Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Round 2 of the Battle of the Garage Bands Bracket: The Chocolate Watchband v The Ugly Ducklings

Round 8 is in the books. The representatives from Texas, The 13th Floor Elevators, bested the kings of the Pacific Northwest, The Sonics. It was hard for all of us to send a band like The Sonics packing, but that is the nature of the competition, isn't it?

Today one more band will be voted off the turntable while another gets a patch on their shoulder and matriculates to the finals, which we call the Thrilling Three. So without further hesitation...

On turntable 1 we have the Northern California champions, The Chocolate Watchband. They put forth with their final single, released in October of 1967 on Tower Records, Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love In) with a flip-side of No Way Out. The single has already bested the likes of The Mourning Reign, The Brogues and The Shadows of Knight just to have the opportunity to spin at 45rpm on this fine morning.

On Turntable 2 we have the champions of Canada. The entire hopes and dreams of the great white north now rest on the dusty grooves of The Ugly Ducklings and their third release, from 1966, on Yorktown Records: Just In Case You Wonder with a flip-side of That's Just A Thought I Had In My Mind. This Canuck of a single has bested the likes of The Painted Ship, The Haunted and America's The Enfields as it now starts spinning with the 7-inch white hot fury that can only come from a homely water fowl.

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

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Round 2 of the Battle of the Garage Bands Bracket: The 13th Floor Elevators v. The Sonics

In our first day of Round 2, The Misunderstood of the So Cal Region went through New York champions, The Blues Magoos, like a hot knife through butter. The Misunderstand now move on to the top three and await their next opponent. Misunderstood no more. 

Day 2 of the second round pits two epic records against each other (after 10 months of doing this, they better all be epic at this point!). 

From the highly competitive Texas region we have The 13th Floor Elevators with their debut single, You're Gonna Miss Me c/w Tried To Hide. The single was released, first on the local label, Contact and then on International Artist records in early 1966. 

The Sonics are representing the birthplace of American garage records, The Pacific Northwest. They are putting forth with their 5th single, released in the Fall of 1965 on Etiquette Records. We have the original Cinderella on the a-side and Louie Louie on the flip-side.  

Go forth judges. Look at both sides of the single and make your call. We don't envy your task. 

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

Monday, July 27, 2015

Round 2 of the Battle of the Garage Bands: The Blues Magoos v The Misunderstood

Round 2 is officially underway in our 10-month long Battle of the Garage Bands to determine (very subjectively) the greatest US garage band single ever. This round kicks off with The Blues Magoos of New York going head to head with The Misunderstood of Riverside, California. 

On one side of the ring we have The Blues Magoos who landed a major record deal and put out multiple singles and multiple albums, performed on national TV shows and shared the stage with the likes of The Who. On the other side of the ring we have The Misunderstood who had to leave their Sun drenched Southern California homes to travel to the rainy UK to record a song called Children of The Sun. The single was shelved until well after the band had succumbed to the unbearable heaviness of obscurity and the boys never even saw a release of their material in their homeland. Two very different paths to this moment. Both deserving of it. 

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

Friday, July 24, 2015

Battle of the Garage Bands: The Enfields v. The Ugly Ducklings

Round 5 is in the books and for the first time we have a unanimous decision. The Chocolate Watchband of the NorCal Region knocked out The Shadows of Knight of The Great Lakes region.

We move today to round 6 of the Battle of The Garage Bands' "super-duper, bestest ever, most epic garage single bracket". It is indeed the final showdown of the first round of said bracket.

On Turntable number one we have The Enfields of Wilmington, Delaware.  The quintet will put forth with their 1966 single for Richie Records, She Already Has Somebody/I'm For Things You Do. Both sides of the single were composed by the band's guitarist, high schooler, Ted Munda. Somewhat like the single put forth by Phil and the Frantics, the Enfields take a moody, minor key, harmony approach to their double sided gem.

And on the other side of the music room, on turntable number 2, we have a band from Toronto, Canada calling themselves The Ugly Ducklings. Just In Case You Wonder/That's Just A Thought I Had In My Mind are two band composed numbers. The single was the band's third record and was released in 1966 on Yorktown Records.

