29 November, 2008


THE LYRICS - 'My Son' / 'So Glad' (GNP Crescendo 381) 1966

This 45 by The Lyrics (check out the Lyrics article elsewhere on this blog) was the follow up single to the killer 2 sider 'So What!!'/'They Can't Hurt Me''. Don't expect anything as brutal as the Era release because this record is a huge change of direction....destination soul.

Just out of interest Richard Delvy gets a supervision credit for 'My Son'..He played in notable surf groups The Bel-Airs and The Challengers pre Beatlemania then in the late 60s produced psych soul outfit The Chambers Brothers.

This is a sought after 45 for collectors of 'Northern Soul'

Dan Garcia recently gave me his thoughts about 'My Son'...

I remember 'My Son' was re-mixed in three different studios and the final mix was not very good I thought they lost the dynamics of the song and although we had a small orchestra behind us the final mix was very muddy but it was a very powerful tune. 'So Glad' was a filler B side song.

We were going thru a lot of changes at that time 'Mr Man' was doing pretty good on the charts in Southern California and 'My Son' was released on the East Coast and was getting a good response, unfortunately it got pulled off the radio due to an arranger that worked with us for a very short time because he said he helped write 'My Son' B.S.!!!!
Anyway that was the last we heard of 'My Son' being played anywere.

I think if we would have been able to continue recording, our style of music would have ended up more like 'Wake Up to My Voice'. We were all happy with that recording and the new material was just as good.

25 November, 2008

THE HIGHER STATE - Automatic Motion

THE HIGHER STATE - 'Automatic Motion' / Trip On High' (13 O'Clock Records 002) 2008

Just in at Renaissance Fair HQ is the brand new single from The Higher State. Both sides are quite amazing psych with a distinct acid-jangle attack. Here's the promo video for 'Automatic Motion' ....check it out for yourselves and buy the 45....highly recommended.

22 November, 2008


I've been going through my English beat record boxes and playing and diggin' a whole lot of sheer class that I've neglected for maybe five years or more in favour of the more obscure and underground acts from America.

The main thing I've noticed about playing these 45s on my new turntable, mono cartridge in conjunction with a tube pre-amp is the overall power and loudness of records manufactured in Britain compared to their American counterparts. UK records from the 60s are far superior in everyway it seems, be it because of the vinyl used? or more importantly for me the information on the label itself.
I really don't think you've heard mid 60s English beat, mod and R'n'B records in all their glory unless you've heard the original mono 45 on Decca, Fontana, Pye or Parlophone.
I was having so much fun mixed with nostalgia that I started mastering some choice sides. It's a great shame that legit 60s comps will never mix the previously named labels on to one great disc. Fortunately we can all make our own 'mix' tapes or CDs and compile whatever we want.
'No Time For Squares' may turn out to be a long running series that I'll perhaps give away to anyone who orders any of my Cavestones, Gear! or Circles comps in the future.
Here's a brief overview of this first edition:
BILLY FURY - She's So Far Out She's In..........Early 60s rocker who was billed as England's Elvis at one stage. This is an undiscovered mod gem hidden away on a B-Side. It was written by Baker Knight of 'Hallucinations' fame..... lotsa crunchy garage guitars and organ...file under COOL!!!
THE ANIMALS - Inside-Looking Out..........Intense workout by Newcastle's finest. Burden's vocals are tough as hell.
THE HOLLIES - I Can't Let Go..........Big hit in England got to number 2 and sold close to a million. All time classic beat.
THE ROULETTES - Bad Times..........It certainly would have been bad times for me if I was in The Roulettes because this failed to sell. Best known for being Adam Faith's backing band.....shame.
THE EYES - I Wanna Be Your Man.......... The Eyes renamed themselves The Pupils for an album of Rolling Stones covers, only they must have forgot that this is a Beatles song but I suppose it was the Stones' second single in 1963.
THE ROLLING STONES - It's All Over Now..........This was the fourth single by The Rolling Stones and their first number 1. Killer guitar break just how I like 'em.
SMALL FACES - Whatcha Gonna Do About It..........Debut release by these London mods...you know you're in for a thrill ride from the opening drum roll. The cover by The Litter is not even on the same planet as this monster.
THE BEATLES - I Call Your Name..........Hidden away on side two of the 'Long Tall Sally' EP is this great pop song. Also covered by Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas and in America by The Shags.
THE POETS - That's The Way It's Gotta Be..........There wasn't a great deal of bands releasing records in the mid 60s based in Scotland. The Poets were probably the finest Scottish export since newspaper cartoons The Broons and Oor Wullie. This record is killer though.
DAVE CLARK FIVE - Concentration Baby..........You'll find this primal fuzz mod beater on the flip of an awful hit record. Sounds like it was recorded a couple of years earlier. Powerful and great!!!
MANFRED MAN - Trouble And Tea..........Sought after 'As Is' album track that is never on any Manfred Mann retrospectives. Grooves along nicely.
HONEYBUS - Tender Are The Ashes..........Killer freakbeat B-side with awesome guitar break. Shame the hit topside is fluffy tosh.
DAVE BERRY - This Strange Effect..........Dave Berry was something of a loner type dressing all in black and not having much to do with his fans. In other words way ahead of his time. This is a Ray Davies song and is a cool slow paced beat smash.
THE SORROWS - No No No No..........Fine and raucous R'n'B by these guitar slingers from Coventry (a City obliterated by German bombers in WWII but thankfully Don Fardon's parents survived or we wouldn't have had Don)
SPENCER DAVIS GROUP - High Time Baby..........Another fuzzed out R'n'B killer hidden away on the flip of a pop soul hit. Search and destroy.
THE KINKS - She's Got Everything..........Even in 1968 the glorious Kinks were still unleashing classy mod swingers but they were lost on B-sides. This was the flip of the hit single 'Days'....

