Here are some of my random thoughts and words about obscure and in-demand ’60s garage and psychedelic singles over the years. All of the original blog posts on my old website have since been deleted so no label scans or picture sleeves are available. Instead, I’ve used images scanned from a 1968 Intro magazine.
THE OTHER SIDE – ’Walking Down The Road’ / ’Streetcar’ (Brent 7061) December 1966
Inextricably linked with The Chocolate Watchband — by virtue of a dizzying personnel swap in November 1965 — The Other Side are today far less known than their sister group, but were no less talented. the Other Side evolved from The Topsiders, a surf combo formed at Fremont, CA’s Washington High School in 1964.
The quartet included Jim Sawyers (lead guitar), Ken ”Toad” Matthew (drums, vocals), Tom Antone (bass), and David Tolby (born David Phelps; second lead guitar).
This line-up’s high-water mark was a mid-1965 appearance at a KLIV Battle of the Bands at San Jose’s Civic Auditorium. Joined briefly by rhythm guitarist Skip Spence, the Topsiders — upon Spence’s departure — adopted a new name.
Spence, drafted to drum for The Jefferson Airplane, gave Sawyers and company the alternate moniker that the Airplane had rejected.
Thus was the Other Side born, and the band began a whirlwind series of personnel shifts. Citing personal differences with Tolby, Sawyers — after a final show at the Oakland Civic Auditorium — accepted The Vejtables’ offer to replace Reese Sheets. Enter Edward Johnston ”Ned” Torney III, lead guitar of the Chocolate Watchband. Torney, whose keyboard and string-bending skills had been honed through an impressive succession of apprenticeships — including stints with future Remains member Barry Tashian and East Coast surf instrumentalists The Roadrunners — had already been asked to join The Other Side at an earlier November gig where both bands had played.
Torney decided to jump ship and take Sawyers’ place. His defection temporarily slew the Watchband, whose phoenix soon rose again from the ashes with Tolby (now calling himself Sean) in tow.
Meanwhile, original Watchbanders Jo Kemling (keyboards) and Danny Phay (vocals) followed Torney and joined the remaining two Other Siders: Matthew and Antone.
The new Other Side, runners-up at a KEWB-sponsored Battle of the Bands at the Oakland Civic Auditorium in late November 1965, gained the endorsement of radio DJ Johnny G, and the band began drawing huge crowds.
Stylistically, they emulated the British Invasion groups the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Animals, Yardbirds, and perhaps most notably, the Who.
From January to May 1966, however, Torney — drafted and stationed at Letterman Army Hospital in San Francisco — was merely a weekend participant.
To help fill his shoes, Martin Van Slyke Battey (harmonica, guitar, vocals) came aboard. At this juncture, The Other Side shared billing with the pre-Creedence Golliwogs at the Brass Rail. Torney’s return in May 1966 made the quintet top-heavy and rendered Kemling superfluous.
His departure was soon followed by that of guitarist Alan Graham — pilfered from The Lord Jim Quintet — was recruited to assist on vocals. It was this line-up of The Other Side that cut the group’s sole recording, the single ”Walking Down the Road” b/w ”Streetcar”. ”Road,” a turbo-charged remake of an old Kingston Trio tune, features a jangly, dissonant bridge — conjuring images of a Keystone Kops paddywagon on acid.
”Streetcar,” a Who-inspired Battey/Graham original, had an intriguingly psilocybic middle eight as well, and compared favourably with Townshend’s best efforts on the My Generation LP. The session was engineered by Bones Howe at Hollywood’s Sunset Recorders.
A third Other Side original, believed lost, was also cut. ”Road” and ”Streetcar” subsequently appeared on the various artists’ compilation A Pot of Flowers (Mainstream S-6100; 1967 — reissued in the 1980s as part of Mindrocker, Vol. 10) and Sound of the Sixties: San Francisco, Pt. 2. Separately, ”Streetcar” showed up on Boulders, Vol. 2 and ”Road” on The ’60s Choice, Vol. 2.
With the arrival of Antone’s draft notice — and Battey’s departure — the Other Side took in bassist Wayne Paulsen and rechristened themselves Bogus Thunder.
