04 October, 2015


TINTERN ABBEY - "Do What You Must" EP (private release by Tintern Abbey)

Tintern Abbey were a 60s English psychedelic group that need no introduction, their fame was written in tablets of lysergic stone with their fabulous 1967 twin spin "Vacuum Cleaner" b/w "Beeside"

Tintern Abbey drummer John Dalton and lead guitarist Paul Brett recently found a couple of acetates of songs that they recorded back in the day for a proposed album that never materialized.  They were recorded at Tony Pike's Studio in Putney. Those four songs make up this self released EP which comes housed in an attractive sleeve.

The Paul Brett penned "Do What You Must" is the stand out song. It had potential single written all over it, maybe not commercial enough for the top side but it was easily B-Side worthy.

03 October, 2015


THE SPECTRES - "The Facts Of Life" (taken from 'Purple Heart Surgery #1')

Still on my "Purple Heart Surgery" trip. This time Volume 1 released in the mid/late 90s. Check out The Spectres ravin' R&B number "The Facts Of Life" from a surviving acetate. It was never released back in the mid 60s.

According to the liners they think the group were from Ulster, probably based on the acetate label which was Ulster Electronic Development.


***UNKNOWN GROUP*** - "Leave Me Alone" (taken from 'Purple Heart Surgery #3')

Today I'm still checkin' out my "Purple Heart Surgery" albums of rare 60s beat and psychedelic acetates. Last track on side 2 marked "Unknown" is a wild hard driving beat number. "Leave Me Alone" is a fab 'fuck off' statement too.... Outsider beat!

According to the liners, the compilers had in their possession many acetates with just a song title. Some didn't even have a title, they were completely blank on an Emidisc or Regent Sound white label.


SONIC INVASION - "Go Out And Get Her" (taken from 'Purple Heart Surgery #2)

Checking out my "Purple Heart Surgery" compilations featuring beat and psychedelic acetates 1965 - 1968 including this incredible ravin' beat number by Sonic Invasion.

Pilled-up on black bombers but nowhere to go except on a one of a kind acetate and left to languish unheard for 30 odd years until it was compiled on this mid 90s album.

"Go Out And Get Her" b/w "Tribute To Theodorakis" (Emidisc acetate) probably dating from mid 1966. According to the liners of the compilation the flip is a sprightly organ-based instrumental.

02 October, 2015


RICK MINAS - "Toys" (taken from Rave With The Amphetamine Generation on Dig The Fuzz)

"Rave With The Amphetamine Generation" is a must have compilation for anyone interested in unknown and very obscure 60s beat from Britain. Most of the tracks here are culled from one of a kind acetates. My focus will be on Rick Minas, who remains a little known artist, recording a handful of acetate demos in 1966 of which "Another Time" and "Think About Me" were published by Filmusic and released on Polydor. Rick Minas also released a 1967 single on Decca a.k.a. Sasha Caro "Little Maid's Song" b/w "Grade 3 Section 2"

"Toys" is a superb hard driving beat number reminding me of The Truth's freakbeat version of "Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)."Any 45 collector will tell you that "Toys" would have destroyed on a mono single.

Rick Minas wrote several other songs with Mike Banwell which were recorded by groups including The Graham Bond Organisation, Hamilton & the Hamilton Movement, The Transatlantics and The Chantelles. An informative site with label scans and other information can be found here.


THE CLASSMATES - "Go Away" / "Pay Day" (Decca F.12047) December 1964

If hard driving beat music is your bag then look no further than an obscure B-Side by The Classmates with their killer "Pay Day" Decca missed out big style by not having it as the single side and the disc sank to no-where's-ville.

Too bad, as "Pay Day" is a winner with a ravin' guitar break... Listen and let your heart and head BEAT with ACTion...

28 September, 2015


LARRY & the BLUE NOTES - IT'S YOU ALONE (The Major Bill Tapes - Volume 1)

I used to see this Larry & the Blue Notes compilation all the time in record shops and for sale via mail order lists during the 80s and some of the 90s. Then copies seemed to vanish just at the point when I decided that I needed it! The fact that I didn't have the album used to play on my mind for years until I managed to find a copy via Discogs last week for £30.

I'm very pleased that I've added this piece of vinyl to my collection as it sounds great and the liners are very informative too. It's a very early Big Beat offering and was released way back in 1985. I consider the mid to late 80s as the 'Glory Years' for 60s garage vinyl releases, that short window of opportunity before CDs infiltrated the market and record shops started closing.

