Hedge and Donna – Always and Endless

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Hedge and Donna Capers

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Listen – Hedge and Donna – Always and Endless – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope the end of the week finds you in what the incense burning contingent used to refer to as a ‘good headspace’.
I for one have lots of headspace, and am considering some kind of leasing arrangement so that I might appear more intelligent. There’s nothing like a nice, tightly packed brainpan, or so I’ve heard.
My brain – or what’s left of it right now – is very, very, verrrrrry tired. The renovation of the record room was followed almost immediately by tearing the rest of the house apart, an effort which ran simultaneously with a serious fever, reducing me to a quivering mass of fatigue and mean looks.
I’m feeling better, but I’m still a tired fella.
In service of soothing my shattered nerves (and those of others, natch) I figured I’d whip out something a little mellow.
Some months back I set foot in a new (to me) record store, and walked out with a big stack of groovy 60s sounds.
The record I bring you today was part of that stack.
Strange as it may seem, I had no idea what Hedge and Donna sounded like, and grabbed the album because I’d seen it repped on a funk and soul message board I used to frequent. Seeing unusual records there usually means one of two things:
1. The record is either secretly soulful (i.e. harbors and incongruous breakbeat or loop)
2. It has ‘grip and flip’ potential, i.e. dug up solely for its resale value

As it turns out, neither was true about this album, which, lovely as it is, is neither secretly funky, nor particularly valuable.
It is, however, quite nice.
I haven’t been able to put much info together about the pair, other than that they were married (last name Capers), and that they released a couple of albums in the late 60s/early 70s. That, and the truly odd fact that Hedge Capers went on to star in a low budget film based on one of my truly favorite literary characters, Silver John aka John the Balladeer in the short stories and novels of Manly Wade Wellman.*
The tune I bring you today, ‘Always and Endless’ is from the LP ‘Hedge and Donna 2’, and is really a sweet slice of Tim Buckley-esque folk pop, with just a tiny bit of Pearls Before Swine tossed in for good measure. In addition to the vocals and acoustic guitar, you get some nice jazzy vibes and the soothing sound effects of water lapping the shoreline.
The whole bag rubs up uncomfortably against earnestness, but as far as I’m concerned, stops just short of it, coming in as a very mellow, very groovy listening experience.
I hope you dig it too, and I’ll be back on Monday.


Peace

Larry

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*If you have an interest in an odd mix of Twilight Zoney stories in a backwoods setting, you should chase down one of the out of print collections thereof.

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a some outstanding LA soul.

Boyce and Hart – Out and About

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Boyce (3rd from left), Hart (left) and their group on ‘I Dream of Jeannie’
All of these pics taken from that same episode.

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‘Steve Davis’ aka the Tycoon of Teen, Mr Phil Spector
When the craziest thing about him was those lemon meringue cuffs.

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The band (with ‘Jeannie’ aka Barbara Eden) on drums play in ‘Steve Davis’s’ office

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Listen – Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart – Out and About – MP3

