Friday, December 31, 2010


Now that might be more than a "tad" off mark since, once you get down to it, 2010 wasn't really that suck-like! In fact, even an old curmudgeon such as I must 'fess up that the past rotation had quite a few surprises in it that made the past 365 bearable despite us heading deeper and deeper into that monstrosity we're all stuck in that's goin' by the name 21st century! Naturally for some people 2010 sure might have been pretty dire indeed and yeah, I've had my own ups and downs during the past rotation that I'd prefer not to bore you with, but there were still plenty of interesting if occult occurrences which made me glad that I didn't deep six outta boredom back when the bleak future we're now living in seemed like a strange ominous prediction.

Of course things just ain't like they were back in dem so-called "good ol' days" of the sixties/seventies when we were still runnin' on postwar baby-boomer (in the best suburban UHF-TV Studebaker Lark speak) gas fumes. Why, just recently I was thumbing through that oddly-dimensioned third issue of CAN'T BUY A THRILL reading Russell Desmond's William Tell-esque rundown regarding his own bests and worsts during the Year Of Our Ig 1976. I couldn't help but just think about how important rock & roll (and overall snide kultur) was back then to the point where a man like Desmond could at least pick out enough subject matter to comment coherently about and within the sturdy frame of a firmly-cemented rock mindset t'boot! Yeah, some might have considered them seventies a big dull dark era that was just beggin' for them punk rockers to come around and save it (and to an extent they were RIGHT), but as Russell's picks and opines proved there was still a strong current of interesting and perhaps even meaningful sounds being made that would warrant a good five or so pages of etapoint commentary regarding what was and wasn't so hotcha during a time which I do remember quite fondly (in some respects)! And this from a guy in Louisiana who certainly wasn't what you'd call a big name in the rock screeding game yet whose opines were way more relevant and important than the vast majority of tastemakers with their own columns in big city newspapers nationwide.

Even when Desmond would carry on about his disappointment at the way Patti Smith's career was developing at least some interesting ammo with which to express his dismay was being utilized. His unique proclaiming regarding the TEENAGE PERVERSITY AND SHIPS IN THE NIGHT as being the best bootleg of the year which is where Patti should have continued the creative trek she began on HORSES 'stead of RADIO ETHIOPIA has a particularly truthful ring to it, not forgetting his quite snide observation regarding her sunglasses (!) winning the "Worst Prop of the Year" award showing that her need for a pose had overcome her control and use of it! Shifting to today what kind of analogy could be made with whatever celebrity out there is capturing the hearts and minds of people in general...could Lady Caga's choo-choo train tattoo be considered a "prop"? Sheesh, I am so old that I remember when the avant garde was supposed to be some funhouse-mirror reflection of contemporary values and mores, not just another arm of the corporate powers that be who "pretend" otherwise.

So yeah, I will try to do my darndest (despite 2010 being the year where I burned myself out seemingly for all eternity!) in relaying to you just what and wasn't worth my, or perhaps your while this year. Don't come down on me too hard if I fail...and like I said it ain't gonna be as fun or special as it woulda been back in the past century when music and entertainment were geared towards people who think like I do (and really, how many of that rare breed are left on this earth?) but, as usual, I will try to translate it all into a down-to-earth talk-to-you language you can understand. But all I gotta say here in the early years of a century that certainly ain't an Amerigan one nor a Western one for that matter (methinks it's a Muslim one, or at least it's turning out that way) is...boy do I sure have my work cut out for me!

ALBUM OF THE YEAR!: JAS's LIVE AT JEROME'S comes to mind as being perhaps thee most indicative of the cyborg world in which we are all forced to live in. It may suit some and repel others, but I find it particularly conduit to the particulate clime where we have all been reduced to having the emotions and reasoning of machines. Runners up, the Sir Plastic Crimewave and Derek Rogers disques on Kendra Steiner Edition, also indicative of a number of things I wouldn't want to be indicative about for a million years but they sure know how to make it all the more engaging. You can bet that I'm looking forward to more from Mr. Painter, one of the last true intellects in "rock", and Kendra Steiner Edition's new Cee-Dee imprint in the coming months.
SINGLE OF THE YEAR!: Actually a tie between the Rudolph Grey and Rudolph Grey/Arthur Doyle discs on the Foreign Frequency label! Between the artwork and the actual recordings extant (late-period no wave vintage sounds circa TR3/last days of Max's) these are the bold under-the-underground records that I was hoping and praying for back during those cold winter nights of 1980! Reminds me of the time I would spend thumbing through the New Music Distribution Service catalog looking for anything related to the avant garde jazz/underground rock crossover happening in New York City! Thirty years is a long time to wait, and who knew that I was the patient type?
EP OF THE YEAR!: The Sediment Club one on the Soft Spot label...second-generation underground rock in a post-generation world. Or something like that.
REISSUE OF THE YEAR!: The latest version of the Doug Snyder/Bob Thompson DAILY DANCE CD with the bonus track. C'mon, you can use ten copies of it like I have!
ARCHIVAL RARITY OF THE YEAR!: the Josef Vondruska/Umela Hmota 3/Dom 2-CD set on Tamizdat. Review forthcoming in UGLY THINGS and hey, if you wanna get it you should know how to do so by now!
BOOTLEG OF THE YEAR!: Can's OGAM OGAT, those outtakes from the TAGO MAGO sessions which are so intriguing they make me wonder why hours of classic Can remains locked up in the vaults at Sloss Norvenich when it should be widely available for us fanatics. C'mon Schmidt, Czukay and Leibzeit, issue more your early wares for us starving fans 'stead of boring us with those extremely dodgy solo releases you've been doing these past thirtysome years, savvy?
BOOK OF THE YEAR (ROCK & ROLL DIVISION)!: Nick Kent's APATHY FOR THE DEVIL, an autobiography/seventies rock history which only goes to prove that a feller can spend the entire decade not only becoming a respected rock writer for a major English music weekly but a close confidant of the Stones, Led Zeppelin, Iggy, T. Rex and Rod Stewart while helping form the Sex Pistols and breaking up and making up with a future "I'm My Own Woman" eighties rocker (Chrissie Hynde), all the while harboring a huge heroin addiction while living on the streets. And what's more, actually survive well into the upcoming century and live to tell us worshipers from afar about it either as a warning or perhaps a snide self-congratulating homage! (Not quite since Kent admits to his own personal failings throughout the book, but still I get the sneaking suspicion that he considers himself to have been quite a Jerk the Lad!) Makes me wish that the violent, decadent, addled seventies never did give way to the squeaky clean eighties with all of the pomposity and heavy-handedness we were unfortunately subjected to!
BOOK OF THE YEAR (OTHERWISE)!: The collection of ARCHIE comic strip dailies which was "about time" considering how talk about such a series had been going on for years. But hey, better these strips get reprinted now than after I go blind. And of course anyone who reads this will go blind after looking at the outright pulchritude of Betty and Veronica drawn Bob Montana-style! If only women looked like this in real life...
FANZINE OF THE YEAR!: The entire run of Gene Kehoe's IT'S A FANZINE received last spring, which certainly helped re-invigorate my love for the classic Golden/Silver/early-Bronze Age titles that made being eleven less gnarly. Highly recommended and worth the relative pittance it costs to obtain 'em all!
DEATH OF THE YEAR!: Out of many (Mitch Miller, Alex Chilton, Ari Up, Leslie Nielsen, Blake Edwards???), one: CAPTAIN BEEFHEART. This really did take me by surprise especially since I was only writing about him on this blog a good week before he died! Well, at least I gave him a good enough review which I won't have to go back and revise due to some personal shame kinda like a lotta people who dumped on DOUBLE FANTASY did after Lennon deep-sixed. A man to be reckoned with (despite claims of a heavy Mansonoid influence on his bandmates) mainly because he knew when to scat from the music business when the scatting was good! Close second: Tuli Kupferberg, a man who proved that you could wander about the lower Manhattan stratum for decades and still be considered punk extraordinaire, w/o even really knowing what a punk is! (Tho I know he did...witness his Woody Guthrie-inspired ode to the New York punk scene published in a 1977 VILLAGE VOICE.)
BLOG TO COMM POST OF THE YEAR!: Time to be subjective and toot my own honker here, my fave of the past hundred-plus posts just having to be my "trip down seventies decadence lane" where not only do I get to refresh myself as to the inner dimensions and workings of the mid-seventies New York rock scene via some old articles in THE AQUARIAN but sneak in a snap of Anya Phillips looking beautifully squeaky-clean right before she decided to go the s&m route! And wasn't it a week or so earlier when I clued you in to all of the first wave-era Cleveland underground information heretofore unknown information copped from some microfilms??? No wonder I have such fond memories of the late winter season!
BLOG OF THE YEAR!: Although I had a strict rule not to give this award to the same blog twice I feel that I must do otherwise...THE HOUND BLOG continues to be the most information-packed (w/o the standard bullshit filler) blog extant anywhere and that includes this very read you're perusing with your own eyeballs. As far as rock & roll or blues or country or music in general, Jim Marshall just can't be beat and we all look like pretenders when lined up next to him. Other bests of the year include YOWP, your guide to the early Hanna-Barbara cartoons that I find a gas re-living myself, WAITAKERE WALKS and the various Serena WmS. Burroughs blogs that can be easily enough picked up on the left. All the others have stayed the same or nose-dived into utter feh. Hope '11's the year for a big blog upswing!
GAG OF THE YEAR!: My fake five-minute retirement which actually got a few faithful souls worried that this blog really was down for the count!
BUMMER OF THE YEAR!: FOUR individuals who promised me some items that really would have brightened up my life (fanzines and a rare recording) but did a c.t. on me and failed to deliver leaving me frustrated to no end! If the initials "C.T." don't mean anything to you, just ask...someone other than me!
HERO OF THE YEAR!: Julian Assange...a whole lot better to stick up for this free speecher than it is to champion Theo Van Gogh if you ask me! Makes me glad to know that the internet can be used for more than self-appointed arbiters of whatever prattling off about their deep-seated knowledge of feh, while being supported by deep-pocketed parents no doubt. And what's really strange about the entire affair is that it was none other than Millionaire Marxist Michael Moore who got the guy bailed out...sheesh, you'd think a staunch left wing subversive like Moore would have nothing but disgust and ire for the entire Wikilinks project considering how just about every political angle extant (even some that Moore champions!) falls victim to its (deserved) prey. Well, I guess the guy was put on Earth for a good purpose after all!
THE THING THAT'S BEEN BUGGING THE DAYLIGHTS OUTTA ME ALL YEAR AWARD!: does that article by Meltzer about him being a bunkmate of Charles Manson at Boy's Town (which reportedly infuriated the former cult leader) even exist?
See you in the gnu year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Various Artists-KRIS NEEDS PRESENTS...DIRTY WATER: THE BIRTH OF PUNK ATTITUDE 2-CD set (Year Zero England, available through Forced Exposure)

