Saturday, June 27, 2015

So here it is, an entire half a year over 'n all, and I have yet to come up with what I would call an original or even halfway decent post! Nothing but record, book and moom pitcher/tee-vee writeup so far, and no interviews or bold statements of against-the-grain socio-political angst are in sight which really must prove as to just how much of a rut I've fallen into! Now, I will admit that I have attempted a few jabs at comedy and satire, but articles such as "Holocausts We'd Like To See" and "Thalidomide Babies, The Problem That Won't Go Away" didn't just quite make it to fruition...some may say due to wise editorial judgement but I say due to chickening out!

Let's just say that what the folks at NATIONAL LAMPOON could get away with (and make wads of cash with) forty years ago could probably land a person in a heap big vat of trouble these days, as if anyone out there is still comatose enough to care...

But still I have my music to keep the ol' nodes stimulated, and this time I was motivated enough by those patterns of screech to write the following reviews. And yeah, although many of these spinners are of a donated variety there are some items here that I actually purchased with my hard-begged which I suppose I should feel proud about, but as usual the spirit isn't hitting me like its supposed to. But (again) as usual may I give thanks to Bill Shute, Paul McGarry and Thomas Gilmore for the burns, and while I'm at it may I give thanks to my boss for not withholding my last paycheck given all of the headaches and grief I've been causing at work.

Panacea Society-"Do Me Rattle"/"God Is Sexy" 10-inch 45 rpm single (Bedford Society, England)

Heh, wonder if this is one of those early-seventies English groups that Andy MacKay of Roxy Music fame told me had a heavy Velvet Underground influence back when I asked him (via dream) during the time that the famed oboist was eyeballing our school gym for an upcoming concert (again, via dream).

Maybe so even though these Panacea tracks were recorded in the late-sixties and the group for all intent purposes was kaput by the time I would have tossed MacKay such a question. But judging from these selections taken from a long-lost reel-to-reel that only saw the light in 2003 this band was yet another one of many boffo acts who took the Velvets' credo to heart at a time when more bands than the usual ROLLING STONE editor would have dared admitted were mixing their Lou Reed with Lord knows what else.

And it's that Velvets-punky overdriven to the point where this platter (on clear vinyl in case you're still 1979 conscious) actually sounds like something that could have only come outta my unconsciousness under the influence of a couple Ny-Quils or even some of those codeine tablets I take on rare occasion when my lower back certainly gets the best of me.

Beginning as a standard nth-string Bedford-area copy band, the Panacea Society eventually ditched the covers after being turned on to the Seeds, Thirteenth Floor Elevators and the Velvet Underground via that showstopper of showstoppers "Sister Ray". Soon they took to a Creation-like stage show with spray-paint pop art abstracts and smoke with a mini-skirted lass reading poetry in between numbers, but that was before the group took up the communal living gig growing their own veggies amongst other things.

But enough regarding bad lifestyle choices and on to the music. Dunno why more wasn't released because the two tracks extant are fine examples of that early DIY punk approach that would develop into a whole load of strange and twisted venues in a good ten year's time. "Do Me Rattle" reminds me of yet another Velvet Underground-saturated bunch of Englanders, mainly the Velvet Frogs, who were merely lucky enough to crank out a few choice acetates for future consumption. Mid-tempo drive with a great melancholy ennui to the style, A real toe-tapper, but I prefer the flip "God Is Sexy" which sounds like something I would have imagined a 1969 version of Roxy Music to crank out with this fantastic repeato-riff organ that recalls early Suicide more'n anything. Throw in Can circa. DELAY 1968 and you might get an ever better idea of how this wraps its way around your musical listening pleasure points like bacon on fake crab meat.

The singer repeats the title over and over in various manners of emotion and diction, and the groove this song creates is one that you can really work yourself into without much prodding. Heck, it might as well have even been Von Lmo singing "We're Not Crazy" over and over, that's how sock you in the psyche this particular number can be! Really, I could go for a nice hour-long version of this to listen to during beddy-bye time as I eyeball old comic strip art panels for minutes on end before snapping off the light as the music begins to mix with my still-cranking consciousness.

The "remixes" that end both sides were nothing but wastes of grooves that could have been used to present more original material, but if you liked the Can SACRILEGE reworkings you might like these. I don't, but despite the moderne hipness of the reshapings of classic sound into meaningless glurbs this is one that I'm sorry to say slipped underneath the limbo bars for too long.

I can only hope that more similar-minded efforts from the likes of the Panacea Society as well as all of those other proto-punkin' high energy rockin' acts from the late-sixties onward and upward would make their presence known because hey, in the new Victorian world we call earth 2015 we sure need a whole lot more Panacea Society and a whole lot less whatever is out there in that communist-styled mass grave they call music-land!
Marcus Rubio-MORE EASE (stylistic deautomatization) CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions, see link at left)

Yet another under-the-underground recording from the KSE imprint, this one features a variety of amazing tracks that recall everything from Controlled Bleeding to Cluster with a whole lotta Nurse With Wound tossed in. Yet it's all in its own crazed sense of a basement music approach you could only expect from some guy whose mother locked him down there for the past twenny years! One track sounds like seventies-era electronic soundscapading that barely missed making its way onto a SOURCE magazine 10-inch record insert, while another actually takes on a spastic rock 'n roll melody that comes off as much Smegma as it does the Velvet Underground. And yet another one has some vocals from the composer who sounds like he's barely making his way into the world of pubes and deodorant! A real smorgasbord of avant garde inspiration and energy, and to think that it was recorded by a well-known politician who right at this very moment is running for presi...wait, that some other guy, now ain't it?
Screamin' Jay Hawkins-"Armpit #6"/"The Past" 45 rpm single (Red Top)

Hotcha rarity from the true originator of black rock 'n roll. A-side is proudly in the cheap disgusto mode that Hawkins had been known to revel in (title kinda gives away the subject matter), complete with all of the same guttural groans and grunts that he continued to emit throughout his career. From what I've heard, this song would have been perfect for Patti Smith to perform. The flip ain't as fun what with the gal backup singers 'n all but it makes for a better than usual spin than some of these flipsides which just don't live up to the pluggers (though the exact opposite has been known to be true!). Dunno if this one has been reished on any Hawkins collection but if you like your technology mid-twentieth century why not give Norton Records (see link at left) a try?
The Grip Weeds-HOW I WON THE WAR CD-r burn (originally on Jem)

Funny, but who woulda thought that the famous import record company (as well as label dealing in various European obscurities) was still around. Maybe it's a different Jem but whatever, they have released this platter by the group called the Grip Weeds entitled HOW I WON THE WAR which is a strange pun in itself. Y'see John Lennon played the character Musketeer Gripweed in the 1967 Richard Lester film that everyone seems to have heard about but few actually saw entitled (now get this!) HOW I WON THE WAR and to make matters even more intertwined the bloke posing on the front cover of this 'un looks remarkably like Lennon's Gripweed which is something that should get Beatleologists world-wide all in a tither, if they would ever find out about this 'un that is!

