29 November, 2011


THE EVIL I - 'Love Conquers All'/'Can't Live Without You' (Frog Records FR-02) 1968

According to 'Sounds From The Woods', The Evil I hailed from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and it's safe to say that The Evil I were probably unknown outside of their domain and cast as outsiders within.

'Love Conquers All'/'Can't Live Without You' was released on Bridge Society Records. Sources claim a 1966 release but judging by the sound this outfit had I'm not convinced. I hear a much later vibe. If it was '66, well, The Evil I were ahead of their time.

'Love Conquers All' is laced with fluid acid lead guitar and loner, moody vocals. The 'singer' sounds like he's in a psychotic trance from an overdose of peyote or other chemicals. Very laid back psych greatness.

Copies on Bridge Society Records never turn up and the late 80s/early 90s re-issue on Frog Records was limited to 300 copies and is now long gone.

In December 2014 I was contacted by Evil I member Jim Lehrman who kindly supplied the following information:

Here is some accurate info:  I played bass on this record, the drummer's name is Ed Belden who now lives in Newville, PA. and Geoff McCabe, wrote both songs and plays rhythm guitar on them. His brother Tim McCabe played lead and John Dereamer sang. 

We were from Harrisburg, played in the mid-state area (from private parties to Universities) from 67-69 and recorded the record in Philadelphia late summer 68. The name of our band was Pandora's Box and it's a long story as to why that name does not appear on the record. 

By the way, we were 15 and 16 when we made the record.  And our manager told us the recording studio we used in Philadelphia was one that Jimi Hendrix used. Which, of course, impressed us.  

 As Pandora’s Box, we played at our school (the Harrisburg Academy), at private parties, at the Rescue Fire Company’s dances and splash parties, the traveling “Reach Out” coffeehouse, concerts at the band shell at Reservoir Park in Harrisburg, Dickinson College and some other schools, and we were the “house band” at the teen dances at the Colonial Park United Church of Christ. We had no association with the church so I don’t know how we got that gig. 

We eventually got a manager, John Ulrich, who was also managing another local band, The Legends, who had Danny Hartman as their lead guitarist and singer. 

The only times Pandora’s Box played with other bands was in various “Battles of the Bands” (we won some and lost some) and at the summer concerts at Reservoir Park bandshell, which were put on by Reach Out (which I was the “art director” of, and made all the posters).  We were “the” psychedelic band in the area, doing Grateful Dead type jams, often with what we considered an “Indian raga” vibe. At the time, we had never heard of the Grateful Dead.  People occasionally asked us if we copied the Doors or if they copied us.  Ha - we loved that!

As to why we changed our name from Pandora’s Box to Evil I, it appears that after we had recorded the 45, the step-mother of the songwriter/rhythm guitarist and lead guitarist told her stepsons that now would be the time to change the name to something less “sexual”, before becoming known (with the “success of the record”) as Pandora’s Box.  I, myself, didn’t know the name was NOT Pandora’s Box until I saw the printed vinyl record.

These days, Geoff McCabe (rhythm guitar and songwriter) is in Los Angeles, doing music and also promoting some tremolo bar innovations he invented as well as additions to the bridge to make guitars more acoustically brilliant and powerful — he has at least 10 patents for this side of his work.  

In the 70s and 80s, after a stint at Berklee School of Music in Boston, he focused on his music career in NY and produced two albums of his own jazz fusion compositions -- Teseract Complicity which won 3&1/2 stars from DownBeat magazine for his freshman effort, and Fractal Architecture which he performed under his own name at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in the later 80’s. He has a third jazz album written, Cartoons and other Heiroglyphs, and moved to LA in 2000 to pursue his non-instrumental work, where his new band, The Geofferson Lightship, was well received.  

His brother, Tim McCabe (lead guitar) was not so lucky. He is in Sacramento, unfortunately living with schizophrenia in an institution.  John Dereamer (lead singer) is in Harrisburg, mostly retired from doing contracting.  He’s married and has grown kids.  John was the oldest and, unlike the rest of us, went to Susquehanna High School. 

