For over four decades, the remarkable Ugly Things has been dedicated to exploring and unearthing what it happily calls the “wild sounds from past dimensions.”
Each issue of the quarterly magazine and former fanzine is stuffed with stunning detail about the famous and infamous – as well as the fringe and forgotten scene-makers of the (mostly) sixties: from surf and psych, garage punk and sunshine pop to the exotic and esoteric edges of folk and funk, soul and jazz.
Typical issues run an amazing 150 pages, with loads of photos and dozens of reviews, or what the magazine calls “Echoes from the Vaults.” Published and edited by British ex-pat Mike Stax – author of the highly-recommended Swim Through the Darkness: My Search for Craig Smith and the Mystery of Maitreya Kall (in which Gabor Szabo makes a brief appearance) – Ugly Things is a cornucopia of music well worth remembering and revering.
Ugly Things #54 (Summer 2020) featured two extended articles of great insight devoted to Gabor Szabo: “Gabor Szabo: Spellbinder – A Listener’s Guide to His 1960s Albums,” a lengthy overview of Szabo’s Impulse and Skye records by Stax and “The Rambler Returns: Gabor Szabo Comes Back to Hungary,” by David Holzer, a fine and incisive British writer living in Hungary.
Szabo bassist and fellow Hungarian émigré Louis Kabok was also interviewed by Stax in Ugly Things #56 (Spring 2021) while reissues of Szabo’s “Bacchanal,” “Dreams” and “Magical Connection” were reviewed in Ugly Things #57 (Summer 2021).
Stax and Holzer – who recorded the engaging Ugly Things podcast Gabor Szabo: Spellbinder in December 2022 – have since teamed up to write the very first English-language biography of Gabor Szabo.
With Stax on the West Coast and Holzer in Hungary, the writers are not only perfectly placed to cover Szabo where he lived. But their admiration, respect and love for the guitarist make them ideally suited to bring Szabo’s story beautifully to life. The book is set to be published in 2024.