The Strawbs – Or Am I Dreaming

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The Strawbs, circa 1969

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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

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show #42

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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

 

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Paul Revere 1938-2014

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Paul Revere (center) and the Raiders

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Listen/Download – Paul Revere and the Raiders – The Great Airplane Strike

Listen/Download – Paul Revere and the Raiders – Louise

Listen/Download – Paul Revere and the Raiders – Louie Go Home

Listen/Download – Paul Revere and the Raiders – SS396

Greetings all.

I woke this morning to the sad news that Paul Revere, leader of the Raiders, had passed away at the age of 76.

Oddly, I had just finished prepping two different posts about Pacific Northwest bands (the Kingsmen and Don and the Goodtimes), but I’ll have to push those back a few weeks.

I’ve decided to devote next week’s edition of the Iron Leg Radio Show entirely to Pacific Northwest bands, so stay tuned for that.

The music of Paul Revere and the Raiders has been featured here at Iron Leg a bunch times in the past, in posts and as part of the podcast.

I’m one of those old timers that’ll take time out of my busy day to bend your ear about how the Raiders were one of the great underrated/underappreciated bands of the 60s.

The irony built into that particular conversation is the fact that they were, for a few choice years, very, very successful and big stars.

They were a regular presence on the charts, and on TV, appearing on just about every show that presented rock bands, and as regulars on a couple of Dick Clark vehicles, like Where the Action Is and Happening ’68.

The band, but especially lead singer Mark Lindsay, was fodder for the Tiger Beat crowd as well, appearing in teen magazines and no doubt tacked to the bedroom walls of a healthy percentage of America’s teenage girls.

Oddly enough, it was this popularity, and the band’s highly polished showbiz schtick, with the Revolutionary War uniforms, synchronized steps and clowning, that sank them like a brick in the estimation of the ‘serious’ rock crowd, when that part of the scene rose to prominence in the late 60s.

When the festival and mud thing took over, and rock singers became something a lot less finely tuned and more ‘underground’ (though their records were still being manufactured, marketed and sold by the same gigantic corporations) Paul Revere and the Raiders fell out of fashion.

They still had records on the charts, but my the mid-70s they were by and large relegated to the oldies circuit, with Mark Lindsay gone, and Paul Revere leading a revolving cast of Raiders through the state fairs and night clubs of America.

I first became aware of the Raiders through oldies radio in the early 70s (when their oldies were less than half a decade gone), largely oblivious to their image and the era when I was too young to notice them.

What I heard,  was a band that mixed pop hooks with fuzzed out power better than just about anyone else.

At their best, Paul Revere and the Raiders made records that – had they been recorded by some obscure pack of long-haired basement dwellers and released in a run of five hundred singles, sold out of car trunks and at pizza parlor gigs – would be changing hands for hundreds of bucks today.

They were a big part of the Pacific Northwest sound (and its most successful proponents) , having cranked out their first hit in 1960.

When I came of age, in the late 70s and early 80s, while alt rock was emerging, the classic Raiders vibe couldn’t have seemed less cool.

These were the days when bands cultivated an ‘organic’ look, in which everyone tried their hardest to seem like they couldn’t care less. Paul, Mark, Fang, Harpo and Smitty yukking it up on Hullabaloo was the very antithesis of Michael Stipe peeking through his mop while emoting to a bar full of hipsters.

Yet, by 1984, something weird started to happen.

While most of the alt rock world was wearing their hearts on their sleeves, a bunch of us made a U-turn, going back to 1966 for attitude, fashion, and most importantly music.

This was less of a reach than you might imagine, since 60s sounds, jangle, pop, and even fuzz had been a big part of New Wave and power pop, but what my friends and I were onto was something much more explicitly retro.

We were tunneling backward and appreciating the (mostly) lost sounds of the mid-60s, garage punk, mod, R&Beat, folk rock and psychedelia, trading bootleg tapes of shows like Hullabaloo, Shindig, Action, Beat Club, Ready Steady Go and Upbeat, and (to varying degrees) resurrecting the fashions of the times in clubs in New York City, Los Angeles, San Diego, London and anywhere else there were enough devotees to muster up a scene.

While all of this was going on, a generation of kids, most of whom weren’t nearly old enough to realize what a big deal Paul Revere and the Raiders had been the first time around, started to dig their music.

