Them – Bring ‘Em On In

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That’s a mean looking bunch’o’spuds.

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Listen/Download – Them – Bring ‘Em On In

Greetings all.

Welcome to the new week.

As I was flipping through the vast ‘to-be-blogged’ archive, trying to pick out a tune for this week, I happened upon something groovy, which – ironically – I had forgotten.

Unjustly, too, since the beat/blues wailing of George Ivan Morrison, the man responsible for my all-time favorite rock song (G-L-O-R-I-A…) is one of my very favorite sounds (as is his slightly later, much hippy-dippier profundity).

If memory serves I picked up this 45 at a record show, mainly because I had never heard (more accurately, did not remember) the songs.

As it turns out, both tracks on the single, ‘Bring ‘Em On In’ and ‘Call My Name’ appeared on 1966’s ‘Them Again’, which I owned a copy of (and have since misplaced/Lost) back in the garage/mod days of the 80s.

Though they are often grouped with the British Invasion, Them were much closer to (and quite close to the top of the class) the R&Beat sound.

That they had the voice and songwriting prowess of Morrison put them close to the front of the pack, but they were first and foremost a shit-hot band, in the end far more influential than they were successful.

On that note, it’s odd to discover that they were a much bigger deal (though still relatively small potatoes, no pun intended) here in the States than they were on the other side of the Atlantic.

They had a handful of moderate hits here in the US, with ‘Here Comes the Night’ being the biggest (and ‘Gloria’ the most influential), as well as a couple of regional successes.

‘Bring ‘Em On In’, released in 1966 as the B-side to ‘Call My Name’ (one of the aforementioned regional hits, making some noise on SoCal and Florida) is a hard-charging bit of R&B cum garage, with some fuzz guitar, piano and of course a searing vocal by Van the man.

Of course by this time, Them – in their Van led incarnation – were pretty much a done deal.

They imploded following a West Coast tour of the US, with Van moving on to working with Bert Berns, and some of the rest of the fellows continuing on for a few years.

It is a very sweet little number, and I hope you dig it.

I’ll see you all next week with a new episode of the Iron Leg Radio Show.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

The Sonics – Keep a Knockin’

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“Officer!! They’re looting the Food King!”

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Listen/Download – The Sonics – Keep a Knockin’

Greetings all.

As I was cleaning (or more aptly, working some level of organizational triage) in my record vault, I pulled the 45 you see before you today out of a box and thought to myself, ‘Hey, the time is right for something a little nutty.’

Sure, I could have put it back and whipped a little sunshine pop on you, or maybe even some fuzzy garage, but when fate steps up and hands you a Sonics 45, you kind of have to fall in line and do what you’re told.

If you don’t know the Sonics, even if only by reputation, then I don’t know what to say.

The day I first heard the Sonics, some 30-odd years ago, my brain was rewired permanently, in a way that only happens to you a few times in life (if you’re lucky).

I had some small amount of experience with ‘garage punk’, but no amount of snotty, teenage fuzz could have prepared me for the Sonics.

Taking form in the foggy, moss-covered glens of the Pacific Northwest in the early 60s, the Sonics sounded like (and I’m going to quote myself here, because I don’t think I can do any better)

“…pure, unbridled animal energy, mixed with an electrified libido and marinated in grain alcohol is reduced to a serum, injected into Little Richard, who then went to the zoo, mated with a hyena in a swimming pool during an electrical storm then took their unholy spawn into a recording studio (during a tornado) and whipped up something very, very heavy.”

The Little Richard comparison is apt, since today’s selection – ‘Keep a Knockin’ – was first unleashed on the world, via Mr Penniman in 1957, which seems like an eternity away, but when the Sonics recorded it (the b-side to their very first 45), was only seven years in the past.

Now, any fool knows that trying to beat Little Richard at his own game is work (usually) reserved for fools, but the Sonics had something special.

That something was the musical equivalent of a sledgehammer made of dynamite.

This is the sound of a band running at top speed plus, like a car used to burning gasoline with a tank full of rocket fuel instead.

There’s nothing subtle about the Sonics take on ‘Keep a Knockin’, but there never needed to be.

I’m convinced that their first album was called ‘Boom’, only because ‘KABLAMMO!!!’ wouldn’t fit on the cover.

You either grab on and hold tight, or fall under their wheels.

