Saturday, March 31, 2018

Hey, tomorrow's Easter, or as I like to say Eas-turd given my colo-rectal mindset, and I hope you have fun at the local Chinese restaurant eating all of those egg rolls like you should during this rather solemn day of the year. Yeah, those days of chocolate bunnies and my dog Sam diggin' into the Easter baskets and almost dying of chocolate poisoning are long gone, but at least we still have our memories and other funtime reminiscences to keep us goin' which I'm sure helps out. I always liked the holiday because, as I once said awhile back, if Easter is here can summer vacation be far behind and y'know, I still have those weird memories of Easter breaks past like the time I was in the Grants department store the day after and saw the Blues Magoos' PSYCHEDELIC LOLLIPOP album on display thinking that the cover looked really cool and I'm sure the sounds contained within were as well. Of course all I ever got outta the day was a model airplane kit and a jaw-breaker but sheesh, do those weird outta nowhere memories come flashing back like potrzebie!
IS MY SPHINCTER EVER GONNA UN-CLENCH??? DEPARTMENT: Since this is my blog I can gab about whatever I want, and heck that might include a whole lotta things that really don't fit in with music or "the ahts" or at least "the ahts" as defined from a BLOG TO COMM standard which probably differs from the one set up by ART IN AMERICA magazine. (Meaning, the painting is only as good as the nude lady who posed for it and the artist's abilities to capture those bullseyes and bellybuttons just right! And please don't skimp on the fur!) Which is why, during these holiest of times, I feel like wretching up a few things regarding THE SAD AND SORRY STATE OF AFFAIRS THAT IS PASSING FOR POLITICAL DISCOURSE OR WHATEVER YA WANNA CALL IT THESE DAYS! And I am kinda grumbling, first at the trek the oft-loathed Donald Trump presidency is taking what with all of the big goofs and gaffes that have been happening as of late (lessee...the hiring of that terminal left over John Bolton, the signing of that huge spending bill as if we really do need a stronger military these days, the banning of bump stocks which bugs my absolutist core...sheesh, you'd think he was George Bush III or somethin'!) and then at alla those gun control moronic kids who'll follow whatever  progressive (hah!) lead their hippoid teachers point their li'l snouts in. I mean, what kinda kid in their right mind LISTENS to their teacher inna first place?

And frankly, like between you and me, the real problem ain't the subject of gun control which is something that perhaps can be discussed without turning into Bomba the Jungle Boy, but that of the overbearing SANCTIMONY that's being spewed out and being passed off as honest stick-it-to-the-man protest and rabble rousing!

Gawd do I abhor that professional drama queen David Hogg who raises armchair high school social consciousness to levels un-reached since the days of THE TRIAL OF BILLY JACK...after getting a dose of just one minute of this guy's snootier-than-thou prattle I always end up wishing that the worst outlaw biker gang in the world would pounce upon the guy and knock some testosterone into him and thus puberty might set in. What a precious petunia Hogg is, in fact he's one to make most of the competition wilt in comparison with his Lt. Fuzz-level ferociousness and mock black power salute right outta prime Jane Fonda. The way Hogg's wedged his way into the whole sordid affair (find a crisis and CASH IN ON IT!!!) I'm surprised he hasn't come out in favor of banning DENNIS THE MENACE and sling shots given how down pat precocious this pampered performer is. One thing I wanna know is...who in the first place let this 'tardo get up and spew his mouth as if his pearls have the same value as say...a studied expert's??? (Don't answer, I know who---he and his HANDLERS!)

And don't get me started on Emma Gonzales, who you can tell just by looking at her has a reek that coulda leveled more students than that shooter ever could. And while I'm at it, don't those defiant pouts on these proud missies just make you want to shudder in abject fear??? (Well. they do, but not in the fashion that these gals intended ifyaknowaddamean...) Sheesh, how far down we've come not only since Frankie Darrow and Leo Gorcey defined the spirit of youth in revolt but since the last gasp of true teenage revolution via the Sex Pistols and Black Flag! And how those groups (who actually epitomized the best aspects of youth goin' out and doing what they wanted without the prodding of the grownups) were universally loathed and called evil while this swill is considered the peak of perfection remains way beyond the realm of human comprehension!

And while we're at it DON'T GET ME STARTED ON THE SNOOTY CLIQUE-ISH KIDS AT THAT SCHOOL WHO STARTED THE WHOLE THING BY BEING THE INSUFFERABLE SHITS THEY MOST TRULY ARE. After all, wasn't it Gonzales herself who, in response to various statements about just how out-of-the-outkid loop shooter Nikolaus Cruz was and that maybe if the kids at the high stool treated him a li'l better he wouldn't have gone on his rampage, spouted something along the line that Cruz wasn't the kind of guy you'd want to go near and that anyone with a brain avoided him like a flea bath because he was like, a creep! Hoo-boy, ain't that the sentiment of my high school classmates and teachers towards me summed up just perfectly! Sheesh, after having to have endured the same kind of attitudes from my "betters" during all those years of education all I gotta say is I WISH CRUZ WOULDA SHOT MORE PIGS BECAUSE IF THEY'RE LIKE YOU EMMA, THEY DESERVE NOT ONLY A PAINFUL DEATH BUT WHATEVER TOASTY AFTERLIFE THEY'LL GET FOR THEIR SNOOTY, UPPERCRUST ATTITUDES TOWARDS THEIR FELLOW STUDENTS! As I said in an earlier post didn't Cruz do what just about every picked-on hammered-on repeatedly-mocked suburban slob would have loved to have done but couldn't because of the lack of knowledge regarding weapons or moolah to buy them inna first place or general chicken-ness or most of all fear of family shame (remember that?).

And to think that these nose-ringed piglets are the so-called FUTURE of this once fun and jamz nation I live in! Sheesh, where the heck is our Generation Indentitaire or for that matter Golden Dawn anyway? Sure could use something along those truly threatening lines rather'n the usual piddling band-aid responses to bursting arteries we've been subject to for eons already. Lemme tell ya, from now on it's all out (I was merely doing 99.999...%) LOATHING for you all...nothing but MURDOCH MURDOCH videos, TYRONE RAGE cartoons and GAB I'll tell ya. And if anyone can give me the address of the local Falange Party I most certainly would appreciate it.
Welp, here's this week's batch of freshly brewed beauts I managed to whip up for your betterment. Please note that I did not pay for ONE SINGLE DISQUE reviewed this week and that these aforementioned platters were actually DONATED by the likes of Bill Shute and Paul McGarry, two people who know a lost cause when they see one.  Sheesh, with people like Bill and Paul (not to mention Bob) around to pick up the bill who needs money around here anywah, not that there's much I feel like parting with my filthy lucre for these sad 'n sorry times!

Claus Ogerman and his Orchestra-SOUL SEARCHIN' CD-r burn (originally on RCA Victor Records)

With a name like Claus Ogerman I thought this album was gonna be filled with a buncha marches of a Teutonic nature guaranteed to put a smile on Herman Goering's face. But hey, I was wrong. This Ogerman guy plays e-z listening stereofied blooze-y jazz that woulda put a smile on my Horst Jankowski and Bert Kaempfert-listening uncle's face had he given this 'un a go. This effort features a whole load of Hammond organ-led instrumentals with the proper amount of strings and brass to beef the whole thing up to FM-stereo circa 1966 listening levels, and if I were some old fogey back then I probably woulda spent my moolah on a collection of Jan Garber albums but hey, that's my problem!
Charlie Parker-THE COMPLETE DIAL SESSIONS, DISC 1 CD-r burn (originally on Stash Records)

Bill Shute said he was gonna come over my house and make me the mezzo-soprano I never was with his bare hands if I didn't review this new Parker box set, but given the time constraints on such a major project I thought maybe I should do it like piece meal, hokay? Anyhoo the first part of this collection of crucial Parker platters and such features rare takes and even fragments that woulda gotten an "unsatisfactory" in any bootleg discography extant, but since these are so important to us I guess we do have the right to listen in no matter how lousy they come off. Hot bop versions of everything from such notables as "Yardbird Suite" to "Ornithology" not to mention the infamous "Lover Man" in what sounds like a different take than the drug addled squeal that made jazz history while nobody seemed to be looking.