Dunno if they will because this album is probably as far away from the Beatle taproot as the Rolling Stones, but it's a good enough platter for me. Nothing I'll probably be spinning again in a long while (lacks that certain grip on various BLOG TO COMM-endorsed gulcheral ideals) but still spiffy enough as a pop-rock artifact that is obviously derived from various sixties and seventies endeavors that fortunately didn't get mucked up in the evolutionary process. Pretty bright pop moves here that woulda fit snugly into any late-seventies issue of BOMP! you care to find.

Kinda reminds me of some late-eighties forgotten fave that I woulda gotten as a promo, and all of these hipster types would wonder why I liked the thing considering they sent the thing my way thinking it would get a doof writeup (and that's true)!
Ray Martin and his Orchestra-THUNDERBALL CD-r burn (originally on RCA Camden)

Yeah Uncle Ferd, that's a real neat stereo you just bought. Portable too...where'd ya get it, Zayre's? Nice touch hanging those speakers on the wall...really will fill the room with sound when you're playing alla those Christmas albums you have at the party. Yeah, that album you're spinning sounds really great too. Naw, those ain't the original tracks Unc, but they're OK if you don't wanna dish out the extra two bucks for the originals or wait a few years until you pick 'em up real cheap. Yeah I think HONEY WEST is a fantab show, hope they don't yank that one off the air like they did ARREST AND TRIAL. How much did you pay for that record player anyway?
Alex Chilton-OCEAN CLUB '77 CD (Norton)

Sounds too good to be the Charles Ackers tape. Definitely a soundboard job. The performance tended to be rather loose and rough around the edges, but perhaps that only adds to the rough attitude of late-seventies local rock. Former Box Top/Big Star frontman Alex Chilton right at the beginning of his brief comeback which, although it brought forth two independent seven-inchers on Ork and Lust/Unlust as well as a Japan-only album, seems to be the stuff of legends if you were one who followed the fanzines of the day.
Various Artists-NEW WAVE DUTCH HEAVY JAZZ CD-r burn (no label)

...and, come to think of it, no way in the world to get it considering that only 500 of these platters were pressed up and frankly I dunno where in the world you can get 'em! But get 'em do, for this 'un's a total killer of an avant/free jazz nature that goes to prove that there are out-there over-the-hills-and-far-away jazz players on the face of this earth, or at least in Holland where these killers were laid down only recently. Heretofore unknown acts with names like Albatro, Cactus Truck, Donne Et Desiree and Dead Neanderthals present for your untamed ears a particularly heavy industrial-strength jazz on these sides recalling everyone from WILDFLOWERS-era Roscoe Mitchell to seventies-generation Luther Thomas in their approach and execution, and when I say execution some might feel that this music is the aural equivalent of being drawn and quartered!

My own personal fave has to be the Donne Et Desiree track which sounds like a cross between side one of Sonny Sharrock's MONKEY POCKIE BOO and DAILY DANCE what with its spaced out ethereal percussion and heavy duty electric guitar shards that'll tear a few more holes in your psyche, all before the song decays into a particularly doof version of "Over The Rainbow" if you can fathom that! And if you can, then just maybe you'll be able to relate to the rest of this crunch as well!
Kim Fowley-"The Trip"/"Underground Lady" 45 rpm single (Norton)

It really is too bad that ol' Kim himself ain't here to enjoy this fiftieth-anniversary reissue of his PEBBLES VOLUME ONE blockbuster single that was oh-so-eloquently remade by Godfrey just two PEBBLES later. The other side is equally mid-sixties punk rock-y and perhaps even wilder to boot what with the way the melody speeds up and slows down with Fowley even sounding giddier than usual. I wonder if these tracks were sped up on purpose...wouldn't doubt it if they were one bit!
Ark-VOYAGES CD-r burn

Dunno much about this particular home-produced item other than it was released in 1979 (though it sounds very 1971 to these stirrups) and that it is of a Christian bent. And that it actually comes off a whole lot better'n what I would have imagined a platter of this type to be. Lyrics ain't gonna make you gag much (in fact sometimes they come off downright well-written) and the playing ain't of the introspective ROLLING STONE-hyped singer/songwriter sensitivity schlock style either. Kinda reminds me of Tim Buckley in spots with the more rocking numbers taking on a late-sixties West Coast fashion that isn't offensive to your punk-addled ears either. As with many of these locally churned out and distributed platters nothing that'll make you go "aah", but a halfway decent one-time spinner for sure.
The Dawgs-MY TOWN CD-r burn (originally on Star Rhythm)

Here's one of those early-eighties hotcha local records that it seemed as if Miriam Linna and no one else would have bought back then. I know I sure wouldn't have (with moolah being a great scarcity at the time) and I'm sure you wouldn't have as well (too many Culture Club platters for you to snatch up at the expense of these guys) but now that it's 2015 we can all download this with the flick of a few keys and a few handy blank disques. Not as good as the Real Kids from whence the Dawgs sprang but still mighty satisfyin' what with the mid-sixties transistor radio pop/soul bent that didn't make as much of a splash during those days as I sure wish it would have. If the Sidewinders were the alpha of the great seventies Boston local rock 'n roll movement these guys might've been the omega, which is something they sure must be proud of in some strange way perhaps only I could comprehend.
Various Artists-MISFIT MUPPET WINTERIZING CD-r burn (Bill Shute t' boot!)

Looking at the custom cover sure brings back fun memories for me what with the old Columbia Records "The Man Can't Bust Our Music" ad! Bill always thought that this Mitch Miller-conceived ad was one of the more awkward, annoying concepts ever executed to try 'n get down with the youth buying record market. From the mere slogan to the photo which featured the usual paid models dressed exactly as your middle aged admen envisioned the New Left rabble to dress, even your average Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kid still mired in that great mid-twentieth century suburban slob kultur could spot this 'un as a cheap ploy to rake the dough in.

And as Bill so pointed out, this ad campaign was so put on phonus balonus that such a concept was hard to top, at least until the arrival of Gerard Cosloy's MORE ADDICTING THAN SMACK new-decadence heroin chic-oozing ad propping up his old Homestead Records label that turned up in more than a few amerindie 'zines in the late-eighties.

But enough of old farts passing as fresh innovation and onto this week's Bill Shute spinner. And what a spinner it is starting off with a flexi-disc intended for members of the Muppet Show fan club! And if you (like me) thought it was a whole lotta fun watching Saturday evening tee-vee with this particular effort starting off the festivities back inna late-seventies then this is the disc for you!  And speaking of flexis, the one that appeared in that Mr. Bill book '79 way also pops up in case you have rheumy reminiscences of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE ending your Saturday evening broadcast jollies.

