Sunday, September 30, 2018

(To be repetitious and hackneyed about it...) Well, gotta say that the advent of October sure does bring back quite a few nicey-nice memories in this ever-shiny bean of mine, and that's despite those of me having to endure the usual hassles of school as well as older people trying to "guide" my life into being even more cube than their own. cider...gutter cleaning... Gee, I better stop before I get all rheumy eyed about storm window placements and running over cats that were hiding in the leaf piles next to the curb.

But given my advanced age all I can do is think back to the days when at least living mattered, or at least when I was living more'n existing. Sheesh, even though a whole lotta bad stuff went down back when I was a kid and didn't know how to tell people to fuck themselves at least I am thankful that there were still a few fun things that were made for kids who could get away with a few bits of pleasure in their suburban slob lives without any real adult constraint. Like Halloween, at least until the bigger and more lethal children amongst us got control of the overall situation. And those are the kind of memories I cherish the most---being a trick or treat kinda kid, not getting beaten up! Kinda makes me wanna put on a Halloween costume and wrap toilet paper around the principal's house, even though that guy's probably been dead for at least twenny years awlready!
Oh yeah, last week I did say I was gonna discuss my re-exposure to both THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and THE BOB NEWHART SHOW via recent satellite-casts via FETV. Well, after sporadically watching both series on those rare days off all I gotta say is YEAH, these programs sure were the precursors to the staid situation comedies that I've seen since the eighties and have been avoiding like Christgau ever since. Y'know, those static neo-dramas (really!) which have a lotta talkin' and little action to add that humorous punch oh-so drastically needed? To be honest about it, THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW was the series that really got the sophisticado-styled comedy shows from the seventies until these sad times up and running, but ya gotta admit that both MOORE and NEWHART paved the way for such excremental television viewing from FRIENDS to THE BIG BANG THEORY which only makes me wanna know...sheesh, how many times can ya stand to watch ever-perky Mary toss her hat into the air for all to see without avoiding that ever-encroaching sense of CRINGE???

Then again, I am drawn to both series but for quite different reasons than I suppose their creators had in mind. For MTM it's the appearance of  Ted Baxter, a guy who in his self-important corniness practically saves the show just because his mere presence overcomes much of the drollness and saccharine that permeates the production. (And as I said many a time, don't you think the best episodes of that series were the ones that focused on a rather buffoon-ish Ted played up against Mary or Lou 'stead of the talkie ones with Mary, Rhoda or Phyllis the focus of attention?) NEWHART's saving grace is usually the variety of patients who end up on his couch like John Fiedler's Mr. Peterson and especially Jack Reilly's Mr. Carlin whose subdued if outrageous presence and various complexes really makes him someone I CAN REALLY IDENTIFY WITH!

But the real reason these shows have a strange appeal to me might only be because they bring back those adolescent and downright teenbo feelings from back when these shows were part of that CBS Saturday night comedy blockbuster lineup that was getting many snooty critical nods at the time. I'm sure some of you remember those days when I, and presumably YOU. would be holed up in your bedrooms posing in front of the full length mirror on your door just WISHING you could be out having fun like those less-restricted kids at some local variation of CBGB or Max's that some wise entrepreneur was BOUND to come up with in the very near future?! Them teenage years that looked so fine and promising when I was six yet by the time it was my turn all I got was disco and pukka shells---sheesh! Well, those years certainly weren't as hotcha as some might make 'em out to be, but at least some of us had a little misguided hope to keep us goin' (and for the luckier amongst us knowledge of the World Saving effects of acts like the Stooges and New York Dolls)... And yeah, just hearing the themes to both MARY and BOB remind me of when these shows would be blaring in the tee-vee room and here I was soothing my sorrows to some Sears catalog underwear ad!

Gotta keep watchin' whenever I do get the time...between these shows and SOUPY SALES on JLTV afternoon television has been rescued from the soap operas and courtroom programs that have permeated the boob tube for years on end! And for once I am GLAD I have an excuse to goof off in front of the set 'stead of go out and make money like alla the "nice" kids inna neighborhood were doing back when I was young and my suburban slob senses were even more attuned than they are now! Feh!
While waiting for that next big archival drop to go splat right in your lap why not give this li'l gem a go of it? Never knew about these '68 (or so they say) Hampton Grease Band demos, but they sure do sound fine despite the loss of the right channel ('n these are definitely stereo recordings so's you miss out on Glenn Phillip's guitar duel with Harold Kelling on "Evans") and occasional tape glitches...remarkably similar to the finished MUSIC TO EAT product with just enough difference to make your ears perk up even more'n the Rice Crispies elves'! I'll bet you're sure glad that you (like I) were in on this act a whole lot earlier'n all of those come latelys who only discovered 'em after that early 00's reissue! Another historical dig-up that in some ways rectifies that dream I had '77 way about that undiscovered album of theirs I found in some flea market pile if you can believe that!

Welp, here are but a few of the things I've listened to o'er the past seven or so days. Hope you can make your way through the slosh...personally I don't think all my batteries were charged this go 'round which might be why these read kinda wonky if you ask me. Who knows, some of you less discriminating types (y'know. the kind who pattern their reading parameters on free form 'stead of Geoffrey Chaucer) might enjoy it, but frankly I know I coulda done a much better job had I only given my brain the enema it most truly deserves. Well, one thing can be said about this week's spew and it's that even at my own disheveled state of mind my writing runs rings around those eighties-bred neat and petite scribes who are still cluttering up the ozone, but in the long run that ain't sayin' much either!

SPIELGUSHER 2-LP set (Feeding Tube, get hold of one here)

You can read my review of the Cee-Dee version of this here if you so desire, but even if you won't...  Well anyhoo, if you're one of those vinyl only types who I admire to the FULLEST you can now get this famed collaboration between Man God Richard Meltzer and not-so Man God Mike Watt and his Japanese cohorts on two solid albums, both of which will make you glad that you've been part of the continuum for a longer time than most people have been alive.

Meltzer speaks (dirty at times so better not spin it around Aunt Mabel) while Watt and crew provide ample and fitting tinkertoy backing making this the kinda platter I sure wish I coulda gotten hold of way back in my neophyte days when it was all new and fresh to my brain. As you'd expect, this is an item that should prove to you that Meltzer is still important here in 2018 while alla those hotshot types who stole the thunder away from not only him but a good portion of the gonz rock writing set back inna eighties remain DOA!
Frank Zappa-LUMPY GRAVY PRIMORDIAL LP (Zappa Records)

If anything, the latest UGLY THINGS spurred me on to buying this "Record Store Day" release so who sez that mag's good for nothin'! (Not moi.) Yes, this is none other than the original Capitol Records version of LUMPY GRAVY that came and went with such a velocity that only a quarter-track tape version was ever released. But a good fifty years later it's back, and not only that but the thing was pressed on burgundy vinyl and speeds on at 45 rpm even though for all practical purposes this is of an official long playing length!

This 'un sure brings back many of those teenbo feelings I had towards not only the old Mothers of Invention but of various mid-late-sixties rock modes I was digging into at the time that really helped me through a whole load of tough growin' up pains and things like that (boy am I in a retro "woe is me" mood this week!). And as I would have expected, the original LUMPY GRAVY take even sounds better without the added noise and mumblings that seemed so cliched even back when I was a kid and was on the lookout for cliches just like this! Too bad Zappa hadda believe his own hype and ended up recording such timeless classics as "Jewish Princess" and "Broken Hearts Are For Assholes", toonz which hold up these days about as much as that whole Suzy Creamcheese schtick did.

And speaking of """""I""""" the only one on this planet who enjoys the Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan edition of the Mothers almost as much as the original grouping? Okay, JUST ANOTHER BAND FROM LA wasn't exactly a winner in my book, but I can still weasel my way through things like "The Mud Shark" and CHUNGA'S REVENGE. Not to mention a good portion of 200 MOTELS's snatty pop songs with the two doing their special vocalizing even if that film was a disaster unraveling right in front of your eyes. Maybe I am one of the few who enjoy the two mixing it up with Zappa and although many would say otherwise why the heck should I apologize???

