Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bunker Hill - The Girl Can't Dance

Bunker Hill was the secular stage name of one Mr. David Walker, a gospel singer from Washington, DC. Sometime around 1962 a local producer named Vernon Wray got hipped do David Walker's vocal prowess. He talked Walker into giving a shot at recording a pop record. David Walker was game but apparently worried about what his proselytizing friends might think of his turnabout. Thus Walker was rechristened as Bunker Hill. 

Vernon Wray took the newly christened Bunker Hill into Vernon's chicken shack studio in Accoceek, Maryland. He set Bunker Hill up with his two brothers and their band. That band was Link Wray and His Raymen. They laid down five tracks that fateful day. From that came three wonderful singles on the Mala Records label. The Girl Can't Dance was the final record for Bunker Hill, released in September, 1963. 

I can talk about how wild, how primal, how extremely raw Bunker Hill and Link Wray's attack are on this, but you can hear that for yourself. Just play it loud. Share it. Spread the love of this rare little 1:54 record and raise a glass (physically or metaphysically) to Bunker Hill and the Wray brothers for giving us this gem exactly 51 years ago this month.

In the first picture below, that is David Walker (aka, Bunker Hill) on the bottom right. Link, bottom left on the second photo. 

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

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Strangers - Caterpillar Crawl and Rockin' Rebel

Caterpillar Crawl
Rockin' Rebel
The instrumental group, The Strangers, hailed from sunny San Diego, California and were fronted by guitarist, Joel Scott Hill. In the winter of 1959 the band recorded two edgy numbers for fledgling Titan Records. Hill's guitar work is guttural and sharp edged and not too dissimilar from what Link Wray was recording in a chicken shack out in Washington DC about the same time. 

Caterpillar Crawl was given the A-Side nod. A slow, brooding number, Hill's guitar work oozes with a hard edged tone running through a copious amount of reverb. A few years later, Los Angeles group, The Rumblers, would reimagine this song as Boss and release it on Downey Records. (Both Downey and Titan Records were distributed by Dot Records). We wrote about the Flip-Side of that Rumblers 1962 single here

The Flip-Side of The Strangers single was the even more Link Wray-like original composition, Rockin' Rebel. A fine upbeat number with some rockabilly guitar riffs lifted straight from the Scotty Moore playbook.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Turtles - Almost There

The Turtles weren't exactly known for  hard edge rock-n-roll, but this may change your mind (a little). 

The Turtles released their first single in July of 1965. That single, on White Whale Records, was a harmless cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe. But the lucky kid that bothered to flip the record over was treated to an original composition by the band's lead singer, Howard Kaylan. That song is Almost There, a pounding beat number reminiscent of The Kinks' instrumental, Revenge. The song tells the tale of a young man on a journey to see his girl. The poor lad has to travel 10 miles everyday just to see his baby. Thank goodness, like all Angelenos, he had a car to use to see her, bye and bye. 

It appears that this single is not only the first record ever released by the Los Angeles band, but also the first record ever released by the short lived White Whale Records. Not a bad start for either. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Richard and the Young Lions - You Can Make It

Richard and The Young Lions had attitude, dude. The Young Lions hailed from the lovely town of Newark, New Jersey and collectively were Richard Tepp, Bob Freedman, Marc Lees, Norm Cohen, Ricky Rackin, and Jerry Raff. Richard had some seriously long hair and the requisite snarl on his face to make a great front man. It didn't hurt that he could sing, too!

The Young Lions released three singles in their brief career, all on Philips Records. Today's song is, in our humble opinion, the best of their releases. The number is their swan song, You Can Make It, and it was released in March of 1967. This is the A-Side. In a rare public announcement that runs counter to the concept of this site, we warn you...do NOT Flip this record over. Ouch!

You Can Make It was comped on the legendary What A Way To Die record and is one of the standouts on that record. They even graced the cover of the record. That's how we learned of this band.

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jeff Tweedy - Theologians

From his 2006 solo tour, the frontman for Wilco, Jeff Tweedy, performs his own composition, Theologians. I think the guitar sound is inexcusable for a performer of this level, but he more than makes up for it with his beautiful, spot-on falsettos.

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

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Time Stoppers - I Need Love

I really don't know a whole lot about this band. One source puts them as a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania band. The fact that we have listed St. Clair Productions would make me think the band hailed from the suburbs of Detroit, a place where Hanna-Barbera Records found lots of bands such as The Unrelated Segments and Tidal Waves.

I Need Love was originally done by Washington DC area band, The Mad Hatters. That version was released in 1965. The Time Stoppers released their version on Hanna Barbera Records in 1967. In fact, it was the last release for the quick lived label.

