12 March, 2017


SPRING FEVER - "Sand" / "Give Me Some Time" (Splitsound Records SSDG- 8-1) June 1968

45rpm of the day
"Sand" 1968 eastern tinged psychedelic dreamer with fuzz, harmonies, finger cymbals, trippiness, sunset strip sounds, The Grodes with a female singer, Lee Hazlewood song......basically has it all, total greatness.

extract from Manny Freiser's website:

The band was really starting to disintegrate by the spring of ‘68. Lead guitarist, Dale Smith aka Packy Pecker, hated me. Even bassist Rick Cota Robles aka CR, who was usually pretty good-natured and tended to be the mediator between me and Smith, was giving me a bad time. They were challenging what they saw as my unfair control of the band.

In the early days, they never cared about any of that stuff. There were no ‘leaders’ or ‘followers’ – just ‘us.’ Now that we saw the band might be going somewhere, everybody wanted to hold the steering wheel. There were endless arguments about every piece of band business: what songs to play, what songs to record, what jobs to take -- even about who would sing lead on which song. It became bitter. Smith saw the band as consisting of two factions -- and he called the bad one "Freiser's people.". Patti would soon unknowingly enter this war zone and become one of "Freiser's people." Keith Craig had, by this time, replaced Rick Lust. Rick had moved on to join the Air Force. He’s now a senior American Airlines jumbo jet captain. Keith Craig was kind of a laid back guy, known as the Grinch because of his look. He was an excellent keyboard player who owned a Farfisa, and played Light My Fire exactly like the Doors.

Dan came to me one day and told me he had seen a young girl singer who was amazing. She was singing at the time for a band of very young brothers whose construction worker father had spent about $10,000 to buy musical equipment that the kids couldn't even play. She'd be easy to steal away. We ought to listen to her, he recommended. I dismissed his suggestion out of hand -- "we don't need a girl singer; that's not our sound." Dan persisted, and one day a 16-year old Patti McCarron and her father came my place to audition. When she started singing, it was all over! She joined the Grodes and became our featured singer.

Her first job with us was at a battle of the bands which included the biggest bands in Tucson: Dearly Beloved, The Grodes, Lewallen Brothers. We hadn't had time to work out a full set with Patti -- and in fact we wanted to do just a couple of songs to see the crowd reaction. Just before we went on, she told me she was nervous. When she got up on stage, she was anything but nervous. When we unveiled our secret weapon singing Stop In The Name of Love and To Sir With Love, it changed our band -- and the Tucson music scene -- for good. Patti Grode, as local DJ's called her, became the darling of Tucson with the release of Sand. One DJ on KIKX, Dino Day, totally smitten with her, started an Ode to Patti Grode contest.

He always said on the air that he wanted to meet and interview her, so we brought her to the station against her will -- and just a little drunk -- late one night after a job. Dino gushed -- Patti owned Tucson. ----- In spring of ’68, I had written two prophetic songs: On To L.A. and Chandelier (my friend, Paul Malanga, co-wrote Chandelier). When I played them to the person who inspired them. Patti said "you're so good. You should do music. We should go to L.A." We started daydreaming constantly about going to L.A. -----

In early summer, 1968, the band changed its name to Spring Fever. It felt necessary because the band with Patti in it was really a different group. We recorded Sand at Copper State. I was surprised we got such a good sound out the newly improved studio. It was eerie how much the lyrics of Sand reflected what Patti and I were experiencing at the time. Sand came out, went Top 10, and yet it all seemed way beside the point. On top of all the personal politics, a major difference in philosophy brought the Grodes to an end.

go here for more information

15 January, 2017


Visitors have probably noticed a dramatic lack of posts here of late and that's mostly down to spending my time and effort away from here updating my 1960s music magazines website.

Here's the link for anyone interested. This year my focus is on 1967 in honour of that magical psychedelic twelve months, exactly 50 years ago!

60s Music Magazines

also of interest to some will be my 60s magazines and ephemera Facebook page.

Facebook page

06 November, 2016


PLASTIC PENNY - "Your Way To Tell Me Go" / "Baby You're Not To Blame" (Page One POF 079) July 1968

I haven't posted a single of the day for a while. How about this fab psych side by Plastic Penny from 1968 which MOVEs along, killer bass runs especially. "Your Way To Tell Me Go" is an under the radar obscurity.

