The Beach Boys – Feel Flows/Til I Die/Surf’s Up

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Beach Boys, circa 1971

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Listen/Download – The Beach Boys – Feel Flows

Listen/Download – The Beach Boys – ‘Til I Die

Listen/Download – The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up

Greetings all.

In service of my gradual and ongoing rediscovery/appreciation of the Beach Boys, I bring you couple of stellar tracks from one of their later albums.

I’ve discussed my feelings about the Beach Boys to a limited extent in the past.

I have owned their albums since I first started buying records as a teenager, having worn out a copy of the old 2-LP ‘Endless Summer’ set back in the day.

Flash forward a decade, and I’m experiencing a knee-jerk reaction to the ‘Brian Wilson’s a genius’ wave that was around on the periphery of the garage/mod/60s scene.

My (uneducated) opinion at the time was, ‘Sure, I dig the Beach Boys, but genius? Really? In a world where the Beatles exist?”

I can chalk up my failure to dig the vastness and brilliance of Wilson’s oeuvre entirely to a combination of ignorance (I hadn’t listened to any of the full albums from ‘Pet Sounds’ on) and undeveloped sensibilities, i.e. my ears/brain were not yet attuned to a more sophisticated variety of pop music.

That is a problem I’ve grappled with my entire adult life. Fortunately, the older I get, the more open I’ve become to experimentation, especially with music.

In the case of Brian Wilson, and the later Beach Boys, that openness has been richly rewarded.

This can all be laid at the feet of Brian Wilson.

One of the great musical tragedies of the 1960s, is the area where the creative flowering, and the psychological dissolution of Brian Wilson intersect.

Just as he was reaching his creative peak, pushing the band into unexplored territory, he was crumbling.

The only good thing about this, is that even though Brian fell into the background, the Beach Boys, especially Carl Wilson picked up the slack.

Recorded (for the most part) in 1970 and early 1971 (it was released in the summer of ’71), the ‘Surf’s Up’ album was another in a string of less than successful outings by the band.

They hadn’t had a hit single since 1968’s ‘Do It Again’ (from 20/20), and their LPs hadn’t been doing that well, either.

Fortunately for us, they were still managing to make quality music.

‘Surf’s Up’, named for the long-dormant ‘Smile’-era Wilson/Van Dyke Parks collaboration that would be finally be completed for the album (using the original 1966 tracks), was the first Beach Boys LP after manager/collaborator Jack Rieley came on board.

Though I’d heard of the album, I hadn’t actually heard any of it before I encountered ‘Feel Flows’ on the soundtrack to the 2000 film ‘Almost Famous’.

The track blew me away, not only because it was an amazing (new to me) Beach Boys track, but because – like the sounds on 1968’s ‘Friends’ LP – it revealed to me how much of the contemporary music I was digging had been influenced by this era of the Beach Boys catalog.

It would be all but impossible not to see the influence of this period of the Beach Boys in the sounds of groups like the Sneetches, Stereolab, High Llamas and Eric Matthews, all of which were in heavy rotation in my ears.

The three tracks I’m including today all hail from the second side of the ‘Surf’s Up’ album, and all feature Carl Wilson as lead (or co-lead) vocalist.

‘Feel Flows’ starts out in a poppy, upbeat vibe, but fairly quickly turns into something different, mixing group harmony, psychedelia and even jazz (Charles Lloyd on flute), with some very cool, distorted lead guitar weaving in and out of the mix.

‘Til I Die’ is one of the most beautiful things that Brian Wilson ever wrote. A kind of existential meditation, wrapped in waves of stunning harmonies, the instruments are almost invisible behind the wall of voices. This is one of those songs that has to be appreciated through headphones, repeatedly, to pick up on all the layers.

‘Surf’s Up’ is one of the most interesting chapters in the creative saga of Brian Wilson.

Begun in 1966 for the ‘Smile’ sessions, with lyrics by Van Dyke Parks, the song is a beautiful, impressionistic, poetic work, in which Wilson manages to shake off the Spector-isms of his 1966/67 epics while retaining all the sophistication and beauty of the song.