Four fifteen-minute wowzers here (well, the second and third 'un's are actually the same show!) which go to remind ya of just how professional radio news commentary was, and just how staid and tiring it has become in the interim. Postwar tirades tackle everything from communists to the social page with total elan. Coulda used some more background on the situations at hand (like, what was the jab at TIME magazine which closes out the 12/19/48 edition all about anyway?) but I will say that one listen to Winchell only makes me GLAD that the likes of Peter Jennings and Brian Williams ain't readin' the newscasts anymore, not that their spawn are any better y'know.
George Jones and the Jones Boys-RADIO JAMBOREE CD-r burn (originally on United Artists Records)

Fans of the old country before it got all new and glitzy (or even fans of the old country before it got all Barbara Mandrelled outta existence) would do well by picking this 1963-vintage recording up. Jones stays sober enough to deliver twennysome steel guitar and fiddle-twanged tales of woe and other typical down and out country sentiments, finally taking some time out to do a li'l rejoicing on the snappy "I'm Gonna Sing Sing Sing". To close this 'un out with yet another rock critic (not that I am one!) cliche, lemme just say that your typical hot country/Nashville Network fan should be shackled to a chair and forced to listen to this until he learns what REAL country music is s'posed to be!

More Armed Forces Radio slush, this time with Robert Q. Lewis (who was much better on those Screen Gems sitcoms like THE HATHAWAYS and BEWITCHED) hosting a buncha up-and-coming singers doing their usual early-fifties tin pan alley pap, while Lum 'n' Abner host a country and western show with a whole slew of that downhome humor that I'll bet even Ernest T. Bass thought was strictly cornballus. I'd hate to have been some soldier stuck in a muddy foxhole forced to listen to this when I could have been enjoying something a bit more pertinent to my nodes like say, Pyonyang Patti.

Well this one is a vast improvement o'er the above and woulda kept me from crossing the DMZ with hands swinging in air. Tex Williams provides a fifteen-minute show live at Knott's Berry Farm (we never went there on any of our California vacations because we were told it was a tourist trap...we went to Disneyland tho!) featuring a train robbery skit which I believe was taken from an actual attraction as well as a variety of musical numbers that don't make for instant ipecac ifyaknowaddamean. The Christmas Eve show does make for some fine listening what with the variety of jazz tracks from the likes of Diz and Hampton to even the on-the-way-out Benny Goodman, but man does that bopster patter irritate to no end! Sounds as phony as a piece of currency with Barney Frank's picture on it which makes me wish that someone out there woulda given these announcers one of those issues of MAD with the cool cat jive talk stories just so's they could get at least some of it right! But hey, I'm sure the music on this 'un woulda kept our soldiers from deserting!
Various Artists-MAGIC MOSCOW FROG CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Kinda spotty, and I do mean dalmatian, especially for one of these Bill Burns. The brief excerpt from some version of "Magic Carpet Ride" sounds like something a high school prom band circa 1974 mighta whipped up, while Gil Scott-Heron never did howshallIsay zone me with his power to the people proto rap stylings. The various "In Sound" interviews with Sean Bonniwell and Jim (or was it Roger by this time?) McGuinn are nice slices of an era when rock 'n roll definitely meant more to many than it would even a few years later. However, the soul tossoffs and some daft punk by a group called Leftovers really don't make for that enjoyable a time. Neither does listening to Steve Allen plug one of the billion things he was plugging back in the eighties and nineties nor Heather Thomas rattle on about choosing the right health spa. Well, whatever that Spinal Frog thing was I liked it and the Raeletts were a whole lot more exciting than I'm sure most naysayers would have thunk!

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Yeah I know, seeing these guys in 2018 is akin to yer grandpappy going to see the remnants of the Glenn Miller Orchestra back 1971 way. A rare nite out for the old fogies who were trying to cop some long gone funtime memories of a time that was much more preferable to the great kultural mess that was happening thanks to the narcissistic generation that would go on to greater and more destructive things. Only the crowd gathered to see 'em at the Kent Stage were way older 'n your grandfather was back during the BIG FORTIES NOSTALGIA PUTSCH OF THE EARLY SEVENTIES which I must admit was a movement I sure went for big time!

Hey, I know that I was the odd suburban slob out while in school but while the others were cumming buckets over Bobby Sherman I was wasting my time reading old comic strips while listening to old music and pleasuring myself with other outmoded forms of entertainment which were much better'n the bell bottom and "relevance" gunk I hadda endure on a daily basis. And a good forty-five years later what with early-seventies derived social consciousness and overbearing success shaming having been METASTASIZED into our very being who says that I was WRONG trying to resist that emotion-based prattle that was hitting me from all sides! William F. Buckley might have wanted to stand atop the turd heap of history yelling "stop" but even he eventually yawned and let it pass. I sure as shooting do not want to make the same mistake even though against all odds I'll be plowed over like some of those bodies you used to see in death camp films. (This paragraph is dedicated to J. D. King and Jeff Roth, who I think are the only people on this EARTH who will understand.)

But I'll leave my opinions regarding the million moron gun banners and that bald dyke who seems to be all over the place for another column (you can TELL that recent events are irritating me!) and concentrate on the Zombies. Boy were they a hot act even though only Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent remain from the originals and the former's voice sure ain't as smooth as it used to be. Well, it was good enough for me as were Argent's jazzy keyboard trills along with the rest of the rent-a-group new members who were so up on what they were doing that they didn't even hit any clunkers. Of course the hits were there (even Argent's "Hold Your Head Up" which, as we were told, was not sung "Wo-ah" but "Woman") and Blunstone was a good enough front man presence even though he looked like he was about to keel over a few times. But everyone involved did a stupendous job from the ODYSSEY AND ORACLE portion to the new stuff that nobody would be familiar with, and as you woulda guessed by now they really worked us all up with the extended butts off the seats ravers that, even if done up for a pack of retirees, were done up for some SMART ENOUGH ones who could appreciate their rock 'n roll without the past five decades of mummery thrown in. (In fact one of the many highlights of the evening was listening to this conversation the folk behind me were having regarding recent Roky Erickson and Flamin' Groovies appearances with a few Tom Verlaine/Television reminiscences tossed in which, for me, proves that the Akron/Kent/Cle under-the-covers rock experience lives on even a good fortysome years after the fact!

Opener Don DiLego came out and warmed the audience up with some originals that weren't bad even if they were too solo-artist emote for my tastes. But he did a good enough job to get that gold star on the forehead. Overall DiLego reminded me of those solo acts I used to catch on various CB's 313 Gallery cybercasts back in the early oh-ohs, fun if amateur-hourish creativity that wasn't offensive to your own musical parameters even if they were far far from 'em.

Big heaping thanks to cyst-er who not only paid for the tickets but bought me a burger beforehand. I even got to stay up way past my bedtime just like I usedta do when I was a young turd even, and although the magic of that went out around the time I was working steady midnight it sure brought back a few good memories I'll tell ya... 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


When I was living in northern Oklahoma in the early 1980’s (during the period when I ran the INNER MYSTIQUE zine and label), I attended college and supported myself through various part-time jobs, usually juggling any two at one time. One summer my work-study job at the college was on hiatus, and the restaurant I worked at was shut down and the doors padlocked without prior notice to us employees (we all got stiffed two weeks pay too!), so I did what you should always do when you need work: tell EVERYONE you know, and hope that someone knows someone who needs someone somewhere. Most jobs are never advertised, and of course many people need someone for a few weeks or a month to fill in for an employee who’s out....or some private individual has a need for someone for a specific task and will pay you cash for that. In my case, I did not need permanent work, just something to help me get through the summer.

A lady who’d been in one of my classes, Terry--she worked at the college bookstore and was dating a German exchange student who was a friend of a friend--told me that her father needed someone to do about four weeks work in the town she was from, Shawnee, Oklahoma. He was the manager of a small loan company, and he’d purchased the space next door to their current office, but it was full of junk that needed to be moved, it needed to have new linoleum floors put in, it needed to be repainted, etc. He could not afford to hire actual licensed tradesmen to do those chores, and had mentioned to Terry about needing to find someone. He’d never acted on that, just kept the space empty, so Terry thought she’d kick him in the rear on this and get the ball rolling, and at the same time get me some work. She negotiated a generous amount of pay (pretty much triple the minimum wage and also a bonus if I got the work done in four weeks) for me with her Dad, PLUS they offered me a space to stay at and breakfast and dinner at their family home (and they’d provide me with a sack lunch every day). We covered up the front window of the space-to-be-fixed up so no one knew what work was being done, and since her Dad was in tight with the local officials, we were able to circumvent getting permits, which saved him even more money. I even had access to their family washer-dryer, so this was a win-win situation for me with no real expenses (back in Stillwater, I was paying 1/3 of a $100-a-month rent for a trashy apartment three of us shared, so being stuck with rent woes while out of town was not an issue).

