Thursday, June 28, 2018

I sure wish IDW would continue on their ARCHIE newspaper strip reprint series because hey, there's nothing I like better on some cold winter or hot summer or in-between spring/autumn night than staying up late reading those classic Bob Montana-era comics, marveling at the fine lines, ink work and curves being used upon the likes of Betty and Veronica. In their absence I'm turning to other sources in order to get my ARCHIE fix, most notably the various public domain efforts that GOLDEN AGE REPRINTS have been issuing these past few years not to mention a few old (mostly sixties vintage) and relatively cheap comic books which can still be purchased at flea markets and garage sales here in the tri-county area.

Gotta say that of all the characters that inhabit the Archie universe Jughead's gotta be my favorite. At least the Jughead of the Bob Montana-era newspaper universe (which had about as much in common with the Archie comic book universe as Earth One had with Earth Two) where he comes off as even more of a sloppy, sleazy, underhanded, back-stabbing yet high-larious lout than he ever did in the comic books. Given the lack of new strip reprints I'll just have to settle with those finds, and considering how easily these can be found it ain't like I'm gonna be goin' on an Archie hunger strike any time soon.

Never heard of the JUGHEAD'S FANTASY title* before, but as you can tell by the reprinted covers on either side this, like LIFE WITH ARCHIE issued under the "Archie Adventure Series" tag. Dunno why, but these mere detail might lead one to believe that this in fact was one of those more "serious" and "fraught with social significance" titles kinda like the early-seventies ARCHIE AT RIVERDALE HIGH comics which dealt with subjects that seemed so quaint once 1974 clocked in. Dunno offhand how many of these early-sixties titles actually came out (and I'm too lazy to can do the googlin' for once in your sweet lives!) but I managed to get numbers 2 and 3---the first ish is a collectible item going for pretty steep prices which I kinda find high-larious because when I was a teenbo comic book fan you couldn't give these fifties/sixties issues away! Oh how times have changed...

Surprisingly enough (that is, if you've managed to maul your way through enough of these extended ARCHIE sagas to realize just how blandoid some of 'em could be especially when the corporation began to focus on adolescent gals as their main target group) this title did hold up! Far from being a Walter Mitty ripoff, JUGHEAD'S FANTASY features Jug in what might actually be events that have happened to him usually due to a case of mistaken identity (issue #2. where he's hired as a private eye and helps a curvy peanut butter heiress protect her secret formula from industrial spies) or pure luck (#3 where, while trying to develop a chemical formula for hamburgers he discovers the ways to super strength). The tales are typical of the sixties ARCHIE realm of plots and twists with Jug at the center of it all, and given how the people at the former MLJ were at least able to pull this off back before things hadda get serious they do a pretty hefty good job if I do say so myself.

While I was at it I also picked up some mid-sixties Jughead titles. The superhero parodies where he, as Captain Hero, saves Riverdale from a slew of cool and creepy characters manage to produce a bit of a chuckle despite the campiness over something that was already camped up to begin with while JUGHEAD'S JOKE BOOK features those same prunejuice gags that the company had milked for ages before hearing the call of the big Socially Relevant dollar sign.

In some ways it kinda makes me sad...I mean, even when I was a pre-teen turdburger I knew that the real fun and game jamz in entertainment were via things that were already ten-plus years old at the time, from television cartoons and sitcoms to those old records that nobody but some late-night oldies guy remembered for the life of them. Today that entire fun world has been wooshed away. What does a suburban slob kid have to look forward to after a hard day at BANDSTAND tee-vee show to present the latest instrumental flash and no old cartoons with those sly double entendre innuendos that the parents were too stoopid to understand.

It's even getting harder to find more and more of that cheap trash that kidz like me used to survive on, and frankly if I were a young 'un these days I'd join the monks. Even ARCHIE the corporation ain't the same as it was...heck I've heard that the entire comic book industry is all but nada with all the moolah being made by licensing and moom pitcher and tee-vee offshoots. What can the Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kid do with such a situation at hand? Sheesh, sometimes I kinda wish that Bozo the Robot would swing into action and knock some sense into this boring world of ours, but that just might be asking too much.
*...and with a title like that be thankful the guy's a neuter!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The past seven weren't exactly as tippy-top as I would have liked 'em to be, but so what! At least I had my vinyl collection, burnt offerings, books, old fanzoonies and other good stuff to keep me occupied while the world turns into yet another mass of stiflingly boring miasma. One saving grace of the week was the arrival of a number of hotcha (s)platters from a variety of sources including the busier than you'll ever be Feeding Tube label. Big stack they sent as well, and as usual it's gonna take more'n just a few weeks to sift through it, digest and ultimately poop out these things in review form. A Herculean task for sure, but the thought of it is oh so thrilling. A few of the titles look rather stimulating while some kinda gimme the creeps but who the famed mystic Bo Diddley once said "You can't judge a record by looking at the hype sheet" and as usual I'll find out first hand before I even dare let any of you near 'em!
Didja catch that tweet that onetime hotcha actor Peter Fonda made about the Prez's kid Barron getting his ten-year-old butt raped off him? Didja catch the violent roar of self-indignation and chastisement for such actions that came from the usual sanctimonious types we've seen on this Earth for far too long? Of course not because it never did happen other'n by a few people outside the realms of polite society as they call it these days. Now do you remember the condemnation that I got for making way less caustic comments regarding my "betters" re. kinda/sorta dying of the same destroying, decaying cancer that took a few people within my sphere? Well naturally YES you do (even if it wasn't exactly front page news)...kinda makes you think that some forms of obnoxious behavior are more equal than others, ifyaknowaddamean... Or in other words...SHOVE IT WITH YOUR SELECTIVE OUTRAGE WILLYA?!!!
Since there's nothing else SPECIAL going on this week that I'd prefer to blab about let me dispense with the padding of this post with regards to personal anecdotes regarding various bowel mishaps (had a doozy last night---the old plug up and ultimate gush-o scenario) and get down to da bizniz... Thanks to Bill and Paul and of course Feeding Tube for the goods, not to mention the sweat of my own brow, or flattop or pruneface for that matter (see if you millennials get them references!).

SNATCH LP (Pandemonium Records)

At last, a collection of this New York transplanted to England gal duo's singles and other such fundries on one of those "Record Store Day" offerings (red vinyl too!) that seem to be the rage these days. Judy Nylon and Patti Palladin chime together like those punk rock gals always could while a variety of backings (either stripped down or synthed up at times) fills the void. Not so oddly enough a lotta this reminded me of the Heartbreakers, while their collaboration with Eno sounds like...well, exactly what you'd expect the three of 'em together to sound like! Sheesh, to I have to babysit you readers through everything???  It will bring back those wild eyed youth memories of reading about (for me via....yech...Caroline Coon) and ultimately discovering acts like Snatch and many others back when they seemed to have had a direct line to your suburban slob form of teenage music outlook, or something like that.
Jacques Thollot-MORE INTRA MUSIQUE LP (Alga Marghen Records France, available via. Forced Exposure)

Well, I gotta admit that the sequel just ain't as good as the original, but it's still good enough for me! Mostly a pastiche of various free solos on a variety of instruments (including a lot of prepared piano), Thollot and partner in noise Eddie Gaumont create a sparse sort of improvised clang that draws heavily on various seventies excursions into the mung. The results remind me offhand of a few Marion Brown duo offerings not to mention a variety of AACM/JCOA-helmed efforts that had more'n a few youth on the move palpatain' like certain movies made in Sweden could. If you never did get off your new thing in music obsession accrued by repeated Lester Bangs genredroppings in old CREEMs then man, you know where to send your next paycheck to, eh?
Charles K. Noyes and Owen Marecks with Henry Kaiser and Greg Goodman-FREE MAMMALS LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Nice public service Feeding Tube did here reissuing this classic late-seventies free session on vinyl just like nature intended. Read  my original review here if you so desire, but upon second spin I gotta say that I thought this sounded way more adventurous (in that unbridled wild eyed way long before a whole buncha miscreants decided to hone in on the free sound deal) than I had originally thought. Still has that bite and sharp edge that a whole lotta that new music sound did back when we were young and just discovering it, and if YOU TOO were one of those NMDS catalog searchers who always used to miss out on the biggies even though they were being listed for ages on end....................
The Pink Fairies-RESIDENT REPTILES CD (Pyramid Records)