Ernie K-Doe's "Mother In Law" might be too obvious considering how it's still being played on those oldies radio stations that dare broadcast something recorded before 1980, and I didn't think that Bill was that much of a Misfits fan either but they're both on this 'un and I don't seem to mind one bit!

As far as the obscurities go, the Rocki Lane Christmas cash in comparing Santa Claus to a hippie is cornball good enough for me, or at least way better'n Arlo Guthrie's "The Pause of Mr. Claus" while the Humpback Whale track also churns up alla the mid-seventies hype about that famed water mammal who made sounds that were low and guttural and actually got a record out because of it. Well, at least I hope those sounds were coming from his front and not his back!

The old radio ads managed to pop those pre-adolescent feelings into my consciousness after years of being buried perhaps due to traumatic experiences I experienced as a kid, and while the World War II instructional record was nada w/o the film strip to watch it by and Roger Price's fifties humor not as cutting as Stan Freberg's or even Jean Shepard's, Etta James' "Ooh Ooh Pah Doo" was a wild rouser and Bob Kayli's soul stirrer so good you wish his brother Berry Gordy woulda done something to get it out and about!

But the real surprise for me was none other than Nancy Walker's tracks, three of 'em to be exact! If you liked watching the lady on tee-vee throughout alla them years and thought she was a real belly shaker you'll slobber over these rip roarers with titles such as "I Hate Men", "You Irritate Me So" and "Take Him" which not only show off Walker's surprisingly smooth singing talents but a mean wit you just don't see in comedy anymore. And with blatant liberal types like Jerry Seinfeld avoiding college campuses because the students have become so pee-cee to the point that even these morality wreckers can get labeled bourgeois and counter-revolutionary one wonders how the likes of Miss Walker and her jabs and jibes would go over. Sheesh, trying to get a laugh outta the enlightened moral superiors who rule things today is akin to trying to make Josef Stalin crack a smile, other'n by telling him that a few thousand kulaks were buried alive that is.

Thursday, June 25, 2015


From pen of Karl May (one of ol' Adolf's along with an entire generation of kraut kiddies' fave writers) comes this western saga starring none other'n onetime Tarzan and Hollywood horny guy Lex Barker! Of course that's along with French actor Pierre Brice, both doing their second stints as Old Shatterhand and Winnetou respectively in this German-Yugoslavian production custom made for your Sunday afternoon mid-seventies UHF channel. And as far as these Euro takes on Amerigan westerns go well, as you would expect not only May but the Yugos did a pretty good job of capturing the ol' west feeling here, though the continental aura does kinda sneak into the mix as it is wont to do in these overseas affairs.

Well, at least it does to the point where I was kinda expecting to find an Orthodox church strategically placed somewhere in the background of the typically Wild West town where much of this moom takes place.

But hey, it's sure a whole lot better'n those faux westerns that were popping up on tee-vee inna nineties during that great big rush to recreate a form that had already been dead for a good twennysome years. As anyone with half a braincell would expect Barker's a typical aging Hollywood goodguy in this 'un and  Brice is even more noble than the usually noble Indians you've seen on tee-vee all these years, while Uschi Glas as the halfbreed gal Apantschi is pretty sexy to the point where you kinda wished that her native outfit would be one of those topless ones the kind you used to see Indian gals wear in those early-sixties noodie films. But you can't have any of that in a fambly pic, even if it is one made in Europe where anything goes (and it's comin' here faster'n you expect).

The plot ain't that much to sneeze at either, what with Asti Spumanti or whatever her name is being given a goldmine for her twenty-first birthday from her whitey father, who of course gets shot a good half-hour into the film when his conniving friends discover the secret. From there on the big time bad boys find out about it and from there on let's just say that the Wild West just ain't the same quiet li'l ol' place it usedta be.

Now it's a rip-roarin' rooty-toot with lotsa fighting, shooting, knifing and other fun things all kids like to do, complete with the expected plot twists, nerve-twisting cliffhangers and other things that never did quite make it with the Pauline Kael Fan Club types you still see around. It's a funny 'un too, especially during the points where the soundtrack slips back from dubbed English to the original German and suddenly Winnetou's singing an old Teutonic folk song, not to mention the time Shatterhand goes from his Amerigan accent to a German that would have done Erich von Stroheim proud!

I guess if you like LUCKY LUKE and a whole barrel of those French western comic novels that have been talked about plenty o'er here in Ameriga yet barely read by us locals you'll like WINNETOU UND DAS HALBBLUT APANTSCHI a whole lot more'n alla those sophisticado alternative amerindie bloggers I have to compete with most certainly would. And as you all know, that's a fact!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The really big to-do this week's just gotta be the appearance of the latest issue of none other than Tim Hinely's long-running 'zine DAGGER! And mister, this just ain't any typical toss-out mag by any means, but a neat, compact, four page first edition of an alphabetized ongoing project entitled "the A Issue" (sorta like the old OP) where not only does editor Tim Hinely get to spurt forth about some of his favorite "A" musical acts but other names from the past such as (for example) Al Quint do as well! No "real" theme here, but whatever is "A"-oriented and fits into the DAGGER-scope of must-hear music (whether it be a review, history of a group etc., take the Adverts and I don't mean please!) made it into this 'un and sheesh, the whole thing reminds me of some quickie stapled fanzine of yore filled with excitement and energy only it's 2015 and we're not supposed to do things like this anymore!

Heck, even Eddie Flowers took time out from his Gizmos World Tour to submit a review! If Tim can handle it, "B", "C" and so forth will show up eventually (and after that who knows, like maybe the Cyrillic alphabet???) and I gotta admit that reading nice, fresh writeups on acts that I might or might not have cared about in the past really does stimulate the ol' musical juices in me to the point where I might be considering re-activating my own excuse for a fanzine, if I only had the money and an audience to make such a project feasible! If you're in the mood for some TOTALLY HOTCHA musically-induced reading that reminds you of the Golden Age of Rock Screeding, just check the link on the left and see what Tim can do for you!
Not that much new happening this week, though a HEFTY, HEAPING HELPING OF THANKS  must go to both Tom Gilmore and Bill Shute for their disque donations. Really guys, I dunno what I would do w/o you other'n be scraping the bottom of my teenage record collection for booty to write up and like, you guys do about as much for this blog as Charles Manson did for home security systems. And with those words let's cut to the chase and get to the reviews!

The Chris Pitsiokos Trio-GORDIAN TWINE CD (New Atlantis)

To be honest with you, I get the feeling that Pitsiokos is not gonna be the big new jazz player of the future nor anything even near one for that matter. He's too good to be one, too out-there and angular for the standard bowtie bozos who speak for a good portion of those lighter than air jazz tastes that are so prevalent these days. Now, if he played as if he was conjuring up a buncha seagulls in flight or the chitchat atmosphere of an early evening cocktail party I get the feeling that Pitsiokos would be welcomed into the jazz world with open arms, but judging from this particular spinner it's more than obvious that the exact opposite's gonna be true.

