31 March, 2013

THE ACTION - ONLY DREAMING



THE ACTION - 'Action Speaks Louder Than' (Dojo LP03) 1985

The missing link between The Action and Mighty Baby were the five fully fledged recordings from mid 1968 that remained in the can for almost twenty years. That was until they were released as a mini LP by Dojo in 1985.

It's still the best place to hear these recordings by the way. When Big Beat re-issued the first Mighty Baby album on CD back in '94 they tagged on all five songs contained on 'Action Speaks Louder Than' but believe me you need this Dojo vinyl to hear them in far superior sound.

It's believed that The Action recorded these songs at Morgan Studios in Willesden some time during the Summer of 1968 and not long after singer Reggie King departed to pursue a solo career. By this time they had added two permanent new members, Ian Whiteman (keyboards, flute, vocals)...he also played on the 'Rolled Gold' sessions, and blues guitarist Martin Stone who had earlier played with The Savoy Blues Band.

All five songs were written and probably sung by Ian Whiteman and despite the fact that they were demonstatrations and not meant for release they're full of sparkle and a late 60s vibe not unlike the late period Small Faces tunes. I don't think they sound like demos at all, way too good. Maybe they just needed some more mixing or something. I'm no expert but the songs sound ready for release to me or maybe I've just listened to raw 60s garage punk for 30 odd years so I know what 'rough' really sounds like...

songs on 'Action Speaks Louder Than'

Only Dreaming
Dustbin Full Of Rubbish
An Understanding Love
My Favourite Day
A Saying For Today

***** for some reason Dojo used a picture of The Action from 1967. The blond haired Reggie King (centre) was not part of these recordings. Having said that, their art Department made a splendid job with the image, tinting it pink on a black background giving the sleeve an almost blacklight luminescence *****  


30 March, 2013

THE ACTION - IN MY DREAM



THE ACTION - 'Rolled Gold' (React CD-001) 2002

This CD is such an important document to fans of UK psychedelia and is also a must for those interested in The Action to fully understand that they were much more than just a Motown/soul cover band.

I've read several interviews by former members of The Action, usually in various fanzines (including the gloriously titled "Brian Cant's Pants") that by mid 1966 they were experimenting with LSD and embracing the West Coast sounds from America. This change of direction from the mod/soul sound to psych was evident in their final Parlophone single 'Shadows And Reflections' and it's flip 'Something Has Hit Me.'

Sadly, they were dropped by Parlophone and spent the second half of 1967 without a record deal....just when the world was going day-glo. It turned out that The Action would never release any further records as no record deal was ever secured.

For decades it was known that The Action DID record more music in late 1967 and early 1968 but these songs were merely demos that the band briefly used to try to get a record deal. I've read that they hoped the recently formed Polydor label would be interested. Another label mentioned in Big Beat's Mighty Baby CD was Marmalade Records which Giorgio Gomelsky was setting up.....alas no takers.

Fortunately for fans these rare recordings finally achieved a release 35 years later on Reaction Recordings. This CD is now long out of print and quite hard to locate. They have printed a photo of the MONO demo tape box that reveals a date of 3rd May, 1968. There is no indication that the unreleased album would have been called 'Rolled Gold' but all songs contained on this release are listed and are presented in their original running order.

In my opinion the music sounds fabulous as it is although I'm sure it would never have been released in this 'unfinished' state in 1968.....they were just demonstrations and The Action were a professional group of musicians. It's a huge shame that George Martin couldn't have worked his magic on these songs at Abbey Road Studios at the time. 

There's not a bad track on the CD, everyone is a psych treat.....the acid and new member Ian Whiteman certainly added to The Action sound making them far more of a potent force than they were as a soul group.....they must have been amazing at gigs playing this kind of swag.

My pick is the stunning psychedelic rocker 'In My Dream' which would have made a spectacular single.

"Wash my mind
I can see.
In my dream
What a scene".


  

29 March, 2013

THE ACTION - SOMETHING HAS HIT ME



THE ACTION - 'The Ultimate Action' (Edsel ED 101) 1980

I'm going through a huge Action phaze at the moment, a group who I've had a rather love/hate relationship with for many years. I still much prefer their later material, such as their last UK single on Parlophone, that being of course 'Shadows And Reflections'/'Something Has Hit Me' from June 1967, and their unreleased demos from 1968 which are WAY superior than most of their Parlophone records.

