Monday, September 25, 2023


You've already read my review of POPULAR COMICS, one of the many newspaper comic strip reprint titles (known as BORMS --- Books Of Reprinted Material --- in the comic book world) that proliferated from the mid-thirties until about a good two decades more/less later. Well, here's another quite similar comic book, although while POPULAR concentrated on the strips that were being pushed by the Chitown Trib syndicate the ones in POPULAR were part and parcel to Cleveland's NEA Services, a syndicate that I really go for as far as these classic olde tymey strips go. NEA was more than willing to distribute the kind of comics that might have been too cornpone or for that matter even too screwy for the competition, and although the strip scene of the thirties was perhaps at the top of its form the ones that NEA handled had a sort of special appeal that went after the heavy hitting har-hars as well as the quiet rural reminiscences of a world that would slowly turn into something quite different once World War II got into gear.

Front cover's got a Major Hoople drawing that was more'n obviously not delineated by either Gene Ahern nor any of the artists who continued on OUR BOARDING HOUSE when Ahearn left for greener dollars. Kind of a lousy drawing if I say so myself, but don't fear 'cause the Hoople who appears inside is the bonafide guy (post Ahern since no credit was given or asked for that matter) and the stories presented are pretty top notch and indicative of the happier side of an existence where little things like comic pages meant a real whole lot! A great way for depression-era kids to while away the hours for mere pennies at that, and hey even this far down the line someone with the mental acumen of myself can sure get more enjoyment outta strips like this 'un 'n ALLEY OOP* than I can every shard of what is being churned out as entertainment these days, popular or not. And if that makes me a bad human being then call me Lucifer himself!

Hey, they're not all NEA Services strips, because a few outsiders such as DAN DUNN and a pre-DC (and then Harvey) MUTT AND JEFF show up here. Not only that but there are a few original comics turnin' up in the mix --- Sheldon Mayer's SCRIBBLY, best known for his long tenure at the All-American line which also gave us the Flash, Green Lantern etc., surprisingly enough makes an appearance here. These SCRIBBLYs were actually done up in a Sunday funnies format as well if only to fool the doofs out there into thinking it t'was an actual comic strip as if the single-digit readers out there would care one whit but eh! When Dell's Max Gaines trekked over to DC Mayer went along with him and well, would their comedy line, for what it was, been the same without the likes of him and Bob Oskner?

What makes this particular SCRIBBLY whatcha'd call "noteworthy" is the storyline regarding the boy cartoonist actually meeting his favorite artist, mainly one Ving Parker. I kinda wonder if this particular "Ving" is in actuality Ving Fuller, the cartoonist who was immortalized when he was offhandedly mentioned, in a somewhat negative light at that, in a LI'L ABNER cartoon. Dunno why Al Capp had it in for the guy but sheesh, that curt putdown's probably the only reason anyone would remember the man a good almost ninety years after the fact!

Face it, but some of the strips showin' up just don't have that punch in the psyche zing that made for fun reading even then let alone now. HERKY was a kiddie comic about as funny as Whoopi Goldberg while BOOTS was just another one of those young career-chasing femme strips that was for the (yech!) gurls, unless you were a boy and liked Tijuana Bibles. As far as serious fare, BEN WEBSTER'S DIARY looked about as stiff-figure stilted as Dave Berg and was dryer to boot, and perhaps if they tapered off with the TAILSPIN TOMMYs and CAPTAIN EASYs (both fine comics yet deserving of their own space) they coulda added more personal faves like OUT OUR WAY and OUR BOARDING HOUSE (only two of the latter which appear here, one with topper strip THE NUT BROTHERS lopped off!). Sheesh, there are only a couple SALESMAN SAMs  'n like I sure coulda used a few more of that particularly crazed "screwball" strip myself!

If I had any beef in general to say about THE FUNNIES or BORMs in general is that strips with continuing storylines just don't cut it given that yer gonna come in on the fun and jamz smack inna middle and you hafta wait until the next ish to see how things turn out (and on and on...). Speaking of such strips, didja know that Gaines had to be persuaded to have these strips published in proper order because he thought it would be just fine enough if they were plopped into these comics willy nilly as if any of the kids were gonna notice the difference! (Of course you knew given I already mentioned this in my review of POPULAR COMICS, but I doubt any of you had the curiosity to even bother clicking the above link to read that writeup!)

