Tuesday, May 28, 2024

BOOK REVIEW! HOUND DOG HUCK : VOLUME 1 (Gwandanaland Books, 2019) 

Having re-acquainted myself with the earlier Hanna-Barbara cartoonage during frequent evening (and even middle of the night) viewings I have perhaps not-so-surprisingly grown to appreciate the early HUCKLEBERRY HOUND cartoons. Not having seen any of the first gen HB efforts since their final local Sunday AM broadcasting in the late-seventies I was surprised, not only at the ingenious ways the animators cut corners what with the use of bowties and collars enabling them to draw only a head instead of the entire body, but to the plain fact that these cartoons were just as appealing and as humorous to the grownups who happ'd be be watching along with the turdlers. Like with BULLWINKLE and even the UPA-era DICK TRACY cartoons there were a load of gags that were just gonna go over them kids' peabrains and straight into their parents' gag reflex, and although none of these HB efforts were as naughty as all of those Tex Avery cartoons complete with all of those sexual references they still were a whole lot snazzier'n the usual BABY BUNNY IN THE FLOPPY FOREST gaggeroonies that couldn't appeal to anyone over the age of a fetus.  

This comic rendition of the original HUCKLEBERRY HOUND lineup is about as close enough to the originals as I would expect. No cigar though, but then again how could you really translate the animated form into print as anyone whose ever read the comic strip and book adaptations of ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE not to mention HOUND co-star YOGI BEAR can tell ya. (Gotta admit that I really went for the BUGS BUNNY comic strip but that had a life of its own --- always liked the running gag where Sylvester and some bum friend of his would stroll into Bugs' lunch counter if only to scarf the free crackers and ketchup.)

But if yer an eight-year-old Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kid waiting for your own clipping back '59 way I don't think it's gonna offend your sense of suburban slob aesthetics reading these. The stories might not be as slam boffo as the tee-vee cartoons but they ain't gonna let ya look at the POLICE GAZETTE so just settle back with one of these 'n don't ferget to tip the guy!

Well, at these stories do try to somewhat stick to the patented tee-vee form. Just like on tee-vee Huck's profession changes from story to story with him being on the police force on the search for an escaped gorilla in one (I think this might have been copped from an actual animated adventure but don't clobber me if it ain't) to another with him as a private eye combing the northern reaches of Canada for a shaggy prehistoric entity who looks remarkably like the Captain Caveman that Hanna/Barbera would unleash on Saturday AM tee-vee a good fifteen or so years later. That dog just can't keep a job but at least the same kinda yuks that you really went for way back'll come rushing like diarrhea after givin' a few of these halfway decent sagas a spin.

Yogi Bear had yet to graduate to his own series and comic book but he's present here and his stories are about as true to the original thrust as Huck's. Yogi's not as anarchistic here as he was onna tube but I've yet to rip out a page for some timely wiping so I guess he's good enough. The ones with Pixie/Dixie/Jinks also seem true to the animated efforts, but then again how much leeway does one get with these cat 'n meeces efforts anyway? Still far from aggravating and if you were one to spend Sunday PMs reading cheaply-acquired comics such as these after a long day of garage sale and flea market combing well, I'm sure you'll get the same tired, but it's a good tired feeling as you comb through these whilst waiting for your frozen pizza to cook up.

Hey, 's a worthy one to scoop up if yer in the mood for some pre-hippie values and pukka shell drapes comic book reading. And given the quality of  most post-mid-seventies comic book wares who'd blame you if you decided to snatch this outta the paws of some wise and on the ball six-year-old clutching onto one of these things? They're appealing enough and heck, even somewhat timely considering the story where Huck, on the search for a place to live, runs for president (with Yogi as his campaign manager) just so's he could settle down in the White House. And to add some omnidirectional funzies to the thing, just about the entire Hanna-Barbara stable ends up hitting the campaign trail in support to the point where you know that the guy just hadda win since as history has proven he woulda been better'n either Kennedy or Nixon! 

