Hoyt Axton (exploding)
I come to you today with something very groovy (and unexpected) from the mighty Hoyt Axton.
Axton is one of those really interesting personalities who is known to a very wide constituency as either a musician, songwriter or actor (or any combination thereof).
Axton was born and raised in Oklahoma, then settled on the West Coast after a stint in the Navy.
He started working as a folk singer in coffeehouses, and had his first success when the Kingston Trio had a hit in 1963 with his song ‘Greenback Dollar.
Aside from any success he had on his own as a performer, his songs preceded him into the public consciousness by other people’s recordings, such as Steppenwolf (the Pusher, Snowblind Friend), Three Dog Night (Joy To the World, Never Been To Spain) and Ringo Starr (the No No Song).
Axton recorded steadily through the 60s and 70s, and the tune I bring you today hails from one of his earlier (and very interesting) albums, 1964s ‘Hoyt Axton Explodes’.
This seems to be one of those records where the record company and/or the artist himself were trying to make a stab at the pop/rock market, transforming Axton from an acoustic balladeer to an out and out rocker.
Though recorded in 1964, there are many spots on the album that bump right up against an early garage/au go go sound, and the best of these is ‘Double Dare’ (aka ‘Double Double Dare’ as it is listed on the 45 release).
The song has a combo organ and guitar and bass foundation, with Axton singing in a rockabilly goes freaky voice with an exaggerated vibrato applied to his voice, interspersed with little screams and squeals. It’s a pretty wild sound and completely unexpected if all you know of Axton is his amiable, bear-like persona from TV and movies.
The 45 of ‘Double Double Dare’ is sought after by garage heads and can be kind of expensive. The LP is much easier/cheaper to put your hands on, and is definitely worth picking up.
I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you all next week.