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.
CRIMSON TYDE – ’Fire’ / ’Neighborhood Girl’ (Kascade KK-101) 1969
This band appear to be undocumented. In all the years I’ve been buying original 60s records and receiving set sale lists from dealers I’ve never seen this one offered for sale.
So I assume copies are not exactly falling from the trees. Maybe it’s because the disc was released in 1969 that garage collectors the world over haven’t sought out this one?
Or maybe it’s because they cover Jimi Hendrix. Now that ain’t exactly a garage punk thing to do in some circles. I happen to love it of course!
’Neighborhood Girl’ was written by Ken Marvel who was only 16 years old at the time and played keyboards in Crimson Tyde.
The song sounds garagey and to me and could easily be mistaken for something recorded two or three years earlier. Some pleasing organ and a memorable touch of fuzz guitar elevate this one above the average.
The cover of ’Fire’ is brilliant. They sound like The Moving Sidewalks which of course is a cool thing. More fuzz guitar and psych leads. Nice organ touches also. This 45 is a winner.
The Crimson Tyde were probably from Beaumont, Texas.
THE MODELS – ’Bend Me, Shape Me’ / ’In A World Of Pretty Faces’ (MGM K13775) 1966
According to Fuzz, Acid & Flowers this version of ’Bend Me, Shape Me’ by The Models was the first and after it flopped The American Breed covered it and had a massive hit record.
Now that’s a cryin’ shame cos apparently The Models were in fact a group made up of Vogue models.
I would have preferred to see a bunch a pretty long legged cuties lip-synching to this song on You Tube than the totally squaresville American Breed.
Oh well, in my EXPO67 world I can dream about those swingin’ 60s chicks and what could have been.
This version of ’Bend Me, Shape Me’ has been psychedelicalized to the max. Producer Tom Wilson has set his controls to the heart of the sun and it’s a groovy freak-out.
The flip ’In A World Of Pretty Faces’ is a gentle psychedelic baroque ballad with harpsichord and strings ’n’ things.
Song writing partnership Scott English and Larry Weiss wrote ’Bend Me, Shape Me’ as well as other memorable songs such as ’Help Me Girl’ recorded by The Animals, ’Sweet Medusa’ by Bead Game, ’Hi-Ho Silver Lining’ by Jeff Beck and ’Pop Corn Double Feature’ by The Searchers.
RANDY S & The WESTWOOD PAPER – ’Haight Ashbury Blues’ / ‘Haight Ashbury Blues’ instrumental (American Gramophone Label 6-667) 1967
This 45 is of it’s time and as the title suggests is a hippie lament of how bad the once thriving Haight Ashbury became after all the pimps, losers and thugs moved in hoping to make money out of the San Francisco hippie scene.
The flip is an instrumental. I guess Randy Sparks didn’t have another song.
The CALIFORNIANS – ’Nausea Beast’ / ‘Glass Disguise’ (Crazy Horse 1318) 11/1969
Both sides are cool late 60s psychedelic guitar rock but the band remained a mystery until guitarist and composer of both songs on this 45 Richard Bastrup got in touch via a Yahoo psychedelic forum to fill in some details about The Californians.
They were formed by some former members of the Arnaheim based surf outfit The Avengers IV, who released the ’Real Cool Hits’ and ’Mrs Faruki’s Suzuki’ LPs in 1966 on the Mark 56 label.
When The Avengers IV split up in 1968 they reformed with some changes in personnel as The Californians.
As well as the Crazy Horse 45 they issued two further records on their own JR&J label in 1969.
’Stay’ / ’I Told You’
’Have You Ever Been Lonely’ / ’I Show To See’
The Californians also recorded material for an album but this remains unreleased. Here, they adopted the ’Big Band’ sound they believed would soon be back in vogue….it wasn’t!!!
Sometime in the early 70s they changed their name to The Good Guys and released a 45 in 1974 on Magnum West Records but split up shortly after.
SUMMER SNOW – ’Flying On The Ground’ / ‘Your Thoughts Have Wings’ (Capitol P 2031) 10/1967
Two sides of soft pop from a band calling themselves Summer Snow. ’Flying On The Ground’ is the Neil Young song that can be found on the Buffalo Springfield debut album but the song is titled ’Flying On The Ground Is Wrong’. I comped this tune on Gear! 4.
