Iron Leg Digital Trip #7 – Technicolour Dreams

Example

Los Bravos

Listen/Download 36MB Mixed MP3 – MP3

Download 29MB ZIP File-

Playlist

Marmalade – I See The Rain (Epic)
Equals – Skies Above (RCA)
Bee Gees – Earnest of Being George (ATCO)
Pink Floyd – Candy and a Currant Bun (Harvest)
Donovan – Museum (Epic)
Fox – Glad I Could (Crewe)
Jethro Toe (Tull) – Aeroplane (MGM)
Virgin Sleep – Love (Deram)
Syn – Grounded (Deram)
Outer Limits – Help Me Please (Deram)
Timebox – Gone is the Sad Man (Deram)

Greetings all.
Here’s hoping all is well on your end.
Hereabouts, I – like the lead character in Richard Matheson’s ‘I am Legend’ – stand alone, the only remotely healthy individual in a house full of sickos. First the kids – sick twice in the last two weeks, the second part of which will be recreated in a new 3d Imax feature entitled ‘Vomit Storm!’ – and as of last night my wife has joined the line up. How I’ve managed to dodge the virus(es), rogue bacteria or whatever it is that’s causing all these troubles, I know not, and fear that I may be next. If my input to the blog-o-sphere should halt suddenly, you’ll have a pretty good idea why.
This edition of the Iron Leg Digital Trip (the seventh) is the first of two podcasts devoted to UK psyche (the second to follow in a few weeks). Though there are a couple of non-OG cuts herein (pulled from 20+ year old comps), almost everything here comes from original 45s.
Back in the day, when I was heavily into garage punk and psychedelia I was fortunate enough to score a grip of very tasty sides at what today could only be considered to be a steal. Thanks to the proximity of a couple of well stocked dealers (this being pre-interwebs) and my fair share of luck I managed to score some stuff in the five and ten dollar range that these days would likely send me hundreds of dollars into the hole.
I actually digi-ma-tized most of this stuff a few years ago, and would likely have put these mixes together a long time ago had the CD not been swallowed by my record room (or some other mysterious location). I finally got my psyche crates out a few months ago and put together a few different stacks of vinyl to make into mixes. Last week I grabbed the UK psyche stacks and set to changing the grooves into a series of ones and zeros so that I might mix-o-fy them for presentation here at Iron Leg.
The mix gets started with an old favorite by a group that went on to have a couple of big pop hits. Marmalade is best remembered these days for their hit ‘Reflections of My Life’ and their cover of ‘Oobla Di Oobla Da’, but in the years leading up to their assault on the Top 40, they recorded a couple of popsike gems, the finest of which (at least in my opinion) is ‘I See The Rain’. Reportedly a favorite of none other than Jimi Hendrix, ‘I See the Rain’ combines pop flavor with heavy guitars to great effect.
The story of the Equals has been addressed here (and over at Funky16Corners) a few times before, but I’ve never really touched on their more lysergic side before (until now). Pulled from their first US LP, ‘The Skies Above’ is a vaguely sinister rocker with a wild vocal by Derv Gordon. My other fave psyche cut by the band will be included in part 2.
Now, the Bee Gees, there’s a dreadfully misunderstood band. Assumed by many to be no deeper than their 1970’s disco mega-hits, those that know – and there are some of us out there – will hep you to the fact that the Brothers Gibb spent the better part of the mid-to-late 60’s making some of the finest psyche pop anywhere, managing to be in all ways Beatle-esque, without ever sounding too much like the Beatles. The first three LPs they recorded for Atco are all gems, and ‘The Earnest of Being George’ is my fave track from the second of these, 1968s ‘Horizontal’. The tune shows a heavier side of the Bee Gees that pretty much disappeared after the 60’s.
I wish I could say that I had a full complement of original Syd-era Pink Floyd 45s, but this is simply not so. However, I do own a very nice mid-70’s comp of these sides, from which I culled my favorite early Floyd tune the dark (yet lyrical) ‘Candy and a Currant Bun’. I’ve always loved how Pink Floyd managed to include all of the late 60’s whimsical UK psyche touchstones without ever sounding fey (a fate that befell many of their contemporaries). The first few years of their history, before Syd Barrett’s creative light was snuffed out by acid drenched psychosis, produced some landmark music that ought to be much better known.
