Thursday, January 30, 2020


Hoo boy, now we're gettin' nicely snuggled into the seventies with these tales, and if you're under the delusion that by this time TRACY was but coasting into some late-life bouquet of Middle Amerigan snozejams boy are you typically as out of your gourd as you usually tend to be!

Considering what an old crotchety type many people envisioned Chester Gould as being during those latter years, it may be surprising to some that TRACY seems to be fitting into the whole seventies modus of deep down and grisly police fiction that tended to be rather popular with the moom pitcher and tee-vee crowd back then. A case can be made that TRACY was indeed the comic strip equivalent of such long-time classic police dramas as  DIRTY HARRY, McQ, THE NEW CENTURIONS and that Vince Edwards classic THE MAD BOMBER...without the bared suckems 'natch but with plenty of that BLOODY VIOLENCE that kept the kids sneakin' in through the fire exit. Believe-you-me, if anything captures the jaded seventies miasma that came about after the Youth Culture collapse and during the Watergate Hearings and growth of Porn Chic it's these TRACY comics and they even do it better than any of your favorite cop shows both then and now!

The annoying child radical turned Law and Order kid Peanut Butter is here and he's not only working in the crime lab but actually making moves on Moon Maid, who's employed in the clay model room at the station where she walks around in this skimpy two-piece outfit that would give any self-respecting adolescent boy more impure thoughts than a Sears catalog. Naturally Junior ain't havin' none of that which does lead to a comedic episode lasting a week or so, but don't let that dismay you for some crazed action is comin' up what with Peanut Butter trying to get the reward money for finding the moolah picked up in a heist which leads to an old farm silo and a new grotesque criminal called Button (he wears a brash looking suit and midriff shirt which exposes his...well... button). Anyhoo, the Button guy ends up kidnapping a one-legged newspaper columnist and gets into some pretty violent escapades himself such as getting dragged by a taxi cab when the handcuffs he is wearing get attached to the door handle givin' him a pretty bouncy ride inna process. You expectin' maybe LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE???

'n that ain't exactly countin' the rest of the action found within these almost two years of strips, from a hippie who turns Born Again in order to keep from being tagged on a more serious than sniping charge, to Peanut Butter's mom being arrested as an arsonist after her push broom starts a deadly fire! And I ain't even talkin' a case of decapitation via guillotine or the freaky guy breaking into television broadcasts selling quack brass cure-all rings which are rakin' in the bucks---even BO Plenty and Gravel Gertie are usin' 'em! (His own demise really brought in the complaints from self-serving all-pure newspaper readers who actually wrote in saying that Chester Gould was a fascist for having Tracy put an end to a rather dangerous hostage situation instigated by the pirate pitchman "Big Brass" in such a brutal way. Well, all I gotta say is that if Chester Gould was a fascist then give me a snot-stopper mustache and call me Adolf!)

Yes, when it comes to Chester Gould and DICK TRACY the pulse-racing never ends, and the stabs at comedy relief seem to do well if you have the same kinda sense of humor that """""I""""" do. Best of all the artwork's actually getting even more grotesque with more flaring nostrils and high and wide cheekbones that really mirror the already strange going on's that are passing before your very eyes. When I read these TRACY comics I sure flash back to the days when newspapers were dropping it because of the violent nature and people actually believed that if we got rid of all these aggressive comics and BUGS BUNNY the world would just become one big mass of mellow marshmallow with us all singing in harmony like those people on the old Coca-Cola commercial. Now that these altruistic types have gotten their way and have effectively banned action under the guise of violence don't you think we're living in a way better world? Quick, give me my patchouli and a James Taylor album and head me for the nearest commune!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


Roy Rogers began his career as a guitarist-singer with the original lineup of the Sons Of The Pioneers, under his real name, Len Slye. When Republic Pictures was looking for a new singing cowboy as a back-up to Gene Autry, to keep Gene in line in case he made any demands to re-negotiate his contract, Roy was chosen and given his own western films to star and sing in. These films turned out to be as popular with Western audiences as Gene’s ever were (and Roy had the same wholesome appeal as Gene, so he could be marketed to children as well as adults, and both men took their position as role model to the youth of America seriously), and Roy went on to become a huge phenomenon on his own, Hollywood’s KING OF THE COWBOYS, a man who was at the top of popularity in movies, on radio, on television, in comic books, in newspaper comics, in storybooks aimed at children, and in toy sales. Anyone who frequents junk stores, antique malls, and the like knows that there was a wide variety of Rogers items for sale in the 40’s and 50’s, and you still see them today, usually in poor condition and being sold at laughable prices. One wonders why sellers would assume anyone would be stupid enough to pay $20 for a water-stained used coloring book (for instance) with half the pages missing—you’d have to convince me to take it for free, and I’m a Rogers fan. I’m guessing most of these sellers saw a mint item similar to that sold for $20 on Ebay once—probably to some collector of Rogers who needed it to complete his collection—and figure that’s the going price. So much for the pre-Ebay days when sellers would price something so that they could move it in a month….and if it didn’t move it in a month, they’d drop it by a third. But I digress…

As someone who listens to old-time radio shows when I’m working (I unfortunately take a lot of work home from my job each night and need something to keep me going while I’m doing hours of tedious work—usually it’s music, but often it’s old-time radio….in the last month, I’ve probably listened to 75 episodes of the late 40’s Philo Vance show, starring Jackson Beck), I’ve had Roy Rogers in my rotation here and there over the years, though I paid little attention to what season I was listening to. On the whole, Rogers’ radio shows featured a lot of music and had a variety show feel, though later in the run, they tended to go more into a juvenile-oriented style, and were sponsored by breakfast cereals, and Roy would appeal directly to “boys and girls” when he spoke to the audience.

So imagine my surprise when I stumble across a set of 14 shows from 1954 (Roy’s last season on radio was 1955), and it’s quite different in format from what I’m used to. First of all, it’s called THE NEW ROY ROGERS SHOW. Then it’s announced at the beginning that it’s “for the entire family.” Usually that would mean that the show was family-friendly for children, with no “mature” content. This, however, means the opposite—that it’s not just a children’s show but is meant for adults too.

And that’s made crystal clear from the sponsor and the many commercial pitches. I don’t think many children are interested in buying an elegant 1954 Dodge or Plymouth sedan….or one of the work-horse Dodge trucks that Roy mentions he uses on his ranch and for pulling the horse trailer for Trigger. In fact, the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans theme song “Happy Trails” is re-written to include Dodge in every line after the first and is sung at least once on every show! There are so many ads for Dodge vehicles on the show, and the ads are full of such rich and enticing particulars, I found myself wanting to own one of those sleek, attractive, and affordable ’54 Dodges at the end of each show, the way I want to smoke a Lucky Strike at the end of each episode of THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM

One gimmick used during this season (it might be used on other 50’s seasons too, but not in the 40’s shows I remember) is that each show is titled after a song, usually some Western standard such as “Strawberry Roan” or “Red River Valley,” which is performed during the show and echoes of which are worked into the orchestral backing during the dramatic scenes, and then some element from the title of the song is worked into the plot…in the most forced but tangential way. For instance, Strawberry Roan is worked into a horse-racing plot (Brad Kohler will have to hear that one), while Red River Valley is set in a town near the Red River!

Also, many of the episodes involve murder mysteries! The earlier shows aimed at 10 year olds were certainly not. Of course, Agatha Christie or Erle Stanley Gardner would not have had to worry about any competition, as the quality of the murder plotting is rudimentary, to put it mildly, and one can only introduce so many suspects in a 30-minute show….especially when a chunk of it is given over to music, to Dodge commercials, to sidekick Pat Brady’s comedy antics, and to the Queen of the West DALE EVANS (originally from right down the road in Uvalde, Texas!) getting a song and interacting with the female characters on the show. I guess the murder mysteries were a way of making the show more “adult.” However, the eight-year-olds are not forgotten, as any child who’d listen to one or two previous episodes could figure out the guilty party as quickly as the adult listeners could.