Greetings all.
The new week has rolled around and while not fit as a fiddle or right as rain, I am feeling better than I was on Friday, so I decided to whip out a big fave with an interesting story.
I have to credit my man Devil Dick of the Devil’s Music blog for introducing this tune to me a while back.
While I wouldn’t consider myself a huge fan of the entire oeuvre of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, I have to say that they made a couple of my favorite pop records of the 60s, including today’s selection (natch) and the long lost gem, the theme to ‘Where Angels Go Trouble Follows’.
Back in the day, I always knew of them via their connection to the Monkees (they penned ‘Last Train to Clarksville’ and ‘(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone’ among others) but until I found the 45 of ‘Where Angels Go…’ I can’t honestly say that I had any idea what their own music sounded like.
I’ve had their ‘I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight’ LP for a long, long time, and aside from a few nice moments, was always appalled by the abomination they made of Larry Williams and Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson’s soul classic ‘Two For the Price of One’.
That, and the fact that in pictures, Boyce and Hart always seemed a little, how do they say, ‘ripe’, i.e. looking like a couple of older guys not quite successfully attempting to merge with the youth culture. This isn’t entirely fair, since when they released their first LP in 1967, they were both only in their late 20s. There was something vaguely counterfeit about two slightly older looking guys sporting the latest mod threads, who seemed to pop up all over the place, appearing on multiple non-musical TV shows, usually as their own, rock star selves.
Anyway, going back to the story, I heard this song on The Devil’s Music, dug it a lot, and soon forgot all about it.
Then, last year I went on a tear trying to track down as many rock star appearances on TV shows (dramas and sitcoms), one of which was a 1967 episode of ‘I Dream of Jeannie’, which mainly interested me because it featured an acting bit by none other than Phil Spector. I finally found it, and aside from the fact that Spector acquitted himself nicely (i.e. didn’t seem insane), what really grabbed me was they song Boyce and Hart (with ‘Jeannie’ aka Barbara Eden, on drums) started playing in Spector’s office.
It was one of those ‘where has this song been all my life moments’ (not realizing that I’d already heard it).
‘Out and About’ starts with a throbbing bass line, followed by Boyce and Hart. By the time they get to the chorus it’s obvious that you’re listening to an absolutely perfect, 1967 synthesis of garage, pop, and believe it or not, psychedelia.
When I went back and checked my comment on DD’s blog, I saw that my initial reaction to the tune was that it reminded me of Paul Revere and the Raiders. In retrospect that seems like far too simplistic an evaluation of what was happening on this record. I’ve written in this space before about how the whole ‘Sunset Strip’ sound (65-68) produced some truly magical music, in which what would otherwise have been teen pop was infused with all manner of fuzz, flash and filigree, elevating it to an entirely new level.
‘Out and About’ is just about as perfect an example of that sound as you could find (though I have a couple of real gems in the ‘to be blogged’ file).
The chorus has a rolling, au go go feel to it (do I detect a harpsichord in there?), followed (brilliantly) by some incredible, vaguely psyched out string running underneath, but it gets even cooler at about a minute and a half, where the strings become more prominent (sounding vaguely like a mellotron) and Boyce and Hart go into a kind of swirling, multi-layered vocal ‘round’ with the BA BA BAAS and it is most definitely psychedelic. If not in the ‘my eyes have turned around in my head and I’m peering into my soul’ way, definitely in the fashion of the Beatles ‘Paperback Writer’ or ‘Dr Robert’ where you can quite literally hear the music taking a step forward into uncharted territory.
‘Out and About’ was Boyce and Hart’s first chart hit, making it into the Top 40 (Top 20 in a lot of markets) in the summer of 1967. They’d have their biggest single six months later with ‘I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonight’. They have a few more hits, but the last time they ever hit the charts anywhere was in 1969, with ‘I’m Gonna Blow You a Kiss In The Wind’, which was oddly enough also featured in a TV sitcom, this time Bewitched.
A year later they broke up to work on solo project, only to regroup a few years later with Mickey Dolenz and Davey Jones in Dolenz, Jones, Boyce and Hart.
I hope you dig this one as much as I do, and I’ll see you later in the week.


Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a couple of Norman Whitfield/Rose Royce instrumentals

Billy Bossman/The Bossmen – Up The Road

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Listen – Billy Bossman – Up The Road – MP3

Listen – The Bossmen – Up the Road (instrumental) – MP3

Greetings all.
As I am a touch under the weather, I’ll make this one short and sweet.
As I’ve mentioned here in the past, I always pick up any HBR 45s I find in the field, both as a completist and in the hope that finally, after so many others, I’ll get my hands on an Unrelated Segments 45.
Today’s selection is one I grabbed at an Asbury Lanes Record Sale a while back (the same place where I scored the New Breed 45 on the same label).
Aside from the fact that it was issued in 1965, I can tell you absolutely nothing about Billy Bossman, or the Bossmen (to whom the instrumental version on the b-side is credited).
The record itself contains traces of rockabilly, and a lead guitarist who sounds a lot like Albert Collins. I prefer the instro side, since the vocalist on the a-side is, how do they say, kind of uninspiring. The instrumental lets the guitar and the cheesy organ (with a touch of Dave Baby Cortez’ ‘Happy Organ’) come to the fore a bit more.
The HBR discography can be described charitably as ‘all over the place’ (check this listing at Spectropop for a look HBR’s often schizo line up).
If anyone has any info on the group, please drop me a line.
Other than that, have a great weekend.


Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a New Orleans funk 45.

New Zealand Trading Company – Could Be

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The New Zealand Trading Company (above)
and the wrong side of their album (below)

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Listen – New Zealand Trading Company – Could Be – MP3

Greetings all.
Is it Friday already?
I hope everyone had themselves a satisfying weekend.
This past Saturday was Record Store Day, and I celebrated by motoring over to Asbury Park to see my man DJ Prestige do an in-store, and naturally bought some records .
The Funky16Corners/Iron Leg Record Vault project is almost complete, with the dis-assembly/reconstruction of the computer area underway. I for one have never seen such a rats nest of tangled cables, and I can only hope that when I put it all back together, all the tab A’s and slot B’s are where they ought to be. I suspect a lot of the older equipment is going to go offline (at least temporarily) so I should be able to proceed at my own pace.
The tune I bring you today is something I picked up about a year ago (while traveling in New Hampshire) by a band that I’d never heard (or heard of) before.
The New Zealand Trading Company recorded their sole LP for the Memphis label in 1970. What little information I’ve seen on the band seems to indicate that there were some native New Zealanders in the group. Other than that, there’s not much to be found.
Musically they’re a very interesting blend of melodic pop (with the tiniest little progressive tinge), late 60s groove and tight, almost Association-like harmonies. I featured the psyched up tune ‘Jam and Antifreeze’ in Iron Leg Digital Trip #24 – Rope Ladder To the Moon, and the poppier ‘Oh What a Day’ in ILDT #25 – Sunny Day People (see the ILDT Archive link in the sidebar).
‘Could Be’ fits right in between those two numbers, with an upbeat, vaguely jazzy feel and some groovy vocals. I really dig the phlangey guitar solo, with the group harmony laid underneath, that ends the song.
The album is unusually hard to find, but apparently not all that expensive (if I recall correctly I grabbed it for between 10 and 20USD). I have no idea if they went on do anything else, but as always, if any of you have anything to add to the discussion, please do so.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back with some pop later in the week.


Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a new mix.

Joe South – Mirror Of Your Mind

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Joe South

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Listen – Joe South – Mirror of Your Mind – MP3

Greetings all.
Is it Friday already?
As has been discussed here previously. I generally digimatize vinyl as it falls through the mail slot, building up as big a backlog as possible so that when the time comes to dip into the reserves and select something for blog-i-fication, I can let inspirado take me by the hand.
Sometimes – assuming there’s enough stuff held in reserve – my fevered brain manages to wrap itself around something interesting and we all win. Other times, how do they say, not so much.
However, sometimes when the end of the week comes, I can look back on what I posted on Monday, and something ricochets around the old cerebellum and a shiny little light bulb snaps on over my head and the gears start to turn.
It just so happens that this is one of those weeks.
I mad mention in Monday’s post (about the Candymen)  about the way certain Southern rockers were privy to a special, sub-Mason/Dixon blend of rock, country and soul. This is not to say that such a combination was never attempted up thisaway, but rather that it tended to come more organically to our friends in Dixie.
As a standard issue 1970s longhair, I knew the name Joe South, but only by virtue of the fact that he was the cat that penned ‘Hush’ (made famous by the early incarnation of Deep Purple), ‘Down In the Boondocks’ (Billy Joe Royal), ‘(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden’ (HUGE hit for Lynn Anderson) and even ‘Yo Yo’ for the Osmond Brothers. He also had a sizable hit with another original composition, the oft-covered ‘Games People Play’, a Top 40 hit in early 1969.
It was probably 15 years between when I grabbed my first copy of ‘Shades of Deep Purple’ and my first, actual Joe South record, that being the 45 of ‘Games People Play’ and today’s selection ‘Mirror of Your Mind’.
Now, as an astute observer of my fellow record heads I was aware that South’s own recordings, composed of a kind of era-specific (i.e. adorned with a psychedelic fringe or two) country soul, were held in very high esteem by some folks who I in turn respect. Unfortunately, despite no small amount of searching on my part I have never encountered any of South’s albums in the field.
This, in addition to the fact that I stupidly assumed (cue Felix Unger) that the ‘Mirror of Your Mind’ by South was the same song known to garage punk fans as having been recorded by We the People. Naturally, as soon as I played the 45 I discovered that this was not in fact the case, but was also pleasantly surprised by how groovy the South’s tune was.
If I had to draw a parallel to another familiar artist, I might connect Joe South to someone like Tony Joe White, at least in a stylistic way. South was a much more prolific (and successful) songwriter, but he and White shared a certain buckskinned, blue-eyed soul vibe, all wrapped in a certain amount of crossover appeal.
‘Mirror of Your Mind’ starts off with a twangy electric sitar line (similar to that on the more famous a-side), followed by South’s gruff baritone and some vaguely countrypolitan strings and backing vocals. Unlike much of what was coming out of Nashville at the time, South whips the whole mix together with some hard hitting drums, wah-wah guitar and a truly far out psychedelic interlude that must have caused countless country fans to drive into roadside ditches with alarmed cries of ‘What in tarnation?!?!?’
It’s a fairly long, involved affair as well, clocking in at just over four and a half minutes.
A very groovy cut, by a very interesting cat.
I hope you dig it and I’ll be back on Monday with something cool.


Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some funky soundtrack action from Quincy Jones.