Before I go, I gotta marvel at the Gilbert chemistry set ad that appears on the backside of this 'un! Gee, talk 'bout impending disasters once the kids begged their parents for one of these only for the splish splosh of chemicals to cause grievous harm. Didn't William Burroughs blow off the tip of his pinkie after foolin' 'round with one of these? Well in his case it SERVED HIM RIGHT even if the experience didn't keep him from turning into that sicko you all adore and love.

*it's still running although even I must admit that the steam went out way back, perhaps as early as when the time traveling angle was introduced according to my father. The modern day Sunday version is, now get this, called LITTLE OOP and it features Alley as a child and is drawn in that current cutesy MARVIN/CRABGRASS style that's been the norm for some time. In these strips Oop is seen engaging in supposedly humorous escapades in what looks like a perhaps vain attempt to remain relevant on what's left of the funny pages, flopping miserably in the process. Like NANCY, it is deserving of a quick and somewhat merciful euthanizing. 

Sunday, September 17, 2023



Yeah, I just gotta start this off mentioning the this film the gayest or what? From the fru-fru art deco set to the half-naked effeminate actors with pasties on their bullseyes not forgetting all of the muscular black men who show off a good portion of partially bared cheeks, you kinda wonder whether you're watching a Biblical drama or a Kenneth Anger wet dream. But homo orientation aside well, I gotta say that I was kind of "drawn" into it.

Some call SALOME the first art film ever made but I believe there have been a few avgarde efforts cranked out earlier even if most seemed more concerned with geometric designs and wobbly camerawork. Anyhoo, the story and production kept me glued to the screen, perhaps because the frilly film snob angle wasn't that much of an irritation during those early cinematic days and I don't have to suffer from snobdom by association.

But eh, if you are the kind of person who goes for Art Gnuveau convolutedness maybe you too would enjoy this arthouse extravaganza birthed from the mind of a soon to be locked up Oscar Wilde with sets based on Aubrey Beardsley's very own designs for the original stage presentation. If that ain't loafer light enough for you I don't know what is!

Nazimova naturally chews up the screen with her roaring twenties looks and halfway decent attempts to portray a girl way younger than her fortyish features (distance shots do help somewhat). The over-emotive acting not only from the star but the supporting cast (Nigel De Brulie as the scrawniest John the Baptist [or Jokaanan as he's called here] I've ever seen to those two patented gay porn studs who quiver in fear at the mere thought of Salome gazing upon them) actually do lend a certain campiness to the film, but it at least helps give SALOME a dream-like air and lends a tad bit of dareIsay nobility to the proceedings. 

The plot might seem somewhat twisto-changeo, but the tints and scenery. along with the over-emotive acting, only adds to the overall (now hold on) awe. Of course we all know of the Biblical account (or so I assume) but for the life of me, (spoiler alert as they say) I wonder why Herod ordered Salome's execution after she has Jokaanan beheaded and then falls in love with his bean and regrets her wish? (After all, she "kills the things she loves, loves the things she kills" as the title card says.) Seems rather strange behavior for a movie filled with a load of confusing zigzags, but in many ways I gotta say that the bitch had it comin'. Since I am not whatcha'd call a Biblical scholar maybe someone out there can give a hint!

Watching this I get the same sense of experiencing something that seems somewhat noble and perhaps even holy, the same feeling I got seeing other early cinematic excursions from THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC to even the DW Griffith swansong for Biograph, JUDITH OF BETHULIA.  Even some equally renown if even more experimental film efforts such as LOT IN SODOM (I read that the two flicks were double billed in NYC way back when and I couldn't think of a better pairing!) as well as some perhaps unlikely efforts such as INAUGURATION OF THE PLEASURE DOME and RABBIT'S MOON if only for the settings, costumes and ethereal nature which really brings back the mid-teen awe I had for movies at a time when I began to pay attention.

