Saturday, November 30, 2019

You know I really don't care and I don't, but I gotta start this post off SOMEHOW. Here it is (with gritted teeth)....I hope you all had a fine and dandy holiday this past Thursday! I managed to pull myself away from the Fangsgivin' table at the soup kitchen restaurant without gettin' that overly bloated feeling and for that I am surprisingly proud. Hope you gravitationally challenged BLOG TO COMM readers are now filled with good cheer and that late-Autumn lovey-dovey feeling, and if so goodie good good. But now it's time to get back to the raw meat and potatoes of existence and most of all to the matter of hand, mainly MUSIC.
Other things besides such fine necessities as unbridled sound are keeping me occupied these days. For one, the string of comments I've been getting from MoeLarryandJesus regarding my OWN THE WHOLE WORLD review post are keeping me on my tootsies and boy do I find it all oh so wonderfully exhilarating even if this guy seems content to spurt out the same old "Chris is bad" tropes I hadda endure ever since the rise of the New and Improved Radical Left in the late-eighties practically made me tilt full 1488 (almost---I still welcome all men of good will and even different ethnicities and racial backgrounds into my ever-growing cult of personality!). Oddly enough I'm not angry at MoeLarryandJesus despite his rather neo-communist views regarding life and myself for that matter. Not even for his usual little digs and personal put downs, though I dunno if I should take his comment that I look like Julius Streicher of DER STURMER fame as an insult since well...Streicher was a kinda good lookin' guy. Maybe I should replace the CREATIVE CONSTRUCTION COMPANY pic on the left with his since that one is getting a little old 'n all and if so, thanks for the idea MLJ!

If I wanted complacency and harmony in life I woulda joined a quilting bee and really, I can get A WHOLE LOTTA pleasure outta it all even if MLJ has to resort to every worn out attack and insists on going around in circles ("Lincoln was good"..."No he was BAD!"..."No he was GOOD you neo-confederate racist you!"...) especially regarding these subjects that had nada to do with the post at hand. I'm also glad that there's some action happening around here and that my review really did jolt someone into full-fledged pangs of abject anger which is sadly in short supply these days. I mean, what else could I have been put on earth for other'n to defend myself (and life in that positive, fulfilling way) against the usual canned left wing namecalling which sometimes has me resorting to my own kinda hackneyed talk (hey, I can't be bright ALL the time, especially late at night after a long day at the salt mines). In all, the conversation we are having reminds me of that old NATIONAL LAMPOON Dave Berg spoof  where his Roger Kaputnick character puzzledly looks on while a hippie and a hardhat are popping off all the right and proper New Left/Silent Majority talking points and rallying cries. But who knows, maybe some day it will all come to an end and I'll have to find another way to offend the easily insulted types who feel they have that innate right to insult people they loathe and not feel the pain of punishment they being so anointed and all!

Frankly I haven't had so much fun since I mixed cayenne pepper in with some classmate's KY Jelly!
CURRENT READING FAVORITE!: R. Meltzer's "Lumpy Tomahawk Article" in US, THE PAPERBACK MAGAZINE #3 (Bantam Books, 1970) in which Our Hero discusses what was, is and shall remain one of the funnier television programs ever, none other than ABBOTT AND COSTELLO. The real kicker to this boffo piece is that Meltzer wrote and laid the whole thing out like one of those TV GUIDE spoofs you used to see in MAD, only this one is called TZ GLIDE and features Meltzer's essay on the famed series as a number of random program listings that you have to follow by reading another listing on another channel at another time, making the piece practically impossible to follow! Meltzer also gives us some personal reflections on CAPTAIN SCARLET and JUNGLE JIM so when you end up reading the next part of the A&C saga your eyes can't help but suddenly shift over to another unrelated subject making the entire shebang a mishmosh laff riot! Sorta like Smegma for the eyes.
Anyway that music's been spinnin' 'round here non-stop (you should be here at 4 AM!) and I've been boppin' and droppin' while playin' the followin' platters which I kinda get the feelin' you'll have some affectation for as Norm Crosby mighta said. No matter how down and out bloozey one can get, the right sounds for the right frame of insanity really does help one make it through the night if not through the leather restraints, and as you might have guessed thanks be to Bill, Paul and Feeding Tube for the free offerings which really do keep this blog rollin' like an elephant turd down a steep hill. OK I have a weird fixation for bodily did Moe Howard so I guess that puts me in GOOD COMPANY!

Liz Durette-DELIGHT LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Liz plays nothing but keyboards here but you would never know it the way these tinkling sounds come off like ancient music boxes that went out of tune around 1915. Some of this, especially the waltz time music, reminds me of the kind of tracks old moom pitcher vendors stick on their ancient animation releases which does fit in its own charming Victorian way. Others sound like the exact same music as heard by a 110-year-old viewing said films while having a stroke. It sucks you in then chews you up with the tinkling and tintinnabulations that are usually associated with percussion instruments, but it looks as if electronics did 'em all one better. Hype notes sure have me searchin' out Gary Burton's A GENUINE TONG FUNERAL which I guess had a huge influence on Durette's music, and for years I always thought of Burton as one of those foofy fusion guys who I couldn't care about in the least!
Gavin Bryars, Christopher Hobbs-ENSEMBLE PIECES CD (GB Records)

Paul Morley's article on Eno in the only issue of his OUT THERE fanzine had be digging back into my collection of Obscure Records, this one an item that I never did get around to hearing probably because of those olde tymey stiff import prices and all. Or perhaps because I just don't remember seeing this one in the racks anywhere way back when,

It ain't exactly the original (the John Adams track was taken off and another Gavin Bryars one added on) but it sounds just like what you'd expect the mid-twentieth century English experimental music made by the variety of improvisers, composers and phony intellectual hanger ons to sound like. It's kick your feet up entertaining and not as far-fetched in the abstract department as one would surmise, what with "Aran" sounding almost rock music and Bryars' "1,2, 1-2-3-4" keeping itself together even though the musicians were listening to what they were to be playing via headphones.  The reed organ duo reminds me of Nico while overdosing and the four guitar track will make you go crazy, in a happy way of course. Might contain the very last Cornelius Cardew performance before he went totally Mao. Unlike most of the dilettante precocious art that has been made o'er the past few decades, this thing actually has enough gristle to hold it together.
Various Artists-THE ROCKIN' SOUTH - ROCK 'N' ROLL & ROCKABILLY FROM NRC RECORDS CD-r burn (originally on Ace Records, England)

I reallyreallyREALLY do enjoy these late-fifties Southern rockabilly tracks featuring unknowns who were lucky enough to get their brief day in the sunshine before getting stuffed in some attic along with old roadmaps and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICs. Only this disque's got some early sides from people who actually made it big as time rolled on like Tommy Roe, Joe South and of course ol' helmet hair himself Wayne Cochran!  Yes, along with music created by the usual bright hopes that fizzled out way too soon you get to hear things like an early verson of "Sheila" done long before Roe knew what banged hair was. In all this is spiffy hotcha Dixie music as it was meant to sound like during a period in Amerigan history when everything seemed to be aligned in the right, proper, perfect fashion, especially if you were a hungry suburban slob kid with plenty of resources to soothe that inner turmoil I'm sure many kids are saddled with these days!
The Parson Red Heads-ORB WEAVER CD-r burn (originally on Fiesta Red Records)

