Friday, May 22, 2015

And the winner of the Nor Cal Battle of the Garage Bands is...

It is not much surprise that San Jose's Chocolate Watchband's amazing release on the Tower label took the crown in this challenge. We have been in awe of it ever since rumors of its existence whispered in darkened corners in long-forgotten smoke-filled dens reached our incredulous ears. It was unanimous. What is unprecedented is that the next top 3 of the roster were also unanimous in both choice and order of greatness!

Amazing, too, is that San Jose also claimed the second and fifth place with The Mourning Reign and The Count Five. San Jose, an unlikely garage hotspot for sure, had it going on in spades. The Central Valley brought in third and fourth with The Roadrunners out of Fresno and The Brogues out of Modesto. Good work guys. You make these Flipsters proud of their valley roots.

Up next is the final region from the fifty states, the Pacific Northwest: Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Hold on to your seats. Until then, here is a sample from all the winners thus far. And a nifty map down below.

Northern California: The Chocolate Watchband - Are You Gonna Be There/No Way Out
Southern California: The Misunderstood - Children Of The Sun/I Unseen
Rocky Mountains: Phil and the Frantics: Say That You Will/'Till You Get What You Want
Mid-West: The Litter with Action Woman/Legal Matter

Texas: The 13th Floor Elevators with You're Gonna Miss Me/Tried To Hide

New England: The Squires with Going All The Way and Go Ahead

The South: The Bad Roads with Too Bad/Blue Girl

Great Lakes: The Shadows of Knight with Bad Little Woman/Gospel Zone

The Mid-Atlantic: The Enfields with She Already Has Somebody/I'm For Things You Do

New York: The Blues Magoos with We Ain't Got Nothing Yet/Gotta Get Away
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Northern California Spotlight: The Oxford Circle - Foolish Woman/Mind Destruction

Our final entrant in our Northern California region of the Battle of the Garage Bands takes us to Davis, California, the home town to both publishers of this fine music blog! Here we find Gary Lee Yoder, Dehner Patten, Jim Keylor and Paul Whaley. Collectively they were known as The Oxford Circle. The band only released this one single and it got a Fall release in 1966 on the micro-label, World United Records. That label was set up by and for The New Breed (click here for link to music), a Sacramento based band. They are the only other two releases on the label.

The A-side, Foolish Woman, was composed by Yoder and Patten (though no credit is given on the record) and is way ahead of its time. This doesn't sound too much like anything else from 1966! Sure, you can hear a little bit of Van Morrison and Them in Gary Lee Yoder's vocal approach. Sure, there is the Jeff Beck influenced guitar work performed with great dexterity by Jim Keylor. But the backwards tracking, the time changes, the feedback, the pounding drums of Paul Whaley make this a cut above most other records of it's day. There are rumors that Mac Rebennack (aka Dr. John) was the organ player on the session, but I can not confirm that.

The flip-side is a band composed instrumental called Mind Destruction. Thanks to Matt Brown of the lovely Nitro-Retro blog for loaning it to us.

The Oxford Circle played regularly in nearby San Francisco and a live recording from The Avalon Ballroom in 1966, shows Foolish Woman was not an anomaly, they were a solid band. The band went in for one more recording session but failed to get the number released, making this their lone output.

Whaley left the band to form Blue Cheer and was soon followed by Yoder who joined Randy Holden (The Other Half and The Sons of Adam - click for link) and Dickie Peterson (who sold me my first bass amp ever!) in what would become a revolving cast of musicians.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Northern California Spotlight: The Golliwogs - Porterville/Call It Pretending

Day 9 of our Northern California Battle of the Garage Bands takes us to the hamlet of El Cerrito, California, a small town wedged between on the north side of Berkeley. and Oakland at the eastern terminus of the Bay Bridge.

Here we find a band called The Golliwogs. The Golliwogs started in 1958 in Jr. High as a three-piece instrumental combo calling themselves The Blue Velvets. Stu was on piano, Doug on drums and John on guitar. When the older brother of the teenaged guitarist joined the band in 1960, they became a vocal act with the older brother, Tom, now singing. That band released three singles before 1962. Now in High School, in 1964 the band got picked up by the San Francisco based label, Fantasy Records. The owner of the label changed the name of the band to The Golliwogs and the band produced their first record three months before The Beatles would change the face of music in America.

