The Travel Agency – She Understands (Viva)
Turtles – She’s My Girl (White Whale)
Kak – Everything Changes (Epic)
Cherry Slush – I Cannot Stop You (USA)
Mr Lucky & the Gamblers – Alice Designs (Panorama)
Clear Light – Black Roses (Elektra)
Fever Tree – Come On In (Ampex)
Griffin – I’m Taking the Freeway (ABC)
Steampacket 2 – Take Her Anytime (Polydor)
Human Beinz – The Shaman (Capitol)
Despite the current ball of confusion that has beset the Funky16Corners/Iron Leg household I’ve managed to digi-ma-tize a bunch of raw material for several podcasts, and – as you’ll hear today – even found the time to get one put together.
Iron Leg Digital Trip Number Three: The Hippie Revolt is the first half of a two-part psychedelic podcast.
This first half concerns itself with the slightly heavier side of things with a mixture of hippie rock, garage psyche and even a touch of folk or pop here and there.
When I started rummaging through the crates I was originally going to assemble another set of garage punk, but when I picked out the Cherry Slush 45 I decided that things were going to take a somewhat more lysergic turn. I continued picking out 45s – and a couple of interesting album tracks – and I ended up with two separate piles; one you’ll be checking out today, and a stack of lighter, trippier things for the future.
As always I tracked down some cool samples to link it all together into a thematic whole, so give the mix a listen.
Things get started with a some prime, late 60’s Frisco ish, this time by the Travel Agency. The group released 45s for a few different labels before settling in for a full length LP for the Leon Russell/Snuff Garrett associated Viva imprint. Led by guitarist/singer Frank Davis – who had played with Bob Segarini of the Family Tree – the Travel Agency played a pretty standard (for 1969) mix of jammy rock and psychedelia, with garagey touches here and there. ‘She Understands’ (this is LP mix) definitely bears the San Francisco sound with cool guitars and some tape manipulation at the end.
If you dig the sounds featured at Iron Leg, I’ll go ahead and assume that you know who the Turtles were. A brief scan of their catalog reveals it to be a perfect snapshot of the evolving sounds of 60’s West Coast rock. They moved from folk rock, through goodtime pop right on into psychedelia effortlessly. Back in the day when I spent a lot of time hanging with Dr. Ellis D Trails, one of my big go-to moments of bliss was a bootleg video of the Turtles promo film for ‘She’s My Girl’. That song starts out gently and quickly morphs into a bit of pure, tripped out LA sunshine, bursting with blissful harmony vocals. In fact, give the tune a close listen and realize how small a part the non-vocal instrumentation plays in the record. It’s not quite a cappela, but it comes pretty close.
Kak is one of those SanFran hippie-era outfits that is pretty much only known to collector types, and this (as always) a crying shame. Tunes like ‘Lemonade Kid’ and ‘Rain’ are outstanding examples of the best of the late-60’s West Coast underground. Their one album for Epic is pretty rare (I remember paying big bucks for a bootleg back in the 80’s). Connected to both the Oxford Circle and Blue Cheer, Kak ought to have been a much bigger deal. ‘Everything’s Changing’ has a bit of a Moby Grape vibe to it and is one of the faster and rock-ier tunes on their album (this is a 45 edit).
The Cherry Slush was a garage band from Saginaw Michigan. Their wild, trippy ‘I Cannot Stop You’ was initially released on the local Cocoanut Grove label before being picked up by Chicago’s USA records (also home to the Buckinghams among others). The tune is a great example of how the fuzzed out garage sound of 1966 started to take on a slightly druggier vibe over the next few years. ‘I Cannot Stop You’ was written by fellow Michigander Dick Wagner (later of the Frost) who was a kind of a mentor to the band.
Mr. Lucky and the Gamblers hailed from Newport, Oregon. They released a number of 45s between 1965 and 1967. ‘Alice Designs’ on the Seattle’s Panorama label was their final single. Written by Tandyn Almer (who also penned ‘Along Comes Mary’ and ‘Shadows and Reflections’), the tune – with a VERY thinly veiled, punning title is a cool bit of garage psyche. The group, which shared stages with many of the bigger Northwest bands had members go on to work with Don & the Goodtimes.
Los Angelenos Clear Light were something of a second rung supergroup, featuring drummer Dallas Taylor (later of CSNY), future actor Cliff Deyoung, and a few members, like Danny Kortchmar, Ralph Shuckett and Doug Lubahn who went on as big name studio musicians. ‘Black Roses’ hails from their excellent, self-titled 1967 LP. The group also appeared in one of my fave 60’s flicks, ‘The President’s Analyst’.
The Fever Tree is probably best remembered for their minor hit ‘San Francisco Girls’. Originating in Houston, Texas, the group went on to record four albums (and many singles). Their groovy cover of the Music Machine’s ‘Come On In’ is from their 1970 Ampex album ‘For Sale’ which also features some a great version of Love’s ‘She Comes In Colors’ which I’ll be sure to feature in the future.
I know nothing about Griffin, other than I remember picking up their album years ago in a dollar bin because it looked cool. Believe it or not it sounds pretty cool too, with ‘I’m Taking the Freeway’ being my favorite. I love the swirly organ on this one.
The only non-US group in this mix (and the only track not from original vinyl) comes to us courtesy of Sweden’s Steampacket 2 (also known as the Longboatmen). ‘Take Her Anytime’ (which I lifted from an 80’s era vinyl comp of Swedish obscurities) is became one of my favorite records right after I heard it for the first time more than 20 years ago. Sounding like a long lost Joe Meek creation, ‘Take Her Anytime’ is a deep, dark sea of reverb and fuzz and really ought to be better known.
The track that closes out this mix is by Ohio’s Human Beinz, best known for their epic soul/garage take on the Isley Brothers ‘Nobody But Me’. Coming from the album that spawned that hit is a slightly harder edged bit of psyche out, ‘The Shaman’. Like many of their contemporaries the Human Beinz flirted with a variety of rock styles. Unlike many of their contemporaries they actually played a few of those styles pretty well. ‘The Shaman’ is a great bit of West Coast influenced psyche-out, with great, fuzzy lead guitar and some cool vocals in the chorus.
So, that’s it for this mix. Hold tight and I’ll be back with Part two in a few weeks with some cool individual tracks in between.
I hope you dig it.