Speaking of underrated artists, there is none moreso than Donovan. Though he is certainly well known to the listening public for his many hits, he deserves a lot more credit than he gets for being consistently innovative, melding Eastern sounds, jazz, folk, blues and psychedelia way ahead of the curve. I first tracked down his 1967 LP ‘Mellow Yellow’ not for any of the trippier cuts, but rather for the dark, acoustic ‘Sand and Foam’ which remains my favorite Donovan tune. However, when it comes to his livelier fusions, there are few better than ‘Museum’ ( a song I found myself singing to my son as we walked under the whale at the Museum of Natural History).
The Fox (their ‘Butterfly’ was included in Iron Leg Digital Trip #4) recorded one album for the Crewe label in 1970. The sounds on the record are fairly representative mish-mash of the time period, but the best cuts can stand alongside any of their contemporaries. Among these is the track I’ve included in this mix ‘Glad I Could’ which manages to sound a few years earlier than 1970.
I can assure you that I don’t have an original copy of the very first Jethro Tull 45 (credited to “Jethro Toe”), as copies of this record change hands in the $1000 range. I found it on mid-70’s German comp that I originally purchased because it included both sides of the first Fairport Convention 45. ‘Aeroplane’ sees Tull leaning in a pop direction that, while not completely unfamiliar (see ‘Living In the Past’), was asomewhat lighter than the Cream-ish heavy blues psyche-outs of their first few (excellent) LPs. The flipside, ‘Sunshine Day’ is also very cool.
Virgin Sleep recorded only two 45s during their short tenure (both for Deram). The first of these, ‘Love’ b/w ‘Halliford House’ is one of the great popsike two-siders of the 60’s (the flip is included in the second mix). Both sides are typical of the kind of moody, Eastern-influenced sounds that British groups were specializing in in 67 and 68. So “Eastern” is ‘Love’ that the Lotus Sutra can be heard being chanted in the background.
Another Deram band that only lasted for two 45s – but had a lasting influence all the same – were the mighty Syn. I remember picking up this 45 (which was looking well hashed) for a pittance and being thrilled when I got it home and found that it didn’t skip. ‘Grounded’ is one of the greatest popsike tunes ever recorded (covered 20 years later by New Jersey’s own Mod Fun), and the flip, a version of ‘Created By Clive’ (also recorded by the Attack) is also excellent. Someday, when the record gods are smiling down on me I may find a copy of their other 45, the brilliant ’14 Hour Technicolour Dream’. By the way, the ‘lasting influence’ I mentioned above comes by two of the Syn – Peter Banks and Chris Squire – going on to be founding members of Yes.
Another group that spawned a future hitmaker was the Outer Limits. The recorded two 45s for Deram, the first being ‘Just One More Chance’ (which will be featured in part 2) b/w ‘Help Me Please’. The group’s leader and songwriter, Jeff Christie  -as leader of the band Christie – went on a few years later to have a major hit (#1 in the UK, Top 20 in the US) with the tune ‘Yellow River’. The heavy sound of ‘Help Me Please’ provides a stark contrast to ‘Just One More Chance’ which was a minor hit in the UK, as well as being covered by a couple of groups, including the Hondells in the US.
This edition of the Iron Leg Digital Trip closes out with the flipside of a 45 I featured in the last Digital Trip, namely ‘Girl Don’t Make Me Wait’ by Timebox. The song in this mix is the much psych-ier ‘Gone Is The Sad Man’. A truly brilliant bit of popsike, with a great melody, catchy chorus and some trippy phasing.
I hope you dig the mix, and keep your ears peeled for more of the same in the not too distant future.
Peace
Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some groovy Schoolhouse Rock!

