Brewer & Shipley – Truly Right / Time and Changes

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Michael Brewer and Tom Shipley

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Listen/Download – Brewer & Shipley – Truly Right

Listen/Download – Brewer & Shipley – Time and Changes

Greetings all.

The two tunes I bring you today can be filed as ‘familiar sounds from an unfamiliar source’.

Both of these songs are better known via their recording by other groups, but here they are presented by their authors, Michael Brewer and Tom Shipley.

Brewer and Shipley are themselves better known by their later recordings, like their 1971 hit ‘One Toke Over the Line’.

The two musicians had been bouncing around the LA scene in the mid-60s, writing and recording prior to their better known partnership.

They had composed (by themselves or as a pair) songs for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Byrds, Noel Harrison, the Poor, Glenn Yarbrough, HP Lovecraft and the Garden Club (basically a duet between Shipley and Ruthann Friedman).

I first heard ‘Truly Right’ on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s 1967 ‘Ricochet’ LP which also featured a couple of very early songs written by Jackson Browne. It quickly became a favorite (the group’s first two LPs are lost classics of mid-60s LA) but it was a while before I figured out that the composers of the song were THE Brewer & Shipley.

That same year, the Poor, featuring a young Randy Meisner, would record Shipley’s song ‘She’s Got the Time (She’s Got the Changes)’, one of the finest bits of Sunset Strip popsike ever made.

Flash forward a few years and I find out that Brewer and Shipley recorded their own LP in 1968 entitled’Down In LA’ and that it included their versions of the two songs mentioned above.

The approach is much more relaxed/Laurel Canyon hippy than the harder edged pop of the NGDB and the Poor.

‘Truly Right’, which opens with acoustic guitar gains speed gradually, with the bass and drums coming in a bit at a time, until the whole band is moving along (with some groovy electric piano – courtesy of Leon Russell – running underneath). Brewer and Shipley lay down some very nice harmonies.

‘Time and Changes’ (truncated title, same song) is taken at a mellower, less popsike pace than the Poor’s version, but the overall effect is excellent. As much as I love the Poor 45, the Brewer and Shipley version has that late-60s, LA harmony vibe that reminds me of some of the cooler CSNY tracks.

If you can get your hands on the ‘Down In LA’ album, grab it because it expands on the vibe, working in a little bit of country rock, all the songs presented by B&S’s great harmonies.

Oddly, by the time ‘Down In LA’ was released, Brewer and Shipley had departed from the coast and relocated to Kansas City, MO.

They went on to have a hit with ‘One Toke Over the Line’ and its LP ‘Tarkio’ in 1971.

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.

Elvis Costello and the Attractions – You Belong To Me

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Elvis says “Whut???”

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Listen/Download – Elvis Costello and the Attractions – You Belong To Me

Greetings all.

Every once in a while even the most jaded of collectors needs to be reminded that he/she is not omnipotent of infallible (you shouldn’t need to be reminded, but we are after all taking about record collectors, so…).

Back in the olden days, when I was in high school and new wave was (new) I used to sit at the same lunch table as a couple of marginal characters (at least I thought they were marginal at the time) named Bob and Alan.

Like most non-athletic adolescent boys of the time we spent an inordinate amount of time discussing/arguing about music.

I had recently discovered Bad Company.

Yeah…

Though Bob and Alan were both hard rock aficionados as well, their tastes ran to KISS (I’m still ambivalent), but they had already started to progress by digging into bands like the Clash and Elvis Costello and the Attractions.

I had spent most of my early teen-hood obsessing about the Beatles, and was as a result a case of musical arrested development. I was suspicious of anything even vaguely punk-adjacent, so when the boys started rapping about Elvis, I kind of rolled my eyes and ran the opening chords of ‘Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love’ through my head for the thousandth time.

Flash forward a year or two, and the unfinished synapse that started with the Beatles closed its circuit when I discovered how much of debt new wave and power pop owed to the Fabs and every other pop and jangle band of the 60s.

Before long I was scouring the local flea market for commercial stuff like the Cars and the Romantics listening to college radio.

Then, in college, a friend whipped Elvis’s ‘Armed Forces’ album on me. I immediately threw down my arms, hoisted the flag of surrender and joined Oliver’s Army.

I had seen the Attractions on Saturday Night Live, and Elvis and his spasmodic affect struck me the wrong way (though I remember digging DEVO, so maybe it was a case of ‘weird but not quite weird enough’ or something like that, but when the dulcet tones of ‘Armed Forces’ wormed their way into my head, I discovered that the four-eyed goon staggering around the stage was a songwriter of no small talent and deserved my attention after all.

I eventually found my way back through EC’s early albums – losing track some time in the early 80s when his prolific nature outpaced my interest and bank account – and discovered that there was much gold to be dug.

The record that really knocked me for a loop was the second by EC and the Attractions, 1978’s ‘This Year’s Model’, and the track that I wore the grooves out on was the one you see before you, ‘You Belong To Me’.

I suspect that my 1980s garage-mania has a lot to do with why I love this song so much, since there’s more than a touch of the Pebbles at work here.

You get the ringing guitar riff, the elbows-on-the-keyboard combo organ and the kick of the bass and drums, all of it with roots that reach back to 1966 (thanks to Nick Lowe for the production). I always find myself wishing that someone back in the garage revival days had glommed onto this one but I suspect that such a move would have been perceived as apostate (no matter how hip in real life).

