Iron Leg Digital Trip #16 – Almost Fab

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Playlist
Rationals – Feelin’ Lost (Cameo)
The Profile – The Touch of Your Hand (Mercury)
Naturals – It Was You (Liberty)
Beau Brummels – They’ll Make You Cry (Autumn)
British Walkers – That Was Yesterday (Cameo)
Guess Who – Till We Kissed (Scepter)
Tony’s Tygers – Days and Nights (A&M)
Legends – Here Comes the Pain (WB)
Terry & the Chain Reaction – Stop Stopping Me (United Artists)
British Beat a Go Go – Ticket To Ride (Majorette)
Denny Belline & the Dwellers – It Happens That Way (RCA)
Legends – Don’t Be Ashamed (WB)

Listen/Download 42MB Mixed MP3

Download 42MB ZIP File-

Greetings all.
I hope all is well on your end and that everyone had a relaxing Labor Day weekend.
The mix I bring you today in the guise of Iron Leg Digital Trip #16 is one that has – how do they say? – been percolating in my fevered brain for nigh on 20 years.
Back in the day, when pageboy, beatle booted thugs roamed the earth swilling cheap beer and digging for old garage 45s, I happened upon a the disc that opens this mix. My reaction, in a word, was ‘WOW!’.
I first heard the Rationals years before I considered myself a garage punker, on a compilation called ‘Michigan Rocks’, which I purchased solely to get my hands on the cover of the Velvet Underground (a band I had yet to hear about) tune ‘Rock’n’Roll’ by Detroit (Mitch Ryder’s post-Detroit Wheels band).
It’s safe to say that that album verily blew my mind, as it included (nay OPENED WITH) the Stooges ‘1969’ (which I probably played 10 or 15 times in a row) and moved on to ‘Kick Out the Jams’ by MC5 (also new to me), ‘Heavy Music’ by Bob Seger, as well as numerous lesser known Michiganders like the SRC, Frost and of course the Rationals.
The 45 I picked up a few years later was ‘Feelin’ Lost’ on Cameo. The first time I dropped the needle on the wax my hair pretty much stood on end as visions of ‘Help’ outtakes danced in my head.
‘This song’ I thought ‘is as Beatle-y as anything I’ve ever heard by a band that was not themselves the Beatles!’
And it was.
In the two decades since those days, I’ve made is a sideline of sorts putting such records aside as I found them. Pre-podcasting, this collecting manifested itself via mix tapes and CDs, via which I podcasted in the comfort of my automobile, waiting for the birth of the interwebs so that I might share my mania with the world.
So, after I got the Iron Leg-adelicament thang up and running it was only a matter of time before the mix you are downloading/listening to today made its way onto the blog.
The vibe here, as suggested by the title ‘Almost Fab’ is a number of attempts to emulate the Beatles and their British Invasion ilk, with varying degrees of success, from pastiche to what would be referred to some 40 years on as sampling.

