22 July, 2014


"THE BEAT MERCHANTS" - British Beat 1963 - 1964 (United Artists UDM 101/2) 1976

I digitized this double vinyl compilation at the weekend. What a great album of rare and obscure songs. This is probably one of the first UK 60s beat / R&B comps and may have been in response to the double "Nuggets" album that did a similar job for American garage and psych combo's.

This set was compiled and procuced by Andrew Lauder. Sound quality is superb and from the master tapes. Special thanks is given to "Rock On" in Camden Town, London.

On this double LP are the likes of The Zephyrs, The Escorts, The Paramounts, The Soul Agents, The Sheffields, The Beat Merchants, The Others, The Downliners Sect, Mickey Finn & the Blue Men, The Redcaps, The Roulettes, Keith Powell & the Valets, Earl Preston & the TT's, The Pirates.... plus many more.

I'll feature twelve songs from this on my next 'Flower Bomb Songs' podcast. I may even do a double feature as the music sounds so GREAT!

The Beat Scene in November 1964 talk of a "Beat Slump" - little did they know what was around the corner in 1965...... fuzztoned guitars ......


15 July, 2014


JET HARRIS - 'My Lady' / 'You Don't Live Twice' (Fontana 267 735 TF) July 1967

This is a purchase from earlier this month, a rare and hard to find 45 by Jet Harris. This is the Dutch release in pic sleeve. I like how the art department have used a vintage record review as their design for the cover.

'My Lady' was written by Reg Presley of The Troggs and it's 100% based on their killer sound. Jet Harris was the original bass player in The Shadows but formed a duo with fellow ex Shadows drummer Tony Meehan in the early 60s.
The flip 'You Don't Live Twice' is decent pop music and uncompiled as far as I know.

Jet Harris & Tony Meehan had a few hits in Britain during the beat era but disbanded when their popularity waned. This record was Jet's solo comeback single but it went to 'nowheresville'....

Should have been monstrous but it's still virtually unknown....

14 July, 2014


THE COUNTDOWN 5 - 'Elevator' / 'Time To Spare' (Toucan Records TC-1) September 1967

Obscure release by The Countdown 5, an outfit from Galveston, TX on a rather charming lookin' label. 'Elevator' is fuzztoned garage pop, reminds me of some of those Five American records.

There next 45 'Uncle Kirby (From Brazil)' is perhaps their most well known song appearing on several compilations. The latter single came housed in a smart picture sleeve.

08 July, 2014


THE ROULETTES - 'Bad Time' / 'Can You Go' (Parlophone R 5110) March 1964

Second time out for The Roulettes on my site. I wrote about 'Junk' a few years ago, check the archives. So now it's time to continue with "Bad Time" from March '64... Yeah it's a 50 year old beat record..... cool.

It's been covered a few times. I heard the song first on an "Ugly Things" comp by The D-Coys.
The Roulettes are better known as being Adam Faith's backing band but recorded and released records in their own right during the mid 60s. Despite having a great beat sound with ringing guitars and pounding drums.....sadly NO hits followed so they've been lost in obscurity.

*** both sides of this 45 played on 'Flower Bomb Songs Podcast #03' ***

06 July, 2014


THE BEST THINGS - 'Chicks Are For Kids' / 'You May See Me Cry' (United Artists UA 50027) May 1966

This combo were from Mankato, MN and recorded under the name of The Madhatters releasing a couple of 45s on the local label Cardinal. For some reason this United Artists record is a re-release of a Madhatters single that came out months previously during February 1966 but with a name change to The Best Things.

'Chicks Are For Kids' is perhaps their best known song but make an effort to hear the sombre teenage testament of 'You May See Me Cry' on the flip with it's beautiful snaking guitar runs by former Gestures member Dale Menten. Indeed, the latter wrote and played guitar on both sides of this disc.

Dale Menten left The Gestures in 1965 and proceeded to play with several local groups over the next few years including The Only Ones, The Madhatters / Best Things, The Escapades, The Serophic Street Sounds and Blackwood Apology. He also did a lot of arranging and A&R work for numerous bands including T.C. Atlantic, The Boys Next Door, Danny's Reasons, The Puddle, The Shambles, The Soul Seakers, The Nickel Revolution and C.A. Quintet.  

05 July, 2014


THE BLACK AND BLUES - 'Come To Me' / 'Bye Bye Baby' (United Artists UA 50245) November 1967

Here's a new addition to my collection rec'd last week, the first single by Anderson, IL group The Black and Blues. I've seen this for years on dealer lists but never got around to securing a copy.

They started life as The Chalets but decided on a name change to The Black and Blues sometime in '67. A one-off record deal with United Artists followed with their music produced by the in demand Paul Leka who worked on the The Lemon Pipers hits.

Both songs are group originals with perhaps 'Come To Me' the best, at least I dig it the most. It's hard and fuzzy with a perfect '67 trippy raga guitar sound. Pure 'Flower Bomb Songs' material, that's why I played it on my latest podcast. On the other side is 'Bye Bye Baby', a Bo Diddley inspired shaker.

Both sides were compiled in the mid 80s on the Eva released 'Finest Hours Of U.S. Punk' and further Black and Blues reading material, including a picture of the band can be found on the highly recommended blog ''60 Indiana Band Szene'

04 July, 2014


BIG BROTHER - 'E.S.P.' / 'Brother, Where Are You' (All-American 5718) July 1970

When Santa Barbara, CA combo Giant Crab's contract with UNI expired Ernie Orosco changed some members of his band and renamed the new outfit Big Brother and signed to All-American Records. Ernie Joseph's name was added to the label.....as Big Brother featuring Ernie Joseph.

Their first single featured 'E.S.P.', which was a song also recorded by The Giant Crab and released as their final single during September 1969. This record was backed with 'Hot Line Conversation'. 
Big Brother's version was remixed with additional phasing, the original intro and cold ending were not used for this new and heavier version. The backing vocals are also lower in the mix.

Shindig #28 has a feature on Ernie Joseph and is well worth the read.