Greetings music lovers!!!!! Alas, alack! I'm back with a new post, still digging through boxes of records, and still scrounging around for good buys, although I haven't been too successful in the last year, but I still manage to obtain some very cool records, and a few surprises along the way. I'll admit that lately I've been buying more L.P.s than 45's, and as usual, just looking for cool stuff as opposed to big ticket items. I think I mentioned in my last post my dismay at how expensive things have gotten, so I won't bore you with that rant again. But I do manage to obtain the records that my whims take me to, and that's a good thing. As far as 45's go, I bought a wad back in September, and will eventually get to posting those, after I get to the wad I bought in 2016!!!!! Seriously though, I still have LOTS to get to here, it's just a matter of me having enough "down time" to get it done. Right now I'm home feeling very poorly, and that's the perfect time to convalesce, and knock out this particular post, chock full of cool goodies. While this may lack somewhat in hardcore garage/punk, it makes up for in eclectic value. Make sense? Sure. Now please enjoy.
Underbeats - Route 66 / Foot Stompin (1964)
I swear, anytime I see ANYTHING on Garrett, Soma, Bangar, Re-Car, Studio City or any of those other labels out of Minneapolis, I jump on it and this is one of my favorites. Not only is the A side the de-facto theme song of The True Believers, but it features one of my all time faves on the B side, a cover of The Flares' "Foot Stompin"!!!!!
Marv Dennis IV - Honeycomb / The Hurt Will Go Away (1966)
Another group out of the Minneapolis area. Not too sure about this band's history, but judging from the looks of a few of the pictures I've seen, they seem to be some kind of hokey lounge act. THIS IS MERELY SPECULATION! Please, no hate mail from Marv Dennis fans, they may have been the rockingest group in the mid-west for all I know, but judging from this 45, we certainly have a mixed bag here. Their cover of "Honeycomb" is better (IMHO) than the original, (not a fan), but the B side is low key horn driven pop music. Not horrible, but not overly great. I'll give this 45 a solid 6.5 out of 10. :)
Erik & The Smoke Ponies - I'll Give You Love / From Where I'm Standing (1967)
Supposedly from Hempstead on Long Island, these guys put out this 45 on Kama Sutra, and I guess, released one more on Cobblestone as simply, "The Smoke Ponies". Maybe Erik got tossed out of the band????? I'm not sure, but that Cobblestone release seems to be fetching big bucks. In any case, "I'll Give You More" is a fast moving number with some cool fuzzy guitar in the background and a prominent harmonica as well. The B side is a great overlooked folk rock number. Highly recommended!
Nicco E I Gabbiani - Ora Sai / Parole (1966)
I always like taking a stab at oddball 45's, especially Italian 45's, being that I am from solid Italian/American stock, and understand the language, although I wish I could speak it a little better. But when you grow up in a house where both parents spoke Italian on a daily basis, and still have relatives that do, records like this take on a somewhat different life. Not that this record is really special, in fact, it's pretty tame compared to some other Italian garage/punk classics, but I think this one deserves some attention. Both sides of this 45 are decent organ driven garage type sounds, nothing crazy, but like I said, they deserve some attention. Nico e I Gabbiani, translated to English is "Nico And The Seagulls", Ora Sai translated is "Now You Know" and "Parole" translated is "Words". There's your Italian lesson for the day!
Boots Walker - They're Here / A Bum Can't Cry (1967)
It's time for a rant. I hate Google. You'd think that the "ultimate search engine" with the farthest reach (supposedly) of the internet could find me SOMETHING about Boots Walker outside of selling boots and walking. Yeah, they suck. Yeah, yeah, yeah, there's a link to Spotify, last.fm, bleh, blah, blah, Discogs, 45cat (where you'll most likely get the most info), but not much else. Oh yeah, there is a group out of Japan called Boots Walker, I got a link to that. So I'm gonna have to go on what I see on the label, and that's that this 45 was produced by Ernie Maresca, famous for singing "Shout, Shout, Knock Yourself Out", probably one of the best do-wop songs ever. He did go on to produce a slew of records for Laurie, Rust, Roulette and other affiliated labels, so I'm guessing Boots was just a studio group he assembled for this one particular 45. As for the record. It's definitely a "novelty", but it's kind of cool in a garage/psyche sense. Very enjoyable. Not like this last rant.....