I also like Roy’s being a celebrity in the dramatic parts of the show, someone recognized as being famous by the other characters they encounter as the plot plays out. This technique was used in the later seasons of the YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR radio show (which ran until 1962), where Johnny would appear in some town on a case, go into the local diner and get a cup of coffee and ask a few questions about the locals, and the guy serving the coffee would say, “why I know you, Mr. Dollar—I listen to your show every week.” Here, Roy will be about to question someone who was a witness to a crime or whatever, and the person is at first not wanting to cooperate, but then after Roy says his name, the person is impressed, admits he’s a fan, and says “of course I can help Roy Rogers—what can I do for you, Mr. Rogers.” Boy, it must be nice to have your name open doors like that!

Any fan of old-time radio will recognize many of the voices of Los Angeles-based character actors in the supporting roles, and the music is the kind of vaguely Western orchestral sound I associate with Spade Cooley at his most uptown. The Mello-Men vocal group appear too and do a novelty quartet vocal about Dodge products, the same way the Sportsmen Quartet used to do a novelty song about Lucky Strike on THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM. The instantly recognizable deep-bass voice of Thurl Ravenscroft (voice of Tony The Tiger, of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Fame) is heard on these tracks, and here and there he gets 8 or 12 bars of solo singing, which is always a treat.

Anyone who remembers the Rogers 50’s TV show will enjoy the antics of comedy sidekick Pat Brady (in his other life, a member of the Sons Of The Pioneers), though since much of his routine on the TV show was visual humor and exaggerated mugging a la Leo Gorcey or Shemp Howard, he’s toned down a bit on radio. Also, his famous Jeep “Nellybelle” does not appear on the ten or twelve episodes of the show I listened to in this review….though the show DOES mention that Pat was on occasion taking Trigger somewhere in the horse trailer which was pulled by Roy’s tough 1954 Dodge truck! Evidently, Jeep not being an advertiser (Jeep was not part of Chrysler back then—it joined Chrysler when they purchased American Motors decades later) kept Nellybelle out of a Dodge-sponsored show!

Overall, this is an entertaining show for the Rogers fan. He’s in virtually every scene, he gets a song in every show, he interacts with his charming wife Dale, he plays the straight man to Pat Brady’s comic buffoonery, he solves a murder in most episodes, and he’s excited about the 1954 Dodge line of cars and trucks, and anxious to tell YOU about them. Listen to a few of these shows in a row, and you’ll be wanting a stylish and economical 1954 Dodge too!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Gee, another fun week has gone by us faster'n a pack of chubby women headin' to a girdle sale. Considering the relative feh this week was it ain't like I'm exactly sad to see it go, but I did manage to get hold of a variety of interesting musical wares that kept me from staring at that cute cartoon drawing of Betty and Veronica (Bob Montana-era natch!) showin' off their bikini bodies at the beach for hours on end. In fact, if it weren't for these items that were either purchased by me on my lonesome or donated to the cause by the likes of BILL SHUTE, PAUL McGARRY, CHEESE BORGER and P.D. FADENSONNEN who knows what shape this week's personal gab to you might have taken! Anyway read on and maybe you'll know what to do with your next welfare check other'n lose it all on one toss of the dice!

Fille Qui Mousse-SE TAIRE POUR UNE FEMME TROP BELLE CD (Futura Records, France)

Mahogany Brain and Red Noise weren't enough...I just hadda have more of that free splat early-seventies French avant punk rock to keep my nerves shattered the way they should be! But would Fille Qui Mousse fill the bill???

Henri-Jean Enu of PARAPLUIE magazine fame's group wasn't exactly an act as much as it was an assemblage. Free sound collages with or without vocals are a-plenty here, and they do sorta set the mood for the fringeier aspects of Youth Revolution with a French attitude style one would expect from a buncha uber chic radicals who were undoubtedly the scions of wealth and privilege. It's brilliant---sorta musique concrete or improvised on the spot sound with or without spoken words or vocals, and you just don't get enough of it the way these numbuhs leave you that much hungering for more. It captures the fried and perhaps even Luddite side of the International Youth mind, especially on the track where Enu strums on an African guitar to the accompaniment of a sole drummer yet this sounds as close to the true musical taproot of it all as the Seeds!

I hunger more for the more solid rock trackage here which does come close to what the likes of Red Noise were laying down on side two of their own spinner. With a line-up featuring Daniel Hoffman and the Lentin Brothers (Jean-Pierre and Dominque) otherwise known as the core basis of Dagon, Fille Qui Mousse lay down a heavy early-seventies neo-punk free drone style that certain wags have labeled as prog-punk. I never thought I'd cozy up to such terminology as that but these numbers really do capture the mad essence of primal yet "cultured" (if you think that the Canterbury Sound can be defined as that) music mixed with the p-rock attitude of the early-seventies that I assume was in rather large supply in Europe at the time. Now, these tracks are outnumbered by the more sound-patch quilt material but still, I enjoy the mix of the rock and the free spirit which does give SE TAIRE that unique under-the-underground Gallic feeling which satiates those rock cravings that pop up when I realize these guys were way more on the rockism ball back then than you'll ever be.

Good enough that I do plan to pick up Fille's "legit" TRIXIE STAPLETON album when finances allow. Another testimonial to the fact that the French did produce great rock music and like, I sure could use more of this breed of radical soundspew in my system which I will say has done a whole lot more to resensify me than just about anything that has been touted (by the usual blabbermouths) as part and parcel to the rock 'n roll spirit these past few decades.
The Cleveland Steamers-BEST RECORD EVER CD (Smog Veil Records)

Not having been as much of a studious Cleveland under-the-underground rock fan as maybe I shoulda been these past thirtysome years (face it, after the real deal talent skedaddled and the mid/late-seventies contingent retreated into their fart-encrusted bedrooms it just wasn't the same 'n don't gimme that Adults and Insanity and the Killers jazz!), stuff like the Pink Holes and other Cle worthies really did fly under my radar for a good long time. But having to choose among acts like the Jehovah's Waitresses and Bangorillas who could blame me for being CAUTIOUS? Well this one really does satiate that craving for something even barely resembling the Cle spirit of the past that had been washed away by time and dissipating talent. Surprisingly complicated and well-delivered punk the way I always thought it should be with a hefty nod to the old avant garage plus a number of special guests who make that claim more than justifiable. You might actually osmose yourself into this despite the lefty-jingoism of "My Asshole Cousin" which trots out the old tropes that never really made any sense in the first place unless you haven't studied history closely enough!
Various Artists-SINGLES GOING NOWHERE VOL. 1 CD-r burn

A lotta folk have sent their own NUGGETS-influenced sixties/seventies garage band samplers my way, but this 'un courtesy P.D. Fadensonnen has gotta be one of the weirder ones in the batch.

The Lord Fuzz tracks done up by legendary lounge jazz musician Gary Wilson's high stool band sure fits into the whole late-sixties zeitgeist of basement-level rockin' out on all cylinders, but the likes of Samuel Hobo (a French hippie singing along to a cheap keyboard and beat box---Billy Synth and Suicide did it way better!) really didn't excite me to the point of gush.

However the EP from Gary Quazar (an El Lay industry hopeful type who I get the idea even Kim Fowley woulda avoided!) sounded great even if ya get the idea that the guy was another Richie Rich whose dad backrolled his son's rock 'n roll fantasy. Also good is a pre-schmalz Bob Segar and his hard-edged repeato-riff rockin' single "2+2=?" b/w "Death Row", both sides of which woulda gotten any real kid up and hoppin' had he only had the opportunity to hear 'em on his transistor.

And yes, that is none other than Patrick Vian's Red Noise closing out the disque with a free rock instrumental courtesy that Tee-Vee clip I once posted! That bit of gulcheral shell shock must rank as one of the wildest bits of French avant-punk to make its way to the airwaves during the early-seventies! That is unless Mahogany Brain or Dagon managed to sneak their way onto tee-vee somehow.

See if you can fry one up yourself. Should be an interesting part of your Cee-Dee collection.
The Rolling Stones-A SHOT OF SALVATION CD-r burn

Paul McGarry's parting with some of the dupes in his burnt Cee-Dee collection and willed this one to me. I decided not to wait until the guy croaked to give it a listen because hey, why would I wanna wait a good fifty years to hear this considerin' just what sorta longevity McGarry is just bound to have.

I've heard most of these oft-booted Stones tracks before, but considering how 1) they ain't glossed up recordings done in some high-fancy technologically-inclined studio and 2) the Stones hadn't yet become the laurels-resting buncha old guys they have been for a few decades awlready I can enjoy these way more'n I can osmose Chuck Eddy's favorite eighties MTV stars doing more to ruin the concept of rock 'n roll than Pat Boone ever could!

