Previously archived record reviews from my old blog
Here are some of my random thoughts and words about obscure and in-demand ’60s garage and psychedelic singles over the years. All of the original blog posts on my old website have since been deleted so no label scans or picture sleeves are available. Instead, I’ve used images scanned from teen music magazines.
BROTHERHOOD – ”Doin’ The Right Thing (The Way)” (RCA Victor LSP 4092) 1968
I’m finding the odd Brotherhood article in various teen music magazines from 1968 and it’s sparked my interest in playing their albums for the first time in years. This one has plenty of variety with a couple of stand-outs including the sitar drenched ”Doin’ The Right Thing (The Way)”
This number is a very introspective psychedelic recording with a hippie sentiment, now is that indeed a sitar or a Vox guitar making the sound of a sitar? Either way, the Eastern motive adds to the hypnotic feel and narrative of the song.
LARRY & THE LOAFERS – ”Let’s Go To The Beach” / ”Who” (Shurfine 017) 1966
Here’s one of those undeniably great records that totally captures the time of frat surf numbers circa 1966. According to Teenbeat Mayhem the group came from Pensacola, FL although there’s a site online indicating Birmingham, Alabama. Take your pick, but let’s not argue about this fabulous number.
”Let’s Go To The Beach” was compiled decades ago on ”What A Way To Die” and I don’t believe it’s turned up on anything since. Unbelievable! I’m not sure if this was the line-up for this disc but it’s a start:
Larry Parker (vocals)
Charles Giambrone (bass)
Dale Serrano (drums)
Wayne Gross (guitar)
LANCE FOX & the BLOODHOUNDS – ”That’s Your Problem (It Ain’t Mine)” / ”You Got Love” (Bang Records B-523) May 1966
Not a great deal of information is readily available about Lance Fox & the Bloodhounds but according to the liners of Mindrocker #13 they hailed from New York and this single was their only release. The top side ”That’s Your Problem (It Ain’t Mine)” is a mean little garage rocker with a catchy riff, obligatory organ bursts, choice guitar, tambourine clatter and sort of put down lyrics. ”I never told you I’d be your man, baby” and ”I’m not the marrying kind”
The other side ”You Got Love” is more sedated with 12 string guitar a little fuzz action. Another winner of course.
THE SELECTIVE SERVICE – ”Green Onions” / ”Shake” (Trans Canada TC-32110 March 1967
Here’s an obscure record from a soul beat group from Ohio, it’s an updated 1967 take of the mod instro ”Green Onions” – No hammond organ on this, instead some subtle fuzz guitar and brass which gives it quite a gritty sound. I can visualise something like this as background music to a punch up on 60s TV show ”Batman” ”POW” ”CRUNCH” ”ARRGH!”
The other side is a decent version of ”Shake.” So, two cover versions of hit records. Buckeyebeat wrote all about The Selective Service and included a photo of them. Head over to that website for more information but in the meantime have a listen to ”Green Onions” via my YouTube Channel.
THE OHIO EXPRESS – ”Try It” / ”Soul Struttin’” (Cameo Parkway KC-2001) January 1968
I’ve been delving deep into hit making bubblegum outfits lately and The Ohio Express are one such combo that I’ve been concentrating on. The best thing being their groovy little tunes of course but another draw is that much of their records are cheap and easily available. Which leads me onto this disc. I checked their discography and found out that they had released ”Try It” as a single at the start of 1968.
This one proved a little tricky to track down because it was never released in Britain! Months before The Ohio Express hit the big time with ”Yummy, Yummy, Yummy” they recorded some notable garage style numbers including this terrific remake of ”Try It”. Perhaps The Standells version from April 1967 is the definitive go to turntable action burner but this cut by The Ohio Express is a serious contender mainly because of the unmistakable driving force of the ”Super K” production. The dirty fuzz opening forces the number out of the blocks then that oh so great drum action kicks in.
In my opinion this is worthy organ and fuzz punk, probably recorded in 1967 but released early ’68. The Ohio Express hailed from Mansfield, Ohio and were formally known as Sir Timothy & the Royals.
