Thursday, October 19, 2017

BOOK REVIEW! DREAM BABY DREAM,  SUICIDE---A NEW YORK STORY by Kris Needs (Omnibus Press, 2017)

Here's another one of those who woulda guessed? books to actually reach fruition, 'specially when you consider that not only does the subject matter fail to elicit hoots from the better than thou crowd but that there already was a book on the rock group Suicide called NO COMPROMISE written quite awhile back. Is the world ready for another tome on this legendary if obscure (to smaller "rock" minds that is) book? I for sure thought that one book woulda been it and ne'er would we have the opportunity to read about this infamous sound machine again in book form no matter how long we managed to waste precious air.

Well, there was a time when I thought that one book on the Velvet Underground was gonna be the ONLY book on the Velvet Underground and time proved me wrong, so what's two books on Suicide in one lifetime after all? At least these two books don't suck like a few of the Velvet Underground ones do, and in this definitely anti-rock 'n roll as a suburban slob anthem time that's sayin' somethin' good!.

It's grand that Kris Needs (one of the better scribes to pop outta seventies England---a guy on par with all of my favorite Britsters pro or otherwise and miles beyond the fetid likes of Julie Whazername) wrote this book not only because he is an utmost-mode Suicide fan, but because ol' Chris's also one of the more talented survivors of those rather florid days who knows how to translate fan-level emotion and intellectual critique into type! While the biggies of the day like Charles Shaar Murray and Nick Kent seem to have been making themselves rather scarce (not that I've been exactly looking, and subscriptions to LIBERATION sure do cost plenty) it's sure pleasing to the mental palate that a man like Needs is spreading himself thicker than Cheez Whiz on crackers. Hey, who else is writing about rock 'n roll on all hooves these days rather'n rehashing Sony Records promo sheets which seems to have been the norm in rock "criticism" circles since at least 1982.

Great detective work here what with Needs uncovering a whole load of previously-unknown info regarding the team of Alan Vega and Martin Rev---and that's including their early days and upbringings and even little heretofore unknown bits about everything to Rev's "Reverend B" jazz group to Vega's early attempts at an act with that guy who later ended up as the third Suicide member. Y'know, the guitarist who eventually left in a haze of fear??? Of course there are a few things in here that I wish I didn't know about like how Vega scrambooched from his wife in order to live on the streets and be a music-mad bum, but I never thought that any of my faves were perfect. But whatever the situation is, Needs presents it to you in a way that actually puts you up front just as if you were in the same room when these various happenings and downright epiphanies were transpiring, like the time Vega got a two AM phonecall from a friend telling him to turn on the Allison Steele show because she was playing the first Stooges album!

A few misses here and there such as the ones regarding the various late/early-eighties Suicide side projects (no mention of the Blue Humans!) but if people can accuse me of not being thorough then I guess Needs can be too! Believe you me, this will remind you about EVERYTHING that got you hot, bothered and excited back inna seventies and I ain't kiddin' one bit!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! THE COMPLETE PRESS GUARDIAN (Gwandanaland Comics #1190)


The Press Guardian was a character who had an ongoing series in PEP COMICS in 1940-41 for 11 issues, and thus this collection contains eleven stories of six pages each from PEP #1- #11. PEP was published by MLJ, which was the fore-runner of Archie Comics. The earliest appearance of the Archie-related characters was in PEP COMICS #22 in December 1941--Press Guardian’s final appearance was in Pep #11, dated January 1941 (so he was gone before Archie began)--and after the huge popularity of the Archie franchise, the company changed its name to Archie Comics, and it’s still doing big business today. Archie Comics radically changed its visual style a few years ago. To me, that was like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but the Archie corporation has always tried to keep contemporary (they were in on the online comics bandwagon early, for instance)....and even when I have not liked the directions they’ve moved into, which is pretty much always, their gambles seem to have paid off financially. The RIVERDALE TV show has been a huge ratings success, and even though it has little to do with the Archie characters and images we longtime readers know and love (and have championed here at BTC), it’s making money. And Archie Comics is a business. As most of you know, only a fraction of Marvel’s income comes from comics themselves nowadays--it’s mostly from licensing, film deals, etc. Obviously, the Archie corporation has seen the dollars signs in that strategy.

Thankfully, the Press Guardian comics come from a period when the pre-Archie MLJ was trying to keep afloat in the general comics market, populating their PEP COMICS with all kinds of stories and characters and moods to appeal to the 12-year-old boys of all ages and genders. Thus, these stories seem as fresh and as alive as a Columbia B-crime film or a Shadow pulp story (one can assume that the present-day Archie product will have only camp/kitsch appeal in 25 years or be used as research in some deadly and humorless college “popular culture” study).

When I first heard of Press Guardian, I assumed that was his name a la BRICK Bradford or BLAZE Baylor or FLASH Fulton, but no....he is the Guardian of the Press. As with Bruce Wayne/Batman, he has an everyday identity--Perry Chase, son of the publisher of the Daily Express newspaper, and “society reporter” (!!!) for the paper. His everyday persona is somewhat milquetoast, and at the beginning of one comic, he’s even described as sissified (!!!). His secretary, Cynthia Blake, knows that he is secretly the Press Guardian, and she accompanies him on his adventures.

Usually, the newspaper is out to break some crime-related story, and Perry asks his father if he can cover it. He’s always told no, go back to your society reporting, and then he seems to agree and sulks away. Then he and Cynthia go undercover, he puts on his Press Guardian uniform, and he beats up the bad guys and cleans up the crime situation. As with Clark Kent, who always seems to have “just missed” the big situation that Superman cleans up, Perry “just misses” the stories that his alter ego Press Guardian cleans up.

Clearly, they were making it up as they were going along with the Press Guardian series. In the first story, his identity is not divulged or even hinted at. I even guessed wrong about who it was. Then once Perry Chase was identified and given a female partner, the series proceeded with stand-alone stories which were totally completed in six pages. Then we had a story which ran from one issue to another, with a serial-like cliffhanger. Then the stories became somewhat complete, but there was an ongoing villain named The Claw, who never seemed to get killed at the end of the previous chapter, and who continued on. The final installment obviously was not planned as the final installment, since that story in issue #11 ends with a teaser about how we can catch more of his adventures next month in Pep Comics.

Also, the early entries in the series are more hard-boiled urban crime in their orientation, and as the series continued, it veered off into strange sci-fi/horror oriented stories, with The Claw creating a race of Beast-Men with devil horns who will do his bidding in taking over the world. Interestingly, although The Claw is not really defeated or caught in story #10, hinting that he’d be back, he does not appear in the final story, #11, which deals with hard-boiled urban criminals blackmailing good-hearted immigrants who are in the country illegally and who are being blackmailed with the threat of turning them in to the authorities. Then the series ends...

Crusading newspapermen and women seem as antiquated today as stagecoaches and 8-track tapes, so it’s refreshing to make the acquaintance of The Press Guardian. The stories are over-the-top enough to bring a grin to the pimpled face of the reader, exciting enough to please the action fan, odd enough to satisfy the urge for something different, and straight-forward enough to be resolved (mostly) in six pages. The art seems somewhat hurried and with a lack of consistency in the depiction of the characters....and classically-trained comics artists such as Burne Hogarth would be outraged by the crimes against perspective and the human form and the horizon line and the like in the compositions. However, as with a quickly-written pulp magazine story (or Ed Wood’s adult fiction), the very quickness of the drawing captures a kind of momentum which brings action and immediacy to the story. Like a one-take, low-budget 1930’s indie crime film or western, you can tell that these people are working without a net.

For me, THE COMPLETE PRESS GUARDIAN is just the antidote I need to today’s over-hyped “must see TV” and pretentious comics. It’s available now, and it’s reasonably priced. What’s stopping you from ordering a copy?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Bein' mid-October 'n all, boy am I zoning back to many an autumn past! I just can't get that suburban slob ranch house kid feelin' outta my cyst-em even this late inna game o' life, what with certain times of the year doin' nothin' but reminding me of what I was doin' as a kid back in my high school days. And those days, my fren, usually had me reminiscing about things that happened when I was but a mere turdler back when the weather was changing and I was being introduced to the new tee-vee season which at the time seemed like the biggest event next to them holidaze we all used to look forward to. And strangely enough I cannot get that one rainy October outta my mind when, during that garage sale that was grade z turdsville for us all, I read the latest WORLD'S FINEST 35-cent giant in my uncle and aunt's cozy living room while the rest of the family were chilling it out in the garage! Of all the October memories that could crop in my mind (including some fun Halloween ones) this particular day and sit-chy-ashion continues to stand out among 'em all! Go figure...

