Thursday, November 23, 2017

These Golden Age Reprints that I've acquired over the past six or so months (maybe even longer!) continue to make my ever-dwindling free time almost as fun as the days when I could actually buy comic books at the local flea market for a nickel each. (Though, as I've been told many-a-time, you just hadda wonder what kind of homes those comics came from ifyaknowaddamean...and Brad Kohler does!). Unfortunately is now outta business so I'll have to rely on Golden Age for any further reprint jollies, and sheesh who ever thought that here in the dank blah of the late-teens I could enjoy myself with a buncha old comic book and strip reprints, a bottle of Dr. Pepper and maybe a bowl of munchos just like I could looooong ago when such things were bound to send this adolescent blubberfarm straight into pure SUBURBAN SLOB HEAVEN!

PLASTIC MAN has been a fave read of mine ever since I was given a copy of Jules Feiffer's THE GREAT COMIC BOOK HEROES for Christmas in 1971 (the Christmas which I still refer to as the infamous "Comic Book Christmas" just like 1976 was the "Record Christmas" and 1983 the "Sock Christmas"). Maybe it was that "Giant (hah!) Size" DC SPECIAL featuring old Plastic Man sagas that got my interest in the hero all revved up. Then again, it could have been the infamous Les Daniels comic book history entitled COMIX featuring a reprint of the by-then infamous "Granite Lady" story that done it. Don't quite remember, but whatever the case may be that malleable man was a top notch hero in my book, at least until I hit my mid-teens and there were more interesting things to do like peer at the pics of scantily dressed damsels on the covers of record albums.

It's interesting and perhaps quite confusing considering their copyright-mad reputation that DC let a good portion if not all of their Quality Comics acquisitions slip into the PD. I mean, ya gotta admit that those old Plastic Man, Blackhawk, Midnight and even Spirit sagas were pretty kulturally significant to more'n a few comic book fans and if anybody out there is buck-crazy it's the fine folk at National that's for sure! But I don't care because whereas the fancy-schmancy hardcover and slick paged PLASTIC MAN reprint series at DC has long ground to a halt (at least they got all of their Spirits reprinted for the snobbier than thou comics as aht crowd) now a whole slew of comic reprint dealers can make these titles available even if all they have to rely on are yellowing old beat up titles for source material.

True, Golden Age Reprints, like ecomicspace, don't always have the best comic books at hand and pages can be missing or marred by bleeding colors, but I think of all of the fun I had beck when I was twelve finding some ancient comic and treating it as if it were a special missive from a better world shot smack-dab into the drab existence I was being forced to lead! Personally I don't feel bad about the fact that some of the pages look as if they were spotted with petrified puke made by an asthmatic pudge back 1954 way because you should see some of the gunk that got into my own freshly-owned books, especially during the pollen-infested hefty booger days of spring.

I didn't get the entire PLASTIC MAN series that Golden Age Reprints is offering, but I bought a few that I thought would fill in some of the more glaring gaps in my Plastic Man psyche. Stayed away from the earlier and more famous Jack Cole-era ones since I have a good portion of those via the DC reprints...for now my moolah went towards the oft-ignored post-Cole issues that were being done up right before Quality dumped their comic line. I did this not only for historical "studying" purposes but because hey, I'm always hot for a good mid-fifties superhero romp done up at a time when these comics weren't exactly sellin' up a storm like the horror and war titles of the day. Gotta stick up for the underhero, y'know.

So I got a nice batch of PLASTIC MANs from the Comics Code cusp and hey, these aren't anything to huff and puff in self-righteous indignation over. The artwork sure ain't Cole's but that Cuiders guy who took over managed to capture a lotta the original spirit. The sagas might be more serious now but they're still humorous enough in that slide aside way that the various DC revivals I've read never really could capture. The comedic "Woozy Winks" solo sagas were still going strong and they manage to retain the silliness of the originals and like, I don't care what hurricane some of these books survived they sure sate the inner fanabla in me just like they probably would you!

Quality definitely was grinding to a halt during this time since #64 (November 1956, the last of the Quality line) reprinted two Cole-era sagas which even a pre-adolescent fanabla could tell ya was "End of Era Time". Too bad DC didn't make better use of the guy because like, this was right when the Silver Age was gettin' in gear with the revived Flash and Green Lantern and you'd kinda think that Plastic Man woulda fit in swell with them. It's been said that Julius Schwartz at DC wasn't even aware that the company now owned the rights or else he wouldn't have OK's the Elongated Man, but given just how megaloponian DC is who could blame him?

Nice selection of long-ignored yet top notch reads I got here but what's THIS????? A PLASTIC MAN comic from January 1964, one that was put out by the shady beyond belief Super Comics line that Bill Shute has written about in these "pages" on more than a few occasions?!?!?!? I guess that these sneaks were either unaware just like Schwartz was that DC owned the rights to the Quality line or better yet were operating so far away from the taproot that they knew they could get away with it, but nevertheless an issue of PLASTIC MANdid appear under the Super Comics label a good two years before the character's grand return to the comic racks under the DC imprimatur. The cover is up to date professional for sixties standards (even if, as usual, the action on the front doesn't exactly match that in the mag!) which I'm sure woulda fooled more'n a few Saturday Afternoon Barbershop Kiddies out there anxious to part with their precious twelve cents (and don't laugh since as I've said many-a-time Brad Kohler used to think that those Marvel monster reprints of the seventies were first run if only from the super-hero-esque action-packed covers!). At least Super, perhaps in an attempt to show that they weren't exactly neophytes when it came to comic book history and fandom, included reprints of some other Quality era favorites like the Spirit as well as Quality's Manhunter who I understand actually had a feud with the DC version created by Jack Kirby once it was discovered that there were two heroes under the same banner with the same moniker! I guess that the Quality version was so under-the-radar back then that the usual litigious National Periodical people didn't even know it existed until it was way too late!

Hey you sophisticated New York rich kids who like to go "slummin'"...don't head out for the Lower East Side or Harlem in your shabby chic clothes to mingle with the hoi polloi. Just say home, crack open a few cans of Moxie, settle back while the Seeds blare away on your cheap set and read a whole stack of these wild Golden Age comics! You'll get a more accurate idea of how the other half (or at least MY half) really lives and not only that but you might even survive the day without getting raped!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Although the greatest period of film adaptations of the novels of Alistair MacLean was in the 1960’s (THE GUNS OF NAVARONE, ICE STATION ZEBRA, WHERE EAGLES DARE etc.), a steady stream of them continued through the 1970’s (Chris reviewed the excellent FEAR IS THE KEY, with Barry Newman, here at BTC a while back), and they were still coming out in the late 70’s, when this South African production was made. It did not get a US theatrical release, but premiered as a “Movie of the Week” on network TV. The problems with the production made the headlines at the time and even today are an entertaining read (director Freddie Francis was replaced; the cobbled-together financing of the film caused a political scandal in South Africa; star Richard Harris was allegedly drinking a bottle of vodka a day….Harris’ classic answer to that charge was that EVERYONE on the film was drinking, not just him!), some will feel more entertaining than the film is, but taken in the right spirit, GOLDEN RENDEZVOUS mixes the conventions of the typical disaster film with a ship-under-siege-by-an-armed-gang plot in a way that should entertain the genre-film fan who appreciates off-shore productions (like the films of Harry Alan Towers).

