Thursday, November 16, 2017

BOOK REVIEW! HUGH HAZZARD AND HIS IRON MAN #1 (Golden Age Reprints)

Sheesh, I better get on the ball and start writing my review of the two phone book-sized Quality Comics collections that Golden Age Reprints published before Bill Shute beats me to it! (Don't worry, if he does I'll write my own take anyway!) But until I do let me at least gab about this neat little collection featuring yet another one of those wonderful yet oft-ignored and STRANGE BEYOND BELIEF Quality characters, none other than Hugh Hazzard and his Iron Man, later to be known by the title Bozo the Robot in case any of you do harbor some confusion about the thing.

And yes, confusion may reign. If I were still a muddled teenbo comic book wannabe historian like I was so long ago I'd sure be baffled by the fact that there was an Iron Man appearing on the racks a good twenny-four years before the more familiar Marvel character popped up. I'd even be more stymied by the fact that this original Iron Man looked a whole lot like the 1963 take with that bulky costume that was soon re-designed because it was just too clunky for any dignified superhero to wear. But then again weird things like that always cropped up in my mind adding to even more confusion than usual for a kid who used to get brain muddled by why FIREBALL XL5 was on TV and SUPERCAR wasn't and as you know diseased ways of thinking do tend to run off on tangents I don't think even the most skilled psychoanalyst could fathom.

And besides, this particular "Iron Man" ain't even a human character but a robot, controlled by police camp follower (in the Bruce Wayne tradition) Hugh Hazzard. He's the guy who in the very first episode "rescued" Bozo from the evil Dr. Von Thorpe who was using the robot for nefarious gain thus turning him into a crime fighting robot with Hazzard now calling the shots! Naturally the police commissioner, using the same sort of comic book anti-logic every police commissioner did during those Golden Age days, is dead set against Hazzard operating Bozo and wants the robot scrapped, but he quickly changes his mind after seeing the machine in action killing a kidnapper (and surviving a plane crash) at the end of episode two. And you wonder why crime was rampant in these books what with alla them dolt cops who are so inept that private eyes and superheroes are always outwitting them!

Every saga reprinted here basks in that off-kilter yet so enjoyable Quality style which thankfully did not adhere to what most of the competition (most which paled in comparison, and I'm even talking DC!) was up to. With a special control hidden in his jacket collar, Hazzard relays commands to Bozo just in time for the fl robot to save him from some saboteur or to leap upon a speeding vehicle causing some jewel thieves to crash thus meeting their maker a whole lot sooner'n they surely hoped they would. Gotta love those pre-code comics where these bad guys always get knocked off thus saving us all from having them give us grief in some future story.

What's even more interesting are the sagas where Hazzard actually fits into Bozo thus making him perhaps the original Tony Stark. Now frankly I woulda thought Bozo woulda been chock fulla gears and gadgets to make him operate the way he does, but I guess it was possible for a standard 1940s police detective to sneak inside him which does add a broader scope to just what can be done with the thing. And, in case you didn't know, when you read these stories you gotta throw all sorts of logic and reason right out the window which in fact make them all the more enjoyable and if you can't get away with that in real life at least you can in these pretty exciting tales from the dawn of the superhero industry!

A must get for those of you who still have the soul of a mid-teenbo suburban slob pimplefarm raging deep inside.

Monday, November 13, 2017

COMIC BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! STORIES BY FAMOUS AUTHORS ILLUSTRATED #4 (Gwandanaland Comics)


STORIES BY FAMOUS AUTHORS ILLUSTRATED (also known as FAST FICTION) ran for 13 issues in 1950-1951, doing 50-page comic book adaptations of literary classics such as HAMLET, MACBETH, and NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, as well as adventure classics such as THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, SCARAMOUCHE, SHE, BEN HUR, CAPTAIN BLOOD, and the one under review today, John Buchan’s THE 39 STEPS, perhaps best known for the 1939 Alfred Hitchcock film version, which has been described as 80% Hitchcock and 20% Buchan. It is a classic spy story and also considered a fore-runner for the “man on the run” formula used so often in espionage fiction and films. Author Buchan brought back the Richard Hannay character in four later novels, as THE 39 STEPS was such a success.

I will confess to not having read Buchan’s original novel (it’s in the public domain, so you can read it at Project Gutenberg or you can get a cheapo Dover Thrift Edition for a dollar or two), but I have read ABOUT it, and it seems this comic is based fairly closely on the novel, not the Hitchcock film. There are two other film adaptations, in 1959 (which is said to be very much like the Hitchcock adaptation--I vaguely remember seeing this one on television as a child) and 1978 (which is said to be faithful to the book), as well as a BBC television film from 2008, a stage-play version, and a 13-episode TV show which created new adventures for the book’s protagonist, Richard Hannay. Orson Welles was such a fan of the book that he did a Mercury Theatre radio adaptation of it, and in recent decades, even the late Christopher Hitchens sang its praises.

Surely there are sub-plots thrown out and exposition trimmed to create a 50-page comic book version of a novel that runs between 100 and 150 pages, depending on edition and font size. However, this comic book version (story adapted by Dick Davis and illustrated by Jim Lavery) is quite satisfying, full of well-detailed visual particulars for both the indoor and the location scenes, and the text--alternating dialogue and narration--is just right for a suspense/espionage story.

It’s easy to see why this tale appealed to Hitchcock, with its “average man” who stumbles into an espionage situation and who rises to the occasion, providing a viewpoint character for the audience (he could be us....well, somewhat) while having a lot of twists and turns and suspense before saving the day.

This is the perfect reading for a cold, rainy night (which is when I read it), and I look forward to re-reading it soon. The novel/comic is so different from the Hitchcock film that even if you remember that somewhat, you won’t really have many spoilers here.

Gwandanaland Comics has published all 13 comics in this series both as separate volumes and in three combination volumes which between them contain all 13 entries. The 39 STEPS has everything you’d want in a well-done mystery-suspense comic plus an interesting, sympathetic everyman hero, intelligent dialogue, and clever plot development, since it’s based on an acclaimed novel....so you are getting the best of both worlds, comics and literature. The cold, wet weather here tonight makes it easy to imagine that I’m alongside Richard Hannay as he maneuvers on foot through the Scottish hills in search of the enemy agents who hold Britain’s future in their hands.

I recently watched the 1923 silent film version of SCARAMOUCHE, starring Ramon Novarro, so I look forward to getting a copy of this series’ adaptation of that novel (by Sabatini). If the idea of a well-done 1950 comic book version of a classic 1915 spy novel appeals to you, then I can’t imagine your not enjoying the “Famous Authors Illustrated” adaptation of THE 39 STEPS.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Aren't you glad that we're finally settling into that frigid winter weather ahead of schedule here in the tri-county area? I sure am, for once again I have an actual excuse (and a good one at that, guilt free too!) to stay indoors, listen to music, read old comic book reprints and fanzines of the past, and write it all up if only to present to you the enlightened ways of true suburban slobdom as it stands here in the 21st century. And I'm doing this all outta the goodness of my heart, as well as so's I can at least read some hot rock screeding (even if I wrote it!) in the old "gonzo" style that seems to have been poo-poo'd with a vengeance these past thirtysome years. Or at least it has been ever since Lester Bangs deep sixed and Richard Meltzer was exiled to Portland during the reign of Secher. I mean, if nobody else wants to keep the Bangs drumming here in 2017 I certainly don't mind giving it a try no matter how feeble an attempt it may be.
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So for once I had a really good week of it listening to some music that managed to move my inner fanabla like spiritual Ex-Lax. The Lords of Thyme album might actually stand the test of time and become an eternal wowzer (no hyperbole here---really!), while the Droogs, Koala and Tom Crean efforts are items that I will not be filing away with the dirty underwear and socks under the bed. Yes things are really looking up what with these sounds that actually can earwig their way into those dark recesses of my and maybe even your mind, and the best thing about it is that they're being made in the HERE AND NOW which really is one reason not to do an 86 despite all the temptations that are incessantly needling you to do so. But hey, if you do decideto go the self-extermination route...can I have your records???
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For those of you who are taking notes, my current free time playlist (that is, thingies outside the scope of today's reviews) consists of practically nada but the Electric Eels (especially their anthem "You Crummy Fags" which is soooooo inspiring these days) and the Velvet Underground's SCREEN TEST bootleg, the Cee-Dee version since I don't wanna sully my original vinyl collection with scratches and the like. Sheesh, is that CHELSEA GIRLS soundtrack the most bee-you-tiful thing I've heard ever even with that homo blathering on at the beginning...kinda makes you wonder if any fragments from the CG "rock opera" that Lou Reed and John Cale were writing survive not to mention heretofore unknown recordings that should be issued in any wayshapeform since like, man can not live on hippie revisionism alone. As we all know there are loads of unreleased rarities that we can all use especially now when time is slipping by and frankly, I think that when I'm gonna be hooked up to a millyun machines with tubes sticking into me all over while I emanate that sweaty urine smell so common amongst hospital denizens, getting hold of Velvets bootlegs is gonna be the least of my problems!
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Big heap thanks go to Feeding Tube Records, Plug 'n Socket Records, Kendra Steiner Editions, Bill Shute and Paul McGarry for the contributions. Sure appreciated it, because you guys saved me a ton of money!