The familiar material ranges from good to feh. I mean, I sure like listening to the Stones on ED SULLIVAN especially when ol' Ed sez he's gonna meet up with 'em backstage at Madison Square Garden (to try and cop some cooze?), and those rough blooze tracks like "Prodigal Son" sound almost as heartfelt if not as authentico as the originals. But if anyone can think that "Angie" is an encapsulation of the Stones at their best or that "Too Many Cooks" was a classic all-star sesh worthy of being heard in the first place they've probably been reading more CIRCUS than classic CREEM ifyaknowaddamean...

When all's said and done, next to today's (let's face it, the last forty years!) slop passing as passionate teenage expression even these tracks sound high-energy and power-punch packed to the point where they might as well be the Stooges! And although the Stone have pretty much been Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods (at least in spirit) these past few decades at least they had the right to rest on past laurels even if they all shoulda scrambooched to the old folk's home. And those laurels could get pretty tasty especially if ya were a hungry sorta guy and face it, which of you reg'lar BLOG TO COMM readers ain't?

Check out the bootleg lists and you tube downloads for these tracks. Sure they're scattered ALL OVER THE PLACE so like it shouldn't be that hard to fry yourself up a copy.
Amon Duul 2-AT THE GATES OF NIGHT CD-r (Eye of the Storm Records)

There's this new bootleg label (or so I assume unless everything over the contracted limit has fallen into the PD) called Eye of the Storm which has issued some interesting things by a number of mainland European acts, some of which don't quite fit into the BLOG TO COMM noiseosphere so we won't deal with 'em one bit. The ones that do seem good enough for normal consumption we will, and I got hold of three doozies that you will be hearing about not only this time but in the weeks to come..

This Amon Duul II (or "2" here) effort's pretty classy considering its origins. Beginning with some 1975 German tee-vee appearance, the group seems to have fallen into that rut of perfection without the raw spontaneity of their early efforts. The older the tracks are the better they sound even if I think that the ones dating back to the PHALLUS DEI/YETI era don't differentiate themselves that much from the album cuts to make them distinctive in any special way. Still I gotta say that if you're one of those krautrock fanatics who were in Amon Duul  ever since Lester Bangs tipped you off to 'em in the pages of some '72-era ish of CREEM, these just might bring a slight smile to your already cragged out face
Amos Milburn-13 UNRELEASED MASTERS CD-r burn (originally on EMI-Pathe, France)

As you might have guessed, a Bill hurn. And a good one two even though I only partake in these early blues-y things when Bill deems to send me a platter or two. Originally recorded for the Aladdin label, these examples of prime postwar R/B not only set the stage for a lotta the rock 'n roll that would be headin' our way within a decade or so but contain a whole load of ideas that would become part and parcel to the entire rock and pop atmosphere by the time the sixties would clock in. Not only that, but these long-unreleased efforts have this hot and classy sorta swing to it that reflects some real style and swerve you just don't see outta our pop musicians anymore! A pretty good way to get those knots outta the back of your neck after a hard day being yelled at.
Various Artists-INSIDE BEAT FROM THE SOUR JUKEBOX CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Here's a dig from the box that I think Bill musta sent me FIVE years ago! As usual these tracks consist of a nice array of middle Amerigana that can still be found in the outer reaches of the internet, from the teenage basement rock of the Teenbeats (one of a millyun Teenbeats out there!) to Harpo Marx strummin' his namesake to "My Funny Valentine". In fact, most of this is bound to bring a smile to your face, if your face ain't bandaged up after being beaten up by some ANTIFA member who thought you were wearing a MAGA hat that actually read CAGA!

It also's got loads of pop toonz en Espanol and a few sorta-known neo-rarities like the Jackie Lomax "Sour Milk Sea" single. Funniest part---the Benny Bell of "Shaving Cream" fame number. Unfunniest part---Mad Man Michaels' two sides of lame Polish jokes tha shoulda been tossed out with the rancid kishka ages ago.
And after all that all I gotta say is that if you want more of the same free-wheelin', no-holds-barred kinda rock 'n roll writing like the kind you used to see plenty of during the GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK SCRIBBLING then why not latch onto one or maybe even more old issues of BLACK TO COMM! Each and every issue is filled to the gills with some mighty fine rock analysis and totally irreverent if SPOT-ON assessments of rock triumphs and even failures that the "legitimate" rock press was and remains too chicken to go near! In a world where rock, jazz. tee-vee. comics and general LIVING have been reduced to mere mimeographs it's sure grand to read something refreshing and so contrary to the general line of proper rock as a commodity thinking. Give your consciousness a break for once and latch onto a few BLACK TO COMMs...your right side of the mind will be ever thankful.

Thursday, January 23, 2020


For me, tee-vee westerns from the late-fifties until the early (mid at latest)-sixties are the best because they're as copasetic with the general tee-vee and social atmosphere of those oft-berated days that I so adore. As far as moom pitchers go well---I've seen more'n a few good feature western films from back then, but I prefer watching the tee-vee shows to sitting through features. I mean, I find it amazing that the guys who created these programs could whip out a wild story within the span of thirty minutes to an hour without getting into a whole lotta extraneous things like dragged out romantic sub-plots that always bored the bejabbers outta twelve-year-old suburban slobs like us who tuned in for the action.

But hey, this furrin' import really packs the punch as far as westerns go, and without letting you down with a slew of romantic garble either! Stewart Granger washes away years of bad high class entertainment (he's one Scaramouche that I 'll bet couldn't do the fandango!) in his role as the tough guy cowboy the movie is named after, and to make that ol' long story short while on the hunt for the guy who murdered his brother Surehand also gets involved not only with finding out who stabbed one of those typical old moom pitcher grizzled prospectors who struck it big, but trying to stop a war between the Comanche and the townsfolk after the son of a chief is shot by some creepazoid known as "The General" (actually a court marshaled Confederate Lieutenant), the exact same guy who also shot Surehand's brother. Wotta koinky-dink!

Along the way Granger meets up with the Mammy Yokum-strong yet titty-esque niece of the prospector and her sissy boyfriend (played by Eurostar Terrence Hill under his dago name Mario Girotti!) as well as a friend who was originally suspected of murdering Surehand's brother, some guy named Milan Srdoc as Old Wabble who does a pretty good job emulating the shabby western sidekicks of yore to the point where you really do wanna hug 'n kiss him he's so luv-bul 'n CUTE! Just like that guy wanted to do with Sgt. Schlitz in that famous HOGAN'S HEROES spoof in MAD that everybody thought was so bad taste way back when!

But as far as adrenaline-pumping energy goes this film never lets ya down. Even the slower gotta explain what may be coming up scenes are kept to a minimum and the story flows well enough to the point where you don't have that excuse to leave the room to relieve yourself or fill up on goodies like you would with many of those slobberin' pictures you've had the misfortune to sit through. It's all done in a way which only a few really could succeed at, and for bein' a German/Yugoslavian production be thankful they didn't get the cultures mixed up and stick a beergarten right in the middle of town serving up knockwurst und sauerkraut!

Western haters like Brad Kohler would do well to stay away, but for those of us red-blooded types who grew up with mooms like these epitomizing exactly what we all wanted to be when we grew up (and it wasn't the bad guys no matter how some may disagree!) you couldn't do much better'n to seek this dubbed up wonder out!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Gotta lotta fat to chew on this week as you will see if only you don't click me off and go search out something more suitable to your personal tastes, like NAMBLA NEWSLETTER or DECADE OF HOUSECAT ANAL CAVITY CAPACITY STUDY ENDS knowin' you guys. Got some really good 'uns to brag about as to having and holding as my own, and as usual thanks go to people like Bill, Paul and PD for the submitted goodies for which this blog could not survive without. Extra BIG thanks goes to one Mr. Cheese Borger who sent me a buncha platters gratis if only because I bought one of his old fanzines (which you were read about probably later this year) via an ebay auction without asking or pleading for which is usually what I have to do in order to get the kinda music I want, cash-strapped man I was, am and shall remain! Sheesh, true BLOG TO COMM gratitude doesn't get any better than this, and your wares are most certainly needed especially in these dry and decidedly anti rock 'n roll times.
But before we get into the proper mode of things, I feel that it's best to give a mention regarding the recent passing of Steve Martin Caro, the lead singer for the Left Banke throughout their roller coaster career from the mid-sixties into the seventies when such winners like the tracks from the HOT PARTS soundtrack were laid down to little notice other'n via THE ROCK MARKETPLACE. I'd mention that feh disco reunion single from the late-seventies but I'd prefer to keep this obit free of any tingling sense of controversy. So I won't.
And now here's what you haven't exactly been waiting for, but I get the idea you'll lap it up anyway...


