Wednesday, July 19, 2017

REVIEW! SPIRIT OF 76; LONDON PUNK EYEWITNESS by John Ingham (Anthology Editions, 2017)

John ne. Jonh Ingham is just one of those lucky few guys who happened to be stuck in the right rock 'n roll place at the right rock 'n roll time, a feat that could only be equaled by a few other lucky bums who got to see the creation and flowering of it all before the rest of us got to experience the dread downfall, and usually via what we read in magazines at that.

Born in Australia, Ingham's folks had the good sense to leave that hellhole in the early-sixties ending up in the Vancouver B.C. area which was basking in the radiation of the infamous Northwest Sound as typified by such south of the 54/40 line groups as the Kingsmen and Paul Revere and the Raiders. The mid-sixties saw Ingham trekking down to San Francisco where the lucky fanabla witnessed first hand the local scene before that did a perfect swan dive into the realm of hippie hackdom. In the meanwhile Our Hero managed to hook up with the likes of Greg Shaw and did a super-fine entry into fandom of a rock and otherwise nature where his comics and articles appeared in the likes of not only WHO PUT THE BOMP but NEW HAVEN ROCK PRESS (a much better read than historical snobs would lead you to believe). And hey, if your early-seventies issues of CREEM don't have a Jonh Ingham article in them then hey, they don't have a Jonh Ingham article which is tough luck but worse things have happened.

Ingham eventually ended up in London England where his smart writings for the likes of NME, MELODY MAKER and SOUNDS appeared throughout the mid-seventies and beyond, and  most definitely these pearls of somethingorother oughta be packaged up just like they did with Bangs' and Meltzer's musings and force-fed to millions of college paper rock creeps to show 'em what rock screeding is really about. But while he was anchored in London Town the man also happened to find himself immersed smack dab inna middle of the burgeoning as they always say punk rock scene, and of course he made his mark there championing the new upstarts making their misery known around the area and managing Generation X in the meanwhile. And in this book some of Ingham's own personal collection of primo punk snaps have made their appearance, some for the first time, to give us a first-hand view as to what the punk scene was like o'er there long before punk became pUnk before it became punque and not quite the same thing it set out to be once the movement became known to idiots and dolts in their cloistered communities. Y'know, revealed to people like me!

Sure I woulda preferred a nice autobiographical spew regarding the entirety of Ingham's career if not that aforementioned sampling of his critical best, but this package is certainly worthy of your time/effort what with the rare snaps of the S-x Pistols, Clash and (get this!) even Subway Sect (a personal atonal fave at least when I'm in the mood) at the dawn of their careers.You even manage to get a few photos of the likes of a pre-goth Siouxsie and Steve Severin (not to mention the Billy Pout-era Chelsea) along with the usual partygoing suspects and it's sure nice seeing what things were like before (again) the lumpen proles in cooperation with the upper crusts that be turned it all into some marketable fashion for people who didn't have the time to make their own future so they bought it at a department store.

The mood revealed in these photographs seems to show a more easy-going, un-corrupted scene made up of kids who might just have been more "aw golly" 'n altruistic than anyone would lead you to believe. I get the impression that the band members and audience were just out there to have a good time where none of the more "serious" aspects of punk as that great world saving social cause can be discerned. Of course the whole punk as a social concern blabdom was there even at that early stage in the game, but it is quite obvious that fun via raw power was the rule, not the humorless attitude of the Existensil Press people who thought that the music was certainly not entertainment but a total driving revolutionary force that only a base mindless consumer could derive pleasure out of.

In all a good snapshot of an era that vanished way too soon and probably before many people even knew it existed in the first place. Which is too bad for us, but great for Ingham, a guy who I hope continues writing until he just possibly can't because we need him more than we need Joel Selvin or Robert Hillburn (are they even still around?) that's for sure!

Saturday, July 15, 2017


MORE FANZINE FANABLA


Let's skip the opening huzzah (you know by heart the schpiel about hapless kids saving pennies and sacrificing in other painful ways to put their opines to press) and start out this soiree with a fanzine that I tried like the dickens to latch onto back during my really depression-era wages days with nil luck. That fanzine was CONTEMPO CULTURE, and the only reason I wanted to pick up a copy of it was because of that plug inna pages of (now brace yourself!) THE VILLAGE VOICE during the days when Lester Bangs was cloistered in Austin Texas and contributing articles on the Thirteenth Floor Elevators and DNA to their pages. Unfortunately CONTEMPO CULTURE was not being sold in any of the Rough Trade or Systematic catalogs that I possessed and given that I wasn't exactly a guy who liked to send shekels through the mail unless it was like a bulk order (postage costs, y'know) it was like forget that 'un Chris. Or so I thought at the time.

Thanks to the miracle of internet I have obtained some of these CONTEMPO CULTUREs years after the fact, these two being amongst 'em (or at least the three that I do own and I might have even mentioned that one in these pages before!). Not that my life has improved the way it would had I been able to latch onto a copy of NIX ON PIX #1 or some of the NEW AGE/GROOVE ASSOCIATES that I do not have, but at least I have these within the realm of my paws and like, I have been sleeping better at night because of it, y'know...

These two are I guess typical of the 'zine's run. Not the standard rock fanzine (punk or otherwise) of the day, CONTEMPO CULTURE operates more as a deviant art (this being from the pre "deviant art" days when people who did things like this were just nutzo) rag that was put out by those fru-fru boho types you used to come across back in college during the seventies onward. (Locally there was a fanzine of this sort called 3-D ETHYL which earns my all time respect for featuring a very good NANCY article amidst the art cut ups.) Actually there is very little regarding music here, though the spirit and layouts that permeated the early-eighties under-the-underground scene of the day can be easily discerned.

