24 May, 2012


THE OTHERS - 'Cry' (Misty Lane Records 038) 1996

A rather stunning rendition of 'Cry' by The Changing Times was recorded by Rome's The Others in the mid 90s. I've highlighted this excellent combo on 'Flower Bomb Songs' several times over the years and quite rightly so, because they deserve greater recognition.

'Cry' can be found on a collectable 10" mini-LP on Misty Lane that showcases The Others mastery of mid 60s folk-garage. Don't let their dodgy image on the cover put you off (they've gone overboard with the dark shades) as the beautiful 12 string jangle and wholly authentic '66 sounds will leave you stunned considering The Others recorded this 30 years after the folk-rock explosion of the Sunset Strip and beyond.


23 May, 2012


For those who haven't found my YouTube Channel yet here's the link: FLOWER BOMB SONGS on YouTube

All songs mastered direct from original vinyl record in expodelic 67 sound with associated picture or label scan.....

20 May, 2012


THE CHANGING TIMES - 'Cry'/'I'm Alone' (Mark VII D-1013) 1967

This weekend I've had a mammoth listening interlude immersing myself in all six volumes of 'Texas Flashbacks' on Antar. These compilations were released at the height of my vinyl comp collecting period 1986/87 and were re-releases of the same series that appeared on the Flashback label in dodgy graphics back in 1980.

I've not got any of the original vinyl LPs on Flashback but understand from various collectors that the sound quality was significantly improved on the Antar releases. What isn't something to debate amout is the actual music contained on this discs from Texas which is a mind-blowing brew of primal '66 garage fuzz punkers and '67 acid psychers with, you guessed it, fuzz. It seems that every Texan teenage group had discovered a fuzztone and would use it to enhance their work.

Almost every song throughout the six volume set is loud unadulterated garage punk and psych apart from a little gem of a folk-rocker by The Changing Times called 'Cry.' I wish I owned this 45 as it's perfect in every way and is what I'd call a 'Flower Bomb Song'...

The Changing Times hailed from Waco, TX and 'Cry'/'I'm Alone' was released on Mark VII sometime during 1967. It's a fabulous folk jangler with fuzz guitar. This record would likely take at least $300 to secure providing one is offered for sale which doesn't appear to be that often. Only one copy appears on popsike.

The Mark VII label also released records by The Knights Bridge Quintet, The Roks, The Twilighters and The Society. It would be a dream come true if someone was ever to release a Mark VII retrospective...

This particular Changing Times may have released an earlier single, 'Free As The Wind'/'We Gotta Get Out Of This Place'

all six volumes of Texas Flashbacks on Antar.


Here's a great promo picture of The Shags of 'Stop And Listen' fame. I don't have that particular record at EXPO67 HQ but when I eventually secure it I'll update this entry with a label scan and details of the group.

Capitol Records renamed the group Shag for their lone 45.

19 May, 2012


EVERLY BROTHERS - 'Love Is Strange' EP (Warner Bros 1445) 1965

I've written about the Everly Brothers a couple of times on 'Flower Bomb Songs' over the years and here's a moody picture of them dressed in black on this terrific four song EP from Portugal. Each cut is killer folk-rock 'n' roll with their beautiful harmonies. They've still got their late 50s/early 60s haircuts but the music on this EP is the up to date '65 sound.

'Man With Money' influenced several English mod groups and was recorded by The Who and The Eyes that I know of. There must be more, I'm sure.

18 May, 2012


Pictured in Chicago wearing the latest mod threads that 1966 had to offer...

Back in 2000 Fortune & Maltese and the Phabulous Pallbearers paid homage to The Del-Vetts by having their picture taken at the same spot and using it to adorn their 'Sonic Sounds From Seattle' EP on Dionysus.

17 May, 2012


THE FUGITIVES - 'Mean Woman'/'I'll Be A Man' (Columbia 4-43261) April 1965

There were many groups in the 60s calling themselves The Fugitives so researching this particular combo with such a common name proved a little tricky. It turns out that they were based in New York, some reference guides even suggest that group members came from Manhattan.

'Mean Woman' has certainly got the 'new sound' of the teenage beat group mixing Brit Invasion with some surf styled guitar leads. It's a shame that this particular aural brew wasn't produced more often as I think it's very exciting, but as you know folk-rock was just around the corner ('Mr Tambourine Man' by The Byrds was released during the same month/year) and the jangle/tambourine/harmony sound would be everywhere throughout 1965 and into '66.

