Iron Leg First Anniversary Digital Trip v.13 – Garage Fuzz Factory (Part 1)

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Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth RIP.

 

Playlist
Guilloteens – Hey You (HBR)
Sonics – Love-Itis (Jerden)
Lindy Blaskey & the Lavells – You Ain’t Tuff (Space)
Beckett Quintet – No Correspondence (Gemcor)
David Clayton Thomas – Done Somebody Wrong (Decca)
Knickerbockers – I Must Be Doing Something Right (Challenge)
Mystery Bonus Track
Apparitions – She’s So Satisfying (Caped Crusader)
Max Frost & the Troopers – Let Your Mind Run Free (Tower)
Sonics – Lost Love (Picadilly)

Listen/Download 28MB Mixed MP3

Download 21MB ZIP File-

Greetings all.
Greetings one and all, and allow me to welcome you to the Iron leg Blog First Anniversary Dual Podcast Fuzz-tacular.
Last year, when something possessed me to start a second blog I figured I’d take it slow, maybe post a track a week and intersperse the music with the occasional pop-cult rant. Naturally, as happened when I started Funky16Corners, the gravitational pull of the music took over and soon enough the non-musical stuff fell by the wayside and Iron Leg evolved into something with a fairly specific scope, that being 60’s sounds (though there have been occasional deviations from that timeline).
If you were a regular at Funky16Corners, where the focus has been on soul, funk and jazz, this may have seen like an odd tack, but if you read between the lines you would have been aware that my tastes are rather wide ranging. I spent the better part of the 80’s digging deep into the worlds of 1960’s punk, beat and psychedelia, and while I may have turned my focus toward the stuff you see at Funky16Corners, I never lost my taste for the former.
Every once in a while I’d get the urge to blog-i-ficate on a particularly tasty garage punk 45, or a trippy bit of psychedelia, and so Iron Leg was born. As I said, I was originally going to limit myself to single tracks, but as soon as I got to rifling through the crates, and digi-ma-tizing, the urge to create mixes took over, and so the Iron Leg Digital Trip podcast was born. I can’t believe that it’s been a year already, but with any luck there will be many more (lots, and lots, and LOTS of records..)
As I’ve said before, the creation of the mixes is as much for my entertainment as it is for all of you. I have a playlist on the iPod – including all the Funky16Corners Radio, Iron Leg Digital Trips and various and sundry guest mixes that is now almost 80 items long; enough to keep me busy for at least a couple of days.
That said, with the completion of the first full year of business hereabouts, I figured there was no better way to celebrate than digging out a pile of garage fuzz (and a little bit of jangle here and there), mixing it up with some cool drops and whipping it onto the interwebs for your delectation.
Part one of Iron Leg Digital Trip v.13 – Garage Fuzz Factory opens with one of my fave bits of teen savagery, ‘Hey You’ by Memphis, Tennessee’s Guilloteens. First off, how bad-ass is that name? Second, these longhairs were rumored to have been Elvis Presley’s fave local band. They did a couple of 45s for HBR (and at least one for Columbia). ‘Hey You’ is pure guitar crunch, a thing of beauty.
Next up is a later 45 by the mighty Sonics, pretty much the heaviest band ever. At their best they make Black Sabbath look like a bunch of pantywaists, sounding like the personification of one of Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth’s bug-eyed maniacs. ‘Love-Itis’ is a cover of a tune by Harvey Scales (also covered North of the border by the Mandala), with the Sea-Tac howlers getting a little soulful, kind of like if you took Vanilla Fudge, put them in a wine press and squeezed out all the psychedelic pretension.
Lindy Blaskey & the Lavells hailed from the dry, scorpion infested climes of New Mexico, where they released a number of excellent 45s from 1963 to the end of the decade. ‘You Ain’t Tuff’ is a nice piece of Gloria-esque punk that was popular enough that it saw release locally on the Space label, and then again nationally on Challenge.
The Beckett Quintet came from the LA, California area and recorded one excellent two-sider for the Gemcor label (later picked up for national distribution by A&M) in 1965. The a-side. ‘No Correspondence’ has a great rolling rhythm guitar line and a nice snotty vocal.
Now, I don’t think anyone was expecting to see the name of Blood Sweat and Tears vocalist David Clayton Thomas, but bear with me. Prior to his joining the king of all horn bands, Thomas recorded an excellent (and rare) LP for Decca. Composed mostly of blues and R&B covers, it includes his excellent, fuzz guitar laden cover of Elmore James ‘Done Somebody Wrong’ (the OG being one of the rockingest blues records ever).
Departing for a moment from the fuzz, I bring you the Beatle-y pop jangle of Bergen County, NJs own Knickerbockers. Best known for their biggest hit ‘Lies’they recorded a number of excellent 45s. ‘I Must Be Doing Something Right’ (from 1966, natch) was the flip side of the raver ‘One Track Mind’.
The mystery track – if you listen closely – should be no mystery at all. Just dig how these cats come up with the sweet harmonies even with the hard shell.
The Apparitions were one of the great undiscovered garage acts of the Midwest. ‘She’s So Satisfying’ never got past the acetate stage back in 1966, but some enterprising soul issued it as a 45 in the mid-80’s, which is where I got it. Great fucking song.
‘Let Your Mind Run Free’ is a track from the sole album by Max Frost and the Troopers only album on the Tower label. While it doesn’t have the “we’re the younger generation and we’re coming to get you” vibe of ‘Shape of Things To Come’, I still dig it. Word is that the band on this LP is in fact Davie Allen and the Arrows (of ‘Blue’s Theme’ fame) but I don’t know who the vocalist is.
Part one of this anniversary mix closes out with another side by the Sonics. ‘Lost Love’, the 1967 flip side of their uncharacteristically poppy ‘Any Way the Wind Blows’ (also issued on UNI) sounds as if they lifted the drum track from ‘Cinderella’. This is the sound of the Sonics being dragged (unsuccessfully) into a more progressive era. As you can hear, even in 1967, they still preferred strychnine to LSD.
That said, dig the fuzz and I’ll be back on Wednesday with Part two (even FUZZIER!!).

