31 December, 2011

THE HIGHER STATE - TRANSPARENT DAY


THE HIGHER STATE - 'I'll Always Be Around'/'Transparent Day' (Get Hip Records GH-252) May 2011

Groups like The Higher State should be cherished in this day and age of bland corporate rock music. Not that many purist 60s influenced combos exist anymore, especially those treading the folk-rock steps of greats like WCPAEB and Merrell Fankhauser & HMS Bounty.

'I'll Always Be Around' is classy folk-rock with jangle and vocal harmonies. On the flip 'Transparent Day' is a stupendous version of the WCPAEB gem. Get this record while you can cos it won't always be around.

THE HIGHER STATE - Transparent Day




press release from State Records

29 December, 2011

THE WITCH DOCTORS - Death Ray '63


THE WITCH DOCTORS - Death Ray '63 (Dionysus ID074538) 1992

The Witch Doctors were a short lived group from the L.A and Orange County areas of CA and contained ex members of The Untold Fables (Paul Carey) and The Fuzztones (Jake Cavaliere). They did, however, release some singles and an album that are well worth tracking down.

'Death Ray '63' is a spooky Ventures inspired organ wig-out and is my pick out of this excelent four song EP recorded at the famed Wallyphonic Studios in Pasadena. The other stand out is their killer version of 'I'm So Restless' which is far superior than the original from 1965 by Dutch beat group Cuby and the Blizzards.  

THE WITCH DOCTORS - Death Ray '63




line-up: Dave Klein (drums) Gregg Hunt (vocals, guitar) Paul Carey (vocals, harmonica) Steve Hill (vocals, bass) Jake Cavaliere (organ)

27 December, 2011

THE STROLLERS - STAY AWAY



THE STROLLERS - 'Bring Her Home ' / 'Stay Away' (Low Impact Records 004) April 1998

Second 45 from Swedish band The Strollers and it certainly has quality written all over it. First of all the cover is very thick, just like those 60s EPs. Also the vinyl is heavy. This has got to be one of the heaviest 45s I've got (as in weight). So The Strollers or rather Low Impact Records certainly spent some money on this release.

I'm not too sure about the haircuts The Strollers are wearing. There's a couple of members who seem to have been cutting their own hair in the dark but who gives a shit about image? (well I do actually...) Fortunately it's the music that really counts and 'Bring Her Home' is a powerful garage rocker with a 'high in the mix' farfisa organ sound.

'Stay Away' is a full on fuzzfest with a loud pulsating beat. It's one of those teen punk girl 'put down' anthems. This one has a cool garage guitar solo...The singer has attitude and he wants his girl to fuck off.

"I've made up my mind baby
I ain't got nothing to say
Just stay away from me."

Mathias Lilja (lead vocals, guitar and songwriter, he wrote both songs here)
Henrik Wind (farfisa organ, vocals)
Peter Kalin (bass guitar)
Martin Karlsson (drums)




26 December, 2011

THE FLAT EARTH SOCIETY - When You're There


THE FLAT EARTH SOCIETY - 'When You're There' (Fleetwood FCLP 3027) 1968

When I first heard The Flat Earth Society LP in the 80s via a bootleg vinyl copy it immediately became a fixture on my turntable. The album 'Waleeco' came housed in a psychedelic collage sleeve with a small picture of the group, they looked very young and at the time of recording the music these boys were all still teenagers.

The album opener 'Feelin' Much Better' is a classic psych rocker with it's stoned guitar moves over some folk-rock tambourine frills. That song more than any, became my favourite Flat Earth Society song and still is.

Flat Earth Society at Fleetwood Recording Studio, 1968
After all of these years I still feel the need to play 'Waleeco' on a regular basis and it's an album I always play from beginning to end; as a studio album it has so many different moves from psych rock, folk, raga and even medieval. Remarkable considering the age of the group members.

In Boston, Massachusetts where The Flat Earth Society hailed from they were probably complete unknowns. I don't think the album was actually sold through record stores but only by mail order. In 1968 it would cost the buyer $1.50 plus six Waleeco candy bar wrappers. Mint copies of the LP will now set you back about $500. Unwanted copies were thrown away in 1974 when Fleetwood Records had a clear out.