The flip 'I'll Be A Man' is straight ahead beat ballad that lacks the energy and punch of the fabulous 'Mean Woman.' I found a small article in Billboard  from March 1965 indicating that The Fugitives had been signed to Columbia Records but as it turned out only one 45 was ever released on this label by the band.

The Fugitives then had a small hit record with 'Your Girl's A Woman' on Mala, with their new label even taking out a full page advert in Billboard. Both sides of this disc is pleasant pop and I can hear how the tune would be such a radio friendly sound during mid '66.

Billboard June 1966

The Fugitives at number 38 on the NYC chart

Footnote: Brothers Evan and Ray Charmatz were members of The Fugitives. I'm fairly certain (after extensive research) that they changed their surname to Chandler at some point in time. Evan Chandler left the music business, probably before the 60s were out, and became a successful dentist to 'the stars' in Hollywood during the 80s and early 90s. He even found time to screenwrite and co-wrote the hit comedy film 'Robin Hood: Men In Tights.'

In 1993 Evan Chandler became embroiled with Michael Jackson after he accused him of sexual misconduct with his 13 year old son Jordan. There is mountains of information about this on the internet so I won't go into it on my blog. After all, it's Evan's 60s group The Fugitives that interests me.

Sadly Evan committed suicide in 2009 in his luxery apartment in New Jersey.

16 May, 2012


THE SOUP GREENS - 'That's Too Bad'/'Like A Rolling Stone' (Golden Rule GR5000) September 1965

This is one of those legendary garage 45s released by an obscure band whose exact details were lost in time. That was until MTM tracked them down recently and organised The Soup Greens material, including unreleased acetates, to be re-issued on Misty Lane Records operating out of Italy. (This is exactly what I did with The Roosters by the way, only I linked those guys up with Break-A-Way Records from Germany).

Anyway, back to The Soup Greens. It turns out that they were a three piece based in Brooklyn, New York. For so long they had been unknowns and only came to worldwide acclaim via Pebbles Vol 1. 'Like A Rolling Stone' was the opener on side one of that compilation and many thousands of people would finally be aware of The Soup Greens and hear their teenage garage assault on Bob Dylan's song.

This was in fact the B-Side of the only Soup Greens 45, released during late Summer in 1965. According to Dave Eagle, the flip 'That's Too Bad' was their chosen side for fame for fortune but despite a mention in Billboard and Cashbox trade journals as well as a handful of plays on local New York radio, it appears that few copies of the record sold and the boys would remain in obscurity.

Lenny Matlin (farfisa)
Steve Tennenbaum (drums)
Dave Eagle (guitar/lead vocals)

14 May, 2012


THE SHAPRELS - 'Dare I Weep, Dare I Mourn'/'Rock-A-Boo' (Chess 1993) June 1967

The Shaprels were a five man combo from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who have enjoyed several compilation appearances over the years with their debut 1966 merseybeat jangler 'A Fool For Your Lies' and 'Dare I Weep, Dare I Mourn' from 1967.

The group seem to have been complete unknowns outside of Milwaukee despite this release on Chess. According to information from 'Do You Hear That Beat', The Shaprels never mingled much with their contemporaries around town.

'Dare I Weep, Dare I Mourn' is a moody psychedelic blast with fuzz, tambourine shake and downcast lyrics about a lost love. The recorder (or whatever it is) gives the song a weird 'red indian' vibe, kinda strange but I dig it.

The flip 'Rock-A-Boo' is more of a garage rocker and can be found on a CD release called 'Die Today'. Both sides were produced by Chess staff producer Ralph Bass who also worked with label mates The Baroques.

Jimmy Meier (vocals)
Bob Sczweda (lead guitar)
Tom Richards (rhythm guitar)
Bob Mehring (bass/organ)
Don Hrnjak (drums)

W-RIT Wisconsin - The Shaprels moved up one place to No.39
L-R: Jim Meier, Bob Mehring, Tom Richards, Don Hrnjak, Bob Sczweda

12 May, 2012


BLOOMSBURY PEOPLE - 'Witch Helen'/'Gingerbread Man' (MGM K14158) July 1970

The Bloomsbury People were formed sometime in 1968 at the University of Wisconsin in Waukesha. Their first of two 45s was cut at Raynard and came out on Page Records during 1969. 'Have You Seen Them Cry'/'Madeline' were both written by keyboard player Sigmund Snopek III and both cuts display psych prog moves, a sound becoming increasingly popular in the late 60s, especially in England due to groups like Cream and The Nice.