Not only that but there's a pretty good sense of true nihilist concerns here what with the bizarro takes on everyday life (Barbie and Ken demonstrating birth control methods) and a piece on William Burroughs that doesn't read like some of the goo that has been written on him recently. Not to mention a smattering of recent record reviews and the like which sure do dredge up them memories. Hard to read and maybe infuriating, but always enough to make you wanna read more. And sure it was stuff like this that has led to the whole pouty youth rebellion of today where everything except well...certain things...are ripe for ripping, but at least back then these same kinda kidz sure knew how to do it right!
***
I'm always game for a good seventies-era rock 'n roll fanzine, as long as it ain't filled to the brim with loads of subpar sputum passing for mind-filled writing or hippie head musings about getting high on life 'n rot like that. That's why a rag like RECORDS really appealed to me, what with the typical mid-seventies fanzine-styled cover listing the droolsome contents along with those masterfully cheap xeroxed Rolling Stones single sleeves. Nice effort true, though how'n the heck is anybody who dunt know the inside story on this 'un gonna realize that RECORDS really ain't nothin' but an adzine faturing auction and set sale lists for records, tapes, fanzines etc. and nothing else!!!

No real articles here to speak of, the fanzine review section's nothin' but a list of what the writers just happ'd to get, and although it is great looking through those lists of then-affordable bootlegs and mid-sixties garage gems its like, where's the meat and potatoes anyway??? Nice letter section featuring notes from some of the bigwigs in the fanzine game, though I sure wonder why Phast Phreddie Patterson of BACK DOOR MAN fame dissed on onetime mag contributor and future Frontier Records head Lisa Fancher? Sheesh, you'd think there's be more solidarity in this unnerground than to have people acting all nice to you then stabbing you in the back once the momentum is with (or even against) you!
***
And speaking of the mid-seventies (I always seem to be), these Iggy Pop related fanzines (y'know, the ones that were done up long before boondock-locked suburban slobs such as I learned about 'em via the pages of ROCK SCENE) are really the best in pure addled reading if I do say so myself. Keeping this in mind you can bet that those IGGY POP FAN CLUB rags that were comin' outta both San Francisco and Germany are the kinda reads that really rankle my regions! Take this second issue of IGUANA put out by the San Francisco club...pure high energy bliss if I do say so myself. It doesn't just contain recent pix and the like as the IGUANA reviewed in the previous FANZINE ESOTERICA did but is brimming full with a whole batch of interesting Ig wanderings done up by the fans who put this thingie out! And man, were they guys who were just as anxious as everyone else regarding the METALLIC KO bootleg making its way to their door, not to mention the exact whereabouts of the man himself who was then spending time in an Insane Asylum where David Bowie would frequently smuggle in some cocaine to ease the tedium. The clippings are pretty rare because I can't even recall seeing most of 'em before and the ENERGY over-the-top punkified Ig raves that prove there was still enough interest in him at a time when the major forces that be had long written the guy off as just another suburban slob loser. It even features a snip of a missive (complete with an early Bowie bashing!) from ace fan Miriam Linna, who really must have done very little studying during her college kid days at Kent State University considering all of the time she had spent playing records and writing for fanzines way back when.

***
And whaddaya know...right after getting hold of the above I latch on to the second and final issue of HONEY THAT AIN'T NO ROMANCE and boy is it the proverbial pip! Better'n even the debut, this artyfact from EUROPE'S ONLY IGGY POP FAN CLUB is all encapsulating and sucks you in even with its one-sided xeroxed pages its that wowzer-like! Lotsa people wrote in to praise the mag so not only do you get to read the Iggified opinions of the likes of Phast Phreddie Patterson and D.D. Faye of BACK DOOR MAN fame and Jymn Parrett, Dee Daack and Evan Jones from DENIM DELINQUENT but see pix of 'em as well!

True you prob'ly've already seen all the Stooge snaps before, but the spirit and fan thrills this one exudes can light up the skies for miles and you too will drool to the photos of Metchild (Iggy's #1 fan!) in various stages of undress even if she coulda used the Mark Eden Course! Too bad this was the last one...it could have really developed into a real top read had the club developed into something HUMONGOUS once Iggy's solo career got into gear and the guy's mug was poppin' up all over the place!


 HONEY THAT AIN'T NO ROMANCE's Harald Inhulsen midt Jonh Ingham
***
White we're still inna seventies here's a good discovery that's probably worth your effort to search out. 3rd WAVE was one of those fanzines that really exemplified the days back when new wave wasn't quite the dirty word it would become within a relatively short period of time, and this debut issue just goes to remind ya of just why this breed of rock was so important to more'n just a few cloistered kids who were probably picked on even by the principal. Slapping Stiv Bators and Johnny Blitz of the Dead Boys onna cover was a good move, and the interview to be found therein is equally boffo. (Cheetah Chrome says he wrote "Ain't It Fun" on January 19th or 20th of 1973 after the Stooges played Cleveland a few days earlier---prob'ly a typo) Also good were the record and live reviews, the Robert Gordon interview even if he does come off kinda detached not to mention the gab with the Fleshtones who back then seemed like one of the better enigmas to come outta the New York scene. Gotta give this one five stars if only for the David Johansen/Johnny Thunders centerpiece poster which can be neatly removed from the mag and placed smack dab in the middle of your fart encrusted bedroom wall.
***
 I always got the impression that while there were many rock fanzines out there in the seventies that were getting their just dues via reviews in BOMP and COWABUNGA there were many more that just didn't hit the spotlight like perhaps they shoulda. Maybe they were just too low budget and too low circulation to make a dent anywhere. And somehow I get the impression that some of these fanzines were rather informative despite their being quite outta the loop and distributed to a few fans and nobody else but!

