Q65 – It Came To Me

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Radio Nederland Presents, Date With the Dutch!

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Listen – It Came To Me – MP3

Greetings all.
First, a warning.
The record I bring to you today is just over two and one half minutes of unbridled savagery, and I can’t make any promises that after you finish playing it, your computer, MP3 player, nay your ears will ever again function in quite the same way.
Before I go any further (of course), a little background.
Back in the heady days of the mid-80’s, when youths the world over grew their hair out, strapped on Cuban-heeled boots and plugged in fuzzboxes, the punk of the 1960’s returned for a few heavy years.
I was lucky enough to be involved in the New York/NJ end of the scene, in which some very devoted followers of the garage/mod vibe gathered to play, write about and listen to these sounds in places like The Dive, The Peppermint Lounge and later McCarthy’s/TheStrip, Venus Records (Ron Rimsite, where you at man?) and lesser corners of the Mod revivalist universe.
Though my focus going into this whole bag was US 60’s garage punk, I quickly found my way to UK psyche and Mod R&B. One dark corner of the latter was occupied by what was known (back in the 60’s, as well as the then present) Nederbeat, that being the raw R&B that emanated from behind the dikes, in the land of tulips, wooden shoes and of course hash bars.
I speak of Holland (natch).
Though I won’t yank yer chain and claim to have been an expert on Nederbeat (I’m not sure I knew anyone who was), I was at the very least an enthusiastic tourist, and thanks to a couple of very hot comps my mid-80’s mix tapes were peppered liberally with groups like the Outsiders (the Dutch, Wally Tax Outsiders, not the ‘Time Won’t Let Me’ band), Cuby & the Blizzards, Beat Buddies (‘Pins In My Heart’ is GENIUS I tell you!), Rob Hoeke R&B Group, The Jay Jays (‘Shake It Some More’) and the band who made the record you’re hearing today, the mighty Q65.
I actually first heard today’s selection ‘It Came To Me’ via a cover version by Californian revivalists the Telltale Hearts, who included in their ranks the legendary Mike Stax (he of Ugly Things fame). I loved the Telltale Hearts version, so naturally I sought out the Q65 orginal, and when I found it, let me tell you brothers and sisters, my wig was FLIPPED! This was – as the kids say – the shit.
The cover version was certainly hot, but the original…whoa…the original is one of the heaviest records I have ever heard, 110% manic, fuzzed out mayhem that sounds like it might just blow your stereo to smithereens.
A few years later on – probably 1987/88, in one of my first big-money record deals (which at the time was probably around $20…my how times have changed), I worked out a deal with a cat in Holland and a few short (but painful) weeks later, the record you see above dropped through the mailslot into my sweaty meathooks.
Since that day it has been one of my prized 45-type possessions. It’s one of those records that when I pull it out of the box and take yet another loving look at the picture sleeve, I can’t wait to slip it on the turntable and set the howling demons of the Hague loose upon the world one more time.
So…what you need to do, is download the track, slip it on the pod-like device of your choosing, lock yourself in the closet, slip on the headphones and turn the volume up to the maximum. Make sure you’re surrounded by coats, because you will begin banging your head and convulsing with delight almost immediately, resting only to take in the harmonica solo before the fuzz guitar comes back in to tear up the joint.
If you survive, I’ll see you next week.
Heh, heh, heh….
Peace
Larry

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The Byzantine Empire – Shadows and Reflections

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Listen – Shadows and Reflections – MP3

