The Glass Bottle
Listen – The Glass Bottle – Red River Sal – MP3
I hope all is well on your end, and you’re ready for the weekend.
The tune I bring you today is culled from my recent safari to a new digging spot (for me, anyway) where I scored a big stack of 60s pop and rock. The cool thing – aside from the most fundamental cool thing, that being grabbing more vinyl – is that the vast majority of the music I picked up was new to me. I’d heard of a couple of the artists, but by and large I carried home a gold mine of new sounds to explore.
One of the LPs I picked up that day was by a group called the Glass Bottle. The cover – the first thing to grab any digger’s eye – was promising, featuring a large, multi-ethnic, co-ed band, all dressed in some of the grooviest finery of the day (1968/69). There were white-boy afros, sideburns, bellbottoms, (super) wide flares and a truckload of love beads, so naturally it behooved me to add the disc to my stack and bring it home.
When I finally put the needle to the wax, I was decidedly underwhelmed. It soon became clear that the Glass Bottle looked a lot groovier than they sounded. However, undaunted, I plowed forward, and there, edging up to the run-off groove I discovered the one diamond in the trash heap, ‘Red River Sal’.
I haven’t been able to track down much info on the Glass Bottle, but what I have found has proven intriguing. They were apparently – like so many bands of the era (and so many more today) completely prefabricated, the creation of novelty-meister Dickie Goodman. In what may be the weirdest back story I’ve ever encountered, the group was named (then created) as part of an advertising campaign to keep actual glass soda bottles from obsolescence at the hands of their aluminum counterparts.
Even stranger, the group ended up having a couple of minor hits in 1970 and 1971 with ‘Sorry Suzanne’ and ‘I Ain’t Got Time Anymore’.
So, as I said before, the album, composed largely of inoffensive, middle of the road pop (much of it seeming swept up around the Brill Building) wasn’t really grabbing me, until that is I happened upon ‘Red River Sal’. There, bobbing in a sea of blandness was a decidedly uncharacteristic, balls-out bit of hard rock. Whether this was a calculated attempt to attract a heavier, hairier crowd, or an aberration (it is the only song on the album to feature the vocals of guitarist Dennis Dees) doesn’t really matter, on account of it rocks so hard.
The coolest thing is that midway through the song, you get a tasty little drumbreak.
Oddly enough, ‘Red River Sal’ was co-written by Brad Raisin who wrote and sang one of my favorite garagey records, ‘Out of Breath’ by the Peanut Gallery.
Nothing major in the grand scheme of things, but proof positive that if you dig deep enough, you’ll always find something cool.
See you on Monday.