode of a crime TV show such as HIGHWAY PATROL or HARBOR COMMAND. They also provide a change-of-pace from the comic content--similar to the role of a yeast roll or a slice of cornbread with a downhome meal!

Next we’re introduced to detective Homer K. Beagle in “The Missing Worms.” Beagle is a bumbling yet interesting character (yes, he’s a human, not a dog detective like McGruff), sort of like if Eb from GREEN ACRES decided to take his mailorder detective degree and put it to use. It seems someone has stolen the worms from the zoo because it’s fishing season and worms are very much in demand and the price is so high they are worth stealing, the way people steal copper from old buildings today. Putting a comedic detective story in the middle of the comic is a good idea in terms of changing the mood. Think of it as functioning the way a five-minute Smiley Burnette comedy sequence in a Charles Starrett “Durango Kid” western does to lighten the mood (and pad the length of the feature) and get you ready for the serious action coming up next....or so we hope!

The comic finishes with an eight-page story featuring “Dr. Drew, The Zoo Man,” another light-haired (reddish blond--does someone not like dark-haired detectives at this publisher?) Shamus. One odd feature of this one is that Drew has a South Asian (I’m guessing a comic like this does not make distinctions between cultures and nationalities outside of the USA) assistant named Gray who wears a loincloth and has a monkey to aid him. He also refers to himself in third person the way Senator Bob Dole used to. Everyone Drew encounters in the typical city in which the comic takes place just accepts the man in the loincloth and the monkey, so they must have an established history of crime-fighting in the area....or the people there are like New Yorkers, so jaded and having seen it all that nothing fazes them. This plot involves a snake farm and a crooked banker who convinces the local rural folk to take their money out of traditional savings accounts and put it in cash into a safe deposit box at his bank....and then he kills them and takes the money out of the deposit boxes with his duplicate key. After all, who would know what they put in the box, right? The plot aspects of this story are easy to follow even if you are tired or hungover while reading....the crooked snake farm and the thieving and murderous banker’s schemes are all explained thoroughly in a series of cram-packed dialogue balloons. Drew seems like he could be an interesting character, but with all the odd happenings here, the plot exposition, and his sidekick and his monkey, he’s almost like a guest star in his own comic.

With the usual ads for trade schools (I worked at a trade school once, and we found that our targeted TV ads brought in the most response when we advertised on local professional wrestling programs, so I can see why comic books feature ads from these places), novelty products, and rip-off books (like “Learn Ju-Jitsu At Home”), TOP DETECTIVE COMICS #9 was an enjoyable time-killer of a read.

When I finished reading it for the second time (I want to get my money’s worth!), I was even more convinced of an initial impression: although the book had a 1958 date, it seemed very dated, at least eight to ten years out of date. Then, in the tradition of the private detectives in the comic, I did a little sleuthing of my own and found out that most if not all of the pieces here were lifted from earlier comics (see the explanation of Israel Waldman at the top of this review). On this low rung of the comics ladder, the publications these were ripped-off from were probably too under the radar to ring any bells of recognition...and this kind of thing was far easier to get away with in the pre-internet age. It’s like the comics equivalent of an exploitation film being shopped around in the hinterlands for decades under different titles. In this case, the book’s content is lifted from a 1948 comic called Criminals On The Run, and one of the stories from that had already been re-printed once in another 1951-52 Avon comic (thanks to for the information on this).

Also noteworthy is that I. W. Comics lists this as #9 in the series of TOP DETECTIVE COMICS, when it’s actually the one and only issue in the series. No doubt people would be more likely to buy something that seemed like an ongoing series (which must be successful to be ongoing) than a one-off, particularly when they could open the comic and find something that  looked and sounded like 1948...but it’s 1958!

I once worked for a supermarket chain back in Virginia (which will remain nameless) which instructed us to cut the rotten sections off fruit and vegetables and meat (hey, I had a family to support!), re-date them, re-color them, etc. They were “refurbishing the product,” we were told, and “offering budget-minded consumers access to premium products at an affordable price.” (My only other employment opportunity in that semi-rural area was the competing grocery chain, which routinely locked employees in to work an hour or two off the clock each night.) Hats off to I. W. Comics (Read I. W. Comics--They Are Top Quality Comics....we are told in a crudely inserted box at the bottom of page one, no doubt where the publishing info on the original 1948 comic was) and Israel Waldman for working in that time-honored American tradition of re-selling dated and third-rate content in a new package to unsuspecting consumers like me. A lot about life and contemporary society sucks, but a beer and a crime comic book at the end of a long workday (even if the content is recycled) make it a slight bit more tolerable. I can live in my imagination in a world where the detectives wear glasses and a bow tie and where people can wander around in a loincloth with a monkey sidekick without calling attention to themselves. A place where I can buy a 10-cent comic like TOP DETECTIVE from a poorly-lit rack in the back of a seedy neighborhood grocery or drug store to keep my feeble mind occupied until my girlfriend Mabel gets off work at the diner at 2 a.m. And nice guy that I am, I also bought Mabel a copy of the Charlton comic SOAP OPERA ROMANCES at that same store. She appreciates good reading too. No wonder we get along! 

