30 November, 2015


THE BYRDS - "She Has A Way" (Murray Hill Records MH-70318) 1987

It seems a very long time ago since I wrote about The Byrds on my blog so that's about to change today. Last week I bought "Never Before" for the third time. I bought a vinyl copy in 1987 followed by the CD version a few years later when they were all the rage.

Foolishly sold my vinyl copy in the 90s and suffered BAD Byrds karma ever since..... so bought another LP and now I feel so cleansed and refreshed. Back in the late 80s it was a revelation hearing previously unheard Byrds music from 1965/67. This was all pre-Sundazed of course and their constant re-issues etc. 

I couldn't believe just how killer "It Happens Each Day", "She Has A Way" "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" "Triad" - true stereo "Mr Tambourine Man" earlier version of "Eight Miles High"
The booklet is fab too, lots of pics.....

I'll focus on the sublime "She Has A Way" - Like a number of songs from the 'Preflyte' album of 1964 Byrds demos, this Gene Clark composition was re-cut for Columbia for inclusion on the 'Mr Tambourine Man' album. It was left off to make room for outside material (see Dylan, DeShannon, Seeger).

29 November, 2015


TOMMY T'S FEDERAL RESERVE - "Take The Midnight Train" / "Grow Up Someday" (Cadet 5584) November 1967

This combo from Des Moines, Iowa were previously on IGL Records and released some 45s under the name of Tommy Tucker & The Esquires. They then moved to Cadet and released two singles, this being the first, under the name of Tommy T's Federal Reserve.

They were a well known act in Iowa and have been inducted in their Rock 'n' Roll "Hall Of Fame"
A good source of information can be found here.

Perhaps their most well known cut in 60s garage circles is the teenbeat gem "Don't Tell Me Lies."  (IGL 121). Check it out on the compilation 'Monsters Of The Mid-West #2' 

Here are some snippets of information taken from the liners of the "IGL Rock Story - Part One (1965 - 67)"

Who was Tommy Tucker?
"Tommy had more ambition and could get himself into more problems than anyone we ever had in the studio. One time in particular he was coming up from Des Moines and his mother packed him a lunch with some hard boiled eggs, so Tommy said. "What do you do with eggs you don't like? Naturally you throw them at another car." He did, and ended up at the police station. The police in Spencer called me and I had to get Tommy and his band out of jail before they could come up and record.

He wrote a song and had a problem with the copyright because of his name. Apparently "Tommy Tucker" was already copyrighted so he had to show proof with his birth certificate that it was his actual name.

As with a lot of little bands from around here, The Esquires drove a used hearse, which was a big vehicle that could hold all their equipment along with four or five guys. 

Tommy Tucker later went on to build a recording facility in Des Moines called Triad Studio and then left to become one of the head engineers at Paisley Park in Minneapolis."
(Cliff Plagman - IGL Records)



1910 FRUITGUM CO - "Hip Hip Hip Urrah!" / "(Poor Old) Mr Jensen" (Buddah Records BD-75.018) April 1968

Sifting through the bubblegum hits of the Buddah Records label brings me to this little known obscurity by 1910 Fruitgum Co. On the other side of the "Hip Hip Hip Urrah!" is the soothing mellowness of "(Poor Old) Mr Jensen". The Italians didn't even bother putting the title of this B-Side on the fab sleeve of their release, instead making room to mention that they were the "1,2,3 Red Light" hit makers.

"(Poor Old) Mr Jensen" is notable for it's inclusion of the piccolo trumpet and baroque feel throughout. It's like a mini and cheaper produced version of something like "Penny Lane"
Groups like these of course didn't have the luxury of spending weeks in Abbey Road Studios.

The song was also released as a B-Side by Jerry & Jeff. Check it out on the B-Side of "Sweet Sweet Lovin' You" on Super K from December 1968. It's only an instrumental version though.
It was also recorded by The Katz-Kasenetz Orchestral Circus Singers.

26 November, 2015


THE VIPERS - "Tears (Only Dry)" (PVC 8928) 1984

This is the second time out for The Vipers on my blog, the first time was way back in 2009 when I focused on their mid '66 inspired garage fuzz punker "Ain't Nothin' Like Her"

Now it's the turn of their jangly pop tune "Tears (Only Dry)"

Check out the cutting from Sounds magazine from 1984. I can actually remember reading this review while browsing through Sounds on the 194 bus on my way to Newcastle. I'm serious! I remember all kinds of inconsequential stuff concerning records and music.

