Thursday, January 30, 2014

Last week's IT'S ABOUT TIME review had me scouring the Bill Shute stack for this particular platter of boob tube pleasure, a collection of various tee-vee pilots of shows that did, didn't and sorta got made into series that weren't anything you'd care to call "hits". Far from that, as two of the following programs lasted a good one year, one a few months with a different cast, and another didn't even make it to production if my sources are correct. But they all have something that I haven't seen in television for quite a long time, mainly interesting premises done up without any airs of socio-political preachiness or modern-day post-decadence that never came off funny, innovative or entertaining in the slightest. Naw, these shows are pretty much more of that good ol' mindless entertainment that we always tuned into week after week with an eagerness akin to Sam on the scent of a dog in heat. And if these programs were indeed brain-dead then call me Karen Quinlan and put me on life support because I got much more sit down and engross yourself jollies outta these shows that I got outta alla the positive gay role models and action-less talkity-talk "comedies" that I've had the mis-pleasure to come in contact with these past thirtysome years!

I remember program #1 THE UGLIEST GIRL IN TOWN very well. When it originally aired back in 1968 I faithfully tuned into this ABC series under the delusion that it had one of the funniest premises ever, that of a guy disguising himself as a gal romping around in Olde London Towne! This was before I knew about CHARLEY'S AUNT and a whole slew of safe 'n acceptable transvestite humor that made up a good portion of classic moom pitcher comedy, but my DANIEL BOONE-watching uncles (that was what UGIT was up against) wouldn't have any part of it...they all thought I was some sort of weirdo for liking the thing. Sheesh, I didn't even know what a sissy was back then but I sure got branded as one for watching this rather innocuous series that wouldn't even rate a rerun on the homo cable channel, and if we only knew about those sordid stories that were circulating about Fess Parker at the time---hoo boy!

All kidding ass-side, watching the debut episode of this comedy did bring back some faint if fun memories, mostly those of how I used to sit in front of the tee-vee watching just about anything even if it was something that didn't quite mesh with my pre-double-digits idea of what existence was to be for a suburban slob such as I. Peter Kastner is about as annoying as Peter Scolari and Tom Hanks were in ABC's more successful trans comedy BOSOM BUDDIES, but the fastly-fading star still plays it halfway decent enough as the goonoid up-and-comer who falls for an English actress and follows her to London posing as a successful model loosely patterned after Twiggy.

However, the entire production has that typical late-sixties ABC mind-numbing feeling to it that used to make that perennial #3 network the butt of many a Johnny Carson monologue, what with it trying too hard to be up-to-date and hip while retaining that snooty quality that made THAT GIRL such a toughie for me to sit through once I got older and began to understand things more clearly. Of course it's better'n anything I've seen in the past XXX years and a nightly syndication run-through would serve me much more better'n any of those talkie comedies sans slapstick and soul you've seen since CHEERS, but as far as I can tell the only way anybody'd be able to see THE UGLIEST GIRL IN TOWN these days is strictly grey market! And really, I sorta wonder about the other fans of this show---oh sugar!

Highlight: the closing credits which featured a brief appearance by none other'n Marty Feldman acting his typically loonybin self with "Tammy" and his girlfriend! Kinda makes me wanna search out some disques of his MARTY FELDMAN COMEDY MACHINE series complete with the phony MONTY PYTHON-styled opening animation!
In no way do I remember CAPTAIN FATHOM, and in fact an internet search of this 'un only brought up a mid-sixties offering from the infamous Cambria Productions, best known for the Syncro-Vox technique used on the CLUTCH CARGO and SPACE ANGEL cartoon series (you may also remember 'em for the THREE STOOGES cartoons which had live action wraparound segments!). Dunno if this ever went into actual production (though the presence of "place commercial here" slides points towards the possibility of a 26-week run), but if it did t'was all the better for any goofoid fart-spewer of a kid tuning in for some cheapazoid entertainment. CAP was a tasty bit of standard mid-fifties low-budget undersea entertainment featuring a nuclear submarine, typical manly types (as well as a cute enough pre-feminist type gal all alone with a bunch of guys who haven't seen a woman in months----hmmmmm) and more fish'n SEA HUNT and FLIPPER combined! If you like underwater adventure with loads of Dell Comics-level excitement and plot development you'll go for this! While watching, I imagined myself some eight-year-old turdburger tuned into some small UHF station (the same one that's now all part of an all-shopping network) in 1956 wondering whether to go to the kitchen for a flulffernutter sandwich or stay tuned for SOLDIER OF FORTUNE.
MR TERRIFIC! Heck, I didn't even know that Wilbur himself Alan Young starred in the pilot episode, but he's in this 'un along with famed character actor Edward Andrews making a rare television appearance (that's an old Don Fellman joke) as the head of some typically mid-sixties top secret spy organization. Maybe if the former MR. ED star had been chosen for the actual series 'stead of Stephen Strimpell (who really was making a rare television appearance in this four-month-long series!) more people would have tuned in because I know I woulda, what with the lovable actor playing the Clark Kent role only turning into a superhero with the aid of a pill gulped down whenever called upon to do his country's doody.

Don't have any copies of the legit series to compare this 'un with, but with that boffo mid-sixties sitcom combination of Young and Andrews I don't see how MR. TERRIFIC coulda failed with the populace. With its adherence to various 40s/50s comedy traits with that mid-sixties oomph that would soon devolve into plop, a Young-led MR. TERRIFIC woulda been a must-see for any self-respecting suburban ranch house slob such as you or I. Young is perfect in the Stanley Beemish role (here a shoe salesman 'stead of gas station attendant) while Andrews retained that overblown pomposity that characterized a whole slew of his previous and future television appearances on everything from THE TWILIGHT ZONE to THE DORIS DAY SHOW!?!?!?!??! I get the feeling that if CBS execs bought the original pilot MR. TERRIFIC woulda been at least a two, perhaps even three season smash that sure woulda looked great on the afternoon tee-vee schedules of the seventies before it all went lezbo talk!
Y'know, for the life of me I can't remember a doggone thing about CAPTAIN NICE other'n fans like Bill Shute regaling me with fond tee-vee memories of watching this one-season wonder. Of course I do have one good excuse for not tuning in since back then NBC sitcoms didn't quite gel with me---guess they were just too clean-looking and sophisticated for my second grade mentality or something. I mean, I wasn't even a GET SMART fan until its last season on that network right before it did a final capitulation on CBS looking even more out of place as the seventies were revving up, and if a now-classic series like that couldn't make a dent in my turdly existence how could CAPTAIN NICE hope to register a blip on my seven-year-old bean?

All these years later I gotta say that CAPTAIN NICE is a halfway decent, watchable show even if it does have that sterile feeling to it. That guy who used to be on ST. ELSEWHERE plays the squeaky-clean if muddled hero while Alice Ghostly turns up as his mother and none other than Byron Folger stays hidden behind a newspaper as pop. Paula Prentiss' sister shows up in the mix too. An' yeah, I can sit through this but there just ain't any zap or oomph to this one that there was on BATMAN which as ya know started that whole superhero camp craze which even had stuck up English Lit profs reading comic books.  From what I can see, this is one of those series that I'm sure the "old" kids (y'know, the ones who were pushing the double digits) mighta liked, but for us kiddies who were still pondering the intellectual significance of BEWITCHED...too heady!
Kudos to Bill for sending these fave raves my way. They sure beat watching ABNORMAL FAMILYFELCH PATROL and the rest of the prime time schedule we never could escape from that's for sure. More if you can, pliz?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A smaller post'n usual. Blame it on the winter freeze-up since it seems as if everything around here (including my writing abilities) has come to a standstill. Believe-you-me, when the weather gets down to these sub-zero Fahrenheit temperatures I'm more concerned with staying toasty warm in my room than I am trekking down to the cold basement to spin a few, and that's just what I'm gonna do (stay in mine room, not go down to the basement) at least until the spring thaw or global warming whichever comes first. Until then it's gonna be Bill Shute Cee-Dee-Are burns and deep digs into the archives for me, thaz for sure!
Well, at least there's some good news to blab on about this weekend! Brad Kohler tells me than none other than Miss Reconstructed Nostrils herself Linda Ronstadt now suffers from the debilitating disease Multiple Sclerosis and has to get around with the aid of a walker! Considering how the one-time wannabe Mrs. Jerry Brown made us suffer with her "hot tub hussy" music back in the seventies it's nice to see that she's doin' a li'l sufferin' herself! I wonder if her walker is embedded with turquoise?
Hey kids, do you want to get a copy of the soon-to-be-released Simply Saucer "Bulletproof Nothing" single? If so then go here, and if they're sold out by the time you do just don't come crying to me because like---I gave you ample warning!
Like I said, not much this time, though I must praise myself for going above the call of doody in presenting you this week's selections which I still get the feeling you couldn't care one whit about. But then again you're just reading this post for the visceral thrill of it all, right? Just like alla those freaks, degenerates, burnouts and confused adolescents used to pester Lester Bangs night and day to the point where you'd think the guy woulda had at least two hundred "closest friends". Well, I'm not gotta let you get away with it, though I must admit that I do feel flattered in my own personal way...

Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band-NAN TRUE'S HOLE, BEEFHEART TAPES VOLUME 3 CD (Dandelion, England), MAGNETICISM, THE BEST OF CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & HIS MAGIC BAND LIVE 72-81 CD (Viper, England)

I was gonna do a Beefheart special writin' up alla the new reissues 'n exhumations that were hittin' the catalogs...really I was! But lack of time, ability and other hoo-hahs just got in the way so I'm gonna do the whole thing like piecemeal ifyaknowaddamean... So for now lemme clue you into some Beefheart platters I got as of late that I didn't even know existed until I saw 'em on the Forced Exposure website, and who knows, I somehow get the feeling that you didn't know about 'em either! And you think you're such hot stuff now, don't you poopkins!

Taken from the collection of ace Beefheart booster John Peel, NAN'S TRUE HOLE rivals some of the crudest early seventies Beatle bootlegs for tough listening. But since it was either that or spinning BEATLES '65 again it wasn't like you had much choice so went for the boots you did. And hey, an anti-audiophile like myself doesn't care that much either since it's good hearing Beefheart in just about any setting even if the songs sometimes sound if they were recorded while Peel was stimulating an underage gal under the stage with the mic used to record these. Some rarities, some faves, and a good sampling of just what the guy was up to outside of the studio throughout the seventies all presented for you via Peel's very own Dandelion label, also home to the likes of Stackwaddy and David Bedford's NURSES SONG WITH ELEPHANTS for all you late seventies used record shop hunters out there!

MAGNETICISM is another collection of Beefheart live tracks recorded between '72 and '81, with one '66 Avalon Ballroom track not on the EP closing things out. If it matters to you the sound is better and the selection does keep that Beefheartian pace up to the point where all of those seventies rock feelings you had for the guy'll come rushing back faster than fanabla. Some interesting inclusions appear such as Beefheart's take on the classic "King Bee" which hearkens back to early Avalon-era efforts as well as a number recorded at the Red Creek Inn in Rochester New York where I believe Greg Prevost approached the man for the interview which eventually appeared in the third ish of FUTURE. That's definitely one interesting historical turdbit related to this platter, and I'm sure there are more in here if only you would look hard enough into the thing and relate to it as a true seventies artifact of just a portion of the energy and madness the music of that decade was infamous for. Or some insufficient hyperbole such as that.
Archie Shepp and the Full Moon Ensemble-LIVE IN ANTIBES (vol. 1 & 2) two CD set (Fuel)

Ever since the rash of Affinity reissues of the BYG-Actuel series began gushing out at bargain prices back inna mid-eighties I've been lappin' 'em up more'n a dog mascot downs a nice bowl of beer at a university frat house. Unfortunately this particular Archie Shepp outing was not part of the Affinity reissue series so it was like us free jazz frolickers hadda wait a good fifteen or so years before this 'un got the royal treatment, that is without having to pay the exorbitant collectors prices that were getting stuck on long outta-print platters such as these.

Shepp is in fine form whether he be playing his tenor or grunting out what sound like veiled obscenities, while the Ensemble compliment his fire performance well, what with the group's mix of legendary black Amerigan players like Allen Shorter and Clifford Thornton and French BYG regulars like Beb Guerin and Claude Delcloo. Of special note is guitarist Joseph Dejean whose staccato strumming is somewhat reminiscent of Sonny Sharrock's making me wonder why the guy didn't end up recording a BYG album of his own other'n he wasn't really a "name" and more or less was part of the label's backing entourage!

Two disques, each encompassing single works that have the primal roar that made too many kids searching for the roots of the Stooges pick up platters like this up. Definitely the last word in what this "fire music" was supposed to be about and rather important, especially considering some of the comparatively tame and in fact disappointing platters that Shepp ended up making only a few years later.
John Coltrane-COLTRANE'S SOUND CD-r burn (originally on Atlantic)

For a buncha leftovers these Atlantic tracks sure do fill the bill, or at least filled the bill for hungry jazz fanatics who couldn't wait for the next Impulse-label Coltrane album to come out. Originally released in '64, these '60 sides might not have the same overdrive into free sputum that Coltrane was inflicting on his listeners at the time, but the roots of the toots can be discerned on such tracks as "26-2" (which actually didn't come out until '70's COLTRANE LEGACY). Not the best place to start (I made the mistake as a curious mid-teen with MY FAVORITE THINGS which almost ruined the guy en-toto for me!) but a fine one to digest after you've given the major titles more than a quick run through.
Metallica-KILL 'EM ALL CD (Elektra)

Last week's review of the Cliff Burton/Agents of Misfortune "album" had me digging back into the history of Metallica proper, if only to re-acquaint myself as to what is was that made this group such a welcome relief from the type of metal that most of the stoner lowrider types were goin' for at the time. Oddly enough these '83 tracks don't have quite the oompah that I remember 'em to've had, but as far as doing a proper update on early-seventies metallic forms from Zep to Sabs to even such outside chances as the Pink Fairies Metallica did it grand, taking the original drill and breaking it down to even more white noise appeal. After listening to this I can see why I had hope in this act being the saviors of the HM idiom, and in some ways I can see why some of their less-appealing influences from Yes to Bob Segar eventually got the best of 'em even when they were doing their darndest to wipe a few braincells from our minds.
Various Artists-SINGING PLUMBERS AND SMOKING ACTORS CD-r burn (contributed to the cause by Bill Shute)

Must've been a duff week at Bill Shute's pad, what with the cornballus singers who appear on this particular collection! Dave & Suzanne might have some talent goin' for 'em even if their version of "Dock of the Bay" is about as whitebread copycat as the Sandpipers, but Justin Liu comes off like the nightly entertainment at the Cantonese Palace as he makes his way through everything from "Love is Blue" to "More"! Strange, because it wasn't like he was singing in an Eyetalian restaurant so why not something more Chinese?! Of course nobody can top the San Suct's take of "Boogie Fever" nor the Executives' "I Got to be Me," at least until Fat Bob, the Singing Plumber tortures us with a side of his versions of "Sunrise Sunset" and "Danny Boy" among other old fogey faves!

Thankfully, the Avon representative motivational record's good for a hoot considering it was recorded in the late-sixties right before women began losing their seats on the bus because they stood up for their rights,  while the HOW TO STOP SMOKING WITHOUT USING WILLPOWER album came at just the right time for me...y'see, I've been trying to START smoking for quite some time, so what I'm doing is taking the information from this record and working backwards with it, so in no time at all I'm gonna be a three carton a day man and I have Bill to thank for that! Well it's cheaper'n me buying nicotine lozenges and starting with the low dosage and working my way up like I was originally planning on!!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

IT'S ABOUT TIME's one of those shows that just about everybody born between 1953 and 1961 plopped in front of a television set seems to remember, if not with any great detail which makes one wonder if they actually watched the thing in the first place. For years I would come upon many a mid/late baby boomer type who'd be singing the series' theme during one of their many nostalgia trips (which for me was strange because hey, I didn't need any nostalgia trips in my existence because I was happily still LIVIN' those years!), but when pressed for any details all I would get was that Imogene Coca was in it. Maybe some old CAR 54 fan'd remember that "Ooh Ooh!" guy, but otherwise IT'S ABOUT TIME was more or less famous for being around during those pre-hippydippy days, a happy reminder of them transitional years which people really couldn't give a shit about here in these oh-so enlighten times!

That's why revisiting this series via DVD was a special treat for me, especially when my only other option for prime-time entertainment is watching dulloid police/doctor shows which just come off like NAKED CITY and BEN CASEY watered down to meet the emotional level of your average turdpile shoveler. The entire run of this '66-'67 classic just oozes that mid-six-oh sense of sitcom whackoid that started with MR. ED and ran roughshod by the time the middle portion of the decade showed up, and for a guy who got his turdler jollies sitting plunk in front of the set osmosing the best tee-vee could offer until all there was to enjoy were syndicated reruns, you can bet the old feelings and funzies were rushing back to the point where I was in my room afterwards playing twenty car pile up with my dinkys!