The opening track, ‘Feelin’ Lost’ sounds like somebody borrowed the acoustic rhythm guitars from 65-era Beatles and drove them to Detroit where they were used as the cornerstone for the Rationals 1966 45 – released locally on A2 and nationally on Cameo. Though the Rationals recorded some fine R&B/garage material, ‘Feelin’ Lost’ will always be my favorite tune by the band.
I can’t tell you much of anything about the Profile, other than ‘The Touch of Your Hand’ sounds like these boys had themselves a well-worn copy of ‘Meet the Beatles’.
The Naturals – and the song ‘It Was You- are unique in this set list as they apparently hailed from the UK. They even recorded a cover of an actual Beatles song – ‘I Should Have Known Better’ – in 1964 (the same years as this track). I’ve seen a reference that suggests that the song in this mix was co-written by Pete Townshend of the Who. The tune was also covered by the group Chaos and Co. If anyone knows if the Who connection is valid, please let me know.
Of the American groups that came to prominence in the wake of the British Invasion, the Beau Brummels were one of the finest. Hailing from the San Francisco Bay area the band hit the US charts half a dozen times in 1965 and 1966. ‘They’ll Make You Cry’ was the flip side of their 1965 Top 20 hit ‘Just a Little’. The song is a great, beat-ballad-ish number that sports and eerily Lennon-esque vocal and harmonica combo.
The British Walkers were one of the finer garage bands to come out of the Washington DC area in the 60s. They recorded several killer 45s for a variety of local and national labels, and included in their ranks (at different times) both Roy Buchanan and John Hall (later of Orleans). ‘That Was Yesterday’ – the flip of their cover of Sam Cooke’s ‘Shake’ – is another cut that sounds like early stage Beatles, though it was released in 1967. Interestingly enough ‘That Was Yesterday’ was written by Frank Dillon and Vernon Sandusky of one of the more successful Beatle-esque bands of the era (along with NJs Knickerbockers), the Chartbusters.
Speaking of songs that sound like actual lost Beatle tracks, ‘Till We Kissed’ by the Guess Who has to be near the top of the list. The flip side of their first hit, the smoking cover of Johnny Kidd & the Pirates ‘Shakin’ All Over’, the 45 was originally issued as having been recorded by ‘Guess Who?’ in an attempt to suggest that it may have in fact been the boys from Liverpool. ‘Shakin’…’ was such a big hit that the band (who were still performing as Chad Allan & the Expressions) had to change their name, and the rest as they say is history.
Tony’s Tygers* were a Milwaukee, Wisconsin band who recorded a number of 45s and an LP in 1968 for the local Teen Town label. One of those 45s ‘Little by Little’ and ‘Days and Nights’ was picked up for national distribution by A&M. ‘Days and Nights’ was another number that came from late in the decade but had that 1964/65 sound.
Another band from Milwaukee – and apparently one of the biggest local bands of the early 60’s, having several big local hits – were the Legends. Their 1964 45, ‘Here Comes the Pain’ b/w ‘Don’t Be Ashamed’ (both side of which are featured in this mix) is perhaps the perfect example of a 45 influenced by, and yearning to be the Beatles. Both ‘Here Comes the Pain’ and ‘Don’t Be Ashamed’ echo ‘She Loves You’, subtly in the former, not so much in the latter. It’s really the 45 that more than any other represents the “movement” (if you will) that spawned this sound. Though it certainly influenced no one outside of the Milwaukee area (it might have had it caught on nationally) it’s a microcosm of local rock and roll bands who were inspired by, and aspired to be the Beatles.
Aside from the fact that they recorded two 45s for United Artists in 1967 and 1968, I can’t tell you anything about Terry and the Chain Reaction. ‘Stop Stopping Me’ is one hundred percent pure, mop top jangle, aping the Fabs in a way that can only be described as Rutle-esque with an opening borrowed (sort of) from ‘Do You Want To Know a Secret’.
Though it falls somewhat outside the theme of the mix, I couldn’t avoid including a slice of pure exploitation, that being a cover of ‘Ticket To Ride’ by British Beat A Go Go. I have no idea who actually plays on this album (probably a studio group), but it was released by (and probably sold in the stores and catalog of) the Montgomery Ward company, second only to Sears Roebuck as a mail order department store of sorts. Released on the Majorette label, the LP (with no group pictured on the cover) is composed entirely of British Invasion material (mostly Beatles) and is a perfect example of the kind of quick buck, corporate exploitation of the day.
Denny Belline and the Dwellers were a Long Island, NY band that eventually turned into the Rascals-esque group Denny Belline and the Rich Kids, who recorded an LP for RCA. ‘It Happens That Way’ was the A-side of their 1965 debut 45 and though the vocals aren’t exactly ‘Liverpool West’, the backing track is decidedly Beatle-y.
The track that closes the mix is the aforementioned ‘Don’t Be Ashamed’ by the Legends, which has the British Beat sound, a repeated ‘She Loves You’-esque rhythm guitar riff and an ending that is an outright bit of thievery (though they’d probably call it an homage).
I hope you dig the sounds, and I’ll be back next week with some more cool stuff.
Peace
Larry
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*Not Tony & the Tigers, a band from around the same time that featured Hunt and Tony Sales, sons of the famous Soupy…

