Wednesday, June 30, 2021

John Entwistle “Smash Your Head Against The Wall”


(DECCA, 1971)

What I feel inside I can’t explain. That John Entwistle should die in his late fifties is totally unthinkable. He was the indestructible one. He was the rock. He was the island. He was the fulcrum on which it all hinged.

(Mick Farren)

It's just too much to take. Who’s next? (Literally.)

(Tommy Womack)

John was the best. He made “My Generation,” along with the other lads, one of the greatest records of all time.

(Peter Noone)

Learned how to play bass playing along with “Happy Jack.” Gulp...

(Rick Harper)

For all bass players everywhere, it was Big Johnny Twinkle who opened the gate and let the horses out of the barn ...for good.

(Mick Hargreaves)

I think John was the pivotal member of the most exciting rock band to emerge on the British music scene in the Sixties.

(Brian Auger)

As is far too often the case, SYHATW’s Golden Anniversary seems to have been cruelly overshadowed by those shiny, snazzy new/old CSNY and even JL/POB bonus-boxed bonanzas. But at least that fave rave Whistle Ryme-o-mine, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” has never sounded bigger and better than it does on the grand new Who Sell Out Super Duper Deluxe Edition: one of those most rare cases of a commemorative issue which won’t immediately end up, listened-to-maybe-once (if unsealed at all), in some forgotten corner of one’s audio closet.  

Now, as Waitress Chris Butler reminds us, there is a Zen expression that the way to go through life successfully is to “move like a cow.” Or, in this case, an ox. Forever surrounded, at least on stage, by the testosterone-soaked circus which were Messrs. Townshend, Daltrey and especially Moon, it could be too criminally easy to overlook The Man, The Myth, dare I say The Ox which was, and forever shall be, John A. Entwistle. In more ways than one he was the George Harrison of The Who I suppose, yet Entwistle never ever took a musical back seat to his more prolific (or at least pushier) bandmates, employing his mighty four strings to not so much play songs as ATTACK them, deftly bulldozing his basic bottom-heavy end up to an indisputable place of sheer sonic equality within the critical Who picking order. 

In that process John became, it’s been said, the Hendrix of the bass guitar. Well, yes, all that I guess you could say, but so much more as well. For one, the man’s abundant compositional skills remain nothing to be sneezed over. Sure, we all know and love “My Wife,” "Boris The Spider” (which, as Huw Gower realizes, can shed an entirely different trick of the light upon the fine art of teaching pre-schoolers all about creepy creepy crawlers), and my own personal favorite slice of backyard blue-balling, Ox-style: “Someone’s Coming” (given new life by the Pearlfishers’ own David Scott). These, along with the brace of less immediately recognizable Entwistle gems, always served to deflate with a wry, macabre smirk – just as Moon that Loon would off record – any and most every lofty pretension emanating from that Townshend corner of the band’s equation. Prime example? Without Uncle Ernie or Cousin Kevin, Tommy would play as just another Jesus Christ: Pinball Star, now wouldn’t he? Suffice to add as well, any singer/songwriter waging the Rock Star Wars out there today need never look any further than Entwistle’s Who By Numbers masterpiece “Success Story” whenever grappling with the beauty, the splendor, the wonder bread which is R-O-C-K in the USA: “I am your fairy manager,” our anti-hero devilishly declares therein. “You shall play Carnegie Hall.” Indeed.


Then again, outside of The Who’s stadium-approved confines, John’s grim tales took on even more devious hues and cries. In fact, I for one would wager far more people perished within the verses filling Entwistle’s solo albums than anywheres this side of a vintage Johnny Cash long-player. To whit, Teddy “Ted End” Greenstreet (prophetically?) passes in his sleep, the titanic trysters of “Love Is A Heart Attack,” you guessed it, succumb to a joint carnal coronary upon “setting their pacemakers to a boogie beat,” and sweet young dolly-dancers quickly become the death of the party as they innocently begin to Do The Dangle (well there’s a brand new dance with a brand new angle; it’s the very last waltz and it’s called The Dangle. You tie a rope round your neck and stand on a chair, and you kick it away and you’re dancing on air). My, but we can perhaps only imagine just what these three selections alone could have become if only they’d been video’d in time for prime MTV age.