The merging of early-seventies Marin County front porch harmonies with early-eighties new psychedelia a la Green on Red etc. doesn't seem exactly like the kind of match I would stand in line to hear. However this group does pull it off without being too cloyingly cute and custom made for gals who seemed to go directly not from bobbysocks to stockings, but Barbie dolls to IUDs. At least some discernible moments of melody and beat merged into a toe tapping reaction do occur, but no matter how much I twist and turn my listening parameters around there's nothing here that will ever bring me back to ORB WEAVER.
NO EXIT CD-r burn (originally on Private Records)

I used to go whole hog for these brief yet nerve racking punk rock growlers back inna mid-eighties. But that was about the time that punk really was starting to turn into punque and the whole idiom (or at least the more politicized portion of it) was nothing more than hippie love jams mark two. It's a good 'nuff effort anyway, one that really brings back the days of what raw ineptitude and totally brazen doofusness mixed with a rudimentary idea of how one should handle their instruments could mean in the face of eighties blanditude. And this thing came out in 1980, long before such atonal whiz was part and parcel of the entire punk reason for existing in the first place!
Various Artists-CORNFLAKE ZOO VOLUME NINETEEN CD-r burn (originally on Particles Records, England)

I'm surprised that there's a nineteenth volume of CORNFLAKE ZOO out because frankly, I didn't know that there were that many obscure late-sixties English/Europeon pop platters extant to have filled up so many albums! Most all of this really doesn't flib my jib given that this is mostly well or over-produced and fly spec-less pop rock that somehow misses the mark, but that doesn't mean there are a few moments here that do wile their way into the core of my inner being or something even cornier than that.

Most interesting track here (at least considering how it fit into my own strain of existence) is the Hep Star's cover of the Association's "Enter The Young". The reason for this is well...there was one sunny Sunday morning in the seventies when I decided to plunk AND THEN---ALONG COMES THE ASSOCIATION on the ol' Victrola, and while "Enter the Young" was playing my older cousin who was elsewhere in the abode's ears started to perk up. Y'see, while in high school she and others were responsible for slapping some new student indoctrination slide show together under the auspices of an English teacher who I really LOATHED (and continue to). Anyway my cousin remarked about how this teacher (who I think butters her bread on both sides) thought "Enter the Young" was such a bright, spirited and motivational song along with all the rest of that rather nauseating sixties humanist bullshit that I really was beginning to hate at the time, and considering how this teacher was the bane of my existence during my high stool years you can bet the NEXT LOGICAL THING I did after being told how much she liked "Enter The Young" was to SELL all my Association albums which I did! An extreme reaction true but given the situation what else could I do? Now I really like the Association and all, but after what I went through I just couldn't stand to hear 'em for a LOOOOONG while!
Various Artists-NEW THING SILVER LINING CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

A "standard" Bill Shute burn which means that this thing is way more varied, more entertaining and definitely more musically conscious in a historical way than anything YOU'D send me! Gotta say that most of the acts found here are totally unknown to me but that don't mean they're doofus in any fact I wouldn't mind hearing more from the likes of the Jaybirds or the Kampus Kids if there is any!

Naturally Bill hadda stick some Rodd Keith song poems on which are always an inwardly-twisted hoot, and Kitty North's Olde Tymey Country has more of a meaning for him than they do this suburban slob, but I'd rather listen to music like this than I would the usual smug and complacent amerunderindie material that most of you reg'lar readers creem jeenz over because it somehow fits your own personally one-dimensional existence. And so ends my screed for National Brotherhood and Let's All Get Along Week.
Just a friendly reminder that issues of BLACK TO COMM are still available and at costs I'm sure you can afford even if you do have to report to the unemployment office to get your moolah. Well, remember that the next reminder won't be so friendly if you value your own sense of rockist pride.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

BOOK REVIEW! AMERICA'S PAL : VOLUME 1 READERS COLLECTION (Gwandanaland Books, try Amazon or Ebay)

Hmmmmm...I just wonder who could this AMERICA'S PAL guy just might be? No real hint on the cover is there, eh?

Aw cum-moff-IT!!! It's so obvious that the guy in question is none other than MLJ's own Jughead, who along with a variety of other discretely re-titled efforts from the Archie stable (GAL PALS) as well as other lapsed efforts such as HARD FISTED DETECTIVE MONTHLY (DICK TRACY) ain't got no copyrights to keep 'em under lock and key. However, for legal reason the proper names of the characters are not permitted to be used on the cover leading to a whole lotta sneaky wink-wink-nudge-nudges ifyaknowaddamean.

Even if this "readers collection" features black and white reprints at less a cost (which is no sweat for a guy like me who grew up with black and white tee-vee) this book is custom made for those of you who like the mid-sixties Archie style and stories. Unfortunately I'm not that big a fan of this particular period in Archie-dom given just how one-dimensional I thought the comic book universe Archie line was in comparison with the daily strip style and canon. But when I get down to it all I don't mind that much since these comics always did make for a good enough hot afternoon time-wasting affair, something to wile away your hours reading after you got done with your chores and your favorite tee-vee show ain't starting for another hour. Plus if you like stupid gags and old jokes warmed over more'n that leftover stew these tales should go down finer'n your fave porn star.

Old ads, LI'L JINX and even some Archie Club entries are included making me glad that I sent for my twenny-five cent card 'n badge as a mere pre-pubesprout which I am proud to say still stays snuggled up in one of about twentysome boxes of various flotsam, jetsam and fanzines that I have collected in well over fortysome years! You could do worse re-living your adolescence, and when you've discovered your old cache of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC you have!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

So howz it by you? It's pretty much the same by me given how resigned I am to living in a kultur that is totally against the whole BTC grain of general fun 'n jamz, but  I ain't givin' up! At least not right now being unfettered by life support machines and all. With things like TOMBSTONE TERRITORY and BAT MASTERSON to watch on Sunday afternoon (screw sports...I mean who wants to see a buncha guys runnin' around with a ball anyway?) why should I wanna end it all in a wash of mooshy self-pity anyway?

But as far as REAL LIFE is turning out the more time I spend in my fantasy the better. Really, it's gotten to the point where I feel like putting a big ARBEIT MACHT FREI sign over the entrance of my workplace its that nerve-grating anymore. So like, who can BLAME me when I come home, slip into my jammies after a hot bath 'n INDULGE myself in music, funtime reading material and maybe take a trip to the tee-vee if something of worth like an old Laurel and Hardy moom pitcher is being shown. And if only more people would think and act like I do would the world be a much better place, and that includes you sophisticated cosmopolitan readers who just happened to chance upon this blog as well!
Dunno about you, but for me the political highlight of the week was prezbait Eric Swalwell supposedly lettin' off a real loud one live on tee-vee proving that maybe he can get the Suburban Slob vote on that raw basis alone. Perhaps so, but when all's over, done and skidded you must admit that if Mayor Pete was on we'd never get to hear it at all.
The pickins do seem slimmer this week, but given the rather tired state of sounds both "musical" and not these past five decades what else would one expect? Especially given the rawther upscale class that this blog exudes! Anyhoo, I had fun slappin' this one together, and in fact I had fun slappin' some of these disques personally when I got done with 'em! Anyway, you bee dee juj as ushall.