I'm not fixated with soul music, it's just not my bag. That's probably why I'm not that keen on the first four Action singles except for the songs 'Never Ever', 'I'll Keep On Holding On' which I CAN listen to because it's pop-art mod with crunchy guitars and in my opinion slays the original. 'Hey Sha-Lo-Ney' is also superb with it's cool 60s guitar riff..... but I can do without 'Land Of A Thousand Dances', 'Since I Lost My Baby' and the unreleased 'Harlem Shuffle' which is compiled here on this Edsel collection.

I just wish The Action recorded more music like 'Hey Sha-Lo-Ney' instead of the Motown/soul covers....if they had done, I think they would have broken through the underground and into the charts....the 60s mods probably preferred buying the original motown releases than copies from a blue eyed soul group.

'Something Has Hit Me' is a killer with Association style 'bah bah bah's over a crunchy mod rhythm, scattergun drums and Reg King's vocals are a treat....the slightlydelic fade out is a hint that The Action were moving into a much more trippy area and it's a shame that they were dropped by Parlophone and George Martin's AIR productions when 'Shadows And Reflections'/'Something Has Hit Me' flopped.

The liners for this Edsel compilation were written by Paul Weller in 1980. If you can't afford the original Action records this is the best place to find their 1965-1967 recordings on vinyl and in glorious MONO.

  

28 March, 2013

THE BOYS - IT AIN'T FAIR


THE BOYS - 'It Ain't Fair'/'I Want You' (PYE 7N.15726) 1964

I recently bought this sought after record by The Boys, although I usually don't bother with records in only VG- condition I made an exception with this 45 for two reasons. The first one being that it's quite rare and secondly, soon after the release of this record The Boys changed their name to The Action and would eventually become the mod gods of London.

Both sides are neat 60s beat, the kind of sound that was dominating the charts in 1964. It was recorded then released a couple of months after The Boys returned from Hanover, Germany. They had been there playing a local club for six hours each night, six days a week for several months.

Once back in England they recorded two Reg King originals both produced by Kenny Lynch. The record came and went without any chart action but it did give them enough of a buzz to become the support band for The Who at The Marquee during 1965.   

For a long time it was believed that Pete Watson, on guitar, did not perform on these recordings and joined the band when they became known as The Action, however it has been confirmed within the recent Action book "In The Lap Of The Mods" that he did partake in the sessions.....This means the line-up on this disc was:

Reg King (vocals)
Alan King (lead guitar)
Pete Watson (rhythm guitar)
Mike Evans (bass)
Roger Powell (drums)  




27 March, 2013

CALUM BRYCE - LOVE-MAKER



CALUM BRYCE - 'Love-Maker'/'I'm Glad' (Conder PS 1001) 1968

This is such an AWESOME record but I feel like such a flake because I know nothing about Calum Bryce. I'm assuming that he was a solo performer but then again I see that 'Love-Maker' has three surnames in the credit, including the producer of this disc, Howard Conder. The latter, incidently, probably coughed up the cash for the record to be manufactured and released on his own label, Conder Music.
Howard Conder was a drummer in various 60s groups including Joe Brown and the Bruvvers and The Baron Knights.

'Love-Maker' has that typically British mod backbeat with monstrous bass guitar lines, vaguely trippy guitar and some studio FX. What a sound they created with this one. So powerful and above all else memorable. How was this not a hit record?.....you all know why of course.....small indie label with no promotion = a long lost rarely heard jewel. 

An original of this 45 will now fetch anything between £400 to £600, they hardly ever get offered for sale though! Recently, I found out that some enterprising soul has bootlegged a copy and this is what I've added to my collection. Sound quality and vinyl used is first class......just like 'Love-Maker' itself.




26 March, 2013

TINO AND THE REVLONS - I'M COMING HOME


TINO AND THE REVLONS - 'Lazy Mary Memphis'/'I'm Coming Home' (Dearborn Records D-530) September 1965

This combo had been releasing singles since the early 60s but none of them are 'Flower Bomb Songs' worthy, I've checked out some early recordings on YouTube and they mostly sound like Buddy Holly and that just ain't my scene.

