Saturday, December 12, 2020

Wow, just what you've been waiting for! Yes, it's the weekend edition of BLOG TO COMM that's guaranteed to stir your musical being and shake up more'n just your life energy forces! I would say that I hope you had a nice previous seven days of existence but since I really couldn't give a hoot I won't. And frankly, I know you feel the exact same way about me!
As I'm sure you would expect from a sentimental old fanabla such as me, this time of year does bring back various memories, toastywarm and not so, concerning the last days of the year and the happiness and misery those days usually entailed. Amongst the positive memories are buying the Hampton Grease Band album at a Pittsburgh-area flea market the Sunday before Christmas 1976 and buying the Monty Python live album after Christmas '76 for that matter. We won't get into the bad Christmas memories at this time, though Brad Kohler could rattle off a whole load of bad 'un's that I told him about!

Considering that I'm typing this on December 8th I also gotta say that I find it a li'l hard to believe that it's been forty years since John Lennon signed his last autograph. Not that I think Lennon was any sorta bigtime rock hero here at BLOG TO COMM headquarters (despite a few late-sixties/early-seventies trips into the outer reaches), but I also happened to get hold of the remaining back catalog of CLE that day as well as my own personal (and FREE!) copy of Brian Sands' FIXATION that very day (wait, that was that December 8, 1981, a pretty gloomy and snowy day that was brightened up by the arrival of Sands' last recorded masterpiece). 

It's more the passing of killer time than the actual 86-ing of Lennon that kinda gets to me, not to mention that them early eighties days were the last gasps of rock 'n roll having even a shard of cool as opposed to its Money Go Round stature throughout the eighties and beyond thanks to the likes of MTV, the sad state of de-balled rock pressitude epitomized by the Andy Secher-helmed HIT PARADER along with the watered down CREEM, not forgetting the usual sycophants passing as rock critics who were scattered about ruining the legacy that the likes of Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer helped grow to fruition a good ten or so years earlier. 

December 8th also brings back memories of what I was doing that day in 1975 when, on a rainy yet very warm night I bought a batch of albums from White Wing Records in Niles Ohio, one of them being what would become an all-time classic namely Eno's TAKING TIGER MOUNTAIN BY STRATEGY. (And even that early in its lifespan the rec was in the cutout racks---remember that those depression-era wages I was earning had kept me from buying all the records I woulda loved to have heard [and more!] right when they were being birthed but as usual I hadda wait and wait and WAIT.) I once wrote about how I was heading out for the Eastwood Mall to check out the bargain bins with my cyster at the driver's wheel and while we were parking the ol' heap the AM was just finishing blasting out "Over My Head" by Fleetwood Mac with the dee-jay remarking about how much he loved that laid back music! And even at that early age his words shook me to my very core!

Anyway, TAKING TIGER MOUNTAIN was such a big hit with me that I bought ANOTHER GREEN WORLD at full price soon after which naturally was a financial gamble. And while we're on the subject of the one called Eno, if I recall correctly I also bought BEFORE AND AFTER SCIENCE there as soon as it got an Amerigan release, and for all you biographers out there that was my next to last ever purchase at White Wing before that shop closed up for good. (My last ever White Wing purchase was the National Lampoon "greatest hits" collection on cassette but by this time the store was, shall we say, shot to shit sans the imports, bootlegs and even cutouts that made the place so fun to shop just a few years earlier when kids would crowd it on Friday nights thumbing through the various bins). 

I know none of you really do care that I even had a childhood or actually hadda scrimp and scrape to buy the same records you got by the barrelful thanks to your lenient parents, but for a kid like me who was living on pennies and dimes and hadda make 'em go as far as they did those days sure do leave a strange, not-so-nostalgic-as-they-were-halcyon, taste in my soul. And like I said December sure brings out the old feelings in me undoubtedly due to the non-school relief those days brought forth.