I should dismiss THE DISTRICT DIARY on the mere basis of its subtitle "The People's Paper" (whenever I would see something from the seventies with the word "people" in it I knew I was in for a politically pious experience!) but it comes off more like a teenage rock rag than an imitation VILLAGE VOICE no matter how you look at it! Edited by a Lee Lumsden, this Seattle-area spirit duplicated job  really does capture the grade school newspaper feeling even if I doubt most sixth-graders would be as hip as these kids. The staff of THE DIARY go for the likes of Lou Reed, the Dolls, Kiss, Iggy and much more and even if they are tend to make more'n a few boo-boos (like their feature story on streaking, a fad that was no good unless it was being done by nice looking females) you can't fault 'em for sticking up for Elton John and raving on about THE WAY WE WERE. Fanzine allusion of the year---when contributor Ben Rabinowitz mentions that if you're aware of Lou, the Dolls and Iggy you should be aware of Queen, and that's no lie!
***
The later issues of Mick Mercer's PANACHE don't strike me as anything special outside of the entire English "post-punk" cadre of Rough Trade-styled bands and goth wannabes, but the earliest ones really do have that hot fanzine style that I liked in a number of contemporary rags from THE NEXT BIG THING on, complete with that hefty Stooges worship and love of everything that was new and exciting in a rock world that seemed to ignore the fresh and innovative in favor of big biz cocaine karma and general drop dead (literally!) musical acts. This third issue is no exception, what with the cover feature on Ultravox and loads of news on those old "save the world bands" that seemed so new and innovative in the mid-seventies only to become lost in the shuffle once we clocked into the snoozeville eighties. Hand printed (just like NBT!) and filled with that talking to you 'stead of AT you attitude, this one-sided print job rag might seem like just another crudzine to some but it had a whole load of that high energy and spunk to it that really reminds me of what it meant to be a suburban slob crawling through flea market stacks to find that elusive Seeds album I never ever could find. Lotsa non-p-rock mentions in the bootleg and record review section too making PANACHE the English answer to...TB SHEETS???
***
THIRD RAIL #3, being from the mid-eighties and all, really ain't from a period in fanzinedom that cozies up to me and vicey versey. After all this was during the mid-eighties when for all practical purposes the rock scene was tiresomely dreadful on the "mainstream" front, and the underground from which rock fandom seemed to gravitate towards was either big on hardcore punk or new wave unto gnu wave as Bill Shute so acrimoniously put it. So why did I snatch THIRD RAIL up you say??? Not only because the writing is pretty good considering the time, and not only because the acts reviewed from Syd Barrett to the Mothers of Invention are the kinda things I still like to read even if on a retrospective level, but because Bill Shute himself actually contributed an entire "Inner Mystique" page and I really can't get enough of Bill's writings, especially these earlier forays into print. Hey Bill, if you're reading this there's one thing I'd like to know, what was the free LP given away and who won it???
***
Here's one that will really throw you for a loop-de-loop. Remember TEENAGE NEWS, the fanzine from Montreal Quebec what began in 1975 as a New York Dolls-oriented fan mag yet soon opened its doors to other favorites such as the Flamin' Groovies and later the whole English (and local---meaning Canada) punk rock contingent? I sure do, but then again for the life of me I don't remember this other TEENAGE NEWS from early-eighties Hamilton Ontario which featured the same style of rock 'n roll worship only with about eight years of deadweight dragging things down. I mean, in 1975 things like the Dolls and Stooges and those groups playing in their "tradition" sure seemed exciting and life-reaffirming. By 1983 it was about as easy to get excited over Boy George as it would be getting excited over nude pictures of Totie Fields, and not post-mortem you necrosickies out there!

This "new" TEENAGE NEWS ain't bad even though such championed groups as Rank and Fire weren't exactly anything that captured my spirit of rockism. Reminds me a lot of THE MOLE which would figure since the long gone Bruce Mowat contributed to it. Mat Mania also contributed one of those wrestling articles done up back when wrestling was still fun Saturday afternoon tee-vee viewing. And like the old TEENAGE NEWS they even got part two of a Flamin' Groovies history, nothing we don't know already but gee is the heart-warming THOUGHT just baked into its eternal being!

Like just about any fanzine of worth there is loads to peruse and digest here. But sheesh, you think the guys who did this 'un woulda done some research into their name because this coulda resulted in a lawsuit. And those fanzine publishers sure needed to count each and every penny they got into their mitts now, right?
***
And to close this post out comes this li'l surprise. I never heard of OUTLET, this cheap l'il photocopied fanzine before and when I discovered that it lasted a good number of issues before capitulating I was surprised! I mean, I thought I was the only stubborn soul onna fanzine scene willing to waste money and time outta pure spite if anything! But hey, this mag was a cool effort, part funtime fanzine rah rah and part collectors mag with articles on Stiff Records, Ruben Guevara of Ruben and the Jets fame regarding his Bicentennial single on Rhino, some Glaswegian gang called the Exiles and hey, how can you fault a rag that puts the DOWNLINERS SECT on the cover of their first issue??? The writing is good enough in that late-seventies hipper writers on the English Weaklies scene style, and this debut's got me slobbering for more and more issues which are available out there, albeit at pretty dicey priceys! So it's either save the skekels or do some hard-time begging if I wanna read any more of these in my lifetime!
***
Before I go, a big 'n happy SEVENTIETH birthday to none other'n Roky Erickson as well as a big thirty-first (I think!) birthday greetings to Eric Shute who doesn't read this blog anyway  but I'll betcha daddy'll tell 'im.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

RECORD WITH A FANZINE ENCLOSED OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT REVIEW! THE NEXT BIG THING #28, available via LINDSEY HUTTON (click here for more info)!