Gene & Debbe – Playboy

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Gene & Debbe

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Listen – Playboy – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope everyone’s been digging the Colin Blunstone track from the beginning of the week.
I’m working on a new Iron Leg Digital Trip Podcast for Monday, as well as an Iron Leg-ish guest mix (on a Now Sound tip) for my man Vincent over at Fufu Stew.
Today’s selection is one of those tracks from what I like to refer to as the Second 20, i.e. the tunes that were Top 40 radio hits in their time, but never really broke through the Top 20 in a significant way. As a result, and thanks in large part to the hegemony of homogenized “oldies” radio, they are all but forgotten by all those who didn’t have their ears glued to the radio when they were first released.
Back in the day, probably 15 or so years ago one of the local FM stations suddenly spent an entire weekend playing nothing but ’96 Tears’ by Question Mark & the Mysterians, punctuated only by the sounds of hammers and saws (really). As it turns out, they were undergoing yet another format change (having been country and Top 40 in the past).
Once Monday arrived, naturally curious I tuned to the station and discovered that they were now working a syndicated oldies format, which seemed (due to the kind of unusual things that were thrown into the mix with the same 40 or 50 songs you hear on every oldies station) to have originated somewhere in the South.
I spent a lot of time listening to the station, and appreciated hearing a lot of unusual cuts, as well as several tunes that were new to me.
One of these was today’s selection.
The first time I heard ‘Playboy’, I was sensing a little bit of a Nino Tempo/April Stevens mixed with Sonny & Cher vibe, but knew that it was neither of those duos. As is often the case, I followed up with some research and discovered that the performers were Gene & Debbe.
Huh?
Despite spending most of my waking hours since the age of 12 listening to and/or reading about music, I had NEVER heard of Gene & Debbe. When I started to dig – eventually picking up a copy of their LP ‘Hear and Now’ – I discovered that Gene & Debbe were another one of those examples of an artist who hovered around the charts for a few years, hit it big once and then promptly dropped out of sight.
Gene, was Gene Thomas, a singer/songwriter who recorded a number of unsuccessful 45s during the early 60’s only to retire from performing and concentrate on a career as a Nashville-based tunesmith. He formed a duo with Debbe Nevills (or Neville, depending on the source) in 1965, and they began recording for the TRX label in 1967.
They released a couple of 45s that grazed the charts, finally hitting the Top 40 with ‘Playboy’ in 1968.
‘Playboy’ is great example of the kind of pop records that were coming out of the country music capital in the 60’s, that had a perfect mix of pop and the Countrypolitan sound to get them on both charts, but not enough of either sound to limit their appeal to either audience (a la efforts by the like of the Everly Brothers and Rick Nelson from the same period).
Interestingly enough, ‘Playboy’ was a big enough hit to inspire rip-offs. During my most recent dig I picked up a 2-EP ‘Pickwick’ style set of pop and soul covers(no artists credited) that included – alongside covers of ‘Tighten Up’ and ‘Mony Mony’ – a version of ‘Playboy’.
That said, I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll see you next week with a new mix.
Peace
Larry

Colin Blunstone – Caroline Goodbye

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Colin Blunstone

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Listen – Caroline Goodbye – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope all is well by you.
It was a good thing I started out last week with a podcast, as I don’t think that circumstances (three days at home with sick kids) would have permitted additional posts.
All rogue bacteria now gone the way of buggy whips and Pong, we all managed to spend a fairly uneventful weekend of rest and relaxation, as well as errand running and such.
I did manage however to get some quality time in at the turntable/computer combo and managed to stockpile material for both blogs and plan out the next two Iron Leg Digital Trips (both UK-psych-ey), so the tunes will continue without interruption.
The song that I selected for presentation this fine day is a number by an artist whose name is familiar, where the tune itself may be un(familiar, that is).
Truth be told, the first time I heard this song, it wasn’t by Colin Blunstone, but on a 45 by one of my all-time favorite bands, the Sneetches (who if you haven’t heard, you’re missing out on one of the truly great pop bands of the last 20 years). The first listen set my ears a-tingle, and it took only a short trip to the label before I realized that the song was not a Sneetches original but rather a song written by Colin Blunstone.
My initial assumption – incorrect as it turns out – was that ‘Caroline Goodbye’ was a long lost Zombies number. It was but a short time later that I discovered that Mr. Blunstone had a fruitful, post-Zombies solo career.
Following the demise of the Zombies in 1968, Blunstone actually bugged out of the music biz for a turn in the (I swear I’m not kidding here) insurance industry, He was coaxed out of retirement to record a pseudonymous cover of the Zombies ‘She’s Not There’ (as Neil McArthur), and actually scored a hit. He carried on the McArthur deception for a few more singles before deciding to continue under his given name.
When he released his first proper solo album ‘One Year’ in 1971, it was almost a Zombies reunion of sorts, with production and songwriting contributions by fellow ex-Zombies Chris White and Rod Argent.
‘Caroline Goodbye’, apparently written about Blunstone’s breakup with Caroline Munro (uhhhh…hubba, hubba…) is a great showcase for his voice with a wonderful melody. Oddly enough, it was one of the first 45s released from the album and was a commercial failure. It wasn’t until another track, a cover of the Denny Laine tune ‘Say You Don’t Mind’ that Blunstone had his first solo hot under his own name. The rest of ‘One Year’ is quite good and if you dig this song you’d do well to grab the reissue.
Since then, Blunstone has continued to record, with his two most recent albums being Zombies reunions with Rod Argent.
I hope you dig the song, and I’ll see you later in the week.
Peace
Larry

