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 Episode #43

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Beep beep beep beep…..

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Playlist

Jack Bruce Tribute

Intro Action Scene – Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfield
Graham Bond Organization – Harmonica
Graham Bond Organization – St James Infirmary (Ascot)
Graham Bond Organization – Wade In the Water (Ascot)
Jack Bruce – I’m Getting Tired (Or Drinkin’ and Gamblin’) (Polydor)
Manfred Mann – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (HMV)

Cream – I Feel Free (Atco)
Cream – NSU (Atco)
Cream – Sweet Wine (Atco)
Cream – Cat’s Squirrel (Atco)
Cream – I’m So Glad (Atco)
Cream – Sunshine of Your Love (Atco)
Cream – Tales of Brave Ulysses (Atco)
Cream – World of Pain (Atco)
Cream – SWALBR (Atco)
Cream – Dance the Night Away (Atco)
Cream – Falstaff Beer Commercial

Cream – White Room (Atco)
Cream – Born Under a Bad Sign(Atco)
Cream – Crossroads (Atco)
Cream – Politician (Atco)
Cream – Sitting On Top of the World (Atco)
Jack Bruce – Rope Ladder To the Moon (Atco)
Jack Bruce – Boston Ball Game 1967 (Atco)
Jack Bruce – Theme For An Imaginary Western (Atco)

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 43 – 189MB/256kbps

 

Greetings all.

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

The music world lost Jack Bruce back on October 25th, and I thought it fitting that we should pay tribute to him here at Iron Leg.

I’ve put together this month’s edition of the Iron leg Radio Show with tracks from his days with Graham Bond, Manfred Mann, Cream and his first solo LP, encapsulating his 1960s recordings.

When you listen you will here – interpersed with the songs – clips of interviews with Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, and John Mayall.

I hope you dig the show.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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The Kaleidoscope – Elevator Man

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The Kaleidoscope (US)

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Listen/Download – The Kaleidoscope – Elevator Man

Greetings all.

The world of digging (into/for) music is – assuming that you’re always on the hunt, over the long term – full of surprises.

Back in the olden days of the 80s, when the mod/garage revival was in full swing, and pushed along quite nicely by a wide variety of reissue labels, we were exposed to new (to us) and interesting sounds on a regular basis.

One of the biggest influences in that direction was Edsel Records in the UK.

It was via Edsel, that I – and many of my ilk – first heard the sounds of the (US) Kaleidoscope.

I already knew of the group’s founding guitarist David Lindley, through his work with Jackson Browne, and his own band El Rayo X.

When I first read about (in some zine or other) the Kaleidoscope (I don’t recall is I was aware of the UK band of the same vintage yet) I was surprised that Lindley’s roots went back that far.

Picking up the Edsel comp of their Epic recordings, ‘Bacon From Mars’ was a revelation.

The Kaleidoscope mixed mid-60s California folk rock and psychedelia with all manner of world music influences, making for some of the coolest and most interesting music of the period.

The track that drilled its way the furthest into my head however, was one of their more conventional numbers, ‘Elevator Man’.

‘Elevator Man’ is as close as the Kaleidoscope came to channeling the garage sound of the time, with rolling electric guitar, combo organ, and a snarling vocal.

The thing is, I don’t think I ever had any idea where the song originally appeared.

I eventually found myself an original copy of their first LP ‘Side Trips’ (which featured the other side of this 45, ‘Please’), ‘Elevator Man’ and I never crossed paths.

Until recently, that is, when it turned up on a sales list, where I grabbed it forthwith.

It was released as a 45-only/promo-only track in 1967 (the same year as ‘Side Trips’), and despite ‘Please’ making a minor dent in Southern California and elsewhere in the southwest, went approximately nowhere.

Which is a shame, since it’s such a groovy track, but as I’ve said many times before, 1966/1967 was a period packed so densely with genius that a lot of otherwise memorable stuff went by the wayside.

So dig the goodness, and if you’re not hip to the Kaleidoscope, grab some of their stuff.

See you next week.

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

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

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.

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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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

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