Saturday, October 14, 2017

Bein' mid-October 'n all, boy am I zoning back to many an autumn past! I just can't get that suburban slob ranch house kid feelin' outta my cyst-em even this late inna game o' life, what with certain times of the year doin' nothin' but reminding me of what I was doin' as a kid back in my high school days. And those days, my fren, usually had me reminiscing about things that happened when I was but a mere turdler back when the weather was changing and I was being introduced to the new tee-vee season which at the time seemed like the biggest event next to them holidaze we all used to look forward to.

Against all odds I must say that I had a downright splendid week, what with not only the huge hunks of musical goodies that have permeated the thick hymen-like walls of my mental comprehension but the plethora of reading material which has thankfully made its way to my door. And when I'm talkin' readin' I'm not talkin' NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF REVIEWS type of intellectual quap 'r anything like that...I'm flappin' my gums o'er not only a buncha old rock mags including a buncha old ZIG ZAGs but two rare English fanzines that are bound to be mentioned in these "pages" one of these dayze. Not only that but I just got hold of a book received gratis via Hozak which is howshallIsay a real winner that's kept me up more nights than impure sexual thoughts ever could! You'll be reading about this 'un (and more) in the upcoming weeks but for now let's just say that I'm in high energy heaven thanks to these recent acquisitions!!!

Until then, howzbout settlin' back with these writeups that might even coax you into getting hold of a hot rock 'n roll platter and spinnin' it until the grooves run dry! A good stack for sure, and thanks to Bill, Paul and Bob for shootin' 'em out my way. And as they used to say, keep those cards and letters comin' in!

Ravjunk-UPPSALA STADHOTELL BRINNER IGEN CD (Normal Records Germany, available via Forced Exposure)

It sure soothes whatever there is in me left to be soothed that there are still a few archival seventies-era rock artyfacts being spewed forth to keep old fogies like me reminded of just why those days were the great attempt to get rock 'n roll BACK ON TRACK! Although these attempts failed miserably (at least in grabbing hold of the minds and hearts of the kidz these toonz were meant for!) at least we have a few thou acts out there to thank for their brave if flopperoonie tries to make rock relevant again. Sweden's Ravjunk were but one of the many who gave it that all-engrossing go at it and judging from this platter (also available as an elpee) they did a fine spanking good job at it.

Upon first listen you might think this is closer to an arty attempt at an otherworldly rock landscape so common amongst bedroom practitioners of the form, but this platter rocks straight out like all those groups that made your 1978 top ten list with a fine blend of mid-sixties accomplishment, late-sixties shock and seventies miasma with a hope for that better future that never came. Big surprise, track #5 "Skjut Jultomten Nu" (I think) which surprisingly enough sounds like Cleveland faves Mirrors' classic "Sea Chains" even including the bridge if you can imagine it! Must be something about wavelengths runnin' on the same frequency.

UPPSALA STADHOTELL BRINNER IGEN...ya can't miss it! It's the one with a pic of a fox taking a piss bitch style onna cover!
Moby Grape-THE PLACE AND THE TIME CD-r burn (originally on Sundazed Records)

Wow (no pun intended), an even better package than that Columbia two-disque set from a good twenny years back! Loads of Moby Grape rarities and ne'er before heards gathered on one spinner which, when eaten, digested, pooped and wiped, goes to show you why these guys were perhaps the real leading light of the whole San Francisco hype what with their true abilities to merge various styles and not look like a buncha precocious pretenders. (Which the Grateful Dead certainly did look like when doin' the eclectic influence game, only their fans were too brain-grogged to realize it.) It's funny, at first I could not hear what it was in these guys that was so great, but after awhile it FINALLY SUNK INTO MY EVER-SHINY HEAD and for that I should be eternally thankful.
SUNN TRIO CD-r burn (originally on Sky Lantern Records)