The Ohio Express wasn’t a group until the Buddah releases. The A-Side of the first Cameo single (”Beg, Borrow, and Steal) was a remixed version of a single by The Rare Breed, and the B-Side (Maybe) was the instrumental backing track of an audition tape by The Measles (featuring Joe Walsh). The A-Side of this single reportedly has at least one member of The Music Explosion, who Kassenetz-Katz also managed.
THE PRINCETONS – ”Georgianna” / ”Killer Joe” (Princeton PR-1465) November 1965
This 45 was the next single released by The Princetons after ”Little Miss Sad” / ”Bony Maronie” and is a much stronger record. The vibrant organ dominated ”Georgianna” reminds me of early Standells. The flip ”Killer Joe” reverts back to their frat / rock and roll style and is not as memorable.
The Princeton label release came out in November 1965 and a month later the record was re-issued on Colpix and appears to be easier to find.
THE PRINCETONS – ”Little Miss Sad” / ”Bony Maronie” (Wand 193B) August 1965
The Princetons, from St Joseph – Coloma MI, appear to be oblivious of the British Invasion sweeping USA during the period in time when they recorded these two numbers. No Beat music here, it’s the sound of American rock and a throwback to Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and in this particular case Larry Williams.
”Bony Maronie” has been covered many times and it was a popular song in 1965/66 with recordings also by The Standells, Dick Dale and The Cyrkle. This was the B-Side. The plug side ”Little Miss Sad’ is short and snappy with plenty of hand claps. This number was also recorded by The Five Empressions in a similar style. Another version with horns exists by The Five Emprees. Not sure if it’s the same group but with a different spelling?
THE PREACHERS – ”Hey, Girl” / ”Thoughts Of You” (Barry B 3469X) 1967
I’m still delving away in a record box full of groups that begin with the letter ”P” hence pulling out this one by Canadian group The Preachers. Information on the internet and the reference guides I have is very scarce, the disc isn’t even listed on 45Cat. They appear to have been a three piece outfit, probably all vocalists using studio musicians.
The top side ”Hey, Girl” is a Goffin – King composition and sounds like something The Walker Brothers would come up with on a B-Side or deep album cut. It’s not really the type of thing I get all excited about. The flip, ”Thoughts Of You” is a pleasant enough pop number but doesn’t really do much for me. This side was written by Stu Mitchell who wrote ”Acid” with the Wes Dakis Rebels.
POWER – ”Children Ask (If He Is Dead)” / ”She Is The Color Of” (MGM K13815) September 1967
Power were a young and talented group from South Bay, CA and this single was their only release. The record was released on the independent Showplace label a month earlier then was distributed by MGM who advised the group or at least the singer to re-record his vocal and change the words ”God is dead” to ”He is dead” to avoid any potential ban by radio stations. Squaresville existed in 1967.
Both numbers were recorded at Paramount Studios on Melrose. ”Children Ask” is a psychedelic fuzz experience with brooding organ and religious overtones. The other side ”She Is The Color Of” is a psych ballad similar to the trip Love were on, especially with the addition of trumpet during the outro.
THE TEMPOS – ”Heart Beat” (Justice) 1966
The Tempos album on Crypt records takes me right back to the mid 80s when I was discovering primitive garage music from the USA every day of the week. It seemed that compilations and fanzines writing about these compilations and groups were being released at will. It was exciting times but on a strict budget mainly because I didn’t have or particularly want a job back then.
It was probably because of a vast amount of choice and lack of money back in the 80s that I never got around to buying The Tempos LP on Crypt. I changed all that last month but had to fork out £30 for a copy. Imagine that! These re-issue albums and comps sold for about £7 or less back then. Anyway, I’m glad I’ve obtained this piece of Alabama history. My pick for this post is their primal ’66 surf instro ”Heartbeat” I’m giving this a 5 star salute. I’d make these boys Knights of thee Realm but they were probably off to Vietnam after they quit school.