Yup it's a new Pink Fairies album and yup even more it's one done up by original guitarist Paul Rudolph without Duncan Sanderson or Russell Hunter for that matter. And nope, Twink is not to be seen anywhere on here, but it does have former Hawkwind bassist Alan "Boomer" Davy and ex-Motorhead/Warsaw Pakt/Bedrooms of Europe drummer Lucas Fox so it's sorta still inna family. And (once again) yup, it sounds like what you'd expect a Pink Fairies album to sound like with the overcharged guitars and charged-enough singing from Rudolph, who vocal-wise comes off  a whole lot different now 'n he did back inna seventies. The biggest surprise---the closing track "Apologize" which for some not so strange reason reminds me of the Pretty Things' "Talking About the Good Times"!
The Byrds-SANCTUARY II CD-r burn (originally on Sundazed Records)

Maybe I ain't the Byrds fan many of you old timers out there are, but despite their association with the flakier of SoCal mores (as well as the mere fact that David Crosby was an original member) I find this collection fairly entertaining. Mostly a collection of rare backing tracks and other rarities, this "odds and sods" sounds perfect here in the dank of the late teens. It seems that all of the pretensions and straight out paens to the worst aspects of West Coast rock that I had associated with these guys mighta been all in my head after all! So good that even the ultimate Crosby kiss-offer "Triad" doesn't sound like the wine and cheese music that Billy Miller made it out to be, and considering that song was so groovy that Grace Slick decided to wrap her tonsils around it that's really saying something.

I'm familiar with Ann Sothern's PRIVATE SECRETARY and even watched MY MOTHER THE CAR back when I was but a widdle turdburger, but I sure was not familiar with her early-fifties vintage radio series where she plays one of those ditzy gal types you still see all over the place. Based on a film series I know nothing about, THE ADVENTURES OF MAISIE comes off like a tee-vee sitcom of the same strata only without the picture. Considering it was not produced in front of a live audiences does give it a sort of filmic quality, and while not especially funny the storylines were easy enough to follow while I was doin' a little catnappin'. Features some top notch voice acting not only from Sothern but personal faves like Frank Nelson and Hans Conried even though the former does not get into his patented "Yeeeeessssss?" character that always annoyed everyone from Jack Benny to Joe McDoakes.
SALLY STARR'S ADVENTURES TO THE MOON CD-r burn (originally on Liberty Bell Records)

Local (Philadelphia) kiddie-show host Starr narrates this pretty big production-sounding concept album (take THAT Beatles!) dealing with the big Space Race hubbub that was goin' on at the time (which, judging from the lush pop sounds, hadda've been the early-to-mid sixties). Starr really lays in on the line about what's in store for us (space stations etc.) while the chorus chimes on about how much you'd weigh on Mars as opposed to Jupiter. And Starr really is so sure of herself when she says that there positively are other solar systems, undiscovered planets and even life out there. Sheesh, what does she think she is anyway, a Scientologist?
Various Artists-DEBRIS VOL. 12 CD-r burn

I gotta admit that some of these collections of sixties local band rarities can get a little, er, same old at times, but DEBRIS Vol. 15 is a pretty hot compilation of more of those losers in a world where there were already enough losers arming themselves with cheap Japanese made electric guitars. I think a few of the tracks here have ended up on other collections like BACK FROM THE GRAVE, but so what since they're pretty hotcha in themselves and deserve to be heard no matter how many times they pop up on these things. Lotsa top notch moments the top of my shiny dome maybe I should mention the Ci-Tations 7 romp on Don and Dewey's "Justine" as well as the Rocks singing sweet about "Terry" and the Shags tackling Roy Orbison's "Crying". Oh, and even the City-Limits do well with "Stagger Lee" even this 'un doesn't quite fit in with the bottom of the barrel garage band rock these kinda records are best known for!

Another one of those surprise packages, and frankly I haven't been so surprised since I was caught with those NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC hula girl issues because I didn't know the bathroom door lock was broken! Except for three scratchy 78s that sound like something the Romanoffs would have been listening to when the Red Army came a' knockin', this consists of old radio commercials and the likes the kind of which we haven't heard since the days of our youth, if not even earlier. If you remember that old Kent cigarette ad that went to the melody of "Happiness Is" well, that's one here along with a whole batch of beauts from Jim Varney plugging Mello Yello to Little Richard his latest on Reprise. Many Detroit-area ads are to be found as well. What I wanna really know is, who won that decorate your Thanksgiving Day turkey wishbone contest anyway???
And while I'm at it, let me tell you that you will be a winner if you pick up a few (or even more!) issues of BLACK TO COMM just by clicking on to the highlighted link on the left. Just exactly HOW you'll be a winner is open to discussion, but while you're mulling that over just think about what a winner I'LL be what with all that money that will be heading my way! As the wise men once said, it's better to give than to receive, so GIVE ME THE WORKS! and empty out your piggybanks if only so's to make my life a whole lot less poverty stricken than it has been the past few eons or so!

Thursday, June 21, 2018


I've read MANY books on rock 'n roll over the years, some good and some---who am I kidding?---MANY just a whole load of socially-conscious hippie rehash with little regards for the bared-wire intensity of it all. But man, I never read a book like THISWhile many books on the subject bask in a whole slew of "youth culture" hoo-hah and various speculations about the music vs. "The Man" and the ultimate significance of the venereal warts on those veiled gals that "popped up" on the cover of that Alan Parsons Project album, here's a book that digs straight into the heart of what rock 'n roll as that funtime hobby and soundtrack for your life really is supposed to mean! For once there's a read for "us" (the rock kultur minded) that is geared towards our standard suburban slob senses, tackling the subject with all of the same verve and vigor we had when we were but mere adolescents and discovering the unbridled magic of music at large before real life dragged us ALL into the ground.

And the strangest thing about it all is that this tome for the times is perhaps one of the most indecipherable rock 'n roll books I've read! It's part biography, music collecting trivia, collectors ephemera and who knows what else, yet it's all presented to you in a sturdy hard-bound book that lets you wander over all the pages marveling at the record covers and the text as well as reprints of...USED RECORD CATALOGS???
Might sound strange, but man does it all work out and I mean DOES IT ALL WORK OUT!!!!

You may remember, either through your own collecting experiences or time hanging out on a variety of rock scenes,  just who Paul Major is. He's the guy who is to records what Supersnipe was to comic books. In other words he's got more wild, obtuse, rock 'n freakin' records in his collection than most record shops keep in stock these days! A collector par excellence who knows more about rock 'n roll collecting (as a way of life instead of a mere passing fancy) and owns perhaps the brightest collection of the stuff to be seen on this planet than any of us EVER will! Not only that but at times Major has been generous enough to sell some of these items (even to me!) via his mailorder biz called respectively SOUND EFFECTS and later on FEEL THE MUSIC where his various record listings were accompanied by personal descriptions (sometimes autobiographical) of the platters at hand. And as far as knowledge goes he sure knew a whole lot about rock albums common and obscure, that's how devoted to the cause of Rock As A Way Of Life this guy was and shall remain.

This book captures the spirit of it all in a way that you too will seep into his  own world and live vicariously through his actions and acquisitions the way you always wished you could but hey, it ain't like yer ever gonna find a copy of some 100-pressed local garage band artifact amidst the reams of High School choir platters scattered about your local Goodwill bin now, are you?

