Merrilee Rush – Reach Out

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Merrilee Rush

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Listen/Download – Merrilee Rush – Reach Out

Greetings all.

The tune I bring you today is something I picked upwhilst digging in the New York hinterlands.

While I certainly knew who Merrilee Rush was – i.e. singer of ‘Angel of the Morning’, a huge hit in 1968 – I had no idea that she had ever recorded a version of the Four Tops ‘Reach Out’.

My obsession with Pacific Northwest rock had clued me in that Rush hailed from and had started her career in Seattle.

What I did not know (and what would have explained the AGP 45) is that she recorded ‘Angel of the Morning’, in Memphis with famed producer Chips Moman at the dials, and the American Studios group playing.

Following her hit with ‘Angel…’ Rush signed with Moman and the AGP imprint and recorded a series of 45s in 1968 and 1969, before moving on to Scepter Records.

I picked this 45 up out of curiosity, but was very happy indeed when I finally got it home and gave it a spin.

Unlike the placid pop of ‘Angel…’, Rush’s take on the Four Tops hit seems as if Rush had been marinating in the Vanilla Fudge version of another Motown classic, ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’.

You get the fuzz guitar, organ, a fairly restrained horn section and plenty of busy, Appice-like drumming.

The overall effect seems aimed at the psychedelicized listeners (though the oddly warped sounding organ at 1:54 sounds like a mistake), especially the fact that the track stretches out to nearly five minutes!

I’m inclined to attribute any lysergic effect at the feet of the studious, flexible American Studios crew, who were able to tap into (and channel) the zeitgeist without experiencing any of it directly, i.e. why reinvent Vanilla Fudge when a room full of professionals can whip up a satisfactory simulacrum?

‘Reach Out’ seems to have had some small measure of success, charting in the Northeast and a few other regional markets, but it would be Rush’s second to last hit (with ‘Everyday Livin’ Days’ her last, and much less successful entry a few months later).

Rush would continue to record into the 1970s.

You can get this track, and her other AGP 45s on the Rev-Ola reissue:  Angel of the Morning / Comp Bell Sides.

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

Peace

Larry

 

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Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #38

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Alan Hawkshaw and Keith Mansfield – Action Scene (KPM)
The Van Dyke Parks –Number Nine (MGM)
The Van Dyke Parks – Do What You Wanta (MGM)
Van Dyke Parks – Come To the Sunshine (MGM)
Van Dyke Parks – Farther Along (MGM)
The Byrds – 5D (Columbia)
The Byrds – Voices of Vista Segment/Don’t Make Waves
Cheetah Club Commercial

Manfred Mann – 5-4-3-2-1 (Prestige)
Manfred Mann – The One In the Middle (Ascot)
Manfred Mann – Come Tomorrow (Ascot)
Manfred Mann – Dashing Away With a Smoothing Iron (Ascot)
Manfred Mann – I’m Your Kingpin (Ascot)
Manfred Mann – It’s Gonna Work Out Fine (Ascot)
Manfred Mann – Untie Me (Ascot)
Manfred Mann – Sack O Woe (Ascot)
Manfred Mann – Watermelon Man (Ascot)
Manfred Mann – Watch Your Step (EMI) Mann Made

Jerry Blavat and the Yon Teenagers – Discophonic Walk (Favor)
Jerry Blavat – The Geator and the Geatorettes – Tasty (To Me) (Bond)
Jerry Blavat The Geator and the Geatorettes – All Be Joyous (Bond)
The Esko Affair – Morning Dull Fires (Mercury)

Eldridge Holmes – If I Were a Carpenter (Deesu)
ZZ Hill – Don’t Make Promises (Kent)
The Dillards – Reason to Believe (Elektra)
Bobby Darin – Misty Roses (Atlantic)
Bobby Darin – Red Balloon (Atlantic)
Wayne Cochran – If I Were Carpenter (King)
Gary Puckett and the Union Gap – Don’t Make Promises (Columbia)
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich – If I Were a Carpenter (Imperial)

 

 

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 38 – 172MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

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

I have a very groovy collection of sounds for you this month, with sets devoted to Van Dyke Parks, Manfred Mann, the long lost musical career of Jerry ‘The Geator’ Blavat, and some very cool covers of Tim Hardin songs.