Oh! And did I mention too the limey-poor young Entwistle was forced to build his very first bass guitar from scratch? John was probably rock and roll’s very first – and probably last – French hornist as well, plus his octave-bounding voice never feared soar from the operatic heights of (the Rolling Stones Rock And Roll Circus rendition especially of) “A Quick One While He’s Away” deep down to the menacing, arachnophobic rumble of the aforementioned “Boris.” The guy was also one skilled artist and particularly caricaturist to boot (again, check out the utterly underrated Who By Numbers for starters), and was even reportedly eight chapters into producing his too-long-awaited autobiography (like all bassmen, from B. Wyman to D. D. Ramone it seems, John was his band’s resident archivist/ historian) when, alas, Ted End came knocking on his Vegas hotel-room door smack dab upon the eve of the latest Who Redux Tour. Damn!

Of course Pete and naturally Roger carry on without either end of their original rhythm section now left standing (“John would’ve wanted it that way,” as the Press Release goes). But The Who without the Loon, and The Ox, isn’t a matter, legal or otherwise, I care to turn either ear towards anymore I fear. For wasn’t it Moon biographer Tony Fletcher, for one, who pointed out the gnawing chasms separating a Good Band from A TRULY GREAT Band? Or, in the words of no less an expert on the subject as Crawdaddy Paul Williams, “Great rock groups are miracles of human chemistry. Without the solidity and musical instincts and unique personality of John Alec, we would not have had the outrageous creativity and genius and maximum rock and roll of Keith and Peter and Roger ...or The Who at all. So we must thank him for making modern music as we know it possible.” 

Yes. Thank You, John. And remember: You only die once in a lifetime. 

(Gary Pig Gold)

In his songs The Ox spent a lot of time playfully - and not so playfully - mapping types of hells, but that's just to say that beyond question his real place is in Heaven.

(Jeremy Gluck)

RIP John Entwistle, I hope you are dancing somewhere with Peg Leg Peggy right now. 

(Scott McCaughey)

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Groupies "Primitive.” Beat Rocket LP .




Before Jon Spencer, before Jeffrey Evans, even before Hound Dog Taylor had an album out, The Groupies were trashing out the for real Punk Blues. This is a real rarity, a live soundboard recording of an original 60s Garage band. The album opens with both sides of the seminal 45 released by the band on Atco. ''Primitive" lives up to it's name, it's "smokestack lightning" doused in Clearasil. No wonder The Cramps made little alterations when they covered it 40 years ago. Unfortunately, there exists a slightly longer version of the song, but it doesn't appear here. The flipside "Hog (I'm a Hog for You Baby)" is a stompin' Stonesy take on The Coasters' classic. It's as wigged out as Screaming Lord Sutch's version. From there, we go to the live show, compered by Kim Fowley. Singer Cooker, delivers some of the most gut wrenchingly snotty, adenoidal vocals, comparable to Jimy Sohns of The Shadows of Knight, but, more demented. The whole band is full of bile, piss and vinegar, as they put their own stamp on the works of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Bo Diddley.Their Blues chops are commendable, without losing a hint of raunch. They even get funky at times, like Tony Joe White on steroids. The guitar sound owes a lot to the great Hubert Sumlin, but still reeks of teen spirit. Even the obligatory "Gloria" takes on new life, here. The Groupies were hatched in New York and moved R&B like Them or The Pretty things, this set is made just for you. Plus, it was pressed on translucent green vinyl. "Primitive, that's how I live.” The Groupies walked it like they talked it.