Peace
Larry
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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a great Nina Simone 45.

PSS Paperback Rider was just updated on Saturday…

The Changin’ Times – How Is the Air Up There

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Top to Bottom – Steve Duboff, Artie Kornfeld, Kornfeld & Duboff

Performing on Shivaree in 1965

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Listen – The Changin’ Times – How Is The Air Up There – MP3

Greetings all.
Today’s selection is an object lesson in why a record fiend (such as myself) relishes the opportunity to hit record shows (as opposed to random digs in the field).
While I love the feeling of happening upon a gem in a dusty box full of crap in a thrift store back room, sometimes there’s just no substitute for quality, and when it’s quality records you seek (sold at a premium , of course) then it is to the record shows ye must go.
Look at it this way: You may stumble upon a plate full of culinary wonderment at your local greasy spoon, but sometimes you just have to hit a fancy restaurant to get that high quality, free-range, grass-fed steak that will set your tongue alight and leave you with a nice warm glow in your breadbasket.
That’s what it’s like going to a (decent) record show. Instead of wading through countless copies of the Firestone Christmas Album, you get to hit a box labeled ‘garage’, or ‘funk’ or whatever, and the records before you are generally rare, in decent quality and profuse.
Now, as I said before, you’re paying a premium, but sometimes it’s worth it to do so (no matter what some nickel-and-dime malcontent might say).
It was on a recent expedition to one of these record shows that I sat down behind a table, grabbed a few 45 boxes and in about ten minutes time made four serious dents in my want list, as well as a similar gouge in my wallet.
And you know what? It was worth it.
There is no feeling like pawing through a box of 45s and pulling out a nice, clean copy of a record you never (EVER) thought you’d find. That day, I bagged a couple of LONGTIME soul, garage and freakbeat wantlist items and I’m happy to say that the – how do you say – cumulative price of that small stack allowed me to bargain for a much larger stack (which contained a couple of woefully underpriced gems), with the dealer throwing the whole pile in for nothing.
Anyway…
I belabor the point because the tune I bring you today was part of that score and as I said before was a part of my want list for almost 25 years.
That tune, ‘How Is The Air Up There’ by the Changin’ Times has an interesting history.
The first time I heard the song was via a cover by the Bangles on their 1982 IRS EP. It wasn’t until I heard the 1960’s recording by the La De Da’s (three or four years later) that I realized that the tune was a cover. It wasn’t until some time later that I found out that the La De Da’s version was itself a cover of a tune by a group called the Changin’ Times.
Flash forward once again, to the era of the interwebs wherein I discovered that the Changin’ Times were none other that the recording entity of the songwriting partnership of Steve Duboff and Artie Kornfeld.
If those names are vaguely familiar, consider the impressive list of songs written by the pair including, “Pied Piper’ (covered by Crispian St Peters, though I’ll feature the Changin’ Times OG in coming weeks), and ‘The Rain the Park and Other Things’ (Cowsills) , as well as tune the two composed either by themselves or with others like ‘Out of Sight Out of Mind’ (Duboff) and ‘Dead Mans Curve’ (Kornfeld).
Kornfeld and Duboff paired up as the Changin’ Times in 1965 – touring with Sonny and Cher that year – and went on to release several singles for the Philips label before parting ways in 1968. That the fuzzed out punk of ‘How Is The Air Up There’ dates from 1965 was a shock to me and all things considered I’d have to say that the Changin’ Times OG is my favorite version.
Kornfeld went on to be one of the first “longhairs” hired for an A&R position at a major label (Capitol) and was one of the people responsible for putting on the Woodstock Festival (he’s featured prominently in the movie).
Duboff, who passed away in 2004 continued to write and produce, as well as working as a video game designer.
I hope you dig the tune.
Stay tuned, because next week marks the one-year anniversary of the Iron Leg blog, and I have a special two-part mix lined up for the celebration.
That said, have a great weekend and I’ll see you all on Monday.
Peace
Larry