The Golliwogs quickly adapted to the new landscape and recorded three singles for Fantasy Records between December 1964 and July 1965. Then the label created a subsidiary, Scorpio Records, to focus on local garage bands. The Golliwogs would release four singles on this label between December of 1965 and October of 1967. All originals, all written under pseudonyms. At some point the younger brother, John, started to assert more control of the band as he became the primary composer and took over the singing duties from his older brother.

Today we feature The Golliwogs' final record, released on Scorpio Records in October, 1967, Porterville/Call It Pretending. Both numbers were composed by John and he sings on both the a-side and the flip-side.

Porterville has a deep, dark dirge of a rhythm section offset by a catchy, recurring chiming Rickenbacker guitar. Our singer tells a tale of a son being persecuted for the crimes of his father in the California farming town of Porterville. Oh lord, stuck in Porterville again.
The flip-side, Call It Pretending, is our first real hint of what The Golliwogs would soon become. From the opening drum section from Doug with the accompanying hand claps, to the simple, yet catchy, James Jamerson inspired bass work of Stu (who moved from piano to bass around 1964). John sings his original composition with a real tip of the hat to the work coming out of Detroit. One can easily imagine The Temptations singing this tight, catchy soul number. The backing vocals of Tom, Stu and Doug add to the Motown feel.
Remarkably the single would see two releases, both on Scorpio Records. This first release in October of 1967 under the name The Golliwogs. And then a second release, just four months later in February of 1968 under the band's new name, the curiously named Creedence Clearwater Revival. Both releases were a flop but the band, John Fogerty, Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford would soldier on undaunted.
 Until next time, We'll see You On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Northern California Spotlight: The Marauders - Since I Met You/I Don't Know How

Day 8 of the Northern California Battle of the Garage Bands spotlight!

I don't know too much about these cats other than they hailed from Sacramento, California. The Marauders released this one single in November of 1965 on the one-off label, Skyview Records.

Since I Met You is a wonderful original composition with a great melody which was comped on the legendary, Pebble Vol. 10. And cool beans of all cool beans, they released it with a picture sleeve! Pretty darn uncommon. Our copy is as minty as mint gets, but it's still such a low-fi recording it is hard to make out anything the singer is saying. See the comments section below for another recording of this record. The songwriting credit goes to G. Strawn, B. Barmby, R. Jagla and J. Giere/

The flip side is the tepid, I Don't Know How. Jack Giere gets writing credit here.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Northern California Spotlight: The Count Five - Psychotic Reaction/They're Gonna Get You

The Count five produced one of thee all time great garage classics with their '66 release of Psychotic Reaction for Double Shot Records. Loosely based off of The Yardbirds' Better Man Than I, Psychotic Reaction epitomized the budding garage sound of the United States perfectly.

The band's debut single was 2:56 of unadulterated teen frustration and bravado. The song somehow cracked the Top 10 and allowed for The Count Five to release a full length album, something rather unheard of for a band of their local-ness. The members were Kenn Ellner, Sean Byrne, Craig Atkinson, John Michaski, and Roy Chaney. The oldest member of the band was a geriatric 19. The lead guitarist, Michalski, still in High School. Sadly, Atkinson and Byrne have both passed.

The flip-side is the Sean Byrne composed They're Gonna Get You. It's a funky little beat with incessant guitar noodling and some whimsical vocals that illuminate for the listener just how tough it was to be a long haired, cape wearing freak who stands outside the infamous "Winchester Mystery House". 

Growing up in this general area of California in the 80s, I can tell you that the 1966 album, also called Psychotic Reaction, on Double Shot Records, could be found everywhere. There wasn't a record store or Salvation Army in Northern California that didn't have 6 copies in the used bins. An easy find at a low, low price. A garage freak's nirvana. The eleven songs on the album are all written by members of the band, with the very notable exception of the two songs by Pete Townshend (both sides of The Who's third single in the US). All in all, the 9 original compositions are pretty damn solid and give you a sense of how much excitement the Count Five must have brought to the teen hops in San Jose.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Northern California Spotlight: The Brogues - I Ain't No Miracle Worker/Don't Shoot Me Down

Day six of our Nor Cal Battle of the Garage Bands takes us to the center of the state in the farm town of Merced. That's where we find a five piece band calling themselves The Brogues.

