Iron Leg Halloween: Chad and Jeremy – Rest In Peace

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Messrs Stuart and Clyde

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Listen/Download – Chad and Jeremy – Rest In Peace

Greetings all.

I have to begin by telling you that, a very (very) serious and wholly unexpected health crisis has descended upon our family, and it behooves me to devote what time I have to helping my wife and sons in any way I can. Until such time as things are back to normal (or at least some semblance thereof) all blogging will be suspended.

Some things (a lot of things, actually) are more important than blogging, and so I must (temporarily) take your leave.

However, as the witching hour is upon us once again (and this post was already in the can), that means it’s time for the (semi)yearly Iron Leg Halloween post. There wasn’t a Halloween post last year due to the fact that the blog went on hiatus right before the holiday, but I did re-activate the files on the 2009 posts (there were three of them!) so you can dig them if you weren’t checking in back then.

This is the part of the post (Iron Leg or Funky16Corners) in which I insert the boilerplate language where I tell you that I am not a serious collector of holiday records – Halloween or Christmas – so whatever I have that generally fits the bill is something that arrived in the crates by virtue of its quality, holiday appropriateness being secondary (if considered at all).

That said, I was scrolling back through the vinyl recorded since last Halloween, looking for something in the spirit of the holiday, and happened upon a record that I’d been wanting to post for a long time but never got around to it for a variety of reasons.

Today was the first time I looked at Chad and Jeremy’s ‘Rest In Peace’ from the legendary ‘Of Cabbages and Kings’ album, and realized that it would be a perfect All Hallows selection.

Whereas many other candidates for this particular slot would be some ghoulish novelty concerning itself with one of the Mount Rushmore of spooky stuff, i.e. your Draculas, Frankensteins, werewolves (see Funky16Corners), Mummys (see years past) or ghosts (five heads on this mountain), today’s selection takes us right into the graveyard.

Many before me have spoken of the wonders of ‘Of Cabbages and Kings’.

The album sees Messrs Stuart and Clyde going in heretofore unseen progressive, psychedelic and perhaps more ‘serious’ directions than one might have expected from the duo that brought you ‘Summer Song’. It is a wonderful amalgam of light psychedelia, orchestrated pop and deeper (yet not pretentious, at least not for the time) sounds.

The track I bring you today opens the record, and is at least in my opinion its finest, most accessible cut.

It is also a wry, first person tale of a crafter of headstones (thus placing it in a Halloween bag).

The stonecutter is named Matthews, and he relates the tales of some of his customers (Fred and John in particular) and ends each verse with a darkly funny, but earnestly delivered line that caps off the slightly melancholic lead up.

I don’t solicit business; there’s no point in trying
What I like about my customers – they just keep on dying

The song is a melodic delight with just enough sitar to place it on the timeline, and also fits nicely inside the mid-to-late 60s tradition of pop groups commenting on the traditions of the English middle class.
The last two verses are particularly well written:

They come to me and spend all they’ve got
‘Cause it costs quite a lot to be remembered
They think it is the only way
What would the neighbors say anyway?
It’s so prestigious, even though you’re not religious

Maybe one day I will carve a stone
Big enough for everyone
And written there for those who care
In letters ten feet high:
“Here they lie who were born to die”

Not exactly spooky, but a great remembrance of the real meaning of Halloween, which is where you insert Linus reading a bible verse about someone rising from the dead (there are a few), followed by the whole gang gathered around a headstone singing ‘The Monster Mash’.

I hope you dig the tune and I’ll see you all as soon as life allows.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Love Children – Paper Chase

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Love Children on a Spanish picture sleeve (which I do not own…)

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Listen/Download – Love Children – Paper Chase

Greetings all.

I hope everyone had a chance to dig into Episode 6 of the Iron Leg Radio Show.

As always, if you haven’t downloaded, it will still be available in the archive (see the tab in the header).

The song I bring you today is something from the lighter side of the Deram popsike merry-go-round.

I first heard Love Children doing ’Paper Chase’ back in the old garage mod days when it appeared on one of the British Psychedelic Trip comps.

Though I don’t know much about the group, I can say with certainty that they recorded two 45s for Deram in 1969 and 1970.

‘Paper Chase’ was the second of their records and the late date of its release goes some distance in explaining why the popsike whimsy seems to be drifting into a slightly bubblegummy side street, or at least what was passing for bubblegum over in the UK.

That said, it is indeed a very groovy side with the electric sitar touches, electric piano and the strings and the harmony vocals.

