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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.

WE THE PEOPLE – ”Ain’t Gonna Find Nobody” / ”When I Arrive” (RCA Victor 47-9498) April 1968

Batten down the hatches and prepare to have your mind distorted by fuzztones . . . . Orlando, FL group We The People have arrived on my blog.

”When I Arrive” is a potent stew of wild Who like chords, fuzz guitar, bad vibe words spat out then manipulated with studio vocal FX and is another one of those singles where the record label picked the wrong song for the A-Side.

The horn rock of ”Ain’t Gonna Find Nobody” didn’t sell so few people would have had the chance to hear the incredible acid punker ”When I Arrive.”

(24/07/16)

THE GRASS ROOTS – ”Wake Up, Wake Up” / ”No Exit” (RCA Victor 49.904) October 1967

The Grass Roots have a complicated history and one that has been explained elsewhere in magazines, books and online sources. Some not totally accurate though. At first The Grass Roots was a name of a phantom group P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri came up with to release folk-rock records under.

For reasons described elsewhere Sloan & Barri decided to discontinue releasing records under the disguise of The Grass Roots but retained the name (eventually another group called 13th Floor took over) and worked on production and arranging.

The flip of this October 1967 single is the solid and garage-like rocker ”No Exit” which was also part of their ”Let’s Live For Today” studio album. It’s got a dark message about being trapped in a unsatisfactory life which may explain it’s B-Side status.

My copy shown is the French release in a stunning picture sleeve.

(20/07/16)

THE SPIRES OF OXFORD – ”But You’re Gone” / ”I Really Do” (MY Records 5096) July 1967

Believe it or not but this crude teen garage punk record was released during the same month as The Beatles’ ”Sgt Pepper” album. Their world and sound couldn’t have been further apart.

According to ”Teenbeat Mayhem” The Spires Of Oxford hailed from Oxford, Massachusetts and this was their only shot at the big time. Not that they would have had any chance of the big time of course. Perhaps only 500 copies of this record were ever pressed. It’s quite a difficult record to locate and doesn’t crop up on eBay, the internet or Set Sales that often.

”But You’re Gone” sees the boys invent a Kinks like riff which they utilize throughout, perhaps it’s all they can play. The two finger organ solo is great and I wish it went on longer. This song was covered by The Brood and released as a single in 1991. I’ll cover that 45 next time.

The other side ”I Really Do” is an awful crooner style ballad and is not my scene. These guys should have stuck with their primitive rockers.

(18/07/16)

13th PRECINCT – ”Junk Yard” / ”You Gotta Be Mine” (TRX 45-T-5005) November 1967

I bought this obscure single by 13th Precinct a few years ago and it’s taken me all that time to get it out of the box and research the group.

13th Precinct were from Rock Falls, IL and released a previous single on Feature under the name of The Inspirations. ”That Girl” / ”Baby Please Come Home” (Feature 110) was released mid 1966. A change of personnel followed as well as a label change to TRX. They also updated their moniker to 13th Precinct.

”Junk Yard” has a soothing hypnotic vibration with floating organ/guitar sounds, quite unique actually. Add to the mix flower-power harmonies and they came up with a ’67 winner, perfect for the times.

”If you find that you haven’t got a dime,
All you’ve got is time
Go to the junk yard.
There’s a new and groovy scene,
You know what I mean
Go to the junk yard.”

(17/07/16)

THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR ELEVATORS – ”You’re Gonna Miss Me” / ”Tried To Hide” (IA 107) June 1966

Voted THEE best 60s garage 45 of all time in ”Teenbeat Mayhem” and for once I agree with their score – which was ”10” ,in second place was The Gentlemen ”It’s A Cry’n Shame” and third was The Squires ”Going All The Way”

No need for any review on this MONSTER as it’s been written about everywhere. I’ll just add that ”You’re Gonna Miss Me” was first released on the local label Contact several months before it got a wider distribution on International Artists. It was never released in Britain which is a shame.