But back to the issue at hand...during my mid-seventies Zappafied days I attempted to order BOTH of these platters through the local record shop (no used or specialty emporiums in sight at the time) and even the people who gave us the Schwann catalog couldn't locate either of 'em! These platters had only been released a good two/three years earlier and you woulda thunk at least a few were hanging around in some record warehouse but NO...both THE PHLORESCENT LEECH AND EDDIE and its followup were nada to be seen even though it wasn't like Flo and Eddie were no longer a profitable team. Not with their own radio show, appearances in magazines galore and a Columbia Records contract which even had the fanzines swooning over their even more risque'n ex-boss Zappa's stage show featuring such skits as "Dildos of the Stars" (ranging in size from Mick Jagger to John Denver). But hey, about 90% of the gunk I'd order via Schwann never did turn up including the early Fugs platters on ESP which I KNEW were still available so's I guess I could chalk ALL my frustrations up to some lazy dock worker who'd rather nap behind a crate of James Taylor platters 'stead of do his doody and enrich my musical parameters!

The fortysome years wait wasn't that bad 'n yeah, I coulda bought both of 'em during my frequent trips to Cleveland during the late-seventies and eighties! And thankfully these albums have finally been reissued and like, I sure am surprised that they even sound better than I would have imagined. Of course I was under the impression these were gonna sound like the Mothers without Zappa but they don't. Pretty straightforward rock is what they are, and for a guy who had even the best moments of the Flo and Eddie Mothers in mind they don't even sound like that which does tend to shock the system, but in a nice, pleasant way.

'72's THE PHLORESCENT LEECH AND EDDIE might have been Reprise's hopes that the two would continue the Zappa gravy train loot a'flowin', but it's more like what you would expect an early-seventies Turtles album to sound like only with decadent sleeze a la KILL CITY fueling it instead of late-sixties commercial California sunshine pop. Surprisingly commercial yet deep down intense, it's sure strange that these guys who were doin' "Magdalena" only a year earlier were putting out this extremely smart pop which makes me FORGIVE 'em for making mucho moolah with Strawberry Shortcake once the eighties began clocking in. Kinda sounds like what the Doors would have been like (just check out "I Been Born Again"!) had Jim Morrison not been such an irritating phony intellectual, or even Sparks had Russ Mael only reached puberty. Given the musical renaissance of the '71/'72 AM radio era it's a shame none of this got mixed in with other definitely pro-horny youth music that was getting blasted into a load of teenbos' ears thus saving 'em from a severe Melanie overdose. Heck, even the corny if slyly double entendre "Nikki Hoy" ain't worth turning down the volume for, unless your strict daddy just happens to walk into the room and has some qualms about the "pearl diving" nature of the thing.

It took another year for FLO & EDDIE to make its way out, and given not only the heavy duty Bob Ezrin production but the retro-goof front cover you know this 'un's gonna be a thicker 'n usual production. Definitely a more upbeat effort (less dreamy haze here) FLO & EDDIE's got the heavy metal pop genre all figured out and even the horns 'n strings don't intrude like they did on all those other records of the day that you don't remember with any shard of fondness. And heck, why wasn't their cover of "Days" a hit single? Come to think of it, why wasn't "Afterglow", which was actually released as a single yet was given about as much promotion as the album itself, topping the charts in a world of "Kung Fu Fighting"? Sure coulda been one of those teen gal weeper biggies that even the cool guys could 'fess up to liking!

The comedy bits aren't overbearing, that is if you consider "Carlos and de Bull" a comedy track (I'm still trying to figure it out) and "The Sanzini Brothers" a tangential connection to the Mothers days. Those don't really ad up in the long run---it's the neo-Spector drench of tracks like "The Best Part of Breaking Up" that makes FLO & EDDIE a winner that sure would have ENRICHED me had only a copy turned up in that Columbus Ohio warehouse.

Now collected in one package, these records go to show you that the seventies pop renaissance coulda been a whole lot more'n just the Raspberries and Big Star had more of these efforts only GOTTEN OUT into the bedrooms of suburban slob teendom like they shoulda. One can only think of all those plump gals lying across their beds with a bowl of Cheetos reading the latest CREEM fantasizing about their own special love for Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan before trotting in front of the television set to catch a glimpse of David Cassidy!
From-O611-CAT QUARTER CD-r burn (originally on CBS Records, Germany)

Dunno what prompted Bill Shute to burn this one for me, other'n to tweak my nerve endings (nasty boy!). After all, it ain't like I ever really went for this fusion jazz which, when performed by Germans, sounds even STODGIER than the stuff comparatively more exciting Englishmen and Yankoids were cranking out. And man, most of that wasn't really so hot to begin with. Maybe we better humor them in case they get wise...I mean, have you ever seen the power of an angry Kraut??? One of those seventies records that came with a cover that was way more pleasing than the watered-down Soft Mechanisms to be found within the grooves.
Various Artists-96 CAMELS WOULD LIKE TO KNOW CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Not whatcha'd call "A VERY SPECIAL EPISODE OF BILL SHUTE BURNS" by a long shot, but the thing does fill its purpose! Starting off with a rare Archie Bell and the Drells track (when I was a kid, I asked around inquiring as to what a "drell" actually was!) Bill's usually eclectic mix keeps the attention goin' even when you're up against such wonders as Ted Newman's early-sixties attempt to cash in on the "boy singer" rage or the Plus Four's not that strong (but I like it!) version of the Tremeloes' "Silence is Golden". The added radio clip novelty gunk (including a slightly sped up ABC radio report on the 1980 Kentucky Dribble) doesn't excite me like those old radio ads Bill sometimes sticks on, and while the music ain't anything to scream about it did make me feel better'n listening to my cyster try to sing in church.

But I will say that Bill ended it all on a fine note, what with Jackie Harris' down groove repeato riff "My Kind of Man" followed by the Rinky Dinks doing an equally negative energy hot instrumental, all ending with the Foundations of "Build Me Up Buttercup" fame tackling the all-time classic "96 Tears" and adding their own style of soul to rather boffo effect.
You know you want 'em...old issues of BLACK TO COMM, right? Well pard, like what's keeping you from buying up a batch anyway? Not that these things're gonna sell out any eon soon, but better now when your eyes can read the tiny print than later on when...well, your mom did say you would go blind doing it...

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Hoo is this ba-ad stuff! Cheap art and sappoid stories...I coulda seen a whole slew of page-boy'd bell bottom and kerchief'd teenagers who made up the bulk of early-seventies comic fandom gag at the antics of these guys before returning to the safety of GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROWBLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN and of course the soothing strains of Carole King.

And that's not the only reason I like it!

The slapdash delineation found in this early-forties back-page feature from CRASH COMICS actually does appeal to me a whole lot more'n today's fine-penned and unintentionally TRITE style. A style which I get the idea is done up by young upstart primadonnas who think they're creating something unique and cutting edge as far as industry standards go yet its so cloyingly "same old" and wooden. In other words, the art probably fits the story to a "T". But, as we all know, all that'll get said doodler a cover story in COMIC ARTIST a good three years from now and maybe that's all that really matters!

Well, at least I get that impression just like I do the one where I imagine some "comics as aht" type right, at this very moment,  polishing up on his acceptance speech for the next Eisner Awards get together!

As for me well...I don't care if whoever it was that drew FLYING TRIO did it with his feet, because the cheap crank out look does more for me in my own counter-slob way than the whole of that abysmal style that makes up the creme of the last four decades of comic art. And it is way more pleasing on the eyes as well.

The simplified broken down stories with loose ends and unanswered all over the place questions also prove that FLYING TRIO had a whole lot more going for it than all of those graphic novels from the seventies on...after all, this series was nothing but filler and like it wasn't anything that was gonna actually sell a mag the way a costumed hero or skinny teenager with red hair onna cover would. But for the same kids Bill Shute always seems to mention who were out for a cheap entertainment thrill and had that now-long lost sense of adventurism and what it means to be an adolescent stay at home schlub on God's Great Earth, this sure meant more than the latest slobberin' picture as Beaver would have said. Straight ahead fun that was to the point, concentrating on what needs to be concentrated on and nothing more.

