30 December, 2014


MARSHMALLOW WAY - 'Marshmallow Way' (United Artists UAS 6708) 1969

Here's an album I've had for years and it's been filed away all that time just waiting until I get my act together to burn it to digital, make a YouTube upload and do some research. First off, the album is a bubblegum joy from start to finish, each and every song is a worthwhile sweet toothed bouncer with most of them having 'bubblegum hit' written all over them. Only, Marshmallow Way had no hits and after this album and a single they vanished without trace, never to be seen, spoken or heard of ever again.

It appears that Billy Carl and Reid Whitelaw were behind the outfit, they wrote, arranged and produced every song and the 'band' in the picture on the album cover were just 'cogs in the wheel'. The sound of the material is quite sophisticated for bubblegum with exotic instrumentation and percussion with heavy use of vibraphone, marimbas, congas and 12 string guitar.

Checking the credits on the back of the album sleeve reveals that Jim Calvert, Norman Marzano, Paul Naumann and Ken Laguna were musical coordinators. They all have a bubblegum history and worked with The Music Explosion, 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Lemon Pipers, Ohio Express, The Beeds plus many others.


THORINSHIELD - "Thorinshield" (Philips PHS 600-251) September 1967

Thorinshield were from Los Angeles with a line-up of James Smith (guitar), Bobby Ray (bass) and Terry Hand (drums). I don't know if Thorinshield ever ventured out of the studio to perform gigs and I've never seen their name mentioned on the numerous gig posters and adverts that I've seen over the years.

What I do know is that Bob Ray worked on Donovan's recordings from 1966 and released a 45 as Bob & Kit on HBR Records. Then in 1969 came a solo album on Soul City titled "Initiation Of A Mystic". Read about that release on my blog here.

Terry Hand was a member of The Everpresent Fullness.

Back to the Thorinshield album on Philips. If you dig sunshine pop with a heavy Beatles influence and orchestration then you're gonna dig the album a whole lot. It's all quite mellow with a late night drift away vibe throughout. The songs are not particularly commercial or pop chart friendly with instant hooks and such like. They're all slow burners and not unlike the work being carried out at the same time by Curt Boettcher on albums by Sagittarius and the Millennium.

A couple of singles were released from the long-player. I'll probably get around to reviewing those at some point in time. I'll end this write-up with my favourite "One Girl" which sounds Byrds like with stinging guitar and backwards tapes.


THE CYCLE SAVAGES - Original Soundtrack (AIR ST-A-1033) 1970

They're the ungrateful, the uninhibited, the undisciplined and the never-challenged! Their power - the grinding roar of their cycles and the stench of burning rubber in their wake as this breed of savages journeys from area to area searching for trouble.

Their cry is "Rev up and ride" - in short, it's their warning to beware! This wild group of the 70s is known around the country as the CYCLE SAVAGES. They steal women, initiate them into their pack, and then sell them on the black market of crime.

What does "the chopper", as it is often referred to, represent to this segment of today's youth? Is it merely an inexpensive mode of transportation, or is it a means to some sort of common identity?
The motorcycle is a symbol of individuality, independence and freedom. Jerry Styner's original musical score, composed specially for "Cycle Savages", genuinely expresses the feeling behind the story - the uncertainty of today's youth in their search for identity, power and an unknown future. (album liners)

26 December, 2014


THE FAMILY - 'San Francisco Waits' / 'Without You' (U.S.A. Records 894) January 1968

It's believed that The Family were from Chicago and if this is accurate they have certainly got the West Coast flower psych sound down to perfection with "San Francisco Waits". This was actually their second and last single release, an earlier 45 on U.S.A. Records came out during September 1967, "Face The Autumn" / "So Much To Remember".

"San Francisco Waits" was written, produced and arranged by Bobby Whiteside. I've research him but have drawn a complete blank. Hopefully, someone knows more information that can be shared here.

"San Francisco Waits" has been compiled a couple of times over the years, first on Mindrocker #02 then again on Soft Sounds #02.

22 December, 2014


THE CRYSTAL BALL - 'Trans-Love Airways (Fat Angel)' / 'You're A Big Girl Now' (Smash S-2092) May 1967

I've had this single by The Crystal Ball for many years and I've noticed that the sales price has nudged up to the $30 - $50 bracket recently. Maybe it's become one of those trendy European mod spins or something?

