18 April, 2014


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

A message from Brian Wilson:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

a message from Dick Clark:

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

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

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

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

17 April, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Billboard advert

Saint Charles, Missouri


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16 April, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Limited edition of 500 copies.


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

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

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

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

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

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


15 April, 2014


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

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

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

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

Description from back of album cover:

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

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

Billboard - October 1967

14 April, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13 April, 2014


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

08 April, 2014


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

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

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

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

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

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

songs on EP:

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

this is where The Timelapse got their idea for this EP. Heavily based on this article from a 60s FABulous magazine.

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