Anyway, you all will know about Larry & the Blue Notes killer garage punkers "In And Out" and "Night Of The Sadist." This vinyl only comp also boasts an alternate version of the latter, both sides of their single as The Bad as well as several unreleased cuts including "It's You Alone" which is their take of The Wailers folk rock nugget.

All hail the mighty Fort Worth, TX teenage band Larry & the Blue Notes.


27 September, 2015


THE MALTEES FOUR - "You" (The Cicadelic 60s - 1966 Revisited)

I've had the only single by The Maltees Four in my eBay search engine for several years and it's never appeared on the radar apart from listings of the 80s compilation album in my photograph. As such, I'm thinking that the record is very scarce.

According to "Teenbeat Mayhem" The Maltees Four hailed from La Puente, CA and their single was released on (Pacific Challenger 112 - March 1966). "You" b/w "All Of The Time" are beautiful teen folk janglers with harmonies. As you probably know by now, this type of perfection is my domain. One day I will track this record down but until then and with a heavy heart I'm gonna have to make do with their compilation appearance on "The Cicadelic 60s"

Someone has uploaded a label scan of "You" to the Discogs site and from that I can garner that the songwriting credits go to four members. Only surnames are provided, those being Egan, Greenberg, Johnson and Saylor. Production credit goes to Angela Egan.

20 September, 2015


THE WRONG SOCIETY - "She Destroyed Me" / "Without You" (Market Square Records MSR-11) August 2015

This single released a couple of weeks ago on Market Square Records is a two sided garage gem by Hamburg group The Wrong Society. They've been active for two years or so now and have more singles to investigate which of course I recommend.

"She Destroys Me" owes it's sound to mid 80s garage revival, think of The Gruesomes or The Gravedigger Five and you'll get the picture. The other side "Without You" is a loner style 60s teen punk weeper with killer fuzz and happenin' organ cascades. Both sides are group originals.

misc details:
The record was recorded by Heiko Herzog at Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Studios in Hamburg, Germany.
Limited to 300 copies, housed in a company sleeve and including a hand-numbered postcard.
For the latest Wrong Society updates join their Facebook page here

19 September, 2015


THE CYNICS - "Painted My Heart" / "Sweet Young Thing" (Dionysus) 1985

This is only the second time that I've highlighted a Cynics record on my blog, now it's gonna be their debut disc from 1985 on Dionysus. I've waited years to obtain this disc but managed to find a copy earlier this week.

"Painted My Heart" is a Cynics original. The first couple of plays I wasn't that struck on it to be honest although it has grown on my since. I thought the vocals were just not right although the guitar sound was great including a very good guitar break mid song. It all sounds to me like an American indie rock group. It was a few plays in before I sussed out that the singer was not Michael Kastelic.

Further investigations and research cleared things up once and for all. The vocalist on both sides of the disc was original frontman Mark Keresman. He didn't last long as singer after this single was released and was replaced by Kastelic.

The other side is a version of "Sweet Young Thing." It's quite clear that The Cynics were 'missing' something here though.

Both songs were recorded at Asterik Studios, Pittsburgh PA.

Mark Keresman (vocals)
Gregg Kostelich (guitar)
Richard Schnap (guitar)
Amy Mathesius (bass)
Bill Von Hagen (drums)

18 September, 2015


THE MARSHMALLOW OVERCOAT - "Groovy Little Trip" / Stop It Baby" (Dionysus Records 8601) 1986

Back in the mid to late 80s I caught the so called 'garage revival' disease and spent most of my spare income buying 'now sounds' records. I have built up quite a healthy collection and whenever I see anything that I don't have I try to add it to my boxes.

Take this debut disc by the prolific Marshmallow Overcoat for instance. I never even saw it back in the 80s so was very pleased to find a copy last week for sale on eBay. If you don't already know, this band were led by Timothy Gassen, who has since wrote the fabulous book "The Knights Of Fuzz", a perfect document for the garage and psych revival groups from the 80s and 90s. His update book covers contemporary groups with the garage sound.

"Groovy Little Trip" is an extended blast of garage psych noise with tremolo guitar and the unrestrained growl of "Randy Love" a.k.a. Timothy Gassen. The original was recorded by Tommy Jett. I first became aware of the song in the mid 80s when the original was compiled on "Texas Flashback #5" The other side is a version of "Stop It Baby" originally released by The Heard. Check it out via Pebbles #7. It's also a worthy take.

