RADIO, LIVE TRANSMISSION #11

Just before the latest lock-down I bought some vinyl records from ‘Hot Rats’ in Sunderland and I’m just getting around to playing some of them now. I was quite amazed to find a 10″ re-issue of an ancient ’60 psych / garage compilation called “The Magic Cube”.

This record originally came out in 1982 and a year before I discovered underground sixties psychedelia and garage punk. I didn’t even buy and original back in the eighties because they were very scarce, I can’t remember ever seeing a copy for sale in any of the record shops I used to inhabit on a regular basis.

some information about this disc:
10′ hand-numbered coloured vinyl with pop-up cube. One of the earliest psychedelic compilations and probably the strangest is The Magic Cube, which appeared inexplicably in 1982 in hip record emporiums around the world. A limited edition 9″ flexi disc housed in a card envelope. When it was opened it unleashed a pop up psychedelic cardboard cube emerged to mystify and confuse. Purportedly the product of the same deranged collector mind who gave the world the first Acid Dreams compilation, Magic Cube certainly contained some killer US 60s garage psych punk, not least the stupendously rare Children of the Mushroom‘s You Can’t Erase a Mirror and The Bedlam Four‘s crazed ‘Hydrogen Atom’ as well as The Front Page News fuzz fest ‘Thoughts’ and six other US ’60s acid punk psych diadems.

On Sunday I pulled out an original 45 from one of my many boxes of US garage / psych in my archive. Thackeray Rocke caught my eye. “Tobacco Road” / “Can’t You See” (Castalia ARA 268) 1968
Obscure psychedelic rock group from Phoenix, Arizona.
This was their second and final 45. Interestingly the production is in stereo. Check out the heavy psych leads, liquid fuzz attack and flashing tambourine.

B-side of ‘Tobacco Road’ (at least that’s what I think. My copy appears to come from an old radio station. Someone has scribbled through the title on the label usually meaning that the DJ wasn’t to play this side!

“Can’t You See” has never been compiled before and it’s the first time on YouTube. After a few plays the number really starts to have an effect. Moody psychedelic rock.


Working from home has gotten me all excited. This morning was Monday and I usually feel the ‘work-day blues’ because I know it’s a long trip of shit until Friday, before I can dive into the weekend. I was really buzzin’ for a change, now I know what a fat bloke feels like walking into a pie shop.

The main advantage with home working and a way to wash away the humdrum boredom of bashing away on a keyboard all day is the chance to play CDs and listen to podcasts.

This morning a listened to three mixes of “Psych-A-Rella” on Barrel House radio. Lot’s of choice ’60s garage, psych and freakbeat on offer and it’s well worth your time and effort to tune in.

Next up for a dream-away day is this CD collection called Ripples #8, sub titled ‘Butterfly’ . . . . Gathered here for your delectation are hopelessly rare or obscure examples of adventurous pop records during that golden age of 1968/69.

Explore material rich with harmony vocals, chiming instrumentation, pure pop onslaughts of flower-power and paisley reverie. One look at the exotic band names suggests an overdose of sunshine charm . . . . The Rainbow People, Floribunda Rose, The Onyx, The Quiet World Of Lea & John, The Candy Dates, Anan and Strawberry Jam. When was the last time you happened upon names like that?

The Ripples series of CDs were released on the now defunct Sequel label around twenty years ago, they were sought after then and command decent prices nowadays if you’re lucky enough to find a collector willing to sell.

How would my life have evolved without the music of The Byrds? It’s a question I often ask myself. Somehow I discovered the Byrds in 1981, I was still at school. At that time all of my friends were either into punk or starting to become influenced in their record buying persuasions with the pioneering synth-based groups such as OMD and early new wave acts like B-Movie.

I believe I got interested in the Byrds after reading a music press article about Aussie neo-psych band The Church. They named checked Roger McGuinn who played a 12 string Rickenbacker guitar, similar to the weapon of choice of Marty Willson-Piper.

Well, it was obvious that I needed to investigated because I loved The Church’s jangle sound. Who were The Byrds? and where do I find their records? That had to wait until a year later when I located a Byrds ‘Singles Collection’ LP in Boots, Sunderland. Yes!! Boots used to sell records. Can you believe that!

Today I listened to ‘Fifth Dimension’ a couple of times. It still sounds amazing for 1966. No group had their supreme and beyond wonderful sonic soundscapes in ’66, not even the Beatles. The album had a defining influence on American rock which is as deep and profound today with many underground garage groups.

