Saturday, March 24, 2018

Hokay, here's another column. Nothing much to ponder about anyone with two stem cells to rub together can tell this is nothing more'n just a bunch of mental dribbles that I decided to put together to express my love of music that's rattled inside me ever since I was a mere turdler, if not even before. That's all. And hey, in no way is this or any of my writings gonna change the world for the better. In fact, I doubt that a vast majority of the inhabitants of this planet would care one whit about the sounds I'm expressing such deep devotion to. But at least you guys are here which proves one thing that all of the experts and shot callers will never attest to. And that is that you have some pretty hotcha tastes in sound and for that I salute ya (I think)!!!!
POLITICAL CORNER: my personal opinion regarding President Trump's signing the new budget...boy did he step in it this time! Maybe it's part of some strange endgame rouse he's cooking up but frankly after keeping us all in suspense first saying he would veto it then changing his mind all I gotta say is that he's coming off more like Gerald Ford than he does Andrew Jackson. Not as funny as Ford true, but if he keeps this up he's prob'ly gonna be remembered by his base in pretty much the same way! Too bad because like, who else is there who can really change the gears of the world---other'n maybe Pat Buchanan but he had his chance! And I don't think that Rand Paul 2020 is gonna happen either not that I think that is gonna be any magic cure-all we all so desperately NEED these sad and sorry time!
THINGS FOUND WHILE LOOKING FOR OTHER THINGS DEPT.: mostly loads of pertinent CLE-related gunch, that's what! Read on and see for yourself just what kind of boffo surprises I came across that you most likely will be eternally grateful to me for showing you thus enriching your otherwise drab existences!

First off, here's a tidbit from SCENE regarding the final Rocket From The Tombs shows. Big trouble with this one is that they got the month wrong.

Right across from that particular plug was a short piece on original Rocket bassist and future country and western comedian Charlie Wiener.

In fact, here's an ad for an early solo Wiener performance at Loose!, which I believe was the former Clockwork Orange.

And howzbout this one for THE BIG NIGHT!!!!

Wonder what this concoction was like? Actually, I'd be afraid to ask!!!

A pre-Rocket-era review from Crocus.

And another good one!

And in closing, howzbout these rare Great Bow Wah Death Band snaps taken a month before the creation of Rocket From The Tombs???

Now  please don't go 'round sayin' I don't do anything good for you!
ITEMS LISTENED TO (BUT NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSED) THIS WEEK-WE'RE THE BANANA SPLITS (Decca), Deep Purple-FIREBALL (Harvest), Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band-UNCONDITIONALLY GUARANTEED (Virgin), Hawkwind-ASTOUNDING SOUNDS, AMAZING MUSIC (Charisma), Velvet Underground-CHELSEA GIRLS SOUNDTRACK one-sided bootleg LP, Can KOLN RADIO tape, and really not much else.
Anyway, here's the latest batch of recorded mayhem, all but the first one being donations from the likes of Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and NOBODY ELSE!!!! Yeah, you might think these are slim pickins but I'll bet your mother that one word of schpiel from me beats the entire collection of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY music criticisms ever since the creation of that infamous pooty wiper oh so long ago. Beg to differ?

Frank Lowe-OUT LOUD 2-LP set (Triple Point Records)

It's expensive true ($94 plus postage!) but I wasn't buying ANYTHING ELSE this month, not even bare necessities like Ny Quil or baby aspirin so like, maybe I could splurge whatever I had left on a double-LP set like this and forget any other trivialities at least until the next paycheck, eh?

But was it worth the grandiose amount of moolah I dumped for it?

Well, that might be something I can best answer in twenny years time when I'll really be poor and wasted, but for now I gotta say that this effort seems pretty much the kind of hardcore energy that I was expecting from it and well worth the buckskins spent. So yeah, I think I made a smart move getting hold of this one even if it means starvation for the next X or so weeks.

This previously-unreleased 1974 sesh features Lowe, his sand-blasted tenor and various "small instruments" backed by a pretty copasetic group including Joseph Bowie on trombone, Steve Reid on drums and William Parker on bass. And this quartet soar like nothing since BLACK BEINGS or better yet the infamous EXCHANGE with Rashied Ali (who engineered this 'un) and like, if you thought Lowe was strata on those (as well as next year's FRESH) he sure puts up a mighty wail on these four sides.

I mean, can you stand it? I barely could myself what with Lowe firmly in the post-sixties bag now conjuring up solid shards of atonal madness that might have seemed "unbrotherly" even a good three years earlier. The band is wired and that tension sure can bounce from instrument to instrument as the quartet performs (with Ahmed Abdullah appears on trumpet on the Studio Rivbea live side) some of the more scathing sounds in jazz heard throughout the already tensed over seventies. Really, the energy levels provided here are above and beyond the call of whatever it was in jazz Chick Corea said he was offering us peons when he went all twinky twirly.

Solid gatefold cover with a nice booklet's a good investment, for your own jazz being as well as for when you're ancient and wanna sell the thing at a grande profit. Not that you would...will this 'un to me, willya?
Big Star-COLUMBIA CD-r burn (originally on Zoo Records)

Another remnant of that brief Big Star reunion back in the early-nineties, this one featuring all of their famous numbers the group made themselves known to a few aficionados with as well as a few nice surprises that I'm sure brought out the early-seventies fandom in more than a few old turds out there. Y'know, it's too bad that these guys got stuck on a small label like Ardent who really couldn't give 'em the grand push they most certainly needed, but at least we have this fine act to stash into our collection next to other outta-nowhere bright hopes of the day who unfortunately floundered about while Paul McCartney was trying to fool everyone that Wings were the new Beatles. Y'know, acts like the Sidewinders, Jump, Hackamore Brick and Zuno Keisatsu. Look for the expanded edition if you dare.
Muddy Waters-AT NEWPORT CD-r burn (originally on Chess Records)

As you know I'm not much of a straight-on blues booster, perhaps because I don't have enough hair to let it be long and greasy plus I don't even own a leather jacket or tattered jeans for that matter. But man, I gotta say that listening to the likes of Waters as well as many of the original wave of blooze chooze does help sooth the savage boobies around these parts. Anywah, here's a boffo slab of none other than Muddy Waters live at the Newport Folk Festival in 1960 (or was it the Jazz one?) rolling through his classics as well as a few lesser knowns and for not being a full-fledged fan of the form all I gotta say is...this sure's got most of the eighties/nineties "new music" that I hadda sweat my way through beat all hollow!
Mind Express-WHAT'S HAPPENING CD-r burn (originally on Dot Records)

If you like exploito psychedelic records created by folk who got their lysergic knowledge through repeated viewings of DRAGNET, boy will you go for this! Everything from "Theme From Exodus" and Mussorgsky to "A Night on Bald Mountain" done up on a Hammond B-3 and Roger Williams-esque piano trills with all of the appropriate sound effects thrown in for that proper bohemian mood. It sure would have made waves with your typical David Susskind audience member. 's funny, but although this platter was aimed at the typical father and mother of us suburban slob types way back when you KNOW they woulda thought of it as nothing more than that disgusting and smelly hippie music no matter how much it was gussied up to their particular musical parameters of taste!
The Moderates-FETISHES EP CD-r burn

Here's an early-eighties Liverpool group that sounds nothing like the Teardrop Explodes. In fact they sound like nothing of what you thought the Liverpool groups of the late-seventies onward were supposed to sound like. These Moderates in fact kinda come off rooted in mid-sixties British pop moves filtered through early-seventies decadence all tumbled up into that big heap of compost known as alternative music. But they're intelligent and quite conscious of their pop moves enough to make this rather pleasant and not just another art project. Lyrics have a certain sexual charge to 'em and the performance is clean yet still obnoxious enough to pry the average underground rock fan of his precious pences with male/female tradeoff vocals dominating the proceedings. Not bad like a whole bunch of the new unto gnu wave (copyright 1982 Bill Shute) could get at the time.
Various Artists-NOWHERE MEN VOLUME 4 CD-r burn (originally on LCD Records)