Nearly twenty years removed, with most of their fame buried in cobwebs and the fan magazines mildewed, their music struck a nerve for all the right reasons. The big booming sound, power chords, fuzz and most importantly the hooks drilled their way into fresh, unspoiled minds.

Sure there were still the hardcore obscurantists, hipper than thou, who insisted that the Raiders were uncool, and way too mainstream to stand alongside barely-heard local 45s from 1966, but those types pop up in every scene and are (and were) best ignored.

The tracks I bring you today are some of my favorites by the band, as well as an obscurity that I only recently put my hands on.

Here you get all of the aforementioned elements, the hard charging side of Paul Revere and the Raiders, with the fuzz, tremolo, pounding drums and memorable melodies.

‘The Great Airplane Strike’ – maybe my fave Raiders record, was co-written by Revere, Lindsay and Terry Melcher, and is still a mind-blower. Not their best-known song, but not exactly obscure (it grazed the Top 20 in the Fall of 1966) is a throbbing tornado of guitars. The production by Melcher is amazing, with the fuzzed-out lead cutting through waves of rhythm guitar, bass and drums.

‘Louise’, written by Jesse Lee Kincaid of the Rising Sons was recorded by both Keith Allison, and the Raiders (who he would soon join). Released by the Raiders first, ‘Louise’ was a minor 1967 hit for Allison who recorded his vocals over the existing backing track. It’s a classic slice of pop-garage, with a pounding rhythm guitar line.

‘Louie Go Home’ (co-written by Revere and Lindsay) is one of the more interesting cuts in the Raiders discography.

The original version, a minor hit early in 1964 is a bit of classic PNW R&B stomp, covered by both the Who and Davie Jones and the King Bees. A few years later, the band rebuilt the song on a more 1966-friendly frame for the ‘Midnight Ride’ album, turning it into a completely different, much groovier beast.

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Raiders SS396 Picture Sleeve (water damage included!)

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The last track was a promo for the Chevy SS396 released on a 45 with a tribute to the Camaro by the Cyrkle on the other side. Released in 1965, and sounding like the band had been hanging around with Jan and Dean, it wouldn’t be the last time they pushed muscle cars, doing a commercial for the Pontiac GTO ‘Judge’ a few years later.

The cool thing is, you can easily find some excellent collections of their stuff (The Legend of Paul Revere, and the Complete Columbia Singles) over at iTunes, or head to your nearest flea market or garage sale where you’re likely to find some of their 45s (or LPs if you’re lucky).

If you’ve never seen the Raiders in action, get on over to Youtube where you’ll find a grip of TV performances from their peak years.

So take a moment to hoist a tankard of ale to the memory of the mighty Paul Revere.

I’ll be back next week with that all-PNW edition of the Iron Leg Radio Show.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show #41

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Alan Hawkshaw and Keith Mansfield – Action Scene (KPM)
Harvey Mandel – Wade In the Water Pts 1&2 (Philips)
Clover – Wade In the Water (Liberty)
Keith – Waiting (Mercury)
Motherlode – Soft Shell (Buddah)
Grateful Dead – Dark Star (45 Edit) (WB)

Everly Brothers – Mary Jane (WB)
Everly Brothers – Talking to the Flowers (WB)
JK and CO – Land of Sensations and Delights (White Whale)
Joyride – Crystal Ship (World Pacific)
Kaleidoscope – Keep Your Mind Open (Epic)
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart – For Baby (A&M)
Beaver and Krause – Good Places (WB)
Beaver and Krause – By Your Grace (WB)
Fairport Convention – She Moves Through the Fair (A&M)

Buffalo Springfield – Expecting to Fly (Atco)
Virgin Sleep – Love (Deram)
Bobby Bland – Rockin’ In the Same Old Boat (Duke)
Grace Markay – Sally Go Round the Roses (Capitol)
Mickey Newbury – The 33rd of August (Mercury)
Jerry Blavat – All Be Joyous (Bond)
The Sunshine Company – Bolero (Imperial)
The Beach Boys – Feel Flows (Brother)

 

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 41 – 160MB/256kbps

 

Greetings all.

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

Hey, maaaaannnn…..

When I sat down to work out this month’s podcast, some of the trippier things caught my ear, so I decided to make this episode one in which you should feed your head.

Things are – as always – in a free-form bag, but it’s all engineered to get you to mellow down easy.

I’ve given this one a few listens, and I think you’ll dig it.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

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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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

 

Example


PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

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