After a week of home-working I’m really starting to see the benefits. So sitting at home clattering away aimlessly on a keyboard is not my idea of everlasting fulfillment but at least my shit work pays the bills. My Office freedom also means I’m playing CDs and today’s cranium distorter was the sublime album ‘Forever Changes’ . . . . once again. There is not a better album than this anywhere on the Planet. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve played this record since the eighties. Everything about this disc is simply beautiful. It’s a wondrous time capsule of 1967 that virtually did nothing in America upon release and was favoured more by the heads in Britain.

I chose to listen to the mono mix from the gorgeous box set released by Elektra a few years ago. Heaven is within your mind as well as on this record. Love, I salute you as being musical geniuses from another age and dimension.

Next up is the 4CD collection from Rhino “Where The Action Is!” and what you get for your blood money is a set of Los Angeles ‘Nuggets’ recorded by various outrageously potent groups and performers during thee golden period 1965 – 1968.

There are way too many way-out cuts here to single any one out, buy the fuck outta this if you see it for sale, it’s almost twenty years old now but should still be easily obtainable.

I have my impending retirement soon, I’m getting out of the rat race long before time (at 56) I no longer feel the need to be a Government drone. Try as much as they did to change my ways and ‘become compliant and one of them’ and believe me they tried, I’m still skulking around doing my own thing after thirty odd years. Nothing and no-one will ever manipulate me into becoming square or one of those meek weaklings who uphold petty rules even at the expense of common sense just because it’s written in the codes of conduct.

Which brings me to the Black Diamonds, a group of teenage Australian hooligans hellbent on being the most fierce sounding bunch of outsiders that has ever existed within the grooves of a 7″ record. This is 1966, but it could also be the sound of the apocalypse if the lead singer doesn’t get his girl.

Thankfully new re-issue label Solution Records have resurrected this beast from thee ashes . . . . . rejoice one of the most powerful, angst-drenched 45s to come out of Australia EVER!!! 

This 1966 monster has EVERYTHING – pounding drums, AS Olomans manic high pitched guitar – the driving, Entwistle-style bass and those strained, emotive vocals made this a regional hit and was only the b-side!

The band came from Lithgow, New South Wales, quickly establishing themselves as the best act around, earning a deal with Festival Records and were about from 1965 until 1971, but only had two singles out unfortunately. They evolved into Tymepiece in 1967, moving into a more progressive sound, but left this behind thankfully on it’s first official reissue

Made with full blessing from the band, this ace 45 comes in specially made company paper sleeves in wavy tops

THEATRE OF HATE – DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE WESTWORLD

There were a lot of young lads dressing like Theatre Of Hate when I was a teenager hangin’ out in the indie / punk pubs in Sunderland. You know, flat-top hair style, short at the sides and back, short-sleeved checked or white shirts, jeans and beetle crushers.

“Do You Believe In The Westworld” was also a regular play by the DJ’s in the clubs and the punks were forever dropping their shiny ten pence pieces into the jukebox for a rave-up while playing pool. Singer Kirk Brandon had his own distinct style of presentation and vocals, can’t think of many who sounded like him. Check out his Red Indian inspired wailing. An atmospheric number that just failed to hit really big in Britain although the band did make an appearance on Top Of The Pops. Produced by Clash man Mick Jones, released December 1981.

THE REZILLOS – DESTINATION VENUS

The Rezillos “Destination Venus” / “Mystery Action” (Sire SIR 4008) November 1978

Produced by Martin Rushent, engineered by Richard Manwaring. Recorded at the Manor and mixed at Advision, October 1978.

THE PRETENDERS – STOP YOUR SOBBING

Released February 1979 and a relatively small hit single for The Pretenders, reaching #34 in the British chart. Quite a faithful rendition of The Kinks number but with guitar jangle and that distinctive Chrissie Hynde double tracked vocal, produced by Nick Lowe.

Younger readers take note: an immense amount of today’s records are deliberately or indirectly based on Anglo-American pop / rock of the late ’50s and early ’60s.
There’s no better example than this vaguely Phil Spector influenced, Nick Lowe produced, instant hit (we hope) – featuring the multi-tracked vocal charms of Ms Chrissie Hynde. Great stuff. (Smash Hits, 08/02/79)

RADIO, LIVE TRANSMISSION #09

Only four months into my new blog and I’m already up to ‘Radio, Live Transmission #09’ which is essentially a playlist of the most recent CDs and records hitting my decks.

