28 January, 2012

THE CHURCHILL DOWNS - Don't Turn The Light Off

THE CHURCHILL DOWNS - 'Don't Turn The Light Off' (Shadoks Music 137) 2011

One of the highlights of 2011 was Shadoks LP (limited to 500 copies) release of unreleased tapes by The Churchill Downs who were a popular and hip group in Hollywood during 1967-68. The group even became the house band at the famous Gazzari's, a notorious club on the Sunset Strip.

For whatever reason, The Churchill Downs failed to secure a recording contract with any label and the music they laid down with producer Gary Paxton during late 1967 to mid 1968 remained unheard. The earlier recordings are great but as '67 became '68 the psychedelic direction and some of the line-up had changed to a more soul rock sound.

The stand out is the Strawberry Alarm Clock influenced 'Don't Turn The Light Off', co-written by Don Adey who went onto record an album as Jamme with Keith Adey and some of Hollywood's finest session players, including Larry Knetchtel and Jim Gordon.

THE CHURCHILL DOWNS - Don't Turn The Light Off

27 January, 2012


MIKE WALLACE - 'Daffodil'/'Early Morning Bird' (Major Minor MM 668) 1970

Most lovers of late 60s English underground psych will be familiar with an earlier Mike Wallace 45 on Polydor Records 'Natural High'/'Mandarin' and a pleasing pop psych double sider it is too.

I never realised that Mike Wallace had another overlooked and obscure 45 released on Major Minor until I found a copy late last year. This record has a similar pop psych approach with an obvious Donovan influence. 'Daffodil' is lyte pop with orchestration, a perfect lazy Summer's day sound. Sadly no one was listening or cared and the record has remained in obscurity until I've resurrected it today.

'Early Morning Bird' is also an engaging lyte pop dream, but more acoustic and folk rock than 'Daffodil'. I love this type of sound. Mike Wallace rules...

25 January, 2012


JASON CREST - 'Hold On' (Tenth Planet TP041) 1999

Second time out for London group Jason Crest on 'Flower Bomb Songs'... This is their radio session rendition of 'Hold On', a song that was recorded by several English underground groups including Ipsissimus, Rupert's People and Sharon Tandy (backed by The Fleur de Lys).

Jason Crest recorded 'Hold On' in November 1968 for radio broadcast although I'm sure this song and others were never played on the radio at the time and were just used as audition tapes to assess their suitability for live broadcast. The mastertapes were found gathering dust in the late 90s in their former manager's attic.


22 January, 2012

THE LEARS - Fanzine Reviews (Lears - Final Part)

THE LEARS - 'The Story So Far' (Get Hip 1058CD) 1997

By the time Get Hip Recordings released The Lears CD the group had already disbanded. It's an essential CD to add to your collection because it contains most of the early 45 sides (apart from 'Thimble Full Of Puzzles' and the Pretty Things cover 'You Don't Believe Me').

As well as the singles, previously unreleased songs are present including recordings made at King Snake Studio and Hitmaker Studio sometime in 1995. The new songs seem to indicate a more experimental and psychedelic approach that The Lears seem more than capable of indulging in especially on mindblowers like 'Electric Mushroom Voyage' and 'Thee Iguana Theme'.

The ultra great folk jangler 'Then You Want' (easily my favourite Lears tune) was given the honour by Timothy Gassen to appear in MP3 format on his 'Knights Of Fuzz' CD-ROM.  You can hear this on my YouTube Channel. That's The Gruesomes pictures on the cover by the way...not The Lears.

Shindig #4 review
Misty Lane #16 review

Gravedigger #2 review

THE LEARS - You Don't Believe Me (Lears - Part 5)

THE LEARS - 'You Don't Believe Me' (Corduroy Records CORD007) 1995

The compilation 'Not So Pretty' was put together by Corduroy Records in Australia to showcase contemporary groups of the mid 90s performing classic songs by the legendary Pretty Things.

The Lears contributed the jangly 'You Don't Believe Me' from The Pretty Things 1965 album 'Get The Picture'. The song was a no-brainer for The Lears to cover and was perfect for their folk garage sound.
The song was not compiled on The Lears CD retrospective.

THE LEARS - You Don't Believe Me

21 January, 2012


THE LEARS - Her Magic Smile'/'Don't You Know' (Misty Lane Records 028) 1995

Perhaps the most well known song by The Lears is the Dennis Dalcin original pop charmer 'Her Magic Smile'.

'Her Magic Smile' has the signature Rickenbacker 12 string jangle sound but The Lears are no mere Byrds imitators. This song reminds me of The Rain Parade but with a garage edge.

