Okie Musique Concrete

    I’ve just received my latest Care Package from ol’ pal Mark Weber, via the Zerx Records & Press faux-conglomerate deep down there in the 87108 zip code.  

Yes, wittily stuffed inside his very latest chapbook split alongside jazz poet Gerald Locklin were the latest two installments of Mark’s greatest of so many inventions:  Volumes 21 and 22 of the rightfully Zerx-famous albuZERXque compact compilations.  

The ear truly boggles …particularly at the abundant sharp Dylan retreads spread across Number 22.

“Some people call these things samplers akin to them embroidery and needlework delicacies those dear 19th Century maidens stitched together,” Mark writes.  “Just like that.”  Yet they, like all 50-and-counting Zerx CD’s, are in fact limited editions of usually a hundred or so, each of which come in hand-printed linocut cardboard sleeves, “rather than computer-generated jewel case art.”  It goes without saying, though I will anyways, that all us happily Lost in the Grooves can greatly appreciate this endearingly analog approach to the graphic end of business, no?

Meanwhile, whilst not trawling NM as if on behalf of some bizarro world Smithsonian Institute, and/or heading up his very own self-styled “prettified country band” The Bubbadinos (“Tenuousness, trepidation, drought, locust, musica antigua, cant & want, pock-marked chrome, lapsed backyard hallucinations, clippity-clop cowboys & indians, flat tires, cloven-hoofed, low odds, dice, subdural hematoma, jailhouse coffee, bellybutton lint” is how their most-aptly-titled The Band Only A Mother Could Love album has actually been described, I kid you knot), Mark can as well be seen curating his esteemed collection of modern age jazz photos over there at UCLA, can quite simultaneously be heard hosting Weber’s Weekly Worldwide Radioshow straight outta KUNM 89.9 Albuquerque, and somehow still finds some time to tell us all about it at the inimitable ZerxPressBlogSpot.

Head straight there immediately, won’t you all, to sample for yourselves some of the many munificent Zerx Leisure Products:  “Roots Music from the Deep Southwest of the Mind,” “Home of The Bubbadinos and other world / class musicians and poets who happen to live in New Mexico or would like to or visited some time or ‘nuther.”

“Over 50 Records and Still Going Wrong !”

Return of the Son of Frank Words

    The first Friday of most every month throughout 1967 and into ’68, I was formally excused from school so that my mother could take me all the way into Toronto for orthodontic appointments.  As my due reward afterwards, I would be treated to a tasty french-fry-and-chocolate-milk lunch in the sumptuous Eaton’s Department Store cafeteria, then left for an hour alone in the adjacent Music Department while dear mom ran her errands elsewhere.

Gawd, I truly was deep in pre-teen heaven in there, believe you me:  Guitars – just like the one Tommy Smothers played on TV every week! – lining each wall, while right over there were more record albums gathered alphabetically together in one place than my wide young eyes had ever ever seen.  

But it was while methodically flipping through that “Misc. M” bin one innocent Friday in seach of the latest Monkees long-player that I came across an image which shook me to the very core of my hitherto safe, sound, Micky’n’Mike-loving spine:

A foreboding, dark purple sci-fi sky shot through with lightning bolts, beneath which were strewn an above-motley crew of comic-book cut-outs (some of whose eyes were obscured with sinister black bars!)  And in front of all that stood what appeared to be a group of bearded, ugly, definitely NON-Monkee-looking men wearing… wearing dresses and standing by a mess of rotten vegetables which for some reason spelled out the word “mothers.”

Subconsciously at least, I recognized this was sort of for some reason like the picture on front of my latest Beatle album.  But I also instinctively gathered something BAD was afoot.

So for the next several months, as if revisiting a decaying body rotting in the back woods or the scene of some other such crime, I’d patiently let Dr. Shanks, D.D.S. rip around my mouth, rush with Mom to scarf down some Eaton’s fast-food, then creep back towards those record racks to check if …IT… was still hidden there.  Why, one grave Friday I even showed the offending, but somehow alluring record jacket to my mother (who, immediately sensing things untoward indeed, said “put that down, Gary.  We’re going home.”)


Flash forward a couple’a years:  By now, my comparatively straight teeth and I were enrolled in the local high school, specializing in Fine Arts and pouring over my latest charcoal still-life when the most incredible music suddenly burst from the record player at the back of the room.  It was Eric Shelkey’s turn to bring vinyl in to accompany the day’s lesson y’see, and Eric, being by far the most freeeky, out-there student in all our Grade 9 Specialty Art class (I mean, the guy wore little round eyeglasses just like John Lennon, and his hair actually reached below his shirt collar!) certainly did not disappoint with his choice of music.  Yep, instead of the usual docile strains of Tommy Roe or, at “worst,” Blood Sweat and Tears, the room was this morning filled with fully- stereophonic snorks, wheezes, electronic noises (much like those the microphone made in the auditorium downstairs when it wasn’t working), and some creepy voice which kept whispering “Are you hung up?” over and over again. 

