The Pack – Next To Your Fire (Capitol)
The Sophomores – I Know I Should (SS7)
49th Parallel – (Come On Little Child and) Talk To Me (Maverick)
Butlers – It’s a Fine Time (Cameo/Parkway)
Kidds – Straighten Up and Fly Right (Big Beat)
Guilloteens – Wild Child (Columbia)
Michael & the Messengers – Midnight Hour (USA)
Thee Muffins – Surprise Surprise (private)
Mouse and the Traps – I Satisfy (Fraternity)
Standells – Why Did You Hurt Me (Tower)
Blues Magoos – Gotta Get Away (Mercury)
Tino & the Revelons – I’m Coming Home (Dearborn)
I figured the time was long since due for another edition of the Iron Leg Digital Trip, and I just happened to have some time I my hands, so I got to recording, digi-ma-tizing and mixing, and now I sit here pecking away at the laptop while my coffee gets cold(er).
This mix is mostly garage, garagey, garage-esque etc 45s (and one weird LP track), pressing on both temporal ends of the fuzz era, touching on rural imitations of British Beatsters imitating Sir Chuck of Berry, long haired snots hammering away at the cheapest organ in the music store window (more likely the Montgomery Ward catalog), and just a hint – a soupcon if you will – of the psychedelic, edging its longhaired, incense scented paisley-isms onto the fringes of the sound.
Things get started with the top-side of one of my all-time favorite 60s 45s, ‘Do Like Me’ by the Uncalled Four. I first heard this song as covered by a Michigan garage revival band in the 80s, and then found it on a Nuggets, or a Pebbles or a Highs In the Whatnot and realized that there was an OG 45 out there somewhere, which, after not too long a search (or too deep an excavation into the wallet) found a home in my crates. The flipside (‘Get Out of the Way’ is also excellent).
The Pack (as in Terry Knight & the…) were Michigan stars before a few of their members broke out onto the national stage as Grand Funk Railroad. Their version of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Fire’ (which was also covered by Southern punkers Five by Five) is very cool.
I know nothing about the Sophomores, other than they probably hailed from below the Mason Dixon Line, and they managed to put together a perfect garage punk side that captures the essence of the Ferris Beuller “Never had a lesson!” vibe.
The 49th Parallel were Canadian (from Calgary, Alberta) and released a number of excellent singles in the mid-to-late 60s. ‘(Come on Little Child and) Talk To Me’ bears the marks of the later end of the decade with a hard charging horn section.
I’m not sure where the Butlers were from. Their record was released on Cameo/Parkway (I’m pretty sure I initially picked this one up because I incorrectly assumed that it was the Philly soul group) but so were 45s by Question Mark & the Mysterians, so that means nothing (geographically). Dig that fuzz guitar opening.
The Kidds 45 is one of my earliest garage punk 45s finds. I’ll assume they were from Mississippi or the surrounding area (home of the Big Beat label). I was shocked many years later when I scored a funk 45 (‘Funky Belly’ by Larry Foster) on the same label.
The Guilloteens have appeared in this space before. They were a Memphis based group (reportedly Elvis’ fave local combo) that recorded a couple of excellent sides for the HBR label, before moving on to Columbia for a short time. ‘Wild Child’ is a great bit of folk rock inflected punk.
Michael & the Messengers were a Milwaukee, WI combo that recorded for Chicago’s storied USA label (original home of the Buckinghams among others). Michael and the Messengers had a soulful edge to their sound, as witnessed by their cover of Wilson Pickett’s ’Midnight Hour’, as well as their version of the Uniques ‘Run and Hide’.
Thee Muffins are another band that I don’t know much about. I’ve heard rumors that they were from Upstate NY, and I know for a fact that they played on the Jersey Shore (I have copies of old ads where they were performing at one of the local clubs), and found my copy of their rare, privately released LP somewhere around here as well. Most of the tracks are kind of uninspired, but I dig their version of the Kinks ‘Surprise Surprise’.
Mouse and the Traps were serious Texas bad-asses, with the ‘Public Execution’ and the ‘Lie Beg Borrow and Steal’ ( a personal fave) and the ‘Maid of Sugar’ and it’s a wonder they weren’t a much bigger deal, instead of the garage fuzz fetish object that they are. ‘I Satisfy’ hails from the trippier, somewhat sinister end of their catalog.
Speaking of bands that ought to have been HUGE, I bring you a b-side by the mighty Standells. I owned this 45 for years, and neglected this side of it (the a-side is the legendary ‘Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White’) forever. One day, I just happened to be sitting around digging through my crates and decided to flip the record over and WHOA DAD! There on the other side of the disc was a certified, moody 1966 killer. The tune opens with some standard issue guitar chops, but when the organ kicks in it’s all over.
Next up is a tune that was featured here as a single track a while back, but I love it so much that I had to whip it on you one more time, the fuzzed out garage snot of New York City’s own Blues Magoo’s and ‘Gotta Get Away’.
This edition of the Iron Leg Digital Trip closes out with yet another Michigan nugget, ‘I’m Coming Home’ by Tino and the Revelons.
That said, I hope you dig the mix, and I’ll be back next week with some more groovies, and the week after that with a year in review podcast.