As in ‘Til I Die’, ‘Surf’s Up’ sees the voices coming to the fore, with the instrumentation painting the background. Through the just over four minutes of the song, only the piano in the middle section really makes a statement over the harmonies.

It really is quite spectacular and improves with repeated listening.

If you haven’t found your way into this era of the Beach Boys, you really ought to give it a try. It took me a while to track down an original copy of ‘Surf’s Up’ (the late 60s/early 70s BB LPs didn’t sell well in the US), but you can grab it all inexpensively in iTunes.

I hope you dig the sounds, 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 #37

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfield – Action Scene (KPM)
Bobby Fuller Four – Gallancamps Shoes Commercial
Bobby Fuller Four – Let Her Dance (Mustang)
Bobby Fuller Four – Another Sad and Lonely Night (Mustang)
Bobby Fuller Four – KHJ Big Kahuna Theme
Bobby Fuller Four – Take My Word (Mustang)
Bobby Fuller Four – Never To Be Forgotten (Mustang)
Bobby Fuller Four – KRLA King of the Wheels Theme

Free Design – 2002 a Hit Song (Project 3)
Free Design – Kites are Fun (Project 3)
Free Design – Butterflies are Free (Project 3)
Free Design – Bubbles (Project 3)
Free Design – California Dreaming (Project 3)
Free Design – Eleanor Rigby (Project 3)
Free Design – Kije’s Ouija (Project 3)
Free Design – Where Do I Go (Project 3)
Free Design – My Brother Woody (Project 3)
Free Design – Stay Another Season (Project 3)
Free Design – Windows of the World (Project 3)
Free Design – I Found Love (Project 3)
Free Design – Jack In the Box Commercial

Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Mary Mary (Elektra)
Dave Clark Five – All Night Long (Epic)
Glen Campbell – Bowling Green (Capitol)
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – These Days (Liberty)
Donovan – Tangerine Puppet (Hickory)
Jake Thackray – The Black Swan (Philips)
The Beach Boys – Feel Flow (Brother/WB)
The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up (Brother/WB)
The Beach Boys – Til I Die (Brother/WB)

 

 

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 37 – 172MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

Welcome to this month’s episode of the Iron Leg Radio Show.

This month you get a set of groovers by the Bobby Fuller Four, a look at the sounds of one of my favorite pop groups, the Free Design as well as a set of new arrivals.

I hope you dig it all, and if you’re new to the Iron Leg Radio Show, take a dip in the archive.

See you all next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #29

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfiueld – Action Scene (KPM)
Chuck Berry – Club Nitty Gritty (Mercury)
Believers – Soul Raga Simmerin’ (Capitol)
Lonnie Mack – Memphis ’68 (Elektra)
Baskerville Hounds – Hold Me (Avco)
Camel Drivers – Give It a Try (Buddha)
Unchained Mynds – Going Back to Miami (Buddha)
Unrelated Segments – Where You Gonna Go (Liberty)
Sopwith Camel – Cellophane Woman (Kama Sutra)
Sopwith Camel – Maybe In a Dream (Kama Sutra)
Sopwith Camel – Frantic Desolation (Kama Sutra)
Sopwith Camel – Levis Ad

Beach Boys – Surfs Up (Brother/Reprise)
The Upsetters – Draggin’ the Main (Autumn)
The Ventures – Flights of Fantasy (Liberty)
The Ventures – Walking the Carpet (Liberty)
The City – Snow Queen (Ode)
The City – That Old Sweet Roll (Hi De Ho) (Ode)
The City – Why are You Leaving (Ode)
The City – Paradise Alley (Ode)
The Hourglass – The Power of Love (Liberty)
Hourglass Concert Promo

Honey LTD – Come Down (LHI)
Honey LTD – Tomorrow Your Heart (LHI)
Shillings – Children and Flowers (Three Rivers)
The Fabulous Farquahr – Hollywood Ending (Verve)
Rita Coolidge – Walkin’ In the Morning (Pepper)
Rita Coolidge – Turn Around and Love You (Pepper)
Sunshine Company – Bolero (Imperial)
Evie Sands – Any Way That You Want Me (A&M)
Spanky and Our Gang – Sunday Morning (Mercury)
Boots – In the Beginning (Philips)
Boots – No Part of It (Philips)
Merrilee Rush – Reach Out (AMG)
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls Promo

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 29 – 193MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

Welcome to this month’s episode of the Iron Leg Radio Show.

