19 June, 2012

THE ALLIES - BURNING FLASK


THE ALLIES - 'I'll Sell My Soul'/'Burning Flask' (Valiant Records V-748) September 1966

Valiant Records had the knack of releasing the odd thunderous garage swinger and straight after releasing the soft pop of 'Cherish' by The Association the label unleashed this L.A. band's non hit wonder.

Mystery surrounds The Allies and little is known about them but over these two sides the band had the talent and the power to make a deep impression on me. 'I'll Sell My Soul' is perhaps their most famous song. It's been compiled a couple of times but the folk punk intensity of 'Burning Flask' has not surfaced before.

originally posted 30/01/10



17 June, 2012

ART - FLYING ANCHORS


ART - 'Flying Anchors' (Island ILP-967) December 1967

After The V.I.P's and before Spooky Tooth there was the short lived psychedelic rock group, simply named Art. They're virtually unknown outside English 60s psych collectors and they've rarely threatened the compilers apart from the song 'Supernatural Fairy Tale' which can be found on a Rubble LP.


Most of the music contained on 'Supernatural Fairytales' is of a heavy psych nature with elements of the darkness that Black Sabbath would reap on their first album. 'I Think I'm Going Weird' is pretty much two years ahead of it's time.

'Flying Achors' is very hypnotic with what sounds like a mellotron giving it that lysergic eeriness over an acoustic guitar. Close your eyes and drift off somewhere with this...

"Sitting by a stream,
I begin to dream.
Flowers kiss my feet,
That can be so sweet."

The stunning album cover was created by Granny Takes A Trip boutique designers Michael English and Nigel Weymouth who, with Art producer Guy Stevens were Haphash & The Coloured Coat and it was indeed Art that provided the music for their album.

Art would change their name to Spooky Tooth after this album seemingly went unnoticed.

line-up:
Luther Grosvenor (lead guitar) he had previously been a member of The Deep Feelin' and The Hellions
Mike Harrison (vocals/keyboards)
Mike Kellie (drums) after Spooky Tooth he was the drummer for The Only Ones
Greg Ridley (bass) quit Spooky Tooth and joined Humble Pie in 1969....died 2003



 

16 June, 2012

THE BEE GEES - PLEASE READ ME


THE BEE GEES - 'Please Read Me' (Polydor 582012) July 1967

It's obvious on this album that the Gibb brothers had a major infatuation with The Beatles with songs like 'Turn Of The Century', 'Red Chair Fadeaway', 'In My Own Time' and especially the Lennonesque 'Please Read Me' which is pure 'Revolver' era John and hardly ever gets a mention. But it's now a 'Flower Bomb Song'.

The Bee Gees '1st' was recorded over three weeks during March/April 1967 at IBC Studios, London....the home of Cream, The Small Faces, The Who, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and many others. Every song is an original Gibb tune, quite astonishing as all three were still teenagers.

Each and every song is both complex and imaginative. Checking the back of the LP sleeve for information it's quite clear that the brothers had lysergic minds at this point as the songs they arranged on the album such as 'In My Own Time', 'Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You', 'Craise Finton Park Royal Academy Of Arts' and the brilliant 'Please Read Me' are the long-players most trippy forays into the psychedelic. Barry is lead vocal on this one but just listen to those three part harmonies.

Vince Melouney played lead guitar with the group. Back in Australia he had previously been a member of Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs and led his own outfit The Vince Melouney Sect.
Drummer Colin Peterson was also from Oz.

The Bee Gees enjoying a drink - picture scanned from my Alphabeat annual.
 
Picture from Billboard - August 1967



15 June, 2012

ELLI - MISTER MAN


ELLI - 'Mister Man' (Dig The Fuzz DIG038LP) unreleased recording 1966

Sometimes, for reasons now lost in time, certain songs remained in the 60s vaults until they were excavated and released decades later by re-issue labels. Dig The Fuzz did just that with a fine collection of songs recorded by Elli Meyer.