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Congratulate me! Here it is October of the year 2016 AD CE, and I've survived well over thirty-six years of a definite lack of HIGH ENERGY ROCK 'N ROLL JAMZ being pumped into my system on a regular basis (talkin' 'bout music fostered by a definitely Bangsian/Meltzerian-derived power source in case ya didn't know)! While I'm at it give me my fairly earned kudos for surviving forty-one years since the last decent television season dared to show its cathodes into my tee-vee room (1975-1976 unless you count 1980-1981 if only for MATINEE AT THE BIJOU) and a whopping FORTY-NINE YEARS since the last great age of teenage trash radio dared to broadcast the likes of the Seeds and Shadows of Knight until Bill Drake or someone made it verboten. I've also survived a good number of other gulcheral catastrophes that make me feel older 'n Methuselah just thinkin' about 'em, but I won't bore you with them gross details. Les' just say that it's 2016 and at least we now have...uh...wait don't tell me...something good to look forward to. And that my dear friend's my bi-weekly editions of BLOG TO COMM!

Got nice lovely batch o' posies for you to pick at here, and once again thanks for Bill and Paul for the bottomless cup o' freebees I hadda chose from. Them and Weasel Walter of course. Ya gotta give 'em credit for keeping me goin' because hey, if I wasn't typing my tripe out who knows what I'd be doin' with these hands of mine!


Don't wanna show my igorance of the entire jass idiom here,  but once again I will. Surprisingly pow'rful free players (Flaherty, Swell, Yeh, Weasel Walter) working out on an extended romp that recalls at various times Ornette's FREE JAZZ as well as some of the earlier AACM moments from Art Ensemble of Chicago to the Creative Construction Company. The fanablas involved are some of the better players around (well, for a guy not following the current free scene I can't VOUCH for it, but they sure sound good!) and as you'd probably know if you've read this far down this is a pretty tough sesh that should recall some of the free bleats of yore that were popular enough that even DOWN BEAT couldn't ignore 'em any longer. Might just be worth the entertainment set-aside portion of your government check that's gonna hit the ol' mailbox during the beginning of the month.
Weasel Walter-CURSES CD (ugEXPLODE)

Ninety-nine mini-tracks, all made to mix and match as you please or listen to as they play, featuring an electronic and percussion soundscape that can sound irritating 'n atonal an' alla those things your music teacher warned you about but sure sounds swell while lazing away the hours. I dunno if you can call it an avant garde classical work in the same way you can John Cage's various chance operations (I'm not too well versed into the making of CURSES to even know if it was composed in the same aleatory fashion as say, "Variations IV") but Walter's notes on the recording do have a brainy component to 'em what with his talk of him "trying to achieve a sort of microcosmic drama with limited materials and processes"...whew! Whatever the case may be, I get the feeling that this 'un sounds a billion times better'n some of the dilettantish sounds passing themselves off as avant garde these days most certainly do!
IANCU DUMITRESCU/DAVID PRESCOTT CD-r burn (originally on Generations Unlimited)

And while we're on the subject of avant garde...I must 'fess up to the fact that really haven't paid that much attention to the moderne-day classical sounds that were coming out from the eighties on at tall. If it weren't for items like the above Weasel Walter album and a number of Bill burns I probably wouldn't know anything about what had been happening since the days I sorta dropped my avant interests for more rocking horizons. Perhaps I felt that the entire music genre had run its course and was infected by the kneejerk and already metastasized political/social snobbery of the era, but then again I guess I just wanted to spend more time listening to Sky Saxon and less Pauline  Oliveros.

Of course even if I were paying attention I doubt that I'd've heard of this particular spinner featuring the works of two up-and-comers in the avant classical realm. Both Dumitrescu and Prescott work with electronics that sound like smooth feedback drones and in many ways this sounds similar to various other feedback recordings of the past such as the Figures of Light's recreation of their own feedbacking guitar concert which is a classic in itself. It's mostly stuff ya've heard before and if you have a low threshold for atonal drone ons you probably won't like it. But for me I figure the more noise the better so hey, this one does get an atta boy which I hope won't ruin whatever prim and proper images these guys must keep up to survive in the art world these austerely pious days.
The Raymond Brake-PILES OF DIRTY WINTERS CD-r burn (originally on Simple Machines Records)

Sad to say, but a whole lotta the more art-rocky aspects of late-eighties underground rock, a groove which I certainly found the time to give praise to, really didn't capture my entire imagination the way various sixties and seventies variations on the form did. Not that these acts were horrid mind you, but at least for me a little of this neo-emo guitar rock just went a whole long way within my listening parameters and it just didn't stick to my ribs the way a good meal of mid-sixties garage band favorites most certainly could. Not that I'm giving the Raymond Brake any hard knocks...after all they don't offend me and at times come up with interesting melodies that fit in with the guitar shards...but these guys really ain't the kinda bunch I usually feel like rah-rahing over they way I do all sortsa acts you'd wish I'd just shut up about. For 1987-on introspects only.
Boston Rats-THIS AIN'T ROCK N' ROLL CD-r burn (originally on Brainfeeder)

