Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Well here it is, a few years late and they did hafta jump from 1948 to 1960, but at least I got another fix of ARCHIE dailies and I'm not complainin' one bit! Given that at the time not only were comic strips riding a crest of kultural popularity but everything else from tee-vee to teen/kid-dom in general seemed custom made for the suburban slob, these comics really do flash one back to a MUCH BETTER time when the planets were aligned and it still wasn't a sin to eat fast food or think ill of your brother like it is today. Sheesh, I wish the new powers that be would let us be our Old Imperfect Selves instead of the New Perfect Man and wallow in this now fifty-plus-year-gone celebration of everything that was good and decent in this world...y'know, leave us and our cheeseburger culture alone because it's all we ever had and it sure suited us a whole lot better'n your warped concept of civilization ever did!

The artwork's less detailed than it was in the late forties but the gags are just as boffoid, perhaps even more so since Montana and his associates have had time to develop the existing characters and introduce new ones such as the stoopid Swedish janitor Mr. Svenson not to mention the cafeteria cook Miss Beazly, who comes off like yet another variation on the Mammy Yokum/Popeye template and perhaps is twice as gnarlsome. I particularly enjoyed the cafeteria gags with Beazly and her ultra-acrimonious interjections with Mr. Weatherbee which made for some rather high-larious strips that would resonate well with anyone who hadda endure the school lunch debacle throughout their formative years.

The rest of the strips are guffaw-worthy as well. By this time Montana had dropped the continuing storylines so's the gags are quick and sharp, almost like NANCY the way they sorta sneak up on you without any warning and hit you in the face with a pie. No telegraphed five panels in advance jokes here bud! And although the art is more "streamlined" than it was in the late forties when the standard ARCHIE "style" came into its own, the pace, look and general feel remains pretty much the same (as it would until Montana's untimely and surprising death in 1975). The fun and dare-I-say sexiness to many of these fortunately remain to the point where I coulda imagined thousands of sprouting teens rushing to the john with a particular comic page featuring Betty and/or Veronica bikini-clad'n nothing else. Even if they aren't "explicit" the strong feelings will overcome any young fanabla on the search for something other'n the Sears Catalog...take the strip on page 204 where Betty and Veronica are contemplating wearing their new ultra-skimpy bikinis. They find a vacant beach, rush into the waves wearing their somewhat immodest swimsuits, and end up started when a number of skin diving men suddenly pop up to take a look! Lemme tell you this is what I call pretty hot stuff 'n hey, it's sure grand looking at Betty and Veronica's natural curvitude 'stead of the current crop of firmed up women parading themselves around who look like they got their torsos molded in an extra large thing maker machine!

Loads of fun, even to the point where I've been reading and re-reading this book on the lookout for particularly funny strips and the few that might have missed my eyeballs the first time 'round. And hey, I know that the vast majority of you readers were too "hip" (even then) to sprawl out on the floor to read the funnies like I did on a daily basis, but looking back on it all and considering all the fun I had doing so I think I came out the better man for knowing enough to enjoy ARCHIE while all of the hipsters were creeming over DOONESBURY and FUNKY WINKERBEAN. As a result I know that I ended up more well rounded and in tune with the supermarket/fast food world we all live in than some VILLAGE VOICE bred snob who wouldn't know how to insert a tampon unless she read about it in their style section. But it's not too late, so if you would prefer to see the more righteous ways of mid-Amerigan funtime living quit being such a stuck up, burn all of your issues of THE NATION and settle back with some old ARCHIEs while scarfing up a bowl of deep fried to a crackly crunch Cheetos. And hey, if you're lucky maybe you can catch a rerun of ABBOT AND COSTELLO on the local antenna TV station.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hi. Spending the remaining part of this weekend recovering from a top secret summit meeting that was held at a cloistered location in the wilds of the Youngstown Ohio area. The details of which are not to be made public, but I do get the sneakin' suspicion they will be...eventually...against the participants' better judgement. Let's just say that a fun time was had by all, and that the young ladies were all safe in their homes and ready for church early Sunday morning.

Before we get into the review portion of this program I think it would be wise to alert you to some recent reissues that are bound to make your head move and feet spin. And although I am 100% positive that each and every one of you tried and true BLOG TO COMM readers have these platters in your expansive collections, if by some small freaky chance you don't now's your chance to make up for past indiscretions. If you do well, it wouldn't hurt to have an extra copy or three on hand in the abode now, would it???

First on today's reissue rampage is the first legitimate Cee-Dee release of none other'n Hackamore Brick's classic 1971 rocker ONE KISS LEADS TO ANOTHER on the Real Gone Music label. Yes, after depending on scratchy vinyl copies and a not-so-legal disque that sure fooled me, this famous in retrospect album has finally seen a proper reissue meaning we can all sleep well at night knowing that maybe the band members might be getting some moolah for their hard work! Nice sound, nice booklet, nice liner notes, nice pix that weren't even in the UGLY THINGS article a few years back, and not only that but there are three bonus tracks included! They are, for those of you so inclined to take notes, the "Searchin'"/"Radio" single plus a version of "Oh Those Sweet Bananas" which has a different mix or something similar that'll make even the poorest of fans wanna hock even more plasma just so's they could latch onto this (once) obscure object of desire. Somewhere in this universe Imants Krumins is smiling.

As I'm sure he is over the (once again legal) reish of High Speed and the Afflicted Man's GET STONED EZY album on the Spanish Guerrson label. Again, a superb reissue which not only has a spiffy look customary to all of the Guerrson releases I've seen, but liner notes that for once break through the legend and at least attempt to disseminate some hard cold FACTS. What else could you want in these stridently anti-rock (not "anti-rock" in the Fugs/Electric Eels vein) days? Also be on the lookout for the Afflicted One's  I'M OFF ME 'EAD to be making its way to your faverave mail order site or specialty shop in the very near future.

Here's the booty for this week. Actually bought a couple of newies to blab about while (as usual) I've had to rely on the bounty of Bill Shute (and maybe Paul McGarry if I can only find the disques he sent!) to help pad this pathetic post out some. Once again thank you guys, because if anything you're helping me to save for my ever-encroaching old age


I'm still on the lookout for those rare under-the-radar rock albums that, although straightforward and rocking they may be, got buried under the weight of many other rock albums during the same nanosecond these treasures hit the local record chain shop of your choice. Heck, I figure that if I struck gold with the oft-mentioned Hackamore Brick and Sidewinders there's gotta be even more gold in the mid-Amerigan teenage deca-snot rock vein to be mined. And although I do find a few good efforts out there most of 'em just can't measure up to what I had been expecting. Too many Movies to contend with, and to tell the truth I wouldn't mind a few more David Patrick Kelly's in the mix. 

Dirty Angels sounded like a good enough act to try what with the bits of raves I had heard about 'em throughout the years not to mention Russell Desmond's article-length rave regarding a live show at the Rat in Boston that was printed in the fourth issue of his CAN'T BUY A THRILL. However I really thought their two albums were lacking in that teenage pop-punch "oomph" that I really dig in my AM radio music, the kind that might have had its moment in the early-seventies sun and managed to linger on at least until 1978. Although they did give it a good college try Dirty Angels just didn't put through, at least as far as my tightass tastes regarding teeny metal consciousness might dictate.

Actually the first album's the worse of the two...after all, the second at least tries to approach some sorta seventies Badfinger meets Big Star attempt to resurrect the spirit of the sixties for seventies consumption, The self-titled debut wallows in the twiblight zone (copyright 1965 ODD magazine) twixt early-seventies AM righteousness and Boston/classic rock schmaltz packaged as the hip new thing just like STAR WARS not to mention those clunky shoes we all usedta wear, and as you can guess that isn't exactly something that I've anticipated listening to after a hard day at the salt mines trying to ingest some seventies rock credo into my system.

