26 February, 2011


THE GORDIAN KNOT - 'The Year Of The Sun' (Verve V6-5062) 1968

According to the liners on the back of The Gordian Knot studio album 'Tones', the group relocated from Mississippi to the go go wonderland named Hollywood, Los Angeles. This proved to be a good move because their multi layered harmony pop was perfect ear fodder for the sunshine set.

They rubbed shoulders with film stars and influential music people, playing private party gigs for Richard Harris, Natalie Wood and Eddie Fisher. They managed to secure a six month residency at P.J's in 1967, then in August of that year opened a new hip joint called The Factory.

By 1968 they had enough of their own material to record an album and entered MGM/Verve Studios in L.A. with producer Clark Burroughs. He had recently performed production duties on many of The Association's hits. According to the Verve Records Catalogue (this can be found online) The Gordian Knot recorded all of the songs found on their album on the 26th March 1968.   

'The Year Of The Sun' is pure pop perfection with soaring complex harmonies, flute and acoustic guitar. The song was lifted from the album and released as a single with 'If Only I Could Fly' but it was unfairly overlooked.

THE GORDIAN KNOT - The Year Of The Sun (stereo album cut)

25 February, 2011


TOMMY ROE - 'Sweet Sounds'/'Moon Talk' (ABC 45-10933) May 1967

Another two songs were extracted from the album 'It's Now Winter's Day' and this single faired even worse than the previous one. 'Sweet Sounds' did not dent the charts and so the amazing pop psych flip 'Moon Talk' was probably heard be very few people.

'Moon Talk' in my opinion is perfect lysergic lyte pop and one of the numerous examples of the incredible and esoteric production skills of Curt Boettcher. His studio work was on a higher elevation during the '67-'68 period.

Tommy Roe was also fortunate to have stellar backing from guitarist Mike Deasy and session regulars Ben Benay, Toxie French and Jerry Scheff who later recorded the psychedelic Goldenrod LP.
Ballroom members Jim Bell and Michele O’Malley and future Millennium members Lee Mallory and Sandy Salisbury were also studio cohorts.

TOMMY ROE - Moon Talk

24 February, 2011


TOMMY ROE -'It's Now Winters Day'/'Kick Me Charlie' (ABC 10888) January 1967

Tommy Roe is probably best remembered for his hits like 'Hooray For Hazel' and 'Sweet Pea' but in late '66 his eyes began to see day-glo colours, just like most musicians and performers and his new experimental sound is now considered to be soft psych heaven.

'It's Now Winters Day' written by Roe and produced by Our Productions (Curt Boettcher and Steve Clark) was taken from the album of the same name. Sales were mediocre despite the lavish production and was regarded as a flop. The flip 'Kick Me Charlie' dates from mid 1966 and is a harmonica driven rocker with some pounding bass and crunching guitar.

TOMMY ROE - Kick Me Charlie

Billboard advert - March 1967

Billboard advert January 1967

23 February, 2011


THE EPIC SPLENDOR - 'A Little Rain Must Fall'/'Cowboys And Indians' (Hot Biscuit Disc Company 1450) Nov 1967

The Epic Splendor were probably a studio band put together by Capitol Records in New York to record and release music on their newly formed subsiduary label Hot Biscuit. 'A Little Rain Must Fall' was a decent sized hit locally but it's way too souly for my blog.

The flip 'Cowboys and Indians' written by brothers John and Terence Boylan is a lyte psych pop song with some great trippy guitar and an unusual beat. It sounds like a bluesy The Lovin' Spoonful.
The Boylan brothers recorded as The Appletree Theatre and John played in a later line-up of The Hamilton Streetcar.

THE EPIC SPLENDOR - Cowboys And Indians

Stevens Point - Wisconsin - Feb 1968 Radio Chart.....'A Little Rain Must Fall' proved to be a Top 10 hit

Billboard advert - December 1967

Billboard review - Nov 1967

22 February, 2011


THE NOVA LOCAL - 'If You Only Had The Time'/'Games' (Decca 32138) May 1967

Decca Records had a lot of faith in teenage group The Nova Local offering them an album deal and taking out a full page colour advert in Billboard trade magazine in May 1967. A couple of singles were also released, 'If You Only Had The Time' is on the long player but the flip 'Games' is not.

By all accounts the group formed at Chapel Hill College in North Caroline and quickly established themselves on the local circuit but outside of NC they were virtually unknown.

'If You Only Had The Time' is a delightful pop psych tune written and sung by Randy Winburn who now goes by the name Rand Winburn.

