The Critters – Little Girl

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The Critters

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Listen -The Critters – Little Girl – MP3

Greetings all.

The last time we featured the music of the Critters was almost two years ago, not long after the inception of the Iron Leg blog.
When you mention the name of the Critters to most people (those who might be familiar with the sounds of the 60s anyway) the song they think of more often than not is the dramy, melodic pop of ‘Mr. Dieingly Sad’, their Top 40 hit from the summer of 1966.
If you get yourself a chance to dig a little deeper, and manage to pick up some of the Critters’ 45s, which fortunately are both plentiful and inexpensive, you’ll discover that they were much more than that song.
Formed in New Jersey, the Critters signed with Kapp records in 1964 and released their first records in 1966. The hit the Top 40 for the first time in the Spring of 1966 with their cover of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s ‘Younger Girl’. They managed to hit the charts about a half dozen times before leaving Kapp, and breaking up/reforming in 1968 to record an excellent sunshine pop/lite psych LP for Enoch Light’s Project 3 label.
‘Little Girl’, written by keyboard player Chris Darway was a local New York area hit in the fall of 1967. Like the first Critters song I posted here – ‘It Just Won’t Be That Way’ – ‘Little Girl’ has a great garage/folk vibe, with lots of jangly guitar and a nice electric piano solo by Darway. The opening chords remind me a little of ‘The Way I Feel About You’ by the Pete Best Four.
I hope you dig the tune and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.

Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some Chicago funk.

The Merry Go Round – Live

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The Merry Go Round

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Listen -The Merry Go Round – Live – MP3

Greetings all.

I hope all is well on your end.
Earlier this week I dug back into a couple of old boxes of neglected 45s, and in addition to a couple of nice soul 45s for Funky16Corners, I pulled out about a dozen selections for Iron Leg, all of which will appear in this space in the coming months.
There’s something to be said for burrowing back into existing stock when you find yourself in otherwise lean record buying times.
Other than that, I find myself at the end of a busy week, looking forward to stockpiling some rest and relaxation credits over the weekend. I may or may not – depending on how I feel when I get up on Saturday morning – mow the lawn, or (and this will require a special level of concentration that I am not always privy to on the weekend) take my new chainsaw out for a test drive on the pile of tree limbs next to the driveway.
Before I dive into any of that mess, it behooves me to bring you a selection with which to finish out the week.
Way back in the olden days, when I was but a long-haired lad awash in the jangle and fuzz of a bygone era, I happened to hear a tune on the first Bangles* album that a quick glance at the credits indicated was in fact a cover. It wasn’t long before I tracked down the original, by a group called the Merry Go Round. The name of the group’s leader – Emitt Rhodes – was vaguely familiar and I soon tracked down the Rhino Records Merry Go Round comp and fell in love with their music (and later still with Rhodes’ solo albums).
‘Live’ is a perfect amalgam of pop and Sunset Strip folk rock, with s sunny, proto-hippie message of liberation, all wrapped in bright, tight harmonies and jangly guitar. The song was a Top 100 it in 1967 (Top 10 in California) and the Merry Go Round had at least one more minor hit with ‘You’re a Very Lovely Woman’** later that year. Their sole LP (which I was lucky enough to find a copy of this summer) also features ‘Time Will Show the Wiser’, which was covered in the UK by none other than Fairport Convention.
If you haven’t checked out the Merry Go Round (or Rhodes’ solo stuff), there are plenty of CD reissues that cover both phases of his career, and they are all worth checking out.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Monday

Peace

Larry

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*Say what you want about ‘Walk Like and Egyptian’, but in their early days the Bangles were a fantastic 60s-style pop band. Their first EP on IRS, and their first full-length album (where they cover ‘Live’) are both worth looking for if you have a taste for the Paisley Underground era.

**I have a VERY interesting cover of that song coming up very soon.

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some blue-eyed Northern Soul

Lulu – Love Loves to Love Love

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Lulu

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Listen -Lulu – Love Loves to Love Love – MP3

Greetings all.

