Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BOOK REVIEW! BEHAVING MADLY---ZANY, LOCO, COCKEYED, RIP-OFF SATIRE MAGAZINES by Ger Apeldoorn and Craig Yoe (2017 Yoe Books/IDW)

In the great BLOG TO COMM tradition of hailing the cheap, the swipe, the copy and the things us kids got instead of the real deal for years, I now present to you an entire tome for our times dealing with none other'n all of those definitely teenage-oriented humor mags that came and went during the latter part of them oft-loathed (but we know better!) fifties, a time when funtime entertainment was available with the flick of a switch, trashy lo-fi rock 'n roll was plentiful, life was stable enough that even the garbage man could afford a good home, wages were high and boy were some people PISSED OFF about it!

But certainly not us suburban slob baby boom ranch house UHF-TV dwellers who were soaking it all in until the seventies really put a kibosh on everything. And along with all of those other cheap imitations from cereals to comic books and tootsietoys, hipster-type satire mags were sprouting up and about the fruity plain in an attempt to coax even more pseudointellectial college kids outta their hard begged. And man, there were plenty of 'em about from CRACKED and HUMBUG to THIMK and ZANY, and you can bet your banana that alla 'em were in one way or another a swipe of that BIG TIME humor rag that was taking the teenage world by storm, an' I certainly don't mean POPULAR MECHANICS!

This long-awaited book is the brainkiddie of Dutch comics fan Ger Apeldoorn whose THOSE FABULEOUS FIFTIES blog can be espied if you'd only click the link listed on the left, while co-author Craig Yoe's one of those BIG TIME OPERATORS on the scene who lives/breathes/eats and for all I know defecates comics so you know what he's talking about! Together the two have put together a nice and solid history of the various humor mags (which were and remain oversized comic books if you ask me) that didn't last too long, and for most of us woulda been forgotten to history if we hadn't come across tattered remnants of 'em in early-seventies flea markets and still wouldn't pick 'em up for a nickel!

Apeldoorn and Yoe ignore the biggie titles which is all fine and well and stop their saga with the dawn of the sixties which ain't, but nevertheless we still get a hefty handfulla not only pertinent information regarding the titles and publishers but actual complete stories that were vying for the imaginations of people like you and me back in those funner than fun times. And ya gotta admit that the pair really do a good job not only with their li'l histories of each and every tmagazine extant but with their selection of the kinda sagas that were popping up in these pages which really do give us a good idea of just where college har hars stood a good sixty or so years back!

And those various entries from the pages of many a forgotten title remarkably show that some of the stories and artwork that appeared in these knockoffs did reach MAD's usual high standards of trashdom. I woulda been under the impression that these flybynight publications mostly run by flybynight conmen were but mere nth-raters that made mags like CRACKED and SICK look qualified in comparison, but most of these examples were good enough to have made it into the originator of it all. (Even the worse ones were about as good as a typical satire fanzine of the day, so there ain't that much dross to be found.) The stories for the most part were comparable to anything that MAD was churning out at the time, while the artwork (at times done by men before, after, or after/before their various MAD sojurns), is mostly up to the kind of airbrushed quality that were found in Bill Gaines's baby which ain't that surprising given how many of the artists were obviously swiping ideas from the usual gang of idiots given all of the Jack Davis cops to be seen here.

Well, I will take one thing regarding the art to be found within these pages back, because in NO WAY did Bill Elder ever do anything for the likes of CRAZY and LOCO that was as good as the detailed delineations he did while working for Harvey Kurtzman, but I don't really care because I'd take anything from this book over some 1973 issue of SICK with Huckleberry Fink taking Sonny's place in Sonny and Cher onna cover.

So yeah, BEHAVING MADLY really is a fantastico settle back 'n read offering with surprises galore and a few things that I'm sure will even get you all hot and bothered under the collar. Not only that but this thing can be funny (remember that word?) in a way that the entire history of COMEDY CENTRAL let alone its spiritual predecessors like Lenny Bruce and Dick Gregory (and don't forget SNL after say, 1980) haven't been even though we have been told otherwise by people who know better than us. If you value your fifties kultural jamz this might be a book to snatch up to have and to hold at least until the next significant hardback to hit us right in the psyche makes its way out.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hey, howdja like the updated blog header which, as you probably could tell having been in onna game these past thirtysome years, is "based" on the old BLACK TO COMM logo that was created by a very famous artist who prefers to remain anonymous for some strange reason or another. Makes this blog look "professional" and all, right??? (Yeah, right!)  I just did a little snip snip here and there, and although the results just ain't what I expected I kinda like the sloppoid thing in my own gosh darn it suburban slob way. I hope you do too since hey, it does have that cruddy sorta aura to it that suits the contents of BLOG TO COMM rather well, and if you have any suggestions regarding it or just how the item can be "altered" and "adjusted" to your own personal tastes well, you know what you can do with them now, do you!!!! But really, I find it pretty neat...ya think I should gussy it up with some pastels or even crayons for that matter because once you really get down to it, this is a "wreck in progress"!!!
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You could say that I'm feeling so good, feeling so fine, until tomorrow but that's just some other time, and for once you'd be RIGHT! Right now I am radiating like nothing since Three Mile Island if only because of the bevy o' bouncing stimulation that's been pounding my brain these past few days which have certainly benefited my health more than Vigero ever could. The various Dee-Vee-Dee programming I've been watching certainly helps me avoid having to tune into Anderson Cooper's or Kennedy's for that matter snooty mug, while the music making up the soundtrack to my mere being gives me a charge that makes me feel like I've just got off Dr. Frankenstein's slab. Even the reading material that's been accompanying much of my musical mayhem during those evening hours has been helping me stand strong against the rages of Moderne Day Living, and if it weren't for these three things where would I be? Probably in front of the boob tube trying to eke some entertainment outta the latest non-sitcom that only reflects the rather unfunny concept of life and humor here in the late-teens. Sheesh, would I be glad if only someone would throw a pie in someone's face thus upsetting the spirit of Fred Rogers for all eternity!!!
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Now if you really wanna know what the highlight of my week was (other'n the creation of the new header that is) well, I gotta say that of all the things that did occur over these past seven earthspins the grandest of all was the discovery of the DENIM DELINQUENT facebook page which I have linked up on the left somewhere or other. Yes, like you I was bummed beyond belief when the actual DD sight more or less wafted off into nothingness but now I can once again groove to the myriad assortment of photos and whatnot that DD head Jymn Parrett has found suitable for sharing with the rest of us starved rock 'n plunder types. And boy has the man come up with some great goodies from the archives (really must've dug deep because even I don't remember seein' a whole buncha 'em!) what with the snaps of everyone from Iggy and the Dolls to Lou and Kim and Sky and  Beefheart and Moon the Loon on and on, and prowling through his page is like prowling through the past fiftysome years of everything that was good and life-reaffirming about music inna first place. Thanks for all of the snaps Jymn...but GRACE SLICK???? Sheesh, I'll even take Pigpen over her any day!
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Hey, I got an actual bloomin' complaint that there haven't been any interviews on this blog in a skunk's age. Anyone out there for the taking? If so please tell me, but be oh so discreet about it because I don't want any news of this gettin' out.
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Nothing more to report, so here be this week's gruel to be served up to this week's Oliver Twists. Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and even P.D. Fadensonnen are the ones responsible...will get to Bob Forwards wares eventually I'll tell ya...


Razorlegs-WFMU 6-23-2017 CD-r (Fadensonnen---see blog on left and like you know the rest!)

P.D really fooled me with this one since he used the exact same cover photo from his cassette release here! But this is a different recording as the Razorlegs duo rip it up on the radio (WFMU to be exact...donate all you have to 'em!) doing a pretty good job of scaring off alla them old ladies who were tuning in to hear SERMONETTE. Won't be too redundant but once again the total eruption of the guitar/drums onslaught (with some stylophone tossed in...paging Rolf Harris!) hearkens back to many an earlier gtr/dms situation from the Hampton Grease Band and DAILY DANCE onward, and the entire performance is one top notch attempt to reclaim the avant rock banner from the various assortment of bedroom bounders who have popped up these past thirtysome years. I guarantee you that if you give this one a spin (or at least download the thing) you'll be in for a pretty hefty resensification, and like how many current day acts can do that to you and your frazzled cyborg nerves???
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ROBYN HITCHCOCK CD-r burn (originally on Yep Roc Records)