The Lords of Thyme-THE FUTURE OF THINGS PAST LP (Feeding Tube/Shagrat, available via
Forced Exposure)

The folk at Feeding tube must read this blog because after my "complaint" about not getting a Lords of Thyme elpee inside a sleeve last time around I get an album sleeve with a record in it! Glad to see that I have some rather attentive readers out there!

It certainly was worth the wait to get this 'un too, for THE FUTURE OF THINGS PAST is one of those albums that you thought they quit making long ago. Thankfully these Englishmen (well, one's a Paddy) are an up and about aggregation and not only that but they sure do make quite a good music what with their folk rock cum psychedelic rock that reminds me of what some of those overall'd hippies on the front porch woulda made in the late-sixties had they only a sense of passion and verve in their mission.

Naw, forget the hippoid connection...think more of the ultimo ZIGZAG music/West Coast fanzine raveup of the early-seventies done up right. The early Fairport Convention mixed with a few other late-sixties bold English folk moves without the overwrought countryside pip pip 'n all those other things they say over there. Nice little jazz touches abound as well...I guess that's where Byron Coley gets the Pentangle angle from in his hypenotes. Not only that but THE FUTURE OF THINGS PAST is a bold statement regarding just WHERE music of a non-commercial yet soul-searing variety should be hovering about in an era where frankly the original rock "message" as that "International Youth Language" has dried up at least a good thirty-five years back.

A collection of material culled from various releases cassette or otherwise, this does make for a cohesive whole as it sounds just as much a contained album more than it does a put together. It's also has a beautiful swing to it that I'm sure few have heard in folk rock once the denim, cocaine and turquoise began to permeate the California crowd 'round '72 way. A pretty emotional album without the self-indulgent and narcissistic factors that made you and me shudder every time Linda Whatzername or the Eagles would release some AM single during those seventies days of slush.

Great cover too (reminds me of a mid-seventies Harvest Heritage effort) and if there is any fault with this let me blame the compilers for NOT PUTTING ENOUGH MUSIC ON THE DANG THING!!! But let me also thank Byron Coley (Feeding Tube) and Nigel Cross (Shagrat) for conceptualizing and releasing this in the first place. We all need it.
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The Droogs-YOUNG GUN CD (Plug n Socket)

I sure didn't know that the Droogs were still together after over forty years but hey, they are and they're still cranking out albums that I can certainly give a rat's hoot about! YOUNG GUN is the name of the latest, and like a good portion of the past thirty years of Droogdom it's a hot set of rock 'n roll done up the way I would have expected guys who've been in on the Big Beat for so long to do it all up.

Rick Albin still comes off like Gerry Roslie meets Jim Sohns while the rest of the band play perfecto yet raw sounds that will make any expensive hi-fi system sound like that Mickey Mouse portable you had in your youth. And the material's so good that at points (especially on "For Redemption") I could discern a pretty hefty SIDEWINDERS influence, or is it just my imagination?!?!? And it's all capped off by a cover of the Seeds' "Out of the Question"! Man, what a platter this one is, and definitely should be for you!


Sky Saxon singing with the Droogs at Greg Shaw's Cavern Club back during the infamous "garage band  revival" movement days of the late-eighties---talk about a "meeting of minds" that would've curled Steve Allen's hair!
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Tom Crean-3 HEADS TAME CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions, see blogroll at left for more information)

Sheesh I just don't know about this Crean guy. I mean, does he wanna be Derek Bailey, Loren Conners or Robbie Basho? Well, I hope he stays confused because this offering is a blast of pure string-driven musical pumice to hit my mind in quite a long time, a selection of stringbenders that evoke a whole load of inward emote and wafting mind excursions that naturally remind me of earlier encounters with solo guitar (or banjo or bass in this case) yet break out into new paths I'm sure others will be filching from as the years go by. Even if this wasn't the only solo guitar platter I've heard this years I'd still say it was the best...or something like that.
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THE KOALA CD-r burn (originally on Capitol Records)

Always wanted to hear this wooshed over classic featuring lead vocalist Jay Mala (later to be Eric Emerson's replacement in the Magic Tramps as well as a three-gig frontman for the Joe Perry Project) and now that I have boy am I glad I did! It's nothing like I expected but definitely one of those outta-left-field surprises like JUMP and THE SIDEWINDERS, with a sound that comes off like a pop post-Yardbirds with various Byrdsian, Beatles, NUGGETS and Raiders moves that lend a kind of "upscale" class to it. I even discern some first-LP era Good Rats here though thankfully without the additional orchestra which knocked that effort down a notch or two. Mala's gruff voice also helps even if the material that pops up here ain't exactly the heavy metal the man would become better known for. Hard rock teenybop sounds that really holds up well...too bad this one isn't the stoner classic it ought to be!
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Beady Eye-BE CD-r burn (originally on Columbia Records)

Sheesh, a nekkid gal onna cover and this time you can see some bullseye! Too bad wimmen today ain't as hotcha as they were when I was growing up when they still had the sense to engage seriously in attractive styles and feminine hygiene or otherwise I might just have some sorta throb thrills for the thingie pictured. Actually I find her, like a good amount of the music made by these ex-Oasis-ers, rather derivative of various sixties/seventies accomplishment, the former via the on-target gal photographers (and models) of the past and the latter various late-sixties shockers and the seventies emulators who tried to keep the spirit alive against all of the FM-rock bred dolts who thought rock 'n roll was a completely different life form than I sure did. But hey, both s-x and rock music has lost most if not all of its original drive and splendor and what else should an aged fanabla like me expect here in the rather muddled teens anyway?
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THE AL HARVEY SHOW JULY 27, 1948/THE BYNG WHITTAKER SHOW DECEMBER 17, 1049 CD-r burn

A lotta people think that Canada's a boring place to live, and if they got an earfulla these two CBC radio broadcasts they'd probably have some evidence to back it up! Actually I like these shows since I like cornballus stuff, and frankly a lotta squaresville material has appeared on radio elsewhere on this planet so why should the Canadians get singled out! Harvey's a fun guy who not only sings with and without the aid of his other regulars but appears in a comedy sketch of various guffaw-inducing abilities. His announcer Whittaker actually had his own program as well, a more serious affair with a variety of musical acts and little in the way of genuine har hars. Golden Age of Radio nuts should go for this like a Canadian goes for his macaroni and cheese!
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Wes Dakus and the Rebels-THE WES DAKUS ALBUM CD-r burn (originally on Capitol Records, Canada)