I had an unlimited account at the local hardware store for the supplies I needed. The first week I just hauled out trash, got rid of old and useless furniture, and cleaned. The second week I stripped the old flooring and laid down new linoleum, and this also took me into week three. The second half of week three and all of week four was spent painting. I finished the Sunday night at the end of week four and told Terry’s Dad that I had a surprise for him when he came to work Monday morning-- a totally empty, but sparkling new-looking three-room office and bathroom and pantry. All he needed to do was have a professional paint a sign on the front window (you can’t have an amateur like me fake THAT and attract any business), lease some office furniture, get phone service set up, get a couple of window-unit air conditioners, and they were good to go.

Although I ate and slept at their family home, I did not really feel comfortable there just hanging out, so I would spend most evenings and all day on the weekends at the space I was refurbishing. The loan office next door closed at 5, and as in most small towns, the main street pretty much closes down by 6 p.m., so I had the place to myself. I’d brought a boom-box and about 100 cassettes with me, so I had non-stop music while I worked and each night/weekend. I also brought a box of cheap used comics I’d picked up in Tulsa earlier that Summer, on the same trip to Tulsa where I picked up some import LP’s at Starship Records: the amazing EVA label compilation albums of MOUSE AND THE TRAPS, THE OTHER HALF, and THE SEEDS (Bad Part Of Town), and the French EMI Pathe Marconi exact reissues of original Capitol albums by Gene Vincent and Imperial albums by Rick Nelson. I made cassettes of all of those and also had many many mix-cassettes of obscure 45’s from my collection as well as episodes of the YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR detective radio show, airchecks of Benny Goodman’s "CAMEL CARAVAN" shows, and some of Duke Ellington’s wartime Treasury Bond broadcasts.. When they would close down the loan office next door each night, I’d start consuming 8-ounce bottles of Pearl Cream Ale ($1.09 an eight-pack!), turn up the volume on my music, and dabble at work until the sun went down. After sundown, I’d read either old comic books or Henry Miller’s "ROSY CRUCIFIXION" trilogy, and then eventually head back out to their house about 10:30, where dinner would be waiting for me in the refrigerator and I could just re-heat it, wash it down with one or two or three of THEIR beers (they had Lowenbrau in their fridge, a few steps up from Pearl Cream Ale, and I’d hear in my mind with each one I drank the golden soulful tones of Arthur Prysock, crooning, “tonight is kind of special...let it be Lowebrau”), chat with the Dad and/or Terry for a while, and crash for the night. This was a fairly sweet gig, and though I would not want to have done it forever, there were a lot worse ways to spend four sweltering weeks in the Oklahoma summer, getting paid well, being fed and given a place to stay, having great music playing all day and most evenings, and being able to read at night in a spacious environment on the main drag of an old-time small town. When I wind up in the small towns of Oklahoma or North Texas or Kansas in my travels in recent years, I’m taken back to that period, and it reminds me how rich life can be when you have a purpose (getting this space fixed up in a four week period) and the few essentials you need (food, beer, a place to sleep), plus good music and something worthwhile to read that was your own and which you chose and had a hard copy of. Albums you would play over and over, books and comics that you’d read and re-read. They grew deeper with each play or reading, and you grew to understand and feel their construction, their textures, their nuances. It’s hard to explain to someone nowadays with zillions of tracks of music available immediately on a smart phone, along with 7000 TV and movie watching options at any time anywhere, the joy of being in a small-town office building on a Wednesday night after everyone else working on the main street had gone home, the floor stripped of its old covering and no furniture whatsoever, sitting on the floor and blasting Mouse And The Traps “Wicker Vine” and “13 O’Clock Theme For Psychotics” over and over again while drinking cheap Pearl Cream Ales and reading and re-reading a WYATT EARP comic book. Heck, I was pretty much IN the Old West myself back then. The buildings on that block probably dated back to the 1920’s if not before, and Oklahoma had only become a state in 1907. It did not take much of an imaginative leap to insert myself into some of the situations in this 1965 Charlton WYATT EARP comic book that I’d paid a nickel for.

Wyatt Earp (not to be confused with Chrysler/Dodge dealer Wyatt Arp in Seguin, Texas) is the kind of legendary name that can be used for any kind of heroic western character--the way any muscle-bound leading man in a sword and sandal movie can be called Hercules (or one of the mighty Sons of Hercules). The specifics of the real Wyatt are known to western historians and people who read True West magazine, but most others just want a good story, action, adventure, and escape. Coincidentally, 1965, the date of this comic, was the same year that the great Guy Madison played a character named Wyatt Earp in the Euro-western GUNMEN OF THE RIO GRANDE. That had as little to do with the real character as this comic book does, but it was just as satisfying and excellent in its own way.

In between the full-page ads (someone in the Charlton ad sales office should have gotten a bonus for the number of ads sold in this issue!), there are two six-page stories featuring Earp, one five-pager with Earp, one five-pager without Earp, a one-page comic about the history of Derringer pistols, a one-page comic called “The Train Robbers” (kind of like a western version of those Ellery Queen Minute Mysteries radio shows!), and of course, the expected two-page prose story, here an account of a college student (like me, “off for the summer”) who learned buffalo hunting from the Ogillallah Tribe. The non-Earp five-pager was called “Forgotten Past,” about a man who had been living in a small western town where he’d established a good reputation and was known and trusted by all and had found a place in the community--but who remembers nothing of his life prior to coming to the town. One day he sees an old Wanted poster, and the sketch of the criminal on it resembles himself in a vague way, and he wonders. As I sat on the floor of that half-refurbished Shawnee, Oklahoma, office, looking through the back door onto the alley and the mellow glow of a distant streetlight, I wondered what might happen if I decided to stay in Shawnee. Terry had told me at one time that I knew enough math and accounting to get a job with her father’s company, if I wanted to. She also told me that there were some local ladies who had jobs at businesses in town or at the electric co-operative to the North whom she’d be glad to introduce me to. I did not take her up on that while in Shawnee for this work because I was working twelve hours a day in the summer heat in an old non-air conditioned building, and no lady, no matter how lonely, would have wanted to be introduced to someone who stank the way I probably did--also, even if I’d cleaned myself up, I would be gone in a few weeks. However, if I worked at the Loan Office regularly and took up residence there, I’d be fresh-smelling, clean-shaven, a man with a respectable job charging working people who could not get funding from a legitimate bank usurious rates for small household loans--hey, if we weren’t doing it, someone else would be. Isn’t that the usual self-justifying excuse? I could have met some lady who’d get me to join the Methodist Church, become a respectable member of small-town Oklahoma society, and spend my days calling people at work who’d gotten behind on their payments for that new water-heater or refrigerator. I could forget my own somewhat sordid past, like the character in the “Forgotten Past” story....and create a new only-slightly sordid present and future!