Still, a mighty pow'rful set featuring Pitsiokos on sax (sounds tenor but these ears have lied to me before) with bassist Max Johnson and drummer Kevin Shea, both players who are more'n copasetic with Pitsiokos' hard-edged drive. Pitsiokos reminds me a bit of Roscoe Mitchell and Luther Thomas in that fringe way they both play(ed), while the bass and drums are definitely in that outta-pattern between-the-notes fashion that drew more'n a few rock 'n roll noise lovers to this music in the first place! Well, at least w/o the artistic pretense and starry-eyed altruism that I always suspected the likes of Grace Slick just oozed when they would go on and on about John Coltrane.

And the music man, is it bared wire INTENSE in the great BYG/WILDFLOWERS tradition of over-the-fence and running wild playing. And not only that, but it sure makes for subliminal (?) tension building while I'm reading those DICK TRACY collections which seem to be the basis of my mere existence these days!
The Generation Gap-UP UP AND AWAY CD-r burn (originally on Custom)

Once you get past the cash-in title track this ain't a bad listen at all. Not a tip top sixties spin true, but there are some nice folk rockers (such as the album closer entitled "On The Run") intermingled with the at-times cornball instrumentals. Yet another supermarket album for Aunt Flabby to get for her nephew even though 99-cents might seem a trifle too much for her to spend considering the ever-rising price of Carter's Little Liver Pills. But given the balance of worthy rock to trendy pop moves I do get the feeling that neph ain't gonna be using this one for pea shooter practice any day soon.

Yoko Ono-COUGH PIECE 1961 CD-r burn

Got this 'un from Bill, and really I think it was neat of him to show us (via the custom cover) all of the old cars he used to drive into the ground trying to get to the greyhound track in time for the first race! And this recording is a particularly wild ride in itself, an early vocal piece from Mrs. Lennon herself which features the famed nightingale doing a whole bunch of coughing while a strange electric hum and occasional clicking whir and clank in the background. In many ways reminiscent of Vito Acconci's SALIVA WATERWAYS recordings even though this predates that a good fortysome years, but with all of that coughing, boy did I want to reach out for a box of Smith Brothers! For a moment there I thought I was listening to an audio book of CAMILLE!
Detail-FIRST DETAIL CD-r burn (originally on Rune Grammofon, Norway)

Haven't even thought of John Stevens for years so the arrival of this li'l platter sure brought back latent English free jazz memories. Stevens is joined here by two Norwegian locals who certainly know their avant jazz stylings, and the resultant sound is something that should bring a smile to the face of a jazz fanabla who's been inundated with way too much martinis and cocktail bloviations these past ten or so decades. Stevens plays hot and in between the beat like the best of the new thing types, while keyboardist Elvind One Pedersen reminds me of Burton Greene in his classically-minded take on the atonal realm. Frode Gjerstad handles flute, bass clarinet and soprano sax just like the trailblazers who went before him did, and if you can locate a copy of this 1982 live sesh then you just might be all the happier for it! Well it sure beats ROMANTIC WARRIOR all hollow!
Mind Garage-A TOTAL ELECTRIC HAPPENING CD-r burn (originally on Merlin's Nose Records)

This late-sixties self-produced obscurity tended to be way too hippie for my sense of values, but some of you might enjoy this Christian (hah!---just give those lyrics a listen and you'll believe otherwise) rock group's hard rock musings that are about as good or as bad as the heavies they were emulating. Most of it is typical post-psychedelic burnout rock custom made for a decrepit old house with a portable stereo player and nothing else, but there are a few moments of doof addledness that redeem this one a tad. For a listening experience that's bound to stick to you like fat-laden poop to an anus just give their Vanilla Fudge-inspired version of "I'll Be There" a spin!
Various Artists-SEVEN LITTLE BITS O' JAYWALKING CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Honestly, I dunno why the lassie on the cover is plugging her nose because this set's pretty solid what with its r 'n b/soul groove that's more driving than you'll ever be! True this one does have Jerry Lee Lewis from his sixties country days, "Party Doll" singer Buddy Knox doing some popsy non-hit and an unknown garage band doing their take on the infamous hit "Little Bit O' Soul", but its the soul that makes up the backbone of this 'un. Cookie V's almost as good as Fontella Bass even if I could never envision her warbling with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, while Jerry McCain's "Twist '62" actually sounds about as non-twisty as an early-sixties single could get. No need to tell you the greatness of  not only Booker T but four sides of James Brown (inc. "Say It Loud"!) while the Soul Agents do a version of "Seventh Son" that ain't as strong as the original but hey, it ain't like they turd all over it. A good one from Bill and hey Miss, if you wanna plug yer nostrils at any sorta music maybe I can direct you to a few choice college radio labels out there, eh?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

BOOK REVIEW! SNAKES! GUILLOTINES! ELECTRIC CHAIRS! (MY ADVENTURES IN THE ALICE COOPER GROUP) by Dennis Dunaway and Chris Hodenfield (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2015)

Is 2015 thee year of Alice Cooper what with me getting hold of that boffo OLD SCHOOL Cee-Dee comp and this steaming autobio written by the group's bass guitarist and star in his one right Dennis Dunaway? Maybe so, and even though Alice has been milking his long gone fame for all it's worth these past fortysome years and the rest of the band has unfortunately fizzed away into the cheap motel room club circuit they sprang from, Alice and company have always received perennial play here at the BLOG TO COMM orifices!

And with good reason too. As I have said before somewhere the Alice Cooper group never should have made it as big as they did because hey, Ameriga just wasn't cozying up to hard rock freakshows during the early-seventies reign of Cat and James T hisself! They were the kinda guys who you think woulda been moving from city to city trying to eke out a living while leaving maybe one self-produced single behind, a band to have been forgotten about until some anal-retentive stroon like myself read about 'em in some crinkled rockmag and began writing 'em up as if they were some grand missing link in the birth and development of Third Generation Rock! Naturally most of you readers would think I was yanking your chain with all of this over-the-top hype that I was dishing at'cha, but as usual you would all realize just how right I was in the first place!

But Alice Cooper made it and HUMONGOUS-like too, and it wouldn't be a stretch to say that these ozobs were part of that same late-sixties/early-seventies hub of rock activity that gave us the likes of the Velvets 'n Stooges 'n Flamin' Groovies 'n Deviants that had many a suburban slob crawling through the flea markets of the tri-state area trying to find a forgotten bargain and for mere pennies at that! Yes, without Alice doing "Eighteen" would we have had Rocket From the Tombs' "So Cold", or without "Yeah Yeah Yeah" the entire Electric Eels output? I should say not, and in fact I could go out on a limb'n say that if there ne'er were Alice Cooper YOU dear reader would undoubtedly be listening to Vicki Carr right now you sudzy low-class rented apartment chain-smoking beer sotted excuse for a welfare recipient you!

