Three by the Gosdin Brothers

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The Gosdin Brothers (above), Clarence White (below)

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Listen/Download – The Gosdin Brothers – Multiple Heartaches
Listen/Download – The Gosdin Brothers – The Sounds of Goodbye
Listen/Download – The Gosdin Brothers – The Victim

Greetings all.

Welcome to a new week here at Iron Leg.

I hope that the summertime is treating you all well.

The names of the Gosdin Brothers (Rex and Vern) first floated into my orbit when I picked up the Edsel reissue of Gene Clark with the Godsin Brothers way back in the Ninteen-ought-eighties, back when things were different, coffee cost a nickel and if you had a waterproof match and dependable mule all was well (or something like that).

It was back in those days that I started to explore country rock, not in the long accepted Eagles/Marshall Tucker-y way that so many people framed the issue, but in the Bakersfield sneaks into the world of the longhairs and infects their music way.

One need only do a basic survey of West Coast pop and rock in the mid to late 60s and you start to see the dust from the boots of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard settling all over the place, on the records of the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Monkees, Hearts and Flowers, Gene Clark, Rick Nelson, Glen Campbell, Poco and many, many others.

It was only then that I realized that so much of the kind of country music I dug had come out of Bakersfield, California, and that there were many connections back and for the between there and LA during that period.

Back when I feature tracks from ‘Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers’ here at Iron Leg, my friend Duncan Walls suggested that I seek out a Gosdin Brothers collection called ‘The Sounds of Goodbye’.

I grabbed the disc forthwith, and my mind was good and truly blown.

There – wrapped in one tiny CD – was the missing link of sorts between the Sunset Strip longhairs and the hardcore country types. It was like listening to the ratio of influences inverted, with country seasoned by pop and rock instead of the other way around.

Southern California was a crucible during that period with those two influences being shifted back and forth by a wide variety of performers. Some of the push came from rockers (some in deep, some merely dabbling) with a sincere interest in mixing the two, some by younger country performers who – prepped by hitmakers like Buck Owens – came to the table with rock already part of their arsenal.

The Gosdin brothers, who had come from Alabama had been recording in Bakersfield under the aegis of Gary Paxton (on his Bakersfield International label). The brothers had played in the Hillmen with future-Byrd Chris Hillman., and later shared stages with the Byrds themselves.

While at Bakersfield International, the Gosdins recorded with a group known as the Reasons (later Nashville West).

That group featured Gene Parsons, Gig Gilbeau, Wayne Moore and a young, positively brilliant guitar player by the name of Clarence White.

Yes, that Clarence White, one of the greatest set of hands ever to pick up a guitar, later of the Byrds.

During the years 1967 and 1968, the Reasons worked as Gary Paxton’s house band, playing on a wide variety of recordings, including those of the Gosdin Brothers.

So, a few weeks back, following my wife’s visit to the doctor, I made a little stop to my vinyl oasis in Hackensack, NJ, hoping to perhaps grab a disco 45 or two.

Imagine my surprise when, while flipping through a stack of 45s, I should happen upon a Bakersfield International label, and the 45 turned out to be one of my favorite tunes from ‘The Sounds of Goodbye’, ‘Multiple Heartaches’!

Once the shock wore off, I trundled to the counter, paid for my finds and hit the road.

It was a little later that I dug up the other 45 you see here – ‘The Sounds of Goodbye’ b/w ‘The Victim’ – via the intertubes.

‘Multiple Heartaches’, which features Clarence White on dobro and lead guitar, is a classic bit of Bakersfield Sound wonderfulness, sounding as if it had popped up out of a Buck Owens session. Here you get the patented mixture of upbeat, contemporary country, with all of the pop touches (and production). The novelty angle of the lyrics is fun as well.

The other side of this 45 ‘Hangin’ On’ was a minor hit in the summer of 1967.

‘The Sounds of Goodbye’ – released on Capitol in September of 1968 and originally recorded by George Morgan, was written by (future country star) Eddie Rabbit and his partner Dick Heard (the team also wrote ‘Kentucky Rain’). The song, which went on to be recorded by both Charlie Louvin and OC Smith (among others) seems to be built on a similar frame to ‘Gentle On My Mind’ and has some very interesting chord changes.

The flipside, ‘The Victim’, written by the Gosdins, is a great, mellow lament with a very cool bit of psychedelic echo in the chorus.

All three songs are fantastic, and if you dig them you should definitely seek out the reissue of ‘The Sounds of Goodbye’, which features the entire 1968 album as well as many bonus tracks.