Like with the mid-sixties Amerigan local band phenomenon, there have been countless collections of rare English hard pop rockers that never did accrue the the attention that all of the big names in the biz were getting left and right. Here's but one volume of one of these efforts, and it's a fairly good sampling of some of the under-the-bubbling that was going on over there a good fiftysome years back. Some familiar names pop up, but for the most part this 'un's total obscuro and for a buncha nobodies these guys sure put out some pretty good efforts that, while not exactly earth-shattering, sure make for a better time than Crosby Stills and Gnash ever did. As an added bonus this set ends with a number of recordings by the Crying Shames, produced by Joe Meek no less, who really do some hot numbers including a Dylan cop that really must have rankled the strictly anti-mop top Meek to no end!
Various Artists-CLASS OF '66 CD-r burn (originally on Wanted Records)

Given alla the down and out woe is me teenage thumpers that appear on CLASS OF '66, ya kinda wonder why the entire adolescent population of the United States and possessions for that matter weren't undergoing daily doses of Paxil like I sure think they shoulda. Well at least these bozos were able to transform their depression into some hotcha recordings that expressed their sorry state in life, and for the most part the resultant singles they managed to inflict upon their home rooms reflect well upon their abilities to communicate utter woe. These tracks are mostly done up by the usual one-shot flopabouts we all like but a few familiar names pop into the selection such as Rochester New York's Young Tyrants and Tony and the Tigers of Soupy Sales' very own kids fame! Sheesh, what did they have to get all bummed out about with such a rich and famous (and funny) dad as he???
Pete Rugolo-PERCUSSION AT WORK CD-r burn (originally on Mercury/Wing Records)

Former Stan Kenton sideman (and LEAVE IT TO BEAVER music director during its final season) Rugolo does snat with this heavy duty percussion record. Naw, this ain't anything like "Ionization" or any of those Imaginary Landcape things but boffo home hi-fi-styled jazzy workouts that (like I always say) really woulda been a fave of that stereo nut kinda guy you knew when you were growing up. Ya know, the guy who looked like Dennis the Menace's dad and had a den with one of those ultra-expensive set ups he'd never let you go near. For a taste of an old, and much BETTER time, slap this on the ol' Victrola and kick up your feet while the kids are fighting over whether to watch YOGI BEAR or SUPERCAR in the next room.
Billy Larkin and the Delegates featuring Clifford Scott-BLUE LIGHTS CD-r burn (originally on Aura Records)

Soul jazz instrumentals that might do a certain thingie for you but I frankly find this more of the same old. Of course it's better than anything being promulgated on the radio and tee-vee during these sad 'n sorry times, but for the most part I find myself yearning for the strains of Nurse With Wound for some strange reason. Probably would have made for a fine flea market find during the summer of 1979, a time which copped me more than my fair share of platters and at depression-era wages as well!
Various Artists-WATERMELON SELFISH PITTMAN BALL CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

This 'un's got some goodies from Mae "Betty Boop" Questel's rendition of "The Codfish Ball" (made famous by endless reruns of old Shirley Temple mooms) to a touching father's day number courtesy Groucho Marx (his "Funniest Song in the World" sure ain't tho...) not to mention this crazed a-Capella comedy number from the Julius Monk Revue regarding Con Ed that comes off real late-sixties/early-seventies New Yawk to these ears. There's also an abundance of jazzy soul stuff from Johny Lewis to Della Reese that helps perk up the ear canals a bit. Personal faves include Jerry Colonna's rendition of "Ebb Tide" not to mention these three tracks from a typing instruction record which has you peck out the pertinent keys to a twenties-era instrumental! Maybe I should take the course just so's I can get these posts out a whole lot quicker'n I am doing now!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Now that I'm in a howshallwesay "advanced" state of years I figured that I just must tell all of you, must put it on record before my mind goes completely blooey and tell you that, after years and years of Golden Age comic book reading and other assorted funzies the Quality line of comics produced thee BESTEST comic books to make their way to the twirling racks of anystore USA or elsewhere for that matter. Yeah DC had its moments but they could get rather staid, Timely was too cluttered-looking and besides sometimes their good guys were so squeaky you just couldn't help rooting for the enemy, and MLJ amongst others just didn't have the same verve and drive I'm looking for in a comic book adventure. But Quality, boy were they good at putting out mags brimming fulla boffo heroes, twisted adventures and sometimes a good yuk or ten thrown in amidst the wild carnage that was taking place.

Sure some of their titles featured heroes that just weren't up to snuff, but when it came to those masked guys sporting forties suits and wide-brimmed chapeaus like the Spirit or Midnight they were definitely on top of the comic book heap! And as far as weird heroes go Quality had the monopoly on 'em from the ever-stretching Plastic Man to the Human Bomb whose mere touch could send any badski straight to YOU-KNOW-WHERE!!! And as far as plots and so outta the loop strange storylines go well, forget the competition. And no, they didn't even have to stoop to sheer sensationalism like making so-and-so a Muslim or everybody's favorite hero gay. It was all done with sheer genius from the cranium that, judging from what I have seen in comic books, has been in in pretty short supply since the mid-seventies (though some may beg to differ).

Anyway, the fine folk at Golden Age Reprints have done us a neat favor by printing up two Quality Comics collections (known as what else but volume 1 and volume 2) which are available with the mere click of a key if you go to the highlighted links. Yeah, they are pricey at sixty bucks a pop but I got a whole lot of enjoyment outta 'em and I'm sure you would too burying yourself in one of these thick books during one of those winter cold snaps we've been having. And believe-you-me, these Golden Age sagas featuring action and real thrills probably beat all those billion buck superhero movies that have been comin' out over the past few decades, not that I've actually had the gall to go see any...

Granted...not all of the stories or characters come up to Will Eisner or Jack Cole levels. In fact, some of the leading characters in the non-superhero sagas are so bland that even you will kinda hope that the Nazi officer garrotes them at the most appropriate time. Sheesh, sometimes I wish there was some Golden Age character who was a total heel---y'know, bombed orphanages and sunk lifeboats if only to break the squeaky clean monotony of it all! But then again most of these stories are top notch Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kid entertainment that really packs a good wallop and, like Bill Shute repeatedly says, really paid off for the kiddo who plunked down a whole dime for an issue way back when money was hard to come by for those depression-era wage kids who hadda scrimp and save. Or, as my dad said, these really paid off for FREE if you knew a kid whose father owned a corner store and let you keep all those comic books with the titles ripped off the top of the covers and stashed 'em away up in the attic for years until mom finally threw 'em all out!

Come to think of it a few of even the superhero series presented just didn't grab me by the fibula like I thought they should. OK, I did like that one story where "The Red Bee" goes up against a crooked political boss but sheesh, the hero's gimmick, releasing a red bee that terrorizes his adversaries straight from his belt buckle, just didn't seem pow/slam as it should. Maybe this was because I first got (and devoured) this book during the summer when a buncha yellowjackets had invaded the bathroom exhaust system and were swooping in en masse causing a few painful stings to my person that I had an aversion to this particular title.

Other titles actually improved over time, like The Black Condor whose schtick was being able to fly and of course put up a good fight. The Condor learned his schtick after being orphaned and stranded in India where he was raised by actual birds who somehow taught him how to fly which makes me glad he wasn't trained by dung beetles. Earlier episodes are comic book wowee enough true, but it isn't until he makes his way to Ameriga where he takes the place of his exact double, a US senator who was murdered by evil political rivals, that the series kicks into high. Not only does the Condor suddenly gain political power galore, but he even has a fiancee who doesn't realize that her hubby-to-be ain't really the guy who is her truly intended. Oh well, I'm sure the truth will come out once she gets the fake senator into the sack again and notices that maybe the similarities do end as far as masculinity goes and BOY WILL THERE BE FIREWORKS GALORE!!!!!

But still, there's plenty to pour through here from some pretty great art (Paul Gustavson of "The Jester" and "The Ray" [who has the GAYEST superhero costume ever created!] fame being one of the better of the batch) to some previously unknown to me heroes and stories you'll love pouring through when you get into one of those suburban slob ranch house moods I always seem to be in. It ain't complete, but it's a grand introduction to what else was being done at Quality back during those days when the entire industry seemed to just explode all over the mindscape of anykid USA givin' a whole batch of bored pennyscrapers yet another reason to live!