The tumultuous saga of the Other Side is chronicled in Alec Palao and Judd Cost’s Cream Puff War magazine (number two, February 1993; Santa Clara, CA). ~ Stansted Montfichet, All Music Guide
The ARIEL – ’It Feels Like I’m Crying’ / ’I Love You’ (Brent 7060) 1966
I wonder why this 45 has never been commercially compiled before? ’It Feels Like I’m Crying’ is heavy on the reverb throughout. It also has folk rockin’ clattering tambourine but it ain’t no folk rock tune. This is a well produced 60s rocker. Maybe the punky guitar break hints at their past.
According to the liners of Back From The Grave – Part 1 CD, they changed their name to The Ariel from The Banshees. And The Banshees greatest no hit record was the 60s punker ’They Prefer Blondes’. The latter song was written by Jack Walters and he also wrote both songs on the Brent release.
’I Love You’ is a slow paced wimpy ballad. It’s nicely sung and arranged but it’s just too sappy for my tastes. I bet all of the chicks loved this side though. It was probably the A-side, it certainly sounds commercial enough to be an attempt on the local charts.
I’m guessing that The Ariel were still based in the South Bay area of San Francisco when this record.
The COLLECTORS – ’Make It Easy’ / ’Fat Bird’ (Warner Bros Records 7159) 1968
This blog entry completes the trilogy of Canadian psych bands with their record released on an orange label.
This time around it’s The Collectors from Vancouver with their third single but debut on Warner Bros, having released the previous two on New Syndrome in 1967.
’Make It Easy’ is a fast paced psychedelic rocker with killer guitar leads. This one has always been a big favourite of mine ever since I heard it in the mid 80s on the Edsel sampler ’Seventeenth Summer’.
The top side ’Fat Bird’ is a lot less frenetic but even less commercial. So I’m surprised it reached as high as number 99 in the Canadian charts. ’Fat Bird’ reminds me of US band The Charlatans with it’s West Coast vibes.
Curiously this 45 got released in Lebanon and it’s this label scan that is presented here.
Both sides were produced by Electric Prunes svengali Dave Hassinger.
THE CARNIVAL – ’Four Seasons’ / ’Out Of My Life’ (Columbia C4-2789) 1968
The Carnival from Kitchener, Ontario released three 45s in 1968 and all are worthy of investigation. The top side ’Four Seasons’ has been compiled on Fading Yellow Volume 6. This song is a pure Association rip with sunshine pop harmonies underpinned by a barely audible farfisa organ.
I wish this could have been louder in the mix. But the melody wins through. You can even forgive the corny flower power lyrics such as:
’All the flowers blooming,
It’s nice to be a human’.
later followed by:
’All the flowers dying,
Makes you feel like crying’.
Come to think of it I can’t forgive those lyrics….ha ha ha
The flip ’Out Of My Life’ is better. It’s classy bubblegum pop psych kinda similar to those fantastic Five Americans B-sides. I particularly dig the drum patterns, funky organ and summery ba ba bahh harmonies. This song is a winner.
The flip of their last 45 ’I’m Going Home Tomorrow’ was compiled on Fading Yellow Volume 3.
Tim Hallman (piano)
Don Pellow (organ)
Bill Wells (bass)
Bob Brownscombe (guitar/vocals)
Mike Eberle (drums)
Doot Doot Doo Do / Dark Star (Columbia C4-2782) 1968
Four Seasons / Out Of My Life (Columbia C4-2789) 1968
I’m Going Home Tomorrow / Hi Ho Silver Lining (Columbia C4-2816) 1968
I knew Bob Brownscombe for several years before he died of a heart attack back in 1997. I have a copy of their album that was never released — Keil Heil Kelly. Some good stuff on it.
FIVE SHY – ’Freeloader’ / ’The Windmill’ (Columbia C4-2798) March 1968
Obscure Toronto band Five Shy secured a two single record deal with Columbia Records after winning the 1968 CNE Battle Of The Bands contest.
’Freeloader’ was primed as their breakthrough 45 in March 1968 but it appears to have sank without trace. It’s a shame because this song is a pleasant flower power mover, so typical of the late ’67 early ’68 pop psych sound.
’The Windmill’ is superior. This one is a mellow baroque slice of psychedelia with strings (I detected a harp) and cool trippy harmonies. Both sides could have been so much better without the ’muddy’ production.
The flip of Five Shy’s final 45 ’Try To Be Happy’ was the opener on Fading Yellow Volume 6.