Swell Maps-TRAIN OUT OF IT CD (Mute Records)

Although this ain't whatcha'd call the definitive Cee-Dee version of WHATEVER HAPPENS NEXT (only one track from that 'un on here), TRAIN OUT OF IT's got a good heapin' hunkin' selection of rarer'n usual Swell Maps trackage that should remind you exactly of why the late-seventies were a fun time to exist. Single sides, outtakes, side projects and other "ephemera" fill up this shiny platter going from early punkitude to experimental soundcapes all comin' off like the tinkertoy Red Crayola many have pegged these guys to be. Not a bad way to spend sixty-six minutes of your life!
The Snivelling Shits-I CAN'T COME CD (Damaged Goods Records, England)

As with the Swell Maps above, it's sure good hearing localized underground rock of the late-seventies variety that borrows way more from WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT than it does that silly gal with all the plastic jewelry and heavy makeup strumming "Sweet Jane" and yer actually supposed to drop moolah into her open guitar case! Giovanni Dadomo was one of the better of the FIRST WAVE English rockscribes despite what Lindsay Hutton thinks, and although I doubt that this noted junkie represents ALL dagos at least he had some brilliant rock missives launched at us way back when, his 1977 Velvet Underground cover story for SOUNDS being just one of 'em. Great classic repeato-riff rock here including the title track which says way more about appropriating Velvetisms in a proper way than the entire REM output ever did.
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK TO JOHN CASSAVETES[ FACES CD-r burn (originally on Columbia Records)

Wow, now that I've heard the soundtrack album I don't have to go and see that stoopid movie!
Various Artists-BURGER RECORDS TRIBUTE TO WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT CD-r burn (originally on Burger Records)

While the Swell Maps and Snivelling Shits efforts remind us of just how important the spirit of the Velvets hung like phlegm in your lungs across the landscape for a good decade after the group's demise, this platter shows that the legend had since been trashed to the point where just about any doof could ruin even the simplest enough concept of recreating the VU's classic expression of sound as solid blocks of concrete aimed at your skull.

Not that the idea of re-creating WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT was as bad as I would have gandered it to have been way back when, but these acts (like most Velvets aficionados since at least 1981) fail to grasp any of the carnal energy of the original. Hokay, at times those important sparks of sheer creativity do shine through (Gap Dream's "Sister Ray" at first sounds like an early Eno outtake---then you really get sick of it) but once you get down to the dirty gertie of it all this was just an attempt to take one of the bloodiest hemorrhages ever set to vinyl and water it way down for a buncha ignoramuses who really don't know any better.

At one time I had the idea that the Velvets aficionados, few and far between way back when, knew better than to leap into ideas that were so far outside the group's reason for being. Nowadays I don't think ANY Velvets fan can comprehend the carnage, instead focusing on the "cuter" material that back then seemed more like a charming sidestep. When the terminally disgusting Anastasia Pantsios once wrote that the entire legacy of the Velvet Underground boiled down to whiny guys in glasses maybe she was right for once. But she sure as shit smells shouldn't have been!

Various Artists-SURFIN' DRAGGIN' & TWISTIN' CD-r burn (originally on Yellow Label Records)

From the results of this it's OBVIOUS that Nashville hacks copying the hits of the early-sixties as well as a whole buncha misses were way more pleasant than these same jokers lending their talents to cover versions of Ann Murray a good ten or so years later. Back then I'll just BETCHA that these tracks satisfied the cheaper income'd amongst us just as much as the real deals woulda! And for some strange reason I kinda get the feelin' that the Music City 5, Garry Miles and Marty and the Merits never woulda had a real chance makin' it in the record biz, but then again would any of 'em have been recording progressive rock missives or slobberin' pop for sudzed up housewives a decade on? Of course they don't think I'm a TOTAL stoop now do you???
Various Artists-SURFIN' THE SPILLWAY CD-r burn (originally on Happy Hour Records)

I can't believe it, but these relatively modern (and for me modern is anything after 1981!) groups can do the surf rock thing swell enough that it's almost like 1963 and yer a turdler who just can't wait to grow up and spend your teenbo years just like these cool guys did! Only when you got there it was all BILLY JACK and a load of AM blanditude that just spit in the face of all that was once boss and proud. Even more surprising is that the groups who lent their talents to this release were all from Michigan, and I never thought that the Great Lakes were a place one could catch a wave! It sorta gives you faith deep down in the brisket of your eternal being.

Various Artists-BODACIOUS SMOKIE FEVER CLOCK CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Sometimes it takes JUST THE RIGHT THING to boost me outta the everyday humdrums that plague my life to the point where I've come to accept down in the dumpness as being part and parcel to one's existence. Bill sure did a good job of making a mixtape (or mix-Cee-Dee-Are) that can put a song in your heart and a smile on your lips and let's not talk about any appendages at this time.

The Bill Black Combo's "Smokie" Parts 1 & 2 was particularly powerful especially with the use of a toy piano adding a particularly crazed tone to an already fine late-fifties instrumental. Sharon Cash's soul version of "Fever" actually transcended the usual pitfalls that genre could fall into at times, especially when cover versions are performed. Tracks from the likes of the Royal Chanters, the Virginia Trio, the Southern Stars and the Corinthian Singers might make you remain staunch atheists but at least you'll remain so with a stirring feeling in your soul.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE BATCH---the Mighty Accordion Band's rendition of  "The Syncopated Clock", a tune I always used to sing to my cyster when she was having what I would call "tic tock time" and boy did she get mad sayin' I was wrong 'n all! But I sure knew better, that's for sure! (The nose knows!)
Hey, if you really wanna make me sad, and I'm talkin' cry my eyes out blow my head off sad, why don't you purchase one or even more old issues of BLACK TO COMM that I have been trying to pawn off for you for a longer time'n any of us could imagine. C'mon, make my life ugly, dreary and downright miserable---you know you want to do it!

Thursday, November 21, 2019


It hasn't been that long since #18 came out making me wonder if editor Bob Forward has a lotta free time on his hands. Still I can't argue about  getting another fanzine in the mail considering the dearth of rockist-related reading that is available, so when it comes plop time in the bathroom you know which mag I'm gonna pull out to read, right?

The latest OTWW sinks to even crudzineier levels than past efforts. Actually that's a pretty good recommendation right there given just how slick to the point of nausea I'm sure some of these rock reads have come to be as of late (just guessing, but I would assume that most would be worse than the offal I read for free onna web). It's sure good reading something pasted and patched like OTWW because if there's anything out there that needs to match the cheap music its cheap publishing! After all, TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE was vastly superior to ROLLING STONE and I get the idea that TWG ran on a budget of ten dollars at the max!

The innards ain't bad either, what with Craig Bell giving us his take on his own history, an autobiography that even throws in a mistake or two for alla you anal retentive types to write in and complain about. Yeah we once again see the same photos of Mirrors and Rocket From The Tombs we've seen over and over again for the past umpteen years, but who sez that OTWW ain't followin' a proud fanzine tradition in doing just that?

Lessee---what else is there? Howzbout a piece on Susan Oliver that probably woulda been more fitting for an issue of VULCHER only I think that effort has deep-sixed for all eternity. I'm not that hotcha a fan of Oliver but I do like old tee-vee shows and she appeared on a good share of those herself! Also boffo are the two pages of Eddie Flowers reviews followed by some Bob Fay guy giving us a track-by-track appreciation of THE CAN SOUNDTRACKS!  Fay is top notch true, but as far as Flowers goes it's sure grand reading things written in the HERE AND NOW that were written by a guy who was around in the THEN AND THERE which retains that old sense of gonz that's been poo-poo'd by the POWERS THAT BE ever since Lester Bangs did his own era's end almost thirty years back. None of that college kid crit golly gosh gee shit here I'll tell ya!

