18 April, 2014

THE BEACH BOYS - PARTY!



THE BEACH BOYS - 'Party!' (Capitol T-2398) November 1965

This was the third Beach Boys album of 1965 and very much a 'cash-in' long player for Christmas. Back in the 60s records were big sellers during the festive period and this 'live' album in the studio broke into the top ten in both USA and Britain and as such was considered a success.

There isn't much on this to please the casual Beach Boys listener. Fans no doubt lapped it up but if I was a teenager back then I'd be a bit pissed off with the material on 'Party!' as it just sounds like they're busking, the background noises from girls 'partying' is annoying.

The most interesting cut for me is 'Barbara Ann' which was a cover of a song written by The Regents. The opener 'Hully Gully' is decent enough.



THE BEACH BOYS - SUMMER DAYS (AND SUMMER NIGHTS)



THE BEACH BOYS - 'Summer Days (And Summer Nights)' July 1965

This was The Beach Boys ninth studio album. Can you believe that? It's only mid 1965 and they're onto their ninth studio album. No wonder writer, arranger and producer Brian Wilson was starting to have mental health issues. That's a lot of weight and responsibilty on a young guy.

This album is regarded as something of a Beach Boys benchmark but I find songs like 'Amusement Parks U.S.A', 'I'm Bugged At My Ol' Man' and 'And You Dreams Come True' annoying. They're just not my scene.
My personal favourite song on the album is 'Girl Don't Tell Me', which has a lead vocal by Carl Wilson. They should have stayed with this kind of sound a little more.

The re-recorded 'Help Me Rhonda' and 'California Girls' are also highlights. Both have complex vocal arrangements and a progressive production for 1965. No one sounded quite like The Beach Boys when they were firing from both barrels. The 'sound' on 'California Girls' was a signal for things to come on the 1966 album 'Pet Sounds.'

This album was another success reaching #2 in USA behind The Rolling Stones 'Out Of Our Heads'...in Great Britain it reached Top 5.

A message from Brian Wilson:

As I'm writing this, Carl, Ron Swallow (our travelin' buddy and wardrobe man) and three girls along with Earl Leaf are sitting around the coffee table singing Beatles songs.
But my mind is somewhere else right now. I'm still working on ideas for this album. We had an unbelievable hassle trying to finish up the songs, especially after a three week tour.

You should have seen Mike diggin' his own voice when we played back 'The Girl From New York City' in the studio last week. He was movin' and groovin' like he used to in the locker room at Dorsey High, I'm glad I finally wrote a song Carl dug singin'.

I thought Al pulled off 'Then I Kissed Her' purty good too. And then there's Denny who fell asleep in his camper truck parked outside the studio he was supposed to sing a lead. Hope you like our efforts this time. Thanks. ....Brian Wilson.
 

THE BEACH BOYS - TODAY!



THE BEACH BOYS - 'Today!' (Capitol T-2269) March 1965

About a year ago I bought three Beach Boys albums dating from 1965 but it's only now that I've taken them off the shelves for a spin. They're all in great shape, they're all my preferred mono recordings and better still I bought all three for about £10. Win!, win!, win!!!

The material recorded for 'Today!' was put to tape during October and December 1964. Some songs were recorded in January 1965. There's not a hint of any British Invasion sound, The Beach Boys stuck to their own pop style with layered harmonies.

Most of side one showcases their more uptempo tunes, especially the catchy 'Do You Wanna Dance?' while on 'Help Me Ronda' the complex wall of sound production is quite evident. The latter was re-recorded as 'Help Me Rhonda' and reached #1 in May 1965.

Side two is ballads and love songs with the filler 'Bull Session With The Big Daddy' which is a snippet of an interview.

a message from Dick Clark:

When fame came to The Beach Boys, it came in a big way and almost overnight. They began with talent, a lot of it, and some avid interests that they turned into hit songs. And soon their first recordings were helping to shape the big trend in surfing music.

A little later they did the same thing again with their big hot rod hits. And now they are themselves a trend - important leaders in today's music industry. Their records and personal appearances have been consistent triumphs, and many of Brian Wilson's compositions have become teen "classics."

Today they still care about the same things their audiences care about. Fame is important to them, but not as important as their music and their teen fans, toward whom they feel a true allegiance.

It is a pleasure for me to have this opportunity to pay tribute to these great young guys, for we in the entertainment industry are proud of their success...proud because they and their music deserve it.



17 April, 2014

BUBBLE PUPPY - THEIR BEAUTIFUL MONO 45s



Bubble Puppy didn't last very long as a group in the 60s, despite having a big hit single with 'Hot Smoke & Sasafrass' during the early months of 1969 but they did leave behind four brilliant singles.

