Rick Nelson – Marshmallow Skies


Rick Nelson in a still from his ‘Don’t Make Promises’ video


Listen/Download – Rick Nelson – Marshmallow Skies

Greetings all.

I was rolling around in my iPod – much like Scrooge McDuck rolling around in hundred dollar bills – when what should I come upon but tracks I’d recorded from Rick Nelson’s 1967 ‘change of pace’ LP, ‘Another Side of Rick’.

My love for this record goes back to the mid-80s, when I was passed a bootleg VHS of 1960s music video, culled from various TV dance parties, variety shows and a few purpose-made, primitive rock videos.

One of the clips included was Rick Nelson performing my all-time favorite Tim Hardin song, ‘Don’t Make Promises’ (written up here was back in 2007).

Not long after that, I managed to find a copy of the album where that recording originated.

Rick Nelson is an interesting example of a guy who is much more musically interesting than many people would give him credit for, thanks in large part to his early years as a TV star/teen idol.

His early catalog is filled with quality rock’n’roll – and the occasional blinding bit of rockabilly – and his later years feature some of the best country rock of the era.

‘Another Side of Rick’ fell in between those two eras, during a time where Nelson, like so many of his contemporariesm was trying to stay relevant.

While he certainly wasn’t morphing into Jimi Hendrix, he was making some excellent mid-60s pop rock, and as you’ll see with today’s selection, dabbling in popsike.

Co-written by Nelson and his longtime sideman (and guitar whiz) James Burton, and arranged and produced by Jimmie Haskell and Jack Nitzsche, ‘Marshmallow Skies’ is a mellow, sitar-infused bit of Southern California pop.

Pushed along gently by nicely baroque orchestration and a subtly applied rhythm section, ‘Marshmallow Skies’ wouldn’t seem out of place on an LP by Donovan or late-period Chad and Jeremy.

There are those out there that don’t dig this album (or this song),but I think you ought to give it a chance.

I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you next week.







PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Ian McLagan 1945 – 2014


Ian McLagan


The Firm of Jones, McLagan, Lane and Marriott


The Faces – Jones, Stewart, Wood, McLagan and Lane 



Listen/Download – The Small Faces – Tin Soldier MP3

Listen/Download – The Faces – (I Know) I’m Losing You (Live at the BBC)

Listen/Download – The Faces – Oh Lord I’m Browned Off

Greetings all.

This week the world of music was stunned by the sudden death of legendary keyboardist Ian McLagan.

McLagan was lucky enough to have manned the keys in both the Small Faces (replacing Jimmy Winston in 1965) and then following some of his bandmates into the slightly larger Faces.

As someone who grew up in a house where the piano loomed large (thanks to my old man) I have always had a healthy respect for keyboard players, and Ian McLagan was among the best.

He was also – as were many of his ilk – cursed by his position in the band to fade into the woodwork.

Frontment, guitarists and bassists have the luxury of moving around the stage, playing the fool, and the drummer – in addition to often being the loudest goon on the bandstand, is usually right there in the middle of things.

The poor keyboardist (lead singers like Steve Winwood excepted) are often on the side of the stage, seated behind some huge appliance made of wood and wires, providing much of the musical texture, yet out of sight, and as usually follows, out of mind.

As you may already be aware, especially if you follow Funky16Corners, I am a certified Hammond organ and electric piano nut, so my ears have always been attuned to Mac’s prodigious skills.

At his very best, Mac was the epitome of the team player, eschewing the bombast of contemporaries like Keith Emerson, choosing instead to add layers, and more importantly, punctuation of a sort. He used the piano and organ to add texture and emphasis to songs.

The first track I’m featuring today appeared here at Iron Leg back in 2010, and is for me the finest thing the Small Faces ever did. ‘Tin Soldier’, recorded in 1967 is the perfect intersection of the group’s R&B roots and the more progressive direction things were moving in at the time.

‘Tin Soldier’ is a master class in rock dynamics, due in large part to McLagan’s electric piano, which sets the tone, and (with the organ) lays the foundation for the entire song. The electric piano break at 1:29 is as powerful as anything that ever appeared on a Small Faces record.