25 November, 2015


THE SIR DOUGLAS QUINTET - "The Story Of John Hardy" / "In Time" (London HLU 10001) November 1965

There is plenty of information elsewhere about The Sir Douglas Quintet so this will be a brief entry. It's all about introducing this greatness - an obscure B-Side by the Sir Douglas Quintet from the back end of 1965 with their moody beat, British Invasion style....diggin' the Vox Continental organ sound...

The other side "The Story Of John Hardy" is more in keeping with the hip sound of '65 folk-rock.

22 November, 2015


GORDON ALEXANDER - "Thinking In Indian Again" (Columbia CS 9693) 1968

It's back to finding some long lost nuggets on albums and here's a very interesting one by obscure late 60s singer songwriter Gordon Alexander. "Gordon's Buster" is not one of those immediate albums that blows your mind, it will take a couple of plays over a day or two before the songs and rhythms start sinking in and making sense.

It's a very diverse collection of freak rock, psych tinged folk with jazzy & blues touches. Checking out the cover information reveals that renowned Producer Curt Boettcher worked on three songs "Looking For The Sun" "Windy Wednesday" and "Miss Mary" - all of these cuts have his unmistakable soft psych touches. I've read elsewhere that members of his own band The Millenium also helped with instrumentation throughout.

The other songs on the album, including my highlight "Thinking In Indian Again" were produced by Sonny Knight with arrangements by David Angel fresh from his work with Fever Tree and Love's "Forever Changes"

"Thinking In Indian Again" is a short burst of psychedelia notable for the way-out and trippy guitar sound.

"How is your mind bending, how is your mind bending.
I like to fly using my middle eye on a beam to the end of the brain."

One single was taken from the album as a promo sent to radio stations "One Real Spins Free" / "Topango" during July 1968.

21 November, 2015


THE MAGIC MUSHROOM - "I'm Gone" / "Cry Baby" (Warner Bros 5846) August 1966

This is a fabulous two sided gem from San Diego group The Magic Mushroom which incidentally was the name given to them by Warner Bros. This 45 had an earlier release on a smaller label called Coast where they were named The Sons.

"I'm Gone" is perhaps their most famous cut in 60s garage circles having been compiled on the recommended 80s compilation "What A Way To Die". It's a harmonica driven '66 punk tormentor. It's believed that the harp was played by someone connected with The Seeds. Sky Saxon's name has been mentioned on other sites.

My focus is on the much neglected B-Side "Cry Baby" which is just as good in my opinion. It's a classic 'put down' song with a beaty rhythm and a terrific guitar break. Find it on "Psychedelic Unknowns #6"

"Cry baby cry baby don't come cryin' to me."

What is known for sure, and it's something that the late Ray Clearwater confirmed with me via email years ago, is that he joined The Magic Mushroom after he was fired from The Lyrics for his bad attitude. Ray did not play on this record though.

Here's the information he provided about his time with The Magic Mushroom.   

"As for the Magic Mushroom, I can’t tell you much. They asked me to join and we immediately flew off to New York. We stayed with their manager Mike Friedman and he stayed with his girlfriend.
I came up with the name, Love Special Delivery but I don’t remember why. I think they were looking for a new name due to some contractual obligations or something but again, the name was changed shortly after I got to New York. Of course the name was a take on LSD –

We only played three or four jobs in New York and we really weren’t very good. We just sort of played some easy stuff and jammed a lot as I remember. I really didn’t know their songs, being the new guy, so we did what we could.
After a couple of months, we met a woman named Susan McCusker (spelling) and she was hooked up with a guy that said if we cut a record he could get it played in lots of stations in different cities. We smelled the big money and left Mike Friedman to do this thing with Susan.
She set up a recording session with Les Paul at his home in Mahwah, New Jersey.

His son Rusty came out to the train station in his big Caddy and picked us up. We recorded three of my songs that night and honest to God, there were people there with suits and ties and harps and violins. It was insane – I mean, I was just a kid from nowhere at Les Paul’s house recording music.
The songs we recorded were – 'If You Care', a very slow love song, 'Plastic Man', and 'Night Time' – all my songs and sung by me. I remember being so moved by the strings on 'If You Care', I went outside and started to cry. No one could figure out what was wrong with me. Anyway, as I understand it, Susan never paid Les Paul for the tapes so they were never released.
It was close to Christmas and John Buell, Carl Conte and Mike Allen went home to California. for the Christmas holidays. Mike Lowther and I remained in New York. We were broke but fortunately, Sis Cunningham and Gordon Friesen, the folks that put out Broadside Magazine, allowed us to stay with them for a while until we were able to rent a very small apartment in Greenwich Village. Carl never came back, John and Mike Allen did but at that point, the four of us in a small apartment with no money just didn’t work and Susan and basically dumped us on our own.
I finally bailed and flew back to California. I was extremely lonely and broke in New York City and totally disappointed with all that had happened. The only up side to this was that while Mike Lowther and I were staying with Sis and Gordon, they published three of my songs and later on, one of the songs that I had recorded on a small recorder at their apartment turned up on the Best Of Broadside compilation. Many years later, they wrote a book and said something very nice about me, comparing me to Dylan – well just a bit."