Oh yeah, if you can latch onto it try to find the by-now ancient issue of Eclipse Comics' MR. MYSTIC title. Perhaps the most ignored Quality title Mystic only appeared in the same newspaper comic book section as THE SPIRIT and LADY LUCK, although while their "Comic Book Section" adventures got reprinted in the legitimate comic titles (POLICE COMICS and SMASH COMICS respectively) MYSTIC did not meet the same fate. Too bad because it was a boffo comic that, while not as gripping as THE SPIRIT or PLASTIC MAN, still had great artwork and stories that didn't make your mind wander. Gotta say that although MR. MYSTIC was great in that middle-eastern occultish sorta way, the series really didn't kick in until the appearance of  the mysterious "Shadowman" who, while seemingly cut from the same SPIRIT/MIDNIGHT/MOUTHPIECE suited and wide-brimmed hat mold, could have been both a hero and villain depending on the exact situation. A few of these Mystics featuring Shadowman pop up in the Quality books but since these particular reprints are more/less outta sequence (with no Shadowman origin in the batch) we modern types are definitely gettin' the mushroom treatment when it comes to this particular being who I think coulda carried his own title with relative ease. Oh well, I hope Golden Age Reprints remedies this obvious gaffe in yet another edition!

TWO OR SO MONTHS AFTER WRITING THE ABOVE SCHPIEL UPDATE! Just couldn't resist buying up even more of these Quality reprints and as I'm sure you would know right off the bat I don't regret my financial actions one single iota! I mean, rather my money go to these true comic book fans than to the giant megaoctopussian DC conglomerate who have more buckskins in their maws than they know what to do with. Not only that but these titles are presented as they were (in 1945) and ARE (in their advanced state of decay) which gives one the feeling that they're picking up an authentic piece of history instead of something that was re-tooled and re-colored and re-edited for modern-day fru fru tastes.

The SPIRIT sagas do well even without an in the army now Will Eisner's artwork and story crafting abilities (which I know have been rightly praised over the years but sheesh, at some point we've GOTTA draw the line between funtime entertainment and highbrow uppercrust art appreciation worthy of an Art Spiegelman tome!) and come to think of it the rest of these comic book inserts ain't that bad as well. The last of the MR. MYSTICs appear here and show a quite different character than the original man o' mystery, he now totin' around this weird sidekick with blank Li'l Orphan Annie eyes in sagas that just pale next to the original high-wired comics that started out the series.

Judging from these final frolics I guess it was clear that MYSTIC was on the way out because the guy was eventually replaced by a new series called INTELLECTUAL AMOS which dealt with this weird large-domed and misshapen bald boy in overalls who is smarter than his years would belie and hangs around with a weird dragon that talks with a lisp (lisping sidekicks must have been the big to-do then given the one that appeared in the BEYOND MARS newspaper strip). I guess the thing would have its "charm" if you're some rapidly aging school marm type but I found these a trifling too cute and downright boring for my own digestive tract. But since they blow a whole load of the competition outta the water even in this advanced state I'll give the kid his just dues.

At least the FLATFOOT BURNS comics that replaced it do have a tad of the Quality snide humor qualities that were prevalent in the likes of THE SPIRIT and PLASTIC MAN even if the artwork might seem aimed at the more youthful amongst the comic book reading set. Even the opening pages of these has the patented Quality style with the innovative mastheads and title character's name spread across the page matching in with an urban sprawl or plastered on a billboard. And come to think of it the stories are kinda funny, sorta watered down versions of the standard Quality fashion for kids who just ain't ready for the real deal yet I guess---but I get the idea that in a short span of time they will be!

Of course (at least for me) the real deal surprise of these inserts were the LADY LUCK comics, this being a title I instinctively thought would fall closer to the less engaging Quality titles than they would the SPIRIT/PLASTIC MAN axis. Hey, these LADY LUCK stories are actually well-crafted enough (again complete with those innovative opening page graphics starin' right at-cha, not to mention the keen insertion of proto-MAD styled humor mixed in with the action) to the point where I wonder why creator Klaus Nordling hasn't been hailed by the art snobs in the same fashion Eisner and Cole have lo these many years. Not that I'd want to see him befall such a fate...hope nobody gets any ideas from this post I'll betcha!

Lady Luck is a femme fighting figure who dresses in green, wears an equally green if translucent veil to hide her identity (which naturally doesn't really hide much though given some of the dunces she's surrounded with does she even have to try?) and engages in fun if at times grisly adventures that remind me of some of those earlier Plastic Man stories which teetered between hard-edged adventure and downright humor. Lady Luck is in reality bored and gorgeous heiress Brenda Banks, and when she ain't living the high life she's out busting up the local mob with either her chauffeur Peecolo or her diminutive "boyfriend" Count Di Change in tow. Both of 'em tend to be somewhat dimwitted in light of the brainy Lady Luck which only goes to show you armchair feminists who might happen to be reading this that strong women can be nice and soft and cuddly 'stead of garlic odored clam-digging overgrown adolescent 12-year-old boys all of you "dames" most certainly are!

I mean really, I never even fell in love with a comic book character (tho Yoko Tsuno might come very close, especially that time she went swimming wearing a skimpy bikini!) such as this! Such grace and style and hotcha art (with even some nice swimwear and underwear scenes tossed in perhaps because artist Nordling was concerned that the 12-year-old boys of the day just weren't getting enough glandular encouragement) coupled with the at-times over-the-top stories made LADY LUCK a comic that I can read again and again. Imagine if Hillary Brooke was a costumed crime-fighter and you'll get an idea of just how this 'un resonates even seventysome years down the line.

The four pages devoted to LADY LUCK in these inserts just ain't enough to really develop a good and solid story true, so thankfully the gal appeared in her own title where her exploits could more or less stretch out into something as developed as her firm figure. These magazines allow for more room to build on plots and general tension, and not only that but the Count is even given his own story just like they used to do with Woozy Winks in the PLASTIC MAN titles. A real deal as far as suburban slob fun and jamz go if you ask me, and why not?

To close this 'un how howzbout one more Quality comic, this one reprinted courtesy Gawandaland comics who do a pretty good job in the reprint department themselves. And what makes this 'un so special is that it was yet another creation of Jack Cole, whose work on PLASTIC MAN and MIDNIGHT ranks as some of my fave rave Golden Age comic stories so you know it can't be as bad as I'm probably gonna make it all out. Anyway ANGLES O'DAY is yet another serio-comedy, this time featuring a low-budget, no-account-ish private investigator who seems to be loathed by just about everyone at Po Po's Pool Hall 'cept for this short, unshaven and scurvy-ish character named Shagmore whose hat and hair always seem to be covering his eyes a la Beetle Bailey. O'Day is, as you would expect from a continuing semi-serious private eye comic such as this, getting in trouble with the usual heavy-duty gangsters or revenge-seeking relatives, and although these comics can get rather intense (like the one where O'Day is held down under a spinning drill which is about to bore his chest) there is a strong comedic undercurrent that reduces a whole lotta the pressure you'll be under if you happen to be one who really gets into whatever you're reading. And let me be one to say that Cole's comics (even the early comedy toss offs) are worth your while even as far as casual Saturday afternoon comic book reading time goes. Really, and when you wrap your mind around the infamous "Murder, Morphine and Me" saga which Fredric Wertham made plenty of hay outta just try telling me that comic books ain't nuttin' but kiddie stuff, you phony intellectual snob you!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


When the wave of Italian-made Peplum films were being marketed in the US in the 60’s and into the early 70’s, they were aimed to some extent at a juvenile audience, or in a broader sense at a family audience. In fact, those of you who frequent junk stores or flea markets can still find for a dollar or so old VHS tapes and public domain DVD’s of Peplum films that had a Christian element in the plot (persecuted Christians, etc.) and were marketed at the evangelical American “family” market. I’ve seen copies of THE OLD TESTAMENT with Brad Harris, PONTIUS PILATE with John Drew Barrymore (as Judas, of course), and maybe 7 or 8 others aimed at that audience, spilling out of the budget bins along with cheesy Bible-related documentary videos. Another element that connected with the juvenile/family audience was the “storybook” aspect. Some historical films featured violence, brutality, sexual intrigue, political elements, and the like, which would engage the adult audience, but some tended to have a kind of generic storybook feel, as if some children’s fairytale/adventure book came alive on the screen, with larger than life hero characters who were non-threatening, bad guys who were cartoonish, female characters who could be the princess in a fairy tale, etc. These kind of Peplum films were perfect for Saturday or Sunday afternoon TV showings, for 16mm showings at churches or public libraries, for Saturday or Sunday children’s matinees, etc. You would not find, say, a historical adventure starring Cameron Mitchell as some tortured military leader facing complex adult Shakespearean personal crises in these settings; you WOULD find something like the Steve Reeves version of THE THIEF OR BAGDAD or MORGAN THE PIRATE, or the Tab Hunter vehicle THE GOLDEN ARROW, or the film under review today, VENGEANCE OF URSUS, starring Canadian bodybuilder/actor SAMSON BURKE.