Gee, I wonder if Syd Barrett himself woulda sounded like this had he been fit 'n fiddle enough to make records forty years after his Pink Floyd debut! Of course it woulda had somewhat of a commercial bent (which in these tender times means clean, professional sound and performance sans any spec of flydirt or muscle) and of course it would upset alla the same early-seventies English rock fans who were smart enough to pick up the albums before they became budget priced twofas. My guess is that Barrett's efforts woulda been pretty dullsville given just how much of a rot the music has become o'er the years, and I do get the impression that the powers that be would have tempered with the resultant stew to make it sound like THE DIVISION BELL redux. As for this platter well...maybe this is what Barrett's platter woulda sounded like had some of them newfangled producers and bandfans got into the act---solid yet too sleek to really appeal to those familiar with the original thrust of it all. But it will. Features one of the better country unto rock goofs since the Left Banke if not the Byrds or Beatles themselves.
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John Bell-CAMBRIDGE SURPRISE MINOR AND OTHER PEALS CD-r (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Now I could be like one of those DOWN BEAT critics and wax rhapsorious about this all-percussive endeavor in some of the most stringently somnambulistic terms extant, but I won't. But sheesh if this doesn't remind me of some effort that would get your typical jazz snoot type rushing to his thesaurus to come up with new and witty ways to say "this record reminds me of flamingos frolicking in a crystal rain before the rays of the sun evaporate every drop of dew on their precious accouterments (ie feathers)."  But it is a grand one natch as percussionist Bell gets more music than you would expect outta a vast array of instruments sounding like church bells at one time and a buncha pixies plunking around the forest the next. Charming, mesmerizing and even...listenable. Reminds me of something I think I heard before, but that was probably before I was born. Amongst the instruments to be heard on this effort are vibraharp, glockenspiel, scrap metal, piano frame and Khong Vang, and boy was Khong mad about getting banged up the way he did!
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Wilko Johnson-PULL THE COVER CD-r burn (originally on Skydog Records, France)

I never did care for the Wilko Johnson Solid Senders album, but this li'l bijou from a good six or so years later's really a boffo affair if I do say so myself! At one time this brand of newer than new English r 'n b was getting tagged with the punk moniker until the spiky hair crowd came into being, but in this day and age it sure has more of that p-rock meaning than a lot of those halfway-there acts pseudo-glam punks from the late-seventies (and there were many!) ever did.

This is Stiff Records punk ifyaknowaddamean, the kinda music that was being bandied about as the new in direction even if it was a flashback to the mid-sixties of pure back alley bashout. Looking back I can sure see how the likes of Feelgood and those other early Stiff signings could mingle with Johnnie Allen and Stones Masonry in a broad view of the term that never did sit well with some of the more arty types about.

Contains originals and covers that sound just as exciting as the familiar takes...sure glad the guy survived his recent medical tragedies because if this 'un stunk I'd be doin' a few Indian War Whoops for his demise and like right now!
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ERIC DOLPHY IN EUROPE VOLUME 3 CD-r burn (originally on Prestige Records)

Good enough but not the best Dolphy that's out there, but then again is it like we have to be picky? The pickup sidemen are just that, though fortunately they don't hinder Dolphy's always entertaining woodwind whirls that shoulda made him as famous as the other great names of the day only the guy hadda die and for the stupidest reason possible. If you're just beginning to delve into the Dolphy mystique this ain't the best place to start (try his various Mingus dates not to mention OUT TO LUNCH) but after you've let those weave their way into your soul give this live sesh a go at it.
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Air-AIR RAID CD-r burn (originally on Why Not Records, Japan)

It's hard to understand why this free jazz trio was given so many hails and hosannas during the mid to late-seventies. After all, they were good, and a whole lot more exciting than the soft schmooze bowtie music that would eventually capture the jazz mindset by storm (or should that be "mist"?). Bred from the entire AACM intermingle of various sonic irregularities, Air performed a particularly strident breed of the new thing that certainly fit in with the under-the-counterculture loft jazz scene if nothing else.

This Japanese-only (until the eighties when India Navigation released it o'er here) album sure captures the team of Henry Threadgill, Fred Hopkins and Steve McCall in a good way what with the trio easily flowing from hardass crash to straight-ahead urban bop with mere ease, not sounding too outre yet being tense enough to make your typical Al DeMeola fan nauseous. Terse-beyond-belief reeds intermingle with Hopkins' hopped up bass while McCall shows us that the force he put in on those old Anthony Braxton albums wasn't anything but a fluke. And we better not forget Threadgill's "hubkaphone" which ain't nothin' but a hubcap he beat on with a drumstick, but he could actually get melodies outta the thing which is more than I'm sure you could! (Come to think of it, wasn't a hubkaphone actually a metal rack with a variety of hubcaps hung up which Threadgill beat with a drumstick thus getting different tones???)

Way back when you'd have to pay lotsa greckels for this particular item, and have to search far and wide for a copy at that. In the here and now all you need is a flick of a mere internet switch to be taken to a download, which I know is less expensive and excitement of the ol' hunt for you all but sheesh, think of all the frustration you'll save!
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Various Artists-ROYAL CHALLENGER SUBVERSIVE BABY CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Another old "floor sweepings" compilation (the newest one Bill sent, on a black Cee-Dee-Are, will not play on my bedside box!) that really captures the whole essence of suburban slob trashdom. Every track here (well, most of 'em!) sounds like something I woulda loved to have picked up at a flea market some Saturday afternoon back 1974 way what with the reams of rarities from the Jalopy Five doing their take on "Paint It, Black" to the Staple Singers out-doing Buffalo Springfield and more t'boot! The Christmas jingles worked fine even here in the August heat while the weirdo hits of the day sung partly in German by Evi Kent really had my ears perking more'n Sam's. The folk rock stuff from the Minute Men and Royal Knights coulda been PEBBLES produce had these made their way to Greg Shaw's collection while even the big band rouser by Kressbronner Dorfmusikanten shows just how much them krauts wanted to "catch up" after twelve years of being without that decadent Western music they were so warned about. Even the mandatory musique concrete from an act calling itself  "Subversive Intentions" doesn't come off like college kid jerkoff! You can make your own copy, if you try hard enough!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017



MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! FEAR IS THE KEY starring BARRY NEWMAN (1972)

Two years after THE LAWYER and one after VANISHING POINT, once hot stuff actor Barry Newman starred in this forgotten feature that I'm surprised didn't turn more heads during the early-seventies New Hollywood (with tinges of the Old One still around) days. But this one ain't no hype and I gotta say FEAR IS THE KEY's a pretty maddening film that'll prove to you that there was a certain bared-wire intensity to many of these seventies flicks that just didn't survive into the eighties and beyond, perhaps because moom pitcher goers were too stressed out from all of those hard-edged films and they just wanted to mellow out a bit. And if so...shame on them!

But not me Sam, because its these kinda flicks that get me up and excited, and FEAR IS THE KEY does a pretty good job of it. Newman plays Talbot, some guy who we first see talking to his brother via short wave radio. Turns out that bro, along with Talbot's wife and turdler son, are the lone occupants of a plane (with bro the pilot) carrying some extremely precious cargo. Without warning another plane swoops down and blows Talbot's entire family to Kingdom Come leaving not only Our Hero but us viewers totally caught off guard.

Next thing we know Talbot is in some backwater Louisiana town causing trouble and beating the bejabbers outta some local gendarmes before being hauled into court, where he makes a brilliant escape while taking a local gal (played by the naturally good looking Suzy Kendall who sure has a hard time turning her English accent into Deep South). This leads to a pretty hotcha ten-minute car chase scene that ends with Talbot taking his hostage to his hideout before getting captured by some ex-cop out for the reward moolah. THEN
it gets really strange what with the introduction of the shady Vyland (played by Dean Wormer himself John Vernon) and his weirdo sidekick Royale, who in a good ten years later shaved his bean and became Gandhi, both of who offer to get Talbot off the hook because they have, in the catchphrase of another film of that very same year, a deal he can't refuse. And you know he just can't!

Hokay, I thought the film might have sagged a bit after the non-refused deal began getting into gear, but then it perks up perhaps thanks to the presence of the sadistic bodyguard who gives Talbot a bad time as well as a really big plot twist that might seem unbelievable but helps tie up the big loose end in the story (like, what about Talbot's dead family???). And hey, you just better not be a Lou Costello type who gets wrapped up in moom pitcher plots living vicariously through the people on the screen because the last five minutes of this 'un'll leave you literally gasping for air!

Newman plays it great throughout as the wired troublemaker while Vernon is his usual evil self in one of those nasty guy roles he was definitely born to play. Even Ben Kingsley, who I still think is an overrated professional ponce type, is particularly creepoid as the sidekick who comes off more like a three-piece businessman who just happens to be a little greedier than should be allowed. Kendall as the galpal/hostage is also an asset to the film, or is this just because back in 1972 females didn't come off as purposefully unattractive as they tend to be these days?

This shoulda gotten out a lot more'n it did. If you think its due for a major re-eval then maybe this li'l writeup'll start the ball rolling. Help give it a li'l nudge if you can.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Y'know, sometimes it's hard to come up with these preamble rambles given that the previous week just didn't produce anything that's worth blabbing about. Like many of you more productive members of society I put in my forty (and sometimes plus!) hours and do the right (if minimal as possible) amount of drudgery to keep the premises looking prim and proper, but it ain't like such subject matters are likely to get you sophisticated readers up and chattering. I'm also crawling my way through a Dee-Vee-Dee box set of a once-popular television series which I will review in an upcoming post, but naturally I don't want to give anything away at this point. There's nothing of a social or political nature I'd care to bring up (other'n I sure like the way Donald Trump makes the tweedy college professor types cackle like a bunch of indignant hens as Wayne McGuire might have said) and besides, I don't want to alienate any of your precocious easily-bruised readers who sniffle and sob at broken flowers while bashing in windows of local businesses.

