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Sunday, March 15, 2015

In Dan’s Garage…#108

108 front
   Hi Y’all! I guess you were wondering what the hell happened to me the last month and a half, well…it’s been rough up here in these parts. I’ve written this blog since 2009 and have frequently complained and/or praised the weather at times because, well, the weather has a significant impact on my life. In the spring and summer, it brings great joy, in the fall it brings change in the most colorful of ways. In the winter…..it’s nearly hell on earth and this winter was literally the WORST. I’ve lived on this earth nearly 55 years and I’ve seen some doozies in my life, mostly in my younger years. Snow piled high, we would make snowmen or forts out of the stuff that fell for the past few days, or play street hockey and then, it would melt away leaving room for the next snowfall. Not this year. Let me rewind back to January. At the end of that month I thought we had skated past the worst part of winter. We had relatively moderate temperatures and somewhat sparse snowfall for the first two winter months. If you can get past December and January around here unscathed you’re in decent shape heading into spring because February is usually pretty cold, but a mixed bag, and after Valentines Day, you usually are turning a corner and feeling the change.  Nope.
   I invited a bunch of friends over for Super Bowl Sunday back on February 1st, and it was a fine game (even though my beloved NY Giants were long gone before that, but that’s another story) and we all had a great time eating and drinking, while a massive snowstorm began to pass through. I think it left 18” or so on the ground when all was said and done and it was the first real significant snowfall of the season. I haven't seen my lawn since. Shortly after we got even more snow and to make matters worse we experienced the coldest month EVER in the history of Rochester, NY. Not the coldest February mind you, but the coldest month EVER. Usually it’ll snow a bunch and then you’ll have a thaw for a few days. Not this year. That, coupled with the ever growing mountains of white stuff left us literally buried for an entire month. This pattern finally made a turn-around this week, and the gigantic piles of snow are slowly withering away, but I gotta tell you, between dealing with that every day, and dealing with it at work, it wiped me out and I had no desire to do anything but hunker down and stay warm. Seriously, all I did for an entire month was wake up, go to work, come home, change into something warmer, eat dinner, and go to sleep. I did shower and brush my teeth occasionally as well, and lots of snow removal in between all that, but it was bad. I guess I could have worked on this blog to entertain myself but I just didn’t have it in me, and could only muster a few dribs and drabs a week, and for all of you that think I’m a wimp and just bellyaching, I’ve lived in this part of the country for my entire life and have not endured anything close to what I saw this last month. It was an entire winter condensed into approximately 35 days.
    I did have some good times though. The Super Bowl is always fun and I got to take care of my beautiful granddaughter for several days which is a lot of fun. I forgot how much of a trip two year olds can be. I did work a bit on this edition slowly but I finally revved it up the past week because it’s been well over a month and it’s TIME. I hope you all enjoy it. Welcome spring into your life, and for all you Irish out there Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!!!!

K-Otics – I’m Leaving Here / Double Shot (1965)
k-otics
Super solid two sider from an Alabama group. They recorded this at Sam Phillip’s studio in Memphis shortly after the Swingin’ Medallions cut their version of “Double Shot”, but apparently this one got released first. The A side “I’m Leavin’ Here” is tough garage with a distinct “Kinks” feel to it while their rendition of “Double Shot” is superior to the Medallions version IMHO.

Lewallan Brothers – Tough He Was / That’s All (1965)
lewalllan
An Arizona group that had several 45s on different labels, all pretty good. This is a moody two sider with some cool reverb laden vocal harmonies on the A side.

Others – (I Remember) The First Time I Saw You / Lonely Street (1965)
theeothers
The second of three 45s released by this band from Rhode Island who’s “I Can’t Stand This Love, Goodbye” is a bona fide garage classic. This one here is a bit more subdued but great nonetheless.

Paul Revere & The Raiders – SS 396 / Corvair Baby
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Cyrkle – Camaro (1966)
camaro
In 1966 GM laid out this nifty promotional tool featuring Paul Revere & The Raiders blasting out a couple of odes to two the coolest cars from the 60’s, The Chevelle SS and The Corvair. While the Corvair wasn’t nearly as muscular as the Chevelle, it certainly oozed hipness regardless of what Ralph Nader had to say about it. As for the songs, SS 396 is definitely garage/pop with a distinct surf/drag flavor to it and Corvair Baby is much of the same. This one’s relatively easy to find so if you see it in a dollar bin or for cheap on EBay, snatch it up. As for the Cyrkle’s “Camaro”, I believe it was released about a year later with SS 396 as the flip side in order for Chevy to give some extra publicity to their new “Pony Car” that was competing with Ford’s Mustang. If I had to buy a car based on the songs laid out here, I’ll take the SS 396 hands down as it seems that GM tried to market the Camaro to women given the somewhat lightweight sound of the song. Maybe I’m wrong because the Camaro turned out to be one of the toughest muscle cars in history.

Liverpool Five – Heart / I Just Can’t Believe It (1965)
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You gotta hand it to The Liverpool Five. Almost every 45 I have is great even though they were mostly covers, but they had a way of rearranging things perfectly and making the songs their own, like this version of Petula Clark’s “Heart” which is one of my favorites.

