Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Country Rock Cause Of Sink Holes, Enquiry Reveals

Couple of prime corn-fed discs for the cowboy in you. They are both sheerly excellent, packed full of song-writing goodness and seasoned with the finest playin' and singin'. So fine, in fact, I can't imagine you not already having them. But if either one is new to you, scarf it up, because this music lasts a lifetime. The quality of timelessness is frequently found in this genre - something, perhaps, that comes with being part of a long tradition of musicality.

The credits on Wayne Berry's '74 solo album are jaw-dropping. I'm too bone idle to type out lists here, so check discogs. What's special about this album is that they all give their matchless best to songs worthy of their talents. Produced by the great Norbert Putnam. Almost unbelievably, this gorgeous piece of work sold shit.

Country Funk's album is a little different. Musicianship is homespun, songs not up to Berry's standards, but it stretches the genre envelope nicely, in the same way as the first Morning album [already featured at th' Foam - Ed.]. A strong indebtedness to CSNY/Byrds is evident, and there's some mighty tasty guitar workouts, too.

Pcinemadelic - It's Swingin', Dad!

We jet to 'sixties Britain for today's double feature, and again, the soundtracks are more worthy of your time than the movies.

Main feature is Up The Junction, a socially-conscious kitchen-sink drama. Those IMDB keywords again prove invaluable: abortion, bare-chested male, class differences. It's a good movie if any of those issues punch your ticket, or if you feel like harshing your mellow just for kicks, but psychonauts seeking the cheap lava-lamp thrills so treasured here at Th' House o' Foam© are going to be grievous disappoint.

The soundtrack is a surprise - Manfred Mann take a step outside their format and turn in a thing of beauty. I don't like to copy-paste text here, but the Allmusic review gets it absolutely right for once: "One of the great soundtracks of the 1960s ... Manfred Mann shed their pop skin and evolve into a fucking awesome jazz outfit ... title song, a flipped-out alternative to Good Vibrations, is one of their finest pieces ever, and fuck you, FalseMemoryFoam@, editing this quote ..."

The version presented here has swell bonus tracks to take you even further Up The Junction! Hoo boy!

Supporting our main feature is the lower-budget, much more interesting The Touchables, which spookily shares a plot with 3 In The Attic, lensed the same year [already featured in Pcinemadelic - Ed.]. Co-written by acid-head David Cammell, who also scripted Performance and The Man Who Fell To Earth. IMDB keywords: sexploitation, gangster, erotic, bare-chested male bondage. Again with the bare chest already! Strange that groovy dolly-birds doesn't make the list. The soundtrack features the dreamy title theme by Nirvana familiar from their All Of Us album, and big input from Ken Thorne. Who he? Very interesting guy. Composed incidental music for The Monkees' Head, Donovan's Brother Sun, Sister Moon [both buried deep here in th' Foam - Ed.] and uncredited, the Fabnesses Help! What a relentlessly tedious movie that was.

The Touchables is worse in every way than Up The Junction, and all the better for it, featuring BDSM-lite scenes in a groovy transparent dome built for the movie. Don't look for it - it's not there any more.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


The Firesign Theatre is known as a comedy act. Who made comedy albums. For me, the laffs are the least of what they did, coming few and far between. I love that run of early albums, up to Bozos, listened to them countless times over the years. They're immersive, incredibly detailed, multi-layered, with a dream-logic all their own. But funny? I've always found them more scary than funny, a little like the Alice books in that respect. Live performance (the clips are out there) lost what these guys were best at - throwing you in at the deep end and leaving you to work out what the hell was going on - and reduced them to third-rate burlesque shtick.

Their satiric targets were frequently obscure and obsolete, and unfamiliarity with the source material (who listened to 'forties radio shows in the 'sixties?) boosted the weirdness factor. Later attempts to politicize their humor, to make it contemporary and relevant, tended to fall flat. They were falling apart about the time the internet was coming together. But that early run of albums remains a remarkable achievement, redefining what was possible with audio environment and narrative, and it should include the album credited to Phil Austin, Roller Maidens From Outer Space. 

It's actually a full-tilt Firesign Theatre album - the gang's all here - but there's
Hi! I'm Phil!
dishy Phil on the cover as barechested glam rock diva. Barf. And - excuse me? - why? Maybe he tried the "I'm being ironic, man!" line - I'd have been unconvinced. He wanted to be a rock star comedian, but the addition of his dreary, unfunny, and unnecessary songs meant I never gave the album the attention it deserved. The cover, the songs, and the solo credit disguise a first-rate Firesign album.

So here it is. New cover, song-free content. And don't worry if you're not yokking it up all the way through. Listen for the devil breathing ...

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Lost Decade - Found At Last!

The unproductive decade separating 82's Angel Heart and 93's Suspending Disbelief has long been attributed to what are euphemistically referred to as "personal issues". In this exclusive FalseMemoryFoam© interview, Mr Webb [Jimmy - recording artist - Ed.] reveals for the first time exactly what happened during those missing years.