Produced by the same Sherwood Schwartz who gave us GILLIGAN'S ISLAND (standard bearer of just how great mid-sixties sitcom tee-vee could get) as well as the early-seventies family freak-out THE BRADY BUNCH,  IT'S ABOUT TIME had everything going for it from the GILLIGAN-esque prehistoric jungle sets to the same GILLIGAN incidental music, and not only that but the writing was on-par for mid-sixties tee-vee-dom. Not as top-notch as THE LUCY SHOW was during the Mr. Mooney period let alone GILLIGAN, but loads better'n some of the gloppier entries of the day like WENDY AND ME to name but one. And as far as being a GILLIGAN clone well, what would you expect not only with the original story line being but a variation on the shipwreck saga (only with astronauts marooned a million years ago) but with main character Hector "Hec" Canfield (played by sitcom vet Jack Mullaney) trying his best and succeeding at being a verifiable Gilligan-type with some Jack Larson-styled Jimmy Olsen thrown in!

Frank Aletter as Captain Glenn McDivitt does a more'n amiable job doing the Abbot to Mullaney's Costello or Skipper to his Gilligan, and the chemistry actually works just as well as it had with those verifiable top notch comedy teamups. I get the idea that many old time YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS fans probably thought that Imogene Coca as Shag/Shad was a humongous comedown from past glories (never saw GRINDL so I can't comment on that) but as far as playing a comedic cave woman I couldn't think of any better choice for the role unless Vivian Vance was up for it. Ritzig/Toody/Joe E. Ross as Grok was also inspiring especially considering what we've heard about him in recent days, though I kinda get the impression that there were many other actors out there more befitting the part. Can't think of anyone specific offhand though I don't think John Fiedler would have been one of them. Cliff Norton as Boss (the chief of the prehistoric tribe) was about as typically tee-vee as I thought such a role would be, though I enjoyed Mike Mazurki as henchman Clon who did add some spark to the series with his combination brawn and duncitude, something which I guess plagued Mazurki throughout his entire acting career.

Oh, and I shouldn't forget Grok and Shag/Shad's kids, the sexy Mlor played by Mary Grace and the adolescent Breer (Pat Cardi). Breer had long hair for a kid who wasn't in a rock group at the time, and I remember my mother's shock when she discovered he wasn't wearing a wig at all, almost as bad as the time she saw Tony and the Tigers on HULLABALOO and was surprised that Soupy Sales didn't march his sons to the barber shop and march them this instant!

As for Mlor, her character was definitely developed (as was her body) during the days before blatant heterosexuality was outlawed when masculinity and femininity still ruled the world. Definitely a draw for the horny baldoid mid-agers tuning in, her presence was positive proof that female pulchritude was a trait that spanned the centuries before harridans turned the entire sex into bland androids with seemingly interchangeable parts. And it's sure grand to know that, even in primitive prehistoric times, women used to shave their underarms!

The sudden change in format with episode #19 "Twentieth Century Here We Come" must have been a big surprise to those expecting the tried and true GILLIGAN format to live on until the very end, but in an attempt to uplift those sagging ratings Schwartz did just that with results I do find rather likable. Now instead of featuring two 20th Century astronauts in prehistoric times the show had a cave family living in the sixties with all of the predictable yet guffaw-inducing situations any long-entrenched sitcom fan woulda expected. Some of the gags are pretty hotcha like the one where Jack Albertson discovers the family singing an old caveman folk song and turns 'em into a mop top act, while others like the time Shag/d and some beautician get to slinging beauty mud at each other come off so obviously ripoff I'm surprised Lucille Ball wasn't suing.

But hey, these twenty-six IT'S ABOUT TIME episodes do have that boffo mid-sixties fantasy sitcom feeling that drew many a suburban slob to his set, and all I really gotta say is that anyone who hates the show and can't see it for the whackoid fantasy that it is must be one of those tightass types we all grew up with...y'know, the kind who used to berate us for not knowing the difference between apes and monkeys or picked out all of the physics problems with your favorite superhero's powers, or worse yet wouldn't go near a show like this because dinosaurs and cavemen were not contemporaneous with each other!!!! Not like the sitcoms they have today where people just act obnoxious at each other in programs which lack discernible plots...hmmmm, considering just how "real" if bland television is these days I'll just betcha that the same kids who wanted their world to be so exact are the same ones in charge of the entire entertainment industry! And considering the decades-long trend in television blandness I'm pretty sure that none other than sixth-grade irritant Poopy Wilson (or maybe even Farts Flanagan) is now in charge of programming at ABC, giving us utter slop like MODERN FAMILY because that's what we should watch just like we were all supposed to eat gritty spinach because it was good for us! If ol' Poopy still uses his plastic pocket protector I wouldn't be surprised one bit.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Got the sump situation under control, so thankfully I've been catching up on my beauty sleep these past few nights. Must say the additional rest really does help out the ol' nervous system which is being worn to a frazzle as of late! And, as a result of getting some comparatively solid snoozing in, maybe this post won't read as convoluted as last week's or most of these weekend roundups have ever since I've been suffering from my writer's block (but trudge on I must, even at the expense of looking like a bigger asshole than I have these past thirtysome years).

Frankly, even with the inability to get the ideas outta my head, through my fingers and onto the keyboard I think I did a fairly good job of detailing just why and what you should be knowing about and listening to, but as usual you the reader will be the judge 'n jury, and naturally you will let me know with your usually stony and cold silence!
IT'S BEEN A BAD WEEK FOR TEE-VEE DEATHS what with the passing of two giants of the 19-inch screen these past seven days. The 86-ing of Russell Johnson has not-so-strangely enough been hitting me particularly hard, not only because he played the brainy if stodgy Professor Roy Hinkley on the all-time classic GILLIGAN'S ISLAND series but because he was a rather vivid presence on television and in the mooms since the early fifties throughout the final days of the past century. A face we all grew up seeing that typified a certain period in television entertainment that slowly but surely slipped from sight. And how many of you regular readers over the age of 45 have personally known some baby-boober who you'd be watching THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN or IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE with who woud remark "It's the Professor!" whenever his visage would pop up on the screen? Even my mother thought the Professor was a real he-man type of guy when she'd see him (she thought the same of Race Bannon!), even once remarking that she wished my father was a whole lot more like him!

And how about the time Johnson was playing a rapist of all things on IRONSIDE, and when he first appeared on the screen adolescent turdfarm me said in a Professor-like straight voice "Just how are we going to get off this island?" sending my sister into a hilarious uproar!

Yeah a whole lotta people used to make fun of Johnson's acting abilities (which wouldn't be that hard after seeing his appearance on THE BIG VALLEY where he does come off hammier than usual) but I always thought he was "cool" pretty much in the same way a cousin of mine thought Bill Cullen was the greatest and was so happy to have to wear eyeglasses because the famed PRICE IS RIGHT host also sported a pair of horn rims. In many ways Johnson was one of the last of the old-time fifties matinee idol wannabe types who usually played someone whether good guy or heel who exemplified what manhood used to be in the pre-castrati metrosexual era. It coulda been a scientist like the Professor or the one who brought Old West villain Albert Salmi into the then-present on one of two boffo TWILIGHT ZONE appearances, not forgetting the time Johnson played one of the astronauts that unwittingly brought the deadly space spores to earth on the "Specimen Unknown" episode of OUTER LIMITS. (One of the better episodes of that rather hotcha series if I do say so myself.) Remember when boys wanted to be scientists and astronauts like the kind Johnson played when they grew up 'stead of campaign to use whatever grade school lavatory they felt most comfortable in? Boy, were those days really that long ago?

Of course like fellow castaway Alan Hale Jr. Johnson was pretty much born to play the perhaps-too-scientific Professor on GI, a man who could do the most amazing things with coconuts but learned everything he knew about sex from studying gnats. No wonder he couldn't get to first base with Ginger when everyone knows that the famed starlet was putting out with the rest of the male population on the island and even a few visitors themselves! Even Gilligan himself was able to get a little once he was revived after one of Ginger's all-too-potent come ons, but the Professor was just too engrossed in mating rituals of the Mantis Cane to know about actual human carnal oompah to be able to do any actual flesh and blood copulation, and come to think of it maybe television (and us viewers) was all the better for it!

But although Johnson's post-GILLIGAN roles have been a return to the dramas from whence he came, I always did get a kick outta seeing him throughout a variety of seventies/eighties roles from THE JEFFERSONS to THAT GIRL (????????---just kidding about that one) just because...well, he was the Professor who was on one of my all-time favorite tee-vee series and he sure seemed cool in light of what had become of tough and gutzy types who were being scorned by the hippies ever since they began getting into positions of power. His likes will certainly be missed in these quarters.
Actor Dave Madden who played the toupee'd manager Reuben Kincaid on THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY has also left this mortal slinky. Funny, but when the infamous BRADY BUNCH/PARTRIDGE FAMILY Friday night block first popped up way back '70 way I was front and center for the Bradys but loathed the Partridges with a passion! (In fact, I remember my very first exposure to the Partridges during that fateful summer, when the local ABC station ran a commercial for the upcoming series during their morning cartoon block and I kinda felt revulsed by the mere fact that it stood against the twenties/thirties/forties/fifties-bred entertainment I most certainly craved at the time!) For me the former series was still part of an early/mid-sixties styled family sitcom romp while the Partridges were...well, kinda hippie-ish with their long hair and typically stilted v. late-sixties/early-seventies AM sounds. Not only that but THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY was downright subversive...remember the episode that showed some gerbil giving birth? I mean, how sick can you get, especially when such an act was presented in a sensitive, life-reaffirming way instead of with shame and revulsion like it should be??? And how about the time Danny Partridge used the world "adultery" instead of "adulthood"??? Boy did I cringe, and nobody was even in the room with me watching this which only goes to show you just how unnerved I was by such an off-color malapropism!

