31 July, 2016


THE IDES OF MARCH - "Roller Coaster" / "Things Aren't Always What They Seem" (Parrot 310) September 1966

The Ides Of March are probably best remembered in America for their late 60s horn rock exploits which for my particular taste is not my scene but this early '66 single is most definitely one to add to your collection.

They started as a teenage group playing British Invasion covers but then began writing their own material. Soon after they got noticed at their local Berwyn, Chicago gigs. This particular record was their second and perhaps best. "Roller Coaster" is a jangle pounder, heavy on The Who inspiration with fab backing vocals and drum fills. It reached Top 20 in Chicago and entered the lower reaches of the Billboard Chart. Not bad for a bunch of late teens.

Larry Millas: "We recorded the song in about an hour and packed up and headed for home as it was being mixed. As soon as it was done, our Manager took the acetate over to WCFL. The program director loved it so much that he put it on air immediately. An hour after recording it we heard "Roller Coaster" on the radio as we were pulling into my driveway. It was so unbelievable and exciting." (from the "Ideology" Sundazed CD liner notes)

Jim Peterik who wrote "Roller Coaster" would later co-write the famous "Rocky" theme "Eye Of The Tiger" recorded by Survivor.

Bob Bergland (bass)
Jim Peterik (vocals, guitar)
Mike Borch (drums)
Larry Millas (guitar)

WLS Survey - September 1966 - Ides Of March are at #19


HUNGER! - "Mind Machine" / "Colors" (Public 1001) December 1968

I've had this record for years but for some reason or another never got around to writing about it. First of all it's a sought after disc and quite rare. It probably never got beyond promotional copy stage and of course Hunger! aren't exactly a well known group.

Hunger! relocated from Portland, OR sometime in the late sixties to get where the action was in Los Angeles. Once in L.A. they set about creating waves by supporting the leading contenders especially The Doors. I've never seen any vintage psychedelic posters confirming this but I'm sure they will be out there somewhere.

I first became aware of Hunger! in the mid eighties from the compilation "Highs In The Mid Sixties - Volume 3" which resurrected "Colors" - who were Hunger! I'd ask myself and how cool it was that they ended their name with an exclamation mark.

Both sides were probably recorded during late 1968 but perhaps not released until early 1969. Some online sources suggest a December 1968 release but "Teenbeat Mayhem" gives March 1969.
"Colors" for me is their stand out song although there are plenty of way-out nuggets on their album "Strictly From Hunger!" But at two minutes long "Colors" is where it's at, wyld organ, trippy FX, fab lead guitar sound and a too short lead break. They say what they need to say and are gone.

Hunger! have a strong Strawberry Alarm Clock connection as their drummer Gene Gunnels was the original SAC and Thee Sixpence skin thumper. A later line-up included Ed King.    

Billboard - December 1968

30 July, 2016


DAVEY SANDS & THE ESSEX - "Advertising Girl" / "Without You I'm Nothing" (CBS 202620) March 1967

Mod beat sound with a "She's About A Mover" organ riff...."Advertising Girl" is a song about the obsession a lad has with a girl who appears in posters promoting soup, soap and cars while wearing a purple mini-skirt and having manageable fair hair. They don't write them like this anymore!

Davey Sands & the Essex released an earlier single "Please Be Mine" / "All The Time" on Decca during June 1965. Both sides were produced by Brian Poole and Alan Blakley from The Tremeloes. On that particular disc the line-up was:

Ian Warner (drums)
Howard Schaffer (lead guitar)
Chip Hawkes (bass)
Chris Cochran (keyboards)
Davey Sands (vocals)

Chip Hawkes later joined The Tremeloes so I doubt that he was part of their 1967 single.

27 July, 2016


MIKE WALLACE - "Natural High" / "Mandarin" (Atco 45-6783) October 1970

I wrote about Mike Wallace's other 45 on my blog a few years back, check the archives for further information. "Natural High" is perhaps his most famous song, not that it was a major hit or anything, it's just well known in psych collector circles.

Don't be put off with the October 1970 release date cos this record really is a psych pop swinger, kinda sounds like Donovan on purple hearts. The Atco label is obviously the American release, the single was also given an outing in Britain on Polydor and this version may be different or at least an edited version. I'm trying to find out this information and when I do I'll update this entry.