If anyone could be called a fan of rock 'n roll in all its wildest manifestations well, I'm sure Major is in the running for TOP OF THE HEAP contender. A collector since his paperboy route days, Major eventually went from his Louisville MC5 revolutionary teenbo years to a stint in St. Louis as a member of local punk rock group the Mouldy Dogs (they rubbing elbows with the infamous Screamin' Mee-Mees!) before heading off to rock active En Why See where he ended up in the Tears and ultimately the metallically-inclined Sorcerers, considered one of the best of the unknown and under-represented bands on the scene at the time.

From there on well...not only did Major eventually start up the way underappreciated yet stellar Endless Boogie band (see last Sunday's post for more info) but grew and grew his record collection (and record business) to the point where I'm sure no regular fan could keep up with the manic pace of it all! But I would greatly assume that Major is made of STURDIER stuff! And it's all captured in this hardcover book and as far as books go well, it's just something you'll have to experience more'n just peruse or even downright "read".

First part of the book is pretty much a collection of Major's pre-collecting fame years chock fulla interesting items such as a letter to CREEM, various fliers promoting band gigs and thankfully more than a few lines on the infamous Sorcerers, complete with live action pics taken at Max's Kansas City showin' 'em off to be more'n just your typical jean jacket local heavy metal band. (They look more like your un-typical local hardnosed not-so-cliched early-seventies local band who copped their looks from various Iggy and the Stooges snaps found in ROCK SCENE.)

After the scrapbook introduction we get treated to a nice hodgepodge of various Paul Major artyfacts, from various reviews (complete with savvy cover snaps) of items he might or might not care that much anymore (mostly rarer than rare finds done up by hard rock kiddies out west who never did get that break) along with Christian-oriented items of interest that actually rock on and of course the esoteric and the perhaps even downright silly. Lemme tell ya, romping through this book is almost as good as if you went over to Major's very own digs and went looking through his record collection yourself, only without having the opportunity to swipe a few that is!

The reprints of various choice SOUND EFFECTS and FEEL THE MUSIC catalogs might seem a little too outta-the-way for just about any rock book, but here these items do fit in swell considering not only the bevy of rare and crucial items Major had up for sale (and at prices that might have seemed too high for your pocketbook back then but just try FINDING one of these rarities now!) but his entertaining descriptions which like I said can get pretty interestingly autobio at times. Like an old issue of NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS or DENIM DELINQUENT, it's always good to have something like this around in case you're thinking about buying some rarity yet there are no immediate sources to lead you on as to whether said item is worth the moolah to part with. Yeah, this book will end up being one of my favorite references when it comes to those items of "questionable" historical and jam-kicking value, snuggled on the shelf right next to my various Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer treasures 'natch!

The between-chapter patter from various fans and acolytes might seem overdone to some, but we ain't talkin' a testimonial dinner to the company janitor retiring after sixtysome years but a collector who thankfully is getting some needed hosannas thanks to the efforts of a few good friends. And after reading this you too will feel like you know Major just as well as his pals, that's how focused and true to the core (the core being rock 'n roll) this package most certainly is!

Of course the bigbigBIGGEST surprise about this FEEL THE MUSIC just HAS TO BE not the actual book in itself but the enclosed seven-inch record found safely snuggled in the inside front cover. Not knowing what the heck it was I was under the false impression that maybe the thing was a sampling of some of the obscure and impossible to find for under a thousand bucks music taken from those fifty-cent finds that have cluttered up Major's collection for nigh on fiftysome years. Wrong again pud, for this single (presented at 33 rpm at that!) consist of (now get this!) one side of Sorcerers and the other Endless Boogie and man was that a surprise!

If you read last Sunday's post you'll know about how much I dig Endless Boogie's primal approach to the matter at hand (being rock 'n roll) and "Acknowledgements" is no different than the boff sounds to be found elsewhere in Endless Boogie's canon---hard down and dirty late-sixties psychedelic punk gunch that sounds even BETTER here in the dark reaches of that future we all looked forward to at least since the days when THE JETSONS were promising us technological advances beyond our wildest dreams. However it's the other side that's really got me so hot and bothered I thought I was going to turn into the Wild Man of Borneo upon play, for on this side appears a track by the wanted-to-hear-them-for-thirtysome-years-already SORCERERS!!! Man is it a total eruption killer that might have been too "base" for the people at the sophisticated New York magazines,  but it sure comes off beyond exciting and something that really refreshes your own sagging spirit of existence with its outright brash hard-edged mania that we sure could use a lot more of these days.

How to describe "Dog's Life" for those of you without ears---definitely late-sixties/early-seventies hard rock cusp, perhaps punk rock in that CREEM sense yet heavy metal in a way that Sorcerers would have fit in swell with that 1981 CREEM HM special I still refer to even these many years later. Its psychedelic as well since I do hear some Stalk Forrest shards out and about while the overall rage comes rather close to Sonic Rendezvous' "City Slang" in its overall bludgeoning drive for comfort. "Dog's Life" would have fit in perfectly with those various BONEHEAD CRUSHERS collections, perhaps even blowing the other tracks right off that grooves that's how high energy crazed it is! No wonder the elites shunned this one since it had little to do with their own ideas of where rock 'n roll was supposed to be "heading", but I get the impression that had Sorcerers stuck it out a little longer there might have been a record deal somewhere down the line and well...I'm sure that album woulda been a prime flea market find somewhere around 1985 way.

More Sorcerers is definitely needed, but until then I'm hoarding all the Endless Boogie I can lay my mitts on which is something every self-respecting reader of this blog should also being doing. I mean, who knows when an even STRONGER anti-rock cold spell than the one we're in now will be hitting us, eh?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Crime gets the hosannas when it comes to early S.F. punk (two jumbo articles in UGLY THINGS cementing their legend) and believe you me, if I'm at your pad and you're spinning their records its not like I'm gonna lift the tone arm on them. Yet  it seems to me part of Crime's appeal is their shtick, what with the classic fliers, cop get up, massive egos, and stunts like playing San Quentin prison.

But I wasn't at that gig and neither were you, so besides some pretty cool photo evidence, the legacy boils down to the music, and I'm here to tell you that these live in the studio demos from contemporaries the Nuns goes toe the toe with Crime and it's up to you to figure out which one of these heavyweights gets to wear the champeenship belt!

I've heard later Nuns releases aren't quite up to snuff, being that they dialed back the aggro, but these songs come snarling at you like a pitbull that hasn't had a square meal in weeks. Lovely Jennifer Miro only sings on two tracks, but her electro-piano is omnipresent and adds a Scott Thurston dimension to the basic guitars bass drums lineup.

How CBS ever though any of this was going to replace the Doobies on the charts (sample lyric from "Suicide Child" : "You stole my junk/You fuckin' punk/You slit your wrists/You goddam bitch") is beyond me. But for a few months during the gestation of punk record execs seemed willing to hedge their bets lest they lose out on the new Beatles.

The tape has a bit of flutter in places and sounds a generation down the line, but is plenty crisp enough considering it probably ended up being used as a door stop in the CBS vaults.