16 November, 2008

THE CLUE - Bad Times


THE CLUE - 'Bad Times' / 'She's The Reason' (Byron Records 101) 1967

The suggested location for this outfit is Midland in Texas, after all this is where the label Byron Records were situated. 'Bad Times' is considered to be one of the classic garage punkers of the genre so it seems a big surprise to me that it's only ever been compiled on Pebbles Volume 8 and Mayhem and Psychosis Volume 3 in less than steller aural delight. Check out my Cavestones Volume 14 to hear it's sheer power.

Steve Thomas wrote 'Bad Times' and it's the primitive nature of the beast that makes it a killer, from the persistant two note organ, jagged guitar solo and cave teen screams. Check out these lyrics:

'You say you don't have any thought for me today,
I guess I better get my kicks another way,
Bad Times, Bad Times....'

The still uncompiled flip 'She's The Reason' is a Steve Thomas-Larry Grubb composition and sounds like a completely different band. It's a slow paced affair with an overall moodiness and again has that cool organ sound combined with yearning vocals.

09 November, 2008


CORNFLAKE ZOO - 'Hey Conductor' / 'I See You' (Tracks On Wax 004) 1985

Another interesting band from Sweden were Stockholm's Cornflake Zoo probably named after the Andy Ellison song. I don't know the names of the band members on this 45 so if anyone knows be sure to leave a comment.

'Hey Conductor' is a cover of the Sonny Flaherty punk swinger, here Cornflake Zoo retain the farfisa buzz of the original. The flip 'I See You' is a band original and is notable for a pretty good guitar break.
Subsequent releases sounded a bit too modern for my tastes so stick with this 45 and stay in the garage.

08 November, 2008

THE WYLDE MAMMOTHS - I Can't Go Without You

THE WYLDE MAMMOTHS - 'I Can't Go Without You' (CH 002) 1987

As I continue my excavation of the underground garage scene in the 80s I've come across this flexi-disc single by The Wylde Mammoths from Sweden. This was given away free with German fanzine Splendid Issue 3. I very much doubt many would have survived.

I'm not sure if any of the two songs have appeared anywhere else. So they could be exclusive to this one off flexi disc. 'I Can't Go Without You' is the best song, sounding like a rough Euro garage beat outfit from twenty years earlier.

The Wylde Mammoths were:

Peter Maniette (guitar/vocals) ex Crimson Shadows
Pelle Wannerberg (rhythm guitar)
Patrick Emt (bass)
Per Wannerberg (drums) ex Highspeed 5

WYLDE MAMMOTHS - I Can't Go Without You (MP3 320kbps)



THE BARRACUDAS - 'Summer Fun' / 'Chevy Baby' (Z5) 1980

'Summer Fun' penned by Robin Wills is glorious surf punk with a contagious beat and harmonies. Nothing sounded like this before or since in England. There have been imitators but none came close to this slice of Summer fun. I'm still not quite sure how The Barracudas were not regulars in the charts. This one scraped in to the top 40 back in 1980.
They even got to appear on TOTPs and the action is on YouTube if you care to look. I still haven't figured out what Jeremy Gluck was on during the performance. Too many purple hearts at once or was it just plain euphoria?

The Barracudas certainly got their fair share of column inches in the English music press probably down to the clout of EMI. These two articles have been taken from my copy of Smash Hits, issue June 26-July 9, 1980. Smash Hits was a very popular teen magazine in those days and they covered plenty of punk and new wave bands in the late 70s to early 80s.
I wonder if anyone won the surf board? Or for that matter the 2nd and 3rd prize and had a night out in London with The Barracudas....