Monday, June 28, 2021

'The Right To Rock, Episodio Uno

(, 2020)



Early Rock 'n' Roll has largely been thought of as a Black and White thing, but, what of the Mexican and Chicano pioneers of said format? They're right here in this exhaustive 37-track collection. You get artists who found fame with English - speaking audiences  and others who were popular in their native Mexico and others who, not for lack of talent or ambition, slipped through the cracks. If you like your rockin' hot and wild, you'll get plenty of it here. Freddy Fender checks in with three exciting tracks, "Bailando El Rock and Roll,” "No Seas Cruel" ("Don't Be Cruel"), and "El Rock De La Carcel'' ("Jailhouse Rock"). Chris Montez wails to the Tex-Mex organ sound of "Rockin' Blues,” and Chan Romero belts out his hit, "Hippy Hippy Shake,” and two other doozies, "My Little Ruby " and "I Want Some More.” Richie Valens, the Patron Saint of Chicano Rock 'n' Roll, is represented here by the frantic Guitar Instrumental, "Fast Freight" (an excellent 45 EP of Valens' Instrumentals came out a while back), the Little Richard soundalike, "Ooh! My Head" and the party starter, "Dooby-Dooby-Wah.” Even a young Trini Lopez rocks out on the title track. Tony Casanova, born in Puerto Rico, but based in California, lays down some tuff Rockers with "Showdown" (earlier comped on "Sin Alley"), 'Boogie Woogie Feelin'" and the punk as fuck steamer, "Yeh! Yeh! Come another Day" (“Ye! y! Come another day. You played me dirty, but that's OK. You played me dirty, but that's OK. You played me dirty, but that's just fine, anyway, you look like Frankenstein!"). Two of Mexican Rock 'n' Roll's heaviest hitters, Los Teen Tops and Los Locos Del Ritmo make with the crazed "La Plaga" (“Good Golly Miss Molly”) and "La Chica Alborotada"("Tallahassee Lassie"). Both songs were covered in fine fashion by Big Sandy and Los Straitjackets. Neither song are literal rewrites of the originals ("La Plaga" means "The Plague”) and are delivered so frantically, you'd be forgiven for not recognizing them right off the bat. Los Xochimilcas were amusical and comedy troupe who started in the 40s and played Jump Blues styled Rock alongside traditional Mexican material. "Rock Rollin' Rock" is a frantic accordion and trumpet instrumental that brings to mind Louis Prima. If you need further proof that you can rock out on anaccordion, give a listen to Armando Almendarez's breakneck take on "Maybelline.” Los Gibson Boys do a cool ''Good Rockin' Tonight" as "Rock De La Noche,” which hasn't got Los Teen Tops' insane version beat, but it stands on it's own, as does their reading of "Be-Bop-a-Lula" en Espanol. They also lay down a creepy Instrumental, "El Vampiro.” The legend of the vampire looms heavily over Mexican cinema. A Spanish language version of Dracula was even made at Universal in 1931, concurrent with the Bela Lugosi version. Johnny Amelio and The Downbeats display more of "Ricardito"'s (Little Richard's) influence with "Jugue" (slang term for sex) and "Jo-Ann Jo-Ann" ( Little Richard was huge in Mexico. The then-President of Mexico attended one of his concerts). Pico Pete also pulls out all the stops with a breakneck Georgia Peach-fueled "Chicken Little.” The Augie Garcia Quintet hailed from neither Mexico nor California (as did most of the Chicano Rockers represented here), but from St. Paul, Minnesota, and are heard here with a sweaty rewrite of Big Joe Turner's "Honey Hush" as "Hi-Yo Silver.” Garcia wore sportcoats with Bermuda shorts,and once pissed off Col. Tom Parker for upstaging Elvis with his wild stage show. There's not a duff track to be found, here, and the album closes with a mystery track, recorded at Sun Studio by an unknown female singer, called "Mexican Rock 'n' Roll.” The Singer may or may not have been Latina (for my Pesos, she appears to b), but not signing her was Sam Phillips' biggest mistake, next to taping over a Charlie Feathers session with a Bar Mitzvah. There's plenty more joyous noise and abandon here, in a genre that may be overlooked, but is far from over-rated. Being that this collection is "Episodio Uno,” we can look forward to more of the same sonidos muy loco (crazy sounds), soon.