My bootleg vinyl copy I obtained in the 80s was sold when I bought the stereo version Arf Arf released in the early 90s. The surviving mastertapes were used and it's a re-issue I strongly advise you to purchase.

FLAT EARTH SOCIETY - When You're There


Jack Kerivan (piano, organ, vocals) Phil Dubuque (rhythm guitar, recorder, lead vocals) Rick Doyle (lead guitar, tambourine, vocals) Curt Girard (drums) Paul Carter (bass, vocals)





SEAN BONNIWELL - R.I.P

20 December, 2011

CHRISTMAS WISHES TO ALL - update

I'm gonna spend some time over on my YouTube Channel (click on the link below). Here, I'll be posting obscure songs probably not available on my blog. Infact I'll probably STOP writing about 60s groups as much on 'Flower Bomb Songs' and just post songs on YouTube.

Instead I feel that I want to re-discover my garage and psych revival records. So I'll be giving them some exposure in 2012. One look on YouTube and you'll agree that 60s garage is now well documented on that site and is usually the first place people search for songs/groups, this was not the case when I started my blog in 2007. Times change.....

Anyway, I'd like to wish my readers a happy Christmas and prosperous New Year. With a bit luck you'll all get some decent presents (for a change) and not that second hand jumper out of Scope or other hideous charity shops.

Don't stuff your faces with turkey and other flesh, killing is wrong and eating meat ain't good for you. Become a vegetarian and love animals.

17 December, 2011

THE BLUE SPECTRUM - WAKE UP GIRL



THE BLUE SPECTRUM - 'Wake Up Girl'/'Love Is Gone' (G&T GT-101) 1968

Undocumented and unknown garage psych 45 by The Blue Spectrum. I'm at a loss with this one so if anyone knows anything about it get in touch. The label shows an El Monte., California address so I'm presuming this outfit were from the West Coast.

'Wake Up Girl' is a slow paced fuzztoned psycher with some cool touches of organ. The production by Goodman-Tetreault is excellent on both sides of the disc.
'Love Is Gone' sounds a more commercial prospect starting as it does with sunshine pop 'bah, bah, bah's over weaving Ray Manzarek style organ runs. Very cool pop tune.

(Since posting this 45 on 08/09/08 MTM has supplied copyright information confirming that Robert Goodman resided in Compton, CA, Tetreault in El Monte reg. Oct 30, 1968)

Since my Blue Spectrum post I have been contacted by Craig Niece, they keyboard player from the group. Craig shared kindly information about The Blue Spectrum and sent me a rare promo picture of the band.

Craig, thanks for getting in touch. I LOVE The Blue Spectrum 45, it's a very rare item and cost me about $180 a couple of years ago. I bought it from a records dealer on Ebay. He posted a snippet of the songs and I just had to have it as I collect 60s psychedelic singles. I live in England by the way!

I'd love to know more about The Blue Spectrum, such as other group members...I know you can't recall the names, but you never know...your memory might be 'jogged'.
Where was the record recorded? studio etc.
Any more songs recorded but unreleased?
Did the group play any gigs?
I take it you were all still teenagers at the time?

Craig:  I was pleased to see that you've posted an old record of mine on your website, "Opulent Conceptions" My band was The Blue Spectrum and the 45 was "Love Is Gone" and "Wake Up Girl."  "Love is Gone" was supposed to be the "A" side.

We were all High School kids from Redlands and Yucaipa, chosen by Goodman and Tetrault from a bunch of other local bands. The vocals and guitars are from a couple of brothers whose names elude me right now. We also had bass, drums and organ; I was the organist. I left California right after the release, which I believe was June 6th, 1968. It was around then because I remember calling the local station to play it and being told to have some respect because Robert Kennedy had just been assassinated. 

