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PREVIOUSLY ARCHIVED RECORD REVIEWS FROM MY OLD BLOG 'FLOWER BOMB SONGS'


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.

SOLE SOCIETY – ’Wait For You’ / ’Hard Road’ (Trump Records 373) 1969

Sole Society were an obscure outfit from Louisville or at least that’s what the seller told me when I bought this rare 45 off him.

It also came with a hand written note from band leader David Wood’s Uncle.

The note was addressed to Allan Ramsey who was an original member of Gary Lewis and the Playboys.

Anyway, the message goes on to ask Allan Ramsey for his thoughts on the 45 and the Uncle also mentions that his nephew David Wood (who wrote ’Wait For You’) was disappointed with the production the studio did on it especially his vocals that are buried in the mix.

Oh well, ’Wait For You’ sounds OK to me. It starts off ripping ’Soul Kitchen’ by The Doors then goes off on a psych rock tangent with a very cool fuzzy guitar break.

The flip is ’Hard Road’. This is a cover of Deep Purple’s progressive instrumental titled ’Wring That Neck’ and is on their ’The Book Of Taliesyn’ album from 1968. Only the track was called ’Hard Road’ on the American release.

Both sides are uncompiled.

(08/06/08)

THE MOONRAKERS – ’Trip And Fall’ / ’Time And A Place’ (Tower 222) April 1966

45s by The Moonrakers are always sought after especially the garage and folk rockers released on Tower Records. The band hailed from Denver, Colorado and evolved out of a surf band called The Surfin’ Classics.

Maybe as a surf act they became connected with songwriter Roger Christian. He co-wrote several noteworthy songs for The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean including the classics ’Dead Man’s Curve’ and ’Sidewalk Surfin’.

He must have ventured into the production side of things as well because he co produced both Moonrakers originals on this disc.

’Trip And Fall’ is a melodic light weight pop tune written and sung by keyboard player Denny Flannigan. Flip it over to hear the folk rockin’ ’Time And A Place’. This song was written and sung by vocalist/rhythm guitarist Veeder Van Dorn.

The Moonrakers that recorded for Shamley were very different. Most of the original line were gone and the songs were all about bothering God.

(07/06/08)

THE ROVIN’ FLAMES – ’Seven Million People’ / ’Bo Diddley’ (Tampa Bay Records BC-1111) June 1966

Bo Diddley died this week aged 79. I don’t have any of his records but realise that his simplistic rhythm ’n’ beat was a template used by many English groups from the early/mid 60s such as The Animals, The Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things and The Yardbirds etc etc.

Scores of teen beat combos from USA also had the Bo Diddley influence, maybe none more so than The Rovin’ Flames from Tampa, Florida. This essential 45 by them not only has the ultra cool folk jangler ’Seven Million People’ on the A-Side but flip it over to hear their song dedicated to him.

(05/06/08)

THE SCANDAL – ’There’s Reasons Why’ / ’Girl, You’re Goin’ Out’a My Mind’ (Pepper 432) December 1967

Pleasant two sided flower power 45 by Memphis, Tennessee band The Scandal. This was their only record and they sadly broke up in early ’68 when singer songwriter Len Renfro joined the Navy.

It’s a shame that this band were a short-lived outfit because both sides were original compositions and they definitely had the potential to create even more coolness.

Fortunately, both songs are available on compilations: You’ll find ’There’s Reasons Why’ on The Electric Coffee House. The flip ’Girl, You’re Goin’ Out’a My Mind’ on Fading Yellow – Volume 3.

line-up:
Len Renfro
Bruce Smith
Carol Ferrante
Kathy Thornton

(03/06/08)

THE SCENE – ’Scenes (From Another World)’ / ’You’re In A Bad Way’ (B.T. Puppy Records 533) 1969

’Scenes (From Another World)’ was compiled years ago on a vinyl only compilation called Psychedelia – Volume 4. The liners indicated an American or perhaps even an Australian band.

It turns out that The Scene were from Montreal, Canada. They sadly only released this one 45 then were gone.

’Scenes’ is a catchy slice of psychedelia with soaring harmonies and brass and sounds more like a throwback from the Summer of ’67. It also later turned up on the comp Fading Yellow – Volume 6.

The flip ’You’re In A Bad Way’ is a more laid back hippie trip and I gave it an appearance on Gear! Volume 2.

other info:

The Scene line-up:
Truly Noland
Michael Ship
Marty Simon
Danny Zimmerman

B.T. Puppy Records was a label formed by members of The Tokens and is a take off on RCA’s label with Nipper the dog. B.T. Puppy Records had some big hits with harmony band The Happenings in the late 60s.

