Saturday, June 24, 2017

I dunno how you have been occupying yourselves as of late (nor do I care), but I'm still going through boxes of old fanzines, letters, flyers and whatnot deciding which flotsam I should keep and which jetsam I should throw out. I'm having fun doing this even though (once again) those memories of former friends who back-stabbed me to advance their own personal status creep up every time I come across an old issue of SUPERDOPE (a mag whose title certainly fits me for even being in touch with that purveyor of personal destruction in the first place) or Ken Shimamoto article still in the envelope. All I gotta say is that when I get back to selling on ebay I'm gonna have a lotta magazines and whatnot to get rid of (as well as scrap paper to print these posts to send off to Brad Kohler, who is computer-less as we speak), and frankly the sooner the better I rid this offal from the sanctity of my fart-encrusted bedroom!

Big disappointment I'm having right now is not being able to find a whole slew of items I would desperately like to give a look at after all these years like my first issue of I WANNA BE YOUR DOG, my TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTEs and of course the rest of those LOVE AND LAUGHTERs which I gotta say were perhaps the last burst of seventies-styled fandom writing albeit stuck in an eighties anti-rock 'n roll (and don't kid yourself) environment. I think they were all in a special box I had reserved just for those rock-starved times we're ALL experiencing, but where that particular box may be I certainly do not know.  It's kinda driving me nuts not being able to locate these true rock gems, but you know that when I do, and when I'm well stocked up with Diet Dr. Pepper and some junk food with a good drone rock blare on my bedside boom box I'm gonna be in SUBURBAN SLOB HEAVEN and don't let anyone tell you different!
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Current listening fave rave---FAUST---THE WUMME YEARS 5-CD box set (Recommended Records); "The street punk Velvet image of a Lou Reed transposed by matter transmitter to an electric Reeperbahn."(Karl Dallas [yeah, that Karl Dallas!] in the October 4 1975 issue of [really!] MELODY MAKER which only goes to show ya that even a broken clock is right twice a day!)
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Still hard to cram down the gullet that it's been four decades (last Thursday) since legendary Cleveland rock catalyst Peter Laughner passed on to hopefully greater things. Only goes to show you that time sure goes by when you're having fun, and sometimes even faster when you're wallowing in misery. It's not strange that despite his passing Laughner's legacy has only grown to legendary status, he being the first punk martyr, the first punk intellectual, the first downright rock 'n roll catalyst in Cleveland to the point where even scum like Anastasia Pantsios have been waxing eloquent about him even though she was one of those who thought (and admitted in print) that he was a creep whose rock 'n roll lifestyle certainly clashed with her flower child sensibilities. But hey, why not climb back onto the Cleveland underground train and claim you like punk rock after all now that forty years has gone by and hey, maybe ou can fool the rubes into thinking you were hip ALL ALONG. But at least some of us remember, and those articles you wrote in the eighties aren't gonna make any of use think otherwise.

Whatever, it's been forty long ones and like, we still remember you just like we did way back when you were still around. Maybe someday Laughner will get his just dues and exposure to that wider audience he so deserved, but until then well, I still got the tapes to keep me company.
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Good enough week what with the weather, the music and even romping through them boxes and uncovering something that is of worth to have and to hold. Anyway, here are some of the newies I've been listening to that who knows, might be inspirational enough for you to ignore just like you do most of my reviews! But at least this time you will suffer pangs of guilt to which I say...."serves you right!"


Spyrogyra-ST. RADIGUNDS CD (Repertoire England)

Well, I certainly could not find any of the punk anxiety and total eruption I was hoping to find given the writeup the group got in IT'S PSYCHEDELIC BABY magazine, but if you're in one of those English dark folk rock moods reflecting long gone musical modes rocked up to a 1970 level this is the group to get. Unfortunately right now I am NOT in an English dark folk mood so this is not quite having the kind of impact I sure hoped it would. Or could it have been the liner notes by MELODY MAKER head honcho Chris Welch who hated anything that wasn't overblown art prog with a vengeance? Still a good bit of neo-jazzy acoustic rock with slight Fairport connections/connotations (thanks to Dave Mattacks) and if you like that,
you'll probably luv this!
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Bob Dylan-WEMBLY ARENA/LONDON ENGLAND/OCTOBER 17, 1987 two-disc CD-r set

Since I was cleaning out my room while these platters spun it wasn't that bad experiencing yet another Bob Dylan roboperformance, this time done for a whole batcha starved English types who were so in awe of their idol that they didn't realize they were being fleeced once again. Still I liked hearing that ever-ratcheting voice go through the biggies and heaving up a whole lotta memories for people who coulda waited until the bootleg came out thus saving a whole lotta moolah on the price tag. One thing that has been bugging me all these years...on "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" does Dylan really sing "I dreamed I saw St. Augustine/Peeing off a bridge/I went and got my umbrella/So I wouldn't get all wet"???
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The Golden Boys-DIRTY FINGERNAILS CD-r burn (originally on 12Xu Records)

When I think of the word "golden" I immediately think of showers, and when I think of "dirty fingernails" images of not having enough toilet paper rush into my mind. It's funny what your mind can conjure especially when it's not trying, and its even funnier when I get copies of recordings like this one and try to think up all sortsa ways to explain it to you lumpen proles while being witty and perhaps even informative at the same time. But even that can get to be a drag after hearing the umpteenth power pop punk revision to hit the boards these past fortysome years, and although I champion them for their brashness and youthful exuberance I sure wish the Golden Boys had one of those intense bared-wire streaks that made a whole slew of seventies groups both famous and not a whole lot more fun to slap onto the ol' turntable. Stick with the originals, but if you had enough of them maybe this can fill in the cracks of yr teenage psyche somewhat.
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The Rooks-ENCORE ECHOES CD-r burn (originally on Not Lame Records)

Hey, weren't the Rooks one of those Wailers spinoff groups back '65 way? This sure don't sound like the Wailers---comes off more like that late-seventies pseudo-Beatles meets Monkees in the Byrds' nest Pop stuff that Greg Shaw was hailing to the rafters. Only watered down if only a bit. Nothing evil here, though considering that I'm also not in a Power Pop mood I can't ooze into whatever "universe" the Rooks are trying to glom onto here. You might like it, but with all of those Faust disques I'm goin' through...
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Various Artists-HERE'S WHERE IT'S AT-BEAT '66 CD-r burn (originally on Somerset Records)

Somerset strikes again with this budget crankout that mixes a few recent hits done up "their" way with a load of generic instrumental music that must have been laying around the vaults for years plus a track from their earlier Beatlemania cash-in. Actually this stuff sounds about as good as it can get even if Lou Reed wasn't involved.

But no matter how you slice it, had this one miraculously fell into your palms way back in them Good Ol' Days your parents still woulda thought it nothing but a load of wild 'n raucous music for them bad kids that smoked that should be banned from the house IMMEDIATELY!
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Colin Newman-A-Z CD-r burn (originally on Beggar's Banquet England)

Since I keep losing these Cee-Dee-Ares that Bob Forward always seems to be sending me (or just ain't interested in listening to 'em right now like I am with the McCoy Tyner one), I thought I'd spin this '80 effort from former Wire frontman Newman before that too entered into the vast reaches of my bedroom. Golly gee am I the psychic here---I thought it was gonna be a rather arty excursion like the latterday Wire albums with perhaps a tinge of eighties pop-a-rama thrown in, and I was right! Nothing fantab mind you, but I thought it good enough as an example of the kinda music that the eighties was gonna be renown for. Thankfully it's not as sickening as much of the "new music" that came out during those dank days could get, but I'm glad I got to give it at lease one spin before I do the ol' dipsy doodah goodbye.
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Blue Bus-YOUR MIND'S MOVING TOO FAST CD-r burn (originally on Vee Records)

There were a lotta these 1967 El Lay rock-takes getting pressed to vinyl at the time, and this one is no diff 'n the rest in its copping of various Byrds/Doors/Love stylings and reducing them to suburban slob levels. Blue Bus really have those jazzy Doors moves down good and I can't say a thing bad about their faithful rendition of "Signed DC". However the recording and overall production is strict cheap-o local studio located somewhere in the 'burbs, and for once that does take something away from this making the results sterile yet shaky. Bonus points for having that ranch house feel, and somehow I can see EACH AND EVERY ONE of the guys in this group getting marched off to the barber shop once the cover snap was taken.
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Various Artists-TOP SIX BUDGET-BRIDES-TO-BE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Most of this "floor sweeping" disque is taken up by some budget hit remake platter from the mid-sixties featuring talented kinda guys doing a kinda sloppy job at it. Actually this one is better'n some of the quickies I've heard, or at least the versions of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and "Needles and Pins" are about as good as something the Flamin' Groovies woulda whipped up a good forty years back. The rest of this is taken up by a variety of rare singles as well as an old Country and Western radio show which is entertaining in various degrees. Most notable amongst this batch is an early solo single by Larry Tamblyn of Standells fame called "My Bride to Be", a gooey neo-doowop number which just might get his membership in the Punk Rock Hall of Fame revoked faster than you can say "I'm the man, I'm the man"! (And yeah, "Dirty Water" was sung by Dick Dodd so don't go writin' in tellin' me what a fanabla I may be---you know the intent so get lost!)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! OUT OUR WAY WITH THE WORRY WART #680 (Dell Comics, available via Golden Age Reprints)


J. R. Williams' Worry Wart, along with his perpetually puzzled and un-named big brother, was just as much a part of my growing up comic page (or in this case comic stuck in the want ads section) days as PRISCILLA'S POP, FERD'NAND and the rest of those strips that gave me something to look forward to between the finishing up of homework and the afternoon TV jamz were.

