Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hey, can any of you identify the cheap-looking (no matching suits!) late-fifties rock 'n roll group pictured directly above? I kinda get the idea that I saw a clip of 'em taken from a 1958 episode of AMERICAN BANDSTAND...the Wailers? The Tune Rockers? Johnny and the Hurricanes? I'm not that sure who these guys can be but I will say something...the two guys in the double-breasted suits are sure wearin' some square duds for the late-fifties! At least give that goof second from the left a baseball cap!
Anyway, how are you holding up through all of this Covid-19 (the SECRET miracle ingredient!) self-quarantine apocalypso fun 'n jamz anyway? Frankly I like sittin' around watching good stuff on tee-vee and having more time to write up posts like these t'boot! Kinda reminds me of Christmas vacation, only I don't get to spend the rest of the holidaze buying up things I didn't get at the shopping plazas or visiting relatives only so I can cop some of their free eats! And while I'm at it, I REALLY am gonna miss all the moolah that I'm not earning but them's the breaks. I kinda wish we had Covid-19 around way back when I was in school because I sure coulda used a big break from alla that horrid grind. Of course the kidz today are probably forfeiting their summer break and like, who wants to go to school during the warm weather days when they could be out having fun in their bedrooms reading old comic books and fanzines like I would!

But somehow I feel glad that there is this "Chinese Gongo" goin' around if only it would infect some of them people who have given me grief over the year. In fact, if any of you grief-givers just happen to be readin' this, RUN OUT AND GIVE EVERYBODY YOU SEE A NICE BIG JUICY BUGS BUNNY KISS and you too might become part of the Wuhan Generation! It does warm the cockles of my heart hearing that Prince Charles (England's answer to Alfred E. Neuman) has got it, and if we wish and pray hard enough who knows, maybe someone who has really crept up our asses might come down with a dose more sooner than later. But at least it's a chance-y affair since this disease does not discriminate, unlike AIDS which seemed to take out every irritating portion of our society just like a good plague should!

Maybe I should be a little bit cautious. After all, if my wish comes true I might be losing a whole passel o' readers who like to add snitty comments to these often erudite posts! It's a give or take situation I guess
Between what there was of work and the extra time I had goofing off I sure did make the best of a dread pandemic, what with me listening to even more music'n usual (actually found my Dr. Mix and the Remix disques after months of turning the room upsy-daisy!) and whipping up the dandy reviews that can be found immediately below! Thanx goes to the likes of Bill Shute, Paul McGarry (who went up and beyond the call of doody), Opaque Dynamo and Feeding Tube for the donations. Well, these donations are sure better'n the boxes of Stovetop Stuffing and canned green beans I manage to get by posing as a needy person during the Christmas Season that's for sure!

Hopital de la Conception (featuring Junk Nurse)-ELECTRIC ROCKING CHAIR LP (Opaque Dynamo/Cardnial Fuzz/Feeding Tube Records, France/England/USA respectively)

Hey, the cassette-only release I raved about in 2018 has materialized into a bonafeed ALBUM here in 2020 (or actually November 2019) so you have NO EXCUSE not to have this much needed platter snugged in your record collection next to all of the other mind-destroying hard-edged repeato-riff recordings that have sullied your life these past X-some years. I've raved about this before and I will rave about it again, but all I really gotta say is...if you like that avgarde French rock in the punk-unto-pure sound mode that was quite the rage back inna seventies you'll probably be indifferent to this killer, knowing what a pack of morons some of you readers can get to be!
Ryan Power-MIND THE NEIGHBORS LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Not particularly bein' inna mood for introspective singer/songwriter sounds I was preparin' to trash this Power guy to all get-out just to be NASTY about it! But wait!!!!...turns out this guy ain't another one of those sweet and soulful junkies in the James Taylor tradition after all but a guitar strummer with some guts that at this point in time have not been drawn and quartered out. Backed by tasty horn and string arrangements, Power captures the better moments of sixties folkitude without the armpit stench, recalling such previous purveyors of the pulse as Tim Hardin, Tim Rose and Fred Neil (definitely some non sweet and soulful junkies!) more than he would a Tom Paxton (that is, if I could remember what that particular introspective folkie sounded like!). Not so bad even if I'm not soul-stirred enough by this to strap on my own guitar, harmonica holder and sandals just so's I could squeeze some cooze outta a buncha over-sensitive maidens all torn apart by the world and its woes.
Overhang Party-COMPLETE STUDIO RECORDINGS 4-CD set (Important Records)

Japanese psychedelic rock of the 90s and 00's still has a sorta ring-a-ding within my stirrups, so this multi-Cee-Dee set does sorta fill a hole in my head so-to-speak. Sounds range from total free-splat rock-jazz to things strangely reminiscent of TANZ DER LEMMINGS, and it all should make plenty of sense. Or at least it would make send to you people who were in on the Les Rallizes Denudes hype and rode it along with LSD March and a bevy of other Nipponese nasties who really knew how to rearrange your cranial cells. Might take a little getting used to, so try to take it disque by disque 'stead of leaping into the whole thing for an evening of sonic mayhem that just might overload your sensory panel to the point of fry.
Wire-MIND HIVE CD-r burn (originally on Pink Flag Records)

What's with these all black 'cept for white lettering Cee-Dee covers anyway??? Other than that well...given the way these guys now look as evident from their appearance on a recent cover of THE WIRE I was dreading to listen to Wire's latese album. However, although the original Wire members are now old enough that they don't even need to ask for a senior discount they still can make a typically Wire-ish recording that sounds about as Wire-y as the rest of those Wired efforts. Nothing that I would call exemplary but still good enough for those of you who were (unlike me) in on the game lo these many years. And the best thing about it is it clocks in at about 34 minutes so the thing's over with before you REALLY get bored!
Scott Morgan's Powertrane-ANN ARBOR REVIVAL MEETING CD-r burn (originally on Grown Up Wrong Records)

Somehow it shouldn't surprise me that these Detroit-area under-the-underground types were still pumping out the old high energy sounds as late as this 2002 recording. Former Rational Morgan still seems to be in fine enough form while fellow Powertrainer and Radio Birdman guitarist Deniz Tek shows that a little cult following can go a pretty long way. Heck, according to the cover noted scenester Ron Asheton appears though for the life of me I can't tell exactly where, unless its on the Stooges covers. Features new to my ears rockers in the Sonic's Rendezvous tradition as well as a batch of local faves that, for some strange reason or another, don't sound so bad even if subpar groups have been beating this material like a dead horse for years.
The Hounds-LIVE AT MAX'S KANSAS CITY 1975 CD-r burn

That Steve Simels guy really usedta crack me up! Back during my library days when I would pour through old issues of STEREO REVIEW I'd make a point of it to read his regular column, not exactly so's I could gain any insight into which records out there were worthy of buying but for a good ol' belly laugh I just couldn't find anywhere else! His totally contrary to BLOG TO COMM standards opinions were a real hoot, so kneejerky tilted against anything even remotely punk rock-y but not to the point that I could loathe the man the way I do Anastasia Pantsios and the other sworn enemies of the wild and wooly world of rock 'n roll. He was sorta like a lovable old doof, Robert Christgau without the power to destroy.

