Saturday, October 27, 2018

Howdy y'all. Another BLOG TO COMM big humongous weekend posting to greet you as you start yet another seven days of existence! If I do say so myself (I love cliches dontcha know?) I think I packed more into this particular post than Rock Hudson packed into the entire Vienna Boy's Choir during his European jaunt and that's really sayin' somethin'! Lotsa goodies to gab about this time, and gosh-it-all but I gotta say that yeah, I AM gladder'n glad to be up and about during this period in time because like there's still high energy music and other accessories like EARS to enjoy all of the sounds that I have come across throughout my life and well, sure there ain't anything rock 'n roll-y like there was when I was but a mere turdler goin' on these days but at least I have a good few thousand years of fun that has been left behind for me to peruse and digest the way I wanna and like, nobody other'n my pocketbook is gonna stop me from havin' a good time, y'know? (I love run-on sentences as well!) With alla the good sounds, readings and viewing that is at my mere fingertips I am set for LIFE, and I hope that life is a long one so I can cram alla the fun possible into whatever time I have left which is a whole lot more SATISFYING than serving mankind and those things alla those snooty kids I went to school with are probably doing as we speak! I mean, why volunteer to scrub toilets at a homeless shelter when you can stay home and KICK OUT THE JAMS!!!!! I mean, them toilets are just gonna get dirty again anyway...
As of the past week or so, I have been fulfilling some sort of  inner hunger in my pop-gulcher life by watching this Dee-Vee-Dee set that Brad Kohler sent me (and like, outta nowhere!---willikers) of the second half of the first season of none other than MY THREE SONS! Remember when this show slipped into syndication back inna mid-seventies and you were madder'n all heck because the early Tim Considine/William Frawley episodes weren't in the package? Remember when you were even MADDER when the reruns continued and it was obvious that the syndicators also left the final '71-'72 season off right when Ernie Douglas was looking so loose with long hair and wire-rimmed glasses? Well, if you like me didn't get to see those 'uns back when you needed 'em the most (and didn't have access to the old Nick At Night) these Dee-Vee-Dees sure do come in handy.

Gotta say that is sure was an edjamacation watching these very early 'uns considering how that series had evolved (or maybe even devolved to some) o'er the years what with the GIMMICK OF THE SEASON that kept the whole thing mutating in strange ways. Yeah, I knew that Fred MacMurray's scenes were all shot at once and the rest of the series afterwards, but watching these episodes where it seems as if his character is always either away at work or halfway across the globe for all I know sure lends credence to the mad dash it must have been to film these. Sheesh, most of the time it seems as if MacMurray's been reduced to a supporting character in his own series what with most of the adult supervision being left to either Frawley's Bub or the nebbish guy next door!

I also found these early ones to be a whole lot more anarchic than the more familiar color episodes, what with the general inter-brother chaos that seems to be going on a good portion of the time...I don't recall there being such a clash of screaming brothers and flustered Uncle Charlie going at each other all at one time like they do during these first season episodes!

Most do "work" amidst the clutter, but I will admit that the chemistry doesn't always quite mesh. Like in the one where the neighbor is conned into taking his wife, daughter, the three sons and Bub on a Sunday drive that keeps getting about funetticus interruptus! The episodes that try to be poignant (like this rather silly one featuring future Larry Tate David White as the father of a kid who wants to go away to school which for some reason is causing grief for everyone involved) fall flatter'n Olive Oyl's bustline, though as far as these "serious" entries go I did like the season finale where college kid Mike take a job on a forest lookout tower where he drives his co-worker crazy and ultimately, after making a big stink about his situation, is stuck alone during a severe thunderstorm warning. I dunno, it just seemed right, at least this time, to have some drama and tension packed into an otherwise har-har episode that wasn't trying to make some not-so-obscure socio-political point that happened to be chic that week.

Kinda wish these old episodes were in syndication because I sure coulda used 'em during my mid-teenbo suburban slob days when early-sixties sitcoms really packed a punch with me. After all, those later ones with Robbie having triplets just so's they could continue the title of the series for one more year or Chip eloping with Bobby Troup's daughter (both of these gimmicks that coulda been done up a whole lot better if ya ask me!) just don't cut it the way ya hoped they would! But gimme some of these old MY THREE SONS and a buncha LEAVE IT TO BEAVERs and throw a few MISTER EDs into the mix and it's just like one of those funtime tee-vee evenings we used to have back when I was a turdler, only without the juice glass full of root beer, the corn chips and the inevitable fight between me and my cyster!
IN OTHER NEWS, here's this week's video clip that proves to you that the spirit of THE NATIONAL PERSPIRER lives on even to this day...


Now that we got that bit of pleasantness outta the way here be de revooze! Got a lovely bunch if I do say so myself, some thanks to Bill Shute, others to Paul McGarry, at least one to Robert Forward and still another to Hozac Records which continues to amaze me with their abilities to tune into my very thought patterns. (Sorry Feeding Tube...didn't get to any of yours this time but I'll try to make up for it next time!) Anyway thanks to all who contributed to the revolution which I hope comes to fruition a whole lot more later than sooner...I mean, it's so fun fightin' the BIG FIGHT that I want this war against the jive to last FOREVER...

Lisa Cameron/Robert Horton-THE TEN THOUSAND THINGS CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions, see blogroll on left for more information)

Strange as it may seem, this particular KSE Editions release is SO different than the previous ones to the point where even I am unable to rattle off the usual hackneyed comparisons in order to describe this quite unique affair. The standard KSE/small Cee-Dee-Are label sense of outside-the-out clang und sturm or whatever it's called can be discerned, but amidst the percussive clanks and other unworldly squeals there's a semblance of (now get this!) structured music goin' on here! Guitar emits funky riffs while the wall of percussion clatters about (that's on "Year End Skies") and the sax can get down to it when it likes (on "All Beneath Heaven"). Talk about surprises here...I can't describe this kinda music with my limited vocabulary but it sure captures my, and maybe even your psyche! And hey, don't you think that slide guitar sound on "The Eighth Horizon" sounds quite a bit like (now get this!) ALVINO RAY????
CHEAP NASTIES LP (Hozac Records, available here)

Here is one of those archival digs of some group we never would have known about had not one of its members been in an act that got a tad of underground credo once the eighties got into gear. Future Scientist Kim Salmon was guitar player with these nasty guys, and he and the rest of the brood do a pretty swank job capturing the punk rock feelings not just by hacking out the same one chord repeatedly (though that helps!) but by lifting more than a few moves from prior rock crazies who helped get the whole DIY rough sound kicked into gear while the rest of the world was snoozing away to John Denver's Colorado hippie paens. Shards of RAW POWER Stooges ram into "20th Century Boy" and like, this is what I remember punk rock was supposed to be like at least before the late-seventies crash and burn generation evolved into the eighties hippydippy concerns which have plagued us ever since!
Bettye LaVette-I'VE GOT MY OWN HELL TO RAISE CD-r burn (originally on Anti- Records)

