Sunday, May 21, 2023


Over the years I've enjoyed many a comic strip that was created by a mind that was more rooted in everyday mid-20th century suburban slob living (Ernie Bushmiller) as opposed to those anchored in a chic New York/Los Angeles beret and stale doritos self-anointed snobdom (Matt Groening? Lynda Barry?? Gary Trudeau???). Y'know, comics that speak to the heart of the slobbo overweight kiddo with a love of snacks, UHF tee-vee, comic books and an intense hatred of them dancing lessons he has to take on Saturday afternoons. The kid you were long before you graduated into being an ADULT slobbo with the same desires that never did leave your beanie no matter how immature your folks told you that you were when they caught you watching Bugs Bunny cartoons long into your hapless (meaning feminine deficient) adulthood!  

No need to figure out that  """I""" was, and shall remain until the end of my born days, this exact same kinda specimen that is oft loathed upon yet, in my own corny downhome way, is proud to be. Well, without the dancing lessons of course (and as for women, most of the chubs complete with fat rolls you can hide steel girders in that were/are available to me just don't meet my fine specifications and I guess I ain't the only one who thinks like this given the steep decline in the population around here). But otherwise well, in many ways I am proud that I still have the same wonderment and awe for the comics I can recall reading (or at least looking at the pictures) since my earliest memories of a world I'd return to with the blink of an eye had I had the opportunity.

Yeah, comic strips! In any way/shape/form they were thee thing to look forward to during those post-homework/pre-tee vee times and as clockwork as supper or the 7:00 reruns. I never could get enough of 'em even when I was a mere four years old and my cyster would bring her WEEKLY MESSENGER magazine (update --- actually the publication was called OUR LITTLE MESSENGER) home from school if only for me to look through, great cyst that she was and hopefully shall remain. That was another occasion to look forward to during my late-turdler times, not for the news stories written down to a fourth grade level natch but the comic strips found within. I remember OTTO which was a nice enough wordless FERD'NAND swipe drawn in an even simpler style as well as POOCHIE, the saga of a dog that walked on his hind legs long before Snoopy. Now that 'un was done up in a no-frilled straightforward style that was a pleasant respite from some of the more detailed efforts that were found in the funny pages which hurt my kiddo eyes I'll tell ya.

POOCHIE's creator, one Marvin Townsend, was a guy whose work I would occasionally spot in various outlets as time went on. I recall when I was old enough to actually go to school coming across his cartoons on scant occasion in various education-oriented publications and if I told you that I associated the name "Townsend" with him long before I did with Pete I certainly would not be lying.

Anyway, cyster did collect all of her WEEKLY LITTLE MESSENGERs in a binder and kept it for quite awhile. In fact when I was about eleven I chanced upon it and once again enjoyed the comics that popped up within. Eventually that binder went the way of a whole lotta things my cyster had collected o'er the years that got chucked thus depriving me of those old thrills well into these old 'n crotchety days of mine.

Gotta say that I actually do miss reading POOCHIE and hoped that there would be some remnants of the strip popping up on that modern miracle we call the internet. Unfortunately it seems as if the dog has been lost to time but thankfully information on Townsend can be dredged up. For example he contributed (along with Reed Crandall and Graham "Ghastly" Ingels) to TREASURE CHEST, a comic book I don't think anyone worth their weight in no prizes would have been caught dead reading. In this particular title his ALI was published, the pantomime strip about an Indian guy (with a turban that looked more like a bandage for a man suffering from a severe concussion) who went through an entire page engaged in the usual wordless hoohaws. Like POOCHIE he was lovable in his own way as he fought one frustrating yet humorous adventure per issue in gags that I'm sure woulda offended those intelligent girls I knew who were reading Dick Gregory in fifth grade. 

Townsend must have been a guy who loved kids considering just how much he contributed his work to magazines such as TREASURE CHEST and WEEKLY LITTLE MESSENGER. Thus it's no surprise that the man had two books printed for American Education Publications, an arm of the Xerox Corporation who made them cheap paperbacks that the Scholastic News Service used to pawn off on students who saved up their pennies to purchase science books, novels or, in my case, comic collections making the day them books arrived what one would call "red letter" and I mean it!

Managed to get what I think is the extent of Townsend's published "bookage", '70's LAUGH OUT! and the following year's GHOSTLY GHASTLY CARTOONS and both of 'em are what I'd call winners in the realm of suburban slobdom entertainment. It's obvious where Townsend got the title of the first 'un out, but there ain't no "sock-it-to-me" humor to be found nohow...LAUGH OUT!'s crammed with a slew of neat panel cartoons naturally featuring Townsend's deceptively simple style with gags that would never make it in THE NEW YORKER but might have in THE SATURDAY EVENING POST. Who'm I kiddin' --- not even the POST woulda accepted any of these kiddo comics which is their loss but our gain for they do have a nice simpleness to 'em that kinda reminds me of what life was like before everything that came off nice and copasetic to me suddenly turned into an evil monster that seemed intent on devouring me like a bag of pork rinds!

Most of you sophisticados will undoubtedly up your snoots at a panel cartoon featuring a goat walking out of the animal section of a library smacking his lips or a squirrel mistaking a turtle for a huge nut. However to someone like myself who has been inundated with a whole slew of unfunny and downright insulting comics that have been published in "forward looking" weekly papers since the eighties (haven't read any of 'em in ages but I assume their comics have only gotten worse) these panels do work the kind of magic that lingers more'n most of the moderne strips I have been unfortunate enough to come upon. 