Against all odds I must say that I had a downright splendid week, what with not only the huge hunks of musical goodies that have permeated the thick hymen-like walls of my mental comprehension but the plethora of reading material which has thankfully made its way to my door. And when I'm talkin' readin' I'm not talkin' NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF REVIEWS type of intellectual quap 'r anything like that...I'm flappin' my gums o'er not only a buncha old rock mags including a buncha old ZIG ZAGs but two rare English fanzines that are bound to be mentioned in these "pages" one of these dayze. Not only that but I just got hold of a book received gratis via Hozak which is howshallIsay a real winner that's kept me up more nights than impure sexual thoughts ever could! You'll be reading about this 'un (and more) in the upcoming weeks but for now let's just say that I'm in high energy heaven thanks to these recent acquisitions!!!

Until then, howzbout settlin' back with these writeups that might even coax you into getting hold of a hot rock 'n roll platter and spinnin' it until the grooves run dry! A good stack for sure, and thanks to Bill, Paul and Bob for shootin' 'em out my way. And as they used to say, keep those cards and letters comin' in!


Ravjunk-UPPSALA STADHOTELL BRINNER IGEN CD (Normal Records Germany, available via Forced Exposure)

It sure soothes whatever there is in me left to be soothed that there are still a few archival seventies-era rock artyfacts being spewed forth to keep old fogies like me reminded of just why those days were the great attempt to get rock 'n roll BACK ON TRACK! Although these attempts failed miserably (at least in grabbing hold of the minds and hearts of the kidz these toonz were meant for!) at least we have a few thou acts out there to thank for their brave if flopperoonie tries to make rock relevant again. Sweden's Ravjunk were but one of the many who gave it that all-engrossing go at it and judging from this platter (also available as an elpee) they did a fine spanking good job at it.

Upon first listen you might think this is closer to an arty attempt at an otherworldly rock landscape so common amongst bedroom practitioners of the form, but this platter rocks straight out like all those groups that made your 1978 top ten list with a fine blend of mid-sixties accomplishment, late-sixties shock and seventies miasma with a hope for that better future that never came. Big surprise, track #5 "Skjut Jultomten Nu" (I think) which surprisingly enough sounds like Cleveland faves Mirrors' classic "Sea Chains" even including the bridge if you can imagine it! Must be something about wavelengths runnin' on the same frequency.

UPPSALA STADHOTELL BRINNER IGEN...ya can't miss it! It's the one with a pic of a fox taking a piss bitch style onna cover!
***
Moby Grape-THE PLACE AND THE TIME CD-r burn (originally on Sundazed Records)

Wow (no pun intended), an even better package than that Columbia two-disque set from a good twenny years back! Loads of Moby Grape rarities and ne'er before heards gathered on one spinner which, when eaten, digested, pooped and wiped, goes to show you why these guys were perhaps the real leading light of the whole San Francisco hype what with their true abilities to merge various styles and not look like a buncha precocious pretenders. (Which the Grateful Dead certainly did look like when doin' the eclectic influence game, only their fans were too brain-grogged to realize it.) It's funny, at first I could not hear what it was in these guys that was so great, but after awhile it FINALLY SUNK INTO MY EVER-SHINY HEAD and for that I should be eternally thankful.
***
SUNN TRIO CD-r burn (originally on Sky Lantern Records)

My what a wild middle-eastern excursion into jazz forms we have here!Yeah, the whole idea of jazz meets the shifting sands ain't exactly a new 'un but this Sunn Trio really knows how to mesh the mideast groove with various new jazz and even some rock formations to make for a record that you know woulda been too wild for those pseudo intellectual college kids tryin' to be so hip 'n with it back inna early sixties. Fine production, extremely innovative guitar playing and driving compositions make this platter a surprise outta nowhere and y'know what? These guys ain't any sixties or seventies leftovers but are up and about in the HERE AND NOW---can ya believe it??? (And I better considerin' how I tend to shun current accomplishment because well...it's current!)
***
Various Artists-COME SPY WITH US---THE SECRET AGENT SONGBOOK CD-r burn (Ace Records, England)

While Bill Shute's burns filled with radio and tee-vee jingles zone me back to them days when I'd be but a mere turdler tumbling across the back seat to the front while the radio was playin' in the '62 Catalina, this dub courtesy Paul McGarry reminds me of those first 'n second grade experiences when I was totally traumatized not only by the cruelty of my teachers and classmates but my parents once I got home and handed over that sealed note. But there were good times to be had, and watching spy shows does remain one of the happier memories of those days along with eating penny candy and saving up enough moolah to buy a Matchbox toy car. Things were cheap, but I got a whole lot more outta such cheapness than I'm sure you spoiled kids who got everything you wanted and probably broke it as soon as it got into your precocious paws.

A lotta this stuff contains versions of hits and such not done by the original artists, but they're still neat enough for me to enjoy in my own unbridled suburban slob way. I particularly like the covers of various moom pitcher and such themes by faves like Johnny and the Hurricanes, the Challengers and the Ventures, and while the takes on such shows as THE MAN FROM UNCLE ain't as good as the McCoy they still sound better'n the same nineties hits that continue to be spun in restaurants this late down the line. And yeah, Al Caiola remains a doof in the annals of guitardom, but his take on SECRET AGENT MAN still runs rings around anything Joe Satriani and other big toots inna biz has been up to these past few decades. Good enough if you were the spy type as a kid, especially when your cyster was taking a shower.
***
The Dream Syndicate-HOW DID I FIND MYSELF HERE? CD-r burn (originally on Anti Records)

I've been heralding the return of the Dream Syndicate about as much as I've longed for a job as a tester at at French tickler factory, but frankly this one isn't that bad. Not that I particularly care for that whole "post punk" misinterpretation of Velvets drone as "atmospheric" rock that had plagued way too many an act both then and now, but I don't find this offensive to my tastes that much despite the lack of tension. I wouldn't buy it in a millyun years, but if you're keen on eighties acts who played an important musical role in the lives of self-important precocious mirror-gazing altruistic types throughout that decade then hey, you can't do better than this!
***
Jay Bentley and the Jet Set-WATUSI 64 CD-r burn (originally on Vogue, France)

An Amerigan release that actually got a French do-over and predictably sank like a stale baguette. With all of the home grown and English talent to contend with it's no wonder, but actually these guys ain't as turdburgeresque as you might think. Good enough (at least for me) British Invasion rockswipe that doesn't sound as cornballus as some of the jerkisms that were coming out, but then again this just doesn't hit that total eruption mark that makes this one of those platters you'll remember for the rest of your miserable life. As if that really mattered.
***
WILD BUTTER CD-r burn (originally on United Artists Records)

Another late-sixties obscure rocker from the days when the major labels would sign just about anything in the hopes that it became the new Beatles. Of course most if not ALL of the time these outta-nowhere acts failed miserably, but at least they left us with disques that sounds pretty good even in these dismally anti-rock times. Akron's Wild Butter fail in delivering us a healthy dose of jamz, but just barely. In all they make a nice enough hard rock presentation with harmony vocals that don't elicit ipecac-like reactions and a good sense of pop, but the thing just doesn't blast off into the same rock strata that made other hard rockers of the era such long-lived classics. If left alone to their own devices Wild Butter might have made that all-out rock 'n roll album we all coulda used back then, but as usual the chance to really break on through to the other side just didn't happen and I for one am just SICK about it!
***
Punks on Mars-BAD EXPECTATIONS CD-r burn (originally on 101 Distribution Records)

I was expecting the usual 201X applications of the whole PUNK! after punkque after pUnafter punk usage of the hoary old term with this one, but surprisingly enough these Martians really do put on a swell show, or at least sound. Musical references date closer to the mid-seventies early poppage of the p-rock term with a sound that comes off a little Sweet, sorta Sparks-ish, kinda Ramones-y yet with various avant pop ideas thrown in to the point where (with a proper name change) this band might made their way onto (egads!) Harvest Records just like Be Bop Deluxe or the Frenchies had they only appeared on the scene a good forty years earlier! Not bad a-tall, and for me at least a good once-in-a-lifetime spinner for sure.
***
HEY, WINCH! CD-r burn

Here's a surprise that could come outta nowhere but only the mind of Bill Shute, a collection of various Paul Winchell and related tracks I for sure am not familiar with! These trax include various novelty records done with famed dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff, the theme to a Hanna-Barbera Saturday Morning cartoon show I'm vaguely aware of (by that time I was becoming too old for these cartoons and they were becoming too young for me ifyaknowaddamean...) and these rather entertaining NAME THAT TUNE-styled radio shows done for Mutual  circa 1949 where Winch and Mahoney call up unsuspecting housewives to see if they can recognize them old forties melodies for amounts of money that couldn't even buy you cab fare to Flushing!