'n speaking of Canadians (and not macaroni and cheese), here's a pretty spiffy mid-sixties vintage album from an Edmonton group that as far as I know came out in Canada and Canada only! It's mostly of an instrumental nature and it ain't anything of a hard-hitting Northwest variety true, but it's still a better than fair representation of a genre that by the time the moptops invaded these shores was slowly going out of favor with the teenbo record grabbers out there. Fairly good neo-surf sounds that will keep your attention especially when you're reading old fanzines as the minutes go by. Beware of the two covers of  "So Fine" and "Do-Wah-Diddy-Diddy" which feature some pretty high pitched squeaking vocals but the rest...yup! Personal fave---"Roulette" which is the only rock instrumental I can think of that has a xylophone as the lead instrument!
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Various Artists-CAUSTIC BONBON GINGERFLOAT SNIDE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Like a blind date on Fire Island, you never know what to expect with these Bill Shute collections. This nice-sized one (not too big, not too small) is but one with a nice selection of music that believe-it-or-not actually sounds good enough in these post-living days. Les Aigles fly in with some good early-sixties instrumental rock that really makes me wanna kill all those people who thought music twixt "the day the music died" and the Beatles' appearance on ED SULLYGUM was total drek. Heck, even the early Cliff Richard number is late-fifties rockin' enough to make me forget about alla them little boys he purloined during those Billy Graham crusades! And James Brown doin' "Caldonia" was pure genius...he shoulda also've done "That's What I Like About The South" while he was on a Woody Herman kick. Even the country songs and Louis Prima (see what I wrote about Cliff Richard above only subtract the boys and add the story about that steamy night in Las Vegas with Keely Smith and a blackjack dealer) were fine, and if you didn't get to hear that rockabilly orgasm moaner "Little Girl" on SIN ALLEY well it shows up here as well!

Thursday, November 09, 2017

BOOK REVIEW! EVERYTHING IS COMBUSTIBLE---TELEVISION, CBGB'S AND FIVE DECADES OF ROCK AND ROLL BY RICHARD LLOYD (Heech Hill Publishing Company, 2018)

Dunno how this book got an '18 copyright date considering how we're still stuck here in good ol' '17, but I ain't gonna be a stickler'r anything about it. The ahead-of-its-time date only gives me hope that there WILL be an '18 to live through, kinda like the feeling I got when I was a mere turdler and I was worried about "today" being the end of the world only I was told that since it was already tomorrow in Asia and they were still up 'n about we were safe over here in their yesterday and boy did I feel good about it!

Boy has there been a spate of good rock 'n roll reading this past year or three what with previous faves like the Stooges book, that Suicide bio, the DENIM DELINQUENT compendium and the Sal Maida autobio entering into our fart-encrusted abodes, but now there's this killer to contend with! And what a killer it is, a read that I wasn't even expecting to get hold of (a premature Christmas gift courtesy Robert Forward, who I think got his surname due to his definitely forward thinking) and you can bet that I have recharged my rock 'n roll batteries because of its entry into my life! I mean, I actually got one of those uncontrollable rock thrills (the same kind I get reading classic hard-edged Velvets-spawned scrawl that cut to the quick of my being......ooooooooohhhh!) that I can only obtain while absorbing the likes of Laughner, Bangs, Meltzer, Kent... under the influence of a great high energy spinner so you know this just ain't some hippy rehash of the greatness of mudfests and brain-raped platitudes being foistered upon us like so many ill-minded attempts to relay the energy, violence and atonality of rock 'n roll upon us lumpen fanboys.  

Not that ex-Television guitarist Lloyd ain't whatcha'd call a top notch writer---he somehow comes off timid in his style coming off as if you're reading a letter from your cousin in the Peace Corps right before he gets captured and dumped into a boiling cauldron---but the guy sure has the tales to spin and spin them he does purty GOOD!

Maybe Tom Verlaine or Billy Ficca (dunno about Fred Smith) could deal out a better read but this one is prime enough. Lotsa talk goin' on here about the people Lloyd rubbed elbows with, the good guys and the bad, and it does make for some stimulating reads because we all know what weird creatures these rock people can be and well, having it reinforced once in awhile will make you glad that maybe you were stuck in your suburban squats back inna seventies dreaming about hanging out at Max's Kansas City like all of the other member of the New Culture because things could get a little hectic out there and what do fifteen-year-old pimplefarms know about protecting themselves against predators and drug-addled hypo-nuts anyway???

Great stuff...the various late-sixties/early-seventies pre-Television tales regarding the likes of some famous names like Jimi and Led Zep and PLENTY on Lloyd's close and personal friend Velvert Turner whose tale could make up another hefty-sized tome if it hasn't already. Television's own history is recorded though perhaps not quite in the detail that one would have hoped while even the Piccadilly Inn gigs with Rocket From The Tombs get a nice li'l bit of space you know it probably wouldn't have gotten had this book came out a good three or so decades earlier. Other names like Keith Richard, Anita Pallenberg and Buddy Guy make their way into the book and the tales they generate sure'll make what's left of your frontals do a few snizzle pops ifyaknowaddamean...

I even grooved heavily on Lloyd's psychiatric troubles where he relates his own mental crackup and tales of his stay in Creedmore undergoing treatments I would consider dubious even by sixties standards. If you think your favorite rockers were raving lunatics the people who occupied the beds where Lloyd was staying would have made the ultimate rock group and don't you kid yourself---if only they could untie their restraining straps!

Bad points, the overemphasis on matters s-xual and otherwise. Yeah I know I'm a prood and that this kinda material seems to come with the territory anymore but that doesn't mean I have to like reading about Lloyd's "trisexual" appetites and who screwed who or about Lloyd standing there nude while Danny Fields flibbened his jib because the former wasn't feeling flittery at the time. When I start reading about the durtier aspects of various celeb lifestyles I kinda feel like that guy who's walking his dog inna park and has to watch the dog take a dump so he can scoop it up in a plastic grocery bag to be properly disposed of. You know, observe the sphincter open and the brown load come out then pick it up with the bag as so none of the defecation touches his mitts even though you know poop smell can permeate just about anything as us frequent wipers can tell you. If you like it fine but sheesh, I've heard enough about the private and not-so hobbies of some of the real big names of showbiz from what Don Fellman tells me after he listens to Gilbert Gottfried's podcasts, and if Danny Thomas and Charles Laughton were as sicko as they were then you can just guess how a under-the-underground guy like Lloyd came off!

If you want to read this I ain't stoppin' ya. EVERYTHING IS COMBUSTIBLE's a fine stroll through sixties/seventies rock 'n roll history (the good stuff, not the ROLLING STONE junk that has been presented as such these past fifty years), but remember, do save your plastic grocery bags because you're gonna NEED 'em!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

COMIC BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! CAPTAIN COOK OF SCOTLAND YARD (Golden Age Reprints)

Have you ever noticed how, here in the good old USA, five people could say the exact same thing, but if one of them says it with a British accent, he/she is better received than the Americans. The same seems to be true in popular culture. There’s always been a place for the “charming Englishman,” ranging from Arthur Treacher to Cary Grant. And on present-day PBS, in any 12-18 month period, there are probably a dozen British mystery shows being aired. For a while, there was even a sub-genre of British crime-solving clergymen, when both Grantchester and Father Brown were being aired in the same week. You can even subscribe to services like Acorn TV or the BBC America channel and get non-stop British TV.

In the post-Sherlock Holmes era in the first half of the 20th Century, that Anglophile tendency even trickled down into comic books, and exhibit one is the character under review today, Captain Cook Of Scotland Yard.

Captain Cook appeared as a guest comic in a few different magazines of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, but what’s collected here are his stories in SMASH COMICS issues #1 - #13. Smash was published by the legendary “Quality Comics,” and it ran from 1939-1949 for a total of 85 issues. The Cook stories ran in 1939 and 1940.


