31 July, 2012

OPULENT CONCEPTIONS

 


I've been hanging out here for a few days. Bookmark my new site as a favourite cos it's gonna be a trip.....



20 July, 2012

THE YARDBIRDS - PUZZLES


THE YARDBIRDS - 'Little Games'/'Puzzles' (Columbia DB 8165) April 1967

The first fruits of the Mickie Most liaison with The Yardbirds came with this single from 1967 that failed to chart. As a consequence it's probably their most difficult UK release to find. Also it should be noted that the group had lost Jeff Beck at this point in time and were now a four piece.

'Little Games' appears to get more acclaim and it does have some interesting swinging London lyrics:

"Parties in Chelsea flats
Mixing with kinky cats."

I much prefer the psych rock charged flip 'Puzzles' complete with some killer Page guitar flashes and an excelent vocal performance by Keith Relf.
Despite 'Little Games' having a commercial pop appeal and the group still having obvious potential to create much more experimental pop music it sadly turned out to be The Yardbirds final UK release.

'Sweet Josephine'/'Think About It' was scheduled as a single and acetates were manufactured. Columbia even gave it a serial number of DB 8368 but for whatever reason this proposed 45 was shelved in Britain although it did appear in other countries around the world.




THE YARDBIRDS - HAPPENINGS TEN YEARS TIME AGO


THE YARDBIRDS - 'Happenings Ten Years Time Ago'/'Psycho Daisies' (Columbia DB 8024) October 1966

The Yardbirds had gone from a blueswailing R&B outfit to a full blown psychedelic guitar rock band in the space of two years. It helped of course that they were able to draw on the talents of twin lead guitarists Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, the latter having recently joined the ranks.

This particular line-up of The Yardbirds was short lived and only a handful of recordings exist apart from these two '66 pearls of psych. 'Happenings Ten Years Time Ago' didn't go down too well with the kids and it failed to crack the top 40, which in those days was a disaster.

Underneath the loud dueling guitars listen out for the spoken lines that apparently were said to Beck by a Doctor at a VD clinic in Hammersmith,

"Pop group are yer? Why yer gotta wear long hair?

I've read elsewhere that John Paul Jones played bass guitar on this track.

I find the flip 'Psycho Daisies' just as intense. It's a fast paced psych rocker with a mention of Hollywood glamour girl Mary Hughes. English psych group Apple covered this one, you'll find it on their album 'An Apple A Day.'






19 July, 2012

THE YARDBIRDS - OVER UNDER SIDEWAYS DOWN


THE YARDBIRDS - 'Over Under Sideways Down'/'Jeff's Boogie' (Columbia DB 7928) May 1966

The Yardbirds hit the top 10 once again with the self penned 'Over Under Sideways Down' which is a bit of a throwback to their earlier R&B movers but of course the Jeff Beck raga tinged guitar sound makes it very much a '66 swinger.

The flip 'Jeff's Boogie' is indeed another blues instro shuffler and somewhat of a calming influence after the psych beat of the other side.

Soon after the release of this 45 original bass player Paul Samwell-Smith left The Yardbirds to concentrate on production and was very successful of course with the early records by Cat Stevens. He was replaced by long time friend of the band Jimmy Page initially on bass guitar but soon after switched with Chris Dreja enabling him to become the second lead guitarist alonside Jeff Beck.

 

18 July, 2012

THE YARDBIRDS - SHAPES OF THINGS


THE YARDBIRDS - 'Shapes Of Things'/'You're A Better Man Than I' (Columbia DB 7848) March 1966

According to Record Collector both sides of this incredible single were recorded at Studios in USA whilst the band were on tour there in late 1965. Sun and Chess studios were mentioned. At the same time they cut versions of 'The Train Kept A Rollin' and 'I'm A Man'

'Shapes of Things' became The Yardbirds fourth Top 3 single in a row. Listen out for an amazing Jeff Beck psychedelic guitar break. Remember that this song was recorded in late 1965...The Yardbirds were so far ahead of the game it's mind boggling really.

The flip 'You're A Better Man Than I' is commercial enough to have been the top side. Indeed this Mike Hugg song was covered by many American garage and psych groups in the mid 60s.



The Yardbirds on the cover of KRLA Beat - October 1965


THE YARDBIRDS - STILL I'M SAD


THE YARDBIRDS - 'Evil Hearted You'/'Still I'm Sad' (Columbia DB 7706) October 1965

'Still I'm Sad' has always been a firm favourite. With it's introspective lyrics and dark moodiness over a constant and rather mysterious gregorian chant, The Yardbirds created a piece of work ahead of it's time.