The Faces were another bag entirely. With Rod Stewart and Ron Wood (it took two regular humans to replace Steve Marriott) added to the mix things got a whole lot shaggier but the mix was every bit as potent as with the Small Faces.

I’m including two Faces tracks here, one that illustrates Mac’s power as a sideman, and the second an organ feature.

The Faces cover of the Temptations ‘(I Know) I’m Losing You’ – recorded by the band but released as part of Rod Stewart’s solo LP ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ – is one of the band’s best known recordings. This version, recorded live for the BBC ‘Sounds For Saturday’ program in 1971, once again features McLagan’s electric piano as a prominent voice. As loud as Ronnie Wood’s guitar is, Mac’s piano is right there with him, and when you get to 2:05, and the band drops back (except to hum), and the piano comes in by itself, it’s a thing to behold.

The last track is ‘Oh Lord I’m Browned Off’, which appeared as the b-side to the single of ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’. A Wood/McLagan/Lane/Jones composition, the Hammond-led instro starts off like a distant cousin of the Turtles’ ‘Buzz Saw’, rolling out into a funky groove with plenty of solo time for McLagan and some bottleneck guitar from Wood.

Following the demise of the Faces, McLagan followed Wood into the New Barbarians, formed his own Bump Band, played for years with Billy Bragg, and recorded as a sideman for all kinds of people.

He had been living in Austin, TX for many years when he passed away.

He will be missed.

See you next week.






PS Head over to Funky16Corners some soul

Hal Blaine (The Drummer Man) and the Young Cougars – Challenger II


Hal Blaine


Listen/Download – Hal Blaine (the Drummer Man) and the Young Cougars – Challenger II

Greetings all.

Here’s a groovy one pulled straight from the annals of chance encounters.

I was on the prowl for a certain 45 – (the original recording of ‘I’m Into Somethin’ Good’ by Earl-Jean) and found it sitting in the midst of a ‘lot’ of 45s.

The whole megillah only cost seven dollars, so I thought it worth the risk and pulled the trigger.

About a week later, the package falls through the mailslot, and alongside Earl-Jean (which was, as it turns out, in excellent condition) I got a couple of other groovy discs, including last week’s Strawbs 45 , and the disc you see before you today.

I have never been a connoisseur of ‘hot rod’ 45s, but I am certainly not averse to the potent mixture of fuzz, reverb and novelty.

The record in question – Hal Blaine (the Drummer Man) and the Young Cougars ‘Challenger II’ – is a particularly cool example of the genre.

Written by none other than Lee Hazlewood, and played by Blaine and his Wrecking Crew buddies, like Glenn Campbell, Leon Russell, Carol Kaye and Billy Strange, ‘Challenger II’ mixes a fuzz guitar lead with vibes and (of course) Blaine’s pounding drums.

The flipside, ‘Gear Stripper’ was written by David Gates (who arranged the LP), years before he morphed into a slice of Bread.

The tracks were included on the LP ‘Deuces, T’s, Roadsters and Drums’ released in 1963.

I hope you dig the track, and I’ll see you all next week.







PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

The Strawbs – Or Am I Dreaming


The Strawbs, circa 1969


Listen/Download – The Strawbs – Or Am I Dreaming

Greetings all.

As I mentioned a while back, quite by the luck of the draw, I ended up with the very groovy Strawbs 45 you see before you when I recently purchased a larger lot of records.

My previous knowledge of the band was limited to their connection with Sandy Denny (who was a member of the group before her tenure with Fairport Convention).

Much more popular in the UK than the US (they had a big hit in the UK in 1973 with ‘Part of the Union’), the Strawbs morphed from an acoustic folk group (in their earliest days) through popsike, folk rock and prog.

Today’s selection ‘Or Am I Dreaming’ was their first 45, recorded in 1968 and released in 1969.

At the time, they were signed to the Scandinavian label Sonet, and their single (but not their LP) was picked up by A&M in the US.

There’s a story on their website that recalls how they had been unable to secure a deal in the UK (with their 45s being picked up for distribution by the Pye label) and when they walked into the record company offices there they were assumed to have come from the West Coast of the US.