I just happened to come across my ORIGINAL and not the xeroxed by Imants Krumins copy of THE NEXT BIG THING #1 (complete with detached front cover---these things certainly were not built to last) just a few days back and what should appear in my own mailbox like the very next day but THIS!!! Yes, none other than the latest excursion into whatever's left of seventies rock fandom done up really neat in a bag with a paper label attached at the front just like you see in the Thrift Shop! Only these ain't made to hang up on the peg board display like hair curlers or cheap candy---naw, this is something a whole lot more crucial to your own rockist tendencies and like, if you value yourself a hardcore rock 'n roll fan this might be (but probably ain't) one of your LAST CHANCES to cop some of that reality before it skedaddles its way into the Old Rock Fan Home.

THE NEXT BEST THING has always been a more straightforward than your typical fanzine rag production ever since it appeared on the legendary "scene" a good forty years back. While other fanzines (or 'zines as they like to be called not wanting any connection with a loathsome "past") flittered their pages away with dated rhetoric and coverage of acts that really could not stand the test of a second let alone "time", THE NEXT BIG THING concentrated on music that continues to play the soundtracks for our sometimes dreary but occasionally exuberant existences. Going against the tide of flavor of the month hype NBT was a unique offering in the world of rock fandom and, with a few exceptions (such as that Pete Burns article which might not have fooled you but fooled me!), the vision and outlook of Lindsey Hutton and crew remains a steady stream of pure and lasting satisfaction in the fact that what Hutton thought was good in 1977 remains good in 2017! Really, how much staying power did a lot of the flash of them days really retain as if you're still rummaging through the ol' record collection to dig up some of those new wave platters which might have seemed cool 'nuff in 1977, but by 1980 didn't they seem just a trifle square???

Coulda been thicker but wha' th' hey...it's still a fun read and in the old (hand-printed, at least in part) NEXT BIG THING tradition starting off with some current musings from Mr. Hutton that remind me of the same soul searching the man would go through even during the early days of bitter struggle. And after that well whew!, wotta trip we're ALL in store for what with the sagas on Hutton's current soapbox causes the Dahlmanns and Amy Rigby (who I never knew was a member of the En Why See country-rock group the Last Roundup...learn somethin' new everyday!) along with pieces on Reine Laken (yeah, don't ask me to pronounce that!) and this thing called the Funtastic Dracula Carnival, a yearly event in Spain where I get the idea that more bull is thrown than is running after ya. Heck, even famous artist J.D. King contributed an article on the Hullaballoo Club which for the life of me I can't see as being "autobiographical". Things like that just don't (or better yet shouldn't) happen in real life!

And to top even more mayonnaise on the baloney sandwich Hutton included a record (or maybe the magazine was included with the record...details are kinda sketchy) featuring Big Push Band #1 the Dahlmanns, who actually recorded under the auspices of Andy ne. Adny Shernoff .The band along with the one-time Dictator came up with a nice pair of pop ditties that don't quite hearken back to the past as they do present themselves in 2017 as the end response of it all, and somehow that's A-OK with me. It even comes in a nice hard cardboard sleeve which really must've sent Mr. Hutton back to the poorhouse...I mean, how can the guy afford such a wondrous package while earning such little pay...I mean I don't know exactly what the guy does for a living, but he really must have scrimped and saved to be able to bring a project like this to fruition and maybe sold some precious records or plasma while he was at it as well.

Those of you (like me) who dread the current state of rock journalism (especially on the printed page) should rejoice in the appearance of not only this new NEXT BIG THING but offerings like VULCHER not to mention some new publications guaranteed to cross your path as the weeks go on. This could be the beginning of a New Rock Journalism that eschews the snobbish hippie mindset that permeated the form ever since Jann Wenner got hold of his first few million from Ralph J., and all I gotta say is that if there is indeed a new era of fanzine musings headed our way can a certain un-named and closer to home periodical be making a long awaited comeback within a relatively short span of time? Of course not, you idiot!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Strange times we're livin' in here. Or at least they are for me. Here the air conditioning is flat busted (might need more Freon but I'm too lazy to find out) and although it's hot and humid to the point where I feel like I'm living in Dan Blocker's armpit I'm really not as riled up about it as I might have been as a kid. I guess all of those Diet Dr. Peppers are helping me get through these dog days more than I woulda expected. But hey, with the cold drinks and music on the bedside boom box and naturally the fine reading material that goes along with all of it I'm certainly not complainin'. I just figure that right now I'm livin' the kinda life I lived, or at least wanted to live, back when I was four---one where goofing off and indulging yourself in your own world was the height of suburban slob heaven---only now I have enough dexterity to wipe my own ass.
***
In case yer wond'rin' how my week went well...mixed bag o' blessings here. Good news...found the old TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTEs I was searchin' for not to mention I WANNA BE YOUR DOG #1 as well as various funzines and the like that I plan on reading during those quiet times in my life. Also discovered quite a few that will probably go on the auction block when I get around to it. Bad news...still can't find my LOVE AND LAUGHTERs and not only that but I got spiked on my bid for a copy of I WANNA BE YOUR DOG #2 at the last second thus depriving me of a mag that I could truly sink my psyche into even if it all is in French (it's le spirite that counts). Oh well...if any of you out there plan to kill yourselves and have these fanzines and whatnot I can use, please include me in your will and be sure to have enough $$$ left to pay for postage and handling.
***
BEDDY-BYE REPEATO PLAY OF THE WEEK---DR. MIX AND THE REMIX'S WALL OF NOISE: sounds like the last stop on the 1964-1981 rock as bared-wire intensity train ride to me, what with its recreation/rehashing of the Velvets/Stooges/Seeds/Troggs credo in electronic cyborg (yet still firmly punk) drama. It might just be a tad away from the electronica that permeated the sick eighties, but thankfully the o-mind attitude and approach that made the best rock of the past seventeen years keeps it from toppling over into Human League territory. How we have shriveled since then. Hope more of their offerings will be made to the public and like more sooner'n you know what...
***
And like w/o any further, here are some of the things that have been splitting my peas these past few days. Thanks to Paul and Bill of course, though as for Bob well...I should say that I spun one side of the Tony Conrad tape you sent and it was swell but didn't get around to the rest. Will try to finish up for next time, so don't be too mad at me. Only managed to buy one newie for this week's roundup, but thankfully that problem should be taken care of next time we meet...


