Tuesday, December 31, 2019


Original TONIGHT SHOW host Steve Allen always had a foot in the music world, and in particular he was always a friend of jazz. He wrote many songs (although only “This Could Be The Start Of Something Big” and “Gravy Waltz” are remembered today) and made the occasional album over the years as a pianist. He also played Benny Goodman in the 1955 biopic THE BENNY GOODMAN STORY, a film remembered for having great music, but although a public figure and TV host, Allen was not really an actor. If he’d been playing himself in the biopic, that would not be a problem, but as he was supposed to be playing a different character, and in the case of Benny Goodman, one who had a distinctive and complex personality and multiple levels operating at any time, Allen’s performance is usually considered inadequate. Most viewers close their eyes and enjoy the fine musical score. Still, Allen continued to support jazz on his various programs and even produced a 60’s TV series called JAZZ SCENE USA, some episodes of which were released on VHS tape in the 1990’s. From the 50’s through the 80’s, Steve Allen was a familiar face on television, whether hosting his own shows or guest-hosting other shows.

JAZZ FOR TONIGHT was recorded on August 17, 1955. After THE TONIGHT SHOW finished broadcasting that night in NYC at 2 a.m., Allen and the band drove down to Rudy Van Gelder’s home studio (hundreds of classic albums were recorded there) in New Jersey, one of the best-regarded studios for recording jazz on the East Coast, where the album was recorded into the morning hours and completed before lunch.

Allen assembled a crack band of NY studio musicians with first-rate jazz credentials: Charlie Shavers on trumpet, Milt Hinton on bass, George Barnes on guitar, Urbie Green on trombone, Hank D’Amico on clarinet, Bobby Rosengarden on drums, and Allen himself on piano. Seven of the eight tunes (which are quite long, the album is nearly 25 minutes a side!) are regulars in the jazz repertoire, and the eighth is a slow blues penned by Allen. The highest praise I can give this album is that if you slipped it into a stack of 50’s mainstream jazz albums, you would probably consider it a solid effort, though without any real distinction. Allen’s piano has no bop element to it (although he hinted at bop, slightly, in the POETRY FOR THE BEAT GENERATION album he recorded with writer Jack Kerouac, an album I’ve played hundreds of times over the decades), though he’s also not a stride player with roots in the 20’s. I’d compare him with someone like Erroll Garner, though without the Garner mannerisms, and when he’s playing as a band pianist behind the soloists, it’s clear he’s listened to Count Basie, though as with Garner, he doesn’t affect any of Basie’s mannerisms (he’s also not as minimalist as Basie). Allen seems clearly based in the 1950’s jazz style called “mainstream,” with players who grew up during the Swing era but were untouched by bop and at the same time not rooted in the New Orleans or Chicago jazz of the 1920’s, the way that people playing in bands assembled by Eddie Condon would be. Allen likes blues piano, which helps when you don’t have a distinctive style as it gives you a groove in which you can coast, but he’s not rooted in it the way, say, a Horace Silver is. A lot of these kind of musicians wound up in TV and film soundtrack studio work or in the pit bands of TV or Broadway shows. When Allen moved out West and started broadcasting from Los Angeles, he became a champion of the West Coast jazz scene, and once produced a Chet Baker album called ALBERT’S HOUSE with Baker playing all compositions by Steve Allen (an album not considered among Chet’s best, yet one that has been reissued on dodgy labels multiple times—also, I just checked, and most of it is available on You Tube). This was in 1969, after Chet had lost many of his teeth in an accident/scuffle (you can read the various accounts of this possibly drug-related event online), and he really needed a break as he was re-learning how to play with dentures and also re-inventing himself as a stylist with a frail, bird-with-a-broken-wing kind of understatement.

Allen continued to have one foot in jazz over the decades. He did an album with Oliver Nelson for Impulse (Bob Thiele, of Impulse, was his old producer at Coral and gave the green light for the JAZZ FOR TONIGHT ALBUM, though the liner notes do not mention if he was at the session) and continued to do the one-off jazz trio date here and there. He also wrote the lyrics and the music for a Broadway show about Sophie Tucker (!!!!), and although that show was not a hit, it is well-remembered by people who saw it (I saw a few accounts online from people who remember the 1963 show as if it were yesterday), and a few of the songs from the show were recorded by Judy Garland.

The only real problem with the JAZZ FOR TONIGHT album is the recording itself, which is strange when you consider how many great sessions Rudy Van Gelder engineered. As this was a mono recording, there was no “mixing.” He got a balance on the instruments as the musicians were warming up, and as he’d done hundreds of sessions prior to this, he could probably have done this in his sleep. Thus, I’m kind of surprised that Allen’s piano is not particularly well-recorded. It’s somewhere between being a bit muffled and being a bit off-mike. Oh, you can always hear it, but it’s not as clear and up-front as the other musicians are. I can hear the metal of guitarist George Barnes’s strings with a sharpness and bite that I never hear from Allen’s piano….not to mention the horns, which are way out front and in your face. You would not know that the pianist was the featured musician on the album. Whether this was a rare flub in setting up a balance by Van Gelder, or whether he was commenting in his own way on his opinion of Allen compared with the “real” jazzmen in the group, I’m not sure. It’s worse on some tracks than on others, with the first track on side two, the old standard “Limehouse Blues” (was this a nod to Benny Goodman, whom Allen had just played in a feature film, since this was a great Goodman hit?), being the worst offender, as if a wet blanket was draped over the piano.

Overall, though, I do enjoy this album—I’ve owned it for 40 years. What it lacks is a strong presence by its leader, something not helped by the recording balance. You might think it was a Charlie Shavers album, but Shavers knows whose name is on the cover, so he does not dominate the proceedings, although he’s always a strong and attention-commanding player. The version of “Body and Soul” from this album is currently on You Tube, and it suffers less than other tracks from the recording imbalance, so give it a try, if you’d like a taste of this album. Steve Allen today is most often mentioned in regard to other people’s history----Lenny Bruce, Jack Kerouac, Elvis Presley (Steve had him on his TV show early on)----and in regard to the history of late night TV. Or he’s mentioned as someone who was not a fan of rock and roll or who in his later years objected to profanity and obscenity in entertainment, and often found himself on the same side of arguments as someone like Tipper Gore in the 80’s or 90’s. Presently, you can get a copy of the album for $2.27 on Discogs. You might get more pleasure out of it than you’d get out of a double cheeseburger at McDonald’s for the same $2.27. Or you might not.