The eastern rhythms and chants are very experimental so say the least which gives 'Still I'm Sad' a wondrous psychedelic feel. It's astonishing to think that the song was recorded in mid '65.

The top side and superlative 'Evil Hearted You' was a big hit in England, reaching #3 but it's the overlooked minor key greatness of the flip that finds it's rightful place on my site.

France release


Germany release


Denmark release


THE YARDBIRDS - HEART FULL OF SOUL


THE YARDBIRDS - 'Heart Full Of Soul'/'Steeled Blues' (Columbia DB 7594) June 1965

Another example proving that The Yardbirds were somewhat ahead of their time was their next single release, the Graham Gouldman penned classic 'Heart Full Of Soul' in June 1965. It's one of the earliest examples of Eastern music being mixed with the rock format.

The Yardbirds recorded a version of this using a sitar but the results were deemed not good enough for commercial release. Instead, Jeff Beck used a fuzz box with his guitar to recreate the exotic sounds. It still sounds psychedelic to me though.

The flip 'Steeled Blues' is a blues instro by Jeff Beck with Keith Relf's harmonica bursts.



Italian release




17 July, 2012

THE YARDBIRDS - FOR YOUR LOVE


THE YARDBIRDS - 'For Your Love'/'Got To Hurry' (Columbia DB 7499) March 1965

This was the breakthrough hit that The Yardbirds needed but it came at a cost with Eric Clapton leaving the group soon afterwards. He wanted to play R&B but the rest of The Yardbirds wanted to experiment with different sounds.

'For Your Love' is certainly different and experimental. The use of harpsichord, played by Brian Auger was a perfect choice as it transforms the song into a genre that over time would be known as baroque pop. The bongos were played by session man Denny Piercey.
Jim McCarty's drum beats lifts the band into a rock groove.

'For Your Love' was written by Graham Gouldman who would become famous as a member of 10cc in the 70s. Curiously, the label states Gould. Could have been a spelling error I suppose.

The flip 'Got To Hurry' was a group original and a vehicle for Eric Clapton's blues guitar skills. It is believed that it was his performance on this instrumental that got him the job as new lead guitarist with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.



French release

THE YARDBIRDS - GOOD MORNING LITTLE SCHOOLGIRL


THE YARDBIRDS - 'Good Morning Little Schoolgirl'/'I Ain't Got You' (Columbia DB 7391) October 1964

The second single by The Yardbirds stalled just outside the top 40 and like their debut is quite difficult to find. Both songs have got the English R&B template that was very popular at the time but without a hit The Yardbirds would struggle to expand their horizons outside of the London area.

'Good Morning Little Schoolgirl' is notable for a killer Eric Clapton guitar break that elevates the song above average. The flip 'I Ain't Got You' is a bluesy shuffle with another classy guitar break and harmonica by (presumably) Keith Relf.

I have scanned the pictures of The Yardbirds from my Teenbeat annual. I've never seen these pics anywhere else before. The old fashioned road lights being a relic of history. It's funny seeing someone as serious as Eric Clapton holding one up with a smirk on his face.






16 July, 2012

THE YARDBIRDS - A CERTAIN GIRL


THE YARDBIRDS - 'A Certain Girl'/'I Wish You Would' (Columbia DB 7283) May 1964

The debut Yardbirds single was released six months before I was born. Both sides are choice R&B covers. Note that the label simply lists the group as Yardbirds...

Incidentally, the group got their name from some beat poetry by Jack Kerouac. Keith Relf liked the word 'yardbird' Kerouac used to describe hobo's who bummed lifts on trains across the States from old rail yards. Both songs were recorded during the first time The Yardbirds were inside a professional recording studio at Olympic Studios, near Baker Street in London.








15 July, 2012

SVENSK - GETTING OLD


SVENSK - 'Dream Magazine'/'Getting Old' (Fontana 272 354 TF) August 1967

Despite the Swedish sounding name Svensk were a duo from Southern England. Roger Hopkins and Jason Paul met one another in Bournemouth in early 1967 and started writing songs. They impressed Larry Page at Page One Records enough to sign them up to his label.

The duo were promoted as 'the two new beautiful people on the block' and their debut single 'Dream Magazine'/'Getting Old' was marketed heavily throughout Europe. Several countries released it with a picture sleeve showing Svensk in a recording studio.

