The Sonics – Keep a Knockin’

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“Officer!! They’re looting the Food King!”

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Listen/Download – The Sonics – Keep a Knockin’

Greetings all.

As I was cleaning (or more aptly, working some level of organizational triage) in my record vault, I pulled the 45 you see before you today out of a box and thought to myself, ‘Hey, the time is right for something a little nutty.’

Sure, I could have put it back and whipped a little sunshine pop on you, or maybe even some fuzzy garage, but when fate steps up and hands you a Sonics 45, you kind of have to fall in line and do what you’re told.

If you don’t know the Sonics, even if only by reputation, then I don’t know what to say.

The day I first heard the Sonics, some 30-odd years ago, my brain was rewired permanently, in a way that only happens to you a few times in life (if you’re lucky).

I had some small amount of experience with ‘garage punk’, but no amount of snotty, teenage fuzz could have prepared me for the Sonics.

Taking form in the foggy, moss-covered glens of the Pacific Northwest in the early 60s, the Sonics sounded like (and I’m going to quote myself here, because I don’t think I can do any better)

“…pure, unbridled animal energy, mixed with an electrified libido and marinated in grain alcohol is reduced to a serum, injected into Little Richard, who then went to the zoo, mated with a hyena in a swimming pool during an electrical storm then took their unholy spawn into a recording studio (during a tornado) and whipped up something very, very heavy.”

The Little Richard comparison is apt, since today’s selection – ‘Keep a Knockin’ – was first unleashed on the world, via Mr Penniman in 1957, which seems like an eternity away, but when the Sonics recorded it (the b-side to their very first 45), was only seven years in the past.

Now, any fool knows that trying to beat Little Richard at his own game is work (usually) reserved for fools, but the Sonics had something special.

That something was the musical equivalent of a sledgehammer made of dynamite.

This is the sound of a band running at top speed plus, like a car used to burning gasoline with a tank full of rocket fuel instead.

There’s nothing subtle about the Sonics take on ‘Keep a Knockin’, but there never needed to be.

I’m convinced that their first album was called ‘Boom’, only because ‘KABLAMMO!!!’ wouldn’t fit on the cover.

You either grab on and hold tight, or fall under their wheels.

Your choice, buddy.

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.

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.

Paul and Barry Ryan – Keep It Out of Sight

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The Brothers Ryan

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Listen/Download – Paul and Barry Ryan – Keep It Out of Sight

Greetings all.

Welcome to the new week, here at the leg of iron (not as delicious as leg of lamb, but it’ll do).

The track I bring you today is one of those numbers that dropped intoi my ears via a Mr Luther mixtape back in the olden days and lodged itself deep in my skull.

I kept my eyes peeled for a copy for many (many) years, until a few months ago one popped up on a sales list and I grabbed it forthwith.

The artists are Paul and Barry Ryan, who have appeared in this space before (more on them here) with a number of tracks from their excellent 1968 UK LP ‘The Ryans’, most especially ‘Hey Mister Wiseman’, quite the delicious slice of freakbeat.

On that particular tip, is the record I was referencing above, which is not coincidentally this week’s selection, ‘Keep It Out of Sight’.

Released in 1967 in the UK on Decca (where it made it into the Top 40) and on the US on MGM, ‘Keep It Out of Sight’ is also freakbeaty, big and bouncy, with plety of rock, but also enough Carnaby Street freakery on the fringes to keep the flower children pleased.

In a special bit of extra credit bonus-ery, it was also penned by none other than Cat Stevens, who was – at the time – working the same side of the stylistic street before stepping out of his brogues and into some bare feet for a successful run as a gentle soul.

‘Keep It Out of Sight’ has a very groovy arrangement (by library composer Alan Tew) mixing acoustic guitar, swirling strings, fuzz guitar, castanets, seagulls (yes, seagulls) and some particularly nice electric bass.

It really ought to have been a bigger hit, but it wasn’t, so you get to dig it now and lord it over the cool kids at the record hop (not really).

That said, I hope you dig it as much as I do, 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 #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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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Tommy James – Draggin’ the Line

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WHAA?!?!?

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Listen/Download – Tommy James – Draggin’ the Line

Greetings all.

I hope all is well in your corner of the universe.

Last week I took a little dive into my to-be-blogged archive, paddling around to see what might catch my fancy.

Unless I have something particular in mind, I always try to start these searches way back in the older stuff, trying to see what I might have missed/forgotten about.

The process – if one can be said to exist – usually involves me bringing home a big pile of records, recording and editing them, and placing them (and a picture of the label) in a big digital pile. I try to stick to a first in/first out pattern, but every once in a while (for a variety of reasons) something jumps to the front of the line.

The record you see before you today is not one of those.

In fact, I forgot that I had recorded it.

‘Draggin’ the Line’ by Tommy James was released in 1970, not long after he shed his Shondells, or at least their name.

A look at the charts seems to indicate that Tommy’s solo career got off to kind of a weak start. Whether the insane cover of the album ‘Christian of the World’ (James’s second solo album and the record from which this song comes) had anything to do with that, I do not know.