Dunaway's telling of the Cooper tale is snat smart---something us fans woulda loved to've read during the group's heyday only it's safe to spill the beans now because hey, in 2015 what is shocking? Not that there are that many sordid sagas to spill, and a good portion of 'em have been brought up in earlier books and interviews and such. But let's just say that SNAKES!... reinforces everything we know and presents it in a nice li'l package that's a breeze to read if you're in one of those Sunday afternoon plop yourself down 'n do nothing moods like I'm always in.

A lotta the sagas/fables etc. are reinforced, others are clarified. The Max's Kansas City story we've all heard where Alice got arrested on-stage for saying "tits" turns out to be him getting scolded by club owner Mickey Ruskin for allegedly saying the naughty word. The Alice's Cookies idea that Frank Zappa had  where their first album would consist of a bunch of singles (one source said those hip pocket flexi discs they used to sell) stored in a can was indeed true, though Zappa's manager Herb Cohen nixed that one for cost reasons. The time Pink Floyd stayed with the Nazz at their Los Angeles abode is also brought up (and yeah, Syd was the crazy diamond even then!) as was the one where Alice threw the chicken into the audience and had the ASPCA picketing him show to show. Even the way the group got the "Alice Cooper" name via the spirit of a doomed Salem witch via Ouija Board is debunked!  It's true that most of the facts presented are things we've already known and digested, but the way Dunaway embellishes everything you don't mind reading about it once more because he seems like an even more real kinda guy than you ever did!

But it is a great read, esp.  if you (like me) are of the opinion that the real second generation of rock began in the mid-sixties with the mop top rock explosion and lasted until around 1981 when the high energy bulldozer of music petered out thanks to the failure of underground rock to make notable inroads into teenage Amerigan desires. Beginning with the garage band days of the Earwigs/Spiders, the typical mid-sixties teenage stories that are presented remind me of when """""I"""""  was living back then as a mere turdler thinking that those teenage kids I saw were sure having fun and boy couldn't I wait to grow up! Those early singles do attest to the garage band roots Alice Cooper retained throughout their run and the stories that Dunaway tells are just as true to the real spirit of mid-sixties teenbo Amerigan suburban slob living as those Greg Shaw reminiscences and Jay Kinney cartoons would lead you to believe.

Of course the days of stardom are what really'll get you all glowing inside, from the early years when Zappa was first all rah-rah over these guys before quickly losing interest to the appearance of Bob Ezrin who the group met at the Max's gig (he thought the song "I'm Eighteen" was really "I'm Edgy"!) to the big albums and megastardom and maybe not-so eventual big fall when MUSCLE OF LOVE came out and barely got a yawn. It's all here, and if you were the kinda kid who thought that Alice along with T. Rex and the Raspberries were the best thing to happen to your early-seventies AM radio boy will you guys really eat this 'un up like a long-forgotten box of Kellogg's Space Food Sticks. As for you gals, after giving this one your eyeballs you might even be tempted to put up a poster of a unicorn flying over a rainbow in your bedroom, right next to the David Cassidy one that is.

Yeah it was co-written with ROLLING STONE's Chris Hodenfield (never a top-ranking rock scribe in any book I've come across) but since the guy helped break Cooper with an early STONE exclusive  he was obviously best suited for this job. It was a cut and paste from Dunaway's own words anyway, and besides Lester Bangs is long gone, Richard Meltzer never was a fan and maybe they couldn't have gotten hold of Metal Mike Saunders for all I know!

But hey, it's a boffo read and one that kept me going through some rather boring times here on the BLOG TO COMM front. A must have for you early-seventies metallic mongers out there who are still able to rub your two brain cells together, and before I forget howzbout a big hefty thanks to Tom Gilmore for pitching a promo copy my way! Now that I've saved the XX amounts of bucks it would have taken to buy this I can spend it all on the necessities of life, like even more Alice items! As I've always said, it pays to be thrifty other'n when you're using other people's money!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Y'know, I was really caught off guard/surprised when I read on both the FREE JAZZ and STUPEFACTION blogs (linked up at your left) about the passing of jazz ultra-legend Ornette Coleman. Maybe not totally shocked considering how Coleman was deep into the octogenarian cycle which is saying something about the longevity of a jazz musician, but saddened over the plain ol' fact that we're all not just getting older but moving away from that bared-wire intensity of a past that gave us such fire musicians as Coleman, Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane, Sun Ra and a whole passel more who have been written about and dissected beyond belief by people whom I don't even like for the past half-century or so.

Maybe it ain't so strange, but I have been thinking about Coleman a whole lot recently. Not only about his boffo bootleg album recorded live in Rome '68 that I had been contemplating digging outta the collection, but the beyond belief collaboration with Yoko Ono entitled "Aos" that appeared on the YOKO ONO/PLASTIC ONO BAND album back '71 way. I remember when the entire "Royal Albert Hall" Ono/Coleman show was offered up for auction on ebay back in the earlier days of this century...the winner walked away with about six hundred less dollars for the reel to reel but gained what I'm sure was a real mind-bending tape which I hope he makes available to the public more sooner than later. The mix of Ono's howls and Coleman's trumpet bleats really made for a rather blasted style that hasn't been duplicated since and really, it would be a humongous shame if something like this wasn't out 'n about especially in these comparatively controlled and decidedly anti-free jazz times.

Funny how I had been thinking a whole lot about Coleman during his final hours without even knowing he was on his last legs...I hope I wasn't responsible for his demise in any strange mystico way because of my ever-flowing memory.

But sheesh, the guy is no longer with us and although I ain't crying my eyes out or anything I do feel a slight bit of the ol' pangs. Coleman was about as important to my late-teens/early-twenties listening patterns as much as the hard-edged rock 'n roll of the day was, and if it weren't for Coleman we all know that the jazz avant garde might have developed slightly different than it had. I don't think it would have developed for better or worse but hey, I think it would have been altered in some way too convoluted for my ape-like brain to relay to you in any way/shape/form.

So here's to you Mr. C, and all of those used budget bin albums of yours that I bought up for years on end (and even a few newies) including those European imports that I thought captured you a whole lot better'n the legit platters ever could. Highly recommended in these times of mourning...the ESP live album, the WHO'S CRAZY session on Affinity, the Arista/Freedom LIVE IN LONDON set and even SKIES OF AMERICA which seems to be one platter that divided the Ornette lovers from those who listened to him just because it was the cool thing to do. Also DANCING IN YOUR HEAD and anything with James "Blood" Ulmer, of course.
Hmmm, think I got a nice 'nuff selection of spins to review this go' round. Nothing spectacular mind you, but I would fathom a guess that one or two of the platters up on the chopping block this weekend are good enough for (now get this!) repeat spins! Given my naturally curly curmudgeoness that's really saying something which frankly, I wouldn't want to admit in a millyun years. Again, a big heaping helping of thankitude goes to both Bill Shute and Paul McGarry, both of whom are a mighty boon to an ever-straining pocketbook that keeps getting drained in the face of those ever-rising CAP'N CRUNCH prices!

