Cast of Thousands – The Cast’s Blues

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Early Cast of Thousands,
Stevie Ray Vaughn (center), Stephen Tobolowsky (right)

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Listen/Download – Cast of Thousands – The Cast’s Blues

Greetings all.

This week I bring you a very groovy 45 by a band with an exceptionally unusual pedigree.

Years ago, back when I was first digging around for info about garage bands, but before the interwebs were up and running, I’d heard that Stevie Ray Vaughn had played with a band called Cast of Thousands.

Flash forward a few decades and I discover that the band in question was also home to ubiquitous character actor (and podcaster) Stephen Tobolowsky.

In between those two dots on the timeline, I happened to find a couple of 45s by the band, ‘Girl What You Gonna Do’ b/w ‘My Jenny Wears a Mini’ (both sides of which have appeared in Iron Leg mixes and poscasts) and the disc you see before you today, ‘Country Gardens’ b/w ‘The Cast’s Blues’.

As it turns out, SRV only played in (and recorded with) an embryonic version of the band that laid down two decidedly non-garage tracks.

The Cast of Thousands hailed from Dallas and had a series of 45s released on Tower, Amy and Soft (as well as the two SRV tracks released on a local comp) in 1966 and 1967.

‘The Cast’s Blues’ was the b-side of their final 45, and also featured Buggs Henderson before he joined Mouse and the Traps.

‘Cast’s Blues’ starts out as a slow, psyched out jam (with what sounds like electric sitar) before picking up the pace into a slightly harder-edged sound.

The a-side is an odd mix of folk rock, phased vocals and just a touch of psychedelia.

If you get the chance, head over to Music Life Radio and listen to a recording of Tobolowsky telling the story of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s time in the band.

I hope you dig the track, and I’ll see you all next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Don and the Goodtimes – Little Sally Tease

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Don and the Goodtimes, Jim Valley, center

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Listen/Download – Don and the Goodtimes – Little Sally Tease

Greetings all.

A while back I featured a very groovy PNW garage nugget, that being the Kingsmen doing ‘Trouble’.

I made mention of the PNW standard ‘Little Sally Tease’ in that piece (covered by the Kingsmen and the Standells down in LA), after which I realized (I was both shocked and stunned) that I had never featured the original version of that song here at Iron Leg.

That version, by Don and the Goodtimes is – in my opinion – the finest of them all.

This has something to do with the presence of the song’s author, Jim Valley.

Valley is as close as you get to a PNW ‘Zelig’.

He got his start recording with the Viceroys, went on to join Don and the Goodtimes and then joined Paul Revere and the Raiders,  before recording as a solo artist!

‘Little Sally Tease’ was first released by Don and the Goodtimes in 1965 on Jerden, and it was picked up for national release by Dunhill.

The group – which also shared members with the Kingsmen (Jack Ely) – laid down some of the grittiest PNW garage, before evolving into something of a sweeter pop sound during their Epic years.

‘Little Sally Tease’ is one of those records that sounds as if the entire group were recorded inside the bass drum.

The record opens with a couple of thunderous snare drum shots, before being joined by the combo organ , guitar and bass and of course the wailing vocals.

It is a masterpiece of 65/66 garage, and the kind of 45 that sets the dance floor on fire as soon as the needle drops.

So dig it.

I’ll see you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

The Associated Soul Group – Don’t Think Twice / Wild Times

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Hubba Hubba…

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Listen/Download – Associated Soul Group – Don’t Think Twice

Listen/Download – Associated Soul Group – Wild Times

Greetings all.

Here’s something crazy for you.

I picked up the Associated Soul Group LP a while back because a friend had posted their version of ‘Are You Experienced’, mainly because it included a drum break.

I’m always game for exploito/covers, so when the chance presented itself, I grabbed myself a copy of the album.

What I discovered was that in addition to a couple of groovy instrumentals, there are a couple of excellent garage/psyche tracks as well.

The history/provenance of the the Associated Soul Group is largely lost to the ages, since there probably never was an actual group by that name, and the fact that the music included on the album in question may very well have emanated from more than one source.

The tunes I bring you today, my faves from the LP are two great slices of 66/67 garage called ‘Don’t Think Twice’ and ‘Wild Times’.

‘Don’t Think Twice’, which opens with a very groovy guitar line has the slightly polished sound of 66-era Sunset Strip to it.

‘Wild Times’ works a similar vibe, adding in a touch of Paul Revere and the Raiders. Interestingly enough, this very song, (sounding like the same group, though a different recording) was released as a 45 by the Id, of ‘Boil the Kettle Mother’ fame.

‘Don’t Think Twice’ also appeared under the Id name, as well as appearing on an LP by the ‘Projection Company’.