The flip ’Your Thoughts Have Wings’ has twee male/female vocals and is predominately acoustic guitar based. This song was written and produced by Rusty Evans and Dan Dalton.
Could this be the same Rusty Evans whose real name is Marcus Uzilevsky and was a one time New York folk singer from Greenwich Village? He changed his name to Rusty Evans and submerged himself in the flourishing psychedelic scene.
He led obscure psych band The Deep who released ’Psychedelic Moods’ in late 1966 then recorded as The Freak Scene of ’Psychedelic Psoul’ fame (or lack of)…
Rusty Evans then moved to L.A. and worked as a producer for the Take Six label and also had time to write ’I Dig Your Mind’ recorded by garage psych band The Nervous Breakdowns.
THE WHAT’S NEW – ’Early Morning Rain’ / ’Driving Wheels’ / ’Huckleberry Finn’ / ’The Last Thing On My Mind’ (Number One LOU 2013) 1966
The What’s New are relatively unknown in their homeland of USA and compilers have only recently unearthed their 45s but most of their cuts still remain uncompiled. They hailed from Orlando in Florida but had their records released only in France on the small Number One label after being offered a deal to record in Paris.
Their first four track EP release is very much standard folk rock fayre. All are cover versions and are polished efforts but none really stand out, a kind of ’play by numbers’ to my ears. Maybe they were playing safe for the French market.
THE WHAT’S NEW – ’Get Away’ / It’s Over Now’ / ‘Up So High’ / ’Daisy’ (Number One LOU 2014) 1967
The second and last EP is far superior in every way. Firstly all four cuts are original compositions written by Colin Scot and all are great except the throw away ’Daisy’.
’Get Away’ is a cool raga psych offering with what sounds like a sitar but in fact is probably a vox guitar making ’Eastern’ sonics. It’s also got some intriguing psychedelic lyrics in one of the verses:
’Like a tiny grain of sand
I go swimming through your hand.
Reaching out to hold the sky,
Birds with silver wings can fly’
’It’s Over Now’ is a wondrous slow paced Byrdsian slice of moodiness with trippy ringing guitar..
Maybe the best song The What’s New ever wrote is ’Up So High’ notable for a menacing fuzz intro and more raga psychedelia. It’s a killer song and highly regarded in garage circles.
I don’t have a clue what they were thinking about with ’Daisy’. It’s awful. Just like a very bad Hermans Hermits type ditty.
NOW – ’Having A Hard Time (Ain’t You Baby)’ / ‘Deja Vu’ (Cotillion 44005) 3/1968
Not to be confused with a band called Now who released ’I Want’ on Embassy Records. They went on to become Tripsichord Music Box.
This particular Now were probably a studio outfit.
’Having A Hard Time’ / ’Deja Vu’ 45 on (Cotillion 44005) was released in 1968 possibly as early as March. Both songs were written by Paul Selph and Tommy Rasico.
Paul Selph was a Memphis WMPS radio DJ.
Mr Flood’s Party released a song called ’Deja Vu’ also on Cotillion 44017. I’ve not heard this but it’s highly likely a cover version of Now’s original.
’Having A Hard Time’ was the plug side and is a laid back country folk tune not unlike the sound of Stone Country or even Crosby Stills and Nash.
THE BRIKS – ’Foolish Baby’ / ’Can You See Me’ (Dot 16878) April 1966
Here’s one of thee classics 45s of the mid 60s. It was originally released on the smaller label Bismark but was picked up by Dot for national distribution. Inexplicably, the record went nowhere other than healthy sales in and around Dallas.
Both sides are GREAT! ’Foolish Baby’ is a powerful garage rocker built around a Kinks like beat. The other side ’Can You See Me’ is a beautiful folk rock jangler.
Lead guitar player Richard Borgens later teamed up with The Truth
TRUTH – ’Chimes On 42nd Street’ / ’When Was Then’ (Mark Ltd MR 1009) 1968
The Kenny and the Kasuals story is well documented elsewhere, suffice to say that they were one of the top live attractions in the Dallas Fort Worth area with plenty of local hit singles and a pretty good LP called ’Impact’.
The band headed to New York in the summer of 1967 to play gigs and rustle up label interest but sadly the gigs were marred by arguments and a lack of label interest.
They returned to Dallas and singer Kenny Daniels was either sacked by the rest of the band or he quit or he was drafted depending on who was recounting the story.