Kinda like a stripped-down BLACKHAWK, THE FLYING TRIO featured the antics of three Soldiers of Fortune stuck in the mythical Eastern Euro nation of Sylvania during those pre-WW II days when everybody knew something big was gonna happen but the big question was when. Two of the guys seem to be yer standard gosh all golly hero types with nothing special to separate 'em from the reams of similar types in the comics, radio and film realm. The third, surprisingly enough, is a Chinese who, as you would expect, spurts out more pearls of Oriental* wisdom than Joe Jitsu himself! Oddly enough this particular character named "Low" seems to be the real wild card (and most interesting character) of the bunch---not necessarily some Cholly-esque Chinese comedy relief but a guy who takes the big risks and gets away with it each and every time...sorta! As far as personality and general like-atude go Low is the one who stands out far more than his compats, and it's easy to see that he certainly ain't no "Chop Chop" from BLACKHAWK who was such a stooped cretin that I'm sure many readers had a hard time believing he was human!

Well anyway, take that you hidebound moral guardians who think that everything from the wicked "past" is evil, racist, sexist and the rest of those naughty "-ists" which should be shielded from modern day sensibilities!

There's a lot that's packed into these four page stories even if plenty had to be left out for "practical purposes" (well, could you think of a better excuse?). But sheesh, why do I find these adventures so much more entertaining and "satisfying" than I do just about every shard of comic book entertainment that's been shoved at me since the days I turned away from the medium with a vengeance? Answer ain't hard to figger...give this 'un a read and find out for yourself!

*Yeah, I know that the term "Oriental" is verboten in certain quarters for reasons I still cannot fathom, but it sure is grand to watch the easily offended types squirm with moral indignation every time I sneak something that could be considered offensive into my writings, and usually on purpose! And, as we all should know, in these Old Biddy days just about EVERYTHING can be twisted and shaped into someone's idea of "racism" if they put their all-knowing minds to it, just like any simple phrase or saying can be construed as being "dirty" as the little boy said to the little girl on the way to the picnic.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Good old-style thrift stores/junk stores have gone the way of real rock’n’roll----they’re still out there, but harder to find....and when you do find them, they are often corrupted by the commercialism and pretentiousness of the present day and the evil influence of Ebay. If anyone is a thrift store musical artist, it’s pianist Floyd Cramer (although based on my excursions in the last two years, Billy Vaughn wears the crown of most-common thrift store LP artist!).When I was in Central Louisiana a few years ago, catching the horse races at Evangeline Downs, I explored the small towns in the area and stumbled across a junk store that did not have much worthwhile, especially the record section, which was mostly trashed copies of things like SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER or Neil Diamond. The sole good thing I saw was about 20-25 Floyd Cramer albums, all in what could charitably be called VG condition and all for two dollars each! As I was traveling and as I am gradually selling off most non-essential items in my record collection, I decided to pass on them....except for one, an album that I owned back in the 80’s (and got for 99 cents) and had clear memories of, NIGHT TRAIN.

If you are not familiar with country pianist Floyd Cramer, he was one of the two most popular piano instrumentalists (as opposed to pianists who also sang, like Moon Mullican or Charlie Rich or Jerry Lee Lewis and his cousin Mickey Gilley) in country music, the other being Del Wood, a lady who played in a kind of honky-tonk/ragtime style. Cramer, on the other hand, had an instantly identifiable “slip note” style, which had him playing the melody of a song (and it was all about melody on a Cramer record!) in a relatively straight-forward manner, but with many of the notes he played, particularly at climactic moments, he’d “slip in” a second note a few steps away from the main note maybe a half second after the first note. If you can’t imagine that, just go to You Tube and search for his song “Last Date.” By the end of the first thirty seconds, you’ll know whether you like that style or not. Like many musical artists with a gimmick, Cramer brought that gimmick to MANY albums. If you liked his style, then obviously, you’d LOVE to hear it applied to your favorite country and pop hits. I would guess that during his heyday, from the late 50’s through the late 70’s, he probably recorded 3-4 albums a year, and that’s not counting re-packaged items and budget-label product, such as the album under review today. Much of Cramer’s output would be put in the “easy listening” category, if no one told you that it was considered “country.” Cramer was actually a fine player, a crack session musician (he’d been house pianist at the Louisiana Hayride!), and he appeared on many of Elvis Presley’s best Nashville sessions, but the “slip note” gimmick was what made him famous, and he continued to deliver the goods album after album after album...and many of those albums, at least for the first decade or so, were produced by Chet Atkins, who was doing a similar thing on his guitar instrumental albums.

Camden was RCA’s budget label, and to save on mechanical royalties, their albums usually offered only 10 songs as opposed to 12. Camden was used by RCA to reissue older material that might not sell at full price anymore, but would sell at department stores for 99 cents (mono) or $1.99 (stereo) to the kind of people who did not frequent record stores but enjoyed a new album now and then by a familiar name. It was also used to create albums of material by popular artists who had tracks that fell between the cracks--many of Elvis’ soundtrack songs from movies that did not have enough songs to create a soundtrack album would wind up on Camden LP’s for their initial release (if an EP was not issued), though Camden also issued new material among the re-treads. In perhaps the most outrageous example of that, Elvis’ smash hit Burning Love was first issued on a BUDGET album after its success as a single. It could have become the core of a successful full-price album, but Colonel Parker got a lump sum for each Camden album and was not a man who thought about long-term strategy.

NIGHT TRAIN would seem to be an album full of tracks that fell between those cracks. Many of the Cramer albums I’ve heard had a theme to them, or at least a consistent sound throughout the album. This one does not. If Discogs is to be trusted (sorry, but I don’t know the Cramer discography intimately, although I’ve probably owned a dozen of his albums over the years and maybe 6 or 7 singles), the majority of the tracks were first released here, with a few tracks coming from a 1965 album and another track being a non-LP b-side, the album closer, WANT ME (see pic).

The album is an odd mixture of various styles. It opens promisingly with a cover of the R&B classic "Night Train", which is performed in a crime-jazz style, and you could imagine Craig Stevens strutting down a dark alley at 2 a.m. in a PETER GUNN episode while it played. The second track is in the classic Cramer style, its first notes echoing “Last Date,” and it’s a cover of the country classic “Half As Much,” associated with Hank Williams. It’s got the light frosting of strings and ohh-ing and ahh-ing backing vocals that one expects in the “country-politan” style of the day, a sound very much associated with Cramer’s producer and good friend Chet Atkins. The next song, “Theme From A Dream,” sounds like a direct carbon-copy of the Duane Eddy style, but with the plonk of Cramer’s piano substituting for Eddy’s guitar twang. The military drumming and vaguely “western panorama” feel of the piece certainly evoke Eddy, and in case the listener is too pre-occupied with cooking dinner to make the connection, there are a few guitar “twangs” tucked into the mix. The next song, “Long Walk Home,” sounds like it could be the theme song from some TV-movie mystery, circa 1971, starring Gene Barry and Yvette Mimieux--I can see some stylish mansion, with a dead body draped over an ornate writing desk in the plush study, stumbled across by Mimieux at 3 a.m. She pauses, her jaw drops, the film’s title appears on the screen, and the Cramer musical theme starts playing. Etc. Etc.