In the words of the late great bluesman Otis Rush, “so many roads, so many trains to ride.” In terms of the roads of imagination, I’ve taken many a trip via cheap used Charlton Comics. At the top of the right-facing pages in this Wyatt Earp comic, it reads CHARLTON COMICS GIVE YOU MORE! That’s for damn sure, and for just a nickel in my case. Used comics....your best entertainment value! It’s the BTC way!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Hokay, here's another column. Nothing much to ponder about anyone with two stem cells to rub together can tell this is nothing more'n just a bunch of mental dribbles that I decided to put together to express my love of music that's rattled inside me ever since I was a mere turdler, if not even before. That's all. And hey, in no way is this or any of my writings gonna change the world for the better. In fact, I doubt that a vast majority of the inhabitants of this planet would care one whit about the sounds I'm expressing such deep devotion to. But at least you guys are here which proves one thing that all of the experts and shot callers will never attest to. And that is that you have some pretty hotcha tastes in sound and for that I salute ya (I think)!!!!
POLITICAL CORNER: my personal opinion regarding President Trump's signing the new budget...boy did he step in it this time! Maybe it's part of some strange endgame rouse he's cooking up but frankly after keeping us all in suspense first saying he would veto it then changing his mind all I gotta say is that he's coming off more like Gerald Ford than he does Andrew Jackson. Not as funny as Ford true, but if he keeps this up he's prob'ly gonna be remembered by his base in pretty much the same way! Too bad because like, who else is there who can really change the gears of the world---other'n maybe Pat Buchanan but he had his chance! And I don't think that Rand Paul 2020 is gonna happen either not that I think that is gonna be any magic cure-all we all so desperately NEED these sad and sorry time!
THINGS FOUND WHILE LOOKING FOR OTHER THINGS DEPT.: mostly loads of pertinent CLE-related gunch, that's what! Read on and see for yourself just what kind of boffo surprises I came across that you most likely will be eternally grateful to me for showing you thus enriching your otherwise drab existences!

First off, here's a tidbit from SCENE regarding the final Rocket From The Tombs shows. Big trouble with this one is that they got the month wrong.

Right across from that particular plug was a short piece on original Rocket bassist and future country and western comedian Charlie Wiener.

In fact, here's an ad for an early solo Wiener performance at Loose!, which I believe was the former Clockwork Orange.

And howzbout this one for THE BIG NIGHT!!!!

Wonder what this concoction was like? Actually, I'd be afraid to ask!!!

A pre-Rocket-era review from Crocus.

And another good one!

And in closing, howzbout these rare Great Bow Wah Death Band snaps taken a month before the creation of Rocket From The Tombs???

Now  please don't go 'round sayin' I don't do anything good for you!
ITEMS LISTENED TO (BUT NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSED) THIS WEEK-WE'RE THE BANANA SPLITS (Decca), Deep Purple-FIREBALL (Harvest), Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band-UNCONDITIONALLY GUARANTEED (Virgin), Hawkwind-ASTOUNDING SOUNDS, AMAZING MUSIC (Charisma), Velvet Underground-CHELSEA GIRLS SOUNDTRACK one-sided bootleg LP, Can KOLN RADIO tape, and really not much else.
Anyway, here's the latest batch of recorded mayhem, all but the first one being donations from the likes of Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and NOBODY ELSE!!!! Yeah, you might think these are slim pickins but I'll bet your mother that one word of schpiel from me beats the entire collection of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY music criticisms ever since the creation of that infamous pooty wiper oh so long ago. Beg to differ?

Frank Lowe-OUT LOUD 2-LP set (Triple Point Records)

It's expensive true ($94 plus postage!) but I wasn't buying ANYTHING ELSE this month, not even bare necessities like Ny Quil or baby aspirin so like, maybe I could splurge whatever I had left on a double-LP set like this and forget any other trivialities at least until the next paycheck, eh?

But was it worth the grandiose amount of moolah I dumped for it?

Well, that might be something I can best answer in twenny years time when I'll really be poor and wasted, but for now I gotta say that this effort seems pretty much the kind of hardcore energy that I was expecting from it and well worth the buckskins spent. So yeah, I think I made a smart move getting hold of this one even if it means starvation for the next X or so weeks.

This previously-unreleased 1974 sesh features Lowe, his sand-blasted tenor and various "small instruments" backed by a pretty copasetic group including Joseph Bowie on trombone, Steve Reid on drums and William Parker on bass. And this quartet soar like nothing since BLACK BEINGS or better yet the infamous EXCHANGE with Rashied Ali (who engineered this 'un) and like, if you thought Lowe was strata on those (as well as next year's FRESH) he sure puts up a mighty wail on these four sides.

I mean, can you stand it? I barely could myself what with Lowe firmly in the post-sixties bag now conjuring up solid shards of atonal madness that might have seemed "unbrotherly" even a good three years earlier. The band is wired and that tension sure can bounce from instrument to instrument as the quartet performs (with Ahmed Abdullah appears on trumpet on the Studio Rivbea live side) some of the more scathing sounds in jazz heard throughout the already tensed over seventies. Really, the energy levels provided here are above and beyond the call of whatever it was in jazz Chick Corea said he was offering us peons when he went all twinky twirly.

Solid gatefold cover with a nice booklet's a good investment, for your own jazz being as well as for when you're ancient and wanna sell the thing at a grande profit. Not that you would...will this 'un to me, willya?
Big Star-COLUMBIA CD-r burn (originally on Zoo Records)

Another remnant of that brief Big Star reunion back in the early-nineties, this one featuring all of their famous numbers the group made themselves known to a few aficionados with as well as a few nice surprises that I'm sure brought out the early-seventies fandom in more than a few old turds out there. Y'know, it's too bad that these guys got stuck on a small label like Ardent who really couldn't give 'em the grand push they most certainly needed, but at least we have this fine act to stash into our collection next to other outta-nowhere bright hopes of the day who unfortunately floundered about while Paul McCartney was trying to fool everyone that Wings were the new Beatles. Y'know, acts like the Sidewinders, Jump, Hackamore Brick and Zuno Keisatsu. Look for the expanded edition if you dare.
Muddy Waters-AT NEWPORT CD-r burn (originally on Chess Records)

As you know I'm not much of a straight-on blues booster, perhaps because I don't have enough hair to let it be long and greasy plus I don't even own a leather jacket or tattered jeans for that matter. But man, I gotta say that listening to the likes of Waters as well as many of the original wave of blooze chooze does help sooth the savage boobies around these parts. Anywah, here's a boffo slab of none other than Muddy Waters live at the Newport Folk Festival in 1960 (or was it the Jazz one?) rolling through his classics as well as a few lesser knowns and for not being a full-fledged fan of the form all I gotta say is...this sure's got most of the eighties/nineties "new music" that I hadda sweat my way through beat all hollow!
Mind Express-WHAT'S HAPPENING CD-r burn (originally on Dot Records)

If you like exploito psychedelic records created by folk who got their lysergic knowledge through repeated viewings of DRAGNET, boy will you go for this! Everything from "Theme From Exodus" and Mussorgsky to "A Night on Bald Mountain" done up on a Hammond B-3 and Roger Williams-esque piano trills with all of the appropriate sound effects thrown in for that proper bohemian mood. It sure would have made waves with your typical David Susskind audience member. 's funny, but although this platter was aimed at the typical father and mother of us suburban slob types way back when you KNOW they woulda thought of it as nothing more than that disgusting and smelly hippie music no matter how much it was gussied up to their particular musical parameters of taste!
The Moderates-FETISHES EP CD-r burn

Here's an early-eighties Liverpool group that sounds nothing like the Teardrop Explodes. In fact they sound like nothing of what you thought the Liverpool groups of the late-seventies onward were supposed to sound like. These Moderates in fact kinda come off rooted in mid-sixties British pop moves filtered through early-seventies decadence all tumbled up into that big heap of compost known as alternative music. But they're intelligent and quite conscious of their pop moves enough to make this rather pleasant and not just another art project. Lyrics have a certain sexual charge to 'em and the performance is clean yet still obnoxious enough to pry the average underground rock fan of his precious pences with male/female tradeoff vocals dominating the proceedings. Not bad like a whole bunch of the new unto gnu wave (copyright 1982 Bill Shute) could get at the time.
Various Artists-NOWHERE MEN VOLUME 4 CD-r burn (originally on LCD Records)

Like with the mid-sixties Amerigan local band phenomenon, there have been countless collections of rare English hard pop rockers that never did accrue the the attention that all of the big names in the biz were getting left and right. Here's but one volume of one of these efforts, and it's a fairly good sampling of some of the under-the-bubbling that was going on over there a good fiftysome years back. Some familiar names pop up, but for the most part this 'un's total obscuro and for a buncha nobodies these guys sure put out some pretty good efforts that, while not exactly earth-shattering, sure make for a better time than Crosby Stills and Gnash ever did. As an added bonus this set ends with a number of recordings by the Crying Shames, produced by Joe Meek no less, who really do some hot numbers including a Dylan cop that really must have rankled the strictly anti-mop top Meek to no end!
Various Artists-CLASS OF '66 CD-r burn (originally on Wanted Records)