The rest of the Kasuals with the addition of Dale Bramhall renamed themselves Truth and released this hard to find 45 on Mark Lee’s record label.
’Chimes On 42nd Street’ is psychy with freaky guitar sounds and a constant pumping bass line which is high in the mix. I prefer the other side ’When Was Then’. This song is a slow paced, melodic psychedelic folk rocker.
All the essentials are present such as tambourine, harmonica, tabla and classy acoustic guitar.
Both songs were written by lead guitarist Jerry Smith.
LES SUNLIGHTS – I Need You EP (Disques Vogue EPVB. 002) 1966
French band Les Sunlights appeared to have more success in Belgium. The EP pictured is the Belgium release. The French release is housed in a different cover. I prefer this moody shot of the band.
Les Sunlights were a typical Beat/RnB group and as with most bands of this ilk their repertoire was only half successful. The RnB numbers were pretty much solid efforts in the Kinks/Pretty Things sound but most of their beaty sides don’t warrant continued plays.
Best cut on the EP is a band original ’I Need You’ written by Bruno Cogoni.
BILLY JOE ROYAL – ’Hush’ / ‘Watching From The Bandstand’ (CBS 3044) 1967
Excellent cover of Joe South’s ’Hush’. In fact the latter produced this effort.
Billy Joe Royal hailed from Georgia in USA and had a few earlier hits, none of which I’ve ever heard. It appears that he also had some success and recognition in Europe, especially with the mods Northern Soul crowd.
I only bought this 45 cos I dig the desert boots Billy is wearing in this picture!
The flip ’Watching From The Bandstand’, again co written and produced by Joe South, is an uninteresting pop song with a soul vibe.
The 45 shown is the Dutch release.
JOHNNY HALLYDAY – A Tout Casser EP (Philips 437.428 BE) 1967
The title track from this 4 song EP sounds like a low budget ’Purple Haze’. It’s got the same guitar riff with added wah wah leads and of course Johnny Hallyday’s strong vocals. This is easily the stand out on this 1967 release and is from the French film soundtrack titled ’A Tout Casser’ (of course).
’Cheval D’Acier’ is also from the film soundtrack and kind of rips off The Beatles ’ Got To Get You Into My Life’. On both songs Hallyday was backed by English musicians Micky Jones and Tommy Brown.
These two Brits are perhaps better known as the due The State Of Micky and Tommy.
I really dig the pop psych of ’Quand L’aigle Est Blesse’.
Jim Sullivan gives the tune a baroque feel with the added strings and flute. The other cut on the EP ’Ma Vie A T’Aimer’ is a crooner style pop song and outside the bounds of all that is cool on my blog ’Renaissance Fair’. But no one can complain at getting three good songs from a 45.
Has anyone seen the film ’A Tout Casser?’
Los BRINCOS – ’Nadie Te Quiere Ya’ / ’You Know’ (Novola NOX-47) 1967
Spanish mods Los Brincos deliver two classy 60s pop tunes on this 1967 release. ’Nadie Te Quiere Ya’ sung in Spanish has a great production and the music leaps out of the grooves. The producer by the way was Larry Page who honed his skills on The Troggs.
’You Know’ is a mod swinger with fuzz. This time it’s sung in a kind of English.
Top marks also the graphics department for designing the cool sleeve.
The TROGGS – ’Feels Like A Woman’ / ’Everything’s Funny’ (Pye 4110) 1972
It’s 1972 and The Troggs have long since had their heyday and the hits have dried up. Now prog and glam rock is all around. Weird lookin’ blokes with long hair, beards, lipstick and glitter pasted on their faces wearing their girlfriend’s clothes is what’s happening!
So it’s with much relief that the Troggs still know how to rock like club wielding cavemen. ’Feels Like A Woman’ written by leader Reg Pressley is a long forgotten bone crunchin’, speaker shredding B-Side that will probably never feature on any Troggs ’Best Of’ collections. It’s just too damned tough and in your face.
Dig these lyrics:
I never thought you were groovy
I looked on you like a child.
I never dreamed you could move me,
Now you’re drivin’ me wild.
The top side ’Everything’s Funny’ sounds like what it is (ie) early 70s rock and roll with strings and things. Not my cuppa T but I’m sure others would be interested.
This is the French picture sleeve release on Pye.
