Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rocky Mountain Showdown: Jack Bedient and the Chessmen - Double Whammy/I Want You To Know

Day 7 of our Rocky Mountain Battle of the Garage Bands has us taking a liberty or two. How? Good question dude or dudette. You see, Jack Bedient hailed from Wenatchee, Washington (definitely a Pacific Northwest state) and started playing lounge circuits back in the 50s there in the Apple State. As a hardworking musician from the center of the state, Jack crossed paths with The Wailers and The Kingsmen and other such up-and-coming bands from the PNW. Jack had been doing a little bit more of a loungey act back then. But ever the professional musician, Jack started working rock-n-roll into his act. 

I don't know when, but at some point Jack split Washington for greener lounges. That took him first to South Lake Tahoe then to Reno and, of course, the lounge mecca of them all, Las Vegas. That is how we are counting him as a Rocky Mountain Region contestant. 

Jack Bedient and his Chessmen had a regular gig there and, as all good lounge acts do, they adapted quickly to the swinging sounds of the day. In July of 1965, Jack and his Chessmen headed down to Berkeley, California to record their rockin' original tune, Double Whammy for the Fantasy Label. This is the same label for whom the hometown heroes, CCR would soon record. I've always thought the signature guitar riff was taken from Vince Taylor and the Playboys' Brand New Cadillac, but some cats over at The Garage Hangover rightly note that the riff most likely is lifted from Dorsey Burnette's recording of his brother's composition, Bertha Lou. I've heard other Jack Bedient songs and none have come close to measuring up to Double Whammy. I love the vocal interplay and I love the way the guitar riff changes, particularly at the lead.

The flip-sider is a fine cover of the 1957 release by Fats Domino, I Want You To Know. The band on this recording is believed to have been Jack on guitar, Jerry Bledsoe on drums and Bill Britt on bass.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

2 comments:

  1. This is such a great song, and despite its lifted riff, it stands on its own as a kind of surf-rockabilly-spaceage hybrid. It reminds me of the Honeycombs more than anything. Also, my research shows actual author of Bertha Lou to be Dorsey's brother Johnny.

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  2. I hadn't made that Honeycombs connection, but I see it now. On a side note, the other day I was in the grocery store and The Honeycombs' "Have I The Right?" came over the speakers. It was a smack in the head moment.

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