After appearing at the 1969 Midwest Rock Festival in West Allis they were talent spotted by Jim Croce who was managing The Carpenters and Randy Newman at the time. This led to a deal with MGM Records.

The Bloomsbury People cut enough songs for an album at Audio Finishers Studios in Chicago on 17th April 1970 and according to MGM's studio records the songs were mixed at their L.A. studios where strings and horns were added, arranged by Dave Kennedy, who produced their first single on Page. It appears that the legendary Michael Lloyd was the A&R coordinator for the release.

An album followed during the Summer of 1970 with 'Witch Helen'/'Gingerberead Man' selected as the single to represent the long-player. 'Witch Helen' is a tasty psych rock effort with some strong lead guitar. Once again there is a definate progressive rock influence.

The Bloomsbury People don't appear to have been around for that long after the release of the LP with no other releases on MGM. Sigmund Snopek III went on to record several solo albums then became a member of The Violent Femmes during the mid 80s.

Sigmund Snopek III (harpsichord/piano)
Jon Wyderka (vocals)
Dennis Lanting (lead guitar)
Greg Janick (organ/sax)
Michael Du Jardin (bass)
Rick Harris (drums)

10 May, 2012


SIDEWALK SKIPPER BAND - 'Strawberry Tuesday'/'Cynthia At The Garden' (Capitol 2127) March 1968

Although The Sidewalk Skipper Band only released three singles during their short lifetime in the late 60s they are rightfully regarded with high esteem among collectors of psychedelic records, especially the all time great psych pop mover 'Strawberry Tuesday.'

They hailed from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and first attracted attention at Marquette University where they had regular gigs...They managed to secure a recording contract with Capitol Records, who as a major label, had the necessary clout to get the group to a higher level but despite some promotion including a full colour sleeve showing The Sidewalk Skipper Band in their finest psychedelic gear, the record appears to have sank.

Despite this, a second 45 appeared on Capitol 'Seventeenth Summer'/'(Would You Believe) It's Raining Flowers In My House' during May 1968. According to information from an entry in Billboard, all four songs were recorded in February 1968 at Universal Recording Studios, Chicago.

All four songs were written by members Dave McDowell (lead guitar/vocals) and Rick Novak (12 string guitar). Other members included Brian Ballestrieri (hammond B3 organ) Joe Ballestrieri (bass) and Tom Jukem (drums)...

Recently and acetate of unreleased recordings has surfaced on the collectors market so they may be released at some point in time. Also, a recording of Sidewalk Skipper Band playing live on 'Night Talk', a radio show hosted by Doug Dahlgen is currently on YouTube. The group sound much 'heavier' with a more prominent hammond organ sound. It probably dates from 1969.

The Ballestrieri brothers also discuss the new business enterprise at their club called The Stone Toad.

This later line-up is without songwriters McDowell and Novak as well as drummer Tom Jukem as Bob West (guitar) and Marc Balzac (drums) are listed in their place.

According to reference guide 'Do You Hear That Beat' a third Sidewalk Skipper Band 45 was released in 1969 on Teen Town 'Sidewalk Skipper'/'Jeannie At The Circus'....

pic obtained from Gray Newell


07 May, 2012

GEORGE BEST (the Belfast Boy)

update from January 2009

Belfast born George Best was one of the greatest footballers of all time. Shame he played for Manchester United (a team I loath....not that hard being a Leeds United supporter)...
BUT, George Best had a surname that couldn't have been any more appropriate because he simply was the BEST.

With his silky skills and pop star good looks he quickly became a 60s icon and was once dubbed the 'fifth' Beatle. He went through so many dolly birds, usually Miss World's (it is written that he shagged three different Miss World's during his playing days).....

Unfortunately he liked a good old drink and didn't know how to stop until it killed him in 2005.
Still, my blog 'Flower Bomb Songs' acknowledges George as an all time footballing hero and an unforgettable face of the 60s and 70s.
So did the BBC ,when in 1970 they documented his lifestyle and included a song called 'Belfast Boy' by ex Sorrows lead singer Don Fardon.