Here's yet another one of those albums by someone who nobody seems to know about, but she sure made some sorta musical waves about a good ten years back when at least a few people were listening. Actually this LaVette lady sings some pretty honest neo-soul music to a choogling enough backdrop, but once you get through a few of these numbers you kinda realize that the only people who would really enjoy listening to this are those Big City rockcrit types who used to spout the usual analytical inanities in their own columns until the papers began trimming the fat a good while back. I haven't picked up a VILLAGE VOICE since CBGB closed down, but I do get the feeling that at one time LaVette woulda been getting some hefty coverage and PAZZ 'N JOP votes there, she's so custom made for those whitebread guiltmongers, ifyaknowaddamean...
Every Mother's Son-COMPLETE RECORDINGS CD-r burn (originally on MGM Records)

The "Come on Down" guys really jigsawed into that whole 1967 sunshine pop puzzle rather swimmingly, but next to the Monkees, Turtles and Yellow Balloon types there's a certain lack of zip in these recordings. Not that there weren't a number of good pop expressions here and there, but for the most part I found these Sons rather plain in comparison to the competition. In other words, I ain't exactly bustin' out cryin' o'er skipping on their records during my flea market and garage sale combing days. For late-sixties commercial Top 40-styled pop rock one could do much better with a mere combing of the charts.
Various Artists-DOWNTOWN NEW YORK LP (Virgin)

In a whole lotta ways this 'un could be considered a LIVE AT CBGB's-kinda album only it ain't live and I believe some of the acts here never appeared on that sainted stage. But some have and since it's all so theme-tied it might as well be 1988's answer to MAX'S KANSAS CITY 1976 for all I care. A mix of the various post-post-POST "local scene" a good decade after it began toppling over. Some of it is rather/sorta entertaining such as the Rude Buddha track as well as Frank Maya's "Polaroid Children" while others like Bernie Worrell's version of "Telstar" are just more disco wave we never did want in the first place. Surprise hit of the album's Loup Garou's Cajun-styled accordion rock which has a shard of En Why decadence to it but sounds all rice and beans-y otherwise. Liner notes by Lenny Kaye for all you seventies rockscribe groupies out there!
Walter Lure & the Waldos-WACKA LACKA LOOM BOP A LOOM BAM BOO CD-r burn (originally on Cleopatra Records)

For some reason this straight-ahead NYC-styled post-Dolls rock's hitting me just as hard as it did when I was buying up Dolls cutouts in the seventies! And THANK GOODNESS! Maybe its because I'm reading a whole lotta late-seventies English p-rock fanzines in preparation for a post that this one is doin' its ol' magic on me but dang if this one's sure snuggling into my musical makeup during my December years. Nice re-hashes of familiar Dolls/Heartbreakers numbers 'n melodies that---surprise---sound just as hotcha now as they did way back when. Sure these guys are older'n Methuselah but at least they deliver the straight-ahead rock 'n roll it a world where Miley Cyrus is considered the epitome of talent and unbridled energy!

Jeff Beck Group-DALLAS BOLERO CD-r burn

Believe it or not, but this is a surprisingly good recording of the Group during the '68 tour stretching out a whole lot more'n usual, Or so I've been told and if you can't trust Wikipedia who can you trust? It's got the expected (yet mandatory) selection of the usual white British blooze catalog and the whole thing comes off more'n just plain listenable---there are even a few moments of sheer intensity to be found. However, all I gotta say is---am I the only guy who can't really take a whole lotta this in one sitting or is that a common occurrence with these English whiteguy setups which do tend to drag on at times and really aren't different than any of the similarly minded efforts? Yeah, it's probably me who is the culprit, or so many of you readers would say...
Various Artists-OUTLET ABSTRACT COLONY KILLER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

You can tell that Bill didn't really put his heart into this one. Maybe a lung or a pancreas or perhaps even a couple of kidneys. The new unto gnu wave of the Outlets and Abstracts only serve to remind me of just what a miasma the self-produced indie single scene had become once the eighties really settled down into the collective psyches of dare-to-be-different youth,  while the Gregory Dee and the Avantis sides fare better if only because they might be trying to be hipsters but fall short and thus are hipsters in true suburban slob rock 'n roll fashion! I've heard the New Colony Six "I Confess" single before but it's so good what's another go at it, while the Father Brown radio show was too cluttered and complicated for me to digest in my mind but eh, so what! The disque closer, another Ellery Queen Minute Mystery, was boffo but sheesh, that berry picker coulda been sent up the river on (once again) the flimsiest of evidence! I mean, how many of you know that unripened blackberries are red anyway?
Still looking to fill the gaps in your BLACK TO COMM collection? Well look no further Gertrude, because the highlighted link'll take you to a place where you can fulfill your wildest fantasies the ways the Danish never even dreamed of!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! TIP TOP COMICS #217 May-July 1959 (Dell Comics)

When I was a comic book collecting fanabla kinda guy, one thing was certain and that is that this is the kinda mag that I would have liked to have possessed in between the superhero fare and the Archie hah-hahs that cluttered up my collection! I mean, what self-respecting suburban slob wouldn't want to read original NANCY, THE CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS and PEANUTS comics that were nowhere to be seen in the actual funny pages anyway??? And hey, as my ten-year-old brain would have calculated, if you liked these comics as they appeared in the papers you were BOUND to like 'em in extended comic book romps, right? Right!!!!!

Unfortunately I never did come across any of these TIP TOP comics during my garage sale and flea market prowls, but given that it's now 2018 and comics like these ain't exactly ringing up the high prices unless you get one of those mintier-than-mint copies all packaged up and graded by the experts, it ain't like you're gonna break the bank trying to get hold of a good readable copy. And thanks to the miracle of ebay I got this very issue, one that I first saw pictured in that comic strip history book (I believe the one Coulton Waugh authored) which first piqued my interest in comic books from up outta nowhere back when most of you readers were still swimmin' around in daddy's gun barrel.

Well, this 'un cost me way more than the ten cents I woulda hadda pay had I been alive and conscious and knew about what to do with a dime during those times, but I sure got enough thrill chills outta it had I been around back then and was torn between purchasing this or a tootsietoy. A tough decision true, but as we all know there are times when we have to make decisions for ourselves and see how our coffers are best put to use, at least before the folk find out you got that dime and make you drop it in the piggy bank.

You get four stories featuring them aforementioned comic strips! There are actually two NANCY stories but one of 'em, for some obscure reason, is attributed to Sluggo even if Nancy is heavily involved in the on-page antics! But no matter what, both are pretty hotcha tales that were done up by the infamous John Stanley of LITTLE LULU, and gosh-honest me must admit that the guy sure did a much better job of capturing the Bushmiller beauty than he did in his other Dell Comics efforts. 