Of course, Burke would have already had juvenile fans in the US by the time this film played TV in the mid-60s, because after VENGEANCE OF URSUS, he starred in THE THREE STOOGES MEET HERCULES. When Stooges producer (and Moe’s son-in-law) Norman Maurer decided to cast Burke in the Stooges film, one wonders if URSUS was the film he screened to make that decision. There would have been a lot of North American bodybuilder-actors available to play that role in the Stooges film, but Burke was an amazing physical specimen AND someone who had a commanding presence…..AND someone who came across as warm and kind. A three-year-old (and I’ve got a grandson who is three going on four, so I can attest to this STILL being true!) could look up to Samson Burke and admire his strength but at the same time expect that Mr. Burke might give him a hug or a glass of chocolate milk when the scene was over. Not everyone has that quality—Samson Burke does, at least in this film and the Stooges film. You get the sense that if he would corner a villain, he would not crush him to death or put a spear through him—he’d pick him up, as if picking up a can of soda, set him down, and give him a Mister Rogers style lecture about being a good person and thinking about others’ feelings. Ursus even has a juvenile sidekick here—his little brother to whom he is a kind father-figure—so it’s got the same juvenile “viewpoint character” for the young audience members you’d find in many serials and adventure TV shows aimed at children.

For those of us who are children-at-heart and not literally children (EDITOR'S NOTE---I am a fetus at heart!), the film has a lot more to offer than just being warm and family-friendly. Director Luigi Capuano has an impressive filmography in the historical adventure genre, and I’ve seen and enjoyed at least a dozen of his films, including TERROR OF THE RED MASK with Lex Barker, ZORRO IN THE COURT OF SPAIN (aka THE MASKED CONQUEROR) with George Ardisson, THE EXECUTIONER OF VENICE with Guy Madison, and TWO films with the great Gordon Scott: ZORRO AND THE THREE MUSKETEERS and the phenomenal LION OF ST. MARK. Capuano always manages to use existing scenery in fresh ways, to photograph landscapes to make them look full of grandeur, to keep the films moving, and to get the best out of his lead actors. He seems to sense their strongest or most distinctive qualities, and to direct them and film them in order to highlight those qualities. He clearly “gets” what Samson Burke has to offer and tailors the film to that. So it’s both an impressive looking film, especially in a sparkling widescreen print, and the actors look impressive and are impressively filmed and blocked.

We’ve also got two of the best villain actors in the Peplum genre here. GIANNI RIZZO (the stocky man pictured) is always wonderful in Nero-like roles, where he is foppish, petulant, and greedy (his picture should be next to the word “sniveling” in the dictionary), while LIVIO LORENZON  is always convincing in a brutal role. Long before I knew the names of the supporting actors in Peplum films, when I would watch them on a small black and white TV on a UHF station as a child, I knew these men by sight. With their unique presence and their commanding acting styles, you could dub them into any language, and they would still communicate quite clearly.

The copy of the film I have on DVD-R is what’s called a “fan dub.” In this case, someone has taken a beautiful Italian letterboxed version of the film and edited English dialogue from an American 16mm TV print into it. Most of the time, this works smoothly. On some occasions, though (I’ve read where the Alpha Video and the Sinister Cinema versions of the film both are choppy and with a lot of small splices/cuts….and also that the Alpha copy is horrible visually and not worth even a dollar or two), where there are a few words missing in English due to splices in the American print, the film awkwardly cuts back into Italian in mid-sentence, and then back to English again….and you can hear the lines “punched in” with differing background sounds. Fortunately, that happens most in the first five minutes and then it’s over (and you’ve gotten used to it). There is a bit of untranslated Italian, but it’s clear from context what’s happening. These few quibbles are worth it to get such an impressive widescreen copy, though.

This film also has nothing to do with the previous Italian URSUS film starring Ed Fury, or with any other Ursus film which came after. In some territories (Germany, for instance) it was dubbed as a Hercules film. You can see the film for free (as of this writing) on You Tube. Just look for the version that’s in widescreen and has the PEPLUM TV logo on it. If your inner 8 year old is crying out for a dubbed sword and sandal epic on some rainy Sunday afternoon, VENGEANCE OF URSUS is what you’ve been looking for.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Well, happy St. Patrick's Day to youse and yourse, this being a day that really isn't turning out too hot for me ever since I woke up about three in the morning to turn the crock pot with the corned beef and cabbage on then, after waking up for good much later, discovered that the outlet I plugged the pot into wasn't working one bit! Well, I guess we'll have to wait until midnight to get to our vittles but eh, them's the breaks. Well, I still am keeping in tradition with this ever-popular day since I'm turning GREEN thanks to the extra-powerful laxative I took yesterday which seems to not wanna stop working, which was another reason I was up half the night with a case of the dam about to break right into my shorts unless I got to the nearest forest preserve outpost and like pronto! Yes, sometimes the expected nudge does turn into a grand PUSH, ifyaknowaddamean... Fortunately no skiddage has occurred meaning that I didn't have to throw my undies into the wash and wear 'em out even more than they are. Gotta be extra-thrifty these days lest I miss out on the next boffo recording to make its way to Forced Exposure Mailorder.
SO WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING THESE PAST SEVEN OR SO EARTHSPINS ANYWAY... Well, for one thing I've been trying to have THE TIME OF MY LIFE, but then again I'm always trying to do that. Lessee what else??? Howzbout goin' on line and trying to download every decent looking seventies-era rock 'n roll fanzine I can find posted, that's what! As you all know, the quality of fan-oriented/gonzo rock screeding was at such a HIGH back in those so-called "halcyon" times, or at least compared with the garbage one finds in print or on the web these days, that even the cheapest "crudzine" of them dayze seemed to have so much more energy, excitement and va-VOOM packed into it than most of the mewls one comes across in print or on-line in the here and now. And man do I mean it...even my own scuzz falls short in comparison and I am ashamed if I do say so myself!

Anyhoo I've been strolling through Tumbir and various blogs looking for old fanzines and I am glad to say that I've found quite a few good 'un's including the first issue of SIDEBURNS (later the long-running STRANGLED) and UP + COMING, a nice low-fi crankout dedicated to the idea that punk rock was just as much Lew Lewis and the Darts as it was the Jam and Eddie and the Hot Rods (there's even a plug for Charles Gillett's country, rockabilly and blues radio program in these pages!). I even managed to print up a copy of AWAY FROM THE NUMBERS, Brian BAM BALAAM Hogg's "new wave" fanzine which lasted about the span of a flea just like most of these early and proud efforts. Pretty good reading which really does make for a welcome change from the sterile, academic and positively dour opinions that one has found in the everyday hypesheet copying rock critic-ing world for the past fortysome years.
NANCY bondage pic, dedicated to Don Fellman.
I HATE TO BREAK THE BAD NEWS TO YOU, but in my capacity as the town crier for the suburban slob stuck in the electronic age set I feel it's my doody to let you know that, for all intent purposes the infamous and BTC-approved comic strip NANCY IS NO MORE!!! Not that the thing really has been anything hotcha since the demise of creator Ernie Bushmiller back '82 way (or at least since the days when his health began catching up to him in the late-seventies), but from now on United Features or whatever name the syndicate is now using will be sending old strips to your local newspaper in the same manner that PEANUTS, HENRY, ARCHIE, THE KRAUTSARESCRAMMIN KIDS and other long-gone faves have been recycled for a much longer time than any of us can imagine. In many ways this might be akin to you hearing that Aunt Margaret who's been hooked up to machines for the past thirty years has finally passed on, but still it does bring upon a certain PANG (and I don't mean May) seeing that the suburban slob past that I've been so desperately trying to cling to for ages is once again falling apart rapidly before my clouded up eyeballs. That's something I just don't NEED to in these edgier than thou times I'll tell ya, but alas it is all too true.
R.I.P. TO ELEKTRAH LOEBEL,  the early Falling Spikes/pre-Velvet Underground member who passed on last year but I just found out. Also one to Stephen Hawking though in this case how could they tell??? Oh yeah, his nurse probably discovered that his diaper hadn't been soiled in the last three weeks. (I know, I should talk given my own gaseous eruptions these past twennysome hours!!!)
RECORDINGS OF NOTE (AND NOT) THAT I SPUN THIS WEEK INCLUDE---THE NIGHT GALLERY (Various Artists, Alchemy Records Japan) which proves that the Japanese were always good at imitating Western Accomplishment (in this case the Velvet Underground) though in this case they manage to rise above the myth that their emulation is hollow copy and come up with some of the better Velvets cops in sound and feeling heard since at least the late-seventies, WOODY'S TRUCK STOP (who cares if the only reason they're remembered is because Todd Rundgren was a member for a short spell!), Bile Svetlo-DELNICI BILEHO SVETLA, otherwise known as STRICTLY PERSONAL, PRAGUE-STYLE, THE ROCKETS (the White Whale guys who "evolved" into Crazy Horse), Throbbing Gristle-THE SECOND ANNUAL REPORT (surprisingly calming to my weary and battered senses...and along with the NIGHT GALLERY people above more of my idea of what the spawn of the Velvet Underground shoulda sounded like instead of...I dunno, REM???), Lord Buckley-A MOST IMMACULATELY HIP ARISTOCRAT (I should hate it considering the people out there who like Buckley, but...) and Ornette Coleman's DANCING IN YOUR HEAD (harmelodic funk jazz that set the stage for some really interesting early-eighties efforts that came from sidemen Ronald Shannon Jackson and Bern Nix). Sheesh, I guess my week does beat your minute, or something like that (duh!).