This OUT OUR WAY character/"situation", one in a running series that also featured the "Why Mothers Get Gray" and "Born Thirty/Fifty Years Too Soon" sagas (not to mention the first ever cowboy series of the comic pages), featured a short messy li'l kid who big brother (and friends) always called "Worry Wart" .And boy was the li'l jerk always getting into some sorta trouble that really would rankle his brother as it would you! He may have made a mess of the kitchen while preparing jelly on bread, he mighta got into some massive magilla even though who ever thought four-year-olds could rumble like Worry Wart could, or maybe he was just too disheveled in his hand-me-downs to function like he shoulda always getting caught up in the rolled up trousers and oversized necktie. In other words, Worry Wart was the PERFECT example of suburban slobdom to be seen in the funnies, and it was for this if for no other reason that I was so attached to the guy seein' a lotta him in me.

One thing's for sure, and that is I sure needed my role models and "ideels" to help get me through school and the drudgery of being shaped and formed into something I sure didn't wanna be in a millyun years. Worry Wart gave me something to...y'know...look up to in his (and my) own scroungy do-it-yourself-and-get-it-wrong kinda way.

But how would the Worry Wart look in comic book form placed in developing stories with actual plots and twists and other decidedly comic book functions anyway? Well, the kid got just that in this one mag which was part of Dell Comics' ongoing special series featuring a wide array of characters appearing monthly. I gotta say that, despite my initial doubts that this comic was gonna be grade-A turdsburger at all, (thankfully) it translated well in its own mid-Amerigan way from a single panel to comic book length. Thankfully a lot of the spirit of the daily panel was kept intact to the point where I kinda wish this weren't just a one-off and a continuing series lasting long enough to be giving me loads of summertime goof off hours of fun this far into the muck we call modern day living.

As you'd expect (I dare say "as you'd hoped") the sagas here deal with the same kinda good ol' jerk kid adventures that I know you upper class bred types who are angry at things that are nice and beautiful never thought existed because hey, you never read about this stuff in THE ADVOCATE. The stories include Worry Wart opening up a toy fixing business which is soon foreclosed on when brother is in danger of losing his fifteen-cent investment, Wart and friends' makeshift boiler/rocket taking a ride they didn't plan on when some mean girls sell said boiler to a scrap yard, Worry Wart entering his mutt dog (done in perfect JR Williams scraggle) in one of those fru fru pedigreed dog shows and lastly the kid running away after brother makes him beat the rugs and delaying on delivering some meat until the package is all beat and torn. That's not including a number of one pagers that are fair enough and do capture the spirit of the original somewhat.

I doubt that OUT OUR WAY originator Williams was involved with these...his artwork was way looser and besides by this time I believe he had retired. Then again I don't quite think that Williams' successor (and oftimes ghoster) Neg Cochran did these even though it is closer to his than Williams' style. But the stories and feeling are close to the original and I really gotta say that I get the impression that if I were some ranch house kiddie in 1956 and I had this comic in my possession it woulda been one of the prize catches of my single-digit life! Who knows, if the thing hadn't worn out into nothingness I'd probably still have (and occasionally read) that same copy this late in life, unrepentant fanabla that I am and most surely would remain.

And if you either were big on OUT OUR WAY until its final days or want to osmose to how the "less hip than your richness" half spent their growing up years, this is a comic to get into especially if you have a bottle of soda pop and bag of Munchos to down while reading it.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

You may personally find it spiritually satisfying to engage in a lot of activities in order to satisfy your various inner wants and desires, some which may even engage in the use of more than one hand. As for me I'm helping to excise those inner whatchamacallits by pouring through more and more of those boxed up items that I've neglected to bust into o'er the past decade desperately on the lookout for old fanzines and whatnot that deserve yet aother eyeballing. At presstime I'm not having that much luck locating some of the essential reading material that has made many a bowel movement the most exhilarating experience, though I have come across a few long-forgotten wonders that deserve another mention lest they get buried under the weight of a thousand lesser efforts. Unfortunately I have not been able to locate the rest of my LOVE AND LAUGHTERs (see post from two or so weekends past) though I have secured my old TWO HEADED DOGs, that being the effort of one John Johnson who was a rather talented guy whose reviews used to pop up in the old OP. True there's nothing spectacular here like you might find in some of the wilder mid-sixties fanzine reads, but Johnson's tastes are on-target (read: close to mine) and it's always great getting opinions on old albums and acts from someone with a level head on their shoulders 'stead of up their heinies like those precocious pansies who have been leading the butthole battalion trend in most rockscreeding these past four or so decades.

Of course the memories just kept rushing back when I poured through these boxes well into one in the morning last Tuesday night. The various Eddie Flowers efforts from the eighties, shining beams of seventies-styled rock fandom in an ever-decaying world, have me hoping for that new issue of VULCHER more sooner than later although a good portion of the reading material I came across only went to show me what a vast turdland the eighties music scene (underground as well as mainstream) could have been if you didn't look for the right sounds in the right place. But most importantly of all my little nostalgic (hah!) foray had me just SHUDDERING over the plain and simple fact that during those years of fanzine frolics I certainly had the misfortune to associate with some of the slimiest people who ever disgraced the bright and beautiful name of rock n roll...people who patted me onna back and told me just how the world they thought of me only to turn with a vicious vengeance for whatever occult reason gestated in their obviously diseased minds.

And yeah, I know that people (even some that I have come to know and respect) have told me to "get over it" but sheesh, what good would that do??? It's like telling some deeply wronged person to rise above some childhood trauma when all the while said trauma has been eating away at said person like some insidious cancer. Yeah, some people can overcome the tribulations of the past with relative ease and good for them. But just try bein' a guy who's been kicked around his whole life never gettin' any real satisfaction or closure or whatever those frilly professional writers call plain' ol' blood soaked REVENGE. Ignoring it only makes the gnawing even more noticeable in the ol' digestive system ifyaknowaddamean... So hey, let me stew a bit before I let it pass like a kidney stone, OK???

So what does the above schpiel prove? Well, nothing more than maybe I should just stop prowling through boxes of old mags, letters and whatnot while stoked on caffeine, that's what! But prowl I must for those elusive fanzines that sure make me wish I was more conscious in the seventies!

OK, enough moaning, which I know means very little to you even if it means a world of a lot to me!
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Another way I've been pissing the time as Officer Crabtree might say is by googling my name to see what fun kinda doodies just happen to pop up. A really fun way to wile the hours too, reading about all of the strange things I'm allegedly involved in as well as the assortment of comments regarding my own personal beliefs and opinions regarding this thing we call life, usually written by people who I have never seen and will never see for that matter. It's amazing how people who don't even know me other'n through my writings know me better than I know myself! All I gotta say is...keep it up 'n don't stop!!! Whatever you guys write is more exciting than the actual drab existence that I am moiling in at this time and like, it's sure THROB THRILLING reading about these exploits and vicariously living the dirty deeds that I most certainly have been accused of perpetrating!
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RIP ADAM WEST, tee-vee's Batman, a man who I always used to get confused with basketball player Jerry West as well as a guy who was just about as much a part of my early grade school days of terminal frustration as that toy Batmobile I never did get.
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Now that I've wiped the tears from my eye (prob'ly more because of not getting that Batmobile rather'n the passing of Mr. West), here's this week's rock 'n roll autopsy:



Voigt/465-SLIGHTS STILL UNSPOKEN CD (Mental Experience c/o Guerssen, Spain)

If anything, this late-seventies Australian band that I never heard of before (though OUTLET called 'em "Australia's answer to Pere Ubu"!) sounds like some long-forgotten obscuro space/obtuse avant English act trying to cash in on the new  punk unto punque sounds and doing a pretty good job of it t'boot. Of course hardly anyone was gonna give their sounds a serious listen for at least a good two decades, but thankfully Voigt/465 were courteous enough to record this long-gone album (and give us some surviving outtakes) for us future generation types. Closer to the scope of ATEM as opposed to ROCK NEWS, Voigt/465 fit well into the cold wave of the day with their synth buzz and obscure vocalizing that kinda remind me of the Art Bears for some reason. If you were the kinda person who plunked down hard-begged money for THE MODERN DANCE as well as everything from Roxy Music and Eno to Faust and Debris you might just cozy up to this little spinner.
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Philip Glass-HOW NOW/STRUNG OUT LP (Orange Mountain Music)