The Brogues released their second and final single in November of 1965 for Challenge Records. The band at this time was Bill Whittington, Eddie Rodriguez, Rick Campbell, Greg Elmore and Gary Cole.

I Ain't No Miracle Worker was a song written by Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz, two songwriters who would soon score garage and psych classics for The Electric Prunes. I Ain't No Miracle Worker would also be recorded by The Great Scots about the same time and later covered by The Chocolate Watchband, who slowed the number down quite a bit. The Brogues original recording of the song is a surprisingly fast paced number with some scorching guitar from Eddie Rodgriuez.

The flip-side is the band composed Don't Shoot Me Down. It's a blitzkrieg of a rewrite of Bo Diddley's Hey Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut. Probably by way of The Pretty Things as the singer, Rick Campbell, even gets in a few Phil May inflections.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Northern California Spotlight: Teddy and His Patches - Suzy Creamcheese/From Day to Day

Day five of our Nor Cal Battle of the Garage Bands has the flipsters spinning both sides of a 1967 single that can only be described as brilliantly depraved.

The record is Suzy Creamcheese which was comped on Pebbles Vol. 3. That's where I first heard it. Not long after I heard it on the low-fi Pebbles comp -- and had it indelibly etched into my memory -- I found the dang record in a little strip mall record store in Sacramento, CA. I recall turning that thing over in my hands time and time again trying to comprehend what I was holding. It probably cost me a buck. Maybe two. Check out the picture, it even came with what I assume is the original paper sleeve from Campi's Music Shop in San Jose. All the way from the Valley Fair Mall. Way cool to a vinyl geek like me.

At the time of my find (1984?) I didn't know much about Teddy nor any of his Patches, but time and the internets has shown the band was fronted by singer Teddy Flores. Teddy, it would seem, had a patch over one eye (the one he apparently lost to cancer as just a wee depraved singer). Suzy Creamcheese and From Day to Day were each written by the keyboard player, Dave Conway. According to an interview in, the remaining members were Steve Marley on drums, Steve Urbani on bass and Bernie Pearson on guitar. Here is Steve Marley as interviewed by
...[the] recording was done at TIKI Studios on 17th Street in San Jose.....'Suzy Creamcheese,' was recorded live in the studio on a four track Ampex, without overdubs. The psychedelic whoops heard on the track were part of the live recording, with Teddy moving from a studio mic to a hand held PA mic that was plugged into an old Fender tape-loop echo feeding back through a PA monitor. The whole thing was recorded without a single overdub or edit...and in just three or four takes total. That record received considerable airplay in California, thanks to helpful independent radio stations and actually charted #1 in Salinas/Monterey and Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo.
I took my load of 7 inches back to the record store at which I worked in a nearby town and spun this gem for all to be subjected. Suzy Creamchee starts with a trippy intro (with a Mothers of Invention reference) which gives way to a pounding beat and a heavy organ. Soon it gives way to a swirling, echo drenched rave-up with space noises and manic drumming. And then the coolest all breaks down to a slow, two chord organ riff as Teddy entices us take a trip on his mind. Then I flipped it over and, for the first time, heard the great Flip-Side, From Day to Day. Damn near as cool. Maybe cooler. I'm not sure. Discuss. Very low-fi.

The funny thing is, sometimes you hear these records and you think, "damn, those guys must have been wild! Hipper than hip." And then you see their picture. 
Until next time, we'll se you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Northern California Spotlight: The Chocolate Watchband - Are You Gonna Be There/No Way Out

Back to San Jose, California for more of our Nor Cal region of the epic Battle of the Garage Bands.

The Chocolate Watchband recorded for producer Ed Cobb between '66 and '68 down in LA. The recordings don't always feature all of the band as Cobb had a penchant for bringing in studio musicians. He even went so far as to record instrumentals with not a single member of the band in it (think Expo 2000) and even vocal songs with a different singer (think Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go!).

Are You Gonna Be There was written for the band by Cobb's friend and LA songwriter, D. Bennett (who occasionally sang lead on these records as well) and was the third, and last, single under their name (they had done a 4th under the pseudonym of The Hogs). It was released on Tower Records in October of 1967.