So what can I do but...get into the reviews and like immediately. Thanks be to the forces as usual, Bill Shute, Paul McGarry, Bob Forward and even my own hard work (hah!) and perseverance (double hah!).


Massimo Magee & James L. Malone-THE LIMITS OF THE POSSIBLE CD-r (Kendra Steiner Editions)

Multi saxist Magee teams up with electric guitarist Malone to create a sound that recalls AMM and a variety of other old time electronic scronkers who used to get quite a bit of music press until---all of a sudden they didn't. Don't expect any neo-Coltrane play from the former nor any Sharrockian shards of sound from the latter...this is quite a different'n the standard free play music that has been seeping into your collections as of the past thirtysome years...its more dark and indecipherable style that has been tackled on some of the more severe AACM offerings but even goes further. If you're really looking for that far out mind-expanding music that the man can't bust well...maybe this will tickle your tonsils amongst other body parts.

One more thing...doesn't that cover photo remind you of the beginning of MR. ED? Sure brings out the suburban slob kiddoid in me I'll tell ya!
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Iggy Pop-GARDEN OF EVIL CD-r burn (originally on Zaubertank Records)

When it comes to these shady type of grey area offerings you never really get to know what yer in for. Of course this particular piece of plastic is no exception featuring a slapdash of various Popperties in a way that resembles your typical 1981 European bootleg. Quality is snat enough even though solo Iggy never really cut it next to the original Stoogian artyfact, but these rarities do have a nice li'l bounce to 'em plus the real bonus (Iggy on the Flo and Eddie radio show) is pretty much worth the price of the package. Be warned though..."Search and Destroy" is but the original Stooges mix before Bowie got his manicured mitts on 'em while "Pretty Flamingo" and "Mule Skinner Blues" are not the Manfred Mann/Jimmy Rogers respectively songs.
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Roscoe Mitchell-BELLS FOR THE SOUTH SIDE 2-CD-r set burn (originally on ECM)

Not bad even though you woulda thought Mitchell's old enough to be in the old jazzbos home at this point in time. Yes, if your heart is still with that once-new thing in jazz complete with all of those tinkling bells and gongs not to mention depressing alto sax solos that seem to go on and on man, is this the album for you! Mitchell plays as angular as he ever did while the newbies who back him up are just as boff as the oldbies who used to way back when. ECM aesthetics don't clog up the works on this set which varies from early classical avant garde musings to all free play points in between, and for being a modern day affair done up by such a long-time player in the game it's like...actually enjoyable. 
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John Coltrane/Alice Coltrane-COSMIC MUSIC CD-r burn (originally on ABC/Impulse Records)

Mitchell was the end result of the movement that Coltrane helps boost inna fifties, and by the time the latter clocked outta existence ya gotta admit that he was doin' some rather outre material himself. The famed saxophonist only appears on two of the four tracks but all of 'em feature wife Alice (who has come upon her fair share of criticism o'er the years), Pharoah Sanders, Jimmy Garrison and Rashied Ali along with some additional percussionists, and it all (thanks to Sanders) really fits in swell with the whole late-sixties jazz culmination which would top off the decade with one of the bigger musical bangs one could imagine. "Nova Music" as Wayne McGuire (rating two mentions this blogpost---wow!) called it, driving and personal yet quite introspective sounds that could appeal to the washed out hippie as well as the punk even if it were for totally different reasons. Certainly a proud addenda to the whole canon of the avant garde that still sounds as raging and over-the-edge as it did the day it was created.
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Patti Smith w/ Lenny Kaye-FEBRUARY 10, 1971 CD (Mer, PO Box 407, Murray Hill Station, NY, NY 10156)

This one has been out for ten years and AS USUAL you snips out there didn't clue me in! Fie on thee, but before I dish out my patented evil voodoo curse lemme say that this 'un's what you'd call a rare holy grail sorta recording, the first appearance of Patti Smith and collaborator Lenny Kaye in front of a live and hopefully breathing public! Long before any of you read about her in CREEM Patti dishes out early versions of her typical ripped out entrails and Mexican boy wiping ass with the funny pages raves, and on some of them Lenny plays that hot guitar he would later use to create that Patti Smith sound we all knew and appreciated. Patti sounds a whole lot younger and more innocent this early in the stage even if her dirty mind is in full gear, and Kaye plays like he's auditioning for the Seeds at one minute and Man Ray at the other. The two combined make for that grand collision of beat poesy and mid-Amerigan teenage garage gunch we all wish would have happened much earlier, and if your idea of sophisticated rock was always some neo (won't say "phony") intellectual rants set to the best of NUGGETS well, this is probably about as close as anyone's gonna get, at least until the next big exhumation.
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THE RATIONALS CD-r burn (originally on Big Beat Records, England)

I've always enjoyed these guys' "blue eyed soul" moves, but I never really realized what an over-the-top high energy Detroit offering this platter could be! The slow tracks are moving enough without being mooshy while the definitely high energy contribution "Guitar Army" is right up there with the rest of the local big names we've been listening to ever since these bands were around (or we heard about 'em x-teen years after the fact). Like the best late-sixties/early-seventies albums the mix of intensity, tension and melody make for a gripping experience and like, I can't see how anyone who swears allegiance to the Detroit rock scene of the sixties could ignore it (and of course they have). Bonus tracks include a pretty sizzling take on that bloozy faverave "Wang Dang Doodle" as well as the rare self-produced single featuring the original versions of "Army" and "Sunset" I've not only never heard before but never saw for sale anywhere!
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Peter Perrett-HOW THE WEST WAS WON CD-r burn (originally on Domino Records)

Yes, your favorite junkie with the common law wife and alla them bastard kids is back with a solo platter that is pretty good despite the odds being against it. Maybe it is kinda tired in comparison with those England's Glory and Only Ones albums, but this guy is still cutting tracks like Sam cut farts and doing a pretty good job keeping up the old energy even though, this late in the post/anti-rock game, who really is listening other'n us old poops. Nice to see him still up and about, and having more meaning (in a true, non-clinging way) than some of them other "survivors" out there in hasbeen land.
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Various Artists-HEN'S TEETH VOL. 1 CD-r burn (originally on Hen's Teeth Records)

Here's some more of that rarer'n rare English psychedelic rock of the late-sixties done up nice and lysergic-like for all of us doofs who missed out the first time around. Most of this is done up by acts we never heard of before and probably never will hear from again while a few familiar names like the Swingin' Blue Jeans and Junior's Eyes managed to make the cut, but all of it is more of that spacey neo-pop sounds that kinda wooshed you into some world where things seemed swirling, peaceful and unreal. And at the most perfect, sartorical moment Pop stormed into the room and blasted some Mitch Miller in order to bring you back down to earth and give you a good whipping for being such a hippoid. It's educational too because now, after all these years, I finally got to hear the State of Mickey and Tommy and they were as good as Greg Shaw made 'em out to be!
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The Shocking Blue-LIVE IN JAPAN CD-r burn (originally released on Polydor Japan)

Japan-only issue of a live gig featuring a stripped down version of the group (no electric piano!) cranking out TWO versions of "Venus" and a whole slew of interesting originals and covers, including a neat version of "Tobacco Road" that sounds nada like the Nashville Teens nor the Blues Magoos' takes! The guitar/bass/drums instrumentation actually makes these track sound better...kinda stripped down like the Stooges were while Mariska Veres sure displays a healthy set of pipes, something you can see when you catch a glimpse of her visage on the album cover.  OK it does tend to veer off into snoozeville on scant occasion but so does this blog so why quibble?
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Broken Toys-DIRT CD-r burn (originally on Incognito Records)

As you might have noticed a whole load of these burns that I've received o'er the years made by relatively new and up and coming groups really don't grab me by the fanablas, but sometimes some platter that has been slipped my way pops up and makes me STAND UP AND TAKE NOTICE!!!!! The Broken Toys album reviewed here is but one, a total surprise because this rather recent (awlright, 1990!) release is a cooker. Nothing that's end of the world mind you, but the thing is still hot enough what with its pound out MC5/Ramones rhythms and total eruption playing that's bound to bring a tear to the eye of a few New York Dolls fans the way this thing shakes you outta your slumber and into the real life blare of it all. It's even got this interesting Yardbirds harmonica blast inna middle of the closing track entitled "If I Had a Gun" that's bound to make you think you slipped on the live Swedish radio tape by mistake and are listening to the 1968 rendition of "I'm a Man". Not bad---really!
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Elliot Murphy-PRODIGAL SON CD-r burn (originally on Murphyland Records)

