27 July, 2013

THE PONY EXPRESS - WHAT YOU DONE DONE



THE PONY EXPRESS - '(I Dream Of) Pennies'/'What You Done Done' (Reprise 0650) December 1967

Who were The Pony Express and where did they hail from? That's a question I've been asking myself today and despite some research have failed to solve this little query.

They got a mention in 'Fuzz, Acid & Flowers' who confirmed that they released at least two singles on Reprise. The first one listed is 'What Is Wrong With Our Love'/'Big Brown Eyes' (Reprise 0603) from June 1967 and this one reviewed from December 1967.

'(I Dream Of) Pennies' is finely balanced on the cusp of innocent naive sunshine pop and psychedelic trippiness. It glides along on a perfectly summery Sesame Street type bouncy rhythm, until you notice the trippy distorted background vocals. Some decent harmony sighs at the start of the break.

The flip 'What You Done Done' is slightly more beaty with tougher vocals but with sunshine pop 'bah, bah, bah's...a strange and effective mix of Association pop with garage. I don't think The Pony Express have been compiled before.

THE GRETTA SPOONE BAND - CLOSE YOUR EYES



THE GRETTA SPOONE BAND - 'Close Your Eyes'/'I Do Believe You're Dreaming' (Pompeii 45-66694) 1968

Here's another record I bought back in 2005, at the time nothing was known about the weirdly named Gretta Spoone Band but since then group members have been located and their story has been told here.

They were quite an odd-ball Dallas bunch and if this record is anything to go by, sounded nothing like their contemporaries from Texas. Infact I think the lo-fi sound is very unique. Hopelessly uncommercial with little or no chance of any chart success but it's a personal fave of mine.

'Close Your Eyes' has a late night pop psychedelic feel to it with it's floaty charm, hazy melody and metronomic rhythm. Reminds me of the sound on those late 60s Capitol albums by the likes of Gandalf and The Common People.

'I Do Believe You're Dreaming' also holds my interest and apparently is about a man who talks to birds.

EDGEWOOD - AIN'T HAD NO LOVIN'



EDGEWOOD - 'Ain't Had No Lovin' (mono/stereo versions) (TMI Records ZS7 9011) 1972

I bought this 45 back in 2005 and was gonna use it on one of those u-spaces compilations but never got around to doing so. Only today I decided to do some research on Edgewood.

They were from Memphis, Tennessee and were around long enough to record an album called 'Ship Of Labor' so they may have made some waves back in their hometown. 'Ain't Had No Lovin' is laid back west coast style hippie rock circa early 70s and in places goes a bit jazzy which of course reminds me of Spirit.
My record has a mono and stereo version but stock copies have 'Silent' on the flip.

Three members, David Beaver (keyboards), Steve Spear (bass) and Jim Tarbutton (guitar) were part of a later line-up of The Gentrys. Also in Edgewood were Joel Williams (drums), David Mayo (keyboards/guitar) and Pat Taylor (guitar)...various members took lead vocals on the album.

The album version of 'Ain't Had No Lovin' clocks in at 4:40 so the edited single version is over two minutes shorter, no doubt to get radio play.

TMI Records stands for Trans Maximus Inc and was the name of Recording Studios run by Steve Cropper. The record label lasted from 1971-1973.

BOB RAINS and ADMIRAL STRANGE - WASTIN' MY TIME



BOB RAINS and ADMIRAL STRANGE - 'Wastin' My Time'/'She Feels Like Sunshine' (Kapp Records K-2098) 1971

Obscure one here by the weirdly named Bob Rains and Admiral Strange, 'Wastin' My Time' starts off like Sonny & Cher's 'The Beat Goes On' but then quickly turns into a great slab of stompin' biker psych rock with the addition of some fuzz guitar. Dig the heavy riff too.

The flip 'She Feels Like Sunshine' is slightlydelic pop and a pleasant sound indeed.

I've not been able to find out much about the group, very little information exists in the guide books I have and even less information has been posted online. So for now, Bob Rains and Admiral Strange will remain a mystery.

Production is credited to Dan Dalton who is perhaps better known for his work with the amazing Peppermint Trolley Company.

THE IN-KEEPERS - DAILY NEWS



THE IN-KEEPERS - 'Daily News'/'Everytime' (RCA 47-9713) 1969

I don't know much about The In-Keepers apart from knowing that they released two singles on RCA during 1969 that probably didn't get passed the promo stage.