Elli was born in Calcutta, India but moved to London. According to the liners, Elli's profession was as a painter & decorator but in his spare time was lead singer in various London groups starting in 1962 with The Eagles, then The Nutrons, then The Madhatters and finally in 1966 with The Infernos.. 

Elli then teamed up with songwriting team Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker and it was their songs that Elli recorded during 1966-1970. Demos were cut at Pathway Studios, London with Finesilver on bass, Ker on lead guitar/flute, Vincent Crane on keyboards and Drachen Theaker on drums.

E.M.I. liked what they heard and signed Elli to Parlophone and during February 1967 'Never Mind'/'I'll Be Looking Out For You' was released. 'Never Mind' is a classic pop psycher but failed to chart and may have been overlooked in favour of a new Beatles 45 released on Parlophone the same day, namely 'Penny Lane'/'Strawberry Fields'.

 
Which brings me to 'Mister Man'. If ever a song deserved to be released as a single it was this one. According to the liners of the Dig The Fuzz LP, 'Mister Man'/'My Lady Of Love' was slated by E.M.I. to be released on Parlophone in mid '67 but due to a shake-up at the Company involving Elli's A&R man schedules were changed including the next Elli release which was eventually shelved.

Fortunately, the master tapes survived so 'Mister Man' can be heard in perfect sound. Listen out for Elli's soft, almost lazy vocal style over a jazzy psych backbeat and Vincent Crane's impressive hammond organ flourishes.

footnotes:

My favourite aspect when writing about obscurities is being involved in research and trying to fill some blanks in the story...

Elli Meyer - Throughout his life Elli struggled with diabetes and eventually died because of the condition in 2001. His last recordings dated from 1970 so perhaps Elli went back to work as a painter & decorator after his brief and ignored period in the music industry.

Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker also wrote and produced songs during the 60s for other outfits including The Love Sculpture. They then released 'Happy Miranda'/'It' (Instant Records) in 1969 as The Excelsior Spring.

Both were also part responsible for 'Fire' recorded by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown. By the late 60s Mike Finesilver was running Pathway Studios in London which would be the studio of choice for the punk and new wave groups such as The Damned, The Clash, The Police and Elvis Costello.

Drachen Theaker - 'Drachen' is (I'm told) German for Dragon so that takes care of the unusual forename. He was the drummer with The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and guested on the skins for Love during their 'Four Sail' recordings. Drachen died of a brain tumour in 1992.

Vincent Crane - He was responsible for the demonic hammond organ as a member of The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown then heavy progressive outfit Atomic Rooster. It seems that Vincent was a manic depressive and he died of an overdose of painkillers in 1989.




13 June, 2012

THE KINGSMEN - (I HAVE FOUND) ANOTHER GIRL


THE KINGSMEN - '(I Have Found) Another Girl' (Wand WDM 675) January 1967

The Kingsmen from Portland, Oregon, need no introduction but a little known beat rocker from their 'Up And Away' album probably does. '(I Have Found) Another Girl' was a group original written by Dick Peterson and Barry Curtis but was strangely never released as a single despite it's glowing review from Mel Shayne, their Manager, on the back of the album cover.

Here's what Mel wrote:

'(I Have Found) Another Girl' which has hit potentiality, combines a wild pulsing beat with a strong harmonic blend. The tune was written by Dick Peterson in collaboration with Barry Curtis, currently serving in Viet Nam, whose original berth with The Kingsmen is being held for his return.

Billboard Release advert - January 1967
 
Billboard Pop Spotlight - January 1967


11 June, 2012

THE EVERLY BROTHERS - LONELY AVENUE


THE EVERLY BROTHERS - 'Lonely Avenue' (Warner Brothers W1605) August 1965

(updated entry from 08/07/07)

This morning I paid a visit to my favourite vinyl dealer who sells records from a stall at Chester-le-Street market. I usually come away with something and this morning was no different. This little beauty by The Everly Brothers cost me £10 and it's stone mint. It didn't look like it had ever been played. It plays like a dream. Perhaps the reason I'm so pleased to add this copy to my collection is the fact that it is in glorious mono. All previous re-issues have used the stereo mixes.