Understandably I suppose, just like my mother had back in Eaton’s music department, our hitherto pretty patient art instructor Mr. Pollard walked quickly to the back of the classroom, turned the volume all the way down, removed the offending twelve inches from the turntable, inserted it back in its sleeve, and told Eric he could pick his record up after class, thankyouverymuchnowpleasegetbacktoworkeveryone.  Of course, me being me, I made sure to follow Eric out into the hall afterwards to find out the name labelled in the middle of this wondrous, forbidden twelve inches.  Most obligingly indeed, but being careful to check both ways first to see if anyone was looking, he pulled the album slowly from his portfolio case.

AND THERE IT WAS.  That same diabolical image which had haunted my post- orthodontic Fridays all those years ago!  

Winking at me most conspiratorially, Eric invited me over to his place to listen to the entire record that day immediately after school.  I naturally saved up my allowance and bought my OWN copy a couple of months later, locked myself in my room, and it would be quite some time until I ever listened to Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones Ltd. — or anything else, for that matter – quite the same way ever again.  I couldn’t say it then, but I surely will now:

Thank you, Frank Zappa.


Caveat Emptor however:  In its initial digital incarnation alongside the very dynamite Lumpy Gravy, the Mothers’ masterful Money was subjected to hideous late-Eighties remixing and the replacing even of its magnificent original rhythm tracks!  But I’m assured the current CD version holds the exact same We’re Only In It For The Money I like to think shock ‘n’ awed not only my own, but unsuspecting classrooms the world over back in those once-swinging Sixties.  Grab your own copy today, please.

The Return of Noel Coward

    Hey!  We did have some fun awhile back
playing Virtual Word Association with all of Johnny Dowd’s latest songs,
didn’t we?
so,   Wanna do it again
with none other than Lane Steinberg’s new ones??
Here we go then…..


1. PREAMBLE…..In the words of George Gershwin’s Ghost…..
2. BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN…..Zappa’s Grand Wazoo rides shotgun down Mr. Jones’ Highway Revisited on the (Thanks for the) Milk Train.

3. FACE DOWN…..The Association sound asleep with The Turtles’ Umbassa Dragon.   

4. AWAY…..SMiLE out-takes somehow get spliced into the very Quiet Beatle’s Wonderwall score.
5. GAIN LUSTER…..Row Row Row your Boat gently off the cliff.

6. JERICHAIO…..We’re stuck between channels…

7. YAM YAM…..Jandek programs his very first Yamaha PSR-293.

8. LET’S TOUCH…..the Tan Sleeve most fashionably frayed!

9. SOMETHING IS WAITING FOR SOMEONE…..Todd the Runt returns…                without (fortunately!) that New Car smell.

10. CUTLETS…..Don’t Firewall the Spam!!


12. BARE WALLS…..barely…

13. EYE FOR THE LADIES…..with yer fusion banjo on m’knee!

14. SPRING BREAK…..Velvet Fog Gone Wild !!

15. SLIGHT GAIN…..merrily merrily merrily merrilee rush

16. BEAUTIFUL DAY, TAKE ME AWAY…..Neil Diamond helps The Rock Opera 
meet The Rael World at last.

17. ONE MAN CRIME WAVE…..Book ‘em Lane, oh!

18. THE FIRST TO LEARN…..are always the last to know, yessir.

19. CONCRETE VACATION…..now, why couldn’t all of Ray Davies’ new one            sound just like this?!!

20. POSTSCRIPT…..”Rhapsody” no longer blue, man.  

The Return of Merseybeat

    Perhaps it was the most untimely demise of original dreamer Freddie Garrity.  But did I really neglect to mention when last we took the virtual Ferry cross the Mersey that none other than Frank Lee Sprague – yes, he the still-taller half of those supremely rooty-rockin’ Sprague Brothers (not to mention an authentic cousin of The Man Who Invented Sixties Music Himself, I kid you not!!) — has been very busy indeed “on the side,” helping keep the meaty, big and bouncy spirit of the M-Beat alive and very thriving here in Century 21?

I hardly would’ve believed it possible myself …UNTIL, that is, I heard for my own a deceptively, disarmingly charmful little disc called Cavern, and on it some of the best, most magnificently melodic p-o-p this side of your fave rave Searchers EP of yore.

And also, here I felt I was the only lad left on the block who thought a certain P. McCartney wrote many of his best songs EVER for….. Peter and Gordon.  But Frank Lee too has obviously been listening lots to “I Don’t Want To See You Again,” as well as to some of the more rough ‘n’ tumblest circa-’62 cellar sounds this side of The Big Three.  When not channeling a certain Jane Asher as muse, that is.   