Perhaps the fact that three of the five people in the band at the time this was laid down have shuffled off this planet is part of the reason the Nuns haven't gotten their due. By all means track this down (my copy came from Germany, ironic, what with the song "Decadent Jew" leading off side two) and thrill to San Francisco punk improper before it degenerated into San Francisco punk proper and front women didn't shave their armpits!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Hiya and a happy FATHER'S DAY to all of you absentee daddies who ran out on the wife and kids in that eternal quest for TOTAL FREEDOM. True you deadbeats ain't gonna get your usual necktie as a gift nor that trip to the local all-you-can-eat buffet with the rubbery chicken pieces, but at least you don't have to be worried by getting any food poisoning from the breakfast your brats made for you which spilled all over the sheets in that feeble "breakfast in bed" attempt that only proves that the best of intentions can lead to the stickiest of situations, or something like that. Have fun, especially when you think about all of the agony your wife is going through with the kids and their various travails while you're out there living high off the hog!
For me, these past seven days were a week that was filled with thrills, chills and spills that make most other weeks seem Quindenesque in comparison, but the biggest thrill just HADDA be the arrival of a package from none other than the always forward-thinking Bob Forward (how do you think he GOT his last name?) who sent me a whole slew of cassette tapes that really did hit the ol' proverbial spot. Not only that but these tapes contain some what I would call ESSENTIAL listening experiences that really do take the edge off what I would call the trammels of real life, making for some purty fine pre-beddy bye listening that makes me forget just what a turdpile real life could be once in awhile usually thanks to people like YOU!
The Bernie and the Invisibles I thought this was the exact same Jim Clinefelter-dubbed 'un that I reviewed way back when but I might be wrong considering just how much I don't remember some of the between-song banter and other intricacies that are to be found herein. I sure wish Bernie had gotten his just dues back then...after all he was (and perhaps remains) the perfect outta nowhere mad genius outside-the-outsider whose abilities and talents sure outshine a plethora of big-deal DIY musicians from that time and ours. Once again, may I say that the man is the perfect combination Daniel Johnston/Wild Man Fisher/ Magic Michael/David Peel (really!) and if only that Drome single had come out back when it shoulda would the history of rock 'n roll sure be a whole lot different than it has been, and for the better at that! (And that goes double for Harlan and the Whips!)

Flipping the thing over and we get the Cramps live in Clevo 1978 doing a pretty hotcha show that I'm surprised some enterprising bootleggers haven't pressed up for mass consumption a long time ago! Now I personally think that some of those later-on Cramps recordings really don't hit the target as far as whatever target they're supposed to hit goes, but these early tapes really do settle in well with my own sense of rockist being. I gotta say, and for the billionth time in case you're counting, that as far as these under-the-counterculture seventies outta-nowhere rock 'n roll groups go the Cramps certainly deserved what they got fame-wise and although they should have been just a little more famous well, I guess ya gotta be satisfied with what ya got and leave it at that!

Another tape had one side of My Dad is Dead, an act that perhaps hasn't settled well in my musical being given that whoever that guy's name was had more of a late-eighties underground bent to him (by that time the spirit was LOST) and besides the whole underground chic aspect of this does not settle well with my spiritual being. However, the beat box guitar distorto sound comes off a whole lot better when recorded cheaply in a dank club and the general mess does appeal to some lost sort of neo-decadent spec still surviving in my brain even after all these years. The added mumbling that follows does confuse...I mean, was that Patti Smith and Captain Beefheart I really heard talking about Anita Bryant???

The flip's got the fab CRUMMY FAGS live here, and boy do they cut a swath with their re-jumble of various late-sixties to late-seventies underground moves done up a good ten years after many people thought it was all dead and buried. These guys should put their stuff out for today's audience to teach them a two or thing, in a satin-bound cover with extensive liner notes from Bob Forward t'boot an' I mean it!

Bestest surprise of the batch was this recording by some outta the sphere kinda act I never heard about before called Mom!  Cool name, cool eighties approach to rock 'n roll in an era which shunned it with a maddening intensity, and best of all it retains some good late-sixties punk moves at a time when hardly anyone around could care one whit! And what's more these guys even presented their half-decayed sound in front of a live audience for this cassette is indeed entitled LIVE AT THE SLOW CLOB (do I gotta put a "sic" here?) which ya gotta think was soon to be the Stand Still club after this trio got their way with the rather sparse audience.

I usually don't go head over heels over these eighties-bred "primitive" rock types but Mom really sates this mate as far as straight on stripped down to nada bared-knuckle music goes. There must have been thousands of these kinda bands wallowing around the world back inna mid-eighties, and although I'm sure 99.999...% of 'em really missed the target and but good these guys took what they had and did well within their supposed "limitations". A bright and sunny future should have been theirs, but I guess Mom got just as washed out over it all as the rest of us and so what else is new???

So once again thanks for the package, and yeah, maybe I do have more'n a few ideas for your next issue of OWN THE WHOLE WORLD in case you still want me to contribute. And I get the idea that after this post the answer's a strong and resounding NO!
Just heard (via who else but Robert Forward!) about the passing of former Cramps and Electric Eels drummer Nick Knox, a guy who I thought was ready to shuffle off to Buffalo (or some other equally desolate valley) ages back but hung around this long enough in the game. Not quite era's end, but another one of those signposts on my own drive down the highway of life that's probably about as startling to me as it was for my parents to find out that one of their old-tyme entertainment faves had passed on way back in the scurrilous seventies. I ain't gonna cry about it, but it is kinda sad to find out he's no mo' and so it goes...
And with that here are the recorded music reviews. Nice batch this week thanks to not only my own efforts but Bill Shute's and Paul McGarry's contributions without whom this blog would consist of a whole lot less. Things are looking up as far as obtaining recordings that fit into my own sphere of musical retention, and if this post doesn't inspire you to go out and find just about any shard of total eruption top quality music to resensify your own mental squalor then man, I don't know WHAT out there can!

Endless Boogie-VIBE KILLER CD (No Quarter Records)

I've been an on-the-fringe fan and follower of Paul Major ever since I not only discovered his Sound Effects mail order catalog (sorta like a fanzine where you can BUY the records he's talkin' about!) but the fact that he was the leader of Sorcerers, one of the more legendary unrecorded bands on the late-seventies New York under-the-underground rock scene. And after finding out that the famed collector was still active in music I decided to find out exactly where this guy's musical spirit was located so-to-speak given how his fave records seemed to span all sorts of styles and genres like the great ones' usually do.

Started with this '17 release from Major's new act Endless Boogie and let me tell you it's a wowzer of the highest class. Far from being a off-tangent get down effort a la Foghat and various seventies budget bin stuffers, Endless Boogie is a dark, driving conglomeration that will remind you of a variety of past faves that you'll be unable to "put your finger on" while listening to this, but it's so good you'll wish this had come out back in the eighties when you really needed more rock 'n roll to keep your sanity above water in the face of all that bad hair metal and glitz wave.

The title track actually has a hard Velvet Underground riff/drive while Major's singing reminds you a bit of Froggy from ANDY'S GANG after a brain injury raised it an octave. Other tracks have down and dirty early Stooges tentacles that really wrap you into this platter's "universe" as the hypnotic beat "relaxes" you into areas unreached since the days of freely available street drugs. Or so you think. Pretty heady stuff especially considering that Major's been at it his whole "adult" life and shows no sign of slowing down. This one just has to be the ultimate sleeper of recent memory and a recording that most BLOG TO COMM readers will probably poo-poo, but you really need it.

Expect more on Major in a future post but until then howzbout trying to latch onto this and convince yourself that maybe it didn't all die out around the time Max's Kansas City closed its doors and Lester Bangs decided to become a part of an "era's end" in his own particular way.
Touch-STREET SUITE CD (Gear Fab Records)

I kinda had the sneakin' suspicion that the whole MC5/revolutionary groove dug deeper than Detroit, and this Illinois act proves just that. For a 1969 self-produced album these guys do pretty good when they don't occasionally fall into the hippie trip, and even a version of the KICK OUT THE JAMS stone groover "Motor City Is Burning" appears here. Unfortunately the entire disque does not reflect well on the group, what with the additional tracks which veer off into socially hippoid areas I'd prefer not to go into and some later-on recordings (including two where David Surkamp of Pavlov's Dog was a member) which reflect the post-radical haze that befell many an act in the early-seventies. A mixed bag which doesn't quite get you to wanna off the man like these radicals sure wanted you to.
Emil Richards & the Microtonal Blues Band-JOURNEY TO BLISS CD-r burn (originally on ABC-Impulse Records)