Talk about sayin' one thing and doin' another (sheesh, maybe Jay Hinman was right to call me on the carpet for my brazen hypocrisy!). Here I go dishing out hard-begged money for this more or less history of punk rock collection of which 99.999...% of the tracks enclosed already resides somewhere in the bunker, and this after bitching and moaning to you readers about how I will NEVER AGAIN purchase various music compilations brimming with toonz I've possessed for years! I know what you're STOOPID of me to do something as cost-worthy as this, especially when I could be using my entertainment allotment for items a whole lot more unique to my ever-brimming collection of records and tapes! Really, aren't there already way too many punk history collections out there tracing the style all the way back to some old 101ers or Damned track totally ignoring anything prior to 1976 not to mention the Amerigan/Continental slant on the form? I remember the import bins just chock fulla 'em at one time and they all seemed kinda worthless, but this one's remarkably different so maybe it's not like my purchase was a total waste after all!

Far from it, for this ain't another slapdash toss out being dangled in front of the puerile punque class who've suddenly come upon quite a bitta dosh, nor is it yet another mangling of the NUGGETS credo either! Naw, this one's a pretty durn good excavation of the whole p-rock attitude/make up and not only that but it covers all of the bases (and a few you didn't expect) while revealing exactly what it was that eventually gathered as that big pimple on the ass of the music industry some time during the jaded seventies. And to put the frosting on the balls it's a pretty smart collection that was compiled by a smart guy so why should anyone with half-a-braincell complain?

Considering that the more-than-half-a-braincelled person behind the selection, execution and 76-page enclosed booklet is none other than Kris Needs what else really can be said? Although Needs' moniker might not register within the canyons of your mind it does in this rockfan's cranium, he being one of the rescuers and leading lights during the late-seventies days of ZIGZAG magazine having single-handedly having dragged it up from its SoCal singer/songwriter and prog-rock origins by updating it for the new generation of wastrels, resulting in an even better magazine than it had been earlier! (It was good enough to begin with, if one would only bleeb over the hefty coverage of the English College Nerd sounds being pushed and get to the Beefheart of the matter!) Needs was also a major contributor to (well, at least he got his name in it!) AYLESBURY ROXETTE, a rather good if neglected fanzine from back in the days when fanzines really did seem to matter to those lucky enough to afford 'em. And even when I wasn't looking his name would pop up here and there whether it be an issue of CREEM METAL ROCK & ROLL or some other forgotten relic of the eighties which seemed like such a frustrating time for high energy rockers like myself. Well, at least he was still at it while many of his seventies compats had died or were withering on the sidelines being replaced by a buncha dolts who were so outta-it that they couldn't even tell a Jaki Leibzeit from a Chris Karrer!

Needs is definitely one of the all-time best English rock writers ever and one who fortunately didn't do any skedaddling unlike many a promising talent. He's perhaps even up there with Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray and Mick Farren as far as all-important English rockscribes go and eons ahead of such over-rated swill as Julie Burchill and Caroline Coon in case you needed to be clued into that piece of well-disseminated information. Needs' style was always affable down-to-earth talk-to-you, a Lester Bangs Jr. and undoubtedly one of the few scribes on either side of the ocean left who doesn't exactly make longtime followers such as me wanna puke like I tend to when coming across some of the modern-day rock "critiquing" extant on the web and elsewhere.

Listening to his personal selection of punk credo favorites whilst reading his still-astute scribblings in the waning days of 2010 is akin to getting a blast from the high energy past tossed at you at a time when you thought that it was all dead 'n buried and you were the last goon standing. I'll tell you, this set excites me the same way that CLE magazine. BACK DOOR MAN and THE NEW YORK ROCKER could, or listening to the CBGB and Max's albums/playing Rocket From the Tombs for the very first time, or spinning the Troggs even only now I'm an old and decrepit living-in-the-past washup who obviously doesn't know that life and music has passed me by! And hey, in the here and now very few things such as music or rock raving can penetrate my obviously burned out psyche to heights such as this, and for that I give DIRTY WATER extremely high marks for attaining what I had thought would have been the impossible!

Acting his typically unsettled self, Needs throws everything at us under the guise of presenting a "proto-punk" history lesson and hey, the mess actually WORKS! Starting with the sixties garage greats then heading into late-sixties territory before trailing into glamville and the local Amerigan precursors working in their own private vacuums, Needs presents for us a slew of punk-relevant platters in a seemingly willy-nilly fashion but his narrative style and the way the Seeds to T. Rex to Sun Ra (!) flows naturally makes it all seem like...the most logical way to present this music dontcha think?

Disque one sets the stage with two "NUGGETS"-period classics, the first being none other than the Standells' mid-sixties smash which this collection takes its title from whilst the second's none other than the Seeds' all-time under-the-radar fuzz fave "Evil Hoodoo". From there we go from the Deviants' '67 "Defecting Grey" re-chop "Garbage" to the Pink Fairies "Do(ing) It" to Gene Vincent to the Flamin' Groovies and T. Rex on and on through Mott the Hoople (doing "Moon Upstairs" which was so in-cue with the late-sixties hard-slop ideal that even the Dictators covered it!) and the Monks, not forgetting Sun Ra, MC5/Up/Stooges and all points in between. Definitely a nice cross-section of just exactly what there was out there passing for a pre-punk gulcher in sound, and what makes it all so crucial is that Needs manages to keep the continuity with his tell-it-to-ya style that works in a strangely copasetic way few really could successfully pull off.

The other platter continues on the same path of fanzine-inspired punk wretchedness starting off with HAVE A MARIJUANA-era David Peel, a guy who probably would have been taken more seriously as a New York Rocker had John & Yoko left him alone to Suicide, the Silver Apples, the Dolls, the Last Poets (!!!) and a few too-close-to-punk-to-actually-be-it types as Dr. Feelgood and the Saints. Even Rocket From the Tombs, the Dictators, the Red Crayola (here billed as Red "Krayola" but since this was before the suit I beg for accuracy) and the oft ignored Third World War pop up which only goes to show the spindly roots of the thing we call punk rock which had been spreading about and nurturing for a pretty long time before the news finally hit Mr. and Mrs. Front Porch.