Every song on the album is atmospheric in one way or another. It’s the perfect piece of thrift store vinyl, (and speaking of Discogs, I see you can STILL get a copy for 99 cents), kind of the music equivalent of the cheapo comic books I often review here. Someone probably enjoyed this dollar album for 20 years, playing it hundreds of times while frying up pork chops, dusting the living room furniture, or balancing the checkbook right before payday. Now YOU can get that copy yourself, and you can let it be the soundtrack to YOUR life activities. I can’t really call this a “lounge” album, but it certainly qualifies as easy listening, and it’s got everything that’s great about thrift-store LP’s. Cramer was born in Shreveport, a great music town, and passed away in 1997. He explained his slip-note style this way: “"The style I use mainly is a whole-tone slur which gives more of a lonesome cowboy sound. You hit a note and slide almost simultaneously to another." His last chart hit was in 1980, a cover of the theme from the TV show DALLAS, which somehow seems fitting. Getting a thrift-store LP is like seeing a film at the dollar theater....your expectations change and you’re open to a wider variety of expression, finding the valuable in what others look down their noses at. Ahhhh, but it’s their loss. Floyd Cramer’s NIGHT TRAIN LP will be the best 99 cents you’ll ever spend....and if you’re lucky, you might even score the 8-track tape version of it (see pic).

Saturday, September 22, 2018

You think you're tired and disengaged? Try being good ol' ME for a change! Don't believe me? Well, just try making your way through THIS post which I gotta say I struggled with even more'n I did that bowel movement made after about five trips through the Garden Gate Kentucky Fried Chicken buffet near Butler Pennsylvania some time during the winter of 1975! Dunno it it was just one of those weeks, or if my own personal batteries are running down, or for that matter if I have hit that big iceberg of spiritual nada which befell many a writer of value over the past few eons? Nah---just need to get more VELVET UNDERGROUND into my life...that's all.

Otherwise in this autobiography..well, I've been goin' through more boxes of "junk" as they say tryin' to find salvageable items amid the usual turds I never felt like throwing out a good thirtysome years back. Among the usual flotsam/jetsam (old Homestead Records hypesheets and the like that shoulda been destroyed upon receipt) were a number of Bomp Records catalogs which not only brought back warm 'n fuzzy memories but made me kick myself over my stupidity in not buying those later-on desired fanzines at ridiculously low prices when I coulda!

Also re-discovered after years of neglect that issue of DOWN BEAT with the Tim Buckley article which was written by his former guitarist and then DB editor Lee Underwood. Now, that was a piece which I gotta say really lit a fire under my teenbo pimpled ass which, considering I was farting at the time, blew me sky-high into wanting to get hold of his then impossible to find (at least around here) avant garde jazz platters! Considering that my cyster was attending school in Cleveland at the time and that I suddenly realized that I had access to scouring used record shops wish certainly came true even tho much earlier I coulda latched onto an 8-Track of STARSAILOR that was up for sale even if I had nada machine to play it on. I mean, why let that stop me?

But looking through that now-mildewed mag did conjure up a whole lot more seventies memories (the good stuff that is) even more'n those MARY TYLER MOORE and BOB NEWHART reruns I've been watching (more on those in an upcoming post). One memory that pops up almost immediately is that boy, wasn't DOWN BEAT a pretty stodgy mag even when they would write about some free players I did enjoy! Another is that their writers weren't so hot trying to be hip and analytical while missing the whole core of the Bangs/Meltzer transformation of sound into printed description that swings just as much as the music---in fact they were just as downright miserable as any young upstart of the eighties onward who made their money expressing the worthiness of some (take your pick) hype o' the minute in the worse post-Erma Bombeck way, complete with a few Glade air freshening spritzes and Creative Writing 101 tricks to please even the stodgiest arm-patched college professor extant!

Thankfully, at least this time, Underwood did slightly better than expected. Oh yeah, the patented and downright staid DOWN BEAT "house style" so eloquently described above seems to be fully in gear, but man is it nice to read something about a really innovative kinda fellow (who I had only known about via those Warner Brothers "loss leaders" like ZAPPED and DAYS OF WINE AND VINYL) and how he fought the biz and LOST, but maybe it didn't matter because if he had only hung on a little longer he might have made that big Iggy-styled comeback and put all of those in-the-know bigwigs to shame. Maybe not, but somehow everything that I LOVED about rock 'n roll music, the seventies, the avant garde and yeah, even Buckley just came rushing back like a middle of the night diarrhea attack and boy does my rear end hurt because of all that wiping!

I ain't gonna be searchin' out more forgotten DOWN BEATs any time soon if the writing in 'em is as stiff as these pseudo hipsters who I suspect were berets and eat stale doritos comes off (I do recall their Art Ensemble of Chicago article to have been pretty cut and glue), but some more Buckley in my mainline just might work out rather swimmingly well. As they say, watch this space (but not too closely---I mean, who knows how temporary this infatuation with my teenage longings is going to last)...
Gotta once again thank the people who helped make this post the spiffiest what with their contributions to the cause, mainly my good friends Bill Shute, Paul McGarry, PD Fadensonnen and the folk at Feeding Tube Records. Gee, don't you wish YOU TOO could be a friend of mine just so's you can send your own burnt offerings my way for review purposes? If you were smart enough (and sometimes I wonder about you!), you would be!

Metabolismus/Mono Pause-DON'T LOW UP TO THE AMPED BUENAES LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Feeding Tube has come up with some stranger than strange platters over the years, but I would not say that this was one of 'em. It's rather intact ifyaknowaddamean, one side each from this megabunch called Metabloismus who kinda sound like a French movie soundtrack gone bananas and the other Mono Pause, a supposedly Amerigan transplanted to Europe act who can play straight-ahead rock 'n roll yet muss it up with the usual experimental music concoctions that others have for the past fortysome years. Lotsa weirdo stuff here from neo-kraut themes to a pretty retro-hot male/femme take of "I Know You Rider" all topped off by some kid singing some French song kinda reminding me of Nico's own bastard's solo spot on DESERTSHORE. That's the Metabolismus side, on the Mono Pause flipster a straight ahead sixties-styled rock 'n roll runs up smack dab against sound fractures, more rock and even more things that sound like Merseybeat being shot out of a Gatling gun. Considering this came out on Feeding Tube, do I need to warn ya???
Fadensonnen-BRUT cassette (see blog link on left for details)

Right when my apathy was just about to get me comes this li'l surprise, a new effort from the noise king of the decade Fadensonnen which yet another guitar-heavy scruncher! Atonal wavering sounds blare in and out like a METAL MACHINE MUSIC homage attached to RADIO ETHIOPIA to the point where you'd swear that those were bagpipes comin' on around the middle of side two! (That was probably PD's own "Electro-Amplified Tenor Sax" but man, it sure DID sound like bagpipes to me!) If you thought new music was old turds just give this guy a listen to and be prepared to eat more'n just your words! And yeah, welcome back to the living, PD!
Pink Floyd-THE GRAND UMMAGUMMA PARTY CD (Alraritit Records)

The only good thing I can say about this bootleg is that the cover looks nice. Kinda reminds me of the one on Can's UNLIMITED EDITION. Otherwise this is just one of those snickety-snick har-har rehashes of legitimately-released and easily enough available recordings, this time taken mostly from the second album in the UMMAGUMMA set all chopped up and feebly made to sound like an actual live effort. If you have a sick sense of humor like me maybe you can get some weird satisfaction outta it...otherwise it's only for them serious fans who ain't that particular about what it is they're collecting just as long as they got it to show to their pals in order to get them much-appreciated "wow"'s.