Your choice, buddy.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show #39

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfield – Action Scene (KPM)
The Cocktail Cabinet – Breathalyser (Page One)
Locomotive – Rudi’s In Love (Bell)
Earth Quake – I Get the Sweetest Feeling (A&M)
Harper and Rowe – Here Comes Yesterday Again (World Pacific)
Hal Blaine – Drums A Go Go (Dunhill)
Kim Fowley – Born to Be Wild (Imperial)
Wild Angels Promo

Bobby Sty – Incense and Peppermints (Hit Sounds)
Mike Landers – Hush (Hit Sounds)
Mike Landers – I Can See For Miles (Hit Sounds)
Mustang – Haight Ashbury Time (Somerset)
Mustang – The Acid Test (Somerset)
Soul Strings and a Funky Horn – Grazing In the Grass (Solid State)
Sam Wright Group – Green Onions (Curio)
Tommy Knight and the Knights – Tighten Up (Promenade)
Psych-Out Promo

Associated Soul Group – Are You Experienced (Contessa)
Electric Piano Playground – I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night (Bell)
Electric Piano Playground – Good Vibrations (Bell)
Electronic Concept Orchestra – Aquarius (Limelight)
Electric Indian – Storm Warning (UA)
Electric Tommy – Overture (Viva)
Marketts – Come to the Sunshine (World Pacific)
Stapleton-Morley Expression – Creeque Alley (Dunhill)
Stapleton-Morley Expression – 12:30 (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon) (Dunhill)
Stapleton-Morley Expression – San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair) (Dunhill)
101 Strings – A Taste of Soul (Alshire)
The Trip Promo

JP Rags – Scruffety (World Pacific)
JP Rags – The Bells 0f St Barbara (World Pacific)
JP Rags – Still Life (World Pacific)
Karen Karsh – Wasn’t Born To Follow (Dunhill)
Karen Karsh – Musty Dusty (Dunhill)
Brady Bunch – I Just Want To Be Your Friend (Paramount)
The Collage – Would You Like To Go (Smash)
New Life – Canterbury Road (Epic)
Wild In the Streets Promo

 

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 39 – 222MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

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

This time out I have a nice, long show for you, with more than two hours of sonic wonderment.

We get things off to a start with some groovy new arrivals, segue into two long sets looking at the various and sundry types of musical exploitation, and then some softer sounds to round out the show.

If this is your first taste, make sure to drop into the archive in the header and check out the previous 38 (?!?) episodes.

I think you’ll dig it.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

The Shillings – Children and Flowers b/w Lying and Trying

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The Shillings

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Listen/Download – The Shillings – Children and Flowers

Listen/Download – The Shillings – Lying and Trying

Greetings all.

The tracks I bring to you this fine day are a stellar example of East Coast folk/pop.

The Shillings (of which there were many, but these cats were from Eastern, PA) released several 45s on labels like Fontana, Virtue and Three Rivers in 1966 and 1967.

They hailed from the Allentown area and played local ten clubs like the Mod Mill and King Arthur’s Court.

The record you see before you was released in 1966.

‘Children and Flowers’, written by Jackie DeShannon, had already been a minor hit for New Jersey’s Critters in 1965.

DeShannon recorded – but did not release – her own version, which later surfaced on the CD reissue of the ‘Laurel Canyon’ LP.

The Shillings version takes the Sunset Strip folk rock sound and dials it down a notch, softening it up with a dose of AM pop.

The flipside of the 45, ‘Lying and Trying’ (written by group member Tom Ross) was actually a regional hit, charting in the Top 20 in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

‘Lying and Trying’ follows the same basic formula, with just enough jangle and drums to be taken seriously, but poppy enough to keep the teenyboppers interested.

I especially dig the guitar solo.

The Shillings  broke up in 1968.

You can pick up a collection of the Shillings recordings, entitled ‘Hoagie Shop’ (including these two songs) in iTunes!

I hope you dig the tunes, and I’ll see you next week with a new episode of the Iron Leg Radio Show.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

The Remains – Diddy Wah Diddy b/w Once Before

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The Remains

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Listen/Download – The Remains – Diddy Wah Diddy

Listen/Download – The Remains – Once Before

Greetings all.

Near the end of February, the sad news came down that the drummer of the mighty Remains, Chip Damiani had passed away at the age of 68.

Back in the garage/mod days of the 80s, when reissues of classic 60s material were coming fast and furious, the French import comp of the Remains best material was a big favorite.