I've did some digging and it appears that the composer of all four Inn-Keepers songs spread across two singles was Steve Burnett.


He was the leader of a male/female folk rock group called The Swingin' Six who enjoyed some local fame. It's believed that they hailed from New England.
The Swingin' Six released a single on Decca called 'Pack Your Bag' and an album titled 'For The First Time'..

'Daily News' is an interesting song that will appeal to soft-sike fans...




THE IN-KEEPERS - 'That Was Just His Thing'/'The Cobweb Threads Of Autumn' (RCA 74-0229) August 1969

"God created man,
God created woman
And they created."


Religion and late 60s psych collide with this creepy number...trippy Association style la-la-la's, fuzz, sinister voice, strings and brass flourishes...all this equals 'Flower Bomb Songs' worthy...


I reckon The In-Keepers would have looked like cool hippies with shortish hair but with black goatie beards in black threads and wearing crimson rosary beads around their necks....
The flip 'The Cobweb Threads Of Autumn' is a sunshine pop effort that's real tight and well produced. Curt Boettcher fans will dig this one.

Just out of interest, the producer for both In-Keepers 45s was Pierre Maheu who also produced the garage classic 'Gotta Get Some' by The Bold.


M.H. ROYALS - SHE'S GONE FOREVER



M.H. ROYALS - 'She's Gone Forever'/'Tomorrow's Dread' (ABC Records 45-10907) March 1967
 
This is a record I've added to my collection this week. I've got their second and last 45 on ABC, the jangle beat of 'Old Town' a personal fave.

M.H. Royals were from Chicago and judging by their records specialized in beat music with jangle. 'She's Gone Forever' is a decent mover (compiled on the CD 'Total Raunch') while the flip 'Tomorrow's Dread' is a worthwhile pop ballad..

CAST OF THOUSANDS - COUNTRY GARDENS



CAST OF THOUSANDS - 'Country Gardens'/'The Cast's Blues' (Amy A-11.056) 1969

Wondrous trippy psych from early 1969 by Cast Of Thousands, believed to be from Ardmore, OK...(according to 'Teenbeat Mayhem' although this 45 is not listed in that Guide).

'Country Gardens' reminds me of The Byrds for bringing the psychedelic into the country and wouldn't have sounded out of place on 'Notorious Byrd Brothers.'

It's a trippy, breathy country pop song with banjo and stoned echoed out vocals. The flip 'The Cast's Blues' isn't really blues at all but a super psychedelic instrumental with rockin' piano and some turned on echoed twangy sitar or something similar, very exotic.

26 July, 2013

THE APPLETREE THEATRE - WHAT A WAY TO GO



THE APPLETREE THEATRE - 'What A Way To Go'/'Lotus Flower' (Verve Forecast KF 5082) 1968

Simply put, 'What A Way To Go' is one of the most stunning psych pop songs I've heard with a melody and vocal harmonies equal to anything within that loose 60s genre. The Appletree Theatre were a hip brotherly duo of Terry & John Boylan from New York who recorded an album called 'Playback' in late 1967 very much influenced by the psychedelia The Beatles were exploring.

The fab four would have killed for a song as beautiful as this.


Their other 45, "Hightower Square"/"Who Do I Think I Am" is excellent too. Terrance Boylan would revisit "Who Do I Think I Am" on his Alias Boona LP.
One of the Boylan brothers also wrote songs that were recorded by Los Angeles group The Hamilton Streetcar.

20 July, 2013

FIVE MAN ELECTRICAL BAND - FIVE MAN ELECTRICAL BAND


FIVE MAN ELECTRICAL BAND - FIVE MAN ELECTRICAL BAND (CAPITOL ST-165) February 1969

Previously known as The Staccatos it seems that they wanted to change their name to something much more hip. They also travelled to Los Angeles sometime in 1968 to record the songs for this obscure and very interesting pop psych album on Capitol.

Most of the songs were written by the talented Les Emmerson, including the marvelously complex 'Five Man Electrical Band' which is my focus song from the set. I used this song on my series of comps I called Gear! check it out on Volume 1 if you bought a copy. Excelent vocal harmonies and melody wrapped up in this tune, almost like it's three songs within one. Imagine The Beach Boys mixing elements of The Association and you'll get my drift.