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some quality Northern Soul.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too…

Iron Leg Meets Funky16Corners #4 – Gilberto Gil – Oma Lao

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Gilberto Gil (In a Psychedelic Mood)

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Listen – Gilberto Gil – Oma Lao – MP3

Greetings all.
The tune I bring you today is the flipside of the same 45 featured over at Funky16Corners.
I’ve beena big an of Tropicalia for a long time, and the music that Gilberto Gil recorded between 1967 and 1972 is one of the major cornerstones of that movement.
It’s rare that I get a 45 with one side that I’d consider Funky16Corners-worthy that also has an Iron Leg-gy flip, but when I finally scored a copy of the Gilberto Gil 45 that haunted my want list for so long, it fit the (double) bill.
The Iron Leg side of the 45 is the song I bring you today, ‘Oma Lao’*. Recorded during the sessions for Gil’s 1968, self-titled LP (like Peter Gabriel years later, Gil had a string of LPs that bore only his name), ‘Oma Lao’ is every bit as psychedelic and experimental as it’s a-side ‘Aquele Abraco’ is straightforward and joyous. The 1968 LP (also known as ‘Cerebro Eletronico’) is one of the most innovative and far out LPs of the Tropicalia years with all manner of trippy tape manipulations, experiments with musique concrete set side by side with pure pop.
‘Oma Lao’ has a recurring, echoed guitar riff and bass line, seasoned with minimal, improvised percussion, with Gil repeating the title over and over again. There are what sound like tape splices with bits of Hendrix-esque guitar. I have no idea what he’s singing about, but he is clearly speaking the international language of psychedelia. Whether the tune is about a ham sandwich, or more likely nothing at all, it’s still inescapably lysergic.
If you dig what you hear, make sure you grab Gilberto Gil’s first three LPs as well as material from the same era by Caetano Veloso, Os Mutantes, Gal Costa and others, and head over to Funky16Corners to check out the fantastic flipside of this 45 (one of my favorite songs).
Peace
Larry

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*The 45, which I believe is a Chilean issue spells both songs differently than their listings on the ‘Gilberto Gil’ CD reissue, so I decided to defer to the LP spelling, thus the different title in the label scan above.

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for the flipside of this very 45.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too…

Moody Blues – Fly Me High

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The Moody Blues

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Listen – The Moody Blues – Fly Me High – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope everyone had a fine weekend.

I hope all is well on your end, and that you all dug last weeks podcast. I have a few more already put together and ready to go in the coming weeks.
The tune I bring you today is a 45 that I picked up about 25 years ago. At the time I was already a Moody Blues fan, but had only recently begun to dig the first version of the band, that being the Denny Laine led, decidedly R&B flavored organization that hit with a cover of Bessie Banks’ ‘Go Now’ in 1965.
Thanks to my mod/garage compadres, a few of whom (esp. Mr. Luther) were serious Anglophiles, I was picking up every Moodys 45 that I could get my hands on. A few of these were non-LP tracks recorded after the ‘Go Now’ LP but before Denny Laine left the band, and they were a great look at their evolving sound when they were outgrowing the R&B and soul influence and starting to get a little poppier, well on their way to the land of freakbeat.
It was during that period, while out digging that I happened upon an orange-label 45 by the band that I’d never heard of (or heard) before. When I got it home, fully expecting the voice of Mr. Laine, I was surprised when instead the instantly recognizable voice of Justin Hayward should emit from the speakers.
As it turns out, that song – the one you’re checking out today – ‘Fly Me High’ was the very first 45 by the Hayward-led version of the Moody Blues, recorded in March of 1967 and released two months later.
‘Fly Me High’ is – aside from being an excellent record, dig that ascending bass/piano line – a very interesting artifact of a band on the verge of changing course yet again. Their landmark LP ‘Days of Future Past’ was just about a half a year away. They would drop the compact power of the freakbeat sound (and to be honest, nobody started calling it freakbeat for another 20 years, but freakbeat it was nonetheless) for the more expansive, orchestrated psychedelia that would carry the band into the mid-70s.
It all makes me wish that Hayward had come along earlier. I can only imagine how cool a full album by the band might have been had they been able to craft an entire transitional album in 1966, bridging the early and the later periods of the band. Could it have been the Moody Blues ‘Revolver’?
The world will never know.
Peace
Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a soul classic.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too…