In the first NANCY featuring Rollo the Rich Kid (who is atypically rendered here as a pampered snoot), the kid of no want is given his own Egyptian tomb which was shipped straight from over there for him to personally open himself. Naturally Nancy and Sluggo sneak in first and discover that someone definitely has been in the tomb in the five-thousand years since the death of the Pharaoh! In the other "Sluggo" saga the boys are building their own tree house which the girls (including Nosy Rosie, who was a rather obscure entry in the NANCY canon) one-up with an even better built abode until it is decided that since Rollo's so rich his dad could build a super up-to-date tree house that the gals in no way could compete with! Naturally Nancy does take her revenge which backfires on the girls (yet still does the boys harm) so its like everyone is uppachit creek.

I must admit that I really do enjoy those Dell-era PEANUTS comics that were done up by one of Charles Schulz's assistants (probably Jim Sasseville) even to the point where I wish one of those comic book publisher types would begin collecting them in annotated hard-cover form. They stick pretty close to the whole PEANUTS style right down to the bowed "w"'s and the stories do have that Schulz feel to 'em that goes on for pages and pages instead of just a few panels. This 'un has something to do with Lucy trying to keep a secret yet wanting to blab it so much that she actually chases Charlie Brown around in order to tell it! Of course the whole thing backfires on Charlie Brown when Lucy decides not to tell it after the poor sap's been primed to the point of near-insanity!

Gotta say that the art in THE CAPTAIN AND THE KIDS looks pretty close to the Rudolph Dirks or better yet his son John's version, and the story, while not as anarchic as either that strip or THE KATZENJAMMER KIDS, is still a good tale having to do with der Captain und der Inspector trying to get a little pinochle privacy in a gas-filled balloon while the kids und Mama go after them in a sling-shot propelled rocket of their own design. Hey it's good 'nuff for this kind of book even if I do remember the comic (at least around the thirties) being rather brutal as far as the tricks and violence could get within the realm of the funny pages.

'n to think that at one point in time you coulda bought this with some dime you found on the sidewalk! What better way could a suburban slob think of wiling the afternoon away than with a comic book like this featuring three of the brighter stars of the United Features Syndicate stable! If I come across any more of these late-fifties-era TIP TOPs you can bet that I'm gonna snatch 'em up, hopefully after I talk the price down quite a bit because this review is bound to make their value go way outta sight, y'know?!?!?!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


There was a time in the 1970’s and 1980’s when it seemed as though Scatman Crothers was in every third film released, and he was always extremely entertaining and charming and stole whatever scenes he was in. And let’s not forget his cartoon-voicing career, such as the legendary HONG KONG PHOOEY. He was the kind of all-around entertainer we don’t see enough of today. However, though most know him for his film and TV appearances, most of his career prior to his late-period film stardom was spent primarily in the music world, making jazzy R&B and jump blues and cocktail blues records for many labels large and small. A decade or so ago I reviewed a European collection of his more rocking sides in UGLY THINGS magazine, and I hope many of you picked that album up--it’s a CD on the Hydra label called I WANT TO ROCK AND ROLL, and features 30 hot and amazing tracks.

Cut to 1972....Crothers has a role in the Motown-produced bio-pic of Billie Holiday (sort of), LADY SINGS THE BLUES, starring Diana Ross. He plays Big Ben, a customer in the brothel where Billie works. Billie shows up late to work that day, depressed and disgusted with such a job, and makes it up to the room where she plies her trade, and soon after, Scatman Crothers struts in as Big Ben, a jive-talking operator and customer, who does not let Billie get a word in edge-wise. In a brilliantly filmed scene, as Billie watches Big Ben strip down to his long johns, she gradually puts her own clothes back on, and he’s so busy talking and laughing at his own jokes that he’s oblivious to it. When he finishes, she bolts out the door and tells him, no hard feelings but she’s through with this field.

Other than that, there’s no conversation between them. I saw this film theatrically back in 1972, and as a 13 year old, I did not know a lot about Billie Holiday’s life, so I actually thought the film was quite well done. I vividly remember how the audience was totally entertained by Scatman Crothers in that scene--and this was before he was really a star and most of the audience might not have even known his name.

Evidently Motown thought a lot of Crothers’ appearance as Big Ben, at best a supporting role in the film, because not only did they put out an album by Crothers soon after the film’s release, they named it after the character he played AND pictured him in those long johns on the cover.

And what an album it is! Absolutely NO covers of hits of the day or soul compositions Motown had the publishing to, but instead, a small group (pno-gtr-bs-dr....and mellow sax on a few tracks) doing laid-back after hours R&B circa 1951 with our man jiving and scatting his way through both old chestnuts and new old-style compositions of his own.. Prior to his stardom, Scatman had probably done this kind of thing thousands of nights in third-rate lounges playing to the regulars and the serious drinkers. This is not the aggressive taunting vocalizing of a Wynonie Harris or the operatic blues-shouting of a Roy Brown----Scatman has a weed-fueled mellow jive to his delivery (hey, he probably had to perform 5 or 6 hours a night in these places and had to conserve his energy!), and the supple band, who fit like a glove, never rush things. In many ways this is the perfect album to listen to at 3 a.m. on a hot summer night, with the lights down, looking out onto the street below, nursing your third or fourth Scotch. I’ve actually owned this album for FORTY or more years and I never tire of it. Also, believe it or not, you can still get a copy used for FOUR dollars, according to Discogs.

I can’t imagine ANYONE not liking this album. As with Scatman’s acting, his singing is witty and laid-back and always in the groove, and the band is like the dream R&B lounge combo. You need this album in your life. Other than the sound quality, which is sparkling 1973 stereo, I would have pegged these recordings as having been made between 1950-53. That Scatman could get away with issuing an album of early 50’s lounge-R&B on a major soul label in 1973 is testimony to the man’s charm. Put this album on next time there are people over, and I’d bet all of them compliment it and ask who is that singing and where can they get a copy!

Monday, October 22, 2018


U.X.A.-"In the U.X.A." from the compilation LP TOOTH AND NAIL

Allow me a moment to set the table before we devour this particular morsel.

I was at Jim's Records in Pittsburgh PA having recently discovered punk rock via an indie radio station and fanzines scanning the back cover of TOOTH AND NAIL I recognize some of the bands. West coast punk - the very strain that had knocked me out on the one-sided YES LA comp I picked up a few weeks earlier.

I had already slipped some LP lost to the mists of time under my arm for purchase, and I could never afford more than one in those days. Desperately wanting to hear TOOTH AND NAIL, I point out a song titled "Mercenaries" listed on the back. Roger was an avid reader of SOLDIER OF FORTUNE magazine and had said that if he didn't get a girlfriend soon he was going to become a mercenary and fight in Rhodesia. I didn't see how that could turn out too well, seeing as how Roger was a short guy with no gun training who, like me, was routinely one of the earliest casualties of dirty dodge ball in P.E. class.

"Look Rog, there's a song called 'Mercenaries'."

My ruse is as thin as Gramma's underpants.

"Don't worry, I'm getting it," he says, flashing a knowing sneer, as if I had pointed out the song for any reason except to borrow the LP as soon as possible and tape it.