I can still recall Simels' big anti-RAW POWER screed, him sayin' that the first two albums by the Stooges were total slabs of amateurish bilge with one long track sounding EXACTLY THE SAME from beginning to end and the other just loaded with noisome sax playing and that this new one wasn't that much different so save your pennies and get the new Springsteen, or something like that! Not forgetting his proclamations about the rising New York Rock Scene of the mid-seventies, a continuation of the by-then comatose Dolls-influenced movement an' he didn't think this one was gonna last so's ya might as well ferget it as well! Now, I'm recallin' all this from a good fortysome years later so don't write in complainin' that I left a comma out or deliberately mis-represented Simel's opines since I pretty well got the whole gist of it all down about as well as Richard Nixon going to see DEEP THROAT three times so he could get it down pat and you KNOW how much I like these old bad gags, eh?

Well consider my surprise when I discovered that Simels, although dismissive of the up and coming scene that was developing at CBGB and Max's Kansas City along with some other hallowed haunts, was actually in a local NYC band that frequented those very same hangouts that he seemed to have a totally flower power aversion to. For a guy who used to back the Simon Sisters (Carly and Kate) that would be a revelation of sorts but yeah. his group the Hounds were a pretty on-target local band that in many ways fit in swell with the up and comers who were popping up on local stages with ideas and music that one would have thought Simels would have a total hippified reaction against!

The lead singing gal (Lucinda Moran) makes for one of those perfect frontwomen who has the just-right kinda smooth voice for the stripped down garage band rock (which is heavy on the mid-sixties San Francisco sound, more Mojo Men or Vejtables than the Great Society) while the band is capable enough even if some might think they're still not ready for Ted Mack. But they were, or at least they had every right to be on stage as the likes of those other big misses from the scene who may have been spectacular but just didn't quite fit in with the swerve and sway.

For an an original music group striking out in NYC at the time I would think that the Hounds had all the right and definitely non-commercial moves needed to have made some sorta mark on the local scene. Unfortunately they screwed up royally, not their fault I guess, but given all the misses that popped up in the seventies local under-the-counterculture world of rock what else is new?

At least there is this remnant of what the group was able to do live. Be thankful we have access to this musical obscurity considering that there were about a thousand other acts of the day I'd sure like to lend ear to that never did make any of their recordings available to us under-the-counterculture fans who might be just a little more'n curious.

By the way, there's a Hounds Cee-Dee available out there altho my copy never did arrive so fie on whoever was responsible for that! And for those of you who are curious as to what these quadrupeds sounded like well, the very source of my own burn can be found directly below and YOU CAN DO IT TOO!

Soft White Underbelly-STONYBROOK UNIVERSITY 1969 CD-r burn

Ain't sure if this is indeed the Underbelly or Stalk-Forrest (hence my inclusion of the confusing ad posted at the left) but it's sure dad blamed one of those historical pre-Blue Oyster Cult recordings that I sure wish got into circulation a whole lot sooner than it eventually did! The presence of Les "Vegas" Braunstein on lead vocals might tip this off as being from the SWU days (not too sure of the proper SWU unto Stalk-Forrest unto Blue Oyster Cult chronology) but whatever it is the thing sure is a hoot!

Braunstein struggles to hit notes coming off like some sophomore's earnest yet unschooled imitation of Jim Morrison, while the group plays its psychedelia really cool in that patented 1969 Elektra records way which would figure considering how Elektra signed 'em up and promoted 'em as the new Doors. It's so psychedelic under-the-counterculture cool that it kinda makes me wish I coulda dug this 'un up at some flea market circa. 1978 for a mere fifty cents. Given the performance I'm sure even the most casual observer woulda thought these guys were destined for more than gymnasiums and that alla the R. Meltzer hype via THE AESTHETICS OF ROCK, CIRCUS MAGAZINE and various "Outer Pumice" columns wasn't just mindless blabber!

I hope this gets released, along with the first SWU album, all dolled up in some pretty package and sanitized for our protection like they did with the Stalk-Forrest thing a decade or so back.
Various Artists-20TH CENTURY PUSH-AND-PULL CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Bill seems to be in more of a partying mood 'n usual with this 'un which starts off rather white (Freddy Cannon doing better'n usual and the Creation on an old familiar fave) before getting into soul music territory. As far as these particular selections go you better make sure you've taken your blood pressure meds because they'll get you up and jumpin' what with the likes of Rufus Thomas and Chris Kenner (to name some more familiar ones) belitin' out some misses that shoulda been hits but they all can't hit the target. Della Reese' revamping of the old "It Was a Very Good Year" heart warmer ought to pierce a few holes in your eardrums! And after all that what does Bill do but slap some old country music weepers from Gordon Woodby and Red Howard on changing the mood a good 180 degrees! The worst mis-matching since the Lubricated Goat and Buzzy Linhart shared a bill at CBGB!
I've been tryin' to unload these old issues of BLACK TO COMM for years, mostly to no avail for one sick and sad reason or another. C'mon, you devoted readers have gotta do your part, like buy some of these mags so I can retire comfortably to a nice little old folk's home in Coraopolis PA which has at least some semblance of people working there with IQ's in the double digits. I know all of you prospective readers are out there...howzbout clicking on the above link and get me some money back on the loads I poured into these things without the fame or fortune that I most richly deserve!!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

BOOK REVIEW! SMALL CARS POSTCARD BOOK (Benedikt Taschen Verlag GmbH, 1994)

Boy you can  really tell that I'm doing some deep bottom-of-the-barrel scraping diggin' up a book like THIS, but SMALL CARS POSTCARD BOOK does its doody and does its doody well. A paperback-sized collection of postcards, this particular book in the series (which also features titles such as BUNNY YEAGER, TOM OF FINLAND and EROTICA UNIVERSALIS) has loads of postcards featuring classic snaps of small-time vehicles you may remember from your childhood, or even from your last trip to the auto show for that matter. Lotsa old time mini-car faves appear from the infamous cover star Isetta to the Mini Cooper, Fiat Topolino (Mussolini's "People's Car"!) and the Messerschmitt KR 200 just like the kind Elvis had, and not only that but some rarities pop up that'll make you do a double take that's how weirdoid they are. Didja ever see the Citroen 2 CV Prototype from 1939 that looked as if it was created from sheet metal and had only one headlight? Well, that's here as well. And what's best about this book is that when ya get tired of it ya can tear the cards off and send 'em off inna mail! Text in French, German and English.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


This Columbia two-reel comedy short was made in late 1945 and released in 1946, just before Shemp rejoined The Three Stooges, when Curly’s stroke made it impossible for him to work any longer. Evidently, Shemp had been brought back into the act for live appearances earlier in 1945, to fill in when Curly was too tired to perform and needed rest.

Tom Kennedy, who specialized in slow-witted policemen or thugs, had a long comedy career going back to 1915 and silent films. He was perfect for Columbia shorts and worked in a number of them, including being paired with Monte Collins and with El Brendel. He could turn on and off the punch-drunk persona like a faucet when he needed to, and appeared in many dramatic roles, not just comedy. He was still working in 1965, when he died at age 80!