It wasn't until the show's final season that I started to tune in and follow it in a more lighthearted fashion, and when the family hit the syndication circuit I was catching up on all of those episodes I missed the first time 'round. Never could work up that much of an appreciation for David Cassidy's talents even though I remember enjoying his version of the Association classic "Cherish", but I did like Danny Bonaduce as the smartass Danny Partridge, especially when he was being played against group manager and downright kid hater Kincaid. A role I might add that Madden was born to play just as much as Johnson and Hale were born to play theirs. Well, it was better'n his brief LAUGH IN sojourn that's for sure!

True THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY was about a good two/three years outside the loop of classy tee-vee on all fronts, but next to the plethora of turdbombs that have ruined the entire industry beyond redemption as of late even this hippydippy piece of ABC trying so hard (and succeeding for once!) to capture the youth audience comes off rather smooth this far down the line, even with all of the hip women's lib and whatever cause can be crammed into a teen-oriented sitcom you'd care to think of. Well, at least it wasn't ROOM 222 or LUCAS TANNER which really drove ubercauses into the realm of utter stupidity.

And people like Madden as Kincaid made the Partridges all the more watchable, he with his great everyday fuddy duddy nature which made him almost the mental equal of his friendly rival Danny. Really, the two were a great comedy pair that sorta balanced the teenybop appeal of Cassidy, the what are they here for anyway? presence of the two little kids, and Susan Dey's absolute lack of any talent, charm, or boobs for all of us sprouting adolescent wankoffs.

After the Partridges it was back to the sitcom appearances and commercial voice overs, but like Johnson Madden made his mark on the suburban slob mindset with his fine acting and that's good enough for me! And so, a big adios to two of the unheralded tee-vee greats who not only seem to have come from a different world, but a world that was perhaps much better'n the one we live in now even with all of the medical and living standard breakthroughs we've been encountering lo these many years. I mean, what good are vitamins and soap if we don't have any great tee-vee to sit down and watch after a hard day at the sweat mines (or is it salt shop?) anyway???
HAVEN'T HAD ANY REALLY GOOD ROCK 'N ROLL ORIENTED DREAMS AS OF LATE, so the one I experienced Thursday night really came off as a vivid and welcome surprise. While watching two back-to-back LEAVE IT TO BEAVERs at what seemed to be my now-deceased aunt and uncle's home which had a certain early-sixties "vibe" to it (although the dream was set in the here and now), I actually got to see an episode that I don't recall having ever seen before! In it, Wally and Eddie's surf group the Survivors were appearing on national tee-vee live from Miami, and oh boy what a group it was! It was a nine-piece, with Wally on drums (using brushes for some reason which certainly didn't befit the music being heard in said dream), Eddie on Farfisa organ, two guitarists, a bass guitarist, and four horns...three saxophones (alto, tenor and baritone) and what looked like a pocket trumpet the kind Don Cherry used to play!

The group performed positioned straight in a row with the saxes arranged from small to large on the far right,  the trumpet, the guitars with Wally on drums at the far left. Eddie played the organ positioned at a 90-degree angle right next to Wally for some aesthetic reason and boy was he grinning all the time he was playing those wild riffs! The band was cranking out a hard instrumental sound that came off very much like the pre-Turtles Crossfires thanks to the horn section, which had two or maybe three black guys on the saxes (when the band walked onstage at the beginning of this particular dream segment I thought the baritone saxophonist was white, though later on he most certainly wasn't!) and a short white guy who kinda resembled a young Mousie Garner played the trumpet dressed casually in a windbreaker which is strange since the rest of the group had these sharp early-sixties suits with a crest emblazoned on the blazer breast pockets.

The only other thing I can recall is that the short white guy was doing these weird rollicking dance steps while the tenor saxophonist was getting into an almost Coltrane-ish between-the-notes r&b groove during his brief spot! Definitely one for the dream archives, and not only that but it was conjured outta my mind w/o the aid of any Ny-Quil!
Well, here's just what you've been waiting for...this week's miscellany of maybe not-so-brief items as John Derbyshire wouldn't say. Must mention that I found this particular batch of pre-recorded booty rather stimulating, especially the pre-Metallica Agents of Misfortune one-sided romper listed immediately below, and I must be in a really good mood because I even give a hearty rah rah to the particularly new waveish Aaron Poehler and Ryan Tully-Doyle disque that closes out this post! Now that's kinda strange because for the life of me I would have torn  this 'un down mercilessly had I heard it a good twenny-five years back given just how frothing rabid for the cause of rock 'n roll I could get when the spirit moved me! And back then it moved me more often than not!!!

I must be getting old though I doubt it since I am a perennial pre-teen to the point where I always make sure to leave the water running and lock the bathroom door if I'm gonna be in there any longer than a half-hour. But then again, maybe I can like, enjoy, or get something outta some record that doesn't fall into my patented rockist tendencies for reasons other than the expected surge I crave in my musical entertainment, and if someone like Wayne McGuire could appreciate the Plutonian depths of the Velvet Underground and the Neptunian depths of the Grateful Dead and Bill Evans why can't I listen to the Ohio Express with the same ears I use to listen to the Stooges, or find some (perhaps snide) worth in eighties drone(on) rock, heavy metal flufferoo or gnu wave goop that wouldn't have passed any tests on my part once 1979 crept into a new and less-enthralling decade?

AGENTS OF MISFORTUNE one-sided LP (no label)

Cliff Burton just hadda've been the heart, mind, soul and maybe even sphincter of Metallica. True that venerable aggregation were startin' to go south even before Burton learned a new meaning of the term "heavy metal" way back when, but during their Megaforce Records days when they were helping to kick-start heavy metal into a new generation of sludge it was Burton who was putting a whole lotta oomph into the Metallica sound.

Unfortunately Metallica (like many of their eighties metallic counterparts) just hadda let their progressive inclinations get the best of 'em, but when the original group was out there cooking on all cylinders Metallica were doing a pretty good job of making people forget about comparative fiz like Van Halen, at least until Bon Jovi popped up onna scene.

The thirteen minutes that appear on this one-sided "album" which could be a bootleg (one that's so good I ain't gonna hold off on writing about it until its time for the next BOOTLEG BRAGGADOCIO!) is a killer, a slab of solid sound recorded around 1981 (never mind the '84 date that pops up at the beginning of the video below) which goes against the grain of everything HM was standing for at the time whether it be tiresome Ted Nugent histrionics, Deep Purple sophisticado (sans that drench of their early seventies offerings) or general Molly Hatchet doofdom. Burton and band pretty much roar into industrial waste sounds here with a style that I'm sure would have shocked the likes of Andy "Punk Rock Has No Roots" Secher and the entire eighties HIT PARADER metal fluffs as various proto-Metallica ideas are scronked out with a steady beat, walls of feedback and a free sound that hadn't been heard in Metal Proper since Blue Cheer's original escapades. The end results are not only rooted in metal legend (bowed guitar) but punk rock in a 1971 CREEM sense coming closer to Von Lmo (or "Amboss" period Ash Ra Tempel) than Autograph. Can't say that I've heard anything as genuinely distorto as this as of late outside of Fadensonnen!

Comes on grey splatter vinyl and in a numbered edition of 300 if you care. If you really care and missed out (Eclipse Records have a few left, I hope!) you can always burn a copy of the "Battle of the Bands" video this was taken from might not stand out so much in your collection but think of all the money you'll be saving!

Alex Chilton-ELECTRICITY BY CANDLE CD-r burn (originally on Bar/None)

Interesting acoustic set recorded by the infamous Boxtops vocalist during a blackout in New York City on February 13 1997. It sure sounds it what with the audience patter, the off-the-cuff renditions of old-timey favorites and the general get-together have some fun feeling that would occur in a club during a blackout when none would dare venture out into the street.