The Flip-Side of Are You Gonna Be There is the excellent quasi-instrumental, No Way Out. That song gets an Ed Cobb credit for composer. That said, credible claims by the band suggest they were really the composers of the song. Producers aren't always so honest, you know. The pairing of the two strong songs, the quality of the production and the quality of singer David Aguilar's voice make this one of the most desired singles out there.

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Northern California Spotlight: The Roadrunners - Goodbye/Tell Her You Love Her

Day three of our Nor Cal Battle of the Garage Bands has us at the bottom part of our geographical line in Fresno, California. 

The Road Runners were a top notch garage band from 1415 W. Scott Avenue (map here) in the raisin capital of the world. The quintet of farm boys released four singles in their brief life. Today's feature was their second release. Goodbye with a Flip-Side of Tell Her You Love Her was released on the local Morocco Records label on the first month of 1966. My copy is a standard black vinyl but the single was also released as a yellow tinted disc and a tiger-striped disc. How cool is that?

The band was fronted by Randy Hall who sang lead and played bass. Dale Samuelian was on organ, Bob Trippell on saxophone, Steve Heitkotter on drums and Denver Cross was the excellent guitarist of the band. Randy Hall penned both of these top notch numbers. The songwriting and musicianship is across the board excellent. Goodbye, the hard charging A-Side shows off Hall's vocal prowess and Cross' strong guitar work that shows, as with most artists in this genre of the day, he was listening to a ton of Jeff Beck. Hall seems particularly angry at his muse. Even a little heavy handed. 
I get a call one day
she said she was sorry
now she wants be back to stay
I just slapped her face
walked away smiling
heard her crying
and now it's her turn to fade
so goodbye to love
goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
Whoa, little dude bass player. Take it easy. Show some class. It's never ok to slap a girl. Or slap a bass! Maybe, just maybe, my young Road Runner friend, you will find love soon. Real love. Where oh where can we find love?

That's right, On The Flip-Side!

The Flip-Side of the record is the lovely Tell Her You Love Her. Again, stellar musicianship with Randy Hall's vocals urging his friend to let go and let the woman in his friend's life know just how much he loves her. And don't hit her. Don't ever hit her. I'm talking to you Floyd Mayweather!

A real double sided gem. Seek out more from The Road Runners. You won't be sorry. Pictures and some info courtesy of this cool blog on San Joaquin Valley bands. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Northern California Spotlight: The Mourning Reign -- Satisfaction Guaranteed/Our Fate

[Please see the comments section below for a comment from the band's singer, Beau]

Day 2 of our Nor Cal Battle of the Garage Bands.  1966 is the single greatest year for rock-n-roll ever. 1956 was good too, but no 1966. 1977 was also a critical year, but falls far short of what went down across the globe in 1966.