I hope you dig the tunes (and maybe dig a little deeper) and I’ll see you all next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Gale Garnett – You’re Doing Me No Good

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Gale Garnett

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Listen/Download – Gale Garnett – You’re Doing Me No Good

Greetings all.

Welcome to a new week here at Iron Leg.

The tune I bring you today is by a singer that anyone with even a passing acquaintance with oldies radio should know.

Gale Garnett had a sizable hit in 1964 with ‘We’ll Sing In the Sunshine”, which won her the Best Folk Recording Grammy in 1965 (the fact that it is clearly not a folk recording aside, since this was during the years when acts like Bent Fabric were winning Best Rock’n’Roll Recording).

Garnett – who had what now seems like an impossibly husky voice – was born in New Zealand but grew up in Canada.

She was an actress as well as a singer, and though she never really had a hit after ‘We’ll Sing In the Sunshine’, she recorded several albums through the 60s, some of the later ones with her band the Gentle Reign.

Today’s selection is from her improbably titled 1967 LP ‘Gale Garnett Sings About Flying & Rainbows & Love & Other Groovy Things’.

Though the title suggests light and wispy psyche pop, what you get (for the most part) is a kind of revved up folk rock with touches of west coast pop.

‘You’re Doing Me No Good’ has the sound of a record that might have been recorded a few years earlier, with Beau Brummel-y touches that seem to put the word “folk” in folk rock in bold face.

The rest of the album rolls in a similar vibe, and like ‘You’re Doing Me No Good’ sounds more 1965 than 1967.

The band on the record is composed of LA studio heads, including Tommy Tedesco, Earl Palmer and even Van Dyke Parks on piano.

Interestingly, while I was researching this post I discovered something I should have known already, that being that Garnett appeared in the animated film ‘Mad Monster Party’ as the speaking and singing voice of the character ‘Francesca’.

I haven’t been able to put my hands on any of Garnett’s later recording, but when I do, you’ll hear about it.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show #15

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Opening – Action Scene – Hawkshaw/Mansfield (KPM)
Henry Mancini – The Party (Instro) (RCA)
Kak – Rain (45 Edit) (Epic)
David Clayton Thomas – Done Somebody Wrong (Decca)
British Walkers – Diddley Daddy (Try)
The Fire Escape – Fortune Teller (GNP)
The Fire Escape – Love Special Delivery (GNP)
The Fire Escape – Pictures and Designs (GNP)
The Eyes of Blue – 7+7 Is (Mercury)
The Eyes of Blue – Inspiration for a New Day (Mercury)
Psych Out Movie Promo

The Hondells – Just One More Chance (Columbia)
Harumi – Talk About It (Verve)
Timebox – Gone is the Sad Man (Deram)
Tremeloes – What a State I’m In (Epic)
McCoys – Say Those Magic Words (Bang)
Beverley – Where the Good Times Are (Deram)
Locomotive – Mr Armageddan (Bell)
MIT Union Concert Spot

Rotary Connection – Burning of the Midnight Lamp (Cadet Concept)
Janis Ian – Son of Love (Verve)
Beaver and Krause – By Your Grace (WB)
Beaver and Krause – Good Places (WB)
Beaver and Krause – A Short Film for David (WB)
Beaver and Krause – Bright Shadows (WB)
Liberace – Suite Judy Blue Eyes (WB)

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 15 – 163MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

I hope the new week finds you well.

It’s time once again for the Iron Leg Radio Show.

This month’s Iron Leg Radio Show brings you just over one hour and twenty eight minutes of pop goodness.

In addition to some groovy new arrivals by the likes of the Fire Escape, late period heavy Eyes of Blue and the trippy, jazzy, Moogy wonderfulness of  Beaver & Krause there are also tons of cool things out of the archives, from freakbeat, to psyche to sunshine pop.

As always, I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back next week with something groovy.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

The With It Side of Liberace!

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Liberace (above), Spooner Oldham (below)

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Listen/Download – Liberace – Suite Judy Blue Eyes

Listen/Download – Liberace – Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

Greetings all.

The track I bring you today is an interesting cover by an artists that no one, least of all me, thought would ever appear here at Iron Leg.

That said, Liberace is proof that sometimes the least obvious books contain a fairly interesting chapter or two.

I found my way to the sequined master’s 1970 LP ‘A Brand New Me’ via the drum break on his cover of Steam’s ‘Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye’.

Yes, drum break.