This month should be an especially good episode since it is composed almost entirely of recently excavated new arrivals.

I was lucky enough to get in a couple of digging sessions on a recent vacation and came away with a nice fat stack of 45s and some very cool LPs as well. I even have some stuff left over for next month!

There some cool sunshine pop, popsike, garage and pure pop, all very groovy and guaranteed to keep your ears tingling.

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

Peace

Larry

 

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The California Sunshine of Mark Eric

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Mark Eric

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Listen/Download – Mark Eric – California Home

Listen/Download – Mark Eric – Night of the Lions

Listen/Download – Mark Eric – Where do the Girls of the Summer Go
Greetings all.

I hope the new week finds you well.

The fam and I recently returned from a brief vacation, during which I grabbed a nice fat stack of vinyl, for both Iron Leg (some very interesting stuff) and the Corners. Look forward to coming blog posts as well as September’s Iron Leg Radio Show for all manner of groovy sounds.

The tunes I bring you today represent one of my favorite discoveries (for me personally) of the last five years.

I forget where I first encountered the sounds of Mark Eric, but I suspect it was on the interwebs somewhere.

His sole LP, 1969’s ‘A Midsummer’s Daydream’ is a fairly scarce item, mainly because it went nowhere when it was first issued, and because those that have encountered it since have hard filed it.

Mark Eric’s music has been described – accurately – as some of the best Beach Boys material not actually created by Mr Wilson and his henchmen.

Eric, born Mark Eric Malmborg not only looked the part, with his sun-bleach blond good looks (he spent some time as a TV actor) but seems to have internalized the post-Pet Sounds vibe, mixing it with a healthy dose of Sunshine Pop.

He recorded ‘A Midsummer’s Daydream’ in 1969 with Animals guitarist Vic Briggs twiddling the knobs and arranging.

I’m always amazed that someone was able/willing to pull something like this off in 1969. There were certainly legions of Brian Wilson fanboys appropriating his sound (ironically or not) in the 80s and 90s, but for someone to dig this deep into that sound, and pull it off so well while the Beach Boys prime was still in the ether (as it were) was remarkable.

The three tracks I bring you today should provide a pretty nice introduction to Mark Eric.

‘California Home’, the track that opens the LP shows the level of sophistication at work. While he might not have had the laser-like focus of someone like Curt Boettcher (or Wilson himself), Mark Eric was no slouch in the ‘creating a soundscape’ department. ‘California Home’ features his own Brian-esque vocals and harmonies, laid atop a well-crafted arrangement.

By 1969, with the Brian Wilson pulled out from under them (mostly) the Beach Boys had kind of gone off the rails, and while they were still doing some very interesting work (‘Friends’ and ‘Surf’s Up’ especially) with the other members flexing their creative muscles a bit more, they were incapable of the kind of consistency that Mark Eric brought to his album.

This is of course a wholly theoretical exercise, since the Beach Boys/Brian Wilson probably had no idea who Mark Eric was, and certainly weren’t involved with the project in any way.

However, the record store basements of the world are packed floor to ceiling with 45s by acts that were dead set on imitating the Beach Boys, Beatles, Byrds, Rolling Stones and others, most of whom made a hash of it.

To hear an entire album so well done, in regard to songcraft, arranging and performing, yet so obviously derivative is a remarkable and rare thing.

‘Night Of the Lions’ is as close to a ‘rock’ track on the LP, and its French horn, harp and strings bring some of Jan and Dean’s best “Wall of Surf” productions. The song has had an interesting life of its own, appearing on the soundtrack to the biker film ‘Angels Die Hard’. It was also redone on the album ‘Surf Symphony” by Jan Rubini, with new a new guitar line added to the original track.

‘Where Do the Girls of the Summer Go’ is the finest “sunshine” track on the album. The melody takes some intriguing turns into Bacharach territory.