Record collector types are always bending someone’s ear about how their favorite band really should have been huge, but in the case of the Remains, that old saw has the ring of truth.

Formed in Boston in 1964, the Remains made music that was hard edged – often muscling in on the garage punk vibe – full of R&B swagger yet with enough pop flavor to get them (theoretically, anyway) on the radio.

They were enshrined on 1972’s ‘Nuggets’ comp, with ‘Don’t Look Back’ (written by a young Billy Vera), but that record – as great as it was – only scratched the surface.

Despite a lack in actual chart success (outside of Boston), the Remains managed to make it onto the Ed Sullivan show, and score themselves a spot opening for the Beatles on their last tour in 1966.

They shoulda/coulda been, but broke up not long after the Beatles tour.

In their short career they recorded one rare LP for Epic, a handful of 45s (most of the tracks from the LP), and that – as they say – was that.

The two tracks I bring you today were released on 45 in 1966.

Their reading of Bo Diddley’s ‘Diddy Wah Diddy’ was their biggest hit – charting in the Northeast and southern California – and has a big, booming sound. The drums, acoustic guitar and electric piano get things rolling before the harp and vocals come in. There’s plenty of forward motion for the dance floor, and just enough grit for the longhairs in the crowd.

The flipside, ‘Once Before’ – opening with a razor sharp rhythm guitar slash – sounds like what the Yardbirds might have sounded like had they emerged on the opposite side of the Atlantic. Written by Chip Damiani and bassist Vern Miller, the song is my favorite of the band’s original songs, and in a just world would have been a hit.

Fortunately, after decades of doing other things (with Barry Tashian crossing paths with Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris) the Remains came back together in the late 90s and performed at many modern garage fests.

You can grab all of their material in reissue (hard copy and digital), and if you dig these tracks, I assure you that the rest of their catalog will not disappoint.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Pre-Monkee-fication: Sir Raleigh and the Coupons b/w Del Shannon

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Dewey Martin (above), Del Shannon (below)

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Listen/Download – Sir Raleigh and the Coupons – Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day

Listen/Download – Del Shannon – She

Greetings all.

The tunes I bring you today ought to both be very familiar, of not in the versions you see here.

You already known I’m a big fan of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.

Despite their Monkees-related fame, both Boyce and Hart were working as successful songwriters prior to their association with the law firm of Dolenz, Jones, Nesmith and Tork.

Both of the records featured today are recordings of songs done by the Monkees, but done before the Monkees (get my drift?).

‘Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day’, written by Boyce and Steve Venet (Venet co-wrote the theme to ‘Where the Action Is’ with Boyce and penned songs with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, in addition to co-writing ‘The Roach’ for Gene and Wendell), was recorded by a number of groups in the mid-60s, including the Astronauts and the Shadows of Knight.

The version you have here was waxed by Sir Raleigh and the Coupons in 1965.

Sir Raleigh was a pseudonym for a pre-Buffalo Springfield drummer/vocalist Dewey Martin. Sir Raleigh and the Coupons (the name a reference to a then-popular brand of cigarettes) recorded one 45 for Jerden (as well as one for Tower and another for A&M), which was also issued in Australia under the name ‘Sir Duncan and the Yo-Yos’.

Their version of ‘Tomorrow’s Gonna Be Another Day’ has a hard, garage edge to it (like the Astronauts take) with a great lead vocal by Martin and a wailing guitar solo.

Del Shannon had a run of hits that lasted from 1961 (with ‘Runaway’) to 1965 (with ‘Keep Searchin’’).

By the time he recorded his version of Boyce and Hart’s ‘She’ in 1966 (pre-dating the Monkees by a few months) he was in the grips of a dry spell that never really let up.

Despite the fact that he was a stranger to the charts, Shannon did some of his most interesting work in the mid-to-late 60s.

‘She’ (produced by Boyce and Hart) opens with fuzz guitar and combo organ, with some cool lead guitar punctuating things through the verse. Shannon’s vocals are predictably excellent, and the backing vocals are very cool, too.

I can only imagine that had he the kind of momentum the Monkees did, his version might have been the hit.

Both versions are very cool, and make me want to see the new Boyce and Hart documentary (a lot).

