30 July, 2007

THE LYRICS - MR MAN



THE LYRICS - "Mr Man" / "Wait" (London Records Top 1213) 1967
 
I was more than delighted to secure this classy double sided garage psych gem for my collection earlier this year. I already had the GNP Crescendo 393 release but needed this one simply because it had a picture cover. As with most Japanese covers it came with an insert of the song lyrics which i'll post here. Fortunately, they were also in English!

'Wait' mixes what sounds like a guitar sounding like a sitar, must have used a vox wah wah peddle and tambourine over a plodding drum beat. All sounds very simple and works great.

You've gotta wait, wait, get hold of yourself

You've gotta wait, wait, just look at yourself

You've gotta wait before you lose it.

You used to be the coolest cat that I know

But now you're mixed up, you don't know where to go

You've gotta cool off, step back, take a good look

Just cool off, step back, don't put yourself on a hook

Webster's Dictionary couldn't tell you

How to ease your troubled mind

But I know that you can do it

If you'll just take the time


'Mr Man' was the top side and deemed the one to become a hit. It sounds very commercial and probably should have been one. I particularly dig the psychedelic guitar break and the background 'Mr Maaans' that can be just heard behind the lead vocals.
Well hey Mr. Man

Just 'cause I got the things that you never had

That don't give you no account to write my Dad

You know you better leave him alone

And hey Mr. Man

You think you got something on me Mr. Man

Just because my life is free Mr. Man

And do the things that I want to do.

Well that don't give you no right to tell my friends

They're on and out and they won't be aware

You better listen Mr. Man

You know you better leave me alone Mr. Man

'Cause you know I'm not alone Mr. Man

There's a lot more guys like me on the road.

Go away Mr. Man, leave me alone

Go away, yeah, I said go away.

The Lyrics players on this record according to the cover liners were:
Craig Carll (vocals)
Bill Garcia (lead guitar)
Danny Garcia (bass)
Jack Flannary (drums)
Dave Compton (keyboards)

Both songs were written by Craig Carll and produced by Harlon Peacock & Don Ralke.
Of course both songs have been heavily compiled over the years.


The CHOCOLATE TUNNEL - OSTRICH PEOPLE




The Chocolate Tunnel - 'Ostrich People' / 'The Highly Successful Young Rupert White' (Era 3185) 1967

Era Records are mostly known for releasing soul 45s but they also issued records by garage punk kings The Lyrics, The No-Na-Mees and Ty Wagner. Era records also dipped their toe into the blossoming psychedelic scene and fortunately for us released this cool two sider by the strangely named Chocolate Tunnel.
Google 'chocolate tunnel' and you'll get hundreds of chocolate cake recipes that will have Willy Wonka slurping like there's no tomorrow. But I did manage to find out some relevant information about the band.

According to Gerry Blake from The Avengers who knew Kenny Johnson and Jerry Ritchey, The Chocolate Tunnel hailed from Bakersfield, California and not Los Angeles as stated in Fuzz Acid and Flowers. They only managed this one 45 on Era. Both songs also had a release on the smaller label In-Sound. So I guess enough records were shifted for Era to get interested.

'Ostrich People' is a bass heavy production with what sounds like backwards strings in the mix. I particularly dig the trippy vocals especially the whispered 'ostrich people'. There is also some menacing fuzz guitar closing the song. I think the lyrics tell the tale of how people avoid confrontation and 'hide their heads in the sand' in much the same way as Ostriches are prone to do... it has nothing to do with those weirdo tribes people from Zimbabwe who have two toes on each foot. Try buying cuban heel boots for those things.

'The Highly Successful Young Rupert White' is musically very similar with the same heavy bass and fuzzy guitar. This tune however, has the added attraction of tambourine flourishes and an organ break. Again the vocals are trippy and in parts whispered.

Both songs were written by Kenny Johnson and Jerry Ritchie. Bob Hopps is credited for 'Rupert White' only.
Both songs were arranged by Gary Paxton and produced by his Company the Bakersfield International Productions.

As a footnote I can tell you that Eternity's Children covered 'The Highly Successful Young Rupert White' but their version was called simply 'Rupert White'. Check it out on their 1968 Tower 45.
Canadian band The Privilege also released a song called 'Highly Successful Young Rupert White' (Capitol 72530) in 1968. I've not heard this but assume it's the same song. If anyone knows for sure please let me know.



 
The Chocolate Tunnel also had their one and only record released in Australia on Festival.
Thanks to Tom Price from TOKEN RECORDS in Australia for supplying the label scans.

The JAGGED EDGE - How She's Hurtin' Me

 
The Jagged Edge - 'How She's Hurtin Me' / 'You Can't Keep A Good Man Down' (Gallant GT 3017) June 1966
The Off-Set - 'Xanthia (Lisa)' / 'A Change Is Gonna Come' (Jubilee 45-5542) 1967

Here are 4 excellent songs by a bunch of teens from Brooklyn, New York. The first record on Gallant sold quite well in New York. 'How She's Hurtin Me' is in my top ten folk rockers list. Both sides were written by Drew Georgopulos. Credits on label read A. Georgeopulis. Is this a typo?