It's a shame that this did not get released on the drive-in circuit here in the USA as it would have been the perfect fodder for the fuzzed-out drive-in patron more interested in his date or his six-pack or his joints than the specifics of the film, but who wants to be entertained when he comes back up for air and who can re-join the plot at any point and not get lost….you’ve got a cast full of down-on-their-luck but colorful stars who still are worth watching and who are not at all kept in check by the director (unlike, say, in a guest shot on MURDER, SHE WROTE), lots of action and violence, a good amount of humor woven into the first half, a musical score (brash and tacky verging-on-disco synthesizer with a beat) that could telegraph to someone a mile away what’s happening, and a talented cast who play the material just right.

Richard Harris was then in his brief action-film-star period, and Harris was such a multi-talented man that he could read the phone book (if we still had phone books) and be simultaneously mesmerizing and witty and charming and assertive. Surely, the producers felt that they could tap into Harris’ success in films such as JUGGERNAUT and THE CASSANDRA CROSSING by hiring him for this, and to a large extent, they succeeded as Harris does carry this film admirably. In some ways GOLDEN RENDEZVOUS could be called a low-rent version of THE CASSANDRA CROSSING, but set on the high seas.

Besides Harris, you’ve got what could only be called a dream cast of people who’d work in anything, and to a person, they are all EXACTLY what they were paid to be: entertaining caricatures of their usual roles and/or public persona. David Janssen, who usually did a great job playing burned-out characters, has never been more blitzed-looking and out of it. I can’t believe he could have hit his marks and delivered his lines correctly if he’d actually been inebriated, so I will credit his convincing portrayal as a depressed drunk to great acting. Burgess Meredith once again plays a variation on his Penguin persona, as he did so often in the 1970’s. Meredith, a fine, classically trained actor who once played the lead role in Steinbeck’s OF MICE AND MEN (and who once collaborated with John Cage!!!), could always steal any scene he was in, and here as a compulsive gambler who is having a whale of a time blowing his money in the ship's casino, he is a hoot. In fact, when John Vernon (also great, as he always is, and menacing….one of Canada’s national treasures, in my humble opinion) and his ragtag band of terrorists are shooting everything up and threatening to kill everyone, Meredith casually asks if he can finish playing out his hand at the casino card table before they get into their terrorizing! And Vernon says, yes of course….and Meredith plays out his hand! It’s THAT kind of film. John Carradine is usually shadowing Meredith in the casino scenes, and just when you forget that he’s in the film, he shows up and utters some sarcastic aside or humorous observation. Filmmakers ALWAYS got their money’s worth with John Carradine. Even Dorothy Malone shows up, lending her inimitable class to the proceedings. Was John Ireland not available? A part could easily have been written in for him—some of the supporting characters, such as Janssen and Meredith, were not even in the Alistair MacLean source novel, so there would be no excuse for not wedging another colorful supporting character into the script (a script that Harris claimed was being re-written as they went along).

Evidently the MacLean novel, which was published in 1962, had been optioned by Laurence Harvey soon after its publication, and had it been made back then, it would have been a much different film….probably a much “better” film to those who are looking for a serious, well-made project that would get excellent reviews from mainstream critics. However, for the few, the proud, the BTC readers, GOLDEN RENDEZVOUS has the woozy, straight-to-video action film feel, the mindless violence within a cartoon framework, the aggressively cheesy synthesizer score, the star cameos all played quite broadly, and the humor (the scenes between Harris and leading lady Ann Turkel, after their initial mutual hatred, are very entertaining as they insult each other and tease each other at the same time) that we expect and enjoy from such a film….a film which seems to emerge out of some vaguely defined international netherworld into the low-grade genre-film marketplace. Just imagine you picked up a sixpack of Mickey’s Malt Liquor at the convenience store, and you headed to your local drive-in circa 1981 and GOLDEN RENDEZVOUS is playing. Come into it with no real expectations (I had never heard of the film when I first got a DVD-R of it from a friend), and you’ll find yourself entertained and distracted from the drudgery of everyday life for 105 golden minutes. It’s sure as hell going to be more entertaining than some pretentious Sundance-wannabe “indie” feature film praised at Slate or on NPR… or some “edgy” Netflix series that would appeal only to people with an MFA who live east of the Hudson. You won’t find David Janssen as a drunk or Burgess Meredith as a degenerate gambler in those! And they won’t have an in-your-face disco-fied synthesizer score either!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

I'm pecking this 'un out on a particularly rainy and overcast Saturday morning. Frankly I find the entire scene with the dank skies and rather soggy atmosphere beautiful...for some reason overcast rainy days remind me of my fun turdler times when I'd feel so safe and secure in my ranch house while the tee-vee was cranking away just knowing that if I were outside them walls I'd be shivering and soaked beyond belief. Perfect comic book reading weather, quite like that infamous day I always flash back to when I was pouring through that WORLD'S FINEST 35-cent "giant" in my aunt and uncle's warm living room while the rest of the fambly were dealing with a disastrous garage sale out inna cold. It's memories like these that will live on forever in my brain because hey, in my life so-called milestones like high school graduation and all of those other supposed "highlights" do come off mighty insignificant next to your first Tootsietoy or various Halloween hijinx, that's for sure.

Got a pretty snazzy batch this time, some of these via the fine folk at Forced Exposure and others from the fine folk in San Antonio Texas, Waterdown Ontario and Tempe Arizona. A nice snuggle up to batch if I do say so myself. And hey, I gotta say that the up 'n comin' months are starting to look bright what with a few promised reissues and rehashes of classic hard-nailed neo-Velvets seventies-bred items that just might be comin' our way, and for doofs like me who look upon the mid-sixties noise upheaval as the true birth of the BLOG TO COMM aesthetic maybe we all should delay our planned mass suicide if only for a few months, eh?


They (whoever those obscure-o "they" types we always read about may be) have called Battiato Italy's answer to Eno, but I guess that only makes sense if you believe that Lewis Furey is Canada's answer to Lou Reed. Lotsa differences between the two to the point where comparin' 'em would like be comparin' me to Yul Brynner due to our follicle-deprived scalps but hey, if you think that a unique insight into VCS3 synthesizers and various musical mayhem does bond certain artistes together then Battiato just might be ol' Brian with a plate of spaghetti 'n meatballs and don't you think any differently!

The fine folk at the Superior Viaduct label have actually have re-released three of Battiato's earliest efforts and they sure did a spiffy job of it what with the heavy vinyl pressings and thick cardboard covers. I bought 'em all up too not only to discover just what it was that made this guy worthy of a reissue series on such a hot label, but because I'm always on the go for some new musical hook and given that the watertap of flowable faves has been shut off for a good many years it's like I gotta take the chances that woulda scared me (and my wallet) a good ten or so years back!

So what is it about Battiato and his electronic sounds that have the retro-underground rock brigades all a'flutter here in the long-after-the-fact teens???

Well, 1971's FETUS doesn't exactly set my scope on fire even though it seems to have everything good going for in, including a gross-out cover up there with the rest of those sicko sleeves that began making an appearance during that decade. But the music, eh, doesn't sound as beautifully nauseating as I would have wished with the typically seventies synth sounds once again zooming me back to some lonely day during the summer of 1975 where I would be so bored outta my entire life to the point where I'd actually sit through an airing of AVIATION WEATHER or CAPTIONED ABC NEWS on the local PBS station before switching over to the late movie and becoming even more ennui'd than usual. Unfortunately the "local color" once again seeps through just like it did with Le Stelle di Mario Schifano and Les Rallizes Denudes inserting a little too much local folky components to a music I would have hoped was purely seventies driven and like, you can't make a good album on disgusto covers alone!