Johns Children – Smashed! Blocked! / Strange Affair (1966)
johns children
A “Strange Affair” indeed! John’s Children’s claim to fame were that they were once described as the “worst band ever” and included Marc Bolan in one of their lineups. The record here was essentially a studio concoction by producer Simon Napier-Bell but I must say it’s entertaining as all hell!

Sneekers – Soul Sneaker / Sneaker Talk (1965)
sneekers
sneeker pic
sneekers bac
Another corporate attempt at trying to promote a product. Apparently, there was a brand of sneakers in the 60s called “Mr. Sneeker” and this record was supposed to sell millions of them to teenagers wanting to keep up with the latest fashion craze. Although this is a “novelty” 45, I give the “band” a lot of credit because both sides of this record are really rocking and I especially like the B side “Sneaker Talk” with it’s cool guitar riffs and weird time signature.

Kiwis – John / Oopy Doopy Sam (1967)
kiwis
I tried getting some concrete info on this group, but came up short. Here’s another example of a “story of one’s life” song backed by a sort of novelty tune in the same mold of say...”Reflections Of Charles Brown”, only more up-tempo. There’s little info on the disc itself so it’s difficult to get any info on production, etc. These guys do sound like they’re British, possibly Australian, or maybe like the kiwi itself, from New Zealand??????? Let me know if you have any info on this band!

Unrelated Segments – Cry, Cry, Cry (1968)
unrelatedsegments
Oh yeah…one of the all time greats! The Unrelated Segments were from the Detroit area, and shared S.V.R. record duties with such bands as The Tidal Waves, The Gruve, & The Unknown. This is perhaps the rarest of the three Segments 45s and definitely the most desirable. I was fortunate to find a nice copy in the early days of digging through Fat Chucks WSAY stockpile.

Velvet Underground – White Light, White Heat / Here She Comes Now (1967)
velvet undeground
I’m not going to try to break down the history of The Velvet Underground or even try to explain their evolution as a band because I’m not an expert and I’ll leave that to others who are more in-tune to what these guys do. This is, though, a fantastic 45 culled from the “White Light / White Heat” LP and I guess was supposed to get promoted somewhere, but The Velvets were mainly an album oriented band so it’s kind of rare to see 45s from their LPs. This must have really freaked out a lot of mainstream DJs in back in the day who may have spun it, well, it probably freaked out nearly everyone who heard it for that matter. Apologies for the beat up nature of this 45. I found it in a 25¢ bin full of musty dusty scratched up records back in the 80s.

Zombies – I Must Move / She’s Coming Home (1965)
zombies
Compared to most of the British Invasion acts of the 60s, The Zombies stand out as perhaps the most cerebral of them, releasing a bunch of 45 on Parrot records before they moved on to the Date label. I can’t say for sure how many were released on Parrot but there’s at least a half a dozen and the only smash hit was “She’s Not There”. “Tell Her No” did get up on the charts, but not nearly as high as “She’s Not There”. The rest were relative flops on the charts and it’s a shame because those so called “flops” are better than the hits! This was their third USA release and it’s a genius two sider that reflects The Zombies style perfectly.

Will-O-Bees – It’s Not Easy (1967)
will-o-bees
A nice folk/pop trio from Chicago who was produced by Bill Traut of Dunwich Records. They released several 45s including a great version of The Pride And Joy’s “If You’re Ready”.

Mixed Bag – You’re My Girl, I Say / Round And Round (1971)
mixed bag
Occasionally I’ll come across a 45 that definitely sounds likes something from the 60s, but then I’m surprised to discover it was actually released in the 70s. Such is the case with The Mixed Bag. Both sides sound like their from late 60s sessions, the A side being somewhat on the bubblegum side, but with some cool echoed background vocals and a compact organ blasting in the background. The B side sounds like something off The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour LP. If anyone has any info on this group please give us a shout.

Son’s Of The Keystone Kops – I Laughed, You Cried / Chain Gang Man (1969)
keystone cops
One of the very first requests I got when writing this blog was for this 45 and I told him or her (I don't recall) that it was in a box somewhere and would get to it when it popped up. That was 5 years ago. Sorry for the delay, but we here at Dan’s Garage Central fly by the seat of our collective pants and we are a somewhat disorganized lot. I just reach for boxes of records that aren't in any particular order and start grabbing bunches and firing away! Seriously though, I really apologize for the delay, and don’t feel that I’m ignoring a request in any way shape or form, it’s just the way I roll. I will be improving things in the coming months though, as I’ve almost completed burning my original 8 or 9 boxes in the next post or so. There's BUNCHES of 45 I’ve acquired since the onset of this little project and I keep getting more monthly so stay tuned. Son’s Of The Keystone Kops were presumably from Los Angeles and were label mates with Hunger!, another fine group from the area.

Iconoclast – Hung Up (1973)
iconoclast
Readers of this blog know that I often include records from the 70s that are worthy of inclusion and I think this is one of them, although it definitely straddles a fine line between garage/psych and hard rock. Iconoclast was a band from Pittsburgh that released this cover of “Hung Up” which was previously recorded by their paisans The Racket Squad, another Pittsburgh group. Iconoclast’s take on it is pretty much the same only with a hard rock delivery and an obligatory “drum solo” at the end.

HERE