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PS Make sure to stop by Funky16Corners for a deep soul ballad

PSS Stop by Paperback Rider too…

The Creation – Making Time

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The Creation

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Listen – The Creation – Making Time – MP3

Greetings all.
The tune I bring you today is both a long time favorite and a major want-list item (that I doubted I’d ever score a copy of).
But first, a story.
Some weeks ago I was on an unexpected vinyl digging expedition (i.e. having arrived in a music store that I had no idea stocked vinyl), flipping through piles of old LPs (mostly crap) when what should come popping out of the store’s speakers, but ‘Making Time’ by the Creation.
My first instinct was surprise, along with just a touch of delight.
This was soon tempered by the realization – when ‘Concrete and Clay’ by Unit 4+2 came on – that this was not a shop of the hip, but rather of the hipster (or hipsteur as my Soulstrut brethren are wont to say). The gist being that some brave soul hadn’t put on a Creation CD, but rather the soundtrack to ‘Rushmore’.
Now don’t get me wrong…’Rushmore’ is one of my favorite films of recent years, and the soundtrack is excellent…
However…
This particular soundtrack has become shorthand of a sort, with the bits and pieces presented therein – out of context – coming to represent not the music itself but the visual images from the film that have become represented by the music (have I lost you yet???).
I suppose that ideally this is what you want the soundtrack to do, so that the viewers/listeners are drawn into the movie, not outside of it by their memories of/ideas about the music.
I only belabor the point because now when I hear the opening chords of ‘Making Time’ I think not of Eddie Phillips but of Max Fischer.
This is quite the conundrum, because back in the day, when me any my pals were getting all drunk on the sweet wine of the Mod 60’s the music of the Creation loomed large indeed.
There was an Edsel comp (the title of which escapes me, but it was something like ‘Red with Purple Flashes’) that became pretty much required listening for the Mod revivalists.
Good thing too because for every band that someone has convinced you ought to have been much bigger than they were, the Creation were really that band.
Their time as the Creation was brief (just over two years) but during that period they created some truly amazing music, much of which fits the textbook definition of Freakbeat, i.e. still rooted in the earlier Beat era (however vaguely) but bearing the marks of what would become psychedelia both sonically (via fuzz guitar, echo etc) and lyrically.
They were – like the Who – the consummate ‘pop art’ band and managed to combine energetic performance with excellent songwriting (‘Biff Bang Pow!’, ‘Painterman’, ‘Life Is Just Beginning’ among others).
‘Making Time’ was their very first 45 for Shel Talmy’s Planet Records. Talmy, who was born in Chicago came to the UK in 1962 and changed the face of British rock with his innovative productions for the Kinks, Who and Creation among others, and issuing a number of great 45s on Planet by bands like the Creation, Thoughts (more on them soon) , the Untamed and the Wild Uncertainty.
Along with Talmy the Creation laid down some very heavy records, experimenting with rough guitar sounds and feedback, ‘Making Time’ being one of the finest examples.
That all said, if you’re not already hip to the Creation’s wider discography, go out there and get yourself some.
Peace
Larry

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PS Make sure to stop by Funky16Corners for some funky soul by Syl Johnson!