Yeah, I wasn't even gonna do a year end's wrapup considering that we are in 2019 and like, what really spectacular and groundbreaking has happened in ANYTHING o'er the past thirtysome years whether it be in the realm of rock 'n roll, jazz, tee-vee, moom pitchers, comics or what-have-you that makes the typical Suburban Slob wanna stand up and take notice? But just when I was losing faith a few fine efforts did pour in even if most of 'em were recorded during those great days of total atonal bliss way back when life seemed more gnarly.

Anyhoo in order to continue on the tradition so to speak (even though I loathe the concept of "tradition", believing that we should keep all of the good ideas of the past and jettison the stoopid ones), here's a list of what floated my submarine during the past 365 and who knows, maybe this post will inspire some of you to seek out some interesting items that I'm sure will be beneficial to your overall well being. If it inspires some of you readers to want to do the big 86 and leave us alone until Kingdom Come well then, it's all the better for each and every one of us, right?

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!- La Femme-MYSTERIE. Gives me hope that a new avant garde of past ideas shaped into something tangible to the force and passion that rock once stood for will emerge one of these sorry days.
ALL OUT ROCK 'N ROLL COLLECTION OF WHERE IT ALL CAME DOWN BOX SET OF THE YEAR!-the Peter Laughner Box Set, which shows up just how far we've deteriorated these past fortysome years.
SINGLE OF THE YEAR!-The Rockets-"Even Money"/"Steppin' Outa Line" (Munster Records)...one I've been waiting for for a looooooong time!
IMPORT OT THE YEAR!-Marie et Les Garcons' 76/77 (Instant Records, France)...an old release but it zoned me as if I were an eighteen-year-old suburban slob who just about had enough lawn mowing money to buy the thing way back when these punkoid prances were first laid down.
ROCK 'N ROLL BOOK OF THE YEAR!-the one that came in the Peter Laughner Box Set.
DEE-VEE-DEE SET OF THE YEAR!-WAY OUT (you'll be reading about it shortly!)
And here's hoping that I won't do anything as wonky when next December 31 rolls around!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Well, it's a dad-blamed fact that if yer tuning into this week's post you've survived Christmas this year! Thankfully that's another one to put under the belt and I do hope that you made it through these most holy of times without overindulging on cookies or getting into one of those silly fights with your cousin when she womps you at checkers resulting in you causing a big scene splattering checkers all over the place. How many Christmas parties I remember where I got hauled off and walloped for one minor infraction or another! And if you don't believe me I'm sure Brad Kohler could fill you in on all the dismal details!

Thanks to the Holidays I got to spend more free time'n usual indulging in my favorite pastimes. Mainly listening to music, reading old rock-related sputum and of course absorbing myself in comics of varying stripes. Sunday afternoon I began re-reading the Jim DeRogatis Lester Bangs biography from a good twenny or so years back while spinning the Gunter Hampel 2-CD QUASIMODO CLUB set which not-so-surprisingly fit in with the tales of total rockist abandon being mentioned in those fine pages even if Bangs' main forte was rock with free jazz a tasty tidbit aside. As you would expect, this one sure stirs up the ol' ashes in my inner furnace what with its tales of not only existing during the nurturing of rock 'n roll as that trash teenage form of expression that even the intellectuals began talking about, but being one of the prime movers in getting the under-the-counterculture word re, the Velvet Underground, Cap'n Beefheart, Seeds etc. OUT! Kinda wish that I was born a good ten years early so's I could have enjoyed the zeitgeist firsthand 'stead of glomming onto its tail end. Only I would love to do it with a straight mind, no borderline autism, parents who weren't control conditioning maniacs, kids in my midst who could understand and perhaps even want to partake in my listening excursions/fantasies...

Come to think of it, music does feel good here in the calm dank of early winter. Just this week I've played the first two Soft Machine albums (English progressive rock sure sounds better if it's touted as being English avant garde jazz). A few years back I was listening to THE MARBLE INDEX while watching the winter sun set and the sky turn a most poignant purple. I'd do the same today though I can't seem to find my copy anywhere...

And you thought I wasn't Autistic! Anyway, here are some of the platters pushed at me this week,. Nothing outta the ordinary mind you, but I managed to survive thanks to these little wonders taking up time that could otherwise be used up spending an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom. Thank you Bill and Paul, you'll never know how you saved my soul with these.

Charlemagne Palestine-SACRED BORDELLO CD (Alga Marghen Records)

It's amazing what I'll find in my collection especially while I'm looking for other things that have just seemed to evaporate. Like this sealed Charlemagne Palestine Cee-Dee I had totally forgotten about! It might have come with the Palestine book I had copped quite awhile back but maybe not, but whatever I gotta say that this 'un really doesn't affect me the way the ARPEGGIATED BOSENDORF WITH FALSETTO VOICE album did what with the title track, almost an hour of a muffled talk given by the composer that has all of the sound quality of a seventies-era college lecture cassette recording and about the same level of excitement. The briefer "Voice Study" fares well what with the interesting male/femme vocal interplay which actually does stimulate various cranial pleasure points. Well, it sure beats the heck outta having to listen to PETER AND THE WOLF over and over again in third grade music class!
Scott H. Biram-THE DIRTY ONE MAN BAND CD-r burn (originally on Bloodshot Records)

Ya gotta watch out for these downhome gutbucket countrybilly kinda guys. And this is one guy ya REALLY gotta watch out for! Not bad at all hard crank on old classics and originals that sound almost as authentic as the stench in a run down men's room. Of course it ain't the original slop but it sure beats the pantaloons off every and any "hit" that has popped up on a variety of medium these past fortysome years. And ya gotta appreciate it for that mere fact alone.
Reverend Horton Heat-25 TO LIFE 2-CD-r burn set (originally on Yep Roc Records)

Swingingly enough country rock that I find OK in small doses. Heat comes off authentic enough and fortunately doesn't succumb to the "cuter" aspects of modern retrowhatever that have dampened past memories of all of the things that have made this music as appealing as it was. Fine, but two platters of this in one sitting really can overload my musical membranes to the point of "no mas"!!!!!
The Dirtys-YOU SHOULD BE SINNIN' CD-r burn (originally on Crypt Records)

I gotta admit that I found most of the current artists who had recorded for the infamous Crypt Records label back inna '90s to not quite live up to the image that the original garage band thud of the reissued items that had popped up on that "epochal" label (I refuse to use the term "iconic" which is nowadays being bandied about like sauerkraut at a German wedding reception) o'er the years. (Re)-listening to this platter reminds me why since there's nothing about the Dirtys that reflects the suburban slob ranch house attitudes of those groups that popped up on BACK FROM THE GRAVE way back during the glory days of garage band compilations. However they do crank out a loud roar that should sate many of you readers' inner turmoil and that's sure a whole lot more'n what I can say for many of those new garage band types I occasionally hear on Sirius Radio---before switchin' 'em right off!
Gene Clark-NO OTHER CD-r burn (originally on Asylum Records)