Now I'm "brave" enough to admit that most of these comics might come off too cornball on one level but they are kinda witty on another, at least with a wittiness that I assume would zoom past the Hi-Q minds of many a superior being who I'm sure looks down on everyday working jerks such as myself from their high towers located on the shit strewn streets of San Francisco.

GHOSTLY GHASTLY CARTOONS collects some rather macabre panels, or at least macabre in a fun, kiddo level custom made for the single-digit set buying up these books (as well as the folk taking a sneak peek when Junior wasn't around in the hopes that he wasn't picking up any pornographic material on the side). Some of these are actually a tad shocking (such as the one where, in the first panel, a stranded man on one of those cartoon islands cheers when he sees a boat being rowed his way with only his bones remaining in the second one while some monster rows away picking his teeth), while others are surprisingly current and up-to-date as in the one where some white ghosts tell a black one that it's OK if he haunts a house in their neighborhood. Goes to show you that Townsend had a quite devious wit about him and perhaps wasn't the old snoot that I'm sure some of you more sanctimonious readers would assume him to be.

Yeah, these books are highly recommended for those of you who miss the straighter, yet funnier cartoons that seem to have either been long gone or distorted way beyond recognition. I mean, have you read a NANCY or MARK TRAIL these days? Kinda makes me wish there was a collection of POOCHIE cartoons out and about --- yeah I'm sure I'd probably be the only one who'd want to read it but sheesh, I'd like to connect with an old friend who never did let me down.

In the course of doing research for this post I discovered a little bit about Townsend, like he was from Kansas City and turned down a job in Hollywood offered to him by none other than his friend Walt Disney. And, believe-it-or-not, but cartooning was his second love, his first being his family. Seems like the kinda guy we could sure use a whole lot more of these days, which is but just one reason I decided to give him and his work a long overdue royal treatment. I mean, considering what a noble and truly talented man he undoubtedly was who else on this planet would?

Monday, May 15, 2023

You know us, we're the site that has relied on artificial intelligence long before that term became oh-so handy dandy! Welcome aboard (and welcome abroad in case there are any readers of the female persuasion out there) for another ride into the world of (hopefully) highly offensive unchained rockism, and even though as usual I don't think that this episode is anything too special (but special enough, I guess) I will give it the ol' college of hard knocks try anyway. With that and my natural charms maybe I can put out a post that just might do swell as far as titillating your cranial nerve ends and perhaps curling or straightening your hair, depending on where the hair is located of course. 

But to be even more honest than Al Capp about it, for the most part I couldn't care one whit what any of you think of either me or my way superior to anything you've even thought of efforts. Well, at least not at this time when my guard is up (things do change emotions-wise) but anyway, you could say that I'm just bidin' my time going through the motions of doing this blog if only to dredge up some of them fun tingles I usedta get listening to music back when I was young and way stoopider than I am now. Having been around humanity for quite a while, I've come to the conclusion that maybe my readers are all nothing but animated corpses anyway so why bother trying to appease you sub-zombie sputum anyway? As the ol' meme says, "change my mind."
Biggest shock of the post just has to be the news that Brad Kohler wrote me about the extreme likelihood that the (should be, and probably is) legendary Miriam Linna is doing the Karen Quinlan on none other'n the entire Norton Records enterprise! Now it could be argued that things just weren't the same after co-Nortonite Billy Miller passed away but eh, the company was still chuggin' along at a pretty good pace even if, for the life of me, I never did bother to buy anything from 'em in quite a long while. Mostly due to money concerns but then again...

With the passing of Norton also comes the likelihood that the long-promised issue of KICKS that's been having me hold in my guts waiting for that ULTIMATE EXCUSE TO USE THE TOILET for lo these many years is never gonna see the light of day! And you wonder why I've been getting fat as of late --- that ain't blubber I'm storin' up nosiree! 

Maybe the dynasty will last long enough for the mag to eventually come out (I've always wondered about that obscure group called the Beatles, also known as the Five Shits, that were mentioned in those UGLY THINGS ads) but I kinda doubt it given just how a lot of these good things that have been promised to us over 'n over again just never do seem to pan out. Well, all them years of Norton releases, KICKS and, of course, Miriam's writings really do add up to a whole lotta plusses on the rock 'n roll fandom front so like, maybe she's done her part for the cause and a whole lot more t'boot so why mourn?
Still pouring through the HEPCATS FROM HELL Cee-Dee burns which continue to make a rather earth-shaking life-reaffirming impact on my entire reason for existence. Naturally it's all whatcha'd call extremely stimulating material, giving the grey matter the ol' massage on one hand then kicking it down the stairs the next and we can sure use more of that in our systems, eh? Yeah there's way too much reggae on the shows where Kickboy Face either hosts or guests (no surprise at that as any sturdy SLASH reader coulda told ya!) but I really like the little bits of heretofore unknown knowledge and long-forgotten music that gets splattered throughout the lost remnants of a cool El Lay past. The show where Top Jimmy hosted was tops, and wait until you hear about Meltzer's encounter with none other than Lash Larue!

Mr. Forward, who sent me the HEPCATS shows, also slipped my way what is labeled a "Freeform FM Radio KSAN Tom Donahue" disque which purports to be a slice of what I assume is an early-seventies broadcast. I'm not so sure about that considering not only the exemplary sound quality but the smattering of trackage ranging across a rather large AOR timespan, but it was of interest even if there is something a little fishy about the whole schpiel. 