I guess back then many hardcore rockers were so starved to hear something that sorta reminded them of the brighter portions of sixties epiphany updated for more jaded times and were willing to take anything that was being tossed their way. If it looked rockin'* enough that is, and many times we had to judge records by their jackets because there was little else to go on. In that way I can see why the fanzine-bound Meltzer wannabes of the late-seventies woulda praised Dirty Angels, but nowadays I just can't see fitting 'em in with the early-seventies Hollies, Blue Ash or a wide variety of acts also heavy on the power pop revival train.

Not writing 'em off en-toto as of yet, since repeated listenings (and there will be many) might change my opines rather rapidly. And I wouldn't mind listening to anything coming outta their recent reunion, if anything should make it outta the studio which is a fair enough possibility.
The Action-ACTION PACKED CD-R (originally on Edsel Records)

Neat-o collection of single sides by this legendary even if they never really went anywhere "freakbeat" band. Nothing here that I would call over-the-top...after all the Action never were as guttural as the Who, Creation or John's Children let alone as produced or as honed as the Amerigan soul acts they admired...but still pleasant enough in that pale white r&b style which in many ways became a fashion in itself. Covers and originals mix well and even you will be surprised when you hear the band evolve into a pretty snat psychedelic act by the time "Shadows and Reflections" rolls around '67 way.
The Elastic Band-EXTENSIONS ON LIFE CD-R (originally on Pseudonym Records)

Not so hot late-sixties English (well, Welsh)  psychedelia transmutating into progressive rock complete with more than a share of Ian Anderson-styled flute than your body can stand. Gruff Gary Brooker-styled vocals only date the thing and not exactly in a spry 1969 Stooges way either. And that jazz rock that flows freely comes off more in the Blood Sweat and Tears than Tony Williams Lifetime vein which didn't exactly make for a peaceful hour if you ask me! For serious students of British rock development only...the rest of us can do something way more constructive with our time like watch 'em unload the melons at the supermarket or count the nipples in an old issue of TAB DIGEST.
Various Artists-SECRETS OF MY SHATTERED HOT SAUCE CD-R (compiled by Bill Shute)

This week's Shute spin's a gas with a grandiose selection of various webfinds that somehow fit in "special" with the sunny Sunday afternoon I was spinnin' em while lazin' about pretending I was ten years old again (not that I ever left my entry into the double digits on a "spiritual" basis!). This one ranges from orchestral slush (the George Martin Orchestra's rendition of "I Saw Her Standing There") to olde tyme country cornballisms (Chuck Murphy's "Who Drank My Beer") with a few oddball surprises like a non-hit Sandy Posey side, Tommy Roe singing Chuck Berry and a cover of the theme from 77 SUNSET STRIP. Nice feel to it all and not only that but there's a big surprise in store for all, mainly a number by none other'n Dora Hall...yes, the same Dora Hall who used to star in all of those Solo Cup-sponsored specials that cluttered up the summer rerun schedules of many a tee-vee station back in the mid-seventies!
Wilbur Harden/John Coltrane-THE COMPLETE SAVOY SESSIONS two-set CD-R burn (originally on Savoy)

I think it's fuh-KNEE that Bill Shute actually sent me a burn of this 'un because I remember asking him about the DIAL AFRICA album containing tracks from this set way back inna eighties and Bill told me to shy away from that one the same way I shy away from guys in saunas with swelling towels wrapped around their waists. I guess Bill thought I would have been bored silly by the lack of abstract expressionist flash in these late-fifties sides or somethin', but frankly I gotta admit I enjoyed this sesh Coltrane (as a sideman) did with trumpeter Wilbur Harden a whole lot more'n Bill would have thought. Playing is pretty much fifties bop approaching the shape of sound to come, and rather spry at that with Coltrane bearing his share of keeping these tracks together. Harden ain't as non-there as the liner notes make him out to be, kinda sounding like a Miles Davis Junior if you get my drift.  I get the feeling that if he didn't vamoose from the jazz scene as fast as he did he coulda turned into a major player once the sixties "new thing" got into high gear. Song title of the year..."Rhodamagnetics".
The Forgotten Rebels-TOMORROW BELONGS TO US CD-R (Originally on Other People;s Music)

Heh. No wonder Paul McGarry sent me a disque of this...these guys are "hometown heroes" and of course McGarry has to go 'n plug 'em to whoever's willing to listen, even if they have been around for over thirty-five years! Actually these Forgotten Rebels are whatcha'd call good 'nuff p-rock that sound one-third New York Dolls, one-third Ramones and one-third English obscurities and I can't complain. Nice primitive sound accentuates these guys' paens to then-moderne concerns that in many ways still figure heavily into our rather sordid present-day affairs. Squint your ears a bit and pretend you're listening to some ultra-rare English punk act that never made it outta the pages of SOUNDS alive, and just think of all the fun you'll have doing it!
Various Artists-RARE MOD VOLUME 3 CD-R burn (originally on Acid Jazz)

Like most of these specific genre-related samplers comin' out there days, RARE MOD VOLUME 3's got a couple of hotcha tracks, a whole slew of good 'n passable, and some which might have been best left on the butcher block. The best of this batch just have to be the Creation and John's Children alternate takes which I'm surprised haven't been issued with all of those other Mark 4/Silence rarities on their lonesome. The good 'n passable range from a standard limey cover of "Baby I Need Your Loving" and some cheap r&b nutters from an act calling themselves the Iveys, obv. not the pre-Badfinger bunch. The rest ranges from ear-perking to throwaway but I guess that's what the listeners want. If I hadda do it I could pare a good ten volumes of this stuff down to five, but then again with all that collector money out there I just might wanna pad the thing out to a good twenty volumes stuffing the things with some of the worse crapezoid musings I could manage to come up with! I really could use the money, y'know.

*an important enough word in the suburban slob lexicon (along with "cheeseburger") even if an upper-echelon dolt like Patrick Amory would disagree.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I guess Jonh wasn't that much into doing an email interview, but what I did get outta him was enough to warrant me printing this little repartee...

BLOG TO COMM-I've recently been reading your early-seventies fanzines TWAS EVER THUS and I WAS A FREAK FOR THE CIA. Were you involved with any fandom before these?

JONH INGHAM-Wow - where did you find those? I only have the one with the orange cover. I'd love to get copies - any chance of you scanning or photo-copying them?

I got involved in fandom around '68 through LOTR probably. I contributed to various fanzines and met the LA fan crowd in June '69 when we moved there. Westercon was the first time I really got it full-force.

BTC-Got 'em a few years back at a fanzine clearance sale...I can attempt to scan 'em, though I can't account for what kinda mess I'll make of it.

Now was this around the time you met Greg Shaw? What can you tell us about Greg back in the early days of fandom anyway?

JI-I met Greg in either '69 or early '70. I can't remember who introduced us but it was someone in LA. I phoned him and it went from there. Then he invited me up to stay the weekend, funded by a bunch of albums sold at Village Music in Mill Valley!

From what Greg told me, he was involved in San Francisco fandom in the early/mid-60s. I'm not sure if he had a fanzine but he knew all the people and attended cons. He moved to the Haight-Ashbury in '66 and was a very early hippie. Besides sf he was also a big record collector, so deep into the local music scene. As the local band scene blew up he realised that the concept of sf fanzines could easily be applied to music. CRAWDADDY! was probably out by this point, but whether he knew of it I don't know. Anyway, he produced MOJO NAVIGATOR, with stories on Big Brother, Country Joe, etc. He said one day that Jann Wenner got in touch and came by to ask how you did it all. Which Greg explained. Next thing he knew, ROLLING STONE came out.

BTC-You were doing comics this early? I've seen the ones you've done for BOMP and NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS, and in fact I gotta admit to still cracking up at that illustration you did for the Lester Bangs Troggs article where one guy says something like "Rod Stewart just pissed on me" and the other guy goes "fabulous!"

JI-I started drawing 'illos' as they were called in sf fandom, for sf fanzines in 1969. When Greg and I were discussing what each of us would do for Bomp, we decided I would do illos, because of course a fanzine had illos.

I remember that punch line! A lot of those came from the three of us talking and joking - then I would attempt to draw it.

I still have a folder full of unused ones.

BTC-Let's go back a little're Australian by birth, right?