So yeah, if you're a fan of the silent era and want to glom something that might be somewhat different from the usual revival house Chaplin/Keaton fare you might wanna give this legendary film (so legendary that I thought I'd better check it out before I clocked out into eternity) a try. Well, for being as lavender as they come it sure makes for a good change from most all of the in-your-face (and at times in more ways than one!) gay propaganda that's been shoved down our gullets these past thirtysome years.

One interesting aside that I think I should mention if only to give you even more chuckles outta this review and that is well, you know those Gold Dust Twins lookalikes with the piled up wighats and big-pocketed diapers who sporadically appear throughout the film? Well, at the tail end of the film the two can be briefly seen throwing jewels from their pockets at each other for reasons that totally escape me other'n to perhaps signify the folly of riches (I mean, can you think of anything better?). Actually when I first saw the film (and given that the quality ain't exactly state of the art) I thought they were digging into their diapers and throwing feces at each other which certainly gave me the impression that this moom pitcher was being arty way ahead of its time! Of course I'm wondering what the symbolism of THAT rather disgusting act would have been all about but eh, if they were throwing number two all I gotta say is this film just hadda have been the gayest!

And if you'd really like to give SALOME a good eyeballing, I slapped the film directly at the end of this post for your benefit. Turn your own fart-encrusted bedroom into an arty theatre happy in the knowledge that there won't be any guy sitting next to you putting his hand on your knee.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

I can't really help it, but today I gotta admit that I actually feel --- just slightly miserable! Well, that sure is a come-up from the glum 'n gloom that I feel almost all of the time anymore given the sad state of life and the way people like YOU tend to treat me (break out the world's tiniest violin for that 'un!). Maybe this post will then have an even more lighter and carefree than a maxipad commercial lilt to it which, thankfully, would be a nice respite from the usual piss I love squirting in most of you readers' faces.


Although things 'round here have been quieter'n inside Helen Keller's head there undoubtedly have been a few things that have brightened up the pasture. I've been fortunate enough to have received an entire ton of Cee-Dee-Are burns, unsolicited at that, and frankly it would take at least a dozen of me's to sort through the entire batch of 'em within a decent amount of time! Muchos gracias to the likes of Paul McGarry, Thierry Muller (who keeps me abreast of French rarities although no European Son or Crouille Marteau as of yet!) as well as Robert Forward for these, the latter who has delivered package after package of disques these past few weeks in what must have set him back a big bundle not only in the burns themselves but the postage and handling! 

The envelope with a whole batch of jazzbo platters including about five or so Ornette Coleman recordings labeled "boot" sure looks mighty enticing 'specially to a freer 'n free jazz guy like myself, though at this point in time all I have been able to make my way through was this Anthony Braxton live thing from '75 with Roscoe Mitchell, Richard Teitelbaum and some other doofus (a term I usually use as a friendly dig atcha!) whose name I can't recall. Also copped a first few tracks of the Sun Ra one which starts off with the infamous early '80s paen to what we thought was impending annihilation entitled "Nuclear War" with all of the cussing intact! I've always been surprised by this track what with the repeated obscenities --- I mean Ra has always presented himself as a man of virtue who was glad that people were going to see movies like STAR WARS 'stead of dirty films 'n such 'n I never woulda thought he'd be singing all vulgar like he does here! Sheesh, this 'un is almost as startling as if I had heard Mister Rogers blurt out a string of blasphemies in a fit of rage 'r somethin'!


REST IN PEACE ('n I mean it!) Charles Gayle, the eventually notorious jazz multi-instrumentalist who after years of bubbling way under the free play radar got some well-deserved recognition in the early-nineties and at a time when people like myself were on the lookout for a new avant garde player to rally around. Hey, what's the name of that album where Gayle preaches on about a whole load of moral subjects that really got some of the more, er, forward thinking fans out there mighty uncomfortable? I wanna get that one and drive around town while that 'un's blasting at full volume!

Also r.i.p. jazz bassist Richard Davis, who all of the obits mention played with Van Morrison and Bruce Springsteen but NONE the Creative Construction Company!