Cheezy psychedelic cash-in platter (on the usually bop ABC-Impulse label) that is made listenable by percussionist extraordinaire Richards' vast arsenal of rare and downright exotic instruments (or so DOWN BEAT said in a 1977 feature on him!). The elusive clink-a-clank merged with the usual psychedelic trappings of the day actually do make this a once in a lifetime gotta hear, at least for those who claim to be into the whole mystico sixties cheap beat trip. The hokey poetry recitations courtesy Richards ain't so bad after all and hey, maybe I can forgive him for putting on the cheap-o hipster airs seen on the cover because this was the perfect dose of exotic freakout that I needed injected into my cyst-em this very day!
Slim Gaillard-SEARCHING FOR YOU, LOST SINGLES OF McVOUTY 1958-1974 CD-r burn (originally on Sunset Boulevard Records)

This 'un consists of latterday rompers and re-cuts that seem to be part and parcel to many a groundbreaker's career. They might get ya mad like that Mercury-era Chuck Berry album with the fifties-styled cover did, but I could eke a few pleasurable moments outta things like I sure did on the "modernized" versions of "Flat Foot Floogie" and "Cement Mixer Putti-Putti" (a song that's probably more recognizable to me due to a mention in a Vera Vague two-reeler!). Despite the out of time aspects of these they sure hold up a lot more than many of the then-current caga that was making its way to the airwaves. While I'm thinking of it, are those Troggs re-cuts done for some cheap label in the early-seventies worth the time and money to pick up???
Lou Reed-OLD WALDORF, SAN FRANCISCO, 3/22/1978 CD-r burn 

Only goes to show you that what Lou could do with a straight-ahead guitar/bass/drums band in 1968 could definitely be ruined by a professional technosavvy one a good ten years later. Boring beyond belief. Even has the colored girls that go "doo-dah-doo" at just the right times. It wasn't until Robert Quine joined the fold that Reed got back into some sort of swing, but as far as this period in time goes Lou definitely was channeling his inner Bobby Darin to stellar effect.
Various Artists-MENDOCINO TERRORIST GLITTER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

It's a jumble, but a nice jumble. The Angus Maclise track from the ASPEN flexi-disc was spirit moving enough to listen to once again (even if I do think most of his output bordered closer to hippydippy if only due to the mystic nature of it all) while I was surprised by the Robert Ashley one---kinda got into electronic krauty-grooves if you must know which shows you that if he had gotten a band together it might have given Faust (and maybe the Stooges) a run for the moolah. Andy Rose's "Classroom Cutie" was a good enough early-sixties sorta teenage ponytailed gal schmoozer and the international punk tracks boffo despite the words "international" and "punk" being put in such close proximity which always conjures memories of the old MAXIMUM ROCK 'N ROLL magazine for some maybe not-so-odd reasons.

Biggest surprise...the Walter Brennan Christmas reminiscence which, while out of season, always seems to bring out some old REAL McCOYS stirrings inside me while the Swagmen doing Sir Douglas really was a cheap imitation (and so what!) I can wrap my stirrups around. Of course what's really surprising about this package is the Arts and Language track (with the Red Krayola) that doesn't sound like the usual highbrow dissertations of various neo-Marxist polemics and all that rot but some early-seventies English smart pop of all things. In fact this coulda been some Harvest Records effort had it only gotten out and about back then! A surprisingly good selection of tracks from Bill, who of course hadda slip the obscure country twanger into the mix if only to "educate" the perennial suburban slob basking away in my soul.
Of course BLACK TO COMM back issues are still available, and if you would like to own your own precious copies (and for a much cheaper price than is what's going on the black market) why don't you just click the above highlighted link and be in store for a bargain you just can't find anymore! In other words why pay an exorbitant price from some utter stranger for these when you can pay a less exorbitant price for 'em from me and perhaps even get a heartfelt note of thanks along with it all?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

BOOK REVIEW! THE COMPLETE DICK TRACY VOLUME 24: 1967-69 by Chester Gould (IDW, 2018)

Well here we are heading into the late-sixties and DICK TRACY is getting dropped from newspapers left 'n right because hey, there's all that violence and crime goin' on and SOMETHING'S gotta be responsible for it all, y'know? Well, now we know how well all that turned out what with the entire world singing in perfect harmony with the guy from Ghana smack dab right next to the gal from Sweden and blood and guts a mere memory of a dark and troubled past. Good intentions mislaid and misued once again---sheesh, if it wasn't DICK TRACY then it must be those BUGS BUNNY cartoons that was causing all that ruckus out there---but then again THE SHARON HERALD dropped TRACY around this time but kept the rabbit so maybe it wasn't ol' Bugs' fault inna first place, eh?

After all these years I finally can read those comics that were oh-so-forbidden at least locally (hadda keep up with TRACY via the Sunday YOUNGSTOWN VINDICATOR meaning I missed out on a whole lot but like eh, my mind could make up for a good portion of it) and man/boy they sure are boff! I mean hey, loads of critics have been tellin' us that TRACY had had it by this time but I still see the same seamy plots and bad guys and bloody justice that I've seen in the strip for ages already, what with the continuation of the Chin Chillar saga which gets more bizarro as it moves on as well as the grotesque villains like Piggy who were as good as at least those fifties-era criminals nobody seems to remember either. And of course the callous violence which got more'n a few Concerned Mothers up in arms. My favorite act of maybe not-so-senseless carnage in this volume is when Tracy evaporates (with a laser gun) an entire ship crew of gangsters out to destroy his space coupe, and later on asked when asked where the foes were tells the hapless fellow "You're breathing 'em"!

Of course that's not as weird as the part where Mrs. Chin Chillar's brother Purdy, a moon escargot-hunting murderer with especially sharp right handed fingernails for opening the thick membranes of the delicacy, decides to escape into the especially frigid lunar air and is almost immediately frozen solid. Eventually his icicle corpse is obtained by a scientist who tries to revive him with the results being confusing beyond belief, with the now-albino figure walking and sitting down but with no heart beat or breathing patterns of any kind! It is never resolved as to how, if and what the heck actually did happen in the process, and of course Chester Gould just let everything hang right there just as he did with the part where Tracy wanted Mr. Herdins, the head of a laboratory that had created an especially powerful weapon, fired from his prestigious occupation. Oh well, I'm sure that if I look back on TRACY's history I can find a whole lotta turdbits that were left unanswered so why pick the nits anyhow?

Big surprise (at least for me) is the onslaught of political and social editorializing on Gould's part, complete with comments about the new laws that limited police procedures as well as panels that look exactly like some old political cartoon you used to see back when people with a sense of history and talent drew 'em. Even more surprising is the newfound sexiness that appears with a seemingly strange regularity...nothing that is explicit mind you, but if you (like me) thought that gals in bikinis with body paint was weird boy will these strips stir up a lotta old memories. One memory that hit me right between the eyes (or something else) appears in the Sunday August 4th 1968 panel featuring a nekkid broad pouring a bottle of perfume while being held up by a hand labeled "The Underworld". Relatively tame stuff true, but imagine being a little kid exposed to something like THAT! Heck, ya never saw Nancy strip down that much even in those comics where she's taking a bath!

If you woulda thought (like I mighta at one time) that TRACY was waning by this point in comic strip time, be prepared to be deservedly shaken up once again. And oddly enough, things seem to be getting even better (translation: I already got my order for vol. 25 in because like, this is not the time to procrastinate!).

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


American actor Tony Russel (It’s usually spelled with one “L”—his real surname, which he used in his early films in the US before his European sojourn, was Russo) had a good run as a lead in European action and adventure films, starring in 12 films there in the 1963-1967 period (and another one in Japan). He returned to the US in the late 60’s and worked extensively in both television and films in supporting roles (I remember seeing him in the early 70’s in THE HARD RIDE with Robert Fuller, and recognizing him from his Italian films which I’d seen at 2 a.m. on UHF stations—I later saw him at the drive-in a few years later in the excellent SOUL HUSTLER, aka THE DAY THE LORD GOT BUSTED, starring Fabian). He was handsome (see B&W pic), athletic, charismatic, and a good actor overall, so it’s a treat to enjoy any of the films from his European starring period (I’ve seen 6 or 7 of them), and KNIGHTS OF TERROR is a solid entry both as a film and as a starring vehicle for Russel.