The 45 was recorded at King Snake Studios, Sanford, Florida in 1995 with a new line-up of Paul Mutchler, Mark Dewey, Dennis Dalcin and Suzy Wolfe

update from Dennis Dalcin - January 2010:

"Wow! I was so surprised to see my old band's single included on your great blog! I'm Dennis Dalcin (guitar/vocals) with The Lears. Both of these songs are ones that I wrote & sang lead on. These were ever only very rough mixes and NOT the way we really wanted them to sound. We were asked by Massimo of Misty Lane Records if we would allow him to release these as a single on his label. We were glad to finally have something recorded in a real recording studio get released. 

Our our previous releases were from recordings done on a 4-track machine that Paul Mutchler had, and they were recorded in a garage! They were true garage recordings! I too believe we never reached our peak musically before the band split after first Paul then I moved back to Clearwater/St Petersburg respectively. Thanks for your support of The Lears!!"

THE LEARS - Her Magic Smile

20 January, 2012

THE LEARS - I Saw You (Lears - Part 3)

THE LEARS - '4 x 4' EP (Lollipop Shop LSP 002) August 1994 

On this four song EP The Lears have certainly executed the 1966 Byrds sound to perfection. The music on offer is a veritable overdose of 12 string jangle. The rough and basic production puts their sound in the folk garage box of tricks.

The best song on the EP is the terrific Paul Mutchler original 'Then You Want'. This cut would easily fit on 'The Notorious Byrd Brothers'. It's a modern day classic. Brilliant 12 string Rickenbacker action, simple but effective drums and Byrdsian harmonies. This could almost be McGuinn and Crosby. They've kissed and made up!!!

'Thimble Full Of Puzzles' is an extra-ordinary raga rock instrumental. Yet again it's a 12 string jangle collision course and we're on the road to Columbia Studios, Hollywood and Gary Usher is at the controls...For some reason this track was not included on The Lears retrospective CD on Get Hip. Not sure why....it's killer.

All in all folks this is a priceless EP record by The Lears. If you dig Byrdsian magic add this artifact to your collection if you ever see it for sale.

When I originally posted this entry on my site Dennis Dalcin got in touch with the following information:

"Dennis Dalcin here of The Lears...I just wanted to add to the information provided. 

Paul wrote the music for "Annabel Lee" which is a poem by Edgar Allen Poe. "Thimble Full Of Puzzles" came from a riff that had been going round my head for days before we jammed this out as a band. So I came up with the title and riff and everyone else contributed their parts to it. I'm really glad to hear that you liked it!! 

It didn't get included on our Get Hip CD because we wanted to let people hear another song by the band that had not previously been released. 

All these songs were recorded in a garage with a Tascam 4-Track cassette recorder (as was all of our Get Hip CD). Add to that it was our first attempt at recording the band. We actually recorded the majority of a second CD in a real 24-track studio that has all the power we had live, but couldn't get on the 4-track recordings. Since Paul has no desire to see those tracks released I doubt that it will ever see the light of day. Too bad really because it sounds so much better than any of our other recordings! Oh well, such is life! Keep on rocking!"

songs on EP:
I Saw You
Annabel Lee
Then You Want
Thimble Full Of Puzzles

Recorded September 1991
Remixed and Remastered September 1993
Released August 1994


original post 25/07/07

19 January, 2012

THE LEARS - Comin' Home Today (Lears - Part 2)

THE LEARS - 'Comin' Home Today' (Misty Lane Records 016) Feb 1994

One of the earliest releases on Misty Lane Records was the four track EP called 'A Web Of Mystery'. This showcased songs by The Overcoat, The Others, Lust-O-Rama and The Lears.

The folk jangle rocker 'Comin' Home Today' is the highlight from the disc and sees The Lears veering into 'Notorious Byrd Brothers' territory with it's vague 'country' influence. Listen out for some pleasing and authentic folk rock harmonies, just like it was 1967 again.

THE LEARS - Comin' Home Today

16 January, 2012

THE LEARS - I Won't Remind You (Lears - Part 1)

THE LEARS - 'I Won't Remind You'/'A Flash Of Light' (Susstones IMS-581) 1993

After Green Today disbanded Paul Mutchler and Ken Chiodini teamed up with Dennis Dalcin (editor of Kaleidoscope fanzine and the individual resposible for the Exploding Underground compilation) and bass player Steve Rybko during the Summer of 1990.

It took almost three years before The Lears released any vinyl but eventually a debut 45 came out on Susstones, a  Minneapolis label noted for taking an interest in 60s influenced outfits. Other Susstones releases include singles by The Funseekers, Manual Scan and The Shambles.

