Wednesday, December 28, 2022

BOOK REVIEW! FAT AND SLAT --- THEIR FOUR-ISSUE SERIES AND BONUS STORIES (Gwandanaland Comics)

When Max Gaines sold his slice of DC and skedaddled with PICTURE STORIES FROM THE BIBLE to form his own EC line he also snatched up the FAT AND SLAT series created by veteran cartoonist Ed Wheelan of MINUTE MOVIES fame. I gotta admit that I find it rather weird that this obvious MUTT AND JEFF swipe was running in Gaines' "All American" line especially since at the exact same nanosecond Gaines was printing the MUTT AND JEFF stories not only on their own but amid the various Green Lantern and Flash sagas that were raking the bucks in at the time. Almost as strange as when Hulk Hogan and Superstar Billy Graham were both wrestling in the WWF and the same time, but stranger things have gone down in the once-wild and wooly world of comic books.

I sure think that it's sweller'n swell that some if not all of the Pre-Trend EC titles have fallen into the public domain. It ain't like I'm that hot on reading such obvious dogs as ANIMAL FABLES or THE HAPPY HOULIHANS, but EC's early crime titles do lead the way to the highly praised SuspenStories they would eventually make their moolah with and besides, there are a few pre-Trenders that I must admit I had just more'n a little bitta curiosity towards such as FAT AND SLAT. After all, Wheelan's MINUTE MOVIES was such an important part of the development of the comic strip it being the first one to have a continuing storyline but most of all sheesh, am I a real sucker for A GOOD BAD GAG!!!

And FAT AND SLAT was chock fulla 'em! When a bad gag is presented properly is transcends the usual banality of those gags Unca Ferd usedta toss at ya...Ernie Bushmiller and Bob Montana were masters of taking worn and just plain trite groaners and slippin' in a whole lotta  freshness into 'em, along with the eye=pleasing art and sexy gals. As far as Wheelan went well, it wasn't like he could cram a whole lotta sexiness into his panels (though he femmes were cute enough if you go for the Vera Vague look) and I don't think the Surrealists woulda let him into their clique no matter how hard he tried, but his work was more'n just plain satisfactory, especially if you (like me) still harbor your olde tymey Sunday Afternoon settle back 'n read some comic book habit that really held your attention span more'n geometry class ever did. That is, until you discovered a special meaning in old NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC hula girl issues and bathroom door locks.

At times these gags make you do just that, but sometimes the jokes do slap ya when you're not lookin'. Given that Wheelan was still drawing in that fine-pen style even this late in comic art game the game the artwork does come off rather spirited. And that's something which does suit a fanabla like me who thinks comic strips took a wrong turn way back and perhaps we need to revive some of the older ways without looking too homage-driven, that is.

Also on hand is the "Comics McCormick" series featuring Earth's Mightiest Comic Book Fan who, each issue, is seen fantasizing about his own adventures fighting alongside such super-powered specimens as Marvel Maid. Thid feature is actually a whole lot better'n you wags would probably be led to believe even if the ol' "it was only a dream" culmination might be an insult to the brains of some of you more sophisticated types who wouldn't be seen eating pork rinds.

As a bonus you also get some FAT AND SLATs that popped up in a number of other EC titles such as LAND OF THE LOST and MOON GIRL which is certainly a nice thing for Gwandanaland to do in their budget conscious times. So you guys (and I assume gals but wouldn't bet on it) readers don't have any excuses NOT to waste them lazy days doing something constructive like yer parents always bugged you about. Get a hold of FAT AND SLAT and do a good turn for humanity that sure beats you volunteering to work inna soup kitchen I'll tell ya!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

MURRAY CHRISTMAS!

You remember him, he's the Jewish guy with the Christian last name! Anyway, I do hope that your holiday season is doing swell enough for you to ooze a little funtime enjoyment outta this particular entry in the ever-lovin' annals to BLOG TO COMMunism. I guess my holiday jeers are goin' 'long hokay enough especially since either alla my relatives are dead or not speaking to me so there's no arguments or petty sniping goin' on this time o' year that's for sure! Of course less relatives means less presents but hey, nowadays I can afford alla the tootsietoys I want so what's the big loss anyway Junior? 

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And (if you IQ zeroes haven't guessed by now), here's the latest in a line of once again staggling BLOG TO COMM posts. As usual the lack of time and energy is once again contributing to my tardiness, although I gotta say that it sure ain't exactly a bowlfulla Cream of Turdburger Soup cranking out these posts for a buncha INGRATES like I know you are! And by that I do mean you readers who could care one whit about these definitely enlightening missives guaranteed to get your rockism revved up like nothing since Geritol. Something of which, considering the average age of the readers of this blog, I'm sure is pumped intravenously into each and everyone of y'all.

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IT'S TIME FOR YOUR AFTERNOON (or morning or evening, wherever you happen to be) MOOM PITCHER INTERLUDE: here's a flicker that I gota say, for being over 110-years-old, really affected me in ways that I don't think anything done within the past four or so decades ever could. And for being an Edison production (they not exactly being known for their groundbreaking filmic efforts the way that the folk at Biograph or even Vitagraph were), THE LAND BEYOND THE SUNSET really does grab you by your psyche and says, in twelve minutes no less, things that multi-kazillion dollar efforts have certainly fallen flatter'n Olive Oyl's chest on. And that ending, even in its ambiguity, is one that really makes one shudder in ways that might seem cornball to you but more down to earth and real life than anything you'll ever admit to given your rather shallow lives: My fascination with this 'un probably says a whole lot more about me than it does you, and in a positive, life-reaffirming way at that.  I'll tell ya, this one got "me" like nothing since those Strother Martin episodes of GUNSMOKE.


Speaking of Mr. Martin, here's a brief sample of why I believe this man was thee downright best CULT performer to hit any medium extant (and you can take your Harry Dean Stantons, James Coburns, Royal Danos and Timothy Careys --- well maybe not Carey--- and do what you're supposed to do with 'em I guess...)

And here's one more that's bound to send you back to the 1975 CBGB Christmas Rock Festival:

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Got some newies here as well as picked a few outta the collection that I haven't played in a skunk's age. There are loads of spinners this time and if I were yoy I wouldn't read the entire writeup in one sitting. Take a break, have a sandwich and then continue on...it's good for your spleen. Thanks to the usual suspects for their contributions 'n all. And thanks to me for having a steady job so's I can afford some of these tasty treats!


MX-80 Sound-BIG HITS AND OTHER BITS LP (Supreme Echo Records)

Sheesh, I have about ten variations on this in my collection so why do I need another! Well, I do and not only for the neat packaging (complete with rare snaps and a history of the original Bar-B-Q issue) but for the additional tracks which, as they all say, are bound to turn your head in ways Charlie McCarthy could only dream of. '76-vintage MX-80 here going through everything from re-dos of Jan & Dean to the Ventures to a variety of efforts previously unheard by my ears. And just wait until you osmose what they did with some of the old Chinaboise numbers cuz frankly you just might not believe it!

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Marc Bolan & T .Rex-RARE, LIVE AND UNRELEASED 3-CD-r set

Anudder dunno the what whys and wherefores about it, but SO WHAT given this is a nice 'n hot slice of T. Rextacy in its pantie wetting prime. Three disques with loads of those great tracks that really serve to remind ya of just what WAS  grand about the early-seventies even though brainy rock knowitalls seem to say otherwise. Well, ya gotta admit that they all are a buncha phony intellectuals anyway because, in quite a few ways, those years mighta been way superior to what eventually was in store! 

If I got this into my paws back when I was twelve I probably wouldn't be here today because hey, the sheer MIGHT of these pulsating paens to energy as god woulda killed me right then and there! I know --- you sure wish they HAD!!!

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Meercaz-QUEEN MARY MILL LP (Love Anthem Records)

Another stangetie from Meercaz, but a GOOD strangetie at that. Side one's a ball of confusion what with the presence of (I assume) Queen Mary Mill(ington) and others gabbing in between various "found sound" in the form of old records etc. A hodgepodge that I must admit I really couldn't discern let alone get into. However I totally went for the flipster which features some mighty hard rockin' from Meercaz that at times evokes the beauty of Detroit metallic shards as well as El Lay sleaze the kind that sorta bubbled under the veneer of showbiz glitz the same way the LA STAR did. Of course you're going to ignore it and let this effort sorta frizzle away into the eternity of records that shoulda gotten their due but never did. And you wanna know why I hate you!