We've all heard and even seen Mel Blanc playing some supporting character in a Jack Benny episode or in a variety of forties/fifties vintage moom pitchers, or I assume you have unless you're one of those modern day snobs who loathe anything old and wholesome. But how does Mel fare as far as playing a starring character in his own radio series? Sheesh, does this series come off kinda---skewered? It's even stranger'n watching Vernon Dent as the star of some Educational Pictures short after seeing him as the brunt of the Three Stooges lo these many years! Unlike with Dent (who came off as a sympathetic Oliver Hardy-ish type in the films he did teamed with Monte Collins) I can't really see Blanc as the affable owner of a fix it shop complete with a galpal, cranky uncle, and sidekick who sounds suspiciously like Porky Pig. The chemistry doesn't quite jibe the way it did with Benny, and I just can't feel any emotional hoo-hahs towards anyone the way you might with other comedic stars of forties radio. Nice try, but stick to Professor LeBlanc from now on, eh?
Benny Bailey/Nathan Davis/Mal Waldron/Jimmy Woode/Makaya Ntzhoko/Charly Campbell-SOUL EYES CD-r burn (originally on Saba Records, Germany)

There are so many of these overseas-released jazz platters floating around that it's only been until recently with the advent of the internet and downloads that one could even begin to listen to these rarities let alone start sorting everything out. And that (overseas), dear reader, is where this effort comes from. I gotta admit that this live show recorded in Munich doesn't start off in the proper free splat spirit I would have hoped, but by the time side two gets into gear the players are blurting forward into areas that at least pique my own latent jazzbo attention. Particularly stirring is the album closer "Mid-Evil Dance" which has a great one-groove drive and stirring solos from not only trumpeter Benny Bailey but saxist Nathan Davis. Pretty hot stuff which even pleased the stuffy looking audience pictured on the album's front cover.
Sun Ra and his Arkestra-DANCE OF INNOCENT PASSION CD-r burn (originally on El Saturn)

Late-period Ra which I gotta admit sounds as good as that mid-period stuff done up at a time when the guy could even get a major label release. Recorded live at New York City's Squat Theatre (one of those artzy places which also booked no wave acts and proto-NEA controversy performance artists), Ra and Arkestra pour through their usually insane repertoire playing a bunch of numbers that I honestly don't believe have appeared elsewhere. Well. as you can all tell I ain't no expert so look elsewhere for solid electronic woosh houses various solos of equal atonality making for...yes, one of those Sun Ra efforts you know that NOBODY in your family is gonna enjoy listening to. Have fun in the closet with this one kids!

Various Artists-KOOKIE FROG WANNA MINEO CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Leave it to ME to pick out another Christmas-themed Bill burn here in the early days of Autumn! Well, it's better'n picking it out in the middle of summer but still... As far as the Christmas stuff goes it's nothing but radio ads, mostly PSAs for religious organizations or in one case an after Christmas sale where you can buy all the goodies you were too poor to get during the hoilidays at half price! The PSAs have a distinctly middle-of-the-night feeling while the after Christmas sale one conjures up images of items picked over to the point where you know their next stop just has to be Dollar General.

Otherwise there are some niceties here from the Spats' infamous "She Done Moved" to some kraut singing "Stagger Lee" and some other thingie that might be an original with this mixed German/Amerigan black guy accent sounding weirder'n anything! There's also some fairzy-wairzy rockabilly from a Richard Turley, a hard rock snoozer from Trixx, some neo-glammy thing from Inheritance, Ramrods doing equally fairzy-wairzy punky beat and (now get this!) Sal Mineo trying to cash in on the teen screen idol goes vocalist craze of the late-fifties/early-sixties! Place your own fag joke here.
Yes, BLACK TO COMM BACK ISSUES ARE STILL AVAILABLE, and thanks to the scheming likes of Dave Lang, Jay Hinman and Gerard Cosloy scarin' off prospective buyers there are plenty of 'em still available! If you wanna wipe the smiles off their smirkin' rat-like faces the best way possible, just buy a few of these journalistic, high quality fanzines (in the PROUDEST self-produced tradition) and show the world what rock scribing really meant in those barren eighties, and come to think of it these barren 'teens as well!

Thursday, September 20, 2018


These magazines seem to be comin' out faster'n I can keep up with 'em but hey, ain't that part of the fun?

Eh, not really, but I gotta admit that I do like this latest UGLY THINGS about as much as I have the previous few 'un's. That's sayin' a whole lot more'n I can regarding most of the "rock writing" I have the misfortune to come across whether it be via the web or some ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY I'd foolishy thumb through in a fit of boredom while waiting for the proctologist to thumb through ME, ifyaknwaddamean...

I wonder where editor Mike Stax and his minions dig up these long-gone/forgotten/ignored/loathed (take your pick) rock 'n roll obscurities, but once again everyone on board stepped up to the plate, swung a few times and NO OUTS BUT PLENTY OF BALLS are to be had. And that starts with the cover saga on the Other Half, best known for being that group Randy Holden was in before he popped up in Blue Cheer for a short spell. Again the rock novel aspect of this shines through and it's sorta like getting your own biographical book inside a magazine! And it sure is great knowin' that this bandwhich has been beggin' for coverage these past fortysome years are finally getting their day in the sun. Kinda gets you right inna bread basket, y'know....

The Elvis Presley thing is really what made this ish a topper for me, not only Harvey Kubernik's saga about those "Vegas" years which I'll bet gets the socialist rock crit types like Greil Marcuse all gaggy, but Bill Shute's review of the LAST MOVIES CD which brings those days even Elvis fans tend to poo-poo into proper perspective. And talkin' about perspective like, maybe it is time to lay off the whole kulturally significant Elvis hatred bandwagon which, once again, seems to be promulgated by those aforementioned socially conscious rockcrit types who only want to pick on The King because he's white and Chuck Berry and Little Richard ain't and like, have you ever seen a big time rockcrit who wasn't burdened with enough white guilt for all of us? The words written in this issue do lay waste to all of the horribly negative commentary that has been directed at Elvis as of the days since his death and like, I only hope that the likes of Dave Marsh etc. are force fed these beyond-pertinent comments regarding the man they loathe even if you know even a CLOCKWORK ORANGE-styled Elvis session wouldn't dent their thick skulls nohow!.

(And what didja think of that portion of the Kubernik article telling of the time Elvis stopped in for a drink at RODNEY'S ENGLISH DISCO??? Boy I would have liked to have seen the look on his face what with all of those twelve-year-old girls flashing their tits at him 'n all even tho, as the text states, they woulda much preferred it be David Bowie fluttering about the hangout 'stead of this older kinda guy!)

Enough on the lowlives and onto the goodness we all read UGLY THINGS for. Loads of other pieces pop up here although at this time the only one I really read through and digested were the Denny Carleton interview regarding his Choir days, Jackie McCauley of Them fame and best of all the Trevor White 'un where he tells the world that the Mael Brothers were as jerky a buncha guys as we could have imagined inna first place! Thanks for the heads up guy!!!

Of course the reviews are what's really boffo about this mag and for years people like myself would try to obtain moolah by hook, crook or schnook to get hold of some of the lovelies that were comin' out at the time. Nothing much this issue makes my mouth water like it should (other'n perhaps the original pre-Verve take of LUMPY GRAVY for some strange reason) but it's sure fun to read about it all, kinda like when you were a kid and went window shopping for toys or whatnot, and unfortunately you didn't have a brick handy to smash down a few! Some of the better writers who know and understand rock 'n roll are in the "employ" of Mr. Stax, so you know you're not getting a bum rap if you decide to purchase a platter on the recommendation to be found within these pages, that's for sure!

It's got all the color and sparkle of the rest of those "sixties/seventies-oriented" magazines too, but many more times the energy and power next to some of those soggy sacks of literature. A definite must-have for those of you who always kept the faith, especially during the times when the faith didn't exactly keep you!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Well here I is, bangin' the same drum and rattlin' on about the same old musical cause (the cause being rock 'n roll) that I have been doin' for well over thirtysome years now already! Must seem like a tiresome and perhaps even boring type of existence to oh-so enlightened you, but in actuality I feel just as unbound and free via the music now as I did back in my v. late teen days when everything from the Electric Eels to Troggs and a bazillion points in between played the soundtrack to the kinda existence I sure wish I coulda lived without the trammels of hip youth kultur (talkin' FM radio and the dolts who supported it!) weighing me down.

And, in my own aw-shucks sorta way, I sincerely do hope that my cheerleading of various 60s/70s under-the-underground rock modes here in the late 'teens makes me the modern day version of those olde tymey film buffs of the fifties and sixties who were so agog over Mary Miles Minter long after the sound era wiped her out because hey...I can identify with THEM more than I can some eighties-vintage "rock critic" type who somehow could find much of value and worth in the music of Prince and Madonna while chiding alla us suburban slob sixties salvationists as nothing but a bunch of losers! Y'know what kind of species I'm talkin' about, the same form of primitive life that made its fame extolling all of the worst aspects of pop music in that I'm so hip in that square way that I'm hipper than the hip! Or something along those weird lines. Yeah, the Chuck Eddy fashionistas that ruined the entire rock in print gig more'n Christgau ever could to the point where all of the gonz, the Bangsian energy and reasons we like the music inna first place were banished from the frilly pages of the music press seemingly forever!