Jac Berrocal-1972-1976-1979 3-LP Set (Rotorelief Records, France)


The French always used to get the short shrift when it came to being recognized for hotcha rock 'n roll music...the kind men like ifyaknowaddamean. You may remember Lou Reed talking to Lester Bangs about METAL MACHINE MUSIC mentioning how lousy French rock was which is a strange thing for him to say...after all the BEST of what France was dishing out rock-wise at the time was a nice encapsulation of the whole Velvet Underground soundrill wrapped up in Parisian decadent snoot. Pretty nice stuff when you get down to the whole Open Market/Skydog Records/early Marie et les Garcons chomp of it that even resonated somewhat in the pages of our own more on-target rock 'n roll press.

I decided to clump these two recently purchased efforts (yas, thaz right!...items actually bought with the sweat and toil of my goofing off passing as labor!) considering some of the striking similarities between the two artists in question besides their ethnic co-brethrenship. Both free trumpeter Berrocal and "Rock In Opposition" group Etron Fou Leloublan are, after all, known to dabble more'n a few toes in the pond of free sound spew and released their prime efforts in that wondrous decade we call the seventies. And, given how I don't think any of their music would be welcomed by the usual "rock" audiences that has been brain-dead ever since the creation of "Classic Rock" ne. AOR radio maybe it be best to give both a classic review gang-bang even if my long-windedness usually does get the better of me.
I've written about this guy before and danged if this will be the last time I bring the Jac Berrocal name up in my scribblings. For I gotta say that Berrocal is one of the more original living legends in free music splurt that has been seen in quite awhile, not only bridging various seeming dissimilar musical forms into one REAL "world music" for the O-mind but for performing some of the freer sans time/beat/tempo with found sound and sneaky surprises music that perhaps makes Berrocal the proverbial PUNK GRYPHON! Or as much one as everyone from Mayo Thompson to Kim Fowley are and one whose music should attract and repel with a frothing polarity which I gotta say is something that always piqued my attention back when I was young and certainly LOOKING FOR A HOOK (which I still am, by the way!).

Anyhoo, the first three Berrocal albums have been collected in a nice slip-case complete with one of those magazine-like booklets with all of the important information regarding these records, complete with candid snaps that you probably wouldn't find anywhere else on the planet. In other words this longtime freer-than-usual visionary FINALLY GETS THE ROYAL TREATMENT, and considering just how most people who claim fealty to jazz will undoubtedly ignore the very existence of not only Berrocal but the entire newer-than-new jazz spurt better I give you a rundown regarding this classic reissue lest it become all but forgotten in a jazz world more attuned to bowties and tux piano tinkles at chi chi clubs.

Not that it's exactly gonna be a palatable plate to present to a fan of, say, Chick Corea. But it's there and sure looks sleek which really ain't anything to be PROUD of but I guess if anyone should be paid attention to it's Berrocal. Here's what you're gonna get when you part with your precious pennies to tackle this true musical avatar's works:

MUSIQ/MUSIK-it sure sounds like it was recorded in the crypt of an old church, and the resonance is such that you feel as if you were in there with Berrocal and band (Roger Ferlet, Dominque Coster) getting all clammy and sweaty as the three present for you a music that cannot really be defined as easily as, say, "Mairzy Doats". The same way you cant' really define with mere human words what Captain Beefheart was doing, it's that much of an anomaly that the only reason these musics get categorized as jazz or rock is because they may concentrate on standard instruments used to present such sounds and what do mid-teen fanablas know anyway!

The use of exotic percussion, horns and even animals (a chicken!) kinda remind you at one point of an AACM workout that sounds too European and white, while sirens roar and Berrocal's trumpet bleats to the point where it kinda comes off like the Obscure Records release that got held back because it sounded too strange! Not one that you can easily "slip into its universe" to, but give it a few tries and I'm sure you'll wander into the proper frame of musical awareness that Berrocal intended you to.
PARALLELES-I could "laze out double" (copyright 1987 Patrick Amory) and call it more of the same, but there are striking differences between this and its presecessor. Abstract in a totally different way with the sparse trumpet and the strange and outta nowhere indescribable sounds which thankfully sets this music into a state of jazz that sure stands tall against some of the abominations that have passed for the music these past fiftysome years. For me the best part of PARALLELES was the appearance of Anglo-French rock 'n roll legend Vince Taylor on "Rock 'n Roll Station", a magnificent cut up and re-arranging of various comments made by Taylor (including a positive one directed towards Berrocal's own musical genius) backed up by Berrocal's playing of a bicycle. A track featuring a field recording of a pig sty also appears, the basis for many a rude comment that I will refrain from making at least this one time. (You may recall that I used that exact same joke when I reviewed a CD-r of this a good ten years back---of course I couldn't pass up an opportunity to use it again joke regurgitating man I was and shall remain!!!)
CATALOGUE-now this does have a flash of no wave distortion amid the sound cut ups (old 78s and the like) and a generally screwed up atmosphere that makes the preceding sound quaint in comparison. Electric guitar and accordion are present giving a good portion of this the same feeling as some early-seventies Can experiment. The recorded conversations if anything do (as the hype oh so points out) recall some of those old Eyetalian Futurist manifestos, only this time spoken in French but with the same force and fire of the originals. Like many similar efforts outta the rock world, this seems like a fond farewell to an era of brash sound and nihilism that seemed to fizzle out into mere pose once the eighties really began to get into gear.
As for Etron Fou Leloublan may seem strange that I would mention an act such as this which for all intent and purpose were one of those radical commie types who were birthed in the revolutionary rush of the early-seventies trying to destroy all decent aspects of the French culture that they and their Situationist pals hated with a stranger than usual passion. Now that France has pretty much turned into the sewer than these people envisioned as a Utopia fiftysome years back all I can say is NICE JOB YA DONE THERE COMMIES!!! Begrudgingly I guess, but while I can disagree with their societal aims like I can with about 99.999...% of these radical rock prissies at least I can enjoy this music which is rock 'n roll filtered through the jazz spectrum with enough free-for-all spazz all seen through the eyes of some wannabe radical college kid sons of the middle class who probably haven't taken a bath in twenny years!

So plug your nose and take Etron Fou in the way they should a nice and compact act with a Gallic take on the new direction in sound that, while perhaps overindulgent in spots, holds up swell in the company of similar-minded sixties/seventies experimentalists who made those decades a whole lot more pleasant for those of you who had your third ear de-waxed with a sharp knife or Sun Ra, whichever came first.