ERIK AND THE SMOKE PONIES – ”I’ll Give You More” / ”From Where I’m Standing” (Kama Sutra KA227) May 1967
This group hailed from Hempstead, NY and despite being on a big label like Kama Sutra they remain virtually unknown. I’ve had a look around the internet on various blogs and sites etc and no one has ever written about these lads. At first I thought perhaps Erik and the Smoke Ponies were a studio creation so I asked on Facebook if anyone had seen a photograph of them. Thankfully Mole responded with a small picture which I’ll post here. I also traced an article written in Hullaballoo, October 1967.
They possessed, at least on ”I’ll Give You More”, a driving beat sound, indulging themselves with plenty of fuzz and harmonica. It’s a splendid little rocker that must have sounded way-out on the radio. The flip ”From Where I’m Standing” is a slow paced pop number that doesn’t really do much for me but others may enjoy it.
“I’ll Give You More” has surfaced on a couple of compilations over the years namely ”Psychedelic Unknowns Volume 9” and ”Victims Of Circumstances Volume 2”
According to the Kama Sutra album discography Erik and the Stone Ponies were allocated LP label number KLP/KLPS 8062 but nothing was ever released. I wonder if this suggests that an album’s worth of unreleased material is lost in the vaults.
Another single was released on Cobblestone CB728 sometime in 1968 but I’ve not heard the sides ”I Think I’m A Flower” / ”I Know Someone’s There.” Both numbers remain uncompiled and the single itself appears to be quite obscure and difficult to find.
ERNIE & the EMPERORS – ”Meet Me At The Corner” / ”Got A Lot I Want To Say” (Reprise 0414) September 1965
I’ve been meaning to write about this disc for some time but for various reasons never got around to the task. It’s a splendid little record and I’ve had it for years before recently finding out that Ernie & the Emperors made some line-up changes and their name to the more familiar Giant Crab.
I have plenty of Giant Crab records and they’re a solid outfit too playing a late 60s psychedelic rock style. ”Meet Me At The Corner” is completely influenced by the British Invasion sound, in particular the pop orientated groups like Herman’s Hermits, The Beatles and other Merseybeat groups. It’s a decent little number and very commercial, rising to the top of the Charts in their local regions. In Santa Barbara they had a strong following and were well respected.
The flip ”Got A Lot I Want To Say” is another British Invasion influenced side but this time they add plenty of fuzz creating a much tougher sound. This number surfaced on the compilation CD ”Destination Frantic #3” but other than that appearance the song is not that well known.
There is an Ernie & the Emperors Facebook page for more details, information and photographs.
THE EMPTY SET – ”Tomorrow Is A Long Time” / ”Early Mornin’ Rain” (Coral 62486) April 1966
After researching this group and disc for quite some time I’ve still not uncovered very much information so for the time being The Empty Set will remain a mystery to me. They were probably months behind the times releasing this fabulous Byrdsian 12 string folk rock jangler. ”Tomorrow Is A Long Time” would have been a perfect Bob Dylan composition for The Byrds treatment however, The Empty Set really do turn on the style and have created a worthy jangler. Find it on the Misty Lane compilation ”Byrds Won’t Fly”
The other side ”Early Mornin’ Rain” is a Gordon Lightfoot number which has been covered many times. The Empty Set’s version is radio friendly and perhaps square friendly. Peter, Paul & Mary come to my mind.
ED WOOL & the NOMADS – ”I Need Somebody” / ”Please, Please (Don’t Go)” (RCA Victor 47-8940) September 1966
This group from Utica, NY were a very popular act on the local scene releasing records and supporting major talent from Britain when they rolled into town. They also had the British Invasion sound nailed, and on this disc from the end of 1966 are sounding very much like The Animals. The vocals on both sides have a yearning quality and are quite soulful.
The backbeat is more than adequate, the guitars have a tone that shines through the mix, especially the throbbing bass. My pick is the flip ”I Need Somebody” which has been compiled on ”Mind Blowers”
During my research I found a wiki page and decided to copy some of the information in my entry.