Both of these singles had very stiff competition on their way to representing their region in The Battle of The Garage Bands. Both bands won only by the most narrow victories. Here is a look at the top 4 singles they bested to take the number 1 spot. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Battle of the Garage Bands: The Chocolate Watchband v. The Shadows of Knight

Yesterday The Sonics, representing the Pacific Northwest region, steamrolled Phil and The Frantics, the representatives of the Rocky Mountain Region.

Today we witness Northern California do battle with the monsters who emerged from The Great Lakes region.

The Chocolate Watchband of San Jose, California, will put forth with their 4th and final single, Are You Gonna Be There/No Way Out. The record was released in October of 1967 on Tower Records. The Shadows of Knight will put up their 2nd single, Bad Little Woman/Gospel Zone.  It was released on Dunwich Records in August of 1966.

Take a look at the graphics here to see some of the top competition that these two bested on the way to their awesomeness. Both of these bands had to beat some real great talent to get to this point. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Battle of the Garage Bands: The Sonics v Phil and the Frantics

Another round in the books and The 13th Floor Elevators of Texas cruised past a very strong single from The Bad Roads.

Today we move down to the next bracket. The Sonics representing the Pacific Northwest are going head to head with Phil and The Frantics representing The Rocky Mountains. Two very different approaches on American Garage records. The Sonics on Etiquette Records with their power chord heavy original, Cinderella, and a blitzkrieg reimagining of the PNW standard, Louie Louie. And on the other side of the ring we have Phil and The Frantics on Sounds Ltd. Records with two minor key originals that stutter and stop and takes at a more sensitive approach. Perhaps the only similarity between the two is the use of Saxophone in their records.

And here is a list of top singles The Sonics had to best to be crowned the PNW Region champions.
And here is a list of top singles Phil and The Frantics had to best to be crowned the Rocky Mountain Region champions. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Battle of the Garage Bands: The 13th Floor Elevators v. The Bad Roads

Day two of the bracket system witnessed The Misunderstood of the Southern California region getting past the midwest region winner, The Litter. Our congratulations go out to The Misunderstood who, we have on good authority, are huddled at a restaurant in Las Vegas watching the returns with baited breath. Stand by boys, we are about to move on. 

Today we move to a bracket with two very strong region representatives: The 13th Floor Elevators representing Texas and The Bad Roads from nearby Louisiana representing The South region. Our celebrity judges will now weigh-in with eloquent words located in the comment section below and let you know who comes out ahead today. So, without further ado, let's get ready to rumble!

 And here is a look at how The 13th Floor Elevators and The Bad Roads came to win their respective regions.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Battle of the Garage Bands: The Litter v The Misunderstood

Well, well, well. We have the first showdown in the books and it surprised me. Big time. This is why we have all these celebrity judges helping out. I flat out expected The Squires to make it deep into the brackets. Not even close. The Blues Magoos took their New York power and ran rough-shod over their New England Brethren.

So now we spin the winner of the Midwest region, Minnsesota's The Litter, against Southern California's hotly contested winner, The Misunderstood. The seven judges, who Donald Trump has described "as the most classy, opulent judges in the world", will now settle the score with these two bands and their powerful releases from 1967. Don't forget, both sides count in the consideration of the greatness of the record.

To put this into better context, here is a look at some of the competition that these cats bested as they claimed their regional victory.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Battle of the Garage Bands: The Squires v. The Blues Magoos

Day one of the Battle of the Garage Bands epic bracket system showdown. Today we have the winners of the New England Region going head to head with the winners of the New York region. The Squires of Connecticut v. The Blues Magoos of Greenwich Village. Celebrity judges will vote below to determine who moves on to the next round. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Battle of the Garage Bands Epic Bracket Showdown!

There comes a time in the history of man that certain events define and shape the very times in which we live. The Rise of the Roman Empire, the Mongol Horde unifying Asia, the teachings of Jesus, the geo-political realignment that came from World War II, and, of course, On The Flip-Side's epic Battle of the Garage Bands. 

