Saturday, March 26, 2011

In Dan’s Garage…#55


Wow, I thought I’d never get this one out! I’ve had a rather busy month of March weekend-wise, so I haven't had a whole lotta time to do my thing so to speak, but I got up real early this past Sunday and spun records for a couple of hours to get this one going. Through all the time I spent doing the Upstate NY post, I’d been receiving a lot of records (including a wad of French Canadian 45s!!!), and this post has a good bit of them. What’s featured here is a real bunch of oddballs. A bit of garage, some psychedelic stuff, some very sunshiny pop stuff, and a couple that defy description. So if you're a hardcore garage punk fanatic, this post probably isn’t for you, but what the hell check it out anyway. You might like what you hear…..
X-Cellents – Hey, Little Willy (1965)xcellents2
We first heard The X-Cellents on IDG #19 doing “Little Wooden House” which was their second released in 1966. This is their first from ‘65 and has the same kind of groove to it.
C.T. & The Castaways – My Young Dove’s Is Calling (1964)ct and castaways
A kind of strange hybrid of country, rockabilly, soul, and garage…I think. I’m guessing C.T. and his gang were from Ohio. Most likely from the Dayton area.
Cannon Brothers – Surfin’ In Bermuda (1965)cannon bros
A nice surf number from a pretty obscure group. I wish I was in Bermuda right now…….
Thirteenth Committee – Sha La La / You Really Got A Hold On Me (1966)13th committee
Another oddball that’s kind of garagey, I mean, it’s lo-fi and it’s got this fuzz guitar blasting underneath, but the vocals are a little sappy and it has a sort of teen thing going on. The flip’s a decent cover of Smokey Robinson’s hit.
Gary & The Hornets – Patty Girl (1967)hornets
Here’s one that’s no mystery. Gary & The Hornets were three brothers, Steve, Gary, and Greg Calvert who were 7, 11, and 14 years old respectively.
This is the third of their three 45s on Smash. I haven’t heard the others but this one is half and half. Hi Hi Hazel is a goofy song with a kazoo blaring through it, but the flip here is a real decent folk rocker. They also made some TV appearances including this one where they do “Money”
Gary & The Hornets –“Money”
Daytrippers – You Cheated / That’s Part Of The Game (1966)daytrippers
Garage with some do-wop influence to it. Indications are that this group is from Pittsburgh
Rain – City Lovin’ / Take It Away (1966)rain
Another obscurity and totally unrelated to the act produced by Brian Ross. Top side is a Lovin’ Spoonful kind of number and the flip is a cool garage tune with Dylan inspired vocals.
King Bees – Lost In The Shuffle (1966)king bees 3
The same group I featured in IDG# 4 & 16. Not to be confused with the Canadian group, these guys we’re from New York and some of them became prominent session musicians. This one has a heavy R&B/Soul influence
Canterbury Music Festival – First Spring Rain / Poor Man (1968)canterbury
Originally released as “We Ugly Dogs”, this is a terrific bit of sunshine pop that sounds a bit like the Left Banke. If you’re into that kind of thing then this 45 is for you.
Caesar & The Romans – Jailhouse Rock / Leaving My Past Behind (1969)ceasar
This one kind of slipped by me as I probably should have featured it in the Upstate series. Caesar and The Romans were from Buffalo and had two really good 45 on GJM records “Green Grass Makes It Better” and “Black Lantern”. This was one of two they had on Scepter and it’s a good one too and kind of shows them leaning towards a “retro” 50’s sound. They would later change their name to “Big Wheelie & The Hubcaps” and do just that, become a Sha Na Na type act. They were very popular around these parts and I did see them once.
Joyride – The Crystal Ship (1967)joyride
Totally cool rendition of The Doors tune that is very original. In fact it may be an improvement. This was a studio project by a guy named Clark Burroughs who was in a vocal group called the Hi-Lo’s, who sound nothing like this gem.
Dawnbreakers – Looking For Evergreens (1967)dawnbreakers
Another studio project by a bunch who were into the Bahá'í faith, and included none other than Seals & Crofts. You can hear the direction they were headed in by listening to this most sunshiny of sunshine poppers.
Dust – Gone – I Know, I Know (1969)dust
Real obscure psyche with some kooky lyrics from a totally unknown group. They had at least one other 45 that I know of and are not related to the hard rock group from New York with the same name.
Corporation – You Make Me Feel Good / Sitting By The Sea (1969)corporation
These guys hailed from Milwaukee and actually had an entire album on Capitol Records. This one, I believe, was from sessions for a second Capitol release that never happened, so they put it out on this local label.
Sounds Of Phase III – Special Citation / La Bomba (1967)phase III
Oh boy, this one’s real weird. There’s so much going on I’m not sure how to accurately describe it, but I can say one thing….It’s original! “Special Citation” kind of starts out bluesy then picks up speed after the first verse and after that has about three more tempo changes with a B-3 blasting in the background and a flute solo just to keep things slightly off balance. This one really grew on me. I had to include the flip which is a frantic take on “La Bamba” with a lot of yelping, more chaos, tempo changes and a verse from “Like A Rolling Stone” for good measure!
Now – Déjà vu (1968)now
Obscure pop/psyche 45 whose origin is unknown. Great arrangement though…
American Dream – Good Times / I Ain’t Searching (1969)american dream
A group from Philadelphia produced by Todd Rundgren about the time he was with the Nazz and becoming sought after for his work. The Nazz influence really shows on this one….
Studd Pump – Floating / Spare The Children (1970)studd pump
A British group that was supposedly together long enough to record an album and perform a “few gigs”.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