Ed Wool and the Nomads were formed in 1963 by Ed Wool, a graduate of the Watertown High School class of 1962. From a young age Wool was a guitar prodigy and songwriter. He became influenced by the British Invasion sound, then later by soul and R&B. The band’s initial line-up consisted of Ed Wool on lead guitar and vocals, Phil Udaskin on bass, and Al Grant on drums. Shortly afterward, Chris Christie replaced Udaskin on bass.
In the mid-1960s Ed Wool and The Nomads became one of the biggest bands in the northern Upstate New York region and opened for acts such as Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, the Young Rascals, and accompanied the Rolling Stones along with Patti Labelle and the Bluebelles and Boston’s the Rockin’ Ramrods. In 1966, the group secured a recording contract with RCA Victor and cut the single, ”I Need Somebody” b/w “Please, Please, Please.”
Several line-up changes ensued as the decade progressed. Bassist Christie departed and was replaced by Chuck Martuzes. Ed Wool remained the act’s focal point. The group was known as the Sure Cure briefly, releasing the Feldman, Goldstein, Gottehrer-penned ”I Wanna Do It” for the Cameo-Parkway label.” In 1967, as the Pineapple Heard, they became first to record Boyce & Hart’s ”Valleri”, for the Diamond label—a year before The Monkees had a hit with it. At the end of the decade, the band changed its name to Wool, and recorded the 1969 self-titled album, Wool.
THE DISCIPLES – ”Junior Saw It Happen” / ”Only The Blind Can See” (Ivanhoe Records 50.0010) September 1966
This is one of those records that is very much under the radar and has only ever been compiled on ”Bad Vibrations #1” decades ago. ”Junior Saw It Happen” is a fabulous rock and roll raunch attack, very similar to those way out sides by Paul Revere & the Raiders. The Disciples add plenty of teen energy, masses of fuzz, stupendous organ bursts and there’s an omnipresent tambourine bashing away in the background. This sound is totally my scene. The group hailed from Oklahoma City (according to Teenbeat Mayhem) but it seems they relocated to Los Angeles sometime in the late 60s.
The Disciples released two more singles before changing their name to Southwind and started to play a mature hippie rock style, releasing one album which is decent. But it’s their fuzz laden teen explosion of ”Junior Saw It Happen” that deserves wider acclaim.
The plug side ”Only The Blind Can See” is a worthy side too and much more commercial offering, very Beatles in a Merry Go Round sound kind of way.
The Steve Miller Band recorded a hippie rock style of ”Junior Saw It Happen” and their take was part of the successful album ”Children Of The Future”
ELIZABETH – ”Mary Anne” / ”Worlds For Free” (Vanguard VSD-35070) July 1968
I don’t have much information about this mysterious group from Philadelphia but this one off single by Elizabeth is pleasantly laid back in a West Coast psychedelic rock kind of way with jazzy drums, flute and baroque harmonies. Released during July 1968 by which time some members had long hair and moustaches, wore beads and probably smoked those perfumed cigarettes.
In Sam Charters they also enjoyed the same Vanguard label in-house producer as Country Joe & the Fish. Elizabeth’s compilation appearances have been few and far between although their album track ”You Should Be More Careful” surfaced back in 2014 on the Vanguard retrospection album ”Follow Me Down”
I really must try and obtain a copy of their album one day. I’ve read a few times online that it’s mediocre but I prefer to check things out for myself. Until then I’ll make do with this single.
THE EIGHTH DAY – ”Hey Boy! (The Girl’s In Love With You)” / ”A Million Lights” (Kapp K-862) October 1967
I wrote about The Eighth Day several years ago and recently completed my collection of Eighth Day records with their first two 45s and album on Kapp Records. ”Hey Boy! (The Girl’s In Love With You)” was chosen as the debut single and perhaps album sampler.
The number written by the Dante – Allan team is a radio friendly pop nugget with brass and choice harmonies / vocal interplay by the group, who at times sound like a cross between The Association and The Cowsills.
More interesting for me is the flip ”A Million Lights” which is typical ’67 bouncy harmony pop and perhaps should have been the top side. Another number written by the Dante – Allan partnership.