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Fadensonnen-MIRROR/CREEPER LP (Fadensonnen Records)

Fadensonnen once again comes out with an effort that kinda knocks one for a loop even if the one listening isn't the kinda guy who gets knocked out for one. "Mirror" starts off rather melodic-like (!) with an eerie psychedelic presence complete with obvious lines copped from "Sunshine of Your Love" if mutated through a mid-eighties Controlled Bleeding effort. "Creeper" borrows heavily from "Sister Ray" which doesn't surprise me other'n the way people can take that basic riff and do wonders with it like they have the past fifty-five years. Biggest disappointment---side two is left blank.

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Lou  Reed-LIVE AT ST. ANN'S WAREHOUSE, ROOKLYN, NY, DECEMBER 14, 2006 CD-r burn

Hain't played the BERLIN album in a skunk's age so this live re-do by Reed was an interesting re-evaluation. Or something like that, but sheesh I gotta say that I think this 'un's better'n the real deal thing! The original was a bit too overboard, but the new take is stripped down and, in many ways, captures the 1973 deca-rock New York scum just as well as those Elliot Murphy odes to suburban moms speeding on pills while the kids get lost in Lower Manhattan for weeks on end did.  Gee, who knew that Lou still had it in his that late in the game! If anything, try to avoid the encore of "Candy Says" which sounds as if Marvin the Martian's singing it.

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Lou Reed-WORDS AND MUSIC MAY 1965 CD (Light in the Attic Records)

And speaking of Lou, here are those long-promised poor man's copyright tracks which I gotta say really appeal to a guy like me whose only Velvets spinnage these past two or so years have been those July '65 demos. Ain't gonna bore ya in my typical long-winded way about what goes on  but I'm sure they're gonna be ear-openers for the more Velvets-attuned aficionados amongst us. And the earlier folkie tracks are quite enthralling as well. Don't let the thought of Lou singing "Michael Row the Boat Ashore" scare you any for he turns it into a rather rollicking number which I don't think ever coulda been sung 'round some campfire!

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Les Olivensteins-UNAVAILABLE CD (Smap Records, France)

Wow, I didn't know that this French punk (in the purest Skydog sense of the word) had this many records out. 

You can easily enough search this blog for my other Olivensteins reviews but whatever, try to also get hold of this '77 effort which really jolted me back into fantasy after quite a spell of reality. None of that precocious blare trash here or even any really direct copies of all those big names that everybody was copying from lo these many years. These Olivensteins direct your ears back to those days of old, nudging somewhere between the mid-seventies punk stylings with various pop and neo-Stonesy moves that mighta even made them anti-punk assholes you knew (and still do) sit up and take notice. 

Just goes to show you just how much good 'n uncovered music still needs to be heard by monominded doofs such as myself!

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The Satellites-OUTTA HERE CD-r burn (originally on Beluga Records)

An eleven-year-old garageband revive-y thing (which I thought I had previously reviewed in these pages although can't find any evidence I did) which I'm sure will please a few of ou readers who never had the heart to sell your Voxx label LPs. Although I find nothing at all dire about this one all I gotta say is...dontcha think this would sound a whole lot better had it come out in 1981 and was pressed on one of those flat Moxie Records discs that got more'n a few audiophiles out there in an uproar? Me too.

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Sonny Burgess with Dave Alvin-TENNESSEE BORDER CD-r burn (originally on Hightown records)

(Another one I coulda sworn I reviewed way way back but wha' th' hey...) Olde-tymey rockabilly legend teams up with a new-tymey one and the results are --- actually not that bad. Of course all of the markings of "new" and "improved" are splattered all over the thing but it still makes for a kinda/sorta decent listening experience. And not only for  the long time rockabilly fans but alla them gnu wavers who jumped onto the bandwagon inna early-eighties after the Stray Cats perked their attention up quite a bit. To be honest about it this actually does very little for me although I will admit its' a solid and well-crafted effort that should go down in some sorta r-billy pantheon of greatness.

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PARIS 1942 LP (Majora Records)

When I first lent ear to these guys via some live tape sent me by none other than the infamous Philip Milstein I thought it was a total waste of the talents of drummer Maureen Tucker to even go near these attention-seeking and downright irritating on purpose (as in precocious turdler not industrial music brandisher) buncha fanablas However when I snatched this 'un up a good twennysome years or so back I couldn't believe the outright perfection what with these pre-Sun City Girls putting out a roar that reminds me more of those mid-seventies local garage band cassette rehearsal tapes (talkin' Rat Squeeers, Gizmos, Kid Sister...) than anything else. Of course the backbeat sure helps these guys out a whole lot. That's the a-side --- the flip gets into some more developed instrumental bends and turns that's not as grabbing, but still pretty solid and attuned to your very own sense of musical wonderment. I think you can get it off Youtube if you so desire.

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Stan Freberg-FREBERG UNDERGROUND LP (Capitol Records)

It's been awhile since I've spun Freberg's final comedy album and I gotta admit that, even with the man's fifties-styled brand of necktie ha-ha's starting to come off totally irrelevant in the modster sixties, I could get a whole load-a funtime satisfaction outta his Ron Reagan/Batman spoof not to mention his folk songs for the future. It's a whole lot funnier'n anything the likes of Sarah Silverman can croak up that's for sure! June Foray adds her own special magic to this toodle-oo as she did back when "St. George and the Dragonet" was cuttin' 'em up, and Freberg even re-did his famous Lake Michigan filled with hot chocolate with the Royal Canadian Air Force dropping a maraschino cherry on the whipped cream skit t' boot!

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PETER STAMPFEL AND THE BOTTLECAPS LP (Rounder Records)

Does this post (Un)holy Modal Rounders Stampfel platter hold up as much as it did when I presented that feature of 'em in my famed crudzine way back 1988 way?  Sho' does! A classic selection of real Amerigana set to music even you can enjoy, from funk meets hoedown to Jimmy Buffettisms for people who hate Jimmy Buffett! Trust me, it works as much now as it did when I was younger and perhaps not that much stupider.
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The Moogy Klingman Revue with Andy Kaufman-LIVE AT MAX'S KANSAS CITY 1974 CD-r burn

Thanks to Paul McGarry I got a slew of good burn 'em ups just in time for some holiday hijinx, and this one is a surprise given its historical value. Three tracks here (with a spoken intro and outro by noted Utopian Klingman on the whys and wherefores), recorded during his Revue's Max's Kansas City tenure. Two of 'em feature the band while the one stuck inna middle showcases Kaufman's earliest live appearance (I think) where the genesis of that style which continues to irritate a whole load of fanablas even this far down the line can truly be discerned!

The actual Klingman tracks aren't exactly my cuppa tea, the first with special guest Todd Rundgren being of that typical mid-seventies prog rock up 'n down the keyboard style that still has an extremely stale air to it now as it did then. The second, more jazz-fusion one does fare better but I'm sure that the majority of you tuner-inners would want to listen to this about as much as you'd want to sit through an entire run of HAZEL with a few episodes of PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISIES to wash it down.

The Kaufman stuff sates more, what with him doing this real hippoid peace and love whole earth kinda character urging the audience to go "Ommmmmm" before mutating into a tough New York slob puttin' down the wheat bran schmucks assembled! And it was only a year before the same guy was spinnin Mighty Mouse records on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE!