The other side is heavy mod bass pounder "Baby You're Not To Blame" from mid 1968. If you dig late period Small Faces then this is a must...

misc information:
Paul Raymond joined Chicken Shack. Mick Grabham went to Cochise and Procol Harum, and Tony Murray joined Troggs....Murray also produced the excellent "Restless Night" album by Octopus on the Penny Farthing label......


THE HONEYCOMBS - "That Loving Feeling" / "Should A Man Cry" (Astor AP-1307) September 1966

45 ACTion time of the day and The Honeycombs final single from late 1966. Fab sound with male/femme vocal harmonies. Wonderful Joe Meek production job too. The Honeycombs started wearing Carnaby Street style mod threads but to no avail, the record didn't sell and it remains very hard to find.

So much so, my search led me to Australia for the release on Astor.

16 October, 2016


THE L.A. TEENS - 'I'm Gonna Get You' / 'I'll Come Running Back' (Decca 31763) May 1965

The L.A. Teens only released two singles, this one under review being their first from May 1965. My previous blog entry when their second 45 "Saturday's Child" was reviewed has been updated go here  

"I'm Gonna Get You" is a hard edged beat mover with some wild pounding and eerie organ. The other side is a lot more tamer and was probably the chosen side to play on the radio. "I'll Come Running Back" falls into the British Invasion bag and is reminiscent of The Searchers. It's commercial sounding uptempo jangle beat.

I'd love to know more about The L.A. Teens but information is scant and as far as I'm aware no group pix have ever surfaced on the internet. Three / all of the group members were possibly Ronald Weiser, James Weiser and William Schneed.

15 October, 2016


THE CHEYNES - "Goin' To The River" / "Cheyne-Re-La" (Columbia DB 7368) September 1964

Great R&B mover by this obscure London based group who would have been completely ignored had it not been for drummer Mick Fleetwood, who eventually formed his own blues band Fleetwood Mac via The Bo Street Runners and John Mayall's Blues Breakers.

The Cheynes also included Peter Bardens who would later join Them, then The Shotgun Express and Phil Sawyer who was also with The Fleur de Lys. Lead singer Roger Peacock took over from Mark Leeman in The Mark Leeman Five.

The B-Side "Cheyne-Re-La" is a fab R&B instrumental composed by Bardens.

Peter Bardens (keyboards)
Mick Fleetwood (drums)
Phil Sawyer (guitar)
Roger Peacock (vocals)
Peter Hollis (bass)

13 October, 2016


SHIVA'S HEAD BAND - "Kaleidescoptic" / "Song For Peace" (Ignite H-681) 1968

Austin, Texas was the home of cosmic hippie group Shiva's Head Band. They were the house band for a while for the famous Vulcan Gas Company and were in high demand, earning large amounts of money for gigs.

Shiva's Head Band secured a deal with Capitol Records and eventually released a 1969 album titled "Take Me To The Mountains." I've never heard the latter but I've read that it's a mixture of roots rock, country and psychedelia. For the time being I'll just stick with their first single on Ignite Records.

I understand that the first recording of "Kaleidescoptic" was unsatisfactory so they re-recorded the song again at Pecan Street Studios under the supervision of producer Bruce Hooper, with a Summer of 1968 release. The song is a perfect blend of counter-culture sounds, loping rhythms, electric violin and an hallucinatory groove.


THE ROSALYNS - "Hide And Seek" EP (UT-S75) 2014

Here's a knock out all-star girl garage record to track down via your favourite independent stores by The Rosalyns. It was only released a couple of years ago and shouldn't be too difficult to find.

My focus is on the savage and skull crunchin' opener "Der Hund Von Baskerville" with bassist Anja taking lead vocals in her native German and harmonies from keyboardist Birdy on Cindy and Bert's take of  "Paranoid" 

There are also rockin' versions of "Dream In My Mind", "Destroy That Boy" and "Hold On."
A worthy record to spin LOUD and knock some skulls together to.

recorded and mastered at Earthling Studios, El Cajon, California.

