Iron Leg Halloween: The What-Knots – I Ain’t Dead Yet

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Unngghhh!!!

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Listen/Download – The What-Knots – I Ain’t Dead Yet

Greetings all.

The witching hour (or week…as it is) has arrived.

Halloween is right around the corner, and I have some rollicking, slightly morbid garage wax for you to stuff in your ears.

Way back in the day, I wrote up one of the early versions of this tune (not the OG) by the Gentrys.

When that one came out in 1966, it was called ‘Don’t Send Me No Flowers’, and it was a cover of a record by another Memphis garage band, the Breakers.

The record I bring you today, rather boldy stolen, retitled and waxed by a crew calling themselves the What-Knots is groovy indeed.

My guess (going by the style of the record and the Buddy Killen production credit) is that the What-Knots were also from the south somewhere, but I can’t say for sure, since they are pretty obscure, even for a garage band.

It is of course possible that 45 years hence (this dropped in 1967) the What-Knots are still hiding from the Breakers’ lawyers, but you never know.

That said, their version of the song is a hopped up bit of southern/frat rock garage, with a singer that sounds in the breaks like the inspiration for James Brown’s Hot Tub Party.

I’m still not sure what he’s saying in a couple of places.

At one point it sounds like

“LEMME HEEYA BLOOTY SIGH!!!”

Okay Luther….whatever you say.

The combo organ and the honking sax-o-ma-phone are top notch, as is the thick, soup bass that threatens to overwhelm the whole affair.

It’s the kind of garage record that could only be made south of the Mason-Dixon line by a pack of likkered up snotballs, and for that we are all thankful.

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

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Halloween: Chad and Jeremy – Rest In Peace

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Messrs Stuart and Clyde

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Listen/Download – Chad and Jeremy – Rest In Peace

Greetings all.

I have to begin by telling you that, a very (very) serious and wholly unexpected health crisis has descended upon our family, and it behooves me to devote what time I have to helping my wife and sons in any way I can. Until such time as things are back to normal (or at least some semblance thereof) all blogging will be suspended.

Some things (a lot of things, actually) are more important than blogging, and so I must (temporarily) take your leave.

However, as the witching hour is upon us once again (and this post was already in the can), that means it’s time for the (semi)yearly Iron Leg Halloween post. There wasn’t a Halloween post last year due to the fact that the blog went on hiatus right before the holiday, but I did re-activate the files on the 2009 posts (there were three of them!) so you can dig them if you weren’t checking in back then.

This is the part of the post (Iron Leg or Funky16Corners) in which I insert the boilerplate language where I tell you that I am not a serious collector of holiday records – Halloween or Christmas – so whatever I have that generally fits the bill is something that arrived in the crates by virtue of its quality, holiday appropriateness being secondary (if considered at all).

That said, I was scrolling back through the vinyl recorded since last Halloween, looking for something in the spirit of the holiday, and happened upon a record that I’d been wanting to post for a long time but never got around to it for a variety of reasons.

Today was the first time I looked at Chad and Jeremy’s ‘Rest In Peace’ from the legendary ‘Of Cabbages and Kings’ album, and realized that it would be a perfect All Hallows selection.

Whereas many other candidates for this particular slot would be some ghoulish novelty concerning itself with one of the Mount Rushmore of spooky stuff, i.e. your Draculas, Frankensteins, werewolves (see Funky16Corners), Mummys (see years past) or ghosts (five heads on this mountain), today’s selection takes us right into the graveyard.

Many before me have spoken of the wonders of ‘Of Cabbages and Kings’.

The album sees Messrs Stuart and Clyde going in heretofore unseen progressive, psychedelic and perhaps more ‘serious’ directions than one might have expected from the duo that brought you ‘Summer Song’. It is a wonderful amalgam of light psychedelia, orchestrated pop and deeper (yet not pretentious, at least not for the time) sounds.

The track I bring you today opens the record, and is at least in my opinion its finest, most accessible cut.