MAQUINA! – ’Lands Of Perfection’ / ’Let’s Get Smash’ (Diablo D.B.1.S) 1969
Maquina! were a four piece band from the Catalan district of Northern Spain and this was their first 45. It’s got a big reputation on the European mod DJ scene, and quite rightly so. It’s also not an easy record to find in decent shape with the cover.
’Lands Of Perfection’ has a trippy hammond opening flourish in similar style to the groovier Brian Auger and The Trinity cuts. In fact, this is one of those great hammond organ dominated tracks. The singing is below average and is a bit wavery and high pitched.
Made sense that Maquina! would evolve into a prog/jazz outfit in the early 70s where those type of vocals would be better suited.
The song is a typical late 60s period piece that kinda ends with brass and a similar chord structure to ’Hey Jude’, everybody’s least favourite Beatles hit. But don’t let that put you off. This tune is a blast.
’Let’s Get Smash’ is the title on the label but I think the words have been incorrectly transposed in English by some Spanish bloke, probably more interested in fitting in a 3 hour afternoon siesta than getting a song title right.
So I reckon the proper title is ’Let’s Get Smashed’. Funnily enough there are few lines spoken in the song which is predominately an instrumental.
The following lyrics all indicate to a good old fashioned drinking session down the pub:
’What do you want fellas?’
’I’ll have a pint.’
’Get us a lime and bitter pet.’
All you need to know is the fact that ’Let’s Get Smashed’ is a fine up-tempo Small Faces type instro with snappy piano and a danceable mod beat, if dancin’ is your bag. Personally I think dancin’ is for women only. Men look like jerks doing it.
So, all in all, this 45 has two classy mod songs and a cool picture cover. I don’t mind spending ££££s on these type of artyfacts. By the way, both songs have never been compiled before which is a little strange!
Noel Deschamps – ’Ah, Si J’avais Pense’ EP (RCA Victor 86.162) 1966
French singer Noel Deschamps really delivers the goods with this ’66 EP of covers. The big action killer is of course ’Ah, Si J’avais Pense’.
In English, titled ’Would I Still Be Her Big Man’. For those in the know, you’ll be diggin’ The Brigands original version (check it out on Back From The Grave Volume 2)
The other decent cover is ’Curieux Docteur’. In English, titled ’I’m Your Witch Doctor’ Deschamps’ version isn’t in the same league as John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers, but it’s still a pretty good effort.
Top marks should also go to the designer of the EP sleeve. They just don’t make them as cool as this any more.
Ah, Si J’avais Pense
On Se Moque De Toi Laiise Dire
C’est Pas La Peine
OLA & The JANGLERS – ’Surprise, Surprise’ / ’No No No’ (Funckler SO 42.813) 1966
Classy mod beat double sider from Swedish band Ola & The Janglers. Both sides rip with teen punk energy. They tackle The Rolling Stones’, ’Surprise, Surprise’ with gusto and I probably prefer the ’Janglers version. Fabulous hammond organ elevates this on a one way trip to coolsville.
And just when you think it can’t get any better just flip the record over any get groovin’ to Christer Idering’s ’No No No’. Wow! more fantastic organ solos with raw vocals and punky beat guitar. This one is a mod dancer for the ladies…..
Both songs feature on their ’66 LP. Grab that if you can.
The cover of the pictured 45 is the Dutch release. The Swedish and Italian covers are different.
Ola Hakansson (vocals, tambourine, maraccas)
Johannes Ohlsson (organ, piano)
Christer Idering (guitar)
Ake Eldsater (bass)
Leif Johansson (drums)
LOS ALBAS – ’A Little Bit Hurt’ / ’Quien Sera’ (Vergara 45.300-A) 1968
Here’s another interesting 45 from Spain. I don’t know anything about them at all, so if you do remember to let me know.
It appears that ’Quien Sera’ was the top side. Written by P.Beltran Ruiz, it’s sounds like a straight forward pop song with a soul vibe.
Unfortunately, it lacks a hook or a guitar break to make it interesting for me. Make no mistake though, it is a well produced record and it’s perfectly played and sung in Spanish. But to my ears, it’s just average.
The B-side ’A Little Bit Hurt’ is far superior. It’s a mod flavoured soul/beat mover with a chunky backbeat and strident bass. There is no organ fills or guitar break. Anyone of those would have made this song killer.