MICHAEL’S MYSTICS – ”You Ran Away” / ”Hi Bird” (Bear #1965) 1965
Michael’s Mystics were a popular mid sixties outfit from St Paul, MN. despite having a large local following they failed to break out anywhere else and didn’t leave much behind apart from this 45 on the Bear label. What a great little bear logo too. Both sides are decent beat but for my taste ”You Ran Away” edges it.
”You Ran Away” is a competent Mersey beat style stomper with subtle background sax, unison vocals and a fabulous but short lead guitar break. This number would have sounded so much better played faster.
THE ROMANS – ”The Drag” / ”After You Go” (DB Records 41765) April 1965
Enthusiastic teenage romp with a number dominated by organ, some rattling drums drive the song on with a steady beat, the bass guitar is neat and tidy but not much in the way of electric guitar.
They probably performed this at School Dances, can’t think for one moment they were old enough for pubs and clubs. Location has been confirmed as York, PA.
T.I.M.E. – ”Tripping Into Sunshine” / ”What Would Life Be Without It” (Liberty 56060) August 1968
I’ve been meaning to create a post and YouTube video for ”Tripping Into Sunshine” for many years but have never seemed to get there for some reason. The wait is over! The number under review is the lead in track from their debut album ”Smooth Ball” and is a fabulous psychedelic rock interlude of strident guitar, trippy vibrations, and that Los Angeles sound from 1968. Very much a perfect encapsulation of the time.
T.I.M.E. by the way is an acronym for Trust In Men Everywhere. There’s a saying ’never trust a hippie’ but it seems T.I.M.E. trusted everyone. These particular long hairs formed in San Diego out of the ashes of The Sparrow and The Hard Times, two popular combos who were regulars on the L.A. circuit but never seemed to gain much exposure elsewhere.
I’m not sure which side was the single release. ”Tripping Into Sunshine” is the memorable number and had hit potential but ”What Would Life Be Without It” was not released on the album so perhaps the latter was the A-Side. Whatever, the single served as a choice introduction for their way-out psychedelic rock material.
THE NOVAS – ”William Junior” / ”And It’s Time” (STAR 001) September 1966
For lovers of folk-rock janglers and in my eyes one of the singles of thee Century, released September 1966.
”And It’s Time” is quite clearly inspired by The Hollies ”Look Through Any Window” but I don’t care about such things when such heights of beauty are reached. The other side ”William Junior” also also jangle heaven.
One of my most beloved singles.
POSITIVELY THIRTEEN O’CLOCK – ”Psychotic Reaction” / ”13 O’Clock Theme For Psychotics” (HBR-500) September 1966
I was thinking about the Hanna-Barbara label yesterday and I’m still amazed that no compilation re-issue has ever been undertaken, there are so many great records on HBR, so many choice sides waiting to be discovered.
Mouse & the Traps signed to HBR for a one-off single in late 1966, however for this release they changed their name to Positively Thirteen O’Clock. The top side is a fuzzy take of The Count Five classic but my interest has always been for the instrumental au go go B-Side ”13 O’Clock Theme For Psychotics” This side is a winner with it’s maxed out treble guitar sound and measured drum work.
PETER ANTELL – ”The Times They Are A Changing” / ”Yesterday And Tomorrow” (Bounty B-45103) September 1965
Here’s an obscure single by young folk singer Peter Antell, released September 1965. The flip ”Yesterday And Tomorrow” with it’s folk rock backing and forceful vocal is perhaps the strongest side and may have been best placed as the top side but I suppose ’cashing in’ on Bob Dylan songs during this period in time was the favourite route to possible success.
The Bounty label was linked with Elektra and future Doors music maker, Paul Rothchild was involved with production on the A-Side according to the label. There are several colour variants of the latter by the way. Despite exposure in Billboard trade magazine (see advert) I’ve found no evidence that Peter Antell’s record was a hit.
