Friday, December 12, 2014

The South Spotlight: The Guilloteens - I Don't Believe (Call On Me)/Hey You

Our Battle of the Garage Bands in The South has taken us from Louisiana to Florida to North Carolina. Now we move over to Tennessee. 

The Guilloteens not only had a real clever name, but they also had real solid talent. The band hailed from Memphis and they made some pretty good friends and fans in that town. From the cool cats at Stax Records to a local star named Elvis Presley. It was Elvis who, after catching the band perform in Memphis, brought the trio -- Louis Paul Jr., Laddie Hutcherson and Joe Davis -- out to LA to get a residency at a hotspot called the Red Velvet Cloud. In walked Phil Spector who started working with the band. Everything was going great as they started recording I Don't Believe, a Louis Paul Jr. composition. But Spector may have treated the band as an afterthought and an over-eager manager signed the band to the newly formed Hanna-Barbera Records label without the Guilloteens knowledge. So The Guilloteens severed their relationship with Spector and started recording their first single with a new producer working for HBR.

That first single, released July 1965 on Hanna-Barbera Records is a double sided gem that shows great maturity. I Don't Believe features the incredibly strong vocals of it's composer, Louis Paul Jr. The song is like a kudzu vine, it grows on you quickly. The chimey guitar work creates an incredibly strong bed for the echo chamber harmonies and Louis Paul's baritone vocals. Paul really takes flight on his vocals towards the end of the song. At 2:14 we really get to see how strong a vocalist this Guilloteen was. The song almost feels like it has been slowed down, but nope, that's how it is. 

The Flip-Side, Hey You!, features the vocals of it's composer, Laddie Hutcherson. Hey You! is pure garage joy. A strong guitar riff and tons of teen bravado. Hutcherson isn't as strong a singer as Louis Paul Jr., but the pairing with the A-side makes this double sided gem one of the stronger singles HBR ever put out.

Louis Paul Jr. quit the band after their second single and returned to Memphis. The band soldiered on with other musicians, making another strong single for HBR before signing with Columbia when HBR got the axe. They even supported Paul Revere and The Raiders on tour, but like so many others, the band faded into obscurity without ever really getting the recognition they needed to succeed.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

1 comment:

  1. I Don't Believe is lovely. Chris White could have written it. The intro guitar work is sublime.

    Hey You has a strong Kinks vibe. What I really appreciate here is the spare instrumentation: just the guitar, bass and percussion.