The Millennium – I Just Want To Be Your Friend (45 Mix)

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Picture Sleeve for this 45 (ripped corner edited out…)
Note: The group name misspelled on the label!

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Listen/Download – The Millennium – I Just Want To Be Your Friend (45 Mix)

Greetings all.

I thought we’d take some time this week to take a stroll back through the magical pixie-delic forest of Curt Boettcher.

You already know that I’m fascinated by all things Boettcher, finding his mastery of vocal harmonies and pop to be without equal.

I had been on the hunt for a long time for a copy of the 45 you see before you today, and a few months ago, I thought I had.

Until, that is, it arrived cracked quite cleanly in half, rendering it unplayable.

So, I reset the search, and oddly enough another copy pretty much fell into my lap.

The Millennium’s ‘Begin’ LP is one of those records that has – like the thousand petaled lotus, revealed itself to me gradually over the years.

The first time I heard the Millennium, they seemed almost impossibly twee. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it took me a while – even in the presence of a remarkable amount of brilliant pop hooks, to really get it, and even today I can slap on the headphones and still discover new and groovy things in their music.

Such was the case when I recorded the 45 versions of ‘I JustWant To Be Your Friend’, and ‘It’s You’.

The versions on the 45 sounded slightly different than the ones on the LP, and as it turns out they were (are), with the lead guitar slightly higher in the mono mix.

Subtle – to be sure – and in the end neither here nor there (unless you fuss over stuff like that, which I often do).

One of the stories of ‘Begin’, is that it was one of the most expensive LPs recorded for Columbia (at the time), and when you really take the time to listen closely to the record, it is immediately obvious that not a penny of that money was wasted.

Though exploration of the group usually revolves around Boettcher, as close as sunshine pop has to a bona fide cult figure, a perusal of the writing credits reveals that the Millennium had what they call in baseball, a deep bench.

Every member of the band contributed excellent songs to the LP, and they were as powerful – vocally and instrumentally – as anyone on the scene.

Produced by Boettcher and former Music Machine bassist (and future super-producer) Keith Olsen, ‘Begin’ is a flowing tapestry of voices and melodies delivered with Beatles-level instrumental innovation.

‘I Just Want To Be Your Friend’ is a perfect example of how the music of the Millennium can be something of a Trojan horse.

Written by Boettcher, and probably their most covered song, ‘I Just Want To Be Your Friend’ starts off light and breezy like something from a Claudine Longet album, but builds slowly and almost imperceptibly into something else entirely.

At around 1:20, when Boettcher sings ‘Look into your eyes today..’ the band pretty much explodes into a psychedelic wave, led by dueling guitars, and then, less than a minute later, they all slide back into low gear.

It’s at this point that I always find myself coming to the point where I feel the need to separate the Millennium from the sunshine pop pack.

This was no throwaway, manufactured pop band dealing in other people’s hooks and singalong choruses. These guys were the real deal, and while I can’t imagine them (or any similarly complicated band of the period) duplicating much of this on stage, I would put ‘Begin’ up against anything that came out in 1968.

If you haven’t got a copy, get yourself one and soak it in.

Dig the sounds, and I’ll see you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show #40

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Alan Hawkshaw and Keith Mansfield – Action Scene (KPM)
The Lovin’ Spoonful – Six O’Clock (Kama Sutra)
The Magicians – About My Love (Columbia)
Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas – From a Window (Imperial)
Fortunes – I’ve Gotta Go (Press)
Lynn Castle – The Lady Barber (LHI)
Lost Souls – Sad Little Girl (Liberty)
Merrell Fankhauser – Everybody’s Talkin’ (Shamley)
Them – Mystic Eyes (Parrot)
Them – Bring ‘Em On In (Parrot)
Them – Call My Name (Parrot)
WC Fields Memorial Electric String Band – Hippy Elevator Operator (HBR)

Cheetah Club Concert Promo
Byrds – Hey Joe (Columbia)
Byrds- I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better (Columbia)
Byrds – So You Want To Be a Rock’n’Roll Star (Columbia)
Byrds – She Don’t Care About Time (Columbia)
Byrds – Eight Miles High (Columbia)
Byrds – Dolphin’s Smile (Columbia)
Byrds – Lady Friend (Columbia)
Byrds – King Apathy III (Columbia)
Byrds – Bad Night at the Whiskey (Columbia)
Notorious Byrd Brothers Promo

Denny Doherty – To Claudia On Thursday (45 Mix) (Dunhill)
Dino Desi and Billy – She’s So Far Out She’s In (Reprise)
Family Affair – Let’s Get Together (Smash)
Terry Reid – Superlungs (Epic)
Terry Reid – Bang Bang (Epic)
Terry Reid – Stay With Me (Epic)
Small Faces – All Or Nothing (RCA)
Small Faces – Tin Soldier (Immediate)
There Are But Four Small Faces LP Promo

 

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 40 – 167MB/256kbps

 

Greetings all.