12 October, 2016


TRAFFIC - "Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush" / "Coloured Rain" (Island WIP 6025) November 1967

Another startling, punch-packed and absolutely fascinating disc from Traffic - full of light and shade, contrasting tempos and intriguing sounds. For the most part, it's busy, urgent and infectiously beaty - but there are constant breaks in the rhythm when all manner of absorbing things happen.

The organ is gutty and fruity, and on one occasion gives out like a ship's siren. The whole record swings along with uninhibited eagerness, and works up a walloping fever pitch - apart, of course, from those sudden breaks. In fact, on first hearing, you're never quite sure what's going to happen next. The vocal is spirited and alive, and the whole thing has an irresistible carousel flavour. As the title song from a film it must be big.

FLIP: A much more bluesy number, with an intense and impassioned vocal by Stevie, and again that swirling organ. A touch of psychedelia in the instrumental passages. (NME review, November 1967)

11 October, 2016


ANDY ELLISON - "It's Been A Long Time" / "Arthur Green" (Track 604018) December 1967

Andy Ellison's "It's Been A Long Time" ranks as one of my fave rave orchestrated pop psych tunes from the late 1960s. This cut is from the original motion picture soundtrack of "Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush" filmed and recorded in 1967 but not released until the following year.
A copy of this sought after single sold a few months ago for £140, sadly I was well beaten in the bidding war and came up short but I decided to download the image from the eBay sale and research the disc.

Most interesting feature of this single is that it comes from the soundtrack of the movie "Here We Go 'Round The Mulberry Bush." It's a poignant, almost sad song - with the scoring of sighing cellos, solo trumpet and muffled tambourine establishing a suitably plaintive mood.
The descriptive lyric is impressively performed by Andy Ellison  - though it loses a little out of context. (music press record review) 

Andy Ellison sang "It's Been A Long Time" on the film's soundtrack. He recalls that Simon Napier-Bell was editing the music score at a cutting room in Old Compton Street while the legendary Beatles project Magical Mystery Tour was being edited next door. It appears that Donner and Napier-Bell were not happy with the romantic music written for the Judy Geeson character, Mary. At the last moment Napier-Bell suggested a piece that he had written and which had already been recorded, namely "It's Been A Long Time."

Donner liked the recording, so it appeared in the finished film. However by this time, the credit sequences for the movie had all been filmed and the front cover of the album had already been sent to the printers, so it was too late for Ellison's name to be featured, though Napier-Bell feels contractual reasons might also have played a part in it.

Napier-Bell sequenced the various music strands well. The film title song was set against Richard Williams pop art credits. The Andy Ellison track played when Mary is on screen, is also heard in varying forms throughout the film. (CD liners - RPM re-issue)


09 October, 2016


THE BANANA BUNCH - "The Tra-La-La Song" / "Funky Hoe" (Page One POF 183) October 1970

Hidden away on the B-Side of this cash-in Banana Splits theme tune single is a happenin' hammond organ groover that will most definitely interest some psych collectors. "Funky Hoe" sounds like a group given freedom to do whatever they want in the studio and they came up with a bluesy proto-prog instro like the kind used in film sequences during late 60s party scenes.

Digging deeper it appears that The Banana Bunch were infact psychedelic outfit The Nite People who had previously recorded for Fontana and also released records under the latter name on Page One. Why the moniker change for their final single is unknown to me.

Their producer Phil Waller also worked with The Troggs and Plastic Penny.

08 October, 2016


THE MONOTONES - "It's Great" / "Anymore" (Pye 7N.15640) April 1964

I must admit to not knowing much about The Monotones until I started researching the group after buying their second single "It's Great" from early 1964, right at the height of the Beat Boom.
There is loads of information about the Monotones here so I won't dwell too much on their history.

"It's Great" is a fine uptempo beat number which would have been even better with a savage lead guitar break but sadly these boys or their producer kept the freak outta the beat. The other side "Anymore" is much slower and in beat ballad mode. A decent two-sider and I'll be looking out for their other singles released during February 1964 to April 1965.

I also collect vintage 60s music magazines and have found some Monotones items in my FABulous mag archives. The double page pictures and article date from 20th June 1964 edition while the group photo and information is scanned from FABulous 6th February, 1965.