Record Mirror - 1980

07 November, 2008

RAINY DAY - John Riley

RAINY DAY - John Riley (Rough Trade Records 70) 1984

This album by Rainy Day on Rough Trade is sought after and still has not been re-issued on CD. It was a studio project made up of musicians from various guitar groups namely The Rain Parade, The Dream Syndicate, The Bangles and The Three O'Clock.

All tracks are cover versions and as an album it still certainly pushes my buttons. The track I've chosen to highlight is one of my favourite folk rock tunes 'John Riley'.

This version is quite clearly influenced by The Byrds who covered the song on placed it on Fifth Dimension. Listen to the exquisite 12 string guitar jangles mixed with some mournful violin. How could anyone not be moved by this gem?

The musicians on 'John Riley' were Matthew Piucci on acoustic 12 string, David Roback on electric 12 string, Will Glenn on violin (all from The Rain Parade), Dennis Duck played drums (from The Dream Syndicate, he also performed with The Rain Parade at some gigs) and the vocal duties were performed by Michael Quercio (from The Three O'Clock).

So it's virtually a long lost Rain Parade song and it would have certainly dove-tailed nicely on the album 'Explosions In The Glass Palace.'

RAINY DAY - John Riley (MP3 320kbps)


THE GREEN TELESCOPE - Two By Two EP (Imaginary Records 001) 1985

The Wump Records single by The Green Telescope was neo primal American 60s garage mayhem but this four song EP released in 1985 catches the future Cawdor lairds wearing their Dutch beat influences on their sleeves.

The first side compiles two Lenny Helsing originals titled 'Two By Two' and 'A Glimpse'. Both of course are laden with attitude or should I say beatitude. The opener on side two is the quite marvelous 'Make Me Stay' written by Alan McLean. This is surely one of the very best neo garage beat tunes of the 80s revival.

'Got no love, make me stay'...

The other song on the EP is a cover of 'Thinkin' About Today' a 1966 wailer originally recorded by The Outsiders. A great song and thankfully The Green Telescope give a thrilling interpretation.

A while ago Lenny confirmed the line-up as follows:

Lenny Helsing (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica)
Bruce Lyall (organ)
Alan McLean (bass)
Gavin Henderson (drums, backing vocals)

THE GREEN TELESCOPE - Make Me Stay (MP3 320kbps) stereo

02 November, 2008

CHRIS SUCH and his SAVAGES - Leave My Kitten Alone

CHRIS SUCH and his SAVAGES - Leave My Kitten Alone (Chaos Records 3) 1989

Chris Such and his Savages were really The Headless Horsemen. I wrote about this talented band previously (check out the labels down the right hand side of my blog)
It turned out to be their final release and was a fitting end to their brief existence.
This four song EP recorded in glorious mono and released on Chaos Records in '89 was very much a 'back to basics' early 60s rock and roll beat approach delivered in the usual Horsemen style.

Back in June 2008 I was contacted by Peter Kohman (Stuart) who usually played bass guitar and sang in the band. I asked him about this four track EP and this is what Peter had to say.

Can you shed any light on the Chris Such and his Savages 12" EP...I've read that this is really The Headless Horsemen?

Yes, that's us, plain and simple...just doing somestage favorites. We used to do a lot of that stuff in our extended sets (I'm a huge 50's R+R and Merseybeat fan) and finally started doing whole shows!
As we wanted to keep the Headless Horsemen a primarily original band, at least on record, we created an alter ego band. "Such"was a mutilation of "Cush" he picked up somewhere.

Someone gave us a ridiculously small amount of $$ and we cut the whole thing in a day or two at Coyote Studios. I think it was about the last thing we did. It was supposed to be a 7" and the mix got all screwed up, folded from stereo to mono.

Elan Portnoy played piano and I played some guitar on "Hog". There's a lost 5th track, Arthur Alexander's "Girl That Radiates The Charm", a great song but it didn't quite fit with the others.

Overall, it's one of my favorite things I've ever done...quick, dirty, ragged but right. I couldn't get the vocal right on "Stupidity" somehow, tho, that still bothers me. Everything else, I like...especially the bass, it was a Burns Sonic thru an SVT.

Songs on EP:
Sick And Tired
Leave My Kitten Alone
I'm A Hog For You

Band Members:
Elan Portnoy
Chris Such
David Ari
Peter Stuart

THE TELL TALE HEARTS - I Get Up In The Morning

This track by The Tell Tale Hearts is only available on a flexi-disc given away free with Ron Rimsite's 99th Floor fanzine. The fanzine in question was edition 7 and is now quite a hard one to track down.
The music on it sounds perfectly fine and is recorded in mono. I've remastered it in my usual way to bring out the best of this fine tune written by Joe Meek and released as a single by Heinz in 1963.'I Get Up In The Morning' was recorded at the same 1985 sessions that resulted in the six song mini LP titled 'The Now Sound Of The Tell Tale Hearts'...