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PS Fall by Funky16Corners for a brand new podcast

Iron Leg Digital Trip #6 – Freaky, Beaty, Big & Bouncy

Example

Los Bravos

Listen/Download 25MB Mixed MP3 – MP3

Download 25MB ZIP File-

Playlist

Fortunes – Fire Brigade (UA)
Easybeats – Made My Bed Now I’m Gonna Lie in It (UA)
Moody Blues – This Is My House (London)
Los Bravos – Going Nowhere (Press)
Timebox – Girl Don’t Make Me Wait (Deram)
Gary Walker – You Don’t Love Me (Date)
Dave Dee, Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich – Hideaway (Fontana)
Thors Hammer – Show Me You Like Me (Columbia)
Herd – Understand Me (Fontana)
Paul & Barry Ryan – Hey Mr Wiseman (Decca)
Cat Stevens – Baby Get Your Head Screwed On (Deram)

Greetings all.
Here’s hoping all is well on your end.
This has been a somewhat low key weekend with an odd mixture of low key sickness, high end exhausti-ma-fication, and a wide variety of I don’t much feel like doing anything of consequence (I usually keep a helping of the latter set aside for emergencies).
The bulk of Saturday was spent ripping up a carpet damaged by our aged, incontinent cat, who, in the process of her incontinence managed to destroy a handful of fairly valuable album jackets (my bad for keeping them on the floor).
Fortunately I was able to salvage all the vinyl, which is cool, but the thought of taking those covers, which managed to survive 30+ years and tossing them into the trash hurt a little. However, I can’t stay mad at the cat. She’s been with us as long as I’ve known my wife and has managed to survive the arrival of two small boys with a tremendous amount of feline patience. I have now cat-proofed my records, and a few album covers is a small price to pay for her continued presence.
This is also been an interesting week as the recent post about the Music Machine saw comments from two of the original members of the band, Sean Bonniwell and Mark Landon. If you go back a while there are similar visits from members of the Peanut Gallery and the Clique. I always dig when that happens.
Anyway, the mix I bring you today, he sixth installment of the Iron Leg Digital Trip is one that sat on my desk, in 45-stack form for a few months before I got the time to sit down and digi-ma-tize, and the subsequently mix-o-fy them (there are at least two other similar stacks awaiting the same treatment).
The theme this time out is Freakbeat. Now, before the bean counters, nit pickers and trainspotters amongst you get a gander at the set list and take issue with the classification therein, allow me a moment to, as the great Desi Arnaz would say, “splain”.
Freakbeat – as I see it – is another one of those record collector designations used as a catch-all to gather together a variety of records, generally released between 1965 and 1968 that combine the pop elements of the Beat era with bits and pieces (to varying degrees) of the onrush of psychedelia, whether it be fuzz guitar, lyrical elements, production techniques and/or general delivery of the material.
I’ll warn you now. Not every record in this mix hews as closely to the criteria above as closely as some of you might like, but since this is my blog and the ideas expressed herein spill out of my head – thusly attributable to me and me alone – we’re all going to have to live with them.
Not that this should be a difficult task, as one thing I can guarantee is that each and every record in this mix is a killer, and each and every one of them, if not collectively Freaky, Beaty Big and Bouncy, meets at least two or three of those criteria, and that ought to suffice for anyone.
That said, things get rolling with a really unusual cover. If you have any familiarity with oldies radio – or were lucky enough to experience these sounds the first time around – you have certainly heard of the Fortunes. ‘You’ve Got Your Troubles’ (1965) and ‘Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again’ (1971) were both big hits. Imagine my surprise when one day, lo these many years ago I should happen to find a 45 of these self same Fortunes covering one of my favorite tunes by the Move. The Fortunes don’t depart too drastically from the Move arrangement, though the familiar voice of Rod Allen is there in the lead.
Back in the day, the Easybeats were a big fave of my 60’s revival friends and I. In addition to their excellent discography (a VERY underrated band) they were heavily represented in the bootleg video floating around at the time. It seems that the band appeared on just about every TV show in the US, UK, Netherlands and (of course) Australia, and managed to perform a wide variety of material, not just ‘Friday on My Mind’. ‘Made My Bed Now I’m Gonna Lie in It’ was the the flip side of ‘Friday…” and is a supremely tough side. Dig the distorted guitar and the hard drums, taking this record dangerously deep into 60’s punk territory.