In this dubbed Italian costumed adventure, set some time around 1600 in the duchy of “Bled,” a mysterious band of red-clad, red-masked marauders attack and pillage and burn at night, terrorizing the locals. People who speak up seem to be later singled out and killed. The well-meaning but over-burdened Duke of the area, an older man with an adult daughter, does not seem up to defending the area and his people, and he finds himself tempted, against his better judgement, to enlist the services of a sleazy soldier of fortune who roams the area, Captain Mirko. Mirko has had his eye on the Duke’s daughter, Cristina (played by Scilla Gabel, well-known and well-loved from the Stewart Granger Euro-spy film TARGET FOR KILLING, made three years after this), and he plans to work getting Cristina into any “deal” to help defend the Duchy.

About 20 minutes into the film, a few brave outsiders, also clad in Red, begin to stand up to Mirko and to attack him and his men. Their leader initially poses as a priest, and while hiding in a church, hears Cristina’s confession….and later, he takes off the clerical garb and introduces himself, and that character, the film’s hero, is played by Tony Russel. As Cristina hates Mirko, and Mirko is out to get Russel (though not knowing exactly who he is), Russel becomes close to Cristina. So you’ve got action, intrigue, AND romance going on here.

Whoever did the location scouting and production design for this film did a superb job, as the woods and fields, green and/or brown and ancient-looking and full of old historic structures which are integrated into the action, put the viewer into a fully-realized world where you can lose yourself. One of the few people to have commented on this film (presently, there are NO reviews on the IMDB!) complained that it has too many shots of galloping horses and too many swordfights, but they are well-spaced between OTHER scenes that are dialogue-driven, and can you REALLY have too many swordfights when they are well-done as these are? I think not. Director Mario Costa has already been praised here at BTC in my review of GORDON, THE BLACK PIRATE (with Ricardo Montalban and Vincent Price) a while back, and he’s a master of action and adventure here too—with good pacing in addition to shots and angles that put the viewer into the action, KNIGHTS OF TERROR makes a strong impression for the fan of European historical adventures. My DVD-R copy (clearly taken from an old VHS tape with Dutch subtitles, but somewhat widescreen) is a bit dark, especially in the scenes at night where the Knights of Terror are riding with lit torches and setting villages and shacks aflame, but we’re unlikely to see Criterion or Kino-Lorber putting this out anytime soon.

I need to get a good quality copy of director Mario Costa’s Gordon Scott western BUFFALO BILL, HERO OF THE FAR WEST. I had it many years ago on VHS from a pan-and-scan television print. With Costa doing so well with the pirate and the swashbuckler genres, I’d love to see him handle a western (I DID see it way back when, and it struck me as somewhat odd and anachronistic, but I’ve loosened up since them and can go with the flow more), and he seemed to like working with Gordon Scott, as Costa and Scott made THREE films together. You can expect to read more reviews of Gordon Scott’s films here in the future.

While I’m not an Amazon Prime member (and don’t plan to become one), I am always surprised to see some of the odd European genre films which find their way onto Prime. I guess Amazon wants to amass as many films as possible on the service to claim they’ve got 50,000 films or whatever, and as with the days of UHF television or the early days of VHS, these films get exposure because content providers desperately need product, a LOT of product. The films they use as filler (and I’m sure that’s how they view them, then and now) are precious to someone like me—I’ll take them however I can get them! If they’ve got Lex Barker’s obscure Spanish western WHO KILLED JOHNNY R., then maybe this will eventually surface there….

Tony Russel passed away in 2017, so watch KNIGHTS OF TERROR in tribute to him. He may be best known in the US for the two 1966 Italian sci-fi films he starred in, WAR OF THE PLANETS and WILD WILD PLANET, which were released here in 1967 by MGM and played widely, and then became staples on television. Those ARE in print and available from the Warner Archive in beautiful widescreen editions. Both were directed by the legendary Antonio Margheriti, aka Anthony M. Dawson. Check them out. If any BTC readers are affluent enough to own a large-screen TV, these Warner Archive releases should look amazing—invite me over to see them at YOUR house after you get them, please.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Nice seein' ya here on this rather calm cool and collected weekend. My past seven were spent practically doing nothing but sitting around watching old tee-vee shows while listening to the music that makes up this week's batch (along with a few extracurricular faves) while reading lotsa old rock fanzines and various esoterical whatnot that might or might not be related to music. In other words I had a PERFECT week, which I hope is more than I can say about yours!

As far as personal listening concerns go, Hopital de la Conception's THE ELECTRIC ROCKIN' CHAIR tape continues to be my number one nighty-night fave listening experience, oozing me into sonic dreams that only Lou Reed was once capable of having! Let me tell you, it's rock 'n roll like this that really gives me the spirit to get up in the morning and face life knowing that there still is a streak of bared-wire intensity out there somewhere and that existence out there is not all sicko decadent stuff the kind YOU like to wallow in. Hope that things do get brighter even if I have to rely on 40/50-plus-year-old material in order to get those proverbial jams kicked out, at least in my mind...
Class, you did so well with last week's French lesson so howzbout giving this one the ol' United Nations try???
So here's this week's faves, and as usual Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and Feeding Tube are responsible for the majority of the items to be had. If the Hampton Grease Band can be trusted then EAT IT UP and don't be ashamed to ask for seconds cuz there's plenty to go around!

Omeed Goodarzi-ZOLTAR HID ALL THE LOCKS/MINNOWS LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Yet another weirditie from Feeding Tube which almost had me running for the hills in abject mindsplatter. But hey, if I can sit through it I'm sure you could too. Some solo nutzo strums and plays (along with fellow nutzos sitting in on violins and such) and comes up with a sound that kinda reminds me once again of a whole load of those by-their-lonesome stoner acts you often hear about. Y'know, the kinda guys who have suffered through all of the mental and physical illnesses that I've brought up when writing about these people for years on end yet manage to make recordings that will be going for big bux in the years to come. It's even got some readymades making me wonder if this is the album R. Meltzer could have released in 1967. Not really that bad even with the cassette clicks and strange mumblings. Might even be heightened if you're of the new narcotics bent that's sweeping the nation, but don't tell anyone I told you that.
Screamin' Jay Hawkins-A SPELL ON YOU : B-SIDES AND RARITIES/BAPTIZE ME IN WINE - SINGLES AND ODDITIES 1955-1959 LPs (Wax Love Records Italy, available via Forced Exposure)

These flipsides and such have been floating around for ages and the fact that both of these feature many of the exact same tracks doesn't help any. However, if you're a fan and follower of the original rock 'n roll madman and don't have it all maybe you'll want to hear these once impossible-to-find recordings. After all, they do echo the insanity that had overtaken their creator for years on end. Hawkins at his earliest and perhaps craziest (tho his late-sixties comeback was pretty par for the freak course) taking your brain into territories that the shock rockers of the past thirty years would fear to tread. Now if some of those really rare small label items from the interim years would only make their way to my door, even the DISCO ones on RCA if you can believe that!

Motorhead-UNDER COVER CD-r burn (originally on Motorhead Music Records)

If this is Lemmy's way of going out, well boy did he go out in that good ol' STYLE I hope I can go out on (but won't). An all covers platter true, but these covers are given new life by Motorhead with a load of that proper heavy metal (not the loose bowels syndrome that has passed for HM all these years)  pounce that I kinda get the feeling will scare most of those seventies/eighties hairboy types no end. Everyone from Nugent and the Stones to the Sex Pistols and Bowie get their licks in here---what, no Skrewdriver???
The Black Angels-CLEAR LAKE FOREST EP CD-r burn (originally on Blue Horizon Genre Records)

Well whaddaya know! I didn't care for DEATH SONG one bit, but this current day (this came out in 2014 which is current enough in my time zone) group's effort does prove that they can do the Velvets/Syd thing without making me wanna churn up more than yesterday's dinner! Vocals have that typical Barrettesque wild-eyed touch while the music does echo some of the better moments of various 1966-67 English (and Amerigan) underground pop moves. And boy, that guitar on "Linda's Gone" is straight outta "All Tomorrow's Parties", staccato Ostrich stylings and all! This is snattier than a whole load of other "retrogarde" offerings that are treading the same musical mines, and actually worth your while to get hold of even in these budget conscious times.