Methinks that someone got some snippets of Donahue blabbing about, cleaned up the sound, added fresh-sounding music and let it loose on an unsuspecting public. Sorta like those old CRUISIN' platters only with the wordage being as it originally aired. Interesting but has that air of phony-balonyisms that doesn't quite gel.

Makes me wonder if any airchecks of WMMS-FM back when they were an actual freeform force and not an arm of industry hackdom exist, or even the old WOR-FM back in the days when Murray the "K" got canned because he actually spun the Red Crayola's "War Sucks"!
MORE FANMAIL FROM SOME FLOUNDER! Cleaning up my room sure dredges up some pretty disturbing artyfacts of a past I'd soon prefer to forget, as the following cheery missive from none other than another build up/tear down artist, the noted record company mogul not named Clive Davis and all 'round good guy himself Gerard Cosloy proves:

'n sheesh, I like Luna and Berlin Airlift (or at least a nice portion of what I've heard by 'em) which goes to show you that some people, no matter how high up on the Mount Olympus of amerindie power and might they are, just don't know what they're talking about! Oh I keep forgetting that it's all a matter of "taste" and that taste could be nothing but raw anus but anyhoo, thank goodness that in the here and now I'm way less susceptible to these Hinman/Amory-styled set ups which is one reason I try to avoid a good portion of you readers like the plague (other'n if I want something from you, that is). And I thought Cosloy was such a good writer too, even when he was doing that ol' adolescent toughkid routine which really does tire as time rolls on.
Lessee, what have I been doing, other'n feeling sorry for myself* about things I'd prefer to bury in the deeper reaches of my cranium? Well, I have come across a few old and long-forgotten items that I've had the pleasure of re-reading, or perhaps reading for the first time since well, during the heyday of my crudzine there was a lot that sorta wooshed right by me and maybe now's the time for me to do a li'l catching up. 

Like this xerox'd JIMMY OLSEN saga that popped up amid a whole load of caga (inc. the letter above) which for the life of me I can't remember reading at all way back in the '90s when it was sent.  When I was first getting my grip in the field of comic books I really liked the older Superman sagas which, next to the fresh 'uns that were popping up at the newsstand, reflected that fifties/pre-hippoid sixties fun 'n jamz style that reverbs in my soul even to this day. And this particular saga from ish #87 (Sept. 1965) (which combines the aw-shuckness of Olsen with those Bizarro stories I really usedta get a kick outta) woulda been a topper 'n top fave had I chanced upon it way back when, not only with the Olsen/Bizarro angle but because of the older generation lampooning of rock 'n roll that always exposed a side to the teen mania of the day I'm sure many teens just loathed! I always got a belly laugh outta these stories whether they be in the comic strips or on tee-vee even if some of my classmate types seemed to be "offended" given how they never could "take" any criticisms or jibes at their generation, no matter how obviously satirical (or as realistic) as they may have been.  I've decided to print the first page and first page only just so's you can get but just a taste.

Hmmmm, maybe in this particular story the main character shoulda been known as "Jimi" Olsen what with them gyrations of his 'n all! But with all of the fun and "camp" this saga oozes out its pores its the legendary "Bizarro Code" printed at the lower right of the page that really gets to me! Back when this story debuted anyone with their head on tight would have agreed that said code was rather loopy and an aberrancy straight out of the mind of a madman, but here in 2023 it's more or less metastasized into the DNA makeup of pretty much the entire world where beauty is loathed, perfection is frowned upon, good is evil and bad people are innocent. And considering the state of the world since the time this story originally appeared well, all I gotta say is that maybe I'd have a way better quality of life and way way MORE peace of mind on the Bizarro planet than I have here on terra not-so-firma these sad 'n sorry days!
HORRIBLE NIGHTMARE DEPARTMENT!: no foolin' but I had a dream that I actually put out a BLACK TO COMM #26! And although I woke up soon after whilst screaming my lungs out I get the feeling that, had I kept on dreaming, it wouldn't have sold either.
Don't get your hopes up. It's just the usual mix of new items, old standbys and even some things I actually didn't have to beg Paul McGarry or Bob Forward for:

The Revolutionary Ensemble-MANHATTAN CYCLES CD-r burn (originally on India Navigation Records)

The Ensemble live 12/31/72 not only playing an album-length Leo Smith composition but doing their best to, how shall we say, make it about as much of their own as they could. Can you think of a better way to spend a New Year's Eve, eh? For those of you who have read the past few posts extolling the virtues of this co-op unit here's more of the same, perhaps not as vitriolic as the rest of the catalog but still essential for followers of the newer-than-new thing that was sprouting up at the time. Features a special guest appearance by Billie Holliday, sorta.


Television-LIVE... LONG ISLAND 1978 CD-r burn (originally on a label I believe is called "Time Arc" --- probably a bootleg but who knows?)

Gotta say that I haven't spun any Television in about ten or so years thinking that I've heard more'n enough of 'em in one lifetime. So I guess Mr. Forward's passing of this one onto me was what they call providence, or Warwick for that matter. Taken from a WLIR-FM broadcast, this 'un shows Tom Verlaine and company in pretty fine form having worked out those rough edges that I loved in their early days but wha' th' hey... Mostly reminds me of a time when real energy and innovation in music wasn't shoved to the back of the stove in favor of alla that fluff wave and helium metal that aging bongoids still seem to get all rheumy-eyed over for obvious reasons.