BATELAGES-Starts out pretty cool (unless you count the acoustic guitar opening which might have led you to believe you just slapped on some of your hippie cousin's maryjane backdrop) repeato riff rock with screaming French vocals that sure sound angry and punk rock. The jazzier inclusions and Fugs-like blackouts kinda recall bits of the infamous RED NOISE album (Patrick Vian's not Bill Nelson's) which kinda makes me wanna immediately categorize Etron Fou with the likes of that group, Mahogany Brain and the under-represented Dagon in the EXCLUSIVE OVER THE TOP SEVENTIES FRENCH AVANT PUNK WILDNESS category where I think they would be snuggled in tight enough genre-wise. The drum solo might turn you off (so might the extended Frenchspeak), and so might the quaint instrumental closing the first side, but if you stick around there's more of that beautiful atonal neo-jazz unto rock soundspew to contend with. I get the impression that if ya like various likewise seventies "fusion" (in the truest sense) efforts such as Blurt you'll got for this in bigger ways than Ron Jeremy!
LES TROIS FOU'S PERDEGAGNENT (AU PAYS DES...)-another one from the pile which I will admit is what got me to buy the entire mini-cover Japanese reissues inna first place. The opening instrumental which sounds like a keen collision between the Canterbury Sound and Captain Beefheart is what keeps me going back to this, while the heavy sax workouts and colliding percussion kinda works as a white Euro take on the new thing in jazz and even newer rock that has been force fed down their ears for the previous twennysome years. So good that even the fifties nostalgia spoof ain't gonna have you throwin' your boom box into the fireplace! So good that you won't even flinch at the obvious Roy Estrada-inspired falsetto vocals!
EN PUBLIC AUX ETATS UNIS D'AMERIQUE-even though I get the idea that this was recorded in front of a bunch of chic-er than thou types who wouldn't know anything about the proper use of suppositories unless they read about it in THE VILLAGE VOICE this may in fact be the Etron Fou album to snatch into your gritty little paws before you snatch onto the others. Without the usual stand-ins to beef up the proceedings with tinkling zithers and the like you get the down-home, stripped to the bone Etron Fou sound which I must say is even more primal and gnawing than the earlier studio disques. The closing horn/bass/drums improv reminds me of a certain real-deal free jazz piece what with the strummed bass lines that really add a feral dimension to it all...if I could only remember who it was would I be in luck! Without the guest stars and spoken interludes this 'un goes down my waxed-up ear canals in the swellest way possible.
Yeah, these writeups really don't reveal the essence, the hardcore being of it all. But then again that's why ya gotta listen to the thing to "get into its universe" as R. Meltzer said so long ago and try to understand what the music is tryin' to tell ya not in some karmik flowering visions of a world where we can all prance and throw frisbees but as that bared-wire streak of sonic fortitude that's always made the best music screech forth in your over-stressed mind. As the old saying goes, you could do worse but ignoring these, and come to think of it you have...
How, back to the regular portion of our blog...


For serious fans only. And for anyone else who wants to give a listen to these blooze workouts that Iggy recorded with JAMES WILLIAMSON as I've been told (by Greg Shaw no less) back when I first heard these "rehearsals" about thirty years back. You'll probably be bored outta your gourd listening to Iggy moan over the same riff for a good half-hour or so but when you get to his takes on such faves as "I'm a Man" and "I'm So Glad" you'll be glad that these were done up so swell that even those people at Cleopatra decided to add bass and drums and present 'em as authentico Stooges tracks! And if ya ever wondered how the Stooges mighta tackled "Hollis Brown" well you'll get a pretty good idea here!
Cheese Borger and the Cleveland Steamers-TERMINAL CD (Smog Veil Records)

Gee, with a name like "Cleveland Steamers" what could they mean? P'haps itza ref. to the rug cleaners operating in the NE Ohio area, or maybe some ship that would leave one of the ports there, or perhaps even some frozen vegetable dinner available at your local supermarket. Gee, just WHAT could they mean with a name like that????

Not bad music enclosed in those whatever it is that the music that pops up on Cee-Dees is enclosed in. Thankfully not the new unto gnu wave (copyright 1983 Bill Shute) I mighta been expecting, these Steamers play a punk rock that's perhaps toned down a bit compared with the originals but still noticeable enough to sound like Cleveland punk rock. Nothing like the Pagans, Electric Eels or Styrenes, but nice and driving enough in the pure rock 'n roll spirit which is such a relief after years of all that junk like the Adults that Anastasia Pantsios used to push on us. Special guest stars like John Morton, Nick Knox, Mike Hudson and Johnny Dromette give it even more Cle cred, as if it is needed any more. Overall a pretty neat bit of Cle rock music the way that I'm sure most of us would like to remember it as having been like back when it was all young'n gnarly.

I never gave these Hamiltonians a listen to during their late-seventies heyday, but this live at this infamous 1980 Gnu Wave Woodstock is quite a surprise. A surprise since the terminally hipper-than-thou punque types who I'm sure were there for the B-52's seem to actually enjoy these guys' hard-edged straight-ahead rockaroll which had about as much to do with the giddy wavers as Beethoven hadda do with Og the Caveman. Kinda like the Flamin' Groovies during their Kama Sutra days when they were mixing late-fifties teenage stomp with early-seventies high energy jamz. Surprisingly powerful rock 'n roll as a way of life!, music so atypical of the sounds that were being hyped as brash and precocious by people we know and trust as being better humans than we'll ever be.
Obnox-BANG MESSIAH CD (Smog Veil Records)

I've been curious as to what this oft-touted Cleveland punk rock madman (and onetime Ex-Blank-Ex drummer) was made up of, chemical-wise. Thanks for a certain Mr. Borger I now know and y'know what, this stuff ain't too bad even if it gets a little too much into modern neo-rap for my tastes. But hey, it still drives pretty good especially when Obnox himself gets into an almost-metallic rock mode that actually heralds back to various seventies accomplishments driven into severe madness thanks to that oft-loathed technological advancement. This might be the real punk funk as it stands today long after its originators (Ronald Shannon Jackson, Sonny Sharrock...) have passed on into the mystery. I wouldn't call BANG MESSIAH earth-shattering, but it does help clear out the nervous system after being inundated with the past fifty years of pop music abortions often heard over your local supermarket's speakers.
Various Artists-STORMY MANNERS DINGDONG SHOUT, BABY! CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

The ol' Rambler onna cover's what drove me (hee!) to this 'un like almost immediately, and the stuff Bill slapped on this pancake justifies my judging this book by the cover so-to-speak. With the combination of Spanish-language pop, piano jazz and sixties pop this almost sounds like a freewheeling spin on a short-wave radio on some rainy day inna basement. Without the scuzzy fidelity, snaps, crackles and pops that is. The big hit for me on this 'un was more of those Edgard Varese early free jazz experiments which really go on the old abstract tangent in ways that wouldn't be hinted at until a good decade after these '57 sessions were laid down. Did anyone ever collect 'em all onto one platter complete with stodgy liner notes and typical half-mastered sound? Wish they would even if you get the idea the whole effort would be more of a tombstone to the jazz avant garde than a celebration of it.
You think you know everything there is to know about rock 'n roll! Well, buy a few back issues of BLACK TO COMM and you'll realize that maybe you know more about it than the jerks who put the thing out! C'mon, buy a few and bolster your ego for once!

Thursday, January 16, 2020


Not too soon after I've received the Beetle Bailey FRIENDS book comes this Bailey graphic novel, a pretty capable followup to what I thought was a darn good extension of the standard funny page goings on that were around when I was in the single digits! Y'know, back when things like comics and other forms of suburban slob entertainment seemed to mean even more, especially if you hadda endure the misery and humiliation that I was FORCED to constantly and wanted to let out some pent up frustration in the best way possible. Other'n locking yourself inna bathroom with a stack of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Japanese fishergirl issues, that is. After all, a glance at the funny pages sure came off swell after a day of being bullied by kids, bullied by students and then going home and being bullied by your cyster!

In this particular story Sarge is outranked by none other than Lt. Fuzz's cousin Sgt. Drum, an egotistical and over-confident Master Sergeant who happens to be about as horny as Killer himself and in fact is brazen enough to get the gals from the local school (the same ones from the FRIENDS book) to don bikinis and join him and the men on bivouac. Meanwhile Snorkel's beginning to suffer from an inferiority complex due to all this and well like, things just head on to that inevitable conclusion where (without spoiling things too much for ya) the right people are shown up to be just how ineffectual they really are as if you were expecting some major upsetting of the entire BEETLE saga to have occurred this late in the newspaper strip game. 

The guffaws ain't as good as they were in FRIENDS let alone a number of easily attainable paperbacks but they still got that Walker feel and approach that eventually petered out with age. Hey, at least we have these additions to our libraries to keep us occupied during these long winter nights, or short summer ones if you're the kinda goof off I've suspected you of being for the past few eons or so. If you don't have a reason to goof off and read TOO MANY SERGEANTS, make one!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020


Most of us probably take junk food for granted. We want a snack, we see something that is attractive and reasonably priced, we forget the diet we’re supposed to be on, and we go for it, never giving it a second thought after we wash down the last bite (which never tastes half as good as the first bite) with generic soda or under-two-dollar 40 ounce bottles of malt liquor.

Every once in a while, though, there's a product that's so outrageous, but also so satisfying, it has to be called a ttention to. WILDE ‘CHICKEN & WAFFLES’ CHICKEN CHIPS is such an item.