My interest in them obviously lies with their Dearborn Records releases with 'I'm Coming Home' maybe the pick of the bunch. The A-Side 'Lazy Mary Memphis' is forgettable, I haven't even bothered to re-master it to the digital format. According to what I've read online, this side was a decent size hit in New York, so much so that it's believed that the group relocated from Michigan to NY.

Far superior is the garage style rocker on the flip. I wonder if this side ever got played during the 60s? Probably not, as the radio stations were all a little square back in '65 and only played top sides. 'I'm Coming Home' is a fast organ and guitar mover that really swings.

Tino and the Revlons proved popular enough for Dearborn Records to release an album which by all accounts is a decent effort of originals and cover versions. I've not heard anything from it but maybe it deserves a re-issue. Probably one of the few remaining 60s albums not to get the re-issue treatment.

According to the albums liners Tino and the Revlons consisted of:

Tino (vocals)
Hoot Gibson (drums)
Johnny Caoloa (lead guitar)
Cheech (keyboards)
so who played the bass guitar?

During my research I found out that Tino was murdered in Jamaica in January 1983. Some local thugs were mugging his wife, Tino stepped in to defend her but was then stabbed to death. I found an online newspaper report which I've added with this entry.


cover of 'By Request' album on Dearborn Records. I found this scan on Jadedtom's flikr page


Cashbox advert for first Dearborn single 'Little Girl, Little Girl'


    



25 March, 2013

THE BLACK SHEEP - IT'S MY MIND


THE BLACK SHEEP - 'It's My Mind'/'Arthur' (Columbia 4-43666) May 1966

Here's a group from La Canada, CA that seem to have slipped under most people's radar, including me. I bought this single recently on a whim mainly because it was on the Columbia label and the serial number put it somewhere in mid 1966.

I'm glad I made the purchase because 'It's My Mind' is an excelent folk-rock jangler with an unusual spoken intro and fits perfectly on 'Flower Bomb Songs' site...The flip 'Arthur' is a choice rhythm and blues instro with pumping bass runs and screeching harp. The lead quitarist also lays down some solid lines....think teenbeat Butterfield Blues Band and you'll get the picture. Quite how this only got a score of '3' in 'Teenbeat Mayhem' ?? once again demonstrates to me that some of the old sages had no ears.

I've also noted that The Black Sheep had two other 45s so I'm hoping to add those to my collection some day. This release, and their first of two on Columbia, got some publicity with mentions in Billboard and a full page advert in Cash Box in June 1966. The latter had some vital information about the members of Black Sheep and their line-up:

Michael Mongeon (rhythm guitar)
Buddy McCabe (bass)
Dean Pedersen (drums)
Mark Harman (vocals/organ)
Joe Masterson (lead guitar)

The producer of both sides of this disc was Jerry Riopelli who was a member of The Parade and had also produced music by The We Five and later, the excelent Brewer & Shipley material.


Cash Box - June 1966




  

     

24 March, 2013

MUSTACHE WAX - I'M GONNA GET YOU



MUSTACHE WAX - 'I'm Gonna Get You'/'On My Mind' (Inner 501/2) Nov 1965

It's a shame that the label to my Mustache Wax slab of genius is torn and crudely coloured in with orange felt tip but it's the music that counts at the end of the day for me.
Mustache Wax hailed from the Bronx area of New York although I have read elsewhere that some members came from Queens/Kew Gardens.

'I'm Gonna Get Get You' is a memorable folk rock jangler, the other side 'On My Mind' is a minor key moody beat number that has constant changes of pace...slow then fast...quite unusual really.

The record got a mention in Billboard trade paper circa December 1965 as a 'spotlight' new release.

previous comments

(originally posted November 2009)



Since I wrote about this fine record I have made contact with Mustache Wax member David Knopf. David kindly provided some much needed information about his 60s combo.

David Knopf: It's amazing how the Internet helps bring things together. I was the bass player in Mustache Wax, and all the members were from the Riverdale section of the Bronx. It's the northern tip of the borough, right before you get to Yonkers in Westchester County.