Update: the UK release on Polydor has a 3:28 playing time, meaning it is indeed an edited version of the US variant on Atco.

label scan from Christer Backhage

24 July, 2016


WE THE PEOPLE - "Ain't Gonna Find Nobody" / "When I Arrive" (RCA Victor 47-9498) April 1968

Batten down the hatches and prepare to have your mind distorted by fuzztones....Orlando, FL group We The People have arrived on my blog.

"When I Arrive" is a potent stew of wild Who like chords, fuzz guitar, bad vibe words spat out then manipulated with studio vocal FX and is another one of those singles where the record label picked the wrong song for the A-Side.

The horn rock of "Ain't Gonna Find Nobody" didn't sell so few people would have had the chance to hear the incredible acid punker "When I Arrive."

20 July, 2016


THE GRASS ROOTS - "Wake Up, Wake Up" / "No Exit" (RCA Victor 49.904) October 1967

The Grass Roots have a complicated history and one that has been explained elsewhere in magazines, books and online sources. Some not totally accurate though. At first The Grass Roots was a name of a phantom group P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri came up with to release folk-rock records under.

For reasons described elsewhere Sloan & Barri decided to discontinue releasing records under the disguise of The Grass Roots but retained the name (eventually another group called 13th Floor took over) and worked on production and arranging.

The flip of this October 1967 single is the solid and garage-like rocker "No Exit" which was also part of their "Let's Live For Today" studio album. It's got a dark message about being trapped in a unsatisfactory life which may explain it's B-Side status.

My copy shown is the French release in a stunning picture sleeve.

19 July, 2016


THE BROOD - "But You're Gone" / "You Don't Need Me" (GH-131) 1991

Yesterday I posted the original Spires Of Oxford version of "But You're Gone" and today it's the turn of all girl garage group The Brood. Here they manage the near impossible and 'out-crude' the original.
The tempo is a little faster and the guitar is buried a lot deeper in the mix. I'd rather listen to this than than awful grunge stuff that was doing the rounds doing the same period in time.

The other side is their take on "You Don't Need Me" by The Midnight Angels.

18 July, 2016


THE SPIRES OF OXFORD - "But You're Gone" / "I Really Do" (MY Records 5096) July 1967

Believe it or not but this crude teen garage punk record was released during the same month as The Beatles' "Sgt Pepper" album. Their world and sound couldn't have been further apart.

According to "Teenbeat Mayhem" The Spires Of Oxford hailed from Oxford, Massachusetts and this was their only shot at the big time. Not that they would have had any chance of the big time of course. Perhaps only 500 copies of this record were ever pressed. It's quite a difficult record to locate and doesn't crop up on eBay, the internet or Set Sales that often.

"But You're Gone" sees the boys invent a Kinks like riff which they utilize throughout, perhaps it's all they can play. The two finger organ solo is great and I wish it went on longer. This song was covered by The Brood and released as a single in 1991. I'll cover that 45 next time.

The other side "I Really Do" is an awful crooner style ballad and is not my scene. These guys should have stuck with their primitive rockers.

17 July, 2016


CHRIS FARLOWE - "Moanin" / "What Have I Been Doing" (Immediate IM-056) June 1967

Chris Farlowe possessed a loud and gritty voice, similar to Eric Burdon's and perfect for R&B and his vocals really shine on this odd single from mid 1967. It's laced with fuzz guitar, tabla, sitar and a swinging brass section.

"Moanin" really is one of those records that's difficult to categorize. It mixes psychedelia with soul and perhaps confused the record buying public as the record limped up the charts eventually stalling at #46. For me though, it's a great sound and should have done better.

Dutch release


13th PRECINCT - "Junk Yard" / "You Gotta Be Mine" (TRX 45-T-5005) November 1967

I bought this obscure single by 13th Precinct a few years ago and it's taken me all that time to get it out of the box and research the group. All you need to know about them can be found here including group photos and line-up etc, so no need to add those on my entry.

13th Precinct were from Rock Falls, IL and released a previous single on Feature under the name of The Inspirations. "That Girl" / "Baby Please Come Home" (Feature 110) was released mid 1966. A change of personnel followed as well as a label change to TRX. They also updated their moniker to 13th Precinct.

"Junk Yard" has a soothing hypnotic vibration with floating organ/guitar sounds, quite unique actually. Add to the mix flower-power harmonies and they came up with a '67 winner, perfect for the times.

"If you find that you haven't got a dime,
All you've got is time
Go to the junk yard.
There's a new and groovy scene,
You know what I mean
Go to the junk yard."

