28 September, 2015


LARRY & the BLUE NOTES - IT'S YOU ALONE (The Major Bill Tapes - Volume 1)

I used to see this Larry & the Blue Notes compilation all the time in record shops and for sale via mail order lists during the 80s and some of the 90s. Then copies seemed to vanish just at the point when I decided that I needed it! The fact that I didn't have the album used to play on my mind for years until I managed to find a copy via Discogs last week for £30.

I'm very pleased that I've added this piece of vinyl to my collection as it sounds great and the liners are very informative too. It's a very early Big Beat offering and was released way back in 1985. I consider the mid to late 80s as the 'Glory Years' for 60s garage vinyl releases, that short window of opportunity before CDs infiltrated the market and record shops started closing.

Anyway, you all will know about Larry & the Blue Notes killer garage punkers "In And Out" and "Night Of The Sadist." This vinyl only comp also boasts an alternate version of the latter, both sides of their single as The Bad as well as several unreleased cuts including "It's You Alone" which is their take of The Wailers folk rock nugget.

All hail the mighty Fort Worth, TX teenage band Larry & the Blue Notes.


27 September, 2015


THE MALTEES FOUR - "You" (The Cicadelic 60s - 1966 Revisited)

I've had the only single by The Maltees Four in my eBay search engine for several years and it's never appeared on the radar apart from listings of the 80s compilation album in my photograph. As such, I'm thinking that the record is very scarce.

According to "Teenbeat Mayhem" The Maltees Four hailed from La Puente, CA and their single was released on (Pacific Challenger 112 - March 1966). "You" b/w "All Of The Time" are beautiful teen folk janglers with harmonies. As you probably know by now, this type of perfection is my domain. One day I will track this record down but until then and with a heavy heart I'm gonna have to make do with their compilation appearance on "The Cicadelic 60s"

Someone has uploaded a label scan of "You" to the Discogs site and from that I can garner that the songwriting credits go to four members. Only surnames are provided, those being Egan, Greenberg, Johnson and Saylor. Production credit goes to Angela Egan.

20 September, 2015


THE WRONG SOCIETY - "She Destroyed Me" / "Without You" (Market Square Records MSR-11) August 2015

This single released a couple of weeks ago on Market Square Records is a two sided garage gem by Hamburg group The Wrong Society. They've been active for two years or so now and have more singles to investigate which of course I recommend.

"She Destroys Me" owes it's sound to mid 80s garage revival, think of The Gruesomes or The Gravedigger Five and you'll get the picture. The other side "Without You" is a loner style 60s teen punk weeper with killer fuzz and happenin' organ cascades. Both sides are group originals.

misc details:
The record was recorded by Heiko Herzog at Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Studios in Hamburg, Germany.
Limited to 300 copies, housed in a company sleeve and including a hand-numbered postcard.
For the latest Wrong Society updates join their Facebook page here

19 September, 2015


THE CYNICS - "Painted My Heart" / "Sweet Young Thing" (Dionysus) 1985

This is only the second time that I've highlighted a Cynics record on my blog, now it's gonna be their debut disc from 1985 on Dionysus. I've waited years to obtain this disc but managed to find a copy earlier this week.

"Painted My Heart" is a Cynics original. The first couple of plays I wasn't that struck on it to be honest although it has grown on my since. I thought the vocals were just not right although the guitar sound was great including a very good guitar break mid song. It all sounds to me like an American indie rock group. It was a few plays in before I sussed out that the singer was not Michael Kastelic.

Further investigations and research cleared things up once and for all. The vocalist on both sides of the disc was original frontman Mark Keresman. He didn't last long as singer after this single was released and was replaced by Kastelic.

The other side is a version of "Sweet Young Thing." It's quite clear that The Cynics were 'missing' something here though.

Both songs were recorded at Asterik Studios, Pittsburgh PA.

Mark Keresman (vocals)
Gregg Kostelich (guitar)
Richard Schnap (guitar)
Amy Mathesius (bass)
Bill Von Hagen (drums)

18 September, 2015


THE MARSHMALLOW OVERCOAT - "Groovy Little Trip" / Stop It Baby" (Dionysus Records 8601) 1986

Back in the mid to late 80s I caught the so called 'garage revival' disease and spent most of my spare income buying 'now sounds' records. I have built up quite a healthy collection and whenever I see anything that I don't have I try to add it to my boxes.