First up is this welcome CD collection of the best numbers from mid ’80s mod combo Makin’ Time, who almost made it into the mainstream. A popular and credible outfit on the mod / soul circuit but unfortunately they were forever destined to remain within that scene and darlings of circulating fanzines.

So what’s on the CD? – There are 23 tracks, all from master tapes and sounding fabulous, nothing that I wouldn’t expect from Big Beat. The set features their complete recordings made for the cult Countdown label, featuring the respected ‘Rhythm & Soul’ album as well as single B-sides and 12″ mixes.

The booklet is packed with rare photos, label shots, gig posters and extensive liner notes with quotes from various band members.

Bubblegum gum band 1910 Fruitgum Co go all far-out with their introspective psychedelic number “Reflections From The Looking Glass” released on the B-Side of their International smash from ’68 “Simon Says”.

What a surprise the primary school kids would have received if they flipped over the teen pop side of the disc to play this turned-on tripper.

The Chylds – ‘I Want More (Lovin)’/’Hay Girl’ (Giant Records 101) May 1967
Here’s a super 60s teenbeat double-sider on Giant Records. The Chylds were from Canton, OH and were very popular in their area. So much so that a huge label like Warner Bros were impressed enough to sign them up and release this disc on their label in July ’67.

Both sides really MOVE with an R&B / soul crunch, seemingly very much influenced by Paul Revere & the Raiders with a coolsville Mysterians organ buzz.

Disc 3 from the recent ‘Halcyon Days’ CD box-set has been on heavy rotation play this week. Much of the material on this veers off into the freakbeat and psych mod domain, and it’s all certainly wired for my mind.

The Tages set the scene with their sublime classic ‘Halcyon Days’ (obviously the inspiration for the title of this 3CD box-set) Lot’s of insanely great numbers on offer in beautiful sound quality. I can listen to Plastic Penny’s “Your Way To Tell Me Go” every day of the week. Pure sonic brain candy.

A new ’60s garage CD compilation called ‘Lost Innocence‘ is out right now on Big Beat and what a belter it is too. I’ve been waiting years for this one to come out, it was muted way back in time with the promise of Avengers numbers direct from the tape source. Since the release was talked about, two of the Avengers members have died, so they’re not gonna get any plaudits that may have come their way.

This collection is top-rated West Coast vintage garage sounds from the vaults of maverick genius Gary S Paxton. Acknowledged classics, tantalizing obscurities and several previously unheard gems, all delivered from the original master tapes.

Listening to Echo & the Bunnymen nowadays takes me right back to my schoolboy teenage days and just after I left school in 1981. They were a top group and appealed to me at the time when I was searching for inspired and non-commercial underground sounds from a contemporary outfit.

Having said that, at the time, I only ever bought their ‘Crocodiles’ album from 1980. Money was obviously tight back then without a job and only a small amount of pocket money jangling in my pockets.

Thankfully, I can still listen to them and get something out of their weird and strange sonic rhythms. They sound a lot more psychedelic than I remembered and the guitar work is excellent throughout. Perhaps the only cut that is pure dreck is the 12″ ‘discotheque’
Remix version of “Never Stop” during which I started thinking to myself “Never Start” – I won’t be playing that one ever again!

THE JAM – GOING UNDERGROUND

‘Going Underground’ had been planned as a double A-side, coupled with the more experimental track, which mined the same faintly psychedelic seam and oblique lyrics of earlier songs like ‘In The Crowd’. The intro was taken from an earlier song, ‘Thick As Thieves’.

“When we finished off Setting Sons,” Paul explained, “I got the engineer to play the album backwards and there was just one little piece of backward vocal I liked. ‘The Dreams Of Children’ was built around that, more-or-less made up on the spot.”

The technique reflected Paul’s growing love of British psychedelia, especially ’66-era Beatles and early Pink Floyd.
(released: March 1980)

RADIO, LIVE TRANSMISSION #10

THE THOMAS GROUP – ‘Penny Arcade’/’Ordinary Girl’ (Dunhill 45-D-4027) March 1966
The Thomas Group, for whatever reason, have rarely been compiled and are unknowns to most. They were a group of clean cut teenagers that formed in 1965 at Beverley Hills High School, their style of play was not influenced by the so called Brit Invasion but pure pop with surf and folk rock overtones.