Health note...these Gwandanaland titles are clean and hygienic unlike a lotta the flea market goods I came across way back when, some which looked so atrocious that I hadda shed a tear if a much wanted title looked as if it was used as a feminine napkin. No boogers, food stains or dried baby batter to worry about in these pages so you don't have to wash your hands after reading these like my mother used to make me do (and you should have heard the things she used to tell me in order to keep me from buying old comic books, like what if some colored boy was reading it in the bathroom and picking his nose...I was so naive I had no idea what she was talking about until years later!).

Thursday, May 23, 2024


Shame on Brad Kohler for sending me this book! I mean it!!! Y'see, this personalist diary of one's participation with the ol' Moon Goddess herself Nico during a slew of tours and recording sessions is fine and dandy itself but really, Brad shoulda remembered that I already have this tome for the times albeit under a totally different title. Shows ya just how much the fanabla pays attention to the stuff I write up! You know, it really does get me deep down in the ol' pate de foi gras when a devoted fan and admirer of mine gets things wrong, and in such a gross manner at that t'boot! Sheesh what kinda admirers do I really have, but at least him giving me a book outta the kindness of his heart does make me feel all kinda warm 'n toasty inside. Besides I haven't read this 'un in ages so it's like Brad sent me more'n just a little "hint" to give it another go...

So here it is, old turds in new bowels more or less, and to prove that I'm a man who takes chances I ain't gonna read my old writeup of this in order to compare notes and look smarter than the average blog reader. I might contradict myself and even end up looking like a total idiot (or worse yet rock critic) having said one thing then and another thing now, but that's the price I pay for being the foolhardy gambler (who always loses) that I am and shall remain!

James Young played keyboards in Nico's final group Faction and the saga he tells 'bout the gal just reiterates everything we've known about her to the point where even Kohler gave an apt description of the ice goddess' final years via the "Li'l Minx" comic that appeared in the last issue of my very own crudzine. Yes, everything we've already known about Nico and are still afraid to ask is brought up...Nico the rayciss, Nico the stinkpot, Nico the junkie, Nico the gal who forgets her friends 'n it's all here. It won't get you to chuck your platters but it will reinforce alla those sagas about the Nico's viscousness trying to gouge a black model's eyeball out with a wine glass and other things that I'm sure would upset the more precious petunia types who tune into the blog. But eh, they'll still keep their Nico recs as well I'll bet.

Lotsa special guest appearances in these pages from an equally junked up John Cooper Clarke, Ari the bastard kid who's even more of a mental wreck than mama can be, and former bandmate/producer John Cale whose brain seems to be about as white powdered as Nico's. It is not so strange that, for being collaborator for over two decades at this point, the two seem more or less like a jaundiced married couple with a deep sort of irritation for each others' presence, and come to think of it it's things like this which make the entire sordid and seed saga all the more tasty. 

It ain't the streamlined sixties/seventies decadence that seemed really appealing to us cloistered kids who only got a taste of it via the rock mags, but a better than average encapsulation of what happened once that decadence got way off the rails as the hard-edged seventies slid into the squeaky clean eighties and that whole drugs/pervo scene just wasn't as fun as it used to be. For a good tombstone to the entire deca-Warhol/lower Manhattan era you can't beat this 'un which won't make you wanna mourn for those days'r anything, but it will remind us of what bigtime jerkoffs some of our favorite under-the-counterculture icons could get to be sometimes. And after all of the books, articles and rumors I've come across, boy were there many!

Friday, May 17, 2024


Shee-it. I mean, can anyone even properly define what the meaning, the concept of "cool" is 'n what ain't? Well, I'm sure that even that bespectacled wheezer we all knew in first grade might have had an inkling of what was hep 'n "with it", but to publish a whole BOOK about it may seem about as pointless as teaching my cyster how not to blow her stack at every slight indiscretion of mine. Well, a tome about the essence of true hipsterdom does seem like somewhat of a noble endeavor ('n who knows, perhaps even a one-dimensional being such as I might be able to pick up some tips!), so dig in I must!