As for myself, Jim Lehrman, I played bass, having previously played drums in another band, The Statesmen. After Harrisburg, I played guitar in the Guru Blanket Band in Boston (Ram Dass’ “back up” band) and have done little musically since.  I’ve been a psychotherapist for about 40 years and have been CEO and COO of the cutting edge educational centers Omega Institute in New York and Interface Foundation in Boston.

This picture is Geoffrey, it was taken after he left Harrisburg and went to Hofstra University, this is how he looked back in the band.

This shot is from our high school yearbook.  Timmy is the guy playing guitar at the bottom left and I’m at the top right.


Geoff and me about a year ago here in LA.  He’s on the right and I’m on the left.  

26 November, 2011


THE FANTASTIC ZOO - 'Midnight Snack'/'This Calls For A Celebration' (Double Shot 105) November 1966

When The Fogcutters from Denver, Colorado relocated to Los Angeles sometime during 1966 they got a deal with the fledgling Hollywood label Double Shot who had just scored a big hit with 'Psychotic Reaction' by The Count Five.

But for some insane reason 'Midnight Snack' was deemed the potential hit and was thus The Fantastic Zoo's debut A-Side. The song is tedious after a couple of listens, pretty much a Lovin' Spoonful influenced novelty. Far superior is the flip 'This Calls For A Celebration' which perfectly encapsulates L.A folk rock merging with the new sound of psychedelia.

I have previously covered The Fantastic Zoo here

"Double Shot - where every shot counts"

24 November, 2011

THE MYSTERIES - Please Agree

THE MYSTERIES - 'Please Agree'/'I Find It's True Love' (Manhattan 815) November 1967

According to FA&F The Mysterians were a trio from Orlando in Florida who released three 45s during their existence, 'Please Agree'/'I Find It's True Love' was their second.

Releases on the Mike Curb/Sidewalk connection label Manhattan Records raise my interest as the latter also released 45s by garage greats The Painted Faces and The Satans but 'Please Agree' is uptempo pop music in reality. Having said that it does have a somewhat unique sound and was a top ten hit in Orlando during January 1968.

Tom Bennett (drums)
Henry Seymour (bass)
Tom Zackton (guitar)

THE MYSTERIES - Please Agree

20 November, 2011


FRONT PAGE NEWS - 'Thoughts'/'You Better Behave' (Dial 4052) January 1967

'Thoughts' has been comped several times over the years most recently on the Sundazed series Garage Beat '66 from the mastertapes but that version is different with more fuzz action at the intro and outro, it also sounds slightly slower. The single release version on Dial is shorter and much more dynamic.

It was thought that Front Page News hailed from Fort Worth in Texas but according to the liners of Garage Beat '66 - Volume 5, it seems that the group went to Fort Worth from Tulsa, Oklahoma to record their music under the name of The New Imperials. However, for reasons unknown their name was changed to Front Page News for the 45 release.

'Thoughts' is a cool fuzz and tambourine bash with the kind of tune that hangs around in your mind for days. Needless to say it remained in obscurity.


19 November, 2011


THE DESCENDANTS - 'Garden Of Eden'/'Lela' (MTA Records 112) November 1966

The gentle and soothing soft psychedelia of 'Garden Of Eden' by New York group The Descendants has escaped the compilers over the years so I was pleased to put that right on my recent Cavestones series. 'Garden Of Eden' is the type of song I'd imagine Simon & Garfunkel to come up with had they ever started to ease their minds with lysergia.

On the other side 'Lela' is a fabulous burst of Bo Diddley shuffling energy and has cropped up several times on lame sounding compilations. Curiously, this 45 saw a release in England on CBS Records during January 1967.


17 November, 2011


THE HIGHER ELEVATION - 'The Diamond Mine'/'Crazy Bicycle' (Chicory Records CH-408) 1967

This is the second time out for The Higher Elevation on Flower Bomb songs. Check out 'Summer Skies' here.

'The Diamond Mine' was written and performed by Dave Diamond, a Los Angeles DJ who played underground psych rock to the LA teens and no doubt influenced many people along the way with his airplay obscurities. His backing band on 'The Diamond Mine' is The Higher Elevation.

