L.A. SOUNDS 1965 – 1969: REVIEWS

THE EPICENTRE OF JANGLE - 12 STRING JANGLERS, FUZZ AND FARFISA COMBOS, PROTEST SINGERS AND FOLK ROCKERS.

THE LYRICS – ’So What!!’/’They Can’t Hurt Me’ (Era Records 3153) November 1965

Almost three years ago I exchanged emails with Ray Clearwater who wrote, sang and played harmonica on both songs on The Lyrics debut 45 released on Era Records. At the time Ray was a member of The Lyrics he was known as Christopher Gaylord.

My full interview with Ray can be found elsewhere on my site. The double exclamation marks in the title of ’So What!!’ was the deciding factor allowing this side to get the nod and become my Number One, LA Select of 2011.

ADRIAN LLOYD – ’Lorna’/’Got A Little Woman’ (Charger CRG-112) 1965

According to the liners of Back From The Grave – Volume 8, Adrian Lloyd was from England but relocated to Los Angeles. He then joined a surf/instrumental group called The Rumblers as their prime evil drummer, before forming his own combo Adrian and the Sunsets.

It’s not known if The Sunsets backed Adrian Lloyd on this incredible two sider released on Charger Records in 1965. ’Lorna’ is a terrifying listening experience due completely to Lloyd’s carnal screams over a crunchin’ Bo Diddley beat with surf guitar. An absolute amazing performance.

The more sedate but equally appealing flip ’Got A Little Woman’ is moody and intense, again with a surf twang. Lloyd’s vocals are full of edge and attitude. This guy is fucked off about something.

Few original copies of this record exist so it was with good fortune that I managed to buy a bootleg copy a few years ago when they were doing the rounds on eBay. Copies have since dried up.

THE GLASS FAMILY – ’House Of Glass’ (Warner Bros WS 1776) early 1969

’House Of Glass’ is the stone cold killer psychedelic lead off track from The Glass Family.

This superb piece of lysergia would have made a fabulous single but it was overlooked in favour of ’Guess I’ll Let You Go’/’Agorn (Elements Of Complex Variables)’ two other great songs that were taken from this overlooked album and released as a single, no doubt to promote it.
The music for the album ”Electric Band” was recorded late 1968 and released early 1969.

All cuts recorded at American Recording Studios in Studio City, California and produced by Richard Podolor, who has cropped up a couple of times on my site after working with other outfits.

THE DIRTY SHAMES – ’Makin’ Love’/’I Don’t Care’ (Impression 112) August 1966

Los Angeles group The Dirty Shames released this great two sider on the collectable Impression Records label out of Hollywood then disappeared. Not a great deal is known about them other than the fact that they recorded a version of ’Makin’ Love’, originally made by The Sloths.

The Sloths also recorded for Impression Records and it’s believed that this is how The Dirty Shames knew about the song and decided to record it themselves. ’Makin’ Love’ is an ’R&B’ howler with harp and a crunching fuzz break. Not a hint of the folk rock sound Los Angeles was famous for during the period mid 1965 to the end of ’66.

THE DOVERS – ’The Third Eye’/’Your Love’ (Miramar 123) April 1966

The Dovers were the legendary folk rock group from Santa Barbara that released four singles on the small Hollywood label Miramar without causing much of a stir, then were gone. That was until Pebbles #2 featured their first single, the outstanding ’She’s Gone’ and The Dovers were vogue at last.

’The Third Eye’ under the spotlight, was The Dovers third single on Miramar and although no credits are displayed on the label I’m confident that it was written by leader Tim Granada, the group’s singer/songwriter and rhythm guitarist. Like their earlier 45 releases it was probably recorded at Gold Star Studios.

This exquisite, eastern tinged 12 string killer is one of the earliest excursions into psychedelia, and seemingly recounts an acid experience. According to the liners of The Dovers retrospective LP on Misty Lane, in early 1966 The Dovers underwent some line-up changes and group members started to experiment with LSD.

Tim Granada’s haunting vocals deliver the lines,

”Unlocked by the key and now I am free” as well as ”No wings for my flight, I drift through the night”

THE PREACHERS – ’Stay Out Of My World’/’Who Do You Love’/’Hey Joe’ (Sundazed SEP 191) 2009

’Stay Out Of My World’ first appeared in October 1965 on (Moonglow 5006) and is a tough record to track down but thankfully Sundazed re-issued the cut on 45 a couple of years ago complete with a fabulous picture sleeve. There’s no reason why readers of my blog should be without their own copy.