PSS Stop by Paperback Rider too…

Buzzy Linhart – The Love’s Still Growing

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Buzzy Linhart

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Listen – Buzzy Linhart – The Love’s Still Growing – MP3

Greetings all.
I figured I’d close out the week with something mellow, to get your head back in the right place so that enjoyment of the weekend might commence.
The tune I bring you today is a song that I fell in love with some years ago when I heard in it a cover by Maggie and Suzze Roche (of the Roches, natch). That was on a compilation called ‘Bleeker Street: Greenwich Village in the 60’s’, and the tune was credited to a familiar, yet utterly mysterious name, that being Buzzy Linhart.
If you spend as much time listening to and chasing down music as I do, the dark corners of your brain tend to fill up with all kinds of factual flotsam and jetsam, names and song titles that keep popping up but never really anchor themselves to any kind of direct experience (i.e. songs I’ve heard of many times but never actually heard). Buzzy Linhart is definitely one of the names on that list.
Linhart was something of a child prodigy as a percussionist (especially on the vibes) and eventually landed on the folkie singer/songwriter scene in Florida in the early-60’s where he hung out with both David Crosby and Fred Neil. Like so many of the players on that scene he found his way to New York City where he worked as a session player for a number of performers before recording his first LP in 1969.
‘The Love’s Still Growing’ appeared on his second album, 1971’s ‘The Time To Live Is Now’ alongside the first version of Linhart’s ‘Friends’ which would become a cornerstone of Bette Midler’s catalog.
When I finally found a copy of this record I was surprised to discover that the bassist in Linhart’s band was none other than longtime Bob Dorough collaborator Bill Takas (who I actually got to see a few times before he passed away).
While Linhart’s original version of ‘The Love’s Still Growing’ lacks the crystalline harmonies of the Roche sisters, it makes up for it in spades with a certain early 70’s, stoney looseness that I dig a lot. There’s a kind of 60’s raga on the way to 70’s prog vibe running under the whole affair that I find very pleasing.
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Monday with some tasty Freakbeat.

Peace
Larry

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PS Make sure to stop by Funky16Corners for a funky 45 by Cymande!

PSS Stop by Paperback Rider too…

Lynne Randell – That’s a Hoe Down

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Lynne Randell

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Listen – Lynne Randell – That’s a Hoe Down- MP3

Greetings all.
A few weeks ago I made an unexpected trip to a record fair, and pretty much blew my bankroll in the first 30 minutes (thanks in large part to one dealer with an exceptional selection of both soul and garage 45s). I was pretty much ready to call it a day and go find my wife and kids, when I stopped at a table with several boxes labeled Northern Soul, so I stopped and let my fingers do the walking. In addition to a handful of Radiants 45s that I didn’t have yet (all for a few bucks apiece) I happened upon a 45 by an artist named Lynne Randell.
I was aware that she had a 45 that was popular with the Northern Soul crowd, so, since it was only five dollars, and I didn’t feel like unpacking the portable to give it a spin, I decided to take my chances and grabbed it.
Well….it’s not the pricey Northern side (that’s ‘Stranger In My Arms’, the flipside of her minor 1967 hit ‘Ciao Baby’), but, fortunately for you and me both, it is a good record.
The tune in question ‘That’s a Hoe Down’ was immediately pleasing to my ears, but just as quickly posed a problem.
‘Is this a Funky16Corners record or an ‘Iron Leg’ record??’
There is a soulful bent to the tune, but like so many other Northern Soul faves, Lynne Randell wasn’t really a ‘soul singer’, and ‘That’s a Hoe Down’ isn’t really a soul record (though I doubt I’d get any complaints were I to spin it on a 60’s soul night).
Sure, there are soulful touches therein, including the thumping bass/piano line and the Vandellas style backing vocals, but the overall vibe is more mid-60’s pop.
Randell, a hairdresser who was discovered on the job and went on to have a number of Australian radio hits (‘That’s a Hoe Down’ was a Top 40 record down under) was also for a brief time the girlfriend of Monkee Davy Jones (thus the ‘Last Train To Clarksville’ reference midway through the record??). She even toured on the famous/infamous Monkees/Hendrix bill in 1967.
‘That’s a Hoe Down’ – which was also recorded by the UK band Shyster (which also included members of Freakbeaters Les Fleur de Lys) – is a pounding party record with hooks to spare. Interestingly enough, the record was produced by Al Gorgoni who also worked with Evie Sands (a singer of a similar bent) in the US.
I hope you dig the tune and I’ll see you all later in the week.
Peace
Larry