Andrew Russ also clocks in with a whole load of live reviews including a Devo tribute of sorts as well as various Cle-area live writeups that, while not making me wish I was there front and center, seemed like fun enough events for Russ to document for all eternity. And there's some weirdo thingie on some cassette culture-type electronic collagey thing I'll read about next time I hit the throne.

It's a pretty good 'nuff effort true, but unfortunately OTWW #19 is marred by a few glaring and downright disgusting inclusions that might even make the more squeamish amongst us stay awake worrying all night. Forward's review of a Phoenix Donald Trump appearance reads so alternative rock snob above it all that if he only added a few more caustic commentaries regarding the local yokels and tossed in a few hints o' neo-Fascist bubbling under it coulda appeared in THE VILLAGE VOICE. It's a given that even with his cowtowing to various special interests out there Trump just might be THE real life Rex Grainge or at least a viable MEL LYMAN who actually will "tear down the world"...your world that is. The perfect antidote to the dictatorship of the cosmopolitan that's gotten even more snobbish and unbearable once their power was thankfully usurped by a man I never woulda thought coulda pulled it off inna first place. David Duke?? How right on and Sweet Polly Purebread can ya get there Bob?

Also in the disgusto realm is a positive mention of Jay Hinman's latest 'zine endeavor and given just how hard that man had tried (and succeeded to an extent) to derail my own fanzine efforts I would have thought a person who I had considered a "friend" wouldn't have trotted over to the other side so fast. You must remember that it was Hinman who directed a whole number of screeds against me for various moderne day "sins" such as racism (dunno how that enters into things though I do hold more of an affinity for John Derbyshire's views on race than I would any of Hinman's philosophical idols), sexism (as if the image of what the female gender aspired to in the earlier part of the 20th century was worse than it was once the gals lost their seats when they stood up for their rights) and homophobia (coprophagia raised to a new exulted height---and like many of you readers out there probably don't believe if it ain't procreative it's a doorway to a world even you will fear). He also thinks my musical tastes suck which is yet another reason the guy should be suicided immediately...anyone who would dismiss the likes of Von Lmo and the Plastic People of the Universe should not be allowed to go anywhere near typeset. The smug social consciousness that has sneaked its way into OTWW certainly is unpleasant considering what we really could use these days is a whole lot less "virtue" and a whole lot more lynchings! (And don't go writin' in about the racism alleged or not about that li'l statement....most of the lynchings that took place in the western US were of white people and besides, I really don't have much love for a murderer who was dragged outta his cell and subjected to the neck stretch!)

But hey, I know that Bob and Jayze are man enough to take my solid constructive criticism to heart. If I were you I'd go get yerself a copy of OTWW #19 and at least see what the fanzine idiom on life support looks and reads like long after most of you readers ceased to care.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


The great newspaper comics artist-writer Alfred Andriola, best known today for his later Kerry Drake comic strip, wrote and drew a Charlie Chan newspaper strip in the late 30’s and early 40’s. The B&W daily strip and the separate color Sunday strip had different continuities and ran from 1938-1942. You can find many samples of these strips online, and they’ve had sections published in collector paperback books over the years. Some recent exciting news for fans of Andriola’s Chan strip is that the Library of American Comics (LOAC, who do the wonderful horizontal, large-sized reprints of one year of a daily strip, one day’s strips to each page) is bringing out the first year of Chan’s B&W strip, from October 1938 to November 1939, in a hardcover volume which should be out by the time you read this. That should re-ignite interest in both Andriola’s work and the Chan strip. What I’m covering today, though, is a book from 2015 that contains the first 72 color Sunday strips, starting from the beginning in late October 1938. Pulp Tales Press promised to deliver the complete Sundays in three volumes, but so far, this is the only one to appear. I’ve been trotting it out every year or so to re-read since getting it, and recently I’ve been re-reading it to get ready for the LOAC volume (I do have most of those daily strips elsewhere, but the quality will be so much better and the size much larger in the LOAC edition, it will be like encountering the strips for the first time---I’m sorry I missed the Pacific Comics Club over-sized reprints of the Chan dailies back in the 80’s, which I saw briefly then but could not afford) and thought I’d mention its existence to the newspaper comics fans and Chan fans among the BTC readership.

Although the Chan name would be familiar to almost anyone in 1938, the specifics of his character would not necessarily be known since not everyone saw his Fox movies or read the novels of Chan creator Earl Derr Biggers, so the initial Sunday entries are complete-unto-themselves and introduce the police inspector for the Honolulu Police who is of Chinese background, showing his family, his methods of crime detection, etc. Only after a few weeks of that, to get readers used to Chan and his environment, do we get multi-week story arcs, and those tend to last for a few months each. That allows for plots involving multiple characters/suspects, changes in setting, multiple subplots, etc. and gives the strip more of the feel of a movie, or more accurately, a movie serial. In one of the early Sunday entries, as the readers are being introduced to the character’s methods, we see him solve a theft ON ONE PAGE in one Sunday strip! Thank goodness that technique was not continued! It would be like those “Five Minute Mysteries” radio shows I’ve sent Chris over the years, which he’s reviewed here.

Instead of sons Tommy or Jimmy Chan assisting him on these cases, Charlie has an assistant from the police force here, one Kirk Barrow, an athletic blond who would no doubt have been played by some former-male-model heart-throb had this been a film, and Kirk is assisted by Gina Lane, formerly of a Hollywood film crew that was filming in Hawaii in the first multi-week Chan color Sunday adventure, and who fell for Kirk and decided to stay in Hawaii. Charlie managed to get her a position on the force! The cases involve kidnapping, theft, piracy, crooks posing as missionaries, crooked phony-rebels who are terrorizing their home area, and of course, some murders. “Murder, Chan specialty” I can hear Sidney Toler saying in one of the Monogram Chan films.

Alfred Andriola apprenticed with Milton Caniff on Terry and The Pirates, and with Kerry Drake he became a fine craftsman with his art (and his storytelling). As this book is taken from photocopies of actual yellowing Sunday strips, and not syndicate proofs, and since there is none of the “re-coloring” and “digital enhancement” we see in so many of the reprints of both comic strips and comic books in the last 25 years, and because of the crude color-newsprint reproduction in the 1930’s, a purist might turn his nose up at the reproduction of the art here, but you don’t need a Criterion edition of a PRC or Monogram film, so I’m happy with the quality. Pulp Tales Press clearly put some effort into making sharp and crisp copies of what would have been a bit blurred in the original medium. I’m sure the LOAC edition of the B&W dailies will show every detail of Andriola’s action-packed, vibrant art, so I’m looking forward to that book. Until then, though, this color collection of brisk and mystery-filled Sunday continuities is the perfect company on a lazy evening…like tonight, as it’s 101 degrees here in South Texas in August----and with the humidity, it’s easy to imagine myself in Hawaii with Inspector Chan! This is actually my FOURTH or fifth reading of this book, so that in itself tells you how much I like this collection. Just Google the publisher and title, and YOU, my friend, can order the book directly from its maker, and if they sell a few more, maybe they’ll finally bring out the second and third volumes of this series. I’m ready for them!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