It ain't an AQUASHOW or even JUST A STORY FROM AMERICA but it's as good as just about any seventies under-the-radar platter you can think of, the above and more included. Sure the coot sounds much older now and probably needs a bottle of Geritol in order to get it up, but PRODIGAL SON still captures the same decadence in the 'burbs feeling of old, and a whole lot better'n PEYTON PLACE ever could at that. Musically this stands with the early Murphy albums with that deep and decadent neo-Dylan sound that,come to think of it, didn't sound too bad next to the competition on the radio (well, let's keep "Hurricane" outta it). Not only that but Murphy actually COMES OUT and "all but" admits he a member of sex #3 on "Hey Little Sister", a nice li'l ol' number where he talking about kissing (and more) one Bobby Jones. What took you so long Elliot???
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Various Artists-UGLIEST MALFUNCTION MUTINY CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Here's another deep dig into the bowels of old Shute burns and although this 'un must be at least four years old it's got enough vim vigor and pop to make it as new as the day I was born. Lotsa punk unto pUnunto punque here, but so what because not only is it all omnipowerful but it sure sounds better'n anything you'd be able to come up with in a millyun years (me too!). Highlights include the avant sorta jazz of the Viking Suicide Orchestra, Roach Motel's good as you can get under-the-counterculture punk, Peter's Pipers flooty snooty hippy dippy poppy woppy "The Magic Book" and even the Plastic Pianos were fine even if they did sound like the lounge band at the gay bar where Pixie and Dixie hang out at. Best track of all...the radio spot pushing the new movie starring the Iron Butterfly or something like that...sure brought back memories of listening to the AM top 40 station as a kid late at night under the covers with the li'l earphone fulla wax stuck inside my 'hole (earhole that is)...well, I used to do things like that before I discovered other pre-sleep activities which we won't dwell into at this point in time...ifyaknowaddamean.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

I hate the entire concept of "woman" as it stands these days...y'know, the whole rigmarole that we've all been inundated with since kiddiehood about how the opposite of man was this roaring lion that could do anything those brutes like us dingalinged ones can only better as espoused by such potent to current day mores publications like MS. and of course Billy Jean King trouncing Bobby Riggs in a tennis match that he obviously threw. (I'm surprised that when the erroneously-named "B.J." revealed her bush sniffing side a few years later Riggs didn't blurt out to the world "SEE, I WAS PLAYING A MAN AFTER ALL!!!!" But as we all know Billie Jean and Bobby made nice later on and that's OK by me.) As you all know I like ladies who look nice even if they don't particularly ascribe to any sensible ideals of what beauty is and are all petite and smell good and do away with unnecessary body hair (a hard task to do if you live south of Austria) but this "woman" thing...yech!


It's so sad seeing just how the female race has degenerated since the thirties when these DIXIE DUGAN comics (available from Golden Age Reprints) appeared in the late-thirties. Here the women, even the older and baggier ones, look rather hot and of course Dixie and her galpals are beauty beyond belief coming off so fetching in their appealing fashions and even more so when in various stages of undress.You know the tale about how Dugan was modeled after Louise Brooks (no slouch she) and just what a popular strip it was (even spawning a number of cheap Tijuana Bible knockoffs) until the mid-sixties. By then sex was so prevalent in real life who needed her, even though I gotta admit that the gal just didn't look so hot with forties-styled and beyond hair and clothes as she did in the thirties but maybe that's just because I don't think ladies look as hot then as they did in the twenties and thirties, or fifties and early-sixties. The war must've done something to the fashion industry of the day I'll betcha.

But man in the thirties was Dixie the kinda woman who made yer then adolescent grandpa sneak the funny section into the bathroom, and if you don't think I've spent enough time staring at a particularly potent panel for minutes on end as the bedside boom box spun away endlessly then you don't know the meaning of autism!

Even if the gags go flat there are still a whole buncha good 'uns that catch you by surprise just like they did with all of your old time faves. And that coupled with the exemplary art (sheesh, I'll bet it took more'n twenny seconds for artist J. H. Streibel to draw a panel) sure made DIXIE DUGAN such a funtime strip that I'm positive made the whole fambly happy, and that includes cyster when a page would be devoted to paper doll cutouts, or brother when those cutouts included a drawing of Dixie in her undergarments!

Mention must also be made of Imogene, Dugan's niece who appears in quite a few of these sagas. A young 'un of about five, this particular character comes off a whole lot like Bushmiller-era Nancy only with a meaner streak with a mayhem level approaching Dennis the Menace's and I'm even talking "Look what I found in Mr. Wilson's head" for that matter! One particularly gruesome strip had the brat fishing in Dixie's galpal's aquarium after being bored when the two began gabbing about dresses! She even caught a bunch of exotic ones and strung 'em up just like she woulda done with the carp, and for some reason the sight of this made me puke even more'n the queer seeing the cop kiss the feet of a priest!

I wonder if, like in the case of NANCY, Imogene coulda taken over the strip making her yet another precocious pudge uncontrollable brat type guaranteed to bring the audience in. Who knows what ramifications it woulda had on the funny pages, and frankly I say the more suburban slob turdlers seen in the comics the better! Hey, we needed those kids to look up to then and I'm sure more'n a few need the same kinda bastids to admire even in these cyborg times!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Golly ned but it sure seems like just yesterday that this whole idea of punk rock, no matter what usage or permutation of the term you were talking about, began to penetrate my ever-sagging midgie mental state during them years o' me as an un-cured teenage blubberfarm. I'm sure you too remember those days well---I sure do bein' so anxious and easily swayed by articles in CREEM (which was perhaps the BIGGEST pusher of the p-rock idiom in Ameriga until the thing got bigger 'n usual and then it was nothing but STADIUM ROCK much to my dismay)---finding out about new bands and new movements and discovering all of those things from the sixties that I missed out on really put a thrill in my mid-teen mind, and frankly if it weren't for the likes of people like Richard Meltzer, Lester Bangs and all of those bands that they were pecking away about where would """""I""""" be today? Probably doin' the exact same thing I'm doin' now only not wastin' so much time gabbin' about groups, comics and moom pitchers you people could care less about! Feh!

And yeah, somehow the concept of punk as the vindication of mid-sixties mid-Amerigan teendom really appealed to me and m embryonic-beyond-belief sense of wonder. To me punk was the Shadows of Knight and Seeds as well as the Stranglers and Stooges, a huge counterattack against the ongoing rape of the teenage mind takin' 'em for for the pack of fools that they most certainly weren't, or at least weren't until the advent of Tuinols. Punk was fun and invigorating and assertive and other strangely positive enough things to rectify one's life and although it was brushed off by many as a weird aberration in the history of a movement that gave us James Taylor and Carole King and, according to the likes of Andy Secher, totally rootless the negativity that was blindly directed at all manifestations of the form (sheesh, the guys I knew even hated Ian Gomm!) that only made the sound more appealing as only a rejected and oft-loathed creature like I was and most certainly will remain can tell ya!

A local FM disc jockey who has finally retired from the airwaves was once asked about his views via punk rock and he said he despised it. It reminded him of the early Who which undoubtedly proves why the station never played "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" but blasted "Who Are You" continually.

I remember asking a certain former BTC conspirator who was well-versed in various musical mores about punk rock and he told me to avoid it all with a flaming passion. The same fellow later advised me against buying the recently-reissued KICK OUT THE JAMS which only goes to prove something to you, only I can't exactly figure out what it is lo these many years later.

Considering that early August marks the Big Fortieth Anniversary of the second (and unfortunately last) Mont de Marsan Punk Rock Festival I thought that a post devoted to not only that particular festival but French punk in particular would be appropriate. After all the French had always been known for their general lack of rockist ideals (why just ask Robert Christgau!) even though they were the nation that spawned Marc Zermati and Skydog Records as well as Patrick Eudeline, Yves Adrien, Rotomagus, Marie et les Garcons, Little Bob Story and other acts that I'm sure the likes of Christgau would find consequential to the growth and development of a high energy punk rock climate. But eh, we always knew better (didn't we always?), or at least I did after seeing (in high stool history class no less!) that snap of Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye receiving some award from a Frenchman for RADIO ETHIOPIA...the French always knew more about rock 'n roll than Christgau did and if only someone had thought enough to translate Eudeline and Adrien into English just so's their verbiage of value could have reached more rock-starved peons such as yourself maybe we wouldn't have had to kid ourselves that THE CHRISTGAU CONSUMER GUIDE was actually worth the time and effort to peruse.

But really, French punk was a beautiful entity all to itself. Part late-sixties US garage band drill and part mid-seventies English hard blooze with a whole slew of points in-between, the music was perfect for rock 'n roll reactionaries whose idea of punk was a buncha wired kids in that garage at the end of the lane cranking out a sound that was mostly atonal but had that feral quality that was sorely missing from most of the music being heard them days. Of course once the Sex Pistols' aura permeated everything in its path things changed, but even then there was a unique approach and attempt at a new INTERNATIONAL YOUTH LANGUAGE that transcended mere gab being made. Perhaps this really was the last attempt to keep it from all tumbling into the abyss, but they did give it more'n the ol' college try if I do say so myself and maybe for that we should be thankful.