There are 13 stories collected here, all running either four or six pages. They all move quickly, and are entertaining and adequate in terms of crime-solving comics. What’s most of interest to me about this series, though, is that whoever wrote it and drew it didn’t seem to know much about Britain or things British. Oh, Scotland Yard is mentioned, and there’s an occasional reference to someone being a Lord or whatever, but other than the lead character being called a representative of Scotland Yard, this could be a 100% American character working out of Chicago or New York. The geography in the artwork looks totally generic in terms of place, no one speaks with British syntax, no one spells COLOR with a U, the buildings look American, the characters talk like people in any American crime B-movie, etc.


As with a number of series in either comics or movies which were running out of gas....or where the people making the comic or the film already know there are only a few installments left....the later entries seem more haphazardly composed and plotted, and we move more into weird, almost-scifi territory, where you don’t have to develop much of a mystery plot and plant clues....just have some weird phenomenon that can be explained away in the final few panels, completely removing the whodunit element (or even the HOW-dunit element or the HOW will the murderer be caught element) that is usually necessary in a detective comic or story or movie.


I like Captain Cook Of Scotland Yard, and I’ve read this book twice (so far). It comes from the Golden Age of comic book and pulp-magazine crime stories, and even a journeyman piece of product (like this one) from that era is an entertaining read today. Also, for me, pretty much anything published by Quality Comics is worth reading. According to the Grand Comics Database, Quality Comics published some 1662 issues of 60 different magazines between 1937 and 1956. It’s unlikely you’ll stumble across any Quality Comics in the usual flea markets or junk stores, which are scoured in advance by Ebay comic book sellers (who usually have a relationship with the owners of said flea markets or junk stores to have first refusal on any old or off-the-wall items before they are put out in the general stock), so take advantage of the many Quality Comics properties which have fallen into the public domain, and which you can read online for free....or get attractive reprint books of from publishers such as Golden Age Reprints or Gwandanaland Comics. The writers and artists behind this comic knew what audiences wanted and knew how to create a fast-paced and exciting story, yet resolve it in 4 to 6 pages. Today’s bloated and self-serious artistes working in comics or television could learn a lot from the lean and efficient style here. Something like this was all in a day’s work for the professionals whipping these comics out for low page rates....they probably grabbed a sandwich, downed a few cups of coffee, and moved on to a romance comic right after banging out Captain Cook, and then probably moved on to a military comic after that. And they did all of them equally well, on time and under budget...because that’s what a professional does, and that’s how you keep your job and feed your family!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Dunno what you think (nor do I care) but it sure seems autumn outside, and inside too considering how I keep tracking leaves into the house alla time. But eh, it's just another time of the year (as opposed to time of the month which I understand some of you female readers out there are actually trying to enjoy) that dredges them old memories from the base of my beanie rising 'em up to the top like scum on a swimming hole. Oddly enough some of these memories are actually of enjoyable past pleasures, though frankly most if not all of them don't involve any actual human intercourse (you know what I mean!) which only will attest to my own antisocial nature which I will admit that I am proud of, in my own typical suburban slob cornballus way.

Nothing much to report on, unless you wanna hear about my usual daily travails or latest cootie infestation. Been spending my ever-valuable free time settling back watching SUPERCAR and LEAVE IT TO BEAVER (season two) not to mention a few things bound to be reviewed on this blog in the upcoming eons. And, of course, I've been working on not only this but other weeks' blogposts even though I know that not one of you readers are truly appreciative of my hard efforts to bring you the best in fanzoid gonzo rockscreeding! And this goes especially at a time when such rockism has been all but buried by the eighties-bred hypesheet hackers whose main claim to rock "criticism" fame is their ability to paste from a variety of websites and do a li' altercation to make the whole thing look original even if in the slightest.

And so, here's what I've been experiencing this past week...not much, but I kinda like the selection in my own doofus way. Hope that we can all share in the general weltshmerz of it all (or at least some of it)...


Shanghai Quintet-SHANGSHAN/STONE AGE MUSIC CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions, see link on left for ordering information)

And I thought there wasn't any mo' good original and searing music being made these days, other'n the boffo material I write about on this blog. KSE proves me wrong with this release from a Chinese act called Shanghai Quintet who, with the aid of legendary reedman Alfred 23 Harth, create one of the wildest bits of freedom music heard in quite some time.

The Cee Dee starts off slow enough sorta like an electronic storm brewing in a discarded cheap keyboard system then gets into a nice hard-blowing horn session you would have heard on some mid-seventies BAG platter before ending up as a quieter synth/horn workout that reminds me a bit of those Anthony Braxon/Richard Teitelbaum  thingies that never did gel that well with me. But this one is OK enough that I wouldn't quite slip this one to the bottom of the pile.

If you're longing for the Stone Age to return just as much as I am maybe this is the platter that'll help get things rolling more'n that wheel which appears on the front cover!
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Chik White-STRANGERS CALL TO LAND LP (Feeding Tube Records. available from Forced Exposure)

You can call it a Jaw Harp, a Jew's Harp or a Mouthbow, but it only means one thing to me and that is TOOTHCRACKER!!! Yes, I had one of these cheapo musical monstrosities when I was a kid and during a really wild whacking session with it I actually chipped my lower front teeth and like bad! For years it was extremely painful to listen to this instrument in any context, and even the Malachi HOLY MUSIC platter had been a tough one to make my way through but NO MO'! Y'see, this Chik White guy has redeemed the Jaw Harp in my sorry eyes to the point where I can now listen to the thing w/o any fears of dental pain promulgating my pea-brain as it had lo these many years.

This recording consists of tracks taken from White's various cassette-only releases (plus a few originals) and if you think you just can't get much sound outta them thingies well you're wrong again! White plays in his own unique way using his epiglottis and interesting mic placements in order to give us a new view on this venerable old instrument. He even "prepares" the thing to give it an even different vibe, and if you think this is all fidaddle just give this a listen to. Byron Coley's liner notes help out some but just barely prepare you for the interesting listening excursion you're in store for once you get your ears attuned to this particular effort!

And they say there is no avant garde anymore. There is, but the stale doritos and berets have been left by the wayside. Here's the new sounds of world unknown right atcha, and I hope you do get the message for once.

(BTW...note to Feeding Tube...my copy of the Lords of Thyme LP came up M-T in the vinyl department, so if you have a spare spinner you can send my way I certainly would appreciate it!)
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The Newbeats-BREAD AND BUTTER CD-r burn (originally on Hickory Records)

This 'un really does bring back the memories of my pre-stool days when I'd be watching WHERE THE ACTION IS watching this vocal trio go full tilt fanabla complete with that wild screeching falsetto that made the song the monster hit it was. You can bet that I was imitating it like anything, and you can also bet that everyone around me was telling me to shut my trap! Ah, memories...anyhoo here's the entire album and for being a typical slap-together and toss out it's sure boss, what with Larry Henley's high pitch permeating both sides while old standbys like "Bye Bye Love" and "Ain't That Loving You Baby" are re-done and (at least in the case of the latter) re-"Bread and Butter"-ized into something remarkably different from the original. Sheesh, I can almost forgive the guy for co-writing that Bette Midler hit from the late-eighties.
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Blackberry Smoke-BAD LUCK AIN'T NO CRIME CD-r burn (originally on Galgano Music Records)

I've stayed away from these newer than new country kinda rock bands if only because I ain't exactly the kinda guy who cozies up to these acts doin' nth-hand imitations of early-seventies Rolling Stones numbers. Not that Blackberry Smoke will make you wanna vom "it"...but I sure didn't find much enjoyment in this particular expression of hard Southern Rock that I thought went out with the likes of Capricorn Records. I'll just stick with those old Black Oak Arkansas albums and the Hampton Grease Band for my Deep South thrills and if you want Blackberry Smoke instead well, in the words of Imants Krumins "that's your problem!
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Elysian Spring-GLASS FLOWERS CD-r burn (originally on Despa Records)