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PS Make sure to stop by Funky16Corners a brand new mix of Latin Soul and Boogaloo!

PSS Stop by Paperback Rider too…

Iron Leg Digital Trip #12 – Gravel v.2 – NYC

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Mod girl dancing at The Dive (1986)
Photo by Andy Peters
All the photos in this piece were taken by Andy Peters, who if he knows what’s good for him will put together and publish a coffee table book on the scene.

DOH!!! While a-googling to do some fact checking, I discovered that my old pal Blair Buscareno put together podcasts, using the ‘Highs In the Mid 80′s’ title (also inspired by a mid-80′s collection of 60′s punk comps) a few years back over at GaragePunk.com. There are definitely some intersections in the track selections, but Blair also has a number of cuts that I didn’t use here. He also did a second volume focusing on the Long Island scene. As a result I have retitled this series (also punning in the same direction) as Gravel, which is how they will proceed henceforth. I don’t know that there has ever been anyone as dedicated to following the garage punk scene (then or now) than Blair.My apologies to Blair.

Playlist
Fleshtones – F-F-F-Fascination (Red Star)
Vipers – Nothings From Today (Jem/PVC)
Mad Violets – Psilocybe (Voxx)
Fuzztones – Bad News Travels Fast (Midnight)
Tryfles – Had Enough of Your Lies (Midnight)
Secret Service – I’ve Been Hurt So Many Times (Invader)
Optic Nerve – Ain’t That a Man (Cryptovision)
Stepford Husbands – I’m Rowed Out (Cryptovision)
Roman Gods – San Francisco Girls (NBT)
 
Listen/Download 30MB Mixed MP3

Download 24MB ZIP File-

Greetings all.
Welcome to the second installment of our look back at the mid 1980s garage/mod scene aka happenings twenty years time ago.
The first chapter took a look at our homegrown scene in Central New Jersey, but – to borrow a phrase from the execrable Simon Cowell – “If I’m being honest…” one cannot address those goings on without also focusing on the very heart of the East Coast scene, i.e. New York City.
As I said previously, my friends and I were into the sounds (mostly old) from our home base in NJ, but it wasn’t until we walked through the doors of the Dive (or to a lesser extent Danceteria, the Pyramid, Tramps, Charas Hall, or the Southern Funk Café, or a few years further on The Strip at McCarthy’s Bar) , and witnessed the true hardcore of this scene that our minds were good and truly blown.
One could make an argument (very convincingly) that many of the New Jersey bands had as much of a foot in the sounds of “modern rock” (the wide palette of sounds that music industry stiffs would soon co-opt and retitle “alternative”), but once you turned your ear to New York City – where things had been underway for a few years already – you were hearing true revivalist music.
I don’t use that term as a pejorative (though in later years it certainly fit the bill) because in 1982/83, bands in NYC, LA and in the UK (and probably a dozen other places) were successfully exhuming and reanimating the sounds of 1966 in a variety of really interesting ways.
This in addition to the fact that a lot of those involved had immersed themselves in the life. This is not to suggest that anyone was in danger of being plucked off the streets and being shipped to Saigon, but rather had taken to dressing and acting the part of the snotty, garage-bound, American International Pictures rebels of almost two decades before. The mop tops, Cuban heeled boots and stovepipe trousers on the men, and Op Art dresses, Cleopatra eye makeup and similar accoutrements on the ladies, as well as all manner of frugging, monkeying and free-form terpsichore under the reactivated strobes (and later San Fran style light shows*) of the NYC club scene.