IMPORTANT NOTICE! After being scolded (however, the shaming part of it didn't work) regarding my continual reference to female mammary glands (as if there are "male" ones but these days who knows?) as "suckems" I will from now on avoid that particular term. Not only on this blog but private conversation in fact! I'm doing this in order to placate the more upper torso conscious of you out there who find the term particularly crude for one reason or another. From now on they will be referred to as "squeezies" which actually received approval from none other cyster herself.
A Batman slaps Robin meme found on The Good Marty that I can heartedly endorse:

Anyway lotsa good fire music to rant on about so like let's get into it while the gettin's got, or something like that. Personally I think these reviews are strictly of nosedive quality so if you want to skip 'em until next post (or for that matter skip reading anything that was ever written on this blog!) well, I wouldn't blame ya one bit!

Milford Graves with Arthur Doyle and Hugh Glover-CHILDREN OF THE FOREST CD-r burn (originally on Black Editions Archive Records)

This is even fiercer than BABI MUSIC or (if you can imagine) ALABAMA FEELING! The Graves/Doyle/Glover trio once again help stretch those jazz boundaries even more'n my own digestive tract with a maddening roar that (frankly) puts a whole load of then-contemp examples of the new thing to utter shame. Doyle's playing so over the top (about on par with early Frank Lowe) that it's bound to cleanse your soul (that is, if you have one) while Graves clonks out some rhythmic aberrations that were probably banned by ancient witch doctors for being too potent. Glover might seem MIA most of the time but he's there (at least on a good portion of this) adding extra percussion as well as horn toots that seem to punctuate the proceedings to an even more maddening pitch. Believe me, there's not a thin wafer in the entire shebang! You can download and burn the thing or buy it on Cee-Dee, but if I were you I'd get the double LP set and pretend that it's 1980 and you're getting a much anticipated order that you (like me) really scrimped and saved for from the New Music Distribution Service.


Mal Waldron-MAL/2 CD-r burn (originally on Prestige Records)

After givin' the above a spin this un's almost like listening to Guy Lombardo! Mal and crew (including some names you might have heard about like John Coltrane and Jackie McLean) start preparing for the new thing with a hard bop session that might seem rather tame in comparison with the rage to come, but it suits one (or at least just me) rather fine given how moving and alive this is compared with some of the wine 'n schmooze music that's' getting passed off as jazz these sad 'n sorry times. Made for great backdrop to some sunny highway cruising this very afternoon.


Various Artists- WILD MEN RIDE WILD GUITARS --- ROCKABILLY AND CHICKEN BOP VOL. 1 CD-r burn (originally on Sundazed Records)

Thankfully I ain't in one of my fifties rock 'n roll moods or else I would have been getting even more long-windier than usual about this one. However if I were feeling long windy I'd be goin' up and down the ol' backroads about these fifties rollickers that sure set the pace for some real rock-a-boppin' times, the kind Ron Weiser used to rant and rave about in his old ROLLIN' ROCK fanzine. Other'n a few names I copped outta old issues of KICKS these acts are whatcha'd call all new to me, but they sure do fine not only borrowin' heavily from the big time rockers of the day but takin' them ideas and ricochetin' 'em all over the dadburn place! Might be a good 'un to play for those know nada types who keep thinkin' that the fifties music scene was alla that soft croon glop and nothin' more! 


BEATEN BRATS CD-r burn (available for download somewhere online)

They's be one of them new punk rock groups, one from France at that. Thankfully not "punque" but still nothing that really reaches out and touches you like that funny guy in the raincoat who's always lurking around. It admittedly is strange to hear music like this being played this late in the game we call agony, and even if this sounds like many other similar efforts up and about it's still good 'nuff and in no way offensive to your rather stilted tastes. Or mine either so if you're game then go for the danged thing!


Pere Ubu-TROUBLE ON BIG BEAT STREET CD-r burn (originally on Cherry Red Records, England)

I dunno 'bout you, but (I think --- too lazy to check out any earlier reviews to refresh my sieve-like brain) I really haven't been cozying up to Ubu in quite some time. One thing I do remember is being irritated by some of those albums the former Crocus Behemoth had released since the stormy days of DUBHOUSING 'n like, hearing a group that once put out some mighty records going south really did make me question some of my earlier twists and turns in rock (and other) music to the point where I wondered why did I even bother in the first place?