I don't believe that it was December 8th of 1976 that I went with my mom 'n uncle to the Eastwood Mall to get some new furniture for his living room, but it might have been. Forgot what I bought that day (maybe a cassette of LOVE IT TO DEATH which is still moiling in my cassette box)  but I'm sure it was a real lulu!
WEIRD SCENES INSIDE THE DOLLAR GENERAL: while buying some  much-needed off-brand cough syrup recently I actually espied a (now get this!) holiday issue of MAD magazine at the checkout, proudly displayed between those Time/Life tributes to some recently-deceased nonentities or historical figures presented in colorized snaps. T'was surprised to see ol' Alfred E. Neuman's visage smiling from the racks of course since, for the life of me, I thought that the ol' EC line was in existence if only to plug the past seventy years of their past accomplishments since there were hardly any PPRESENT ones worth remembering. But lo and behold I guess that the old "humor in a jugular vein" is up and about at least in some cash-in on its past image form. Of course I didn't buy a copy.
The recent death of former astronaut Chuck Yeager sure brought back quite a few olde tymey memories that were fermenting about in my mind. One being the riddle I used to tell my cousin's three-year-old son way back when..."What's the opposite of Yeager?----BOO-ger!" Anyway yet another name from those days when I thought life was something fun to look forward to is no longer up 'n about and that's really too bad in these days when heroes and good guys are pretty much indistinguishable form the bad boys of life. Another good thing about him is that I have learned that Yeager believed in a person's advancement in the space program due to MERIT (remember that word?) rather than due to special privilege which, in these color-obsessed times, is something that upsets the forward minded thinkers. In other words, he has to be good!
Anyhoo here be the record and such reviews. Thanks to the guys from Razorlegs, Bill Shute, Paul McGarry,  Bob Forward and my own personal toil for the music. Hope you dig the crazy writing which should inspire you to get some of the crazy sounds written about, because in this day and age the thing we ALL need is a whole lot less jive and a whole lot more OFFENSIVE DESTRUCTIVE MALADJUSTED ATONAL BLARE cleanse whatever's left of our sagged out souls.

RAZORLEGS NO. 5 cassette (

When you begin your cassette with a riff swiped right outta "Raw Power" you know yer gonna be in for a good time! Yet another Razorlegs release filled to the brim with atonal guitar and pounding drums doing a good job keeping time (and keeping up with the guitar) all done up with a maddening zeal that should appeal to fans of those early Chrome albums. Hopefully more of this raucous rock will be heading our way shortly because in these times of uncertainty and downright abject horror, we sure need more!!! (Uncertainty and downright abject horror, that is.)
Hawkwind-THE WEIRD TAPES NO. 8 --- LIVE 1966-'73 CD (Hawkwind Records, England)

The Grateful Dead have DICKS PICKS and Hawkwind have THE WEIRD TAPES. And guess which odds 'n sods collection I'm goin' nuts over at this very moment! 

As far as rarities go this 'un's got a whole load of goodies from the alternate live "Space is Deep" from the SPACE RITUAL tour to a buncha mid-sixties pre-Hawkwind r/b things that sound particularly authentic to the point where you woulda thought Blind Lemon Willie or whatever his name was woulda written the liner notes had this only come out in 1966. 

My fave of the platter just happens to be a mid-seventies effort entitled "Down On Her Knees" which is rather unique not only in its lack of electronic whirr but the goldingit punkiness of it all, from the Lou Reed vocal affectation of Robert Calvert to the hard-edged Ladbrook Grove style repeato-riff and Larry Wallis-esque lead guitar line that's guaranteed to kill sissies at ten paces. 

Yet another one of those releases that I sure wish I had a good X-some years back because it's stuff like this which really gets the ol' soul a'stirrin' ifyaknowaddamean...
The Feelies-TIME FOR A WITNESS CD-r burn (originally on A&M Records)

I hated these guys and what they doth wrought back in the eighties, but I gotta say that this early-nineties vintage record doesn't sound half bad. Kinda reminds me of mid-seventies Dylan for some reason and the amerindie dinge thankfully doesn't rear its ugly head...much, that is. Not to mention the fact that the fourth track on the thing kinda reminds me of Amon Duul II what with the bongos and psychedelic guitar leads. Even the usual Lou Reed vocal swipes sound better this time 'round. Still won't give 'em the time of day tho.