Tim has a regular presence on Facebook and is always happy to answer any questions about his group, book and other projects. I have been curious why he went by the "Randy Love" alias so asked him earlier this week.

"Randy Love" was a character I invented to be the lead singer of the Marshmallow Overcoat and for a radio show I was doing -- I dropped the name once we started touring." (Tim Gassen)

misc details:
record produced by Timothy Gassen and engineered by Dave Slutes at Sitting Duck Studios in Tucson, Arizona during July 1986.

Lead Growl: Randy Love
Bass Throb: Linda Andes
Farfisa Organ: Jeff Puhl
Electric Fuzz: Al Perry
Primal Beat: B.G. King


17 September, 2015


THEE JEZEBELS - "Black Book" / "Cried Over You" (State Records THS-019) April 2015

Thee Jezebels are a new female trio based in Hastings on the South East coast of England who earlier this year released their debut disc on the ever collectable State Records. The self-penned songs written by guitarist / vocalist Laura Anderson were recorded in glorious MONO, ideal for their kind of brutal and primitive rhythm & punk.

"Black Book" recalls those early Glam Rock stompers, the jagged rhythms, screechin' Quatro vocals, menacing bass and clattering drum action are out to destroy and if you just happen to be in their little black book it ain't gonna end pretty, in fact it could be carnage.

The flip "Cried Over You" follows the mean sound of "Black Book" but has a faster pace and races along like an out of control train. Listen out for 70s style "Hey Hey Hey's" and handclaps. This is a really rockin' side.

The single was recorded and mixed at The Ponswood Hit Factory on the 10th of January 2015.   
Check out Thee Jezebels Facebook page here which is where I obtained these two promo photos.

Laura Anderson (guitar/vocals)
Letty Gallagher (bass)
Lois Tozer (drums)

16 September, 2015


THE HIGHER STATE - "(Consider It) A Debt Repaid" / "In A World That Just Don't Care" (13 OC-020) August 2015

Last year The Higher State lost two long time members when drummer Mole and guitarist Daniel Shaw left the band for personal reasons. This came as a major surprise to me and I don't think it's been that well documented online as the remaining members Marty Ratcliffe and Paul Messis don't really do the social media thing.

I must admit that I was in a 'state' of worry when I heard the news. Would one of my favourite contemporary groups decide to just call it quits and move on to other projects? As you probably know, Paul has his own small record label and solo career.

Thankfully my fears were short lived when I received emails from both Paul and Marty letting me know that they did intend to carry on and would release discs in the future but would probably remain a studio based outfit. The first fruits of their partnership is this fantastic twin spin on the highly collectable 13 O'Clock Records and it's a record I highly recommend that you add to your collection.

Both sides have thee purist "State" sound we've come to expect but this time the emphasis is on a Texas '66 garage sound. They've also added some moody organ thrills into the mix of jangle, fuzz and charm. "(Consider It) A Debt Repaid" written by Marty, is a beautiful garage noise. It's so easy to inject your mind with The Higher State's treble-tone guitar soundscapes when they sound as sweet as this.

The other side "In A World That Just Don't Care" is a typical Paul Messis song. His lyrics are forever introspective, which is his great strength. Check out this verse and you'll soon be on his trip. This cut somehow reminds me of Thursday's Children's "You Can Forget About That"

"The roll of the die
Won't help you reach paradise.
The light it will shine
And burn in your open eyes.

Both sides of the disc were recorded at 'Mom's Landin'
It's an RPM production and mastered by Tim Warren at Crypt.

Get your Higher State single here before it's too late.

13 September, 2015


THE DOWN CHILDREN - "Night Time Girl" / "I Can Tell" (Philips 40441) March 1967

Not a great deal of information is known about The Down Children so if anyone knows much needed information be sure to get in touch. According to 'Teenbeat Mayhem' the group hailed from Philadelphia, PA. This single on Philips was their only release.

"Night Time Girl" was first recorded and released as a single by M.F.Q. Check out my archives for that one, I recently uploaded a YouTube video. The Down Children version adopts a slower pace, features male/female vocals and is perhaps even more of a psychedelic headtripper. The flip "I Can Tell" is also worthy and features a crude Count Five fuzz style 'Psychotic Reaction' rave-up.