Take this debut disc by the prolific Marshmallow Overcoat for instance. I never even saw it back in the 80s so was very pleased to find a copy last week for sale on eBay. If you don't already know, this band were led by Timothy Gassen, who has since wrote the fabulous book "The Knights Of Fuzz", a perfect document for the garage and psych revival groups from the 80s and 90s. His update book covers contemporary groups with the garage sound.

"Groovy Little Trip" is an extended blast of garage psych noise with tremolo guitar and the unrestrained growl of "Randy Love" a.k.a. Timothy Gassen. The original was recorded by Tommy Jett. I first became aware of the song in the mid 80s when the original was compiled on "Texas Flashback #5" The other side is a version of "Stop It Baby" originally released by The Heard. Check it out via Pebbles #7. It's also a worthy take.

Tim has a regular presence on Facebook and is always happy to answer any questions about his group, book and other projects. I have been curious why he went by the "Randy Love" alias so asked him earlier this week.

"Randy Love" was a character I invented to be the lead singer of the Marshmallow Overcoat and for a radio show I was doing -- I dropped the name once we started touring." (Tim Gassen)

misc details:
record produced by Timothy Gassen and engineered by Dave Slutes at Sitting Duck Studios in Tucson, Arizona during July 1986.

Lead Growl: Randy Love
Bass Throb: Linda Andes
Farfisa Organ: Jeff Puhl
Electric Fuzz: Al Perry
Primal Beat: B.G. King


17 September, 2015


THEE JEZEBELS - "Black Book" / "Cried Over You" (State Records THS-019) April 2015

Thee Jezebels are a new female trio based in Hastings on the South East coast of England who earlier this year released their debut disc on the ever collectable State Records. The self-penned songs written by guitarist / vocalist Laura Anderson were recorded in glorious MONO, ideal for their kind of brutal and primitive rhythm & punk.

"Black Book" recalls those early Glam Rock stompers, the jagged rhythms, screechin' Quatro vocals, menacing bass and clattering drum action are out to destroy and if you just happen to be in their little black book it ain't gonna end pretty, in fact it could be carnage.

The flip "Cried Over You" follows the mean sound of "Black Book" but has a faster pace and races along like an out of control train. Listen out for 70s style "Hey Hey Hey's" and handclaps. This is a really rockin' side.

The single was recorded and mixed at The Ponswood Hit Factory on the 10th of January 2015.   
Check out Thee Jezebels Facebook page here which is where I obtained these two promo photos.

Laura Anderson (guitar/vocals)
Letty Gallagher (bass)
Lois Tozer (drums)

16 September, 2015


THE HIGHER STATE - "(Consider It) A Debt Repaid" / "In A World That Just Don't Care" (13 OC-020) August 2015

Last year The Higher State lost two long time members when drummer Mole and guitarist Daniel Shaw left the band for personal reasons. This came as a major surprise to me and I don't think it's been that well documented online as the remaining members Marty Ratcliffe and Paul Messis don't really do the social media thing.

I must admit that I was in a 'state' of worry when I heard the news. Would one of my favourite contemporary groups decide to just call it quits and move on to other projects? As you probably know, Paul has his own small record label and solo career.

Thankfully my fears were short lived when I received emails from both Paul and Marty letting me know that they did intend to carry on and would release discs in the future but would probably remain a studio based outfit. The first fruits of their partnership is this fantastic twin spin on the highly collectable 13 O'Clock Records and it's a record I highly recommend that you add to your collection.

Both sides have thee purist "State" sound we've come to expect but this time the emphasis is on a Texas '66 garage sound. They've also added some moody organ thrills into the mix of jangle, fuzz and charm. "(Consider It) A Debt Repaid" written by Marty, is a beautiful garage noise. It's so easy to inject your mind with The Higher State's treble-tone guitar soundscapes when they sound as sweet as this.

The other side "In A World That Just Don't Care" is a typical Paul Messis song. His lyrics are forever introspective, which is his great strength. Check out this verse and you'll soon be on his trip. This cut somehow reminds me of Thursday's Children's "You Can Forget About That"

"The roll of the die
Won't help you reach paradise.
The light it will shine
And burn in your open eyes.

Both sides of the disc were recorded at 'Mom's Landin'
It's an RPM production and mastered by Tim Warren at Crypt.

Get your Higher State single here before it's too late.

13 September, 2015


THE DOWN CHILDREN - "Night Time Girl" / "I Can Tell" (Philips 40441) March 1967

Not a great deal of information is known about The Down Children so if anyone knows much needed information be sure to get in touch. According to 'Teenbeat Mayhem' the group hailed from Philadelphia, PA. This single on Philips was their only release.