There are three pressings on IA 107. The first being the two tone light blue – dark blue label, the second pressing was the yellow and green two tone label combination issued after the HBR release. The third pressing is on a white label with a re-designed globe logo.

(16/07/16)

ADRIAN LLOYD – ”Lorna” / ”Got A Little Woman” (Sundazed S267) 2013

Sundazed re-issued this slab of raunchy rock & roll during ’Record Store Day’ in 2013 and I’ve just picked up a copy, better late than never as they say. Sixties garage band greatness is somewhat less than infrequently associated with solo acts, especially those with a pre British Invasion, professional resume. Southern California surf legend Adrian Lloyd ranks as a towering exception.

Maybe it’s just the British in him, but England born, SoCal transplanted Lloyd made the apparently effortless leap from surf (Adrian & the Sunsets) to the long haired Sunset Strip sound and the results are on this must have disc.

(29/06/16)

THE PSYCHEDELIC PSYMPHONY – ”Don’t Be Afraid” (Arcadia International 1) 2006

Recorded at Ryder Sound Studio in 1965 ”Don’t Be Afraid” is from the film ”Mondo Keyhole” a little morality play about people hooked on love, sex and drugs that include LSD. It is a testimonial for those ground under in a mid-sixties Tinsel Town underground.

As much as a film can be, it’s a snap shot of a season in a unique locale – Halloween in Hollywood 1965. And so we unleash this fuzzy 12 string folk rocker that’s all about strung out, flustered folk. They are the denizens who take time out from dying to dance to the sounds of The Psychedelic Psymphony at the Artists and Models Ball.

(29/06/16)

THE DILLONS – ”Simple Way Of Living” / ”Night Winds” (Impression 101) September 1965

Not a lot is known about The Dillons but in my educated view I suspect that they were from California. TV footage of them does exist and is on YouTube, here they perform ”Simple Way Of Living” on the ”Shivaree” music show. Interestingly, they are a rather square looking duo. I was expecting a four piece folk-rock group in Sunset Strip threads with bowl haircuts.

Perhaps they were a studio concoction to cash in on the Los Angeles folk-rock sound, even adopting a group name similar to ’Dylan’. Whatever The Dillons intentions ”Simple Way Of Living” is a knock-out tune and deserves wider recognition.

The song was written and produced by Dorsey Burnette who captures the ’sound’ of the times perfectly. If 12 string merseybeat folk janglers are your bag you’re sure gonna dig ”Simple Way Of Living.” The other side ”Night Winds” sounds like it’s from another era, it’s OK but not really my scene.

According to an online source The Dillons performed two songs on ”Shivaree”, the other cut was ”Great Shakin’ Fever” which may have been recorded but was presumably was left in the can when this single went to nowheresville because after their one stab at fame The Dillons were no more.

Other noteworthy singles on the Impression label include those by The Tangents, The Dirty Shames and Lonnie & the Legends.

(26/06/16)

THE SCOTT BEDFORD FOUR – ”You Turned Your Back On Me” / ”Manhattan Angel” (Congress CG-247) August 1965

I’ve had this great record for several years but somehow never got around to posting it on my blog and doing some research. That all changed the other day when I was in one of my many boxes filing away my Seeds 45 – I flicked onto this disc by The Scott Bedford Four.

Incredibly, ”You Turned Your Back On Me” has only appeared on one compilation, that being ”Kicks And Chicks” on Eleventh Hour way back in 1990. That in itself is not the easiest album to locate and never was, even back in the day.

According to ’Teenbeat Mayhem’ The Scott Bedford Four hailed from Northampton, PA. Prior to recording for their first label Joy Records they had been known as The Corvairs.
Today’s disc under spotlight is their only release on Congress so I’ll just concentrate on this one.

”You Turned Your Back On Me” is a scintillating beat pounder with a tough approach and aided by ringing 12 string guitars, cool background vocals, a fierce lead break with an ace harmonica burst. This song simply jumps outta my speakers, it’s mastered so loud. The disc was a ’Chart Spotlight’ in Billboard during August 1965 but no success became of this fabulous slab of vinyl.

