31 October, 2015


BOHEMIAN VENDETTA - "I Wanna Touch Your Heart" (Mainstream S/6106) January 1968

This album by Bohemian Vendetta has been my latest spin and it's a decent effort combining psychedelic effects, fuzz and weirdness. Billboard magazine reviewed it as "a natural for underground stations featuring psychedelic music."

There is a classy garage number, the July 1967 single "Enough" and the psych strangeness of "Riddles & Fairytales" and "Paradox City" are great but the extended versions of "The House Of The Rising Sun" and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" are not really where it's at in my mind right now but I'm sure others will dig 'em.

Check out "I Wanna Touch Your Heart" which was used as the flip of their second single b/w "Riddles & Fairytales."

Victor Muglia (bass)
Randy Pollock (rhythm guitar)
Nick Manzi (lead guitar)
Chuck Monica (drums)
Brian Cooke (organ / lead vocals)


25 October, 2015


THE RIOT SQUAD - "Freaking Out" (Record Collector LP006) 2013

Long time British magazine 'Record Collector' started releasing rare and obscure recordings on their own label a few years back using heavyweight vinyl pressings, lavish covers and as you would expect from such a professional and well established magazine each release comes with plenty of accurate information.

This Riot Squad release was rescued from a well worn acetate. The group had laid down some recordings at Advision Studios, London on two occasions during October 1967. Those recordings had some post production work done on them but nothing was ever released.

I highly recommend this album if you ever find a copy, it had a limited run of 750 copies only. My pick is their version of "Steppin' Out" which was first recorded by Memphis Slim but most record collectors will no doubt be more familiar with the John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers version that appeared on their "Beano" album with Eric Clapton. Indeed the latter took it with him to Cream where they'd play it at gigs.

The Riot Squad's version was titled "Freaking Out" on the acetate for some reason. It's a really strong take showcasing the guitar skills of Rod Davis.

'Croak' Prebble (vocals)
Bob Evans (sax/flute)
Del Roll (drums)
Butch Davis (organ)
Rod Davis (guitar) 
Pete Allen (bass)

24 October, 2015


THE SURFARIS - "Search" / "Shake" (Dot 45-17008) March 1967

This is perhaps the most difficult Surfaris single to find but I did just that a couple of years ago when a fellow record collector tipped me off... thanks Mans P. Mansson - check out his new psychedelic group The Flight Reaction.

Anyway, back to this rather splendid Surfaris record. "Search" was their final fling at success after their smash "Wipe Out" but sadly no one was listening. "Search" is a terrific fuzzy psych thriller with a rockin' beat and harmonica. In a perfect world this would have made the Charts and would consequently be a lot easier to find.

The other side is a uptempo fuzztoned version of Sam Cooke's "Shake"

23 October, 2015


THE SLAVES - "Never Free" (Philips 339415 PF) 1966

Fans of European rhythm 'n beat have longed for an official Slaves document for decades and "Ralph Apple" was very close to securing the rights to release a Slaves retrospective including all sides of the rare Charles Ryders Corporation tracks (including the ones from the movie) but this bootleg of German origin appeared recently. So it's now very doubtful if there will ever be an official Slaves collection.

Although "Shut Up!" is a bootleg it actually sounds great, the packaging is also very good and the back cover liners are decent and informative. So, I'm very happy to have this in my collection which comprises all six sides of their three singles released on Philips during 1966.

My taster from the set is the Don Everly penned "Never Free" the B-Side of "Shut Up" I researched this Everly Brothers song and drew a blank that was until Mike Stax informed me via Facebook that The Everly's original version was titled "Nancy's Minuet" released as a single February 1963. The other side was "So It Always Will Be"


21 October, 2015


THOR'S HAMMER - "If You Knew" (Ugly Pop UPO46) 2013

This is an enjoyable compilation album to spin for top Thor's Hammer tunes from 1965 - 1967.
For those who don't know they were Iceland's premier and maybe only beat group. I don't know for sure if they were the only one but I doubt if Iceland had any beat scene going on in the mid 60s.

Thor's Hammer made their way to England and signed a deal with Parlophone and released a few records that were brimming with quality but went nowhere fast. Their aggressive fuzz crunchers "I Don't Care" and "My Life" get a lot of attention and quite rightly so, but my pick is The Searchers influenced jangle beat gem "If You Knew" from 1966. Absolutely their best song in my opinion.