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

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Beau Gentry - Just In Case

The Beau Gentry, formed in Indiatlantic, Florida in '64, made their way up north in the summer of '66 to tour the midwest and soon were amassing a following in the Wisconsin and Illinois area. So much so that they settle in the area for the next while and eventually made today's recording, Just In Case, on a small label out of Janesville Wisconsin in, I believe, early 1967.

Just in Case - the flip-side of the single - was written by non-bandmember R. Bryant and has an odd time signature, somewhat reminiscent of the Yardbirds' Little Games. What is it? 3/4? In any case to me it's like an inverted waltz. Add to this some brilliant CSN-like harmonies, a charging, free-form rhythm section and a time-signature change for the bridge and you know you're in some uncharted territory. The Beau Gentry was Rick Jaeger, Doug Kilmer, Lance Massey and Russ DaShiell (l-r pictured above).
Doug Kilmer and Russ Dashiell soon hit it big when they joined Norman Greenbaum for the recording of Spirit In The Sky and subsequent touring, while Rick Jaeger went on to record and tour with Dave Mason. Not bad! The Beau Gentry also show up in a Dunwich retrospective and it is no surprise they were subject to the gravitational pull of that formidable scene.

Vinyl Frontier

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ryan Adams - New York, New York

The funny thing about memories is they get mixed with the mud over time. The memories lose their sparkly shininess they once had. As time passes it becomes harder and harder to differentiate what was real in that frozen moment and what latched on to that memory like a blood sucking leach. Sometimes having the luxury of distance can make watershed moments more crystal clear. More black and white. Other times the distance just muddles up the hue. Secondary events, secondary memories, our own moral beliefs, our own political beliefs, our own prejudices, our own desire to frame ourselves to fare better in that memory will change how we view said memory. And then where are we? What is real? Was I really part of this? If the answer is yes, then how much? Maybe it doesn't matter. So many memories. A perfect unblemished blue sky. 

Booker T. and The MGs - Plum-Nellie

Feel the groove baby. Booker T. and The MGs lay down a nasty beat with their original composition, Plum-Nellie. Steve Cropper opens the number with a scorching Telecaster guitar tone. The kind of tone that will peel the paint off of your walls. An intimidating bass and brassy section gives way to Booker T. Jones and his trademark, sparse organ riffs. Plum-Nellie was the Flip-Side of a great number called Chinese Checkers and was released on Stax Records in June of 1963. 

It's hard to beat this but The Small Faces tried to outdo The MGs when they covered the number more than ably on their 1967 album, From The Beginning. 
 Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Marvin Gaye - One More Heartache

Marvin Gaye made a solid record or two in his day. One More Heartache was one of those. Released on Tamla Records in January of 1966, the song was covered by UK mod band, The Artwoods, that same year. The Chicago group, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, more than ably covered the number the following year as the Flip-Side of their only Elektra release. But it's hard to beat the original.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Kinks - Mindless Child of Motherhood

You may have heard of this group, The Kinks. They released a record or two in their day. And then some. In fact, they continued to release good quality records well past that of many of their contemporaries who began to buckle under the pressure of touring, taxes, unscrupulous managers and the unbearable heaviness of the impending 1970s. 

Mindless Child of Motherhood appeared as the Flip-Side of the certifiable hit Lola in these United States of America on Reprise Records in July of 1970. In the band's native UK, the Dave Davies composition was billed as The Kinks Featuring Dave Davies and was released on Pye Records as the Flip-Side to Drivin' which was released during the Summer of 1969. 

The terribly under appreciated little brother puts forth a wonderful vocal performance and I could make a strong argument that this song is better than the A-Side of the UK release. Mindless Child Of Motherhood feels exceptionally personal. And as such, often feels like we are seeing too much into the life of the singer. The listener a muted observer to the painful tragedy unfolding in front of them.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Johnny Bond - Hot Rod Lincoln

Hot Rod Lincoln was first recorded in 1955 by it's composer, Charley Ryan, as a retort to the 1951 Arkie Shibley composition, Hot Rod Race. In June of 1960, veteran country singer Johnny Bond released his souped up version on Republic Records. It was his version that Commander Cody souped up even more until it was wound up to 110.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Hope Waits - Get Behind The Mule

We're going to stay in Louisiana for our third straight day. In fact, it's our 5th Louisiana artist in the last two weeks alone. All hail the Pelican state!

Hope Waits hails from Monroe, Louisiana, a town on the highway between Shreveport and Jackson, Mississippi and dead center of nowhere good. And like the subject of yesterday's post, this Louisiana native traveled west to record in Los Angeles. Working with producer Peter Malick, Hope Waits kicked out one nice, jazzy album for Radarproof Records back in 2007. Our song today, Get Behind The Mule, written by our smooth throated chanteuse, explores a lovely, sparse country-blues style. It's wonderfully produced with lots of open spaces in the song. A great example of how less is more. Or, to put it another way, it's sometimes what you don't play that matters more than what you do play. The result here is that the open spaces allow for Waits' vocals to float effortlessly as she stirs her brandy with a nail.