The Standells-LIVE ON TOUR - 1966 CD-r burn (originally on Sundazed)

It sure makes me feel good inna labonza (upper portion) to know that these lost for years kinda garage band recordings are finally making their way to my ears. Naturally this particular platter ain't no different! The Standells live opening for the Beach Boys during that fantastical year of 1966 doing their own (and others') hits a whole lot better'n I'm sure Anastasia Pantsios and other snob aficionados of the "classic rock" form would have expected. Sound quality is surprisingly good considering tapes like this usually rot away in storage until it's too late, and you don't even mind that the group's doing other people's hits especially if you're one of the few who (like me) really enjoyed THE HOT ONES despite catcalls to the contrary. Dig the especially high-larious version of "Gloria" with the spoken word segment highlighted by a whole lotta funny sound effects and bizarro asides.

Nothing to poop at here. For being a guy who never really cozied up to the Vibracathedral Orchestra perhaps because they were a new band w/o the trailblazing lurch of the originators, I find myself rather entranced by the group's ability to create a music of the spheres or whatever those brainy types call it that doesn't make me wanna throw up. Repeato-riff hypnotics that fall somewhere between the Seventh Sons and a middle eastern open air market just ripe for a suicide bombing. If you go for those side-long improvisations on the early AD II albums you'll be sure to like this heady dream music.
The Gentlemen's Agreement-UNDERSTANDING CD-r burn (originally on Soundflat, Germany)

Yet another modern rehash on mid-sixties concerns that doesn't sis-boom-bah me but it ain't bad either. Nice bossy English white-soul take that seems to hearken back to a whole buncha takes from the seventies on, yet as usual there's something here that ain't gripping me by the fanablas like it should. Funny, because these Gentlemen sound about as devoted to the cause as any of those yobs you used to see in old English moom pitchers back on weekend afternoon tee-vee. 'll give it a whole buncha "A"'s for effort even if ya know this 'un's destined for the bottom of the box where it's bound to keep my copy of the Hiroshi Nar CD company!
Sham 69-THE PUNK SINGLES COLLECTION 1977-1980 CD-r burn (originally on Captain Oi)

A lotta reg'lar BLOG TO COMM readers think that Sham 69 were one of the spit-shiningest punk rock bands to have come outta the English scene during the dapper days of rebellion. Considering that I wasn't as much of a fan of the spikier bands of the day as I was the Pere Ubu/Roky Erickson/MORE SONGS ABOUT BUILDINGS AND FOOD triangle of snappy garage rock with frightening enough electronic undertones (maybe I should toss the Stiff/Radar Records contingent in there somewhere) I can't really share these readers' ebullience. However I can dig Jimmy Pursey and company's crash-through drag out music even if I don't see it standing up to some of the gnarlier examples of punk thud that were competing against 'em. Their version of the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends" is even funnier than the Standells' "Gloria" sendup!

Mebbe if I took Frogese in High Stool I'd appreciate this 'un more (even if I was one who tended to think that the French were even more mincing than all of those English fags out there). Still how can ya fail with Serge Gainsbourg's whackoff take on European pop and various Top 40 moves as well as Anna Karina's sexy singing that's up there with them Bardot and Birkin bleats that Gainsbourg was also blessed to work (amongst other things) with. So good that it was easy enough to get the fact that these people hardly ever bathe outta my mind.
Paul Weller-SATURNS PATTERNS CD-r burn (originally on Parlophone England)

Innit that guy from the Jam who bored us with alla those dippoid albums throughout the eighties and nineties? Hmmm, he does a good turn on various mid-sixties British poptunes here with a few boring numbers tossed in. But the overall feeling is still a whole lot more tasty'n a whole lotta that British Weakly next-big-thing overhype that had upstart critics drooling buckets over the latest bright flash to make its way into the medium. Overall a rather decent effort that I wouldn't even think of purchasing, but that's why Paul McGarry sends me these things, right???
Various Artists-JOURNEY SCRAMBLE SOULBEAT FORGET CD-r burn (wish I can come up with as many variations on Bill Shute's name as he can with the titles of these disques he burns for me!)

Some real surprises here, such as who in heck are Hat and Tie (sounds like late-sixties English smart pop focused through early-seventies decadence) and John Ducan (kinda Andy Ellisonesque) anyway? And while I'm at it who were the Mersey Kids who did a commercial yet pleasing early/mid-seventies single that we all knew never would go anywhere. And why in heck did Roosevelt Grier (who actually had a fine singing voice) only warble on side "a" of his single since the flip was an instrumental???

Bill slipped some reggae (U Roy and Delroy Wilson) which is something he rarely if ever did before, and the typical r n b organ instrumental jive sure reminds me of some Holiday Inn lounge in Tulane for some reason or another. DMZ's "Out Of Our Tree" might be a bit obvious but so what, 'n for the life of me I can't figure out what the appeal is with Van Dyke Parks (he always seemed like one of those STEREO REVIEW critics fave types---and hooey to that!).

It all ends with some electronic workout versions taken from TOMMY, and for the life of me I don't know why.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Given that the Bob Montana comic strip collections just ain't comin' out as fast as I'd like, I do have to rely on some other sources to get my classic ARCHIE fare. This IDW collection sure fills the bill because, although it's filled with gags 'n gals galore that were created roughly throughout the late-forties and early-fifties, a good portion of these were drawn by the originator himself! And golly gosh! does THAT surprise me because I thought that when Montana did the comic strip he was totally involved with that 'n nothing else 'cept those finely detailed comic book covers which detailed Betty 'n Veronica's fine mammarian assets to the slightest detail short of making the setting a little chilly, ifyaknowaddamean...

The Montana comics were a blessing to this adolescent retard still stuck in ranch house Ameriga 1971, as was the one featuring Hooky Hogan, the truant who I thought only existed in the ARCHIE comic strip universe! So were a couple starring Hortense, a long-forgotten proto-Big Ethel type with a Jughead nose 'n Dilton specs who's even man-hungrier than her obv. spawn (even though she looks like your average high school gym teacher!). Really, its li'l things that matter more'n any historical current events caga ya hadda memorize back when you were ten as if the date of the Magna Carta would benefit you in any special way.

As for Montana, nobody could deliver a badgag so masterfully as he could, plus to this day he remains the best Betty and Veronica artist of all time the way he drew 'em sans any form of modern day stuck up suburban gal snobbery 'n with all of those modern ideas of what's good looking or not. Too bad Montana didn't stick around for the comic books a whole lot more because he certainly would have been a finer addition to the Archie comics roster'n Harry Lucey, a guy who I know has his fans but veered from the Montana model as oft he could making for some rather eye-irritating stories throughout the years.