I hadn’t realised this until today but The Scott Bedford Four left Congress after this release and signed to Philips, changing their name to The Elusives then released ”You Won’t Find Better Than Me” / ”Lost Love” in September 1966.

(08/06/16)

THE SEEDS – ”The Wind Blows Your Hair” / ”Six Dreams” (GNP Crescendo 398) October 1967

The Seeds are no strangers to my music blog and various singles have been written about over the years. This week I was fortunate enough to find a copy of their 1967 flop ”The Wind Blows Your Hair” which has eluded me for years. It rarely turns up for sale so when it does you gotta strike fast.

A full and descriptive post about this particular Seeds classic was posted on http://www.skysaxonseeds.com

”The Wind Blows Your Hair” is a scintillating and spooky 1967 psychedelic non-album single by The Seeds, and it is the best song they achieved.

”The Wind Blows Your Hair” achieves its odd and unsettling feel by mixing upbeat lyrics about a wedding celebration with a snaky, descending keyboard riff (and Sky Saxon’s provocative vocals) that gives the merry tale a darker and queasier aspect. This is partially explained by the fact that it’s original lyrics were also dark — a sneering put-down in the vein of 1965-era Dylan, with ”Prince Satan” in a starring role.

Recording of the song was attempted four separate times by The Seeds. The first was during a January 1966 session, and the other three times were during 1967. For the latter two sessions, ”The Wind Blows Your Hair” had its lyrics re-written (from Satan to wedding), and the sessions were booked specifically to record this song as a single.

Three separate recordings have been released officially: the original GNP Crescendo single from October 1967 (with the wedding lyrics), and two of the Satan versions — the January 1966 run-through and a mid-1967 take (in both mono and stereo mixes).

THE RECORDING HISTORY OF ”THE WIND BLOWS YOUR HAIR”

The song was first recorded in January 1966 at a session in which The Seeds also recorded both sides to the ”Try To Understand” b/w ”The Other Place” single. This version has a sparser and slower arrangement, though the basic structure is already present. It is a remarkable recording for January 1966, convincingly psychedelic and audaciously eerie. And there’s the prominent appearance of ”Crown Satan, Prince Satan again!” (This ”version 1” is available on the Big Beat 2013 expanded CD reissue of A Web Of Sound as a bonus track.)

On May 12, 1967, during sessions for Future, The Seeds revived ”The Wind Blows Your Hair”, at a faster tempo and with more ambitious instrumentation, but with the original Satan lyrics. Sky Saxon double-tracked his vocals. There was only one take, first released in 1977 on the Fallin’ Off The Edge rarities LP (misleadingly titled ”The Wind Blows Your Hair (reprise)” with a mono mix released for the first time in 2013 on the Big Beat expanded reissue of Future, identified as ”version 2”.

The May 1967 take of ”The Wind Blows Your Hair” was considered and then rejected for the Future album, but after the album’s release, The Seeds entered the studio twice more in mid-1967 for two more attempts at the song. Sky rewrote the lyrics, but the music remained mostly the same. The take that was deemed best was released in October 1967, with the head spinning ”Six Dreams” from Future as it’s B-side: one of the most satisfyingly psychedelic singles ever released.

It is this most-famous version of ”The Wind Blows Your Hair” that can be found most readily on several different compilations, as well as the original GNP vinyl single.

(05/06/16)

THE WEST COAST POP ART EXPERIMENTAL BAND – ”Smell Of Incense” / ”Unfree Child” (Reprise 0776) October 1968

The enigmatic and mysterious West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band were still no nearer a hit record at the end of 1968 despite releasing several previous singles on Reprise. These singles were incredibly uncommercial though and didn’t really stand much of a chance. I can’t see how the kids would have rushed out to buy ”1906” or ”Help, I’m A Rock”.

Perhaps their most chart worthy and commercial single they released was the psychedelic ”Smell Of Incense” with it’s irresistible chorus and strong instrumentation. The 45 version was more than half the length of the album cut. It’s been basically cut to bits and remixed to get it radio worthy and under three minutes.