For the love of Mick…….


    Over the last month or so I’ve been featuring bands and such from Upstate New York’s rich rock and roll history, and have put an emphasis on my hometown of Rochester, NY. That is where I grew up, developed my “talents” and made lots of friends and colleagues over the last 30 years. So it was rather ironic that in the midst of all of my blather about 60’s bands from Rochester, I was involved in what I think was one of the most stunning gatherings of Rochester talent in many a year, all for the benefit of a guy who never really was in many bands (one I think), but who’s contribution to the music scene here in Rochester during the 80’s was as vital as any band or single artist. That guy is a very unassuming fellow named Mick Alber. Mick (pictured above on the left with fellow DJ Mike Murray) was co-host with good friend Mike Murray of the radio show  known as “The Boss Beat”. They almost exclusively focused on 60’s Garage and Psyche, and featured many of the “neo” garage bands of the day on their show as well as lots of local talent, like myself and the band I was in, “The Projectiles”. Mick eventually left the show in the mid 90’s and Mike went solo changing the show’s name to “Whole Lotta Shakin’” which airs every Saturday for two hours. Mick got married, had kids etc. etc. and it seems as life was AOK. Well, Mick has had a stroke of bad luck recently. A messy and expensive divorce, loss of employment, and to put icing on the cake he developed ulcerative colitis, a nasty condition which required some very expensive surgery and a long expensive hospital stay. Mike Murray and another musician and personality extraordinaire, Stan Merrel, organized a benefit to raise funds for our stricken brother. What was to unfold on Sunday March 6th was one of the most amazing days I had in quite a while.

    Ten acts spent the better part of a day at Abilene Bar & Lounge providing top notch entertainment for the fund raiser, but it was more. Oh, it was much more. It was the most exiting gathering I had been to in ages. It was an eclectic mix of electric and acoustic, rock & roll with hints of rockabilly and Americana. Straight up garage, and punk. It was all there in full view for the sake of one of our own. The old mingled with the young and all of us were treated to a nine hour Rock & Roll feast. Which brings me back to our city, and the wealth of talent that is here. My faith in the local “scene” was renewed and yes there is room for all of us here. Young and old. God bless you Mick. We hope you have a speedy recovery, and we all hope to see you in our midst very soon.
Love, Dan
The Ohm

Yours Truly…

D.F.T.B. w/ Mike Murray

D.F.T.B. drummer Greg Andrews

D.F.T.B. (Yours Truly, Greg Andrews, and Jerry Flanagan)

The Chinchillas

The Enablers

The Pawns