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

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Three by Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters

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Dave Van Ronk (right) and the Hudson Dusters

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Listen/Download – Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters – Clouds (From Both Sides Now)

Listen/Download – Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters – Alley Oop

Listen/Download – Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters – Head Inspector

Greetings all.

I come to you today to bend your ear (eyes?) about one of my personal favorites, the mighty Dave Van Ronk.

If you know Van Ronk, it is probably by his presence in the New York folk scene of the 50s and 60s, where he was a master of acoustic blues and just about anything else he set his mind to.

Van Ronk (pause here to read his great autobiography ‘The Mayor of MacDougal Street’) was a musical polymath, starting out (and occasionally finding his way back to) trad jazz, acoustic blues, Brecht and Weill, and – as you’ll hear today – genuinely interesting 60s rock.

I first encountered Van Ronk back in 1976 or 77 when I saw him perform in a televised memorial concert for Phil Ochs. I remember my father having some passing knowledge and appreciation for Van Ronk, and over the ensuing decades I dug as deeply into his oeuvre as the depth of my pockets and the availability if his records allowed.

It wasn’t until the early 90s, when a career-encompassing anthology called ‘A Chrestomathy’ was released that I had any idea that he had ever departed from the folk blues for which he was best known.

I can recall vividly the way by brow arched when in the middle of the first CD the music moved from a traditional ballad to a truly demented/inspired cover of the Hollywood Argyles’ ‘Alley Oop’.

‘What is this?’I wondered as I grabbed for the liner notes.

There wasn’t much there except a mention of a few of the tracks having been recorded by a group called ‘Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters’.

There was no information out there on the group, and I figured I’d have to be happy with what I had on he comp, until I happened upon a copy of the group’s 1967 Verve LP at a record show.

I was thrilled until I saw the price tag (I seem to remember that it was well over $50.00, a lot more than I could afford), so I passed on it, and – as these things often play out – didn’t see another copy for almost 20 years.

Fortunately, when I finally did get the album it was around ten bucks (with the growth of the internet and Ebay shaking all kinds of obscurities out into the light).

Extra-double-fortunately when I got to listen to/digimatize the whole record I was very happy to discover that it was not only as good as the tracks I’d heard, but better.

‘Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters’ is that rare beast, in which an artists steps outside of their familiar sound and instead of stepping in a steaming pile, actually does something interesting.

Though the sounds on the album are generally reminiscent of a certain New York freak scene early days vibe, i.e. electric Dylan, Fugs, Blues Project etc, it’s all mixed in with Van Ronk’s mighty voice and an unusual and unique sensibility.

The Hudson Dusters actually sound like a “band” (as opposed to a one-off dalliance). They were authentically weird, actually rock, and the songwriting (and the selection of cover material) is top notch.

The three tracks I bring you today are representative of the album as a whole, including one of the two pre-fame Joni Mitchell covers, my favorite original ‘Head Inspector’ and the aforementioned ‘Alley Oop’.

Van Ronk was an acquaintance of Mitchell’s in her early days, and his treatment of her songs ‘Clouds (From Both Sides Now)’ and ‘Chelsea Morning’ (two of the earliest recordings of those songs) manage to do them justice while giving them an interesting, Van Ronk-esque interpretations. ‘Clouds’ is especially poignant when you contrast Van Ronk’s delivery with the crystalline renditions by Mitchell and Judy Collins.

‘Head Inspector’ is a fantastic slice of New York freak folk rock, with ringing guitars and a solid rhythm section.

There are even times where it wanders (deliberately, perhaps?) into garagey territory. It is the best of the record’s (mostly excellent) original material.

The Hudson Dusters take on ‘Alley Oop’ still makes my ears perk up every time I play it. Here Van Ronk and band take on the 1960 Hollywood Argyles (actually a Kim Fowley/Gary Paxton studio concoction) is demented in every possible positive interpretation of that word. It opens with a slightly dissonant guitar riff, before the combo organ, bass and drums come in. The backing vocals arefairly conventional, but end up sounding weird when Van Ronk drops in with his delivery, sounding like a streetcorner preacher on a bender.

The Hudson Dusters manage to take the novelty tune and turn into into something inspired. It’s one of my favorite records of the era.

Unfortunately, the Hudson Dusters record has not been reissued. The band’s 45s and the LP aren’t terribly expensive these days, so if you dig what you hear (here) grab yourself the whole platter.

I hope you dig the sounds, and I’ll see you all on Monday.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

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