12 September, 2015


M.F.Q. - "Don't You Wonder" / "I Had A Dream Last Night" (Dunhill D-4137) April 1968

By the time this third and final Dunhill single was released M.F.Q. had already broken up, so perhaps this was a contractual release by Dunhill Records as they had no band to promote it. Chip Douglas was now a member of The Turtles and was working as a Producer for The Monkess.

Drummer Eddie Hoh was now a session drummer, Jerry Yester had joined The Lovin' Spoonful, Tad Diltz was now working as a photographer and Cyrus Faryar had signed with Elektra Records.

So what of the music on this disc? "Don't You Wonder" is a pleasant enough pop song aided with flourishes of what sounds like an early synthesizer. This one reminds me of Sagittarius. The flip, and perhaps more commercial song, is the dreamy harmony pop of "I Had A Dream Last Night", also written by Chip Douglas who produced both sides.

10 September, 2015


THE PEPPERMINT TROLLEY COMPANY - "Peppermint Trolley Company" (ACTA A-38007) 1968

I'm still on my ACTA trip which brings me to this sadly overlooked album by The Peppermint Trolley Company. This one has been a regular on my turntable since I bought the album back in the late 80s from Funhouse Records in Kent.

Basically, if you dig The Left Banke or The Association you need to hear this. Perfect soft psychedelia with harmonies. I've mentioned them before of course and I will do so again, I'm sure.
Check out the album cut "Reflections (On A Universal Theme)" for a spoonful of sweet mind medicine.

The music for the album was recorded at C.P. MacGregor Studios & H & R Recording Studios. Produced by Dan Dalton with arrangements by Dan and The Peppermint Trolley Company. Chad Stuart helped out on two cuts "Trust" and "Pat's Song." 

Line-up: Danny Faragher Vocals / Clavinet / Organ / Trombone / Piano / Percussion Jimmy Faragher Vocals / Bass / Percussion Greg Tornquist Guitar / Vocals / Percussion Casey Cunningham Drums / Percussion

Yesterday I made contact with Danny Faragher via Facebook.
"Hi Colin, this is Danny Faragher (Pictured in red band jacket above. Played keyboards.) Thanks for posting this song. I'm really proud of this recording. I think it is a timeless gem.
We started off with a great song written by my brother Jimmy (Yellow jacket - bass), and Patrick McClure, whom, sadly, we lost last year. With Greg Tornquist, (2nd from right - guitar) the three of us worked up the vocal arrangement in the kitchen of our Silver Lake pad in a 4 hour session as the sun disappeared from the sky, oblivious to the light fading out. Casey Cunningham (on right), was our superb drummer. I played a clavinet on this track. Really going for that baroque sound. So glad you dig it."

07 September, 2015


THE OTHER HALF - "Bad Day" / "What Can I Do For You" (Acta 45-819) February 1968

The first Other Half single release in 1968 was the fast paced fuzztoned rocker "Bad Day" written by rhythm guitarist Jeff Weston. Quite what the West Coast love and peace hippies thought of this would be good to know. This is a powerful, back to basics assault lasting just over two minutes. Blink and it's gone but the fuzz will remain in your mind for days.

The other side is a bluesy number and perhaps more in keeping with the '68 music scene in San Francisco.A good online Other Half page can be found here

06 September, 2015


THE OTHER HALF - "I Need You" / "No Doubt About It" (Acta 806X) July 1967

The first ever release on the newly formed Acta label was by The Other Half, a group based in Sherman Oaks, San Francisco. That particular record was "Wonderful Day / "Flight Of The Dragon Lady" (Acta 801). I don't have a copy of that disc but I do have their Yardbirds inspired twin spin under my spotlight today, and it's the Canadian pressing..

Now on board with The Other Half was lead guitarist Randy Holden who had recently departed The Sons Of Adam. Randy brought with him an abrasive guitar sound and proto-type heavy rock riffage. Check out "Bad Day" for some killer psychedelic rock thrills. The other side "No Doubt About It" is pure Yardbirds style energy with fuzz.

31 August, 2015


THE BROTHERS CAIN - "Better Times" / "Pupil Alexander" (Acta 45-810) September 1967

The Brothers Cain were more than likely a studio based outfit from Los Angeles with strong links to Curt Boettcher. The latter co-wrote "Better Times" with Lee Mallory, it's a sunshine pop nugget with brass, in other words a typical Boettcher effort.

