Fortunes – Fire Brigade (UA)
Easybeats – Made My Bed Now I’m Gonna Lie in It (UA)
Moody Blues – This Is My House (London)
Los Bravos – Going Nowhere (Press)
Timebox – Girl Don’t Make Me Wait (Deram)
Gary Walker – You Don’t Love Me (Date)
Dave Dee, Dozy Beaky Mick & Tich – Hideaway (Fontana)
Thors Hammer – Show Me You Like Me (Columbia)
Herd – Understand Me (Fontana)
Paul & Barry Ryan – Hey Mr Wiseman (Decca)
Cat Stevens – Baby Get Your Head Screwed On (Deram)
Here’s hoping all is well on your end.
This has been a somewhat low key weekend with an odd mixture of low key sickness, high end exhausti-ma-fication, and a wide variety of I don’t much feel like doing anything of consequence (I usually keep a helping of the latter set aside for emergencies).
The bulk of Saturday was spent ripping up a carpet damaged by our aged, incontinent cat, who, in the process of her incontinence managed to destroy a handful of fairly valuable album jackets (my bad for keeping them on the floor).
Fortunately I was able to salvage all the vinyl, which is cool, but the thought of taking those covers, which managed to survive 30+ years and tossing them into the trash hurt a little. However, I can’t stay mad at the cat. She’s been with us as long as I’ve known my wife and has managed to survive the arrival of two small boys with a tremendous amount of feline patience. I have now cat-proofed my records, and a few album covers is a small price to pay for her continued presence.
This is also been an interesting week as the recent post about the Music Machine saw comments from two of the original members of the band, Sean Bonniwell and Mark Landon. If you go back a while there are similar visits from members of the Peanut Gallery and the Clique. I always dig when that happens.
Anyway, the mix I bring you today, he sixth installment of the Iron Leg Digital Trip is one that sat on my desk, in 45-stack form for a few months before I got the time to sit down and digi-ma-tize, and the subsequently mix-o-fy them (there are at least two other similar stacks awaiting the same treatment).
The theme this time out is Freakbeat. Now, before the bean counters, nit pickers and trainspotters amongst you get a gander at the set list and take issue with the classification therein, allow me a moment to, as the great Desi Arnaz would say, “splain”.
Freakbeat – as I see it – is another one of those record collector designations used as a catch-all to gather together a variety of records, generally released between 1965 and 1968 that combine the pop elements of the Beat era with bits and pieces (to varying degrees) of the onrush of psychedelia, whether it be fuzz guitar, lyrical elements, production techniques and/or general delivery of the material.
I’ll warn you now. Not every record in this mix hews as closely to the criteria above as closely as some of you might like, but since this is my blog and the ideas expressed herein spill out of my head – thusly attributable to me and me alone – we’re all going to have to live with them.
Not that this should be a difficult task, as one thing I can guarantee is that each and every record in this mix is a killer, and each and every one of them, if not collectively Freaky, Beaty Big and Bouncy, meets at least two or three of those criteria, and that ought to suffice for anyone.
That said, things get rolling with a really unusual cover. If you have any familiarity with oldies radio – or were lucky enough to experience these sounds the first time around – you have certainly heard of the Fortunes. ‘You’ve Got Your Troubles’ (1965) and ‘Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again’ (1971) were both big hits. Imagine my surprise when one day, lo these many years ago I should happen to find a 45 of these self same Fortunes covering one of my favorite tunes by the Move. The Fortunes don’t depart too drastically from the Move arrangement, though the familiar voice of Rod Allen is there in the lead.
Back in the day, the Easybeats were a big fave of my 60’s revival friends and I. In addition to their excellent discography (a VERY underrated band) they were heavily represented in the bootleg video floating around at the time. It seems that the band appeared on just about every TV show in the US, UK, Netherlands and (of course) Australia, and managed to perform a wide variety of material, not just ‘Friday on My Mind’. ‘Made My Bed Now I’m Gonna Lie in It’ was the the flip side of ‘Friday…” and is a supremely tough side. Dig the distorted guitar and the hard drums, taking this record dangerously deep into 60’s punk territory.