Judging from the cover I thought this was gonna be another one of those flea market bin religious records I've come across many-a-time o'er the past few decades, But once again I was (shudder!) wrong. Elysian Spring were actually this New Thing jazz act that, although performing in the late-sixties, had more of an late-fifties/early-sixties sound that might have seem quite outta place then but  comes off fairly nice in the here and now. Quiet and introspective neo-cool jazz for those moody times we all have, and for you sticklers the Spring sometimes bounce into a poppy rock mode that ain't as scary as it sounds. Worth the time it would take to download from some blog out there.
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Horton-DANCEHALL FOR MIDGETS CD-r burn (originally on Horton Records)

No doubt about it, Horton heard the Who. I actually like a whole bunch of these home-produced blues rock albums---I mean the Doug Brockie's Infinity spinner remains a hard-drive seventies excursion in these parts---and this platter by a William F. Horton cuts the seventies slow burn mustard just like I thought it should. Not only is DANCEHALL FOR MIDGETS a good enough blues rock album by a white guy done up without the intermingling of big label machinations but he can play a good enough guitar that won't make you puke. If you like George Brigman or the Groundhogs (or even some of those early Johnny Winter albums) this might help you out quite a bit.
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Alice's Orb-INDELIBLE WITCH CREAM CD-r burn

Dunno much about this thing other'n it was undoubtedly a mid-nineties home-made/produced affair which is probably why the thing is so listenable. Nothing that will zone you into all those weird dimensions that will enlighten your beanie beyond repair (sheesh, I get more enlightenment outta PLANET PATROL than I do Krishna Murphy) but it is psychedelic enough for your next Day Glo Monster Poster Party. Mostly in a post-eighties appropriation of the psych term (think various eighties applications a la Dementia 13) but straightforward and lysergic enough to make you forget your Moody Blues albums.
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The Dynatones-THE FIFE PIPER CD-r burn (originally on HBR Records)

Nothin' but cheezy instrumental takes on current hits and other fluffery that'll dredge up memories of years of seventies (and eighties, and nineties...) flea market record bin hunting. Of course you know the reason why this 'un was marketed in the first place, and it ain't for the music. C'mon, one glance at the cover'll show ya. I mean, what balding mid-aged white-collar office worker who has nothing to come home to 'cept Rover wouldn't want an album like this what with the sexy gal nekked to the world for all we know holding a fife and yeah they cut the pic off right at the bullseyes but hey, they hadda get around the local obscenity laws somehow! Now you know why your Unca Ferd had a copy of this 'un stashed in between the leftover Mozarts and Beethovens, and now you know why the thing looked as if it never had been played because it HADN'T!!!
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The Higher State-DARKER BY THE DAY CD-r burn (originally on 13 O'Clock Records)

Another in what probably is a long line of post-psychedelic psychedelic rock, the Higher State take various Byrdsian principles and proceed to reshape 'em into a newer mode which doesn't sound that bad to me! Not that I'd ditch any classic psych sides in favor of the Higher Ones but eh, these guys do know their outerworldly cues now, don't they? A long way to go before they're admitted to Rusk State Hospital, but if you're comfy with the newer-than-new psych you'll probably already have this one by now.
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THE WILD AND FRANTIC LITTLE RICHARD CD-r burn (originally on Modern Records)

Mid-sixties recordings which'll probably irk the dyed inna wool fans who like their Richard Specialty and Specialty only! Perhaps I am being too harsh, but I get the suspicious feeling that the then-contemporary recording techniques and presentation just won't settle well with some. Still a particularly potent slab of Richard featuring a re-recording of "Good Golly Miss Molly", what I assume is the original version of "Directly From My Heart To You" (see WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH) and a pretty on-target Kingfish impression on a song entitled what else by "Holy Mackeral" (no Andy).
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Various Artists-SOME MUSTANG MOONDREAMS CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Interesting theme to this one had the Young Rascals tracks been obliterated...something like PRE-BEATLES ENGLISH MOOSH or something along those lines. Now the Rascals are probably at their best on these three numbers (they are a band that should be in for a re-evaluation now that it's 2017 and those uninteresting post-Rascals albums are but a memory) and Eddy Mitchell is French, or at least he sings in that language, but the Tornados, Jet Harris and Shadows do date this to an early-sixties when I'm sure most Amerigans thought that England was exactly the same as it was then as it was in those old Sherlock Holmes moom pitchers.

Can't say enough good about the Tornados and the three tracks here, although familiar to fans like myself, exemplify perfectly that 1963 futuristic look that I'm sure we all thought the present was gonna be like but unfortunately wasn't. As for Jet Harris and the Shadows well...talk about wimpoid music that brings up memories of a buncha well-behaved English types having a spot of tea. If any of you readers from England or Scotland or whatever is left of it read this please tell me that Great Britain and perhaps even Ireland (a nation which has gone down the poop-shoot so why should I care!) aren't as squarezy-warezy as these records make 'em out to be! If not let me just end this post with pip pip, cheerio and drat all that, savvy?

Thursday, November 02, 2017

COMIC BOOK REVIEW! POPULAR COMICS #1 (available via GOLDEN AGE REPRINTS)

Another childhood longing fulfilled. I originally saw this particular comic pictured in the Coulton Waugh comic strip history collection at age nine, and for the life of me I sure wanted to get a copy! I for one sure would have loved to have read all of those fantastic olde tymey strips that, even thirtysome years after their original appearences, lent meaning to my life a whole lot more than late-sixties culture ever did. With all of the strips featured on the cover (let alone the neat illustration with Dick Tracy himself smiling on as Moon Mullins gets whopped with a snowball by Kayo) something like POPULAR COMICS really woulda fit in swell with my suburban slob attitude towards old comic strips, which along with old moom pitchers and old tee-vee shows, made up the reason for me even sticking around through all of the drudgery of life I hadda endure!

Thanks to the Dell line of comics falling into the public domain (and thanks to scavengers like GOLDEN AGE REPRINTS who know how to make a buck on items they don't even have to pay the rights for) the very issue of POPULAR COMICS that I saw way back when is once again available and boy am I happier than Charles Laughton after eating a package of Feen-A-Mint! Sure it ain't quite the same as triumphing over past losses such as not being able to win a patch for swimming across the Olympic sized pool or getting that gold star for learning your times tables, but in this day and age do those little things really matter? I mean, you can have your patch or your gold star to look at if you managed to save them throughout all these years, but as we all know a comic book is a comic book and you can sure have a lot more fun with one of those than you can starin' at some old prize!

Mostly Chicago Trib. syndicate stuff here with a few strays like King Features' BELIEVE IT OR NOT and SKIPPY, this particular debut makes for a pretty good read especially when you consider just how hot a syndicate the Trib was back inna thirties what with DICK TRACY and GASOLINE ALLEY cluttering up their roster. A few blank pages here and there coupled with the lack of HAROLD TEEN comics make me wonder if in fact the statues of limitations haven't run out on that particular strip...sure hope they haven't since TEEN was a pretty hot pre-ARCHIE teen comic, not as hot as FRECKLES true, but still one worthy of your attention even if Carl Ed wasn't as good drawing the female form as either Merle Blosser or Bob Montana.

The inclusion of continuing adventure strips might have been a good come-on but sheesh, printing a few TRACY or TERRY AND THE PIRATES Sundays no matter how good they look just don't cut it unless you also have the weekday strips to provide a less jagged continuity! Well, I supposed that maybe we should be lucky these strips were presented in proper chronological order because I remember reading that comic book creator Max Gaines (father of MAD's Bill) hadda be talked into printing these strips in their proper sequence he just wanting to splatter 'em any way whichever thinkin' the kids were either too stupid to notice or for that matter didn't care!

But hey, it's really the funny stuff I'm interested in here, and from long-loved faves like SKIPPY, THE GUMPS, MUTT AND JEFF (pre DC/Harvey) and TOONERVILLE FOLKS I can read and re-read the gags while staring at the amazing artwork for quite some time as Amon Duul drone on! Also present are very early examples of one of my all-time faves, SMOKEY STOVER (then just goin' under the nom de SMOKEY) the way it was originally done before Bill Holman began putting in all those funny catch-phrases and gags in the frames. A comic book like this also gives you the opportunity to gander at some of those long-forgotten offerings that might have made somewhat of a splash in the past but are totally forgotten now. Some of  'em look good enough but I can see just why they didn't stand that ol' test of time either being knockoffs of already successful comics or just plain "eh" next to what some of the big names in stripdom were up to at the time!