This LP from the Everly's catches them in beat mode and I must say the album is a genuine must have for anyone into 65/66 beat and RnB. All songs except the original 'Man With Money' are late 50s/early 60s covers. I really dig the original version of 'Man With Money'. This was the flip of the hit 45 'Love Is Strange' and I'm in no doubt this is where obscure English freakbeat bands like The Eyes and The Wild Uncertainty heard the song first. Both bands made the song into a mod killer. The Who also covered 'Man With Money' but their version remained unreleased until it was placed on 'A Quick One' re-issue CD by Polydor in the 90s.

Other stand out's on Beat & Soul is the cover of 'C.C. Rider' I wasn't expecting fuzz guitars but classy fuzz action is what you get. Rockin' versions of 'Walking The Dog', 'Money' and 'Hi Heel Sneakers' also get the EXPO67 seal of approval. The melancholic downer, 'Lonely Avenue' is a personal favourite.
I'm not sure if this music could have sounded dull because after all the Everly's used session greats such as Glen Campbell, James Burton, Sonny Curtis on guitars, Billy Preston on piano, Leon Russel on keyboards, Larry Knechtel on bass and Jim Gordon on drums.






Billboard - September 1965

10 June, 2012

THE EVERLY BROTHERS - THE COLLECTOR


THE EVERLY BROTHERS - 'The Collector' (Warner Bros WS1620) July 1966

This superb album by The Everly Brothers is an essential addition to anyone's record collection. Their move into the beat era sound was a requirement during this period in music history where the 50s and early 60s rock'n'rollers would be and often were left behind if they didn't move with the times.

The Everly Brothers were helped greatly on this recording by English hit makers The Hollies. Eight of the songs on 'Two Yanks In England' are Hollies tunes and it is believed that some of the Hollies provided instrumentation. I've also read that Jimmy Page was responsible for the killer guitar break during 'Hard, Hard Year.'

The weird and wonderful 'The Collector' was written by Sonny Curtis and is the same song released by an American group called The #1 on Kapp Records. They were previously called The Blue Beats.

"I'm a collector of beautiful things.
I capture and keep them and pin down their wings."



09 June, 2012

RAINBOW - 4 LEAF CLOVER


RAINBOW - '4 Leaf Clover' (GNP Crescendo GNPS 2049) August 1969

This is a curiosity by a group called Rainbow who self produced this album for GNP Crescendo and in W. David Mohr had someone who could write their songs. All cuts are self penned apart from a wimpy version of 'I Just Want To Make Love To You' which just doesn't work slowed down to walking pace.

The album sounds like what it is. Basically a bunch of Californian hippies messing about in the studio. Some of this makes for interesting listening such as the stoned 'Midnight Candle' but some, including the piano led instrumental 'After The Storm' had me almost falling asleep. At one point I was looking around for the cat to play with it was so tedious.

I like short snappy songs, anything over the three minute mark is unnecessary which made it difficult to chose a track to upload as most of them go beyond this. '4 Leaf Closer' is about as close as you'll get to a straight ahead pop song from Rainbow. It's actually quite pleasant and one of their best.

I found out via Billboard that the Rainbow album was released during August 1969. Every source I've read gives this as a 1968 release which is incorrect.


06 June, 2012

ELLIE POP - WHATCHA GONNA DO 'BOUT IT


ELLIE POP - 'Watcha Gonna Do 'Bout It' (Mainstream S-6115) 1968

Before I started collecting original 60s garage/psych 45s I spent decades buying (mostly) original and re-issue albums and one of my early purchases was this obscurity by Ellie Pop on Mainstream Records. This album is hard to find and commands a decent price tag but it was re-issued a few years ago and should now be available to a larger audience at last.

In my opinion Ellie Pop were treading their own path in 1968, there's no fuzz, no psych touches, no 1968isms of heavy guitars and keyboards. What you get is a collection of beautifully constructed pop songs that suggest a big Anglophile influence, in particular mid-60s period Beatles. They sound similar to say The Merry-Go-Round or The Left Banke but without the baroque touches. Just pure pop, or should I say Ellie Pop.