SOCIETY MUGS is a re-make of the Three Stooges short TERMITES OF 1938----remember, the one where a fancy society party needs a few “refined” male escorts, and the hosts mistakenly engage Acme Exterminators rather than Acme Escorts? It even re-uses two of the same supporting players (Bess Flowers and Lew Davis), though no footage is recycled. I haven’t done a side by side comparison of the two shorts, but essentially, with no Moe present, Shemp becomes the dominant party, with Tom Kennedy filling in for Larry (of course, no one can fill in for Curly). Stooges regular Gene Roth, as the butler at the rich house, is subject to a lot of abuse when Shemp and Tom arrive with armfuls of exterminating equipment, and Roth shows what a good physical comedian he is. The maid here, Petunia, is played by Libby Taylor, who has the honor of having worked in three Ted Healy films (after the Stooges broke with him), as well as a 1939 Three Stooges film from the Curly era, and then this 1945 film with Shemp. It’s a shame they didn’t have Three Stooges Conventions back in the day—she’d be one of the most in-demand celebrities with that kind of background. Also, with Bud Jamison and Vernon Dent being for most fans the two supporting actors most associated with the Stooges and most abused by their physical comedy, it’s interesting that in the 1938 Stooges original, the role of honored party guest Lord Wafflebottom is played by Bud Jamison, and in this 1946 Shemp remake, the role is played by Vernon Dent!

Lord Wafflebottom mentions to one of the other guests that he’s a foreigner who is not familiar with classy American society, so he figures a good example to imitate in the etiquette department would be the two gentlemen from the escort bureau….and of course, since everyone is sucking up to the Lord, they then imitate him, as he imitates Shemp and Tom. You can imagine where that heads.

There is a chamber music group playing during the party here, and the flute player is none other than silent comedy great Snub Pollard, who reinvented himself as a supporting actor in the sound era and performed, often unbilled (!!!), up through the early 60’s, appearing in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALENCE and Jerry Lewis’ THE ERRAND BOY. He gets a nice though brief scene opposite Shemp, where Snub’s flute is grabbed away from him, and Shemp tells him he doesn’t know how to make that flute swing. Once Shemp starts playing flute, like the Pied Piper, he attracts dozens of rats from the walls, meaning the exterminators can finally ply their trade. The second half of the second reel (the short runs 16 minutes) is basically Shemp and Tom destroying the place as they go after the rats, drenching and bopping and bashing the guests in the best Columbia short tradition.

Shemp has always been capable of carrying his own comedy shorts—he’d done it since the 30’s, though he was often paired with a second comic talent, often Daphne Pollard, whom I'd assumed (until looking it up tonight) was Snub's sister (like Snub, she is originally Australian), but they are no relation! What a small world (see SMOKED HAMS lobby card).

The Warner Archive has an excellent collection of Vitaphone shorts featuring Shemp, 20 shorts from 1933-1937, called ‘Vitaphone Comedy Collection, Volume Two: Shemp Howard’. As for SOCIETY MUGS, it’s on You Tube, and in excellent quality, not a common thing for Columbia shorts, which are either not on You Tube or in blurry quality from 16mm TV prints that look like they were shot off the wall when someone projected them in their living room. Please, Sony, while we are all still alive, make the huge body of Columbia shorts available to us from your vaults….Harry Von Zell, Monte Collins, Vera Vague, the team of Eddie Quillan and Wally Vernon, Andy Clyde, Harry Langdon, Hugh Herbert, Walter Catlett, Schilling & Lane, etc. We need more than just the Stooges, Buster Keaton, and one volume of Charley Chase, as wonderful as they may be.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

How'ya doin' holding up against this whole Coronavirus hoo-hah that's plagued the world these past few weeks? Sheesh, schools are closed yet you see lots of brats cloggin' up the aisles at supermarkets with their more susceptible, hunh? Personally I find the whole concept of self-quarantine and diggin' into one's abode pretty fun, as long as the house is stocked with comic books, old fanzines and plenty of music (and classy old-tyme tee-vee), but for the most part don't you find the current hysteria kinda over reacting to a problem that just might die out within a week or ten?!?!?!? I mean, all of the fuss that's goin' on about catching the dreaded "Chinese Gongo" (as Dorothy Gish called it when she refused to kiss Wallace Reid over 100 years back!) compared with the Spanish Influenza of 1919 or even the sniffle epidemic that hit the grade school back when I was six and """""I""""" was blamed by my teacher for starting the whole thing (really!). I'm still gonna go get myself a big Chinese takeout (that's "takeaway" for you English speaking readers) in order to show my solidarity with those of East Asian extraction in the face of all this needless germophobia. Heck, as the mayor of Florence Italy suggested I might even hug a Chinese person as well, as long as she's cute and doesn't smell funny. In other words, as long as if she's THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF ME!
Somehow I get the feeling that Brad Kohler is home cryin' his peepers out about the death of Genesis P. Breyer-Orridge. Me, I'm not sniffling a-tall. Not that I don't enjoy that roar of those Throbbing Gristle disques that I only decided to buy a few years back after years of lethargy (and indifference), but I find it hard to feel any sorta emotion over a guy who was as SICKOID as B-O definitely was. The luster has gone out of all those decadents who seemed so trailblazing when you were a lot younger yet showed that they were just as staid and stodgy as you were all along, only in their own "inspired" and "meaningful" way! If I'm gonna get all weepy about any deca-hero of the past's demise it's probably gonna be R. Meltzer's an' NO ONE ELSE'S! Still, I might just give SECOND ANNUAL REPORT a spin, just to osmose myself into the current situation.
Hey, if you really want one you can try to get it here, but hurry!
Anyhoo, hope ya dig this week's bevy of bountiful beauties to coin a phrase. The GR album was a late-addition to the batch (thanks to Cardinal Fuzz, and say hi to the lieutenant for me!) but it was so good that I decided to sneak this one (to the front of the line!) just so's you can get your copy before everyone else! Don't go sayin' I don't do any favors for ya! Also thanks goes to Bill Shute, Sir Paul McGarry, Bob Forward, Feeding Tube Records and NO ONE ELSE (not even me!) for this week's offerings (burnt or not)...hope you can learn something here that you haven't known before which, given your collective IQ's, is a natural given.

THE GR RECORD HEAD LP (Opaque Dynamo/Cardinal Fuzz Records, France and England respectively)

This white-vinyl platter houses some interesting music, all played by this GR guy who undoubtedly would know about the whys and wherefores of his music given the way he looks on the cover. And those whys and wherefores just hafta be related to all of the hot, inner-mounting and downright BOILING attitude that made up the late-sixties music scene! Y'see, this long-player's got all of the high-spirited pounce that was part and parcel to the non-hippoid (and non-kiddie) matter that was known as rock 'n roll during those rather heated days. A tribute to black power somethingorother Fred Hampton proves this guy's got an MC5-inspired political credo while the rest doesn't seem to sound that far off from what a whole lotta kids in garages nationwide were doin' under the influence of Lester Bangs reviews. I find it all pretty cool myself especially in its low fidelity. A must to get for all you budding White Panthers out there!
IJI LP (Feeding Tube Records)

Every record by Feeding Tube is a soo-prize for the ears, and this one really takes the ol' cake and most of the icing as well for being a unique among unique offering in that label's catalog. Iji is a moderne pop group, really not that much different from a variety of electro pop rock acts that have been cluttering up many a record collection since the early eighties or so. And this album really throws me into a quandary, since the music that Iji provides recall not only some interesting 70s/80s electronic rock experiments but a whole load of pop pap that followed in its wake. Talk about having a love/hate relationship, and with a dang record as well!

So here I am with emotions more mixed than the time when Sam was yapping his head off in anger at the way I treated him and I would whip out some food and start eating it confusing my Canis Stoopis between thought of hate and a good treat. And if you too have trouble controlling the rockist and pop sides of your mind you too might feel the exact same ways Sam did oh so long ago!
Spykes & Parashi-BRAILLE LICENSE PLATES FOR SULLEN NIGHTS 7-inch single (Radical Documents Records)

Not much (if any) real info on the insert and no instructions on which speed to play it (I did 33 and it sounded just right), Spykes & Parashi are a duo who spend their Christmas Eves making bizarro sounds that I guess they find swell enough to issue on neat records like this, records which come complete with bee-youtiful abstract art sleeves that even you might find rather attractive.