Chicken and waffles go back a long time in American culture. Trumpeter Bunny Berigan released a Dixie-flavored swing instrumental by that name in the 1930’s (it’s worth finding on You Tube), and there is a claim that a Harlem restaurant created the dish in the 1930’s (maybe the Berigan band had a plateful before this recording session). There are also claims that it’s part of Pennsylvania Dutch culture going back to the 1800’s or even the 1600’s, or that it grew out of Soul Food culture of the American South going back a century or two. Whatever the source, it was a kind of taken-for-granted item when I was growing up, though I associated it with both Soul Food and with general Southern cuisine. Like greens or scrapple, it was around if you wanted it.

In the last ten years or so, though, it’s become a kind of chic item served at trendy restaurants catering to rich people, and it’s associated as much or more now with upscale Manhattan or Austin or Silicon Valley (where a glass of the least expensive wine would cost more than most of us would spend on a meal) than it is with some Fish Shack in Natchez, Mississippi, or with a Waffle House-style eatery catering to truckers in East Texas.

You know that something has become the fad of the month/year when you see knock-off products trading on its popularity. Who would have ever expected such a flavor transposed to a chip…and a chip that’s primarily made of chicken! When Lay’s puts out those ridiculous biscuits and gravy-flavored potato chips, or some similar one-off flavor, they essentially spray some coating on a regular potato chip, something to echo the flavor in your mind, so you think it tastes like what’s listed on the bag. That’s not at all what’s happening with these Chicken and Waffle Chips.

These chips seem to be made of ground-up chicken mixed with tapioca flour as a binder, with some maple sugar and a touch of cinnamon to hint at the syrup on the non-existent waffles, and then fried in coconut oil, which adds to the sweetness. They are not lying when they label the item as “chicken chips.” And it literally tastes like someone took battered southern fried chicken, dried it, ground it, pressed the ground meal into a thin chip shape, added some maple sugar, and fried it.

That’s it. You’ll either love it (as I do) or scratch your head and wonder why anyone would bother to create something like this. I got mine at the Sprouts Farmers Market chain here in Texas (kind of like a Whole Foods), where they were around $3.50 a bag, not bad when you consider the primary ingredient is chicken, not potato. Looking up the product online to find a pic for this review, though, I saw that internet vendors are selling the product for much much more, so try to find it at your local market and save.

It’s also the perfect junk food item to eat while reading each essential weekend post here at BLOG TO COMM.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Given this is the post-Christmas slack period it's not like I have that much exciting to say about any personal doings or going ons regarding my life. That is, unless you wanna hear about all the fifty-per-cent off bargains I got on Christmas candy which should last me until...Valentine's Day at least. So let's just get on and into the reviews of which I gotta say I have a nice and proud batch to give the anal probe so to speak.

But before we do...RIP BUCK HENRY, whose recent passing might just get me enough off my butt to go 'n watch not only THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH but TAKING OFF, a flicker which is sure to be even more of a verifiable counterculture laff parade than KEEP OFF MY GRASS ever was! Thanks go to Bill, Paul, P.D. and Feeding Tube who really know how to keep a guy occupied during his ever-dwindling free time!


Like you won't believe this 'un where the famed Gizmoid does his hey beat mon thingie to some of the weirdest sonic backing and that's even talkin' Feeding Tube standards! Channeling his inner Rod McKuen to amazing effect, Flowers rip snorts through beatnik lore and Mississippi mud with a Southern drawl that would give Jayne County a hard-on if she still had a phallus (dunno what she'd get now) while percussive and electronic sounds properly accompany the degrading tales that Flowers spews.

The music (and I use the term tightly) reminds me of everything from some old John Cage "Imaginary Landscape" to "The Nothing Man" off the Deviants' PTOOFF! album as percussion is definitely in the forefront and some sort of appropriate screeching intrudes just when the time is right. Guitars? Casiotones? Cassiopeia? I dunno but the end results definitely do make this one of THE records to watch out for at the dawn of this new decade.

Interesting wood knots onna cover, eh? Either that or SOME STRETCH MARKS YOU GOT THERE EDDIE! Yeah it fooled me too but don't be a fool and not snatch this 'un up, for this is the best recording by a rockscribe who is still relevant inna present day (at least to me) release since Feeding Tube's Meltzer reish a few years back. OK, if you're not buyin' that howzbout buyin' the fact that this is exactly what an unreleased International Artists album circa. 1968, produced by Mayo Thompson no less, would sound like! The real MEAT MUSIC SAMPLER? I dunno.
Archie Shepp-A SEA OF FACES LP (Black Saint/Goodfellas Records, Italy)

I sure can remember the days when not only were these European-only free jazz records all but impossible to find at the local record supermarket, but when the only place one could even find out that they even existed inna first place was via Gary Giddins' VILLAGE VOICE reviews. Thankfully times have changed and now we can all get hold of such wonders as this 1975 session courtesy one of the greatest avant garde horn players to ever grace a European low-rent studio.

Side one features the side-long "Hypnosis", a deep groove free splat that reminds me of those BYG recordings more than it does the fairly commercial Impulse platters he was doin' just around the same time. It's one you can really sink your psyche into as the group cranks out this riff that Shepp plays over swell and you can just listen to it by its lonesome or do some reading or house works any ol' way on your inner nervous system.

The flip begins with one of those "Back To Africa" kinda chants and clunks that Shepp seemed to perfect at least around the time of MAGIC OF JU JU, and the rest of this side drives more into his roots accompanied by the spry vocals of Bunny Foy, who I suspect is no relation at all to either Eddie or the Seven Little Foys. It still retains the heavy percussive retrostylings that Shepp is well known for and like, I know many of you will grumble at the price of this limited edition release but face it, this ain't 1985 no mo' with alla them jazz purists dumpin' their platters at the used shop in exchange for Cee-Dee updates (dummies!).
The Aliens-NYC CD-r burn

Back inna mid-seventies there were class-a "underground" rock groups that were gettin' a whole lotta positive press wherever you looked. Bands like Talking Heads, Ramones, Pere Ubu, Blondie, the Gizmos etc. and so forth. Then there were the groups that were definitely "B"-level who mighta gotten some press and/or released a few things but never really got the much-needed notoriety  like the Planets, TV Toy and Styrene Money. And then there were all the "C" bands who nobody seemed to care about and very little is remembered except for those with access to Fred Kirby's VARIETY reviews or old issues of THE AQUARIAN. Tons of bands in that category of which the Aliens are but just one, but wha' th' hey?

Only real Alien spotting I can recall is in the AQUARIAN ish with Geofrey Krozier on the cover and a long Kongress article inside which mentions the time when, after Von Lmo busted his leg drop-kicking someone who was sitting on his car, the Aliens' drummer was drafted as a quick fill in. Said drummer had a previous encounter with Lmo when auditioning for some proposed group...the audition was to have consisted of him jumping from a tall ladder into his drum set with an ax.

Nothing as frighteningly bizarroid can be heard on these rather solid-sounding numbers, but the Aliens sure did know how to crank out a hard enough rock that I'm sure coulda propelled them out of the club scene and into the---well, opening for a major act tour of the Northeast but that would be better'n nothing!

Not quite heavy metal but still gutzy in that Aerosmith tough guy pose sorta way with a music that owes part to the earlier arena rock types with enough Stones to solidify the sound and enough New York Dolls to give it that fresh and brash approach that really helped separate the newer breed of hard rock groups from the stodgier ones that were more popular for some strange reason or another. In other words this is PUNK ROCK the way it used to be defined way back when, a time when that hallowed term was being used to describe everyone from AC/DC and the Stooges to Little Bob Story and Talking Heads and people had no idea what was gonna happen once the jaded mid-seventies got even  jadier once that decade began to creep its way down the road to Decadentsville.