16 July, 2016


THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR ELEVATORS - "You're Gonna Miss Me" / "Tried To Hide" (IA 107) June 1966

Voted THEE best 60s garage 45 of all time in "Teenbeat Mayhem" and for once I agree with their score....which was "10" ,in second place was The Gentlemen "It's A Cry'n Shame" and third was The Squires "Going All The Way"

No need for any review on this MONSTER as it's been written about everywhere. I'll just add that "You're Gonna Miss Me" was first released on the local label Contact several months before it got a wider distribution on International Artists. It was never released in Britain which is a shame.

There are three pressings on IA 107. The first being the two tone light blue - dark blue label, the second pressing was the yellow and green two tone label combination issued after the HBR release. The third pressing is on a white label with a re-designed globe logo.



PAUL & BARRY RYAN - "Pictures Of Today" / "Madrigal" (MGM 1385) February 1968

Continuing my trip through the sonic pop trips of  Paul & Barry Ryan I arrive at their final single together, recorded at the end of 1967 but not released until the following year.

The A-Side is a charming psychedelic pop song liberally sprinkled with sitar and orchestration, written by Peter Morris who also contributed songs recorded by The Orange Seaweed and City Smoke. It was perfect pop psych concoction for 1968 but it failed to hit the Charts.
"Pictures Of Today" was produced by Steve Rowland who was also working with The Herd, DDDBM&T and P.J. Proby at the time.

I dig the flip "Madrigal" even more, again from the pen of Peter Morris and sung perfectly by the Ryan twins. Sublime production from Jimmy Smith making this a toy-town pop sike classic and pretty much still underground.  

09 July, 2016


PAUL & BARRY RYAN - "Heartbreaker" / "Night Time" (MGM 1354) October 1967

This was their first release on MGM after leaving Decca and as happens so often the label chose the wrong side. "Heartbreaker" is an uptempo pop number with brass and may have been more radio friendly but in my opinion the languid psychedelia of "Night Time" is where it's at.

"Night Time" was co-written by ex Searchers drummer Chris Curtis and Sharon Sheeley who was Eddie Cochrane's girlfriend. Indeed she was in the car when it crashed and killed Eddie.

It appears that this single bombed and can be added to the long list of flops with far more interesting and superior B-sides.

07 July, 2016


THE KYTES - "Blessed" / "Call Me Darling" (Pye 7N.17136) June 1966

This was the debut disc from The Kytes who released a couple more 45s before sinking into oblivion. I reviewed their second single "Frosted Panes" last year. Go here for further information.

"Blessed" wasn't a big seller and so is quite difficult to turn up but fans of folk-rock and Simon & Garfunkel will relish their version. It was compiled in 1992 on Sequel's CD "Paisley Pop" Another version to track down is The Tremeloes debut on Decca which was also released during June 1966.

The B-Side "Call Me Darling" is a pleasant pop number.

05 July, 2016


STEVE & STEVIE - "Merry-Go-Round" / "Remains To Be Seen" (Sono Play SN-20.180) October 1968

Steve & Stevie were exiled Australians, with the surnames Groves and Kipner respectively. The latter was the son of Nat Kipner, who owned the Aussie label Spin for which The Bee Gees recorded. Nat also produced the Gibb brothers and unsurprisingly, there was a distinct Bee Gees influence on Steve & Stevie's obscure self-titled album, issued on the Major Minor subsidiary Toast in 1968.

"Merry-Go-Round" and "Remains To Be Seen" were taken from the album and released as a single in Britain and a few other European Countries including Italy, France and Spain. My copy (pictured) is on the Spanish Sono Play label and came housed in a picture sleeve.

"Merry-Go-Round" is a fine example of late sixties orchestrated pop mixing Bee Gees with The Beatles period "Sgt Pepper" overtones. After their album as a duo they added ex Bee Gees drummer Colin Peterson and renamed themselves Tin Tin.    

03 July, 2016


Annabel's Night Club in Sunderland was still open in the 1980s. Never went inside though, it was where the 'heed-the-balls' went. The building has since been demolished.
Back in 1969 the place was the venue for Simon Dupree & the Big Sound.

Here's a 1966 gig advert for The Cryin' Shames playing at La Cubana situated in Toward Road, Sunderland. I've walked up that road so many times but had no idea there once was a "Go-Go-Go" Club. Next week it would host The Graham Bond Organization.
Back to The Cryin' Shames and their freakbeat single "Come On Back" - I wonder what the Mackem's made of this..