And, in case you weren't paying attention, in this life of ours we could sure use a whole lot more Mary Miles Minter these and a whole lot less Chuck Eddy! Sheesh, given my love of the old and forgotten primal rock sounds of yore maybe I should get my own PBS Saturday afternoon show where I just talk about records and show off pieces of my collection for a half hour. Well, it's better'n watching that guy with the dandelion hair and soft toned voice think he can paint!
A SPECIAL NOTE FOR ALL YOU BILL SHUTE FANS: starting this week Bill's Tuesday posts will appear every other week and it was all planned in advance (and I gave Bill the OK to do so), so it ain't like he's being tardy with his doodies 'r anything like that. This is the way Bill wants to do it from now on and like, who am I to argue even though his posts sure draw in a whole lotta people who otherwise wouldn't go near this blog with a ten foot somethingorother... Just don't go thinkin' there's anything bad goin' on between us because there ain't!
PERSONAL THROB THRILL CHILL OF THE WEEK! Johnny and the Dicks doing enough art terrorism to give those pamby NEA types skidmarks galore!

And with that outta the way, maybe we better get onto the reviews!

Eugene Chadbourne-SOLO GUITAR VOLUME 1-1/3 LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

It's about time someone reissued this extremely rare (even though you coulda bought one via NMDS for a mere song a good fortysome years back) and  extremely early Eugene Chadbourne solo guitar album! Now I gotta admit that Chadbourne's cassette "schtick" of the late-eighties wore me down so thin that I didn't even finish the big batch of tapes he sent, but this mid-seventies effort has all of the atonal scronk that made the new improv thing of the day so much more exhilarating than some of the things it ultimately led to. Side one has heavy (and I hate to be PREDICTABLE but...) Derek Bailey references while the flip gets even scronkier with the addition of various "found" (I think) tape sources that do manage to creep me out in that mid-teenage way even more than UMMAGUMMA ever did! Remember reading about him and John Zorn in that old issue of DOWN BEAT back when that mag was trying to look hip on one end and trad on the other? If so this might just fill in some lost piece of the growing up and learning more about the even-newer music of the seventies puzzle than you ever would have guessed in the first place.
Smegma-ABACUS INCOGNITOLOOK'N FOR YA LPs (Alga Marghen Italy, availabe via Forced Exposure [click on title to be taken to the album of yer choice])

Once again a deep dig into the Smegma vaults yields a whole slew of sounds that sure brighten up the drabness that is to be found in modern day life. Abysmal mutterings lead to AACM/BAG-ish "small instrument" play and insane asylum role acting, and somewhere in the midst an ACTUAL ROCK 'N ROLL TUNE doth emerge. Featuring the usual Smegma lineup (including future Dream Syndicate drummer Dennis Duck who contributes a poem on LOOK'N), this is thee place to go not only to hear the pre-electronic soundscape version of the band but a particularly boffo take of Wild Man Fisher singing his own "The Taster" that cuts the Zappa-backed version to pieces.
Billy Lee Riley-IN ACTION CD-r burn (originally on Vogue Records, France)

Yes this is the same guy who did "Flying Saucers Rock n' Roll", only by now it was 1966 and Riley definitely had found a different bag to crawl into! Having forsaken the rockabilly that made him famous to more'n just a few collector geeks, Riley was now into that swingin' El Lay club scene mode doin' the Johnny Rivers bit the best he could, and boy could he do it swell! Now don't go expectin' any "Queenie Wahine's Papaya"-styled swiggle 'n swerve here, though you'll feel like slappin' on some Hai Karate and doin' a li'l bedroom mirror go go dancin' yourself after hearing Riley swing the likes of "Good Night Irene" and "Kaw-Liga", maybe even wearin' one of those neckerchiefs that whatzizname on SCOOBY DO had. Could be just as big at your next down home get-together as the pimento and cheese spread.
Moe Bandy-HONKY TONK AMNESIA CD-r burn (originally on Razor and Tie Records)

Hmmmm, gotta slip into Nick Tosches mode to handle this Paul McGarry burn considerin' that country 'n western never was whatcha'd call my all time fave rave moozik! But hey, this pre-schmoozey CW sure sounds a whole lot better'n the current brand of pudding that gets piped into many a Dollar General these days! Bandy can sing swell (as you punk rockers woulda known from his Uniques days!) while the lyrics to be heard reflect the old love and loss that each and every one of us were lucky enough to be too ugly to go through. Thankfully the sad state of todays' Trashville Sounds is nowhere to be found on these seventies-era platters which still hold much of the old C&W respect and vision that poured out of victrolas for years.

But why do I suddenly get the urge to comb my hair (or whatever's left of it!) into a pompadour and hang out at the coffee shop of my choice while nursing hot java and chain smoking Luckies?
FREE ACTION INC. PLAYS EDDY KORSCHE---ROCK & BLUES CD-r burn (originally on Help Records, Italy)

Help indeed! Talk about a cheezy early-seventies hipster instrumental album, and considering this was made in Italy it's gotta be provolone! Dunno about you, but this platter sure conjured up a whole LOT of early seventies memories---BAD ones that is, but if you're trying to find what a counterpoint to the better moments of those musical days were well this would fit in quite nicely in between Melanie and James Taylor trying to ease the entire world into narcolepsy.
Lonesome Shack-MORE PRIMITIVE CD-r burn (originally on Alive Records)

Hmmmm, here's a surprise! A relatively recent (2014) recording of imitation whiteguy hard-blues that sounds almost as authentic as the original gut bucket black stuff that was all the rage back in the sixties. No cigars emerging tho, but I thought whoever this Lonesome Shack group is they sure have the right approach to how the blues should appear here in the dank last days of the 'teens more'n a whole slew of washed up guys with predictable leather jackets 'n droopy mustaches have. Hokay, they look rather plain and nondescript (just take a gander at the snap of 'em!), but believe me their music has that deep down slide blues approach and feel that (no hypin' it up here!) comes close to those Peter Laughner bedroom recordings that I hope get unleashed on the public rather soon!
Various Artists-MILK MICHELLE KAHUNA GOLDFINGER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

 This 'un starts off with, ends and is filled with some Jesus and Marychain which is great because I need to get some of their drone into my system once in awhile, even if they can sound as same-y as ever. The rest of this does measure up to Bill standards, what with some C&W twang from Wayne and Floyd (sorta like Homer and Jethro without the funnies) and the slush of Sam "The Man" Taylor doing a fifties-era tit rubber called "Flamingo". Even Billy May shows up as does Dick Hyman, whose "Goldfinger" brings back the memories for me! (Mainly how when we were kids we'd go around singing "BROWN-finger---he's the man---who ran out of toi-let paper!!!!!!!!")

The radio ads tickle my pickle, what with one of those Cowsills un's for the Amerigan Dairy Association, Bobby Fuller for KHJ, the Monkees for their latest album and Spencer Davis plugging Great Shakes! And of course the infamous Frank Zappa and Linda Ronstadt for "Remington Electric Razor" which goes to show you something...only I ain't exactly sure what it is!
If you liked this week's frivolity you just might like the laff-filled frolics that appeared in my long-gone fanzine BLACK TO COMM! As they say, buy some try some, but don't come complaining to me when you go through a pack of Depends in one evening just losing yourself to the mirth and merriment within.

Thursday, September 13, 2018


If any of you are old enough to be nostalgic for pre-1961 Amerigan tee-vee you might just love this 'un.