These radio shows really show yet another facet of the Winchell genius as he plays two "people" so to speak at once and also (given these were the days before two-way telephone calls could be broadcast) has to relay to the audience what the lucky contestant is saying. Thankfully Winchell doesn't make these programs sound constipated and dull what with his ability to gab on and try to coax some positive response from the subject at hand along with Mahoney's witty asides injected at the right time. Just goes to show you how people could take what little they had and done as much as they could given the time and the tools at hand. Too bad that lesson fell flat on me while I was producing my not-so-famous crudzine, but then again wha' th' hey!
***
Green on Red-HERE COME THE SNAKES CD-r burn (originally on China Records)

It was acts like Green on Red that helped cool me towards a huge hunkerin' hunk of the newer breed of psychedelic "revivalists" that were comin' out at an alarming rate and a platter like this only serves to remind me WHY??? Not that I wasn't apt to read the opinions of many a critic that I kinda/sorta agreed with back during those tepid times but these paisley underground groups sure didn't seem like the logical extension of the seventies swill I liked, not with the kind of neo-country folkie rock with college trust fund kiddie attitudes that many of these groups exuded. Green on Red just don't break from any special molds and sound just as commercially tame as everything else that was competing for my moolah back during those oft cash-strapped times. Good thing that I spent whatever I did have on pricey Velvet Underground bootlegs (even MORE BERMUDA THAN PIZZA...well, not that!) instead of this post-gonz fanzine fodder.
***
Various Artists-SIXTIES REBELLION VOL. 9, THE NIGHTCLUB CD-r burn

It's kinda funny, but none of the tracks on this sixties local-garage-rock compilation have anything to do with nightclubs. It's all high school (even grade school!) gyms and grange halls for these teenage mopers who sure know how to do the moanin' on these pre-relevance sides. Despite the aura of gloom that permeates this platter this 'un's a pretty good groover (or maybe even groper) what with the likes of the Castaways, Pyramids (who might be the famed surf band just before turning into the Family Dog) and others doing the kind of rock 'n roll job most American's just wouldn't do. Personal fave of this mess is the Dennis and the Times nugget "Flight Patters" which approaches PEBBLES VOL. 3 "acid punk" what with its "Eight Miles High"-inspired 12-string guitar twang and an ending that would make Roger McGuinn twist his granny shades in frustration!
***
Various Artists-THE THICK DARKNESS LIKE A BLANKET CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

MORE "floor sweepings" from Bill, this batch consists mostly of old raydio and tee-vee commercials from the past which really do conjure up a whole load of turdler-era memories in my thinned-out beanie (ooops, there I go flying into the front seat of the Catalina again!). There are even some pretty good 'uns I haven't heard in a long time (the Stan Freberg radio ad about the hot chocolate and giant maraschino cherry) or haven't heard at all (Freberg's 008 Prince Macaroni ad featuring "Goldnoodle"). Like nothing today these spots are engaging to the mind and downright fun (well, the early-seventies ads reflect that sensitive male miasma we all went through) and I even flashed back to some really early funtime frolicking upon hearing the theme to PIXIE & DIXIE after quite a long spell. Of course Bill hadda stick more of those middle-eastern mandolin and baklava records in for some reason but they sounded so old and historically pleasing that I could practically smell the musty attic these platters came outta!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

BOOK REVIEW! UNDER THE NIHIL BY ANDY NOWICKI (Counter-Currents Publishing, 2011)

Andy Nowicki ranks as one of my fave raves amongst the new era of cutting-edge political commentators. The co-founder of the ALTERNATIVE RIGHT blogspot along with Colin Liddell and Richard Spencer, for the past decade-plus Nowicki has been cranking out some mighty though-provoking and dare-I-say "edgy" socio-political commentary especially in/for these eggshell tip toeing times, and while he certainly isn't as controversial as Liddell (a South African living in Japan who considers the Irish a bunch of wogs) he's controversial enough to be on the current SPLC and ADL hit lists even if his writings aren't anti-black or Jewish (critical at times true, not anti---but as we know that doesn't matter anymore). Even if he's not as hot button as some of the newer commentators on the "scene" his opines can still blanch a patch of precocious petunias especially in these overwrought garment rending times.

Of course I like him if only for this. I've read many of the new alt right breed and might disagree with some or even most of their opines, but I find Nowicki pretty on-the-ball as far as any personal copasetic feelings regarding politics and the current clime go, not sans certain faults mind you but then again the greatest men in time had the greatest faults and who am I (or you) to judge as they say.

Being not much of a fiction lover I decided to get Nowicki's 2011 novella (one of a number of books by the man) a go anyway if only because of what I have read by him via ALTERNATIVE RIGHT and other on-line sources. Never was a big fan of fiction unless it was encased in word balloons with lotsa pictures to behold, but this particular title seemed like just the particular piece of fantasy to get (if I hadda only get one) and man it is a good enough read.

Given how sometimes these tomes for the times can strike at your soul (heck, I even liked Ayn Rand's ANTHEM perhaps because it was her least cluttered and overall least irritating work) I felt that I couldn't do that bad by giving it a try. Y'know what, I was right once again. UNDER THE NIHIL is a dark, engrossing and reams-your-brain kinda novel that's probably not in much of a demand by the typically library-combing book readers of these days. (Heck, I tried to obtain a copy via library search and none in the state was in possession of a copy...wonder why???) But if they only knew what the book was, who wrote it and who published it (Counter-Currents) maybe I wouldn't even be here to tell you all about it...free expression is such a limited commodity these days.

In this 'un a nameless seminary school washout found beaten in the bad part of town is approached by some official-looking type with a JFK accent and prodded to be a guinea pig in an experiment where said subject is to take a pill called Nihil (which eliminates all fear and woe in a person making him the ultimate ubermench) and record the day-by-day effects of it on his personality and behavior. Feeling abandoned by the fambly, by humanity and by God in particular the guy agrees to the deal because for the most part, he is already "nihil" himself. Sounds good enough considering the pay, and like what do twentysomething ex-seminarians living on skid row have to look forward to anyway?

The experiment takes on a whole slew of strange turns until coming to a surprising conclusion, and then a bright and blazing symbolic if anything coda which might even have some of your more "enlightened" readers throwing the book in utterly righteous disgust considering the ultimate moral about liberty and freedom which is espoused during page-turning conclusion. Who knows, most readers might just begin to think twice about these modern day concepts which seem to have oozed themselves into twisted chasms that I don't think anyone woulda thought they woulda gone into a good fifty years back...at least back then the powers that be knew enough right from wrong to see just where humanity was heading but given the free form spreading and metastasized concept of what man is truly to be (and never could be) it's been all washed up into a basin of nothing reading to be flushed away into eternity. Billy said both those words were dead only he was a few decades ahead of himself. Nihil indeed!

You'll think, maybe even shudder at the message this book contains.  I don't think you're gonna be able to shake it off that easily. And really, that is good thing especially in these times when we've all become too complacent about just where we are to the point where most of us couldn't even care about the big bulldozing of everything we've created being torn down like some old gas station that has been abandoned sixty years ago. Definitely an "I dare you" read, of course you won't take me up on it.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

I really had a lot of fun doin' that previous "Singles Going Stroonad" a short while back that I thought hey, why not do another of these things?!?! I mean not only was it grand prowling through my singles collection after quite a spell of neglect but it was just heart-cockle warming to get back together with my TRUE friends down inna basement and talk about old times that are long gone and all. Well, they've turned out to be better friends than some of you turncoat backstabbers out there!