Also on this album is an updated take of their classic pop psycher 'Half Past Midnight'....at least it sounds different to the mono 45 mix from mid 1966. They even perform a cover version of 'You're Gonna Lose That Girl', so an album for Beatles completists to check out.



12 July, 2013

DEL SHANNON - UK SINGLES 1968 - 1969


DEL SHANNON - Thinkin' It Over'/'Runnin' On Back' (Liberty LBF 15061) April 1968

During September 1967 Del Shannon started recording songs that would make up his psychedelic album 'The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover', considered by many to be his finest work and an album of baroque psych beauty.

The first fruits of these 'Westover' sessions resulted in the release of 'Thinkin' It Over'/'Runnin' On Back'....both sides were strong contenders for a hit but the top side 'Thinkin' It Over' written by Shannon/Beau James failed to sell.

These recordings were produced by Dugg Brown who also worked with hippie group Southwind. Infact Del recorded a song called 'New Orleans (Mardi Gras)' which was written by Southwind bass player Jim Pulte.







DEL SHANNON - 'Gemini'/'Magical Musical Box' (Liberty LBF 15079) June 1968

This double sided piece of psychedelic magic is my all time favourite Del Shannon single and is perhaps his most difficult one to find. I had this in my Ebay search engine for a solid four months before someone offered it for sale.

Fortunately for me I only had a couple of competitors interested in buying it and my bidding power managed to kill off their interest....lol

Hardly any of 'The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover' albums exist in MONO as only stereo copies were sent to the shops for sale. So the best place to hear these great songs in glorious MONO is via this 45....

'Gemini' is an absolute gem. I actually feel sorry for Del Shannon that no one was really interested in buying his records back in 1967/68 as he was clearly a master of his talents with the killer songs to match.

'Magical Musical Box' is stunning baroque psychedelia. There isn't a finer example, it's just simply beautiful. It's got a very trippy feel to it and the lyrics are somewhat unnerving and full of paranoia....pure sonic bliss



DEL SHANNON - 'Sweet Mary Lou'/'Comin' Back To Me' (Stateside SS 8025) September 1969

This is my final Del Shannon record under the spotlight. I hope you've all enjoyed my uploads, all written on the spot while listening to Del...

He more or less had a year out as he was crest fallen that his psychedelic genius hadn't been recognised and it's been written that he felt 'washed out' during this period in time. It is known that he kept himself busy producing a group called Smith and writing songs with Brian Hyland.

He was tempted out of the wilderness by Dunhill Records and started recording his own songs again. Only a handful of these recordings found their way onto singles.....'Sweet Mary Lou'/'Comin' Back To Me' being the first.

These are both late 60s rockers with great hooks and vocals. Produced by Steve Barri and Joel Sill at Western Studios in Hollywood during April 1969
 

11 July, 2013

DEL SHANNON - UK SINGLES 1967



DEL SHANNON - 'She'/'What Makes You Run' (Liberty LIB 55939) January 1967

Killer version of 'She' and as much as I love The Monkees I've gotta say that Del Shannon's earlier version is far superior. His vocals really cut through with some menace as he spits out some lines. Great organ sound and pure Sunset Strip, but no-one was listening.

Max Crook was also back in the groove and brought along his musitron to the sessions at Hollywood Sound Recorders during November 1966.

Production by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart for Screen Gems Inc.
The flip 'What Makes You Run' is perfect pop and was recorded some time prior to the Boyce and Hart sessions.




DEL SHANNON - 'Mind Over Matter'/'Led Along' (Liberty LIB 10277) June 1967

Del embraced the psychedelic tinged pop music that was spreading around the world at a zealous pace in 1967 and in my opinion this period of his career produced his best artistic work.

A chance meeting in London with Andrew Loog Oldham, producer of The Rolling Stones, reaped dividends when he was asked to record some songs with him at Olympic Sound Studios in London.

Much of the material brought to the studio was written by Immediate songwriters including Billy Nicholls and Jeremy Paul Solomons. By the end of the four day recording sessions Shannon had enough songs for an album but any plans to release a long player were scrapped when 'Mind Over Matter'/'Led Along' flopped.