Total Music Association-WALPURGISNACHT CD-r burn (originally on T.M.A., Germany)

It's surprising how many of these heretofore unknown by moi platters dealing in European hard jazz have remained hidden more'n Anne Frank until now. These Total Music Association guys included---with a total eruption in the best Euro avant tradition I wonder why this platter never got the attention it deserves. They play in that German all-out style best typified by Peter Brotzmann and Gunter Hampel and this being a large "collective" so to speak you'll get an idea of where its headed. If you're a fan of those Alan Silva albums and the various Sun Ra arkestras WALPURGISNACHT goes in a sorta same direction. Given how there just has to be a download available somewhere on the web aren't you glad you're living in the here and now when such once impossible-to-latch sounds are now available with the mere flick of a finger???
***
Gravedigger V-ALL BLACK AND HAIRY CD-r burn (originally on Voxx Records); THE UNCLAIMED CD-r burn (originally on Resonance Records)

Even though the movement started out as yet another fresh branch off the punk rock tree, by the late-eighties the whole "garage revival" shebang did seem kinda pallid once the decade ground to a thankful end. The whole "scene" just seemed to be awash in groups who might have adapted to the superficial aspects of the quest, but for the most part they just couldn't rock 'n roll out like their idols. The same thing happened to those Velvet Underground aspiring types who might have been able to pluck out "Sweet Jane"s galore on their acoustics but never could capture the bared-wire intensity the band wreaked throughout their late-sixties career. Somehow the sweetness, essential to the Velvets on scant occasion, made its imprint but the atonal thrust just couldn't latch onto the smooth walls of these precocious petunias' minds.

Of course as any Chesterfield Kings fan can tell you this wasn't always the case, and the early-to-mid eighties garage band scene was definitely brimming with a load of talent that was worthy of the mid-sixties credo as can be. Voxx's Gravedigger V were one bunch who could take the wild strains of the past and KEEP 'em wild, and this burnt offering is just fulla the kind of powerful teenage jamz that were being made available to us in the face of Prince. Too many covers'n not enough originals true, but the spirit is there and thankfully these guys didn't droop down into Sha Na Na mimic territory given how a good portion of this owes about as much to the New York Dolls as it does the Seeds.

The Unclaimed were one of the bands that revved up this whole sixties as mop top suburban knotty pine basement rehearsal room movement, and these El Lay Music Machine wannabes sure did a bang 'em up job on this platter which retains a sense of originality and spark 'stead of poses gleaned off faded SHINDIG memories. Lead singer Shelly Ganz's voice is rough and ragged like the better sixties belters, and he and band produced some mighty fine music that sure sounds better'n a good portion of the revival quap I was gettin' sent once 1988 rolled around. Of course a lotta this is akin to watching some eighties revival of a sixties sitcom 'stead of the real thing, but hey if nothin' else was available like, why up nose at it?
***
The Teen Kings-LOST & FOUND: THE UNRELEASED 1956 RECORDINGS CD (Fuel)

Not too bad recordings taken from Texas Tee-Vee which I'm sure must've upset a whole loada old timers tuning into the set hopin' to catch some thirties-vintage moom pitcher. Sound quality is pretty good considering the source and age, and the performance from Roy Orbison and band is top notch early rock 'n roll with that country feel that pretty much epitomized the white outlook on the form at the time. Longtime faves mixed in with a few originals make for one of the better fun times I've heard in fifties rock since my last spin of the Rock-A-Teens. Disque is filled up with a recorded phone conversation with the surviving bandmembers which ain't exactly thrilling, but you might learn a thing or two as Bill Cosby used to say and like no more comments about that!.
***
The Clash-THIS IS DUB CLASH CD-r burn

More of the Clash to bore us but considering how they're getting into their Jah Rastafari schtick maybe they're borin' us in-a Babylon. To be honest this ain't anything to up toffee nose over what with the interesting effects and catchy reggae riffs to help me ease off into slumberland. Kinda engaging like some rare early-sixties single produced by the likes of Joe Meek or even some dunce who didn't know what he was up to but hit upon a big surprise. Even the rap crap part sounded like it coulda been a MAD magazine free record enclosure.
***
Alvin Lee-THE LAST SHOW CD-r burn (originally on Rainman Records)

Sure the guy was the young hot flash many of you thought he was back when he was fronting Ten Years After but sheesh, those old blooze lines done up by British Invasion hasbeens sure can wear thin. Has all the charm of one of those PBS specials that used to run on hot weekday afternoons and there was nothin' else on to watch but soap operas so you had little choice. An' sheesh, he doesn't even do that one song about dykes and fairies that actually got some noticeable FM airplay back 1971 way.
***
Various Artists-MUCHO MERCENARY SAUCER GAMES CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Here's one of them older Bill burns the guy musta sent me at least five years ago only I just happ't get to it now. Shouldn'ta waited so long because hey, this one is a good punch packer (as opposed to fudge packer) of a disque and filled with loads of fun material from a song poem from the king of 'em all Rod Rogers to the Joe E. Ross novelty "Ooh Ooh" (also on the Norton album A TRIBUTE TO JOE E. ROSS) and the theme from the GILLIGAN'S ISLAND pilot that was later shot around for the first episode of the actual series. Other surprises include a cut-in record originally released on the legendary Fenton label which ain't funny at all but were they really ever, an "answer record" to "Hot Rod Lincoln" called  "Side Car Cycle", some neo-hard local rock from Bill Case and a whole load of things that aren't really tip top but Bill's bottom barrel makes most people's tip top look like rejects from the local Vacation Bible School. One question, are the Pyramids who do the halfway there "Playing Games" the same as the surf group who did "Penetration" all those years ago? Sure ain't the free jazz group that's for sure!