This track has English vocals.
By the way ’A Little Bit Hurt’ is a cover version. The original was by English band Julian Covey and the Machine. That version can be found on compilation LP Mod Meeting volume 4. I’ve never heard it so can’t offer a comparison.
Les 5 GENTLEMEN – L.S.D. 25 EP (Riviera 231 212) 1966
Je te veux
I’ve liked pretty much everything I’ve heard by this Marseilles band (that’s in France for those of you with a geography bi-pass). All songs on this EP were written by bass player/vocalist Jean Fredenucci and three out of the four get my seal of approval.
’Qu’as-tu Katioucha’ is on my forthcoming Circles One comp. It’s got a commercial sound with an almost folk rock appeal.
BUT, this ain’t got no jangle, instead it has pleasant harmonica and organ fills. ’Je te veux’ is a mod swinger with cool organ. A very European sound. Not many USA garage bands went for this kinda mod sound.
’L.S.D. 25’ is perhaps my favourite 5 Gentlemen tune. I dig psych and this one is classy freakbeat verging on full blown psychedelia. Remember that the EP was released in 1966 so this French outfit were maybe ahead of the game in some respects.
’Olivier’ is a slow and plodding tune that doesn’t really go anywhere.
Jean Fredenucci (bass/vocals)
Francois Paoli (guitar)
Claude Olmos (guitar)
Guy Matteoni (organ)
Michel Donat (drums)
The JAY-JAYS – ’Come Back If You Dare’ / ’Don’t Sell The Sun’ (Philips JF 333 550) 1966
Hard to find 45 by Dutch band The Jay Jays, especially with this well designed 60s mod cover sleeve. The record thankfully lives up to the quality of the cover and is a two sided beat delight.
’Come Back If You Dare’ is a Kinks style beat rocker. I’m sure Ray Davies would have been proud to call this cut his own. What a killer mover and pure ’66. I love the line:
’You left my baby swimming in her tears.’
The flip ’Don’t Sell The Sun’ is a well produced and played acoustic ballad, once again with the right kinda cool moves that the Expo digs. This song reminds me of ’Now The Sun Has Gone’ by The Beatmen. Both cuts on this Philips release are exceptional.
LOS BRINCOS – El Pasaporte (Novola – 1 sided promo) 1967
Spanish mods Los Brincos really deliver with this ultra cool freakbeat ripper. They didn’t do much outside their native Spain but did manage to release a couple of 45s in England on the Page One label (home of The Troggs). The English version of ’Passport’ can be found in pretty good sound on We Can Fly – Volume 3.
I’m sure the Spanish sung version has never been compiled before. Look out for my new CD series titled Circles, coming soon. Why? because ’El Pasaporte’ will be on it.
Special note must also be made for the fabulous op-art promo sleeve that houses this magical 45. Designers take note. This is how cool a record or CD sleeve could be.
I’ve already mentioned We Can Fly – Volume 3 CD on Past & Present. Take a look at the cover of that thing and you’ll get what I mean. It’s fucking shit and looks like something your Granny would design.
LARRY TAMBLYN – ’Summer Clothes’ / ’Music For Summer Clothes’ (Sunburst Records 772) 1968
The Standells organist released this solo 45 after the ’Dirty Water’ cats had broken up. Don’t expect commercial garage on this record.
Larry (as he was billed on the label) serves up a lite psych tune. It’s interesting to note that he wrote the song. He wasn’t very prolific in The Standells. As far as I know his only appearance as a songwriter was with the ultra cool ’Mr Nobody’. This is possibly my all time favourite Standells rocker.
He certainly had an array of hip studio guys helping him with this Sunburst release. Ed Cobb is of course the notable producer of both The Standells and The Chocolate Watch Band.
The Engineers Bill Cooper and Richie Podolor had also previously worked with the Watch Band as studio engineers. Podolor wrote ’Expo 2000’ and ’Dark Side Of The Mushroom’. He also produced Iron Butterfly and Steppenwolf.
Arrangers Ethon McElroy and Don Bennett were also in The Chocolate Watch Band camp. As well as arranging for them they also co wrote cool songs ’Are You Gonna Be There? (At The Love In) and ’Gossamer Wings’. Don Bennett of course provided the vocals on some of the songs on the Watchband’s ’No Way Out’ LP.
The flip is an instrumental of ’Summer Clothes’