'Crazy Bicycle' has a very '67 English mod sound with it's Who/Action style background vocals and brass. More Rubble than Pebbles. An earlier incarnation of The Higher Elevation was The Monocles and their 'Spider And The Fly'/'On The Other Side Of Happiness' was also released on Chicory Records, CH-407.

Both 'Spider And The Fly' and 'The Diamond Mine' were part of Pebbles Volume 3, "The Acid Gallery".


15 November, 2011


THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH - 'Hard Woman'/Things Of The Past' (Sur-Speed 223) 1967

This particular group/artist is not to be confused with The Fountain Of Youth who recorded for Colgems but one listen to this raw garage blast and I'm sure you'll hear the difference anyway.

It is thought that this Fountain Of Youth were from Tennessee, although that conclusion is probably based on the location of the Sur-Speed label. The latter was owned and run by Nashville producer Red Wortham who also owned Bullet Records and Delta Records.

'Hard Woman' is a hot garage rocker with a great surf guitar riff. The vocals are buried in the mix and the drums are primitive and cool, sounding like the guy is tapping away on monkey skulls. Listen out for the killer psych guitar break that ends the performance.

Forget about the flip 'Things Of The Past' which is an early 60s teener ballad.


13 November, 2011


THE VEJTABLES - 'Shadows'/'Feel The Music' (Uptown 741) January 1967

The Vejtables from the Bay Area of California enjoyed some success with folk rock hits 'I Still Love You' and 'The Last Thing On My Mind' from 1965 but by the Spring of  '66 only veterans Bob Bailey and Frank Smith were left from the original group.

Three former members of The Preachers were recruited, Richard Fortunato, Zeke Camarillo and Steve Lagana who in my opinion made The Vejtables more dynamic and exiting on record.
The new line-up recorded several new songs at Leo Kulka's Golden State Recorders during April and May 1966 but had to wait until January 1967 (it gained a mention as a new release during that month in Billboard magazine) for any sounds to emerge on vinyl. This two sided gem on the small Uptown label seems to have been ignored at the time though.

'Shadows' has got a very strange and unique sounding bass line. As unnerving as the beat is, I find myself unable to resist. Raga guitar weaves around the pumping bass......"Shadows follow us stalking mistrust" 

The flip 'Feel The Music' is a fabulous acid punker that is based heavily on The Who tune 'Out In The Street' but The Vejtables colour the scene with more raga rock guitar. Both sides are essential.


10 November, 2011

STU MITCHELL with Wes Dakus' Rebels - ACID

STU MITCHELL with Wes Dakus' Rebels - 'Acid'/'Casting My Spell' (Kapp K-829) 1967

The Wes Dakus Rebels were an Edmonton group who had been around since the early 60s as a recording outfit. Stu Mitchell was their drummer but on this Kapp Records release from 1967 he assumed frontman status and sang/wrote his own composition 'Acid'. His spoken delivery sounds uncannily like Jim Morrison's don't you think?

'Acid' was recorded at the famous Norman Petty studio in Clovis, New Mexico sometime in mid 1966. It's a weird, doom laden sound with a sparse production. The constant church bells and haunting sound effects give it a somewhat mysterious eeriness. The star on the label indicates that this was the A-Side but I very much doubt it would have got past the radio controllers because of the songs subject matter.

The flip 'Casting My Spell' is a jaunty pop number with some subtle fuzz and remains uncompiled.

Billboard - September 1966

08 November, 2011


THE BEAUTIFUL DAZE - 'City Jungle Part 1'/'City Jungle Part 2' (RPR Records R-101) 1967

Hold onto your crystalized mind until the eggman collects it for The Beautiful Daze are about to take you on a lysergic trip with their 'beautiful production' to the City jungle wherever that is. My guess is that it's Los Angeles circa 1967, as this amazing acid fueled 45 was recorded in Hollywood.

I first discovered 'City Jungle Part 1' way back in the 80s on a garage psych comp called 'Acid Dreams' and it completely blew my mind. Who were these guys? How did they get that sound? What planet did they come from? I had all of these questions back then but had no answers. Fast forward almost 30 years and I still have no answers.

