Saturday, June 03, 2017

I'll bet you're glad to see a new edition of BLOG TO COMM spread across your computer screen so early in the weekend. Well, I gotta admit that I was running ahead of schedule and had a whole slew of news, reviews and snooze to present for you so like, why the hey not? As usual there's nothing here that'll put me in the blogger halla fame (we can't all be Lindsay Hutton) but then again I don't think I'll have to turn in my rock scribe club membership card any day soon no matter how many of you out there will beg and plead otherwise. I would ask you what you think of it all, but then again I couldn't care in the least.
BOY DO I FEEL it happened a good month ago but now I find out that none other than Bruce Hampton (also known as Col. Hampton B. Coles a.k.a. Gustav Valentine Berglund III) is no longer with us. Sure it wasn't like the guy had that sorta notoriety that woulda gotten his death a passing mention fifteen-minutes into the national news broadcast but sheesh, for dorks like me who spent a good portion of my age 16-18 years flocking to a whole load of things Zappa/Beefheart/Mothers and related Hampton was one guy who sure meant PLENTY (at least to me) other'n the legendary fact that his MUSIC TO EAT double platter extravaganzia was the second worst selling album in Columbia Records history which really says something because NOBODY can tell me the name of the worst other'n it was either a yoga instruction or Eastern Philosophy item!

I remember reading that review of latterday Hampton Grease Band member Mike Greene's one album (title escapes me) in CREEM oh so long ago (actually in the back of the high school library when I shoulda been studyin'!) and the description of your standard Hampton Grease Band show seemed like the ultimo in late-sixties absurdo rock flash that was bound to capture the imagination of a mentally ill obsessive failure at life like myself. People doin' what they want and eating sandwiches up on stage while some butch cut lead singer was yellin' the contents of a spray can sure did appeal to the pseudo-retardation in a whole slew of kids other than myself, and the fact that these guys never did get the same sorta push as Zappa, Beefheart and their scores of emulators did at the time sure goes to show you that maybe Clodumbia Records weren't as on the ball as you thought they would be given just how big guns they used to be.

Of course the music performed by this bunch (not counting the later days which showed a strong Mahavishnu/Fusion bent that doesn't really appeal to me) was so hard for anyone to categorize which might have been one reason that the very few reviews of this that popped up in the rock mags were written by people totally unconnected with either the upper echelon of respectable rock criticism nor the lower-caste gonzo brigade. Of course the obvious Zappa/Beefheart ref. pts. were more than evident but then again there was a whole lotta Quicksilver (their free-flowing live appearances as opposed to comparatively restrained studio platters) and shudder! even some late-sixties Grateful Dead to be discerned. Of course hometown heroes the Allman Brothers figure in as well which I guess was one reason many guys who were playin' in Hampton's Aquarium Rescue Unit years later were also double timing as Allmans.

From what I've heard of Hampton's post-Grease Band output it seemed solid enough even if it never did reach the peaks of MUSIC TO EAT's free-form suckrock. Personal fave: 1977's grand comeback ONE RUINED LIFE OF A BRONZE TOURIST which has gotta be thee most disjointed freak album since WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH and TROUT MASK REPLICA.

And to think that the guy (like Mick Farren---and OK, Sib Hashian) died in the line of duty and (like Dick Shawn) the audience thought he was joking while he was breathing his last! With a comparison like that it really goes to show ya somethin' about what this guys' musical career really encapsulated, eh?
YOU ALREADY KNOW ABOUT THIS 'UN, BUT NOT FROM ME: Brad Kohler raved about the Iggy Pop and the Stooges-themed TOTAL CHAOS book late last year and it sure sounded swell judging from him it's a killer diller, but I just happ'd upon a copy and y'know what? Brad was 100% right on the bullseye (and I don't mean female brown tips) about this particular epic for our times! Only problem is that he didn't quite relay en toto to us the outright power and energy this mere li'l ol' book supplies us long time rock fanablas who can still remember (even fondly) reading the I NEED MORE book at the local mall because it cost way too much for penny-starved people like us to actually buy.