The earliest Glass recordings extant recorded live at the Film Makers Coop 1968. First side features solo organ (played by Glass) that hints towards the repeato-riff switcheroo he would put to good use in his late-sixties ensemble while the flip has a solo violinist playing these up and down melodies that (as usual) slightly vary making for one weird brain tease. I'm sure snobbish critics could think up all of the precocious words inna thesaurus to describe these in ever-glowing detail...as for me I always listen to these kinda things from a rock 'n roll perspective and its like I can appreciate the a-side from a cheap garage band organ view.  I know would never settle with those serious music snobs who don't know what kinda laughing stocks they are making themselves out to be. An interesting aside from the rock music that Glass obviously has copped over the years to produce what New York snobs think is "fresh" and "culturally appropriate".
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Ringo Starr-Y NOT CD-r burn (originally on Hip-o Recs)

Imagine what a Ringo Starr album would sound like had it been recorded in the year 2010. Now imagine it not sounding that bad. But no matter how you toss it the thing's still bad enough that you wouldn't buy it because no matter how interesting and toe-tapping it may be in spots. Even with those few seconds of redeeming social value it's still a Ringo Starr solo album and you wouldn't want to be caught dead with it. Now if you were one of the few who enjoyed those various Starr hits of the early/mid-seventies you might find this a good 'nuff once in a lifetime spin. But that's about it.
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Gasenta-SOONER OR LATER CD-r burn (originally on PSF Records, Japan)

It's too bad that Japan is half-way around the world, because where it's even to the point that the world has shrunk so much it's like we can all get a stenchy whiff of King Faisal's outhouse on a hot day there's still a lot about the Japanese rock 'n roll scene we know nada about. Of course most of you on-top-of-it-all record maniacs already have listened to and digested this late-seventies all-out aggregation but for po' boys like me living on depression-era wages I gotta get it all nth hand. And glad I did because this band is a total eruption hard-edged punk rock group in the best sense of the term whose platter (rec'd '78) is more "controlled" than a lot of the bands that came outta underground Japan in their wake. But that don't matter because 1) they recorded this when doing such music was indeed a daring effort and 2) they're from Japan where I guess they're not supposed to know any better or something like that. "The Electric Eels of Japan?" Maybe so but I won't gander a guess until I see if their guitarist has long peroxided hair.
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The Double Agents-SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA CD-r burn (originally on Lo-Fidelity Records)

No it didn't.
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The Attention-GETTIN' ALL... CD-r burn (originally on Screaming Apple Records)

Finally a retro-rock 'n roll band that sounds as good as the correct-to-the-time-and-place cover looks, Hot originals sounds just as mid-sixties authentico as those British Invasion r 'n b rousers they're emulating, and given how the sound quality apes those glossy hi-fi days i'll betcha even a few experts out there in mid-sixties rock land wouldn't be able to tell if this is archival or fresh outta the vat. If only Greg Shaw were alive to experience a group like the Attention maybe he woulda waited a good forty years before making his "It's All Coming Back!" exclamations in the pages of PHONOGRAPH RECORD MAGAZINE.
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DOLL BY DOLL CD-r burn (originally on Magnet Records)

Ya gotta admit one thing...Doll By Doll (who sound nada like the Dolls of a New York variety---go figure) were, at the dawn of the eighties, performing that same ol' dull artzy pop that pretty much defined the "new music" that was to be heard right at the middle of that doldrumesque decade. Nothing here merits much of a mention if any. Bouncy sounds for the Dexy's Midnight Runners crowd...betcha that the videos that accompanied these slick and tasteful sounds were totally art flop filled with more Fellini cops that anyone could imagine.
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Various Artists-TIFFANY HELLCAT STOMPER SAVAGE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Bill really must've been in a biker moom pitcher mood when he made this spinner featuring a whole batch of cycle rarities (including two by Wayne Cochran)...well, between those and the sappy late-sixties pop slop he stuck on I'll take the biker rock hands down! Some good gunch here too from a vocal version of the DEVIL'S ANGELS theme to a rare Lollipop Shoppe track that didn't even make it to the recent JUST COLOUR reissue. Lotsa points deducted for the snooze-y listening tracks from the PINNACLES OF PERCUSSION platter which sounds like something your folks woulda played at a Tiki Party inna backyard 'round 1960 way. I can almost imagine the cover of that 'un with a buncha islanders banging on bongos while topless Tahitian temptresses do their li'l dance routines...hmmmm, someone point me in the direction of the nearest flea market so I can cop a copy of that 'un!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! THE PURPLE GANG starring Barry Sullivan and Robert Blake! (Allied Artists, 1959)

Prob'ly/undoubt'ly because of the success of THE UNTOUCHABLES (but I dunno) during the v. late-fifties these nostalgic twennies gangster mooms were starting to come out faster than you can say fanabla! And as far as these nostalgic twennies gangster mooms go you can't do better'n this little quickie. Sure THE PURPLE GANG was about as historically accurate as THE THREE MUSKETEERS starring the Ritz Brothers and Don Ameche, but ya gotta admit that it sure packs a whole lotta real deal wallop into its black 'n white universe and for once doesn't leave you feeling as if you're being handed yet another cheap do-gooder lesson from the same pack of people who pass ten-year-old upcoming stars of tomorrow around like they're swapping baseball cards'r somethin'.

Barry Sullivan plays the cop out to crack the Purples, they being a buncha Detroit street kids who are definitely bound for bigger 'n better things inna crime rackets. Robert Blake plays Honey Boy Willard, the leader of the Purples who's an insane genius not as crazed as Cagney was in WHITE HEAT but whacked out enough to get you up and rootin' for him. Sullivan is one tough caga for sure, but boy is he having troubles bringing down these kids who seem to have the upper hand all over the place...either that or the gendarmes are stoopid beyond belief the way they fall flat on their faces at every turn.

Of course these two are merely part of a cast of thousands, or at least enough people to make you wanna get a program to keep track of who's who. One of my faves just happens to be Henry "Hank" Smith played by Marc Cavall, Honey Boy's close sidekick who not only kinda looks like a cross between Arto Lindsay and Brad Kohler but eventually turns on the gang when his conscience starts to pang away. Fortunately Hank just happens to get caught by Honey Boy right when he's about to deliver an important message to the fuzz, and thankfully this snitch gets his just rewards by being encased alive in cement and wooshed into the river. And he was such an endearing character too!

Theres violence galore in this 'un with loads of gang wars, assassinations and surprise ambushes that would teach today's terrorists a thing or two about how to get the job done. It's the same formula that worked in many similar films to the point where MAD spoofed it so efficiently, and with all of the blasting away and tension-packed violence (my fave being the scene where Sullivan's knocked up wife flips out when the Purps invade her bedroom and in her madness she smashes through the window falling to her death) you can just see the Werthams and other touchy-feelies of this world rampaging in righteous indignation over mooms such as this, demanding their outright banning in favor of less violent and more nurturing entertainment for our populace. And since they've been doing just that for the last fiftysome years you can thank them for the massive drop in real life blood 'n guts splatterings we've seen in this rainbow-infested kumbaya world we know and love today!

And speaking of do-gooder types, there's one in this film who's an altruistic social worker type pleading with Sullivan not to harm any of the underaged delinquents who are getting manhandled by the cops. Poetically enough she is eventually raped and murdered by one of 'emwhich I gotta admit sent a nice feeling up and down my digestive system just like it did the time some NYU student who once wrote a letter to some magazine about how great a place Harlem is to hang out was chased into the streets by a pack of teenagers there ultimately getting hit by a car and dying in the very same place he considered friendly and safe. Steve Ditko couldn't have done a better job presenting this potent slice of poetic justice where the starry eyed eventually end up seeing a whole skyfulla 'em right before check out time!

A refreshing change from the typical nicey-nice, though really don't you think that this film is somewhat skewered in its presentation of what is right and wrong? I still tend to root for the bootleggers, dope peddlers and pussy pushers that pop up in mooms such as this if only because these guys, no matter how snaggletoothed they may seem, are merely businessmen selling product that the public WANTS. If it weren't for stoopid pieces of legalese like the Volstead Act more Amerigans woulda been enjoying their booze without the fear of incarceration or blindness for that matter, and for the heck of me why are people so concerned with the addictive states of people in this world as if everybody who is up and pumping need to be held by shackles they never asked for inna first place. Maybe they should make a twennies gangster film where the likes of Capone and Lansky are seen as heroic businessmen trying to fill a demand in the market and the cops and social engineers who created this mess in the first place are the down and dirty jerks needing to be taken care of---I'd stand in line all night to see a moom pitche like that!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

As usual, there ain't nothin' really new or specta-colossal to report on life-wise. Just doin' the same ol'  but if you really care to know, I'm continuing to prowl through boxes of old BTC and related flotsam that have been slumbering away in old apple boxes for way too long a time, sorting out the junk as well as wasting time reading the long-ignored fanzines and whatnot I would happen to come across. Dunno what exactly has motivated me into digging into these boxes other than I'm on the search for those aforementioned old fanzines (and other long-stored books) for night time reading purposes, and of course in the process I've been (re)discovering a whole load of items that I've forgotten about makin' me feel just as much of a kid as I was when I was four and I would peek under the divan and locate some Dinky Toy that I haven't seen for nigh on one week. And yeah, it's been fun finding old notes, fliers, books etc...stuff discovered just in the nick of time because I have been goin' crazy for some fresh reading material and like, money has once again become whatcha'd call a downright obscurity.

