Monday, February 10, 2014

Minnesota Garage Spotlight: The Deacons - Empty Heart

Minnesota garage mayhem continues into week two with a small band out of Johnson High School in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Deacons were, at the time of this recording, Earl Pritchard on vocals, Gary Starzecki on bass, Richard Weeks, Rick Youngberg on lead guitar and one other cat named, Chico. Don't know his last name. The high school mates had released two singles with a different singer named Jim Reiff in 1964 for Re-Car Records. Those singles fall in the Frat Rock/Party Rock category. They're fine, but don't hold up as well as our feature song, their third and last single, released in 1966 on local stalwart label, Soma Records.

The song was funded by one Dino Barilla, a bit of a lounge singer in Minnesota with some money connections. Fuh' get about it. Mr. Barilla needed a backup band and called on The Deacons for help. The Deacons cut Dino's song, the dreadfully bad Problems About Baby, with Dino crooning away at Kay Bank Studio in Minneapolis. Then they cut a cover of The Rolling Stones' Empty Heart with Earl Pritchard on vocals. And wow, what a difference. The two sides of this single share few similarities. Rick Youngberg lifts the four chord Empty Heart to incredible new heights. Their rendition starts out much like the Stones', albeit faster, but then the band adds a particularly killer Yardbirds' styles frenzied finish replete with wailing guitar and howling screams. I wish it didn't fade out. Fade outs are for sissies. 

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