Greetings all.
The weekend is irretrievably behind us, the work week has commenced and so I have returned, with some more 60’s pop goodness, this time of the ever more obscure variety.
Back in my garage/mod days in the mid-80’s, amongst my ilk the Edsel records Action comp was among the must haves of the day.
The Action was among the finest of the UK Mod bands of the mid-60’s. Produced by none other than George Martin, they would record some great originals, but were best remembered then (and now) for their cover material, including ‘I’ll Keep On Holding On’ (Marvelettes) and ‘Harlem Shuffle’ (Bob & Earl).
At the time I had no idea that my favorite Action record ‘Shadows and Reflections’ was also a cover.
Some years later I was out at some record show or another, flipping through probably my fiftieth crate of 45s when I happened upon a  label that caught my eye. The disc (that you see above) was by a group I’d never heard of (the Byzantine Empire) playing a song with a very familiar title (‘Shadows and Reflections’). As this was during the period we know as PP (pre-portable) I had no idea if this was in fact the same song the Action did, but since the disc was less than 5USD, I grabbed it and took a chance.
Oddly enough, my initial thought was that it was probably a different song. Though I couldn’t recall who had written ‘Shadows and Reflections’, the name Tandyn Almer* was familiar via ‘Along Comes Mary’ by the Association, and as I thought the tune was an Action original (mistakenly, of course) I figured a West Coast name like Almer’s ruled out a connection.
Well, I got home, slapped the 45 on the turntable and it was immediately obvious that this was in fact the same tune that the Action recorded, and the doorway opened to yet another mistaken assumption, that being that the record I was holding was the “original” ‘Shadows and Reflections” (wrong again).
Apparently the original recording of the song (which I’ve never heard) was by a singer named Eddie Hodges on the Sunburst label. Then – if the dates I’ve seen are correct – the Action, then (and I’m not sure who came first) either the Lownly Crowde on MGM or the Byzantine Empire on Amy/Dunwich.
The Dunwich logo on the Byzantine Empire 45 should have been a tip-off, Dunwich having been Chicago-based.
Both Tandyn Almer and Larry Marks (the other composer of ‘Shadows and Reflections’) were LA-based, Marks having worked with Emmit Rhodes and the Merry Go Round among others.
The Byzantine Empire – who recorded three 45s for Amy/Mala – split their time between Chicago and Ann Arbor, Michigan (where they were students at U of M).
I have no idea if the Byzantine Empire (or any of the other artists that recorded the song) had any awareness of the other recordings, all (including the Action) suitably obscure.
The Byzantine Empire version is a little more ‘sunshine pop’ than the Action, and of course lacks the outstanding vocals of Reg King.
That said, hearing any other recording of such an obscure song is a treat.
See you later in the week.
Peace
Larry

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*Almer went on to write for Sagittarius, as well as several obscure psyche pop 45s, including ‘Alice Designs’ by Mr. Lucky & the Gamblers on Panorama (which coincidentally got a namecheck in this space last week, which means I really ought to dig out and digi-ma-tize that 45)

13th Floor Elevators – Livin’ On

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The 13th Floor Elevators

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Listen – Livin’ On – MP3

Greetings all.
I haven’t heard from anyone about the London Knights track yet, so if you haven’t; give it a listen because it’s a really great bit of folk rock.
Today’s selection is a later, rarely heard cut by one of my favorite bands of all time, that being the 13th Floor Elevators.
If you are unfamiliar with Roky Erickson’s merry band of acid soaked Texan’s, then you should open up another browser, head on over to Amazon (or wherever) and grab all three of their studio albums, as they contain some of the finest and most original psychedelic music created in America in the 1960’s.
If you know the Elevators, and don’t have their third album ‘Bull of the Woods’ because you heard it isn’t worth picking up, I’m here to inform you that you have been misled terribly and you need to get yourself a copy post haste.
For a general history and critical overview I will refer you to a piece I wrote about the band back in the embryonic days of the Funky16Corners blog (before its focus was turned on funk and soul).
Some folks will steer you away from Bull of the Woods because it represents the twilight of the band, both actual and (some say) artistic. This is generally attributed to the fact that it reflects the fading of the bands brightest star, the legendary Roky Erickson.
Like many of their Texan rock brethren, the Elevators had experienced their share of drug-related legal hassles, and Roky’s own personal travails included what appeared to be the beginning of a psychological fragmentation.
I often like Bull of the Woods to Pink Floyd’s ‘Saucerful of Secrets’, in that it includes only a relatively small contribution from their guiding genius (in their case Syd Barrett), yet stylistically is a fairly pure continuation of their finest early work. For Pink Floyd that would be their early 45s and ‘Piper at the Gates of Dawn’, for the Elevators their first two LPs’ ‘Psychedelic Sounds’ and the monumental ‘Easter Everywhere’.
Erickson only appears on four tracks of ‘Bull of the Woods’ (though one of those is one of the deepest tracks the band ever recorded ‘May the Circle Remain Unbroken’), but as I said before, his fingerprints are all over the album.
In saying this I don’t wish to downplay (further) the contributions of Tommy Hall (jug) and Stacy Sutherland (guitar, vocals) , both of whom wrote (and performed on) many of the Elevators best songs.
However, it is nigh but impossible to discuss the band’s music without using Erickson as a touchstone of sorts.
The track we feature today, ‘Livin’ On’ is one of the ‘Bull of the Woods’ tracks that feature’s Erickson, and is a great example of the Elevators ability to rock, and transmit lysergic emanation simultaneously, something that many of their contemporaries were unable (or loathe) to do.
No matter how you slice it, it’s a solid record, and ought to be enough to get the curious among you pointed toward that last album.
Until we meet again…
Peace
Larry