But whaddaya know, but Ubu have redeemed themselves by putting out a platter that --- no doubt about it --- hearkens back to the mad miasma of late-sixties/early-seventies rock 'n roll as noise squall, the same swamp from whence everything from those early Plastic Ono albums and MONSTER MOVIE and FUNHOUSE to CROMAGNON and TROUT MASK REPLICA emerged to make a few much-needed switcheroos in the direction that teenbo music was taking. TROUT MASK REPLICA --- yeah, I can see TROUBLE ON BIG BEAT STREET some sorta mod day equal to the Magic Band crunch of the aforementioned squall back when turds like myself would stumble upon LICK MY DECALS OFF more'n curious about what it was all about in typical scrambled adlo brain format.

And the former Mr. Behemoth can match the ex Mr. Van Vliet in outer realm soul-stretched vocalizing what with his rolling on recitations about meeting up with Howlin' Wolf and Bob Dylan at the local Popeye's! While I'm at it let us welcome Ubu's return to the heavy metal realm with their cover of the Osmonds' classic "Crazy Horses" single. Sheesh, I thought that the Jehovah's Witnesses hated Mormons! 

Hokay, if I hadda say anything negative 'bout it I'd say that the thing was way too long to digest in one sitting. Edited down to about 40 minutes this woulda been a real killer diller deal!

This is thee creepy-crawl rock 'n roll platter of at least this post (if not the entire year?). The kind of thing we all need here in 2023 to resensify our musical obtuseness and maybe stick around hopin' the movie that we call existence doesn't ignite like so much worn nitrate. 

THE IMMORTAL CHARLIE PARKER CD-r burn (originally on Savoy Records)

I know one BTC "associate" who is definitely going to be angry at me for reviewing this, given one of Parker's -- er -- "shortcomings" I'd guess you'd call it. Eh, so what! If I can drive down the highway with Waldron this afternoon I can spend the same evening coaxing myself into beddy bye with these mid-forties Parker sessions featuring some future big names including Miles Davis, Bud Powell, John Lewis and Max Roach getting their jazz bearings in. Like I said many-a-time, this sorta brew isn't exactly the root beer I usually go for but it sure has the nerve-clanging life-reaffirming sway that kinda makes you're glad that you're up and breathing. And there are no gasps here to worry about nosiree!


Various Artists-WILL YOU LOVE ME TOMORROW --- THE GIRL GROUPS OF THE 50's & 60's 2CD-r set (originally on RPM Distribution Records)

Unlike a whole slew of girl group collections out there, WILL YOU LOVE ME TOMORROW mixes a scant bit of hit material with loads of obscurities making this more'n just another collection to sell on local tee-vee. The new to mine ears efforts sounded as if they were good enough to hit it big, while the familiar just reminded me of how potent girl vocal groups were for quite a while, well into (and past) the disco era which seemed to ruin too much as far as AM pop went. It woulda been nice if this compilation trekked its way into the early seventies (other'n with the Flirtations' "Nothing But a Heartache") because hey, I woulda loved to have heard the Rock Flowers' "Number Wonderful" again --- sure remember my cyster hating the thing because it sounded more sixties than early-seventies Cat Stevens relevant. Go figure.


Various Artists-TELEVISION'S GREATEST HITS VOL. 1 CD-r burn (originally on TeeVee Toons Records)

The original material is mostly of echsville sound quality while the re-dos come off even phonier than you. However, if you want a glimpse of what stocking feet plop in front of the tee-vee ranch house living was like for more than a few of us aging guys who never did eschew our fifties/sixties/seventies/(maybe even) eighties suburban slob birthright then look no further.


Sun Ra and Arkestra-THE PARIS TAPES CD-r burn

You worshippers might find this hard to believe, but I can't tell you much if anything  'bout this particular spinner. All I really can say is that it definitely is a live offering with loads of percussion and occasional wind instruments, and that definitely is June Tyson (and maybe John Gilmore) doing a good portion of the warbling. Skips prove this to have been of vinyl origin and given the flat sound I'd surmise this was some old El Saturn release that easily enough can be identified with an internet search. Still it's a Sun Ra recording so what c'n I say other'n it's good enough to absorb into my own solar plexus.


