Sunday, February 27, 2011

In Dan’s Garage…#54

Upstate N.Y Vol. 5

Check these babies out!!! I could have put a cool pic of The Groop Ltd. or The Young Tyrants on the front of this, but I went with this photo of The Genesee Breweries’ three gigantic holding tanks dressed up like cans o’ suds! I usually don’t drive by the brewery too often, but I was heading downtown via St. Paul St., caught a glimpse of these and said to myself, “self, you gotta use this pic for the next post!”! Genesee has been around for as long as I can remember, and has been the beer of choice among Rochestarians for decades. Is it the best??? Not really, but it’s a decent “cold” beer that’s very refreshing, and it’s a hell of a lot better and cheaper than Budweiser, the worst beer on the planet. Stay away from the Cream Ale stuff though. It’s pretty raunchy. Apparently folks outside of Rochester love that stuff. I guess there’s no accounting for taste. There used to be a Genny “Red” that my best buddy Marty O’Keefe swore by, but they stopped making that a while back. That used to be pretty damn good beer. Every year around this time they brew a “special edition” Bock Beer which I must say is rather tasty and a 12 pack runs well under $10.
bock beer1
I love the cheesy old style can too!
bock beer2
That reminds me, I really should go out and get some before it’s all gone ‘cause when they’re out, there’ll be no more till next year!!! A while back a company called “High Falls” bought out what was formally known as The Genesee Brewery. This was a good move because quality was not very consistent, and these guys took care of that. They also contracted the brewery to guys like Sam Adams (yes they brew Sam Adams in Rochester for this market), some stuff called Dundee’s Honey Brown, Smirnoff Ice Malt Beverages, and good old “Genny”. Here’s a pic of the brewery from a distance….
In 2009 a capital investment firm called KPS Capital bought the brewery and it went back to Genesee Brewing Company under North American Breweries which also handles Labatts Beer from Canada, another very tasty product.
I really didn’t want to make this a history lesson on Rochester Breweries, but I love beer and since this is a post on Rochester and upstate NY I figured what the heck. There used to be some stuff way back when called Standard Dry Ale and Topper, but they closed up in 1970 and the building suffered a gigantic fire shortly afterward. I remember that happening when I was a kid because the brewery was practically around the block from where I lived.
And so goes the story (in brief) of Rochester’s rich brewing history. We also had quite a few rock and roll bands who were probably drinking up gobs of these suds at one time or another, myself included. This will be the last in this series of Upstate NY posts (for now) and is slightly thinner in content than the previous, but let’s emphasize quality not quantity on this one OK? Kind of like a 6 pack of Double Dog IPA in a sense. There are a couple from downstate also but since they’re good old New Yorkers, we’ll let ‘em pass. So without further adieu….NUMBER 54!!!!!!
Groop LTD. – As Time Goes Bye / Tomorrow (1964)groop ltd2
groop ltd
A real popular group from Irondequoit who were a big Beatles cover band. They travelled to Buffalo to record this Beatlesque gem, and is one of the finest rock and roll 45s to come out of Rochester.  Featured Kim Kapli who would later show up in The Heard. Read more about them HERE.
Shandels – No Way Out / Treat Me Like A Man (1965)shandels
Okay, this isn’t an “Upstate” group, in fact, I think they’re from Long Island, but it’s one of the coolest 45s I’ve ever heard and somewhat unique in that it has no guitars. What they do use for a lead instrument is a thing called a Cordovox, essentially a keyboard that sounds like an accordion (although Cordovox did indeed make accordions so the jury is out on this one) and they use it to great effect too. Excellent, moody folk rockish garage!
Invictas – Stuff / I’m Alright / Long Tall Shortie / Opp Poop Pa Do (1964)invictas reissue1
invictas reissue2
invictas reissueA
”Music so raw and wild, it was frightening”. Those were a sample of words from the liner notes on the back of this E.P. released in 1980 to coincide with the return of the Invictas who had gotten back together at the time to wreak havoc on bars in the Rochester area. Four unreleased cuts left in the can from what I would presume to be a Fine Recording studio session. Different takes, or versions of Stuff, I’m Alright, Long Tall Shortie, and the unreleased Opp Poop Pa Do . I’m not sure if if these were the original versions or remakes of the singles, but I think they’re superior to the “official” releases nonetheless.
Druids – Doctor Friend / She’s Got A Secret (To Hide) (196?)druids
Superb moody garage from the Buffalo area, whose lyrics make some outside references to drugs ala “Doctor Roberts” or “Mr. Pharmacist”. The flip is a cool Zombies type number.
Little Peppy with The Bare Existence – It Can Happen! / Since You’ve Gone Away (1966)little peppy
Little Peppy was Marlene Torre, a local Rochestarian who gave it her best shot on this groovy 45 backed by The Bare Existence, a group that I wish I knew more about. Real typical Fine Recording production on this one….
Young Tyrants – I Try! / She Don’t Got The Right! (1967)ytyrants1
If ever there was a bona fide garage classic from Rochester, this would have to be it (OK The Heard is a classic too, but who’s counting???). The Tyrants, “Those Rocking Rulers” as it read on their business card, were guys that went to East High School here in the city and modeled their name after the Young Rascals, although they certainly didn’t sound much like them. I Try, is one of the greatest garage punkers ever, and the flip “She Don’t Got The Right” is a slow moody number that builds up near the end with some blood curdling screams. There’s a great story about this 45 too. At one time this was regarded as one of THEE rarest local garage 45s until guitarist Carl Lundquist caught wind of the fact that it was becoming a treasured garage classic. Well, he apparently had an entire unopened box of these stashed away, and was actually selling them at a Chesterfield Kings show. He even signed one for me….
Not to be outdone Carl also made an appearance on “The Boss Beat” around 1986 (I was there) with good friends Mick & Mike, and you can hear that interview HERE. I’ve included this cool pic too…
For a more detailed interview check out this one that Greg Prevost of the Chesterfield Kings did a while back with singer Louie Grillo.
Stingrays Of Newburgh – Fool / If I Needed Someone (1966)sting-ays of newburgh
Let’s travel downstate a bit to Newburgh, NY in the Hudson Valley where these guys put out this great 45 with some nice blistering guitar work.
Monterays – Conquistador / If Wishes Were Horses (1968)monterays2
We heard The Monterays from Syracuse in Vol. 2 of our Upstate series doing a straight up garage tune reminiscent of the era. Fast forward three years and we see how “progressive” rock and psychedelia took over. The flip of this one apparently made it to #88 on the Cashbox charts. This is a decent version of Procol Harum’s classic hit, and these guys claim to have done this first before the Procols had a hit with it, but I’m not too sure of that…
Terry Pillittere – It’s Not That Way / You Wouldn’t Believe Me (1967)terry pilittere
Terry Pilittere was the guitarist and singer in Brighton’s Wee Four who’s ”Weird” is another bona fide (what again???) Rochester classic. This is a solo effort from Terry that was recorded and released on Nu-Sound in ‘67. Although this isn’t a “killer” by garage standards, it’s still a cool moody 45, and I’m pretty lucky to have scored a metal acetate of it much less a stock copy.
Weird Street Carnival – Subterranean Edible Fungus / The Inner Truth (1967)weird street carnival
A group from Mt. Kisco, NY which is a bit closer to NYC but considered “upstate” nonetheless, gave us this very cool 45 which is a great parody of Dylanisms and other stream of consciousness style lyrics. The Inner Truth on the flip is even better. If you want a real in depth look at this group, check it out HERE.
Trillium – Queen Alice / News (1968)trillium
Sometimes you hear a song and say ”that’s near perfect”. I’m very much an aficionado of 60's garage bands, and I love great punkers and crude garage rockers and the like, but I really have a soft spot in my heart for finely crafted psych songs that kinda get you “right here”, you know what I mean??? If you don’t, then one listen to “Queen Alice” will answer all of your questions. A superb arrangement of 12 string guitars, farfisa organs, cool bass lines., and to add icing on to the cake, it’s in stereo. Terry Davis was the genius behind all of this and ironically, he did a short stint with my former band The Riviera Playboys back in 2005.