I have (and have heard) a bunch of similarly intended albums, and what sets these tracks apart is how good they are, so much so as to be too good (if you know what I mean). It pains me to think of some anonymous bunch of longhairs having offered up their best material, only to have the songs recycled/renamed and stuffed into supermarket and gas station record racks until the record company had managed to squeeze the last drop of musical blood from the stone.

There are some names tied to these sounds, namely Jerry Cole and Paul Arnold (at least as far as writing credit is concerned) but the list of groups in this particular orbit – including the Animated Egg, T. Swift and the Electric Bag, Associated Soul Group, Firebirds, Projection Company – only serves to muddy the water.

That said, I do dig these songs a lot, and I hope you do too.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #45

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Beep beep beep beep…..

Playlist

Alan Hawkshaw/Keith Mansfield – Action Scene (KPM)
The Move – Fire Brigade (A&M)
The Move – Walk Upon the Water (A&M)
The Move – Flowers In the Rain (A&M)
The Move – Here We Go Round the Lemon Tree (A&M)
Tom Northcott – Blackberry Way (UNI)
The Fortunes – Fire Brigade (UA)

Jennifer – Close Another Door (Parrot)
Jennifer – Sunny Day Blue (Parrot)
Jennifer – Chelsea Morning (Parrot)
Jennifer – I Am Waiting (Parrot)
Jennifer – Places Everyone (Parrot) Fargo
Jennifer – The Park (Parrot)
Jennifer – Saturday Night at the World (Parrot)
Jennifer – Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues (Parrot)

Jennifer Warren – PF Sloan (Reprise)
Jennifer Warren – Empty Bottles (Reprise)
Jennifer Warren – Sand and Foam (Reprise)
Jennifer Warren – Be My Friend (Reprise)
Jennifer Warren – These Days (Reprise)
Jennifer Warren – Magdelene My Regal Zonophone (Reprise)

Hoyt Axton – Double Double Dare (VeeJay)
Hoyt Axton – I’ll Be There (VeeJay)
Peddlers – Song For the Blues (Philips)
Peddlers – Whatever Happened to the Good Times (Philips)
Lee Mallory – Take My Hand (Valiant)
Lee Mallory – The Love Song (Valiant)
Summer Snow- Flying On the Ground (Capitol)
Summer Snow – Your Thoughts Have Wings (Capitol)
Velvet Underground – Jesus (MGM)
Velvet Underground – I’m Set Free (MGM)
Velvet Underground – I’m Beginning To See the Light (MGM)

Listen/Download -Iron Leg Radio Show Episode #45 – 203MB/256kbps

 

NOTE: There were some problems with sound  dropping out in this edition of the podcast. I reassembled the file from scratch and remixed it. The link above should work fine. If it doesn’t, please let me know.

Thanks – Larry

 

Greetings all.

Welcome to this month’s episode (#45) of the Iron Leg Radio Show.

Thanks completely to aforementioned health issues, this episode comes to you a little late, yet no less groovy.

There are all kinds of goodies this time out, especially two sets of very interesting, little-heard early work by the vocalist Jennifer Warnes.

I hope you dig it.

See you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners

The Jordan Brothers – Gimme Some Lovin’

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The Jordan Brothers

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Listen/Download – The Jordan Brothers – Gimme Some Lovin’

Greetings all.

I know that today’s post makes for two British invasion covers in a row, but sometimes that’s just how it works out.

Fittingly, I first heard of the Jordan Brothers version of ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ while looking for information on another early version of a bigger hit (probably one of Evie Sands many near-misses). I had never heard of the group, and the idea that they had beaten the Spencer Davis Group onto the charts in the US (with their own song) was intriguing, so I set off in search of my own copy.

Fortunately this was neither difficult nor expensive, and in no time at all I was grooving to the Jordan Brothers take on the song.

The Jordan Brothers were (unsurprisingly) brothers, though the amount of actual brothers in the band apparently changed over the course of their career.

Based out of Frackville, Pennsylvania, the Jordans released a string of 45s for a variety of labels (having a minor hit in 1960 with ‘Things I Didn’t Say’) through the 1960s and 1970s.

Their record company got their hands on a tape of the Spencer Davis Group original – already a hit in the UK – and the recorded their own, slightly garagier/less soulful version of the song and released it in the November of 1966, scoring a decent regional hit with it in a number of East Coast markets.

The Spencer Davis Group version would hit the US charts in December of 1966, competing with the Jordan Brothers version, but eventually scoring a much bigger, more widespread hit (which is why you know who Steve Winwood is, but probably never heard of the Jordan Brothers).

This was the only substantial chart appearance for the Jordan Brothers, who would continue releasing music into the 1970s.