THE NOVA LOCAL - If You Only Had The Time

21 February, 2011


THE FIVE AMERICANS - '7:30 Guided Tour'/'See-Saw Man' (Abnak AB-126) Dec 1967

The Five Americans enjoyed enormous success with hit singles and albums in the mid 60s but outside USA they were virtually unknown. By the end of 1967 the music scene was getting experimental and progressive and their homage to The Beatles with the Sgt Pepperesque '7:30 Guided Tour' is a highlight.

The flip 'See-Saw Man' sounds like it was a song from a much earlier period than that of '7:30 Guided Tour', which was recorded during November 1967. It has the distinctive Five Americans organ sound combined with strange rhythms and Monkees style background vocal harmonies.

The Five Americans have had two retrospective CD collections released on Sundazed over the years but 'See-Saw Man' has never been featured. Maybe the mastertape has been lost?

Billboard advert December 1967

USA picture sleeve on Abnak

Holland release in picture sleeve

Denmark release in picture sleeve

20 February, 2011


THE CHILDREN - 'This Sporting Life'/'McIntosh' (Dagonet DG-78) 1966

I'm almost certain this is the same group that recorded as The Offbeats and Somebody's Chyldren because the writer of 'McIntosh' is Paul Dobies and the label is Dagonet. I wrote about Somebody's Chyldren last year here.

'This Sporting Life' is a garage take of Ian Whitcombe's original. This one starts off slow then bursts into a Yardbirds type rave-up. I'll leave this one for a future Cavestones. The flip 'McIntosh' is a lyte sing-a-long folk tune with trumpet. Strange and interesting in equal measure but not something the closed minds of the fuzz and farfisa crowd would have time for. That's what makes my music blog different.

max myndblown update


THE CITY ZU - "Eeny Meeny" / "Too Much, Too Soon, Too Fast" (Dot 45-17166) Nov 1968

'Too Much, Too Soon, Too Fast' is a fast paced sitar sounding psychedelic rocker by The City Zu, a competent bunch of musicians from Bellevue, Washington. During their recording career they released three singles with this side being by far their most experimental.

As it seems with most of the records I'm spotlighting this month the best side just happens to be the neglected B-Side. This cut was produced by Ray Ruff who had previously worked with Fargo ('Sunny Day Blue'/'Robins, Robins') and it was written by Los Angeles session guitarist Jerry Cole. He had left his licks on many 60s hits and even cut his own psychedelic albums with groups he formed in '66/'67 called The Id and The Animated Egg.

The Ray Ruff and Jerry Cole connection was further enhanced when they set up their own label in 1969 called Happy Tiger Records.

I saved this promo pic from a sale on ebay a couple of years ago. Too bad I don't have an original.

band pic downloaded from The City Zu website. More great photos available but sadly at low res.

19 February, 2011


THE CANDYMEN - 'It's Gonna Get Good In A Minute'/'Go And Tell The People' (ABC 45-11141) Nov 1968

Alabama's The Candymen are probably best known for being Roy Orbison's backing band during the early to mid 60s but members John Rainey Adkins (lead guitar), Bob Nix (drums) and Billy Gilmore (bass) were tempted by their manager and producer Buddy Buie to start playing gigs and recording music in their own right. Dean Daughtry was hired to play keyboards and they recruited singer Rodney Justo who had previously been a member of  The Mystics from Tampa, Florida.

Several 45s and two albums were released on ABC Records, none of which were big hits, maybe 'Georgia Pines' sold in quantity but that song just ain't my scene. The majestic country psych jangle of  'Go And Tell The People' is easily their most experimental cut and was probably another piece of greatness lost on a B-Side. My white label promo comes with a big X on the other side indicating to me that 'It's Gonna Get Good In A Minute' was likely the side the label wanted 'pushed'.

Either way, both sides are non LP and it's the most difficult Candymen 45 to track down.

THE CANDYMEN - Go And Tell The People

KRLA Beat Dec 1967

Billboard Sept 1967

17 February, 2011


THE EIGHTH DAY - 'Glory'/'Building With A Steeple' (Kapp K-916) 1968

The story of The Eighth Day mirrors so many other 60s groups, especially from America where the lure of suitcases full of $$ and fast cars made many a young buck sign on the dotted line.
They started life as The Sons Of Liberty, a promising 5 piece folk rock group from Cadiz, Ohio. They were talent spotted by some fat cat from the music business in New York and tempted to perform an audition. They passed, signed with Kapp Records who promptly changed their name to The Eighth Day then added two female backing singers.

The label wanted a group of their own who sounded like The Mamas & The Papas and the young teens from Ohio accepted their fate. They started recording some songs but became disillusioned with the scene when no records were released and they were not making any money.

Within months most of the group had left New York and returned back home reverting back to their old name The Sons Of Liberty.