My copy of the 45 is the Spanish release, other countries adopted different graphics but more or less the same image. The single was released on Page One in Britain but Fontana in other areas.

Both sides are excelent psych pop, 'Dream Magazine' is notable for the unique church organ sound. I've always had a fondness for the more laid back 'Getting Old.'   

Svensk had another shot at fame with a follow up single but it went nowhere and they split up. Roger Hopkins formed his own production company and moved into marketing and T.V. commercials.





13 July, 2012

TOMMY RAYE - YOU DON'T LOVE ME


TOMMY RAYE - 'You Don't Love Me'/'Don't Let Me Be The Last to Know' (Pen Records 351) 196?

I'm kind of out of my comfort zone with this 45 as I didn't know anything about Tommy Raye until I did some investigations today. It seems that Tommy sometimes went by the name of Tommy Tucker to confuse me even more. I know the song from Sonny & Cher.

What I do know is best represented by my ears and feel for music. 'You Don't Know Me' is a solid mod R&B mover with some tasty guitar and organ interplay. Tommy's soulful vocals are just right for the laid back vibe, only he's singing about the fact that his girl doesn't love him anymore so maybe he should be sounding a bit more pissed off. Perhaps he's glad she's gonna do a runner?

The songwriting credit is given to Willie Cobbs, he released his version of the song back in 1961. Truth is certainly stranger than fiction as we sometimes know and it appears than the originator of the song is Bo Diddley. He wrote the song but it's original title was 'She's Fine, She's Mine' releasing it on Checker Records back in 1955.

Pen Records operated out of Memphis Tennessee. I'm not sure if Tommy Raye had this released on XL Records first, then on Pen Records but I'm sure those with a better knowledge than me will confirm one way or the other.

  

11 July, 2012

PINNOCHIO & THE PUPPETS - FUSION


PINNOCHIO & THE PUPPETS - 'Fusion'/'Cowboys and Indians' (Mercury 72659) 1967

This record is most definately my favourite find of 2012 and I'm delighted to add it to my collection. When The Teddy Boys were either dropped by their label or simply decided to try something mind blowingly psychedelic with a different name, they came up with this impressive two sided instrumental.

'Fusion' is perhaps what it suggests in the title. It's a fusion of western rock music with eastern raga, a heady combination when you hear the results. The flip 'Cowboys and Indians' is another fine psychedelic piece, this time with a surf guitar riff. An absolute killer of a 45 in my opinion.

After this one-off release on Mercury the group changed their name to Mortimer and had some success with a couple of singles and an album on Philips.

Both sides of the disc were arranged by Lou Adessa. I did a little research on the latter and he was responsible or at least co-wrote two Flower Bomb Songs worthy tunes that were recorded by The Cyrkle and Paul Revere and the Raiders. His songs 'Camero' and 'SS 396' were manufactured by Columbia Records and supplied to Chevrolet Car Dealers and given free to customers who test drove the new 1967 Camero......"The Swinging Chevy Circle".....  

line-up:
Bob Ronga
Guy Masson
Tom Smith
Tony van Benschoten  




10 July, 2012

THE WEIRD STREET CARNIVAL - THE INNER TRUTH


THE WEIRD STREET CARNIVAL - 'The Inner Truth'/'The Subterranean Edible Fungus' (Copra Record CO-2305) 1968

I've had this great 45 for years but for some reason never got around to writing about it until now. I did some internet searching and found out that Garagehangover got there first almost six years ago to the day. Check out the group pictures and information from various group members.

The Weird Street Carnival were based in Mt Kisco, NY and actually started performing together back in 1964 but it took several line-up and moniker changes before they were able to raise enough funds to get into a recording studio in 1968.

The top side was the Dylanesque and strangely named 'The Subterranean Edible Fungus'. It was confirmed by group member Rick Garfinkel that they were almost called The Subterranean Edible Fungus but decided to call the song that title instead.

Far more interesting to me is the garage psych flip 'The Inner Truth' written by Producer George Thorn-Fragos. The haunting organ sound giving the song it's eeriness. None of the group were into lysergic psychedelics, the song just came out this way!



    

09 July, 2012

UNITED NATIONS - IN MY DREAMS


UNITED NATIONS - 'In My Dreams'/'Cause I Love You' (Cha Cha Records C-771) 1966

This is an obscure 45 from Chicago that may have been the work of a duo. Both songs are credited to Bob Economous and William Archibald (his surname is mis-spelled on label).