I somehow doubt very much that The Crystal Ball were an active group. They were probably a studio creation of producers Roger Karshner, Richard Troops and Joel Cory. Whatever they were I'm pleased that they recorded a wonderful version of "Fat Angel" by Donovan. It's such a tripped out take, well produced with a pounding sound. I love the drums on this and the deep throbbing bass.

The other side "You're A Big Girl Now" (credited to Troops & Cory) is a bouncy pop song and perhaps a little more commercial than "Fat Angel" that no doubt sank without trace.

Roger Karshner also produced the weird and wonderful psychedelic album by The National Gallery.

Billboard - May 1967

21 December, 2014


DAVE & THE CUSTOMS - 'I Ask You Why' / 'He Was A Friend Of Mine' (DAC Records 503) 1966

According to 'Teenbeat Mayhem', Dave & the Customs hailed from Pomona, CA. The group were surf based initially and their earlier single on DAC Records "Shortnin' Bread" / "Ali Baba" is considered an underground surf classic. As far as I know, this earlier 45 was released sometime during 1964. It's quite rare and has sold a couple of times recently for over $250.

Step forward a couple of years and Dave & the Customs have resurfaced as a folk-rock group with longer hair, 12 string guitars and Jim McGuinn style glasses. The Byrds were obviously a huge influence on them and a version on "He Was A Friend Of Mine" was recorded and can be found on the flip of this record.

A local TV Show performance from 1966 has survived and can be found on YouTube showing Dave & the Customs performing "He Was A Friend Of Mine", an amazing find and well worth watching.

"I Ask You Why" is a loner folk-rock jangler written by the Zdunich brothers. This song surfaced on the early 90s compilation "From The New World". As you can see the label of my copy has been defaced with "Marko + David" which I've worked out is Mark & David Zdunich, so perhaps one of them did this to the label. More importantly is the scribble "recorded June 1966" which accurately dates the disc. Several websites have this single recorded as a 1965 release.  

Dave & the Customs circa 1964 - from 'Surfguitar101.com'

20 December, 2014


THE DAYBREAKERS - 'Psychedelic Siren' / 'Afterthoughts' (Dial 45-4066) December 1967

Over the years "Psychedelic Siren" has become something of a cult classic and has appeared on numerous compilations but sadly this single on Dial is the only record The Daybreakers released during their short existence.

I have an album's worth of Daybreakers recordings including demo cuts from 1967/68 but none of the match the pounding punkadelic attack of "Psychedelic Siren" or the majestic 12 string folk punk of the flip "Afterthoughts"

Here's what was written about both songs within the liners of the "History Of Eastern Iowa Rock - Volume One" released on Unlimited Productions back in 1985.

"Psychedelic Siren" was released by Atlantic on their subsidiary label Dial and was produced by Buddy Killen. In the Summer of '67, The Daybreakers from Muscatine, Iowa managed to arrange a recording session at Columbia Studios in Nashville, Tennessee. Country Western singer Jack Barlow, a Muscatine native, asked his producer Buddy Killen to produce our session as a favour.

"Afterthoughts" received more play than the A-Side from KSTT Radio, Devonport, where the two sided hit clung to the Top 40 chart for over three months. Denny Maxwell and Mike Bridges are playing twelve string electric guitars which at times gives the illusion of an orchestra. The instrumental breaks are highlighted by Buddy Busch's characteristically forceful yet precise drumming. 

At the close of the session Killen signed them to recording and songwriting contracts and picked up the tab.   

19 December, 2014


CHRISTOPHER & THE CHAPS - 'They Just Don't Care' / 'It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding' (Fontana F-1530) November 1965

Here's a collectable 45 for folk-rock lovers and Left Banke fans. Christopher & the Chaps hailed from Long Island, NY and included in their ranks Michael Lookofsky a.k.a. Michael Brown who later became a member of The Left Banke.

"They Just Don't Care" is a gritty protest song in the folk-rock tradition of '65. It was compiled on "From The New World" on the short lived 'Strange Things' label. I wrote about this compilation some time ago as it's one of my favourites.

The other side has a vibrant rendition of the Bob Dylan tune "It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding" 


17 December, 2014


THE RAVES - 'Everything's Fire' / 'Sing Children Sing' (Smash S-2162) April 1968

This was the third and last single by The Raves after which they disappeared. Hopefully someone who knows the details about this combo will get in touch with information as they really were a hot band and unjustly ignored by probably everyone outside New York.

I've read elsewhere that they were regulars at the famous Cafe Wha? and Keith's backing group. He had a big hit with "98.6". David Jimenez from The Raves was definitely involved and played guitar and co-wrote several songs on the album "The Adventures Of Keith"

Getting back to this disc then! "Everything's Fire" is a terrific blast of heavy mod beat and has a very English sound. It's perhaps the rarest Raves 45 to find and may prove difficult to locate. The white label promo had 'Everything's Fire' on both sides (mono / stereo) but my stock copy has the soulish 'Sing Children Sing' on the flip.

16 December, 2014


THE RAVES - 'Don't Chop Down My Tree' / 'Think Of Your Love' (Smash S-2105) July 1967

By their second release The Raves were if anything even more commercial sounding. Can't believe these two records were not big hits. I'd call this punk bubblegum. Way better than that watered down poppy stuff that followed in 1968/69....
'Think Of Your Love' is genius.

14 December, 2014


THE RAVES - 'Mother Nature' / 'Mister Man' (Smash S-2088) April 1967

The Raves hailed from Brooklyn, New York and released three 45s on Smash. All are great garage pop classics with a slight bubblegum sound. Their debut 45 'Mother Nature' is a pounding fast paced fuzzy popper with eastern promise. The flip 'Mister Man' treads similar ground. Both sides are insanely catchy and would have obviously sounded cool coming out of those small 60s radios because they are very well produced and mastered loud.

The producer for The Raves was Ron Haffkine. He was also producer for another New York band The Gurus. He also produced and managed Dr Hook & the Medicine Show. They of course became simply Dr Hook by the start of the 70s.

The Raves photos downloaded from "Cafe Wha" Facebook page


DICK DODD - "First Evolution Of" (Sparton Records ST 5142) October 1968

I bought this album by Dick Dodd back in March 2002 for $40 played it a couple of times then more or less ignored it as it wasn't the kind of sound I wanted to hear. Things change of course and I've now got a less blinkered view of most things, especially music.

So, I decided to get the album off the shelf and digitize it to CDR. As far as I know Dick Dodd's solo work has never been released on CD. There is scope for such a retrospective as the ex Standells lead singer and drummer released three singles as well as this studio album.

Most of the material is late 60s rock tinged with soul. It has a polished commercial sound and would have been chart friendly but it seems that no one was listening as none of the singles or this album sold in any quantity.

The songs were co-written by Buddy Bowie (Buie)  & Ed Cobb but there are covers of "Lonely Weekends" by Charlie Rich and "Tell The Truth" by Ray Charles. My pick from the album is the driving soul rock of "Twenty Four Hours Of Loneliness."

Special mention too for the bizarre album illustration showing Dick Dodd standing between what looks like two fetuses, with the Earth far off in background space..... perhaps showing his "First Evolution"

"Fanny" / "Don't Be Ashamed To Call My Name"
"Little Sister" / "Lonely Weekends"
"Guilty" / Requiem 820"


13 December, 2014


THE SUNSHINE TROLLEY - 'Cover Me Babe' / 'It's Gotta Be Real' (Trump 2890) August 1970

Here's a recent addition to my collection and it's a record that I've needed for some time after hearing "Cover Me Babe" on one of those 'Fading Yellow' compilations. I'm not sure who The Sunshine Trolley were, they may have been a studio creation, if they were a proper group I'd guess at California State location but the Trump label indicates that the music was recorded in Memphis, so who knows!

"Cover Me Babe" was written by Fred Karlin & Randy Newman and performed by Bread.
Their version can be found on the "Cover Me Babe" film soundtrack released October 1970.

The Sunshine Trolley version got a 'special merit spotlight' in Billboard during August 1970 and why not.... because it's simply superb sunshine pop with mind melting harmonies and a melody that suggests late 60s but had a release of mid 1970.

Billboard August 1970