Even a few wha' th' hey? surprises pop up such as the Silhouettes' '57 chart-topper "Get a Job" which, while seemingly out of place amongst the likes of Iggy and Sky, eventually makes more sense appearing here than it would had the song ended up on some "History of Protest and Social Consciousness" collection back in the early-seventies! Don't laugh...I remember back when I was twelve reading some Scholastic Magazine-issued book on "rock" which traced the evolution of the early-seventies "relevant" stylings all the way back to "Get a Job" and "Summertime Blues" which I gotta say seemed silly enough of a statement to make even back then! Of course this was all just a typically early-seventies aimed-at-the-brats dissection of the entire BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN-esque youth doldrums custom made for all of the armchair hippies I used to go to school with, but sheesh, the idea that somebody could have actually made such a boneheaded statement such as this should've made me chop up the entire sixth-grade classroom with an ax outta pure angst! I mean, going from such fun expressions of youthful frustration as "Get a Job" and "Summertime Blues" to the solemn swill of "Easy to be Hard" and "Things Get a Little Easier (Once You Understand)" is quite a harrowing ride but back then some writer evidently made the connection in his own 1971 moralistic socially unconscious way. Wonder what he's doing now...probably got raped to death by some street gang during his tenure as a social worker in the roughest part of town in order to "atone" for his own whiteness.

And boy, hearing the Sensational Alex Harvey Band bellowing out "Vambo" really sent me back to the spring of 1975, a place I wouldn't want to spend any time other'n for the fact that I was constantly listening to THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM which I guess shows that maybe I wasn't as retrogarde as I always remember myself being.

Strangely enough the entire shebang ends with a track by reggae meisters Culture, and although I never cozied up to that particular style like the English nebs who fostered it on us in the first place did it does seem like the most fitting way to end a good 2 1/2 hours of sonic eruption. But really, I don't understand the appeal of reggae music which never did hit any deep core being within my soul or some other hippie babble like avant garde music or punk did. Maybe somebody could explain it to me without resorting to using sick white liberal jargon.

Needs' enclosed booklet would make for a mandatory purchase even on its lonesome, if only for the insight and recollections he poured into detailing the backgrounds and personal opines regarding each of the acts appearing here. In fact if he would have offered us the book only and left us do the musical gathering ourselves I would have been happy enough. It is nice hearing all of this music in one compact set though and true, I would have done it quite differently had I been the well-respected longtime rock journalist being asked to compile a proto-punk double-disc history, but I still find Needs' opinions, tastes and general execution of this project way more than the adequate and undoubtedly vastly superior to how it would have materialized in the hands of your typical industry hack. In fact, the entire project is a pretty ingenious work of rock craftsmanship...kinda makes me wish that there was still a ZIGZAG magazine looking like it did back in the very early seventies with a more fanzine pallor to it if only so's I could read the raves of the likes of Needs regularly 'stead of having to bid on crumbling old issues via ebay whenever the homesickness hits.

But hey, even though I am not a rockscribe star maybe I am capable enough of creating my own version of DIRTY WATER. Of course it won't go by that name since I would leave that particular track off the list, but no matter what name gets slapped on the thing it would make for a great double-set. Perhaps it would be a compilation that's even more high-energy and mind-expanding because it comes from my suburban Amerigan ethos which Needs would know nada about, but who knows. Imagine in some other, better dimension where my talents are recognized and my fame and fortune achieved, a double Cee-Dee set consisting of what I would consider the most important proto-punk items extant complete with a 76-page screed choc full of insightful, free-flowing revelations and reiterations regarding an era it seems just about everybody but the most manic of rocksters have forgotten. (Note some similarities to the actual deal, though being on the same wave-current some of our personal opines would undoubtedly clash.):


Mickey Hawks and the Nightriders-"Bim Bam Boom"
The Rock-A-Teens-"Woo Hoo"
The Primitives-"The Ostrich"
Sandy Bull-"Memphis"
The Deviants-"I'm Coming Home"
The Sonics-"Cinderella"
Sonny Sharrock-"Soon"
The Electric Eels-"Roll On Big O"/"No Nonsense"/"Spin Age Blasters" (live)
Smegma-"Auto Suk"
Big Brother and the Holding Company-"Light is Faster Than Sound"
Mogen David and the Winos-"Nose Job"
Chinaboise-"The Greatest Story Ever Told"
The Magic Tramps-"Ode to James Dean"
Les Rallizes Denudes-"Smokin' Cigarette Blues"
Amon Duul I-"Snow Your Thrust and Sun Your Open Mouth"
Mahogany Brain-"Hot Milk Elbow"


Rocket From The Tombs-"Sonic Reducer" (with opening restored)
Budgie-"Homicidal Suicidal"
Umela Hmota 3-"Radzi Bychbyl z Kamene"
Patti Smith-"Brian Jones"
Cromagnon-"Ritual Feast of the Libido"
Kongress-"Space Savior"
Art Ensemble of Chicago-"Rock On"
Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters-"The Aerospace Inferno"
The Red Krayola-"Listen to This"
Yoko Ono-"AOS"
Stalk-Forrest Group-"St. Cecelia"
Spunky Spider-"You Won't Come"
Moses-"Shock Treatment"
The Left Banke-"Love Songs in the Night"
Eno-"Seven Deadly Finns"
Tony Williams' Lifetime-"Beyond Games"
Monti Rock III-"The Tennessee Waltz" (from THE MERV GRIFFIN SHOW)

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Yes, while other bloggers take it easy 'n treat Christmas as some special sorta day they can use as an excuse to get drunk and engage in other religious behavior, I definitely will not shirk from my doodies which is exactly why I'm presenting for you my typical weekend posting on this Holy Day despite any natural tendencies I may have to goof off! And work hard at presenting for you a blog to take the wind outta your sails I will! Anyway, hope you like this particular classic Kelly Freas-period MAD Christmas Issue cover I've posted to "festivize", or is it "festivate"??? the solemn occasion. Yeah the pic is "bugged" as you can plainly see, but considering what little I have to work with you just better be satisfied with what you get! I'm still trying to locate the back cover of this particular issue featuring Alfred E.'s onetime galpal Moxie Cowznofski who might just be the star of NEXT YEAR'S X-mas post, that is if something dread doesn't befall me in the meantime! The way things are going I take it the odds are 50/50 but I'm not taking bets either way...yet.

'n yeah I know, Christmas just ain't Christmas like it used to be. How many previous Holiday posts have I complained about that sorry state of affairs! Sheesh, it's like you can't even practice the Joyous Noel publicly anymore lest you "offend" someone (and really, the way various people go out of their way to offend me why shouldn't I get a little "get back" as the black kids usedta say?). And while I'm at it whatever happened to the Christmases I used to have when I was a young upstart brat? What happened to all of those marionette tee-vee specials about Clement Moore writing "The Night Before Christmas" 'n stuff like that which channel 33 used to run the day before Christmas in the mornings 'stead of THE LITTLE RASCALS, specials that were pretty cheesy but I used to watch 'em anyway because I thought that's what I was supposed to do! (Speaking of which...what ever happened to THE LITTLE RASCALS because as far as I can tell even cable won't run these classic comedies anymore! I guess Bill Cosby finally got his way after all, eh?) AND (re. the cheese ref. above), why all of a sudden is nobody givin' out assorted cheeses and spreads with summer sausage and a small loaf of pumpernickel bread, gifts that were so popular back in the seventies yet are scarcely found these days??? I really loved peeling off that thin aluminum to get to a wedge of tangy processed cheese food which I would then devour in one gulp and I'd rather get a box of assorted cheeses than I would a gift certificate to a health spa anyday!

While I'm on a Christmas Spirit roll, where did those family Christmas parties where us kids would get into fights and dad would haul me off into some room to whip the living daylights outta me skeedaddle off to as well? Whatever happened to all of that confusion and despair because you still didn't get what you wanted for the third straight year, and it was gonna look silly asking for a Vac-U-Form when you're twelve? Oh yeah, and how about that feeling you got when you finally arrived at that age and you were still getting stoopid things like hand puppets which made you feel rather queasy inside---like this is supposed to be a gift and you should be gracious and all but what do your parents think of you if they're giving you kindergarten items such as this? Yes, those Christmases are forever gone, and as sure as shit Lang smells it wasn't the Grinch who stole 'em! More like Father Time and the fact that baby-boomer kiddie sentiments (from roughly about 1948-1976) and the entertainment/existences that went with them were flushed down the toidy of life along with everything else I used to hold near and dear to my heart!

Let's just say that here in 2010 the same whacked out Holiday Spirit that had me going whole hog at the record store the day after with a load of mad money are a thing of the past, along with the records and the record shops (now Cee-Dee Supermarkets) that used to be the hub of youth activity for a pretty long time. As we all know shopping for disques sure ain't the same as pouring through bins of albums, and come to think of it turning on a television with hundreds of stations to choose from yet not being able to find SUPERHOST is also a sign that the more we get, the less we really have.

And yeah, that really is a hard lump I'm tryin' to get down my throat thinkin' about alla them cool Christmases that were happening gosh, a good forty, fifty, even fifty-five years back when life was fun, or at least it was for suburban ethnic kids like myself whose families were on the upswing and living in ranch houses with big chrome-laden monstrosities in the garage and role models like Eddie Haskell on the boob tube paving the way for what we thought was a bright future. Anybody who thinks we're better off nowadays is nuts plain and simple...being old enough to remember the baby boom-era having been born towards the end of it I sure can recall the energy and excitement that went into Christmases of yore. Considering that the money was pretty good...even mill workers were getting a heck of a lot and were able to pull themselves up from poverty real fancy-like...parents really knew how to spread the wealth onto their kids when the Holiday Season arrived. It wasn't just oranges and figs in the stockings! It also was a time when one could stretch out and have some real fun. And of course bolstered by a world of hot tee-vee, great high-energy music, snazzy automobiles and space-age thrills nothing could beat pure existence unless you were malformed physically or mentally. Not like today where Christmas is just another day off...yeesh!