For months now we have had a day by day competition to crown the best North American garage single. It started way back in October of 2014, posting roughly 10 singles from 12 different regions of the continent. 

As you can (almost) see from our cool map below, the winners in each region are as follows (and click on each winner to see the top five finalists from each region):
  1. New England: The Squires
  2. New York: The Blues Magoos
  3. Mid-Atlantic: The Enfields
  4. The South: The Bad Roads
  5. The Great Lakes: The Shadows of Knight
  6. The Midwest: The Litter
  7. Texas: The 13th Floor Elevators
  8. The Rockies: Phil and the Frantics
  9. Southern Cal: The Misunderstood
  10. Northern Cal: The Chocolate Watchband
  11. Pacific Northwest: The Sonics
  12. Canada (not shown): The Ugly Ducklings

Now we start the final competition! A battle royale of all 12 regional winners. Each regional winner will now go head to head in a bracket system until we can crown the top three North American garage singles ever dedicated to wax. Look at the high tech graphic below to see where we have seeded each band. 

We'll start at the top and move our way down. This will go fast. Guest judges will help us pick the winner of each round until we crown the top three singles. At that point we will rank them based on our very subjective votes and, in a moment that will make even the Dalai Lama stand up and take notice, we will be able to crown a champion single. 
We'll get it rolling in the next week!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

And the winner of the Canadian Battle of the Garage Bands is...

Canada is in the books and the winner of the tightly contested competition for of our FINAL region in our Battle of the Garage Bands is Toronto's The Ugly Ducklings! Their duo of original songs bested the Canuck competition by the narrowest of margins possible, just in case you wondered.

So now we have 12 regions in the books!  But we're not done. All 12 will now compete in a bracket style system as we endeavor to crown THEE single greatest Garage Band single ever put to wax. How is that for epic?

Below is one cut from each of the 12 winners. Let's get ready to ruuuuuumble!

Canada: The Ugly Ducklings - Just In Case You Wonder

Pacific Northwest: The Sonics - Cinderella/Louie Louie

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!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Canada Spotlight: The Plague - Love and Obey/High Flyin' Bird

Back for our 5th and last installment of Canada Garage Spotlight.

The Plague hailed from Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada. The band put out just this one single (I believe). It was released in 1967 on REO Records. Love And Obey has a bunch of cool stutter stops and a real nice jangly guitar that rises into a great lead which helps lift the song to real nice new heights. Props to the bassist for some subtle and great bass work.

The flip is a cover of High Flyin' Bird. I don't have that so here is a vid of it.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Canada Spotlight: The Free-For-All - Show Me The Way/Blue Monday

Day four of the Canada Battle of the Garage Bands takes us to Nova Scotia, Canada. Seriously. We definitely don't know of any other garage bands from Nova Scotia. 

The band name on the label says The Free-For-All but the band is really the Halifax, Nova Scotia band, The Great Scots. The Great Scots recorded a number of solid records in their native land for London Records and Epic Records before they made their way to LA to try to hit the big time. The band seemed to be on the edge of success when they ran into a brick wall. Maybe it was their silly Kilt outfits and coordinated dances. Or maybe it was their tight cut non-Beatle hair that held them back. Who knows? But in an effort to trick jaundiced radio programmers, the band released Show Me The Way (which is actually the Flip-Side of the record) under the name The Free-For-All. Show Me The Way just soars. Catchy melody and a great guitar riff. How was this not the A-Side?

The A-Side was the more pedestrian blues number, Blue Monday, a rewrite of T-Bone Walker's often covered number, Stormy Monday Blues

The single was released on Challenge Records in the Summer of 1966. Ultimately the prestidigitation didn't work and the record went nowhere, despite it's inherent quality. Then the Canucks got a rude awakening. Dave Isnor was conscripted into the US Army and sent off to Vietnam. Yep, when you were here on a working visa, you could be drafted. Whoops. The remaining members, Gerry Archer, Bill Schnare, Rick McNeil. and Wayne Forrest high-tailed it back to Nova Scotia on the first dog sled out and their chance at stardom was lost. Luckily they left us this gem before they got lost in the snow drifts of time.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Canada Spotlight: The Painted Ship - Little White Lies/Frustration

Day three of our Canada spotlight takes us to Vancouver, British Columbia. I believe this is our first stop in that fine, fine town.