Psychobilly lives on, and although I ain't exactly whatcha'd call a big fan 'n follower of the form it ain't that bad to give this stuff a listen to at least once in a blue movie. Done up in that tough 'n rumble sorta English rock way that's been around since at least the Stranglers, the sound's definitely post-Groovies hard neo-pub and the vocals about as thug as you can get. Mix that up with a pretty boffo repertoire (including a cover of the Other Half drug rock classic "Mr. Pharmacist") and ya got an album that really does hold itself together and captured my sagging attention that's for sure. Who thought that anything of worth would come outta whatever there is left of that thing that usedta get called "punkabilly"...certainly not me!
SEVEN DAYS TO BETTER BOWLING CD-r burn (originally on Audio Dynamics)

When I was a kid I always thought bowling woulda been a real fun game to play, but the folks never took me. It took a while for me to realize the reason for was because of those machines they had inna men's room, that's why! However, if I ever do wanna take the sport up I might be able to be a reg'lar bowling whiz by listening to this platter. Brought to you by the same people who had you quit smoking in a week's time, the same nasal voice that told you to relax your toes, arches, ankles, calves, thighs allaway uppa torso has you doin' the same schtick here only its for the benefit of improving your game 'stead of kicking the habit. But do ya really think that one's game would be greatly improved by listening to a subdued voice tell you to release alla yer tension and play it cool as a cucumber? If you do maybe I can sell ya a copy of SEVEN DAYS TO BETTER WIPING done up by the Audio Dynamics label! "Relax your left cheek....relax your right cheek..."
Jimmy Oliver and his Soul-Twisters -HITS AU GO GO CD-r burn (originally on Sue Records)

Well, at least this ain't the same kinda twisto cash-in music that Ray Anthony inundated us with last week! But it still is cash-in time here what with the Soul-Twisting people here taking the big hits of the day and playin' 'em in their own cheezy way. I guess if you like Kim Fowley's BORN TO BE WILD album you'd like this, though I gotta say that the lack of up-front vocals on these means you can sing along in your own faverave adolescent way while these tracks roll on just like you usedta do when listening to that instrumental version of "Ruby Tuesday" that popped up on various Rolling Stones bootlegs! If only you hadda copy of this 'un back 1966 way on that day off from school when you and Farts Flanagan went and wrecked up the house because there was nothing else to do!
Alvino Rey and his Orchestra-PING PONG! CD-r burn (originally on Capitol Records)

When I was a kid I wanted to murder the entire King Family, that's how much I hated those squeaky clean cut types to no end! At the age of five I certainly knew what cornball of the rottenest 'stead of the most funzy variety meant, and when it came to that the entire King brood was a prime example of just how hokum television could have aspired to even in an age of high energy fun and jamz. I even hated Alvino Rey who actually played an electric guitar 'n all which I thought was a cool looking musical instrument (still do!) but suffered the same fate if only due to extroverted wholesomeness by association. Nowadays I dunno...after all this album of Rey 'n band doing the usual standards for the stick inna muds of the day ain't that bad. Of course it ain't that stimulating either but it sure lacks the saccharine sweetness of a dozen King Family specials with a few STAND UP AND CHEERs tossed in. I particularly liked the part where Rey set off a wall of feedback during a rather powerful version of "I Heard Her Call My Name" and...just kidding about that!!!
The Fleshtones-THE BAND DRINKS FREE CD-r burn (originally on Yep Roc)

Hokay, the groups does sound a tad tireder'n they have on previous engagements but they still can pump out the good ol' straight ahead rock 'n roll even if they sounded a whole lot more jumpin' jack a good forty years back! Still has a tad o' the slickoid production that marred a few Fleshtones sessions (at least not to the point of pukedom) and there ain't enough all-out rockers like I kinda hoped there woulda been. But otherwise THE BAND DRINKS FREE's a definite 2016 GODSEND from a long-lived band that's survived despite all the odds, and if you liked their other bazillion platters you'll probably like this one as well. While we're on the subject can anyone tell me if there are any very early live recordings by these guys floatin' around on the Cee-Dee-Are lists out there???
Various Artists-FLASH COCKROACH LINE LOCO CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Rather'n dig down into the deepest reaches of my Bill burn files I decided to pluck this particular platter from the most recent Care Package sent my way courtesy My Fearless Leader. 'n as usual it's a boffo selection too featuring everything from foreign language rock 'n rollers to sassy pre-lib gal singers, not to mention a few clunkers inna batch that really didn't grab onto my hammer 'n stirrups the way I'm sure Bill hoped they would. Personal faves include Larry Young doing some of that soul-styled jazz organ he played in between gigs with Miles and Lifetime, Vess L. Ossman's "Silver Heels" (a nice twenties-ish 78 r.p.m. that really fit in well with  the collection of OUT OUR WAY comics I've been reading. Especially heart-warming was the recording of the "Great Stalacpipe Organ" at Luray Caverns in Virginia which brought back some old memories of a kiddie trip that I sure wish I remembered a whole lot more of! Nice and cornballus in its own gosh darn way, sorta like that Abraham Lincoln recreation which got cut off before it really could go anywhere.