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Yours truly with Rudi Protrudi of the Fuzztones at the Dive

My friends and I came into this circa 1984 when the scene was pretty much at full steam. Bands like the Vipers and the Fuzztones had been packing them in at the Dive’s “Cave Stomps” for a couple of years already. The first time I walked into the middle of this crowd I felt both exhilarated and painfully underdressed. It was incredibly cool to witness this all happening, as it was to be able to find people who were as deep (and in some cases far deeper than) as I was into the sounds of the old school. There were also a number of fanzines, including Ron Rimsite’s ‘99th Floor’ and of course the NJ zines that covered the NYC scene, Incognito, Stranger that Fiction and Smashed Blocked.

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Fanzine publisher, record store guru, producer and all around King of the Scene, Ron Rimsite

I should take a second to note that this podcast, while a representative sampling of what was happening in New York, is in no way comprehensive. The past two decades have seen a number of records disappear from my collection, including crucial sides by the Outta Place and the Cheepskates**. This in addition to the fact that the Secret Service were not in fact a New York City band, but hailed instead from suburban Long Island. There were a couple of LI bands on the scene, but only the Secret Service were really crucial to the NYC scene***.

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The Fleshtones – on stage at Maxwells in Hoboken
That said, this mix – like volume 1 – gets started with a group who were in many ways the ur band of their scene, the mighty, mighty Fleshtones (who also close out this podcast under an assumed name). The Fleshtones were working a 60’s retro vibe years before anyone else in New York and served as an inspiration not only locally, but worldwide as well. ‘F-F-Fascination’ is one of their earliest recordings and comes from a comp called ‘2×5’, that also featured tunes by the Bloodless Pharaohs, who included in their midst a young Brian Setzer. This tune is a great example of the Fleshtones’ fusion of garage, beat and R&B styles.

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The Vipers – On stage at the Dive

Next up is a record that is by far my own favorite from these times, ‘Nothing’s From Today’ by the Vipers. The Vipers – led by Jon Weiss who also played sax on the Fleshtones ‘Roman Gods’ LP and went on to set up the retro-retro Fuzzfests – were probably the best all-around band on the NYC scene. They may not have had the purist retro-flash, or punk edge of the Fuzztones, but they were all excellent musicians and had a gift for writing good songs. ‘Nothing’s From Today’, which was the opening cut on their excellent ‘Outta the Nest’ LP (there was an earlier take on one of the Battle of the Garages LPs) is a melodic tour de force with a vaguely psychedelic edge. I still get a lift hearing this record almost 25 years later.

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Dino Sorbello – On stage at the Dive

Though they aren’t as well remembered today, the Mad Violets were important in that they were there early, and included in their ranks important scene catalysts Dino Sorbello and Wendy Wild (who would go on to join Peter Zaremba’s Love Delegation). ‘Psilocybe’, another ‘Battle of the Garages’ cut is a finely crafted ode to the psychedelic mushroom of the title.

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Elan Portnoy of the Fuzztones – On stage at the Peppermint Lounge


Now the Fuzztones, let me tell you sonny, these cats were BADASS! Led by Rudi Protrudi, who had reportedly played in an actual teen garage band in the actual NINETEEN SIXTIES (?!?!?) had the look on lock and were a dynamite live band. Though other bands may have cultivated their style as diligently (i.e. the Ravens), the Fuzztones worked in a postmodern, vaguely cartoony**** take on 60’s punk, as much The Way Outs or the Impossibles as the Chocolate Watchband and the Gonn. ‘Bad News Travels Fast’ is in my opinion their finest 45, and is a rock solid bit of balls out garage punk. As far as I can tell Rudi is still at it somewhere, and there’s probably a version of the Fuzztones today.

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Lesya of the Tryfles – on stage at the Dive


The Tryfles were in no way a major band – at least musically – but the members of the band, including Jon Fay and Peter Stuart were important movers and shakers on the scene, with Stuart going on to form the Headless Horsemen. Their excellent Midnight 45, ‘Had Enough of Your Lies’ manages to recreate the lo-fi 60’s garage buzz, and take an odd lyrical shot at the Vipers for supposed poseurism.
Tryfles guitarist Lesya Karpilov worked at one of the more important centers of the scene, Midnight Records. Operated by French expatriot J.D. Martignon, Midnight wasn’t just a major mail order dealer of that raw 60’s punk sound, but also operated as the major local label with releases by most of the major New York bands including the Vipers, Fuzztones, Outta Place, Cheepskates, Tryfles and Mod Fun (as well as Midwest giants Plasticland).