I'm sure there has been, is, and will continue to be arguments about the aspects of "cool" for years on end and like, maybe it should be obvious as to what is 'n what is not (like didn't Huey Lewis prove himself and the minions he sang for that they were definitively NOT "cool" when "It's Hip to be Square" rose in the charts???), but after years of seeing such soul-bending and earth-shattering things as whacked out local tee-vee shows and EC comics in the rear view mirror of destiny does it really matter??? Should any of us even care about any sorta concepts of coolness here in the dank dark days of the snoring twenties??? 

As I've said many-a-time, the battle for downright soul-searing nerve-fraying energy and "cool" as defined in a somewhat general fashion was lost a good fortysome years back when the obviously squeaky-clean cutesy-poo aspects of life unfortunately overtook the bared-wire intensity of hard-edged and gnarling look/sound/fashion/attitude. T'was a time when (as noted in a long inactive blog) even Iggy Pop and Lou Reed began putting out snoozeville records so you KNEW that all has been lost.

But as to the brass tacks of cool versus stool, or hip versus flip...I remember a long time ago in the pages of (I believe it was) CREEM when they commended Patti Smith for her "cool" after a typically porcine in looks and behavior Bette Midler threw a drink in her face at some fancy to-do and Smith didn't even bat an eye. If that's an example of hip and with-it behavior I must say that I much prefer the time when a White Power-bedecked John Morton, while at some party Peter Laughner threw at his parents' digs, hadda endure some gal snootily put down the infamous Electric Eel's visual and performance art as total shuck upon whence Morton approached the blabbermouth with a poker face that Buster Keaton would have envied, right before giving her a swift jab to the jaw which threw the gal across the room knocking her out cold. I gotta admit that I like that little demonstration of "hot" as opposed to Smith's chilled attitude, perhaps because I wish I could have done to many a chick what Morton did lo those many years back! So maybe "hot" can be "cool" and vicey-versey and like Barbarino I'm sooooo confused!

Sure glad that Roberto Berlin tipped us all off to this 1982 collection of prim and proper behavior via the Richard Meltzer "X" page (the Prince Pudding himself being a contributor --- I mean, why else would Berlin have brought it up in the first place?) or else I would have undoubtedly ignored the thing for the rest of my born and unnatural days. Funny, but I only have a slight inkling of this book ever having come out way back in the early eighties (definitely the most uncool decade to have existed, at least until the nineties, oughts, teens...) but I have the thing now and well, it sure is swell to have it in my possession which at least proves to some nabobs out there that maybe I never was as L7 as I was brought up to be. However, if I ever find out that those naysayers have owned this read since day uno well, confine me to the playpen for the rest of my born days.

So like this 'un really is a "catalog of cool", and although the whole argument of what is 'n ain't can be shallwesay somewhat "nebulous" I'll gander that the people behind this 'un (such smarter-than-all-of-us types like Gene Sculatti and his cohorts in West Coast rock erudition) sure make a better case as to what's truly "in" and "out" than this certain put-on and absolutely nauseating goody two shoes eighties/nineties-era Youngstown Ohio area FM deejay who told us all to brush our teeth and salute the flag (and gawrsh but the kids did!). Music, books, moom pitchers, munchies, sartorial elegance...it's all discussed here'n if you want to see what the true essence of living a full life without the trammels of socio/corporate straight and narrow was like at least until the eighties threw the o-mind off the tracks this book'll sure come in handy!

There are some pretty spot on opines presented that deliver on the concept of what cool in a break the boundaries form of human behavior is supposed to be vs. what many a deluded soul might say otherwise. Like, 1965-era punk rock Grateful Dead SI, 1975 flop in the mud Grateful Dead a most definite NO!!!!! SOUPY SALES and DRAGNET make the cool list while MTV's a no-er than no, it being more than an accurate example of the eighties cubism that infested seemingly every aspect of down-home ranch house suburban living that really wrecked a whole load of definitely non-sartorial elegance in this here life of ours. 