Like most of what I've heard of these various ex-Byrds offerings Clark dives full force into the same seventies turquoise jewelry of El Lay laid back country doob music. Thankfully Clark's musings ain't as offensive as many a similar cocaine karmik effort of the seventies, though they still have quite a way to go before being as digestible as something along the lines of Gram Parsons. Don't worry, despite all that you'll probably get sick halfway through. However, even with the Laurel Canyon influence this 'un does hold up a little better'n those various Crosby/Stills/Gnash efforts the radio used to force feed us back when we were young and told this was the proper way to sate our musical lusts.
The Outnumbered-WHY ARE ALL THE GOOD PEOPLE GOING CRAZY CD-r burn (originally on Homestead Records)

You already know the answer. It's because during the eighties when this platter came out alla the good people were looking for high energy no-holds-barred rock 'n roll to listen to but all they hadda choose from was simpy records like this! The funny thing is that there sure were a whole load of groups back then who probably would have sated our rock-as-a-way-of-destroying-our-inner-demons appetites, but they got swooshed over in favor of power plop, scrap iron heavy metal, punque and other disgraces that were being passed off to us as sound that spoke for our ever-degenerating generation. Sure it all fell by the wayside as it should have long ago, but then again look at what we hadda look forward to after all that!
Various Artists-FLAMINGO SOUNDS OF SUNSHINE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Bill says this is definitely placed "in the 'lounge' section of the Virtual Thrift Store" and other'n a "Harper Valley PTA" soundalike from Margie Singleton I would say "yeah"!!!! When I was a kid I thought this would be all I'd be listening to when I got older, and now thanks to Bill it is! Walls of violin sludge and testosterone induced brass will remind you of days gone by when music like this ruled the FM band and many a hi-fi nut who looked like Dennis the Menace's dad would lock himself in the den and listen to Percy Faith or Mantovani while the kids were bashing each other's brains out in the basement. Music custom made to accompany those etchings for all you wannabe wolves out there!
Now that it's winter and you're snowed in what'cha gonna do to keep yourself occupied? I get the idea that you wish you coulda staved off the impending boredom by buying a whole slew of BLACK TO COMM back issues to take your mind off the cabin fever you're undoubtedly experiencing within the confines of your fart-encrusted bedroom. Well, if you're not snowbound as of yet you know what you better do given how the Indians have been predicting severe weathers for the past eighty years already!

Thursday, December 26, 2019


Now that Christmas is over and you gotta do somethin' fun before it's New Year's howzbout hitching up with the latest issue of THE ONLY MAGAZINE I WOULD SUBSCRIBE TO IF I WERE RICH ENOUGH (other'n DER STURMER if MoelarryandJesus is to be believed). Yes, UGLY THINGS is one of the few (if any) modern day publications I have such a good time pouring into, and when the latest issue arrives you can bet that I am suspending all other activities both funtime or not to devote myself to pouring through the massive number of pages in order to quell that ever-raging rock 'n roll madness! Y'know, that feeling which continues to tear up inside me just as much as the time I saw my first pair of tits...a woman's not mine.

Lotsalotsalotsa good stuff in here from the piece on Australian metallic masters Coloured Balls to We the People, Michael Bloomfield (which I refuse to read given the guy's association with that whole blues-unto-blooze movement which staggers on even as we speak) and of course that obligatory Greg Prevost re-processing of his old Don Grady interview from OUTASITE. All of them are good 'nuff for me ('cept I ain't read the Bloomfield one, remember?) but not as good as the ones that really struck me through the third ear. Oddly enough I really enjoyed the piece on rock photographer Chuck Krall and his various adventures (even though I think Leee Black Childers woulda been a better photog to promote even if he is no longer with us) not to mention the interview with Brute Force, the singer/songwriter who's probably best known for his obscure "King of Fuh" single on Apple Records which coulda made him the new David Peel if only this one had only gotten out.

Gotta say that my real fave of this ish was the huge interview with Craig Bell, a guy who certainly has been spreading himself on a whole lot thick these past fifteen or so years what with his appearances with everyone from the revived Rocket From The Tombs and Mirrors to Ex-Your Mama Wears Orthopedic Shoes-Ex, the Down-Fi, the Gizmos and whoever else out there needs a bass guitarist in their band. Really informative and filled with snaps that I didn't even know existed. If you wanna see a contrast in under-the-underground cool you should just compare the high stool snaps of Bell with John Morton which really shows just how wide the teenage gap was during those rather not-so-halcyon days!

Of course there's also the wide range of reviews (tho nothing I'd care to part with moneywise this time) and of course Bill Shute. What else do you need in this life anyway, 'cept for the money that it'll cost to BUY yez a copy!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

custom made!
Ah, Christmas! Time once again to put on my Catalonian peasant outfit, find a live nativity scene hosted by some church, and do my caganer routine! Sure I'm always getting in trouble but think of all the laughs as they drag me away to jail, after giving my hiney a proper scrubdown in order to make things in the olfactory department a whole lot easier. Awww, quite being culturally insensitive, you white people you!

Unlike Bill Shute I don't have one of those Puritan-like animuses towards the Christmas Season. At least I didn't until all of the Socially Pious prigs who run everything these days all of a sudden put a damper on this relatively harmless and one-time funzy affair to the point where the mere "Merry Christmas" phrase seems to have turned into hateful, spiteful, triumphalist speech! But man, I still have quite a few good memories of Christmases past, especially the very early ones when life was a whole lot more exciting and forward-looking for a mere suburban slob turdler who thought the next seventy-some years of his existence were gonna be Outer Space extraordinary!!!

Even during my rather depressing stool years Christmas was that little break we kids sure coulda used a whole lot more of and a whole lot more longer one of considerin' just how bad we all had it back then! And even when I entered the halls of maturity I enjoyed my holidays such as the one of 1976 when I not only scored that copy of the Hampton Grease Band's MUSIC TO EAT a few days prior to the week-plus "get away from it all" but remember the fun I had spending Christmas loot on a variety of platters both cut out and not across a wide array of record stores in the tri-county area. (And some still sit proudly in my collection, although on the top of my head the only one I do remember buying is the Monty Python live platter---the English, not the Amerigan one because the cover looked a whole lot better!).