They were talent spotted by Dunhill Records and put under the tutorage of famed songwriters P.F. Sloan & Steve Barri who wrote, arranged and produced most of their material. The Los Angeles ‘Wrecking Crew’ of Hal Blaine (drums), Joe Osborne (bass) and Larry Knechtel (keyboards) laid down the backbeats. What The Thomas Group contributed in the studio is therefore unclear, probably just the vocals.
Curiously no Thomas Group songs were compiled on the recent Sloan & Barri CD collection released by Ace in 2010.

Both sides are sunshine pop charmers, well written and executed as you would expect. The falsetto on the chorus of ‘Penny Arcade’ is P.F. Sloan.

THE THOMAS GROUP – ‘Autumn’/’Don’t Start Me Talkin’ ‘Bout My Baby’ (Dunhill 45-D-4030) May 1966
The second Thomas Group 45 was released a few months after their debut and sold well in some markets. Their profile was raised when they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and performed ‘Autumn’…Dear ‘Old Ed’ introduced them as having a ‘groovy, smooth rock sound’….

Once again P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri wrote and produced both sides adding background vocals. The sound of ‘Autumn’ is uplifting pure pop and should have been a massive hit, especially with the Ed Sullivan Show exposure.

THE THOMAS GROUP – ‘I’ve Got No More To Say’/’Then It Begins’ (RCA Victor D-4062) January 1967 (Canadian release)
The third Thomas Group single was released during the first month of 1967, some copies were housed in a picture sleeve. The back of the sleeve contained information about the group and it’s members. It also confirmed that P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri were writing and producing exclusively for The Thomas Group. As it turned out, this 45 would be the last one written by the famous songwriting duo.

‘I’ve Got No More To Say’ has a passing Beatles influence and is probably the only song they recorded with an ‘English’ sound. The flip ‘Then It Begins’ comes across like a clever re-write of ‘Red Rubber Ball’.

line-up:
Tony Thomas (drums)
Greg Gilford (organ/lead vocals)
Marty Howard (lead guitar)
Robert Wallerstein (rhythm guitar)
David Goldsmith (bass)

In late 1967, Steven Gaines replaced Marty Howard on lead guitar.

12″ singles were very popular during the eighties and I acquired perhaps a dozen or so, they weren’t something I’d immediately want preferring the good old fashioned 7″ single. I suppose the good thing about the twelve inch record was the chance to hear obscure tracks not on the single or even on the album at the time each group were promoting.

The Cult‘s “Spiritwalker” has the goth blues number “Flower In The Desert” on the B-side, which was probably why I bought this record in 1984.

I’m a key-worker and have been travelling to and from my Office since the first UK lock-down during the middle of March 2020. OK, you don’t all have to send me emails of congratulations and payments of love to my Paypal account.

Well, it’s taken a whole eleven months for my Employer to get around to ‘awarding’ me the luxury of working from home. On the 17th of March 2021, I made my Office space inside my spare bedroom a.k.a. EXPO67 HQ. One thing remained the same though, my admin work is still absolutely shite no matter where I unhappily indulge in its tediousness. That personal viewpoint has dogged my mind for many years, but my work pays the bills and has enabled me to amass quite an incredible CD and record collection.

The huge bonus of now working from home, inside EXPO67 HQ, is that I’m thoroughly enjoying catching up on my CD playlist, or casually picking an item from the shelf and hearing sonic magic contained within the plastic.

On heavy rotation today was a Byrds CD I’ve had for a couple of decades, came out in the early 90s. The first thing that knocked me back somewhat is that all of the tracks are stereo mixes of the well known and most beautiful numbers I’m more familiar with in mono.

The Monkees ‘Changes’ album is completely new to me, I was always put off by it because it was released in 1970. I’ve never really gone beyond 1968 for sixties recordings. So, put my tentativeness down to my ‘village idiot’ tendencies and judging a book by it’s cover.

‘Changes’ is a worthy Monkees release that doesn’t appear to resonate with fans. Perhaps it was because by 1970 only Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz were left, they play no instruments on these recordings, only adding their vocals.

The huge surprise for me though is that a few of the numbers date from 1967 and one track in particular is an absolute BEAST. “99 Pounds” simply roars outta the cage, what a fabulous sounding garage rocker complete with some way-out organ and phenomenal Davy Jones punk screams. Davy has never sounded so gritty. A brilliant tune.

THE BARRACUDAS TO GO FOLK SHOCK!!!

published in Sounds, 19th July 1980

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Focusing on punk, new wave, garage punk and independent records 1977 - 1985

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psychedelic music & arts magazine with a penchant for the more obscure

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