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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 a 1967 Playboy magazine.

THE VILLAGE EAST – ’Building With A Steeple’/’Tumblin’ Down’ (MGM K13774) July 1967

Years ago a song called ’Building With A Steeple’ by The Eighth Day turned up on one of those soft sike collections called ’Fading Yellow.’ For me, the song was an immediate stand-out and I bought a copy when I started collecting 60s psych 45s.

What appears to be less known is the fact that The Eighth Day version was a cover, the original recorded by a long forgotten group called The Village East during mid 1967. Both versions are cool. It appears that it’s just one of those instantly memorable flower pop songs from the summer of love. The original version uses brass instrumentation.

I do not know where The Village East hailed from but this was the only record they released. It may have come out on a small local label before the MGM release. Who knows for sure? It just seems strange to me that a young hippie group would go straight onto a major label like MGM.

The group were even overlooked in the expanded/updated ’Fuzz, Acid and Flowers’ guide.

’Building With A Steeple’ and the classy flowery folk-rock winner ’Tumblin’ Down’ on the flip were written by Ronnie Dante and Gene Allen. ’Tumblin’ Down’ and this version of ’Steeple’ still remain uncompiled and perhaps someone reading my blog entry could do the honours, as it’s a shame the songs have not been recognised yet.

Ronnie Dante became the lead vocalist with cartoon band The Archies but his best record was a bubblegum psycher called ’Janie Janie’ released on Columbia Records….a hard record to find, I’m still looking!

(08/04/13)

THE BEATEN PATH – ’Doctor Stone’/’Never Never’ (Jubilee 45-5556) December 1966

Information on The Beaten Path is scarce to say the least. When Sundazed compiled ’Doctor Stone’ on their ’Psychedelic Microdots’ CD in the early 90s they too were at a loss. It is believed that The Beaten Path hailed from Brooklyn, NY but as far as I know details of the band members are unknown.

’Doctor Stone’ is a cover version of an original song from The Leaves. This remake utilizers bongo percussion and is a tad softer around the edges with a pronounced Bo Diddley beat and tremolo guitar. The compiled version of the song on the Sundazed comp is the stereo mix from the mastertapes. I much prefer the single mono mix which I’ve uploaded to YouTube.

The slow and ’out of date’ love ballad ’Never Never’ on the flip is less exciting and sounds like a completely different group, it won’t be of course!

Both sides were arranged by John Abbott who is probably best known for his work with The Left Banke. He arranged most of their songs and also played session bass guitar for them.  

(05/04/13)

THE CLIQUE – ’Splash 1’/’Stay By Me’ (Cinema Records C-001) July 1967

Quite a lot of information exists online about The Clique so I won’t dwell too much on their history only to confirm that most of the group were in The Lavender Hour of ’I’ve Got A Way With Girls’ fame but after the latter broke up The Clique were formed out of their ashes.

From what I’ve read The Clique were a very popular outfit in Houston/Beaumont, Texas and this first 45 on local label Cinema Records proved successful enough to get Scepter Records interested to release and promote the single throughout USA. Some copies were on the Wand label but they’re extremely hard to find.

’Splash 1’ is an excellent version of the 13th Floor Elevators trippy ballad. Here, The Clique give a slightly faster take and the use of keyboards adds to the mix. It should have been a nationwide smash but it didn’t really cause much of a stir outside of Houston where it was a top selling number one hit. 

(01/04/13)

TINO AND THE REVLONS – ’Lazy Mary Memphis’/’I’m Coming Home’ (Dearborn Records D-530) September 1965

This combo had been releasing singles since the early 60s but none of them are ’Flower Bomb Songs’ worthy, I’ve checked out some early recordings on YouTube and they mostly sound like Buddy Holly and that just ain’t my scene.

My interest in them obviously lies with their Dearborn Records releases with ’I’m Coming Home’ maybe the pick of the bunch. The A-Side ’Lazy Mary Memphis’ is forgettable,

I haven’t even bothered to re-master it to the digital format. According to what I’ve read online, this side was a decent size hit in New York, so much so that it’s believed that the group relocated from Michigan to NY.