'Hot Smoke & Sasafrass' / 'Lonely' (IA-128) November 1968
'If I Had A Reason' / 'Beginning' (IA-133) May 1969
'Days Of Our Time' / 'Thinkin' About Thinkin' (IA-136) October 1969
'What Do You See' / 'Hurry Sundown' (ia-138) May 1970

Their debut 45 was a surprise hit after DJs in Houston flipped the record over and started playing 'Hot Smoke & Sasafrass.' Apparently, 'Lonely' was initially thought of as the top side by The Bubble Puppy. Both sides were also included on their album 'A Gathering Of Promises.'

'Hot Smoke' has a hard rockin' intro laced with feedback. The time changes give the song a mesmerizing feel to it, quite hypnotic. Dig those psych leads and layered vocal harmonies. Very much a West Coast sound. It proved to be International Artists biggest selling record.
Bubble Puppy were in such demand at this point that they appeared on American Bandstand lip-synching their hit.

IA didn't hear any more potential hit singles on the albums worth of material they had recorded so were asked to come up with another song. They returned to the studio and recorded the countryish 'If I Had A Reason', this was backed with a longer version of 'Beginning', which incidentally, is my favourite Bubble Puppy song...

Their third single brought together two non-album cuts 'Days Of Our Time' / 'Thinkin' About Thinkin'...both were cool psych rockers with some amazing psych leads and those Moby Grape type layered harmonies.

Their final single was the non-album 'What Do You See' which was a snarling fuzz fest backed with the West Coast psych rock 'Hurry Sundown.' This cut featured on the studio album from a year earlier but this mono 45 is a different / shorter mix. My copy is green vinyl.



Billboard advert

Saint Charles, Missouri

BUBBLE PUPPY - A GATHERING OF PROMISES



BUBBLE PUPPY - 'A Gathering Of Promises' (International Artists) 1969

Bubble Puppy were IA's last commercial fling, and indeed they scraped a fleeting hit with 'Hot Smoke & Sasafrass' in early 1969. Although based in Houston, the roots of the group were in Corpus Christi, where Rod Prince led The Bad Seeds. They cut three singles for the local label J-Beck outlet.

'Taste Of The Same' / 'I'm A King Bee'
'Zilch Part One' / 'Zilch Part Two'
'All Night Long' / 'Sick And Tired'

Punkers all, the last 'A' side was, in fact, a cover of The Elevators 'Tried To Hide' but with an earlier lyric. Roy Cox joined the group, and it was he and Prince, along with Todd Potter, who put Bubble Puppy together. Several other musicians including Tommy Smith and Clayton Pulley were also in the group, and later David Fore.

'A Gathering Of Promises' reflected the more measured changes which affected Texas music. Despite their suitably paisley garb, Bubble Puppy were closer to mainstream rock than most of their label mates. Professional rather than inspirational, they somehow crossed the hard rock of Jimi Hendrix with the massed harmonies of Moby Grape or early Doobie Brothers. It's fresh, it's undoubtedly well played, but it lacks the perverse mystery of The Golden Dawn or even Lost And Found.

That album aside, Bubble Puppy also cut several other tracks. 'If I Had A Reason' appeared on the flip of 'Beginning', while both sides of their third 45, 'Days Of Our Life' and 'Thinkin' About Thinkin' were non-album, as was 'What Do You See', the top side of their final IA release.

Having toured with Steppenwolf, and with their own label flagging, Bubble Puppy moved to ABC/Dunhill and mutated into Demian. From there on in there's been a succession of changes, with versions of the band resurfacing on various occasions, as well as in off-shoot groups such as Sirius. 
(Strange Things magazine August 1988)


16 April, 2014

THE HUMAN ZOO - NA-NA



THE HUMAN ZOO - 'The Human Zoo' (Accent ACS 5055) 1970

The Human Zoo hailed from the Los Angeles suburb, Westminster and were discovered playing local gigs by Jim Foster, who was a member of acid punkers The Human Expression. Don't expect The Human Zoo to be any where near as good as the latter though.

First time I played this album I was disappointed, it didn't really tick that many boxes in my mynd. However a couple of plays later I started digging some of the songs. The album opener 'It's Got To Be' is a good psych rocker with some cool organ. My favourite cut is 'Na-Na' which is essentially an instrumental with plenty of na-na's thrown in for good measure.

The rest of side one is decent late 60s rock 'n' roll, with some really tasty psych leads, powerful drum action and mostly macho style vocals. Not really my bag but I'm sure others will dig it. 'Funny' for instance, starts off all psych rock then goes a bit too funky for me...