And now, a REVIEW OF A BOOK entitled LE MASSACRE DES BEBES SKAI---PUNK ROCK FESTIVAL; MONT DE MARSAN 1976 & 1977 by Thierry Saltet (Julie Editions, 2012)

It's all in French but considering how many consider English nothing but sloppy French maybe I can make it out just a little. I guess that the two Mont de Marson punk fests were famous enough in France at least to rate a book, and this one seems like it would be the kind of read that really laid down the line as to what was goin' on at the fest, the ins and outs of the entire shebang detailing things we never knew about given the various backstage hubbub 'n all. It sure LOOKS good that's for sure, what with the great snaps and fliers present not to mention that author Saltet got his info from some of the better (Jonh Ingham in MELODY MAKER) and worse (Caroline Coon in MELODY MAKER!) extant.

Before we go on any further maybe I should mention how organically together (man!) the concept and portrayal of punk rock was. Many have mentioned how the definition of punk rock was different in 1971 (when CREEM would use the term to describe the likes of Ten Years After and Ashton Gardner and Dyke along with the Seeds and Stooges) and 1975 and 1977, but somehow the news really didn't hit the likes of Zermati who actually presented a wide array of acts that coalesced loosely under the punk banner. Well, not that loose (after all there weren't any of those neo-punk prog "Zeuhl" acts around that's for sure!) but having a "Big Tent" appreciation of the punk term really fitted in with my own understanding of just how deep and of what kind of width the entire underground had absorbed. Even if it did come to the point where NONE of the people I knew could handle Nick Lowe because he was a punk even though they liked "So It Goes" until they found out he was one!

Interesting shards can be discerned. F'r example the boss-beyond-belief rhythm and blues act Roogalator were supposed to play the '76 fest but didn't because an electric piano was not provided, while a cloudburst actually cut the second fest short thus denying attendees the opportunity of seeing a few acts (and I don't know which ones...my understanding of French ain't that spiffy!). Bits and pieces I never knew about (such as that the Pink Fairies who appeared here were actually made up of Twink, Duncan Sanderson and a pickup guitarist) are also present, but what I was rather interested in were some of the "also ran" types who appeared, those acts that most of us never heard of before and more likely never heard of again which naturally got my mind in an uproar over the possibility of discovering a new lost seventies wonder.

Now some of these flash inna panners did release material which I have fortunately had the opportunity to review for all of our further rock edjamacation, but acts such as Passion Force, an all-black power trio who came, played a blazing set of punk-funk (long before that concept was officially coined!) and scooted back into obscurity are the thing that make me want to uncover even more and more of the gritty underbelly of underground rockism that was permeating the scene at the time. Like ever-decaying film, these memories and sounds must be preserved lest the vanish like some long-gone D. W. Griffith feature that we sure read a lot about, but never will be able to see.

Also interesting is some of the things that were presented as fact to a punk-starved populace but were somehow twisted about in the process. Take this one flier for the '77 shows presented by some Spanish punk fans who make a whole load of errors (which I somehow think were intentional but who knows) regarding a variety of subjects. Hokay, we all know that the Tyla Gang were not from Holland nor the Police from Belgium (the promoters of the '76 shows listed the [Hammersmith] Gorillas as being Scot!) but why were they leading unsuspecting attendees into thinking that Lou Reed was actually part of the fest even though he was playing the day after and the audience was just expected to hang around for that 'un. And I dunno who gave 'em the idea that the TROGGS were to play the fest since I hard nada about that until chancing upon this particular poster! Must have been wishful thinking or better yet a pure lie conjured up to get more Spaniards heading up north. Well, the year before promised the appearance of a band called "Mirrors" who were not our Cleveland faves but a makeshift operation featuring Richard Hell along with Nick Lowe and Ducks Deluxe's Tim Roper and I wonder just how much credibility one coulda put into a pairing such as that ever making it to a stage!

While someone's doin' translations on those Eudeline and Adrien articles howzbout workin' this one over??? Your punk rock public demands such a task because hey, we all know that Ann Powers never cut the mustard when it came to detailing the true nitty gritty and fun side of rock 'n roll music!
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And now for the records! All of them have something to do with either French punk rock, rock acts that appeared at Mont de Marsan or something vaguely related to either one. Whatever, these platters prove that the French rock scene, especially that of the underground rock 'n roll variety, wasn't as staid and as restrained and as boring as some neer do wells would lead you to believe. Read on, and if smart SAVE THEM SHEKELS!!! Because you will need these to cop all of the booty that's been mentioned and like, better now'n when you're deaf!


IL BARRITZ LP (Atlantic France)

I always wondered what the story was behind this Anglo-Irish-French group who recorded this album with Phil May producing and a whole load of Pretty Things helping out (though not pictured on the back cover...that was the performing group that got the entire reverse to themselves) with the kicker being that these guys were up and operating in France which is probably the only nation that released this '76 platter given its outright obscurity. I guess some old UGLY THINGS has the whole story but I'm too lazy to comb through my collection and find out right now. As far as a relic of punkisms gone by IL BARRITZ really don't measure up to what was expected of the mooment at the time---nice if slightly commercial hard rock is what'cher in store for, but I gotta say that I'll bet that more'n a few bands of the day who sounded like this got tagged as punk rock so why quibble? If you find a copy for fifty cents in your local flea market bin you're probably hallucinating.
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Shakin' Street-AXE KILLER WARRIOR'S SET 2-CD box set (Axe Killer France)


It mighta seemed strange to some that Shakin' Street played both Mont de Marsan fests considerin' just how much this act hovered around the heavy metal hive in order to get their honey. But hey, if yer once again usin' the '71 punk definition o' the term, these guys (and gal) were just as much of a buncha punks as Hot Scott Fisher said Budgie were, and in no way did Shakin' Street ever cower in the macho metal (or femme approximation) as many of the losers of the eighties who might have made metal a household word but paled in all-out intensity when lined up against a whole load of hardcore punk blare that was stealin' thunder like anything back then.
This package has everything (including a booklet in French) which details the group's history from the early days up through their two studio albums and live effort which you know was all good because the heavy metal pansies of the eighties ignored it like the plague while slurping up to comparatively dull acts like Ratt and Wasp! Both studio efforts are great high energy excursions that, like Motorhead, owed more to a punkian past than the dolts at HIT PARADER would ever 'fess up to, and like who could ignore the fact that a post-Dictators/pre-Manowar Ross the Boss is up front and center for a number of lead lines that would make Ted Nugent wet his loincloth. The live set, while not up to KICK OUT THE JAMS/METALLIC KO standards, still delivers some hot and straightforward music that I know woulda made the supposed HM dopers wail like babes just like they did upon hearing Von Lmo (a true story!). It's too bad the Shakin' Street are pretty much a forgotten footnote in a book where comparative comatic (made that word up...cool, 'eh?) acts in the faux metal category are considered "hard and heavy" man!

The bonus tracks which close the disque out (featuring spacial guests Buck Dharma and Jimmy Page) sound closer to the metal than punk taproot what with their standard riffs and without anything to make it burst out into pure sound as energy. Still you gotta wonder that since both Blue Oyster Cult and Led Zeppelin have on occasion been lumped into a punk continuum maybe everyone was in on the p-rock game and wittingly knew it when laying down these tracks, right? Nawwww.....
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Little Bob Story-OFF THE RAILS----LIVE '78 CD (Ace/Chiswick, England)

Only in France could a short goofy looking wop-a-dago kid achieve fame and fortune as the frontman for a hot high energy rock 'n roll band like this! I never really cozied up to these guys after hearing their Chiswick EP a good thirtysome years back, but nowadays Little Bob Story sound like the perfect blues/punk/high energy band that shoulda ruled my growing up existence had only someone nudged me in the right direction (like told me this music even existed!). Bob moans with a great hoarse voice sounding like the high school geek gone good while the band cooks like a combo Dr. Feelgood meets MC5, and if this stuff was verboten amongst the FM-bred Pantsiosites of the late-seventies then you KNOW why that generation better get ready for a toasty afterlife in Lawrence Welk Hell!
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Maniacs-SO FAR...SO LOUD CD (Overground England)


This is English punk rock (of the punkiest kinda mind ya) right around the time it was starting to become pUnk yet wasn't whatcha'd call an embarrassment next to what it would become by the time 198X crept into existence. For a group that never really went anywhere this is some pretty solid hard-knuckled music they got here (which is probably why they never did go anywhere), and a whole lot better in approach/anger/energy than some of the lower-rung acts that were comin' outta Blighty at the time. It's too bad that these guys petered out the way they did (being in existence for the lesser part of a year) because who knows, maybe they coulda gotten somewhere and made one of those albums that really fit into the moods and modes of the day, at least the kind of moods and modes that affected disenfranchised suburban slobs like ourselves!
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Various Artists-LES PLUS GRANDE SUCCES DU PUNK CD (Skydog France)

Given that more'n a few of the acts that appeared on this platter also appeared at the Fest I felt that it was my sworn doody to latch up their recordings if only to re-create at least in my mind the energy and might that used to be punk rock. And with the infamous SKYDOG COMMANDO platter unfortunately out of reach (back then I didn't think I'd like it...can you believe that???) I've gotten hold of this Cee-Dee which has a good portion of just that on hand plus other French faves to make this an especially adorable package.