Switchboard sound a whole loads better'n I remember them to've been after being crowned the local new wave group that was safe to see via some WMMS Coffee Break Concert and afternoon tee-vee appearances. Still I would've trampled over 'em to get to an Electric Eels reunion. Never heard J'Accuse or of them for that matter, but they were one of those groups that, while not annoying and definitely musically inclined enough to be enjoyable, seemed to lack focus. Maybe it's because the singer admits to having not slept in two and a half day. Maybe it's because the instrumental backing consists solely of bass guitar and drums (though they sound full enough as did a number of other bass/drums duos whose names escape me at the moment). I wouldn't want a steady diet of this and after about fifteen minutes I think I had a steady diet so like, tread with caution.

The Hellcows-TOOTHLESS LP (Black Label Records)

I hain't been playing any (not even one note!) new era rock lo these past thirtysome years, so dragging this platter outta the bin was a refreshing change from the same ol' same ol'. Portland Oregon before it became the compost heap its citizens turned it into, though this music does sound like some sort of precursor. Hard 'n heavy avant sax mixed with eighties over-the-top total eruption music that will dredge up the wall of sludge that passed for under-the-underground tuneage. The resultant spew is bloody enough to make FUNHOUSE sound like Mantovani. For fans of the Amphetamine Reptile label which makes me wonder, whatever happened to the forces behind THAT???


Test!-LIVE AT CB'S 313 GALLERY, EARLY 90'S CD-r burn

I guess free jazz at the CBGB Gallery (and later on Lounge) was up and about long before the advent of Dee Pop's freestyle series. Here's a set by just one of the earlier performers at the venue, an act called Test! who had in their ranks quasi-famous trumpeter/woodwinder Daniel Carter and Sabir Mateen on woodwinds along with Poki (good thing it wasn't "Pookie") Hudgins on bass guitar and Tom Bruno on drums. The last two guys I never head of but they sure hold up more than just a "backbeat" for the hornblowers who play in that post-post Ayler free and up above and in-between notes style. Test! sure brought back all of them outside jazz memories of the Sam Rivers Studio Rivbea loft scene of the mid-seventies, and I wasn't even aware of that until I read a review of the WILDFLOWERS series in some now rotting issue of DOWN BEAT wasting away in my basement!

There's some mighty horn play about twenty minutes in that (once again) recalls them past seventies pleasures that I'm sure you would have thought dissipated from this mortal jazz coil around the time Ken Burns decided to turn the entire genre into boring anecdotal schmalz too stodgy for even a history book. And yeah, although this sound ain't exactly the kind of blast that's gonna appeal to Aunt Petunia it sure is something to cleanse the soul of way too many years of jazz as bowtie and cummerbund music custom made for noshing.  

'n if you want it, here it is, though would you nimnuls quit walking in front of the camera!: (OK it's been deleted because of a canceled account. Too bad because you probably woulda loved it!)


Tuxedomoon-MAX'S KANSAS CITY LIVE APRIL 1979 EP CD-r burn

Didn't even know about this 'un until recently and, for the life of me, I wondered how I could have gone so long without knowing of its existence. Turns out this release from San Francisco art rockers Tuxedomoon didn't even see the light of day until 2018, which is kinda sad because it woulda done everyone a whole lot more good in 1979 than it would at a time when mankind had devolved into such a mass of ooze that anything that happened two days ago is already considered ancient history.

But I won't complain even if the moment has been lost, for this 'un doesn't fall prey to the usual new unto gnu wave pratfalls that made the early eighties a time I was questioning a lot of what transpired in the late seventies. Sure it has some of the prissiness that a name like Tuxedomoon would suggest, but even with the more irritating aspects that plauged a good portion of "new wave" the music fortunately decided not to lop its balls off for the sake of art as aht. 's a nice electroburn somewhere in between mid-seventies Roxy Music and that one group whose name I dread mentioning over 'n over considering just how many lesser rock critic snoots have done the exact same thing these last fiftysome years to the point of them words losing all of the mystical potency they once had.

Only wish the entire show woulda been released but be thankful I posted the Youtube video below so's you don't have to dish out any money for a download directly from Tuxedomoon's bandcamp site. But hey, if you wanna go that route and get even more, then why not? (POSTSCRIPT: sorry that the video has been taken down --- tried to remove it but for some reason can't!)

Roscoe Mitchell-NONAAH 2-CD set (Nessa Records)

I didn't want to overload this post with too many free jazz reviews, but given that there seems to be the newer than new thing on my mind as of late I figure that you guys need the education. So whatever you do, don't blame me for bettering your life! Yup, more of that AACM farther out 'n anything else that was goin' on at the time outer reaches music that's appealed to me for longer 'n I can imagine, with Mitchell solo or paired off with other Chicago stalwarts such as Anthony Braxton, Muhal Richard Abrams etc. T'was a time when these new directions players were thankfully getting a good shake via the jazz press and big time record labels, and if you miss those days when you could actually snatch up recs like this at the local hangout then buy this and get all nostalgic about it until you puke.

'n don't miss out on the title track (a quad-alto workout) if you want a totally searing to thine ears experience.


Dunno the whys and wherefores of this, just had Paul McGarry burn this collection of 2000 year old music because I want to expand my sonic parameters. But is it authentic or just some modern rehash of surviving musical annotations that are probably misconstrued way beyond belief?