By now you should realize that I'm speaking about that sphere where hip bop jive music and fancy mixed drinkies can co-exist in the same dimension as those zilch-grade movies and rancid comic books we weren't supposed to view according to our social climbing elders. Things that always seemed to bypass the usual arbiters of consumer pig trough toss out (or maybe not), but otherwise I am SURE GLAD that even the so-called cornballus amongst us, everyone from the gals in the Shaggs to the sniveling C-average suburban slob pudgeball reading his sci fi paperbacks in the shameful privacy of his fart encrusted bedroom, are far more "cooler" than the slender and popular Student Council types and jocks who always seemed to get the hosannas and accolades from their superiors who, as you could guess, were about as "cool" as a fresh and steaming bowel movement.

Pretty boff selection of contributors too given just how much Sculatti was associated with the entire Meltzer/Vom cadre of (once again) "cool" rockscribe visionaries, That would definitely explain the presence of not only "R" on mixed adult beverages but Gregg Turner giving us a pretty PSYCHOTRONIC lowdown on a variety of goresploitation flickage that helped make the backdrop for many a funtime pre-sensitivity session baby boomer adolescence. 'n boy do they dish out the goods on a variety of books, mags, moom pitchers, tee-vee shows etc. that might not exactly fit into various straightjacketed definitions of "cool" but eh, they sure pull the whole thing off a whole loads better'n any traipsing into the world of boffness that has been whipped up by the "press" (legacy or otherwise) since the early eighties. The time that was a portal from down and dirty grit as music/visuals/"altitude" to the world of uptight prissiness of varying degrees and you've heard tape loop mind me bitch about it ever since them dayze so why drag you into it again!

And so this is the feely good book of the year even if the thing clocks in at well over four decades. And a vindication. Y'see, for years I had been tagged by classmates and even the elders who made me what I am today as the most un-hip being to have walked the earth. Undoubtedly this was due to a combination of a horse-blindered upbringing that totally alienated me from everyone I was in contact with to having an obsessive passion for the older and definitely more fun things in life from twenties-vintage comic strips to black and white reruns. And sheesh, do you think that the kids who were hotcha on the Osmonds and ALL IN THE FAMILY (taking Meathead's side no matter what the situation would be) could relate? But reading this effort proves that I wasn't exactly the "herb" that many had made me out to be, and that hey, I really was of a way higher caliber than all of the in-kids (and I was outer'n the outkids if that was possible) what with my own tastes and likings which, according to this book and anyone with a conscious brain, were way hipper'n the hippie relevance shit that was being shoveled at the massholes during my unfortunate days of learning. 

It may be somewhat of a shaggy dog book but eh, this brand of pointlessness makes a whole load more points than anything else that is supposed to have any meaning or relevance to hotcha under-the-counterculture existence, at least in recent memory. A book that should, or to put it more succinctly BETTER, change your undoubtedly cloistered life though I get the feeling that EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU READERS is too high falutin' to take the bait being such homo superiors way ahead of the rest of us Cro-Magnons! Would figure.

Saturday, May 11, 2024


Back in the days (Don Fellman will not allow me to say "back in the day [singular]" since that is appropriating black lingo and he don't abide by it!) when I had a vast want list of goodies but a depression-era wage to depend on, I could only afford one of these Golden Age comic books that Special Edition Reprints had released somewhere 'round 1974. And at three bucks a pop that was a whole lotta kapusta I'll tell ya --- I never had all of the goodies and junk that you rich kids had that's for sure, and because of it I wasn't as --- ahem --- kulturally "up-to-date" the way a wannabe sophisticado teenbo in on the realm of o-mind should be! 

But anyway it really was a hard enough dilemma figuring out what to choose when it came to these reprints, but I eventually settled for the ALL SELECT COMICS one with Captain America, the Human Torch and Submariner laying waste to Berchtesgaden on the cover. And, ol' sentimental fanabla that I am, that very same ALL SELECT is still snuggled in my comic book collection waiting for yet another go through once I make my way past a whole lotta funnies I never even had the chance to look at yet!

