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!!!!


Anonymous said...

Great video of The Hounds! And note, comment let by none other than Alan Merrill, son of jazz canary, Helen, and co-composer of Joan Jett's anthem! Cheers! Alvin Bishop

Anonymous said...

I've watched The Hounds video a few more times. Terrific stuff! This is the real punk rock! The Hounds, Blondie, The Shirts, The Miamis were the pure, the heartfelt, rock n' roll, not the rubbish that came later, the shock rock, the warmed over Alice Cooper. Now to locate the CD! How could I have not known about The Hounds?! Cheers! Alvin Bishop

Anonymous said...

Name that band:

The Ethnic Whites?

The Six Sodomites?

Dino & The Dagos?

The Moody Blues?

Don Wan & The Won Tons?

diskojoe said...

Bill gave you a real gift, Freddie Cannon, the pride of Revere, MA, doing the Doors. Here's an actual video of Freddie doing the song on a show called Malibu U, hanging out w/a bunch of bikini babes:

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

That group is definitely The Laughing Dongs.

Tom Paxton at least wrote "The Last Thing On My Mind" which made for a really nice version/video by the Dubliners.

Anonymous said...

lol more losers, both on the post and in the comment section lol hey, guys get a job or something lol

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

Re: 1st comment - very weird that Alan Merrill just died yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chris for the Hounds's review. Never heard about this band before. Reminds me of the Hot Knives.Will try to find the cd and their lone 7" "call me" issued in '76.

Anonymous said...

Sad re Alan Merrill. He was a true rock and roller. The Arrows were a favorite of mine, along with The Knack, Ten Years After, Procol Harum. Musicians that challenge listeners are rari avis. Stay well, people! Cheers! Alvin Bishop