Merrell Fankhauser (front) and HMS Bounty
Listen/Download – Merrell Fankhauser – Tampa Run Listen/Download – Merrell Fankhauser – Everybody’s Talkin’
Before I get started I should mention that next week sees the arrival of the yearly Funky16Corners Pledge Drive, wherein we pass the hat to try to raise funds to cover the costs of keeping the blog(s) running, i.e. server space, with whatever’s left being poured back into the operation (just recently had to replace my trusty podcasting microphone).
Since Iron Leg is an outgrowth of the Funky16Corners Blogcasting Nerve Center and Record Vault, and is in every way inseparable (it is just me after all) I have something special planned for Iron Leg as well to wrap it into the whole fundraising “bag” as it were, so stay tuned in this space. The whole thing gets underway next Monday, 6/5.
That said, the tune I bring you today is a transitional record by an artist who was – appropriately – in a constant state of transition (stylistically anyway) during the 1960s.
As a fan of psychedelia and garage, the name Merrell Fankhauser (one you’ve heard it, how could you forget it?) loomed large in the 80s.
Though he has recorded steadily since the early 60s, Fankhauser’s surf, folk rock, and psyche stuff was getting reissued a lot during the 80s and he was always popping up somewhere, whether directly through his music, or indirectly through fanzine articles and such.
Though he was born in Kentucky, Fankhauser moved west to California and formed his first band, a surf outfit called the Impacts in the early 60s. This transitioned by mid-decade into the Exiles (beat/garage/folk rock), a band which included in its ranks two future Beefheart-ians, Drumbo French and Jeff Cotton.
Following the dissolution of the Exiles, Fankhauser formed Merrell and the Exiles (billed on their album as Fapardokly),
His next band, HMS Bounty recorded an album for UNI. Today’s selection ‘Tampa Run’ has normally been listed as part of that band’s discography, though it’s billed solely to Fankhauser, and references seem to indicate that although they did record the song, the version that was released is actually Fankhauser backed by session musicians.
A fast moving bit of country-ish rock, ‘Tampa Run’ was released in 1969. The tale of a drug runner went on to be a minor hit on the west coast.
The flipside features an unusually fast paced version of Fred Neil’s ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ backed by Farfisa organ and mariachi horns, sounding like a Sir Douglas Quintet outtake.
After HMS Bounty broke up, Fankhauser went on to record two early 70s albums with MU, and then on to solo work.
I hope you dig the tunes, and I’ll be back next week.