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Buy – 13th Floor Elevators – Bull of the Woods – at Amazon.com

The London Knights – Go To Him

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Listen – Go To Him – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope all is well, and that everyone had an excellent weekend.
If you dig the sounds of soul and funk (and you ought to, you know) my set from this past Friday’s Asbury Park 45 Sessions is up over at Funky16Corners. You’ll also find a link over there to the page at Jam Now where you can listen to all the individual DJ sets from that night, and I assure you that they are all worth checking out.
Today’s selection is a song that I’ve dug, and been digging for information on for a long, long time.
I first encountered ‘Go To Him’ by the London Knights many years ago on one of the Cicadelic 60’s compilations, where it appeared alongside some stellar folk rock by the Cascades, the Mods (not the Asbury Park Mods) and the Uncalled Four. The tune, filled with ringing guitars, atmospheric harmonies and a fantastic melody quickly became a fave.
Naturally I started to look for the original 45, which proved to be a much more daunting task than I had anticipated.
If memory serves, the LP (or the CD reissue, I can’t remember which) seemed to indicate that all of the tracks therein had been previously unreleased. At some point, while trawling the back alleys of the interweb in search of vinyl, I happened upon a listing for a 45 by the London Knights, and as the asking price was but a pittance, I grabbed it. Happily it turned out to be the very song I had been looking for.
It wasn’t until a little while later that the story took an interesting turn.
Back on the interweb, seeking information on the London Knights, I discovered a web site (which now apparently has gone dark) on which the story of a Leicester, UK band named the Foursights, and how their record ‘Go To Him’ ended up released on a New York label, under another name, without their knowledge, was related.
I don’t remember all of the details, but the gist of it is that the sister of one of the members (who was credited with having co-written the song) ended up in the US (apparently working press for none other than the Beatles), and the next thing you know, the demo that the Foursights had recorded (but not released) for EMI in the UK was issued on the New York label Mike Records under the name ‘The London Knights’. I’ve seen a reference that suggests that the version of ‘Go To Him’ on Mike is a version of the tune re-recorded in the US with one ex-member of the Foursights, but if memory serves, that old website stated that the master released on Mike, is in fact the same one recorded by them in the UK for EMI (there was a sound file of the original Foursights master, which was clearly the same as the US release).
Confused yet??
Oddly enough, the song also ended up being covered in Australia by Ray Brown and the Whispers, and in Oregon (on the great Pacific Northwest label Panorama*) by a group called Tymes Children.
The chronology – as to who covered the song first and how they got their hands on the song in the first place – is, as far as I can tell, unknown.
Either way, I think that once you give it a listen, you’ll agree that it’s a great record.
I hope you dig it.
Peace
Larry

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*Panorama was also home to the legendary organist Dave Lewis, and Mr. Lucky and the Gamblers among others