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

It’s funny how time flies when you’re having fun.

I can hardly believe that I’m forty episodes deep in this thing.

This month there are some groovy new arrivals, a couple of recently reconsidered b-sides and a set of the Byrds.

I think you’ll dig it.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

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 Sunshine Company – Bolero

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The Sunshine Company

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Listen/Download – The Sunshine Company – Bolero

Greetings all.

I hope the new week finds you well.

I have been in a pensive mood of late, thus filling my ears at every opportunity with the dreamiest mellowness that my collection has to offer.

One of the discs that I keep returning to, over and over again is ‘Bolero’ by the Sunshine Company.

I first got into the Sunshine Company while feeding my Curt Boettcher obsession.

The group had recorded a couple of excellent covers of his songs (especially their take on ‘I Just Want To Be Your Friend’), so I started grabbing their albums whenever I found them.

The groovy thing, is that in addition to the sounds I sought out specifically, I discovered that there was a lot to like about the Sunshine Company.

As their name might imply, they dealt in bright, sunshiney, harmony pop – like the amazing ‘Love That’s Where It Is’ – but were hardly limited to those sounds.

Forming in Orange County, California, the Sunshine Company – Maury Manseau, Larry Sims, Mary Nance and Merle Brigante – recorded three excellent albums for Imperial in 1968 and 1969.

Though their records often included polished, edging up on ‘easy’ arrangements, they also included healthy doses of folk rock and even things that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Jefferson Airplane LP.

The tune I bring you today comes from their third LP ‘Sunshine and Shadows’.

I grabbed this 45 while I was out digging, unheard, mainly because I dug the band, and I didn’t know the song.

When I finally had a chance to listen to the 45 I was blown away by the mellow, trippy vibe. The guitar reminds me a lot of the sounds on Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Then Play On’ (which actually came out a year later).

‘Bolero’ is a beautiful song, with sublime guitar and bass interplay and rolling drums, making for a hypnotic blend that manages to be psychedelic without employing any of the clichéd signifiers of the genre.

It’s one of those records that I can listen to repeatedly and never get tired of.

As far as I can tell, none of the CD reissues of the Sunshine Company’s material are currently in print, so the best way to get their music is on the original vinyl.

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

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

The Mindbenders – The Morning After

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The Mindbenders

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Listen/Download – The Mindbenders – The Morning After

Greetings all.

This week I have something very heavy and very groovy for you.

‘The Morning After’ by the Mindbenders is one of those records that fell into my ears via the Rubble comps back in the 80s and pretty much found a secure home in my mind ever since.

Though most people are familiar with the Wayne Fontana led Mindbenders, they had a decent amount of success following his departure from the band in 1965.

Guitarist Eric Stewart (later of 10CC) took over as lead vocalist, fronting the band on their big 1966 hit ‘Groovy Kind of Love’, as well as their fantastic, overlooked 45 of the two songs the band mimed to in ‘To Sir With Love’, ‘Off and Running’ b/w ‘It’s Getting Harder All the Time’, one of the finest bits of progressive beat sounds on the way to freakbeat.

Speaking of freakbeat, there is hardly a better example of the genre than ‘The Morning After’.

Released in December of 1966 on Fontana (I was surprised to discover that there is a US release of this single as well), ‘The Morning After’ b/w ‘I Want Here She Wants Me’ (written by Rod Argent but recorded prior to the Zombies version) is one of the most amazing 45s of the period.

‘The Morning After’ powered by a stomping rhythm guitar, and exploding into an anthemic (yet wordless) chorus, is the perfect bridge between the straight ahead rock of the beat era and the flights of fancy of the psychedelic years, thus the freakbeat.

Strangely, despite the fact that the Mindbenders were in the midst of a run of UK hits, neither side of this 45 charted.

I waited almost thirty years before I got my hands on this 45, and I was as excited to listen to it now as I was back in the day.

It is a certified killer, and I hope you dig it as much as I do.

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.

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