Given alla the down and out woe is me teenage thumpers that appear on CLASS OF '66, ya kinda wonder why the entire adolescent population of the United States and possessions for that matter weren't undergoing daily doses of Paxil like I sure think they shoulda. Well at least these bozos were able to transform their depression into some hotcha recordings that expressed their sorry state in life, and for the most part the resultant singles they managed to inflict upon their home rooms reflect well upon their abilities to communicate utter woe. These tracks are mostly done up by the usual one-shot flopabouts we all like but a few familiar names pop into the selection such as Rochester New York's Young Tyrants and Tony and the Tigers of Soupy Sales' very own kids fame! Sheesh, what did they have to get all bummed out about with such a rich and famous (and funny) dad as he???
Pete Rugolo-PERCUSSION AT WORK CD-r burn (originally on Mercury/Wing Records)

Former Stan Kenton sideman (and LEAVE IT TO BEAVER music director during its final season) Rugolo does snat with this heavy duty percussion record. Naw, this ain't anything like "Ionization" or any of those Imaginary Landcape things but boffo home hi-fi-styled jazzy workouts that (like I always say) really woulda been a fave of that stereo nut kinda guy you knew when you were growing up. Ya know, the guy who looked like Dennis the Menace's dad and had a den with one of those ultra-expensive set ups he'd never let you go near. For a taste of an old, and much BETTER time, slap this on the ol' Victrola and kick up your feet while the kids are fighting over whether to watch YOGI BEAR or SUPERCAR in the next room.
Billy Larkin and the Delegates featuring Clifford Scott-BLUE LIGHTS CD-r burn (originally on Aura Records)

Soul jazz instrumentals that might do a certain thingie for you but I frankly find this more of the same old. Of course it's better than anything being promulgated on the radio and tee-vee during these sad 'n sorry times, but for the most part I find myself yearning for the strains of Nurse With Wound for some strange reason. Probably would have made for a fine flea market find during the summer of 1979, a time which copped me more than my fair share of platters and at depression-era wages as well!
Various Artists-WATERMELON SELFISH PITTMAN BALL CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

This 'un's got some goodies from Mae "Betty Boop" Questel's rendition of "The Codfish Ball" (made famous by endless reruns of old Shirley Temple mooms) to a touching father's day number courtesy Groucho Marx (his "Funniest Song in the World" sure ain't tho...) not to mention this crazed a-Capella comedy number from the Julius Monk Revue regarding Con Ed that comes off real late-sixties/early-seventies New Yawk to these ears. There's also an abundance of jazzy soul stuff from Johny Lewis to Della Reese that helps perk up the ear canals a bit. Personal faves include Jerry Colonna's rendition of "Ebb Tide" not to mention these three tracks from a typing instruction record which has you peck out the pertinent keys to a twenties-era instrumental! Maybe I should take the course just so's I can get these posts out a whole lot quicker'n I am doing now!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Now that I'm in a howshallwesay "advanced" state of years I figured that I just must tell all of you, must put it on record before my mind goes completely blooey and tell you that, after years and years of Golden Age comic book reading and other assorted funzies the Quality line of comics produced thee BESTEST comic books to make their way to the twirling racks of anystore USA or elsewhere for that matter. Yeah DC had its moments but they could get rather staid, Timely was too cluttered-looking and besides sometimes their good guys were so squeaky you just couldn't help rooting for the enemy, and MLJ amongst others just didn't have the same verve and drive I'm looking for in a comic book adventure. But Quality, boy were they good at putting out mags brimming fulla boffo heroes, twisted adventures and sometimes a good yuk or ten thrown in amidst the wild carnage that was taking place.

Sure some of their titles featured heroes that just weren't up to snuff, but when it came to those masked guys sporting forties suits and wide-brimmed chapeaus like the Spirit or Midnight they were definitely on top of the comic book heap! And as far as weird heroes go Quality had the monopoly on 'em from the ever-stretching Plastic Man to the Human Bomb whose mere touch could send any badski straight to YOU-KNOW-WHERE!!! And as far as plots and so outta the loop strange storylines go well, forget the competition. And no, they didn't even have to stoop to sheer sensationalism like making so-and-so a Muslim or everybody's favorite hero gay. It was all done with sheer genius from the cranium that, judging from what I have seen in comic books, has been in in pretty short supply since the mid-seventies (though some may beg to differ).

Anyway, the fine folk at Golden Age Reprints have done us a neat favor by printing up two Quality Comics collections (known as what else but volume 1 and volume 2) which are available with the mere click of a key if you go to the highlighted links. Yeah, they are pricey at sixty bucks a pop but I got a whole lot of enjoyment outta 'em and I'm sure you would too burying yourself in one of these thick books during one of those winter cold snaps we've been having. And believe-you-me, these Golden Age sagas featuring action and real thrills probably beat all those billion buck superhero movies that have been comin' out over the past few decades, not that I've actually had the gall to go see any...

Granted...not all of the stories or characters come up to Will Eisner or Jack Cole levels. In fact, some of the leading characters in the non-superhero sagas are so bland that even you will kinda hope that the Nazi officer garrotes them at the most appropriate time. Sheesh, sometimes I wish there was some Golden Age character who was a total heel---y'know, bombed orphanages and sunk lifeboats if only to break the squeaky clean monotony of it all! But then again most of these stories are top notch Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kid entertainment that really packs a good wallop and, like Bill Shute repeatedly says, really paid off for the kiddo who plunked down a whole dime for an issue way back when money was hard to come by for those depression-era wage kids who hadda scrimp and save. Or, as my dad said, these really paid off for FREE if you knew a kid whose father owned a corner store and let you keep all those comic books with the titles ripped off the top of the covers and stashed 'em away up in the attic for years until mom finally threw 'em all out!

Come to think of it a few of even the superhero series presented just didn't grab me by the fibula like I thought they should. OK, I did like that one story where "The Red Bee" goes up against a crooked political boss but sheesh, the hero's gimmick, releasing a red bee that terrorizes his adversaries straight from his belt buckle, just didn't seem pow/slam as it should. Maybe this was because I first got (and devoured) this book during the summer when a buncha yellowjackets had invaded the bathroom exhaust system and were swooping in en masse causing a few painful stings to my person that I had an aversion to this particular title.

Other titles actually improved over time, like The Black Condor whose schtick was being able to fly and of course put up a good fight. The Condor learned his schtick after being orphaned and stranded in India where he was raised by actual birds who somehow taught him how to fly which makes me glad he wasn't trained by dung beetles. Earlier episodes are comic book wowee enough true, but it isn't until he makes his way to Ameriga where he takes the place of his exact double, a US senator who was murdered by evil political rivals, that the series kicks into high. Not only does the Condor suddenly gain political power galore, but he even has a fiancee who doesn't realize that her hubby-to-be ain't really the guy who is her truly intended. Oh well, I'm sure the truth will come out once she gets the fake senator into the sack again and notices that maybe the similarities do end as far as masculinity goes and BOY WILL THERE BE FIREWORKS GALORE!!!!!

But still, there's plenty to pour through here from some pretty great art (Paul Gustavson of "The Jester" and "The Ray" [who has the GAYEST superhero costume ever created!] fame being one of the better of the batch) to some previously unknown to me heroes and stories you'll love pouring through when you get into one of those suburban slob ranch house moods I always seem to be in. It ain't complete, but it's a grand introduction to what else was being done at Quality back during those days when the entire industry seemed to just explode all over the mindscape of anykid USA givin' a whole batch of bored pennyscrapers yet another reason to live!

Oh yeah, if you can latch onto it try to find the by-now ancient issue of Eclipse Comics' MR. MYSTIC title. Perhaps the most ignored Quality title Mystic only appeared in the same newspaper comic book section as THE SPIRIT and LADY LUCK, although while their "Comic Book Section" adventures got reprinted in the legitimate comic titles (POLICE COMICS and SMASH COMICS respectively) MYSTIC did not meet the same fate. Too bad because it was a boffo comic that, while not as gripping as THE SPIRIT or PLASTIC MAN, still had great artwork and stories that didn't make your mind wander. Gotta say that although MR. MYSTIC was great in that middle-eastern occultish sorta way, the series really didn't kick in until the appearance of  the mysterious "Shadowman" who, while seemingly cut from the same SPIRIT/MIDNIGHT/MOUTHPIECE suited and wide-brimmed hat mold, could have been both a hero and villain depending on the exact situation. A few of these Mystics featuring Shadowman pop up in the Quality books but since these particular reprints are more/less outta sequence (with no Shadowman origin in the batch) we modern types are definitely gettin' the mushroom treatment when it comes to this particular being who I think coulda carried his own title with relative ease. Oh well, I hope Golden Age Reprints remedies this obvious gaffe in yet another edition!