Far superior is the garage style rocker on the flip. I wonder if this side ever got played during the 60s? Probably not, as the radio stations were all a little square back in ’65 and only played top sides. ’I’m Coming Home’ is a fast organ and guitar mover that really swings.

Tino and the Revlons proved popular enough for Dearborn Records to release an album which by all accounts is a decent effort of originals and cover versions. I’ve not heard anything from it but maybe it deserves a re-issue. Probably one of the few remaining 60s albums not to get the re-issue treatment.

According to the albums liners Tino and the Revlons consisted of:

Tino (vocals)
Hoot Gibson (drums)
Johnny Caoloa (lead guitar)
Cheech (keyboards)

so who played the bass guitar?

During my research I found out that Tino was murdered in Jamaica in January 1983.

Some local thugs were mugging his wife, Tino stepped in to defend her but was then stabbed to death. I found an online newspaper report which I’ve added with this entry.

Reader comments:

Tino and The Revlons was actually from Upstate NY, the capital district area including Troy and Albany. They played local bars and toured mainly on the east coast. Every year in the late 60s and early 70s they appeared on the local MS (Jerry Lewis) telethon- almost considered the house band in the later years.

They were very popular on the local scene and played a lot of covers from many of the 60’s British invasion bands and 50’s rockers. I think there are still some band members active on the local scene in the upstate area.

Sometime in the mid to late 60’s a black organist from Troy (a graduate of Troy High) that I sort of remember as ”TB” played with Tino and the Revlons. I know he played with Tino at Eugene’s Side Door on Western Ave and I think he went on to do organ backup for a female singer (I sort of remember Maria Elena or something like that).Any idea who TB was and if he is still around Troy?

(26/03/13)

THE BLACK SHEEP – ’It’s My Mind’/’Arthur’ (Columbia 4-43666) May 1966

Here’s a group from La Canada, CA that seem to have slipped under most people’s radar, including me. I bought this single recently on a whim mainly because it was on the Columbia label and the serial number put it somewhere in mid 1966.

I’m glad I made the purchase because ’It’s My Mind’ is an excellent folk-rock jangler with an unusual spoken intro and fits perfectly on ’Flower Bomb Songs’ site…The flip ’Arthur’ is a choice rhythm and blues instro with pumping bass runs and screeching harp. The lead guitarist also lays down some solid lines….think teenbeat Butterfield Blues Band and you’ll get the picture.

Quite how this only got a score of ’3’ in ’Teenbeat Mayhem’ ?? once again demonstrates to me that some of the old sages had no ears.

I’ve also noted that The Black Sheep had two other 45s so I’m hoping to add those to my collection some day. This release, and their first of two on Columbia, got some publicity with mentions in Billboard and a full page advert in Cash Box in June 1966. The latter had some vital information about the members of Black Sheep and their line-up:

Michael Mongeon (rhythm guitar)
Buddy McCabe (bass)
Dean Pedersen (drums)
Mark Harman (vocals/organ)
Joe Masterson (lead guitar)

The producer of both sides of this disc was Jerry Riopelli who was a member of The Parade and had also produced music by The We Five and later, the excellent Brewer & Shipley material.

(25/03/13)

THE SURFARIS – ’Hey Joe Where Are You Going’/’So Get Out’ (Decca 31954) June 1966

The Surfaris need no explanation on Flower Bomb Songs as everyone has probably heard their big surf hit ’Wipe Out!’ but what isn’t that well known about them is that in their later years The Surfaris developed a tough folk rock sound.

I suppose this change of direction was necessary to survive in an ever changing music scene. Surf would have been considered yesterday’s papers in mid 1966.

It is believed that The Surfaris were one of the very first groups in the World to record ’Hey Joe’, in fact I’ve found a few debates on different forums where this particular topic has been discussed. Was it The Leaves? Was it The Surfaris? Who knows for sure?