Consisting of nothing but improvisational sounds with saxophone and electronics, Spykes & Parashi remind me of this group called Idiophonic that was playing out and about in the New York City underground circuit during the early oughts. Dark and waddling feedback-ish sound with deep sax holler, each side ending with a locked groove so satisfying that you'll wanna let it play until the needle wears itself right through the record. Maybe if the feller who sent me this can tell us all where you can get it.

Sure nice to hear this early under-the-underground NE Ohio rarity once again. The sound ain't as clear as it was on the actual tape that was goin' 'round back then but who cares especially when you finally get the opportunity to once again hear this LEGENDARY Akron group during their early days before the lure of gnu wave and major record contracts soiled the sound somewhat. Fans of the group's Clone records will surely enjoy hearing their renditions of the usual underground jukebox faves like "Waiting For My Man" and "Search and Destroy" placed alongside import bin finds like "Eye Shaking King" (its no surprise that Huey's original music at this time had a strong Amon Duul II influence) with even a cover of "Jerkin' Crocus" tossed in for good measure. A great slab of live seventies-vintage sonic experience, but what happened to the version of "Sister Ray" they did that was dedicated to Maureen Tucker and Peter Laughner?
Steve Marcus-GREEN LINE CD-r burn (originally on Victor Records, Japan)

Sheesh Bill, a bright guy like ya shoulda knowed that I already have a Cee-Dee-Are of this all-time fusion winner (which comes complete with the talents of Sonny Sharrock and Miroslav Vitous) snuggled somewhere in the leaning towers of tea coasters taking over my bedroom. Well, thank you for giving me an excuse to listen to this again!
Alan Jack Civilization-BLUESY MIND CD-r burn (originally on BYG Records, France)

Yet another one of those late-sixties whiteguy blooze things that really don't measure up to what that genre can produce when its pumping on all cylinders. Maybe the fact that one of the band members with out-stretched arms is wearing one of those leather fringe jackets should be a good tipoff, but then again Sonny Sharrock can be seen wearing one on the back cover of the all-time cruncher MONKEY POCKIE BOO! Maybe I shouldn't hold that form of hippoid expression against Jack despite those kinda coats dredging up a whole load of bad memories. This plain and uninspiring album I will hold against him, THAT'S for sure!
The Rolling Stones-REELIN' AND ROCKIN' 2-CD-r burn set

Two disques of the Stones in their mid-sixties prime in varying qualities and quantities for that matter. Serious fans probably have the original bootlegs but this might do for cheapos like me who still kinda cringe at the thought of these guys even existing after 1974. It does capture a lotta the unbridled fun and jamz that made those days exciting for fat gals crammed in their boudoirs popping blackheads as the radio spewed out Stones hits one after another. And you can do the same thing too!
Various Artists-HANGOVER HOUSE-PARTY POODLE GREASE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Wow, Bill must be doing something wrong because I like this one a whole lot! You'd think he'd throw in some tracks that I thought were from grade-z turdsville to get my goat 'r somethin', but there are loads of top notch winners here from the infamous "Green Mosquito" by the Tune Rockers (who are that good in that late-fifties ranch house Amerigan way that I posted their 1958 DICK CLARK appearance directly below!) to Gradie O'Neal's "Turkey Neck Stretch"! Yes, this 'un has all the makings of a one-man party in my bedroom to take place on one of these lonely nights when I get in the mood to absorb the darkness into my very soul.

Other winners include the Penguins' (of "Earth Angel"?) "Jingle Jangle" and the Youngsters' "Christmas in Jail" too late for the holidays but good enough any ol' way. Ike Turner goin' country on "Square Dance" (!), Slim Harpo's drivin' and talkin' blues and, getting back to the late-fifties birth of the suburban slob beat, the Sparkletones' "Cotton Pickin' Rocker" also manage to raise the roof around here! One spin and you'll be holed up in your fart encrusted bedroom in your stocking feet readin' yer old comics just like you woulda way back when, which coincidentally was exactly what """""I""""" was doin' when I slapped this 'un on my bedside boom box this very afternoon and ya better believe it!

If you happen to be in the market for some sophisticated, deep-reaching rock journalism that exposes the deep inner thoughts and workings of those who have dominated the music realm these past few decades, I know where you can pick up some issues of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY for a pretty fair price. However if you want something a little more attuned to the darker side, the gritty underbelly of music as that driving force behind your own personal angst and desperation, I have some issues of BLACK TO COMM that I'm willing to part with for a mere song or better yet some long green that's desperately needed around here. Just click on the link and I'll promise you a magazine that reaches for the inner soul of a rock as a way of life kinda individual (which I assume you are), and we didn't even put any pictures of Meghan Markle on the cover!

Thursday, March 19, 2020


In yet another "search for one thing and find another" situation that seems to be all the rage here at the BLOG TO COMM orifice I've latched onto this particular book. A book that, about two or three years back, I thought would make for a good writeup if only to prove to you readers that I have a storied and way deeper appreciation of the finer things in life than many of you naysayers would dare admit. And given how at one time these old Marvel Comics were what one might call the apex of a not so fine and quite confused adolescence what better way to pay tribute to a youth that wasn't quite mis-spent, but mircomanaged to the point where I wouldn't have known enough to wipe my butt unless I had express permission from my parents to do so!

Of course this sequel ain't as good as Stan Lee's original ORIGINS collection from a year or so earlier. Personally I never found the likes of Daredevil or even the X-Men quite as exciting as the earlier breed of Marvel heroes, but at least this series (soon to be followed by BRING ON THE BAD GUYS, not in my collection) again scoops up those once-rare (and you try findin' one at an early-seventies flea market!) early Marvel stories back when that company was just trying to regain its balance after a series of mishaps. Not only that, but once again you get to read Lee tooting off the tried and true Marvel history probably making things up as he goes along as if any of us had the means to fact check him. Gee, aren't you guys lucky?

Still this one has some goodies, like the debuts of the '63-'64 Marvel just getting a grip on its success-era characters ('cept for Dr. Strange, who warranted an appearance in  the first volume despite being a mid-'63 arrival) as well as a few later entries such as S.H.I.E.L.D. and THE SILVER SURFER in case you just got some windowpane and wanna stare at one of those panels for ten hours. Not only that, but like in the first edition a later-on story is also printed giving you an opportunity to see just how much these characters had evolved within a few short years. See the X-Men's Beast going from a cloddish Thing-alike to an obnoxious genius and Iron Man's costume changing so much that you can see just how the artists were trying to pass his chest dials off as nipples, those cagey guys!