Even if they are incorrect translations I gotta say that the music found here is not just entertaining but engrossing to a great degree. I can't complain even if at times a good portion of it does sound like it coulda been used for the soundtrack of some Hercules crankout. Shards of a past seemed lost to time do fascinate. I find the Brian Jones JOUJOUKA platter quite the invigorating experience --- maybe if someone phased these tracks out the effect would be quite the same?

Still, it's nice and romping, intense and rhythmic, introspective and brash (depending) music performed on flutes, harps, trumpets and drums. At times this music's reminiscent of various Mediterranean and Middle-East folkisms proving this stuff does stick around for a long time. Now I realize that the music Can had been making all those years wasn't as up to date as I was led to believe. 

Listen while staring at the trees and you'll connect with the far past feeling secure in the fact that some things, like nature and an appreciation for the concept of sound, have remained intact for a longer time than any of us could have ever imagined.

Vic Godard & the Subway Sect-A RETROSPECTIVE (1977-1981) LP (Rough Trade Records, England)

I reviewed a Subway Sect Cee-Dee compilation on this very blog ages back, but I came across this vinyl "best of" while roaming through the stacks and thought "why not?" And I won't even refer to my earlier writeup in order to snitch ideas or see if I'm contradicting myself either! 

One of the rising stars of the '77 English scene, the Sect started off as a straighter-ahead-than-most-of-the-competition punk band steeped in past accomplishment to the point where their early stuff (like many other contemporaries) could easily pass for mid-sixties local teenage crankout! As the years progressed the Sect veered into a more professional and at times maybe too commercial style that kinda reminds me of some of those poofs who were hitting the charts at the time. Only they did it slightly better to the point where those bad radio feelings don't come rushing back to haunt you. Gotta credit 'em for being a group of the punk variety that didn't go punque once the eighties got into gear.

Goes to show you that Jonh Ingham was right grouping the Sect in with Siouxie, the Slits and Wire in his article on future sound trends that appeared in the final issue of BOMP! 


I've been trying to dump these back issues of BLACK TO COMM for a longer time than I can imagine, with hardly anyone out there taking the bait and purchasing enough of these mags in order for me to recoup at least a good portion of what I poured into 'em money-wise. Oh yeah, I keep forgetting that putting these crudzines out was not done for monetarily renumeration but only outta the goodness of my purest of pure heart which goes to show you just what kind of a stoop I really am! 

I ought to bill alla those turds out there who were badmouthing me and my efforts for alla the sales that shoulda transpired but didn't due to the bad knocks they gave me, but that would be an even more Herculean task than cleaning out the Aegean Stables of my back issue department! Aww, why dont'cha naysayers (you know who you are) who were putting me down way back when make REAL amends, not this "I apologized to you twenty years ago even though I never paid the PENANCE I should've" drivel, take a load off my back and put a load of money in my wallet? Who knows, maybe someday I'll like you for it, but I probably won't.


*'n nothing wrong with that since none of you "devoted" readers ever feel sorry for me! Waaah!

Saturday, May 06, 2023

Yup, it's time for alla ya zombiefied post-rock/music/LIFE readers just waitin' for a li'l resensifyin' to truck yer blooze away. And what better way to do that than to settle down with this fresher'n fresh post which I hope will be a respite from most of the zilch-level offal that is tossed out on this thing we call the internet.  And believe ya me we need more energy and spurt in our music in the here and now --- I mean, the way things are goin' (which I gotta say is a sad 'n sorry situation especially when compared to the way the world was when I first clocked in --- sheesh, back then all we hadda worry about were nuclear bombs and underwear skids!) we better eat drink 'n be merry as they used to say, for tomorrow we may all be forced to listen to Lady Caga ad infinitum/nauseum to coin an old one (so outta da loop I don't know of any way more current flashdonkeys to mention --- thank goodniz!).
Listening to the HEPCATS FROM HELL radio show on disque courtesy of Mister Robert Forward dredged up some of the more pleasant feelings I used to get while spinning various 70s/80s cusp under-the-underground musings from a time when I became rather sickening altruistic on one hand yet Burroughsian jaded on the other. Not only was Richard Meltzer perhaps the ultimo rock 'n roll radio host ever (genial, cordial, bad taste...) but the selection of music he broadcasted sure intermingles a whole lot sweller'n some of the trackage I've seen listed on various podcasts available across the great divide. And Meltzer is one guy who really knows how to bring out the BEST in a guest, usually the best as far as blatant nose-thumbing at FCC rules and general anti-precious petunia thought processes go that is. 

Right now as I'm typing this moosh I'm spinning a show where Meltzer's gabbin' 'bout the then-latest Sugarman-penned Jim Morrison bio with Don and Exene from "X" who come off a lot more lucid than I would have expected given I had the sneakin' suspicion that the two'd be kinda  --- airheaded. Dunno exactly why I would think this other'n because of those sour memories of the group during their decline as well as the various post-"X" acts that I didn't think matched the gutter cool of the group during their late-seventies/v. early eighties height. Not so sure actually since I can't even REMEMBER what a good portion sounded like, but if I could I'm sure this would be the reason.

