Sunday, February 19, 2012
JEFFREY MORGANíS MEDIA BLACKOUT #303
Sun, February 19, 2012 | link
ME WISE JEFFREY MORGAN’S
MEDIA BLACKOUT #303!
SIZZLING VIDEO OF THE WEEK:
Wally Cox – Underdog: The Complete Collector’s Edition (Shout! Factory) :: In what can only
be seen as a sign that the universe is finally unfolding as it should, the pop culture vultures at Shout! Factory have released
this definitive archival nine disc (!) twenty-four hour long (!!) box set which painstakingly restores every single animated
Underdog episode, as originally aired on NBC beginning in 1964, in its original four part story arc, along with the
“Go Go Gopher” and “Commander McBragg” shorts that accompanied it. Impressive, I know.
Even better, both Underdog and his secret identity Shoeshine Boy are voiced by the legendary
Wally “Mr. Peepers” Cox, who was blessed with one of the most originally distinctive and instantly identifiable
voices the world of animation has ever known. Indeed, it’s nigh on impossible to imagine anyone else having the right
rhyming dynamic drawl needed to imbue Underdog with life other than Cox. So be a model citizen and buy this absolutely essential
box set now to see for yourself why Underdog still rules the skies half a century after his dynamic début!
SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Van Halen – A Different
Kind Of Truth (Interscope) :: Telling the truth to lazy musicians has always been my job, which is why I wrote
a feature record review of Diver Down in the August 1982 issue of CREEM titled “Seller’s Market”
that was so devastatingly dismissive, word got back to me that Van Halen was up in arms about it to the point of
being downright white knuckle irate—which was only fitting since I was plenty peeved myself after shelling out my hard-earned
shekels for that lousy album.
Amazingly, this new one has everything
that Diver Down didn’t including, most crucial of all, an over abundance of cheeky trademark cheap asides by
Roth which range from the sassily self-congratulatory: “I told ya I was comin’ back. Say you missed
me. Say it like you mean it...” to the authoritatively admonitory: “Aw, this next part should really
confuse things; everybody, let’s stay focused. A little more volume in the headphones please?”
And speaking of volume, not only is this the loudest Van Halen album ever, it’s
the flat out speed freak fastest one in that almost every song is played in an out of control double time style that’s
ridiculously relentless. Refreshingly devoid of any keyboards or ballads, some might say that it’s a guy’s
album because it doesn’t have a “Jamie’s Cryin’” on it—but that’s the back to the
basics point, as ably evidenced by the overtly overpowering album cover image.
As good as the two last gasp Roth reunion tracks on Best Of Volume 1 were, neither of them gave any indication
whatsoever that these guys were still capable of recording an entire long player as dynamically youthful and octave spanning
as this one is. It may not be as thoughtfully mature as Fair Warning but it’s easily the exhilarating auditory
equivalent of Women And Children First, if not more so, and that’s a musical miracle in itself.
In fact, as it stands right now, the only way Van Halen could possibly be improved is if they
hired back fired founding bassist Michael Anthony—to sing background vocals.
Be seeing you!