It's online in various formats so like, if you wanna get it it's there for ya as Lou Costello once said.
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Patti Smith-LIVE AT MAX'S KANSAS CITY 1974 CD-r burn

Lotsa action goin' on at Max's then, not only with the above but with these recently discovered tracks from one of Patti's appearances at the famous hangout right when everthing was starting to get super-hot. "Piss Factory" roars on with a ferociousness that just wasn't present on the single while "Paint It Black" is made Patti's own with a tenseness that just wasn't put forth on the Stones original! And the duo of Lenny Kaye and Richard Sohl sound about as electronically attuned as any of the major claimants to the form once known as rock 'n roll...sheesh, these two are perhaps the best Velvets-infused duo to hit the boards since Suicide!
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Hey, why pay exorbitantly high fees for back issues of BLACK TO COMM  elsewhere when you can get 'em for a whole lot less here! Of course you'll have to deal with me, but them's the breaks. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

BOOK REVIEW! BLOODY BILL ANDERSON - THE SHORT, SAVAGE LIFE OF A CIVIL WAR GUERRILLA BY ALBERT CASTEL & TOM GOODRICH (University Press of Kansas, 1998)

Well, it did seem as if it was gonna be an ordinary enough day in Fayette Missouri that September 24th. There was a farmer's market being held about noon and as is expected with such things the locals were out and about not only buying up the local produce but having about as much of a good time as they could amid the carnage around 'em that was known as The War Between the States. During this social gathering a number of men on horseback dressed in Union uniforms rode into town and, perhaps not to everyone's surprise, began a wholesale slaughter on the small city giving credence to the plain ol' fact that these guys weren't exactly on the side of Ol' Glory but Southern sympathizin' Bushwhackers who definitely had more of a taste for pure carnage than they did for the Southern cause. Fortunately a garrison from the local fort were dispatched to quell the violence but not before suffering heavy casualties. The Bushwhackers lost a number of men before retreating, though instead of bein' give proper burials the Union soldiers, nervesplitted by this particularly grisly encounter, decided to line the corpses up on the road and ride their horses over the bunch until the vanquished were nothing but a mass of bloody pulp.

Sheesh, don't ya love it when history comes alive like this?

The Civil War was one big mass of terror 'n cruelty administered by both sides of the conflict, but it was definitely a whole lot worse out in Kansas and Missouri what with the militias going out of their way to inflict total terror upon not only the men in uniform but the populace at large. And when it came to that old cliche of death 'n destruction nobody could really top the Bushwhackers under the leadership of Ohioan (albeit diehard Confederate) James Quantrill who had some rather gnarly reg'lar fellers working with him like "Little Archie" Clement, an aw shucks teenager who happened to like mutilating people while they were still alive. And like, who could forget the legendary even in his own time "Bloody" Bill Anderson, a man who to this day is either viewed as a defender against Northern aggression or a plain ol' maniac which goes to show you how the controversy lives on even to this day.

Anyway this book is a particularly concise and downright explicit saga of one of the more bloodthirsty and ruthless men to pop up in the annals of Amerigan history. And reading through the pages of this biography you really do get the idea of just how much war can turn otherwise everyday decent human beings into madmen who think nothing of committing atrocities before returning to their formerly peaceful live raising a family on a farm as if the past never happened. Only in this case you certainly do get the impression that the likes of Anderson and Clement were, and would have remained had they survived the war, specimens who never had a human bone in their carcasses given the way they likes to play around with their victims before dispatching 'em, cutting their wieners off and stuffing them in their mouths or just plain having a good laugh decapitating their quarry and either mixing the heads and bodies up or placing 'em of their former owner's chest with their dead hands holding 'em in place like something outta Ichabod Crane. Now, that really got Little Archie laughing his own gourd off!

It's all here in detail from Anderson's early days as a horse thief to his first murder of a local judge whose main crime, besides blasting Anderson's dad in the chest with a shotgun, was spurning the guy's sister's hand in marriage, to his days with Quantrill's Raiders (where he worked along sides such future Wild West baddies as the Youngers and James Brothers --- Jesse being particularly fond of the guy). Of course a whole lotta space is given to such antics as the gruesome razing of Lawrence Kansas as revenge for the death of his sister not to mention the train robbery which didn't net much in the way of useful booty but was rich in Union soldiers out on furlough, all of who were lined up, shot and scalped with their luscious glories being attached with the rest of the previously ill gotten hair to their saddles not just as trophies as much as they were warnings.

Y'know, I sure wish this book was around back when I was in grade school...I mean, could you imagine me giving a talk up in front of the class goin' on in detail about Anderson's exploits while the rest of the kids were yappin' on 'bout George Washington's cherry tree? I have the feeling that, although I definitely thought I would've deserved an "A" for my efforts, I probably would have been subjected to a battery of psychological tests being asked all sorts of embarrassing questions about how I spent my free time locked in the bathroom with a copy of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (the hula girl issue). Sheesh, as if Amerigan History was nothin' but Bunker Hill and Iwo Jima and not the good stuff such as this! 

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

Yeah I know --- you wonder where the fekawi I've been this past month, right? Well now that I'm back aren'tcha glad you stuck around in eager anticipation for today's epistle to you unwashed types? I mean, given the utter blandness of most rock 'n roll blogs which have either gone semi-comatose like THE NEXT BIG THING or are just too bound up in that modern form of politically pious puke that's so in vogue, BLOG TO COMM just might be the only place onna web where one can devour some really potent and (perhaps even) still meaningful rockist writing without having to endure a whole load of socially-conscious filler, or at least the kinda filler I disagree with! And when I'm talkin' rock 'n roll writing I mean the kind that doesn't rot on ya like the last fortysome years of rockscreeding most certainly has in case you still pay attention to the quap that I assume ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY is still pumping out! (I mean who knows what they're up to now, I fortunately enough have not read a single mainstream periodical since I was at Midas Muffler waiting for my new exhaust!)

Hey, just take a look at what passes for "rock criticism" or whatever it's called these days --- a hefty portion of what I've been coming across as of late is totally cringeworthy with nada of the zap or punch of say, a Bangs or Meltzer unless you want to figure the pair's occasional garment-rending virtue signaling into the mix. Horribly wretch-inducing stuff that even makes those contributions to OP I sent 'em way back in '81 look totally readable in comparison and that's pretty bad!

It obviously must be rather hard for these current "rock critic" (yech!types to separate the rock from the hippydippy right on heart hemorrhaging that goes on these days. And y'know what? In many ways it's really sad to see just how many of my old time favorite writers who used to berate the whole radical right on politicizing of rock 'n roll eventually embracing the exact same lurch leftwards with a passion that would have done even the most starry eyed altruistic teenbo gal with a Che poster in her suburban bedroom proud. 

Just recently I happened upon the website of a certain eighties-vintage rock critic who I must say is a rather loathsome being. That's besides the point, but despite my antagonism towards this particular specimen I must admit that even I never would have thought him to have sunk as low as he has after happening upon this gent's very own website where I espied a recently posted piece on --- now get this--- the Kyle Rittenhouse kerfuffle with an entry which made even the most boo-hoo political punk mewlings of the eighties found in such esteemed periodicals as FLIPSIDE and MAXIMUM ROCKNROLL seem rather solid in comparison! Given the truth about what actually did happen and the eventual trial and outcome I personally felt the case closed and with the right outcome given that a pair of miscreants were attacking a guy with an AR-15 and got what for, but the sappy sobbiness still lingers on, at least in the hearts and minds of those who somehow think that maybe the Shining Path really did have something going for them after all.

I will say that it was a quite a bit of a surprise to find this particular scribe totally down with the "struggle" what with his fists up revolution spew regarding the holy innocence of the thugs who were out to kill Rittenhouse and how My Hero was earlier seen chatting with some policeman (shudder!) who even offered the kid something to drink (egads!) all done up in a way that I'm sure put a smile on Tim Yohannon's ever-putrefying corpse. I woulda called said rock crit many a thing way back during the late-eighties but I NEVER woulda called him a total bleedheart crybaby who would seemingly fall for any sorta radical clarion call hook line and pamphlet or even an "anarchist" fanzine for that matter! Well it now looks as if he now IS everything that I thought even he once stood against and with a good four decades of make up to boot! Good thing I was so disgusted that I didn't read down far enough to glom some of his music critiques, but I assume  that if his social spectacles are skewered the way they are his musical tastes haven't evolved any either!