Most of side two has that late 60s funk psych sound with brass, there's also cringe-worthy county & western with 'When Papa Started Drinkin'.....the album picks up once more with the freaky 'The Human Zoo', which has some immense fuzz and pounding drums but the over macho vocals spoils the song somewhat.

What the sales sticker on the front of the album says:

For the first time since it's original release in 1970, an exact re-issue of The Human Zoo album, taken from the master tapes, with all artwork faithfully replicated!

A quirky and unexpected blend of psychedelic, garage and funky music. The musical diversity, once the cause of the band's failure is the records greatest asset in this age of one song downloadable wonderment. The band had chops, and could put together a damn good song.

Limited edition of 500 copies.


HAMILTON CAMP - LONELY PLACE



HAMILTON CAMP - 'Here's To You' (Warner Bros WS 1737) 1968

This weeks trip through my LP collection continues with this 1968 obscurity by Hamilton Camp.  He was an early 60s folkie who played the coffee houses in Greenwich Village and was in his thirties by the time he recorded the songs on this album 'Here's To You.' He must have looked ancient back then to all of the teens and twenties hipsters.

Hamilton's single 'Here's to You' / 'Anyhow' (Warner Bros 7165) was released during May 1968 and was a hit, reaching #78 on the Billboard Chart. This song is quite lyte sunshine folk and perhaps just right for the times. There are better songs on the album though, including a version of 'Travelin' In The Dark' which was also recorded by Bo Grumpus and Mountain. The song was written by Mountain bass player Felix Pappalardi, who also produced the music on 'Here's To You.''Lonely Place' is the most trippy cut here, a really superb song with a haunting vibe.

Another single was released in the Summer of 1968, 'This Wheels On Fire' is a non album cut and was probably recorded at the same time but omitted for unknown reasons backed with 'A Lot Can Happen In A Day' (Warner Bros 7203) which can be found on the album.

'Here's To You' featured the cream of the crop L.A. session players including Earl Palmer (drums), Van Dyke Parks (piano, organ), Jerry Scheff (bass), Hal Blaine (drums) and Larry Knetchtel (piano). It was recorded at H.R. Recording Studios, Hollywood.

Perhaps his most famous song is 'Pride Of Man' which was also recorded West Coast hippies Quicksilver Messenger Service. Hamilton Camp died of a heart attack on 02/10/05.



   

15 April, 2014

THE NATIONAL GALLERY - LONG HAIR SOULFUL


THE NATIONAL GALLERY - 'The National Gallery' (Philips PHS 600-266) 1968

This is one of those weird and wonderful albums from the sixties that somehow got a release on a major label. I'm not even sure if The National Gallery were a group as such, they were probably Roger Karshner and Charles Mangione with assorted session players. On the back of the album is a small picture of The National Gallery, but this was most likely taken for a publicity purposes.

The song under my spotlight, 'Long Hair Soulful' was released as a 45 on Philips in October 1967 billed as The Bhagavad Gita. The flip of this disc is an instrumental of 'Long Hair Soulful'...I dig that name and in my opinion they should have kept it for the album.

Maybe the moniker The Bhagavad Gita didn't fit with their idea of the musical concept they had of conceiving songs around the abstract expressionist paintings of Switzerland / German artist Paul Klee. Roger Karshner described his songs as 'electronic paintings', hence the name for this experiment The National Gallery, to house his sonic delights.

Description from back of album cover:

This unique recording is the result of the successful melding of three separate art forms. First is fine art - the paintings of Paul Klee. Inspired by Klee's imagination, power and subtlety, producer director Roger Karshner and his collaborator, Charles Mangione, have created superb musical compositions to fit the moods of ten Klee paintings.
And, under Karshner's direction, The National Gallery have, by their amazing vocal talent, transformed the music into, what Karshner calls "rock-art." You may have your own name for it, but you'll admit that it's a haunting and unforgettable sound.

An added touch with the album is that it came with a colour brochure showing the paintings of Paul Klee and song lyrics.











Billboard - October 1967







14 April, 2014

ANDY ROBINSON - ABSOLUTELY THE END


ANDY ROBINSON - 'Patterns Of Reality' (Philips SBL-7887) 1968

I bought this album last year but it's only today that I've found some time to enjoy it and remaster the vinyl to the digital format. I've checked around various sites and it seems that 'Patterns Of Reality' is one of the few late 60s albums still waiting for a re-issue.

There is not a lot of information on-line about Andy Robinson, some sources claim that he hailed from Philadelphia but I've not found any hard evidence to confirm that this is correct.
Others claim that he played gigs with John Denver.

The album was recorded during October 1968 at T.T.G. Studios in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Some noteworthy session players helped create the sounds including Artie Butler (piano / organ), Jimmy Gordon (drums), David Cohen (guitars) and Carol Kaye (bass).

