Sandy Nelson (above), Jim Messina and the Jesters (below)
Listen/Download – Sandy Nelson – Boss Beat
I hope you all had a chance to dig into the sonic buffet that was last week’s episode of the Iron Leg Radio Show. There was a veritable borgas-smord of groovy delights, with which to stuff your ears.
The tune I bring you today was a delightful little surprise when my man Haim dropped a stack of jukebox EPs into my crates from his perch out on the coast.
There was all kinds of cool stuff, but the record I gravitated to first was this little gem by Sandy Nelson.
A hitmaking drummer, Nelson released a grip of albums during the 60s, which – like most cool instro discs – I generally grab when I’m out digging because the song selection is often very cool and execution is as well.
I had never heard the tune ‘Boss Beat’ before, but as soon as I saw the ‘Jim Messina’ writing credit, my interest was piqued and I knew I had to give it a spin.
Though he is best known for his years alongside Kenny Loggins and his time before than in the Buffalo Springfield, fans of twangy guitars will be hip to the fact that he spent some of his early years making excellent surf records with his band the Jesters.
I don’t know how Messina hooked up with Sandy Nelson (or who his co-writer Kay Classey was), but ‘Boss Beat’ is a treat.
There’s a certain magic around the music in Southern California in 1965 where all of the previous musical threads, surf, R&B, rockabilly and pure rock’n’roll started to get mixed up with all the new sounds coming into shape, including garage, British beat and various and sundry au-go-go styles.
‘Boss Beat’ is a great example of a transitional record, in which the old and the new are both present, wrestling for dominance and managing to produce something very groovy in the process.
You get plenty of hard hitting drums from Nelson, twangy guitar (rumored to Messina himself), which all sound pretty run of the mill until the combo organ comes in and starts to work it out, at which point things start to take on a garage-cum-spy soundtrack edge that no doubt had the go-go girls shaking it in their cages.
It’s a crazy little track, and I hope you dig it as much as I do.
See you next week.