04 October, 2016


THE OXFORD WATCHBAND - "Diagnosis (One Way Empty & Down)" / "Welcome To The World" (Hand Records 496) August 1969

This group is a mystery to me, I know very little and scant information is available online. Someone left a message on YouTube years ago and suggested that The Oxford Watchband hailed from Rochester, USA.

"Diagnosis (One Way Empty & Down)" is an aural assault on the mind, I don't have a clue what the song is about but who cares when it's as way-out as this. The production by John Linde is certainly impressive, no expense has been spared. It's a full on race until the end with sound FX, shouting, pounding beats and fuzz which then ebbs away into a realm of bewilderment.

25 September, 2016


KATCH 22 - "Major Catastrophe" / "Hold Me" (Fontana TF 768) November 1966

This sought after freakbeat single by Katch 22 doesn't come up for sale very often so I was pleased to capture a copy a few months ago on eBay for a decent price too.

Katch 22 released five singles on Fontana between 1966 and 1969, all of which flopped. But despite no commercial success they were still able to record a studio album. I don't have a copy of the album but I've read elsewhere that it's a soft rock affair and not like this tormented piece of beat.

"Major Catastrophe" is an overload of fuzz guitar and brass flourishes. It doesn't sound to me like this would have had any chance of making the Charts in 1966, it's far too way-out. But for me it's the most exciting thing the group created.

Both sides were recorded at Olympic Sound Studios in London during two sessions. (20/09/66 and 03/10/66). Accompaniment by Harry Roberts. Now I suspect this is the same person who wrote and produced The Spectrum who released records on RCA Victor.


EDDIE HODGES - "Shadows And Reflexions" / "Love Could Rule The World" (Sunburst 773) November 1967

This is the second time out for Eddie Hodges on my blog, this time it's his version of "Shadows And Reflexions" which was also recorded by The Lownly Crowde, The Action and The Byzantine Empire.

The song was co-written by his friend Tandym Almer who's famous for being the author of "Along Comes Mary", the big hit for The Association. I first became aware of his song "Shadows And Reflections" (without the "X") via English mod group The Action. I must admit being a little surprised when I heard that it had also been recorded by early 1960s teenage pop star Eddie Hodges.

This particular take has that typical late 1967 American baroque pop feel and is superbly produced by the team responsible for much of The Chocolate Watch Band output, including Ed Cobb and Richard Podolor.


FRIDAYS KEEPERS - "Take Me For A Ride" / "Sorrow At My Door" (Momentum 676) 196?

I sadly failed to win this incredible tripped out and dreamy psychedelic disc on eBay the other day. Copies seldom appear for sale, this one sold to the highest bidder for $225.
Dig the acid mind blowing vibrations of "Take Me For A Ride." This kind of dreamy psychedelia with vocal harmonies, strings, orchestration and backwards guitar is a joy to hear. The other side is "Sorrow At My Door" which I've not heard.

Probably from Los Angeles. It's only ever appeared on one compilation over the years - on "Psychedelic Unknowns" Volume 6

"Take me for a ride
On the river in your mind.
Take me for a ride
Let me see what I can find."

18 September, 2016


THE CHERRY SLUSH - "I Cannot Stop You" / "Don't Walk Away" (U.S.A. Records 895) January 1968

A group of teenagers from Saginaw, MI almost hit the big time with this single which was written and produced by Dick Wagner. "I Cannot Stop You" is a memorable and very commercial sounding disc with lots of hammond organ frills and brass instrumentation.

The single had seen an earlier release on local label Coconut Groove during November 1967 and the re-release on U.S.A Records almost broke The Cherry Slush nationally. The record was even released in Germany on Cornet Records and came housed in a picture sleeve.

I was surprised to find that several websites cover the Cherry Slush and there is even a Facebook page devoted to the group. Go here for more information and photographs.

04 September, 2016


Check out my Facebook page devoted to uncovering photos, articles and record reviews printed in vintage 60s music magazines. Click on the link below and 'Like"page for updates etc.  

