Saturday, April 29, 2017

As Arthur Godfrey once said (and no, I don't mean "this performance was your swan song"), "howareyahowareyahowareyah"! Fortunately I've managed to get this weekend's entry in earlier than usual and with less stress than it usually takes as well which I guess goes to show you that I'm starting to get better at this racket! It was a nice week for music if I do say so myself, and of course you will be joining in my ecstasy once you make your way down to the review section below, one which may just rank with being one of the best I've done in quite awhile although I get the feeling that most of you will think it's just "rank". That's your prerogative, even though I sometimes get the feeling that you readers just ain't on the high frequency wavelength that I most certainly am.

But sheesh, after giving a good portion of today's platters a once-over all I gotta say is that I thought that a fairly good portion of 'em were good enough that I would just LOVE to spin 'em again which really is saying something! And given this is the age of records with one good track and the rest bowzers or platters filled with nil oomph at all making you wonder which form of sub-species these recordings were made for let's just say that I'm tossing the cornflakes and going full gaga over the Max's, Sect, Tapiman and Searchers offerings (Frank Wright too!) which has made this week one that I wouldn't mind reliving, at least without the constipation. And with the promise of future albums comin' out that sure live up to the BLOG TO COMM standards of addled wonder let's just hope that I won't be clockin' outta this life a lot sooner than I have planned (which is at age 139 of old age in the middle of a nice dream...).
ANOTHER CASE OF HISTORY BEING DEBUNKED, AND MAYBE YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST! (BUT THEN AGAIN, MAYBE NOT)-In the ongoing quest to find out who exactly was the first to coin a phrase or create a phenomenon, it's not quite sure just who exactly came up with certain terminology to describe certain forms of sound musical or not. Take punk rock f'rinstance...for years it was settled that Dave Marsh (yech!) was the guy who used this term to describe ? and the Mysterians, until someone determined that it was some guy who was introducing the Deviants at a 1967 gig who first uttered the famed descriptor (actually there was a 1957 episode of THE STEVE ALLEN SHOW in which a rowdy rock 'n roll band made up of leather jacketed tough guys was called the Punks, so who knows???).

But as for heavy metal well, any science class Dilton Doiley can tell you that the heavy metal elements are part of the periodic table and of course William Burroughs had Uranium Willy the Heavy Metal Kid, but as far as a term to convey a certain style of rock 'n roll well... The Fugs did have a "Heavy Metal Music" in which to publish their songs true, but as far as any application of the term in the way it was used in the seventies it has been often said that the first proper usage of "heavy metal" was in Metal Mike Saunders' review of a Sir Lord Baltimore album in the pages of CREEM some time in 1971.

Well, after doing some heavy commode reading I discovered this li'l turdbit from THE ROLLING STONE RECORD REVIEW collection of reviews done up by some greats like Lester Bangs, R. Meltzer, Lenny Kaye, the aforementioned Saunders as well as a bunch of nobodies like Jann Wenner. It originally appeard in a review of the Electric Flag's  A LONG TIME COMIN' album done up by a Barry Gifford that was published in the May 11, 1968 edition of the paper and in it reads a line that sez that this album " the New Soul Music, the synthesis of White Blues and Heavy Metal Rock" (my itals.)! Obviously a musch earlier use of the HM tag than Saunders' CREEM mention! Just a li'l history that I thought I'd share with y'all, and if this has been discussed many a time before whether via the various Saunders email postings or whatnot well, maybe you weren't aware and for that you should shower me with all of the appropriate and proper hosannas and I do mean like now!
And since this is Saturday afternoon and I need to get some barbershop kids kinda fun in my system, here are the reviews!