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The Secret Service – Halloween 1986 at the Dive


If most of the bands up to this point were working a garage vibe, the Secret Service were the main exponents of UK R&Beat, channeling the likes of the Animals, Yardbirds, Birds and Pretty Things. Featuring vocalist Wayne Manor, bassist Jim Gange, guitarist Rob Normandin and drummer Steve Pepar, the Secret Service were a shit-hot live band with a number of excellent originals as well as an arsenal of crowd pleasing covers at their disposal. I had the honor of both seeing them live many times, as well as opening for them a handful of times with my own band the Phantom Five. Though they had been a big part of the scene for a while, their LP didn’t drop until fairly late in the game, which is a shame because ‘I’ve Been Hurt So Many Times’ is indicative of its high quality.

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The Optic Nerve – On stage at the Whiskey Bar, Huntington, LI

Another band that managed to depart from the fuzz punk script to carve out a niche of its own was the Optic Nerve. Though they appeared on the scene after many of the bands in this mix, they released a few excellent EPs (as well as one of the first CDs to come out of the scene). Led by singer/guitarist Bobby Belfiore (also an accomplished artist), the Optic Nerve (which also featured Tony Matura, Orin Portnoy – brother of Fuzztone Elan – and Frank Manlin of the Ravens) worked a jangly, folk rock sound that many of their contemporaries had neglected. ‘Ain’t That a Man’ has that great, 1965 Sunset Strip folk rock vibe.
Though I never saw the Stepford Husbands live (god knows why…) I was well acquainted with their keyboardist Dave Amels, a regular presence on the scene who went on to work producing (and playing keyboards for) a number of other groups. Their rocking cover of the Eyes ‘I’m Rowed Out’ is excellent.
This mix closes out with a tune by the ‘Roman Gods’ (actually the Fleshtones) with a cover of the Fever Tree’s ‘San Francisco Girls’. I’d all but forgotten about this record – which was given away free with a fanzine called Next Big Thing – but when I was digging out stuff for this mix, I remembered how much I liked it.
The next few chapters of this series will feature bands from elsewhere in the US, from major players like the Telltale Hearts, Chesterfield Kings, Lyres and Plasticland, as well as a number of more obscure (but no less excellent) groups.
As always, I hope you dig the sounds, and I’ll be back next week with some more groovy gravy.
Peace
Larry
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*Later on the Minds Eye shows at Tramps featured the Captain Whizzo light show

**The Outta Place, led by Mike Chandler who would go on to form the Raunch Hands were a great, raw 60′s punk outift. The Cheepskates specialized in melodic garage pop with lots of combo organ.
***Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know. Where are the Mosquitos? Not in my mix pally. Though they were around in the early days, and had their devotees (where are you Blair???) I was never among their fans, nor did I really see them as part of the scene I’m describing here.
**** It should be noted that the two leaders of the Fuzztones operated under the Cramps-esque pseudonyms of Rudi Protrudi and Deb O’Nair, both of whom had previously played in a new wave band called Tina Peel. The NYC scene was interesting because there were always links to the artier downtown scene.It was no mistake that there was exactly one degree of separation (that being the Love Delegation w/ Lady Bunny) between the Fleshtones and Wigstock.

 PS Head over to Funky16Corners for another funk 45 unknown.

 PSS Don’t forget to check out Paperback Rider

 

The Free – Decision for Lost Soul Blue

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Listen – The Free – Decision for Lost Soul Blue – MP3

Greetings all.

Important programming note: Before we get started, I should tell you that I just posted a major update to the post on the Knight Riders. Band member Jay Mierly has sent me a few rare photos of the band, which I’ve added to the post. More info added as it becomes available.


