Thursday, June 11, 2009

Song of the Week: "Going Away Baby", Grains of Sand

Dusty bins of record stores and countless thousands of entries on eBay are littered with brilliant music that has long been forgotten. Today's Song of the Week is one such song. It's by the LA based band, Grains of Sand and the song is the frenetic Going Away Baby.

I first heard this song from Greg Shaw's brilliant late 70's compilation of 60's garage rock, Pebbles. Pebbles Vol. 1 to be exact. It was certainly one of the standouts on an album filled with forgotten gems of testosterone fueled rock-n-roll by kids who were just one good date away from being satisfied. But lucky for us, most of those kids never got satisfaction and thus made music of frustration for you and I to enjoy some 43 years later.

Grains of Sand were a 4-piece combo that signed with the boutique Genesis Records and immediately went to cutting one of the all-time great 60's pop numbers, That's When Happiness Began. It's one of those songs that beautifully matches pop melodies with a certain smugness to appeal to a wide variety of audiences. The Flip-Side is She Needs Me, a reverb drenched pounder of the highest quality. The groups next single is our SoTW: Going Away Baby. Going Away Baby features the frenetic guitar work of the songs composer, Doug Mark. The barre-chord riff is used as a refrain in the song, continuously bringing it back to it's most appealing quality. What sounds like a Farfisa organ to this writer, takes a front and center approach with it's three chord riff and even takes the center stage on the lead as Mark pushes the song along like a Pitt-Bull on caffeine. And like all sexually frustrated teenage singer's of 1966, the singer is sick. Sick of it baby. He can't take you no more. Yeah.

I know it is trite to say, but please, please, please play this song loud. It's the only way to totally appreciate it.

Cheers, I'm Going Away Baby!


  1. Morgan,

    Great write-up as always. This is the only Grains of Sand song i've ever heard, and I'm intrigued to hear the two other tunes of theirs you mentioned.

    As for "Going Away Baby," I wonder why they used the organ for the solo- were they trying to go against the fuzz box grain or what? it sounds good, but a snotty guitar break would be even better.

  2. The organ is pretty killer in this song. The band didn't have an organ player (as evidenced by the pic above) so I'm left scratching my head as to who may have played on it. While you are correct that a fuzzy little guitar would be tasty, the organ more than does the trick. And indeed, I would suggest that the organ taking the lead makes those demonic guitar breaks even better. Particularly the break at 1:19 coming OUT of the organ break. The guitar has a slightly different/longer interplay on that break and it really stands out to me.

    I'm surprised to hear you have not heard the other GoS songs. We'll have to remedy that immediately.

  3. Well Mr. Flip-Side finally delivers on some garage rock. Beginning to wonder. That's a good point about the contrast that the organ provides to the guitar breaks, causing them to stand out a bit more. I also noticed that guitar break coming out of the solo, but I'm of the mind that it was an unintentional - yet cool sounding - flub that me manages to cooly reign in and to great effect. Also of note is the structure of the song which I casually assigned the typical 1-1-4-4-1-1-5-5 progression. Not the case. They drop a 7-7 for the 5-5, at least to this office-bound guitarless ear. Plenty of nice screams to boot!

    Mazz, you got to hear That's When Happiness Began - its a must hear. Not sure I've heard She Needs Me but I'd like to, and what about the B-Side to Going Away Baby - do they bat 4 for 4?

  4. Thanks for sending the other two songs. I realized i knew She Needs Me after all (it's on the Pebbles Vol 8 cd). It may be my favorite of the three. That's When Happiness Began is pretty great too in a Hollies kinda way. I wish these guys had been able to record more.

  5. Jack - that's a purposeful change in the riff. The riff is essentially twice as long as the others. The band comes back in unison which would not happen if it was a mistake.

    It's a really great sounding guitar he has going. Reminiscent of the Young Rascals' guitar part on Good Lovin'.