Speaking of eye-irritating, I wonder where they got some of the artists who drew a few of these strips, the school for the blind??? There's one guy here who really makes a horrid wreck of things coming off like a cheap Tijuana Bible imitator (maybe that's how he got his job, or better yet that's what he DID in order to get revenge on his employers?), while a good smattering are what'cha'd call passable. Samm Schwartz is pretty hotcha 'specially when he concentrates on his mainstay Jughead (the mini-Jug Soupbone character's one I wish woulda stuck around for a longer time'n he did) while the early Dan DeCarlos are about as trying to get there as he was then---far from the master of the form we knew and dug inna late-sixties but much better'n some of the fanablas who were being hired at the former MLJ.

Gotta few gripes tho, all having to do with some of the repro taken from old comic books and such. A few times balloon dialog is missing while in one strip the entire pic is gone leaving the balloon hanging there for no real purpose. Dunno how such a shipshape organization as IDW let these goofs slip, and if I were a brave soul I'd demand everyone who bought this book receive their money back, a new book, or (better yet!) even both!!!!!

But hey, it's all so engrossing esp. for this time of year when you gotta do something when you're trying not to cut the grass and trim the hedges. Hope there's another one with some more early Montana work out there inna works (also hope they continue reprinting the dailies, esp. those early-fifties ones that somehow got forgotten inna shuffle) because hey sometimes it's either this or the piling stack o' bills, and you know which one's more fun to read, eh?

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Hi-it's Chris the Cis here, welcoming you to yet another fun (as opposed to fudge) packed edition of BLOG TO COMM! For a change I got some actual newies this time out thanx to the likes of Bill, Dave 'n Paul (not to mention...Light in the Attic???), and of course I'm more'n glad to share my opinions of with you desperate readers out there who have nothing better to do in life than read my blog. Hey, I know you deserve more than Jay, but don't we all???. Not so spendthrifty me even got some hot 'n PURCHASED items for you to schmooze which, although a strain on my pocketbook, sure ain't a strain on your willingness to know a whole lot more about music than you think you do!

Hey. I'm actually feeling kinda top notch for a change so hey, rather'n bitch 'n moan about life (of which I am most certainly entitled to do) here be this week's wrap up of totally hot and ginchy goodies!

 The Ventures-FLIGHTS OF FANTASY CD-r burn (originally on Liberty)

Good thing Bill sent me a copy of this or else I'd have to search through tons of local flea market record bins to locate one for myself! Of course these old Ventures albums are about as easy to spot in those old stacks of records as John Kennedy assassination platters, but unlike that death casheroo-in the Ventures are actually listenable 'n besides, why does anybody care about JFK and brood this late inna game anyhoo?

Hot covers of the local hits as only a still riding high on their early sixties success band can do, with funzy enough versions of "Bonnie and Clyde", "Scarborough Fair" and other tip top chart successes that sound exactly the way you would expect some early-sixties instrumental group to have whipped 'em up in the hippydippy latter portion of that decade. Don't miss their surprisingly true to the original while Venturing it up version of Blue Cheer's "Summertime Blues".
Various Artists-HADLEY MURRELL PRESENTS THE BEST ARIZONA GARAGE BANDS 1967-1970 CD (HDM, available via Forced Exposure)

Sheesh, from the cover photo showin' off his early-sixties band the Carnations to the way his mug is splattered all over the booklet insert, you kinda get the idea that the real title of this collection of soul/disco producer Hadley Murrell's early studio successes should read HADLEY MURRELL PRESENTS THE BEST ARIZONA GARAGE BANDS 1967-1970.

Well, at least somethin' like that. But despite Murrell's obvious mugging for the attention (after all, this was released on his own label) this li'l spinner is better than a lot of barrel-scraping garage band collections that have popped up over the past few decades. From the boffo Caravelles "Lovin' Just My Style" single (BTW it turns out that future Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith was not in the band!) to the downer folk rock of  the Sect and the frat rockin' Noble and the Matadors 'n Jokers, ths 'un does present a nice slice of what was goin' on in Arizona rock way back when it was ALL regional scenes and local radio.

Even the aforementioned Carnations got their sole single (a nice slice of turn of the fifties/sixties instrumental plunkdom) represented here, though for the life of me I dunno why eight tracks by the awful Bliss pop up inna mix. This late-sixties hard rock just doesn't make it next to the boffo blasts from earlier in the decade 'n besides that, Bliss' moves are so bad-move shuck that even the likes of Rare Earth sound lively in comparison.

Proceed at your own headband and fringe jacket risk with Bliss but the rest...yeah!
The Feelies-DEC. 14th, 1977 CBGB'S CD-r burn

My abject loathing of the Feelies o'er the years has since turned to mere dislike, but I do find this particular early recording to be more or less middling. The group's natural geekiness doesn't quite irritate me the way their recordings as well as spawn did throughout the eighties, and if you listen to them in the context of the times (Television and Talking Heads vs. B-52s and...Talking Heads!) the Feelies don't sound bad at all. At least they don't when they're cranking out their post-Velvet paens they sound about as coherent as any suburban slob geek surviving on cutout bin treasures and back issues of CREEM. But still I'd rather give any third string CBGB group of the day a spin over this because hey, sometimes I actually think that I would rather hear a good Aerosmith impression over a bad David Byrne one!

David Keay and Laura Feathers are back with yet another spinner, this one featuring nothing but instrumental versions of past rockist accomplishment (and then some). Not quite surf, but these straightforward instrumentals can sucker you in with their repetitive drone. At times reminiscent of an early Amon Duul II jam, the Kiosk make the perfect background (and foreground for that matter) sounds for these lazy late-spring days. Covers of the Byrds, Beatles, Velvets, Wire and...Bruce Springsteen??? Ya better believe it, Bub!
Smokey-HOW FAR WILL YOU GO? CD (Chapter)

I've been interested in this Smokey character ever since I first read about him in BACK DOOR MAN way back when (wouldja believe 1987?). After alla these years I finally get to hear not only the guy's rare mid-seventies singles but a whole passel of unreleased studio efforts that I'm sure nobody would've thought would've seen the light of day and if you wanna, so can you (just click above)!

Although none of these tracks are whatcha'd call high energy rock 'n roll they (at least the early 'uns) do have a nice mid-seventies synth punk drive that should appeal to the more glam-oriented amongst you ('n they should considering that the likes of James Williamson, Hunt/Tony Sales and Randy Rhodes sat in on these sessions). Smokey has the showbiz talent groove down so pat that you won't even mind when the guy slips into those bad late-period Jim Morrison moves which only Iggy could turn to gold!