It is also a wry, first person tale of a crafter of headstones (thus placing it in a Halloween bag).

The stonecutter is named Matthews, and he relates the tales of some of his customers (Fred and John in particular) and ends each verse with a darkly funny, but earnestly delivered line that caps off the slightly melancholic lead up.

I don’t solicit business; there’s no point in trying
What I like about my customers – they just keep on dying

The song is a melodic delight with just enough sitar to place it on the timeline, and also fits nicely inside the mid-to-late 60s tradition of pop groups commenting on the traditions of the English middle class.
The last two verses are particularly well written:

They come to me and spend all they’ve got
‘Cause it costs quite a lot to be remembered
They think it is the only way
What would the neighbors say anyway?
It’s so prestigious, even though you’re not religious

Maybe one day I will carve a stone
Big enough for everyone
And written there for those who care
In letters ten feet high:
“Here they lie who were born to die”

Not exactly spooky, but a great remembrance of the real meaning of Halloween, which is where you insert Linus reading a bible verse about someone rising from the dead (there are a few), followed by the whole gang gathered around a headstone singing ‘The Monster Mash’.

I hope you dig the tune and I’ll see you all as soon as life allows.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Halloween – Wizards From Kansas – She Rides With Witches

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Listen  – The Wizards From Kansas – She Rides With Witches

Greetings all.

It’s time to close out the Iron Leg Halloween thing, with yet another witch-related tune.
Last year I was on vacation in Maine with the family, and as if often (almost always) the case, I managed to crowbar a little digging into the trip. There was a store in downtown Portland that I had been in before, but our schedule, and the store’s oddball hours of operation conspired to keep me away. As luck would have (thanks to my lovely wife) we found a way to go to Portland on our way out of the area and I was able to make a quick stop.
Good thing too, because in addition to a couple of nice jazz/soul jazz records, I pulled a copy of the ‘Wizards From Kansas’ LP out of the ‘psych’ bin. The group’s name was familiar, it looked like my kind of thing, and since it was less than ten dollars I decided to give it a try and put it in the keeper stack. Much later that day, when we had settled in at our next stop, I logged on to the interwebs and started Google-ing my finds, when much to my surprise I discovered that the ‘Wizards from Kansas’ LP was actually worth a lot more than I paid for it.
The group was in fact from Kansas, and had recorded the LP in 1970. Though they hailed from the land of tornados, they sounded as if they’d come up in the ballrooms of San Fran, with touches of the Dead, late-period Moby Grape and even Kak in the mix.
The ‘Wizards from Kansas’ LP is a great slice of low-key, psyched out sounds that capture the ballroom sound right before it turned into something much heavier.
The tune I bring you today is ‘She Rides With Witches’, which aside from an era-appropriate, yet still clearly ill-advised drum solo, is a pretty groovy, somewhat spooky number. The band kicks back in after the drum solo with a jazzy rave up, with a very nice guitar solo. I’m not entirely sure that it makes up for the drum solo, but you take what you can get.
Apparently the Wizards From Kansas were another example of peaking too early, falling apart not long after their album was released, causing it to become a valuable obscurity. It has been reissued a couple of times, and there’s a comp out there featuring unreleased material.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll be back on Monday with something groovy.
Happy Halloween!

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some more Halloween-osity…

Iron Leg Halloween – Super Session – Season of the Witch

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Listen – Super Session – Season of the Witch – MP3

Greetings all.