Anyhoo, here's the latest go 'round. I believe a few of these have been reviewed on this blog about a decade back but given my sieve-like mind (and yours) it's like so what! Maybe you'll discover a new fave, or link up with a lost relic, or just be amazed at the wealth of singles that came out thus benefiting our lives, but then again maybe you'll find a millyun dollars under your doormat tomorrow.



Johnnie Allan-"Promised Land"/Pete Fowler-"One Heart One Song" (Stiff Records, or Ovalstiff as it sez onna cover, Holland)

This is one of those yellow vinyl singles that flooded even the more sophisticado record shops during the colored vinyl craze of the late-seventies. For some strange reason I passed on it, or didn't even notice it for that matter, but it was there next to the Klark Kents and Nick Lowes for all to see. Allan cooks Cajun on the a-side doin' Chuck Berry with an accordion and it all works ya over the same way one a them Justin Wilson cooking shows had ya droolin' all over the place. Fowler comes closer to the whole Stiff retro-cool mode that the label made its mark with---it's a wonder why this 'un didn't end up on the box set like it shoulda. Being too cheap to delve into either guys' careers any further this does make for a good taste.
***
Wurm-"We're Off", "I'm Dead"/"Time Has Come Today" EP (SST Records)

One can only thank God 'n with a big "G" at that that Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag fame was in this metallic trio before joining forces with Greg Ginn et. al., for if he hadn't would anyone know about Wurm 'r care for that matter? This reunion single from '85 had a whole slew of people who were searching for rock 'n roll life in the eighties ravin' to the roof with its perfect merging of the TRUE heavy metal aesthetic (clue---you won't hear about it from Andy Secher) and the hardcore blare which, come to think of it, WAS the logical end point in the whole HM game as it should have stood ten years after the fact. Too bad the LP entitled FEAST wasn't this hot even if it did scorch more than a few earholes including my own. Hope and prey that the 1973 rehearsal tapes will eventually see the light of day as a legit release 'n all boosted up soundwise  t' boot!
***
The Jokers-"Little Mama"/"Say You're Mine"; "Red Headed Woman"/"I Ain't Gonna Be Your Fool (Greco Records)

Until GRECO RECORDS---THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS makes its way to my abode this is gonna have to do as far as this obscure New Jersey-oriented garage band (late-fifties division) goes. The "Little Mama" single sounds a whole lot more focused than the other which would figure since the other single never even got a legit release, but it still pounds on in a neo-rockabilly cum doo-wop fashion that even boasts an imitation Jordonaires backing vocal! Great piano work too that sounds like someone's been listening to a whole lotta Jerry Lee Lewis and admired Jo Ann Castle's tack piano sound via THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW. "Red Headed Woman" even sounds like it probably was recorded in the garage, or at least in Aunt Mabel's living room (hence the piano) while she wasn't home. She just don't abide by that raucous devil's music, y'know.
***
Rik L. Rik-"Meat House"/"I Got Power" (Posh Boy Records)

Can't see why BOMP! bomped Rik L. Rik but good in the final issue of that sainted rag because even though he was doin' the Ig of Stooge game he was sure doin' it a whole lot better'n many of the also rans who seemed happy enough ramming the whole sordid legend into the ground. Not quite raw power but maybe medium rare power'd rock that has a good enough drive to make you recall alla that sound and fury which most definitely signified something back during those best/worst of times days. Nice white vinyl in clear sleeve package that kinda makes me think about those days of yore, then get madder'n all fanabla because I was broke most of the time and couldn't afford everything I most dearly wanted to get into my mitts!
***
Anonymous-"Snake Attack"/"Corporate Food" (label sez "Flat Records", "cover sez "Mr. Brown Records"...take yer pick)

A lotta this college kid caper cut up experimental "Hey Mom Look At Me!" stuff never did sound more than the usual masturbatory doo-whiz with the lifespan appeal of a moth, but at least Anonymous created a noisy wall of late-seventies ka-POW! that sounded just as goofed up as those Smegma records that were also making the rounds at the time. Fast-paced, maddening and definitely avant garde as opposed to avant flub, Anonymous put out a crazed (as in Residents' "Satisfaction") record that lives up to the late-seventies aura of rock as madness and thankfully doesn't sound like an "art project". Kudos to R. Meltzer for giving this one some precious broadcast time on his long-missed radio program.
***
The Curse-"Shoeshine Boy"/"Killer Bees" (Hi Fi Records, Canada)

Toronto's all-gal Curse really knew how to tweak the cheeks back then, as this record was about as hot off the presses as an extra of THE DAILY PLANET regarding some greasy foreign-kinda shoeshine boy who learned an easy way to make a few extra buck by being friendlier than one would normally be to the local clientele! Only this time his junior achievement got the best of him as the rough trade got roughed up just a little too much leading to quite a big hoo hah and a lotta newspapers gettin' sold! But taste never did matter to this group because singer Mickey Skin was brave enough to actually taunt the dead li'l rascal asking how exactly did he make a hunnerd bux in one day and boy did this rec get the publicity because of it! Fair enough as a punk rock artyfact goes, or maybe I'm still amazed at that pic of Skin that popped in in THE NEW YORK ROCKER where she's not wearing a bra and like well, it's a little chilly outside 'n all and I think you can guess the rest...
***
The Slickee Boys-MAGNESIUM ANDROID PUPPIES EP (Dacoit Records)

For bein' one of those under-the-underground acts first sproutin' about inna mid-seventies the Boys sure lived a longer and healthier life than many of their compadres. Here's their first offering from '76, a nicely packaged platter that plays at 33 and gives you a lot more music that you'd expect outta such a small package. I gotta say that maybe the performance ain't as tippy top notch as I woulda liked these sixties worshippers to have cranked out but it's still a wild ride that ranks with other self-produced seven-inch offerings of that year like those from Sneakers, Pere Ubu and MX-80 Sound.

Mostly covers consisting of "What a Boy Can't Do", "Brand New Cadillac", "Psychodaisies" and the theme from EXODUS with the only original being the title track and it's a good 'un too. If you're hot for the mid-seventies refurbishing of the mid-sixties sounds that most of the hippoids of the day forgot about, and on purpose for that matter, try locating this 'n give it a try.
***
Monte Carmont-"Think Dance"/"Neat, Clean, Perfect", "In Another Land" (Bizart Records)

A 1980 wonder from Brian Sands' classic if short-lived record label. Boffo electronic pop that sorta sounds like Sparks veering off into various new wave pre "gnu" wave (thanks again Bill!) directions that don't suck one bit! A few sidesteps into Syd Barrett whimsy and a spec of Bolan help out a whole lot, and like it's too bad that this 'un hadda be buried under the weight of a whole load of lesser sounds that, strangely enough, seem to be remembered with a strange fondness these more screwed up than ever days.
***
Wayne Kramer's Gang War featuring Johnny Thunders-"New York City", "I'd Much Rather Be With The Boys"/"Endless Party", "Just Because I'm White" EP (Venus Records)

This is the short-lived act that got a whole load of NEW YORK ROCKER press because of the presence of the former MC5 and New York Dolls guitar villains (well, they sure ain't heroes in a world where every swivelhipped string bender with long flowery hair claims heir to the title). A hotcha night at Max's Kansas City was captured here what with the band doing some old Dolls faves as well as the Rolling Stones  METAMORPHOSIS classic "I'd Much Rather Be With The Boys" which I remember Jane Scott comparing, if tangentially, to David Bowie in her review! That Jane!!! It all ends with the blooze number "Just Because I'm White" which got a few people yelling racist back in the old days though if it came out in the here and now you could just see the antifanabla types marching through the streets with the entire bands' heads on sticks! Sheesh, can anyone take a sick joke no mo'?
***
Window Pain-"Mindbender"/"Green", "Underworld" (Nuclear Waste Records)

There have been a lot of forgotten singles, EPs and such issued over the past half-century plus, and it's sure pleasing to the ol' pectorals when I uncover one of 'em that really holds up with time and continues to zoom your mind into places it's never been to and might never return to again! Of course you might need a little "stimulation" to achieve such mental heights, but with this Window Pain who needs Window Pane???