  1. thx dan
    great B.O. for a sunny day

  2. Though I still miss hearing some more I know are out there, I know you'll keeo looking and do more. These postings are great. I had the pleasure of tooling down Main Street in Naples the other night listening to "Once More With Love" by The Show SAtoppers on a mix CD I made this week. Very Cool. First time I've heard it in20+ years. Thanks Dan...
    What about 'Rockin' Rochester"? It's by Dave (Dynamic Studios)Kasperson's old band whose name4 I forget now. Tom Kohn reissued it at one point. You gotta go check in with Tom and show him what you've done. Maybe he can help you fill in a couple of holes. Thanks for The Trillium. I had forgotten all about that one, same for the Young Tyrants and Groop Unlimited. What about Greg Prevost's first crazy 45, 'Distorted Levels" ? Wish I still had it; I hear it's going for crazy $$$ to the Chesterfield Kings collectors. I'm gonna have to look through the 600+ 45s I still have and see what is there. Maybe I can help you with a few I don't remember I have. Send me a private note on Facebook.

  3. This has been an especially cool series - thank you!

    Speaking of cheap beer ... in your younger years, did you ever partake of the dreaded Black Label from our neighbors up North?

  4. Duncan, thank you for your input (again)! I do have a copy of "Rockin' Rochester" that Tom Kohn reissued way back in the 80. I left it out because I generally shy away from re-issues, although I do make exceptions as in the case of The Invictas. I'm planning a post later on that will feature some latter day Rochester acts like The Presstones, New Math, Hi-Techs, Cappy & The Frenchmen, The Now, etc. The Distorted Levels 45 IS pretty rare and does fetch big $$ these days. I wish I had a copy. Hell, I wish I had a copy of the 1st Chesterfield Kings 45!

