There are few stories in music more bizarre and intriguing than that of the Monks. While I have more than a handful of albums made under unusual circumstances and conditions, only a few reach my turntable as often as Black Monk Time does. The Monks had all of the cynicism and avant tendencies of contemporaries the Velvet Underground. But while the Velvets operated under the cloak of Lower East Side cool, the Monks were about as cool as a fat kid in brown diapers. That they accomplished this feat stationed on an Army base in Germany, only makes them that more charming. Their electric banjo player died this week and that stinks big time. If only it were Lou Reed.