Iron Leg Digital Trip #15 – It Came From Outer Space!

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Playlist
Johnny Bond – X15 (Republic)
Dickie Goodman – Martian Melody (Luniverse)
Jim Lowe – Take Us To Your President (Dot)
Rockers – Rocket Ship (Mark)
Buchanan & Goodman – Flying Saucer the 2nd (Luniverse)
The Saucerman – Saucer Serenade (Luniverse)
Buchanan & Goodman – The Flying Saucer Goes West (Luniverse)
The Busters – Astronaut (Arlen)
Billy Lee Riley – Flying Saucers Rock and Roll (Sun)

Listen/Download 29MB Mixed MP3

Download 28MB ZIP File-

Greetings all.
I hope the new week finds you well, and in the mood for something new and different.
The mix I bring you today, Iron Leg Digital Trip #15, is something of a departure.
Some years back, thanks to the good graces of my father-in-law I came into ownership of a collection (mountain is a more suitable description) of 45s numbering in the thousands. I spent the better part of a summer combing through the many boxes, initially pulling out the big ticket items (some for my crates, some for the sale/trade box), and then on to exploring everything else. Though it would be fair to say that the vast majority of the collection was either incredibly common and/or incredibly lame, there was a bunch of great stuff, much of it new to me.
The cool thing – aside from a number of great soul and funk 45s – there was a lot of British Invasion stuff, and a fair amount of rockabilly/old school rock’n’roll discs.
As I was going through the latter category I started to notice – and put aside – a small pile of 45s that all centered around the late 50s/early 60s flying saucer/space craze.
Since that day I’ve always wanted to take that little snapshot of an era and make a mix out of it.
And so I did…
Anyone that ever stayed up late for a monster horror chiller theater type scare show on a Saturday night already knows that the 50s and early 60s saw the world (especially middle America) obsessed with flying saucers and all things outer space. Since the term ‘flying saucer’ was coined in 1947, the idea that we might be visited by beings from outer space (or more specifically in a motif set long before by folks like HG Wells, Mars), in combination with the space race aspect of cold war hysteria pop culture filled up with any number of recurring motifs/archetypes.
Martians, little green men, super intelligent robots, flyings saucers, rocket ships, all turned up in movies and television, not to mention food, drink, toys and most importantly science fiction literature (which fed the movies and TV) to the point of ubiquity.
A small – but significant – part of this world was evidenced in pop music.
This mix opens with a cut by Johnny Bond. The tune ‘X-15’ – dedicated to the supersonic experiment rocket of the same name which first took to the air in 1959. Bond was a longtime western swing/cowboy singer (he worked with Gene Autry) who recorded the first popular version of the classic ‘Hot Rod Lincoln’. He recorded ‘X-15 in 1960 and it has a great sound on the country end of the rockabilly spectrum.
Dickie Goodman was one half of the novelty hitmaking duo Buchanan and Goodman. They hit the charts a number of times in the 50s and 60’s, their specialty being what became known as “break-in” records, in which snippets of actual pop records were dropped into an ongoing comedic theme. ‘Martian Melody’ was a short instrumental that appeared on the flipside of 1961s ‘Touchables’, which if you haven’t already figured it out was a parody of ‘The Untouchables’ . Though Buchanan and Goodman hit the charts a number of times as a duo, most successfully in 1956 with ‘The Flying Saucer Pts 1&2’, Goodman had a much larger number of hits under his own name over a dozen times between 1961 and 1977. As was the case with his later soul and funk based break-ins, which featured interesting instrumentals on their b-sides, ‘Martian Melody’ – which was recorded twice ?!? – is worth a listen, if only for the chipmunks-esque opening intro, and the oddly pitched music which has the potential to be vaguely nauseating for those with motion sickness.
