The Strawbs – Or Am I Dreaming

Example

The Strawbs, circa 1969

Example

Listen/Download – The Strawbs – Or Am I Dreaming

Greetings all.

As I mentioned a while back, quite by the luck of the draw, I ended up with the very groovy Strawbs 45 you see before you when I recently purchased a larger lot of records.

My previous knowledge of the band was limited to their connection with Sandy Denny (who was a member of the group before her tenure with Fairport Convention).

Much more popular in the UK than the US (they had a big hit in the UK in 1973 with ‘Part of the Union’), the Strawbs morphed from an acoustic folk group (in their earliest days) through popsike, folk rock and prog.

Today’s selection ‘Or Am I Dreaming’ was their first 45, recorded in 1968 and released in 1969.

At the time, they were signed to the Scandinavian label Sonet, and their single (but not their LP) was picked up by A&M in the US.

There’s a story on their website that recalls how they had been unable to secure a deal in the UK (with their 45s being picked up for distribution by the Pye label) and when they walked into the record company offices there they were assumed to have come from the West Coast of the US.

‘Or Am I Dreaming’ doesn’t bring to mind California, but rather prime, late-period UK popsike in the Moody Blues vein.

Produced by Gus Dudgeon and arranged by Tony Visconti, ‘Or Am I Dreaming’ starts out with acoustic guitar, bass and flute and the voice of Dave Cousins (who wrote the song) but soon the arrangement becomes more dense, with electric bass, percussion and strings. The best part of the record comes at 1:09 where the tempo picks up and rocks a bit.

While it isn’t blatantly psychedelic, it certainly is of the time, and I wouldn’t hesitate to drop it into a UK psyche mix.

I mean, dig these lyrics:

The fragile gentle butterfly with multi-coloured wings
Settles on the toadstools in the midst of fairy rings
Midsummer sounds of tinkle bells as sweet Titania sings.

If that doesn’t carry you away, I don’t know what to say.

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

Peace

Larry

 

Example

 

 

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #43

Example

Beep beep beep beep…..

Example

Playlist

Jack Bruce Tribute

Intro Action Scene – Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfield
Graham Bond Organization – Harmonica
Graham Bond Organization – St James Infirmary (Ascot)
Graham Bond Organization – Wade In the Water (Ascot)
Jack Bruce – I’m Getting Tired (Or Drinkin’ and Gamblin’) (Polydor)
Manfred Mann – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (HMV)

Cream – I Feel Free (Atco)
Cream – NSU (Atco)
Cream – Sweet Wine (Atco)
Cream – Cat’s Squirrel (Atco)
Cream – I’m So Glad (Atco)
Cream – Sunshine of Your Love (Atco)
Cream – Tales of Brave Ulysses (Atco)
Cream – World of Pain (Atco)
Cream – SWALBR (Atco)
Cream – Dance the Night Away (Atco)
Cream – Falstaff Beer Commercial

Cream – White Room (Atco)
Cream – Born Under a Bad Sign(Atco)
Cream – Crossroads (Atco)
Cream – Politician (Atco)
Cream – Sitting On Top of the World (Atco)
Jack Bruce – Rope Ladder To the Moon (Atco)
Jack Bruce – Boston Ball Game 1967 (Atco)
Jack Bruce – Theme For An Imaginary Western (Atco)

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 43 – 189MB/256kbps

 

Greetings all.

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

The music world lost Jack Bruce back on October 25th, and I thought it fitting that we should pay tribute to him here at Iron Leg.

I’ve put together this month’s edition of the Iron leg Radio Show with tracks from his days with Graham Bond, Manfred Mann, Cream and his first solo LP, encapsulating his 1960s recordings.

When you listen you will here – interpersed with the songs – clips of interviews with Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, and John Mayall.