The Engineer on both Scene songs was Wally Sheffey. He also engineered James Taylor’s ’Original Flying Machine’ LP and The Fifth Estate records.

Long time ago but I wrote and produced the Scene record! I’m glad someone enjoys it. Any interest in a deal Email menshepx@gmail.com Neil Sheppard

(01/06/08)

The EQUALS – ’I Can See But You Don’t Know’ / ’Gigolo Sam’ (President Records 6102201) 1970

The Equals were a fairly successful, racially mixed English 60s band who mixed ska/reggae with pop but towards the end of their career got a tad more freaky. Take this 45 for instance.

There’s no way on earth ’I Can See But You Don’t Know’ could have been a hit record. Although recorded in June 1970 it sounds like a relic from the underground scene from ’66.

It’s a fuzzed up killer with constant handclaps and a raunchy backbeat. Must have sounded pretty damned dangerous for the times. (late 1970 was a barren desert of long haired prog rock and weird theatrical bollocks…

It has been compiled before in dubious fidelity on Electric Sugar Cube Flashback Volume 2.

The flip is ’Gigolo Sam’ and this one does sound like it belongs in the early 70s. It’s got proto glam rock riffs and dumb lyrics. In other words it’s GREAT but not as good as the top side.

Both sides were produced by Edward Kassner who set up President Records in 1966.

(06/04/08)

THE GOSPEL – ’Redeemer’ / ’I Won’t Be Sad Again’ (Vanguard Apostolic VRS 35084) 1968

This 45 is a product of the late 60s religious vibe that seemed to be rubbing off on a whole load of rock musicians and hippies to varying degrees. It doesn’t take much investigation on the label to know that this record will have some kind of message.

After all the band is called The Gospel and the song is ’Redeemer’. Look a little bit deeper and the label is full of weird looking cherubs, the label itself is Vanguard Apostolic and the publishing company is Epiphany.

These guys were not on the road to following the Dark Side that’s for sure.

The music on both sides of the disc is terrific. ’Redeemer’ is a hippie psych gem with perfect musicianship. It’s kind of loosely based on The Yardbirds tune ’Tune Into Earth’ with that strange Gregorian(esque) vocal delivery.

The flip ’I Won’t Be Sad’ sounds much more in the traditional folk format with banjo and fiddle but the hippie laid back approach gives it a late 60s feel.

I dug out some info about the 45. Both songs were written and produced by John Townley. He had previously performed guitar duties in the impressive New York group The Magicians.
To my knowledge The Gospel have not been compiled before.

I am pretty sure that this 45 is by the Family of Apostolic whose 1968 double album has both tracks on it. This album also has one brilliant eastern psych out ”Dholak Gheet” as well as a number of folk rock gems. As ever great to read so many brilliant articles, your blog is the best!!!

(05/04/08)

The LIME – ’Love A Go-Go’ / ’Soul Kitchen’ (Westwood 12367) 1967

The Lime were a group of teens (three of them brothers) from Akron, Ohio. Their youth did not stop their ability because ’Love A Go-Go’ is a very professional sounding swingin’ pop song with a slight soul influence.

Very classy musicianship throughout with an insanely commercial hook.

’Love A Go-Go’ was picked up by Chess Records for national release and they added a different B-Side in ’Hey Girl’.

The flip on the Westwood release is a cover of The Doors classic ’Soul Kitchen’. It’s no where near as good as the original but it’s still a competent effort none the less. They even get to sing ’Getting Stoned’ after altering a few of the lyrics in the song.

(29/03/08)

The LEAVES – ’Lemmon Princess’/’ Twilight Sanctuary’ (Capitol 5799) 1967

This was the final 45 by The Leaves and sadly ignored by the record buying public back in ’67. The band were more or less disintegrating in the studio while recording these songs and others for their album on Capitol Records titled ’All The Good That’s Happening’.

I wonder if they would have hung around together if this 45 was a hit?

’Lemmon Princess’ is a psychedelic pop song while the other side ’Twilight Sanctuary’ is more in keeping with their earlier work but with a country rock feel. It reminds me of The Byrds.

Jim Pons would quit soon after the release and take up bass guitar with The Turtles then Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention.

Bobby Arlin would start a power trio called The Hook.

By the way the Producer for The Leaves during their short stay with Capitol Records was Nick Venet.

He also produced records for The Beach Boys, Stone Poneys and Mad River.

(28/03/08)

KENNY WAYNE & The KAMOTIONS – ’How Should I Feel’ / ’The Day When The Sun Goes Down’ (Candy CA-1011) 1969

I’ve had this 45 in my archives for a while. Picked it up for a small fee because it was pretty much trashed. I’ve seen labels in worse nick before but the vinyl itself shows real bad marks and scratches.