JI-Yes. Moved to Canada (Vancouver) for a year when I was 10 and then left Australia for good when I was 13 - back to Vancouver and a year and a half later down to Oregon and then California.

BTC-Were you in Australia during the ascent of the Easybeats and the rest of the Australian Big Beat acts of the mid-sixties?

JI-I left in mid-64. I kind of recall The Easybeats, though that may just be wishful thinking. I remember The Bee-Gees though. When I left it was still too early for Beatlemania to have woven its magic and change musicians from guys in matching suits and quiffs into long haired mods.

BTC-Could you give us a rundown of some of the various fanzine operations you were working on at the time since I only know about the ones I mentioned earlier.

JI-You have all of the fanzines of my own. BOMP until I moved to the UK. I helped with some issues of a zine by a guy called Paul Novitski who's tag on Paj. I can't remember the name. And then I went to a couple of collating parties at places like the Trimbles.

BTC-When did you move to England, and how long was it before you started writing for the Fleet Street weeklies?

JI-I left LA on 22 March 1972. I have absolutely no idea why I remember that date when I can't recall more important ones.

I started freelancing for NME almost immediately, then ROLLING STONE by May, I only did one piece for a proper Fleet Street paper - that was a story on Tangerine Dream for THE OBSERVER...which would mean 1974/75. I joined SOUNDS in early '75.

BTC-Stepping back a bit, why did you split the US for England?

JI-I was in the US on a student visa, so no right of residency, and if I changed to a permanent resident I would have had to register for the draft. this was in the middle of the Vietnam War.  My father was English and I wanted to come and explore his side of the family. I was also quite the Anglophile due to most of my favorite bands and artists being British. So I enrolled at London Film School and came over.

BTC-About when was it when you had started writing for SOUNDS, or was that a few years away?

JI-I started in early 1975. Before that I freelanced in the NME, ROLLING STONE, CREEM and some others in the US.

BTC-Any particular pieces of yours that stand out in your mind?

JI-There's two answers to that question.- the pieces I think were well written and that I'm proud of, and the event itself that I was writing about Sometimes the two come together.

I like the story I wrote describing a couple of days with Queen. "Bohemian Rhapsody" was going massive but they were booked into quite small theatres in Wales. The show in Cardiff was absolute mayhem, with rows of splintered seats afterwards. Watching Keith Richards snort a mountain of coke while being fawned over by rock critics was entertaining, though I didn't get the story right until some 30 years later. Two or three days with Lynyrd Skynyrd was a lot of fun - not least watching Ronnie Van Zandt's dad (first time out of the USA) being hustled by a lady about the age of his son. It took awhile for him to catch on that she was interested.

Of the punk stories, I'm pretty happy with the first Pistols interview and a couple of the live reviews. The 6 page ? Rock Special has some good bits. No sleep for 3 days with Patti Smith on her first tour of Europe was another story that I think I only got right recently, though her band told me they thought my 1975 version was the most accurate reflection of a band on the road that they had ever read. Maybe because it came across as disjointed and crazy as the events and conditions it described.

BTC-Any interesting stories regarding your days managing Generation X?

JI-My usual instant memory is of endless hours in vans!

In the early days of '77 we kept getting gigs in the West. At the first one in Bristol we met a guy called Steve Harrington who had come over from Wales with his mates. He looked a total punk. A week or so later we were somewhere else like Hereford or Shrewsbury and he was there again. We knew to expect him in Swansea and sure enough he was there. The fourth time, he asked if he could come back to London with us in the van. He ended up sleeping on the sofa at my place. I don't remember if he was Steve Strange by the time he got to London, but soon after he was in with Vivienne Westwood and dressing in Sex/Seditionaries. Like Vivienne and Malcolm we knew the importance of having a "scene" around you and so we kept Steve fairly close, even working as a roadie for a week or two. At that time he was going through a military look and was dressed in full Laurence Corner squaddie uniform, with a beret covered in pointy studs rolled and stowed under the right epaulette. We were talking to Chrysalis by then and for one meeting they asked us to bring in a band member. So we took Steve, dressed like that, who sat on a sofa and said nothing for the whole meeting - just stared at them. 

BTC-Got anything to say about Billy Idol?

JI-Ha ha - that's much too wide a question to answer.

I always liked watching him onstage. He wrote some good songs and made some great records.

BTC-Well, there goes my scoop! All kidding aside, how long did you write for SOUNDS anyway?

JI-I wrote from about February '75, starting as a freelance, until December '76.
Not much, but I think it will stand the test of time more'n my Twink one.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


...aka an excuse to fulfill some self-important personal duty by submitting a weekend post that deals with nothing but various gulcheral activities and other flotsam that has affected my life these past seven or so earthspins.

SICK MAGAZINE # 91 (July 1972)

Dun' look at me...I didn't buy it! In fact when this very issue was rotting away onna newsstands I certainly was not sneeking a peek at it the way I would MAD, FANTASTIC FOUR or NAZI CLEAVAGE PATROL. Well, I did peek at the thing once (the ish where SICK mag Alfred E. Neuman wannabe Huckleberry Fink was teamed up with Cher!) and felt so embarrassed about it that I never even mentioned the fact to anybody until now. Y'know, just like I do about my childhood travails regarding skidmarks, boogers and getting beat up by kids twice my size in spontaneous eruptions of that classic suburban kid game "Smear the Queer" (I always hadda be the queer, and for the life of me I didn't know what a queer was when I was a mere eight years old!). Sometimes it's good to bring up these past tragedies in order to help purge them from your system, but for the life of me they never are driven away no matter how many times I try to deal with 'em...all I feel like doin' is murdering each and ever one who was responsible for those horrific acts of extreme cruelty in the most painful way possible which of course is an impossibility, but then again I figure that the day I decide to forget what has happened and forget the nonchalant way my parents and teachers brushed off the horrid ways I would feel about myself ("don't let it bother you" being the quickie cop out line I was usually given) is the day my soul dies.

Sheesh, I have been reading too much of the Lester Bangs bio but back to the point. Yeah, I peeked at an issue of SICK just once and thought it was nada but a copy of a copy of a copy of the real CRACKED taken to its obvious conclusion. I even recall some gal who worked at the old NATIONAL RECORD MART (now FYE) complaining to her co-workers as to why they even carried the mag considering nobody bought it the thing was so wretch-inducing. And given how one could spot MAD ripoff idea #100 here and HELP! photo fumetti w/o the cutting edge there who'd wanna buy it!

Well, SOMEBODY musta bought it because a copy had evidently landed into the paws of one Brad Kohler who, for some strange reason considering his hero Archie Bunker is proudly positioned onna front cover, gave it to me, making me wonder whether I should praise Kohler to the rooftops for giving me something free or slug him inna puss (old timey term for face, not what you're thinking) for defiling my mailbox in the most obscene way possible. I ain't gonna do either because hey, now I have something to mention in this rotten blog that might seem different 'n unique from the rest of the things I do rant on about, and as you all know I will stick my neck (and other bodily appendages) out in order to add a li'l hoo-hah here which we all know could use more of it from time to time.

Anyway it ain't like I have a loathing for this particular's only that the thing is so half-hearted. And not half-hearted in the way CRACKED would swipe ideas whole hog from MAD and HELP! (who seemed to be looking over each other's shoulders for ideas to swipe themselves---or at least MAD was!) and reduce it all to quickie churn out, but half-hearted in "if we just plug in the right gags 'n jokes and try to be humorous and up-to-date about it maybe we'll hit the proper target," a credo that I should know from personal experience didn't always work even though at times I thought I was being a pure genius for being such an editorial Jackson Pollack.

Cover story on Archie Bunker doesn't hit the ol' fanabla meter one bit, even if it certainly ain't as groansville as that MAD "Gall In The Family" (both the original and the freebee record) haw haw, Archie's old army buddy was Adolf Hitler oh how socially conscious and original we are! It ain't even a comical story with square word balloons in the grande tradition either but a collection of Bunker quotes from the tee-vee show which, as Kohler opined, were probably printed w/o the express permission of Norman Lear or CBS for that matter! I dunno how SICK could get away with such a blatant breach of copyright, but as Kohler also stated perhaps they were runnin' way below the radarscope and could get away with filling a good four pages with prime purloined material 'n  mighty easily at that!