TWO OR SO MONTHS AFTER WRITING THE ABOVE SCHPIEL UPDATE! Just couldn't resist buying up even more of these Quality reprints and as I'm sure you would know right off the bat I don't regret my financial actions one single iota! I mean, rather my money go to these true comic book fans than to the giant megaoctopussian DC conglomerate who have more buckskins in their maws than they know what to do with. Not only that but these titles are presented as they were (in 1945) and ARE (in their advanced state of decay) which gives one the feeling that they're picking up an authentic piece of history instead of something that was re-tooled and re-colored and re-edited for modern-day fru fru tastes.

The SPIRIT sagas do well even without an in the army now Will Eisner's artwork and story crafting abilities (which I know have been rightly praised over the years but sheesh, at some point we've GOTTA draw the line between funtime entertainment and highbrow uppercrust art appreciation worthy of an Art Spiegelman tome!) and come to think of it the rest of these comic book inserts ain't that bad as well. The last of the MR. MYSTICs appear here and show a quite different character than the original man o' mystery, he now totin' around this weird sidekick with blank Li'l Orphan Annie eyes in sagas that just pale next to the original high-wired comics that started out the series.

Judging from these final frolics I guess it was clear that MYSTIC was on the way out because the guy was eventually replaced by a new series called INTELLECTUAL AMOS which dealt with this weird large-domed and misshapen bald boy in overalls who is smarter than his years would belie and hangs around with a weird dragon that talks with a lisp (lisping sidekicks must have been the big to-do then given the one that appeared in the BEYOND MARS newspaper strip). I guess the thing would have its "charm" if you're some rapidly aging school marm type but I found these a trifling too cute and downright boring for my own digestive tract. But since they blow a whole load of the competition outta the water even in this advanced state I'll give the kid his just dues.

At least the FLATFOOT BURNS comics that replaced it do have a tad of the Quality snide humor qualities that were prevalent in the likes of THE SPIRIT and PLASTIC MAN even if the artwork might seem aimed at the more youthful amongst the comic book reading set. Even the opening pages of these has the patented Quality style with the innovative mastheads and title character's name spread across the page matching in with an urban sprawl or plastered on a billboard. And come to think of it the stories are kinda funny, sorta watered down versions of the standard Quality fashion for kids who just ain't ready for the real deal yet I guess---but I get the idea that in a short span of time they will be!

Of course (at least for me) the real deal surprise of these inserts were the LADY LUCK comics, this being a title I instinctively thought would fall closer to the less engaging Quality titles than they would the SPIRIT/PLASTIC MAN axis. Hey, these LADY LUCK stories are actually well-crafted enough (again complete with those innovative opening page graphics starin' right at-cha, not to mention the keen insertion of proto-MAD styled humor mixed in with the action) to the point where I wonder why creator Klaus Nordling hasn't been hailed by the art snobs in the same fashion Eisner and Cole have lo these many years. Not that I'd want to see him befall such a fate...hope nobody gets any ideas from this post I'll betcha!

Lady Luck is a femme fighting figure who dresses in green, wears an equally green if translucent veil to hide her identity (which naturally doesn't really hide much though given some of the dunces she's surrounded with does she even have to try?) and engages in fun if at times grisly adventures that remind me of some of those earlier Plastic Man stories which teetered between hard-edged adventure and downright humor. Lady Luck is in reality bored and gorgeous heiress Brenda Banks, and when she ain't living the high life she's out busting up the local mob with either her chauffeur Peecolo or her diminutive "boyfriend" Count Di Change in tow. Both of 'em tend to be somewhat dimwitted in light of the brainy Lady Luck which only goes to show you armchair feminists who might happen to be reading this that strong women can be nice and soft and cuddly 'stead of garlic odored clam-digging overgrown adolescent 12-year-old boys all of you "dames" most certainly are!

I mean really, I never even fell in love with a comic book character (tho Yoko Tsuno might come very close, especially that time she went swimming wearing a skimpy bikini!) such as this! Such grace and style and hotcha art (with even some nice swimwear and underwear scenes tossed in perhaps because artist Nordling was concerned that the 12-year-old boys of the day just weren't getting enough glandular encouragement) coupled with the at-times over-the-top stories made LADY LUCK a comic that I can read again and again. Imagine if Hillary Brooke was a costumed crime-fighter and you'll get an idea of just how this 'un resonates even seventysome years down the line.

The four pages devoted to LADY LUCK in these inserts just ain't enough to really develop a good and solid story true, so thankfully the gal appeared in her own title where her exploits could more or less stretch out into something as developed as her firm figure. These magazines allow for more room to build on plots and general tension, and not only that but the Count is even given his own story just like they used to do with Woozy Winks in the PLASTIC MAN titles. A real deal as far as suburban slob fun and jamz go if you ask me, and why not?

To close this 'un how howzbout one more Quality comic, this one reprinted courtesy Gawandaland comics who do a pretty good job in the reprint department themselves. And what makes this 'un so special is that it was yet another creation of Jack Cole, whose work on PLASTIC MAN and MIDNIGHT ranks as some of my fave rave Golden Age comic stories so you know it can't be as bad as I'm probably gonna make it all out. Anyway ANGLES O'DAY is yet another serio-comedy, this time featuring a low-budget, no-account-ish private investigator who seems to be loathed by just about everyone at Po Po's Pool Hall 'cept for this short, unshaven and scurvy-ish character named Shagmore whose hat and hair always seem to be covering his eyes a la Beetle Bailey. O'Day is, as you would expect from a continuing semi-serious private eye comic such as this, getting in trouble with the usual heavy-duty gangsters or revenge-seeking relatives, and although these comics can get rather intense (like the one where O'Day is held down under a spinning drill which is about to bore his chest) there is a strong comedic undercurrent that reduces a whole lotta the pressure you'll be under if you happen to be one who really gets into whatever you're reading. And let me be one to say that Cole's comics (even the early comedy toss offs) are worth your while even as far as casual Saturday afternoon comic book reading time goes. Really, and when you wrap your mind around the infamous "Murder, Morphine and Me" saga which Fredric Wertham made plenty of hay outta just try telling me that comic books ain't nuttin' but kiddie stuff, you phony intellectual snob you!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


When the wave of Italian-made Peplum films were being marketed in the US in the 60’s and into the early 70’s, they were aimed to some extent at a juvenile audience, or in a broader sense at a family audience. In fact, those of you who frequent junk stores or flea markets can still find for a dollar or so old VHS tapes and public domain DVD’s of Peplum films that had a Christian element in the plot (persecuted Christians, etc.) and were marketed at the evangelical American “family” market. I’ve seen copies of THE OLD TESTAMENT with Brad Harris, PONTIUS PILATE with John Drew Barrymore (as Judas, of course), and maybe 7 or 8 others aimed at that audience, spilling out of the budget bins along with cheesy Bible-related documentary videos. Another element that connected with the juvenile/family audience was the “storybook” aspect. Some historical films featured violence, brutality, sexual intrigue, political elements, and the like, which would engage the adult audience, but some tended to have a kind of generic storybook feel, as if some children’s fairytale/adventure book came alive on the screen, with larger than life hero characters who were non-threatening, bad guys who were cartoonish, female characters who could be the princess in a fairy tale, etc. These kind of Peplum films were perfect for Saturday or Sunday afternoon TV showings, for 16mm showings at churches or public libraries, for Saturday or Sunday children’s matinees, etc. You would not find, say, a historical adventure starring Cameron Mitchell as some tortured military leader facing complex adult Shakespearean personal crises in these settings; you WOULD find something like the Steve Reeves version of THE THIEF OR BAGDAD or MORGAN THE PIRATE, or the Tab Hunter vehicle THE GOLDEN ARROW, or the film under review today, VENGEANCE OF URSUS, starring Canadian bodybuilder/actor SAMSON BURKE.