I'm sure you get the idea that the two books up for scrutiny today were also high up on the want list, and that ever since I missed the opportunity to get hold of them way back when I've had the burning desire to snatch them up lest my life go unfulfilled. After all, both of 'em sure had a look and feel that would attract any fan of the comic book realm, what with NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR sporting both a Superman and (the original) Sandman story and the YOUNG ALLIES 'un Bucky and Toro (youth identification sidekicks of Captain America and the Torch) fronting a verifiable EAST SIDE KIDS bunch of miscreants fighting the Second World War barehandedly and doing a pretty snazzy job at that. Besides, I read all about the Allies in ALL IN COLOR FOR A DIME and it sure sounded like the kinda comic custom made for any tubboid adlo pre-pubesprout suburban slob who liked a whole load of action and gratuitous pre-Code violence in his stories!

So after all this time I got 'em (for more'n three bucks a pop but I'm richer now) and yes, a hole in my swiss cheese like life has been filled and filled a whole lot more'n had I gotten that young girl vanity I wanted age four because it looked like an electric piano. Given that even at my "advanced age" I need a whole lot more comic book energy and vim in my existence than I have been getting recently these two titles sure help out when the settle back and snuggle up with a good read time comes, and nowadays I could sure a whole lot more of that that I have been getting I'll tell ya!

At a whopping twenny-five cents, the NEW YORK WORLD'S FAIR comic must've busted the piggy banks of more'n a few pauper kids who at least had an excuse because it WAS the depression, but I guess it was worth smashin' ol' Porky in order to get the change for this heavy doody giant sized mag. Sure the innards, like the rest of repros in this series, are in black and white and some might complain about the faintness of the reproduction as well as the overboard text hyping the affair, but the energy and excitement one usually associates with these early comic books is here and that's what counts if you're a Saturday Afternoon Barber Shop kinda kid like I sure wish I was! 

You just can't escape the fair for each and every story features one character or another doing something positive for it or just having a whole buncha fun while being there. Naturally that means that the adventure strip characters like top dog Superman either foil some nasty thievery or perform acts of bravery while the "kiddie characters" (Bob Kane's Gingersnap and Butch the Pup) get into the same patented trouble they would in any other of their appearances! Nothing that dredges up warm 'n toasty Golden Age memories in me but they still had some shard of pre-ranch house-era adolescent appeal to 'em and succeed if only on that level.

And boy is there a whole load of kid-time fun to be found in these pages! Not enough to gag you to death but enough to fill you in on all of the new and out of this world things that were going on at the World's Fair from the Trylon and Perisphere to the interesting foreigners in their native costumes that were roaming about 'n heck, there's even an entire village populated by what Billy Barty used to call "the little people" and if you think anybody would get away with such insensitivity these days you're sadly mistaken!

But as far as being a nice artifact of a time and place that I'm sure still brings happy memories to quite a few nonagenarians out there it sure works out golly ned swell. And at least I get to read a rather good story from the original Sandman, a suited and gas masked chap who in these early sagas was a Batman-esque vigilante (wanted by the police on two continents!) with no special powers or gimmicks other'n the use of a gas gun that knocked evildoers out! Forget the Jack Kirby rendition which was a vain attempt to keep the character in circulation...the original's the real deal meal!

Over at Timely the Young Allies were, along with the proto-Avengers All Winners Squad, fighting the war so fast and so efficiently you wonder why they even bothered having armies.  Now, just like Jules Feiffer once wrote (prolly the only thing I agree on with the guy) I think that kid sidekicks are useless which is why Bucky and Toro (basically a Human Torch Junior) on their own leading up a casting call of forties kid stereotypes (the tough Irish mug, the fatso, the brainy one with glasses and the scared of ghosts black kid) sure works better'n those jerks do alongside their adult wards. And in case you were too stupid to know, these Timely tales really knew how to pack the punch at a superfast pace...if you think that the Marvel Age of Comics that came out a good two decades later was a totally birthed from the mind of a mid-aged Stan Lee the action and twisto changeo plots these tales exude will have you believin' different!