Other interesting bits include some obv. MAD lifts including "How Trouble-Making Has Changed", one of those comparisons between forties and seventies cultural de-evolution you woulda expected either George Woodbridge or Paul Coker to illustrate, not to mention an Ink Blot Test article that MAD had perfected a good fifteen years earlier. Also of interest is returning artist Jack Davis doing some Civil War cartoons which bear a striking resemblance to the ones he did for HELP! ten years earlier not to mention a strip he tried to get syndicated around the same time. If these comics are in fact taken from that old strip I wouldn't doubt it one bit considering how these humor mags sure liked to milk any MAD connections, no matter how tenuous they may have been.

And, taking yet another page from satire mag successes of the past MAD/HELP!-style, SICK actually got a flesh and blood celebrity, this time Art Buchwald, to do an article that only goes to prove that he never was the prime political har-de-har-har-er that many remember him to be. In fact,  in this generally non-political piece Buchwald flops more'n that fish outta water you used to see all the time on those PSAs for asthma-inflicted kids and you know how much that makes you wanna stick your schnoz ot the window for a fresh inhalation!

Even the tastelessness (the nude Howard Hughes centerfold) ain't anything near to what NATIONAL LAMPOON was doin' at the time, and although the "Ghetto Poetry Corner" was slightly interesting, that's all it was. No wonder this 'un was flying off the shelves about as fast as deodorant in Italy because even a doofoid adolescent blob like myself could see SICK for the rip off of a rip off it most certainly was. The mere existence of it makes me wonder exactly what target group was being selected for a publication such as this, but then again I never thought that special education coke-bottle glasses hearing aid (the old fashioned kind) palsied IQ 90 kids bought magazines in the first place!

Yes, I just hadda get some. I've often told you about my dawn of memory encounters sitting on my father's lap as he read this strip to me, and how I would get it mixed up with ARCHIE which was running in the Sunday paper and continued on its merry way while FRECKLES ultimately got the ax ne'er to be mentioned by anybody I knew but my father 'n sister again. These 1957 strips are pretty much like the ones I remembered, and for a comic that began in 1915 as a fine-pen delineated little boy strip that evolved into an continuing adventure strip before turning into a continuing anarchic teenage romp you can easily see just how similar to ARCHIE FRECKLES had become by this time.

The way I look at it Freckles was Archie and his not-so-obese pal Lard Jughead (albeit a hetero one who despite his average mug sported a hotcha gal by the tag of Hilda) while Bazoo was more or less rendered as a nicer Reggie and Nutty (or is it Rumford) was Dilton etc. And given the litigiousness of the Archie Comics people I kinda wonder why the lawsuit never came. Well, at least these teenage laff-riots were around for those of us who weren't lucky enough to be able to cop all of the ARCHIEs in this area unless were were lucky enough to get THE PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE on scant occasion, and I for one had a ball reading these comics that you know'll never get reprinted in some grand Library of American Comics collection detailing the strip's history with detailed forwards from the biggest names in comicdom bound in the finest Corinthian leather. At least these strips appeal to my not-so-inner suburban slob mentality with their witty punchlines and pleasing artwork, and if you're one of those snootier-than-thou types who eschew clear art, gorgeous gals and groaning guffaws for slapdash lack of style and upper-crust socio-political masturbation there's always Gary Trudeau for you, and come to think of it you automatons were made for each other!
FOREIGNERS AROUND THE WORLD by P. J. O'Rourke (from the February 1976 issue of NATIONAL LAMPOON)

I'm feeling in a particularly offensive mood right now and will admit (proudly, in fact!) that I can only get a good belly laugh outta the most vile, impolite and downright anti-PC material that can be found on the face of this earth! And that's particularly why, especially in this age where only the most piously protected are allowed to eat at the same table that Polish plumbers and shanty Irish never had and never will well, maybe stuff like the following article from the mid-seventies NATIONAL LAMPOON'll put a smile on my face 'stead of the usual modern-day humor which is nothing more'n a buncha lefty celeb types congratulating themselves on how they agree with each other. A classic from the  glory days of the 'POON, long before author P. J. O'Rourke began acting coy and cute just so's he'd get invited to the same cocktail parties that people who would shrivel at the following article throw for people who just happen to look and think like they do (which ain't a mere coincidence as I've discovered oh so long ago!).

And while I'm on a 'POON klck, howz'bout this li'l slice of satire from their November '72 issue?


Consider this 'un an addendum to my BLOBS LIKE US article of a few months back, but boy do these chips taste like an actual sizzlin' steak. And considering that I get steak about as often as I get patty day foegraw this chip can be cause for celebration. However, the flavor seems to wander off into some strange bizarre realm after you eat a few handfuls, and your mouth begins to throb with spice pains as if somebody was rubbing it with a light grade of sandpaper or somethin'. Still, this 'un reminds me of my Golden Age of overeating slobdom whilst in high school, when a bag of Ruffles Sour Cream and Cheddar Cheese chips and a bottle of diet Shasta (hadda watch them calories!) on a Friday or Saturday night was equivalent to a banquet at the table of Henry VIII, at least when that leg wound of his wasn't festering smelling up the place worse'n when he'd plop his pants during the final days of inbred agony.

Hokay, I will admit that I scarfed the above NATLAMP "Foreigners" article offa Derb's own website, but I know you will feel that it is something that should "get around". As should the man's weekly "fireside chat" regarding the news of the day. I gotta admit that. although I don't agree with the man on quite a few things, I do have an affinity for Mr. Derbyshire. After all I know how it is to be ransacked by half-baked insults, innuendo and downright lies that take facts, half-truths and whatnot and make 'em out to be a thousand times worse'n what was actually said or done. I also like that quaint idea of people who stand up and say what they need to say especially when it is bound to rankle the ire of the ruling effete elite. Frankly I came away from the whole debacle thinking that nowadays, not matter how hard anyone can slice if, if you're not snuggling up to the MSNBC brand of racial harmony no ifs and or buts you just gotta be a racist! And in many ways, we ALL are John Derbyshire!

And given the man's taste in women, this time a rather shall-I-say gorgeous Chinese lady he was fortunate enough to take as his wife, how could I hate the guy anyway?

After you hear the news, listen to Derb. I haven't heard a better analysis of current events done with not only a suave accent but a bared-wire attitude that doesn't mind offending like this in ages, if ever. The guy really (even better'n I) can point out to you just why all of those mind-zapping monolithic soul-drenching cretins we have ruling over us need to have their eyes spitted at, and of course he doesn't mind using things like facts and data to back his claims up (like the one he trotted out this week when he showed just how the controversial "stand your ground" law in Florida has benefited blacks as much if not more than it has whites). After hearing Derb's take on the day's events you'll know why I wanna go and kick Rachel Maddow in the nuts.

Haven't been reviewing many automobiles lately, but here's one that oughta rank as one of the classier ones to come outta post-war France. When I was a kid I often wondered if there were any full-sized automobiles being made in Europe other'n the Rolls Royce or perhaps some of the jobs Ghia was making for Chrysler or Ford, and other'n the mid-sixties Opel Diplomat with its rather American GM styling I really couldn't think of any. Of course that was before I discovered the Facel Vega Excellence, a large limo with a Gallic yet Amerigan look to it as well as this special job made for Citroen by French bodybuilders Chapron. It's more or less a standard Citroen, only extended and beefed up in the back. Amerigan sized, yet with that classic French style that all of those motor freaks who used to write for PLAYBOY went caga over. Like the fifties/sixties Tatras or even those Vauxhalls that looked a bit like Packards this car woulda looked great onna highways of the US of Whoa, only with the price tag this one undoubtedly had hung on it the only people who would be able to afford it woulda been welfare recipients!
Might have a reg'lar post for you next time, but if the spirit moves me I might just print yet another CASSETTE CAGA or BOOTLEG BRAGGADOCIO We'll see...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Sometimes my curiosity over long-gone movies, albums and whatnot might ebb and flow, but if I never do get the chance to sate my at-times burning feelings over these things they never do totally go away. So here I am watching a film that I surely would have loved to have seen when I was sixteen but am finally getting to see what, a good three centuries (or so it feels) later!