Fortunately no one cares because it's a sparkling jangler with rattling tambourine and a teen punk guitar break that pretty much elevates the song into my top ten folk rock list. I'm surprised that it's only been compiled once before on From The New World back in the 8os. This was a vinyl only release. 'You Can't Keep A Good Man Down' is more garagey and far less tuneful but still good none the less.

The band changed their moniker to The Off-Set for their next release a year later on Jubilee. Another cool song, again written by Drew Georgopulos is 'Xanthia (Lisa) This one is a psychedelic effort with weird noises, jangly guitar, finger cymbols and plodding bass. Almost Byrdsian but on a much smaller budget of course.

The other side written by S.Cook is back to the jangle folk rocker mode with what sounds like an opening barrage of fuzz bass. All four songs were produced by Cis-Trans Production team.

Band members on these two 45s were:

Elliot Ingber (vocals)
Harley Wishner (bass)
Kenny Bennett (drums)
Art Steinman (lead guitar)
Drew Georgopulos (rhythm guitar)

26 July, 2007

THE GRATEFUL DEAD - CREAM PUFF WAR



 
The Grateful Dead - Cream Puff War / The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion) (Warner Brothers 7016) 17th March 1967


This was the first Warner Bros single released by acid rock legends Grateful Dead. If you think the Dead were mostly boring 5 hour stoned guitar solos and tedious songs about nothing in particular, then you'd be almost right. They did have their moment of sheer brilliance and this 45 was it.
'Cream Puff War' is almost garage punk. I say almost because it was produced by Dave Hassinger. He produced bands such as the Byrds, Love, Jefferson Airplane, Rolling Stones and Electric Prunes, so you ain't gonna get garage from this guy. He was too good a producer. However, if the Grateful Dead had a budget of $100 and 2 hours studio time and produced it themselves (like most teen punks) I reckon this single would have sounded a raw garage punker and would now be adulated by every garage nazi in the world.
Here's some useless information about 'Cream Puff War'. This song has only ever been played in live performances 5 times. I got this statistic from some Dead Head site.
The flip 'The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)' is more psychedelic and just as good. This 45 version is a different mix to that used for the album released a few months later.

Band members on this record were:
Jerry Garcia (guitar/vocals)
Bill Kreutzmann (drums)
Phil Lesh (bass)
Pigpen (keyboards/harmonica)
Bob Weir (guitar)
The Grateful Dead rule on this disc....

SWEETNESS & LIGHT, HOT 'N' HEAVY CD-R

















Occasionally some home made, no budget CDR compilations are as good as they get. Paul Martin is responsible for one of my favourite comp series called Pop Cycles. These are excelently mastered with top grade sound quality and come with well researched liners.
Paul is the person behind this comp called Sweetness & Light, Hot 'n' Heavy. The concept behind this release is to start with the more AOR late 60s /70s releases. The kinda music that your parents probably dug and you hated. The set gradually gets more heavy and freaky and by the end your parents would hate it and you would be diggin' it.

I would not have placed the ultra cool 1st Century in with the lite psych 45s. This one sticks out as being more of an underground psycher. I wished he would have added the flip 'Dancing Girl' aswell. This has been compiled recently on Soft Sounds For Gentle People Volume 4. Unfortunately their attempt at mastering the 45 for their CD release is well below average and still needs to be presented properly. (I'm pleased to say I've got a copy on route from USA to England as I write this)

On this CDR release the sound quality of all the tracks could have been tidied up a bit and the pops and clicks evident on some of the selections could easily have been removed with a little skill. (I was told this was a rush release) Fortunately the music is loud and proud and still blows away those Soft Sounds CDs.

Most of the Sweetness and Light half is pleasant enough music with the occasional fuzzy guitar and tambourine bashing. So my favourite cuts on the first half of the collection are 1st Century, Pastoral Symphony's 'Love Machine' (this one has got great 'skying' and whispered vocals) and The Trixons 'Just Another Song' (which is a bouncy song complete with sunshine pop 'La La La's)

Things start getting more freaky and heavy by the mid point. Some of the cuts sound progressive especially Black Feather and Genesis. The Wildwoods 'I'm Dreaming' is out of place as this song is a magical psychedelic song with lyrics such as 'Several flowers cover my towers by the hour' and 'Now I know how I can get get high, smelling my flower'..

The Stony Brook People's 'There's Tomorrow' is a fast paced mover with brass and psychy guitar meanderings. There is also room for overlooked gems from Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape and the Bob Seger System. 'Mustache In Your Face' by Pretty will pretty much blow your mind with it's heaviness if you've not heard it before.
A new discovery for me was The Flames 'Solitude'. This song is a six minute slow paced raga sitar fest ending with the line 'Close your eyes I want to sleep in your mind'....

Expect none of these bands to feature in the anticipated Teen Beat Mayhem.