Which I did. Thanks Rog.

And man, what a way to start an LP! First some WW2 fatherland martial music intro to get the blood pumping before leading into a hotcha riff with fantastic female vocals. And the lyrics, some kind of "famous doctor", "slippery terror" and an enigmatic reference to "the frozen city of Baltimore". In a few years, with the advent of hardcore punk and sloganeering of the "us good/Reagan bad" variety, wild lyrics like that which could have come from a Nik Turner fever dream would be unthinkable.

By the time the anthemic "In the U.X.A."/"Why Did You Die Today?" chorus erupted from my cheapo stereo I was out of my gourd with crazed rock abandon...and thanks to the everything-at-your-greedy-fingertips cyborg world we inhabit now you can experience that same abandon without resorting to the Radio Shack C-90 cassette tape I had it on!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Well, it's been an "eh!" week if I do say so myself. FETV moved MTM and BOB NEWHART to the mornings so I can't get my fill of Ted Baxter or Mr. Carlin like I should during my days off (which turn out NOT to be "days off" ifyaknowaddamean), while the last time I tuned into JLTV in the afternoons ol' Soupy was missing much to my sorrow. Let's just say that these programming changes really put a damper on my free time tee-vee viewing which is rather disheartening considering the lack ot good 'n definitely NON-wholesome boob tube intake I have been getting as of late. But don't worry, for the less time in front of the idiot box means more time in front of the computer cranking out these pertinent blogs, and boy do I have more'n a few wowzers to pass onto you these next few weeks or so!
Hey, it's not often that my dad gives me any compliments but just the other day he handed me a lu-lu! Y'see, I've lost a few pounds as of late, and here he goes and tells me, now get this, that I'm "getting light in the loafers"!!!! Gee, THANKS DAD!!!!
Ain't much else to gab about other'n politics, religion and the weather. And these days all THREE things are bound to getcha the Oral Surgery treatment so let's just be safe 'n avoid these rather touchy subjects and get to the music at hand (or in some of you reader's cases, cloven hoof).

BABY GRANDE LP (Hozac Records, available here)

Outta nowhere three albums in the new Hozac Records Fall 2018 Archival Three-Pack arrived at my door, and for some strange reason I was drawn to this particular spinner if only for the very mid-seventies glam-slam look of not only the cover but the participants involved. With a name like Baby Grande and long hair like the kind they got I was figuring that these Canberrans would fit in really swell with all those other groups that were caught in the twilight zone between glitter and punk rock, and naturally enough I was RIGHT once again.

If you are one of those fellows big on the more rock-out side of seventies rock 'n roll this one just might be your year's end big pick. Not quite the Dictators (but close enough!), Baby Grande take shards of all those top notch moments of platforms and sequins rock (Sweet, Mott, T. Rex, Slade...) and drives in into those vistas you always liked your mid-seventies non-stuffed crotch music to go. A track featuring a lead synthesizer even brought back memories of the Fast as well as Sweet circa. "Fox on the Run" if you can believe that, while the group often goes into overdrive playing that music that often got called heavy metal at the time even though the prissy "metal" advocates of the eighties (such as Andy Secher) would probably blanch at the thought of such fun, pop, overdrive sounds as the kind Baby Grande crank out. Too bad the hair groups of those days couldn't have been as good as this (or any of the other mid-seventies hard rock progenitors)!

It's exciting, driving and really makes you wanna stand up and shake the blubber! In many ways these guys tread close to the junk shop glam style of punk from whence acts like Mustard, Castle Farm, Stud Leather, Spunky Spider and many more came. It's always great to give a listen to these under-the-curb kinda bands these days, although in hindsight I only wish I coulda heard more of 'em way back when they were up and about because well, when you're an adolescent suburban slob it's stuff like this that forms and shapes you into a healthy, FULL human being, y'know?

Too bad these guys, like so many others, got woooooshed over in favor of some of the blandest, lowest energy music to ever attempt (and succeed) in turning youth from their natural primal states into complacent sludge. If we only had more Baby Grandes in the seventies and less Leo Sayers maybe the world'd be a much better place to thrive in these sad 'n sorry days!
Ned Collette-OLD CHESTNUT 2-LP set (Feeding Tube Records, available here)

Hmmmm. The first thing I thought of about three minutes into side one was just how much this Collette guy reminded me of Nick Drake. Then I thought sheesh, I didn't like Drake back when I first heard him a good three decades back (and never since), so it can't be that.

But what it "is", on this ambitious two record set, is that Ned Colette is what I would call a very astute "singer/songwriter" for the 21st century. Heck, if I were a fan and follower of Drake I might even call him the NEW ND, but like I said I ain't even heard Drake in over three decades so why should I dredge his name up in the first place? STOOPIDITY, that's why.

OK, I can dredge my own handy references up even though they might seem even less connected to the music at hand. Gonna cheat and look at the hype sheet...Leonard Cohen (well, I kinda put him in the same wha' th' fuh category that I have stuck Drake in), Roger Waters (maybe the early Barrett/Gilmore cusp in Pink Floyd's career), Lou Reed (not really though at times this does have that rhythmic pulse that critics were always anxious to point out as a Velvet Underground drone homage during the early/mid-seventies) and Pip Proud (well, both people are Antipodean so maybe there is an upward stream mind gauge in common). Hmmm...won't look at the hype this time. Emtidi circa their brilliant SAAT does come to mind without the heavier eletroprog ingredients as do the underrated Comus even. Believe-it-or-not THE MARBLE INDEX in its icy sterility seems to figure in, at lease mood-wise. But then again, all four sides of OLD CHESTNUT are anything but sterile.

Voice is kinda nasal, but who would dare bring James Taylor into this holy stew?

What else should I say other'n trying to bop Colette's talents via comparisons (the easiest and most fun way out) other'n just to tell you that THIS DOUBLE SET IS ONE OF THE MOST SURPRISING OUTTA NOWHERE RELEASES I'VE HAD THE PLEASURE OF HEARING AS OF LATE. Hokay, the thing can get to be what I would call "slow" in spots (maybe it should have been edited down to one-and-a-half albums) but I probably would charge that up to my own lethargy and mammal instincts more than I would anything on Collette's behalf.

(Back to the MARBLE INDEX comparison) well, it's got that hotcha intimate feel to it (try it on an overcast winter's day) yet it has some rock chops that do evoke various late-sixties efforts that bypassed the general shag multitude. The songs themselves, while reflecting feelings of desolation and perhaps even paranoia (well, that's the impression I got, and I can get pretty paranoid at times!) fortunately have that deep soul-satisfying nature to 'em that makes one wonder if this perhaps isn't the reincarnation of a true singer/songwriter ethos the kind that has been getting some hefty huzzahs even amongst the more attuned of rock 'n roll cheerleaders at this late a date? And to think this Collette guy was born and bred in (ugh!) Melbourne!