And here I was after all these years expecting 200 MOTELS to be a rock remake of L'AGE D'OR with all of the daring and cringiness that would entail! All I got was the usual warmed over Steve Allen/Lenny Bruce/Lord Buckley fifties jive that Zappa's been dishing out for years being passed off as if it sprang spontaneously from his cranial capacity just like alla those free jazz and Varese rip offs of his.

Of course I knew 200 MOTELS was going to be contrived after hearing reports of the entire production being some weird Zappa vanity project mishmosh not to mention stories of people walking out of theatres in droves wherever this monstrosity would be playing, but I guess I just hadda find out for myself. Not that I'm sad I finally did, but I must mention that even with the likes of Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan trying to save this Titanic from sinking not to mention Jimmy Carl Black's masterful rendition of "Lonesome Cowboy Burt" it's hard for me to digest this collection of social commentary, music and general let's have a good laff at the rubes attempt at avant garde satire...or something like that.

You could say it was all done before, but you won't because at least the stuff that came before (as well as during since the MONTY PYTHON influence is more'n obvious) was executed so much better. And given all of 200 MOTELS's attempts at being "daring" (y'know, making fun of hardhats) and "provocative" it really doesn't measure up to some of the films that had been made concurrently which really let loose on the no-holds-barred. As Lester Bangs (more or less) mentioned during his review of the concurrent live Fillmore album, alla those penis references and groupie jokes that Zappa and gang were cracking at the time really ain't as daring as even one panel of an S. Clay Wilson comic. And that's not forgetting anything the Kuchar Brothers might have been laying to cinema not only during the early-seventies (remember THUNDERCRACK?), but back as far as 1954 when they were a mere twelve years old! Nothing but semi-daring mainstream poo dressed up as hardcore funzies that, like MAD magazine, thankfully only leads to the harder, real kahuna. If you haven't been totally put off by Zappa's googity-moogity, that is.

One thing that really surprises me about this film is that, although Frank Zappa's name and face and guitar playing may be all over the project he's seldom seen in this film, preferring to linger about in a few orchestral scenes or photos (the actual Zappa is of course played by Ringo Starr while the nun is none other than Keith Moon making me wonder about the plight of hasbeen English rock drummers if they have to act in movies as sick as this).  I also wonder if Zappa was a fan and follower of the old DICK TRACY cartoons considering how the animated detective left all of the dirty work to his underlings in those much loved afternoon tee-vee treats. Somehow I can't figure out whether Volman or Kaylan is Joe Jitsu or Go Go Gomez, and a question such as this is one I'm sure serious students of both Zappa and UPA will be thinking about as the years roll by.

Don't believe me? Well if you really want go take a gander at the film yourself and see whether or not Zappa was acting like a pompous artiste or simpering asshole when he made this 'un. Those coming away with the conclusion that he was both just might get the no-prize of the year.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Nothing but a bunch of Cee-Dee reviews this go 'round. With the week being as busy as it was for me there just wasn't any time to get out and do some down-home autobiographical goo as to what I've been up to as of late, unless you wanna hear about my trek to Oil City not to mention the status of my home-styled finger fungus cure. But the reviews should be hotcha enough to get your heart palpatatin' and mouth drooling like a senile bulldog's so it ain't an entire loss...

Once again, thanks to Bill Shute and Paul McGarry for the burns of various items they thought I should give a listen to even though stingy me would never have thought of buying any of these goodies in a millyun years. It's always grand to give a listen to something that I just don't know what to expect of, and in Bill and Paul's case who knows what wonders are apt to appear when I gaze eyes upon their various parcels! Thank you guys, you've done a whole lot more for me'n any of those "people's record labels" who wouldn't dare send me their wares back in the "repressed" and "shameful" eighties!

And so like, here goes...

Nico, John Cale, Brian Eno-BERLIN NATIONALGALLERIE 5.10.1974 CD (Pickwick Music bootleg, probably of European origin)

Here's a recording I never heard of, a live in Berlin show from Nico and John Cale with Eno tossing a few of his blurps and blips into the mix. And if you're the kind of stroon who still fingers through your mid-seventies Island Records collection this might be the one for you. Despite a few intergalactic rumbles the sound quality is akin to that recording the piano teacher made of sissie's recital, and the performance is standard Nico and Cale harmonium and viola with some piano toss-in and Eno being himself when the moment arises. Audience is particularly rabid on this one with loads of cheers, a few audible boos, and a gosh darn near riot happening during Nico's heart-rendering version of "Das Lied Der Deutschen". Hear the closest thing to Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch the seventies were able to muster up unraveling right before your very ears!

BIRDLAND CD (Radioactive)

It may surprise you to hear it from my very keyboard, but Birdland were one of the more hotcha Brit Weekly-supported underground groups to make their way outta the poophole otherwise known as the early-nineties music scene, and perhaps the last one for that matter. With a style that came off early-nineties contempo filtered through late-seventies New York club rock filtered through early-seventies proto-spasms which could have been construed as the last gasps of mid-sixties punk epiphany,  Birdland came on like two pairs of Paley Brothers with a rockin' pop sound that you KNOW woulda earned 'em a special spot at Max's Kansas City! And not only on the second floor stage but in the back room where I'm sure each 'n every one of 'em would have been more'n on the alert to watch who was going after his seat. Y'see, sometimes they didn't have enough chairs in the place.

This half-hour release doesn't have quite the same oomph as the full-length album even though one of its better tracks, "Sleep With Me," makes an appearance here not only in its original form but in an acoustic rendition. But that ain't anything to snivel over because the enclosed tunes come off more or less like a modern-day equivalent of non-LP b-sides...y'know, something to listen to after you've heard everything else. A nice supplement to the full-length album which I gotta admit is probably not only the last great cutout of a major label release with sturdy connections to past 60s/70s accomplishment, but perhaps the last great major label release period. At least until the next great 70s/80s find to slip past my claws these past few decades or so, that is.
James Brown-LOVE POWER PEACE (Live at the Olympia, Paris, 1971) CD-R burn (originally released on Polydor)

Given me being saddled with Depression-era wages my whole life it ain't like I've been able to plunge into the wealth of James Brown releases like many of you reg'lar readers have. So when I do get something by him flung my way you know it's an occasion to toss the cornflakes like confetti and dance the secret ritual of the god of short-lived funzies OOAAOO. I missed out on this when Polydor first issued it a good two decades back, but the energy still roars on as Brown and band thrill a whole concertfulla frogs with his funkified soul stage show which, although not as sixties superb as LIVE AT THE APOLLO VOL. WHATEVER, still manages to get the adrenalin pumping. I personally thought he sloshed through some of the hits a li'l too much for my liking but hey, since I got this 'un free it ain't like I'm gonna write a letter to Polydor complainin'!
The Jam-AT THE 100 CLUB 1977 CD-R (no label)

The Jam were never whatcha'd call big potatoes with me even though I owned (and continue to own) IN THE CITY and remember loving it like a fifty-year-old ex-con loves his live-in gal's six-year-old daughter. However that's where my love ends...never did buy any more Jam records thinking that, like a stick of Wrigley's Spearmint Gum or breakfast at Aunt Mabel's, one of 'em lasted quite a long while. By the time of the Style Council I was kinda feeling embarrassed that I even thought of following 'em inna first place, but by 1982 I had pretty much shied away from most of the acts that went from "punk rock" to "new wave" to "gnu wave" (copyright 1983 Bill Shute) within the span of a good five years at which time they shoulda knowed better!