Let's back up a bit. A few short years prior to '66, rock-n-roll in America was desperately treading water. The record stores had been flooded with a tsunami of over-polished crooners with faux pompadours and plaid dinner jackets who were being sold to America's precious daughters as a safe alternative to true originals like Chuck BerryElvis was no longer a ground breaking, dangerous rocker, he was a well quaffed sell-out actor. Gene Vincent himself had sunk to crooning and Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran were the earliest victims of rock-n-roll's toll. True, faint flickers of life could occasionally be glimpsed on the horizon. In Los Angeles Dick Dale was not very quietly creating an entirely new genre of rock-n-roll starting in '61. But it hadn't reverberated yet. In Texas, for a few brief years, starting in '62, Bobby Fuller tried to keep the Holly spirit alive. And in 1963 in Portland, Oregon, the Kingsmen recorded the single most important rock-n-roll record ever, Louie, Louie. But the record was immediately banned across the country and the Hoover-led FBI launched an investigation of obscenity and effectively put out the flame before it could spread too this country. Then The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and the tsunami of schlock was itself washed out by the British Invasion, which, thankfully, restored rock-n-roll to its birthplace. Those who couldn't make the football team (and some who could) went to Sears Roebuck and bought themselves a new Silvertone Guitar and declared war on the neighborhood barber. The frustrated radio station engineer implemented dreams of becoming the next George Martin and started moonlighting as a record producer. Club owners and a host of other entrepreneurs eager to make a dollar on the biggest craze since the hula-hoop formed what would pass as local "record labels". Of course, none of these people knew what they were doing so the revolution was delayed a few months. In the meantime, flying in the slipstream of the Beatles, more aggressive Brit bands -- bands hugely influenced by Louie, Louie -- like the Yardbirds, the Rolling StonesThe Who and the Kinks found an audience in the US. And then, very early in '66, the perfect storm hit. That band in San Jose had put in enough practices in dad's garage that they were now winning the battle of the bands contest. Grandma quietly slipped Dave $150 to cut a record and follow his passion. The owner of Rock-n-Rollerskate, the bestest teen night spot in all of San Jose, was ready to put some bucks down to record that band and maybe make some more money at the concession stand by selling a local record. And Ed, the frustrated audio engineer, had his recording studio all set up in the back of the local appliance store, It's A Wash. The time was now. No editors. No suits. No record company men to say who could and could not record. This was the moment. And all across the world -- in AmericaAustraliaHollandSweden and countless other places -- like a brood of cicadas, the now long haired rockers crawled out of the garages adorned in chelsea boots, three button jackets, paisley vests and dark wrap around sun glasses to make their first record.
Within a year the record company executives would reassert their control and descend on towns like San Jose, California, Amsterdam, Sidney, and Stockholm and swoop up the bands deemed valuable and crush the bands that showed no utility. But in that one brief moment of 1966 -- wedged between the chaos of innocence and the unassailable rule of record companies -- millions of bands recorded their song. Some awful. Some brilliant.
Today's song is one of those brilliant songs from '66. It's by the stunningly obscure San Jose, California quintet, The Mourning Reign. The song, with a clear play to the Rolling Stones, is called Satisfaction Guaranteed. A snarly guitar riff is spurted out with an unrelenting attack. The singer, some bloke named Beau (Bo) Maggie, does his best Mick Jagger swagger: "As you wander around, you find your imagination standing upside down in the mouth of mass hallucination. You are dissatisfied with the other guys you tried. Now don't you think it's time for a change, because, you know, Satisfaction Guaranteed!" Cue the double guitar lead that no respectable music exec. would have allowed. "Listen boys, you can't be playing over each other like that. It's just noise. Nobody will buy this record if you do that." Thank goodness their was no record exec. at the mighty Link Records in San Jose.

The flip side is the Beau Maggi composed Our Fate. We get a great Rickenbacker rhythm guitar part from more Steve Canali before Johnnie Bell jumps in with the relentless scorching guitar. Craig Maggi on drums and Charlie Gardin on bass lay down a substantial bedrock for the song. 

Unlike their San Jose brethren, The Chocolate Watchband, The Count Five and the Syndicate of Sound, the Mourning Reign wouldn't get the chance to make an album. They only recorded one other single and then disappeared into nowhere. Perhaps it was into that "invisible door" or that "hole in the floor" the singer is so desperate for us to know about.

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Northern California Spotlight: The Chosen Few - Nobody But Me/I Think It's Time

We have a lovely double sided gem to lead off the Northern California region of the Flip-Side's epic Battle of the Garage Bands. Everything above the straight line that creates the north border of San Luis Obispo County across Kern County and San Bernardino County gets counted as Northern Cal.

The Chosen Few hailed from Stockton, California and the band was led by a gentleman named Gary Wagner. They recorded only this one single. The A-Side is the Gary Wagner penned I Think It's Time. The Flip-Side is another Wagner composition, Nobody But Me. Both sides are fantastic and worthy of a little digital praise from us. But we don't know too much about it. The effort was released in August of 1965 and featured none other than a very young Sly Stone (aka Sylvester Stewart) sitting at the production board.

The flip-side, Nobody But Me is a tough blues based rocker with wailing harmonica, gravely vocals and some buzzing bass pounding away that reminds this listener of the early work of Captain Beefheart. Guttural and powerful while still melodic and danceable. 