Various Artists-JACK WHITE'S BLUES CD-r burn (originally on Uncut Records)

One-a-those packages based around a theme (in the tradition of alla those SONGS WE TAUGHT THE CRAMPS and RECORDS THAT LOU REED BOUGHT OR HE MIGHT HAVE BOUGHT HAD THEY ONLY BEEN AROUND BACK THEN AND HE HAD ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY THEM) that have been cluttering up the markets for years on end. Frankly I couldn't care one whit about songs that Jack White covered, but hearin' this pick 'n choose of various old blooze, folk and a few outta-nowhere surprises (Marlene Dietrich, Patti Page...) all mooshed together does make for a way better listening experience than whatcha get from most all these up 'n comers who just won't stop comin' all over the place. Listen to the originals and leave the cover versions in the turdbucket where they BELONG!!!!!
Bill Black's Combo-MOVIN' CD-r burn (originally on Hi Records)

Somehow I JUST GOT INTO A LATE-FIFTIES/EARLY-SIXTIES INSTRUMENTAL ROCK MOOD, and boy does this platter help out! Black 'n Co. cover the hotcha best of the earliest of early rock 'n roll with the same sorta swerve and vigor that we'd expect outta any of the competition. Faves like "Bo Diddley", "Forty Miles of Bad Road" and many more pop into the mix givin' this platter the perfect party atmosphere maker any NORMAL person could ask for. If I had any friends (and thankfully I don't at this time---do you know how much Doritos and soda pop are goin' for these days?) I'd invite 'em all up to my place and play this 'un incessantly until they either pass out or leave, hopefully the latter rather'n the former.
The Primitives-BLOW-UP CD-r burn (originally on Arc Records, Italy)

Limeys transplanted to Italy do good on this effort re-creating the sounds o' home for the Mediterranean set with a pretty raw approach that should appeal to quite a few readers, reg'lar or not. Mostly covers including some sung in the native tongue in order to appeal to the local dagos, 'n its all done with a raging British Invasion thump that really makes me wish I was front and center for one of their concerts. Along with the Rokes an English act that proved that there was a lot more happenin' in wopland than noodles 'n organized crime.

The Fundamentalists-CHANICAL ITCH CD-r burn (Walls Flowing Records)

Bob Forward gets hold of some rhythm tracks off an old Mellotron, presents them as they normally would sound as well as mangles a few up, and as a result has even more of his readymade recordings available for those of us brave enough to give this a listen. I'm sure some of you more suspecting types out there would mutter so what, but frankly when Chris Burdon said art was whatever you can get away with he was absolutely right!


Various Artists-CRIME EYE GODSON MORNING CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Gotta say that Lorne Greene's rendition of the BONANZA theme reminded me of the days when tee-vee ruled the roost and was a fambly gathering to look forward to, while the EYE MAGAZINE ad reminded me of  what used to pass for provocative and durty back when I was starting to notice that women were the ones with the lumpy sweaters. The rest of the hodgepodge works swell as well what with the funky take on Steppenwolf's "Sookie Sookie" to the palatable post-Replacements new wave drone of Alec's Band. The rest, from Bob Crosby's big band music to the (unlisted onna cover) ads 'n Will Rogers quip (not forgetting an interesting piece of "musique concrete" from "Baker-Ritch") is good but not exactly life-reaffirming. But then again nowadays what is?

OK, you can't live without 'em but I sure can! I'm talkin' 'bout alla these BLOG TO COMM back issues that I'd sure like to turn into some hefty moolah so's that maybe I can enjoy some of the finer things in life like food and lottery ruboffs! You buy some, you enrich your mind...I sell some, I enrich my bank account! Simple as that.



Alvin Bishop said...

Keep 'em comin', Chris!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Razorlegs tip. Snakebite Frieze, their best ditty yet.