The groovy 45 you see before you was picked up (along with half a dozen others by EC) whilst out digging in the hinterlands of New York last summer.

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 #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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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

Scotty McKay – All Around the World

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Scotty McKay

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Listen/Download – Scotty McKay – All Around the World

Greetings all.

I thought I’d whip something tasty on you this week.

I have known the name Scotty McKay since back in the garage/mod days when his raving 1967 version of ‘Train Kept A Rolling’ (long rumored to include a solo by Jimmy Page) got comped a few times.

What I did not know, and wouldn’t learn until I dug up the record you see before you today is that McKay (born Max Lipscomb?!) was, in the 50s and 60s a veritable rock’n’roll Zelig.

As a teenager he played rhythm guitar in Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps, then went on to record in a variety of styles (rockabilly, pop, R&B) into the 60s, when he changed his name.

A Texas native, he played alongside bands like the Chessmen and Kenny and the Kasuals (he would record with the latter) while releasing a series of 45s.

The Jimmy Page story varies from place to place, but it seems McKay met the Yardbirds when they were touring through Texas and the connection was made. It seems that McKay recorded the track and sent the tape to the UK where Jimmy added his plucking and sent it back.

The tune I bring you today is a little burner that McKay laid down in 1966 on the flipside of a tune called ‘Here Comes Batman’.

The ‘Batman’ side was popular and got the record pressed on a few different labels.

His cover of Titus Turner’s ‘All Around the World’ (aka ‘Grits Ain’t Groceries’) is taken at a fast pace and sits on the Bobby Fuller side of the garage border.

McKay and his band would go on to appear in a couple of low-budget horror movies (there appear to have been a few efforts to turn him into a teen idol).

He went on to produce some records (including the pre-ZZ Top American Blues) eventually turning to religious music. He passed away in 1991.

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.

Freddy Cannon – 20th Century Fox

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Freddy Cannon, and some cannonballs (natch…)

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Listen/Download – Freddy Cannon – 20th Century Fox

Greetings all.

I hope the new week finds you well.

One of my great pleasures as a collector of music (not just records, my friends…) is happening upon an unexpected gem in someone’s catalog.

I think I first heard Freddy Cannon’s cover of the Doors ‘20th Century Fox’ when a friend (hey Chuck!) posted it on Facebook, and I was knocked back on my heels.

While I wouldn’t say that I’d done a serious study of the Freddy Cannon discography, I was certainly acquainted with his biggest hits – and a few of the lesser-known numbers – and dug a lot of it.

I remember watching 1965’s ‘Village of the Giants’and seeing Freddy working it out on ‘Little Bitty Corinne’ (later covered by the Swinging Neckbreakers) and hearing his theme (there were others) for ‘Where the Action Is’, which was his second-to-last chart hit that same year.

Now, looking at (or better yet, listening to) Freddy’s biggest records, one might be forgiven for raising an eyebrow when encountering him covering a song by the Doors.

That said, he does an outstanding job, revving things up just a touch with a little bit of that mid-60s proto-garage kick. The record benefits from the removal of the original’s most recognizable element, that being the likkered up, Laurel Canyon croon of ol’Jimbo the Lizard King.

Cannon adds in some harmonica, fuzzed out guitar and of course his vocals.

It does what every cover should strive to do, which is twist the source material just enough to squeeze out some new juice. This isn’t always possible – I can only think of a handful of Doors songs (outside of Light My Fire) that got covers – but Freddy pulls it off.

If you find yourself a copy of this burner grab it, since the flip ‘Cincinnatti Woman’ is excellent as well.

I hope 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.

The Creation – Try and Stop Me

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The Creation

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Listen/Download – The Creation – Try and Stop Me

Greetings all.

A few weeks back, when I posted John Wonderling’s original version of ‘Midway Down’, I started thinking about the Creation.

I eventually found my way back into the crates, and dug out the 45 you see before you today.

The other side of this record (‘Making Time’) saw the light of day in this space nearly six years ago, not long after I got my hands on it.

As I stated then, back in the garage/mod days of the 80s, the Creation loomed large with our set.

The subset of bands that intersected with the freakbeat vibe were a very big deal for us in that they covered the bases for the folks with a taste for pop, as well as those of us (often the same people) who liked things with a slightly harder edge.

Though they were only really a going concern for two years (1966-1967) the Creation laid down some of the finest 45s of that transitional era.

‘Try and Stop Me’, co-written by Kenny Pickett and Eddie Phillips is pure pop, but it’s all laid atop some heavy, gritty guitars.

The Creation are often compared – for fairly obvious reasons – with the Who, and when you sit down and listen to their records it is a favorable comparison indeed.

I wouldn’t go as far as to suggest that anyone in the Creation had the creative reach of Pete Townshend, but for pure listenability, they were right up there.

Sadly, the Creation never had the kind of success that their music deserved, only charting twice in the UK (with Making Time and Painterman, both in 1966), though they had more success on the Continent.

Fortunately for everyone, the Creation’s recordings have been available in reissue fairly steadily since the 80s (you can even find them on iTunes!).

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.

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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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

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