Sunday, February 04, 2018

Sorry it took longer for me to get this weekend edition of BLOG TO COMM  out than it took John Holmes to pee, but as usual "things" got in the way of me producing my doody in a nice 'n timely fashion. (And no, it wasn't the Super if I'd ever turn in to watch a buncha oafs make more money in one night than we all will in our lifetimes!) Well, it ain't like I'm Crimea River because of my turdiness especially since for the most part 99.999...% of you could care less, but for those who DO be thankful that this 'un came out at all! I mean, what better way to spend the dwindling hours of your weekend than reading BLOG TO COMM 'stead of searching through your sock drawer for those supp hoses that you oh so definitely need!
I may have (purposely) ignored the death of Mark Smith last week if only because I am one of (perhaps many) who never did "get into" the Fall's "universe" the way all smart and trend-driven under-the-underground music listeners are SUPPOSED to ifyaknowaddamean. However, the passing of BEETLE BAILEY creator Mort Walker is something that struck me a whole lot harder. Not as hard as losing someone you personally knew, but bad enough as in losing a familiar name who was responsible for creating a familiar image that has been burned into your mind ever since the days of your earliest memories. Like when Ernie Bushmiller died way back '82 way, I feel like something that had meant a WHOLE LOT TO ME has vanished even though Walker probably was not involved with BEETLE for quite some time and in fact the comic wasn't that hot once the eighties started to wind down. But neither were you or me come to think about it.

An old fave of mine, for obvious reasons.
I always believed that the real starting point of the BAILEY decline began when General Halftrack, instigator of some of the best horny old man sexy gags in BAILEY (especially after the addition of Miss Buxley to the cast turning the entire series into one big double entendre), went to a "sensitivity training seminar" and came out a totally new eunuch, but further research via cheap discarded paperbacks (which I have written up to great detail in past posts) point to yet an earlier drop in quality. I kind of blame it on Amerigan kultur in general getting rather mooshy during the late-seventies (after an increase in comic strip and general mass media entertainment quality mind you!) which is one reason why comics like PEANUTS began flopping about and those sitcoms we used to chortle to became downright grim. At least BAILEY seemed to weather this general miasma for a few additional years, but evidently it too succumbed to new mores, new ways, and A WHOLE LOT LESS YUCKS!!!!

But blame Walker for giving in to the modern day equivalent of the old Reform League types or not, at one time BEETLE BAILEY was a pretty hotcha on-target reflection of life (at least life filtered through the regimens of the military) which as Bill Shute said could also reflect upon just about every aspect of modern day associations no matter how non-regimental they may be. After all, how many of you went to school or worked alongside some Beetle, Killer or Zero or had to take orders from a Lt. Fuzz whom you wouldn't even pay to shovel what the guy's feeding you all the time? The BEETLE of today may bear little in common to the strip at its height, but man do those reprints reflect just about everything we've all had to endure during our journey through a life that really had very little good to expect from it!

As far as Walker's collaboration with Dik Browne's HI AND LOIS goes...never could cozy up to it that strip much perhaps due to the fact that it was way more domesticated than I could possibly stand. BONER'S ARK was even more disappointing than Browne's HAGAR THE HORRIBLE while SAM'S STRIP was pretty tiring in an eighties fashion (slapdash, uninspiring and surprisingly self-conscious) even if it did originate a good twenty years earlier. But BEETLE...that's something that helped make my suburban slob kiddie days a lot more exciting way back when things like funny pages and tee-vee reruns really helped combat the drudgery of school, civics and real life blahs!
Nice batch of recordings we got here this week. Edgar Breau sent me his latest along with a nice letter (which I should have framed and hung in my room right next to my Barney Bean drawing!) while Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and NO ONE ELSE (sorry Fadensonnen and Bob F., but I'm saving yours for the lean late winter months!) sent me a few niceties that I thought worthy enough. And you better feel the exact same way you ungrateful louts! And so, as the grave robbers used to say, "dig in".

EDGAR BREAU CD (Flying Inn Recordings, Canada)

It's gonna be hard to review this one impartial-like because I consider Edgar Breau a close friend (which I might have said before but given your sieve like minds I just better say again).  But man, does he continues to stymie and amaze with each and every new recording that is emitted from his clams.

This self-titled wowzer is no exception---here the man reminds me of someone...dunno if its Tim Hardin or Syd Barrett, but whoever it is he does recall what we get is a good if comparatively toned down 'un that captures the folk-unto-rock movement circa 1966. You know, long before the dip into Rocky Mountain Mung that post-tension Ameriga (and Canada obviously) dribbled into sometime in the early-seventies. Maybe Tim Buckley too. Not so much Raccoon Records...maybe Rounder. Perhaps a little too spry but whatever it sure wipes out a lotta the early-seventies moosh that this acoustic folk music often gets dumped in with.