Of course, Burke would have already had juvenile fans in the US by the time this film played TV in the mid-60s, because after VENGEANCE OF URSUS, he starred in THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES. When Stooges producer (and Moe’s son-in-law) Norman Maurer decided to cast Burke in the Stooges film, one wonders if URSUS was the film he screened to make that decision. There would have been a lot of North American bodybuilder-actors available to play that role in the Stooges film, but Burke was an amazing physical specimen AND someone who had a commanding presence…..AND someone who came across as warm and kind. A three-year-old (and I’ve got a grandson who is three going on four, so I can attest to this STILL being true!) could look up to Samson Burke and admire his strength but at the same time expect that Mr. Burke might give him a hug or a glass of chocolate milk when the scene was over. Not everyone has that quality—Samson Burke does, at least in this film and the Stooges film. You get the sense that if he would corner a villain, he would not crush him to death or put a spear through him—he’d pick him up, as if picking up a can of soda, set him down, and give him a Mister Rogers style lecture about being a good person and thinking about others’ feelings. Ursus even has a juvenile sidekick here—his little brother to whom he is a kind father-figure—so it’s got the same juvenile “viewpoint character” for the young audience members you’d find in many serials and adventure TV shows aimed at children.

For those of us who are children-at-heart and not literally children (EDITOR'S NOTE---I am a fetus at heart!), the film has a lot more to offer than just being warm and family-friendly. Director Luigi Capuano has an impressive filmography in the historical adventure genre, and I’ve seen and enjoyed at least a dozen of his films, including TERROR OF THE RED MASK with Lex Barker, ZORRO IN THE COURT OF SPAIN (aka THE MASKED CONQUEROR) with George Ardisson, THE EXECUTIONER OF VENICE with Guy Madison, and TWO films with the great Gordon Scott: ZORRO AND THE THREE MUSKETEERS and the phenomenal LION OF ST. MARK. Capuano always manages to use existing scenery in fresh ways, to photograph landscapes to make them look full of grandeur, to keep the films moving, and to get the best out of his lead actors. He seems to sense their strongest or most distinctive qualities, and to direct them and film them in order to highlight those qualities. He clearly “gets” what Samson Burke has to offer and tailors the film to that. So it’s both an impressive looking film, especially in a sparkling widescreen print, and the actors look impressive and are impressively filmed and blocked.

We’ve also got two of the best villain actors in the Peplum genre here. GIANNI RIZZO (the stocky man pictured) is always wonderful in Nero-like roles, where he is foppish, petulant, and greedy (his picture should be next to the word “sniveling” in the dictionary), while LIVIO LORENZON  is always convincing in a brutal role. Long before I knew the names of the supporting actors in Peplum films, when I would watch them on a small black and white TV on a UHF station as a child, I knew these men by sight. With their unique presence and their commanding acting styles, you could dub them into any language, and they would still communicate quite clearly.

The copy of the film I have on DVD-R is what’s called a “fan dub.” In this case, someone has taken a beautiful Italian letterboxed version of the film and edited English dialogue from an American 16mm TV print into it. Most of the time, this works smoothly. On some occasions, though (I’ve read where the Alpha Video and the Sinister Cinema versions of the film both are choppy and with a lot of small splices/cuts….and also that the Alpha copy is horrible visually and not worth even a dollar or two), where there are a few words missing in English due to splices in the American print, the film awkwardly cuts back into Italian in mid-sentence, and then back to English again….and you can hear the lines “punched in” with differing background sounds. Fortunately, that happens most in the first five minutes and then it’s over (and you’ve gotten used to it). There is a bit of untranslated Italian, but it’s clear from context what’s happening. These few quibbles are worth it to get such an impressive widescreen copy, though.

This film also has nothing to do with the previous Italian URSUS film starring Ed Fury, or with any other Ursus film which came after. In some territories (Germany, for instance) it was dubbed as a Hercules film. You can see the film for free (as of this writing) on You Tube. Just look for the version that’s in widescreen and has the PEPLUM TV logo on it. If your inner 8 year old is crying out for a dubbed sword and sandal epic on some rainy Sunday afternoon, VENGEANCE OF URSUS is what you’ve been looking for.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Well, happy St. Patrick's Day to youse and yourse, this being a day that really isn't turning out too hot for me ever since I woke up about three in the morning to turn the crock pot with the corned beef and cabbage on then, after waking up for good much later, discovered that the outlet I plugged the pot into wasn't working one bit! Well, I guess we'll have to wait until midnight to get to our vittles but eh, them's the breaks. Well, I still am keeping in tradition with this ever-popular day since I'm turning GREEN thanks to the extra-powerful laxative I took yesterday which seems to not wanna stop working, which was another reason I was up half the night with a case of the dam about to break right into my shorts unless I got to the nearest forest preserve outpost and like pronto! Yes, sometimes the expected nudge does turn into a grand PUSH, ifyaknowaddamean... Fortunately no skiddage has occurred meaning that I didn't have to throw my undies into the wash and wear 'em out even more than they are. Gotta be extra-thrifty these days lest I miss out on the next boffo recording to make its way to Forced Exposure Mailorder.
SO WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING THESE PAST SEVEN OR SO EARTHSPINS ANYWAY... Well, for one thing I've been trying to have THE TIME OF MY LIFE, but then again I'm always trying to do that. Lessee what else??? Howzbout goin' on line and trying to download every decent looking seventies-era rock 'n roll fanzine I can find posted, that's what! As you all know, the quality of fan-oriented/gonzo rock screeding was at such a HIGH back in those so-called "halcyon" times, or at least compared with the garbage one finds in print or on the web these days, that even the cheapest "crudzine" of them dayze seemed to have so much more energy, excitement and va-VOOM packed into it than most of the mewls one comes across in print or on-line in the here and now. And man do I mean it...even my own scuzz falls short in comparison and I am ashamed if I do say so myself!

Anyhoo I've been strolling through Tumbir and various blogs looking for old fanzines and I am glad to say that I've found quite a few good 'un's including the first issue of SIDEBURNS (later the long-running STRANGLED) and UP + COMING, a nice low-fi crankout dedicated to the idea that punk rock was just as much Lew Lewis and the Darts as it was the Jam and Eddie and the Hot Rods (there's even a plug for Charles Gillett's country, rockabilly and blues radio program in these pages!). I even managed to print up a copy of AWAY FROM THE NUMBERS, Brian BAM BALAAM Hogg's "new wave" fanzine which lasted about the span of a flea just like most of these early and proud efforts. Pretty good reading which really does make for a welcome change from the sterile, academic and positively dour opinions that one has found in the everyday hypesheet copying rock critic-ing world for the past fortysome years.
NANCY bondage pic, dedicated to Don Fellman.
I HATE TO BREAK THE BAD NEWS TO YOU, but in my capacity as the town crier for the suburban slob stuck in the electronic age set I feel it's my doody to let you know that, for all intent purposes the infamous and BTC-approved comic strip NANCY IS NO MORE!!! Not that the thing really has been anything hotcha since the demise of creator Ernie Bushmiller back '82 way (or at least since the days when his health began catching up to him in the late-seventies), but from now on United Features or whatever name the syndicate is now using will be sending old strips to your local newspaper in the same manner that PEANUTS, HENRY, ARCHIE, THE KRAUTSARESCRAMMIN KIDS and other long-gone faves have been recycled for a much longer time than any of us can imagine. In many ways this might be akin to you hearing that Aunt Margaret who's been hooked up to machines for the past thirty years has finally passed on, but still it does bring upon a certain PANG (and I don't mean May) seeing that the suburban slob past that I've been so desperately trying to cling to for ages is once again falling apart rapidly before my clouded up eyeballs. That's something I just don't NEED to in these edgier than thou times I'll tell ya, but alas it is all too true.
R.I.P. TO ELEKTRAH LOEBEL,  the early Falling Spikes/pre-Velvet Underground member who passed on last year but I just found out. Also one to Stephen Hawking though in this case how could they tell??? Oh yeah, his nurse probably discovered that his diaper hadn't been soiled in the last three weeks. (I know, I should talk given my own gaseous eruptions these past twennysome hours!!!)
RECORDINGS OF NOTE (AND NOT) THAT I SPUN THIS WEEK INCLUDE---THE NIGHT GALLERY (Various Artists, Alchemy Records Japan) which proves that the Japanese were always good at imitating Western Accomplishment (in this case the Velvet Underground) though in this case they manage to rise above the myth that their emulation is hollow copy and come up with some of the better Velvets cops in sound and feeling heard since at least the late-seventies, WOODY'S TRUCK STOP (who cares if the only reason they're remembered is because Todd Rundgren was a member for a short spell!), Bile Svetlo-DELNICI BILEHO SVETLA, otherwise known as STRICTLY PERSONAL, PRAGUE-STYLE, THE ROCKETS (the White Whale guys who "evolved" into Crazy Horse), Throbbing Gristle-THE SECOND ANNUAL REPORT (surprisingly calming to my weary and battered senses...and along with the NIGHT GALLERY people above more of my idea of what the spawn of the Velvet Underground shoulda sounded like instead of...I dunno, REM???), Lord Buckley-A MOST IMMACULATELY HIP ARISTOCRAT (I should hate it considering the people out there who like Buckley, but...) and Ornette Coleman's DANCING IN YOUR HEAD (harmelodic funk jazz that set the stage for some really interesting early-eighties efforts that came from sidemen Ronald Shannon Jackson and Bern Nix). Sheesh, I guess my week does beat your minute, or something like that (duh!).