"Better Times" was also recorded by The Association in 1967 but never released at the time. Their version has since surfaced on The Association 2 CD set "Just The Right Sound" released by Warner Bros/Rhino back in 2002. I've posted this below.

The other side "Pupil Alexander" is much different with an almost toy-town psych vibration going on. It's quite an addictive song and will burrow it's way inside your mind after repeated plays. This song was written by the Marmelzat - Proffer songwriting team who achieved some success in the 70s working with Tina Turner.

In 1968 another Brothers Cain single was released on Acta 820, "It Sure Is Groovy" / "Anyway You Like It" but both songs have a soul sound and fall outside my "Opulent Conceptions" radar. 

30 August, 2015


THE DOMESTIC HELP - "A Woman Owns The Biggest Part Of Man" / "The Bad Seed" (Acta 45-805) June 1967

Continuing my trip through the vaults of Acta Records, a division of Dot Records set up to release records by new and up-coming psychedelic rock bands. Acta didn't last very long, perhaps three years at the most. They released records from early 1967 to mid 1969.

I don't know much about The Domestic Help. I do know that they released two singles on Acta in 1967, this one under my spotlight was their first from June 1967. I've seen a press release (45cat) showing that they were a four piece, smartly dressed in mod threads with moptop haircuts.

"A Woman Owns The Biggest Part Of Man" is a folk-rock tune, written by Paul Nicodemus. The latter was a staff writer with Acuff Rose & Four Station Music based in Los Angeles. The song would have been perfect for 1965 but it's way outta time in mid '67. The flip "The Bad Seed" is another folk-rock sounding composition. As you know by now I dig folk rock janglers and this record is a jigsaw piece in anyone's collection.

The Domestic Help released a second and last single at the end of 1967, "You're The Potter (I'm The Clay)" b/w "Try To Forgive Them" (Acta 45-814). I've not heard this one. All sides remain uncompiled and virtually unknown.

29 August, 2015


THE AMERICAN BREED - "I Don't Think You Know Me" / "Give Two Young Lovers A Chance" (Acta 45-802) March 1967

Hugely successful MOR pop group from Chicago. Most of their songs are way too brassy for my taste but this folk-rock gem written by the Goffin-King partnership is well worth repeated listens.

This was their debut 45 as The American Breed, they had been previously known as Gary and the Night Lights then simply The Lite Nights before signing to Acta.

'I Don't Think You Know Me' was also recorded twice by The Monkees during 1966 but never released. Their first version was recorded on the 25th June 1966 with Micky Dolenz and Mike Nesmith handling lead vocal duties. This version was meant to be aired during Season 1 of their TV Show but for whatever reason this did not happen.

Their second recording of the song took place on 13th October 1966 with Peter Tork providing lead vocal. Both versions have since been released as extras on those Rhino re-issues from the 90s.

both recorded versions of "I Don't Think You Know Me" by The Monkees

27 August, 2015


THE NEW ORDER - "You've Got Me High" / "Meet Your Match" (Warner Bros 5816) May 1966

I've had all three singles released by The New Order during 1966 in my collection for a number of years but only this morning I decided to remaster them all and conduct some research.

New Order were based in NYC and were the brainchild of  successful songwriters Billy Barberis and Bobby Weinstein. Another important member was probably Roger Joyce who has a songwriting credit for all six songs they released on record.

The Barberis - Weinstein partnership had been around for several years before the creation of their group The New Order. They wrote songs for many artists including "Let The Sunshine In" for Teddy Randazzo, also recorded by Dee Dee Sharp and Georgie Fame. They also wrote "I'm Lost Without You" recorded by Billy Fury in 1964.

None of The New Order singles appear to have had much acclaim and I can't find any evidence that any of them charted in America. The first single "You've Got Me High" is a terrific uptempo fuzztoned rocker with some smooth harmonies. It's therefore no surprise to learn that the group was comprised of six members. The song comes over like a garage version of The Association.

The flip "Meet Your Match" is an edgy Dylanesque folk-rocker. Both sides are worthy openers but only "You've Got Me High" has troubled the compilers. I first heard it on "Psychotic Reactions" in the early 90s. Curiously, Swedish band The Science Poption also recorded the song in 1966 and Bam Caruso picked it up for their Rubble compilation "Magic Rocking Horse" in the late 80s.