And man, that is exactly where rock fandom and socially aware one-upmanship stand here in the early days of what is proving to be the bleak twenties. And I really in my heartest of hearts hope the above schpiel will make you APPRECIATE this blog all the more even when I do sound off on those things that probably make a good 99.999...% of you reg'lar readers uncomfortable. Yes, the festooned radicals of today are nothing but a new version of those moral uplifters that D.W. Griffith used to rail against, only those old biddies had a good REASON as to why they smelled bad!
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In other news well, things ain't exactly goin' accordin' to hoyle as far as my own personal universe goes. Naw, it ain't anything GNARLY that I have to contend with at the point in time, but the sit-chew-a-shun around here most certainly could be a whole lot easier on the nervous system. Without mentionin' too much (it's not that I want you to feel sorry for me --- I just don't want you laughing at my misfortune like I would at yours!) let's just say that throughout my life I've hadda down a few reality sandwiches but right now I'm facing a reality hoagie that's gotta be devoured and with relative gusto at that! Thus the reason these blogs have been so far apart, and although I hope to get back to the ol' weekly rigmarole one-a these days such a time will have to wait until who knows when. And if yer hooked up on some machine when the time does arrive don't come cryin' to me!. 
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Hokay, the above does come off quite overwrought and really is an exaggeration of the current state o' affairs, but in the sage words of Eddie Haskell you'd feel the same way too if you were pushed around as much as I've been! But man, the cringe cancer that I've been enduring thanks to everything from precious petunia former rock critics spewing radical treacle to going through the everyday grind of reality can get to ya --- if you let it, that is. And as you can tell I SURE AM!!!!  But actually I'm getting my share of fun time in when I can spare it, like on a Sunday afternoon or in the evening when the moon rises and it's time to put my mind in a sling. My eyeball situation is improving somewhat and I've begun to tackle some books that will probably be written up on this blog in the quite distant future. My toidy-time reading has been devoted to a batch of old HI AND LOIS books I decided to snatch up which is kinda funny because that particular comic strip never was one of my faves, Howevah, I gotta say that HI AND LOIS, like it's "brother" comic BEETLE BAILEY, had a good groove it got into with gags that might not make you laugh out loud but were clever enough to make you wanna sit on the pot a little longer to get to the next few 'uns. And, surprisingly enough, I find the later-on eighties comics to be better'n the earlier ones (both art and writing-wise) which is a surprise given how I think most entertainment has just fizzed out once that dreaded decade settled firmly into place!

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Seems as if Paul McGarry should take the blame for the majority of these contributions but please don't harm him. PD .Fadensonnen sent in the cassette and well, I gotta claim responsible for a couple of these myself. And with that it's time to dig in!!!!
 


Various Artists-THE EARLY SOUNDS OF GARAGE ROCK 2-CD set (Not Now Records)

Well whaddaya know, a NUGGETS for the pre-First Psychedelic Era!  And believe it or leave it but the folk who compiled it did a pretty good job slappin' the thing together! Sure there are some glaring omissions as well as a few inclusions that might seem a bit outta place, but otherwise if you're in the market for a double disc collection of pre-Beatles "nugget if you duggit" platters this does make for a wild time. The only thing that's missing is Lenny Kaye  doin' the liner notes. It just goes to remind ya of just how great rock 'n roll, radio, teenage hijinx and overall funzies were before a buncha National Honor Society types hadda tell us we were all evil for liking cheeseburgers and going to monster movies, being normal  'n stuff like that!
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The Ventures & the Fabulous Wailers-TWO CAR GARAGE CD (EMI Records, Japan)

'n speaking of the pre-First Psychedelic Era here's one that slipped under my radar. And, as you'd expect after all these years, it's an iffy affair what with the updated takes on various past accomplishments done by the original acts who most certainly do not have all of their original members along for the ride. But this 2009 effort is kinda neat, at least if you wanted to know that both the Ventures and Wailers were somewhat up and functioning at the time. I get sloppy sentimental like that sometimes.
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MX-80 Sound-BOARDING HOUSE, SAN FRANCISCO 12/3/79 CD-r burn

Here's an outta-somewhere surprise, an FM broadcast from '79 featuring everybody's fave Bloomington Indiana band not counting the Gizmos. Taken from a record release party for the SUBTERANNEAN MODERN album, this set is a must have for those fans of the group who were picking up their debut EP at the same time they were also scarfing up similar efforts by Pere Ubu and Debris. Features trackage mostly heard on the legendary OUT OF THE TUNNEL platter along with at least one new to mine ears effort that will make you seeking this 'un out all the more tingling (hint: try Youtube!). Somewhat rough around the edges but that only adds to the gnarliess of it all.
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Fadensonnen-HERETIC VISION cassette (Fadensonnen Records)

The latest. And a change of pace what with the horror music organ creeping about while various Controlled Bleeding/Nurse With Wound/John Cage ideas slip by complete with some addled femme  (?) vocals. And that's just the "A" side --- flip it over and you get one of the best re-do's of "LA Blues" since "I'd Rather Be Made Out Of Stone" followed by a Loren Connors cop that might fool a few of that man's fans and like good! When they said cassettes were coming back I wasn't thinking of this in particular, but I'm sure glad they're coming back if they're all gonna sound like that!
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Teenage Head-KING ST. TEDDY BOYS CD-r burn 

Dunno much about the whys and wherefores, but this collection of late-seventies Teenage Head live performances is what us old turds used to call a real roof raiser. You already know what to expect here --- high energy hard rock riffage with enough power and might to light up the entire eastern seaboard. It even has a few obvious musical ref's to the album that this group took their moniker from! A fine tribute to Teenage Head's late guitarist Gordon Lewis. Sure makes alla that stuff that got called punk these past fortysome years sound like the inoffensive pablum that it most certainly was.
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The Heartbreakers-YONKERS DEMOS 1976 CD-r burn 

Every time I see the word "Yonkers" I think about that TWILIGHT ZONE episode with William Demarest and Joan Blondell. You know --- "Yonkers Yonkers Yonkers!" Well I won't let that get inna way of enjoying this collection of treats from the original Heartbreakers back when Richard Hell was acting as the tension builder the same way he did with Tom Verlaine. If you've forgotten about just how energetic and fertile the under-the-underground was a good 45 years back here's a neat refresher.
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The Saints-HOPE AND ANCHOR November 26, 1977 CD-r burn

OK but not awe-inspiring performance by these Australian legends who I gotta admit did some pretty whoa stuff during their lifespan but, for some strange reason, never did really awed me out. Then again, I gotta admit that there was a hefty portion of that thing we called late-seventies punk or new wave or gnu wave for that matter that, while bold and pleasing enough to the ears, never did send me into spasms of obsessive/compulsive madness the way that, say, Pere Ubu did. For brainy eighties aspiring rockscribes, the kind that put out those mimeo'd fanzines that only their creators seem to remember this far down the ol' devolvement of rock line. 
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Lou Reed-WERCHTER FESTIVAL HOLLAND, NETHERLANDS JULY 8, 1984 CD-r burn

Yeah it's eighties Lou with alla that glitz and shuffle, but you gotta remember this was done around the time he released that NEW SENSATIONS platter which was a pleasant surprise to those of us who thought Lou had  gone full force into the serious rock artiste realm. And really, dontcha think that this kinda Lou is better'n no Lou at all? Sheesh, what am I SAYING???
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The 101'ers-OUTTAKES AND DEMOS CD-r burn

I might not think that much about Joe Strummer's career post 1978 or so, but his tenure with the 101er's is the kinda rock 'n roll that I tend to go heavy doody for. With more of that pubby-styled punk rock that labels like Stiff made a fortune on, Strummer shows no signs of future musical embarrassments as he and band romp through a variety of Greg Shaw-approved covers and originals that I'm sure woulda alienated his throng of future fans. More proof to the fact that 1975 was perhaps the watershed year for punk rock given the variety of trends that were enveloping the world during that rather spiffy year.
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Joathan Richman-WANT TO VISIT MY INNER HOUSE? CD-r burn (BandCamp)

Fans of ROCK 'N ROLL WITH THE MODERN LOVERS are bound to love this 'un. Ditto those of you who were truly agog over I JONATHAN. Once again, a straightforward acoustic effort from this septuagenarian who sounds just as youthful and as in wonderment of life as he did back when those first albums came out '76 way, with a slight late-sixties jive only equaled by those Shangs platters not to mention Brian Sands' FIXATION. Never woulda expected it.
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Beechwood-SLEEP WITHOUT DREAMING CD-r burn (originally on Alive Records)