You can stream her entire album, Introducing Hope Waits, over at her site located here. Below we're giving you a bonus video of Waits doing I'll Be Satisfied.

Have a good weekend. Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

James Burton and Ralph Mooney - Corn Picken'

It's Corn Pickin' time! We return today to Shreveport, Louisiana and to James Burton. We mentioned in yesterday's post that a young James Burton was on guitar for yesterday's Dale Hawkins tune, La-Do-Dada. Today we feature that guitarist front and center.

James Burton was raised in Minden, Louisiana, just an opossums throw away from Shreveport. He cut his chops early as a self-taught guitarist and became the spokes-picker for a distinct style of guitar playing called chicken picken'. That flat pick/finger pick/under-string-pluck/note bending combo thing he does so well is on full display here on his own composition, Corn Picken'. Burton's second, and final, solo single was released on Capitol Records in March of 1968. It's one minute and 47 seconds of pure geetar pickin' goodness.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dale Hawkins - La-Do-Dada

Dale Hawkins hailed from the swamps near Shreveport, Louisiana. The skinny, pimply faced white kid had a penchant for employing great guitarists like Roy Buchanan and James Burton. James Burton, who would go on to play with Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley and Gram Parsons, plays on this Hawkins original, La-Do-Dada. This A-Side, Hawkins' 5th single, was released on the legendary Chicago blues label, Checker (a subsidiary of Chess Records) in July of 1958. He may be the only white guy on that label. Anyone?

Dale Hawkins got into the production business and worked with The Uniques, who we just featured a few days ago, Mike Nesmith of The Monkees, The Five Americans and The Blue Things. The Blue Things, incidentally, covered La-Do-Dada in 1965 for their major label debut.
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

006 - Like What, Me Worry?

The cleverly named 006 hailed from the Chicago area and released one single on the local Harlequin Records label in April of 1966. That record, Like What, Me Worry?, was picked up for national distribution by the girl-group-centric Red Bird Records a month later. Their presence on Red Bird Records -- which released a lot of songs by professional composers in the Brill Building -- led to speculation that the band was a studio creation. But they weren't. They were a sextet made up of some Beach Boys looking lads. Doc Watson (not THAT Doc Watson) was on lead vocals, Ray Fowler on second vocals, John Kielnik on guitar and organ, Dennis Rezendes on lead guitar, Ted Byczek on drums and Jimmy Flowers on bass.

Like what, Me Worry? tells the tale of a proud loner who is down with being a lone wolf who has comfortably embraced his tough-guy persona. I have no idea who the composer is, other than the E. Wenzlaff credit. Doc Watson lays down some perfectly defiant and flippant vocals for the song. Let's let the lyrics to Like What, Me Worry? by 006 do the rest of the talking for us.

Like what me worry, ha ha ha

You never ever see me walkin' round
Crying over a broken heart
'Cause I made up my mind a long time ago
That I'm a loner from the start
You never see me gettin' all busted up
And worrying my pretty little head
Like man I know where I'm sleeping tonight
Cause I already done made my bed

Like what me worry, ha ha ha
Oh man, you just ain't a threat.

I ain't got no gal I ain't got no pal
That's ever going to cheat on me
I always maintain a very clear head
And nothing ever troubles me
Like man I got my very own cloud
And Im always flying high
But I'll tear that silver lining right out of you
If you mess around in my sky

Like what me worry, ha ha ha
like man you just ain't digging
Up a little baby, come on. yeah!

If I were you I'd march straight ahead
And tape up my big mouth
If you don't your eyes will be headin' north
And your nose will be headin' south
If you think of stirrin' up some action baby
Cause your life is gettin' sorta dull
Then I'll take a deep breath and I'll huff and I'll puff
And I'll blow you right outta your skull

Like what me worry, ha ha ha
oh man you going to be a hairy mess, yeah!

So if you gotta pray and you gotta sing
You better pray and get it sung
Cause there's gonna be an empty place
Where all your teeth once hung
I'm gonna sock your ribs
And stomp your toes
And give your neck a crack
And I'll break every bone individually
In your sacroiliac

Like what me worry, ha ha ha
oh man, you going to be a sorry sumpin'
If you say one more thing about me
When you open up your big mouth
I'll put my hand in there and grab your toes
And turn you inside out
I'm gonna tie you into a great big knot
And throw you onto the floor
Gonna stomp on and pulverize you
Till you ain't no more

Like what me worry, ha ha ha
oh man you ain't suckering nobody

I'm going to take you out to the back alley
and give you a couple of lessons on how to jam, 
man, you know, how to defend yourself against bad things
guns and knives and slashing all the hairy skin, and...

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