(And was that really a tad of ERICA POMERANCE I heard on "A Penny Fare to Babylon" or was it just the sitar??? If you have any insight you are free to write in.)
More Ease-STARING AT A STATUE OF PAINT CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions, see blogroll on left)

This reminds me of some of that very early computer music that was being made at universities back in the sixties if not earlier...y'know, the kinda sound produced by punched out computer cards which were submitted into a machine and out came the latest in a new line of self-generated music. Nice, patterned and engaging even to the young snoot who first heard about alla this newfangled tintinnabulations while perusing the library like I did as a curious mid-teen.

The music on STARING AT A STATUE OF PAINT is just like that...downright relaxing yet it makes my brain perk up when some new repeated sound pattern emerges, which is often. If you've been in on the New Music game ever since you got your first NMDS catalog way back when then I can't see why you wouldn't like More Ease. After all, this is what that was only a few decades evolved!
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band-MY FATHER'S PLACE, ROSLYN, '78 2-CD set (Keyhole Records, England, available via FORCED EXPOSURE)

God bless the Keyhole Record Company (and all who sail with it!) for releasing these rare FM broadcasts of famed names of the past (and maybe even present!) for us unwashed types, even if these albums might not exactly be on the legal up-and-up!

And this Captain Beefheart effort is no different. After a few years of releasing a couple albums that had the old fans puzzled while redeeming himself in part as a member of Frank Zappa's Mothers during the BONGO FURY tour, Don Van Vliet was back in the saddle for '78's SHINY BEAST (BAT CHAIN PULLER) and hittin' the road to let everyone out there know it. And it's a good show that was captured here via FM broadcast, what with songs from throughout Beefheart's career intermingling in a fashion that really showed the rubes that yes, one of their sixties heroes was still up and about and thankfully had not gone the route of all of those other sixties heroes who were surprisingly getting the major huzzahs while cranking out vastly inferior tuneage.

Great sound (if ya care, I don't) and performance (I do!) captures the essence of these gigs the way I like to hear 'em. If that doesn't settle well with you then you DESERVED to have been puked upon by an overdosing pre-teen at a Van Halen stadium gig just around the same time these sainted strains were being uttered, you "real rock fan" you!
Various Artists-DESPERATE ROCK AND ROLL VOLUME 1 CD-r burn (originally on Flame Records)

There have been so many of these fifties rockabilly/r&b compilations comin' out ever since the eighties that I'm sure only the most serious of collectors could keep up with 'em all! But as far as compilations go DESPERATE ROCK AND ROLL VOLUME 1 is as good as any SIN CITY or Blue Label rarity I've happened to come across, not that I've been looking for 'em with any great regularity.

Great mix of rockabilly and even straight rock 'n roll/bloozey stuff done up by names either well known like Piano Red and Screamin' Joe Neal, though most likely the acts poppin' up here are whatcha'd call obscuro to the hilt. Some things here are straight ahead, others on the comical side and if you want a real laff just listen to Johnny Candles spew out "Johnny B. Goode" proving that English must've been his "third" language (and I wonder about what the first two were)!

Not only that but it all ends with the "modern day" Readymen doin' a cookin' cover of "Shortnin' Bread" that's even better'n the Bell-Notes! A must to find if you're looking for an antidote to what's passing for popular music these days, and who reading this isn't (or should I not be so presumptuous?).
The The-RARITIES VOLUMES 1 & 2 CDs (SB Records)

Remember just how much you were let down (and ultimately HATED) all of those new wave heroes of the late-seventies who seemed just so properly righteous and focused in their tastes and approach to sonic reduction yet entered into the eighties as boringly staid as just about every other flounder on the radio band? Y'know, people like Matt Johnson who put out an ad in the NME back '78 way looking for fellow travelers to form a Velvets/Syd-inspired act yet all that came outta it was "The The". Not the New York punk rockers with the exact same moniker mind you, but an act (actually Johnson plus whomever) that I once remembered reading were close enough to Wire for comfort but, as these platters prove, were yet another in that slick wave that contributed to the great miasma that eighties rock was no matter how much rock critics and mirror-gazing "aficionados" might tell you otherwise.

Bought the first volume if only to hear the debut "Controversial Subject", a side which I must admit still had enough of that late-seventies sense of underground small-label flash to make this purchase worthwhile (especially since an original copy woulda cost me beaucoup more). Surprisingly enough even the rest of these early tracks hold some promise which is really saying something about these recordings that came out of the 4AD stable (sorry if you liked those acts, but this is not THE OFFENSE NEWSLETTER---no "offense" to them implied---in fact I liked 'em!). Meaning---I didn't rip the fanabla off the turntable in utter angst like I usually do when I'm within a few inches of a spinner that I'm not exactly appreciative of. And that is saying something now that I'm older and much crotchety-er.