Beat and R&B groups at the City Hall, Newcastle during April 1964. If only I had been born and was in my late teens I would have been in that zone.

I was wondering if they were The Trebletones who released a single on Oriole in June 1963. I checked this out the other day funnily enough cos I was curious. The single was "In Real Life" / "Dream Of A Lifetime"

The Hi-Fi Showband could be the Scottish band (aka Danny and the Hi-Fi Combo) who later in '66 released one single on Alp as The Hi-Fis... ('It's Gonna Be Morning')... and of which the Thanes recorded a version of the flipside 'I Wanna Hear You Say Yeah'! Not to be confused with the Parlophon-ic Hi-Fis... of 'Tread Softly For the Sleepers' infamy! (Lenny)

The Who at the "Locarno" in Sunderland, 1969. The North-East "Fillmore"
"Records being played are progressive"

Sunderland welcome Them and The Mindbenders at two separate venues in 1966. The Top Rank Suite, Park Lane closed in the 80s and was made into a Super Store, called "Food Giant" I believe. Long gone now though, pulled down...
The Locarno Ballroom on Newcastle Road changed it's name to the "Mecca" sometime in the 70s.. I remember it being called "The Mayfair"...used to go here in the 80s...
Also long gone!

A few miles down the road from Sunderland and you'll arrive at South Shields. The hip place to be in the 1960s appears to have been "The Chelsea Cat" Back in the 60s it was a "Strictly Selective Membership" - "No alley cats or juvenile kittens." By the mid 1980s, when I went a few times they were letting anyone who looked old enough in.

Pink Floyd at The "Bay Hotel", Sunderland in 1969.

The Small Faces at the "Top Rank" in Park Lane, Sunderland...August, 1968.
Support from Newcastle based psychedelic pop group The Toby Twirl. You may remember their non hit wonder "Toffee Apple Sunday"

At the "Blue Note" in Roker Avenue, Sunderland it's a Beat, Beat, Beat 1964 world with Peter Jay & the Jaywalkers and The Vermen. Never heard of the latter before, perhaps a local group.
Up coming gigs include Little Richard, The Rockin' Berries, Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders, The Merseybeats and The Pretty Things... 

01 July, 2016


THE SINISTER URGE - "Ain't Yet Dead" (demo tape) 1995

When The Offhooks disbanded or changed their name? I don't know for sure but will find out and amend the details here. Whatever the consequences, an urge was born.

What I do know is they gigged quite regularly in the Edinburgh area and even traveled down to Newcastle for a gig, which is where I saw them and lead singer Calvin Burt gave me this six song demo tape.

They were a rockin' garage band, not the purist '66 sort with moptops and Beatle boots...they were much more into the basic rock 'n roll of The Sonics and The Wailers. It's no surprise that The Sinister Urge recorded two Sonics tracks for their demo tape namely "Witch" and "Boss Hoss".

All six cuts are decent to great and would have made a killer vinyl EP but sadly it seems that no label was around in a hurry to release any of their material. Check out the monstrous fuzztoned punker "Ain't Yet Dead" for the kind of medicine The Sinister Urge could have administered given half the chance.

demo tape cuts:
"Ain't Yet Dead"
"I Can't Tell"
"Bad Attitude"
"Nobody's Fool"
"Boss Hoss" 

Any other information to add and when and where did the recordings take place?
Brian Guthrie our cut price, rotund, Don Arden wannabe, deluded svengali, decided a few years ago he was going to release the demo as a 10" EP. It must be sitting at the bottom of his vast 'things to do' pile. It'll never happen. Luckily we own the stuff ourselves (unlike the 2nd Offhooks album which was a bit complicated..) and if anyone was interested in a retrospective 45 it would be easy to get together.

It does have all the old bite!! Recorded live to 4 track in Chamber Studio rehearsal rooms. Calvin should be able to tell you about how the vocals were done. We had such a blast recording it. George Miller from the Kaisers recorded and engineered it. Just done on the spot. Think Calvin and George did the mixing about a week later. 

Lindsay Hutton has left a message on my YouTube upload saying that the title is "Ain't Yet Dead" but the demo tape states "Ain't Dead Yet" - is it a typo on the cassette?
It used to be either or, but we did tended to write Aint Dead Yet on the setlist! Never really got a sniff of a release back then, but it did make it on to a Beatsville comp released by Angus a good few years ago. The song is indeed "Ain't Yet Dead" according to the Gardyloo! comp. It's now official..we didn't even know the titles to our own songs!!