NOW will you consider me the complete man with tastes more impeccable than thou???
Ernesto Diaz-Infante-THE LOVERS ESCAPE/LOS AMANTES ESCAPAN CD-r (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Odd strains of nylon guitar plucks, strums and chords, seemingly played in a random fashion without any rhyme or reason I can find. Actually the resultant sounds are quite nerve-soothing, sorta in the same way herbal dolts throughout the eighties slipped on the once-infamous Windham Hill label after a hard day at the commune. In fact I feel like slipping into a coma right about now... Definitely nothing that your typical Michael Hedges fan would want to cozy up with but hey, we're not exactly the kind of people who would even think of spinning that guy's musical moosh in the first place, comprende?
Dead Moon-LIVE AT SATYRICON CD-r burn (originally on Voodoo Doughnut Records)

Yeah there was a lotta dross goin' around in the underground rock world of the eighties and nineties, but sometimes I forget that there was a lotta high-energy, upper-echelon music to contend with as well. Dead Moon were definitely part of the latter batch and this live album (in front of a rather unappreciative audience---t'would figure) is just more proof of the group's utter superiority in a world of "classic" rock and the worst aspects of mind-numbed teendom being pandered to. Dead Moon sound punk rock in the purest fashion possible while they even hit the heavy metal realm if you're game to the classic CREEM definition of the term. In other words, Andy Secher, go take a shit! Your head needs emptying just so's some REAL KNOWLEDGE about the music you claim to champion can enter into the rather sparse cranial capacity. A classic slice of rock 'n roll as tension by an act that never did get the kind of attention or accolades they most certainly deserved. As if they ever would.
Ornette Coleman-ORNETTE AT 12/CRISIS CD-r burn (originally on Impulse Records)

I'm only posting this review in the here and now 'stead of in my year end roundup of "more familiar" albums that I've played throughout the past 365 if only to prove to Bob Forward that I AM NOT AN INGRATE AND YES I DO LISTEN TO THE BURNT CD-R'S THE MAN SENDS ME!!!!! Mr. F, I do hope this proves to you that I'm pure of heart even if I'm still working on the Hy Maya platters (maybe I better get an actual hard copy of this one for pure listening enjoyment, and for the much-needed liner notes as well). Anyway both of these late-sixties efforts are whatcha'd call top notch and pretty much in the standard Coleman catalog of flat out free splurt, and there are some rather exhilarating moments to contend with as well (especially on CRISIS closer "Trouble in the East" where Don Cherry's Indian flute pretty much takes over the entire tensed up shebang!). Heck, I'll even give a pass to noted communist Charlie Haden's "Song For Che" even if the subject at hand was a psychopath who used to shoot children and cave people's heads in with shovels (they only like him because he looked dashing with that long hair 'n all...if he looked like ME do you think anyone would be wearing t-shirts with his picture on it???).
K. O. BOSSY CD-r burn (originally on Toya Records)

Are they trying to be the Band or Little Feat? Can't tell right offhand, but despite their early-seventies nauseating hippoid look I will admit that there are a few fairly nice poppers here. Y'know, stuff that, had it appeared alongside some totally crazed hard-edged rockers woulda made this a top notch flea market find of yore. Otherwise this comes off like more Boone's Farm Apple Wine guzzlin' music for the folk sittin' around on the front porch at the commune trying to absorb the meaning of somethingorother, usually while under the influence of somethingorother come to think of it. may like it.
Frank Sinatra-SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT CD-r burn (originally on O'Reilly Rools Records)

For a change of pace, here's that "older generation" star who could teach the hippoids a two or thing as far as decadent behavior goes. Obviously some sorta bootleg featuring the gloppier of Sinatra's recorded output, this li'l spinner sure does have most everything recorded after say, 1985, beat all hollow. However, why is it when I listen to Sinatra's booming baritone on these definitive "suckem squeezers" I have the urge to beat someone up, or slash some rare painting in a total rage, or have a bacon and eggs breakfast using some bare-chested young lass for a blue plate special that eventually turns red? Ya got me bub.

Who woulda known that Dayton Ohio could be such an exciting place! Well, judging from these acts who popped up on the local Alco record label the burgh really did have its share of high-energy rockin' and rollin' back in them mid-sixties days. Sonny Flaherty and his Young Americans go total British Invasion scream (at least filtered through mid-Amerigan sensibilities) on a rather radical version of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" while Tom and the Tempests are goin' into overdrive with their double header "It's Over Now"/"Play It Cool". The Jaguars are almost hitting the same strata (but kinda dip a bit) on their "Wonder Why"/"The Metropolitan" sides (the flip is a rather straight ahead instrumental that's well...not up to the usual BTC standards but wha' th' hey?) and as for Private Eddie Lloyd and his post-Elvis "Walk It Off" all I gotta say is...NO MORE LATRINE DUTY FOR YOU!!!!!
Tony Joe White-THE TRAIN I'M ON CD-r burn (originally on Warner Brothers Records)

Remember Tony Joe White? He's the guy who hit big with "Polk Salad Annie" and the blacks bought his record up thinking he was of the same complexion only to find out he was white thus dropping him like a hot potato! Don't worry Tony Joe, the same thing happened to Frankie Laine!

But eh, this is a better than you woulda thought platter with some of that Deep South hoodoo music coupled with the usual slow schmoozers and an overall gruffness, thanks to White's growl-y vocalese no doubt. If you liked the swamp styled soul of "Polk Salad" you'll probably enjoy the variety of tunes to be found on this 1972 offering. Just don't let the occasional strings slip you into a diabetic coma.

Another "Virtual Thrift Store" item (which I guess is better than a "Virtue Signalling" one) to cherish and behold. Other'n an interesting r 'n b single I know nada about this disque contains a whole slew of not only radio ads but some spot announcements by Gary Owens from LAUGH IN that I gotta admit were funnier than the actual show itself! The ads, mostly for gas stations and beer, really do bring back those late-sixties/early-seventies days before the energy crisis when your local Esso or Gulf seemed like such a fun place to fill 'er up, while the ads for Miller and other adult imbibibations recall those days of youth when I (and many others I would guess) just couldn't wait to grow up and try some of that stuff thinking it was like super soda pop 'r something along those lines! And remember the look on our faces when we finally tried some? Well at least Hoppin' Gator was a good place to start! Oh yeah, and there's an ad where Gary Puckett and the Union Gap endorse Pepsa Cola which only reminds me that Coke might have cost more, but at least they didn't have Gary Puckett pluggin' 'em!
IN CLOSING, here's a picture I copped off NICHOLAS STIX UNCENSORED that I thought was so funny it deserved additional circulation. I guess there is hope for the suburban slobs of this world of ours if our chillun can think up somethin' like this. Makes me feel good in the bread basket, y'know?