Made for a good afternoon killer, and if you want any afternoons to kill you might wanna dig into fortysome years of collectible trash and try pullin' this 'un up from the stacks of apple cartons hidden all across the abode.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

"Idle hands get in the way of the devil's work". Basil Fawlty once said that, and to prove him right I've presented for you this nice and jambus-packtus post that I know will make your weekend a whole lot more merrier than whatever (probably immoral) activities you had planned.
One MORAL way I've been whiling away the hours is by going on the Peter Laughner Facebook Page and absorbing my inner whooziz into a whole lotta pretty good reading and visual stimulation that continues to keep my rock 'n roll spirits at top mental peak. Naturally the Peter Laughner of Pere Ubu etc. fame is not here to give us his thoughts and takes on what had transpired in that magical world of Cleveland 197X, but whoever his ghost is sure does a great job and between gazing at the rare snaps, ads and reprints of various Laughner (and related) rarities you could say that my rockism levels have been pumped up mighty high. It reminds me of just why I thought music like this fit in a whole lot more swell with my nerve endings than Kay Kyser's or Christopher Cross's (same thing) ever did, and if your brainwave levels are attuned to the same frequency as Laughner's were well, need I tell you to hit the above link as soon as your greasy paws are capable of doing for some superfine rock education that washes years of FM radio numbness away! It sure is heartwarming knowing that the TRUE spirit of seventies-era under-the-counterculture rock 'n roll lives on long after the 1964-1981 generation of high energy seemed dead and buried for all time.
BLOG TO COMM CONTEST! Guess who the mystery man on the right in this photo is and win a one-way trip to Wuhan Province, China for the annual all-you-can-eat bat festival! I'll give you two hints as to who this fine specimen (no, not that!) of a human being is...first he is not "Luke R. Yoo" and secondly his articles have appeared on this blog at one time or another! Put on those thinking caps and let's see just how astute you reg'lar readers are in guessing this VERY IMPORTANT PERSON's identity!
Good 'un this week if I dew say so maself! Big heaping hunking thanks go to Bill, Paul, Bob, Feeding Tube and Hozac for the donations to the cause! Anyway, I don't care if you "learn" anything or derive something of a deep and meaningful benefit from what I have written this week, but if you think that the stuff I wrote is "swell" then you certainly are on the right track!


I used to have dreams of browsing some record bin in some old rickety record shop or flea market and coming up with a old and worn out winner such as this! Here's a solid slab from NYC rock LEGEND Sonny Vincent featuring tracks from his old groups that really do present that hard-edged rock 'n roll feeling that seemed to go by the wayside as the rock era sludged forward. You could call it heavy metal in the old sense or even punk rock as it was defined by the more gonzo than you crowd, but either way these tracks by such Vincent-helmed acts with names like Distance, Fury, the Liquid Diamonds and the Testors (who more'n a few of you En Why See types would be quite familiar with) have that hard power sound that, while I'm sure common among the variety of local rock acts popping up across the country in the seventies, really capture that raw-edged approach and attack that comes off so fleshy especially when compared to the cyborg emote that followed. Even if your name is not Metal Mike Saunders you just might go for this 'un.
Leaf Peepers-LUNCHTIME FOR BIRDY LP (Feeding Tube Records)

As I've told you many-a-time, you never really know what to expect with these Feeding Tube releases! And, as you've already guessed, I was going to say this platter is in no way different. Leaf Peepers' LUNCHTIME FOR BIRDY has a strange and dare-I-say "ethereal" air to it, kinda sounding like two gals in a college dorm in 1965 ,after a laughing gas huff session and a heavy dose of the early Fugs, singing songs in perfect if skewered harmony as the guitar plunks dulcet chords and a recorder toots on in ways heard only in a coffee house filled with berets and shades in some old detective series. You can almost expect some cops to come busting in and some bewildered parents to bail out their crybaby daughters inna middle of the night. If Richard Meltzer lived in an adjacent dorm I would not be surprised one bit. Heck, he mighta been the one to have turned them coeds onto the Fugs and laughing gas!
Dr. John-BABYLON LP (Get on Down/Atco Records)

Years of hype did pique my interest in this particular effort, and while BABYLON ain't exactly the upper-tippy-top-echelon album some have made it out to be I find it inspiring and perhaps even a good attempt at creating a truly late-sixties watermark in freak rock. Maybe this coulda been thee mid-seventies Captain Beefheart album we all woulda wanted. Louisiana creole sounds get the brassy jazz treatment and production infused with a whole load of 1968 socio-political morality play that for once doesn't make you wanna assassinate someone. A vinyl reissue that I will say is more than welcome in my own personal collection.
Wicked Lady-"Run the Night"/"I'm a Freak 45 rpm single (Guerssen Records, Spain)

Didn't wanna buy ALL of the Wicked Lady reissues only to find out that this group was from grade-z turdsville, so I decided to buy this single to judge 'em before I plunged my hard-begged into this particular band. An' y'know what? Wicked Lady were a pretty good early-seventies-styled thud rock group with that primal sound and neanderthal-styled approach to rock 'n roll who would have fit in swell on one of the BONEHEAD CRUSHERS albums, that is if they ain't on one of 'em awlready (memory is quite hazy). With two tracks each clocking in at over five minutes, this is one record that delivers not only on a good early heavy metal-styled time but's a real bargain any fan of the early hard rock era can't afford to be without. I probably won't be buying any more Wicked Lady platters (I'm cheap y'know), but this 'un'll keep me well and happy for quite some time.
The Fundamentalists-CLASSIC ROCK CD-r burn (Walls Flowing Records)

The Fundies sway swell with their keep approach to early-eighties FM rock formats with almost true-to-form covers of Styx, REO Speedwagon and Journey done well enough to put a smile on any alley-toking delivery boy's face. The laid back post-hippie deejays found between the tracks was an effective touch, as were the ads for emergency pregnancy terminations and paraquat testing. Of course just when you least expect if a brilliant take of Crosby Stills and Nash singing about the Maraquiche Express brings energy levels to a triumphant peak. Cuh MONH, you know what Forward stuck on this shiny dique...a load of ambient sound and machine repeato riffs that would give Eno a hard on on his death bed! Even when you read the label you can't trust just what's inside!

The crappy sub-bootleg sound can't hide the fact that this is one mighty live album, one I would rank with some of the better ones of that genre if I were as self-conscious as various wags make me out to be. Chris D. was a major belter, and nobody with a few brain cells to rub together can deny that he really ruled as KING OF THE SLAG HEAP at a time when many of us were wondering whether or not that scrap heap still existed. The material with the MINUTE TO PRAY band is top notch (and you should really dig that cover of the Sonics' "Cinderella" where Chris D gives Gerry Roslie's screaming vocals a run for the dinero!) while even the latterday version of the band still managed to keep that seventies under-the-underground spirit a'goin' long after it all seemed dead and gone. Mighty good effort here...makes me wonder what Chris D has been doin' lately other'n contributing to the late lamented BULL TONGUE REVIEW.
Ten Years After-LIVE AT THE FILLMORE EAST 1970 2-CD set (Chrysalis Records)

I've mentioned just how my interest in Alvin Lee's old band was "piqued" after certain admirable and stoic people I respect had sung Ten Years After's praises many-a-time, and after reading John Koenig of COWABUNGA's highly charged praise of a Cobo Hall show I decided to give this particular live album a try since it was recorded around the same time. Actually I gotta admit that TYA are pretty straightforwardly rocking at times, dull at others (such as the drum solo as if there were that many exciting ones around) and rather middling when they get into their standard blues jamz that don't seem to inspire yet ain't atrocious enough to rip off the turntable. Your move, unless you do have a copy of the Cobo Hall recording somewhere.
Philip Glass-EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH 4-CD set (Sony Classical Records)

As I recall way back when, EINSTEIN was the work that took Philip Glass outta the avant garde and into the limelight where he would spend the rest of his days (which are still going on!) creating a lotta works that really do dip into the realm of kitsch (tho I do like his orchestral takes on Bowie's LOW and HEROES faux classicism and all...go figure!). This presentation of this Glass "opera" created in conjunction with Robert Wilson might still resonate with fans of the same Philip Glass and Ensemble who dressed shabby and played out at Max's, but the seeds of future "airs" (can't bring myself to say "pretensions") can certainly be heard on these four disques. Overall a disappointment compared with previous endeavors from his Chatham Square and Virgin days, although I do get the feeling that subsequent plays might alter my views into thinking this to be merely "piddling".
Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers-TOWN HALL, NEW YORK, NY 10/9/76 2-CD-r burn set.