"I'm Gonna Get You", the jingle-jangle song, was written by Eddie DiBiase, who may be the Queens connection you mention. Eddie, as I recall, also played the harmonica and did very well. It was an impromptu addition and added a lot to the song. Eddie was also Inner Records, which was part of something called Universal i. I don't know if they label put out other records or was a one-shot deal.

The B side, well-described on your website, was written by guitarist Danny Lutzky, who at the time de-ethnicized his last name by calling himself Daniel Lane.
 

Other members of the band: the singer was Lloyd Goldberg, also the drummer. We had a large black mustache painted on his front drum head and Richie Winston, guitar. I know there was one 12-string used on the A side. Might've been two. The song was recorded in a studio on 42nd Street in Manhattan. As far as I remember, we were high school juniors.

The band was together for a while, with different names and lineups, but Mustache Wax was our last stop together. I'd imagine the group was together maybe a year with those members. In addition to a brief road trip to Pennsylvania (I recall we were told that the A side reached No. 5 in Allentown, Pa.), we opened for The Lovin' Spoonful in a concert hall in Providence, R.I.

Someone in the Kansas City area (where I now live and perform as a songwriter) contacted me after I wrote a humor column about the band experience and my desire to tour as a solo when I retire. The fellow is a historian of garage bands and actually guessed the name of the band, the record label and the year the song was recorded. He mentioned that the song was reissued on a bootleg compilation by Pebbles. It's funny to me that we're considered a garage band because we all lived in high-rise, semi-suburban apartment buildings.

Here's the story link: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/03/19/4127651/david-knopf-gas-up-the-vw-im-ready.html#storylink=misearch

I'm completely amazed that anyone even knows the record existed!



22 March, 2013

THE MO-SHUNS - AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN SHERWIN


THE MO-SHUNS - 'The Way She Walks'/'What Can I Say' (20th Century-Fox Records 45-6645) August 1966

Back in August 2008 (42 years after it's release) I reviewed this amazing single.......I wrote:

Both sides of this disc sound like they were recorded by an underground English band circa mid '66. However, The Mo-Shuns were not from England but Long Island, New York.

'What Can I Say' is a primitive rant with a Bo Diddley beat, then all of a sudden a talented lead guitarist unleashes a perfect freakbeat style solo that lifts the song well above average. It's one of the few times I've heard this type of guitar sound on an American record.
It was compiled some years ago on Garage Punk Volume 4.

'The Way She Walks' is virtually the same song displaying a similar beat, caveman vocals and another blinding freakbeat guitar sound.

*****The powers of the internet never cease to amaze me and I was contacted by John Sherwin who was the lead guitarist in The Mo-Shuns. John kindly answered some questions I sent to him via email. I think it's an important thing to document accurate information about long forgotten 60s teenbeat groups. I'm sure many people who frequent my website think, like I do, that both sides of this disc are killer...and any information that paints a fuller picture is indeed worthy and dare I say....essential.*****


How/when did the group get together? Were you school friends.
We were school friends and lived in the same neighborhood in North Babylon, Long Island NY.  We started playing school dances and church dances etc.  Played on the Murray the K Radio Show, “Swinging Soiree” and you went from one school or church to another all night long..  No money, but the band got named on the radio..  That was very cool..  Nobody knew who we were, but they loved the band.. I guess they loved all of them..


Who were the group members and what instruments did they play?
The Mo-Shuns were: myself John Sherwin, I was the lead guitarist, and studied for a short time, classical music, but had to get to Rock...   Drummer, John Ofrias, Rhythm Guitar, Carl Schifano, Lead Singer and Bass, George Abruscato.( George passed away 15 years ago)

How did the name Mo-Shuns come about? Were you called anything before this name?
The name Mo-Shuns came from us, but we also had eventually, Managers  Glen Moore, Sandy Yellin, 20th Century Fox Recording, who liked the name The MO-Shuns.. instead of  (The Motions.) 

How long were the group together?
We were together for about 5 or 6 years. 

