Easy Peasy, But Not Too Cheesy…

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Ron Frangipane

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Listen/Download – Ron Frangipane and His Orchestra – Venus

Listen/Download – Topanga Canyon Orchestra – Crimson and Clover

Greetings all.

I hope the new week finds you well.

I should start off by mentioning that you may have noticed that the graphics have disappeared from some of the old posts.

Thanks to having to change domains at extremely short notice, both Funky16Corners and Iron Leg suffered some interwebs damage last week.

The Iron Leg problems were much smaller, due to the fact that this is still a WordPress-hosted blog, so the basic framework and URL remained untouched, and only graphics and sound files (and the locations thereof) were affected.

I am restoring the links on the old content as time allows.

The tunes I bring you today are a couple of very tasty examples of late-60s, exploit-kitsch, in which mainstreamers applied their orchestral talents to the pop hits of the day.

Sometimes, the results were unfortunate, revealing the decided non-hipness of the creators in short order.

I have lots of both, since I am pathologically incapable of passing up stuff like this when I’m out digging.

Other times – the rarer ones – where the orchestrators in question were more talented (and hip) the music was quite groovy indeed.

The two tracks I bring you today are particularly nice examples of those rare moments when the pieces all fell into place, and the sounds were cool.

The first comes from a 1969 album by the Topanga Canyon Orchestra.

The guiding light in this case was an arranger named Norman Ratner (who also worked on Mark Eric’s epic album of Brian Wilson worship, as well as Don Grady’s Canterbury 45), and despite some very unhip saxophone in the beginning, their version of Tommy James and the Shondells’ ‘Crimson and Clover’ manages to get just a little bit far out, with some groovy a-go-go combo organ that sounds like it dropped right out of a movie soundtrack.

New York-based arranger Ron Frangipane (who did the orchestrations on John and Yoko’s ‘Sometime In New York City’) takes a slightly more substantial approach with his version of Shocking Blue’s ‘Venus’.

The arrangement is a bit closer to the source material, and toward the end of the cut things get genuinely trippy with some crazy psychedelicization.

The Frangipane LP, ‘Rated X For Excitement’ actually has more bang for the buck, and can be found rather cheaply.

Ironically, the Topanga Canyon Orchestra LP, which only has a few interesting tracks tends to be much more expensive.

I hope you dig the sounds and I’ll be back next week with more.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Brenda Lee – Is It True

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Brenda Lee

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Listen/Download – Brenda Lee – Is It True

Greetings all.

I hope everyone had a chance to dig this month’s edition of the Iron Leg Radio Show. If you haven’t it – like the previous nine episodes – will be available in the Radio Show Archive (click on the tab in the header).

The tune I bring you today is especially groovy, for not one, but two very interesting reasons.

A few years back I professed my love for Brenda Lee’s epic reading of ‘The Crying Game’ from 1965.

I love the song in the versions by Dave Berry and Ian and the Zodiacs*, but once I heard Lee’s rendition there was simply no going back.

She is really remembered today mostly for her early rock tunes (edging up on rockabilly) and her later career as a country singer, but there was a period in the early to mid 60s where Brenda Lee was applying her powerful, emotion-laden voice to some very interesting material.

When I wrote about ‘The Crying Game’ I speculated on how she might have happened upon the tune, guessing (thanks to some help from my man Mack at This Is Tomorrow) that a regional charting of the Ian and the Zodiacs recording may have been the link.

Flash forward three years and another mid-60s Brenda Lee 45 pops up on my radar (on a friend’s sale list). I checked out the sound clip, dug the tune and managed to get it very cheaply.

Then I start to do some research on the tune and discover that Brenda Lee had in fact recorded the tune in the UK, in 1964 with (first interesting thing) Jimmy Page on guitar and Mickie Most producing!

‘Is It True’ is a great bit of beat group action with some muscular guitar by the aforementioned Mr Page that was a Top 20 hit in the UK and managed to break into the Top 40 in many US markets.

The (second) interesting thing is that lee recorded is it true on September 17, 1964, when a little tune called ‘The Crying Game’ (Dave Berry’s version) happened to be a Top 5 hit in the UK.

Whether Brenda Lee heard and dug the song, or had a demo passed to her by Geoff Stephens, it seems likely that she first encountered the song in the UK.

I may be among the minority that revels in this kind of minutae, but I find it fascinating.

If you get the chance, pick up the UK issue of the 45, which comes with a smoking version of ‘What’d I Say’ on the flip.

I hope you do to, and that you dig the song.

