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Saturday, June 18, 2016

In Dan's Garage...#122


Greeting friends and followers!!!! I sometimes am confused by the various descriptions record collectors and general fans of what is considered "garage" use to describe certain types of music. In my opinion, things generally fall into three categories (some will argue there are more but that's a topic that could last for hours perhaps days....) Rock & Roll, Rhythm & Blues, and Country. Under these three categories spring dozens, if not hundreds of "sub-genres". Mix R&B with country and you get Rockabilly, or perhaps "Hillbilly Bop"???? What about good old Rock & Roll??? Well, Rockabilly certainly falls under that category but so does Little Richard, and Fats Domino, but they're as much R&B as they are Rock & Roll no??? Was Buddy Holly a "Rockabilly Guy"??? Perhaps, but some may argue because he had much control over his musical output that he was one of the first "progressive" rockers (a dirty word in many circles). What about the instrumental musicians and groups like The Ventures and Link Wray??? Obviously I'm sort of rambling here but as a fan of what is described as "garage", I find myself wading through countless sub-genres that fall under this description. Psych, Bubblegum, Beat, Freak-beat, Mod, Punk, Folk/Rock, I'm very curious about this interesting facet of collecting because I recently saw a comp called "Tittyshakers Vol.1". Not that I'm against tits shaking around or anything, but what exactly defines a "Tittyshaker"??? I know most of them are instrumental and usually have a honking tenor sax and some pounding drums, usually to get the "Tittyshaker" to dispense with another article of her clothing. But I sometimes wonder if even that description gets watered down somewhat, as in the case of "garage" which has been reduced to anything that isn't "mainstream" rock. In several cases I've seen records by The Beatles, Stones, and Dave Clark Five listed as "garage". What the hell is "Popcorn"???? I see this description all over Ebay but I'm still not certain what it is exactly. My favorite is "Northern Soul" which seems to be anything with either a black guy/girl singing or something with a horn section in it. I've recently seen The Music Explosion's "Little Bit O'Soul listed as "northern soul". I'm not complaining here mind you, I'm just pointing out some crazy aspects of record collecting that drives me crazy and makes me cringe because a lot of Ebay sellers are co-opting these descriptions and calling anything with an obscure label "garage" or "northern soul" etc. OK enough of my incessant and incoherent babbling, on to today's post....

G-Men - Raunchy Twist (1962)
The "G-Men" were the backing band for Johnny Kongos, a South African artist who was quite popular from the early 60's through the 70's. This is his backing band doing a cover of Bill Justis' "Raunchy" with the obligatory "twist" angle added. This was the flip of a particularly corny novelty song by Johnny Kongos called "Johnny & The Mermaid". I left it out for obvious reasons. The G-Men though, deliver with a nice instrumental and you know they were clearly influenced by Hank Marvin and The Shadows.

Original Soundtracks - Fooba Wooba John / Come On Let's Go (1963)
The Original Soundtracks were fom Syracuse, NY (a mere 1.5 hrs. away from Rochester) and were better known as "Sam & The Twisters" an incredibly popular group around the area. They would later become "The Livin' End" whose "La La" is featured on IDG #53.

Bruins - Believe Me / The Slide (1964)
Every time I try to do a search on this group I end up in a Boston Bruins website, so the facts are are sketchy to say the least. I have two other "Bruins" 45s on two other different labels and to me they sound like the same band, but I could be wrong. In any case, I read somewhere, at some point, that this group had Eddie Phillips of Creation fame in it's ranks, but I've never really confirmed that. Excellent British Invasion sounds here.

Royal Shandels - Be Careful With Your Car-full (1966)
This one is a hoot! From Detroit, MI comes this public service announcement  urging all teenagers to "be safe" while driving and don't forget to fasten those seat belts!!!! The flip was intended for inebriated old timers so I won't include it here.

Five Canadians - Writing On The Wall / Goodnight (1966)
OK, so I don't usually post re-issues here, but since I got the next three in a lot which cost me about $15, I guess I could break protocol,  and include them since they are all pretty freaking good. But first I'd like to explain that these are all "Garage Greats"re-issues" which have come under quite a bit of criticism lately. I know there are a few hucksters out there that are re-issuing great 45s and  butchering them in the process, but I, in my honest opinion, are OK with these. They are OBVIOUSLY re-pros, and if you can't get an original, I guess these'll do. I'm not overly picky, and they came CHEAP! First up are "The Five Canadians" who I think were really not Canadian at all but from somewhere in Texas. Actually, they were from Texas and it was just a gimmick but I'm not exactly sure about that. How they ended up on Canadian label, Stone, is a mystery to me.

Barons - Time And Time Again / Now You're Mine (1966)
Not to be confused with the Barons from Texas (featuring John Nitzinger) this obscure bunch were from Washington D.C. and released this one killer 4 of folk/rock on the A side and a killer garage/punk number on the B side.

Expedition To Earth - Expedition To Earth / Time Time Time (1967)
The last of our re-issue trio features a band from Winnipeg, Manitoba that released this killer psychedelic 45. You can read some in-depth info on these guys HERE.....

Ricochettes - Find Another Boy / I Don't Want You (1966)
The Ricochettes are a band from the Milwaukee, WI area that still perform gigs to this day. Clearly influenced by the British Invasion, and folk/rock, they deliver the goods her with a very nice two sided effort showcasing the skills at vocal harmonies.

Chasers - Let Me Kiss Away Those Teardrops / Unchain My Heart (1967)
Real cool two sided 45 from a group out of Denver, Colorado. A side is garage mixed with some pop style verses and the flip is a good version of Ray Charles' classic, which would get four stars if not marred by a horn section.

Plato & The Philosophers - C.M. I Love You / I Don't Mind (1967)
From Moberly, MO come Plato & The Philosophers who's first 45 is as good a debut as you can get. They would release another one "13 O'Clock Flight To Psychedelphia" which was a bit more psychotic in 1967. This particular 45 was released twice, first on the local "It" label and then this one on General American.

Lonnie & The Legends - I Cried / Baby, Without You (1966)
From Sylmar, CA comes Lonnie & The Legends who were from what I gather, a backing band for a few C&W artists in that area. They managed to release a few 45s including this gem from 1966

Uniques - All These Things / Tell Me What To Do (1967)
Another great 45 by the Uniques, this time it's a moody blue eyed soul two sider.

Chesmann Square - Circles / Why (1969)
From Kansas City come the Chesmann Square who deliver a terrific 45 with their cover of the Who's "Circles" They were very popular in the area but unfortunately only had this one 45 to offer. Check out their story HERE.....

Mashmakhan - As The Years Go By / Days When We Are Free (1970)
A somewhat common 45, I came across this while thumbing through "the pile", listened to and thought...."this is way better than I remembered it to be". A band from Montreal, Quebec, they were considered very "progressive" and were featured in the 1971 film "Festival Express" with The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Buddy Guy, and several other acts. I've really grown to like this 45 and although it's not "garage". it's definitely "psychedelic". Dig it.

Velvet Crest - Things We Said Today / Something Tells Me (1969)
We featured these guys in our last post, and here we get a somewhat "Vanilla Fudge" influenced version of The Beatles' "Things We Said Today" I have three 45s by this band, and the first two (which I've posted) are excellent, the third one I have is pretty putrid I'm afraid....