The next cut is by a guy that I knew for years as a middle-of-the-road, easy listening DJ in New York City, having no idea that he’d had a recording career in the mid-50’s (his version of ‘Green Door’ also recorded by Esquerita and later Wynder K Frog was a hit in 1956). Jim Lowe’s ‘Take Us To Your President’ – from 1958 – is a twist on the ‘take us to your leader’ meme, with the invaders being moon men who decide to fall by to get some of that good earth grub (including potatoes, meat, tomatoes, salmon, tuna), since they apparently subsist on a diet of green cheese. The music here is pretty bland, but you get plenty of wild theremin effects.
The Rockers (who also recorded as Dusty Boyd and the Rockers) were an Upstate New York group who recorded the low-fi ‘Rocket Ship’ in 1958. The vibe here is pure, hiccupping rockabilly which sounds like it was actually recorded in outer space.
The next cut is the follow-up to Buchanan and Goodman’s ‘Flying Saucer’, imaginatively titled ‘Flying Saucer the 2nd’. Released in 1957, the record included break-ins from the Everly Brothers, Diamonds and Marty Robbins among others, as well as a couple of calypso records, for a small taste of yet another fad.
The next two tunes are actually both sides of the same single. The instrumental ‘Saucer Serenade’ is a solid, R&B sax number. I would love to find out where Buchanan and Goodman got these instrumental tracks – especially Goodman, who put a couple of tasty funk instrumentals on his later singles. Were these leftover tracks laying around a studio somewhere, instrumentals that had been released under other names and were essentially being re-used, or were they in fact original recordings for these 45s?
The a-side of the record was 1958s ‘The Flying Saucer Goes West’. It is – at least in my opinion – the best of their ‘flying saucer’ sides (which reached into the mid-60s), which probably has a lot to do with the music they drop into the mix, which included snippets of tunes by Huey Piano Smith & the Clowns, the Champs, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Though I haven’t been able to track down any info on the Busters, ‘Astronaut’ which was released in 1963 came out on the Philadelphia-based Arlen label. It’s a great, honking, reverbed sax instro that wouldn’t be out of place as background music for a buxom stripped swinging her tassels over a bar somewhere.
The last track is probably the all-time classic of the rockabilly/flying saucer subgenre, 1957s ‘Flying Saucers Rock and Roll’ by Billy Lee Riley. It helps that Riley’s backup band was billed as the Little Green Men. Riley was one of the greats of Sun rockabilly, recording the all-time classic ‘Red Hot’, later covered by Robert Gordon. ‘Flying Saucers Rock and Roll’ has a wailing vocal by Riley, reverbed guitar and pounding Jerry Lee-style piano. Riley went on in the 60s to a more R&B sound.
I hope you dig this little snapshot of a pop culture back alley. I have some cool mixes coming up, including a new garage punk mix and some more rockabilly.
I’ll see you later in the week.
Peace
Larry
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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some Jamaican funk.