Ignore the early Modern Lovers poster that adorns the cover, for this is the latterday version of the Lovers that all those hardcore rock fans were so confused about way back when this Charles Ackers tape was recorded. If you were one who didn't cozy up to this newer, happier group you just might find yourself smiling a little smile and tapping a little toe, while nobody is looking that is! Richman and Co. romp through a whole buncha their Beserkley-era material to a rather appreciative audience who clap hands and stomp feet to the rhythms of such all time chestnuts as "Ice Cream Man" and "Roadrunner" letting their New York cooler-than-thou poses go if just for a little while. Overall a recording that reminds me of a not-so-happier, but perhaps simpler time in my life.
Various Artists-TALLAHASSEE MADISON EARTHQUAKE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

As usual a tru blu WINNER that'll even put a smile on my face after a hard day of toil at the dildo testing factory. Bill really knows how to select a whole buncha pepper uppers and he sure did his doody here what with such winners as Jack Gale's high-larious dance craze spoof not to mention the Paul Revere and the Raiders "b" side "BFDRF Blues" (first one who can tell me what "BDFRF" stands for will probably own the issue of OUTASITE where Mark Lindsay reveals the title's true meaning to Greg Prevost!). Things like David Seville's "Don't Whistle At Me Baby" ain't exactly toppo notcho (at least Dad puts his graverobbing son's various efforts to the shame they deserved) but they do pass the time, and Duane Eddy is always great for a spin even if he does share his last name with one of the geekier rock critics to have sullied the name of rock fandom o'er the past thirtysome years. Of course the Animals, Gary US Bonds and Clifton Chenier make this one a must-save, so no tea coaster treatment for this 'un!
Hello, anybody out there? If so I know that some of you readers, longtime ones as well as casual contacters, would be interested in latching onto some or all of the available back issues of BLACK TO COMM that have been a'moldin' in the grave even longer'n John Brown's body! There's some mighty fine (and not so, I did get some contributors in that didn't quite make the grade) reading to be found within these pages and let's just say, as R. Meltzer woulda, a day without BLACK TO COMM is like a Tuesday without a Wednesday! Or something like that.

Thursday, March 12, 2020


Along with the Monkees brouhaha, the Three Stooges revival of the mid-eighties was a brief respite from the sorry kultural goings on that plagued that rather low energy decade. After a good fifteen or so years of their comedies being relegated to the ever dying kid show circuit, the Stooges were once again hot doodies, not quite as hot as they were when their shorts were being broadcast over and over throughout the sixties 'r anything like that but hot enough that more and more people took pride in the fact that they liked 'em, and  that it wasn't a shameful thing to do in the face of Marx Brothers worship either.

Heck, even I can remember my stool teachers telling the lumpen jerks otherwise known as classmates how unfunny and perhaps downright EVIL the Three Stooges were, and naturally alla that authoritarian condemnation made alla the true Suburban Slob types like 'em even moreSheesh, what did that teacher think us kids were...sophisticado martinis and nosh intellectuals who still sniffle buckets when they see Charlie Chaplin do that little fork dance in THE GOLD RUSH?????  (An additional note...just to remind myself of that particular scene's saccharine-ly cute and artzy pow'rs I decided to re-view it via Youtube and you know what? What I once found was patently prescribed for the Algonquin Round Table snoots and totally void of any true moom pitcher value [being pure "cinematic" as in for a higher form of life out there somewhere] was even more disgusting ninety-five years after that atrocity was laid to film. I do hope that the films as aht crowd who waxed so much treacle o'er Chaplin has died out by now so we can not only bury that "Li'l Cramp" for good but the over-affectionate appreciation of his work by elitist "fru-fru's" as well. Charlie, I will admit that ya did a few good things, but then again that was 1914 and nobody knew just what a horny bastard you were!)

But eh, the Stooges are timeless in that true ranch house kiddie way, and contrary to what many a tightass elementary stool teacher might have hoped I'm sure there are, even this late down the line, kids who watch and enjoy their shorts thus upsetting the whole idea of an educational/social system trying to create "The New Child". The Three Stooges really did (and continue to) lay down, speak FOR the assembled and mostly forgotten kid-dom and their spiritual spawn (of which I am a proud member) a whole lot more'n the "official" (should that be "State APPROVED"???) form of proper artistic expression for youth ever did! I mean, how many of you could sit through PETER AND THE WOLF even once???

Anyway, noted Stooge daughter Joan Howard Maurer knew a good trend to jump on, and with alla the Three Stooges hubbub that was goin' on inna eighties she decided to crank this particular effort out. And sheesh, CURLY is a biography of who else but her own Unca Curly, a man who some say was the best and brightest of the three assembled comedians even if some strident Shemp lovers might tend to disagree. Whatever, what the world needed in the eighties was a Curly Howard bio, and come to think of it a Curly bio in the here and now is a whole lot more needed'n the usual fodder that is being passed off as far as showbiz reads go. Or at least I'd sure like to see the face on some sourpuss teacher when one of her students hands in a book report of this!

This ain't the standard type of fambly bio filled with the usual "Uncle Curly was so generous with me, buying me toys all the time" even tho that sentiment does sink in at times as it SHOULD.  Thankfully Maurer goes deeper into the whole Curly mystique with this effort, tracking down not only a whole lotta those old photos I sure wish ended up in the Moe book Mauer assembled after his passing* but a whole lotta PEOPLE who were somehow part and parcel to Curly's life. And that's INCLUDING a few types who I dunno would be quite accepted at the Howard Thanksgiving table but Maurer got to them and even had the likes of Curly's daughter from a failed marriage (as well as his ex from the same hitch-up) and others give some heretofore unknown insights into the Curly saga. And  let me tell you, the results ain't exactly anything that makes the entire Stooge saga the fun and jamz I'm sure most kids watching them comedies thought it was gonna be! It can get rather uncomfortable at times, as if I'm in on a sob session where alla the horrors and degradation of inter-family turmoil all of a sudden come up and slap you right inna face like one of those live fish you see swimmin' about at Wholey's.

Not that the Curly story will make you wanna break down and slobber, but you do get a deep insight into the guy and exactly what made him tick. As we all woulda expected from alla those other books, Curly was a wild and coarse guy who liked a good time and indulged in everything from booze, luxuries and lotsa gash. He suffered through a few bad marriages which, while not as nightmarish as the one Chaplin had with Lita Murray, showed that perhaps the man didn't have the good sense to find his perfect mate. Fortunately his last hitch up proved that the third (or was it the fourth?) time was the charm even if the gal did get stuck nursing the stroke-riddled guy.

And yeah, maybe he wasn't exactly father of the year material and his high living is what eventually led to his decline in health. You do get mixed feelings while reading this, at times wanting to bop the guy onna head even harder'n Moe would then feeling like snifflin' a few when you suffer with Curly through his health problems and kinda realize that maybe you woulda been like him all along had you the talent and money that comes with it changing your life in ways most people out there couldn't even dream of.