Where was the single recorded? Studio used...
Our single, was recorded at Decca Studios in Manhattan, on the 20th Century Fox label.  



cutting from Record World October 1966

Where did you play gigs, names of venues etc. Did you play any gigs with other groups?
We started playing bars on Long Island.  Islip Bowl, a bowling alley was actually a very big venue at the time.. very popular for dancing.  We played there about 4 nights a week for a while, all cover songs, except for our only record “The Way She Walks" and "What Can I Say”....The latter song became more popular on radio for a short time, because I wrote the simplistic music at that time and I was moving towards more of a “metal” type sound.. The guys did not like it that much, but I did and so did a lot of others. We signed with Broadcast Music Inc and joined the musicians union. That got us playing in bigger venues in Manhattan, Like Trude Hellers  and Arthurs in Greenwich Village.
We backed up Monte Rock the Third at Trude Hellers., only one session but it was a riot..  the guy was a little eccentric! 
We did play at the Metropol once, and backed up the Shangri-Las, and also The Cyrkle played there that day (“Red Rubber Ball”) I think our drummer sat in on one of their songs for some reason..
We also played at the Barge, Southampton NY, where the Young Rascals played.  We were the cover band, but only for a couple of weeks.

The big bands back then were, The Rascals, Vanilla Fudge, The Hassles, Mitch Ryder, The Vagrants. ( later to be Leslie West, Mountain)

We were playing sometimes 4-5 nights a week and, out on Long Island and back to Manhattan, and it was getting tough..  So the group did break up so that the guys could get “regular jobs”. 

I kept playing with a lot of other musicians for a couple of years.  Played at the Action House as a cover band for a while..  Vanilla Fudge were there as the highlight band.. Wow were they great.. Carmen Appice, Tim Bogert!!  We listened to them and
felt like we really needed to practice a lot! ha ha!!! 

Changed the name to Motion for a while, played a lot of small venues on Long Island also, back to Islip Bowl and some bars in the area, but could not keep together for many reasons, I stopped playing and got a real job as well. 

Any other memories that you have not already covered?
Memories?? bands like The Vagrants, ( Leslie west ) one night he got feed back from the microphone, so he smashed his guitar into the amp, and they walked off the stage, came back later that night.  Crazy!  We were playing at a club
down the road, forgot the name of the club,  and wanted to go see them.
I think the one thing was that we had fun...  we were close friends.. I still email the drummer John Ofrias,. He lives in Riverhead NY and I live in The Villages , Florida.  So miles apart.


Like I said, I am now retired. Still have a Marshall 1/2 stack in a small bedroom in my house and play along with stuff like Yngwie Malmsteen, Van Halen, Eagles, The Beatles music.. So I got to be a much better guitarist later in life. 
But just for fun and I need to play my guitar all the time..   Have a great family,son is 28, he played guitar in a band here in Florida, went to Nashville for a couple of years and played there, now back in Florida, works at Walt Disney World..

Hope this is not too much.. but about all I can remember.  I am sure there is more.. but we were just a little cover band, along with thousands of others..  But we had FUN!!!

This is me, in the middle.. Yngwie and his manager,  Norfolk Virginia, Guitar Center.. Then we also, (my son and I), met him at the concert in Norfolk and got our guitars signed.. Pretty cool...!!!



21 March, 2013

THE SURFARIS - SO GET OUT



THE SURFARIS - 'Hey Joe Where Are You Going'/'So Get Out' (Decca 31954) June 1966

The Surfaris need no explanation on Flower Bomb Songs as everyone has probably heard their big surf hit 'Wipe Out!' but what isn't that well known about them is that in their later years The Surfaris developed a tough folk rock sound.
I suppose this change of direction was necessary to survive in an ever changing music scene. Surf would have been considered yesterday's papers in mid 1966.

It is believed that The Surfaris were one of the very first groups in the World to record 'Hey Joe', infact I've found a few debates on different forums where this particular topic has been discussed. Was it The Leaves? Was it The Surfaris? Who knows for sure?

The Surfaris probably recorded their version of 'Hey Joe' in late 1965, this may even be pin-pointed to November 1965. Gary Usher, it seems asked David Crosby if he could lay down a recording in the studio with The Surfaris. It's believed that Crosby was the musician who discovered this song. He had plans to record it with The Byrds, which of course they did with somewhat disappointing results.

Far more interesting for me is the ultra cool flip 'So Get Out' which sees The Surfaris adopting an exciting mid 60s rock 'n roll style of sound. Quite a tough sounding minor key lament and one which deserves more recognition. I love it when these experienced and professional bands decided to get with the hip sound because they usually delivered the goods.