The Surfaris probably recorded their version of ’Hey Joe’ in late 1965, this may even be pin-pointed to November 1965. Gary Usher, it seems asked David Crosby if he could lay down a recording in the studio with The Surfaris. It’s believed that Crosby was the musician who discovered this song. He had plans to record it with The Byrds, which of course they did with somewhat disappointing results.

Far more interesting for me is the ultra cool flip ’So Get Out’ which sees The Surfaris adopting an exciting mid 60s rock ’n roll style of sound.

Quite a tough sounding minor key lament and one which deserves more recognition. I love it when these experienced and professional bands decided to get with the hip sound because they usually delivered the goods.

(21/03/13)

THE GREEK FOUNTAINS – ’Buy You A Chevrolet’/’What Is Right’ (Montel-Michelle M-983) December 1966

Baton Rouge, LA was the home of The Greek Fountains, considered by many to be the number one group in the City. They were certainly prolific and released six singles on various labels in less than two years. You’d think that was virtually impossible but not for The Greek Fountains.

’Buy You A Chevrolet’ (more widely known as ’Hey Gyp’) is a cover of one of Donovan’s more direct songs and was attempted by many combo’s during the mid 60s. I’d wager that none were as energetic than this killer version with it’s Yardbirds style rave-up, snotty vocals and harmonica.

The flip ’What Is Right’ sounds like a completely different group and may have been something of an experiment coming across as bizarre country & western. Think Flying Burrito Brothers on acid.

The 45 got a mention in Billboard as a new release during December 1966.  

(18/03/13)

THE LEATHER BOY – ’Jersey Thursday’/’Black Friday’ (Parkway P-125) December 1966

If one ever needed proof that Milan a.k.a. The Leather Boy was a genius look no further than this obscure 45 on Parkway Records. I’m not convinced that it was actually released, I’ve never seen any evidence such as the label (either promo or stock copy) and no mention of the release in any of the trade magazines of the time. Long time record sleuths have never turned up any copies.

My copy is a white label test press with handwritten information on a blank label. It appears that the release would have been Parkway P-125. According to ’Teenbeat Mayhem’ this serial number would have meant a December 1966 release.

I bought this recently from a Swedish record dealer. It appears that the disc originated from a dealer operating out of NYC who stated that he’d had this record in his collection for decades. I’m so glad to add this piece of wax to my collection as I tend to home in on psychedelia.

’Jersey Thursday’ is a psychedelic infused baroque masterpiece with acid dripping from the grooves. The production is quite outstanding, Milan adds to the eeriness with his unique vocal delivery. This is one of those amazing songs that remain undiscovered for many years, in this case decades, before it’s light shines brightly.

’Jersey Thursday’ is a Donovan penned composition by the way, but Milan takes the song to another level….a psychedelic level.

It appears that Milan had days of the week on his mind as the flip is ’Black Friday’…this time around there is yet more sumptuous baroque aural delight, it’s a backdrop of pumping bass runs, groovy organ and robotic drumming…..this will take your mynd to places of inner delight…total bliss.

Reader comment:

Hi Colin. I´m betting the NYC dealer (well, New Jersey) was cwbparker. I bought mine from him some years ago. He recently had another one up for auction. All three copies have the exact same handwriting. They look dead alike.

I wonder how many copies he’s got. The only person ever to say he actually owns an original with a printed label is GG/Buckeye. Cheers, Thomas.

Thomas – I bought my copy from Jens L who advised me that it originated from a NYC record dealer. I assumed it came from cwbparker.

(10/03/13)

KEVIN SHANE – ’Come Morning Time’/’I’m Gonna Change’ (World Pacific 77907) 1968

This one is a bit of a mystery. I’ve done some research but can’t find out a thing about Kevin Shane. So who was he and did he record anything before or after this 45 on World Pacific? If anyone knows please get in touch.

The big sound of ’I’m Gonna Change’ is often described in sales lists as a ’mod dancer’ (whatever that means?) I just call it a well produced 60s pop mover with some strings and things.