But for all of the "eh!" comics there were some rather interesting ones that petered out a whole lot sooner'n I'm sure any of us true blue funny page guys would have wished. And I dunno about you, but I think I'm gonna go read some BEN WEBSTER'S PAGEs and get a good hunk of thirties comic kultur inside me, which I know in my own suburban slob way would not only benefit me but mankind in general. Now some of you may think you're benefiting this world of ours by acting like a screeching banshee yammering about injustices this and racism that, but I say if we gave all of the leaders of the world a copy of POPULAR COMICS #1 and had 'em snuggle down with it, some Cheetos and cold root beer in the sanctity of their own fart-encrusted bedrooms the world just might become a much better place over night! Yeah, most likely not, but it sure seems a better scenario than it was when someone had the idea of getting LBJ and Brezhnev together with a copy of SGT. PEPPER in the hopes of world peace!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

If it weren't for the recent Feeding Tube package this post woulda been danker than usual, and considering the dankness of some of the posts that have appeared you know I'm really talking somethin'! Don't expect that much even if there definitely are a few good 'uns that you might actually want to spend your thrifting money to. Part of the change in weather if I do say so myself.

Also...RIP Mike Hudson of Pagans fame. Hate to think of this at a time like now but maybe we'll finally get to hear the Mad Staggers tape.


Viewer-TRUE FRIEND RECORD LP (Feeding Tube, available via Forced Exposure)

Another finer-than-fine release via the always on top of somethingorother folk at Feeding Tube, this time from a duo who seem to be rather obscure in their direction as if that really did matter to any of you. Slow and delicate acoustic music with satin femme vocals permeates, most if not all reminding me of some of the more introspective work to be found in the Japanese underground of the previous decade. A nice dank MARBLE INDEX aura helps before it all seems to tumble into an electronic music that reminds me of some early-seventies German Expressionist flavor that has yet to be discovered. Perfect snuggle up music for these chillier and damper than usual autumn days we have to look forward to in the tri-state area.
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Meadow House-THIS SHOULD NOT BE HAPPENING LP (Feeding Tube, available via Forced Exposure)

Spooked selection of a variety of neo-damaged pseudo-suicidal rantings and raving that...actually sound entertaining and pleasant. Created by the "cassette-dropping" musician Dan Wilson, this Londoner better get in on the National Health soon before he totally flips out the way he sings about automobile exhaust filling his lungs to tuneage that is so over-the-wall singsong folky that they might have even scared Syd Barrett. So professionally done even though these literally are bedroom recordings that sure sound better'n the bizarroid gunk I attempted a lot longer time ago than any of you would care to know about. Worth more than "just a try" and I mean it!
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Shades of Joy-MUSIC OF EL TOPO CD-r burn (originally on Douglas Records)

Never saw the moom so I'm comin' in on this first timey, and despite a rather flaccid opening (early-seventies horn band schmooze) this soundtrack really cooks more'n hot tamales! A quaint interlude leads to a whole slew of sounds that remind me of the New British Jazz more'n anything, and although the music doesn't escape into realms of Sun Ra stratospherian sonatas it still hold up for those of us who like acts such as Nucleus and Soft Machine. A surprise outta nowhere release that I'm sure most people who only heard about the movie were too scared off to try!
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Cowbell-BEAT STAMPEDE CD-r burn (originally on Damaged Goods Records)

With a name like that I thought Cowbell woulda been filled with a buncha people who were fans of the old SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE skit where some band's recording "Don't Fear the Reaper" and the engineer keeps saying "MORE COWBELL" (a famous but not so funny skit...wonder why everyone seems to like it?). Whoever these Cowbell guys are they sure made a good enough record which borrows from groups such as the Sonics, Droogs, Imperial Dogs and early-seventies bloozy Stones. Hard pounding rock 'n roll that actually sounds refreshing even in these jaded days when we're frankly not allowed to behave this way. The moody and driven "Castle Walls" might make you wanna cry, but then again maybe it won't.
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THE MERSEYBEATS CD-r burn (originally on Fontana Records)

Like a good portion of the mop topped brigades making themselves known back '64 way, the Merseybeats really weren't anything special without their bangs 'n fancy threads. Not that these guys were a lousy act, but there sure wasn't a hook or gimmick or what-have-ya to separate themselves from a thousand other rock 'n rollers trying to eke precious cents outta overweight pimplefarm girls who were only a few years away from solid Jimi Hendrix adulation. Still they were able to belt out some good ones amid the average and not always expected covers ("The Girl That I Marry"???) and if you've had your fill of Beatles and Pacemakers maybe these Merseytypes can help satiate the inner yeahyeahyeah in you!
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Dick Hyman-THE MAN FROM O.R.G.A.N. CD-r burn (originally on Command Records)

Although a long way from the electronic space sound of MOON GAS Hyman still manages to please the inner lounge lizard in me with this concept platter of spy music. Re-live those old days when tee-vee still had a spark of ingenuity and spies were the rage as Hyman's keys turn you into a middle-aged balding necktied office worker trying to come to terms with the mid-sixties. One thing though, with a name like Dick Hyman is a title like that really appropriate???
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Beck-MORNING PHASE CD-r burn (originally on Universal Records)

Paul, don't ever send me stuff like this again! You really don't know how much you've wrecked my digestive system (tract 'n all) by slipping this into yer package! You should know better than to foister upon my person anything by this overrated swill whose whole idea of rock was copped from constant repeats of THE JUDY GARLAND SHOW filtered through bad Roger Waters outtakes. Fie on thee Paul!
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THE GIFT OF RANDY JOHNSON CD-r burn (originally on Amaret Records)

For late-sixties singer/songwriter stuff----not bad. Of course it ain't anything that I'll wanna play again in my life, but then again I don't think I'm gonna play ANYTHING reviewed on this blogpost more'n once ('cept for maybe the Feeding Tube offerings) so like what's the big deal anyway? The DAYS OF FUTURE PAST orchestral flourishes add an interesting tinge to Johnson's not-so-bad (at least some of the time) songs and his voice, while ragged, does fit the whimsy rather well. You know he never really woulda gone anywhere on a label like Amaret but hey, he sure beats alla those other singer-songwriter types of the same strata all hollow and maybe he should get credit for just THAT!
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Bill Doggett-THE BAND WITH THE BEAT CD-r burn (originally on Warner Brothers Records)

One of Bill's faves spreads himself thick on these hotcha mostly-instrumental outings that really fit in with the late-fifties/early-sixties instrumental mood that cluttered up the charts in a good way back then. Dunno if there was any chart activity or singles with this one but any of these tracks coulda made the INSTRUMENTAL GOLDEN GOODIES volume had these only been on one of those smaller labels that Roulette could easily enough obtain the rights to (hah!). Sometimes kinda commercial and cornballus, but next to a good portion of the commercial/cornballus crowd of the day (and after) this is about as hipster as hipster can be. Remember that word???
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THE WORST CD-r burn (originally on Dig Records)

Naw, this ain't as bad as their name'd imply. Actually the Worst sound like one of those halfway decent eighties "garage revival" groups albeit they seem stuck in the same rut of riff swipeage as most of the bands they most surely emulated. In other words if you heard one Worst you probably heard 'em all. But let's not dock 'em anything for being more talented than usual members of the rock world who knew better than to go with the flow of musical hackdom.
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Various Artists-LONG TALL POISONED MOJO (Bill Shute)

Don't let the presence of a certain troubadour for the times onna cover fool ya, this one is packed with nothing but hotcha musical items that in no way will have you blowin' inna wind. Starts off with some fairly good garage band garble from Mickey and the Motions, and from there on goes into a variety of modes and forms that should please just about everybody in the family, as long as it's the Lyman Family that is. Gary Vallet's "Guitar Bass Boogie" is good enough late-fifties instrumental mulch while I kinda like France's Les Denvers and their fairly good approximation of the girl group thing especially since it was done in a totally alien language (they even got the Amerigan accents right!). Even Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers pop up on some maybe predictable covers that sound pretty hotcha soul jazz more'n anything to me! Frankly you can't have just as much fun in a half-hour, unless you're watching THE MUNSTERS or something like that!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

BOOK REVIEW! FOUR STRINGS, PHONY PROOF, AND 300 45s BY SAL MAIDA (Hozak Books, 2017)

There have been a whole hunkerin' load of good rock reads these past few years, and I must admit that Hozak Books must take credit for releasing what I would call THE BEST OF THE BATCH! From the Brian McMahon autobiography to the DENIM DELINQUENT compendium which still gets hefty reading time here at BLOG TO COMM, Hozak has done a superb job in publishing rock 'n roll books that appeal to the heavy duty fans like us who have been in on the game for ages and sure hated to see how the entire kaboodle wasted away as time rolled on.