  5. Holly, thanks for weighing in on my "beer rants"! Yes, I do remember "the dreaded" Black Label beer. Although that was a Canadian brand, we we were sold was actually brewed here in the US. There's a cool website that explains the whole deal...

  6. Thanks Dan. Sounds like upstate NY had it's fair share of talent.

  7. In days of yore (1990) when I was an exchange student at SUNY Binghamton, we used to drink gallons of Genny week in week out. Good to see that they're still going.

  8. Thanks for another very interesting comp. These are great.

  9. Hi Dan,

    I just wanted to thank you for this extraordinary effort...I guess, from now on, if someplace a 45 by a 60s' group from Rochester and surroundings should turn up, I won't have to check my database but can be sure that "I got it"!

    thanks a lot for many happy listinghours and have a pint of Genesee on me!

  10. Michael, thanks for the compliments. Although I have a very nice collection of 45s from upstate New York, there a re literally hundreds more that I don't have. Hopefully in the future I'll scrounge up a few more gems. In the meantime, enjoy what being posted. Number 55 is in the works as we speak.....

  11. Wicked cool! Thanks

  12. Hey Dan,

    I have to try that Genesee beer sometime. Out here in Oregon the cheap cold beers of choice are Olympia, Rainier, and PBR. Of course Portland has become a Meccah for microbrews along with some other Pacific NW towns, and there are some pretty good ones like Deschutes, HUB, McMenamins, Rogue, and about 27 folk living within a 1/4 mile radius of my apt! I'm from Busch country, southeast Virginia. Can't stand those big coporate piss brews. What I really miss since moving out west is Yuengling. No one's even heard of it out here. It had a good variety of beer types, all with above satisfactory taste for the price.


  13. Scott,

    thanks for weighing in on the beer discussion. Genny really isn't that bad for a cheap beer although I advise all to stay away from the Cream Ale. I did get myself a 12 pack of the bock this week, and it cost me a whopping $6.79 + tax and deposit. My sister in-law is from Idaho and when my brother got married up there in 1977, I remember the beer of choice was Olympia, but that was the last time I drank it. PBRs are really popular here in Rochester too, especially amongst the rockabilly crowd. They love that 50s retro shit. I've never had Ranier, and was looking for it at an establishment here in town called "Beers Of The World", a really cool place to score literally hundreds of different beer brands, but they didn't carry it. Someof the cheap beers found though were Utica Club, Shaeffer, and get this.. SCHLITZ!! I didn't even know they made that stuff anymore!!!!! It's too bad you can't get Yuengling up there. That's VERY popular here, and they also have a bock for this season, although it's a bit pricier than Genny. Thanks again for the comments, and please, keep checking in!

  14. Dan, hats off to you for putting together these comps! How in the heck do you do it, I mean, where does one even begin to look - surely not Ebay?
    Be fun if I could put something like this together for my state, NH. Very very little has come out of here as far as I know.

    Forgive the ramblings of a relative newbie on the blog, and thanks for the great tunes!

  15. Thanks for stopping by! Most of my collection was purchased back in the 80s when you could score great 45s for dirt cheap. Nowadays I buy stuff on Ebay and I hit an occasional record store or show, but they're harder to find, and LOTS more expensive. I really can't shell out $100.00 (or $50 for that matter) for a desirable record. I look for bargains. Stop in again any time!

  16. Hi Dan,

    I've created a special Upstate NY-edition with 20 tracks that were missing in my collection, added some pictures and some info for the booklet, and it's really great listening-fun!
    You can dl it at

    again, thanks for all your efforts and I hope you like my selection

  17. can we have a track listing for these upstate comps? So I can copy and paste it and print it out.

  18. All track lists are included in the download-able .rar file.

  19. Thanks Dan. Have just caught up with your site again so will have quite a few listening hours of your great selections.Cheers from New Zealand. Dave

  20. Dan- Just happened upon your site, WOW. I'm speechless. Just outstanding; what a great service you are providing to ole geezers like me.
    I gave my little input this weekend by id'ing one of your unknowns in the 'obscure series'.
    btw, speaking of the obscure series, volumes 14 and 15 have been deleted by rapidshare. Is there anyway you can revive them? Thanks again

  21. I lived in Moravia from 89-91 and I loved Gennie Cream Ale. Belonged to the Congress Chapter of the Beer Can Collectors Association. Loved those days.

    Thanks for the awesome 45s. I'm thinking of how to "print" them onto little plastic disks with a hole in the middle. Now that'd be cool.

  22. This blog is completely outstanding. I wish I was your buddy. Ok, I've had a few beers.