I doubt that it’s been in a sleeve for years or one of those deep south hicks was making out with his sister on top of the record.

Anyway, I was gonna use both sides for a Gear! compilation but despite my best remastering efforts there’s just too much noise. And I’m a perfectionist so will not compromise my high standards and use noisy records despite rarity or something that is sought-after.

Kenny Wayne and The Kamotions were from Shreveport, Louisiana and both of these cuts were on their album ’In Motion’ but these mono 45 sides ain’t seen the light of day on any comp before.

This is a shame because they’re both excellent. ’The Day When The Sun Goes Down’ is a moody ballad. Kenny sure is missing his girl. There’s a constant hammond organ adding to the overall low key feel of the song.

’How Should I Feel’ also starts off all moody, again with cool hammond but then really picks up pace and starts to groove in a late 60s style. There’s a memorable wah wah guitar break. Kenny’s gruff vocals make this one a winner all round.

(27/03/08)

The RAVES – Mother Nature’ / ’Mister Man’ (Smash S-2088) April 1967

The Raves hailed from Brooklyn, New York and released three 45s on Smash. All are great garage pop classics with a slight bubblegum sound.

Their debut 45 ’Mother Nature’ is a pounding fast paced fuzzy popper with eastern promise. The flip ’Mister Man’ treads similar ground. Both sides are insanely catchy and would have obviously sounded cool coming out of those small 60s radios because they are very well produced and mastered loud.

The producer for The Raves was Ron Haffkine. He was also producer for another New York band The Gurus. He also produced and managed Dr Hook & the Medicine Show. They of course became simply Dr Hook by the start of the 70s.

The RAVES – ’Don’t Chop Down My Tree’ / ’Think Of Your Love’ (Smash S-2105) July 1967

By their second release The Raves were if anything even more commercial sounding. Can’t believe these two records were not big hits. I’d call this punk bubblegum. Way better than that watered down poppy stuff that followed in 1968/69….

’Think Of Your Love’ is genius.
A final 45 appeared on Smash (S-2162) in 1968 titled ’Everything’s Fire’ / ’Sing Children Sing’. I’ve not got this record but I’ve heard ’Everything’s Fire’ and it’s an overload of wah wah.

This time though it’s a heavier sound with trumpet….. I gotta get myself a copy sometime.

(24/03/08)

The WILL-O-BEES – ’If You’re Ready’ / ‘Shades Of Gray’ (Date 2-1543) 1968

Good two sided 45 from a three piece band that I think came from New York. Fuzz, Acid & Flowers give a Chicago base but perhaps that’s because The Will-O-Bees cover ’If You’re Ready’ which was originally done by a band from Chicago called The Pride And Joy. They were formally called The Del-Vetts of course.

The Will-O-Bees version is a solid effort, quite punky with some great bass lines high in the mix and a garage guitar break that is just not long enough.

The other side is also a cover version. This time they tackle The Monkees ’Shades Of Gray’ from their Headquarters LP. It’s a pleasant flower power style attack but still a bit rough around the edges.

Believe it or not, they were actually from Richmond, Indiana. Their management team was based in NYC, so people assumed that was where they originated.

(23/03/08)

MOSS LYNCH – ’Nine To Five Disease’ / ’Where’s The Freedom’ (Trip Universal T-80) 2/1971

I haven’t been able to find out anything about Moss Lynch other than the fact that the label Trip Universal was a Miami, Florida Company. So perhaps Moss Lynch hailed from this area.

Both sides of the disc have a vague country influence. It appears that Moss has a big problem working for the ’big boss man’. ’Nine To Five Disease’ is full of lyrics with hippie ideals…check out the opening lyrics to the song:

’Hey all you businessmen please
Don’t fill me with your disease.
Cool money, sure to please.
Sell your soul to the man
For a buck if you can’.

Well I guess this was 1971 but I’m sure Moss eventually sold his soul to the man. but there’s no harm in trying to ’stick it to the man’.…

The flip ’Where’s The Freedom’ again has Moss Lynch standing on his hippie soap box preaching to a seemingly uninterested congregation about the need to stop killing creatures, particularly birds and fish.

Reader comments:
moss lynch was from revere, massachusetts, died around 1995,

jack nicoloro the producer is alive and living in watertown ma.jack nicoloro was from arlington ma. haven’t seen him in years. the record was recorded in miami fla around 1971

Moss Lynch died 6/13/92. I am his widow Linda. My son, Moss Jr. found this and sent it to me.

