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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....


21 comments:

  1. I'm no expert but I always assumed the retrospective term 'garage" to refer to a "local" band of usually school-aged members that are not signed to a record label that recorded a single (or several) for local distribution at their performances, for local juke boxes and local radio airplay (if they're lucky) in order to promote their appearances and hopefully get them more work at a higher rate. Most of the pressing were limited to 200 or less, but having a record gave them more "band cred" than their competitors. Popcorn originated on the Belgium music scene and is usually English language songs from the days when the 7 inch single ruled the music world (50's / 60's) and does not have a really fast or slow tempo. Sort of pop songs with a finger-snapping beat...if that makes any sense. Northern soul refers to the dance halls of the Liverpool to Leeds corridor that featured mostly mid-60's to early-70's soul/pop music that you could dance to (no ballads...or deep soul as they call it). The people there became rabid collectors and mined all sorts of obscure singles that never saw a radio turntable in the USA that became much sought-after hits on that scene in the UK. Probably the most famous example was the promo-only Motown single by Frank Wilson "Do I Love You". Another was Gloria Jones' Tainted Love which inspired northern soul scenesters Marc Almond and David Ball to record it as Soft Cell.
    Anyway, I think those terms do describe a music scene, but they are extremely abused by people who really don't know the subject matter.
    Rhythm & Blues is another abused term which became the label for any song recorded by a black person. Rhythm AND Blues, at the time the tag first became popular, were two very different types of music. As were Country AND Western.....two different genres of music.
    Another example of a very abused term by people who really don't know what they're talking about is "semi-pro" when talking about sports....which is someone that actually gets PAID (thus...pro) to play a sport, usually per game, but is not under a contract of obligation to any organization. It's not someone playing in a recreational park league or someone playing for the Rochester Red Wings or Amerks....who are professionals with a contract and monthly paycheck.

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    1. Mike,
      you are correct, I always considered "garage" as something that was strictly local and had a limited release, although many local acts were picked up by major labels (Columbia, RCA Victor, MGM, etc.) after they became local "hits". Northern Soul...I get that, obscure soul records that were very similar to Motown, Stax, etc. My point was that it's all become so muddled that you don't know what you're getting these days and sellers are taking advantage of those descriptions to try to squeeze more cash out of your wallet. Hope you enjoy the blog and keep the discussion going!
      Dan.

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    2. Dan said " I always considered "garage" as something that was strictly local and had a limited release..." It an interesting area of R&R. I have been digging in various places to discover some of the Garage releases by looking for the local labels and then finding their individual record releases. In just a few years as Dan said there were all these local bands with limited releases and as a collective group considered collectively there are so many records. The best thing is that these records remain obscure and they are really good. Another interesting characteristic is that so many of the records have a similar sound - not the same mind you - just similar. How did this happen when in retrospect that really didn't have an easy means to emulate the sounds of some of the acts that got contracts and exposure from the large labels and nationally heard disc jockeys. Little Steven said somewhere, and I paraphrase, he thought he would run out of material in very short order, but no, there's so much to discover. Dan - good job on your blog just found it today.

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  2. Great set! I dig those rare late 60's and early 70's gems you post! Thanks

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  3. I have them all and I enjoy them all ! Thanks so much !

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  4. To me Garage music is a one-off record by a band with instruments not completely tuned and a singer who sings a little off key but with enthusiasm overflowing. The sound is muddied because all the instruments bleed into the two or three mics being used. It has a definite unpolished amateur effect (which I can't get enough of.) Any group, in my opinion, who sells thousands of records is a rock and roll band and not garage.
    It may have been Muddy Waters who said, "We've been playing the blues all along and as soon as the white kids started listening to it, it's become rock and roll."
    I'd rather my music be raw with little or no production magic and tricks. Case in point: Bluegrass in the 50s and 60s with one or two mics for the whole group. Bluegrass today with a mic for each instrument and a mic for each voice all blended perfectly until it sounds not front porch but studio perfect.
    My uncle grew up in the jazz swing era and by the 70s he could no longer listen to his music as remastered on stereo LPs. It just didn't sound right.

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  5. As always, thanks for taking the time and trouble to put these sets together.

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  6. I sometimes wonder if record dealers latch onto these descriptions to sell records they've had lying around for ages in a desperate bid to sell them. And I've noticed of late that popcorn seems to be the latest cover all description with certain members of the otherwise excellent 45cat website describing just about anything vinyl that revolves and can be played with a stylus as 'popcorn'. But enough of this.....thanks for the latest selection from Dan's Garage. Cheers!

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  7. The northern soul thing is silly. Most of it is Motown-derivative, deservedly-obscure rubbish notable more for its scarcity than its content. Maybe you had to be at Wigan Casino to appreciate it; obviously, I wasn't.

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  8. "Popcorn" annoyed me for years, but it's a Belgian thing, named after a dance club there. It's their equivalent of Northern soul, only slower. If people outside Belgium insist on calling oldies "Popcorn," it's still pretty annoying.

    Sorry I don't thank you for your updates as often as I ought to. Changes to Blogspot have made it impossible for me to log in without another browser.

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  9. Thanks for your collection of Garage music! I managed to get most of them, even went back to 2009 on your site & the links were still good! Amazing collection. Must have taken you quite a while to put them together.

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  10. Once in a whuile I must post a great "Thank You" for your series, which has reached an astonishing 122 volumes!!!!

    Keep up your research work!!

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    1. Thank You, summer and other projects are getting in the way these days, but I'll be back soon with another post.
      Dan

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    2. Thank You, summer and other projects are getting in the way these days, but I'll be back soon with another post.
      Dan

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  11. great stuff Dan. Your passion really shows through with your research.

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  12. Hey Dan, What happened to your list (To The Right) of other blogs?...It disappeared the other day and has NOT come back!...Thanks, Skip

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    1. Skip,
      Somehow a few things got messed up and deleted, but the blogroll is up and running again. I'll be back soon!
      Dan

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  13. How are you doing? Hope all is well. You haven't blogged in awhile. Hope you are ok.

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    1. All is well, I just had to put it on hold for a bit. Read my latest post and stay tuned for a new one soon.
      Cheers! Dan

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