Rick Nelson – Marshmallow Skies

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Rick Nelson in a still from his ‘Don’t Make Promises’ video

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Listen/Download – Rick Nelson – Marshmallow Skies

Greetings all.

I was rolling around in my iPod – much like Scrooge McDuck rolling around in hundred dollar bills – when what should I come upon but tracks I’d recorded from Rick Nelson’s 1967 ‘change of pace’ LP, ‘Another Side of Rick’.

My love for this record goes back to the mid-80s, when I was passed a bootleg VHS of 1960s music video, culled from various TV dance parties, variety shows and a few purpose-made, primitive rock videos.

One of the clips included was Rick Nelson performing my all-time favorite Tim Hardin song, ‘Don’t Make Promises’ (written up here was back in 2007).

Not long after that, I managed to find a copy of the album where that recording originated.

Rick Nelson is an interesting example of a guy who is much more musically interesting than many people would give him credit for, thanks in large part to his early years as a TV star/teen idol.

His early catalog is filled with quality rock’n’roll – and the occasional blinding bit of rockabilly – and his later years feature some of the best country rock of the era.

‘Another Side of Rick’ fell in between those two eras, during a time where Nelson, like so many of his contemporariesm was trying to stay relevant.

While he certainly wasn’t morphing into Jimi Hendrix, he was making some excellent mid-60s pop rock, and as you’ll see with today’s selection, dabbling in popsike.

Co-written by Nelson and his longtime sideman (and guitar whiz) James Burton, and arranged and produced by Jimmie Haskell and Jack Nitzsche, ‘Marshmallow Skies’ is a mellow, sitar-infused bit of Southern California pop.

Pushed along gently by nicely baroque orchestration and a subtly applied rhythm section, ‘Marshmallow Skies’ wouldn’t seem out of place on an LP by Donovan or late-period Chad and Jeremy.

There are those out there that don’t dig this album (or this song),but I think you ought to give it a chance.

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

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Ian McLagan 1945 – 2014

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Ian McLagan

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The Firm of Jones, McLagan, Lane and Marriott

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The Faces – Jones, Stewart, Wood, McLagan and Lane 

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Listen/Download – The Small Faces – Tin Soldier MP3

Listen/Download – The Faces – (I Know) I’m Losing You (Live at the BBC)

Listen/Download – The Faces – Oh Lord I’m Browned Off

Greetings all.

This week the world of music was stunned by the sudden death of legendary keyboardist Ian McLagan.

McLagan was lucky enough to have manned the keys in both the Small Faces (replacing Jimmy Winston in 1965) and then following some of his bandmates into the slightly larger Faces.

As someone who grew up in a house where the piano loomed large (thanks to my old man) I have always had a healthy respect for keyboard players, and Ian McLagan was among the best.

He was also – as were many of his ilk – cursed by his position in the band to fade into the woodwork.

Frontment, guitarists and bassists have the luxury of moving around the stage, playing the fool, and the drummer – in addition to often being the loudest goon on the bandstand, is usually right there in the middle of things.

The poor keyboardist (lead singers like Steve Winwood excepted) are often on the side of the stage, seated behind some huge appliance made of wood and wires, providing much of the musical texture, yet out of sight, and as usually follows, out of mind.

As you may already be aware, especially if you follow Funky16Corners, I am a certified Hammond organ and electric piano nut, so my ears have always been attuned to Mac’s prodigious skills.

At his very best, Mac was the epitome of the team player, eschewing the bombast of contemporaries like Keith Emerson, choosing instead to add layers, and more importantly, punctuation of a sort. He used the piano and organ to add texture and emphasis to songs.

The first track I’m featuring today appeared here at Iron Leg back in 2010, and is for me the finest thing the Small Faces ever did. ‘Tin Soldier’, recorded in 1967 is the perfect intersection of the group’s R&B roots and the more progressive direction things were moving in at the time.

‘Tin Soldier’ is a master class in rock dynamics, due in large part to McLagan’s electric piano, which sets the tone, and (with the organ) lays the foundation for the entire song. The electric piano break at 1:29 is as powerful as anything that ever appeared on a Small Faces record.

The Faces were another bag entirely. With Rod Stewart and Ron Wood (it took two regular humans to replace Steve Marriott) added to the mix things got a whole lot shaggier but the mix was every bit as potent as with the Small Faces.

I’m including two Faces tracks here, one that illustrates Mac’s power as a sideman, and the second an organ feature.

The Faces cover of the Temptations ‘(I Know) I’m Losing You’ – recorded by the band but released as part of Rod Stewart’s solo LP ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ – is one of the band’s best known recordings. This version, recorded live for the BBC ‘Sounds For Saturday’ program in 1971, once again features McLagan’s electric piano as a prominent voice. As loud as Ronnie Wood’s guitar is, Mac’s piano is right there with him, and when you get to 2:05, and the band drops back (except to hum), and the piano comes in by itself, it’s a thing to behold.

The last track is ‘Oh Lord I’m Browned Off’, which appeared as the b-side to the single of ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’. A Wood/McLagan/Lane/Jones composition, the Hammond-led instro starts off like a distant cousin of the Turtles’ ‘Buzz Saw’, rolling out into a funky groove with plenty of solo time for McLagan and some bottleneck guitar from Wood.

Following the demise of the Faces, McLagan followed Wood into the New Barbarians, formed his own Bump Band, played for years with Billy Bragg, and recorded as a sideman for all kinds of people.

He had been living in Austin, TX for many years when he passed away.

He will be missed.

See you next week.

 

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners some soul

Hal Blaine (The Drummer Man) and the Young Cougars – Challenger II

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Hal Blaine

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Listen/Download – Hal Blaine (the Drummer Man) and the Young Cougars – Challenger II

Greetings all.

Here’s a groovy one pulled straight from the annals of chance encounters.

I was on the prowl for a certain 45 – (the original recording of ‘I’m Into Somethin’ Good’ by Earl-Jean) and found it sitting in the midst of a ‘lot’ of 45s.

The whole megillah only cost seven dollars, so I thought it worth the risk and pulled the trigger.

About a week later, the package falls through the mailslot, and alongside Earl-Jean (which was, as it turns out, in excellent condition) I got a couple of other groovy discs, including last week’s Strawbs 45 , and the disc you see before you today.

I have never been a connoisseur of ‘hot rod’ 45s, but I am certainly not averse to the potent mixture of fuzz, reverb and novelty.

The record in question – Hal Blaine (the Drummer Man) and the Young Cougars ‘Challenger II’ – is a particularly cool example of the genre.

Written by none other than Lee Hazlewood, and played by Blaine and his Wrecking Crew buddies, like Glenn Campbell, Leon Russell, Carol Kaye and Billy Strange, ‘Challenger II’ mixes a fuzz guitar lead with vibes and (of course) Blaine’s pounding drums.

The flipside, ‘Gear Stripper’ was written by David Gates (who arranged the LP), years before he morphed into a slice of Bread.

The tracks were included on the LP ‘Deuces, T’s, Roadsters and Drums’ released in 1963.

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.

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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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

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 #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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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

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.

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