Now I don't hate the people who put this 'un out, but I gotta say that SLEEP WITHOUT DREAMING is about as mimeographed as a whole load of other new garage band efforts out there, Y'know the kind that always get called "the coolest song in the world this week" on the Underground Garage but sound just about as commercially slick and antiseptic as just about every other release that hits the earwaves these sad 'n sorry days. Nothing to really bark about here which is kinda bad considerin' how the Alive label was seemingly created to spread the Detroit sixties underground rock aesthetic far and wide.
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The Jam-MAY 23rd, 1981 Memorial Hall, Toronto Ontario CD-r burn 

I forgot how long it took for these guys to go from being a more'n adequate "new wave" band to being a buncha eighties mock soul fopsters, So this live recording sure came in handy --- well, if it's anything to go by you can see the beginnings of what would become a rather dire attempt to remain meaningful in a music scene that would reject all the power and might that the late-seventies had to offer. Can't really blame 'em for things like the Style Council but uh, this does tend to sound totally listless in parts or is it just the audience sound quality?  Face it, when you get down to it this is about as much fun as titty fucking Olive Oyl!       
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Given the utter lack of response I've received in regards to moving these things I'm going to stop mentioning that there are many worthwhile and budget-approved back issues of BLACK TO COMM just begging to fill up the cracks in your fanzine collection. Just kiddin'!

Sunday, September 04, 2022

I guess it's that time, and no I don't mean that time as in "time of the month" when you feel like locking your wife in a cage for a few days either! Naw, I'm talkin' 'bout time for another big deal a d maybe even long awaited by some BLOG TO COMM post. Well, to be honest about it nothing really superspectacular has happened 'round here since our last get together and it ain't like I'd call this particular doozy one of my best efforts either but hey, with the heavy drag of real life taking up a good portion of my time as well as the ever-continuing saga regarding my eyes (as well as parathyroids) I'm surprised that I was able to crank this particular sausage out! 

So ya better know what yer in for (which maybe ain't that much but hey, who am I to judge?), and while yer at it watch out for the typos caused by my hopefully to improve one of these days eyesight! gee, do yu guys feel sorry for me NOW???If so maybe I should start up a GoFundMe page---betcha I'd really rake the cash sent by you heart wrenched readers like crazy!

***

At least I have had some precious time to plop myself smack dab in front of the tee-vee, an activity which I proudly will say has lasted a lifetime or at least did until the boob tube got rather crude and quality-free sometime in the early-eighties. And when I talk abut tee-vee I mean WESTERNS, a form that never did appeal to me when I was a sprout but means all the more these days, especially when the concept of heroism and manliness seem to have been washed away by what we knew all along was the end result of the hippie dream which anyone with a brain woulda seen as a snake oil sham way back when it was first in bloom. 

Kinda worn out my welcome with the classic black 'n white GUNSMOKE reruns on INSP, but the daily RAWHIDEs have been fillin' the bill with the kinda action that I crave in my rather free spirited soul. However even those are getting too re-runny for me which is why I've also been gravitating towards WAGON TRAIN, a show which I recall being watched here at the ol' abode way back when (not only on prime time but when ABC was showing the old ones in the afternoon). 

WAGON TRAIN continues to hold up even sixty years after the fact, not only with the mostly snazzy sagas and big name guests but with characters that, like in any great fifties/sixties series worth its weight in Crispyjack, you can identify with and even get to like in yer own corny suburban slob sorta way. Gotta say that I prefer the early Ward Bond ones (even though that guy has one big strike against him for appearing in that ultimate corn classic IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE) but even the John McIntire ones have their own sense of suburban slob tee-vee class. I only with that fetv would air the 90-minute color ones from the '63-'64 season but I guess we can't have everything, which come to think of it is the story of my life.

Anyway, as a surprise I thought I'd just tag on for you this particularly good episode entitled "Little Gitl Lost" which appeared during the show's final season back '64/'65 way. A strangie for sure which ome imdb commenter described as WAGON TRAIN meets THE TWILIGHT ZONE, this 'un really does have a lotta the soul grip and heart tug that comes off real life even in these cold cyborg days when we're supposed to feel sorry for the sickest aspects of society while ignoring the attributes that reflect man at his best. Sheesh, even crusty old me has gotta admit to feeling kinda lump-throated at the supernatural yet heartfelt climax, but I guess that only goes to show just how softheaded this ol' fanabla can beletting a li'l ol' show get the best of him! 

Anyway, here's "Little Girl Lost" for your own personal enjoyment and if you don't like it well, you just can't call me your friend no more!:

Another big watch here at BTC headquarters is MANNIX, the classy private eye show that was a Tuesday night reg'lar in our abode, at least until the Orson Welles/Lillian Gish-hosted anthology of early cinematic classics entitled THE SILENT YEARS ran opposite on the local PBS station. Again, I gotta say that it's sure grand watching a series like this which features a cool and suave yet not nauseating tough guy lead character who constantly goes up against them bad boys who I really hope either get that bullet from Mannix's gun or better yet knocked over some high rise railing from a well-deserved punch in the jaw. Yeah, I know that my thirst for an entertainment which displays hard-edged justice delivered in a particularly violent manner definitely makes me that knuckle-dragging mouth breather you twats out there have imagined me to be ever since I've been bursting your politically pious bubbles these past thirtysome years but hey, it was programs like MANNIX which helped mold this particular being into the strong and upstanding man he most certainly is today --- certainly not those botched abortions they call television series that have been produced ever since the late-seventies at the earliest. In an age where the concepts of right and wrong not to mention masculinity and femineity have been pretty much been trashed and denigrated only to be replaced by such strange concepts as "gender fluidity", programs like MANNIX only mean all the more, making me mis that world I used to live in when you at least could spot the good guys without needing some sort of roadmap 

Another show I like glomming is EMERGENCY!, a show i skipped back when it was first aired because it seemed so booooring but nowadays settles me into beddy-bye time rather nice and snug-like. It may be somewhat true that the between-action storylines where the guys at the fire station talk about various inanities like burnt chili or their sick fire dog can drag you down quite a bit, but the action sequences display more excitement than one tuning in after THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW could usually handle. 'n besides, Julie London is one of the sexiest older women I've ever seen on tee-vee what with that droolsome nurse's uniform the kind of which have unfortunately been replaced by scrubs o'er the past twentysome years. Come to think of it, sexy nurses have been replaced by plumpoid harridans o'er the past twentysome years as well! And you tell me, which kinda nurse do you want when it comes enema time?

*** 

Gotta thank the usual parties for their contributions to the war effort, particularly Paul McGarry not to mention Thierry Muller who also dropped off a nice load in my mailbox. I also found an old Feeding Tube platter that I sorta brushed aside when my life was heading off in a direction that sure didn't allow me for such frivolities as listening to much music. Hopefully that situation will change once things begin to settle down around here, which from my calculations should be around December --- of 2055 that is. 

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And now, for a rather entertaining interlude which I know you will all enjoy:

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Before we begin with today's festivities a personal plea. I know how kind and thoughtful you readers are, but are any of you just kind and thoughtful enough to make copies of the following fanzine more me??? PANACHE #'s 1 and 2, and JUNGLELAND 1 through 4 and 8. C'mon, its all for a good cause, mainly me. Pretty please with sugar on top?????


The Doozer-CONVALESCENCE LP (Feeding Tube Records)

I was a bit wary, but learned to love the ultra-introspective nature of this English neo-folkster whose music conjures up a whole load of past accomplishment from THE MARBLE INDEX (really!) to those turn of the century Japanese psychedelic retrogobbers who took up a whole lotta my attention and wallet space during those rather forgettable days. Toned down and reflective yet not self-pitying (not that I mind that, if I'm the one doing the self-pity that is), CONVLESENCE is a nice little stripped down listening affair that will please even the more cynical of BLOG TO COMM readers. Not only that but the Doozer is THEE singer/songwriter for those of you who have always wanted to bust James Taylor in the mouth.