Once again this platter contains more of that rough and rumble punk before it lost its original THRUST meaning and became just another prop for armchair radicals worldwide, with roots still heavily into the usual Dolls/Stooges/Velvets-sorta drive that made these bands so delectable in the first place. Personal faves include Little Bob Story's Dr. Feelgood swipe, the Lou's dyke rock, Taxi Girl's art takes via Roxy and Terry Riley and Kalfon Rock Chaud's Dollsalike rave which makes me wonder why everybody out there in French punk land (and beyond) seemed to hate 'em! Also hot are Gazoline, Electric Callas and Marie et les Garcons who prove that even people who look as wimpoid as every other Velvets homage band on the planet can do it right for once (witness Les Scooters' "Hygiene", a "Sweet Jane" re-do that sounds unlike every other weep take of the toon recorded these past thirtysome years!).
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BRAKAMAN CD (RCA Spain)

As I said there were a number of acts at Mont de Marsan that weren't exactly whatcha'd call punk rock in the strictest 1977 sense, but they mighta fit in using the early-seventies NME/CREEM definition of the term. Spain's Brakaman were too loose an aggregation to even fit into these criteria but hey, I can see how they coulda scored a spot at the '77 fest even if they were probably gonna get about as much respect there as I would at Jay Hinman's birthday party. Brackaman played whatcha'd call a more or less toned down glam rock that, although nothing bad, just doesn't hit the same strata that those English groups that used to appear on Bell Records did. But wait...right when you're about to write these guys off they come up with a pretty good rocker that sounds as good as those early glitter-unto-punk mainland Euro singles that you occasionally see posted on the Purepop web site. Not bad at all guys, and hey next to the likes of some of those atrocities committed in the name of underground rock purity back in the eighties you definitely were punks, that's for sure!
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Various Artists-DANGER: LA FRANCE A PEUR! LP (Danger Records, France)

Now none of the acts that appear on this recent collection of rare French punkers popped up at the Fest, and most all of this is whatcha'd call punk of the '77 variety influenced more by recent English doings than earlier sound extrapolations. However, the punk that pops up here is of a pretty good quality being laid down long before the music got mooshed over by the various kling ons that toilet paper could never remove. Highlight of the set is the first cut on side two, "Strike Up" by the band of the same name who best represent the mid-seventies spirit with their sound that was highly evocative of the early Stooges run through the entire gamut of late-sixties/early seventies grit rock stylings. I sure could use an entire platter from them THAT'S for sure!
***
The Pink Fairies-NAKED RADIO CD + DVD (Gonzo Multimedia, England)

Mind you, this is not the version of the Fairies that played the '76 Fest which as I told ya was naught but a quickie put-together. This is more or less the latest in the continuing line of Pink Fairies revival acts centering around originals Sanderson and Hunter with longtime hanger-on and guitar hero in his own right Andy Colquhoun and that same gal who was also in the Deviants the day Mick Farren gave an audience a show they'll never forget. Of course it's good in that straightforward Ladbroke Groove sorta way that still retains that post-sixties jaded feeling that made those early Fairies records pretty hotcha even this far down the line. Cover features some of the best schizo/kultural rock references seen in a while what with the hippie and punk stormfronts colliding into something that sure sounds pleasurable in a way that you never could get outta the rest of 'em hippie punks.
***
And where does that leave the rest of the French punk acts from European Son and Metal Urbain on down? Don't ask me...still have a lot to hear while I still have ears and I sure would like to give some of the more obscure aggregations out there a spin before I check out into used record bin purgatory. Any help would be appreciated, but certainly not expected.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

FANZINE REVIEW! VULCHER #3 (vulcherfanzine@gmail.com)

I never woulda guessed (I mean...who woulda?) that the third issue of this new and exciting fanzine would have kept up with the same high status of top quality rock writing, general teenage anarchy (created mostly by guys in their sixties!) and good ol' snooty rockist attitude guaranteed to offend not only the old 'n stuffys but the young 'n liberated! Yes, the latest ish of VULCHER is here and you can bet that upon reading it I flashed back to them days when the newest NEXT BIG THING or KICKS would penetrate the sanctity of my fart-encrusted bedroom giving me something to dive deep into 'stead of re-re-reread some old comic book or joining the fambly in front of the set to watch THE FRIDAY NIGHT MOOM PITCHER only to get sent back to my room when something a li'l salacious would hit the screen! (Believe it or not but this did happen a few times when THE IMPOSSIBLE YEARS and THE LOVE GOD aired during my young and publetically potential days!)

I sure do miss the era of hand-pecked fanzines printed via spirit duplicator and collated in some dingy basement while records would spin on endlessly, but man is this one yet another SOLID GOLD ROCK 'N ROLL READING AFFAIR even if it is printed up on glossy paper and holds in your hands like an old issue of NEWSWEEK. Another girlie of unknown origin graces the cover (I'll bet it's one of Kenne Highland's old lays, or maybe Eddie Flowers' younger cyster) but that doesn't really prepare ya for the innards of this thing which contains SOME OF THE BEST ROCK 'N ROLL READING TO BE SEEN SINCE THE DEMISE OF THE ORIGINAL GOLDEN AGE OF ROCK BLABBERING IN THE SEVENTIES (or somewhere thereabouts)!!!!!!!  Just a glance at the table of contentment page'll give you an idea of what kinda cool is to be found for those of you who've had more than enough Christgau in your lives...Obnox, Umela Hmota, Craig Bell, Danger (a frog/Canuck glam band of the seventies), Dolphy, Ornette, Joe South, Peter Tork, the Turtles, the Mothers, Coltrane, Jim Dickinson 'n I can go on (but I won't)...that's what kinda cool's appearing here, and you can bet your bottom dollar that these names 'n more are bound to make any true blue fan of the past sixtysome years of manic record buying and worship from afar just run to the bathroom to relieve themselves from the unbearing pressure of whatever out there is passing for the new Justin Beiber (is he still around....alive???) these sad 'n sorry days.

The writing is fantastic enough, even the contributions from some of them upstarts I know nada about rock out like Bangs and that's sayin' something good y'know! Or at least its good enough to make me wanna check out this Obnox guy who has previously performed with the likes of Ex-Blank-Ex and is now a solo star in his own right, not to mention check out the acts mentioned in James Marshall's piece on those Dickinson-produced single sides which proves to be one of the many highlights of this issue. I'm particularly primed to give a listen to the Dickinson "aided" group the Jesters, Sun Records' answer to the mid-sixties garage band onslaught who not only had a lead guitarist who was committed to the booby hatch for swingin' around the swords that he bore and a lead singer who turned to a life of crime when rock didn't cut it, but Sam Phillips' own son on rhythm guitar! Sounds like a pretty boffo lineup if you ask me, and I didn't even mention the Coltrane OM cartoon (!) or the article on new Spanish rock 'n roll (written by the busier than who woulda ever thought Lindsay Hutton!) or the funny Tee-Vee Guide-styled listings* and foto funnies that read more lysergic 'n guffaw inducing but...what would you expect from an alchemist such as Flowers???

Still reading through it...the stuff on Johnny Kannis and Big Boy Pete sure looks salivatin', and how can I pass up an article on Craig Bell even if Dave Laing has been givin' me the cold shoulder as of late. Maybe I WILL get into the Dancing Cigarettes more'n I have one of these days and it's sure good to know that Bruce Mowat is doing more these days than selling televisions to bored lumberjacks. While I'm at it, who out there can resist finding out about a band like the Embryonics who do a song entitled "My Problem are Bigger Than Your Tits" an' I hope they ain't singin' about Carol Doda! Send all the money you have, put it in a box and mail it to these guys because you need this more'n you need all of those OTHER up and coming fanzines trying to be high minded and hoity toity! Like Jerry Rubin or was it the Pink Fairies said don't think about it, just DO IT! and like the sooner you do the better you'll be sleeping for at least the next few months until #4 comes out!!!
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Gotta say that I was a bit surprised to find out in these pages that none other than famous "street rocker" DAVID PEEL has sung his last high hoot a short while back (and was buried with full military honors after being admitted to a V.A. hospital t'boot!). Really was a sad 'un to find this 'un out if only because it's just another testament to the fact that one of these days it's you and I who are gonna be hittin' the carbon cycle due to advanced age 'n alla that rot that we always said we'd never let get the best of us but we shoulda knowed better. I sure do remember David Peel back when THE POPE SMOKES DOPE hit the bins and was automatically banned in like 23 countries or somethin' like that. I naturally thought it was banned for political/religious reasons though the fact that every review I read of this was a knockdown maybe it was for the sake of taste. I don't know...never did get that one given how rare it has become o'er the years. I eventually did buy HAVE A MARIJUANA and THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION much later in my existence (since like, when I was a kid I woulda had a hard time sneakin' those two into the abode!) and liked 'em a whole lot even though both of 'em got pissed on a whole lot as well. Of course by that time my tastes were well honed by the primitiveness of the Fugs and Stooges so like, the whole thing fit in with my listening parameters like perfect what with their cheap guitar sounds and Peel's nasal rants goin' off about everything and everyone that was related to "the man" 'r at least sumpin' like that!