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

BOOK REVIEW! THE COMPLETE DICK TRACY VOLUME 22 BY CHESTER GOULD! (IDW, 2017)

Hokay, now we're gettin' into the era of DICK TRACY that I can remember being part of my mental maturation days! Yes, I'm talkin' the mid-sixties, a transitional time in my life like I'm sure they were for many of you reg'lar readers (with me goin' from turdler status to grade school drudgery in one felt swoop) and it was strips like this that really brought back the memories...memories of just how fun life was until I was forced into learning things that I really didn't need to know and suffering all that horrid humiliation at the hands of EVERYONE involved. But eh, I don't want you to feel sorry for me! I do a good enough job feeling sorry for myself so lemme can the personal persecution complex for awhile, savvy?

But man---is TRACY on a roll and I don't mean Kaiser! Junior and Moon Maid are really hitting it off, running away to the moon in a stolen Space Coupe, returning to get married, then having a baby which doesn't even ruin Moon Maid's figure in the least! And it's a good thing that the earthlings do not know how long lunar pregnancies are since well---they are longer for Moon females and I'm sure there just hadda be some pre-marital hanky panky goin' on in space ifyaknowaddamean. Don' wanna get all the parents' groups inna uproar so maybe I should stay mum about this wink wink nudge nudge!

Besides birthing a baby, Moon Maid is on a tear as a vigilante using her zap beam on do-badders to the point where they either fall into a coma, become immobile or suffer some hefty burns either way being pretty much outta commission 'n for good! The strange thing about it is that when she is discovered by Tracy to have been the culprit stopping acts of wanton violence while the onlooking populace does not want to "get involved" he and his co-horts happily remain mum about it because hey, she's doin' a good job of bringing criminals to real justice and someone is getting things that the police can't do by law or ethics!!!!

And of course for the old-tyme readers who liked their TRACY loaded with action we see the Master Detective doin' some police work tryin' to solve the mystery of a skeleton found in a tree not to mention the weird case of Matty Square (who high-lariously keeps mentioning how his constitutional rights are being violated every time one of his cronies gets offed!) and his ever-dying gang, not to mention the weird beyond belief Mr. Bribery, an Incan cohort who's a cocaine brewer who also shrinks heads, and Bribery's stylish sister Ugly Christine who ain't that bad looking next to the quality of wimmen seen these days who are straight from Bowzerville and would make any Gould gal look like Brigette B.!

One longtime memory that was shed light on after all these years was the appearance of the extremely wasted away Mr. Jade, the old (and pretty frightening to a five-year-old) man of skin and bones who lived in the upstairs area of an old house for 46 years after killing his business partner and placing his body in a split oak, hence the aforementioned skeleton found all those years later. Back when the Jade episode was running his mere visage scared the bejabbers outta me even producing a nightmare in my yet-to-jello up mind, and for years I wanted to read these strips again to see what all of the frightening fuss was about. Turns out the man wasn't really a bad guy since he only killed his business partner in self-defense, and although Jade coulda gone to the cops and told them the truth and gotten off 'stead of hide the "crime" I did feel some sadness after he confessed and immediately died closing that case for good. Sheesh, and all those years I was under the impression he was a deformed monster and now I feel like shedding a tear for him!

And oh yeah, these comics also introduce the "strip within a strip" SAWDUST, an extremely primitive effort mostly consisting of a pile of dots drawn by four men (!) and for awhile written by Moon Maid, the "strip" undoubtedly being Chet Gould's commentary on the new minimalist post-World War II-styled gag comics that seemed to be edging longtime faves like TRACY off the pages of your local comic section. Now to some of you readers I'm sure the arrival of SAWDUST into the TRACY canon of overall bizarrities woulda seemed like a really bad case of sour grapes conjured up by a member of the old guard of stripdom but hey, fiftysome years later one glance at the comics'll prove to you that Gould was right all along given the horrid offal one generally sees there. That's one reason I need more of these classic reprints from TRACY to FRECKLES and NANCY and please, don't even try to tell me different!

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Hi, and happy DEMOLITION DAY to all of our Canuckistanian readers celebrating 150 years of somethingorother from Great Britain. Whatever it is they are celebrating it ain't quite an "Independence Day" like we have here in Ameriga...I'm not sure but I think July First in the Great White (and turning browner as we speak) North is just another excuse to take the day off and and drink lotsa booze which I understand in the National Pastime up there (next to chasing foreigners outta their neighborhoods). Canadians do that (drink beer'n whiskey, not club Pakis to death) all the time---what do you think those bank holidays really are about---and as I've said many times, show me a sober Canadian and I'll show you a Toronto cemetery! Have fun, and please remember to watch out for the other guy while driving yer Meteors and Acadians...the life you save may be Paul McGarry's!
***
The BLOG TO COMM fan club send a personal message to
Jay Hinman!
It's still housecleaning time here at the BLOG TO COMM orifices so you can be that I'm continuing to toil away combing through boxes after boxes just brimming full with old letters, magazines, promo sheets and whatnot thinking about what is good enough to throw away and what's regrettably salvageable. Amongst the former includes what shard o' scrap paper are gonna be used for Brad Kohler's next batch of printed up posts, what's gonna get sold on ebay once I get back into the game (and once the market for cruddy eighties-era fanzines explodes which I personally think will be NEVER) and amongst the latter what's gonna keep me occupied during my pre-beddy bye time while Faust (still my current fave, along with the Pink Fairies' NEVER NEVER LAND) wails away on the bedside boom box. I've had a little luck locating one issue of TEENAGE WASTELAND GAZETTE (the one with Marc Bolan on the cover) but no sign of any of my LOVE AND LAUGHTERs or ish #1 of I WANNA BE YOUR DOG. However I have come across even more issues of CONFLICT and SUPERDOPE than my entire digestive system (as well as a few much-needed glands) could possibly tolerate (as well as a fan note from...Tom Lax???) and like at this point in time all I can say is I CAN'T WAIT 'TIL THIS JOB'S OVER THAT'S FOR SURE!!!