The Iggy back and forth where he gives us some rather eye-opening remarks regarding a variety of items (pics, mag articles etc.) is of course worth the price of admission, but frankly it's the various items that are presented to Iggy such as the snap of his old Hawaiian guitar, the Stooges live with Scott Asheton's bongolated oil drum and a variety of magazine articles and letters that really get me all Stooged up inside. I really enjoy reading those various Velvet Underground exhibition catalogs because they present to us the world of the Velvets as it was experienced at the time and in the place by a variety of minds both pro and con 'stead of wallow in hero worship by flounders years after the fact (leave that to the interviews in the back of the book)...this does ditto for the Stooges and like all good books it sure left my mouth watering for more Stooges ephemera.

Dunno why entire articles aren't printed let alone the contents of say...Natalie Stoogeling's POPPED newsletter (one of which can be found in one of them Jonathan Eisen books) but the things that do turn up are particularly inspiring in that ol' teenbo wide-eyed fanatical way. Too bad this 'un didn't come out back during the heydey of under-the-underground blare when we really REALLY needed it, but we got it now and like why quibble?
Hokay, are you ready for some good rock 'n roll reading? C'mon...ya gettin' all hot 'n bothered for more of that great gonzo style, eh??? Well if so...maybe you can dig up an old issue of CREEM because if you're looking here ya ain't gonna find any an' I mean it!

Googie Rene-ROMESVILLE CD-r burn (originally on Class Records)

More a dat phony Euro jazz junk bein' peddled to puerile Amerigan slobs who couldn't afford to go overseas and wanted to live the good life in the sanctity of their knotty pine recreation rooms. Actually this "concept album" (that that Beatles!) coulda been about any country in Europe (or elsewhere) if not for the opening mock dialect schpiel and the mandolin-laden closing theme, but slap a cover with some columns and a Ferrari on it and presto changeo you got a dago-themed record with some sales potential even if the music at hand is nothing but standard lounge jazz about as tame as the stuff you used to hear on Warner Brothers tee-vee shows. But man, you can just tell that the cover itself is fake as well...I mean, if that snap really was taken in Italy do you think the gal on the right's armpit would have been as clean shaven as it is???
THE MISSING SOULS CD-r burn (originally on Dangerhouse Skylab)

OK Bill, bear with me for this one review, hokay? And it's gonna be a good one from an act that I ne'er heard about before and probably ne'er will hear from again given how dumbo I am regarding these newer than new sixties revival groups. All covers true, but the Missing Souls sure do 'em up really nice 'n sparkly with powerful vocals and honest-to-goodness chops that don't sound as carbon copy as some of the competition. True this ain't gonna be one of those all-time fave raves I play over and over but these guys (and gal) know how to pound out a good mid-sixties rousing rock sound akin to the Fleshtones at their shake-a-puddin' peak! It's so good that after hearing this 'un I sure feel like reverting to my own six-year-old self if only to cop an episode of WHERE THE ACTION IS but then again, what else is new?
The Prisoners-THEWISERMISERMEDELZA CD-r burn (originally on Big Beat)

My it's good enough that I may even give this platter with the funny name another play one of these days. But really, there seems to be that air of early-eighties despair found here, the one that says that that the Big Beat in rock 'n roll have been dead for quite a long time and all it's gonna be from here on in is retro tributes that never will catch on like you hope they would. Various sixties ref. pts. make this a little hard to peg down into one discernible spot, but for neo-retro early-eighties flashbacks into past glory I find it better than much of the Paisley Underground that was such a rage at the time. If you still have any old issues of BUCKETFULL OF BRAINS handy, you just might love this.