I think you’ll dig it.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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The Beach Boys – Feel Flows/Til I Die/Surf’s Up

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Beach Boys, circa 1971

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Listen/Download – The Beach Boys – Feel Flows

Listen/Download – The Beach Boys – ‘Til I Die

Listen/Download – The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up

Greetings all.

In service of my gradual and ongoing rediscovery/appreciation of the Beach Boys, I bring you couple of stellar tracks from one of their later albums.

I’ve discussed my feelings about the Beach Boys to a limited extent in the past.

I have owned their albums since I first started buying records as a teenager, having worn out a copy of the old 2-LP ‘Endless Summer’ set back in the day.

Flash forward a decade, and I’m experiencing a knee-jerk reaction to the ‘Brian Wilson’s a genius’ wave that was around on the periphery of the garage/mod/60s scene.

My (uneducated) opinion at the time was, ‘Sure, I dig the Beach Boys, but genius? Really? In a world where the Beatles exist?”

I can chalk up my failure to dig the vastness and brilliance of Wilson’s oeuvre entirely to a combination of ignorance (I hadn’t listened to any of the full albums from ‘Pet Sounds’ on) and undeveloped sensibilities, i.e. my ears/brain were not yet attuned to a more sophisticated variety of pop music.

That is a problem I’ve grappled with my entire adult life. Fortunately, the older I get, the more open I’ve become to experimentation, especially with music.

In the case of Brian Wilson, and the later Beach Boys, that openness has been richly rewarded.

This can all be laid at the feet of Brian Wilson.

One of the great musical tragedies of the 1960s, is the area where the creative flowering, and the psychological dissolution of Brian Wilson intersect.

Just as he was reaching his creative peak, pushing the band into unexplored territory, he was crumbling.

The only good thing about this, is that even though Brian fell into the background, the Beach Boys, especially Carl Wilson picked up the slack.

Recorded (for the most part) in 1970 and early 1971 (it was released in the summer of ’71), the ‘Surf’s Up’ album was another in a string of less than successful outings by the band.

They hadn’t had a hit single since 1968’s ‘Do It Again’ (from 20/20), and their LPs hadn’t been doing that well, either.

Fortunately for us, they were still managing to make quality music.

‘Surf’s Up’, named for the long-dormant ‘Smile’-era Wilson/Van Dyke Parks collaboration that would be finally be completed for the album (using the original 1966 tracks), was the first Beach Boys LP after manager/collaborator Jack Rieley came on board.

Though I’d heard of the album, I hadn’t actually heard any of it before I encountered ‘Feel Flows’ on the soundtrack to the 2000 film ‘Almost Famous’.

The track blew me away, not only because it was an amazing (new to me) Beach Boys track, but because – like the sounds on 1968’s ‘Friends’ LP – it revealed to me how much of the contemporary music I was digging had been influenced by this era of the Beach Boys catalog.

It would be all but impossible not to see the influence of this period of the Beach Boys in the sounds of groups like the Sneetches, Stereolab, High Llamas and Eric Matthews, all of which were in heavy rotation in my ears.

The three tracks I’m including today all hail from the second side of the ‘Surf’s Up’ album, and all feature Carl Wilson as lead (or co-lead) vocalist.

‘Feel Flows’ starts out in a poppy, upbeat vibe, but fairly quickly turns into something different, mixing group harmony, psychedelia and even jazz (Charles Lloyd on flute), with some very cool, distorted lead guitar weaving in and out of the mix.

‘Til I Die’ is one of the most beautiful things that Brian Wilson ever wrote. A kind of existential meditation, wrapped in waves of stunning harmonies, the instruments are almost invisible behind the wall of voices. This is one of those songs that has to be appreciated through headphones, repeatedly, to pick up on all the layers.

‘Surf’s Up’ is one of the most interesting chapters in the creative saga of Brian Wilson.

Begun in 1966 for the ‘Smile’ sessions, with lyrics by Van Dyke Parks, the song is a beautiful, impressionistic, poetic work, in which Wilson manages to shake off the Spector-isms of his 1966/67 epics while retaining all the sophistication and beauty of the song.

As in ‘Til I Die’, ‘Surf’s Up’ sees the voices coming to the fore, with the instrumentation painting the background. Through the just over four minutes of the song, only the piano in the middle section really makes a statement over the harmonies.