I’ve heard this type of mod sound by the short-lived Shotgun Express from England. Which leads me to wonder if Kevin Shane is English, as this kind of bag doesn’t sound like American pop to me even though it’s on a label out of Los Angeles.

Tommy Amato wrote both sides of the disc. The top side ’Come Morning Time’ is a little bit too twee for me.

(01/03/13)

THE NEW PHOENIX – ’Give To Me Your Love’/’Thanks’ (World Pacific 77884) 1967

The Hard Times either changed their name to the more psychedelic The New Phoenix or by the time of recording this song in October 1967 only singer Rudy Romero remained.

’Give To Me Your Love’ is a stunning flower pop assault on the senses with some lovely harmonies and a memorable melody. Mama Cass Elliot produced and it’s quite clear that she brought along some of the Mamas & The Papas magic dust to the sessions.

The group did not have another song ready to record so an instrumental version named ’Thanks’ was tagged on the B-Side.

Reader comment:

Loved, loved these guys. They played Frenchy’s in Hayward and I will never forget them!

(23/02/13)

THE JOYRIDE – ’His Blues’/’Land Of Rypap Papyr’ (World Pacific 77888) 1968

The third and final Joyride 45 was the vocal harmony instro ’Land Of Rypap Papyr’ which sounds almost like some lysergic nursery rhyme without words, just cascading harmonies. Quite a unique sounding tune with an unbelievably complex arrangement and not something that would be bought by the masses. No chance that this could have been a hit.

Far more commercial is the superb flip ’His Blues’ written by Association member Jules Alexander. This is a typical Los Angeles flower power sound with some lovely acoustic guitar, male/femme vox, tambourine and eastern style sitar. Check out the line below which indicates that we’re going on a trip….

”He’s gonna get some strychnine poison
And mix it up with some S.T.P”

I’d love to know more information about Joyride so please get in touch if you can shed some light on this obscure group.

(20/02/13)

THE JOYRIDE – ’The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine’ (World Pacific 77883) 1968

Next up for The Joyride was a cover version of ’The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine’, originally recorded in 1966 by Simon & Garfunkel. It featured on their ’Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme’ album and would also be selected for the B-Side of ’The Dangling Conversation’.

The message of the song was Paul Simon’s cynical view of advertising but I don’t think The Joyride bothered too much about pushing any particular message as their version is sweet L.A. harmony pop and perfect flower power sounds for 1968.

Once again, the vocals are inspirational with some neat guitar. Clark Burroughs adds in some studio trickery into the mix. Absolute pop perfection. I don’t know how this wasn’t a hit.

Both sides of the disc had the same song.

(18/02/13)

THE JOYRIDE – ’The Crystal Ship’/’Coming Soon’ (World Pacific 77877) 1967

There were several harmony flower psych groups from Los Angeles after the initial folk-rock boom that still, to this day, have yet to receive any sort acclaim. 

The Joyride are one such group that are still unknowns, none of their songs have ever been compiled, although their sounds have circulated among psych-pop fans for several years.

It is believed that The Joyride were a studio recording outfit put together by former Hi-Lo’s member Clark Burroughs who probably had the pick of available musicians in L.A. as well as enough studio time to create such beautiful sounding flower pop.

The Joyride’s first 45 was a stunning version of one of The Doors best songs ’The Crystal Ship’. In my opinion the arrangement by Don McGinnis is as good as anything pieced together by the lauded Curt Boettcher (and that’s saying something).

All of The Joyride’s material bring to mind another classic Los Angeles male/fem vox outfit The M.C. Squared. So if you dig those guys you’re sure to flip on out to The Joyride.

(16/02/13)

SUNDAY SERVANTS – ’Who Do You Love’/’I’m Puttin’ You On’ (World Pacific 77825) April 1966

The Sunday Servants were duo Skip Knape and David Teegarden but with this 45 had a great deal of input from J.J. Cale who did just about everything from production, arranging, engineering and coming up with the backwards guitar break on ’Who Do You Love.’