I hope you dig the show.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

Example


PS Head over to Funky16Corners

Best of Iron Leg – The Spats – She Done Moved

Example

The Spats ABC LP (above),
Lead singer Dick Johnson on Shindig (below)

Example

Example

 

Listen/Download – The Spats – She Done Moved

 

Note: I have some stuff going on this week, so enjoy this 2011 classic from the archives

Greetings all.

Anybody in the mood for some fuzz?

It’s been a since I dropped some of the good old garage punk stuff on you, and I assure you that today’s selection will remedy that, and then some.

A while back I finally gave in and picked up the Rhino boxed set ‘Where the Action Is: Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968’.

I had hesitated on picking it up only because I had taken a look at the song list and seen a whole lot of stuff I already had on vinyl.

I have gone into the subject countless times, but I will reiterate once again that I have a very special place in my heart for the mid-60s sound of the Sunset Strip. There’s something about the mix of jangle, fuzz, pop hooks and nascent psychedelia that hits the pleasure centers of my brain in just the right way so that I end up half-conscious with a big, dumb smile on my face.

Once again the folks at Rhino have done a superb job putting together a heaping helping of amazing music (much of it new to me) and presented it in a dynamite package with tons of info, and groovy pics.

I said that there was a lot of familiar stuff in the set, but the stuff that was unfamiliar was by and large absolutely amazing.

As is the case with any great compilation, I walked away from it with a pack of new records tacked onto my want list.
One such track was ‘She Done Moved’ by the Spats.

I’d never heard of the band before, but their record was a bit of pure garage brilliance.

If you could take the zeitgeist of early 1966 LA and put in in a meat grinder, the delicious sausage that would be extruded couldn’t possibly taste any better than ‘She Done Moved’.

The song itself is pretty simple (it is in fact an adaptation of Lonnie Johnson’s 1928 ‘Kansas City Blues’), but the arrangement is a crunchy, fuzzed out, attitude soaked piece of punky perfection.

I had never heard of the Spats before and was surprised to discover that for a brief time in the mid-60s they were all over the place.

Based in southern California, the Spats were formed around the core of the three Johnson brothers, Dick (the lead singer), Charles and Ronnie. They got their start as apack of teenage house rockers, recording loose and inspired, R&B based frat rock like ‘Gator Tails and Monkey Ribs’.

They appeared on American Bandstand (you have to see their performance of ‘Gator Tails…’ which includes some of the most spasmodic ‘choreography’ I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness), Shindig and the Jerry Van Dyke sitcom ‘My Mother the Car’ and apparently had a semi-regular gig at Disneyland.

If you take a look at the group performing on Bandstand, it’s hard to believe that they would ever be capable of a record like ‘She Done Moved’.

They were a tightly wound mass of Brylcreem and matching suits (wearing spats, natch) with some of them looking like they’d just escaped a junior high student council meeting.

By the time they recorded ‘She Done Moved’ in 1966, they had been joined by Doug Rhodes (later of the Music Machine and the Millennium). I found an interview on-line where Rhodes says that he was actually playing a Hammond organ on ‘She Done Moved’. He apparently wasn’t in the band very long before moving on to bigger and better things.

The flip side of ‘She Done Moved’ is a positively awful, good timey, tack piano tune called ‘Scoobee Doo’, which may provide one of the widest quality gaps between two sides of a 45 that I’ve ever encountered.

I hope you dig the tune ( I know you will) and I’ll see you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

Example

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

The Kaleidoscope – Elevator Man

Example

The Kaleidoscope (US)

Example

Listen/Download – The Kaleidoscope – Elevator Man

Greetings all.

The world of digging (into/for) music is – assuming that you’re always on the hunt, over the long term – full of surprises.

Back in the olden days of the 80s, when the mod/garage revival was in full swing, and pushed along quite nicely by a wide variety of reissue labels, we were exposed to new (to us) and interesting sounds on a regular basis.

One of the biggest influences in that direction was Edsel Records in the UK.