Neo-sixties psych meets early-seventies electronic Roxyisms to make for a music that sounds part Debris with a little Chrome tossed in. I'll bet Chuck Warner could tell you reams about these guys and who knows, they may even appear on one or more of his HOMEWORK Cee-Dees and I kid you not!
***
Soul Asylum-Tied to the Tracks"/"Long Way Home" (Twin Tone Records)

Gettin' a li'l too deep into the eighties with this 'un, but WHO CARES because these Soul Asylum guys really put a hotcha slice of seventies-styled hard pop transposed into the bleakness of the eighties on this potent puncher. True it's got that punk rock drive that made more'n a few parents abuse their Fourth Commandment privileges over it, but the influence of a good portion of what made the seventies sound so good can be discerned to the point where you kinda get the idea that Soul Asylum woulda made a grand signing to Capitol 'round '74 way before being unceremoniously dumped. Of course this kinda music would get kinda stale once the eighties clocked out but hey, enjoy it while you can.
***
Roky Erickson-"Mine, Mine, Mind", "Click Your Fingers Applauding the Play"/"Two Headed Dog", "I Have Always Been Here Before" EP (Sponge Records, France)

The French always knew, and no I ain't talkin' about them letting Jean Genet outta prison while the Amerigans left Wilhelm Reich to rot as Patti Smith once said. I'm talkin' 'bout ROCK N' ROLL and not only the bevy of hotcha acts that emanated from that saintly country but the magazines and people that promoted them. And the labels like Sponge who not only released this classic slab from the former 13th Floor Elevators frontman but a Real Kids platter I also have in the collection somewhere.

Roky in his post-Elevators prime as the legend grew even greater. Dark and ominous, kinda like the man was singing from the depths of the pyramids to every rock being extant at the time this was laid down and the effort still reverberates. And the best part about it is that the guy wasn't even trying to be a punk! Can you dig that as Tim Yohannon used to say!
***
Harold Kelling-"Jezebel"/"Harlem Nocturne" (Hib-Tone Records)

Ex-Hampton Grease Band guitarist Kelling was one of the stronger points in that particular band, and here he stretches out on his own on this early-eighties vintage single put out by the same people who also gave you REM. Both sides are covers of way-too-familiar numbers but are worth the purchase if only for their reverb-y surf sound that was a good twenny-years-old by the time this was laid down. Might not settle well with long-time fans but as far as being a true Southern Rock Artyfact you can't get any more artyfactier than this!
***
The Rolling Stones-"You Better Move On", "Poison Ivy"/"Bye Bye Johnny", "Money" EP (Decca Records, England)

Nothing special. You heard it all before and thought it was great from the get-go, but this EP (a reissue?) does come in handy for short Rolling Stones spurts. It might even rekindle some sorta sixties spirit in your soul, remind you of the days when rock 'n roll was a pretty good juice-spurter as far as generating some powerful force inside your already overcooked beanie and that you could suss out the world itself via the mere existence of the Velvet Underground. Of course that whole notion died out around the time Charles Manson was oozing meaning outta the white album and rock 'n roll morphed into rock and was too saturated with evil intent to mean anything cogent, but we can still bask in the warmth of innocence now, can we?
***
Rudolph Grey-"Implosion-73"/"Transformation" (New Alliance Records)

Long neglected sides from the former Red Transistor guy himself playing with jazz great Rashied Ali on the a-side and on his lonesome on the flip. If you were in on the man's game since at least the Blue Humans this should also swivel your snizzle, what with the no chord atonal sound the man ekes outta his Mosrite which, coupled with Ali's total clang, makes for one of the better jazz (and I do mean it!) duos since those Survival Records platters where Ali would team up with the likes of Frank Lowe or Leroy Jenkins! Now, those were some duo exchanges that really fire up the old soul like nothing since Old Grandad. I only hope that Grey got his money outta this particular platter because hey, from what I understand the guy sure got little outta his recording efforts.
***
Radio Stars-STOP IT EP (Chiswick Records, England)

Ex-John's Children/Jet singer Andy Ellison might not have meant for Radio Stars to be a punk rock band per se as they say, but you can't deny the overt punkian tones on the likes of "No Russians in Russia". The rest wafts between a more new pre-gnu-wave pop style and even a throwback to the mid-seventies Sparks-influenced glam that Jet was making themselves known with before the mode of the music began to change. If you were one of those glitter types who used to pose at Rodney' English Disco this might rekindle a few long lost feelings in your paraphernalia package!
***
PRIMITIVE: PRE-VELVETS ED (no label)

These here's them early Pickwick Records sides where Lou Reed cut his teeth on recording long before he became a twinkle in the eye of the one called Bowie. These tracks are so well-known amongst tribal maniacs like us that you could say they're just as legendary as those old Beatles platters are to the mid-sixties ironed-hair gals but hey, it's sure boffo givin' 'em another listen to once in awhile.

It's kinda crazy to know that these have actually been re-released legitimately, to which I say what's keeping you guys with the Velvet Underground exhumations that seem to have come to a complete stop! It's not like we have that much longer to live on the planet and like, I'm sure there's a great market for alla those early Falling Spikes efforts which I'd sure like to spin 'stead of the usual Velvets repackages being released in configurations that boggle the mind. C'mon Polyglot, you know that I'm not gonna dish out any money for anything else so like, why delay the ultimate pleasure???
***
The Creation-"Making Time"/"Painter Man" (Raw Records, England)

Like the above entry this record is old news, but for guys like me who were too late to get hold of the mid-seventies reissue on Charisma (which I never did see in the import bins) and didn't necessarily have the cash to buy the IF I STAY TOO LONG pirate that was parading itself around the TROUSER PRESS record ads, this was the only Creation readily available for a looooooong time. And in my own opinion these were two of the better tracks the group laid down, "Biff Bang Pow" being the third as if you really do care what I think inna first place.

But man does this sure bring back memories of those cash strapped days when even seemingly little things like self-produced and distributed singles sure made suburban slobs like me even happier than Allen Ginsburg marooned on a Crete Island with nothing but loin clothed boys for companionship (go see JOHNNY MINOTAUR if you think I'm kidding!). A nice bit of rock 'n roll legend released at a time when the legend was big enough but with all of those Toto amd Triumph albums out, who really cared?
***
Peter Tosh-"Legalize It", "Why Must I Cry"/"Till your Well Runs Dry" 33 rpm EP (Columbia Records)

Special white label promo sent out to "important people" in the biz, most of whom probably chucked this one in the wastebasket for being too drug-referenced for radio airplay or commercial appeal for that matter! Too bad because I like these numbers in a sorta mid-seventies singer/songwriter (tough SS for that matter) way as Tosh pushes forth an emotion that seemed barren in most of these seventies solo stars 'cept for a few (like maybe Dylan, most definitely Elliot Murphy). Some parts ain't even reggae in the strictest sense while even the more Jamaican of the batch have a nice lilt that doesn't bore me like this music usually does. Good enough surprise for a definitely non-rastafazoolian like myself.
***
Sneakers-"Ruby", "On the Brink", "Love is Like a Cuban Crisis"/"Condition Red", "Non Sequitur", "Driving 33 rpm EP (Carnivore Records)

Part of the first garde of major home-produced recordings documenting the big change to come (see Slickee Boys review above), Sneakers toss in every good thing you liked about rock 'n roll at the time from Big Star and the Raspberries to Roy Wood and Flamin' Groovies and come up with a platter that is rather...luxurious. Phony English accents make a welcome return as these guys cop all of their fave British Invasion moves and throw it into a nice little platter that says a whole lot about what 1976 meant to quite a few people looking for.............life. If you remember the Bon Vivants who put out some entertaining neo-new pop platters a decade back this is this same, only thirty years earlier than those ignored classics.
***
David Peel and Death-"Junk Rock"/"I Hate You" (Auravox Records)

Peel could rock out with the best of 'em even though most rock critics of the seventies would certainly not agree. On these sides His Cheapness himself screams his guts out to a maybe slicker than should be but still punkifying backing group. And it's all done up in a fashion that really wasn't at all different from the reams of competitors vying for precious stage time at your favorite New York rock club. A good cheap pounder that will stir up something in your musical soul, if you have one that is.
***
Bonjour Aviators-"The Fury in Your Eyes"/"Boston City Limits" (Romantic Records)