The second New Order single was the equally superb "Why Can't I?" which is another vibrant rocker with a happenin' guitar break. On the other side is a jangly pop song titled "Pucci Girl."
The New Order wore Emilio Pucci (fashion designer) clothes so probably wrote the song for him to get free clobber.

The third and final single was in a totally different direction. No longer garage rockin' but smooth soul pop music. Not my kinda bag but I'm sure many people will dig it. On the label they're called New Order featuring Roger Joyce. I don't know the reasoning behind this.

"You've Got Me High" / "Meet Your Match" (Warner Bros 5816) May 1966
"Why Can't I?" / "Pucci Girl" (Warner Bros 5836) July 1966
"Had I Loved Her Less" / "Sailing Ship" (Warner Bros 5870) November 1966

Dutch release

French release

Billboard - May 1966

Billboard - June 1966



THE ILL WINDS - "A Letter" / "I Idolize You" (Reprise 0492) July 1966

The second and final Ill Winds single was the country pop tune "A Letter" which doesn't do much at all for me and it appears neither for the kids of '66 because the single bombed and the group disappeared.

Far superior is the rockin' "I Idolize You" on the other side. The song was written and recorded by Ike & Tina Turner. It's also been done by several other groups in the 60s but perhaps not as groovy as The Ill Winds. They should have used this as their A-Side, perhaps things may have worked out differently for them.

26 August, 2015


THE ILL WINDS - "(I Won't Cry) So Be On Your Way" / "Fear Of The Rain" (Reprise 0423) November 1965

The other day I wrote about The Leaping Ferns disc on X-Panded and confirmed that they were previously called The Chantays. Months after that release the group signed to Reprise and once again decided on a different moniker, this time The Ill Winds.

I feel this was their way of getting away from the surf sound and embracing the more in vogue folk-rock sound as well as encouraging the young hipsters and record buying public to buy their new releases.  

"(I Won't Cry) So Be On Your Way" is a terrific 12 string jangler, written by guitarist Brian Carman. Sadly Brian died earlier this year from Crohn's Disease, so he'll never read this and know that someone is bothering to highlight his unknown songs.
The other side "Fear Of The Rain" is another folk-rock lament. Both sides were produced by the legendary Lee Hazlewood. It's certainly an outstanding single to add to your 'folk-rock' box of records.

22 August, 2015


THE LEAPING FERNS - "It Never Works Out For Me" / Maybe Baby" (Xpanded Sound X-103) February 1965

This is a very obscure single by a group from Santa Ana, California. Further investigation led me to the famous American surf group The Chantays who had a hit with "Pipeline." Yes, they're the same band but with a more up to date moniker for the fast changing times on the music scene.

"It Never Works Out For Me" could be described as a very early folk-rock jangler, it's also filled with reverbed guitar moves and menacing background vocal harmonies. The sound on this is arguably ahead of it's time.

The flip is a version of the Buddy Holly tune "Maybe Baby" and again there is reverb in the guitar. Both sides have yet to trouble the compilers which is probably the reason why The Leaping Ferns are an undiscovered joy.

This was their only single release under this name. Shortly afterwards they signed to Reprise Records and released two singles as The Ill Winds. I'll focus on those 45s next time.

06 August, 2015


THE RAMRODS - "Flowers In My Mind" / "Mary Mary" (Plymouth 2965) 1967

The Rocking Ramrods hailed from Newton, MA and are probably best known for their hot garage rocker "She Lied" on Bon Bon Records. I first heard this from a recording by Naz Nomad & the Nightmares (The Damned in disguise). Some months later I heard the original on an early volume of Pebbles. I'm thinking that this would be around 1984.

For whatever reason the band decided to drop the "Rockin" and were simply known as The Ramrods. This single under my spotlight was their final release and is an obscure psychedelic gem. "Flowers In My Mind" written by Ronn Campisi starts of slow and pedestrian. At first I thought what is all this about? Then the beat starts movin' a little quicker and studio effects pour outta the grooves.
It's as if the band started playing straight then dropped some fast working acid and bingo, we have lift off.

"Mary Mary" reminds me a little of The Lovin' Spoonful and is also decent.

05 August, 2015


THE STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK - "Incense And Peppermints" (Pye International NPL 28106) 1967

A couple of weeks ago I paid a visit to a local vinyl record dealer's market stall in Chester-le-Street, County Durham. He's had a stall there for many years and every time I rummage through his record boxes I always find something of interest.