This live show captures the Jam at the beginning before their British snoot caught up with 'em, and it's OK even if it is far from enthralling. The guitars buzz with proper NME-approved aplomb of course, and the performance balances between sixties art flash and seventies punk rock rather evenly. But still there's more'n a little monodrone here that just doesn't grab me the same way the Planets or some other Who-inspired (Fast? Raspberries??) seventies act might have, at least during those many times my hard-edged overdrive rock guard was let down enough to enjoy the more "commercial" aspects of seventies pop. Next to them this sounds rather flaccid, soul-less and nothing much to rave about. Next punk rock bubble burst please!
Various Artists-LIVING HIGH WITH GENE VINCENT IN FRANCE CD-R (compiled by Bill Shute)

Gotta say that the c&w/pop bread sandwiching this meaty slab of Gene Vincent live didn't do very much for me, but the Vincent portion (recorded live in Sens, France 10/13/67) is a good heart-thumper that gets me up and dancin' and looking like a total asshole (best to listen in the privvy of your room). It's almost as good as the time I spun "Hound Dog" repeatedly in my aunt's basement (age 11) and did spastic interpretive dances to it. Sound quality is typical flub-a-dub, but the energy pours through and the performance is surprisingly up-to-date rather'n some oldies pander to the leftover greaser in us all. Gene's also in top form whether he's doing a backwoods crooner or a proto-punkin' "Bird Doggin'" and it's a shame that the guy was wallowin' in the shadows at the same time goofs like Jim Morrison were rippin' off his act and coming off like divine creation 'r somethin'! Dunno what your personal tastes may entail, but I found this 'un as exciting an example of fifties rockers merging into the "new" rock thing with ease as I did some of those late-sixties/early-seventies Link Wray sides that seemed to get lost in the societal shuffle of the time.
Sprills of Ore-TIME MIRRORS CD (Kendra Steiner Editions, see blogroll on left for more info)

I sure as shootin' don't know what "Sprills of Ore" means, but whatever it is it is the performing/artistically creating moniker of an Eva Kelly, who recorded this slab of avant craziness just this past autumn. Some of this half-hour excursion is electronic white noise blur while some actually has discernible melody that reminds me of an electronic part that was left off "In the Court of the Crimson King." Even more might bring back memories of those reviews of similar KSE wares which I thought sounded like some suburban slobs monkeying around with dad's hi-fi set back in 1967 which really should get you old time troublemakers interested in latching onto this recordings faster'n you can say "gimme a Ford Foundation grant!"
Barney Wilen-AUTO JAZZ. THE TRAGIC DEATH OF LORENZO BANDINI CD-R burn (originally on MPS, Germany)

Here's an outta nowhere wowzer, a concept album about the racing life and ultimate death by crash of Italian driver Lorenzo Bandini recorded by Franch jazzer Wilen, a man who also happened to be a race car enthusiast. The playing fits in swell with the late-sixties new thing romping into even more distorted vistas, and given that Wilen has noted French players Francois Tusques (don't ever pass up an opportunity to listen to his incredible INTERCOMMUNAL MUSIC) and BYG reg Beb Guerin in his band does help things out gnarlingly. Wilen also used tapes from the same Grand Prix (which I always pronounced as "Grand Pricks" when I was a kid, causing a lotta giggles I for the life of me didn't understand) where Bandini crashed on this album giving us the same kinda feeling that final track on the Bob James ESP album had, and if you went for that rarity from the soon-to-be mainstream schmoozer you probably will go for this 'un as well!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


From the same series that brought you the WORLD'S FINEST book reviewed last week comes this entry, a selection of stories featuring none other'n the kid o' steel Superboy with or without his 30th Century partners the Legion of Super-Heroes. Gotta admit that I loved the dickens outta both the Superboy and Legion comics back when I was at my height of adolescent slobdom, and as you would guess reading this volume of choice sixties sagas really brought back a whole lotta memories for me. Unfortunately a lotta 'em were memories I woulda preferred had been kept buried in the dark reaches of my cavernous cranium, but at least I was able to edge a few fun summer vacation goof off warm 'n toasty old tyme thrills with the thing and you can do it to!

The first saga's from '69 and goes by the title "Superboy's Darkest Secret!" Naw, it ain't what you think, but it is another one of those intertwined historical revisions/additions that I mentioned in last week's WORLD'S FINEST review where the original story we've all known and loved for ages turns out to be not quite what we all thought it was, with so many more "coincidental" equations tossed into the saga to the point where it is really hard keeping track of just what the real story is! (The whole thing kinda reminds me of that GILLIGAN'S ISLAND episode where all of the castaways 'cept Gilligan and the Skipper are suspects in a murder, all having known the victim and hating him for one reason or another.) In this one it's discovered that Superboy's parents have somehow survived the destruction of Krypton, having been shot off in a rocket similar to the one that they placed Superbaby in a good fifteen years earlier! However, their rocketship is covered with a a coat of kryptonite radiation that'll kill the kid if he even goes near it, which does add up to a whole lotta problems as to what he should do in order to bring the pair back. Of course after a whole load of  twists and turns including teaming up with the fellow who put 'em in the capsule in the first place as well as yet coming across yet even  another survivor of Krypton, it turns out that Jor-El and Lana (Superboy's real-life folk) do not want to be resuscitated because (according to the pre-recorded message beamed from their vessel) they would suffer for years from an extremely painful case of "K-Radiation Poisoning" if they were!  Superboy is naturally sad over having to abandon hope of ever seeing his real parents again, but if I were he frankly I'd be pissed off because I hadda go through all that adventure to retrieve their capsule and now it was all for naught!

"The Six-Legged Legionnaire" is one of those mid-sixties screwities that I'm sure had the gnarlier comic book fans of the day gagging on their glue, but I must admit that I really like these Legion stories for the very fact that they are so out-of-ken unbelievable while oozing forth that bizarroid ridiculousness that seemed so childish in comparison with say, Marvel product. This 'un starts off well enough as a Superboy story where onetime pest Lana Lang is on the verge of finding out Superboy's real identity then chickens out at the last moment (" wouldn't be right to expose it"!!!) As a reward (just like Clark Kent told her shortly afterwards as if that wasn't enough of a tipoff he really was Superboy!) Superboy takes Lana to a Legion of Super-Heroes meeting a good ten centuries into the future where she tries out for the group as "Insect Queen"...y'see it turns out that Lana herself has the super ability to change into any insect she'd like to be thanks to a ring she was given after saving the life of an alien being. (Tho if you ask me "tapeworm" would best suit Lana given her irritable personality!) Of course she was rejected since legionnaires must have natural instead of artificially-produced powers, but if you think that's gonna stop the bitch you've been reading way too many LITTLE LOTTAs!

Unlike the other sagas, "Curse of the Blood Crystals" is from 1972 which was a time when comic books were going through a big change for better or worse, and although I usually find these Bronze Age comics not as boffo as I find those of even a few years prior I must admit that I went for this obviously back-page feature with a whole lotta twelve-year-old guts 'n boogers. In the then-present (which I guess for 1972 woulda been the late-fifties), Superboy, after burying an evil wizard alive because his magic only works on the surface (!), hurls a buncha crystals which cause the gazer to have an incredible hatred of Superboy into space, where they wander about for a good ten centuries until who else but legionnaire Chameleon Boy gazes upon 'em while doing some spacework causing him to go back in time to off his comrade for good!

Closing out the book is "The Legionnaires Who Never Were." a '69 entry done at a time when DC was trying to make the group look more psychedelically uppa date with sexier costumes and beautiful Breck hair. As for the women they looked pretty good too, but this one is a strangie where Saturn Girl (no longer in that hideous red Comics Code-approved outfit) and Princess Projectra get zapped by some bald alien named Pozr,  and when they wake up and head back to Legion HQ they are thought of as bizarre imposters whom none of the other members have ever heard of! Turns out it was all a "test" for the Princess moderated by Brainiac 5, who sensed that she was on the verge of stressout and needed to monitor her reactions under duress! Yeah, that ol' gag, but since I haven't been exposed to it that much in the past few years it sure came off fine to me even if the ending is one straight outta an episode of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS with a few CANDID CAMERAs tossed in as well. All I gotta say is that if I were Princess Projectra I would have been using my super powers to wreak havoc upon not only the Legion clubhouse, but quite a few members as well!