The A-Side, I Think It's Time, is a brief little 1:47 number that shows a playfulness the transcends much of the teen scene rock of the era. This Gary Wagner dude clearly knew his stuff. The guitar lead and harmonica interplay is wonderful. Though a little to understand, I dig the lyrics too. 
But it's alright
I got the money buried in the back yard
I dig it up
I live it up 
You got to laugh before you cry
Live before you die
I think it's time
Gary Wagner went on to release an album in 1970 under the name Parish Hall. I've seen his name connected to another largely unknown band from San Francisco called The Grateful Dead. What that connection is I don't know, and with all things GD, I started to try to figure out the connection and then got so bored I quit. If you know any more about Gary Wagner, please let us know. We dig his work.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

And the winner of the So Cal Battle of the Garage Bands is...

What an epic adventure that was! Seventeen entrants in the So Cal region of the Battle of the Garage Bands. We tried to cap it at 10. Then 15. But our offerings of goodness just kept spilling over like a beer being poured by a blind barkeep.

Unbelievably we had a unanimous choice for the coveted number 1 spot! The Misunderstood, a band that had to leave their hometown of Riverside for the rain and fog of London to get a recording contract, have brought home the coveted "best garage record from Southern California" award. The other bands rounding out the top five are Love, The Grains of Sand, The Music Machine, all of Los Angeles, and The Lyrics of San Diego.

The Misunderstood are misunderstood no more. Now they saunter over to the holding pen where they will join our other regional winners as they await the next region. That region is Northern California and Hawaii. We'll launch that assault tomorrow!  Until then, here is a sample from all the winners thus far. And a nifty map down below.

Southern California: The Misunderstood - Children Of The Sun/I Unseen

Rocky Mountains: Phil and the Frantics: Say That You Will/'Till You Get What You Want
Mid-West: The Litter with Action Woman/Legal Matter

Texas: The 13th Floor Elevators with You're Gonna Miss Me/Tried To Hide

New England: The Squires with Going All The Way and Go Ahead

The South: The Bad Roads with Too Bad/Blue Girl

Great Lakes: The Shadows of Knight with Bad Little Woman/Gospel Zone

The Mid-Atlantic: The Enfields with She Already Has Somebody/I'm For Things You Do

New York: The Blues Magoos with We Ain't Got Nothing Yet/Gotta Get Away
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Southern California Spotlight: The Leaves - Too Many People/Love Minus Zero

Our final Southern California Battle of the Garage Bands entrant. What a rich well of music out of SoCal!

The Leaves hailed from Los Angeles. I thought that The Seeds discography was a mess with multiple releases of the same song with different catalogue numbers and different flip-sides. Man, let me tell you, The Leaves take the cake.

We focus today on The Leaves' first release, Too Many People/Love Minus Zero. It was released on the local label, Mira Records, and hit the stores in July of 1965. The A-side was composed by the band's first lead guitarist, Bill Rinehart and bassist, Jim Pons. Too Many People is a scorcher of an original. Wailing harmonica, pounding bass, double vocal attack from Pons and John Beck, snarly lyrics about fighting back against "the man" and some very nice Rickenbacker guitar leads.

With this first release, the flip-side was Bob Dylan's Love Minus Zero. A perfectly fine version, but ultimately a tepid number compared to the A-side.

Too Many People would be rerecorded for the band's LP. That rerecording is a greatly inferior version to what we have here on their debut single. The single would get released again, a full year after this initial release, with Girl From The East as the flip-side. That song would be released on no less than four straight singles from the band! And we haven't even touched on the three different recordings of Hey Joe that the band released in less than six months. Sheesh!
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Southern California Spotlight: The Seeds - Pushin' Too Hard/Out Of The Question

The Seeds released their signature tune, Pushin' Too Hard, twice. The first time in November of 1965 on GNP Crescendo 364x with the flip-side of Out Of The Question. That release gave the title of You're Pushin' Too Hard. Then in July of 1966, they gave us a different release as GNP Crescendo 372x backed with Try To Understand, which had been released as an A-side months prior in February of 1966.

We feature today the first release of You're Pushing Too Hard/Out Of The Question (even though we picture the second release).
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy 91st Birthday to Bettie Page

Every year we post to our favorite pin up on her birthday. And every year it is one of our favorite posts. Not sure why. A day late, but happy birthday Bettie Page.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Southern California Spotlight: The Music Machine - The People In Me/Masculine Intuition

The second to last day of our epic Southern California Spotlight on the Battle of the Garage Bands.

No need for us to rehash the greatness of the Music Machine and the brilliance of Sean Bonniwell. We've talked about them at length. They've been written about at length. 