20 October, 2015


THE DRUIDS OF STONEHENGE - I (Who Have Nothing) Sundazed SEP 127) 1996

During the studio recording sessions for their 1967 album "Creation" The Druids Of Stonehenge cut two other songs that were left off said long player. These were versions of "Bald Headed Woman" and "I (Who Have Nothing)."

I can live without "Bald Headed Woman" a song that I've never cared for whoever has recorded it, and I'm even including The Who in that list. On the other hand though "I (Who Have Nothing)" is a terrific blast of twisted verve and moody rhythms.

Thankfully, for completists both tunes were made available by Sundazed back in the mid 90s on this killer double single in gatefold sleeve.  

19 October, 2015


THE DRUIDS OF STONEHENGE - "Six Feet Down" (UNI  73004) July 1967

Here's an interesting garage psych album recorded by a group originally from New York but sometime in late 1966 relocated to Los Angeles, eventually securing a record deal with UNI Records. Their album "Creation" is always listed as a 1968 release.

I made some investigations about this apparent 1968 release because I've always had my suspicions, especially as a single "A Garden Where Nothing Grows" / "Painted Woman" was released during July 1967. This 45 was listed in Billboard magazine as a new release in July '67 and both songs are from the album.

Further more "Creation" was released just after "That Acapulco Gold" by The Rainy Daze (UNI 73002) and before
The Strawberry Alarm Clock "Incense and Peppermints" (UNI 73014) which I believe came out end of October / early November 1967.

Anyway, back to the music. "Creation" is an impressive long player delivered by a band working on all cylinders. Most songs are forceful and tough R&B mixed with psych guitar and fuzz leads. The nearest group I can compare them with is probably The Chocolate Watch Band who had a similar vibration.

I've always had a soft spot for the trippy harpsichord laced  "Six Feet Down" which I first heard in the late 80s on a compilation called "Baubles." They've also utilized Yardbirds styled 'gregorian chants' giving it that eerie charm.

My copy is on Sundazed, mastered from the original analog tapes. They've even used original cover art front and back. A highly recommended vinyl release.

David Budge - lead vocals
Carl Hauser - lead guitar, harpsichord, vocals
Steven Tindall - drums, organ
Billy Tracy - guitar
Tom Paine Workman - bass, slide guitar, vocals


18 October, 2015


CRYSTAL SYPHON - "Marcy, Your Eyes" (Roaratorio 25) 2012

Crystal Syphon were a West Coast group from a little known town called Merced who recorded songs during 1967-68 but for various reasons never signed to any label, consequently their music remained on tapes and hidden away for over 40 years.

There is usually a lot of hype surrounding long lost music from the 60s and this album "Family Evil" of unreleased recordings justifies the hype especially if your kinda bag is extended psychedelic guitar rock, introspection, fuzz leads and on occasion harmonies.

There are numerous internet sites and reviews highlighting Crystal Syphon's work so I'm not gonna go into detail on my blog. All I'll do is recommend this album with the assurance that you're gonna dig it. File in the same category as Moby Grape, Quicksilver Messenger Service and Tripsichord Music Box.

The song I've chosen from the set is "Marcy, Your Eyes" recorded at Victory Recording Studios, Fresno, CA in June 1967 

Crystal Syphon Back row standing from Left Tom Salles, Dave Sprinkel, the late Marvin Greenlee. Leaning on rail from left Jeff Sanders, Bob Greenlee. Seated Jim Sanders.


17 October, 2015


CHILDREN OF THE MUSHROOM - "You Can't Erase A Mirror" (Outsider Music OSR028) 2014

This psychedelic group from Thousand Oaks, CA only released one single during their brief existence, the double sided acid jewel "You Can't Erase A Mirror" / "August Mademoiselle" (Soho Records) released late 1967 or early 1968. 'Teenbeat Mayhem" suggests a December 1967 release.
The back of the LP liners state both songs were recorded at Nashville West, Hollywood in 1968.

The single has become one of the most sought after late 60s psychedelic slabs of vinyl, expect to pay in the region of $400 for a copy if one ever shows up for sale. About six or seven years ago I placed a bid for a copy on eBay and was decimated. From memory I think I bid around $300 but it eventually sold for way above that!