Oh, and I gotta say that when I was but a mere adolescent and saw the cover of the recently-reissued package of the first two Tyrannosaurus Rex albums a short while later I thought that the sticker notes pasted on the back were written by DAVID instead of John Peel which goes to show you what a stupid fanabla I was and shall remain! Maybe not, but it does make for a fun aside.

But back to the meat at hand. Peel really was a New York under-the-underground icon just like Tiny Tim and Moondog and Max's Kansas City and all of those things we used to take for granite until they were all kaput and a few years later boy did we miss 'em! A musical madman with the dorkiest voice of the counterculture who was a gadfly and annoyance and someone who never could be liked by anyone with a "real" sense of rock 'n roll. Or so I got the impression from reading all of those writeups previously mentioned. I knew better of course and have enjoyed him whether he was singing his up against the wall mantras or capitalizing on his Lennon connections for years even if Lennon tossed him over like a hot potato and by all means Peel shoulda been mad! Yeah you could say he was a cheap radical hanger-onner type with a band who sounded like they picked up their gear only a week back, but Peel sure was a whole lot more early-seventies real than James and Carole and the rest of those mellow out bores who the kids were stamping over Peel albums to get to, that's for sure! And fun too, if that makes any heckuva lotta difference to ya especially in these unfunny cyborg times.

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*My personal fave...BRAVO: The Big Gang Bang Theory Sheldon and Mr. Sulu time-travel back to a 1976 San Francisco bath house. Anal hilarity ensues (lavish musical comedy). Or howzbout this? TBS: The King of Kings (1970 Movie) Jesus H. Christ-Sky Saxon, Judas-Kenneth Anger, Mary Magdalene-Merry Clayton. Don't like it? Well then just take a gander at this cube I have here in my hand...

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Am I wired! Not chemically but physically mind ya. Spiritually even. And hey, if one can get "high on life" maybe one can become a speed-freak because of it and I sure have enough caffeine-produced energy in me at this point to not only crank out reams of incoherent and incomprehensible screed on a variety of subjects both fave or not but shudder in abject fear and enjoy the terse tide of sound as vindication at the same moment. And yeah, I plan on coming down naturally as the evening progresses but if I don't I'll do it the right and proper way. Not with barbiturates and a few snorts like Nick Kent used to do, but with some melatonin and Ny-Quil. Not until much later...hey, I have this blog to do.

Been suffering through the bared-wire drive of it all moving between the computer keyboard and my bedside boom box comfy chair creating this week's post while trying to use my current nerved-out state in a positive way, like by listening to some equally hell-bent music while reading what I (and maybe you) would call heavy duty rockscreed the kind you hardly see anymore. In this case I'm beginning to read the entire Jonh Ingham MY BACK PAGES blog (see link on left) which I printed out for my own personal bed-time enjoyment. (I also ran off a copy for Brad Kohler to peruse but please don't mention it to him...I want it to be a surprise.) Quite inspiring stuff I must say, and although I'm only about a tenth of the way through I find his opines, expertise and autobiographical tales even more exhilarating than I made 'em out to be in last Wednesday's review of Ingham's punk rock snaps. Right now I'm more or less bludgeoning my way through his diary of the 1976 Patti Smith European tour which makes most of 'em (even Lester Bangs' much hailed Clash one from a year later) look like pure piddle, and that coupled with me spinning my current night time fave JIMMY BELL'S STILL IN TOWN by 15-60-75 The Numbers Band has made for a hard-drive evening of total rock 'n roll as that seventeen-year pulsating drive (talking '64-'81 though much that came before was pure prophesy and most that came after pure shit) that I'm sure glad I was able to live through even if I was unconscious or just too young to fully appreciate what was happening during that time.

As for 15-60-75, nothing they really did after this captures the mania they were legendary for throughout the seventies like JIMMY BELL does. Heck, at this point in time I'll even fall for Robert Christgoo's exclamation about how they sound like a cross between the Velvet Underground and the Grateful Dead, but only if we're talking WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT with horns and a percussion line or the Dead on a better-than-average night long before the bad acid and the mindless adoration really kicked in. And combined with Ingham's more masterful than Hinman wordplay the experience was a double-barreled blast into my rockism psyche that rarely encroaches into my oft flatline existence. Only got a burn of this on hand...maybe I'll splurge for the Hearthan reissue and make everything nice and OFFICIAL.
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I dunno how many of you get FETV (stands for Family Entertainment Television) on your various non-broadcast systems but this new station really does seem to be filling a hole in my boob tube viewing habits. Unfortunately this more fambly-oriented outfit tends to air many of the programs that I would like to watch during the afternoon work hours or inna middle of the night (and I sure would like to see HAZEL if only to find out if it was as cornballus as everyone made it out to be) but the evening hours sure give me a respite from the usual caga that tends to get pushed on my ever-fragile mindset. Seven-thirty inna evening's got THE LONE RANGER on weeknights and maybe other times as well (I tend to switch between this, LOU DOBBS TONIGHT and M*A*S*H [the very early ones mind you when the Radar character was still kinda sleazy and far from the farmboy tuck in the soldiers and kiss them goodnight doof he eventually became] making for some bizarro tee-vee viewing) but at eight I find myself tuning into PERRY MASON with an alarming regularity. 's funny, but I'm old enough to remember this show at the tail end of its network sojurn as well as the years of reruns it was on afterwards (and late-fifties loving me used to watch this 'un even as a single-digiter, not for the actual story but for the definitely non-hippie ambiance of the thing!) but now that I'm older and crotchetier I find myself getting intrigued with the plots and interesting twists, not forgetting the fact that I like to catch glimpses of some of my favorite old time stars either on the way up or way down. Every time I watch this show my entire youth, at least the fun, goof off portion of it, comes right back and given just how dull things have become in the interim when such behavior is considered immature for a person of my age any fond memories of a not-so-bad past are most certainly welcome.
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Uh, are any of you out there thinking about ending it all? Doin' the deep six 'n all that because life is just too much to bear what with all of those hurt feelings and various assaults being directed at your unique and special existence? I sure hope so, and if this is the case then you should (and with haste!) read this particular piece regarding that once-hailed and noble yet totally forgotten anti-suicide video courtesy of the one and thankfully only Billy Joel entitled "You're Only Human (Second Wind)"!  (In case you're keeping tabs, this article was coagulated by Andy Nowicki, perhaps my current fave socio-political commentator other'n a few thousand others.) Who knows, just a few choruses of Joel's noble effort to stem the tide of eighties-era depression by zoning the youth of them days with even more of the sappiness they adored might actually make you go through with it this time! 'n hey, given how much of a hatred I have for Billy Joel and his entire bug eyed, smirking existence, Nowicki's opinions really go down nice 'n easy even thirty years after the atrocity was unleashed on a generation that certainly deserved to off itself given just how disgusting the entire eighties seemed not only then but continues to do so a few decades in hindsight.

If you really have the urge to puke and don't have any ipecac available just click on the video screen presented in Nowicki's article and be taken to a page where, after you get up enough stomach to watch this sugar coated brain-decaying dandy IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE swipe so common in eighties entertainment, you can actually get to read the comments section where some sap actually wrote in saying how this vid (now get this!) saved his useless upper midclass suburban existence that, judging from the guy's tepid saga revealed therein, had nil value whatsoever so what's the great loss! Gee, if that song only had served the purpose it had not intended maybe we would have been rid of those irksome leeches who have been bothering us since time immemorial, or at least since the days of the loathsome video-drenched eighties which really drove rock 'n roll as the true cutting avant garde expression in our lives to total moosh. For a reminder of just what the post-rock era really meant to us all, look no further than this sanctimonious slab of self-righteous feelygood and be thankful to whatever lucky stars there are that I'VE BEEN AROUND DOIN' ALL OF THIS ROCK-SCREEDING FOR OVER THIRTYSOME YEARS IF ONLY TO SET YOU UNWORTHY PEONS STRAIGHT!!!
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Enough autobiographical goo that might have worked for Eddie Flowers but not for me. Here are this week's big spins, most of it courtesy of personal faves Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and P.D. Fadensonnen (I managed to find more of his Christmas-era booty and boy am I glad!). Also gotta give big heaping thanks to Bob Forward for his latest package containing burns of not only Roscoe Mitchell's BELLS FOR THE SOUTH SIDE double-header on ECM but Roland Kirk's RIP RIG AND PANIC. Unfortunately the disques sent skip and sound static-y when played...might be my cheap bedside boom box's fault for this so I'll try to have 'em all on hand for my next long car ride to see just where the problem might lie! I'm bettin' on the disques but hey, I have been known to jump to conclusions at times (just ask Bill!).