KIRIAE CRUCIBLE – ”The Salem Witch Trial” / ”Complain” (Night Owl J-6836) March 1968
USA: Hyghe Knyghte status achieved by Madison, Wisconsin group of teenagers Kiriae Crucible. ”The Salem Witch Trial” is quite an intense number notable for the audio oscillator effect – Yeah, hang those witches.
The group were popular locally and were supported by WISM who gave the single regular spins. Sales were steady especially in Madison. These days though the record hardly ever shows up for sale and will probably sell upwards of $400 if you’re lucky enough to locate a copy.
CRYSTAL GARDEN – ”Peach Fuzz Forest” / ”Flash” (Bay Town BT011s) March 1969
According to ”TeenBeat Mayhem!” Crystal Garden hailed from San Leandro, California and despite almost everywhere stating a 1968 release for this disc, in the book we’re looking at Spring 1969. The music certainly fits in with an early 69 sound. Top side ”Peach Fuzz Forest” is the most well known cut and has quite a crude recording but with plenty to get excited about.
The flip ”Flash” is a more laid back, downer affair. Again with a crude production in stereo and lyrics about a girl blowing her mind on acid. Kind of like lo-fi Byrds. I really dig this side but judge for yourselves.
T.J. BLACK – ”She Belongs To Me” / ”Gotta Turn Myself On, Babe” (Jubilee 45-5516) November 1965
I’m always on the look out for 1965/66 folk-rock records and I found a copy of T.J. Black ’She Belongs To Me’/’Gotta Turn Myself On, Babe’ on Jubilee. It’s the often covered Bob Dylan tune but this version is slowed right down with that typical folk-rock sound of clattering tambourine, gruff/protest style vocals and what could be an ocarina – (ie) the ’I Got You Babe’ kinda sound – no jangle guitars sadly.
The other side Gotta Turn myself On, Babe’ is strong folk-rock too.
Who was T.J. Black?
message from Max Myndblown:
I have this 45 too. I believe it’s Terry Black, a Canadian who put out 45s and LPs on Arc in Canada but also headed south of the border and had several US releases, including an LP on Decca, An Eye For An Ear, as Terence.
THE STRANGELOVES – ”Night Time” / ”Rhythm Of Love” (Bang B-514) December 1965
The Strangeloves should rapidly jump into the winner’s circle with this top-drawer follow up to their last time out smasheroo of ”Cara-Lyn.” The top lid here, ”Night Time” is a pulsating, hard driving rhythmic romantic blueser about a lad who wants to spend the PM hours with his gal.
”Rhythm Of Love” is a plaintive, after hours, soulful romancer.
(Cashbox review, 1965)
CENTRAL PARK – ”Who Wouldn’t Love To Be Loved” / ”Flower Hill” (Amy 11,019) May 1968
It’s the B-Side ”Flower Hill” that grabs my attention on this Amy disc. Information about Central Park appears to be scarce to non-existent. To me, they sound like either a folk outfit from New York trying their hand at something a little bit more with the times or they’re perhaps a studio creation.
”Flower Hill” has double tracked vocals, guitars sounding like sitars, some studio FX and lyrics expressing the delight with the current scene of flowers, love and peace. This is radio friendly and safe. Not that this side would have got the plays because of it’s flip side status.
Producer and Arranger Wes Farrell went onto major success as a songwriter for the Partridge Family.
THE FALLEN ANGELS – FALLEN ANGELS (Roulette SR 25358) September 1967
The Fallen Angels have fallen away from the ordinary musical approach into something extra-communicable. (And the cow jumped over the moon). Their ability to communicate with their audience, starts with the kind of understanding they have created, first amongst themselves. (The dish ran away with the spoon).
They are not just a new group with a new sound, it’s more of something you’re unable to put into words. Their music is their own, and doesn’t fit into any categories.
It’s like taking pop music, exploiting it to it’s limit, and pulling it into a new dimension of time and sound. Lend a hand to the Fallen Angels and they will pull you in – bring you up or down, and make you (Wanna steal your mother’s shoe). They honestly love to addict people to their music and they do (Shoo-be-dooo).