Southwest F.O.B. had a huge regional hit with a cover of ”Smell Of Incense” and it even hit the Top 60 in the US National Chart.

(01/06/16)

THE PLASTIC BLUES BAND – ”One Week Ago Today” / ”A Thing You Gotta Face” (Busy-B Zap 9) May 1968

Not a great deal of information is available or has been written online about The Plastic Blues Band and I would certainly like to know more about them. If hippie blues is your particular bag of candy look no further than this group.

As far as I can gather they were a power trio from New Orleans releasing three obscure and hard to find singles on Busy-B which also released 45s by The Gaunga Dyns, Peabody and The Leather Pages. As a matter of fact a compilation of Busy-B material would be make an ideal release.

”One Week Ago Today” b/w ”A Thing You Gotta Face” was The Plastic Blues Band’s second single, both sides are laid back hippie swamp blues. The flip hints at a Lovin’ Spoonful sound.

They recorded at Cosimo’s Studios for Jeb Banashak and I’m wondering if there are more than the six songs they released. Who knows, unreleased Busy-B recordings may be in the can and sitting on a shelf somewhere.

line-up:
Jay Wolfe (vocals / guitar)
Johnny Behr (drums)
Ralph Richoux (bass)

discography:
”Country Food” / ”Gone” (Zap 8) January 1968
”One Week Ago Today” / ”A Thing You Gotta Face” (Zap 9) May 1968
”You’re Gonna Get Burned” / ”Dead Seed” (Zap 13) 1969

”Gone” and ”Dead Seed” were compiled on LP ”Florida Punk From the 60s” (Eva Records) mid 1980s. Both cuts also appeared on the Eva CD ”Sixties Archives – Volume 4” from 1991

Reader Comment:

The line-up posted here has Jay as the vocalist but actually Ralph Richoux, the bass player, was the vocalist. He is singing tonight at the Treasure Chest Casino in New Orleans with Midnight Streetcar. Jay Wolfe owns a guitar shop near Palm Beach, Florida (www.wolfeguitars.com). Johnny Behr lives in the Orlando, Florida area and is still gigging. 8/5/2016

(31/05/16)

DEREK – ”Cinnamon” / ”This Is My Story” (Bang B-558) August 1968

Derek were a short-lived ’studio’ group consisting of Johnny Cymbal and sundry musicians. This was their first record and when it became a hit Bang Records wanted a touring group to cash in and promote the record. A detailed history of Johnny Cymbal can be found on a wiki page.

”Cinnamon” is a bouncy piece of bubblegum pop, very catchy with hit potential. It sailed up the Charts in America but got no where fast in Britain. I’d never heard of Derek before buying this record on a whim last month. Tommy Roe also recorded ”Cinnamon” but did not release it on a single keeping it for an album track.

discography:
”Cinnamon” / ”This Is My Story” (Bang B-558) August 1968
”Back Door Man” / ”Sell Your Soul” (Bang B-566) February 1969
”Inside Outside” / ”Sell Your Soul” (Bang B-571) August 1969

(12/05/16)

BROTHERHOOD – ”California Dreamin” (RCA LSP-4228) 1969

Brotherhood were formed during mid-1967 by three members of Paul Revere and the Raiders (Phil ”Fang” Volk, Michael Smith and Drake Levin). Their debut album ”Brotherhood” took over a year after recording to see a release due to lawsuits with Columbia Records and Paul Revere.

This album under my spotlight was released in 1969 and the songs cover several genres including blues, folk, pop and heavy psychedelia, including their rendition of ”California Dreamin’ which has been posted here today.

Recorded at RCA’s Music Centre of the World, Hollywood, California.

(23/04/16)

NEIL DIAMOND – ”Cherry Cherry” / ”Solitary Man” (Metronome J 713) November 1966

Neil Diamond needs no explanation but his obscure mid 60s songs probably do. During this period he was writing songs for other artists mainly The Monkees and his commercial pop nugget ”Cherry Cherry” would have been perfect for them but sadly they never recorded it.