The KINKS – Kinksize Session EP (Pye NEP 24200) 1964
Louie Louie (R.Berry)
I Gotta Go Now (Davies)
I’ve Got That Feeling (Davies)
Things Are Getting Better (Davies)
Here is the very first EP by The Kinks and this 1964 beat artefact is getting a hard one to locate in decent shape. None of the songs featured were part of the amazing debut LP released a few months earlier.
All cuts produced by the impressive Shel Talmy in glorious mono. The music just kinda bursts out of the speakers in rebellious glory. Seek it out….
As Halloween is upon us once again here’s some aural garage action of my favourite 60s punk ’horror’ tune. This is what the liners of ’Back From the Grave’ – Volume 1 said about the song…
A truly cryptic song about an evil soul who cuts in on a teen couple’s fun at the local lovers lane. these Fort Worth legends started off their recording careers in ’63 but did not cut anything until ’65, when they cut ’Night Of The Sadist’. This was to be revealed on TIRIS, but their producer freaked out and had them overdub ’Phantom’, cuz ’Sadist’ seemed a little too touchy for squares.
THE TROGGS – ’With A Girl Like You’ / ’I Want You’ (Fontana 278 128 YF) July 1966
This 45 was the follow up to ’Wild Thing’ that was a worldwide hit. So it can be safely assumed that our heroes were at the height of their fame. So it’s always puzzled me why the hell they chose to have a photo shoot wearing their ’Christmas’ jumpers?!?
That gear just ain’t rock and roll….ha ha ha….Oh well, just as well that the Troggs out punked anyone on the planet back in ’66.
’With A Girl Like You’ written by Presley went to Number 1 in England and probably sold more copies on the strength of the previous hit.
It’s got the trademark Reg Presley half sung half spoken vocals with a simple yet effective melody. Sounds to me like they were just after a solid commercial follow up to ’Wild Thing’. Fortunately it worked, although I much prefer the punky flip.
’I Want You’ starts with a menacing plodding beat with Reg saying he ’Wants You’ and ’Needs You’. This guy really needs some girl action judging by the primitive sounds from his vocal chords.
How could any girl resist Reg Presley in this mood? And colouring the plodding primal beat are some killer guitar breaks. This is such a cool punker. Made sense that their US counterparts MC5 covered it.
LARRY and the PAPER PROPHETS – ’Can’t Sit Around’ / ’The Only Thing’ (Epic 5-10186) 1967
This 45 has been one of my favourite garage rockers for years but who were Larry and the Paper Prophets?
Were they a real band or a bunch of studio musicians crankin’ out a couple of tunes with some free studio time? If you know the details let me know…thanks
’Can’t Sit Around’ is a fast paced mover with fuzzy punk leads. This song was co written by Al Lawrence who was the singer with Teddy and the Pandas. He also produced both sides of the disc.
’Well I can’t sit around all day and wait for you,
There’s too many livin’ things I gotta do.
Now I want you to come along, you know it’s true.
But I can’t sit around all day and wait for you.
The flip ’The Only Thing’ is a little more subdued and folk rockish. This song was written by M.Barton.
I’m wondering if the Hugh McCracken who arranged both songs was the same guy who was the in demand New York session guitarist who later worked with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and Steely Dan (among many others)?
’Can’t Sit Around’ was compiled on Glimpses Volume 3. If you don’t have that check both sides of the 45 out on Cavestones Volume 2.
GEOFFREY STEVENS – ’Grape Jelly Love’ / ’Do That Again’ (York Records 407) July 1967
When I bought this 45 I was expecting bubblegum. With a title like ’Grape Jelly Love’ that was a safe bet right? WRONG!
Geoffrey Stevens offers up two self penned pop psych classics.
’Grape Jelly Love’ has since turned up on Fading Yellow Volume 6.
I’ve checked their liners and Geoffrey Stevens is a complete mystery.
A search on the cool Searchin’ For Shakes database suggested a UK origin. I reckon this is completely wrong, but I’m open for jelly love, advice and information. Also when was the record released?
’Grape Jelly Love’ sounds like Paul Parrish songs from his ’The Forest Of My Mind’ LP on Music Factory. It’s a pop psych delight with trippy whispered vocals near the end. I really dig this tune. Very catchy and memorable.
The other side ’Do That Again’ is also very good with a similar sound and pop psych reverie. Delightful arrangement from Harold Battiste who had also worked with Cher. This track remains uncompiled.