Though some have classified Mark Eric as “soft pop” – and there are undeniable elements of that sound here – I would say that his songs/records are generally more sophisticated and satisfying than a lot of that genre, offering incentive for multiple listens.

The big mystery for me, and certainly one of the reasons that ‘A Midsummer’s Daydream’ is so intriguing, is that after creating something so wonderful, Mark Eric seems to have just walked away from music.

His acting career lasted a few years and consisted of episodic TV roles (the Partridge Family, The Bill Cosby Show, Hawaii Five-O), one film (Pretty Maids All In a Row) and a number of commercials.

He released one, rare 45 as Mark Erickson and the Point Dume Boys on the Cove label in 1970, but apparently nothing after that.

Apparently he did at least one live performance around the time ‘A Midsummer’s Daydream’ was reissued by Rev-Ola in the early 2000s.

The album was available on iTunes for a while, but it doesn’t look like it’s there any longer.

Original copies of the album don’t turn up too often, and when they do they run between 40 and 100 dollars, but you can still find affordable copies of the CD reissue.

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

Peace

Larry

 

Example


PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #19

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Intro/Action Scene – Hawkshaw/Mansfield (KPM)
Byrds – Bad Night at the Whiskey (Columbia)
Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll – Save Me (Polydor)
Captain Beefheart – Who Do You Think You’re Fooling (A&M)
Chris Farlowe – Out of Time (Immediate)
Chris Farlowe – Baby Make It Soon (Immediate)
The Coopers – Didn’t I (White Whale)
The Hassles – You Got Me Hummin’ (UA)
Standells – Why Did You Hurt Me (Tower)
The Yardbirds – No Excess Baggage (Epic)
Yardbirds – Great Shakes Commercial

Hardy Boys – Here Come the Hardys (RCA/Dunwich)
Tradewinds – Mind Excursion (Kama Sutra)
Small Circle of Friends – Kind of Wasted Without You (A&M)
Pleasure Faire – Morning Glory Days (UNI)
Puppet – Best Friend (Date)
James Griffin – Miracle Worker (Viva)
Fun and Games – Don’t Worry Baby (White Whale)
Free Design – Bubbles (Project 3)
Brian Hyland – The Joker Went Wild (Philips)
Grin – White Lies (Spindizzy)
Blades of Grass – I Love You Alice B Toklas (Jubilee)
I Love You Alice B Toklas Movie Promo

Beaver and Krause – People’s Park 45 (WB)
Ananda Shankar – Light My Fire (Reprise)
The Fire Escape – The Trip (GNP Crescendo)
Cher – Hey Joe (Imperial)
Holy Mackerel – Scorpio Red (Reprise)
Living Strings – San Francisco Nights (Camden)
Mickey Newbury – Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) (RCA)
Peggy Lipton – The Lady of the Lake (Ode)
Mars Bonfire – Lady Moonwalker (UNI)
Scott Walker – Mrs Murphy (Philips)
Terry Reid – Stay With Me (Epic)
Van Dyke Parks – Datsun Commercial

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 19 – 176MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

I hope all is well in your part of the world.

It’s time once again for the Iron Leg Radio Show, episode 19!

This time around we have a great one for you, with three long sets of very groovy music.

We get things started with a bunch of garage and other rock, roll on into a set of sunshine and lighter fare, and close things out with a long, trippy grouping of sounds.

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

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

Iron Leg Radio Show #14

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Action Scene – Hawkshaw/Mansfield (KPM)
Beauregard and the Tuffs – (Love Is Like a) Ramblin’ Rose (Decca)
Ferris Wheel – I Can’t Break the Habit (Philips)
Ananda Shankar – Jumping Jack Flash (Reprise)
Ananda Shankar – Dance Indra (Reprise)
Fireballs – Groovy Motions (Atco)
Grass Roots – No Exit (Dunhill)
Grass Roots – Alone Phone Spot

Bee Gees – Coke Spot
Bee Gees – I Can’t See Nobody (Atco)
Robin Gibb – Saved By the Bell (Atco)
Robin Gibb – Mother and Jack (Atco)
Bee Gees – The Earnest of Being George (Atco)
Biff Rose – Fill Your Heart (Tetragrammaton)
Biff Rose – What’s Gnawing at Me (Tetragrammaton)
Biff Rose – The Promise (Buddah)
Laugh-In Promo