‘Or Am I Dreaming’ doesn’t bring to mind California, but rather prime, late-period UK popsike in the Moody Blues vein.

Produced by Gus Dudgeon and arranged by Tony Visconti, ‘Or Am I Dreaming’ starts out with acoustic guitar, bass and flute and the voice of Dave Cousins (who wrote the song) but soon the arrangement becomes more dense, with electric bass, percussion and strings. The best part of the record comes at 1:09 where the tempo picks up and rocks a bit.

While it isn’t blatantly psychedelic, it certainly is of the time, and I wouldn’t hesitate to drop it into a UK psyche mix.

I mean, dig these lyrics:

The fragile gentle butterfly with multi-coloured wings
Settles on the toadstools in the midst of fairy rings
Midsummer sounds of tinkle bells as sweet Titania sings.

If that doesn’t carry you away, I don’t know what to say.

So dig it, and I’ll see you next week.







PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #43


Beep beep beep beep…..



Jack Bruce Tribute

Intro Action Scene – Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfield
Graham Bond Organization – Harmonica
Graham Bond Organization – St James Infirmary (Ascot)
Graham Bond Organization – Wade In the Water (Ascot)
Jack Bruce – I’m Getting Tired (Or Drinkin’ and Gamblin’) (Polydor)
Manfred Mann – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (HMV)

Cream – I Feel Free (Atco)
Cream – NSU (Atco)
Cream – Sweet Wine (Atco)
Cream – Cat’s Squirrel (Atco)
Cream – I’m So Glad (Atco)
Cream – Sunshine of Your Love (Atco)
Cream – Tales of Brave Ulysses (Atco)
Cream – World of Pain (Atco)
Cream – SWALBR (Atco)
Cream – Dance the Night Away (Atco)
Cream – Falstaff Beer Commercial

Cream – White Room (Atco)
Cream – Born Under a Bad Sign(Atco)
Cream – Crossroads (Atco)
Cream – Politician (Atco)
Cream – Sitting On Top of the World (Atco)
Jack Bruce – Rope Ladder To the Moon (Atco)
Jack Bruce – Boston Ball Game 1967 (Atco)
Jack Bruce – Theme For An Imaginary Western (Atco)

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 43 – 189MB/256kbps


Greetings all.

Welcome to this month’s episode of the Iron Leg Radio Show.

The music world lost Jack Bruce back on October 25th, and I thought it fitting that we should pay tribute to him here at Iron Leg.

I’ve put together this month’s edition of the Iron leg Radio Show with tracks from his days with Graham Bond, Manfred Mann, Cream and his first solo LP, encapsulating his 1960s recordings.

When you listen you will here – interpersed with the songs – clips of interviews with Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, and John Mayall.

I hope you dig the show.

See you next week.





PS Head over to Funky16Corners

Best of Iron Leg – The Spats – She Done Moved


The Spats ABC LP (above),
Lead singer Dick Johnson on Shindig (below)




Listen/Download – The Spats – She Done Moved


Note: I have some stuff going on this week, so enjoy this 2011 classic from the archives

Greetings all.

Anybody in the mood for some fuzz?

It’s been a since I dropped some of the good old garage punk stuff on you, and I assure you that today’s selection will remedy that, and then some.

A while back I finally gave in and picked up the Rhino boxed set ‘Where the Action Is: Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968’.

I had hesitated on picking it up only because I had taken a look at the song list and seen a whole lot of stuff I already had on vinyl.

I have gone into the subject countless times, but I will reiterate once again that I have a very special place in my heart for the mid-60s sound of the Sunset Strip. There’s something about the mix of jangle, fuzz, pop hooks and nascent psychedelia that hits the pleasure centers of my brain in just the right way so that I end up half-conscious with a big, dumb smile on my face.

Once again the folks at Rhino have done a superb job putting together a heaping helping of amazing music (much of it new to me) and presented it in a dynamite package with tons of info, and groovy pics.

I said that there was a lot of familiar stuff in the set, but the stuff that was unfamiliar was by and large absolutely amazing.

As is the case with any great compilation, I walked away from it with a pack of new records tacked onto my want list.
One such track was ‘She Done Moved’ by the Spats.