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Let me take a brief break from the comics and moom pitchers for at least this week just so's I can concentrate my mental synapses on this li'l beauty. Considering that I never was whatcha'd call a fan of fiction or books without pretty pictures to look at for that matter this post is indeed a rare occurrence and who knows, perhaps it is the seeds of a new, more dignified and intellectual BLOG TO COMM we can all look forward to and cherish as the years slug on. Y'know, a blog that is less concerned with the more "trivial" affairs of my personal music/art/funzies background, concentrating on the better, more pure aspects of humankind leading us all on that brave path towards a world where we can all frolic hand-in-hand while gazing in adoration at marble statues of Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Sheesh, I'm starting to make myself sick.

Well, this title doesn't lie for SCIENCE FICTION FOR PEOPLE WHO HATE SCIENCE FICTION sure is a good selection of short stories taken straight from those infamous and stack of ten for a dollar magazines of yore, all crammed into a nice and cheap (at least back then) paperback that you can polish off in a few days if you so wish. Not only that but all the big names inna game are here as well as a few I and perhaps you won't be familiar with but that's cool. After all, I look upon those lesser beings in the SF world as being the Seeds and Sonics to the Beatles and Stones of Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury and although they're all so cool and hip and all but sheesh, I gotta say that I ultimately prefer the Seeds and Sonics and like, maybe you will like the bubbling unders just as much as I do.

Some of this material may be familiar to you such as Clarke's "The Star", a piddling piece of thinly-disguised humanist angst that was later re-written for that new TWILIGHT ZONE series I tried to fool myself into liking oh so long ago. Bradbury fares much better with "A Sound of Thunder" which once again deals with how one insignificant act in the past (kinda/sorta discussed in last week's KID ETERNITY review) could upset the entire course of the future which makes me wonder if had someone say, not farted at a certain time a few thousand or so years back a domino effect of a much different variety resulting in a vastly alien to what we know destiny would have occurred. I mean, say if that fart had happened at a slightly different time who knows, maybe Dave Lang wouldn't have been born at all which would have set our civilization on a much healthier course!

Even the lesser-knowns here put out a few good 'un's including H.C. Gold's "The Man With English" dealing with sensory patch crossovers the kind that would become more common with the advent of LSD 025 a good ten-plus years after this saga was written. Edmond Hamilton's "What's It Like Out There?" relays the tale of a meteor-shocked astronaut returning from a Mars mission having seen and done a whole load of particularly hellish things that one could hardly call romantic. And believe it or don't but these tales hold up especially for a guy like me whose head is stuck in the pre-hippie era of fun and jamz, with only the William Shiras tale entitled "In Hiding" "lazing out" as Patrick Amory would so lovingly put it. Oh it starts out rather enticingly and all, but this tale of post-Atomic Age mutation just reeks of the whole X-Men-styled persecution hype that seemed to (and still does!) run rampant amongst our more "enlightened" brethren of a bleed-heart variety. If you'll only substitute "mutant" for whatever choice cause protected class warms the cockles of your heart you might get an idea of where this tale eventually ends up at. Maybe I'm making it sound worse than it really is (I mean, it ain't BAD as in horrific), but nowadays when I see my betters making excuses for the evil behavior of others who just happen to be "different" you know my bullshit detector's clicking way more than a Geiger Counter in Hiroshima ever could.

Actually the only reason I bought this book was because of the inclusion of Robert Heinlein's "The Year of the Jackpot" which is a tale that, although originally published in 1952, really seems to sum up the sicker than sick state of affairs that seems to be permeating Everywhere USA if not the world these sad 'n sorry days. The opening scene tells it a bus stop in downtown El Lay some gorgeous young gal all of a sudden starts taking her clothes off. She's straight down to beaver when a cop comes over and starts hassling her to get dressed while a transvestite couple (women dressed as man and vice versa) in turn start giving the cop a hard time at which point the gendarme gives up and hands that now raincoated femme over to a mid-aged statistician named Potiphar Breen. It seems that loony things like public nudity, transvestism and overall abnormal behavior are beginning to coalesce at a rather accelerating pace and the math-minded logarithmic-studying behavior-arc watching sunspot-counting Breen has come to the conclusion that all of this outlandishness will tally up into the biggest jackpot of all, mainly the ultimate cash-in-the-chips of all eternity that people have been predicting for ages but now seems so inevitable....

Now if I was a ten-year-old kid reading this you can bet I'd be hiding under the bed right now, but given all of the doomsday drivel that has been pushed at me ever since I was a mere tyke I can take it all in stride. But sheesh, seeing some of the weirdities that are going on as I type this out sometimes I just wonder...

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

COMIC BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! DANGER #16 (Super Comics, 1964 available via Golden Age Reprints)

During my junior high/senior high years, I lived right behind the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, so as a 14 year old, I was able to earn pocket money there doing odd jobs such as working in horse stables, cleaning up after midget car races, putting up or taking down temporary fences, etc., but my first REAL job was as a 15 year old (you could work at age 15 in Colorado) at the Burger King on West Colfax, near the western edge of Lakewood and the unincorporated parts of the county. I lived a few miles west of there in Golden. My high school, Golden High School, had what was called a “modular schedule,” meaning it was like a college schedule, where you would take one class two days a week for ninety minutes, another class three days a week for fifty minutes, etc. The end result was that I had to attend high school only two and a half days a week, and I also actually got school credit for working at Burger King. Thus I was able to open the store myself (they did not serve breakfast back in those days….we opened at 10:30 a.m…so I would show up at about 7:30 a.m. to “open”) a few days a week and had a key and would handle the bread deliveries, etc., before the alcoholic manager (who was a great guy!) came in around 9.

The daytime crew consisted of a mix of people—high school students such as myself, along with people who’d dropped out of high school and worked full time to pay for their Firebird or Camaro, and some older people in their late 20’s or 30’s, who were re-entering the job market or who just preferred a low-stress, relatively easy job. Yes, it was demanding during rush hours, but it took no thought and you could do it in your sleep. Back then (this policy was changed decades ago, unfortunately), you could also get ANYTHING on the menu free if you worked at least a four-hour shift, and that would include a double-meat Whopper, large fries, a shake, etc. If you worked an eight-hour shift, you could get a full meal during your break and then a smaller sandwich later, so some of these folks, myself included, would have TWO meals a day at Burger King and really would not have to buy much food at home. Although I was probably the youngest person there, I found myself becoming friendly with and chatting with the older employees more than my fellow high school students. They were far more interesting and had far more life experience—I could actually learn something from them, and since some of the other teenagers kind of looked down on them for having to work at Burger King as an adult, they appreciated the fact that I appreciated them.

I especially remember two of the ladies who worked there….both probably in their early-to-mid 30’s…quite well. One was named Della, freckled and with dark red hair, and I hit it off with her immediately when within the first two days of my meeting her she casually dropped the name Bo Diddley in conversation. Turns out she must have owned a dozen Bo albums, and she was also a blues fan. Life is SO much more enjoyable when you are working alongside someone who knows who Billy Boy Arnold is, who knows what is meant by “an Elmore James riff,” and who can compare Roy Buchanan albums at length and quote the monologue from “The Messiah Will Come Again” (from Roy’s first Polydor album) from memory with just the right pauses and inflections. As I remember, she was also heavily into the films of Terence Hill and Bud Spencer. Not only had she seen each of the Trinity films multiple times, she’d also seen films they’d done separately, when they’d hit a local drive-in or show up on late night TV. I can’t tell you how much that impressed me! She had a great sense of humor about everything and was always the voice of calm and reason during a heavy lunch rush or when things started to fall apart. She had two children who were at elementary school while she worked lunches, and her husband had a good job as a master electrician or plumber or whatever, so she worked more to get out of the house than for the money.