With the weather gettin' colder and the nights longer no longer do I have an excuse not to stay indoors and indulge myself in the finer things in life like music and eyeball stimulation of a moving or static variety. Yes, there's nothing like keeping holed up in one's house doin' nothin' but reading old comics, watching tee-vee and eating the kinda foods that used to be special treats when you were younger, but now you are an old turd and nobody has to tell you that Cheetos are unhealthy and all that rot unless Don Fellman happens to call. I spent a good portion of Sunday as well as a few evening afterwards just soaking myself into music (see my playlist below) while reading some of the finer fanzines that have graced our earth like CAN'T BUY A THRILL and that special surprise OUT THERE (Paul Morley wasn't as much a creep as people make him out to be even if he was part of that nauseating "Frankie Goes to Hollywood" scam). With the days getting darker and the outdoor work load lighter, I sure hope that I have more'n just a few days where I can just settle back and appreciate the past fiftysome years of musical and published mayhem in my own down pat sorta style that is more or less akin to your long-gone bachelor Unca Ferd with the easy chair reclining away in his stocking feet watching BONANZA back 1963 way. Way to go, Ferd!
Hey, are any of you readers participating in "No Nut", or "No Fap" November, that Coomer pledge to abstain from any really naughty action that takes place in that region below the belly and above the knees for the entire month? Well, in my case it's been "No Nut Life", but then again I feel that many of you regular tuner-inners of this blog might have less of control and are pretty lonely guys and well, there are times in one's existence when even those honeydew melons at the supermarket can look pretty excitng. If you are up front and center in this internet-wide campaign to stamp out self abuse I do commend you, but somehow I have the feeling that all of your water bills are gonna be goin' sky high once December 1st rolls around...
What may come as a surprise to you as of late is the amount of PSYCHIC MAYHEM that has been occurring during my hours both waking and not. Mostly not, like right before I finally drop off into the deep arms of Morpheus who I hope isn't queer...dunno why, but images both weird and just plain peculiar seem to pop into my mind for no special, or explainable reason for that matter. For example it may be the face of an old man or a quaint young lady of 1930's vintage drawn in a classic magazine style, or perhaps a cartoon-esque character like a little girl I never even heard of who might have had her own comic strip back in the fifties. Clear images of people I've never seen before and hopefully never will again just appear and ya know I'm gonna lose my brain if by some chance I would happen to SEE said person at the store the following day! What's even weirder is when words suddenly start spelling out in my mind, nice and clear as if something from another world is trying to somehow communicate with me. The only real problem is NONE of these words make any "IBLUM" or "mentrublcat". I still don't know what the various numerals that also appear during those less consciously on-guard hours mean, probably the number of goof offs I'm gonna make the following day. Could I have some strange Uri Geller-type powers I don't even know about? Once I can control these strange powers all I gotta say out vermin!
HERE'S WHAT ELSE (BESIDES THE OFFAL MENTIONED BELOW) THAT I WAS LISTENING TO WHILE PUTTING THIS PARTICULAR ENTRY TOGETHER: BLACK PEARL CD (Wounded Bird Records)-A way better representation of just what the late-sixties really hadda offer us than that item reviewed elsewhere in which Black Pearl is mentioned; David Crosby-IF I COULD ONLY REMEMBER MY NAME CD (Atlantic Records)-For Eddie Flowers. Not as wasted as I originally felt, but ooooh those harmonies!; Michael Nyman-DECAY MUSIC CD (EMI Records England)-Avgarde music always seems to go down the smoothest on Sunday afternoons---well it beats football!; The Magic Tramps-KICKING UP MOONLIGHT DUST CD (Moonlight Dust Records)-Wouldn't mind hearing what an actual album circa. 1971 woulda sounded like---wasn't Emerson at one time signed to Paramount Records???; Mahogany Brain-SMOOTH SICK LIGHTS CD (Fractal Records)-Because I always listen to it; Fripp & Eno-(NO PUSSYFOOTING) CD (Editions EG Records)-Self-indulgent? If it is, this kinda self indulgence sure sounded better back inna mid-seventies!;  The Gizmos-RAW FIRST TAKES 1977 CD-r (Slippytown Records)-For those of you who remember 1976 as being a whole lot more than Peter Frampton and disco; The Beatles-BACK-TRACK CD (bootleg)-Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time; SURPRIEZE CD-r burn-Not the WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT explosion that I would have liked, but weirded out "freak" "loner" "music" "done" "up" "by" "someone" "even" "more" "whacked" "out" "than" "you!"; I think I filled up at least two inches (depending on your browser) trying to beef this post up to a more respectable size so I'll just stop everything right here and NOW!
Not that hotcha a week for new and really inspirational musics to overtake me and my rather susceptible aural/cranial complex. But new stuff I did hear and as usual I will relate to you my own personal opinions on the stuff in my own hopefully snark and pithy ways why I don't give a hoot about any of it. Awww cuh-monh, you might be able to decipher something positive outta the following mess...

The Doors-APOCALYPSE NOW CD-r burn

As time crept on the Doors meant less and less to me, not that they ever were a top-echelon act in my rather "blinkered" mind. Chalk it up to their image as some hotcha revolutionary youth revolt force that made music which was over-produced as well as overwrought and somehow appealed to Young Ameriga's worst values and instincts. The fact that the creepy kids with pinwheel eyes loved 'em didn't help. The other fact is that the Doors didn't deliver on the total eruption jamz like some of their outer reaches compatriots also figures in mightily. After all, when compared to another vocals/guitar/keyboards/drums aggregation such as the Seeds who by all reports produced the best live show in the El Lay area during the '66/'67 season what were the Doors but a poorly executed hip poetry aggregation whose only real claim to fame was that they had the hip Elektra machine crankin' behind 'em thus guaranteeing mucho teenage buckskins a'headed their way!

This live in Stockholm gig just seems to reiterate all my bigotries surrounding not only the Doors but the hip teen cult that surrounded them. Next to the NUGGETS bands the Doors are total pretension, while even next to the late-sixties hard edged punk rockers who copped some of the Doors' musical and vocal ideas they seem rather restrained. A cooker like IT'S ALL MEAT not to mention efforts from the Stooges to Black Pearl definitely do put all of those preachy Jim Morrison poses and the band's too self-conscious ("oooh, let's throw in a Coltrane motif here and some neo-Shankar modal whooziz there") in the shade. Why listen to something that goes part of the way like this when you can hear it all in full tilt Neanderthal mode elsewhere? Jim Morrison does not satisfy the way Sky Saxon did even during the latter's mind-clogged latter days

The freakout segment entitled "Wake Up" did show some signs of rock as twisted expression. And I never really was one that thought "Light My Fire" was that bad of a frequent radio spin even if it was such a professionally bland tune that Jose Feliciano could turn it into bossa nova. (And believe you me, many Doors songs were already bossa nova enough that nobody hadda turn 'em into that!)  But as "decent" as these particular tracks may be they're not quite passionate enough to really get me plugged into the entire Doors "aura".