Boston sure had its share of hard-rockin', kickin' 'em out bands back inna seventies, and while Bonjour Aviators sure didn't get as much notoriety as the Sidewinders or DMZ they sure held up pretty swell as far as these kinda acts go. Singer's got this great doof voice that fits the overkill material quite swell while the rest of the group play it just like the teenage boys wanted their rock to be back then, at least before they all got turned on to Laurie Anderson in order to get closer to their gals. Kinda like Thundertrain's long lost brothers, or maybe even a garage band Aerosmith.
***
The Eight Balls-"Science Gone Too Far"/"When the Spirit Moves Me" (Underdog Records)

Along with Sister Ray and scant few others these guys were theeee best live under-the-counterculture band playing the Youngstown Ohio area back inna eighties, bridging the likes of Eastern Ohio pop rock, mid-seventies punkarama and even some heavy metal before that term became co-opted by the likes of Andy Secher. Thankfully they left us with this single with conveys part of their appeal...a-side is not the Dictators number but a straightforward midwest rock ode about the over-reaching effects of science, especially into areas where it should'nt even traipse at all ifyaknowaddamean. Lyrics might not suit the precious pansy crown so in vogue today (they're in the vein of "you think you've kissed Blanche but discover it's Blanche over there" ifyaknowaddamean) but they stimulate my suburban slob pride all the more! Flipster's a good evocation of the neo-Nazz meets Circus mindset speeded up to punkified perfection. Of course it never went anywhere despite my help and support...hissssssssssss!
***
Various Artists-THE FUNNIEST OF MOXIE 33 rpm EP (Moxie Records)

If this stuff is funny then I'm Jay Hinman, but next to the kinda humor to be found these days this 'un's a verifiable LAFF RIOT!!! From a James Bond and nuclear radiation rocker to a tepid take on "Gloria" featuring all your fave ugly gal jokes this might be a comedy record you can play again and again. Personal faves from the batch include the remake of "Get off My Cloud" as a Christmas ditty and Nikita the K's "Go Go Radio Moscow" which is a good enough switcheroo AM spoof done up to Cold War perfection.
***
Treatment'"Stamp Out Mutants"/"Dontcha Know" (no label)

Did you ever wonder what alla those guys in English punk rock bands back during the seventies were doing before they spiked up their hair and got all outrageous? My bet is that a good portion of them were in a slew of Pink Fairies/Hawkwind-styled acts that certainly deserve a royal (re)issue treatment even as we speak. I know of a few like Bastard (the one Brian James was in, not the early Motorhead) that should be worth the while to uncover, but as far as groups who went the spacey rock route after them punk dayze you can't do better (or maybe even worse!) than Treatment. Great single that rocks and grinds, kinda reminding me of QUARK STRANGENESS AND CHARM of all things not to mention that Bad Religion album with the synths nobody likes to talk about. There's more Treatment available out there but I think I'll pass on it all for now.
***
Expect another trek into the trenches in a month or two. Gee, this single prowling is not only fun, but GOOD for ya (and me) too!

Thursday, October 05, 2017

MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! WHO SLEW AUNTIE ROO? starring Shelley Winters, Ralph Richardson and Mark Lester! (1971)



About a good half-year before WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH HELEN spurt forth upon the moom pitcher circuit Shelley Winters and Curtis Harrington were involved with this little cheapie for American International, custom made not only for the drive in brigades but a few good years of tee-vee syndication in the "Creature Feature" package of your choice. Winters plays an Amerigan widow living in what looks like Victorian England who always has a buncha the orphans from the local gruelfarm over for the Christmas holidays just so's they can have some fun and jamz for once in their miserable lives. When two of the most incorrigible kids from the school, mainly Christopher and his kid cyster Katy sneak away to spy on the proceedings they are caught by the sadistic cook and are about to be pummeled to the ground when they are saved by Winters herself and invited to join with the rest and more behaved kiddies. Y'see, little Katy looks a whole lot like Winder's long deceased daughter who died during a particularly deadly banister slide, and the occult-loving lady would just love to have the gal for her very own given that the actual daughter in now holed up in a secret room and decaying away like anything.

Tie in the story of Hansel and Gretel and ya gotcherself a nice update on that li'l saga that I'm sure will rouse up a few kiddieish feelings of spookdom that would be heightened by turning out alla lights inna house and watching while shivering in fear underneath the sheets like you know """""I""""" did. What a thitthy!

Winters is her usual slightly askew self oozing both fear 'n pathos as the widow longing for the return of her deceased progeny while Lester was at just the age when he was oozing the goo outta your own cyster every time he would pop up on THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR or some other tee-vee show spilling his naive English charm all over the place. The rest of the cast is good enough even though Ralph Richardson's role coulda been played by any other hand over-the-hill actor in Blighty...however the guy who plays the cook and joins Winters and Richardson in the phony seance attempts to reach the dead daughter is sadistic enough to my liking, especially in the scene where he catches Lester and threatens to cut out his tongue. I dunno about you, but scenes like that really bring out the ol' softie in me.

WHO SLEW AUNTIE ROO ain't as nerve-gripping as Winter's next cinematic (whew!) foray with Harrington but steady enough for a fun film romp if I do say so myself. A must catch however your technosavvy mind can handle it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

BOOK REVIEW BY BILL SHUTE! HURRICANE HARRIGAN (Gwandanaland Comics #66)

Doing a review of Hurricane Harrigan is a natural follow-up to our review of Blaze Baylor (see BTC entry for Friday 29 September 2017) since Harrigan was also a secondary comic character found in Cat-Man Comics, and he was also the creation of Charles M Quinlan, who was quite active (as a penciler and inker, though he also wrote, as he did here and with Baylor) in the comics world of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Harrigan lasted a bit longer in Cat-Man than Baylor did--six issues as opposed to four--and he came from a far different background.....

When we look at the competition in the field of action-adventure-oriented pulpy popular entertainment aimed at the 12 year old male in all of us during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, we have radio shows (often 15-minute episodes, kind of like audio serials, which seem to go on for weeks, during this period, and alas, often NOT preserved or if they are, then preserved in muffled sound quality, as they were not considered “major” radio shows a la Jack Benny), we have B-movies and serials made by the likes of Republic or Monogram or sometimes Columbia, we have comic strips (Terry and the Pirates, for instance), we have pulp magazine fiction (characters such as “Singapore Sammy”), and we have comic books....like the one under review today.

Once again, our friends at Gwandanaland have extracted the comic-book stories of one character--HURRICANE HARRIGAN--from six issues of Cat-Man Comics circa 1941-42 and given this unique creation his own comic book....75 years after the fact....but better late than never

Harrigan is the kind of outrageous character who can exist only in comic books or pulp magazine stories or serials.....or nowadays, in straight-to-video action films. He is a Texas cowboy who was a fan of the works of Rudyard Kipling, so he saved up his money....and traveled to India, looking for adventure! Yes, just imagine one of the lesser-lights of the B-western world, such as Wally Wales or Jack Hoxie or Lane Chandler, one of the quick-to-action but at the same time aw-shucks variety (NOT a Hoot Gibson or a Bob Steele or a Johnny Mack Brown, all of whom had a more complex persona), stepping into action in some fantasy version of “India” that seems to mix up Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhism, and other than a pagoda or two on view and locals calling various people “Sahib,” bears no relation to even Kipling’s version of Colonial India, let alone the real thing. But hey, this is not a documentary....it’s aimed at people, both juveniles and juvenile-minded adults like me, in the US who’ve probably never been to their state’s capital city, let alone even Canada or Mexico. It’s all made up for time-killing action-filled entertainment!

Don't fault the accuracy of the details when the work never sought to be accurate; instead, credit the imagination of the creator, sitting in some cluttered cubicle somewhere and taking imaginative leaps out of his boring world into some hazy but colorful dream-world....and taking along tens of thousands of comic-book reading juveniles and adolescents and adults. It really did not matter that Edgar Rice Burroughs had never visited Africa or India or Brazil or wherever before creating Tarzan....it really did not matter that Karl May had never visited the American West before creating Winnetou and Old Shatterhand. No, it’s imaginative popular entertainment. Sit back and forget the troubles of the REAL world and let your mind run free in this comic-book world.