What a hoot! I'm so happy you enjoy the recording. It is a rare one. Here's what I remember (I'm 61 now and that was a long, long time ago). My parents and I had just moved to Southern California during the summer of '67, The Summer of Love. We came from Albuquerque, New Mexico and the cultural shift was as strong as if I would've traveled to your town. It hit me hard and I was playing in a band (The Chocolate Lightbulb) by autumn. We were popular enough to do school gigs and play at the local university. I was approached after a gig about making records.

Goodman and Tetrault put the band together (or at least asked me aboard) to promote some of their songs. We had hoped to debut at Disneyland! They set-up the recording sessions in West Covina, California. My family moved again, right after the record release, and I had to leave everyone behind. We actually made other recordings but I left before anything went much further.

You mentioned The Chocolate Lightbulb. I'm aware of an Uplands, CA group called The Chocolate Lightbulbs. They released a 45, I'll Forgive You Girl"/"Poor Little Girl" on Lennan Records. The label number was 1263. This is also a rare record and the last last one I know about sold for approx $130. It doesn't show up that often.

I wonder if this outfit were your old group and maybe recorded and released the record after you moved on? I'd be surprised if there were two groups with such a weird name..


Craig: I was only sixteen when my family moved to Arizona and i just didn't keep up with the folks in California. I had only lived there a year, but what a year: Southern California in 1967 & 1968! So, one of the guys might have kept the 'Lightbulb moniker and I wouldn't have known about it.

By the way I was playing a Farfisa Combo Compact organ back then, I actually rented it from month to month (it's funny, my current keyboard can imitate the sound perfectly).

Here's an original publicity picture. From left to right is the drummer. He was actually kind of famous because his adoptive parents wrote a best-selling book about their multi-racial, adopted family titled, "The Family That Nobody Wanted." In the back are two brothers, who were the vocalists and guitarists. The gentleman on the far right played bass. I'm the sullen teenager in the front.
It is so cool that the little 45 found its way across the Atlantic!

update from group member Kevin Culhane on 16th February 2016:


Hi Colin,
I saw your page on this record. The Blue Spectrum is a band that my brother Dan and I put together when we were teenagers in Yucaipa California. I am the second from the left in the picture and Dan is the third. He played the lead guitar and I played rhythm guitar. The record was produced by Bob Goodman and Norbert Tetrault. Tetrault has a high background vocal on "Love Is Gone". We also recorded another record called "Better Not Cry." I have the master. I later went away to Law School; Dan to Med School. We both still play for fun. Dan and I wrote the songs and you can see our names on the record label.

"Better Not Cry" was mastered but never released. My brother and I learned playing Kingston Trio and Brothers Four folk songs as grade schoolers, he played acoustic guitar and I played a tenor banjo. Everything changed with the arrival of the Beatles. So in high school we always had a band, and Craig Niece filled in things from there. 
We played a lot of gigs at military bases and colleges, but we were just kids. I was 16, and Dan was 15, when "Love Is Gone"/"Wake Up Girl" was recorded. That's just California in the 60's. I think I said in my last email that Dan and I wrote both, but it might have been Bob Goodman. Believe it or not, I actually remember being in the studio when that record was made.
All these years later, I still take lessons every week.






THE ROGUES - Lawdy Miss Clawdy


THE ROGUES - 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy'/'Take Ten' (Rogue) 1965

There must have been hundreds of groups in the 60s calling themselves The Rogues and here's another one of them who managed to record a 45. I don't know anything about these Rogues, not a great deal of information is on the label so it may have been a vanity pressing of a few hundred discs.

'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' is the timeless rock 'n' roll tune, this one's got a neat guitar sound and at 2:00 minutes long is a short, sharp shock of coolness.

THE ROGUES - Lawdy Miss Clawdy

15 December, 2011

THE JESTERS III - Say That I'm The One


THE JESTERS III - 'Say That I'm The One'/'Pledge Of Love' (Coulee C45-114) April 1965

I've seen a publicity photo of The Jesters III and unsurprisingly they're a three piece combo with smart jackets and neat haircuts. On the pic they're billed as The Jesters Three.

