Thursday, July 23, 2015

Battle of the Garage Bands: The Chocolate Watchband v. The Shadows of Knight

Yesterday The Sonics, representing the Pacific Northwest region, steamrolled Phil and The Frantics, the representatives of the Rocky Mountain Region.

Today we witness Northern California do battle with the monsters who emerged from The Great Lakes region.

The Chocolate Watchband of San Jose, California, will put forth with their 4th and final single, Are You Gonna Be There/No Way Out. The record was released in October of 1967 on Tower Records. The Shadows of Knight will put up their 2nd single, Bad Little Woman/Gospel Zone.  It was released on Dunwich Records in August of 1966.


Take a look at the graphics here to see some of the top competition that these two bested on the way to their awesomeness. Both of these bands had to beat some real great talent to get to this point. 
Until next time, we'll see you On The Flip-Side!


9 comments:

  1. Another tough call. Two of the greats battling it out. (Ali vs.Frazier?) I close my eyes and vote for the Watchband. Maybe because I like Aguilar's vocals a little better than Sohn's?

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Chocolate Watchband. Everyone has their favorite all-time records and this is one of mine so I'll gush a bit. With a title like "Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In)" you might expect some Scott McKenzie mellowness, but instead you get a sneering kid telling ya to be yourself, be tough, don't sell out. The band is saying the same thing with their instruments, backing up their buddy with sly, snaking guitar lines, great bass playing and grooving rhythm.

    "No Way Out" - same curling guitar style and RnB-ish rhythm, "Daddy Rolling Stone" bass riff, this time the singer talking about "you're on your own, no way out." Not sad about it, just telling it like it is, it's a bummer but it's the blues and they're gonna turn it into a groovy sound. The lead guitar's got some sharp riffs going on, the maracas are up front Bo Diddley style, backwards tape at the end reminding us this is 1967 and the apex of cool sounds.

    ReplyDelete
  3. slafolle just did a beautiful write up of the CWB single. So I will gush on the Shadows of Knight. These cats have been a personal favorite of mine since I "discovered" them in about 1984 when I picked up a copy of Back Door Men at a local store. And this single represents two of the best songs on that lovely album.

    Bad Little Woman, a cover of the obscure Irish band, The Wheels, is a brilliant song. A very different approach than the original. So different, in fact, that one can view this apart from The Wheels' original. Brooding, cool, sinister. The bedrock of the organ, the rubbery sound of the hollow body bass. And of course, Joe Kelly's brilliant guitar work is never better than right after the break when he responds so delicately to singer Jim Sohns' restrained vocals.

    He brought you home last night
    Smelled like gypsy rose
    Now I don't know just where you been
    He only knows
    He says he loves you baby
    Just like I love you
    He says he loves you baby
    Just like I love you
    Oh no, it's not true!

    And then there is the flip, composed by the band's drummer. This is a rhythm guitarist's wet dream. Fast, tight rhythm work that turns the Bo Diddley beat on its head. The heart of the lead is a rhythm break. And handclaps! How can you go wrong with handclaps? The answer is, you can't.

    But alas, Steve is correct. Everything about the CWB single is remarkable. It may not take the casual listener on first spin (it doesn't have handclaps), but my goodness, both of those songs are just so well produced, composed and performed.

    The Chocolate Watchband take the day for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just looked at the top five (of 10) for the NorCal results. Three of the top five are from San Jose. Impressive. Very, very impressive.

      Delete
  4. Two strong contenders in this bout! I'm going to have to go with the Watchband though. As Matt pointed, out, Aguilar's vocal is much stronger, and I just find the song, the lyrics, the guitar leads and the production more compelling. Also counting against the Shads is the existence of a superior version of "Bad Little Woman" by the Wheels.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Watchband. I mean, the disc manages to condense from the late sixties both the atmosphere of rapid societal change, anti-authoritarianism and communal self-love - Are You Gonna Be There (At The Love-In) - with the solitary, stark disillusionment that may be the natural bedfellow of that experiment - No Way Out. That’s impressive. Plus the music, especially the A-side, is of the kind that I just cannot decipher by ear alone. So I keep trying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gonna find a way into society
      There might be a way -mediocrity
      I'll travel that road
      Some others have tried
      You might laugh at me
      You've got so much pride

      But you and your friends you might cry
      When you see that I have passed you by

      Are you gonna be there
      When I make my mark?
      Are you gonna be there
      When I set the spark?

      At the love-in
      With your head in the air

      When I make my move, I ain't gonna lose,
      There's people out there who'll help me
      If I choose the right direction
      When I'm makin' my connections in this world.

      There's too many people don't know where they belong
      They need someone to tell them right from wrong
      You better break away, try to be yourself
      Don't leave your future to someone else

      Design the laws that gonna govern your fate
      You better watch yourself it might be too late

      Are you gonna be there
      With a broken heart?
      Are you gonna be there
      When I make my mark?
      At the love-in
      When I set the spark

      When I set that spark that starts the flame
      That burns up in the souls that have been
      Too late to be accounted for
      I'll open up my door and let them in

      Are you gonna be there?
      Are you gonna be there?
      Are you gonna be there?
      I'm gonna be there
      I said I'm gonna be there

      Delete
  6. The ending of "No Way Out" from the Chocolate Watchband just blew me away. Very unique for its time. This one is close but that's what put them in front. My pick is the Chocolate Watchband.

    ReplyDelete