The Geoffrey Stevens who wrote and sang these songs was my late brother. He wrote many songs dating back to the 1960’s. Bobby Darin and Noel Harrison cut records with some of my brother’s songs.
GARY WALKER and the RAIN – ’Spooky’ / ’I Can’t Stand To Lose You’ (Polydor 56267) January 1968
Californian, Gary Leeds was an early member of The Standells but left in 1963 before their debut LP for Liberty. He then teamed up with John Maus and Scott Engel who were gigging as a duo called The Walker Brothers.
Fame and fortune followed of course before Gary Leeds formed his own band in the Autumn of 1967 called Gary Walker and the Rain.
A cover version of The Classics IV song ’Spooky’ was their first 45. This was released in England in January 1968 but never did much chart action. However in Japan it was a different story. Gary Walker and the Rain were huge!!!
’Spooky’ is a very laid back tune with throbbing bass runs and soul mod vocals. It would have been better had it not been for those occasional weird sound effects. Don’t dig those at all. But I do dig the meandering lead guitar flourishes.
’I Can’t Stand To Lose You’ written by Gary Walker and Paul Crane is a mod rocker with soulful vocals sounding similar in sound and song structure to mod combos like The Smoke or The Action.
Both songs on this 45 were produced by Scott Walker.
Paul Crane (rhythm guitar and lead vocals)
John Lawson (bass)
Joey Molland (lead guitar)
Gary Leeds (drums)
THE HERD – ”From The Underworld” / ”Sweet William” (Fontana TF 856) August 1967
This picture of The Herd was on the cover page of English weekly ’Disc and Music Echo.’ This copy dates from October 28, 1967.
The ’write up’ states that The Herd, whose ’From The Underworld’ went up to 7 this week, start a concert tour on Saturday with The Who, The Tremeloes and Traffic. Pictured here from the left: Gary Taylor, Andy Brown, Andrew Steele and (centre) Peter Frampton.
Organist Andy Brown said ’I can’t tell you the actual numbers we’ll be playing but we are definitely going for audience participation which we consider is very important. We want to give the audiences their money’s worth which we don’t think they’ve been getting of late – and on tour we think it’s essential to be visually entertaining as well as musically and vocally entertaining.
We’ve been working on a devastating 20 minute stage act we hope will show off just about everything we can do.’
It seems an age since I posted a record so today’s choice is The Herd with ”From The Underworld” released August 1967. Here’s what group member Andy Bown said about the number in RAVE magazine, September 1967.
”This song’s idea came from the Greek myth Orpheus. Structurally the song is multi-layered over a plainsong chant. It’s an extraordinary idea and a highly unusual disc, but we think it comes off and I hope it makes it.”
RANDY FULLER – ’1,000 Miles Into Space’ (Show Town 482) 1967
It’s interesting to see how folks perceived outer space back in 1967, before we had yet to even walk on the moon. Randy Fuller proudly proclaims to be “1,000 Miles Into Space” on this 1967 single – sadly, what probably seemed like a trans-galactic expedition to Randy barely puts him out of Earth’s atmosphere, and still a healthy 238,000 miles away from our Moon.
That’s not to take anything away from him – he probably just wants to take advantage of the popularity of “Star Trek”, which began one year earlier, and even if his figures don’t add up, he still creates a wondrously trippy little popsike masterpiece here. Sounds to me like he’s even invaded some of Gene Roddenberry’s sound effects vaults, because “1,000 Miles Into Space” opens with some wonderful 60’s space sound effects, before launching into the main riff with some cool tremolo wah wah guitar.
Randy even sings like he might be floating somewhere in space – and by that, he assumes there’ll be some lounge bars in Skylab, where his groovy mellow dinner club vocals bring to mind the soft pop psych stylings of Strawberry Alarm Clock or a really stoned Fever Tree ballad.
Lest you forget that he’s a full “1,000 miles into space” at any point during the song (and really, how could you?), the outer space sound effects library kicks in at the end of each verse, along with the trippy Syd Barrett wah wah licks. There’ s also some fuzz guitar too – wicked Byrds-inspired electric fuzz distortion – and the general vibe you get from this little gem is that, if Curt Boettcher had one of his late 60’s bands cover the Byrds’ “CTA-102”, it might’ve sounded a lot like this.
As it turns out, Randy’s impetus is simple. It’s love that’s sending him “1,000 miles into space.” Which, as an alternate to RP-1 kerosene, liquid oxygen and hydrazine, is a far, far less efficient rocket fuel. Next time, Randy, just go to Paris.