Hozak is perhaps thee leader in the rock book game (or at least one of 'em), because unlike many attempting to capture the spirit of the 1964-1981 years of ROCK 'N ROLL AS A MEDIUM WHERE ANYONE COULD BE A STAR (even if it was only kids like us in our own outta kilter record collecting way), Hozak thankfully eschews the whole failed dream of late-sixties self-conscious youth piety and the we are one people and culture mantra that the sickening likes of ROLLING STONE would marinate their entire oeuvre in. Sadly enough this inescapable trait unfortunately carried over into many other sensitive/touchy-feely books dealing with a subject matter that was (in its right state) feral beyond belief which is where we separate the Lester Bangses from the Anastasia Pantsioes I guess. And besides that Hozak knows what kind of bands and what kind of flash best emphasizes the entire rock 'n roll credo, something which Jann Wenner never could understand from the ever-crumbling bulwarks of what frankly was everything WRONG with the supposed "youth culture" these past fiftysome years. It sure ain't movements or backstabbing cults...it's ROCK 'N ROLL and if that makes me a seventh grade stooge better than than a college degree'd prissy.

So Sal Maida wrote his own autobiography, and frankly it's pretty good. You may remember the guy from his appearances in the pages of WHO PUT THE BOMP! during his time with the famed teenypunk band Milk & Cookies, or maybe ya knew him through his tenures as temporary bassist with both Roxy Music and Sparks, or perhaps you caught the interview with Rudolph Grey in the sixteenth issue of my crudzine where Sal gets a mention hanging out with Grey and Beaver Harris. However you heard about him, he's a guy who has been around for ages playing in a variety of rock acts and experiencing the whole New York/London scene first hand so if anyone out there is destined to create the Great Amerigan Rock 'n Roll tome for the times it's this guy for sure!

Not quite the autobio one would expect, Maida skips around from the seventies and Roxy and Sparks then goes back to his growing up days before telling us all about his time in England and the people he met there and all of those things cloistered suburban slobs like myself could only dream about doing. And for outta the loopers like myself it's all pretty fine reading, especially when Maida gets to meet up with those heroes of his from the Stones to George Harrison as well as the eternally wasted like Steve Took in a rather funny interlude which naturally didn't seem so funny to Maida at the time. It's not exactly a detailed and intricate account of his life and even an outsider like myself could tell that certain things were missing (such as in his paragraph or two on Funeral of Art which does not mention fellow bandmates and personalities in their own right Otto von Ruggins and Von Lmo), but if Maida wants to woosh over such things its like his biz...I mean he doesn't exactly have an obligation to mention everybody he knew even if his brief meeting with Jerry Garcia will appeal to the virulently anti-Dead readers who may chance upon this particular writeup.

That's the first half---the second lists Maida's 300 fave singles and man does he have some good taste in music! Loads of oldies of course with a few surprises and a general feeling of awe as if the guy just got hold of said record THIS VERY DAY and he's all enthralled about having it in his calloused paws! This is the next best thing to breaking into Brad Kohler's apartment and thumbing through all of his singles while he's at work, and maybe playin' a few and accidentally breaking some in the process which I will admit happens when I'm playing your discs. You can't have any more fun than that, and besides Maida ain't gonna come after you with the garden shears after he finds out about it so have fun and don't raid the fridge!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Nice one we got here. Really, I do mean it 'n not only because of the bevy of beauts I have up for review but the mere fact that my writing doesn't seem as suckoid as it has been these past few weeks. Dunno what kinda funk I've gotten outta, but I think I got outta it just fine and (as usual) you the readers are the true beneficiaries. Big heaping hunking thanks to the usual and Bob, I promise I'll find something from your package in the mess that passes for my bedroom more sooner than later.
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I've been keeping myself occupied as usual not only writing a whole slew of reviews for posts present and future, but by watching some really good tee-vee which of course stimulates the inner-turdler in all of us more than Tootsietoys even. Not necessarily talkin' 'bout he current stuff being aired (haven't even had the time to catch a peek at currently cablecast faves as Soupy or Roy for that matter) but the old dee-vee-dees which I can peruse during a quiet evening while pretending to be that four-year-old suburban slob that in many ways I wish I could have remained! I just put away the ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE set and dug out FIREBALL XL-5 (better'n STAR TREK ever was!) for another settle back 'n watch (that's what I like...INSTANT RERUNS!!!) and am still working my way through other collections that are bound to get plenty of press in these pages as the months float by. Sure it ain't the same as being that fifties/sixties/seventies-kinda UHF-TV watchin' doof runnin' 'round in his stocking feet as the parents yell at him to go outside and get some fresh air (just so's they can get hold of the boob tube to watch some slobberin' pic), but here in 2017 it'll hafta do...
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A BITTER VISION OF A FUTURE I HAVE NO DOUBT I WILL BE EXISTING (CERTAINLY NOT LIVING) IN: It's ten/twenny/even thirty years from now and I'm a not so happy member of the vegetable kingdom. I can still hear, see and feel, more Woody Guthrie than Karen Quinlan since I still have a sense of who and where and why I am, but in no way can I move my limbs, make facial expressions or express my feelings, inner or outer, to the world even with obscure Italian hand gestures. I'm in a hospital or an old folk's home where a young and seemingly inexperienced staff of somethingorothers are trying to keep me from going stir crazy knowing how awfully boring it must be to be hitched up to catheters and monitors while not being able to move but still being conscious enough to be aware of my surroundings. In order to "make me feel better" the staff decide to bombard me with mental and visual stimulation based on my younger days, though instead of presenting to me music or television and moom pitchers that I surely would prefer these nurses, erroneously judging from my years, assume that I would be most pleased listening to music of the late-seventies and beyond while watching the variety of horrid television programming and moom pitchers that were being created at the time!

Here I am, stranded in a hospital bed, being force fed "classic rock" and giddy disco Madonna pop day in/day out while having no choice but to watch THE PAPER CHASE, I'LL FLY AWAY and ST. ELSEWHERE kinda like that guy in A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. Only I can't throw up since I'm being IV fed, but boy am I suffering through the entire process as the doctors unknowingly persist in making my life even more miserable than it is having a plastic tube shoved up my butt.

Then suddenly I hear a nurse walk into the room and from what I can tell she is carrying a box full of what looks like Dee-Vee-Dee sets and other various media, asking her superiors what she should do with all of those GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, OUTER LIMITSLEAVE IT TO BEAVER, TWILIGHT ZONE etc. collections as well as the various Velvet Underground, Can, Stooges, Elevators and Seeds albums that were being stored in some closet. The chief nurse responds, right in front of my paralyzed self no less, "Throw 'em away...nobody cares about that stuff anymore!" to which point I produce the loudest non-groan ever known to man as W.A.S.P. plays the last notes I'll most certainly be hearing in this lifetime.
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Hope you like this batch even though these mostly oldies do reflect the miasma of modern musical trends which as you know just haven't been as exciting as they were back when I was a young and impressionable retardo just gettin' into this brew. Awww, if it's good enough for Bill or Brad it's good enough for you but the question is...is it really good enough for them???