Mebbee I should look into getting hold of those Nick Drake platters for a re-appraisal. But still I doubt that they'll sound remotely as good as this.
Okkervil River-THE STAGE NAMES CD-r burn (originally on Jagjaurar Records)

What I said about their earlier recording reviewed a few years back goes here as well. For modern day post-post-post-POST whatever it is that is that came outta the groundswell of seventies innovative bared-wire rock you can't do better than this with its misplaced emotion and patented distorted pop riffs that have plagued many a young, brash and innovative platter of the past few decades. At least "You Can't Hold The Hand of a Rock and Roll Man" has a few good references to various seventies under-the-pavement hard pop moves, but one track does not an album make.
Ocean Colour Scheme-MOSELEY SHOALS CD-r burn (originally on MCA Records)

This '96 effort does cook some hot enchiladas what with that distorto lead guitar sound and the obvious references to late-sixties moves that didn't reek patchouli. And frankly, other'n the presence of a few more curren-mode melodic riffs this might even pass as a lost 1969 forgotten effort that woulda made Lenny Kaye croak with more than a smile on his face.  Better yet a 1973 revival of late-sixties accomplishments that had the fanzine press popping like nothing since Jolly Time.

As usual the slow ballads kinda drag things down (too bad these guys never took a lesson from Elliot Murphy as to what a real "Rock Ballad" should sound like!) but when it kicks off you might flash back to all those fave flea market finds of the early eighties that sure gave your pocketbook a BIG break.

Of course I'll never listen to this again, but while it lasted it sure was a better than expected experience, eh?
Donovan-FAIRYTALE CD-r burn (originally on Castle Records, England)

While I tend to hold a way more negative opinion of Donovan than many of you readers, I am tuff 'nuff to admit to enjoying some of his recordings which boast Jeff Beck lead guitar lines and words like "barabajabal" in 'em. Still, given the majority of what I've heard of that frizzoid Scots balladeer I tend to think of him as just one more of those late-sixties fops I could use less of.

These recordings of the earlier Dylan-oozed fare he made his mark with shows us that Donovan was a mid-sixties fop as well. Other'n "Hey Gyp" (a goodie which has been done better by others including Greg Prevost) this is nothing but more music for the iron-haired gals to feel all socially conscious and heart-throbby over. So if you're in the mood to give a leotarded lady a spin of this in between grave stone rubbings this might be the thing for you. But as for me...sheesh, I'd take a Bernie Sanders album over this anyday!
David Roter Method-THEY MADE ME CD (Sellsum Records)

Yet another Roter recording that's somehow passed me by, and I gotta say that it's---OK. Really!

The comedy routines can get a little tiring (especially the one about Roter giving his infant son a bath which devolves into some weird and tasteless skit about penises that would even make Woody Allen blush) but the music for the most part is pretty up to par Roterian neo-hard rock 'n roll.

It's got a fairly nice re-do of the old Joan Crawford song that got Roter some Blue Oyster Cult shekels as well as a transgloppification of sorts of the title track from his I LOVE NEW YORK platter now called "Legends of New York". Sure it's about as slick as some of those recordings made by people who were straddling the underground and mainstream during the early eighties, but most of the time the expected Blue Oyster Cultisms ever-so-present don't ruin things like you'd think they would.

What I would like to know is....when is someone gonna release those late-sixties Roter songs like "I'm a Doper (And Not Ashamed)" and "Jame Brown" for our listening pleasure? (As I keep asking...and why not given the hefty amt. of Richard Meltzer/Bobby Abrams hype these past forty years?!?!?!)
Various Artists-TEEN-&TWEN-PARTY CD-r burn (originally on MFP Records, Germany)

Hmmm, der Chermans do sehr gudt on dis vun! All kidding aside, this is a purty entertaining sampling of German beat music done up by some of the lesser known acts that were around at the time...the only names I recognize here are the Lords as well as Nick(y) Hopkins, who does a pretty wild organ-based instrumental that had me doing a dance akin to the one I did the time I spun that Elvis Presley record in my aunt's basement!

The obscuros are good too...the Black Cats are more than adequate capturing the Amerigan soul style while the Beat Six do that Europeanized instrumental music that has an appeal for a guy like me who only knows about Germany through repeated viewings of GUTEN TAG on the PBS station. If you like mid-sixties German beat music and can't get enough, this 'un'll suit'cha just fine, mein herr...
Eartha Kitt-NOT SO OLD FASHIONED CD-r burn (originally on MFP Records, Germany)

Gee, another MFP budget cheapie! I always wondered what kinda person would buy an Eartha Kitt album...well, I guess it's the same kinda folk who would snatch up a whole batch of records that I wouldn't particularly care for so they are out there somewhere. And eventually they got alla their records and decided to sell 'em at the flea market where they STILL might be lingering for all I know!

The weird wispy voice takes on a number of tracks both familiar and not, and the fact that at least three Donovan covers show up does tend to make this a more excruciating than usual affair given how I sat through the atrocity reviewed a coupla disques above. One mo' thing---gimme Julie Newmar or Lee Merriweather over Kitt anyday!
Various Artists-BLUE FREIGHT ANGEL CRAZY CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

It's a good one, but not FANTASTICO! The Crickets without Buddy Holly were always a good and underrated act as these tracks prove, while the soul jazzy stylings of Ray Bryant are mesmerizing enough that it's easier than ease to get into their grooves during those down times. However, most of the cuts by the likes of Skip Milo and Johnny Lynd (not forgetting the V-Classics) fall into that early sixties soft schmooze style that definitely was made for the gals, and even if the gals back then were a much healthier creature than today what with pony tails, bobby socks to stockings and perfume instead of crayons and stuff like that the music they went for was feh! At least the thing ends with a funny faux Swedish tale of cuckoldry sung by a fellow called Slim Jim whose work I've heard on an earlier Bill Burn! Sheesh, remember the days when the Swedes were considered the stoopid ones long before the Polish and Wop-a-dagos began their own fight for the crown???
As the Teddy Bears sang oh so long ago, to know them is to want them, and they were most certainly talking about BLACK TO COMM BACK ISSUES! Buy some try some, as some Apple Records recording artist once said!

Thursday, October 18, 2018


Just what this hoary old moostache needs here during the dusk of his dear existence---a James Bond copycat film made by Eyetalians in Brasilia!!!! And w/o getting into the whole schpiel spouted by not only Bill Shute but myself regarding how imitations are often much better (and much cheaper!) 'n the real thing lemme say that this DICK SMART thing is really that fun of a disc to watch even if the budget ain't as big as a BOND film and the sexiness never does develop into levels that had yer parents kicking you outta the room when the bedroom parts came on, even if they stayed 'n watched those things themselves!

I never thought that star Richard Wyler was exactly the kinda guy who would have made a good imitation Bond but he is nifty enough here, no Matt Helm mind you but still boffo, as the cooler'n any cucumber you've ever seen secret agent who not only gets to tangle with not only the bad boys out to make their fortunes in artificially-created diamonds but with those Euro-styled gals who are supposed to be bee-youtiful but just come off like animated mannequins to me. Well, at least they look much better'n those plumpos you see all over the place these days but anyway the various action scenes and surprises the pop in are enough to keep your attention even if the scripts coulda used a beef up here and there. And frankly, in no way can you hear the chief villain speaking through that weird neck-brace/voice box of his!