"You Can't Erase A Mirror" and "August Mademoiselle" are simply wonderful, both songs are full of mystique, hauntingly trippy and with fuzz. I would have loved a legitimate re-issue of the single on 45 r.p.m. but I'll certainly make do with this retrospection on Outsider Music.

Also included are previously unreleased recordings from a garage in Thousand Oaks and in a living room using a hand held reel to reel. None of the other songs are essential but I'm happy to listen to them anyway. They all are a lot heavier in sound mixing Doors moves with Cream style vocals especially on "Blade" The longer piece and mostly instrumental "Exordium (The Mushroom Theme)" is lo-fi but high quality. No doubt this would have sounded fabulous as a studio recording. 

Dennis Christensen (drums)
Al Pisciotta (bass)
Bob Holland (vox organ)
Paul Gabrinetti (rhythm guitar)
Dick Parker & Dick Torsk (background vocals)  

16 October, 2015


THE DOORS - "Indian Summer" (Elektra 42 080) February 1970

The fifth Doors album was mostly recorded during November 1969 and is far superior than "The Soft Parade" but just like the latter, the critics didn't dig it that much. I tend not to bother with music reviews preferring to check things out for myself. All in all though "Morrison Hotel" is an excellent long player, largely blues based. The opener "Roadhouse Blues" is thunderous.

My pick is the mystical ballad "Indian Summer" which for some reason was forgotten about until this album. The song was actually recorded during 1966 and seemingly left in the can. Another song not quite ready for their third LP and left off that album is "Waiting For The Sun" despite the song being the album's title!

Sales wise "Morrison Hotel" was a success reaching #4 in America and #12 in the UK. 

15 October, 2015


THE DOORS - "Wild Child" (Elektra 42 079) July 1969

The fourth Doors studio album was recorded at Elektra Sound Recorders, Los Angeles through July 1968 to May 1969. That's a long time to be working on an album and it shows! It's way to disjointed to hold my interest and the use of brass and strings do not suit The Doors sound at all. Jim Morrison's vocals are deeper and croonerish, not really my scene. No wonder I don't really play this album much, today's turntable spin is the first time since the late 80s

As I've suggested the album is a departure in sound from their earlier recordings incorporating brass and string arrangements, the mystical interludes have been replaced by experimental jazz, soft pop and bluesgrass. The couple of songs I do rate date from mid to late 1968 notably the blues rockin' "Wild Child" which was the B-Side of their December 1968 single "Touch Me"

The back to basic rocker "Easy Ride" harks back to 1967. The rest though all sounds too ponderous and overblown for my tastes, the title track and album closer "The Soft Parade" verges on progressive rock and there's no way I'm going anywhere near that kinda bag.

At this point in time it has been suggested by band members that Jim Morrison had little interest in studio work, missed rehearsals and became distant from the other Doors. The 'magic' was gone from this long player that's for sure.

14 October, 2015


THE DOORS - "Summer's Almost Gone" (Elektra 42 041) July 1968

Moving on to The Doors third studio album and one which drew negative reviews from some of the music critics at the time. Most of the one's I've read dismiss it as not being as good as their previous two and their least enjoyable. I personally think those remarks are a little harsh, it has it's moments such as the evocative "Summer's Almost Gone" and the mellow hippie ballad "Love Street"

The songs for "Waiting For The Sun" were recorded during February to May 1968 and released a few months later in July. Despite the critics not warming to it the album topped the Billboard chart in America and sold several million copies. The single "Hello, I Love You" also reached #1 and was a decent Top 20 hit in Britain.

My highlight though is the previously mentioned "Summer's Almost Gone" written by Robby Krieger. This song was written in 1965 and is notable for Krieger's impressive bottle-neck guitar.

my 1973 German re-issue

13 October, 2015


THE DOORS - "You're Lost Little Girl" (Elektra 42 016) September 1967  

The second Doors album "Strange Days" was recorded during May to August 1967 at Sunset Sound Recorders and released the following month housed in a weirdly wonderful cover depicting a group of street performers. The location was Manhattan, NYC.

Cleverly, the Elektra art Department did not blazon "The Doors" all of the cover, instead reducing the group and album title to a poster hidden in the background. Some record stores added a "Doors" sticker to the cover so buyers were not in a state of confusion.