It was via Edsel, that I – and many of my ilk – first heard the sounds of the (US) Kaleidoscope.

I already knew of the group’s founding guitarist David Lindley, through his work with Jackson Browne, and his own band El Rayo X.

When I first read about (in some zine or other) the Kaleidoscope (I don’t recall is I was aware of the UK band of the same vintage yet) I was surprised that Lindley’s roots went back that far.

Picking up the Edsel comp of their Epic recordings, ‘Bacon From Mars’ was a revelation.

The Kaleidoscope mixed mid-60s California folk rock and psychedelia with all manner of world music influences, making for some of the coolest and most interesting music of the period.

The track that drilled its way the furthest into my head however, was one of their more conventional numbers, ‘Elevator Man’.

‘Elevator Man’ is as close as the Kaleidoscope came to channeling the garage sound of the time, with rolling electric guitar, combo organ, and a snarling vocal.

The thing is, I don’t think I ever had any idea where the song originally appeared.

I eventually found myself an original copy of their first LP ‘Side Trips’ (which featured the other side of this 45, ‘Please’), ‘Elevator Man’ and I never crossed paths.

Until recently, that is, when it turned up on a sales list, where I grabbed it forthwith.

It was released as a 45-only/promo-only track in 1967 (the same year as ‘Side Trips’), and despite ‘Please’ making a minor dent in Southern California and elsewhere in the southwest, went approximately nowhere.

Which is a shame, since it’s such a groovy track, but as I’ve said many times before, 1966/1967 was a period packed so densely with genius that a lot of otherwise memorable stuff went by the wayside.

So dig the goodness, and if you’re not hip to the Kaleidoscope, grab some of their stuff.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

Example

 

 

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Allan Sherman – My Son the Vampire

Example

Allan Sherman

Example

Listen/Download – Allan Sherman – My Son the Vampire

Greetings all.

I don’t always have something ready for Halloween, but when I do, it’s a doozy.

I must preface this post by looking backward many years to the many enjoyable lunches I spent rapping with my old buddy Voger.

Though (sadly) we haven’t seen each other in years, for close to 20 years – when we both worked at a newspaper where neither of us works any longer – we took every opportunity possible to converse about pop culture of all kinds.

We weren’t  that far apart in age, but both of us had what might be described as an unhealthy obsession with the old, black and white years of showbiz, from decades before either of us was born.

There’s something special about the kind of bond that forms when you’re probably the only two people in a building holding hundreds that have any idea who Mr Fields and Stinky were on the old Abbott and Costello Show.

One of the cooler things he introduced me to way back when, was a bizarre movie called ‘Mother Riley Meets the Vampire’ aka ‘Vampire Over London’ aka ‘My Son the Vampire’.

Example

The movie, initially released in 1952 was one of series of flicks featuring an English drag performer named Arthur Lucan, who portrayed a character named ‘Old Mother Riley’.

Example

Arthur Lucan as ‘Old Mother Riley’, and Bela Lugosi as ‘Von Housen’

He created the character as part of music hall act with his wife Kitty McShane (who often played Mother Riley’s daughter), moving on to a successful series of films (Lucan was one of the UK’s biggest wartime movie stars) and even a comic strip.

The character was so beloved, that after Lucan’s death in 1954, another actor, Roy Rolland took over the role and continued to play it on stage and TV into the 1980s.

‘Mother Riley Meets the Vampire’ was not only the last ‘Mother Riley’ film, but also a late entry into the Bela Lugosi filmography. Lugosi plays a mad scientist with an army of uranium controlled robots,who also happens to believe he’s a vampire (I mean it’s Bela Lugosi, so what did you expect…).

The movie – which I saw thanks to my man Voger – is a bit of low comedy, of interest as part of the English drag continuum (see Python, Monty) and as Lugosi-ana.

However, the movie had a second life, thanks in part to the rise of Allan Sherman.