Various Artists-MAX'S KANSAS CITY 1976 AND BEYOND 2-LP set (Jungle Records, England)

It's 2017 and who would have ever thought that in this sorry day and age Max's Kansas City would still be relevant to the rockist whos, whats, whens, wheres, whys and and hows that continue to live inside music maniacs such as ourselves! And like, who would have ever thought that the classic 1976 album would have ever been re-released in the present, and with an additional platter making this the kinda bargain most of us woulda killed for back when things like Max's, rock 'n roll and HIGH ENERGY were still alive and desperately trying to make that big comeback we all hoped it would.

Not only is the entire 1976 album reproduced 'cept for Pere Ubu's legendary "Final Solution" (Jungle couldn't get the rights, perhaps because the Ubu folk are still miffed about their inability to reissue that song on the DATAPANIK collection back '78 way) but a whole slew of tracks you would have expected (from the '77 Max's sampler) and not (Sid Vicious, Nico, Iggy???) pop up here and the entire proceedings remind you of just what the pow'r and might of rock 'n roll was before it all hadda rot into new unto gnu wave and became a pretty gross embarrassment once 1983 (at the latest) got into gear!

The original album holds up swell enough as an encapsulation of just about everything that was right about rock music back '76 way, and even with the omission of "Final Solution" you still get a nice crosscut of what else was going on in the NYC clubs of the day, sorta like an aural version of ROCK SCENE magazine without the cheap paens to the big names. The new material fits in swell too even if you (like I) wonder how Nico got on here since I can only recall her playing Max's once and why is there a solo-period Iggy track when you'd think it woulda been easy enough to obtain something from that Easy Action tape of the Stooges Max's show. (And hey, maybe some Alice Cooper or even Bachman-Turner Overdrive woulda fit in here if you wanna play it super-big or some Zymosis or Master Radio Canaries to be ultra-obscure about it!) But why quibble since their tracks snuggle in just as much as the Sid Vicious and Heartbreaker ones, and where else are you gonna hear the likes of the Knots these days anyway???

I'll tell ya, I haven't been as excited about an "archival" double-LP set since I got hold of the Rocket From The Tombs collection and that was a good decade-plus back! You may not share the same appreciation I have for the seventies post-Velvet Underground era of atonal angst but hey, it was this breed of style and swerve that made up the soundtrack for more than a few up-and-coming beneath-the-outkid types during those strange days. If you were part of that mileau (or were even too scared for that) well, maybe this is your final chance and like, how many opportunities do you have to re-live your suburban slobdom years anyway???
Downliners Sect-DANGEROUS GROUND CD-r burn (originally on Steady Boy Records)

It's been quite a long time since I've listened to these guys, and considering that I haven't even heard anything recorded by the Downliners Sect after 1985 this was quite a re-awakening for me. This group's been active since 1963 yet they still sound as fresh as just about any of those blue wave bands that Charles Shaar Murray used to write about back inna late-seventies. This particular 'un from 1998 is pretty much in the same groove as their '77 Raw single not to mention the one they did for Inner Mystique a few years later...hard bluezy and even countryish rock that's has that rough edge that only a few groups in the Eddie and the Hot Rods vein really could pull off without looking like pampered effetes puttin' on a Sluggo act. Quite solid and definitely something that should please those of you who still have all of those early Stiff Records singles you bought via Bomp! way back when, like I do!
Tapiman-HARD DRIVE CD (Guerssen, Spain)

Not bad early-seventies hard- rock from this Spanish trio who ain't quite into heavy metal "proper" but ain't quite Cat Stevens mewl either! They're pretty darn good in fact...punk rock if you followed Hot Scott Fischer's accurate description of the first Budgie LP as punk rock personified in an old CREEM magazine, or maybe you were one of the few who latched onto that CREEM special from ten years later devoted to metal but, as you'd expect, they tied the whole "Sister Ray"/Stooges mystique to the sound even though nobody in their right mind had been doing that since at least 1978! Early neo-hard thuds mix with some good straight-ahead longhair laments and it even has a toned down yet still potent cover of "Planet Caravan" that'll get you dragging out your PARANOID platter for that once-in-a-few-years spin. A nice change from the usual nice changes I've been privy to these past few months.
Frank Wright Quartet-LIVE NYC SUMMER 1973 2-CD-r set