Since there is NADA out there that really captures the old Christmas feeling (even Hallmark has succumbed to a fluff that makes Redi-Whip seem like concrete) I thought I'd slap on these old episodes of the sainted THE ADVENTURES OF OZZIE AND HARRIET television series that really do give me an idea of just how attuned-to-you those times used to be especially when you were slap dab right in the middle of ranch house USA general fun and games! Hope you can kick up your feet and osmose the tru blu Christmas jamz with these shows which sure say a whole lot more about the holidaze'n a stocking just STUFFED with rotting oranges ever will!

There are more episodes, both Christmas-related or not, available via youtube! Who sez you have to spend your evenings staring at Anderson Cooper anyhow???

The above came courtesy of the Droogs, who are you know are one of the better rock 'n roll aggregates extant! Nice of them to send me money, but next time howzbout treating us fans to a new record???
The dirtiest Christmas song I've heard so far...."Ding Dong Merrily on High"! And to all that may I add---"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good riddance!"
And now to the platters, courtesy Bill, Paul, Brad, ugEXPLODE and my own hard work and toil. Sure it ain't as exciting as those Christmas gimmes of yore but if I try hard enough I can ooze out some of that pre-jaded feeling...

Comateens-1980-1985 3-LP set (Tricatel Records)

I remember seein' these guys' names plastered across a whole slew of VILLAGE VOICE "Cafes/Clubs/Discos" listings back during the glory years of under-the-underground rock 1979-1981. In fact, my interest in the Comateens was even piqued the time Peter Crowley in his Max's ad mentioned something about 'em having "a (velvet) underground sense about 'em" or somethin' to that effect. Their self-released single was evident of the pop damage that they could produce (ditto for the spin off Dizzy and the Romilars rec), and the 12-inch of "Street Night City" had an interesting early-sixties Joe Meek meets the boys on the corner lilt to it that appealed to me even if theses guys were way more new wave 'n punk rock. I also duf the 2X5 sampler where the 'teens got to strut their stuff in between acts even more engaging (the Fleshtones) and not (Student Teachers).

But how did they fare on their major label platters issued long after the New York Scene fizzed away from decadence to art project pose? Actually not too bad at first. But still these platters do bear the markings of eighties new wave unto gnu wave (copyright 1983 Bill Shute) miasma. 1981's COMATEENS actually sounds bright without being spunky and features not only a reworking (not as good but eh!) of "Street Light City" but a wavoid "Munsters Theme" that's almost as good as Foreign Bodies and a whole buncha gnarly deca-rockers that more or less typified New York City during those days when it was. Nothing as stark as Suicide, but still enough for you not to write it off as chic fashion.

I dunno about the last two entitled PICTURES ON A STRING and DEAL WITH IT respectively, both which are steeped into the usual early/mid-eighties new waveposes and synth scrawls to the point where alla them bad MTV images that signaled the true death of rock 'n roll just come shootin' back at'cha! However, when the going gets tough things do satisfy with a few tracks that right outta nowhere catch you by surprise to the point where even you will say "Man, that's pretty good!!!!!" Case in point, "Cold Eyes" which with a few minor changes might just have been thee T.Rex hit to have topped 'em all!
Cecil Taylor-INDENT LP (Freedom Records)

Gol Darn that Brad Kohler! He shoulda knowed that I already had this rekkid in my collection when he sent it to me for Christmas! Well, mine ain't exactly in the tippy-toppest of shape, and it ain't on white vinyl either. Not only that but the sound is really good giving you that old warm vinyl feeling that you really cannot get outta compact disques or tape. It's THICK too. Hokay Brad, I'll let you off the hook this time but next year howzbout something more personal, like a gift certificate to Hair Club For Men???
The Flying Luttenbachers-IMMINENT DEATH CD (ugEXPLODE/God Records)

One good way to ring in the new year would be to spin this new Flying Luttenbachers platter and let your ears do the ringing for you! All kidding aside I was really surprised at the all out energy and non-calculated use of sound as unbridled expression ('stead of unbridled out of control noise, not that there's anything wrong with that!) which just gushes through on this new platter. Straddling the rock/free improv tightrope like nothing since DAILY DANCE or at least the English Ascension, these Luttenbachers present some of the better free play outside the "serious" boundaries I've heard in quite awhile. Not only that but the overall electronic expression mixed with a passionate horn eruption which comes off like nothing since Roscoe Mitchell really does something positive to perk up these ol' ears! I'll betcha you can't take it...I dare you sissies to give this one a lissen to! Whassa matta fraidycats???
Nico-APRIL 8, 1984 LONDON ENGLAND CD-r burn

The eighties. That's when it seemed as if everything that was good about the sixties and seventies went to seed and we all kinda wondered what we liked about it inna first place. And like we sure wished how things coulda been like they were back when Nico was considered some sorta vital decadent force instead of the overweight hair-dyed relic on this live tape where she drones on and on without the Teutonic beauty and grace of THE MARBLE INDEX. Doldrums-level goth sounds just ain't what they were once cracked up to be. Stock up on the Ny-Quil before slapping this on the laser launching pad.
Various Artists-WOLF PARTY -- NEW ZEALAND WEREWOLF SOUNDS FROM STINK MAGNETIC CD-r burn (originally on Voodoo Rhythm Records)

These retro-rockers that seem to clutter up the place (mainly Paul McGarry's playroom) might have the right amount of rock snot funtime attitude that's needed for a jolly good listening time, but man if some of this stuff sounds like a retread of a retread of a retread. Not that I would personally put any of the acts here down, but I gotta say that alla this was done fine back inna seventies when the Gizmos and Cramps were layin' down the groundwork for this kinda music, or better yet building up on the fun and jamz that were goin' down way back in those horrid fifties and enlightened sixties  In udder words it's all copasetic with the proper ideals that make rock 'n roll a vastly different equation than just plain ol' "rock" was, but for old turds like me who've heard it all before it's time to act like your old jaded bozo self and poo-poo that new generation for bein' so----pale in comparison. McGarry also burned a few EEE-PEES for me on this disque, one from Melody Massacre and the other Lord Rochester. The above can be said about these guys as well though they sure know how to put out good record covers. If ya gotta get 'em get 'em for that!
MIJ-YODELING ASTROLOGER CD-r burn (originally on ESP-Disk)

Dunno exactly why Bill Shute burned this 'un for me since I already have a copy of it which I got during the big ESP reissue craze of 1992! YODELING ASTROLOGER wasn't exactly one of my top ESP reissue faves, and this twenny-plus year spin reminds me why. It's definitely the whole hippoid folky aspects what with MIJ's affected Donovan vocals (not bad in itself, though without Jeff Beck what use is it?) and the general late-sixties college dorm staidness of it all. Too bad the influence of Marc Bolan wasn't as all-encompassing as it would get within a few years or else this might have been a real wowzer!