Even more startling's that night when none other'n Chris D. himself of previous post fame subs for an absent Meltzer --- no guests here and let's just say that Mr. D. coulda taken a few lessons at the Bus Eubanks-helmed "Sharon Broadcast Training" school, but otherwise the show was great what with the man spinnin' alla the tuneage that made a man outta him including the old as well as then-current! A whole lotta budding broadcasters (either via the airwaves or the computer age) could (but probably won't) take a few lessons in hosting and sound selections from HEPCATS I'll tell ya. Not that I've actually HEARD a podcast since I can't be bothered to nor am I even interested in doing so, but if I have heard one I'm sure the hosts could take a few lessons because...what else?

Once again I came upon some old fan mail written by a guy who decided to play the old "build up/knock down" game with me:


Sure brings back bad memories (couldn't've happened at a worse time in my life, as if there were any better ones), though maybe I shoulda been tipped off by the sublime snark that would have been evident had I only read between the lines. By the way, anyone out there in the market for the first issue of TOO FUN TOO HUGE complete with a note from the editor himself? Will let it go for a good price, and the way I feel the sooner the blasted thing leaves the premises the better! 'n no Hinman, you ain't gonna get it even if the thing is high up on your want list (as if he'd even bother to ask considering the loathing he has not only for me but for my entire reason for being) --- I still gotta have some shard of PRIDE in my life y'know.

Anyway, enough of the crybaby boohoo and onto something a whole lot more funtime, mainly the record (hokay, Cee-Dee) reviews! Got some good 'uns here and by that I mean slabs of sound that really resensify the ol' brain nodes and make you feel like you did when you were younger, stupider (if that's possible) and things sure came off a whole lot more refreshing and as life-reaffirming than they do now. I actually bought a few of the items for review --- the rest were "donated" by the likes of Paul McGarry and Robert Forward who I gotta say really do their oomphest to help keep this blog somewhat afloat.

I must admit that I do feel like a grifter par excellence for allowing these people to send me these burns without them having any thought or hope of getting something back in the process. Then again people like Paul and Bob are souls who do good things for others without thinking about what's in it for them, and if more people thought like this well --- I'd have alla the music in the world that I wanted and for FREE too! Most if not all of you should feel as generous as Paul and Robert and give from the bottom of your hearts while I receive it all with the pleasure knowing that you guys are exemplary specimens of human kindness, or something like that.

Lotsa jazz to be found here which would figure given my current obsession with the more seventies breed of avant wails, particularly those of the AACM variety. Maybe I am flashing back to my late teens when things like the new jazz along with John Cage and the rest of them twentieth century composers took up a huge portion of my musical obsession, a time when combing through the New Music Distribution Service catalog was quite an experience that could never be totally sated given the few pennies I had to scrape together to get even a fraction of the records that I so desired. It's kinda funny on one hand that most if not all of the music that I would have had to pay thousands to hear a good fortysome years back can now be picked up for free on the web, but sheesh even though I am such a cheap miser at heart who in their right mind'd wanna wait so long just to save what could have amounted to a not-so-small fortune?

Ah well, I got some goodies lined up here even though I'm positive than positiver that you will beg to differ:

Les Rallizes Denudes-'67-'69 STUDIO ET LIVE CD (The Last One Musique Records)

Pick of the litter's this reissue of the tres obscure Les Rallizes Denudes platter from the days when this trailblazing bunch were still feelin' around with regards to defining their sound and general psyched up outlook. It's a righteous holy mess, complete with a cut from a late '68 gig (reminiscent of that Big Brother and the Holding Company/Quicksilver/Oxford Circle Family Dog jam which should have been pressed up ages ago), an "Out of Focus"-inspired instrumental and a whole slew of what'cha might call more "straightforward" tracks definitely of the nugget if you duggit variety. Not only has the sound been beefed up but two bonus tracks including an instrumental cover/deconstruction of "Tobacco Road" were tacked onto the end only adding to the goodness graciousness of it all! Play this for your friends who think that all Japanese music's nothing but them koto plinks you used to hear in old moom pitchers and Kyu Sakamoto pop and find out that you probably won't have any friends left.

By the way, The Last One Records have reissued the three early-nineties Les Rallizes Denudes Cee-Dees, the ones originally released by the group themselves long before the deluge of post-Rallizes albums swept the underground hipper 'n hip market. Therefore, you really don't have any excuse to pass on these since they're up 'n about and won't cost you the usual collectors fees the originals fetch these days. Better yet, you can wait ten years and have Paul McGarry or Robert Forward burn up a copy for ya. 
Peter Brotzmann/Fred Van Hove/Han Bennick-JAZZ IN DER KAMMER NR. 71 CD-r burn (originally on Trost Records, Germany --- if ya wanna hear it try 

Sometimes this Euro free play can sound somewhat slick and perhaps even downright sterile, and it's not hard to understand why considering how many of these continental types tend to sneak a whole load of classical influx into that hard Afro-based sound. Then again the Art Ensemble of Chicago used to do that and it still sounded like Great Black Music to me. Maybe these Europeans are just too straightforward --- dunno but anyway this '74 live show from Peter Brotzmann, pianist Fred Van Hove and percussionist Han Bennick does fall somewhat into the trap.

Still fine beyond belief, even if the overall crispness and clarity recalls the whole reason for being that made up the ECM label. Well, at least that oft-cringe-y company had more'n a few good moments and if this platter was on ECM this would be just one of 'em. Brotzmann is --- well, BROTZMANN and as you'd expect if you've been following his fiftysome-year career he plays just as out-crazed here as he did on those early whackers --- really brain crunching over-the-top resensification. I gotta admit that Van Hove on piano can, when the pressure builds, kinda sound like Cecil Taylor with alum in his veins, and Bennick gets maddening when left to his various devices. If you've heard alla this New Thing in Jazz ruckus for the past few decades all I can say is --- you ain't heard this outer reaches effort which might even get you to forget MACHINE GUN, if only for a second or two.