Here's one of those promo platters that were sent to radio stations in order to plug the latest PYTHON flick to the unwashed heathen types who'd naturally flock to see a moom pitcher like this. Nothing much I can really osmose here given that by this time the whole PYTHON trip was pretty much bled out, but if you were one of those college kid creepy types who liked these sorta shenanigans even after the whole hip comedy trip petered out once the very late-seventies rolled around you'll just love it as long as you have a grass mask handy. A special guest appearance by George Harrison provess that maybe the silent Beatle shoulda stayed silent for just a little bit longer.
GROOVIE GOOLIES CD-r burn (originally on RCA Records)

I don't remember this batch of cartoon monsters one bit, probably because this series was aired on Saturday mornings and my dad did not want me watching cartoons on my day off because I should be doing household chores or yardwork during those hours and tee-vee cartoons were definitely a no-go even though all the other kids my age were watchin' 'em. After hearing this soundtrack featuring the typical pre-teen post-bubblegum sound of the day maybe I wasn't missing that much even if it was a Filmation effort...imagine Tommy James without the hard sexual nature and you'll get a good idea of what the Goolies sound like. Instant oblivion package, but then again I guess Richard Delvy hadda have SOMETHING to do!

Maybe it's not so surprising that this platter fulla early-sixties surf 'n pop came out in 1967. After all the thing came out in Peru, and you gotta admit that back then it wasn't like modern pop trends were gonna trickle down South Ameriga way in a flash! But that's what makes Los Belkings so great...while the rest of the hipster world was tinkling bells and acting like total starry-eyed numbskulls Los Belkings were playing rock 'n roll the way it was meant to be played, at least the way it was in 1962 when the world was less of a self-conscious pose than it would become years later. And here in the light of 2017 who can we say were the real cool, Los Belkings in their matching jackets and bargain basement guitars or Grace Slick thinking she's so important telling the world that ALICE IN WONDERLAND was written for heads???
FASHIONS IN LOVE (original 1929 sound discs) CD-r burn

Y'know, there are many lost mooms that I sure wish survived such as D.W. Griffith's original THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES not to mention the early sound Charlie Chan films, but judging from the surviving soundtrack to this '29 feature I could care one whit that the film portion of FASHIONS IN LOVE has by now crumbled into dust. From the looks sound of it this romantic schmoozer starring Adolphe Menjou as a French (what else?) pianist wasn't much of a flick to consider seeing, unless you hadn't by then seen a talkie and this was the only one in town. If it had survived, this woulda made the perfect late movie on a 1958 UHF station guaranteed to cure your insomnia, though as all luck would have it the National Anthem sign-off'd jolt you right outta dream city! If so mebbe you could catch the end of Steve Allen on the other that'll put you to sleep for good!
Various Artists-APPLES, ORANGES, MANURE AND BOONE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Somehow I think that a film strip on John Deere manure handling equipment would come off swell for those rock critics out there who've flung the dung for years on end. That's on here (two sides!) as are a variety of musics both exciting (Los Rockin' Devils' Mexican mid-sixties mash) and not (Freeway's early-eighties AOR tuff guy pose). Highlights (at least for me, and if you can't trust me who can you trust?) include this folkie singer taped off Radio Rwanda four years back (sounds like one of those pre-Mirrors Jamie Klimek tapes with weird electronics---actually signal interference---added), Pat Boone for Amway and PEBBLES faves the Third Booth doin' "I Need Love". Akron's Teacher's Pet (one of the Clone Records batch who didn't get much huzzah-wise after this) also do some great punk rock guaranteed to upset Journey fans at ten paces. Oh, and by the way ex-Mr. Diana Dors Richard Dawson's "Apples and Oranges" ain't the Pink Floyd single side so don't get your hopes up too fast.


Anonymous said...

I really think you should check out The Teenage Graves lp out on Ken Rock Records now! Total guitar overload high energy action from Sweden 1989/90.

Charles Hodgson said...

Re: Teenage Graves - got a link to sample some sounds and try-before-we-buy?

Anonymous said...

Here´s a link to Youtube, where you also can check some other tunes from their two 7"´s. These tunes are also on the lp.

Rock on!