Virtually every review I've read online or in Shindig for instance, fails to mention that 'Whatcha Gonna Do 'Bout It' is a cover of a Hollies cut they recorded in 1963 for their debut album 'Stay With The Hollies.' Ellie Pop wrote all of their own tunes except this one!

I'm not certain where Ellie Pop hailed from or even the full names of the group members but it has been suggested elsewhere that they were from Detroit. Maybe someone can confirm this?

  

THE BACHS - NEVERMORE


THE BACHS - 'Nevermore' (Ro-To PR68-1044) 1968

'Out Of The Bachs' by The Bachs is a legendary album by a group of teenagers from Chicago. Few copies were ever made, maybe as few as 150 copies, making this one of the most sought after slabs of vinyl for 60s garage collectors. Original copies go for insane prices when they come up for sale, we're talking many thousands of US Dollars.

Fortunately, the album was re-issued in small quantity in the early 90s on Del-Val, then a couple of years later on Flash (my copy shown). It was officially re-issued on Gear Fab back in 2005 but reviews suggest that the sound on this is not so hot. My copy on Flash is a bootleg and plays approx 2% too slow due to a mastering mistake by the Del-Val label.

Some years ago Patrick Lundborg sent me a needle burn of an original on Ro-To so I have no need to upgrade my Flash label copy, which I must admit sounds decent to my ears anyway.

'Nevermore' from 'Out Of The Bachs' is a fragile, minor key folk rock hymn that is one of my favourites from the set. Despite the crude production and engineering which makes for it's 'demo' sound the whole album of self penned songs is pretty much all killer if you dig this kind of bag.

 

05 June, 2012

THE NEW COLONY SIX - POWER OF LOVE


THE NEW COLONY SIX - 'Power Of Love' (Sentar ST-3001) September 1966

I've been writing about my records and ephemera since March 2007 and surprisingly I've never focused on The New Colony Six before. The other day I bought iZotope RX2 for $350. This is easily the best audio repair toolkit I've ever used. You may say at $350 it's got to be!

Anyway, I decided to test iZotope RX2 on my mono LP of 'Colonization' and the results almost made me fall off my chair, they were so good. So it seems a good time to write about The New Colony Six.

They released many singles during their existence which I won't dwell on here with this entry as I intend to write about some of those 45s at a later time. At the moment I'm concentrating on my albums collection.
'Power Of Love' is a cut from 'Colonization' and was also used as a B-Side to 'Elf Song (Ballad of the Wingbat Marmaduke)' released during September 1966.

'Power Of Love' is what I consider a 'Flower Bomb Song' because it's a lovely jangly pop song and folk-rock janglers and anything 12 string Rickenbacker is my business....It's a shame that this powerful pop jangler wasn't the plug side of that single as 'Elf Song' bombed. This would have been a much better bet for a hit.


MAX FROST AND THE TROOPERS - A CHANGE IS GONNA COME



MAX FROST & THE TROOPERS - 'A Change Is Gonna Come' (Tower ST-5147) November 1968

Just who were Max Frost & the Troopers? I've been thinking about this question for the past couple of days. My theory is that they were a studio combo of Tower/Sidewalk employees who were making incidental music and writing and playing songs for exploito movie soundtracks that said labels released at will in the late 60s.

I've read that Davie Allan & the Arrows were responsible, Michael Lloyd claims that it was him and other members of West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band in an interview he did for Shindig magazine. I've also read on 60sgaragebands.com that it was ex members of The American Revolution. Max Frost was probably a mix of them all just laying down instrumentation and adding vocals etc.

'Shape Of Things To Come' became a surprise hit for Tower Records when the song was released as a taster for the film 'Wild In The Streets' This prompted the label to release a full album of Max Frost & the Troopers material at the back end of 1968.

I think it's an excelent album with some absolute gems such as the previously mentioned 'Shape Of Things To Come', 'Lonely Man', 'Try To Make Up Your Mind' and my favourite 'A Change Is Gonna Come.'

