Friday, November 21, 2014

Mid-Atlantic Spotlight: Richard and The Young Lions - Open Up Your Door/Once Upon Your Smile

We move our regional Battle of the Garage Bands Battle a little further south. We started with New England where The Squires ran away with the not-so-friendly competition with their double sided gem, Going All The Way/Go Ahead. Then we dealt with New York and the winner of that region was The Blues Magoos with We Ain't Got Nothing Yet/Gotta Get Away. Today we turn our attention to the Mid-Atlantic region of these United States. For our purposes, that will incorporate the Mason-Dixon line states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and The District of Columbia. 

We start in Newark, New Jersey where we have the mighty cool looking Richard and The Young Lions. We've written about the band's third single and even included a bunch of cool photos. We turn our attention today to their debut single: Open Up Your Door b/w Once Upon Your Smile. The record was released on Phillips Records in July of 1966 and even got a rice-paper thin picture sleeve. Both sides were written by the songwriting team of Brown, Nader and Bloodworth who also get production credit. Those cats were associated with Detroit's Bob Crewe who was working with Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels about the same time. That association meant the Young Lions record actually did okay in the Detroit and Buffalo markets, but not so much in New Jersey. Curious. 

Open Up Your Door is a great raver with Richard Tepp's gravely, snot-nosed voice leading the stomper of a song. I'm particularly fond of the balance between jangly guitar and fuzz guitar as well as the odd African drum sound that runs throughout (see the scan of the Flip-Side of the single).

The Flip-Side of Once Upon Your Smile doesn't get a lot of attention from garage fans but I love this song. Slow and brooding, Richard Tepp's vocals are in top form. The lyrics are clever and the horns are perfectly utilized. And then you get that really groovy bridge where the horns really shine. 

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

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