(22/03/08)

KEK’66 – ’Angela’ / ’Na Na Na’ / ’You Treated Me Bad’ (Guerssen SG003) 1996

When Dutch garage beat band The Kliek split in the early 90s lead singer Robert Muter formed a new band strangely called Kek’66. He played lead guitar in his new combo and recruited Stefan Steutel on drums and Marc De Regt on bass.

I’m certain this three song EP is all covers but I can’t place the bands who were the originators of these songs. If anyone knows let me know…thanks.

The pick of the EP is ’Angela’.. clocking in at 1:48 it’s pretty short but sometimes short works. This is a pleasant beat number and sung in Spanish.

Reader comments:
’You Treated Me Bad’ was originally by the JuJus. It’s been comped many times, most recently on ’Scream Loud – The Fenton Story’ double CD, which no self respecting garage head should be without.

Kek66 did a great version of ”You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down” right down to the solo. Very cool. Mark sent me an MP3 ages ago, don’t have it any more. Would love another copy. Has that been comped?Art Steinman, Lead Guitar, The Jagged Edge aka The Off-Set

(21/03/08)

BUDDY MERRILL – ’Without My Lover’ / ’Escondido’ (Accent ACS 7260) January 1969

Every so often I take a chance on a record and hand out $5 for a 45 I know nothing about. Take this record for instance. I was aware that Accent put out majestic records by The Human Expression but who is this Buddy Merrill? I’d never heard of the guy before.

So I bought this on the strength of the label. But what a cool side ’Without My Lover’ is. Wow!!!….yes that’s three exclamation marks from the Expo.

It’s an instrumental and starts of slow paced with what sounds like a moog and wah wah guitar. It’s not punked out wah wah ala Stooges but nice and gentle, almost meandering, sounding very space age.

The strings really add to the tunes greatness. Roger McGuinn would love this because it’s got a similar Byrdsian raga rock/space rock sound evident during the ’Younger Than Yesterday’ sessions.

I’m picturing Buddy in his best paisley shirt, slim leg black Levis, chunky square buckle belt and cuban heels in the studio laying this tune down after dropping some LSD.

Because after 1:15 seconds the fuzz kicks in (I’m thinking at this point the acid starts to work in his head) and it turns into a killer psychedelic groover with more wah wah guitar, only bolder and louder.

Then just like a sudden storm, calm is restored once more with the gentle moog and strings. Fucking class instro……

I’ve since researched Buddy Merrill and realise that he’s a famous guitar slinger in USA but rarely went psychedelic…

(19/03/08)

THE TRILLIUM – ”Queen Alice” / ”News” (Mr G Records G-813) June 1968

Obscure band from Rochester, New York. The Trillium were not even worth a mention in Fuzz, Acid & Flowers!!! The plug side ’Queen Alice’ is a outstanding English style pop psych with 12 string guitar and compact organ. The tune is very catchy and memorable.

Vinyl only re-issue label Dig The Fuzz compiled this song on Incredible Sound Show Stories Volume 14 and they suggested a West Coast location for the band. That comp is long gone and out of print by the way.

The flip ’News’ is another slice of Englishness. The singer sounding just like Ray Davies. It’s a perfect Kinks like whimsical pop song. I really dig the echoey ending on this…cool production.

Both sides have writer credits of V.Bearce and T.Davis.

Noticed this one while looking for additional info on this group. The Trillium were indeed from Rochester, NY and were led by a guy named Terry Davis who was around 17 at the time this was released (around 1968).

Ironically, he (Davis) ended up as part of my former band The Riviera Playboys in 2005 and played with them briefly, did a tour of Germany with them and left shortly after.

I saw a few old news clippings about the group and as I recall, Davis was regarded as somewhat of a prodigy. He wrote, sang, played guitar, bass, and keyboards. Dan F.

(18/03/08)

49th BLUE STREAK – ’Fire’ / ’Foxy Lady’ (MBM Productions 1947) 1969

Two sided heavy psych onslaught with a massive amount of fuzz guitar and echoey production are on offer here.

I wonder if Jimi Hendrix ever heard these cover versions? I’m not sure many people back in ’69 ever got to hear this record.

MBM Productions were a small local label from Crowley, Louisiana. They also released the awesome Sunshine Reigns 45.

(17/03/08)

CATCH – ”Catch” (Dot DLP 25956) 1969

One of the rare occasions when a band’s best song was not released as a single unfortunately happened to Catch. The album cut ’Crash And Burn’ is easily their finest moment. Perhaps it was their only moment!

The long player on Dot is not a memorable affair. There’s just too much late 60s hippie rock with a country vibe and unwanted orchestration to hold my interest. ’Crash And Burn’ on the other hand is a cool psychedelic fuzz rocker reminiscent of Steppenwolf in full flow.

