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Underrated Artists I Love #2: Herb Trimpe

This has been a long time coming, and, for me, an obvious choice! You can see #1 here.

Ah, Herb Trimpe. Some people actually don’t like Herb’s work—and some people dismiss him simply as a “Jack Kirby Clone”. These people are horribly & completely wrong. I found Herb in the mid-’70s, as a little kid, in UK reprints of his Hulk stories via the weekly Mighty World of Marvel. In spite of initially reading his last name as “tripe” (yeah, yeah, those people above would agree!) (I was just learning to read at the time), I immediately took to his work—and I’ve never changed my mind.

Incidentally: as any real fan knows, Herb’s last name rhymes with shrimpy.

If you’re with me thus far, I’ll assume you agree that Herb Trimpe was an awesome Hulk artist. Here’s Herb’s back cover for Marvel Treasury Edition #5 (1975), which is a fine example of how good a match H & H were…

Marvel Treasury Edition #5 back cover
Someone made him angry…

I still have vivid memories of seeing this book, bearing a striking front cover by John Romita of Hulk charging through a brick wall (see it here), displayed on a newsstand inside the Mander Centre in Wolverhampton, while out shopping with my Aunt Winnie sometime in ’76. The Hulk—the “sympathetic monster” version—had a lot of appeal to me as a Monster Kid and a huge King Kong fan. Anyhow, more about Herb…

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Ranked: David Bowie Albums

So, folks, should this be the first in a series? Ranking albums by a particular artist? What do you think? Maybe I’ll do it again! First up, it had to be BOWIE. Of course. Who else?

So: I’m ranking what I take to be the THIRTY studio albums by David Bowie. Some people might exclude the Tin Machine albums or the Labyrinth soundtrack, but I think they’re significant enough to count as canon. Okay?

Let’s begin with NUMBER THIRTY…

(IOW, the worst Bowie album!)

Never Let Me Down (1987)

30. Never Let Me Down (1987)

The infamous “Phil Collins” period of Bowie, as some fans call it. “Day-in Day-Out” and “Time Will Crawl” are pretty strong singles, but the overwhelming ’80s production and lack of conviction make this undoubtedly his worst album.

 

Tin Machine II (1991)

29. Tin Machine II (1991)

I’m one of those bad fans who thinks Bowie’s period of “being in a band” (1989-91) was pretty dull, even if he psychologically benefitted. This, the second TM album, has exposed genitals on its cover—and its contents are, indeed, largely bollocks.

 

Hours (1999)

28. Hours (1999)

This late ’90s effort almost comes to life in spots, but Bowie seems weary and directionless. I do believe he was struggling to find his muse at this point. Listless and tiresome.

 

Tonight (1984)

27. Tonight (1984)

“Loving the Alien” and “Blue Jean” are extremely great single cuts, but the lows of this album are truly abominable. Bowie murders the Beach Boys classic “God Only Knows”, and turns Iggy Pop’s “Tonight” into a hideous reggae duet with Tina Turner.

 

Earthling (1997)

26. Earthling (1997)

You could argue that Bowie dabbling in drum & bass is an interesting experiment. But personally, it isn’t anything I needed to hear. The cover is embarrassing. “I’m Afraid of Americans” (and its video) is excellent, but otherwise a fairly sad exercise.

 
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American Recordings

Not only is today Fred the Elder’s 30th birthday—on the day he was born, the first of Johnny Cash’s final six-album run with producer Rick Rubin, American Recordings, was unleashed.

I am bit of a Johnny Cash fan (ie. I own about 20 of his albums!), so I didn’t want to pass this without a mention…

American Recordings Cover
The dogs are named Sin and Redemption, BTW.

30 years? Really? Below is the unforgettable video for lead single “Delia’s Gone”…

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Remembering the Two Freds

As hinted at in this post, March 14 would have been Fred (Jr)’s 20th birthday, if he was still here. He died in 2018.

Well, further to that, today would have been a big birthday for the “original” Fred, who was born on April 26 1994. Yup, the Big Three-Oh! Of course, no Westie in the long history of Westiedom ever lived to be 30, but it’s a bittersweet landmark that I wanted to note. I also plan to make a few more postings about both of the Freds in due course, 2024 being a big year for them. Below are a couple of pics of OG Fred in the meantime (I’m working on scanning many more)…

Fred July 1994
OG Fred as a pup, early July 1994.

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2023 Viewing (Q4)

Long overdue: the viewings for the approx last quarter of 2023. Previous viewings @ here.

Haven’t felt much like blogging for some time (hardly anyone reads this thing & the Internet in general has become something I really dislike—a rant for another time, mebbe!), but this is a tradition now. Onwards.

The Rockford Files seasons 1-3 (DVD)
Starsky & Hutch seasons 1-2 (DVD)
Columbo seasons 3-10 (DVD)
The Deputy season 1 (download)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series 2 (DVD)
The Return of Sherlock Holmes series 1-2 (DVD)
The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes series 1-3 (DVD)
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes series 1 (DVD)
Reacher season 1 (download)
Tulsa King season 1 (download)

Some commentary…

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Fred Six Years On

Yesterday (Feb 28) was the sixth anniversary of Fred Jr’s passing. Six years?! That clock is whizzing round these days. I can’t think of an upside to this, sadly. This year would also be a big birthday for him, and I’ll post about that in a couple of weeks.

The pic is of Fred from September 3, 2006.

Fred Sept 3 2006

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David Soul

I was very sorry to hear of David Soul’s passing just recently. It reminded me of back in 2020, when, halfway through watching the original (best!) James Bond movies, Sean Connery passed on. This time we were in the middle of watching the complete Starsky & Hutch series.

About that series… of course, it’s a mixed bag. It started out very, very gritty, but it seems they quickly realised with a strong younger audience they should probably dial that aspect back a bit. But never fully, which means by the third season we still get very edgy, adult episodes side-by-side with absurdly camp, jokey nonsense. At its best, Starksy & Hutch is superb—at its worst, the cheesiness is off the scale.

Starsky & Hutch

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