Here's another one to send any self-respecting soldier to the DMZ screaming. Not that I don't mind hotcha bop dee-jays spinnin' the latest sounds, but don't you think that it's carrying things a bit too far when Harry Von Zell starts jive talkin' between the hot platters? George Burns woulda busted him one in the balls if Von Zell talked that way around him! And for the life of me I can't see how Great Britain really can be considered an ally given how they've treated us before and during the Revolutionary War! No wonder Andrew Jackson wanted to hang every last one of 'em! Still, if you want to hear what soldiers hadda endure while wallowing in muddy trenches wearing underwear with more stripes than a sergeant give this li'l yodel a listen.
Venus and the Razorblades-SONGS FROM THE SUNSHINE JUNGLE CD-r burn (originally on Visa Records)

Huh...kinda wish I bought the thing back when it was a ninety-nine cent bargain basement offering at Stiff Records in Cle. Hts. back '79 way. Far from being just another Kim Fowley cheap cash-in, Venus and the Razorblades do emit more than a little teenage-inspired energy and (golly!) angst on this effort which doesn't bore ya until maybe halfway through the end of side two. That's when things start getting a bit clogged up but not as clogged as Christopher Cross so who cares. Great neo-metallic stomp with the right pinch of pop scattered here and there...nothing to sneeze at if you happen to come upon this at whatever's left of that huge record pile you'd see at the flea market year after year.


She's innovative, brash, confrontational and makes a spectacle outta herself alla time. You know what that means...she, like every other transgressive womanist performance artiste out there in "Notice Me!" land oughta have her mouth (and maybe something else) sewn up and be forced to work in a soup kitchen on the Bowery until she becomes a real human being! And to think that Went probably makes more moolah in one day via grants and various other public funding than your average Polish plumber in Peoria makes in an entire year!

Red Television-GHOST OF EMILE ZOLA  CD-r burn (originally on Audio Archives)

For a minute I thought this was some current-day mind-scalped kid doing the folkie routine and almost succeeding at it (except for the mewling vocals and uninspirational lyrics) but after some research I discovered that this "Red Television" guy actually was up and about in early-Seventies England! Proves to me that mind-addled people were given access to acoustic guitars even that early in the game. Sometimes expressive, mostly downer, and filled with that orbiting Pluto style of singing that makes you wonder if Mumbles from the old DICK TRACY strip had somehow been reincarnated yet again. For the most serious of serious World Saving folkie types only.

An almost-all six-oh garage band collection courtesy the only and only Bill Shute. Too bad he hadda stick a country number from Ben Hughes right inna middle of the thing because it does spoil the mood (heck, even the Tams' cover of the Impressions' "It's All Right" didn't do that!)---the results are sorta like having a wild kiddie party and all of a sudden Aunt Matilda comes in and wants to read you some dippy fairy tale! Still it's beauteous listening to that good ol' crackly vinyl and pops on some poorly-pressed effort featuring a buncha local kinda guys doin' their best to swipe from the cheapo hits of the day and devaluate 'em even more! Personal fave---the Krels' "Psychedelic Feelin'" which is about as psychedelic as your last dose of Castor Oil but man, does it sure beats the Airplane!
Of course I still have back issues of BLACK TO COMM for sale. Plenty enough to satisfy just about every throbbing, drooling, maddening rockist fan of the form on the face of this planet! Just click the link and be taken to a world where rock journalism does not mean ROLLING STONE pomposity and high energy gonzoid screeding is just as plentiful as it was back when the likes of Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer were actually being published in the pages of said rag (and at times even getting PAID for it!). Oooh, I never knew I was so GREAT!

Thursday, June 07, 2018

BOOK REVIEW! HALF HITCH by Hank (Dennis the Menace) Ketcham (Fawcett Gold Medal Books, 1970)

I always got the idea from those DENNIS THE MENACE cartoons that Hank Ketchum was a stereotypical horny sailor even after his tour of doody led to a successful career as a comic artist! It's not hard to see why if only because of those panels where Dennis' dad (aka hisself, an ex-sailor it is oft mentioned) is seen with a crooked smile stumbling outta some 3-D South Seas travelogue or the time the entire fambly went to Hawaii and he's staring rapturously at some young island maiden doing the hula (well, that one was done years after Ketcham's demise but it might have been created in homage to his love for Polynesian pudenda). And that's not forgetting the ones where a buncha sailors are seen at the park ogling Dennis' mother or Dennis wants to play catch with some shore leave sucker making out with a bee-youtiful gal. My theorem is only exacerbated by this little known side project of his that I first discovered via a newspaper read during a fambly vacation and thought, hey why not pick the paperback collection up just for kicks?

Actually HALF HITCH wasn't that good a may be overtly sexy 'n all but in fact DENNIS is even SEXIER i.e. you'll never see Hitch peeking into the shower when some luscious neighbor's innit just to say "hi" or walk in on mom inna tub or comment on his dad's testosterone overdrive. If anything it's just a nautical (and vastly subpar) version of BEETLE BAILEY complete with many of the expected similarities from a fuddy duddy chaplain to an inefficient captain, lousy cook and an anthropomorphic animal in the Snoopy/Otto vein who in this case can actually talk (a seagull!). And---natch---loads of gals only they just don't look as hot here as they did in DENNIS a good two decades earlier.

And that is strange, since when these strips were being created females as a whole pretty much still had that visual oomph before the Women's Lippers brainwashed millions of adolescent ovary pumpers into thinking that the curvy way wasn't the proper route to go and that total karmik expression could only be attained through a weekend at a lesbian clambake workshop dealing with the proper usages of turkey basters and which washed up rock star to use as a donor.

Not to say that there are some fun gags once in awhile (and I do mean "awhile") but thankfully HALF HITCH got washed down the comic strip memory hole and Ketcham and his helpers stuck to DENNIS. At least that had the potential for a good set of gags and an even sexier undercurrent. Well, we do have this paperback to remember it by, but sheesh, if it only coulda been funny...

Tuesday, June 05, 2018


Ever since I first stumbled across my first Beatles bootlegs in backrooms and dusty record bins hidden in the corners of independent record stores (circa 1974 or so), I have always sought them out. To me, they are far more interesting than the Beatles’ official output. During the early days of Wax Trax in Denver in the mid-70’s, when I would sell my blood plasma and get the $22 or whatever, I would always swing by the store afterwards with cash in hand and buy a Beatle boot for maybe six dollars and some punk 45 for maybe two or three dollars….collections of BBC broadcasts taped off the air with radio static and the signal drifting off from time to time, collections of the Decca audition tapes with speed fluctuations, poor quality dubs of live shows, poor quality dubs of outtakes, variant versions of releases from different countries, etc etc. Not to mention solo Beatle things...distant audience recordings from Harrison’s 1974 American tour, Lennon’s home demos, Ringo’s TV appearances and wine cooler commercials, McCartney’s soundcheck or rehearsal recordings (well, I did not buy THOSE, but they were out there!). As we moved into the 80’s, the quality of Beatles boots—both the releases themselves and the quality of the material on the releases--went up considerably, and I kept picking them up. If you’ve ever heard The Beatles SHEA AT LAST! Album or the various US live shows during Beatlemania, they are almost punk in their raw in-your-face onslaught, with the band not able to hear themselves playing and blasted through the primitive PA systems of ballparks and the like. And the warts’n’all rehearsals and the variant alternate takes are fascinating in a way that the released versions of the songs we’ve all heard 1000 times are not. During the LP era, I eventually collected about 75-100 different Beatle boot LP’s (not to mention the EP’s and 45’s), and then I continued on when CD’s arrived. I’ve also traded with other fans for CDR’s of a lot of material, but since CDR’s have no inherent collectible or resale value, they won’t be a part of this piece I’m writing today.