Gerry Bright and the Stokers-YEAH! CD-r burn (originally on Soundflat Records outta England, I think)

Thinking I was gonna be in for a middling rehash of mid-sixties hack, I did go into this 'un with a slight bitta trepidation. Surprisingly that all went away once the laser hit the aluminum, for Gerry Bright etc. is one band that really cranks out the six-oh as they used to say at an extremely high energy level. None of that halfway-there dishout --- this thing pumps with Bright's British Invasion-fashioned singing backed up with some heavy duty organ screech and pounding percussion making for some pretty hectic music spinnin' 'round here! Puts much of the retro sounds heard o'er the past thirtysome (if not more!) attempts at reclaiming past glories in the ol' cloud cover. Should be more'n easier to pick up on the internet --- try Bandcamp.


Nice batch of BLACK TO COMM back issues I got for you here bud. Hope you can take the hint because like, I got friends in New Jersey and we know where your aunt lives (boy are these back issue notifications getting Quinlanesque or what!).

Friday, September 01, 2023


As with PULL DOWN THE SHADES I got this 'un if only for the "fanzine experience" as Brad Kohler so succinctly put it. As far as that fanzine experience goes (or at least went), NEUMUSIK had a whole lot goin' for it from clear enough to read type, knowledgably and thoughtfully written content and a pretty good (maybe even "professional") layout compared with a few of them home project crudzines that were up and about on the market way back when. But for being a rag devoted to the European mail order and import bin realm well...

Tis a good enough settle down and read book true, but compared with some of the electronic/kraut/experimental music mags of the day from EUROCK to FACE OUT I must admit NEUMUSIK pales if only a tad. Now, serious fans of late-seventies specialty shop searching will undoubtedly like NEUMUSIK's coverage of the then-contemporary beyond the avgarde music scene, but them other mags were conceived by rabid rockers who, besides being up and front fans of the "space rock" realm, were born and bred of the same late-sixties/early-seventies soundsquall that set the pace for a good portion of what was decent and worthy of your ears for the next decade or so. After all, it's more'n just plain obvious that EUROCK's Archie Patterson cut his teeth on the Velvets/Stooges axis of musical deconstruction and poured through more'n just a little of the Lester Bangs and Greg Shaw font of musical knowledge, while the guys at FACE OUT could make a clear connection between the works of --- say --- Can and Faust and connect it with the early electronic punk sproutings that were to be found elsewhere on the globe. However, there seems to be somewhat of a staidness to NEUMUSIK which was not so evident in the competition. It might not bother the true blue fans who are in it for the space/prog information and information  only, but for a fanabla like myself well...  I find that there's something that's shallIsay "missing" as far as literary jam kickouts go --- maybe it's just that I like to read about music filtered through a Meltzer or Nick Kent attitude and that credo just didn't suit editor David Elliott one iota. And as we all know, THAT'S HIS OWN BUSINESS!!!

Eh, why should I pick nits over this 'un anyway. NEUMUSIK was an exemplary endeavor covering the music that Elliott loved, and even if he didn't have a "gonz" outlook or spend every other paragraph waxing on about alla our punk rock faveraves and how their vibes resonated in the music at hand he sure did put out a good fanzine that looks and reads swell fortysome years after the fact. Elliott had a mission (covering the various electronic/experimental musings both local and abroad) and he sure did it swell sans the literary cereal filler within the six issues that came out, all unleashed within the span of a rather short three years at that!

If you like the entire concept of fanzines then swell, get it. If you're seeking the same spirit of nose-thumbing under-the-counterculture ravings of a CREEM or DENIM DELINQUENT you'd be best to save your shells. As for me I'm glad I snatched this 'un up even if it doesn't have any of that sainted nose thumbing mayhem or paens to punk glories past to be found within its pages. But like I once said eh! --- can't have everything handed to me on a silver platter y'know.