Overall NYC is a rather exciting album that doesn't even need to sound better'n these demos because it's all out front and hits your seventies rock sensibilities hard enough to the point where old issues of ROCK SCENE will suddenly appear right before your very eyes. Should be easily enough of a download to find, and if I were you I'd spend my time seeking out something like this 'stead of some of the newer than new under-the-underground efforts being touted as hotcha baloney which usually end up rotting away on the shelves anyway.
The Modern Lovers-STONEHENGE SET 2 71/72? CD-r burn

More of the same from last week, and if you (like everyone else) was so flabbergasted from all of those reports of what Richman and crew were doin' that even made the pages of ROLLING STONE (tho I dread reading what fem hag Ellen Willis wrote about 'em in the pages of THE NEW YORKER!) you can hear up front just why these guys were making such big waves in the under-the-underground music scene at the time! In an age of ironed hair and general dyspepsia the Lovers came off like the REAL rock 'n roll salvation that the world would take a good five or so years to catch up to, and this set really drives the point across! So good that even "Pablo Picasso" sounds driving enough without the presence of John Cale's piano chording away a la "The Protege"!
Iggy and the Stooges-THE STOOGES REHEARSALS 1973 DISC TWO CD-r burn

Ah, the sounds of a true rock 'n roll implosion. The gettin' together and workin' 'em out for the RAW POWER tour continues with more of those tracks that filled many a bootleg back in the late-eighties along with the infamous JESUS LOVES THE STOOGES EP and those duos where Iggy, presumably James Williamson and a beat box romp through their version of what the blooze are supposed to be like! It's been goin' 'round for quite some time and has been packaged and re-packaged more'n the Velvet Underground, but it sure sounds fantastico every time I lay ears to it!
Tommy Stuart-WHAT MAKES MARY GO ROUND CD-r burn (originally on Crazy Cajun Records)

Sounds rather mid-South-ish to me, and perhaps a bit like some of the things Alex Chilton might have been whipping up in between the Box Tops and Big Star. If it weren't for an overabundance of cover material I mighta called Tommy Stuart a singer-songwriter in the true spirit of it all. A Southern Elliot Murphy even if that it quite far off the mark. Not bad really, although a more straight-ahead approach and some powerful original material mighta made this one that'll get more'n a cursory spin around these parts.
Various Artists-ZERO-ZERO GREYHOUND CHERRY PIE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Lotsa the same sorta stuff ya find on these other Bill burns---the country and blooze and sorta weirdities that mighta been strange back in 1966 but sound so quaint now (such as the Definitive Rock Chorale's "Variations on a Theme Celled Hanky Panky"), the soul. The promo record regarding the new Greyhound Bus Line logo which is gonna make it as ear-ringing as "Winston Tastes Good Like a Cigarette Should" was funny because I can't for the life of me remember that one! The ad for Stoney's Beer was particularly striking as it pretty much condones cheating on your wife! And the Abdo-Men, besides having one of the punnier names in rock (well, way better'n the "Diffi Cult") play some good low-keyed mid-sixties rock here that did catch me by surprise. Made up for the more cornball stuff that sometimes gets slapped onto these things, though that's a surprising thing for me to say because hey, I like cornball!
Do any of you readers know how many back issues of BLACK TO COMM I've been able to sell last year? Well, I could count the number of copies on the fingers on my right hand, and that includes if I was Jerry Garcia so you know that ain't very many! Believe-you-me, fanzines such as the one I cranked out back in the dark days of the eighties, nineties and oughts were a rarity even during the hallowed fanzine onslaught of the nineties (of which I saw little if any interest in my works, so fooey on all that!) but if you missed out on all the fun well, now you have another chance to see what all the hubbub was about. Just click on the above link and be surprised if your life doesn't turn for the better. With all the money I'll be getting, I know mine will!

Thursday, January 09, 2020

DEE-VEE-DEE REVIEW! WAY OUT (1961 television series on CBS)

If you think that THE TWILIGHT ZONE just might be a little too tame for your own private inner sanctum, maybe you should try this little gem that only the creepiest of early-sixties tee-vee fanatics seem to remember lo these many years later.

Hosted by Roald Dahl (who ain't ever gonna get his mug onna English postage stamp!) in an incredibly strange moosh up of Alfred Hitchcock and Rod Serling complete with lit cigarette which he actually puffs away on (no coincidence that L&M sponsored both WAY OUT and THE TWILIGHT ZONE), WAY OUT lives up to the belated hype making it perhaps the best of the early-sixties obscurities that just didn't manage to make the cut into eternal classic tee-vee mayhem. According to the package this grey area item came in, WAY OUT was doing gangbusters as the lead-in to ZONE in the urban areas but flopped elsewhere else, something which would usually make the show a HIT considering how demographics made large-market urban viewership a primary cause for a television success while the rural and old fogey shows like GREEN ACRES and LAWRENCE WELK got the ax because they were drawing too many fuddy duddies in!

This 'un's got some rally great wrap arounds too, what with the simple-enough shoot into the monitor eternity effect used for Dahl's closeups and his stately Welsh accent giving such a demonic delivery that I'm sure most adolescent kids watching woulda thunk "cool!" The control room setting and the visuals almost remind me of those Ernie Kovacs specials from around the same time, and the entire "aura" sure makes a huge impact in that space age way just like all of the other programs sorta blurring the lines between the show's actual production and the behind-the-scenes doings sometimes confusing yourself as to what is supposed to be happening and what actually is. Especially when you're watching these half-asleep during the middle of the night.

WAY OUT's got the same soap opera-y videotaped look as those TWILIGHT ZONEs that were made during whatever strike it was that hadda make that show switch from film, but other'n that these episodes were (well, for the most part) better paced and creepy enough that I'm sure all those "Golden Age of Television" hacks who cum buckets over things like PLAYHOUSE 90 while ignoring real treats like OZZIE AND HARRIET would run home to the comfort of mom's boobies after seeing an episode or two of this fear-monger. "Fade to Black" shoulda induced more'n a few turdler nightmares what with its downright under-the-skin nerve rattling saga about a young femme walk-on being asked to stay for an all-night television filming that turns out to be a li'l more real 'n expected. Even creepier's the one where this henpecked guy actually falls for this headless sideshow "electric lady" who ain't some plastic fixture like the other freaks around. The old "is this a dream or is this real?" trope is worked again in a way more original way than it was even on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW.

Hokay, some of 'em are kinda "well, they coulda done better" like the one where character actor Henry Jones's brain in kept alive after death and his wife has some plans of her own what to do with it. But for the most part WAY OUT really delivers on what alla those other anthology spook shows of the late-sixties on only pretended at, and why this 'un got canned so fast is one of the great disasters of sixties television history along with the cancellations of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND and THE HATHAWAYS when their potentials were still going strong or could have developed into a work of classic stature.

The ten out of fourteen total episodes I saw were more'n enough to whet my appetite. Maybe the rest'll turn up somewhere before I totally wind up blithering.

Still doubting? Here's a good 'un that's once again a twist on an old favorite:

AND IN CONCLUSION all I really hafta say is...sheesh, David Susskind was put on this earth for a reason after all!

Saturday, January 04, 2020

Well here we are in 2020, a year (and beginning of a decade unless you're one of those mathematical sticklers with puckered up anuses) where I hope we can all think 20/20 ifyaknowaddamean... But as for any great hopes for the upcoming ten years well...lessee, that makes it FIVE decades I lived in that were relatively---naw---EXTREMELY blah, and from the bottom of my rectum let me be the first to predict that the next ten ain't gonna be any bit better if not downright worse. Hooo boy, what we have to look forward to what with all the EVIL things that have been happening in my lifetime being magnified even more... And worse if you can imagine. I mean, if you can't stand slobbering homos smooching each other to rapturous applause and twerking ten-year-olds in the present day and age imagine what we're gonna hafta endure once December 2029 rolls around!
So in order to keep SANE ya gotta concentrate on all the GOOD stuff that probably will happen, like the archival upheavals of even more good sixties/seventies digs that we've been waiting to hear our entire lives. Those early Velvet Underground ca. the Falling Spikes and Warlocks days recordings are bound to hit the boards and who knows what other fineries will make their way to our ears as the days roll on. And hey, maybe more of those old-tyme tee-vee channels pumping alla the great goodies of the past will keep us from going bonkers at night (sheesh, remember when PRIME TIME (actually starting when the evening news ended and the pre-net reruns began) used to be that big fambly party where we'd all have fun time and ate popcorn and watched shows that really hit us right between our existence? Boy was that long ago!), or maybe they'll bring back alla that food that we used to love as kids but got taken offa the market by a bunch of blue noses who know better'n Albert Einstein and Don Fellman COMBINED! Boy, sometimes I could just cry for a Shake-A-Puddin', banana flavor that is.
Gotta give credit to those who did their bestest to make sure this post gets the next ten years rollin' off in the right direction. Thanx as usual goes to Bill, Paul and especially P. D. FADENSONNEN who sent me a beautiful batch of burns that have kept me locked in my room like nothing since the time I discovered that cache of old NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC hula girl issues. I ain't gonna review all of 'em in one sitting thus shooting my load (sorry) all at once leaving future posts relatively bare, but as you can see a good portion of this week's reviews do feature my belated Christmas gift of which I am eternally grateful. Now I could have thanked Mr. Fadensonnen with a nice gooey thank you via email, but I figure wha' th' hey, why not do it in public just so people can see that I am not the ingrate that I am often made out to be. Anyway, a big golly gee goes to you sir, and once again thank you for helping to make the final days of the 'teens a whole lot more pleasant than I had originally thought they were gonna be!
Just a friendly reminder to keep der environment clean mein little schnitzels!