From the early 70’s through perhaps the late 90’s, I was actively building my LP collection. I would sell things on occasion, but I was still bringing in more than I was getting rid of. However, in the late 90’s, I stopped actively buying vinyl. I started selling it off in lots—I’d bring some collector over, he’d have a few hundred dollars in his pocket, and I’d let him choose things until he’d spent that few hundred….and I’d put it toward necessary plumbing work, or repair on my car, or medical bills, etc. I still am doing that today.

In the early 2000’s, I made the acquaintance of a man who was the father of one of my daughter’s good friends. I saw him once or twice at school events the girls attended. He was a relatively absent father, as his daughter was raised by her grandmother. He was a heavy drinker and a relatively irresponsible person. At one time, he’d been an “oldies DJ” on radio stations in both San Antonio and Austin, and people of a certain age in these areas would remember him. We’ll call him “Vic The Prick,” as that echoes his on-air handle. He was heavily into the Beatles….well, some would say he was. He had a lot of Beatles collectibles. He had autographed items from all four Beatles, which he managed to get through his position as a DJ that labels were wanting to curry the favor of and get airplay through. In his home, he did not even have a bedroom for his daughter (who lived with the grandmother)—when she stayed with him, which was rare, she slept on the couch—BUT he had a room which was called his “Beatles Room,” with various Beatles posters and ephemera and stand-up ad figures, etc. That should tell you about his priorities. He liked THE IDEA of The Beatles. Yet, he did not really know a lot about their music. For instance, he could not have told you the major songs in the set list for George Harrison’s 1974 tour, which any fan would know. He might have owned a copy of TWO VIRGINS, but he would have kept it sealed and not played it. He reminded me of a salesperson I encountered at a furniture store a few months ago who had a photo of Elvis on his work-station. I asked him, “are you into Elvis?” And he replied, “oh definitely, I’ve got the Elvis plates from the Franklin Mint, I’ve got the Elvis bedspread, I’ve got an Elvis license plate on my car,” etc. Talking with him for a few minutes, I learned that he was into the IMAGE of Elvis, not his actual work. He’d never heard the Sun Sessions, though he stated they were “historic.” He did not know who Scotty Moore was. He did not know who Charlie Hodge or Kathy Westmoreland were. The only Elvis film he’d seen was BLUE HAWAII (and this man was older than I am!)…but he had an Elvis keychain and an Elvis tablecloth! He was “into the King.” Evidently, just not INTO his actual work!

Vic The Prick was kind of like that, though at least he’d heard the Beatles released recordings (well, not TWO VIRGINS or ELECTRONIC SOUNDS or those kind of things, and he’d never heard of McCartney’s THRILLINGTON album), but he’d never heard any Beatles bootlegs. I chatted with him at a few school events we both attended, and after telling him about what was available on Beatle boots, he mentioned to me that he worked record shows on the weekends, and if I was interested in selling off some of my Beatle boots, he would sell them for me. I don’t like those kind of events, never have, either as a buyer or seller, so that sounded good to me. I knew what I wanted for each album, more or less, and I told him we could split the money 60/40, with me getting the 60. This would encourage him to get as much as he could for the albums as he’d make more the more he charged. I took him out to my storage unit in a neighboring town one night, and we spent maybe five hours going through it, pulling items that he thought he could sell. I would tell him about each item, since he did not really know much about the kind of material found on bootlegs. I also gave him non-Beatles items to sell—some Stones bootlegs, the pre-ZZ Top American Blues “Do Their Thing” album on UNI (he did not know the names of the pre-ZZ Top bands, the American Blues and the Moving Sidewalks, even though he was a native Texan), the 3 Nitzinger albums (he’d never heard of HIM either, though all 3 albums were on major labels and the man was a Texan and Vic claimed to be knowledgeable about 70’s hard rock), and some other collectible 70’s hard rock albums (that has always been big here in San Antonio, and they were certainly things I could live without!). It was dark outside and very late when we finished, and my unit was lit only by one light bulb on the ceiling, so when I suggested we write down the names of what he was taking for record-keeping, he said, “hey, it’s late….don’t worry about that….I’ll write them all down and pay you as they sell. We’re friends, after all.” Since I would hardly even label this guy as an acquaintance, I should have had an alarm go off….the same alarm that would go off when a used car dealer reminds you every 30 seconds how honest he is.

Needless to say, I NEVER heard from this man again. After 2-3 months, I tried getting in touch with him, but he would not return my calls. I tried e-mailing him, and he ignored it. I found out where he lived, went there once and rang his doorbell, and after 20 seconds or so, I heard the TV turned down but he did not answer. His car was outside. He was clearly home. I finally had to try to contact him via his teenage daughter, who did not live with him but saw him from time to time. To her credit, she did try to help me, but that did no good in the end. This guy was drinking himself to death at the time, and had a long history as a scam artist (I later learned from others whom he’d burned). He’d long been out of radio and worked at a payday loan store, gouging down-on-their-luck working people and low-rank military members with usury-like interest rates and exorbitant fees so they could put a new water pump in their old cars or pay the electric bill. Truly, the man was a bottom-feeder. He died about a year later. His daughter had suggested to me that he still had some of my Beatles records in his garage, and after he died, I tried to get access to those, but his mother was hostile and combative (hey, if anyone knew what kind of scam artist he was, she did….and clearly, the apple did not fall very far from the tree!), and since I did not even have a list of what I’d given him, I really did not have much of a case. I could not sue his estate—how could I prove I even gave them to him…and what kind of estate would a man who drank himself to death have! If you figure that by the 2000’s any original Beatle boot LP bought in the 70’s or 80’s would be worth at a minimum $20, and I gave him at least 75 albums plus other non-Beatle items, I was taken for at least $3000 by this scumbag. And his hag of a mother refused to let me even attempt to retrieve some of my property, even though his daughter told her that yes, I did indeed give him these albums a year or two previously and that he’d told her about it at the time. So there went my Beatle bootleg collection on vinyl, sold by Vic The Prick at record shows, and then sold by his sleazy mother to some collector-scum after his death. Live and learn.

Well, I’ve probably replaced most of the material on those discs with CD’s or copies of boots on CDR’s I’ve traded for, but the vinyl originals are long gone. Hey, if you live in Texas, maybe YOU bought one of them at some record show or from the dealer that Granny sold my property to. If so, please enjoy it with my best wishes! Blast my copy of SHEA AT LAST with the green paste-on cover and imagine you are me in the 1980’s, with a Pearl Cream Ale in my hand. Savor those two Houston 1965 live shows, recorded by a local radio station, on the LIVE FROM THE SAM HOUSTON COLISEUM two-LP set with the Butcher-cover outtake on the front. Feel the melancholy of the gradually burning-out Beatles doing downbeat versions of “Nowhere Man” and the like on the 1966 Japan boot FIVE NIGHTS IN A JUDO ARENA
Better quality versions of much of the material on the old 70’s and 80’s Beatle boots later surfaced during the CD era, but I prefer the old rawer ones from vinyl. When I play the pristine versions of the BBC sessions on the 12 CD boot box you can get now, I still hear the static and the station drift from the originals in my mind and wish I still had them, records made back in the pre-internet days when the compilers of the albums did not even know the actual names of the obscure songs the Fab Four covered on their BBC sessions and assigned names to them which had no relation to the originals. I still think of them by those names, even though in many cases, I did know (as a 50’s fan) the actual names of the songs they covered. Vic The Prick could steal $3000 of Beatles bootlegs from me, but he could not steal my memories of blasting those vinyl boots for decades. You can have SGT. PEPPER—give me LIVE IN ATLANTA WHISKEY FLAT (which we later learned was not even recorded in Atlanta!), pressed on off-center vinyl with a crookedly-pasted-on label. That’s the REAL Beatles to me.