17 November, 2015


THE MAGIC MUSHROOMS - "Municipal Water Maintenance Man" / "Let The Rain Be Me" (East Coast EC-1001) 1968

This was the third and final single by The Magic Mushrooms and perhaps their most obscure and difficult to locate. The top side was a rather unworthy pop novelty. I'm not quite sure who this song was aimed at.

Far superior is the jangle and tambourine folk-rock fest of "Let The Rain Be Me." The label indicates a 'B' side so sadly this song would have been lost in action if the record received any sort of promotion or radio plays.

16 November, 2015


THE MAGIC MUSHROOMS - "Look In My Face" / "Never Let Go" (Philips 40483) August 1967

The Magic Mushrooms were dropped by A&M Records because the squares at the label were horrified that magic mushrooms had drug connotations. This was despite the fact that their single "It's-A-Happening" had been a decent sized hit.

They moved to Philips for one single with the slightlydelic soul pop cruncher "Look In My Face" a song I've never taken much notice of but I really dig it now. The other side, the guitar and tambourine stomper "Never Let Go" is more in keeping with their first disc.

14 November, 2015


THE MAGIC MUSHROOMS - "It's-A-Happening" / "Never More" (A&M 815) September 1966

I can still remember the first time I heard "It's-A-Happening" via the double Nuggets album back in the 80s. Wow, it really knocked me out. What a wild and far-out sound, a psychedelic noise of the which I'd never heard before.

It has now been established that The Magic Mushrooms formed their band whilst students at the University of Pennsylvania, PA. They somehow got a deal with A&M Records and released this amazing 45 that shifts from Yardbirds style rave-ups to fuzztoned acid recitations.

"Spray the weed
A zephyr breeze
A mushroom hangs above the ground."

The scoop on the mysterious The Magic Mushrooms was divulged on "Garage Hangover" some years back. Follow the link for information direct from band members.

It seems that they recorded enough material for an album but were sadly dropped from the label when Herb Alpert of A&M Records decided that magic mushrooms was not a good image for the label who, at the time, were releasing records by clean-cut pop groups and performers.


THE LINCOLN'S - "Come Along And Dream" / "Smile Baby Smile" (Tripp Records 45-1000) March 1969

According to 'Teenbeat Mayhem' The Lincoln's hailed from the North Bonneville - Stevenson area of Washington in USA. I've read elsewhere that they've been incorrectly attributed to Vancouver in Canada.

The name on this label is probably a typo because they're The Lincolns on other releases. Perhaps their most well known is the organ/sax punker "We Got Some" on Dot Records in 1966.

This record dates from early 1969 but the music sounds like it's come from at least a year earlier. "Come Along And Dream" is a fast paced fuzz and hammond organ-a-go-go rocker the ends in a barrage of psychedelic studio effects. It was compiled on 'Highs In The Mid Sixties #7'

The other side "Smile Baby Smile" is a jaunty beatsville mover sounding not unlike some of those beaty Monkees numbers. Love the twangin' guitar on this one. Currently uncompiled.

08 November, 2015


TEDDY AND HIS PATCHES - "Haight Ashbury" / "It Ain't Nothin" (Chance 669) June 1967

I wrote about their first disc "Suzy Creamcheese" back in 2007 and here I am some eight years later picking up where I left off with their fabulous second and final 45 "Haight Ashbury"
Teddy and his Patches were a short lived outfit from San Jose but they certainly left their mark on the garage psych collector scene with their vinyl output.

"Haight Ashbury" written by members Teddy Flores and lead guitarist Bernard Pearson is a punkedelic classic with it's moody opening beat and pissed off rant about the cops and the low-lives of the hippie scene. Mid way through, the pace quickens and the psychedelic effects take the listener on another trip altogether. This time it's an Eastern raga colouring the pictures. Let your mind wander while taking in the trippy guitar break.... such a fantastic sound, pure '67 mind tripper.

For such a talented group and one that was very active with gigs on the West Coast it's a shame that they recorded a dismal kazoo led vaudeville indiscretion for the flip. I'm sure they would have had a superior song in their repertoire.