I forget where I heard it, but when I finally looked up the album, I saw that was composed entirely of what were contemporary rock and pop tunes.

When I finally got my hands on a copy, I was genuinely shocked to discover that the group backing Lee on his entry into the pop-stakes was led by none other than the mighty Spooner Oldham.

The album ‘A Brand New Me’ was Liberace’s first after leaving Dot records for Warner Brothers in 1970.

What evidence there is, including the fact that the album was produced by none other than Ed Cobb, indicates that someone was making an honest stab (at least as honest as possible) to take the star-spangled candelabra wrangler and hip him up a bit.

I can’t imagine that anyone honestly thought this would lead him to hitting the festival circuit, where he might be tempted to share a stage with Canned Heat or some such, but taken as a whole, the LP is a pretty interesting effort.

In addition to Oldham, one of the architects of southern soul, the group included drummer Dennis St John (soon to join Neil Diamond’s band), bassist Emory Gordy Jr (a Nashville favorite and arranger of today’s selection) and guitarists Larry Collins, better known for his early years with his sister Lorrie as the Collins Kids, and Barry Bailey, later of the Atlanta Rhythm Section and percussionist Joe Correro.

Though all of these players were from the south, the record itself was recorded in Hollywood.

Now for me, the big question is how much did Liberace have to do with the record, other than playing the piano leads.

The arrangement of ‘Suite Judy Blue Eyes’, with groovy electric piano touches by Oldham, and understated brass is actually quite interesting. Though the ‘sound’ of the song is probably restricted by its existing structure – fairly elaborate for a rock song – it manages to exceed all expectations.

No one would ever accuse Liberace of being a soulful piano player, yet his contribution to the song is restrained. The interplay between the acoustic and electric piano is minimal, with the two instruments taking separate paths within the arrangement, and the horns and strings, like Liberace’s playing are far less florid than you might expect.

The final product is comparable to the version of the same song recorded by Bola Sete around the same time for his ‘Working On a Groovy Thing’, (click on the link to hear it)  a similarly constructed album.

The version of Steam’s ‘Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye’ is less interesting, suffering from the formality imposed upon it by the loss of vocals and the addition of piano lead. I include it because it contains what has to be the only open drum break on a Liberace album, which like unicorns and yetis simply must be put on display when finally captured.

I hope you dig the cuts, and I’ll be back next week with a new edition of the Iron Leg Radio Show.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Spanky and Our Gang – Sunday Mornin’

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Spanky and Our Gang (above), Margo Guryan (below)

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Listen/Download – Spanky and Our Gang – Sunday Mornin’

Greetings all.

Welcome back to another week here at Iron Leg.

When I was perusing the archive to see what I might offer up this week, I happened upon something double-extra-groovy.

I apply that rating – if you will – because the song not only comes from the catalog of a very cool – some would say underrated – group of the 60s, performing a tune by one of the more interesting cult artists of the same period.

The group Spanky and Our Gang, the writer, Margo Guryan.

I always dug the sounds of Spanky and Our Gang, with their biggest hits popping up frequently on the oldies radio that occupied so much of my childhood.

While the initial impulse was to compare their soaring harmonies to the Mamas and Papas, Spanky and Our Gang had a unique sensibility, informed by old school pop music, show tunes and the like.

Lead singer Elaine McFarlane had a bright, powerful contralto that drove all of the group’s most memorable numbers, like ‘Sunday Will Never Be the Same’ and ‘Lazy Day’.

What I didn’t have any inkling of, until well into my adulthood, was that one of the big behind-the-scenes forces in the group’s sound was a huge favorite of mine, that being the mighty (and also underrated) Bob Dorough.

Along with his musical partner Stu Scharf, Dorough arranged and produced for the group, as well as composing some of their material (Scharf wrote their hit ‘Like to Get to Know You’).

Margo Guryan was a NY-based singer/songwriter who recorded a long-lost but essential bit of pop history in her 1968 LP “Take a Picture’ (which has been reissued and should be picked up by fans of exceptional pop music). She wrote and recorded the tune ‘Sunday Morning’ (Spanky et al dropping the G) on that very album.

Spanky and Our Gang recorded their version of the song, stretching it out a bit with all manner of baroque vocal touches on their own 1968 LP ‘Like To Get To Know You’.

Their version fades out, then comes back for a reprise of sorts.

Though their albums aren’t very hard to come by, a few years back Hip-O Select compiled all of their Mercury recordings into a single set.

I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

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