Of course not for the RIGHT reasons. Maybe it'll dredge up those memories of the days when Hollywood put a damper on pre-1945 Amerigan-made films being aired in this country and television stations hadda rely on old European cinema, usually of the low budget variety, to fill out those pre-prime time and late-night schedules. And if there was any flick that could cure your insomnia during those those insomniac times in your life its CONTRABAND SPAIN, a particularly snoozearoo feature that loses it in many ways even with the presence of tee-vee's very own Robin Hood, mainly one Richard Greene.

It's a police/spy sorta affair having to do with smuggled counterfeit plates and the dead brother of an Amerigan agent who was in on the deal. Sounds spiffy true, but the whole thing is just dampered by the lack of action and general boring Old World outlook that many of these films had garnered over the years. Bad enough to the point where, when giving this one an eyeballing, your mind actually FLASHES BACK to those early dayze when you were wonderin' yourself why you had this one on when you coulda been watching Jack Paar cry his eyes out on the other station.

Greene really ain't nothing without a bow and arrow, while female lead Anouk has all of the charm and sexiness of...well, any of the actresses who are up and about TODAY. The rest seem to be phoning it in, and given the stuffiness these low budget European monstrosities can exude well, it ain't like I have to be watching this but SOMEBODY'S gotta warn ya!

Hokay, I should say something GOOD about it because we have to be all inclusive and nicey-nice in these kulturally-saturated inoffensive unless it's to someone who deserves it times, so lemme say that the color print was quite expressive, the outdoor scenes breathtaking and those old European automobiles really do look suave a good fiftysome years after cars lost a whole lotta that elegance they once had. Hope you're happy, you hand-holding world-saving types you!

Ya have kids? If they're badskis do what I would and make 'em watch CONTRABAND SPAIN on a rainy Sunday afternoon just like I woulda had I experienced the same misfortune age snacks and no bathroom breaks either, and when they complain about how bad their own life situations are just tell 'em that these films were OUR version of the old thumbscrews and hairshirts of yore so don't say we didn't have it bad either! Nyah!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


With the first scene taking place on the Tangier docks in the murky evening----a sports car whose driver’s face is not clearly seen is extracting a gun from the car’s glove compartment----and with a slow and moody jazz vocal (kind of a cross between Julie London or Anita O’Day at their most languid, trading lines with a mellow and bluesy muted trumpet) on the soundtrack from the start, you know immediately that the makers of AGGUATO A TANGERI (aka TRAPPED IN TANGIERS) understand what a crime film is expected to deliver. Nightclub scenes, rich people having tedious parties where they sit around and drink, Interpol agents looking at maps and discussing strategy, narcotics deals transacted in seedy alleys after midnight, a hero (Edmund Purdom) pretending to be someone else for the majority of the film—in fact, the way Purdom is nursing a drink, smoking cigarettes, and hitting on the ladies, it’s as if he took a page out of Eddie Constantine’s playbook! And there’s no better crime-film playbook than THAT in 1950’s Europe!

Director Riccardo Freda was a master in many genres, including classics of sword and sandal/historical adventure, Eurospy, Eurowestern, and Euro-horror (I VAMPIRI, and Barbara Steele’s THE GHOST, the sequel to HORRIBLE DR. HITCHCOCK). He does an excellent job here of channeling the best elements of 1950’s B&W French and British crime films into the visual style, and the film moves as quickly as the better Columbia B-crime programmers of the late 40’s and early 50’s.

Star Edmund Purdom was at the beginning of his long and successful European career at this point, after his short Hollywood starring phase. He is mostly known nowadays by MGM completists and fans of Euro genre and exploitation films. Originally a British stage actor with a Shakespeare background (he’d been in Lawrence Olivier’s Shakespeare troupe!), he came to Hollywood right as the old-school star-making system was coming to an end. His first two major roles in American films were as replacements for other actors, Mario Lanza and Marlon Brando. Obviously, stepping in unwanted for someone else who is loved by the audience is not the best way to start one’s career push. Then he was in two big-budget historical spectacles (THE PRODIGAL and THE EGYPTIAN) that did not do as well as expected because the wave of widescreen historical films coming out after THE ROBE was winding down. He was excellent in his next film, THE KING’S THIEF (with David Niven, George Sanders, and Roger Moore), which allowed him to turn on his natural charm and show his gift for swashbuckling with a light comedic touch, but by then Hollywood had moved on, and his final Hollywood film was done at Allied Artists (MGM to Allied Artists! Wow!), the bizarre STRANGE INTRUDER, where he plays a character dealing with what would nowadays be called PTSD, put into an over-the-top melodramatic plot. He was chilling in the role, but the film was not exactly commercial----after all, a film where an emotionally scarred veteran is on the verge of killing the children of his old war buddy is not exactly a date movie! In fact, with the Warner Archive having reissued a lot of Allied Artists’ output, it’s telling that they have not yet reissued STRANGE INTRUDER on DVD….even today it still keeps its power to alienate! Purdom left Hollywood for good at that point, and started working in Europe immediately after—and he never came back. He was a natural for the historical spectacles being made in Italy in the late 50’s and early 60’s----he’d starred in REAL Hollywood epics, and he had the Shakespearean background, so if you needed someone to play King Herod or whoever, he was the man. He was also VERY active as an English language voice artist working in Rome on the export versions of Italian films. Dozens of times I have been watching some dubbed film and suddenly, the rich, British stage-actor tones of Edmund Purdom start coming out of someone else’s mouth.

TRAPPED IN TANGIERS was Purdom’s first film after STRANGE INTRUDER, and it was eventually released in the US in a dubbed version, a few years after its making, although I’ve never seen that English language version offered on the grey market or shown on cable TV or UHF. I have an Italian-language copy taped off European Cable TV in the middle of the night. Purdom is excellent and exudes star quality, whether grinning on the beach trying to seduce a young lady of affluent background, or maneuvering his way through the dark backstreets of the Tangiers waterfront, gun in hand. We’re not sure exactly who his character is until the film is 2/3 of the way through, but at that point, everything that’s happened earlier falls into place. This also features one of my favorite set-ups in a crime film, which has been done so often, I’ve come to expect it when someone is working undercover and posing as a criminal to get “inside” the organization: the inevitable scene where to show his allegiance to the mob, he is asked to kill the person who is ALSO an undercover agent and has been outed and caught. TRAPPED IN TANGIERS, though probably written off in its day as a formula crime film, was an excellent vehicle for Purdom to show other sides of himself that were not an display in his Hollywood work. I’ve seen him in dozens of European films and will probably review some more here eventually (don’t forget that he was the headmaster of the school in the early 80’s Spanish slasher film PIECES). People often write him off as either hammy and over-the-top, or wooden and unconvincing (how could you be BOTH of those things?), but I beg to differ.

With the exciting drug smuggling plot, mysterious waterfront setting, jazz score, crisp B&W photography, car chases, back-stabbing and double-crosses, and the cool and magnetic presence of Mr. Purdom, TRAPPED IN TANGIERS delivers the goods that I want in a 50’s European crime melodrama. The fact that it’s in Italian and not dubbed English just adds to the atmosphere, and this is a film with atmosphere to burn!

Saturday, September 08, 2018

As you can see from the extensive length of this post, I have been busy spinnin' (but not necessarily grinnin') o'er a variety of records 'n such I played this past week. I guess with the holiday weekend 'n all I  had a li'l more 'n usual suburban slob goof off time on my hands, and rather'n lock myself in the bathroom with wartime atrocity photos I figured eh, why not write about alla those platters that Bill, Paul and Feeding Tube have sent yer way. Be GRACIOUS for once in your life, ya little stroonad you! And so's I plowed through a fairly nice batch if I do say so myself even if one or two don't exactly come up to BLOG TO COMM heights of total eruption bliss!
Why didn't any of your fanablas out there tell me that the NANCY strip is indeed being continued??? Not that this new version by Olivia Jaimes is anything to do any crowin' about, but the knowledge that it hasn't gone the way of too many old faves is kinda/sorta nice despite the new heights in vapidity. As for me there's always the original to keep me well and happy.