What ‘Paper Chase’ manages to do is illustrate the rather prominent vein of pure pop running straight through from the beat era into the early 70s. The only differences along that particular timeline being certain, time-specific flourishes, whether it be phasing, pocket trumpet (a la the Beatles), backward tape or what have you.

Oddly enough, the flip side is a weird, slightly heavier novelty called ‘My Turkey Snuffed It’ which opens with a nice, tight drum break and features some cool guitar. It also features a variety of irritating sound effects and lame lyrics, which is probably why it languished on the b-side (and in obscurity).

I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll see you all next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #6!

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Opening – Action Scene – Hawkshaw/Mansfield (KPM)

Intro – Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfield – Action Scene (KPM)
Tweeds – We Got Time (Coral)
Sandy Nelson – Boss Beat (World Pacific)
Royal Guardsmen – Leaving Me (Laurie)
Wool – Combination of the Two (ABC)
Walker Brothers – Orpheus (Philips)
Yardbirds – White Summer (Epic)
Wizards From Kansas – High Flying Bird (Mercury)
Bert Jansch – Poison (Transatlantic)
Left Banke Coke Spot

Free Design – Kites are Fun (45 Mix) (Project 3)
Free Design – Kijes Quija (Project 3)
Free Design – Bubbles (Project 3)
Free Design – 2002 (A Hit Song) (45 Mix) (Project 3)
Free Design – California Dreaming (Project 3)
Free Design – You Could Be Born Again (Project 3)
Free Design – I Found Love (Project 3)
Free Design – Windows of the World (Project 3)
Free Design – Butterflies are Free (Project 3)
Free Design – Jack In the Box commercial (Jack In the Box)

Bobby Vee – The Passing of a Friend (Liberty)
Bobby Vee – One (Liberty)
Bobby Vee – Lavender Kite (Liberty)
Poco – Hurry Up (Epic)
Poco – Anyway Bye Bye (Epic)
Topanga Canyon Orchestra – Crimson and Clover (Uni)
John Frangipani – Venus (Mainstream)
Electric Prunes – Luvin (Reprise)

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 6 – 171MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

Welcome to the sixth edition of the Iron Leg Radio Show.

As always we have a very nice stack of the platters that matter, with some fuzzed out garage punk, Now Sound action, a very healthy serving of the Sunshine Pop of Free Design, folk rock, country rock (the good kind) and some unexpectedly cool pop from someone you might not expect.

I hope you dig it all, and if you haven’t already heard them, head back into the archives for the first five episodes.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

Manfred Mann – Watch Your Step

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Uh huh, It was the Manfreds….

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Listen/Download – Manfred Mann – Watch Your Step

Greetings all.

I hope everything is swinging light in your corner of the world.

The tune I bring you this week is something I was shocked to find in what one might term a ‘local’ dig.

I’ve been a Manfred Mann fan for a long time, since my man Mr Luther hit me up with an early ‘Best Of’ that pretty much blew my mind back in the garage/mod days.

Sure I was hip to all of the hits, but as soon as I heard stuff like ‘5-4-3-2-1’, ‘The One In the Middle’ and ‘Cock-a-Hoop’ I was all “Where has this groovy stuff been all my life?” b/w “Where can I get me some?”.

Naturally, I don’t think I ever need to hear ‘The Mighty Quinn’ again, under any circumstances, even if I should host a cocktail party and Mike Hugg and Bob Dylan both showed up, however, that early exposure to the Manfred’s made me a devotee, particularly where it comes to the voice of one Paul Jones.

Jones has since that day been one of my very favorite singers of the R&Beat era, and the Manfreds one of the great, underrated (not unpopular) bands of their time.

You can’t really expect a world exposed to ‘Pretty Flamingo’ to know that Manfred Mann had serious R&B and jazz chops (which never really got a lot of play over here), but you can’t sit by and leave the situation unremedied either, especially if you have yourself a blog, which I do, so here we go.

The aforementioned find was a UK OG of the Manfreds 1965 ‘Mann Made’ album which was a very solid display of their range (and on odd thing to turn up in a cardboard box in Asbury Park, NJ).

In addition to very groovy, very jazzy instros like ‘Abominable Snowmann’ and ‘Bare Hugg’, you get solid R&Beat like their ‘You Don’t Love Me’ re-write ‘LSD’, and today’s selection, their storming cover of Bobby Parker’s mighty ‘Watch Your Step’.