Any platter with a track called "Filet Americaine" is bound to grab my attention (really!), and even if you're not as hung up on extraneous things like track titles you just might like it yourself!
Various Artists-ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOW --- THE COLORADO MUSICAL UNDERGROUND OF THE LATE 1970s CD-r burn (originally on Hyperpycnal Records)

As someone like me who was born and bred in the western Pee-YAY! area can tell you, when all of the ideas and flashes of what was going down in such burghs as London or New York finally hit the boonies it looked as if all of the power and innovation the originators had brought forth had definitely lost a whole load of potency. Kinda like when the hurricane finally makes its way up here during the autumn...all of the dangerous winds and deluge have long dissipated and all we're left with is three days of gunky weather! 

The same sure can be said about musical trends such as "punk" --- that newer than new music, the kind that was supposed to wipe out the lunkhead AOR dribble which ultimately made its ways into little enclaves filled with disaffected kids all across the United States. By the time the news hit this locale the sound sure came off like an aural version of a copy made on a sheet of carbon paper that was used up way beyond its lifetime. Personally, I'd much rather have lived through three days of snizzling rain and bad television reception than have listened to some of this nth generation punque that came off like nothing but a huge embarrassment, especially to those who were giving it the big rah-rah only a few years earlier!

I was expecting the music on this comp of seventies punk unto new wave made by a buncha Coloradoans who were rich enough to subscribe to CREEM and NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS to come off just as pallid as many of the local groups I struggled through listening to back in the danker'n dank days of the eighties and nineties. But once again I was wrong, for a good portion of the groups who appear on ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOW, even those patterned after past accomplishments that might have seemed rather redundant by this time, still have enough of the spark and insight to make them more'n just the usual precocious and sainted types that used to proliferate during the ol' "don't touch me, I'm new wave" days of yore.

Hey, some of these obscurer-beyond-obscure acts're even pretty original, or at least sound just as good as those groups that used to get the huzzahs because of their rawness and low fidelity genius. For example the Dancing Assholes got that cheap crank out gruffness that had people paying exorbitant prices for Fuckin' Flyin' A-Heads records. Their tracks first saw the day in '09 when this compilation came out, but man had they only been released at the time they would have stymied more'n a few avid collectors including a certain guy who for some strange reason liked to put green tape on his own prized possessions (as well as a few that he felt needed to skeedaddle his collection).

Even when these Coloradoans "borrow" from the biggies well, they sure borrow good. Some of these groups're quite proficient, or at least as proficient as they could get working in such isolation (such as with the Dirty Dogs' post-Dolls/Stooges roar-ons "Sorority Girl" and "I Wanna Be Loved" which ain't thee "I Wanna Be Loved" but wha' th' hey...). 'n even when you think a group or song is gonna be another wishy-washy heard-it-all-before-and-didn't-like-it-the-FIRST-time tossout it sneaks up behind ya and kicks you hard in the henry thus dissipating all of those preconceptions about podunk after-the-fact rock 'n roll for good! Just 'bout every track here is better'n many of those inspiration-less living room splats that you usedta hear on the Maximum Rocknroll radio show, the ones that got the go-ahead if only because the band in question sang something nasty about Ronald Reagan. Sheesh, that green tape ref. about sure brought out quite a few long-buried (and I thought for good!) memories in me.

For a buncha amateurs they sure act like the kind who had a whole lot goin' for 'em! Of course you knew they never were gonna achieve even a shard of fame and fortune because they were stuck right inna middle of John Denversville ("People like David Bowie and the New York Dolls exist only to satisfy the sick and far out"!!!!!), but in this present day and age it really matters because of the energy and devotion that made up these groups' lust for life. It's four decades later but I get the feelin' that the acts who popped up here sure needed alla the lovin' and hosannas that they shoulda gotten the first time 'round, and this offering gives it all to 'em and then some!

Not having been whatcha'd call a fan of the Devites since their second long player (didn't even care that much for the singles!) I must admit that this live '77 show from the legendary Crypt in Akron was better'n I woulda expected. The group sounds pretty goldurn loose and closer to their Roxy/Sparks roots than they would be after falling into the same new unto gnu wave trap that irritated me in just a few short year's time. The early takes on later-on familiarities makes me wonder where they went wrong (not as if we all eventually knew...) and, like with early Pere Ubu, it's nice hearing what they sounded like before the suits got their way and the pretension set in. I'll bet someone presses this up on vinyl and sells it for exorbitant sums.

I much prefer the Rubber City Rebels who sound like what alla those mid-seventies local beer 'n leather groups shoulda sounded like.  I can remember when it was this style of hard local power sound was being bandied about with the "punk" tag, but just barely.

Here's hoping that WCSB continues with this series because there were a whole load of local acts that needed this kind of exposure and well, better forty-five years later'n never I always say!
Joseph Jarman/Famoudou Don Moye-EGWU-ANWU (SUN SONG) 2-CD set (India Navigation Records)

There are so many albums by the Art Ensemble of Chicago and related groupings that have come out since the seventies that it is practically dang near impossible for me to keep track of 'em all. Wading through their massive discography would cost me a whole lotta time, effort and of course moolah that I just can't part with. So at this time I'm just taking what I can when I can, and although I will go to my grave missing out on a whole lotta these definitely crucial efforts at least I gave it the extra oomph effort as if that's gonna matter to St. Peter one bit.