PAUL PARRISH – ’The Forest Of My Mind’ (Music Factory MFS-12,001) 1968
I’ve been pulling out some vinyl LPs from the EXPO67 archives at the weekend and this one from the porno ’tashed Paul Parrish got tons of plays. In fact I decided to master it to CDR in stereo. Bit of a challenge because I normally just master mono 45s.
If you dig Donovan you’ll need to get yourself a copy of this album. Don’t let the facial hair put you off. Just dig the music maan, it’s cool as fuck!
This guy has a soft mellow vocal and the songs are mini psych pop masterpieces with psychedelic orchestration, phazing and sound effects.
The song titles put you in the picture of what Paul Parrish is all about. My guess is that he’s a hippie nature boy.
Take your pick from ’English Sparrows’, ’Walking In The Forest (Of My Mind), ’The White Birds’, ’Flowers In The Park’ and a silky version of The Beatles ’You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away.’ There’s even a funky cover of the soul standard ’I Can’t Help Myself’.
I don’t think Mr Parrish was a tripper in ’69, more of a spliff merchant….
According to an on-line source (MGM Studio archives) both sides of the single ’Walking In The Forest (Of My Mind)’/’The White Birds (Return To Warm Seas)’ (taken from the album) were recorded at MGM Studios, NYC on 13th March 1968.
album produced by Clay McMurray for Sussex Productions Inc.
Arrangements by Mike Theodore and Dennis Coffey.
Recorded at Tera Shirma Studios, Detroit, Michigan.
Producer/engineer Clay McMurray is best known for Spyder Turner’s version of Ben E. King’s ”Stand By Me,” a Top 20 pop hit that peaked at number 12 on February 11, 1967.
McMurray is also known for co-writing (with Gloria Jones and Pam Sawyer) the classic ballad ”If I Were Your Woman.” McMurray produced the first hit version for Gladys Knight and the Pips when they were signed to Motown’s subsidiary Soul label.
The single went to number one R&B on January 23, 1971, and Top Ten pop in February 1971, going gold.
An album, If I Were Your Woman, was released April 1971 and included the excellent ballad ”I Don’t Want to Do Wrong” (Top Ten R&B) and covers of Sly and the Family Stone’s ”Everybody’s a Star” and Joe Cocker’s ”Feelin’ Alright.” (AllMusic)
THE TWILIGHTS – ’Time And Motion Study Man’ (EMI 1 sided test pressing) 1967
Australian band The Twilights are a band I discovered in the late 80s when Raven Records put out a collection of their singles and better album cuts. I was knocked out by the great pop music on offer and don’t know why I’ve not really focused my attention on collecting their 45s.
The above test pressing of ’Time And Motion Study Man’ is the only one I’ve got so far. It’s a flower pop sitar killer with background psychy harmonies.
It all sound very English and probably was written during or straight after their return to Australia following a month long stay in England soaking up all of the influences.
They had a week long stint of gigs at The Cavern Club, Liverpool during this time and also listened in on The Beatles recording ’Strawberry Fields’ at Abbey Road, London.
FANTASTIC DEE-JAYS – ’Get Away Girl’ / ’Fight Fire’ (Tri Power TRB-421) 1966
The Fantastic Dee-Jays have been well documented over the years so I’ll keep it brief. Also this rare 45 has been re-issued on Get Hip in 1995. But there’s nothing like hearing the original mono 45, right?
The Fantastic Dee-Jays came from McKeesport, Pennsylvania and later became The Swamp Rats. The members on this Tri Power 45 were Bob Hocko (drums), Denny Nicholson (bass, vocals) and Dick Newton (guitar, vocals) all three would play in The Swamp Rats.
’Fight Fire’ is a cool folk punker with 12 string guitar buried in the mix over a pounding drum beat and tortured vocals.
The first time I heard this song was the cover by The Chesterfield Kings on their 1985 album ’Stop!’ That’s a really great cover as well folks.
The original ’Fight Fire’ was written by John Fogerty and Tom Fogerty when they were in The Golliwogs, and came out on Scorpio 405 in 1966. The Golliwogs would rename themselves Creedence Clearwater Revival of course.
Band original ’Get Away Girl’ is a fantastic 60s punk tune with selfish male to female put down lyrics. Just when you think it can’t get any better you’re ’punished’ by an outrageous 12 string guitar break.