I’ll assume that most of you over a certain age already know/dig Allan Sherman, a kind of proto-Weird Al (with a healthy shmear of New York Jewish culture), who is best remembered these days for his big 1963 hit ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (A Letter From Camp)’.

Sherman recorded a series of very funny albums in the early-to-mid 60s, composed of song parodies. Admittedly, how funny you find them will have a lot to do with the breadth of your cultural grasp (and probably your age). Many of his funniest numbers tap into NY/suburban Jewish culture, and are based on older pop songs and classical pieces.

I love his records, but I was also lucky enough to have a 4th grade teacher (where are you now Mrs Teller??) who played his records for us. They made me laugh then back in 1971, and they make me laugh today.

I have no idea who had the idea to resurrect an obscure British film, have Allan Sherman create a theme song for it and rename it to tie it into Sherman’s string of album titles, i.e. ‘My Son the Folksinger’, ‘My Son the Celebrity’ and ‘My Son the Nut’, but thus was born ‘My Son, The Vampire’.

Opening with a bizarre percussive prelude, the song opens up into a pseudo-tango, with Sherman shouting either “BLOOD!” or “BLAAHHH!”, then launching into a fairly typical, fairly funny lyric.

The record went exactly nowhere (which is where the movie went, too), but it still makes for an interesting footnote in the Allan Sherman story, and a nice little Halloween treat.

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

Oh, and…Goodnight Voger, wherever you are.

Peace

Larry

 

Example

 

NOTE: Stay tuned for a tribute to the late, great Jack Bruce on the next episode of the Iron Leg Radio Show

 

 

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Baker Knight and the Knightmares – Hallucinations

Example

Baker Knight

Example

Listen/Download – Baker Knight and the Knightmares – Hallucinations

Greetings all.

I hope the new week finds you well, or at least well enough to withstand having your ears turned inside out and your mind blown.

The record you see before you is one that I hunted for a long, LONG time.

You already know that I am a huge fan of the mid-60s Sunset Strip Au Go Go sound, embodied in those records that once they fall under the needle, release into the air the very essence of flashing lights, op art, granny glasses and the sweet onrush (yet not complete onset) of psychedelic expansion.

‘Hallucinations’ by Baker Knight and the Knightmares is such a record.

I first heard it maybe ten years ago when Rhino Handmade released the comp that borrowed its name from the song, ‘Hallucinations: Psychedelic Pop Nuggets from the WEA Vaults’.

There is nothing quite like having your cage good and rattled by a song that you have never heard before, so much so that all you want to do is hear it again right away, which is what happened when I hit play on that very comp.

‘Hallucinations’ is perhaps the finest example of the form that I have ever heard, representing the gateway from the SoCal of pre-1965, with hot rods, surfboards and sun, into the world of 1966 and beyond in which minds were starting to open, yet not so far that brains were spilling out on the sidewalk (if you know what I mean).

Example

As discussed years ago when I first dropped/pontificated on ‘Iron Leg Digital Trip #5: The Party’, there’s something very groovy when someone outside of a scene looks inward and tried to recreated a simulacrum thereof. In that case, I was talking about largely square Hollywood types glomming onto youth culture, with highly skilled craftsmen like Mancini applying their gifts to the groovy.

What you get with ‘Hallucinations’ is kind of the same thing, but created a lot closer to the source.

Thomas Baker Knight started out as a rockabilly cat, meeting Ricky Nelson in the late 50s and writing a grip of tunes – including ‘Lonesome Town’ – for him. He went on to write songs like ‘The Wonder of You’ (recorded by Elvis, among others), a bunch of cuts for Dean Martin (including ‘Somewhere There’s a Someone’) and tracks for folks like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.

So, how did that guy (the one in the picture up top) end up writing and performing one of the absolute masterpieces of the early days of psychedelia?

The likely answer, is that Baker Knight was both a sponge (able to absorb the sounds around him) and a chameleon (then able to use those sounds in the proper way to emulate something he was not).