Imagine my delight when I found this MONO copy of "Incense And Peppermints." Not only is this pressing much rarer than the stereo, it also sounds so much better in my opinion. I've made do with a stereo re-issue that I bought in the late eighties. I think that was a Greek bootleg. Anyway, I didn't mind as it meant that I could listen to a long-player by one of my favourite American bands.

Over the years I've bought all of their American singles on UNI. Some fellow collectors always mention that the Pye International mono singles sound way superior than the UNI counterparts. I've never had any to compare so maybe I'll look out for the British releases too.

But getting back to this album. What a beauty! It comes housed in a supremely great laminated Garrod & Lofthouse flipback sleeve. The vibrant colours are really far-out which really blows my 'unauthorized' re-issue away. It cost me £60 by the way which is a steal, flick through the latest Record Collector Price Guide and you're looking at £200 for a mint copy. This is EX+ and plays like a dream. Anyway, I've never been bothered about the price I pay for records. If I can afford a disc I'll buy it.  

04 August, 2015


THE NEUMANS - "Fuzz Filled Dreams" / "Stroke Of Midnight" / "What's Wrong With You" (Wild Records) 2013

Every so often a new garage group will create a slab of genius every bit as raw and exciting as the '66 punk swingers we all love or those killer cuts from 80s revival combos. It's a rare event but it still does happen. Take this raucous 45 r.p.m. from Santa Ana hustlers The Neumans as your aural and visual flashback from the past.

"Fuzz Filled Dreams" is a fuzz ravin' teen punk blast of Godliness and is already one of my all time fave rave turntable spins. Quite an achievement when I have thousands to choose from. If someone ever decides to compile a "Back From The Grave" type set with contributions from post 1966 groups I'd be severely disappointed if this hot mind cruncher isn't the lead off track on Side One.

Featuring vintage vox instruments, cavemen and a cavegirl, energy, pulsating beats, reverb, snarl, fuzztoned magic and the wildest and most animalistic garage punk screams you're likely to hear this side of 1966. You're gonna dig this impossible to find debut disc by the mighty Neumans. It's a huge shame that they recently called it quits because of 'musical differences.'

photo taken from The Neumans Facebook page

03 August, 2015


THE DELRAYS - "Lollipop Lady" / "(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me" (Arch Records ARA-1301) 1968

There is quite a substantial amount of information about The Delrays on various websites so I'll just recap what is known about them with my entry. They hailed from Mascoutah, Illinois and released two singles. This one under the spotlight on Arch Records and another one on Stax. I've not heard "Don't Let Her Be your Baby" / "I Want To Do It (Marry You)"

"Lollipop Lady" written by guitarist Tom Bowles was the debut disc on the newly formed Arch Records. It was released sometime in 1968. It's a brisk affair with elements of bubblegum merging with a heavier sound, just check out that wah-wah. The other side is the famous Bert Bacharach - Hal David tune but it falls flat on my ears and is just not my scene.

Tom Bowles (guitar)
Denny Ambry (bass)
Don Biever (drums)
Russ Bono (lead guitar / vocals)
Michael McDonald

more Delrays information here. 

02 August, 2015


the final episode of opulent conceptions will leave you in a world of woe.


24 July, 2015

THE UN-FOUR-GIVEN - CRY CRY (Cry, Little Girl)

THE UN-FOUR-GIVEN - "Cry Cry (Cry, Little Girl)" / "Love Me To Pieces" (Dot 45-16963) October 1966

This record leaves me with more questions than I can answer. Just who were The Un-Four-Given? Both sides of this disc have never troubled the compilers and the group are not even mentioned in 60s garage book 'Teenbeat Mayhem.'

Both songs were written by Mike Appel. Now I can only assume that this is the same person who was a member of The Balloon Farm who had a 1967 hit with "A Question Of Temperature." He then went into Management and Production eventually having success with Bruce Springsteen. Mike Appel produced his first three albums.

So, perhaps The Un-Four-Given were Mike Appel's teenage garage band before he was a member of The Balloon Farm? Anyway, "Cry Cry (Cry, Little Girl)" is a fabulous piece of psych tinged pop with a trippy guitar sound. The other side "Love Me To Pieces" is pleasant sixties pop.