'n sheesh, the way these kids work wonders with the barest of necessities makes MacGyver look like a piker! On the search for an equally young British agent (a dignified beyond belief monocle'd chap) who was captured by the bad boys and valiantly struggling not to reveal the "secret code", the Young Allies trick the Germans at every stop even making their way into Der Fadderland where they actually get patted on the heads by none other'n Adolf himself for looking so Aryan-like! Even more ingenious is the part where Bucky disguises himself as arch enemy the Red Skull by painting an actual human skull (brainy kid Jefferson Worthington Sandervilt just happened to have a watercolor set on him) and slipping it right atop his own dome! Well, if I have to suspend belief/reality watching everything from the news to my favorite old timey television shows why not some comic aimed at kids who pretty much were apt to believe anything that was being tossed in front of their eyes.

If some of you more "pious" types really want to enjoy this you're going to have to suspend a whole WHOLE lot especially given this particular portion of the saga where, in order to raise some desperately needed money to get back home, the Allies put on a show for a crowd of exceedingly backwards Russian peasantry who look as if they'd be marveled by the invention of the wheel.  Along with Bucky and Toro doing some typical superhero pyrotechnics the aforementioned token black kid, "Whitewash Jones", gets his chance entertaining the locals as "Growlo the Ape Man"! Now if that bit of comic book history should make the rounds you could just imagine all of the rather "interesting" comments to be made on some of the message boards that I just happen to chance upon.

If you're one of the precious petunia types who becomes outrage at the mere hint of a "dog whistle" or "red flag" THE YOUNG ALLIES will offend you even more'n I ever could hope to. However, if you really want to be insulted you should read one of those (fairly --- 2009) recent Young Allies re-dos that were done up for whatever if left of the type of crowd who might still have some positive tinglings regarding the Golden Age of extreme comic book mayhem. Yup, the whole kit 'n kaboodle's been "updated" in these World War II sagas and perhaps for the worse given the overboard gotta be up to date and pay retribution for the past revision. Whitewash isn't the slant-skulled slo-mo with Hindenburg-sized lips anymore but now looks just about as prim and proper as Sidney Poitier visiting the white in-laws. It's as bad as when Chop Chop from BLACKHAWK went from a short pudgy bucktoothed Chinese sidekick to a normal looking full time member of the group which didn't seem as much a cast of the DC line being progressive as it was of them being condescending. Sheesh, they even had the chubby kid do some reducin' as well although I think they kept the Irish one as Gorceyesque as possible, or at least I hope they did if only to retain some semblance of gritty forties comic book aesthetics. Personally I think Marvel should have just let these characters alone because once you get down to the bared wire meaning of it all, it does seem more dignified.

Wednesday, May 01, 2024


Maybe or maybe not, but some of you just might be surprised to hear that for a whole longer time that you could imagine I wasn't exactly what you would call a rabid loather of Steely Dan. Shee-it but I even kinda liked 'em, perhaps in a passing "oh, they're good" sorta way but I liked 'em nonetheless. I'm even brave enough to 'fess up that I lent plenty of ear to "Do It Again" and "Reeling in the Years" back when they were incessantly being spun on the radio, but then again that was during my non-discerning pre-pubesprout days when I seemed to like just about everything that I heard on the radio. Didn't hone the aesthetics nodes until much much later.

Weird 'nuff, but stuck in my usually sieve-like mind's their appearance (with Donald Fagan strumming the strings of his piano post-performance) on AMERICAN BANDSTAND back when Dick Clark revealed to us that their moniker came from "a device" that was found in a novel by William Burroughs. Or did he say Henry Miller? Gotta check on that but it wasn't until sometime later, around the days of AJA when you just couldn't escape "Deacon Blue" (a song I enjoyed at first before my better senses took hold of me) that the Dan were seen more as one of those progenitors of that oxymoronic term they now call "lite rock" or even more accurately "yacht rock". Sheesh, but even an outta-the-loop kid such as I wouldn't've believed that it would ever come to this group producing chi-chi wine and brie music back when they were starting out and the kids used to gab about the durty pictures to be found on the cover of CAN'T BUY A THRILL (y'know, the prostitutes and the nekked gal, and of course that shirtless guy whose lower excited half was fortunately edited out).