The Candymen – The Memphis Blues Again

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The Candymen

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Listen – The Candymen – The Memphis Blues Again – MP3

Greetings all.
I hope everything’s groovy gravy in your part of the universe.
I’m in the midst of a major reworking of my record cave, which normally wouldn’t be such a big deal, but in addition to cleaning up/organizing the records (as task in and of itself) I’m putting together a proper DJ setup, as well as moving all the old, obsolete computer equipment out, and all the newer, blog and podcast related stuff back in. I spent most of Saturday working on it (filling a huge trash can with various flotsam and jetsam), and now there’s close to 200% more floorspace visible, so I must be getting somewhere.
In other news…oh, wait, there isn’t any other news. Almost no new vinyl in the last few weeks (there was no digging to be had on vacation), so in the midst of all the chaos, there has been a tiny islet of peace.
The tune I bring you today is by a group that has intrigued me for years. I saw my first Candymen album way more than 20 years ago, and was intrigued by it’s groovy cover. I actually purchased that album a few years later, and was decidedly underwhelmed when I discovered not groovy psychedelia, but southern-inflected pop rock. Many years later, my sensibilities suitably evolved I encountered the band’s second album in a box of cheap, used LPs, and picked it up.
Good thing too, since not only was the cover all the more groovy, but the album actually included a very cool cover tune (which you’ll be hearing today).
The Candymen got their start in Alabama as the Webs, with a singer who would go on to much success after leaving the band, Mr Bobby Goldsboro. After Goldsboro left the group he was replaced by a singer named Rodney Justo, and lucked into a gig as the backing band for none other than Roy Orbison (thus the name Candymen, after Orbison’s ‘Candy Man’).
After leaving Orbison’s employ they signed a deal with ABC Records and recorded their first album in 1967 and they had their first and biggest chart hit with the song ‘Georgia Pines’ in the fall of that year.
The recorded their second LP ‘The Candymen Bring You Candy Power’ in 1968. Despite a group name (and album title) that pretty much screamed ‘bubblegum’, the Candymen were excellent representatives of a long tradition of Southern musical osmosis, working in various strains of country, R&B, pop and blues into their sound. It helped that they had the songwriting talents of Buddy Buie (who also worked extensively with the Classics IV) behind them.
The tune I bring you today is a pretty able cover of Bob Dylan’s 1966 ‘(Stuck Inside of Mobile With) The Memphis Blues Again’ (yes, I know the title isn’t parenthetical on ‘Blonde on Blonde’ but the Candymen truncated it to the part after the parentheses, so I kind of split the difference). The Candymen’s version of the tune picks up the pace a tiny bit, adding rolling honky tonk piano, just a touch of fuzz guitar, and chopping the running time by almost two thirds of Dylan’s original. Though the vocal takes occasional detours into a tongue in cheek Dylan impression, the band acquit themselves nicely.
Interestingly enough, by virtue of the Buddy Buie connection, a couple of members of the Candymen (along with a couple of guys from the Classics IV) ended up in the Atlanta Rhythm Section.
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 a storming soul 45.

PSS The Iron Leg Digital Trip Podcast Archive has been updated, now with 31 mixes!

Jorgen Ingmann and His Guitar – Apache

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Jorgen Ingmann

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Listen – Jorgen Ingmann and His Guitar – Apache – MP3

Hey there!
It’s the end of the week and I am, without a doubt, indisputably, one hundred and ten percent shit out of energy, inspiration, imagination, and ambition (which has been in chronically short supply my entire life, so nothing new there…).
Anyhoo, my obsessive compulsive nature wouldn’t let me just breeze through the end of the week without posting anything, so I dipped into the Iron Leg root cellar, pawed past the countless jars of pickled psychedelia, garage and sunshine pop, and grabbed something that looked both delicious and nourishing.
The song is the mighty ‘Apache’ and the artist is Jorgen Ingmann (and his guitar, natch).
I have no firm idea who I heard play this first, but I suspect it was decades ago on some Ventures album or other. Some time after that I ran into the excellent recording by the hugely influential (and barely known in the US) Shadows (Hank Marvin is GO!), then probably the flip by the Sugar Hill Gang, then (eventually) the hip hop sampling cornerstone by the Incredible Bongo Band, and then, finally, last but most certainly not least, the one you’re hearing today in all it’s scratchy, atmospheric glory by Jorgen Ingmann.
Odd as it may seem, especially considering that list of luminaries above, it was the mighty Dane (Ingmann that is) who had the biggest hit with the song here in the US, hitting the Top 40 in early 1961.
There’s no denying, that despite it’s obviously novelty-ish leanings (dig the tom toms and the swish-swish-swish arrow flying arrow sound effects) ‘Apache’ is a powerful, moody slice of instrumental music.
Weirdest of all, the tune was written by a British guitarist/pianist named Jerry Lordan and it was initially recorded by another (practically middle aged) guitarist named Bert Weedon, who, though virtually unknown in the US was a big influence on the whole rank of 1960s UK guitar heroes. It was Lordan who introduced the song to the Shadows, who went on to have a huge hit in England with the record.
Ingmann never matched his success in the US, but did eventually go on to win the Eurovision song contest (with his wife) in 1963.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’m going to go soak my head.


Peace

Larry

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for a deep, nighttime mix.

PSS The Iron Leg Digital Trip Podcast Archive has been updated, now with 31 mixes!

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