You won't believe the old letters, mags, empty envelopes and other worthless item's I've found...even came across a whole batch of old ARCHIE comic strip clippings I bought about fifteen years back, and thanks to my sieve-like mind it was like reading all new comics making for a much better evening experience than watching Anderson Cooper flex his sphincter with a hand grip! As I've said many a time the ARCHIE strip during the original Bob Montana days was an excursion into truly witty har hars featuring catch-you-off-guard badgags and such done up in a way that actually made 'em funny (or at least good groaners), and next to the comic book ARCHIE these shine forth even brighter without the sappy humanist sentiment those comic book sagas have been known to gush forth. And sheesh, who woulda thought that Montana had his pulse on the wrist of experimental sonic-affecting concepts in late sixties rock (as discussed by R. Meltzer in THE AESTHETICS OF ROCK not to mention Lester Bangs' "A Reasonable Guide to Horrible Noise" article no less!) as the following strip reveals:




I just hope that IDW continues on their seemingly lacking efforts to reprint the entire Montana-era ARCHIE strips (dailies preferred, Sundays DEMANDED!) because during these days when STONE SOUP is considered a "funny" strip we need more Archie and Jughead not to mention Betty and Veronica done up in the way nature intended (mainly for them to be drawn by Montana and no one else---one look at 'em and you'll know why kids who jacked off to these two went blind!).
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Hey, just found out that longtime rockscribe and BTC interview subject Cole Springer has passed on late last week at the age of 66. A fan of the highest rock 'n roll order, Springer's various writings on the subject could be found in such esteemed reads as FUTURE, PUNK and even the pre-snooze TROUSER PRESS.All is worthy enough (at least in my humble rockfan anti-bigshot city rock critic ways) to be read, digested and packed proudly and firmly right inside your brain (just read the aforementioned interview in case you do have any doubts). Sorry to see this guy go because well...you know...there are more deserving people out there in rockscribe land who deserve the fate the guy hadda face, ifyaknowaddamean. But all good cheer aside a mutual someoneorother told me that the interview I did with Springer meant a lot to him, and if you don't think I feel validated in what I've been doing not only on this blog but in print these last thirtysome years you obviously got a few loose rocks in the cabesa! So long Cole.
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Nice buncha platters this time...and I do mean it ('cept for one or two...maybe even three)! Thanks be to the usual suspects like Bill Shute and Paul McGarry, who sent me a real whoppin' load just a few days ago.


John Cage/Kenneth Patchen-THE CITY WEARS A SLOUCH HAT CD (Cortical Foundation)

John Cage teams up with local legend (born in Niles Ohio, married in Sharon PA) Kenneth Patchen for this radio drama which I'll betcha got one of your long-gone relatives madder'n a wet bed when this popped up on the CBS radio network back 1942 way. The Cage ensemble does an extremely good job creating the "backdrop" for this spaced out drama which was to Lux Theatre what THE WILD BOYS was to Jack Armstrong, and despite the wimped-out all-men-are-one (hah!) ending I thought it was a rather encompassing free flow drama that was trying something new and different on a coast-to-coast basis. They must have been a whole lot more free form back then than anyone would have thought.

Also comes with different realizations of "Credo in US" (I like the version that came out on a single awhile back much better) and "Imaginary Landscape" which doesn't sound much like the versions I've previously heard with the whoops and whups but hey, these are to be interpreted in different ways and if mine came out like "Beans at Midnight" well, that's all the better!
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TAMALPAIS EXCHANGE CD-r (originally on Atlantic Records

Time to put on the leather fringe jacket, head on down to the nearest front porch in Marin County and get in tune with the Tamalpais Exchange, a bunch of groovy cats who really deliver on those sweet harmonies they got from Crosby Stills Nash and Young. Or was that the Dead via CSNY? Or was that the local Salvation Army Choir??? Whatever, if you're big on nature and smiling on your brother you'll just wanna mosey on over to the local People's Record Shop (they take donations only!) and find yourself a copy of this li'l classic that'll sure do a freak dance in your head. Sheesh I've done so many of these hippoid record putdowns these past thirtysome years to the point where you should know by now to steer clear of things like this...why do I hafta keep tellin' ya??????
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Blackfoot Gypsies-TO THE TOP CD-r burn (originally on Plowboy)

For a second I thought the cover read Belfast Gypsies and that this version of Them had actually gone out and made another album. No such luck...these guys are one of those new kinda sorta folkie country rock things that are quite the rage in certain circles and if you really wanna know I thought their entire musical makeup was something that just doesn't settle well with my own ideals and values regarding guys with electric guitars who get in front of audiences and expect us to ooze our ways into their universe. Paul M says he was only able to get through four songs...I sat it out for the duration and probably could have faked a review just hearing the same four Paul did but...it ain't like I wanna cheat any of you readers now, right???
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The Fleshtones-LIVE PHILADELPHIA VICTORY CLUB SEPT. 28 1982 CD-r burn

Gotta be redundant once again because what else can I say about this band that manages to keep pumping out the high energy over-the-top rock year after year with no dips or dives in quality or total eruption output! Recorded during a time when the generation of rock the Fleshtones were birthed in was dying a slow, ignominious (even embarrassing!) death these guys kept the spirit of mid-seventies teenage punk rock alive as is evident by this stellar performance. Taken from an FM broadcast (so you know it sounds clear---as if that mattered!) the 'tones roll through a whole buncha originals and on-target covers (Sonics, Chamber Brothers) proving that if they still had parties the way they did back in the mid-sixties these guys woulda been the ultimate party band. Might actually make me wanna dish out some pennies to get the ROMAN GODS platter which never did make its way to my turntable (or laser launch pad) lo these many years later.
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The Five Emprees- LITTLE MISS SAD CD-r burn (originally on Freeport Records)

There must've been hundreds of band like the Five Emprees back in the mid-sixties, but just how many of 'em gotta chance to put an album out? Of course these five are kinda cornballus in their own matching suits and short hair sorta way, but at least this group was able to put out a full-length spinner that I would call rather entertaining and easy going on the psyche. Contains good enough covers of recent hits mixed with originals that couldn't cut a fart but still do better than a lotta the efforts that were heaping forth back in those flowering of rock days. You probably know what's in store if you have some of those lighter side of sixties garage band collections that were available via Norton a good two decades or so back, but if you've ever gone to your proctologist and wondered what the heck he was up to back 1965 way this platter just give you a nice li'l indication...
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Bachman Turner Overdrive-TAKIN' CARE OF THE HIGHWAY CD-r burn (originally on Smokin')

Here's none other than BTO live at the height of their fame back when they were still packin' a wild punch on your ever-petering out AM dial. You'll probably disagree (as if I care) but BTO were one of the better mid-seventies hitsters to ever peddle single sides to unwary pre-teen gals, and frankly I can't figure out how someone who really digs Wayne County's "Max's Kansas City" couldn't love "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" with that mutated "Sweet Jane" riff. Good sound quality and a pretty roaring (though at times admittedly leaden) performance is what's in store, though why is there an alternate studio version of the aforementioned hit closing out the sesh 'stead of a live 'un? And it all ends with a half-hour interview (via phone) with Randy Bachman which ain't boring at all and you might even learn something about BTO that you never really cared to know about before! Might be worth a search if you're not totally phobic about the mid-seventies AM radio scene.
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The Sidewinders-WITCHDOCTOR CD-r burn (originally on RCA Records)

I always thought it was strange that RCA would have signed two bands called the Sidewinders even if it were over fifteen years apart. But other'n the name there's hardly any similarity between the two...the original Sidewinders were a neat Boston-oriented combo that mixed sixties rock and early-seventies teen decadence in a way that recalled the Yardbirds and the Velvet Underground not to mention the entire history of Boston rock that it seemed only the folk at KICKS could remember all them years later. Whereas the original Sidewinders were on the forefront of seventies hot underground ideals the ones reviewed today are definitely the ass end, the sound of a rock movement that had evolved into a different kinda animal which was so tired out that it even gave good ideas in rock such as drone a bad name. Sure it's got some moments of vigor here and there but so did Sammy Davis Jr. For late-eighties over emote rock fans only.
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The Black Angels-DEATH SONG CD-r (originally on PTKF Records)

Y'know, maybe I am rather hard on these neo-Velvet Underground types that have been popping up all over the fruity plain these past three or even more decades. Ya gotta admit that despite the total mangling of the Velvet legacy and their emphasis on the band's less conceptual moments (or their total mishandling of the Velvets' more conceptual moments for that matter) many of these bands are at least worth a one-time spin before being carted off to the Cee-Dee drop off shop of your choice. Well, this was the Black Angels' one-timer for me and frankly I'm glad I got that one over with!
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Left End-SPOILED ROTTEN CD-r burn (originally on Polydor Records)

These local (Youngstown Ohio) boys have gotten their share of jabs over the years, but even a cursory listen to Left End's early singles on the Red label would show ya that they weren't the total lunkheads that the more effete than thou crowd made 'em out to be. In fact their SPOILED ROTTEN album from '74 proves that they were a good enough hard rock group who were playing that heavy metal in the then-current definition of the term and doing a rather good if slightly askew job of it. Credit is due for their good enough Alice Cooper stylings even if they do lapse a little too far into Humble Pie territory for my tastes. Coulda been a total killer had Dennis De Menass and group gone full tilt screech but hey, this does rank high in light of alla that John Denver whole bran music that was cloggin' the airwaves at the time.
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Various Artists-THIRD WAYNE REUNION ORBIT CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Starts off OK with a poppy local single release that ain't bad (though ain't spectacular mind ya) before the Electric Hand Band do their hippie goodtime shuffle (at least the Flamin' Groovies grew outta that phase in which they didn't sound too bad to begin with). And then there's this solo guitar thing that sounds just like Derek Bailey which is so close to the original I'm surprised he hasn't sued!