Cheap gadgets too, like whereas Bond always got the cream of European automobile makes souped up to specifications Smart hadda rely on this neat li'l Vespa scooter cum helicopter cum submarine! Well, I guess given all the cost that goes into spying (as well as mooms like these) they hadda keep the budget down no matter how much a threat to world safety there might have been during those rather snappy late-sixties days!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

I've always been a guy who TOOTS HIS OWN HORN, but this is ridiculous! Actually I was scouring the basement looking for my copy of Richard Meltzer's A WHORE JUST LIKE THE REST just so's I could do a little needed research for a future review, and lo and behold what did I come across but none other than my old Polaroid Swinger photo album!!! Yes, that's none other than memeME!!! circa age eleven seen to the left of ya, and boy does this pic (and the rest of the ones re-discovered) bring back a whole lotta memories, some not exactly great mind ya but still a few nice ones do linger about. Of course after looking at the above snap the only real thing that comes to mind is...given the way I looked back then (and still do to a certain extent) no wonder everybody treated me like sheeee-it! I still am proud of my esteemed blubberfarm self tho if only because at least I had better taste in trash junk entertainment and overall lowbrow kultur back then more than you ever will, digging NANCY and DENNIS THE MENACE while combing the radio for late-fifties/early-sixties trash rock hits that were certainly scarce at the time! Hope you like it...just don't go 'round making a MEME outta it!

I'd show you the rest of the snaps that were taken, but for the sake of time I figured why should you wanna see everything from a covered bridge to my cousin pumping up his equally eleven-year-old bicep! It'd even more boring than had I chained you down for an hour or two of those home movies taken of me at Bedrock USA! However, I thought I'd at least present for your own glomming on my suburban upbringing a pic of my dearly departed dog Sam the Champion Fartster in one of the photos where he's not turning his head away from the camera at the last minute. It's not surprising that in most of the photos of this sometimes not-so-lovable canine he has this wild Manson-ish stare to him (and just LOOK at that glowing left eye!)...let's just say that training Sam to be a well-behaved dog was akin to trying to turn me into a nice and polite sissyfag Freddie Bartholomew type as had been tried many a time. I guess both he and I had much STRONGER wills and for that I salute you, Sam!
Ya know what I did this past Thursday night? It was a little before seven and while looking out my window to admire the deepness of the dusk sky I pondered, "The sky the way it looks right now would be much improved on with a nice droning backdrop based on elements of the Velvet Underground, Can and the Stooges. So I made one up in my mind, a repeato-riff that went something like "da-dum...da-dum...da-dum-dum-dum-daah-dum..." And you know what" It worked really good! You should try it sometime.
Not much else brewin' up around here as you can tell from the reviews below...all of 'em freebee offerings from the usual batch who are probably embarrassed over me mentioning their monikers each and every week so I won't. But still I am getting by with 'em since they do break up the monotony. Otherwise I'm putting my time in at the salt mines before spending my precious free hours doing things like mowing the yard and taking out the garbage. I actually gotta say that I enjoy cutting the grass this time of year because this is when all of those neat looking mushrooms start sprouting up across the lawn. Ever placating the brat in me, I like to think of those little mushrooms as being a village where small elves live and work merrily, at least until I turn them into mulch as the peaceful villagers cry forth with high-pitched screams of "HELP!" and "ARRRRGH!" Don't tell me that ain't funny!

Wendy Eisenberg-TIME MACHINE LP (Feeding Tube Records, available here)

I've heard my share of bedroom-level recording personal woo-woo stuff over the years, but this one ranks as one of the best! Originally released on cassette last year, TIME MACHINE is a quiet little affair featuring composer Wendy Eisenberg recording a number of rather nice 'n intimate songs usually backed by her own guitar or one of those chord organs that were all the rage when I was a kid, and as far as intimate personalist sounds go this 'un takes the awards. Sometimes this reminds me of some of those quieter Japanese groups who appeared on the infamous NIGHT GALLERY sampler or others the musical musings of some teenage gal in 1970's suburbia putting her slightly whacked compositions to tape in between reading 16 and watching PARTRIDGE FAMILY reruns. Quite invigorating in many ways...not at all the Joni Mitchell angst that I would have associated with a record like this and you might like it too!
The Now Generation-THE LEGENDARY SPAR RECORDINGS CD-r burn (originally on SPV - Yellow Records, Germany)

Given Bill's penchant for burning the strangest things I just knew there was gonna be an overt exploito nature to this. And as usual I was right! But as you know I can enjoy these imitations as much as I can the real meal deal, and THE LEGENDARY SPAR RECORDINGS by the Nashville-based Now Generation has its fair share of moments that do rise above the cheesy. Given these tracks were recorded during the late-sixties I was surprised at just how much of this had an early-sixties AM pop feel that's really not bad at all...sorta like a Four Seasons only done less dago-esque or something like that. Even the covers of the big hits like "You Showed Me" and "Rainy Night in Georgia" have some of the zip of the originals. One big caveat tho...this platter contains the dreaded ingredient known as JIMMY BUFFET!

Dunno why I ignored picking up the Golliwogs' 1975 album that was released to cash in on waning CCR-fever (especially since this was a used bin filler throughout the late-seventies), but at least it's good to finally get to hear these things despite my typical lethargy. The Blue Velvets material actually does sound in-tune with the better aspects of early-sixties garage band aesthetics with little of that era's "gingerbread" style to muck things up much. As I would have expected the Golliwogs-era tracks do sound commercial yet have that typically subdued cool that the best groups of the middle portion of that decade had to offer. Little if any of the more countryesque Creedence sound can be discerned, but only a turdburger'd deny that these guy were headin' for bigger things after giving these sides a spin!
Hawkwind-THE ROAD TO UTOPIA CD-r burn (originally on Cherry Red Records, England)

Well, I guess I shoulda expected it. An entire album of Hawkwind re-dos featuring the horn arrangements of some Mike Batt guy who really knows how to add the schmalz onto songs that were vibrantly beautiful four decades back. Now they sound like elevator gush but what else should one expect here in that future that Hawkwind sang so much about. Much worse'n all those other remake albums by people who were once on top of this slam bang music world but were reduced to resting on more'n just a few laurels and, once I get my head together why shouldn't I find it all just a li'l bit depressing?          
The Spots-BEAT BEAT BEAT CD-r burn (originally on Europa Records, Germany)