A lotta on-line wags have been putting this one down for the "amateurish" recording quality and performance, but I find ELECTRICITY BY CANDLE a more'n representative slide of Chilton's talents as well as proof of his ability to take the worst of a situation and make the best even if self-appointed rock critic types can't see beyond their pointy heads. Nothing I'm gonna be spinning as often as LIKE FLIES ON SHERBET, but a fairly representational document of Chilton that even a cursory fan would want to hear at least a few dozen times. (And the bonus track which is unlisted on my cover puts a nice cap on this thing...can anyone relay whatever info there may be regarding its origins?)
The Gories-THE SHOW TAPES, LIVE IN DETROIT 5/27/88 CD-r burn (originally on Third Man Records)

Since I haven't been listening to my old Gories records in quite a long time this burn (courtesy of P. D. Fadensonnen) does come in handy. Taken from what I assume's a fairly decent nineties-vintage audience tape, the Gories thrash and burn through a whole bunch of garage band screechers, some original and many covers, sounding about as raw as a rear end after evacuating a Mexican dinner and having nothing to use but one-ply (ow!). Hear your favorite NUGGETS and PEBBLES faves reduced to distorted amp frenzy, and speaking of amps don't miss the part where these guys actually blow a fuse at the club and have to go down to the basement to slip a penny into the box!
The Sixth Station-DEEP NIGHT CD-r burn (originally on Numero Group)

Hippie priest Tony Trosley helps the Tridentine Mass movement single-handedly with this soft rock West Coast folkie album with a vaguely religious bent that I couldn't discern from the typically introspective lyrics. Recorded in 1982, Fr. Trosley should have realized that by this time the Laurel Canyon scene was long dead 'n turquoised outta existence, but trod forth he did with this laid back offering that's probably now worth more'n the collection intake from last week's 11:30 AM mass. Some might find spiritual worth in Trosley's twelve-string playing and more-introspective-than-Harry Chapin lyrics, but if he really wanted to be "hip" and "with it" he would have certainly put his religious convictions to a finer form of music. After all, I'd rather have heard him do Suicide's "Punk Music Mass" over this anyday!

Various Artists-ST. PETER'S BLOOPERS AT PLAY CD-r (thanks be to Bill Shute)

Another strange selection comin' my way what with the cornballus Smokey and the Rhythm Riders and Don Jones startin' things out, but soon we get into some more of those sometimes funny beyond belief  and often wonderful beyond words "song poems" (courtesy Vincent Poli and R. W. Grantham) and of course the indispensable Terry and the Macs. After about five minutes of the Note-Ables blaspheming their way through "Jesus Christ Superstar" (when I was a kid I was so stupid as to think they were actually singing "Jesus Christ Superstar/Who in the hell do you think you are?") I fast forwarded to the Bloopers platter which I thought had some sorta funzies to it even though these things were usually phonier'n shit! Well, better listen to something like this rather than spend an hour doing something constructive!
Aaron Poehler & Ryan Tully-Doyle-DIETRICH CD (available via iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp and elsewhere)

The brand of early-eighties synth-laden new wave that Poehler and Tully-Doyle spew forth on this 36-minute Cee-Dee ain't exactly my cup o' cliche, but I won't rip into the thing like my unabashed fanzine-era self would have. Actually I find the neo-Psychedelic Furs drone and clump fairly decent, maybe nothing that'll make any top ten lists o' mine but an occasional diversion for those who miss the eighties brand of what was going under the name punk rock in 1975 before getting tagged new wave in 1977 before being inundated with a variety of terms from "new music" to "post-punk" once the new decade got into gear. If you miss acts like Certain General (who I believe are still up and running!), Crossfire Choir and the Corvairs you'll probably be more'n apt to snatch this one up!
If you were able to make it through this one without grimacing, be glad to know that I have another one all set for Wednesday and I'd be lying if I said it was a doozy!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


After reading the socially conscious GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW comics that I told you about last week, the very first Batman stories via the pages of DETECTIVE comics come off like a breath of healthy stale air after being kept in a locked room pumped full of Oust.

These early sagas got everything that I like in comics (and general entertainment for that matter) such as a hero who ain't some pussified metrosexual type, villains who aren't portrayed in a way that you actually end up rooting for them (like I usually end up doing even while watching classic moom pitchers of the past...after all the tough and gnarled gangster is sure a more interesting and well-developed character than the squeaky-clean Dudley Doo-Rights they're pitted against!), and best of all unvarnished, hard-nosed stories which certainly lack the twinkle eyed vision (and the sub-shopping insert art) that has typified the comic book biz ever since I quit buying regularly back inna seventies because the whole industry became too...convoluted for any suburban slob to really enjoy.

Somehow I get the impression from the majority of stories that were being produced at the time that the people who run DC and Marvel were under the impression that the average comic book reader was Dilton Doiley, when somehow or other I get the idea that he was Goober Pyle. There really does seem to have been some major shift in the universes when dunce-level Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kids entertainment could have devolved into something so grotesque that even Stan Lee's craftiest character and plot twists now seems so tame and restrained in comparison.

These early BATMAN tales really do hit home. As you might have remembered, "the Batman"*  was played as a vigilante working against the police** as well as the bad boys which does lend a neat character to these strips and makes the cowled one a whole lot more copasetic with my system than the way the guy eventually turned out! The violence and action is certainly punched up as well, not only with the likes of snapped necks and hideously burned bad guys but with Batman carrying a gun when needed (or not for that matter), and although none of this can match the obvious template DICK TRACY for downright hard-edged to the point of sickening violence (my favorite kind!) it sure comes off a whole lot better'n what most of these comic book characters would become once they got settled in and hadda become good role models for us empty heads who didn't know any better!

Even the addition of Robin doesn't deter any, though you can just hear the jokes and snickers during that one scene where Batman rescues his sidekick from a burning movie picture set and a fireman remarks "it was love for that kid" that drove him to it! Sheesh, with lines like these who needed Wertham anyway??

*as he was known not only during the late-thirties but throughout the early-seventies revival of "the dark knight," right before he really went bonkers in the '90s.

**in one funny plot twist which appears in one of these early stories, a cop who does capture Batman confesses to the Caped Crusader that he supports what the guy is doing and submits to a voluntary uppercut just so he could let Batman escape while still doing his duty!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hi snookums. I'm stayin' up extra late tonight because the automatic sump pump in the basement is broken and I have to check on the rising rain water every few hours in order to utilize the not-so-automatic floor pump when flood levels appear imminent. In between slogging through an all-night shift that reminds me of my old night watchman job of yore I thought I'd do my usual finishing up touches and fine tunings on this weekend's megapost, even if I otherwise would prefer enjoying a NyQuil-induced dream that usually involves situations so abstract even Sidney Peterson would have rejected them as plausible film scenarios. So if the writing seems a bit woozy in spots and lacks the viscosity demanded of such an important blog as this'll know that things are going just as they have been these past ten or so years so be grateful and SHUT THE HELL UP. (But don't worry, I get the feeling that I'll be doing more'n my share of "scrubbing" once I get my standard ten hours of sleep in and discover what a turdbomb of a post I unleashed upon you while fighting off the arms o' Morpheus.)
Well, I always did wanna know exactly what kind of a "libertarian" I am, so I went to this site (which I discovered via the EX-ARMY LIBERTARIAN NATIONALIST blog) to find out! The results of this rather interesting quiz can be found directly below, and to be honest and truthful like I always am I must admit they don't surprise me one bit, even though I am glad to know that I am most definitely not the kind of libertarian Jay Hinman puts himself forth as. Heck, I should have guessed the results right off the bat since for years I've been fancying myself an "anarchist," and a real down-to-earth-and-not-a-pretend-anarchist-who's-really-a-communist like many of you readers have been for quite some time! Yeah, I know that you can probably take as much stock in a test like this as you could some "What Kind of Sex Animal Are You?" quiz found in an old issue of COSMOPOLITAN, but I wouldn't doubt that there's at least a shred of truth in what is brought out. Maybe a tiny shred but something I can latch onto with muddled glee. Maybe I can quibble with the results a bit even if I don't even consider myself a total believer in free markets as they stand these days, but like I said it's just a test, and for the second of these political quizzes that I took on-line I must say that I did get a better result'n the one where I tried to discover whether or not I was a fascist (they told me to get lost, and you can bet I felt disappointed!):

You Scored as Anarcho-capitalist 
Anarcho-capitalists are libertarians who oppose the state entirely and propose to have a free market in the provision of security and arbitration. The term anarcho-capitalism derives from Murray Rothbard to describe a stateless society based on the principles of laissez-faire or the philosophy in support of such a proposition. Anarcho-capitalists may tend to still associate more with the political right and make use of the political process, unless they are agorists or left-libertarians at the same time.
"Small L" libertarian

Libertarian socialist

So readers, what do you stand as if my own fabian socialist-sniffing Geiger Counter wasn't clicking away like a pair of amphetamine-riddled castanets!
Well here they be, this weekend's big batch o' reviews! Not as big a batch as you would have hoped for, but given how the past week did progress at a particularly slow if not dirge-like pace I guess I should be glad that I made it outta the thing alive! All but the first writeup are from Cee-Dee burns that were sent to me by readers both grateful and not, and considering how I'm running out of opportunities to purchase the kind of platters that I think I would enjoy here in the 'teens (that combined with the lack of produce I'd like to pick for my sound salads---boy I am getting woozy!) I'm more than thankful for these unsolicited handouts! So w/o further a-doo-doo, here's this week's list of tracks to twist (or something like that):


I bought this one for purely teenage throbdom reasons that would have absolutely positively nothing to do with any smart set type who tunes into this blog. Y'see, when I was but a mere pimplefarm I used to prowl through department store record racks and look at the album covers just dreaming that I could own the whole lot of 'em (well, I wasn't too keen on the Don Ho ones), and unlike many of the people I went to school with I sure did remember the Kinks! Back when the original British Invasion was plowing everything in its path into the mulch the Kinks sounded, looked and snarled better'n the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined! Not only that, but the occasional Kinks "oldie" being spun on the just-recovering from the '69/'70 doldrums AM dial sure came off better in light of a whole load of the goop that was being spun, and come to think of it they sure fit in with the good trackage being played during that brief resurgence as well. Not only that but, unlike many of the mop top faves of a good eight/nine years back the Kinks were still together and putting out albums...sheesh, one would have thought they woulda combusticated ages ago when the music scene began to take a turn for the teenybop/hippydippy worse.