The Preachers got together in early 1964 and played the local bars in Manhattan Beach, moving on to be a resident band at the Casbah Club in Canoga Park. They quickly became very popular in the San Fernando Valley before eventually performing regularly on the Sunset Strip by mid 1965.

The original lead vocalist Richard Fortunato was replaced by John English who wrote the lyrics of ’Stay Out Of My World’, the folk punker under the spotlight. John had no music to his words so organist Rudy Garza came up with that groovy organ riff to bring the whole thing together. Listening to his organ runs, I can’t help but think of the riff Ray Manzarek used for ’Soul Kitchen’.

Richard Fortunato and bassist Zeke Jim Camarillo went onto The Vejtables, Fortunato then joined W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band with Preachers drummer Steve Lagana. Lead guitarist Hal Tennant may have been with The Bees at some point.

THE LYRICS – ’Can’t See You Any More’/’Wake Up To My Voice’ (Feather 1968) February 1968

By the powers of the internet I’ve had the pleasure of exchanging emails with two members of The Lyrics over the years and exclusive interviews with Dan Garcia and Ray Clearwater (previously known as Christopher Gaylord) can be found on my site. Dan sent me a load of Lyrics photos and ephemera some of which I’ve posted today for the first time on ’Flower Bomb Songs’. 

The Lyrics hailed from the San Diego area but spent much of their existence recording and gigging in Los Angeles, often supporting The Doors.

This amazing and hard to find garage psych record was probably cut at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood where they had previously recorded the earlier 45 ’Mr Man’ / ’Wait’ released on GNP Crescendo. They also used the same production team of Harlan Peacock and Don Ralke.

The A-Side appears to have been The Doors influenced ’Can’t See You Any More’ written by lead guitarist Bill Garcia . The flip might be recognisable to some because it was compiled on Highs In The Mid Sixties Volume 3. The sound quality on this comp is atrocious mainly because a beat up copy of the disc was used that has clicks and pops all over it.

’Can’t See You Any More’ was listed as a ’Hit Bound Sound’ on the Santa Barbara Radio KIST music list, week ending 10th February 1968.
’Wake Up To My Voice’ written by singer Craig Carll is a magical example of garage psychedelia. It’s been a firm favourite of mine ever since I first heard it in the mid 80s and is clearly a classic of it’s genre.

Related trivia:
Don Ralke produced and arranged many records during the great 66/67 period. As well as being employed by The Lyrics he also worked with Ty Wagner of ’I’m A No Count’ and ’Slander’ fame as well as arranging the vocals on songs by The Sunrays. He also wrote several songs recorded by William Shatner on his ’The Transformed Man’ LP from 1968.

THE TURTLES – ’Outside Chance’/’We’ll Meet Again’ (White Whale 234) August 1966

Yet another blog entry for The Turtles, I love this group! and surely ’Outside Chance’ had the class and pop charm to be a big hit but the record somehow bought a ticket to nowheresville and sank without trace making it one of the most sought after Turtles 45s to collect.

’Outside Chance’ was written by Warren Zevon who at this point in time was a White Whale label stablemate and part of duo Lyme & Cybelle. Here, The Turtles offer up a folk punk version with tough 12 string guitar and an electric piano break.
The song was covered by Sounds Like Us. 

THE ELECTRIC PRUNES – ’Everybody Knows You’re In Love’/’You’ve Never Had It Better’ (Reprise RS 20652) February 1968

Recorded in late 1967 at American Recording Co studios in Hollywood, the flip of this record ’You’ve Never Had It Better’ catches The Electric Prunes in a raunchy mood. The song is in complete contrast to the plug side ’Everybody Knows You’re Not In Love’ which is a soft pop number written by Lowe and Tulin.

But it’s the psychedelic rocker ’You’ve Never Had It Better’ that gets my nod and entry in my L.A. Select list. Check out the pulsating buzzsaw-fuzztone opening riff, straight away you know you’re in for a heavy ride – settle down and take that fuzz trip.

THE RISING SONS – ’I Got A Little’ (Sundazed) recorded December 1965

Somehow, The Rising Sons never made it as a hit group outside of Los Angeles although on the Sunset Strip they became one of the legendary groups with memorable performances of potent R&B and country blues.

The good people at Sundazed Records released a stunning vinyl only release of material recorded by The Rising Sons during 1965/66, all of the cuts never saw the light of day in the 60s apart from the sides used as their only single ’Candy Man’ and ’The Devil’s Got My Woman’.

’I Got A Little’ is a group original written by Jessie Lee Kincaid and is a rush of uptempo blues with jangle guitar that works real well. Short and sweet medication.

After their demise in mid 1966, Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder became famous in their solo careers and drummer Kevin Kelley joined The Byrds.

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