I’ve always been a big fan of the Moody Blues early (pre-Justin Hayward) period, and this is no better represented than with ‘This is My House’. Released in October of 1966 (just as Denny Laine was leaving the band, soon to be replaced by Hayward), the tune is a fantastic bit of mid-60’s pop, edging away from the groups bluesy roots with just a hint of what was to come. I love Laine’s vocal, as well as the piano on the track.
Another group with a big place in oldies radio is Spain’s Los Bravos. Their ‘Black Is Black’ was a major Top 10 hit in the summer of 1966. The follow up to that hit (also hitting the Top 40) was the burner ‘Going Nowhere’. This might be oldies-radio fatigue talking, but in my opinion ‘Going Nowhere’ is a much hotter track. It’s also a great example of the Freakbeat vibe, combining bright pop touches with powerful drive and burning fuzz guitar. If you get a chance look them up on YouTube where there’s a fantastic clip from their 1967 film ‘Los Chicos Con las Chicas’ performing this song.
Timebox recorded a number of excellent singles during the mid-to-late 60’s. They had a knack for choosing interesting material, including covers of tunes by Cal Tjader, Tim Hardin, the Four Seasons and the tune included in this mix, Bunny Sigler’s ‘Girl Don’t Make Me Wait’. The flipside of the fantastic psyche pop gem ‘Gone Is the Sad Man’ (which I will most certainly post here in the future), Timebox (which featured none other than future Rutle John Halsey on drums) sows the tempo down a touch and imbue the cut with a little bit of that 1968 Anglo flavour.
Yet another refugee from the Top 40, Gary Walker (late of the Walker Brothers) recorded a couple of cool solo 45s before forming the legendary (at least to psyche collectors) Gary Walker & the Rain. One of those 45s was a cover of that old chestnut ‘You Don’t Love Me’, which might serve as a reminder that Mr. Walker was not in fact English (as many of his fans assumed) but American through and through. In fact the vibe here is more US garage than anything else.
Posessors of one of the most convoluted names in all of rock, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich (pheww…) made a grip of excellent 45s in their time (as well as a couple of cool albums as well). ‘Hideaway’ is not only an excellent song – with a tremendous fuzzed out guitar breakdown – but the group also had the honor of havening been mentioned in Tom Wolfe’s piece ‘The Noonday Underground’ about an afternoon at the Mod club The Tiles.
Thors Hammer hailed from Iceland and recorded one of the most valuable relics of the 60’s. the EP’ Umbarumbaba’ which – when it appears – changes hands well in excess of $1000USD. Slightly less rare – moving for around $100, though I scored my copy almost 20 years ago for a single, wrinkly dollar bill – is their only US release, ‘Show Me You Like Me’ from 1967. The tune is a great bit of upbeat Freakbeat with great harmonies and a wild solo on an instrument I’ve never been able to nail down. Is it a guitar, some kind of keyboard or something else entirely?
Though the Herd never made much of a dent in the US, they were very popular in the UK, and one of their members (a certain Peter Frampton) went on to be VERY popular over here. ‘Understand Me’ is one of their finest 45s, with some slamming drums and great vocals. As far as I can tell this only saw single release in the US.
Paul and Barry Ryan were identical twin brothers who, while successful in the UK never had any real success in the US. ‘Hey Mr. Wiseman’ is a track from their rare 1967 (I think) Decca LP ‘Two of a Kind’, which also features a couple of Hollies covers. Barry Ryan had a hit with the song ‘Eloise’ (written by Paul) that was later covered by the Damned. Keep your eyes out for another excellent tune by the duo ‘Keep It Out of Sight’.
This edition of the Iron Leg Digital Trip comes to a conclusion with a great cut from the debut album by Cat Stevens. Known today as both pop/folk hitmaker and famous convert to Islam, Stevens got his start in the mid-60’s with the LP ‘Matthew and Son’. This Cat Stevens had a harder edge than the man who brought to ‘Moonshadow’ and ‘Morning Has Broken’. ‘Baby Get Your Head Screwed On’ is a great bit of Freakbeat, covered later in 1967 by the group ‘Double Feature’ (by whom I heard the first version on one of the old ‘British Psychedelic Trip’ comps).
That all said, I hope you dig the mix, and I’ll see you all soon.