Clear Light - Black Roses / She's Ready To Be Free (1967)
Oooh I love this band!!!!! Originally known as "The Brain Train", they had a monster garage/psyche 45 released on Titan records, and was featured on The Chosen Few compilation. They were managed by a guy named Bud Mathis, who was quite the personality in the mid-sixties. I guess he was a boxer, a country singer, he can be seen on the early episodes of "The Buck Owens Show" decked out in a Nudie Suit, and was a manager for several bands on the Sunset Strip including The Brain Train who eventually re-named themselves "Clear Light", got a contract with Elektra Records, and ended up being produced by Paul Rothschild, the guy who brought us The Doors, Love, and a slew of other famous acts. This is as good as a debut 45 gets and it kills me that these guys weren't as famous as their labelmates, The Doors, or The Stooges, Love, or even The Butterfield Blues Band for that matter. I've yet to get a copy of their L.P., but I'm guessing the rest is at least as good as this 45. Top shelf stuff here...
Black River Circus - Love's Gonna Carry Me On / A Ritual Melody (1968)
From Richmond, VA, this band was largely unknown and had one 45 on the local MRC label. Both sides are very good.
Cavalry Twill - All You Need Is Love / The Girl (1969)
I've been using this tune as the outro to the "Dan's Garage" radio show (featured on Radio Free Phoenix and Deep Oldies) for a few years now and I figured I'd include it in this post, mostly because I really love it! This was produced by Neil Levenson who wrote "Denise" for Randy & The Rainbows, and also produced a few records on Columbia, most notably (at least in these circles) The Creatures from Ireland, who had four 45's released on Columbia Records, all Dan's Garage favorites. There's something about the way cool arrangement of this Beatles classic that gets to me. The over the top fuzz guitar, the B3 organ in the background, the choral style vocals...a very nice musical package indeed!
Hook - Love Theme in 'E' Major (1968)
One of these days I'm gonna do a retrospective post on Uni records. No, seriously. there's TONS of stuff on this label that runs the gamut from way out psychedelia, straight up garage, to top 40 pop. That's because Uni was kinda sorta transitional label from Decca, Brunswick, Coral, Kapp, and any other act under the "Universal" umbrella, before they all fell under MCA. Uni had a lot more going for it at the time besides Neil Diamond and Elton John. The very first "rock" effort by The Osmond Brothers was released on Uni. Remember Marcia Strassman???? Yeah, she was in "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" as well as being Gabe Kaplans wife on "Welcome Back Kotter", and a few episodes of M.A.S.H. They were also the home of such great garage psych acts as The Lollipop Shoppe, Fever Tree, Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Yellow Payges, The Daily Flash, The Giant Crab, etc. etc. The Hook were a very unknown group, but in the flotsam and jetsam of Uni releases, this is a good one!
California Gold Rush - Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep (1969)
Here's a cute little bubblegum tune I figure I'd throw in....
Rare Bird - Sympathy / Devil's High Concern (1969)
A "guitar-less" band, Rare Bird were kinda like The Nice and Van Der Graf Generator, bands that were signed to Charisma Records at the time. Real progressive stuff here, if you're into that kind of thing. I like the atmospheric vibe of this 45....
Scorpion - Can't Get Blood From A Stone / I'm Only Human (1973)
These guys were from the Philadelphia area, and they were kind of popular there. Not bad for 1973!
49th Parallel - (Come On Little Child &) Talk To Me (1969)
A legendary Canadian band from Calgary, The 49th Parallel's biggest garage/punk moment was "You Do Things", one of the all time greats. They did, though, have several other 45's in the mid to late 60's, including "Close The Barn Door" and this one here, a 45 that I had passed on many times because of it's commercial type sound. But time seems to give one perspective, and when I first heard this, I was looking for those "killer" 45's, but this one deserves inclusion here. It really is a great song.
Stamford Bridge - Little Boy Blue / Roly Poly (1969)
Pretty good Bubblegum/Psyche from a British band that I have very little info on....
Yankee Dollar - City Sidewalks / Sanctuary (1968)
Let's finish this post with a 45 by a typical west coast group, that sounds a LOT like The Peanut Butter Conspiracy,. Personally, I think these guys and gals could have gone toe to toe with any of their contemporaries, including bands like The Jefferson Airplane, but alas, they unfortunately were destined to obscurity, until now!