29 August, 2016


THE COWSILLS - "The Prophecy Of Daniel And John The Devine (Six-Six-Six)" / "Gotta Get Away From It All" (MGM 1484) June 1969

This is an incredible single by The Cowsills and a new discovery for me. I dig it so much that I immediately sought UK and US pressings on MGM. I'd always had the image in my head that The Cowsills were a goodie, all-American kiddie family of musicians who only recorded pop songs for the teen market. How wrong I was.

"The Prophecy Of Daniel And John The Devine (Six-Six-Six)" is both creative and ambitious in equal measure. The classy arrangement and beautiful harmonies teases the brain into thinking that the song is one of those pleasant sunshine pop songs but they're singing about the occult. The song is seemingly inspired by "The Book Of Revelations" and all of that religious mumbo-jumbo that was rife with the late 60s hippies. Forget all of that and marvel at the spooky organ, the eastern instrumentation and clever use of spoken passages.

This extraordinary recording is particularly uncommercial and was a strange choice for a single. However, the record still sold in decent quantities, eventually reaching #75 in the Billboard Chart.
No Chart action in Britain and perhaps another reason why this psychedelic rock song is a new find for me.

25 August, 2016


CRACKERS - "Honey Do" / "It Happens All The Time" (Fontana TF 995) January 1969

This rarity by Crackers were The Merseys is disguise! Quite why they changed their name for this single, which turned out to be their last, is unknown. My educated guess is simply because as The Merseys their records since "Sorrow" had more or less been ignored. Maybe their name was passe in 1969 and so a change to a more suitable one was required.
Sadly for The Merseys nothing changed. "Honey Do" flopped and they were no more.

"Honey Do" was recently compiled on the CD only "Fairytales Can Come True" Volume #2. The flip and for me, more interesting side, is the soothing pop tune "It Happens All The Time" written by Tony Crane.

24 August, 2016


THE MERSEYS - "Lovely Loretta" / "Dreaming" (Fontana TF 955) July 1968

It's been a couple of years since The Merseys appeared in the Chart, but - with sufficient exploitation - this could well restore them. Pounds along at a rip-roaring pace, with tambourine emphasising the beat, and trumpets adding depth to the backing - and there are frequent outbursts of cheering to conjure up a party atmosphere.

Spirited support is provided by the Funky Bottom Congregation - which turns out to be Dave Dee & Co, Julie Felix and several others. An extremely commercial disc. (NME review - July, 1968)

There's a star-studded (Dave Dee, W. Fontana, Beaky, Tich etc) on this, lumped together as the Funky Bottom Congregation - alone worth the price of admission, folks. The song is fair enough, one supposes, though it's not a stand out. But the production is healthy, alive and could restore the two lads to the charts. Happy-go-lucky. Flip: fair enough. (Record Mirror review - July, 1968)

NME advert - July 1968

23 August, 2016


THE MERSEYS - "Penny In My Pocket" / "I Hope You're Happy" (Fontana TF 916) March 1968

This could easily be a hit; good song, and a welcome return for the duo after a year off the disc scene. Harmonica added. Just missed a tip, but I feel I'll be proved wrong (Record Mirror review - March, 1968)

Record Mirror advert - March 1968

22 August, 2016


THE MERSEYS - "The Cat" / "Change Of Heart" (Fontana TF 845) June 1967

The Merseys sing a little song of jealousy on this rock-a-beater item with them in fine vocal form. It has a good tune and a grow-on-you appeal. Nice. And should give them their first hit since "Sorrow."
Flip: penned by Tony, features some barrel-house piano, a stomping beat and soft vocals. (Record Mirror review - June, 1967)

A David and Jonathan composition - and a real pile driver it is, too. Am exhilarating thumper, with an absorbing lyric which makes up for what it lacks in melody. The Merseys generate an intriguing vocal sound, often taking off into flights of falsetto. A wild, twangy, instrumental passage completes a disc that has all the hallmarks of a hit. But I have to be cautious about it's chances, as the group's been out of the limelight for a while.
Flip: a bouncy, jog trotting rhythm, highlighted by tinkling barrel-house piano. Almost in the Good-Time style. Again, a commendable vocal blend.  (NME review - June, 1967) 

NME - January, 1967