However I gotta admit that the newer late-seventies disco-wave numbers sound like the kinda after-hours bathhouse blahdom you'd expect anonymous luvvers to listen to while trying to dig deeper and deeper down the Hershey Highway with their lappers. So proceed at your own risk, and remember that water sports don't always involve skis and scuba gear.
Sweet Madness-MADE IN SPOKANE 1978-1981 VOLUME 2 LP (distributed by Light in the Attic)

If you liked these Northwesterners' first edition of archival dig ups you'll be sure not to pass up this collection of even more late-seventies/early-eighties under-the-covers rock 'n roll. And if you (like me) tended to have an aversion toward some of the, er, giddier moments of 1980s wave music and attached yourself to the more nerve-digging sounds of the day this might suit you well. Entertaining (and maybe even commercial!) pop moves mix with snazzy keyboard stylings that remind me of everything from very early XTC (at least the stuff I liked!) to the Embarrassment making for a platter that really does remind ya of just what fun it was to mix sixties accomplishment and seventies experiments. Now if only more acts out there would come up with a sound as bright, energetic and life-reaffirming as this 'stead of the gloomy glop that usually came from many a young and precocious sort!

The Royal Guardsmen-ANTHOLOGY 2

According to Bill this is an online-only deal so if you're online and you wanna deal then hey, why not snatch the thing up. The Red Baron gang cover the hits of the sixties with all of the budget-mindedness that went into the group, and although they ain't the original hits they're better'n those soundalikes that used to get plugged on afternoon UHF tee-vee back inna seventies.

I'm sure that if Bill were to write about these he'd go whole hog into the intricacies and subtleties that separate the Royal Guardsmen's versions from the original (perhaps even going on as to how they were improved in the process!), but since I'm writing this thing I won't.

Of course to sweeten the ol' pot the "Snoopy" hit along with a whole batch of Red Baron-related tracks are clumped on at the end of the disque, and they come complete with a couple of comedy skits off the original album that feature some of the worst imitation English accents I've heard since MARY POPPINS! For the life of me I couldn't see any suburban turdler laughing at that mess of misplaced humor no matter how PEANUTS-related it may be...heck, I even get the idea that the same turdlers who liked the whole PEANUTS jive would have preferred experiencing Peppermint Patty and Marcie getting involved in a hot game of snatch the pearl 'stead of this brand of cheap humor, that's how bad it is!

But the music here's snat, and if you wanna re-live some of those better cheapo rock 'n roll moments of the pre-lovenpeace blitz this should snuggle into your mind a whole lot more'n Judy Collins.
Various Artists-JUST CALL ME KARMA EYE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Starts off fair 'nuff with two sides of a passable Indiana garage band single. Then comes this old radio ad ca. '69 for some Californian tape-only store selling the latest Beatles in four and eight track not to mention cassette. Jan Hodson is a standard late-sixties AM pop wannabe aimed at the same Bobby Sherman crowd, and Roy Buchanan's version of the Neil Young fave rave "Down By The River" is a strict snoozeroo. "Bottom of the Soul" and "Let the Good Times Roll" (no, not the...) by Alvin Robinson's pleasing local soul but like alla this bargain bin music you know it wouldn't go anywhere. Crocodile Tears' "Prostate Exam" sounds like a 1963 surf instrumental recorded while the musicians were performing such an exam on each other while its flip "Karma Swamp" returns to the early-eighties experimental avant-drone rock movement in ways that would make any fan of those Bruce Anderson/Dale Sophiea O-Type Cee-Dees blush.

As for Paul Howard's Quality Serenaders its time for yet more soundtrack music for a Grapevine Video comedy short while the radio ad for REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE probably tempted enough subteen kids to sneak into the theatre only to be bored to death. "Sanctified Sue"'s nothing but more neo-r&b that reminds me of "grown up" music as it was when I was six. Factory Sounds (not to be confused with Three Sounds who recorded the previous platter) aren't the Industrial Music noisecrankers I thought they would be but do an interesting acoustic bloozy thing that would appeal to various Fahey/Basho types. They also perform a clunky electric guitar/drums romp that does have much merit due to the go-everywhere guitar line that kinda reminds me of a bug Spanky just hit with a hammer that keeps staggering all over the place.

Whoever recorded the "Bell Solo" and "Meet Me in St. Louis" trax would probably wish to remain anonymous (the first sounding as if someone had taped a pre-recorded church bell as it was ringing while the latter's somone's Aunt Flabby singing the classic song so's the entire family could ooh and aah over it at the Fourth of July picnic), while Angelo Finaldi sounds like some furriner copying the old Crazy Elephant and Rolling Stones hits (sorta) for the local market (I think France even though the guy sings like a dago).

Well it was better'n any of us woulda expected. Nice slice of under-the-counter weirdness you can find on the web if you look hard enough, and I get the idea that the ONLY one on this planet of ours who would dare look would be Bill Shute himself. Well, I guess he's gotta do something when he's not cursing out greyhounds!

Thursday, June 04, 2015


Two classic era Andy Warhol flicks that really set the gay rights movement back a good twennysome years. MY HUSTLER takes places right in the smack dab middle of East Coast cruiserdom Fire Island* and features Warhol actor/real life Boston rock 'n roll fan Ed Hood as a wealthy queen who rings up Dial-A-Hustler for a young blonde Adonis played by Paul America. Meanwhile Hood's bitchy (female) neighbor joins him for "Water Cocktails" and begins lusting over the new acquisition sunning himself on the beach (much to Hood's ire), while a more experienced member of the Third Sex (who's done more'n his fare share of back door entertainment) pops in for some acid-tongue on the part of Hood. Soon a bet as to which of the three will get Mr. America first is up and running, though by reel two what we mostly get is the older hustler giving Paul the ins-and-outs so to speak about the biz and the heaps of money he could be making. I just hope there weren't any overachieving adolescent boys who just happened to be seeing this way back inna mid-sixties thinking that there was a whole heap of moolah to be made in male prostitution to the point where they could afford all the slot cars that they wanted 'n more!

In BIKE BOY a real-life biker with the infamous WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT tattoo makes a stop in En Why See, and after taking a shower for all of the la la lads out there goes shopping for new duds and cologne (proving that most alla the store owners in the burgh must be fags--heck even Hood makes an appearance as a florist!) before meeting up with none other than Andy's Gang! The biker comes off typical toughguy with a New Yawk accent (even though he may be from Ef-El-Ay, which Mark Jenkins' brother said stood for "fucking, laying, and ass-licking" or something like that), but can he hold his own against the likes of Briget Polk and Viva??? Like I have to give you the answer?????

Both films remind me of that old comic I caught on-line where these two codgers are in an audience while some gay guy's telling jokes and flambaying it up on the stage. One of the old coots says to the other something along the lines of "I remember back when you could laugh at poofs on the street for free"! Considering that I didn't pay a penny for these flickers let's just say that it feels like old times---again!!!

*though Don Fellman disagrees with such common knowledge, saying that once when he was a kid he and his fambly were vacationing on the famed isle and everything was normal, like no guys were coming up to him asking if he wanted to earn five dollah or anything like that! Either that or maybe them guys thought Don wasn't up to their usual Michelangelo standards or something.