Galactic Explorers-EPITAPH FOR VENUS CD (Pyramid/Mental Experience, available via Guerssen, Spain)

Haw, I reviewed a CD burn of this 'un a few years back and now the thing has been reissued on the highly-recommended Mental Experience label outta Spain if you can believe it. And like, what more can I say about this platter which I guess ain't a fake like I had been led to believe...a pretty good heap up of various kraut sources (Tangerine Dream, Cluster/Harmonia...) all combined into a nice little package that might have been the best compact export since the VW had this only gotten out. Makes me wonder what other gems are rotting away over in the Olde Worlde just beggin' to be heard by our kraut-starved ears.
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Various Artists-LA MUSICA FUTURISTA NELL'ITALIA E NEL MONDO 2-LP set (Modern Silence, available here)

Shee-yucks, the entire newspaper-styled sleeve (kinda reminiscent of past album covers by the Four Seasons, John & Yoko and Jethro Tull!) is all in dago-ese and I can't read a word of it! Not only that, but the first album in this collection is nada but spoken word explanations of the futurist movement (with scant music) spoken in the native tongue and it all comes off like listening to Bacciagalupe talking about a bad calamari incident he had at a local eyetalian restaurant! At least the other 'un's got some interesting sounds including that one 78 that gets on all these Futurist collections as well as works by the likes of Arthur Honegger ("Pacific 231") and...Paul Whiteman (!) that show just how far-reaching Futurism was even if it wasn't exactly the kinda thing you blabbed about at the dinner table. If you know the lingo and can understand the bulk of this...fine enough.
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Kilburn and the High Roads-HANDSOME 2-CD set (Cherry Red, England)

I was warned for ages to avoid those pre-Blockheads-era Ian Dury platters which is strange, because other'n but one yellow vinyl Stiff Records single not to mention STIFFS LIVE I owned nada by the guy! Of course then again I was an extremely frugal fellow when it came to buying records of all sorts during those depression-era wages days because like, if I only had six bucks plus change to spend on a record hunting excursion to Cleveland Heights why should I waste it on something I might not actually have an affinity for? Now that I'm a rich (hah!) bugger whose been buggered too many times by poor record choices all I can say is...maybe I shoulda sprung for those reduced priced High Roads albums that were cluttering up the used record shops of the early-eighties.

You know how it sounds, not quite rock 'n roll yet quite enchanting neo-reggae dance music with heavy English flavours (!) included. Good enough that even ROCK NEWS considered 'em a fine example of early-'76 English punkdom and who can argue with that!

The new bonus Cee-Dee is a great 'un complete with alternate takes and radio tracks that add that nice tinglin' dimension to it all. Just get outta your mind how the Stiff empire that started from such humble pub beginnings evolved into new unto gnu wave and maybe you'll like it just as much as I could.
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Anais Maviel-HOULE CD-r burn (Gold Bolus Records, try Anais Maviel Bandcamp)

If yer big on the myriad assortment of female mewlers and moaners who have been making their monikers known since the days of Cathy Berberian you'll probably love Anais Maviel, a singer and percussionist who hails from Haiti of all places. Maviel coos and eeks while thumping on a variety of percussions making a music that sounds part beatnik experimentation and part voodoo ritual which makes me wonder just what KIND of healing powers her music is supposed to produce. Hopefully it won't make any of your tiny appendages droop off, but you might get some interesting jamz out of her talents like I did. These numbuhs stimulate your spirit and suck you in to their true magic, which come to think of it is the same allakazam that any great piece of sound which makes you feel like a true specimen can create!
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The Resonars-NONETHELESS BLUE CD-r burn (originally on Get Hip Records)

For a minute I thought this group was called the Reasoners and I was wondering why someone would name an act like this in memory of a famous early tee-vee-era newscaster! Then I discovered that they were called the Resonars which was even more creepy because...what the heck is a resonar anyway? Fortunately this act does put out with some good enough Byrds ideas meshed into the standard newer than new groove bands like this who seemed to be popping up outta nowhere for the past thirtysome years. Not bad, but like many of these recent (even ten years back like this 'un!) attempts at past accomplishment for a new audience not my cup of pee.
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Dane Rousay-ANATOMIZE CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions, Rousay's site obtainable via
www.danerousay.com)

I gotta admit that I was always enamored (well, at least I was since reading some old books on the avant garde music scene of the thirties) with those mostly if not totally percussion ensembles such as the ones that produced Edgard Varese's "Ionization" not to mention those various John Cage landscapes and other early-forties efforts featuring vocal/tom tom duets. If you like those, or if you like the Milford Graves album on ESP or the Andrew Cyrille one on BYG, you just might like ANATOMIZE. Rousay is a very talented multi-percussionist who uses various banging instruments to create free form rhythms and "found" sounds (ringing phone, bird calls so real you'll think a robin fell down the chimney again) all to mind-engaging effect, and really if you think a percussion platter would be filled with nothing but boring pitterpats guaranteed to send you to the bongo room think different. ANATOMIZE is a wail of a recording and something that I would call "adventurous" even these days when we all thought the adventure ran out years and years ago.
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The Only Ones-LIVE AT THE LONGHORN BAR, MINNEAPOLIS MINNESOTA, OCTOBER 2, 1979 CD-r burn

Good swing to these two sets even if the sound comes off a little too sterile FM. The Only Ones were one of the better under-the-covers English groups to hit the late-seventies Amerigan shores, and this show captures some of the energy and excitement that made Peter Perrett a household name, in some of the stranger houses around I will admit. You already know the legend, this is just a bitta trimming.for those of you following one of your favorite reserved junkie musicians and no, I don't mean James Taylor.
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The Rolling Stones-THE COMPLETE BRITISH RADIO BROADCASTS 1962-1965 2-CD set (London Calling Records, available via Forced Exposure)

Gotta wonder about the legality of this (along with all of those Keyhole Records offerings that I have been snatching up these past few years) but as long as they're comin' out like, I ain't gonna blab to the gendarmes! Quality on these English radio sessions and live performances are way better'n those nth generation tapes that have been flying around for years, and if you wanna hear the Stones not only in a rawer'n usual environment but at their prime long before they became THE WORLD'S GREATEST JOKE well,  you can't do better'n this. As you'd expect there are some pretty exhilarating moments to be found within these...grooves??? but whatever you do, don't throw out all of those old Stones bootlegs just yet...howzbout givin' 'em to me!!!
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The Pills-A FISTFUL OF PILLS CD-r burn (originally on Primary Voltage Records)

For being a 21st Century production these Pills ain't hard to swallow. Not the Jymn Parrett Texas punk bunch (drat!), these guys (and gal singer) are Pills of a different nature...more like hard pop soft metal teenage rock that shoulda been bigger back inna seventies but hey, how could you sell a stoner box boy with terminal acne on a band like this? Mildly exciting music that does serve its purpose (whatever that is), and for being yet more fodder for the newer-than-new young hipster set or something like that all I gotta say that its...a lot better'n I thought it was gonna be!
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JUNE WILKINSON AND HER PHYSICAL FITNESS FORMULA CD-r burn (originally on Calendar Records)

I dunno if any of you female readers (do I have any???) will start sprouting succulent and ripe-looking suckems after doin' these exercises, but I get the feeling that most of you MALE readers would have enjoyed watching this famed glamour gal doing her knee bending and toe touching routines. Listen to that young and innocent voice with the sexy English accent give out instructions counting "one-two...now kick as high as you can!" while jazzy music straight outta some 1962 z-feature plays on. Now quick, rush to the bathroom and don't let anyone see you!
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Various Artists-LITTLE RED MOJO WONDER CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Another grab o' bag here with a number of good 'uns mixed with things that might be good enough but just don't appeal to my sense of digestion. F'rexample the Congress of Wonders comedy blackouts only reminded me of the unfunny tank that much comedy fell into back in the late-sixties (even MAD came off wittier) while a lotta the soul-y blooz-y stuff sounded like the saggy rejects they obviously were. Some good points include the Rolling Stones doing "Little Red Rooster" (not too sure, but is this some sorta alt-take Bill?) and the Cadets of "Stranded in the Jungle" fame doing a bright toe-tapped entitled "I Want You". Oddly enough my fave of the batch has to be this self-produced single from some band called Snak who do a fair Hendrix swipe on the a-side and a standard hard scronker on the flip. A good cross-section of something that was goin' on back in the more original and exciting past of ours...maybe you can tell me just exactly what that was.
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OK, I think I'm comin' down...lemme just stretch out here for awhile........