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Gunslingers-SUPREME ASPHALT DOSER cassette (Cardinal Fuzz Records, France)

Once again Gregory Raimo drops a hydrogen bomb of an album (or in this case cassette) on us leaving alla you pampered pooches in such shock that you can't even run home to the comfort of your mother's boobies. Hard overdrive rocknroll is once again in store, and it's played to such a fever pitch that those usually daft comparisons to the velvet Underground and Stooges that I have made these past fortysome years sound even more banal than they usually have.. So out-there powerful that alla those eighties hopes of ours (Halo of Flies, the Australian bands) sound pattycakes in comparison. Maybe High Rise with a tad of LSD March added? Hey Raimo, if you read this tell us how we can get a copy for ourselves. 

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Art Ensemble of Chicago-PHASE ONE, WITH FONTELLA BASS CD-r burns (originally on America Records, France)

It's a good thing that Thierry Muller sent these burns to me considerin' that I haven't heard either one of these albums in quite awhile, if at all (memory is usually hazy about such things --- I mean I can remember things that happened to me when I was three yet forget what last week was all about). PHASE ONE, despite consisting of two side longs dedicated to Coltrane and Ayler respectively, doesn't get to hit the heights of freedom frenzy that I woulda hoped for. Still any early AEC is better'n none so why should I bitch? The one with Fontella Bass aka ex-Mrs. Lester Bowie aka the one of "Rescue Me" fame singin' away veers from varying introspective moments a la PEOPLE IN SORROW into that all-out free spirit style that I love in these French recordings of theirs. If you're lucky, the Amerigan reissues on Prestige might be lingering in a flea market bin near YOU!
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THE CREATIVE CONSTRUCTION COMPANY VOLS. 1 & 2 CD (Jazz City Records, Japan)

It's sure swell that someone decided to re-release the two CCC albums together like Muse Records shoulda done way back when even though that entertaining idea probably woulda cut way into their profits. Basically the old Anthony Braxton quartet with the addition of  AACM founder Muhal Richard Abrams and definitely non-AACM-er Richard Davis on bass, this group swings and sways in ways Sammy Kaye never woulda dreamed of as the sextet flows into various shades and moods that sorta sum up a lot of what was going on in the AACM and BAG worlds. And that's complete with all of the "little instruments" and outward scronk that you found plenty of in these free jazz exercises thatwere coming out on such then-impossible to find labels as Muse, Inner City and Nessa. Dunno about you, but I find the various early Braxton efforts that came out in the midst of the man's mid/late-seventies fame a whole lot more interesting, not to mention entertaining, than those Arista efforts that got him big time press. How about you?

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Sid Vicious with Jerry Nolan, Mick Jones, Arthur Killer Kane & Steve Dior-MAX'S KANSAS CITY NEW YORK NY USA Sept 7 1978 CD-r burn

Yup it's the same Sid Vicious show that's been bootlegged from here to Birch Way and back since the early eighties. 'n hey, for a throwaway gig capitalizing on some current events that just wouldn't getcha an "A" in school it does work some sort of wonder. Not only that, but it presages alla them other throwaway tossout punk shows that would be making the rounds around the time Sid's body temperature was matching that of the air around him .Which I'm sure really stunk the atmosphere around him up, but fortunately this recording won't lend itself to any irritation, aurally or olfactory-wise.

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TOP JIMMY AND THE RHYTHM PIGS CD-r burn

Wanted to hear this oft spoken about in hushed tones act for quite an eon already and, thanks to the miracle of Paul McGarry, finally got the opportunity to do so. Can't see what alla the real fuss was about since there were a good number of white urban blues bands treading the same area for ages, but as far as these kinda acts go who can blame the El Lay contingent for paying as close attention to Jimmy as they did. Still the Don Snowden description of Butterfield meets the Sonics rings heavily in my head --- perhaps its time for me to have my third ear cleaned out a little more thoroughly.

***

Hot Lunch-CBGB 1978 CD-r burn

Yes, I am embarrassed. Y'see, I'm not an open minded holes-in-the-head individual like I assume almost all of you readers are, and the idea of even sitting down to listen to "the first openly gay punk rock group" isn't anything that, howshallIsay, appeals to my own personal sense of decency. Especially when the lead singer of the group admitted that he's in favor of pedophilia as long as the kid enjoys it which is totally OK unless someone on the right wing is engaged in such nefarious acts at which point its nothing but shame shame shame....

But heh, Hot Lunch (I mean, with a name like that how gay c'n ya get?) really do exemplify the better aspects of what punk rock was supposed to mean to tons of cloistered suburban slob kids, some of whom actually might have been welcomed at a post-gig party. Singer Emilio Cubiero's gruff 'n bellowing New Yawk accent belies his more, er, effeminate tendencies as he screams about matters that might even tend to have a more hetero turn to 'em (it's a good thing that the quality of this recording is of an audience variety or otherwise I might be able to actually make out them words!) while the musicians evoke everything from Thunders to Roxy Music, the latter via a nameless to me number which begins with a feedback roar that reminds me of those Grateful Dead closers of the late sixties which usually turned out to be the most entertaining part of their sets. Pretty hotcha roar there and hey, for a buncha SODOMITES they sure do a good enough job of keeping the entire set as high energy as it most certainly is.

Tacked onto the end's Hot Lunch's rare single "Dizzy"/"Celebrate the Criminal" which has the same sorta prowl and hard-edged drive of a whole load of similar-minded punk efforts of them days. Not only that, but it really sounds great in places. Unfortunately, those are the kinda places where you have to watch yourself lest something grave happens to your nether regions, so I'd advise you to keep a close eye out for yourself lest you get an unintended lesson in Greek and Roman culture.

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Peter Tork-LIVE AT CBGB'S NEW YORK CITY JULY 31, 1977 CD-r burn

Well whaddaya know but here 'tis the entire Peter Tork CBGB show what has been floating around the ether as of the past few months! Not only is the sound a great improvement over the one that we were privy to a good two decades back but the additional songs have this certain hotcha spark that sorta comes off like a strange twist of late-sixties AM pop and mid-seventies street snazz. Contains a cover of "Werewolves of London" that's even as good as the ones the Flamin' Groovies and Roky Erickson did! I remember Lester Bangs giving Tork the bum's rush via a front-cover VILLAGE VOICE smearjob, something which only goes to show ya that even these bigtime cutting edge trendsetting scribes we used to be all agog over could really miss the target even when they were guaranteed to hit a bullseye.

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QUARTET DE TURC CD-r burn

Can't find even a little bitta info on these Frenchmen (and screamin' Mimi) online. And that is a shame considerin' the eighties-styled post-something brand of grog that Quartet De Turc put out on this disque which I guess is the entity of four releases that got launched during or sometime after what I assume is the group's lifespan. Although the typical loud mouthed gal singer (who sounds just like every other punquette slammed in front of a mic during them days) dates this 'un in a not-so-appealing way, the rest of these Turcs are pretty solid in their approach. In all, they remind me somewhat of Blurt crammed in with any typical early-eighties under-the-underground artzy band with loads of those Loisada scronk moves sorta wigglin' their way into the mix. A little may go a looooooong way with some of you reg'lar readers, but as far as this breed of blare goes well, I find it a rather hearty once-in-a-lifetime sorta squall.

    ***

You know just what I'm selling, and you know just how mad I am that you've been ignoring me lo these many years. For once quit feeling sorry for yourselves and feel sorry for ME! Wouldn't that be a wonderful change in your lives, eh?

Sunday, August 21, 2022

BOOK REVIEW! SWELL MAPS 1972-1980 BYJOWE HEAD (Sound on Paper, 2021)

When I heard there was a book about noted English avant punk noisecapaders Swell Maps written by one of the group's own members you can bet that I really was on the get-go to obtain a copy of it for myself. After all, any pre-eighties rocknrollers who've been compared to a wide array of upper echelon acts from the Red Crayola to the Shadows of Knight with all Velvet points in-between is guaranteed to get this particular fanabla's remaining brain cell poppin' on all cylinders.