'A Change Is Gonna Come' has that special psych rock sound of Hollywood with it's exciting groove, relentless backbeat and Association style harmony and flower power 'bah bah bah's'...add into the mix some trippy organ interplay and it's an instant psychedelic classic.

Billboard album review - November 1968
   
    

04 June, 2012

FARGO - PROMISES OF LOVE


FARGO - 'Promises Of Love' (RCA Victor LSP-4178) 1969

Here's an updated entry I wrote about Fargo back in March 2008.

Fargo were a duo made up of Dean Wilden and Tony Decker based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Their album 'I See It Now' on RCA Victor is a pop psych delight. Strong and memorable melodies and hooks run throughout the entire set of self penned songs.

Tony Decker had previously been in a group called The Tuesday Club. Read about their Philips 45 here.

The Fargo album was recorded at Al Casey's Music Room in Hollywood, California with help on guitar from Rick Cunha and on bass by Terry Paul.

Listening to the album they sound like a psychedelic Everly Brothers with their clever pop psych interludes with great musicianship, harmonies and jangle.
More people need to hear Fargo.


FEDERAL DUCK - CIRCUS IN THE SEA


FEDERAL DUCK - 'Circus In The Sea' (Musicor MM2162) August 1968

This is a fine album by a group of students from Pennsylvania that mixes elements of jazz, country and '68 style progressive psychedelia. They never did have any singles released from the album as a promotional taster, so when it was released it no doubt went under the radar as very little seems to have been written about Federal Duck.

Musicor were a newish label based in New York and I found a clipping from Billboard confirming that they had moved into the rock group field after some years of releasing safe MOR. Federal Duck recorded their album at Groove Sound Studios, NYC.

'Circus In The Sea' closes the album and is a quirky piece of psychedelia notable for it's fairground noise intro. Most of the material was written by George Stavis.

 

03 June, 2012

ALL OF THUS - IT'S ALRIGHT WITH ME


ALL OF THUS - 'It's Alright With Me' (Century 27916) 1966 (re-issue Rockadelic RRLP 11.5)

I've read that All Of Thus were a group of teenagers from the New York area who were still at school when their album was cut and pressed in a small quantity of only 200 copies making it a very rare and sought after disc. Rockadelic Records re-issued the album in 1994 and even those are scarce and command a price tag of $50+

The album is a must for garage fans with teen punk versions of 'Walk On By', 'Keep On Running', a unique treatment of 'Bells Of Rhymney' and group originals written by leader John Johnston.

One of the highlights is the pounding teen blast of 'It's Alright With Me' which absolutely slays the original by The Zombies. This barely controlled raver would have made a fantastic 45 with 'Bye Bye Baby' on the flip. All Of Thus never did release any singles and it's probably why they rarely get talked about.
After all, 60s garage freaks mainly collect 45s.


THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION - OPUS #1


           THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION - 'Opus #1' (Flick Disc FLS-45.002) July 1968

I'm currently taking a trip alphabetically through my LP collection and pulled out this one by The American Revolution on Flick Disc. They were previously called the rather dubious The Band Without A Name and even started recording this album under that moniker but by the end of the sessions they had been renamed The American Revolution.

One of the songs on the LP was written and produced by Michael Lloyd of WCPAEB fame. His 'Cold Wisconsin Nights' could easily have fit on The Smoke album he worked on as it has that similar orchestrated pop psych sound.

Most of The American Revolution music contained on this disc is indeed sugar coated orchestrated pop with a hint of Los Angeles psychedelia. Mike Duggo interviewed bassist John Keith for his site. Check it out here
It's interesting to read that the group played very little part with the music as the instrumentation was laid down by heavyweight session players Carol Kaye (bass), Larry Knetchel (piano), James Burton (guitar) and Hal Blaine (drums).

Perhaps the best and most overtly psychedelic cut is 'Opus #1' co-written by John Keith and singer Richard Barcelona. This is a pure Sgt Pepper trip with John Lennon style vocals, and laid back spacey vibes. What a cool song.