What else can I say but this is fantastico! Sure I got some quibbles, like the artwork preceding each chapter just doesn't settle right, plus whose idea was it to get Michael Jackson to "write" the foreword anyway? But for Curly and Stooge fans who want more than just the same old o'er the years well, you might get that nice li'l kick outta this that'll jar you outta the present day entertainment blahs like nothing since a jolting "Shemp Special"!
*...of which two of my favorites are the ones of an early-Stooges-era Curly sporting a snot-stopper mustache!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020


For someone who started out as a band singer, then progressed into light comedies and musicals, and then reinvented himself as a hard-boiled (but still witty) detective actor, and then reinvented himself as a producer-director-studio head, DICK POWELL was an amazing talent…and he did it all equally well.

After his success in 1944 as Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe in MURDER, MY SWEET, Powell found a new career in crime films and film noir on the screen, and on radio as Richard Rogue in ROGUE’S GALLERY, which ran in 1945-46. In 1949, he became RICHARD DIAMOND, PRIVATE DETECTIVE on radio, a show which ran through 1953. Written by Blake Edwards (who went on to take some of the same qualities and use them in the PETER GUNN television series), the show used all of Powell’s strengths. An ex-cop turned detective, Diamond was tough, but tossing off one-liners and sarcastic remarks and even whistling during the show’s theme music. In fact, the theme music captures the contrast of the show—it starts off sounding like comedy music, but then morphs into hard-boiled crime music.

Diamond himself narrates the shows, making it a very character-oriented and character-driven show. The plots introduce a number of interesting elements and are sometimes surprisingly violent or grisly, but a few minutes later things are lightened with humor. You couldn’t get away with this kind of a tonal shift on TV as well as you can on radio, especially when you’ve got an actor like Powell who is associated with both tough guy roles and charming, witty comedies front and center in every scene of every show.

This collection contains 20 shows from 1949-51, 10 hours of Richard Diamond, the early shows sponsored by Rexall Pharmacies, the later shows sponsored by Camel cigarettes, and as a former Camel smoker myself, I can say that the ads make the product sound VERY attractive….and hey, Camels are recommended by doctors (in 1951, at least).

The shows manage to work in a lot of action, both depicted and referred to, and the supporting characters are colorful….the people who hire Diamond, the cops (both helpful ones and bumbling ones), the women (both seductive and deadly), the crooks, the informants, the minor characters like short-order cooks in diners, newsstand boys, garage attendants, etc. The sound effects are quite evocative, making you think you are on a boat off Key West or in a warehouse at night in New York’s Garment District or in the local police precinct office. Tonight, I am listening to a show recorded 70 years ago, and it’s as fresh and alive and engaging as if it were broadcast today. I love the way that at the end of each show, as Powell whistles the theme, the announcer tells you what movie Powell is presently starring in, playing at your local theater! It’s easy from Richard Diamond to see why audiences could not get enough of Dick Powell. I had the privilege of seeing a theatrical screening, from a 35mm print, of his superb 1951 film noir CRY DANGER (see poster), about five years ago in Houston. It’s an RKO film, so keep an eye out for it on TCM. As with most old radio shows, Richard Diamond episodes can be found easily online, although this CD set is attractive, has great sound quality, and can be found inexpensively.

In the late 50’s, Dick Powell produced a TV version of Diamond, starring the pre-Fugitive David Janssen. That’s also highly recommended, though the tone is a bit different, as Powell wisely tailored the show to Janssen’s strengths and didn’t just do a clone of the radio show.

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Nice March we're havin' so far, 'eh? Not so bad even if the temps have been dippin' a bit inna morn, but otherwise things're lookin' hokay and pointin' the way towards an early spring which really gets the warm 'n happy feelin's rollin' in the guts (or was that the cabbage?). Not only that, but the advance of higher temperatures makes me appreciate music in a whole fresh and exciting way that sorta reinforces one's stay on this planet. An' when it gets to the point where I'm deriving all of my inner strength and fortitude to appreciating sunny weather and warmth boy you can tell that I'm goin' off the deep end!
Here are just a few of the droolies I've spun as of late. A few familiars in the batch true, but ya better get used to 'em because I decided NOT to devote anymore yearly columns to those platters that I deem maybe too everyday and too well-known to brag about this late in the development of rock as that INTERNATIONAL YOUTH FORCE! The more obvious ones I will forget writing about unless necessity deems so, tho recent digs and other archaeological exhumations of my collection will be brought to your attention because well, better you hear about it correctly here than get your misinformation out on the streets. In other words, if you kiss one of these records you won't get it pregnant.

Nice selection anyways, and thanks to Bob, Bill and Feeding Tube (but not Paul!) for the goodies!

Big Blood-DO YOU WANT TO HAVE A SKELETON DREAM? LP (Feeding Tube Records)

I never know what to expect with these Feeding Tube releases, and this one really flew me for that ol' cliched loop! Here I was hexpectin' the usual rabid artzy yet funzy screams and what do I get but downright straightforward and pleasing to the ears gal group-styled rock 'n roll that reminds me way more of Snatch than it does the Sadista Sisters. It doesn't sound like Snatch but it has that same gal vocal style backed by a group knows a whole lot about the forms of various late-sixties and seventies rock moods. The combination of the two makes this a whole lot more fun to listen to and enjoy than the usual feminist rantathons that have been coming outta the under-the-underground wimminz rock mooment these past thirtysome years. Weird thing...this ends with a straightforward version of "Ave Maria" which I gotta say is my least fave religious toon but it kinda fits in here, sideways at least.
The Flesheaters-A MINUTE TO PRAY, A SECOND TO DIE CD (Slash Records)

Of course this is every bit of the open gash ultimate hard-rock soundspew, the eighties answer to STARSAILOR in fact, that I remembered to be almost forty years back. And in many ways it sounds a whole lot better now, especially in light of all of the atrocities committed in the name of rock 'n roll ever since the punks put up that valiant fight to save it from the overbearing force of pap. Soon many of those same punks became the force of pap but we'll talk about that later...right now all I wanna say is that Chris Desjardins proved that he coulda singlehandedly rearranged a whole load of fertile rock-savvy minds had this 'un only gotten out a whole lot more. Given just how sapped out the teenage music scene was back then this 'un only came on STRONGER in the force of laid back schmooze, something you can also say about WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT and FUNHOUSE in their relation to their own perspective times. Good company you're in, bud! The only problem with both A MINUTE TO PRAY and Chris D in particular is knowing that a lotta my most loathed enemies love 'em, but that's something I'll hafta get over. And I am, obviously.
Elmer City Rambling Dogs-JAM IT! LP (Dog Dirt Records)

So I did what I promised to myself to do after hearing that track on Bill's burn two weeks back and yeah, this batch of biker rockers are every bit as wild and down home (w/o the cornpone) as I knew they were gonna be. None of that "good timey" jive either, just straight-ahead blues-y and country-tinged rock 'n roll that wallows in a rustic sorta view but still has all of the primitive energy and excitement of the Gizmos. If you can't shuffle your feet listening to this you must have had them amputated, so at least shuffle your ankles. The early-sixties-styled instrumental that closes side one was a creative touch!