The interview took place at fashionable hipster haunt The Kosher Koffee Kompany in picturesque Lyons Falls, NY.

JW: What you having?
FMF©: What's that?
JW: Bagel Bean Frappuccino.
FMF©: Oh, waitress? I'll get one of those? Hey - Jimmy - you see the sign for this place? 
JW: [laughs] Only in Lyons Falls!
FMF©: So. What happened?
JW: Well, it's a long story ...
FMF©: Can we get the short version? It's a blog on the internet, not a WAPO op-ed. We're losing readers by the keystroke here.
JW: Look. Farquhar. You have to understand his is not easy for me, speaking openly and for the first time about the extraordinary, borderline unbelievable events that profoundly impacted my life during the course of a decade! I can't just-
FMF©: [cuts in] The Monticello bus leaves in thirty. Can we wrap this up? Soundbite that tells the story?
JW: Have you heard my music? Does it sound like the Ramones to you? I put a lot of thought and-
JW: [covers face with hands] I was abducted by an alien spa-
FMF©: Sorry! Gotta blow! Have my Bagel ... thing. Good talkin' to ya!

Today's Cavalcade O' Melody© offers two swell records that sound like they could have been recorded a year apart, not ten! It's a shame we shall never know the reason for those mysterious missing months. And like all Jimmy Webb albums, they leave me wondering why the poor guy gets a critical kicking for his vocals. "Great songwriter, poor performer". What horseshit. He has a great voice, and these beautiful, heartfelt albums show him at the top of his game, which, at his altitude, is solitaire.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Sunday Somethin'

I'm not James Taylor's biggest fan. He always seemed like a girls' act to me - at least all the frails of my acquaintance were smitten by his sweet baby looks, th' cheap heel, th' nogood bum. But his first, eponymous, as rock critics like to say, album gets overlooked, and it's - perhaps predictably - my favorite. Criticized not least by himself for being "over produced" (by ginger adult baby Peter Asher), it's a swell pop album with some of his best tunes. I'll take Carolina In My Mind over Sweet Baby James, thank you.

Which brings us to the showbiz tragedy of Carly Simon. Why tragedy? Because she could of had me, th' dumb broad. Instead of that soybean whiner James Taylor. I was there for her. Waiting. Sensitive to her needs. Fantasizing wildly, in preparation for when she came to her senses and into my arms. But no. Well, her cross to bear, right? But Carly - if you're reading this - perhaps sprawled erotically in a windowseat, a glass of chilled Chardonnay in your delicate fingers and an expression of regret coloring your lovely pan - I'm still here for ya, baby. Come to poppa. Anyway, this is my bestest Carly album, and not just for that mind-tattoo cover. Be right back. Okay! Playing Possum is summer in the Hamptons, and we're poolside with Carly as the sun dips into the ocean, like a maraschino cherry in a Manhattan. Parr-tay!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Buyer's Remorse Dept.

Howdy! Uncle Ignatz here, depping for FT3 on this fine, fine Sat'dy morning! Th' swamp's steaming and Cousin Willard's out clubbing catfish fer breakfast! Clubs the critters twice, once for each head! Heh heh! Set awhile! Now what we have to talk about today is those albums you buy when there's nothing else in the crates but Firefall and The Babys, and you don't want to go home empty-handed. Happens to us all, son! Got us a couple of swell examples here.

Openers by The Hot Soup. Prime period piece from '69, on the prestigious Rama Rama label. Boy howdy! Now I never heard of this puppy a'fore I pulled it from the pile down at the General Store Head Shop here in downtown Okefenokee, and if I never hear it again it'll be too soon. G'wan! Take it! You know you want it! Next up is ... wait a second ... my eyes ain't what they were, and these psychedelic spectacles don't help much, that's for sure ...

The Sundae Times. Now this one is of some interest. Us Coloured Kids. On the British Joy label, again from '69. Joy was like the British equivalent of Rama Rama, I'm guessing. It's got Eddy Grant on it. But it's also got Calvin "Fuzzy" Samuels and Conrad Isidore, who were good enough to get their next gig with Stephen Stills. Fuzzy went on to record with CSNY. How bad can this album be? I don't think Stills ever heard it. G'wan - take it and beat it! Here's Cousin Willard with the breakfast!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Country Rock More Harmful Than Heroin - Study Shows

Ace country fiddle player Byron Berline has had a varied career. His first public appearance was as "Bouncin' Byron, Teen Cannonball" in the popular Saturday morning kids' TV show Hiram Haystack's Hootenanny [Wikipedia is your friend - Ed.]. His parents soon tired of driving frantically around the TV studios with a net stretched across the bed of their pick-up. "We'd miss him, or he'd overshoot, more often than not," chuckles father Keats, "and crash hats were a mite expensive." Retiring from TV before concussion retired him from everything, Byron hoped to capitalize on his TV celebrity with a traveling trampoline show, but failed to draw an audience. On the suggestion of his mother, Byron added fiddle playing to the act, and he soon attracted an enthusiastic public. It was at the Crawfish County Fair that country music legend Bill Monroe spotted the talented teen rising momentarily above the heads of the crowd whilst playing Orange Blossom Special. The rest is history, and history, as PT Barnum said, is bunk.