It really is quite spectacular and improves with repeated listening.

If you haven’t found your way into this era of the Beach Boys, you really ought to give it a try. It took me a while to track down an original copy of ‘Surf’s Up’ (the late 60s/early 70s BB LPs didn’t sell well in the US), but you can grab it all inexpensively in iTunes.

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

Peace

Larry

 

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Ruthann – Carry On (Glittering Dancer)

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Ruthann Friedman

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Listen/Download – Ruthann – Carry On (Glittering Dancer)

Greetings all.

I hope the new week finds you all well.

The record I bring you today is a big favorite of mine – one you’ve heard on the Iron Leg Radio Show podcast – and one that I chased for a while before finally adding it to my crates.

The artist, named here as ‘Ruthann’ but in fact Ruthann Friedman, has one of the more interesting back stories in all of 60s pop.

I first encountered her music via a 45 by the Garden Club, a one-off affair that featured Friedman, Tom Shipley (later of Brewer and…), with songwriting by Tandyn Almer (’Along Comes Mary’) and production by Larry Marks.

I was already familiar with all of those names, except Friedman’s, so I started digging.

The first thing I discovered was that Friedman had written the Association’s huge 1967 hit ‘Windy’, which of course went on to be recorded many, many times in a wide variety of settings.

I was surprised I had never heard about Friedman.

As it turns out, Ruthann Friedman was a native of the Bronx who had moved west as a teenager, falling in with the west coast folk scene.

She was (as indicated by the cast of characters associated with the Garden Club) part of a very talented and interesting crowd.

Friedman’s style was a timely amalgam of folk and pop, which she fleshed out on her 1969 Reprise LP ‘Costant Companion’.

Not long after I managed to find a copy of that album, I found out that not long after its release, Friedman recorded a 45 with none other than Van Dyke Parks at the controls.

You already know I’m way into Parks, so I set off in search of that 45.

It would appear that the record in question, ‘Carry On (Glittering Dancer)’ only ever got to the promo stage (issued with mono mix on one side, stereo on the other), and in combination with the already obscure nature of Friedman’s oeuvre, was like the fabled hens teeth.

The record doesn’t trade for a lot of money (comparatively, it seems to run for 30 or 40 bucks) but it is maddeningly scarce.

When it finally did turn up, I managed to grab it at a steep discount (always a treat) and when you hear it I think you’ll see why I was so happy.

‘Carry On (Glittering Dancer)’ is unlike anything on Friedman’s album (which is mosty folk psych). It is – like many Van Dyke Parks joints – dense, packed with ideas, butting up against the avant garde yet still anchored in a pop foundation.

The base coat –as it were – is pretty simple, but as the 45 rolls on it is adorned with horns, strings, percussion and layers upon layer of Friedman harmonizing with herself.

The horns are especially interesting, flirting with dissonance (you go, Van Dyke!), which while probably dooming the record to exile from the radio, made it a crucial part of both Friedman’s and Parks’ stories.

Oddly (and sadly) after this 45 hit the streets in 1970, Ruthann Friedman never recorded again.

I have heard about her performing, and there have been reissues of her released and unreleased (demos, etc) material. You can get ‘Carry On (Glittering Dancer)’ as a bonus track to the iTunes release of ‘Constant Companion’.

It is a very groovy record and yet another piece in the Van Dyke Parks puzzle.

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

Peace

Larry

 

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Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #34

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfield – Action Scene (KPM)
Underdogs –Love’s Gone Bad (VIP)
Jacques Dutronc – Et Moi Et Moi Et Moi (Vogue)
Bobby Brelyn – Hannah (Jorel)
Mars Bonfire – Ride With Me (UNI)
Chris and Peter Allen – My Silent Symphony (Mercury)
Ruthann – Carry On (Glittering Dancer) (Reprise)
Utica Club Natural Carbonation Band – Utica Club Natural Carbonation Beer Drinking Song (Utica Club)
Jim Lowe – Michael J Pollard For President (Buddah)
Jefferson Airplane Levis Commercial

The Eagles – Eagle (Warner Brothers)
Bucky Wilkin – I Wanna Be Free (RCA)
Bucky Wilkin – Delta Day (RCA)
John Buck Wilkin – Faces and Places (Liberty) 
John Buck Wilkin – My God and I (Liberty)
John Buck Wilkin – Boy of the Country (Liberty)
John Buck Wilkin – Apocalypse 1969 (Liberty)
John Buck Wilkin – Me and Bobby McGee (Liberty)
John Buck Wilkin – The Daydream (Liberty)
Sopwith Camel Levis Commercial