See you next week

Peace

Larry

 

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*I just realized that ‘The Crying Game’ may be the most posted song in the history of Iron Leg

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #10

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Hawkshaw/Mansfield Action Scene
Rumplestiltskin – Rumplestiltskin (Bell)
Mighty Baby – Been Down So Long (Head)
Steve Marcus – Rain (Vortex)
JK and Company – The Magical Fingers of Minerva (White Whale)
Jethro Tull – Fat Man (Chrysalis)
Grateful Dead – Doin’ That Rag (Alt mix) (WB)
Grateful Dead news spot

49th Parallel – (Come On Little Child and) Talk To Me (Maverick)
13th Floor Elevators – Livin’ On (International Artists)
Artie Schroeck Implosion – Six O’Clock (Verve)
West – The Dolphins (Epic)
Virgin Sleep – Halliford House (Deram)
Timebox – Gone Is the Sad Man (Deram)
Tommy Keene – Back Again (Try) (Dolphin)
The Dentists – I’m Not the Devil (Homestead)
Bonnie Hayes and Wild Combo – Girls Like Me (Slash)
‘Valley Girl’ Trailer

The Sneetches – And I’m Thinking (Bus Stop)
The Sneetches – Watch Me Burn (Bus Stop)
The Sneetches – The Dog In You (Bus Stop)
The Sneetches – Flying On the Ground Is Wrong (Bus Stop 45)
Chad Mitchell – For What It’s Worth (Amy/Dunwich)
The Poor – Feelin’ Down (Decca)
The Poor – She’s Got the Time She’s Got the Changes (York)
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart – Out and About (A&M)
Changing Tymes – How Is the Air Up There (Philips)
Hullabaloo Radio Spot

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 10 – 167MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

As hard as this is to believe it’s already time for Episode 10 of the Iron Leg Radio Show.

This time out we have some very groovy stuff, including some prog, psyche, Sunset Strip action, a touch of easy and a lot more of the good stuff you’ve come to expect.

I hope you dig this episode, and I’ll see you all next week.

See you next Monday.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

Dino, Desi & Billy – The Rebel Kind

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Why wouldn’t Lucy and Ricky spring for Beatle boots?

Messrs Martin, Arnaz and Hinsche

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Listen/Download – Dino, Desi and Billy – The Rebel Kind

Greetings all.

I hope the new week finds you all well.

Despite all non-meteorological travails, I’ve been marveling at the bizarre winter we’ve been having here in the northeast.

Not only hasn’t it snowed (flurries aside) but it hasn’t really been that cold. I remember putting on my gloves and earmuffs one week, and it was during November.

I shouldn’t complain, since I could be pushing the old snowblower up and down the driveway, but the primitive in me sees weather like this as a prelude to disaster, as in “Oh, sure it’s been unseasonably warm, but you should expect six feet of snow this week.”

Either way, as long as the internet stays up, I can keep hammering away at the keyboard and bringing you all manner of musical wonderfulness.

Speaking of, I’m here to tell you that I waited too long to get on the Dino, Desi and Billy train, but now that I’m on it I’m alternating between marveling at the new “discovery” and diving out the window.

Sure, I’d heard ‘I’m a Fool’ before, which hit the Top 40 in the summer of 1965, and it never really grabbed me.

However, 60s pop whore that I am, when I happened upon a copy of their first album I couldn’t very well pass it up, so I didn’t.

I get it home, and the first thing I notice is that the whole thing was produced (and some of it written) by none other than Lee Hazelwood*.

I really had no idea.

So, I give the record a spin or two, and I realized a couple of things.

First, Dino, desi and Billy, had they not been the spawn of celebrities would have been assaulting each other’s eardrums in a basement somewhere, instead of hitting the charts.

It would not be inaccurate to say that their singing sometimes descends into off-key caterwauling, and I would be both stunned and amazed were I to discover that there was a note on this record that hadn’t been played by LA session heavies.

That said, if a record like ‘The Rebel Kind’ had been recorded by a bunch of corn-fed, knuckle-dragging junior high schoolers and pressed in a quantity of 100, it would be revered today as a prime example of ‘primitive’ rural skronk by bowl-cutted record hoarders the world over.

It’s not hard to imagine that somewhere, some kids heard this record and had their wigs flipped (in the “Holy shit, I can do this!” way).

No matter how often Dino, Desi and Billy step out of line and lose they key (it sounds like Big Dino gave them 45 minutes of studio time for the vocals and not a second more), the fuzz guitar and stomping drums always manage to keep them afloat, and there’s something to be said for the 13-year-old je ne sais quois hovering over the whole deal.

There are times when DD&B sound like something cooked up by a 50 year old cigar chomping exec as an example of “what the kids are listening to”, but there are at least as many times when they actually are.

I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times when I think I can hear Hazelwood rolling his eyes in the background (yet I imagine he cashed the check anyway), but despite that fact I keep coming back to this song (and a couple of others on the album).

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

Peace

Larry

 

 

 

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*And Jack Nitzsche!

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul

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