The above ramble's enough to get anyone tossed outta the rough and tumble book of rock criticism proper, but since I never was a "rock critic" or "proper" for that matter its like I could care one whit. I do kinda care that late-sixties rock 'n roll with all its promise and potential got waylaid by sounds like this. If you wonder where my general disdain for hippiedom and its fruits came from you really don't have to look that hard.
Various Artists-STARRY EYED - THE RECORDS TRIBUTE CD-r burn (originally on Zero Hour Records)

Listening to over an hour of relatively recent (well, at least ca. 2013) groups paying tribute to these late-seventies power pop legends just might be too twee for me to live through. That's why I stopped midway thinkin' that I just HAD ENOUGH of it to at least crank out a decent review. However, considering how advanced this relatively commercial music was in the face of all that horrid (and it just got WORSE) dribble like Yacht Rock and Disco that was passing for rock ('n roll) and teenage International Music during the same period in time, this might as well be the Stooges. When I think about 1979 musical jamz it's usually the likes of Pere Ubu that tickle my fancy, but this 'un does revive some of those hidden feelings of what this kind of music might have led to. And it was that HARD STUFF if you can believe it!
Various Artists-RICH SOUNDS OF THE SIXTIES VOLUME ONE CD-r burn (originally on Forum Records)

Yet another collection of rarer than braincells in a modern-day MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL reader's head (are those washed up ex-hippies still around?) sixties garage band rama lama fa-fa-fa. But unfortunately this 'un ain't as overdrive as I would have liked---although all of these tracks found here are from the Northwest there's little here to differentiate these guys from thousands others who were trying to cash in on the Big Time back when the cashin' in seemed good. Not that these guys were so L7 that even Ernie Douglas seemed cool in comparison, but if yer expectin' the overall drive of the hard rock acts that made Seattle etc. so powerful in the sixties you might be disappointed. The highlight, at least for me, just hadda be Atilla and the Huns' "Mojo Cools" which was nothing but a strange re-write of the Sonics' "Witch" and an ever stranger one than that high-larious version that ended up on one of those recent BACK FROM THE GRAVE exhumations.
'LECTRIC WOODS CD-r burn (originally on Apt Records)

E-Z sludge created especially for the wannabe Silent Majority hipster ca. 1969 who wants to dab his wee-wee-wee piggy into the cesspool of hipster jamz. The hits of the day are reduced to even sappier levels if that is imaginable. Kinda like the aural equivalent of having warm tapioca pudding poured all over your head.
Various Artists-SOME OF OUR BEST FRIENDS ARE CD-r burn (originally on Warner Brothers Records)

Another one of those Warner Brothers samplers that I don't recall ever seeing in used bins unlike those "loss leaders" that were scattered about all over the place. And for a collection of '68-era Warners artists I gotta say that this platter didn't bore me at all even if many of the artists present aren't exactly what anyone would call BLOG TO COMM-worthy. Most of it is folkie dribble but it ain't gnawin' at me like it might have at one time (probably because I had my nerve endings removed by a Nurse With Would album a good twentysome years back), and for once I could actually enjoy listening to ferret face Joni Mitchell head straight into Eric Andersen while Tiny Tim, Arlo Guthrie and David Blue play on in their own special way. Even the Grateful Dead's "Born Cross Eyed" fit in snug 'n tight and whoever it was that decided to pair the Fugs' "Crystal Liason" and the (new) Electric Prunes' "Kyrie Eleison" back to back shoulda been given a raise. Jimi fans'll explode in joy over "If Six Was Nine" even if Don Fellman would rather shove sharp pencils in his ears. Even if ya ain't one of those down on the farm front porch hippie types you might get some pleasure out of it. Not much, but some.

Some of these label-specific samplers really don't cut it thematically or aesthetically for that matter, and this one is amongst 'em. However, these single sides taken from Arc Records in Canada do have a teenage fun streak to 'em that makes the thing hold together a whole lot more than some of these other similarly minded efforts. From early sixties vocal group to mid-sixties teen pop, these platters were primed for the transistor radio set, only for some sad reason they never really went anywhere other'n someone's basement. A good bunch if I do say so. Even has a really cheezy mid-sixties comedy horror since from Brian and Gary and the Chain Rattlers that's so cheap that I don't even think Fellman knows about it.
Various Artists-MUSTANG SAVAGE STREET SHADOW CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Haw---just got this 'un inna mail today so I don't have to dig through my Bill Shute box in my bedroom to find one of these samplers of his to write up this week! Fairly good 'un what with the Snakefinger stuff from his Ralph Record days coming off way better'n that one live cassette he put out around 1989 or so---ewwww!---while the Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet instrumental sides were rather digestible even if they had that oh-so-MODERNE production that comes off way too clean for me. The South Asian tracks from the Mustangs and Arun Amin and Amin's Aspirations (same crew?) will put you in the mood for some tandoori chicken the next time you hit your favorite Indian restaurant. Coulda done without Lainie Kazan or those ever-popular piano wimps Ferrante & Teicher even if these blokes weren't totally "offensive" to my rather skewered musical tastes (and they had the smarts to cop the prepared piano gimmick from John Cage!), but given that every second in my life is precious I like to utilize them in the best way possible!
Time for the ol' pitch...back issues of BLACK TO COMM are still available for those of you stupid enough to have missed out on 'em the first time. Betcha that got your guilt and shame glands all riled up to the point where you'll just have to buy 'em all now, right? Sheesh, don't any of you people out there have a conscience other'n for protecting slutty teenage gals from those embryos that somehow seem to magically attach themselves to the inner linings of uteri?

Thursday, November 14, 2019

BOOK REVIEW! BRIDE OF LUCKY LUKE --- A LUCKY LUKE ADVENTURE #59 by Morris and Vidal (Cinebook, 1985)

Actually the title is misleading because the cute li'l gal onna cover does not marry Lucky Luke, but I'll let this rather glaring error pass like a kidney stone just this once.

What I won't let pass is the fact that Morris and his new partner Vidal (Goscinny having 86'd a few years earlier) have decided to get rid of Luke's perennial cigarette hangin' from his lips, replacing it with a blade of grass which I would assume sends some sorta message to the lumpen Gallic kiddies who eat LUCKY LUKE up with a passion! 'n really, after all these years of living in a dictatorship of the health nut do we need to cowtow to the forces that be who have been ruining our lives for nigh on fiftysome years with their school marmish scoldings regarding everything we desire to cram into our mouths and down out gullets? Just like we don't need to extend tongue up the posteriors of these Old Scolds who see infractions upon their desire to create "The New Eunuch" and wrongs to be righted whenever they open their peepers!

You all know just how puked to the guts I am about all of these alleged "evils" that has been overlooked in the entire history of humankind ever since Adam did a number two in the Garden of Eden's potato patch that all of a sudden have to not only be "corrected" but amended for in yet another public display of "We Are All Responsible" sackcloth and ashes. Just dig this crazy example of "virtue signalling" in perhaps its vilest form:
First published in 1985, La Fiancee de Lucky Luke will no doubt ruffle many feathers among today's readers. While it could be argued that the casual sexism of some of the jokes is a reflection of Lucky Luke's times, it is more accurately a reflection of French and Belgian societies in the 80s. There is nothing here that is militantly misogynistic, but we urge you to remember that a comic is a work that is anchored in its own time, and to view that aspect as a sign of how far we've gone on the road to equality - and how far we still have to go.
Sheeee-yit! Like ya can't even guffaw at the sight of a buncha pretty missies shrieking over the sight of a mouse anymore, and if you can't laff at that what else can ya laff at other'n gimps and harelips? Yes, "how far we have to go" before ya can't laff at ANYTHING, and the only things I find worth chortlin' over these sad 'n sorry days is a humor of a crass and tasteless variety given how grim and ultra-Victorian (in a strangely libertine way) life has become as of late.

But keeping all that aside I gotta say that I enjoyed this fairly late entry into the LUCKY LUKE canon. As usual the French/Belgian turn on the Old West does come up withe some pretty interesting takes on eggs-ackley what them olde tymey dayze was kinda/sorta like. Nothing as off-kiltered as that one Buddy Holly show on the BBC which originally had Buddy ordering some egg 'n chips in a Texas diner until the Amerigan actor playing Buddy pointed this little snag out, but just enough that you don't really notice it like you did that US Army general on SUPERCAR who said "shedjule" 'stead of "skedjule". Eh, I'm sure alla those Europeons who were bombarded with tee-vee reruns of these moom pitchers to the point where they actually created their own homespun efforts swallowed this stuff up like nice 'n WHOLE, and really, once you get down to it this representation of the Western genre is way more accurate than that gay version of THE RAWHIDE KID a few decades back..