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too…

The Blue Things – Orange Rooftop Of Your Mind b/w One Hour Cleaners

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The Blue Things (Val Stecklein, top)

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Listen – The Blue Things – Orange Rooftop of Your Mind- MP3

Listen – The Blue Things – One Hour Cleaners – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope all is well on your end, and that you’re all ready for a most excellent and relaxing weekend.
Back in the day (oh, another one of those posts…), when the garage and psyche reissues were coming out as fast as the pressing plants could manufacture them, one of the major rediscoveries was the Blue Things.
Unlike the vast majority of bands that caught the ears of garage/psyche collectors, the Blue Things managed – without any national success – to create a fairly substantial discography stretching from the Beat era, through folk rock and garage punk right on into the psychedelic era.
Based in Kansas (huh?) they recorded initially for the local Ruff label, later being signed to RCA for whom they would record several 45s and an LP.
The history of the Blue Things is a testament to the power of regional radio and the scenes that it fed (and which in turn fed upon it). The band had some substantial regional hits which benefited from play on radio stations with transmitters that could reach the entire midsection of the country. Their music could be heard – and the band toured – from Texas to Minnesota. They were stars, but pretty much only regionally, a status that the homogenization of radio (and the dawn of the video age) has pretty much eliminated.
As I mentioned earlier, pretty much everything they recorded was reissued in the 80s. and two of those tracks ‘Orange Rooftop of Your Mind’ and ‘One Hour Cleaners’ (oddly enough, the two songs I bring you today) have been a fixture on my mix tapes (and CDs) ever since.
Last year, while out digging at a record show, record bag full of loot, I decided to make one last stop at the table of a garage/psyche dealer that I’ve been buying records from for 20 years. Right there, in the front of one of his boxes was the 45 I’d been looking for since the 80s, and it was only ten bucks, so (and I know you already figured out this part of the story) I bought it.
Good thing too, because I’d go as far as to say that this 1967 record is one of the finest American psychedelic 45s of the era. There’s something for everyone, fuzz guitars, backward tape, tight harmonies and psyched out lyrics. Interestingly –as revealed by a demo version – the original title of ‘Orange Rooftop of Your Mind’ was in fact ‘Coney Island of Your Mind’, paraphrasing the title of a Lawrence Ferlinghetti poem.
‘One Hour Cleaners’ is acid drenched, with the ‘Taxman’ beat, reverse tape (in the intro as well as during the song), echoed piano, phased vocals and what sounds like a touch of Moog synthesizer (the 45 was recorded at RCA’s studios in Nashville, TN, reportedly with the assistance of Ray Stevens who went on to have several hits of his own).
Sadly, Val Stecklein left the Blue Things to head to the West Coast (where he would record a solo LP for the Dot label) and the band would break up a year later. After a couple of decades of failing mental health, Stecklein (who had changed the spelling of his last name to ‘Stoecklein’) passed away in 1993 at the age of 52.
I hope you dig the tune (and if you do, look for those Blue Things comps), and I’ll be back on Monday with an unusual new edition of Iron Leg Digital Trip.
Peace
Larry

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PS Head on over to Funky16Corners for a new Hammond-tastic edition of Funky16Corners Radio.

PSS Check out the new update at Paperback Rider too…

The Choir – It’s Cold Outside

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The Choir

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Listen – The Choir – It’s Cold Outside – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope everyone had a fine weekend.