And can I help from sayin' that SWELL MAPS is the kinda book that really does have a whole lotta satin' goin' on, even if Map-ster Head's writing style is, howshallisay, rather Sahara-esque. But so what since the saga he unveils is one that I'm sure a good portion of you older readers can relate to, and I guess could reallyreallyREALLY  relate to if you were one of those seventies rich kids I usedta hear about who had enough money to not only buy all the records that your personal sense of style could handle but had enough left over for a subscription (speedy air mail even!) to the NME and thus knew alla the pertinent facts back then which took me fortysome years to eventually discover!

It's got a turdload of information including (besides Head's arid style) old articles taken from various weaklies both at home and abroad, a discography which even includes all of those side projects that were difficult to locate, and best of all an EP with more of what I hope will be a deluge of vault finds to hit our spinners in the years to come. The music is surprisingly solid ranging from various sixties garage band refs with a tad of Syd here and there to those weirdo sound cutters that these guys have been cranking out since the early-seventies. If yu still have those old Systematic and Rough Trade catalogs stuffed withing the cracks of your fart-encrusted boudoir you're bound to gobble this one faster than Linda Lovelace on a horny German Shepherd!

Saturday, August 06, 2022

THE BLOG TO COMM INTERVIEW---DAN FEINER!

OK, you probably don't know who Dan Feiner is, but I'm sure you all remember Jesse Farlow, the creator/edito/publisher of the classy early-seventies fanzine we all know and love as BEDLOE'S ISLAND. Part of the first wave of rock fanzines (y'know, before the rest of us morons caught on), Dan and Jesse are one and the same (for reasons you will read about below), BEDLOE'S ISLAND was one pretty solid read devoted to the more British slant on the music scene of the day with what I would call rather top notch writing and a rah-rah section (Greg Shaw, Mike Saunders...) that just about any true fanguy up to his shoulders in the rock ephemera of the day I'm sure strongly appreciated. An excellent endeavor that unfortunately has been forgotten by way too many so-called rockscribe "saviors"  who are more content to heap praise upon some of the most disturbing drive to ahve passed as rock 'n roll "criticism" these past fortysome years.

I got together with Mr. Feiner at his spatial apartment where, after a few shots and tokes, we got down to as many brass tacks as  Ben Fong-Torres did with Lester Bangs in the infamous BRAIN DAMAGE interview. Well, no, not really...



BLACK TO COMM-OK, now which is your real name, Dan or Jesse?

DAN FEINER-My real name is Dan Feiner. When I was a sophomore or junior in high school I realized my need to obtain and hear music vastly exceeded my ability to purchase it. Attempts at fraud (intentionally warping and then returning and exchanging records I was tired of) and petty crime (assisting a friend shop lift albums) were not successful. Third scam was the charm. I volunteered to write reviews for the local newspaper. A few record companies sent me promo copies to evaluate. When I started BEDLOE’s I figured I could get records at the fanzine as well as the newspaper by publishing it under a different name and address. So I created Jesse Farlow and used my dad’s P.O. Box as an address. I got a few double shipments but in short order stopped writing the free column and focused on the fanzine. Rather than straighten out the name situation, I just stayed Jesse for my music writing.

BTC-OK, I'll address you as Dan from hereon in. Anyway, when did the first issue of BEDLOE'S ISLAND come out?

DF-I would have guessed 1970 but reviewing some of the content, there are references to events that occurred and albums that were released in 1971 so that must be the year. I know I was still in school when it came out so officially, sometime prior to June 1971.

BTC-I'm really surprised at the overall quality of the first issue. Certainly not a "crudzine" as one fan remarked. The influence of THE NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS seems to linger in these pages. Was this fanzine an influence? You also mention Greg Shaw in your pages so I gather BOMP! was as well.

DF-Hi Chris: Thanks for the kind words. The crudzine comment really hurt at the time. But rather than dissuade me from continuing I think it just encouraged me to do better. And, I believe, that progress can be seen in each subsequent issue of BI. The odd thing about the comment was that Greg Shaw was more than an influence on me. He was, I believe, what ultimately motivated me to start the zine. I can’t recall where I first encountered him. I know it was in an article about fanzines but I can’t recall the publication. I’d guess Rolling Stone. I most likely wrote to him, received encouragement and guidance, and got to work. I also name checked King Harvest Review in that first issue so I suspect I must also have corresponded with Robert Wilson.

Jon Tiven was an influence but I’m not sure if I had encountered him yet when I began publishing. I didn’t mention him so I’d guess not. I did subsequently meet him and get a bunch of NHRP issues. I went to college my first year in Vermont. I didn’t have a car so my parents drove me up there when I went and also when I returned after winter break. On one of those trips I arranged to meet Jon in New Haven on the way up or back. I recall going to his house and meeting either Gary Lucas (subsequently Capt Beefheart I believe) or Mitch Kapor (subsequently Lotus Notes) there. Jon was about my age and we got along. He not only helped me with the zine but provided me with what is still one of the more memorable events of my life, the invite to and attendance at the First Annual Rock Writers of the World conference in Memphis.

BTC-What were you listening to at the time? I sense an obvious prog/import bin bent to your collection.

DF-First and foremost British blues. Mayall, Fleetwood Mac (three guitar version), Chicken Shack, Savoy Brown etc. I loved them all. I’ve gotta laugh now at the self-assuredness with which I dismissed the Chicago blues anthology. I also really liked the English folk rock bands, especially Fairport, which later graced a cover. I got to bring them to Goddard when I went there. Goddard being Goddard I wrote it up as an education experience and got college credit for it. Which was summarily taken away when I transferred to Syracuse my junior year. Oh well. 

I pretty much liked anything foreign. I think Virgin records started around that time and I really liked their bands to. Other big faves were the Kinks and pre-Tommy Who.

I can not answer how Carole King made the cover and received a favorable record review. Perhaps one of my contributors wrote that.

BTC-What was the press run, and how did you distribute them?

DF-Now that tests my memory. I think I printed about one hundred. Somehow I got it out there that I had published it as I think I had about 10 subscribers, one of which I still recall was in Klamath Falls, OR not the kind of place one would expect a fanzine devotee to reside. Mostly I think I gave them to school friends and, of course, record company promo folk.

BTC-You brought to my attention New York scene mover and shaker Ruth Polsky's involvement with the early issues. Care to tell us more about her and her involvement with BEDLOE'S ISLAND?

DF-Ruth Polsky was a high school classmate of mine and one of my best friends during those years. I recall we talked on the phone endlessly, baring our teenage souls. I regret I was too young, unformed and unsure of myself to fully appreciate her strength, independence and creativity at that time. I don’t recall specifically what her role in Bedloe’s Island was. It doesn’t appear she wrote anything but I’m sure she must have encouraged me and perhaps helped with editing and assembly of the issues. I don’t recall having much contact during our college years but we must have stayed in touch as an old friend of mine recently reminded me we went to a Springsteen concert with her in the summer of 1974 or 1975. After Ruth graduated from college she got a job in NYC at some magazine publisher. The next thing I knew she was booking bands at Hurrah and Danceteria, spending time with name acts in the UK and arranging U.S. tours for them. I recall visiting her once during this period in NYC and feeling like her country bumpkin cousin. I’ve thought about her a lot in the years since her death. I wish we could get together for a Zoom call and catch up.

BTC-How many issues of BEDLOE'S ISLAND came out anyway?

DF-That proves a tougher question than I would have anticipated. I have copies of four issues. I’m pretty sure the Fairport issue (identified as #4) was the last one I did. I don’t have a copy of the issue with Alice Cooper on the cover that you show on your site. I remember working with that photo but interestingly I don’t see an issue number located on it. Do you have it? If so, does it replicate one of the other issues before Fairport. I might have changed covers. What is curious is that the price is more than any of the other issues .35 as opposed to .25 for Fairport. Maybe it was issue 5? So the direct answer to your question is four, possibly five, issues. Now that you have issue 1 you may be able to answer this question better than me.

BTC-Can you tell us more about your non-BEDLOE'S ISLAND writing?