Enough holiday cheer (which I can forget about as well...y'see, with this diet I'm on I can't even think about downing a few cartons of eggnog considering the extremely high caloric intake! As far as putting some alcoholic stimulation into it well...that would be asking too much!) are some writeups of recently experienced items I whisked together mostly outta boredom if anything. I must admit that I still do like to play at being the big time rock critic fan/writer, a James Woolcott for the 'teens so to speak telling you all what is worthy of your time and hard-earned and what ought to be left rotting on the slag heap of feh where the scavengers can scoop it up. Well, it does help to whittle away the hours especially in these post-energy times, and if anybody out there is still trying to cling to the high energy past in an era where cyberspace is turning entire nations into tech-mad hermits (not a bad thing come to think of it--keeps 'em off the streets though not necessarily out of trouble) it would be me! Feel thankful for once in your pallid lives, savvy?

Soft Machine-BUNDLES LP (Harvest England)

To be honest about it, I dunno exactly why I picked this particular album up. Probably for nostalgic reasons considering how BUNDLES was one of those overpriced imports that I thought was really cool because it wasn't getting any release in the United States so it musta been something real special. Kids tend to think that way, only when it's about three decades past being one maybe you should do a little checking in at the nearest rest home! But for the life of me the New English Jazz/Rock thingie really never did light any fires under my buttocks, one reason why I never bothered to review the Nucleus CDs I purchased well over two years ago even though they keep turning up like bad pennies while I comb through stacks of Cee-Dees teetering in my bedroom!

The English new jazz was perhaps too straight and fusion-y for my own personal tastes, and like why should I bother hearing privileged white Englishmen do something that Miles Davis did a whole lot better a few years earlier and for a whole lot less for that matter? And maybe that is a copout answer, but I still find the perfection and sterility downright irritating!

This is the last Soft Machine album "proper" as they say. The only surviving member of the group at this point was keyboardist Mike Ratledge who more or less won the tauntin after fellow original Soft Machinists Robert Wyatt, Kevin Ayers and Daevid Allen jumped ship. Ratledge himself would vamoose shortly after this '75 album hit the that point the group just became "The Softs" which is probably a whole different chapter in the book on English jazz fusion but I'll let someone else write that!

It's also important to note that this is the first Soft Machine (and later on "Softs") album to be released on the Harvest label who, figuring how they had their finger in a whole load of progressive rock schtickdom not only in England but on the continent, should have signed 'em ages back. Considering that this was released before Harvest branched out into other realms of decidedly non-prog rock excursions (Wire, Professor Longhair, Little River Band?, Cliff Richard???) this might be one of the last albums on that label that retained at least a spark of the British prog ideal even though Wire sure did the label proud with their assortment of Syd Barrett posturings!

But if you can only get the notion of BUNDLES being a "progressive rock" album outta your mind you might get a kick outta this 'un as much as I did. Pleasant (and driving) enough jazz-cum-rock with a nice dosage of the original avant garde ideals, mixed in with the jazz rock credo of the late-sixties variety. The sound that more or less helped ooze jazz outta the college dorms and into teenage bedrooms. Some echoes of the original group are extant and although such particulars as Wyatt's whiny voice and Ratledge's overdrive organ have been replaced there's more than enough energy to this to recommend it to anybody who say, used to read through each and every issue of PENETRATION and followed it up with a quick trip to the record shop. Smart yet not nerve-racking. If you're one of those pointy-head types who liked Quiet Sun's MAINSTREAM album even though your punk pretensions had you wishing otherwise, this should appeal as well.
FOR THOSE WHO CARE, here's a full frontal photo of the '60 Meteor Montcalm (see last week's post for the scoop on this Kanadian Klassic) which looks a whole lot like its Amerigan brother only with a much bolder grille/bumper design. Not as radical as what Ford did with same basic body when creating the '60 Edsel, but flashy enough to make me stand up and take notice. And if the mere sight of this doesn't tingle your cajoobies I fear that rigor mortis of the soul has set it long ago! Again, if somebody knows where I can locate some kind of model of the '59, '60 or '61 Montcalm please notify me as soon as possible, and naturally the lowest price imaginable will be paid for each and every model that is offered. There's an economy drive going on, y'know!
Reiko Ike-YOU, BABY CD (Bamboo, England)

On a lark (and because I like feminine Asian dames) I bought a couple of those Tiquila mini-album sleeved Cee-Dees reissues from a few years back which featured a slew of Japanese "pink" actresses moaning and cooing to standard schlock backing that would do Burt Kaempfert proud. Originally released on the Victor label back in the seventies, these albums (usually featuring unclad Nipponese starlets on the cover, a salable point in itself) really must've hit the spot with the baldoid mid-aged male population over there not only with the sexy covers, but the smooth e-z listing moosh and feminine turn on speak-singing coupled with the right amt. of purrs to make some higher up at Toyota remember a youth that undoubtedly was lacking in any funtime frolics of the sort. It's easy to see just how these records could sell fast and furious given the artistes' popularity in the blue moom field especially in those pre-home entertainment days, and hey, it's very easy to imagine some lonely Japanese bachelor slipping on a side after a hard day at the factory, pouring a li'l sake and fantasizing about a pretty hot evening with the actress of his choice starin' at him on the cover as the romantic strains bellow from the hi-fi speakers. Hey, I do that all the time myself, only with Diet Dr. Pepper!

Passed on the Reiko Ike (or as they once again say, Ike Reiko which I don't quite care for because it looks like she has the same name as a former president) Tiquila pressing for some odd reason, but now that Bamboo has reissued it I figured hey, why not? Anyway, Reiko's this gal who lied about her age to get into the erotic film scene at a mere seventeen years of age, and I know that will mean nothing to some of you hillbilly types who may read this but for us red-blooded males that really does get the ol' testosterone a'pumpin'! All kidding aside, Reiko's whatcha'd call a real knockout as the album cover where she bares her left suckem will prove (not reprinted here due to the family status of this blog), and her HEY, BABY disque is yet another hotcha topper for those of you who really go whole hog for Japanese women who like to run around nude and record albums of sexy moaning to standard JaPop backing.

Purty good pop slop here; nothing that'll make you wanna toss out your Jane Birkin platters or photos but they do make for a nice accompaniment to your lonely guy jagoff collection. Reiko does it all for you within the span of thirty-one minutes as she whispers sweet Japanese nothings and does enough gasps and groans to make Donna Summer come off like a low libido'd chihuahua. A sound that will really get you suckered in, and you will let it slush all over your living room like lava flowing from the speakers as the band revs up and Reiko turns on her Far Eastern charms.

However I must alert you to the fact that there are TWO major strikes that must be held against the gal...first off she eventually got her right boobie and part of arm (on the same side) tattooed which is something I continue to find un-feminine thus ruining her natural canvas of a body, even more than if she got her eyes westernized which is a major crime in itself! (And judging from the pic posted above she might have even gotten that operation to which I say nononononononononono!!!!) Post-ink Reiko is something that I can hardly bear to look at and it is a shame she decided to ruin herself this way. Second, from the snaps shown on the innersleeve of this reissue Reiko must've done a few lezbo-styled scenes in her films and yeah I "know" that this is probably light fakeoid stuff that "some" men find entertaining (yeeesh!), but to me it's all just plain abhorrent! Really, what kinda guy would get into something like this? Maybe some old dykoid gym teacher who does shower checks in the girl's locker, but what about real people? After giving those pix an eyeballing all I's gotta say is...which way to the vomitorium!
THE HERBIE ARCHIVES by Richard E. Hughes and Ogden Whitney (Dark Horse, 2008/2009)

I've often wondered what exactly makes some otherwise pound-off-the-press item, whether it be a television program or movie or rock & roll group, important enough that not only will a "cult" of frothing fans form around it, but that enough people recognize one as such and call attention to it in a variety of publications and websites that would note these usually sundry things. True I do have more'n an inkling as to why groups such as Love or the Stooges are considered cult bands, but when it comes to other forms of entertainment I sometimes get quite confused; I mean, why do QUANTUM LEAP and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST have what could be considered cult followings yet nobody would even think that a much better presentation such as GOMER PYLE USMC would have one? The ROCKY HORROR cult of the late-seventies also comes to mind, yet anybody who seems to give Arch Hall Jr. films a serious consideration's only gonna get called a doof unless I hadn't noticed that he too has acquired enough fans to ride on the cult bandwagon with the likes of Ed Wood Jr. and Al Adamson. And while I'm at it, howcum everybody used to rant and rave about fanzines such as ROLLERDERBY to the point of cult emulation when BLACK TO COMM couldn't get arrested even if I had tried hawking copies of it in the waiting room at the Gay Men's Health Crisis Bathhouse!