All songs were written by Andy Robinson. His songs are rather typical of the singer/songwriter hippie types of the late 60s but unlike most of his contemporaries this outsider folk hipster appears to have got lost or ignored in the shuffle.

All of his songs are quite listenable and laid back loner type soft rock with touches of orchestration here and there. I dig it and hope one day that the album gets wider recognition, although judging by auction sales online over the past couple of years it appears that collectors are willing to dig deep into their pockets for a copy.

A follow up album 'Break Out Of The City' was released in 1970 on Janus Records JLS-3013.







13 April, 2014

THE BROOD - I'LL COME AGAIN


THE BROOD - 'Knock On My Door' / 'I'll Come Again' (Estrus Records ES-735) 1992

This is the first time that all-girl garage band The Brood have featured on 'Flower Bomb Songs' and as far as I know I've chosen their final single to review. I've got plenty more Brood records in my archives so I'll dig out some more of their feline punk soon.

Both songs on this disc are 60s garage classics and can't be improved upon but I'm sure that was not The Brood's intention anyway. They obviously had a great time in the studio laying these killer songs to tape that were probably a staple of their live performances.

'I'll Come Again' has got some great tough female vocals by Chris Horne aided by a rockin' backbeat. The original was recorded by The Legends and can be found on an early 'Back From The Grave' compilation.

I actually own an original Primates 45 and it was the latter who released the bone crunching 'Knock On My Door'...The Brood give a good account of it here.


TYRNAROUND - UNCLE SYDNEY



TYRNAROUND - 'Uncle Sydney' / 'Uncle Jack' (PolyEster LUV 21) 1990

This is the second time out for Tyrnaround on 'Flower Bomb Songs', check out my previous entry here. 'Uncle Sydney' is obviously inspired by English psych from 1966/67 but the guitar leads are definately contemporary. There is not a lot of studio trickery or gimmix, just straight ahead guitar psych.

I'd like to think that Uncle Sydney is Syd Barrett and maybe the song is Tyrnaround's homage to him.

Flip the disc over for more psychedelia, this one is about another uncle, 'Uncle Jack'....
It's taken me a while to find a copy of this 45, it's become quite a tough score nowadays.


08 April, 2014

THE TIMELAPSE - IT'S CHILD'S PLAY EP



THE TIMELAPSE - 'It's Child's Play' EP (Sneaky Pete Records 391001) 1988

A recent purchase has been this four song EP by German group The Timelapse, who on evidence of this platter, were very much influenced by the English mod freakbeat sounds of 1966/67. It has been suggested that the group were based in Bonn.

All four well known songs on the disc are cover versions, which could fill some with horror, but believe me when I say that The Timelapse really do this material justice. In every way this is a classy reproduction with nailed on vocals, guitar sound and authentic drums '66 style.

My highlight is their take on the mod psycher 'Desdemona', originally recorded by John's Children which goes into a Pink Floyd trip at it's conclusion. An excellent sound that reminds me of the same kind of trip that early Plasticland were on.

The back of the sleeve credits The Timelapse in their English named alter egos:

Sir Francis Deekaye (bass)
Mitch Mason (drums)
Andy Bowland (vocals / guitar)

songs on EP:

Desdemona (John's Children)
Brown Paper Sack (The Mods)
Jagged Time Lapse (John's Children)
Rain (The Beatles)



Rocco Clein (* July 20 1968 in Munich , † February 1st 2004 in Cologne ; civil Stefan Bickerich) was a German music journalist and musician.
 
At the age of 17 he formed his first band, the Oxalic Lynxs, with whom he published some plates. Clein wrote, among other things, for the music magazines Visions and Spex , and for the youth magazine now the Süddeutsche Zeitung . It was mainly through his broadcasts with the music channels VIVA and VIVA Two well-known to a wide audience. In particular, as an editor of the consignment Wah Wah on this channel had Clein significant share of it, to make known to a wider public the German independent music scene. In addition, he also presented several times in the Neustrelitz held Immergut Festival as well as the Rhine Culture in Bonn . In 2000, he received the video "Black Fez" of the Euro Boys Norwegian Grammy.
 
He died on 1 February 2004 at the age of 35 from the effects of a cerebral hemorrhage . On 5 February, he was buried in Bonn upper Kassel, his grave stone bears the inscription "Always on my mind". He left behind two children. (Wikipedia)

22 March, 2014

JACKS WILD - WHAT DO YOU EXPECT



'I Can Hear Raindrops' (Worst Records) 1998

This is such a brilliant compilation of lo-fi teen janglers in pretty good sound quality throughout. It was released on Worst Records in the late 90s and sounds like all of the cuts were 'needle-drops' from original 45s with no modern day remastering.