Next year gave us POLLUTION which as you might already surmise was Battiato's commentary on the whole ecological upheaval that was being hammered into our kiddie heads no matter where you turned back during those more natural than thou days. Sheesh, if I had my druthers I'd CLOBBER all 'em teachers and media magpies who were scarin' me to death with alla that Paul Ehrlich Chicken Little clucking about how we only had ten years left on this planet so we better give up all sorts of things so we can live in a better environment where we call all hunt for grubs with sharp sticks together. Anyway since this is all in Eyetalian I can't make out what is being said, but as far as the music goes there really ain't much to it that would make me wanna go out and collect bottles off the street for the local recycling scam. Other'n a Pink Floyd ca.1969-ish instrumental passage near the end of side one I can't fathom a thing of what went on during the forty or so minutes it took to play this thing.

SULL CORDES DI ARIES is the final entry into this Superior Viaduct trilogy and I must admit that it sure cuts a good swath into the whole Europrog pop movement as it is a marked improvement over the first two efforts complete with an entire side of mesmerizing repeato-dirge sounds akin to various Teutonic takes of Floydian concerns to an extended instrumental which reminds me of those classic Third Ear Band recordings that Imants Krumins used to rave to me about. Thankfully the singing is kept to a minimum and the general feeling is akin to something your lost seventies universe wanderer woulda loved injecting various substances to in the sanctity of his suburban squat. Of course by the time he tried to sell it at the local record emporium the thing was all scratched up and a few hypos were to be found within the sleeve, but think of all the fun he had with the platter and maybe you too will want to osmose it all in your own voyeuristic from afar way.

Dunno what pile of papers the notes to this one lay in, but it's sure a great sampler or whatever it is that Bob Forward sent my way. Reich sounds like a more swinging Philip Glass on many of these numbers, some which could have fit on side two of David Bowie's LOW without sounding out of place. Then there's the next-to-last track (preceding "Four Organs" which I reviewed last year) which for some odd reason or another reminds me of the theme to an early-sixties television drama. When I hear this I am reminded of when I was a teenbo and experimental music like this was a major force in my soon-to-be-twenties life and how I would have loved to have been thin, handsome and well groomed listening to this in some suburban squat along with some equally musically enthralled knockout-looking gal of Japanese heritage, which is much better'n listening to Bon Jovi in a cheap hovel with some Caucasian who learned feminine hygiene in the Balkans!
THE PLASTIC CLOUD CD (Lion Productions)

Not bad for a quick flash late-sixties effort. Still there's no real vim or vigor to separate this one from a whole batch of non-major label quickies that filled out the flea market bins of the early-seventies. A definite San Francisco vibe can be discerned, while the lead guitar of Mike Cadieux does take on some great cheap sitar imitations worthy of the Electric Prunes' Vox wah-wah pedal ad. Still the Cloud fail to reach the great heights of contemporary acts who had not only broken on through to the other side but were hootin' and hollerin' with unabashed glee. Well, they can't all be wowzers!

Like the Cisco Kid, Boston Blackie was a bad guy who just hadda go good because the readers really liked him...kinda like wrestlers back inna seventies and eighties who became crowd pleasers and thus were forced to become nice and wholesome much to our discontent. Never saw any of the Boston Blackie films but this radio show with Chester Morris in the lead's pretty tiptop, what with he playin' a detective who always outsmarts the dumbski if vengeful cops who really would like to see the guy get the chair and keep taggin' murder raps on him. In "Devon Caretaker Murder" Blackie gets blamed for the killing of some yardman at a ritzy estate when his coat is found with blood splattered on it, while in "Spy Ring" he gets blamed for the death of some debutante type who trots off with a guy claiming that he is Boston Blackie. Guy just can't stay out of trouble for one day. Pretty standard formula radio detective drama which I think holds up more'n an entire run of LAW AND ODOR could ever. By the way, do you think anyone could get away with a name like "Boston Blackie" in these overly sensitive times???
Gang War-STREET FIGHTING CD-r burn (originally on Skydog Records, France)

I sure remember the hubbub over this meeting of grinds what with the ever-pocked Johnny Thunders joining forces with radical jailbird Wayne Kramer in a band that was just custom-made for the whole NEW YORK ROCKER-bred rock maniac who was gettin' a li'l tired of all that Athens Georgia coverage. Two live shows to discern, one from Montreal and the other from Boston and both of 'em sound great not only sound-wize but performance-wize as well...Thunders keeps his habit under control while Kramer adds those total-energy guitar lines that even had Ted Nugent drop his egotism for once. If you can find a better example of the high energy game being played during the '79/'80s cusp may I direct you to maybe Von Lmo and MX-80 Sound only???
Cluster & Farnbauer-LIVE IN VIENNA 1980 CD (Bureau B Records, available via Forced Exposure)

I think part of this has been previously used to pad out some other Cluster or Kluster reissues, but if ya wanna hear these live gigs in their entirety this would be the thing to get. Ambient or whatever they call it electronic moosh sizzles its way into your brain in a fashion that might have even shocked LaMonte Young while the addition of drums gives this that primitive beat that maybe does reveal the true Velvet Underground influence that I could only hear on Cluster's more "accessible" efforts. Nothing I would call a must have, but a kinda/sorta have thing it is most indeed.
The Troggs-LIVE AT THE BBC CD-r burn

A lot of this has turned up on previous Troggs bootlegs, at least one of which has been reviewed on this blog some years back. But am I gonna turn down another chance to give a listen to my favorite British Invasion group? No way you fanabla you! Quality is top notch as are the performances complete with acoustic versions of "From Home", "6-6-5-4-3-2-1" and "Wild Thing" that top the unplugged game more'n that MTV series ever did! Excitement personified, and if you really do care you get the chance to hear that weird cover version of "Little Green Apples" which was so anemic they only performed it live like twice! Listen to it and maybe you too will turn green as well!
Chris Gantry-MOTOR MOUTH CD-r burn (originally on Magic Carpet Records)

This 'un used to be found in the record bin at Donofrio's supermarket in Hermitage Pennsylvania back 1973-4 way...I remember seeing this weirdo item scattered amidst the various grownup sorta fare as well as a copy of THE WHO SELL OUT that was goin' for $3.49. Back then I didn't have $3.49 to my name so much to my dismay I didn't get THE WHO SELL OUT...and thankfully I didn't get this schmoozy neo-country pop singer/songwriter-styled emote either which is one of better things in life that could have happened to me. That is, thankfully I didn't buy this 'un unless it's now one of those rare collectors items goin' for quadruple digits which in that case I wish I DID buy it, kept the thing well-preserved and sold it to some dumbo out there for beaucoup bucks!
Various Artists-UNUSUAL ESTONIAN STALACTITLE SEAS CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Bill has been known to really toss some wild and uninhibited Cee-Dee-Ares my way and as usual this is just one more of 'em! A pretty varied selection of weirdities too featuring three carousel calliope takes on sixties hits that I could never ride a pony to as well as a buncha weirdie things like some mesmerizing pygmy chants, this one's got it all. Some of it is pretty entertaining despite me thinking it was gonna be junkoid toss out (Max Woiski and the song poems of Bob Gerard come to mind) and things like Ukulele Bailey charming kinda in the same way Tiny Tim was, but the one thing that really got my attention is the Great Stalacpipe Organ at Luray Caverns which reminds me of a turdler-era vacation the fambly took there way back when. The reason these organ favorites bring back the memories is because I remember getting WHUMPED by Dad there...y'see there was this one stalagmite that I thought looked pretty phallic (I think it's called "The Wedding Cake" and not "The Wedding Tackle") and I kept bringing this undeniable fact up to everyone's attention until Father in typical Popeye fashion can'ts stands no more and POW! did I get it and but hard! Thanks for dredging up that 'un Bill!