The Illusions are good neo-hard funk that sounds better'n most of that SOUL TRAIN jiz that got the big time push even with an extended drum solo. There's also some more electronics and a Leslie Gore soundalike without the Quincy Jones production feel (and who knows, this gal might be straight!), and Barry Goldberg's take on the Rockets is good even if a tad hippoid overdone.

The rest varies from bizarre avant popsy things to cornballus polka music and it might not quite settle well into your orb but it does Bill's and that's all that matters. I mean, go live your own mix-Cee Dee if you're that much against it!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

MAGAZINE REVIEW! IT'S PSYCHEDELIC BABY #2/2 (available via Forced Exposure)

Every so often I like to take a chance and try some of them new rock-related magazines that are still peppering up the pasture even in this day and age when for all practical purposes the entire concept of rock in print should been extinct. Some of them are good, some are feh but one thing can be said and that hardly any of 'em can stand up to the BIG GUNS in what's left of rockscreed publishing these days...y'know, mags like UGLY THINGS, VULCHER and various other efforts that might be uppa-date and contemporary and all but still have their minds in 1956/1966/1976, or at least the good portions of them years which probably seemed like the best/worst of times for more'n a few jams kickers out there.

IT'S PSYCHEDELIC BABY ain't anything like UGLY THINGS or VULCHER. Think of it more or less as an update of such seventies English forays into sixties psychedelia as COMSTOCK LODE and those long-forgotten if essential fanzines that were still firmly rooted in the haze of San Francisco but knew enough that there was big new world out thar. And that's why I like it slick cover, bar code and typset print...the pages, like the ones of the aforementioned fanzines, ooze a fine appreciation for the darker and grittier side of what used to pass for psychedelia, the weird British dark folk scene that seemed to spring forth from the pores of the Incredible String Band and go deep into areas that might have seemed a little to spooky for your typical ironed hair fair maiden to tread. I'm talkin' acts like Comus, Fresh Maggots, Magna Carta and even more who might not have been lucky enough to make it into the Jem import catalog but if you got hold of one of their platters then bully for you! (Well, dunno about Fresh Maggots or Magna Carta...)

Frankly, although I find the articles grand in their own unique way it ain't like I'm gonna wanna empty out my wallet to get hold of most of these records. Sure Comus were a rather dark aggregation whose two platters have been reviewed on this blog and favorably at that while I still find the early Fairport Convention (and later Fairport for that matter) rather refreshing in a West Coast garage band sorta way, but I just can't get myself revved up over acts with names like Sunforest or Oberon. Maybe I can Spirogyra (no, not that jazzy fusion atrocity from Ithica NY), this acoustic outward-dank-looking aggregation who were called (by progressive oriented fans mind you ) "the first punk band" which has been said about too many acts o'er the years but sheesh...I gotta find a good reason to get my hooks into something and this just might be it! These guys might be the subject of a review in a future BLOG TO COMM and given how starved I am for exciting music (or at least the promise of it) let's just say that it ain't a case of me being proud or not, but a case of me trying to find them aural thrills any way I can!

Nice project here that I hopes grows beyond being just another flash where did it go? publication (even with a bar code on the cover). Definitely worth the effort to find and read even if ya ain't exactly a gloomy English gnome living under a toadstool in a Tolkien landscape or something like that...

Monday, June 05, 2017

BRAD KOHLER'S TURN TO REVIEW JAGUAR RIDE, MEMOIR OF AN ELECTRIC EEL by Brian McMahon (gee, I couldn't let the poor feller down...) (Hozac Books, 2017)

I'll cut to the chase. I think a John Morton memoir would be a better read, judging by the interviews and prose I've read by him. As for Dave E., we aren't likely to hear from him unless he has some choice bon mots for us cretins left earthbound as he levitates towards Heaven during the rapture.

This is, in too many points, a tiring read. Digression follows digression, furthered by alter-ego dogMaN, a conceit that mostly does little to propel the narrative.

Credit is due though for the juvenile delinquent timeline, which struck me upside the head even more by a chance sighting of a school bus that had a warning placard affixed that announce that all activities within were being audio and video taped. Back in the seventies when I went to school, once you were on the bus said conveyance morphed into a torture chamber on wheels where anything could, and did, happen. The bus driver cared not a whit, unless the anarchy interfered with him sneaking nips from the half pint in his pocket. The same thing still goes on, but at least the purps are on camera.

Without cell phones, the internet and cameras on every corner, one could disappear into the underbelly miasma of existence, a trick as simple as climbing onto a highway off ramp and sticking out your thumb.  This is the route McMahon took to shake a suffocating family life overseen by an abusive father. Escape to a world where you didn't even keep in contact unless you had a dime for a pay phone left over after buying bologna and white bread or a cheap bottle of wine.

This long gone America is well represented in the book, a world fraught with equal parts ecstasy and peril, up to and including serving take out chicken to members of Paul Revere and the Raiders at a fast food joint in California while inadvertently short changing them (out of awe, not malice). And yes, they were attired in their patriot togs.

A supreme irony occurs when Brian and pals sneak into an Iron Butterfly concert and witness the soundcheck. They scream at and argue with each other throughout, a scene that would be the template for the Eels' short lifespan.

The book's timeline zigzags from past to present, ut the reader gets a clearer picture of being marooned in a crash pad for roadies of the James Gang than the Eels detonation upon wide-eyed observers.

"The band that didn't fit in with the bands that didn't fit in" is the description of the Eels. Why? Damaged goods from an alienating upbringing? I'm sure plenty of other players in the scene could claim that tag. And that sound! Did it arrive wholly formed, like the Psychedelic Stooges?

After thre hundred pages, this reader sort of feels like a variation on the old cliche about Chinese food. (Served at twin Clevo Chinese restaurants that shared staff, described in an entertaining aside). "I just read this book and I'm hungry for more an hour later." That can be a good thing, but in this case it's more "mission, unaccomplished".

JAGUAR RIDE was issued in an edition of five hundred (unless Hozac counts the same way bootleggers count) and is pricey. I can only give a reserved recommendation. You make the call. As if I cared.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

I'll bet you're glad to see a new edition of BLOG TO COMM spread across your computer screen so early in the weekend. Well, I gotta admit that I was running ahead of schedule and had a whole slew of news, reviews and snooze to present for you so like, why the hey not? As usual there's nothing here that'll put me in the blogger halla fame (we can't all be Lindsay Hutton) but then again I don't think I'll have to turn in my rock scribe club membership card any day soon no matter how many of you out there will beg and plead otherwise. I would ask you what you think of it all, but then again I couldn't care in the least.
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BOY DO I FEEL STROON-ISH...here it happened a good month ago but now I find out that none other than Bruce Hampton (also known as Col. Hampton B. Coles a.k.a. Gustav Valentine Berglund III) is no longer with us. Sure it wasn't like the guy had that sorta notoriety that woulda gotten his death a passing mention fifteen-minutes into the national news broadcast but sheesh, for dorks like me who spent a good portion of my age 16-18 years flocking to a whole load of things Zappa/Beefheart/Mothers and related Hampton was one guy who sure meant PLENTY (at least to me) other'n the legendary fact that his MUSIC TO EAT double platter extravaganzia was the second worst selling album in Columbia Records history which really says something because NOBODY can tell me the name of the worst other'n it was either a yoga instruction or Eastern Philosophy item!

I remember reading that review of latterday Hampton Grease Band member Mike Greene's one album (title escapes me) in CREEM oh so long ago (actually in the back of the high school library when I shoulda been studyin'!) and the description of your standard Hampton Grease Band show seemed like the ultimo in late-sixties absurdo rock flash that was bound to capture the imagination of a mentally ill obsessive failure at life like myself. People doin' what they want and eating sandwiches up on stage while some butch cut lead singer was yellin' the contents of a spray can sure did appeal to the pseudo-retardation in a whole slew of kids other than myself, and the fact that these guys never did get the same sorta push as Zappa, Beefheart and their scores of emulators did at the time sure goes to show you that maybe Clodumbia Records weren't as on the ball as you thought they would be given just how big guns they used to be.