So there I have it, a nice quickie trip back to pre-highschool jollies back when I was a maladjusted pimple-infested adolescent loner. Now that I'm a maladjusted pimple-infested aged loner I can go back to being my normal self, I guess.

Saturday, July 06, 2013


Skimpy true, but with the 4th of July holiday this past Thursday as well as the threat of real life taking over whether I want it to or not I just don't have the time to settle back and listen to and write up all of the music I want to and whenever I want to for that matter. Oh for a nice sub-zero day in January with about five feet of snow grinding the entire tri-county area to a I could use a few days stranded here just pouring through records 'n Cee-Dees 'n tapes 'n books having a fun time like I did when I was a kid, days I thought would never end but did no matter how hard I tried to keep that adolescent mindset up and running through baldness and societal turmoil! But alas things have changed, and not for the better if you ask me! Anyway despite all of the convolutions otherwise known as life I managed to crank out a post, and if you don't like it you know what you can do with an unexploded World War II torpedo and a jar of Vaseline.

Lotsa free jazz this time. I didn't plan it, but it just happened thanks to some new items that flung themselves my way, a couple courtesy of none other than PD Fadensonnen (see blog links at left, and buy whatever he has to offer!) as well as one from the Bill Shute pile (as opposed to Bill Shute's piles!) which ain't free jazz related but still fits in with the "gist" of this blog. Thanks be to thee, for if you didn't send these parcels I'd be ranting and raving about my cootie infestation for about ten paragraphs running.

As far as the mechanistics of this blog go, for some odd reason I can no longer post or "save" anything I wrote on the composing "page" unless I fill in the post title block that's directly located above the main area where I put my passions to print! I guess that because of this new stumbling block I'll have to go back to thinking up cornballus titles just so's I can get my usual blither blather out to you. If you ask me it's too bad blogger hadda do this to us, because I much preferred the large type titling that I had been using on and off for the past few years which I still believe looks fitting. But hey, until the people @ blogger give us the option back I'll have to abide by their rather stifling rule, and  as expected I'm sure you do not understand.

Not much else to cry about (and sometimes I do feel like doing a Johnny Ray imitation although not in a Michigan men's room), so here's this week's offering which I know you'll pass up faster'n an all expenses paid date with Anastasia Pantsios, but as the liberals like to say it's the thought that counts!


Although Mickey Ruskin's Lower Manhattan Ocean Club never earned the same underground boffiness status of the likes of CBGB, Club 82 or even Mickey's own creation Max's Kansas City it does live on in seventies under-the-consciousness status as being the homeplace of many an important underground gig. Not only had the infamous John Cale show with Lou Reed, Patti Smith, David Byrne and Allen Lanier taken place at this haunt, but the likes of Television and Alex Chilton among many other "underground" rock acts had played there during the club's rather short (1976-1978) lifespan. However, other than the B13 issue of Cale's live appearance reviewed a month or so back as well as a tape of the Chilton gig flying around there just ain't that much out there documenting this club's existence for people like us inna 'teens to settle back 'n appreciate thirtysome years after the fact. Except for this particular slab, that is.

David Murray never was one of my fave free jazz sax player. In my opinion he never had the overt energy and tumult that the likes of Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman and a few hundred more flipsters had inundated us with during the Golden Age of Splurt back in the sixties and seventies. However, on this New Year's Eve '77 recording Murray leads a grouping of free/loft faves for a show that was rather exhilarating and, like the underground rock that was permeating the club scene at that very same nanosecond, typifies the drive and utter brainscramble that was being touted as music moving into that next big direction that seemed so promising and forward looking at the time before it all tumbled into an even more underground strata with "light" jazz and post-fusion grabbing the spotlight at the expense of these tried and true believers.

This could be Lester Bowie's show as much as if is Murray's, especially on the Butch Morris composition "Obe" which'd figure since trumpet (well, cornet) was the method of Morris' madness. Bowie really shines here with some mighty driving stylings that evoke those hot solo albums of his (like the one he did for Muse called FAST LAST) long before the eighties seemed to turn not only Bowie's but a whole lotta similar-minded free players in less exhilarating directions. His spirit and energy almost makes Murray sound contrite in comparison, and Murray better thank his lucky charms that this new label didn't repackage his album as a Bowie one in order to sucker more people familiar with his aura into latching onto the thing.

Bassist Fred Hopkins keeps it up stellar-like (I could get into all of these Gary Giddins-inspired hyperbolic comparisons and praise saying that a certain phrase on "For Walter Norris" is reminiscent of Gary Holland's pace keeping on some Braxton tracks and all, but you didn't come here to be spoken down to now, did you?) and I've never been one to turn down listening to drummer Phillip Wilson, one of the unsung great wildmen on and off the stage either. And although the show lacks the bared-wire intensity of various avant garde excursions from the sixties until today, it does have that late-seventies jaded feeling that surely benefited from the lack of uppa-date technological recordings where you can hear every bead o' sweat drop from the player's forehead with amazing clarity. A boffo addition to the canon of free jazz greats, although I must admit that most of the music I've heard of this genre ain't anything to sneeze at so it's like this 'un's in good company, eh?
Various Artists-LIARS IN A STRANGE RAINY WORLD CD-R (compiled by Bill Shute)

Mid-sixties radio pop here, only I'm sure most of this never did get played beyond a few local spins on some creaky AM outlet before getting tossed into a box marked "1966" for Greg Prevost to discover a good thirtysome years later. Some familiar tuneage here true (the Castaways' "Liar Liar" and Bill Cosby's "Little Old Man," a strange inclusion in this company) and some of this is wimpier than the gooniest kid in sixth grade writing a poem using titles of Rod McKuen songs but the overall effect reminds me of a good evening of mid-sixties radio without alla the big hits of course. Some nice surprises here including the Four Squares' Beatle-alike "Don't You Know I Love You," Rockpile's "Black Bill" (which sounds so authentico that it coulda been a 1959 top forty spinner) and the Sevens' garage band pounder "What Can I Do." Some schmoozy inclusions as well such as the Dave Clark Five's "Theme Without a Name" are guaranteed to make your blood sugar surge so if you listen to this be sure to pee on your freshly baked cake and call it one will know the difference.
Various Artists-ELECTRICK LOOSERS 2 CD (no label, probably of German origin)

I tend to shy away from these six-oh compilations anymore since none of 'em and I mean NONE have the same sense of excitement or energy that the first ten volumes of PEBBLES or any of those BOULDERS that brightened up the very early eighties more'n a load of concurrent fanzines ever could. This 'un (taken from the PRAE KRAUT PANDAEMONIUM vinyl series volumes 2 and 3) is really no better'n the rest, but I decided to get it to see if a few of the tracks mentioned really lived up to all the lip service they got. They don't, but it's sure great hearing some downright classix such as the Kentuckys' "Old Hangman is Dead" not to mention the Dukes' "I'm an Unskilled Worker" again. I'm sure you remember that one about some low-class mop-pusher who fantasizes about being big and famous like everyone from Caesar, Jesus, Martin Luther King, Adolf Hitler and Richard Nixon which goes to show you the mindset of some of these German youth struggling with the post-war guilt complex or somethin'.  The rest just doesn't connect with the high energy factor in my mind which I guess shows how jaded I have become over the years because I get the feeling that this 'un woulda bowled me over had I heard it in 1979!
Various Artists-WORRIED MEN AND WOODEN SOLDIERS (Marching Through the Online MP3 Thrift Stores) CD-R (compiled by Bill Shute)

I'm breaking my new self-imposed rule to review only one Bill burn per week because sheesh, not only are these disques of his the mostest as far as dishing out the rarities but rilly, there just ain't that much out there to write up this week! Another hodgepodge of music put together in a way only Bill could conceive, with some old timey country, early-sixties pop misses, cover versions and other assorted fanabla that just might or might not get you all hot and bothered stashed onto this nice 'n shiny. Big names include Zoot Money, Edie Gorme (!) and Burl Ives (!!?!?!?!?) and even the instantly cut out classics don't seem to bug ya at all. Kinda got a kick outta British gal singer Twinkle's emotionless cover of "The End of the World," and to show you what kind of a sense of humor Bill has he even tacked on a console organ Christmas single at the end which, considering how I listened to this on July 4th, really brings the term "Christmas in July" new meaning! Makes me wanna put some roman candles on a Christmas Tree and watch the fireworks.