”Get away girl, I don’t want you any more,
And now it’s my turn to watch you cry,
And now it’s my turn to watch you die,
And now it’s my turn to see you fade away.”
TRUTH – ’Chimes On 42nd Street’ / ’When Was Then’ (Mark Ltd MR 1009) 1968
The Kenny and the Kasuals story is well documented elsewhere, suffice to say that they were one of the top live attractions in the Dallas Fort Worth area with plenty of local hit singles and a pretty good LP called ’Impact’.
The band headed to New York in the summer of 1967 to play gigs and rustle up label interest but sadly the gigs were marred by arguments and a lack of label interest.
They returned to Dallas and singer Kenny Daniels was either sacked by the rest of the band or he quit or he was drafted depending on who was recounting the story.
The rest of the Kasuals with the addition of Dale Bramhall renamed themselves Truth and released this hard to find 45 on Mark Lee’s record label.
’Chimes On 42nd Street’ is psychy with freaky guitar sounds and a constant pumping bass line which is high in the mix.
I prefer the other side ’When Was Then’. This song is a slow paced, melodic psychedelic folk rocker. All the essentials are present such as tambourine, harmonica, tabla and classy acoustic guitar.
Both songs were written by lead guitarist Jerry Smith.
The Chocolate Tunnel – ’Ostrich People’ / ’The Highly Successful Young Rupert White’ (Era 3185) 1967
Era Records are mostly known for releasing soul 45s but they also issued records by garage punk kings The Lyrics, The No-Na-Mees and Ty Wagner. Era records also dipped their toe into the blossoming psychedelic scene and fortunately for us released this cool two sider by the strangely named Chocolate Tunnel.
Google ’chocolate tunnel’ and you’ll get hundreds of chocolate cake recipes that will have Willy Wonka slurping like there’s no tomorrow. But I did manage to find out some relevant information about the band.
According to Gerry Blake from The Avengers who knew Kenny Johnson and Jerry Ritchey, The Chocolate Tunnel hailed from Bakersfield, California and not Los Angeles as stated in Fuzz Acid and Flowers.
They only managed this one 45 on Era. Both songs also had a release on the smaller label In-Sound. So I guess enough records were shifted for Era to get interested.
’Ostrich People’ is a bass heavy production with what sounds like backwards strings in the mix. I particularly dig the trippy vocals especially the whispered ’ostrich people’.
There is also some menacing fuzz guitar closing the song. I think the lyrics tell the tale of how people avoid confrontation and ’hide their heads in the sand’ in much the same way as Ostriches are prone to do… it has nothing to do with those weirdo tribes people from Zimbabwe who have two toes on each foot. Try buying cuban heel boots for those things.
’The Highly Successful Young Rupert White’ is musically very similar with the same heavy bass and fuzzy guitar. This tune however, has the added attraction of tambourine flourishes and an organ break. Again the vocals are trippy and in parts whispered.
Both songs were written by Kenny Johnson and Jerry Ritchie. Bob Hopps is credited for ’Rupert White’ only.
Both songs were arranged by Gary Paxton and produced by his Company the Bakersfield International Productions.
As a footnote I can tell you that Eternity’s Children covered ’The Highly Successful Young Rupert White’ but their version was called simply ’Rupert White’. Check it out on their 1968 Tower 45.
Canadian band The Privilege also released a song called ’Highly Successful Young Rupert White’ (Capitol 72530) in 1968. I’ve not heard this but assume it’s the same song. If anyone knows for sure please let me know.
The Jagged Edge – ’How She’s Hurtin Me’ / ’You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down’ (Gallant GT 3017) June 1966
The Off-Set – ’Xanthia (Lisa)’ / ’A Change Is Gonna Come’ (Jubilee 45-5542) 1967
Here are 4 excellent songs by a bunch of teens from Brooklyn, New York. The first record on Gallant sold quite well in New York. ’How She’s Hurtin Me’ is in my top ten folk rockers list.
Both sides were written by Drew Georgopulos. Credits on label read A. Georgeopulis. Is this a typo?
Fortunately no one cares because it’s a sparkling jangler with rattling tambourine and a teen punk guitar break that pretty much elevates the song into my top ten folk rock list.
I’m surprised that it’s only been compiled once before on From The New World back in the 8os. This was a vinyl only release. ’You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down’ is more garagey and far less tuneful but still good none the less.