Peace
Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul!

the Knight Riders – I

UPDATE 2/20/10 - Last night someone came into this thread and left several hateful, obscene messages about the band. I deleted them all and blacklisted the IP of the poster.

UPDATE 7/12/08 – Knight Rider Rod Pearce forwarded a picture of himself as he is today, alongside a couple of his boss cars!

UPDATE 6/5/08: UNKNOWN NO MORE!!!
Thanks to Knight Rider Jay Mierly for sending along some rare photos of the band. It blows my mind how this post, on what was basically one of thousands of “anonymous” 60s punk bands, has turned into an e-reunion of sorts, with band menbers, fans and family members sharing their memories of the Knight Riders.
Very Cool.

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The second lineup of the Knight Riders, (Top left) Mike Lentos, (middle left) Rod Pearce, (bottom left) Ryan Clark, (Top right) Jay Mierly and (bottom) right Butch Daniels

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(L-R) The original line up: Ryan Clark, Greg Mahoney and Butch (Virgil) Daniels

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Knight Riders Drummer Mike Lentos

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Knight Rider Rod Pearce today.

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The Unknown Garage Punk

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Listen – The Knight Riders – I – MP3

Greetings all.
I come to you today – as unlikely as this seems – well rested. I took a day off to get some errands run and managed to read almost an entire book (Jim Carroll’s ‘Basketball Diaries’) in the process (if the current pace is any indicator I will indeed be finished before I close my eyes this evening). Fortunately one of the errands involved a trip to the bookstore, so I have a follow up volume ready to roll.
Today’s selection is a tune I kind of picked up by accident some 20 years ago. While prowling a once great record store – now, like almost all others of its ilk reduced to a shadow of its former self – I grabbed an LP called ‘San Francisco Roots’, mainly on the strength of a couple of Great Society tracks that I didn’t have in any other form (this was pre-CD, at least for me). The album turned out to be a compilation of Bay Area, mid-60’s rock, folk rock and pop, much of which had been associated with the Autumn Records organization (produced by none other than Sly Stone).
Not many of the tracks grabbed me, until I got to the end of the first side and heard what was – and still is – for me, one of the true monuments to what I like to think of as STOOPIDITY (sic).
Though the STOOPID ethos finds itself lodged at the edges of all forms/genres of entertainment, some of its prime examples are found in the world of garage punk.
Say what you will – all attempts to “class” up the genre with ill-advised silk purse/sows ear efforts – garage punk is by and large an attitude driven sound. Though there are strictly sonic triggers that signify the garage vibe e.g. cheesy organ, fuzz guitar etc, the dark heart of garage punk is (mostly figuratively) SNOT.
The SNOT I speak of is the lumpy, swirling attitude stew composed of equal parts juvenile bad-assery, male chauvinism, outré displays of unbridled teenage sexuality and greasy haired, clenched fisted defiance.
All of the above, combined with amateurish attempts to rechannel Mick Jagger channeling Muddy Waters, created an entirely new vibe, redolent of moldy basements, Cuban heels and hard-ons (both literal and figurative).
Non-cogito Ergo Garage.
The track I referenced above is a great – and early (1965) – example thereof; ‘I’ by the Knight Riders.
This is a particularly apt exemplar because the Knight Riders are as anonymous a band as the 60’s garage punk underground has to offer*.
Aside from the fact that the group apparently hailed from Belmont, California, and they recorded less than a half dozen tracks – none of which saw release at the time** – before fading back into the wallpaper of suburban San Francisco, I can tell you almost nothing.
What I do know, is that ‘I’ (short and sweet, that) is just over three minutes of pure, unadulterated STOOPIDITY, two minutes and 45 seconds of which are built on a stripped down riff, and the 15 remaining seconds comprise a Yardbirds-esque rave up that would be improved upon shortly by fellow Bay Area-ites the Count Five.
Another thing I know, is that 20 years later, back when my pals and I were exhuming the 60’s, this is EXACTLY the sound most of us were trying to recreate (with varying degrees of success).
Now, another 20-some years down the pike, I may devote much of my listening time to more, how do they say “sophisticated” sounds, I always find my way back to stuff like the Knight Riders when I feel the need to get my STOOPID on.
I hope you dig it.