To ease my personal tensions in life (mainly my unending cravings for hard-hitting, no holds barred rock 'n roll reading) I thankfully managed to find a few rarities twixt the love letters and hypesheets on acts I haven't heard about since their platters were rushed my way back in them not-so good ol' days. As you might or might not care to know every time I came across an envelope with Eddie Flowers' return address stamped I took a breather and read what was inside the thing, and his various LA BLUES/EDDIE PICKS THE HITS newsletters remain a fresh of breath air, smart writing on smart music that was transpiring when both items were in such short supply. His 1980 vintage BAMALAMA COMMUNIQUE was no different, and finding the third issue of this, er, "newsletter" was something that I felt was akin to locating a rare bauble from King Tut's tomb, or at least finding his sacred ass-cleaning stick if you wanna get more technical about it.

But sheesh it was sure fun reading this 'un since frankly you don't get enough hotcha rock writing any more (99.99999...% of what you read today since other than my own pearls o' wisdom and little else, is pure hackdom!) so's you gotta get your fix just about anywhere you can! In this issue Eddie raves about everything goin' on in his life from the groups he's seen whether he liked 'em or not, the goings on (and off) with regards to various personal projects like getting his hair cut, what his cohorts such as Kenne Highland are up to and oh yeah, lots of new on the famed El Lay "sixties revival" band the Unclaimed whose Moxie Records EP is gonna be one of my get out and plays as the days progress. Eddie even included a FETISH PAGE regarding garter belts and stockings done up in a way that would make Don Fellman want to jump into the river in Paris (he'd be "in Seine")!

Like LOVE AND LAUGHTERBAMALAMA COMMUNIQUE leaves you raving for more and all I gotta say is that if someone out there has a batch of these and wants to get rid of 'em well...I know you won't send 'em to me which is my tough luck but then again if I knew you wouldn't want to send any of 'em to me I wouldn't want your copies anyway! Hope that makes a good whole lotta sense to someone out there!
***
Nice pack o' platters I got to peck out reviews foo youze, and surprisingly enough all of 'em ('cept for the Bill Shute bargain bin closer) were sent to me by none other'n the aforementioned Paul McGarry! Thanks for putting in the extra effort Paul, and hopefully some more of those Canadian (and other) obscurities will be winging my way soon. And talking about Canadian...any chance you can jet some of that Canadian delicacy named after the Russian president my way??? Can't seem to find any Putin around here and it sure looks tasty!


The Brats-CRIMINAL GUITAR CD-r burn (originally on Rave Up Records)

These guys had an album of their classic seventies thumpers out recently, but this 2002 Cee Dee effort has some of that (I think) and---now get this---moremoreMORE! And like their more recent exhumation this LP is hot seventies hard pop that, like Kiss, coulda gone somewhere only these guys never could break outta the NYC local scene mold even with all of that ROCK SCENE coverage that they were privy to. If this could be called punk rock it would definitely be in the 1972-1975 or so definition of the term and naturally that's all right by me! I particularly liked "Seventeen", this hard pop bopper that uses the old "Charleston" dance ditty as its basis. Twenties nostalgia done up seventies decadence style kinda like watching a seventies-era "R" rated movie set in them dayze hopin' to see a flash of titty amidst the violence and cuss words!
***
Roy Orbison-ROCKER CD-r burn (originally on Snapper Records, England)

Long before a generation of MTV-bred morons knew who he was thanks to BLUE VELVET, Roy Orbison was recording some pretty decent crunchers for the likes of Sun as well as some other labels out there whose names escape me. Dunno if any of these recordings were done with his ultra-early garage band aggregation the Teen Kings, but they sure do sate the real rockabilly rebel in me with their primal and straightforward rock 'n rollers which are guaranteed to remind even the staunchest fifties hater as to one of the reasons I so revere them days of yore. Studio, solo demos, alt. takes etc...its the stuff that you used to drool about whilst reading those old KICKS magazines only you never could find those rarities at the local record emporium. Personal fave of the batch: disque closer "Rockabilly Girl" which has the kind of Deep South Drive I always liked in these kinda rockers which always went against all that hokey HAPPY DAYS fifties gloss that never did seem real enough to anybody I knew (or myself) who watched that show.
***
The Crunch-BUSY MAKING NOISE CD-r burn (originally on Legal Records)

C'mon Paul, 'fess up...you're just taking the same neo-pop amerindie loser recording you have in your collection, pressed up a hundred copies, slapped different covers on 'em and are passin' 'em off as unique and different examples of today's youthful music scene. It can't be that there are more than one group in this world with the same growly youthful angst vocals and neo-Byrds melodies lacking the burning intensity of the originals, right? Limper than leftover spaghetti...and I thought the Violent Femmes were the ultimate in belly-button-staring self-indulgence!
***
The Mindreaders-BAN THE MINDREADERS CD-r burn (originally on Empire Records)