Luciano Berio/Pierre Boulez/Karlheinz Stockhausen/Olivier Messiaen-SERINATA I/SONATINE/CANTEYODJAYA/ZEITMASZE LP (Fantome Fonographiq Records, Italy)

When I was lunging through my GREAT AVANT GARDE MUSIC EDUCATIONAL CRAM OF 1978 these kinda records were harder to find than spendthrifts in Scotland. Now my collection is so fulla these interesting atonal blares that I kinda wonder how I ever got through the dry spell. My cyster going to college in Cleveland thus giving me time to prowl local used record shops while visiting her is how!

This is the kinda rec I sure wish was around back then, what with it containing some '57 recordings made by a few of the greats in the "new music" category doing their best to drive mom and dad outta the rec room. Tho I personally prefer Luciano Berio with the Swingle Singers and Stockhausen when he's cutting up tapes and making a horrendous roar (or Messiaen when he's playing the pipe organ at Notre Dame) these ensemble and solo tracks should be of some interest to those who like the new classical music either because of its historical significance, or because of its influence on the "new" rock, or maybe even because it's a good noise resesifier that can cleanse your soul out like prunes on your colon!

This is a limited to 500 pressing so if you don't get it now, wait until the next 500 pressing!

The first of the Fadensonnen batch which, like I said, I prefer to listen to piece by piece rather'n overdose in its entirety. These have been issued and re-issued before but I don't think I've heard it all before so it might be new to me! And you too so if you haven't given a listen to that Rolling Stones circa. 1970 country bloozer that opens this thing up or the various takes and retakes of old faves you're in luck!

Frankly I think I can listen to all of the takes of both "Search and Destroy" and "Raw Power" that exist in this world of ours, and if those songs continue to sear your psychotic side like they tend to do mine you couldn't do wrong by latching onto these rehearsal sides which might be just as simple as doin' a li'l internet search and fryin' away!
Jack Wright/Murray Reams-LIVE @ KILLTIME, PHILADELPHIA PA 1/22/91 CD-r burn

Having listened to this late at night when the mind was feelin' woozier'n usual I thought this was some recently unearthed FRANK Wright recording! My error, though these Wrights sure do it the right way with their over-the-edge saxophone playing which brings that late-sixties zeitgeist back faster'n you can say Phoebe an' I don't mean Snow! Sax/drum duets that ain't as brash as the Frank Lowe/Rashied Ali album but better'n INTERSTELLAR SPACE---really. Not essential, but a fine antidote to Jazz Incorporated no matter how you put it!
The Modern Lovers-LIVE @ STONEHENGE CLUB, IPSWICH MA 71/72 (?) SET ONE CD-r burn

Hah, a surprisingly good quality live tape that I'm surprised hasn't gotten out to the lumpen proles a whole lot earlier. Richman and Co. sound even more swinging than anticipated what with the Doors-inspired instrumental breaks and a general wrapping up of everything you liked in rock 'n roll ca. 1966-69 rolled up into one neat package that'll make you forget all of the bad stuff that was goin' on at the time. Pretty nice slab of teenbo Amerigana that only the Modern Lovers really could present to us as that New Suburban Folk Music that would make deep inroads once the seventies rolled on and on...
The Magic Band-FALL 1974 DEMO CD-r burn

If I ain't mistaken ain't this really Mallard? Y'know, the post-Beefheart version of the Magic Band that sorta got the pink slip before recording two albums for Virgin? Y'know again, those platters that I was warned over and over again NOT to buy lest I lose my faith in the power and the glory of what Van Vliet and company presented to us during those abstract days of the late-sixties? If so, I can see why many would think Mallard would be verboten with my own sense of musical maleficence.

Not that it's rancid by any stretch of whatever's left of my imagination, but the neo-country West Coast rock approach just ain't the kinda thing that grasps at anything that makes music such a major part of my own reason for existence. A looooooong way from MIRROR MAN altho if I did see them albums for a buck apiece in some flea market pile I would snatch 'em up just to dolly up the collection a bit.
Spacemen 3-HOW THE BLUES SHOULD'VE TURNED OUT 2-CD-r burn set (Sonic Boom self-released)

I pretty much gave up on most of them various eighties groups who were re-creating the heights of sixties/seventies innovation, perhaps because I thought the original takes were way better and since many of these things were being reissued why bother with the imitations! Spaceman 3 were but one of those acts who got shoved to the back of the bus while the purge was set in place, and other'n that Silver Apples-related effort (Spectrum) I pretty much avoided 'em the same way many of you readers avoid soap.

Perhaps I was being a bit hasty in my judging of these more-recent encapsulators of the form, for this collection of trackage from the collection of Spaceman Sonic Boom really does put forth a good effort as far as reviving the past while adding something new to it. And all the while not losing much if any of the sound and spirit that made the originals so fun to listen to.

Yeah I know we've had way too many of these Velvets/Stooges/Roky/Free Jazz mergers that just don't ring as true as they did in the late-seventies, but I'm surprised how Spacemen Three can get rid of the usual pretension that may have crept into a few of those early-eighties Rough Trade efforts and bring everything back down to that bare THUD. Disque 1 sure does that with a total boil down to the bare essentials rock that sounds loud even when the volume is toned way down...familiar tracks like "TV Eye" and "Hey Man" (actually a rock version of that "Amen" song from LILLIES OF THE FIELD which may have been adapted into its more recent form down the road---I dunno) come off like that true heavy metal in its early-seventies definition even if Andy Secher would be the last man to admit it. The more psychedelic numbers on the other platter are mixed with such remarkable entries as an electronic "Modulated Tones" and an acoustic "Transparent Radiation" which does have a particularly sentimental charm.

These flashes of the week usually come and go, and I know what its like to plunk down hard-begged shekels only to find out that the hype just might be mightier than the jamz. But with this 'un I realize that some of these under-the-counterculture faves just might have had their own sense of rockist gyrospection (gyrospheric introspection, that is!) that made their efforts to create the past almost as good as the past itself was. Only I was too obsessed with various superficial aspects of the quest to have noticed.

Various Artists-IN THE MORNING AFTER THE POLAR JET CROWD CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

One of the stranger Bill burns true. Lotsa furrin pop stuff here that makes me think this was taped in the commissary at the United Nations, and while the representatives from Cutchakockov and Crackafarta are fighting over who gets the last zebra steak one can imagine songs by such acts as the Bulawayo Street Rhythm Band from Rhodesia (who I guess did not get the stamp of approval from Ian Smith!) and Raymond Legrand's "Istanbul" proudly playing from the ceiling speakers.

One must wonder just why the Czechoslovakian Rebels would want to cover the Mamas and the Papas' "Creeque Alley" (and they had the nerve to jail the Plastic People of the Universe rather than these mokes!) while I get the idea that Nisar Bazmi's ALL we're gonna be hearin' before they tighten the immigration laws!

If you are in the mood for some "Amerigan" stuff there's Jack Jones singing "The In Crowd" (whoopee) and a Shelley Berman routine which makes me wish the guy made more TWILIGHT ZONE appearances 'stead of deliver this dull mulch that I could not ooze even a snicker outta.
As we slide into what obviously will be known as "The Boring Twenties" perhaps its best to fortify your rockism soul with a few still-available issues of BLACK TO COMM. But hurry, because supplies are to all I can SELL, that is!