They're thought to have been from La Crosse, Wisconsin but other than an entry in Barry Wickham's Garage 45 Price Guide nothing has been written about them. 'Say That I'm The One' did turn up on a recent Gravel CD so maybe that release has some liner notes about the group?

'Say That I'm The One' was the B-side and has a beat sound with a singer obviously influenced by Buddy Holly. Clocking in at 1:46 the song doesn't really get going. Would have been better with a guitar break.

'Pledge of Love' is a love ballad.

THE JESTERS III - Say That You're The One

14 December, 2011

THE CINDERMEN - Think Of Me


THE CINDERMEN - 'Think Of Me'/'I'm Happy' (Moonglow M-5002) 1965

Last year I made contact with Cindermen drummer Sam Sinopoli and he furnished me with much needed information about his teenage beat group from Fresno, California. At the time I did not have their debut 45 'Think Of Me' in my collection but since then I've added it to my stash of records so I thought I'd give it some exposure. (My copy has been signed by group members)

'Think Of Me' written by Cindermen lead singer Fred Perry is a noteworthy Brit Invasion influenced jangly pop song with an equal measure of The Beatles and The Searchers. It's such a commercial sounding disc and should have been a massive seller.

Here's the link to my Sam Sinopoli interview if you missed it here

THE CINDERMEN - Think Of Me

12 December, 2011

FISH 'N' CHIPS - Four Times Faster


FISH 'N' CHIPS - 'Four Times Faster'/'The Whole Thing Is Getting Out Of Hand' (Joy Records 45k-297) May 1965

This group of teenagers from Bergen County, New Jersey certainly have that Brit Invasion beat sound with their commercial sounding 'Four Times Faster.' Don't know if it was a hit or anything but Fish 'n' Chips appear to have been successful in their own region often supporting bigger name groups.

The producer, Tommy Kaye may be known to some as a songwriter having been the composer of 'Hey Little Bird' performed by The Barbarians (also for Joy Records).

line-up:
Steve Mann (guitar)
Rich Klechner (bass/vocals)
Don Swicker (drums)
Pete Trugiani (guitar)
Bruce Herring (vocals)

FISH 'N' CHIPS - Four Times Faster


Fish 'n' Chips meet members of The Kinks 1965. Pic taken from here

10 December, 2011

PAWNEE DRIVE - RIDE


PAWNEE DRIVE - 'Break My Mind'/'Ride' (Forward Records F-103) May 1969

Probably a studio outfit from Los Angeles, Austin Roberts, the singer/songwriter of 'Ride' had links with the Hanna-Barbera cartoon enterprise.

'Ride' is hard driving bubblegum and had the potential to be a smash but was lost on the flip of 'Break My Mind'. Shame, as this one really rocks and the suggestive lyrics are a hoot.


06 December, 2011

ACID VISIONS - The Best of Texas Punk and Psychedelia


ACID VISIONS (Voxx VHM 200.008) 1983

I started buying 60s garage compilations in 1984 and my earliest experience into the world of comps were Acid Visions, Attack Of The Jersey Teens and the first two volumes of Back From The Grave. Throughout the 80s I kept a diary and notes of any records that I bought, so I'm hoping those will reveal the exact date and vinyl bought from Funhouse Records, a mail order records emporium, who, during that time used to get a monthly order from me.

My insatiable thirst for 60s garage and psych LPs had to be curtailed with a small budget because during 1984 to 1988 I was either unemployed or spending life as a student.  Money was tight but I somehow always found spare cash for compilations.

'Acid Visions' on Voxx Records was the one comp that truely opened my mind to a whole new sound. Those Texas groups with their wild fuzztoned noise really appealed to my senses. This LP was on heavy rotation and has been a constant thrill for nearly 30 years. Strangely, I've never got any of the songs compiled on an original 45. Some of them will be within my budget but I'm thinking that records by A-440, The Stoics and Satori will be outta my price range (if they ever did show up for sale)


Over the years I've dowloaded hundreds of label scans from fellow collectors and the scans that appear with this article are from the collections of Rich Strauss and Mark Taylor who both have stellar garage collections. A couple of the scans come from popsike. Of course the 'Acid Visions' label and back cover pics come from my treasured vinyl copy of the latter.