Sunday, June 27, 2021



(, (1971-present) Ziggy turns 50 this week and they ran an old strip and I did notknow he had a smaller nose early on, so I read some old 70s strips and they were great and I support and endorse Ziggy wothout reservation, and  I also think training your son to take over means this is not a zombie strip but a family legacy, so Ziggy is 100% legit.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

White Castle Crispy Chicken Slider w/ Cheese

(White Castle) If this was supposed to compete with chicken sandwich mania it did not succeed, as this all breast variation on the far more whimsical "chicken ring on a bun = slider" equation is kinda dry and just OK. But it was served to me hotter than anything I have ever received at a fast food spot, including coffee, so there's that.

Friday, June 25, 2021

White Castle Craver Party Punch Birthday Mix

 ( I do not like this, but I like the concept so much that I have ordered it twice, forgetting that I did not like it. The idea of celebrating the centennial with a special party punch is made stronger by going for the frappe flavor profile, with the fruity Fanta and some kind of creamy (cream soda, I assume) vibe giving sherbet pizazz. But it's just too carbonated to feel like it's coming out of a big, dumb punchbowl. I realize they are using one of those "Freestyle" pop computers to mix flavors, and they may have committed to Fanta as a sponsor, but they needed to go half Fanta/half Hi-C to get less bubbles in there. Will probably order again, however.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Johnny Taylor "Taylored In Silk"

(Stax, 1973) This is one if the greatest albums of all time and should be discussed alongside "Hotter Than July," "Thriller," "Pet Sounds," or whatever else is supposed to be up there. The fact that all these hits are on one LP is cool ("We're Getting Careless With Our Love," "Cheaper to Keep Her," "I Believe In You"), but the overall performance by the band, the songwriters and the G.O.A.T. Johnny Taylor is transcendent. No particular reason to get into loving on this album today other than that every time I hear it I can't believe this is not considered the Sgt. Peppers of proto-Malaco grown folks soul-blues. SO GOOD!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Sundiata - A Legend of Africa retold by Will Eisner

(Nantier-Beall-Minoustachine, 2002) Eisner did amazing things, but this is not one of them. While noting that griots are the storytellers of West Africa he decides an absurd talking evil rock is a better narrator, and more importantly, he leaves out the best part of the story - Sundiata's mother, the Buffalo Woman. Anyhow, it is kind of my fault this stinks. My dad is a scholar who researched this tale and Eisner reached out for consultation, sending my dad reproductions of a completed, fully painted graphic novel. My dad realized it was lacking but asked me what he should say, and seeing that it was a completed painted book by a very old, legendary artist, and that it was mediocre but not egregiously bad, I said it would be too much work for him to change things, so just say it's OK. In gratitude Eisner sent us two originals. And then I realized my terrible mistake. Even in his mid-80s Eisner was nimble, quick, and loose, and was doing loose ink drawings, Xeroxing them to paint upon, and then whipping out the color with ease. He could have made major adjustments with little effort, and I underestimated him. Not my best moment, but I do have an Eisner original! Of a talking evil rock.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Big Ben Colder "Wild Again"

(MGM, 1970) Ben Colder is not as funny as Homer and Jethro, but you know what? LeBron James is not as good as Michael Jordan, but he's still pretty fucking good! Also, cover illustrator Jim O'Connell is no Jack Davis, but Kobe Bryant...

Monday, June 21, 2021

Dearborn Meat Stick

(Dearborn Brands) It's hard to even find non-Halal meat in Dearborn, Michigan, so hats off for this company for keeping up the pig and cow grinding for most of a Century. Better than Ditka's meat sticks but not up to Chicago meat spice standards. Still, tasty at a great price!