The records that were used are very obscure, most have hardly ever hit the radar, but most are worth listening to. Out of all the selections used I've only got 'Done It Again' by The Advantes.
One of the records I've been after for a few years is 'What Do You Expect' by Jacks Wild. This record was offered for sale on Ebay early in 2013 but sadly I missed out on it!

I'll just have to make do with hearing the song on 'I Can Hear Raindrops' for now. According to 'Teenbeat Mayhem', Jacks Wild hailed from Cookeville, Tennessee. I don't know whether Jacks Wild was a solo performer or if it was the unusual name for a combo.

The record was released on a local label, Lyn-Tone Records, during November 1965. 'What Do You Expect' is a terrific moody folk-jangler with mournful vocals and killer drum action. I just love the patterns the drummer weaves throughout... 




 

16 March, 2014

THE RAIN PARADE - interview printed in Sounds - June 1st 1985


The only kind of sex magazine performing to the exquisite, perfumed garden noise of Rain Parade is tender. Maybe this is why Matt Piucci is looking a trifle worried by the dominatrix with the riding crop in Hamburg's Reeperbahn.

"Hey dude, I'm not too keen on the whip." he complains as he poses to have his picture taken.

"Vut eez wrong with it?" demands the woman in black. Her name is Michelle, and a nicer person to be flogged by, one couldn't find in Germany.

"Ah, I'm not into that scene," explains Matt.

"Have you ever tried eet?" interrogates the maitresse.

"No, I guess I haven't," admits the young American singer-guitarist with a shy smile.

"You should," scolds Michelle, "It can take your mind to strange places".

Or your mouth, come to that, as indeed many people do. Rain Parade give a whole new meaning to the term "head music", I thought to myself. Upon turning round to impart this feeble pun to Will Glenn, nicknamed the Vice Chancellor for obvious reasons. I discovered the band's, um, organist had disappeared into the city's flesh furlong. Probably after something bestial, the perverted dog.

As you may have deduced, Rain Parade are everything you didn't expect to taste in a sonic omelette made from the curate's egg of neo psychedelia: intelligence, humour, irony, awareness, pleasure, sensitivity and cockiness, spread so far, over two staggeringly beautiful albums.
'Emergency Third Rail Power Trip' and 'Explosions In The Glass Palace' are the aural equivalent of looking at the malaise of the US through a kaleidoscope, a microcosm of textural distortions in which extremes of dark and light collide. Listen to them and it's like having your ears syringed with fireworks.

To cap it all, the blue touchpaper for the incandescent display - the songs - is equally illuminating. In the space of two albums, Rain Parade have deluged us with a golden shower of truly classic tunes and words. The only other young composer who comes close is the leader of their favourite group, Dan Stuart, of Green On Red.

Forget about all this guff concerning Dandruff Mountains in the Paisley Underground. That's hippie speak by people who wouldn't recognise an elephant if it trod on them. Rain Parade and Green On Redare due to be global entertainment. They are too intelligent to be losers, though it may take Dan Stuart's outfit a little longer, because, unlike Matt and his mates, they don't have the corporate muscle of Island behind them.

More than a euphemism for what you can get your teeth round, 'head music' also bespeaks a certain intellect intent on exploration. Rain Parade don't think it's an accident that they all went to college. Will to study English Lit at Yale, guitarist John Thoman to do an aborted PhD in Psychology, bassist Steven Roback to UCLA Berkley, and drummer Mark Marcum to the Percussion Institute Of Technology. However....

"It's not school that makes us what we are." denies Steve over breakfast. "I think we're more a reaction against school, insofar as it's the institutionalisation of thought and lack of progression."
Since this is already Rain Parade's second interview in Sounds - where were the opposition rags last year? - I don't propose to give you a blow by blow of the band's fairly turbulent history. Consult Nigel Cross' sleevenotes on 'Emergency Third Rail Power Trip' or Edwin Pouncey's feature if you want to catch up. And you should want to, buster.

Nonetheless, it's perhaps pertinent to mention in passing that Rain Parade's main storms have been caused by their drummers blowing out because they couldn't play the parts the group wrote for them. The addition of Marc has stabilised the line-up. Unbelievably, he was rescued from an LA heavy metal scream called VVSI - Very Very Slight Imperfections - "As in diamonds, man the hardest rock," crows Will.

DIRECTION?

Matt: "It wasn't like 'Hey, let's start a band' and then we started playing music and arrived at the sound. I think we all had the desire to play the music we ended up playing. I think the direction of the band was around before there was even a band."