The band changed their moniker to The Off-Set for their next release a year later on Jubilee. Another cool song, again written by Drew Georgopulos is ’Xanthia (Lisa)’ This one is a psychedelic effort with weird noises, jangly guitar, finger cymbals and plodding bass. Almost Byrdsian but on a much smaller budget of course.
The other side written by S. Cook is back to the jangle folk rocker mode with what sounds like an opening barrage of fuzz bass. All four songs were produced by Cis-Trans Production team.
Band members on these two 45s were:
Elliot Ingber (vocals)
Harley Wishner (bass)
Kenny Bennett (drums)
Art Steinman (lead guitar)
Drew Georgopulos (rhythm guitar)
The Grateful Dead – ‘Cream Puff War’ / ‘The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)’ (Warner Brothers 7016) 17th March 1967
This was the first Warner Bros single released by acid rock legends Grateful Dead. If you think the Dead were mostly boring 5 hour stoned guitar solos and tedious songs about nothing in particular, then you’d be almost right. They did have their moment of sheer brilliance and this 45 was it.
’Cream Puff War’ is almost garage punk. I say almost because it was produced by Dave Hassinger. He produced bands such as the Byrds, Love, Jefferson Airplane, Rolling Stones and Electric Prunes, so you ain’t gonna get garage from this guy.
He was too good a producer. However, if the Grateful Dead had a budget of $100 and 2 hours studio time and produced it themselves (like most teen punks) I reckon this single would have sounded a raw garage punker and would now be adulated by every garage nazi in the world.
Here’s some useless information about ’Cream Puff War’. This song has only ever been played in live performances 5 times. I got this statistic from some Dead Head site.
The flip ’The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)’ is more psychedelic and just as good. This 45 version is a different mix to that used for the album released a few months later.
Band members on this record were:
Jerry Garcia (guitar/vocals)
Bill Kreutzmann (drums)
Phil Lesh (bass)
Bob Weir (guitar)
The Grateful Dead rule on this disc….
Occasionally some home made, no budget CDR compilations are as good as they get. Paul Martin is responsible for one of my favourite comp series called Pop Cycles. These are excellently mastered with top grade sound quality and come with well researched liners.
Paul is the person behind this comp called Sweetness & Light, Hot ’n’ Heavy. The concept behind this release is to start with the more AOR late 60s /70s releases. The kinda music that your parents probably dug and you hated. The set gradually gets more heavy and freaky and by the end your parents would hate it and you would be diggin’ it.
I would not have placed the ultra cool 1st Century in with the lite psych 45s. This one sticks out as being more of an underground psycher. I wished he would have added the flip ’Dancing Girl ’ as well. This has been compiled recently on Soft Sounds For Gentle People Volume 4.
Unfortunately their attempt at mastering the 45 for their CD release is well below average and still needs to be presented properly. (I’m pleased to say I’ve got a copy on route from USA to England as I write this)
On this CDR release the sound quality of all the tracks could have been tidied up a bit and the pops and clicks evident on some of the selections could easily have been removed with a little skill. (I was told this was a rush release) Fortunately the music is loud and proud and still blows away those Soft Sounds CDs.
Most of the Sweetness and Light half is pleasant enough music with the occasional fuzzy guitar and tambourine bashing. So my favourite cuts on the first half of the collection are 1st Century, Pastoral Symphony’s ’Love Machine’ (this one has got great ’skying’ and whispered vocals) and The Trixons ’Just Another Song’ (which is a bouncy song complete with sunshine pop ’La La La’s)
Things start getting more freaky and heavy by the mid point. Some of the cuts sound progressive especially Black Feather and Genesis. The Wildwoods ’I’m Dreaming’ is out of place as this song is a magical psychedelic song with lyrics such as
’Several flowers cover my towers by the hour’ and ’Now I know how I can get get high, smelling my flower’..
The Stony Brook People’s ’There’s Tomorrow’ is a fast paced mover with brass and psychy guitar meanderings.
There is also room for overlooked gems from Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape and the Bob Seger System. ‘Mustache In Your Face’ by Pretty will pretty much blow your mind with it’s heaviness if you’ve not heard it before.
A new discovery for me was The Flames ’Solitude’. This song is a six minute slow paced raga sitar fest ending with the line ’Close your eyes I want to sleep in your mind’….
Expect none of these bands to feature in the anticipated Teen Beat Mayhem.