Of course the music performed by this bunch (not counting the later days which showed a strong Mahavishnu/Fusion bent that doesn't really appeal to me) was so hard for anyone to categorize which might have been one reason that the very few reviews of this that popped up in the rock mags were written by people totally unconnected with either the upper echelon of respectable rock criticism nor the lower-caste gonzo brigade. Of course the obvious Zappa/Beefheart ref. pts. were more than evident but then again there was a whole lotta Quicksilver (their free-flowing live appearances as opposed to comparatively restrained studio platters) and shudder! even some late-sixties Grateful Dead to be discerned. Of course hometown heroes the Allman Brothers figure in as well which I guess was one reason many guys who were playin' in Hampton's Aquarium Rescue Unit years later were also double timing as Allmans.

From what I've heard of Hampton's post-Grease Band output it seemed solid enough even if it never did reach the peaks of MUSIC TO EAT's free-form suckrock. Personal fave: 1977's grand comeback ONE RUINED LIFE OF A BRONZE TOURIST which has gotta be thee most disjointed freak album since WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH and TROUT MASK REPLICA.

And to think that the guy (like Mick Farren---and OK, Sib Hashian) died in the line of duty and (like Dick Shawn) the audience thought he was joking while he was breathing his last! With a comparison like that it really goes to show ya somethin' about what this guys' musical career really encapsulated, eh?
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YOU ALREADY KNOW ABOUT THIS 'UN, BUT NOT FROM ME: Brad Kohler raved about the Iggy Pop and the Stooges-themed TOTAL CHAOS book late last year and it sure sounded swell judging from him it's a killer diller, but I just happ'd upon a copy and y'know what? Brad was 100% right on the bullseye (and I don't mean female brown tips) about this particular epic for our times! Only problem is that he didn't quite relay en toto to us the outright power and energy this mere li'l ol' book supplies us long time rock fanablas who can still remember (even fondly) reading the I NEED MORE book at the local mall because it cost way too much for penny-starved people like us to actually buy.

The Iggy back and forth where he gives us some rather eye-opening remarks regarding a variety of items (pics, mag articles etc.) is of course worth the price of admission, but frankly it's the various items that are presented to Iggy such as the snap of his old Hawaiian guitar, the Stooges live with Scott Asheton's bongolated oil drum and a variety of magazine articles and letters that really get me all Stooged up inside. I really enjoy reading those various Velvet Underground exhibition catalogs because they present to us the world of the Velvets as it was experienced at the time and in the place by a variety of minds both pro and con 'stead of wallow in hero worship by flounders years after the fact (leave that to the interviews in the back of the book)...this does ditto for the Stooges and like all good books it sure left my mouth watering for more Stooges ephemera.

Dunno why entire articles aren't printed let alone the contents of say...Natalie Stoogeling's POPPED newsletter (one of which can be found in one of them Jonathan Eisen books) but the things that do turn up are particularly inspiring in that ol' teenbo wide-eyed fanatical way. Too bad this 'un didn't come out back during the heydey of under-the-underground blare when we really REALLY needed it, but we got it now and like why quibble?
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Hokay, are you ready for some good rock 'n roll reading? C'mon...ya gettin' all hot 'n bothered for more of that great gonzo style, eh??? Well if so...maybe you can dig up an old issue of CREEM because if you're looking here ya ain't gonna find any an' I mean it!


Googie Rene-ROMESVILLE CD-r burn (originally on Class Records)

More a dat phony Euro jazz junk bein' peddled to puerile Amerigan slobs who couldn't afford to go overseas and wanted to live the good life in the sanctity of their knotty pine recreation rooms. Actually this "concept album" (that that Beatles!) coulda been about any country in Europe (or elsewhere) if not for the opening mock dialect schpiel and the mandolin-laden closing theme, but slap a cover with some columns and a Ferrari on it and presto changeo you got a dago-themed record with some sales potential even if the music at hand is nothing but standard lounge jazz about as tame as the stuff you used to hear on Warner Brothers tee-vee shows. But man, you can just tell that the cover itself is fake as well...I mean, if that snap really was taken in Italy do you think the gal on the right's armpit would have been as clean shaven as it is???
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THE MISSING SOULS CD-r burn (originally on Dangerhouse Skylab)

OK Bill, bear with me for this one review, hokay? And it's gonna be a good one from an act that I ne'er heard about before and probably ne'er will hear from again given how dumbo I am regarding these newer than new sixties revival groups. All covers true, but the Missing Souls sure do 'em up really nice 'n sparkly with powerful vocals and honest-to-goodness chops that don't sound as carbon copy as some of the competition. True this ain't gonna be one of those all-time fave raves I play over and over but these guys (and gal) know how to pound out a good mid-sixties rousing rock sound akin to the Fleshtones at their shake-a-puddin' peak! It's so good that after hearing this 'un I sure feel like reverting to my own six-year-old self if only to cop an episode of WHERE THE ACTION IS but then again, what else is new?
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The Prisoners-THEWISERMISERMEDELZA CD-r burn (originally on Big Beat)

My it's good enough that I may even give this platter with the funny name another play one of these days. But really, there seems to be that air of early-eighties despair found here, the one that says that that the Big Beat in rock 'n roll have been dead for quite a long time and all it's gonna be from here on in is retro tributes that never will catch on like you hope they would. Various sixties ref. pts. make this a little hard to peg down into one discernible spot, but for neo-retro early-eighties flashbacks into past glory I find it better than much of the Paisley Underground that was such a rage at the time. If you still have any old issues of BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS handy, you just might love this.
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MONTY PYTHON EXAMINES THE LIFE OF BRIAN; WARNER BROTHERS LP FOR RADIO STATIONS CD-r burn (originally on Warner Brothers)

Here's one of those promo platters that were sent to radio stations in order to plug the latest PYTHON flick to the unwashed heathen types who'd naturally flock to see a moom pitcher like this. Nothing much I can really osmose here given that by this time the whole PYTHON trip was pretty much bled out, but if you were one of those college kid creepy types who liked these sorta shenanigans even after the whole hip comedy trip petered out once the very late-seventies rolled around you'll just love it as long as you have a grass mask handy. A special guest appearance by George Harrison provess that maybe the silent Beatle shoulda stayed silent for just a little bit longer.
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GROOVIE GOOLIES CD-r burn (originally on RCA Records)

I don't remember this batch of cartoon monsters one bit, probably because this series was aired on Saturday mornings and my dad did not want me watching cartoons on my day off because I should be doing household chores or yardwork during those hours and tee-vee cartoons were definitely a no-go even though all the other kids my age were watchin' 'em. After hearing this soundtrack featuring the typical pre-teen post-bubblegum sound of the day maybe I wasn't missing that much even if it was a Filmation effort...imagine Tommy James without the hard sexual nature and you'll get a good idea of what the Goolies sound like. Instant oblivion package, but then again I guess Richard Delvy hadda have SOMETHING to do!
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Los Belkings-EL SONIDO DE LOS BELKINGS CD-r burn

Maybe it's not so surprising that this platter fulla early-sixties surf 'n pop came out in 1967. After all the thing came out in Peru, and you gotta admit that back then it wasn't like modern pop trends were gonna trickle down South Ameriga way in a flash! But that's what makes Los Belkings so great...while the rest of the hipster world was tinkling bells and acting like total starry-eyed numbskulls Los Belkings were playing rock 'n roll the way it was meant to be played, at least the way it was in 1962 when the world was less of a self-conscious pose than it would become years later. And here in the light of 2017 who can we say were the real cool, Los Belkings in their matching jackets and bargain basement guitars or Grace Slick thinking she's so important telling the world that ALICE IN WONDERLAND was written for heads???
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FASHIONS IN LOVE (original 1929 sound discs) CD-r burn

Y'know, there are many lost mooms that I sure wish survived such as D.W. Griffith's original THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES not to mention the early sound Charlie Chan films, but judging from the surviving soundtrack to this '29 feature I could care one whit that the film portion of FASHIONS IN LOVE has by now crumbled into dust. From the looks sound of it this romantic schmoozer starring Adolphe Menjou as a French (what else?) pianist wasn't much of a flick to consider seeing, unless you hadn't by then seen a talkie and this was the only one in town. If it had survived, this woulda made the perfect late movie on a 1958 UHF station guaranteed to cure your insomnia, though as all luck would have it the National Anthem sign-off'd jolt you right outta dream city! If so mebbe you could catch the end of Steve Allen on the other station...now that'll put you to sleep for good!
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Various Artists-APPLES, ORANGES, MANURE AND BOONE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Somehow I think that a film strip on John Deere manure handling equipment would come off swell for those rock critics out there who've flung the dung for years on end. That's on here (two sides!) as are a variety of musics both exciting (Los Rockin' Devils' Mexican mid-sixties mash) and not (Freeway's early-eighties AOR tuff guy pose). Highlights (at least for me, and if you can't trust me who can you trust?) include this folkie singer taped off Radio Rwanda four years back (sounds like one of those pre-Mirrors Jamie Klimek tapes with weird electronics---actually signal interference---added), Pat Boone for Amway and PEBBLES faves the Third Booth doin' "I Need Love". Akron's Teacher's Pet (one of the Clone Records batch who didn't get much huzzah-wise after this) also do some great punk rock guaranteed to upset Journey fans at ten paces. Oh, and by the way ex-Mr. Diana Dors Richard Dawson's "Apples and Oranges" ain't the Pink Floyd single side so don't get your hopes up too fast.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

BOOK REVIEW! DEFENSE AGAINST SQUARES by Byron Coley (L'Oie de Craven, available via Forced Exposure)

Hmmmm...this book shoulda been called DEFENSE AGAINST ME because really, when it comes to L-7 squares you can't get any more in-depth than your's truly! And despite what you holier-than-thou world saving types may think it ain't like I'm gonna do anything to rectify any situations, especially given my general stubbornness and deep down loathing for most of the people who make up this underground chic you've been wallowin' in for years like pigs in their own number two. Maybe I'll become even more cube to the point where you're gonna need 3-D glasses just to even look at me, but I shant care one whit. You people are worth it.