I hope you dig the track, and I’ll see you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

The Mojo Men – Off the Hook

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The Mojo Men

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Listen/Download – The Mojo Men – Off the Hook

Greetings all.

One of the great joys of digging for new music is finding the unexpected. I have long since given up digging in the field with a portable turntable, because to be frank, it’s kind of a pain in the ass.

I’d rather apply a mixture of what I already know, with a dose of intuition, in the hopes that when I return home and drop the needle on the record, the results will be satisfactory.

The record you see before you today is the result of just that kind of digging.

I always stop when I pick up a 45 on the storied Autumn label (San Fran beat, folk rock and even soul), and I linger when the song in question is an interesting cover.

The Mojo Men were already on my radar via their 1966 cover of the Buffalo Springfield’s ‘Sit Down I Think I Love You’, which was a Top 40 hit and later included on the original Lenny Kaye compiled ‘Nuggets’ set.

That single, an ornately poppy number would never suggest to me that the group in question had something like the 45 you see before you today up their musical sleeve.

As it turns out, they sort of didn’t.

Allow me to ‘splain.

The original Mojo Men were an all-male quartet that migrated from Florida to the Bay Area in 1964. Not long after their arrival they hooked up with one Sylvester Stewart (known to his friend as Sly) and recorded some demo material with him in the group. Apparently unsatisfied with the results, Sly left the group bit continued to champion them, bringing them to Autumn Records where he was a house producer.

This version of the Mojo Men recorded a few 45s in 1965, the first of which was a cover of the Rolling Stones ‘Off The Hook’, which had first appeared on ‘Rolling Stones Now!’ earlier that same year.

The Mojo Men do a serviceable rendering of the tune, moving in an early-garage direction, which is missing some of the loose-limbed swagger of the OG but still delivers.

The 45’s flipside ‘Dance With Me’ made it into the Top 100, but the following year drummer Dennis DeCarr would leave the group, to be replaced by Jan Errico, late of the Vejtables (and apparently related somehow – either sister or cousin – to Sly and the Family Stone drummer Greg Errico).

It was with Errico that they would have their biggest hit with ‘Sit Down I Think I Love You’, and continued to record through the end of the decade.

Sundazed has done a couple of different comps on the band, though some of them seem to be out of print.

I hope you dig the track, and I’ll see you all next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

The Kingsmen – Trouble

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The Kingsmen

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Listen/Download – The Kingsmen – Trouble

Greetings all.

Before we get started, it behooves me to make you aware that Pennytown Sound has done a deluxe reissue of Mod Fun’s 1984 debut 45, in a fantastic new picture sleeve. You get remastered versions of the Mod revival classics ‘I Am With You’ and ‘Happy Feeling’. This was one of the best 45s of the 80s, and now you can have your own copy! You can hit up Pennytown Sound on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/penntownsound  or contact them through the postal service at Pennytown Sound, PO Box 771, Pennington, NJ 08534 USA

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I hope all is groovy in your part of the world.

This week, I thought I’d whip out a little garage grit from the archives.

The Kingsmen are certainly one of the better known progenitors of (and eventually participators in) the 60s garage punk thing.

There are those that’ll try to convince you that all roads lead to ‘Louie Louie’, but I’d bring things into slightly clearer focus by directing you to the whole Pacific Northwest sound as the closest thing 60s punk has to a genuine incubator.

Certainly there are all of the outside influences, American R&B and soul, British beat and R&B, surf, rockabilly etc, but rarely did all the threads of Gordian knot come together the way they did in the foggy, damp, evergreen world of Washington and Oregon.

The Kingsmen were together for a long-ass time, with a whole lot of members, and they managed to stay on the charts to one extent or another for almost ten years.

Today’s selection is one of those tunes that rang a bell when I heard it, but I couldn’t remember why for the longest time.

‘Trouble’, written by Artie Resnick and Joey Levine appeared on the group’s 1966 LP ‘Up and Away’ and was released as a single (with almost no impact) the same year.

It’s a rough, raw slice of garage stomp, not in the “roots of garage” way, but in a real, snotty, mid-60s teen way.

Pushed forward by heavy rhythm guitar and primitive drumming, the vocals are just this side of ‘off key’ (in a good way) and the lyrics are good’n’mean.

‘Up and Away’ is a great album, with lots of cool cuts, including the Kingsmen take on the PNW standard ‘Little Sally Tease’, Beatles, Stones and Troggs covers and some cool originals.

I had this track in storage for a long time because I knew I’d heard it covered somewhere, but couldn’t remember who had done it. This week when it finally hit me that I’d heard it covered back in the 80s by the mighty Fleshtones, so I figured that now that the slate was clean, it was time to drop it in your laps.

I hope you dig it, and I’ll see you next week.

Peace

Larry

 

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PS Head over to Funky16Corners for some soul.

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