Bit-A-Sweet – Out of Sight, Out of Mind

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The Bit-a-Sweet

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Listen – Out of Sight, Out of Mind – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope everyone dug the inaugural Iron Leg podcast.
I can assure you that while they may not appear with the frequency of the Funky16Corners Radio podcasts, I will be doing more of these, so hang tight.
I did mention a while back that I was looking for the time to get some vinyl digitized and labels scanned for Iron Leg, and with the help of my sainted Mother-in-law (who got the kids to bed early) I stole just enough to time to do just that.
I decided to get things started with one of my all-time fave garage punk 45s, ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’ by the Bit-a-Sweet.
I first heard this tune many years ago as performed by Limey & the Yanks on one of the Highs In the Mid 60’s comps. Not long after that – probably at a record show – I scored a copy of the (far superior) version by the Bit-A-Sweet.
I can’t tell you much about the band, aside from that they were from New York, they went on to record a full length, somewhat more psychedelic LP (which I have and will post something from someday), and even appeared in a log lost exploito flick called ‘Blonde On a Bum Trip’ in 1968.
‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’ was recorded in 1967 and is just over two and a half minutes of fuzzed out perfection.
There are those – 60’s punk purists one and all – who would try to convince you that this record is far too poppy and produced to be actual “punk”, but I’m here to tell you that such talk is blasphemy.
‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’ has combo organ, spy movie fuzz guitar and snotty vocals and lots of attitude. This is the kind of record that carries with it the very spirit of the mid-60’s, right before everyone stopped shaving and started getting serious.
I hope you dig it.
Peace
Larry

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Iron Leg Digital Trip #1 – Soul Garage

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Iron Leg Podcast #1 – Soul Garage

Playlist

Soul Survivors – Shakin With Linda (Pebbles reissue)
Insights – You Got It Made (RCA)
British Walkers – Shake (Cameo)
Hole In the Wall – Bring It On Home (Epic)
Ill Winds – I Idolize You (Reprise)
St Louis Union – Respect (Decca)
Standells – 99 and a half (Tower)
Apparitions – Midnight Hour (Caped Crusader reissue)
Rationals – Respect (Cameo)
Mauds – Soul Drippin’ (Mercury)
Human Beinz – Nobody But Me (Capitol)
Namelosers – Land of 1000 Dances (Searching for Shakes reissue)

Listen/ Download 31MB Mixed MP3

Download 31MB Zip File

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NOTE: This is the garagey part of the first joint podcast with my other blog Funky16Corners. While the subject over here is garage soul, there’s a mix up over at Funky16Corners in which we get to check out white artists making funky sounds. Since both of these mixes are kind of working the same thematic side of the street, I figured that it might be cool to get them posted simultaneously for a little bit of a compare and contrast exercise, not to mention a grip of excellent music.