All kidding aside (kinda/sorta), this is gonna be a hard 'un to review considering just how much I've been privy to much Byron Coley fax and fantasies both of a good and bad nature o'er the past few. But trudge on I must and I gotta say that this collection of Coleyprose is something that is (keeping all extraneous interference outta it) quite enveloping.

I'm typing this on a rather warm Wednesday afternoon (day off) while Coltrane is blasting on the bedroom boom box. The combination of weather, music and Coley do make for a fine melange with the music ("Brasilia" if you care) fitting in with the much-needed warmth and the words manifested in print bouncing off everything like those animated atoms you used to see on afternoon Public Tee-Vee. Maybe the fact that I feel happy/tired due to cutting the grass this AM does figure in, but I sure feel better now than I have in quite some time.

Coley's poesy, like his music-related articles and whatnot, read like printed punk rock. And I mean punk as it was before it became pUnK unto punque. Good and solid done up in a way that made you wear out those Flamin' Groovies albums into eternity. Pieces dealing with such diverse subjects as Fahey, Reed, Beefheart, Jack La Lanne and Helen Wheels (!) read with the same raging beat-in-your-head drive that you still get from similar Meltzer offerings, and whether the subject matter be the loss of friends past or a retort to the Ken Burns JAZZ mini-series (Coley and partner in ARTHUR Thurston Moore actually offered to help with the avant portion but were summarily ignored) it reads the same way you hear when WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT was on the turntable and Robitussen was in in your veins (or at least used to be).

Bad moves...the anti-George Bush II poems, not for political purposes mind you but because picking on George is akin to bullying the teeny weeny kid from the first grade who wears a leg brace. It's so easy and like, where's the sport? It's akin to all of those anti-Bush/govt. diatribes both good and dismal from the oughts which suddenly disappeared when Prez. Obama was ruling the roost only to return due to the current climate change in Washington DC. Predictable pattern here, and the last thing I'd expect from Coley is predictability, at least on this socially minded level. But given how I've misjudged people before like, I can be wrong again now, can I? (I should letcha know that there is a pome which discusses the ACTUAL TIME Coley and Kim Gordon sat next to Donald Trump at a fashion show, a subject that'll be extrapolated upon in a future collection I'll betcha!)

Otherwise a pretty hefty slab of Coley that longtime fans should adore, first half in English and the second in French in case you're bi...lingual that is! And true, nothing as good as "Me Chinese/Me play joke/Me put pee-pee in your Coke" presents itself but how often does a poem like that come about?


Sunday, May 28, 2017

You can just tell that spring has set into mine weary bones by the way I've become (once again) extremely long-winded about the musical subject matter at hand! Yes dear readers, I do know what has revived my youthful revelry in all things musical that once excited me to no end---it was me pouring through some old boxes of gunk not knowing what to save and what to recycle as paper for Brad Kohler's bi-yearly blogpost rundown and in the process of saving and tossing having chanced upon a whole slew of long forgotten and olde-tymey reading which really got my rockscribe roots showin' like hemorrhoids in a nudist colony! The biggest catalyst for my exuberant joy commenced when I came upon (no, not that!) famed somethingorother Robert Nedelkoff's fanzine of interest LOVE AND LAUGHTER, a read which I gotta say is one of the few self-published screeds which still had strong connections to the definitely non-ginch intellectual punkist seventies rock fandom of HYPERION and CAN'T BUY A THRILL done up in a day and age when the music and the audience for that matter had wound down like an antique vibrator. It was rather hard to chance upon good rockscreed in the eighties (and nineties, and beyond) so when I did come upon something that was worthy of my eyes it certainly was time to celebrate!!!

And LOVE AND LAUGHTER was the kinda read that reminds one of the real Golden Age of rockscreed, what with Nedelkoff's punk intellectual opines on everything from the Red Crayola and Peter Blegvad (holdovers from CLE #3-A!) along with the usual musical cherces of the day which are mostly made up of forgettable eighties amerindie faves but wha' th' hey??? Great tastes, great cheap pecked-out look and frankly I love the entire thing (and am searching for the other issues that I have stashed inna abode) even if the guy praises, and to the hilt at that. some of the then-current alternative music that never could stand the test of time. Oh well, that's his perversion and so did I but it's still a winner that tops most crudzine efforts of the time, other'n my own natch! One thing I do wonder tho is...whatever HAPPENED to Robert Nedelkoff anyway?

My lengthy and loopy opines might also have to do with the fact that I've finally, after a few months of scrimping and saving, have purchased a variety of music and reading material that really is stimulating my mind in ways like nothing since the last great spurt of musical anarchy both old and new. Yeah, now I don't have to rely on those garage revival tossaways that Bill Shute hates so much because for once there's gonna be some fresh (more or less) meat on the table to munch upon. And hey, I even got hold of some new rock-oriented reading to soothe your suckems 'stead of more comic strip collections and moom pitcher writeups during the weekdays (although I gotta say that I love 'em all equally and hey, next to music old comic strips are the love of my ever-changing and usually for the worse life!) so if you're tired of the same old, tune in for some same new!

But please do bear with my bornado writing this week if only because I feel (hope?) that it is a passing fancy and that by next week I'll creep back into my usual capsule review self (well, capsule enough so's that I at least have enough room to stick a nifty album cover next to said writeup!). Like I once or twice told you, the far-more experienced Eddie Flowers told me that elongated extrapolations on one's personal encounters (or not) with the subject at hand might have worked for Lester Bangs and Richard Meltzer (and, although he didn't say it, Bill Shute) but THEY SURE AS HELL DON'T WORK FOR ME as if anyone out there really is interested in the sordid details of my more boring than thou life in the first place. Best advice re. rock writing that I ever got, and although I broke the rules out of sure joy de rockism next time I will have more of a sense of brevity in mind while telling you all just how you should think, act and buy.
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YET ANOTHER EARLY HEAVY METAL SPOTTING, this time in the pages of something called GO (dated 8/22/69), which in the course of a review of the first Stooges album brands the group's music as being "hard, heavy, heavy-metal ego rock" which again does predate the Saunderian usage from the Sir Lord Baltimore review even if it falls behind the Electric Flag 'un by two years. Again this might all be old turd long flushed but sheesh, somebody's gotta be categorizing this anal retentivity before it all gets lost to time!
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OK,time to settle back for some long windedness...


The Velvet Underground-BOSTON TEA PARTY JANUARY 10th 1969 2-CD set; JULY 11th 1969 2-LP set (both on Spyclass Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Am I the only person alive who believes that the Velvet Underground remain the most positive, focused, purest and (heck) even most danceable concept to ever hit the world of rock 'n roll (at least until the Stooges and Man Ray)? Put all of that lame eighties-beyond hype and sensitive girlypoo appreciation aside and focus of the Velvet Underground as they were.  I'm talking the Velvets as that Wayne McGuire-hyped FORCE that might as well have been the Fifth Horse of the Apocalypse playing the soundtrack to a world in chaos as the mode of the music changes into something that...well, I wasn't expecting James Taylor but what did come in their wake was mighty earth-shattering indeed.

It's grand seeing both of these oft-circulated and bootlegged shows get the royal  remastered and generally cleaned up treatment. Fantastic sound especially on the January show, and the performances are even better than I remembered. I even prefer these over the Quine tapes which for some reason never get a spin anymore...dunno why but I think it's that one version of "Waiting For My Man" which must have been the ultimate live piss-take on this verifiable stoner anthem. But really, these two offerings are fantastic slices of the Velvets as they stood as the premier exponents of creative applications of sonic ideals in rock performing in one of the few cities that welcomed them with open arms and influenced a generation of bands playing in their image, at least until the self-conscious radical element got the best of everyone as it all slid down the commode.

I can't see how amerindie/new music/alternative types could appreciate the Velvets one iota. They don't have the 3-D depth or O-mind or mental capacity for that matter to slip into the Velvets' entire reason for existence. It ain't all soft paens and clunky chords being churned out at those modern day equivalents of folk hoots...it's the hard grind churn of WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT as the catalyst for the heart and soul of the (real) new age you just can't get outta tinkling chimes and George Winston. But hey, you just wouldn't know that given just what some of the exceedingly dwindling spawn is up to these days now, can ya?