Frankly I gotta admit that I never even heard of ACG's HERBIE until I happened upon a comic fanzine article on it a year or so back. Considering that ACG closed up shop a good five or so years before my comic fandom began brewing it's not like I saw HERBIE starin' at me from the stands, but sheesh I don't even recall seeing any copies of it in the piles of comic books I combed through during the height of my own collecting. Yeah, I kinda get the feeling that ACG wasn't exactly the Marvel Comics of the field, but you'd think I'd've made it through them years at least knowing who they were other'n as one of those quick flashes like the mid-seventies Atlas 'r somethin'!

But as far as off-kilter heroes go can anybody really beat Herbie? The closest correlating example I can think of offhand, Howard the Duck, comes off like a weird aberration that just happened to click while comparatively the "plump lump" has remained comfortably under the radar. If you can, imagine a mid-sixties DC title (if it weren't for the ACG logo you easily could mistake the covers for DC produce) with the late-fifties/early-sixties DC house style in tow trying for a Marvel-styled jab at the "hip" market with a penchant for satire a la ANGEL AND THE APE or THE INFERIOR FIVE. Toss in a little hint of the DC-period Joe Orlando sway and you might come close to envisioning at least how HERBIE looks and in many cases feels.

Good enough premise here thanks to creator Richard E. Hughes a.k.a. Shane O'Shea a.k.a. Leo Rosenbaum (with above adequate art from Ogden Whitney) dealing with a grossly overweight and nonchalant beyond belief kid with a vast array of special superhero powers (aided and abetted by his lollipop collection, even the "hard to get cinnamon flavor") who is constantly tackling and succeeding at everything from literally saving the world at the request of Prez Johnson and HHH to engaging in some behind-the-scenes time-traveling and other superhuman deeds in order to help his asshole knowitall father out of various foolhardy business and investment deals. Dad Pincus Popnecker's a peach himself, a particularly nebbish fellow delineated in the standard fifties/sixties straight-laced style who, besides being extremely inept at holding a job or succeeding with his inane money schemes, seems to have nothing but an abnormal loathing of for his "not like the other boys" son. Naturally Mr. Popnecker never realizes that it is this very same "little fat nothing" who continues to save him from financial ruin and in fact (re)builds his fortunes while the guy's moping around the house wallowing in a self-pity that even makes self-pity loving me puke, but that's probably just one of the reasons HERBIE tended to click for a comic-buying public who was being bowled over by the Marvel steamroller back during the height of the Silver Age!

But even with the at-times campy and forced humor, oft-used catchphrases, and backfiring jokes I won't deny that HERBIE really had something going for it from the way it transcended the entire post-Comics Code miasma to taking what was essentially a half-there concept (which began as a one-off story in the late-fifties before somehow becoming a regular feature five years later) and turning it into a pretty good continuing series that probably hooked just enough readers to keep ACG floating until they finally capsized in '67. Plus only Hughes could use the same running gags over and over and not exactly wanna bore you outta existence.

Amidst the obvious nature there is much for even jaded yourself to like about HERBIE, from the stories where he (just like short-lived comic strip hero TERR'BLE THOMPSON) assists everybody from Christopher Columbus to George Washington in achieving their particular goals making you wonder how these historical figures ever got off the ground in real life, to the ones where he dons the costume of "The Fat Fury" and even teams up with other stars of the ACG roster in a sly piss-take on the various JLA/Avengers/FF/Defenders-styled fighting hero squadrons that were rampant throughout the sixties and seventies. And throughout it all, Herbie takes the cataclysm in with a mere shrug. Men respect him, women adore him and he saves the world with powers that make Superman blanch in comparison, yet his father continually insults and berates Herbie to no avail because he doesn't meet up with his expectations of what boys are supposed to be!

To be honest wit'cha, all of this at times sounds TOO CLOSE TO HOME although I never had any special powers (or Herbie's strong emotional control) to help me through my single-digit years! This must have been one reason HERBIE lasted so long considering there were probably thousands of overweight pudges whose fathers loathed 'em that were reading this in order to get a li'l steam in their sorry lives vented! Maybe for this we should be grateful to the team of O'Shea and Whitney for really knowing how to hone in on an audience that needed a grossly overweight child superhero role model!

I'll be forthright with first I didn't cuddle up to these HERBIEs until I was about halfway through volume two; only then did the subtle satire and obvious sixties-styled put-on finally sink through the thickness of my ape-like skull. If you too will give in a little and allow these stories to seep through your conscious state a li'l you might enjoy 'em even with the by-now archaic style and repeato gags that might "offend" some though I'm positive most would understand perfectly.

Naturally more than a few have given HERBIE his just dues which is particularly why it's been an under-the-radar fave for quite some time (and fortunately under-the-radar enough that nobody has yet thought of using it as the basis for some horrid Hollywood production like the HOWARD THE DUCK fiasco of a few decades back). I mean hey, even noted comics somethingorother Alan Moore had made the statement that HERBIE is his all-time fave superhero title, and if he's been that suckered into it why not you?
Scarcity of Tanks-BLEED NOW CD (Textile Records/Total Life Society Reords)

Got this "outta nowhere" package along with a buncha fliers, poetry anthologies and various sundries including yet another issue of the ultimate in crudzines I'M GOING TO STEAL A TV! from a guy who goes by the name of Wascovich. Undoubtedly this is the same Wascovich (first name Matt) who sings on the Scarcity of Tanks Cee-Dee which also came enclosed in this nifty Priority Mail envelope. Hmmmmm, the name sounds familiar, and no wonder because only last year I wrote up a vinyl longplayer of can read my review here if the desire hits you, and given the decent levels of atonality that 'un exudes another Scarcity of Tanks recording in the boudoir is something that I find most welcome indeed.

Wascovich talk-sings over a good free-rock base, reminding me of some of the better late-eighties SST recordings when that label was "branching out" from their hardcore base. Saccharine Trust come to mind (OK, they were on the SST gravy train in the early-eighties, but they were the ones who started this ball rolling) as well as the decidedly-non SST Pluto album entitled THE FIELD RECORDINGS, an MX-80 Sound offshoot that had more'n a few perusers puking at the nudist colony gatefold sleeve than listening to the free rock spasms encoded inside. Even the long-forgotten Hollow Heyday from Boston come to mind when giving the Tanks a spin! In all a pretty exhilarating platter from these Cleveland unknowns who at least prove that the late-eighties free rock trend continues to live on in places we all thought dead years ago!
Well whaddaya know! I had that MAD back cover stored in my computer after all! So as promised, here's none other than Miss Moxie Cowznofski, onetime gal-pal of Alfred E. Neuman whose mere existence begs the question "do Alfred and Moxie know how close their bloodlines really run?", or better yet "is Alfred one of those Mick Jagger types who only dates women who look like him?????" Whatever, at least I got this one out today so's I don't have to wait an entire year to post it which I hope pleases at least one reader out there! And hey, if I don't make it to next Christmas I won't have to worry that I never did show you this rather charming portrait of Moxie! And at least with a little "cropping" I can fortunately get the "bug" outta this one, devious blogschpieler that I am and will always remain!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Here's one that, shall we say, has been quite omnipresent if you were one to tune into your local PBS station during the eighties and nineties. Back then THE GREAT GABBO seemed to pop up on local "educational television" at about the same rate various Antipodean bloggers stop in at boy brothels for some afternoon enjoyment. Of course that was back in the days when PBS, in between broadcasting rather embarrassing pro-communist/gay/feminist/you-name-it-we-have-a-documentary-for-it programming, would be filling their schedules with not only old movies but various fifties/sixties television programs that even the lowliest independent stations jettisoned ages ago. Well, at least your local PBS station's broadcasting of films such as THE GREAT GABBO hearkened back to the Golden Age of Old Movies that used to be run on your local commercial stations and sure made for a fine alternative to the championship bowling and skating finals that these movies were usually up against on some snowed-out Sunday afternoon.

Print seen (courtesy who of course don't know better) ain't exactly the tops. Was hoping for one with the original color musical numbers restored but this is just the same TV print we've seen for the past umpteen years snap crackle pops and all. Good enough if this were being shown on the legendary-in-my-living room OLD MOVIES THE GOLDEN ERA back in 1975 but nowadays I deserve more. Maybe I shouldn't complain, for this early talkie starring Erich von Stroheim as the mad and abusive ventriloquist is just the ticket for some evening viewing especially when stacked up against most anything to be found on the hundreds of stations that are being made available to us that only makes me wanna this the culture that I was born into???