Thursday, November 16, 2017


Sheesh, I better get on the ball and start writing my review of the two phone book-sized Quality Comics collections that Golden Age Reprints published before Bill Shute beats me to it! (Don't worry, if he does I'll write my own take anyway!) But until I do let me at least gab about this neat little collection featuring yet another one of those wonderful yet oft-ignored and STRANGE BEYOND BELIEF Quality characters, none other than Hugh Hazzard and his Iron Man, later to be known by the title Bozo the Robot in case any of you do harbor some confusion about the thing.

And yes, confusion may reign. If I were still a muddled teenbo comic book wannabe historian like I was so long ago I'd sure be baffled by the fact that there was an Iron Man appearing on the racks a good twenny-four years before the more familiar Marvel character popped up. I'd even be more stymied by the fact that this original Iron Man looked a whole lot like the 1963 take with that bulky costume that was soon re-designed because it was just too clunky for any dignified superhero to wear. But then again weird things like that always cropped up in my mind adding to even more confusion than usual for a kid who used to get brain muddled by why FIREBALL XL5 was on TV and SUPERCAR wasn't and as you know diseased ways of thinking do tend to run off on tangents I don't think even the most skilled psychoanalyst could fathom.

And besides, this particular "Iron Man" ain't even a human character but a robot, controlled by police camp follower (in the Bruce Wayne tradition) Hugh Hazzard. He's the guy who in the very first episode "rescued" Bozo from the evil Dr. Von Thorpe who was using the robot for nefarious gain thus turning him into a crime fighting robot with Hazzard now calling the shots! Naturally the police commissioner, using the same sort of comic book anti-logic every police commissioner did during those Golden Age days, is dead set against Hazzard operating Bozo and wants the robot scrapped, but he quickly changes his mind after seeing the machine in action killing a kidnapper (and surviving a plane crash) at the end of episode two. And you wonder why crime was rampant in these books what with alla them dolt cops who are so inept that private eyes and superheroes are always outwitting them!

Every saga reprinted here basks in that off-kilter yet so enjoyable Quality style which thankfully did not adhere to what most of the competition (most which paled in comparison, and I'm even talking DC!) was up to. With a special control hidden in his jacket collar, Hazzard relays commands to Bozo just in time for the fl robot to save him from some saboteur or to leap upon a speeding vehicle causing some jewel thieves to crash thus meeting their maker a whole lot sooner'n they surely hoped they would. Gotta love those pre-code comics where these bad guys always get knocked off thus saving us all from having them give us grief in some future story.

What's even more interesting are the sagas where Hazzard actually squeezes himself into Bozo thus making him perhaps the original Tony Stark. Now frankly I woulda thought Bozo woulda been chock fulla gears and gadgets to make him operate the way he does, but I guess it was possible for a standard 1940s police detective to sneak inside him which does add a broader scope to just what can be done with the infernal machine. And, in case you didn't know, when you read these stories you gotta throw all sorts of logic and reason right out the window which in fact make them all the more enjoyable and if you can't get away with that in real life at least you can in these pretty exciting tales from the dawn of the superhero industry!

A must get for those of you who still have the soul of a mid-teenbo suburban slob pimplefarm raging deep inside.

Monday, November 13, 2017


STORIES BY FAMOUS AUTHORS ILLUSTRATED (also known as FAST FICTION) ran for 13 issues in 1950-1951, doing 50-page comic book adaptations of literary classics such as HAMLET, MACBETH, and NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, as well as adventure classics such as THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, SCARAMOUCHE, SHE, BEN HUR, CAPTAIN BLOOD, and the one under review today, John Buchan’s THE 39 STEPS, perhaps best known for the 1939 Alfred Hitchcock film version, which has been described as 80% Hitchcock and 20% Buchan. It is a classic spy story and also considered a fore-runner for the “man on the run” formula used so often in espionage fiction and films. Author Buchan brought back the Richard Hannay character in four later novels, as THE 39 STEPS was such a success.

I will confess to not having read Buchan’s original novel (it’s in the public domain, so you can read it at Project Gutenberg or you can get a cheapo Dover Thrift Edition for a dollar or two), but I have read ABOUT it, and it seems this comic is based fairly closely on the novel, not the Hitchcock film. There are two other film adaptations, in 1959 (which is said to be very much like the Hitchcock adaptation--I vaguely remember seeing this one on television as a child) and 1978 (which is said to be faithful to the book), as well as a BBC television film from 2008, a stage-play version, and a 13-episode TV show which created new adventures for the book’s protagonist, Richard Hannay. Orson Welles was such a fan of the book that he did a Mercury Theatre radio adaptation of it, and in recent decades, even the late Christopher Hitchens sang its praises.

Surely there are sub-plots thrown out and exposition trimmed to create a 50-page comic book version of a novel that runs between 100 and 150 pages, depending on edition and font size. However, this comic book version (story adapted by Dick Davis and illustrated by Jim Lavery) is quite satisfying, full of well-detailed visual particulars for both the indoor and the location scenes, and the text--alternating dialogue and narration--is just right for a suspense/espionage story.

It’s easy to see why this tale appealed to Hitchcock, with its “average man” who stumbles into an espionage situation and who rises to the occasion, providing a viewpoint character for the audience (he could be us....well, somewhat) while having a lot of twists and turns and suspense before saving the day.

This is the perfect reading for a cold, rainy night (which is when I read it), and I look forward to re-reading it soon. The novel/comic is so different from the Hitchcock film that even if you remember that somewhat, you won’t really have many spoilers here.

Gwandanaland Comics has published all 13 comics in this series both as separate volumes and in three combination volumes which between them contain all 13 entries. The 39 STEPS has everything you’d want in a well-done mystery-suspense comic plus an interesting, sympathetic everyman hero, intelligent dialogue, and clever plot development, since it’s based on an acclaimed you are getting the best of both worlds, comics and literature. The cold, wet weather here tonight makes it easy to imagine that I’m alongside Richard Hannay as he maneuvers on foot through the Scottish hills in search of the enemy agents who hold Britain’s future in their hands.