All four of these guys (inc. Wright regulars Alan Silva and Bobby Few---I think Muhammed brother of Rashied Ali plays drums) really pump the cylinders on this set which somehow has evaded the minds of free jazz fanatics lo these many years. Sound quality is good in that jaded club sorta way and naturally the Rev. Wright does his best to keep the whole Coltrane/Coleman/Ayler spirit of things going at a time where I woulda gotten the idea that most jazz people were of the Leonard Feather instead of Nat Hentoff variety, ifyaknowaddamean.  Total eruption fire music that, thanks to the miracle of internet, is probably available with the flick of a key or two for a mere bag of shells as Ralph Kramden used to say.
The Searchers-GREATEST HITS CD-r burn (originally on Rhino/WEA Records)

In the whole Beatles/Stones/Kinks/Yardbirds/whatever rush of British Invasion bands the Searchers always seem to get lost in the mop top shuffle. 's too bad because these guys had the top pop slop sound down pat yet they weren't overly gloppy like some of the competition during those rather shaggy days. This sampler shows just what a hotcha act the Searchers were, they comin' off kinda like a lighter Beatles with a faster pace and nice jangly guitars that fit into the 1965 mode just as much as GILLIGAN'S ISLAND and Shake-A-Puddin'! All of the biggies and not-so's appear, and I finally get to once again hear "Bumble Bee" for the first time since '73 and discover who it was who recorded this obscurity since even Don Fellman (a whiz at these mid-sixties sorta things) couldn't help me!
Gene F. Streiker and Larry S. Chengges-STRAYWINDS CD-r burn (originally on Shanyn-Alexus Records)

Who knew there were so many weirdities available throughout the seventies now totally forgotten to all but the guys who did 'em. Here's a strange self-produced album featuring various spoken word recitations set to electric piano that kinda sounds like something a nerdoid fifteen-year-old would noodle in between bouts of self-abuse to Joni Mitchell snaps. Neo-romantic conjuring here that sometimes manage to tug at a heart string or two---too bad the words are so obscured by the delicate playing! It does sorta fit in with the holier-than-old-folk youth movement laid back and touchy feely mood of those day so if you still cherish your Cat Stevens albums and sniffle at BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN you might find a soft spot in your head for something like this.
Clifford Jordan-IN THE WORLD CD-r burn (originally on Strata East Records)

I didn't care for it that much given the mid-energy level IN THE WORLD just oozes. Still a grand enough example of the bop unto avant cusp what with the presence of such fifties stellars as Kenny Dorham and Richard Davis, not to forget Don Cherry making a rare appearance on cornet. A good pause from the usual freeform blasts but sheesh, in this stress-filled, tension-packed world of ours I sure could use a whole lot more JCOA free form platters and other beyond-abstract excursions rather than this comparatively tame mewl!
Various Artists-POSTUM CRYSTAL DIXIELAND PIE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Didn't think this 'un was that special. Oh, it does have its good spots like all good leopards do, from a live Jesus and Marychain track to a whole bunch of those classic old radio ads that really do bring back the memories of people telling me about all of those old radio ads back when I was a kid. However I didn't think that most of the musical numbers were that hubba hubba myself, what with the Mosaics comin' of like nth generation Hondells and the Europia a bad take on late-sixties Paul Revere and the Raiders. Maybe we are beginning to scrape the bottom of the sixties garage local rarity barrel after all of these years, and although I wouldn't call POSTUM CRYSTAL DIXIELAND PIE a washout it sure doesn't stand up to previous Bill Shute burn quality. Did like the "Dixieland One-Step" and the Edi-phone School Record in my own stuck a good century back way tho...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These 90s Downliners recordings with Billy Childish are well worth checking out: