24 July, 2015

THE UN-FOUR-GIVEN - CRY CRY (Cry, Little Girl)

THE UN-FOUR-GIVEN - "Cry Cry (Cry, Little Girl)" / "Love Me To Pieces" (Dot 45-16963) October 1966

This record leaves me with more questions than I can answer. Just who were The Un-Four-Given? Both sides of this disc have never troubled the compilers and the group are not even mentioned in 60s garage book 'Teenbeat Mayhem.'

Both songs were written by Mike Appel. Now I can only assume that this is the same person who was a member of The Balloon Farm who had a 1967 hit with "A Question Of Temperature." He then went into Management and Production eventually having success with Bruce Springsteen. Mike Appel produced his first three albums.

So, perhaps The Un-Four-Given were Mike Appel's teenage garage band before he was a member of The Balloon Farm? Anyway, "Cry Cry (Cry, Little Girl)" is a fabulous piece of psych tinged pop with a trippy guitar sound. The other side "Love Me To Pieces" is pleasant sixties pop.


THE TRIPPERS - "Dance With Me" / "Keep A Knockin" (Dot 45-16947) August 1966

Onwards with my Dot Records reviews brings me to The Trippers who are believed to come from the State of California, probably based in Los Angeles. A few sites indicate Hollywood. Wherever they were based "Dance With Me" / "Keep A Knockin" was first released on the small Ruby-Do label then picked up by Dot Records for a wider distribution.

"Keep A Knockin" is a happenin' version of the Little Richard rocker. The Trippers add a raunchy guitar sound and a chugging beat. The vocals are determined, almost a shout. The song has been recorded by many outfits including Johnny Rivers, Everly Brothers, Dave Clark Five, The Outlaws and The Rivieras.

"Dance With Me" does not have the same excitement for me, the pace is quite slow with a boogaloo beat. Both sides remain uncompiled. By the way, it appears that the single has recently been bootlegged in Greece with a limited run of 200.

The Trippers released a second and final single months later, again on Ruby-Do. "Taking Care Of Business" / "Charlena." It was then picked up by GNP Crescendo for a wider distribution. I have a copy.  

I have found a couple of European picture sleeves uploaded to the internet on eBay and I've decided to post them here. I don't normally do this but have done so in this instance because nothing much is known about the combo and they  indicate that The Trippers were a trio. I have yet to determine their full names.


THE SYNDICATE - "The Egyptian Thing" / "She Haunts You" (Dot 45-16807) December 1965

If you dig harp wailin' wild and savage R&B then this 45 by The Syndicate should be on your wants list. I don't have an original, expect to pay several hundred dollars if you're ever lucky enough to be offered one. What I do have though, is a beautifully done reproduction which plays and sounds superb.

The Syndicate hailed from Long Beach, CA and released two singles before disappearing into the ether. That was until recently when Break-A-Way Records in Germany located and released an album's worth of unreleased Syndicate ACTion (including all four single sides).

I don't have this but I'm sure it sounds outasite. "The Egyptian Thing" deals with the typical angst of male teens. His girl says she loves him and will always be true only to find that she's been playing with another.

So, the top side is an absolute garage classic and obtained a score of "10" in 'Teenbeat Mayhem' which is no mean feat. The other side "She Haunts You" brings the pace right down. It's a moody nugget with tremolo guitar and worth repeated blasts on the turntable.

"The Egyptian Thing" was compiled on 'Chosen Few' and 'Back From The Grave #7"

23 July, 2015


THE SURFARIS - "Search" / "Shake" (Dot 45-17008) March 1967

This is perhaps the most difficult Surfaris single to find but I did just that a couple of years ago when a fellow record collector tipped me off... thanks Mans P. Mansson - check out his new psychedelic group The Flight Reaction.

Anyway, back to this rather splendid Surfaris record. "Search" was their final fling at success after their smash "Wipe Out" but sadly no one was listening. "Search" is a terrific fuzzy psych thriller with a rockin' beat and harmonica. In a perfect world this would have made the Charts and would consequently be a lot easier to find.

The other side is a uptempo fuzztoned version of Sam Cooke's "Shake"


THE SURFARIS - "Chicago Green" / "Show Biz" (Dot 45-16966) October 1966

By the time The Surfaris quit playing surf music and got with the "IN" sound of folk-rock and R&B no one seems to have been listening as they encountered flop after flop. It's a shame that "Chicago Green" appears to have been ignored because it's a raunchy harmonica driven R&B mover with fuzz guitar.

"Chicago Green" was composed by short time bass guitarist Jack Oldham who spent 1966/67 with The Surfaris before disappearing from trace. I've did some research but can find nothing else of note.
The other side "Show Biz" sounds rather corny and dated in comparison to the greatness of "Chicago Green"


THE SURFARIS - "Wipe Out" / "Surfer Joe" (Dot 45-144) July 1970

The Surfaris have been highlighted before here and anyway "Wipe Out" needs no introduction as everyone will know this one. According to an online source "Wipe Out" was released three times on Dot Records so it was obviously a decent seller for them.

The first release on Dot was during April 1965 on the better known black label, the second reissue or repress was during June 1966, then five years later a third and final repress on this colourful label. Some copies are on the white label.

So, the record has had some mileage and it's still well known today. Perhaps one of the most played surf tunes of all time.

22 July, 2015


THE SOUNDS OF DAWN - "Walkin' Out On You" / "Stephanie Says" (Dot 45-17025) July 1967

According to FA&F The Sounds Of Dawn were based in Chicago and apart from this solitary single on Dot released three more on Twin Stacks. I've heard the odd clip of some of these songs and they have a soul pop sound, confirmed in the aforementioned book.

"Walkin' Out On You" is a decent jangly pop song with a catchy beat. The song was written by Joey Stec who around about the time of release moved to Los Angeles and joined harmony psych outfit The Millennium. He also had some involvement with Sagitarrius.

"Stephanie Says" on the other side his light pop.

21 July, 2015


THE REGENTS - "Russian Spy And I" / "Bald Headed Woman" (Dot 45-16970) October 1966

According to 'Teenbeat Mayhem' The Regents originated from Bakersfield, CA but perhaps they relocated to Los Angeles to be where the action is. I don't know for sure, it's just my hunch. Anyway, great information and comments from some group members can be found on Garagehangover.

"Russian Spy And I" was first recorded by Dutch group The Hunters. It's a moody jangler with some fuzz and a fabulous rave-up ending. Hearing a surf styled guitar on record in 1966 must have been something of a flashback in time.

The other side is a version of "Bald Headed Woman" which is a song I've never really liked much no matter who has recorded it. Many acts have issued the song as a single, either A or B side. Perhaps the most famous being The Who version.

20 July, 2015


THE SHERLOCKS - "Too Good To Be True" / "Shades Of Blue" (Dot 45-16953) September 1966

It is believed that The Sherlocks hailed from Sylvester, Georgia. Nothing has ever been written about them online or in fanzines and they're one of those mid 60s combo's that are way under the radar.

Their first single for Dot Records was the super cool fuzz rocker "Skin Of My Teeth" backed with a spellbinding folk-janger "Turn Her Down." I don't have a copy and it's very sought after. Expect to pay in the region of $400 if you ever see one for sale.

"Turn Her Down" was first recorded by Barry Allen and released in Canada. His version is more pop than folk-rock. "Skin Of My Teeth" was compiled back in the late 80s on "Sixties Rebellion #5"

The Sherlocks second and last Dot 45 was "Too Good To Be True" written by Ramona Wingate. It's a moody beat affair and sounds very much influenced by The Zombies, at least to my ears. The other side "Shades Of Blue" as the title suggests, is a bluesy outing with organ.
Both sides remain uncompiled.

19 July, 2015


NEIGHB'RHOOD CHILDR'N - "Woman Think" / "On Our Way" (Dot 45-17238) May 1969

Continuing with my exploration of the Dot catalogue with San Francisco based Neighb'rhood Childr'n. They have been well documented of late in Shindig magazine and of course the Sundazed collection "Long Years In Space."

"Woman Think" was their one and only single for Dot Records. It's a typically laid back, mellow, late 60s rock affair with a slightly psychedelic edge, particularly the guitar sound. It may even have been recorded in 1968. The other side "On Our Way" rock with horns and not really my scene.

17 July, 2015


GENE GRAY & the STINGRAYS - "Surfer's Mood" / "Surf Bunny" (Dot 45-16470) 1963

If someone ever compiles a primitive surf compilation album I'd be more than a little surprised if "Surfer's Mood" was not allocated a slot. On the latter recording, Gene Gray & the Stingrays sound like a surf garage band that would be at home on a "Back From The Grave" comp. Yeah, it's that primal.

The other side "Surf Bunny" is my pick though. My cat "Biba Ringo" digs it a whole lot. As I'm cranking out this 45 on my turntable at volume "11" she's banging away on a couple of coconuts and showing her teeth.

The single first appeared on Linda Records then it was picked up by Dot for a wider distribution.

13 July, 2015


LALO SCHIFRIN - "Mission Impossible" / "Jim On The Move" (Dot ZK-2169) December 1967

I recently bought a small collection of "Mission Impossible" items including a couple of albums and three different releases of this Lalo Schifrin single. The US release on Dot Records came out during December 1967, the likelihood is that this New Zealand pressing was released a couple of months later.

Everyone must know the classic "Mission Impossible" theme tune. I heard this so many times as a kid in the 70s when the show was on constant repeats. It's seemingly never broadcast nowadays so perhaps youngsters may be hearing this for the first time. Take it in cos they just don't make killer cuts like this anymore.

12 July, 2015


THE SPLIT LEVEL - "Love To Love You" / "Can't Complain" (Dot 45-17142) September 1968

The third and final Split Level single was released during September 1968. The non album cut "Love To Love You" is decent flower pop but my pick is the Lenny Roberts penned "Can't Complain" on the other side.

Michael Lobel (guitar, flute, piano)
Lenny Roberts (6 & 12 string guitars / vocals)
Al Dana (bass, sitar, vocals)
Liz Seneff (vocals, tambourine) - died 1993

11 July, 2015


THE SPLIT LEVEL - "I Don't Know Where You Are" / "Looking At The Rose Through World Colored Glasses" (Dot 45-17036) August 1967

I recently wrote about The Split Level album but what about their singles? The first 45 released was the Dave Frishberg composed "I Don't Know Where You Live." This is a required purchase for two reasons. The first being that it's a classy flower pop mover and non album cut, the second of course for the overtly psychedelic flip "Looking At The Rose Through World Colored Glasses."

09 July, 2015


COLOURS - "God Please Take My Life" / "Angie" (Dot 45-17280) July 1969

This single was the second and last from the Colours studio album "Atmosphere" with both sides being unedited and direct stereo mixes used on the long player.

Both songs display the laid back, late 60s rock style typical of 1969. In other words radio friendly tunes especially "God Please Take My Life" which should have faired better but I'll be surprised if the release got any further than this white label promo.

08 July, 2015


COLOURS - "Atmosphere" (Dot DLP-25935) May 1969

By the time Colours reconvened to record their second (and last) album for Dot Records they were down to a duo, Jack Dalton and Gary Montgomery. Bassist Carl Radle and drummer Chuck Blackwell joined Delaney & Bonnie, Rob Edwards also quit the band.

New members on board to help with the recording of "Atmosphere" were Richard Crooks (drums), ex Moon member, David Jackson (bass) one time Beach Boy and David Marks (guitar). Former bassist Carl Radle also helped out on some cuts.

"Atmosphere" is less heavy on The Beatles influence and more late 60s rock with jazzy moves. There are some pleasing songs especially my pick "It's Time To Tell You" which sounds very much like Dalton and Montgomery were listening to a lot of Cream before recording this one.

Sessions for the album took place at the back end of 1968 at Columbia Studios and Sound Recorders.Also interesting is the albums artwork which was created by legendary Fillmore poster designer Victor Moscoso.

07 July, 2015


COLOURS - "Love Heals" / "Bad Day At Black Rock, Baby" (Dot 45-17132) August 1968

This was the second single released from the Colours superb Beatles-esque album. August 1968 was the release but of course the music on both sides of the disc were recorded during late 1967.
I can only presume that the "Sgt Pepper" influenced "Love Heals" was the choice of A-Side simply because I found a music sheet online. I didn't buy it but downloaded the image for this post. I don't expect many of these to have been produced or survived the ravages of time for that matter.

My pick though is the superlative "Bad Day At Black Rock, Baby" with it's stunning orchestration, time changes, eerie harmonies and of course the subject matter. Some freak going out to rob a liquor store with a wooden gun, polished and painted black to look real. This situation is gonna end in carnage.

Billboard - September 1968

06 July, 2015


COLOURS - "Brother Lou's Love Colony" (Dot 45-17060) December 1967

The first single to be released from the Colours album was "Brother Lou's Love Colony"
My copy is a green label promo disc with two versions of the song. An edited take at a radio friendly 2:30 minutes and the album version at just under four minutes in length. Other copies came with "Lovin" on the B-Side.

"Brother Lou's Love Colony" perfectly encapsulates the '67 hippie movement of California in both music and lyrical content. The sound is very Beatles-esque, which was a Colours speciality. It comes complete with orchestration, mellow fuzz guitar, sitar, trippy keyboards, effects, bagpipes and harmonizing vocals.
It's a shame that this lysergically enhanced single appeared to be completely over-looked.

05 July, 2015


COLOURS - "Colours" (Dot DLP-25854) May 1968

They spell it the English way, and for jolly good reason. Colours have the crystalline sharpness of The Beatles before they turned acid. Colours have a rainbow sound, but you can distinguish one hue from another rather than fight through a haze of fuzzy static, funky confusion, and screeching feedback.

They also write love songs. "Helping You Out" has a kind of walk up honesty that cuts through the dreamy creamy gush lyrics.

"Washing your clothes when you're gone for the day and then hanging them out, helping you out."

The spectrum of Colours features Jack Dalton and Gary Montgomery, neither more than a quarter century old, both of whom are professional musicians. They write the songs that lead guitarist Rob Edwards, drummer Chuck Blackwell, and bass guitarist Carl Radle help spread on a palette of sound. They will tackle a mess of changing time signatures, such as their "Bad Day At Black Rock, Baby" where they move through six sharps from 6/8 to 4/8 to 3/8 then 5/4 and even 5/8, changing rhythms with the quick ease of the most wigged-out electronic classic composer.
Yet underneath is a straight, raw narrative about a tragic hero who, unlike the dramatic victims of a folk song, knows what is in store for him from the futile start.

They have clarity, a gently dissonant sound full of the blues, the beat of a street band, the horns of a jazz connection, even the words of folk nostalgia. "Brother Lou's Love Colony" is a free form cantata about the hippie colony in California. It ends with a classy coda underscored with, of all sounds, bagpipes. In "Rather Be Me" a number about identity, the drone vocal and music suggests music from Morocco or the whine of a sitar weaving an Indian raga. All that in the rarely used key of Eb minor lends a greater weirdness to the song.

Colours takes a trip in "Cataleptic", richly harmonizing over eerie organ music, or rips off a bold, bouncy "Lovin" and "Don't You Realize" in a style that smacks of music hall and vaudeville energy.

So Colours does have that broad spectrum of electric sounds so prized in today's rock, but they pull it off without indulging in jarring cliches. And, with a youthful joyfulness, they don't paint it black.
(Jon Borgzinner - back cover liners

Billboard - May 1968

Billboard - July 1968

01 July, 2015



I've loved the music of The Peppermint Trolley Company since the late 80s after buying their Acta label album based on the description offered by the seller, it was something like 'Californian sunshine pop with a bubblegum edge' - well that sounded right up my street and I never looked back.

They've appeared on my blog before. Today I'll promote their rare Portuguese EP released on Dot Records. As you probably know The Peppermint Trolley Company were an Acta label group (Acta was a subsidiary label of Dot set up primarily to release psychedelic rock music). So quite how the Portuguese four song EP came about on Dot is unknown.

All four songs can be found on their studio album but only "Sunrise" written by Pat McClure was never released at 45 r.p.m. This is why, for vinyl nerds like me, this EP is essential.