The music is all very laid back and Los Angeles cool. All songs written by Jim Morrison apart from "Love Me Two Times" and "You're Lost Little Girl" which were composed by Robby Krieger.
By the way my album is the German 1972 re-issue, bought from a shop in Newcastle way back in the mid 80s.

12 October, 2015


THE DOORS - "End Of The Night" (Elektra 8122-79788-8) January 1967

Looking back through the mists of time I reckon that I discovered The Doors sometime in 1981. I know that I was still at school and in my mid teens. I probably found out about The Doors from an Echo and the Bunnymen feature or review in Sounds or NME.

That's how it was back then, I'd read something about a group I liked and perhaps another 'unknown' to me group were mentioned as an influence. Weeks later I'd be delving back in time to the 60s where I'd remain lost in my own psychedelic chamber. I still inhabit that chamber, I threw away the key many years ago and have no wish to leave. 

The Doors innovative debut album was recorded at Sunset Sound Recorders, Hollywood during the end of August 1966. It was packaged and in the shops four months later during January 1967. Back then it was released in both stereo and mono mixes, the latter was deleted not long later and has subsequently become a very hard to find item for several decades until it was packaged as a MONO re-issue "Record Store Day" release back in 2011.

Check out the mono mix of "End Of The Night." This song was one of the earliest Doors compositions and dates from 1965.

"Some are born to sweet delight, some are born to the endless night."

11 October, 2015


ULTIMATE SPINACH - "Where You're At" (MGM LP831 181-1) 1968

The second Ultimate Spinach album had some line-up changes and the sound was more free flowing than their debut with longer songs and jazzy interludes. Trippy sounds are still in abundance though with songs such as "Gilded Lamp Of The Cosmos" "Mind Flowers" and "Fragmentary March Of Green."

All songs were once again written and arranged by Ian Bruce-Douglas with production duties listed as by Alan Lorber. I don't dig uploading songs much more than three minutes in length so my pick goes to "Where You're At" which is a memorable West Coast flavoured interlude with female lead vocals, laid back guitar and harmonies.

from KRLA Beat - March 1968

10 October, 2015


ULTIMATE SPINACH - "Pamela" (MGM SE-4518) January 1968

For the next few months I've decided to focus on my psychedelic albums and compilations bought way back in the 80s/90s. They've been neglected by me for far too long when I kind of took a detour and started concentrating on collecting 45s. It will be fabulous for me to rediscover lost gems and perhaps unearth hidden jewels that I paid no attention to at the time.

Enter Ultimate Spinach from Boston, who were a popular psychedelic combo in their local domains. This album sold 110,000 copies in it's first week of release and subsequently remained on the Billboard Top LP charts for 24 consecutive weeks. Each song on this album, recorded during September to December 1967, was written by leader Ian Bruce-Douglas who also was lead singer, played electric piano, harpsichord, organ, sitar, harmonica, flutes...almost anything.

According to Ian "Pamela" shows the intense beauty that can be seen and felt if one's senses are fully employed. Beauty pervades all and looks into the future of Ultimate Spinach.

Ian Bruce-Douglas: vocals, electric piano, 12 string guitar, celeste, theremin
Barbara Hudson: vocals, guitar
Keith Lahteinen: vocals, drums, tabla
Richard Nese: bass
Geoffrey Winthrop: vocals, lead guitar, drone sitar


07 October, 2015


DENNY LAINE - "Too Much In Love" / "Catherine's Wheel" (Deram DM 171) January 1968

Post Moody Blues and pre Wings solo baroque psych 45 by Denny Laine released on the 12th January 1968. It's taken me decades to find a copy of this, not that I've been particularly looking for it but for some weird reason I searched for it on eBay two weeks ago. It was late 80s when I discovered the song via the compilation "Deram Dayze"

Denny's unique vocals are a highlight on "Catherine's Wheel" as is the memorable production work of Moody Blues, Procol Harum and Move Producer Denny Cordell. He just adds that certain element that makes songs charged.

Denny Laine could have been a contender back in 1967/68 but released just two singles on Deram despite the promise of an album. The latter never materialized but other songs were recorded for BBC radio sessions.

misc notes: I found out last Friday that my first proper girlfriend, she was called Catherine, had died suddenly aged 47. We were together during our teenage years of 17/18/19 and drifted in and out of the relationship until we eventually stopped seeing each other. Last time I saw her was sometime in 1985 but we did speak on the phone in 1994. And after that chat on the phone there was no further contact.