Steve: "When we started in 1981 we spent a year living in Venice practicing, groping for the sound we knew we'd recognise when we found how to do it..."

Will: "It seems to me The Beach Boys were very much in people's minds when I came."

Matt: "Yeah, 'Pet Sounds', my favourite album of all time."

From a brief flirtation with mersey beat modes, Rain Parade suddenly perfected the instantly recognisable style which persists today. The breakthrough was 'Kaleidoscope', the flip of their first single, according to Matt. The sonic hypnotism had begun. Significantly enough, the band had yet to play a gig when their first vinyl hit the streets.
To be blunt, even though the group's show at Onkle Po's club in Hamburg was more secure than their recent Dingwall's affair - preceded as it was by an acoustic set including a cover of Love's 'Signed DC' - the Parade are not yet a great live attraction in my opinion. Still, they have time on their side.

DRUGS?

Yes please.

"That's such an asinine question...who do you think you're interviewing, John Lennon?" growls Matt. "I won't answer that question."

Of course he does, and at length. But do you really want to know pugnacious Piucci once 'tripped' and saw The Byrds live? It's too easy to draw cheap conclusions from that. More to the point is:
"Drugs just exacerbated the schism between formal education and us," says Matt.

Why is it that when I've seen you play live I wish I'd had some LSD?

"I'll tell you why," tirades Matt. "People are really out of touch with their spiritual side in this day and age. Punks are among the worst in that respect. Unfortunately, people have to take something as strong as LSD to get in touch with the more sensitive and gentle side of their existence, which is a pathetic statement on humanity."

Thanks, I'm not talking about lyrics, but sound....

"Our music isn't that visceral, that's why," pinpoints John accurately, "It has no heavy beat, and people tend to think in dualistic terms. So if it isn't body music, it's head music."

Will: "What I get from your statement is that you hear something in our music that you've experienced more directly when you were tripping. I think that's good."





BLOODY HIPPIES?

Do punks call you that in America?

Matt: "Not really. Often people who think they're punks, are never punks themselves."

Steve: "It's funny. Only one person has called me a hippie and that was in England at the Island Records party for us. The woman implied that we were all hippies, including her, and I resented that. I think she worked for Melody Maker. We walk the borders between extroversion and introversion, and it's a tenuous zone."

Matt reckons one of the reasons for the existence of Rain Parade is as a reaction against the "facist dictatorship of spead punk and heavy metal in the States. It's easy to go into battle with a machine gun rather than a knife. Clubs where intense volume rock is played are the lonliest places in the world. That's why people get out of their heads to compensate."

SLAGS?

Matt: "Frankie Goes To Hollywood, that's all Trevor Horn's work so far as I can see. Not to slag our label mates, but the Frankies are nails in boards, not even fucking human..."

"Reagan, gaaash, don't even mention him," moans Will.
"Because we come from America, people think that we support him. He's horrific, but he did create a sense of community in America by trading on it's worst aspects."

"But so did Hitler," adds Matt with a sarcastic relevance.

"Yeah. He hasn't charted for a while, but Hitler's back catalogue is worth a fortune," continues Will on the trail of good taste.

Matt: "Reagan is similar to Hitler. Rosiland Carter said something brilliant about him. She said Reagan makes us feel comfortable with our prejudices."

So does Thatcher...

Matt: "Thatcher loves him. I'd die to see porno films of them together."

PORN?

"I think the cartoon pornography in Japan is pretty cool," enthuses John coyly.

"Personally, I like watching guitars getting stripped down," jibes Steve with fine wit. But Will, the Vice Chancellor? Aaaah...

"I love the existence of the most perverse form of animal pornography," admits the organist candidly, "I could talk about what's bad about pornography, it definately reveals something bad about society and me."

Steve: "Whales, dolphins and deep underwater sex, that's cool."

"Nah, anal sex, that's definately the best shot in porn," argues Matt.

"That's true," concurs Will. "I like the idea of being able to see animal sex and contemplate it, but I think the anus is the most erotic thing. Maybe because I had a tough toilet training. My mother used to hold me under the tap."

Funny that. The only sex I can imagine performing to Rain Parade is tender....but I didn't say where.



  

01 March, 2014

HYPERION'S REVENGE



I've just started a blog which will focus on garage beat and psychedelic 'revival' groups and the records they left behind during the period 1980 - 1999

a regular podcast will be uploaded on this site which will be so KILLER your mynd will be full of paisley sights, shapes and sounds....

"Hyperion's Revenge"

20 February, 2014

OS HAXIXINS - UNDER THE STONES


20 OS HAXIXINS - 'Under The Stones' (Groovie Records GROO 0024) 2010

Second time out for Brazilian group Os Haxixins on my blog "Flower Bomb Songs". I've been playing their second album "Under The Stones" for the last few days and the songs are really burying deep in my mind.