Greetings all.
This inaugural Iron Leg podcast is also the first joint podcast with my other blog, Funky16Corners.
I’d been thinking about assembling a mix of funk recordings by white bands for a long time, and while I was pulling records for that podcast I pulled out a bunch of 45s by garage and beat groups performing soul tunes (mostly covers), which became by its very nature more of an Iron Leg thing than a Funky16Corners thing (if you know what I mean, and I think you do).
The mix you are downloading today is actually a reworking/extension of an old mix tape I made some years ago for personal use.
The mix is by no means comprehensive, and is representative only of the contents of my actual collection.
The oversimplified explanation of the US garage explosion is that it was in large part a reaction to the British Invasion – a musical movement largely credited with introducing US audiences to the black acts that they ignored the first time around. This may have been true with in respect to the general (listening) public, but musicians needed no introduction to R&B and soul music. The musical history of this era is filled with stories of young white musicians laying awake at night, tuning in black radio stations and turning on to sounds that were – at least for their peer group – far outside the mainstream.
With the exceptions of ‘Respect’ and ‘Midnight Hour’, which were huge radio hits and could be considered “standards” in the repertoire of any self-respecting teen band, the majority of the songs covered in this mix come from a place further back in the hit parade.
The mix opens with the Soul Survivors covering the Isley Brothers’ ‘Shakin’ With Linda’. I had heard that this might not in fact be the Philly band that hit with ‘Expressway to Your Heart’, but I recently saw a discography that indicates that it was their first 45, recorded for Decca. I grabbed it off of an old Pebbles volume, so I can’t say for sure what the truth is. However, one thing I can say with some certainty is that although this is an Isley Brothers song, the group being “covered” here would seem to be Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, so similar are the versions.
I haven’t been able to track down any info on the Insights, other than the fact that the 45 with their cover of Sam and Dave’s ‘You Got It Made’ pulls a bit of coin on the rare soul market. I wish I could say that I knew that when I picked it up back in the day, but at the time (1985-ish) I was pretty much grabbing everything that looked like a garage band 45. The Insights manage to put a little extra kick into their version of the tune, copping a little bit of a Young Rascals groove. I really dig the organ and the horn section on this one.
The British Walkers were one of those great might-have-beens of the garage era. Working out of the Washington DC area, the band recorded a number of 45s for several labels (Try, Charger, Cameo), all of which are excellent and worth digging up. During the time they were together they included Roy Buchanan and John Hall in their ranks (at different times) and worked with Link Wray (on ‘Bad Lightning’, the one BW 45 I’ve never been able to score). ‘1967’s cover of Sam Cooke’s ‘Shake’ made a minor dent in the charts. While it may fall a notch behind the Small Faces version (to which it bears some similarities), it’s still a killer.
 The next tune is another Sam Cooke cover, this time by a local Monmouth County, NJ band, the Hole In the Wall. I had this record for years, and only recently discovered that it was recorded by a local band. Apparently the band – originally called Jay Walker & the Pedestrians – renamed themselves after a New York City restaurant and recorded their sole 45 in 1966, the a side being another cover, this time of the Rolling Stones ‘Blue Turns To Grey’.
The Ill Winds – heard here covering the Ike & Tina Turner classic ‘I Idolize You’ – were in fact the surf group the Chantays (‘Pipeline’) recording under another name. Whether or not they evolved into the Ill Winds, or were still performing as the Chantays I don’t know. I do know that the group recorded two 45s for Reprise in 1965 and 1966.
The St. Louis Union are the sole British group in this mix, hailing from Manchester. Their version of Otis Redding’s ‘Respect’ was the flip side of their 1966 cover of the Beatles’ ‘Girl’ which was a Top 20 hit in the UK. The other really interesting thing about the group is that later that year, they recorded a cover of Bob Seger & the Last Heard’s ‘East Side Story’ (which was also covered by a California band called the Caretakers). The SLU version – which is rare as hell and has eluded me lo these many years – is actually pretty good.
The Standells should need no introduction to most garage fans (or anyone with more than a passing interest in 60’s music). Their version of Wilson Pickett’s ’99 and ½’ (45-only I believe) is a killer, and holds up nicely against the cover by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
I can’t tell you much about the Apparitions, other than that their cover of ‘Midnight Hour’ was initially unreleased in the 60’s, and first saw the light of day on a mid-80’s reissue 45. I believe that they hailed from the Midwest (Kansas City?).
The second version of ‘Respect’ comes to us courtesy of the mighty Rationals. Mid-60’s giants of the Detroit scene, the Rationals went from crafting superb Beatle-esque cuts like ‘Feeling Lost’ to sharing Grande Ballroom stages with the likes of the MC5. Their version of ‘Respect’ is from one of their Cameo 45s.
The Mauds were a Chicago-based soul/R& band who recorded a number of 45s and an LP for Mercury in the mid-to-late 60’s. ‘Soul Drippin’ (the sole “original” in this mix) was a minor hit, and features a horn section made up of Walt Parazaider, James Pankow and Lee Loughnane, all of whom went on to play in Chicago.
I couldn’t very well put together a mix like this without including one of my all-time fave 60’s 45s, the Human Beinz cover of the Isley Brothers ‘Nobody But Me’. I would go as far as to say that this is one of the truly great soul covers of the era, and an absolutely killer record by any standard.
The final track in the mix is a wild, Freakbeat-ish cover of Chris Kenner’s ‘Land of 1000 Dances’ by Sweden’s Namelosers. The Namelosers recorded a couple of 45s in their day, including a fantastic tune called ‘But I’m So Blue’ which was comped a few times.
That all said, I hope you dig this first Iron Leg podcast, and that you take a moment to head over to Funky16Corners to checkout the flipside.
Peace
Larry