I hope that the end of the week finds you well, unless of course you’re here in New Jersey where it’s suddenly akin to a South American rain forest. Nearing 90 and dreadfully humid, I half expect to go out on the deck and have to chase a spider monkey out of my trash cans.
That said, this is written from the refuge of an air conditioned environment, so I’m safe (for now…).
Today’s selection was harvested at a recent record show, and proof once again that a record that is at first glance intriguing may hold even more surprises when played.
The record in question – ‘Decision for Lost Soul Blue’ by the Free – caught my eye in a box full of 45s, first by its label (Marquee, a local Michigan imprint on which I already have a soul 45 by the Buena Vistas) and then (of course) by the word “soul” in the title (natch).
I pulled it from the crate and put it on the “to-be-previewed” stack and continued about my business. When I finally opened up the portable (cheers to the good folks at Numark who created the fine specimen that replaced my late lamented Columbia GP3) and started checking out the 45s, I was surprised (pleasantly) when the grooves yielded not soul or funk but psyched out fuzz guitar.
I haven’t been able to locate any hard info on The Free, other than my assumption that they were in fact a Michigan band, and that this 45 was later picked up and reissued on ATCO as ‘(A Day Of) Decision for Lost Soul Blue’.
The tune is one of those perfect examples of American 67/68 psychedelia, clearly rooted in burgeoning hippie-isms yet still possessed of a rougher, garagey edge that would shortly explode all over the place in an unruly mess in the sounds of bands like Blue Cheer. A similar example would be the excellent ‘The Shaman’ by the Human Beinz (check it out in Iron Leg Digital Trip #3).
I dig the vocals on this track, and the guitar, with the wah-wah and the fuzzbox is a treat.
I hope you dig it and I’ll see you all on Monday.

Peace
Larry

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Buffalo Springfield – Everydays

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Buffalo Springfield

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Listen – Buffalo Springfield – Everydays – MP3

Greetings all.
I should get things started by mentioning that I’ve begun the 2008 Pledge Drive over at Funky16Corners. Lest you wonder why I mention it here, know that the server space where all the F16C files reside is also home sweet home to all the files here, so too the rising tide lifts all Funky16Corners related boats.
I’m coming off a cool weekend, which was capped off with an unexpected digging trip (picked up some very cool garage, pop and freakbeat 45s, which will all end up here eventually) as well as some tasty funk and soul for F16C.
The track I bring you today is one of my faves by my second favorite (behind Love) US band of the 60’s, that being the Buffalo Springfield.
The conventional wisdom – as it is – is that the Buffalo Springfield is worth your time because they gave birth to a number of groups, mainly Crosby Stills Nash and Young (Stephen Stills and Neil Young from the Springfield), Poco (Richie Furay) and, believe it or not, Loggins and Messina (Jim Messina being the last bass player in the group).
I’m here to let you in on the fact that that is all well and good but if you’re missing out on the three amazing albums they made in their short time together, you are depriving yourself of some of the finest, most innovative music created during the late 60’s.
I first got into the Buffalo Springfield back when I was in high school (mid 70’s) and picked up the two-LP ‘Retrospective’ set (which if you can find it features alternate/extended mixes of a couple of tunes). I bought it for ‘For What It’s Worth’ but immediately fell in love with the rest of the sounds.
Here was a band that took folk rock as a jumping off point and blended in country, jazz, psychedelia and pure rock almost seamlessly. That may sound like quite a stylistic laundry list, but rest assured, the end result is sublime.
The tune I bring you today ‘Everydays’ is one of the more interesting tracks on their brilliant second LP ’Buffalo Springfield Again’. The tune is built on a jazzy frame, but branches out with the fuzz guitar and a great vocal by Stephen Stills. If all you’d ever heard was ‘For What It’s Worth’, ‘Everydays’ might come as something of a shock (especially if you’d seen any of the many pictures like the one above in which the band look like refugees from a hippie western).
The music of the Buffalo Springfield, to be appreciated properly should be listened to with much of the related work that came after (CSN, CSNY, Stills and Young solo work, Poco) , in which you can see their many influences diverge (especially since Stills recycled some lyrics/musical themes from the Springfield on CSNY records).
Do yourself a favor, if you can still find it, grab the Buffalo Springfield boxed set that came out a few years ago, which includes most of their studio material as well as a bunch of amazing demos and otherwise unreleased material.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you later in the week.
Peace
Larry

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PS Make sure to stop by Funky16Corners a brand new mix of classic soul ballads, and the 2008 pledge drive!

PSS Stop by Paperback Rider too…

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