Listen/Download – The Kingsmen – Long Green
I though we’d get going this week with a little Pacific Northwest, headbanging, frathouse grind.
The Kingsmen – with the ‘Louie Louie’ and all associated iterations thereof – need no introduction, especially if you’re tuned into the frequency here at Iron Leg.
Oddly enough, to me anyway, they are as opaque as they are legendary.
You can say ‘The Kingsmen’ to almost any rock fan and thoughts of toga-clad yahoos vomiting on their sneakers pop into their heads, but strangely, no image of the band themselves.
I always go back to the clip that was making the rounds back in the garage/mod 80s, of the Kingsmen on some teen show lip-synching ‘Louie Louie’ but aside from that you could put any gang of longhairs (or semi-longhairs) in front of me, tell me that they were the Kingsmen and I’d pretty much have to take your word for it.
This has to do with the fact that the Kingsmen, were, like a lot of PNW bands, a revolving door of sorts.
Hit the Kingsmen’s Wiki page and take a look at the list of members over the years and you start to see familiar names, i.e. Jack Ely and Lynn Easton (two names I always identified with the core of the band) but also guys like Don Gallucci (of Don and the Goodtimes and producing fame), Turley Richards (who recorded a few albums of his own in a completely different style) and even (during the 80s) Andy Parypa of the original Sonics.
The Kingsmen were on and off the charts, sometimes high (Louie Louie, the Jolly Green Giant) and more often low, between 1958 and 1967.
They released ‘Long Green’ in late 1964, and it went on to chart regionally (Detroit) in early 1965.
If its rudimentary stomp and growl rings any bells for you, it’s probably because (in addition to any familiar ‘Louie Louie’-isms) it’s a loose rewrite of the Premiers ‘Farmer John’, which I suppose isn’t a HUGE deal, since both songs are built on a pretty simple frame, albeit one guaranteed to get your drunk uncle out of his armchair and grooving across the floor.
Once again, the Kingsmen have produced a largely indecipherable lyric, which is also pretty much irellevant, since this is more about communicating the WOMP, WOMP-WOMP on your way to the keg than it is about telling a story, though that in itself may very well be the story.
Either way, it’s good, cathartic stuff.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you all next week.