The Painted Ship kicked out two records in their brief career. Today we spin their first record, released in December of 1966 on London Records.

Little White Lies gets the A-Side and it is a humdinger of a song. It turns the lying cheating no good lover story around. In this approach our singer, William Hay, admits that he is a lying, cheating, no-good scoundrel. Cool guitar work, hushed whispers of "white lies" makes this a unique song. We love the end of the song as our protagonist seems to really enjoy his rogue role.

The flip-side is Frustration. Another cool number with some squeaky Vox Continental organ backing up Hay's understated approach.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Canada Spotlight: The Haunted - 1-2-5/Eight O'Clock This Morning

Day 2 of our Canada Battle of the Garage Bands has us visiting Montreal, Canada. In this hip town we find a band called The Haunted. The band was formed in 1965 by gutiarist Jurgen Peter and grew to include Bob Burgess on vocals, Al Birmingham on lead, Mason Shea on bass and Dave Wynne on drums. The Haunted immediately became THEE band in Montreal and opened for the Stones, Them and a host of other cool cats.

The band cut their first single for Quality Records in May of 1966. We feature that number today. The released version of 1-2-5 required a recut as the record company deemed the lyrics too risqué for the French-Canadian audience. Ironically, the original version, which is not nearly as good as this recording, saw the light of day in the puritanical US on Amy Records. Now that is a hard record to find! 1-2-5 tells the tale of a boy just strolling down the street with five bucks burning a hole in his pocket. Who does he see but Mary Jane, a local prostitute. Exchange of cash, and then she is pulling down the shades.

The flip-side is Eight O'Clock This Morning. Composed by Burgess and Birmingham, this proves the band knew what they were doing. Great bass, great vocals, great guitar. All great.

1-2-5, replete with snarly vocals, edgy lyrics, a brilliant bass line and a killer guitar lead, broke nationally and made the band a household name across the great white north. But whose name? You'll note from the picture above that the band's name was misprinted on the first pressing of the single as The Hunted. These record companies did this so frickin' often back then it is really hard to imagine who they had editing their work.

The sound sample above apparently comes from the LP, with a different singer, than either of the released single versions, which are linked below.

The USA release.
The first Canadian release
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Canada Spotlight: The Ugly Ducklings - Just In Case You Wonder/That's Just A Thought I Had In My Mind

Our regional Battle of the Garage Bands heads to the great White North. The Ugly Ducklings hailed from the suburbs of Toronto Canada in the town of Yorkville Village. 

The Ugly Ducklings were Dave Byngham on vocals and harmonica, Glynn Bell on rhythm guitar, Roger Mayne on lead, John Read on bass and Robin Boers on drums. The group released six singles in their heyday of '66 and '67 on Yorktown Records and Yorkville Records. Today's double sided feature is their third single: Just In Case You Wonder/That's Just A Thought I Has In My Mind.
Just In Case You Wonder (misprinted on the first releases as Just In Case You're Wondering) is a standout of the entire garage genre and makes a strong argument for the best Canadian garage record of all time. Roger Mayne's fuzzed out guitar work gives the song a strong backbone without getting to the point of ridiculous fuzz (as was sometimes too often the case with garage bands). It's nicely complimented by Bell's distinct jangly rhythm work. The song is written by Byngham and Bell and our singer lays it out clear that he's psychologically damaged by a mean, nasty girl. 
Just in case you wonder
Why I'm feeling blue
There's no need to ponder
It's all because of you 
I'm sitting at home
Sitting alone
I'm waiting for you to come back
Knowing that you won't 
Just in case you wonder
Baby where I'm at
I'm in the basement yonder
counting all the rats!
Yeah baby! One rat, two rat. Then we go into a very impressive extended lead from Roger Mayne. 

That's Just a Thought I Had In My Mind is a solid Flip-Side. Much different from the A-side, more straight out pop, but I think you'll agree, it deserves a little love from us today. The flip was written by Byngham and Mayne. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!