She died 23rd September, I bought this record four days later on the 27th September and found out about her death on my birthday 2nd October..... so was she sending out subliminal messages? Why would I buy "Catherine's Wheel" a few days after she had died? Why did I find out the news of her death nine days later on my birthday?   

Anyway, enough of the strangeness. Catherine was cremated this afternoon. I dedicate this record in your memory. R.I.P.

04 October, 2015


TINTERN ABBEY - "Do What You Must" EP (private release by Tintern Abbey)

Tintern Abbey were a 60s English psychedelic group that need no introduction, their fame was written in tablets of lysergic stone with their fabulous 1967 twin spin "Vacuum Cleaner" b/w "Beeside"

Tintern Abbey drummer John Dalton and lead guitarist Paul Brett recently found a couple of acetates of songs that they recorded back in the day for a proposed album that never materialized.  They were recorded at Tony Pike's Studio in Putney. Those four songs make up this self released EP which comes housed in an attractive sleeve.

The Paul Brett penned "Do What You Must" is the stand out song. It had potential single written all over it, maybe not commercial enough for the top side but it was easily B-Side worthy.

03 October, 2015


THE SPECTRES - "The Facts Of Life" (taken from 'Purple Heart Surgery #1')

Still on my "Purple Heart Surgery" trip. This time Volume 1 released in the mid/late 90s. Check out The Spectres ravin' R&B number "The Facts Of Life" from a surviving acetate. It was never released back in the mid 60s.

According to the liners they think the group were from Ulster, probably based on the acetate label which was Ulster Electronic Development.


***UNKNOWN GROUP*** - "Leave Me Alone" (taken from 'Purple Heart Surgery #3')

Today I'm still checkin' out my "Purple Heart Surgery" albums of rare 60s beat and psychedelic acetates. Last track on side 2 marked "Unknown" is a wild hard driving beat number. "Leave Me Alone" is a fab 'fuck off' statement too.... Outsider beat!

According to the liners, the compilers had in their possession many acetates with just a song title. Some didn't even have a title, they were completely blank on an Emidisc or Regent Sound white label.


SONIC INVASION - "Go Out And Get Her" (taken from 'Purple Heart Surgery #2)

Checking out my "Purple Heart Surgery" compilations featuring beat and psychedelic acetates 1965 - 1968 including this incredible ravin' beat number by Sonic Invasion.

Pilled-up on black bombers but nowhere to go except on a one of a kind acetate and left to languish unheard for 30 odd years until it was compiled on this mid 90s album.

"Go Out And Get Her" b/w "Tribute To Theodorakis" (Emidisc acetate) probably dating from mid 1966. According to the liners of the compilation the flip is a sprightly organ-based instrumental.

02 October, 2015


RICK MINAS - "Toys" (taken from Rave With The Amphetamine Generation on Dig The Fuzz)

"Rave With The Amphetamine Generation" is a must have compilation for anyone interested in unknown and very obscure 60s beat from Britain. Most of the tracks here are culled from one of a kind acetates. My focus will be on Rick Minas, who remains a little known artist, recording a handful of acetate demos in 1966 of which "Another Time" and "Think About Me" were published by Filmusic and released on Polydor. Rick Minas also released a 1967 single on Decca a.k.a. Sasha Caro "Little Maid's Song" b/w "Grade 3 Section 2"

"Toys" is a superb hard driving beat number reminding me of The Truth's freakbeat version of "Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)."Any 45 collector will tell you that "Toys" would have destroyed on a mono single.

Rick Minas wrote several other songs with Mike Banwell which were recorded by groups including The Graham Bond Organisation, Hamilton & the Hamilton Movement, The Transatlantics and The Chantelles. An informative site with label scans and other information can be found here.


THE CLASSMATES - "Go Away" / "Pay Day" (Decca F.12047) December 1964

If hard driving beat music is your bag then look no further than an obscure B-Side by The Classmates with their killer "Pay Day" Decca missed out big style by not having it as the single side and the disc sank to no-where's-ville.

Too bad, as "Pay Day" is a winner with a ravin' guitar break... Listen and let your heart and head BEAT with ACTion...