However, in my humble opinion, there’s no way to explain the perfection of ‘Hallucinations’ without assuming that somewhere, deep inside his Brylcreem soul, Baker Knight had a pageboyed, gogo dancing, freak stirring the pot so that just this one time, a record like this might pop out and make its way onto wax.

‘Hallucinations’ is as hard-hitting as any basement-crafted garage number, but also benefits from actual musical skill and craftsmanship.

Produced by Jimmy Bowen, the record features huge swaths of tremolo, fuzz, pounding drums and most interestingly, some tastefully applied Moog synthesizer!

Bowen manages to weave quite a rich tapestry of sound without tripping over himself. There are waves of guitar, vocals and sound effects moving through the mix without the power of the basic rhythm section getting lost.

This is one of those records that not only fills your ears, but also puts your minds eye to work. While I wouldn’t quite say that it rises to the level of synesthesia, you can’t help but “see” this record as it plays. It probably has something to do with how vividly a listener is already acquainted with the world of 66/67 LA, but if you are, ‘Hallucinations’ will take you there.

Oddly, despite his huge success as a songwriter for others, none of Baker Knight’s own records had any chart success.

Later in his life, Knight returned to his native Alabama, where he passed away in 2005.

I hope you dig this one as much as I do, and I’ll see you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

Example

 

 

PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show #42

Example

Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Pacific Northwest Special!

Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfield – Action Scene (KPM)
Paul Revere and the Raiders – Night Train (Columbia)
Viceroys – Sack O Woe (Seafair Bolo)
Viceroys – Come On (Seafair Bolo)
Dave Lewis – JAJ (Panorama)
Dave Lewis – Searchin’ (Picadilly)
Dave Lewis – Mmm Mmm Mmm (Panorama)
Don and the Goodtimes – Turn On (Wand)
Paul Revere and the Raiders – Revolution Promo

The Sonics – The Witch (Etiquette)
The Sonics – Psycho (Jerden)
The Sonics – Maintaining My Cool (Jerden)
Paul Revere and the Raiders – Louie Go Home (Columbia)
Paul Revere and the Raiders – Kicks (Columbia)
Paul Revere and the Raiders – the Great Airplane Strike (Columbia)
Paul Revere and the Raiders – Louise (Columbia)
Paul Revere and the Raiders – Get It On (Columbia)
Paul Revere and the Raiders – SS-396 (Columbia Special Products)
Paul Revere and the Raiders – Too Much Talk (Columbia)
Paul Revere and the Raiders – Pontiac Judge Commercial

Don and the Goodtimes – Little Sally Tease (Dunhill)
Jimmy Hanna and the Dynamics – Leaving Here (Bolo)
Springfield Rifle – 100 or Two (Jerden)
Daily Flash – Jack of Diamonds (Parrot)
Daily Flash – Queen Jane Approximately (Parrot)
Kingsmen – Trouble (Wand)
Kingsmen – Long Green (Wand)
The Bards – Jabberwocky (Capitol)
Mr Lucky and the Gamblers – Alice Designs (Panorama)
Ian Whitcomb and Bluesville –You Turn Me On (the Turn On Song) (Tower)
Sir Raleigh and the Cupons – Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day (Jerden)
Springfield Rifle – Nordstroms Ad

 

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 42 – 159MB/256kbps

 

Greetings all.

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

Following the passing of Paul Revere, I made a command decision and turned this months show into an all-Pacific Northwest special, with a healthy dose of Mr Revere and his Raiders, the Sonics, Don and the Goodtimes, The Springfield Rifle, Live Five, Dave Lewis, Daily Flash, Mr Lucky and the Gamblers and many more!

This is a much fussed over crate in my record room, so you know there’ll be some high quality stuff included.

As always, I hope you dig it.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

Example


PS Head over to Funky16Corners

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,532 other followers