Various Artists-SPIDER-CHASING TAYSTEE TWIST CD-r burn (Bill Shute) 

Shee-yucks! I was hoping that Cosmo & the Counts; :Let's Do The Taystee Twist" song was gonna be about some local soft-serve ice cream chain but it's nothin' but pluggin' some bakery! Oh well, at least I get a whole load of cheerful tracks to help me get over the disappointment including some Spanish-language popsters, a few punk unto punque efforts that just might give Tim Yohannon a hard on in his grave (but they're still good 'nuff fer me) and even Xaviera Hollander making a joke that's gonna go over the head of your Aunt Matilda. The cornball patriotic tracks (including a boffo anti-protest rocker undoubtedly inspired by "Eve of Destruction") will rankle the ire of the more, er, Marxist readers I have and of course Wanda Jackson is always worth the effort to listen to considering how her smooth voice matched her streamlined body. Unfortunately there ain't any of those Christmas season ads to get me in the spirit, but maybe they're on some other Bill burn lost in the stacks.
Hey, it's not too late to buy some of these BLACK TO COMM back issues that just happen to still be available for neato last-minute Christmas presents. Just think of the look on your wife's face when she opens her gift and finds a wide array of these essential fanzines staring back at her. Then just think of the look on your face when she slams her new iron right into your puss! Uh, better just buy 'em for yourself and if your wife wants any she can get 'em herself!

Thursday, December 19, 2019


Having grown up with the King Features cartoons that sprang up in the success of the made-for-tee-vee POPEYE cartoons (SNUFFY SMITH and KRAZY KAT being amongst 'em) I decided to splurge a grossly reduced price on this collection of BEETLE BAILEY cartoons since those really do dredge up a whole lotta pre-stool turdler-era warm and fuzzies in me.

And hey, even though I am somewhat older and perhaps not any wiser than I was when these cartoons originally  hit the catodes way back when I gotta say that I really enjoyed giving these a watch! Of course some of the stories just don't match up to the comic strip while the tee-vee animation seen could at times make ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE look like Walt Dizzy (tho it wasn't as slipshod fast as the mid-sixties POPEYE's that King Features cranked out at the end of that particular run!), but like the four-year-old in me (who I don't think I'll be passing out my rectum any day soon) begs to differ.

Howard Morris's Beetle does sound like his Jughead only with less of a twang, and his General Halftrack was close enough to what we would imagine him to sound like denture air gasps and all. Whoever thought it would make his character more "endearing" by his usage of various spoonerisms was way off the mark. And while I'm at it I can't imagine why Lt. Fuzz has a Southern accent which really doesn't place him. Considering his apple-polishing ass-licking ways I thought they would give him a golly gee voice! Zero's Moose-like baritone seems too obvious, though I thought June Foray did a fantastic job voicing Beetle's longtime gal pal Bunny who looks so sexy in these 'toons. Frankly I think Miss Buxley pales dramatically next to Bunny especially the way she's voiced (and animated) here. Bunny's one character I wish wasn't expunged from the strip unlike Beetle's first gal Buzzy who was so freckled and flat-chested I couldn't see what her appeal to Beetle was in the first place.

Quibbles aside it was sure wonderful watching these again. The one where Beetle and Sarge enter Otto into a dog show was one I could vaguely remember, if only because I asked my mother what a "pedigree" meant because of it! Sure is interesting to remember the first time in my life words entered into my consciousness, just like it was when I discovered what Pistachio ice cream was after Lumpy mentioned it was his favorite flavor in some old yet raucous LEAVE IT TO BEAVER (y'know, the one where a vengeful Wally douses the Lump with melted ice cream before giving Eddie Haskell the same treatment!).

The bonus CBS TV special from the late-eighties or so does not to much for me even with the improved animation techniques. In fact the thing limps along like most of these seventies/eighties-era specials failing to capture a whole lot of what we liked in comic strips and animation ever since we were but mere sprouts. The animation may be better, but man is it sterile, perhaps to match the script that the artists were given to work with. The voices are way too obvious too what with Miss Buxley's airhead bimbo cokehead squeal and Ms. Blips bulldyke yell, plus those of Beetle and Killer ain't much to roar about either. (At least I thought it was great when the King Features Killer was given a voice straight out of James Cagney...he, along with the Brow from the tee-vee DICK TRACY cartoons and Bigelow the Mouse from the Hanna Barbera AUGIE DOGGIE and a variety of others coulda had a nice three-way conversation complimenting each other's sneers!)

The packaging is fine, for you get your one disque slipped into a nice box that also features a booklet you can read as well as a whole slew of BAILEY comic strips featuring a few I haven't seen in ages since the vast assortment of paperback collections tend to concentrate on the sixties throughout the eighties at the expense of the fifties ones. I sure wish someone would collect the years 1957-63 years in book form so's I can read those stories featuring many long-written off characters like Ozone, Pops and that proto-Miss Buxley character who had more of an early-sixties Jackie Kennedy sorta swerve to her than Buxley's doof porno actress pose.

So if ya really wanna dig back into some of that television programming that made me the fanabla that I am today these King Features BAILEYs would be a good place to start, along with a few hundred hours of other mind-melting entertainment from old Warner Brothers cartoons, CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST, LITTLE RASCALS, LEARN TO DRAW WITH JON GNAGY... And don't forget those living bra commercials!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Grand National Pictures was a short-lived minor studio in the 1936-1939 period, best-known because James Cagney made two films there while on strike from Warner Brothers. Beyond that, they also introduced Tex Ritter to the screen with a successful group of westerns leading to many more at Universal and PRC, and they also introduced singing cowgirl Dorothy Page (back in the 90’s, I hosted one of her films at a local film festival) for a series of three features. They also attempted a few series of espionage/crime films, one group of four films starring Conrad Nagel as a federal agent (all worth watching when you’ve got a free hour), and the other being this series (of two films), starring LEON AMES (best known for his role as the neighbor on the MR. ED tv series) as Major Philip Waring, an Army intelligence officer working in code-breaking in espionage cases (the second and final entry in this series is called PANAMA PATROL).

Grand National’s non-western output tended to have a studio-bound look, with little or no location photography, not even establishing shots taken outdoors. As various historians have observed, Grand National wanted to make films that (in their eyes) had a “classy” feel but would play well to genre audiences who wanted an action or a crime film. The studio went under in late 1939.

