The record I bring you today is one of my favorite, mid-60s, Southern California (specifically East LA) 45s.
Thee Midniters were the preeminent Chicano band of the 1960s, laying down a grip of incredible 45s and a few LPs for the Chatahoochee and Whittier labels between 1965 and the early 70s.
They were – like most of the best East LA bands – capable of playing R&B, rock, pop and even garage punk, and ‘Love Special Delivery’ is as fine an example of that fusion as they ever laid down.
Oddly enough, I first heard this tune years ago when I saw a clip of Thee Midniters, set up on the California Angels dugout, miming to the song on an episode of Casey Kasem’s mid-60s dance party show Shebang.
While I was already aware of the group’s earlier stuff, like their version of ‘Land of 1,000 Dances’ and ‘Whittier Boulevard’, ‘Love Special Delivery’ was a revelation.
Here the group was mixing horn-driven soul, with garage fuzz and a wild vocal by Little Willie Garcia (dig those drums, too!), all wrapped in a subtle, titular reference to everyone’s favorite psychedelic fuel.
Though ‘Land of 1,000 Dances’ was Thee Midniters only national hit, ‘Love Special Delivery’ was a substantial local hit in LA.
It was even covered – quite nicely indeed – on the very groovy ‘Fire Escape’ LP on GNP.
Thee Midniters would go on to make what I consider to be one of the finest SoCal garage 45s, the mighty (and mighty rare) ‘Jump Jive and Harmonize’, which packs some of the most insanely overmodulated guitar and organ into the grooves of a 45.
If you’re not already hip, you should do some research into the East LA sound of the 60s, which included some really incredible music.
You can get pretty much everything Thee Midniters laid down in reissue form, including some nice 45 reissues from the good people at Norton Records.
I hope you dig the track, and I’ll see you all next week.