The typically jaded BLOG TO COMM reader will be put off by the long-hackneyed plot later riffed on in LA STRADA and various dummy-oriented TWILIGHT ZONEs, but this was '29 and such things were undoubtedly fresh enough during the early days of sound gimmickry. You know I love old timey hackdom anyway, especially if it is of a twenties vintage and naturally just about anything with von Stroheim in it's gonna be worth at least the consideration of a viewing. Plus these transitional-era talkies are always a gas for the ear-candy which sent audiences flocking to their nearest theaters no matter how stiff and dull the actual films might have been!

Betty Compson's OK but nothing special as the loving assistant whom von Stroheim tosses around like a dishrag, and who could forget the musical numbers with Margaret Kane, the model for Betty Boop herself who actually ended up suing when things became too noticible. And to top it all off the screenplay was written by Hugh Herbert who later on starred in some of the more scabrous comedy shorts for Columbia which had the Legion of Decency doin' extra duty because of their, er, seamy subject matter!

Do films like THE GREAT GABBO still show up on television other'n on TCM at three inna morning? Maybe a local low-budget station 'round your way'll air it other'n when you're trying to fight off another bout with insomnia. It's a good 'un, really but if you can why don'tcha record it off the boob tube which is a lot better'n dishing out for the bargain-bin DVD price.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Little did the folks know that when they were "introducing" me to new and exotic foods when I was a kid they were gonna turn me into a gluttonous little pig who would voraciously attack any and all new kinds of funtime food with a mad passion. And one of the foods that really turned me into the pudge that I was and in many ways remain was tamales. Yes, I remember seeing the jars of Armour tamales in the gourmet section of Strouss' Department Store and not too soon after the tasty delicacy was beginning to appear on my lunch plate with a quite pleasing regularity. Now I like potato pirogy with butter, onions and sour cream a whole lot and matzo ball soup was just as pleasing to this palate as Campbell's Chicken and Dumplings (I've always had a soft spot for the soft doughy bready chewables), but Armour tamales were hot and spicy and everything a kid like myself could hope for. Really, I never could get enough, and pretty soon I graduated from Armour's to Old El Paso's canned variety (which came in actual little corn husks 'stead of plastic wrappers) as well as their canned enchiladas (especially the stacked kind) which for the life of me I can't find anymore.

Come to think of it I can't find Armour's tamales in a jar, or any Armour tamale product for that matter but that's not gonna stop me from getting my fill of this hot and tasty treat that continues to enthrall me lo these many years. Better than the frozen tamales I've had which seem mostly to consist of corn meal with a little bit of shredded beef or chicken inside, the prepared canned or jarred tamales marinated in chili sauce are just the thing for a hungry man's dinner menu and if nobody else on the face of this earth is gonna bring up this pertinent subject then it's up to ME to create a consumer's guide and tell you just what's out there worth your while and what's better left on the shelf. Don't worry, in a good thirty years you'll be thanking me for all this.

LA PREFERIDA TAMALES WITH SAUCE: I used to find La Preferida chicken tamales as well as their "enchiladas" (which looked and tasted more like tamales to me) and in jars as well back when the Phar Mor chain was in operation. After the Mickey Monus debacle many of the once-plentiful items that I could find and Phar Mor and Phar Mor only had suddenly disappeared, and eventually the entire chain went under but you can still find their beef tamales in cans at the local supermarket. Costly true, but at least if you're on a tamale kick and can't get anything else these will work in a pinch. Only thing is they seem a whole lot more delicate than the standard canned tamales...not necessarily in structure but in taste. Methinks it's the overuse of cornmeal and not enough filling, and although I love cornmeal to the dickens these tamales just don't cut it the way I would like a tamale to taste and feel. For famines only.
BRYAN BEEF TAMALES IN SAUCE: "The Flavor of the South" has moved north, and you'd be hard pressed to find a dollar store or Big Lots that doesn't sell Bryan's canned goodies. Their deviled ham is actually superior to Underwood's (which is too liquid-y and chunky for my own personal tastes) and their tamales are...well good enough. One bad thing about Bryan's is the amount of lard that one might find in a can of these otherwise hot and hearty tamales...I mean, it's no fun having to peel off the plastic before slipping the tamales into the microwave or saucepan, but having to pick out the lumps of chili-colored lard is especially grueling when the hunger pangs are hitting hard and fast! You never get all of 'em out anyway, and your dish always ends up with that oily gunk anyway. Sheesh, when are they gonna come out with fat-free tamales for us waist-conscious types anyway?

Other'n that Bryan's Tamales have good structure even if sometimes it seems as if the tamales are forced at gunpoint into the cans and come out all bent and decrepit looking, and the taste is reminiscent of Armour's with a hefty supply of beef inna middle. And hey, I must admit that I used 'em, lard and all, when I would make my tamale pizzas back inna '90s. What I would do is get a package of pizza dough, stretch it out onto a square cookie sheet, slice the tamales on top of it and sprinkle the lard about, then bake it all until the crust was crisp (made crisp-er by the sizzling fat) then top it all off with shredded New York Extra Sharp Cheddar! I might add some hot peppers to it as well. Whatever, it was one of those delectable delights that I better not indulge in anymore considering how years of funtime eating is undoubtedly catching up with me. But hey, do we want quantity (of life), or quality (of eats!)...the choice is up to YOU!
HORMEL TAMALES BEEF IN CHILI SAUCE:At the point in time the best on the market, and also available for a song if you hit the dollar store/Big Lots circuit. Sauce is tangy even if they do recommend you dump a can of Hormel's canned chili on it, the cornmeal is nice and firm and the seasoned meat can't be topped with its fine granulated firm packedfulness. Hormel seems to have cornered the market w/regard to canned chili and tamales, and on all fronts this one is a winner. The spices used are superior to the competition and just eating 'em plain w/o the shredded cheese or sour cream makes for a dandy dinner when the wife has had a busy day watching lesbian talk show hosts. If you think there's any brand out there that is better let me know...I'd sure like to give 'em a gulp!
There are of course many other brands of canned tamales out there from Castleberry's to the aforementioned Old El Paso's, but given their rarity in these parts I'll have to wait until a future tamale update to fill you in on 'em. But these little tubes of cornmeal wonder are so good that you can feast for a long time on nothing but tamales and never get tired of 'em like you can with filet mignon or lobster. And from a quick perusal of the web I find that there is more than one way to skin a tamale! In Chicago they sell tamales on a bun...really, they get a hot dog bun, put a de-plasticized tamale on it, then smother it all with chili sauce and chopped onions...maybe some shredded cheese too which is one variation on the form I am sure to give a go one of these days. And hey, I also read that in Vietnam you can get tamales served up on buttered Wonder Bread! Yes, who says that tamales are strictly Mexican anymore, and if you had any real sense of culinary excitement why settle for the pate you will be served up this evening and run down to the nearest bargain store and get yerself a few cartons of canned tamales. Given the influx of Mexican immigrants to the United States this could be the next big staple food, and the more tamales in your pantry the better I will continue to say throughout my undying days!


Why am I typing this at 12:15 AM when I should be fast asleep in my comfy little crib? Let's face it, here in the dawn of the teens there are many things keeping this blogster wide awake and worried, and amongst the woes that have pretty much enveloped me o'er the past few months has been that albatross around my neck known as BLACK TO COMM BACK ISSUES!!! Often ignored, always degraded and clinging somewhere at the bottom of the eighties/nineties fanzine totem pole pecking order, BLACK TO COMM may have been a crudzine in a field of professionally published wares but it was my crudzine and for that I shall never abandon hope of it someday being considered a magazine that at least pulled its own weight giving the reader jam-packed info on groups that none of the other so-called "independent" fanzine wonks would dare touch. Or else they'd touch the same material that I was dabbling in a good five years earlier, but I won't hold it against 'em for learning (better late than never)!

BLACK TO COMM was also a mag that was constantly lied about, misrepresented and downright poo-poo'd during its amazing eighteen-year run. Distribution was pretty sparse with various businesses either refusing to deal it or stiffing me by changing the name of said business and skedaddling with the money due. And of course BLACK TO COMM offended many people who I guess could dish it out but couldn't take it, people who thought it was perfectly fine to destroy the icons of mid-Amerigan civilization but felt that my attacks on their sacred cows were "vile". Only goes to show you what kind of people have been "bred" by the laxity of the postwar permissiveness, people who demand their wants with iron-fisted venom and still continue to suck from the same lower-class workers they loathe with a passion. Well, if these are the beings who find not only BLACK TO COMM but this blog beneath contempt it only goes to show you that I must have been doing something right lo these many years.