Each of the six stories moves quickly and creates a situation that, frankly, could easily be transposed to a western setting....or an outer-space setting....but here, it’s in Fantasy India, which often bears more similarity to something like the world of serials such as UNDERSEA KINGDOM or THE PHANTOM EMPIRE, if everyone there wore turbans and spoke in pseudo-Indian mumbo-jumbo.

Of course, Harrigan needs a “local” sidekick, so he helps and befriends a giddy but docile adolescent whom he names Skeebo, following one of the first rules of juvenile-oriented action comic strips and serials: have a juvenile in an important role as the viewpoint character of the audience, so they can “fit in” themselves to the scene.

I could summarize the plots of the six stories for you, but they are best appreciated with an element of surprise present. Let’s just say that he helps local exploited people, breaks criminal rings, helps ladies in distress, helps individuals set upon by crooked local officials, etc etc.....just like he would in a western!

If you have a taste for absurd cross-cultural lowbrow entertainment as I do, and the idea of something like THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS ON GILLIGAN’S ISLAND excites you as it does me, you’ll want to score a copy of this 38-page gem, which is all killer and no filler. Just go to Create Space or Amazon and search for “Hurricane Harrigan” and “Gwandanaland” and you too can live in this over-the-top fantasy world where cowboys ride the range among ancient temples and exotic pagodas and jeweled idols and defeat the enemy in six pages. If only life were that easy....but since it isn’t, Hurricane Harrigan is back from comic book limbo to take you out of your (my) world of dreary work-weeks and empty bank accounts and a-hole neighbors and work-mates, and put you into a world where you can strut alongside our hero through a perfumed, jeweled comic-book-exotica world of action and intrigue. That’s an offer that I can’t refuse!

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Before I say anything that will undoubtedly get somebody out there angry lemme welcome none other than BILL SHUTE back from the dead! Or at least let's welcome him back from the racetrack given that his much missed (and much needed) comic book and other similarly Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kid-minded entertainment reviews have returned to BLOG TO COMM after quite a long dry spell. Bill's writeups of these recent and totally PD comic book reissues (and moom pitchers for that matter) really have perked up this blog over the past few years, and it's sure grand to know that he's once again contributing his opines to us lumpen proles out of the kindness of his good heart!

Hey, with one masterful stroke of the keyboard Bill has once again made this blog the printed equivalent of them good ol' days. Y'know, the times when I (and maybe even you) would scour the flea markets of the early/mid-seventies in search of various blasts from the past available for mere dimes before rushing home to watch some old cheap moom pitcher on tee-vee you've waited all week to see. Although I never did come across anything that was as obscure as the books Bill's been writin' up I feel just as youthful and as spendthrift-y as I was back when I would sometimes dump as much as 75 pennies for a collection of coverless ARCHIEs and MILLIE THE MODELs which my dad would razz me for reading not knowing that it in fact MILLIE was an Archie ripoff by the time I was readin' 'em! Lemme tell ya I was the happiest twelve-year-old onna block reading these old comics which would figure because hey, I was the ONLY twelve-year-old on the block! But the feeling is there and you know what I mean so quit bustin' my case!

All that's missing is that greasy smell of frying hamburgers not to mention that old turd who kept yelling at me for reading the mags on his table w/o actually purchasing anything. Wotta bum...I was and shall remain that is!
***
I gotta say that it is fun livin' in the here and now after all! After years of downslide decadence and unbridled chicanery usually being passed off as good downright wholesomeness bad things are finally starting to happen to the bad guys for once in my life! I mean, who woulda ever thought that the tumor of the boomer generation ROLLING STONE would have to be put on life support what with noted owner and swish-hitter Jann Wenner begging some rich patsy to buy the magazine and keep it going as a "vanity" project! I guess that after years of coasting on previous "New Journalism" credo and lousy music coverage aimed at the ex-hippie/current pensioner crowd someone needs to keep the dreams and spirits of "the sixties" alive even if Wenner no long has the social conscious punch to do so. Given the reams of millionaire Marxists out there there should be more'n a few takers, eh?

Sheesh, no wonder Ron Weiser always calls them days the "sick-sties"! 
***
Hugh Hefner dead at 91. Make your own "half mast" jokes.
***
Another nice batch, good enough to make me feel happier than a bloodhound in a room full of menstruating women the way some of these platters have really caught me by the ear and have given me a well-needed shakedown! Thanks to Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and even Bob Forward, who could do me a favor by clipping the xeroxed sleeves to the Cee-Dees he's burnt and wrap 'em around said disque envelope to make everything nice and neat and un-fall-apart-y for me to lose. I mean, if yer gonna do me a big favor for a HIGHLY RESPECTED music fandom schlub like me ya might as well at least do it right! And don't think I'm putting you out'r anything---after all, considering my importance I should be demanding these burnt offerings in sturdy plastic cases!


Gary Wilson and the Blind Dates-LIVE AT CBGB LP (Feeding Tube, available via Forced Exposure)

Just when I thought the seemingly endless deluge of live at CBGB's albums had come to a sad and somewhat sorry conclusion, this surprise makes its way into my abode and into my overtaxed brain for that matter. But sheesh, is this a great live platter complete with all of the energy and excitement of the entire under-the-rock-underground experience, even if parts did come out as a double EP quite awhile back.

Fortunately the sound is sparkling and the performance really shines in a straight-ahead no gimmicks way as done by people who undoubtedly wanted to be as big as the Rolling Stones but thankfully could only rise to Sky Saxon levels. In many ways this album encapsulates everything I dig about the whole creative spirit of the seventies from the driving performance to the whacked-out sense of purpose, and if this one had only gotten out a whole lot sooner (like, when I was still in my teenbo mode) it could have made a whole lot of impact on my musical third ear or whatever it's called! Or at least it would have impacted me more'n it can here in the dark cyborg late-teens which is for all matters extant a graveyard of long-rotting talent that never did get its share of hosannas during its lifetime!

True I'm overcome with emotion, but I just can't help it after giving this album a once-over. If you liked Wilson's other endeavors (which have all be faithfully re-released by Feeding Tube...you have no excuse not to have 'em!) this is even more of that great trounced over jazz-fusion rock which seems to fit perfectly with the other fusion greats of the day from MX-80 Sound to Manster. And like those and many other long-forgotten faves this continues to have mucho musical relevance a good thirtysome years later as Wilson's horno-destructo lyrics merge with his band's spot-on refurbishing of past low-points in musical history (recent Zappa and Mahavishnu ideals) turning 'em into something that should have blessed the dull FM dial at a time when spinning the theme to STAR WARS incessantly seemed like a thought-provoking way to go for many a program director. If only "Popsicle Toes" could have been this invigorating!

Definitely one to get the heavy re-play honors and hey Feeding Tube, if you can locate Wilson's 1977 live @ CBGB show howz'bout checkin' that one over for possible release, eh?
***
YOKO ONO/PLASTIC ONO BAND CD (Secretly Canadian Records, available via Forced Exposure...available as an LP too!)

Although this 'un came out o'er a year ago I just snatched it from the FE mailorder website into my own pithy paws. And boy did the memories of diggin' this 'un up outta the bargain cassette bin during THE GREAT APPLE RECORDS BACK CATALOG DUMP OF 1976 (which also yielded me two copies of George Harrison's ELECTRONIC SOUND) just come a-rushin' back! It was a classic when foisted upon my teenage brain then, and it remains one lo these many years later what with the duo of John 'n Yoko once again givin' their all for the cause of high energy. Lennon does some of the best string-scrapin' he ever did in his entire life while Ono screeches on like she's losing her virginity with an electric carving knife (I mighta used that one before but wha' th' hey???). I mean, what else would you want in your early-seventies rock anyway?