Peace
Larry

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*So faceless are the Knight Riders (denied even a writers credit on the label), that I have created the Unknown Garage Punk to represent them (and all future bands of their ilk). Though I went to college many years ago as an art major,my pens have been warehoused of late, so forgive my rusty hand.

** The inclusion of ‘I’ on the ‘San Francisco Roots’ LP (in 1969 or 1970) was the first time any of the Knight Riders recordings saw the light of day. A few years ago there was a reissue of three more Knight Riders tracks (Where Did I Fail, Torture And Pain, Won’t You Be My Baby) on a comp of Autumn Records-associated material (Dance With Me: The Autumn Teen Sound) by groups like the Vejtables, Mojo Men, and the Tikis

Francoise Hardy – Ce Petit Coeur

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Francoise Hardy

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Listen – Ce Petit Coeur – MP3

Greetings all.
Here’s hoping that the end of the week (or beginning, depending on where you start counting) finds you well.
All is well on this end, and I figured that a recent spate of digi-ma-tization for Iron Leg dictated that we start the week off with something interesting.
Back in the day, when I was up to my neck in all things 1960’s, the beat (R&, Freak and otherwise), psyche, garage fuzz and whatever else was slipping over my lobes and into my brain, my buds and I happened upon the music of one Francoise Hardy.
Hardy, one of the great French pop stars of the 1960’s and beyond (not only a singer but and actress, and eventually Mrs Jacques Dutronc) recorded in a variety of styles beginning not long after leaving high school in 1962.
I remember buying my first Hardy record at Midnight Records in Manhattan, an establishment owned and operated by a cranky Frenchman who had Bob Dylan’s hair from 1965 and a taste for that “WILD SEEXTEEZ PONK ZOUND!”*. Midnight was THE mail order outfit if you were a 60’s nut, and my friends and I just happened to be lucky enough to live close enough to prowl through their racks in person.
Always game for an adventurous listen, I grabbed the first of a three volume retrospective of her recordings (the one with the most dates on the back between 1963 and 1968, of course). When I got it home, my ears, accustomed as they were to fuzz and jangle found much of it to be a little on the lightweight side.
However (big however here), after I let it sink in, I found myself playing one particular song repeatedly. That tune, ‘Ce Petit Coeur’ was the closest thing on that disc to pure 60’s folk rock.
In the years that followed, I discovered that during the 60’s and 70’s her record companies tried like the dickens to break Hardy over here in the States. It certainly wasn’t too far fetched. Hardy, in addition to having a very pleasant voice, also happened to be the very model of mid-60’s, ironed-hair, kohl-eyed cool (no doubt part of her appeal when my garagey pals and I first happened upon her).
Her first US releases were issued on the Kapp Records subsidiary 4 Corners of the World (the inner sleeve indicates that the rest of their catalogue was a decidedly unhip amalgam of bagpipe and flamenco albums). Though I’m not positive that the ‘Francoise..’ LP was her first US release, it was definitely the first one I found.
‘Ce Petit Coeur’ (released in 1965) has a great melody, as well as a nice bit of jangly 12-string goodness, which (if her numerous TV appearances – see below –  promoting the song) seems to have been a hit, at least in France. Though I dig her later, folky, singer-songwriter styled stuff, this tune is still my fave.
I hope you dig it.

Peace
Larry

Example

*A direct quote.

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