Well they did seem somewhat gnarly at first. Take a gander at their early promo pix (one of 'em directly below) which makes 'em out to look like some rough and tumble decadent white blues band, one almost on par with those other scruffy white blues bands that proliferated in the seventies (15-60-75 even!). And a lotta people whose opines I respect actually like these guys so maybe I should be giving 'em another honest appraisal, me being generous and considerate of everyone's tastes like I'm sure you already know.

But as someone like myself who has reviewed albums by merely looking at the covers and getting grief for a load of inaccuracies, looks can be deceiving and in no way were Steely Dan quite the grubboid local greasy haired bunch doing the wafrican-american (a nicer way of saying "wigger") game so common with the usual worn leather types of the past. Once you got down to the plain and horrid truth the team of Donald Fagan and Walter Becker were nothing but late-sixties snoot collegiate kids on that drug 'n cooze trip so typical of the upper class pampered menial of a snob youth, and we all know what kinda music them kinda brats used to go for before the advent of amerindie rock, eh?

No big surprise that I find MAJOR DUDES about as exciting as the vast majority of the music that the group produced. Edited by Barney Hoskyns (a scribe that I never had any beef over although I must admit I'm not all that familiar with his works), this anthology of interviews/articles/record reviews covers the Fagan/Becker Danglomerate that was ultimately so flatliner in the realm of music in general that it was no wonder these guys became rock critic faves. It collects a smattering of features, reviews and interviews from o'er the years and well, if you think I would have snatched this 'un up if Charles Shaar Murray and Jonh Ingham weren't included than you're way way off target even more'n you usually are regarding my own tastes, opinions and goals.

An interesting fact about this book is that, although this was by and for Steely Dan freaks both Murray and Ingham's contributions are what one would call less than favorable. That's one good thing (at least for this anti-snob rock maven) about MAJOR DUDES --- Hoskyns wasn't afraid to slip a little negativity into the mix but that still doesn't stop the onslaught of perhaps somewhat overboard platitudes that are to be found therein. Not that it's anything that would be uninteresting let alone downright upsetting, but if you want to read a passel of interviews with the usually detached (and at times boring) Fagan/Becker team and wade through the same kind of rock writing you've been trying to avoid your entire life then I'd tell you to spend your shekels on the newest Gwandanaland collection for a way more satisfying back brain rubdown.

Much of the time the scribes who appear are just as boring as their subject. I mean, I have nothing personal against MELODY MAKER's Chris Welch, a guy who beefed that paper up with his emphasis on progressive rock which, fortunately for them found a certain niche in the minds of the 70s record buying public, but that doesn't mean that I have to enjoy what he has written here. Actually his entry's one of the better articles to show up in MAJOR DUDES, but despite that I'd guess you'd hafta be a really diehard fan of this act to really get down to brass tacks enjoying those tales of Bard College and the hard life as staff writers at ABC/Dunhill records.

BUT ONCE YOU DIG DEEP INTO THE CORE OF IT ALL...despite the Burroughs ref, eye catching album cover art and Cathy Berberian namedrop, Steely Dan were ultimately just Ivy League decadents who chose the highfalutin' path to musical fun and big bux martinis and munchies jamz while, for the most part, pianist Fagan got his notoriety with some rather yawnsville Ray Charles impressions that only make the entire white guy doing the black groove thing stink even more to high heaven. Maybe an appraisal of those earlier efforts which did house some singles that sounded good in the early-seventies mix of AM hitting its stride would be in order, so who knows what the future holds in store regarding an eval of CAN'T BUY A THRILL or even its next few followups. After all, if Russell Desmond can name his fanzine after it maybe I can ooze some snide decadent early-seventies fun 'n jamz outta the things.