I hope everyone out there had an excellent weekend, and is ready to ingest something strong to get the week started.
The tune I bring you today is an old fave, and something that I might have very well posted over at Funky16Corners (I’ve spun it during funk sets), Lulu’s ‘Love Loves to Love Love’.
Lulu is one of those artists who’s 60s work is assumed by many to be restricted to ‘To Sir With Love’, but those in the know will be familiar with her earlier R&B oriented work. The fact of the matter is that Lulu recorded enough hard edged, soulful stuff that she ought to be mentioned in the same breath as Dusty Springfield as the semi-official UK white girl who could bring the heat.
Today’s selection is a kicker, with a soul edge, hard (very hard) drums and just the tiniest hint of freakbeat running underneath.
‘Love Loves to Love Love’ was one of several 1967 singles collected on LPs in the US (Sings To Sir With Love) and the UK (Love Loves to Love Lulu) and is really something of a lost classic.
As I mentioned before, the drums are decidedly next level (I wish I knew who was playing) and Lulu’s soulful vocal, and the fuzz guitar make it into a killer.
Produced by Mickie Most (and arranged by John Paul Jones!) , and written by Estelle Levitt* and Don Thomas (who had written material for Hermans Hermits, The Seekers and Chad and Jeremy among others) “Love Loves to Love’ was a Top 40 hit in the UK, and was later sampled by Fatboy Slim in his song ‘Santa Cruz’.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.

Peace

Larry

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*Levitt also co-wrote ‘All I Know Is the Way I Feel’ with Jerry Ragavoy. The tune was recorded by both Irma Thomas and the Pointer Sisters.

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some Memphis funk

Mighty Baby – Egyptian Tomb

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Mighty Baby looking kinda patchouli-y….

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Listen -Mighty Baby – Egyptian Tomb – MP3

Greetings all.

The weekend is hovering like a cobra, ready to strike, so like a swami of the mystical east, I will now attempt to soothe it with some tunage, so that we may all ascend to the next level, with happy ears and a smile on our faces (individual smiles, or maybe one big collective one, I’m not sure).
The tune I bring you today was passed along to me many years ago by my man Mr. Luther as (if memory serves) a birthday gift, and what a gift it was.
Then, the connective tissue at work was the fact that a number of members of Mighty Baby had also done time in one of the greatest of the Mod bands, the Action. I had heard of Mighty Baby, and has seen the album cover in a coffee table book, but was woefully unfamiliar with their music.
When I got home, and slid the CD into the player and slapped on the headphones I was – to rehash an old cliché – blown the fuck away.
The first song on the album (and the CD, natch) is the tune I bring you today, ‘Egyptian Tomb’.
When ‘Egyptian Tomb’ started flowing from the phones into the earholes, my head began to spin.
Though I spent a fair amount of time digging the fuzz, the mod beat and the lo-fi, look sharpery of the mid-80s retro scene, I was a couple of years older than many of my compadres and as a result had spent a goodly amount of time, previous to those years ingesting a somewhat higher grade of freaky post-psychedelic progressive-ness, perhaps a little too caftan and long bearded for the Beatle-booted, mop tops of ’86.
Back in the day, during the waning moments of my Beatles obsession, when I was playing in actual (non fuzz-oriented) garage bands, and partaking in the leafy goodness of the cannibis sativa, my buddies and I tended to shovel into our ears as much of the dreamy prog-type stuff as possible. This included everything from Traffic to Yes, to King Crimson to whatever records we could find with long, dreamy songs that would – how do they say? – facilitate the dreamier effects of the intoxicants at hand.
As my tastes became punkier, and I spent more time digging on the Sonics and the Gonn, it wasn’t that I gave up on the vibe, as it were, just that I replaced ‘The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys’ with stuff like ‘Slip Inside This House’ and ‘Vacuum Cleaner’, drilling deeper into obscurity.
When I was handed the Mighty Baby CD, and informed of the Action connection (the disc also contained some very cool unreleased psychedelic Action tracks) I assumed that what I was going to hear was also stylistically Action-like.
When I actually heard the album, I was stunned at how un-Action-y Mighty Baby was, and how close they were to the things I’d been listening to at the end of my teenage years.
‘Egyptian Tomb’ is in many ways the perfect opening track for Mighty Baby’s debut album because in its roughly five and a half minutes it manages to act as a statement of purpose and style for the entire record. It is in turns spacey, jazzy, tuneful and trippy in a way that doesn’t hew to closely to any of those styles but manages to mix them all into something completely new. Though there was a taste of Traffic in there, there was also bits of California mellowness, as well as traces of the UK psyche underground that was at that time mutating into something much looser (since you could spread out more in a caftan than in a tightly tailored, ruffled, satin dandy-suit).
The grooviest thing of all about Mighty Baby, is that they managed to stitch together everything that was cool about that transitional era while simultaneously dispensing with everything that sucked about it. Mighty Baby were the prog band for people that have learned to despise the mewling of once groovy musicians who felt it necessary come 1969 to work out their “classical training” 25 minutes at a time while wrapped in a sequined cape (I’m looking at you Rick Wakeman…).
It was only earlier this year that I got my mitts on an original copy of the Mighty Baby album, which was actually one of two records released on an obscure, short-lived subsidiary of Chess Records called Head (check out that crazy label). Give this song a listen, and if you dig it, get yourself a copy of the CD, on account of it’s really, really good.
That is all.
Have a great weekend.

Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some groovy soul

Bob Lind – Cheryl’s Goin’ Home

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Bob Lind and a really terrible picture of his record…

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Listen -Bob Lind – Cheryl’s Goin’ Home – MP3

Greetings all.

It’s been a long weekend, which I foolishly ended by spending way too much time outside doing yard work. This was partially the fault of the sudden, bizarre Nor’Easter-ish weather we had at the end of the week which dropped a big tree limb in the yard (and blocked the street) and dumped sticks and leaves all over the place. I’m no fan of a finely manicured lawn, but there was enough debris that I figured if I left it alone it had the potential to turn into something that might kill a whole weekend down the line. I had to head out with my axe while the storm was still happening to dismantle the tree limb (it was too big to move in one piece) and move the wood out of the way (which was, as you can imagine a hoot of the first order).
So, I waded into the mess with my new cordless hedge trimmer (how suburban Dad is that?), rake and giant garbage can and did what I could to restore order, on account of that’s how I roll.
That said, the tune I bring you today was something of a happy surprise (I like those).
While out digging, I happened upon a copy of Bob Lind’s 1966 ‘Don’t Be Concerned’ LP, which featured the hit ‘Elusive Butterfly’. I wouldn’t say that I’m a big fan of that song, but I rarely pass up any 60s pop LP, since they often contain hidden treasures. I’m happy to say that this one did too.
Lind signed with World Pacific in 1965 and had a Top 10 hit (in the US and the UK) with ‘Elusive Butterfly’ the following year.
A cursory glance at his career would suggest that after that things didn’t really go anywhere in particular. But, to paraphrase Ike and Tina, we never do anything ‘cursory’, and a little digging reveals that Lind’s biggest success was not as a recording artist, but as a songwriter, with scores of artists covering his material.
As I mentioned before, ‘Don’t Be Concerned’ contained some hidden treasures, one of which is the tune I bring you today, ‘Cheryl’s Goin’ Home’.
A fantastic chiming bit of folk rock (arranged by none other that the mighty Jack Nitzsche) , ‘Cheryl’s Goin’ Home’ was covered by Adam Faith (who had a hit with the song in the UK), Sonny & Cher, the Blues Project, the Bystanders and the Hondells.
I’m especially fond of this tune because it gives off the kind of vibe that was so prevalent in the dawning garage punk scene. It’s not hard to imagine a tune like ‘Cheryl’s Goin’ Home’, a little bit rougher, with a touch of lo-fi goodness, being beaten half to death in some suburban garage, strained through mail-order guitars and a single, overtaxed amplifier.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back later in the week with something tasty.

Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some New Orleans funk

Get Your Chiswick Out…

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The Bishops

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Little Bob Story

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Listen -The Bishops – Good Time – MP3

Listen -Little Bob Story – I’m Crying – MP3

Greetings all.

I hope the end of the week finds you in what the wheat germ gobblers refer to as a good head space.

I’m fucking tired, but that’s nothing new.

The tune I bring you today is a little bit of goodness from what may very well be my favorite 70s label, the mighty Chiswick.

Chiswick was the The ‘original’ UK indie label (pre-Stiff) and laid the groundwork for the punk/new wave explosion to come.

I first got hipped to the Chiswick “sound” – a rough mix of punk, pub rock, garage punk and all points in between – sometime in the early 80s when I picked up an import comp of their finest stuff called ‘Submarine Tracks and Fools Gold’. The LP contained tracks by a wide variety of bands that I’d never heard of, like the 101ers (home to a young Joe Strummer), Gorillas, Count Bishops, Radio Stars and Little Bob Story. While not everything on the disc grabbed me, a couple of tracks (by the Count Bishops and Little Bob Story) knocked me on my ass and I spent the next few years grabbing as much wax by those two bands as I could find.

The two tracks I bring you today are personal faves, both covers, and indicative of the raw, kick in the head sounds that made both of these bands killers.

The first track is the Bishops‘ (they dropped the ‘Count’ after a couple of albums) 1979 reworking of the Easybeats oft covered ‘Good Time’. Featuring the glass-gargling vocals of Dave Tice, and the twin axe attack of Zenon De Fleur and Johnny Guitar (Oh, those were simpler times, weren’t they??) the Bishops pay appropriate tribute to the mighty original and acquit themselves nicely.

The second track I bring you today is by an odd looking, somewhat manic French band called Little Bob Story. Their 1976 version of the Animals’ ‘I’m Crying’ is nothing if not explosive, pounded out by the band as if their amphetamine and espresso binge was peaking. You can pretty much hear their eyes bugging out like so much ocular escargot as they careen around the studio doing cartwheels, setting each other’s hair on fire and giving serious consideration to whatever the French word for ‘mayhem’ is.

Solid stuff, and an excellent window into the glowing coals that lit the fire of 70s punk.

I hope you dig the sounds and I’ll be back on Monday.

Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some Latin funk.

The Blue Things – Twist and Shout

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The Blue Things

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Listen -The Blue Things – Twist and Shout – MP3

Greetings all.

Welcome to the dawning of a new seven day cycle…
The tune I bring you today is a familiar one, delivered in a most unfamiliar style.
I’ve gone into my love for the Blue Things here in the past. They were one of the truly great regional bands of the garage era, and ought to have been much better known. They were stylistically innovative, solid songwriters, and sadly never really fought their way out of the Midwest (where they were very successful).
The tune I bring you today is the Blue Things wild – some might even say sacrilegious – take on the Isley Brothers chestnut ‘Twist and Shout’.
I don’t think I’d be telling tales out of school if I were to admit that I am good and sick of the Beatles cover of the song, which seems to elicit a Pavlovian response from the Joe Six-Packs (and Ferris Bueller fans) of the world, amongst whom it is considered a great work of rock’n’roll art. An Ur document of s certain period of time.
In my little corner of the universe, where by the way I hold the Beatles in the highest possible regard, I consider their version of ‘Twist and Shout’ to be dreadfully overplayed and somewhat painful to listen to, a veritable grab bag of early-Fabs tics and clichés.
That said, the Blue Things unbox the song and take it to some strange new places. So strange in fact that I suspect some people might not realize right away what song it is they are hearing.
Their version of ‘Twist and Shout’ bridges the garage punk and psych styles, with a rough edge to it’s lysergic flights of fancy.
It’s heavy, and groovy and ought to be passed on to as many people as possible as a fine example of what can be done with a little imagination.
I hope you dig it.

Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a new edition of the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast

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