CIPHER BUREAU works well within Grand National’s “indoor action” aesthetic because code-breaking is by definition not an outdoor activity one does while engaging in a car chase, and all that is needed is shadowy rooms where people with imprecise “foreign” accents plot and scheme to overthrow freedom-loving America and of course our heroic crew of agents, who are as fast with their fists as they are savvy in a science lab.

Co-written by Arthur Hoerl (of REEFER MADNESS fame), who worked a lot at Grand National, and directed by Charles Lamont (best-known for Abbott and Costello films and also entries in the Francis The Talking Mule and Ma and Pa Kettle franchises), there is a lot of talent involved with CIPHER BUREAU, and it is a good looking and fast moving espionage programmer, though clearly low-budget.

Leading man LEON AMES, looking dapper with a mustache here, has a deep voice and the kind of vibe that radiates authority—I could see him as some driven captain of industry in the film adaptation of a Sinclair Lewis novel, but he’s also good at comedy. And speaking of exploitation films (REEFER MADNESS), Ames paid his dues in one of those with the 1941 VD-themed feature NO GREATER SIN (see poster), which was still being shown in the early 1960’s! The man was the definition of the working actor, appearing in multiple films per year, starring in B-programmers like this, and then 2nd or 3rd featured male in major studio productions, including classics such as THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE and entries in the THIN MAN, ELLERY QUEENEAST SIDE KIDS, LASSIE,and MR. MOTO franchises. He always brings a touch of class to whatever he’s in, and even if you’re not paying attention to what’s happening on screen, when his rich voice appears on the soundtrack, you immediately realize, “that’s Leon Ames!”

CIPHER PATROL has an interesting procedural element to it (quicker and easier to shoot those than outdoor chase sequences!) with lots of small details of how a cryptography unit works—we see them analyzing voice patterns, working on word-and-letter combinations, and taking seemingly matter-of-fact written and spoken communications and finding the coded elements within them. Ames chain-smokes and demands coffee and barks orders convincingly in these scenes. The sinister Europeans (they are not specifically identified as Germans as we weren’t officially at war yet in 1938) have just the right combination of haughty arrogance, jaded cynicism, and boot-licking subservience needed for these kind of roles in WWII or Cold War features—there’s even a mysterious Mata Hari-type who speaks slowly and wears a kind of veil. What more could you want? It's online, so make room in your schedule for 68 minutes with the CIPHER PATROL.

Saturday, December 14, 2019


Just another visit with my old friends, who seem a whole lot more faithful than any of my NEW friends that's for sure!

The Electric Prunes-"I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night"/"Luvvin" (Radar Records, England)

I gotta admit that I really liked those late-seventies Radar reissues featurin' a whole slew of sixties-era mid-Amerigan "Nuggets" as it only proved that there was a solid connection between alla those low-wattage AM radio favorites of the past and the new breed of hard-edged rock 'n roll that was comin' out during those punked out days. And wonder of wonders the Electric Prunes even got the Radar treatment with this reish of their classic hit that still sounds as "hip" and "with it" as it did when I first heard it on some car radio blastin' all across the neighborhood. I still wish I picked this 'un up when I saw it at the old Drome way back when, but what can a feller do when he only has fifty-five cents in his pocket? Those depression-era wages!!!
The Box Tops-"Cry Like a Baby"/"The Letter" (Stiff Records, England)

What goes for Radar also goes double for Stiff, and the fact that they had the smarts to re-release these two gigantic Box Tops hits proves that they too knew there sure was a connection between the snat pop of the sixties and the late-seventies stew that Stiff made their big bux with. Nice sleeve (complete with important Box Top facts 'n fancies on the backside) houses a double-sided whammy that sounds so good in analog to the point where I don't ever wanna listen to my sixties hit collections with 'em on anymore. And considering just how popular Alex Chilton was on the cooler than underground scene at the time this was released it makes all the more sense.
Shakin' Stevens and the Sunsets-FRANTIC EP (Skydog Records, France)

Never knew about this Skydog release which I'm positive predates the rash of singles that label would dump on the newer than gnu wave market for the next few years. From '75, this platter has Stevens and band rompin' through material both familiar and not, the latter including a "death rock" number which is nothing but a re-do of "Tell Laura I Love Her".  But what a re-do it is! Totally straight-ahead Welsh-bred rockabilly that should even appeal to the purists in the field. Interesting aside---didja know that Stevens was and perhaps remains a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain?
Lou Reed-"You're Driving Me Insane"/"Cycle Annie: (Impossible Records, France)

Another one circulated by the fine folk at Skydog Records in order to cash in on the big time rock 'n roll rebellion of the late-seventies. Lou's Pickwick period is once again brought to the forefront with two sides taken off the infamous SOUNDSVILLE album which you coulda picked up at the flea market for fifty cents at the time 'stead of paying the inflated import prices for this single. Still, a powerful slice of pre-Velvets Lou back when it really didn't matter how much of a sick twisted pervo he was and perhaps remained throughout his life. (I mean, I really did think he was going to ask for a priest during his final days just like Oscar Wilde did...they just don't make decadents like they used to these days!)
The Paniks-"I Can Beat Him Up"/"Playin' Games" (20th-Century-Fox Records)

Bill burned me the a-side to this quite awhile back so's I thought I'd return to my original copy to revisit old sounds or something like that. The a-side's Superman vs. Batman theme obviously dates it and so does the comedic garage band ramp up, but so what since ya gotta admit that 1966 was one year that most of us smarter people wouldn't mind being stuck in eternally! The flip's an instrumental with a rhumba kinda beat that sends this record back to 1962. For some reason it reminded me of "El Watusi" without the Fidel Castro guy talking through it. Too bad it flopped about, but what would you expect with a label like 20th-Century-Fox!
Patti Smith-"Brian Jones", "Stockinged Feet", "Jesus Christ" one-sided EP (blank label bootleg)

It's finally been discovered that these three track were actually recorded by Patti and Lenny Kaye while opening for the New York Dolls at Max's Kansas City in 1973. I can't locate the exact date given my limited resources, but according to a youtube link (where you can pick this up for FREE!!!!!) Patti bombed the first night with the Doll's crowd so she asked Lenny to assist her the next one. The results are pure high energy with Lenny sounding like a one-man interpretation of the early Velvet Underground at their Warhol soundtrack best as Patti spews out the usual goo-goo-muck she made her shorts-skiddin' career with. In some ways this reminds me of "It Was a Pleasure Then".  I still can't believe that Kaye did the music all by himself...there just hadda be someone else there adding even more caterwauling ax sounds into the mix!
Third Rail-"Rondey Rush"/"Sweet Jane" (Rat Records)