The edited liners that make up the bulk of this article were written by Peter Buesnell and are the words that appeared on the back cover of 'Acid Visions.'


Side One opens with 'Comin' Up Fast, Part 1', by The Great Believers out of Houston. Originally known as Amos Boynton & the ABCs, the group consisted of Johnny and Edgar Winter, Amos Boynton and Dave Russell. A great fuzz bass pumps along with everybody shouting and talking to provide a great party atmosphere. Johnny laments about not being able to grow up in the mid 60s, missing out on mini-dresses and the like. (I'm hoping Buesnell means that Johnny wanted to see mini-dresses on girls not to actually wear them himself).


Out of Fort Worth, came The Scotty McKay Quintet. McKay opened for The Yardbirds and was befriended by Jimmy Page. He sent Page a tape of 'Train Kept A-Rollin', Page sent it back with his lead guitar dubbed in. The result is one of the best versions you're likely to ever hear.



A-440, Rock Romano of The Fun and Games played guitar for A-440, who were from Houston. 'Torture' is a great psychedelic punker with a raw vocal singing about death and other great subjects while a voice whispers the song title over and over behind the music. The drummer bangs unmercifully at the kit while a Bubble Puppy style lead guitar and thick Farfisa organ chords fill it out.

The Things were from Houston but little else is known. Their recordings never made it to vinyl, which is a shame, as they were a great Farfisa based band. A nice fuzz guitar interweaves through both of their songs.
'I Don't Believe It' and 'In Your Soul' originate from tapes.


The Stoics have one of the most interesting stories of all the bands here. Comprised of Bill Ash, later in The Children on lead guitar, Al Acosta lead vocals, Sam Allen drums, Roy Quillan on rhythm guitar and Mike Marachal on bass, they came from San Antonio.

The Stoics had become favourites of a Mexican gang called 'Capinch'. They always won all the 'Battle Of The Bands' in San Antonio. It seems that the 'Capinch' would always be present during the voting to make sure all the kids picked The Stoics. Nothing more than friendly persuasion, of course.

'Enough Of What I Need' was also recorded by The Children (on Laramie Records), could have been a big hit but the KTSA Radio Station in San Antonio banned it because of the line:

"Remember all the nights you kissed my lips
And the pleasure of my fingertips"

As a result of no airplay, there were no sales and no need to press more than 150 copies, thus a very rare record. The flip side 'Hate' is also a very strong tune, being originally credited on the 45 to Jay Ketira, leader of the 'Capinch', even though he didn't write it. Always helps to keep your friends happy.


Satori was a one man group from Houston. Dennis Warkentin played everything in sight for this one. The song featured on 'Acid Visions' is 'Time Machine', the B-side of the single is '1000 Micrograms of Love'.
'Time Machine' is one of the most frantic all out rockers of the 60s, much like '7 & 7 Is' by Love. The lead guitar has a high trebly sound that eats at you through the whole song and doesn't let up. Truely one of the most unique things out of Texas, collectors will be looking hard for this one.


The Ramadas was one of Neal Ford's bands before he formed The Fanatics. 'Life Is So Tough' is almost a parady of all the white boy plays the blues bands. This actually sounds like white boys playing the blues with almost easy listening vocals over a nice bluesy pattern.
Listening to these guys singing about how tough life is will definately give you a lift.

Although Roy Head is currently pursuing a country career, at one time he was a great rock'n'roll singer. 'Easy Lovin' Girl' written by Johnny Winter, is one of Roy's great rockin' cuts. The Great Believers are the back-up band with Johnny Winter providing some great fuzz guitar and with, we presume, Edgar Winter playing some wild vibraphone. Roy Head shows off some fine rhythm 'n' blues vocalizing on this tune.
'Easy Lovin' Girl' is from tapes and previously unreleased.