45s and an album were eventually released by Kapp with many of the recordings finished by studio musicians and some new songs were recorded written and sung by Ron Dante who is best known for being the singer on all of those records by cartoon group The Archies.

'Building With A Steeple' is a memorable sunshine pop tune which was lost on the flip. It was recorded and performed by the original line-up of Eighth Day before the majority went back home.

For a more detailed story go here

THE EIGHTH DAY - Building With A Steeple

16 February, 2011


THE WIGGGS OF 1666 - 'Never'/'It Will Never Be The Same' (Mercury 72527) January 1966

With a very strange name like The Wigggs Of 1666 I was expecting sonic bliss but what I got from the A-Side 'Never' is tedium of the lowest order. I played this side once a few years ago and it turned the colours in my mind a darker shade of white. Really terrible folkie sounds with male/female vocals.

The flip 'It Will Never Be The Same' is how it should be done. It appears that this square and unhip folk combo took a couple of drags on a strong spliff and got totally wired.

Information on The Wigggs Of 1666 is non existant. There is no mention in FA&F and BW Price Guide lists the record but does not provide a location. Both sides were produced by Hal Mooney, an experienced in-house arranger and producer for Mercury Records throughout the 60s.  

THE WIGGGS OF 1666 - It Will Never Be The Same

15 February, 2011


GEORGE EDWARDS - 'Norwegian Wood'/'Never Mind, I'm Freezing' (Dunwich 45-117) March 1966

Here's a pretty damned great folk rock 45 to collect by George Edwards, who at the time was a Chicago based folkie playing the local venues. He was in the right place at the right time and started working with Dunwich Records as a session musician and was involved in the early recordings of The Shadows Of Knight.

That connection enabled him to record and release this 45 as a solo artist. 'Norwegian Wood' is his version of The Beatles classic but I'll highlight 'Never Mind, I'm Freezing' for my lyst. The vocal delivery reminds me of Sal Valentino's wavery takes and the folk rock backing is a highlight, especially the drums...pure greatness.

George Edwards (now known as Ethan Kenning) would later form H.P. Lovecraft and three of his songs recorded by them are absolute essential and perhaps my favourite Lovecraft trips .... 'Mobious Trip', 'Electrallentando' and 'Wayfaring Stranger'.

GEORGE EDWARDS - Never Mind, I'm Freezing

14 February, 2011


THE CYRKLE - 'Penny Arcade'/'The Words' (Columbia 4-44224) July 1967

By the time Columbia released 'Penny Arcade' by New York based group The Cyrkle their hits had dried up and interest in them had waned to such a degree that members Don Dannemann and Tom Dawes, the writer of  'The Words' would soon decide to quit, then change careers, direction, whatever you want to call it and start composing jingles for TV commercials.  

The flip of 'Penny Arcade' is a neglected psychedelic pop nugget. 'The Words'....with it's sumptious folk rock 12 string jangle, sitar sounds and assorted studio trickery it's most certainly a blissful pop psycher that earns it's rightful place on my blog.

THE CYRKLE - The Words

L-R Tom Dawes, Michael Losekamp, Marty Fried, Don Dannemann

Billboard August 1967


THE CRITTERS - 'A Moment Of Being With You'/'Good Morning Sunshine' (Project 3 PR45-1326) 1968

The Critters recordings with Project 3 have been virtually ignored in preference to their folk rock and pop hits on Kapp. 'Mr Diengly Sad', written by Don Ciccone will always remain their signiture tune but their 1968 work with a vastly different line-up displays great assurance and technique. The vocal harmonies especially are amazing.

The sunshine harmony pop of the flip 'Good Morning Sunshine' makes it into my lyte lyst. Incidently, the song was written by original member Chris Darway but he was not part of the Project 3 version of The Critters. Maybe it was a song that they had held back from Kapp.

Only Jim Ryan on vocals and lead guitar and bassist Kenny Gorka remained from the original line-up, indeed they had also been part of The Vibratones from 1965 that eventually changed their name to The Critters.

Jim Ryan (vocals/lead guitar)
Kenny Gorka (bass)
Jeff Pelosi (drums)
Bobby Spinella (organ)

THE CRITTERS - Good Morning Sunshine

Billboard Oct 1967

Billboard Dec 1967

13 February, 2011


THE ROBBS - 'Next Time You See Me'/'I Don't Feel Alone' (Mercury 72616) Sept 1966

'Next Time You See Me' is a perfect example of what I'd call lyte pop, the tune is commercial and radio friendly and obviously aimed at the charts. Mercury tried hard to break the band nationally but of course that never happened.

Snuff Garrett's production includes some backwards guitar. He had previous production credits with The Astronauts, The Briks and The Gypsy Trips.