They're clearly fond of mid '66 garage sounds but have combined this with some spooky Doors like organ. I was actually very intriqued by the organ sound and I'm led to believe that they're using a Diatron.

Also in the mix is a heavy use of fuzztoned guitars and reverb. Most of the songs (apart from the two covers) are sung in their native language which is a huge bonus, for me anyway. No need to criticize unusual or wrong pronunciation of English words.

Hard to pick out a favourite as the whole album runs along smoothly, most songs have a fast tempo, no ballads. I'm not sure if Os Haxixins could pull off a slow love-song or ballad. I don't think it's their style.


17 February, 2014

EMERGENCY EXIT - WHY GIRL



EMERGENCY EXIT - 'Maybe Too Late' / 'Why Girl' (Dunhill D-4060) February 1967

I've had this 45 for years and have been meaning to write about it for just as long but somehow it never made it's way out of my record box until now. The Emergency Exit hailed from Seattle, WA and were active during most of 1966 and until mid/late 1967.

Two previously unreleased songs "Happy Song" and "Why Girl" can be found on a couple of volumes of the Big Beat CD comps "North West Battle Of The Bands". The version of 'Why Girl' is an earlier take from March 1966 and sounds more like a demo than a fully fledged studio cut.
'Happy Girl' has a rough British Invasion style and probably dates from around the same time.

Their first 45 'Maybe Too Late' / 'Why Girl' was released on the local label Ru-Ro Records during December 1966, and must have impressed someone at Dunhill Records as they were signed to the label. A couple of months later the Dunhill pressing was released and is arguably the labels toughest ever release.

'Maybe Too Late' is a wonderful jangle beat pounder with reverb and blended harmonies. I really dig this side, although it scores lower than 'Why Girl' in "Teenbeat Mayhem".
'Why Girl' has a throbbing beat with weird echo FX making it a 'way-out' teen punk record. It was compiled back in the 80s on a Boulders comp but since then has been missing in action.

A second Dunhill record followed in June 1967, 'It's Too Late Baby' / 'You've Been Changing Your Mind' but it's a record that I've not heard before.

line-up:
Jim Walters (guitar)
Paul Goldsmith (guitar) * briefly a member of The Wailers
Luther Rabb (bass)
Bill Leyritz (drums)  

grainy picture scanned from the Big Beat CD booklet


grainy picture scanned from the Big Beat CD booklet



15 February, 2014

THE MIRACLE WORKERS - INSIDE OUT



THE MIRACLE WORKERS - 'Inside Out' (Voxx Records 200.031) 1985

Currently immersing myself with "Inside Out" by The Miracle Workers... This was released on Voxx Records back in 1985 and became a dominant presence on my turntable back then.

Let's face it, in '85 the music scene around the entire world was uninteresting apart from the odd scene here and there. You had to dig a little deeper beyond music weeklies like NME, Sounds and Melody Maker.....good rock 'n' roll music was out there untouched by lousy 80s production and synths.

All songs on this steller album are Miracle Workers originals apart from a choice cover of 'Hey Little Bird' (The Barbarians)...If you want your garage beat undiluted with fuzz, maracas, tambourines and pissed off snarl I can recommend this....shame it was recorded in stereo and not MONO though.....
 
Impossible to pick out a favourite track as they all simmer and explode so I closed my eyes and settled on the intense "One Step Closer To You"....written by lead singer Gerry Mohr.


The CD version of the album released many years later came housed in a different cover. 


 


I contacted Miracle Workers guitarist / organist Dan Demiankow via Facebook this week and he kindly answered some questions I put to him.

DAN: "The above album cover that you posted, was the first pressing. We hated the bamboo lettering and the yellow background. Then there were 2 other Bomp versions, and 1 Virgin Records versions pressed. My favorite was this Virgin Records cover".

"Funny story about this photo. We did several photo shoots with different photographers. After getting the pics back on this shoot/photo, we decided to not use any photos from this shoot. But, somehow, these pics got out there."

"When I asked the guys who let these pics out, everyone shrugged their shoulders, "Gee, I don't know. Wasn't me." Well, that's show biz. Looking back, I now like these pics and am happy they are out there. Still, OK, who's gonna fess up?"


EXPO67: What are your memories about recording this album?
How many hours / days did the recordings take? Any songs abandoned because they weren't working? Any songs unreleased?


DAN: "As I recall, this album was done in two days. First day, all the songs were recorded live, in the studio. Meaning, we played together, like we were on stage. No song was over three takes. Usually, the second take was the one we kept."