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The Monkees – Papa Gene’s Blues

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The Monkees

Listen – Papa Gene’s Blues – MP3

Greetings all.
I suppose I should start things out by apologizing for the long period between posts.
If you’ve been following things over at Funky16Corners you’ll already know that a dire combination of illness and borderline exhaustion kept me from the keyboard for a few days.
I’m a busy guy, and it has almost nothing to do with extracurricular activities. I did manage to squeeze in a DJ gig last week (which was a blast), but squeeze is the operative word, as I worked a full busy day, came home for chow with the fam and the strapped myself into the ride for the 90 minute trip into Brooklyn, after which I drove back to Jersey, slept a few hours and woke up sick.
I’m getting too old for this kind of stuff.
Which is not to say that I’m not having fun. I’m actually enjoying my job for the first time in a long time (which says a lot about the value of intellectual stimulation), love raising my two little boys with my lovely wife, and still dig taking a hot box of 45s just about anywhere to rock the house.
It’s just that when you get to be 45, no matter how good you think you feel, it all ends up as a kind of diminishing returns deal on the physical end of things.
When I was a kid, staying out all night was small potatoes. My body and mind would recharge rather quickly and I was up and back in the saddle before you knew it.
Nowadays, when the specter of a 20 hour day looms large I know that there will be an extended recuperative period required, and that the responsibilities of everyday life (Dad and husband stuff) will not step aside and wait patiently while I get my shit back together.
So…that’s where I’ve been.
I have been thinking about the blog, and while I was preparing for my gig last week I pulled a bunch of 45s for future appearances here at Iron Leg.
One of the things I had in the hopper already is – surprise, surprise – another delicious slice of 60’s pop, this time from that penultimate 60’s pop band, the Monkees.
Say what you like about how much prefabrication was involved in the genesis of the Monkees, but as any dyed in the wool rocksnob/crit type worth his/her salt will tell you, they made some tasty music in their day, and no matter how the disparate elements that made up “the band” were stapled, pasted or otherwise lashed together, the members were not without talent.
Of course the individual levels of talent varied wildly. You could line the various Monkees up like some kind of talent evolutionary chart, with Davy Jones on the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal end of things and Mike Nesmith at the other end, as the Homo Erectus with the enlarged brain pan.
It would seem that his talent was not unknown to his handlers, because as tightly managed an affair as the Monkees first LP was, Nesmith managed to get two of his tunes on the record, one of which is today’s selection,
Back in the day, when I was an actual kid, I first saw the Monkees on Saturday mornings around noon, right after the Lone Ranger cartoon (a lost work of genius) and just before Kukla Fran and Ollie and the Childrens Film Festival. This was the waning hours of Saturday morning kid TV, in which the powers that be were clearly aware that most kids had by this time unglued themselves from the sofa, put on their outside clothes and dragged themselves out into the sunshine and fresh air.
At that time, I had no idea that just a few years before, the Monkees had been a primetime sensation. As far as I knew, they were just another Saturday kids show, and I loved them. One of the reasons I did was the fact that in addition to their hijinks, the Monkees always took time during a show to sing a song or two.
Some of these songs were excellent, which had a lot to do with the fact that Don Kirshner had gathered some of the finest pop songwriters of the day to fill the bands records. That they happened to have an excellent songwriter in their ranks was but a happy coincidence (though not that happy for their puppet master Kirshner, especially when faced with a Nesmith-led mutiny at the height of their success).
One of the finest tunes that Mike Nesmith would write and perform with the Monkees was today’s selection, ‘Papa Gene’s Blues’. Nesmith always had a taste for Nashville flavor, and ‘Papa Gene’s Blues’ is the perfect mix of Countrypolitan and Sunset Strip pop. That James Burton was among the many guitarists on the track didn’t hurt things in that regard (he did much the same for Rick Nelson a few years before), and the chorus is pure bliss.
When I pull out that first Monkees album, aside from ‘Last Train To Clarksville’, ‘Papa Gene’s Blues’ is the only other song I need to hear, and that has a lot to do with the fact that no matter how you feel about the Monkees, that tune is a classic.
Dig it.
Peace
Larry

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