NOW will you consider me the complete man with tastes more impeccable than thou???
Ernesto Diaz-Infante-THE LOVERS ESCAPE/LOS AMANTES ESCAPAN CD-r (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Odd strains of nylon guitar plucks, strums and chords, seemingly played in a random fashion without any rhyme or reason I can find. Actually the resultant sounds are quite nerve-soothing, sorta in the same way herbal dolts throughout the eighties slipped on the once-infamous Windham Hill label after a hard day at the commune. In fact I feel like slipping into a coma right about now... Definitely nothing that your typical Michael Hedges fan would want to cozy up with but hey, we're not exactly the kind of people who would even think of spinning that guy's musical moosh in the first place, comprende?
Dead Moon-LIVE AT SATYRICON CD-r burn (originally on Voodoo Doughnut Records)

Yeah there was a lotta dross goin' around in the underground rock world of the eighties and nineties, but sometimes I forget that there was a lotta high-energy, upper-echelon music to contend with as well. Dead Moon were definitely part of the latter batch and this live album (in front of a rather unappreciative audience---t'would figure) is just more proof of the group's utter superiority in a world of "classic" rock and the worst aspects of mind-numbed teendom being pandered to. Dead Moon sound punk rock in the purest fashion possible while they even hit the heavy metal realm if you're game to the classic CREEM definition of the term. In other words, Andy Secher, go take a shit! Your head needs emptying just so's some REAL KNOWLEDGE about the music you claim to champion can enter into the rather sparse cranial capacity. A classic slice of rock 'n roll as tension by an act that never did get the kind of attention or accolades they most certainly deserved. As if they ever would.
Ornette Coleman-ORNETTE AT 12/CRISIS CD-r burn (originally on Impulse Records)

I'm only posting this review in the here and now 'stead of in my year end roundup of "more familiar" albums that I've played throughout the past 365 if only to prove to Bob Forward that I AM NOT AN INGRATE AND YES I DO LISTEN TO THE BURNT CD-R'S THE MAN SENDS ME!!!!! Mr. F, I do hope this proves to you that I'm pure of heart even if I'm still working on the Hy Maya platters (maybe I better get an actual hard copy of this one for pure listening enjoyment, and for the much-needed liner notes as well). Anyway both of these late-sixties efforts are whatcha'd call top notch and pretty much in the standard Coleman catalog of flat out free splurt, and there are some rather exhilarating moments to contend with as well (especially on CRISIS closer "Trouble in the East" where Don Cherry's Indian flute pretty much takes over the entire tensed up shebang!). Heck, I'll even give a pass to noted communist Charlie Haden's "Song For Che" even if the subject at hand was a psychopath who used to shoot children and cave people's heads in with shovels (they only like him because he looked dashing with that long hair 'n all...if he looked like ME do you think anyone would be wearing t-shirts with his picture on it???).
K. O. BOSSY CD-r burn (originally on Toya Records)

Are they trying to be the Band or Little Feat? Can't tell right offhand, but despite their early-seventies nauseating hippoid look I will admit that there are a few fairly nice poppers here. Y'know, stuff that, had it appeared alongside some totally crazed hard-edged rockers woulda made this a top notch flea market find of yore. Otherwise this comes off like more Boone's Farm Apple Wine guzzlin' music for the folk sittin' around on the front porch at the commune trying to absorb the meaning of somethingorother, usually while under the influence of somethingorother come to think of it. may like it.
Frank Sinatra-SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT CD-r burn (originally on O'Reilly Rools Records)

For a change of pace, here's that "older generation" star who could teach the hippoids a two or thing as far as decadent behavior goes. Obviously some sorta bootleg featuring the gloppier of Sinatra's recorded output, this li'l spinner sure does have most everything recorded after say, 1985, beat all hollow. However, why is it when I listen to Sinatra's booming baritone on these definitive "suckem squeezers" I have the urge to beat someone up, or slash some rare painting in a total rage, or have a bacon and eggs breakfast using some bare-chested young lass for a blue plate special that eventually turns red? Ya got me bub.

Who woulda known that Dayton Ohio could be such an exciting place! Well, judging from these acts who popped up on the local Alco record label the burgh really did have its share of high-energy rockin' and rollin' back in them mid-sixties days. Sonny Flaherty and his Young Americans go total British Invasion scream (at least filtered through mid-Amerigan sensibilities) on a rather radical version of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" while Tom and the Tempests are goin' into overdrive with their double header "It's Over Now"/"Play It Cool". The Jaguars are almost hitting the same strata (but kinda dip a bit) on their "Wonder Why"/"The Metropolitan" sides (the flip is a rather straight ahead instrumental that's well...not up to the usual BTC standards but wha' th' hey?) and as for Private Eddie Lloyd and his post-Elvis "Walk It Off" all I gotta say is...NO MORE LATRINE DUTY FOR YOU!!!!!
Tony Joe White-THE TRAIN I'M ON CD-r burn (originally on Warner Brothers Records)

Remember Tony Joe White? He's the guy who hit big with "Polk Salad Annie" and the blacks bought his record up thinking he was of the same complexion only to find out he was white thus dropping him like a hot potato! Don't worry Tony Joe, the same thing happened to Frankie Laine!

But eh, this is a better than you woulda thought platter with some of that Deep South hoodoo music coupled with the usual slow schmoozers and an overall gruffness, thanks to White's growl-y vocalese no doubt. If you liked the swamp styled soul of "Polk Salad" you'll probably enjoy the variety of tunes to be found on this 1972 offering. Just don't let the occasional strings slip you into a diabetic coma.

Another "Virtual Thrift Store" item (which I guess is better than a "Virtue Signalling" one) to cherish and behold. Other'n an interesting r 'n b single I know nada about this disque contains a whole slew of not only radio ads but some spot announcements by Gary Owens from LAUGH IN that I gotta admit were funnier than the actual show itself! The ads, mostly for gas stations and beer, really do bring back those late-sixties/early-seventies days before the energy crisis when your local Esso or Gulf seemed like such a fun place to fill 'er up, while the ads for Miller and other adult imbibibations recall those days of youth when I (and many others I would guess) just couldn't wait to grow up and try some of that stuff thinking it was like super soda pop 'r something along those lines! And remember the look on our faces when we finally tried some? Well at least Hoppin' Gator was a good place to start! Oh yeah, and there's an ad where Gary Puckett and the Union Gap endorse Pepsa Cola which only reminds me that Coke might have cost more, but at least they didn't have Gary Puckett pluggin' 'em!
IN CLOSING, here's a picture I copped off NICHOLAS STIX UNCENSORED that I thought was so funny it deserved additional circulation. I guess there is hope for the suburban slobs of this world of ours if our chillun can think up somethin' like this. Makes me feel good in the bread basket, y'know?