Curt Boettcher – Levis Spot #1
Curt Becher and California – Happy In Hollywood (WB)
Curt Boetcher – I Love You More Each Day (Elektra)
Eternity’s Children – Mrs Bluebird (Tower)
Tom Northcott – Who Planted Thorns In Miss Alice’s Garden (WB)
Tom Northcott – Sunny Goodge Street (WB)
Artie Schroeck Implosion – Six O’Clock (Verve)
The Association – Birthday Morning (WB)
The Beach Boys – I Know There’s an Answer (Capitol)
Blades of Grass – I Love You Alice B Toklas (Jubilee)
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart – Smilin’ (Aquarian)
Emmit Rhodes – Golden Child of God (ABC/Dunhill)
Enoch Light and the Light Brigade – Marrakesh Express (Project 3)
The Herd – Understand Me (Fontana)

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 14 – 90MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

I hope the new week finds you well.

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

Before we get started I want to let you know that this is Pledge Week over at Funky16Corners (aka the mothership).

I always put out the tip cup about this time every year to raise money for the server costs related to Funky16Corners and Iron Leg.

If soul and funk is a bag you’re in, there are close to 150 mixes and another 110 or so radio shows posted in the archives at Funky16Corners.

If you’re solely an Iron Leg-ger, there’s lots to pour into your ears over here as well, with the Iron Leg Digital Trip Podcast Archive as well as the Iron Leg Radio Show.

If it’s something you find valuable in any way, please click on the donate link over at F16C.
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This month’s Iron Leg Radio Show sees us back around the 90 minute mark, with some garage, freakbeat, worldbeat, a tribute to Robin Gibb, some tunes by Biff Rose and a very long set of sunshiney pop.

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

Peace

Larry

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Iron Leg Radio Episode #4!!

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Opening – Action Scene – Hawkshaw/Mansfield (KPM)

Jacques Dutronc – Et Moi Et Moi Et Moi (Vogue)
Ian and the Zodiacs – Na Na Na Na Na (Philips)
Rotary Connection – Burning of the Midnight Lamp (Cadet Concept)
Living Strings – Somebody To Love (Camden)
Litter – My Little Red Book (Probe)
Jethro Tull – Fat Man (Reprise)
Clear Light – Think Again (Elektra)
American Breed Alone Phone Spot

Glenn Campbell – Guess I’m Dumb (Capitol)
Brenda Lee – The Crying Game (Decca)
Colin Blunstone – Caroline Goodbye (Epic)
Enoch Light and the Glittering Guitars – You Showed Me (Project 3)
Linda Ronstadt – She’s a Very Lovely Woman (Capitol)
Love – The Red Telephone (Elektra)
Monkees – Porpoise Song –  45 edit (Colgems)
Pearls Before Swine – I Saw the World  – 45 edit (ESP Disk)
7-UP Commercial

Ascots – Sookie Sookie (Super)
Barbarians – Are You a Boy or Are You a Girl (Laurie)
Changing Times – How Is the Air Up There (Philips)
Music Machine – Trouble (Original Sound)
Peanut Gallery – Out of Breath (Canterbury)
Kingsmen – Trouble (Wand)
Kitchen Cinq – Determination (LHI)
Wayne Logiudice – Come On Lets Get a Little Action On (Philips)
Lindy Blaskey and the Lavells – You Ain’t Tuff (Space)
Guilloteens – Hey You (HBR)
Vanilla Fudge Coke Commercial

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 4 – 149MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

The middle of August is here, and that means it’s time again for the Iron Leg Radio Show.

This time out we have even more of the groovy stuff that you’ve come to expect from Iron Leg, with the garage, and the Euro punk, and the sunshine pop, kitsch, freaks (beaten well), sophisticated musical musings, pa-sike-o-modelica and of course anything else that pops.

So, pull out your ears, prepare them for liftoff and pull down the ones and zeros.
See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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