Do you think that I still have the same teen tingles over getting a copy of this 'un in the here and now that I would have had if I had latched onto one back when it first hit the racks? Well, not quite, though I will say that my general nerves and emotion nodes have been deadened over time just like my tastebuds have after having eaten too much Szechuan. Repeated spins of VINCEBUS ERUPTUM can do that to you, but I was still able to muster up a little bit of teenage oompah over this '73 platter. The feeling did come back a bit, like the one that I got after originally looking at the cover way back when getting the impression that the Kinks had turned into a fourteen-piece band and actually allowed gurls into their ranks. Hmmm, the Kinks certainly were entering into the seventies with that all-inclusive mindset that was so in vogue with the folks who were running ROLLING STONE, that's for sure!

As far as the music to be heard goes, well I really gotta say that I have more mixed emotions over this 'un 'n the time I was tempting Sam with treats during one of his barking rampages and he didn't know whether to be angry or gluttonous. It is clear that the specter of cockier seventies rock modes had unfortunately clutched its way into Ray and Dave's style while that old fuddy duddy English Music Hall bounce that might have sounded great on "Sunny Afternoon" just comes off tiresome and worn. (Speaking of "Sunny Afternoon," "Sitting in the Midday Sun" might just be a middling yet pleasant enough sequel.) However when they get into a more hot pop flash mode custom-made for the early-seventies AM pop rebirth the Kinks are cooking pretty good to the point where I even dig their fifties nostalgia paen "One of the Survivors," a number which'll make anyone forget the gassy "Cricket" in a flash.

Dock a buncha points for this being a concept album and the first of who knows how many parts, but at least the Kinks came out smelling better despite all the amputations. True they weren't the Kinks of yore, but they sure weren't as embarrassing to the feeling and movement of teenage sounds as James Taylor mewling in his heroin-induced stupor while straight-as-an-arrow gals were thinking he was singing directly to them.

But then again, had I heard this one back when it came out I get the feeling that, given my ever-budding and distorted teenage tastes, I would have written the Kinks off for good for being such brassy old timer music shucks or somethin'! Shows what sort of a stupid Special Education mongrel I could have been and in many ways do remain. Maybe if they wore shrunken heads around their waists and carved each other up with Bowie knives...
Walter Brennan-HE'S YOUR UNCLE, NOT YOUR DAD CD-r burn (originally on Key Records)

Yes, tee-vee's Amos McCoy (best not to mention THE TYCOON in his presence!) lays it all out on the table as what was wrong with Ameriga in the mid-sixties, and it was even recorded "live" in the same studio the Seeds probably recorded their live album in, if you get my drift! Bill probably lifted this one from WFMU's "Beware of the Blog" (which is where I lifted the snazz cover on the left!), and although the guy who writes for them is so obviously full of snark sanctimony given his pithy if lofty East Coast liberal-cum-radical putdown of this platter (why, this man actually has friends who participated in ACT UP's trashing of St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1989 which was such a success bringing attention to the fact that anal penetration and rimming are such healthy practices which should be protected by the bludgeoning club of the law!) I take quite a different approach to the genius and down-to-earth common sense that Walter Brennan puts forth on these two sides.

On this outing for the "Key" label, Brennan tackles just about everything from the de-evaluated dollar to foreign aid and civil unrest and although the message he tosses out won't jibe with people who still think that fifty years of gimmedom has benefited the poor or that the average mid-Amerigan is nothing but a glorified pack mule I find Brennan's whole approach a whole lot more refreshing than I would listening to any alternate Great Society type with their newspapers or broadcast forums telling me just what a rat I am for being able to merely scratch out a living and coming off so suburban!

True Brennan's patriotic appeal just doesn't make it with this anarcho-capitalist type (and thankfully he doesn't get into his anti-Jewish rap---after all Brennan himself said that Irving Pincus and Sheldon Leonard were the only two decent Jews in Hollywood and the rest...feh!), but the Academy Award winner who's lucky his statuettes haven't been taken back sure comes off like a glass of clear water after being forced to drink the Koolade that then-contemporaries like, say, Bill Moyers have been glugging down our throats for years! And although Brennan's old time right wing savvy has been surpassed by the likes of Jim Goad, Gavin McInnes and even that neoconnish Kathy Shaidle it's sure great listening to some still pertinent commentary that doesn't grate or come off so paternalistic like just about every shard of controversial tee-vee these past fortysome years has.

As I've been sayin' all along, it's speak-to-you, not AT you, and that really makes a difference if you're interested in getting a passel of disinterested parties to even lend ear to you in the first place. Not only that, but Brennan's sure a master of elocution, cornballus-if-funny jokes and just about everything that would have made him a real hoot at any smoker you could imagine. If you don't think this 'un makes me wanna snatch up the entire run of THE GUNS OF WILL SONNET on DVD I dunno what will!
Ray Martin and his Orchestra-UP-UP AND AWAY CD-r burn (originally on RCA Camden)

Bill Shute sez "want to feel like you are in the middle of a 1968 Dean Martin variety show...or a 1968 John Davidson special (and who doesn't)? This album TAKES YOU THERE." It mighta took Bill there, but all it did for me was dredge up memories of my pre-double digit days when one of my biggest concerns was how to spend the eighteen cents I had in my pocket without feeling too guilty because my dad said I should put it in the bank. Cheezoid renditions of the day's hits straight outta the Ding-a-Ling Sisters songbook done up to sound nice and mod even though you know your folk woulda hated them hippie sounds, true blue Guy Lombardo fans they who used to blanch when his band would do equally hokum covers of contemporary hits on New Year's Eve. The aural equivalent of those psychedelic neckerchiefs Oliver used to wear.
SHIZUKA CD-r burn with bonus live track (originally on PSF. Japan)

After getting burned on some not-up-to-snuff Japanese underground platters o'er the past few years I was kinda wary of this 'un. Thankfully this '94 effort featuring the warbling and guitar playing of the one named Shizuka is highly in collusion with the post-Rallizes underground mindset that made the past decade a li'l more bearable than it was. A strange mixture of slow, introspective music that reminds me of Pink Floyd's "Green is the Colour," with occasional girly-girl sing-songy vocals punctuated by sonic blasts of feedback-laden guitar that seems right out of the Mizutani Takashi school of broken eardrums. Speaking of Mizutani, the additional bonus track Fadensonnen burned on to this for me is a live track from '95 sporting the presence of the soon to be MIA Rallizes guitarist and as many a people would say, it's gosharootie!
Phil Yost-FOG-HAT RAMBLE CD-r burn (originally on Takoma)

Mildly engaging one-man jazz/folk sorta tossout that evokes everything from Sandy Bull to even one-time label-mate John Fahey. Obvious hip influence glomming abounds with a load of Ornette here and Lacy there done up in a proper boho way which, thankfully, doesn't reek either of hippie pretension nor whiz kid showoff. And with Yost's real-life albums (be on the lookout for BENT CITY after you snatch this one) costing an arm and a leg via the usual sources it's best you keep on the lookout for a free download somewhere here onna web, or better yet get a friend to do it for you like Bill Shute did it for me!
Endless Boogie-7/4/2013 KNOCKDOWN CENTER CD-r burn (submitted by P. D. Fadensonnen)

As you may know I am extremely wary of some of these newfangled psychedelic hard punk rock 'n roll groups making their presence known, but Endless Boogie is one that pretty much kept me entertained throughout this disque's bevy of extended jamz. Kinda funny/strange/GRANDE that there'd be a group cranking out these Hawkwind-styled drones and chords here in the mid-teens but there is, and these guys crank it out like it was 1969 and there were was nothing to look forward to in the coming years except late-night UHF TV! Even has some Stoogian input that wags used to call "Acid Rock" because they didn't know any better. Stuff like this keeps me from pulling the trigger on my boss, and not only I but boss should be really happy about it.
Various Artists-BLUE ARABIAN BARNYARD OASIS CD-r burn (thanks be to Bill Shute)