Here's one AEC spinoff that I sure had more'n a tad bitta interest in o'er the years. India Navigation was a fairly good source for some of the more outta the way jazz recordings of the late-seventies, and this double-disque from longtime members Joseph Jarman and Famoudou Don Moye is everything I woulda expected from the pair --- free reeds and drums with sidesteps into Asian themes and African percussive workouts that evokes everything from "World Music" to "turn down that racket!!!!!!" 'n I'm really glad for it.

Even if I should hate it for being recorded at some boho artist hideaway in Woodstock I find EGWU-ANWU quite a gem, what with Jarman and Moye engaging in moments that go from atonal bluster to passages that are so quiet you'll have to do a little bit of ear straining to get the total effect. The tenor playing/free drums on "Na Enu Igwe" does present the state of the post-Ayler jazz trajectory what with the two recalling everything from INTERSTELLAR SPACE to those Rashied Ali duos with Frank Lowe and Leroy Jenkins that the guy released his very own Survival label.

EGWU-ANWU sure warms the cockles of my heart, especially during them moments such as when Jarman and Moye engage in a vibes/marimba duet that surprisingly enough manages to calms the ol' nervous system especially after being shaken up quite a bit by the free play. Great for those Sunday PMs when there's nothing else fabulous goin' on, though you might wanna take it in pieces 'cause it does have the tendency to overwhelm in one sitting.

Oh 'n by the way, have any of you that copy of Lester Bangs' review of (I believe) this very effort (or maybe it was Roscoe Mitchell's NONAAH?) that popped up in THE VILLAGE VOICE, the one where he not only registered his dislike of the entire AACM's reason for existence but mentioned the time he attended some (I believe) Moye performance snickering throughout while getting the stink eye from a few patrons in the process? Dunno if that is exactly what 'app'd (ain't read the thing in soooooo long) but still if anyone can direct me to where I can find it, t'would appreciate it! And if you do send it, send just the article and not the entire paper --- it's not like I want to read about any left-handed Hopi/Latinix lesbian film festivals!

Hawkwind-BICKERSHAW '72 CD-r burn

The quality's what some early-eighties tape trader'd call "C-" (and even then he'd have the audacity to sell a chrome cassette of it for a whopping ten bucks!), but did that ever stop us from appreciating the music our fave groups laid forth, no matter how muddled they may sound? 

This bit of blur captures Hawkwind just as they were breaking into the upper strata as well as in their best setting, the outdoor rock festival. Their early-seventies repertoire gets the live workover with "Silver Machine" naturally turning up, and as usual the hand-held cassette quality gives the music an added oomph that I don't think any of those eighties-era "half-mastered" albums coulda matched. Heck, I get the idea this is how the addled audience heard the entire festival given the mind-expanding chemicals I'm sure most of 'em were high on!

It's on Youtube and for a price way cheaper'n any of those people hawking these recordings in the classifieds of TROUSER PRESS were chargin'. So burn yourself a copy because if you're man enough to read my blog you're man enough to experience Hawkwind at their aural roughest!

The Revolutionary Ensemble-LUPE KINO COLOGNE 77 CD-r burn

Got nada idea where this 'un originates from ( doesn't even mention it!) but it sure sounds like whatcha'd call a professional, flesh and blood Revolutionary Ensemble album one could have easily picked up at a specialty record shop way back when. The cover sure looks authentic as well. Big mystery here.

Whaddevah, this '77 show from right about when this kinda/sorta legendary in outer-reaches jazz circles trio decided to part ways presents the Ensemble as they usually were --- new music with a whole load of that AACM-influenced angular kinetic feeling which could go in any whichway direction depending on the natural flow. Leroy Jenkins beats all of the other free jazz violinists I've heard, Ornette and Billy Bang included, while Norris "Sirone" Jones on trombone has it all over Roswell Rudd and hands down at that (his bass playing ain't no slouch either). Percussionist Jerome Cooper holds everything together rather snattily, and his impressive forays into balafon (and classical piano!) add a typically multi-influential dimension that recalls similar efforts by everyone from Oliver Lake to the Art Ensemble of Chicago themselves. The overall mesh of angular sound and a gnarly kineticism leads me to believe that the three were just born to perform with each other 'n perhaps NO ONE ELSE!!! Spiritual Siamese triplets if you can imagine that. 

Like just about each and every other Revolutionary Ensemble recording this sways from jazz to new classical and maybe even has a tinge of r&b to it, all done up with what they used to call an "avant garde" mindset which thankfully doesn't get all brainiac on you! Too bad all three are no longer with us, since they could have given us a whole lot had they only stuck around to crank a few more out. 

Just another perhaps not-so-friendly reminder that there are plenty of BLACK TO COMM back issues  still looking for a home, waiting to be adopted (for a fee, of course) by some rock 'n roll music maniac just full of love and compassion. Love of music that is, and compassion for this doof who couldn't unload these magazines if I were givin' 'em away with gold bars attached. I'm sure you're the type of guy who swims against the tide when it comes to music or else you wouldn't be reading this blog in the first place now, eh?  BLACK TO COMM might not be as enticing or as stomach-turning slick as some of the other rags now up and about but that only adds to the CHARM of it all, eh?