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Faygo Grape


(Faygo) No clowning, this surprisingly mild, lovely pop is so good it's insane!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Faygo Candy Apple


(Faygo) Spent a little time in Michigan and had to enjoy this magnificent flavor of pop. Apple flavor beverages are never quite as good as they should be (sorry Mundet and Marzinito!) bt combine some caraamel flavor and that apple has a peel!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Rainbow Dippin' Dots


( Um, it's not the sherbet of the future, it's the ice cream. Vanilla, chocolate, or Strawberry much, Mr. Dots?

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Popeyes Chicken

(Popeyes) It's good, better than KFC. But why no apostrophe in the name? And why these desolate food photos on their Website?

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Solomon's BBQ Sauce

(Smith Distributors) This self-described King of Barbecue Sauce tastes decent but is always on clearance and I feel it will go away soon so I am committing to it, emotionally or as a reviewer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Trojan Calypso Box

 (Sanctuary, 2004) These budget box sets of Trojan's collections of classic Island music were plentiful and inexpensive years ago, and finding the Dub Box, Ska Box, and event the Tighten Up Box seemed easy, but I could never find this one. I really wanted it because I knew it had the Lord Cristo track "Dumb Boy and the Parrot," which I had only heard once on the radio, and I knew it had the same nonsense chorus as David Seville's proto-Chipmunk masterpiece "Witch Doctor" and I wanted to really study this piece of Chips related goofery. I finally just bought an import copy online, and all the Lords and Mightys on this are magnificent, and Cristo especially did not disappoint! Apparently Lord Cristo was in Chicago performing in the 50s, hearing David Seville recordings without the lag time of overseas record travel, and hopefully being parts of stories I may be able to discover. CalypSO GOOD!

Monday, June 14, 2021

Freakout USA


(Sidewalk,1967) I am not a super psychedelic rock collector/genius/fan, so someone else should be writing about this, but I just want to get it out there in the conversation. Not sure why this comp's title was in the ether, but Western (magnificent publisher of Famous Monsters of Filmland, Vampirella, and Help!) had a magazine of the same name the same year, and a year earlier there was a 45 by The Communication Aggregation that was a kind of Zappa/Dickie Goodman hybrid. Basically this seems to be a fake comp of mostly fake psyche songs by some semi-real-ish and some fake bands. The brief liner notes celebrate "Season of the Witch" cover as being composed by Donovan, but they also celebrate the title track being composed by Mike Curb, who at the time had the hip rep from his biker/skater soundtracks (a rep he's lose a few years later when as a record exec he fired every band that was freaking out in the USA in his first act in a long anti-drug campaign that he would eventually bring to the Reagan administration). So I think this is a Curb studio concept where he produced different session cats and called them bands, but a couple of these bands (or at least band names) were briefly used outside of this. The two famous covers are "Season of the Witch" and "Psychotic Reaction," recorded by The Mugwumps (I don't think it's Lovin' Spoonful/Mamas & Papas hybrid group, and neither does Discogs) and Hands of Time (one single, on same label), respectively, but neither even lead off a side of the record. Other "bands" featured include The Glass Family (one contemporaneous single same label, then a bunch of records but not sure it's same band), Mom's Boys (one other Curb comp single), The Jesters (Discogs lists one other single, might not be them), plus  International Theatre Foundation,  Afttermath, and Everybody's Children (this comp is it for all of "them"). Nothing is amazingly transcendent and nothing is laughingly bad, so I can see why this is not legendary (though a few tracks got Pebbles-era comped) but as a solid piece of psychesploitation this should be better known.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Willie Nelson "Partners"


(Columbia, 1986) Sometimes weed makes you so mellow you are boring. Rarely the case with Willie. But sometimes.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Styx "The Same Stardust" EP