THE TELL TALE HEARTS - I Get Up In The Morning (MP3 320kbps)


The Mystery Machine hailed from San Diego and as far as I know this is the only song they recorded. 'She's Not Mine' was written by Carl Rusk and compiled on Battle Of The Garages Volume 3 released on Voxx back in the glory days of the garage revival...we're talking 1984.

When Carl Rusk split from the band the remaining members stayed together and became The Tell Tale Hearts with the addition of Mike Stax on bass.

THE MYSTERY MACHINE - She's Not Mine (MP3 320kbps)

The Mystery Machine photograph was taken from the Che Underground, a rather cool site detailing San Diego's underground music scene of the 80s... http://cheunderground.com/blog/


THE SOME LOVES - 'It's My Time' / 'Don't Talk About Us' (Citadel 018) 1986

This was the first single by The Some Loves. Note that at this point the band were called The Some Loves (two separate words) and not yet known as The Someloves. Small point I know but I like to be thorough. It was recorded in 1985 but not given a release until a year later.

The Some Loves were Dom Mariani and Gary Chambers (ex Stems), Darryl Mather (ex Lime Spiders) and Christian Houllemare (ex Bad Brains). Here the songwriting team of Mariani/Mather deliver two power pop nuggets with perhaps the B-Side 'Don't Talk About Us' taking the top prize. This song would easily be a single in it's own right for most other bands.

Recently The Someloves got the re-issue treatment on a double CD rounding up all tracks recorded. I've posted a review of this release below

The Someloves - "Don't Talk About Us" dbl cd (Half A Cow) In the extensive liner notes for this album, the author states that the Someloves' only album, "Something Or Other", is one of the ten best power pop records ever released; that's a statement I can wholeheartedly agree with, and I would additionally include their single, "Know You Now", in the top ten power pop singles of all time.

It's sound is classic and timeless, and pretty much every song is a perfect pop song. I have been anxiously awaiting this compilation (which includes the album, as well as a bonus disc of singles and b-sides - basically everything the band recorded during their brief career) ever since Half a Cow announced it a few years ago; and it was definitely worth the wait! Composed of Dom Mariani (ex-Stems, pre-DM3) and Darryl Mather (ex-Lime Spiders, pre-Orange Humble Band), the duo released the "It's My Time" 7" in 1986, followed by another in 1988 and finally the album in 1990 (which spawned a pair of singles).

While the album was originally released to unanimously rave reviews, the band refused to play live, for which the label dropped them, essentially killing the band (and driving a wedge between the two friends in the process). Old wounds have since healed, and we are now presented with a grand package of power pop, and possibly the best reissue of the year!



01 November, 2008


JAMES BAKER EXPERIENCE - 'I Can't Control Myself' / 'Born To Be Punched' (Red Eye Records 1) 1985

I've decided that 60s garage rock and psychedelia sucks and for the rest of this month Renaissance Fair dips it's cuban heels into the 80s underground garage scene. This was the soundtrack of my youth and it's all still perfectly valid in my own little mixed up world 20 years and more later.

This is James Baker's band or hired guns after leaving or as I've read 'fired' from The Hoodoo Gurus. He also played in several Aussie punk bands before becoming the drummer for the Gurus.

On this 45, recorded in Feb/March 1985 James Baker 'sings' his way through The Troggs all time great 'I Can't Control Myself'....He sounds utterly pissed, probably on Fosters lager. But at least he washed behind his ears and put on his best three button mod jacket and tie for the sleeve photo shoot.


THE GUILD LIGHT GAUGE - 'Cloudy' / '14th Annual Fun & Pleasure Fair' (Capitol P-1600) May 1968

Paul Simon's song 'Cloudy' got covered a few times in the 60s but this version may be the best. I was surprised to find out that his brother Eddie played guitar in The Guild Light Gauge.
The band were probably named after Guild guitar strings and this was more than likely a one shot deal for them.
The songs are very well recorded and produced by Artie Kornfeld and arranged by Jimmy Wisner (who had produced records for Bill Wendry and The Family Album). But despite the push from Capitol Records the record seems to have been largely forgotten about. Very little information exists in reference books or internet sites.

'14th Annual Fun & Pleasure Fair' was written by Steve Duboff and Artie Kornfeld. They were both part of garage pop group The Changin' Times. Artie Kornfeld is probably more famous for being part of the creative team behind the Woodstock Music and Art Fair held in mid August 1969.