Mock Big Beat record that varies somewhere in between tepid and totally feh! I know that eager beaver German frauleins were more'n anxious to hear some of the home-grown variations of the mop top experience, but these Spots just don't have the same rock 'n roll drive to their fare that made alla that long hair rock so tasty inna first place. I'm sure der volk approved of the softer strains of teenage music being played in the haus but vhat about der Hans und Fritzes amongst 'em? All I could say had I been an aching Bundrocker during those particularly arid Aryan days woulda been "Hurry up Can, und qvick!"
Various Artists-STYLECRAFT ROSEBUD DOUBLE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Here's a different VIRTUAL THRIFT STORE FLOOR SWEEPING in that most if not all of the musical numbers to be heard are from those "song poem" records we've known about for years, or at least since those boho so-anti-Middle Amerigan types began touting them in order to look oh-so SUPERIOR to the rest of us'n all. As usual, these really are a fun hoot such as the one dealing with late-seventies tee-vee cop shows not to mention the disco wannabe "In Love In Love" with what's gotta be the shrillest spoken opening I've ever heard on disc, outside of Diamanda Galas. The radio ads for everyone from Ford (with the Four Lads re-doing their hit as "Standing On The Corner Watching All The FORDS Go By"!) to Gillette razor blades are a hoot as well. And while I'm at it, when was the last time you heard the old Frito Bandito commercial...without having a load of shame being tossed at'cha from better-than-thou knowitalls that is?!?!?!?
Did you get the hint yet? I've got a whole bunch of BLACK TO COMM back issues that art still available and like, I just KNOW that most if not ALL of you readers could use a few. So what's keeping you from clicking on the above link---your CONSCIENCE (hah!) or somethin'?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! PEP #46, February 1944 (available via Golden Age Reprints)

I'm just about positive, unless you were one of those tight-sphinctered gal types I went to school with, that you like I spent a whole lotta your youthful goof off time reading PEP comics. Like the rest of the Archie universe PEP not only gave you that funny Archie comic on the front cover but loads of stories featuring the entire Archie gang as well as some of the other character that have popped up over the years like Li' Jinx 'n maybe even Josie for all I know. Easy enough to find on the rotating comic book stand or in piles of flea market fodder, I just can't get the image of me on a hot summer afternoon sipping on some soda while reading PEP during one of those desolate afternoons before the reruns started popping up around four o'clock.

But PEP had been around even before Archie made his buck toothed debut, and its no surprise at all that a Golden Age comic with a title like that would have been devoted to MLJ/Archie Comics' superhero stable. After all, their #1 costumed do gooder the Shield debuted in this very rag, and when the whole biz was bursting out all over these masked maulers were the reason many a suburban slob would spend the ridiculous price of a dime for 64 pages of pow! My father was a big fan of the Shield and once drew a pic of him for me which is now stuck in some book of ours...if I can dig it out I'll print it on this blog one of these days.

Managed to get hold of one of the Golden Age Reprints PEP reissues as of late, and all I gotta say is yeah, this book is exactly what I would have expected of an MLJ title from the World War II days. Judging from the cover it's not hard to see that the Shield is slowly but surely giving way to new oil gusher Archie, though judging from the innards this title is still firmly rooted in the superhero craze of the day what with appearances by not only the Shield but Captain Commando and the Hangman taking place before we get to any of the funny stuff which is nicely nestled in the back. Oh how times will change all this!

The Shield story is actually kinda creepy. It's similar to TALES OF MANHATTAN only with a safety pin which causes horrible luck whilst being passed on from a dead soldier to his widow to a conman on and on until the very same pin helps the Shield and his sidekick Dusty brings down a killer. A better than usual tale but I still can't get over that poor widow losing her life savings and not being avenged (all that is mentioned is that the pin was passed on by the swindler---I would have hoped he would have gotten his just desserts but as far as I can tell he got off Scot free!). Well, who sez comics were known for any real CONTINUITY???

Captain Commando was one of the lesser MLJ heroes or so I would guess, but the story about an old gruff but lovable Dutch ferryboat captain who is living on a Japanese controlled tropical island and pays the ultimate price by kamikaze-ing his boat "Matilda" is pretty good. Good enough that I even forgot to root for the Japanese like I always do in these stories because well...their characters seem more in touch with myself than the squeaky clean good guys!

Now the Hangman saga is what really made the price of this reprint worth it. This 'un's kinda grotesque in its own Golden Age way featuring a former optometrist who decides to go into the blackmail business after creating a machine where the last images seen by the murdered victim (captured on the retina) shows just who the killer was! This guy and his stooge sneak into morgues and plucks the eyes out of deceased gangsters, plops the eyeballs into his creation and right on the screen appears the victims last image, usually of an underworld character with a gun going off!

The rest of the mag is filled with the fun stuff, or at least stuff that's supposed to pass for fun and I guess you might be able to squeeze a few har har's outta 'em. The Archie tale is a Christmas-themed heart-string tug attempt dealing with his dwindling Christmas funds which get lower and lower after dad buys him a war bond and he gets into an automobile accident, all exacerbated by a loudmouth gal I never saw before or since appropriately named Gabby. A rather annoying character who kinda reminds me of what the short-lived "Charlotte Braun" from PEANUTS might have ended up looking like, Gabby blabs to the gang Archie's gift list which is no longer a feasible concept considering he only has ten bucks left and boy are they expecting the biggies this time! Nice li'l typically Archie-ish episode, only it's ruined by the definitely non-Bob Montana-ish work by one of the lesser MLJ artists who makes the whole thing look more like a standard back up feature rather'n the flagship force behind one of the more successful comic publishers extant!

The rest of the fun funs ain't exactly up to par and in fact make this particular Archie feature look like the Three Stooges. There were so many Li'l Abner swipes throughout the forties to keep track of and none that I've read were good, and that includes this particular story featuring a Catfish Joe is about as unfunny as you would expect something like a comic called "Catfish Joe" to be. Skip over the cutesy wootsy Chief Bugaboo story custom made for the fetus in your life as well as Marco Loco, an adventurer whom I wish stayed home so I wouldn't hafta put up with those silly puns that just don't work here like they did in Little Lulu.

Despite the lack of real belly shakers in the comedy department I gotta admit that this issue of PEP was a pretty good effort which does give you that mid-forties comic book feel without the hefty price or the decaying pages. And as is customary with Gold Age Reprints efforts this comes complete with the original ads as well including the one which appears on the back cover, a toy machine gun which is being sold under the name KRAK-A-JAP! As I said earlier, I find myself rooting for the Japanese in these World War II comics (and perhaps even REAL LIFE) because their characters are usually so nasty and vicious in a way I could only dream of being (and in some ways these guys are more honest than the phony Amerigan heroes who are so one-dimensional you'll just hope for a Death March in their future), but an ad like this just makes me wanna krak up myself---'s almost as good as one of those old comic book spoof ads you'd see in NATIONAL LAMPOON only this is real life so you know life can be satire without anyone knowing so! In all my years of flea market scouring I never came across a Krak-a-Jap...have you???

Tuesday, October 09, 2018


Whip Wilson was one of the last, if not the last, newly developed star of his own B-Western series (Wayne Morris is said to have had the last series of B-Westerns, but he was already a star, not one groomed from scratch). He appeared in a Jimmy Wakely western in late 1948 and was soon spun off into his own starring series of WHIP WILSON westerns at Monogram, running for four years, from 1949-1952, which lasted for 22 films. He also had his own comic book during this period (I should try to find a copy and then review it here!).