Various Artists-GRECO RECORDS - COMPLETE RECORDINGS CD (Greco Records)

You probably read my review of the Jokers singles that originally came out on this particular label quite some time back. Well here's the Greco label's entire catalog on one platter for those of you who might have an interest in the kind of music that this label released, and who reading this blog wouldn't? (Yeah I know...MOST of you readers wouldn't, but try to bear with me for once willya?)

Well, in the process of wanting to know more about the Jokers I found one interesting thing out, and that's that Greco Records was actually a reissue label run by a man named George Greco who was busy putting out not only old obscurities but newer fare "in the tradition" back in the late-seventies. Sorta like a fifties version of Dave Gibson and Moxie Records, only his records would probably pass the strict Hi-Fi quality that collectors were looking for back in those STEREO REVIEW minded days.

Not surprisingly, the Jokers sound clearer here than they do on the recs (which were---now get this---"reissues" of early forgotten platters) and are definitely worth seeking out if you like the late-fifties garage band pound it out style that was popular during those pre-Beatle days. The rest is a mixed up package featuring everything from hotcha r 'n b/rockabilly (the Juke Jumpers' four sides) to loads of doo-wop and a-capella of varying degress of which a good portion which doesn't quite snuggle up to me as if I would like a doo-wop version of "Over The Rainbow" in the first place.

Whatever is on here it's interesting enough to the point where I woulda loved to have read a neat insert book with detailed bios of the acts and snaps galore .Alas none are to be found which I must admit I do find quite a disappointment especially in these info-conscious times. Something along these lines is just begging for the royal treatment which you woulda thought the guy who created the whole shebang woulda given it but who knows...maybe Greco's working in the "grey" area and the less said the better ifyaknowaddamean.

My best bet is that given the costs to make these babies inna first place its probably money concerns, and given my own experiences putting out fanzines with Cee-Dee enclosures in 'em I SHOULD KNOW!!!

The Jokers can be heard via youtube and I'm guessing maybe the others too.. Might wanna seek these out there before you decide to tingle your toes in the entire Greco shebang which might set you back upwards of two digits worth of money in these rather scrunched times. Or just record 'em off there and save the moolah...I'm sure Greco would understand.
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FINK ALONG WITH MAD CD-r burn (originally on Big Top Records)

Not as bad as I was thinking it would be, this MAD-sponsored collection captures a whole lotta 1963 spirit with music that actually stacks up to the big hitters of the day along with lyrics that actually can make my ears perk up a bit. In fact, FINK ALONG WITH MAD is just as good as other dated-if-comedy-oriented platters such as NATIONAL LAMPOON'S LEMMINGS and other attempts at spoofing the top forty sounds and by gum it oughta be in your comedy album collection smack dab next to THE ASTRONAUT and alla those Bill Cosby albums you just aren't gonna play anymore. Personal fave...what else but the legendary "It's a Gas" by Alfred E. Neuman himself!
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Various Artists-THE LOST KING RECORDINGS CD-r burn

Yet another "grey area" recording came out inna eighties that was just plum ripe for the up and coming rockabilly audience that was discovering these ancient recordings thanks to the tireless efforts of such brave revivalists as the Stray Cats and Phantom, Slick and Rocker. But sheesh, this King label sure sounds different from the King label that gave us alla those James Brown records with the ultra cheap covers. Oh, that must be a different "King" label...heeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! But all kiddin' aside this is a hotcha collection for those who wanna hear even more of that long forgotten local countrified rockabilly done up before it became yet another excuse for glammed up excess and if you can't relate to that well...I do have a copy of BUILT FOR SPEED  I can sell you for a real nice price.
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Bob Bailey in YOUR TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR CD-r burn

Yes it's time to put on your thinking caps and match wits with Bailey doing his Johnny Dollar routine trying to not only solve certain cases but recoup alla that insurance money his company hadda dole out. The first 'un's a doozy dealing with people from a company being knocked off in a strange pattern which is costing Dollar's insurance company beaucoup, while the second has to do with this missing importer whose young wife could care less if he is gone since she's playing hide the slim jim with the guy's lawyer. And then where does this mysterious sailor called "Blinker" fit in anyway??? Good stuff from the tail end of the "Golden Age of Radio" which oddly enough partially coincided with "The Golden Age of Tee-Vee" and I ain't talkin' KRAFT EBBING THEATER either!
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McCoy Tyner-LIVE AT NEWPORT CD-r burn (originally on Impulse Records)

I dunno, but without John Coltrane leading him McCoy Tyner just wasn't anything that spectacular. Typical Leonard Feather DOWN BEAT poll-topping good jazz stuff you wear suits to go listen to. This set hasn't changed my opinion one bit what with him and band playing the old worn-outs like "My Funny Valentine" to a nice and polite audience that sounds like it numbers in the tens. He shoulda just stuck with Coltrane and maybe I wouldn't quite cringe while thinking of all those accolades he was getting from fellow schmoozers throughout the seventies.
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VIBRASONIC CD-r burn originally on Yep Records)

Retro true, but it has enough psycho-doof attitude to make it a once-in-a lifetime spin. Fair 'nuff usage of various a go go mid-sixties cheapo riffage with some hotcha electronic effects to keep you hip and with it while you're goin' through your Bikini Luv comics. If PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN was too far out for you and the Deep, Fire Escape and Deviled Ham were too punky you should like the neo-eastern pseudo El Lay exploito sounds even more than LAUGH IN reruns.
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The Stench Band-PRAY FOR THE FRED CD-r burn

There must have been more than a few of these Zappa-influenced aggregates cluttering up the fruity plain back in the seventies, but how many of them actually got to put a record out? The Stench Band from Omaha Nebraska did even if it was years after their existence, and as far as freaky neo-satiical rock goes it's well...not bad even with the cornballus country rock goofs and daft stabs at humor. Nothing that really stimulates the nodes mind you what with the emphasis on the strangeness, but it does stand as a good enough tribute. Flashes of Mothers, Beefheart and maybe even a little Hampton Grease Band here and there, and a definite must for that guy on the WAX FLAGS bootleg who kept yelling "YOU'RE ONLY IN IT FOR THE MONEY FRANK!" at the stage.
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Athanor-FLASHBACK CD-r burn (originally on Guerssen Records, Spain)

Don't let the dorky looking guys onna cover fool ya, this platter contains some pretty good seventies-era neo-Beatles (filtered through the Nazz, Blue Ash and Move) local pop rock to have come out of that best/worst of time decade. Mid-energy pop that has a sort of Badfinger quality to it, so if early-seventies post-rabble AM radio was your main bag back then (or else if you were too young to enjoy or not even born during those times) this was the kinda music that sure made sense amidst the Melanies and Cat Taylors who were sure clogging up the youth consciousness mindset at the time.
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Various Artists-STILL WATERDOWN ACTION REFLECTIONS CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

I wonder where Bill tracks down these weird gritty rock 'n roll and related (sorta) kinda recordings he slaps on these disques. Take this particular piece of musical placenta he decided to submit for my approval...I mean, what mental hospital raid resulted in these? All kidding aside, this is yet another one of those wild compilations that only could come from the fetid fertile mind of Bill what with the inclusion of the infamous yet under-documented Koobas, Mae West during her rock 'n roll cash in days, Mona Thomas doing her best to out-Leslie Gore Gore herself and some guys called Spoon who do a good enough Creedence styled riffage mixed with various late-sixties punk rock techniques. The real odditie of the package just happens to be a fellow named Paul McGarry who takes on the Syndicate of Sound fave "Hey Little Girl" as well as the Flamin' Groovie great "Shake Some Action"...sounds like a teenage puberty pouncer getting in on the old classics which only goes to show you that ROCK 'N ROLL IS NOT DEAD, at least as far as confused adolescents with tonsillitis go.