(Universal) Some people camped out at 5Am on Record Store Day to get the goodies. I slept til 10AM, casually rolled out of bed, arrived at Dusty Groove when the line was 5 folks long, and was likely the only person on North Ashland that day buying the new STYX (at Beverly Records, where dudes who went to High School with STYXers shop, it mighta been a different story). I love contemporary STYX! The new songs are solid; the wildly theatrical Canadian/Scottish singer/keyboardist DeYoung sub is absurdly magnificent; and JY and Tommy seem genuinely powerful these days. This album has new live recordings of a range of classic songs on the B-side and two impressive new cuts by Tommy and semi-STYXer Will Evankovich (who has been writing and producing with the band this Century), and they are decidedly decent! Just got their new LP and biding my time to really listen to it, but this was the perfect appetizer. For me. Not so much for the guy in front of me at RSD who was handed my order bag by mistake and opened it up to the horror of seeing naught but a STYX album. But he shoulda took a hint and grabbed his own copy of these South Side's superstars' super songs.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Ramune Watermelon

(Ramuune) As much fun to open as it is to drink! Or so they say. These are the pops with the glass ball stopper you poke down into the bottle, then you drink the sweet watermelon pop, but dont chug at too high an angle or the ball gets re-lodged in there. NOT as much fun to dislodge the glass ball the second time as the first time!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Frank's Red Hot Flavored Goldfish

(Pepperidge Farm) My eleventh favorite hot sauce meets my second bite-sized, non fish-flavored favorite fish-shaped snack! You had me at "Fra"!

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Pebble Birthday Website


( I am not the biggest fan of the Pebbles cereal and the prizes for their 50th anniversary are LAME-O (Fred and Barney fanny packs and Funko Pops), but the Website does have a FLintstone generator. I'm Slate Austone!

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Monday, June 7, 2021

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Mother Up!

(Hulu, 2013-14) That Housebroken show is particularly not funny, but it is Paula Pell singing "I Gotta Go" on Documentary Now* compared to this terribly written laugh graveyard. Possibly the worst cartoon for non-kids ever made.

*one of the funniest things I've ever seen on TV

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Friday, June 4, 2021

Jackie Jackson "Be The One"

(Polydor, 1989) This is a fine middle of the pack, professional 1989 album, nothing spectacular but nothing embarrassing, with the right mix of Adult Contemporary R&B (plenty of smooth sax, sweet background vocals) with sprinkles of New Jack-isms. And Jackie sounds fine. But man it must be weird to greenlight a Jackie Jackson record. He's a handsome, talented singer who was in one of the best groups ever and two of his siblings are more successful than almost anyone. But no one is going to buy a Jackie Jackson record. Any DeBarge had a chance to be considered by Black radio audiences, but MJ was just too big for anyone to really give his brothers a chance. Also, even though he was not old, he had been around twenty years, so that was also a strike against him. And if he tried something wild (Randy released a record with a rock-ish band, Randy and the Gypsies, that same year) that would be something, but to do  something good but not particularly special just had no chance of standing out. I have great sympathy for Jackie. In addition to seeming like a good guy, he also had to be a tall, handsome grown man dressing in crazy outfits designed for little children in the J5 heyday. So I have listened to this a bunch out of love ad loyalty. But I can't remember much on it, and it only made it to 84 on Billboard. Had he released it in '84 maybe it woulda reached 48. 

Thursday, June 3, 2021



(Fox, 2021) Why are there SO MANY CHARACTERS! This is not a good show.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Wild Fruits "creature-blossom"


(, 2019) An hour and a half (or a cosmic infinity) of strange jazz-rock noodle jam space sounds with Monty Python vocals and campfire song fellowship music making vibes. Wild! Frity!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Cheetos Mexican Street Corn


(Frito Lay) This is successful in that it tastes kinda corny, there is lime and chili powder detectable, there is a feel of powdered cheese (if not the full flavor), and the absence of melted butter and mayonnaise from the elotes experience is probably a good decision. But while these are pretty good and executed as well as could be expected, it just doesn't make as much sense in reality as in theory. These are not better than any other Cheeto, and thus, I should just buy a different Cheeto. Just because you can tackle a flavor doesn't make it snack-sensible.