Even in these days when even free jazz's listening base has shrunken to a few old diehards and rock music is dead yet hasn't gotten the decent burial it once deserved, it's sure grand listening to some of the original scronkers continue to dish it out. Milford Graves has been at the forefront of the under-the underground of jazz for quite some time, and thankfully the guy never did bow out or scrambootch like way too many others in the avant jazz game because right now, in fact a good month or so ago, he appeared at the infamous (among people who would care inna first place) "Vision Fest" with a couple groupings that really made some fresh and invigorating sounds, and at a time when you thought all of this had ground to a halt long ago!

Graves' "Transition Trio" features the septuagenarian with two relatively new players, and in fact they're so new that I must admit I don't even know who these sidemen are! But whoever D.D. Jackson and Kidd Jordan may be, the pianist and tenor saxist are plenty hot and way in tune with the post-loft feeling in jazz that seemed to permeate those CBGB Lounge cybercasts that kept me in suspense (mainly because I never knew when the picture would konk out!) back in the earlier portion of the previous decade. The energy level approaches that of any jazz faves you might think of offhand, and I can't complain about it in the least---hot high energy power that should appeal to those of you who (like me) first dabbled toes in the new thing waters with a copy of Cecil Taylor's NEFERTITI, THE BEAUTIFUL ONE HAS COME album way back inna savage seventies.

The same night Graves played with the Transition Trio he also led the New York HeArt Ensemble, a group consisting of New York Art Quartet trombonist Roswell Rudd actually doing some nice bleats for a change, William Parker on bass, Charles Gayle on tenor and piano and LeRoi Jones himself Amiri Baraka actually reciting some poesy that I can't for the life of me make out, and for some reason I'm glad I couldn't. (I mean, who knows what this guy's up to these days, but I still get the feeling he's poop-deep into the hate jew whitey thing that's been bolstering his career for years!) Still a very powerful set that I'm sure most people who pay lip service to the new jazz will probably gladly do without, but folk like us, we know better now, don't we?
Andrew Hurst-SAD JOYS IN OVERDRIVE CD (no label---maybe Fadensonnen can tell us where to get it)

Subtitled "an introduction to the music of Andrew Hurst," this half-hour collection features music performed by Fadensonnen collaborator and artist in his own right Hurst who seems to be a loner genius in the tradition of way too many people who've been forgotten over the years. Dunno exactly how to classify him, but at times Hurst sounds like he's writing rough drafts for the New York group Jack Ruby and sequels to "Wild Thing" filtered through WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT. Definitely bedroom-level recordings with have a certain eighties-on underground deca-drive, and although there were a few things here that didn't quite jibe with me (such as the hickoid exploito "Starlite Motel") I felt fine basking in the glow of a current-day practitioner of underground music who doesn't smoke turd. Hurst has been doing these things since 2001, and maybe it's time he ventured outta the attic or wherever he records these things and tried for some honest-to-goodness meat 'n potatoes 'stead of the lite fluff I'm praising him with right now.
Hope to see you midweek with some pass-the-time book review, and who knows whether or not I'll be able to get my long-awaited mega-huge posting up in time for the weekend, the one I've been working on for years which is finally coming to fruition... Naw, it's too good for yez, so I'm gonna hold off on that for a few more months at the least. Expect the usual sogginess next time 'round.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013


Gotta say that I felt cheated. Y'see, when I was eleven going on twelve I discovered comic books as a mode of entertainment that I could actually afford, and for the next four or so years I was what you would call an obsessive but not to the point of compulsive comic book freak. However, by the time I gave up comic fandom for rock 'n roll the comic book world exploded all over the place like one of my teenage forehead pimples hitting the bathroom mirror with a gargantuan splat. It wasn't exactly what I was hoping for what with Christopher Reeve as the sissified Superman, the Hulk not as incredible as one would have hoped not to mention Adam West, Burt Ward and the rest of the BATMAN cast revising their roles on videotape for an ever-sagging NBC, but at least all of those paperbacks and classic reprints were finally making their way to my local shopping mall bookstore, and at that point in time I really could not care one whit! But boy was I mad considering that now after giving up on comic books because of a variety of reasons (one being the lack of proper forties-sixties reprinted material),  those classic stories I so desired were now about as easy to find as hemorrhoids at a nudist colony!

Capitalizing on the late-seventies Big Superhero Comeback came this book, one of many DC reprints under the Tempo Books banner that collected various "Silver Age" sagas for an audience that would read just about anything as long as it had a superhero on the cover.  This particular one featured the infamous WORLD'S FINEST team of Superman and Batman in stories that originally appeared from the days long before this particular title became a team-up between Superman and other DC denizens (with Batman earning his own team-up title THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD in case any of you care). 'n yeah, this is a book that I certainly would have wanted to read during my adolescent days of mass confusion (witness the vivid memories I still retain of reading a 35-cent Giant at my uncle 'n aunt's house on a rainy October Saturday morn during a failed garage sale), but as fate would have it by the time this came out I couldn't care one whit about these stories that once captivated my pea-like brain. However, things do change...

"Batman, Son of Krypton!" is a '64 weirdie, one of those heavily intertwined DC Universe stories where bizarre coincidences seem like the normal thing what with people from the past intermingling with people of the future and ordinary supporting characters becoming superheroes by the miracle of magic potions and liquids etc. 'n so forth. In this one Batman is convinced that he too is a former Kryptonian after looking at some pictures of himself as a toddler named "Bruce-El" performing super acts and coming across a lead box containing gold kryptonite, the kind that saps Kryptonians of their super powers! Of course it turns out that he isn't a member of any super-race...seems that when he was a tyke his neighbor was a scientist who was studying the doomed planet with a powerful telescope that could actually see the people of the planet up close, in the process becoming a "Kryptonologist" learning the language (good lip reader he!) and passing on bits of Kryptonian history and lures to his young neighbor while even photographing him doing powerful deeds! Of course Batman, being very young at the time, forgot about this strange superhero storyline crossover in his past though for some odd reason he could remember an obscure Kryptonian saying the scientist told him when he was only a mere two!

"The Menace of the Atom Master" is from '59 thus Batman and Robin still have that Bob Kane/Sheldon Moldoff squared chin and round head look that might have seemed dated to some even then. Superman and Batman are out 'n about wreaking havoc on their respective burghs only it ain't them but another runna-da-mill mad scientist who's pretty good at creating solid illusions with his "Super Ray Machine." Sheesh wotta dolt...if he were really smart he coulda thought up some gorgeous ladies to ease them lonely mad scientist nights and had himself a ball 'stead of turning to a life of crime!

"The Day Superman Betrayed Batman" also from '59 yet not drawn in the standard Kane style is a bit of a stretch as you would expect...sure, Superman turns Batman over to the police after a film of him receiving a big payoff from a gangster surfaces, but it was all part of a big sting operation in which Superman, Batman, Commissioner Gordon and about half of Gotham City were in on in a valiant attempt to bring down "The Condor Gang." Just goes to show you what great lengths that these guys will go to in getting their badskis!

Closing out the book's yet another '59 saga entitled "The Duplicate Man," one which I must admit ain't exactly a strong note to go out on considering how the villain's powers (being able to split himself into two bad guys) is about as original as my Sophomore High report on electronic music where my sister misspelled "Sun Ra" as "Sien Ra" (as if I'll ever let her forget!). It's good enough for what it is (cheapo quick-fix superblob kid fun) though, good enough that if it popped up in some reprint title back when I was collecting these things I would have read it up and digested it like any other comic book saga around. I mean, what are ya gonna expect from one of these late-fifties Comics Code stories anyway, Batman and Robin making out while Superman enforces his White Power credo world-wide (although something along them lines probably woulda read better'n some of the adventures suburban ranch house kids were inundated during those Wertham-dominated times I'll tell ya...)???