The Shillings – Children and Flowers b/w Lying and Trying


The Shillings


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.





PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Merrilee Rush – Reach Out


Merrilee Rush


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.





PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Paul and Barry Ryan – Keep It Out of Sight


The Brothers Ryan


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.





PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #38


Beep beep beep beep…..


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.





PS Head over to Funky16Corners

Return of the Au Go Go Mixes!


Iron Leg Digital Trip Number Five – The Party


1 Henry Mancini (The Party OST) – The Party (vocal) (RCA)
2 Keith Mansfield – Boogaloo (CBS)
3 Enoch Light – Over Under Sideways Down (Project 3)
4 Moe Koffman – Dr Swahili (Jubilee)
5 Mr Jamo – Shake What You Brought With You Pt1 (SSS Intl)
6 Dick Hyman – The Liquidators (Command)
7 Walter Wanderley – Kee Ka Roo (Verve)
8 Sweet Charity OST – The Pompeii Club (Rich Man’s Frug) (Decca)
9 John Philip Soul & his Stone Marching Band – That Memphis Thing (Pepper)
10 Andre Brasseur – The Duck (Palette)
11 Tony Newman – Soul Thing (Parrot)
12 Jimmy Caravan – Look Into the Flower (Vault)
13 Vic Mizzy (Don’t Make Waves OST) – Vox Box (MGM)
14 New London Rhythm & Blues Band – Soul Stream (Vocalion)
15 Dave Grusin (Candy OST) – Ascension to Virginity (ABC)
16 Henry Mancini (the Party OST) – The Party (instr) (RCA)

Listen/Download 46MB Mixed MP3 – MP3


Iron Leg Digital Trip #32 – A Not Unpleasing Splash of Colour

Keith Mansfield – Soul Thing (Pronit)
101 Strings – Jesus Christ Superstar (edit) (Alshire)
Jimmy Smith – The Cat (45 edit) (Verve)
Enoch Light – C’Mon and Swim (Command)
Living Strings – Out and About (Camden)
Mariano and the Unbelievables – Sunshine Superman (Capitol)
Lady Nelson and the Lords – Soho Strut (Dunhill)
Louis Bellson – The Eel (Project 3)
Quincy Jones – Mohair Sam (Mercury)
Lloyd Green – Steel Blue (Chart)
Mike Sharpe – Spook A Lou (Liberty)
Dave Pike Set – You’ve Got the Feeling (Wagram)
Vic Mizzy – Daybreak In Malibu (MGM)
Andre Brasseur – Pow Pow (MFP)
Virtues – Meditation of the Soul (Andee)
Enoch Light – Bond Street (Project 3)
New London Rhythm and Blues Band – Soul Mate (Vocalion)
Freddie Scott and the Seven Steps – It’s Not Unusual (Marlin)
101 Strings – Spinning Wheel (Alshire)
Mohawks – Baby Hold On Pt2 (Cotillion)
Moe Koffman – Funky Monkey (Jubilee)
US Air Force Academy Falconaires – Day Tripper (USAFA)
Keith Mansfield – Funky Fanfare (KPM)

Listen/Download 102MB/256K Mixed Mp3


Greetings all.

This week sees the return (by special request) of two of my favorite Iron Leg Digital Trip mixes, #5 and #32, aka The Au Go Go Mixes.

The yearly Funky16Corners Pledge Drive is underway, and since Iron Leg is an important part of the Funky16Corners Blogcasting Network, and depends on the same paid storage space in which to function, I thought it made sense to tie this blog in with the goings on at that (blog).

If you dig what we do here (or there,or in both places) fall by Funky16Corners, click on the Paypal button and drop a coin (or two) in the jukebox (as it were).

It will be greatly appreciated.

Iron Leg Digital Trips numbers 5 and 32 really do belong together, with the latter being intended as a sequel to the former.
They are my take on the Au Go Go vibe of the swinging 60s, with all manner of groovy stuff stitched together from soundtracks, library music, jazz, pop, soul, funk and kitsch.

You can read the original manifesto here.

So mix yourselves up a cocktail, pull down the ones and zeros and I’ll be back next week with some garage punk.





PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

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


Beach Boys, circa 1971



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.





PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Tommy James – Draggin’ the Line




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.





PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.


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