20 March, 2013

THE FREAK SCENE - UPDATE MARCH 2013

OK, so what have I been buying this month? I've exceeded my usual monthly budget on records which is approx £300. Most of that went early in March on The Leather Boy 'Jersey Thursday' white label test-press which I reviewed.

The fact is that there is just so many records I need to own but I'm sensible about obtaining them. I see 45s every day that I feel deserve to be in one of my boxes. If only I was a millionaire, I suppose plenty of record collectors feel like me. It's a bit of an addiction.....better buying records than wasting money on gambling, beer, cars or drugs. 

I've actually bought a CD this month...in fact when I think about it '94 Baker Street Revisited' on RPM is the only CD I've bought so far this year! The sub-title of this disc is 'Poptastic Sounds From The Apple Era 1967-1968'....what you get is mostly demo recordings in poor sound. For the completist I'd say.

I've still managed to add several 45s, some of which are pictured. Delighted to get the Bill Soden one on Compass. 'Rainy Day' is sheer class and I plan to review it soon here. I've also been after The Surfaris 'So Get Out' on Decca.....this is their tough sounding folk-rock recording. The other side is a decent version of 'Hey Joe'...this is quite hard to find, well it took me about six months.
I still buy records from new bands as long as they sound 60s and try to be as authentic as possible. I've obtained the new one from The Higher State 'Ain't It Hard', The Market Squares and The Kumari...the latter are definately one to watch in the future. Quite an outstanding three song single.
 I've also deactivated my Facebook account as I was spending way too much time on there with little reward. I'd rather spend what spare time I have re-mastering  and researching 45s. Working five days a week certainly impinges on my spare time and I just couldn't do both.
I may be back on Facebook after I've had a break but to be honest I don't think people were ready for my wit and sarcasm.

This month I've made contact with members of an obscure L.A. group called Starbuck & the Rainmakers. They released one record on Valiant. I'll update their entry soon as I obtained a group photo and line-up.

Also got some good information from a member of The Trophies. I wrote about them last year I think. Entry updated accordingly.

Only today I received an email from John Sherwin who played lead guitar for The Mo-Shuns. He sent me a photo. I'll update that entry also.

18 March, 2013

THE GREEK FOUNTAINS - BUY YOU A CHEVROLET


THE GREEK FOUNTAINS - 'Buy You A Chevrolet'/'What Is Right' (Montel-Michelle M-983) December 1966

Baton Rouge, LA was the home of The Greek Fountains, considered by many to be the number one group in the City. They were certainly prolific and released six singles on various labels in less than two years. You'd think that was virtually impossible but not for The Greek Fountains.

'Buy You A Chevrolet' (more widely known as 'Hey Gyp') is a cover of one of Donovan's more direct songs and was attempted by many combo's during the mid 60s. I'd wager that none were as energetic than this killer version with it's Yardbirds style rave-up, snotty vocals and harmonica.

The flip 'What Is Right' sounds like a completely different group and may have been something of an experiment coming across as bizarre country & western. Think Flying Burrito Brothers on acid.

The 45 got a mention in Billboard as a new release during December 1966.  


15 March, 2013

HERMAN'S HERMITS - MUSEUM



HERMAN'S HERMITS - 'Museum'/'Last Bus Home' (MGM K13787) July 1967

One of the most unlikeliest 60s groups catching the psychedelic wave must have been Herman's Hermits. They're not a combo that has attracted much attention at EXPO67 HQ but I recently undertook a project to collect the more enterprising Donovan cover versions from 1965-1970 and someone suggested that I should check out 'Museum' recorded in 1967 by the Hermits.

I must admit that I was blown away by their version. It's a super rendition and it surely must go down as one of their finest. As far as I know 'Museum' sank without trace (at least in England). It appears that the song was lost on their usual teeny-bopper girl fans and of course the psych underground wouldn't have touched the Hermits as they were considered way too uncool for them.

The flip 'Last Bus Home' is also good and is another tune with a psychy feel, this one being a little 'Revolveresque'. The UK release had 'Moonshine Man' on the B-Side.