The first of many (all right...three) Third Rail releases which I hope will be stuck together in a massive collection complete with various compilation tracks, ne'er before heard material and perhaps a nifty booklet with pictures. "Rush" really pounds the thumper what with singer Richard Nolan's affected fey yet driving vocals merged against the band's neo-Blue Oyster Cult-ish (at their early best) roar, while their interpretation of the Velvet Underground classic undoubtedly runs rings around that one Brad Kohler heard some over-makeup'd gal singing at an open mike. If you still cherish all of the under-the-underground energy that 1975-6 begat this will stir something deep inside you, kinda making ya wonder why punk hadda leave this plain and head off for directions that just didn't zone you the way they shoulda!
Third Rail-"It's Over Now"/"Dark Ages" (Spoonfed Records)

Two years after the above hit the punk racks this blue-vinyl followup appeared, also showcasing the (by this time) "new" Rail's drive which fortunately varied little from the original version of the group's all-around thrust. In many ways this could have been a commercial surprise only by the time this came out Ameriga was too brain dead from the sappy influx of calculated stylings on the FM band! And forget the AM with all those yacht "rockers" and disco doldrums in the forefront as if the pop revival of the early-seventies had never happened. Big kudos to the band for ripping off the Electric Prunes' "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" on the flip!
Dredd Foole and the Din-SONGS IN HEAT ("Sanctuary"/"So Tough") (Religious Records)

There are quite a few similarities between Foole/Din and the Third Rail, some of 'em being that both emanated from the Boston area and were led by older than you'd expect guys with a fluctuating group of backup musicians. Their re-making/re-modeling of various Velvets/Stooges aspects also figures in heavily. Oh yeah, and both groups are woefully under-represented in the reissue department and cry out for a proper showcase of their music which might just influence young 'uns out there to carry on in the proud tradition.

This debut has the Mission of Burma guys backing Foole on a couple of long tracks (this plays 33) which fit into that whole FUSION/VIBRATIONS/Boston Tea Party cult of the Velvet Underground that overtook the local rock scene  Aerosmith and the band bearing the city's name notwithstanding. Foole howls like a crazed imbecile as the Burma guys crank out an even more primitive than you could imagine THUD complete with Maureen Tucker drums (Peter Prescott on "drum and cymbal") and distortion perhaps caused more by the rather low-fidelity sound quality than the instruments themselves.

Given that it was recorded in early '82 this does qualify for late-slip in on the whole '64-'81 era of rock as trash as art that began around the time of "Surfin' Bird" and died along with Lester Bangs. The "Sister Ray" coda on "Sanctuary" also slips in just under the wire for if Foole were to have pulled that off even a year later it would have been mere amerindie piddle. As usual, this makes me want to hear MUCH more and I do hope some entrepreneurs out there do take as a hint.
The Kinks-"Lola"/"Mindless Child of Motherhood" (Reprise Records)

Still packs that punch a good fortysome years after I first heard this and was almost as totally knocked out as I was the first time I listened to "Bang a Gong". I'm sure glad that there were songs like this for me to listen to back when I was a young and impressionable lad who didn't understand the whole namby-pamby decasexual meaning of "Lola", but that didn't really matter because I was too dumb to understand things like s-x even if it was spelled out for me. The flip is magnificent with its typical Kinks flourishes and should have also been promoted because hey, when it came to radio we sure needed a whole lot more Kinks and a whole lot less Chicago!
Pavement-( SLAY TRACKS, 1933 - 1969  ) EP (Treble Kicker Records)

Later records didn't come off quite as good, but this debut from Pavement is a winner as far as a whole lotta things that I like in rock 'n roll music go! Low fidelity, strident Velvet guitars, trash performance, basement-level brouhaha. This sounds as if it could have been some embryonic workings of an unknown bunch of high school twats circa. 1976 trying to crank out their own vision regarding what had been happening in various hotspots across the globe at about the same time. Brad Kohler hates them, but then again do you have to hate Pavement just because Ann Powers likes them?
The Mutants-"So American"/"Piece O' Shit" (FTM Records)

These guys were around back when John Sinclair and the MC5 were still ruling the local scene and stayed around for quite some time. This, their first disc from that magical year of 1977, shows the Mutants to have been steady enough hard pop rockers with perhaps too much of a giddiness to 'em. I don't mind that at all, and this platter does affect me the same way many of these self-produced efforts did back when there really was so much to choose from. Does anyone have that 1972-era live show that was floating around on various lists back during the glory days of cassette trading?
The Mutants-"I Say Yeah"/"Cafe Au Lait" (FTM Records)

More Detroit Rock humor from these guys with "Cafe" being a weird saga of French romance or something like that complete with a Peppy Le Pew impression. I didn't find myself laughing over this the way I would a busload of orphans getting hit by a train, but it does fit in swell with the group's entire spiritual makeup. "Yeah" is more funny hard pop that kinda makes me wonder if I should actually pay the sixty or so bucks people are asking for the early-eighties Mutants mini-LP/maxi-EP on ebay. And unless you croak and will me all your hard-begged moolah the answer is "nein"!
Crawlspace-SILENT INVISIBLE CONVERSATION EP (Grown Up Wrong Records, Australia)

Crawlspace has been through so many configurations and aural twisto-changeos it's hard to rememeber what these guys sounded like back when they were a more conventional rock 'n roll aggregation. On this classic slab the original manifestation of the group rocks on like most any true to the rock 'n roll core acts who were reduced to releasing their own platters during the eighties and nineties...straightforward hard-edged attack with little regard for alla those things that were to make hit records but so what! Eddie Flowers' warbling fits in swell with the entire teenage hard rock approach and although the cover of the Can classic on the flipster doesn't measure up to the original it still beats each and every krautrock homage I've managed to hear these past few years!
Fox Pass-"Prized Possession"/"I Believed" (Paradise Records)
Fox Pass got a bit of fanzine press thanks to this 1976 single, but if they weren't part of the rising Boston underground scene I don't think too many would have noticed. Fortunately they were in the right place at the right time, plus a few thousand kids hungerin' for real life rock 'n roll didn't hurt any. Still I find this record a little too much on the neo-commercial side, sounding as if group leader Jon Macey and company were trying for a big record deal with their most e-z on the ears numbers set to wax in the hope that some label bigwig would get around to hearing it. In other words this is good, but has little to differentiate it from the scores of similar minded local groups that were playing out during the mid-seventies. Gotta give their early-00's reunion album another chance one of these days.