Not bad at all even if I'll never listen to it again in my life. Mostly if not all covers of a variety of rock artists (VU, Hell, Modern Lovers, Jimi...) done up hard 'n distorted fashion that actually suits a jaded ol' fanabla such as I. Thankfully BAN THE MINDREADERS lacks the usual wussiness that affects many of these retrogarde efforts that never did have the backbone of the original. Released in 1987, this undoubtedly went over the heads of thousands of new music aficionados who mighta dug it, but considering how this act at least had some grips on why sixties/seventies rock was such an accomplishment the usual REM types wouldn't've gotten it in the least. Nothing to piss on that's for sure.
***
The Bloody Tears-DOWNHANDED CD-r burn (originally on Licorice Tree Records)

Better'n expected sixties revival garage-y rock, but still not enough to get me all hot and bothered like a few of those early-eighties acts roaming around the same corridors of primeval funzies. I won't be spinning this 'un again either but I gotta credit these Tears for at least slamming some good pop moves into the usual by-numbers approach these rear view looks may take. Fair enough energy levels make this one hard to think up the usual pithy remarks that usually accompany burnt offerings that McGarry tends to send my way.
***

Van Morrison-NEW YORK SESSIONS 67 CD-r burn (originally on Snapper Records)

I gotta hate Van Morrison on mere principle alone given how the dwarf was a hefty part of ROLLING STONE-approved late-seventies laid back 'n serious rock critiquing what with Greil Mucous types jammering away about his latest albums to the point of fringe jacket leather goods nausea. Old people's music, or so I thought. Sure Lester Bangs and other rockmag wowzers praised ASTRAL WEEKS to the livin 'end and Laughner's own deathbed take of "Slim Slow Slider" sounds as desperate as Laughner must have been at the time but still, every time I think of Morrison visions of clean cut late-seventies Warner Brother ads from slick trade papers pop right into my mind.

But surprises of surprises, the early solo recordings for Bang Records do have some of the old swerve in 'em. If I hear "Brown Eyed Girl" one more time I'll slit your throat, but the more rousing tracks are pretty toe tapping themselves without me having to adjust my own listening parameters to fit in. Best of the batch--- "T.B. Sheets" which Peter Laughner once wrote about tellin' about the time he saw Morrison do it on UPBEAT which kills me because of that line where Morrison sings that he could "smell her T.B. Sheets" 'n all that which I always found rather creepy! Be thankful his gal wasn't suffering from any women's problems like yeast infection because I'd hate to hear what THAT song would sound like!
***
Various Artists-PRETTY LITTLE NOWHERE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Lotsa soul-y stuff here along with the country and western oldies (most of which I would say are...down homey enough) as well as a few surprises. Like three in a row versions of "Feel a Whole Lot Better" which do capture the El Lay rock experience, at least as it was experienced by guys far away from the tap root of folk rock. Most of this is whatcha'd call not really up my huge and expansive alley, but it was nice lending ear to such rarities as the Utopians' "Dutch Treat" not to mention the Booker T. hit "Time is Right". Particular fave of the batch---St. George and Tana's "Big Daddy Blues" which is a pretty good if not better'n various other attempts at psycho-folk musings sung by male/female singing teams. It originally came out on the Kapp label who I guess were sore that Sonny and Cher had left 'em so's they got these two to fill the gap which obviously didn't help out any! Gotta do some digging on them 'n see what I just hap't come up wid, which will probably be not much but wh' th' hey...

Thursday, June 29, 2017

BOOK REVIEW! FRECKLES AND HIS FRIENDS FROM RED RYDER COMICS (Golden Age Reprints)

Yes there are even more FRECKLES collections available from GOLDEN AGE REPRINTS, and these taken from the back pages of RED RYDER COMICS present some of the strips that appeared in the daily and Sunday edition of your local fave rave paper. Yes, live vicariously through these sagas and think about days long gone when comics like this were what every red-blooded suburban slob kid looked forward to after a hard day at stool, that oasis in a tough world where your parents expected you to study hard and grow up to be rich, and you did that only you never did buy 'em that million dollar house out of pure SPITE which is why they hate you even this late inna game!

These particular FRECKLES originally appeared in 1939-40 so we can see just what kind of comic it was at the time, and surprisingly enough by this time FRECKLES had developed into the teen comic that it would remain albeit they had yet to get to the daily gag version that I remember seeing as a mere zygote. All of the familiar teenage characters are here from Lard Smith (who actually is tubby though he loses weight if only so the sexoid Hilda would lower her drawbridge so to speak) and the Diltonesque Nutty, although the likes of kid brother Tag and his pal Ossie with the bulbous nose are still around, somewhat. The stories are in a rather melodramatic serio-comedy vein that the strip remained in at least until the fifties, with storylines ranging from Freckles and Lard writing a swing number that gets stolen after Nutty plays it on his shortwave radio to one where Dudley (a short-lived character who was more of a menacing Reggie type than Bazoo who had yet to appear) chases Freckles in his car and gets creamed by a truck. Unfortunately the guy lives, and that's only because Freckles has the same blood type and boy is Freckles mad!

I don't think teenbo living was ever like this back then and it certainly wasn't like this when I was a teen, but then again what reality do you see in programming these days? I happen to love these old-style strips for the realistic art (well, realistic next to those six-year-olds they have drawing comics these days!) and the sagas ain't that bad t'boot. The only thing that really gripes me about this collection is that the story where Lard goes on his diet is never resolved which is something that really woulda kept me up nights had I got this book age eight! Sheesh, the folk at Golden Age should at least waited until the next issue of RED RYDER was available before printing this because like, it ain't fair and we buy these books for more'n just looking at the pictures! Maybe another volume will come out but hey, if you know how this epic ended up howzbout sending me a line???

Saturday, June 24, 2017

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

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

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


Spyrogyra-ST. RADIGUNDS CD (Repertoire England)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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