'I Won't Remind You' is fine fast paced Byrdsian raga jangle with a psychedelic tinge. The Byrds influence cannot be denied and I'm sure McGuinn would really dig the efforts of The Lears with this gem written by 12-string Rickenbacker picker Paul Mutchler.

The flip 'A Flash Of Light', written by Dennis Dalcin cleverly combines jangle with a Bo Diddley beat.....an unusual combination but it works.

Interesting to note that the name The Lears derives from 60s aircraft the Lear Jet. Roger McGuinn was a noted enthusiast of the plane and wrote '2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)' as a tribute to it's manufacturer John Lear.

THE LEARS - I Won't Remind You

15 January, 2012

THE GREEN TODAY - Natural Rhyme

THE GREEN TODAY - 'Natural Rhyme'/'Find A Way' (Kaleidoscope Flexi Disc) Dec 1986

One of the best contemporary groups I've discovered recently were undoubtedly Orlando, Florida outfit The Belltowers. They perform a melodic and harmonious jangle rock that has been my staple diet for decades. Read about The Belltowers on my site here. 

During the course of my Belltowers investigations I became aware that at one stage ex Green Today members Paul Mutchler and Ken Chiodini were also in an early line-up of The Belltowers. I'd heard of The Green Today before via an 80s compilation called 'The Exploding Underground'....

I then found out that both Paul and Ken started another group called The Lears when The Green Today broke up in 1987. Fantastic, I said to myself...... I've been a huge fan of The Lears for many years and had all of their 45 releases. Things started to make sense. The jangle Rickenbacker from Paul Mutchler had been a pleasant constant in ALL three groups.

A few months ago I decided that I wanted 'Flower Bomb Songs' to concentrate much more on revival groups and although I've already written about The Lears before I plan to update those entries over several blog entries, starting today with The Green Today!!

The Green Today started life as Stumble and after a couple of changes settled on a line-up of  Ken Chiodini (drums/vocals), Paul Mutchler (guitar/vocals) and Martin Everett (bass). Soon after, a new name was required and the guys went for The Green Today after Paul looked at The Beatles LP 'Yesterday And Today' and liked the way it was written. All three liked the colour green.....hence Green Today.

'Natural Rhyme', written by Paul Mutchler has his signiture 12 string jangle and is a real lanquid Byrdsian treat. The sound is full and vibrant and belies the fact that this was a three piece outfit. Mark Michel is credited as producer on the flexi-disc but during the interview from Kaleidoscope Issue 1, the group also thank John Link for help during the recording process.

THE GREEN TODAY - Natural Rhyme

'Find A Way' is an uptempo rocker with a definate nod to The Meat Puppets and The Minutemen (popular 80s indie groups), especially the bass runs. However, the jangle is still present. Here's what Paul had to say in the Kaleidoscope interview.

"I listen to The Beatles, The Byrds and Roger McGuinn. I'm definately a big McGuinn fan. I think I'm the only person besides McGuinn who plays 12-string constantly now!
I'll always be a 12-string picker. I like 6-strings but....if I get one It'll be like yeah, I'll play that two songs a set".

Another song by The Green Today was released on late 80s compilation 'The Exploding Underground' on (Direct Hit Records DHLP 1001). 'Thoughts Before' was recorded in 1987 and is a seriously great Byrdsian rocker circa their raga rock experiments on 'Younger Than Yesterday', but at over four minutes is too long too post here. Check it out on my YouTube Channel.

The Green Today - St Augustine, 1986 - pic from Paul Mutchler's archives

Gig flyer taken from Paul Mutchler's archives


Stumble 'The Leaves Are Turning' (9 song cassette) 1984
The Green Today 'The Green Today Demo' (5 song cassette) May 1986
The Green Today 'Natural Rhyme'/'Find A Way' (flexi disc Kaleidoscope issue 1) Dec 1986
The Green Today 'Thoughts Before' (Direct Hit Records DHLP 1001) 1988

additions from Ken Chiodini:

The Green Today 'Greener Than Elvis--Greener Than the Beatles!' Live at Below Zero
May 23,1987. Ltd Qty of 100 given away to the 1st 100 people to sign
our mailing list.

The Green Today 'The Green Today Demo'(6 song Cassette)' Tracks 1-4 April 1987. Tracks
5 and 6 released as a flexi in Kaleidoscope issue 1.

The Green Today 'Tracks That Go Nowhere'/'I Hear Every Word' (Orlando Fl Compilation
on Figurehead Records called 'The Vessels Had Life'. 1987

11 January, 2012

JACKSON C . FRANK - Dialogue

JACKSON C. FRANK - 'Dialogue' (Columbia 33SX 1788) December 1965

Folk singer Jackson C. Frank hailed from Buffalo, New York but at the age of twenty decided to travel to London to be part of the growing mid 60s folk scene in England that included Bert Jansch, Ralph McTell, Donovan, John Renbourn, Sandy Denny, Al Stewart and of course fellow countryman Paul Simon who was already active on the English club circuit.