My what a wild middle-eastern excursion into jazz forms we have here!Yeah, the whole idea of jazz meets the shifting sands ain't exactly a new 'un but this Sunn Trio really knows how to mesh the mideast groove with various new jazz and even some rock formations to make for a record that you know woulda been too wild for those pseudo intellectual college kids tryin' to be so hip 'n with it back inna early sixties. Fine production, extremely innovative guitar playing and driving compositions make this platter a surprise outta nowhere and y'know what? These guys ain't any sixties or seventies leftovers but are up and about in the HERE AND NOW---can ya believe it??? (And I better considerin' how I tend to shun current accomplishment because's current!)
Various Artists-COME SPY WITH US---THE SECRET AGENT SONGBOOK CD-r burn (Ace Records, England)

While Bill Shute's burns filled with radio and tee-vee jingles zone me back to them days when I'd be but a mere turdler tumbling across the back seat to the front while the radio was playin' in the '62 Catalina, this dub courtesy Paul McGarry reminds me of those first 'n second grade experiences when I was totally traumatized not only by the cruelty of my teachers and classmates but my parents once I got home and handed over that sealed note. But there were good times to be had, and watching spy shows does remain one of the happier memories of those days along with eating penny candy and saving up enough moolah to buy a Matchbox toy car. Things were cheap, but I got a whole lot more outta such cheapness than I'm sure you spoiled kids who got everything you wanted and probably broke it as soon as it got into your precocious paws.

A lotta this stuff contains versions of hits and such not done by the original artists, but they're still neat enough for me to enjoy in my own unbridled suburban slob way. I particularly like the covers of various moom pitcher and such themes by faves like Johnny and the Hurricanes, the Challengers and the Ventures, and while the takes on such shows as THE MAN FROM UNCLE ain't as good as the McCoy they still sound better'n the same nineties hits that continue to be spun in restaurants this late down the line. And yeah, Al Caiola remains a doof in the annals of guitardom, but his take on SECRET AGENT MAN still runs rings around anything Joe Satriani and other big toots inna biz has been up to these past few decades. Good enough if you were the spy type as a kid, especially when your cyster was taking a shower.
The Dream Syndicate-HOW DID I FIND MYSELF HERE? CD-r burn (originally on Anti Records)

I've been heralding the return of the Dream Syndicate about as much as I've longed for a job as a tester at at French tickler factory, but frankly this one isn't that bad. Not that I particularly care for that whole "post punk" misinterpretation of Velvets drone as "atmospheric" rock that had plagued way too many an act both then and now, but I don't find this offensive to my tastes that much despite the lack of tension. I wouldn't buy it in a millyun years, but if you're keen on eighties acts who played an important musical role in the lives of self-important precocious mirror-gazing altruistic types throughout that decade then hey, you can't do better than this!
Jay Bentley and the Jet Set-WATUSI 64 CD-r burn (originally on Vogue, France)

An Amerigan release that actually got a French do-over and predictably sank like a stale baguette. With all of the home grown and English talent to contend with it's no wonder, but actually these guys ain't as turdburgeresque as you might think. Good enough (at least for me) British Invasion rockswipe that doesn't sound as cornballus as some of the jerkisms that were coming out, but then again this just doesn't hit that total eruption mark that makes this one of those platters you'll remember for the rest of your miserable life. As if that really mattered.
WILD BUTTER CD-r burn (originally on United Artists Records)

Another late-sixties obscure rocker from the days when the major labels would sign just about anything in the hopes that it became the new Beatles. Of course most if not ALL of the time these outta-nowhere acts failed miserably, but at least they left us with disques that sounds pretty good even in these dismally anti-rock times. Akron's Wild Butter fail in delivering us a healthy dose of jamz, but just barely. In all they make a nice enough hard rock presentation with harmony vocals that don't elicit ipecac-like reactions and a good sense of pop, but the thing just doesn't blast off into the same rock strata that made other hard rockers of the era such long-lived classics. If left alone to their own devices Wild Butter might have made that all-out rock 'n roll album we all coulda used back then, but as usual the chance to really break on through to the other side just didn't happen and I for one am just SICK about it!
Punks on Mars-BAD EXPECTATIONS CD-r burn (originally on 101 Distribution Records)