I’d never heard of the band before, but their record was a bit of pure garage brilliance.

If you could take the zeitgeist of early 1966 LA and put in in a meat grinder, the delicious sausage that would be extruded couldn’t possibly taste any better than ‘She Done Moved’.

The song itself is pretty simple (it is in fact an adaptation of Lonnie Johnson’s 1928 ‘Kansas City Blues’), but the arrangement is a crunchy, fuzzed out, attitude soaked piece of punky perfection.

I had never heard of the Spats before and was surprised to discover that for a brief time in the mid-60s they were all over the place.

Based in southern California, the Spats were formed around the core of the three Johnson brothers, Dick (the lead singer), Charles and Ronnie. They got their start as apack of teenage house rockers, recording loose and inspired, R&B based frat rock like ‘Gator Tails and Monkey Ribs’.

They appeared on American Bandstand (you have to see their performance of ‘Gator Tails…’ which includes some of the most spasmodic ‘choreography’ I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness), Shindig and the Jerry Van Dyke sitcom ‘My Mother the Car’ and apparently had a semi-regular gig at Disneyland.

If you take a look at the group performing on Bandstand, it’s hard to believe that they would ever be capable of a record like ‘She Done Moved’.

They were a tightly wound mass of Brylcreem and matching suits (wearing spats, natch) with some of them looking like they’d just escaped a junior high student council meeting.

By the time they recorded ‘She Done Moved’ in 1966, they had been joined by Doug Rhodes (later of the Music Machine and the Millennium). I found an interview on-line where Rhodes says that he was actually playing a Hammond organ on ‘She Done Moved’. He apparently wasn’t in the band very long before moving on to bigger and better things.

The flip side of ‘She Done Moved’ is a positively awful, good timey, tack piano tune called ‘Scoobee Doo’, which may provide one of the widest quality gaps between two sides of a 45 that I’ve ever encountered.

I hope you dig the tune ( I know you will) and I’ll see you next week.





PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

The Kaleidoscope – Elevator Man


The Kaleidoscope (US)


Listen/Download – The Kaleidoscope – Elevator Man

Greetings all.

The world of digging (into/for) music is – assuming that you’re always on the hunt, over the long term – full of surprises.

Back in the olden days of the 80s, when the mod/garage revival was in full swing, and pushed along quite nicely by a wide variety of reissue labels, we were exposed to new (to us) and interesting sounds on a regular basis.

One of the biggest influences in that direction was Edsel Records in the UK.

It was via Edsel, that I – and many of my ilk – first heard the sounds of the (US) Kaleidoscope.

I already knew of the group’s founding guitarist David Lindley, through his work with Jackson Browne, and his own band El Rayo X.

When I first read about (in some zine or other) the Kaleidoscope (I don’t recall is I was aware of the UK band of the same vintage yet) I was surprised that Lindley’s roots went back that far.

Picking up the Edsel comp of their Epic recordings, ‘Bacon From Mars’ was a revelation.

The Kaleidoscope mixed mid-60s California folk rock and psychedelia with all manner of world music influences, making for some of the coolest and most interesting music of the period.

The track that drilled its way the furthest into my head however, was one of their more conventional numbers, ‘Elevator Man’.

‘Elevator Man’ is as close as the Kaleidoscope came to channeling the garage sound of the time, with rolling electric guitar, combo organ, and a snarling vocal.

The thing is, I don’t think I ever had any idea where the song originally appeared.

I eventually found myself an original copy of their first LP ‘Side Trips’ (which featured the other side of this 45, ‘Please’), ‘Elevator Man’ and I never crossed paths.

Until recently, that is, when it turned up on a sales list, where I grabbed it forthwith.

It was released as a 45-only/promo-only track in 1967 (the same year as ‘Side Trips’), and despite ‘Please’ making a minor dent in Southern California and elsewhere in the southwest, went approximately nowhere.

Which is a shame, since it’s such a groovy track, but as I’ve said many times before, 1966/1967 was a period packed so densely with genius that a lot of otherwise memorable stuff went by the wayside.

So dig the goodness, and if you’re not hip to the Kaleidoscope, grab some of their stuff.

See you next week.







PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.


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