The first time I heard ”Cherry Cherry” would have been sometime in the mid eighties via The Music Machine. It’s on their ”Turn On” album. I had no idea that it was written by Neil Diamond, back then I wasn’t concerned with such detail. The Music Machine’s version adds fuzz guitar and is a bit slower.

I think I prefer Neil’s recording.

By the way ”Cherry Cherry” was also recorded by an English group called Wishful Thinking. They released the song as the B-Side of ”Peanuts” on Decca during June 1967. A very good take too.

The other side ”Solitary Man” sees Neil Diamond in moody folk-rock mode. The Kitchen Cinq recorded a version. Check it out on the album from 1967.

Two great songs on one German picture sleeved release from the back end of 1966. One to search out to add to your collection.

(14/04/16)

PEPPER & THE SHAKERS – ”Semi-Psychedelic” / ”I’ll Always Love You” (Coral 62523) June 1967

The location of the very obscure group Pepper & The Shakers is unconfirmed, some sources suggest Michigan while Teenbeat Mayhem did not add the location or speculate. Little has ever been written about them either and no photo has ever surfaced. Quite a mystery for a combo on a major label.

”Semi-Psychedelic (It Is)” is a tripped out psychedelic nugget oozing in fuzztones and what sounds like Echoplex delay. The lyrics seem to be dealing with an acid trip.

”The doors are shut behind us….the strobe lights are working…nothing else exists….
semi-psychedelic…all kinds of noises…you can’t look at anything too long….there’s still more changes coming…”

The other side ”I’ll always Love You” is decent pop with a touch of jangle.

(06/04/16)

THE CHAMBERS BROTHERS – ”Time Has Come Today” / ”Dinah” (Direction 58-3760) September 1968

This single by The Chambers Brothers proved to be a tricky little 45 to track down. I suppose this will be classed as psychedelic soul mainly because they were Afro-Americans and the producer added some echo FX.

Joe, Willie, Lester and George Chambers were all born and raised in the Southern state of Mississippi. 1961 found The Chambers Brothers in Los Angeles, where they performed as a folk/gospel quartet. In 1965 they added drummer Brian Keenan and headed for the rock and soul direction, recording three albums for Vault Records before inking with Columbia.

Teamed with David Rubinson (producer of Moby Grape) they scored a Top Ten hit with ”Time Has Come Today.”  The latter record has an intriguing past.

According to information on website 45cat ”Time Has Come Today” was first released on Columbia 4-43816 during September 1966 and clocks in at 2:37. Some copies came in a picture sleeve. Maybe this was purely for Radio Stations only to test the market as it were.

Whatever the case, the single gained another release on Columbia 4-44414 during December 1967 which became the huge hit. The white label pressing has an edited version running at 3:05.

My UK copy on Direction was released during September 1968 and appears to be an edit of the album version which lasts over ten minutes.

(26/03/16)

SONNY & CHER – ”Love Don’t Come” (Atco-118) 1966

I can’t resist Sonny & Cher EPs. This one is a 1966 French Atco pressing. By the way, hip Goddess dollybirds with long 60s hair wearing tight pants and white boots ain’t ever gonna go outta style.

My pick goes to the folk-rock genius of ”Love Don’t Come,” a song which was first recorded back in 1965. It was also chosen for the B-Side of ”The Beat Goes On.” 

(24/03/16)

THE MALES – ”Kiddie A Go Go” (Fibra) November 1965

I’m not sure if this disc would be categorized as a novelty record. Perhaps it is, but who cares because I really dig it a lot and recently paid $50 for my copy.

The Males were a teen group from Chicago who were asked to provide backing for Pandora, a TV Presenter on pre-teen children’s music and fun show ”Kiddie A Go Go.”

They provide instrumentation on the other side for Pandora’s spoken words. It is a different take and perhaps much wilder with killer farfisa organ and a happenin’ guitar break.