Besides his work with The Believers, almost all of Johnny Winter's output has been the blues. One of the exceptions to this is the B-side of 'Leavin' Blues'. 'Birds Can't Row Boats,' a Byrds/Blue Things like guitar rings throughout with Johnny doing his best impression of Mouse imitating Dylan. The lyrics are worth the price of admission alone.

"Ugly are the spiders of the mind
The reality of you turns them on"

The comp used an album version of 'Birds Can't Row Boats' which is a slightly different take/mix of the single released on Pacemaker Records.




The Pandas were a five man combo from Alamo City, San Antonio. Originally called The Centurys, they released a version of 'Whole Lot Of Shakin' in 1965. This single 'Walk' is one of the best Texas ravers. It features incredible fuzz lead/rhythm guitar and a bass riff that pulsates so much you'll want to get up and dance before you realise what's happening. The Pandas later became The Giant Smiling Dogs, with no known recordings.

 
Since 'Acid Visions' was released in 1983 it has been confirmed that The Bad Roads hailed from Lake Charles, Louisiana and were a six piece outfit. Members were Buzz Clark (vocals), Terry Green (lead guitar), Briant Smith (rhythm guitar), Mike Hicks (bass), Kenny Cooley (tambourine) and Danny Kimball (drums).

'Blue Girl' is one of those instantly addictive songs with a great fuzz lead, punky sneering vocals and Farfisa pumping along in the background. It has a memorable guitar breaks in the middle of the song. Killer!!

It was originally assumed that The Bad Roads were from Texas however, this was untrue. They did travel to Houston in 1967 to appear on a The Larry Kane Show, a local TV music programme to lip-sync two songs. I wonder if the tape still exists? 

The Bad Roads had all four of their songs re-issued by Sundazed in 1999 on a must have EP.

The Bad Roads
Closing out the album is Amos Boynton & The ABCs, the earlier incarnation of The Great Believers. This is a different version of 'Comin' Up Fast' with different lyrics, vocalists and a much heavier fuzz guitar line. This version was recorded in Tyler, Texas.

AMOS BOYNTON and the ABCs - The Ballad Of Bertha Glutz




Records used on 'Acid Visions':

THE GREAT BELIEVERS
'Comin' Up Fast Part 1'/'Comin' Up Fast Part 2' (Cascade 365) January 1970 *see comment from MTM*

SCOTTY McKAY QUINTET
'The Train Kept A'Rollin'/'The Theme From The Black Cat' (Falcon FIC-101) 1967

A-440
'Torture'/'It's Just Your Mind' (Sona USA-103) May 1967

THE STOICS
'Enough Of What I Need'/'Hate' (Brams Records BM-101) January 1967

SATORI
'Time Machine'/'1000 Micrograms Of Love' (Stefek Records S-621) June 1967

THE RAMADAS
'Life Is So Tough'/'The Very First Time' (New World 2008) 1965

THE PANDAS
'Walk'/'Girl From New York City' (Swingtime SW-1001/2) 1966

THE BAD ROADS
'Blue Girl'/'Too Bad' (JIN 45-210) September 1966

JOHNNY WINTER
'Leavin' Blues'/'Birds Can't Row Boats' (Pacemaker Records PM-243) 1966
**album take used on Acid Visions**

01 December, 2011

KEITH EVERETT - The Chant


KEITH EVERETT - 'The Chant'/'Light Bulb' (Mercury 72854) 1968

Keith Everett, real name Keith Gravenhorst had a big hit in Chicago on TMP-Ting Records 'Don't You Know'/'Conscientious Objector' and a follow up on the same label followed. However, his music career stalled somewhat when he was posted  to Vietnam shortly after 'Don't You Know' started to make inroads on the charts. Presumably, the follow up was released whilst he was fighting the yellow man.

The Mercury release from 1968 is scarce but well worth tracking down. 'The Chant' is hard driving bubblegum pop with fuzz about a runaway slave and his eventual murder by his captives after being shot in the ribs....nice.... Not a subject that would encourage radio airplay.   

KEITH EVERETT - The Chant