Top quality earth erupting swallow you whole rock 'n roll here which does rank with various other outer fringe recordings of the same strata. Violent then bloozy then trance-inducing, you'll never believe that this was a beddy bye fave of mine the minute I got my hands on a copy way back when!
***
Here & Now/Alternative TV-WHAT YOU SEE...IS WHAT YOU ARE CD (Green Scale Records, England)

Alternative TV do their avant garde brand of punk rock spiffily enough on this platter they shared with Here & Now way back in '78, getting into that minimalist (copyright 1980 NEW YORK ROCKER) sound that leaves you filling the blanks in in your head. This enough should satisfy those seeking the fringes of English under-the-counterculture music but the Here & Now guys deliver more even if it is of the whole late-seventies hippie ban the bomb variety. Definite Hawkwind (and of course Gong) refs to be heard along with the expected Syd Barrett vocal thrown in, and even with the dour sound quality this makes for a rather exciting live excursion if I do say so myself...
***
The Droogs-LIVE RADIO BROADCAST WERS BOSTON, 1985 CD-r burn

This thing was reproduced way too slow, almost to 1970 heavy metal sludge speed with the vocals dragging way down into the basso profundo, but given these are the Droogs and that this is a pretty powerful show at any speed why should I cry? Not only does this live inna studio set contain a whole buncha those mid-eighties Droogs pounders (the kind that inspired me to slap these guys mugs' on the cover of the twelfth issue of my crudzine) but it all ends with a potent cover of "Waiting For My Man" which does send ya into a swirl of seventies rock memories when that song was the National Tantrum for more'n a few sour minds. Lemme tell you, these guys were one of the last "big" good 'un's.
***
Various Artists-GLIMPSES VOLUME 4 CD-r burn (originally on Wellington Records)

As you may know many of these garage band compilations collecting crazy self produced and other rarities from the sixties don't always light my fart, but when a good one comes around boy you can bet that I'll be raising the flag and salutin' Unca Sam from here to eternity! GLIMPSES VOLUME 4 is just one of those collections that really gets me all hot and bothered---not a dud in the batch (even via the Jefferson Airplane mimeo courtesy the Four O'Clock Balloon) with each and every number here done up in that raw basement-recording fashion that made these records so exciting in the first place. Personal faves go to the Traits' "Nobody Loves the Hulk" (which I remember being advertised in the back pages of various late-sixties issues of Marvel comics!), the Electras' "This Week's Children", Bobby Dee and the Crestliners'  "Graveyard Twist" (proof that the early-sixties were cooler'n those tight-sphinctered intellectuals would like us to think) and man it's sure great hearin' Kack Klick's low-fi chiller "Lord My Cell is Cold" without the skip!
***
TWIST WITH B.B. KING CD-r burn (originally on Crown Records)

Sheesh, talk about suckerin' the rubes! This record is about as "twist" as Peter Pansy given it ain't nothin' but old B.B. King sides scooped up and slapped onto a longplayer with TWIST brazenly emblazoned onna cover in order to cash in on a current craze. I'll betcha that Eddie Haskell's mother bought him a copy for Christmas and boy did Eddie come up with the best bon mots of his career! If yer a twistin' type you might bust your sacroiliac or some other body part that sounds dirty tryin' to dance to it, but if you go for the just-post World War II big band blooze that King made his rep with you might just like it shoddy sound quality and all. Come to think of it, I woulda gotten a kick watching Jackie Kennedy swivel her bony hips to this urban blare!
***
Karlheinz Stockhausen-MANTRA CD-r burn (originally on Naxos Records)

These recordings do have that clarified butter edge to 'em that certainly sets it all off as being totally Teutonic. Howcum Stockhausen (or Joesph Beuys for that matter) never got flack for their involvement in the Third Reich anyway? Sure Stockhausen was a kid who had little choice (tho he coulda defected like the former Pope Ratzinger) but Bueys was a pilot and probably strafed the living hell outta your Polski grandparents. Well, this piano duo and electronics blast might grate on your nerves a bit but it does provide enough overall Germanic satisfaction the same way early Kraftwerk or Can do. Just keep it outta your mind that at times this sounds like it was performed by a buncha guys with Albert Einstein hair on some Sunday Morning CAMERA THREE program you once caught on tee-vee before goin' to church.
***
Sammy Price-RIB JOINT - ROOTS OF ROCK N ROLL, VOLUME 7 CD-r burn (originally on Savoy Jazz Records)

Fans of late-fifties instrumental rock 'n roll and/or bouncy r 'n b-laced jazz should go for these two sides which do capture that strange nether-region between various prototypes and what eventually became rock 'n roll "proper". If you like that INSTRUMENTAL GOLDEN GOODIES album with all of those Johnny and the Hurricanes tracks this is more of the same only veering in the King Curtis (who also appears on these sides) and Les Cooper direction. The Spacemen even. Now some of you might not find it quite to your taste, but these ribs do taste better'n I expected.
***
The Three O'Clock-BAROQUE HOEDOWN CD-r burn (originally on Frontier Records)

Sounds like something that woulda given me the retro-creeps had I heard this back '88 way, but considering how BAROQUE HOEDOWN came out in '82 it's early enough for me to appreciate w/o having to be reminded of similar dips into psychedelic pop moves past that have come out in its wake. Nice commercial (in the right way!) homage to sixties sunshine pop gone garage band that probably woulda made a great 99 49-cent markdown pick up in the drug store bin of your choice come 1971. Not a bad start to an eighties under-the-counterculture rock movement that would sound rather tired once grunge came to rescue us all from the clutches of Madonna.
***
The Green Hornets-FASTER THAN THE BUGZAPPER CD-r burn (originally on Alopecia Records)

Dagnabbit if I still find some of these retro-sixties groups howshallIsay a little annoying what with their rehashing of the same six-oh riffs over and over to the point of flatness. But hey, why do I keep tapping foot to the rewrites of "Deacon Jones" and "Tobacco Road" that pop up on this particular platter, recorded twenny years back yet still as revivalesque as all those eighties groups we used to read about. Better not let Bill Shute find out or else he'd be razzing me about this no end!
***
ELLERY QUEEN'S MINUTE MYSTERIES VOLUME 4 CD-r burn

Here're more of those "minute mysteries" that aired on various radio stations for years on end, each of 'em givin' ya a chance to solve a case along with master detective Ellery Queen. There are some toughies in this batch and you might agree, that is unless you know all about how potatoes sprout out them roots or various gun technicalities regarding ballistics or force. Man, I gotta say that I felt stoopider than the drool bucket handler at the Special Olympics tryin' to figure these brain twisters out. Still nice listening---kinda reminds me of something those older kinda pot bellied guys with bowties who used to read mystery magazines back when I was but a mere turdler would have just loved tuning into way back when.
***
The Members-AT CHELSEA NIGHTCLUB CD-r burn (originally on Captain Oi, England)

Not having heard 'em in at least three decades I forgot why I thought the Members were a lousy group. Thanks for reminding me Paul!
***
Various Artists-ABSOLUTELY RECKLESSLY REVEALING HAIR SWEEPINGS FROM THE VIRTUAL THRIFT SHOP BARBERSHOP FLOOR CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Here's a disque I can wrap my prehensile eyes, ears, nose and throat around considering that, except for two musical numbers of a definitely Eastern/Southern Europeon nature, they all consist of the sound portions of familiar tee-vee commercials or in one case the theme to LEAVE IT TO BEAVER. Those nostalgic for the Golden Age of Fun if Trash Tee-Vee will probably have the likes of the Ajax Foaming Cleanser or "My Dog's Better Than Your Dog" Ken-L-Ration commercials in their music/VCR/Dee-Vee-Dee collection somewhere, but I will admit that it sure brought joy to my Sunday PM tee-vee old movie watching memories hearing that horrid anti-smoking PSA where dad 'n his son do things together then the music gets tense while kiddo reaches for pop's pack of cigarettes! One thing's for sure...emote-riddled ads like this taught me how not to be an impassioned humanist type way back when!

The musical tracks are rather ear-perking if I do say so myself even if they kinda remind me of something that would be played at an Armenian wedding reception right before the bomb goes off. No ka-booms here, but I must admit that I did get a little fidgety at times listening to the accordion wheeze away with those mandolins a' plunkin'. If you have relatives that came from the old OLD country you might be able to ooze some kultural pride outta it, but I don't.
***
Looking over the copy and doing the usual tweaks and editing expected of me, all I can say at this very moment is boy. was this edition of BLOG TO COMM a turdburger!!! I'll try to do better next time, really!