I recently watched the 1923 silent film version of SCARAMOUCHE, starring Ramon Novarro, so I look forward to getting a copy of this series’ adaptation of that novel (by Sabatini). If the idea of a well-done 1950 comic book version of a classic 1915 spy novel appeals to you, then I can’t imagine your not enjoying the “Famous Authors Illustrated” adaptation of THE 39 STEPS.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Aren't you glad that we're finally settling into that frigid winter weather ahead of schedule here in the tri-county area? I sure am, for once again I have an actual excuse (and a good one at that, guilt free too!) to stay indoors, listen to music, read old comic book reprints and fanzines of the past, and write it all up if only to present to you the enlightened ways of true suburban slobdom as it stands here in the 21st century. And I'm doing this all outta the goodness of my heart, as well as so's I can at least read some hot rock screeding (even if I wrote it!) in the old "gonzo" style that seems to have been poo-poo'd with a vengeance these past thirtysome years. Or at least it has been ever since Lester Bangs deep sixed and Richard Meltzer was exiled to Portland during the reign of Secher. I mean, if nobody else wants to keep the Bangs drumming here in 2017 I certainly don't mind giving it a try no matter how feeble an attempt it may be.
So for once I had a really good week of it listening to some music that managed to move my inner fanabla like spiritual Ex-Lax. The Lords of Thyme album might actually stand the test of time and become an eternal wowzer (no hyperbole here---really!), while the Droogs, Koala and Tom Crean efforts are items that I will not be filing away with the dirty underwear and socks under the bed. Yes things are really looking up what with these sounds that actually can earwig their way into those dark recesses of my and maybe even your mind, and the best thing about it is that they're being made in the HERE AND NOW which really is one reason not to do an 86 despite all the temptations that are incessantly needling you to do so. But hey, if you do decideto go the self-extermination route...can I have your records???
For those of you who are taking notes, my current free time playlist (that is, thingies outside the scope of today's reviews) consists of practically nada but the Electric Eels (especially their anthem "You Crummy Fags" which is soooooo inspiring these days) and the Velvet Underground's SCREEN TEST bootleg, the Cee-Dee version since I don't wanna sully my original vinyl collection with scratches and the like. Sheesh, is that CHELSEA GIRLS soundtrack the most bee-you-tiful thing I've heard ever even with that homo blathering on at the beginning...kinda makes you wonder if any fragments from the CG "rock opera" that Lou Reed and John Cale were writing survive not to mention heretofore unknown recordings that should be issued in any wayshapeform since like, man can not live on hippie revisionism alone. As we all know there are loads of unreleased rarities that we can all use especially now when time is slipping by and frankly, I think that when I'm gonna be hooked up to a millyun machines with tubes sticking into me all over while I emanate that sweaty urine smell so common amongst hospital denizens, getting hold of Velvets bootlegs is gonna be the least of my problems!
Big heap thanks go to Feeding Tube Records, Plug 'n Socket Records, Kendra Steiner Editions, Bill Shute and Paul McGarry for the contributions. Sure appreciated it, because you guys saved me a ton of money!

The Lords of Thyme-THE FUTURE OF THINGS PAST LP (Feeding Tube/Shagrat, available via
Forced Exposure)

The folk at Feeding tube must read this blog because after my "complaint" about not getting a Lords of Thyme elpee inside a sleeve last time around I get an album sleeve with a record in it! Glad to see that I have some rather attentive readers out there!

It certainly was worth the wait to get this 'un too, for THE FUTURE OF THINGS PAST is one of those albums that you thought they quit making long ago. Thankfully these Englishmen (well, one's a Paddy) are an up and about aggregation and not only that but they sure do make quite a good music what with their folk rock cum psychedelic rock that reminds me of what some of those overall'd hippies on the front porch woulda made in the late-sixties had they only a sense of passion and verve in their mission.

Naw, forget the hippoid connection...think more of the ultimo ZIGZAG music/West Coast fanzine raveup of the early-seventies done up right. The early Fairport Convention mixed with a few other late-sixties bold English folk moves without the overwrought countryside pip pip 'n all those other things they say over there. Nice little jazz touches abound as well...I guess that's where Byron Coley gets the Pentangle angle from in his hypenotes. Not only that but THE FUTURE OF THINGS PAST is a bold statement regarding just WHERE music of a non-commercial yet soul-searing variety should be hovering about in an era where frankly the original rock "message" as that "International Youth Language" has dried up at least a good thirty-five years back.

A collection of material culled from various releases cassette or otherwise, this does make for a cohesive whole as it sounds just as much a contained album more than it does a put together. It's also has a beautiful swing to it that I'm sure few have heard in folk rock once the denim, cocaine and turquoise began to permeate the California crowd 'round '72 way. A pretty emotional album without the self-indulgent and narcissistic factors that made you and me shudder every time Linda Whatzername or the Eagles would release some AM single during those seventies days of slush.

Great cover too (reminds me of a mid-seventies Harvest Heritage effort) and if there is any fault with this let me blame the compilers for NOT PUTTING ENOUGH MUSIC ON THE DANG THING!!! But let me also thank Byron Coley (Feeding Tube) and Nigel Cross (Shagrat) for conceptualizing and releasing this in the first place. We all need it.
The Droogs-YOUNG GUN CD (Plug n Socket)

I sure didn't know that the Droogs were still together after over forty years but hey, they are and they're still cranking out albums that I can certainly give a rat's hoot about! YOUNG GUN is the name of the latest, and like a good portion of the past thirty years of Droogdom it's a hot set of rock 'n roll done up the way I would have expected guys who've been in on the Big Beat for so long to do it all up.

Rick Albin still comes off like Gerry Roslie meets Jim Sohns while the rest of the band play perfecto yet raw sounds that will make any expensive hi-fi system sound like that Mickey Mouse portable you had in your youth. And the material's so good that at points (especially on "For Redemption") I could discern a pretty hefty SIDEWINDERS influence, or is it just my imagination?!?!? And it's all capped off by a cover of the Seeds' "Out of the Question"! Man, what a platter this one is, and definitely should be for you!

Sky Saxon singing with the Droogs at Greg Shaw's Cavern Club back during the infamous "garage band  revival" movement days of the late-eighties---talk about a "meeting of minds" that would've curled Steve Allen's hair!
Tom Crean-3 HEADS TAME CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions, see blogroll at left for more information)

Sheesh I just don't know about this Crean guy. I mean, does he wanna be Derek Bailey, Loren Conners or Robbie Basho? Well, I hope he stays confused because this offering is a blast of pure string-driven musical pumice to hit my mind in quite a long time, a selection of stringbenders that evoke a whole load of inward emote and wafting mind excursions that naturally remind me of earlier encounters with solo guitar (or banjo or bass in this case) yet break out into new paths I'm sure others will be filching from as the years go by. Even if this wasn't the only solo guitar platter I've heard this years I'd still say it was the best...or something like that.
THE KOALA CD-r burn (originally on Capitol Records)

Always wanted to hear this wooshed over classic featuring lead vocalist Jay Mala (later to be Eric Emerson's replacement in the Magic Tramps as well as a three-gig frontman for the Joe Perry Project) and now that I have boy am I glad I did! It's nothing like I expected but definitely one of those outta-left-field surprises like JUMP and THE SIDEWINDERS, with a sound that comes off like a pop post-Yardbirds with various Byrdsian, Beatles, NUGGETS and Raiders moves that lend a kind of "upscale" class to it. I even discern some first-LP era Good Rats here though thankfully without the additional orchestra which knocked that effort down a notch or two. Mala's gruff voice also helps even if the material that pops up here ain't exactly the heavy metal the man would become better known for. Hard rock teenybop sounds that really holds up well...too bad this one isn't the stoner classic it ought to be!
Beady Eye-BE CD-r burn (originally on Columbia Records)

Sheesh, a nekkid gal onna cover and this time you can see some bullseye! Too bad wimmen today ain't as hotcha as they were when I was growing up when they still had the sense to engage seriously in attractive styles and feminine hygiene or otherwise I might just have some sorta throb thrills for the thingie pictured. Actually I find her, like a good amount of the music made by these ex-Oasis-ers, rather derivative of various sixties/seventies accomplishment, the former via the on-target gal photographers (and models) of the past and the latter various late-sixties shockers and the seventies emulators who tried to keep the spirit alive against all of the FM-rock bred dolts who thought rock 'n roll was a completely different life form than I sure did. But hey, both s-x and rock music has lost most if not all of its original drive and splendor and what else should an aged fanabla like me expect here in the rather muddled teens anyway?