DON FARDON - Belfast Boy



THE TROPHIES - 'Baby Doesn't Live Here Anymore'/'Everywhere I Go' (Kapp K-714) November 1965

I've had both Kapp 45s by The Trophies for years but it's only recently that I decided to research the group because not a great deal has been written about them and they seem to have side-stepped the compilers.

The Trophies hailed from Brattleboro, Vermont and got together sometime in 1963, before the British Invasion in other words. Their first outing on vinyl was 'Walking The Dog'/'Somethin' Else' on (Nork Records 79907/8) recorded in early 1964. It was a very popular record in their locale reaching the #1 spot on both WBZ and WMEX in Boston.

 This local hit record obviously created a buzz and The Trophies were signed to Kapp Records and Laurence Weiss became their producer. The first Kapp release was the group original 'Baby Doesn't Live Here Anymore'/'Everywhere I Go'....all members of The Trophies were given a song-writing credit on the label.

'Baby Doesn't Live Here Anymore' is an uptempo beat mover driven along by harmonica and a Ringo style backbeat. According to Richard Erikson (who informed me by email) this song was written by Tom Howes who played lead guitar.  He also dubbed in the harmonica part. Tom passed on in  2006.  The flip 'Everywhere I Go' brings the pace down somewhat and is a pleasant beat ballad.

The Trophies final release on Kapp was 'Leave My Girl Alone' a classy pop hit in the making, only I think it sank without trace. The song was covered by the Everly Brothers and was the B-Side of their '(You Got) The Power Of Love' 45 on Warner Brothers. The song was co-written by Kenny Lynch who enjoyed some success in England during the mid '60s.

'You're the Queen' on the flip of The Trophies record was written by member Tom Howes and has a beaty sound with a controlled guitar break and tambourine. The Who like background harmonies add an English edge.

Jack Dunham
Paul Olbum
Richard Eriksen
Wayne Harvey
Tom Howes 

  The Trophies publicity pics were taken from Richard Eriksen and Jack Dunham's website. Go here

06 May, 2012


THE ONION RINGS - 'I Feel Teardrops'/'She's Gonna Cry' (Blue Onion BO-102) 1967

The Blue Onion label owner was Dale Davis and he wrote both songs on offer on this beautifully haunting double sider by The Onion Rings. So, perhaps the latter were infact Dale's own group.

Whatever the precise details The Onion Rings were likely to be from Cleveland, Ohio. Strangely, they didn't warrant a mention in FA&F and information in other publications I've researched and also the internet have not provided me with any facts.

'I Feel Teardrops' is a fine folk-rock interlude tinged with psychedelia. The addition of brass enhances the sound in this instance producing a moody lysergic soundscape. Both songs were compiled on my Gear! Volume 6 compilation years ago.


UNCLE SAM & the WAR MACHINE - 'Spy Girl'/'Hold On' (Blue Onion BO-103) September 1967

It is believed that the fabulously named outfit Uncle Sam & the War Machine hailed from Massachussetts and as far as I know this was their one and only shot at stardom......not that any kind of recognition appears to have been forthcoming.

The A-Side was 'Spy Girl', a rather neat psychedelic pop tune with bubblegum intent. The lyrics indicate that the 'spy girl' in question was possibly Emma Peel from British TV Show The Avengers.

'Hold On' is an immaculate slow paced and mournful folk-rocker. I'd like to know more about this combo but information is scant to say the least. Thankfully, the Blue Onion label were around to release such a gem of a 45.

04 May, 2012


This picture of Sharon Tate was probably taken some time in late 1966 or 1967, maybe around the time of the film she starred in 'Valley Of The Dolls.' It seems impossible to think that a few years later she'd be murdered by followers of Charles Manson two weeks from giving birth.

03 May, 2012


THE WILD THINGS - 'Summer's Gone'/'I'll Taste Your Lips' (Blue Onion BO-101) 1967

The Wild Things are believed to have hailed from Willoughby, Cleveland, Ohio and released two singles on the short lived independent label Blue Onion. Check out the distinctive logo on the label with tears coming from the onion's eyes...neat!

'Summer's Gone' was the first release on Blue Onion. I'm not sure why they chose this slow ballad as the 'A'side because the moody folk-rock of the flip 'I'll Taste Her Lips' is cleary the superior song.

Other releases on Blue Onion were by The Onion Rings, Uncle Sam & The War Machine, The Road and a second 45 by The Wild Things. Their 'A.C.I.D' can be found on Psychedelic Experience Volume 3.