See, it's funny---get it??? A real laff riot! Wow, with humor like this we'll forget Bushmiller in no time flat!!!
I've enclosed the meme below if only because some of you do need to be offended---and given most of the readers I got you most certainly WILL be!:

And while I'm in an offensive mood---THE FEELGOOD VIDEO OF THE WEEK, at least for all you cat haters out there. Dunno about you, but things like this really bring out the adolescent in me a whole lot more'n a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC hula girl issue ever could...

...and now that we got the REALLY GOOD STUFF outta the way...

THE AMAZING CHARLATANS CD (Big Beat Records, England)

Sheesh I thought I gave this group a tremendous rah-rah on this blog quite awhile ago, but my searching has turned up nil. Funny, because given just how important the Charlatans were as far as meaningful rock n' roll history of a San Francisco nature goes (and I ain't talkin' the history of the music as seen through the sickening eyes of the major magazines and other assorted "classic rock" media) they should have rated something in these "pages" ages back!. But fear not, since these guys obv. do not need my imprimatur to let anyone know just how good they were especially in the face of their San Francisco "offspring" a good four or so years after the fact. Countrified hard rock that's so together even the campy stuff seems to hold up better than I would have expected.
Bryan Gillig-LIMITED GRACE LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Well, I gotta say that I was certainly disgusted after giving elpee opening "Nashville Flash" a listen, but the rest of this ain't really gonna make you dislodge that clot from your lung in abject disgust. Yeah, Gillig is about as "singer/songwriter" as they used to come down Laurel Canyon way, but some of these tracks have what I would call a boffo mid-sixties folk-unto-rock drive that...hey...might have even gotten Gillig some hefty under-the-counterculture points from yours and my favorite rock "critics" had this made its way out a good fiftysome-years earlier. No, this ain't narcoleptic James Taylor feel sorry for me music, but astute ramblings from a man who very well could be to today what Biff Rose was to the early-seventies. Or somethin' like that!
The Challengers-CALIFORNIA KICKS CD-r burn (originally on GNP Crescendo Records)

By the time this '66 effort was makin' its rounds the surf scene was slowly but surely evolving into the Sunshine Pop era. But that didn't stop Richard Delvy and company from last gasping the Big Wave the best way they could with this effort. Affable (and maybe even eff-able!) covers of the latest hits 'n themes get the surf treatment, and they don't sound bad in the translation. It's for those of you who like the cheezier side of sixties rock entertainment, and for those who don't maybe you can scour a flea market for a scratched copy of Carole King's TAPESTRY or something equally suitable to your obviously advanced tastes!
Canned Heat-BOSTON TEA PARTY 6-29-70 2-CR-r burn set

These white blues bands have always been a chance-y affair---I might have said that before---and way too many of 'em just seemed to wallow in a certain miasma that really didn't transcend anything if the original intent of it all. Can't say that much about these boogie busters other'n they do hit a few jam heights here and there and they really aren't as hippydippy offensive as some of these acts could get. Still, you do have to sit through the less-enthusiastic moments of this performance before those bright spots do hit, so I don't blame you for taking a tinkle break during the drum solo. And it is better to give Canned Heat a listen to via these discs rather'n be in their close proximity where you could smell 'em!
Joshua-WILLIE AND THE HAND JIVE CD-r burn (originally on AVI Records)

A whole lotta our six-oh heroes never did make it into the seventies intact. I mean, how many times have YOU dumped a good ten bux on an album by some ex-NOOGIES favorite only to find out the thing was either an introspective singer/songwriter schmoozer or a Doobie Brothers get-it-all-together-and-throw-it-in-the-trash affair?

This effort with ex-Standell Dick Dodd fares slightly better'n quite a few of the former punks make BAD records I've had the displeasure of hearing these past few decades, but maybe that ain't really saying much.

You ain't gonna like it (neither do I) but at least it ain't reek-o/narc-o "I'm so sensitive I cry when I see a broken flower" emote or hashish hoopla you can certainly do without. In fact, its nothing but a buncha rock music standards done up with an under-the-covers studio band and produced by Ed Cobb who wasn't exactly riding the charts at the time either.

Overall it ain't terrible 'r anything, but you'd be better off spending your last few kopecks on a used copy of KILL CITY if you really want to inject a really good mid-seventies El Lay drugout ambiance into your otherwise drab existence.
The Sound of the Reign-REIGNED OUT CD-r burn (originanly on Wilber Records)

The ultimate prom band! If somebody had asked me to the prom maybe I would have had the chance to hear an act like this go through their versions of today's hits, though somehow I get the feeling I'd probably be spending most of my time puking in the bushes to really get into their thingie.

To be truthful about it, the Sound of the Reign were a better than expected local teenage cover band doin' up the likes of Hendrix, Supremes via. Vanilla Fudge and a slow unto fast "Hey Joe" that woulda gotten those bratskis up and dancin' like anything! Not bad, but nothing that you'd care to grace your record collection.

Kinda makes me wonder they still have proms, and if they do well, I am available...
THE WALKER BROTHERS CD-r burn (originally on Star-Club, Germany)

I always (even as an up and coming rock analyser) considered the Walker Brothers to be a "grown up" kinda act....y'know, something just ginchy-gooshy RIGHT for the gals once they graduated and got real life jobs and went hunting for doctors to marry. Maybe I wasn't as "spot on" as they say, but I gotta admit that the string slush of these tracks really does affect me in a positive way. Hot pop goo that woulda had your mid-sixties date doin' the topless cha-cha-cha as you tried to handle the situation in the best way possible. It has the hits plus a whole lotta covers that should remind you of the sloppier side of top forty before it really became formulated.
The Raymarks-COMPLETE RECORDINGS CD-r burn (originally on Tommenton En La Cuadra

The Sonics might have been able to beat these guys to a pulp at a battle of the bands, but so what! Even if they ain't the screamin' kind of sixties rock 'n rollers we all like the Raymarks were a pretty hefty Northwest-area batch who had that hard-edged pounce to their music which set the groups in the Washington/Oregon/Idaho area apart from the rest of the US of Whoa. Enough pseudo-"Louie Louie" riffage here to drive more'n a few nonagenarian relatives to an additional two weeks at the Abundant Life Retirement Apartments, and if that platter closer just ain't too close to the Sonics' own "Stop" for comfort...
Billy Childish and CTMF-ACORN MAN CD-r burn (originally on Damaged Goods Records)

A little bit of Billy Childish can go a long way, and frankly I had my fill back around 1990 or so. Nothing here gives me those extraterrestrial wild-eyed throb thrills that should be part and parcel to the kind of music I like...y'know, the sounds that give you that deep gut adrenaline rush that makes you wanna go out and murder people you just can't stand. Still, ya can't deny that this and the works of Mr. Childish stand as a testimonial to the wide and swaying effects of anti-"Classic FM Rock" doldrums, but it needs something to make it through that Jonathan Richman "made it" line but fast!

If I was some hotshot kinda loudmouth troublemaker kinda guy I'd say that this one proves that Bill Shute has turned into a power pop turd! But I'm not that kinda guy, Bill is not a turd and I really enjoyed the selection of early-eighties and before/after pop rockers that appear on this effort.

Menlo Park return with more typical of the upstart pop rock movement goodies as do Cleveland's Lucky Pierre (not as hard as they could get but punch-packed nonetheless), the Bit (whoever they are!) and even some older sixties things from the likes out the Outside-In and the not who you think they are Back Street Boys. Goes to show you there was more to new unto "gnu" wave innovation inna early eighties other'n bandwagon-jumping Go-Gos freaks.

The rest ain't bad either and I know where that music they used for the "blackout" gags on THE SOUPY SALES SHOW comes from because that's none other than Ray Bryant doin' "Little Suzie" and you can just see Soupy and co. acting out some badgag chuckle while this music plays!
You know what...if somebody doesn't buy some back issues of BLACK TO COMM from me I'm gonna kill myself! Actually, if somebody BUYS some back issue offa me I will kill myself! Hope that threat really gets the ball rollin'!