HOWEVER once I get to Cee-Dee #2 (which was added to my order due to a tie up...some consolation, eh?) just oozes that whole MTV ideal of new-well-into-GNU-wave (copyright 1982 Bill Shute) for me to digest. And couple that all with that tiresome English pity-me-here-in-the-age-of-Thatcher (you whining leeches over there DESERVED HER!) social commentary (more specifically in that one track having something to do with the ol' what if Jesus was up and about in the here and now, or something like that since something about Jesus being killed by the CIA is brought up) you got some sounds that date more than the hunk of cheese that got lost in the back of your refrigerator. Total flash flub worthy of the Human League and the rest of those acts that were being touted as such hot promise in '79 and boy did we get flummoxed once those hits began a'comin'! Well, it only made the Electric Eels and the rest of the seventies under-the-underground rock brigades sound even better than we ever could have believed, and that was a whole lot awlready!

If there are any strict Anglophiles out there, this is for you only even though Matt and whoever was involved in these were bound to create even more Anglphobes than even I would dare admit! Maybe if them guys from Nurse With Wound had answered that ad...
Various Artists-SELECTIONS FROM PALACE RECORDS (Philadelphia) CD-r burn

Being from Philadelphia (home of Chancellor Records and their stable) you probably would think that the acts popping up on the Palace label would be rather "gingerbread-y" and Avalonesque as they used to say. Well not really even though a good portion of the tracks on this disque ain't exactly whatcha'd call rock 'n roll. Lotsa late-fifties-styled pop raves that coulda pleased pop show up here and danged if each and every one of these perfectly cornballus slabs of teenage slobdom coulda fit in your cousin Ethel's record collection circa 1961! Of special interest to Patti Smith fans is the Satelites' "We Love Birdland" which will unlock yet another secret door to rock 'n roll's intertwining clues and pathways to further sonic sources years after the fact!
The Heartbreakers-CBGB - NEW YORK 25th July 1975, 7th September 1975 CD-r burn

The Richard Hell-era Heartbreakers are undoubtedly my favorite version of the group so it's really grand that I got two sets by them on this nice li'l piece o' aluminum. First 'un's from the famed "Summer Rock Festival" at CBGB and packs a potent wallop what with the tag team of Johnny Thunders and Hell creating that neat tension that made the original Television lineup so boffo until nobody could stand it anymore. The one from September 7th doesn't sound quite as good and is sped up a bit, but the trashy mid-seventies feeling still applies. It's not surprising that this particular brand of rock 'n roll thud still mystifies me as much now as it did way back when...must prove I'm of a "stunted development", eh?
Moby Grape-FALL ON AMSTERDAM CD-r burn

I scrapped my original review of this which was beginning to span four paragraphs and was filled to the hilt with all sorts of pseudo-inscrutable ravings regarding the ever-staying power of this late-sixties "second string" as I like to call it rock 'n roll. Gotta be brief and exciting and all even if I have trouble doin' just that (see "The The" review), so lemme just say that this '69 show is the Grape on all cylinders just cranking out a pure high energy rock that thankfully had little to do with the encroaching hucksterism that was overtaking the music world at just about the same time. Hot streak music, and even the bloozier moments and the truck driver stomper spark forth in total eruption. And when you listen to "Omaha" work its way into pure rave-up man, will you be glad you were born with ears!
Various Artists-LONELY MELODY DOLLSTONES CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

It's an old one from the pile (no, not that pile as in what Rock Hudson knew about Gomer's!) so I dunno if Bill even remembers sending this one my way oh-so long ago. But as far as these Bill burns go it's yet another swell one. Gotta say that I like the lope of this particular platter, what with the Fugitives (the Indiana group with that name, not the Detroit ones) doing a good version of Charlie Rich's "Lonely Weekend" and a Norm Burns coming close to "song poem" fun and gags with his "Shanghai Blues". The rest varies from mildly pleasant pop crank out to an extended doll commercial to the Zeros doing some of that punk rock stuff that got a load of kids all huffy puff against it even though they never heard a note of it in their lives. Bill even stuck some good ol' hokum gospel twang on here for some reason. I guess he thinks stuff like that is "camp" but hey one thing I've learned about Bill all these years is that YOU CAN NEVER GUESS WHAT HE'S GONNA DO NEXT!!! Well, I have the feeling he ain't gonna be showin' up at an Iwo Jima reunion wearin' leotards and a tutu any day soon (well, he better not!).

1 comment:

Jack said...