"Night Time Girl" was first recorded and released as a single by M.F.Q. Check out my archives for that one, I recently uploaded a YouTube video. The Down Children version adopts a slower pace, features male/female vocals and is perhaps even more of a psychedelic headtripper. The flip "I Can Tell" is also worthy and features a crude Count Five fuzz style 'Psychotic Reaction' rave-up.

12 September, 2015


M.F.Q. - "Don't You Wonder" / "I Had A Dream Last Night" (Dunhill D-4137) April 1968

By the time this third and final Dunhill single was released M.F.Q. had already broken up, so perhaps this was a contractual release by Dunhill Records as they had no band to promote it. Chip Douglas was now a member of The Turtles and was working as a Producer for The Monkess.

Drummer Eddie Hoh was now a session drummer, Jerry Yester had joined The Lovin' Spoonful, Tad Diltz was now working as a photographer and Cyrus Faryar had signed with Elektra Records.

So what of the music on this disc? "Don't You Wonder" is a pleasant enough pop song aided with flourishes of what sounds like an early synthesizer. This one reminds me of Sagittarius. The flip, and perhaps more commercial song, is the dreamy harmony pop of "I Had A Dream Last Night", also written by Chip Douglas who produced both sides.

10 September, 2015


THE PEPPERMINT TROLLEY COMPANY - "Peppermint Trolley Company" (ACTA A-38007) 1968

I'm still on my ACTA trip which brings me to this sadly overlooked album by The Peppermint Trolley Company. This one has been a regular on my turntable since I bought the album back in the late 80s from Funhouse Records in Kent.

Basically, if you dig The Left Banke or The Association you need to hear this. Perfect soft psychedelia with harmonies. I've mentioned them before of course and I will do so again, I'm sure.
Check out the album cut "Reflections (On A Universal Theme)" for a spoonful of sweet mind medicine.

The music for the album was recorded at C.P. MacGregor Studios & H & R Recording Studios. Produced by Dan Dalton with arrangements by Dan and The Peppermint Trolley Company. Chad Stuart helped out on two cuts "Trust" and "Pat's Song." 

Line-up: Danny Faragher Vocals / Clavinet / Organ / Trombone / Piano / Percussion Jimmy Faragher Vocals / Bass / Percussion Greg Tornquist Guitar / Vocals / Percussion Casey Cunningham Drums / Percussion

Yesterday I made contact with Danny Faragher via Facebook.
"Hi Colin, this is Danny Faragher (Pictured in red band jacket above. Played keyboards.) Thanks for posting this song. I'm really proud of this recording. I think it is a timeless gem.
We started off with a great song written by my brother Jimmy (Yellow jacket - bass), and Patrick McClure, whom, sadly, we lost last year. With Greg Tornquist, (2nd from right - guitar) the three of us worked up the vocal arrangement in the kitchen of our Silver Lake pad in a 4 hour session as the sun disappeared from the sky, oblivious to the light fading out. Casey Cunningham (on right), was our superb drummer. I played a clavinet on this track. Really going for that baroque sound. So glad you dig it."

07 September, 2015


THE OTHER HALF - "Bad Day" / "What Can I Do For You" (Acta 45-819) February 1968

The first Other Half single release in 1968 was the fast paced fuzztoned rocker "Bad Day" written by rhythm guitarist Jeff Weston. Quite what the West Coast love and peace hippies thought of this would be good to know. This is a powerful, back to basics assault lasting just over two minutes. Blink and it's gone but the fuzz will remain in your mind for days.

The other side is a bluesy number and perhaps more in keeping with the '68 music scene in San Francisco.A good online Other Half page can be found here

06 September, 2015


THE OTHER HALF - "I Need You" / "No Doubt About It" (Acta 806X) July 1967

The first ever release on the newly formed Acta label was by The Other Half, a group based in Sherman Oaks, San Francisco. That particular record was "Wonderful Day / "Flight Of The Dragon Lady" (Acta 801). I don't have a copy of that disc but I do have their Yardbirds inspired twin spin under my spotlight today, and it's the Canadian pressing..

Now on board with The Other Half was lead guitarist Randy Holden who had recently departed The Sons Of Adam. Randy brought with him an abrasive guitar sound and proto-type heavy rock riffage. Check out "I Need You" for some killer psychedelic rock thrills. The other side "No Doubt About It" is pure Yardbirds style energy with fuzz.