'City Jungle Parts 1 & 2' is psychedelic mayhem or sonic dementia depending on your state of mind at the time of listening. It sounds like The Beautiful Daze incorporate twin acid leads, joyful psych noises that is probably an echoplex, mind altering feedback and maximum fuzz action. They even have time for a mid song Association type sunshine pop interlude but that peace quickly fades away as more fuzztone guitars burn away the sunshine.

It seems that the single was a Los Angeles underground hit as I've seen numerous copies on RPR Records for sale over the years. It was also released on Spread City Records and Alpha Records.

THE BEAUTIFUL DAZE - City Jungle Part 1

06 November, 2011

THE X-TREEMS - Substitute

THE X-TREEMS - 'Substitute'/'Facts Of Life' (Star Trek Records 1221) 1969

The X-Treems hailed from St Louis, Missouri and were a popular group in their home town but like most local outfits remained largely unknown everywhere else. That was until the 80s when this 45 was ripe for the compilation market, especially the flip 'Facts Of Life' which is regarded as a garage psych classic, probably due to the over the top use of fuzz guitar.

'Substitute' is an energetic take of The Who original but it seems that The X-Treems had a fraction of the former's studio budget as the production is muddy and amateurish but still enjoyable. The record label name of Star Trek is great though, no doubt influenced by the TV Show.

Gary Wood (bass/vocals)
Alan Shelby (guitar/vocals)
Phil Markley (organ)
Rick Tello (drums)

THE X-TREEMS - Substitute

The X-Treems picture rescued from here

04 November, 2011

THE RAINY DAZE - Blood Of Oblivion

THE RAINY DAZE - 'Blood Of Oblivion' / 'Stop Sign' (Polydor 56737) October 1967

The Rainy Daze were from Denver, Colorado and they had a fair sized hit with something of a novelty song called 'That Acapulco Gold' supposedly about weed.

The main songwriter in The Rainy Daze was Tim Gilbert who collaborated with John Carter (who was not part of the band) This song writing duo wrote most of the original material recorded by The Rainy Daze. They also had several songs recorded by other artists. For instance, Hardwater and The Yankee Dollar covered their songs 'City Sidewalks', 'Good Old Friends' and 'Sanctuary'.

Perhaps their most famous songwriting credit is 'Incense And Peppermints' recorded by The Strawberry Alarm Clock although bass player George Bunnell from SAC suggests that the melody and body of the music to 'Incence And Peppermints' was already written but no one from the band could come up with any lyrics.
Enter Rainy Daze, Yankee Dollar and Strawberry Alarm Clock producer Frank Slay. He suggested that Tim Gilbert and John Carter could finish the song. This they did along with taking ALL songwriting credits.

Getting back to this record then. 'Blood Of Oblivion' is cool pop psych with some magical organ interplay. 'Stop Sign' is also interesting and has the inclusion of brass. Both songs are not on The Rainy Daze album released to cash in on the hit 'That Acapulco Gold'.

Tim Gilbert (lead singer/rhythm guitar)
Sam Fuller (bass)
Bob Heckendorf (organ)
Kip Gilbert (drums)
Mac Ferris (lead guitar)

RAINY DAZE - Blood Of Oblivion

UNI scan


01 November, 2011

THE BENTLEYS - Now It's Gone

THE BENTLEYS - 'Now It's Gone'/'Night Time In The City' (Devlet 443/4) 1966

Mike Kuzmin's book 'Sounds From The Woods' has proved invaluable to pinpoint The Bentleys as a Stroudsburg area group of Pennsylvania. According to Mike, some members were active in another Stroudsburg group called The Devils. They had a Devlet single release in 1964 'Devil Dance'/'Just Like That'

'Now It's Gone' is a classy fuzz and tambourine shakin' garage rocker with some good vocal harmonies. The 45 proved to be a hit in Lehigh Valley although outside their home area The Bentleys probably remained unknown. The flip 'Night Time In The City' is a squaresville ballad.

THE BENTLEYS - Now It's Gone