This often covered blues song has never sounded so hip but I doubt many people would have heard it outside Los Angeles. According to the liners of ’Aint It Hard’ (Sundazed compilation) The Sunday Servants were not just a studio outfit but played some gigs around the City during 1966.

(28/01/13)

RAGA AND THE TALAS – ’My Group And Me’/’For Old Time’s Sake’ (World Pacific 77847) Sept 1966 

This folk-rock double sider was the work of Jackie deShannon, who wrote and produced both sides. It is believed that Raga and the Talas were a studio based outfit fronted by Jackie’s brother Randy Myers.

I’ve no doubt also that they derived the group’s name from the Ravi Shankar album titled ’Raga And Talas.’ Ravi was a World Pacific label recording artist.

’My Group And Me’ is catchy folk-rock with a driving beat and probably sold well in Los Angeles, the epicentre of 60s jangle. I think the flip ’For Old Times Sake’ is just as entertaining. 

(23/01/13)

THE SANDELLS – ’Out Front’/’Scrambler’ (World Pacific X-405) March 1964 

The Sandells recorded several 45s for World Pacific but are probably better known for their folk rocker ’Tell Us Dylan’ under the name The Sandals. However, this early 1964 single is a double sided instrumental swinger with sound effects.

Both sides feature loud motorbike revving before the group rip into some up-tempo surf guitar style rockin’ and remain uncompiled but I’m not too sure where these instros would fit. Certainly not on a garage comp.

Richard Bock is named on the label as producer. He was mainly known for producing West Coast jazz and indeed set up the Pacific Jazz label. Not sure what he would have made of The Sandells.

Keith Bickerton comment:

The Sandells guitarist John Blakeley was later a member of Stoneground, also in Stoneground were former members of the Beau Brummels, Tongue and Groove the Immediate Family and Indian Puddin’ and Pipe. They briefly lived in England and appeared in a Hammer horror movie.

(21/01/13)

During the Summer of 2012 I decided to collect as many records by Milan a.k.a. The Leather Boy as I could find. I already had a fair number in my collection but decided to concentrate my efforts on the songs he wrote for other groups.

It took me about four months to track down obscure 45s by  The Chanters, The Doughboys, The Unclaimed, Ice Cream and The Downtown Collection. I also added a few released as World Of Milan.

Milan had his own style, even when other groups recorded his songs, I could detect Milan in the mix. He definitely followed his own path of ideas and was unique.

I made six CDs and sent some contacts a copy. All I asked for was a small donation to cover my costs and the shipping etc.

Since I compiled this set, Milan has had his story told in the latest Ugly Things.

Maybe one day his work will be compiled professionally by a re-issue label, but until then here’s a retrospection of Milan’s work remastered direct from original vinyl and NOT sourced from crappy lo-fi sounding MP3s.

(23/12/12)

THE MODS – ’Ritual’/’Everybody Needs Somebody’ (Revelation VII) 1965

The Rolling Stones influence is obvious for all to hear on the 60s garage classic ’Ritual’ by a group of New Jersey teenagers calling themselves The Mods. Not the greatest name for a band but it’s one that many USA groups happened upon during the first wave of the British Invasion.

’Ritual’ is a group original but the flip ’Everybody Needs Somebody’ is a cover version. So too was their first 45 on Revelation VII released some months before this one. The Mods reverb guitar version of ’Satisfaction’ can be found on Back From The Grave – Volume 2. This record came in a picture sleeve showing the boys crouching down next to a sports car.

(23/12/12)

LINK CROMWELL – ’Crazy Like A Fox’/’Shock Me’ (Hollywood Records 1107) March 1966

My recent ’New Jersey Fragments’ 5 CD set is no longer available, I only made six copies and they all went to good homes within an hour or so of advertising them over on my Opulent Conceptions blog. Any future CD sets I compile will only be highlighted there, so bookmark the site.

I’ll write about some of the 45s featured on ’New Jersey Fragments’ over the next few weeks. One such record was this decent folk rock protest disc on Hollywood Records.