DF-Before I started BEDLOE'S ISLAND I wrote weekly columns for two newspapers in my hometown of Toms River, N.J., the Daily Observer and the New Jersey Courier. I believe at that time they were both weeklies. My byline was Dan Feiner. BEDLOE’s occupied my writing in 1971 and 1972. I managed to land a review of the Help Yourself album Beware the Shadow in the May 1973 issue of Phonograph Record Magazine as Jesse Farlowe. In the fall of 1973 I transferred to Syracuse University and wrote regularly about music for an alternative weekly, The Syracuse New Times. After graduating with a degree in newspaper journalism I got a couple of reporter jobs in New Jersey, first at the Atlantic City Press and then at the Daily Observer. I covered municipal government and didn’t write about music at either of those publications. I published as Dan Feiner. In 1977 I moved to Seattle and wrote for the Seattle Times, an alternative weekly. I might have written about music but focused on municipal government there. 

As an aside, when I was looking for clippings of my newspaper articles, I found a copy of the Bedloe’s Island issue with Alice Cooper on the cover. I’d completely forgotten that there was indeed a Bedloe’s #5. It appears to have been published in the Summer of 1972. That is the issue with the advertisement for Fish and Chips Imports. By that time, I had made contact with the folks at JEM Records in S. Plainfield N.J. Mostly I bought records for myself but I did sell a few by mail order and at Stockton State College. I met Pete Frame of ZIGZAG and the Rock Writers of the World conference in Memphis and finally made it to the U.K. in the summer of 1973. I was supposed to assist JEM open an office in London but mostly I just slept on the floor of their office space. Peter Tomlinson joined me in London a week or two into my visit and we made our presence felt at concerts and record companies, stores and labels for a couple of what was then for me, wild weeks.

The critics conference and the month in London provided me with the best source material I would ever have had for BEDLOE’s but I guess my flame had burned out and I never published anything about them or an Issue 6 of the fanzine.

BTC-Can you tell us more about the rock writer's convention/ Meet any famous scribes of the day there???

DF-The critics convention remains one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I recall getting the mailed invitation and not immediately understanding that it included air travel, lodging and all events associated with the gathering. I am virtually certain I owe my invitation to Jon Tiven who was close to Ardent Records as I recall (so much for critical objectivity) and a great champion of Big Star who were the showcase live act of the event. To my memory everyone who was anyone in the world of rock writers was there. Because they figured in subsequent events I know I met and/or hung out with Peter Tomlinson, Crescenzo Capece, Pete Frame from ZigZag, R. Meltzer, Ed Ward. I’m sure there were countless others, Lester Bangs, Dave Marsh, Mike Saunders but 49 years later it is all a bit of a blur. 

Two events, sort of connected, are indelible, however. Crescenzo was not an invited participant but was crashing with Peter T as I recall. There was an open bar in the club where Big Star was playing. I wasn’t much of a drinker (I had favored other intoxicants in high school and early college) and knew nothing about mixed drinks. I was determined to take advantage of the free liquor, however, so I headed over to one of the bars and asked the bartender what the most expensive drink they had was. He told me it was a Zombie and I said I’ll have one. Big mistake. I took one sip and decided it was undrinkable. At that moment Crescenzo walked by and I offered the drink to him. He took it. Big mistake. I went back to the bar and ordered the only other premium beverage I knew about, a glass of Heineken. I think I had a second one after the set by Larry Raspberry and the Highsteppers. While waiting for Big Star to take the stage I walked out on a balcony that was a floor or two above the street. Someone walking by said “hey man, give me a beer” and I complied, sloshing some of mine over the railing onto him. I have no idea why I did that. Really big mistake. There must have been a bouncer on the balcony behind me because almost instantly I was grabbed and escorted out of the club and onto the empty bus that had taken us from our hotel to the concert. I wasn’t allowed back in and missed the rest of the event, including Big Star and what I recall hearing was some sort of Meltzer incited mayhem on stage. 

Knowing the hard living, heavy drinking reputation of many of my fellow attendees, I still shake my head in disbelief that inexperienced, innocent and intimidated Jesse Farlowe was apparently the only celebrant to be 86’d from the event. I think we were staying at a Holiday Inn. I recall riding up to our rooms in an elevator with Crescenzo who was sitting on the floor looking well worse for wear. When we arrived at our floor of the hotel, two other attendees  grabbed him under the armpits and dragged him out into the hallway. The next morning I went to Peter’s room before breakfast. Crescenzo was there. He said he had puked all night and that the bedsheet was so full of vomit they had just tossed it out the window and down to the roof of the restaurant below. “Every time I puked,” Chris said, “all I could taste was your goddamned Zombie. I never saw Crescenzo again. 

Peter Tomlinson and I connected in London later in 1973 and hung out with Pete Frame. Peter T and I connected in NYC a couple of time in the past decade and keep up on Facebook.I finally got to see Big Star play in 1974 at a small club in Syracuse, NY. I interviewed Alex Chilton for the planned, but never produced, Issue 6 of Bedloe’s Island. When Peter and I reconnected he told me he had been interviewed for the Big Star documentary Nothing Can Hurt Me. I managed to obtain a screen grab of part of the invitation list for the Memphis conference. The page I captured included Jesse Farlowe as one of the invitees.

BTC-So, what has been going on with you since the days of BEDLOE'S ISLAND?

DF-So basically what have I been up to for the past half century? 😀

I graduated from Syracuse University in 1975 with a degree in newspaper journalism. I worked as a reporter in New Jersey for two years and then moved to Seattle, WA. I worked at an alternative weekly there for a bit and then took a much-better-paying PR job at a trade association. Bored shitless, I quit and enrolled in law school in Portland, OR. I graduated in 1981 and soon took a job as a prosecutor in a nearby district attorney’s office. In 1985 I left and started a solo practice as a criminal defense attorney. I retired at the end of 2017. Along the way I worked on some fascinating cases including the Portland 7 terrorism case, the ALF/ELF conspiracy case that included the bombing of the Vail ski resort and the international marijuana importing case that was the subject of the book Reefer Men. Most memorably (and most appropriately) I defended Portland rock club owner (and former Fillmore East employee) Larry Hurwitz on a murder charge. Anyone interested in that story, which warrants a book for sure, can do an internet search on Larry Hurwitz Starry Night.

I think one of the circumstances that led to the discontinuation of BEDLOE'S ISLAND was a change in my relationship with music and the music scene as I experienced it. As I aged and started thinking about a career and my need to support myself music became less a source of my identity and more an interest. That said, it remained my primary interest into my 50’s. I think I felt the change starting when I was still envisioning an issue 6 of Bedloe’s. My difficulty articulating it at that point (I’ve only recently been able to more fully understand what was happening for me) probably was a major factor in letting the zine pass.

That said, my desire to see shows and amass albums did not diminish much after the press passes and promotional pressings became fond memories. At one point I took a hiatus from rock and started listening to reggae and 50’s and 60’s era jazz almost exclusively. In the early 80’s I became somewhat obsessed with Scottish (Postcard Records) and New Zealand (Flying Nun) bands. Somewhat belatedly I discovered Americana and attended SxSW from 2001 to 2004. That first year I reconnected with Chip Lamey who I had palled around with back at Stockton State College in New Jersey. He was a SxSW vet and a great guide for me. In 1996 I went to see Steve Wynn at a small Portland club. I was standing near the entry way when someone walked in and said he was on the guest list. The person working the door asked his name and I heard him answer, Richard Meltzer. I confirmed he was R. Meltzer and introduced myself as Jesse Farlowe. I’d be surprised if he remembered me or that he contributed an article to BEDLOE’s. I think he was living in Vancouver, WA (a Portland suburb) at the time. I thought it might be interesting to track him down and document it but as is not unusual for me, I got sidetracked and nothing ever came of it. I’d love to reconnect with him and talk old days.

As I mentioned in an earlier response, I’m still in touch with Peter Tomlinson, primarily through Facebook. We’ve connected twice in NYC in the past decade. The frequency of my visits to New Jersey have diminshed since both of my parents have passed and my sister moved out of the area. But I hope to get back at some point soon and hang out with Pete again.

Thanks for maintaining the fanzine flame and your interest in BEDLOE'S ISLAND. Those days and my experiences in them are now so far in the past that they feel somewhat like a dream. But a very vivid and memorable one.