In this saga Luke is hired to haul some mailorder brides to the small town of Purgatory which has been pretty female-less for some time. Luke, along with his horse sidekick "Jolly Jumper" (sheesh!) manage to get the entire brood hauled over with the help of an extremely homo hairdresser/escort, and not only does he finish this Herculean task but he roots out an escaped convict dressed as one of the gals along the way and while intermingling with some Indians sells 'em a whole buncha bonnets and dresses to wear.

However, when the wagon train finally gets to Purgatory it seems as if Jenny O'Sullivan (she the one who keeps cooking the Irish Stew that gives credence to the tale of an army moving on its puke or something like that) is outta luck since her fiancee is in jail for tearing apart the local saloon in celebration. Luke has to take care of her until the drunk gets out which leads to a whole load of funzy gags what with O'Sullivan's natural prissiness getting the better of Our Hero.

It's at this point where the infamous Daltons once again enter into the LUCKY LUKE saga when they kidnap Jenny who manages to do the old RANSOM OF RED CHIEF gag on 'em making things so miserable to the point where they're just beggin' to get back into stir what with the housework and the stew sorta crampin' the idea of freedom. And who sez that men who are dragged by the noses by females of any sort are "free"?

If you can go for the Smurf/Asterix-like European style this might appeal to you. Fans of old cowboy comics probably already know about these and have gulped LUCKY LUKE down by the load. And (how I just love repeating my grievances regarding moderne-day living!) considering the slop that's being passed off on us these days a book like BRIDE OF LUCKY LUKE really does make for a free time fun reading that not only gives you a good story and better'n your local college newspaper comic art, but acts as a reminder of what comics generally were like before they had to "grow up" to the point of being so pseudo-intellectual that only a college freshman with a Sartre book he never got beyond page four with could derive any pleasure outta it.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

It's sure tough being a suburban slob punk rock fanzine collectin' comic book readin' Dr. Pepper guzzlin' underwear skiddin' sorta guy in the kinda world we have today. But try I must, and I gotta say that I am succeedin' if only because I refuse to expose my precious juices to the offal that one calls MODERN DAY LIVING!!! And it does help when you keep the tee-vee set fixed on old moom pitchers and re-re-reruns of those old shows you've seen ever since you were an embryo but they still have more appeal than alla those rump wranglers and shrub scouts you see around ever did! Hey, who sez that the BLOG TO COMM PHILOSOPHY was piddle next to what Hugh Hefner was pumping out with his mixed up Nietzscheisms a good sixtysome years back!
On the emotional roller coaster of life let's just say that I've evened out. A few weeks back I was way up onna peak thinking about all the good stuff that makes life for me so enjoyable, then I took the plunge and got upset over alla the nasty stuff that is ruining existence for myself if not you. (Hey, I get the idea that most of you tuner-inners enjoy the miasma and dystopian existence we all find ourselves in.) Right now I'm just hangin' on tryin' to get by. Doin' a fairly good job at it as well, much to your derision I surmise.

OF COURSE a healthy influx of great sound stimulation coupled with exciting reading material helped stave off what coulda been another trip to the bouncy room. Always being on the lookout for good rockist writeups and such I actually spent last Saturday AM scouring the internet for some rare Giovanni Dadomo material which I printed up and stapled into my own personal fanzine for late-night reading enjoyment. I know that many of you really couldn't stand this writer cum musician cum drug addict (in fact, Dadomo is the main reason as to why Lindsay Hutton hates dagos!) but I find his various contributions to a number of English publications to be every bit as attuned to the BLOG TO COMM sense of music as that cathartic liberating yet totally foul expression of uptightness! In fact, I would even go out on a limb and say that Dadomo was as good as everyone from Jonh Ingham to Charles Shaar Murray to Nick Kent and the rest of the smart set that was cranking rockscribe fodder in Olde England during the seventies.

Dadomo's various pieces from a 1971 Syd Barrett interview (back before everybody seemed to really care!) to a smattering of writeups on everybody from the Doctors of Madness to Frank Zappa still have the kind of hits-you-STRAIGHT ON vigor that I like in my rockist writings which are in mighty short supply these days. Along with my boxes of old fanzines and such cluttering up my closet (my shoes lie under my bed...I know my priorities) and some hotcha sounds on the little cheapo boom box at chairside (ya think I can AFFORD the megahuge stereo system I've wanted for well over forty years????) I'm sure to be in rockism heaven when I get my jammies on and settle back for some pre-beddy bye reading as the night wiles away!

And as far as that music listening goes I've decided to pull out some Swell Maps for a change. To be more specific the Alive Records releases from quite awhile back. I have a love/hate/indifference relationship with this act...when I first spun the budget Rough Trade double set of rare home recordings and Peel material (WHATEVER HAPPENS NEXT, which for some reason has never been reissued as far as I can tell which is a shame since it captures the group at their rawest) I thought these guys were the logical extension of what the Red Crayola were doing with the Familiar Ugly way back when (a thought that John Platt also hit upon in his COMSTOCK LODE fanzine). However their first album proper just didn't measure up to any special standards at least on my part. By that time it was 1983 (hadda wait until it was cheap, like I used to do with most all my purchases) and the mode of the music was changing into something that didn't appeal to my inner musical gyroscope that tries to keep me on balance. I hit upon their recordings on and off ever since, liking them immensely at one time then having a seething hatred after I would read Jay Hinman write something good about 'em thus ruining the aura for quite a spell. Tonight I'm gonna give 'em another go at it hoping that any of the negativity from past experiences has vanished for good, though I'm not positive that it has. We'll see.

But excited I am as I would have hoped what with the Dadomo material that I picked up for FREE (Rock's Back Pages costs an arm and a leg to acquire and if I ever do re-enlist with them I'm gonna make sure that I do a whole LOT of copying before my subscription runs out) and the Swell Maps to listen to. Might even be inspired to pick up that collection of Snivelling Shits recordings featuring Dadomo even if I thought that Arthur Comics track "Isgodaman?" was kinda off punk kilter not as bad as X-Ray Spex but still kinda eh! Your recommendations, as usual, will be ignored.

When the Dadomo ran out I went back to my fanzine boxes which really did help uplift me in a way that would have made Penelope Playtex proud. For reasons that may seem odd only to you I really do get a spiritual kick reading hard-edged rock screeding whether it be from The Masters or some unknown dodo with a typewriter circa. 1976, and while pouring through these mags I got a charge that really helped electroshock me into feeling like that step up the evolutionary ladder like whatever does come after homo HETERO SUPERIOR???? Reading old issues of PANACHE back when they were sticking pix of Stooges-era Iggy on their cover and actually reviewing Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt albums (which shows they had a whole lotta cheek which the world sure needed more of) really does give me the inner glow that a zillion kreeshna kreeshes could never do! And given how these fanzine guys (at least those with less of a budget than a BACK DOOR MAN or even CAN'T BUY A THRILL) could deliver on a printed version of what OUR ROCK HEROES were doing musically really does amaze me to no end. What's even more mind-expolding is that after reading a whole load of these under-the-underground wonders I don't feel as if my own excursions into crudzine publishing were as crude or as hackneyed as I sometimes remember them to be. Let's just say that fanzines like the ones that used to come out way back when RULE but just try gettin' a few into the palm of yer hands these days!