With “Whip” in his stage name (his real name was Roland Meyers), it’s clear that Monogram was hoping to cash in on the popularity of Lash La Rue, then at the height of his fame in 1948/49. However, Lash with his black outfits and Bogart-style line delivery was a far cry from Whip Wilson, who harkened back to more straightforward western heroes such as Roy Rogers or Buck Jones (Whip has a Rogers-like personality and looks somewhat like Jones). One problem with many of Lash LaRue’s films is that despite Lash being in them and being supported by the great comedian Al “Fuzzy” St. John and by top quality Western supporting actors, the films often had a slapdash quality (and NOT in an endearing way!), especially the later ones which were cobbled together from earlier LaRue footage. On the other hand, while Monogram was certainly a low-budget studio, they had a crack western unit which could do a lot with a little, and the films tended to move well, offer lots of action, and have fine supporting casts. At the same time as the Wilson series, Johnny Mack Brown had a long-running series at Monogram, and those films are considered the model of late-period B-westerns, helped a lot by Brown’s personality and presence (this was a man who co-starred in the silent era with Greta Garbo twice!). A lot of the quality of the Brown series rubbed off onto the Whip Wilson series.

While it must be admitted that Wilson has a bit of the “aw shucks” quality of a Reb Russell or a Jack Hoxie (Wilson is not often mentioned among the greats of the B-western, unfortunately), it lends an authenticity to his persona, and since he is inserted into well-constructed features made by the same Monogram machine which made the Johnny Mack Brown films, for me the Whip Wilson films are very entertaining, and you can see why he lasted for 22 features.

When I say “series,” I am referring to the fact that these films were sold to exhibitors in packages of four or six or eight which would then be delivered over the next year. They might have titles associated with them to help close the sale, but often the films would not have been made yet----in a sense, they were made to order. This film is called ARIZONA TERRITORY, but honestly, that title could be applied to ten other films just as well. There’s an Indian reservation nearby where the film is set, and St. Louis is referred to as being “back East,” but beyond that, this could be called NEW MEXICO TERRITORY or >b?OKLAHOMA TERRITORY
One thing low-budget Western filmmakers understood is that beyond having a charismatic cowboy star, you needed a quality sidekick, usually a comic side-kick. Even the most threadbare PRC western with LaRue or with a Bob Steele or a Buster Crabbe would be made entertaining by the antics of Al “Fuzzy” St. John----I remember reading somewhere once that Al’s solo bits in the films were in some films not even scripted, other than the general situation....Al St. John, nephew of Roscoe Arbuckle and a first-rate silent comedy star himself, would just be let loose to do his thing, and all you needed to do was give him a piece of rope or a barrel or a gun that needed cleaning, and you’d get 3-5 minutes of side-splitting slapstick improvisation. Do that 3 or 4 times in the film, and you’ve got a quarter of its running time already filled....and filled in a manner that audiences would love.

At Monogram in this period, the great Scottish comedian ANDY CLYDE (see pic) was used in support of both Johnny Mack Brown and Whip Wilson. Clyde goes back to the silent days and worked with Mack Sennett beginning in 1921 (!!!!)----he continued on with Sennett in the early sound days, including a number of Sennett-produced shorts distributed by BTC faves EDUCATIONAL PICTURES. (EDITURD'S NOTE: after leaving Sennett he even got his own series at Educational Pictures "proper"!) He then got his own sound comedy series at Columbia, which ran from 1934-1955....only the Three Stooges lasted longer, but their line-up changed over the years. Clyde was still working regularly on TV in the mid-sixties on shows such as THE REAL McCOYS and LASSIE, and he passed away in 1967, leaving us a huge legacy, which deserves more attention than it is getting. Little if any of Andy Clyde’s Columbia work (or earlier shorts, for that matter) has ever been released legitimately in any video format, although there is a recent book out about his shorts. Over the years, Chris and I have had to rely on grey-market “collector” sources for VHS copies of his Educational and Columbia shorts, but those became much harder to find in the DVD era, probably because the dupey 16 mm sources, often a copy of a copy, were considered unworthy of DVD-quality replication. Fortunately, the Brown and Wilson Monogram westerns with Clyde have always been available from outfits specializing in B-westerns, and now many of the films are available in pristine quality from the Warner Archive.

My copy of ARIZONA TERRITORY is from a grey-market source which offered all 22 of Wilson’s Monogram westerns (he never worked for another studio as a star) on six discs, and they look to be taken from 16mm TV prints, but they are good enough to enjoy on my 27-inch TV screen. ARIZONA was Wilson’s 8th starring role (of 22 total) at Monogram, and it’s a good example of a solid B-western action-adventure that would have had the small-town bread-and-butter audiences sitting on the edge of their chairs and feeling as though they’d gotten their money’s worth. I know that I would have wanted to buy a Whip Wilson comic book when I would get my next allowance or lawn-mowing money after seeing this film.

As often happens in these kind of films, Whip wanders into a new area and observes a young lady in a wagon being shot at....the shooter escapes as Whip offers help to the lady, who is clipped in her arm and luckily not seriously hurt. It turns out she’s got a sleazy uncle who is an ex-con who is doing some counterfeiting on the side, and his equally sleazy partner is always putting the moves on her and asking her to marry him. She owns a small business that sells supplies to the locals on the reservation and also distributes pottery made by that local tribe up in the Midwest. The pottery was not very popular until a new “formula” supposedly made it better quality and it started getting snapped up in Missouri, Kansas, etc. The young lady doesn’t really know what the “formula” is----she was kept in the dark----it actually is counterfeit money which is being stuffed into the bottoms of the pottery and then distributed in the Midwest. The sleazy uncle and his business partner are the ones behind this, although the lady is technically the business owner but innocent of it all. It’s just convenient for them that she is shipping this pottery out of state.

Whip smells something fishy as he gets to know the lady better and observes the shady characters involved with the business. Andy Clyde, whose character is an old pal of Whip’s, plays a federal marshal who is posing as a broke cowhand and gets a job as stage driver for the business. Together, they smash the crooks, break the counterfeiting racket, and salvage the lady’s business...and ride away into the sunset, though Whip promises her he’ll be back.

Running a crisp 56 minutes, ARIZONA TERRITORY’s tagline states, “ FRONTIER FURY! Bullet-Studded Story Of Badmen And The Badlands”, and it certainly delivers on that ballyhoo. If you are a person who appreciates post WWII B-westerns, I would highly recommend the late 40’s/early 50’s Monogram westerns of Johnny Mack Brown and/or Whip Wilson. Not all are great, but the batting average is high, and when you consider that Monogram was also making multiple Bowery Boys films every year (and continued making Charlie Chan films until 1949), you can see why we here at BTC adore the mighty Monogram Pictures!