The OG is a big, big, BIG favorite of mine, but Jones and company acquit themselves very nicely indeed. You get that soulful, bluesy flavor of Jones’s voice running riot over a tasty backing, including some swinging organ by the Mann himself.

It is very solid indeed, and ought to warm things up until I return next week.

Until then.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Poco – Hurry Up

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Poco – Rusty, George, Tim, Richie and Jim

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Listen/Download – Poco – Hurry Up

Greetings all.

I hope the commencement of another groovy seven day cycle sees you all in a good place (physically, spiritually etc).
I’ve discussed the concept of the record collection – once it has achieved a certain ungainly size – becoming something of a living and breathing entity.

While I don’t get out to dig as much as I used to, I don’t really need to anymore since as I write this I find myself surrounded my records (large and small) that seem – in spite of impossibility – to be verily pulsating and closing the narrow gap that remains between us.

If I ever really want to listen to something ‘new’, all I need to do is dip down into the existing crates, where I will find records not-yet-listened-to, or unjustly neglected, whether it be an overlooked LP track or 45 b-side.

Today’s selection is one of those records I picked up on a whim from the dollar-bin a while back and for a variety of reasons never took the time to listen to.

A few weeks back I was putting some records away from a recent DJ gig and happened upon this particular LP and pulled it out so it would be neglected no more.

Good thing too, since I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it here before, but I’ll say it again; aside from Arthur Lee and Love, my all-time favorite US band from the 60s was the Buffalo Springfield.

I’ve been a huge fan since I first picked up a well-worn copy of the ‘Retrospective’ collection at the local flea market when I was in my teens, and have absorbed their music as deeply as just about any band, including the Beatles.

The given, at least as I saw it, was that the Springfield was really the stage for the eternal creative struggle between Stephen Stills and Neil Young, with Richie Furay – while very talented – inhabited a second tier of sorts.

I was well aware that Furay had founded Poco after the dissolution of the Buffalo Springfield, but – despite being a big fan of nascent LA country rock – never really explored their music.

So, when I sat down to record the group’s second album ‘Poco’ (from 1970) I am not overstating the case when I tell you that it caused me to drastically reconsider my assessment of the balance of power within the Springfield.

Formed in 1968, with Furay and Jim Messina from the Buffalo Springfield, and Randy Meisner, Rusty Young and George Grantham coming from two different Colorado bands (Meisner from the Poor, Young and Grantham from Boenzee Cryque), the group originally called themselves Pogo, until threatened with legal action by the creator of that cartoon character, Walt Kelly.

They changed their name to Poco, and recorded their first album in 1969.

There were a lot of different brands of ‘country’ bouncing around LA in the late 60s, with varying degrees of purist sentiment, pop content and rock drive, coming from artists as diverse as the Byrds, the Monkees and Rick Nelson (Meisner would join his band after departing Poco).

Poco managed to carry on a good deal of the Buffalo Springfield sound, instrumentally and vocally, mixing in a dash of Bakersfield as well.

The tune I bring you today, ‘Hurry Up’ is my favorite from the ‘Poco’ LP. Written by Furay, the song has enough Sunset Strip left in it to be mistaken for a Buffalo Springfield outtake. The harmonies sound as if lifted from any of the Springfield’s three LPs with Furay ably assisted by Timothy B. Schmidt (late of the New Breed, later of the Eagles) who had by this time replaced Meisner.

The Buffalo Springfield comparison is especially apt since on this track (and many of the others) Poco manages to take a basic, late 60s LA rock vibe and augment, but never obscure it with the addition of a certain amount of country flavor.

Like the Flying Burrito Brothers (who had Sneaky Pete Kleinow), Poco had the good luck to find a visionary pedal steel player in Rusty Young. Young had the ability to work in the ‘standard’ style of the instrument, as well as the imagination and skill to bend it into unusual new shapes (that organ sound in ‘Hurry Up’ is Young’s pedal steel).

The big question that comes up for me, is why Poco didn’t have the success of the Eagles. My best guess is that the Eagles had a certain pop accessibility that the majority of their competitors lacked. This is not to say that Poco couldn’t write great songs, but rather that they were more of a rock band – with all the good things that come with the name – than the Eagles were (until Joe Walsh popped into the mix), rendering them – like the Buffalo Springfield – sometimes too sophisticated for their own good. A song like ‘Anyway Bye Bye’ has more subtle twists and turns in it than any whole album by the Eagles.

That said, I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll see you all next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

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