A lotta people think that Canada's a boring place to live, and if they got an earfulla these two CBC radio broadcasts they'd probably have some evidence to back it up! Actually I like these shows since I like cornballus stuff, and frankly a lotta squaresville material has appeared on radio elsewhere on this planet so why should the Canadians get singled out! Harvey's a fun guy who not only sings with and without the aid of his other regulars but appears in a comedy sketch of various guffaw-inducing abilities. His announcer Whittaker actually had his own program as well, a more serious affair with a variety of musical acts and little in the way of genuine har hars. Golden Age of Radio nuts should go for this like a Canadian goes for his macaroni and cheese!
Wes Dakus and the Rebels-THE WES DAKUS ALBUM CD-r burn (originally on Capitol Records, Canada)

'n speaking of Canadians (and not macaroni and cheese), here's a pretty spiffy mid-sixties vintage album from an Edmonton group that as far as I know came out in Canada and Canada only! It's mostly of an instrumental nature and it ain't anything of a hard-hitting Northwest variety true, but it's still a better than fair representation of a genre that by the time the moptops invaded these shores was slowly going out of favor with the teenbo record grabbers out there. Fairly good neo-surf sounds that will keep your attention especially when you're reading old fanzines as the minutes go by. Beware of the two covers of  "So Fine" and "Do-Wah-Diddy-Diddy" which feature some pretty high pitched squeaking vocals but the rest...yup! Personal fave---"Roulette" which is the only rock instrumental I can think of that has a xylophone as the lead instrument!
Various Artists-CAUSTIC BONBON GINGERFLOAT SNIDE CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Like a blind date on Fire Island, you never know what to expect with these Bill Shute collections. This nice-sized one (not too big, not too small) is but one with a nice selection of music that believe-it-or-not actually sounds good enough in these post-living days. Les Aigles fly in with some good early-sixties instrumental rock that really makes me wanna kill all those people who thought music twixt "the day the music died" and the Beatles' appearance on ED SULLYGUM was total drek. Heck, even the early Cliff Richard number is late-fifties rockin' enough to make me forget about alla them little boys he purloined during those Billy Graham crusades! And James Brown doin' "Caldonia" was pure genius...he shoulda also've done "That's What I Like About The South" while he was on a Woody Herman kick. Even the country songs and Louis Prima (see what I wrote about Cliff Richard above only subtract the boys and add the story about that steamy night in Las Vegas with Keely Smith and a blackjack dealer) were fine, and if you didn't get to hear that rockabilly orgasm moaner "Little Girl" on SIN ALLEY well it shows up here as well!

Thursday, November 09, 2017


Dunno how this book got an '18 copyright date considering how we're still stuck here in good ol' '17, but I ain't gonna be a stickler'r anything about it. The ahead-of-its-time date only gives me hope that there WILL be an '18 to live through, kinda like the feeling I got when I was a mere turdler and I was worried about "today" being the end of the world only I was told that since it was already tomorrow in Asia and they were still up 'n about we were safe over here in their yesterday and boy did I feel good about it!

Boy has there been a spate of good rock 'n roll reading this past year or three what with previous faves like the Stooges book, that Suicide bio, the DENIM DELINQUENT compendium and the Sal Maida autobio entering into our fart-encrusted abodes, but now there's this killer to contend with! And what a killer it is, a read that I wasn't even expecting to get hold of (a premature Christmas gift courtesy Robert Forward, who I think got his surname due to his definitely forward thinking) and you can bet that I have recharged my rock 'n roll batteries because of its entry into my life! I mean, I actually got one of those uncontrollable rock thrills (the same kind I get reading classic hard-edged Velvets-spawned scrawl that cut to the quick of my being......ooooooooohhhh!) that I can only obtain while absorbing the likes of Laughner, Bangs, Meltzer, Kent... under the influence of a great high energy spinner so you know this just ain't some hippy rehash of the greatness of mudfests and brain-raped platitudes being foistered upon us like so many ill-minded attempts to relay the energy, violence and atonality of rock 'n roll upon us lumpen fanboys.  

Not that ex-Television guitarist Lloyd ain't whatcha'd call a top notch writer---he somehow comes off timid in his style coming off as if you're reading a letter from your cousin in the Peace Corps right before he gets captured and dumped into a boiling cauldron---but the guy sure has the tales to spin and spin them he does purty GOOD!

Maybe Tom Verlaine or Billy Ficca (dunno about Fred Smith) could deal out a better read but this one is prime enough. Lotsa talk goin' on here about the people Lloyd rubbed elbows with, the good guys and the bad, and it does make for some stimulating reads because we all know what weird creatures these rock people can be and well, having it reinforced once in awhile will make you glad that maybe you were stuck in your suburban squats back inna seventies dreaming about hanging out at Max's Kansas City like all of the other member of the New Culture because things could get a little hectic out there and what do fifteen-year-old pimplefarms know about protecting themselves against predators and drug-addled hypo-nuts anyway???

Great stuff...the various late-sixties/early-seventies pre-Television tales regarding the likes of some famous names like Jimi and Led Zep and PLENTY on Lloyd's close and personal friend Velvert Turner whose tale could make up another hefty-sized tome if it hasn't already. Television's own history is recorded though perhaps not quite in the detail that one would have hoped while even the Piccadilly Inn gigs with Rocket From The Tombs get a nice li'l bit of space you know it probably wouldn't have gotten had this book came out a good three or so decades earlier. Other names like Keith Richard, Anita Pallenberg and Buddy Guy make their way into the book and the tales they generate sure'll make what's left of your frontals do a few snizzle pops ifyaknowaddamean...

I even grooved heavily on Lloyd's psychiatric troubles where he relates his own mental crackup and tales of his stay in Creedmore undergoing treatments I would consider dubious even by sixties standards. If you think your favorite rockers were raving lunatics the people who occupied the beds where Lloyd was staying would have made the ultimate rock group and don't you kid yourself---if only they could untie their restraining straps!

Bad points, the overemphasis on matters s-xual and otherwise. Yeah I know I'm a prood and that this kinda material seems to come with the territory anymore but that doesn't mean I have to like reading about Lloyd's "trisexual" appetites and who screwed who or about Lloyd standing there nude while Danny Fields flibbened his jib because the former wasn't feeling flittery at the time. When I start reading about the durtier aspects of various celeb lifestyles I kinda feel like that guy who's walking his dog inna park and has to watch the dog take a dump so he can scoop it up in a plastic grocery bag to be properly disposed of. You know, observe the sphincter open and the brown load come out then pick it up with the bag as so none of the defecation touches his mitts even though you know poop smell can permeate just about anything as us frequent wipers can tell you. If you like it fine but sheesh, I've heard enough about the private and not-so hobbies of some of the real big names of showbiz from what Don Fellman tells me after he listens to Gilbert Gottfried's podcasts, and if Danny Thomas and Charles Laughton were as sicko as they were then you can just guess how a under-the-underground guy like Lloyd came off!