January---sounds like Lou and gang were at least ticked off if not downright angry and it transposes into sound well. "I'm Set Free" is performed passionately yet intense enough to the point where it coulda made me cry had I heard this version age seventeen, while even "Candy Says" and "Pale Blue Eyes" sound wiry. A particularly potent "Sister Ray" caps it all and maybe after this performance you kinda think Lou wasn't kidding us about how all the instruments are wrecked after this number's performed.

Six months later they seem more at ease and even "Ray" comes off loose complete with the "Murder Mystery" tag on which was about as close to doing that famed song live as they could get away with.

Even (ESPECIALLY?) if you have heard these circulatin' through the tape lists for the past thirtysome years it's essential listening for the true Velvets obsessives gathered here. Remember, it's 2017 and we all need the Velvet Underground even more because frankly, because of all those amputations (and the fact that there just ain't any rock 'n roll stations anymore) this and precious few others are all we have. And ya better be appreciative about it---you have no other choice left unless you consider today's post-post-post rock an "alternative"!
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Sameti-HUNGRY FOR LOVE CD (Sireena, Germany)

Krautrock buggers always went for Sameti's Hawkwind-influenced and typically Teutonic space album on Brain Records but they never really cozied up to this followup featuring a revamped band, a commercial sound (and cover) and a new label, Warner Brothers. HUNGRY FOR LOVE was too commercial for the same audience that was just coming outta the psychedelic haze of TANZ DER LEMMINGS true, but that doesn't mean that it was a total dudster like so many made it out to be. In fact I gotta align myself with the pro-HUNGRY crowd (all three of 'em!) which has deemed this 'un a fantastic outta-nowhere surprise and a downright listenable mid-seventies punk rock excursion that of course woulda been turded upon by those "real" punk types who, along with their spiritual spawn seen popping up at antifa and related neo-Marxist rallies these days, look pretty assholeish when compared to the authentic brand.

Michael Paul Ferrera in the pages of FUTURE called HUNGRY Germany's answer to RAW POWER and he did have a point. Not that it sounds like an atonal homage to that overdriven monsterwerk but it does have the same sense of energy and knock the audience out power and might. At times its a Slade stomper and at others a weird shift back to BLACK MONK TIME's robot riff rock. Just give a listen to the LP opener (aptly entitled "Intro") where a guy imitating an Amerigan radio dee-jay talkin' pidgin English gives these guys a rave up unheard since KICK OUT THE JAMS.

True nothing here approaches the frenzy of those Detroit pioneers but hey, they do a really good job kicking up the testosterone almost in the same way the Good Rats did on their first platter. Best track's the all out closer entitled "More and More" which has a fake live audience cheering while the band pumps you up and up until you think you're gonna explode like a balloon! Good stuff here that's been washed under the import bin rug because it doesn't sound like what krautrock is supposed to sound like, but if you're big on hard pop bonecrusher early punk doings then this record might at least (in part) help you have that good time you've been denying yourself for quite a longer time than any of us can imagine.

Don't be anti-Sameti-ic...buy a copy and kick out them jams Teutonic-style!
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Iggy & the Stooges-ST. LOUIS AMERICAN THEATRE 10/8/1973 CD-r burn

I don't care what the ever-tightening sphincter types out there in rock criticism land say, I can listen to any of these Stooges live shows and find something noteworthy and fresh even if the set list might be exactly the same as every other tape from that particular timescope. Portions of the St. Louis show have been previously released, but it's sure nice hearin' these all in one big gulp as the action (tension) unfolds before your very ears and the man called Iggy proves once again why he was the real king of the slag heap in an era when there were many pretenders (some legit, mind ya) to the throne. SQ is raw, but this is probably the way it sounded to alla those tender ears of the day weaned on Cat Stevens records.
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MX-80 Sound-SO FUNNY LP (Feeding Tube Records, available via Forced Exposure)

The grand return of MX-80 Sound after a good decade or so of virtual zilch, and it is a good return indeed! Nothing super special mind you, but it does sound like a grand attempt to recapture seventies glories of those over-the-scalp Ralph albums that solidified this band's rep as a different 'n the usual batch to contend with. Bruce Anderson's guitar playing is as overdrive shards of sound  as you'd expect after all these years, and Rich Stim comes off just as young 'n addled as he did back in the mid-seventies when he was. Dale Sophiea is back on bass guitar (is that his son on drums???) while Jim Hrabetin handles the third guitar spot making for an even fuller sound if you can imagine that. Lyrics are typically witty, humorous, deadpan, dry, sardonic and various other words that'll have you rushing to the dictionary, and frankly I don't know how I could have lived so long without hearing this (actually I do, Bob Forward burned this for me but the darn thing kept sticking!). The cartoon cover belies the fact that this is a head on collision into a roadblock of sound, and if you were in on the trip way back when then hey, why bug out now?
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Philip Glass-TWO PAGES, CONTRARY MOTION, MUSIC IN FIFTHS, MUSIC IN SIMILAR MOTION CD (Elektra/Nonesuch)

I grew to hate Philip Glass with a passion in the eighties if only because of the more spiritual-than-thou commercial brand he had acquired thanks to his soundtracks for films with titles I cannot pronounce and general fru-fruness by association (the Dalai Lama???). Gotta get those impure thoughts outta my system if only because I can't deny that the guy's earlier works were pretty darn good in their own repetitive modern classical this can appeal to you if you like krautrock sorta way. In fact, if you think of the Philip Glass Ensemble not as a collection of serious experimental musicians playing at art galleries but as a wild Velvet-y rock group with nothing but cheap "96 Tears" organs and saxes and flutes and weirdo ooh-wah vocals playing at Max's Kansas City the concept works pretty swell.

Two long OP albums (one hard to find, the other not so) appear on this Nonesuch collection giving us an idea of what the Glass Ensemble were up to long before they hit the art snob prime time. The Shandar tracks are stripped down to the basics either with Glass solo or with pianist Michael Reisman sounding much like the Glass of the seventies albeit without much of the added dimension that the Ensemble gives this music. Still mesmerizing and able to grasp your attention nodes the same way Terry Riley's PERSIAN SURGERY DERVISHES does at two inna morn. Come to think of it, there is a marked resemblance between "Two Pages" and that epochal all-night wonder which means that if you have the late-night jitters and want some appropriate sounds to exacerbate the experience you can't do better than this!

The rest came out on Glass's own Chatham Square label which is still easy enough to locate and affordable t'boot, but this might be the cheaper alternative and besides you also get the Shandar disc and just try latching onto one of those! These feature the Ensemble in all or in part and like the Shandar material feature more of that etude-y music that you (I will admit) do have to get your third ear in gear to understand and digest. But hey, it's a whole lot easier to digest this sorta sound than it is to put up with the use of staid hippie jargon like "third ear" to describe focusing on music via deeper level's'n just having it on while you pop the blackheads off your nose (which is still a valid option if you wanna get even more hippiedippy about it).

A worthy spin for those searching for such worthiness, but remember that after NORTH STAR it really does get worse no matter how many times VANITY FAIR and their likes may have told you otherwise.
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Brother Jack McDuff-SOUL CIRCLE CD-r burn (originally on Prestige Records)

I dunno about you but I was bored stiff by McDuff's organ soul jazz sounds which reminded me more of some e-zy listening piped in sound I woulda heard in a Holiday Inn restaurant during one of those family getaways. It figures that one of the leading lights of seventies schmuck jazz, George Benson, performs on two tracks. McDuff shoulda been locked in a closet and forced to listen to all of Larry Young's output in order before he was allowed to go near any keyboard.
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Various Artists-EMERGENCY EMPTY CONTRIBUTION SPOON CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

First off, whazzaheck is the ol' TEENA comic strip by Hilda Terry doin' headin' off this particular Bill burn cover??? Bill told me that he bought a collection of TEENA comics that GOLDEN AGE REPRINTS released a short while back and thought they were pretty lame girly stuff unworthy of anyone's attention. I requested he review the book in question to share his opinions with us iggerant readers but he's rebuffed that comment for some occult reason or another, probably because it was that dudsville that it didn't deserve any additional precious pixel time. However, he did put an example of the strip on this cover and although it ain't exactly barf-worthy like a good portion of the strips seen today are (which are not surprisingly also drawn by a batch of so-called "females" who shoulda been kept away from the pens and shoved in front of Easy-Bake ovens as turdlers) you can't deny that this particular example is kinda iffy. I guess Bill is trying to pull my chain, or daisy, or leg, and hopefully NOTHING ELSE!!!

Comics aside, I thought this was gonna be another one of those garage band-y collections Bill has the sense to send my way. Sorta like his version of BACK FROM THE GRAVE only done up by people who were too corny to come up with anything as outta tune spazz and the music that ended up on those legendary plats. Bill did have the smarts to sneak in some old commercials in between tracks (and one extended romp that sounds like someone changing the radio dial 'round 1940 way) and that always brightens these things up, and the tracks once again range from good corny to slick corny to non-corny. I like them all, even Martin and the Radicals' "I Lied" which had a nice '66 dirge sound to it that nobody could dance to but then again, who reading this blog dances? Overall a fun collection featuring a variety of garage-y offerings done up by guys who might as well have lived next door to you, but sheesh, why the STEREO REVIEW Cee-Dee propaganda anyway?