I was expecting the usual 201X applications of the whole PUNK! after punkque after pUnafter punk usage of the hoary old term with this one, but surprisingly enough these Martians really do put on a swell show, or at least sound. Musical references date closer to the mid-seventies early poppage of the p-rock term with a sound that comes off a little Sweet, sorta Sparks-ish, kinda Ramones-y yet with various avant pop ideas thrown in to the point where (with a proper name change) this band might made their way onto (egads!) Harvest Records just like Be Bop Deluxe or the Frenchies had they only appeared on the scene a good forty years earlier! Not bad a-tall, and for me at least a good once-in-a-lifetime spinner for sure.
HEY, WINCH! CD-r burn

Here's a surprise that could come outta nowhere but only the mind of Bill Shute, a collection of various Paul Winchell and related tracks I for sure am not familiar with! These trax include various novelty records done with famed dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff, the theme to a Hanna-Barbera Saturday Morning cartoon show I'm vaguely aware of (by that time I was becoming too old for these cartoons and they were becoming too young for me ifyaknowaddamean...) and these rather entertaining NAME THAT TUNE-styled radio shows done for Mutual  circa 1949 where Winch and Mahoney call up unsuspecting housewives to see if they can recognize them old forties melodies for amounts of money that couldn't even buy you cab fare to Flushing!

These radio shows really show yet another facet of the Winchell genius as he plays two "people" so to speak at once and also (given these were the days before two-way telephone calls could be broadcast) has to relay to the audience what the lucky contestant is saying. Thankfully Winchell doesn't make these programs sound constipated and dull what with his ability to gab on and try to coax some positive response from the subject at hand along with Mahoney's witty asides injected at the right time. Just goes to show you how people could take what little they had and done as much as they could given the time and the tools at hand. Too bad that lesson fell flat on me while I was producing my not-so-famous crudzine, but then again wha' th' hey!
Green on Red-HERE COME THE SNAKES CD-r burn (originally on China Records)

It was acts like Green on Red that helped cool me towards a huge hunkerin' hunk of the newer breed of psychedelic "revivalists" that were comin' out at an alarming rate and a platter like this only serves to remind me WHY??? Not that I wasn't apt to read the opinions of many a critic that I kinda/sorta agreed with back during those tepid times but these paisley underground groups sure didn't seem like the logical extension of the seventies swill I liked, not with the kind of neo-country folkie rock with college trust fund kiddie attitudes that many of these groups exuded. Green on Red just don't break from any special molds and sound just as commercially tame as everything else that was competing for my moolah back during those oft cash-strapped times. Good thing that I spent whatever I did have on pricey Velvet Underground bootlegs (even MORE BERMUDA THAN PIZZA...well, not that!) instead of this post-gonz fanzine fodder.

It's kinda funny, but none of the tracks on this sixties local-garage-rock compilation have anything to do with nightclubs. It's all high school (even grade school!) gyms and grange halls for these teenage mopers who sure know how to do the moanin' on these pre-relevance sides. Despite the aura of gloom that permeates this platter this 'un's a pretty good groover (or maybe even groper) what with the likes of the Castaways, Pyramids (who might be the famed surf band just before turning into the Family Dog) and others doing the kind of rock 'n roll job most American's just wouldn't do. Personal fave of this mess is the Dennis and the Times nugget "Flight Patters" which approaches PEBBLES VOL. 3 "acid punk" what with its "Eight Miles High"-inspired 12-string guitar twang and an ending that would make Roger McGuinn twist his granny shades in frustration!
Various Artists-THE THICK DARKNESS LIKE A BLANKET CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

MORE "floor sweepings" from Bill, this batch consists mostly of old raydio and tee-vee commercials from the past which really do conjure up a whole load of turdler-era memories in my thinned-out beanie (ooops, there I go flying into the front seat of the Catalina again!). There are even some pretty good 'uns I haven't heard in a long time (the Stan Freberg radio ad about the hot chocolate and giant maraschino cherry) or haven't heard at all (Freberg's 008 Prince Macaroni ad featuring "Goldnoodle"). Like nothing today these spots are engaging to the mind and downright fun (well, the early-seventies ads reflect that sensitive male miasma we all went through) and I even flashed back to some really early funtime frolicking upon hearing the theme to PIXIE & DIXIE after quite a long spell. Of course Bill hadda stick more of those middle-eastern mandolin and baklava records in for some reason but they sounded so old and historically pleasing that I could practically smell the musty attic these platters came outta!

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