The other lady I remember was named Diana. While Della worked in the kitchen alongside the rest of us guys, Diana worked the counter, so I never really got the chance to chat with her while working much, except when the store was empty in the early afternoon after lunch and before people got off work, and of course on our breaks. Because she was working the front counter and with customers, and also because she was the kind of person who paid attention to her appearance, she did wear make-up to work, did her hair, etc. She was a blonde and teased her hair out to make it thicker and fuller, and she had her hair in the style of what the female lead in a 1967 Elvis movie would have had. This being 1974-75, that was a bit out of date, but she worked it well. She also drove a lime-green 1968 Ford Mustang, which impressed me. As I remember, she had a soft Southern accent and might have been from Tennessee or some state along the Mason-Dixon line. She had the kind of generous legs and thighs you’d see in a Robert Crumb artwork and usually wore relatively sheer white stretch-pants with her Burger King uniform top. When she went out into the restaurant to take out the trash or stock the napkin-holder, the male customers surely noticed her.

I would often chat with her over lunch breaks, and because I was not someone who would ever potentially be hitting on her or wanting to date her, she was quite open with me. She was certainly a person of discretion, though, and a very classy individual, with the kind of inner resolve that comes from a poor background. She had a daughter in junior high, and she was supporting them solely through the Burger King job. She worked hard every day, sought extra hours when she could get them, and was really a pro. I admire people who take their job seriously and try to represent well the company that pays them. They shared a small apartment, and she actually slept on a fold-out bed in the living room, with her daughter getting the bedroom. She had a lot of life experience, and I learned a lot about dysfunctional families and divorce and child custody and that sort of thing from her. She’d also been a cocktail waitress at some sleazy lounge over on East Colfax, and that had been her job prior to Burger King. Sometimes I could tell that she wanted to be alone during her break—she was considered haughty by some of the employees, so they would avoid her—and of course some days we did not work at the same time, so on those days I’d often bring a comic book to read over my lunch break or my second break were I working a long shift. I also noticed that on some days she would sit with an older customer, maybe in his late 60s or early 70s. He would come during down-times when we weren’t crowded, so he could linger at the counter and chat with her. I also noticed that he would come around the time of her post-lunch break, so after he’d ordered his food and eaten it, she’d come out on break, and she’d allow him to come sit with her.

I’d be sitting across the dining room, also on my break, stuffing my face with my free double-meat and double-cheese Whopper, and reading some cheap comic book I got used for next to nothing. A comic book is a comic book—who cares if it’s new or three years old? I certainly did not. And making just over the minimum wage, I certainly did not want to waste much of that precious money on full-priced comics that I’d read once and then toss into a box in the basement, to be re-discovered five years later and re-read. Something like DANGER #16 was exactly what satisfied me then (as it does now, 40 years later)—a random assemblage of older comics from fly-by-night publishers, thrown together for the low-end of the comics market by Israel Waldman’s I.W. Comics/Super Comics, which we discussed last year in a few reviews here (I reviewed Danger #15 in the 6 December 2016 entry here at BTC). Super Comics was the comics equivalent of a budget label. Old product no one cared about was re-purposed to fill books to sell at cut-rate prices in multi-packs at low-end stores in poor neighborhoods or to be moved through the murky used-periodical marketplace. Before the internet and the amazing websites such as the Grand Comics Database, I had no idea what old comics were being foisted off upon me in something like DANGER. Yes, the stuff looked old, but publishers such as Charlton re-used old material too, so I didn’t really know or care as long as it wasn’t something I’d read within the last year. This particular issue has a mind-bending combination of failed super-heroes (Yankee Girl), funny animal stories, crime stories, and a group of patriotic adolescents who right wrongs against our nation called the “Young Americans,” another failed concept from the past which no doubt dated back to the post-World War II era.

Something as cheap and random as DANGER somehow was the perfect complement to my life as I would glance over at Diana and the older man and see her brushing her hand against him. At first, I thought it might have been her father or her uncle or something, but no uncle would look at his niece the way he did, and while I’ve hugged relatives before, I never did caress them, the way she did him.

I knew not to ask who he was, whenever we’d chat. I did notice, though, that on some occasions he’d slip her something in a small envelope or wrapped in a folded piece of paper, and on other occasions, she’d give him a small bag with something in it. They’d meet maybe once a week, and this went on for maybe six months. It clearly wasn’t a drug transaction.

Near the end of that period, during the down time after lunch and before dinner, I’d been called out one day to the dining room area to clean up after someone who’d vomited all over the floor (he or she should have known better than to order one of our YUMBOS, the microwaved ham-and-cheese sandwiches BK was pushing at that time), and I had to go right past the booth where the two of them were sitting. He did not see me coming as I approached from his rear, and when I got near the table I saw him slip her, inside a folded piece of paper, what must have been three or four twenty-dollar bills. She saw me observe this, established eye contact with me, and I moved on, looking forward and acting oblivious. I cleaned up the mess, washed up, and went back to work. That afternoon, after she finished her shift, she came back to the walk-in freezer, where I was pulling frozen meat to thaw for the dinner shift, and where she knew we’d be private, walked over to me, and said in a very straightforward and business-like manner, “he’s widowed…he’s lonely…no one is being hurt…I have a child to feed and clothe and house on this cheap-ass salary….it’s just like getting a tip.” She smiled, turned around, departed, and left me to my work in the walk-in.

Obviously, this was never mentioned again, and I really don’t know why she felt the need to inform me….because it actually raised more questions than it answered.

She eventually moved on to another job that paid more….in an insurance office, as I remember. We remained friendly at work, but I always kept away when she’d meet the older man. Some weeks after Diana left, I mentioned the older man to Della, in between her conversations about Bo Diddley or Bud Spencer or different lineups of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Evidently, Diana had told Della, woman to woman, what was going on, and then Della told me. The older man would tip Diana $20 or 30 to sit with him for 5 or 10 minutes and she’d touch his hand once or twice and rub her leg against his. Then once a month or so, she’d give him a pair or two of soiled panties in a bag, and he’d give her $60 or $70 for that. They never met outside of Burger King, and she never even told him her real last name.

One morning around that period, some strident Libertarian who waited at the same bus stop where I waited, pontificated about how “every area of your life, including your personal life, is a marketplace.” He was probably right.

No one was hurt. They both got what they wanted and needed. Like Super Comics product and like life, it was tacky, random, and temporarily satisfying as long as you didn’t think about it too much. And then you moved on.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Hey readers, do you really wanna know what the weather is like out here in the Tri-State area? Do you in any wayshapeform care about some unbeknownst to you detail from my life, or what I think about a certain person or my opinions on everything from tariffs to gun control? Of course you do, I mean why else would you wanna tune into this blog anyway other'n to live vicariously through my various beliefs and antics?

But I won't do any blabbing along those lines. Well, at least not this week because I'd rather get right to the matter at hand, mainly music. And goodness gracious if you can believe it I actually got to listen to a nice juicy hunk of good stuff this week as the following writeups will most certainly attest to, and not only do I have to thank myself for latching on to some of these items but I must the likes of Bill Shute and Paul McGarry for their various platters that swung by my way. I'd thank Bob Forward as well only I didn't get to any of his this time. Well not exactly...I will 'fess up to the fact that I did spin part of the Hy Maya effort but eh, I gotta admit that I didn't think that much of it because it was a tad too electronic bedroom music-y for my tastes! But, being the total coward so self-conscious and concerned with what other people think about me and my opinions kinda guy that I am, I will listen to and re-listen to it until I actually break down and LIKE the thang! I mean, what other way can I keep my standing as one of the few true blue thinking man's kinda geniuses there are left in the world today?
As far as my personal fave pre-beddy bye spins go, this week's snoozer-time award goes the platter that is really throwing my lobes for a loop just HASTA be the 13th Floor Elevators' HEADSTONE effort that came out on the International Artists/Charly label quite a few years back. In a field which has included some hefty "mind-expanding" (hee!) competition this 'un's the hands-down fave around these parts and for more'n OBVIOUS reasons if I do say so myself. I always need to get a good dose of the Elevators into my system when things are down and bloozey, and this particular package (containing the entire Contact Records sessions plus live rarities of varying sound quality) really does fill the bill when it comes to getting some much-needed psychedelic resensification around here. Sheesh, given just how great these tracks are I guess I better do some digging and try to unearth more Elevator rarities lest I meet up with the same fate that befell all of those people who wanted to see Roky Erickson and company nailed to the wall for their lysergic excursions ifyaknowaddamean. Or as the late Don Waller once so succinctly put it, "Reality is for people who can't face drugs"!!!
Some good news on the tee-vee front...the cable (yech...but what choice do I got?) "Insp" network is running the early hour-long GUNSMOKE episodes on Saturday nights which is at least one good reason to keep me off the streets and out of trouble! After being inundated with the later-on color episodes which really don't strike at the heart of the matter (the matter being high-energy intense television) these early-sixties GUNSMOKEs really do pack a whole lotta the classic tee-vee energy that seemed to seep away once the boffo earlier portion of that decade began to seep into a banality it took quite awhile to crawl out of. Caught a good one last week with none other than Uncle Joe/Billy himself Edgar Buchanan as a bank robber who saves the life of a young Matt Dillon then uses the favor a good two decades later to his own thievin' advantage.