This collection of thrift store tracks I never saw in any thrift store I stepped foot in has a more Golden Age of Instrumentals feeling to it, not only because of the inclusion of the Wailers' boffo '59 tit-squeezer "Driftwood" but some mighty powerful tracks courtesy such forgotten acts going under such now-dated yet power-packed names as the Vaqueros, the Fatimas,and the Sound Breakers. And hey, I'm sure a good portion of 'em could give Bill Justis a run for the guitar twangy moolah had these records only made it outta the closet like they shoulda! Of course Bill put on some of that old-timey country and western wang-a-doodle (such as Jim & Edith Young's "Hill Billy Moon"), but since nobody's around to call me a hick for playing it I'll listen to it all without fear of embarrassment, ultra-sophisticado image I have and must retain. As an added bonus, Bill even put an end to this 'un with a couple of country tracks taken from an ancient (78 rpm) Peter Pan Record, so let's just say that it's the next best thing to crawling through a flea market without having to put up with an antique ice cream cone adhering to the sole of your sneaker!
Well, I made it through this weekend perhaps not with flying coloreds, but satisfactorily enough if I do say so myself. Back to the ol' sump for me, and remember to tune in mid-week for some asinine review of somethingorother... 

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

BOOK REVIEW! GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW by Dennis O'Neill and Neal Adams (DC, 2012)

Sure is swell that DC decided to reissue the entire two year/thirteen issue run GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW series. Given all of the hubbub that these stories created what with the comic book idiom finally discovering the cutting-edge issues of  the day (which wasn't quite the case as a peek into any issue of THE HAWK AND THE DOVE would prove), GL/GA certainly was an important title in the history and development of comic books. Even in a day and age when there's hardly any way we can escape the usual moral relativism and hammered-in socio/politico messages provided by the Entertainment/Academia/Governmental megaglopolix, these stories read as boss late-Silver/early-Bronze Age stories with hot art, good if at times pretentious scripts, and why let subjects like slumlords and racism get in the way of a good adventure anyway?

Yeah it was a stroke of somethingorother to take a title that probably wasn't pumping on all cylinders and revamp it to snuggle in with the mindsets of "today's relevant youth," and even an old whackoff like myself must admit that these GL/GA stories did it just swimmingly. The best thing about DC comics' early-seventies dive into the "relevant" swamp of youth consciousness is that MOST of the time they actually did it right, and subtly enough w/o coming off like BLESS THE BEASTS AND CHILDREN mixed with rotational spinnings of "One Tin Soldier" and "Things Get a Little Easier (Once You Understand)." Let's just say that the good writing courtesy Denny O'Neill (even with his lapses into artsy Glade air-freshener prose) and art via Neal Adams take a front seat to the message at hand, no matter how timely or youth-oriented it may be.

Yeah, Green Lantern does emit airs of sick white liberal guilt more'n a few times in these sagas...I mean just look at his shameful response in #76's "No Evil Shall Escape My Sight" when an elderly Don "Bubba" Bexley type confronts the power ring'd one with the pearl "I been readin' about how you work for the blue skins...and how on a planet someplace you helped out the orange skins, and you done considerable for the purple skins! Only there skins you never bothered with...the BLACK skins!" Lantern's cringing response is something that I sadly must admit is something right outta grovel and emote progressive television script #1,647 or Brian Ritchie's "Christians For a Day"...the sorta shame and self-conscious realization of that evil white privilege which somehow even the lowliest dirt poor white must wallow in that enlightened Hollywood writers just love to infuse into their stories! (Of course they are exempt---I mean well-off scribes who never ever traipse into South Central El Lay are superior to mid-South white trash who work side by side with blacks doing menial labor, aren 't they?)

But don't fret, because even though the pair (along with Earth Two refugee Black Canary, who incidentally is about as white as they come) do battle everything from greedy capitalists taking over Indian land to the population explosion, the stories are for the most part on par with what the Marvel-ites were doing at the exact same time with or without the social consciousness. And, thank God or Julius Schwartz or whoever comes first, they were also a whole lot less didactic (well, some of the time!) than some of the other DC titles which were going out of their way to preach their entire readership into bleeding heart upper class schmooze (if you don't believe me, pick up the WORLD'S FINEST Superman/Teen Titans saga "The Thing That Destroyed a Town," and it wasn't the big monster on the cover but YOU AND ME!).

I will say that by the advent of the 25-cent 52-page issues towards the end of 1971 the hippydippy-meter was starting to click away more'n a Geiger Counter shoved up the Hulk's ass. The two part saga dealing with drug abuse contains way too many suppositions and "heartbreaking" (in a Huffpo way) neo-facts to hold up even if the action part of the story is straight outta Silver Age heroesville. I mean, wasn't it a whole lot more truthful and honest when people did drugs just to have a good time rather'n blame it all on the older generation or society at large? Leave that crap for those street kids who used to play Phil Donahue and Bill Moyers like a violin; at least those down 'n dirty types who just wanted to get high always seemed more with it and hip than those who used 'em to either get back at society or milk sympathy outta the usual bleedheart suspects.

But hey, I guess the pumping up of the teenage emote meter really did help the mag's notoriety...after all while most other comics sported one page of fanmail GL/GA had three, and if I remember correctly one of the fans writing is was none other than New York mayor John Lindsay!

By the time the last issue to feature any original material (#89) popped off the presses, O'Neill and Adams really flew off the handle of tasteful if at-times cloying relevance with an allegorical Jesus hippie ecological tale that tops 'em all as far as dragging every 1971 youth culture cliche out of the high school newspaper office and milking 'em for all they were worth. For years I wondered whether or not the title got canceled because of this particular saga which re-enacted the crucifixion in terms of a dying planet complete with the standard knock 'em over the head moralizing  (c'mon Comics Code Authority, what are we payin' ya for???), though all I gotta say is that if the title just hadda go out for whatever reasons were given they really went out on a bang! But still, seeing O'Neill drag out that ol' Jesus was a hippie routine does kinda make me wanna puke up the last three rounds of Carnation Instant Breakfast I've been downing these last few days.

The following sagas taken from THE FLASH weren't nearly as paternalistically pious, but I guess by 1972 nobody cared about these message laden tales anymore. They do serve as a kinda limp finale to a series that helped change comic books (perhaps for the worse), but their inclusion does sorta stand as evidence of an industry that, although growing ever by leaps and bounds, just wasn't the same as it was a good ten years earlier when it was catering to a buncha Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kids who couldn't care one whit about population explosions or grubby landlords. And hey, maybe we were ALL better about it just because we DIDN'T care!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

So how did I spend New Year's Eve??? Not too different than I have the past twenty-five of 'em, huddled in my room cowering in fear thinking about how my entire existence has been a total waste with nothing to show for it. And how here it was, another year down the ol' pooper 'n what did it all mean (spiritually, socially, physically) anyway??? Of course I eventually got over the feeling and slapped on some handy next to the chair Cee-Dee whose title I now forget, but the gloom of shame was permeating the air heavier'n any underarm perspiration smells that might have emanated from my humidors otherwise known as armpits. I even read some old fanzines before hitting the sack around ten or so.

When I hadda wake up to pee around two it suddenly dawned on me that it's now been over fifty years since the Cool Life has ended (or was about to) and now I would be celebrating the demi-centennial of the mid-sixties, otherwise known as the transitional years which started off fine though by the late-sixties it would ALL be washed away by dull AM radio, boring television programs created by once-bright stars who were past it, radical hippies who somehow thought Havana was a better place to exist than Sharon, and the biggest loudmouths and back-stabbers to have called themselves children who I unfortunately hadda be shackled with in those prisons of so-called learning they call schools! The good side of it was at least programs like LEAVE IT TO BEAVER and DOBIE GILLIS were now being aired daily, even if most of the time it was during school hours and there was no way I could watch 'em.

But otherwise, New Year's Eve was not the kind I would have imagined I would be enjoying back when I was a young turd and thought life was gonna turn out way different that it obviously had. Then again, like I said my predictions regarding my existence never did turn out to be correct...somehow I thought I would end up being a successful, well-off financially, mannered specimen by this time in life and look where I ended up!

And worst of all, in the first discernible dream of the year that I had I was in my high school cafeteria trying to type out yet another issue of my fanzine monstrosity, being thwarted by fellow students every step of the way. Well, it beat the dream I had right after where I invened a way to remove hemorrhoids based on Biore Strips.

Enough of the silly self-pottying are some reviews which I managed to crank out between snivels. For a first time of the year effort, I must admit that I did...middling.