Alas, the dank, sweaty, musty, subterraneanly homesick aura of those magic long-gone days and particularly nights beat again right there deep down in Frank Lee Sprague’s very own Cavern.   

Meet you there soon?    

It Was FORTY Years Ago Today


                                          by James Fox
                                          Manchester Evening News
                                          17 May 1966

Bob Dylan, the original magician of folk-poetry, blew into town today on another wave of sell-out concerts to sing at the Free Trade Hall.  And this "modern minstrel genius," as American poet Allen Ginsberg called him, this self-elected reject from the middle-class backwoods of Minnesota, becomes more of an enigma every day.

The atmosphere at his concerts is one of tense and silent rapture, with the crowd leaning forward to catch every cryptic syllable of the songs they quote daily, like a religious manifesto, on street corners.

Now there is something disturbing about Dylan:  he is said to have disowned all the songs he ever wrote before he turned to "folk-rock."  He is said to have become an introvert.  He was nearly booed off stage in Dublin recently when he came on with three tons of sound equipment and his new backing group – simply called the Group.

There were pleading shouts of "We want the real Dylan. Leave it to Mick Jagger" as he belted out the endless choruses of his hip-orientated rhythm and blues songs.

There is a growing uneasiness with Dylan among his fans.  It is that he is changing without telling them why.  They are in the dark, and they feel perplexed.

If there is a change, it has come about between these two British tours.  The old Dylan, at the Albert Hall in London last year, was the poetic Dylan with one guitar, a handful of harmonicas, and a few wry jokes.

This time the magic’s still there, but he might throw a few fans off the track.  For one thing, the existentialist Dylan has married.  For another, the man who took contemporary folk music out of its hermetic shell and has shaken it and enriched it has seemingly turned his back on it.

Bill Lloyd’s Slide Show

   Ever since days long gone spent hassling the Everly Brothers for their long hair and loud songs – not to mention them dern Byrds for bringing a ( gasp! ) fuzzbox onto the hallowed Grand Ole Opry stage – Nashville has enjoyed quite the abusive relationship with the rock and the roll, wouldn’t you agree?

Eventually of course, it took such brave new souls as Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam and those Everlys-for-the-Eighties Foster & Lloyd to once and for all shove the corn out of Country and the Wit back into Western.  And not surprisingly in the least to those in the know with ears wide open, the latter half of the latter, Bill Lloyd, has to this day remained busy right there in N-town writing, playing, singing and recording mighty storms up alongside anyone and everyone from Carl Perkins to Marshall Crenshaw to Buck Owens to even our favorite Brady herself.

Leave it to those Wizzards at Japan’s greatest label, though, to finally make available, All In One Place as the man himself would say, fifteen selected Bill Lloyd tracks from 1984 clear through 2004.  Said stellar new collection’s called Slide Show, and it really does contain such Required Bill Listens as “Back To Even” (“from a Dom Perignon to a brown paper sack; from a Jacqueline Susann to a Jack Kerouac” indeed!), “Turn Me On Dead Man” (for those out there still without out-takes from the second and third Badfinger LP’s), “Cool And Gone” (lyrically autobiographic of all of us who’ve spent any time at all Lost in the Grooves), “This Very Second” (someone somewhere call Richard X Heyman asap!!), and lastly but far from leastly the classic “I Went Electric” (featuring the afore-mentioned M. Crenshaw) and the should’a-been, COULD’a-been Worldwide-Multiple-Format-Crossover Top-Five H-I-T “In A Perfect World.”

And speaking of perfect worlds, Bill’s got an additional little CD-R full of just such, and I quote, “Nashville tracks I made available as downloads but are sort of meant to be a collection …as in record."  That one’s called Horizontal Hold, offering fourteen more (!!) rooty-pop gems the likes of “Blue Radio” (too bad The Blue Shadows never got hold of this one…), “A Brand New Way To Say I Love You” (which should be cut IMMEDIATELY by no less than Hoboken’s own Tammy Faye Starlite!), and one of my fave Lloyd numbers ever, “I Can’t Tell My Heart What To Do.”

No need to go to Japan or even Tennessee for this all, however;  just drop right by Bill Lloyd Music

….and yep,  Tell ‘em the Pig sentcha.      

Crop Circles Uncovered!

   If we can all quit staring at the
covers clothing
Zeppelin’s big box sets for a few moments,

let us ponder instead
the metaphysical / comparatively higher fidelity
heard round Michigan’s one and only Steve Kilpatrick
and his Westside Crop Circles.

Audible right now,
yes indeed,
(along with Me and Oprah, My Pajamas and The Pain even)

right there amidst all the very latest Ear Candy.

Zoso it goes…..