I’ll focus on The Males version without Pandora. Here the boys really kick it with their teen garage action. According to ”Teenbeat Mayhem” the 45 was released November 1965, but the disc is given 1966 status in Ugly Things #14. It is believed that ”The Hawk” who played organ for The Shadows Of Knight was a member of The Males.

”Kiddie A Go Go” was re-released in the mid 90s by Mike Stax. This came about when Mike interviewed the Kiddie A Go Go hosts who still had a box of original singles left so he made a deal. 100 were issue in a brand new picture sleeve.

(23/03/16)

THE INEXPENSIVE HANDMADE LOOK – ”What Good Is Up” / ”Ice Cream Man” (Brunswick 55334) July 1967

Here’s a record I bought earlier this year but have just made some time to write about. First of all, what a name. Who on earth came up with something like The Inexpensive Handmade Look especially when they had previously released a couple of singles as the rather unimaginative The Counts IV. Quite a change eh?

I first became aware of the Yardbirds inspired pounder ”What Good Is Up” via a bootleg vinyl compilation from the late eighties called ”Psychedelic Disaster Whirl” and raved about it ever since. I didn’t suffer any hesitation blues when a copy was up for sale on eBay. Pulled the trigger, it’s all mine!

Sundazed released a Counts IV single back in 2005 containing two ’unreleased’ gems by the band, recorded sometime in 1966. One was a cover version of ”It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and a song marked on the demo audiodisc as ”Discussion Of The Unorthodox Council” which is this Brunswick side… so the song WAS released but with a different title both for song and group name!

releases:
COUNTS IV – ”Listen To Me” / ”Lost Love (JCP 1006) late 1964
COUNTS IV – ”Spoonful” / ”Where Are You” (Date 2-1526) September 1966
INEXPENSIVE HANDMADE LOOK – ”What Good Is Up” / ”Ice Cream Man” (Brunswick 55334) July 1967
COUNTS IV – ”Discussion Of The Unorthodox Council” / ”Spoonful” / ”It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (Sundazed SEP-179) 2005

(15/03/16)

SOUTHWEST F.O.B. – ”Smell Of Incense” / ”Green Skies” (Hip HIA-8002)  September 1968

The strangely named Southwest F.O.B. hailed from Dallas and were originally called The Playboys 5 then changed their name to The Chimeras. According to the liners of their Sundazed retrospective CD, recordings existed of The Chimeras but they have been lost or locked in the Estate of a Monument Records promoter when he died.

Sometime in 1966, The Chimeras changed their name to Theze Few and released a single on local label Black Knight. You’ve gotta check out their garage raver ”Dynamite.”
Theze Few enjoyed a decent sized following and opened for many big name groups visiting Dallas.

Because they found out that ”Theze Few” had been registered as a business name they were ’forced’ to change their moniker once again, this time settling on Southwest F.O.B.

Their first single as Southwest F.O.B. was on the small label GPC but ”Smell Of Incense” was quickly picked up for a wider distribution on the Memphis based Stax off-shoot pop label Hip.

’Smell Of Incense’ is this Dallas band’s take on The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band original. It’s a much shorter version and has a heavy organ sound. The arrangement is a lot more punchy.

My highlight is the progressive number and non album cut ”Green Skies” on the flip, written by lead singer Dan Seals.

(09/03/16)

FRATERNITY OF MAN – ”Don’t Bogart Me” / ”Wispy Paisley Skies” (Stateside SS 2166) March 1970

Fraternity Of Man are perhaps best known for their hippie blues tune ”Don’t Bogart Me” which was used in the film ”Easy Rider.” Far more interesting is the folk-psych winner ”Wispy Paisley Skies” hidden away on a B-Side. This single was probably released in Britain to coincide with ”Easy Rider” because it came out almost two years earlier in the USA. 

”Butterfly dreams swirling all around.”

The group featured ex members of Lowell George & The Factory. I don’t have any other records by them, I believe that they released two studio albums.  

(24/02/16)

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