A recent toe-dip into the English experimental music scene (which also resulted in a spinning of the Scratch Orchestra's Douche Gramophone album) had me emptying out my pockets for this early (in fact the first!) Obscure Records release. Bryar's "The Sinking of the Titanic" is a slow hymn complete with various artyfacts of the actual sinking tossed in (as reported by those who were there and made it out alive) such as a music box and a piano tinkling away not to mention snippets of an interview with a survivor. It reminds me of Eno's rather keen refurbishing of that awful Pachabel song that was the rage a good forty years back, which I guess would figure since the Cockpit Ensemble who played on that also appear here. The flip has a tape loop of some ol' coot singing yet another religious-themed tune with instruments added slowly to the mix making for a rather sentimental effort about as nostalgic for days gone by as an old photo album. If you still think that avgarde music is nothing but a bunch of atonal sound being performed by people who are pulling our collective legs this might sway your opinion somewhat.
BILL PLUMMER AND THE COSMIC BROTHERHOOD CD-r burn (originally on Impulse Records)

I thought this was gonna be a bummer what with the opening cut featuring this Plummer guy spewing trendy Eastern Mysticism jargon while those sitars just twanged away. Well, it ain't all that bad but it sure ain't as gripping as your freer-than-free jazz platter of the day. The raga modes do hold up somewhat but get tiring, and if you're not a member of the Meher Baba set you probably won't understand the spiritual whoozeez and whatzeez of this one bit. But before you decide to spurn this one en toto I will mention that some of this platter (like the straight-ahead jazz track, included probably because Impulse wanted to retain somewhat of a jazz aura) do deliver on the same moods that you would have found on earlier releases commonly found on the jazz labels of the day. And if you've been begging to hear an India'd up version of "The Look of Love" lo all these years then search no further, Vishnu!
Bob Forward-WHAT'S LEFT OF THE BONES (AN ANTHOLOGY) CD (Walls Flowing Records, see image at left for address)

Hoo chee, another one of dem jagoff tape things like we all usedta see all over de eighties. I coulda sworn I heard big patches of this on previous Bob Forward efforts and maybe I have since this is "an anthology, and I gotta say that at first I felt like driving straight over to Tempe Arizona to bust Forward inna mouf for making me lissen to not only him talking into a cheapo cassette player and playing slide blooze guitar in a bedroomy fashion, but then smack dab when I'm ready to smash the bedroom boom box to smithereens some really good if basement-level rock 'n roll comes on saving my spinner from total destruction! Sometimes I do think that Forward is pulling my leg with these random dada recordings of his but one's thing's for sure...that's some might BIG limb yer pullin' there Bob, so watch out!
Various Artists-CAKEWALKS ON CYLINDERS 1897-1916 CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions)

It is pretty mind-boggling to me when I view some old Biograph actuality film or listen to one of the songs on tubes like these and it really hits me that alla this stuff was going on in the century prior to the one many of us just barely escaped outta! Maybe the really boggling thing about it all is that I have more of an affinity for some 19th-century film or song than I have with just about anything passing for entertainment in these oh-so enlightening days.

These early cylinders feature some of the hits (big or not) of the Victorian era all done in a nice and bouncy fashion that really would fit in swell with some cheap VCR featuring those barely surviving shorts that wowed 'em back when McKinley was prez. If you know how to get hold of this do might just be that antidote to techno that you've been looking for!
The Cleveland Wrecking Company-"Say There's a Reason"/"Hat Full of Dreams 45 rpm single (Roaratorio Records)

After snatching this 'un outta the mailing packet I looked at the front cover of this and thought this Cleveland Wrecking Company single was some recent exhumation of a long lost late-seventies punk rock artyfact that's finally getting its well-deserved just desserts a good four decades after the fact. Little did I in my advanced state of brain decay remember that these guys were a late-sixties San Francisco group that unfortunately went nowhere after a series of personnel changes and general bad luck with both record labels and a sneaky manager. Of course the group's very name and its close proximity to a more popular local draw should have tipped my off as to their whens wheres and whys, but deduction never was one of my stronger points as you all probably know by now.

But mental shortcomings aside I still hope you will seek this pleasantry out. The Cleveland Wrecking Company may have hailed from Hippydippyland, but they sure put out a totally hard wham of a sound that ranks with the better moments to escape from the very-late sixties West Coast music scene.With none of the psychodoodling of the Dead at their more lysergic or the Airplane when they were trying to be innovative and fell flat on their faces, the Company pushed forward into total high energy abandon with their turning the air into cottage cheese sound that owed a whole lot more to local faves such as Big Brother, Blue Cheer, the Daily Flash, the Final Solution and the Oxford Circle. That no-holds-barred manic drive that, had it only gotten out a little more, would have put San Fran on the same level of sound as destruction as Detroit to the point where we'd hopefully never have to hear Grace Slick yodel again. Yeah it's that sonic-provoking hot and you'll even enjoy it despite the fact that the a-side was recorded at Nick Gravenites' studio!

One interesting if relatively obvious bassist/vocalist Jim Moscoso is the brother to none other than Victor Moscoso, the guy who drew all those mind-destroying Fillmore posters and the Mr. Peanut ZAP cover along with a few other items now going for big collector's bucks!
Section Urbane-THE FINAL PROGRAM EP ("I'd Rather Stay Home and Watch TV", "Obsession"/"Goddess", "In That Case/Sounds Like") (Fivefourzero Records)

I'd say that Section Urbane were a standard whatcha'd expect from an early-eighties under-the-underground kinda group right down to the typical Systematic catalog influences to the top-heavy bass guitar thunk. There were plenty of home-produced bands putting out recs like this way back when, and heavens to Betsy if a good number of 'em pretty much do hold up years afterward. And so does this 33 rpm seven-incher from the bowels of Brisbane, a rather controlled and "cool" take on a whole number of rock movements that were happening at the time that might have whizzed past the usual FM-bred dolts but sure meant a whole lot more to all of those people who sorta got shunted outta eyesight because like, they were REAL. Somehow I imagine Section Urbane getting a rave review in the old TAKE IT! had it only made its way above the equator, that's how in tune it is with everything that the O-mind was spewing about before things got too complicated to control.
Calliope-STEAMED CD-r burn (originally on Buddah Records)

I can't discern the circus-y strains of the calliope on this platter, but if ya gotta hankerin' for commercial pop-rock as well as early "heavy, man" rock STEAMED might suit 'cha fine. At one moment post folk rock teetering straight into the California sunshine groove then hard-edged 1969 blues revival the next, Calliope are yet another big miss in the morass of late-sixties albums that mighta gone somewhere if only... The cover of "Hound Dog" does come off a little top heavy but "California Dreaming", "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Jimmy Bell" are unique enough in their arrangements and proto-metallic approach to hold your interest. Strange as it may seem (or is it believe it or not?) but bassist/vocalist Danny O'Keefe is the same one that did "Goodtime Charlie's Got the Blues" way back when which goes to show you what sorta strange tangents one's musical career can go in.

Various Artists-WEST OF THE BEEP-BEEP WALL CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

A burn that's downright pleasing enough and about as nondescript as my old publishing company. Well it does go along swell with those Sunday afternoons of my blue laws youth when all we had were flea markets, old tee-vee movies and comic books to occupy our pre-teen Sunday afternoon lives. Lotsa easy listening and spiffy instrumentals to contend with not to mention a few interesting early rock 'n roll efforts to cut through the mental miasma. Of course the mere presence of Louie Prima here is enough to conjure up those memories of that Nick Tosches article in KICKS about the highly unnatural hijinx that went on between Prima, Keely Smith and a blackjack dealer backstage at some Las Vegas club. Gee, thanks a lot Bill!
Just a friendly reminder that there are still back issues of BLACK TO COMM available so now's the time to fill up those cracks in your collection, or the cracks in your wall if the case may be. And please keep in mind that future reminders will not be as friendly so it would be advisable to part with the money now while you're still in my good graces.