Buck Wilkin – Going On (UA)
Buck Wilkin – Get Up (UA)
Buck Wilkin – Down On Music Row (UA)
Buck Wilkin – Star Spangled Girl (UA)
Buck Wilkin – Sun, Moon and Stars (UA)
Canned Heat Levis Commercial

Boyce and Hart Coke Commercial
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart – Where Angels Go Trouble Follows (A&M)
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart- Out and About (A&M)
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart – Sometimes She’s a Little Girl (A&M)
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart- Blow You a Kiss In the Wind (Aquarian)
Curt Boettcher Levis Commercial

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 34 – 197MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

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

I have some cool stuff for you this time around, including all kinds of new arrivals, a long look at the sounds of unjustly forgotten Nashville rocker John Buck Wilkin and a set of Boyce and Hart action.

As always, I hope you dig the sounds.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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The Neats – Six

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The Neats

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Listen/Download – The Neats – Six

Greetings all.

Back in the olden days, when things were different, and I was (a lot) younger, college radio really meant something.

When I say that I mean that before there was such a thing as “alternative” – we old folks used to call it punk and new wave, aside from a couple of anomalous commercial FM stations that dabbled in the underground (and there were a few) folks like us had to huddle around the wireless, tuned in to stations like WPRB in Princeton and WRSU at Rutgers to hear what was bubbling up from underneath the mainstream.

All kinds of labels and bands, some punk, some pop, were stepping outside of the established framework and recording and pressing their own records, and college radio stations were – outside of buying the records from the band or ordering via fanzines and the like – the only way to hear them.

One of the really big numbers for me, which was in relatively heavy rotation on WPRB was the song ‘Six’ by the Neats.

While I hadn’t really gotten a handle on the new psychedelic and garage bands as a scene per se, those were the sounds I gravitated to on the radio.

Much of the new wave and power pop looked back to the 60s, but the darker side of that decade, i.e. bands that tuned in to the Velvet Underground is something I was only just picking up on.

The Neats, hailing from Boston, MA mixed those sounds with a helping of garage grit and lots of folk rock jangle.

‘Six’ was their first recording, issued on a split EP on the Propeller label with the groups Wild Stares, People In Stores and CCCPTV.

The song opens with throbbing bass and swirling psychedelic organ, before being (mostly) swallowed by waves of rhythm guitar.

The cryptic lyrics are delivered in a deadpan style and despite the lack of retro genre signifiers, the sound is definitely old school au go go.

Truth be told, the Neats never descended into the retro-scene, letting their sound speak for itself.

The two records they recorded for Boston’s Ace of Hearts label, the EP ‘Monkey’s Head In the Corner of the Room’ (1982) and the LP ‘The Neats’ (1983) are both remarkable lost classics. As far as I can tell neither has been reissued.

Oddly, after the Neats left Ace of Hearts for Coyote, they changed their sound significantly (and abrubtly). I had seen them open for REM in 1984 and they sounded like their earlier stuff. I saw them again a year later (opening for the Chesterfield Kings, I think) and the jangle was gone, replaced largely by a bluesy wail.

That all said, I still take these records out and listen to them today, 30 years hence, and dig them as much as I did the first time around.

I hope you dig them too.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #33

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfield – Action Scene (KPM)
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band – Zig Zag Wanderer (A&M
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band – Abba Zabba (A&M)
Graham Bond Organisation – Harmonica (Gonks Go Beat Soundtrack)
Carnaby – Jump and Dance (Picadilly RE)
Cat Stevens – Baby Get Your Head Screwed On (Deram)
Paul and Barry Ryan – Keep It Out of Sight (MGM)
Paul and Barry Ryan – Hey Mr. Wiseman (Decca)
Paul and Barry Ryan – I Can’t Make Your Way (Decca)
Moody Blues Coke Commercial