Jackson C. Frank got a recording contract with Columbia Records and was fortunate to meet up with Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel who were both blown away by the genuis of Jackson's songs. Paul Simon offered to produce his recordings financed in part by his royalty earnings from 'Sounds Of Silence'.

The mournful, downbeat and loner folk 'Dialogue' is from Jackson's Columbia album which was released in small quantities in December '65. Few copies sold outside the London folk set and it's now become a very expensive rarity and still largely unknown. Few copies ever show up for sale making the Jackson C. Frank CD release 'Blues Run The Game' a must have addition to anyone's music collection. 

"I want to be alone
I need to touch each stone.
Face the grave that I have grown.
I want to be alone".


08 January, 2012


THE TYME SOCIETY - 'Leaves Are Turnin' Brown'/'Wonderin' Why' (Psych-Out Records 45007) 2000

Following the demise of The Others Massimo del Pozzo formed a new group called The Tyme Society who also played a brand of '66 folk garage, so in all honesty they sounded just like The Others, especially as both outfits had Massimo's distinctive vocals and utilized jangle.

This was The Tyme Society's first release on the small indie label Psych-Out Records. It was pressed in a quantity of 500. Both sides are del Pozzo originals and were recorded at Delta Studio in Rome during February 2000.

07 January, 2012


US & THEM - 'Summerisle' EP (Fruits de Mer Vol. 20) October 2011

Us & Them really deliver the goods with this stupendous four song EP of Paul Giovanni covers taken from the soundtrack of an early 70s cult movie from Britain called 'The Wicker Man'....Quite simply, along with Kes, one of the best films ever made and easily THEE best soundtrack.

It must have been an impossible task to reproduce the brilliance of Giovanni's original acid-folk songs but Us & Them really capture the macabre sounds and eerie mood of them all. The perfect musicianship and the addition of mellotron and dulcimer into the mix create brilliant new interpretations of 'Corn Rigs', 'Gently Johnny', 'Fire Leap' and 'Willow's Song'.

The record was at first released in the usual Fruits de Mer quantity of 500. These sold out within a week, so an additional 200 copies were pressed which also sold out immediately. The label design shows a psychedelicalized picture of the famous Alan Wicker...ha ha ha...hilarious.

Check out the original 'Corn Rigs' version here from my archives.

03 January, 2012


This rare picture of The Damned showed up on Captain Sensible's twitter page today. It's a shot of lead singer Dave Vanian and of course sundry crowd at (probably) the 100 Club in London, 1977.

02 January, 2012


US & THEM - Us & Them EP (Fruits de Mer - vol. eight) December 2009

One of my 'discoveries' of 2011 were Swedish duo Us & Them, Anders plays all instruments and Britt sings like a Nightingale. This three song EP was released in a quantity of 500 by new English indie label Fruits de Mer during December 2009 and every copy sold within weeks, indeed this record is already commanding bids above $50 on Ebay.

The music on offer is acoustic based; very haunting textures are formed within their aural soundscapes. The lush dreamlike patterns are brushed with colours of melancholy and it's obvious that Us & Them have perfectly mastered the late 60s' early 70s acid-folk sound from England.

'Dialogue' also known as 'I Want To Be Alone' is a version of Jackson C Frank's folk gem from 1965. Anyone choosing his work to interpret has got to be taken seriously. That guy influenced many a folk troubadour including Nick Drake, but is largely unknown and forgotten.

Other covers follow with 'Home To Stay' originally recorded by Tudor Lodge. The other side of the disc has a quite brilliant version of 'Julia Dream' by Pink Floyd interwoven with an olde English traditional lullaby called 'All The Pretty Little Horses'. 

01 January, 2012


THE DELTONICS - 'The Hurt And The Pain'/'She's Mine' (Trident TR-666) 2002

After the demise of The Mystreated and before being re-united with Mole in The Higher State, Marty Ratcliffe kept to his '66 garage punk roots with a little known UK combo called The Deltonics who specialized in a potent mix of fuzz and farfisa.

'The Hurt And The Pain' is one such authentic '66 punk gem that is simple in it's construction and totally cool and satisfying because of it. The other side 'She's Mine' is much more crude in it's design and recording. This one is for the 'Back From The Grave' crowd.

Mole was selling copies of this 45 via his eBay store last year but I'm thinking that all copies may have been sold. The record was never officially released and only 200 copies were pressed. Fewer copies still came with the promo picture of The Deltonics. A future rarity, I'm sure!