Welcome to the  Iron Leg Halloween Spookfest, during which yours truly dips into the crates for a taste of something groovy with which we might all enliven our Samhain festivities.
The tune I bring you today was digi-ma-tized early this year and tucked away for just this occasion.
I have no idea if Donovan had any idea what he was whipping on the world when he wrote and recorded ‘Season of the Witch’. Not only was it a hit on its own, but spawned a ton of cover versions (my fave being the Lou Rawls classic).
While I love me some Dono-Leitch, we here at Iron Leg Industries never take the direct route between two points, so nothing less than a cover version of the source material would suffice.
The recording you’ll hear today appeared on the Bloomfield/Kooper/Stills ‘Super Session’ album in 1968. Oddly enough, though all three principals (Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Stephen Stills) were working rock musicians, none of them could be described as big stars as of 1968, with Kooper coming off the founding of Blood Sweat and Tears, Bloomfield leaving the Electric Flag and Stills between Buffalo Springfield and acquiring his license to print money with David Crosby and Graham Nash.
The session came together through the workings of Al Kooper who booked a block of studio time with Bloomfield, Harvey Brooks and Barry Goldberg of the Electric Flag and LA sessioner ‘Fast’ Eddie Hoh (who had played with the Mamas and Papas among many others).
This group recorded the first side of the LP in a day, after which Bloomfield disappeared and was replaced by Stephen Stills, who recorded the second side of the album in a similarly speedy fashion.
The version of ‘Season of the Witch’ posted today is from the Stills half of the record, which aside from the Bloomfield-led version of Howard Tate’s ‘Stop’ is far superior to the flip side. I remember hearing this song for the first time during my bong-rattling college years, a hazy period where the slow, sinuous groove of this particular ‘Season of the Witch’ fit perfectly into the musical rotation. While I would describe Stills as one of my favorite musicians – due in large part (but not exclusively) to his Buffalo Springfield period – I will admit that he had an unfortunate tendency to dip in the white-boy soul screamer thing. I’m happy to say that his performance in ‘Season of the Witch’ is a comparative model of subtlety, both vocally and on guitar.
The cut was popular on the progressive FM dial, making the ‘Super Session’ album a fairly substantial hit.
I hope you dig the song, and I’ll be back later in the week with something cool.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some more Halloween-osity…

Little Tibia & the Fibias – The Mummy!

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Little Tibia & the Fibias

Listen – Little Tibia & the Fibias – The Mummy – MP3

Greetings all.
I wasn’t planning on posting again this week, but I got my hands on something cool and couldn’t let Halloween pass without posting it.
I’ve been a fan of Rankin & Bass’s ‘Mad Monster Party’ since I was a kid, when it was an annual event of sorts on Channel 5 in NYC.
Back in the day, when I was hanging out on the pageboy, fuzztone, granny glasses scene, I began to notice on part of that movie in particular (and if you scope out the picture above, you’ll know why).
Right there, in the middle of ‘Mad Monster Party’, was a smoking number by what I consider to be the greatest ‘fake’ band of all time, Little Tibia and the Fibias.
When I say “fake band” I refer only to the fact that the band was created especially for the movie (and the fact that the ‘band’ we’re referring to is in fact an animated/reanimated group of skeletal punks). There’s obviously a real band making the music. Unfortunately – aside from vague, unsourced rumors that Rex Garvin and the Mighty Cravers may have been involved – the identity of the real life performers has been buried in the sands of time.
That, my friends, is a goddamn shame, because as will be demonstrated when you extract the ones and zeros from the interwebs, ‘The Mummy’ is a wild ass-kicker of the first order.
You get the pounding drums, the combo organ, and a vocal that sounds like the singers were good and drunk.
And the words!

“Mad mummy dance!
He’s in a trance!
All wrapped up in himself tonight!
It’s the mummy!’

Oh, hell yes!
If this was a real 45, recorded by a “real” band, people would be kicking each other to death trying to get their hands on a copy. As it stands, the only place this was ever released was on the soundtrack to ‘Mad Monster Party’. ‘The Mummy’ is so good that I’ve often considered taking it and having a dub plate made to DJ with.
For now, just download, pop the song on the MP3 delivery system of your choice, and let it rip.
Happy Halloween.

Peace
Larry

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Buy Mad Monster Party DVD at Amazon.com

Buy Mad Monster Party Soundtrack at Amazon.com

PS Head over to Funky16Corners

PSS Check out Paperback Rider too…

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