THE ROBBS - Next Time You See Me


THE ROBBS - 'Bittersweet' / 'End Of The Week' (Mercury 72641) Jan 1967

(Original review 31/05/08) 

I was doing a bit of internet surfing the other day and learnt that Dee Robb from The Robbs died in February 2008. It's always sad for me when I read that 60s songwriters/musicians die. Fortunately their music will survive a lot longer.

Dee Robb was the lead singer and chief songwriter of Milwaukee band The Robbs. It turned out that The Robbs may have been one of the unluckiest bands of the mid to late 60s. Although their 45s charted locally they never succeeded in achieving national acclaim because almost every one of their releases only reached the 'bubbling' under section of The Billboard chart.

'Bittersweet' was The Robbs third Mercury 45. On this disc the services of hot production team P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri were given control to perhaps push the band to the next level. After all, their songs had been big hits for The Grass Roots, The Turtles and The Searchers. Maybe none bigger than 'Eve Of Destruction' made popular by Barry McGuire.

'Bittersweet' is a magical folk-rock tune notable for it's catchy chorus and pleasant Robbs harmonies. Surprisingly this song has only really ever been digitally compiled on my series of comps. Check it out on Cavestones #20..
A recent search on the Searchin' For Shakes database reveals that The Robbs have no comp action apart from a cassette only release put out by Strange Things magazine back in 1990...On this they introduced 'Bittersweet'...I doubt if this cassette is around anymore.

The flip of this 45 is a Dee Robb original titled 'End Of The Week'....this time around they go for a surf pop approach, similar in style to The Beach Boys' more obscure surf moments. This song is non LP so well worth you getting a copy.


David Donaldson (aka Dee Robb) guitar/vocals
Robert Donaldson (aka Bruce Robb) organ
George Donaldson (aka Joe Robb) guitar
Craig Krampf (aka Craig Robb) drums

bass duties was usually done by session players from Hollywood notably Larry Knetchel or Joe Osborn 

THE ROBBS - End Of The Week

The Robbs 'Bittersweet' up to #3 on the Milwaukee WRIT Radio Chart 29/01/67

12 February, 2011


THE HELLO PEOPLE - 'If I Should Sing Too Softly'/'Pray For Rain' (Philips 40572) Nov 1968

The Hello People were a manufactured group put together by producer Lew Futterman and based in New York. He had the grand idea to merge musicians with mime to create a new sound; that at least was the concept, although the flower pop of 'If I Should Sing Too Softly' is pure 1968 both in sound and production. The song remains uncompiled.

At their gigs The Hello People would perform in weird clothing and wear mime make-up. They would not talk to the audience between songs instead perform short mime acts.

This concept and the quality of their music may have extended their lifespan as group. They released several singles and three studio albums before the decade ended. Ex Remains drummer Norman Smart is known to have performed with The Hello People and is believed to have played percussion on their records.

They performed on some TV Shows notably The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Johnny Carson Tonight Show and these performances can be located on You Tube.

THE HELLO PEOPLE - If I Should Sing Too Softly

their groovy logo


THE SUNSHINE COMPANY - 'Back On The Street Again'/'A Year Of Janie Time' (Liberty 15034) Oct 1967

The phrase sunshine pop couldn't be any more apt to describe the lyte flower power sounds of the classic 'Back On The Street Again'.... The Sunshine Company formed in Los Angeles during 1967 and combined their soft vocal harmonies with the folk rock sound to produce two and a bit minutes of perfect harmony pop.
You may note that this German release is an edited version with a faded outro.

Comparisons with The Mamas And The Papas were inevitable but the group were quick to distance themselves from that outfit during an interview with KRLA Beat.

Leader Maury Manseau stated:

"I think the comparison is valid only in the fact that both of us are vocal groups. But then - it's not really that either, because we do our own instrumentals all the time, and they have a band behind them. I think we've got our own thing and it's different." 

'Back On The Streets Again' was a hit and work poured in. They appeared on TV Shows Joey Bishop, Woody Woodbury and The Laugh In. Maybe one day tapes of these performances will show up on You Tube.
The Sunshine Company also recorded a vocal backing for a Clairol TV Commercial.

Compilation appearances have been rare (they won't appeal to the fuzz and farfisa crowd) but this song surfaced on Nuggets Volume 10 (Rhino Records) back in the mid 80s.

Guitarist Douglas Mark was previously a member of The Grains Of Sand.

This pic of The Sunshine Company adorned the back of their Liberty LP issued in England in 1968. It possibly shows them running for the next bus to the Sunset Strip. In my younger days I ran for the odd bus wearing cuban heels just like those the guys have on and I can tell you that it can become a tad tricky!