Coum Transmissions-HOME AGED & THE 18 MONTH HOPE LP (Dais Records)

Not being much of a Genesis Breyer P'Orridge fan (in fact, not even owning any proper Throbbing Gristle releases), I decided to snatch up this collection of various sound experiments, poesy recitations and interviews related to P and his early art aggregation Coum Transmissions anyway. After all, there's something about that pre-pussified experimental performance art that gets me right here! (hearty thump to the chest). And as far as abstract dada surrealist vorticism goes, Coum really outdid alla 'em by their sheer force of disgusto in-you-face-or-up-your-ass theatrics that included public puking, eating of puke, live sex acts, coprophagy (with an emphasis on the "phag" I'm sure) and other things that would dearly upset Otto Muehl and various other arbiters of clean living.

I can't make out if any of the above preversions (no's a joke, son) have been acted out on this album, but don't worry because it's still gonna shock your Aunt Maybelle like nothing since the time cousin Wilomena had to go out of state for "cosmetic surgery." Musically this is standard home recording free rhythmic sound played on piano or violin, with interview snippets from radio and elsewhere (including one where P'Orridge talks about his plans for the budding Gristle) sandwiching the various sound formations for wont of a better term. There's even a live portion from the time Coum opened for Hawkwind in 1971 which might be lacking a lot without the visuals, but I get the feeling that the audience got a whole lot more than they bargained for.

I don't go for other people's art projects especially when they seems akin to looking at their toilet fulla crap before flushing (OK, I'm sure that's been done at least forty years ago), but this sound portion was quite entertaining. And it did come off as good a slab of conceptual innovation as workable as a Chris Burden installation or Vito Acconci jacking off while hidden under some floorboards. Your own art professor may not think so, but if he don't just give him a blood enema until he sees the errors of his ways.
Yosuke Yamashita Trio-CLAY CD-r burn (originally released on Enja, Germany)

Hmmmm, seems like Yosuke and band had been listening to a li'l too much LIVE AT THE CAFE MONTMARTRE before recording this live '74 side at the Moers Fest, but since that bitta early-sixties avant garde splurge was such a wonderful experience I can hardly blame 'em! Yamashita's piano playing might cause Cecil Taylor to consider some legal action, but until he gets his lawyers on the rampage this will help if you can't find any of your Taylor albums offhand. Akira Sakata and Takeo Moritama might not be Jimmy Lyons and Sunny Murray respectively but they compliment Yamashita almost as well as the two did Taylor. An outta nowhere surprise that I'm sure many of you probably passed on back when this first hit the bins because hey, did any of you really think that Japanese could play jazz inna first place??? I mean, if it was as bad as their country and western...
Budgie-SQUAWK CD (NPL, England)

Sheesh, what a comedown! For a group that blasted ahead with a stellar debut that had all of the choicest aspects of punk rock and heavy metal rolled up into one megablare, this followup shows that the more these early-seventies groups "grew" and "matured" the more their albums began taking on not only airs of pretense, but deadened-nerve downer flatline. Not only are the "Iggy Pop bop" and Black Sabbath no-chord grind gone, but they've been replaced by more of that "good playing" and "exquisite production" that kids who probably lambasted their parents for their sophistication just loved to have crammed into each and every inch of their "rock". The Roger Dean cover (which was better'n his usual glop) should have been a tipoff, but then again if you can believe Metal Mike Saunders they were merely following the standard heavy metal trend of one good debut album only, so like maybe I shouldn't be too hard on 'em.
Suni McGrath-CORNFLOWER SUITE CD-r burn (originally on Adelphi)

Ok, so McGrath ain't as fluid as John Fahey nor is he as mystical as Robbie Basho (or as rocking as Sandy Bull), but the guy was apt enough to have recorded this mix of east 'n west slab that I'm sure would have done the job in any late-sixties college dorm lacking in Johnny Mathis or Mantovani records. Loads of fancy fingerpickin' and sitar twanginess to be found, sometimes with the addition of some brush percussion or tablas punctuating the procedures with exquisite taste. Still there seems to be something "strange" about it that keeps this from becoming a downright late-sixties blues/folk classic that I can digest well in my system. Maybe it's the fact that I'm actually listening to a rec recorded by a guy who calls himself "Suni"...sheesh!

MC5-LIVE '70; LIVE '72 CD-r burns (courtesy of P. D. Fadensonnen)

Some more hotcha MC5 recordings containing material that even I haven't heard before! LIVE '70's got some exquisite-sounding FM/TV simulcast material complete with a typical early-seventies AOR radio gal announcing in that dry, detached style. The performance is top notch showing the group still had the pow'r and might of their KICK OUT THE JAMS debut even if that Lester Bangs review had 'em (at least subconsciously) "toning it down." The audience recordings from Soldier Field in Chicago Illinois (strangely enough laid down a day before the above tee-vee broadcast) packs a whole lotta wallop as well even if the batteries on the tape recorder definitely needed to be replaced. There's loads of squeal and wheeze goin' on with this one making it yet another coulda been wowzer that got sabotaged due to some guy being too cheap to buy a new pack of Ray-O-Vacs!

LIVE '72 details the Five on their last legs in Europe not only with what I guess are outtakes from the BEAT CLUB recording session (including "Ramblin' Rose," "Motor City is Burning" and other class favorites) but that live "MC2" show recorded at the Kennedy Gym in Copenhagen where Wayne Kramer leads a reshuffled version of the group through some old ("Kick Out the Jams") and new ("Gloria") faves for whatever was left of their fan base at the time. Of course next to what the full-fledged Five were doing only a few months earlier this kinda pales, but ya gotta admit that next to what a whole slew of acts were dishing out in the name of 'rock 'n roll" throughout the seventies (and beyond) this band in its death throes sure packed quite a punch in comparison!
Various Artists-RAZZLE DAZZLE CHAOS SHOES CD-r burn (compliments of Bill Shute)

Starts off great with two sides of the Echotones' 1959 garage ballad single "So In Love"/"My Baby Doll" on the Dart label before slamming right into Rotomagus' third and final release which I know you have already heard, digested and loved to the hilt ever since it got the royal reissue treatment a few years back. The Birdwatchers were too horn-y for me, though I did like listening to the Pretty Things' "I Can Never Say" in this company .The Everly Bros. (I heard the news today---hoo boy!)sound particularly gutsy on "The Price of Love", and only Bill coulda thought to follow it up with Sonny Boy Williamson's blooze chooze "Peach Tree".

Rather'n continue on this rather choppy track-by-artist recitation lemme just wrap it up by saying that the selection's continues on a wunnerfully varied track from Bill Haley and Gene Vincent to Screaming Lord Sutch and the Minnesota-based surfers the Elegants or something like that. And (for a change) there's not one country twanger inna bunch! (And wait'll you hear Gollum's double-sided heavy metal whop-a-rena "Prayer of Despair"/"Desert Heat"! It's such a solid slab of vibrating phlegm lodged inna sinuses passing as "music" to the point where you know that all of those sissy eighties "hair metal" bands woulda run home crying to mama had they given this 'un a listen!)
Mantronix-KING OF THE BEATS (Anthology 1985-1988) 2-CD set (Warlock)

I bought this one in honor of Imants Krumins since it was he who was the big Mantronix fan back in them dayze. I never could figure out why, just as I never could figure out how some rock critic types were more'n anxious to lump Mantronix in with such rock duos as Suicide and the Silver Apples. It must've been some strange delusional thing that quite a few of these writers get into, but even though I did tune in to SOUL TRAIN when Mantronix were on if only out of curiosity it wasn't like I was beggin' to buy any of this group's wares. And I don't care how many VILLAGE VOICE critics were jumping on the hip hop bandwagon thinking that acts such as this and Public Enemy were just as important to the "process" as the Jefferson Airplane and Rebecca and the Sunnybrook Farmers...I thought Mantronix were just another example of teenage fun 'n jamz goin' into areas I feel uncomfortable in, especially when it gets kinda dark at night.

Sorry Imants, but I can't get together with you on this one. This is rather alienating hip hop beat bleat that didn't engage or move me physically, spiritually, mentally or even bowel-like. Just more of that eighties dredge-up that made them years such a drag to make it through, and considering how that was the decade where it all went down it wasn't like this was anything to rip roar about, y'know?

If you happen to be one of those chic sophisticado types who can dabble in this style of beat bleat along with the rockism and utter raunch of the day I guess that's your problem (as Mr. Krumins himself would have put it), and I say good luck. But sheesh, I kinda like my rebellious noise to be something hard and uncompromising that would offend both the stuffed shirts and the heart-bleeds, and as far as being driving, moving, offensive, anarchic or anything else beneficial to the rabid musical process this has all of the rebellious attitude of a LITTLE LOTTA comic. Better to slap on a Seeds that is what I call teenage rambunction!