I’ve always been a big fan of the Moody Blues early (pre-Justin Hayward) period, and this is no better represented than with ‘This is My House’. Released in October of 1966 (just as Denny Laine was leaving the band, soon to be replaced by Hayward), the tune is a fantastic bit of mid-60’s pop, edging away from the groups bluesy roots with just a hint of what was to come. I love Laine’s vocal, as well as the piano on the track.
Another group with a big place in oldies radio is Spain’s Los Bravos. Their ‘Black Is Black’ was a major Top 10 hit in the summer of 1966. The follow up to that hit (also hitting the Top 40) was the burner ‘Going Nowhere’. This might be oldies-radio fatigue talking, but in my opinion ‘Going Nowhere’ is a much hotter track. It’s also a great example of the Freakbeat vibe, combining bright pop touches with powerful drive and burning fuzz guitar. If you get a chance look them up on YouTube where there’s a fantastic clip from their 1967 film ‘Los Chicos Con las Chicas’ performing this song.
Timebox recorded a number of excellent singles during the mid-to-late 60’s. They had a knack for choosing interesting material, including covers of tunes by Cal Tjader, Tim Hardin, the Four Seasons and the tune included in this mix, Bunny Sigler’s ‘Girl Don’t Make Me Wait’. The flipside of the fantastic psyche pop gem ‘Gone Is the Sad Man’ (which I will most certainly post here in the future), Timebox (which featured none other than future Rutle John Halsey on drums) sows the tempo down a touch and imbue the cut with a little bit of that 1968 Anglo flavour.
Yet another refugee from the Top 40, Gary Walker (late of the Walker Brothers) recorded a couple of cool solo 45s before forming the legendary (at least to psyche collectors) Gary Walker & the Rain. One of those 45s was a cover of that old chestnut ‘You Don’t Love Me’, which might serve as a reminder that Mr. Walker was not in fact English (as many of his fans assumed) but American through and through. In fact the vibe here is more US garage than anything else.
Posessors of one of the most convoluted names in all of rock, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich (pheww…) made a grip of excellent 45s in their time (as well as a couple of cool albums as well). ‘Hideaway’ is not only an excellent song – with a tremendous fuzzed out guitar breakdown – but the group also had the honor of havening been mentioned in Tom Wolfe’s piece ‘The Noonday Underground’ about an afternoon at the Mod club The Tiles.
Thors Hammer hailed from Iceland and recorded one of the most valuable relics of the 60’s. the EP’ Umbarumbaba’ which – when it appears – changes hands well in excess of $1000USD. Slightly less rare – moving for around $100, though I scored my copy almost 20 years ago for a single, wrinkly dollar bill – is their only US release, ‘Show Me You Like Me’ from 1967. The tune is a great bit of upbeat Freakbeat with great harmonies and a wild solo on an instrument I’ve never been able to nail down. Is it a guitar, some kind of keyboard or something else entirely?
Though the Herd never made much of a dent in the US, they were very popular in the UK, and one of their members (a certain Peter Frampton) went on to be VERY popular over here. ‘Understand Me’ is one of their finest 45s, with some slamming drums and great vocals. As far as I can tell this only saw single release in the US.
Paul and Barry Ryan were identical twin brothers who, while successful in the UK never had any real success in the US. ‘Hey Mr. Wiseman’ is a track from their rare 1967 (I think) Decca LP ‘Two of a Kind’, which also features a couple of Hollies covers. Barry Ryan had a hit with the song ‘Eloise’ (written by Paul) that was later covered by the Damned. Keep your eyes out for another excellent tune by the duo ‘Keep It Out of Sight’.
This edition of the Iron Leg Digital Trip comes to a conclusion with a great cut from the debut album by Cat Stevens. Known today as both pop/folk hitmaker and famous convert to Islam, Stevens got his start in the mid-60’s with the LP ‘Matthew and Son’. This Cat Stevens had a harder edge than the man who brought to ‘Moonshadow’ and ‘Morning Has Broken’. ‘Baby Get Your Head Screwed On’ is a great bit of Freakbeat, covered later in 1967 by the group ‘Double Feature’ (by whom I heard the first version on one of the old ‘British Psychedelic Trip’ comps).
That all said, I hope you dig the mix, and I’ll see you all soon.