So let's turn to their second single, released in the first month of 1967, on Original Sound Records. The People In Me was to be the follow up to the bands monster garage number, Talk Talk. The record failed to do much. But it's greatness is evident. Everything here is great. Keith Olsen's bass work, Ron Edgar's bumble bee of a buzz guitar work, Bonniwell's elliptical lyrics.

The flip-side is the brilliant Masculine Intuition. What a b-side. It tells the tale of a love going bad and flips the usual coinage on it's head to give the song a cryptic feel. 

The check's on the table
And the pen's in your hand
And if that makes you happy
Then nothing else can

My mind's on the laundry 
Where you sleep away
If I had the gumption
Then I'd leave you today. 

My favorite part of the song is the bridge at 1:18 where Olsen really pushes the bass line to something special.

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Southern California Spotlight: The Standells - Why Pick On Me/Mr. Nobody

More So Cal Battle of the Bands has us in Los Angeles with the legendary party band turned, snarly garage band, The Standells.

We've talked about The Standells before. We've talked about producer and songwriter Ed Cobb before. We've lauded the brilliance of engineer Richie Podolor before. We've even done a whole series on the great Tower Records label. So we'll just spin the two songs.

Why Pick On Me gives us another great Ed Cobb composition of defiance. The flip-side, Mr. Nobody, was written by organ player, Larry Tamblyn. The single was the band's 9th release. But really the band was a different band after they got with Ed Cobb on Tower Records. So let's say this was their 3rd release on Tower. The single was released in October of 1966.

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Southern California Spotlight: The Dovers - She's Gone/What Am I Going To Do?

An unprecedented 13th straight day in Southern California has us spinning our first ever record from Santa Barbara, California. 

The Dovers were Tim Granada on guitar and vocals, Bruce Clawson on guitar, Robbie Laudewig on bass, Rick Morinini on drums and Tony Rivas on Sax, tambourine and backup vocals. Not sure who is playing the keyboards on these records but it is rumored that Jim Messina was deeply involved in the recordings.

The Dovers released five records in their brief, 18 month existence. Today we focus on their first single, released on Miramar Records in September of 1965.

The A-Side is the Bruce Clawson composed She's Gone. Beautiful. Mousy harmonies, incessant tambourine and a deep mix of the guitar create a beautiful bed for this song of lost love. Tim Granada's vocals drive the song to new heights. The surfy guitar solo is mixed so low that it is almost lost.

For our money, it's the flip-side, What Am I Going To Do?, that is the stand out. I don't know who wrote it because I can't even find an image of the label. A Beatlesque opening riff and a beautiful organ bit lead us into great harmonies and lyrics of a girl who couldn't be held down, much to the dismay of our singer who just wants to offer endless love to this not-yet 17-year old beauty. 

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Southern California Spotlight: The Other Half - Mr. Pharmacist/I've Come So Far

Day 12 of the So Cal Region of the Battle of the Garage Bands gives us The Other Half. The band hailed from Los Angeles and released 5 singles in their brief career.

Mr. Pharmacist was the A-Side of their debut single, released on G.N.P. Crescendo in November of 1966. It would be the only release on that label. The band would relocate to San Francisco and move to Acta Records after this debut. Mr. Pharmacist, written by singer Jeff Nowlen, is a raver in the first order. Baritone vocals, wailing harmonica, grimy guitar, and an absolutely brilliant guitar solo from Randy Holden. Holden had come over to The Other Half from LA garage band, The Sons of Adam.

The flip-side of the single ain't so bad either. I've Come So Far features a pounding rhythm and a less aggressive approach, vocally and otherwise, than on the A-side. To this listener it reminds us a lot of the work that Zakary Thaks of Corpus Christi, Texas were doing at that time for J-Beck Records. Great guitar work from Holden and Yardbirds styled interplay with the harmonica. Plus it drops a Kinks reference in the lyrics. In fact, the vocals sound so different that I believe it may be Westen singing, and not Nowlen. Sadly I don't own this record and can't even tell you who composed this track. Ugh!

From left to right the band was Nowlen, Larry Brown on bass, Randy Holden on lead guitar, Danny Woody on drums and Geoff Westen on rhythm guitar.

Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!