However, once ‘Draggin’ the Line’ hit the airwaves, James had a significant hit on his hands (the biggest of his solo career), making it into the Top 5 in 1971.

I bring it to you today not because it was a hit, but because it hooked itself into my nine-year-old brain back in the day, and never really let go.

This has everything to do with the song’s hypnotic bass line, and the chorus with its call and response of ‘Draggin’ the line’.

I’m pretty sure I neither heard, nor understood the lyrics when I was a kid, or I would certainly remembered Tommy talking about his dog Sam (who likes purple flowers) or the explicit reference to tree hugging. The weird thing is that unlike so many other records, ‘Draggin’ the Line’ doesn’t bring up any specific nostalgic memories, other than waiting for it to pop up on the radio so I could hear it again (remember when you had to do that?). Make sure you check out the local survey from one week that summer when the song was hitting in NYC.

It’s one of my favorite records from that period when the calendar had turned over into the 70s but the 60s were still hanging on for dear life, and I was spending a lot of time with my ear pressed to the transistor listening to WABC in New York.

So that’s the sound for the week.

I hpe you dig it, 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 #37

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfield – Action Scene (KPM)
Bobby Fuller Four – Gallancamps Shoes Commercial
Bobby Fuller Four – Let Her Dance (Mustang)
Bobby Fuller Four – Another Sad and Lonely Night (Mustang)
Bobby Fuller Four – KHJ Big Kahuna Theme
Bobby Fuller Four – Take My Word (Mustang)
Bobby Fuller Four – Never To Be Forgotten (Mustang)
Bobby Fuller Four – KRLA King of the Wheels Theme

Free Design – 2002 a Hit Song (Project 3)
Free Design – Kites are Fun (Project 3)
Free Design – Butterflies are Free (Project 3)
Free Design – Bubbles (Project 3)
Free Design – California Dreaming (Project 3)
Free Design – Eleanor Rigby (Project 3)
Free Design – Kije’s Ouija (Project 3)
Free Design – Where Do I Go (Project 3)
Free Design – My Brother Woody (Project 3)
Free Design – Stay Another Season (Project 3)
Free Design – Windows of the World (Project 3)
Free Design – I Found Love (Project 3)
Free Design – Jack In the Box Commercial

Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Mary Mary (Elektra)
Dave Clark Five – All Night Long (Epic)
Glen Campbell – Bowling Green (Capitol)
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – These Days (Liberty)
Donovan – Tangerine Puppet (Hickory)
Jake Thackray – The Black Swan (Philips)
The Beach Boys – Feel Flow (Brother/WB)
The Beach Boys – Surf’s Up (Brother/WB)
The Beach Boys – Til I Die (Brother/WB)

 

 

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode 37 – 172MB/256kbps

Greetings all.

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

This month you get a set of groovers by the Bobby Fuller Four, a look at the sounds of one of my favorite pop groups, the Free Design as well as a set of new arrivals.

I hope you dig it all, and if you’re new to the Iron Leg Radio Show, take a dip in the archive.

See you all next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

Bowling Green Times Two

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The Everly Brothers

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Glen Campbell

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Listen/Download – the Everly Brothers – Bowling Green

Listen/Download – Glen Campbell – Bowling Green

Greetings all.

I hope the new week finds you all well.

I had planned on bringing you the Everly Brothers (original) version of ‘Bowling Green’ for a while.

Fortunately for all of us, whilst I was a-digging through the crates I discovered that I had another, very groovy version of the song already, by none other than Glen Campbell.

I should start out by saying that the recent news of Campbell moving in to an assisted living facility due to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease was saddening.

Glen Campbell is one of those artists who had enough mainstream success that the true depth of his talent (and discography) is often overlooked.

He was an important part of the famous Wrecking Crew studio outfit, as well as having recorded some very cool albums for Capitol in the 1960s.

Though he is often thought of as a country-pop artist, he had excellent taste in covers and recorded many great songs by folks like Harry Nilsson, Donovan, Sonny Curtis, The Bee Gees, Otis Redding, Dorsey Burnett and even Paul Revere and the Raiders.

The song I bring you today was first recorded by the Everly Brothers (on their excellent ‘Everly Brothers Sing’ LP) in 1967.

‘Bowling Green’, written by the Everly’s bassist Terry Slater with Jacqueline Ertel (I don’t know why she’s not credited on either of these labels) was a Top 40 hit for the brothers in the Spring of 1967.

Campbell recorded it later that year on his ‘Gentle On My Mind’ LP.

While the Everly’s version features their unmatchable harmonies, Campbell’s take on the song sports a much livelier arrangement by none other than Leon Russell!

Interestingly, the song was recorded again, a year later by the Gosdin Brothers, who gave it a slightly more countrified feel.

Both versions are excellent, and I would recommend picking up both albums (especially the Everly Brothers LP which has some surprising, even psychedelic touches) if you find them.

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

Peace

Larry

 

Example


PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

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