PS-Played the two Swell Maps platters and found both of them to be exactly what the Doctor Strange ordered. The aforementioned fanzine hype does stand up what with these guys' immersion in sixties rock glory (Velvets, Crayola, Beefheart, Can, Syd...) and then-current punkitude folding together into a style that could appeal to both the old fanzine guard and the snots who were just getting into the stuff via import catalogs. Well, at least I can say it about MOST of this soundstew...the closing instrumental tracks from SWEEP THE DESERT sounded like totally hackneyed early-eighties post-music lost in a clash of middling ideas. IN OTHER WORDS Swell Maps satisfies the softie in me that's wanting to tighten up a whole lot the same way the more driven musics of the sixties and seventies have. Y'know, with their hypnotic repeato-riffs and abilities to take utter noise and make into something that stands as a testament to what rock 'n roll used to mean to more people than the usual "classic rock" snob types would dare admit. After listening to this group I kinda wonder where we went wrong in that trip down life's lonely highway to the point where it doesn't even exist the way we used to know it anymore.
Oh boy, it's review time! Big thanks to Bill, Paul and Guerssen for the raw materials, and an even BIGGER
thanks to me for having my brain discern the sounds concealed within and translating their meaning into words even someone like you could understand!

Lucifer Was-UNDERGROUND AND BEYOND CD (Guerssen Records, Spain)

An early-seventies Norwegian group reunited over a quarter century later to record material written and performed way back when, and the really amazing thing is that after all these years these guys didn't miss a beat! Guitar, bass, drums and two flautists, Lucifer Was do draw various Tullian references what with the flutes and early-seventies hard rock moves but most often they recall a late-sixties just-post psychedelic group heading into early heavy metal territory. The results spew is at least 1970 Vertigo-worthy which makes me wonder how that label could have missed out on a goldmine like this. If only this came out way back when...I'd love to have known what Metal Mike Saunders woulda thought of the thing in the pages of some old PHONOGRAPH RECORD MAGAZINE!
Eddie Cochran-SESSION MAN CD-r burn (originally on NMC Records)

A variety of musical modes to make the walls of the city shake turn up on this collection of Cochran's sesh work, from straight ahead country twang to gal pop complete with the patented "ooh ooh" backup. Not surprisingly some of it actually sounds like an Eddie Cochran record "proper"! In order to lure in even more buyers this 'un closes out with some songs by Eddie himself including what I believe is a broadcast version of "C'Mon Everybody" and various outtakes that should please more'n a few devotees of late-fifties rock sproutings everywhere. This stuff is probably too "old" for some of you readers and maybe it was for me at one point in time, but now I'd have to say that it sure beats a whole lotta stuffing outta Anastasia Pantsios' Top Ten of Harmonic Hippieness!
THE YANKEES CD-r burn (originally on Bear Family Records, Germany)

Haw! A buncha Germans dress up like Civil War soldiers and do the rock 'n roll thing for the locals who somehow connect the Union Army with early and mid sixties-rock motifs! Of course it works even if that European sterility manages to seep through. Lotsa covers intermingle with cutesy originals sung both in der mater tongue as well as English and it all goes down so perfect that even Himmler would smile. Here I must refrain form further Third Reich references a la "You vill listen und you vill LIKE it!" Sorry, that 'un just slipped out.

Bill slapped this sampling of late-fifties rarities together and for a slap together it holds both thematically and sonicly speaking. The material here fits exactly what one would think of when coming across a local label (in this case from Illinois) with a rock 'n roll (or at least some sort of early youth market) bent...vocal groups and neo-rockabilly rule the roost while Lennie Lacour sounds as if he's trying to take on the who rock 'n roll shebang HIS way and doing a fairly good job at it if I do say so myself. If you think I'm going crazy this following turdbit might prove you right...when I was listening to Denni Alan's "Sixth Solid Baby" and "Turn-A-Bout Date" I thought he was actually singing "Steak Salad Baby" and "Tuna Boat Date"! Kinda reminds me of "She's a Muscular Boy", "Take a Bike Ride Sir" and "Blinded By The Light, She Tore Up Her Douchebag in the Middle of the Night"!
Various Artists-ROVIN DELTA RAMROD REIGN CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Hmmm, a pretty glued together well selection of mostly mid-Amerigan local releases with a few surprises like the Rockin' Berries and a smattering of old radio ads stuck here/there. The local releases range from early-sixties teenage basement rock (Valas Craig and the High Counts) to mid-sixties teen club floor-fillers (the Rockin' Ramrods) and even a late-sixties heavy blooze rock take that ain't too Boone's Farmed out (the Triad). Even other goodies manage to take this stubborn fanabla by surprise like the News' "Blue Shoes", which  reminds me of a track that woulda ended up on PRETTIES FOR YOU!  It ain't as cohesive as your everyday runna da mill standard PEBBLES compilation, but if you'd like hearing these real obscurities at least once I'd get Bill to burn you a copy! However I do believe his Cee Dee fryer as conked out for all eternity so tough turds to you.
Just a reminder to those who might care, back issues of BLACK TO COMM are still available and at prices lower than those you will find tryin' to search these out on ebay. Believe me, you will find some good reading in these pages. Of course you will have to do some sifting...

Thursday, November 07, 2019


Yet another one of the many DIRTY DOZEN re-make/remodels that moom pitcher goers were subjected to from the late-sixties until the mid-seventies! Now THE GREAT GANG WAR ain't anything that special as far as these cinematic excursions into a fun trashy time go, but this Italian/Spanish effort really knew how to take a successful idea and milk a few lactational spirals outta it for yer benefit.

Former COLT .45 star Wayde Preston's definitely this film's Lee Marvin, a guy who gets thrown into the outdoor jail cell at a redneck prison and breaks out with exactly the four specific guys he needs, who just happen to be there (what a coincidence!), for an important mission taking out a bootlegging operation hidden inside a Mexican monastery. Italian big name George Eastman plays the stereotypical wired Irishman, this one who hates Negroes, especially the one played by Archie Savage. Savage does it in that typical laid back cool style that makes you think he's so philosophical and flower-picking gentle on one hand before he bashes in a whole buncha local toughs at a diner the next. You got the Telly Savalas and Jim Brown roles right there, but as far as the college professor and the randy Italian go well...I haven't seen THE DIRTY DOZEN in a few years so I can't pinpoint who played their roles in that 'un right now.

But wha' th' hey, for THE GREAT GANG WAR has a good enough pulse and throb to it that should keep you palpitating throughout its 90 minute run. Nothing pedal-flooring intense, but it still will keep your mind off the bladder and the snikky-snax as you soak in the various goings on whether they be in the prison or the obligatory for every late-sixties film whorehouse scene. Don't worry about anything being overtly naughty in here since the gals (including the hooker who joins up with the men for their daring mission) are duly covered up enough even in the peek-a-boo scene where you can tell she's buck nekkid but that's only because you see here from the side and within a narrow range. It won't getcha horny or anything, but I get the idea that if this was on tee-vee and your mom was in the room you'd be sent to bed while she gets to watch the rest of it!

If any of you reg'lar BLOG TO COMM readers are suffering from a bout of the blahs or just plain ennui and want a moom pitcher to sorta slip into your miasma, this might be some good backdrop for an even more blanded out Sunday afternoon than the one I've suffering through right now. Even if you ain't in blahsville you might get a little tingling of a jolt. Whatever, if this happens to pop up on some low-wattage/budget tee-vee station (do they still have any?) I'd give it a look-see if I wuz you.