Catch were reportedly from the California region. Their album was produced by J.R. Shanklin who worked with Nilsson. Two singles were released from the album with a shortened version of ”Storm” perhaps the pick.

Members Mike Collings and Roger White moved onto a White Whale label group called Feather after their time with Catch.

singles:
”I’m On The Road To Memhis” / ”Amber” (Dot 45-17277) July 1969
”Storm” / ”City Ditty” (Dot 45-17304) September 1969

(17/03/08)

SNOW – ’Caterpillar’ / ’Where Has My Old Friend Billy Jones Gone’ (Epic 5-10425) 1968

What the hell is ’Caterpillar’ all about? This is one helluva weird slice of experimental psychedelia. The intro utilizers studio trickery then it’s straight into a trippy soundscape of other-worldly male/female vocals and instrumentation.

The lyrics are bizarre and the song has barely got a melody or structure.

The top side ’Where Has My Old Friend Billy Jones Gone’ is sadly forgettable. Both cuts appear on their album.

(11/03/08)

The TOW-AWAY ZONE – ’Shabd’ / ’Searchin’ (Epic 5-10369) 1968

Research suggests that The Tow-Away Zone were from San Leandro, California. Check out their previously unissued cut ’Away Girl’ on the recent Big Beat CD ’You Got Yours!’ that compiles East Bay Garage 1965-1967.

With ’Shabd’ The Tow-Away Zone certainly don’t sound like a garage band. This song is a loud and trippy guitar fest with a big nod to English band Cream. It was written by bass player Randy Molitar and guitarist Phil Franks.

The A-Side is a cover of the Leiber and Stoller tune ’Searchin’. It’s an interesting funkadelic attack that leaves me wantin’ more. This band definitely had the talent to make more records than they did.

Thanks for the kind words. We just lost our lead guitarist Bjorn Nyman, a great Friend and Guitarist to the end. We will miss him with all of our hearts . Until we meet again… Your Friend, Phil

Thanks for posting our message. Phil Franks- The Tow Away Zone. bambino95621@yahoo.com

(10/03/08)

1ST CENTURY – ’Looking Down’ / ’Dancing Girl’ (Capitol Records P 2135) March 1968

I’m sure 1st Century were a studio outfit and probably a one off 45 deal for former Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs guitarist Ray Stinnett. He wrote both sides of this obscure single.

’Looking Down’ is a killer sitar psych pop song with chunky bass runs. I particularly dig the line…

’Looking Down
Looking down in still water.
I am the ship
And I am the voyager’.

The other side ’Dancing Girl’ is another slice of psychedelia with a strange mix of flute and sitar…I don’t think Ray Stinnett was on tea and biscuits when these two songs were recorded.

The producer was Don Nix who also worked with Gary Lewis & The Playboys, George Harrison and John Mayall.

(09/03/08)

THE LOLLIPOP FANTASY – ’Waiting For A Dream’ / ’It’s a Groovy World’ (Era Records 3193) late 1967

I love these kind of records from USA when nothing is known about the band etc. I’ve checked a couple of reference books and this outfit are a mystery. Who knows how they ended up recording a 45 for Era Records?

’Waiting For A Dream’ written by Tony Young is a pleasant pop psych tune with finger cymbals and flute. It floats along in an Association kind of way.

Those looking for danger and fuzz need to look elsewhere because you’re not gonna find it on this disc.

’It’s A Groovy World’ written by Jory Richards has the same vibe and is possibly the more commercial sounding side. I dig this lite psych, especially the vocal harmonies. This is most definitely a record for the Summer of 1967.

(08/03/08)

MORNING GLORY – ’Need Someone’ (mono) / ’Need Someone’ (stereo) (Fontana F-1613) May 1968

Hippie rock is the order of the day here with two versions of Bob Bohanna’s song ’Need Someone’. The extended stereo version coming in at 4:28 was on Morning Glory’s LP ’Two Suns Worth’. However the edited mono version @ 2:31 was only available on this promotional 45 released by Fontana. Even then, most copies had another album track ’I See The Light’ on the flip.

Morning Glory may have come from the San Francisco area although their album was recorded at a studio in Hollywood and produced by Abe Kesh who also worked with Blue Cheer.

John Cale engineered.

line-up:
Gini Graybeal (vocals)
Bob Bohanna (bass)
Larry Gerughty (organ)
Daniel NuDelman (lead guitar)
Allen Wehr (drums)

Larry Gerughty previously played keyboards in Butch Engle & The Styx.

(08/03/08)

 



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