Chester seems to have been AWOL by this time (perhaps Dennis Weaver was already getting reading for his KENTUCKY JONES fiasco?) but at least Burt Reynolds as Quint the half-Indian blacksmith adds a cool dimension to these what with half the cast wanting to see him hung because of his racial mix! Well at least Festus ain't around in these...never really could cozy up to his BO Plenty-inspired sidekick self nohow!
Like I said above, a good selection of booty here. Read 'em and weep---that you didn't think of getting hold of these spinners before I told you to!

The Trashmen-BIRD CALL---THE TWIN CITY STOMP OF THE TRASHMEN Four-CD box set (Sundazed Records)

If dreams ever came true this one would have to be one of the better ones in my life. Yes, the COMPLETE collected works of everything the Trashmen ever released (and not!) can now be obtained in a nice little package complete with the obligatory booklet and a whole lot more music than what most Trashmen poo-pooers ever thought the group had in 'em. Don't wanna rattle yer chains with a fifty-paragraph paen to these wondrous track like I tended to do during my less-restrained days, but let me just say that you all know the beauty of "Surfin' Bird" and just how much it not only signaled the end of 1958-1963 instro-garage madness but helped create the mid-sixties warp-rock style we still cherish even after a good half-century. Any self-respecting BLOG TO COMM fan BETTER have these in his collection lest he hurt my precious feelings. And it is all gutsy he-man rock 'n roll that doesn't let up one bit...let's just say that the Trashmen are not for TRANS-MEN and you better believe it!
MASI ASAKAWA CD (Honest John's Records, available via FORCED EXPOSURE)

Japanese torch singer type from the sixties (and after) whose vocalese ranges from jazzy to straight pop. Reminds me of something you'd hear in a foreign film, or perhaps even the Osaka Holiday Inn where a bunch of drunk German tourists call out for some of those old beer hall putsch singalongs since the Japanese are honorary Aryans after all. Mostly dreary but it does have a few snatches of brilliance like an imitation Coltrane ending to one song and an Indian drone thing which sounds even stranger with Japanese voices singing along. "Onna" is particularly haunting. If you get to hear these fine, but I don't know if it warrants buying an entire album.
Jean Jacques Perrey-PRELUDE AU SOMMEIL LP (Fantome Phonographique France, available via Forced Exposure)

I'm always on the lookout for these early "avant garde" composer types who might have been crushed under the thunder of the bigger names in the biz, and from what I can make out Perrey was one guy who probably got crushed a little more than many of his compatriots ever did. This '58 recording features him playing these sweet and emotion-packed tones on an Ondioline in an attempt to create music that was to help one slip into the arms of Morpheus as they used to say. Overall the sounds are relaxing with these gentle chord changes that result in a music that at one time sounds like a typical 1962 kid trying to play "Apache" on his toy chord organ and at others a soundtrack to an old silent movie horror film. Almost as ambient as that stock music they used for sound on the OLD MOVIES, THE GOLDEN ERA program that channel 25 used to run back in the mid-seventies. An interesting peek at the genesis of things that were to come (and come all over the place at that) once the late-sixties got into musical minimalist gear.
The Kinks-THE GREAT LOST KINKS ALBUM CD-r burn (originally on Neue Revue Records---a bootleg I believe)

For being one of those "older kid" groups that seemed so high falutin' and brainy when I was growin' up I find myself listening to the Kinks a whole lot more now than I did way back when Ray Davies was giving Mike Douglas a hard time on his famous afternoon tee-vee show of yore. Hot collection of very-early to last days of the Pye-era Kinks, and oddly enough this only features a fraction of that infamous Kinks tossout of the same title that was cluttering up the cut out bins of the mid-seventies. But still this has a whole lotta fun and charm to it as well as a few goodies I forgot about via other Kinks Kompendiums such as the beautifully bad taste "When I Turn Out The Living Room Light", a song that would have had Davies drawn and quartered had it only come out in today's over-sensitive and downright watch-what-you-say clime.
Various Artists-SYDE TRYPS SEVEN CD-r burn (originally on Tenth Planet Records)

Not exactly mid-sixties garage band---more or less late-sixties punk rock the kind that snuck its way onto the original NUGGETS thus upsetting all you PURISTS out there. All English and all psychedellically snat too given that these recordings by such acts as the Brain and Those Fadin' Colours never did get any real push and sank like a post-peanut butter turd in the toilet bowl of rock 'n roll. Kinda wish I knew more about these groups but I get the feeling that all these and more will be lionized and hosannaed to all heck in a hundred years while the mass of remaining rock 'n roll scholars will undoubtedly be muttering "Jimi Who???"

The Troggs-AU CD-r burn (originally on New Rose Records, France)

Sheesh, I wonder just how many of these albums of re-recorded hits and other rare faves were released by the Troggs throughout their career! This '89 effort was but one, and frankly I must tell you that it's a pretty wonderful affair. Sure the thing opens up with a cover of the Bacharach/David number "There's Always Something There to Remind Me" (which became a nausea-inducing hit thanks to Naked Eyes back in the eighties) but then again, as Bill Shute might say, Reg Presley could sing the phone book and make it sound great! The new tracks like "The Disco Kid Versus Sid Chicane" rank as top-notch Troggers while the synthed-up re-dos are pretty snazzy even if they (expectedly) don't quite measure up to the originals. These guys never let you down, so don't do the same and pick this 'un up wherever you can find it!
The Creation-PSYCHEDELIC ROSE CD-r burn (originally on Cherry Red Records, England)

Awwww sheesh, why did the Creation reunion have to be this sappy? These tracks, originally recorded for ELO's Jet Records, contain all of the worst (as if there were any good) elements of eighties pop with none of the original Creation flash and verve to be found even on the remake of their claim to fame "Making Time". A total disappointment from a group I thought would have been able to transcend the sick trappings of the eighties and flash us all back to those biff bang pow times that a few of us sure missed in our moderne day music, Unfortunately I was wrong again...sheeesh!
Various Artists-ON THE BUMMER SIDE OF THE STREET CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

These disque do serve a special purpose in my life and I just ain't talkin' 'bout hearin' new to mine ears music'r anything like that either! These Bill burns usually transport me back to those good ol' turdler and/or suburban slob days just like a trip to the flea market in the seventies or eighties could, or better yet a trip down to my aunt's basement when I was a kid when I would snoop around and, after noticing that a whole buncha glassware was wrapped in mid-fifties vintage newspaper, unwrap the papers if only to read those classic old comic strips. And I actually saved one of the wrinkled papers which, years later, ended up as clip art in some of those later BLACK TO COMMs that I hope you need to fill up your collection because I NEED TO SELL 'EM!!!!!

Anyway, this is a nice oleo of various clutter that hits me sorta as if my entire life was flashing before my eyes but it was only the good, goof off kid stuff that I got to see. Of course Bill had to start off with a downer garage band thingie done up by some guys who probably thought that the guitars and drums were the key to getting good gash but discovered otherwise. I did enjoy Ron Thompson's jangly instrumental "Switchblade" and some of the r&b crankouts (especially John Patton's "Chitlins Con Carne" which is so strange I must give it some sorta BLOG TO COMM award for unintended mystical importance) while the Rod Keith "song poem" was enough to bring out at least a chuckle. Heck, the Death Killers' "Homer Simpson" was a great expression of post-turdler tee-vee trauma via rock 'n roll (no kiddin'!) and if the singer, guitarist and toy keyboard player are more than five-years-old I'll eat their Banana Wackies!

A surprise for sure Bill, but as far as Bernie Roberts w/ Blondie goes...well, were you thinkin' the same sorta Blondie that """"I"""" was? Guess not.