I believe this is the second set of demos that Jonh Ingham pressed up, volume one wallowing somewhere else in my collection if memory serves me right. Recorded '77 way, this one shows Billy Brat and company to still have a solid idea of punk prior to its punquing out so to speak---heavy duty hard thud ROCK 'N ROLL (remember them words?) that benefits from the less-than-Windham Hill pressing and already sub-lo-fi recording. It really was a long way from this to "Rebel Yell" and looking back I still gotta say that I didn't know that the Confederate Army took homos!
Eddie and the Hot Rods-"Get Out Of Denver"/"Teenage Depression" (Island Records)

Hmmmm, didn't know that this single rated an Amerigan release but it did. On the plug side Eddie and crew take on a pre-schmalz Bob Segar tune that's bound to get the chest pumpin' and the adrenaline rushin'. Of course it wouldn't have been a hit...it was just too good to have been one considerin' the spaced state of teendom USA in that bicentennial year. Flipster's from the debut LP and mighta made a better plug side that coulda hit on the fringes of the charts the way Thin Lizzy did. But then again' ya know I'm dreamin' on considering what turds kids were back then and remain for that matter. It's funny to think that music like this was considered unlistenable trash by most of the stoops I used to know, but then again next to those a-holes most Special Ed kids you see would come off like Dilton Doiley!
The New York Dolls-REHEARSAL & LIVE bootleg EP (no label)

Seven-inch bootlegs were flooding the mail order lists of the eighties and nineties and it's not hard to see why given their cheap and exciting aura. The rehearsal side sounds typically bootleg muddy yet still rather high quality enough for HOT WACKS to have rated it an "EX", while the live from somewhere in Canada tracks have an FM feel to 'em that makes me wonder exactly what kinda station woulda broadcast the Dolls live inna first place! Or broadcast them at all for that matter. Like I once said, records like these are the real compact disques, cramming some mighty hotcha listening at'cha within the space of a seven-inch plastic platter!
Ralph Nielsen and the Chancellors-"Scream"/"Never, Not Again"; "Little Demon" EP (Crypt Records)

By-now ancient re-release of a coupla classics from the New Jersey garage band scene circa. 1961. The a-side lives up to its wild BACK FROM THE GRAVE image what with the continuing wall of screams and the frantic pace that Nielsen puts the band through. If this 'un came on the radio when I was but a mere turdler some adult in the room woulda quickly snapped it off complete with a whole load of complaints about us kids listening to such trash. The tracks on the other side include one previously unreleased '59 effort with a tad Everly Brothers feel to it as well as the equally '59-ish "Little Demon" that only goes to prove that when everyone else was seemingly getting into the whole "Day The Music Died" dilemma which only the Beatles could save us from there were some spirits out there keeping the flame alive!
Various Artists-1st 60s SURF E.P. (Moxie Records)

I'm positive these tracks have since been reissued complete with crystal clear sound and stellar liner notes, but dagnabbit if these old Moxie releases just don't have their own flat-sounding charm to 'em! Six tracks total on 33 rpm that present to us surf music long before it toppled over into sunshine rock and was still heavily influenced by the instrumental rock onslaught of the '58/'59 season. Personal fave of the batch has gotta be Elliot Ingber and the Gamblers' "LSD - 25" which proves that Kim Fowley was onto major teenage trends long before they even a glint in a load of post-pubescent already glazed eyeballs.
Billy Synth-HERE & THERE EP  (Cracked Records)

Ooooh, clear yellow vinyl doesn't help make this sub-basement electronic trash rock any less gnarly for you early-eighties cheap sixties reissue guys who probably still hold your Metro Music catalogs firmly pressed to your oversized manboobs. For those of you who remember the early sprouts of garageian revival back '79 way Synth will be a familiar name what with his records both solo and with the Turn Ups, not forgetting the PSYCHEDELIC UNKNOWNS series of EPs that first gave us a taste of many a classic self released garage band side that are now considered tru blu classix. Crazed neo punk rock trash gratification that thankfully lowers the rock 'n roll credo to a more suburban slob appeal like an old UHF station that showed GILLIGAN'S ISLAND for the last fifty years.You'll love the Captain Groovy Bubblegum Army track which makes me glad SOMEONE out there remembered.
The Left Banke-"Pretty Ballerina"/"Lazy Day" (Smash Records)

Its the other Left Banke hit that didn't make it as big as "Walk Away Renee", but that doesn't mean it was any less of a wowzer when it came to 14-year-old gals who melted over things like this. "Ballerina" remains a radio-worthy AM Baroque rocker that captures the group in an even more grandiose state than on "Renee", but I prefer the other side which is one tension-packed rock 'n roller that once again serves to remind us all of just how much of a boffo year 1966 was for those whose ears were attuned to the teenbo music wavelength. You can probably still find their essential debut album on-line for free somewhere and downloading it might just do yourself a whole lot better than downloading yourself to some of those free pix that seem to pop up on the internet even when you're not looking for 'em.
The Phantom-"Love Me"/"Whisper Your Love" (Dot Records)

From what I can gather, all the trouble Dot had with Little Phil and the Nightshadows in the sixties they also had with the Phantom a good ten years earlier! Rockabilly that makes those revivalists of the eighties sound like fragile art rock practitioners complete with a total pounce that even Elvis would have feared to use. Pat Boone must have been putting something in his milk if he actually did recommend this guy to his label bosses!
Nick Lowe-BOWI EP (Stiff Records, England)

It's the yellow vinyl one that was popping up in a whole load of bigtime legit record shops back 1978 way. The same shops where I bought the Ian Dury, X-Ray Spex and Deviants seven-inchers that were displayed alongside it. And yes, this spinner still packs a good power pop wallop forty years later and I can understand just what the hubbub was about even if that whole Stiff thing seemed to fizzle out once the eighties got in gear. It all really does capture a whole load of late-seventies promise that the suddenly AOR formatted FM stations just couldn't handle (tho WMMS gave it the old gotta look hip try even if Peter Laughner wasn't around to shame 'em anymore). Reminds me of just how innocent and more or less STUPID a whole lot of us were way back when.
Darryl Hall & John Oates-"Do What You Want, Be What You Are"/"You'll Never Learn" (RCA Victor)

And for this last entry into today's stroonada...well like, how did this one ever get into my collection in the first place! Actually I do know...I "inherited" it and if you'd like to just know who I inherited it from boy would you be surprised! Frankly this ain't as irritating as one would think considering just how worse a lotta the soul and jive during the banner year of 1976 was. Straightforward whitekid take on the not-quite disco scene that kinda works its magic because...it sure reminds us of just why punk rock was so necessary at the time!