If you want to read this I ain't stoppin' ya. EVERYTHING IS COMBUSTIBLE's a fine stroll through sixties/seventies rock 'n roll history (the good stuff, not the ROLLING STONE junk that has been presented as such these past fifty years), but remember, do save your plastic grocery bags because you're gonna NEED 'em!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017


Have you ever noticed how, here in the good old USA, five people could say the exact same thing, but if one of them says it with a British accent, he/she is better received than the Americans. The same seems to be true in popular culture. There’s always been a place for the “charming Englishman,” ranging from Arthur Treacher to Cary Grant. And on present-day PBS, in any 12-18 month period, there are probably a dozen British mystery shows being aired. For a while, there was even a sub-genre of British crime-solving clergymen, when both Grantchester and Father Brown were being aired in the same week. You can even subscribe to services like Acorn TV or the BBC America channel and get non-stop British TV.

In the post-Sherlock Holmes era in the first half of the 20th Century, that Anglophile tendency even trickled down into comic books, and exhibit one is the character under review today, Captain Cook Of Scotland Yard.

Captain Cook appeared as a guest comic in a few different magazines of the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, but what’s collected here are his stories in SMASH COMICS issues #1 - #13. Smash was published by the legendary “Quality Comics,” and it ran from 1939-1949 for a total of 85 issues. The Cook stories ran in 1939 and 1940.

There are 13 stories collected here, all running either four or six pages. They all move quickly, and are entertaining and adequate in terms of crime-solving comics. What’s most of interest to me about this series, though, is that whoever wrote it and drew it didn’t seem to know much about Britain or things British. Oh, Scotland Yard is mentioned, and there’s an occasional reference to someone being a Lord or whatever, but other than the lead character being called a representative of Scotland Yard, this could be a 100% American character working out of Chicago or New York. The geography in the artwork looks totally generic in terms of place, no one speaks with British syntax, no one spells COLOR with a U, the buildings look American, the characters talk like people in any American crime B-movie, etc.

As with a number of series in either comics or movies which were running out of gas....or where the people making the comic or the film already know there are only a few installments left....the later entries seem more haphazardly composed and plotted, and we move more into weird, almost-scifi territory, where you don’t have to develop much of a mystery plot and plant clues....just have some weird phenomenon that can be explained away in the final few panels, completely removing the whodunit element (or even the HOW-dunit element or the HOW will the murderer be caught element) that is usually necessary in a detective comic or story or movie.

I like Captain Cook Of Scotland Yard, and I’ve read this book twice (so far). It comes from the Golden Age of comic book and pulp-magazine crime stories, and even a journeyman piece of product (like this one) from that era is an entertaining read today. Also, for me, pretty much anything published by Quality Comics is worth reading. According to the Grand Comics Database, Quality Comics published some 1662 issues of 60 different magazines between 1937 and 1956. It’s unlikely you’ll stumble across any Quality Comics in the usual flea markets or junk stores, which are scoured in advance by Ebay comic book sellers (who usually have a relationship with the owners of said flea markets or junk stores to have first refusal on any old or off-the-wall items before they are put out in the general stock), so take advantage of the many Quality Comics properties which have fallen into the public domain, and which you can read online for free....or get attractive reprint books of from publishers such as Golden Age Reprints or Gwandanaland Comics. The writers and artists behind this comic knew what audiences wanted and knew how to create a fast-paced and exciting story, yet resolve it in 4 to 6 pages. Today’s bloated and self-serious artistes working in comics or television could learn a lot from the lean and efficient style here. Something like this was all in a day’s work for the professionals whipping these comics out for low page rates....they probably grabbed a sandwich, downed a few cups of coffee, and moved on to a romance comic right after banging out Captain Cook, and then probably moved on to a military comic after that. And they did all of them equally well, on time and under budget...because that’s what a professional does, and that’s how you keep your job and feed your family!

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Dunno what you think (nor do I care) but it sure seems autumn outside, and inside too considering how I keep tracking leaves into the house alla time. But eh, it's just another time of the year (as opposed to time of the month which I understand some of you female readers out there are actually trying to enjoy) that dredges them old memories from the base of my beanie rising 'em up to the top like scum on a swimming hole. Oddly enough some of these memories are actually of enjoyable past pleasures, though frankly most if not all of them don't involve any actual human intercourse (you know what I mean!) which only will attest to my own antisocial nature which I will admit that I am proud of, in my own typical suburban slob cornballus way.

Nothing much to report on, unless you wanna hear about my usual daily travails or latest cootie infestation. Been spending my ever-valuable free time settling back watching SUPERCAR and LEAVE IT TO BEAVER (season two) not to mention a few things bound to be reviewed on this blog in the upcoming eons. And, of course, I've been working on not only this but other weeks' blogposts even though I know that not one of you readers are truly appreciative of my hard efforts to bring you the best in fanzoid gonzo rockscreeding! And this goes especially at a time when such rockism has been all but buried by the eighties-bred hypesheet hackers whose main claim to rock "criticism" fame is their ability to paste from a variety of websites and do a li' altercation to make the whole thing look original even if in the slightest.

And so, here's what I've been experiencing this past week...not much, but I kinda like the selection in my own doofus way. Hope that we can all share in the general weltshmerz of it all (or at least some of it)...

Shanghai Quintet-SHANGSHAN/STONE AGE MUSIC CD-r burn (Kendra Steiner Editions, see link on left for ordering information)

And I thought there wasn't any mo' good original and searing music being made these days, other'n the boffo material I write about on this blog. KSE proves me wrong with this release from a Chinese act called Shanghai Quintet who, with the aid of legendary reedman Alfred 23 Harth, create one of the wildest bits of freedom music heard in quite some time.

The Cee Dee starts off slow enough sorta like an electronic storm brewing in a discarded cheap keyboard system then gets into a nice hard-blowing horn session you would have heard on some mid-seventies BAG platter before ending up as a quieter synth/horn workout that reminds me a bit of those Anthony Braxon/Richard Teitelbaum  thingies that never did gel that well with me. But this one is OK enough that I wouldn't quite slip this one to the bottom of the pile.

If you're longing for the Stone Age to return just as much as I am maybe this is the platter that'll help get things rolling more'n that wheel which appears on the front cover!
Chik White-STRANGERS CALL TO LAND LP (Feeding Tube Records. available from Forced Exposure)

You can call it a Jaw Harp, a Jew's Harp or a Mouthbow, but it only means one thing to me and that is TOOTHCRACKER!!! Yes, I had one of these cheapo musical monstrosities when I was a kid and during a really wild whacking session with it I actually chipped my lower front teeth and like bad! For years it was extremely painful to listen to this instrument in any context, and even the Malachi HOLY MUSIC platter had been a tough one to make my way through but NO MO'! Y'see, this Chik White guy has redeemed the Jaw Harp in my sorry eyes to the point where I can now listen to the thing w/o any fears of dental pain promulgating my pea-brain as it had lo these many years.