"We had a philosophy that we had to get it in three takes or less. Our great engineer, Gary Bomb, was so fast, he made it possible for us to hurry and re-play the song right away, if we wanted to. The second day, we did some overdubs, and mixed down the album. In my opinion, it was Gary Bomb that suggested aggressive mixes and played the most major role in mixing the album. If it were a different engineer, I don't think we would have sounded so aggressive."
"No unreleased recordings in this session.

No songs were abandoned. We never fought over what songs go on our albums. We had the attitude that, oh well, we'll put any songs not yet recorded on our next album.
Greg Shaw asked us to record an album. We had no idea it would be well received. To us, we were just another 60s style garage band, happy to record an album. Overall, we just recorded what we played on stage. That's probably why the music had the energy that it had.

 
OK, here's a fun note: during the excitement of the sessions, the engineer accidentally grabbed a Herbie Hancock tape and we recorded over it. Oops!"


photos from Dan Demiankow's archive and taken from a Facebook page devoted to The Miracle Workers


Miracle Workers - Gerry at the Rodeo Club Portland, Oregon, 1985


Miracle Workers - At the Rodeo Portland, Oregon


Miracle Workers - 1985 at the Rodeo Club Portland, Oregon


Dan 


Miracle Workers Autumn Shade fanzine box set project show flyer courtesy of Kristin Angelique




 

12 February, 2014

BRITISH BEAT SCENE 1964 - PART 4


THE ESCORTS - 'Dizzy Miss Lizzy'/'All I Want Is You' (Fontana TF 453) March 1964

The Escorts played at Liverpool's Cavern Club during the same period as their friends The Beatles. Indeed they beat their rivals at being the first mersey group to record Larry Williams' classic 'Dizzy Miss Lizzy'.

The Escorts version has a youthful teenbeat sound with a crisp backing. According to the liners of the long outta print Escorts retrospective on the Edsel label, band members Terry Sylvester and Mike Gregory dismiss the 45 citing the lack of production skills by Jack Baverstock.

Despite a tour with Gene Pitney, Billy J Kramer and Cilla Black to promote their debut record, The Escorts never charted in England. At least they had some sharp suits and boots and one of my favourite band logos from the 60s.





DUFFY POWER - 'It Ain't Necessarily So'/'If I Get Lucky Some Day' (Parlophone R 4992) February 1963

Killer mod 45 that was released in 1963 but is captured in my '64 round up because it just oozes greatness and was perhaps ahead of it's time.

'If I Get Lucky Some Day' is classy bluesy mod with bursts of hammond organ. It's believed that Big Jim Sullivan added lead guitar to this recording. Shame it was lost on the B-Side.


  Duffy Power extolling an air of nonchalance...circa 1964



DOWNLINERS SECT - 'Find Out What's Happening'/'Insecticide' (Columbia DB 7415) November 1964

1964 was quite a successful year for the Downliners Sect, they didn't really hit the big time or anything like that but 'Little Egypt' was a decent seller.

'Find Out What's Happening' was the ravin' follow-up and it was popular enough to get them a spot on TV Show "Ready Steady Go" (I've never seen this clip before, don't even know if the tape still exists?)

The flip 'Insecticide' is more intense R&B with wailing harmonica.
Don Craine is basically telling his girl that if she leaves him he's gonna 'insecticide' her....I doubt that he means spraying her with some insect killer either...




THE KINKS - 'You Really Got Me'/'It's All Right' (PYE 7N.15673) August 1964

This one needs no introduction....hard driving 60s rock complete with tense vocals and a killer distorted lead guitar solo.....Wow, it burns!
One of the most influential songs of all time.


  

 THE KINKS - 'All Day And All Of The Night'/'I Gotta Move' (PYE 7N.15714) October 1964

The follow up to #1 hit 'You Really Got Me' was 'All Day And All Of The Night', another Ray Davies penned rocker relying on a similar power chord riff. Ray doesn't sound as pissed off on this one but it still smokes...

The hard driving beat of 'I Gotta Move' on the flip is another gem that may not be as well known to the casual listener.... have a listen to greatness...




THE KINKS - 'Kinksize Session' (PYE NEP 24200) November 1964

A month after I was born the first Kinks EP was released.
The back sleeve advertises their debut album. None of the four songs on this EP were on the album so it's a must have item for your Kinks collection!

'I've Gotta Go Now'
'I've Got That Feeling'
'Things Are Getting Better'
'Louie Louie'




 THE KINKS - 'Kinksize Hits' (NEP 24203) January 1965

The next Kinks EP was released a couple of months later in January 1965.
It gathered up the previous two hit singles complete with B-Sides.