05 November, 2015


PUBLIC NUISANCE - "7 or 10" (Third Man Records) 2012

Today's spin is the late 1968 early 1969 recordings by Public Nuisance.
They were from Sacramento, CA. Their producer was Terry Melcher but the album was shelved after the Manson Family murders took place at his property which had been leased to Roman Polanski.
After a couple of plays this one has really burrowed it's way into my mind.

Difficult to describe and categorize.... bits of Love, Lollipop Shoppe, weirdness, baroque psychedelia and a gentle love ballad "7 or 10"

Here's a photo of an earlier line-up when they were called Moss and the Rocks. Their crude folk jangler "There She Goes" was compiled on 'Garage Beat '66 "Feeling Zero"

03 November, 2015


THE MISSING LINKS - "Not To Bother Me" (Sundazed LP-5422) 2012

Little "Bobo" has to get used to my music preferences. Currently he has his tiny head spinnin' with The Missing Links and their R&B punk album from 1965.
You'll get used to it son and will become the hippest cat in Washington.

The Missing Links have a most unusual claim to fame - they're different! They're original! They have their own sound, not borrowed, not copied. They write a lot of their own material and it too has an originality and individualism, that makes "The Links" music the best thing that's 'happened' to the pop scene for a long time.

This is their first LP. It was recorded over a period of two months, shortly after The Links signed to Philips Records in September 1965. It includes "You're Driving Me Insane" written by Hutch, the drummer, and "Wild About You" the group's latest single, written by Andy, who sings both numbers.

Andy is also heard in another of his own songs "Speak No Evil" as well as "Some Kinda Fun" and Bob Dylan's "On The Road Again". Bass guitarist Ian Thomas vocalises on "Nervous Breakdown" and his own composition "Not To Bother Me." Not to be outdone, Doug Ford, the group's lead guitarist sings one he wrote "Hobo Man." It has a Jimmy Reed feel about it. The vocal on "All I Want" is John, he plays rhythm guitar and has a lot to do with the wild feedback sound achieved by The Links. Chris plays piano, organ, harmonica, and sings on "Bald Headed Woman" and "Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut" which features one of the wildest instrumental breaks ever put down by any group. The last track on the album "H'tuom Tuhs" is a 'way out' piece that exemplifies The Links' lust for originality.

The Links have been together now for about four months and have already established a reputation of having the wildest stage act in Australia. Maracas, tambourines, conga drums, and even microphones are constantly getting broken during their live performances. They are planning interstate tours and hope to visit all Australian capitols as well as New Zealand during 1966.

The average age is around 18 and Andy the group's vocalist, who also plays the conga drums comes from Auckland. His singing is in the 'blues shout' style and his favourites are Dylan, John Lee Hooker and Little Richard. Chris used to play harmonica on 'country blues' groups and jug bands.
(original album liners)  


02 November, 2015


THE RUINS - "She Doesn't Understand" (Particles LP4020) 2013

Today's album spin is this compilation of late 60s psychedelic groups armed with fuzz pedals. I'm particular sick cos this LP brings us the fuzztacular "Bawling" by Thackeray Rocke. I had a chance of buying a copy for $200 some years back but bought something else instead.
some you win MOST you lose.

"Fistful Of Fuzz" was released some time in the 90s but this album on Particles is a re-issue. It's a good effort too and sounds very good indeed. They've used heavyweight vinyl, upgraded the sonics and have enclosed a sheet of liners with information about each song used. Most are from rare psychedelic 45s but the one I'm focusing on is from a one of a kind acetate.

The Ruins came from Central New Jersey and comprised Joe Mavica on lead vocals, Andy Fekete on lead guitar, Bill Shaw played rhythm guitar, Bruce Schofield on bass and Alan Mansfield on drums. "She Doesn't Understand" was taken from a 1967 Regend Sound acetate taped by Geno Viscione in the back of a Shopping Mall. The other side of the acetate was "The Gordel Postulate" which I've not heard but I believe is also worth hearing.

01 November, 2015


BOHEMIAN VENDETTA - "Riddles & Fairytales" (Mainstream 681) June 1968

By the time Mainstream Records released Long Island's Bohemian Vendetta's second single "Riddles & Fairytales" was already a year old. The 45 was backed with the mod infused shaker "I Wanna Touch Your Heart" (see my previous entry). The record was an edited version of the album track.

"Riddles & Fairytales" is an organ dominated psychedelic rocker with Seeds like fuzz and obscure lyrics. It got some radio plays on the East Coast but probably failed to get beyond 'promotional status.'