This recording consists of tracks taken from White's various cassette-only releases (plus a few originals) and if you think you just can't get much sound outta them thingies well you're wrong again! White plays in his own unique way using his epiglottis and interesting mic placements in order to give us a new view on this venerable old instrument. He even "prepares" the thing to give it an even different vibe, and if you think this is all fidaddle just give this a listen to. Byron Coley's liner notes help out some but just barely prepare you for the interesting listening excursion you're in store for once you get your ears attuned to this particular effort!

And they say there is no avant garde anymore. There is, but the stale doritos and berets have been left by the wayside. Here's the new sounds of world unknown right atcha, and I hope you do get the message for once.

(BTW...note to Feeding copy of the Lords of Thyme LP came up M-T in the vinyl department, so if you have a spare spinner you can send my way I certainly would appreciate it!)
The Newbeats-BREAD AND BUTTER CD-r burn (originally on Hickory Records)

This 'un really does bring back the memories of my pre-stool days when I'd be watching WHERE THE ACTION IS watching this vocal trio go full tilt fanabla complete with that wild screeching falsetto that made the song the monster hit it was. You can bet that I was imitating it like anything, and you can also bet that everyone around me was telling me to shut my trap! Ah, memories...anyhoo here's the entire album and for being a typical slap-together and toss out it's sure boss, what with Larry Henley's high pitch permeating both sides while old standbys like "Bye Bye Love" and "Ain't That Loving You Baby" are re-done and (at least in the case of the latter) re-"Bread and Butter"-ized into something remarkably different from the original. Sheesh, I can almost forgive the guy for co-writing that Bette Midler hit from the late-eighties.
Blackberry Smoke-BAD LUCK AIN'T NO CRIME CD-r burn (originally on Galgano Music Records)

I've stayed away from these newer than new country kinda rock bands if only because I ain't exactly the kinda guy who cozies up to these acts doin' nth-hand imitations of early-seventies Rolling Stones numbers. Not that Blackberry Smoke will make you wanna vom "it"...but I sure didn't find much enjoyment in this particular expression of hard Southern Rock that I thought went out with the likes of Capricorn Records. I'll just stick with those old Black Oak Arkansas albums and the Hampton Grease Band for my Deep South thrills and if you want Blackberry Smoke instead well, in the words of Imants Krumins "that's your problem!
Elysian Spring-GLASS FLOWERS CD-r burn (originally on Despa Records)

Judging from the cover I thought this was gonna be another one of those flea market bin religious records I've come across many-a-time o'er the past few decades, But once again I was (shudder!) wrong. Elysian Spring were actually this New Thing jazz act that, although performing in the late-sixties, had more of an late-fifties/early-sixties sound that might have seem quite outta place then but  comes off fairly nice in the here and now. Quiet and introspective neo-cool jazz for those moody times we all have, and for you sticklers the Spring sometimes bounce into a poppy rock mode that ain't as scary as it sounds. Worth the time it would take to download from some blog out there.
Horton-DANCEHALL FOR MIDGETS CD-r burn (originally on Horton Records)

No doubt about it, Horton heard the Who. I actually like a whole bunch of these home-produced blues rock albums---I mean the Doug Brockie's Infinity spinner remains a hard-drive seventies excursion in these parts---and this platter by a William F. Horton cuts the seventies slow burn mustard just like I thought it should. Not only is DANCEHALL FOR MIDGETS a good enough blues rock album by a white guy done up without the intermingling of big label machinations but he can play a good enough guitar that won't make you puke. If you like George Brigman or the Groundhogs (or even some of those early Johnny Winter albums) this might help you out quite a bit.

Dunno much about this thing other'n it was undoubtedly a mid-nineties home-made/produced affair which is probably why the thing is so listenable. Nothing that will zone you into all those weird dimensions that will enlighten your beanie beyond repair (sheesh, I get more enlightenment outta PLANET PATROL than I do Krishna Murphy) but it is psychedelic enough for your next Day Glo Monster Poster Party. Mostly in a post-eighties appropriation of the psych term (think various eighties applications a la Dementia 13) but straightforward and lysergic enough to make you forget your Moody Blues albums.
The Dynatones-THE FIFE PIPER CD-r burn (originally on HBR Records)

Nothin' but cheezy instrumental takes on current hits and other fluffery that'll dredge up memories of years of seventies (and eighties, and nineties...) flea market record bin hunting. Of course you know the reason why this 'un was marketed in the first place, and it ain't for the music. C'mon, one glance at the cover'll show ya. I mean, what balding mid-aged white-collar office worker who has nothing to come home to 'cept Rover wouldn't want an album like this what with the sexy gal nekked to the world for all we know holding a fife and yeah they cut the pic off right at the bullseyes but hey, they hadda get around the local obscenity laws somehow! Now you know why your Unca Ferd had a copy of this 'un stashed in between the leftover Mozarts and Beethovens, and now you know why the thing looked as if it never had been played because it HADN'T!!!
The Higher State-DARKER BY THE DAY CD-r burn (originally on 13 O'Clock Records)

Another in what probably is a long line of post-psychedelic psychedelic rock, the Higher State take various Byrdsian principles and proceed to reshape 'em into a newer mode which doesn't sound that bad to me! Not that I'd ditch any classic psych sides in favor of the Higher Ones but eh, these guys do know their outerworldly cues now, don't they? A long way to go before they're admitted to Rusk State Hospital, but if you're comfy with the newer-than-new psych you'll probably already have this one by now.
THE WILD AND FRANTIC LITTLE RICHARD CD-r burn (originally on Modern Records)

Mid-sixties recordings which'll probably irk the dyed inna wool fans who like their Richard Specialty and Specialty only! Perhaps I am being too harsh, but I get the suspicious feeling that the then-contemporary recording techniques and presentation just won't settle well with some. Still a particularly potent slab of Richard featuring a re-recording of "Good Golly Miss Molly", what I assume is the original version of "Directly From My Heart To You" (see WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH) and a pretty on-target Kingfish impression on a song entitled what else by "Holy Mackeral" (no Andy).
Various Artists-SOME MUSTANG MOONDREAMS CD-r burn (Bill Shute)

Interesting theme to this one had the Young Rascals tracks been obliterated...something like PRE-BEATLES ENGLISH MOOSH or something along those lines. Now the Rascals are probably at their best on these three numbers (they are a band that should be in for a re-evaluation now that it's 2017 and those uninteresting post-Rascals albums are but a memory) and Eddy Mitchell is French, or at least he sings in that language, but the Tornados, Jet Harris and Shadows do date this to an early-sixties when I'm sure most Amerigans thought that England was exactly the same as it was then as it was in those old Sherlock Holmes moom pitchers.

Can't say enough good about the Tornados and the three tracks here, although familiar to fans like myself, exemplify perfectly that 1963 futuristic look that I'm sure we all thought the present was gonna be like but unfortunately wasn't. As for Jet Harris and the Shadows about wimpoid music that brings up memories of a buncha well-behaved English types having a spot of tea. If any of you readers from England or Scotland or whatever is left of it read this please tell me that Great Britain and perhaps even Ireland (a nation which has gone down the poop-shoot so why should I care!) aren't as squarezy-warezy as these records make 'em out to be! If not let me just end this post with pip pip, cheerio and drat all that, savvy?