Most of the songs proposed for an album were never released during the 60s and it wasn't until the late 70s when they were retrospectively compiled on an album called 'And The Musc Plays On'





 DEL SHANNON - 'Runaway'/'He Cheated' (Liberty LIB 55993) October 1967

One last single was released in 1967 from the London sessions, an updated and slower version of 'Runaway'..This is my Dutch release and it's MONO with overdubbed applause. A version exists without the applause.

The record proved to be another flop in most countries around the world apart from Australia where it went Top 20. 'He Cheated' on the flip is exclusive to this record. All other 'Runaway' releases had 'Show Me' as the B-Side.


Del in London 1967 - photo dowloaded from Cherry Red website

10 July, 2013

DEL SHANNON - UK SINGLES 1966




DEL SHANNON - 'I Can't Believe My Ears'/'I Wish I Wasn't Me Tonight' (Stateside SS-494) March 1966

Two sides of completely dated early 60s pop. It was 1966 and this kind of fluff had little chance of being a hit. Back in '62 Del's fans would have lapped this kind of sound up, but not now.

'I Wish I Wasn't Me Tonight' is slightly more interesting with it's opening 'Tired Of Waiting For You' guitar rip-off. Even Del Shannon hated this record and admitted that it was a necessary evil to get him out of his contract with Amy Records.

He owed them a single but didn't want to use any of his own creations so recorded a couple of cover versions.



DEL SHANNON - 'The Big Hurt'/'I Got It Bad' (Liberty LIB-55866) April 1966


Free from Amy Records, Del Shannon signed to Liberty Records. He had the opportunity to sign for a new indie label called Colgems but decided he needed a big label to get his music back in the charts. He would still work with his friend Tommy Boyce though and indeed cut one of his songs 'She' in November '66.

'The Big Hurt' deserved to be a big hit record with it's huge production sound by Snuff Garrett & Leon Russell and the eerie 'phazing' effect only available on the mono take.

The flip 'I Got It Bad'...a Shannon original sees him once again in ballad mode but with the required updated '66 sound.

Both sides recorded at RCA Studios, Hollywood, February 1966.



 DEL SHANNON - 'For A Little While'/'Hey! Little Star' (Liberty LIB 55889) June 1966

Shannon goes all folk-pop with the excelent 'For A Little While' notable for a stunning vocal performance, he even manages to mimic the gruff vocals of Barry McGuire on a couple of occasions during his song....one for the kids on the Sunset Strip but they weren't listening.

The flip 'Hey! Little Girl' is dated pop and would appeal to his long time fans. Both sides recorded at RCA Studios, Hollywood and another Snuff Garrett production.

 

DEL SHANNON - 'Under My Thumb'/'She Was Mine' (Liberty F-5590) August 1966

One of the best Rolling Stones cover versions of 'Under My Thumb' you're likely to hear with Del's vocals a match for anyone's. It's a tough remake that faithfully keeps to the original sound, instrumentation laid down by the top Hollywood session players.

Production on both sides credited to Del Shannon and arranged by George Tipton who is perhaps better known for his work with Harry Nilsson. He went onto arrange the all time classic 'Everybody's Talkin.'

Not sure of the reason but 'Under My Thumb' was not released as a single in Britain.


Cashbox advert for 'Under My Thumb' August 1966..
 
 

09 July, 2013

DEL SHANNON - UK SINGLES 1964 - 1965



DEL SHANNON - 'Mary Jane'/'Stains On My Letter' (Stateside SS-269) March 1964 (UK Chart #35)

Today is the start of a run through most of Del Shannon's single releases in Britain from 1964 to 1969, starting with this one.... Still very much in teener ballad mode. 'Mary Jane' was the plug side but I think the flip 'Stains On My Letter' is more interesting...Del has got the 'girl blues' real bad and as he writes to her his tears are dripping on the paper...Keep your cool Del, she'll be all yours tomorrow without having to turn on the waterworks.

Backing band The Royaltones...




DEL SHANNON - 'Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow The Sun) /'Broken Promises' (Stateside SS-368) January 1965 (UK Chart #3)

Del's last big hit in Britain and more or less the end of any of his records hitting the top 40 ever again. (Apart from the next release 'Stranger In Town')

Both sides recorded at Bell Sound Studios, New York during October 1964






DEL SHANNON - 'Stranger In Town'/'Over You' (Stateside SS-395) March 1965 (UK Chart #40)

Both songs recorded at the October 1964 sessions that produced the previous big hit 'Keep Searchin'....this cut was intense and moody with a dramatic production by Harry Balk....The flip 'Over You' is also a cool number.