But let's face it, BLACK TO COMM was a whole lot more innovative, high energy, daring and downright fun than most of the competition back during that supposed fanzine Golden Age. We were talking about forgotten seventies heroes and eighties underground obscurities back when most fanzine editors seemed more concerned with kissing Gerard Cosloy's ass than giving a good enough presentation of the best of the past and the promise of the future bundled up in a breezy read in the here and now. And who else in the mid-eighties would even think of printing Rocket From The Tombs lyrics and then-obscure live photos, or dig into the histories of some of the second and third rung CBGB groups at a time when just about everybody else could care less? Who other than maybe FLESH AND BONES even knew who Von Lmo was! Or had Bill Shute interview Kenne Highland at a time when his group Hopelessly Obscure were certainly living up to their name? Now I don't expect any Nobel Prize for this even though at times I think I deserve it, but maybe taking some of these still available back issues off my hands would help a soul out not only financially, but spiritually as well!

So here's what's still available (actually I must admit that I do have limited quantities of a few other issues which I have stockpiled for trading and purchasing purposes...I assume that if you're that interested in obtaining any you would get in contact with me to work up some hotcha trade deal or perhaps cold cash plunk down...'s up to you). If you're interested in any of the following issues which are in ample supply (to put it mildly) just write to the rag care of Christopher Stigliano @ 701 North Hermitage Rd., Suite 23, Hermitage, PA 16148 USA and make the checks out in my moniker and not to BLACK TO COMM! Prices are postpaid in the USA, though outside of the country one must better write first a list of whatever issues are so desired so I can work up some international postal rates to help empty out your bank account (don't bitch at me because of the exorbitant overseas your local postman and give him what for!)
BLACK TO COMM #14-Early 1989. Featuring part one of the Ron Asheton interview, a nice though could be much better given all the information discovered since piece on the Deviants, an article on Peter Laughner's Cinderella Backstreet, the Seeds and Charlemagne Palestine. $6.00

BLACK TO COMM #17-Early '90. The first of the "big" issues (74 pages) has a cover story/interview with Scott Morgan and Gary Rasmussen from the old Scott Morgan band. Also inside's an interview with Borbetomagus' Donald Miller as well as one , skimpy at that, with Maureen Tucker, not to mention pieces on Fish Karma (who I liked until hearing his overly-preachy kiss kiss moosh anti-gun song entitled "God Bless The NRA"), the Dogs (from Detroit, not the French ones or the Flamin' Groovies for that matter!), Rocket From the Tombs (with loads of old photos and the like, some never seen before or since!), the top 25 of heavy metal, METAL MACHINE MUSIC, a piece on the then-new proto-punk reissues and archival digs of the day and the usual reviews and news. $7.00.

BLACK TO COMM #21-From November '94. A VON LMO cover story and interview grace this ish, as do interviews with Metal Mike Saunders, Brian McMahon (Electric Eels) and rockabilly star Ronnie Dawson, plus you can read much-desired items on the Trashmen, Velvet Underground and Hawkwind like I knew you would! Not to mention a piece on the infamous TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE fanzine! $8.00.

BLACK TO COMM #24- From spring 2001. This issue's cover feature's a nice interview with Doug Snyder of DAILY DANCE/Sick Dick and the Volkswagens fame, plus there are interviews with the Dogs (Detroit) and Greg Shaw, a piece on the old CAN'T BUY A THRILL fanzine and the usual feature-length reviews and the like. $9.00.

BLACK TO COMM #25-The latest (December 2003), 162 pages brimming with such goodies as a New York City Scene history (featuring interviews with Max's Kansas City's Peter Crowley and Ruby Lynn Reyner from Ruby and the Rednecks plus pieces on coverboys the New York Dolls and VARIETY scene-booster Fred Kirby), an interview with J. D. King (Coachmen, comix) plus one with guitarist Lou Rone, who would probably be best known to you as leader of the early CBGB-era band Cross as well as one-time guitarist for both Kongress and VON LMO, the Screamin' Mee-Mees, CRETINOUS CONTENTIONS, Simply Saucer rare photos, family tree and gigography, rare fanzines of the Golden Age (and more), tons of book and record reviews (which make up the bulk of this ish!), plus a CD with live Simply Saucer 1975, the Coachmen, The Battleship, Ethel with David Nelson Byers and Ruby and the Rednecks. $12.00

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wow, didja see alla that snow that was comin' down 'round here a few days ago? (Of course you didn't...after all, you're reading this somewhere in Japan, aren't you?) Winter sure started early here in Western Pee-YAY!, and although I absolutely DREAD having to look forward to at least four more months of the white stuff the good news is that at least I won't have to mow the lawn until May (or pull weeds until June, something you pampered city folk who don't have to do STOOP LABOR [work only stoops like myself do] would know about)! Naturally all of the snow shoveling I'll have to do once my crushed pelvis (well, that's what it feels like!) gets back into shape is sure to bring forth horrendous pain, and I'm only telling you all of this so's you'll feel better about yourselves...that's my Merry Christmas present to you!

But with the good foot or so I've had to drive, walk and crawl through these past few days all I wish for right now is that somehow I get miraculously snowed in for a reasonably long spell, or at least for enough time for me to once again sift through all of my old CREEMs, fanzines and top-notch recorded goodies and settle down for some real fun once in my born days! I know, I have to worry about work and paying the bills and other sundry things like that but man I could sure use a good four or so months doing nothing but playing albums and thumbing through long-packed away 'zines of all sorts, or maybe settle down with some of those old comics that used to give me such a reason to live back when I was eleven. People think that I haven't matured beyond that age but they're wrong as usual...frankly I haven't matured beyond the age of ten, and right now I'm working for THREE if you can believe that!

Should I mention anything about yesterday's passing of Don Van Vliet, better known to you all as CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, or would you prefer to hear about it from some schmuck? Sheesh, and it was only last week that I was reviewing a cassette of his oft-loathed UNCONDITIONALLY GUARANTEED album too. Well, all I gotta say is here's another passing that sure makes me feel old(er), and as it stands the death of the Captain is probably, no, definitely the most important rock death in months, at least since that of another BLOG TO COMM trailblazer Tuli Kupferberg's earlier this year. Pard, this is probably the biggest loss we'll have in the rock & roll world at least until Lou Reed's own passing, that is if he hasn't already been dead for ten years.

's funny, but when I was first getting interested in the Captain it was due to his association with none other than Frank Zappa, a guy who seemed like pizan #1 when I was in high school although it didn't take too long for Beefheart to overtake Zappa's popularity around here. That's undoubtedly because while Zappa continued recording extremely shallow albums that I couldn't care less about (albums that took the worst aspects of his "satire" and technical proclivities and well, came off even worse!) Beefheart was only getting better and better to the point where it seemed like he was finally on the verge of enlarging his cult status to levels that I'm sure nobody could ever have dreamed of. Of course the push DOC AT THE RADAR STATION was getting (I guess Virgin was the right label for him after all!) as well as some pretty big time tee-vee appearances on SNL and LETTERMAN (back when that guy was riding high booking the likes of Huntz Hall onto his program) didn't hurt. And, right when it looked as if he would finally reap some long-desired success Beefheart chucked it all in for a comparatively downplayed career as an artist! I mean, how punk rock can ya get!

As usual, here's what's been illuminating my chilly December nights...not much, but it's better'n throwing iceballs at the neighbor's dog when they aren't looking!


Group Inerane-GUITARS FROM AGADEZ VOL. 3 LP (Sublime Frequencies)

Gee willikers, who woulda thought there'd actually be a record album, a high energy rockin' record album at that, recorded and released here in the dank post-rock & roll year of 2010? Of course we hadda go all the way to Africa to find it, but find it we did and frankly we are all the better that this came out in the first place even if it woulda came outta some really primitive, bent place like say...Melbourne!

Now I know about as much about the Tuareg guitar scene as Chuck Eddy knows about maintaining a career as a rock critic, but as the old coot lookin' at the picture of the nekkid broad sez "I know what I like", and I really like the music coming forth from this album recorded by a buncha rebels from Niger called Group Inerane who recorded this album onto a portable cassette player only this past March. The music is riff-oriented in the great tradition of everyone from the Fugs to Kongress workin' its hypnotic magic on you as vocals chant on as if conjuring a spell, and the overall results are more akin to one of the best kept secrets of the late-sixties somebody will find out about a good century from now. At times I'm reminded of the Yardbirds back when they were doing their middle eastern raga rock, if they happened to last long enough to be influenced by the Stooges. Let's just say that this is perhaps the last item we'll ever hear that seems to have evolved from the great late-sixties dunce-rock trailblazers up through the primal rock screeds of the seventies, eighties and beyond. And you know Group Inerane hasn't heard one note of any of 'em which makes 'em all the more adept at discerning real rockist tendencies if you ask me!