The Joyride – The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine (World Pacific)
The Joyride – The Crystal Ship (World Pacific)
The Joyride – Coming Soon (World Pacific)
The Joyride – Land of Rypap Papyr (World Pacific)
The Joyride – His Blues (World Pacific)
Living Legends – Monkey Don’t Care (RCA)
Paul Jones – It’s Getting Better (Bell)
Paul Jones – Not Before Time (Bell)
Brewer & Shipley – Truly Right (A&M)
Stone Ponies Pepsi Commercial

Everly Brothers – Man With Money (WB)
Everly Brothers – Walk Right Back (WB)
Everly Brothers – So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad) (WB)
Phil Everly – The Air That I Breathe (RCA)
Tupper Saussy and the Wayward Bus – Love Hum (RCA)
Fairport Convention – I’ll Keep It With Mine (A&M)
Fairport Convention – Meet On the Ledge (A&M)
Fairport Convention – She Moves Through the Fair (A&M)
Fairport Convention – Tale In Hard Time (A&M)
JJ Cale – After Midnight (Liberty)
Cyrkle 7UP Commercial

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 33 – 181MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

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

We have some groovy new arrivals in the playlist this month, including some prime freakbeat, West Coast Sunshine Pop/Flower Power, pure pop, freakout, UK Folk Rock and a tribute to the late Phil Everly.

As always, I hope you dig it.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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Ananda Shankar – Jumping Jack Flash / Metamorphosis

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Ananda Shankar

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Listen/Download – Ananda Shankar – Jumping Jack Flash

Listen/Download – Ananda Shankar – Metamorphosis

Greetings all.

Are you ready to zip up your paisley caftan and trip out?

Whether you’re ready or not, you’re gonna get some Ananda Shankar, right in your third eye.

I was after this album for a long time when I finally scored a copy a few years back.

To answer the most obvious question first, Ananda Shankar was in fact related to the master Ravi Shankar, being the son of famed Indian dancer (brother of Ravi) Uday.

He migrated to Los Angeles in the late 60s, and made his way into the recording studio, laying down the record you see before you today.

The self-titled LP was released in 1970, produced by Alex Hassilev (who had been an original member of the Limeliters, alongside Glenn Yarbrough) and former Electric Prune James Lowe.

What you get is a mixture of pop-inflected originals featuring Shankar’s sitar (naturally) as well as some fairly tasteful Moog synthesizer action by Paul Lewinson. I stress the “tasteful” angle, since so many records saw the Moog used like so much psychedelic cake frosting.

The backing group on the record included prominent studio heads like Jerry Scheff on bass and ex-Raider Drake Levin on guitar.

The tracks I feature today illustrate the two sides of the LP.

The opener, ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ is simply the most remarkable piece of late-60s, light-show, au-go-go freakout.

Starting out with fuzz guitar and synth, the drums and handclaps kick in and before you know it you’re (happily) trapped in a dayglo intersection of the Banana Splits and Owsley’s basement.

The sound reminds me a lot of Dave Grusin’s mighty ‘Ascencion to Virginity’ from the ‘Candy’ OST.

‘Metamorphosis’ leans more in the direction of mellow, ever so slightly new agey head music, once again mixing the Moog and the sitar tastefully. You also get a groovy drum/table break, and then things get even trippier.

Shankar went on to record the album ‘Ananda Shankar and his Music’, which is sought out by funk collectors and tends to change hands for over 100 bucks.

Fortunately, this LP is much easier to find on the cheap, and is a great listen all the way through.

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

And, oh yeah, Merry Christmas!

Peace

Larry

 

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Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #32

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Alan Hawkshaw and Keith Mansfield – Action Scene(KPM)
Chesterfield Kings – She Told Me Lies (LP version) (Mirror)
Chesterfield Kings – Cry Your Eyes Out (Mirror)
Pandoras – Hot Generation (Voxx)
Smithereens – Got Me a Girl (Dirt)
Stomachmouths – R&B 65 (Got To Hurry)
The Scene – Stop-Go (Diamond)
Untold Fables – When the Night Falls (Dionysus)
Vipers – Nothing’s From Today (Jem/PVC)
Vipers – Never Alone (Midnight)
Vipers – You Don’t Believe Me (Midnight)