This was the last time Del made the Top 40 in Britain probably because by mid '65 the kids wanted beat groups. Solo guys from the late 50s and early 60s were no longer in vogue.




         DEL SHANNON - 'Break Up'/'Why Don't You Tell Him' (Stateside SS-430) June 1965

Both sides recorded at Bell Sound Studios, New York during March 1965....'Break Up' features Del Shannon's trademark vocals and a backbeat of clattering tambourine, some crunchin' guitar and an organ solo sounding like Max Crook's musitron., but I don't know for sure if it was thee musitron from the 'Runaway' days in 1960/61...




DEL SHANNON - 'Move It On Over'/'She Still Remembers Tony (Stateside SS-452) Sept 1965

Hard driving '65 rocker with the teenbeat sound, this cut made an entry in 'Teenbeat Mayhem' and can be found on one of those 'Teenage Shutdown' compilations.

Definately Del Shannon's edgiest song which sadly flopped. According to his friend Dan Bourgoise, Del was so depressed that his records were no longer getting in the charts that he actually thought about quitting the music business during this period.

He also remembered Del throwing a box of 'Move It On Over' singles into Gun Lake, Michigan....It's now a sought after disc and one of the most difficult of his to find on Stateside...



Several years ago a Dutch record collector sent me a scan of his 'Move It On Over' pic sleeve.....Jim W is now missing in action from the internet...but credit where credit is due....this one's Jim's..

Cashbox - August 1965

08 July, 2013

DDDBM&T - SHAME



DDDBM&T - 'Save Me'/'Shame' (Fontana TF 775) November 1966

This was the seventh single by DDDBM&T and hot on the heels of the enormous #2 hit 'Bend It'.... 'Save Me' is annoying pop written by Howard Blaikley, who also wrote many of the hits for The Herd...

Far superior is the mod beat pounder 'Shame' on the B-side written by the group. Don't know why they relied on so much outside material when their own songs are so far out.


06 July, 2013

CHRISTOPHER COLT - VIRGIN SUNRISE



CHRISTOPHER COLT - 'Virgin Sunrise' (Past & Present 017)

This performer is a complete mystery to me and I suspect he was for the people who compiled Rubble #17 as their liners don't reveal anything about Christopher Colt at all. They only confirm that the B-Side 'Girl In The Mirror' is equally compelling. I don't have this 45 but I've researched the disc and it was originally released on Decca F.12726 during January 1968 and is currently valued at about £40 (Record Collector Price Guide 2014).

'Virgin Sunrise' is a beautiful homage to a British Autumn morning and the evocative lyrics really colour the scene of a new or 'virgin sunrise' superbly. The song is pure psychedelic period Donovan, full of charm and completely beguiling.

"I feel the breath of the morning
Tops of the trees are warmed with the sun.
Everything 'round me is waking,
Chimneys feeling the day has begun."

 

03 July, 2013

THE COLLECTORS - OLD MAN


THE COLLECTORS - 'Looking At A Baby'/'Old Man' (Valiant Records V-760) March 1967

One of the many great groups of the 60s were The Collectors, well at least they are in my world. They don't appear to have recieved that much attention in fanzines and the trendy music magazines over the years, many of their vocal harmony pop psych songs have never been compiled before, making them even more of a mystery I suppose. Back in the mid 80s Edsel put out a 'Best Of' LP collection but that was almost thirty years ago!

I've written about The Collectors before, go here for enlightenment. 'Looking At A Baby' surfaced on the Rhino CD 'Hallucinations' back in 2004. What a fabulous compilation that is, I can't believe it's almost ten years since this came out. But disheartening that they never dug even deeper in the WEA Vaults for another 'Hallucinations' set...

According to the liners The Collectors signed to Valiant records in January 1967 and recorded both songs on this disc at Columbia Studios in Los Angeles. 'Looking At A Baby' was a deserved hit in Canada but no where else. The flip 'Old Man' is a reflective psych cut with inspired vocals harmonies. At this point in their career The Collectors were the equal of The Association, a group with similar vocal harmony dynamics.