I’ve been a busy little blogger, digi-ma-tizing and stockpiling vinyl for at least four new Iron Leg Digital Trip Podcasts.
The track I bring you today is one that I discovered in a typically half-assed way.
Back in the day, when my mates and I were digging the Chesterfield Kings, as the trucked into NYC from the Rochester hinterlands to put on some of the ass-kickingest live shows of the 80s, the bands first LP ‘Here Are the Chesterfield Kings’ was in heavy rotation.
One of the tunes on that album was a cover of a tune by someone named Dan Klawson called ‘I’m Going Home’. It was a Stones-y number (which might describe a good thirty percent of all 60s garage punk originals) and at the time, before the dawning of the great maw now known as the interwebs, that’s all we knew.
A few years on someone – I don’t recall who, hepped me to the fact that the tune was a cover of an original by a Cleveland, Ohio band called the Choir. Not long after that, providence being what it is I happened upon a nice, clean copy of the 45 for about a ten spot, and gave it a good home. I got the 45 home (this was also pre-portable), flipped it over and realized that I’d picked up what we record nerds refer to as a two-sider. The flip (actually the A side) was a fantastic pop tune called ‘It’s Cold Outside’.
So…I whip the tunes onto a mix tape, which I happen to be playing at work one night when one of the editors comes over and is all
“Wow! The Choir! I love that song.”
‘What song?”
says I.
“It’s Cold Outside.”
“Huh?”
says I.
It turns out that the editor grew up in Cleveland, where ‘It’s Cold Outside’ was a HUGE hit in 1967, and has been a fixture on local oldies radio ever since then.
“Far out!” says I.
As the years went on, I found out that some of the cats in the Choir (Dave Smalley – who sang the tune – Wally Bryson and Jim Bonfanti) went on some years later to help for a little band known as the Raspberries, who just happened to be one of the great power pop bands of all time.
It’s not hard to hear the roots of that sound in ‘It’s Cold Outside’. There’s enough pop here for the teenyboppers to cream their jeans, and enough of an edge to keep their boyfriends from losing their minds. That chorus is a killer.
I’ll have to digi-ma-tize that B-side some day, as it is also quite groovy.
I hope you dig the tune.
Peace
Larry

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PS PS Stay tuned….this Tuesday is Vinyl Record Day, and I’ll have a post up (part of a blogswarm) over at Funky16Corners.

PSS Check out the new update at Paperback Rider too…

Nilsson – Together

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Harry Nilsson

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Listen – Nilsson – Together – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope all is well with you in your little pocket of reality.
The tune I bring you today is one side of a 45 by one of my favorite singers of all time, Harry Nilsson.
Though Nilsson is certainly a well known name, and had a number of hits (including ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ which is a close to a universally known pop song as has ever been issued) I’d say that he is today, almost 15 years after his untimely passing, criminally underappreciated.
Nilsson certainly has (and has had for some time) quite the cult following which can (at certain points in the timeline) be closely tied to his Beatles association. This is occasionally a good thing, in that the Fabs appreciation of his first album (via a little vinyl prosthelytizing by Derek Taylor), but is also a problem in that a lot of folks only know Nilsson for his supporting role in John Lennon’s “lost weekend”.
My appreciation of the man and his music goes back to my childhood, beginning with ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ and ‘Without You’ on AM radio, moving through ‘The Point’ and later on with my discovery of the proto-remix LP ‘Aerial Pandemonium Ballet’, which introduced me to the music on his first two albums.
He was a brilliant songwriter and was possessed of an angelic tenor voice that sends chills up and down my spine whenever I heard it. I’ve always admired his ability to combine pure pop hooks with art-song conventions (in addition to his well tuned ear for old school Tin Pan Alley).
One of his finest songs (from his second RCA album ‘Aerial Ballet’) is today’s selection ‘Together’. ‘Aerial Ballet’ would be a breakthrough for Nilsson, with ‘One’ going on to be covered by Three Dog Night and ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ being included on the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack (and becoming a major hit*). ‘Together’ is a brief, beautiful gem of a song, proof that among Beatle-esque performers, he stood alone in his ability to emulate (recreate?) the Beatles sound without sounding like the Beatles (does that make any sense??). The song features one of my favorite Nilsson melodies and I love the horn arrangement.
I hope you dig it too.
Peace
Larry

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*I always found it terribly ironic that a songwriter of the talent of Nilsson had his biggest hits with other people’s material

PS Make sure to stop by Funky16Corners for some reviews of new stuff by classic soul artists.

PSS Check out the new update at Paperback Rider too…

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