Link Cromwell was in actual fact Lenny Kaye (of the Nuggets comp fame) and some studio cats from Associated Recording Studios in Times Square, NYC.

At the time of the recording in late 1965, Lenny Kaye was residing in North Brunswick, NJ. I don’t know if the release caused any big waves outside of his home town, probably not, but for me it’s a neat little jangly folk rocker with an obvious nod to Sonny Bono.

(22/12/12)

THE TRASHMEN – ’Same Lines’/’Hanging On Me’ (Tribe Records 45-8315) April 1966

I can’t begin to tell you how much their hit ’Surfin’ Bird’ annoys the shit outta me. I simply detest it, some records have that impact on me and that is certainly one of those. It took me over 30 years to buy a Trashmen record as I thought they’d all have the same kind of dumb novelty approach, especially judging the song titles…..’Bird Dance Beat’, ’Ubangi Stomp’ and ’Bird ’65’….I’ve never heard these and don’t wish to.

’Same Lines’ is happening though. I first heard it on the comp ’Mayhem and Psychosis Volume 3’ and thought it was a real gone winner.

Pissed off Dylanesque rants with a repetitive riff. The singer just ain’t happy with life and I can see why as his girl and everyone else is giving him the ’same lines.’

The flip ’Hanging On Me’ is a superb folk-rock jangler and is still surprisingly uncompiled. The Trashmen should have explored this type of music much more often. It appears that they broke up soon after this Tribe Records release.

Mark Charron who wrote ’Hanging On Me’ was a prolific song-writer and his material was recorded by B.J. Thomas and The Partridge Family.

(09/12/12)

THE COUNTDOWNS – ’She Works All Night’/’Skies Will Be Happy To See You’ (WG Records WG-1) June 1967

Simple and effective up-tempo teenbeat without any of the studio embellishments like fuzz, wah-wah or sound FX you’d expect from something released in mid 1967. I doubt if anyone but the group themselves laid down the instrumentation, in other words no professional studio musicians.

The drummer at times is all over the place but he manages to keep everything together, although he was probably exhausted by the end of the take.

Teenbeat Mayhem! lists The Countdowns with a South Hadley Falls, MA location. As far as I know only ’Skies Will Be Happy To See You’ has been compiled before, on one of those ancient Gone albums from the mid 80s.

(08/12/12)

LINCOLN ST. EXIT – ’Who’s Been Driving My Little Yellow Taxi Cab’/’Paper Place’ (Lance Records 109/110) June 1967

The Lincoln St. Exit were a group of teenagers from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their singles are sought after especially the one on Ecco ’The Bummer’/’Sunny Sunday Dream’, but this cool two sider on Lance Records ain’t too shabby either.

Lance Records was run by Dick Stewart who also produced this 45. He was a member of local group King Richard & the Knights who had three singles on Delta.

It’s believed that ’Paper Place’ was based on popular TV show Peyton Place. Both sides were officially re-issued  back in 2000 from the masters by Bacchus Archives.

The EP also contained both sides of The Fe-Fi-Four Plus Two screamer ’I Wanna Come Back From The World Of LSD’/’Double Crossin’ Girl’.

(06/12/12)

ALIAS JADE – ’Why’/’On The Road Blues’ (Vintage Records SCV-1139) 196?

This record has had me stumped for years, nothing is written about Alias Jade on the internet (at least I’ve not found anything) and my many guide books do not list it.

I’ll take an educated guess and say that Alias Jade were a Canadian outfit (the record was manufactured in Canada) also the DJ sleeve the 45 came in states Toronto.

Both sides are late 60s psych rock with a loner vibe complete with wah-wah guitar, hammond organ and it appears to be sung by a hippie type crooner who sounds like he’s been smoking none filter cigarettes for years and downing a bottle of Jack Daniel’s before bed time. I’m not sure that his vocals fit this type of rock music.

The record is a stereo pressing, indicating late 60s, possibly early 70s release

(01/12/12)

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