I could go on a riff as to how this is the real punk rock and that all of you pampered upper-crust music mavens who can afford every new item to come down the pike should snatch it up immediately, but I shall refrain from the heaping helpings of hype this time. Sublime Frequences, who know how to deal in third-world rock rarities and dishes 'em up fine, really did a good job with this 'un and if this is volume three I sure wonder what the previous two were like. Well, the way things are now I just better make out like a bandit at Christmas or perhaps I'll never know!
HIGH ALL THE TIME VOL. 1 CD (Past/Present, available through Forced Exposure)

Were you one of those hard-shelled rock & roll fans who collected just about every sixties-vintage garage band anthology that was being hawked via Bomp! or Midnight (yech!) a good quarter century back? I wish I could say that I was, but frankly many of the more obscure six-oh collections of punk gems that were peddled back in those dreary days didn't make their way to my door! For obvious reasons of course, such as personal money restraints and/or the costliness of some of these items, the general unavailability of many of the more limited-run offerings, too many repeats from well-established volumes which would have had me payin' double for stuff I've already had, and most of all after awhile the well seemed to run dry and all we were being offered on these sets was nothing but late-sixties psychedelic gunk that sounded rather pale next to the comparatively rawer mid-sixties stylists. Not that I hate psychedelic gunk and in fact I have grown quite accustomed to it, but when I settle down in the evening I find the strains of BACK FROM THE GRAVE a whole lot more enticing than I do STONED WHITE TEENS IN 1969 TRYING TO COPY JIMI HENDRIX AND ERIC CLAPTON IN THE WORST WAY POSSIBLE VOLUME XXIV.

Surprisingly enough HIGH ALL THE TIME was one of the last sixties-oriented garage band albums that I can recall buying before I put a temporary kibosh on the practice sometime in the early-nineties. I really liked this 'un as well, from the cheap paste-on cover to the fanzine-ish insert which gave it an air of a home-made product put out by some serious fan working outta his basement. The selection of tracks was hotcha as well, mixing the mid-sixties primitive snarl with psychedelic mind-addle and really, I can't remember getting into such a slice of sixties garage primtivism like this since the days of PEBBLES VOLUME 3 let alone that BEYOND THE CALICO WALL platter which only went to show you that there were more people listening to the Red Krayola in 1968 than you ever knew existed!

It is quite a surprise to see this 'un available via Cee-Dee inna here 'n now given what a low-budget offering the original was, but Past/Present (a label that has been issuing various sixties/seventies rock samplers of flucutating quality) did just that complete with the weirdo cover shot of two spaced out ethnic-looking goombahs who look like they could be typical BLOG TO COMM readers. The music is varied too ranging from late-sixties hard-thud (Mammoth) to punk-diven Dylanisms (Darelycks) to pseudo-Floydian European piss-takes (Dragonfly) to a late-sixties punk variation on the instrumental rock genre ("Quasar"). The mix settles in well especially when it retains that cheap-press flat mono sound that really affects me in a positive way a whole lot more'n the concept of Quadrophonic ever did. Listening to HIGH ALL THE TIME is kinda like pretending it is 1970 and you're at some older relative's (cousin, college aged brother) haunt playing his single collection on a cheap turntable listening to a lotta old rot in the collection before said relative comes home and beats the living daylights outta ya!

Really, a nice diversion from the various comps I somehow had been suckered into buying these past few years which only repeated the familiar without expanding on the legend.
ROCK SCENE, November 1976 issue!

Yeah I know that my seventies fixation is way outta kilter considering all of the downright abortions that've gone down during those ten years; everything from sensitive singer-songwriters and maxi skirts to late-seventies AM radio, but I think I did a pretty good job getting what I was able to squeeze outta 'em despite being stuck here in the center of nowheresville. Maybe that's why I have fonder memories of those times that in many ways were still coasting on forties/fifties energies while offering us sixties thrills at flea market prices. And given the excitement of television (in its second Golden Age ca. '71-'77 not counting the boffo rerun situation) and all of those interesting groups you could read about in CREEM along with the bountiful BUDGET BINS and flea market booty why should I have complained?

Mags like ROCK SCENE bring back a lotta memories, mostly of reading such jounalistic endeavors at the newsstand and getting chased away by irate pudges who looked like Archie Bunker. But now that I'm (ahem!) "independently wealthy" I can afford to buy these by-now crumbling issues up and enjoy them in the privacy of my own privvy without being constantly hassled by one of the now-dwindling members of the Silent Majority. And this particular November '76 ish is a halfway decent one at that which manages to make the best of the times despite having so little raw material to work with. After all, settling for cover stories on Peter Tampon and Dame Elton ain't exactly conduit to a high energy read on anyone's part but hey, Richard Robinson at least tried and yeah, at least he did a good job of making that particular era look so good as well!

Not too much in the "More New Groups" section this time, the only band of interest there being Riot, the heavy metal act who used to play Max's Kansas City almost as much as the Heartbreakers did although they never were able to break outta the same hard rock trap that ruined too many an act in those noisier-than-thou days. Speaking of Max's there's a great two-page spread celebrating the remodeling of the restaurant portion of the club where of course you get to see all of the big names partying about just so's us suburban and rural rednecks could live vicariously through it all. Elsewhere in this ish is fodder that the standard runna-da-mill BLOG TO COMM reader will find enough to satiate over, such as snaps of Patti Smith acting decadent in Paris, Richard Hell sitting in on Blondie's debut album session and of course alla the big names like Jagger and Bowie trying their darndest to keep up with the changing mode of distant cool while keeping their jet set arrogance going full blast. And really, what kinda ish of ROCK SCENE would it had been w/o a pic of Mick in shades being chauffeured to Earl's Court or some Berlin eatery anyway?

The reg'lar columns are what keep me pumped up. Once again Wayne County disseminates advice I wouldn't take on a bet but I guess his heart was in the right place even if his glands weren't (I sure woulda loved to've heard what this one advice asker, a "Queen Steven" who considered himself a cross between Wayne and Patti, sounded like!). The import album and comic book scenes get their dues as well in case you were one of those European LP collectors or actually used to read CAPTAIN AMERICA'S BICENTENNIAL STORIES. What's really interesting about this 'un is the Doc Rock/Lenny Kaye column where a J. Marshall of Ft. Lauderdale Florida writes in asking where he could get magazines that are "into Television, the Ramones, Patti Smith, Iggy, Lou Reed, John Cale etc." Hmmmm, makes me wonder if the Good Doc's advice to Mr. Marshall to seek out rags like ROCK NEWS and THE NEW YORK ROCKER only resulted in the permanent corruption of another mind to the warped desires of rock & roll! Oh well, the guy's probably an accountant in Teaneck New Jersey these days.

For a great blog dedicated to ROCK SCENE click here and you too can miss the seventies just as much as I, 'cept for the humiliation and degradation that I hadda endure to the point where I kinda got used to it and it didn't matter anymore. Hmmm, maybe those days were really as bad as everybody keeps trying to remind me!
IF I HADDA OWN ANY AUTOMOBILE I THINK I'D WANNA OWN THIS 'UN---THE 1961 METEOR MONTCALM!-Given my love of the v.-late-fifties/early-sixties automobile designs I grew up admiring I must admit that I still harbor a huge hankerin' for the body styles that came outta Detroit (and elsewhere) during those oft-loathed years. Just one look at a 1959Chevrolet Impala's enough to send me into hearty swoons of lust and don't get me started on the innate beauty of the Edsel let alone the 1960-63 Mercury Comet station wagon, a vehicle which was such a smart looker that the Australians (there are some good ones) used it as a template for their '65 Ford Falcon. But here's a car that pretty much tops 'em all, and the sad part about it is that the thing wasn't even available inna US of Whoa but was built and sold in Canada and Canada only! The Meteor was a stand-alone marque for Ford, not quite the Mercury that people tend to think it was, and for some reason or another it was a solely Canadian enterprise created for the locals the same way GM sold the Acadian through Pontiac for those in the Frozen North. Too bad fer us Yanks tho, because the early-sixties Meteor run had that Ford look with a great local twist to it coming off like the basic Amerigan models only with flashier grills and decorative trim that gave these cars the ultimage pizzaz. The '61 Meteor Montcalm was the best of the lot, a upscale knockoff of the then-current Mercurys (which were no slouches themselves) looking just as much like an ingeneous customization as the '60 Edsel or the '61 De Soto looked to their more popular inspirations. A vehicle that surely deserves a whole lot more homage paid to it, at least here inna US where it remains practically unknown 'cept for the few true-blues out there who look upon those days as being a whole lot more fun than the way things are now! Dig the spread out headlights separated by a typically early-sixties-styled star design, as well as the ingenious fin-extension in the rear that even makes its way through the tail lights. If you ask me this could've passed for some Ghia conversion made for an idle European playboy or middle eastern monarch! And since I have about as much hope of owning one of these as I do of unloading all of those BLACK TO COMM back issues in my lifetime all I gotta say is...were there any plastic or diecast models of this that can be obtained at a rather reasonable cost? Any true-blue readers up there willing to assist me in my quest to at least own a small piece of early-sixties motoring coolness??? Hurry up, for playtime awaits!