The Fuzztones – Bad News Travels Fast (Midnight)
The Fuzztones – We’re Pretty Quick (Midnight)
The Fuzztones – Gotta Get Some (ABC)
Green Telescope – Two By Two (Imaginary)
Hysteric Narcotics – Electric Children (RPM Mag Flexi)
Cynics – Painted My Heart (Dionysus)
Funseekers – It Should Be You (Susstones)
Original Sins – Come On Up (Chaos)
Royal Nonesuch – You Need Love (UP)
Telltale Hearts – It Came To Me (Voxx)

Boys From Nowhere – Beg (Young Lion)
Creeps – Rattlesnake Shake (Tracks On Wax)
Fleshtones – The World Has Changed (IRS)
Insomniacs – My Favorite Story (Umbrella)
Lyres – How Do You Know (New Rose)
Plasticland – Go a Go Go Time (Enigma)
Plasticland – The Windowsills (Enigma)
Plasticland – Rattail Comb (Scadillac)
Secret Syde – Hole In My Pocket (Mutha)
Spectors – I Fell In Love (Get Hip)
Stems – Make You Mine (Citadel)
Stems – Under Your Mushroom (Citadel)

The Bangs – No Mag Commercial (Ear Movie)
The Bangles – The Real World (IRS)
The Bangles – The Hero Takes a Fall (Columbia)
The Rain Parade – This Can’t Be Today (Restless)
The Rain Parade – Prisoners (Enigma)
The Eyes of Mind – Yesterday Is Gone (Voxx)
Mad Violets – Psilocybe (Voxx)
Lord John – Westminiature Abbey (Bomp)
Mod Fun – I Am With You (New)
Mod Fun – Grounded (Cryptovision)
Phantom Five – She’s Not (Making Tyme)

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 32 – 256MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

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

I have a very special edition of the show lined up for you this month.

Though I have included some garage/psych revival tracks over the course of the previous 31 episode of the podcast, I have always wanted to dig out a big stack of 80s (and some early 90s) vinyl, digimatize it and devote an episode to the sounds of my misspent youth.

So I did (finally).

Though it is by no means comprehensive, it is a good look at the kind of stuff my friends and I were digging during the first wave of the garage/psych/mod revival in the the early to mid 80s.

There’s a bunch of American stuff (both coasts and the middle) as well as the UK, Europe and Scandinavia represented.

There are even a couple of really rare things in the mix for the trainspotters in the crowd.

You get almost two and a half hours of sounds!

As always, I hope you dig it.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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John Wonderling – Midway Down b/w Man of Straw

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John Wonderling on the cover of his 1973 LP

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Listen/Download – John Wonderling – Midway Down

Listen/Download – John Wonderling – Man of Straw

Greetings all.

Welcome to a groovy new week here at Iron Leg.

Today’s selection is one of those records that I chase FOR YEARS, never really expecting to find a copy.

Flash back – if you will – to the mid-80s when my garage/mod brethren and I were first starting to dig the criminally underappreciated sounds of the Creation.

One of the cooler songs in the more psychedelic end of that band’s discography was a tune called ‘Midway Down’.
The tale of a trip to the circus, the version by the Creation has a hard-edged, UK mod pop sound with some of that heavy Eddie Phillips guitar.

Flash forward some years later, via a Rhino Handmade comp called ‘Hallucinations’ (which featured the tune ‘Man of Straw’) and I discover, much to my surprise that ‘Midway Down’ was not a Creation original, but rather a cover of a tune by an American named John Wonderling.

Wonderling, who hailed from New York recorded one 45 – ‘Midway Down’ b/w ‘Man of Straw’ – in 1968. It was released on Loma and then Warner Brothers.

I’m not sure how the song found its way to the Creation (recorded the same year), whether it was via the 45, or a publisher’s demo, but the two versions make an interesting contrast.

Wonderling’s original version has a softer, more psychedelic focus, opening with a calliope and moving along with a ringing rhythm guitar and pulsing organ, as well as lots of echoed, trippy vocals. Things get a little heavier in the chorus (there’s even a harmonica buried in the mix) but never quite as much as the Creation.

The flipside, ‘Man of Straw’ definitely has a UK psych sound to it, with the phased vocals, churchy organ and creepy lyrics about a scarecrow being taunted by a chorus of crows.

The copy I did finally land had seen better days (there are some pops) but I think you’ll dig the sounds.

Wonderling would go on to release a rare LP called ‘Day Breaks’ on Paramount in 1973.

That said, have a greet week and I’ll see you when I see you.

Peace

Larry

 

Example


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