Today's Catering Pack O' Country Rock© serves up a sizzling selection of Bouncin' Byron's best! The Sundance album is a little-known beauty from '76, just gorgeous, but sales were disappointing. "I should have hung on to that trampoline!" jokes Berline today. "Not in a literal sense - I don't see how that would work - but it might have made folks take notice."

Also included is the swell Warped Records compilation of twenty-seven - count 'em - pre-Sundance Country Gazette tracks, apparently recorded between albums, which you need like air.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

That's Jaaazz!

More smooth listening for that intimate soirée, when you get that broad over from the double-wide, what with her "husband" still stamping license plates for the government. A six pack of Coors, a bucket of slaw, and this. What could possibly go wrong? You dog you! Down boy!

Bags & Trane is a swell pairing - "Trane" (as we hep jazzbos call him) is cooled off a little by the sweat-free Milt Jackson on vibes, and "Milty" (as absolutely no-one calls him) is fired up a little by him. And hey - isn't that Connie Kay on traps? Wasn't he on Astral Weeks?

Charlie Byrd is better-known for bossa, but this smoky late-nite session is perfect consolation after that broad tips the slaw over your head and stalks back to her double-wide. Dames, huh? Time to break out that emergency bottle of Seagram's 7!

Thanks to Peanuts Molloy for the Charlie Byrd - did you get that sack of soup greens I sent you?

In Search Of Clarence's Magic Garden

You'd think everywhere was somewhere on the internet, wouldn't you? An article, a photograph, a reference, a reminiscence ... something. Yet the only mention of Clarence's Magic Garden I can find is ... right here.
Clarence was an old man back in the 'sixties, a primitive/naive (horrible terms) artist I've likened to Moondog. Not a musician, a sculptor. He created a world of his own in New York State, I think up near Woodstock, a garden of strange houses and weird forms, wrapped in tinfoil and studded with found objects, dolls, glittery trash. You can see a glimpse of it on the cover of the Jake And The Family Jewels album, and it gets a credit in the liner notes. I also remember it being featured in an art book I owned. But according to the internet, it never happened. Just bubbles of false memory foam.

I contacted an old friend of mine (hi, Joel!) who lives up in the backwoods close
Joel's dove - sign o' the times
to the Catskills and the site of the festival, and asked him if he knew anything about it. He's busy right now painting psychedelic signs for the 50th anniversary, but nope, he can't recall anything about Clarence's Magic Garden.

A magical little corner of the world, lost in time and place. A secret from the internet. Maybe that's a good thing.

EDIT: Note exactly a secret! A helpful comment from the most hardworking presence on the internet - Mr Anonymous - clears up the mystery.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

"I'm The Dummy"

Gee, this sure was a surprise! From the tarpits of the mid-'nineties, when nobody did nuthin', comes this, on the tiny Beachwood label. It's a surprise because it's so damn nice. Tork never had the greatest set of pipes, but there's nothing to make us wince here, apart from the cover. A bunch of good originals, any of which would have been at home on the fine Monkees swansong Good Times, cameos from Mike n' Micky, and some sweet guitar in a clear pop-centric production. Dig.

ALLERGY ADVISORY: Some cheesy synth presets may be present - if in doubt consult your physician.

It's Miller Time!

I feel like a cheat with this post, but recordings made by Trump Administration officials are getting increasingly hard to find. It feels like cheating because of all the swell recordings featured here at Th' House O' Foam©, this one doesn't actually exist! Let Ethan Oatsucker, vibrantly youthful CEO of Millennial Marketing Inc., tell the story:

"We were approached by the White House early 2018, I think it was, to handle PR for Stephen Miller. There was a disconnect between how the public saw him - as a vicious, stupid little Nazi shitfucker, basically - and his real character, which is warm, caring, and sensitive to social issues. We workshopped a bunch of ideas and the one the focus groups loved was for him to record a fun kids' album, toddlers, songs they could sing along to at parties. Stephen sings in this surprising light tenor, and he certainly likes the little ones, so it seemed a natural platform for him to grow into. A whole new demographic. We were going to target soccer moms, church communities, heartland folks. Like that.
Oatsucker, yesterday

Unfortunately things got off to a bad start at the cover shoot. The damn kids kept crying. We had to strip in Stephen's head to a stock shot in the end, because the kids kept running away. And at the recording session the sound of kids sobbing leaked through the tracks. Stephen was like, shut the fuck up! [laughs] As a perfectionist, he couldn't accept their out-of-tune singing. Long story short, the session had to be aborted. We cleaned up the studio, most of the kids made it home - I guess. So the cover is all we have, to remind us of what could have been. Damn shame. Kids, huh?"