'In My Dreams' is perhaps the more immediate side which is a pleasant and slow paced folk rocker. It also borrows heavily from The Beatles 'You Won't See Me', the 'Rubber Soul' album cut. Infact I'd go as far to say that it's a blatant steal. I'm sure The Beatles legal team would have been involved had this record become a hit of any sort.

08 July, 2012

THE CHOIR - CHANGIN' MY MIND


THE CHOIR - 'When You Were With Me'/'Changin' My Mind' (Roulette R-7005) January 1968

The sound on both sides of this disc is a long way from the superlative sounds on 'It's Cold Outside'/'I'm Going Home' which must rank as one of the very best two siders of all time. The Choir struggled to repeat the success of that record and by the end of 1967 were recording music that was commercial pop.

'When You Were With Me' is a strong orchestrated pop song with some brass flourishes. The rich textures of the vocals makes it stand along some of the more introspective Left Banke tunes. The flip 'Changin' My Mind' is in the same pop style and reminds me of late period Beach Boys. Strangely, this song did not get compiled on either of Sundazed releases 'Choir Practice' or 'Psychedelic Microdots Volume 3' where The Choir have five of their songs intact.

Reading the liners of 'Psychedelic Microdots' it appears that The Choir did not play their instruments on these songs, instead Roulette used session musicians. Jeff Jarema describes 'Changin' My Mind' as unmentionable!






07 July, 2012

RILEY WYLDFLOWER - THE SMOG SONG


RILEY WYLDFLOWER - 'The Smog Song'/'Electric California' (Beacon Records BCN-1) 196?

When I reviewed The Gentle Soul 45 'Tell Me Love' a member of the group, guitarist Riley Wyldflower, sounded like an intriquing musician to find out more about. As a consequence, I've been trying to find his record 'The Smog Song'/'Electric California' for the best part of a year.

I finally managed to track down a copy last month for $45. It's condition wasn't the best, it had definately seen better days and looked like it hadn't been in a protective sleeve for decades. It's also on blue vinyl. Thankfully, it may look dog eared but it plays rather well.

'The Smog Song' is what I would call 'hippie blues' and I'm in no doubt that both sides of the disc were recorded after Riley's stint with The Gentle Soul. Probably late 1968 or 1969. The song is notable for the spoken intro of a news reader describing that people in the City were collapsing with smog poisoning. Maybe the city in question is San Francisco?

The other side 'Electric California' is much more experimental and was written by B. Boatman. I did some research on the producers/co-songwriters Boatman and Shryock but didn't come up with much. G. Shryock may be the producer that power pop group 20/20 used for their 1978 recordings.

It appears that Riley Wyldflower's real name is Riley Cummings. He hooked up with Peter Tork and played with Tork's group in 1968-69.

Striking out on his own, he formed a group called 'Peter Tork And/Or Release' with girlfriend Reine Stewart on drums (she had played drums on part of 33⅓ Revolutions Per Monkee), Riley "Wildflower" Cummings on bass and - sometimes - singer/keyboard player Judy Mayhan. 

Tork said in April 1969, "We sometimes have four. We're thinking of having a rotating fourth. Right now, the fourth is that girl I'm promoting named Judy Mayhan." "We're like Peter's back-up band", added Stewart, "except we happen to be a group instead of a back-up band." Release hoped to have a record out immediately, and Tork has said that they did record some demos, which he may still have stored away somewhere. 

According to Stewart the band were supposed to go to Muscle Shoals as the backing band for Mayhan's Atlantic Records solo album Moments (1970) but they were ultimately replaced. They mainly played parties for their "in" friends and one of their songs was considered for the soundtrack to Easy Rider, but the producers - who had also produced Head - eventually decided not to include it. Release could not secure a record contract, and by 1970 Tork was once again a solo artist."
 
thanks to Eric Bluhm for the info regarding the Peter Tork connection. 

 


UPDATE:

In June 2013 I was contacted by Riley Wyldflower's sister Lisa Mattioni.

Lisa kindly sent me a photograph of Riley and information relevant to this rare 45. 

My brother, Riley, wrote "The Smog Song" to call attention to the lack of air quality in Los Angeles in 1967. Being the 60's, it was also a tongue in cheek reference to smoking marijuana. I have a photo of him, standing in the hills overlooking LA in a gas mask that he'd intended to have put on a cover for the 45 rpm record that you have.