Iron Leg Podcast #1 – Soul Garage
Soul Survivors – Shakin With Linda (Pebbles reissue)
Insights – You Got It Made (RCA)
British Walkers – Shake (Cameo)
Hole In the Wall – Bring It On Home (Epic)
Ill Winds – I Idolize You (Reprise)
St Louis Union – Respect (Decca)
Standells – 99 and a half (Tower)
Apparitions – Midnight Hour (Caped Crusader reissue)
Rationals – Respect (Cameo)
Mauds – Soul Drippin’ (Mercury)
Human Beinz – Nobody But Me (Capitol)
Namelosers – Land of 1000 Dances (Searching for Shakes reissue)
NOTE: This is the garagey part of the first joint podcast with my other blog Funky16Corners. While the subject over here is garage soul, there’s a mix up over at Funky16Corners in which we get to check out white artists making funky sounds. Since both of these mixes are kind of working the same thematic side of the street, I figured that it might be cool to get them posted simultaneously for a little bit of a compare and contrast exercise, not to mention a grip of excellent music.
This inaugural Iron Leg podcast is also the first joint podcast with my other blog, Funky16Corners.
I’d been thinking about assembling a mix of funk recordings by white bands for a long time, and while I was pulling records for that podcast I pulled out a bunch of 45s by garage and beat groups performing soul tunes (mostly covers), which became by its very nature more of an Iron Leg thing than a Funky16Corners thing (if you know what I mean, and I think you do).
The mix you are downloading today is actually a reworking/extension of an old mix tape I made some years ago for personal use.
The mix is by no means comprehensive, and is representative only of the contents of my actual collection.
The oversimplified explanation of the US garage explosion is that it was in large part a reaction to the British Invasion – a musical movement largely credited with introducing US audiences to the black acts that they ignored the first time around. This may have been true with in respect to the general (listening) public, but musicians needed no introduction to R&B and soul music. The musical history of this era is filled with stories of young white musicians laying awake at night, tuning in black radio stations and turning on to sounds that were – at least for their peer group – far outside the mainstream.
With the exceptions of ‘Respect’ and ‘Midnight Hour’, which were huge radio hits and could be considered “standards” in the repertoire of any self-respecting teen band, the majority of the songs covered in this mix come from a place further back in the hit parade.
The mix opens with the Soul Survivors covering the Isley Brothers’ ‘Shakin’ With Linda’. I had heard that this might not in fact be the Philly band that hit with ‘Expressway to Your Heart’, but I recently saw a discography that indicates that it was their first 45, recorded for Decca. I grabbed it off of an old Pebbles volume, so I can’t say for sure what the truth is. However, one thing I can say with some certainty is that although this is an Isley Brothers song, the group being “covered” here would seem to be Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, so similar are the versions.
I haven’t been able to track down any info on the Insights, other than the fact that the 45 with their cover of Sam and Dave’s ‘You Got It Made’ pulls a bit of coin on the rare soul market. I wish I could say that I knew that when I picked it up back in the day, but at the time (1985-ish) I was pretty much grabbing everything that looked like a garage band 45. The Insights manage to put a little extra kick into their version of the tune, copping a little bit of a Young Rascals groove. I really dig the organ and the horn section on this one.
The British Walkers were one of those great might-have-beens of the garage era. Working out of the Washington DC area, the band recorded a number of 45s for several labels (Try, Charger, Cameo), all of which are excellent and worth digging up. During the time they were together they included Roy Buchanan and John Hall in their ranks (at different times) and worked with Link Wray (on ‘Bad Lightning’, the one BW 45 I’ve never been able to score). ‘1967’s cover of Sam Cooke’s ‘Shake’ made a minor dent in the charts. While it may fall a notch behind the Small Faces version (to which it bears some similarities), it’s still a killer.
The next tune is another Sam Cooke cover, this time by a local Monmouth County, NJ band, the Hole In the Wall. I had this record for years, and only recently discovered that it was recorded by a local band. Apparently the band – originally called Jay Walker & the Pedestrians – renamed themselves after a New York City restaurant and recorded their sole 45 in 1966, the a side being another cover, this time of the Rolling Stones ‘Blue Turns To Grey’.
The Ill Winds – heard here covering the Ike & Tina Turner classic ‘I Idolize You’ – were in fact the surf group the Chantays (‘Pipeline’) recording under another name. Whether or not they evolved into the Ill Winds, or were still performing as the Chantays I don’t know. I do know that the group recorded two 45s for Reprise in 1965 and 1966.
The St. Louis Union are the sole British group in this mix, hailing from Manchester. Their version of Otis Redding’s ‘Respect’ was the flip side of their 1966 cover of the Beatles’ ‘Girl’ which was a Top 20 hit in the UK. The other really interesting thing about the group is that later that year, they recorded a cover of Bob Seger & the Last Heard’s ‘East Side Story’ (which was also covered by a California band called the Caretakers). The SLU version – which is rare as hell and has eluded me lo these many years – is actually pretty good.
The Standells should need no introduction to most garage fans (or anyone with more than a passing interest in 60’s music). Their version of Wilson Pickett’s ’99 and ½’ (45-only I believe) is a killer, and holds up nicely against the cover by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
I can’t tell you much about the Apparitions, other than that their cover of ‘Midnight Hour’ was initially unreleased in the 60’s, and first saw the light of day on a mid-80’s reissue 45. I believe that they hailed from the Midwest (Kansas City?).
The second version of ‘Respect’ comes to us courtesy of the mighty Rationals. Mid-60’s giants of the Detroit scene, the Rationals went from crafting superb Beatle-esque cuts like ‘Feeling Lost’ to sharing Grande Ballroom stages with the likes of the MC5. Their version of ‘Respect’ is from one of their Cameo 45s.
The Mauds were a Chicago-based soul/R& band who recorded a number of 45s and an LP for Mercury in the mid-to-late 60’s. ‘Soul Drippin’ (the sole “original” in this mix) was a minor hit, and features a horn section made up of Walt Parazaider, James Pankow and Lee Loughnane, all of whom went on to play in Chicago.
I couldn’t very well put together a mix like this without including one of my all-time fave 60’s 45s, the Human Beinz cover of the Isley Brothers ‘Nobody But Me’. I would go as far as to say that this is one of the truly great soul covers of the era, and an absolutely killer record by any standard.
The final track in the mix is a wild, Freakbeat-ish cover of Chris Kenner’s ‘Land of 1000 Dances’ by Sweden’s Namelosers. The Namelosers recorded a couple of 45s in their day, including a fantastic tune called ‘But I’m So Blue’ which was comped a few times.
That all said, I hope you dig this first Iron Leg podcast, and that you take a moment to head over to Funky16Corners to checkout the flipside.